When Krishna tells Arjuna in the Gita to do his duty, why do brahmacharis give up their duty in the name of the Gita?
Transcription:Sudha Mehta Mataji
Question: When Krishna tells Arjuna in the Bhagwad Gita that he should not renounce his duty then why do Brahmacharis renounce their duties in the name of the Bhagwad Gita?
Answer: The Bhagwad Gita’s message is to fix oneself in devotional service to Krishna.It is not to do ones worldly duty or to renounce ones worldly duty. Both our worldly duties – to our family, to our society, to our country these duties are not spiritual. Soul and Body are different. That they are not spiritual doesn’t mean they are unimportant but they are not all important
So in the case of Arjuna his material duty that was of Kshatriya to fight that coincided with his spiritual duty as a devotee of Krishna to fulfil the will of Krishna. So Arjuna fought not because it was his duty as Kshatriya to fight but that was the will of Krishna
So the Bhgawad Gita’s message is to do our duty Yes but which duty? It is ultimately our duty to Krishna and our worldly duties can be integrated into those duties in the grihastha ashram. Our worldly duties are not the same as the duty that Krishna is talking about. In fact in the Bhagwad Gita eighteenth chapter Krishna tells sarva dharman paritajya mam ekam sharanam vraja so give up all varieties of religion and just surrender unto me mam ekam means only to me that means Krishna considers this duty of devotion to him as the top most. Now how does one practice devotion? Krishna says Man mana bhava mad bhakto mad yaji mam namaskru in the previous verse 18.66 18.65 he says that one should fix the mind on him, become his devotee, serve him, offer obeisance to him and engage constantly in his service
So now when Krishna says sarva dharman paritajya that means one should be ready to give whatever be ones conception of duty or ones prior duties so that one can best serve Krishna. So now in the Vedic culture the way most people serve Krishna is through Grihastha Asharam. They do Dharma in terms of Apara Dharma. Apara Dharma is material religion that is the duty to family society country like that and then there is Para Dharma i.e. the supreme pure religion that is the duty of purely and directly serving Krishna. So as contrasted with this Grihastha Ashram there is renounced order like Brhamachari ashram, Sanyasa ashram where one focuses exclusively on ones para dharma. So the way the Brahmacharis practice the Bhagwad Gita is by adopting the renounced order of life as a means to practice sarva dharman paritajya. So the principle is the Bhagwad Gita says that we have to serve Krishna and the way we serve Krishna is by practicing devotional service. So now in the Kaliyuga where there is a great need for sharing Krishna’s message with the world some people feel inspired to dedicate themselves fully for this mission of sharing Krishna’s message and those who have that desire that inspiration to fully devote themselves to Krishna they become Brahmacharis and of course they also decide to un distractedly practice sarva dharman paritajya un distractedly fix themselves on man mana bhava mad bhakto mad yaji mam namskaru so that way the principle to continue serving Krishna and it is not that the Bhagwad Gita’s message is that we have to do our worldly duties. In Arjuna’s case his spiritual duties and worldly duties they coincided. So in the case of those who want to whole heartedly exclusively serve Krishna’s mission by sharing his message for them their worldly duties can become a distraction from their spiritual duties i.e. their apara dharma can become a distraction from the para dharma so the apara dharma therefore is given up and that is how they focus entirely on the Para dharma. So both Brahmachari ashram and Grihastha Ashram are valid ways in which one can follow Krishna’s instruction. And we shouldn’t mistake Krishna’s call to Arjuna to do his duty to be a call to do our worldly duties. 18.66 is very clear sarva dharman paritajya you have give up all your worldly duties and focus on doing our devotional duties. We are parts of Krishna and we are meant to eternally serve Krishna that is our primary duty and how we do it? Few people can do it through Brahmachari and Sanyaasa ashram and most people will do it through Grihasta ashram. So even the Grihastas are not just doing their family duties they are actually doing their devotional duties and their family life is a way by which they serve Krishna and so by serving the family by taking care of their family materially and spiritually they help them to also get connected with Krishna. So the Brahmacharis renouncing the world is not contrary to the principles of the Bhagwad Gita to do our duties in fact it is the direct way for fully implementing Krishna’s call to give up all varieties of religion and fully surrender juts to him.