Sankhya Yog – Chapter 2

Summary of Chapter 2 of Srimad Bhagavad Gita – Sankhya Yog – The Knowledge of the Self

The second chapter of Bhagavad Gita is presented in 72 verses. Sri Krishna tries to revive the drooping spirit of Arjuna who was then sorrow-stricken and perplexed at a critical hour. A great warrior like Arjuna should not show such behavior. (Verse 1-3) But, Arjuna did not stop himself from seeking guidance from Sri Krishna. (Verse 4-8)

Sri Krishna begins the discourse to guide and help Arjuna follow the right path. He explains the nature of the mortal body and immortal soul. He also explains the process of transmigration of the soul. (Verse 10-30). Sri Krishna raises the issue of Arjuna’s duty as a Kshatriya Warrior (Verse 31-38), he further talks about the Karma Yoga. He says the practice of Karma Yoga is to perform one’s duty freeing oneself from attachment with no expectation from its result and with even-mindedness in all circumstances. (Verse 39-53).

Sri Krishna says that through the firm practice of Karma Yoga, a Yogi can develop qualities like desirelessness, a vision of equality, detachment, and even-mindedness. Such Yogi becomes the person of stable wisdom, and, in the end, attains blissful peace of union with the supreme. (Verse 54-72)


  • Verse 1Sanjay said: Seeing Arjuna full of compassion, his mind grief-stricken, and his eyes full of tears, Madhusudana spoke the following words.
  • Verse 2-3Bhagavan Sri Krishna said: My dear Arjuna, how have these impurities come upon you? They are not at all benefitting an honorable man. They lead not to higher planets but to disgrace. O Partha (Son of Pritha), do not yield to this degrading impotence. Give up such petty weakness of heart and arise, O vanquisher of enemies.
  • Verse 4Arjuna said: O Madhusudan (Slayer of Madhu), how can I counterattack men like Bhisma and Drona with arrows in battle who are worthy of my worship? O, destroyer of enemies!
  • Verse 5 – It would be better to live in this world by begging than to enjoy life by killing these noble elders, who are my teachers. If we kill them, the wealth and pleasures we enjoy will be tainted with blood.
  • Verse 6 – We do not even know the result of this war, we conquering or us getting conquered. If we kill the sons of Dhritarashtra, we should not care to live. Yet they stand before us on the battlefield.
  • Verse 7 – I am confused, my mind is bewildered about my duty, I am your disciple, teach me the right, I seek shelter in you, show me the light.
  • Verse 8 – I fail to make out what heals my grief, all my senses are now withered. Neither ruling the earth nor the kingdom of Devas (Demi-gods) will calm the fire that is burning within
  • Verse 8 – I fail to make out what heals my grief, all my senses are now withered. Neither ruling the earth nor the kingdom of Devas (Demi-gods) will calm the fire that is burning within
  • Verse 9Sanjay said: Having spoken thus, Arjuna (Gudakesh – one who conquers sleep), chastiser of enemies, addressed Hrishikesh: “Govinda, I shall not fight,” and became silent.
  • Verse 10 – O descendant of Bharata, at that time, Hrishikesh smiling in the midst of both the armies spoke the following words to the grief-stricken Arjuna.
  • Verse 11 – Sri Krishna Bhagawan said: While you speak learned words, you are mourning for what is not worthy of grief. The wise lament neither for the living nor for the dead.
  • Verse 12 – Never was there a time when I did not exist, nor you, nor all these rulers of men; nor in the future shall any of us cease to be.
  • Verse 13 – Just as embodied soul continuously passes in this body from childhood to youth to old age, Similarly the soul passes into another body at the time of death. An intelligent person is not bewildered by such a change.
  • Verse 14 – O Kaunteya, the contacts of the senses with the sense-objects (Sound, Touch, Forms, Taste, and Smell) cause feelings of joy and sorrow. They have a beginning and an end and are transient. Like Winter and Summer, they come and go. Bear them, O descendant of Bharata.
  • Verse 15 – O best among men (Arjuna), the person who is not disturbed by happiness and distress and stable in all situations is certainly eligible for liberation.
  • Verse 16 – That which is unreal never exists and that which is real has no non-existence. But the nature of both real and unreal, indeed, has been realized by the seers of Truth.
  • Verse 17 – You should know that, which pervades the entire body is indestructible. No one can destroy that imperishable soul.
  • Verse 18 – This destructible body of an indestructible, indeterminable and eternal living entity is sure to come to an end. Therefore, O descendant of Bharata, join the battle.
  • Verse 19 – He who thinks of this one as the killer, and he who thinks of this one as to be killed, both of them do not know. This one does not kill, nor it can be killed.
