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

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SRIMAD BHAGAVAD GITA – PART 6 – Chapter 2, Verses 21 to 30 – SANKHYA YOGA

Bhagavan continues with his explanation on the immortality and immutability of the Soul.  He explains that the Soul is sub-atomic, subtler than the subtlest, that which cannot be cut or burnt nor destroyed.  It is incomprehensible, unimaginable, immeasurable, eternal and a wonder.  For a knower of this, there is no cause for lamentation and hence Bhagavan says ‘na tvam socitam arhasi’ meaning there Arjuna should not despair over the physical body and do his duty as a Kshatriya, as the physical body will decay and cease to exist one way or another.  Bhagavan Krishna says, even if he thought the soul will perish with the body, the universal law is that anything born will die and will be reborn again.  So even if it perished, it will come back again and hence, even with this (mis)understanding there was no cause for lamentation.

The Lord now concludes His instruction on the immutability of the Soul.

2.21     Shloka 2.21

वेदाविनाशिनं नित्यं य एनमजमव्ययम्।
कथं स पुरुषः पार्थ कं घातयति हन्ति कम्।।2.21।।
Vedavinasinam nityam ya enam ajam avyayam   |
Katham sa purusah partha kam ghatayati hanti kam ||2.21||
Meaning: O’ Partha, how can a person who knows that the soul is indestructible, unborn, eternal and immutable, kill anyone or cause anyone to kill?

A person who is situated in complete knowledge develops a wisdom to know when and where to apply apply that knowledge. For e.g. a punishment to hang a terrorist is in the larger interest of the society. Similarly, when Bhagavan Shri Krishna orders Arjuna to fight, it must be concluded that the violence is justified as it is to restore Dharma.

One who understands that the eternal soul is incapable of being destroyed, knows that it cannot be slain. The word ‘avinasinam’ means indestructible, ‘nityam’ means eternal and therefore by its own inherent nature the soul is imperishable and immortal. Therefore, it is ignorance of the eternal nature of the soul is the cause of all grief.

2.22     Shloka 2.22

वासांसि जीर्णानि यथा विहाय नवानि गृह्णाति नरोऽपराणि।
तथा शरीराणि विहाय जीर्णा न्यन्यानि संयाति नवानि देही।।2.22।।
Vasamsi jirnani yatha vihaya navani grhnati naro ‘parani       |
Tatha sarirani vihaya jirnany anyani samyati navani dehi ||2.22||
Meaning: As a person puts on new garments, giving up old ones, similarly, the soul accepts new material bodies, giving up the old and useless ones.

Transference of the atomic individual soul to another body is made possible by the grace of the Supersoul. The scriptures, like the Mundaka Upanishad and the Svetasvatara Upanishad, compare the soul and the Supersoul to two friendly birds perched on the same tree. One of the birds (the individual soul – JivAtma) is eating the fruit of the tree, and the other bird (Supersoul – ParamAtma) is simply observing His friend. Of these two birds—although they are the same in quality—one is captivated by the fruits of the material tree, while the other is simply witnessing the activities of His friend.

The JivAtma is struggling very hard on the tree (metaphor for the material body). But as soon as the Jiva surrenders to the other bird as the Supreme spiritual master—as Arjuna agreed to voluntary surrender unto Bhagavan Shri Krishna for instruction—the subordinate bird immediately becomes free from all lamentations.

Both the Katha Upanisad and Svetasvatara Upanisad confirm this:
Samane vrkse puruso nimagno ‘nisaya socati muhyamanah
Justam yada pasyaty anyam isam asya mahimanam iti vita-sokah
Meaning: Although the two birds are in the same tree, the eating bird is fully engrossed with anxiety and moroseness as the enjoyer of the fruits of the tree. But through some way or the other if it turns its attention to his friend (the ParamAtma), even for a fraction of time, and knows His glories—at once the suffering bird becomes free from all anxieties.

Arjuna has now turned his attention towards his eternal friend, Bhagavan Shri Krishna, and is gaining knowledge from Him. One who lays down his life in the line of one’s duty, is at once cleansed of bodily reactions and promoted to a higher planes of life. So, there was no cause for Arjuna to lament.

While it can be understood that the soul is indestructible and not to be lamented for; the physical body is destructible and any attachment to it leads to despair. With the termination in battle of the physical body of a very dear one such as preceptor or the loved ones, the separation will undoubtedly cause deep lamentation. To clarify this Bhagavan Shri Krishna explains that just as there is no grief when one discards old worn out garments and there is joy in accepting new garments, in the same way the embodied soul discarding old worn out bodies joyfully accepts new ones.

