Bhagavad Geeta Chapter 2 (Saankhya Yoga)

The Bhagavad Geeta Chapter 2Saankhya Yoga (Yoga of philosophy system) 

School of Yoga comments on Bhagavad Geeta Chapter 2: Introduction:

  • What is Yoga? Yoga is a Sanskrit cognate of the English “Yoke”. It means yoking of a person’s awareness of the Self to Brahman. 
  • What is Saankya? Saankhya is any philosophical system. In this chapter, Sri Krishna explains the philosophy that defines existence and Yoga. 

As we have seen in Chapter 1, Arjuna experiences deep conflict at the futility of war, horror at the prospect of fighting his own kinsmen, he refuses to fight. His situational awareness (prajnya) in that moment is one of melancholy.

This reaction is similar to what we experience when confronted with dissonance in relationships or in difficult situations! Initially, in the heat of the moment, we may wish to confront and fight, but when we review the possible consequences, our desire for conflict dissipates. Consequently, we try to disengage from confrontation, sometimes even at the cost of hurting ourselves or sacrificing our values and principles.

In this chapter, Sri Krishna explains the philosophy of life; covering origin of our existence and place in it, meaning of action and why performance of duty is the only solution to any problem and finally, attributes of one who has optimum situational awareness.

Sri Krishna begins his discourse to Arjuna by laying out the first principles of life and living called Saankya-Yoga.

  • He starts by explaining the nature of the Brahman, the difference between permanence and impermanence,
  • Then, he explains life, material relationships, concept of duty and svatantra (sva = self + tantra = weave of one’s sense of Identity with one’s actions, effectively meaning personality). 

Obviously, each of us will have a different way of solving any problem, but Sri Krishna highlights some elements which must not be compromised. 

  • Be true to your responsibility, try to avoid confrontation when finding a solution but if nothing works, fight!
  • Obviously, fight means different things; while in the case of a soldier it means a physical struggle, in the case of a teacher it could be standing up for students or the way teaching must be done and in the case of a lawyer this may be strategy for arguing a case.
  • You may not win but you must fight as well as you can, and accept ensuing results with equanimity. Not fighting is not an option.
  • Also, loss of integrity when finding a solution is not an acceptable option.
  • Finally, once the activity is started, one must avoid judgemental and sentimental positioning and duality of like-dislike, attraction-repulsion etc.

Conclusion: This chapter is about change management. Change occurs continuously and everyone gets affected by it. However, a Yogi must slowly learn to move away from duality such as like/ dislike or attraction/ repelling, to one of dispassion (vairagyam) and discrimination (vivekam).

When this state is realised, the person is able to step back from his or her surroundings and view the environment with increased clarity. This results in decision making that is closer to reality of the situation. Also, the person develops an awareness that transcends physical inability, fear of outcome, emotional swings or intellectual manipulation. 

School of Yoga comments on Bhagavad Geeta Chapter 2 (verse 1-11): Saankhya Yoga:

Sri Krishna, smilingly exhorted Arjuna not to think like a loser. Arjuna, besieged by sorrow and horror of the consequences of his proposed actions was overwhelmed by self-pity and begged Sri Krishna to advise him on what he should do. 

The key lesson Sri Krishna delivers is on impermanence and sentimentality. He says that the body is an impermanent, it passes through childhood, youth, old age and entry into another body upon death. So, one should be self-possessed and not get sentimental about situations and their perceived outcomes. Instead, one must focus on completing his or her duty with integrity.

School of Yoga comments on Bhagavad Geeta Chapter 2 (verse 12-25): Sri Krishna explains the nature of the Brahman;

Qualities of the Brahman:
  • Whenever we experience anything, it is maaya and not Brahman. Conversely, when we merge with the Brahman, there is no experience or maaya.
  • Brahman pervades everything and cannot be destroyed. It is unmanifested, unthinking and unchangeable.
  • It does not slay and cannot be slain, also it is unmanifested in the beginning in all beings (unborn state), it manifests in the middle (living beings) and is unmanifested again in the end (in a state of death).
  • Also, it cannot be cut or separated from anything, it does not burn, get wet or become dry (it has no material qualities and is indestructible). 
  • It is not born and and does not die when the body departs. This dweller in the body is eternally indestructible in all creatures (it does not change).
  • Finally, it is constant, everywhere, stable, immovable and universal.

Conclusion: Brahman is a state of infinite, imperishable (cannot die) and immutable (cannot change) state of peace. 

Also, the Brahman is the underwriter of all creation. It is the source and motility of all mass, energy and intelligence, supporting the functioning of everything. The Brahman does not become involved in creation also does not acquire the property of anything that it supports.

What state might anything that conforms to the above conditions be? If we were to reflect a little, then the only state that conforms to all the above conditions is either “null” or “infinity”, “null” being a state of nothing and “infinity” being a state beyond nothing. Awareness of this state ensures jnana or direct experience of infinity and the experience is called nir-vikalpa-samadhi (uninterrupted and unchanging state of peace).

Can we visualise the above state? Let us review where do our ideas, imagination and creativity come from. We will quickly realise that most ideas come when we are quiet, in a state of null or peace. Then, there is an internal vibration (spanda), resulting in a eureka sensation and the idea is born. 

School of Yoga comments on Bhagavad Geeta Chapter 2 (verse 26-28): Sri Krishna explains permanence and impermanence;

What is the difference between Brahman (permanence) and maaya (impermanence)?

To answer the difference between permanence and impermanent, we need to look at change.

