Verse 20



20. Krsna shifts from the intellectual approach to an emotional appeal as logic does not seem to have motivated Arjuna to act. Verses 20 to 24 give six emotional motivations. Here he appeals to Arjuna’s devotion to role models and leans on the power of persuasion.

Arjuna has great reverence for Janaka and other king-sages. Janaka and the rest reached Perfection only by action. So you also act to attain the same State.

Arjuna was basically a sacrificial person dedicated to the welfare of his people. Krsna asks him to rise above personal considerations and work for lokasangraha, welfare of people.

Often the emotional angle works where logic alone fails. While motivating people it is useful to deploy both to get them to rise to higher levels of performance.


Verse 21



21. The emotional support continues. In this verse Krsna boosts Arjuna as a leader. Arjuna is a prince, the commander-in-chief of the Pandava army. He is a leader. The people will follow whatever he does. The message is to lead the way and not merely sermonize.

Vision must be top down. This is true of a parent with the child, a Government with its people or a teacher with students. They do not listen to what is said but tend to follow what the leader does. So if you want your kids to be disciplined you must first be so. If a Government wishes its people to be law-abiding it must set the example. A teacher must be a living example of the values she wants her students to espouse.

A leader must

1. Be assertively good – have the right values as well as a strong intellect
2. Work for a higher ideal
3. Have clarity of thinking
4. Be competent – have the requisite job skills and be hard working
5. Have the courage and daring to uphold his principles

Arjuna has faltered in many of the above qualities.

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