2.23     Shloka 2.23

नैनं छिन्दन्ति शस्त्राणि नैनं दहति पावकः।
न चैनं क्लेदयन्त्यापो न शोषयति मारुतः।।2.23।।
Nainam chindanti sastrani nainam dahati pavakah      |
Na cainam kledayanty apo na sosayati marutah      ||2.23||
Meaning: The soul can never be cut into pieces by any weapon, nor can he be burned by fire, nor moistened by water, nor withered by the wind.

All kinds of weapons, swords, flames, rains, tornadoes, etc., cannot to destroy the Atma. Nor was it ever possible to cut the individual souls from the original Soul.

Although only one use of the word ‘na’ meaning ‘never’ would have been sufficient to establish the premise of utter futility in trying to destroy the soul, it is used four times to emphasise that there is not even the slightest iota of doubt about this indestructability of the Soul (Atma).

2.24     Shloka 2.24

अच्छेद्योऽ यमदाह्योऽ यमक्लेद्योऽ शोष्य एव च।
नित्यः सर्वगतः स्थाणुरचलोऽयं सनातनः।।2.24।।
Acchedyo ‘yam adahyo ‘yam akledyo ‘sosya eva ca     |
Nityah sarva-gatah sthanur acalo ‘yam sanatanah ||2.24||
Meaning: This individual soul is unbreakable, insoluble, and can be neither burned nor dried. He is everlasting, all-pervading, unchangeable, immovable and eternally the same.

Weapons are powerless to inflict any injury by cutting or piercing, fire is powerless to burn, water is powerless to wet and air is powerless to dry the eternal soul. The soul having the propensity of pervading everything being capable by its nature of interpenetrating all substances. It is subtler than any substance and no substance can penetrate it. The effects of cutting, burning, soaking, drying and others which takes place by weapons, fire, water, air and the rest penetrate the object which is the focus of their direction; but due to its impregnable nature the soul is uninfluenced being beyond the scope of the material substratum. Hence the eternal soul is unchangeable, immovable and everlasting.

The word ‘Sarva-gatah’ meaning ‘all-pervading’ is significant because there is no doubt that living entities are God’s creation. They live on the land, in water, in the air, within the earth and even within fire. The belief that they are sterilized in fire is not acceptable, because it is clearly stated here that the soul cannot be burned by fire. Therefore, there is no doubt that there are living entities also in the Sun with suitable bodies that can live there. If the Sun is uninhabited, then the word ‘Sarva-gatah’ becomes meaningless.

Being all pervasive the soul is extremely subtle, tinier than atoms. Being the subtlest of the subtle it is ‘sthanuh’ or unchangeable as it is incapable of being modified in any way. As it is ‘acalah’ or permanent it is devoid of any change and is constant. As it is constant, it is ‘sananatah’ or ancient and eternally existing.

The Supreme Lord Krishna is stating that just as He is indestructible, so is the eternal soul within the living entities born from the womb of a female that was born from the womb of a female.

This existence never ceasing to exist is known as immovable and because He is identified by the primal sound Om He is eternally resonating and perennial. The Vishnu Purana states that the immortal soul is eternally existing under the control of the Bhagavan. Therefore, Bhagavan Shri Krishna is saying to Arjuna that he need not lament because He always redeems them.

2.25     Shloka 2.25

अव्यक्तोऽ यमचिन्त्योऽ यमविकार्योऽ यमुच्यते।
तस्मादेवं विदित्वैनं नानुशोचितुमर्हसि।।2.25।।
Avyakto ‘yam acintyo ‘yam avikaryo ‘yam ucyate    |
Tasmad evam viditvainam nanusocitum arhasi   ||2.25||
Meaning:  It is said that the soul is invisible, inconceivable, immutable, and unchangeable. Knowing this, you should not grieve for the body.

The word ‘avyaktah’ means invisible or imperceptible this is because the eternal soul being totally transcendental to the material existence cannot be practically examined as can objects which possess qualities of a physical nature.

The word ‘acintyah’ means inconceivable because the eternal soul is impossible to perceive by the mind and the senses being in every way transcendental to the material substratum which is what the consciousness of the living entities base their understanding on. The eternal soul differs from all other existences and levels of existence is in transcendence. Therefore it is ‘avikaryah’ or unchangeable and immutable. The Supreme Lord Krishna instructs that by knowing the eternal soul to be immortal there is no cause for grief (nanu’socitum arhasi).

It might be questioned that if the Supreme Lord is all pervading, then why is He not visible? The reason for this is that because He is inconceivable and invisible with the five senses that we have been endowed with. Whatever form He exhibits, He alone manifests in them fully. The words like ‘enam’ and ‘ayam’ indicate the eternal soul in living entities has the same qualitative attributes as the Supreme Lord but is infinitesimal quantitatively.

