BG 2 (1968)
CONTENTS OF THE GITA SUMMARIZED
1: SAMJAYA SAID: Seeing Arjuna full of compassion and very sorrowful, his eyes brimming with tears, Madhusudana, Krishna, spoke the following words:
2: The Supreme Personality said: My dear Arjuna, how have these impurities come upon you? They are not at all befitting a man who knows the progressive values of life. They do not lead to higher planets, but to infamy.
THE SANSKRIT word Bhagavan is explained by the great authority, Parasara Muni, the father of Vyasadeva. The Supreme Personality who possesses all riches, entire strength, entire fame, entire beauty, entire knowledge, and entire renunciation is called Bhagavan. There are many persons who are very rich, very powerful, very beautiful, very famous, very learned, and very much detached—but no one can claim that he is possessor of all these opulences entirely. Such a claim is applicable to Krishna only, and as such He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. No living entity, including Brahma, can possess such opulence—neither Lord Shiva, nor even Narayana can possess such opulence as fully as Krishna. By analytical study of such possessions, it is concluded in The Brahma Samhita by Lord Brahma himself that Lord Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Nobody is equal to or above Him. He is the Primeval Lord, or Bhagavan, known as Govinda, and He is the Supreme Cause of all causes. It is stated as follows: "There are many personalities possessing the qualities of Bhagavan, but Krishna is Supreme over all of them, because none can excel Him. He is the Supreme Person and His Body is eternal, full of knowledge and bliss. He is the Primeval Lord Govinda, and the Cause of all causes."
In The Bhagwatam also there is a list of many incarnations of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but Krishna is described therein as the Original Personality, from Whom many, many incarnations and Personalities of Godhead expand. It is stated in this way: "All the lists of the incarnations of Godhead submitted herewith are either plenary expansions or parts of the plenary expansions of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself."
Therefore, Krishna is the Original Supreme Personality of Godhead, the Absolute Truth, the Source of both Supersoul and the impersonal Brahman.
In the presence of the Supreme Person, Arjuna's lamentation for his kinsmen is certainly unbecoming; and therefore Krishna expressed His surprise with the word kutas, "wherefrom." Such unmanly sentiments were never expected from a person belonging to the civilized class of men known as Aryans. The word Aryan is applicable to persons who know the value of life and have a civilization based on spiritual realization. Persons who are led by the material conception of life do not know that the aim of life is realization of the Absolute Truth, Vishnu, or Bhagavan. Such persons are captivated by the external features of the material world, and therefore they do not know what liberation is. Persons who have no knowledge of liberation from material bondage are called non-Aryans. Arjuna was trying to deviate from his prescribed duties, declining to fight, although he was a Kshatriya, or warrior. This act of cowardice is described as befitting the non-Aryans. Such deviation from duty does not help one in the progress of spiritual life, nor does it even give one the opportunity of becoming famous in this world. Lord Krishna did not approve of the so-called compassion of Arjuna for his kinsmen.
3: O son of Pritha, do not yield to this degrading impotence. It does not become you. Give up such petty weakness of heart and arise, O chastiser of the enemy!
4: Arjuna said: O killer of Madhu [Krishna], how can I counterattack with arrows in battle personalities like Bhisma and Drona, who are worthy of my worship?
5: It is better to live in this world by begging than to live at the cost of the lives of great souls who are my teachers. Even though they are avaricious, they are nonetheless superiors. If they are killed then our spoils will be tainted with blood.
6: Nor do we know which is better—conquering them or being conquered by them. The sons of Dhritarashtra, whom if we killed we should not care to live, are now standing before us on this battlefield.
ARJUNA BECAME perplexed in this connection, not knowing whether he should execute the fighting with the risk of committing unnecessary violence, although it is the duty of the Kshatriyas; or whether he should not, and prefer instead to live by begging, because if he did not conquer the enemy, begging would be the only means left for his living. There was no certainty of victory, because either side might emerge victorious. Even if there were victory awaiting them, because their cause was justified, still, if the sons of Dhritarashtra should die in battle, it would be very difficult to live in their absence. Under the circumstances, that would be another kind of defeat. All these considerations by Arjuna definitely prove that he was not only a great devotee of the Lord, but that he was also highly enlightened and had complete control over his mind and senses. His desire to live by begging, although he was born in the royal household, is another sign of detachment. He was fully in the quality of forbearance, as all these qualities, combined with his faith in the words of instruction of Sri Krishna (his Spiritual Master), give evidence. It is concluded that Arjuna was quite fit for liberation. Unless the senses are controlled, there is no chance of elevation to the platform of knowledge, and without knowledge and devotion there is no chance of liberation. Arjuna was competent in all these attributes, over and above his enormous attributes in his material relationships.
7: Now I am confused about duty, and have lost all composure because of weakness. In this condition I am asking You to tell me clearly what is best for me. Now I am Your disciple, and a soul surrendered unto You. Please instruct me.
BY NATURE'S OWN WAY the complete system of material activities is a source of perplexity for everyone. In every step there is perplexity, and it behooves one therefore to approach the bona fide spiritual master who can give one the proper guidance for executing the purpose of life. All Vedic literatures advise us to approach a bona fide spiritual master to get free from the perplexities of life, which happen without our desire. They appear like a forest fire, which takes place without being set by anyone. Similarly, the world situation is such that perplexities of life automatically appear, without our wanting such confusion. Nobody wants fire, and yet it takes place and we are perplexed. The Vedic wisdom therefore advises that, in order to solve the perplexities of life and to understand the science of the solution, one must approach a spiritual master, who is in the disciplic succession. A person with a bona fide spiritual master is supposed to know everything. One should not therefore remain in material perplexities, but should approach such a teacher—this is the purport of this verse.