  • We know that the only thing constant about change is change itself.
  • Next, we know that change is personal and each of us experiences change differently.
  • Also, it is very difficult for anyone to articulate any experience completely for two reasons – first, one does not always decode all aspects of the experience and second, it is not always possible to articulate the experience on account of shortcomings of communication.
  • Additionally, this includes sentient and insentient entities!
  • While one can accept that sentient entities have an experience which is often not completely understood, how can one conclude that this is true for insentient entities also?
  • To begin with, all of us assume that insentient entities have no experiences. This is based on the assumption that since they do not have an experience because they do not articulate it! This assumption is made despite the knowledge that insentient entities cannot articulate experience because they have no sense organs, but does that preclude their inability to experience. 
    • Even trained psychologists can only conclude any experience in a generic manner unless they get specific data inputs from their patients. When it is so difficult for sentient beings to completely understand or express an experience, it is logical to assume that insentient entities would have greater difficulty in describing their experience.
    • We do know that people get attached to their personal possessions such as cars, homes, clothes, ornaments, furniture such as couches and even utensils such as mugs, some more than others. How would this differential attachment be possible if the other entity did not have a soul that allowed it to radiate some kind of personality? If that is acceptable, then just as humans experience grief when parting with a possession, might not insentient entities experience grief also? How would that be possible if the article did not have a soul?
    • All prayers are the same, there is no evidence that one type of prayer is superior to another. The quality of outcome of any prayer depends on the prayer. So, whether one prays to an Idol, Cross or Kaaba, the results would entirely depend on the person praying. But, have we ever reflected, what happens to the above religious entities to whom millions of people pray? What might happen their experience be?
  • Hence, we can conclude that both sentient and insentient entities experience but in the case of insentient entities, experientiality (ability to express experience in a manner that can be understood) is more subtle and diffused, consequently difficult for sentient entities to experience or understand. 
  • Since, sentient beings are higher on the experientiality ladder, there is greater clarity on duality in their case.
  • Within sentient and insentient being, each unit or soul will experience change differently. This is on account of conditioning (dharma) and current state awareness (prajnya).
  • Consequently, it is also difficult for sentient entities and insentient to decipher where anyone is in the liberation from rebirth or moksha ladder because there is no way of identifying any entity as having transcended maaya and merged with the Brahman.
  • Finally, in sentient entities, all change is starkly experienced because it is perceived by the senses which cause experience of duality such as heat-cold, pleasure-pain, and these have a beginning and an end, which makes them transient, or impermanent. This is maaya (illusion or farce).

So, we can conclude that everything which we perceive in the world around us is impermanent because of three reasons:

  • First, it has a beginning and an end.
  • Second, it is perceived by the senses which give different measurements for different sentient and insentient beings at different times and in different states of awareness.
  • Change is occurring continuously and as the stimulus-response is not predictable, change itself is not predictable. This randomness is also called entropy in thermodynamics.

The conditions of change apply to the body also. The body comes into being, lives and moves to another body, hence it is transient also.

Karma and conditions of rebirth:

Let start from first principles. The Brahman is the foundation of all existence. It is indestructible, unborn, infinite, exists everywhere, and is the motility of all change.

What is the driving principle of change? Simple, it is stimulus-response. When there is a stimulus, there is a response. Importantly, even lack of response is a response.

Also, in any situation, when we receive stimulus, we either absorb it, act on it or not react. However, no matter how we deal with stimulus, there is change in internal material or internal energy configuration, and this known as enthalpy.

What changes? Whether we react, not react or absorb change without reacting our internal configuration or energy content changes. When we absorb change/ energy or do not react, it is an endothermic reaction or there is an increase in internal energy. Similarly, when we react to change, we give out energy to the environment, it is an exothermic reaction and there is a drop in our internal energy.

Is there a simpler definition of action (karma)?

  • When we react to any stimulus, we enter into a transaction with the object.
  • We either like or dislike the stimulus and as a result of this, we either push the object away or pull it closer.
  • This changes the relative position between the subject and object which results in an action of pulling or pushing, which causes relative displacement between the two entities and is called karma (action).
  • During any transaction process, we either give or take with each other.
  • This transaction is always unequal, with one giving more than the other.
  • Thus, one party ends up being the debtor and the other the creditor.
  • This is called debt (rinn). As we know from experience, all debt has to be repaid in this life or next. This is the foundation of the concept of rebirth.
Example
  • Have you noticed that our ability to change varies with the situation;
  • Often, we change positions during a discussion when we encounter fresh data.
  • Similarly, our likes and dislikes, such as tastes and people change slowly,
  • Finally, even our character and value system (dharma), which have been moulded since our childhood and slowest to change, do undergo change over time.
Conclusion of permanence and impermanence:

Clearly, the permanent state of Brahman is the only Truth. Everything else is impermanent.

Impermanence or temporary is everything that is touched by the senses. This means that in order to understand what is permanent, one needs to transcend (go beyond) the senses.

Finally, it can be seen that change is a continuous and ephemeral event which is dependent on cognition of stimuli (manas) by the senses (indriyani) and it’s processing by the intellect (buddhi). This processing of information is done by each of us on a framework that is different between us because each person’s conditioning is different. This conditioning is called dharma (natural state) and the ephemeral as well as individual nature of how stimuli is received, processed and reacted to, makes current state temporary or impermanent. 

School of Yoga comments on Bhagavad Geeta Chapter 2 (verse 26-53): Sri Krishna explains attitude to work, dharma and duty;

In the above example, we said that karma (action) occurs when we like something and we pull it closer or when we dislike something and push it away.

