Bhagwad Geeta

Chapter 2 - Sankhya Yoga

Chapter 2, Verse 1

Sanjaya is reciting what’s happening on the battlefield to Dhritarashtra that, Arjuna’s eyes are filled with tears. Their tears came because of the sadness he is undergoing because of the feeling compassion. He is worried that this war will lead to wiping out the entire male members of the clan/community of Kshatriyas and the future society will be disturbed. He could see that for maintaining of society he should sacrifice his life.

I tried to search on the internet what is the right feeling Arjuna was going through and found that this feeling is almost equal to compassion. In this Stanza Lord Krishna is addressed as Madhusuana. Lord Krishna looking at Arjuna spoke the following words.

Chapter 2, Verse 2

For the first time in this stanza, Lord Krishna is addressed as Bhagwan.(33).The entity that has 6 attributes. Dominion, might, glory, splendour, wisdom, and dispassion. The first five can be summed up as having all the qualities in the world and the last one having the power to renounce all the first five qualities and be non-attached to them. To have wealth and not be attached to them is a great quality and only God can possess such a quality.

He desires to know from Arjuna from where did he get such illusion at a very undesirable moment. This is not the quality of Aryans.(noble men). And also says this move of him will not make him move to the heavens and will also not earn him any fame.

Chapter 2, Verse 3

For the first time, Veda Vyasa has written two names for a character in this stanza. Arjuna is referred to as Partha and Paranthapa in this. Partha is the son of Prtha, meaning son of Kunti. Krishna when addressing Arjuna as Partha, wanted to stress that Arjuna is born to Kunti who begot Arjuna by worshipping Indra, the King of Gods.

Lord Krishna uses negative comments to stir the mood of Arjuna. He asks him from where did he get this “klaibyam”. Which in Sanksrit means impotence /cowardice. Any man would shake up if his mentor/guide calls him impotent or cowardice. So to disturb the despondent mood of Arjuna, Krishna uses negative words. He says that this type of behaviour is not expected out of Partha, Son of Kunti.

Also, Arjuna is addressed as Parantapa, which means destroyer of enemies. Now he uses positive words to lift up the mood of Arjuna. I am amazed at the setting of words of Veda Vyasa. The stanza starts with the negative word and ends with the positive word for Arjuna. Lord Krishna reminds Arjuna, to arise from this mood and asks him to form where did this mood come from? Lord Krishna uses both negative and positive affirmations to set the mood right. This we can also use in our talks with people, not only criticize them but also encourage their positive qualities.

Chapter 2, Verse 4

Here also Veda Vyasa uses two words for Lord Krishna. Madhusudana and Arisoodana.Arjuna replies back to Krishna saying how can he shoot arrows at Bhishma and Drona. He again shows that he is basically thinking about kinsman and how he can destroy them.

Chapter 2, Verse 5

Arjuna continues saying that it is better to live in the world begging rather than killing his teacher’s Bhishma and Dronacharya and enjoying the benefits of the world tainted with their blood. Here Arjuna is basically talking about the consequences of fighting the war versus of not fighting the war. He thinks that if there is no war If peace can be made he is ready to go to Vana vasa again and live by begging. He thinks that he will be alive if the war can be stopped now and peace can be made.

The consequence, if war is fought, is he is definitely going to win and his illustrious teachers and his grand uncle will be killed in the battle. Arjuna is certain that if war is fought he is bound to win, and the material riches he will be enjoying the later will be tainted with blood. His thinking is quite a long term and not short term.

Chapter 2, Verse 6

In this stanza Arjuna argues which one is better he does not know whether to conquer or to be conquered. This type of feeling emanates from renunciation type of feelings whether it is good to earn all the money and riches or to just live by begging. This shows the characters of Yogi in Arjuna. Though he is certain that he will win, he is ready to make the sacrifice. This shows the renunciation nature of Arjuna.

Chapter 2, Verse 7

Arjuna agrees that his natural abilities are being obstructed/besieged because of his weakness, and his thinking about righteousness has changed. Here Arjuna shows what happens when a person feels weak: His natural abilities get stunted or obstructed. I remember a saying by Swami Vivekananda who said: “ reject anything like the poison that makes you weak physically, mentally and emotionally”. I think it is very true because what ever makes us weak will take us away from our natural abilities. Getting anger makes a person weak and takes him away from natural ability in the same way any vice will take the person from his position of strength to weakness.

We should also observe that Arjuna says that his thinking about what is right and what is wrong has changed. When people become weak in mind, the perspectives about what is good and bad changes. People will start supporting bad things when they are weak and uphold good things when they are morally and spiritually strong.

Arjuna asks Lord Krishna to show him the way because he is his disciple who has surrendered himself to Lord. We can see clearly that Arjuna says he is Lord’s student/disciple. He also says that he has surrendered himself completely. This shows the desperation of Arjuna that he is totally confused in his weak state and he wants answers from Krishna.

Chapter 2, Verse 8

Here Arjuna says he doesn’t know the method to drive away the grief that is draining his senses. He is accepting that his knowledge is limited and he needs Advise of Lord Krishna. He says he does not find happiness in having an unrivalled kingdom on this earth, and even ruling over small Gods.

Chapter 2, Verse 9

Here Arjuna addresses Krishna as per his qualities. If we observe the above stanzas he says his senses are all drained and here in this stanza He addresses Krishna as Hrishikesha-The controller of Senses and he also addresses Krishna as Govinda, the person who gives victory-Victory over grief, victory over weakness.

