SRIMAD BHAGAVAD GITA – PART 10 Chapter 2, Verses 61 to 72 – SANKHYA YOGA

Bhagavan Krishna explains the attributes of a wise man i.e. who is a ‘Sthitha-prajna’.  In these twelve verses, Bhagavan explains how a ‘sthitha-prajna’ acts, talks or engages in various activities, thus providing a user guide for spiritual advancement.

With these twelve verses, Bhagavan concludes Chapter 2 on Sakhya Yoga. A brief summary of the key messages from Chapter 2 is given below:

Summary of Chapter 2 – Sankhya Yoga

Lord Krishna explains that the state of consciousness is achieved by one who performs all actions unattached and is equipoised based on the knowledge of the eternal nature of the immortal soul. This process has for its goal the attainment of transcendent meditation. It is ‘Brahmi’ or that which leads to Brahman, the ultimate truth.

Thus, the following doctrine is to be understood from Chapter 2:

  • That the immortal soul is eternal (‘na hanyate hanya mane sharire’ – 2.20)
  • All activities should be performed as a matter of duty devoid of desire for reward (2.47)
  • There should be no proprietorship or doer-ship (2.47)
  • Engage in devotional service – (yogah karmasu kausalam – 2.50)
  • One should control their mind which will result in control of the senses (2.58);
  • One should perform actions without attachment or aversion (2.64)
  • One should be equipoised (2.68)
  • Constantly contemplate and engage in meditating on the Lord (2.70)
  • One who is spiritually intelligent of illuminated consciousness understands that through either jnana-yoga or karma-yoga, the goal of transcendent meditation can be attained but devotion to the Supreme is essential for realisation of the Supreme. (2.71)

Liberation from the material existence and realisation of eternal bliss (sat chit Ananda) can be achieved through the above process. In essence this results in relinquishment of both the physical body and the subtle body, after which one becomes qualified to realise their spiritual body and experience the sublime bliss of uninterrupted devotion to the Supreme Lord Krishna.

  • The primary way of attaining God realisation is certainly pure devotion unto God, whereas self-realisation or soul-cognition, although extremely exalted, is secondary. Devotion to GOD is primary ‘means’ (Upaya) as well as the ‘goal’ (Upeya) to be attained.
  • Through the process of intense devotion one becomes relieved from all unhappiness and free from attachment. Over time they gain spiritual intelligence and become completely equipoised in transcendent meditation attaining the bliss of the Supreme.

These spiritual truths have been revealed in the second chapter of the Bhagavad-Gita for curing ignorance and dispelling delusion.

2.61     Shloka 2.61

तानि सर्वाणि संयम्य युक्त आसीत मत्परः।
वशे हि यस्येन्द्रियाणि तस्य प्रज्ञा प्रतिष्ठिता।।2.61।।

Tani sarvani samyamya yukta asita mat-parah      |
Vase hi yasyendriyani tasya prajna pratisthita ||2.61||
Meaning: One who restrains his senses and fixes his consciousness upon Me is known as a man of steady intelligence.

In the previous few verses, Bhagavan Shri Krishna had stated that the senses are too powerful to subdue by our own efforts. Yet effort should be made regardless and so, in this verse, he suggests that we subdue our senses by engaging in total devotion to Him. The word ‘yuktah’ and mat-parah’

The words ‘yukta asita mat-parah’ is most significant in this verse.  It means one who is self-controlled, established and meditating on Me. It indicates that devotion to Lord Krishna, with one’s mind firmly established and attuned to Him is the only way to control the senses and maintain it. As Hrishikesha, He is the Lord of the senses, and is the ultimate object of all meditation.

In the Vishnu Purana, it begins with ‘yatha adniruddhata-sikhah’ and explains that just as a blazing fire fanned by blowing wind burns up dry wood, in the same way when Bhagavan Krishna is established in the heart, all sins are burnt. Spiritual intelligence is confirmed in those whose senses are under control. When our minds evolve to realise that Bhagavan Vishnu is the Supreme Absolute Reality, all impurities are eradicated and the mind is purified and clear, free from all desires.

Maharaja Ambarisha’s life is good example on how one can become ‘mat-parah’:
“mad-bhakti-prabhavena sarvendriya-vijaya-purvika svatma drstih sulabheti bhavah”
Meaning: The senses can be completely controlled only by the strength of devotional service to Bhagavan.

Srimad-Bhagavatam (9.4.18 – 20) describes how Maharaja Ambarisha was able to control his senses:

Sa vai manah Krishna-padaravindayor vacamsi vaikuntha-gunanavarnane  |
Karau harer mandira-marjanadisu srutim cakaracyuta-sat-kathodaye     ||9.4.18||
Meaning: King Ambarisha was always engaged and his mind was focussed meditating upon the Lotus feet of Kṛiṣhṇa, his words in describing the glories of the Lord, his hands in cleansing the Lord’s temple, and his ears in hearing the words spoken by Kṛiṣhṇa or singing glories of Kṛiṣhṇa.

Mukunda-lingalaya-darsane drsau tad-bhrtya-gatra-sparse’nga-sangamam   |
Ghranam ca tat-pada-saroja-saurabhe srimat-tulasya rasanam tad-arpite ||9.4.19||
Meaning: He engaged his eyes only to see the Deity or the divine temples of Mukunda in places like Mathura and Vṛindavan. He engaged his sense of touch by serving the Lord’s devotees, he engaged his sense of smell in smelling the fragrance of tulasi offered to the Lord, and he engaged his tongue in tasting the Lord’s prasada (offering).

padau hareh ksetra-padanusarpane siro hrsikesa-padabhivandane  |
kamam ca dasye na tu kama-kamyaya yathottamasloka-janasraya ratih ||9.4.20||
Meaning:  He engaged his legs to walk to the holy places and temples of the Lord, his head in bowing down before the Lord, and all his desires in serving the Lord, all the time. Indeed, Maharaja Ambarisha never desired anything for his own sense gratification. He engaged all his senses in devotional service, in various engagements related to the Lord. This is the way to increase attachment for the Lord and be completely free from all material desires.

All these attributes made him fit to become a ‘mat-parah’ devotee of the Lord and the Lord protects such devotees. When Sage Durvasa wanted to punish Ambarisha, it was Lord’s Sudharsana Chakra that came to protect him and made Sage Durvasa seek pardon from Kind Ambarisha and made the Sage realise his misplaced arrogance towards the Lord’s devotee.

 

Because the uncontrolled senses are the cause of all disturbance, one with spiritual intelligence seeking transcendence should make it their priority to control their senses. Having duly controlled the senses, one should firmly establish their mind by meditating on Bhagavan for maintaining this control. This will lead to the mind slowly becoming free from all desires. The mind, along with the senses completely under control, is then capable of self-realisation and ready for union with the Ultimate Consciousness.

2.62     Shloka 2.62

ध्यायतो विषयान्पुंसः सङ्गस्तेषूपजायते।
सङ्गात् संजायते कामः कामात्क्रोधोऽभिजायते।।2.62।।

Dhyayato visayan pumsah sangas tesupajayate            |
Sangat sanjayate kamah kamat krodho ‘bhijayate ||2.62||
Meaning: While contemplating the objects of the senses, a person develops attachment for them, and from such attachment lust develops, and from lust anger arises.

Bhagavan Krishna states that one who contemplates sensual objects like form and touch develops in the mind an attachment towards them.  This manifests in the form of lust and deludes one into believing such objects to be the root cause of happiness. From this attachment springs desire and when one is able to gratify by enjoying these sense objects, it leads to attachment to these desires ultimately enslaving the person.  When controlled by these desires any obstruction in sating these desires leads to frustration and anger. 

2.63     Shloka 2.63

क्रोधाद्भवति संमोहः संमोहात्स्मृतिविभ्रमः।
स्मृतिभ्रंशाद् बुद्धिनाशो बुद्धिनाशात्प्रणश्यति।।2.63।।

Krodhad bhavati sammohah sammohat smrti-vibhramah     |
Smriti-bhramsad buddhi-naso buddhi-nasat pranasyati    ||2.63||
Meaning: From anger, delusion arises, and from delusion bewilderment of memory. When memory is bewildered, intelligence is lost, and when intelligence is lost, one perishes.

The word ‘Sammoha’ denotes an illusionary perception of knowledge. Even if the knowledge is right, one will be deluded and recall it incorrectly. Due to wrong perception, the judgement will be compromised and the actions that follow are terrible.

The debilitating effect created by a magnetic attraction to desires for sense objects becomes more and more extreme. From this extreme desire springs lust when this lust is denied it leads to Krodha or anger.  Krodha is the frustrated outrage one feels against that which stands in the way of obtaining the gratification of ones senses.

Bhagavan Krishna explains that anger emerges from delusion which is the lack of discrimination on what righteous actions are to be performed and what actions are to be avoided. From this delusion comes confusion which is the bewilderment of intelligence and forgetfulness of the scriptures that contains knowledge of Dharma. This confusion leads to misinterpretation of scriptures and lack of discriminative intellect in determining the true nature of reality. From such illusory knowledge one is completely ruined and loses focus on the goal of material existence and the core purpose of human life which is to engage in the service of the Lord by serving his devotees. Thus, it must be understood that controlling one’s mind and senses is the most important first step to self-realisation.

2.64     Shloka 2.64

रागद्वेषवियुक्तैस्तु विषयानिन्द्रियैश्चरन्।
आत्मवश्यैर्विधेयात्मा प्रसादमधिगच्छति।।2.64।।

Raga-Dvesa-vimuktais tu visayan indriyais caran |
Atma-vasyair vidheyatma prasadam adhigacchati ||2.64||
Meaning: But one who controls his senses by practicing the regulated principles and is completely free from attachment and aversion, attains the mercy of the Lord.

Bhagavan Krishna reveals how if one is able to bring their mind under firm control, then senses also come under firm control which will help them to succeed in their pursuit of self-realisation.  And such persons are bestowed with the ultimate coveted ‘prasadam’, i.e. they attain the mercy of the Supreme Lord.

This answers the last question – How does a person who is ‘sthitha-prajna’ walk or act? The self- controlled aspirant who has his mind firmly under control while experiencing various sense objects through disciplined approach which are free from attachment or aversion, achieves placidity and tranquillity of mind. This way the mind becomes purified.

Rejecting all desires for sensual objects with a mind firmly under control, one achieves lucidity of mind along with inner purity and blissful state.

2.65     Shloka 2.65

प्रसादे सर्वदुःखानां हानिरस्योपजायते।
प्रसन्नचेतसो ह्याशु बुद्धिः पर्यवतिष्ठते।।2.65।।

Prasade sarva-duhkhanam hanir asyopajayate  |
Prasanna-cetaso hy asu buddhih paryavatisthate ||2.65||
Meaning: When one attains the precious mercy of the Ultimate personality, the threefold miseries of material existence exist no longer; in such a happy state, one’s spiritual intelligence soon becomes steady.

Bhagavan Krishna now explains that when the mind is placid and pure it has achieved for itself the cessation of all miseries arising from materialism. ‘Prasanna-chetah’ refers to that delightful one whose mind is removed of all impediments that hinders it from realising the eternal soul while bestowing the spiritual intelligence needed for illumination. Thus when the mind has been purified all sorrows are terminated.

One may wonder how sorrows are destroyed on attaining the state of satisfaction. Bhagavan Krishna explains that by achieving tranquillity of mind the intellect becomes established in connecting to the ultimate reality. ‘Prasade’ indicates that by the mercy of the Supreme Lord one neutralises the tendency to gravitate towards experiencing objects of the senses.

By achieving a state of mental placidity all ones physical as well as other sorrows of the aspirant come to an end. The fruition of sorrow and pain is inevitable for one attached to sensual objects. But in the case of one who has purified their mind the sorrows and pains are easily neutralised. By the word ‘hi’ meaning certainly, Bhagavan Krishna is emphasising that such a person becomes firmly established in transcendent consciousness.

2.66     Shloka 2.66

नास्ति बुद्धिरयुक्तस्य चायुक्तस्य भावना।
चाभावयतः शान्तिरशान्तस्य कुतः सुखम्।।2.66।।

Nasti buddhir ayuktasya na cayuktasya bhavana         |
Na cabhavayatah santir asantasya kutah sukham ||2.66||
Meaning: One with an uncontrolled mind cannot gain spiritual intelligence; one devoid of spiritual intelligence does not meditate on the Ultimate Reality and for one who never meditates on the Supreme, there is no peace. And how can there be any happiness without peace?

In order to strengthen the points made in the previous verse, Bhagavan Krishna cites all the contrary results that can accrue when one is unable to control the mind. One who is unable to concentrate and focus their mind in meditation on Lord Krishna is known as ayukta, one devoid of spiritual intelligence. One who has not subdued their senses by controlling their mind is bereft of resolve. The intellect of one with spiritual intelligence determines the truth as set out in various scriptures. It is not possible for an undisciplined living entity to have belief of the calibre necessary to contemplate on matters relating to the ultimate truth.

Without having an understanding or devotion of the God, there can be no peace.  And attachment for sensual objects remains. In such a state there can be no happiness.  Thus without being able to comprehend and contemplate on the nature of the eternal soul there can be no tranquility.

2.67     Shloka 2.67

इन्द्रियाणां हि चरतां यन्मनोऽनुविधीयते।
तदस्य हरति प्रज्ञां वायुर्नावमिवाम्भसि।।2.67।।

Indriyanam hi caratam yan mano ‘nuvidhiyate           |
Tad asya harati prajnam vayur navam ivambhasi ||2.67||
Meaning: Whichever among the various senses the wandering mind is engrossed with, that sense certainly leads his intelligence astray just like the wind snatches away a boat on the water.

Unless all of the senses are engaged in the service of the Lord, even one of them engaged in sense gratification can deviate the devotee from the path of transcendental advancement. As mentioned in the life of Maharaja Ambarisha, all of the senses must be engaged on the Lord, for that is the correct technique for controlling the mind.

In this verse Lord Krishna compares the uncontrolled mind that is servile to the senses gives to that of a boat on water being swept away by strong winds. One may ask the question that don’t the senses perform the activities energised by the Supreme Lord? This is only partly true because wisdom is an essential ingredient of meditation and when one is pursuing the senses then wisdom is lost and one is out of control like a boat in a storm causing the senses to lose their essential purpose.

Lord Krishna declares that one who is unable to control their mind and senses cannot be in possession of a discriminative intellect. This is because any one of the rambling senses which the mind attaches itself to in pursuit of sense objects has the power to deviate one away from their pursuit of gaining spiritual intelligence.

2.68     Shloka 2.68

तस्माद्यस्य महाबाहो निगृहीतानि सर्वशः।
इन्द्रियाणीन्द्रियार्थेभ्यस्तस्य प्रज्ञा प्रतिष्ठिता।।2.68।।

Tasmad yasya maha-baho nigrhitani sarvasah              |
Indriyanindriyarthebhyas tasya prajna pratisthita ||2.68||
Meaning: Therefore, O mighty-armed, one whose senses are restrained from their objects is certainly of steady intelligence.

Lord Krishna is declaring that only by control of the senses in all respects can wisdom be achieved. Therefore, whosoever achieves communion with Him, the most exalted reality for meditation, will surely in every way have their senses under control and completely oblivious to the objects of the senses. Thus, so qualified they gain wisdom and become fit to attain the eternal Soul.

2.69     Shloka 2.69

या निशा सर्वभूतानां तस्यां जागर्ति संयमी।
यस्यां जाग्रति भूतानि सा निशा पश्यतो मुनेः।।2.69।।

Ya nisha sarva-bhutanam tasyam jagarti samyami     |
Yasyam jagrati bhutani sa nisha pasyato muneh  ||2.69||
Meaning: What is night for all beings is the time when the self-controlled is wakeful; and the time in which all living beings are awake, it is night for the introspective Sage.

There are two classes of intelligent men. The one is intelligent in material activities for sense gratification, and the other is introspective and awake to the cultivation of self-realization. Activities of the introspective Sage, or thoughtful man, are night for persons materially absorbed. Materialistic persons remain asleep and it’s like a night due to their ignorance of the Self (Atma). The introspective Sage remains alert in the “night” of the materialistic men. The Sage feels transcendental pleasure in the gradual advancement of spiritual awareness, whereas the man in materialistic activities, being asleep to self-realization, dreams of varieties of sense pleasure, feeling sometimes happy and sometimes distressed in this ignoramus condition. They see nothing except what they can experience with their senses. This is due to being captivated by their senses and unable to concentrate their mind in meditation. The introspective man is always indifferent to materialistic happiness and distress. He goes on with his self-realization activities undisturbed by material reaction.

