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Bhagavad Gita Chapter Two: Sankhya Yoga

The Bhagavad Gita, the Song of God
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Sanjaya said:

To him who was thus overcome by pity, whose eyes were filled with tears, downcast and despairing, Krishna spoke these words: (2:1)

The Holy Lord said:

Whence has come this faintheartedness of yours in the time of danger–ignoble, not leading to heaven, but to disgrace? (2:2)

At no time should you entertain such cowardice–it is unsuitable in you. Abandon this base faintheartedness and stand up. (2:3)

Arjuna said:

But how can I in battle fight with arrows against Bhishma and Drona, who are worthy of reverence? (2:4)

Better that I eat the food of beggary in this world instead of my slaying these great and noble gurus. If I should kill them, desirous for gain, in truth here on earth I would enjoy pleasures stained with blood. (2:5)

We know not which is preferable: whether we should conquer them, or they should conquer us. The sons of Dhritarashtra stand facing us after slaying whom we would not wish to live. (2:6)

Weakness and pity overcome my being; with mind in confusion as to my duty, I supplicate you: Beyond doubt tell me which is preferable. I am your disciple; do you direct me. (2:7)

Truly, I see nothing that can remove this sorrow that dries up my senses, though I should attain on earth unrivalled and prosperous dominion, or even the sovereignty of the gods. (2:8)

Sanjaya said:

Thus having addressed Krishna, Arjuna said, “I shall not fight,” and became totally silent. (2:9)

To him who thus was despondent in the midst of the two armies, smiling, Krishna spoke these words: (2:10)

The Holy Lord said:

You have been mourning for those who should not be mourned for, though you speak words of wisdom. The wise mourn neither the living or the dead. (2:11)

Truly there never was a time when I was not, nor you, nor these lords of men–nor in the future will there be a time when we shall cease to be. (2:12)

As to the embodied person childhood, youth and old age arise in turn, so he gets another body–the wise are not deluded by this. (2:13)

Truly, material sensations produce cold, heat, pleasure and pain. Impermanent, they come and go; you must endeavor to endure them. (2:14)

Truly, the man whom these sensations do not afflict, the same in pain and pleasure, that wise one is fit for immortality. (2:15)

It is known that the unreal never comes to be, and the real never ceases to be. The certainty of both of these principles is seen by those who see the truth. (2:16)

Know indeed that That by which all this universe is pervaded is indestructible. There is no one whatsoever capable of the destruction of the Eternal. (2:17)

These bodies inhabited by the eternal, indestructible, immeasurable, embodied Self are said to come to an end. Therefore, fight! (2:18)

He who thinks the Self is the slayer and he who thinks the Self is slain: neither of the two understands. The Self slays not, nor is it slain. (2:19)

Neither is the Self slain, nor yet does it die at any time; nor having been will it ever come not to be. Birthless, eternal, perpetual, primeval, it is not slain whenever the body is slain. (2:20)

In what way can he who knows this Self to be indestructible, eternal, birthless and imperishable, slay or cause to be slain? (2:21)

Even as a man casts off his worn-out clothes and then clothes himself in others which are new, so the embodied casts off worn-out bodies and then enters into others which are new. (2:22)

This Self by weapons is cut not; this Self by fire is burnt not; this Self by water is wet not; and this Self is by wind dried not. (2:23)

This Self cannot be cut, burnt, wetted, nor dried. This primeval Self is eternal, all-pervading, and immovable. (2:24)

Unmanifest, unthinkable, this Self is called unchangeable. Therefore, knowing this to be such, you should not mourn. (2:25)

And moreover, if you think this Self to have constant birth and death, even then you should not mourn. (2:26)

Of the born, death is certain; of the dead, birth is certain. Therefore, over the inevitable you should not grieve. (2:27)

Beings are unmanifest in their beginning, manifest in their middle state and again unmanifest in their end. What lamentation can be made over this? (2:28)

Some perceive this Self as wondrous, another speaks of it as wondrous, another hears of it as wondrous, but even having heard of this Self, no one knows it. (2:29)

This embodied Self is eternally indestructible in the body of all. Therefore you should not mourn for any being. (2:30)

And just considering your swadharma, you should not waver, for truly to a kshatriya there is nothing greater to find than a righteous battle. (2:31)

Happy are the kshatriyas to whom heaven’s gate opens when by good fortune they encounter such a battle. (2:32)

Now if you shall not undertake this dharmic engagement, then having avoided your swadharma and glory, you shall incur evil. (2:33)

And people will forever tell of your undying infamy. For the renowned, such disgrace is worse than dying. (2:34)

