Click to set custom HTML

The Bhagvadgita

Chapter II: Sankhyayoga (The Yoga of Knowledge)  

1                    Sanjaya said: Sri Krishna then addressed the following words to Arjuna, who was overwhelmed with pity, whose eyes were filled with tears and agitated, and who was full of sorrow.

2                    Sri Bhagwan said: Arjuna, how has this infatuation overtaken you at odd hour? It is shunned by noble souls; neither will it bring heaven, nor fame to you.

3                    Yield not to unmanliness, Arjuna; ill does it become you. Shaking off this paltry faint-heartedness arise, O scorcher of your enemies.

4                    Arjuna said: How Krishna, shall I fight Bhisma and Drona with arrows on the battle-field? They are both objects of reverence, O destroyer of foes.

5                    It is better to live on alms in this world without slaying these noble elders, because even after killing them we shall enjoy only blood-stained pleasures in the form of wealth and sense-enjoyments.

6                    We do not know which is preferable for us – to fight or not to fight; nor do we know whether we shall win or whether they will conquer us. The sons of Dhrtarastra, by killing whom we do not even wish to live, are arrayed against us.

7                    With my very being tainted by the vice of faint-heartedness and my mind puzzled with regard to duty, I am asking you. Tell me that which is decidedly good; I am your disciple. Pray instruct me, who have sought refuge in you.

8                    For even on obtaining undisputed sovereignty and an affluent kingdom on this earth and lordship over the gods, I do not see any means that can drive away the grief which is drying up my senses.

9                    Sanjay said: O king, having thus spoken to Sri Krsna, Arjuna, again said to Him, “I will not fight,” and became silent.

10               Then, O The joy which deadens the soul, both in the beginning and in the end, and which is derived from sleep, indolence and carelessness is said to be Tamasic.

11               Sri Bhagvan said: Arjuna, you grieve over those who should not be grieved for, and yet speak like the learned; wise men do not sorrow over the dead or the living.

12               In fact, there was never a time when I was not, or when you or these kings were not. Nor is it a fact that hereafter we shall all cease to be.

13               Just as boyhood, youth and old age are attributed to the soul through this body, even so it attains another body. The wise man does not get deluded about this.

14               O son of Kunti, the contacts between the senses and their objects, which give rise to the feelings of heat and cold, pleasure and pain, etc., are transitory and fleeting; therefore, Arjuna, ignore them.

15               Arjuna, the wise man to whom pain and pleasure are alike, and who is not tormented by these contacts, becomes eligible for immortality.

16               The unreal has no existence, and the real never ceases to be; the reality of both has thus been perceived by the seers of truth.

17               Know that to be imperishable, by which all this is pervaded; for none can bring about the destruction of this indestructible substance.

18               All these bodies pertaining to the imperishable, indefinable and eternal soul are spoken of as perishable; therefore, Arjuna, fight.

19               They are both ignorant, he who knows the soul to be capable of killing, and he who takes it as killed; for verily the soul neither kills, nor is killed.

20               The soul is never born nor dies; nor does it exist on coming into being. For it is unborn, eternal, everlasting, and primeval; even though the body is slain, the soul is not.

21               Arjuna, how will the man who knows this soul to be imperishable, eternal and free from birth and decay, cause anyone to be killed, or kill anyone?

22               As a man discarding worn-out clothes, takes other new ones, likewise the embodied soul, casting off worn-out bodies, enters into others which are new.

23               Weapons cannot cut it nor can fire burn it; water cannot drench it nor can wind make it dry.

24               For this soul is incapable of being cut; it is proof against fire, impervious to water and undriable as well. This soul is eternal, omnipresent, immovable, constant and everlasting.

25               This soul is unmanifest; it is unthinkable; and it is spoken of an immutable. Therefore, knowing this as such, you should not grieve.

26               And, Arjuna, even if you regard this soul as constantly taking birth, and constantly dying, you should not grieve like this.

27               For in that case the death of him who is born is certain; and the rebirth of him who is dead is inevitable. It does not, therefore, behoove you to grieve over an inevitable event.

28               Arjuna, all beings were unmanifest before they were born, and will become unmanifest again when they are dead; they manifest only in the intermediate stage. What occasion, then, for lamentation?

29               Hardly anyone perceives this soul as marvelous, scarce another likewise speaks thereof as marvelous, and scarce another hears of it as marvelous; while there are some who know it not even on hearing of it.

30               Arjuna, this soul residing in the bodies of all can never be slain; therefore, it does not behoove you to grieve for any being.

31               Besides, considering your own duty you should not waver; for there is nothing more welcome for a man of the warrior class than a righteous war.

32               Arjuna, it is only the lucky among the Ksatriyas, who get such an unsolicited opportunity for war, which is an open door to heaven.

33               Now, if you will not wage such a righteous war, then, abandoning your duty and losing your reputation, you will incur sin.

34               Nay, people will pour undying infamy on you, and infamy brought on a man enjoying popular esteem is worse than death.

35               And the great Maharathi’s, who held you in great esteem, will now make light of you, thinking that you have desisted from battle out of fear.

36               And your enemies, disparaging your might, will speak many unbecoming words; what can be more distressing than this?

37               Either slain in battle you will attain heaven, or gaining victory you will enjoy sovereignty of the earth; therefore, arise, Arjuna, determined to fight.

38               Treating alike pleasure and pain, gain and loss, victory and defeat, get ready for the fight, then; fighting thus you will not incur sin.