One situated in transcendent meditation has no connections to their senses whatsoever; but such a being cannot be perceived. As the functions of the senses such as seeing, hearing, and tasting of an ordinary person are the exact same to one situated in transcendent meditation, How is it possible to properly understand what this means?

Here Lord Krishna indicates that the operation of the senses to one situated in transcendent mediation are completely different from an ordinary being. This is because those whose minds are inclined towards sense objects are unqualified to realise the soul, their intellect is likened to the darkness of night. Whereas the self-restrained living entities with their sense organs fully controlled remains awake and realises the essence of the eternal soul and realises the eternal truths of the Vedic scriptures.

2.70     Shloka 2.70

आपूर्यमाणमचलप्रतिष्ठं समुद्रमापः प्रविशन्ति यद्वत्।
तद्वत्कामा यं प्रविशन्ति सर्वे शान्तिमाप्नोति कामकामी।।2.70।।

Apuryamanam acala-pratistham samudram apah pravisanti yadvat     |
Tadvat kama yam pravisanti sarve sa santim apnoti na kama-kami ||2.70||
Meaning: That Sage achieves peace who is not disturbed by the incessant flow of desires and sense objects— like the rivers entering into the ocean which is ever being filled but is always still, and not the man who strives to satisfy such incessant desires.

The Ocean is full unto itself and always maintains the same form even though countless rivers enter into it. Whether the rivers enter or do not enter, the ocean is unaffected. Similarly when a person is in transcendent meditation and comes in contact with sense objects, such a person remains peaceful and maintains an equipoise state of consciousness. Bhagavan Krishna says that this state can never be attained by one who is a ‘kamakami’ full of desires or is controlled by the senses, for such a being can never achieve peace.

All desires are not contrary to liberation nor are all desires opposed to liberation. In the absence of desires, it is not possible to live a normal life. Although they may be experienced, they are not powerful enough to generate any change or deviation internally. Thus such a person who has attained peace in the form of liberation from extreme joy as well as misery because the actions that cause of all types of miseries are terminated but the devotedness to the Supreme does not deviate and does not terminate.

Contrarily one who hankers after sensual enjoyments can never find peace and incessantly revolves in the material existence buffeted hither and thither by the negative and positive reactions of their own desires.

2.71     Shloka 2.71

विहाय कामान्यः सर्वान्पुमांश्चरति निःस्पृहः।
निर्ममो निरहंकारः शांतिमधिगच्छति।।2.71।।

Vihaya kaman yah sarvan pumams carati nihsprhah      |
Nirmamo nirahankarah sa santim adhigacchati         ||2.71||
Meaning: Whosoever has given up all material desires for sense gratification, lives free from attachment, false ego and sense of proprietorship; that person attains peace.

In answer to the question, Who is qualified for this yoga which bestows such a great reward? Lord Krishna states ‘yah vihaya’ meaning whomsoever is able to renounce desires. The use of the pronoun ‘yah’ is to emphasise that there are no restrictions of class, gender, age, caste, education etc. for engaging in this process of self-realisation which is preceded by abandoning attachment to all sense objects. Abandoning fully all desires for sense gratification, free from attachment and hence free from egoism, devoid of doer-ship and ownership.

Due to the firm knowledge about the eternal soul being distinctly different from all of these material designations, wherever and whatever such a one engages themselves they are always situated in a state of perfect peace.

The living entity cannot be desireless or bereft of the senses, but he does have to change the quality of the desires. A person with no material desires certainly knows that everything belongs to Bhagavan (isavasyam idam sarvam), and therefore he does not falsely claim proprietorship over anything. This transcendental knowledge is based on self-realization—namely, knowing perfectly well that every living entity is the eternal part and parcel of the Supreme in spiritual identity. Rejecting egotism in all its forms is understood to be under the control of the Supreme Lord Krishna. This is the goal to fully strive for.

2.72     Shloka 2.72

एषा ब्राह्मी स्थितिः पार्थ नैनां प्राप्य विमुह्यति।
स्थित्वाऽस्यामन्तकालेऽपि ब्रह्मनिर्वाणमृच्छति।।2.72।।

Esa brahmi sthitih partha nainam prapya vimuhyati       |
Sthitvasyam anta-kale ‘pi brahma-nirvanam rcchati ||2.72||
Meaning: O’ Partha, having gained the realisation of the Ultimate Truth, one is never again deluded and even at the moment of death, being situated in this state, liberation from the material existence and attainment of the Ultimate Consciousness is assured.

Nirvana means ending the process of materialistic life.  And ‘brahmi-sthitih’ is liberation from material bondage. Brahman is just the opposite of matter and therefore, brahmi sthitih means “not on the platform of material activities.”

If one is a ‘sthitha-prajna’ and is devoted to the Lord, he at once attains the stage of Brahma-nirvana. There is no difference between the kingdom of God and the devotional service of the Lord.

Lord Krishna extolling the virtues of the process of spiritual knowledge concludes Chapter two with this verse enunciating the performance of actions by being unattached to their rewards. This state of consciousness leads to self-realisation and ‘brahmi’, the ultimate truth. Having achieved this one never again deluded by the material energy.

When one becomes established in this state, even at the last moment when death comes they achieve the eternal spiritual attainment.

Lord Krishna concludes chapter two by revealing the state of consciousness achieved by one who performs all actions unattached and equipoised based on knowledge of the eternal nature of the immortal soul. This process has for its goal the attainment of transcendent meditation. It is ‘brahmi’ or that which leads to Brahman, the ultimate truth.

 

Thus, the following doctrine is to be understood from Chapter 2:

  1. That the immortal soul is eternal (‘na hanyate hanya mane sharire’ – 2.20)
  2. All activities should be performed as a matter of duty devoid of desire for reward (2.47)
  3. There should be no proprietorship or doer-ship (2.47)
  4. Engage in devotional service – (yogah karmasu kausalam – 2.50)
  5. One should control their mind which will result in control of the senses (2.58);
  6. One should perform actions without attachment or aversion (2.64)
  7. One should be equipoised (2.68)
  8. Constantly contemplate and engage in meditating on the Lord (2.70)
  9. One who is spiritually intelligent of illuminated consciousness understands that through either jnana-yoga or karma-yoga, the goal of transcendent meditation can be attained but devotion to the Supreme is essential for realisation of the Supreme. (2.71)

Liberation from the material existence and realisation of eternal bliss (sat chit Ananda) can be achieved through the above process. In essence this results in relinquishment of both the physical body and the subtle body, after which one becomes qualified to realise their spiritual body and experience the sublime bliss of uninterrupted devotion to the Supreme Lord Krishna.

  • The primary way of attaining God realisation is certainly pure devotion unto God, whereas self-realisation or soul-cognition, although extremely exalted, is secondary. Devotion to GOD is primary ‘means’ (Upaya) as well as the ‘goal’ (Upeya) to be attained.
  • Through the process of intense devotion one becomes relieved from all unhappiness and free from attachment. Over time they gain spiritual intelligence and become completely equipoised in transcendent meditation attaining the bliss of the Supreme.

These spiritual truths have been revealed in the second chapter of the Bhagavad-Gita for curing ignorance and dispelling delusion.

Aum Tat Sat iti Srimad Bhagavad Gitasu upanishadsu brahmavidyayam yoga shastre Shri Krishna Arjuna samvaade Sankhya Yogo Nama dvitiyo adhyayah|  

जय श्री कृष्णा – Jai Shri Krishna!

Hari Aum Tat Sat

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SRIMAD BHAGAVAD GITA – PART 9 Chapter 2, Verses 51 to 60 – SANKHYA YOGA

Bhagavan Krishna explains that those who acquire spiritual intelligence take refuge in the Supreme and renounce the fruits of their action.  Arjuna wants to know the attributes and characteristics of such a wise man.

Bhagavan explains that a person who is ‘Sthitha-prajna’ has total control over his sense and is not disturbed by miseries, who is not elated when there is happiness, and who is free from attachment, fear and anger.  Such a Sage is known as steadfast in consciousness i.e. Sthitha-prajna.

In these ten verses, Bhagavan explains the qualities and attributes of a wise man. He also explains the process to attain spiritual intelligence and how can seek to realise the Self (Atma) and experience the union with Ultimate Consciousness. Krishna also cautions that the senses are so strong and impetuous that they can forcibly carry away the mind even of a man of discrimination who is vigilant and endeavouring to control them.

2.51     Shloka 2.51

कर्मजं बुद्धियुक्ता हि फलं त्यक्त्वा मनीषिणः।
जन्मबन्धविनिर्मुक्ताः पदं गच्छन्त्यनामयम्।।2.51।।

Karma-jam buddhi-yukta hi phalam tyaktva manisinah             |
Janma-bandha-vinirmuktah padam gacchanty anamayam ||2.51||
Meaning:  Endowed with spiritual intelligence, the wise men, take refuge in the Lord, and free themselves from the cycle of birth and death by renouncing the fruits of action in the material world. In this way they attain tranquillity and get beyond all miseries.

Those who are factually situated in spiritual intelligence perform activities as a matter of duty free from conceptions of gain and loss, unconcerned about the resultant rewards. They are assuredly delivered from the bondage of birth and death in the material existence and are liberated to the spiritual realms.

The liberated living entities seek that place where there are no material miseries. Srimad Bhagavatam says:
Samasrita ye padapallava-plavam mahat-padam punya-yaso murareh |
Bhavambudhir vatsa-padam param padam param padam yad vipadam na tesam || (SB 10.14.58)
Meaning: For those who have accepted the boat of the Lotus feet of the Lord, who is the shelter of the cosmic manifestation, and is famous as Murari, the destroyer of Demon Mura, for them the ocean of the material world is like the water contained in a calf’s hoof print. Their goal is Parama padam, or Vaikuntha, the place where there are no material miseries. This is not a place there is danger in every step of life.”

One who wrongly thinks that the living entity’s position and the Lord’s position are on the same level is ignorant and therefore unable to engage himself in the devotional service of the Lord. He assumes to be a Lord himself and thus is destined to the repeated cycles of birth and death. But one who, understanding that his position is to serve, engages himself in the service of the Lord, and at once becomes eligible for Parama Padam or Vaikuntha.

Liberation from the material existence is the direction to strive for and attaining the blissful state of the spiritual worlds described in the Upanishads as Vaikuntha which is free from all miseries. The conclusion is that in order to attain the unlimited bliss of boundless joy in the spiritual world one must abandon the fruits of meritorious deeds as well or else they will bestow trivial material rewards.

2.52     Shloka 2.52

यदा ते मोहकलिलं बुद्धिर्व्यतितरिष्यति।
तदा गन्तासि निर्वेदं श्रोतव्यस्य श्रुतस्य च।।2.52।।

Yada te moha-kalilam buddhir vyatitarisyati            |
Tada gantasi nirvedam srotavyasya srutasya ca ||2.52||
Meaning:  When your spiritual intelligence overcomes the myriads of delusion, you shall become indifferent to all that has been heard and all that is to be heard.

There are many examples in the lives of the great devotees of the Lord who became indifferent to the rituals of the Vedas and were engaged in the devotional service to the Lord (e.g. Gora Kumbhar, Sena Nai, Sant Tukaram etc.).

When a person develops deep devotion and firmly establishes his relationship with Bhagavan, he naturally becomes completely indifferent to the rituals of fruitive activities.

The word ‘nirvedam’ means indifferent and here it is to be understood that in the process acquiring wisdom by spiritual intelligence one becomes indifferent to mundane pursuits. As one’s devotions become well established and focussed, that person advances with spiritual intelligence and develops greater awareness of the Self (Atma) and mundane desires wane. Bhagavan is very attracted to devotees possessing these attributes.

2.53     Shloka 2.53

श्रुतिविप्रतिपन्ना ते यदा स्थास्यति निश्चला।
समाधावचला बुद्धिस्तदा योगमवाप्स्यसि।।2.53।।

Sruti-vipratipanna te yada sthasyati niscala                |
Samadhav acala buddhis tada yogam avapsyasi ||2.53||
Meaning: When your mind is no longer influenced by the actions for fruitive results as prescribed in the Vedas, and when it remains fixed in the trance of self-realisation, then you will achieve a pure spiritual state and unite with the Ultimate Consciousness.

To say that one is in Samadhi is to say that one has fully realised Brahman, ParamAtma or Bhagavan. ‘Shruti vipratipanna’ means not being influenced to perform rituals for rewards as given in the Vedic scriptures.

‘Shruti’ refers to Vedas and scriptures and implies ‘Sravanam’ or learning through hearing them. By listening to Vedic instructions, the mind evolves and begins to reflect and contemplate on the Infinite and subtle nature of the eternal soul. When this consciousness is firmly rooted within the mind and is steadfast and stable, it purifies the mind of all dross and selfish thoughts. One reaches a state of equanimity and the fruit of equanimity is the gradual experience of the soul itself. This eventually leads to achieve yoga and realise enlightenment.

Hearing this Arjuna next desires to understand the components of this unique consciousness. Is it achieved by willpower, by yoga, by knowledge of the soul, by detachment or is it a combination of all of the above?

2.54     Shloka 2.54

अर्जुन उवाच
स्थितप्रज्ञस्य का भाषा समाधिस्थस्य केशव।
स्थितधीः किं प्रभाषेत किमासीत व्रजेत किम्।।2.54।।

Arjuna Uvaca
Sthita-prajnasya ka bhasa samadhi-sthasya kesava    |
Sthita-dhih kim prabhaseta kim asita vrajeta kim ||2.54||
Meaning: Arjuna said: What are the symptoms of one whose consciousness is situated in perfect knowledge? How does a person in such a spiritual knowledge speak and what is his language? How does he sit, and how does he walk?

When the mind becomes fixed remaining steadfast on the Supreme, then equanimity arises. One with spiritual knowledge in transcendent meditation realises the ultimate truth perceiving God within.

Arjuna wants to know the characteristics of a person who has perfect knowledge, is steadfast and is Equanimous. He asks Bhagavan Krishna to describe such a person and wants to know how does such a person speak, sit and walk.

2.55     Shloka 2.55

श्री भगवानुवाच
प्रजहाति यदा कामान् सर्वान् पार्थ मनोगतान्।
आत्मन्येवात्मना तुष्टः स्थितप्रज्ञस्तदोच्यते।।2.55।।

Shri Bhagavan Uvaca
Prajahati yada Kaman sarvan partha mano-gatan          |
Atmany evatmana tustah sthita-prajnas tadocyate ||2.55||
Meaning: Bhagavan said: O’ Partha, when a man gives up all varieties of sense gratifications that arise in the mind, and when his mind finds satisfaction in realisation of pure Self (Soul), then such a person is said to be in perfect knowledge.

In order to answer Arjuna’s four questions Lord Krishna begins from this Shloka and continues till the end of this chapter.

Bhagavan answers the first question by explaining that when one completely abandons all cravings of the mind one is ‘Sthitha-prajna’ i.e. one who is situated in transcendental consciousness. What is the indication that one has abandoned all cravings of the mind? Lord Krishna explains that such a being is immersed in the Soul and is completely satisfied by the Soul. The stability of one’s mind can be known when one becomes pleased and satisfied by the resultant purity of the mind after completely abandoning all desires and lust. Such a transcendentally situated person has no material desires and remains always happy in his natural position of eternally serving the Supreme Lord.

2.56     Shloka 2.56

दुःखेष्वनुद्विग्नमनाः सुखेषु विगतस्पृहः।
वीतरागभयक्रोधः स्थितधीर्मुनिरुच्यते।।2.56।।

Duhkhesv anudvigna-manah sukhesu vigata-sprhah    |
Vita-raga-bhaya-krodhah sthita-dhir munir ucyate ||2.56||
Meaning: One who is not disturbed in spite of the threefold miseries, who is not elated when there is happiness, and who is free from attachment, fear and anger, that Sage is known as steadfast in consciousness.

A ‘sthita-dhi-muni’ mentioned herein by the Lord, is one who has surpassed the stage of mental speculations and has come to the conclusion that the Supreme Lord is everything. Such a person is undisturbed in sorrow.

There are three types of sorrow or pain:

  • Adyatmika (Physical) – pain of the body and pain of the mind. The pain of the body is diseases and ailments attacking it such as fever, gout, diabetes etc. The pain of the mind is due to insult, jealousy, shame and the like.
  • Adhi-daivika (Supernatural) – misery caused by natural calamities such as drought, flooding, cyclones, earthquakes, hurricanes, etc.
  • Adhi-bhautika (Natural) – pain caused by demons, animals, ghosts, etc.

