Bhagavad Gita English 2

द्वितीयोऽध्यायः – सांख्ययोगः

The main topics of this chapter are:

Circumstances under which Arjuna surrenders to Lord Krishna.1-10

Nature of self or digest of Sankhya Yoga or the yoga or knowledge  

Sketch of Karma Yoga31-38
Buddhi Yoga or karma yoga the path of action39-46
Sketch of Karma Yoga47-60
Path of Love (Bhakti Yoga)61-70
Path of Renunciation (Sanyasa Yoga)71-72

Thus Second chapter is the epitome of the entire Gita.

VERSE 02: 1

Verses 1 to 10 Circumstances under which Arjuna surrenders to Lord Krishna.

सञ्जय उवाचतं तथा कृपयाविष्टमश्रुपूर्णाकुलेक्षणम् ।विषीदन्तमिदं वाक्यमुवाच मधुसूदनः ॥२:१॥

sañjaya uvāca

taṁ tathā kr̥payāviṣṭamaśrupūrṇākulēkṣaṇam |

viṣīdantamidaṁ vākyamuvāca madhusūdanaḥ ||2:1||

तम् तथा कृपया  आविष्टम् अश्रुपूर्णाकुलेक्षणम् विषीदन्तम् इदम् वाक्यम् उवाच मधुसूदनः

तम्- to him (Arjuna) तथा-thus कृपया-with pity आविष्टम्-overwhelmed, poignant condition अश्रुपूर्णाकुलेक्षणम्- (अश्रुपूर्ण आकुल लक्षणम्) -whose eyes were filled with tears and who was agitated आकुल means stunned, bewildered विषीदन्तम्-sorrowing इदम्-this  वाक्यम्-speech उवाच-addressed  मधुसूदनः Krishna, the slayer of Madhu.

Sanjaya said to Dhritarashtra

Madhusudana (Krishna) then addressed him (Arjuna) who was overwhelmed with pity, and tearful eyes and who was full of sorrow and agitation.


The second chapter opens with Sanjaya’s remark about the despondency and helpless condition of Arjuna who sank into the chariot and said ‘I cannot fight”. This is the common situation all of us face in life when we come face to face with a difficult situation.  Many times, we give up instead of facing the problem or take wrong decisions. Paramarthananda says, psychological dependence on external factors is called raga or attachment, and the fear of losing the object of attachment is shoka or grief. When the grief is unbearable, man loses his faculty of discrimination and becomes unable to decide what is to be done and what not to be done. This three-fold trait of attachment, grief and delusion is called samsara. Man tries to find external causes for the problem but never tries to seek the solution in himself. He becomes helpless if he does not find a solution. Arjuna also tried to find an external solution for his problem. He thought that abstaining from battle is the best solution.

तम् तथा कृपया आविष्टम् अश्रुपूर्णाकुलेक्षणम् विषीदन्तम् –to him who was stunned with pity and sorrow, and whose eyes were filled with tears.  This is the condition of a samsari.

The second chapter starts with a brief description of Arjuna’s state of despondency and dejection and pitiable condition. Arjuna was in the battlefield to fight the despotic and adharmic rulers. He was hesitant to participate in the battle due to the fear of killing his blood relations and Gurus. He thought that this action will incur curse and sin upon him. He forgot the duties of a soldier and like a layman began to repent the forthcoming bloodbath.

Arjuna was overwhelmed with mercy and wanted to avoid family feud which results in slaying of gurus and cousins. Is mercy a bad character? No doubt no. But a king or a judge should not show mercy to criminals and law breakers. The fact is Arjuna invoked mercy as a defence to hide his emotional weakness to fight the war. He has waged wars several times when he killed the enemies. But now he was unable to face the situation by holding the bull by horn. Swami Vivekananda was once chased by a troop of monkeys. He started running away. A sanyasi who saw this shouted, “Hey turn back and face them, don’t run away”. The monkeys got freighted and took to their heel. This is the first lesson we learn from Gita. Face the situation wisely. Do not run away from it.

इदम् वाक्यम् उवाच मधुसूदनः – The Lord addressed Arjuna with these words

VERSE 02: 2

 श्रीभगवानुवाच कुतस्त्वा कश्मलमिदं विषमे समुपस्थितम् ।अनार्यजुष्टमस्वर्ग्यमकीर्तिकरमर्जुन ॥२:२॥


kutastvā kaśmalamidaṁ viṣamē samupasthitam |

anāryajuṣṭamasvargyamakīrtikaramarjuna ||2:2||

कुतः त्वा कश्मलम् इदम् विषमे समुपस्थितम् अनार्यजुष्टम् अस्वर्ग्यम् अकीर्तिकरम् अर्जुन

कुतः- from where त्वा-to you  कश्मलम्-impurity (mental impurity, depression,  despondency)  इदम्-this  विषमे-in critical moment समुपस्थितम्-has overtaken अनार्यजुष्टम्-improper for an Aryan जुष्टम् afflicted by अस्वर्ग्यम्-not leading to heaven अकीर्तिकरम्-disgraceful  अर्जुन –O Arjuna!


The Blessed Lord said:

In such a critical moment, from where comes to you O Arjuna, this despondency, improper for an Aryan, disgraceful and detrimental to gain heaven.

This verse starts with the phrase श्रीभगवानुवाच: The blessed Lord said. Nowhere it is mentioned as श्री कृष्ण उवाच. It is because Krishna did not give the discourse as a historical person but as the infinite supreme God to Arjuna.श्रीभगवानुवाच What is the meaning of Bhagavan? Bhagavan represents an abstract concept of a universal God. 

Bhagavān literally means “fortunate, blessed” (from the noun bhaga, meaning lord, patron, wealth, prosperity. One who is endowed with bhaga is bhagavan. भगः अस्य इति भगवान्. Bhagavan has six properties.

ऐश्वर्यस्य समग्रस्य धर्मस्य यशसः श्रियः ।
ज्ञानवैराग्ययोश्चैव षण्णां भग इतीरणा ॥

समग्र means full or complete, one who has everything and needs nothing. He is fully provided. There are six qualities of Bhagavaan. They are:

  1. Total wealth ऐश्वर्य
  2. Dharma धर्म
  3. Splendour यशः
  4. Opulence श्रियः
  5. Spiritual Knowledge ज्ञान
  6. Dispassion वैराग्य

अर्जुन कुतः त्वा कश्मलम् इदम् विषमे समुपस्थितम् – In such critical moment of battle O Arjuna! How can you be dejected and agitated?

विषमे– in critical or stressful moment. Transactional meaning of this word is critical or stressful. The Pandava army looks upon Arjuna as the hero and principal fighter. If Arjuna being the leader gives up fighting and throw in the towel the whole army will be demotivated. So, this is a critical moment. Philosophical meaning is Arjuna need not to give up karma or duty but reward of duty.

Each one of us encounters such critical moment in our life. A student who is fully prepared for an examination becomes blank after seeing the question paper. The exam hall becomes Kurukshetra for him. A surgeon reaches the operation table thinking, ‘this is a simple surgery.’ On opening the patient, he finds many complications and therefore a critical moment.    A housewife who somehow manages to run the household from her husband’s meagre salary gets a bombshell when she receives a notice of increase of rental of the house. 


अनार्यजुष्टम् अस्वर्ग्यम् अकीर्तिकरम् –Unlike an Aryan, or great people, disgraceful to a king, and not leading you to heaven. Death during a fight in the war leads one to heaven but if a soldier runs away from the battlefield he goes to hell. So, Arjuna, relax and ponder over your duties and objectives.

अनार्यजुष्टम् this affliction is not appropriate to an Arya or gentlemen  or a brave man

अस्वर्ग्यम् not leading to heaven. Arjuna is put in a double benefit situation. If he dies in the war, he becomes eligible to reach heaven which is reserved for brave soldiers. If he wins, he wars he can enjoy the whole kingdom without any opposition. 

अकीर्तिकरम् disgraceful, ignominious. If he runs away from battle field you will be called a deserter or a coward.

VERSE 02: 3

क्लैब्यं मा स्म गमः पार्थ नैतत्त्वय्युपपद्यते ।

क्षुद्रं हृदयदौर्बल्यं त्यक्त्वोत्तिष्ठ परन्तप ॥२:३॥

klaibyaṁ mā sma gamaḥ pārtha naitattvayyupapadyatē |

kṣudraṁ hr̥dayadaurbalyaṁ tyaktvōttiṣṭha parantapa ||2:3||

क्लैब्यम् मा स्म गमः पार्थ न एतत् त्वयि उपपद्यते

क्षुद्रम्  हृदयदौर्बल्यम् त्यक्त्वा  उत्तिष्ठ परन्तप

क्लैब्यम्- impotency मा स्म गमः-do not get पार्थ-O Partha (Arjuna) न-not  एतत्-this  त्वयि-to you उपपद्यते-is fitting क्षुद्रम्-mean  हृदयदौर्बल्यम्-weakness of heart त्यक्त्वा-shake off  उत्तिष्ठ-get up परन्तप-O Scorcher of foes

O Arjuna! Yield not to this impotence, it is unbecoming of you. O scorcher of foes! Arise! Shake off this weak heartedness.


पार्थ-O Partha (Arjuna). Pritha was the beautiful, virtuous daughter of King Shura. Her elder brother was Vasudeva, the father of Krishna. She was given in adoption to Kuntibhoja, Shura’s childless cousin. Being the daughter of Kuntibhoja, Pritha came to be called as Kunti. Krishna here calls Arjuna as Partha, the son of Pritha.

क्लैब्यम् मा गमः स्म – do not get this unmanliness and cowardice. It is a weakness of the mind. Arjuna, you are known for your courage. You have fought with Ishwara himself. How can you be so effeminate being the greatest fighter?

क्षुद्रम्  हृदयदौर्बल्यम् त्यक्त्वा उत्तिष्ठ – shake off this faint heartedness, come on, take up the arms and fight.

परन्तप –the scorcher of enemies. This epithet is used for Arjuna who had destroyed powerful enemies.

VERSE 02: 4

अर्जुन उवाच

कथं भीष्ममहं संख्ये द्रोणं च मधुसूदन ।इषुभिः प्रति योत्स्यामि पूजार्हावरिसूदन ॥२:४॥

Arjuna uvāca

kathaṁ bhīṣmamahaṁ saṁkhyē drōṇaṁ ca madhusūdana |

iṣubhiḥ prati yōtsyāmi pūjārhāvarisūdana ||2:4||

कथम्  भीष्मम् अहं संख्ये द्रोणम् च  मधुसूदन इषुभिः प्रति योत्स्यामि पूजार्हौ अरिसूदन

कथम् – how भीष्मम्-Bhishma अहं-I  संख्ये-in the battle field  द्रोणम्-Drona च-also  मधुसूदन-Krishna the slayer of Madhu  इषुभिः-with arrows प्रतियोत्स्यामि-shall fight पूजार्हौ-worthy of worship अरिसूदन-O destroyer of foes

Arjuna said:

O destroyer of Madhu and slayer of enemies (Krishna)! How can I in the battlefield fight with arrow Bhishma and Drona who are worthy of adoration?


As a rejoinder to the snubbing of Krishna, here in these two verses Arjuna adduces powerful arguments as to why he has decided to withdraw from the battlefield.

कथम्  भीष्मम् अहं संख्ये द्रोणम् च  मधुसूदन इषुभिः प्रति योत्स्यामि –Krishna how can I fight respectable and adorable elders and Gurus like Bhishma and Drona. These are not my enemies but my mentors. How can I kill them?

पूजार्हौ अरिसूदन –They are great people worthy of worship.

इषुभिः प्रति योत्स्यामि – I cannot even use harsh words against them. Such being the case how can I aim sharp arrows against them?

VERSE 02: 5

गुरूनहत्वा हि महानुभावान् श्रेयो भोक्तुं भैक्ष्यमपीह लोके ।हत्वार्थकामांस्तु गुरूनिहैव भुञ्जीय भोगान् रुधिरप्रदिग्धान् ॥२:५॥

gurūnahatvā hi mahānubhāvān śrēyō bhōktuṁ bhaikṣyamapīha lōkē |

hatvārthakāmāṁstu gurūnihaiva bhuñjīya bhōgān rudhirapradigdhān ||2:5||

गुरून् अहत्वा हि महानुभावान् श्रेयः भोक्तुम् भैक्ष्यम् अपि इह लोके हत्वा अर्थकामान् तु गुरून् इह एव भुञ्जीय भोगान् रुधिरप्रदिग्धान्

गुरून् –the teachers अहत्वा-without killing हि-indeed  महानुभावान्-noble gentlemen  श्रेयः- is better भोक्तुम्- to eat भैक्ष्यम्- alms अपि- also इह- in this लोके-world हत्वा-having slain अर्थकामान्-wealth and desires  तु-indeed  गुरून्-Gurus  इह-here एव-also भुञ्जीय-I shall enjoy भोगान्- pleasures रुधिरप्रदिग्धान्-stained with blood


It is better to live in this world on alms without slaying these noble gentlemen, because even after killing them, all my enjoyments of wealth and desires shall be stained with blood.

गुरून् अहत्वा हि महानुभावान् –without killing the noble preceptors who are posted in the army of Duryodhana. Arjuna also indicates here other elders like Krupacharya. He considers other options available to him. अनुभाव means महिमा or greatness, magnitude and महनुभाव means distinguished, celebrated  महमहिमा illustrious

श्रेयः भोक्तुम् भैक्ष्यम् अपि इह लोके –it is better to eat alms in this world which is said to be unbecoming of a Kshatriya. I will neither get salvation or merit of heaven by killing them. What I get is only the blood-stained kingdom and sense enjoyments. Bhiksha is a sinful activity for a grahastha. It is allowed for a Brahmachari or sanyasi.

हत्वा अर्थकामान् भुञ्जीय भोगान् रुधिरप्रदिग्धान् –having slain them the wealth and desires I may have to  enjoy life stained with blood.

VERSE 02: 6

 न चैतद्विद्मः कतरन्नो गरीयो यद्वा जयेम यदि वा नो जयेयुः ।यानेव हत्वा न जिजीविषामः -स्तेऽवस्थिताः प्रमुखे धार्तराष्ट्राः ॥२:६॥

na caitadvidmaḥ katarannō garīyō yadvā jayēma yadi vā nō jayēyuḥ |

yānēva hatvā na jijīviṣāma -stē:’vasthitāḥ pramukhē dhārtarāṣṭrāḥ ||2:6||

न च एतत् विद्मः कतरत् न गरीयः यत् वा जयेम यदि वा नः जयेयुः यान् एव हत्वा न जिजीविषामः ते अवस्थिताः प्रमुखे धार्तराष्ट्राः

न- not च-and  एतत्-this विद्मः-we know कतरत्-whether नः –for us  गरीयः- better यत् वा- (nor do we know) whether जयेम-we shall win यदि वा-or whether नः-us जयेयुः-should be won over यान्- whom एव-even  हत्वा- having slained  न जिजीविषामः-we do not wish to live  ते एव –those very अवस्थिताः-are standing, arraigned प्रमुखे-in the opposite camp धार्तराष्ट्राः-sons of Dhritarashtra.

I can hardly decide which is preferable for us, whether we should win or they should win. Those very sons of Dhritarashtra, killing whom we do not wish to live are standing right before us in the opposite camp.

This is the turning point of acceptance of Arjuna’s helplessness.

न च एतत् विद्मः कतरत् न गरीयः –Krishna, I really do not know which course is better for us, to engage in the war and kill the kauravas or to abstain from the war and prevent bloodshed of kith and kins. He is in two minds whether to do the duty of Kshatriya or emotionally  buckle to the concept of evil and bad merits. My mind has lost its objectivity to take the right action.

यत् वा जयेम यदि वा नः जयेयुः –Again we do not know whether we will win or be won over. As a warrior he should know that this uncertainty is always there in a war or indeed in any enterprise. It is bad to start a project with defeatist tendency.

यान् एव हत्वा न जिजीविषामः ते अवस्थिताः प्रमुखे धार्तराष्ट्राः –Another week argument in self-defence. Krishna, arrayed before me in the opposite camp are the sons of Dhritarashtra by slaining whom there is no point in our living. Arjuna betrays his weak mind. Since thirteen years he has worked collected arms and worked to defeat the kauravas. In the nickof time he gets double mind.

जिजीविषामः means we like to live वितुम् इच्छामः इति जिजीविषामः ।

VERSE 02: 7

 कार्पण्यदोषोपहतस्वभावः पृच्छामि त्वां धर्मसम्मूढचेताः ।यच्छ्रेयः स्यान्निश्चितं ब्रूहि तन्मे शिष्यस्तेऽहं शाधि मां त्वां प्रपन्नम् ॥२:७॥

kārpaṇyadōṣōpahatasvabhāvaḥ pr̥cchāmi tvāṁ dharmasammūḍhacētāḥ |

yacchrēyaḥ syānniścitaṁ brūhi tanmē śiṣyastē:’haṁ śādhi māṁ tvāṁ prapannam ||2:7||

कार्पण्यदोषोपहतस्वभावः पृच्छामि त्वाम् धर्मसम्मूढचेताः यः श्रेयः स्यात् निश्चितं ब्रूहि तत् मे शिष्यः ते अहम् शाधि माम् त्वाम् प्रपन्नम्

कार्पण्यदोषो उपह्रत स्वभावः – my mind is victimized by indecisiveness, non-functional   पृच्छामि- I ask त्वाम्-you धर्मसम्मूढचेताः-with a mind bewildered about my duty यः-which श्रेयः-good  स्यात् -is  निश्चितम्- decisively ब्रूहि –tell तत्-that  मे-for me शिष्यः- disciple ते-you अहम्-me  शाधि-teach माम्-me  त्वाम्-in you प्रपन्नम्-I have taken refuge

My inner nature is overwhelmed by sympathy and pity, my mind is confused about my right duty; so I implore you to advice what is decidedly good for me. I am your deciple; I have taken refuge in you.


कार्पण्यदोषःउपह्रत स्वभावः– My intellect  is not capable of deciding the right action for me कार्पण्य means miserliness. Wretchedness.  It also means pitiiful circumstance. दोष means tainted by, impurity. उपह्रत स्वभावः my natrure has been hijacked by pitiful circumstances. I am unable to decide what is the right way for me, to fight or not to fight.

Who is a कृपणः One who is mean minded, wreched, miserable and pitiable. In comman parlance it also means a niggard, stingy guy. In Bruhadaranyaka Upanishat Yagnyavalkya Rushi says, यो वा एतदक्क्षरम्  गर्ग्य विदित्वा अस्माल्लोकात् प्रैति सः कृपणः, one who leaves this world without self-realization is krupana.

पृच्छामि त्वाम् धर्मसम्मूढचेताः – I seek your guidance because my mind is deluded about my duty. Arjuna was bewildered about the options available to him. As a warrior and a devoted soldier  he is expected to defend his kigdom. As a human being, he is overwhelmed with sympathy and pity for his kith and kin; for the venerable elders and Gurus; he is shattered by the amount of sin that may befall on him by such an action

Dharma means duty. As a warrior he is bound to kill he enemies and defend the kingdom. This statement shows the weak mind of Arjuna. He is not sure if he has to do the duty of a warrior or take up sanyas.

VERSE 02: 8

 न हि प्रपश्यामि ममापनुद्याद् यच्छोकमुच्छोषणमिन्द्रियाणाम् ।अवाप्य भूमावसपत्नमृद्धं राज्यं सुराणामपि चाधिपत्यम् ॥२:८॥na hi prapaśyāmi mamāpanudyād yacchōkamucchōṣaṇamindriyāṇām |avāpya bhūmāvasapatnamr̥ddhaṁ rājyaṁ surāṇāmapi cādhipatyam ||2:8|| न हि प्रपश्यामि मम अपनुद्यात् यत् शोकम्  उछॊषणम् इन्द्रियाणाम् अवाप्य भूमौ आसपत्नम् ऋदम् राज्यम् सुराणम् अपि च अधिपत्यम् 

न- not हि-indeed  प्रपश्यामि-I do see मम-mine  अपनुद्यात्-would remove  यत्- that शोकम्-grief  उछॊषणम्-dried up इन्द्रियाणाम्- senses अवाप्य- on obtaining भूमौ-on this earth आसपत्नम्-undisputed , unrivalled ऋदम्-prosperous राज्यम्-kingdom सुराणम्-over the gods अपि-also च-and  अधिपत्यम्-lordship

I don’t see any way which could drive away my grief that burns up my senses; not even my possession of unrivalled and prosperous kingship over the earth and lordship over the deities of heaven.

