This article contains the verses from Shrimad Bhagavad Gita Chapter 2.
Links to remaining chapters can be found at the end of the article.
Shrimad Bhagavad Gita Chapter 2
These are the words that Sri Krishna spoke to the hopeless Arjuna, whose eyes were burning with tears of pity and confusion.
Arjuna, this hopelessness and weakness on your part in the face of adversity are unbecoming of you and dishonourable. How did you get to this point, which is so removed from the road that leads to freedom?
It is not in keeping with your stature to give in to this weakness. Raise yourself up with a brave heart and vanquish your foe.
How am I ever going to work up the courage to go to battle against Bhishma and Drona, who are revered figures? How am I supposed to go, Krishna?
It would unquestionably be better for me to spend my life begging for alms than it would be to take the lives of these wonderful and deserving souls. If I were to kill them, every joy I experienced after that would be tainted.
I can’t say for sure whether it would be preferable for us to win the war against them or for them to win against us. The sons of Dhritarashtra have come up against us, but there is no reason for us to care about living if we end up killing them.
My ability to make decisions has been rendered useless, and I am completely perplexed. Please advise me on the option that will best serve my needs. Let me be your disciple. I have no choice but to submit to your authority; please guide me.
This was the conversation that took place between the great warrior Arjuna and Sri Krishna. After saying, “O Krishna, I will not fight,” he remained silent from that point on.
While they were standing in the middle of the battlefield between the two armies, Sri Krishna smiled and spoke to Arjuna, who had become hopeless.
Although you express your sorrow with sincerity, there is no basis for it. Those who are truly wise do not shed tears for either the living or the dead.
There has never been a time when you, I, or any of the kings gathered here have not existed, and there will never be a time when we will cease to exist either. This has never been the case, and it never will be.
Just as the same person inhabits the body throughout childhood, youth, and old age, so too does that person attain another body when the time comes for him to pass away. Those with discernment are not fooled by these shifting tides.
When a person’s senses come into contact with sense objects, they can feel either cold or heat, as well as pleasure or pain. These are ephemeral, fleeting experiences; they come and go quickly. Arjuna, please have patience with them.
Those who are unaffected by these shifts, who remain unchanged regardless of whether they are experiencing pleasure or pain, are truly wise and are suitable candidates for immortality. Put your power to good use and acknowledge this!
Reality can only be found in the unchanging and unchanging things are where reality can be found. Those who have witnessed the dividing line between the two have arrived at the pinnacle of human achievement and knowledge.
That which resides in the body is immortal and beyond measure, in contrast to the mortal nature of the body itself. Therefore, Arjuna, fight your way through this conflict.
One of them believes that he is the killer, while the other thinks that he is the victim. Both are mistaken; there is no “slayer” or “slain” in this scenario.
You were never born; you will never die. You have never changed, and there is no way that you ever will. You are unborn, eternal, unchangeable, and have existed since the beginning of time; you do not perish when your body does.
If you are aware of that which cannot be destroyed and which is eternal, unborn, and unchanging, how are you able to kill or cause another to kill?
Just as one gets rid of old clothes and replaces them with new ones, the Self, which resides within, gets rid of an old body and replaces it with a new one when the body wears out.
It is impossible to cut through the Self with a weapon or to burn it with fire; water cannot wet it, and wind cannot dry it out.
The Self cannot be cut or burned, made wet or dry; these are all impossibilities. It is immutable and boundless, with its foundations firmly planted in the immovable pillars of eternity.
The Self is intangible, existing beyond all thought, and unaffected by any kind of change. Having this information should make you feel no sorrow.
Even if you think that the Self is a part of the cycle of birth and death, O powerful Arjuna, you should not feel sorrow over this.
Birth is inevitable for those who are already dead; death is inevitable for those who are still alive. You shouldn’t feel bad about it because these things can’t be helped.
Every creature begins its existence in an unmanifested state and eventually achieves a manifested state. When its time has come, it reverts back to an unmanifested state and disappears. What exactly is there to be sad about this?
Few are able to see the glory of the Self, and even fewer are able to describe it; few listen, but many fail to comprehend what is being said.
The eternal part of every being that lives inside the body and is invulnerable to injury is called the Self. Therefore, you should not be sad.
When your dharma is taken into consideration, you should not waver in your decision. Nothing is more important than fighting the forces of evil for a warrior.
Arjuna, the warrior who is faced with such a war, ought to be happy, for it ushers in a new era that ushers in the opening of the gates of heaven.
But if you do not take part in this conflict against the forces of evil, you will fall prey to sin, transgressing both your dharma and your honour.
The tale of your dishonour will be told over and over again; and in the eyes of a man of honour, dishonour is an even greater tragedy than losing one’s life.
These fearless warriors will believe that you have fled the field of battle due to fear, and those who previously held a high regard for you will now treat you with disdain.
Your adversaries will make fun of your strength and say things that they know are not appropriate to say. What else could be more excruciating than this?
The only way to reach heaven is through death, while winning means you get to enjoy life on earth. Therefore, get ready for battle, Arjuna, and stand up!
After you have brought yourself to the same level in terms of pleasure and pain, gain and loss, and success and failure, you must now engage in this massive conflict in order to be freed from sin.
