Chapter 2 Dwitiyo Adhyaya Spiritual Awakening through Knowledge
Chapter 2 (Dwitiyo Adhyaya), of Srimad Bhagwan Gita deals with the universal emotion of the fear of death, a perpetual worry of losing our near and dear ones , of the unknown area of death as expressed by Arjuna to lord Krishna . The emotional distress expressed by Arjuna towards protecting the life of all his family members, relatives and the members of his clan have been dealt with by the lord Krishna himself in his explanation to Arjuna about the existence of the greater truth in every living being on this earth. Mankind has since times immemorial been afraid of the universal truth of death. The sermon delivered by lord Krishna to Arjuna, throws light on the existence of life in all ages, and the perpetuity of the soul, the Atma, which never dies and the futility of the mankind in being afraid of the death which happens to be the act of changing bodies by the soul.
Sanjaya explains to Dhratrashtra as to how Arjuna had threw away his bow and arrow and was crestfallen by the thought of this war bringing about the destruction and death to his own family and relations and the damage that they were about to have caused to their heritage by committing such an atrocious wrongdoing. Sanjaya begins the description of the events that are taking place in the war front,
“Tan tatha kripyavishtmshrupurnakulekshanam
Vishidantmididan vakymuvaach Madhusudana” (1)
Sanjaya mentions Lord Krishna here as Madhusudana , in a bid to remind Dhratrashtra that lord Krishna , had been the savior of all gods when he had killed a demon named Madhu, perhaps forewarning that the lord will help those who are with the truth on this occasion too it will happen . He continues, “Lord Krishna looked at the depressed Arjuna who had tears in his eyes and apprehension writ large on his face for the safety and life of his near and dear ones “.
Perhaps Arjuna was anticipating that a truce would be the better outcome rather than fighting the war.
Thus spoke Lord Krishna,
“Kutsvaa kashmalmidan vishme samupasthitam
“Oh Arjuna! What has caused this untimely love and kindness in your heart for your near and dear ones at this time immediately after the declaration of the war? Such an infatuation for the family members does not become the noble spirit, nor can it be the vehicle to attain a position in paradise, neither can it be the route to fame and glory”.
“Klaibayan maa sma gama partha naitatvyyupapadhyate
Kshudaran hridayaubarlayan tayaktavotishth parantap” (3)
Advises Lord Krishna to his favored disciple,
“So hey Arjuna, you should not behave in a manner that is unmanly. It does not become you .Hey Parantap (Parantap because Arjuna happened to be the son of Kunti and Kunti was also called Partha, perhaps reminding him that your mother expects you to act bravely in this situation) you should forego the emotions of cowardice at heart that makes you express such uncalled for fears . You should get up and get ready to fight this war of truth as against the evil forces of the world”.
Arjuna who seems to have made up his mind of not indulging into any kind of armed combat with his relations, and other family members , and have already surrendered his bow and arrows, begins justifying his decision to not to raise arms against his cousins. He professes in to support his thought process of not waging a war and then he gives the reason as to why he does not want to fight against his teachers and his other relations,
“Katham bhishammahan sadkhye dronam cha madhusudana
Eeshubhi pratiyotsyami poojaharavrisudan “(4)
“How can I begin with the exchange of my deadly arrows in a fight against Bhishma and Dronacharya, because hey Madhusudan, they are both my revered seniors’ and elders? I cannot aim my bow and shoot life taking arrows towards and at them which will mean a gross profanity on my part as these people are neither my enemies and nor have they committed any of the wrongdoings towards us brothers”.
“Gurunhatvaa hi mahaanubhavotrachheyo bhoktun bhaikshyampih loke
Hatvaarthkamanstu gurunihaiv bhujjeey bhogaan rudhirpradigdhaan” (5)
“I would rather prefer to forego my rightful claim on the kingdom of Kurukshetra and survive on the alms collected by begging. Because I believe that leading a simple and frugal life based on charity is better than the luxurious and sensuous life that has been desecrated with the blood and murder of my teachers and my elders. The opulent riches and the luxurious objects will be only momentary temporary attractions valid only for this life time but I do not want to blight my pious eternal living by being the cause of the death of my most respected and honored devout teacher and spiritual guides, Dronacharya and Pitamaha Bhishma ” .
Arjuna wanted to make sure that no short-lived indecision must be conveyed by his argument and hence he justifies further, as he had been determined of not fighting this war,
“Naa chaitdwidhyama katranno gariyo yadva jayem hadi vaa no jayeyyu
Yaanev hatvaa na jijeevishamasteavsthita pramukhe Dhaartrashtra” (6)
“We have been in a dilemma as we have come across a very strange and confounding state of affairs. We are not aware as to which action will prove to be in our favor whether to fight this war or to not to raise our armaments in this war because we cannot predict if we will win and become victorious or lose this war and our enemies will be triumphant in this battle. Either way it is to our loss, whether we win or we lose. Those near and dear ones upon whose death our own life will hold no meaning to us have come to this war to fight it out with us , in support of Dhratrashtra’s son Dhuryodhna”.
Arjuna has demonstrated a very unpredictable emotional state where it becomes apparent and it dawns upon him that either way it is the pandavaas family that stands to suffer because their own blood and life is fighting against them and it is simply impossible to forget the familial affiliations and pick up arms against your own people to annihilate them . Arjuna strongly believed that If they kill their elders and teachers, their souls stand to get condemned and consigned to a way of life that would become more miserable than being relegated to hell , because, “ of what use will be this life full of luxuries and riches where there exists none of our family members , brothers and the other kinfolk and associates” .
Having expressed his moral and emotional dilemma in this manner, Arjuna explains his inability and incapability to reach a decision as to whether he should raise his weapons or not make use of any kind of offensive assault in this war against his teachers and his elders, family members and others associates. Arjuna prays for a resolution to his predicament and looks for the mercy of Lord Krishna. He prays the lord to throw light of knowledge and wisdom to him so as to lead him out of his indecision by guiding him about his duties and responsibility in such a state of quandary. Says Arjuna to Lord Krishna
“Kaarpnyadoshopahatsavbhava prachhami tavaan dharamsammudhcheta
Yachhey syaannishichitan broohi tanme shishyasteahan shaadhi maan tavaan prapannam” (7)
“I am aware that I am being looked upon, of being a coward and I am considered to possess a very faint-hearted nature. I have also been condemned as a man who has expressed and preferred affiliations towards family and other social relationships of the world over the duty towards his religion and society. But I beseech you my lord to lead me and guide me at this strange and unusual situation in my life. I am not in a position to decide as to what is truthful, moral and is supported by my religious and social responsibilities. Please tell me what the most appropriate step that I should take and the path of universal welfare which would be advisable to take to, for me in such a state of affairs. I pray to thee oh lord Krishna for you know that I am your ardent devotee and please accept me in your discipleship and please educate me to reach a decision in my life”.