न हि प्रपश्यामि मम अपनुद्यात् –  Krishna, I do not see any thing that can drive away my grief

यत् शोकम्  उछॊषणम् इन्द्रियाणाम् –  The grief that is wasting and withering my senses

अवाप्य भूमौ आसपत्नम् ऋदम् राज्यम् –even if I  become the ruler of an undisputed and affluent  kingdom

सुराणम् अपि च अधिपत्यम् – and lordship over the heavens

In these five verses Arjun expresses to Krishna his indicisiveness, fear and anxiety over the participation in war. He is not able to take his own decision and therefore falls at the feet of Krishna for proper guidance. What are the arguments given by Arjuna for abstaining from war?

  1. How can I slain the venerable Gurus and elders
  2. Even if I win by killing them, the kingdom and my wealth would be stained with blood. So it is better to live by begging alms.
  3. One does not know who may win the battle. Even if I win, I do not like to live with sin of killing my kiths and kins
  4. Krishna, my heart is breaking with pity and compassion; my mind is blocked about the right action I should fallow. I am not able to decide what is good for me. Please therefore guide me, I am your disciple, I take refuge in you.
  5. My excessive grief is killing me; I do not see any way to get out of this mental weakness. I think even if I become the sovereign of a flourishing kingdom and the Lord of heaven, my grief would not leave me.

The pitiable condition of Arjuna is evident from his action mentioned in the fallowing verse.

VERSE 02: 9

 संजय उवाचएवमुक्त्वा हृषीकेशं गुडाकेशः परन्तपः ।न योत्स्य इति गोविन्दमुक्त्वा तूष्णीं बभूव ह ॥२:९॥

saṁjaya uvāca

ēvamuktvā hr̥ṣīkēśaṁ guḍākēśaḥ parantapah |

na yōtsya iti gōvindamuktvā tūṣṇīṁ babhūva ha ||2:9||

एवम् उक्त्वा हृषीकेशम् गुडाकेशः परन्तपः न योत्स्य इति गोविन्दम् उक्त्वा तूष्णीम् बभूव ह

एवम्- thus उक्त्वा-addressed हृषीकेशम्- Krishna, the lord of senses गुडाकेशः-Arjuna, knotted tuft warrior  परन्तपः – also refers to Arjuna being scorcher of enemies न- योत्स्य- I will not fight इति- thus गोविन्दम्- another epithet for Krishan उक्त्वा- having said तूष्णीम्- silent बभूव- ह-he became.

Sanjaya said: “O king, having thus spoken to Krishna, Arjuna told him “I will not fight”and became silent.


The statements in this verse and the fallowing ones are made by Sanjaya, the faithful reporter of Gita. Sanjay who had received a divine gift of extra-sensorial vision reported the happenings on the battlefield to the blind king  Dhratarashtra ( ध्रतराष्ट्र). 

एवम् उक्त्वा हृषीकेशम् –Arjuna, having said thus to Krishna. The latter is called Hrushikesha. The word refers to his control over senses. He is the lord of senses because the sense organs are under the conrol of his mind. This quality is called dama and is one of the prerequisites for a devotee.

गुडाकेशः परन्तप– Both these epithets refer to Arjuna. गुडाका  means sloath, laziness ईष  means the lord, master. प्रमाद आलस्य निद्रा are the symtoms of tamo guna. Arjuna has won oiver the tamas. So he is called gudakesha. In spiritual progress it is necessary for us too to cross tamoguna.

 Amother meaning is he got the name of Gudakesha because he wore a tuft of hair on his head. He is called parantapa the scorcher of enemies. Gudakesha also means one who has won over sleep. Sleep is a mark of tamoguna

न योत्स्य इति गोविन्दम् उक्त्वा तूष्णीम् बभूव ह –Arjuna said, “Krishna, I don’t fight”, and became silent. Krishna is called Govinda here.

This is a dramatic representation of Arjuna who was a mental wreck. An account of the misplaced compassion and pity for the enemies, he put forward specious arguments as to why he abstainins from war. Having sought the guidance of Krishna, he makes a self-defeating decision of not to fight.

VERSE 2: 10

 तमुवाच हृषीकेशः प्रहसन्निव भारत ।सेनयोरुभयोर्मध्ये विषीदन्तमिदं वचः ॥२:१०॥

tamuvāca hr̥ṣīkēśaḥ prahasanniva bhārata |

sēnayōrubhayōrmadhyē viṣīdantamidaṁ vacaḥ ||2:10||

तम् उवाच हृषीकेशः प्रहसन् इव भारत सेनयोः उभयोः मध्ये विषीदन्तम् इदम् वचः 

तम्- to him उवाच-spoke हृषीकेशः-Krishna, the lord of senses प्रहसन्- smiling इव-as if  भारत  -O descendent of Bharata(refers to blind king Dhritarashtra)  सेनयोः- of the armies उभयोः-of both  मध्ये-in the middle विषीदन्तम्-despondent (refers to Arjuna) इदम्-this Gita Shastra  वचः-words

Then, O Dhritarashtra!  Krishna as if he was smiling, addressed the fallowing words to lamenting Arjuna, in the midst of two enemies.


तम् उवाच हृषीकेशः प्रहसन् इव –Krishna said to Arjuna, as if smiling. Krishna was amused at the inconsistent actions of Arjuna. In the first place he had requested Krishna, to pull the chariot to the middle of the fighting armies so that he can take a good look at the enemies who had arrayed against Pandavas. Having seen them all, he was overwhelmed with misplaced compassion for the enemies and his ultimately decision not to fight the war. He had sought advice of Krishna but before Krishna opened his mouth he had decided against participating in the battle. So Krishna had a smiling countenance.

सेनयोः उभयोः मध्ये विषीदन्तम् इदम् वचः-   Thus spoke Krsihna to sorrowing Arjuna who stood in midst of two fighting armies


VERSE 2: 11

VERSE  11 to 38  -Digest of Sankhya Yoga philosophy


श्रीभगवानुवाचअशोच्यानन्वशोचस्त्वं प्रज्ञावादांश्च भाषसे ।गतासूनगतासूंश्च नानुशोचन्ति पण्डिताः ॥२:११॥ śrībhagavānuvācaaśōcyānanvaśōcastvaṁ prajñāvādāṁśca bhāṣasē |gatāsūnagatāsūṁśca nānuśōcanti paṇḍitāḥ ||2:11||

अशोच्यान् अन्वशोचः त्वम्  प्रज्ञावादान् च भाषसे गतासून् अगतासून् च न अनुशोचन्ति पण्डिताः

अशोच्यान्- those who should not be grieved for अन्वशोचः-you have grieved  त्वम्-you प्रज्ञावादान्-words of wisdom च-and  भाषसे-you speak  गतासून्-those who have breathed the last  अगतासून्-and those who are living (breath continues)  च-and  न-not  अनुशोचन्ति-grieve पण्डिताः-the wise


The Blessed Lord said:

You are grieving for those who are not worth grieving. Yet you speak like a learned person. A truly wise man mourns neither for those who are living nor for those who have passed away.


Swami Paramarthananda says that this shloka is the essence of Gita, it is the bija shloka. It says avidya or ignorance is the cause of human problems. Vidya or knowldge is the source of Moksha or liberation.  The teaching of Gita (Gita Shastra) begins from this verse No. 11 of chapter 2 and continues upto end of 18th chapter. Atma gnyana or self knowledge  is the essence of Gita.


The Lord says the body mind-complex is not you. It is anatma or matter. You are consciousness or chaitanya. The physical, emotional and intellectual personality is not Atma. We can use it for transactional purposes. We have to discover our real self which is truth and bliss. The Lord gives some essential features of nature of atma (atma swarupa) in the fallowing verses. Here is a gist oft hem.

  1. Atma is never seen but always existent. It is called aprameya.
  2. Atma is nitya eternal. Some times it is manifest (Vyakta) and some other times it is not manifest (avyakata). Verse 12
  3. Atma is satya. Wave is mithya and water is satya. Pot is mithya and mud is satya. Anatma is mithya and atma is satya. Without atma anatma cannot exist. It’s very existence is barrowed from atma.
  4. Atma is nirvikari or changeless. Verse 13
  5. Atma is Akarta and abhokta. He does not do any action or reep any result.
  6. Atma is the subject and never an object.
  7. Atma is all pervading

Then Krishna fallows up by advising Arjuna why he should fight the battle. He gives in the fist place the philosophical reasons (verse 11 to 25) and later moral or worldly reasons.


अशोच्यान् अन्वशोचः त्वम् –You are lamenting for those who are not worth your lamentations. This refers to the list of Gurus, elders, adorables and Arjuna’s cousins in the Kaurava army. They should not be grieved because they are arrayed with the enemy camp and as a warrior Arjuna has to fight till victory. Jayadayal Goyandka says, “This verse marks the beginning of the gospel of Gita or bija shloka which reaches its conclusion in the verse 66 of 18th chapter” It is quoted below:

 सर्वधर्मान्परित्यज्य मामेकं शरणं व्रज ।अहं त्वां सर्वपापेभ्यो मोक्षयिष्यामि मा शुचः ॥१८:६६॥11th shloka which marks the virtual beginning of Gita contains the words  अशोच्यान् अन्वशोचः त्वम् , you are grieving for those who should not be grieved. The concluding verse 18:66 also contains the words ,मा शुचः do not grieve” That means Gita is the philosophy of avoiding grief in the world.

प्रज्ञावादान् च भाषसे –Yet you speak like a wise man. This refers to the specious self-defeating arguments of Arjua as to why he abstains from the battle.

गतासून् अगतासून् च – गता -departed सून –breath or life. One whose breath has gone is dead. अगता सून –one whose breath or life–has not gone meaning one who is living. Breath is synonymous with life.

पण्डिताः अनुशोचन्ति–the wise people do not lament in life. Wise is man of self knowledge,  Atma jnyani.

VERSE 2: 12

न त्वेवाहं जातु नासं न त्वं नेमे जनाधिपाः ।न चैव न भविष्यामः सर्वे वयमतः परम् ॥२:१२॥

na tv evā’ham jātu nā’sam na tvam ne’me janādhipāḥ,
na cai’va na bhaviṣyāmaḥ sarve vayam ataḥ param (12)

न तु एव अहम् जातु न असम् त्वम् न इमे जनाधिपाः न च एव न भविष्यामः सर्वे वयम् अतः परम्

न तु एव- neither अहम्-I जातु-ever न-not असम्-was त्वम्-you न-nor  इमे-these जनाधिपाः-rulers of men  न च एव-nor न-not भविष्यामः- shall be सर्वे-all वयम्-we अतः परम्-from this time after.

There was never a time when these rulers of the people, you or I did not exist; nor shall we ever cease to exist in future


In this verse Krishna establishes everlasting character of soul. He says, Arjuna, “Neither those whose loss you fear, nor you, nor me, or all those who are present in the battlefield is or would be ever non-existent at any point of time. They existed before their birth in the present body and would continue to exist after their mortal body ceases. Death of the body does not mean death of the soul. There is no death for the soul. It is eternal. You and I are always present irrespective whether our bodies existed or not and shall continue to be present. It is just like a space in the mud pot being present in spite of the destruction of the pot. The body is fleeting in nature, but the soul is eternal.

VERSE 2: 13

 देहिनोऽस्मिन्यथा देहे कौमारं यौवनं जरा ।तथा देहान्तरप्राप्तिर्धीरस्तत्र न मुह्यति ॥२:१३॥

dēhinō:’sminyathā dēhē kaumāraṁ yauvanaṁ jarā |

tathā dēhāntaraprāptirdhīrastatra na muhyati ||2:13||

देहिनः अस्मिन् यथा देहे कौमारम्  यौवनम्  जरा तथा देहान्तरप्राप्तिः धीरः तत्र न मुह्यति

देहिनः- the embodied soul अस्मिन्-in this  देहे- body यथा-just as  कौमारम्-childhood यौवनम्-youth जरा-old age तथा-even so देहान्तरप्राप्तिः- attaining of another body र्धीरः-the wise man तत्र-there न-not  मुह्यति-gets deluded or grieves

Just as the embodied self passes through childhood, youth and old age, so also he acquires another body afer death. This should not delude the wise man.


देहिनः अस्मिन् यथा देहे कौमारम्  यौवनम्  जरा Just as childhood, youth and old age do not belong to the soul but belongs to the gross body.  The soul remains eternally changeless . After death of the body it is the subtle body which leaves the dead body and takes another new body. The soul is ever present. The phenomenon of birth and death do not affect the self or the soul. Knowing this fact the wise do not get deluded and grieve for the dead. Atma is nirvikari.

देहान्तरप्राप्तिः attaining another body after death. Death like change in the body such as childhood, youth and  oldage is another change in the body. The “dehi” or soul takes another body in its migration.

VERSE 2: 14

 मात्रास्पर्शास्तु कौन्तेय शीतोष्णसुखदुःखदाः ।आगमापायिनोऽनित्यास्तांस्तितिक्षस्व भारत ॥२:१४॥

mātrāsparśāstu kauntēya śītōṣṇasukhaduḥkhadāḥ |

āgamāpāyinō:’nityāstāṁstitikṣasva bhārata ||2:14||

मात्रास्पर्शाः तु कौन्तेय शीतोष्णसुखदुःखदाः आगमापायिनः अनित्याः तान् तितिक्षस्व भारत

mātrāsparśāḥ tu kauntēya śītōṣṇasukhaduḥkhadāḥ āgamāpāyinaḥ anityāḥ tān titikṣasva bhārata

मात्रास्पर्शाः-contact of senses with the sense objects तु-indeed कौन्तेय-O son of Kunti (Arjuna) शीतोष्णसुखदुःखदाः-are producer of cold and heat and pleasure and pain   आगमापायिनः- are of the nature of  coming and going that means they are fleeting, अनित्याः- impermanent तान्-them तितिक्षस्व- endure भारत-O descendent of Bharata

O son of Kunti (Arjuna), the contacts of the senses with sense objects give rise to the feelings of cold and heat, pleasure and pain. They are transitory and therefore bear with them bravely.


मात्रास्पर्शाः तु शीतोष्णसुखदुःखदाः –the contact between sense organs and sense objects produce the sense of cold and heat. The weights and measures are called matra (मात्रा). It also refers to sense perception by the mind. The word स्पर्श (sparsha) means contact. Therefore the compound word    matrasparsha  (मात्रास्पर्शाः) comes to mean the contact of the mind / senses with their respective sense objects. There are five senses. श्रोत्रं त्वक् चक्षु: रसना घ्राणम् इति पंच ज्ञानेन्द्रियाणि – ear, skin, eyes, tongue, and nose are gthe five sense organs. Their respective sense objects are: शब्द स्पर्श रूप रस गन्ध  sound, touch, sight, taste and smell. When a sense organ comes in contact with its respective sense object there is a perception by the mind which is called matrasparsha or cognition. These contacts produce opposite feelings such as cold-heat; pleasure – pain; love-hatred; joy-grief; concord-discord etc.

आगमापायिनः अनित्याः –These objects being nothing but matter are fleeting in nature. They come and go.

तान् तितिक्षस्व भारत – Arjuna endure them. We should not endure grief like beasts. We should realize that they are of the nature of coming and going. They are not permanent.  So, they have to be endured. What cannot be cured should be endured. Their contact should not be allowed to produce any unhealthy reaction on the mind. They should be simply endured. Arjuna is also asked not to entertain any partiality or prejudice for or against the adorable people in the opposite army.

VERSE 2: 15

 यं हि न व्यथयन्त्येते पुरुषं पुरुषर्षभ ।समदुःखसुखं धीरं सोऽमृतत्वाय कल्पते ॥२:१५॥

yaṁ hi na vyathayantyētē puruṣaṁ puruṣarṣabha |

samaduḥkhasukhaṁ dhīraṁ sō:’mr̥tatvāya kalpatē ||2:15||

यम् हि न व्यथयन्ति ऎते  पुरुषम्  पुरुषर्षभ समदुःखसुखम्  धीरम् सः अमृतत्वाय कल्पते

यम्- whomहि-surely  न व्यथयन्ति-do not torment ऎते-these (contact of senses with sense objects) पुरुषम्- manपुरुषर्षभ-O best of men समदुःखसुखम्-to whom plain and pleassur are alike धीरम्-wise सः-he अमृतत्वाय-for immortality कल्पते-becomes fit


O best among the men (Arjuna), a wise man who is not ruffled by these (contact of senses with the sense objects) and who remains calm and even minded during pain and pleasure, and bears them, becomes eligible for immortality.


In this verse in the name of Arjuna, Krishna teaches the world how to bear with the sets of opposits in life. He says, the key is samatvam or equanimity of mind. It is the emotional control (E.. Q. ) without causing unhealthy reaction in us.


यम् धीरम् हि न व्यथयन्ति ऎते –That wise man who is not tormented, a man who remains composed and not afflicted by circumstances and situations. These afflictions do no produce any unhealthy reactions in him. He remains the same and bears with it.

ऎते –these. It refers to the word मात्रास्पर्शाः (matrasparsha) mentioned in previous verse, that is contact of the sense with sense objects.

समदुःखसुखम् –in the face of pleasure and pain. In life we are faced with several sets of opposites like, attraction and repulsion, joy and grief, hot and cold, praise and censure, success and failure etc. A person who has a neutral attitude in such situations is called धीर (Dheera). He cheerfully endures them. There is an adage “this too shall pass”.  This was inscribed on the ring of a sufi king of Persia. Whenever he was happy or sad he used to look at the inscription and was reminded that the situation was only temporary and will pass.

Dheera lierally means brave. A person who faces the pairs of opposites without  emotional disturbance is called Dheer. Real brave man.

सः अमृतत्वाय कल्पते –he becomes fit to attain immortality. Here immortality means Moksha but not deathlessness. Such an even and composed state of mind is a prerequisite for attaining liberation.

Once Vallabh Bhai Patel was arguing in a case in a court when a telegram was delivered to him. He read the message, which said, “Your wife passed away”. He folded the paper and continued with the argument.  After finishing it he attended the funeral. This is how he faced the grief without any mental disturbance.

VERSE 2: 16

 नासतो विद्यते भावो नाभावो विद्यते सतः ।उभयोरपि दृष्टोऽन्तस्त्वनयोस्तत्त्वदर्शिभिः ॥२:१६॥

nāsatō vidyatē bhāvō nābhāvō vidyatē sataḥ |

ubhayōrapi dr̥ṣṭō:’ntastvanayōstattvadarśibhiḥ ||2:16||

न असतः विद्यते भावः न भावः विद्यते सतः

उभयोः अपि दृष्टः अन्तः तु अनयोः तत्वदर्शिभिः

न- not असतः-of the unreal विद्यते-exists भावः-being, existence  न-not  अभावः-being, existence विद्यते-exists सतः-for the real उभयोः-of the two अपि-also दृष्टः-has thus been perceived अन्तः-reality; essence तु-indeed अनयोः-of both these तत्वदर्शिभिः-by the seers of truth.

Of the unreal, there is no existence. Of the real there is no non-existence. The final truth of both of these is perceived by the seers of truth.

न असतः विद्यते भावः-For the unreal there is no existence, in other words unreal has no existence. It is not permanent. It exists seemingly, so it is called mithya or unreal. What is the meaning of unreal? The vedantic literature describes that which was not there in the beginning and which will not be in the end is called unreal. It seemingly exists in the middle

(अदावंते च यन्नास्ति वर्तमनेपि तथैवच). Ocean is real. The waves are not real although they exist seemingly. The waves cannot exist without ocean. The ocean can exist without waves. So in the vedantic definition waves are not real. Waves are mithya. Ocean is real or satya. Another example of pot. It is prepared from mud. Before it was manufactured, the pot did not exist. After it breaks also the pod does not exist. So it is not permanent. There is one permanent aspect here. It is mud. It existed befoe the pot and continues to exist after destruction of pot. So mud is satya. The pot is mithya. The intention of Krishna is to show that the human body and universe both have temporary existence but appear permanent at first sight. In other words matter or the physical body is unreal. The physical body is subject to six changes of birth, growth, maturity, reproduction, decay and death. Tattva Bodha describes the physical body has six modifications of अस्ति (exists) जायते (takes birth) वर्धते (grows)  विपरिणमते (matures) अपक्षीयते (decays) विनश्यतीति (dies). Real one has no change.

Cold and hot are asat or non-existent (शीतोष्णसुखदुःखदाः). They are the products (कारण) of a cause (कार्य). Any product or a कारण has an end विनश्यति. Pot is a product and mud is the cause. Similary the body and mind are asat or mithya. It is anatma. It has no existence. All the anatma examples given above ike waves, pot, body, and mind have a beginning and an end. So they are mithya. What about emotions like, love, happiness, grief and hatred?. They are the products of mind and fleeting in nature. That means they are also asat or mithya. Asat has no existence.