What is the basis on which we like or dislike something? That is called dharma or our natural state. Dharma is a mix of birth and conditioning. Birth defines DNA in sentient entities and conditioning defines values and behaviour which we exhibit in any situation.

  • Dharma defines our likes and dislikes, hence the instinctive response to any situation. Thus, it is the base of action or karma.
  • Also, dharma defines the natural state or all creation. For example, we all know how humans, dogs, cats and other sentient beings act and react in their individual unique ways. Mango trees will yield mango fruit, never papaya. Hydrogen atoms will have an atomic weight of 1.008 and an atomic number of 1, this is its dharma and defines how hydrogen will behave in any bond.
  • In thermodynamics, dharma is the internal energy of a system, internal energy being the sum of kinetic and potential energy in any system. This will be different for each entity because individual composition is different between entities.

The Concept of duty and dharma:

We are born with a unique DNA and grow up in our own specific environment, this moulds our values and behaviour, which define our experiences. These experiences become predominant drivers of our self-esteem or state of being and in turn reorient our value system.

Consequently, we are at peace when our experiences are within these parameters of DNA and conditioning, natural state or thermodynamic entropy. This state of equilibrium is our natural state or dharma.

This natural state can be extended to cover sentient, insentient states as well as professions, businesses, systems and activities which makes this universal or sanatana.  Let us review how dharma intricately weaves work with personality, duty, system and environment;

  • A soldier needs to be able to maintain his awareness in battle, his dharma or duty is to fight and defend. If he runs away from the battlefield, then he compromises the integrity of whatever he protects and loses his dharma or state of equilibrium. To perform his dharma, he has to overcome fear of death.
  • Similarly, a teacher’s dharma or duty is to teach and develop students into responsible citizens, if he or she were to be afraid of the opinion of others, then he would never be able to teach effectively and build good citizens. 
  • Next, the dharma or duty of a business man is to increase material value without lowering integrity. When integrity is lost or when the businessman is afraid of risk, dharma is lost.
  • Finally, the dharma of a farmer is to grow food, he must not stop sowing because he is worried that there may be no rains. That fear would result in famine and destruction of society.

Conclusion: Sri Krishna’s advice of dharma and duty applies to every person, activity or section of society. Consequently, when people do not perform their designated duties, shirk performing them, or perform them without integrity, society suffers and chaos (adharma) results.

Example:

Ramshastri Prabhune was a mukhya-nyayadish (Chief Judge) of the Indian kingdom of Marathas. In 1772, the ruling Peshwa Narayan Rao was murdered by his own paternal uncle Raghunath Rao and his wife Anandibai who then became the Peshwa or ruler. When the case came up for hearing, Ramshastri declared the sitting Peshwa guilty and sentenced him to death in his own court. As a result, Ramshastri faced definite threat to his life and left Pune to go into exile.

  • How was Ramshastri able to confront the ruler, pronounce him guilty of regicide and hand him a sentence of death in his own court? What does this tell you about Ramshastri?
  • What fear would Ramshastri have had to overcome when he pronounced this judgement?
  • Have you ever experienced a similar situation and response?

School of Yoga comments on Bhagavad Geeta Chapter 2: Difference between rights and duties.

  • Your right is to effort alone, not its outcome.
  • Attachment to reward should not be your motivator for action.
  • Also, fear of consequences or attachment to outcome should not stop you from making this effort.
  • Perform action, abandon attachment to the action and also the outcome or rewards, be balanced in both success and failure.
  • This even handedness of the Self and indifference in action is Yoga.

So, how does Sri Krishna’s words translate to today’s world?

Every right comes with a responsibility and without an effective execution of responsibility, the right can never be enjoyed. For example, to be a citizen or a member of a community is a right, but that right comes with a responsibility of a behaviour. Without responsible behaviour, the values of the community cannot be realised. As a result, rights conferred by the community or country are undermined, so these rights cannot be enjoyed by members of the community or citizens of the country. 

  • Once you accept a responsibility, you must ensure that you are loyal to the team and ensure team success.
  • When performing a task, you must take it to the end and do it to the best of your ability.
  • Do not perform action for the reward. You will get rewards, often it may not be commensurate with your perception of worth. Keep your equilibrium, unless you perceive injustice.
  • However, if you perceive injustice, then it is your duty to petition and seek redressal.
  • As a citizen, you must support your country, civilisation and culture by understanding and following it.
  • Paying taxes is not an option, it is a responsibility.
  • For any member of society, keeping it clean, following the rules and being a good neighbour is not an option, it is a duty!
  • Sure, it is not necessary that you agree with many things around you, it is your duty to try and correct them.
  • You cannot subvert or bypass a rule just because you don’t agree with it. That would lead to adharma or chaos!

The concept of guna (attributes):

Our ability to act comes from our situational awareness (pragnya). When our awareness is beset by inertia, doubt, fear or self-pity it is called tamas. Next, when our awareness is driven by anger, greed or ambition, this is called rajas, a state of energy. Finally, when there is a balance and state of calm, this is called sattva. These 3 attributes or guna (attributes of cognition) are always together, never static and continuously changing in proportion;

  • Tamas (obdurate/ delusion) – our actions are driven by lack of logic, understanding, in delusion or sometimes we refuse to act on account of laziness and fear. 
  • Rajas (passion) – our actions are driven by ambition, greed, anger, targets/ goals, power, arrogance, vanity etc.
  • Sattva (balance) – our actions are driven by integrity, need for balance, harmony, consensus etc.