Arjuna is addressed by Sanjaya as Gudakesa-The person who conquers sleep and paranthapa.

In this stanza, Sanjaya says that Arjuna fell silent saying to Krishna that “he will not fight”. This shows affirmation on part of Arjuna that he decided not to fight. From confusion, he graduated to another stage of decision making that he decided not to fight.

Chapter 2, Verse 10

Hrishikesha smilingly spoke the following words to Arjuna, the descendant of Bharata, who is lamenting in the midst of two armies.

Why is Krishna smiling? I think Krishna is smiling because he knew the outcome and he could see into the future and he is expecting this moment and Arjuna acted accordingly as per his expectation. We smile when children innocently ask questions, we smile when colleagues ask questions that are known to us. The smile comes automatically. The smile may also be due to the fact that Arjuna is trusting him completely and he turned a student from the role of a friend.

Chapter 2, Verse 11

Lord Krishna started speaking to Arjuna. He says Arjuna is talking like a knowledgeable person and is lamenting on things that are not worthy of mourning and says that the wise people will not lament not only for the living but also for the dead.

Krishna makes connection between Verse 28 of chapter 1 with verse 2 of Chapter 2 where Arjuna talks of the weakness for kinsmen and their death. He asks Arjuna from where did he get this weakness in the moment of crisis.

Krishna acknowledges that Arjuna is talking knowledge. This is a principle of management which says hat we should not criticize people for giving their views. This is the first principle of Geetha put forward by Krishna. i.e Equanimity. He says the wise people will not lament about the dead people or the living people. Wise people are equanamous because they realise that for the soul there is no death or life and they realise both are the same.

Krishna uses the word Panditah and Pragya vadah. Panditha is one who is intelligent and Pragya Vadah is learned speaking. Prgna Vadah appeals to the mind though it might not be the truth.

Chapter 2, Verse 12

Lord Krishna says in a powerful manner the second principle of Geetha. Impermanence. He says not only these kings existed forever or will exist for ever in future, but also yourself(Arjuna) and myself(Krishna) existed for ever in past and will exist for ever in future.

He says nothing is permanent in this world. This come and go away.

Chapter 2, Verse 13

Lord Krishna makes a very powerful distinction between soul and body in this stanza. He says the physical body is temporary, it is formed and perished and the soul with in the body is permanent.The physical body goes from one stage to another with the progress in one lifetime but the soul in it does not change it is the same, from the birth of a person to the death.

This Soul Body duality has to be identified by the human beings for their spiritual progress. Usually, people tend to give a lot of attachment for their physical body which is impermanent. They become attached to their bodies, how they look and what pleasures body is giving to them. People usually do not give any time to their souls which is permanent.

Giving proper time for spiritual growth of the soul is very important. The soul always longs for unity with super soul and body is the medium through which it can achieve this union. The individual should understand this and use his body for the development of soul rather than degenerate it.

Chapter 2, Verse 14

This is a powerful verse by Lord Krishna. He brings forth lot of principles of Psychology here. He calls Arjuna as Kaunteya, Bharata. He reminds Arjuna of his lineage of his mother and Father. He comes from great Kshatriya lineage whose duty is to fight. He is asking him to tolerate the pain caused by the interaction of sense organs with perception.

There are five sense organs : Eyes, ears, skin, tongue, nose. There are five senses that emanates from these sense organs : Seeing, hearing, touch, taste and smell. When sense organs come in touch with objects they perceive them as either light/dark, sound, hot/cold touch, good/bad taste and good and bad smells. These manifest from the basic five elements in nature earth, fire, water, ether and air.

Lord Krishna says because the outside things are temporary, which come and go Arjuna should tolerate the pain and pleasure that emanate from the interplay of sense organs and perceptions.

Chapter 2, Verse 15

Here Lord Krishna talks about the qualities required for liberation. After coming out with causes of pain and pleasure caused by sense organs which are external and temporary, he says whoever is unaltered in the states of Sukham and Dukham is considered eligible for liberation. The feelings of pleasure and pain are caused by interaction of sense organs with objects which are external. If a person can develop equanimity, treating happiness as equal to distress and vice verse , it will help in liberation. This stanza has to be read with Stanza 11 of chapter 2.

Here lord Krishna talks about a person who is not affected by the external environment and he is internally driven. External environment driven persons are usually driven by pain and pleasure. internally driven persons who wants to attain spiritual purity/liberation are not affected by pain or pleasure from outside.

This state can also be caused by gaining spiritual knowledge, intense thirst for liberation and developing skills of non-attachment. We can observe this in some people. People who are having a goal in life and are fully absorbed in that goal they do not bother about pain and pleasure happening to them in other areas. Like Newton and Einstein forgot to eat food when they are working. We should develop such traits.

Chapter 2, Verse 16

This is one of the most complex stanzas I came across till now. Lord Krishna says which is non exixtent(Body) has no permanence and which is exixtent (Soul) is permanent. Lord Krishna makes the distinction between body and soul here. He says the body is always changing (birth, childhood,youth,adult,old age) and it is not permanent, and thus non existent. Where as soul is not changing and is constant and is existent.

Material body existence is dependent on interaction with sense and sense organs and their perception and the existence of soul is not dependent on anything, but it uses the body as a vehicle to reach its destination.