अभावः विद्यते सतः-The real never ceases to be. It is eternal. “Brahman or Atman the real and eternal, indestructible, pure, unique, all-knower, substratum, unchangeable, self-luminous, and all pervading and the cause of all causes”. Suppose I show you a coin placed on my palm and ask you. “What is this”? Surely you will reply, “It is a coin”. You will see the coin but not the palm which is the substratum. Our senses are conditioned to see the unreal. The substratum is the real which we do not perceive.

उभयोः अपि दृष्टः अन्तः तु अनयोः तत्वदर्शिभिः– the reality of both, meaning sat and asat has thus been perceived by the seers of truth. The wise man knows that he is not this body and mind but he is the atman. उभयोः means both and अनयोः means these. The difference between both असत् and सत् (unreal and real) has been realized by the seers of truth. Only the wise man understands the mystery of real and unreal that  Atma is real and anatma is unreal. Real is eternal. Unreal is fleeting. It

Is subject to change. This is explained more in next shloka

VERSE 2: 17

 अविनाशि तु तद्विद्धि येन सर्वमिदं ततम् ।विनाशमव्ययस्यास्य न कश्चित्कर्तुमर्हति ॥२:१७॥

avināśi tu tadviddhi yēna sarvamidaṁ tatam |

vināśamavyayasyāsya na kaścitkartumarhati ||2:17||

अविनाशि तु तत् विद्धि येन सर्वम् इदम् ततम्

विनाशम् अस्य अव्ययस्य न कश्चित् कर्तुम् अर्हति

avināśi tu tat viddhi yēna sarvam idam tatam vināśam asya avyayasya  na kaścit kartum arhati

अविनाशि-indestructible तु -indeed- तत्- that विद्धि-know  येन-by whom सर्वम्-all  इदम्-this ततम्-pervaded विनाशम्-destruction अस्य-of this  अव्ययस्य-imperishable न-none कश्चित्-any one  कर्तुम्-to do अर्हति-capable.

Know that alone to be imperishable by which all this is pervaded. None can cause destruction of the imperishable.


In this stanza the  lord explains the difference between real and unreal

अविनाशि तु तत् विद्धि येन सर्वम् इदम् ततम् –know that alone to be imperishable by which all this is pervaded. The word Tat refers to Brahman. सर्वम् इदम् refers to all this mortal body and universe. The spirit by whom the entire universe is pervaded cannot be destroyed. The lord defined in the previous verse, the mystery of real and unreal. Real is that which is available to us at all periods of time. It is called ‘sat’ or Real. It is the life giving consciousness.

Thre are five great elements. They are

ततः आकाश: सम्भूतः । आकाशाद्वायुः । वायोस्तेजः ।  तेजस् आपः । अद्भ्यः प्रथिवी ।।

From maya emerged akasha or space. From space evolved vayu or air, then teja or fire, followed by water and earth. Among them earth is the grossest and space is the subtlest. Water is the cause or earth. Water is the cause or कारण and earth is the effect or कार्य. Each of these elements is the product of preceding element. Space is the primary element  from which is caused air.  So the space pervades the air. Space is the subtlest . It is caused by Brahman which is subtler than space. So  Brahman pervades the all the five elements and the products evolved from the five elements. Brahman pervades entire universe (सर्वम् इदम् ततम्). Know that he is अविनाशि or indestructible.

अस्य अव्ययस्य विनाशम् न कश्चित् कर्तुम् अर्हति – No agency can destroy this imperishable spirit. The lord gives the characteristics of real and unreal. He explains that real has four features. They are:

  1. It pervades the entire universe सर्वम् इदम् ततम्
  2. It cannot be destroyed अव्यय
  3. It is not subject to change अविनाशि
  4. No one can destroy it विनाशम् न कश्चित् कर्तुम् अर्हति

VERSE 2: 18

 अन्तवन्त इमे देहा नित्यस्योक्ताः शरीरिणः ।अनाशिनोऽप्रमेयस्य तस्माद्युध्यस्व भारत ॥२:१८॥antavanta imē dēhā nityasyōktāḥ śarīriṇaḥ |anāśinō:’pramēyasya tasmādyudhyasva bhārata ||2:18|| अन्तवन्तः इमे देहाः नित्यस्य उक्ताः शरीरिणः अनाशिनः अप्रमेयः तस्मात् युध्यस्व भारत 

अन्तवन्त –  -having an end, इमे  -these, देहाः-  -bodies, नित्यस्य  -of the everlasting उक्ताः –are said, शरीरिणः -of the embodied  अनाशिनः –of the indestructible, अप्रमेयः -of the incomprehensible, तस्मात्-therefore, युध्यस्व  -fight, भारत  -O descendent of Bharata

All these mortal bodies are spoken of as having a termination of their existence. But the everlasting in dweller soul is imperishable and indefinable. With this wisdom, fight O Arjuna, the descendent of Bharata!


Having explained what is real in verse 17, the Lord now sets out to describe what is unreal.

अन्तवन्तः इमे देहाः– these gross bodies, and universe which have an end is called  अन्तवन्तः or having an end. When you examine a mirage, you will understand that there is no water in it. That is the end of mirage. They are perishable. ‘These bodies’ means all the physical and subtle bodies, and universe. These bodies are  anatma  so finite.  Hence, all the bodies and unverse are unreal or asat.

नित्यस्य उक्ताः शरीरिणः –The indweller of the bodes, or the embodied soul is said to be everlasting. He is atma.  The soul or the spirit is the indweller. He is sat or real. Earlier the Lord has explained that Of the unreal, there is no existence; of the real there is no non-existence (न असतः विद्यते भावः न भावः विद्यते सतः) We can now understand the significance of this statement well.  

Goyandaka points out an interesting feature. In this verse the Lord has used देहाः (bodies- plural), and शरीरिणः (embodied soul-singular). The intention is to show that although there are multiple bodes the soul in all of them is only one. He is the Brahman.

अनाशिनः अप्रमेयःTwo adjectives are used in respect of soul. They are imperishable and immeasurable. Aprameya means that which cannot be meaured. Prameya or measurement is the characteristic of material object or anatma. Aprameya is never an object of knowledge.  

तस्मात् युध्यस्व भारत- Having this knowledge in your mind,  Arjuna fight. Fight in the battle field and fight in life to get immortality.

VERSE 2: 19

 य एनं वेत्ति हन्तारं यश्चैनं मन्यते हतम् ।

उभौ तौ न विजानीतो नायं हन्ति न हन्यते ॥२:१९॥

ya ēnaṁ vētti hantāraṁ yaścainaṁ manyatē hatam |

ubhau tau na vijānītō nāyaṁ hanti na hanyatē ||2:19||

यः एनम्  वेत्ति हन्तारम् यः च ऎनम् मन्यते हतम् उभौ तौ न विजानीतः न अयम्  हन्ति न हन्यते

यः-who एनम्-this (self) वेत्ति-knows हन्तारम्-as slayer यः-who च-and ऎनम्- this (self) मन्यते-thinks हतम्- as slain उभौ-both तौ-these two न- not विजानीतः-know the truth न-not अयम्- this (self)   हन्ति-kills न-not हन्यते-is killed

He who considers the self as the slayer; or he who thinks that the self is slain; neither of them knows the truth. The self does not kill, nor is killed.


Atma is akarta and abhkata, does not get involved in any action (karma) or enjoyemnt.  Without space we cannot do any action but space is not  involved in any actiity. All the transcaions like money exchange, deals etc  takes place in light but light is not involed in any of these  actions. If you remove the light  no transaction can take place. Similarly atma is akarta and abhokta. Atma is not a killer nor killed.

It is the physical body that dies or one physical body kills another one. The soul is just an indweller and is not afflicted by the pain and pangs of the body. In a motion picture when a hero is shot at, he does not in fact die. The self is kutastha or just a witness to the happenings of the body. The self does not kill the body and there is no power which can kill the self. He is ever-existent.

यः एनम्  वेत्ति हन्तारम् यः च ऎनम् मन्यते हतम्He  who considers atma as the slayer, or who thinks that atma is slain. Atma is nitya (lasting), continues to exist even after the body is dead. If one considers atma as slayer, he becomes an agent of action or karta. If one thinks that when the body is slain atma is also slayed. In that case, Atma becomes an object. Atma is not a doer of action nor an object of action.

A criminal accused of manslaughter defended his action before the magistrate. “Sir, as per Gita, I am the self. The self is nether a slayer nor slain. I did not commit any crime”. The judge said ,”Yes I know. We are not going to hand the atma. We shall hang your body”. The deep philosophy of this verse should not be misused

उभौ तौ न विजानीतः न अयम्  हन्ति न हन्यते– If any one things that atma can be killed he is an ignorant.  Atma is akarta,  so he is free from conseqences of karma like sin and merit. He has no  rebirth as well. This idea is a central theme of Gita.

In chapter 17, the Lord classifyies the human activity into three groups. –sattviika, rajasik and tamasik. Of these, satttvika action has nil or minimum selfish motive and it is done for the benfefit of people at large. The rajasik action has more of selfish motive and less for the good of the people. Tamasia action is exclusiely for selfish end or at the maximum for the benefit of near and dear ones or their cotiery.

The benefit of sattvika action is inner growth and may or may not give external growth. It certainly gives happiness and peace. Rajasika action gives a lot of material growth but no inner peace and happiness. It is only inner rowth that contributes to happiness and peace. Having this in mind Krishna critisizes rajasik action.


A devotee who worships God with an intention of getting some rewards such as wealth, pleasure, power, progeny, property etc., for his or his family’s enjoyment is a sakama karmi. This Is a rajasik action. The lord says such a person has a desultory mind and is not able to fix it on God. He uses the phrase व्यवसायात्मिका बुद्धिः समाधौ न विधीयते. Such a person has a fixed opinion that the Vedas speak of only methods for attainment of heaven or rebirth as a human being for more and more material enjoyment.They think that the celestial damsels like Urvashi and Menaka, the elixir of Sura, life in the heaven are their goal.


VERSE 2: 20

न जायते म्रियते वा कदाचिन्नायं भूत्वा भविता वा न भूयः ।

अजो नित्यः शाश्वतोऽयं पुराणो न हन्यते हन्यमाने शरीरे ॥२:२०॥

na jāyatē mriyatē vā kadāci nnāyaṁ bhūtvā bhavitā vā na bhūyaḥ |

ajō nityaḥ śāśvatō:’yaṁ purāṇō na hanyatē hanyamānē śarīrē ||2:20||

न जायते म्रियते वा कदाचित् न अयम्  भूत्वा भविता वा न भूयः अजः नित्यः शाश्वतः अयम्  पुराणः न हन्यते हन्यमाने शरीरे

न-not जायते-is born म्रियते-dies न वा-nor again  कदाचित्-at any time न-not अयम्-this soul भूत्वा-having born भूयः-only then  भविता- comes into being अजः- unborn नित्यः- eternal शाश्वतः-everlasting अयम्-this soul पुराणः-ancient न-not हन्यते-is killed हन्यमाने शरीरे-with the destruction of the body

The self is never born nor it perishes; nor having come into existence, does it never cease to be. It is birth-less, eternal, ever-same. It is not killed when the body dies. 

In the previous verse the Lord showed that the soul cannot be killed by anybody. Now in the present verse he shows why it cannot be killed.

न जायते न म्रियते वा कदाचित् The self is neither born nor dies. The self has no beginning or no end. It is always existent. So it is real. The six modifications are the hallmarks of matter which is unreal. The modifications are अस्ति जायते वर्धते विपरिणमते अपक्षीयते विनश्यते इति. That means matter is subject to birth, growth, maturity, reproduction, decay and death. 

न अयम् भूत्वा भविता वा न भूयः– It is not that, It never begins its existence and never ends its existence. This self comes into being having born. A child is born at a particular time. It did not exist before and will not continue to exist after its death. The self is not like that. He was never born. He has no death. He exists eternally.

अजः नित्यः शाश्वतः अयम्  पुराणः– The soul cannot be killed because it is unborn, eternal, free from decay, and ancient. Ancient means it does not grow.

न हन्यते हन्यमाने शरीरे– He is not killed when body is killed.

VERSE 2: 21

 वेदाविनाशिनं नित्यं य एनमजमव्ययम् ।कथं स पुरुषः पार्थ कं घातयति हन्ति कम् ॥२:२१॥

vēdāvināśinaṁ nityaṁ ya ēnamajamavyayam |

kathaṁ sa puruṣaḥ pārtha kaṁ ghātayati hanti kam ||2:21||

वेद  अविनाशिनम् नित्यम् यः एनम् अजम् अव्ययम् कथम् सः पुरुषः पार्थ कम् घातयति हन्ति कम्

वेद- knows अविनाशिनम्-indestructible  नित्यम्-eternal यः-who एनम्-this (self)  अजम्-unborn अव्ययम्-changeless, without decay like old-age etc. कथम्-how सः-he  पुरुषः-man  पार्थ-O Partha, Son of Pritha  कम्-whom घातयति-causes to be killed  हन्ति-kills  कम्-whom

How can a man who knows that the self is indestructible, eternal, birth less and changeless can possibly think that it can cause the destruction of another? Or O Partha, whom could he kill?


Life is a seperae entity but not an integral part of the body. Similary consciousness is different from the body. Consciousness is not an integral part of the body but an independent entity. Life is not an integral part of the body. It is intimately connected with body. But independent.

वेद अविनाशिनम् नित्यम् यः एनम् अजम् अव्ययम् – one who knows that the soul is indestructible, eternal, unborn and free from changes of birth and death. अजम् means without birth. By implication he is without death too. Since he has no death he is called nitya. Birth and death are the 1st  and 6th changes of the body. Six changes of the material body are: अस्ति जायते वर्धते विपरिणमते अपक्षीयते विनश्यते इति. That means matter is subject to existence, birth, growth, maturity,  decay and death.  Birth and death are the first and last. The changes in between these two are also absent.

कथम् सः पुरुषः पार्थ कम् घातयति हन्ति कम् –“how can one slay another or cause to be slayed. It is the body in union with the mind and intellect that is killed or caused to be killed. Soul is ever present and never destroyed. There is only one consciousness which neither dies nor born. Therefore, all these actions of being subjected to death are attributed to the soul due to ignorance. In reality, it has nothing to do with the soul. Therefore grieving for any one does not stand to reason.” (Goyandka)

VERSE 2: 22

 वासांसि जीर्णानि यथा विहाय नवानि गृह्णाति नरोऽपराणि ।तथा शरीराणि विहाय जीर्णान्यन्यानि संयाति नवानि देही ॥२:२२॥ 

vāsāṁsi jīrṇāni yathā vihāya navāni gr̥hṇāti narō:’parāṇi |

tathā śarīrāṇi vihāya jīrṇānyanyāni saṁyāti navāni dēhī ||2:22||

वासांसि जीर्णानि यथा विहाय नवानि गृह्णाति नरः अपराणि  तथा जीर्णानि शरीराणि विहाय अन्यानि संयाति नवानि देही

वासांसि- clothes जीर्णानि-worn out यथा-just as विहाय- discarding  नवानि-new ones गृह्णाति-dons नरः-man अपराणि-others तथा-in the same way जीर्णानि-worn out शरीराणि-bodies विहाय-giving up अन्यानि-others संयाति-enters नवानि-new ones देही-the embodied soul.

As a man discards the old clothes and puts on new ones, so also the embodied self casts off his worn out bodies and enters new ones. Here Krishna is talking about rebirth after death.


वासांसि जीर्णानि यथा विहाय नवानि गृह्णाति नरः अपराणि – Just as a man discards his old clothes and wears new ones; the self or jiva too casts of his old body and enters into a new one.  This statement throws up more questions than it seeks to answer. Generally one feels happy to wear new garment, but would not like to give up the old bodies and take new ones. On deep thinking we understand that it is only the ignorant that feel pain at the time of death or casting of old body. It is just as a child wouldn’t let his mom to take off the old and soiled clothes to which he is attached.  

What is the meaning of wearing out of the body? Obviously it does not mean old age because a man can die at any age even as an infant. Worn out body therefore means after the prarabdha karma which has started bearing fruits is worn out.

तथा जीर्णानि शरीराणि विहाय अन्यानि संयाति नवानि देही – Similarly the self discards the worn out bodies and enters new ones. Goyandaka has pointed out an interesting feature of the analogy of the clothes with body. The clothes (वासांसि) is plural and the bodies (शरीराणि) is also in plural. We change many clothes in our life for the same body whereas the jiva changes the body only once.  Why then the lord has used plural for the body? It must after due thought and consideration. One does not know how many bodies the jiva takes in its course. So plural is used. Another reason seems to be that every individual soul possesses three distinct bodies, the gross body, subtle body and causal body. The jivatma leaves the physical worn out body and takes with him the subtle and causal bodies and enters a new physical body suitable for the subtle body.

In reality the soul, being immobile does not migrate from one body to another. When we carry a pot from one place to another the space within also seems to be carried. So when the subtle body leaves the gross body and enters another one it appears that the soul also is moving from worn out body to a new one.

The word देही means one who dwells in the body, the indweller or embodied soul.  

गृह्णाति, संयाति – (grunnati, samyati) गृह्णाति means takes or receives. It is used in respect of people who take and wear new robes. संयाति means to go or to enter. It is used in respect of the soul which appears to leave the body and take a new one.

At the time of death only the physical body perishes. The other two, subtle body, and casual body along with the baggage of vasanas (papa and punya) and the atma survive. They take another body to continue the experience.

VERSE 2: 23

 नैनं छिन्दन्ति शस्त्राणि नैनं दहति पावकः ।न चैनं क्लेदयन्त्यापो न शोषयति मारुतः ॥२:२३॥

nainaṁ chindanti śastrāṇi nainaṁ dahati pāvakaḥ |

na cainaṁ klēdayantyāpō na śōṣayati mārutaḥ ||2:23||

न एनम् छिन्दन्ति शस्त्राणि न एनम् दहति पावकः न च एनम् क्लेदयन्ति आपः न शोषयति मारुतः

न -not, एनम्  -this (self), छिन्दन्ति -cut, शस्त्राणि -weapons, न -not, एनम्  -this (self), दहति  -burns, पावकः -fire, न -not, च -and, एनम् -this (self), क्लेदयन्ति -wet, आपः -waters, न -not, शोषयति -dries, मारुतः -wind

The weapons cannot pearce it, the fire cannot burn it, water cannot drench it, and the wind cannot dry it.

The lord is speaking about the infinite consciousness. The five basic elements of space,air, fire, water and earth can affect the body and destroy it. But they cannot destoy the self. Even when the body is cut into pieces the soul survives.

This verse speaks of the indestructibility of the soul.


VERSE 2: 24

 अच्छेद्योऽयमदाह्योऽयमक्लेद्योऽशोष्य एव च ।नित्यः सर्वगतः स्थाणुरचलोऽयं सनातनः ॥२:२४॥
acchēdyō:’yamadāhyō:’yamaklēdyō:’śōṣya ēva ca |

nityaḥ sarvagataḥ sthāṇuracalō:’yaṁ sanātanaḥ ||2:24||

अच्छेद्यः अयम् अदाह्यः अयम् अक्लेद्यः अशोष्यः एव च नित्यः सर्वगतः स्थाणुः अचलः अयम् सनातनः

अच्छेद्यः -cannot be cut, अयम् -this(self), अदाह्यः -cannot be burnt, अयम् -this, अक्लेद्यः -cannot be moistened, अशोष्यः -cannot be dried, एव -also, च -and, नित्यः -eternal, सर्वगतः -all-pervading, omnipresent  स्थाणुः -stationery, अचलः -motionless अयम् -this, सनातनः -ancient

This Self cannot be cut, nor burnt, nor moistened, nor dried up. It is eternal, all-pervading, stationery,  motionless and ancient.

Continuing his argument as to why the soul cannot be destroyed by weapons, the Lord says that the self cannot be cut, burnt, dampened, or dried up. It is eternal, all-pervading, stable, immovable and ancient. But the space or ether cannot also be cut, burnt, dampened or dried up. The difference between the soul and the space is that the former is eternal, omnipresent, and everlasting (नित्यः, सर्वगतः). The ether is not eternal being destroyed during the final dissolution. The ether pervades only its own evolutes of air, water, fire and earth. It cannot pervade the self. The self is everlasting but the space has a beginning and end.

स्थाणुः अचलः- stationery and motionless. The difference between these two words will be clear by an analogy. The palm tree is stationery but not motionless. When a strong wind blows, the tree moves at the top along with its foliage although it is rooted firmly at the base.  But the soul is stationery and motionless.