Example of guna: A person is using an ATM (Automatic Teller Machine) for the first time. The bank has issued an ATM card to the person. Imagine the person’s state when for the first time he/she has to work with the ATM.

  • Firstly, there is confusion – “How am I going to do this?” or anxiety/ fear “What will happen if…?” This is tamas.
  • Secondly, comes anger or irritation – “This is ridiculous! How do they expect me to operate this machine without training?” This is rajas. Then, there is effort…“Let’s see what we can do”.
  • Finally, there is acceptance and ownership. Here, the person hacks around and finds a solution, either by doing it himself or by asking someone. This is satva.

Consequently, the achievement of having found a solution brings an awareness of the system in the person. This is vijnana. This results in increased confidence in the Self, an increase in asmita (I am this) which is called jnana.

The above example can cover all situations and experiences, first we are confused, then we put in effort to understand and finally achieve a balance.

School of Yoga comments on Bhagavad Geeta Chapter 2 (verse 64-72): Sri Krishna explains Sthithaprajnya;

What are the qualities of one who has reached stithaprajnya(sthitha = stable, heightened or resolute + pragnya = awareness of the Self or heightened situational awareness)?

  • Firstly, such a person is able to cast off all desires even in the form of ideas and is completely secure and satisfied in Brahman, by Brahman alone.
  • Secondly, such a person is not afraid of the outcome and acts without bias. This person is indifferent and without agitation in pain as well as pleasure. There is complete absence of longing for anything.
  • Thirdly, this person is unattached and without affection everywhere. There is no swings in reaction, such as like-dislike, attraction-rejection. This allows the person to control cognition from being hijacked by turbulent senses.
  • Fourth, this person has steady awareness. He is able to withdraw his senses from all sense objects and keep his or her awareness steady.

How does a person become sthithaprajnya?

Let us look at the process of response to stimulus:

  • First, by thinking of objects, an attachment is developed towards them.
  • Next, from attachment comes desire for ownership and control.
  • Following desire comes anger and frustration when things don’t go right.
  • Anger always clouds reason, resulting in delusion.
  • Delusion causes turbulence in the cognition (manas) which in turn results in clouding of data, information and memory.
  • Lastly, from confusion of memory comes loss of reason (buddhi), from loss of reason comes incorrect action which leads to disappointment and destruction.
What is the solution?
  • Stimuli create turbulence, owing to generation of choices brought about by conditioning (dharma). So, control over awareness is achieved when attachment (raaga) and repulsion (dwesha) are controlled by controlling the churn of senses towards objects. Such as person is undisturbed by change, neither seeking nor rejecting it, free from attachment, fear or anxiety
  • A person who reaches the state of sthithaprajnya casts off all physical, intellectual and emotional attachments and becomes completely secure within himself. Such as person abandons desire and moves about free from longing, without ownership, without the sense of doer-ship and attains peace.
  • The outcome reduction in overall misery results in the appearance of a tranquil consciousness because the intellect (buddhi) becomes steady. This is the brahmika state.
  • Consequently, fickle people have no intellect or steady vision (bhaavana) and no peace exists in those with no awareness (abhaavayataha), hence these people find no peace?
  • Importantly, this state of Brahman is not achieved by anyone who is fascinated by this achievement as an intellectual exercise, but once anyone achieves this state and gets transfixed there, at the end of life attains merger with Brahman.
The concept:

Sri Krishna is asking everyone to remain in the present, that’s all! But, remaining in the present is not easy, it requires an awareness of the situation as it unfolds and develops. 

Additionally, this awareness must cover all physical, emotional and intellectual experiences. Therein lies the subtlety and complexity.

Examples:

Time: We are all born equal, all of us have 24 hours in a day. When we are in a happy situation (like party, movie or with friends), time seems to go faster. But, when we are waiting for a flight, exam results or relief from a headache after taking medication, time seems to move slowly. How is this possible? What has changed is our attachment to the outcome or like/ dislike of the subject or any other reasons associated with our self-esteem (asmita).

Bias: Often, when we listen to people we like, we agree to do what they ask. However, when we don’t like the person, we get filled with resistance and experience resentment, even if the advice is for our own wellbeing. Why? 

Fear – When we have missed our targets at work, lost marks in exams or missed a flight, we experience a fear which stops us from thinking about solutions to the problem. Often, our fear triggers anxieties and extreme reactions and this makes it difficult for our friends, companions, colleagues and family members to work with us. 

The above examples are some of the many ways in which we lose our ability to remain in the present due to our conditioning (dharma). 

Do not mistake intellectual, emotional intelligence or physical awareness as situational awareness. Situational awareness is a visceral and experiential awareness of the present where we participate without becoming attached.

In this part of the chapter, Sri Krishna is trying to define the character and behaviour of a role model having ideal situational awareness. It’s not easy, but can be achieved with constant practice. 