Chapter 2, Verse 17

After making the distinction between body and soul , now Lord Krishna says that soul is imperishable. He uses the words ”Avinasi and vinasi avyayasya” to state this. He says the soul permeates all the body, it is not restricted to a body part and it is all over the body and he also says “no one can destruct the soul”.

It is very clear that soul is all over body and no one can take it away. It may be thought that soul is consciousness which is all over the body and with in its organs. He is making clear to Arjuna that he is only eliminating the body but not the soul as no one can destroy the soul.

As I read more about soul, I come to understand that the size of soul is very very minute and it resides in the heart. That’s why we feel though the heart. if we do things which are not in conformity with the soul we get some feeling in the heart. The hatha yoga system is based on purification of five kinds of air for the soul.

We should be clear that soul is not life . life and soul are two different things. I feel soul is a form of energy that resides in the heart which drives life.

Chapter 2, Verse 18

Lord Krishna summarizes to Arjuna that material body is destructible, but the soul which is immesurable and infinite is indestructible. Lord Krishna says that he should not lament about the body and start fighting for the war.

Previous paras can be summarized in a logical way as

  • Stanza:11: Wise people will not lament either for the dead or for the living.
  • Stanza12: He says the bodies of these kings will not exist eternally. Impermanence.
  • Stanza 13:now after talking about bodies he makes distinction between bodies and soul. Soul body duality.
  • Stanza 14:Body feels the pain and pleasure and both have to be taken equally. Equanimity.
  • Stanza 15:Talks about achieving liberation from body though equanimity.
  • Stanza 16:Talks about what is permanent and what is not permanent.
  • Stanza 17: Soul cannot be destroyed and is always permanent.
  • Stanza 18: since body is impermanent , he should not worry and he should fight.

Chapter 2, Verse 19

Lord Krishna now talks about the qualities of the soul. After stating that Soul is immeasurable in the earlier verse now he says that soul never kills or gets killed by anyone. I think with this verse Lord Krishna separates the actions of a living being attributed to the soul. A soul is a form of energy that permeates a living being and not the doer of things.

Chapter 2, Verse 20

Continuing description of the nature of soul Lord Krishna says the attributes of living creatures like birth, growth, maintenance, decay and death do not apply to the soul. Soul was there always(puranam) and soul is permanent (Sasvatham). It does not have birth and death. In the earlier verse, Krishna says no one can destroy the soul here in this verse he says no one can give birth to a soul. It is neither born nor destroyed. Lord Krishna also categorically says the soul is not destroyed when the body is destroyed. This clearly shows the difference between body and soul.

Only entities like energy, consciousness have these attributes in the physical world.

Chapter 2, Verse 21

Lord Krishna further elaborates the qualities of the soul to dispel the doubts in the mind of Arjuna. He says the soul is nityam meaning eternal, ajanmam: Unborn, avyayam: unspent, undeteriorating, avinasinam: indestructible. He says the person who will understand this will also understand that he is not causing death to the soul and only to the body.

Chapter 2, Verse 22

The power of choice given to soul. In this verse, Lord Krishna clearly shows that the power of choice for the soul to choose the new body. He gives the example of how we discard old clothes and happily accept new clothes, in the same way, the soul discards old, worn out bodies and accepts happily new ones. Why does soul choose new bodies? it is because it wants to be free from this cycle of birth and rebirth and is constantly looking for ways to be in unison with the higher soul. So, everyone should strive for doing things which unite the inner soul with the higher one.

Chapter 2, Verse 23

Lord Krishna in this verse says that nothing can destroy the Soul. He says no weapons, air, water fire can destroy it. Air, water, fire are one of the five elements of nature and Lord Krishna says they cannot also destroy Soul. We know the power of the air, in cyclones, they cause massive destruction. We also understand the power of water, when floods/tsunami come nothing can stand before them and they destroy everything. Even the hardest rock can be cut by water. In the laboratory, here I have seen high-pressure water is used to cut heavy metals. Fire everyone knows can destroy everything and make it into ashes. What gives power to them? It is the energy stored in them in the form of potential and kinetic energy that gives the power to destroy anything.

This means Soul which is atomic in scale cannot be destroyed by the energy of these five elements, which to my limited physics knowledge means Soul has higher energy than these five elements. He also says no weapons can destroy Soul. Weapons get their energy because of kinetic energy and even they cannot do anything for the soul. Thus Lord Krishna has kept the energy of the Soul higher than the energy of any other prime element in nature , in fact he separated it from the nature.

This verse I always heard since childhood in tape recorders , now I know the real meaning of it.

Chapter 2, Verse 23

Lord Krishna in this verse says that nothing can destroy the Soul. He says no weapons, air, water fire can destroy it. Air, water, fire are one of the five elements of nature and Lord Krishna says they cannot also destroy Soul. We know the power of the air, in cyclones, they cause massive destruction. We also understand the power of water, when floods/tsunami come nothing can stand before them and they destroy everything. Even the hardest rock can be cut by water. In the laboratory, here I have seen high-pressure water is used to cut heavy metals. Fire everyone knows can destroy everything and make it into ashes. What gives power to them? It is the energy stored in them in the form of potential and kinetic energy that gives the power to destroy anything.

This means Soul which is atomic in scale cannot be destroyed by the energy of these five elements, which to my limited physics knowledge means Soul has higher energy than these five elements. He also says no weapons can destroy Soul. Weapons get their energy because of kinetic energy and even they cannot do anything for the soul. Thus Lord Krishna has kept the energy of the Soul higher than the energy of any other prime element in nature , in fact he separated it from the nature.

