It seems to me that Arjuna was better than Sri Krishna in the Gita. He wants to have peace, he does not want war. Sri Krishna is egging him on to war. How can we accept this situation?

It seems to me that Arjuna was better than Sri Krishna in the Gita. He wants to have peace, he does not want war. Sri Krishna is egging him on to war. How can we accept this situation?

Arjuna is speaking of peace, non-violence, compassion, and Sri Kṛishna is asking Arjuna to give up these values and fight. But, what does that mean? What is the state of Arjuna’s mind? Is there any virtue in Arjuna’s state of mind? Is virtue weakness? Is virtue nervous breakdown? We have to ask these questions.

Virtue is strong. It is made of "stern stuff", in the language of Shakespeare. That stern stuff you do not find in Arjuna in that condition. He is only invoking these wonderful ideas of love, compassion, non-violence, etc. But his own condition was very pitiable, what you call these days, a psychic breakdown. Sri Krishna looked at him, and as the book says, with a smile, and began to speak to him. How to restore this man to his own true state of mind? He was not like this, but this state of depression, this weakness, has come upon him just now.

Virtue must be made of sterner stuff. Character must be made of sterner stuff. Non-violence must also be made of sterner stuff. Even Mahatma Gandhi would say, "I don’t like the non-violence of the coward. Non-violence of the brave alone is non-violence."

Sri Krishna looked at Arjuna, and in two famous verses debunked him; Sri Krishna showed to Arjuna that whatever he thought was right, was not right. One cannot judge oneself rightly with a sick, grief-stricken mind. A grief-stricken mind loses discrimination. One must be calm and steady. Then one will understand one’s situation better. And so, this part of the second chapter is very vital in the study of the Gita. Sri Krishna is teaching us not to run away from the battle of life. It is easy to run away. We can produce various arguments, and many do this. Suppose one has trouble at home; he simply runs away to Benares. Some people then say of him, you are wonderful, so full of renunciation. But, Sri Krishna won’t say so. You are a weakling, you are not doing your own duty. You are escaping from all this. There is a spirit of manliness in human beings; that should not be forgotten. So, all these various life situations come to us, and Sri Krishna, and today Swami Vivekananda, asks us to face up to these problems. Bring up new energies from within. In this way, a positive attitude develops in us, and the mind is made stable and steady to see things clearly.

Sri Krishna is telling him in the following verse:

क्लैब्यं मा स्म गम: पार्थ नैतत्त्वय्युपपद्यते। क्षुद्रं हृदयदौर्बल्यं त्यक्त्वोत्तिष्ठ परन्तप॥३॥

Klaibyam masma gamah partha naitat tvayi upapadyate; Kshudram hridayadaurbalyam tyaktvottishtha parantapa —2. 3

This is a powerful verse. Klaibyam, means chicken-heartedness, you can say, weakness, absolutely no strength, no manliness in it. Ma sma gamah partha, ‘don’t fall a prey O Arjuna’ to this meanness, this chicken-heartedness. Why?, naitattvayyupapadyate, ‘this does not befit you’. You are so heroic, you are so noble, you are so great. This behaviour does not befit you. What a wonderful idea! Whenever I read this part of the verse, I like this wonderful sentiment fit for telling children, it does not befit you, you are so good, you are so noble. The way you behave does not befit you. That will bring the best out of a person.

Reference: Universal Message of the Bhagavad Gita Vol. 1 by Swami Ranganathananda (p.85,86,89)