SRIMAD BHAGAVAD-GITA: CHAPTER TWO
The Constitution of the Soul
sanjayah uvacha–Sanjaya said: madhusudanah–Sri Krsna; tatha–then; uvacha–spoke; idam vakyam–these words; visidantam tam–to the saddened Arjuna; krpaya-avistam–whose heart was filled with pity; asru-purna-akula-iksanam–his eyes brimming with tears, showing his distress.
1 Sanjaya said: The Supreme Lord, Madhusudana, then spoke to the saddened Arjuna whose heart was filled with pity, his eyes brimming with tears.
sri bhagavan uvacha
sri bhagavan uvacha–The Supreme Lord said: (he) arjuna–O Arjuna; visame–in this crisis; kutah–how; idam kasmalam–has this illusion; tva–of yours; samupasthitam–occured? anarya-justtam–This does not befit an Aryan (noble person); asvargyam–it is an obstacle to the attainment of heaven; akirti-karam–and the cause of infamy.
2 The Supreme Lord said: O Arjuna, how has such illusion overcome you at this crucial moment? This does not befit an Aryan, and it leads not to heaven but to infamy.
klaibyam ma sma gamah partha, naitat tvayy upapadyate
(he) partha–O son of Kunti; klaibyam ma sma gamah–do not be overcome by cowardice. etat–This; na upapadyate–does not befit; tvayi–you. (he) parantapa–O subduer of the enemy; tyaktva–giving up; ksudram hrdaya-daurbalyam–petty weak-heartedness; uttistha–arise for battle.
3 O son of Kunti, give up this cowardice, for it does not befit you. O great hero, cast off this petty weakness of heart and arise for battle!
arjunah uvacha–Arjuna said: (he) madhusudana arisudana–O Madhusudana, slayer of the enemy; katham aham–how can I; pratiyotsyami–counterattack; isubhih–with arrows; sankhye–in battle; (laksi-krtya)–aiming at; puja-arhau–worshippable; bhismam dronam cha–Bhisma and Drona?
4 Arjuna said: O Madhusudana, slayer of the enemy, how can I counterattack, shooting arrows at venerable Bhisma and my teacher Drona, who are worthy of my worship?
gurun ahatva hi mahanubhavan
sreyah–Better; bhaiksyam api bhoktum–to live on food obtained by begging; iha loke–in this world; ahatva hi–without killing; maha-anubhavan gurun–noble elders and teachers. tu–Otherwise; gurun hatva–by killing our teachers and superiors; bhunjiya–we shall enjoy; rudhira-pradigdhan–their blood-tainted; artha-kaman bhogan–wealth and coveted enjoyable objects; iha eva–here.
5 It is better to live in this world and beg, without taking the lives of our noble elders and teachers. Otherwise, by killing them we shall remain in this world only to enjoy their wealth and possessions tainted with their blood.
na chaitad vidmah kataran no gariyo
yat va–If indeed; (vayam)–we; jayema–win; yadi va–or if; (ete)–these men; nah jayeyuh–happen to conquer us; na cha vidmah–we do not understand; etat katarat–which of these; gariyah–is more beneficial; nah–for us. te dhartarastrah–Those very sons of Dhrtarastra; yan hatva–by killing whom; na jijivisamah eva–we do not wish to even live; avasthitah–are present; pramukhe–before us for battle.
6 I cannot understand which will be better—victory or defeat; for if we kill the sons of Dhritarastra, who now stand before us on the battlefront, we shall not wish to live.
karpabya-dosa upahata-svabhavah–Losing heart, thus losing the courage of the warrior by apprehending the fall of the dynasty; (tatha)–and; dharma-sammudhachetah–bewildered in determining my duty and non-duty; (aham) prchchhami–I am asking; tvam–You; (tvam) bruhi–You please say; tat–that (course of action); yat–which; syat–may; nischitam–be ascertained; sreyah–as best; me–for me. aham–I am; te sisyah–ready for Your counsel and direction; (atah)–therefore; sadhi–please instruct; mam–me; tvam prapannam–Your surrendered soul.
7 Now I am bewildered. What is my real duty? I am losing heart and distraught. So please tell me clearly what is the best course of action to take. I am Your surrendered disciple; please instruct me.
na hi prapasyami mamapanudyad
avapya–After gaining; asapatnam–an unrivalled; rddham–expansive; rajyam–kingdom; bhumau–on earth; cha–and; adhipatyam–sovereignty; suranam api–over even the demigods; (aham)–I; na hi prapasyami–do not see; yat–that which; apanudyat–will dispel; mama–my; sokam–grief; uchchhosanam–that saps; indriyanam–my senses.
8 Even if we gain an unrivalled, flourishing kingdom on earth and sovereignty over heaven, I see nothing to dispel my debilitating grief.
sanjayah uvacha–Sanjaya said: evam uktva–Having spoken thus; hrsikesam–unto Sri Krsna; gudakesah–sense-controlled Arjuna, the conqueror of sleep; parantapah–the chastiser of the enemy; uktva iti–then said; govindam–to Govinda: (aham) na yotsye–"I shall not fight"; babhuva ha–and then was; tusnim–silent.
