kashchinnobhayavibhrashtashchinnabhramiva nashyati |
apratishtha mahaabaaho vimoodhaa brahmanam pathi || 38 ||

 
Unsuccessful in both ways, with no worldly glory, distracted in the spiritual path, doesn’t the seeker get destroyed like a scattered cloud, O mighty armed?
 
kashchit : doesn’t
ubhaya : both
vibhrashtaha : unsuccessful (seeker)
chinnabhram : scattered cloud
iva : like
nashyati : destroyed
apratishtha : without any worldly glory
mahaabaaho : O mighty armed
vimoodhaha : distracted
brahmana : spiritual
pathi : path
 
Arjuna further elaborates upon his question to Shri Krishna with regards to the promise of meditation. To understand this better, let’s examine a saying in Hindi : “dhobi ka kutta, na ghar kaa na ghaat kaa”. Loosely translated, it refers to a situation where someone has two jobs but because he cannot do either job properly, he loses from both sides in the end.
 
Arjuna wanted Shri Krishna to tell him whether someone who follows the spiritual path, but is not able to attain fulfillment, ends up in a similar situation. Arjuna uses the analogy of a cloud that neither provides rain, nor does it vanish. This in-between situation makes it an easy target for winds to scatter the cloud from one place to another.
 
If we were to frame this as an economic problem, Arjuna is speaking about opportunity cost, which is the loss incurred in one activity by spending time in another activity. If the seeker devotes a large amount of his time and effort towards meditation, but fails to attain the desired outcome, is it worth it? He could have very easily have devoted this time to worldly pursuits and obtained wealth, status and thereby secured his worldly position.
 
Instead, the seeker is “ubhaya-vibhrashta” or unsuccessful from both sides. One side is “apratishtha” or lack of worldly glory, and the other is “vimoodha brahmana pathi” or distracted in progress on the spiritual path. Arjuna, the pragmatic soldier, does not want to get into such a compromising position. He adds one more element to this question in the next shloka, after which he lets Shri Krishna answer.
 

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