Bhagavadgita

Chapter 2 !

Notes on Sankhya Yoga


||om tat sat|
Sanjaya said:
तं तथा कृपया विष्टं अश्रुपूर्णाकुलेक्षणम् ।
विषीदंत मिदं वाक्यं उवाच मथुसूदनः ॥1||
"Madhusudana uttered the following words to him who has been filled with pity, whose eyes were filled with tears showing distress and who is in grief"

Salutations to Sri Krishna
Bhagavad-Gita
Samkhya Yoga
Chapter 2

Sanjaya talks about Arjuna using the descriptions saying:
"शोकसंविग्न मानसं
- "mind afflicted with sorrow",
"अश्रुपूर्णाकुलेक्षणम्"
- "eyes filled with tears", "
" विषीदंतं"
- "grieving" .
All these describe the confused mental state of Arjuna. Looking at Arjuna in that condition with a smile indicative of pity, Krishna says as follows:

श्री भगवानुवाच:
कुतस्त्वा कश्मलमिदं विषमे समुपस्थितम् ।
अनार्य जुष्टं अस्वर्ग्यं अकीर्तिकरं अर्जुन ॥2||
" Oh Arjuna , at this critical time how did you get this faint heartedness which is not fit for the learned ones, which stops ascent to heaven, and which is defaming ?"

Krishna tries to rouse Arjuna from the pitiable state he was in. By invoking "He Parantapa ! ", Krishna reminds Arjuna he is the one who made enemies shudder! Krishna tells Arjuna to get rid of his Hrudaya daurbalyam - faint heartedness and get on with the battle!!

Arjuna's mental afflictions are not easy to get over.
Arjuna says:
" गुरून् हत्वा
..."Killing the Gurus and enjoying the fruits .."
" बैक्ष्यम् अपि इह लोके
.." It is better to beg for alms.."
" न च एतत् विद्मः
.." " even this we are not sure"
What is "that" he is not sure of?
"that is" -whether it is better to win the war or be defeated.

This is characteristic of a person who cannot let go of anything.

Then Arjuna confesses the truth. He is over powered by the "taint of pity" and not sure about his duty ( dharma sammudha chetasah ). And adds

यत् श्रेयस्स्यान्निश्चितं ब्रूहितन्मे
शिष्यस्ते अहं शाधि मां त्वां प्रपन्नम्॥7||

"I am your disciple seeking protection. Tell me what is without doubt good for me ". He literally begs Krishna to rid him of his Soka or sorrow which he is not sure that he would be rid of even if he gets the kingship of heaven or even a kingdom which is rid of all enemies!

"शाधि मां"
- "order me"
"न योत्स्य इति" .. "तूष्णीं बभुव ह"
- saying " cannot fight " he " became silent".

From start of "दृष्ट्वा तु पांडवानीकम् .." till the line .. "न योत्स्य इति गोविंदम् उक्त्वा तूष्णीं बभूव ह ", where in Arjuna says he cannot fight and sits down on the chariot silently, what we see is the sorrow and delusion about attachments etc.

This sorrow comes out of Arjuna's attachment for and sense of separation from the elders, kinsmen, friends whom he sees on the other side. Arjuna's grief and delusion is arising out of the notion that " I am theirs" and "they are mine". His power of discrimination is overpowered to the extent that Arjuna felt that" begging alms is better than fighting the war ". The only way out of this grief and delusion is knowledge of "Self". Krishna using Arjuna's grief as the vehicle embarks on teaching that knowledge of self to the whole world as it were. Knowledge of self is the key to overcome delusion.

With Arjuna in that state of dejection and delusion, Krishna starts his divine teaching to make Arjuna see the truth of battle of life.

श्री भगवानुवाच:
आशोच्यानन्व शोचस्त्वं प्रज्ञावादांश्च भाषसे।
गतासून गतासूंश्च नानुशोचंति पंडिताः ॥

"Oh Arjuna! You are grieving for things that should not grieved for! You are speaking the words of a learned man. Learned ones do not grieve for dead or even the living."