Those whose minds remain unperturbed by these afflictions as they have become devoid of expectations and desires in whatever the results as they are free from passion, fear and anger. Passion is the extreme mental attachment to objects cherished with intense desire with the intention of never letting these objects to be dispossessed. Fear is the pain caused by the approaching agony arising from separation from what is cherished. Anger is a specific mental attitude which appears in one who experiences separation at the time of loss of cherished objects. These three passion, fear and anger all arise due to the lack of discrimination regarding the eternal nature of the soul. By gradually developing this discrimination one becomes free from these three impediments and with constant contemplation one becomes steadfast with equanimity.  Such a being is a ‘sthitha-dhi-muni’ or one with a steady and profound contemplation of the soul. This being is known as ‘Sthitha-prajna’, one who is situated in perfect knowledge of transcendental consciousness.

2.57     Shloka 2.57

यः सर्वत्रानभिस्नेहस्तत्तत्प्राप्य शुभाशुभम्।
नाभिनन्दति द्वेष्टि तस्य प्रज्ञा प्रतिष्ठिता।।2.57।।

Yah sarvatranabhisnehas tat tat prapya subhasubham  |
Nabhinandati na dvesti tasya prajna pratisthita         ||2.57||
Meaning: He who is without attachment, who does not rejoice when he obtains good, nor laments when he obtains evil; he is firmly established in perfect knowledge. 

There is always some commotion in the material world due to good or evil outcomes. One who is not agitated by such material outcomes and is unaffected by good and evil is to be understood to be established in perfect knowledge, technically called Samadhi.

Forming no attachment in any situation means to be indifferent or unconcerned attitude. Lord Krishna is instructing not to be overjoyed by pleasant outcomes nor become despondent over the unpleasant results. One who can successfully be equipoised is said to be a Sthitha-prajna, situated in the perfect knowledge of transcendental consciousness.

Thus, the characteristic of a Sthitha-prajna is such that he uses his words sparsely, praises no one and blames no one. Because such a person possesses neither love nor hatred for any living being he is not afflicted by any sense desires and is said to be situated in transcendental consciousness.

2.58     Shloka 2.58

यदा संहरते चायं कूर्मोऽङ्गानीव सर्वशः।

इन्द्रियाणीन्द्रियार्थेभ्यस्तस्य प्रज्ञा प्रतिष्ठिता।।2.58।।

Yada samharate cayam kurmo ‘nganiva sarvasah         |
Indriyanindriyarthebhyas tasya prajna pratisthita ||2.58||
Meaning: When one can completely withdraw his senses from the sense objects, just like the tortoise withdrawing its limbs within its shell, he is said to be firmly established in perfect knowledge. 

The test of a yogi or a self-realized soul is that he is able to control the senses according to his will. Most people, however, are subservient to their senses and are thus directed by the strong desires of the senses. The senses are compared to serpents which want to act without restriction. The yogi, or the devotee, must be very strong to control the senses—much like a snake charmer controlling the serpents.

Lord Krishna gives the analogy of a turtle which withdraws its limbs within its shell. Similarly, when one is able to control their senses from pursuing sensual objects of mundane pleasure and consciously reflect upon the soul within, such a person is Sthitha-prajna, one who is situated in the perfect knowledge. There are four stages in developing to this plane each of which develops on its preceding stage. 

Lord Krishna answers the question, ‘How does such a one sit’, with the word ‘yada’ meaning when. When one is in meditation they do not let their senses go out, for e.g. mobile message beeps and controls the organs of action to perform only the basic functions of utmost necessity.

2.59     Shloka 2.59

विषया विनिवर्तन्ते निराहारस्य देहिनः।
रसवर्जं रसोऽप्यस्य परं दृष्ट्वा निवर्तते।।2.59।।

Visaya vinivartante niraharasya dehinah                       |
Rasa-varjam raso ‘py asya param drstva nivartate ||2.59||
Meaning: The embodied soul may be restricted from sense enjoyment, though the taste for sense objects remains. But, even this desire for sense enjoyment ceases for one who has realised the Ultimate Consciousness.

Sensual objects of enjoyment are fuel for the senses. Unless one is transcendentally situated, it is not possible to cease from sense enjoyment. Lord Krishna states that the desire for these sensual objects departs when one starves them by restraining the senses from indulging in them. Although the action is restrained, the craving remains subtly entrenched within the mind. Rasa is taste and raga is attachment. So the craving for taste of sense objects remains. Lord Krishna states that this taste can only be terminated by spiritual intelligence and by the attainment of Sthitha-prajna transcendental meditation.

In the Vedic scriptures it has been stated that the wise master their senses by abstaining from feeding them. But this verse illustrates abstinence alone is not enough because even when abstaining attachment to them continues to grow.

However, when the eternal nature of the soul is realised in all its glorious splendour and it is seen that it is infinitely more attractive than the most delightful sense object. At that time all desire for sense objects completely vanishes along with the residue of craving.

One who realises the Supreme soul within is no longer attracted to the trivial, mundane objects of the material world. The word Param in this verse denotes ParamAtma the Supreme soul in every living entity, the source of eternal bliss, devoid of all material attributes and thus is the exclusive goal of meditation.

2.60     Shloka 2.60

यततो ह्यपि कौन्तेय पुरुषस्य विपश्िचतः।
इन्द्रियाणि प्रमाथीनि हरन्ति प्रसभं मनः।।2.60।।

Yatato hy api kaunteya purusasya vipascitah              |
Indriyani pramathini haranti prasabham manah ||2.60||
Meaning: The senses are so strong and impetuous, O’ Arjuna, that they can forcibly carry away the mind even of a man of discrimination who is vigilant and endeavouring to control them. 

There are many learned sages, philosophers and transcendentalists who try to conquer the senses, but in spite of their endeavours, even the greatest of them sometimes fall victim to material sense enjoyment due to the agitated mind. Even Vishvamitra, a great sage and a perfect yogi, was misled by Menaka into sense enjoyment, although the yogi was endeavouring for sense control with severe penance and yoga. Lord Krishna use of the word ‘pramathini’ meaning ‘turbulent’ to emphasise the force with which it sweeps some away.

Until and unless self-realisation is attained by direct soul cognition the cravings and attachments for sensual experiences will never entirely cease to exist subtly or physically.

The control over the senses is essential for stabilising the mind. The senses are so strong that they forcibly invade the mind, disrupt this meditation and forcibly overpower the mind and indulge it in contemplating sense gratification and bodily attachment. How is it possible that the senses can carry away one’s mind while they are intently striving? It is because the senses are so restless and turbulent that they totally disregarding all efforts in discrimination, besieging the mind they direct it towards sensual objects that will gratify these senses by engaging the mind in sense contemplation.

Thus, the conquest of the senses is ultimately dependent upon realisation of the eternal soul and the perception of the soul is dependent upon control of the senses. Lord Krishna alludes to the difficulty in striving for soul cognition following jnana-nishta by knowledge only. Therefore, it is very difficult to control the mind and the senses without being fully devoted to the Supreme Lord. Without engaging the mind completely in Krishna, one cannot overcome the draw of the sense objects.

जय श्री कृष्णा – Jai Shri Krishna!

Hari Om Tat Sat

SRIMAD BHAGAVAD GITA – PART 8 – Chapter 2, Verses 41 to 50 – SANKHYA YOGA

Bhagavan Krishna explains the essence of Karma Yoga in these ten verses. The path of Yoga is to practiced with a single minded purpose and resoluteness.  Bhagavan Krishna explains in the verse 2.47 to Arjuna thus – “You have the right to perform your prescribed activities but never to the fruits of those actions. You should never consider yourself to be the cause of the results of your activities, and nor should there be any attachment to not doing your duty. You have a right to perform your prescribed activities but never to the fruits of those actions. Never consider yourself to be the cause of the results of your activities, and nor should there be any attachment to not doing your duty.”

Men of small knowledge are very much attached to the flowery words of the Vedas, which recommend various fruitive activities for elevation to heavenly planets, and the resultant good birth, power, and so forth.

All actions performed from the platform of spiritual intelligence are not binding and the mind is preserved in a perfectly equipoised state which can be compared to a state of a blissful state (Sat Cit Ananda).

2.41     Shloka 2.41 

व्यवसायात्मिका बुद्धिरेकेह कुरुनन्दन।
बहुशाखा ह्यनन्ताश्च बुद्धयोऽव्यवसायिनाम्।।2.41।।

Vyavasayatmika buddhir ekeha kuru-nandana |
Bahu-sakha hy anantas ca buddhayo ‘vyavasayinam ||
Meaning: Those who are on this path of Yoga with a focused mind are resolute, and their aim is one. O’ beloved child of the Kurus, the intelligence of those who are full of material desires is has unlimited diverse branches.

 The Caitanya-caritamrta states:
‘sraddha’-sabde visvasa kahe sudrdha niscaya |
krsne bhakti kaile sarva-karma krta haya ||
MeaningFaith means unflinching trust in something sublime. When one performs actions while constantly meditating on Bhagavan, he need not endeavour for good results in his activities.  All activities performed in that spirit are not subject to dualities of good and bad. The highest perfection is renunciation of the material pursuits of life. This state is achieved by constant meditation of Bhagavan.

A person acting based on the knowledge –“Vasudevah sarvam iti sa mahatma sudurlabhah” – realises the Self (Atma)There is a huge difference between the mentality of one who is involved in actions seeking fruitive rewards and the mentality of one who is spiritually evolved who is engaged in selfless actions not seeking rewards and is devoted to Lord Krishna which brings great happiness. It is single pointed because its aim is solely for the service and devotion of the omnipotent, omniscient, Supreme Lord Krishna, the controller and dispenser of all rewards and the sole destination of all those seeking liberation.

Thus Lord Krishna uses the word ‘vyavasa’ or resolute, to emphasise that the purpose for actions must be resolute. One should perform actions with the thought that it is for the ultimate satisfaction of Lord Krishna, thinking that their action will please Him and not for any other reason. This resolute intelligence gives one the realisation that they will be liberated by the Lords grace, from the samsara of birth and death.

Those of fragmented intelligence who have not perceived reality and whose endless desires for fame, wealth, power, etc. and who by their actions are dictated by procuring and accumulation, work and reward. Their intelligence is fragmented into endless directions each unique unto itself and of diverse types all leading to misery. These things can only be perceived by direct experience.

2.42     Shloka 2.42

यामिमां पुष्पितां वाचं प्रवदन्त्यविपश्िचतः।
वेदवादरताः पार्थ नान्यदस्तीति वादिनः।।2.42।।

Yam imam puspitam vacam pravadanty avipascitah     |
Veda-vada-ratah partha nanyad astiti vadinah          ||2.42||
Meaning: Men of small knowledge are very much attached to the flowery words of the Vedas, which recommend various fruitive activities for elevation to heavenly planets, and the resultant good birth, power, and so forth.

Some scholars who have studied the Vedas so fastidiously fail to possess the resolute intelligence. This is because their lack of comprehending the essence of the Vedic scriptures and consequently they have misunderstood the true essence of the Vedas. Lord Krishna emphasises this with the word ‘avipascitah’ meaning the ‘ignorant who are not knowledgeable’ are attracted to flowery descriptions in the Vedas, even as a beautiful flowery creeper may be attractive although it is poisonous. But these living entities are ignorant and not actual scholars of Vedanta because they are only devoted to those parts of the Vedas that help them secure material opulence in this life and the next.

People in general are not very intelligent, and due to their ignorance they are most attached to the fruitive activities recommended in the karma-kanda portions of the Vedas. But all these pleasures are transient as ‘kshine punye martya lokam visanti’ – after they exhaust their positive karmas, they return to the mortal world.

2.43     Shloka 2.43

कामात्मानः स्वर्गपरा जन्मकर्मफलप्रदाम्।
क्रियाविशेषबहुलां भोगैश्वर्यगतिं प्रति।।2.43।।

Kamatmanah svarga-para janma-karma-phala-pradam  |
Kriya-visesa-bahulam bhogaisvarya-gatim prati           ||2.43||
Meaning: Being desirous of sense gratification and opulent life, they say that there is nothing more than this.

So all their activities in this life are enacted solely for the sake of accruing benefits in order to reside in the heavenly spheres where they can enjoy and enjoy for a seemingly unlimited time span. But when their merit expires after enjoying the delights of heaven in various wonderful ways to their hearts content they will again take birth on earth in a rich and learned family who also are following the flowery phrases of the Vedas and they will again follow this path and in the end transmigrate to the heavenly planets once again to enact the process. By being born into situations of opulence and prosperity allows one ample means and facility to perform the various prescribed rituals to obtain the maximum result. Thus, they transmigrate from body to body, again and again, continuously revolving like a waterwheel. In special situations Indra, the ruler of the Devas sometimes appoints one of them as a Gandharva celestial musician or as an Aspara celestial damsel among the Devas for the duration of time their merit warrants.

2.44     Shloka 2.44

भोगैश्वर्यप्रसक्तानां तयापहृतचेतसाम्।
व्यवसायात्मिका बुद्धिः समाधौ विधीयते।।2.44।।

Bhogaisvarya-prasaktanam tayapahrta-cetasam |
Vyavasayatmika buddhih samadhau na vidhiyate ||2.44||
Meaning: In the minds of those who are too attached to sense enjoyment and material opulence, and who are bewildered by such things, the resolute determination of devotional service to the Supreme Lord does not take place.

Samadhi means having a ‘fixed mind’. Samadhi is never possible for persons interested in material sense enjoyment, nor for those who are bewildered by such temporary things. They are more or less condemned by the process of material energy.

The actions of those who are not resolute are not in conformity with the Vedic scriptures; but those who are resolute possessing spiritual intelligence never act contrary to the Vedic scriptures.

Those who revel only in the words of the Vedas are known as Vedavad-ratah. However, some have a poor comprehension of these and they speak only of revelling in the pleasures derived from actions. Those who are influenced by such words, doctrines and philosophies which are contrary to the Vedic scriptures, consider that the fulfilment of desired objects is the purpose of life. Enjoying whatever pleasures they have managed to manipulate for themselves they are repeatedly born again and again cast down into the material existence or depending upon the method of how they acquired their material opulence even hurled down to be born again in the material world. For these persons spiritual intelligence and comprehensive discrimination does not manifest itself in the form of an equanimity.

The essence and the objective of the Vedic scriptures is knowledge of the Ultimate, which is the Supreme Lord, who is very pleased by those who are devoted to Him. The instructions and injunctions within the Vedic scriptures should be known to be applicable solely to the Supreme Lord and no other. It is the knowledge of the Supreme Lord that is to be sought and understood. This is what is to be achieved by all living entities to make their life in this world purposeful.

2.45     Shloka 2.45

त्रैगुण्यविषया वेदा निस्त्रैगुण्यो भवार्जुन ।
निर्द्वन्द्वो नित्यसत्त्वस्थो निर्योगक्षेम आत्मवान्।।2.45।।

Trai-gunya-visaya veda nistrai-gunyo bhavarjuna                 |
Nirdvandvo nitya-sattva-stho niryoga-ksema atmavan ||2.45||
Meaning: The Vedas mainly deal with the subject of the three modes of material nature. Rise above these modes, O’ Arjuna. Be transcendental to all of them. Be free from all dualities and from all anxieties of acquisition and preservation, and be established in the Self.

If there was no material goal to pursue what would people strive for?  They would lose interest and faith in spiritual knowledge and ritualistic practices and thus they would lose both chances bequeathed to them. So it is justly so that the Vedic scriptures deal with the three modes of material nature as they explain the rituals that bring benefits for all those subject to the influence of these modes.  

All material activities involve actions and reactions in the three modes of material nature. They are meant for fruitive results, which cause bondage in the material world. The Vedas deal mostly with fruitive activities to gradually elevate the doer from the field of sense gratification to a position on the transcendental plane. Bhagavan Shri Krishna advises Arjuna to raise himself above the three gunas to the transcendental position by attaining a mental state of equipoise.

It is quite possible that one may become indifferent to the heavenly delights but the basic requirements for human existence such as food, clothing and shelter which are also actual modifications of the three modes of material nature and are impossible to ignore.  It’s hard to become indifferent to that.

Lord Krishna explains one has to be free from dualities like praise and blame, heat and cold, pleasure and pain. Being free from them means being unattached to them. How can this be done? By enduring them and becoming established in pure spiritual consciousness. Its characteristic is patience and endurance uninfluenced by passion or covered by ignorance. One should always be tempered by patience. As anyone without patience is easily overpowered by passion and ignorance and becomes uncontrolled and fearful in situations involving the three modes of material nature. So we should overcome the hindrances of passion and ignorance and maintain a balanced state of equilibrium.