39               Arjuna, this attitude of mind has been presented to you from the point of view of Jnanyoga; now hear the same as presented from the point of view of Karmayoga (the Yoga of selfless action). Equipped with this attitude of mind, you will be able to shake off completely the shackles of Karma.

40               In this path (of disinterested action) there is no loss of effort, nor is there fear of contrary result. Even a little practice of this discipline protects one from great fear (of birth and death).

41               Arjuna, in this blessed path the intellect is determinate and one-pointed; whereas the intellect of the undecided (ignorant men moved by desire) is scattered in many directions and endlessly diverse.

42               Arjuna, those who are obsessed by desire and devoted to the letter of the Vedas, who look upon heaven as the supreme goal and argue that there is nothing beyond heaven, are unwise.

43               They utter flowery speech recommending many acts of various kinds for the attainment of pleasure and prosperity with rebirth as their fruit.

44               Those whose minds are carried away by such words, and who are deeply attached to pleasure and worldly prosperity, cannot attain the determinate intellect concentrated on God.

45               Arjuna, the Veda thus deal with the three Gunas, or modes of Prakrti, and their evolutes in the form of worldly enjoyments, as well as the means of attaining such enjoyments; be thou indifferent to these enjoyments and their means, rising above pairs of opposites like pleasure and pain, etc., established in the Eternal Existence (God), absolutely unconcerned about the supply of wants and preservation of what has been already attained, and with the mind completely under control.

46               A Brahman, who has obtained enlightenment, has the same use for all the Vedas as one has for a small reservoir of water in a place flooded with water on all sides.

47               Your right is to work only, but never to the fruit thereof. Let not fruit of action be your object, nor your attachment be to inaction.

48               Arjuna, perform your duties dwelling in Yoga, relinquishing attachment, and indifferent to success and failure; equanimity is called Yoga.

49               Action (with a selfish motive) is far inferior to this Yoga in the form of equanimity. Do you seek refuge in this evenness of mind, Arjuna; for poor and wretched are those who crave for fruit (of action).

50               Endowed with equanimity, one sheds in this life both good and evil. Therefore, exert yourself, for this Yoga of equanimity. Skill in action lies in (the practice of this) Yoga.

51               For wise men endowed with equanimity, renouncing the fruit of actions and freed from the shackles of birth, attain and blissful supreme state.

52               When your mind will cross the mire of delusion, you will then grow indifferent to what has been heard and what is yet to be heard about this world and the next.

53               When your mind, confused by hearing conflicting statements, will remain steadfast and firm in meditation (on God), you will then attain union with God.

54               Arjuna said: Krsna, what is the mark of a God realized soul, stable of mind and established in Samadhi (perfect tranquility of mind)? How does the man of stable mind speak, how he sits, how walks?

55               Sri Bhagvan said: Arjuna, when one thoroughly abandons all cravings of the mind, and is satisfied in the self through (the joy of) the self, then he is called stable of mind.

56               The sage, whose mind remains unperturbed in sorrows, whose thirst for pleasures has altogether disappeared, and who is free from passion, fear and anger, is called stable of mind.

57               He who is unattached to everything, and meeting with good and evil, neither rejoices nor recoils, his mind is stable.

58               When like a tortoise, which draws in its limbs from all directions, he withdraws has senses from the sense-objects, his mind has become stable.

59               Sense-objects cease for him, who does not enjoy them with his senses; but the taste for them persists. This relish also disappears in the case of the man of stable mind when he sees the supreme.

60               Turbulent by nature, the sense even of a wise man, who is practicing self-control, forcibly carry away his mind, Arjuna.

61               Therefore, having controlled them all and collecting his mind, one should sit for meditation, devoting oneself heart and soul to Me. For he whose senses are mastered, his mind has become stable.

62               The man dwelling on sense-objects develops attachment for them; from attachment springs up desire, and from desire (unfulfilled) ensues anger.

63               From anger arises infatuation; from infatuation, confusion of memory; from confusion of memory, loss of reason; and from loss of reason one goes to complete ruin.

64               But the self-controlled practicant, while enjoying the various sense-objects through his senses, which are disciplined and free from likes and dislikes, attains placidity of mind.

65               With the attainment of such placidity of mind, all his sorrows come to an end; and the intellect of such a person of tranquil mind, soon withdrawing itself from all sides, becomes firmly established in God.

66               He who has not controlled his mind can have no determinate reason; nor can such an undisciplined man have belief (in God). The unbelieving man can have no peace; and how can there be happiness for one lacking peace of mind?

67               As the wind carries away a barge upon the water, even so of the wandering senses, the one to which the mind is joined takes away his discrimination.

68               Therefore, Arjuna, he whose senses are completely restrained from their objects, his mind is stable.

69               That which is night to all beings, in that state (of Divine Knowledge and Supreme Bliss) the God-realized Yogi keeps awake. And that (the ever-changing, transient worldly happiness) in which all beings keep awake is the night to the seer.

70               As the waters (of different rivers) enter the ocean, which though full on all sides remains undisturbed, likewise he, in whom all enjoyments merge themselves, stains peace; not he, who hankers after such enjoyments.

71               He, who gives up all desires, and moves free from attachments, egoism and thirst for enjoyment, attains peace.

72               Arjuna, such is the state of the God-realized soul; having reached this state, he overcomes delusions. And established in this state, even at the last moment, he attains Brahmic Bliss.


Thus, in the Upanisad sung by the Lord, the science of Brahma,
the scripture on Yoga, the dialogue between Sri Krsna and Arjuna,
ends the second chapter entitled “Sankhyayoga” (The Yoga of Knowledge)