School of Yoga posits views that may be contrary to accepted positions: 

  • Throughout Bhagavad-Geeta, the position of Sri Krishna is very confusing. In chapter 9 – verse 11, Sri Krishna himself acknowledges that his human manifestation confuses everyone. In chapter 8, he states that he is primordial sacrifice (adiyagnya) and in chapter 17, he describes his residence as Brahman. This does not mean that he is Brahman, merely that he resides there, or more precisely he has merged with Brahman. So, Sri Krishna cannot be assumed to be Brahman.
  • Sri Krishna is referred to Bhagavaan when he answers Arjuna. Popularly, Bhagavaan has been loosely translated as God. However, there is no evidence of the existence of God nor are there any description of the qualities of God.
  • Brahman is not God; Brahman is a state of existence. Also, nowhere in the Bhagavad-Geeta is there any evidence Bhagavaan being Brahman. Throughout, Brahman is referred to as Brahman itself or Tat (that).
  • While merger with Sri Krishna will result in merger with Brahman, this is not an exclusive condition. Complete surrender of the Self to ANY Identity will lead to a merger with Brahman. In fact, Sri Krishna himself says that even offering sacrifice as a sacrifice will result in merger with Brahman. So, merger is a result of the individual’s effort and is not related to Sri Krishna’s capabilities.
  • Also, deiva is not Bhagavaan, deiva is a deity who has specific roles and responsibilities in material existence. Neither is Eeshwara. In fact, the position of Eeshwara is subordinate to the position of Sri Krishna (adi-yagnya). So, what is Bhagavaan?
  • Consequently, any depiction of Sri Krishna as God (Bhagavaan) is unsustainable.
  • Since, there are no alternate explanations, no concrete evidence of God or translation of Bhagavaan, a more sustainable position would be to retain Sri Krishna as the teacher of the Bhagavad-Geeta and adi-yagnya (primordial sacrifice), not as Bhagavaan.

School of Yoga explains the lesson learned in Chapter 2

  • There are two primary states, permanent and impermanent.
  • Permanent is Brahman which is the foundation and motility of everything. Impermanent is everything else, known as maaya (illusion) or materiality (anything that can be cognised by the senses).
  • The only way to manage change is by discriminating permanent from impermanent in any situation (vivekam) and acting with dispassion (vairagyam).
  • Managing change requires situational awareness and a person who develops this is called sthitha-pragnya.

The Transliteration of The Bhagavad-Geeta Chapter 2 follows:

The Sanskrit words are in red italics and meaning, before the words, are in black.

Sanjaya said (1) Madhusudana said this to him, who was overcome with pity, despondent and whose eyes were filled with tears (tam-tatha-kripayaya-aavishtam-asrupoorna-aakula-eeksaanam-visidantam-idam-vaakyam-uvaacha-madhusudhana)

Krishna said (2-3) How did this dejection which brings you to this perilous state that makes you un-aryan like, unfit for heaven and disgraceful (kutaha-tva-kashmalam-idam-vishame-sama-upasthitham-anaarya-jushtam-asvargyam-akeerti-karanam). Do not become impotent, it is not fitting in you, discard weakness of the heart, stand up and fight (klaibhyam-ma-sma-gamaha-na-etat-tvayi-upapadhyate-kshudram-hradaya-daurbalyam-tvaktva-uttishta).

Arjuna said (4-6) How can I do battle with arrows at Bhishma and Drona, they that are fit to be worshipped (katham-bhishma-aham-samkhye-dronam-cha-ishubhihi-pratiyotsyami-poojarhau). Instead of slaying these greatly experienced Gurus, it is better to eat alms. Indeed, how can I enjoy wealth and desires in this world when I am stained with their blood (guroon-ahatvaa-hi-mahanubhaavaan-shreya-bhoktum-bhaiksyam-api-iha-loke-hatva-arthakaamaan-guroon-iha-eva-bhunjeeya-bhogaan-rudheerapradigdhau). I am unable to know which is better, whether we conquer them or they conquer us, whether we would wish to live after slaying the sons of Dharthrashtra (na-cha-etat-vidmah-katarat-nah-gariya-yat-va-jayema-yadi-va-nah-jayeyuhu-yaan-eva-hatva-na-jijivisaamah-te-avasthithaha-pramukhe-dhartharashtr).

(7-8) With natural instinct overcome by pity I as you about Dharma with a confused mind, what is good for me. As your pupil I take refuge in you, teach me (kaaparNya-dosha-upahat-svabhaava-praschami-tvaam-dharma-sam-moodah-chetaha-yaha-shreya-syaat-nischitam-broohi-tat-me-sishyaha-te-aham-shaadi-maam-tvaam-prapannam). Nothing I see is able to remove my grief, my senses are clogged up, even obtaining unrivalled prosperity on Earth or even dominion over the deities (na-hi-prapashyaami-mama-apanudyaat-yat-shokam-uchoshanam-indriyaanaam-avaapya-bhoomau-asapatnam-hrddham-rajyam-suraaNaam-api-cha-adhipatyam).

Sanjay spoke (9-10) Having thus spoken to Hrishikesha, Gudakesha, the destroyer of foes said I will not fight to Govinda and became silent (evam-uktva-hrshikesham-gudaakeshaha-parantapaha-na-yotsye-iti-govindam-uktvaa-hrshneem-babhoom-ha). Hrishikesha smilingly said this to Bhaarat who was despondent in the middle of the two armies (taam-uvaacha-hrishikeshaha-prahasanam-iva-bhaarat-senayo-ubhayoho-madhya-visheedhatantam-idam-vachaha).

Sri Krishna said (11-13) You grieve for those that should not be grieved, the wise do not grieve for the dead and living (ashochyaan-anvashochaha-tvam-pagnyavaadana-cha-bhaashaase-gataasoon-agataasoon-cha-na-anushochanti-panditaha). Not I or even you nor any of the rulers of men also existed at any time, nor shall anyone in the future (na-tu-eva-aham-jAtu-na-asam-na-tvam-na-ime-janaadhipa-na-cha-eva-na-bhavishyamaha-sarve-vayam-ataha-param). The embodied in this body passes through childhood, youth, old age and entry into another body, the self-possessed do not get bewildered (dehinaha-asmin-thathaa-dehe-koumaaram-youvvanam-jaraa-thatha-dehaantara-praptihi-dheeraha-tatra-na-muhyati). 

