Chapter II - The Yoga of Understanding
Lord Krishna spoke these words
To Arjuna whose eyes were tearful and downcast,
And who was overwhelmed
With compassion and despair.
How has the dejection
Come to you at this juncture?
This is not fit for an Aryan
It is disgraceful,
And it does not lead one to heaven, O Arjuna.
Do not become a coward, O Arjuna,
Because it does not befit you.
Shake off this weakness of your heart
And get up (for the battle), O Arjuna.
How shall I strike Bheeshma and Drona,
Who are worthy of my worship,
With arrows in battle, O Krishna?
It would be better, indeed,
To live on alms in this world
Than to slay these noble gurus,
Because, by killing them I would enjoy
Wealth and pleasures stained with blood.
Neither do we know
Which alternative is better for us,
Nor do we know
Whether we shall conquer them
Or they will conquer us.
We should not even wish to live
After killing the sons of Dhritaraashtra
Who are standing in front of us.
My heart is overcome by the weakness of pity,
And my mind is confused about Dharma.
I request You to tell me, decisively,
What is better for me. I am Your disciple.
Teach me who has taken refuge in You.
I do not perceive that gaining an unrivaled
And prosperous kingdom on this earth,
Or even lordship over the gods will remove
The sorrow that is drying up my senses.
O King, after speaking like this to Lord Krishna,
The mighty Arjuna said to Krishna:
I shall not fight, and became silent.
O King, Lord Krishna, as if smiling,
Spoke these words to the despondent Arjuna
In the midst of the two armies.
You grieve for those who are not worthy of grief,
And yet speak the words of wisdom.
The wise grieve neither
For the living nor for the dead.
There was never a time when I, you,
Or these kings did not exist;
Nor shall we ever cease to exist in the future.
Just as the Atma acquires a childhood body,
A youth body, and an old age body during this life,
Similarly Atma acquires another body after death.
The wise are not deluded by this.
The contacts of the senses with the sense objects
Give rise to the feelings of heat and cold,
And pain and pleasure.
They are transitory and impermanent.
Therefore, endure them, O Arjuna.
Because the calm person,
Who is not afflicted by these feelings
And is steady in pain and pleasure,
Becomes fit for immortality, O Arjuna.
There is no nonexistence of the Sat
And no existence of the Asat.
The reality of these two
Is indeed certainly seen by the seers of truth.
Know That, by which all this is pervaded,
To be indestructible.
No one can destroy the indestructible.
Bodies of the eternal, imperishable,
And incomprehensible soul
Are said to be perishable.
Therefore, fight, O Arjuna.
The one who thinks that Atma is a slayer,
And the one who thinks that Atma is slain,
Both are ignorant,
Because Atma neither slays nor is slain.
The Atma is neither born
Nor does it die at any time,
nor having been it will cease to exist again.
It is unborn, eternal, permanent, and primeval.
The Atma is not destroyed when the body is destroyed.
O Arjuna, how can a person
Who knows that the Atma is indestructible, eternal,
Unborn, and imperishable,
kill anyone or cause anyone to be killed?
Just as a person puts on new garments
After discarding the old ones,
Similarly Atma acquires new bodies
After casting away the old bodies.
Weapons do not cut this Atma,
Fire does not burn it,
Water does not make it wet,
And the wind does not make it dry.
This Atma cannot be cut, burned, wetted, or dried up.
It is eternal, all pervading,
Unchanging, immovable, and primeval.
The Atma is said to be unmanifest,
Unthinkable, and unchanging.
Knowing this Atma as such you should not grieve.
If you think that this (body) takes birth
And dies perpetually, even then, O Arjuna,
You should not grieve like this.
Because, death is certain for the one who is born,
And birth is certain for the one who dies.
Therefore, you should not lament over the inevitable.
All beings, O Arjuna, are unmanifest
Before birth and after death.
They are manifest between birth and death only.
What is there to grieve about?
Some look upon this Atma as a wonder,
Another describes it as wonderful,
And others hear of it as a wonder.
Even after hearing about it no one actually knows it.
O Arjuna, the Atma that dwells in the body of all (beings)
Is eternally indestructible.
Therefore, you should not mourn for any body.
Considering also your duty as a warrior
You should not waver.
Because there is nothing more auspicious
For a warrior than a righteous war.
Only the fortunate warriors, O Arjuna,
Get such an opportunity for an unsought war
That is like an open door to heaven.
If you will not fight this righteous war,
Then you will fail in your duty,
Lose your reputation, and incur sin.
People will talk about your disgrace forever.
To the honored, dishonor is worse than death.
The great warriors will think
That you have retreated from the battle out of fear.
Those who have greatly esteemed you
Will lose respect for you.
Your enemies will speak many unmentionable words
And scorn your ability.
What could be more painful than this?
You will go to heaven if killed,
Or you will enjoy the earth if victorious.
Therefore, get up
With a determination to fight, O Arjuna.
Treating pleasure and pain,
Gain and loss, victory and defeat alike,
Engage yourself in your duty.
By doing your duty this way
You will not incur sin.
The wisdom of Saamkhya
Has been imparted to you, O Arjuna.
