2.37 hathO vA prApsyasi svargam

SrI:  SrImathE SatakOpAya nama:  SrImathE rAmAnujAya nama:  SrImath varavaramunayE nama:

Chapter 2

<< Chapter 2 verse 36

SlOkam – Original

hathO vA prApsyasi svargam jithvA vA bhOkshyasE mahIm |
thasmAdh uththishta kaunthEya yudhdhAya krutha niSchaya: ||

word-by-word meaning 

kaunthEya – Oh son of kunthI!
hathO vA – if killed (in dharma yudhdham – righteous war)
svargam – liberation
prApsyasE – you will attain;
jithvA – if you won in the battle
mahIm – earth
bhOkshyasE – you will enjoy;
thasmAth – thus
yudhdhAya – to fight
kruthaniSchaya: – with firm mind
uththishta: – arise

Simple Translation 

Oh son of kunthI! if you are killed (in dharma yudhdham – righteous war), you will attain liberation. If you win in the battle, you will enjoy the earth. Thus arise with firm mind to fight.

Note: Since svargam is explained as liberation in other pramANams such as upanishaths, and since krishNa is explaining liberation in this chapter, here svargam is to be considered as liberation.

Rendering based on ALkoNdavilli gOvindhAchArya swAmy’s English translation of gIthA bhAshyam

‘Killed, you will attain Svarga; conquering, thou will enjoy earth. Hence, arise, Kaunteya! resolving to fight.’[1. Cf. ‘Hato vā divam ārohet, hatvā vā kshitim āvaset’ (131-12, Āpad-dharma, Bhīshma: Parva, Mahā-Bhārata).]

If in a just warfare, you are killed by others, you will obtain superior bliss (Svarga), but if you kill others, you will find yourself in the unrivalled enjoyment of earthly royalty.

A duty, like the war, discharged as duty, with no anticipation of fruit, will be the means by which you will attain to supremest bliss. Making yourself sure therefore that embarking on warfare is the means for winning moksha (final liberation) – which is the goal ne plus ultra of man’s aspiration – prepare yourself for it (war).

Kaunteya: Such conduct, indeed, behoves the son of Kunti.

How the moksha (salvation)-aspirer should go to war is explained:

>> Chapter 2 verse 38

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