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.