“Therefore get up and prepare to fight. After conquering your enemies you will enjoy a flourishing kingdom. They are already put to death by My arrangement, and you, O Savyasachin, can be but an instrument in the fight.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 11.33)
तस्मात् त्वम् उत्तिष्ठ यशो लभस्व
जित्वा शत्रून् भुङ्क्ष्व राज्यं समृद्धम्
मयैवैते निहताः पूर्वम् एव
निमित्त-मात्रं भव सव्य-साचिन्
tasmāt tvam uttiṣṭha yaśo labhasva
jitvā śatrūn bhuṅkṣva rājyaṁ samṛddham
mayaivaite nihatāḥ pūrvam eva
nimitta-mātraṁ bhava savya-sācin
“In case you were not aware of the growing trend, I have seen too many instances where adult children in the modern day do not work. It is not that they are incapable. It is not that they are uneducated. No, they have graduated from some of the best schools in the world. They have the necessary skills to be utilized in the workplace.
“Rather, to remain at home is a conscious decision. These children would rather enjoy the senses, to the fullest extent possible. Spend money on expensive intoxicants. Play video games well into the night. Wake up in the afternoon, since there are no pressing responsibilities to worry over.
“You might be wondering how they pay for things. How do they maintain the home without a steady income? You see, they have gamed the system. Their parents pay for everything. I have seen cases where it is only one parent still working, well into the years typically reserved for retirement.
“Whatever the child asks for, they get. The parents are not bothered in the least; they like feeling important. They are needed at home, even though the child has more vibrancy, energy and sophistication, according to the ever-changing definitions.
“This got me to thinking about Bhagavad-gita. Consider the burden Arjuna felt. On the one hand he was expected to fight valiantly in a war and emerge victorious. He was supposed to finally correct the many wrongs inflicted on his family. He was to deliver justice, dharma, at the appropriate time, notifying the offenders that someone was indeed observing their misdeeds.
“On the other side of the conscience, Arjuna felt immense remorse at the thought of having to kill others. He knew they were worthy of punishment, but he didn’t want to do anything for personal satisfaction. He could live without a kingdom; the spirit of renunciation was strong in him. He could live without basking in the limelight of victory.
“The entire premise of the subsequent Bhagavad-gita conversation is the conflict of emotions felt by Arjuna. Considering the way many adult children behave today, why not just put everything on Krishna? Why didn’t Arjuna ask his friend to take care of everything? This friend-turned-guru showed Himself to be the universal form and more. It would have been easy work.”
The teachings from Shri Krishna regarding the necessity of work and following one’s nature have added significance based on the experience in the modern day. In truth, the situation is not exclusive to a specific time period; there have always been children who mooch off their parents throughout life. It just seems more prevalent today, as a person has every luxury and comfort handed to them at the time of birth.
Arjuna working towards the desired result, in terms of benefit to society, was the superior option. This was good for everyone involved. If Shri Krishna had done everything Himself, if Arjuna simply sat back and watched, that would be an abdication of responsibility. Better to work in one’s occupation, even with fault, than to choose a different path.
श्रेयान् स्व-धर्मो विगुणः
स्व-धर्मे निधनं श्रेयः
śreyān sva-dharmo viguṇaḥ
sva-dharme nidhanaṁ śreyaḥ
“It is far better to discharge one’s prescribed duties, even though they may be faulty, than another’s duties. Destruction in the course of performing one’s own duty is better than engaging in another’s duties, for to follow another’s path is dangerous.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 3.35)
The outcome was already set. It is not that Arjuna had destiny entirely within his control. The same is true for all of us. We work hard during the day, but we don’t always see the desired outcome. Sometimes things don’t go our way. This is not sufficient justification for sitting back and doing nothing.
After all, someone else will have to take over. Another person will work to effect a certain outcome. In the background is the Divine will. His hands control how the universe progresses. A person works at His direction as something of an instrument.
In other words, they get credit for the auspicious outcome, as in the case of Arjuna. He worked towards a specific goal. Success or failure, the effort was worth it. He was following through on his prescribed duties, dharma, under the endorsement of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Shri Krishna.
Supreme Lord to endorse,
That chartered course.
For Arjuna to take,
In whatever outcome to make.
Better than on sidelines sitting,
And friend to work after quitting.
Better to follow dharma as set,
And outcome from Krishna to get.