Arjuna despite being a great warrior, an acknowledged bowman and the formidable foe, does not hold any qualms about his prowess. He admits his being in depressed emotions, pathetic mind-set and confused state of mind in this war of the families. He admits his complete surrender to God in the face of his helplessness and incapability to reach a decision. He gives up himself in complete devotion to his God and the mentor Lord Krishna by expressing his unflinching faith and trust in Him. He also avers that he is not a mere ordinary disciple but a dedicated follower who has absolutely surrendered himself to the mercy of the Most Merciful, The Omniscient, who he believes will be able to hold his hand and lead him out of this situation in the most upright manner which could be suitable and acceptable way of fulfilling ones moral and dutiful responsibilities towards the family, the state, the society and towards the universe.
Arjuna continues expressing his helplessness of reaching a decision and he prays to Lord Krishna,
“Na hi prapshyaami mamaapanudhyadhyechhokamuchchhoshanmindriyanaam
Avvapya bhoomaavasaptanmraddhan suranampi chaadhipatayam” (8)
“You have ordained me to wage this war of truth against the evil forces, nevertheless I believe that the highest reward of winning this war can be of establishing our sovereign control over the earth but I do not find any promise to my nerve-racking anxiety even when I get to rule the sovereign countries of the gods and all their wealth and riches. I pray to you to please help me come out of this indecisiveness and help me overcome my anxiety and concern about all my elders, respected teachers and family and fraternity members and about my apprehensions of doing something that will go against my concept of my sacred duties”.
Sanjay is telling king Dhratrashtra,
“Evamuktaa Hrishikesham gudakesha parantapa
Na yotasya itee gobindmuktvaa toonnin babhoov ha” (9)
“O king! Arjuna who had triumphed over the sleep, in his life time, had completely surrendered, himself to the omniscient lord Krishna and he has affirmed again to Gobind (another name of Lord Krishna) that he will not fight this war”.
“Tamoovaach Hrishikesham prahasanniv bharat
Sainyorubhyomardhye vishidantmidam vacha” (10)
“O scion of bharat heritage, Dhratrashtra! The know all and the omniscient Lord Krishna had felt saddened by these words spoken by Arjuna and learning about his resolve to not to fight this war. He had laughed and thus he speaks to Arjuna”,
“Ashochyananvashochatasvam pragyavaadanshch bhashsse
Gataasoongataasoonch naanooshochanti panditaa” (11)
Lord Krishna tells Arjuna, “o Arjuna you are feeling sad for those people who are unworthy of it and at the same time you are speaking like a very knowledgeable person . But learned people do not show any remorse for those who have lost their lives and even for those who will lose their life”.
Lord Krishna had laughed at Arjuna’s melancholic because he had seen that Arjuna’s reluctance and hesitation to fight this war has surfaced on account of his love and devotion for his near and dear ones and all the respected elders whom he had always looked upon in his life. The lord shows Arjuna as to why his showing a remorse and concern for his relatives like Bhishma and others who as per God’s sermon to Arjuna, are not meant for only this life but that their soul belong to perpetuity, is only a futile exercise .
The lord Krishna continues,
“ Naa tavevaahan jaatu naasan naa tavam neme jnaadheepa
Naa chaiv na bhashiyaam sarve vayamata parma” (12)
“Because you and the people who you are feeling sad for, have always been existing. They have forever existed in all times. There exists no such time that these people were not living in that era of time and nor is there such a time foreseen in future that these kings and all of us will not be living in that period. The soul that exists amongst all of us lives in perpetuity”. The lord Krishna is telling Arjuna that the death of physical human body does not mean the passing away of a soul and hence one should not feel sad or exhibit any sorrow on the loss of a physical human body. The lord counsels Arjuna,
“Dehinoasmin yathaa dehe kaumaram yauvanam jaraa
Tatha dehantarpraptidhirarsatatra na moohyati” (13)
“The stages of childhood, youth, and old age are attributed only to the physique and not to the soul of the body yet they exist in soul and are passed on by the passage of time. Similarly the soul of the body changes its abode and moves to another body. The wise men understand this completely and do not get deluded about this shifting of the soul from one human figure to another physical being”.
“Hence it is futile on your part to feel distressed by contemplating the death of your dear ones”.
The lord Krishna thereby meant that the destruction of the human physique does not mean the end of the soul, the soul survives and moves on from one body to another and the prudent men who know about the non- relationship of the soul with the human body in which it abodes temporarily do not despair the loss of the bereavement of their dear ones.
“Matra sparshastu kaunteya shitshnasukhdoo khadaa
Aagmaapaayinoanityastaanstiti kshyasav bharata” (14)
“O son of Kunti! The pleasure and the pain arising in the human physique by way of the contacts between the senses and objects are like the seasonal variations and are transitory, momentary, and short-lived and are uncertain in nature, so hey Bharata you must bear these fleeting momentary pleasures or pains which will not last long”.
Yan hi naa vyathayantyete purusham purush sharabh
Samdukham sukham dheeram soamratatvaay kalpate” (15)
“A person who does not show any kind of reaction either in bad times or in good times i.e., on being subjected to the pleasure or pain he remains unaffected and exhibits equanimity, such a wise man becomes worthy of attaining immortality and he attains self realization”.
“Naasto vidhyate bhaavo naabhaavo vidhyate sata
Ubhayaorpi drashtoantsatavnayostatvadarshibhi” (16)
“The truth has always prevailed and always will be present eternally. And what you are lamenting about is only a delusion, an untruth which was never there earlier, and will also not be there in the coming times. Hence it is not correct for showing remorse for the loss of the physical existence of the people you love and respect and have endeared. The learned persons with wisdom have understood and have experienced both the truth and the untruth and hence they do not express any kind of regret on the disappearance of objects that do not exist in reality and are only transitory in nature”.
