By reason of delusion, man takes wrong to be right. By reason of delusion was Arjuna led to make a difference between kinsmen and non-kinsmen. To demonstrate that this is a vain distinction, Lord Krishna distinguishes between body (not-Self) and atman (Self) and shows that whilst bodies are impermanent and several, atman is permanent and one. Effort is within man’s control, not the fruit thereof. All he has to do, therefore, is to decide his course of conduct or duty on each occasion and persevere in it, unconcerned about the result. Fulfillment of one’s duty in the spirit of detachment or selflessness leads to Freedom.
1. To Arjuna, thus overcome with compassion, sorrowing, and his eyes obscured by flowing tears, Madhusudanaspake these words:
विषीदन्तमिदंवाक्यमुवाचमधुसूदन: || 1||
The Lord Said:
2. How is it that at this perilous moment this delusion, unworthy of the noble, leading neither to heaven nor to glory, has overtaken thee?
अनार्यजुष्टमस्वर्ग्यमकीर्तिकरमर्जुन || 2||
11. Thoumournest for them whom thou shouldst not mourn and utterest vain words of wisdom. The wise mourn neither for the living nor for the dead.
गतासूनगतासूंश्चनानुशोचन्तिपण्डिता: || 11||
12.For never was I not, nor thou, nor these kings; nor will any of us cease to be hereafter.
न त्वेवाहंजातुनासं न त्वंनेमेजनाधिपा |
न चैव न भविष्याम: सर्वेवयमत: परम् || 12||
13. As the embodied one has, in the present body, infancy, youth and age, even so does he receive another body. The wise man is not deceived therein.
तथादेहान्तरप्राप्तिर्धीरस्तत्र न मुह्यति || 13||
16. What is non-Being is never known to have been, and what is Being is never known not to have been. Of both these the secret has been seen by the seers of the Truth.
उभयोरपिदृष्टोऽन्तस्त्वनयोस्तत्वदर्शिभि: || 16||
17.Know that to be imperishable whereby all this is pervaded. No one can destroy that immutable being.
विनाशमव्ययस्यास्य न कश्चित्कर्तुमर्हति || 17||
18. These bodies of the embodied one who is eternal, imperishable and immeasurable are finite. Fight, therefore, O Bharata.
अन्तवन्तइमेदेहानित्यस्योक्ता: शरीरिण: |
अनाशिनोऽप्रमेयस्यतस्माद्युध्यस्वभारत || 18||
19. He who thinks of This (atman) as slayer and he who believes This to be slain, are both ignorant. This neither slays nor is ever slain.
य एनंवेत्तिहन्तारंयश्चैनंमन्यतेहतम् |
उभौतौ न विजानीतोनायंहन्ति न हन्यते || 19||
20.Thisis never born nor ever dies, nor having been will ever not be any more; unborn, eternal, everlasting, ancient, This is not slain when the body is slain.
नायंभूत्वाभवितावा न भूय: |
न हन्यतेहन्यमानेशरीरे || 20||
21. He who knows This, O Partha, to be imperishable, eternal, unborn, and immutable-whom and how can that man slay or cause to be slain?
वेदाविनाशिनंनित्यं य एनमजमव्ययम् |
कथं स पुरुष: पार्थकंघातयतिहन्तिकम् || 21||
22. As a man casts off worn-out garments and takes others that are new, even so the embodiedone casts off worn-out bodies and passes on to others new.
न्यन्यानिसंयातिनवानिदेही || 22||
23.This no weapons wound, Thisno fire burns, This no waters wet, This no wind doth dry.
न चैनंक्लेदयन्त्यापो न शोषयतिमारुत: || 23||
24. Beyond all cutting, burning, wetting and drying is This-eternal, all-pervading, stable, immovable, everlasting.
अच्छेद्योऽयमदाह्योऽयमक्लेद्योऽशोष्यएव च |
नित्य: सर्वगत: स्थाणुरचलोऽयंसनातन: || 24||
25.Perceivable neither by the senses nor by the mind, Thisis called unchangeable; therefore knowing This as such thou shouldst not grieve.
