Chapter 2 Krsna’s rebuke and exhortation to be brave
This chapter is entitled ‘Samkhya Yoga’ – ‘The Yoga of Knowledge.’ Krishna read Arjuna’s heart. Arjuna’s mind was confused. The unmanly sentiment in his Kshatriya blood he took as his love for mankind. Seeing Arjuna thus confused and depressed, Krishna says, ‘yield not to this unmanliness, O Arjuna, for it does not become thee. Cast off this petty faint-heartedness and arise, O Arjuna. On hearing this, Arjuna for the first time came to learn that his human belief concerning life and death was not founded on truth. He felt that he was distracted by illusions. He prayed to Sri Krishna for enlightenment: I am your humble disciple. Teach me. Tell me what is best for me. For the first time, Arjuna uses the word disciple. Till then, Sri Krishna had been his friend and comrade.
When Arjuna appeals with utter sincerity and humility to Krishna to illumine him, Krishna says, O Arjuna, in speech, you are a philosopher; in action, you are not. A true philosopher mourns neither for the living nor for the dead. But Arjuna, you are sorrowing and grieving. Tell me, why do you mourn the prospective death of these men? Never was there a time when I was not, nor thou, nor these men, nor will there ever be a time hereafter when we shall cease to be. As the soul passes in this body through childhood, youth and age, even so is its taking on of another body. O Arjuna, a man who remains the same in pain and pleasure, who is wise, makes himself fit for eternal life.
Thou grievest for those whom
thou shouldst not grieve for,
and yet thou speakest words about wisdom.
Wise men do not grieve for the dead or for the living.
Never was there a time when I was not,
nor thou, nor these lords of men,
nor will there ever be a time
hereafter when we shall cease to be.
As the soul passes in this body through childhood,
youth and age, even so is its taking on of another body.
The sage is not perplexed by this.
Contacts with their objects,
0 son of Kunti (Arjuna),
give rise to cold and heat, pleasure and pain.
They come and go and do not last forever;
these learn to endure, 0 Bharata (Arjuna).
The man who is not troubled by these,
0 Chief of men (Arjuna),
who remains the same in pain and pleasure,
who is wise, makes himself fit for eternal life.
Of the non-existent there is no coming to be;
of the existent there is no ceasing to be.
The conclusion about these two has been perceived by the seers of truth.
He who thinks that this slays
and he who thinks that this is slain;
both of them fail to perceive the truth;
this one neither slays nor is slain.
He is never born,
nor does he die at any time,
nor having once come to be does he again cease to be.
He is unborn, eternal, permanent, and primeval.
He is not slain when the body is slain.
Just as a person casts off worn-out garments
and puts on others that are new,
even so does the embodied soul cast off worn-out bodies
and take on others that are new.
Weapons do not cleave this self;
fire does not burn him;
waters do not make him wet;
One looks upon Him as a marvel;
another likewise speaks of Him as a marvel;
another hears of Him as a marvel;
and even after hearing,
no one whatsoever has known Him.
(This translation of the The Bhagavad Gita is taken from A Sourcebook in Indian Philosophy Edited by S. Radhakrishnan and Charles A. Moore. 1957 Princeton University Press)