अकीर्तिं चापि भूतानि
कथयिष्यन्ति तेऽव्ययाम् |
र्मरणादतिरिच्यते || 34||
akīrtiṁ chāpi bhūtāni
kathayiṣhyanti te ’vyayām
akīrtim—infamy; cha—and; api—also; bhūtāni—people; kathayiṣhyanti—will speak; te—of your; avyayām—everlasting; sambhāvitasya—of a respectable person; cha—and; akīrtiḥ—infamy; maraṇāt—than death; atirichyate—is greater
And also, these people will speak of your everlasting dishonor, and to one who is honored, dishonor is worse than death.
Disgrace comes when a man neglects his duty or when he does an unrighteous deed. The Lord points out that disgrace is worse than death, for death destroys the body, but disgrace stains the fair name of a man for generations.
There is an inner meaning also. The individual human being is Atma, the imperishable ever-glorious Self. But man foolishly identifies himself with the foul small cage of flesh and suffers disgrace voluntarily which no honorable man can contemplate or ensure. It is man’s highest duty to live in and feel the glory of Atma, and his identity with the whole universe.