One may wonder how they can may maintain themselves in the material nature. To this Lord Krishna reiterates niryoga-kshema i.e. become free from the desire of acquisition and preservation.  When Lord Krishna speaks about being free from gain and preservation, this does not mean to deny the things one needs to survive and flourish but relates only to curb the desire or obsession for acquisition of possessions.

But how then would one sustain their lives? By being ‘Atmavan’ meaning firmly established in spiritual consciousness of the Soul. The essence is to understand that the Supreme Lord as the fulfiller and bestower of all desires. So one should only seek His refuge and accept His shelter. Never fear nor seek any other form of succour from any other source for the Supreme Lord will provide all sustenance and maintenance to those who understanding Him fully surrender unto Him.

Continuous remembrance of the Supreme Lord Krishna is ever present within. The full acceptance of the Supreme Lord within one’s own-self effectively to realisation of the Ultimate Truth.

2.46     Shloka 2.46

यावानर्थ उदपाने सर्वतः संप्लुतोदके।
तावान्सर्वेषु वेदेषु ब्राह्मणस्य विजानतः।।2.46।।

Yavan artha udapane sarvatah samplutodake        |
Tavan sarvesu vedesu brahmanasya vijanatah ||2.46||
Meaning: All purposes that are served by a well of water is better served by a vast lake. Similarly, all the purposes of the Vedas are realised to he who knows the Ultimate Truth (Supreme Brahman).

Whatever benefit is for a person seated in the knowledge of Brahman, the same benefit is available to one who is knowledgeable in Vedic scriptures; however, for the one who has realised the Ultimate Truth, all the meanings of the Vedic scriptures are revealed to him by Bhagavan.

During the course of universal dissolution, whatever rewards are ordained by the Bhagavan Shri  Krishna, who is full of all attributes, independent from any support and transcendental to time; the same fruits are available for one who has knowledge of the confidential meanings in the Vedic scriptures.

2.47     Shloka 2.47

कर्मण्येवाधिकारस्ते मा फलेषु कदाचन।
मा कर्मफलहेतुर्भूर्मा ते सङ्गोऽस्त्वकर्मणि।।2.47।।

Karmany evadhikaras te ma phalesu kadacana |
Ma karma-phala-hetur bhur ma te sango ‘stv akarmani ||2.47||
Meaning: You have a right to perform your prescribed activities but never to the fruits of those actions. Never consider yourself to be the cause of the results of your activities, and nor should there be any attachment to not doing your duty.

This is one of the more popular Shlokas in the Bhagavad Gita in which Karma Yoga is encapsulated. Prescribed duties refer to activities performed while one is in the modes of material nature. And inaction means not performing one’s prescribed duties. Bhagavan Krishna advises Arjuna to perform his prescribed duties without being attached to the results (Nishkama Karma). One who is attached to the result of his work is also the cause of the action. Thus he is the enjoyer or sufferer of the result of such actions.

As far as prescribed duties are concerned, they can be classified into routine work, emergency work and desired activities. Routine work, in terms of the scriptural injunctions, is done without desire for results. As one has to do it, obligatory work is action in the mode of goodness. One who performs actions without desirous of the rewards develops equipoise and does not get attached to the fruits of their actions.  It is also important to understand that it is not that the person will not receive the rewards thereof. To the contrary they will certainly receive rewards as well but the difference is they do not let reward be the reason for the motivation of their activities. We must perform all of our actions without being motivated by the fruit.  Everyone has his proprietary right to perform prescribed duties, but they should act without attachment to the result; such dispassionate obligatory duties doubtlessly lead one to the path of liberation.

Arjuna was therefore advised by the Lord to fight as a matter of duty without attachment to the result. His non-participation in the battle is also another form of attachment. Such attachment never leads one to the path of salvation. Any attachment, positive or negative, is cause for bondage. Hence, there should be attachment for doing nothing as Inaction is sinful.

The question may arise that if one is seeking liberation from the material existence should not one acquire firmness in spiritual knowledge and ignore all forms of actions. To this Lord Krishna instructs that everyone has the right to perform actions in order to purify ones existence and advance in spiritual knowledge. But one should not cultivate the mind to think that with the right to perform actions one is entitled to receive rewards. This mentality is destructive to spiritual advancement because then one will get attachment to the actions and then subsequently to the rewards. So Lord Krishna emphasises never be attached to the rewards of actions or even consider the rewards because this attachment will keep up locked in the material existence.

Therefore, fighting as a matter of duty was the only auspicious path of salvation for Arjuna.

2.48     Shloka 2.48

योगस्थः कुरु कर्माणि सङ्गं त्यक्त्वा धनञ्जय।
सिद्ध्यसिद्ध्योः समो भूत्वा समत्वं योग उच्यते।।2.48।।

Yoga-sthah kuru karmani sangam tyaktva dhananjaya         |
Siddhy-asiddhyoh samo bhutva samatvam yoga ucyate ||2.48||
Meaning: O’ Dhananjaya, be steadfast in yoga, perform your duties giving up any attachment and be equipoised in both success and failure. This equanimity is known as the science of uniting the individual consciousness with the Supreme Consciousness. 

Shri Krishna tells Arjuna that he should act in Yoga. Yoga means to concentrate the mind by controlling the ever-disturbing senses by focusing on the Supreme. As Bhagavan Himself is telling Arjuna to fight, Arjuna has nothing to do with the results of the fight. Loss or victory is Krishna’s concern; Arjuna is simply advised to act according to the diktat of Krishna.

What should one do? Lord Krishna states here to remain balanced and in equipoise. Discard the attachment, be in a state of  equipoise in both victory and defeat and perform your duties. Yoga is explained by Lord Krishna Himself as being in the state of equanimity.

2.49     Shloka 2.49

दूरेण ह्यवरं कर्म बुद्धियोगाद्धनञ्जय।
बुद्धौ शरणमन्विच्छ कृपणाः फलहेतवः।।2.49।।

Durena hy avaram karma buddhi-yogad dhananjaya      |
Buddhau saranam anviccha krpanah phala-hetavah ||2.49||
Meaning: O Dhananjaya, with spiritual intelligence, rid yourself of all fruitive activities which are certainly abominable, and surrender fully to that consciousness. Those who want to enjoy the fruits of their work are misers.

One performing actions with the thought of receiving rewards may get the desired results. This appears to be positive but it is repeatedly denounced. Why? Because actions performed for selfish motives are inferior to actions performed with selfless motives. Selfless motives are balanced in equanimity. Equanimity possesses a determinate consciousness. Because of this reality, one should seek the shelter of evenness of mind in equanimity. Arjuna had acquired so many riches before naturally following his duty, so why should he try to avoid his duty worrying about success or failure. Those motivated to perform activities craving only to get a reward for their actions are inferior and wretched.

One who has actually come to understand this and performs actions while constantly meditating on the Lord is said to be in Yoga. As already explained, buddhi-yoga means transcendental loving service to the Lord. Such devotional service is the right course of action for the living entity. Only misers desire to enjoy the fruit of their own work just to be further entangled in material bondage.

All activities performed with the desire of fruitive results are abominable because they continually bind the performer to the cycle of birth and death. One should therefore never desire to be the cause of work and everything should be done in the spirit of offering to Bhagavan Krishna.

Misers do not know how to utilise the riches which they acquire by good fortune or by hard labour. Like the misers, unfortunate persons do not employ their human energy in the service of the Lord. Phala-hetavah are those who sole motivation is dictated by the prospect of reward. It should be understood that such living entities are ‘kripanah’ or ‘misers’ or ‘pitiable’ as acting in this way they are trapped in the material existence, hence unable to attain spiritual knowledge.

For all living entities the Supreme Lord is the only refuge. When this realisation finally dawns upon the intellect of a living entity whether they are ignorant, wise or liberated they surrender unto the Supreme Lord without reservation. Those who live in delusion consider themselves the same as the Supreme Lord who is distinctly different due to His inconceivable potencies and transcendental attributes.

2.50     Shloka 2.50

बुद्धियुक्तो जहातीह उभे सुकृतदुष्कृते।
तस्माद्योगाय युज्यस्व योगः कर्मसु कौशलम्।।2.50।।

Buddhi-yukto jahatiha ubhe sukrta-duskrte                     |
Tasmad yogaya yujyasva yogah karmasu kausalam ||2.50||
Meaning: One endowed with spiritual intelligence can get rid of both positive and negative reactions even in this very life. Therefore, be engaged in Yoga, O Arjuna, which is the art of all work. 

Since time immemorial each living entity has accumulated the various reactions of good and bad work. As such, he is ignorant of his real purpose of life. One’s ignorance can be removed by the instruction of the Bhagavad-gita which teaches one to surrender unto Lord Shri Krishna in all respects and become liberated from the eternal bondage of action and reaction, birth after birth. Arjuna is therefore advised to be in Yoga (be equipoised and act with a spirit of surrender), the purifying process of resultant action.

Those whose activities are inherently protected under the secure guidance of spiritual intelligence are released from the bondage of continuous rebirth in the material existence. Hence one should remain steadfast in spiritual intelligence. Although cultivating spiritual intelligence indeed takes enormous effort to achieve, once attained it is not difficult to maintain. All actions performed from the platform of spiritual intelligence are not binding and the mind is preserved in a perfectly equipoised state which can be compared to a state of a blissful state (Sat Cit Ananda).

जय श्री कृष्णा – Jai Shri Krishna!

Hari Om Tat Sat

SRIMAD BHAGAVAD GITA – PART 7 Chapter 2, Verses 31 to 40 – Sankhya Yoga

Bhagavan Krishna further elaborates the importance of doing one’s prescribed duties or follow their Sva-dharma in these ten verses.  Arjuna, as a Kshatriya, is duty bound to engage in a battle to protect Dharma.  Shri Krishna explains that by not choosing to fight, he will not only incur sins but also lose his fame as he will not be lauded as a kind and benevolent. Bhagavan says that he would be ridiculed by his enemies and his people as a coward and for an honourable person like Arjuna that would be worse than death. Lord Krishna makes his final argument that if Arjuna fought and is killed he will get heavenly planes while if he was victorious, he would enjoy in this world and either ways, he had nothing to lose.

Bhagavan has now set the scene for explaining the discipline of Karma Yoga in his next set of verses.

2.31     Shloka 2.31


स्वधर्ममपि चावेक्ष्य न विकम्पितुमर्हसि।

धर्म्याद्धि युद्धाछ्रेयोऽन्यत्क्षत्रियस्य न विद्यते।।2.31।।
Sva-dharmam api caveksya na vikampitum arhasi
Dharmyad dhi yuddhac chreyo ‘nyat ksatriyasya na vidyate ||2.31||
Meaning: Considering your specific duty as a Kshatriya, you should know that there is no better engagement for you than fighting on religious principles; and so there is no need for hesitation.

Svadharma means specific or ordained duties. The of “Varna-Ashrama Dharma” defines specific duties in terms of the specific modes of one’s field of specialisation. Kshatriyas are warriors and hence duty bound to take up arms to protect and maintain rule of law.  Brahmins are ordained to acquire and impart knowledge and are required to lead a life of austerity. Discharging one’s specific duty in any field of action in accordance with Varna-Ashrama Dharma serves to elevate one to higher planes of life.

Following of Svadharma is ordained by the Lord and this is elaborated in the Fourth Chapter. Until the attainment of “Jivanmukti” or liberation, one has to perform the duties in accordance with the “varna” principles in order to achieve liberation.

‘Kshat’ means hurt and one who gives protection from harm is called Kshatriya (trayate—to give protection).  Bhagavan Krishna responds to Arjuna’s question of what is the highest good with the explanation of “Svadharma” or the principles of righteousness. For a Kshatriya there is nothing more righteous than to engage in a battle to protect dharma.

2.32     Shloka 2.32


यदृच्छया
चोपपन्नं स्वर्गद्वारमपावृतम्।
सुखिनः क्षत्रियाः पार्थ लभन्ते युद्धमीदृशम्।।2.32।।
Yadrcchaya copapannam svarga-dvaram apavrtam              |
Sukhinah kshatriyah partha labhante yuddham idrsam ||2.32||
Meaning: O’ Partha, happy are the Kshatriyas who get such opportunities to engage in a righteous battle that comes on its own accord, thereby opening the doors of the heavenly planes for them.

As Supreme teacher of the world, Lord Krishna censures the attitude of Arjuna who said, ‘I do not find any good in this fighting as it will cause perpetual habitation in hell.’  For a Kshatriya, it is his prime duty to engage in a battle to protect dharma. In the Parasara-smriti, Sage Parasara (father of Vyasa) states:
Kshatriyo hi praja raksan sastra-panih pradandayan |
Nirjitya parasainyadi ksitim dharmena palayet ||
Meaning: A Kshatriya’s duty is to protect the natives from all kinds of harm, and for that reason he has to engage in violent acts where required to maintain law and order. Therefore he has to conquer hostile kings and govern righteously.

Considering all aspects, Arjuna had no reason to refrain from fighting. If he should conquer his enemies, he would enjoy the kingdom; and if he should die in the battle, he would be elevated to the heavenly planes whose doors will be wide open for him.  Either ways, there was no reason for him to lament.

The words ‘Yadrcchaya upapannam’ means ‘arrived at on its own accord’; Bhagavan is emphasising that this opportunity has presented itself and any Kshatriya would embrace it with glee.  It is only the most fortunate among Kshatriyas who get such unsolicited opportunities. For a Kshatriya who fights bravely, a war brings fame and opulence in this life and the next. By engaging in battle for a righteous cause exhibiting outstanding valour one’s glory is guaranteed. But what happens to those who are slain in battle? Here Lord Krishna confirms that for the valorous who fall in battle there is an open door directly to the heavenly planes, the same as for the yogis who fall short of achieving liberation.

2.33     Shloka 2.33


अथ
चैत्त्वमिमं धर्म्यं संग्रामं करिष्यसि।
ततः स्वधर्मं कीर्तिं हित्वा पापमवाप्स्यसि।।2.33।।
Atha cet tvam imam dharmyam sangramam na karisyasi      |
Tatah sva-dharmam kirtim ca hitva papam avapsyasi       ||2.33||
Meaning: If, however, you do not fight this righteous war, then you will certainly incur sins for neglecting your duties and thus lose your reputation as a fighter.

Arjuna was a brave warrior who attained fame by fighting many great adversaries. After fighting Lord Shiva, who was in the guise of a hunter, Arjuna pleased the Lord and received Pashupata-Astra as a reward. Everyone knew that he was a great warrior and even Dronacharya gave him the special weapon, the Brahmastra (which Drona didn’t even teach his son, Ashwatthama). But if he abandoned the battle, he would not only neglect his ordained duty as a Kshatriya, but he would lose all his fame and good name and incur sins.

Now Bhagavan Krishna responds to Arjuna’s distress of not wanting to slay his kins such as Bhishma and Drona but instead is willing to be slain by them. The use of the word ‘atha’ is to emphasise another point of view that if Arjuna declines to fight this righteous war and chooses to disregard the instruction he will neither be happy this world or the world beyond.

2.34     Shloka 2.34


अकीर्तिं
चापि भूतानि कथयिष्यन्ति तेऽव्ययाम्।
संभावितस्य चाकीर्तिर्मरणादतिरिच्यते।।2.34।|
Akirtim capi bhutani kathayisyanti te ‘vyayam
Sambhavitasya cakirtir maranad atiricyate ||2.34||
Meaning: People will always speak of your infamy, and for one who is honoured, dishonour is worse than death.

Both a friend and philosopher to Arjuna, Lord Krishna now gives His final view on Arjuna’s refusal to fight. The Lord says, ‘Arjuna, if you leave the battlefield, people will call you a coward and taunt you.   For an honourable man like you, infamy is worse than death’.

By abandoning this war of righteousness, Arjuna would not only lose his excellent reputation but great misfortune would also befall on him. Bhagavan Krishna uses the word ‘akirtim’ meaning ‘infamy’ to emphasise that for an honourable man is worse than death. Instead of being called a valiant warrior, Arjuna, the wielder of the intrepid ‘Gandiva’ bow, would be known as a timid and meek person who fled the battlefield. Not only will happiness and fame elude him but the people will chastise him and speak of his act of cowardice openly.

The Supreme Lord Krishna is telling Arjuna that forever history will brand him for his cowardice. If Arjuna was to reply that public opinion is of no consequence to him, the Supreme Lord neutralises that by stating that for a person of honour possessing the qualities of heroism, determination, strength, courage etc., to accept infamy is worse than death. If he was to acquire disgrace of this kind death for him would certainly be much better.