Who is the man in material perplexities? It is he who does not understand the problems of life. In The Garga Upanishad this is described as follows: "He is a miserly man who does not solve the problems of life as a human, and who thus quits this world like the cats and dogs—without understanding the science of self-realization. He is called a miserly man." This human form of life is a most valuable asset for the living entity who can utilize it for solving the problems of life. Therefore, one who does not utilize this opportunity is a miser. On the other hand, there is the Brahmana, or the Brahmin who is intelligent enough to utilize this body for solving all the problems of life.
The Kripanas, or miserly persons, waste their time in being overly affectionate for family, society, country, etc. in the material conception of life. One is often attached to family life, to wife, children, and other members on the basis of "skin disease." The Kripanas think that they are able to protect their family members from death; or the Kripana thinks that his family or society can save him from death. Such family attachment can be found even in the lower animals, who also take care of children. Being intelligent, Arjuna could understand that his affection for family members and his wish to protect them from death were the causes of his perplexities. Although he could understand that his duty to fight was awaiting him, still, on account of miserly weakness, he could not discharge the duty. He is therefore asking Lord Krishna, the Supreme Spiritual Master, to make a definite solution. He offers himself to Krishna as a disciple; he wants to stop friendly talks. Talks between the master and disciple are serious, and now Arjuna wants to talk very seriously before the recognized Spiritual Master. Krishna is therefore the Original Spiritual Master in the science of The Bhagavad Gita, and Arjuna is the original disciple in understanding The Gita. How Arjuna understands The Bhagavad Gita is stated in The Gita itself. And yet foolish mundane scholars explain that one need not submit to Krishna as a Person, but to the Unborn within Krishna. There is no difference between Krishna's within and without; and one who has no sense of this understanding is the greatest fool; the greatest pretender.
8: I can find no means to drive away this grief which is drying up my senses. I will not even be able to destroy it if I win an unrivaled kingdom on the earth with sovereignty like that of the demigods in heaven.
9: Samjaya said: Having spoken thus, Arjuna, chastiser of enemies, told Krishna, Govinda, I shall not fight, and fell silent.
10: O descendant of Bharata, at that time Krishna, smiling, in the midst of both the armies, spoke the following words to the grief-stricken Arjuna.
11: The Blessed Lord said: While speaking learned words you are mourning for what is not worthy of grief. Those who are wise lament neither for the living nor the dead.
THE LORD at once took the position of the Teacher and chastised the student, calling him, indirectly, a fool. The Lord said, You are talking like a learned man, but you do not know that one who is learned-one who knows what is body and what is soul—does not lament for any stage of the body, neither in the living nor in the dead condition. As explained in later chapters, it will be clear that knowledge means to know matter and spirit and the Controller of both. Arjuna argued that religious principles should be given more importance than politics or sociology, but he did not know that knowledge of matter, soul and the Supreme is more important than religious formularies. And, because he was lacking in that knowledge, he should not have posed himself as a very learned man. As he did not happen to be a very learned man, he was consequently lamenting for something which is unworthy of lamentation. The body is born and is destined to be vanquished today or tomorrow. Therefore, the body is not as important as the soul. One who knows this is actually learned, and for him there is no cause for lamentation in any stage of the material body.
12: Never was there a time when I did not exist, nor you, nor all these kings; nor in the future shall any of us cease to be.
IN THE VEDAS, in The Katha Upanishad as well as in The Svetasvataro Upanishad, it is said that the Supreme Personality of Godhead is the Maintainer of innumerable living entities, in terms of their different situations, according to individual work and the reaction to work. That Supreme Personality of Godhead is also, by His plenary portions, alive in the heart of every living entity. Only saintly persons who can see, within and without, the same Supreme Personality of Godhead can actually attain to perfect peace eternal. The same Vedic truth enumerated herein is given to Arjuna—and, in that connection, to all persons in the world who pose themselves as very learned but factually have but a poor fund of knowledge. The Lord says clearly that He Himself, Arjuna, and all the kings who are assembled on the battlefield are eternally individual beings, and that the Lord is eternally the Maintainer of the individual living entities, both in their conditioned as well as in their liberated situation. The Supreme Personality of Godhead is the Supreme individual Person, and Arjuna, the Lord's eternal associate, and all the kings assembled there, are individual, eternal persons. It is not that they did not exist as individuals in the past and it is not that they will not remain as eternal persons. Their individuality existed in the past and their individuality will continue in the future without interruption. Therefore, there is no cause for lamentation for anyone of the individual living entities.