Why one should not grieve for them (Bhishma etc.) is a legitimate question.
Because they are eternal
How are they eternal?
The embodied body passes through the stages boyhood, youth, old age and decay or death. After death is yet another stage where he enters another body. The self does not change as it moves through the various stages of boyhood, youth middle age old age and decay. Self is not dead and born again after every stage. Self remains same. So, it does in the stage after death too!

Thus "Self" is eternal.

Starting thus Krishna teaches Arjuna about the knowledge of Self. Self being eternal death is not to be grieved.

Granting that "Self" is eternal and not to be grieved, there is still possibility of grief because the body suffers from being exposed to heat and cold as well as pleasure and pain. There is scope for grief because of these and other worldly variables.

For that Krishna's response is -"तितिक्षस्व" - bear that pain due to heat and cold or pleasure and pain ( 2.14)
But then the immediate question is what is it we gain by bearing the pain.
Krishna answers that too :
श्रीभगवानुवाच
यं हि न व्यधयन्त्येते पुरुषं पुरुषर्षभ।
सम दुःख सुखं धीरं सोsमृतत्वाय कल्पते॥(2.15)||
This is an important line about people who bear the pain
The one whom these do not affect":
"एते"
- "these" the heat and cold as well as pleasure and pain
"न व्यधयन्ति"
- "do not trouble him"
As also the one who sees
"सम दुःख सुखं"
- pleasure and pain as same
That wise one (as above) is fit for immortality.

Thus, if the grief is not on account of Self but on account of the heat and cold as well as the pleasure and pain - then Krishna's direction is to bear it because you will be fit for Moksha if you develop the ability to be unconcerned or same irrespective of those dualities. Again, if we follow that path of bearing the pain etc. there is no scope for grief.

Even apart from the above Krishna proposes another reason for bearing the heat and cold and abandon the grief. That reason is the unreality of Heat and cold.

Krishna says
न असतो विद्यते भावो
the not real (or unreal) has no existence
न अभावो विद्यते सतः
nonexistence is not possible for the real

Heat etc. are effects. They exist through the organs of perception (touch for example) for some time and disappear. They are temporary. They are not eternal. They are not absolutely real. For such unreal things, which cause grief, bear them there is no need to grieve.

The reality is imperishable. The reality by which all this universe is pervaded is imperishable.

The bodies of the embodied self which is eternal do have an end. The body is not there before birth and is not there after death and only the self is eternal. That eternal "self" cannot be killed by any one. He is not born nor does he die.

"वासांसि जीर्णानि यथाविहाय
नवानि गृह्णाति नरोपराणि"॥2.22||

"Just as a man casts off the old clothes and wears new ones, the self too leaves the decaying body and enters a new one".

Continuing his teaching of "Self", Krishna tells us more about the self.

"न एनं छिन्दन्ति अस्त्राणि"
- This (Self) cannot cut by weapons.
"न एनं दहति पावकः"
- This (Self) cannot be burnt by fire.
"न च एनं क्लेदयन्ति आपः"
- water cannot wet this (Self).
"न शोषयति मारुतः"
- the air does not dry it (Self).
"अयं अव्यक्तः"
- This (Self) is invisible
"अचिन्त्यः
- This (Self) is unthinkable since it cannot be perceived by the organs of perception
" अविकारः"
- This one (Self) has no changes.

Krishna says "knowing this self which is not visible to organs of perception, unthinkable, and unchangeable one does not grieve.

Krishna having established the argument that there is no need to grieve about death with a self that cannot be destroyed, tells one more line of reasoning.

Krishna says "Let us suppose that the "Self" is not eternal, even then there is no need for grief ( 2.26)"
Why?
Because:
"Arjuna! Death is certain for one born. For one who is dead the birth too is certain. So, you follow the righteous path for warriors. It is better to follow one own duty instead of discarding the same ".