“Avinaashi tu tadwidhidhi yen sarvmidam tatam
Vinasham vayayasyasay Na kashchitakturmaharati “(17)
“You should understand that the only truth that prevails in the world is God and all the matter and the objects , the living and the inanimate in this world is replete with his presence hence nothing gets ever destroyed and no one ever can obliterate the truth that prevails forever, eternally and in every object. And this and this is the only universal truth. ”.
“Antvant eeme deha nityasayokta sharririna
Anaashino apremyasya tasmaadh yudhyasav bharata” (18)
“All the human bodies and other animate being which otherwise are a part of the everlasting greater truth are said to be having only a short lifetime on this earth. The objects of this world and the human bodies are similar to the dreams that we experience, which appear to be there yet are not there in truth. Same way these living beings are there yet not there in realism and hence these are necessarily to be purged. Hence you Arjuna should not show any concern for what is only fleeting, is momentary in nature and is ordained to face death”.
“Ya enam vetti hantaaram yashchainam manayate hatam
Ubhau tau na vijaanito nayam hanta na hanyate” (19)
“So you have to understand that neither the one who gets destroyed nor the one who is instrumental to destruction are the greater truth and nor do they are aware of the greater truth that Atma (soul or Universal /Greater Truth), is indestructible. It can neither destroy or be killed and only those who do not know this truth due to their ignorance believe that it is the greater truth Atma that is the doer of every act and is instrumental in taking away the life of living beings”.
Lord Krishna now reveals the actual identity and the universality of the greater truth Atma to his dear disciple Arjuna as he says,
“Na jaayte mriyate vaa kaddachinaayam bhootvaa bhavitaa vaa na bhooya
Aajo nitya shashvatoayam pooraano na hanyate hanyamaane sharire” (20)
“The Atma (soul) neither takes birth in any period and nor is it subjected to perish and nor does it appear in a reincarnation. Atma is unborn, eternal, elemental and perpetual and it does not expire when the physical body ceases to exist”.
The lord now explains the eternity of the soul, (the Atma) and the secret of its infinity,
“Vedaa vinashinam nitayam ya ainmajmavyayam
Katham sapurusha paartha kam ghatayati hanta kam” (21)
“A learned person has learnt that Atma is indestructible, eternal, perpetual, the one that is not born out of the womb, nor the one that can be expanded, he can neither kill someone nor can he be the instrumental in getting another person killed”.
The enlightened person knows that there exists in everybody an eternal truth which is indestructible and which can neither ever be the cause of another person’s annihilation.
“Waasaansi jeernaani yathaa vihaay navaani grahnaati naroapraani
Tatha shariraani vihaay jeernaanyanyaani sanyaati navaani dehi” (22)
“The occurring of death of a human body is similar to the act of changing of clothes by a human being. Just as the humans keep varying their clothing and put on new clothes after they have discarded the old clothes, the same way the Atma shifts its abode from one physical body to another physical body by disposing the old body and adopting a new body. This happens to all the living organisms on this earth whose souls keep changing their habitat from one dead body to another living body after it finds that the current body used by it has become of no use to it and serves no purpose by its existence”.
The emotional intelligence expressed and advised by the lord Krishna very simply explains the eternal cycle of life and death on the earth, where the exit and entry of humans into the world has been taking place eternally. If this fact of only atma changing its outer attire is comprehended and accepted by the humans in its right meaning and spirit, then no human will ever show remorse on the loss of the old body when the death of humans takes place . Death Does not occur to only the decreipt physique but death can also be the occurrence to a young and healthy body type whose time and existence at the earth has served its purpose and hence it becomes throwaway body for the soul living in it and the soul moves out of the outdated body to find for itself another abode in another body that could now serve its purpose on the earth.
“Nainam chhidanti shastraani nainam dahti pavaka
Naa chainam kaledayantyaapo naa shoshayati maroota” (23)
Lord Krishna had foreseen Arjuna being frightened about the violence and its aftermath that would take place in the fighting of the war by the usage of deadly ammunition and arms; hence he maintains to Arjuna that soul (Atma) is always, indestructible and that the soul is never subject to death. Lord Krishna assures Arjuna that all kinds of elements that can be found on this earth cannot destroy soul, the Atma
“The soul can never be cut to pieces by any armaments, nor can it ever be burned by fire, nor can it be swept away by water, nor can the wind wither the soul”.
“Achhedhyoayam daahayo ayamkaledhyoashoya aiv cha
Nitya sarvagata sthanurachaloayam sanaatan” (24)
The lord reiterates again what he has already mentioned in the previous stanza (Shlokas),
“Because the soul cannot be pierced, the soul lives till perpetuity, all-pervading, and motionless. It is inert and the soul endures ceaselessly and cannot be subjected to any modification. The soul is everlasting and omnipresent”.
Avayakto ayamchinteyo ayamvikaaryo ayamuchayte
Tasmaadevam viditvainam nanushochitumarhsi “(25)
“The soul (Atma) cannot be articulated. It cannot be manifested. This soul (Atma) is inconceivable by the mind. This is consistent and the soul cannot be subjected to any inadequacy. When you know every characteristic of the soul, it does not look appropriate for you to express grief over the loss of only the bodies, and hence you should not let your sorrow be there for the probable death of all your near and dear ones gathered here to wage a war against you”
“Athachainam nityajaatam nitayam vaa manasaye maratam
Tthaapi tavam mahabaaho naivam shochitumaharsis “(26)
The lord Krishna, however softens his tone here and he makes an allowance to Arjuna’s shallow wisdom that Arjuna possesses pertaining to the unending cycle of the birth and the death of humans taking place on the earth , when he alludes,
“Even when you subscribe to the thought and know that the soul (Atma) is born every day and dies regularly, in such a situation also, O the powerful and armed one, you are not meant to grieve in the manner that you have been feeling distressed about”.
Hence even when lord Krishna, is sermonizing Arjuna to not to grieve, he builds up his confidence by addressing him as the mighty soldier, decorated with his armaments.