Arjuna, you have already listened to the philosophical explanation of Sankhya; now you should pay attention to the principles of yoga. You can free yourself from the chains of karma if you put these into practise.
On this path, one’s efforts are never in vain, and there is no such thing as failure. Even a small amount of effort toward spiritual awareness will shield you from the most terrifying of your fears.
Those who travel down this path, making the decision deep within themselves to focus their attention solely on me, will eventually arrive at a point where they have only one goal in mind. Those who do not have any sense of direction or purpose will find that the choices they face in life are complex and never-ending.
There are some people who are ignorant who talk in flowery language and take pleasure in the letter of the law, saying that there is nothing else to say or do.
Arjuna, their hearts are filled to the brim with desires for themselves. Their idea of heaven is the extent to which they can indulge in their own pleasure, and attaining both pleasure and power is the purpose of all of their endeavours. The consequence of their actions is a never-ending cycle of rebirth.
Those whose minds are incapable of following the supreme goal and who will not achieve samadhi are those whose minds are swept away by the pursuit of pleasure and power.
Scriptures offer an explanation of the three gunas. However, you should be unaffected by the action of the gunas, rooted in the unchanging truth, capable of exercising self-control, and devoid of any sense of duality as well as the urge to accumulate and store wealth.
Scriptures are of little use to an illumined man or woman who sees the Lord everywhere, just as a reservoir is of little use when the entire countryside is flooded. In the same way, a reservoir is of little use when the entire countryside is flooded.
You have the right to perform action, but not to the results of your actions in any way. You should never take an action in the hopes of receiving a reward, nor should you ever wish to avoid taking any action at all.
Arjuna, you are to carry out your work in this world in the manner of a man who is settled within himself; that is, without any attachments to your own ego, and in the same way, whether you succeed or fail. Because yoga is the attainment of perfect mental steadiness.
You will amass the wealth of spiritual awareness if you make the attitude of detachment your haven and your refuge. Those who are solely driven by the wish to reap the benefits of their efforts are doomed to a life of unhappiness because they live in a state of constant worry regarding the outcomes of their efforts.
When one’s consciousness is finally unified, all unnecessary anxiety disappears. There is no reason to be concerned, regardless of whether things go according to plan. Consequently, you should commit yourself fully to the yogic disciplines, because yoga is a skill expressed through practise.
Wise people are able to unify their consciousness and let go of their attachment to the results of their actions, which is the key to breaking the cycle of rebirth. They achieve a state that is immune to all forms of evil in this way.
When your mind has cleared away the confusion caused by duality, you will have arrived at the state of holy indifference with regard to the things you hear and the things you have heard in the past.
You will have attained the state of perfect yoga when you are unaffected by the chaos of different ideas and your mind is completely united while you are in a state of deep samadhi.
O Krishna, please tell me about those people who have established themselves in wisdom and are always aware of who they are. What language do they use? How do you do? How do you get around?
Those who have renounced every selfish desire and sense craving that torments the heart are the ones who live in wisdom because they see themselves in all things and all things in themselves.
They do not let lust, fear, or anger rule their lives because they are not troubled by sadness, nor do they yearn for pleasure. They have reached enlightenment through their consistent practise of meditation.
They are freed from the shackles of their self-centered attachments, so they are not overjoyed or disheartened by their good or bad luck. These individuals are the seers.
The wise are able to draw in their senses whenever they choose, just like a tortoise retracts its limbs.
Even though they avoid sensual pleasures, aspirants can’t shake the desire for those pleasures. All of these desires vanish the moment they get a glimpse of the ultimate reward.
Even for those who have travelled this path before, the turbulent senses have the potential to distract the mind.
Those who master their senses and keep their minds continually focused on me are able to live a life of wisdom.
Attachment develops when one continually ruminates on things that can be sensed. Attachment is the mother of desire, which manifests itself as a fiery lust for possession.
When you’re angry, your judgement is clouded, and you can’t learn from your mistakes because of that. Your life has been a complete waste because you no longer have the ability to choose between what is wise and what is foolish.
But when you move among the world of sense, free from attachment and aversion alike, then you can see things as they truly are.
When this peace comes, all of your sorrows will have passed, and you will be living in the knowledge of the Self.
A mind that is not united is not a wise mind; how can such a mind meditate? How can one find inner calm? How can you be joyful when there is no peace in your life?
If you allow your mind to follow the call of the senses, they will carry away your better judgement just as storms on the sea will drive a boat off of its charted course.
Make use of every resource at your disposal to liberate the senses from all forms of attachment and aversion, and make your home within the complete wisdom of the Self.
One who possesses such wisdom is able to bring light into the darkest hours for all living things. What the rest of the world considers day, the wise consider to be the nighttime hours of ignorance.
Similarly, how rivers drain into the ocean but are unable to cause the vast body of water to overflow, the rivers of the sense drain into the sea of peace that is the sage. However, this is not the case with the one who has desires.
Those individuals who give up all of their egotistical desires and escape the prison of “I,” “me,” and “mine” in order to become one with the Lord are set free for all of eternity.
This state is the most powerful in the world. Obtaining this will allow you to move beyond death and into immortality.