|Yoga of Knowledge |
1. To him who was thus overcome with pity and whose eyes were full of tears and bore a
bewildered look, Shri Krishna spoke as follows:
The Blessed Lord said:
2. O Arjuna! Whence has this loathsome stupidity come upon you in this crisis? It (this
attitude) is unworthy of a noble personage; it is a bar to heaven and a cause of much
3. O Partha! Yield not to unmanliness! It befits thee not. Abandoning this base faint-
heartedness, rise up, O dreaded hero!
4. O Krishna! How can I attack Bhishma and Drona in battle with my arrows? They are,
indeed worthy of worship, O destroyer of foes!
5. It is indeed better to live here in this world on a beggar's fare than to prosper by killing
these venerable teachers. The enjoyment of pleasure and power obtained through the
slaughter of these teachers and elders will surely be bloodstained.
6. We do not know which of the two (alternatives) will be the better - the one that we
should conquer them or the other that they should conquer us. The men on the side of
Dhritrashtra, standing arrayed against us, are the very people after killing whom we should
not care to live.
7. My natural disposition is vitiated by a sense of pity, and my mind is in utter confusion
regarding my duty. Lord, I beg Thee: tell me with certainty what will lead to my good. I am
Thy disciple. Instruct me, who have taken refuge in Thee.
8. I do not find anything that can assuage this grief which numbs my senses. Neither the
unchallenged lordship over a prosperous kingdom, nor even the overlordship of all the
Devas can do so.
9. Addressing Shri Krishna, the master of the senses, Arjuna, though valorous and vigilant,
said, 'I will not fight' and sat silent.
10. O King! To him who was thus sitting grief-stricken between the two armies (instead of
fighting), Shri Krishna said as if by way of ridicule.
The Blessed Lord said:
11. You are moaning for those who should not be moaned for. Yet you speak like a wise
man. The truly wise never weep either for the dead or for the living.
12. Never was there a time when I did not exist, nor you, nor these rulers of men. Nor
shall all of us cease to be hereafter.
13. Even as the attainment of childhood, youth and old age is to one in this physical life, so
is the change to another body (at death) for the embodied soul. Wise men are not deluded
14. Contact of the senses with their objects generates cold and heat, pleasure and pain. They
come and go, being impermanent. Bear with them patiently, O scion of the Bharata race!
15. O leader of men! That enlightened one who is unperturbed alike in pleasure and pain,
whom these do not distress - he indeed is worthy of immortality.
16. The unreal can never come into existence, and the real can never cease to be. The wise
philosophers have known the truth about these categories (of the real and the unreal).
17. Know that Reality, by which everything is pervaded, to be indestructible. No one can
cause the destruction of this immutable Being.
18. What is said to perish are these bodies, in which the imperishable and unlimited Spirit
is embodied. Therefore fight, O scion of the Bharata race!
19. He who thinks him (the Self) to be the killer, and who experiences him (the Self) as the
killed - both of them know not. He (the Self) neither kills nor is killed.
20. He (this Self) has neither birth nor death. Nor does he cease to be, having been in
existence before; unborn, eternal permanent and primeval, he is never killed when the
body is killed.
21. O Arjuna! know this self to be eternal, undecaying, birthless and indestructible. A
person who knows him to be so - whom can he slay or cause another to slay.
22. Just as a man gives up old garments and puts on new ones, so the embodied self
abandons decrepit bodies and assumes new ones.
23. Him the weapons cleave not; Him the fire bums not; Him the waters wet not; Him the
wind dries not.
24. He cannot be cut or burnt. He can neither be wetted nor dried. Eternal, all-pervading,
immovable and motionless. He is the same for ever.
25. Knowing Him (the Self) to be unmanifest, inconceivable, and unmodifiable, it is
improper to mourn for Him.
26. In the alternative, even if you hold him (the Self) to be subject to constant births and
deaths, there is no justification, O mighty armed, for your mourning for him.
27. For the born, death is unavoidable; and for the dead, birth is sure to take place.
Therefore in a situation that is inevitable, there is no justification for you to grieve.
28. Mystery surrounds the origin of beings. Mysterious too is their end. Only in the
interim, between birth and death, are they manifested clearly. Such being the case, what is
there to grieve about?
29. Some have a glimpse of Him as a marvel, some speak of Him as a marvel, and yet
others hear of Him as a marvel. Yet none understands Him in truth, in spite of (seeing,
speaking and) hearing about Him.
30. At no time can the Spirit embodied in all beings be slain. Therefore there is no reason
for you to grieve for any one.
31. Further, even from the point of view of one's own duty, you ought not to falter. There
is no greater good for a Kshatriya than what a righteous war offers.
32. O Arjuna! That Kshatriya must indeed be a happy man to whom comes unsought a war
like this, which is an open gate to heaven.
33. If you do not take part in this righteous war, you will incur sin, besides failing in your
duty and forfeiting your reputation.
34. Besides, every one will speak ill of you for all time. More poignant than death is
disrepute to a man accustomed to be honoured by all.
35. The great car-warriors will consider you as having fled from battle out of fear, and you
who have been the object of their respect, will be despised by them hereafter.
36. Your enemies will indulge in derogatory speeches against you, belittling your prowess.
What is more painful than that?
37. O son of Kunti! If killed in battle you will attain heaven; if victorious you will enjoy the
kingdom. Therefore arise, resolved to fight.
38. Treating alike pleasure and pain, gain and loss, victory and defeat, be ready for battle.
Thus you will not incur any sin.