2.35     Shloka 2.35


भयाद्रणादुपरतं
मंस्यन्ते त्वां महारथाः।
येषां त्वं बहुमतो भूत्वा यास्यसि लाघवम्।।2.35।।
Bhayad ranad uparatam mamsyante tvam maha-rathah |
Yesam ca tvam bahu-mato bhutva yasyasi laghavam ||2.35||
Meaning: The great generals who held you in high esteem will think that you have left the battlefield out of fear; thus they will consider you a coward and you will fall into disgrace.

Bhagavan Krishna continued to give His discourse to Arjuna: ‘Do not think that the great generals like Duryodhana, Karna, and other contemporaries will think that you have left the battlefield out of compassion for your brothers and grandfather. They will think that you have left out of fear for your life. And thus their high opinion of your personality will be ruined’.

Arjuna would belittle himself in front of all the mighty warriors headed by Bhishma, Drona and Karna if he was to leave the battlefield exhibiting grief.  All the warriors on both sides would think he left the war out of fear. As a Kshatriya never refuses to engage in battle.

2.36     Shloka 2.36


अवाच्यवादांश्च
बहून् वदिष्यन्ति तवाहिताः।
निन्दन्तस्तव सामर्थ्यं ततो दुःखतरं नु किम्।।2.36।।
Avacya-vadams ca bahun vadisyanti tavahitah     |
Nindantas tava samarthyam tato duhkhataram nu kim ||2.36||
Meaning: Your enemies will describe you in many unkind words and scorn your ability. What could be more painful than that?

Arjuna should properly fortify his mind and prepare for war with the firm conviction that embarking on the course of a righteous war is the guaranteed means for him to achieve moksha or final salvation.

2.37     Shloka 2.37


हतो
वा प्राप्स्यसि स्वर्गं जित्वा वा भोक्ष्यसे महीम्।
तस्मादुत्तिष्ठ कौन्तेय युद्धाय कृतनिश्चयः।।2.37।।
Hato va prapsyasi svargam jitva va bhoksyase mahim |
Tasmad uttistha kaunteya yuddhaya krta-niscayah ||2.37||
Meaning: O’ son of Kunti, either you will be killed on the battlefield and attain the heavenly planes, or you will conquer and enjoy the earthly kingdom. Therefore, get up and fight with determination.

Even though there was no certainty of victory for Arjuna’s side, he still had to fight; for, even being killed there, he could be elevated into the heavenly planes. Arjuna is called as Kaunteya to remind him that such conduct is indeed expected from him as the son of the great Queen Kunti.

In this verse, Bhagavan emphasises the word ‘hata’ meaning ‘slain’ that there is benefit in both scenarios i.e. if slain in the line of duty, he would be elevated to heavenly plane and if he was victorious he can enjoy the kingdom in this world. As both results give benefit,  Arjuna should rise up and fight.

2.38     Shloka 2.38


सुखदुःखे
समे कृत्वा लाभालाभौ जयाजयौ।
ततो युद्धाय युज्यस्व नैवं पापमवाप्स्यसि।।2.38।।
Sukha-duhkhe same krtva labhalabhau jayajayau       |
Tato yuddhaya yujyasva naivam papam avapsyasi ||2.38||
Meaning: Being equipoised in happiness and distress, profit and loss, victory and defeat; thereafter prepare for the battle with that mind-set and, by so doing, you will never incur sin.

That everything should be performed as a righteous duty with equipoise and without attachment to the results, so that there is no sinful reaction. He who acts for his own sense gratification, either in goodness or in passion, is subject to the reaction, good or bad. But he who has completely surrendered all the activities in the name of the Lord, that person no longer accrues any karmic reaction from the course of his activities. It is said:
Devarsi-bhutapta-nrnam pitrnam na kinkaro nayamrni ca rajan    |
Sarvatmana yah saranam saranyam gato Mukundam parihrtya kartam ||(SB 11.5.41)
Meaning: O’ King, one who has given up all material duties and has taken full refuge of the lotus feet of Mukunda (who offers shelter to all), is not indebted to the Devas, the great sages, ordinary living beings, relatives, friends, mankind or even one’s forefathers who have passed away. Since all such classes of living entities are part and parcel of the Supreme Lord, one who has surrendered to the Lord’s service has no need to serve such persons separately.

Now Lord Krishna refutes Arjuna previous worry about accruing sin by killing his kins with the words ‘sukha’ and ‘dukha’ meaning happiness and sorrow. Although the pleasure of happiness and the pain of sorrow in fighting this righteous war is inevitable; it must still be considered as pertaining to the body only and not to the soul which is distinctly different from the physical body. Profit and gain, victory and defeat even without considering the goal of heaven, Arjuna should prepare to fight for the sole purpose of exclusively fulfilling his duty. Thus fixed in this determination with proper understanding if he slays anyone he will not incur sin. By doing so, Arjuna will avoid the sin he would otherwise incur by refraining from the battle and not performing his duty.

2.39     Shloka 2.39


एषा
तेऽभिहिता सांख्ये बुद्धिर्योगे त्विमां श्रृणु।
बुद्ध्यायुक्तो यया पार्थ कर्मबन्धं प्रहास्यसि।।2.39।।
Esa te ‘bhihita sankhye buddhir yoge tv imam srnu |
Buddhya yukto yaya partha karma-bandham prahasyasi ||2.39||
Meaning:  Thus far I have explained to you the spiritual knowledge of Sankhya philosophy. Now listen to the knowledge of Karma Yoga which will bestow you with spiritual intelligence when you perform actions without fruitive desires. This will completely release you from the bondage of reactions arising from actions.

The use of the word ‘Sankhya’ in this Shloka denotes proper understanding. The principle of Soul as the eternal, immortal and unchanging must be understood properly and once Arjuna comprehends it fully, he would know that there is no cause to grieve as the soul is immortal.

The word ‘Yoga’ in this Shloka denotes ‘Karma Yoga’ which is the science of the individual consciousness attaining communion with the Ultimate Consciousness through desire-less actions. It is to be understood that the spiritual intelligence acquired by following the yoga of actions when based on Sankhya or proper understanding of the knowledge of the soul is the path that leads to salvation. Imbibing the wisdom from it will cut asunder the bonds of karmic reactions.

It is important to draw the distinction between ‘Sankhya’ mentioned in this Shloka and the Sankhya philosophy of Sage Kapila which is atheistic. The Sankhya mentioned here takes an analytical approach to explain the distinction between the body and the soul. Bhagavan Shri Krishna gives a description of the soul to make Arjuna understand it from a different perspective.

Having instructed the true knowledge of the soul as being distinctly different from the physical body and seeing that this knowledge has still not been firmly embedded in Arjuna’s heart, Lord Krishna reiterates this truth again in order to illustrate that this knowledge never becomes firmly embedded without practice of the means which is yoga. To do this He introduces the yoga path of selfless actions as the means to this end.

Thus, the reality is to perform all actions under the direction of one’s mind well nurtured with spiritual knowledge. Bhagavan explains that the performance of actions by the renunciation of the rewards, Arjuna will be completely free from transmigration in the material existence.

2.40     Shloka 2.40


नेहाभिक्रमनाशोऽस्ति
प्रत्यवायो विद्यते।
स्वल्पमप्यस्य धर्मस्य त्रायते महतो भयात्।।2.40।।
Nehabhikrama-naso ‘sti pratyavayo na vidyate |
Sv-alpam apy asya dharmasya trayate mahato bhayat ||2.40||
Meaning: In this endeavour there is no loss or diminution, and a little advancement on this path can protect one from the most dangerous type of fear.

While one should strive to achieve a complete state of equipoise and perform duties without desiring fruitive results, even a small advancement towards such a path is better than engaging in actions purely for material gains. Bhagavan basically is saying “well begun is half done” and even if such pursuits are not fully completed, it will protect one from the gravest of fears. In the case of Ajamila, while he performed his duty in some small measure early in his life, he still benefited from it in the end by the grace of the Lord.

In Srimad-Bhagavatam, it states:
tyaktva sva-dharmam caranambujam harer bhajan na pakko ‘tha patet tato yadi
yatra kva vabhadram abhud amusya kim ko vartha apto ‘bhajatam sva-dharmatah ||SB 1.5.17||
Meaning: If someone gives up material pursuits and occupation and then falls short on account of not being able to fully complete it, what unfavourable thing can happen to him (i.e. nothing is lost)? And, what can one gain if one performs his material activities perfectly?” 

All actions executed by a living entity as a Yoga, by surrendering the results to the Supreme, it leads to attaining salvation, which is the science for the Soul (Self) to attain communion with the Ultimate Consciousness.

The essence of this verse is that all ordained daily duties (nitya karmas) and all occasional rites (naimittika karmas) for specific times as prescribed in the Vedic scriptures shall be performed with the sole aim of ultimate salvation. Although each rite individually is capable of giving its own temporary material reward; but all such rewards are to be accepted with humility (as ‘Ishwara prasada’) while holding focus solely on salvation.

जय श्री कृष्णा – Jai Shri Krishna!

Hari Om Tat Sat

SRIMAD BHAGAVAD GITA – PART 5 – Chapter 2 (Verses 11-20) – Sankhya Yoga

Now the teaching begins as Bhagavan starts to explain to Arjuna about ‘Atma Jnana’ or Knowledge of the Self.  Bhagavan explains to Arjuna that the ‘Soul or Atma’ is eternal, it always existed and never dies.  The body is just an encasement that is subject to decay over time and hence a perishable for which he need not grieve, as it will perish sooner or later.

2.11     Shloka 2.11

श्री भगवानुवाच
अशोच्यानन्वशोचस्त्वं प्रज्ञावादांश्च भाषसे  
गतासूनगतासूंश्च नानुशोचन्ति पण्डिताः  ।।2.11।।

Sri Bhagavan Uvaca
Asocyan anvasocas tvam prajna-vadams ca bhasase |
Gatasun agatasums ca nanusocanti panditah  ||2.11||
Meaning: Bhagavan Shri Krishna said: While speaking learned words, you are mourning for what is not worthy of grief. Those who are wise lament neither for the living nor the dead.

Bhagavan at once took the position of the teacher and chastised the student, calling him, indirectly, a fool. Bhagavan said, you are talking like a learned man, but you do not know that one who is learned—one who knows about the body and the soul— does not lament for the body at any stage, neither in the living nor dead.

In order to evoke the power of discrimination between the physical body and the soul, Shri Krishna rejecting Arjuna’s contention and replied that he was grieving for those who should not be grieved for. Shri Krishna responds to Arjuna’s statement in chapter 1, verse 32 where he says: Of what use is the kingdom, this fabulous wealth and enjoyments or even living if it is to obtained by killing one’ kins.

The body is born and is destined decay and vanish sometime in the future, lamenting for something known to be a perishable is foolish.  One who knows that the Atma is ‘Nitya’ or eternal is actually the learned man, and for him there is no cause for lamentation, regardless of the condition of the gross body.

Those who are illumined due to realization are ‘prajnah’ or wise and knowledgeable. ‘Avadah’ means they who are opposed to the Vedic injunctions. Whatever the wise and knowledgeable proclaim is always in conformity with the Vedic injunctions. Whatever is contrary to the Vedic injunctions on any level of consciousness is not worthy of contemplation.

The Mundaka Upanishad states that one who has realised the Ultimate Truth, whose heart is calm and whose senses are under control, such a person who is enlightened should compulsorily impart the knowledge of the Ultimate Truth to others by which they can also become self-realised.

Those with spiritual intelligence do not grieve for the dead or the living. The root word of ‘panditah’ is ‘panda’ meaning ‘learned’ or one endowed with the power of discriminative intellect. Those who possess such discrimination are considered wise. The wise never lament for the physical body.

Encompassing all that exists, internal and external is the Supreme. Everything existing is manifested from Him. One who is peaceful and tranquil should propitiate and worship under all circumstances. Under the control of the Supreme the whole cosmic manifestation functions.

In the Katha Upanishad, it says:
Bhayaad asya agnis tapati bhayaat Tapati Suryah |
Bhayaat Indrashcha Vaayushcha Mrityur Dhaavati Panchamah || K.U. 2.6.3
Meaning: Out of Fear for Him the fire burns, for fear of Him shines the Sun, for the fear of Him do Indra, the wind (Vaayu) and Death (Yama), the fifth proceed with their respective functions’. In other words the Nature obeys His laws unquestioningly and with total commitment as though out of fear of him.

We have a similar Mantra in the Taittriya Upanishad (2.8.1):
Bhisha asmad vatah pavate bhishodeti Suryah
Bhisha asmad agnish cha indresh cha Mrutyurdhavati panchama iti |
Meaning: Out of fear of Him the wind blows; Out of fear of Him the Sun rises; Out of fear of Him burns the Fire, as also Indra and Death, the fifth proceeds to their respective duties.

The all-pervading, omnipresent, soul of all being and of the nature of being eternally, simultaneously one and distinctly different.

2.12     Shloka 2.12

न त्वेवाहं जातु नासं न त्वं नेमे जनाधिपाः
न चैव न भविष्यामः सर्वे वयमतः परम् ।।2.12।।

Na tvevaham jatu nasam Na tvam neme janadhipah |
Na caiva na bhavisyamah sarve vayam atah param ||2.12||
Meaning: Never was there a time when I did not exist, nor you, nor all these kings; nor in the future shall any of us cease to be.

Bhagavan is explaining that the Atma is eternal and always existed and it is the body that takes different forms.

In the Katha Upanishad it says:
Nityo nityanam cetanas cetananam eko bahunam yo vidadhati Kaamaan   |
Tam atmastham ye ‘nupasyanti dhiras tesam santih sasvati netaresam ||K.U. 2.2.13||
Meaning: The Eternal among the non-eternals, the Intelligence among the intelligent, who, though one, fulfils the desires of many—those dhiras (persistent, brave and calm) who perceive Him as existing within their own self, to them belong eternal peace and to none else.

Atman is described in a few significant phrases:
एको वशी सर्वभूतान्तरात्मा, नित्योऽनित्यानां चेतनश्चेतनानाम् |
eko vashi sarvabhutAntarAtma, nityo’nityaanaaṃ cetanas cetananaam |

एको बहूनां यो विदधाति कामान्                |
Eko bahunaaṃ yo vidadhaati kaamaan |

The Supreme One who is the Controller of all, who is Antaryami – the inner Self of all beings, the Eternal among the non-eternals, the Intelligent among the intelligent, and who, though One, fulfils the desires of the many. 

The same Vedic truth given to Arjuna is given to all persons in the world who pose themselves as very learned but they actually have very poor knowledge. It is not that they did not exist as individuals in the past, and it is not that they will not remain eternal persons. Their individuality existed in the past, and their individuality will continue in the future without interruption. Therefore, there is no cause for lamentation for anyone.

Bhagavan does not deal with the liberation the individual soul here and says that it existed in the past and will do so in the future as well, as confirmed in this Upanishad.

When we begin learning we move from a basic level to intermediate level and finally to the advanced level.  Hence the concept of salvation or Moksha will be introduced in the later Chapters.

The Skanda Purana contains the following:

There is no possibility of any destruction of the Ultimate Consciousness of the Supreme.  The same applies to the individual consciousness of all living entities as the Lord is the Antaryami (inner self). The connection and disconnection from the physical body is known as birth and death. This is the reality for all living entities.

So this explains and puts into the proper perspective the dissolution of the material manifestation at the time of universal destruction. By negating the origin and destruction of the soul, its very existence is proven in all three stages of Creation, Sustenance and Dissolution. All souls are immortal and hence should never be grieved for.

2.13     Shloka 2.13

देहिनोऽस्मिन्यथा देहे कौमारं यौवनं जरा 
तथा देहान्तरप्राप्तिर्धीरस्तत्र न मुह्यति  ।।2.13।।

Dehino ‘smin yatha dehe kaumaram yauvanam jara      |
Tatha dehantara-praptir dhiras tatra na muhyati      ||2.13||
Meaning: As the embodied soul continually passes, in this body, from boyhood to youth to old age, the soul similarly passes into another body at death. The self-realised soul is not bewildered by such a change.

Since every living entity is an individual soul, each is changing every moment, manifesting sometimes as a child, sometimes as a youth, and sometimes as an old man. Yet the same spirit soul is there and does not undergo any change. This individual soul finally changes the body at death and transmigrates to another body; and since it is sure to have another body in the next birth—either material or spiritual—there was no cause for lamentation by Arjuna on account of death, neither for Bhisma nor for Drona, for whom he was so much concerned.

