dando damayataamasmi neetirasmi jigeeshataam |
maunam chaivaasmi guhyaanaam jnyaanam jnyaanavataamaham || 38 ||

Among means of subjugation, I am punishment and among seekers of victory, I am strategy. Also, among the secrets I am silence and among the wise, I am knowledge.
dandaha : punishment
damayataam : among means of subjugation
asmi : I am
neetihi : strategy
asmi : I am
jigeeshataam : among seekers of victory
maunam : silence
cha : and
eva : also
asmi : I am
guhyaanaam : among the secrets
jnyaanam : knowledge
jnyaanavataam : among the wise
aham : I am
In this shloka, Shri Krishna declares punishment as foremost among Ishvara’s expressions that restrain or subdue others. As we have seen in the second chapter, dwelling on sense objects can very easily lead to loss of even a wise person’s wisdom and discrimination, which may result in unlawful behaviour. A society without methods to punish criminals is impractical, and will result in anarchy and chaos. From our standpoint, we need to watch our mind and our sense organs constantly, lest they lead us astray.
Next, we look at neeti or strategy. In the Mahabhaarata, Arjuna needed to finish Jayadratha in order to move closer to a victory. But the powerful Jayadratha had obtained a boon from his father. Whoever caused Jayadratha’s head to fall to the ground, their head would split into a hundred pieces. This was a tough situation and needed a smart solution.
Upon Shri Krishna’s advice, Arjuna dispatched an arrow that would sever Jayadratha’s head and deposited it into the lap of his father. When Jayadratha’s father got up, he dropped the head and became the target of his own curse. Shri Krishna, the ultimate strategist, declares strategy as Ishvara’s foremost expression among seekers of victory. Strategy enables us to deal with different people and circumstances, and to devise a plan to win every time.
“Silence is golden” is a proverb that has stood the test of time. In a business negotiation, we may be put in situations where others try to insult us in some way. We face a choice in such situations: we can either snap back at that person or we can stay silent. If we respond, we may say something that may come back to haunt us later. Worse still, we could reveal a secret that puts us in jeopardy.
To that end, Shri Krishna advises us to follow the “silence is golden” proverb by declaring silence as Ishvara’s foremost manifestation among secrets. And those wise people who follow Ishvara’s recommendations also receive their wisdom through Ishvara’s as his divine manifestation.