(14-15) Indeed, outward cognition results in cold / heat, pleasure / pain, which enter, their stay is impermanent, be patient (maatra-sparsha-tu-sheeth-ushna-sukha-dukha-khadaaha-aagamaa-paayinah-anityah-taan-titikshasva). The man who is not anguished is a champion among men, he who is firm and equal in pain and pleasure is fit for immortality (yam-hi-na-vyatha-yanti-yet-purusham-purusha-rishabha-sama-dukhha-sukham-dheeram-saha-amritatvaaya-kalpate).

(16-17) It does not exist in cognition of experience; no experience is cognised in the Truth. Also, inside of these two states have indeed been seen by knowers of the Truth (na-asto-vidhyate-bhaavaha-na-abhaavaha-vidhyate-sataha-ubhayoho-api-drishtaha-antah-tu-anayoho-tattva-darshibhihi). Cognise that indestructible indeed is that which pervades everything. Destruction of the imperishable is not something anyone can do (avinaashi-tu-tat-viddhi-yena-sarvam-idam-tatam-vinaasham-avyayasya-na-kaschit-kartum-arhati).

(18-20) These bodies have an end, but the everlasting is said to be embodied as indestructible and immeasurable, so fight (antavantaha-ime-dehe-nityasyoktaha-shareeriN-anashino-aprameyasya-tasmaat-yudhyasva). He who thinks that he is the slayer, he who cognises that something is slain, both do not know that this does not slay nor is it slain (yah-enam-vetthi-hantaraha-yah-cha-enam-manyate-hatam-ubhau-thou-na-vijaneetaha-na-ayam-hanti-na-hanyate). It is neither born nor does it die anytime; it is not present now or later in the future or in that which is occurring. It is unborn, eternal and changeless, this ancient is not killed when it the body is being killed. (na-jaayate-mriyate-va-kadachit-na-ayam-bhootva-bhavita-va-na-bhuyah-ajaha-nityaha-shaashvato-ayam-puranaha-na-hanyate-hanyamaane-shareere).

(21-22) He who cognises this to be indestructible, unborn, infinite, to exist everywhere, how can that person cause slaying or slay (veda-avinaashinam-nityam-yah-enam-ajam-avyayam-katham-sah-purushaha-kam-ghaatyati-hanti-kam). Just as worn-out clothes are cast away and new additional ones taken by man, similarly bodies are cast off after they are used up and other new bodies entered (vasamsi-jeerNaani-yathaa-vihaaya-nivaani-grhnati-naraha-aparaaNi-thatha-shariraaNi-vihaaya-jeerNani-anyaani-samyati-navaani-dehi).

(23-25) This cannot be cut with weapons; this does not burn in fire and this does not get wet in water and does not get dry in the wind (na-enam-chindanti-shastraNi-na-enam-dahati-paavakaha-na-cha-enam-kledayanti-aapaha-na-shoshyati-maarutaha).  This cannot be cut, this cannot be burnt, this cannot be wetted or dried and also constant, everywhere, stable, immovable, this universal (aschedyaha-ayam-adaahyaha-ayam-akledyaha-ashoshyaha-eva-cha-nitya-sarvagataha-sthaNuhu-achalaha-ayam-sanatanaha). This is unmanifested, this is unthinking, this is unchangeable, this is therefore knowing this, one ought not to lament (avyakta-ayam-achintya-ayam-avikaarya-ayam-uchyate-tasmaat-evam-viditva-enam-na-anushochtam-arhasi).

(26-28) Now, if you think that this is constantly being born or constantly dying, even then you must not grieve (atha-cha-enam-nitya-jaatam-nityam-va-manyase-mrtam-thatha-api-tvaam-na-enam-shochitam-arhasi). For those that are born death is certain, definitely there is birth for those that die, this is inevitable in matter, you should not grieve (jaatasya-hi-dhruvah-mrituhu-dhruvam-janma-mrityasya-cha-tasmaat-aparihaarye-arthe-na-tvaam-shochitam-arhasi). Unmanifested in the beginning are beings, manifested in the middle, unmanifested again in the end, so what is there to lament (avyaktaadeeni-bhutaani-vyakta-madhyaani-avyakta-nidhaani-eva-tatra-ka-paridevana).

(29-30) In wonder one sees this, in wonder one speaks of also, many wonders one hears of this, after hearing this is not known to anyone at all (aascharyaavat-pashyati-kaschit-enam-aascharyavat-vadati-thaatha-eva-cha-anya-aascharyvat-cha-enam-anyaha-shrnothi-shrutva-api-enam-veda-na-cha-eva-kaschit). This in-dweller in the body is eternally indestructible in all creatures, therefore you should not grieve for anyone (dehi-nityam-avadhyaha-ayam-dehe-sarvasya-tasmaat-sarvaaNi-bhootani-na-tvam-sochitam-arhasi).

(31-33) Observing one’s own duty and not wavering at war should be higher than any other duty of a Kshatriya (svadharmam-api-cha-avakshya-na-vikampitam-arhasi-dharmyaat-hi-yuddhaat-shreyaha-anyat-kshatriyasya-na-vidhyate). Doors of heavens are laid open, happy kshatriyas obtain battles that occur by themselves (yadrachhayaa-cha-upapannam-svarga-dvaaram-apaavritam-sukhinah-ksatriyaaha-labhante-yuddham-idrisham). However, if you do not act in this duty-bound warfare then your honour will be stained as own who abandoned his self-duty (atha-chet-tvam-imam-dharmyam-sangraamam-na-karishyasi-tatah-svadharmam-keertim-cha-hitva-paapam-avapsyasi).