VERSE 2: 25

 अव्यक्तोऽयमचिन्त्योऽयमविकार्योऽयमुच्यते ।तस्मादेवं विदित्वैनं नानुशोचितुमर्हसि ॥२:२५॥

avyaktō:’yamacintyō:’yamavikāryō:’yamucyatē |

tasmādēvaṁ viditvainaṁ nānuśōcitumarhasi ||2:25||

 अव्यक्तः अयम् अचिन्त्यः अयम् अविकार्यः अयम् उच्यते तस्मात् एवम् विदित्वा एनम् न अनुशोचितुम् अर्हसि

अव्यक्तः-unmanifest अयम्-this soul अचिन्त्यः- unthinkable अयम्- this soul अविकार्यः-without modification, immutable, unchangeable अयम्- this soul उच्यते-is said तस्मात्- therefore एवम्-thus  विदित्वा-having known एनम्- this soul न- not अनुशोचितुम्-to grieve न- not अर्हसि-you should not

The soul is said to be un-manifest, unthinkable (imponderable), and without modification. Having known him so, you should not lament.

Krishna concludes his philosophical argument by declaring to Arjuna that he is the atman.  


अव्यक्तः –un-manifest not seen in material form. The soul cannot be cognized by any of the senses. So he is called un-manifest. He is there but is not perceptible to us. So he is un-manifest.

अचिन्त्यः-not thinkable, imponderable. The mind is not capable of perceiving him, his nature. You can only experience him.

अविकार्यः– Immutable. Has no vikara or change. Change is the hallmark of matter or prakrati. The changes are birth, growth, disease and death. (अस्ति, जायते, वर्धते, विपरिणमते, अपक्षीयते, विनश्यतीति) The milk modifies into curds or yoghurt by fermentation. That means milk has modified or changed into curds. A child grows into an adult. This type of change is not seen in Brahman. So he is called changeless, immutable or has no vikara.

तस्मात् एवम्  विदित्वा एनम् न अनुशोचितुम्  अर्हसि– Knowing that the soul is immutable and present for ever grieving for it becomes quite out of place and unreasonable.

VERSE 2: 26

 अथ चैनं नित्यजातं नित्यं वा मन्यसे मृतम् ।तथापि त्वं महाबाहो नैवं शोचितुमर्हसि ॥२:२६॥ 

atha cainaṁ nityajātaṁ nityaṁ vā manyasē mr̥tam |

tathāpi tvaṁ mahābāhō naivaṁ śōcitumarhasi ||2:26||

 अथ च एनम् नित्यजातम् नित्यम् वा मन्यसे मृतम् तथा अपि त्वम् महाबाहो न एवम्  शोचितुम् अर्हसि

अथ-now च-and  एनम्-this soul नित्यजातम्-subject to repeated birth नित्यम्-constantly वा-or मन्यसे-you consider  मृतम्-dying तथा-even then अपि-also त्वम्-you महाबाहो-O mighty amed Arjuna  एवम्-like this  शोचितुम्-to grieve न अर्हसि-not fit (not proper)

And O mighty armed Arjuna! Even if you consider this soul to be subject to constant birth and death, then also it is not proper for you to grieve like this.


In the verses beginning from 26, Krishna is giving a hypohertical  argument.

Krishna has tried to convince Arjuna that the soul and body are separate identities. The soul is immutable, immovable, never born, has no change or death. The body is prakrati or material in nature and is subject to change, wear and tear and death. The soul takes another suitable body. Hence there is no reason as to why Arjuna should lament over the death of near and dear ones.

The lord gives here a choice to Arjuna. He says you are free not to buy my argument. If you sill consider that the soul is also born when the body is born and the soul is dead when the body is dead, even in such a case it is not proper and reasonable for you to lament. 

VERSE 2: 27

 जातस्य हि ध्रुवो मृत्युर्ध्रुवं जन्म मृतस्य च ।तस्मादपरिहार्येऽर्थे न त्वं शोचितुमर्हसि ॥२:२७॥ 

jātasya hi dhruvō mr̥tyurdhruvaṁ janma mr̥tasya ca |

tasmādaparihāryē:’rthē na tvaṁ śōcitumarhasi ||2:27||

जातस्य हि ध्रुवः मृत्युः र्ध्रुवम् जन्म मृतस्य च

तस्मात् अपरिहार्ये अर्थे न त्वम् शोचितुम्  अर्हसि

जातस्य- for the born हि-indeed  ध्रुवः-certain  मृत्युः-death र्ध्रुवम्-also certain is जन्म-birth मृतस्य-for the dead  च-and  तस्मात्-therefore अपरिहार्ये- over an inevitable अर्थे- event  न-not त्वम्-you शोचितुम्-to grieve  अर्हसि-deserve to

For indeed, death is certain for the born, and rebirth is inevitable for the dead. You should not, therefore, grieve over the inevitable.

This is an important verse.


जातस्य हि ध्रुवः मृत्युः र्ध्रुवम् जन्म मृतस्य च Death is certain for the born and rebirth is inevitable for the dead. The first part of the statement is true. The second part is against the theory of liberation. Here, Krishna is repeating the views of the ignorant. He says, Arjuna, if you think that the soul dyes along with the body and resurrected at the time of birth even then it is improper for you to lament.

Rebirth is sure to happen, not necessarily as a human but even as lower animals and insects.

तस्मात् अपरिहार्ये अर्थे न त्वम् शोचितुम्  अर्हसि-It is improper for you to grief.

In Mahabharata, there is a story of Yaksha (super natural being). He asks many questions to Dharmaraja and he replies to all of them. One of the questions is, “Which is the strangest thing in the world”?  Dharmaraja replies, “Lot od men die in this world, still the suriving ones act as if they are never going to die”. 

The message of this verse is accept life and death as inevitable, choiceless situation. This cannot be changed. By wisdom and surrender we can prepare ourselves to accept this situation.

VERSE 2: 28

 अव्यक्तादीनि भूतानि व्यक्तमध्यानि भारत ।अव्यक्तनिधनान्येव तत्र का परिदेवना ॥२:२८॥

avyaktādīni bhūtāni vyaktamadhyāni bhārata |

avyaktanidhanānyēva tatra kā paridēvanā ||2:28||

अव्यक्तादीनि भूतानि व्यक्तमध्यानि भारत अव्यक्तनिधनानि एव  तत्र का परिदेवना

With verses 28 and 29 Krishna concludes his discussin on atma jnyanam.

अव्यक्तादीनि- unmanifest in the beginning (before birth) भूतानि-all beings  व्यक्तमध्यानि-(they become manifest) in the interim (between birth and death) भारत-O Bharata, Arjuna! अव्यक्तनिधनानि-(and) will become unmanifest at death एव-also तत्र-there  का-why परिदेवना-lamenting

In the beginning all creatures are un-manifest (invisible) and they become manifest in the interim. After death again they become un-manifest. O Arjuna why lament over this phenomenon?

Really speaking there is no creation and destruction. This confirms to the law of conservation of energy; nothing is created or nothing is destroyed. The phenomenon of birth and death or creation and destruction is nothing but changing one form to another.

Viewed from one angle it is called birth and from another angle it is called death, because after death birth is certain. When water is evopeated into steam it is creation from the stand point of steam and it is death from the stand point of water. Our life on earth is like an actor moving over the stage in a brief play and retiring till the next performance.

All beings were invisible before birth and become invisible again after death. It is only during their inerim life on the earth that they are visible (व्यक्तमध्यानि भारत). Persons and relations such as son, friend, enemy etc., are unmanifest (अव्यक्त) before their birth. In the interim period they are available to us and become . After death they become अव्यक्त So why grieve over a natural phenomenon? The  physical body is not visible before birth and again becomes व्यक्त  invisible after death. In the interim peiod called  life and they are  visible. This is the meaning of unmanifest and manifest  condition. 


VERSE 2: 29

 आश्चर्यवत्पश्यति कश्चिदेनमाश्चर्यवद्वदति तथैव चान्यः ।आश्चर्यवच्चैनमन्यः शृणोति श्रुत्वाप्येनं वेद न चैव कश्चित् ॥२:२९॥āścaryavatpaśyati kaścidēnamāścaryavadvadatitathaiva cānyaḥ | āścaryavaccainamanyaḥ śruṇōti śrutvāpyēnaṁ vēda na caiva kaścit ||2:29|| आश्चर्यवत् पश्यति कश्चित् एनम् अश्चर्यवत् वदति तथा एव च अन्यः आश्चर्यवत् च एनम् अन्यः श्रुणोति श्रुत्वा अपि एनम्  वेद न च एव कश्चित् 

आश्चर्यवत्- in amazement पश्यति-behold कश्चित्-some one एनम्- this soul अश्चर्यवत्-in wonderment वदति-speak तथा-so एव-even च-and  अन्यः-another आश्चर्यवत्-as marvellous च-and  एनम्-this soul अन्यः-still others श्रुणोति-hears श्रुत्वा-having heard  अपि-also एनम्-this soul वेद-knows न-not च-and एव-also कश्चित्-hardly any one

Yogananda translates this as:

“Some behold the soul in amazement. Similarly, others describe it as marvellous. Still others listen about the soul as wondrous. And there are others who, even after hearing all about the soul, do not comprehend it at all.”


Ther are four types of responses for existence of Atman.

  1. आश्चर्यवत् पश्यति कश्चित् एनम्– some behold this soul as wonder. In his sentence some one (कश्चित्) is the subject, this soul (एनम्) is the object and beholds (पश्यति) is the verb. All the three are wondrous. It is not only the soul but the perceiver, the act of perceiving, are wondrous. Every one has different goals in life. Fundamentally the goal is the sense of fulfilment of life. One wants it in the form of material knowledge, one from busniess or employment point. The second goal is security of life. The third goal is happiness. These basic goals are presented in Vedanta by one word Atma. So every one knowingly or unknowingly seeks Atma. Fulfilment, knowledge, security and happiness are the intrinsic nature of oneself. It should not be sought outside. Vedanta points out that what you are seeking everywhere is already within you. That is the greatest wonder. So atma is the greatest wonder and we never search for it. That is another wonder.
  2. अश्चर्यवत् वदति तथा एव च अन्यः-some others speak of the soul as a wonder, but do not understand it. In this line, the act of seeing has been replaced with the act of speaking. कश्चित् is replaced by अन्यः. How the speech which is not able even to describe the taste of sugar can describe the atman, who is beyond the realm of sense perception. The taste of sugar has to be known only by eating it. The nature of atman has to be known only by intuitive, subjective experience. 
  3. आश्चर्यवत् च एनम् अन्यः श्रुणोति-some others hear about the soul as a wonder, but do not understand it. Once a corporate executive went to a hermitage where the Guru was giving a discourse.  The arrogant man asked the Guru, “what is the use of listening to the lecture, there needs to be action”. Upon this the Guru ordered his disciple to throw the man out of the hermitage. The officer got angry. He shouted,” I will have you arrested. ”The Guru said, “ Do you now understand the power of hearing? You got so wild just by hearing about my words. It is said that even a devil can tansform into devine form by proper hearing.
  4. श्रुत्वा अपि एनम् वेद न च एव  कश्चित्– Another wonder is that inspite of listening the knowledge about atman, some people do not understand it at all. The block is objectification of God.

Krsihna barrows this idea from Kathopanishad.

“Why is it we are not able to recognize the self, which is our real nature? Our main problem is ignorance. When we try to perceive the truth, it seems to be a goal to be reached at some distant place, in a distant period of time. However if we believe the Lord’s words, the self being our essential nature, we are never far from it”. (Yogananda)

Swami Vivekananda says, “The glory of self (Atman), which unfolds cannot be described by any book, scripture, or science”.

We know just about everything except our own self. There are actually some wise men that have regained their self-awareness, “seen” the self as their own atmic vision.

VERSE 2: 30

 देही नित्यमवध्योऽयं देहे सर्वस्य भारत ।

तस्मात्सर्वाणि भूतानि न त्वं शोचितुमर्हसि ॥२:३०॥

dēhī nityamavadhyō:’yaṁ dēhē sarvasya bhārata |

tasmātsarvāṇi bhūtāni na tvaṁ śōcitumarhasi ||2:30||

देही नित्यम् अवध्यः अयम्  देहे सर्वस्य भारत तस्मात् सर्वाणि भूतानि न त्वम् शोचितुम् अर्हसि

देही-the indweller नित्यम्-ever अवध्यः-incapable of being slain अयम्-this देहे-in the body सर्वस्य-of all  भारत-O Son of Bharata!, Arjuna तस्मात्-therefore सर्वाणि-all भूतानि-beings न-not त्वम्-you शोचितुम्-to grieve for अर्हसि-ought not

O Bharata! The soul who dwells in the body is incapable of being slain. Therefore you should not grieve for the death of any created being.


After glorifying the knowledge of atman, Krishna summerizes his teching.The body is mortal, subject to birth, disease and death. The mortal body is superficiaI. The real body is the self which is called Dehi. The dehi  or the self is ever indestructible. He resides in the perishable body.

देही नित्यम् अवध्यः अयम्  देहे सर्वस्य भारत –the indwelling spirit, the ultimate reality residing in all bodies can never be slain. It is eternal in nature. But the bodies which are nothing but the containers for the self are replaced with new ones. There are different bodies but the soul in all of them is the same, the only one. There is no occasion when the soul ceases to exist.

तस्मात् सर्वाणि भूतानि न त्वम् शोचितुम् अर्हसि –Therefore Arjuna there is no reason as to why you should lament over killing your enemies in the war. So common fight.

Swami Chinmayanada quotes Acharya Shankara who says that this stanza winds up the arguments opened up in verse 11 which reads as under:

अशोच्यान् अन्वशोचः त्वम्  प्रज्ञावादान् च भाषसे गतासून् अगतासून् च न अनुशोचन्ति पण्डिताः

“Arjuna, you are grieving for those who are not worth grieving. Yet you speak like a learned person. A truly wise man mourns neither for those who are living nor for those who have passed away”.

In verse 30 the Lord completes the treatment of Sankya yoga, the yoga of knowledge.

In the foregoing 19 verses, the Lord has convincingly argued that there is no reason why Arjuna should lament over the dead enemies because the soul is eternal and  the body is ever perishable. The Lord showed that even if Arjuna is of the view that the soul is also perishable there is no reason why he should not fight.  In the next seven Shlokas the lord takes up another line of argument that, as a warrior it is the duty of Arjuna to fight.

VERSE 2: 31

Verse 31  to 33 –ethical angle of argument to fight the battle 

 स्वधर्ममपि चावेक्ष्य न विकम्पितुमर्हसि ।

धर्म्याद्धि युद्धाच्छ्रेयोऽन्यत्  क्षत्रियस्य न विद्यते ॥२:३१॥

svadharmamapi cāvēkṣya na vikampitumarhasi |

dharmyāddhi yuddhācchrēyō:’nyat  kṣatriyasya na vidyatē ||2:31||

स्वधर्मम् अपि च अवेक्ष्य न विकम्पितुम् अर्हसि धर्म्यात् हि युद्धात् श्रेयः अन्यत् क्षत्रियस्य न विद्यते

स्वधर्मम्-own duty अपि-also च-and अवेक्ष्य-considering विकम्पितुम्-to waver न-अर्हसि-ought not धर्म्यात्-righteous  हि-indeed युद्धात्-than war श्रेयः-higher अन्यत्-other (way) क्षत्रियस्य-for a warrior न-not विद्यते-exists

Besides, from the point of view of your own Dharma (one’s rightful duty) you should not waver, for there is nothing propitious for a Kshatriya than a righteous war.


स्वधर्मम् अपि च अवेक्ष्यConsidering your own dharma

न विकम्पितुम् अर्हसि: you should not waiver duty, because one in charge of law and order has a duty to punish the culprit.

धर्म्यात् हि युद्धात् श्रेयः अन्यत् क्षत्रियस्य न विद्यतेthere is nothing greater than the righteous war for a kshatriya.

The words अपि and हि show that the Lord is changing his point of argument. From the spiritual angle he has come to material angle. It is the duty of a Kshatriya to fight for a just cause and to uphold moral order and duty. There is no better Dharma for a Kshatriya than to participate in a Dharmik war. He can easily attain heaven or even liberation.

VERSE 2: 32

 यदृच्छया चोपपन्नं स्वर्गद्वारमपावृतम् ।सुखिनः क्षत्रियाः पार्थ लभन्ते युद्धमीदृशम् ॥२:३२॥ 

yadr̥cchayā cōpapannaṁ svargadvāramapāvr̥tam |

sukhinaḥ kṣatriyāḥ pārtha labhantē yuddhamīdr̥śam ||2:32||

यदृच्छया च उपपन्नम्  स्वर्गद्वारम् अपावृतम् सुखिनः क्षत्रियाः पार्थ लभन्ते युद्धम् ईदृशम्

यदृच्छया- on its own accord च-and  उपपन्नम्-come स्वर्गद्वारम्-the doors of the heaven अपावृतम्-opened सुखिनः-happy क्षत्रियाः-Kshatriyas पार्थ-O Son of Pritha लभन्ते-obtain (an opportunity) युद्धम्- war ईदृशम्-like this

O Son of Pritha! Fortunate are those Kshatriyas who are called upon to fight in such a righteous war that is like an open door to heaven


यदृच्छया च उपपन्नम् the war that has come to you without your seeking. The Pandavas were not war hungry. After completion of their incognito living, they met the Kauravas for an honourable settlement of the kingdom. Duryodhana declared that he would not part with even five villages to the Pandavas. It was then that the Pandavas were forced to prepare for the war. So the war came to them without their seeking.

स्वर्गद्वारम् अपावृतम्Swami Nirmalananda translates Like this. “The gates of the heaven are wide open for those who stand up to vindicate justice and righteousness (Dharma). The righteous war is not a religious war. Life is a continuous war between the forces of goodness and evil. God helps those who adhere to morality. Dharma protects one who protects Dharma (morality, justice, and righteousness). Not to oppose an evil is to indirectly support it. The Bible says: Happy are those who suffer persecution because they do what God requires. The kingdom of heaven belongs to them (Matthew 5.10). There is no sin in killing an aggressor.

Whosoever helps and supports an aggressor is also an aggressor. Thus, all those who supported Kauravas were basically aggressors and deserved to be eliminated.

सुखिनः क्षत्रियाः पार्थ लभन्ते युद्धम् ईदृशम् –Happy are the Kshatriyas who get such an opportunity. In 18:43 the Lord explains:

शौर्यं तेजो धृतिर्दाक्ष्यं युद्धे चाप्यपलायनम् ।दानमीश्वरभावश्च क्षात्रं कर्म स्वभावजम् ॥१८:४३॥

One should not run away from battle field. One should face the problems in life boldly.

VERSE 2: 33

 अथ चेत्त्वमिमं धर्म्यं संग्रामं न करिष्यसि ।ततः स्वधर्मं कीर्तिं च हित्वा पापमवाप्स्यसि ॥२:३३॥

atha cēttvamimaṁ dharmyaṁ saṁgrāmaṁ na kariṣyasi |

tataḥ svadharmaṁ kīrtiṁ ca hitvā pāpamavāpsyasi ||2:33||

अथ चेत् त्वम् इमम्  धर्म्यम् संग्रामम् न करिष्यसि ततः स्वधर्मम्  कीर्तिम् च हित्वा पापम् अवाप्स्यसि

अथ- now चेत्-if  त्वम्-you  इमम्-this धर्म्यम्-righteous संग्रामम्-warfare न-not करिष्यसि-undertake ततः-then स्वधर्मम्-your own duty (Dharma) कीर्तिम्-reputation च-and हित्वा-falling from पापम्-evil, sin अवाप्स्यसि-will incur

Now if you decline to undertake this righteous war, you will fail in your duty and lose your reputation as a warrior, and you will incur sin.


With this verse Krishna’s argument in ethical order is over Now he speaks on worldly reasons for participation in war.

अथ चेत् त्वम् इमम्  धर्म्यम् संग्रामम् न करिष्यसिIn case you do not undertake this righteous war. If you decline to involve in this war  which has befallen on you as an opportunity to defend righteousness

ततः स्वधर्मम्  कीर्तिम् च हित्वा पापम् अवाप्स्यसि –Then you will shirk in your duty, your reputation as a warrior is going to be sullied, and you will also incur sin. Arjuna had a great reputation as a warrior by attaining victory over the demons. Top steral is a sin. To help one to steal is also a sin. Not to stop stealing is also a sin.  Nogt to involve in the righteous was is therefore a sin.

‘This stanza’, points out Yogananda,  ‘has a lesson for a seeker in spiritual path, a business man, a husband or a wife, and lay public’. In every field of life one should try to avoid indolence and procrastination. He can practice unselfishness without sacrificing self inerest. He cannot make money dishonestly to enable him to give more charity. He can fallow all the good business principles without succumbing to undercut practices or enabling others to trample over his business rights. Similrly it has lessons to a student.