This verse I always heard since childhood in tape recorders , now I know the real meaning of it.

Chapter 2, Verse 25

If the soul has so many qualities, why has no one ever seen them? Lord Krishna gives answers to this question. The soul is imperceivable /inconceivable/imperceptible by the senses. The senses cannot perceive, conceive of the soul. There are many things that direct perception cant sees like the white light is made up of seven colours, the infrared light, ultrasonic sounds etc are all imperceivable to senses but they do exist. In the same way, Soul also exists but our five senses cannot perceive it.

There is a physics principle called Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle which says that either you can observe the wave or the mass of the particle at one point in time. Right now our senses are able to perceive only things in mass scale and we cannot perceive things in wave scale. The soul should be either energy/consciousness in waveform which has not yet been perceived. And wise masters who can perceive the waveform, do not see the mass nature of human existence like Gautama Buddha and Ramana Maharshi.

Chapter 2, Verse 26

Lord Krishna says to Arjuna that he should not lament for the body even if he thinks that the soul does not have an end and it gives birth continuously and dies continuously.

Chapter 2, Verse 27

This is one of the stanzas that I grew listening to it. Here Lord Krishna says that one which is born is bound to die and which is dead is bound to be reborn. This is because of the law of cause and effect. A person is born is the cause and a person dead after some time is the effect and vice versa.

This happens because birth and death are just manifestations of things which are already present in nature. Take for example manufacture of a car. The body made of steel is already present in iron ore, the plastics of the car though made synthetically are present in nature in some form and ultimately putting all these together and spending some energy we can make a car. The car is already present in nature in some form and it is made into a car by spending energy. This is the same with birth, the raw materials for the body, the five elements are already present in nature and to it, consciousness and energy are added and a body is formed and given birth to. This body after some time extinguishes and dies and form the raw materials, consciousness and energy which come together again in the form of birth. Lord Krishna says knowing this truth we should not lament for the death.

Chapter 2, Verse 28

Lord Krishna addresses Arjuna as Bharata, the warrior of Bharata lineage. Krishna says, nobody knows what is before the birth and no one knows what is after death. We only know what happened between the birth and death. Why is it difficult to know what is before birth? As explained in the earlier verse birth is basically raw materials+ energy+ consciousness. Raw materials do not have any memory, energy does not have a memory as they are physical materials and consciousness also does not have energy because it is made of the supreme consciousness. (More readings have to be done regarding this )

Basically, Lord Krishna says we remember things that happen between birth and death and do not remember what happens before or after hence we should not lament the death of any individual.

Chapter 2, Verse 29

Lord Krishna says that people who have seen the soul got amazed by it. They are the philosophers and some people got amazed by speaking about it after understanding it. Yet most of the people though heard of it with amazement do not apply this knowledge due to ignorance and the bonds of Maya. Here Lord Krishna clearly makes a distinction between having the knowledge and practising that knowledge.

For example, I may be having full knowledge about Cricket yet if I do not play cricket I will never fully enjoy the game. If only I hear and speak about it, it doesn’t make me any wise, I should practice my life in the principles equanimity, impermanence keeping the knowledge of soul at the back of mind.

Chapter 2, Verse 30

Lord Krishna again emphasizes the nature of the soul. Here he makes it very clear that the same soul is present in all living creatures. (Sarva Bhutani). He wanted to convey that the supreme consciousness pervades all living beings and it is immutable and immortal. Lord Krishna also says the owner of the body is the soul and it is the same in all bodies.

Though the soul is the owner of the body, we behave as if the body is the owner of everything. We give more importance to body pleasures forgetting who the real owner is.

Also, one important learning from this verse is that all living beings are equal. So we should not lament for the death or troubles that are being caused to our known people and focus on the goal of life that is removing the bondage of soul from the body.

Chapter 2, Verse 31

Lord Krishna further emphasizes the quality of soul, that it is immortal and does not die. He also mentions the “Unity” nature of soul, that means it is the same in all human beings. God has given the same consciousness in all living entities, and this soul keeps moving from one body to another till it gets liberation and reaches the higher soul.

Lord Krishna says Arjuna should not lament for the bodies of his relatives, elders because it is the same soul and it is immortal.

Chapter 2, Verse 32

Lord Krishna after giving the rationale for the existence of soul and why body is not a permanent thing gives a very clear instruction to Arjuna to fight for righteousness. He says that the best endeavour of a Ksatriya is to fight for righteousness and therefore he should fulfil his duty.

As we have said we can use Geetha’s teachings for daily life, so I thought how can we use this in our daily life? Here Lord Krishna is directing any human being who is willing to achieve something in life should fight for it. fight with his bodies comfort zone and coming out of it and also compete with society. Fighting with the society is easy whereas fighting with our own body and conquering its desires is more difficult.

Lord Krishna says we should not stop when doubts come and we should move forward in the path of righteousness.

Chapter 2, Verse 33

In this verse Lord Krishna uses negative words to counter the negative mood of Arjuna. In management games people understand well if things are put in a negative way sometimes. Here Lord Krishna says if he does not participate in the war of Righteousness then he will lose not only his reputation but also will be committing sin of not following the right path.

Arjuna is worried that he will be committing sin of killing his relatives, Lord Krishna says if he doesn’t kill then he will be committing sin of not doing the duty assigned to them. Not only will he be punished after his death, he will lose his reputation in the present world.

