The Bhagavad Gita Chapter 1 Verses 38 39 40
yady apy ete na paśhyanti lobhopahata-chetasaḥ
kula-kṣhaya-kṛitaṁ doṣhaṁ mitra-drohe cha pātakam
kathaṁ na jñeyam asmābhiḥ pāpād asmān nivartitum
kula-kṣhaya-kṛitaṁ doṣhaṁ prapaśhyadbhir janārdana
kula-kṣhaye praṇaśhyanti kula-dharmāḥ sanātanāḥ
dharme naṣhṭe kulaṁ kṛitsnam adharmo ’bhibhavaty uta
Word to word meaning
yadi api—even though;
kula-kṣhaya-kṛitam—in annihilating their relatives;
mitra-drohe—to wreak treachery upon friends;
jñeyam—should be known;
nivartitum—to turn away;
kula-kṣhaya—killing the kindered;
prapaśhyadbhiḥ—who can see;
janārdana—he who looks after the public, Shree Krishna
kula-kṣhaye—in the destruction of a dynasty;
Translation of the entire verses
Their thoughts are overpowered by greed and they see no wrong in annihilating their relatives or wreaking treachery upon friends. Yet, O Janardan (Krishna), why should we, who can clearly see the crime in killing our kindred, not turn away from this sin? When a dynasty is destroyed, its traditions get vanquished, and the rest of the family becomes involved in irreligion.
Arjuna although a warrior and the world’s best archer is soft hearted by nature and him as far as possible liked to prevent violence and liked harmony and peace. He also had a lot of love for his elders and respected them to the fullest. This we can see in many instances but here I wish to point out two instances. One is when king Jeyadratha abducted Draupadi and when he get caught by Arjuna and Bheema, Bheema instantly wanted to kill him but it was Arjuna who prevented him and took Jeyadrata to Yudhistra. The other instance is in Virat war Arjuna could have killed all after he put the sleeping astra on them. In fact the prince of Virat will ask him to kill them. But Arjuna due to love and respect for his elders Bheeshma, Drona and Kripa and for his kith and kin Duryodhana and others will leave them and just take their top clothes as his victory trophy and leave the place. So here he feels the Kauravas are greedy and wanted to usurp their kingdom although they were all brothers but he thought why he should follow wrong footsteps instead he wanted to prevent this sin by going away from this warfield even if he had to stay permanently in the forest.
In a family, the family tradition and culture is taught to the youngsters and the next generation by the elders of the family. It is this way the practices of that family is carried through genrations. So if the elders die a premature death that family culture and tradition is not carried forthwith. So Arjuna feels if it is like that for a small family if a whole dynasty is destroyed the future generation will not know about that dynasty and the customs, practices and the religious beliefs of that dynasty gets lost so why wage this war where almost all the kings of the world are lined up and ready to give their life for either the Kauravas or the Pandavas.