All about Life:

Bhagavad-Gita Chapter 2

Continued from "Arjuna's Dilemma": Bhagavad-Gita Chapter 1   

This character defining chapter of the Gita comprising 72 slokas, known as saankhya yoga, Realization through Knowledge, is regarded by many, as the peerless part of the great epic.

Arjuna’s dilemma, meanwhile, turns into grief, as the horrific prospect of slaying Bhishma, his revered granduncle, and Drona, his venerated guru, sinks into his consciousness. Bogged down by sentiment, Arjuna appeals to Lord Krishna for guidance. The Lord’s response starting with the epoch making eleventh sloka,

‘Averring as knowing
Worried over trivia!
Reckon never wise
Dead and alive both.’

is indeed the curtain raiser to the grand discourse.

It is apparent that the sentiment of causing death and destruction plagues Arjuna. Thus, Lord Krishna brings the very issue to the fore to dispel the unwarranted fear of death by stressing upon the trans-migratory nature of the indwelling spirit of all beings. Then the Lord proceeds to enlighten Arjuna about his duty to fight as a warrior besides touching upon the infamy of surrender.

To enable Arjuna overcome the predicament of attachment, Lord Krishna elaborates upon the precepts and practices of detached action, besides its spiritual and philosophical connotations. As a way of caution, the Lord finally explains to Arjuna how his sensual nature hinders man to act in true detachment. This chapter, indeed, is the spectrum supreme of the kaleidoscope of wisdom that Bhagavad Gita is.

Thus spoke Sanjaya:
In pity Krishna
Addressed Arjuna,
Bogged in sorrow 
With tears profuse.

Thus spoke the Lord:
Oh, what affliction
At this juncture!
Wholly un-Aryan 
Unholy as well!!

Mind-set impotent that unnerves
Strengthen thou for fight on hand. 

Thus spoke Arjuna:
Adore as I, how dare I 
Make Bhishma ’n Dron target?

Better I go with begging bowl
Than earn disgrace slaying them,
Would the scepter ever glitter 
In the bloodstained hands of mine?

Those us oppose
We hate hurting,
What use war
Who victors are?

About my duty I’m in doubt
Tell me kindly what is right.

Beset by doubts, 
Saddled by grief
Would I be joyous
Were I the king?    

Thus spoke Sanjaya:
Bent to rescind
Arjun had no more to speak.

Make I privy O my Lord
Speaks as Krishna to Arjun
Stood who there in confusion.

Thus spoke the Lord:
Averring as knowing
Worried over trivia!
Reckon never wise
Dead and alive both.

You and Me   
As well these,
Have had past
Future as well.

Wise all realize
Embodies selfsame spirit in one
From birth to death, in every birth.       

Sensual feelings, grief ’n joy
Transient are like, heat and cold.

Weigh who pain ’n pleasure equal
Such are those on path freedom. 

What’s not real, it’s never been
And that’s true, it’s ever there 
That’s how wise all came to see. 

Spirit in lay us All-Pervading 
Given that not to destruction,
What sense doth it make to think
That’s immutable gets destroyed!

Perish all bodies, Spirit not therein
Know this truth, and take up arms. 

With no slayer, nor one slain       
Whoso feels that he might kill
It's in delusion that he harps.

Unbound being ever unborn
Ageless since it’s endless too 
Goes on Spirit, beyond life-span. 

Spirit as entity hath no birth
How can thou kill what’s not born!

Change as men fade if clothes
So doth Spirit as frames are worn.  

Hurts no weapon the Spirit in thee
Nor scathe elements, wind, water ’n fire.

Unalterable ’n Eternal 
Immovable but pervades all
Permanent ’n so Everlasting       
Spirit thus none can ever destruct.

Can sans form Spirit get bound?
Get right answer thou won’t burn.

Prima facie if thou feel
Subject Spirit is to rebirths 
Why grieve over end of frame?

Dies as one
For like rebirth,
Why feel sad
Of what’s cyclic.  

Isn’t thy lament over that
Un-manifested to start with
Gets manifested just as guest 
And bids adieu in due course.

Seen in wonder, spoken in awe
Spirit none knows that lies in him.

Dies not Spirit as die beings
What for man then tends to grieve!

Being a warrior dharma thine
That thee fight with all thy might.

For martyrs of unsought wars
Ever open are heavenly gates.                          

If thee back out from duty
Imperil thou thy own dharma   
And that earns thee infamy. 

What for lead a dishonored life
Why leave legend dubious behind!

Amiss be taken thine intent
Treat thee coward thy friends ’n foes.

Count on thou thy detractors 
Besmirch they thy character,
Damned be thine obituary 
By their campaign of slander.

If slain, heaven; alive, it’s reign 
Resolve to fight with right intent.

Shed thy sentiment, guilt unhinge 
Eye not gain as wage thou war.

It's this knowledge that liberates
And helps thee act, with no restraint. 

Goes not waste
Effort thine ever,
Zeal for action
Frees from fear.

In their resolve
Succeed firm, 
Mind as wavers
Lose infirm.

Unwise use all enticing
Flowery language to further
Rituals Vedic in their scores
Not the knowledge of Vedas.   

Eyeing heaven with mind mundane 
Go for ceremonies such in hope
Of having best of both the worlds.