Says lord Krishna,
“Jaatasya hi dhruvo mrityudhruvam janma mratsaya cha
Tasmaadh pariharyearthe na tavam shochitumharsi” (27)
“because if it so happens relentlessly that , anyone who is born is definite to face death and that anyone who has died has to be born again, even then you ought not to grieve over a predictable fact because it does not make sense to grieve for whatever is inevitable and knowing that you can do nothing about it to prevent it ”. Hence lord Krishna tells Arjuna,
Avayaktaadini bhootaani vayakt madhyaani bharata
Avayaktnidhnaanyev tatra kaa parivednaa” (28)
“O scion of Bharata! All living beings have not been perceptible to humans before they are born and they are meant to get invisible after they meet their death. It is only in the middle intervals that all of them get manifested. There should not be any kind of lamentation with regard to such beings as appear for some time and are destined to disappear into the oblivion again”.
The lord’s sermon about the futility of Arjuna’s apprehension and expression of grief on the likely death of his near and dear ones’ throws light to Arjuna from the point of view of the learned and enlightened people, when lord says that all incarnation of the humans is but only transitory in nature. The ones who are living on the earth did not exist before they were born and will cease to exist after they have met their death. Hence a learned person, who is aware of the ephemeral nature the human life, should not express anguish and grief over the death of their near and dear ones.
“Aashcharyavatpatpaschayati kaschidenmaasacharyavadavdati tathaiv chaanya
Aascharyaavchchanamanya shronati shrutvaapyenam veda naa chaiv kaschita” (29)
“Some of the great persons look upon the soul (Atma) amazingly. Some other describes it as magnificent. Yet some of the others listen about the soul in its awe. Many of them do not know anything about the soul in spite of having heard about it “
The lord maintains that not everyone knows the truth and the complete truth about the soul (Atma). People can describe about it only in different partial aspects of its total manifestation as they have perceived the soul depending upon their experiences, learning and knowledge. Hence to many learned persons this soul is an amazing materialization of a wonderful truth, to some others the meaning and the truth about the soul remain ever elusive.
“Dehi nityamavadhyoayam dehe sarvasaya bharata
Tasmmatasavarnaani bhootaani na tavam shochitumaharsi” (30)
“O Arjuna! The soul (atma) lives in the bodies of all living- beings is eternally imperishable and it can never ever be slain. Therefore you cannot and should not mourn for all living –beings”.
The lord’s oration establishes a unifying relationship amongst each and every living organism on this earth by stating that they all have but a same soul breathing in them and hence there exists no difference amongst the human beings. The difference if any exists is there on account of the externally perceptible physical manifestation of the body only, which differs in the same manner as the clothes worn by two different humans may not be the same. The unifying soul remains alive ever and is imperishable because like God has said above, it may change its abode but will never be perished hence why worry for an anticipated occurrence which takes place only for that fleeting moment when the soul shifts itself from one physical incarnation to another physical body.
Sawardharamamapi chaavekshya Na vikampitumaharsi
Dharamyaaddhi yudhaachachhreyo anyatakshatriyasaya na vidhyate” (31)
“And considering the fact that you belong to the Kshatriya (warriors) clan, you should not be afraid and apprehensive of the consequences of the war. There exists no bigger religion and duty for a kshatriya than to fight for the protection of his religion , faith and the righteous war that protects the truth “.
The lord Krishna makes a very distinct differentiation in the war fought for the expansions of the kingdoms and the exploitation of riche from such wars, as against the war fought for the protection of the religion, faith and what is considered as truthful, by a Kshatriya. The lord avers that it is the religious duty of a Kshatriya (warrior) to protect his faith and fight for the establishment of the truth even if one has to sacrifice one’s life in doing so.
Ydrachhaya choppanam swaragdwaarm apaavaratam
Sukhina kshatriya parth labhante yudhamidrashayam” (32)
“O Partha, all those fortunate Kshatriya are blessed by Heavens who get such an auspicious occasion for an unsought war of the truth to be fought by them against the forces of the evil and it becomes a welcome invitation to go to heaven with its doors wide open as a consequences of this kind of war ”.
The lord having explained the concept of religious duty to Arjuna for fighting a war, he further emphasizes on the likely damage that can occur to Arjuna and to his uprightness, reputation and the faith that all his well wishers have in his character, should he fail to do his duty in fighting this war of righteousness against the forces of the evil,
“Atha chaitavmimam dhamaryam sadgramam na karishayasi
Tata swadharma kirtim cha hitva paapamvaapasayasi” (33)
“But if you fail to wage this war of uprightness, you will end up losing your reputation and faith and will be committing a gross transgression”.
“Akirti chaapi bhootaani kathayishayanti taiavayayaam
Sambhavitasaya chaakirtimarranaadatirichayate” (34)
“In such a situation, you will be humiliated and the public will speak ill about your reputation for all times to come. It is always better for a person of honor to lay down his life rather than get dishonored”.
Lord Krishna makes it very obvious to Arjuna that whatever logics and reasons he has been citing for not fighting this war of truth as against the forces of evil, those cannot be held valid in this particular situation because no one believes that an honorable person and a great warrior of his stature has backed out of this war on account of his personal reasons . They would always believe that you have run away for fear of the destructive consequences of the war.
Says lord Krishna,
“Bhayaadranaaduparatam manayate tavam maharatha
Yesyam cha tavam bahumato bhootvaa yaasayasi laaghvam” (35)
“All those great warriors who have regarded you very highly so far will believe that you have retreated from the battle out of fear of the consequences of the war and they will lose respect for you”.
Lord Krishna definitely has been focusing on the emotional turmoil and the state of uncertainty that has been taking place in the mind and heart of his favored disciple Arjuna. The lord does it , by at first bringing up his disciple’s level of self –esteem within his doubtful mind and then apprising him of the damage that can occur to his own self esteem , in his public image and perception on account of his walking out of the war now.
The Lord maintains that at this stage of the war when every conceivable warrior from the pandavaas army and from the kuru forces have come to the war ground, , it is not at all advisable for him to simply throw away his arms and relinquish his legitimate rights to the sovereign reign of Hastinapur ,
“Avaachayvaadaanshch bahun vadishyanti twaahita
Nindantasatav samarthayam tato dukhtaram nu Kim” (36)
“In such a situation your opponents will speak ill of you and they will use many prohibited words and disrespect your ability to fight this war. This kind of treatment at the hands of your enemies will be much more agonizing to you”.
The lord Krishna presents a very win- win situation to Arjuna, if he decides to fight this war.
“Haato vaa praapasayasi sawargam jitvaa vaa bhokshyase mahim
Tasmaadutishath kaunteya yudhaay krat nishachay “(37)
“O son of Kunti, You will attain a place in heavens if you get sacrificed while doing your duty in this war and in case, you become victorious in this war, you will enjoy the free reign on your own sovereign kingdom on the earth. Therefore, you must exhibit a resolute willpower, get up and fight this war”.