9 Sanjaya said: Thus the valiant, vigilant Arjuna spoke to Krishna, who is Hrisikesa, the Lord of the senses of all beings. Then he declared, "Govinda, I will not fight", and fell silent.
tam uvacha hrsikesah, prahasann iva bharata
(he) bharata–O Dhrtarastra; ubhayoh senayog madhye–situated between both armies; hrsikesah–Hrsikesa, Krsna; prahasan iva–smilingly; uvacha–spoke; idam vachah–these words; visidantam–to the grief-stricken; tam–Arjuna.
10 O Bharata, there amidst the armies, Sri Hrisikesa, smiling, spoke thus to the grief-stricken Arjuna:
sri bhagavan uvacha
sri bhagavan uvacha–The Supreme Lord said: tvam–you; anvasochah–are lamenting; asochyan–for those unworthy of grief; prajna-vadan cha bhasase–and speaking like a wise man. panditah–The wise; na anusochanti–do not lament; gatasun–for the dead; agatasun cha–or the living.
11 The Lord said: O Arjuna, you are lamenting for that which is unworthy of grief, yet speaking words of wisdom. The wise lament neither for the living nor the dead.
na tv evaham jatu nasam, na tvam neme janadhipah
(iti) tu na eva–It is not a fact that; aham–I; na asam–did not exist; jatu–ever before; (iti) na–nor is it that; tvam na–you did not exist; (iti na)–nor is it that; ime janadhipah–all these kings; na–did not exist; cha–and; (iti na) eva–nor is it that; sarve vayam na bhavisyamah–we will all no longer exist; atah param–hereafter. yatha–As; asmin dehe–in this body; dehinah–of the embodied living being;
12 Never was there a time when you, I, or all these kings did not exist. Just as we exist in the present, so have we existed in the past, and shall continue to exist in the future.
dehino 'smin yatha dehe, kaumaram yauvanam jara
kaumaram–childhood; yauvanam–youth; jara–and old age; (bhavati)–occur; tatha–so also; deha-antara praptih–the attainment of yet another body; (bhavati)–occurs. dhirah–The wise; na muhyati–are not deluded; tatra–by that.
13 As the living being passes through the bodily changes of childhood, youth and old age, it similarly attains another body at death. The wise are not deluded by this.
matra-sparsas tu kaunteya, sitosna-sukha-duhkha-dah
(he) kaunteya–O Arjuna, son of Kunti; matra-sparsah tu–material contact–the engagement of the senses with their objects; sita-usna-sukha-duhkha-dah–produces cold and heat, pleasure and pain sensations. (te) agama-apayinah–These come and go; anityah–and are temporary. (atah)–Therefore; (he) bharata–O Arjuna; titiksasva–endure; tan–them.
14 O son of Kunti, the engagement of the senses with their objects produces the sensations of cold, heat, pleasure and pain. But these effects are temporary—they come and go. Therefore, O Bharata, you must endure them.
yam hi na vyathayanty ete, purusam purusarsabha
(he) purusa-rsabha–O noblest of men; sah dhiram purusam–the wise man; samaduh kha-sukham–equipoised in happiness and unhappiness; yam–who; ete–these; (matra-sparsah)–actions of the senses engaging with material sense objects; na vyathayanti–cannot disturb; kalpate hi–is alone qualified; amrtatvaya–for immortality.
15 O noblest of men, the wise man who is equipoised in pleasure and pain, and undisturbed by sense-experiences, is alone qualified for immortality.
nasato vidyate bhavo, nabhavo vidyate satah
asatah–Of a destructible object; na vidyate–there is no; bhavah–eternal existence; tu–and; satah–of an eternal object; na vidyate–there is no; abhavah–destruction. antah–Such a conclusion, i.e., of the nature; anayoh ubhayoh api–of each; drstah–has been realized; tattva-darsibhih–by the seers of the truth.
16 Of the asat (destructible object, such as the mutable body and associated phenomena) there is no eternal existence; of the sat (eternal object, the soul) there is no destruction or change. The nature of each has been realized by the seers of the truth.
avinasi tu tad viddhi, yena sarvam idam tatam
tu–But; viddhi–know that; tat–the soul; yena–by which; idam sarvam–this entire body; tatam–is pervaded; avinasi–is indestructible. na kaschit–No one; arhati–is able; vinasam kartum–to bring about the destruction; avyayasya asya–of this imperishable soul.
17 Know that the soul, by which the entire body is pervaded, is indestructible. No one can destroy the imperishable soul.
antavanta ime deha, nityasyoktah saririnah
saririnah–Of the living being; nityasya–who is always the same; anasinah–indestructible; aprameyasya–and immeasurable, due to his extremely subtle nature; ime dehah–all these bodies; uktah–are said to be; antavantah–subject to destruction; tasmat–therefore; (he) bharata–O Arjuna; yudhyasva–fight.
18 The soul is said to be eternal, indestructible and immeasurable. Only these physical bodies are subject to destruction. Therefore fight, O Bharata.
ya enam vetti hantaram, yas chainam manyate hatam
yah–Those persons who; vetti–think; enam–this soul to be; hantaram–a killer; yah cha enam manyate–and those who think it; hatam–killed; tau ubhau–both of them; na vijanitah–are ignorant; (yasmat)–since; ayam–this soul; na hanti–neither kills anyone; na hanyate–nor is killed by anyone.
19 Those who think the living being slays, and those who think it is slain, are ignorant of the true nature of the soul; for the soul neither slays nor is slain.
na jayate mriyate va kadachin
ayam–This soul; na jayate–is neither born; va na mriyate–nor dies; kadachit–at any time; bhutva na va–nor being; bhavita–will it be created; bhuyah–again. ayam ajah–This soul is birthless; nityah–eternal; sasvatah–free from decay; puranah–ancient, changeless; (cha)–and; (ayam)–the soul; na hanyate–is never destroyed; sarire hanyamane (api)–even if the body is destroyed.