The Mayavadi, or impersonal, theory that after liberation the individual soul, separated by the covering of Maya, or Illusion, will merge into the impersonal Brahman without individual existence is not supported herein by Lord Krishna, the Supreme Authority. Nor is the theory that we only think of individuality in the conditioned state supported herein. Krishna clearly says that in the future also the individuality of the Lord and others, as it is confirmed in the Upanishads, will continue eternally. This statement of Krishna is authoritative because Krishna cannot be subject to Illusion. If individuality is not a fact, then Krishna would not have stressed it so much—even for the future. The Mayavadi may argue that the individuality spoken of by Krishna is not spiritual, but material. Even accepting the argument that the individuality is material, then how can one distinguish Krishna's individuality? Krishna affirms His individuality in the past and confirms His individuality in the future also. He has confirmed His individuality in many ways, and impersonal Brahman has been declared as subordinate to Him. Krishna has maintained spiritual individuality all along, and if He is accepted as an ordinary conditioned soul in individual consciousness, then His Bhagavad Gita has no value as an authoritative scripture. A common man with all the defects of human frailty is unable to teach that which is worth hearing. The Bhagavad Gita is above such literature. No mundane book compares with The Bhagavad Gita. When one accepts Krishna as an ordinary man, The Bhagavad Gita loses all importance. The Mayavadi argues that the plurality mentioned in this verse is conventional and that the plurality refers to the body. But previous to this verse such a bodily conception has already been condemned. After condemning the bodily conception of the living entities, how was it possible for Krishna to place a conventional proposition on the body again? Therefore, the plurality is on spiritual grounds, as is confirmed by great teachers like Sri Ramanuja. It is clearly mentioned in many places in The Bhagavad Gita that this spiritual plurality is understood by those who are devotees of the Lord. Those who are envious of Krishna as the Supreme Personality of Godhead have no bona fide access to this great literature. The nondevotee's approach to the teachings of The Bhagavad Gita is something like a bee licking on a bottle of honey. One cannot have a taste of honey unless one can taste within the bottle. Similarly, the mysticism of The Bhagavad Gita can be understood only by devotees, and no one else can taste it, as is stated in the Fourth Chapter of the book. Nor can The Gita be touched by persons who envy the very existence of the Lord. Therefore, the Mayavadi explanation of The Gita is a most misleading presentation of the whole truth. Lord Chaitanya has forbidden us to read commentaries made by the Mayavadis, and warns that one who takes to an understanding of the Mayavadi philosophy loses all power to understand the real mystery of The Gita. If individuality refers to the empirical universe, then there is no need for teaching by the Lord. The plurality of the individual souls and of the Lord is an eternal fact, and it is confirmed by the Vedas as above mentioned.
13: As the embodied soul continually passes, in this body, from boyhood to youth, and then to old age; similarly, the soul also passes into another body at death. The self-realized soul is not bewildered by such a change.
SINCE EVERY LIVING entity is an individual soul, each is changing his body at every moment, manifesting sometimes as a child, sometimes as a youth, and sometimes as an old man—although the same spirit soul is there and does not undergo any change. This individual soul finally changes the body itself, in transmigrating from one to another; and since it is sure to have another body in the next birth—either material or spiritual—there was no cause for lamentation by Arjuna on account of death, either over Bhisma or over Drona, for whom he was so concerned. Rather, he should rejoice at their changing bodies from old to new ones, thereby rejuvenating their energy. Such changes of body are meant for varieties of enjoyment or suffering by the living entiy, according to one's own work in this Iife. So Bhisma and Drona, being noble souls, were surely going to have either spiritual bodies in the next life, or at least life in godly bodies for superior enjoyment of material existence. In either case, there was no cause for lamentation.
Any man who has perfect knowledge of the constitution of the individual soul, the Supersoul, and Nature—both material and spiritual—is called a Dheera, or a most sober man. Such a man is never deluded by the change of bodies by the living entities.
14: O son of Kunti, the non-permanent appearance of heat and cold, happiness and distress, and their disappearance in due course, are like the appearance and disappearance of winter and summer seasons. They arise from sense perception, O scion of Bharata, and one must learn to tolerate them without being disturbed.
15: O best among men [Arjuna], the person who is not disturbed by happiness and distress and is steady in both is certainly eligible for liberation.
16: Those who are seers of the truth have concluded that, of the non-existent, there is no endurance, and of the eternal there is no cessation. Seers have concluded this by studying the nature of both.
THERE IS NO ENDURANCE of the changing body. That the body is changing every moment by the actions and reactions of different cells is admitted by modern medical science, and thus growth and old age are taking place. But the spiritual soul exists permanently, remaining the same in all the changing circumstances of the body and the mind. That is the difference between matter and spirit. By nature the body is ever changing, and the soul is eternal. This conclusion is established by all classes of seers of the truth, impersonalist and personalist. In The Vishnu Puranam also this truth has been established. It is stated there that Vishnu and His Abodes all have self-illuminated spiritual existence. The words existent and non-existent refer only to spirit and matter. That is the version of all seers of truth.
This is the beginning of the instruction by the Lord to the living entities who are bewildered by the influence of ignorance. Removal of this ignorance means re-establishment of the eternal relationship between the worshiper and the worshipable, and the consequent understanding of the difference between part and parcel living entities and the Supreme Personality of Godhead. One can understand the nature of the Supreme by thorough study of oneself, the difference between oneself and the Supreme being understood as the relationship between the part and the whole. In the Vedanta Sutras, as well as in The Srimad Bhagwatam, the Supreme has been accepted as the origin of all emanations. Such emanations are experienced by superior and inferior natural sequences. The living entities belong to the superior Nature, as will be revealed in the Seventh Chapter. Although there is no difference between the energy and the energetic, the energetic is accepted as the Supreme, and energy or Nature is accepted as the subordinate. The relationship of the living entities, therefore, is to be always subordinate to the Supreme Lord, as with the Master and the servant, or the Teacher and the taught. Such clear knowledge is impossible to grasp under the spell of ignorance, and to drive away such ignorance the Lord teaches The Bhagavad Gita for the enlightenment of all beings for all time.