(34-36) Beings recount your story of dishonour forever, in their thought dishonour outlives death (akeertim-cha-api-bhootani-kathayishyanti-te-avyayam-sambhavitasya-cha-akeertihi-maraNaat-atirischate). The great charioteers will think that you withdrew from the battlefield in fear (bhayaat-raNaat-uparatham-mamsyante-tvaam-maharathaha) those that thought highly of you will receive you as a lightweight (yeshaam-cha-tvam-bahumath-bhootaha-yaasyasi-laaghavam). Your enemies will speak many inappropriate words and many will defame your abilities, which will indeed be more painful than this (avaachyavaadaan-cha-bahoon-vadishyanti-tava-ahitaaha-nindantaha-tava-samarthya-tathaha-dukkhataram-nu-kim). Slain, you will attain heaven, alive you will enjoy victory on earth therefore, stand up and resolve to fight. (hatah-va-praapyasi-svargam-jitva–va-bhokshyase-maheem-tasmaat-uthhishta-yuddhaaya-krith-nischyaha).

(38-40) Treat pain and pleasure, profit and loss, victory and defeat in the same manner, then engage in battle and no staining will result (sukkha-dukkha-same-kritva-laabha-alaabhou-jaya-ajayou-tatho-yuddhaya-yujyasva-na-evam-paapam-avaapyasi). I am telling you the philosophical wisdom in yoga, indeed hear it with wisdom and follow it to cast off the bondage of karma (esha-te-abhihita-saankhe-buddhihi-yoge-tu-imaam-shrinu-buddhya-yuktah-yayaa-karma-bandhanam-prahaasyasi). Contrary results do not come from unsuccessful effort, even little of this duty protects from great fear (na-iha-abhikramanashah-asti-pratyavaay-na-vidyate-svalpam-api-asya-dharmasya-trayate-mahataha-bhayaat).

(41-43) Maintain a firm soul and focussed intellect diverse, endless contemplation is of the irresolute (vyavasaay-aatmika-budhhir-ekaha-iha-bahu-shaakaah-hi-anantaaha-cha-buddhyaha-avyavasaayinaam). The ignorant get carried away by flowery speech quoting the Vedas, not these other words (yaam-imaam-pushpitaam-vaacham-pravadanti-avai-ashyataha-vedavaarathah-na-anyat-asti-iti-vaadinah). Those whose soul is full of desires, even with heaven as their highest goal, get birth as the fruit of action because their actions are focused on goals specific for attainment of pleasure and wealth (kaam-aatmanaha-svargapuraaha-janma-karma-phala-pradaam-kriya-vishesha-bahulaam-bhog-aisvarya-gati-prati). 

(44-46) Those that are attached to enjoyment and wealth are bereft of consciousness, firm soul and intellect not focused in samaadhi (bhoga-aisvarya-prasaktaanam-thatha-apahrt-chetasam-vyavasaay-aatmika-buddhih-samadhau-na-vidhiyate). The Vedas would not exist without the aspect of the three gunas (thri-guna-vishayaaha-vedaha-nistrai-gunyayaha-bhava) be without duality, constantly in sattva state with a Soul that is free from outcomes (nir-dvandvaha-nitya-sattva-sthaha-nir-yoga-kshemah-aatma-vaan). Just as a tank is as useful when there is flood everywhere (yaavaan-arthah-ud-paane-sarvataha-sampluthodake), similarly all the Vedas are of use to a Brahmana who knows (tavaan-sarveshu-vedeshu-bhrahmanasya-vijanataha).

(47-49) Perform karma for itself alone, not for its fruits, anytime (karman-eva-adhikaarah-te-ma-phaleshu-kadachana), do not be attached to the fruits of action, nor be attached to inaction (ma-karma-phala-hetu-bhuh-ma-te-sangah-astu-akarmaNi). Absorbed in yoga of action, abandoning attachment to action, being the same in perfection or out of perfection, retaining equilibrium is called yoga (yogastha-kuru-karmaNi-sangam-siddhi-asiddyoh-samah-bhootva-samatvam-yogah-uchyate). By far, action is inferior to yoga of wisdom, in wisdom one seeks refuge, in action one seeks fruits (dooreNa-hi-avaram-karma-buddhi-yogaat-buddhou-sharaNam-aniccha-krpaNaah-phalahetavah).

(50-51) One who is merged with wisdom casts off in this life both, pious and evil actions therefore dedicate yourself to yoga and become skilled in its ways (buddhi-yukto-jahateeha-ubhe-sukrit-dushkrite-tasmaat-yogaaya-yujyasva-yogaha-karmashu-koushalam). Indeed, the wise having abandoned fruits of action that is born due to motivation by intelligence are freed from bonds of birth and go to a happy abode (karmajam-budhhi-yuktaahaa-hi-phalam-tyaktva-maneeshiNaha-janma-bandha-vinir-muktaaha-padam-gacchati-anaamayam).

(52-53) When your intellect crosses the more of delusion then you will experience indifference to what you hear and the subject of hearing (yadaa-te-moha-kalilam-buddhihi-vyati-tarishyati-tadaa-ganthasi-nirvedam-shrotavyasya-shrutasya-cha). When you remain firm, unruffled with steady intellect in the midst of conflicts, then you will attain yoga (harmony), (shruti-vipreetapanna-te-yada-sthaastyati-nishchala-samadhou-achala-budhhihi-tada-yogam-avaapsyasi).