तस्मादेवंविदित्वैनंनानुशोचितुमर्हसि || 25||
26.And if thou deemestThisto be always coming to birth and always dying, even then, O Mahabahu, thou shouldst not grieve.
तथापित्वंमहाबाहोनैवंशोचितुमर्हसि || 26||
27.For certain is the death of the born, and certain is the birth of the dead; therefore what is unavoidable thou shouldst not regret.
जातस्यहिध्रुवोमृत्युर्ध्रुवंजन्ममृतस्य च |
तस्मादपरिहार्येऽर्थे न त्वंशोचितुमर्हसि || 27||
28.The state of all beings before birth is unmanifest; their middle state manifest; their state after death is again unmanifest. What occasion is there for lament, O Bharata?
अव्यक्तनिधनान्येवतत्रकापरिदेवना || 28||
29.One looks upon Thisas a marvel; another speaks of This as such; another hears thereof as a marvel; yet having heard This none truly knows This.
श्रुत्वाप्येनंवेद न चैवकश्चित् || 29||
30.This embodied one in the body of every being is ever beyond all harm, O Bharata; thou shouldst not, therefore, grieve for any one.
तस्मात्सर्वाणिभूतानि न त्वंशोचितुमर्हसि || 30||
Thus far Lord Krishna, by force of argument based on pure reason, has demonstrated that atman is abiding while the physical body is fleeting, and has explained that if, under certain circumstances, the destruction of a physical body is deemed justifiable, it is delusion to imagine that the Kauravas should not be slain because they are kinsmen. Now he reminds Arjuna of the duty of a Kshatriya.
37. Slain, thou shalt gain heaven; victorious, thou shall inherit the earth: therefore arise, O Kaunteya, determined to fight.
तस्मादुत्तिष्ठकौन्तेययुद्धायकृतनिश्चय: || 37||
Having declared the highest truth, viz. the immortality of the eternal atman and the fleeting nature of the physical body (11-30), Krishna reminds Arjuna that a Kshatriya may not flinch from a fight which comes unsought (31-32). He then (33-37) shows how the highest truth and the performance of duty incidentally coincide with expediency. Next he proceeds to foreshadow the central teaching of the Gita in the following shloka.
38. Hold alike pleasure and pain, gain and loss, victory and defeat, and gird up thy loins for the fight; so doing thou shalt not incur sin.
ततोयुद्धाययुज्यस्वनैवंपापमवाप्स्यसि || 38||
41. The attitude, in this matter, springing, as it does, from fixed resolve is but one, O Kurunandana; but for those who have no fixed resolve the attitudes are many-branched and unending.
बहुशाखाह्यनन्ताश्चबुद्धयोऽव्यवसायिनाम् || 41||
When the attitude ceases to be one and undivided and becomes many and divided, it ceases to be one settled will, and is broken up into various wills of desires between which man is tossed about.
42-44. The ignorant, revelling in the letter of the vedas, declare that there is naught else; carnally-minded, holding heaven to be their goal, they utter swelling words which promise birth as the fruit of action and which dwell on the many and varied rites to be performed for the sake of pleasure and power; intent, as they are, on pleasure and power their swelling words rob them of their wits, and they have no settled attitude which can be centered on the supreme goal.
वेदवादरता: पार्थनान्यदस्तीतिवादिन: || 42||
कामात्मान: स्वर्गपराजन्मकर्मफलप्रदाम् |
क्रियाविशेषबहुलांभोगैश्वर्यगतिंप्रति || 43||
व्यवसायात्मिकाबुद्धि: समाधौ न विधीयते || 44||
The Vedic ritual, as opposed to the doctrine of Yoga laid down in the Gita, is alluded to here. The Vedic ritual lays countless ceremonies and rites with a view to attaining merit and heaven. These, divorced as they are from the essence of the vedasand short-lived in their result, are worthless.