“Sukha dukhe same kratwaa laabha laabho jayaa jaayo
Tato yudhaay yujayasava naivam paapmavaapasayasi” (38)
“O Arjuna, you must exercise, maintain and exhibit your self-control in pleasure and pain, gain and loss, and victory and defeat equally and dedicate yourself in the fulfillment of your duty and get ready to fight this war. If you fight this war by considering it as your sacred duty; you as a kshatriyas will not bring upon yourself any kind of sin”.
The lord has thus been able to resolve Arjuna’s moral dilemma about his incurring the sin and wrath of all religious profanity if he fights this war and massacres his own kith and kin in this war. The lord’s sermon about maintaining equanimity and composure, in the face of adversities or in the event of favorable situations, in the face of gaining or losing any thing in life, need to be understood in its larger ramifications by all mankind. The mankinds get either too distressed by the failings of life or too they would feel much elated by the success and the achievements they get in their lives.
The Lord advises Arjuna that so far he has been lectured about the knowledge through logical study. However he must understand the philosophy of Karma, in order to get a complete connotation of the actual common sense of performing one’s duty (karma) and the reasons as to why he should not abandon the responsibility and duty expected of him in the fighting of the war of the truth against the forces of the evil, in such a throw away manner.
“Esha tai abhihita sandkhye Buddhiyorge twimaan sharanoo
Budhhayaa yukto yayaa partha karambandhnam prahaasayasi” (39)
“O son of partha! I have said all this to explain to you and provide you wisdom into the death and its unnecessary fears by explaining and enlightening you about the Gyan Yoga (the philosophy of knowledge) point of view so that you could attain knowledge about the existence of the soul and the transient relationship between the body and the soul. I shall now speak to you about the philosophy of Karmayoga (the philosophy of doing one’s duty selflessly), to make you understand the futility of your decision to abandon performance of your own duty. Now listen as I explain it to you in terms of working without expectation and temptation into outcome of the job performed. O son of Partha, when you act in such knowledge of the philosophy of Karmayoga (the philosophy of doing one’s duty selflessly), you can free yourself from the bondage of works undertaken by you”.
“Nehabhikaramnaashoasti pratayvaayo naa vidhyate
Sawalapmapayasay dharamasaya traayte mahato bhayaat” (40)
“In this philosophy of Karmayoga that I am about to discuss with you, there exists no end to the beginning and there is no failure or attenuation, and if you take a few steps into the path of Karmayoga, you can free yourself from the fears of birth and death”.
The lord speaks to Arjuna, about the values of doing one’s duty without ascribing any of the reasons for doing one’s duty and by not attaching any of the expectations from the duty performed, one gets free from the fear of success or failure.
“Vayavasaayaatamika buddhirekeh kurunandanan
Bahushaakhaa hyaanantaashch buddhyo avayavasaayinaam” (41)
“Hey Arjuna! The scion of the kuru empire! The determined and the resolute persons have only a single plan i.e., the realization of the truth but those who are of the fickle mind and of those who lack deep knowledge, their intelligence is irresolute and is many-directional”.
The lord Krishna maintains that one who does his duty with the selfless determination of the pursuit and subsequent realization of the truth, he is able to reach the truth because he is not fickle minded as he does not think of many things and he does not get distracted in the pursuit of supreme knowledge.
The lord continues,
“Yaamimaam pushpitaam vaacham pravadantay vipashchita
Vedvaarta partha naanadayasttti vaadina” (42)
“Kaamatmaan sawargpara janamkaram phalpradaam
Kriyavishesh bahulaan bhaugeshvarayagatim prati “(43)
“Bhaugeshvarya prasaktanaam tayaappahatchetasaam
Vayavasaay atmikataa buddhi samaadho naa vidhiyate” (44)
“Hey Arjuna! Those humans who are lost into the pleasures of life and those who are lost into the materialistic contentment believe that chanting of Vedas is most auspicious and melodious. Such men trust that their intoning of the Vedas will take them to heavens. Because they believe those heavens are the supreme attainments and can be attained by the reciting of the Vedas. Such ignorant people engage in unnecessary and pretentious rituals for gaining opulence and gratification of the gods. They are involved into many other earthly pleasures but still, cannot find the path to salvation and the universal truth. Such people as a consequence of their action are consigned to another birth on the earth. Such people do not have a definite devotion in God as their minds are diverted elsewhere and their power of perception is obscured by ordinary ritualistic activities”.
Lord has broken the ages old myth that prevails amongst the mankind, of a heaven being above there as the supreme abode for a man’s soul after his death, as has been believed and advocated by all humans in all ages. The lord preaches that the attainment of the God and of the universal supreme truth cannot be realized by moving to heavens. Expecting to get into paradise after death though has been the main motivating factor in the performing of many kinds of pretentious religious rituals from all ages. Such people, who indulge into this action of the propitiating of the gods by merely chanting of the mantras, do not go to any other world, nor do they attain deliverance from the cycle of the human birth. They are but delivered back to the earth for another birth into another human form only.
“Traigunyavishyaa vedaa nistraigunyo bhavaarjuna
Nirdwando nityasatvastho niryogkshem aatmavaan” (45)
“The Vedas, o Arjuna, basically propagate and deal with three modes of material Nature i.e., goodness, passion, and ignorance. You should grow to be free from the conflicting thoughts of these opposites as prescribed by Vedas. You should be ever objective and indifferent to the emotions of material acquisition and perpetuation. You should be a free soul that has risen above these three modes, and be content within yourself”.
The lord mentions about the conflicting thought of conscientiousness that always plays within the psyche of each individual who is torn between the materialistic and the spiritual, the celestial and the earthly world. It is not that lord is putting down the faith that humans have into the philosophy of the Vedas, but lord Krishna is telling Arjuna that since the philosophy as enumerated into the Vedas speak of many kinds of ritual practices and traditions to attain the powers and the goodies of the everyday life , you should rise above all the temptation of the gain of materialistic possessions in life and have a total control on your senses, mind , body and heart in order to be a content soul within yourself and attain transcendentalism .