Now listen to the wisdom of Karma-yoga
Endowed with which you will free yourself
From the bondage of Karma.
In Karma-yoga no effort is ever lost,
And there is no harm.
Even a little practice of this discipline
Protects one from great fear.
Those who are resolute
Have only one thought (of Self-realization),
But the thoughts of the irresolute
Are endless and many-branched, O Arjuna.
The unwise who delight in flowery words
The ritualistic aspect of the Vedas, O Arjuna,
And say that there is nothing else
(except material enjoyment).
They prescribe various specific rites
For the attainment of pleasure and power
To those who are full of desires,
And hold the attainment of heaven
As the highest goal of life.
The rebirth is their fruit of action.
The resolute determination (of Self-realization)
Is not formed in the minds of those
Who are attached to pleasure and power;
And whose discernment is obscured by such activities.
The Vedas deal with the three states
Or Gunas of mind.
Become free from dualities,
Be ever balanced and unconcerned
With the thoughts
Of acquisition and preservation.
Rise above the three Gunas,
And be Self-conscious, O Arjuna.
To a Self-realized person
The Vedas are as useful as a reservoir of water
When there is flood water available everywhere.
You have Adhikaara over your respective duty only,
But no control or claim over the results.
The fruits of work should not be your motive.
You should never be inactive.
Do your duty to the best of your ability, O Arjuna,
With your mind attached to the Lord,
Abandoning (worry and) attachment to the results,
And remaining calm in both success and failure.
The equanimity of mind is called Karma-yoga.
Work done with selfish motives
Is inferior by far to the selfless service or Karma-yoga.
Therefore be a Karma-yogi, O Arjuna.
Those who seek (to enjoy) the fruits of their work
are verily unhappy.
A Karma-yogi gets freedom
From both vice and virtue in this life itself.
Therefore, strive for Karma-yoga.
Working to the best of one's abilities
Without getting attached to the fruits of work
Is called (Nishkaama) Karma-yoga.
Wise Karma-yogis, possessed with mental poise
By renouncing the attachment to the fruits of work,
Are indeed freed from the bondage of rebirth
And attain the blissful divine state.
When your intellect will completely pierce
The veil of delusion,
Then you will become indifferent to what has been heard
And what is to be heard (from the scriptures).
When your intellect,
That is confused by the conflicting opinions
And the ritualistic doctrine of the Vedas,
Shall stay steady and firm with the Self,
Then you shall attain Self-realization.
O Krishna, what is the mark
Of a person whose Prajna is steady
And merged in superconscious state?
How does a person of steady Prajna speak?
How does such a person sit and walk?
When one is completely free
From all desires of the mind
And is satisfied in the Self by the Self,
Then one is called a person of steady Prajna, O Arjuna.
A person whose mind is unperturbed by sorrow,
Who does not crave pleasures, and who is free
From attachment, fear, and anger;
Such a person is called a sage of steady Prajna.
Those who are not attached to anything,
Who are neither elated by getting desired results
Nor troubled by undesired results,
Their Prajna is deemed steady.
When one can completely withdraw
The senses from the sense objects
As a tortoise withdraws its limbs,
Then the Prajna of such a person
Is considered steady.
The desire for sensual pleasures fades away
If one abstains from sense enjoyment,
But the craving remains.
The craving also disappears from the one
who has seen (or known) the Supreme.
Restless senses, O Arjuna,
Forcibly carry away the mind
Of even a wise person
Striving for perfection.
Having brought the senses under control,
One should fix one's mind on the Self.
One's Prajna becomes steady
whose senses are under control.
One develops attachment to sense objects
By thinking about sense objects.
Desire for sense objects
Comes from attachment to sense objects,
And anger comes from unfulfilled desires.
Delusion arises from anger.
The mind is bewildered by delusion.
Reasoning is destroyed
When the mind is bewildered.
One falls down when reasoning is destroyed.
A disciplined person, enjoying sense objects
With senses that are under control
And free from likes and dislikes,
All sorrows are destroyed
Upon attainment of tranquillity.
The intellect of such a tranquil person
Soon becomes completely steady.
There is neither Self-knowledge nor Self-perception
To those whose senses are not under control.
Without Self-perception there is no peace;
And without peace there can be no happiness.
The mind, when controlled by the roving senses,
Steals away the Prajna as a storm takes away a boat
On the sea from its destination, the spiritual shore.
Therefore, O Arjuna,
One's Prajna becomes steady
Whose senses are completely withdrawn
From the sense objects.
A yogi is aware of the thing (or Atma)
About which others are unaware.
A sage who sees is unaware
Of the experience (of sense objects)
About which others are aware.
One attains peace in whose mind
All desires enter without creating any disturbance,
As river waters enter the full ocean
Without creating a disturbance.
One who desires material objects is never peaceful.
One who abandons all desires
And becomes free from longing
And the feeling of 'I' and 'my'
O Arjuna, this is the Braahmee or superconscious state.
Attaining this (state), one is no longer deluded.
Gaining this state, even at the end of one's life,
A person attains oneness with the Supreme.
This is the end of Chapter II of the Bhagavad-Gita,
Or "The Yoga of Understanding"