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Bhagavad Gītā 2

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Chapter 2


Sāṅkya Yoga

 Union by Discrimination

(Sanskrit terms and names can be clicked for explanation)


Sañjaya said:

Madhusūdhana [Kṛṣṇa], seeing him thus possessed with pity, agitated, and his eyes filled with tears, and greatly sorrowing, spoke to him as follows: (1)

The Holy One [Kṛṣṇa] said:

Hence has come upon you, O Arjuna, this consternation in time of difficulty, so unworthy of an Ārya, not leading to heaven, and base? (2)

Sink not into unmanliness, O Pārtha! This becometh you not at all. Shaking of this base weakness of heart, stand up, O Chastiser of foes! (3)

Arjuna said:

How shall I, O Madhusūdana [Kṛṣṇa], attack Bhīṣma and Drona, with arrows in battle, worthy of reverence as these two are, O Destroyer of foes? (4)

Having attacked venerable teachers –! It were better to beg my bread around the world! Having slain teachers, who it may be are avaricious of gain even in this world, I should enjoy possessions crimsoned with blood! (5)

We know not even this: which of the two is better for us, that we should conquer or that they should conquer us! And having slain those we are drawn up before us here – the sons of Dhṛtarāṣṭra – we would not desire to live. (6)

As my nature is affected by the taint of indecision, I ask you what my duty is, for I am bewildered. What would be best, tell me that distinctly. I am your disciple: instruct me then who appeals to you! (7)

Verily I discern nothing which might dispel the grief which dries up my faculties, even were I to obtain flourishing peace on earth and the dominion and supremacy of the very gods! (8)

Sañjaya said:

Having thus addressed Hṛṣīkeśa [Kṛṣṇa], Gudākeśa [Arjuna], that defeater of foes, said: I shall not fight. Thus speaking to Govinda [Kṛṣṇa], he became silent. (9)

Hṛṣīkeśa then, as it were ironically, addressed to him, O Bhārata [Dhṛtarāṣṭra], standing sorrowing between the two armies, the following discourse: (10)

The Holy One said:

You have mourned for those who are not to be sorrowed for; yet you utter wise words! The wise grieve neither for the dead nor for the living. (11)

Verily, never was I not, nor you, nor these rulers of men; nor shall any one of us ever cease to be. (12)

Since in this body of an embodies being are childhood. Youth, and old age, so is there reembodiment [literally other-body-getting]; one of steadfast mind, therefore, is not disturbed. (13)

The objects of sense [mātrā-sparśās], O Kaunteya [Arjuna], produce cold and heat, pleasure and pain, which come and go, and are transitory: these do you oppose, O Bhārata. (14)

The man whom these do not lead astray, O Bull among men! who is the same in pain and pleasure, and if steady soul, he partakes of immortality. (15)

There is no existence for the unreal; their non-existence for the real. Moreover , the ultimate characteristic of both these is seen by those who perceive true principles. (16)

Know that to be indestructible by which this whole universe was woven [expended, stretches out]; the destruction of this imperishable, none is able to bring about. (17)

These mortal bodies are said to be of the embodied eternal, indestructible, immeasurable One: therefore fight, O Bhārata! (18)

He who knows it as the slayer, and he who thinks it to be slain: both of these understand not. It slays not, nor is it slain. (19)

It is not born, nor does it ever die; It was not produced nor shall it ever be produced. It is unborn, constant, everlasting, primeval. It is unhurt when the body is slain. (20)

How can a man, O son of Pṛthā [Arjuna], kill or cause to be slain that which he knows to be indestructible, constant, unborn, and not subject to decay? (21)

As a man, having abandoned old garments takes others that are new, so the embodied one (dehī), having abandoned old bodies, enters others that are new. (22)

Weapons do not divide it, fire does not burn it, waters do not moisture it, the winds do not dry it not away. (23)

It is indivisible, inconsumable, cannot be moistened, nor can it be dried away. It is constant, it is all-pervading, stable and permanent, everlasting. (24)

It is called unmanifest, unconceivable, changeless; hence, knowing it as such, you should not mourn. (25)

But even if you imagine it to be constantly born and constantly dying, nevertheless, O you mighty of arms! you will not mourn. (26)

Death is certain to what is born [produced]; and to what is dead, birth is equally certain. Hence, you should not mourn over the unavoidable. (27)

Beings have an unmanifest origin; their middle state is manifested, O Bhārata; unmanifest is their end: what source of grief is there in this? (28)

One looks upon this as marvelous; and another speaks of it as a marvelous thing: yet after hearing it, no one really understands it. (29)

The embodied [Self] is constantly inviolable: it is in the body of everyone, O Bhārata. Hence you should not mourn for any being. (30)

Considering then your particular duty, you should not hesitate. There is no better thing for a Kṣattriya than a struggle consistent with duty. (31)

This which has come unsolicitated, and which is an open gate to heaven, is a struggle, O Pārtha, such as Kṣattriyas joyful meet with. (32)

But if you do not engage in this struggle consistent with duty, then having thrown aside both they particular calling and renown, you will enter upon sin. (33)

All beings, too, will recount your lasting ill fame; and ill fame to him who is honored is worse than death! (34)

Great charioteers will imagine you to have the battle through fear; and having been highly rated by them, though will be considered insignificant. (35).

