Bhagavad Gita 1.33 Explained: The Irony of Conflict for Loved Ones

येषामर्थे काङ्क्षितं नो राज्यं भोगाः सुखानि च।
त इमेऽवस्थिता युद्धे प्राणांस्त्यक्त्वा धनानि च।।

श्रीमद्भगवद्गीता 1.32

Yeshaamarthe Kaankshitam No Rajyam Bhogah Sukhani Cha
Ta Ime’vasthita Yuddhe Pranans Tyaktva Dhanani Cha

Shrimad Bhagavad Gita 1.33

When those for whose sake I desire these things stand here about to sacrifice their property and their lives:

English Translation of BG 1.33

In this poignant verse, Arjuna reveals the depth of his internal conflict. He recognizes that the very people for whom he sought to gain kingdoms, happiness, and comforts are now arrayed on the battlefield, willing to sacrifice everything, including their lives and fortunes. This realization brings to light the irony and futility of the war and the impermanence of worldly gains.

Insights into BG 1.33: Reflecting on Swami Ramsukhdas Ji’s Divine Commentary

The Paradox of Attachment

Arjuna’s statement reflects a profound paradox of human existence: we often fight and strive for wealth, power, and pleasure for the sake of our loved ones. Yet, in the end, these very pursuits can lead us into conflicts that threaten to destroy the ones we sought to protect or please. This verse invites us to examine the nature of our attachments and the reasons behind our actions, urging us to consider whether the ends truly justify the means.

The Transience of Worldly Desires

Through Arjuna’s realization, we are reminded of the transient nature of worldly desires. The kingdoms, pleasures, and luxuries we chase are fleeting and can never provide lasting satisfaction or happiness. This verse serves as a wake-up call to reassess our priorities and values, highlighting the importance of seeking deeper, more enduring sources of fulfillment and joy.

The Sacrifice of the Self for Higher Principles

The willingness of Arjuna’s relatives and teachers to lay down their lives in battle underscores a critical aspect of Vedic philosophy: the concept of sacrifice for a higher principle or duty (Dharma). This principle challenges us to look beyond our personal desires and consider our actions’ broader implications on our family, society, and spiritual growth.

The Futility of War for Material Gain

Arjuna’s internal struggle exemplifies the futility of war and conflict when pursued for material gain or out of greed and ambition. It underscores the message that true victory lies not in conquering lands or accumulating wealth but in living a life of righteousness, where actions are guided by ethical principles and a commitment to the welfare of all.


Verse 1.33 of the Bhagavad Gita offers a profound reflection on the nature of desire, the impermanence of worldly gains, and the ultimate futility of conflict. Arjuna’s realization serves as a reminder to question our motivations, re-evaluate our goals, and align our actions with our deepest values and principles. It encourages us to seek a path of righteousness and harmony, recognizing the interconnectedness of all life and the importance of acting with compassion, wisdom, and a sense of duty towards the greater good. Through this verse, we are invited to embark on a journey of self-discovery and spiritual awakening, finding true fulfillment not in external achievements but in the pursuit of Dharma and the service of humanity.