Thus, we can see that we should always be a part of winning over the negative tendencies of our body and mind and always be ready to participate in war of making us right, or making the society right.

Chapter 2, Verse 34

Lord Krishna increases the intensity of making Arjuna realize why he should fight the war. He says that he will become infamous for leaving the battlefield and all intelligent people will speak ill of him for all the time to come. Lord Krishna says that infamy is worse than death for respected people of the society.

People will never understand the real meaning why Arjuna left the war, they will only see that he left the war and they make their own interpretations. This shows the power of actions which are bigger than thoughts. We may be thinking many things in our mind and people cannot see it, but what actions we do in public people can see it clearly and make their interpretation.

That’s why Arjuna should fight the war to avoid being branded as one who left the war.

Chapter 2, Verse 35

Lord Krishna further says that if Arjuna stops fighting for his reasons, his opponents will not listen to his reasoning and will say that Arjuna has left the battle in between. Arjuna will be disgraced by the same people whom he is trying not to kill (relatives and teachers). Krishna is asking Arjuna to consider the option of fighting a righteous battle of face disgrace.

Chapter 2, Verse 36

Lord Krishna further tries to see reason comes to the mind of Arjuna. He says he should think of a scenario where his enemies( Kauravas) will be talking negative about him, of his skills and of his powers and how bad is it for the grace of Arjuna. The reputation he built as a mighty warrior all these years will go in vain by this action of him and he can never explain to people why and what he has done.

Chapter 2, Verse 37

Arjuna’s confusion whether he should kill people for victory or he should not fight the war is answered in this verse. Lord Krishna clearly says, O Son of Kunthi, take a firm decision, get up and fight because, if you get killed you will reach heaven and if you kill you will enjoy the earth through your victory.

Here Krishna is telling the benefits of participating in the war, which indirectly means benefits of making a dedicated effort towards achieving something. If the person making effort if he succeeds he will enjoy the fruits of his efforts and if he doesn’t win then he will have good experience which he can use somewhere else.

This clearly shows the concepts in decision-making. Think of all the alternatives of the problem that a person has, and then take a firm decision weighing on the options. It is always better to act rather than not- act. Thus, it is said that Geetha is document which preaches action.

Chapter 2, Verse 38

Lord Krishna further elaborates the process of decision-making and action. In the earlier stanza the key word is “ Krita Nischay” – firm decision. Now in this stanza the key word is “sama krittwa” means decision taken after being in the state of equanimity. Whenever a person takes a decision he should not worry about happiness and unhappiness, profit and loss, victory and defeat. Usually we take decisions based on these factors, whether the final result of our decisions will yield happiness or unhappiness to us, whether the decision will make us rich or poor and whether the decision will give us victory or defeat.

We usually take decisions based on the final outcomes. When taking a decision we can think about various alternatives and final outcomes, but our final decision before action should be free of all these consideration’s and we should be Equanimeous when taking decision.

Chapter 2, Verse 39

After telling Arjuna to take firm decision which is taken in a state of equanimity, Lord Krishna now speaks about the science of action. He first tells the aspect before the decision-making part. He clearly says the decision maker is the mind of the human being and soul is the one which is eternal. He tells him how to take equanimous decisions by being in the state of “sam Kritva” realizing the state of soul. As he knows the reality of the body and soul he should take decisions based on imperfect logic of the soul without giving considerations so win, loss, pain, pleasure. nOw that Lord Krishna explains all this in the earlier stanzas, now he says that he will impart the knowledge of selfless action and calls it yoga.

The use of words Samkhya and Yoga are very important in this verse. He uses word Samkhya to indicate the science of Soul. I feel Samkhya yoga is one of the scientific philosophies of ancient India regarding the nature of Soul, expounded by Kapila Maharshi. Most of the elements of Samkhya yoga re later picked up by Patanjali in his yoga shastra and also Gautama Buddha in Buddhism.

Samkhya yoga explains the five elements, the three gunas, consciousness, soul and other aspects. It’s also one of the precursor to Advaita.

Chapter 2, Verse 40

This is a powerful verse. Here Lord Krishna says affirmatively that the actions performed with the knowledge of yoga will definitely yield results. He says if anyone practices this yoga there is no loss in any manner. That means there are only gains He also says that there is also no diminution of result.

We may think that if we takes decisions with equanimity, without profit and loss in the thought process it may lead to diminution in result. Here Lord Krishna clearly says that actions based on decisions taken like this will not lead to any loss of result provided 100% is given to such fruitless actions. He says even the slightest actions performed in the right way for righteousness will keep people away from danger. As Lord Krishna explains more we will understand more about the science of karma yoga

Chapter 2, Verse 41

This is very difficult concept to be explained to modern mind, which is tuned and trained to think about results, goals, and objectives.

Here Arjuna is addressed for the first time as Kurunandana, meaning the beloved son of Kuru’s. Why did Lord Krishna address Arjuna like this?

If we see the trend, Veda Vyasa uses names in the context of stanza and not in isolation. In the remaining stanza Lord Krishna differentiates between having a resolute focus and not having resolute focus and he says there are infinite manifestations of intellect which is not focused on one thing. There are infinite number of Kurus but Arjuna is special because he had resolute focus. They say the focus of Arjuna is so strong that he can shoot at a fish by just seeing its eye.