20 The soul is neither born nor dies; it has neither been nor will it be created, because it is unborn and eternal. It is ever-youthful, yet ancient. It is not destroyed when the body is destroyed.
vedavinasinam nityam, ya enam ajam avyayam
(he) partha–O Arjuna; yah–that person who; veda–knows; enam–this soul as; nityam–eternal; ajam–birthless; avyayam–immutable; avinasinam–and indestructible; katham–how can; sah purusah ghatayati–that person cause the death; kam–of anyone; (va)–or; (katham)–how can; hanti–he kill; kam–anyone?
21 O Partha, knowing the soul to be indestructible, eternal, birthless and immutable, how can a person kill or cause anyone to be killed?
vasamsi jirnani yatha vihaya, navani grhnati naro 'parnai
yatha–As; narah–a man; vihaya–rejecting; jirnani vasamsi–torn clothes; grhnati–accepts; aparani navani–new garments; tatha–similarly; dehi–the soul; vihaya–rejecting; jirnani–old and decrepit; sarirani–bodies; samyati–accepts; anyani navani–new bodies.
22 As a person adopts new garments, discarding those that are old and worn, similarly, the soul continues to adopt new bodies, leaving those that are old and useless.
nainam chhindanti sastrani, nainam dahati pavakah
sastrani–Weapons; na chhindanti–cannot pierce; enam–the soul; pavakah–fire; na dahati–cannot burn; enam–the soul; apah–water; na kledayanti–cannot dampen; enam–the soul; cha–and; marutah–the air; na sosayati–cannot dry; (enam)–the soul.
23 Weapons cannot pierce the soul and fire cannot burn it. Water cannot wet it and air cannot dry it.
achchhedyo 'yam adahyo 'yam, akledyo 'sosya eva cha
ayam achchhedyah–The soul is indivisible; ayam adahyah–it cannot be burned; (ayam) akledyah–it cannot be moistened; (ayam) asosyah eva cha–and it cannot be dried. ayam nityah–It is everlasting; sarva-gatah–reaching all planes, migratory through all species of life according to its actions; sthanuh–still; achalah–immovable; sanatanah–beginningless, changeless, ever-present. ayam uchyate–It is said to be; avyaktah–imperceptible due to its extremely subtle nature; ayam achintyah–inconceivable; ayam avikaryah–and untransformable. tasmat–Therefore; viditva–knowing; enam–the soul; evam–as such; anusochitum na arhasi–it is inappropriate to grieve for it.
24-25 It is said that the soul is indivisible and cannot be burned, moistened or dried. It is eternal, it reaches all planes yet remains still, immovable and ever-present. It is imperceptible, inconceivable and untransformable (by the sixfold transformations*). Therefore, knowing the nature of the soul as such, there is no reason to lament for it.
*Birth, existence, growth, maturity, diminution and destruction.
atha chainam nitya-jatam, nityam va manyase mrtam
(he) maha-baho–O best of warriors, Arjuna; atha cha–and even if; manyase–you think; enam–the soul; nitya-jatam–to be always born; va–or; nityam mrtam–always subject to death; tatha api–even then; tvam–you; sochitum na arhasi–ought not grieve; enam–for it; hi–since; jatasya–for one who has taken birth; mrtyuh–death; dhruvah–is certain; mrtasya cha–and for one who is dead; janma–birth, for undergoing the reactions to his past actions; dhruvam–is certain. tasmat–Therefore; tvam–you; na arhasi–ought not; sochitum–grieve; apariharye arthe–for the inevitable.
26-27 And, O best of warriors, even if you think that the soul is perpetually subject to birth and death, you still have no reason to lament. For one who is born, death is certain, and for one who dies, he must be reborn to undergo the reactions of his past actions. Therefore, you should not lament over the inevitable.
avyaktadini bhutani, vyakta-madhyani bharata
(he) bharata–O Arjuna; bhutani–of the living beings; avyaktadini–the situation before birth is unknown; vyakta-madhyani–the period between birth and death is known; avyakta-nidhanany eva–and the situation after death is again unknown; ka paridevana–so what cause is there for grief; tatra–in that matter?
28 O Bharata, when all living beings are unmanifest before birth, manifest between birth and death, and again unmanifest at death, why lament for them?
ascharyavat pasyati kaschid enam
kaschit–Some persons; pasyati–see; enam–the soul; ascharyavat–as astonishing. tatha eva–Similarly; anyah cha–others, too; vadati–describe; (enam)–the soul; ascharyavat–as astonishing; anyah cha–and others; srnoti–hear; enam–of the soul; ascharyavat–as astonishing; kaschit cha eva–and some; srutva api–though hearing about it; na veda–do not know; enam–the soul.
29 Some see the soul as astonishing, some describe it as astonishing, some hear of it as astonishing, while others, though hearing about it, know nothing of it.
dehi nityam avadhyo 'yam, dehe sarvasya bharata
(he) bharata–O Arjuna; dehe–in the bodies; sarvasya–of all living beings; ayam–this; dehi–soul; nityam–is eternal; avadhyah–unslayable. tasmat–Therefore; tvam–you; sochitum na arhasi–should not lament; sarvani bhutani–for any living beings.
