Some of my readers, including at least one confirmed scholar in the field of Vedic literature, have commented that when Krishna speaks of acting according to one’s own nature or ‘dharma’ in the Gita verse I referenced two posts back, he is specifically referring to Arjuna’s social duty as a warrior, which, in this case, is to uphold the cause of justice by fighting a defensive war. One may reasonably ask: ‘why is this duty specifically assigned to Arjuna?’ The answer is that Arjuna is distinctively qualified to be a member of the warrior class within the highly structured social system that Krishna advocates throughout the Gita.
What is Arjuna’s distinctive qualification to belong to the warrior class and not some other class? For one thing, Krishna consistently refers to Arjuna’s royal lineage that confers upon Arjuna a natural aptitude for martial arts, leadership and heroism. Krishna also encourages Arjuna by calling him ‘mighty-armed one’ and other names that indicate Arjuna’s inherent strength and soldierly skill. In other words, Arjuna’s social duty is not an arbitrary assignment; it’s a function of genetics and fate. Arjuna’s dharma is a function of his karma: he was born that way. Read More