The Supreme Being is known to be both possessing a body and devoid of body. This is because He possesses a spiritual transcendental body and not a physical body. Because His body is not constituted of the elements of material nature, it is said to be a-dehah. The head, the feet, the arms and other parts of this spiritual, transcendental body are made up of the Supreme Lord Himself. There exists nothing which is distinctive from this spiritual, transcendental nature which can be called His body, therefore He is called a-dehah without body. He Himself is His form and this spiritual, transcendental form is eternally existing beyond the scope of material existence.

2.26     Shloka 2.26

अथ चैनं नित्यजातं नित्यं वा मन्यसे मृतम्।
तथापि त्वं महाबाहो नैवं शोचितुमर्हसि।।2.26।।
Atha cainam nitya-jatam nityam va manyase mrtam       |
Tathapi tvam maha-baho nainam socitum arhasi        ||2.26||
Meaning: If, however, you think that the soul is perpetually born and always dies, still you have no reason to lament, O mighty-armed.

There is always a class of philosophers who do not believe in the separate existence of the soul beyond the body. So, even if Arjuna did not believe in the existence of the soul there would still have been no cause for lamentation as it will be born again.

2.27     Shloka 2.27

जातस्य हि ध्रुवो मृत्युर्ध्रुवं जन्म मृतस्य च।
तस्मादपरिहार्येऽर्थे न त्वं शोचितुमर्हसि।।2.27।।
Jatasya hi dhruvo mrtyur dhruvam janma mrtasya ca     |
Tasmad apariharye ‘rthe na tvam socitum arhasi        ||2.27||
Meaning: For one who has taken his birth, death is certain; and for one who is dead, birth is certain. Therefore, in the unavoidable discharge of your duty, you should not lament.

For one who is born death is certain. This is because of the reality of a fixed time limit of the existence of the physical body. The fact that this reality is inevitable.  Rebirth is due to the nature of activities performed in one’s previous existence which causes one to be continuously connected to the cycle of birth and death. Therefore, it does not befit someone like Arjuna to grieve over the unavoidable cycle of birth, death and rebirth which is dependent on prior actions. 

One has to take birth according to one’s activities of life. And, after finishing one term of activities, one has to die to take birth for the next. In this way the cycle of birth and death is revolving, one after the other without liberation. This cycle of birth and death does not, however, support unnecessary murder, slaughter and war. But at the same time, violence and war are inevitable factors in human society for keeping law and order.

The Battle of Kuruksetra, being the will of the Supreme, was an inevitable event, and to fight for the right cause is the duty of a kshatriya. Why should Arjuna be afraid of or aggrieved at the death of his relatives since he was discharging his proper duty? By avoiding the discharge of his proper duty, he would not be able to stop the death of his relatives, and he would be degraded due to his selection of the wrong path of action.

Therefore understanding the reality of the existence of birth and death there should be no delusion.

2.28     Shloka 2.28

अव्यक्तादीनि भूतानि व्यक्तमध्यानि भारत।
अव्यक्तनिधनान्येव तत्र का परिदेवना।।2.28।।
Avyaktadini bhutani vyakta-madhyani bharata        |
Avyakta-nidhanany eva tatra ka paridevana       ||2.28||
Meaning: All created beings are unmanifest in their beginning, manifest in their interim state, and unmanifest again when they are annihilated. So what need is there for lamentation?

In this verse the Bhagavan Shri Krishna explains the fact that here on Earth whatever happened before birth is unknown by the use of the word ‘avyaktadini’. Living entities like human beings though eternally existing due to the auspices of each one’s eternal soul have an unknown origin before birth, a manifest condition from birth to death and proceed again to an unknown existence at the termination of the physical body. Such alternations constitute material existence and are a natural law. This then gives no cause to grieve. Having just shown that even if one erroneously was under the misapprehension that the physical body itself and the eternal soul are the same; there is still no reason to grieve.

If we were to accept our origin as being non-existent, because it is subatomic it is imperceptible, it is still existing then we can accept that all things appear from the five material elements for e.g. a giant tree emerging from a tiny seedling. Therefore in the matter of the existence of living entities, the unmanifest that is imperceptibly subtle, transforms itself into the manifest by modification which is known as birth and after some time again transforms itself into the unmanifest which is known as death. So when the correct understanding of birth and death is realised then what possibly is the necessity for lamentation? This is not befitting for one who is situated in spiritual intelligence.

It should not under any circumstances be erroneously assumed or mistakenly believed that from a non-existent condition the existent was produced and that because of the cause being non-existent then the effect is non- existent and thus the world is also non-existent. How can it be reconciled that the something can be produced from nothing?  That is a preposterous hypothesis that existence can manifest from the non-existent.