Lord Krishna’s sermon to Arjuna continues,
“Yaavaanarth oodpaane sarvata samplutodake
Taavaan sarveshu vedeshu brahmanasay vijaanat” (46)
“O Arjuna! Just as the small reservoir of water holds importance to a man who has had access to the large reservoir of water, the same way the Vedas are as useful to a person who has attained self realization”.
The lord wants to say that since Arjuna has attained higher knowledge of the self which includes almost every aspect of life and the beyond, he need not look towards the Vedas, which are but a part of the larger manifestation of the universe that Arjuna has explored.
Lords discourse on karam yoga to Arjuna, further throws light on the operations of Karmayoga into his life,
“Karamanaye vaadhikaare maa phaleshu kadaachan
Maa karanphalhetubhurmra te sangdtoasatav karamaani” (47)
God advises Arjuna “you have a right to perform your duty assigned to you but you have no privilege to expect the results (fruit) of the duty performed. Hence you should not harbor any motivation of the results of the work done by you and your duty performance should not be based on the expectations. At the same time you should not be losing interest in the performance of your duty and renounce the work”.
This advice of lord Krishna if taken by the mankind in the right spirit becomes meaningful at two levels of emotional consciousness. The first level of such an emotional perception exhibits a complete trust and faith in the capabilities of the performer himself under the kind benevolence of the God. The work being done needs to be looked at as the task assigned by God and anything that has been assigned by God must be having and providing the inherent strength and the ability to get completed doubtlessly and must be intrinsic of the success within itself. Each duty assigned must be fulfilled for the universal welfare. At the second level of the emotional intelligence, if the performer will keep on diverting his focus from the actual performance of the job undertaken by him, and hanker after the consequences even before the completion of the task being done , the lack of single minded devotion will result into work not being performed hence gods will not be happy and the person will incur their wrath. The lord therefore avers that every work needs to be performed without any deviation of the mind and heart into the expected results of the work done. Many people will not like to perform a work that cannot predict the outcome of the work they have undertaken and may refuse to work if not told of their profits in the work. Lord Krishna forewarns that even the abundance of the work is not permitted and is considered sacrilege.
“Yogastha kuru karamaani sangadan tayaktvaa dhananjaya
Sidhaya sidhayo samo bhootvaa samatavam yoga uchchayte” (48)
“Hey Dhananjaya! You must do your duty to the best of your ability and abandon all kinds of expectations with your mind completely involved to the presence of the lord in all your work. You must remain equipoised and tranquil in both situations of the success and of the failure. The practice of maintaining composure and equanimity of the mind is a yogic practice and that exercise of such a practise brings peace and self-control of mind”.
Lord Krishna now dwells upon the consequences of the work done while keeping the expectation in the view,
“Dooren hayavaram karama budhdhiyogaadhananajay
Budhdhau sharanamnavichchh krapnaa phalhetava” (49)
“Hey Dhananjaya! A work performed that is based on the expectations of the results from the work done is debasing by far as compared to the work that is undertaken without any motivation. Therefore you should act as with calm temperament without any selfish interest. Those who work only to expect the outcomes from the task become very miserable as they cannot exercise any control on the consequences of the actions carried out by them”.
The lord shows pity towards those people who do every task for the sake of the fulfillment of their expectations. The happiness gained on the fulfillment of the expectation can be, only transitory, momentary and short-lived. But if task is done without assigning any motives to it, and is treated as a task assigned by god, and for the universal welfare, it becomes the task of a karamyogi, inherent and showered with the blessings of the God.
“Budhdhiyukto jahaateeha ubhe sukratdushkrate
Tasmaadhyogaay yujasava yoga karamsu kaushalam” (50)
“A person who expresses equanimity of the mind in all kinds of situations and does not get affected by the vice or the virtue, such a person attains emancipation from any kind of attachment and becomes selfless in his approach. You should strive to adopt selflessness and equanimity in your approach which is the path equal to that of accomplishing perfection in all your actions. Such an action of selflessness and equanimity is also meant to make you free from any kind of attachment and motivation from the tasks. This is the philosophy of karma, i.e., performing to the best of one’s perfection without expectation of results is called Karma-yoga”
The lord Krishna maintains that karmas (action) observed with expectation attached rather yield to the lack of fulfillment of the supreme emancipation. The karmas undertaken without any expectation and attachment, like the work meant for the universal good at large, have the God’s benevolence and blessings inherent in them and such tasks do not tie down any one. Rather such an approach of equanimity towards the action, leads to the freedom of the mind and the spirit and one attains liberation from the ordinary within this life time only and the lord sermonizes that this is the philosophy of karma.
“Karamajaa budhdhiyukto hi phalam tayaktvaa maneeshina
Janambandhan vinirmuktaa padam gachhanatayanaamayam” (51)
“The learned and the knowledgeable persons who have abandoned their temptation and have attained the state of equanimity from the action are equipped with level-headedness and they become Karma-yogis. They attain freedom from the bondage of reincarnation as they have renounced the self-seeking involvement to the fruits of all action and hence they attain blissful divine state of deliverance or Nirvana”.
Mankind has often spoken about attaining moksha (deliverance) from the mundane life and its bondages. The lord explains to Arjuna that this deliverance is attainable within this birth of human life and you can become free from the burden of rebirths, if you master the level-headedness into all your actions and leave the result /expectations up to the God by performing every duty as the task undertaken for the universal welfare at large and show no connection to its success or failure (i.e., fruit).
“Yadaa te mohakalilam budhdhivayaratitarishayati
Tadaa gantaasi nirvedam shrotvaaysaya shrutasay cha” (52)
“The moment you are able to completely control your emotional involvement of hope and delusion at that time you will attain indifference to the all that you have heard of and of spoken about, attractions of this life and the other life and become one with the supreme”.
Shruitvipratipanna Te yadaa sathaasayasti nischalaa
Samaadhaavachala budhdhisatadaa yogam vaapasayasi” (53)
“The time, when your confused intellect is able to come out of the bewilderment of worldly attractions, you will be able to focus steadily, in the existence of the Supreme Being, then you shall attain union with the Supreme Being in trance and you will attain deliverance from confusions”.
Lord Krishna has mentioned about the deliverance from the confusion, attractions of worldly affairs and at the same time attaining unity with the Supreme Being. The lord mentions that a yogi needs to be free from the allurements of this world and of the next world, to meditate steadily without any distraction, focused completely on the existence of God, in order to become one with the Supreme Being. Many a times people undertake the rituals of the worships, meditation, and other religious, spiritual and other public welfare activities, for attaining deliverance in the next birth. Lord’s mention of the motivations of attaining deliverance within this birth and the next birth to Arjuna speaks about the futility of getting involved into all such kinds of useless and deviating activities. He advises him to rather trust completely on one god and remain steadfast in his faith into one Supreme Being only.