17: That which pervades the entire body is indestructible. No one is able to destroy the imperishable soul.
THIS VERSE more clearly explains the real nature of the soul, which is spread all over the body. Anyone can understand what is spread all over the body: it is consciousness. Everyone is conscious about the pains and pleasures of the body in part or as a whole. This spreading of consciousness is limited within one's own body. The pains and pleasures of one body are unknown to another. Therefore, each and every body contains an individual soul, and the symptom of the soul's presence is perceived as individual consciousness.
18: Only the material body of the indestructible, immeasurable and eternal living entity is subject to destruction; therefore, fight, O descendant of Bharata.
19: He who thinks that the living entity is the slayer, or that the entity is slain, does not understand. One who is in knowledge knows that the self slays not nor is slain.
WHEN AN EMBODIED BEING is hurt by fatal weapons, it is to be known that the living entity within the body is not killed. The spirit soul is so small that it is impossible to kill him by any material weapon. Nor is the living entity killable in any case, because of his spiritual constitution. What is killed or is supposed to be killed is the body only. This, however, does not at all encourage killing of the body. The Vedic injunction is "Mahimsyat sarva bhutani," never commit violence to anyone. The understanding that a living entity is not killed does not encourage animal slaughter. Killing the body of anyone without authority is abominable, and is punishable by the law of the state as well as by the law of the Lord. Arjuna, however, is being engaged in killing for the principle of religion, and not whimsically.
20: For the soul there is never birth or death. Nor, having once been, does he ever cease to be. He is unborn, eternal, ever-existing, undying, and primeval. He is not slain when the body is slain.
21: O Partha, how can a person who knows that the soul is indestructible, unborn, eternal, and immutable kill anyone, or cause anyone to kill?
EVERYTHING HAS its utility, and a man who is situated in complete knowledge knows how and where to apply a thing for its proper utility. Similarly, violence also has its use, and how to apply violence rests with the person in knowledge. Although the Justice of the Peace awards capital punishment to a person condemned for murder, the Justice of the Peace cannot be blamed, because he orders violence to another according to the codes of justice. In The Manusamhita, the lawbook for Mankind, it is supported that a murderer should be condemned to death so that in his next life he will not have to suffer for the great sin he has committed. Therefore, the king's punishment of hanging a murderer is actually beneficial. Similarly, when Krishna orders fighting, it must be concluded that violence is for Supreme Justice; and, as such, Arjuna should follow the instruction, knowing well that such violence, committed in the act of fighting for justice, is not at all violence; because at any rate, the man—or rather, the soul—cannot be killed. For the administration of justice, so-called violence is permitted. A surgical operation is not meant to kill the patient, but is for his cure. Therefore, the fighting to be executed by Arjuna, under the instruction of Krishna, is with full knowledge; and so there is no possibility of sinful reaction.
22: As a person puts on new garments, giving up old ones; similarly, the soul accepts new material bodies, giving up the old and useless ones.
CHANGE OF BODY by the atomic individual soul is an accepted fact. Even some of the modern scientists who do not believe in the existence of the soul, but at the same time cannot explain the source of energy from the heart, have to accept continuous changes of body which appear from childhood to boyhood, and from boyhood to youth, and again from youth to old age. From old age, the change is transferred to another body. This has already been explained in the previous verse.
Transference of the atomic individual soul to another body is also made possible by the Grace of the Supersoul. The Supersoul fulfills the desire of the soul as one friend fulfills the desire of another. The Vedas, such as The Mundaka Upanishad, as well as The Svetasvataro Upanishad, confirm this concept of two kinds of souls by comparing them to two friendly birds sitting on the same tree. One of the birds (the individual atomic soul) is eating the fruit of the tree, and the other bird is simply watching his friend. Of these two birds—although they are the same in quality—one is captivated by the fruits of the material tree, while the other is simply witnessing his activities. Krishna is the witnessing bird, and Arjuna is the eating bird. Although they are friends, one is still the master and the other is the servant. Forgetfulness of this relationship by the atomic soul is the cause of one's changing his position from one tree to another, or from one body to another. The Jiva soul is struggling very hard on the tree of the material body, but as soon as he agrees to accept the other bird as the Supreme Spiritual Master—as Arjuna has agreed to do by voluntary surrender unto Krishna for instruction—the subordinate bird immediately becomes free from all lamentations. Both The Katha Upanishad and The Svetasvataro Upanishad confirm this statement.
23: The soul can never be cut into pieces by any weapon, nor can he be burned by fire, nor moistened by water, nor withered by the wind.
24: This individual soul is unbreakable and insoluble, and can be neither burned nor dried. He is everlasting, all-pervading, unchangeable, immovable, and eternally the same.
25: It is said that the soul is invisible, inconceivable, immutable, and unchangeable. Knowing this, you should not grieve for the body.
