Bhagavad Gita 2.5 Explained – The Consequences of Slaying One’s Elders

गुरूनहत्वा हि महानुभावान्
श्रेयो भोक्तुं भैक्ष्यमपीह लोके।
हत्वार्थकामांस्तु गुरूनिहैव
भुञ्जीय भोगान् रुधिरप्रदिग्धान्।।

श्रीमद्भगवद्गीता 2.5

gurūn ahatvā hi mahānubhāvān
śhreyo bhoktuṁ bhaikṣhyam apīha loke |
hatvārthakāmāṁs tu gurūn ihaiva
bhuñjīya bhogān rudhirapradigdhān ||

Shrimad Bhagavad Gita 2.5

Rather would I content myself with a beggar’s crust than kill these teachers of mine, these precious noble souls! To slay these masters who are my benefactors would be to stain the sweetness of life’s pleasures with their blood.

English Translation by Shri Purohit Swami

In this verse, Arjuna expresses the consequences of slaying his revered elders and teachers in battle. He states that he would rather live as a beggar than commit such a heinous act. Swami Ramsukhdas Ji’s commentary delves deeper into Arjuna’s thought process and the implications of his words.

Key Insights from Swami Ramsukhdas Ji’s Commentary

1. The Impact of Krishna’s Words

Swami Ramsukhdas Ji notes that Krishna’s words from the previous verses are beginning to have a profound impact on Arjuna. Arjuna is now questioning his own understanding of dharma and the appropriateness of his decision not to fight. This shift in Arjuna’s perspective is evident from the fact that he no longer speaks with the same vehemence as before, but rather with a sense of uncertainty.

2. Preferring a Life of Hardship

Arjuna declares that even if he were to live a life of hardship, begging for his sustenance, it would be preferable to slaying his venerable elders. He acknowledges that not fighting would result in losing his kingdom and facing difficulties, including the possibility of resorting to begging, which is prohibited for a Kshatriya. However, he still considers it a better choice than committing the sin of killing his teachers.

3. The Two Prohibited Acts

Arjuna recognizes that both begging (for a Kshatriya) and slaying one’s elders are prohibited acts. However, he finds the act of killing his elders to be more reprehensible than resorting to begging. This distinction highlights the gravity of the sin associated with taking the life of one’s revered teachers and elders.

4. The Consequences of Fighting

Arjuna contemplates the consequences of following Krishna’s command to fight. He realizes that by slaying his elders, he would only be enjoying pleasures stained with their blood. These pleasures, driven by the desire for wealth and power, would not lead to liberation or peace. Arjuna questions whether such tainted enjoyments are worth the heavy burden of guilt and sin.

5. The Nobility of Bhishma and Drona

Arjuna refers to Bhishma and Drona as “mahānubhāvān” (noble-minded), indicating that they are not motivated by the desire for wealth. He argues that they are bound to the Kauravas due to their sense of duty and the favors they have received, not because of any greed for material gains. This further reinforces Arjuna’s dilemma and his reluctance to fight against such noble and respected figures.

6. The Disguise of Adharma as Dharma

Swami Ramsukhdas Ji emphasizes that Arjuna’s perception of dharma is clouded by his attachment to the bodily relationships with Bhishma, Drona, and others. What Arjuna considers to be righteous (not fighting) is actually adharma in disguise. However, due to his strong emotional bonds and the veil of attachment, Arjuna is unable to discern the true nature of his duty as a warrior.


Swami Ramsukhdas Ji’s commentary on this verse highlights the profound inner conflict that Arjuna experiences as he grapples with the idea of fighting against his revered elders. The commentary sheds light on the subtle workings of the mind, where attachment and emotions can cloud one’s judgment and understanding of dharma.

Arjuna’s dilemma serves as a powerful reminder of the challenges we face when our perceived notions of righteousness clash with our duties and responsibilities. It underscores the importance of seeking divine guidance and wisdom to navigate through such complexities and arrive at the right course of action.

Furthermore, the commentary emphasizes the need to be vigilant against the deceptive nature of adharma, which can disguise itself as dharma when viewed through the lens of attachment and personal biases. It is only through the grace of a divine mentor, such as Krishna, that one can break free from these illusions and embrace the true path of righteousness.

In conclusion, Swami Ramsukhdas Ji’s commentary on this verse offers profound insights into the human condition, the nature of dharma, and the role of divine guidance in overcoming the challenges posed by our own limitations and attachments. It serves as a valuable lesson for all spiritual seekers, reminding us to constantly examine our motives, seek wisdom from enlightened sources, and strive to align our actions with the highest principles of truth and righteousness.