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Meaning of Krishna's advice to Yudhisthira before Drona Vadh

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Krishna and gopiesWith popular belief Krishna advices Yudhisthira to tell lie to Drona about "Killing of Ashwatthama" for the sake of saving remaining Paandava army from being annihilated.

But according to this text, it appears much broader:

'Govinda, knowing that Drona, that foremost of warriors, was capable of sweeping all the Pandavas off the face of the earth, became much distressed. Addressing Yudhishthira he said, 'If Drona fighteth, filled with rage, for even half-a-day, I tell thee truly, thy army will then be annihilated. Save us, then, from Drona. under such circumstances, falsehood is better than truth. By telling an untruth for saving a life, one is not touched by sin. There is no sin in untruth spoken unto women, or in marriages, or for saving king, or for rescuing a Brahmana.'1

Footnote 1: This verse is omitted in the Bombay text. There can be no doubt, however, about its genuineness.`

Kṛṣṇa probably means it in the following sense.

Manusmṛti 8.112

कामिनीषु विवाहेषु गवां भक्ष्ये तथेन्धने । 
ब्राह्मणाभ्युपपत्तौ च शपथे नास्ति पातकम् ॥ ११२ ॥

kāminīṣu vivāheṣu gavāṃ bhakṣye tathendhane |
brāhmaṇābhyupapattau ca śapathe nāsti pātakam || 112 ||

There is no serious offence in swearing to women, or in connection with marriages, fodder for cows, or fuel, or for the sake of a Brāhmaṇa.— (112)

Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

‘Kāminīṣu’—‘Kāma’ is a particular form of pleasure caused through the tactile organ; and those who are productive of such pleasure are called ‘Kāminī,’—which is a terra that stands for wife, courtesans and so forth. To these if one swears, for the fulfilment of his desire — in such words as ‘I do not love any other woman, thou art the queen of my heart,’ etc., — there is nothing wrong in this; though, if after meeting the women, and on being asked by her to give a certain thing, he swears falsely that he would give it to her,—then this is certainly wrong.


Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

This verse is quoted in Smṛtitattva (II, p. 229), which adds the following notes:—‘Kāminīṣu,’ when conversing with a woman in secret one may swear falsely for the purpose of satisfying her;—similarly for the purpose of bringing about a marriage, for obtaining food for cows, for obtaining fuel necessary for offerings, and for saving a Brāhmaṇa;—and in Vyavahāra-Bālambhaṭṭī (p. 406).

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