Coming to the meaning of the verse, I looked up for meaning of vyavasaya which means resolve, endeavour, and occupation. Atmika means relating to self. Vyavasaya asmika means resolved in the nature of the self. Lord Krishna says for people who are resolved in the nature of self(Soul), who pursue actions with the resolve of God,with true understanding of the soul, their intellect is very clear. But when we see the same with people who do not have resolute nature then their intelligence has many branches. Lord Krishna wanted to say that for people should follow a path with resolute nature and absolute focus.

Chapter 2, Verse 42, 43 & 44

The stanzas have similar meaning, hence they are clubbed together for better understanding. Lord Krishna says some people might have the ultimate object of worldly desires, their ultimate goal is reaching Swarga, they are passionate for earthly things like winning and losing etc, they interpret Veda’s in a flowery way and say that Swarga(heaven) is the only goal. These people regard that pleasure and power are the ultimate necessities and all pursuits should be directed towards earthly things.

Lord Krishna says such people are ignorant and unwise and do not have the resolute mind. What Lord Krishna is saying in this is

  1. Swarga(heaven) is not the final goal- Liberation or union of soul with higher power is the real objective.
  2. People misinterpret Vedas telling all pursuits are for pleasure and power.
  3. Vedas have a deep meaning which the wise can get when they read without any objectives in mind.
  4. People should have resolute mind and they should not waver.

Chapter 2, Verse 45

The more I read Geetha, the more interesting it is becoming. Though I have been introduced to these concepts all through my life by reading them directly is a different kind of pleasure. In this verse Lord Krishna asks Arjuna to gain knowledge which is above Vedas. He says Vedas are good for people who want to transcend the three Gunas (Tamas, Sattvik, Rajsik) and attain heaven. Krishna says Arjuna should not only over come three gunas but also become self realized.

In this verse Lord Krishna introduces us to concepts of Guna ( tri gunam) , nirdwando (non duality), nirogya ksemah( free from acquisitions and pleasure), and bhavatmanam- be self realized. All great concepts and most of the Hindu philosophy is based on these core concepts.

Tri Gusnas: More Knowledge can be gained here

Lord Krishna says people should transcend material existence and reach union with God. He also talks about not having dual objectives and there should be only one objective to be pursued that is the higher objective through self-realization.

Chapter 2, Verse 46

Lord Krishna clarifies the confusion in the earlier stanzas that people should not strive for heaven by following only Veda’s but they should strive for higher resolve of unifying with him. He says when people can get water from reservoir and they need not go to the well. In the same way people will get all their pleasures satisfied by being with the higher objective.

Chapter 2, Verse 47

One of the most famous Bhagwat Geetha sloka. Here Lord Krishna says a person is entitled for his actions. He has the right on his actions, but he does not have right on the results of actions. We are trained to think in terms of results and achieving the results. We try to lose weight and are so much into the results of weight loss that if the results don’t come we stop the activities. Lord Krishna says do the actions as they are in your control. Give 100% to the actions you do as actions are in your control.

We need to learn an important lesson of management, work hard because you have to work, work as if you have forgotten yourself and you get immersed in the work you do but do not bother for results. IF you bother for the results you get bound by them. Results can be positive or negative, if the results are positive person gets excited and the feeling of pride comes in him. He gets attached to what he does and thinks he is great. If the results are negative the person gest demotivated and loose interest in the work he does.

IF we read this sloka with the earlier concept of equanimity things become clear. Work, but with equanimity in mind, if you achieve desired results its ok even if you don’t get results that’s is also ok. Equal feelings to both results, but effort should be 100% for whatever action the person does. Lord Krishna gives the reasoning that if you are result oriented then you start growing bondage with this world and not spiritual upliftment. He says that just because you will become attached to results you should not stop working.

Lord Krishna basically wants people to be process oriented but not result oriented.

Chapter 2, Verse 48

What is called Yoga? Is explained by lord Krishna. He says being equal in success and failure is yoga. Earlier in one sloka he says yoga is union between individual consciousness with supreme consciousness, the union of person in God. Yoga is liberation. All these things can be experienced when the person is equal in success and failure. this can happen when a person is process oriented and not result oriented.

This feeling of oneness is experienced by a person who gives 100% to the work he is doing without anticipation of results. It is said that if you perfect the means ends will come on their own. Perfect the means not ends.

Basically Lord Krishna says Yoga is desire less work.

Chapter 2, Verse 49

Continuing the elaboration of actions, reward, yoga lord Krishna says the actions done in the pursuit of reward of the work is not good but the actions has to be performed using wisdom of the yoga. An action has to be performed either with wisdom of yoga or with the final reward (Happiness/pleasure). Lord Krishna says actions performed with the wisdom of yoga are far superior than actions done with rewords in mind. The ultimate motivator for work should be gaining wisdom/spiritual intelligence/yoga and not rewards.

Lord Krishna also calls for taking refuge in the intelligence/wisdom of yoga for the work rather than the results/rewards of the work.

Chapter 2, Verse 50

Lord Krishna gives big hope to everyone who might think the path he is suggesting is quite difficult. He says people can achieve the life of yoga in this very life, and not in any other life. For it the person has to develop intelligence/wisdom of discretion between the positive and negative reactions and be equal to both of them.

He further says that then when a person doesn’t have any reward of positive action or fear of negative action then only devotion is left in person and he has to develop this devotion.