Pursue if thou wants with zeal
Instincts then would spin thy mind.

Aspects three of life, reveal Vedas four
Transcend thou dualities, in them as inherent.

Well-waters draw Veda-dependent
Banks on reservoir dwell all realized.

Hold as patent on thy work 
Reckon thou not on royalty
With no way to ceasing work
Never mind outcome but go on. 

It’s but yoga 
If thou strive
Wants without 
Emotions bereft. 

Work well greedy with motive
Work wise not with result in mind.

Wise not sentiment bring to work  
That's hallmark of art of work.  

Freed from bonds with mind even
Act wise regardless ever composed.

Clears if reason one’s illusion 
Bothers he not to what's over
Or for what might lie in store.

Stands as firm mind thy clear
Steer thou clear of path rituals.   

Thus spoke Arjuna:
How to spot the yogi true  
Were he there ever in the crowd?

Thus spoke the Lord:
Blessed are strong with blissful self
Helps them that slight all that tempts. 

Oblivious of misfortune 
Not the one to crave for fun
Sways not ever by his feelings 
Stays thus yogi ever even.

Unfettered by attachment 
Compliments to indifferent
Adversity by unshaken
Wisdom thus is personified.

Stimuli those of organs sensory
Tortoise like wise draw into shell.

Senses reined
Who so abstains,
Sans he longing
Turns he godly.

Senses as may tend them rash
Wise as well stray, from right path.

Rein in senses, hone thine effort 
Rely on Supreme, that’s true wisdom. 

Leans man on 
Lends what charm,
Brings that want
And that’s fault.

Despair is what clouds reason 
Brings that ruin through deeds mindless.

Yield to senses sans craving
Cap as thou thy wants dubious.

Calm that offsets woes of life 
And that equable makes thy mind. 

Lacks mind focus as it strays
Robs that peace ’n joy thereby.  

As in seas sans boat rudder
So course sensual man loses.

With tight leash on their senses 
Wise with ease lead poised lives.

Ignoring all ignorant crave
Wise take note what folks not note. 

Subdues as sea, rivers it holds
Wise keep cool while wants taming. 

Freed of ego ’n wants as well
Blessed are wise who lack longing.

State it’s that of true being
With no tenseness of being,
Life ever in that mode being
Makes what one with All-being.

Ends thus:
All about Life,
The Second Chapter 
Of Bhagavad-Gita
Treatise of self-help.

Continued to "Theory of Action" : Bhagavad-Gita Chapter 3


More by :  BS Murthy

Top | Hinduism

Views: 3563      Comments: 3

Comment Author's response:
My approach to the Gita and the purpose of this rendition is detailed at the outset in the 'Introduction', 'Awe Unfounded' and 'All about Interpolations' and it is left for the individual reader to agree or disagree with the suppositions and propositions therein.

BS Murthy
29-Jul-2011 00:30 AM

Comment I suppose the Gita must represent itself differently to different people. Still, I can't say I recognise the version given above as being related to the text I know.
My feeling is that the 'apoorvata' or novel element in the Gita is its doctrine of occasionalism with the Godhead alone supplying the impulse such that cause and effect appear to be linked. This gives the Gita an especial interest for us of the Computer generation. Ashby's law of requisite variety states that 'variety absorbs variety, & defines the minimum number of states necessary for a controller to control a system of a given number of states.' The Mahabarata is full of variety. This gives us the clue that for Krishna, considered as a character in the MhB, His own Theophany as All-Governor arises from that Variety. Reflection on why this is so saves us from subscribing to paranoid hermeneutics- such as that whereby texts are constantly being corrupted by evil cabals of interpolators- or indulging in ad captum vulgi reductionism such that the meaning of every text is simply be nice and do whatever nice people nowadays consider to be nice actions.

28-Jul-2011 09:53 AM

Comment The defect in this analysis/transcreation is that it does not use all the information available to the reader and thus prohibits a rational choice hermeneutics of the text.
The counter-factual situation which gives the Gita its dramatic interest arises from the great ease with which Krishna could discharge his duty as charioteer (one of whose functions was to keep up the martial spirit of his passenger) by simply saying 'Drona and Bhishma have received the boon of never being slain save by their own will. They can easily protect your kinsmen. All you have to do is cut down their arrows with your own so as to safeguard your own people.'

Why doesn't Krishna do this? The answer is that Arjuna had previously been gifted with chaksuchi vidya and thus has foreknowledge of the outcome. Krishna can't simply bluff him. Indeed, the Gita is a 'balanced game' because of the symmetrical constraints and endowments of the protagonists. Instead of considering anything in the Gita not to one's taste, or not in keeping with current ideas, as an interpolation put in by evil Brahmins, one should read the Gita so as to get an added layer of meaning to other events and episodes in the Mahabharata.
Indians- at least Hindu Indians- are aware that the sub-castes which transmit the Itihasas are sometimes classed as Brahmins but sometimes not. I am not aware of any such caste which has ritual pre-eminence. The question that the fans of the 'interpolation by a priestly cabal' theory have to answer is what possible incentive system could have ensured the corruption of the Ur-text along the lines they suggest, that too across diverse polities and linguistic areas.

28-Jul-2011 08:52 AM

Name *

Email ID

Comment *
Verification Code*

Can't read? Reload

Please fill the above code for verification.