Krishna continues saying that doing battle is his duty irrespective of victory of defeat.

श्रीभगवानुवाच:
"जातस्य हि ध्रुवो मृत्युः
ध्रुवं जन्म मृतस्य च " ॥2.27||

Krishna says "Arjuna! death is certain for one that is born, to the one who is dead birth is certain". So, the birth and death are unavoidable. Since they are unavoidable there is no need to grieve. Not only that these beings are not known before birth, after birth we see them in the middle. Then after death the beings are not seen. Thus, the beings come from an unseen state and move back to the unseen state. For such being why grieve?(2.28)

This Self is not easily understood by many. This Self also cannot be seen thus becomes a case of wonder and surprise for many (2.29)

This embodied 'Self' is eternal and is not killed even when the body is killed. Thus, there is no need to grieve.

Thus, from the point of view of absolute truth there is no need to grieve.

But one may move away from the arguments based on absolute truth, and look at this from the point of view of only one's duty.

Even then there is no need to grieve.
How?
श्रीभगवानुवाच:
'हतो वा प्राप्स्यसे स्वर्गं जितो वा भोक्ष्यसे महीं' ॥

"Performing your duty if you die you will attain heaven, if you will you will attain the kingdom!" Krishna concludes this line of thinking saying the following.

Fighting for a just cause is the duty of the warriors. The chance to attain heavens in a battle is rare. If one forsakes his duty and shies away from the battle he will court infamy. If one attains death in battle he courts heavens. On the other hand, if he wins he gains the kingdom.
Hence it is better to follow one's own duty.
For those following "own duty" Krishna has this thought.

श्रीभगवानुवाच:
सुख दुःखे समे कृत्वा
लाभालाभौ जया जयौ।
ततो युद्धाय युज्यस्व
नैवं पापमवाप्यसि ॥2.38||

"Treating alike the pain and pleasure, winning and losing, with a mind locked with equanimity be ready for the battle. Then you will not incur any sin"

Thus, Krishna teaches Arjuna why one shall not grieve following the principles of Samkhya embodying the knowledge of "Self".

Krishna does not stop with teaching of the knowledge of Self and Samkhya Yoga.
One has to acquire that knowledge of Self.
The knowledge of Self is not one acquired by hearing or by reading or listening.
Among thousands of people who practice one may achieve the status of discovering "Self"
So how does one acquire this knowledge of Self.

That knowledge of "Self" is achieved when one becomes free of bondages or ignorance

Thus, Krishna proceeds to tell Arjuna about the yoga of action that would free one from the bondages of action. So, continuing his teaching he says:
बुद्ध्यायुक्तो यया पार्थ कर्मबंधं प्रहास्यसि .. इमां शृणु (2:39)
"The kind of intellect needed for breaking that bondage of action - that I will tell you please listen "!
Krishna now talks about yoga of action.
Thus, starting his teaching on Karma yoga.

The very first line is of great import or importance.
श्रीभगवानुवाच:
नेहाभिक्रमनाशो अस्ति प्रत्यवायो न विद्यते।
स्वल्पमपि अस्य धर्मस्य त्रायते महतो भयात् ॥" 2:40॥

This is a classic introduction to the Karma yoga with Krishna being a master teacher.

Krishna says: about Karma Yoga or Yoga of action.
अभिक्रम नाशः
- wasted effort
न अस्ति
- is not there
प्रत्यवायो
- harm
न विद्यते
- is not there

Meaning there by that in this Karma Yoga there is no question of failure once you start! That is a very good assurance to start with!

There will be no harm or faults accruing in that process of Karma! This is also a positive thing, since one need not be worried about doing that action which may result in possible faults.

"स्वल्पं अपि"
means that if you do "even a little" - it saves you from fear "भयात्" which is greatest concern.

Here Krishna first laid out the advantages or usefulness or "why" of this Karma Yoga, before elaborating on new thought of Karma Yoga.

