Bhagavad Gita 1.38 Explained: Greed’s Moral Blindness and the Duty of Righteousness

यद्यप्येते न पश्यन्ति लोभोपहतचेतसः।
कुलक्षयकृतं दोषं मित्रद्रोहे च पातकम्।।

श्रीमद्भगवद्गीता 1.38

Yadyapyete Na Pashyanti Lobhopahatachetasaḥ
Kulakshayakritam Dosham Mitradrohe Cha Patakam

Shrimad Bhagavad Gita 1.38

Although these men, blinded by greed, see no guilt in destroying their kin, or fighting against their friends,

English Translation of BG 1.38

In this profound verse, Arjuna voices a critical concern over the moral degradation seen in his adversaries, blinded by greed to the extent of ignoring the grave consequences of their actions. This passage is not merely a lament but a deep ethical inquiry into the nature of duty, righteousness, and the long-term impact of our actions on society and relationships.

Insights into BG 1.38: Reflecting on Swami Ramsukhdas Ji’s Divine Commentary

The Blindness of Greed

The verse begins with a stark observation about how greed can cloud one’s judgment, leading to a loss of moral clarity. This blindness pushes individuals to pursue their desires at any cost, ignoring the harm they cause to their own kin and the societal fabric at large. It serves as a cautionary tale about the dangers of allowing material desires to override our ethical compass, highlighting the need for self-awareness and restraint.

The Destruction of Clan

The sin of destroying a clan, as mentioned by Arjuna, points to the breakdown of societal structures and values that maintain harmony and order. This destruction goes beyond physical harm, extending to the erosion of cultural and spiritual heritage. It’s a reminder of our responsibility to preserve the integrity of our communities, ensuring that our actions contribute to their sustenance rather than their demise.

Betrayal of Friends

The mention of betraying friends as a sin underscores the importance of loyalty and trust in maintaining strong social bonds. Friendship, a sacred bond that sustains the social fabric, when violated, leads to a deep moral and societal decay. This betrayal is portrayed as a grave misstep, a deviation from the path of righteousness that yields long-term repercussions.

The Call for Moral Reflection

Arjuna’s reflection is a call to all to consider the broader consequences of their actions, especially when faced with ethical dilemmas. It encourages a move away from short-sighted desires towards a consideration of dharma, or righteous duty, that upholds the welfare of all. This perspective invites us to look beyond immediate gains, contemplating the legacy we leave behind through our actions.


Verse 1.38 of the Bhagavad Gita presents a critical juncture where Arjuna, standing on the battlefield, contemplates the moral implications of the war. It’s a powerful reminder of the corrosive effect of greed on human consciousness and the importance of upholding ethical principles in the face of adversity. Through this verse, we are encouraged to seek a higher understanding of our duties and responsibilities, emphasizing the need for actions that foster peace, justice, and harmony in the world. As we navigate our lives, let this verse inspire us to act with wisdom, compassion, and a deep commitment to the greater good, embodying the principles of dharma in every decision we make.