  • Verse 20 – Never is the Soul born, and never does it die, nor is it that has come to exist, it will again cease to be. This one is birthless, eternal, ever-existing and primeval. It is not killed when the body is killed.
  • Verse 21 – O Partha, he who knows this one as indestructible, eternal, birthless and undecaying, kill anyone or cause anyone to kill?
  • Verse 22 – As a person puts on new, giving up old cloths, the soul similarly accepts new material bodies, giving up the old body.
  • Verse 23 – Weapons do not cut the soul into pieces, fire does not burn it, water does not moisten it and air does not dry it.
  • Verse 24 – This soul is uncuttable and insoluble, cannot be moistened, cannot be burnt nor dried. It is eternal, omnipresent, stationary, unmoving, and unchangeable.
  • Verse 25 – It is said that the soul is unmanifest, inconceivable, unchangeable. Therefore, knowing this, you should not grieve for the body.
  • Verse 26 – If, however, you think that the soul will always be born and die forever, you still have no reason to lament, O mighty-armed.
  • Verse 27 – One who has taken his birth is sure to die, and rebirth is sure for one who has died. Therefore, in the unavoidable discharge of your duty, you should not lament.
  • Verse 28 – O scion of Bharat, all created beings are unmanifest in their beginning, manifest in their interim state, and unmanifest again when annihilated. So why grieve?
  • Verse 29 – Some look on the soul as amazing, some describe it as amazing, and some hear of the soul as amazing, while others, even after hearing about it, cannot understand the soul at all.
  • Verse 30 – O descendant of Bharata, the soul that dwells in the body can never be slain. Therefore you need not grieve for any living being.
  • Verse 31 – Considering your specific duty as a kshatriya, you should not waver. Indeed, for a kshatriya, there is no better engagement than fighting on dharmic principles for upholding of righteousness.
  • Verse 32 – O Partha, happy are the kshatriyas to whom such fighting opportunities to defend righteousness come unsought, opening for them the doors of the heavenly planets.
  • Verse 33 – If, however, you do not perform your religious duty of fighting, then you will certainly incur sins for neglecting your duties and thus lose your reputation as a fighter.
  • Verse 34 – People will always speak of your infamy. For a respectable person, infamy is worse than death.
  • Verse 35 – The great generals who have highly esteemed your name and fame will think that you have left the battlefield out of fear, and thus will lose their respect for you.
  • Verse 36 – Your enemies will describe you in many unkind words, disparaging your ability. What could be more painful for you?
  • Verse 37 – Either you will be killed on the battlefield and attain the heavenly planets, or you will conquer and enjoy the earthly kingdom. Therefore, O son of Kuntī, arise with determination and fight.
  • Verse 38 – Without considering happiness or distress, loss or gain, victory or defeat, fight for the sake of fighting. This way you will never incur sin.
  • Verse 39 – Thus far I have described this knowledge to you through analytical study (Sankhya Yog). Now listen, as I explain it in terms of working without fruitive results, the Buddhi Yog. O Partha, When you work with such understanding, you will be freed from the bondage of karma.
  • Verse 40 – In this state of consciousness, there is no loss or diminution, and a little advancement on this path can protect one from the most dangerous type of fear.
  • Verse 41 – O child of the Kurus, the intellect of those who are on this path is resolute, and their aim is one. But the intellect of those who are irresolute is many-branched.
  • Verse 42-43 – Those with less knowledge are very much attached to the flowery words of the Vedas, which recommend various fruitive activities for elevation to heavenly planets or abodes. Being desirous of sense gratification and opulent life, they say that there is nothing more than this.
  • Verse 44 – In their minds deeply attached to sense enjoyment and material opulence, and who are bewildered by such things, they are unable to possess the resolute determination to achieve Samādhi.
  • Verse 45The Vedas deal mainly with the subject of the three modes of material nature. O Arjuna, Rise above from these three modes to a pure state of spiritual existence. Be free from all dualities and from all anxieties for gain and safety, and be established in the self.
  • Verse 46 – All the purpose is served by a small well of water is naturally served in all respects by a great reservoir. Similarly, all the purposes of the Vedas can be served to one who knows the Supreme Brahman, who is incomplete knowledge.
  • Verse 47 – You have a right to perform your prescribed duty, but you are not entitled to the fruits of action. Never consider yourself the cause of the results of your activities, and never be attached to not doing your duty.