This is indeed important and one needs to know this "why" of Karma yoga.

First in Karma Yoga one is not talking of action for action sake. It is about Nishkama karma or actions without anticipating the fruits of that action or more simply "selfless action."

When one performs action without the objective enjoying the fruits of that action, the first result is that fear vanishes.

When one acts with a desire to be fulfilled, then he becomes concerned whether what was wished for is happening or not. The mind goes around thinking whether the anticipated action will happen or will not happen? There would be a train of thoughts about consequences. All of them are anticipation! Added to that if the action involves prohibited actions or surreptitious actions one is wrapped around in fear of being caught!

But when one is involved in actions without the desire to enjoy the fruits of that action, there is no selfish element involved and no fear.

Then even if that action is very small - स्वल्पमपि - even if that action is very small - there will be no question of "fear" enveloping the performer. There is no fear because there is no selfish motive involved.

When one starts on निष्कामकर्म or selfless action , there is no question of failure. Everybody knows the purpose of that action. It is not seen as an action to further one's "own agenda". Everybody watching knows that it is not meant for any selfish ends.

When one acts selflessly even small actions get magnified and returns are many.

When it is a selfless action then even if it hits an obstacle, and stops there is no fault attributed to the "doer"!!

All of these three are important lines.

To follow the path of action one needs only a resolute mind with a determination for action without focusing on the results.

Krishna says it is not be possible for all. So, for whom it is not possible?

"वेदवादरताः पार्थ नान्यदस्तीति वादिनः .. !

वेदवादरताः
- people who argue Veda as supreme
नान्यदस्तीति वादिनः
- those who argue that there is nothing else
- " Oh Partha ! Those who argue that there is no way other than the path of fruitful action as per Vedas..". Such people will not have the resolute nature required for following the path of action without fruits. They are unwise, wanting in discrimination. They are enamored of the Vedic passages composed of many a praise for Gods. They say there is nothing else besides words which are the means of attaining Svarga or attaining other material benefits. They are full of desires and are ever in pursuit of them.

So, continuing the discourse on yoga of action Krishna says as follows.

Explaining that the world is made up of three Gunas - Sattva, Rajo, Tamas - Krishna tells Arjuna, " Oh Arjuna - " निस्त्रैगुण्यो भव" (nistraigunyo bhava) - be free of the three gunas. Free of dualities, following the truth and unconcerned about personal welfare become the knower of self "

श्रीभगवानुवाच
कर्मण्येवाधिकारस्ते माफलेषु कदाचन |

"You have a duty to perform action. You should not be concerned with fruits of action. You shall not follow a path of "inaction".

To act without interest in the fruits of that action should not result in a thought process leading to no action

If we say one cannot perform action focusing on results the question may be how should one perform action.
Krishna tells how one may perform action

"योगस्थः"
- being in a state of Yoga
"संगं त्यक्त्वा"
- casting away the concern with results
"सिद्ध्य असिद्ध्यो समोभूत्वा"
- seeing success or failure as equal
"कुरु कर्माणि"
- (then) perform action!
to remove any doubt about Yoga in the context of his command
"योगस्थःकुरु कर्माणि"
- perform action being in a state of Yoga, Krishna says here

"समत्वं योगमुच्यतॆ"
- evenness is called Yoga.

That means Krishna is saying
" maintaining equipoise in your mind, you perform action without desires"

Why maintain equipoise or evenness of mind which is to say act with wisdom?
The one who maintains equipoise acts with wisdom, casts off consequences of good deeds and bad deeds in this life itself (2.50).
That means he attains Moksha.
How is it possible?
Acting with wisdom one attains mental purity.
The continued devotion with mental purity leads to realization of Self.
Realization of Self results in indifference to the results of all deeds.

Here Krishna says
श्रीभगवानुवाच
"यथा स्थास्यति निश्चलातदा योगमवाप्यसि"॥

When the mind without wavering is focused on the Paramaatman attains a state of profound concentration of thoughts or Yoga then he realizes Atman!