39. O Arjuna! What has been declared to you is the Truth according to the Samkhya (the
path of knowledge). Listen now to the teaching of Yoga (the path of selfless action combined
with devotion) by practising which the bondage of Karma is overcome.
40. In this path of Yoga - the path of selfless action combined with devotion - no effort is
lost due to incompleteness and no contrary effect of an adverse nature is produced due to
failures. Even a little observance of this discipline saves one from great fear.
41. O Arjuna! In those following this path, the Buddhi (the understanding) that has the
nature of producing conviction, is directed towards a single objective. In those without any
spiritual conviction, the understanding gets scattered and pursues countless ends.
42-44. O Arjuna! There are people who delight in the eulogistic statements of the Vedas and
argue that the purport of the Vedas consists in these and nothing else. They are full of
worldly desires; paradise is their highest goal; and they are totally blind in a spiritual
sense. They expatiate upon those florid Vedic texts which describe the means for the
attainment of pleasure and power, which provide attractive embodiments as the fruits of
actions and which are full of descriptions of rites and rituals (through which these
fulfilments are obtained). In the minds of these votaries of pleasure and power, addicted to
enjoyments of the above description, steadfast wisdom (capable of revealing the Truth) is
45. O Arjuna! The Vedas deal with material ends. But you be established in the Spirit, in
the immutable purity of it, having abandoned all material values, attachment to
possessions, and concern with the contraries of life like pleasure and pain, heat and cold.
46. What use a pond has got when a whole country is flooded, that much of use only the
Veda has got to a Brahmana who is full of wisdom.
47. To work alone you have competence, and not to claim their fruits. Let not the longing
for fruits be the motive force of your action. At the same time let not this attitude confirm
you in indolent inaction.
48. Engage yourself in action with the mind steadfast in Yoga. Abandon attachments, O
Arjuna, and be unperturbed in success and failure. This unperturbed sameness in all
conditions is Yoga. 49. O Arjuna, mere action (with attachment) is far inferior to action
done with the mind poised in evenness. Seek shelter in this state of unperturbed evenness
(which can arise only in a desireless mind in communion with the Divine). Those who
work for selfish gains are indeed pitiable. 50. One endowed with this unperturbed evenness
of mind abandons the effects of both good and bad actions even here itself. Therefore strive
for this state of Yoga. Yoga is skill in action.
51. Wise men, established thus in the unperturbed evenness of mind, abandon the fruits of
action, free themselves from entanglement in the cycle of births and deaths, and attain to
the state of freedom from all sorrow (liberation).
52. When you have overcome the delusions of your understanding sprung from self-centred
attachment, then you attain to a state of indifference towards all the past experiences and
the others yet to be had.
53. When your intellect, fed up with the bewildering scriptural doctrines and their
interpretations, settles (finally) in steady and unwavering introspection, then you will
attain to real Yoga.
54. O Kesava! What are the signs of a person who has attained to steady wisdom and deep
introspection? How does he speak? How does he sit? How does he walk? (How does he
behave in life generally?)
The Blessed Lord said:
55. O Son of Pritha! When all the desires of the heart have been abandoned, and the Spirit
finds joyous satisfaction in Itself (without dependence on any external factor) - then is one
spoken of as a person of steady wisdom.
56. Whose mind is not agitated in adversity, who is free from desire, and who is devoid of
attachments, fear and anger - such a person is called a sage of steady wisdom.
57. Whoever is without self-centred affection for anything, who rejoices not in favourable
situations and hates not in unfavourable ones - such a person's wisdom is firmly set.
58. When a person can withdraw his senses from their objects just like the tortoise its
limbs on all sides, his wisdom is firmly set.
59. From the abstinent soul sense objects fall away, but not the taste for them. When the
Supreme Truth is realised, even the taste departs.
60. O son of Kunti! The turbulent senses do violently draw away the mind of even a
discerning person who is earnestly striving on the spiritual path.
61. Having controlled them all, one should become entirely devoted to Me. He whose senses
are under control, his wisdom is firmly set.
62. In one who dwells longingly on sense objects, an inclination towards them is generated.
This inclination develops into desire, and desire begets anger.
63. Anger generates delusion, and delusion results in loss of memory. Loss of memory
brings about the destruction of discriminative intelligence, and loss of discriminative
intelligence spells ruin to a man.
64. A man of disciplined mind, who has his senses under control and who has neither
attraction nor aversion for sense objects, attains tranquillity, though he may be moving
amidst objects of the senses.
65. On attaining tranquillity all one's sorrows come to an end. For soon does the intellect of
a tranquil person become steady.
66. A man of uncontrolled senses has no spiritual comprehension. He has no capacity for
meditation either. For the unmeditative there is no peace. And where is happiness for one
without peace of mind?
67. The senses are naturally disposed to move towards their objects. Whichever of these
senses the mind pursues, that sense carries away that mind as a gale does a ship on the
68. Therefore, O mighty Arjuna, he who can completely restrain his senses from pursuing
their objects, has his wisdom firmly set.
69. What is like night to all ignorant bein
gs, to that Atman consciousness the self-controlled
sage is awake; and the sensate life to which all ignorant beings are awake, that is like night
to this illumined sage.
70. He into whom objects of desire enter (unsought and causing no perturbation), even like
the ocean that is ever being filled by the rivers but still remains steady within its bounds -
such a person attains to peace, not he who runs madly after objects of desire.
71. Whoever has abandoned desires, and moves about without attachments and the sense
of 'I' and 'mine' - he attains to peace.
72. This, O son of Pritha, is the state of dwelling in Brahman. Having attained it, one is no
more deluded. By abiding in that state even by the time of death, one is united with brahman.