30 O Bharata, the soul dwelling within the bodies of all living beings is eternal and cannot be slain. Therefore, you need lament for no one.
svadharmam api chaveksya, na vikampitum arhasi
api–Moreover; na arhasi–you should not; vikampitum–fear; cha aveksya–considering, too; sva-dharmam–your natural duty as a warrior; hi–since; ksatriyasya–for a ksatriya, or one who upholds the law; na vidyate–there is no; anyat sreyah–better course of action; dharmyat yudhat–than a battle for justice.
31 Moreover, considering your natural duty, you have no reason to waver, since there is no action more auspicious for a warrior than a battle for justice.
One's natural duty or svadharma is of two types—relative or absolute—according to the soul's state of either material bondage or liberation respectively. In the liberated state, the natural function of the soul is purely spiritual devotional service, for the transcendental pleasure of the Supreme Lord alone. But in the state of material bondage, a person's natural duty possesses mundane attributes. The conditioned soul accepts various births throughout the 8,400,000 species of life according to his actions, until by the influence of piety he obtains a human birth. Then, according to his nature, he may adopt a position and prescribed duty in the God-centred socio-religious system (Daiva-varnasrama), which helps one attain the natural duty of the liberated state.
In this respect, the natural duty of the liberated soul is somewhat covered by the relativity of the material world; yet, within the God-centred socio-religious system, it is nonetheless considered a person's natural duty, as, for example, smoke-covered fire is still considered fire, despite its covering.
yadrchchhaya chopapannam, svarga-dvaram apavrtam
(he) partha–O Arjuna; sukhinah–the fortunate; ksatriyah–warriors; labhante–attain; yuddham–a battle; idrsam–like this; upapannam–present; yadrchchhaya–of its own accord; apavrtam svarga-dvaram cha–as an open door to heaven.
32 O Partha, only the most fortunate warriors are blessed with the opportunity of such a battle, which has come to you like an open door to heaven.
atha chet tvam imam dharmyam, sangramam na karisyasi
atha–Otherwise; chet–if; tvam–you; na karisyasi–do not engage; imam dharmyam sangramam–in this battle for justice; tatah–then; hitva–leaving; sva-dharmam kirtim cha–the ksatriya's duty and glory; avapsyasi–you will incur; papam–sin.
33 But if you choose not to fight this battle for justice, your religious principles will be lost, fame will desert you and sin will overcome you.
akirtim chapi bhutani, kathayisyanti te 'vyayam
cha–Also; bhutani–the people; kathayisyanti–will speak; avyayam–for all time; te–of your; akirtim api–infamy; cha–and; akirtih–infamy; atirichyate–is worse; maranat–than death; sambhavitasya–for the respected.
34 People will speak of your infamy for all time to come; and for the renowned, infamy is worse than death.
bhayad ranad uparatam, mamsyante tvam maha-rathah
maha-rathah–Great warriors like Duryodhana and others; mamsyante–will consider that; tvam–you; uparatam–desisted; ranat–from battle; bhayat–out of fear; cha–and; yesam–of those for whom; tvam–you; bahu-matah bhutva–have been the object of great honour; laghavam yasyasi–you will be held the object of ridicule.
35 The great warriors who highly honour you will ridicule you, considering that you were afraid to fight.
avachya-vadams cha bahun, vadisyanti tavahitah
tava ahitah–Your enemies; vadisyanti–will speak; bahun avachya-vadan cha–many unworthy words; nindantah–condemning; tava samarthyam–your capabilities. nu–Alas, Arjuna; kim–what could be; duhkhataram–more painful; tatah–than that?
36 Your enemies will mock you. What could be more painful?
hato va prapsyasi svargam, jitva va bhoksyase mahim
hatah va–If killed in battle; svargam prapsyasi–you will attain heaven; jitva va–or by gaining victory; bhoksyase–you will enjoy; mahim–the earth. tasmat–Therefore; (he) kaunteya–O Arjuna; krta-nischayah (san)–being confident of success; uttistha–arise; yuddhaya–for battle.
37 O son of Kunti, if you are killed you will attain heaven, and if you are victorious you will enjoy your life on earth. Therefore, being confident of your success, arise for battle!
sukha-duhkhe same krtva, labhalabhau jayajayau
same krtva–By seeing with an attitude of equanimity; sukha-duhkhe–pleasure and pain; labha-alabhau–gain and loss; jaya-ajayau (cha)–and victory and defeat; tatah–thereafter; yujyasva–engage; yuddhaya–in battle. evam–In this way; na avapsyasi–you will not incur; papam–sin.
38 Considering pleasure and pain, gain and loss, and victory and defeat to be one and the same—fight. No sin will be incurred by you.
esa te 'bhihita sankhye, buddhir yoge tv imam srnu
(he) partha–O son of Kunti; abhihita te–I have revealed to you; esa buddhih sankhye–this knowledge of the soul. tu–Further; srnu–hear of; imam–this knowledge; yoge–in (bhakti-) yoga, in practice; yaya buddhya yuktah–attaining which wisdom; prahasyasi–you will be completely freed; karma-bandham–from the bondage of action.
39 I have revealed to you this knowledge (buddhi) of the soul. Now hear from Me how to act in this knowledge (bhakti-yoga), through which you will be able to free yourself from the bondage of action.