Then Arjuna in his wonderment asks Krishna about such a person who attains such profound concentration of thoughts. What does he say or do etc.

Arjuna says:
"स्थितप्रज्ञस्य काभाषा समाधिस्तस्य केशव" ।

Arjuna asks about "the characteristics of one who attains "samaadhi" or the one with steady mind".
Then Krishna takes Arjuna through the characteristics of such a person

This is about the man with steady mind. The one who is not disturbed in spite of the three-fold miseries, who is not elated when there is happiness, and who is free from attachment, fear and anger, such a one is called a sage of steady mind. He is one who is without attachment, who does not rejoice when he obtains good, nor lament when he obtains evil, is firmly fixed in perfect knowledge. He is one who is able to withdraw his senses from sense objects, as the tortoise draws his limbs within the shell. Such a one is to be understood as truly situated in knowledge. Such a one is called man of steady mind

Further elaborating on the evils of being engrossed in the impermanent and running after fruits of actions, Krishna says the following:

श्रीभगवानुवाच:
"क्रोधात् भवति सम्मोहः सम्मोहात् स्मृति विभ्रमः
स्मृति भ्रंशात् बुद्धिनाशो बुद्धि नाशात् प्रणस्यति"

Man, focused on the sensory organs will be guided by the desires. The desires are the cause of anger. The anger leads to inability to discriminate. The inability to discriminate leads to loss of memory, loss of memory leads to loss of intelligence which leads to total destruction.

One who achieves the tranquility of mind thus stilling the thoughts, he is able to overcome the sorrows and attains peace.

As against this for the person without control of sense organs, there is no intellect. For one without intellect there is no self-analysis. For one without self-analysis there is no peace. For one with no peace there is no happiness. Hence Krishna says

श्रीभगवानुवाच:
तस्माद्यस्य महाबाहो निगृहीतानि सर्वशः ।
इंद्रियाणीम्द्रियार्थेभ्यः तस्य प्रज्ञा प्रतिष्ठिता ॥

Oh, Arjuna (महाबाहो) he whose senses are well controlled from the objects of diversion, his wisdom is steady! Such person who gives up all sense objects and goes about unattached without ego attains peace. (" निर्ममो निरहंकारः स शांतिमधिगच्छति.)

Krishna tells Arjuna that indeed is the state of Brahman, the state attaining which one achieves nirvaana!!

Thus, Krishna leads Arjuna through a series of thoughts detailing the Yoga of intellect asking him to perform his duty. Then he leads him through the Yoga of action and how one may perform Nishkama karma to attain peace and achieve Nirvana!

In the real life, too the scenario of a man unable to face the problems of life losing courage and becoming timid, is an entirely possible scenario. At that moment, an over powering sense of weakness takes over. Loss of confidence, and a lack of clarity on the path to be followed inevitably follows. The teaching of this chapter address the same.

The main purport of the teaching is that we may not be lost grieving for the cause. Action without concern for the results is the only way forward. The ability to perform action without desire gets enhanced when one is able to able to dissociate himself from the attachments of the body. Realizing that body is temporary but self is everlasting increases the ability to disengage from the dualities of life ( like happiness and sorrow)

When we are caught in the vortex of issues, strongly focusing on the almighty allows us to steady our mind. With steadiness of mind and the resulting tranquility gives one the strength and courage to face and resolve the issues.

|| om tat sat ||
श्रीभगवानुवाच:
एषा ब्राह्मी स्थितिः पार्थ नैनां प्राप्य विमुह्यति।
स्थित्वाsस्या मन्तकालेsपि ब्रह्म निर्वाण मृच्चति॥
"This is the state being established in Brahman. One who attains this will not feel deluded thereafter. Being established in this state at the time of end of life also one attains complete identification with Brahman"
|| om tat sat ||