VERSE 2: 34

अकीर्तिं चापि भूतानि कथयिष्यन्ति तेऽव्ययाम् ।सम्भावितस्य चाकीर्तिर्मरणादतिरिच्यते ॥२:३४॥

akīrtiṁ cāpi bhūtāni kathayiṣyanti tē:’vyayām |

sambhāvitasya cākīrtirmaraṇādatiricyatē ||2:34||

अकीर्तिम् च अपि भूतानि कथयिष्यन्ति ते अव्ययाम् सम्भावितस्य च अकीर्तिः मरणात् अतिरिच्यते

अकीर्तिम्- ignominy च-and  अपि-also भूतानि-beings (people) कथयिष्यन्ति-will speak about ते-your अव्ययाम्-undying  सम्भावितस्य-for an honourable man च-and  अकीर्तिः-ill repute मरणात्- than death अतिरिच्यते-is worse

“Men will ever speak of your ignominy. For a virtous man dishounour is invariabley worse than death”

Having given philosophical and ethical arguments Krishna comes to worldly or practical angle.

सम्भावितस्य च अकीर्तिः मरणात् अतिरिच्यते – To fall from the grace is worse than death for a man of great fame and respect.

If a man of repute makes a small mistake, it becomes a big news. One does not bother about those who are habituated to make mistakes. If you desert the war, you will be called deserter,  renegade, escapee, betrayer and traitor.

This statement applies not only to Arjuna but for all of us. A leader and a man of esteem has to be careful in his actions. He is watched by the laity who will follow the leader.  Death brings to an end the physical suffering; but infamy brings about death daily. A man who is unable to fight sense-temptations devastates his bodily kingdom.

VERSE 2: 35

 भयाद्रणादुपरतं मंस्यन्ते त्वां महारथाः ।येषां च त्वं बहुमतो भूत्वा यास्यसि लाघवम् ॥२:३५॥

bhayādraṇāduparataṁ maṁsyantē tvāṁ mahārathāḥ |

yēṣāṁ ca tvaṁ bahumatō bhūtvā yāsyasi lāghavam ||2:35||

भयात् रणात् उपरतम् मंस्यन्ते त्वाम् महारथाः येषाम् च त्वम् बहुमतः भूत्वा यास्यसि लाघवम्

भयात्-from fear रणात्-from battle field  उपरतम्-withdrawn or retired  मंस्यन्ते-assume त्वाम्- you महारथाः-the great chariot-warriors  येषाम्- of whom च-and  त्वम्-you  बहुमतः-held in high esteem भूत्वा-having been यास्यसि-will receive लाघवम्-lightness

The great battalion-commanders will assume that you deserted the battle out  of fear; and you will be lightly held by those who had thought highly of you.


Goyandka summarizes Arjuna’s position in one sentence. “The maharathis  (battalion-commanders) would never think that the motive of Arjuna desisting from the war was either pity or compassion for his kins, or his conviction that war was a sin. They think that Arjuna deserted the battle out of fear of defeat”.

VERSE 2: 36

 अवाच्यवादांश्च बहून्वदिष्यन्ति तवाहिताः ।निन्दन्तस्तव सामर्थ्यं ततो दुःखतरं नु किम् ॥२:३६॥

avācyavādāṁśca bahūnvadiṣyanti tavāhitāḥ |

nindantastava sāmarthyaṁ tatō duḥkhataraṁ nu kim ||2:36||

अवाच्यवादान् च  बहून् वदिष्यन्ति तव अहिताः निन्दन्तः तव  सामर्थ्यम्  ततः दुःखतरम् नु किम्

अवाच्यवादान्-unspeakable words च-and  बहून्-many वदिष्यन्ति-will speak तव-your अहिताः-enemies निन्दन्तः-disparaging तव-your सामर्थ्यम्-might ततः-then दुःखतरम्-more distressing नु-indeed किम्-what

Your enemies will speak unspeakable words (contemptuous) maligning  your might. What can be more distressing than this?

अवाच्यवादान् निन्दन्तः तव सामर्थ्यम्- These are the words used by the Lord;- unspeakable contemptuous words, disparaging your so called might. In verse 34 he used the word अकीर्तिम्- ignominy indulged by the people in general. But in this verse he speaks of reproach and condemnation by his very foes in the battleground.

Thus the Lord demolishes the arguments of Arjuna, that his happliness lay in desisting from battle.

VERSE 2: 37

 हतो वा प्राप्स्यसि स्वर्गं जित्वा वा भोक्ष्यसे महीम् ।तस्मादुत्तिष्ठ कौन्तेय युद्धाय कृतनिश्चयः ॥२:३७॥

hatō vā prāpsyasi svargaṁ jitvā vā bhōkṣyasē mahīm |

tasmāduttiṣṭha kauntēya yuddhāya kr̥taniścayaḥ ||2:37||

हतः वा प्राप्स्यसि स्वर्गम् जित्वा वा भोक्ष्यसे महीम् तस्मात् उत्तिष्ठ कौन्तेय युद्धाय कृतनिश्चयः

हतः-slain वा-or प्राप्स्यसि-you will get  स्वर्गम्-heaven जित्वा-having conquered वा-or भोक्ष्यसे-you will enjoy महीम्-the earth तस्मात्- therefore उत्तिष्ठ-get up कौन्तेय-O son o Kunti युद्धाय- for fight कृतनिश्चयः-resolved

If you die in the battle you will gain heaven, if you win, you will enjoy the earth. Therefore, O Son of Kunti, Arjuna, gets up and fight.

Paramarthananda says: In Vereses 11 – 37 the Lord presents Sankhya philosophy or Jnyana yoga to Arjuna. 38 is a transitional verse where the subject of samatvam is intoduced briefly. From verse 39 onwards the Lord  speaks about buddhiyoga or jnyana yoga.

हतः वा प्राप्स्यसि स्वर्गम् जित्वा वा भोक्ष्यसे महीम्- If you die, you will win heaven; if you win, you will obtain sovereignty of the earth. A soldier who dies in a battle upholding the good over the evil will get heaven of the heroes. This is a win-win situation for Arjuna.

तस्मात् उत्तिष्ठ कौन्तेय युद्धाय कृतनिश्चयः- Therefore O son of Kunti, get up and fight. This is a win-win situation. Swami vivekanad says,: it is possible to successful by putting effort but not by day dreaming. The word  उत्तिष्ठ (get up) was dear to his heart. A lionwho was become senile and weak due to old age, used to keep his mouth wide open expecting some animal to fll into it. Nothing workd by such day dreaming.

Paramahansa Yogananda comments: This stanza can be interpreted in three ways.

  1. The advice applies to a soldier who is called to bear arms in a war of defence against unholy aggression. This also applies to a worldy man who has to fight many battles in life. If he becomes successful he will certainly enjoy its fruit. If he fails, he becomes experienced and his good karma will follow him up to the next birth.
  2. A man who is a victim of sensual greed, anger, and egotism should never give up his fight to control his mind and senses. If he is successful in disciplining the mind, he will get God-consciousness. If he fails, still there is hope for him; for he will acquire merit and will be born to some parents where he will get an opportunity to leash the mind and senses.” It is far better to be reborn with a serious weakness plus a determination to fight, than to be reborn with a serious weakness plus a sense of helplessness”.
  3. ” A devotee should strive to win back his lost Godly kingdom of bliss and immortality, no matter how many incarnations of accumulated ignorance he has to fight”

A person should never be afraid of failure but should always strive to achieve his Dharmik goal.

VERSE 2: 38

सुखदुःखे समे कृत्वा लाभालाभौ जयाजयौ ।ततो युद्धाय युज्यस्व नैवं पापमवाप्स्यसि ॥२:३८॥

sukhaduḥkhē samē kr̥tvā lābhālābhau jayājayau |

tatō yuddhāya yujyasva naivaṁ pāpamavāpsyasi ||2:38||

सुखदुःखे समे कृत्वा लाभालाभौ जयाजयौ ततः युद्धाय युज्यस्व न एवम्  पापम् अवाप्स्यसि

सुखदुःखे-in pleasure and pain समे-alike कृत्वा-treatng लाभालाभौ-in gain or loss जयाजयौ-in victory or defeat ततः-then युद्धाय-for the battle युज्यस्व-get ready न-not एवम्-thus (fighting) पापम्-sin अवाप्स्यसि-you will incur 

Treating alike pleasure and pain, profit and loss, victory and defeat; get ready for the fight. You will not acquire sin.

This is a transition verse where the Lord inroduces his favorite subject of ‘samatvam’ or equanimilty of mind. He is going to eloberate this topic next. Samatvam is an attitude of mind where one does not get upset and carried away by situations. This value is repeatedly emphasized in Gita. The Lord says ‘समत्वम् योगमुच्यते’which means samtava is called yoga. In balanced mnd a man can take right decisions. It is not enough to be wise but one should practice samatvam which only gives rise to good EQ (Emotional Quotent)


सुखदुःखे समे कृत्वा लाभालाभौ जयाजयौ – Having the same unruffled, calm and even mindedness, in happiness and sorrow, profit and loss, victory and failure. A fulfilment in life is the capacity to face success and failure equally. Krsihna does not teach how to succed all the time. He teaches to face good and bad.

ततः युद्धाय युज्यस्व न एवम्  पापम् अवाप्स्यसि – engage in your fight and in this way you will not get sin. Having prepared the mind you have to engage it in work.

The lord has made two points clear to Arjuna. Engage in fight of life without emotional involvement. One has to do his duty without attachment to the outcome. A soldier does not know the outcome of the war. Still he fights till his last because it is his duty.

Paramahasa Yogananda says this stanza has great import to us in daily life.

For a man of world: Anyone who seeks material comfort should keep his mind unruffled during success or failure. A temporary reversal of fortunes in the form of business loss or defeat in competition, bad performance in an examination, should not make him depressed. If he loses focus on his goal by success or failure, a sense of complacency sets in which is deleterious for reaching the goal.

सुखदुःखे समे कृत्वा –holding pleasure and pain alike. Goyandaka says: Arjuna had earlier said that he had really no desire for the pleasures of  kingship of heaven. Even in such a case it is the duty of Arjuna to defend his country in a battle.

Arjuna has said in 2: 4 to 8 that he is afraid of incurring sin by killing the elders and Gurus in the battle, and that even if he becomes the lord of the world and heaven his guilty consciousness will not go. In answer to this the Lord says; “Arjuna, do not take emotional decision but take practical Dharmik decision as a warrior.”

VERSE 2: 39


Buddhi Yoga/ Karma yoga verse 39-46


एषा तेऽभिहिता सांख्ये बुद्धिर्योगे त्विमां श्रुणु  ।बुद्ध्या युक्तो यया पार्थ कर्मबन्धं प्रहास्यसि ॥२:३९॥ 

ēṣā tē:’bhihitā sāṁkhyē buddhiryōgē tvimāṁ śruṇu  |

buddhyā yuktō yayā pārtha karmabandhaṁ prahāsyasi ||2:39||

 एषा ते अभिहिता सांख्ये बुद्धिः योगे तु इमाम् श्रुणु  बुद्ध्या युक्तः यया पार्थ कर्मबन्धम् प्रहास्यसि 

एषा-this attitude of mind ते-to you अभिहिता-has been presented सांख्ये-from the point of view of philosophy of Sankhya or jnyanayoga बुद्धिः-wisdom योगे-n the yoga तु-now इमाम्-the same श्रुणु-listen बुद्ध्या-with wisdom  युक्तः-equipped यया-which पार्थ-O son of Pritha, Arjuna कर्मबन्धम्-shackles of karma  प्रहास्यसि-you will cast off

O son off Pritha, Arjuna, the ultimate wisdom of Sankhya (Jnyana yoga or transcendental knowledge) has been presented to you. Now you must listen to the wisdom concerning yoga (yoga of Seva or selfless action, karma yoga) endowed with which you will be able to free yourself from all karmic bondages or sin.


In verse 39 Krishna changes topic. From verse 11 to 38 he presented his argument according to Sankhya yoga or jnyna yoga. He discussed the subject of Atma-anatma component of body. He successfully demonstrated that Arjuna is Atma or consciousness principle. He said jnyana yoga is the only means of liberation. Now he discusses Buddhi yoga or Karma yoga by which all his bondages are removed. Jnyana yoga is impossible without karma yoga and karma yoga is incomplete without jnyana yoga.

 एषा बुद्धिः ते अभिहिता सांख्ये– I have told you the knowledge of liberation in the light of Sankhya Philosophy. You have heard so far the art of freeing yourself from karmic bondage from the point of view of Sankhya yoga or jnyana yoga. एषा meaning this, refers to verses from 11 to 30 above, in which the Lord has spoken about the Atman which is indestructible. He has also spoken about the right attitude in the midst of dualities of life. बुद्धिः योगे तु इमाम् श्रुणु – Now listen to my arguments according to Buddhi yoga. Yog or yuj means to join; communion with God.  Yoga  or buddhi yoga is synonymous with karma yoga, the art of Nishkama karma. 

बुद्ध्या युक्तो यया पार्थ कर्मबन्धं प्रहास्यसि ; Equipped with this knowledge of karma yoga or right work,  you will get rid of all bondages of karma. Unless one practices action without desires for fruits (फलासक्ति अनासक्ति द्वन्दातीत निष्काम कर्म), he cannot realize Brahman. Knowing is not knowing; doing is knowing. Nishkama Karma means action without attachment to its fruit. Lokmanya Tilak says it is not possible to give up fruits of action unless one gives up ownership of action.  So karma yoga involves, renunciation of fruit of action and  agency of doer- ship. A snake catcher has to work with poisonous snakes. If he wants to avoid harm to him from the snakes he has to take off its poisonous teeth. Action is also a snake. We have to work with it. There is no escape. So we have to remove the ‘adverse’ teeth of action; meaning work without ownership of action. Just performing Nishkama karma is not beneficial. One has to have knowledge as well. Only a wise man can perform Nishkma Karma. You cannot give up ownership of action without knowledge of the true nature of things and objects.

बुद्ध्या युक्तः यया पार्थ कर्मबन्धम् प्रहास्यसि All your karmic bondages will be exhausted by practising buddhi yoga.

 What is Sankhya yoga?Nirmalananda Giri writes:It is one of the six orthodox systems of Hindu philosophy whose originator was sage Kapila. It is endorsed by Krishna in Bhagavad Gita. The second chapter is called Sankhya yoga. Yogananda writes: सं means union, completeness ख्य to be known, knowledge i.e. to have complete knowledge to attain ultimate wisdom or self-realization and God-union. According to Sankhyans, there are two ultimate realities, the purusha (Sprit) and Prakrati (matter, maya). Prakrati is the basic cosmic creative vibratory power of Brahman. It is the creative Mother Nature which Yogananda calls as Holy Ghost. It has five tanmatras or non-grossified elements. It became the seed of creation with 24 principles. These principles are: 1.   chitta, buddhi, ahankara, manas four in number2.   Organs of perception five in number3.   Organs of execution, five in number4.   Pranas or life force, five in number5.   Mahabhutas, grossified basic elements five in number, conglomeration of which appear as gross matterA Sankhya yogi does not take ownership for an action. It is his belief that the Gunas work on the themselves to create an action. The yogi does not claim any ownership for the action . He undertakes the action ever merged with God. This is called sanyasa, gnyana yoga, Sankhya yoga etc.

What is karma yoga?

Karma means action. Yoga signifies ‘union’. When the soul of man unites with spirit, the union is described as yoga. Karma yoga consists of entirely selfless service where ego of ownership of the action and its fruit is given up. Work is done for the society, plants or animals as a duty to them. Karma yoga also indicates the path of doing the right action without desires.   Synonyms of karmayoga are:

कर्म योग (path of action) निष्काम कर्म (the path of doing the right action without desires), योग, समत्व योग (yoga of equinamity,), बुद्धियोग (yoga of intellect) तदर्थ कर्म (karma for God’s sake), मदर्थ कर्म (Karma for my sake), मत्कर्म (Karma for my sake)

VERSE 2: 40

 नेहाभिक्रमनाशोऽस्ति प्रत्यवायो न विद्यते ।स्वल्पमप्यस्य धर्मस्य त्रायते महतो भयात् ॥२:४०॥ 

nēhābhikramanāśō:’sti pratyavāyō na vidyatē |

svalpamapyasya dharmasya trāyatē mahatō bhayāt ||2:40||

न इह अभिक्रमनाशः अस्ति प्रत्यवायः न विद्यते स्वल्पम् अपि अस्य धर्मस्य त्रायते महतः भयात्

न-not इह-in this (in karmayoga) अभिक्रमनाशः loss of effort or failure  अस्ति-is there प्रत्यवायः- production of contrary or adverse results न- not विद्यते-exists स्वल्पम्-very little अपि- even अस्य-of this धर्मस्य-duty, karmayoga त्रायते-protects महतः-from great  भयात्-fear

In this path of action,  (karma yoga) there is no loss of effort, nor is there fear of contrary results. Even a little practice of this discipline saves one from the terrible fear of birth and death.


In this verse, Krishna is glorifying Karma yoga. Karma yoga is a way of life style in which importance is given to  internal growth rather  than external accomplishment. Peace of mind does not depend upon what you have; it depends upon what you are. This is the fundamental teaching of Gita.

न इह अभिक्रमनाशः अस्ति –in this path of karma yoga there is no loss even if it is left half completed. There is no wasted effort, there is no ‘unfinished business’, there is no failure.  The benefit of karma yoga is never lost even if the seeker stops it half way for some reason. If a farmer after sowing the seeds in his farm neglects takes care of the seeds, they die away. But in this practice of Karma yoga the benefit, once commenced is never lost. The Lord says in 6:44

पूर्वाभ्यासेन तेनैव ह्रियते ह्यवशोऽपि सः । जिज्ञासुरपि योगस्य शब्दब्रह्मातिवर्तते ॥६:४४॥

He feels drawn towards God by the force of habit acquired in his previous birth. If karma yoga is commenced and practised for some length of time, the seeker gets ‘vasana’ of his karma which is carried forward to next birth. So there is no अभिक्रमनाशः (no loss of effort).

प्रत्यवायः न विद्यते –In this path of karma yoga there is no fear of production of contrary results. प्रत्यवायः is the fear of producing contrary or adverse result. Any action has two possible results; favourable, or unfavourable. Contrary results are unfavourable.  A medicine may have adverse reaction on the patient. But in karma yoga there is no adverse reaction. A karma yogi performs sacrifice, charity; service etc, without expecting any fruit for himself, no harm will accrue if there is any lapse in his work.

The IT giant like Infosys interviews some 100 people and hires only a few.  Not all the staff stays with them; a large percentage leave the job to join another company. This fact is called attrition. In Karma yoga there is no attrition. We have to remain in Samsara but no samsara should enter into us. If the boat is in water it sets the boat to float. But if  water enters the boat; it drowns.  We have to connect to God while we work in the world selflessly; even as the mind remains connected to God. We can practice this principle; just as a priest performs arati in one hand and at the same time he rings the bell from the other hand.

स्वल्पम् अपि अस्य धर्मस्य त्रायते महतः भयात् -Even a little practice of this discipline protects one from the cycle of repeated births and deaths. महतः भयात् great fear of life. Death is the greatest fear. Practice of this yoga of selfless service saves one from the great danger or great fear. One does not fear death because in the next life he wll get an opportunity to continue his work for the good of all.

The result of karma or an activity is obtained only after the work is completed. For example if you start digging a well and leave it half done you do not get the desired water. It is not so in karma yoga. The expected result of karma yoga is purification of mind. So, if if the effort is half left, your mind will be purified so much. There are many people who have spiritual and religious discourses but could not continue further. Whatever they have learnt remain in their mind in the form of vasana and to that extent their mind is purified and their work is refined.

Sakama karmas such as yagnya have to be completed in full and in the prescribed way for the prescribed time, for the benefit to become available for the devotee. But Nishkama karma (karmayoga) the benefit in the form of samatvam, emotional stablilty etc become available immediately. 

त्रायते महतः भयात् -Which is the greatest fear? Death. Karma yogi is not afreaid of death. When he is not afraid of death why would he care for smaller fears?