45. The vedashave as their domain the three gunas; eschew them, O Arjuna. Free thyself from the pairs of opposites, abide in eternal truth, scorn to gain or guard anything, remain the master of thy soul.
निर्द्वन्द्वोनित्यसत्वस्थोनिर्योगक्षेमआत्मवान् || 45||
55. When a man puts away, O partha, all the cravings that arise in the mind and finds comfort for himself only from atman, then he is called the man of secure understanding.
आत्मन्येवात्मनातुष्ट: स्थितप्रज्ञस्तदोच्यते || 55||
To find comfort for oneself from atman means to look to the spirit within for spiritual comfort, not to outside objects which in their very nature must give pleasure as well as pain. Spiritual comfort or bliss must be distinguished from pleasure or happiness. The pleasure I may derive from the possession of wealth, for instance, is delusive; real spiritual comfort or bliss can be attained only if I rise superior to every temptation even though troubled by the pangs of poverty and hunger.
56. Whose mind is untroubled in sorrows and longeth not for joys, who is free from passion, fear and wrath-he is called the ascetic of secure understanding.
दु:खेष्वनुद्विग्नमना: सुखेषुविगतस्पृह: |
वीतरागभयक्रोध: स्थितधीर्मुनिरुच्यते || 56||
59. When a man starves his senses, the objects of those senses disappear from him, but not the yearning for them; the yearning too departs when he beholds the Supreme.
रसवर्जंरसोऽप्यस्यपरंदृष्ट्वानिवर्तते || 59||
The shloka does not rule out fasting and other forms of self-restraint, but indicates their limitations, these restraints are needed for subduing the desire for sense objects, which however is rooted out only when one has a vision of the Supreme. The higher yearning conquers all the lower yearnings.
60. For, in spite of the wise man’s endeavour, O Kaunteya, the unruly senses distract his mind perforce.
इन्द्रियाणिप्रमाथीनिहरन्तिप्रसभंमन: || 60||
61. Holding all these in check, the yogi should sit intent on Me; for he whose senses are under control is secure of understanding.
वशेहियस्येन्द्रियाणितस्यप्रज्ञाप्रतिष्ठिता || 61||
This means that without devotion and the consequent grace of God, man’s endeavour is vain.
62. In a man brooding on objects of the senses, attachment to them springs up; attachment begets craving and craving begets wrath. Craving cannot but lead to resentment, for it is unending and unsatisfied.
ध्यायतोविषयान्पुंस: सङ्गस्तेषूपजायते |
सङ्गात्सञ्जायतेकाम: कामात्क्रोधोऽभिजायते || 62||
Craving cannot but lead to resentment, for it is unending and unsatisfied.
63. Wrath breeds stupefaction, stupefaction leads to loss of memory, loss of memory ruins the reason, and the ruin of reason spells utter destruction.
क्रोधाद्भवतिसम्मोह: सम्मोहात्स्मृतिविभ्रम: |
स्मृतिभ्रंशाद्बुद्धिनाशोबुद्धिनाशात्प्रणश्यति || 63||
64. But the disciplined soul, moving among sense-objects with the senses weaned from likes and dislikes and brought under the control of atman, attains peace of mind.
आत्मवश्यैर्विधेयात्माप्रसादमधिगच्छति || 64||
72. This is the state, O partha, of the man who rests in Brahman; having attained to it, he is not deluded. He who abides in this state even at the hour of death passes into oneness with Brahman.
एषाब्राह्मीस्थिति: पार्थनैनांप्राप्यविमुह्यति |
स्थित्वास्यामन्तकालेऽपिब्रह्मनिर्वाणमृच्छति || 72||
Thus ends the second discourse, entitled ‘Sankhya Yoga’ in the converse of Lord Krishna and Arjuna, on the science of Yoga as part of the knowledge of Brahman in the Upanishad called the Bhagavad Gita.