(54) Arjuna said: What is the description of steady awareness state of a person who is in a state of samaadhi (stitha-pragnya-ka-ka-bhaasha-samaadhisthasya), How does a person in this state speak, how does he sit, how does he walk (sthithadheehi-kim-prabhasheta-kim-aaseetha-vrajeta-kim).

(55-57) Sri Krishna said: When one casts off all desires even in the form of ideas and is satisfied in the Self by the Self alone, that person is called sthithapragnya (prajahati-yada-kaamaan-sarvaan-manogataan-atmani-eva-aatmanaa-tushtaha-sthithapragnyaha-tada-uchyate). In pain, without agitation, indifferent to pleasure, freed from attachment, fear and unmoved is called a sage (dukkheshu-anudvigamanaaha-sukheshu-vigataspraha-veeta-raaga-bhaya-krodhaha-sthithadhih-munihi-uchyate). He who is without affection everywhere no matter whether obtained in good or bad, does not rejoice nor repel, in him awareness is fixed (yah-sarvatra-anabhisheha-tat-tat-prapya-shubh-ashubham-na-abhinandati-na-dveshti-tasya-pajnya-pratishtati).

(58-60) When he withdraws his senses from all sense objects like a tortoise withdraws its limbs awareness is steadied (yada-samharate-cha-ayam-koormaha-angaani-iva-sarvasha-indraNi-indriyarthebhyaha-tasya-prajnya-prathishtitha). Abstaining from objects annul longing in a person (vishaya-vinivarthante-niraahaarasya-dehinaha), longing even to experience the supreme turns away (rasavarjan-raso-apiasya-param-dristvaa-nivartate). Indeed, even in the person who is persevering as well as wise, the turbulent senses violently hijack cognition (yatate-hi-api-purushasya-vipischitaha-indriyaNi-pramaathini-haranthi-manaha).

(61-63) Indeed, they whose every sense has been restrained all together, sit devoted to me with senses under control is one whose awareness is complete (taani-sarvani-samyamya-yuktah-aaseet-matparah-vashe-hi-yasya-indriyaaNi-tasya-prajnya-pratishtithaa). In man, thinking of objects results in attachment developing to them, from attachment desire is born, from desire anger rises (dhyaayat-vishayaan-pumsaha-sanhaha-teshu-upajayate-sangaat-sanjaayate-kaamaha-kaamat-krodah-abhijayate). From anger comes delusion, from delusion confusion of memory, from confusion of memory comes loss of reason, from loss of reason comes destruction (krodhaat-bhavati-sammohah-sammohaat-smrtivibhramaha-smriti-bhramsaat-buddhi-naashaha-buddhi-naashaat-praNshyati).

(64-66) Freedom from attachment and repulsion comes from exerting control over the churn of senses by objects, then a controlled Self is the outcome (raaga-dvesha-viyuktaihi-tu-vishayaan-indriiyaih-charan-aatmavashyaihi-vidheyaatma-prasaadam-adhigacchati). The outcome of reduction in overall misery results in the appearance of a tranquil consciousness because quickly the intellect becomes steady (prasaade-sarva-dukkhaanaam-haani-upajaayate-prasanna-chetasaha-hi-aashu-buddhih-paryavathishtate). The fickle have no intellect nor steady vision (bhaavana) and no peace in those without awareness (abhaavayataha) how can happiness come to those that have no peace (na-asti-buddhihi-ayukt-asya-na-cha-yukta-asya-bhaavana-na-cha-abhaavayataha-shantihi-ashaantasya-kuthaha-sukham).

(67-69) The wandering senses are followed by the cognition which annhilate awareness like the wind takes away a boat on the water (indriyaaNaam-hi-charataam-yat-manah-anuvidheeyate-tat-asya-harati-prajnyaam-vaayuhu-naavam-iva-ambhaasi). Therefore, one who has restrained the senses completely from sense objects, that persons awareness is steady (tasmaat-yasya-nigrheetaani-sarvashaha-indrayaaNi-indrayarthebhyaha-tasya-prajnya-pratishtitha). When it is night for all beings, at this time awakens the self-controlled, in which all beings awaken that vision is cognised by the muni (ya-nisha-sarva-bhootaanaam-tasyaam-jaagriti-samyami-yasyaam-jaagriti-bhootani-sa-nisha-pashyataha-munihi).

(70-72) Just as waters do not fill up steadily situated sea, similarly all whom desire enters, they will not attain peace due to dictates of passion (aapooryamaanam-achalaprthishtam-aapaha-pravishanti-yadvat-tadvat-kaamaaha-yam-pravishanti-sarve-sah-shanti-aapnoti-na-kaamkaamee). Everyone who abandons desire moves about free from longing, without ownership, without the sense of doer-ship, that person attains peace (vihaay-kaamaan-yah-sarvaan-puman-charati-nihsprhaha-nirmamaha-nirahamkaarah-sah-shaantim-adhigacchati). This state of Brahman is not achieved by anyone who is fascinated by this achievement, but once transfixed there at the end of life attains merger with Brahman (esha-bhraahmi-sthithihi-na-enaam-praapya-vimoohyati-sthithvaa-asyaam-anthakaale-api-bhrahma-nirvaaNam-hrcchati).

Editor at School Of Yoga
School Of Yoga is a single point resource for all aspects of Classical Yoga practise. We try to achieve this by placing Yoga's traditional methodology in front of the reader and eliciting his or her experience. We value everyone's Yoga experience and would like you to share and enrich other practitioners so that everyone benefits.
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