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Sanjaya said: Lord Krishna spoke these words to Arjuna whose eyes

were tearful and downcast, and who was overwhelmed with compassion

and despair. (2.01)


The Supreme Lord said: How has the dejection come to you at this

juncture? This is not fit for an Aryan (or the people of noble mind

and deeds). It is disgraceful, and it does not lead one to heaven,

O Arjuna. (2.02)


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. (2.03)


Arjuna said: How shall I strike Bheeshma and Drona, who are worthy

of my worship, with arrows in battle, O Krishna? (2.04)


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 (theirs) blood. (2.05)


Neither do we know which alternative (to beg or to kill) 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. (2.06)


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. (2.07)


Dharma may be defined as the eternal law governing, upholding, and

supporting the creation and the world order. It also means duty,

righteousness, ideal conduct, moral principles, and truth. Adharma

is an antonym to Dharma. Expert guidance should be sought during

the moment of crisis.


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. (2.08)


Sanjaya said: O King, after speaking like this to Lord Krishna, the

mighty Arjuna said to Krishna: I shall not fight, and became

silent. (2.09)


O King, Lord Krishna, as if smiling, spoke these words to the

despondent Arjuna in the midst of the two armies. (2.10)


The Supreme Lord said: 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. (2.11)


There was never a time when I, you, or these kings did not exist;

nor shall we ever cease to exist in the future. (2.12)


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. (See also 15.08)



Atma or Atman means conscious-ness, spirit, soul, self, the source

of life and the cosmic power behind the body-mind complex. Just as

our body exists in space, similarly our thoughts, intellect,

emotions, and psyche exist in Atma, the space of consciousness.

Atma cannot be perceived by the senses, because, the senses abide

in Atma.


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, (learn to) endure them, O

Arjuna. (2.14)


Because the calm person, who is not afflicted by these feelings and

is steady in pain and pleasure, becomes fit for immortality, O

Arjuna. (2.15)


There is no nonexistence of the Sat (or Atma) and no existence of

the Asat. The reality of these two is indeed certainly seen by the

seers of truth. (2.16)


Sat exists at all times past, present, and future. Atma is called

Sat. Asat is a notion that does not exist at all (like the horn of

a rabbit, or the water in a mirage). The one that has a beginning

and an end is neither Sat nor Asat. The body is neither Sat nor

Asat, or both Sat and Asat, because, it has a temporary existence.

Mithya is the one that appears Sat at first sight, but is really

Asat. Body, like the universe or Jagat, is called Mithya.


Know That, by which all this (universe) is pervaded, to be

indestructible. No one can destroy the indestructible (Atma) .



Bodies of the eternal, imperishable, and incomprehensible soul are

said to be perishable. Therefore, fight, O Arjuna. (2.18)


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. (2.19)


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. (2.20)


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? (2.21)


Just as a person puts on new garments after discarding the old

ones, similarly Atma acquires new bodies after casting away the old

bodies. (2.22)


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. (2.23)


This Atma cannot be cut, burned, wetted, or dried up. It is

eternal, all pervading, unchanging, immovable, and primeval. (2.24)


The Atma is said to be unmanifest, unthinkable, and unchanging.

Knowing this Atma as such you should not grieve. (2.25)


If you think that this (body) takes birth and dies perpetually,

even then, O Arjuna, you should not grieve like this. (2.26)


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. (2.27)


All beings, O Arjuna, are unmanifest before birth and after death.

They are manifest between the birth and the death only. What is

there to grieve about? (2.28)


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. (2.29)


O Arjuna, the Atma that dwells in the body of all (beings) is

eternally indestructible. Therefore, you should not mourn for any

body. (2.30)


Considering also your duty as a warrior you should not waver.

Because there is nothing more auspicious for a warrior than a

righteous war. (2.31)


Only the fortunate warriors, O Arjuna, get such an opportunity for

an unsought war that is like an open door to heaven. (2.32)


If you will not fight this righteous war, then you will fail in

your duty, lose your reputation, and incur sin. (2.33)


People will talk about your disgrace forever. To the honored,

dishonor is worse than death. (2.34)


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. (2.35)


Your enemies will speak many unmentionable words and scorn your

ability. What could be more painful than this? (2.36)


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. (2.37)


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. (2.38)


The wisdom of Saamkhya (or the knowledge of the Self) 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. (2.39)


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 (of

birth and death). (2.40)


Karma-yoga is also referred to as Nishkaama Karma-yoga, Seva,

selfless service, Buddhi yoga, yoga of work, science of proper

action, and yoga of equanimity. A Karma-yogi works for the Lord as

a matter of duty without a selfish desire for the fruits of work,

or any attachment to results. The word Karma also means duty,

action, deeds, work, or the results of past deeds.


Those who are resolute have only one thought (of Self-realization),

but the thoughts of the irresolute are endless and many-branched, O

Arjuna. (2.41)


The unwise who delight in flowery words (or the chanting of the

Vedas without understanding the real meaning) stress Karma-Kaanda,

the ritualistic aspect of the Vedas, O Arjuna, and say that there

is nothing else (except material enjoyment). (2.42)


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. (2.43)


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 (ritualistic) 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. (2.45)


Guna means the quality, state, or the property of mind, matter, and

the nature. Refer to Chapter 14 for more details on Gunas.


To a Self-realized person the Vedas are as useful as a reservoir of

water when there is flood water available everywhere. (2.46)


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. (2.47)


The word Adhikaara means ability and privilege, prerogative,

jurisdiction, discretion, right, preference, choice, rightful

claim, authority, control. 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

(because one has no control over the results). (2.49)


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. (2.50)


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. (2.51)


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). (2.52)


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. (2.53)


Arjuna said: 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? (2.54)


Prajna means consciousness, mind, intellect, judgment,

discrimination, and wisdom.


The Supreme Lord said: When one is completely free from all desires

of the mind and is satisfied in the Self by the (joy of) Self, then

one is called a person of steady Prajna, O Arjuna. (2.55)


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. (2.56)


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. (2.57)


When one can completely withdraw (or restrain) the senses from the

sense objects as a tortoise withdraws its limbs (into the shell),

then the Prajna of such a person is considered steady. (2.58)


The desire for sensual pleasures fades away if one abstains from

sense enjoyment, but the craving (for sense enjoyment) remains.

The craving also disappears from the one who has seen (or known)

the Supreme. (2.59)


Restless senses, O Arjuna, forcibly carry away the mind of even a

wise person striving for perfection. (2.60)


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. (2.61)


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. (2.62)


Delusion arises from anger. The mind is bewildered by delusion.

Reasoning is destroyed when the mind is bewildered. One falls down

(from the right path) when reasoning is destroyed. (2.63)


A disciplined person, enjoying sense objects with senses that are

under control and free from likes and dislikes, attains

tranquillity. (2.64)


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. (2.66)


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. (2.67)


Therefore, O Arjuna, one's Prajna becomes steady whose senses are

completely withdrawn from the sense objects. (2.68)


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. (2.69)


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. (2.70)



One who abandons all desires and becomes free from longing and the

feeling of 'I' and 'my' attains peace. (2.71)


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.


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