As DESCRIBED ABOVE, the magnitude of the soul is such that, for our material calculation, he cannot be detected even by the most powerful microscope; therefore, he is invisible. As far as his existence is concerned, nobody can establish his experimental stability beyond the proof of Sruti, or Vedic wisdom. We have to accept this truth because there is no other source for understanding the existence of the soul, although it is a fact by perception. There are many things we have to accept solely on grounds of superior authority. No one can deny the existence of his father, based upon the authority of his mother; there is no other source of understanding the identity of the father, except on the authority of the mother. Similarly, there is no other source of understanding the soul except by studying the Vedas. In other words, the soul is inconceivable to human experimental knowledge. The soul is consciousness and conscious—that also is the statement of the Vedas, and we have to accept that. Unlike the bodily changes, there is no change for the soul. As eternally unchangeable, he remains atomic always in comparison to the infinite Supreme Soul. The Supreme Soul is infinite and the atomic soul is infinitesimal. Therefore, the infinitesimal soul, being unchangeable, can never become equal to the infinite Soul, or the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This concept is repeated in the Vedas in different ways, just to confirm the stability of the conception of the soul. Repetition of something is necessary in order that we understand the matter thoroughly, without error.
26: If, however, you think the soul is perpetually born and always dies, still you have no reason to lament, O Mighty-armed.
THERE IS ALWAYS a class of philosophers, akin to the Buddhists, who do not believe in the existence of the soul beyond the body. When Lord Krishna spoke The Bhagavad Gita, it appears that such philosophers existed, and were known as the Lokayatik and Baibhasikas. These philosophers maintained that life symptoms take place at a certain mature condition of the material combination. The modern material scientist and materialist philosophers think similarly. According to them, the body is a combination of physical elements, and at a certain stage the life symptoms develop by interaction of these elements. The science of anthropology is largely based on this philosophy. Currently, many pseudo-religions—now becoming fashionable in America—are also adhering to this concept, as well as to the nihilistic, nondevotional Buddhist sects.
Even if Arjuna did not believe in the existence of the soul—as in the Baibhasika philosophy—there would still have been no cause for lamentation. Nobody would lament the loss of a certain bulk of chemicals and stop discharging his prescribed duties. On the other hand, in modern science and scientific warfare, so many tons of chemicals are wasted in achieving victory over the enemy. According to the Baibhasika philosophy, the so-called soul or Atma vanishes along with the deterioration of the body. So, in any case, whether Arjuna accepted the Vedic conclusion that there is an atomic soul, or whether he did not believe in the existence of the soul, he had no reason for lamenting. According to this theory, since there are so many entities generating out of matter every moment, and so many of them are being vanquished at every moment, there is no need to grieve for such an incidence. However, since he was not risking rebirth of the soul, Arjuna had no reason to be afraid of being affected with sinful activities due to killing his grandfather and teacher. But, at the same time, Krishna sarcastically addressed Arjuna as Mahavaho, Mighty-armed, because He, at least, did not accept the theory of the Baibhasikas, which leaves aside the Vedic wisdom. As a Kshatriya, Arjuna belonged to the Vedic culture, and it behooved him that he continue to follow its principles.
27: For one who has taken his birth, death is certain; and for one who is dead, birth is certain. Therefore, in the unavoidable discharge of your duty, you should not lament.
ACCORDING TO LOGICIANS, one has to take birth according to one's activities of life. And, after finishing one term of activities, one has to die to take birth for the next. In this way the cycle of birth and death is revolving, one after the other, without liberation. This cycle of birth and death does not, however, support murder, slaughter, and war unnecessarily. But, at the same time, violence and war are inevitable factors in human society for keeping law and order. The Battle of Kurukshetra, being the will of the Supreme, was an inevitable event, and to fight for the right cause is the duty of a Kshatriya. Why should he be afraid of, or aggrieved at, the death of his relatives, since he was discharging his proper duty? He did not deserve to break the law, thereby becoming subjected to the reactions of sinful acts, of which he was so afraid. By ceasing from the discharge of his proper duty, he would not be able to stop the death of his relatives, and he would be degraded on account of his selection of the wrong path of action.
28: All created beings are unmanifest in their beginnings, manifest in their interim state, and unmanifest again when they are annihilated. So what need is there for lamentation?
29: Some look on the soul as amazing; some describe him as amazing; and some hear of him as amazing; while others, even after hearing about him, cannot understand him at all.
30: O descendant of Bharata, he who dwells in the body is eternal and can never be slain. Therefore you need not grieve for any creature.
31: Considering your specific duty as a Kshatriya, you should know that there is no better engagement for you than fighting on religious principles; and so there is no need for hesitation.
32: O Partha, happy are the Kshatriyas to whom such fighting opportunities come unsought, opening for them the doors of the heavenly planets.
33: If, however, you do not fight this religious war, then you will certainly incur sin for neglecting your duties, and thus lose your reputation as a fighter.
34: People will always speak of your infamy, and for one who has been honored, dishonor is worse than death.
35: The great generals who have highly esteemed your name and fame will think that you have left the battlefield out of fear only, and thus they will consider you a coward.
36: Your enemies will describe you in many unkind words, and scorn your ability. What could be more painful for you?
37: O son of Kunti, either you will be killed on the battlefield and attain the heavenly planets, or you will conquer and enjoy the earthly kingdom. Therefore, get up and fight with determination.
38: Do thou fight for the sake of fighting, without considering happiness or distress, loss or gain, victory or defeat—and, by so doing, you shall never incur sin.
