A Leader Who Stops Striving, Stops Leading

Chapter II, Verse 35

Sri Nerode’s Translation:

35

The great warriors in the chariots will consider that thou has turned thy back from the fray through fear. Thou wilt be thought of less by those who once thought so highly of thee.

 

Helpful Translation:

When the Kshatriya refuses his duty to make a consistent effort to understand and express the ultimate Truth, other Kshatriyas and the masses turn away from him. Even those who once thought highly of the Kshatriya leader will be disappointed by the missed opportunity to improve the world for all.

Commentary:

Fulfill your commitments. When one makes a commitment and then breaks it, others lose respect and turn away from future involvement with this individual.

Consider why people might break a commitment.  Beneath the surface of common excuses like over-committed, lack of time, dread of the effort required, loss of interest, etc., the essence behind breaking a commitment is fear. Fear means that one perceives the outcome of fulfilling an obligation will be more harmful than not completing it. The fearless leader fulfills every commitment, for better or for worse.

When a Kshatriya fails to fulfill a duty, a responsibility, or a commitment, the implications of his example extends beyond personal detriment. All members of the Kshatriya caste lead by example. At this stage of development there’s no escape. A Kshatriya cannot hide. If the top student in a class skips out on a test to party with friends, the uproar from peers, from school administrators and from family is much greater than if a troubled and failing student skips the same test.

The Kshatriya individual sets an example for others. His example reverberates throughout his community and perhaps throughout history, while the Sudra and Vaisya caste can make the same mistakes unnoticed by others.

Leaders and warriors become great through the example of consistency in effort. Make a mistake. Acknowledge the mistake honestly. Apologize if harm has been caused. Then move on. Whether a warrior, an artist, or a community dignitary, a leader who stops striving, stops leading.

Live life without fear. Fulfill your commitments and never stop trying.

Easter Eggs:

Easter Eggs (hidden references to deeper meanings) in the original version of this this verse include:

Bhayad/bhayat – from fear, out of fear

When a warrior raises his sword but then fails to fight, his peers assume that fear has stopped him. Fear grows from the absence of intuitive Wisdom. Fear may be defined as the “lack of intuition”. Arjuna as Partha is disconnected from his natural wisdom, Krishna reminds him that his broken connection to Spirit, his “fear”, will be apparent to others.

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Ancient History

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