Bhagavad Gita 1.40 Explained: The Fallout of Familial Destruction

कुलक्षये प्रणश्यन्ति कुलधर्माः सनातनाः।
धर्मे नष्टे कुलं कृत्स्नमधर्मोऽभिभवत्युत।।

श्रीमद्भगवदगीता 1.40

Kulakshaye Pranashyanti Kuladharmah Sanatanah
Dharme Nashte Kulam Krutsnam Adharmo’bibhavatyuta

Shrimad Bhagavad Gita 1.40

The destruction of our kindred means the destruction of the traditions of our ancient lineage, and when these are lost, irreligion will overrun our homes.

English Translation of BG 1.40

This verse from the Bhagavad Gita reflects Arjuna’s profound concern over the potential downfall of familial and societal values due to the war. Through his words, we are invited to explore the deep interconnections between individual actions, family duties, and societal order.

Insights into BG 1.40: Reflecting on Swami Ramsukhdas Ji’s Divine Commentary

The Sanctity of Family Duties

The family is not just a unit of society; it is the cradle of values, traditions, and duties that are passed down through generations. These duties, or ‘Kuladharmas’, are essential for maintaining the moral and spiritual health of the society. Arjuna’s worry about the destruction of these duties points to the catastrophic impact of war on the fundamental structures of society. It serves as a reminder that preserving family integrity is crucial for the sustenance of societal values.

The Cascade of Moral Degradation

The verse highlights a cascading effect where the destruction of family leads to the loss of family duties, resulting in societal immorality. This degradation of moral values signifies a profound loss, not just of cultural identity but also of the ethical compass that guides individuals and communities. It’s a cautionary tale on how the consequences of certain actions can extend beyond immediate outcomes, affecting the very fabric of societal morality.

The Overpowering of Adharma

Adharma, or unrighteousness, thrives in the absence of Dharma. The verse poignantly illustrates how the void left by the disappearance of family duties and values provides fertile ground for adharma to flourish. This overtake by adharma not only corrupts the individual but also disrupts the collective harmony, leading to a society where ethical principles are no longer revered.

The Call for Preservation of Dharma

Arjuna’s reflection is a call to action for preserving Dharma – the moral and righteous way of living. It underlines the responsibility of individuals to uphold their family duties and by extension, contribute to the maintenance of societal order and righteousness. This verse challenges us to consider the broader implications of our actions, urging us to act in ways that support the preservation of moral values and societal stability.


Verse 1.40 of the Bhagavad Gita serves as a profound meditation on the consequences of war and violence on societal structures and moral values. It reminds us of the delicate balance between duty, morality, and the collective well-being. As we reflect on this verse, let us recognize the importance of our roles in upholding the values that foster harmony and righteousness in society. Arjuna’s concerns invite us to ponder the true cost of conflict and the paramount importance of protecting the sanctity of Dharma in our lives and communities. This verse is a timeless reminder of the interconnectedness of all aspects of life and the critical role we play in sustaining the moral and ethical foundations of society.