Chapter 2, Verse 53

This is what is called as getting confused by learning. A person in his lifetime gets confused by various learnings he has from different sources. And ultimately he gets confused, Lord Krishna is saying remove all the contradictory learnings he learned from Vedas. Vedas might have told that killing a person is a sin and killing relatives is a sin.( This is what Arjuna learned and now he is lamenting on battlefield because of what he learned from Vedas. Lord Krishna says he should not get confused by his learnings and keep concentrating on the work at hand. The intelligence of a person should concentrate totally on the work at hand (called mindfulness) and not wandering here and there. If he does that a person attains what is called as liberation.

Chapter 2, Verse 54

Now Arjuna asks questions to Lord Krishna, how does a person who is having full concentration sit, how does he speak and how does he walk? The word for concentration used is samadhi in Bhagwadgeetha. Basically Arjuna wants to know what are the characteristics of a person in yoga, who is equanimous always in all situations?

When a person is successful we usually ask what did he do to become successful? What are his characteristics? In the same way Arjuna is asking Lord Krishna what are those characteristics of a spiritually realized person.

Chapter 2, Verse 55

Lord Krishna is addressed as Bhagwan, the lord. The meaning of it was clarified earlier . Now lord Krishna starts answering the question posed by Arjuna, what are the characteristics of the person who is immersed in Yoga?

When a person gives up desires of the mind and is immersed in the soul then the person is called stitha pragna. We should understand the first principle of four noble truths of Lord Buddha that Desires are the root causes of sufferings, here Lord Krishna is also saying the same thing, to give up desires of the mind. Once the desires of the mind are given up, then the mind becomes clean and shines like a mirror and starts focusing/concentrating on the soul. As he keeps concentrating on the soul without desires of the mind, then it is said that such a person is placed in the knowledge of wisdom.

Chapter 2, Verse 56

Lord Krishna further elaborates saying, when such a person ( who has realized the truth) is in distress, he does not feel sorrow. A person might be in distress because pain of the body like disease or injury , or pain of the mind like jealousy, lust, insult etc pain caused by people surrounding him or pain caused by natural factors like cyclones and floods. Lord Krishna says whenever such external and internal distress happens the person is not perturbed. He does not get affected personally. (basically he keeps a cool mind whatever happens).

Thus these people of wisdom are equanimous to the “machinations of fate”. They do not feel sorrow for what bad happens to them and they do not feel happy to the chance happenings. How to achieve this state is to be free of

  1. Fear
  2. Anger.
  3. Passion.

Wise people do not have passion for any material object so they are not attached to it personally. They do not have fear of losing it as they are not attached and they do not have anger because they do not mind losing it. If they do not feel these three feelings towards a work/person such a person is said to be wise and realized.

Chapter 2, Verse 57

Elaborating further what are the qualities of people who have wisdom and in yoga lord Krishna says, such persons are devoid of any attachment with relatives or friends. They neither feel happy nor sorrow, they do not praise anyone(flattery) nor curse any one.

Very interesting, how can a person be not attached to his friends or relatives especially own wife and children?

Krishna says we shuold have the same attitude towards everyone, we may be having specific duties to perform for our immediate family, that we should do anyways but with out any attachment to them. Attachments leads to bondage and expectations and ultimately causes sorrow. If desires are the root causes for sorrow then attcahment is the root of discrimination. We begin to discriminate things as mine and not mine because of attachment. If we are not attched to any person on this earth then we treat every person with the same amunt of respect and love a person deserves.

The decision making also is not obscured by attachments. We remember the famous story of how a person should behave if his own son/daughter has committed a crime? If we do not have attachment and same attitude to everyone then we will report to police, but if we have attachment it will cause lot of tension in us.

After talking abiut attachment , lord Krishna talks about rejoicing and not being happy.He says people of wisdom have same attictude towards happiness or sorrow. Theya re inbetween. We usually throw parties to share our happiness and some people drink alcohol when theya are sad. This is not right, if we start developing balance ,soon we will observe that if we do not have attachment towards results of a work, what ever happens we will not bother. Its only that we should give 100% as per our capability, that is most important.

Also, people of wisdom are neutral towards praise and curses. The malady of Modern Society is that it trained us to work towards some rewards and praises. If anyone does good work people praise him and reward him. At the end people stop working for the sake of work and end up thinking more about rewards and praises. Lord Krishna says this is not the right approach, though the approach of society is to praise indiciduals who are succeessful and insult those who failed or were unsuccessfull, people should give their 100% to the works they do irrespective of what people think.

To summarize, I feel that Lord Krishna basically want us to work with detachment. Remove the words “my”, “I” from daily life to see man of wisdom.

Chapter 2, Verse 58

How does a person of wisdom sit, walk? To this question lord Krishna answers, they are like turtles. Whenever there is some danger Turtles withdraws into their shells and once the danger passes they again open up, in the same way if we withdraw our senses from the sense objects whenever there is danger of getting attached to senses then we can overcome our attachments to sense objects.

For example, if a beautiful woman passes we may get attracted to her, then the best approach is to withdraw that sense organ, i.e., eyesight from the sense object and start meditating. Lord Krishna never said to control our feelings, he only says the first part of self-control, i.e., we should remove the sense object from the object that causes desire or attachments.

Chapter 2, Verse 61

This is a beautiful sloka of Bhagwat Geetha. The more I read it I feel like reading it again and again. Lord Krishna says, Keeping all the senses under control, and when the person is meditating on the supreme the person is said to be in samyama (

The Keywords in this sloka are Samyama and mat parah. When a person is in full concentration, meditation and engulfed by the meditation then the person is said to be in samyama. We may think that for this the person has to do meditation, that is not important, giving full concentration to work we do. i.e. mindfulness also achieves this state of samyama. We can feel that when we do some work which we really like time flies, we can say that it’s because of samyama.