LORD KRISHNA NOW directly says that Arjuna should fight for the sake of fighting, because Krishna desires the battle. There is no consideration of happiness or distress, profit or gain, victory or defeat in the activities of Krishna consciousness. That everything should be performed for the sake of Krishna is transcendental consciousness; so there is no reaction from material activities. Anyone who acts for his sense gratification, either in goodness or in passion, is liable to the reaction—good or bad. Anyone who has completely surrendered himself in the activities of Krishna consciousness is no longer obliged to anyone, nor is he a debtor to anyone, as we are in the ordinary course of activities. It is said: "Anyone who has completely surrendered unto Krishna, Mukunda, giving up all other duties, is no longer a debtor, nor is he obliged to anyone—not the demigods, nor the sages, nor the people in general; nor kinsmen, nor humanity nor forefathers." That is the indirect hint given by Krishna to Arjuna in this verse, and the matter will be more clearly explained in the following verses.
39: Thus far I have declared to you the analytical knowledge of Samkhya philosophy. Now listen to the knowledge of Yoga, whereby one works without fruitive result. O son of Pritha, when you act by such intelligence, you can free yourself from the bondage of works.
40: In this endeavor there is no loss or diminution, and a little advancement on this path can protect one from the most dangerous type of fear.
ACTIVITY IN KRISHNA consciousness, or acting for the benefit of Krishna without expectation of sense gratification, is the highest transcendental quality of work. Even a small beginning of such activity finds no impediment, nor can that small beginning be lost at any stage. Any work begun on the material plane has to be done nicely till the end, otherwise the whole attempt becomes a failure. But any work begun in Krishna consciousness has a permanent effect, even though not finished. The performer of such work is therefore not at a loss even if his work in Krishna consciousness is incomplete. One per cent done in Krishna consciousness bears permanent results, so that the next beginning is from the point of 2 per cent. Whereas, in material activity, without 100 per cent success there is no profit. There is a nice verse in this connection in The Srimad Bhagwatam. It says: "If someone gives up his occupational duties and works in Krishna consciousness, and then again falls down on account of not being complete in such activities; still, what loss is there on his part? And, what can one gain if one performs his material activities very perfectly?" Or, as the Christians say: "What profiteth a man if he gain the whole world yet suffers the loss of his eternal soul?"
Material activities, and the results of such actions, will end with the body. But work in Krishna consciousness will carry the person again to Krishna consciousness, even after the loss of this body. At least one is sure to have a chance in the next life of being born into human society, either in the family of a great cultured Brahmin, or else in a rich aristocratic family that will give the man a further chance for elevation. That is the unique quality of work done in Krishna consciousness.
41: Those who are on this path are resolute in purpose, and their aim is one. O beloved child of the Kurus, the intelligence of those who are irresolute is many-branched.
42-43: Men of small knowledge are very much attached to the flowery words of the Vedas, which recommend various fruitive activities for elevation to heavenly planets, resultant good birth, power, and so forth. Being desirous of sense gratification and opulent life, they say that there is nothing more than this.
44: In the minds of those who are too attached to sense enjoyment and material opulence, and who are bewildered by such things, the resolute determination for devotional service to the Lord does not take place.
SAMADHI means "fixed mind." The Vedic dictionary, the Niruktih, says, "When the mind is fixed for understanding the self, this is called Samadhi." Samadhi is never possible for persons interested in material sense enjoyment, nor for those who are bewildered by such temporary things. They are more or less condemned by the process of material energy.
45: The Vedas mainly deal with the subject of the three modes of material Nature. Rise above these modes, O Arjuna. Be transcendental to all of them. Be free from all dualities and from all anxieties for gain and safety, and be established in the self.
46: All purposes that are served by the small pond can at once be served by the great reservoirs of water. Similarly, all the purposes of the Vedas can be served to one who knows the purpose behind them.
47: You have a right to perform your prescribed duty, but you are not entitled to the fruits of action. Neither consider yourself the cause of action, nor should you be attached to inaction.
THERE ARE THREE considerations here: prescribed duties, capricious work, and inaction. Prescribed duties mean activities in terms of one's position in the modes of material Nature. Capricious work means actions without the sanction of authority; and inaction means not performing one's prescribed duties. The Lord advised that Arjuna not be inactive, but that he be active in his duty without being attached to the result. One who is attached to the result of his work is also the cause of the action. Thus he is the enjoyer or sufferer of the result of such actions.
As far as prescribed duties are concerned, they can be fitted into three subdivisions: routine work, emergency work, and desired activities. Routine work, in terms of the scriptural injunctions, is done without desire for results. As one has to do it, obligatory work is action in the modes of goodness. Work with results becomes the cause of bondage, and so such work is not auspicious. Everyone has his proprietary right in regard to his duties, but should act without attachment to the result; thus such disinterested obligatory duties doubtlessly lead one to the path of liberation.
Arjuna was advised by the Lord to fight as a matter of duty, without attachment to the result. His non-participation in the battle is another side of attachment. Such attachment never leads one to the path of salvation. Any attachment, positive or negative, is cause for bondage. Inaction is sinful. Therefore, fighting as a matter of duty was the only auspicious path to salvation for Arjuna.
48: Be steadfast in your duty, O Arjuna, and abandon all attachment to success or failure. Such evenness of mind is called Yoga.
49: O Dhananjaya, rid yourself of all fruitive activities by devotional service, and surrender fully to that consciousness. Those who want to enjoy the fruits of their work are misers.
50: A man engaged in devotional service rids himself of both good and bad actions even in this life. Therefore strive for this Yoga, O Arjuna, which is the art of all work.
