This is a very interesting question. Because if Lord Krishna had told Bhagavad Gita to Duryodhana instead of Arjuna, then the Mahabharata war in Kurukshetra could be avoided.
Answer to this question is actually very shocking!
Because if Lord Krishna had convinced Duryodhana to stop evil doings of Kauravas, then the Mahabharata war which took many lives including those of Kauravas could be avoided.
The Answer is YES. Lord Krishna did try to convince Duryodhana before telling Bhagavad Gita to Arjuna in battlefield.
This is what happened when Krishna tried to persuade Duryodhana:
Lord Krishna tried to persuade Duryodhana to avoid war. Instead of knowing that war between Kauravas and Pandavas has to happen in order to establish Dharma in this world, he tried many times to avert the bloodiest war on the planet.
But it is the arrogance and ego of the Kauravas, especially Duryodhana that destroys all the possibilities of averting the war.
Lord Krishna asks Duryodhana that you, a prince of great lineage. You have been brought up well and you have everything you want.
Then why are you doing these horrible things to Pandavas? It is adharma, unrighteous and morally wrong, the way you are treating Pandavas.
Duryodhana replied to Krishna:
जानामि धर्मं न च मे प्रवृत्ति-Verse 56, Pandava Gita
र्जानामि पापं न च मे निवृत्तिः ।
केनापि देवेन हृदि स्थितेन
यथा नियुक्तोऽस्मि तथा करोमि ॥ ५७॥
jānāmi dharmaṃ na ca me pravṛtti-
rjānāmi pāpaṃ na ca me nivṛttiḥ ।
kenāpi devena hṛdi sthitena yathā niyukto’smi tathā karomi ॥ 57॥
Duryodhana says: I know what is right but I am not able to practice it; I know what is wrong and I am not able to keep away from it. I act as I am directed to by some mysterious power that is seated in my heart.
So basically, Duryodhana is saying, I know what is right and what is wrong. You need not tell me. My problem is that instead of knowing what is right, I don’t feel like doing it. I know what is wrong but I can’t stop myself from doing it.
And instead of listening to Lord Krishna, he outrightly rejected him. Duryodhana has no doubts about anything. He thinks he knows everything and doesn’t need advice from anybody.
On the other hand Arjuna had the same doubts. But here is the key difference between Arjuna and Duryodhana.
Both Duryodhana and Arjuna had doubts about life.
Duryodhana’s arrogance and ego prevent him from asking questions and clearing his doubts.
On the other hand, Arjuna is not hesitant nor he thinks that he knows everything. Arjuna surrenders himself to Lord Krishna and asks questions after questions.
Srimad Bhagavad Gita is all about Arjuna asking questions to Lord Krishna and Lord Krishna clearing his doubts.
This is why they say, answers will only come to those who asks questions.
In Bhagavad Gita, Arjuna asks Lord Krishna:
अर्जुन उवाच |Verse 36, Chapter 3, Srimad Bhagavad Gita
अथ केन प्रयुक्तोऽयं पापं चरति पूरुष: |
अनिच्छन्नपि वार्ष्णेय बलादिव नियोजित: || 36||
atha kena prayukto ’yaṁ pāpaṁ charati pūruṣhaḥ
anichchhann api vārṣhṇeya balād iva niyojitaḥ
Arjuna asks Krishna: Why a person is compelled to commit sinful acts, even unwillingly, as if by force.
In a sense, this is the same thing Duryodhana was saying. But he was not asking question. He was justifying his sinful acts against Pandavas.
Here Arjuna is genuinely seeking knowledge from Lord Krishna that why even after knowing something is wrong we commit sinful acts and then later regret it.
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