VERSE 2: 41

व्यवसायात्मिका बुद्धिरेकेह कुरुनन्दन ।बहुशाखा ह्यनन्ताश्च बुद्धयोऽव्यवसायिनाम् ॥२:४१॥

vyavasāyātmikā buddhirēkēha kurunandana |

bahuśākhā hyanantāśca buddhayō:’vyavasāyinām ||2:41||

व्यवसायात्मिका बुद्धिः ऎका इह कुरुनन्दन बहुशाखाः हि अनन्ताः च बुद्धयः अव्यवसायिनाम्

व्यवसायात्मिका- determinate, clarity regarding my priority of life बुद्धिः- intellect ऎका-single (one, unchanging) इह-here (in karma yoga) कुरुनन्दन-O joy of Kuru बहुशाखाः-many branched, confusion, lack of understanding are indeed अनन्ताः-endless, countless notions regarding God, Karma, Puja, dress etc. च-and  बुद्धयः-thoughts अव्यवसायिनाम्-of the irresolute, those who do not have clarity regarding means and ends

O joy of Kurus, Arjuna, in this yoga of disinterested action (karma yoga), the seeker has single pointed determination for God realization; but the desires of the one who works for enjoyment of fruits of action are many and endless.


Swami Paramarthananda says: The verses 41 to  43 makes one long single sentence. The gist of these three verses is that a man of multiple desires indulging in rituals does not have a single determinate mind and goal. He cannot focus on one activity because he is victimized by another sensual greed.


निश्चय बुद्धिः,  व्यवसायात्मिका बुद्धिः-One pointed determination. It is the conviction that all the results of karma are fleeting in nature. It is like the crops we grow in the field. They do not last long. They get exhausted after consuming. Similar is the fate of all kamya karma. Take the result of yagnya. We may seek material benefit in this world or a place in heaven. These reward  flowing out of karma are transitory in nature. A sage who has realized this fact, discards kamya karma and opts only for nishkama karma. Such a determination is called निश्चय बुद्धिः or व्यवसायात्मिका बुद्धिः. As against this we have अव्यवसायी बुद्धिः.

Shri Ramakrishna adds: Many people try to practice some discipline. They worship God. They are attached to the world. They are also interested in wealth and pleasure. They are like housefly. It sits on flower as well as on trash. But one who has determinate mind (निश्चय बुद्धिः, नित्य सिद्धि)  seeks only devine juice., Ramras.

In chapter 17, the Lord classifyies the human activity into three groups. –sattviika, rajasik and tamasik. Of these, satttvik action has nil or minimum selfish motive and it is done for the benfefit of people at large. The rajasik action has more of selfish motive and less for the good of the people. Tamasik action is exclusiely for selfish end or at the maximum for the benefit of near and dear ones or their cotiery.

The benefit of sattvik action is inner growth and may or may not give external growth. It certainly gives happiness and peace. Rajasik action gives a lot of material growth but no inner peace and happiness. It is only inner growth that contributes to happiness and peace. Having this in mind Krishna critisizes rajasik action.

A devotee who worships God with an intention of getting some rewards such as wealth, pleasure, power, progeny, property etc., for his or his family’s enjoyment is a sakama karmi. This Is a rajasik action. The lord says such a person has a desultory mind and is not able to fix it on God. He uses the phrase व्यवसायात्मिका बुद्धिः समाधौ न विधीयते. Such a person has a fixed opinion that the Vedas speak of only methods for attainment of heaven or rebirth as a human being for more and more material enjoyment.They think that the celestial damsels like Urvashi and Menaka, the elixir of Sura, life in the heaven are their goal.

व्यवसायात्मिका बुद्धिः ऎका इह कुरुनन्दन –A yogi has a refined mind and fixed determination and concentration towards achieving his goal i.e God bliss. Buddhi means knowledge. He is aware of the fact that all the results obtained from sakama karma (self-centred activity) are transient and gets exhausted. For example, the crop reaped by a former gets exhausted at the end of year. The outcome of yajna and yaga are also fleeting. The lord says, once the merit is exhausted the beneficienary has to come down to mortal world from heaven. A yogi realises this, and performs desireless action or निश्काम कर्म (Nisahkama Karma). Such a yogi has determinate mind with single pointed goal. He is called व्यवसायात्मिका बुद्धिः This is  the best qualification to get jnyana or wisdom. Technically such a mind is called  yogyata prapti.

Lord advices karmayoga that is secular or religious pactices without any ulterior motive. By this his mind becomes one pointed and gets ready to understand Jnyana. (Yogyata prapti)

बहुशाखाः हि अनन्ताः च बुद्धयः अव्यवसायिनाम् – This refers to a devotee with  unrefined mind. Those who pursue desire-prompted activities indulge in multi-tasking and their goals are many. So they have multiple interest in sensual pleasures and engage in different religious sacrifices, pujas etc., asking for gifts from God.  So the Lord calls such mind as having many branches. So the word बुद्धयः ‘or the plural ‘thoughts’ is used.

भोगैष्वर्यप्रसक्तानाम् तया अपहृत चेतसाम्

व्यवसायात्मिका बुद्धिः समाधौ न विधीयते


अपहृत चेतसाम् sense of propriety honesty go away. Consciouns  is faulted.

बुद्धिः समाधौ न विधीयते do not have clarity or clear priorites of life goals of life. smadhi is mind there is no clear thinking. Krsihan criticises selfish matrial people.

VERSE 2: 42

 यामिमां पुष्पितां वाचं प्रवदन्त्यविपश्चितः ।वेदवादरताः पार्थ नान्यदस्तीति वादिनः ॥२:४२॥

yāmimāṁ puṣpitāṁ vācaṁ pravadantyavipaścitaḥ |

vēdavādaratāḥ pārtha nānyadastīti vādinaḥ ||2:42||

याम् इमाम् पुष्पिताम् वाचम् प्रवदन्ति अविपश्चितः वेदवादरताः पार्थ न अन्यत्  अस्ति इति वादिनः

याम्-which इमाम्-this पुष्पिताम्-flowery वाचम्-language प्रवदन्ति-utter अविपश्चितः unwise men वेदवादरताः-devoted to the letter of the Vedas पार्थ-Arjuna न-not अन्यत्-other अस्ति-exists इति-thus  वादिनः-arguing

The misguided ones who delight in the melodious chanting of the Vedas without understanding the real purpose of it, think O Arjuna, that there is nothing else in the Vedas except the rituals for the sole purpose of obtaining heavenly enjoyment.

पुष्पिताम् वाचम् प्रवदन्ति -they speak in flowery language, they spread their philosophy. Advertisement in TV, media etc are full of attractive language and seductive graphics by which we get hooked up to a product. It is alike a plastic flower.  It is maya which is more attractive than Brahman.

अविपश्चितः Rajasik people thinking that material accomplishment alone makes the life successful. This notion is called aviveka. Money can buy food but not remove hunger; and cannot give love.

वेदवादरताः  people devoted to Karma kanda or ritualistic portion of Vedas which promises pleasure in the Heavens. Krishna explains the diference between karma kanda and karma yoga. The goal of  those who advocate Karma Kanda is enjoyment of pleasure and popwer in this world and thereafter. They do not understand this reward is not lasting. They are not interested in purification of mind,  Bhakti or quest of realization. Their mind is not one pointed. They are desultory and go after many rituals.

न अन्यत्  अस्ति इति वादिनः – Such people, proclaim that there is nothing else in the Vedas except the various rituals performed for material reward. The word वेदवादरताः means those who profess and practice the letter of Vedas rather than its spirit. But the misguided pendants think of only karma kanda of vedsas and neglect the other portions. So they think that Vedas recommend only rituals for attainment of various benefit. According to them the real goal of man is not  Moksha or libeation. Real goal is enjoyment of  sense pleasures and powers in this world or in the next. They are the rajasik people.

VERSE 2: 43

 कामात्मानः स्वर्गपरा जन्मकर्मफलप्रदाम् ।क्रियाविशेषबहुलां भोगैष्वर्यगतिं प्रति ॥२:४३॥ 

kāmātmānaḥ svargaparā janmakarmaphalapradām |

kriyāviśēṣabahulāṁ bhōgaiṣvaryagatiṁ prati ||2:43||

कामात्मानः  स्वर्गपराः जन्मकर्मफलप्रदाम् क्रियाविशेषबहुलाम् भोगैष्वर्यगतिम् प्रति

कामात्मानः- full of wordly desires स्वर्गपराः- looking upon heaven as their highest goal जन्मकर्मफलप्रदाम्- holding out rebirths as a fruit of such acts  क्रियाविशेषबहुलाम्- recommending rituals of various kinds भोगैष्वर्यगतिम् प्रति- for the attainment of pleasure and wealth.

Full of material desires, having heaven as their goal, they utter flowery words promising rebirth in this world as a reward, they  prescribe specific actions for the attainment of pleasure and power.


कामात्मानः  स्वर्गपराः –  The ritualistics obsessed with desire for enjoyment, having heaven as their goal, prescribe various rites and rituals for rebirth in this world so that they can enjoy more in the next birth

स्वर्गपराः selfish, material people. Heaven is the highest goal they have set. Rajasika action.

जन्मकर्मफलप्रदाम् promising rebirth as a reward of action. They do not know one action will lead to another action. पुनरपि जननम् पुनरपि मरणम्. We  cannot get out of this.

क्रियाविशेषबहुलाम् भोगैष्वर्यगतिम् प्रति– They recommend rituals of various kind for attainment of pleasure and wealth. full of or varieties of ambitions projects or religious rights. The casuality is Gita study. they talk about variety and variety of project.

भोगैष्वर्यगतिम् प्रति only for sensory enjoyment and wealth (भोग काम पुरुशार्थ अर्थ पुरुशार्थ)   alone are their goal. Shri Ramakrishna says: They are like eagles which go high in the air but their vision is on caracass. Similarly the advocates of janma- karma- phala have a low goal of rebirth in the world to enjoy pleasure and wealth. They are not interested in in self knowledge.

VERSE 2: 44

 भोगैष्वर्यप्रसक्तानाम् तयापहृतचेतसाम् ।व्यवसायात्मिका बुद्धिः समाधौ न विधीयते ॥२:४४॥

bhōgaiṣvaryaprasaktānām tayāpahr̥tacētasām |

vyavasāyātmikā buddhiḥ samādhau na vidhīyatē ||2:44||

भोगैष्वर्यप्रसक्तानाम् तया अपहृत चेतसाम् व्यवसायात्मिका बुद्धिः समाधौ न विधीयते

भोगैष्वर्यप्रसक्तानाम्- those who are deeply attached to pleasue and power तया- by that (flowery language and recommendations of rituals and desires) अपहृत-carried away चेतसाम्- mind व्यवसायात्मिका-determinate बुद्धिः-mind समाधौ- state of God consciousness  न- not विधीयते-is present,

For those whose minds are carried away by such flowery language and promise of rebirth, are deeply attached to pleasure and power, cannot attain determinate intellect fixed on God.

भोगैष्वर्यप्रसक्तानाम् तया अपहृत चेतसाम् –Being deeply attached to pleasure and power their mind is carried away from real purpose of life.They miss the wood for a tree.

व्यवसायात्मिका बुद्धिः समाधौ न विधीयते such people lack determinate mind to concentrated on God. The mind gets attracted to various ritual activities for attainment of rewards and therefore miss the real goal of life.

VERSE 2: 45

 त्रैगुण्यविषया वेदा निस्त्रैगुण्यो भवार्जुन ।निर्द्वन्द्वो नित्यसत्त्वस्थो निर्योगक्षेम आत्मवान् ॥२:४५॥

traiguṇyaviṣayā vēdā nistraiguṇyō bhavārjuna |

nirdvandvō nityasattvasthō niryōgakṣēma ātmavān ||2:45||

त्रैगुण्यविषयाः वेदाः निस्त्रैगुणः भव अर्जुन निर्द्वन्द्वः नित्यसत्त्वस्थः निर्योगक्षेमः आत्मवान्

त्रैगुण्यविषयाः deal with the evolutes of three Gunas  वेदाः-the Vedas  निस्त्रैगुणः-indifferent to qualities of three Guans भवbecome अर्जुनArjuna निर्द्वन्द्वः-raising above the paris of opposites नित्यसत्त्वस्थः- ever remaining in sattva or goodness  निर्योगक्षेमः-absolutely unconcerned about the supply of wants and preservation of what has been attained आत्मवान्-established in the self.

Yogananda translates this verse as below:

A portion of the Vedas is concerned with three universal qualities or Gunas. O Arjuna, free yourself from these triple qualities and from the pairs of opposites ever calm and harbouring no thoughts of receiving and keeping, you be settled in the self.

त्रैगुण्यविषयाः वेदाः निस्त्रैगुणः भव अर्जुन निर्द्वन्द्वः नित्यसत्त्वस्थः निर्योगक्षेमः आत्मवान्


त्रैगुण्यविषयाः वेदाः The Vedas deal with three Gunas which bind the man to the world. The three gunas or qualities are sattva, rajas and tamas (elevating, activating and degrading). Prakrati or maya is of triple qualities. Tattva Bodha says:

ब्रह्माश्रया सत्वरजस्तमोगुणात्मिका माया अस्ति. Maya is dependent on Brahman and is of the nature of sattva, rajas and tamas. Vedas also speak about the triple qualities of the names and forms of the world.

निस्त्रैगुणः भव अर्जुन Arjuna , transcend these three Guans. The objects and enjoyment of the world being an evolute of maya is also of the nature of three gunas. If you want to renounce the attachment to the world you have to first free yourself from the tripple qualities.

The aurthor has the fallowing passage in his collection. He does not know who is the author.

“Every ocean wave has a crest, a base and a middle part. The middle part divides as well as unites the base and crest. The base is nearest to the peaceful depth of ocean and the crest is farthest. The base of the wave is compared to sattva guna -the quality which most clearly suggests the ocean’s depth, the peacefulness. The middle part is compared to rajoguna. It rises above and tries to have its own identity. The highest part the crest raises taller and taller as if to affirm its independence from the ocean. The tamas or tamoguna is farthest from the base and which obscures the very existence of reality.

निर्द्वन्द्वः नित्यसत्त्वस्थः निर्योगक्षेमः आत्मवान्– The Lord advises Arjuna to develop four spirtitual qualities.

  1. निर्द्वन्द्वः- raise above the pairs of opposites. Pleaure and pain, profit and loss, good and bad reputation, favourable and unfavourable situations etc, are called the pairs of opposites. In life when we are encountered with such situations we become elated or miserable. Learn to strengthen your mind. Try to accept the pairs of opposites.
  1. नित्यसत्त्वस्थः- ever established in sattva, ever calm. This word can be interpretated with three meanings; sattva guna, ‘sat’ सत् or eternal existence of God and as the essence of truth.
  2. निर्योगक्षेमः- unconcerned with supply of wants and in keeping them. योग is acquisition of what is not present and क्षेम is preservation of what is obtained.

आत्मवान्- having a self-controlled mind. Atma is mind or also the Brahman. So it means one who is in control of mind, or one who is established in God.

Swami Chinmayanada says:  the second line in the stanza gives us a very practical and direct method of transporting ourselves from the realm of imperfection to the boundless regions of Bliss and Beatitude. Earlier, Krishna had indicated how Arjuna should enter the field and wage the war. The same mental equanimity is being advised here in a different language. Krishna advises Arjuna to be free from all pairs of opposites (Dwandwas) and ever established in purity. To be established in purity (Sattva) would, mean keeping ourselves least agitated, and so, least deluded in our perceptions of things and beings, and in our estimation of their true nature.

VERSE 2: 46

 यावानर्थ उदपाने सर्वतः संप्लुतोदके ।तावान्सर्वेषु वेदेषु ब्राह्मणस्य विजानतः ॥२:४६॥

yāvānartha udapānē sarvataḥ saṁplutōdakē |

tāvānsarvēṣu vēdēṣu brāhmaṇasya vijānataḥ ||2:46||

यावान् अर्थ उदपाने सर्वतः संप्लुतोदके तावान् सर्वेषु वेदेषु ब्राह्मणस्य विजानतः

यावान्-as much अर्थ-use उदपाने-a small well सर्वतः-everywhere संप्लुतोदके-being flooded तावान्-so much use सर्वेषु- all  वेदेषु-in vedas ब्राह्मणस्य-Brahmana विजानतः-who is illumined

To the brahmana, who has realized the true nature of Brahman, the Vedas are of no more utility than a reservoir when there is flood from all sides.

यावान् अर्थ उदपाने सर्वतः संप्लुतोदके-When there is flooded water everywhere what is the use of water in a reservoir? This simile is used to show that there is no use of scriptural rituals to get to heaven, when one has tasted the bliss of God. Compared to infinite Ananda of God realization, the enjoyments given by the vedic rituals look like a pittance.

When there is 24/7 running water in the ap, why do you need sump tanks and overhead tanks to store water? The idea is when one has God himself, why do you need gifts of God.

तावान् सर्वेषु वेदेषु ब्राह्मणस्य विजानतः-to an illuminated Brahmin the wealth and happiness given by the rituals of Vedas become insignificant.  सर्वेषु वेदेषु may mean all the four Vedas or all the divisions of Vedas such as Samhita, Brahmna, Arnyaka and Upanishad.

यावान् तावान् – as much, so much

Here is a passage copied from a commentary on Gita by a desciple of Yogananda.

 “There is a story from the life of St. Francis of Assisi, in Italy. An old blind beggar woman asked him for alms. She couldn’t see he was dressed as poorly as she, and was not likely to have anything to give her. It distressed him however that he had nothing to give her. And then he realized that he still had one thing to give her; his copy of Holy Bible. This he gave to her in the hope that she might be able to sell it for a few coins.

He then prayed almost apologetically, “lord, in helping this poor old woman I have even given away your world”. A voice within him replied, “Francis, I have planted my world in your heart. You have no need for that merely printed copy of it” Whether it is the Vedas, bible or any other great scriptures, the important thing is that the truth be written on the pages of one’s own heart.”

VERSE 2: 47

Verse 47 to 60  -Sketch of the ‘Yoga of Action’ (Karma Yoga) that leads to infinite wisdom


कर्मण्येवाधिकारस्ते मा फलेषु कदाचन ।मा कर्मफलहेतुर्भूर्मा ते सङ्गोऽस्त्वकर्मणि ॥२:४७॥

karmaṇyēvādhikārastē mā phalēṣu kadācana |

mā karmaphalahēturbhūrmā tē saṅgō:’stvakarmaṇi ||2:47||


कर्मणि एव अधिकारः ते मा फलेषु कदाचन मा कर्मफलहेतुर्भूः मा ते सङ्गः अस्तु अकर्मणि

कर्मणि-in work एव-only अधिकारः- right- ते-to you मा-not फलेषु-in is fruits कदाचन-at any time मा-not कर्मफलहेतुर्भूः-let not the fruits of action be your motive मा-not ते-to you सङ्गः-attachment अस्तु-be अकर्मणि-in inaction

Your right is to work only; but never to its fruits. Let not the fruit of action be your motive, and may you never be attached to inaction.


Lod Krishna describes karma yoga in a nutshell in verses 47 and 48 and devotes the entire third chapter for its elaboration. Karmayoga is the art of living. Lokmanya Tilak says that this verse explains four legs of right action like the four legs of a cot called Karma yoga. The word karma yoga has two parts, karma and yoga. Karma is the proper  action of  doing the work with love and devotion. Yoga is proper attitude. As a karta I have to do action in the right way to the best of my ability and as a bhokta I need to have right attitude. The Lord describes the right action in the next chapter but he touches the subject of right attitude right in verses 47 and 48. He uses the famous phrase ‘samtvam yoga uchyate’ to describe the right attitude. It meaning is, be equal to the vissittitudes of life without unhealthy response.  Keep the mind cool and unruffled.

  1. कर्मणि एव अधिकारः ते– You have a right to do actions but not renunciation of action. All dutiful and legal actions must be performed. You can’t skip them. Gita Society’s pdf commentary says “This key verse of Gita has been often wrongly interpreted to mean that one should work without expecting its result. In that case Lord Krsihna should not expect Arjuna to understand and fallow his teachings. The real meaning is that one should work to his best, hope for the best and be prepared for the worst. This is the right attitude. We should endeavour to put in our best effort and skill. One shoud accept whatever outcome comes by, after putting in his best efforts. The result is receied as a ‘prasad’ or grace of God”. This is called prsada buddhi, Karma yoga is also called as buddhi yoga. To work best is in our hands and we have no control over the results. We can’t pick the desired results. Equanimity and spiritual progress result from selfless service, whereas work with selfish motives create bonds of karma as well as great disappointments.
  1. मा फलेषु कदाचन– One could reasonably ask, “Am I not responsible for the good or bad results of my action?” The lord here has said ‘Ma phaleshu’ but not ‘na phaleshu’. Yes we have a right for the result. What the lord says here is “give up that result unto me” Focus on right action skillfully. ” A satvic person takes up all the activities but knows that he is not the ultimate creator of actions, duties or results. He performs all good actions just for sake of God, lives on earth with devine approval and great inner satisfaction. He is not hurt by failures or overjoyed by success. यद्यत् करोमि सकलं शम्भो तवाराधनम् is his motto.
  1. मा कर्मफलहेतुर्भूः – A rajasik man wants to enjoy all the fruits of his action himself, by his family or by his coterie. He performs his duties to satisfy his egotistic desires. He is excited with success and depressed by failures. He considers himself to be sole creator and owner of his success. He dreads the thought of losing his power, possession and position.
  1. मा ते सङ्गः अस्तु अकर्मणि – Let not you be attached to inactivity. A tamasik person wants to enjoy all the fruits of action without doing any action. While a rajasik person works to satisfy his egotistic desires the tamasik person succumbs to lethargy and becomes a drag on society. As long as we are conscious of having a body we will be only deceiving ourselves if we try to achieve the actionless state by not acting. All we will become in time is lazy and dull-minded. To reach God one must learn to act without selfish motive; for God, not for personal reward. Lazy people will not find God.