51: The wise, engaged in devotional service, take refuge in the Lord, and free themselves from the cycle of birth and death by renouncing the fruits of action in the material world. In this way they can attain that state beyond all miseries.
52: When your intelligence has passed out of the dense forest of delusion, you will become indifferent to all that has been heard and all that is to be heard.
THERE ARE MANY good examples, in the lives of the great devotees of the Lord, of those who became indifferent to the rituals of the Vedas simply by devotional service to the Lord. When a person factually understands Krishna and one's relationship with Krishna, one naturally becomes completely indifferent to the rituals of fruitive activities, even though he may be an experienced Brahmin. Sri Madhavendra Puri, a great devotee and Acharya in the line of devotees, says: "O Lord, in my prayers three times a day, all glory to You; O, bathing I offer my obeisances unto You; O, demigods! O, forefathers! please excuse me for my inability to offer you my respects. Now wherever I sit, I am able to remember the great descendant of the Yadu dynasty [Krishna], the enemy of Kamsa; and thereby I can get myself freed from all sinful bondage. I think this is sufficient for me."
The Vedic rites and rituals are imperative for the beginning of human life: comprehending all kinds of prayer three times a day, taking a bath early in the morning, offering respects to the forefathers, etc. But when one is fully in Krishna consciousness, and is engaged in His transcendental loving service, one becomes indifferent to all these regulative principles, because he has already attained perfection of life. If one can reach the platform of understanding by service to the Supreme Lord Krishna, he has no longer the duty to execute the different types of penances and sacrifices recommended in revealed scriptures. And, similarly, if one has not understood that the purpose of the Vedas is to reach Krishna, and simply engages in the rituals, then he is uselessly wasting time in such engagements. Persons in Krishna consciousness transcend the limit of Sabdabrahma, or the range of the Vedas and Upanishads.
53: When your mind is no longer disturbed by the flowery language of the Vedas, and when it remains fixed in the trance of self-realization, then you will have attained the Divine consciousness.
54: Arjuna said: What are the symptoms of one whose consciousness is thus merged in Transcendence? How does he speak, and what is his language? How does he sit, and how does he walk?
55: The Blessed Lord said: O Partha, when a man gives up all varieties of sense desire which arise of invention, and when his mind finds satisfaction in the self alone, then he is said to be in pure transcendental consciousness.
56: One who is not disturbed in spite of the threefold miseries, who is not elated when there is happiness, and who is free from attachment, fear, and anger is called a sage of steady mind.
THE WORD Muni means one who can agitate his mind in various ways for mental speculation, without coming to a factual conclusion. It is said that every Muni has a different angle of vision, and unless one Muni is different in view from another, he cannot be called a Muni in the strict sense of the term. But a sthitadhir Muni, the kind mentioned herein by the Lord, is different from an ordinary Muni. The sthitadhir Muni is always in Krishna consciousness, for he has finished all his business with creative speculation. He is called prasanta nihsesa manorathantaram, or one who has surpassed the stage of mental speculations and has come to the conclusion that Lord Sri Krishna, Vasudeva, is everything. He is called the Muni fixed in mind. Such a fully Krishna conscious person is not at all disturbed by the onslaughts of the threefold miseries: those due to Nature, to other beings, and to the frailties of one's own body. Such a Muni accepts all miseries as the mercy of the Lord, thinking himself only worthy of more trouble due to his past misdeeds; and sees that his miseries, by the Grace of the Lord, are minimized to the lowest. Similarly, when he is happy he gives credit to the Lord, thinking himself unworthy of that happiness. He realizes that it is due only to the Lord's Grace that he is in such a comfortable condition, and thus able to render better service to the Lord. And, for the service of the Lord, he is always daring and active, and is not influenced by attachment or detachment. Attachment means accepting things for one's own sense gratification, and detachment is the absence of such sensual attachment. But one fixed in Krishna consciousness has neither attachment nor detachment, because his life is dedicated in the service of the Lord. Consequently, he is not at all angry even when his attempts are unsuccessful. A Krishna conscious person is always steady in his determination.
57: He who is without affection either for good or evil is firmly fixed in perfect knowledge.
THERE IS ALWAYS some upheaval in the material world which may be good or evil. One who is not agitated by such material upheavals, who is without affection for the good or evil, is to be understood as fixed in Krishna consciousness. As long as one is in the material world, there is always the possibility of good and evil because this world is full of duality. But one who is fixed in Krishna consciousness is not affected by good and evil, because he is simply concerned with Krishna, Who is all Good Absolute. Such consciousness in Krishna situates one in a perfect transcendental position called, technically, Samadhi.
58: One who is able to withdraw his senses from sense objects, as the tortoise draws his limbs within the shell, is to be understood as truly situated in knowledge.
59: The embodied soul may be restricted from sense enjoyment, though the taste for sense objects remains. But, ceasing such engagements by experiencing a higher taste, he is fixed in consciousness.
60: The senses are so strong and impetuous, O Arjuna, that they forcibly carry away the mind even of a man of discrimination who is endeavoring to control them.
61: One who restrains his senses and fixes his consciousness upon Me is known as a man of steady intelligence.
62: While contemplating the objects of the senses, a person develops attachment for them, and from such attachment lust develops, and from lust anger arises.