  • Verse 48 – Perform your duty equipoised, O Arjuna, abandoning all attachment to success or failure. Such equanimity is called yoga.
  • Verse 49 – O Dhanañjaya, keep all abominable activities far distant by seeking refuge in divine knowledge, and in that consciousness surrender yourself. Those who want to enjoy the fruits of their work are misers.
  • Verse 50 – An intelligent man rids himself of both good and bad reactions even in this life. Therefore strive for yoga, which is the art of all work.
  • Verse 51 – By thus engaging in devotional service to the Lord, great sages or devotees free themselves from the results of work in the material world. In this way, they become free from the cycle of birth and death and attain the state beyond all miseries.
  • Verse 52 – When your intellect crosses the dense forest of delusion, you shall become indifferent to all that has been heard and all that is to be heard.
  • Verse 53 – When your mind is no longer disturbed by the flowery language of the Vedas, and when it remains fixed in the trance of self-realization, then you will have attained the divine consciousness – The state of perfect Yoga.
  • Verse 54 – Arjuna said: O Krishna, what are the symptoms of one whose consciousness is thus merged in transcendence? How does he speak, and what is his language? How does he sit, and how does he walk?
  • Verse 55 – Krishna Said: O Pārtha when a man gives up all varieties of desire for sense gratification, which arise from mental concoction, and when his mind, thus purified, finds satisfaction in the self alone, then he is said to be in pure transcendental consciousness.
  • Verse 56 – One who is not disturbed in mind even amidst misery or elated when there is happiness, and who is free from attachment, fear, and anger, is called a sage of steady mind.
  • Verse 57 – In the material world, one who is unaffected by whatever good or evil he may obtain, neither praising it nor despising it, is firmly fixed in perfect knowledge.
  • Verse 58 – One who is able to withdraw his senses from sense objects, as the tortoise draws its limbs within the shell, is firmly fixed in perfect consciousness.
  • Verse 59 – Though the embodied soul may be restricted from sense enjoyment, the taste for sense objects remains. But, ceasing such engagements by experiencing a higher taste, he is fixed in consciousness.
  • Verse 60 – The senses are so strong and turbulent, O son of Kunti, that they forcibly carry away the mind even of a person of discrimination who is endeavoring to control them.
  • Verse 61 – One who restrains his senses, keeping them under full control, and fixes his consciousness upon Me, is known as a man of steady intelligence.
  • Verse 62 – While contemplating the objects of the senses, a person develops attachment for them, and from such attachment, lust develops, and from lust, anger arises.
  • Verse 63 – From anger, complete delusion arises, and from delusion bewilderment of memory. When memory is bewildered, intelligence is lost, and when intelligence is lost one falls down again into the material pool.
  • Verse 64 – But a person free from all attachment and aversion and able to control his senses through regulative principles of freedom can obtain the complete mercy of the Lord.
  • Verse 65 – For one thus satisfied, the threefold miseries of material existence exist no longer; in such satisfied consciousness, one’s intelligence is soon well established.
  • Verse 66 – One who is not connected with the Self can have neither transcendental intelligence nor a steady mind, without which there is no possibility of peace. To the man who has no peace, how can there be happiness?
  • Verse 67 – As a strong wind sweeps away a boat on the water, even one of the roaming senses on which the mind focuses can carry away a man’s intelligence.
  • Verse 68 – Therefore, O mighty-armed, one whose senses are restrained from their objects is certainly of steady intelligence.
  • Verse 69 – What is night for all beings is the time of awakening for the self-controlled; and the time of awakening for all beings is night for the introspective sage.
  • Verse 70 – A person who is not disturbed by the incessant flow of desires – that enter like rivers into the ocean, which is ever being filled but is always still – can alone achieve peace and not the one who strives to satisfy such desires.
  • Verse 71 – A person who has given up all desires for sense gratification, who lives free from desires, who has given up all sense of proprietorship and is devoid of false ego – he/she alone can attain real peace.
  • Verse 72 – That is the way of the spiritual and godly life, after attaining which a man is not bewildered. If one is thus situated even at the hour of death, one can enter into the kingdom of God.