The great car-warriors will believe you abstain from delight in battle through fear. And among those who have thought much of you, you shall come to be lightly esteemed. (2:35)

Your enemies shall speak of you many things that should not be said, deriding your adequacy. What, indeed, could be a greater suffering than that? (2:36)

If you are slain you shall attain heaven; if you conquer you shall enjoy the earth. Therefore, stand up resolved to fight. (2:37)

Considering pleasure and pain, gain and loss, victory and defeat the same, then engage in battle. Thus you shall not incur evil. (2:38)

This buddhi yoga taught by Sankhya is now declared to you, so heed. Yoked to this buddhi yoga, you shall avoid the bonds of karma. (2:39)

In this no effort is lost, nor are adverse results produced. Even a little of this dharma protects from great fear. (2:40)

In this matter there is a single, resolute understanding. The thoughts of the irresolute are many-branched, truly endless. (2:41)

The ignorant, delighting in the word of the Veda, proclaim this flowery speech: “There is nothing else.” (2:42)

Those of desire-filled natures, intent on heaven, offering rebirth as actions’ fruit, performing many and various rites, are aimed at the goal of enjoyment and power. (2:43)

To those attached to enjoyment and power, their minds drawn away by this speech, is not granted steady insight in meditation. (2:44)

The three gunas are the domains of the Vedas. Be free from the triad of the gunas, indifferent to the pairs of opposites, eternally established in reality, free from thoughts of getting and keeping, and established in the Self. (2:45)

For the wise Brahmin with true knowledge, a great deal in all the Vedas are of as much value as a well when there is a flood all around. (2:46)

Your authority is for action alone, never to its fruits at any time. Never should the fruits of action be your motive; and never should there be attachment to inaction in you. (2:47)

Steadfast in yoga, perform actions abandoning attachment, being indifferent to success or failure. It is said that such evenness of mind is yoga. (2:48)

Action is inferior by far to buddhi yoga. Seek refuge in enlightenment; pitiable are those who are motivated by action’s fruit. (2:49)

He who abides in the buddhi casts off here in this world both good and evil deeds. Therefore, yoke yourself to yoga. Yoga is skill in action. (2:50)

Those who are truly established in the buddhi, the wise ones, having abandoned the fruits of action, freed from the bondage of rebirth, go to the place that is free from pain. (2:51)

When your buddhi crosses beyond the mire of delusion, then you shall be disgusted with the to-be-heard and what has been heard. (2:52)

When your buddhi stands, fixed in deep meditation, unmoving, disregarding the Vedic ritual-centered perspective, then you will attain yoga (union). (2:53)

Arjuna said:

What is the description of him who is steady of insight, of him who is steadfast in deep meditation, of him who is steady in thought? How does he speak? How does he sit? How does he move about? (2:54)

The Holy Lord said:

When he leaves behind all the desires of the mind, contented in the Self by the Self, then he is said to be steady in wisdom. (2:55)

He whose mind is not agitated in misfortunes, freed from desire for pleasures, from whom passion, fear and anger have departed, steady in thought–such a man is said to be a sage. (2:56)

He who is without desire in all situations, encountering this or that, pleasant or unpleasant, not rejoicing or disliking–his wisdom stands firm. (2:57)

And when he withdraws completely the senses from the objects of the senses, as the tortoise draws in its limbs, his wisdom is established firmly. (2:58)

Sense-objects turn away from the abstinent, yet the taste for them remains. But the taste also turns away from him who has seen the Supreme. (2:59)

The troubling senses forcibly carry away the mind of even the striving man of wisdom. (2:60)

Restraining all these senses, he should sit in yoga, intent on me. Surely, he whose senses are controlled–his consciousness stands steadfast and firm. (2:61)

For a man dwelling on the objects of the senses, attachment to them is born. From attachment desire is born. And from thwarted desire anger is born. (2:62)

From anger arises delusion; from delusion, loss of memory; from loss of memory, destruction of intelligence. From destruction of intelligence one is lost. (2:63)

However, with attraction and aversion eliminated, even though moving amongst objects of sense, by self-restraint the self-controlled attains tranquility. (2:64)

In tranquility the cessation of all sorrows is produced for him. Truly, for the tranquil-minded the buddhi immediately becomes steady. (2:65)

For the undisciplined there is no wisdom, no meditation. For him who does not meditate there is no peace or happiness. (2:66)

When the mind is led about by the wandering senses, it carries away the understanding like the wind carries away a ship on the waters. (2:67)

The intelligent, buddhic awareness of him whose senses are withdrawn from the objects of the senses on all sides will be found firmly established. (2:68)