“Stithpragayasa kaa bhaashaa samaadhisathasaya keshava
Sathitdhi Kim praabhashet kimaaseet varajet Kim” (54)
Arjuna had been listening to the sermon delivered by lord Krishna with rapt attention, now wants to know as to who makes a man of steady wisdom and what are the characteristics and the qualities that can make such a wise man as the lord has been propagating. .
Says Arjuna, “O Keshava! What is the description of a man who has been in possession of enlightened insight, who has attained deliverance from the mundane and who has become one with the Supreme Being? How does the man of enlightened insight speak? What is his posture? How does he sit? How does he move about”? How does such a person interact with others, and manage to survive in this world”? Arjuna appears to be keen to learn from the lord the conduct of an enlightened man in order to understand as to how he could adopt the behavioral and other higher celestial cerebral qualities in order to become one such a progressive person himself and attain oneness with the supreme truth.
The lord says,
“Prajahaati yadaa kaamaan sarvaan partha manogataan
Aatmanyevaatmanaa tushata sthitpragyastadochayate” (55)
“Oh Arjuna! When such a person as has completely abandoned all desires of the mind and the sense and he gets himself completely immersed and contented with being one with the Supreme Being and he enjoys the delight of Supreme Being, one such a person is then called an enlightened person who is in possession of a balanced intellect”.
“Dukheshavanudwignamnaa sukheshu vigatasaparaha
Veetraagbhayakrodha stithdheermuniruchayate” (56)
The query raised by Arjuna regarding the enlightened person and his behavior has very deep and intricate connotations inherent within the question asked. Hence the lord must answer ad satisfy this inquiry in the same philosophical manner in which the disciple has expressed it. Says lord Krishna,
“The composure and evenness of intellect is not achieved by the one who gets perturbed by the sorrow, nor does he feel elated and crave for the pleasures. An enlightened person is the one who has completely abandoned the feelings and emotions of affection, fear, and anger. Such a person is said to possess an evenness of the mind. Such a person is called the enlightened one with a steady cerebral intelligence of the character”.
The lord maintains that such a progressive person retains his calmness of the emotions and balance of mind in all kind of situations. Neither does he express any kind of emotional outburst of anguish, anger and remorse on any unfavorable situation, nor does he exhibit the feeling of getting excited and elated in situation that has produced favorable results. In fact such a person holds no emotional involvement in any action and object. He does not express the emotions of neither fear, happiness, aggression nor does he exhibit the emotional kind of attachment to the relationships, actions, motives and attachment and reactions to the consequences of any duty undertaken by him. Such a person as is devoid of the exhibition of such emotions, is called a sage with an even and steady cerebral intellect and psyche.
The lord continues his discourse,
“Yaa sarvatraan abhisaneha satatatpraapay shubhashubham
Naabhinandati na dweshti tasay pragya pratishthita” (57)
“Such a detached person as has no emotional attachment to anything, he neither feels elated nor does he get disturbed if he receives or does not receive the good – omened or ill-omened objects i.e., or whether he is in receipt of favorable results or unfavorable results”.
Yadaa sanharate chaayam koormoagadaneev sarvasha
Indiraayaaninadariyaarthebhayasatasaya pragya pratishthita” (58)
“You must understand Arjuna! That it is like the withdrawing of all its limbs by a tortoise into its shell for protection and preservation. The same way when an enlightened person protects his senses from all kinds of sensual desires, he is then said to have attained a balanced intellect”.
The lord means that no amount of temptation and attraction should be able to digress a person’s mind from his supreme objective i.e., the deliverance of the person from the mundane life and attaining assimilation into the Supreme Being. A person must have both the control of intellect and of the mind over his emotions and his desires of the senses. The control over intellect will be achieved only when the command over the desires has been achieved by neither expressing the yearning for the pleasures nor the expression of abhorrence for the displeasures. Such a person does not have any kind of, an expression of emotional failure or the success”.
“Vishayaa vinivartante niraharasay dehina
Rasvarjam rasoapayasaya param drashtavaa nivartate” (59)
“It is not enough simply to abandon desires, because even when the desire for sensual pleasures is forsaken by abstaining from the sensual gratification, the cravings for sensual delight exist in a very apparent form. But this yearning and the passion completely vanish from the person once he has known the Supreme Being and has attained incorporation with Him”.
“Yaatato hayaapi kaunteya purushasaya vipashachita
Indriyaani pramaathini haranti prasabham mana” (60)
“Hey Arjuna! But an intelligent person, who has not been able to destroy his cravings, will be forced by the desires of his mind and the heart. His control and level-headedness will be unwillingly overpowered by the power of the senses for sensual pleasures”.
Such a person as has not been able to completely overcome his desires, cravings and the attraction towards sensual pleasures becomes weak-minded and his abandonment is only short-lived till the time, he buckles down to the pressures of the mind and the heart again for sensual gratification and loses his equanimity and the poise. His deviation of the mind begins in such a situation resulting into his reverting back to the yearnings and the desires of sensual pleasures, and moving away from the path of the attainment of the truth.
“Taani saravaani sanyamaya yukata aaseeta matpara
Vashe hi yasyendriyaani tasaya pragya pratishthita” (61)
“Hence o Arjuna! It is essential that the devotee should exercise complete control over his senses and set his mind on God with constant meditation. Such a person’s intellect becomes steady when his senses are under total control”.
“Dhayaayato vishayaan punsa sangadateshupajayate
Sagdaata sanjaayate kaama kamaatakrodho abhijaayate” (62)
“The contemplation of the earthly pleasures leads to the awakening of the enticement for those pleasures and the attraction towards the gratification leads to the creation of desires. And when the desires are not fulfilled and remain un-satiated, it results into the generation of the anger”.
“Krodhaa bhadawati sammoha sammohaatasmaritivibharama
Samarati bharashaad budhdhinaasho budhdhinasahatapranashyati” (63)
The lord advises Arjuna that “the expression of the anger leads to the delusion and disenchantment and the mind gets vitiated by the disenchantment resulting into the loss of reasoning and logic by the mind. Such a person as has lost his logic and reasoning falls down from his status and he suffers”.