As Bhishma and Drona, being noble souls, were surely going to have either spiritual bodies in the next life, or at least life in heavenly bodies for superior enjoyment of material existence. So, in either case, there was no cause for lamentation.

Any man who has perfect knowledge of the constitution of the individual soul, the Supersoul, and nature—both material and spiritual—is called a dhira or a most sober man. Such a man is never deluded by the change of bodies.

The body is just the container and when the soul departs, the body has no further identification with the soul and returns to its elements. While the soul remains within the physical body in all three states of waking, dream and deep sleep, it is possible to perceive the existence of the soul as an independent consciousness.

The soul cannot be destroyed. Hence the statement ‘dehinah’ meaning the soul being the occupier of the deha. With the deterioration and demise of the body comes the acceptance of a new body.  Therefore if perceived as a further modification of the body after old age, there is no justification for sorrow.

2.14     Shloka 2.14

मात्रास्पर्शास्तु कौन्तेय शीतोष्णसुखदुःखदाः
आगमापायिनोऽनित्यास्तांस्तितिक्षस्व भारत  ।।2.14।।

Matra-sparsas tu kaunteya sitosna-sukha-duhkha-dah      |
Agamapayino ‘nityas tams titiksasva bharata                 ||2.14||
Meaning: O’ Son of Kunti, the interaction of the senses and the sense objects give cold, heat, pleasure and pain. These are temporary, appearing and disappearing from time to time, therefore O’ Bharata, learn to tolerate them.

The two different names to address Arjuna are also significant. To address him as Kaunteya signifies his proximity of blood relations from his mother’s side; and to address him as Bharata signifies his greatness from his father’s side. He has a great heritage from both sides and that brings with it responsibility to properly discharge duties; therefore, he cannot avoid fighting.

‘Matra’ (Tanmatras – Touch, Sound, Speech, Taste and Smell) means sensuous experience and ‘sparsas’ means contact with them thus matra-sparsas is the interaction of the senses with the sense objects. Although it is the body that actually experiences these things, anyone with lack of sufficient knowledge who considers that they are their body automatically classifies the soul as the body as well and this misconception is the cause of all sorrow.

Since it is evident that contact with the senses is experienced only in the waking state and not in any other state; it is clear that only when there is contact with the physical body which includes the mind, is there an effect and this proves that the individual consciousness itself is not affected.

Consequently when the individual consciousness is deluded into relating to itself as the body, pleasure and pain is experienced; but when the individual consciousness sees itself as separate from the physical body then the sorrow arising from the death of friends and relatives would not arise.

Therefore one should just tolerate them with discrimination, patience and fortitude for they will disappear in due course of time. So the one who attain this spiritual intelligence that the soul is eternal they neither lament nor are they deluded.

2.15     Shloka 2.15

यं हि न व्यथयन्त्येते पुरुषं पुरुषर्षभ 
समदुःखसुखं धीरं सोऽमृतत्वाय कल्पते  ।।2.15।।

Yam hi na vyathayanty ete purusam purusarsabha           |
Sama-duhkha-sukham dhiram so ‘mrtatvaya kalpate ||2.15||
Meaning: O best among men [Arjuna], that person who is of wise judgment is equipoised in happiness and distress, who is steady and not be disturbed by these is certainly eligible for liberation.

Anyone who is steady in his determination for the advanced stage of spiritual realisation and is equipoised in distress and happiness is certainly a person eligible for liberation. In the varna ashrama institution, the fourth stage of life, namely the sannyasa (renounced life) is a painstaking stage. But one who is serious about making his life perfect adopts the sannyasa order of life in spite of all difficulties.

The difficulties usually arise from having to sever family relationships, to give up the connection of wife and children. But if anyone is able to tolerate such difficulties, surely his path to spiritual realisation is complete. Similarly, in Arjuna’s discharge of duties as a khsatriya, he is advised to persevere, even if it is difficult, to fight with his family members or similarly beloved persons.

When one has relinquished all conceptions of being the physical body one becomes naturally filled with the spiritual attributes that are inherent of the soul. Fixed in this awareness one is known as a Purusha, and the word ‘pura’ in purusha signifies full or complete, so complete with noble attributes and full in wisdom, the meaning of the word Purusha is ‘illuminated’.

2.16     Shloka 2.16

नासतो विद्यते भावो नाभावो विद्यते सतः  |
उभयोरपि दृष्टोऽन्तस्त्वनयोस्तत्त्वदर्शिभिः  ।।2.16।।

Nasato vidyate bhavo nabhavo vidyate satah                 |
Ubhayor api drsto ‘ntas tv anayos tattva-darsibhih ||2.16||
Meaning:  In the unreal there is no duration and in the real there is no cessation; indeed the distinction between both of these have been analysed by the knowers’ of the truth and established conclusively by them.

The body undergoes physical changes but is not enduring. But the spirit or the soul exists permanently, remaining the same despite all the changes to the body and the mind. That is the difference between matter and spirit.

In the Vishnu Purana it is stated that Sri MahaVishnu and His abodes all have self-illuminated spiritual existence – ‘Jyotimsi Vishnur bhavanani Vishnuh’. 

The statement ‘nasato vidyate bhavo’ is specifically used to emphasise a spiritual truth. For e.g. a flower to be offered to the Lord which blossomed today, did not exist last week and will perish by next week but is utilised while available. While the existence of the flowers is real appearing as real it’s not durable and hence ‘asat’ or ‘mithya’.

Sri RamanujAcharya states that which is known to be asat or material cannot be made to be sat or spiritual and that which is sat or spiritual cannot be made to be asat or material. To those established in truth, the ultimate nature of both are matters discerned by the direct perception of observation.

The literal meaning of ‘anta’ means end and in this verse it means the summation or conclusion of the essential natures of sat and asat. The authoritative conclusion arrived by great sages in this matter is that the nature of the physical body is asat being temporary and that the nature of the spiritual soul is sat being eternal.

That which is asat is therefore known by its perishable nature and that which is sat is known by its imperishable nature. Hence it is clear that what is indicated by satva and asatva are the soul and the body.

The Vishnu Purana states: knowledge of the ‘atma or soul’ is indeed satyam or truth and everything else is ‘not truth’. That which is imperishable is the highest truth and that which is derived by means of perishable things is undoubtedly perishable as well.

The nature of the duration and cessation of things in this world cannot be learnt by one lacking spiritual intelligence.  Bhagavan Shri Krishna emphasises the point that the reality of the duration and cessation in the material existence has been perceived by those elevated souls who have attained the Ultimate Truth. The eternal reality of the immortality of the soul is revealed in the Vedic scriptures and this has been realised by those who have achieved this understanding.  Bhagavan Shri Krishna tells Arjuna that due to his improper understanding of the difference between the perishable nature of the Body and the imperishable nature of the Soul, he is needlessly grief-stricken.

2.17     Shloka 2.17

अविनाशि तु तद्विद्धि येन सर्वमिदं ततम्  
विनाशमव्ययस्यास्य न कश्िचत् कर्तुमर्हति  ।।2.17।।

Avinasi tu tad viddhi yena sarvam idam tatam        |
Vinasam avyayasya na kascit kartum arhati   ||2.17||
Meaning: Know that which pervades the entire body (Consciousness or Soul) is indestructible. No one is able to destroy the imperishable soul.

This verse more clearly explains the real nature of the soul, which is spread all over the body in the form of consciousness. Everyone is conscious of the pains and pleasures of the body and hence this spreading of consciousness is limited within one’s own body. Therefore, each and every body is the embodiment of an individual soul, and the symptom of the soul’s presence is perceived as individual consciousness. This soul is described as one ten-thousandth part of the upper portion of the hair point in size. The Svetasvatara Upanishad confirms this:
balagra-sata-bhagasya satadha kalpitasya ca     |
bhago jivah sa vijneyah sa canantyaya kalpate ||5.9||
Meaning: That individual soul is as subtle as a hair-point divided and sub-divided hundreds of times. Yet He is potentially infinite and has to be known.

Therefore, the individual particle of spirit soul is a spiritual atom smaller than the material atoms, and such atoms are innumerable. This very small spiritual spark is the basic principle of the material body, and the influence of such a spiritual spark is spread all over the body as the influence of the active principle of some medicine spreads throughout the body. This current of the spirit soul is felt all over the body as consciousness, and that is the proof of the presence of the soul. Any layman can understand that the material body minus consciousness is a dead body, and this consciousness cannot be revived in the body by any means of material administration. Therefore, consciousness is not due to any amount of material combination, but to the spirit soul.

In the Mundaka Upanisad the nature of the atomic spirit soul is further explained:
eso ‘nuratma cetasa veditavyo yasmin pranah pancadha samvivesa |
pranais cittam sarvam otam prajanam yasmin visuddhe vibhavaty esa atma ||3.1.9||
Meaning:  The soul is atomic in size and can be perceived by perfect intelligence. This atomic soul is floating in the five kinds of air (prana, apana, vyana, samana and udana), is situated within the heart, and spreads its influence all over the body of the embodied living entities. When the soul is purified from the contamination of the five kinds of material air, its spiritual influence is exhibited.”

The hatha-yoga system is meant for controlling the five kinds of air encircling the pure soul by different kinds of sitting postures—not for any material gain, but for liberation of the minute soul from the entanglement of the material atmosphere.

When a hammer strikes an object with excessive force an extreme vibration produces a molecular disruption which causes the destruction of the object. But in the case of the soul there is no potential for destruction. For e.g. when light penetrates a glass jar, the light is not destroyed when the glass is broken; similarly the soul is like light in relation to the body, thus imperishable.

Bhagavan Shri Krishna emphasises the definitive position of the soul with the word ‘avyayasya’ meaning indestructible. The pervasiveness of the Soul is so extremely subtle that it is impossible for anything to cause the destruction because whatever would be attempting to destroy it is also completely pervaded by it as well.

2.18     Shloka 2.18

अन्तवन्त इमे देहा नित्यस्योक्ताः शरीरिणः 
अनाशिनोऽप्रमेयस्य तस्माद्युध्यस्व भारत  ।।2.18।।

antavanta ime deha nityasyoktah saririnah                  |
anasino ‘prameyasya tasmad yudhyasva bharata ||2.18||
Meaning: The embodied soul is eternal in existence, indestructible, immeasurable and infinite. Only the material body is subject to destruction; therefore, fight, O’ descendant of Bharata.

The material body is perishable by nature. It may perish immediately, or it may do so after a hundred years. It is a matter of time. But the spirit soul is indestructible and is so minute that that no one has any idea of how to measure it. So from both viewpoints there is no cause for lamentation because the living entity (Soul) cannot be destroyed and the material body cannot be protected forever.

In the Vedanta-sutras the living entity is qualified as light because he is part and parcel of the Supreme light. As Sunlight maintains the entire universe, so does the light of the soul which maintains this material body. As soon as the spirit soul is out of this material body, the body begins to decompose; therefore it is the spirit soul that maintains the body. The body itself is unimportant, hence, Arjuna was advised to fight.

In the Taittiriya Upanisad it is stated :

One who knows the Supreme Lord as the Ultimate Truth, as what is real, as what is knowledge and as what is infinite; simultaneously existing within the heart of all living entities as well as in the eternal spiritual world has realised all there is that needs to be known.

Transcending to that state of awareness which consists of total bliss, descending and ascending in various worlds, assuming the form one desires, all actions manifesting according to one’s desires, one sings and chants the holy names of the Supreme Lord Krishna in sublime ecstasy. Attaining this transcendental state of affinity to the Supreme Lord, being completely protected in this state, the individual soul resides blissfully in full consciousness.

In the BrihadAranyaka Upanisad it is stated:

In that state of liberation there is no seeing although everything is seen. Because of attaining the transcendental state, becoming imperishable in consciousness, there is nothing perceived other than the transcendental state which permeates everything and which the Self is. Thus there is nothing separate from the Self which can be differentiated and in this way everything can be seen as transcendental, as Brahman.

If by liberation the individual consciousness ceases to exist then what is the purpose of deliverance? The reverend sage Yajnavalkya eradicated this doubt by clarifying that in this transcendental state all the mundane academic perceptions of empirical knowledge cease to exist being replaced by the transcendental perception and realisation of the Ultimate Truth. How could it ever be possible that cessation of mundane perceptions of empirical knowledge could simultaneously cause cessation of the Soul? It is not possible nor can it ever be possible. The eternal Soul being independent from the mind and body is not subject to cessation.

Essentially the Bhagavan is different from the creation of the material manifestation. Because the Universe is dependent upon creation it is said to be different as it is. In regard to enjoyment of the senses of smell, sight etc. they are known to be perceived only due to the potency generated by the presence of the Soul. Thus the empirical experience of the Self is similar to the realisation of the Supreme Lord. There is nothing else is to be known when one realises one’s Soul one as he/she realises the Supreme Brahman.

When the soul does not see anything as different from its own Self then there is no perception of separateness from anything and there is oneness with everything, in the same way the Supreme Lord does not see anything as separate from Himself.  When one attains this state of perception there is no separateness between the individual consciousness and the Ultimate Consciousness and there is no delusion ever regarding knowledge of the Supreme.

Neither liberated souls nor the material substratum can be superior to Bhagavan. But by knowledge of Him, by knowledge of His name and form, by having knowledge of His sagacious instructions, by the knowledge of His pastimes, qualities and associates all living entities can experience the essence of the Supreme Lord according to their abilities. When one attains communion with the Supreme Lord how can there be any difficulties? How can there be any ignorance? How can there be any bewilderment? It is not possible for one to be liberated without the grace of the Supreme Lord.

From ‘aheya’ the word ‘aham’ has been derived which symbolises the immutable Supreme Lord Krishna. Because He possesses all attributes He is known as ‘Para Brahman’. He is known as ‘asmi’ because he destroys all evil and is existing eternally. Being resplendent He is known as ‘tvam’. All these words intimating activity, intimating elements and intimating attributes refer solely to the Supreme Lord. Because He is the foremost among all performers of activities He is known as yushmat. Because He abides in the heart of all living entities with His potencies He is known by the word asmat and because He is imperceivable He is known by the word tat. On attaining self- realisation one will understand that all these indications represent only His predominant role.

The Story of Svetaketu

The greatest of the great mahavakyas ‘Tat Tvam Asi’ (‘That Thou Art’ or ‘You Are That’) originally occurs in the Chandogya Upanishad (c.600 BCE) in the dialogue between Sage Uddalaka Aruni, the father and his son Svetaketu where the father explains the relationship between the individual and the Absolute.  Svetaketu is more like a disciple than a son, and Uddalaka more like a Guru than a father.

‘Tat’ is the Brahman and ‘tvam’ the divine self, the Atman that resides in all beings. ‘Asi’ is an affirmation that harmonises the Brahman and Atman.  The statement is frequently repeated in the sixth chapter as the father who is also the teacher instructs his son regarding the nature of Brahman, the supreme reality. 

Sage Uddalaka was deeply concerned about his young son Svetaketu. His son had just returned home full of pride in his Vedic learning after 12 years from an eminent guru. Having studied all the Vedas the Sage Svetaketu becoming extremely conceited, arrogantly assumed because he was so knowledgeable that he was not human but a partial manifestation of the Supreme Lord Himself. Thinking thus, he became disrespectful to his own father.

His father said to him: ‘Svetaketu, I know you have learned a lot, can you tell me by which we hear the unhearable, perceive the unperceivable, know the unknowable?’

‘Sir, I am not aware of that knowledge,’ said Svetaketu. ‘I request you to please teach me that essential thing by which everything else becomes known?’

Uddhakala Aruni answered the question himself.

‘That is Brahman, the truth, the subtle essence of all and the Self. Son, you are aware of the fact that there are many products made out of clay, but the clay is the real thing. Likewise there are also different forms of gold ornaments but the real thing is the gold.

Even if the forms and names are lost, the essence of the article is revealed as clay or gold. That essential nature is the ultimate truth. Forms and names are immaterial to know the Reality, which is the Supreme Being’.

‘Son, by knowing the material cause (gold/clay) all its effects (ornaments/pots) are known. This universe with all its myriad forms and features was earlier with the One and the real Brahman.   That Brahman is the material and intelligent cause of this Jagat or this World.

 It is the ultimate reality, but it did not create anything, everything is projected out of its own being– but not as a separate entity, for, son, Brahman is within everything as its own Reality, as its Self, as its subtle essence, and that, my dear Svetaketu, That Art Thou’. 

Svetaketu says, “My Gurus did not appear to have understood all these things. They never taught me these things,” says the boy to the father. “If they had known this, why should they have not told this to me? I have never heard these things up to this time. I have studied the four Vedas, I have studied the Shastras, but nothing of this kind was heard from any quarter. What is this? Please, sir, I want to know more about this Self.’ 