"It will be revealed that buddhi-yoga (yoga of wisdom) is a singular path. When buddhi-yoga is seen to be limited by the ideal of action, it is known as karma-yoga; when it extends beyond action up to the peak of knowledge, it is known as jnana-yoga or sankhya-yoga; and when, transcending the limitations of both action and knowledge it touches bhakti or devotion, it is then known as bhakti-yoga, or perfectly pure and complete buddhi-yoga."
—Srila Bhakti Vinoda Thakur
nehabhikrama-naso 'sti, pratyavayo na vidyate
iha–In this (bhakti-) yoga; na asti–there is no; abhikrama-nasah–failure in the beginning; na vidyate–and there is no; pratyavayah–diminution of results. svalpam api–Even the slightest practice; asya dharmasya–of this bhakti-yoga; trayate–saves one; mahatah bhayat–from the great fear of birth and death in the material world.
40 On this path there can be no loss and no harm. The slightest practice of such a spiritual ideal saves one from the greatest fear.
Maha-bhaya, the greatest fear, is generally considered to be the fear of repeated birth and death in this world. But maha-bhaya also refers to sayujya-mukti, the liberation of merging into the impersonal non-differentiated consciousness of Brahmaloka, Viraja, or a kind of impersonal samadhi. Renunciation alone leads to sayujya-mukti, the cessation of birth and death, but not to a life in the positive plane. It takes one to a permanent 'burial' in Brahmaloka. The demon of mukti will devour one wholesale, and therefore it is even more dangerous than this ordinary life of action and reaction. Mukti means a strike in the organic system, so it must be avoided. For example, to either ignore duties in a factory or to declare a strike by cessation of duties are both abnormal.
Bhukti, exploitation, and mukti, renunciation, are both fearsome ghosts. Therefore, here, mahabhaya means the great apprehension of falling prey to both the ghost of exploitation leading to birth and death, as well as the ghost of committing suicide by merging into the impersonalism of incarceration in Brahmaloka–fear of both bhoga-bhumi, the land of exploitation, and tyaga-bhumi, the plane of renunciation. It is stated in the Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu (1.2.22, 1.1.9):
bhukti-mukti-sprha yavat pisachi hrdi vartate
"The ecstasy of devotion to Krsna will never appear in a heart that is haunted by the ghosts of exploitation and renunciation."
anyabhilasita sunyam jnana-karmady anavrtam
"The highest devotion is that which is cultivated for the satisfaction of the Supreme Lord Krsna, with no desire except to serve Him, and divested of all external attempts such as worldly action, knowledge in search of the impersonal Absolute, or the meditational attempt to become one with God."
Only the Supreme Lord is abhaya, beyond apprehension. Therefore nothing but participation in His service can free one from the ghosts of exploitation and renunciation, bhukti and mukti. If we subtract bhukti and mukti, then only positive bhakti, devotion, is the remainder. Therefore without devotion, everything is mahabhaya, great danger.
vyavasayatmika buddhir, ekeha kuru-nandana
(he) kuru-nandana–O Arjuna, descendant of the Kuru dynasty; vyavasaya-atmika buddhih–the resolute intelligence; iha–to practise this (bhakti-) yoga; eka (eva)–is onepointed; (tu)–but; buddhayah–the intelligence; avyavasayinam–of the irresolute—those who nurture mundane desires; hi–is certainly; anantah–endlessly; bahu-sakhah cha–many-branched, splayed.
41 O descendant of the Kuru dynasty, resolute intelligence dedicated to Me is one-pointed—I am its only objective. But irresolute intelligence is splayed by endless desires for mundane enjoyment.
yam imam puspitam vacham, pravadanty avipaschitah
(he) partha–O Arjuna; avipaschitah–the unwise; veda-vada-ratah–who are fond of interpreting the Vedas, not knowing the true directive of the Vedas; vadinah iti–say that; na asti–there is no; anyat–other (divine or controlling) principle beyond beasts, food, offspring, heaven, etc.; pravadanti–and they glorify as supreme; yam imam vacham–those statements which; puspitam–momentarily please the ear (which, thus taken out of context, are effectively poisonous as they do not help the spiritual progress of the soul).
42 O Partha, unwise persons, not knowing that the chief directive of the Vedas is the attainment of the Supreme Truth, are fond of interpreting the fleetingly enchanting words of the Karma-kanda section of the Vedas as ultimate.
kamatmanah svarga-parah, janma-karma-phala-pradam
kama-atmanah–Their hearts filled with selfish desires; svarga-parah–heaven is their goal; kriya-visesa-bahulam–and they advocate the various ceremonies and rituals; janmakarma-phala-pradam–which yield high birth; bhoga-aisvarya-gatim prati–and lead to enjoyment and opulence.
43 Their hearts are filled with desires and their goal is heaven. They advocate the many sacrifices and rituals that yield wealth, worldly pleasures and high birth.
bhoga-aisvarya-prasaktanam–Of those persons attached to enjoyment and opulence; apahrta-chetasam–whose minds are deluded; taya–by those flowery words of the Vedas; vyavasaya-atmika buddhih–the resolve; samadhau–in dedication to the Supreme Lord; na vidhiyate–is not accomplished.
