Do the dharma-shastras say aggressors shouldn’t be killed and artha-shastras that they should be killed?
Transcription by– Keshav Gopal Das & Ambuj Gupta
Question: The aggressors, how is it different through the dharma shastra which say they should not be killed and artha shastra say they should be killed?
Answer: Actually that is also one aspect to it. There are two different things over there, one is that in the udyog parva which comes just before the Bhishma parva in the Mahabharata. Udyog means activity and the activity is to both, to try to avoid war by negotiations and to prepare for war by gaining alliance. There is also a discussion between Krishna and the Pandavas. Basically the point is highlighted, there is a conflict there between the kula dharma and kshatriya dharma. Kula dharma says that one should always protect one’s kula. If people are from my family, my dynasty, it is my duty to protect them. Arjuna talks about it in the kula-ghnānāṁ kulasya ca, he talks about those who destroys the kula they will narakāyaiva, they will stay forever. Now the conflict for them at that time is, normally our own family member should be protected and normally aggressors should be killed. But if the family members become aggressors then what should one do? Then should one follow kula dharma or should one follow kshatriya dharma. This is the conflict which is not easy to decide. Basically, Arjuna in this context refers to another set of scriptures that is dharma shastra and he says that Brahman are generally expected to forgive. It is dharmic to forgive. So let us forgive. So Arjuna take shelter of dharma shastra but Krishna tells him that you should follow kshatriya dharma. But ultimately he said that you follow bhakti dharma. Bhakti dharma is to fight because Krishna is telling him to do so. Thank you.