Yogananda quotes Saint Francis of Assisi, who referred to his body as ‘Brother Donkey’ because of its usefulness and frequent stubborness.

VERSE 2: 48

योगस्थ  कुरु कर्माणि सञ्गम् त्यक्त्वा धनंजय |

सिध्यसिध्योः समो भूत्वा समत्वं योग उच्यते  || २:४८ ||

yōgastha  kuru karmāṇi sañgamtyaktvā dhanaṁjaya |

sidhyasidhyōḥ samō bhūtvā samatvaṁ yōga ucyatē  || 2:48 ||


योगस्थ  कुरु कर्माणि सञ्गम् त्यक्त्वा धनंजय सिध्यसिध्योः समः भूत्वा समत्वम् योगः उच्यते 


योगस्थ-dwellin on yoga  कुरु-perform कर्माणि-action सञ्गम्-attachment त्यक्त्वा-having abandoned धनंजय-O Dhanajaya (Arjuna) literally winner of riches सिध्यसिध्योः-in success or failure समः-same, even tempered भूत्वा-having become समत्वम्-evenness of mind योगः-yoga उच्यते- is spoken of

Yogananda translates this verse as below:

O Dhanjaya (Arjuna), remaining immersed in yoga, perform all actions, forsaking attachment to their fruits, being indifferent to success and failure. This mental eveness is termed yoga.

In this section, the Lord elaborates on what is karmayoga. He has laid out four qualifictions for a successful karmayogi.

योगस्थ  कुरु कर्माणि-perform your duties established in yoga, with your mind attached to the Lord. This phrase gives two techniques, be established in yoga and perfom your duties. What is yoga is explained in the next line. As the Lord says we have to do our duty but cannot renounce it.

सञ्गम् त्यक्त्वा धनंजय– renounicing selfish attachment to the fruits of action. This is the second condition stipulated by Lord. We have to do our duty without attachment to its fruits.

सिध्यसिध्योः समः भूत्वा– remaining calm in both success and failure. We have to have the same attitude in success or failure but perform the action with best endeavour.

समत्वम् योगः उच्यते–   Evenness or balance of mind is called yoga. It brings peace and equanimity. The word ‘yoga’ has also been defined in the following verses of the Gita: 2.50, 2.53, 6.04, 6.08, 6.19, 6.23, 6.29, 6.31, 6.32, and 6.47. Any practical technique of understanding the Supreme Reality and uniting with Him is called spiritual practice, or yoga.

Gita society pdf has summerized the verse as below.

Karma Yoga is defined as doing one’s duty while maintaining equanimity under all circumstances. Pain and pleasure, birth and death, loss and gain, union and separation are inevitable. Fools rejoice in prosperity and mourn in adversity, but a KarmaYogi remains tranquil under all circumstances .

VERSE 2: 49

दूरेण ह्यवरं कर्म बुद्धियोगाध्दनन्जय |
बुध्दौ शरणमन्विच्छ कृपणा  फलहेतवः || 49 ||

dūrēṇa hyavaraṁ karma buddhiyōgādhdananjaya |

budhdau śaraṇamanviccha kr̥paṇā  phalahētavaḥ  || 49 ||

दूरेण हि अवरम्  कर्म बुद्धियोगात् धनन्जय बुध्दौ शरणम् अन्विच्छ कृपणाः  फलहेतवः

दूरेण- by far हि-indeed अवरम्-inferiour  कर्म-action (with selfish motive सकाम कर्म ) बुद्धियोगात्- (in comparison with) this yoga of equanimity or karmayoga  (समत्व रूपी बुद्धियोग) धनन्जय- O Dhananjaya बुध्दौ-in this equipoise of mind the buddhi yoga or karmayoga  शरणम्-refuge  अन्विच्छ-seek कृपणाः-miserable are those  फलहेतवः- who perorm actions with selfish motive.

Work done with selfish motive is far inferior to work done with equanimity for result. So Dhananjaya, seek refuge in this equipoise of mind, for miserable are those who perform action only for their results.

Swami Pramarthananda introduces this verse in an interesting way. He says, Krishna has spoken about two types of people. One is a Karmee or who works for material benefit and the other is karmayogi who works for inner growth.  The difference is not in action but in their attitude. The lord calls those who work for selfish end as ‘kripana’– stingy or miserable. The yogi who works without selfish result has two types of benefits. One is immediate benefit in the form of equanimty of mind and the other ultimate benefit is chtita shuddhi or purity of mind. Sign of chitta shuddhi is love or liberation.

दूरेण हि अवरम्  कर्म बुद्धियोगात् – desire motivated action is far inferior to desireless ation. Nishkama karma is superior to sakama karma. Nishkama karma means work done selflessly without desire for enjoyment and ownership. It does not include prohibited actions because they are worth altogether renouncing and their fruits are nothing but untold misery and suffering. The word बुद्धियोग (समत्व रूपी कर्मयोग) has been explained in the previous verse. It says, 

योगस्थ  कुरु कर्माणि सञ्गम् त्यक्त्वा धनंजय |सिध्यसिध्योः समो भूत्वा समत्वं योग उच्यते  || २:४८ ||
O Dhanjaya (Arjuna), remaining immersed in yoga, perform all actions, forsaking attachment to their fruits, being indifferent to success and failure. This mental eveness is termed yoga.

Buddhiyoga has been used as a synonym here for karmayoga (समत्व रूपी कर्मयोग ) in which duties are performed with equipoised mind renouncing all attachment to mundane or spiritual gain. The lord is not referring to jnanayoga for in verse 39 the lord says thus –

एषा ते भिहिता सांख्ये बुद्धिर्योगे त्विमां श्रुणु |बुद्ध्या युक्तो यया पार्थ कर्मबन्धं प्रहास्यसि //2 -39//

Now hear the same from the standpoint of karmayoga. Besides in this very verse the lord denounces people who crave for the fruit of their action as poor and wretched. In the next verse he glorifies the sadhak who is endowed with equanimity. In verse 51 the lord says that the wise man endowed with equanimity renouncing the fruits of action, attains the blissful supreme state. All these evidences make very clear that the lord is not refring to jnayoga but to karmayoga.

Arjuna confuses the word बुद्धियोग as jnyana yoga or path of wisdom. So in third chapter he questions Krishna “why are you trying to engage me in karma or warfare action, when you believe that jnyana or wisdom is far superior option”


बुध्दौ शरणम् अन्विच्छ-take refuge in buddhi or mind. It refers to action driven by intellect or equanimity of mind in in all cases of opposites. कर्मणा बद्धते जंतुः actions are basically binding in nature unless it is done with equanimity of mind.

कृपणाः  फलहेतवः– those who work for selfish outcome are d miserable.

धनन्जय –the conqueror of wealth. Arjuna got this epithet when he received protection money from invaded kingdoms.

VERSE 2: 50

बुद्धियुक्तो जहातीह उभे सुकृतदुष्कृते |
तस्माद्योगाय युज्यस्व योगः कर्मसु कौशलं ||2 – 50 ||
buddhiyuktō jahātīha ubhē sukr̥taduṣkr̥tē |

tasmādyōgāya yujyasva yōgaḥ  karmasu kauśalaṁ ||2 – 50 ||


बुद्धियुक्तः जहाति इह उभे सुकृतदुष्कृते

 तस्मात् योगाय युज्यस्व योगः कर्मसु कौशलम्

बुद्धियुक्तः-endowed with wisdom (equanimity) जहाति- casts off इह-here in this life  उभे-both सुकृतदुष्कृते-good and evil deeds तस्मात्-therefore योगाय-for the practice of this yoga युज्यस्व- get set योगः-the yoga of equanimity  कर्मसु- in action कौशलम्-skill

Endowed with wisdom of equanimity of mind, one casts off both vice and virtue in this life itself. Therefore strive for selfless service; yoga is the skill of action.

In the previous verse, the Lord exhorted Arjuna to take to the path of equanimity and in the next two verses explains the reward of karmayoga and again appeals to Arjuna to take up Karmayoga or buddhiyoga. Ultimately he becomes a jnyanayogi. The Lord first defined Karmayoga as balance of Mind. In this verse he defines karmayoga as skill in action.


बुद्धियुक्तः जहाति इह उभे सुकृतदुष्कृते: – बुद्धियुक्तः  one who is endowed with wisdom, meaning one who has perfected equanimity of mind in pairs of opposites. The karmayogi ultimately becomes a jnyanayoga. जहाति इह –casts off here in this life, it is not in distant heaven but right here. उभे सुकृतदुष्कृते both good and evil deeds meaning virue and vice (पाप and पुण्य).

 He transcends punya and papa and attain Moksha. Just as vice binds us to karma, virtue also has a binding effect. One can cast of the bondage only by practicing equanimity of mind to whatever comes by. Good deeds are like A class prisoner and bad deeds are B class prisoner. A man of perfection is neither of them. He is free for ever from sin as well as merits. He is pure and immaculate.

तस्मात् योगाय युज्यस्व– get set here Arjuna, to practice the yoga of equanimity of mind or buddhi yoga or समत्व योग.  It is another name for karma yoga, the practice of selfless service. Carry on all activities with God consciousness. In oneness with transcendent wisdom of God, perform all duties. To earn money, invent something, and to attain a great a skill; –all these achievements are laudatory, but to do all these acts for the pleasure of the divine is itself a great specilization. An ordinary individual like us works with the false conception of “me” as the doer of action or enjoyer of results. We are identified with the body, its sensations and the multiple desires.  When we die we take with us our unfinished longings and karmic debts in the form of vasanas, and come back again to recompensate it.

कर्मसु कौशलम् The Skill in action is called yoga. It is not expertise in action. Shankaracharya says that if proper attitude is not there kama may creat more of samsara wheel. A karmayogi converts the same karma into liberation. He converts a binding karma into liberating karma by chaning the attitude. Skill is conversion of binding karma to liberating karma by change in mindset but it is not an expertise in performance of the work.

Swami Muktananda: Upon hearing the science of karm-yog, people often wonder that if they give up attachment to results, will their performance go down? Shree Krishna explains that working without personal motivation does not reduce the quality of our work; instead we become even more skillful than before. Consider the example of a sincere surgeon who cuts people with his knife while operating upon them. He performs his duty with equanimity, and is undisturbed irrespective of whether the patient survives or dies. This is because he is merely doing his duty unselfishly, to the best of his ability, and is not attached to the results. Hence, even if the patient dies while being operated upon, the surgeon does not feel guilty of murder. However, if the same surgeon’s only child needs to be operated, he does not have the courage to do so. Because of attachment to the results, he fears he will not be able to perform the operation skillfully, and so he seeks the help of another surgeon. This shows that attachment to results does not make us more skillful; rather, the attachment affects our performance adversely. Instead, if we work without attachment, we can do so at our maximum skill level, without feeling nervous, jittery, scared, tense, or excited.

Likewise, Arjun’s personal example also illustrates the point that giving up attachment to the fruits does not adversely affect performance. Before hearing the Bhagavad Gita, he intended to engage in war with the desire of winning a kingdom. After hearing the Bhagavad Gita from Shree Krishna, he was fighting because it was his duty to God, and Shree Krishna would be pleased by it. He was still a warrior; however, his internal motivation had changed. The fact that he did his duty without attachment did not make him any less competent than before. In fact, he fought with greater inspiration because his work was directly in service of God.

VERSE 2: 51

कर्मजं बुद्धियुक्ता हि फलं त्यक्त्वा मनीषिणः |
जन्मबन्धविनिर्मुक्ताः पदं गच्छन्त्यनामयम् ||५१||

karmajaṁ buddhiyuktā hi phalaṁ tyaktvā manīṣiṇaḥ |

janmabandhavinirmuktāḥ padaṁ gacchantyanāmayam ||51||

कर्मजम् बुद्धियुक्ताः हि फलम् त्यक्त्वा मनीषिणः जन्मबन्धविनिर्मुक्ताः पदम् गच्छन्ति अनामयम्

कर्मजम्- action born फलम्-fruit त्यक्त्वा-renouncing बुद्धियुक्ताः-possessing equipoised mind (literally possessed of knowledge), proper attitude  हि-indeed  मनीषिणः-wise men  जन्मबन्धविनिर्मुक्ताः-freed from the bondage of birth पदम्-the abode, state गच्छन्ति-attain अनामयम्-beyond sarrows (the supreme blissful state)

The wise men possessing equipoised mind renouncing the fruit of action, become freed from the shakles of birth, and attain the state beyond sorrow.


The Lord explains in the verses 51 to 53 the benfits of practicing karmayoga.

A gist of Paramarthananda’s introdution to this verse is written below:

Krishna talks about various stages, a yogi has to pass through to attain liberation. In the first place he becomes ’buddhiyukta’ possessing a balanced or equipoised mind with right attitude towards life. The balanced mind is about being cool to sucess or failure and right attiude means discrimination of mind. Initailly we value artha and Kama (money and pleaure, gradually they become subservient. More and more value is arttached to dharma and mokha. The first set represents external growth and the second one represents internal growth. The worship of Goddess in the nine days of navaratri festival shows this change in attitude. In the first three days Durga, the goddes of strentgh and health is worshipped. This is fallowed by three days of worship for Laxmi, the goddess of wealth. Finally in the last three days Saraswati or the Goddess of learning is worshipped.

Artha and kama may come and go but dharma and mokhsa are etenal and enduring. This attitude is called buddhiyoga. He considers inner growth as primary goal and material growth an secondary goal.

कर्मजम् फलम् त्यक्त्वा बुद्धियुक्ताः हि मनीषिणः– the wise men who have perfected in the yoga of equanimity of mind have no interest in any fruits of action. Such wise men see God working in their actions. They perform all actions merged in the divine union. When atman is identified with material life, owing to the false consciousness of himself as the doer and enjoyer of actions, he is bound to reap the good and bad results of the action. So he has to take rebirth to exhaust his vasanas. But as soon as the man realizes the purpose of his life, he has made the first step in liberation. He has a free choise to identify with he body or to to be immersed in God.

The lord says elsewhere (Chapter 5 -22)


ये हि संस्पर्शजा भोगाः दुखयोनाय एव ते |आद्द्यन्तवन्तः कौन्तेय न तेषु रमते बुधः ||5 -22||

The pleasures which are borne of sense-contacts are indeed a source of suffering. They have a beginning and an end. Arjuana, it is for this reason that a wise man does not indulge in them.

मनीषिणः wise men. The lord uses the word the wise. Human birth is an open gate for liberation. Those who do not use this gate, are not wise. Others are other wise. Manisha means jnyana. Shankaracharya has written a five verse book alled Manisha Panchakam. Jnyani is also called Manishi.

कर्मजम् फलम् त्यक्त्वा मनीषिणः  giving up the result of action or karma. Normally in all enterprize we look for only good result. It may also give bad result. The Gods and demons wanted to become deathless. So they undertook churning of the ocean. Amruta or elixir was produced no doubt. But at the same time deadly poison was also produced. Lord says the result of ac action could be favourable or unfavourable. Hope for the best but be prepared for the worst. Give up attachment to both. Such people are called Manishi or jnyani (Wise).

जन्मबन्धविनिर्मुक्ताः– freed from the bondage of birth and death. That means he has no rebirth, he becomes one in God.

फलम् त्यक्त्वा (फल त्यागम् कृत्वा)- giving up the reward of work. Real tyaga consist of immunity from of causing any vasana on the mind. When we are not attached to the results, the mind becomes free from vasanas.

पदम् गच्छन्ति अनामयम्– he reaches that infinite state free from sorrows. There are no likes and dislikes, good and evil actions, morbid feelings of joy and sorrow. These qualities are the hallmarks of prakrati and the absence of them is found only in the infinite, formless, Brahman who is truth, knowledge and bliss. Such a yogi reaches this supreme state. Karmayogi becomes a jnynayogi becomes jnyani and ultimately mukta. As long as he is this world he enjoys the freedom. No doubt he is living in the world, but is not affected by the world. That is jivanmukti. Manisha is atma jnani.

VERSE 2: 52

यदा ते मोहकलिलं बुद्धिर्व्यतितरिष्यति |
तदा गन्तासि निर्वेदं श्रोतव्यस्य श्रुतस्य च ||२:५२||
yadā tē mōhakalilaṁ buddhirvyatitariṣyati |

tadā gantāsi nirvēdaṁ śrōtavyasya śrutasya ca ||2:52||

यदा ते मोहकलिलम् बुद्धिः व्यतितरिष्यति तदा गन्तासि निर्वेदम् श्रोतव्यस्य श्रुतस्य च

यदा-when ते-your मोहकलिलम्-mire of delusion बुद्धिः-intellect व्यतितरिष्यति-crosses beyond तदा-then गन्तासि-you will attain निर्वेदम्-indiference, dispasion श्रोतव्यस्य-towards (the enjoyments) which hav been heard of, all external dependences or anatma  श्रुतस्य-(enjoyments) which are yet to be heard of च-and

When your intellect crosses beyond the mire of delusion you will then grow indifferent to pleasures of this world and the next, that have already been heard by you or yet to be heard.  


In the previous verse the Lord explained that a karmayogi transcends the roller-coaster of birth and death and reaches the supreme state. In the present verse he says, the intellect will get clarity of thinking and priorities of life.

बुद्धिः मोहकलिलम् व्यतितरिष्यतिthe mind becomes free from the mire of delusion. मोह is confusion, error कलिलम् Impenetrable, impervious, large heap, slush of delusion. Attachment is the cause of moha. It confronts us in two forms: the thought of what you have heard and experienced and what remains to be heard and experienced. Krishna advises to get freedom from these both.

Aviveka or absence of judgement is called moha. Nitya- anitya viveka comes, and gradually vairagya or dispassion also follows. Dispassion to the benefist of karma kanda so far heard or yet to be heard grows. Dispassion is not running away from the world but not being afflicted by the world. This is the first stage of benefit of karmayoga.—Swami Paramarthananda.

तदा गन्तासि निर्वेदम् श्रोतव्यस्य श्रुतस्य चThen you become indifferent to the pleasures heard and experienced by you or yet to be experienced by you. You will abandon external security of anatma objects which are always unpredictable.  Total fearlessness comes only when we dependent upon God and ultimately  on yourself.  When a kid becomes a child he becomes uninterested in the toys and pebbles. He has seen higher pleasures and the smaller ones are not exciting him. Similarly, the experiences of an ordinary man is confined to narrow realm of senses. He has never seen freedom. On the other hand an advanced yogi, has contacted the ever new bliss of of God the infinite ananda (technically called Brahmananda).  So he becomes indifferent to trifle thoughts and pleasures of the world. As Yoganada says, “An ordinary man is indifferent to the soul because he does not know anything better. The yogi is indifferent to the sense pleasures because he knows them too well; he knows that they are ephemeral not real and absolute. A devotee who has known both the sense inclinations and the soul bliss posses a standard of comparison that is non-existent for the wordly man”.

श्रोतव्यस्य श्रुतस्य च what has been heard and what is yet to be heard. The sense of hearing in Vedanta represents all othe four senses of touch, sight, taste,and smell. The yogi becomes indifferent to the experiences of these senses. Shrotavya also means the scriptures; one becomes indifferent to them.

A yogi with samatva buddhi (equanimity) abandons the result of karma, whether favourable or unfavourable and becomes a jnyani. He becomes jivanmukta, liberated even while alive. 

VERSE 2: 53  

श्रुतिविप्रतिपन्ना ते यदा स्थास्यति निश्चला |
समाधावचला बुद्धिस्तदा योगमवाप्स्यसि ||२: ५३ ||

śrutivipratipannā tē yadā sthāsyati niścalā |

samādhāvacalā buddhistadā yōgamavāpsyasi ||2: 53 ||

श्रुतिविप्रतिपन्ना ते (बुद्धिः) यदा स्थास्यति निश्चला समाधौ अचला बुद्धिः तदा योगम् अवाप्स्यसि

श्रुतिविप्रतिपन्ना-bewildered by hearing conflicting theological opinion ते- your बुद्धिः-intellect यदा-when स्थास्यति-will rest निश्चला-becomes immovable समाधौ-in meditation on God अचला-undistracted or steady बुद्धिः-intellect तदा-then योगम्-union with God, Realization अवाप्स्यसि-you shall attain

When your intellect perplexed by the conflicting opinions of the Vedas, shall stay steady and firm, concentrating on the supreme being, then you will attain yoga or self- realization.