44 Thus attached to enjoyment and opulence, deluded by these flowery words of the Vedas, they do not attain the resolve to dedicate themselves to the Supreme Lord.
traigunya-visaya veda, nistraigunyo bhavarjuna
(he) arjuna–O Arjuna; vedah–the Vedas; trai-gunya-visayah–deal with the modes of material nature—worldly subjects. nirdvandvah–Give up duality (honour and dishonour, etc., in the purview of these modes); nitya-sattva-sthah–be always situated in the truth (or remain with the true devotees); niryoga-ksemah–free from acquisition and preservation; (cha)–and; atmavan (san)–engaging in this buddhi-yoga, yoga of wisdom that I teach you; bhava–become; nistraigunyah–transcendental to the three modes of material nature.
O Arjuna, the Vedas deal with the three modes of material nature (by
accommodating fruitive action and liberation as an allowance and incentive
for persons who are ignorant of the true objective of the Vedas). But
you, Arjuna, give up duality and all pursuits for gain and preservation,
stand ever in the plane of truth, and by the yoga of wisdom, transcend the
modes of nature.
yavan artha udapane, sarvatah samplutodake
yavan arthah–Of various purposes; (sidhyati)–achieved; udapane–by a well or pond; tavan (eva arthah)–all the purposes; sarvatah–of all these wells; (sidhyati)–are achieved; (tato 'pi vaisistyena)–better than that; sampluta-udake–by a large expanse of water, a lake. (evam)–Similarly; (yavan arthah sidhyati)–of the various purposes fulfilled; sarvesu vedesu–by the prayers described in all the Vedas for worshipping the various demigods; (tavan arthah sidhyati)–those purposes are all fulfilled; (bhagavad aradhane eva)–by worshipping the Supreme Lord; brahmanasya vijanatah–for the brahmana who is in full knowledge that devotion for the Lord is the sole purport of the Vedas.
46 As all the purposes served by several ponds can be served better by a large lake, similarly, the fruits of worshipping the various gods by their respective Vedic prayers are surpassed by serving Me. The knower of Brahman who thus knows the purport of the Vedas fulfills all life's objectives.
karmany evadhikaras te, ma phalesu kadachana
te–Your; adhikarah–right; eva karmani–is to perform your prescribed duties; ma kadachana (bhuh)–but never; phalesu–to the results. ma bhuh–Be neither; karmaphala-hetuh–motivated by the fruits of action; ma–nor; astu–may; akarmani–nonperformance of your prescribed duties; (bhuh)–be; te–your; sangah–inclination.
47 Your right is to your work, never to the fruits. Be neither motivated by the fruit of action nor inclined to give up action.
yoga-sthah kuru karmani, sangam tyaktva dhananjaya
(he) dhananjaya–O Arjuna; yoga-sthah–stand in yoga; tyaktva–giving up; sangam–ego; samah bhutva–and being equipoised; siddhi-asiddhyoh–in success and failure; kuru–do; karmani–your duties; (yatah)–as; samatvam–such equanimity; uchyate–is called; yogah–yoga.
48 O Dhananjaya, give up the ego that you are the doer, and be equipoised in success and failure. Thus stand firm in the plane of yoga and do your prescribed duties. Such a state of balance is indeed known as yoga.
durena hy avaram karma, buddhi-yogad dhananjaya
(he) dhananjaya–O Dhananjaya; karma hi–action alone; durena avaram–is far inferior; buddhi-yogat–to the yoga of wisdom; (atah)–therefore; anvichchha–seek; saranam–refuge; buddhau–in the wisdom of equanimity. phala-hetavah–Those motivated by the fruits of their actions; krpanah–are misers.
49 O Dhananjaya, (fruitive) action is far inferior to this yoga of wisdom; those motivated by the fruits of their actions are misers. Therefore, seek refuge in the selfless wisdom of equanimity.
buddhi-yukto jahatiha, ubhe sukrta-duskrte
buddhi-yuktah–The wise person; jahati–abstains; ubhe–from both; sukrta-duskrte–pious and sinful actions; iha–in this world. tasmat–Therefore; yujyasva–engage; yogaya–in yoga. yogah–Yoga; kausalam–is the expertise; karmasu–of action.
50 The wise person abstains from both good and bad actions in this world. Engage thus in yoga, as yoga is the art of all works.
karma-jam buddhi-yukta hi, phalam tyaktva manisinah
hi–Since; tyaktva–by giving up; phalam–the fruits; karma-jam–born of work; buddhi-yuktah–the wise; manisinah (santah)–are enlightened; janma-bandha-vinirmuktah (santah)–and attaining liberation from the bondage of birth; gachchhanti–attain; padam–the plane; anamayam–beyond suffering.
51 The wise are enlightened by giving up the fruits of their actions, and thus attaining liberation from the bondage of birth, they reach the plane beyond all suffering.
yada te moha-kalilam, buddhir vyatitarisyati
yada–When; te–your; buddhih–intelligence; vyatitarisyati–overcomes; moha-kalilam–the strong illusion (of bodily identification); tada–then; (tvam) gantasi–you will attain; nirvedam–indifference; srotavyasya–of all to be heard; srutasya cha–and already heard.
52 When your intelligence fully emerges from the dense forest of illusion, you will be indifferent to all that has been heard or is yet to be heard.
sruti-vipratipanna te, yada sthasyati nischala
yada–When; te buddhih–your intelligence; achala–unmoved; sruti-vipratipanna–by the apparent contradictions of the Vedas; sthasyati–remains; nischala samadhau–steadily absorbed in consciousness of the Supreme; tada–then; avapsyasi–you will attain; yogam–yoga.