The man of restraint is awake in what is night for all beings. That in which all beings are awake is night for the sage who truly sees. (2:69)

Like the ocean, which becomes filled yet remains unmoved and stands still as the waters enter it, he whom all desires enter and who remains unmoved attains peace–not so the man who is full of desire. (2:70)

He who abandons all desires attains peace, acts free from longing, indifferent to possessions and free from egotism. (2:71)

This is the divine state. Having attained this, he is not deluded. Fixed in it even at the time of death, he attains Brahmanirvana. (2:72)

Om Tat Sat

Thus in the Upanishads of the glorious Bhagavad Gita, the science of the Eternal, the scripture of Yoga, the dialogue between Sri Krishna and Arjuna, ends the second discourse entitled: Sankhya Yoga.

Read Chapter Three: The Yoga of Action

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Chapters for The Bhagavad Gita–The Song of God

Introduction: The Bhagavad Gita–The Book of Life

  1. Bhagavad Gita Chapter One: The Yoga of the Despondency of Arjuna
  2. Bhagavad Gita Chapter Two: Sankhya Yoga
  3. Bhagavad Gita Chapter Three: The Yoga of Action
  4. Bhagavad Gita Chapter Four: The Yoga of Wisdom
  5. Bhagavad Gita Chapter Five: The Yoga of Renunciation of Action
  6. Bhagavad Gita Chapter Six: The Yoga of Meditation
  7. Bhagavad Gita Chapter Seven: The Yoga of Wisdom and Realization
  8. Bhagavad Gita Chapter Eight: The Yoga of Imperishable Brahman
  9. Bhagavad Gita Chapter Nine: The Yoga of the Royal Science and Royal Secret
  10. Bhagavad Gita Chapter Ten: The Yoga of Divine Glories
  11. Bhagavad Gita Chapter Eleven: The Yoga of the Vision of the Cosmic Form
  12. Bhagavad Gita Chapter Twelve: The Yoga of Devotion
  13. Bhagavad Gita Chapter Thirteen: The Yoga of the Distinction Between the Field and the Knower of the Field
  14. Bhagavad Gita Chapter Fourteen: The Yoga of the Division of the Three Gunas
  15. Bhagavad Gita Chapter Fifteen: The Yoga of the Supreme Spirit
  16. Bhagavad Gita Chapter Sixteen: The Yoga of the Division between the Divine and the Demonic
  17. Bhagavad Gita Chapter Seventeen: The Yoga of the Division of Threefold Faith
  18. Bhagavad Gita Chapter Eighteen: The Yoga of Liberation by Renunciation

Also: The Bhagavad Gita Arranged for Singing

  1. The Bhagavad Gita—Chapter 1: The Yoga of the Despondency of Arjuna
  2. The Bhagavad Gita—Chapter 2: Sankhya Yoga
  3. The Bhagavad Gita—Chapter 3: The Yoga of Action
  4. The Bhagavad Gita—Chapter 4: The Yoga of Wisdom
  5. The Bhagavad Gita—Chapter 5: The Yoga of Renunciation of Action
  6. The Bhagavad Gita—Chapter 6: The Yoga of Meditation
  7. The Bhagavad Gita—Chapter 7: The Yoga of Wisdom and Realization
  8. The Bhagavad Gita—Chapter 8: The Yoga of Imperishable Brahman
  9. The Bhagavad Gita—Chapter 9: The Yoga of the Kingly Science and Kingly Secret
  10. The Bhagavad Gita—Chapter 10: The Yoga of Divine Glories
  11. The Bhagavad Gita—Chapter 11: The Yoga of the Vision of the Cosmic Form
  12. The Bhagavad Gita—Chapter 12: The Yoga of Devotion
  13. The Bhagavad Gita—Chapter 13: The Yoga of the Distinction Between the Field and the Knower of the Field
  14. The Bhagavad Gita—Chapter 14: The Yoga of the Division of the Three Gunas
  15. The Bhagavad Gita—Chapter 15: The Yoga of the Supreme Spirit
  16. The Bhagavad Gita—Chapter 16: The Yoga of the Division between the Divine and the Demoniacal
  17. The Bhagavad Gita—Chapter 17: The Yoga of the Division of Threefold Faith
  18. The Bhagavad Gita—Chapter 18: The Yoga of Liberation by Renunciation

Read about the meanings of unfamiliar terms in A Brief Sanskrit Glossary

Read the Bhagavad Gita for Awakening, a full commentary on the Bhagavad Gita by Abbot George Burke (Swami Nirmalananda Giri).

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