Your enemies, too, will say many unspeakable things [of you], ridiculing your character. Now what is more painful than that? (36)

Slain. You will attain heaven, victorious, you will possess the country [or earth]: therefore, O son of Kuntī, rise, determined for battle! (37)

Having made pleasure and pain, gain and loss, victory and defeat as equal, then prepare for battle. Thus you will enter on no sin. (38)

Knowledge [buddhir] of the Sāṅkya has been set before you; hear now that [taught] in the Yoga [philosophy – Ed.]. Endowed with this knowledge, O son of Pṛthā, you will cast aside the bonds of Karman [karmabandhanam, i.e. bondage to action.] (39)

In this [the Yoga system], there is no failure of effort; detriment is not known. Even a little of this dharma saves from great fear. (40)

In this [the Yoga system], O descendent of Kuru, the mind is single and intent; and the minds of those who are not intent are many-branched, yes infinitely so. (41)

The ignorant, O son of Pṛthā, who delight in the (mere) flowery words of the Vedas, saying there is nothing else, (42)

— who are attached to desire, longing for heaven merely – utter flowery talk promising rewards in future births and which is full of directions for specific rites to obtain wealth and power: (43)

The minds of those whose hearts, cleaving to wealth and power, have been caught away by it [that flowery talk] are not to be reckoned as intent in meditation. (44)

The Vedas are concerned with the three qualities [guṇas]: be free, O Arjuna, from these three qualities’ be free from the ‘pairs of opposites; constant in the truth; free from anxiety about possession; have self-control. (45)

As much benefit as is in a tank flooded with water from all sides, so much is there in all the Vedas for an instructed Brāhmaṇa. (46)

Your office is, truly, in activity, never in the fruits [of activity]. Let not the fruits of acts be your aim; nor again be attached to inaction. (47)

Firm in yoga, O Dhanañjaya, perform acts, having abandoned attachment [to them]. Be equal in success or failure. Equanimity is said to be yoga [union]. (48)

Inferior by far, O Dhanañjaya, is [mere] action to intellectual union [yoga]. Seek then an asylum in the intellect [buddhi]. Pitiable are they who act merely with a view to results. (49)

He who has attained union with the intellect [buddhiyukto] disdains both good and evil fortune in this world. Therefore seek yoga [union]. Yoga in actions is good fortune. (50)

The wise, who have attained union with the intellect, having abandoned the results [‘fruits’] born of action, are freed from the bond of rebirth. They go to that place which is free from disease. (51)

When your intellect shall have passed beyond the net-work of illusion, then you will attain aversion both to dogma and revelation [śrotavyasya śrutasya cha] (52)

When they intellect, liberated from dogma, shall be steady, and immovable in meditation, then you shall possess yoga. (53)

Arjuna said:

What is the language, O Keśava, of him of steady mind, and devoted to meditation? How should he of unwavering mind speak, how abide, how act? (54)

The Holy One said:

When a man, O son of Pṛthā, relinquishes all desires coming from his heart, and is happy in the self through the Self, then he is said to be of steady mind. (55)

He whose mind is undisturbed in affliction, whose longing for pleasures has vanished, whose feelings of passion, fear and wrath are dead, is said to be a sage [muni] of unwavering mind. (56)

He who at all times is free from [mind-] clinging to whatever object of good or bad fortune that he has met with, who neither craves nor detests these, has steadiness of intellect. (57)

When. Like the tortoise drawing in its limbs on all sides, he also draws together his senses from objects of sense, he then has steadiness of intellect. (58)

Course pleasures cease in one who is highly abstinent; and in him who has seen [the meaning of] total freedom from craving, even craving itself ceases. (59)

The mind snatches away by force the turbulent senses of a wise man who practices self-restraint, O son of Kuntī. (60)

Having subjugated all these [senses], he should be self-controlled, devoted to me. He who has his senses in control, has steadiness of intellect. (61)

In the mean who mentally contemplates sense-objects, is born attachment to these; from attachment is born desire; from desire is born anger; (62)

From anger comes forth bewilderment; from bewilderment blunders of memory; from decay of the memory loss of understanding; and from loss of understanding, he perishes! (63)

But using sense-objects with senses freed from longing or aversion and subjected to the Self, the self-restrained man attains peace. (64)

In peace is born to him rest from [hānir: destruction of] all sorrows, and the understanding of the man of limpid mind rapidly embraces all things [quickly is present everywhere]. (65)

Of the man who is not self-controlled there is no understanding, nor is there creative imagination for him; there is no peace for the man who lacks reflection. Whence cometh happiness to a man without peace? (66)

For the mind which obeys the wandering senses it is which hurries away his intellect, even as the wind the ship at sea. (67)

Hence, O Great-armed One, he whose senses are everywhere held back from objects of sense, has steadiness of intellect. (68)

When it is night for all creatures, the self-retrained man is awake; when all creatures are awake, this is night for the wise seer. (69)

As waters flow into the ocean, which is [always] filled [and yet keeps] permanent and changeless [i.e. neither decreasing nor overflowing], so he whom desires flow into [the same way] attains peace, not he who follows passion’s dictates. (70)

The man who having abandoned all desires lives without envy, unselfish, not egoistic, attains peace. (71)

This, O son of Pṛthā, is the Brāhmic state, nor, having reached it, is he [ever] bewildered, and remaining in it even till death, he passes into brahmanirvāṇa. (72)


Thus in the Holy Bhagavad-Gītā the second chapter, by name —

Sāṅkya Yoga

Union by Discrimination