2.29     Shloka 2.29

आश्चर्यवत्पश्यति कश्िचदेन माश्चर्यवद्वदति तथैव चान्यः।
आश्चर्यवच्चैनमन्यः श्रृणोति श्रुत्वाप्येनं वेद न चैव कश्िचत्।।2.29।।
Ascarya-vat pasyati kascid enam ascarya-vad vadati tathaiva canyah       |
Aascarya-vac cainam anyah srnoti srutvapy enam veda na caiva kascit ||2.29||
Meaning: Some look on the soul as amazing, some describe him as amazing, and some hear of him as amazing, while others, even after hearing about him, cannot understand him at all.

The soul is always referred to as being eternal. This is because it is immutable by nature. The soul is extremely difficult to realise due to its supra-subtlety but it does not become perceptible simply because it is different from the physical body. So the soul is referred to in this verse as being amazing. It is those beings out of millions of beings who by devotion to Lord Krishna have received the mercy to be free from physical attachment and purify their hearts in order to perceive their soul, they see the soul as amazing. In what way is the soul amazing? The soul is more amazing than anything experienced previously because it is transcendent to everything experienced in the material existence.

It is not only amazing to the one who perceives the soul as amazing but also to the preceptor who describes the soul as amazing and to the disciple who learns from the preceptor that the soul is amazing as well. There is nothing in material existence that the soul can be compared with. So some others although hearing about the soul are still unable to comprehend it. The understanding is that the perceiver of the soul, the preceptor who describes the soul and the disciple who learns about the soul are all exceedingly difficult to gain association with in life.

In the Katha Upanishad, it states:
sravanayapi bahubhir yo na labhyah srnvanto ‘pi bahavo yah na vidyuh |
ascaryo vakta kusalo ‘sya labdha ascaryo jnata kusalanusistah ||
Meaning:  The fact that the soul that is sub-atomic is within the body of a gigantic animal, in the body of a gigantic banyan tree, and also in the microbe sized germs, millions and billions of which occupy only an inch of space, is certainly very amazing. Men with poor knowledge and men who are not austere cannot understand the wonders of the individual atomic spark of spirit, even though it is explained by the greatest authority of knowledge.

Owing to a gross material conception of things, most cannot imagine how such a small particle can become both so great and so small. So men look at the soul proper as wonderful either by constitution or by description.

In the Vishnu Sahasranamam, Bhagavan is described in extreme contrasts in Shloka 90:
Anur Brihat Krishas Sthulo Gunabhrin Nirguno Mahaan |
Meaning:  He is Atomic, Gigantic, Thin, lightweight, Oversized and heavy, having all contrasting attributes making Him Incomprehensible to the human faculties.

Quite similarly, the Atma is all of the above (though a tiny part of the Supersoul) and cannot be comprehended with the five senses that humans possess.

In the Brahma Tarka it is stated thus:
Amazing indeed is the Supreme Lord and it is not possible to find any other comparable form to Him. Therefore wisdom about Him is very similar to perceiving Him. 

2.30     Shloka 2.30

देही नित्यमवध्योऽयं देहे सर्वस्य भारत।
तस्मात्सर्वाणि भूतानि न त्वं शोचितुमर्हसि।।2.30।।
Dehi nityam avadhyo ‘yam dehe sarvasya bharata     |
Tasmat sarvani bhutani na tvam socitum arhasi    ||2.30||
Meaning: O’ descendant of Bharata, he who dwells in the body is eternal and can never be slain. Therefore, you need not grieve for any creature.

The Lord now concludes His instruction on the immutability of the Soul. In describing the immortal soul in various ways, Lord Bhagavan Shri Krishna establishes that the soul is immortal and the body is temporary. Therefore Arjuna as a khsatriya should not abandon his duty out of fear that his grandfather and teacher—Bhishma and Drona—will die in the battle.

In the Padma Purana it states:
Establishing Himself within the heart of every living entity the Supreme Lord protects each and every living entity eternally. Permanent objects like the immortal soul are protected eternally and impermanent objects such as the physical body are protected temporarily. In His manifested form or in His unmanifest presence, appearing or not appearing, throughout the material existence the Bhagavan Shri Krishna maintains and sustains all living entities for their highest good.

The eternal soul embodied within the physical body regardless whether it is a human earthly body or the physical bodies possessed by the demigods in the heavenly spheres; the immortal soul is eternally invulnerable even though the body perishes. Hence, understanding this principle as fundamental and the existence of Soul in all diverse forms of bodies ranging from humans to the animal species and the fish species and even the immovable plants and trees is important.

The soul is all pervasive and is abiding therein whatever the bodily form and is eternal, whereas the physical body is transient. The soul is immortal and hence Arjuna need not lament as it is always entering into various external forms until liberation is finally achieved.

जय श्री कृष्णा – Jai Shri Krishna!

Hari Om Tat Sat