53 You shall attain perfect yoga or pure devotion when your intelligence, undisturbed by the apparent contradictions of the Vedas, abides in the Lord.
arjunah uvacha–Arjuna said: (he) kesava–O Kesava; ka bhasa–what is the description; sthita-prajnasya–of a person of firmly established wisdom; samadhi-sthasya–one in samadhi, absorbed in thought of the Supreme? sthita-dhih kim prabhaseta–How does such a person of steady mind speak? kim asita kim vrajeta–How does he be and act?
54 Arjuna said: O Kesava, what are the characteristics of the person of firmly established wisdom, who is fully absorbed in consciousness of the Supreme (samadhi)? How does such a man of steady mind speak, be and act in this world?
sri bhagavan uvacha–Sri Krsna said: (he) partha–O son of Kunti; yada–when; (jivah)–the living being; prajahati–gives up; sarvan–all; kaman–desires; manah-gatan–entering the mind; tustah (bhavati)–and is content; atmana eva–by the self; atmani–within the self; tada–then; (sah)–that person; uchyate–is said to be; sthitapraj nah–of steady intelligence.
55 The Supreme Lord said: O Partha, one who rejects all desires that enter the mind and remains self-satisfied within, is known as a person whose wisdom is firmly established.
duhkhesv anudvigna-manah, sukhesu vigata-sprhah
anudvigna-manah–One whose mind is undisturbed; duhkhesu–by sorrow; vigataspr hah sukhesu–and whose hankering for pleasure has gone; (cha)–and; vita-ragabhaya-krodhah–who is free from attachment, fear, and anger; (sah eva)–such a person; uchyate–is said to be; munih–a silent sage; sthita-dhih–of steady intelligence.
56 One who is undisturbed by sorrow, whose hankering for pleasure has gone and who is free from attachment, fear and anger, is known as a silent sage of steady mind.
yah sarvatranabhisnehas, tat tat prapya subhasubham
yah–One who; anabhisnehah–is without attachment; sarvatra–for anything in this world; na abhinandati–neither joyful; na dvesti–nor resentful; prapya–in the event of; subha-asubham–auspiciousness or inauspiciousness; tat tat–respectively; tasya–his; prajna–wisdom; pratisthita–is firmly established.
57 One who is not attached to anything in this world, who neither enjoys nor resents auspiciousness or inauspiciousness—his wisdom is firmly established.
yada samharate chayam, kurmo 'nganiva sarvasah
yada cha–When; ayam–this person; sarvasah–completely; samharate–withdraws; kurmah angani iva–like the limbs of a tortoise; indriyani–the perceptual senses; indriya-arthebhyah–from their objects (sound, touch, form, taste, and smell); (tada)–then; tasya–his; prajna–wisdom; pratisthita–is firmly established.
58 When one's senses are controlled and totally withdrawn from their objects, like the limbs of the tortoise withdrawn in its shell, his wisdom is firmly established.
visaya vinivartante, niraharasya dehinah
dehinah–For the embodied; niraharasya–who restricts the senses; visayah–the objects of the senses; vinivartante–recede; rasa-varjam–but not the taste to enjoy them. rasah api–But even the taste; nivartate–disappears; asya–for the man of wisdom; drstva–by the vision; param–of the Supreme.
59 The embodied being may renounce the sense objects, but the taste for them remains. But that, too, vanishes for the man of wisdom, by his vision of the Supreme.
yatato hy api kaunteya, purusasya vipaschitah
(he) kaunteya–O Arjuna; hi–yet; indriyani pramathini–the turbulent senses; prasabham–forcibly; haranti–snatch away; manah–the mind; vipaschitah purusasya api–of even the wise person; yatatah–striving for liberation.
60 And yet, O son of Kunti, the turbulent senses can forcibly plunder the mind of even the wise person striving for liberation.
tani sarvani samyamya, yukta asita mat-parah
samyamya–Controlling; tani sarvani–all these senses; mat-parah–the person absorbed in consciousness of Me, devoted to Me; yuktah asita–should remain onepointed in concentration; hi–for; yasya–he whose; indriyani–senses; vase–have been brought under control; tasya–his; prajna–intelligence; pratisthita–is steady.
61 Devoted to Me, the bhakti-yogi brings his senses under proper control. Firmly established is the wisdom of one whose senses are controlled.
dhyayato visayan pumsah, sangas tesupajayate
dhyayatah–(Otherwise, without devotion, renunciation alone fails:) By thinking of; visayan–the objects of the senses; pumsah–a person's; sangah–attachment; tesu–to them; upajayate–is born. sangat–From attachment; kamah–desire; sanjayate–is born. kamat–From desire; krodhah–anger; abhijayate–arises.
62 But one whose thoughts dwell on the objects of the senses becomes attached to them. From attachment, desire is born, and from desire, anger arises.
krodhad bhavati sammohah, sammohat smrti-vibhramah
krodhat–From anger; sammohah–delusion; bhavati–occurs. sammohat–From delusion; smrti-vibhramah–forgetfulness of scriptural morality; (bhavati)–occurs. smrtibhram sat–From forgetfulness; buddhi-nasah–loss of truth-seeking intelligence; (bhavati)–occurs. buddhi-nasat–From loss of intelligence; (puman)–a person; pranasyati–falls into samsara, the cycle of birth and death in the material world.