Uddlaka Aruni began to explain to his son, “My dear boy, there was only a single Reality existing in the beginning. There was no variety of life forms. It was one, without a second. There was nothing outside it; nothing external to it, to compete with it, to equal it or to be different from it. There is no conceivable reality in this world of this nature. Whatever be the stretch of your imagination, you cannot conceive of something outside which nothing is. At least space would be there, time would be there, something would be there. But even space and time are objects, externals, effects that came afterwards in the process of creation. And, therefore, they too are negated in the case of this reality. That alone was.”

Uddalaka went on further, “there are some people who think that, originally, Non-Being as an origin of things under peculiar conditions. But how can Being come from Non-Being? Has anyone seen such a phenomenon? But how can something out of nothing? We have never heard of such a possibility.

So Uddalaka says: “My dear boy, though it is true that there are people who hold the doctrine that Being proceeded out of Non-Being as an effect, but this is not a practicability. It is inconceivable. Non-Being cannot be the cause of Being. Nor can we say that Being is the cause of Being. It is a tautology of expression. ‘A is the cause of A’—you cannot say that. It is a meaningless way of speaking. If Being is also not the cause of Being, then what is the cause of Being?

No cause. There cannot be a cause for Being. So it must be a causeless Being. If it has a cause, we must explain what that cause could be, and the cause should be either Being or Non-Being. There cannot be a third thing. Being cannot be the cause of Being; Non-Being also cannot be the cause of Being, so there is No cause for Being. It is causeless existence.

If there is no cause then you have to say that there is no such thing as an effect. But if there is no such thing as an effect, how comes the creation? If creation has to be explained, the nature of an effect has to be explained; but you cannot understand what an effect is. And therefore you cannot understand what creation is.

But there was creation. So, there must be a Creator. How can there be creation without a Creator? The Creator was the Absolute Being. This is what I posit as the Ultimate Reality. And what would be the process of creation and the cause for creation? The intention of the Creator is the cause of creation. The will of the artist is the cause of the manufacture of the effect or the product in the form of sculpture, architectural piece, painting, etc. The intention, the will, the original meditation or tapas, as sometimes it is called, of the Supreme Being is the cause of creation. IT WILLED.

Uddalaka said, “In the beginning of creation, O child, the Sat or True Being alone existed. It had neither an equal nor a second. It thought, ‘Let me multiply myself and create beings.’ He first created Tejas or fire god. The fire god wanted to multiply himself. He created the water god. That is why whenever anybody weeps or perspires, water comes out. The water god wanted to multiply himself and created the food god. Then the True Being thought, ‘I have now created these three gods. Now I shall enter them as Jivatma and assume name and form!’ 

‘Later on, the True Being thought, ‘I shall now make each of them enter into the other.’ “Having thus entered them with His living spirit, It assumed names and forms like Agni, Indra etc. The True Being made them enter into one another, again. 0 child, now learn what each became thereafter. Whatever was fire showed as red. Whatever was water showed as white and whatever was food showed as black. Thus you will see the word Agni vanishes in fire. This change has only been in name. The three primary forms Tejas, Apas or water and Annam or food are the only true forms. 

The red colour of the Sun is Tejas; its white colour is water; its black colour is the food or the earth. Thus the name Aditya for Sun should vanish. It is only a conventional name. “You have now learnt from me, child, how every deity and element is descended from the three primary forms of the True Being.”

“He or the Sat alone is all-name, because every name is His name. He alone is all-power, because every power is His. All the forms that belong to others are reflections of His form. He is the only one without an equal or second. He is the best of all. He being the Chief, He is called Sat or the True Being. Knowing Him we know everything else.

When a man sleeps soundly, he comes into contact with the Sat. When man dies, his speech merges in the mind, the mind in his breath, his breath in the fire and the fire in the Highest God, the True Being. Thus the soul or Jiva-Atman is deathless. All the universe is controlled by the Sat. He pervades it all. He is the destroyer of all. He is full of perfect qualities. O Svetaketu, you are not that God. 

The whole universe has That as its soul. That is Reality, That is the Self, and That is you, Svetaketu.

 ‘Please, sir, tell me more about that subtle essence which is the supreme reality’ said the son.

Uddalaka said, “The bees, my child, collect the honey from different flowers and mix them in the hive. Now, honeys of different flowers cannot know one from the other. 

“My child, the rivers that run in the different directions rise from the sea and go back to the sea. Yet the sea remains the same. The rivers, while in the sea, cannot identify themselves as one particular river or another. So also creatures that have come from Sat know not that they have come from that Sat, although they become one or the other again and again.” 

‘O.k’, said the father, ‘Bring a fruit of that Nyagrodha [Banyan] tree’.

Uddalaka then asked his son to bring a fig fruit. When he did so, Uddalaka asked him to break it. He broke it. 

Uddalaka: “What do you see in it?” 

Svetaketu “I see small seeds.” 

Uddalaka “Break one of the seeds and say what you see.” 

Svetaketu “Nothing Sir.” 

Uddalaka: “You are unable to see the minute particles of the seed after breaking it. Now, the big fig tree is born out of that essence of that particle. Like that, the True Being is the essence of all creation.”

Uddalaka asked his son to bring some salt and put it into a cup of water and bring the cup next morning.  Svetaketu did so. 

Uddalaka: “You put the salt into the water in this cup. Can you take the salt out? 

Svetaketu “I am unable to find the salt; for it has dissolved.” 

Uddalaka “Taste a drop from the surface of this water.”

Svetaketu “It is saltish.” 

Uddalaka “Now taste a drop from the middle of the cup.” 

Svetaketu “It tastes the same, saltish.” 

Uddalaka: “Now taste a drop from the bottom.” 

Svetaketu “It is saltish all the same.” 

Uddalaka “Now child, you do not see the salt, although it is certainly in the water. Even so, the True Being is present everywhere in this universe, although you do not see Him. He is the essence of all, and the desired of all. He is known to the subtlest intellect.” 

Svetaketu became humble thereafter, and became a great rishi himself in course of time. Then the father said, “Here likewise in this body of yours, my son, you do not perceive the True; but there, in fact, it is. In that which is the subtle essence, all that exists has its self.

That is the Truth, that is the Self, and thou, Svetaketu, art That – Tat Tvam Asi.”

Therefore Arjuna is being instructed to unsnare himself from his delusion and do his duty.

2.19     Shloka 2.19

य एनं वेत्ति हन्तारं यश्चैनं मन्यते हतम्  
उभौ तौ न विजानीतो नायं हन्ति न हन्यते  ।।2.19।।

Ya enam vetti hantaram yas cainam manyate hatam      |
Ubhau tau na vijanito nayam hanti na hanyate           ||2.19|| 

Meaning: He who thinks that the Soul is the slayer and he who thinks that the Soul is slain; both of them are ignorant and wrong; the Soul neither slays nor is slain.

When an embodied living entity is hurt by fatal weapons, it is to be known that the living entity within the body is not killed. The spirit soul is so small that it is impossible to kill that by any material weapon. Nor is the living entity killable because of its spiritual constitution. What is killed, or is supposed to be killed, is the body only. This, however, does not at all encourage killing of the body. The Vedic injunction is, “mahimsyat sarva-bhutani” never commit violence to anyone. Nor does the understanding that the living entity is not killed encourage animal slaughter. Killing the body of any being without authority is abominable. Arjuna, however, is being engaged in killing for the principle of Dharma, and not whimsically.

The soul being of an eternal nature can never be destroyed by anything nor can the soul ever destroy anything. Not being able to fathom the intrinsic nature of the soul they cannot realize that the soul is never the instigator of any action nor is the soul ever the recipient of any action.

2.20     Shloka 2.20

न जायते म्रियते वा कदाचि न्नायं भूत्वा भविता वा न भूयः 
अजो नित्यः शाश्वतोऽयं पुराणो न हन्यते हन्यमाने शरीरे  ।।2.20।।

Na jayate mriyate va kadacin nayam bhutva bhavita va na bhuyah     |
Ajo nityah sasvato ‘yam purano na hanyate hanyamane sarire      ||2.20||
Meaning:
For the soul there is never birth nor death. Nor, having once been, does he ever cease to be. He is unborn, eternal, ever-existing, undying and primeval. He is not slain when the body is slain.

Qualitatively, the small atomic fragmental part of the Supreme Spirit is one with the Supreme. He undergoes no changes like the body. Sometimes the soul is called the steady, or kutastha. 

The body is subject to six kinds of transformations. It takes its form in the womb of the mother’s body, is born, grows, produces some effects, gradually dwindles, and at last vanishes into the oblivion. The soul, however, does not go through such changes. The soul is not born, but, because it takes on a material body, the body takes its birth. The soul does not take birth, and the soul does not die. Because the soul has no birth, it therefore has no past, present or future. It is eternal, ever-existing, and primeval—that is, there is no trace in history of it coming into being.

In the Katha Upanishad we find a similar passage which reads:
na jayate mriyate va vipascin nayam kutascin na vibhuva kascit
ajo nityah sasvato ‘yam purano na hanyate hanyamane sarire ||1.2.18||

The meaning and purport of this verse is the same as in the Bhagavad-gita, but here in this verse there is a special word, ‘vipascit’, which means learned or with knowledge.  The soul is full of knowledge, or full always with consciousness. Therefore, consciousness is the symptom of the soul. Even if one does not find the soul within the heart, where he is situated, one can still understand the presence of the soul simply by the presence of consciousness. Sometimes we may not find the Sun in the sky due to the presence of clouds, but the light from the Sun is always there, and we are, therefore, convinced it is daytime. Similarly, since there is some consciousness in all bodies—whether man or animal—we can understand the presence of the Soul. This consciousness of the Soul is, however, different from the consciousness of the Supreme because the Supreme Consciousness is all-knowledge—past, present and future. However, the consciousness of the individual Soul is prone to be forgetful.

There are two kinds of souls—namely the minute particle soul (anu-atma) and the Supersoul (the vibhu-atma). This is also confirmed in the Katha Upanishad in this way:
anor aniyan mahato mahiyan atmasya jantor nihito guhayam  |
tam akratuh pasyati vita-soko dhatuh prasadan mahimanam atmanah ||1.2.20||
Meaning: The Atman that is subtler than the sublest, and greater than the greatest, is seated in the cavity of the heart of each living being. He, who is free from willing and wishing, with his mind and senses composed, beholds the majesty of the Self and becomes free from sorrow.

Both the Supersoul [Paramatma] and the atomic soul [jivatma] are situated on the same tress of the body within the same heart of the living being, and only one who has become free from all material desires as well as lamentations can, by the grace of the Supreme, understand the glories of the soul.

In the Mundaka Upanishad, it says:

द्वा सुपर्णा सयुजा सखाया समानं वृक्षं परिषस्वजाते । 
तयोरन्यः पिप्पलं स्वाद्वत्त्यनश्नन्नन्यो अभिचाकशीति ॥

dva suparṇa sayuja sakhaayaa samaanaṃ vṛkṣaṃ pariṣasvajaate | 
tayoranyaḥ pippalaṃ svaadvattyanashnannanyo abhicaakashiti || 3.1.1 ||
Meaning: Two inseparable companions of fine plumage perch on the self-same tree. One of the two feeds on the delicious fruit. The other not tasting of it looks on.

The two birds are the Jiva and Isvara, both existing in an individual compared to a tree. They exist together as the reflection and the original. They both manifest themselves in different ways in every individual. The body is compared to a tree because it can be cut down like a tree. This tree is also called the Kshetra or the field of manifestation and action of the Kshetrajna (the Knower of the field). The body is the field of action and experience and it is the fruit of actions done already. The fruits enjoyed by the Jiva are of the nature of pleasure and pain, i.e., they are all relative experiences born of non-discrimination. The experience of Isvara is eternal and is of the nature of purity, knowledge and freedom.

The eternal soul is also permanent but the eternal soul never exists independently; it has limited power, limited knowledge, incomplete in itself, dependent upon the transcendental energy of the Supreme Lord. In juxtaposition to that are the sublime attributes of the Supreme Lord who is omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent. Therefore the holy sages and rishis designated them both as ‘sasvatah’ or permanent. Thus in the Visnu Purana because the living entity is embodied in countless bodies from the beginning of time it is known as puranah meaning ancient. The word purana means ancient. Etymologically it stems from purapi navah meaning old yet new illustrating that the eternal soul although ancient is experienced with every birth as ever new. Thus it has been clarified that the physical body only perishes but never can the eternal soul perish.

The imperishable soul which pervades the physical body of all living entities is aja or unborn and thus it is known to be eternal and constant only changing its external embodied form. The two characteristics of being eternal and constant denote that like the material substratum known as prakriti even the most subtle and infinitesimal modifications in the stage preceding manifestation has no ability in any way to affect the eternal soul.

The living entity and the Supreme Lord are both irrevocably established as unborn, eternal and indestructible. The Supreme Lord possessing a spiritual body does not come into existence by being associated with the material manifestation; but is eternally existing independently. Death correctly comprehended is merely the separation of the embodied soul from the physical body leaving it lifeless.

The soul is never born and never dies at any time. How can this be? The soul exists eternally but opting the experiences of the material existence accepts a physical body. What did not exist in the past but is manifested only in the present is called conceived and that which exists now but will cease to exist eventually is called dead. But the soul is not conceived as it eternally exists and it will never die because it is immortal.

With the two words ‘ajah’ meaning ‘unborn’ and ‘nityah’ meaning eternal, it is made clear that the modifications of birth and death are not applicable with regards to the soul. The modification of any growth of the soul is neutralised by the word ‘puranah’ meaning ancient, that it always existed as it is. The soul is bereft of any of the six modifications of the physical body and hence can never be destroyed and it is only the physical body that is destroyed.

जय श्री कृष्णा – Jai Shri Krishna!

Hari Om Tat Sat

SRIMAD BHAGAVAD GITA – PART 4 – Chapter 2 (Verses 1-10) – Sankhya Yoga

Introduction to Chapter 2

At the end of Chapter 1, we saw Arjuna was disillusioned and miserable.  Bhagavan did not even utter a word in the entire Chapter 1 while Arjuna was lamenting, thereby underlining the importance of listening without interrupting or getting judgmental. Something for the TV News anchors to take note!

The first Chapter was the preparatory for the actual teachings of Gita to begin.  The Second Chapter of the Bhagavad Gita is called “Sankhya Yoga”. Sankhya means number and Yoga means Union, hence Sankhya Yoga means the Union of Numbers. The numbers are with regard to the number of realities (tattvas) that are present in existence.  Samkhya Yoga deals with the union or the combination of a number of hidden realities, which manifest the existential reality.

It is important to note the difference between the Sankhya Yoga of the Bhagavad Gita and the Sankhya philosophy of Sage Kapila.  Sage Kapila attempted to classify the world into different categories such as matter, the sense organs, the mind, the intellect etc. It states that the Universe is a combination of: Prakriti (Matter) and Purusha (Spirit). There is no reference to a God in the Sankhya school of philosophy.  Thus, the Sankhya school of Kapila is quite similar to the modern theories of evolution, which consider the world and life as products of chance. Their theory is based on the premise that live manifested when right conditions presented themselves.

Sankhya in the Bhagavad Gita has blended the key elements of the classical Sankhya Yoga while retaining the existence of a Supreme Being.

The 2nd Chapter of the Bhagavad Gita covers the following aspects:

  • The first ten verses describe the disturbed state of Arjuna’s mind and his emotional state. Finally, Arjuna surrenders to the Lord and seeks his guidance (Arjuna Saranagati – Verse 2.7)
  • Verses 11 to 38 cover Jnana Yoga, also called Sankhya Yoga
  • Verses 39 to 53 covers Karma Yoga
  • Verses 54 to 72 explains the quality of Stithapragna (one who is equipoise, steady and single pointed)

Shri Krishna makes Arjuna to recognise the reasons for his unsteady mind, and explains how he can cultivate equanimity using his intellect.

From a philosophical perspective, the Sankhya Yoga of the Bhagavad Gita lists Ishvara Tattva (God), Atma tattvas (Soul), Body, Senses, Mind, Ego, and intellect. Of them, the first two are pure (Shuddha) and eternal realities (Nitya tattvas), and the rest are impure (Ashuddha) and finite (Anitya). The chapter also briefly mentions the Gunas or modes of Nature which governs the behaviour, attitudes and actions of beings.

Let us now examine the teaching in the Second Chapter of the Bhagavad Gita.

