2.31 You need to remember your own noble spiritual function. To consider wavering, if even for one brief moment, from your recollective fervor in upholding and defending the dharma would prove your absolute downfall.
Paramahansa Yogananda gives a very good overview of the traditional caste-system:
In India the four castes were originally based on the innate qualities and outward actions of the people. All had a respected and necessary place in society. Later, through ignorance, the caste rules became a hereditary halter. Confusion crept in; unworthy children of intellectual and spiritual Brahmins claimed to be Brahmins by sheer virtue of birth, without a corresponding spiritual stature. Children of Kshatriyas became soldiers and rulers even if they had no aptitude or skill in arms or capability to govern. The children of the Vaishyas, even without understanding management of culture or trade, laid claim to their inheritance as farmers or businessmen. Sudras were confined to menial labor and servitude, regardless of their superior qualifications. This rigid hereditary caste system is defended only by the orthodox minority in India. (Paramahansa Yogananda, God Talks With Arjuna, The Bhagavad Gita, Royal Science of God-Realization, pg. 247)
It’s unfortunate how degradation set-in and soiled a once Noble Caste formulation. The Gita expounds upon that once Noble Age, and Arjuna was caste amongst the spiritual-elite whose task was to uphold that Ariyan (Noble) Spirit of the Dharma. The Lankavatara Sutra would classify his status amongst the Maha-Bodhisattvas. Our series on the Lanka reinforced that its design was aimed primarily for [Maha] Bodhisattvas, those who had realized the Ariyan Spirit-Mind. Hence, the Blessed One will take the time and express in these few stanzas the importance of never falling short of this noble calling, lest (as was truly the case historically) eventual degradation of spirit set-in.
*Also, we can discern from this an interpretation of castes in light of spiritual reality:
The proclivities of those who are ensnared to sensate reality are “the materialists”. This even extends outward in “exterior-fashion” with the mainline religions that place exclusive value of spirit on and through exoteric-worship—rituals and good works for the flesh (enfleshment) of humanity.
Those who begin the cultivation of spiritual wisdom are those who are philosophically bent. They have graduated one step above the material, yet their emphasis and dependence remains with the discriminative Intellect as their key to freedom from the phenomenal.
The focus next is upon meditative methodologies that attempt to free-spirit from its samsaric-bondage by utilizing various esoteric-techniques that can prevent the proliferation of skandhic-induced reality.
The highest-ascent to Spiritual Truths are engaged in sambodhic-fashion—via the direct-gnosis of the Unborn through bodhicitta, or the full and undivided Enlightened -Tathatic Consciousness; hence engaging in the Recollective and Unitive Powers within Pure Mind Itself without the need of any outside, exoteric agencies.
2.32 You are amongst the most blessed of spiritual-warriors whose noble position has opened-up the gateless-gate to nirvana.
2.33 If you continue to refuse to acknowledge your noble-position you will surely lose your sacred-honor and incur great sin.
Sin means [separation] from the Unborn. Should one who was once graced to uphold this sacred banner of Unborn Light put that banner down, one’s spiritual inner-light would be quenched and the way forever darkened in ignorance.
2.34 They would forever be reminded of your disgrace. Such a fall from the halls of Noble Wisdom is an infamy worse than death.
The body will eventually perish, lying bare it’s decaying and worm-rot bones; worse still is one’s own spiritual perdition—a fate that condemns one’s spirit to the eternal spin of samsara.
2.35 Your own spiritual-peers, who once held you in highest esteem, will now think you cowardly and a dismal failure.
2.36 Your present adversaries will slander and continually deride and mock your spiritual debasement—what could be more humiliating?
2.37 If you are killed in battle, your noble spirit will rush-on to nirvana; if you are victorious, you will enjoy the fruits of spiritual triumph—rise up and claim your sacred prize!
“The Gita is not a justification of war, nor does it propound a war-making mystique…The Gita is saying that even in what appears ‘unspiritual,’ [the material battleground]—inclusion mine] one can act with pure intentions and thus be guided by Krishna consciousness.” —Thomas Merton
2.38 With your Dharma-eye look with indifference on the battlefield of pleasure and pain, victory or defeat. In this fashion you will remain united with the Unborn Will.
Cloaked within the purview of the Eye of Transcendent Wisdom (Dharma-eye), Arjuna will be empowered to see through all false-dharmas with the acumen of undivided awareness power. Thus he will be yoked with the Luminous-Spirit-Body-Mind of the Unborn Will and will see the fundamental component of reality as it is fully revealed—the very nature of śūnyatā.
*These verses have conveyed the importance of the Noble Spiritual-Warrior upholding the inner-nirvanic kingdom of the Dharmakaya—the ultimate Truth Body. Refusal to fight this inner-spiritual battle will only reinforce and invite Mara’s marauding hordes to extinguish one’s inner-light of the Unborn. Also, those who have fought this worthy inward-righteous-fight will, at death, experience the Light of the Dharmatā welcoming them home to the Noble imageless shores of the Dharmakaya.