63 Anger gives rise to delusion, and the power of delusion causes forgetfulness; forgetfulness destroys the intelligence, and when the intelligence is lost, one loses all.
raga-dvesa-vimuktais tu, visayan indriyais charan
tu–But; vidheya-atma–the person who can control his mind at will—whose mind is obedient to him; raga-dvesa-vimuktaih (or -viyuktaih in another reading)–free from attraction and repulsion, adopting yukta-vairagya or devotionally integrated detachment; charan–actively accepting; visayan–objects; atma-vasyaih indriyaih–through senses under his own control; adhigachchhati–attains; prasadam–tranquillity.
64 But the integrated person who can control his mind at will, and who, free from attraction and repulsion, accepts his worldly necessities through his controlled senses, attains tranquillity.
prasade sarva-duhkhanam, hanir asyopajayate
prasade (sati)–When the heart is tranquil; asya–for such a person; hanih–the end; sarva-duhkhanam–of all sorrows; upajayate–occurs; hi–since; buddhih–the wisdom; prasanna-chetasah–of the peaceful-hearted person; asu–swiftly becomes; pari-avatisthate–steadfast.
65 When one attains a peaceful heart, all his sorrows are dispelled. The tranquil person's wisdom swiftly becomes steadfast.
nasti buddhir ayuktasya, na chayuktasya bhavana
ayuktasya–For a person without self-control; na asti–there is no; buddhih–wisdom, self-knowledge. ayuktasya–For such a person devoid of this intelligence; na cha (asti)–there is no; bhavana–meditation on the Lord, purity of thought. abhavayatah–For one without meditation; na cha (asti)–there is no; santih–peace. asantasya–For a person who has no peace; kutah–where is; sukham–happiness?
66 A person bereft of self-control can have neither wisdom nor meditation. Without meditation there is no peace, and without peace, where is the hope for happiness?
indriyanam hi charatam, yan mano 'nuvidhiyate
hi–Because; iva–as; vayuh–an unfavourable wind; (harati)–carries away; navam–a boat; ambhasi–on the ocean; (tadvat)–similarly; indriyanam–of the senses; charatam–that wander about their objects; yat–whichever sense; manah–the mind; anuvidhiyate–follows; tat–that sense; harati–carries away, lures towards its object; prajnam–the wisdom, intelligence; asya–of that person bereft of self-control.
67 As a boat on the ocean is thrown off course by an unfavourable wind, similarly, the wisdom of a person lacking self-control is carried away by even one of the roaming senses that the mind might follow.
tasmad yasya maha-baho, nigrhitani sarvasah
(he) maha-baho–O subduer of the enemy; tasmat–therefore; yasya–he whose; indriyani–senses; nigrhitani–are withdrawn; sarvasah–fully; indriya-arthebhyah–from the sense objects; tasya–his; prajna–wisdom; pratisthita–is firmly established.
68 Therefore, O subduer of the enemy, one whose senses are fully withdrawn from their objects is a person of firmly established wisdom.
ya nisa sarva-bhutanam, tasyam jagarti samyami
sarva-bhutanam ya nisa–That which is night for all living beings (who, immersed in ignorance, remain asleep to spiritual knowledge); tasyam–in that night; samyami–the self-disciplined person; jagarti–remains awake (joyful in his spiritual intelligence). yasyam–That (mundane intelligence) in which; bhutani–all living beings; jagrati–remain awake (experience the pleasures and pains, sorrows and delusions of worldly life); sa–such (mundane intelligence) is; nisa–night; muneh–for the sage; pasyatah–who sees (the futility of mundane endeavours and remains indifferent to the dualities).
That which is day for the self-controlled sage is night for all beings, and
that which is day for all beings is night for the sage who sees.
yadvat–As; apah–water; pravisanti–enters; samudram–the ocean; apuryamanam–which is always full; achala-pratistham–it remains steady, its water never crossing the shore; tadvat–similar is; yam–that sage who; sarve kamah–all desires; pravisanti–enter to be enjoyed (for they cannot disturb his mind). sah–He alone; apnoti–attains; santim–peace; (tu)–but; kama-kami–a person who nurtures desires; na (tad apnoti)–cannot achieve that.
70 As the ocean remains full and unchanged though many rivers and streams enter into it, the person of firmly established wisdom attains peace despite all desires entering him. But a person who nurtures desires cannot know peace.
vihaya kaman yah sarvan, pumams charati nihsprhah
yah puman–That person who; vihaya–giving up; sarvan kaman–all desires; charati–moves through the world; nisprhah–free from hankering; nirahankarah nirmamah–free from the false ego of 'I' and 'mine' in relation to the body and its attachments (having a divine relationship with the Supreme); sah–he; adhigachchhati–attains; santim–peace.
71 Only a person who lives his life abandoning all desires, hankering, ego and possessiveness, can know real peace.
esa brahmi sthitih partha, nainam prapya vimuhyati
(he) partha–O Arjuna; esa brahmi sthitih–this is the state of realizing Brahman, the Absolute. enam prapya–Having reached this; (narah)–a person; na vimuhyati–is freed from the delusion of mundane existence. rchchhati–He attains; brahmanirvan am–liberation from matter and entrance into the divine plane; sthitva–being situated; asyam–in this state; anta-kale api–even at the time of death.
72 O Partha, this is realization of the Absolute, attaining which a person is freed from the delusion of mundane existence. Even at the time of death, only a momentary attainment of this state leads one to the divine abode.
iti sri-mahabharate sata-sahasryam samhitayam vaiyasikyam
End of Chapter Two
The Constitution of the Soul
from the conversation
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