Mat Parah is concentrating on the supreme. Lord Krishna says when a controlled person, is concentrating on the supreme and is in samyama, then he is said to be in perfect knowledge.

Chapter 2, Verse 62

Here Lord Krishna gives psychological reasoning to the functioning of the brain. He says the reason for the development of anger. He says when a person is constantly contemplating on a particular sense object then he developed an attachment to the object. Like, for example, if a person is constantly thinking about money, land, power then he develops the attachment to that gradually. Slowly the attachment grows into desire and unfulfilled desires lead to anger. We can test this by simple tests in our daily lives, whether there is this pattern or not?

Chapter 2, Verse 65

When the sense organs are under firm control, then the mind becomes steady. Earlier the mind was disturbed with the things that affect the mind, and now when a person moves beyond them then the mind becomes steady. This we usually experience in life. When we want something badly, the mind gets disturbed and we cannot think clearly. Like if I want a car and always think of a car the mind gets disturbed. If I remove the thought and start working on how to get the car the mind becomes calm. We may need something, the thoughts of the need bother us, and when we start working towards the need then the mind stabilizes. Thus, if we remove the thoughts of our needs the mind becomes stable and it will be at peace with itself and peace with the surroundings. Once the person is in peace then it will end all miseries. We can see the connection between peaceful mind and the end of miseries. A peaceful mind is attained by not having passion, hatred, and confusion.

Chapter 2, Verse 66

One whose mind is not steady, then he is not ready for wisdom that means to have wisdom we should calm the mind first.

One whose mind is not steady, having different thoughts in his mind always cannot concentrate. Once awake a mind /person will always have thoughts. there is nothing wrong with having thoughts, it is wrong to have thoughts which are the three poisons of the mind ( Hatred, Greed, Confusion). Once we remove the poisons of the mind then we can concentrate.

One who is not concentrating there will not be any peace.

Chapter 2, Verse 67

There is a lot of deep meaning in this sloka. So, I read and re-read it many times to understand what exactly is being conveyed. To put it simply it is like wind takes the ship on the water in many directions, in the same way, the mind tied to the senses will be wandering in many directions and is not steady thus will not get wisdom.

Here ship is compared with the person’s mind and the wind is the sense organ and wisdom is compared to water. If the sails of the ship are set to the wind and changed in whichever direction the wind goes then the ship moves in different directions without any fixed point. The ship is basically unsteady. In the same way, a mind that is fixed on the sensory organs and the objects these sense organs provide, the mind wanders here and there as per the senses. If the hearing is good it will wander there, if the sight is good it will wander there. The mind will continuously think of the satisfaction derived from these sensory organs and keeps going here and there as it is unsteady.

It does not mean we should not think about alternatives in a situation, we can think alternatives but we should not constantly worry about outcomes, whether it will benefit us, whether we will be comfortable or not. Once a decision is taken we dive deeply into it and take action without wandering here and there.

Chapter 2, Verse 68

In the preceding paras, Lord Krishna is replying to Arjuna’s question (How does a man of wisdom look, speak, talk, work and how to identify him). Now Lord Krishna starts this para by concluding his answer to Arjuna. He says, therefore, Arjuna, a man who has withdrawn his senses from the sense objects is situated in perfect knowledge /wisdom. What does withdrawing of senses mean? Earlier we said that a wise man withdraws his senses like a turtle. What exactly he withdraws? He basically withdraws from those senses whatever distracts him from his basic work he has to do. It can be seeing movies and wasting time or eating much and sleeping. He rejects all those activities which keep him away from the goal. He withdraws from those things that keep him away from yoga.

Chapter 2, Verse 69

Very interesting interpretation of Lord Krishna. It took a while for me to understand and I feel whatever I understood is right with the present level of Knowledge. He uses the word Muni for the first time in Bhagwad Geetha. Muni is a type of person who is wise and philosopher type. Lord Krishna says Muni is a person who chooses to be in light when other people revel in the darkness/ignorance. 99% of the population are ignorant of the truth of light and what reality is. When their minds choose darkness, Muni chooses to be in Light. The fine of the sloka deals with minds and what type of knowledge the muni chooses when compared to other people.

The second line deals with activities people do when compared to Muni. People are active during the day doing all kinds of activities with attachments, passion, hatred, confusion, and ignorance without the knowledge of reality. Whether the activities they are doing will lead them to the higher self. Lord Krishna says when people are engrossed in activities and sensual pleasures the muni is restrained and withdrawn from such activities. He behaves as if it is a night to him.

Chapter 2, Verse 70

In this verse lord, Krishna gives an example of how wise people lead lives. During a normal day and for a person living in society different types if stimulus enters from different sense organs. Especially in the modern age, this is quite common, a person is affected by objects of pleasure during every moment of life delivered through internet, television, society. A wise man behaves as if he is unaffected by all these happenings in the society and he is concentrating on only that work at hand and not bothered about whatever sense stimulus is entering his body. Lord Krishna uses the analogy of ocean which is not affected if water is entering the rivers or if water is not entering. The ocean remains what it is irrespective of water from rivers. The ocean does not feel bad if water stopped entering or feel elated that water has entered it, it is quite neutral to whatever is happening to it.

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