The emotional turmoil on the unfulfilled expectations often leads to disappointment and bitterness causing frustration and anger amongst men. Men when they get angry get so much involved into emotional outbursts that they end up losing their presence of mind and the resultant loss of control over reasoning intellect. In such an emotionally charged state of mind they cannot make out the necessary distinction between the, desirable or the undesirable, good or the bad or the appropriate and the inappropriate behavior on such occasion. They will often in such a situation get into un-contemplated decision making. Such a decision- making as taken in emotionally charged angry situation will not be correct for the occasion and hence will lead to the fall of men in their status and consequently into many other undesired situations. It is essential to keep emotions in check, maintain calmness and composure of mind in all state of affairs for a better and proper decision making which could be universal in its application and acceptance and be replete with the presence of the Supreme Being into it.
The lord now discusses the advantages of maintaining a complete control over oneself and he says,
“Raag dwesh viyukataitastu vishyaan indariyaisharan
Aatam vashyai virdhyaatmaa praasaadam gachhagati” (64)
“But a disciplined person who has exercised and established complete control over his senses enjoys sense objects without any attachment or aversion in them and he attains internal harmony”.
For lord Krishna, it is not only the superficial giving up of the desires and temptations as a show off externally like we humans indulge into, but it is very necessary to exercise a complete internal control over the senses and the sensory organs that will lead to the freedom from the deviation of the mind and help in achieving a supreme tranquility.
Says lord Krishna,
“Prasade sarvaa dukhanaam haanirasayopajaayate
Prasannchetso hayaashu budhdhi parayavatishathate” (65)
“All kinds of sorrows tend to perish by attaining the internal tranquility of the soul and the intellect of such a serene and tranquil person leaves all other deviations of the mind and become completely steady and dedicated into one supreme God “.
It is the attainment of the spiritual serene and calmness of the mind and the soul that results into obliteration of all kinds of sorrows, which otherwise are caused by the desire and temptation of the results expected and desired from the action performed by the individuals for fulfillment of their duties. The emotions of the internal poise and the tranquility have been referred to as the prasadam (blessings from God), which come to the human mind only after internal as well as external control on the desires and the temptations have been fully achieved by the mind. Such a state of the mind has been referred to as the heavenly bliss of tranquility in which The Supreme abodes.
“Naaste budhdhirayukatasaya na chaaykatasaya bhaavanaa
Na chaabhaavayata shaantiarashaantasaya kuta sukham” (66)
“Such a person as who has not been able to exercise complete control over his senses and the mind, has not attained the transcendental intelligence and he does not have the emotional intelligence thus he is not connected with the Supreme God. Such a person who is devoid of the emotions and the transcendental intelligence can never achieve his peace of mind and he can never be ever happy and will always be without the peace of mind’.
“Indiriyaanam hi charataam yanamanoanu vidhiyate
Tadasay harati pragayaam vaayunaaravamivamabhasi” (67)
“Just as the strong winds of a storm steal away a boat roving into the silent sea from its direction towards its destination, the same way a person’s only one sense into which the person’s mind is involved can take away his intellect and its tranquility and peace of mind by diverting his attention away from all other senses”.
The temptations of the sensory emotions and the senses are too strong for any ordinary simple person to get himself emancipated from their grip on his mind and intellect. The person has to exercise the control of all his senses. He has to manage the leaving behind of all desires , at all times , i.e., the external perceptions of the mind and the internal cravings of the heart , all need to be controlled to grow an intellect that is steadfast in its acceptance of the Universal Truth and the Supreme God . Such a person as has lost control over even one small desire and gives up to the temptation of the senses, he will end up losing all his control on the self, and subsequently he will lose his intellect. His tranquility and his peace of mind will also be missing.
“Tasmaadhayasay mahabaaho nigarahitaani sarvasha
Indirayaaninidriyaarathebhasay pragya pratishthita” (68)
Therefore oh Mahabaaho! (Arjuna is addressed as Mahabaaho, on account of his possessing large and strong muscular arms ) only that person can possess a very steady intellect whose senses have been completely withdrawn from their sensual operations into the objects and have been brought under complete self control by the person”.
“Yaa nishaan saravabhutaanaam tasayaam jaagriti sanyami
Yasyaan jagriti bhootaani saa nisha pashayato mune” (69)
“What remains as the darkness of the mind for all others becomes the awakening of the supreme God for the pious person (yogi or ascetic) who is steadfast in his attainment of the universal supreme truth. Such an ascetic (yogi) considers all those worldly pleasures as the darkness of the mind, for which all living beings lose their sleep. They lose their peace of the mind and their tranquility over the momentary pleasures of life, because they do not realize the real truth about the Supreme God“.
Such a person, who has gained his control over his passion and has abandoned his desire for worldly pleasure, seeks to reach the illumination of the mind and the intellect. He becomes one with the God because he has shown restraint towards the acquisition of all those earthly things and objects for which the whole world seems to have lost their stability of the mind. Such a person has been able to find the real meaning into the benevolence and the grand manifestation of the God and hence has attained the enlightenment of the intellect and the soul by way of spiritual serenity.
Aapurayamaana Machala pratishtham samudramaap paravishanti yadavat
Tadavakaamaa yam paravishanti sarave sa shaanti maapanoti na kaamkaami” (70)
“Just as the waters from many kinds of rivers enter the highly regarded ocean without disturbing the calm of the ocean, the same way all kinds of eternal peace of mind are attained by the person who is free from all desires. The person who craves for and hankers after the worldly pleasures and the possessions of the material objects is never ever peaceful”.
“Vihaaya kaamaan ya sarvaanpumaamshacharati Ni saparaha
Niramamo nirahakaara sa shantimadhigachhagati” (71)
‘A person who has given up all temptations, emotional attachments, has overcome his sense of self importance and self pride and has become free from the longings and the feelings of possessiveness, attains the universal peace and tranquility and the eternal bliss”.
“Aishaa braahami sathiti partha nainam praapay vimuhayati
Satithat vaasayaamanta kaaleapi braham nivaaranam arachchhati” (72)
“Hey Partha! This is the attainment of the divine state of mind (Brahma sthiti) of a person. The person who has attained this divine position of the mind does not get deluded by the senses and such a person attains integration into the universal truth and the Supreme God by getting immersed into the creator at the culmination of this life”.