ONE WHO IS NOT Krishna conscious is subjected to material desires while contemplating the objects of senses. The senses require real engagements, and if they are not engaged in the transcendental loving service of the Lord, they will certainly seek engagement in the service of materialism. In the material world everyone, including Lord Shiva and Lord Brahma—to say nothing of other demigods in the heavenly planets—is subjected to the influence of sense objects; and the only method to get out of this puzzle of material existence is to become Krishna conscious. Lord Shiva once was deep in meditation, but when the beautiful maid Parvati agitated him for sense pleasure, he agreed to the proposal and as a result Kartikeya was born. When Haridas Thakur was a young devotee of the Lord, he was similarly allured by the incarnation of Maya Devi; but Haridas easily passed the test because of his unalloyed devotion to Lord Krishna. A sincere devotee of the Lord learns to hate all material sense enjoyment due to his higher taste for spiritual enjoyment in the association of the Lord. That is the secret of success. One who is not, therefore, in Krishna consciousness, however powerful he may be in controlling the senses by artificial repression, is sure ultimately to fall, for the slightest thought of sense pleasure will drive him to gratify his desires.
63: From anger, delusion arises, and from delusion bewilderment of memory. When memory is bewildered, intelligence is lost, and when intelligence is lost one falls down again into the material pool.
64: One who can control his senses by regulated principles, and who is free from attachment and aversion, can obtain the mercy of God.
IT IS ALREADY explained that one may externally control the senses by some artificial process, but unless the senses are engaged in the transcendental service of the Lord, there is every chance of a fall. Although the person in full Krishna consciousness may apparently be on the sensual plane, actually, because of his being Krishna conscious, he has no attachment to, or detachment from, such sensual activities. The Krishna conscious person is concerned only with the satisfaction of Krishna, and nothing else. Therefore he is transcendental to all attachment or detachment. If Krishna wants, the devotee can do anything which is ordinarily undesirable; and if Krishna does not want, he will not do anything which he would have ordinarily done for his own satisfaction. Therefore, to act or not to act is within his control because he acts only under the dictation of Krishna. This consciousness is the causeless mercy of the Lord, which the devotee can achieve in spite of his being attached to the sensual platform.
65: For one who is so situated, the threefold miseries of material life exist no longer; in such a happy state, one's intelligence is steady.
66: One who is not in transcendental consciousness can have neither a controlled mind, nor steady intelligence, without which there is no possibility of peace. And how can there be any happiness without peace?
67: As a boat on the water is swept away by a strong wind, even so one of the senses, in which the mind becomes fixed, can carry away a man's intelligence.
68: Therefore, O Mighty-armed, one whose senses are restrained from their objects is certainly of steady intelligence.
69: What is night for all beings is the time of awakening for the self-controlled; and the time of awakening for all beings is night for the introspective sage.
THERE ARE TWO CLASSES of intelligent men. The one is intelligent in material activities for sense gratification; and the other is introspective, and awake to the cultivation of self-realization. Activities of the introspective sage, or thoughtful man, are night for persons materially absorbed. Materialistic persons remain asleep during such a night due to their ignorance of self-realization. The introspective sage, however, remains alert in that night of the materialistic men. Such sages feel transcendental pleasure in the gradual advancement of spiritual culture; whereas the man in materialistic activities, being asleep to self-realization, dreams of varieties of sense pleasure, feeling sometimes happy and sometimes distressed in his sleeping condition. The introspective man is always indifferent to materialistic happiness and distress. He goes on with his self-realization activities undisturbed by material reactions.
70: A person who is not disturbed by the incessant flow of desires—that enter like rivers into the ocean which is ever being filled but is always still—can alone achieve peace; and not the man who strives to satisfy such desires.
71: A person who has given up all desires for sense gratification, who lives free from desires, who has given up all sense of proprietorship, and is devoid of false ego—he alone can attain real peace.
72: That is the way of the spiritual and godly life, after attaining which a man is not bewildered. Being so situated, even at the hour of death, one can enter into the Kingdom of God.
ONE CAN ATTAIN Krishna consciousness or divine life at once, within a second—or one may not attain such a state of life even after millions of births. It is only a matter of understanding and accepting the fact. Khatvamga Maharaj attained this state of life just a few minutes before his death, by surrendering unto Krishna. Nirvana means ending the process of materialistic life. According to Buddhist philosophy, there is only void after this material life, but The Bhagavad Gita teaches differently. Actual life begins after the completion of this material life. For the gross materialist it is sufficient to know that one has to end this materialistic way of life; but for persons who are spiritually advanced, there is another life after this materialistic one. Therefore, before ending this life, if one fortunately becomes Krishna conscious, certainly he at once attains the stage of Brahman nirvana. There is no difference between the Kingdom of God and the devotional service of the Lord. Since both of them are on the Absolute plane, to be engaged in the transcendental loving service of the Lord is to have attained the spiritual Kingdom. In the material world there are activities of sense gratification, whereas in the spiritual world there are activities of Krishna consciousness. Therefore, attainment of Krishna consciousness even during this life is immediate attainment of Brahman, and one who is situated in Krishna consciousness has certainly already entered into the Kingdom of God.
Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur has summarized this Second Chapter of The Bhagavad Gita as being the Contents for the whole text. In The Bhagavad Gita, the subject matters are Karmayoga, Jnanayoga, and Bhaktiyoga. In the Second Chapter, Karmayoga and Jnanayoga have been clearly discussed; and a glimpse of Bhaktiyoga has also been given.
Thus end the Bhaktivedanta Purports to the Second Chapter of The Srimad Bhagavad Gita, in the matter of its Contents.