2.1       Shloka 2.1

सञ्जय उवाच
तं तथा कृपयाऽविष्टमश्रुपूर्णाकुलेक्षणम्।
विषीदन्तमिदं वाक्यमुवाच मधुसूदनः।।2.1।।

Sanjaya Uvaca
Tam tatha krpayavistam asru-purnakuleksanam      |
Visidantam idam vakyam uvaca Madhusudanah ||2.1||
Meaning:  Sanjaya said: Seeing Arjuna full of compassion and grief-stricken, his eyes brimming with tears, Madhusudana, spoke:

 Arjuna is a mighty warrior and tears in the eyes of a mighty warrior was unsightly. The philosophical way of looking at this is, when one’s eyes are full of tears the vision is blurred and obstructed and thus it refers here to Arjuna’s inability to see the situation with a clear perspective. As a Kshatriya he was duty bound to fight and desisting from the battle was due to his ignorance.

The use of Madhusudhana in this verse to address the Lord is significant.  This shows that Arjuna is seeking help from the Lord to destroy the demon of his ignorance and misunderstanding, just like the Lord destroyed Demon Madhu.

Having heard Arjuna’s justifications for desisting from the battle, due to the fear of receiving sin for the slaying of relatives, Dhritarashtra was relieved of the fear for his sons and he desired to know what happened next.

2.2       Shloka 2.2

श्री भगवानुवाच
कुतस्त्वा कश्मलमिदं विषमे समुपस्थितम्।
अनार्यजुष्टमस्वर्ग्यमकीर्तिकरमर्जुन  ।।2.2।।

Shri Bhagavan Uvaca
Kutas tva kasmalam idam visame samupasthitam |
Anarya-justam asvargyam akirti-karam Arjuna  ||2.2||
Meaning: Bhagavan said: My dear Arjuna, how have these impurities come upon you? They are not at all befitting a man who knows the progressive values of life. They do not lead to higher planes, but to infamy.

The meaning of the term ‘Bhagavan’ is explained by Parasara Muni, the father of Veda Vyasa, as the Supreme Personality who possesses all the six Kalyana Gunas namely, Jnana (Knowledge), Balam (Strength), Aishwaryam (Sovereignty or Opulence), Shakti (Infinite Power), Veeryam (Courage), and Tejas (Splendour). Besides these six auspicious qualities, Bhagavan also possesses infinite compassion (Sausheelya) and is easy to access (Saulabhya).

The Vishnu Purana in 6.5.74 states:
ऐश्वर्यस्य समग्रस्य धर्मस्य यशसरिश्रयः।
ज्ञानवैराग्ययोश्चैव षण्णां भग इतीरणा ।। VP 6.5.74
Meaning: Complete Splendour, Virtue, Glory, Opulence, Knowledge and Dispassion – these six are known as ‘Bhaga’. One who possess these Bhaga is known as Bhagavan.

He is the primeval Lord, or Bhagavan, known as Govinda, and He is the supreme cause of all causes. Srimad-Bhagavatam explains the Absolute Truth as:
Vadanti tat tattva-vidas tattvam yaj jnanam advayam  |
Brahmeti paramatmeti bhagavan iti sabdyate         ||1.2.11||
Meaning: Learned souls who know the Absolute Truth call this non-dual substance as Brahman, Paramatma, or Bhagavan.

In the presence of the Supreme Being, Arjuna’s lamentation for his kinsmen is ungainly, and therefore Shri Krishna expressed His surprise with the word ‘Kutas’ meaning ‘wherefrom’? Shri Krishna desiring enquires Arjuna the source for delusion in the hour of action. Although Arjuna was a Kshatriya, he was deviating from his prescribed duties by declining to fight.

2.3       Shloka 2.3

क्लैब्यं मा स्म गमः पार्थ नैतत्त्वय्युपपद्यते।
क्षुद्रं हृदयदौर्बल्यं त्यक्त्वोत्तिष्ठ परन्तप ।।2.3।।

Klaibyam ma sma gamah partha naitat tvayy upapadyate   |
Ksudram hrdaya-daurbalyam tyaktvottistha parantapa  ||2.3||
Meaning: O son of Prtha, do not yield to this degrading impotence. It does not become you. Give up such petty weakness of heart and arise, O chastiser of the enemy.

By addressing Arjuna as Partha (son of Prtha), Shri Krishna reminds Arjuna by referring to his mother Kunti who by worshipping Indra, was endowed with Arjuna, a warrior with extraordinary might and valour just like Indra.

Shri Krishna instructs Arjuna not to yield to this impotence as it does not befit him and that he should discard this weakness of heart.  By using the vocative ‘Parantapa’ meaning chastiser of enemies Shri Krishna is reinforcing the thought in Arjuna’s mind that he was destined to conquer all enemies.  While Arjuna wanted to give up the fight due to his magnanimity for the respected elders like Bhishma and his relatives, Shri Krishna advises that such magnanimity is misplaced and not in accordance with Kshatriya Dharma.

2.4       Shloka 2.4

अर्जुन उवाच
कथं भीष्ममहं संख्ये द्रोणं च मधुसूदन  ।
इषुभिः प्रतियोत्स्यामि पूजार्हावरिसूदन ।।2.4।।

Arjuna Uvaca
Katham Bhismam aham sankhye Dronam ca Madhusudana    |
Isubhih pratiyotsyami pujarhav ari-sudana                                  ||2.4||
Meaning: Arjuna said: O’ killer of Madhu, how can I counterattack with arrows in battle men like Bhishma and Drona, who are worthy of my worship?

Respectable superiors like Bhishma, the grandfather and Dronacharya, the Guru are always worthy of worship. Even if they attack, Arjuna feels that they should not be counterattacked.

It is general etiquette that one should not engage even in a verbal duel with elders. Then, how is it possible to counterattack them, asks Arjuna?

Arjuna is asking why they should engage themselves in this battle being aware of the great sins accruing from disregarding superiors and showing aggression against the preceptor which results in the perpetrator becoming a ghostly demon known as a Brahma-Rakshasa, as declared in the Vedic scriptures.

2.5       Shloka 2.5

गुरूनहत्वा हि महानुभावान् श्रेयो भोक्तुं भैक्ष्यमपीह लोके ।
हत्वार्थकामांस्तु गुरूनिहैव भुञ्जीय भोगान् रुधिरप्रदिग्धान् ।।2.5।।

Gurun ahatva hi mahanubhavan sreyo bhoktum bhaiksyam apiha loke           |
Hatvartha-kamams tu gurun ihaiva bhunjiya bhogan rudhira-pradigdhan ||2.5||
Meaning: It is better to live in this world by begging than to live at the cost of the lives of great souls who are my teachers. Even though they are avaricious, they are nonetheless superiors. If they are killed, our spoils will be tainted with blood.

According to scriptural codes, a teacher who engages in an abominable action and has lost his sense of discrimination is fit to be abandoned. Bhishma and Drona were obliged to take the side of Duryodhana because of their bounden duty to Kind Dhritarashtra, although they should not have accepted such a position of power under a King who is unrighteous. Under the circumstances, they have lost their dignity. But Arjuna nevertheless thinks they remain his superiors who are to be respected, and therefore to enjoy material gains earned by killing them would mean to enjoy spoils tainted with blood.

Arjuna says that it is better to live in this world by begging alms as no sin will be incurred by this than to kill the respected elders. But Bhishma’s statement that, due to accepting wealth and position offered by Dhritarashtra, he was controlled by the Kauravas.

So when one who is controlled by wealth and not righteousness, slaying such a person does not incur any sin. But Arjuna states enjoying pleasures would be tainted with blood as they are derived from the sin of slaying the elders.

2.6       Shloka 2.6

न चैतद्विद्मः कतरन्नो गरीयो यद्वा जयेम यदि वा नो जयेयुः
यानेव हत्वा न जिजीविषाम स्तेऽवस्थिताः प्रमुखे धार्तराष्ट्राः ।।2.6।।

Na caitad vidmah kataran no gariyo yad va jayema yadi va no jayeyuh     |
Yan eva hatva na jijivisamas te ‘vasthitah pramukhe Dhartarastrah       ||2.6||
Meaning: We do not know what is better for us – whether we conquer them or they conquer us. Those sons of Dhritarashtra, whom if we killed, we would not desire to live, are now standing before us on this battlefield.

All these considerations by Arjuna definitely prove that he was not only a great devotee of the Lord but was very compassionate. His desire to live by begging, although he was born in the Royal lineage, is another sign of detachment, compassion and humility. He was truly virtuous, as these qualities, combined with his faith in Shri Krishna (his spiritual master) confirm this. We can see that Arjuna had all the necessary qualities for surrender and quite fit for liberation.

It can be questioned that as a Kshatriya how can Arjuna abandon his duty to fight as is prescribed in the Vedic scriptures. How  could he decide that begging was better? Finally, in his state of confusion he says that he does not know which one is better, whether to be victorious or be vanquished. In either situation he sees sorrow and did not see a clear path to deal with this paradox.

2.7       Shloka 2.7


कार्पण्यदोषोपहतस्वभावः पृच्छामि त्वां धर्मसंमूढचेताः।
यच्छ्रेयः स्यान्निश्िचतं ब्रूहि तन्मे शिष्यस्तेऽहं शाधि मां त्वां प्रपन्नम्।।2.7।।

Karpanya-dosopahata-svabhavah prcchami tvam dharma-sammudha-cetah                             |
Yac chreyah syan niscitam bruhi tan me Shisyas te ‘ham shaadhi mam tvam prapannam ||2.7||
Meaning: My natural attributes are besieged by weakness and am bewildered about what is my righteous duty and am unable to think clearly. I am asking You to tell me definitively what is best for me. Now I am Your disciple, surrendered unto You, please instruct me.

This is a very important Shloka in this Chapter where  Arjuna unconditionally surrenders unto the Lord as a disciple and seeks his clear and definitive guidance.

In the previous verse Arjuna had determined that life would not be worth living even if he won the battle.  As he is unable to deal with this paradox he determines that the best course of action for him was to unconditionally surrender to Shri Krishna.  In his mind, this was the greatest panacea than any other means prescribed in Vedic scriptures.

Those who seek shelter of the Supreme Lord Krishna are never deluded. Lord Krishna is known as Janardhana meaning He who always removes the ignorance of His devotees. Arjuna has lost the power of discrimination and so realising this he surrenders to Shri Krishna who is an ocean of qualities.

According to Vedic scriptures one who dies in this world without becoming self-realized is a miser (Karpanya). One is called a miser, who is destitute of knowledge of the nature and qualities of their immortal soul. In worldly parlance one is known as a miser who is extremely stingy. Miserliness in this context is the affliction of weakness regarding ones spiritual identity and integrity. Discriminatory power weakened by delusion which bewilders the intelligence. Arjuna unconditionally surrenders to Shri Krishna with the words ‘tvam prapannam’ meaning ‘surrender unto You’ and asks the Lord for spiritual guidance as confirmed by the words ‘shaadhi mam’ meaning ‘instruct me’. Arjuna also expresses his readiness to receive these instructions from Shri Krishna by saying the words ‘Shishyah te aham’ meaning ‘I am your disciple’.

One should not, therefore, remain in material perplexities but should approach a spiritual master. This is the purport of this verse.  Who is the man in material perplexities? It is he who does not understand the problems of life. In the Garga Upanisad the perplexed man is described as follows:

‘yo va etad aksaram gargy aviditvasmal lokat praiti sa krpanah’

He is a miserly man who does not solve the problems of life as a human and who thus quits this world like the cats and dogs, without understanding the science of self-realization.

This human form of life is a most valuable asset for the living entity who can utilise it for solving the problems of life; therefore, one who does not utilise this opportunity properly is a miser.  The krpanas, or miserly persons, waste their time in being overly affectionate and are bonded by attachments in the material conception of life.

Although Arjuna could understand that his duty to fight was awaiting him, still, on account of miserly weakness, he could not discharge his duties. He is therefore asking Shri Krishna to give him a definite answer.

2.8       Shloka 2.8

न हि प्रपश्यामि ममापनुद्या द्यच्छोकमुच्छोषणमिन्द्रियाणाम्   ।
अवाप्य भूमावसपत्नमृद्धम् राज्यं सुराणामपि चाधिपत्यम्  ।।2.8।।

Na hi prapasyami mamapanudyad yac chokam ucchosanam indriyanam    |
Avapya bhumav asapatnam rddham rajyam suranam api cadhipatyam   ||2.8||
Meaning: I can find no means to drive away this grief which is drying up my senses. I will not be able to destroy it even if I win an unrivalled kingdom on the earth with sovereignty like that of the Devas.

Although Arjuna was putting forward so many arguments based on knowledge of the principles of religion and moral codes, it appears that he was unable to solve his real problem without the help of the spiritual master, Lord Shri Krishna.

He could understand that his knowledge was not helping him to drive away his problems and it was impossible for him to solve such perplexities without the help of a spiritual master like Shri Krishna.  

The problems of material existence—birth, old age, disease and death—cannot be counteracted by accumulation of wealth and economic development. In many parts of the world which are economically developed and wealthy are not without the problems of material existence.  If economic development and material comforts could drive away one’s lamentations for family, social, national or international inebrieties, then Arjuna would not have said that even an unrivalled kingdom on earth or supremacy like that of the Devas would not be able to drive away his lamentations.

He therefore sought refuge in Shri Krishna for right path for peace and harmony. Even elevation into a higher planes is impermanent. The Bhagavad-Gita states: ‘ksine punye martyalokam visanti’ (BG9.21) – When the results of pious activities are finished, one falls down again from the peak of happiness to the lowest status of life.

Therefore, if we want to curb lamentation for good, then we have to take shelter of the Lord, as Arjuna is seeking to do. So Arjuna asked Shri Krishna to solve his problem definitely.

Arjuna’s understanding is that even if he was to win the kingdom of unrivalled prosperity free from enemies, he still could not see any means of alleviating the grief that was drying up his senses. By the use of the word ‘hi’ meaning ‘certainly’, the conviction that he could not see any solution to his grief is reinforced, indicating that only the Lord is fit to instruct him and guide him on the right path.

2.9       Shloka 2.9

सञ्जय उवाच
एवमुक्त्वा हृषीकेशं गुडाकेशः परन्तप।
न योत्स्य इति गोविन्दमुक्त्वा तूष्णीं बभूव ह।।2.9।।

Sanjaya Uvaca
Evam uktva Hrsikesam Gudakesah parantapah            |
Na yotsya iti Govindam uktva tusnim babhuva ha ||2.9||
Meaning: Sanjaya said: Having spoken thus, Arjuna, the chastiser of enemies, told Shri Krishna, ‘Govinda, I shall not fight’, and fell silent.

Dhritarashtra’s expectancy to know what happenned next was answered by Sanjaya which would have been music to Dhritarashtra’s ears as Arjuna was not going to fight and was instead contemplating leave the battlefield and preferred to live by seeking alms.

By addressing Lord Shri Krishna as Govinda, Arjuna is seeking His protection as Govinda protects His herd and He who controls everyone’s senses.

2.10     Shloka 2.10

तमुवाच हृषीकेशः प्रहसन्निव भारत।
सेनयोरुभयोर्मध्ये विषीदन्तमिदं वचः।।2.10।।

Tam uvaca Hrsikesah prahasann iva Bharata                 |
Senayor ubhayor madhye visidantam idam vacah ||2.10||
Meaning: O’ descendant of Bharata, thereafter situated between both the armies, Shri Krishna, as if smiling,  spoke the following words to the grief-stricken Arjuna.

Arjuna and Krishna, being cousins were intimate friends and both of them were at the same level, but one of them voluntarily became a student of the other.  Shri Krishna was smiling because His friend had chosen to become His disciple.

As Lord of all, He is always in a superior position as the master of everyone, and yet He accepts one who wishes to be a friend, a son, a lover or a devotee, or who wants Him in such a role. But when He was accepted as the master, He at once assumed the role and talked with the disciple like the master—with gravity, as is required.

Lord Krishna with a subtle smile on his face then spoke to Arjuna. The word ‘prahasan’ meaning ‘smiling’ is used to subtly indicate sarcasm due to the nature of the situation where the two armies were face to face ready for the battle while Arjuna, a mighty warrior, was reluctant. This subtle smile is used to remove any lingering vestiges of pride that Arjuna might have had about his knowledge, intelligence and prowess.

The first ten verses covered Arjuna’s delusion and lamentation culminating with his surrender unto Lord Shri Krishna.  We will now see Lord Shri Krishna’s response to Arjuna’s request for giving him definitive instructions and guidance and he offers himself as a disciple to Shri Krishna.

जय श्री कृष्णा – Jai Shri Krishna!

Hari Om Tat Sat