The third benefit of karmayoga is mentioned here. Verse 51 spoke of a buddhiyukta or one possessed with balanced mind, veerse 52 spoke of clearing the mire of aviveka or absence of judgment and finally in verse 53 the lord speaks about freedom from confusion of mind  or vipratipanna buddhi.  An accomplished karmayogi has balanced mind, has clear thinking about his priorties in life, and does not yeild to the pleassures of this world or the next. He becomes independent of external  factors for his peace, happiness and security. He finds purntvam or competeness in his undertaking. This is called self-discovery. Such a person attains yoga or moksha.–Swami Paramarthananda


श्रुतिविप्रतिपन्ना ते (बुद्धिः) यदा स्थास्यति निश्चला When your Antahkarana (internal organs consisting of mind, intellect, memory and ego) confused by the conflicting opinion and ritualistic doctrines of the Vedas (Shruti) shall become steady and firm. The meaning of the word श्रुति-विप्रतिपन्ना or confused by different doctrines of the scriptures becomes clear when one recalls to the mind  the earlier verses 41 and 42 where the words यामिमाम् पुष्पिताम् वाचम् and अव्यवसायात्मिका बुद्धिः are used to indicate the unsteady mind of the people who follow the rites and rituals.

Mind is like a clean pond. The water is clear and settled. The mind is compared to water. If you throw a small stone it cases several waves. Similarly when the mind is calm and settled, if you throw a stone called desire, the mind becomes unsettled.

By hearing different opinions, the mind gets distracted and is not able to decide what is the right course for him. One gets confused whether he should continue with his साधनचतुष्टयम्  four-fold qualifications or disciplines and try to become a jnyani or whether he should follow the vedic karma kanda and reap the benefit of wealth and pleasure. So he goes on changing his sadhana and will be totally confused. But when such a mind becomes steady on Brahman he attains realization. He is called प्रतिपन्न बुद्धिः

समाधौ अचला बुद्धिः तदा योगम् अवाप्स्यसि When the intellect being freed from the mire of delusion and the distractions becomes steady in meditation (samadhi) and stays for ever in God, he attains “yoga”. Yoga is the final union with God. Such a person is called sthitapajna. Then he attains mokhsa.

यदा तदा – when and then two comparative conditions. Swami Ramakrishna gives an example of a salt-doll which went into the ocean to find out its deapth and became one with ocean. Similary when one attains yoga with god, he dissolves into god.

VERSE 2: 54


अर्जुन उवाच
स्थितप्रज्ञस्य का भाषा समाधिस्थस्य केशव |
स्थितधी  किं प्रभाषेत किमासीत व्रजेत किं ||२: ५४ ||

arjuna uvāca

sthitaprajñasya kā bhāṣā samādhisthasya kēśava |

sthitadhī  kiṁ prabhāṣēta kimāsīta vrajēta kiṁ ||2: 54 ||

स्थितप्रज्ञस्य का भाषा समाधिस्थस्य केशव स्थितधीः किम् प्रभाषेत किम् आसीत व्रजेत किम्

स्थितप्रज्ञस्य-of the sage of steady wisdom. Prajna means jnyani का-what भाषा-mark समाधिस्थस्य- one who is merged in Samadhi केशव-O Keshava स्थितधीः-the sage of steady mind किम्-what प्रभाषेत-talks किम्-what आसीत-sits व्रजेत-walks, conducts himself  किम्-what

Arjuna said:

O Krishna, what are the marks of a sage who has steady wisdom and merged in Samadhi (super-conscious state). How does one of steady mind speak, how does he sit, and how does he walk?

The cause of this explanation of who is a wise man arose since Arjuna asked  Krishna in 7th verse, “ I have lost my power of judgment. Please advise me what is good and what is not good for me”. Krishna understood the mental condition of Arjuna and advised him upto 53rd verse. What is the adivse given in short form?

  1. The real nature of a man is God or Atma
  2. How to overcome grief and realize God
  3. How to realize god through karma yoga.

Arjuna carefully heard Krishna’s teaching and finally fields some more questions in verse 53.  The questions are:

  1. स्थितप्रज्ञस्य का भाषा समाधिस्थस्य केशव What are the marks or description of a man of steady wisdom? Sthita prajna means one ‘standing’ (sthita) in ‘wisdom’ (Prajna); a man of steadiness and calm, firm in judgement, and contented. It is the name given by the Bhagavad Gita to one who has studied self-knowldge and assimilated it. It refers to the  yogi who is totally identified with the Brahman. भाषा means speech as well as sign or definition. In this context we have to take the second meaning.

समाधिस्थः one who is merged in Samadhi. This word has been used in vese 53 as well as 54. What is Samadhi? The word samadhi literally means sama and dhi – sama meaning equanimity and dhi meaning buddhi or the intellect. If you reach an equanimous state of intellect, it is known as samadhi. Samadhi is of two types ध्यान समाधि (union in meditation) and ज्ञान समाधि (union by wisdom). ध्यान समाधि is a state of intense concentration achieved through meditation or dhyana. In yoga this is regarded as the final stage, at which union with the divine is reached (before or at death). ज्ञान समाधि is a state of dissolution of thought process of the mind (चित्त व्रुत्ति). Dhyana Samadhi is a state of the mind, Jnyana Samadhi is understanding the reality of my own nature that I am Brahman. In dhyana Samadhi, the meditator feels the exhaustion of vasanas but once he comes out of stance, the vasanas fallow him. Contrary to this phenomenon, in Jnyana Samadhi the vasana balace is completely burnt, and he feels that there was no vasana at any time. It should be kept in mind that Gita professes jnyana Samadhi but not dhyna Samadhi.

The tombstone area is also referred to as place of ‘samādhi’. We are not concerned with this here

  1. स्थितधीः किम् प्रभाषेत How does he speak? Does he use voice or sign language? How does he express his happiness and woes? Sthitaprajnya, samdhista and stitadhi are synonymous for sthitaprajna
  2. स्थितधीः किम् आसीत – how does a man of stable mind sit. Does he sit in Padmasana, vajrasana, or on a chair? आसीत or sits should be understood as what is his standing in critical circumstances.
  3. स्थितधीः व्रजेत किम्How does a man of stable mind conduct himself?

The above characteristics of a perfect realized soul represents his inactive as well as active stage. Arjuna refers to both stages in his questions. How does a man of stable mind speak, and walk represent the active stage, and the question how does a man of stable mind sits, represents an inactive stage.

“Can his saintliness be understood from his way of speaking, sitting or walking? Krishna interestingly does not answer to these physical qualities of the yogi. His answers as we shall see, refers to the cause of saintly behavior rather than to its effects. A divine person is not essentially different from anyone else. It is his attitude and inner consciousness which creates whatever dissimilarities are there. Yes there is a joyful magnetism in the very tone, voice, gait and posture of the yogi because of the knowledge of self and absence of fear”.

In verse 58 to 61 the lord replies to to the third question of Arjuna viz. स्थितधीः किम् आसीत -How does a perfect man sit? This is indicated by the words युक्त आसीत मत्परः. In verse 64 and 67 He replies to the 4th question of Arjuna स्थितधीः व्रजेत किं -how does a perfect man walk?  The following are the actual words used by the Lord.

 विषयानिन्द्रियैश्चरन् ||२: ६४|| इन्द्रियाणां हि चरताम् ||२: ६७||

VERSE 2: 55

प्रजहाति यदा कामान्सर्वान्पार्थ मनोगतान् |
आत्मन्येवात्मना तुष्ट  स्थितप्रज्ञस्तदोच्यते ||२:५५ ||

prajahāti yadā kāmānsarvānpārtha manōgatān |

ātmanyēvātmanā tuṣṭa  sthitaprajñastadōcyatē ||2:55 ||



प्रजहाति यदा कामान् सर्वान् पार्थ मनोगतान् आत्मनि एव आत्मना तुष्टः स्थितप्रज्ञः तदा उच्यते

प्रजहाति- casts off, relinquishes thoroughly यदा-when कामान्-cravings सर्वान्-totally पार्थ-O Partha, Arjuna मनोगतान्-of the mind आत्मनि-in the self एव-only आत्मना-by the self तुष्टः-satisfied स्थितप्रज्ञः-of steady wisdom तदा-then उच्यते-is called

The blessed Lord said:

O Arjuna! When one completely relinquishes all cravings of the mind and stays put entirely contented in the self (the soul or jiva)), by the self (mind or antahkarana), he is considered to be a man of self-realization.


Inthe previous verse, Arjuna posed  four questions which are answered in the next eighteen verse 55 to 72. In this verse the Lord answers the first question, “What are the marks of a yogi who is of steady wisdom (a realized person). Shankaracharya says that the description of jnyani mentioned here is an important role model for a sadhaka to compare his progress. What are the sadhanas to be practiced to become a sthitaprajna?

Jnyana yoga consists  of three stages.

  1. Shravana : hearing of scriptural teaching from a competent guru. It removes self- ignorance.
  2. Manana: Asking oneself, ‘Am I convinced?’ It is  removal of inellectual objections. The sadhaka converts  knowledge into conviction.
  3. Nidhidhyasana: Intellectual knowledge to be converted into emotional 

The prescription given by Krishana to attain sthitaprajnya state are two-fold. Thbese are:

  1. प्रजहाति यदा कामान् सर्वान् पार्थ मनोगतान् कामान् – When one relinquishes entirely all the cravings and desires embedded the mind. The desire could be due to contact with or separation from the wordly objects. Goyanandka writes that there are four fine shades of desires which are recognized as separate entities in Vedanta. These are वासना, स्प्रहा, इच्छा, and त्रष्णा. The lord wants Arjuna to completely get rid of all these desires (सर्वान्). A short explanation of the meanings of these fine differences is given below,
  2. वासना : subtle and unmanifest form of desire where one likes to preserve his wife, relatives, wealh, prestige, position etc, This desire is born from likes and dislikes.
  3. स्प्रहा: covet. Longing. This is wish or want, a feeling of indespensibility of an agreeable object or giving  up of an disagreeable object.  This is more developed than Vasana.
  4. इच्छा ; this is desire or avidiy. It is a desire to acquire an agreeable thing or to get rid of a disagreeable thing. This is the fully developed form of desire. Craving to posses more and more of one which has already possessing.
  5. त्रष्णा; greed desire, thirst. This is craving to possess more and more of a thing which one is lacking.

पार्थ मनोगतान् कामान्– Mind is the seat of all desires. The Lord says in 3:40

इन्द्रियाणि मनो बुद्धिरस्याधिष्टानमुच्यते | एतैर्विमोहयत्येष ज्ञानमावृत्य देहिनम् ॥३ -४०॥

The senses, mind and intellect are said to be desire’s formidable stronghold; through these; desire deludes the embodied soul by eclipsing its wisdom.

So unless the mind and intellect are stripped of all desires one will not become a man of self-realization.

  1. आत्मनि एव आत्मना तुष्टः– A God-realized soul is gratified with self and contended with self alone. The same message is conveyed in Chapter 3 -17

यस्यात्मरतिरेव स्यादात्मत्रुप्तष्च मानवः | आत्मन्येव च सन्तुष्टस्तस्य कार्यं न विद्यते || 3 -17 ||

स्थितप्रज्ञः तदा उच्यते – He is then called a man of stable mind or realized man. To become a realized man the Lord has given two prerequisites. One, relinquishing all desires and its consequesnce of pleasures; two, one has to be contented in the self without looking for happiness outside. Happiness is my own nature. It does not come from outside.

We should understand why Gita repeatedly harps on decimatiuon of desire, work with skill and strength without expecting to enjoy the benefit, as a form of worship to God. This way the mind becomes even, spotless and free from thoughts and balanced.  Such a mind becomes fit for God-realization.

In this stanza there is a play on the word atma. The physical body is called Atma. The subtle body consisting of  mind and senses (BMI) is also called atma. The embodied soul or ijva is also called atma or jeevatm.  The supreme self or spirit  is also called atman. What this verse then conveys? It says when the antahkarana or the mind and intellect complex is happy with the God-bliss obtained from the soul or jivatma, he is said to be a man of stable mind .

We the ordinary people try to get happiness in the objects of the world. The fact is the object- derived happiness is momentary and variable. We need not go elsewhere to find happiness. It is a part and parcel of our body. We have only to open the window of knowldge and experience it.

This fact is elaborately in chapter 6: -6 as under –

बन्धुरात्मात्मनस्तस्य येनात्मैवात्मना जितः | अनात्मनस्तु शत्रुत्वे वर्तेतात्मैव शत्रुवत् || 6 -6 ||

For one whose body, mind, and senses (lower egoitic soul) have been conquered by the self (soul or jivatma), the self or jivatma is indeed a  true friend. And for one whose body, mind and intellect have not been conquered, the self (higher soul) is verily his foe.


यस्त्वात्मरतिरेव स्यादात्मतृप्तश्च  मानवः |आत्मन्येव च सन्तुष्टस्तस्य कार्यं न विद्यते ॥३ -१७॥

But the man who rejoices only in the self, and is fully satisfied with the self, and finds utter contentment in the self alone, for him there is no specific duty to be performed.

VERSE 2: 56

दुखेष्वनुद्विग्नमनाः सुखेषु विगतस्पृहः |

वीतरागभयक्रोधः स्थितधीर्मुनिरुच्यते || ५६ ||

dukhēṣvanudvignamanāḥ sukhēṣu vigataspr̥haḥ |

vītarāgabhayakrōdhaḥ  sthitadhīrmunirucyatē || 56 ||

दुखेषु अनुद्विग्नमनाः सुखेषु विगतस्पृहः वीतरागभयक्रोधः  स्थितधीः र्मुनिः उच्यते

दुखेषु- in adversity अनुद्विग्नमनाः-whose mind remains unperturbed सुखेषु-for pleaures विगतस्पृहः- whose thirst has altogether disappeared  वीतरागभयक्रोधः-who is free from attachment, fear and anger  स्थितधीः-of steady mind र्मुनिः-sage उच्यते-is called.

The sage, whose mind is unshaken by adversity, who does not crave for pleasures, and who is free from attachment, fear and anger is called a sage of steady mind (stable mind). 


Arjuna had asked the Lord four questions about the characteristics of a God-realized soul. The first question is so exhaustive that It covers all the other three and have been answered from verse 55 to 72. In this verse the Lord takes up the second question स्थितधीः किम् प्रभाषेत , that is how does a man of steady mind speak? How a jnyani responds to a situation? Anudvigna mana, a  non-reactive mind is good shock absorber; so disturbances are minimal.

How a jyani speaketh?This is the second question of Arjuna

दुखेषु अनुद्विग्नमनाःhis mind does not get agitated in the face of unfavourable situations, trials and tribulations. In the previous verse, the Lord said that a realized person gives up all desires. In this stanza he says that the realised soul has a laid back attitude, is indifferent to trials or bliss. The first characteristic was as an action to desist from desires. The second one explained in this verse is concerning his attitude. The yogi does not unhealthily for an adverse situation.

सुखेषु विगतस्पृहःhis mind does not get elated by the pleasures of the world that is favourable decision. Why sorrow and pleasures do not ruffle a man of wisdom? It is because he is always in communion with God, and never any of the physical and mental afflictions bother him. He is cool as a cucumber and laidback.

He is not carried away but stays balanced in positive or negative excitement. Both types are not heathy.

The words दुखेषु  and सुखेषु are in plural number. That means multiples of sorrows and joys.

Sswzami Raghaveshananda: Life is a mixture of sukha and dukha. It is a package. You cannot have only one of them. The jnyani is not afflicted by both. In his opinion, these two are the traits of antahkarana or mind. I am not connected with it because I am atma.

A man thinks why should God give grief, crime, and tribulations? We don’t invite them; nor does God give them. They come on their own accord. They come according to our karma. Man seeks sukha but does not do meritorious deeds. Man says, “No” to dukha. But not give up bad deeds. It is like complaining that the chilly is hot.

That the muni is emotionally even minded  has been repeatedly stressed in Gita. The follwoing are the few examples.

सुखदुःखे समे कृत्वा लाभालाभौ जयाजयौ ततो युद्धाय युज्यस्व नैवं पापमवाप्सयसि ।। 2 -38।।

Treating alike pleasure and pain, profit and loss, victory and defeat; get ready for the fight. You will not acquire sin.

यम् लभ्द्वा चापरं लाभं मन्यते नाधिकं ततः |यस्मिन्स्थितो न दुखेन गुरूणापि विचाल्यते ||6 -22||

The state which having obtained, the yogi considers as the treassure beyond all treasures and once established in it he is not moved even by the greatest calamity. This state is Self Realization or स्थितप्रज्ञः

अद्वेष्टा सर्वभूतानां मैत्रः करुण एव च |निर्ममो निरहङ्कारः समदुखसुखः क्षमी ||12 -13||

He who is free from hatred to all creatures; is friendly and compassionate to all; who is free from the notions of “I” and “My”; even -minded in pleasure and pain; who is forgiving by nature;

समदुक्खसुखः स्वस्थः समलोष्टात्मकान्चनः |तुल्यप्रियाप्रियो धीरस्तुल्यनिन्दात्मसंस्तुतिः ||14 -24||

He who takes woe and joy alike, is ever established in self, considers a clod of earth, a stone and a piece of gold as equal in value, receives the pleasant and unpleasant in the same spirit, firm minded and views censure and praise alike, indeed transcends the three Gunas.(Gunatita)

वीतरागभयक्रोधःfree from emotional attachment, fear and anger, the three main forms of emotions. The wordly love for attachment for the body and sense pleasures do not touch a muni because he has no desires. Fear is caused by an impending misfortune. A wise man identified with the soul has never any cause for alarm. Anger results from the non-fulfilment of bodily or mental desires. Since the mini has no desires, there is no room for anger and attachment. He just remains an observer of all these afflictions without reacting to them. Attachement is different from Love which is wonderful quality. In attachment I think what I will get out of this relationship. Love comes out of mental strength. I am interested in what other person will get out of this relationship, or what can I give.

स्थितधीः र्मुनिः उच्यतेSuch a man is called a muni of stable mind. Muni is a silent sage; one who has controlled his speech.

VERSE 2: 57

यः सर्वत्रानभिस्नेहस्तत्तत्प्राप्य शुभाशुभम् |

 नाभिनन्दति न द्वेष्टि तस्य प्रज्ञा प्रतिष्ठिता || २.५७||

yaḥ sarvatrānabhisnēhastattatprāpya śubhāśubham |

nābhinandati na dvēṣṭi tasya prajñā pratiṣṭhitā || 2.57||

यः सर्वत्र अनभिस्नेहः तत् तत् प्राप्य शुभाशुभम्

न अभिनन्दति न द्वेष्टि तस्य प्रज्ञा प्रतिष्ठिता

यः-who सर्वत्र-to everywhere अनभिस्नेहः-without attachment तत्-that तत्-and this प्राप्य-having obtained शुभाशुभम्-good and evil न-not अभिनन्दति-rejoices न-not द्वेष्टि-hates तस्य-his प्रज्ञा-mind प्रतिष्ठिता-is stable

He who is un-attahed to everything, and while meeting with good or evil, neither rejoices nor is disturbed is a man of steady wisdom.

यः सर्वत्र अनभिस्नेहः तत् तत् प्राप्य शुभाशुभम् whoever is neutral to everything, good or evil. He has renounced attachment for all worldy objects and events. He participates in all activities. a wise man does not do different things; he does differently.  What is the difference? It is his attitude and behaviout. He has no element of “me and mine” in his transactions. Yogananda poins out that Jesus was evenminded when he rode on a donkey to the city of Jerusalem at the time he was crucified. His remark was “God forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing”.

It has been explained in 5:-20 that a man could have such an even and neutral mind because he ever rests in atman. This is called chitta-vrutti nirodha.Here is the verse:

 न प्रहृष्येत्प्रियं प्राप्य नोद्विजेत्प्राप्य चाप्रियम् । स्थिरबुद्धिरसंमूढो ब्रह्मविद्ब्रह्मणि स्थितः ॥५ २०॥

A person who has realized Brahman is neither jubilant when confronted with pleasant experiences, nor depressed when confronted with painful ones. He ever remains unwavering and un-deluded in Brahman.

न अभिनन्दति न द्वेष्टिneither revels nor revenges तस्य प्रज्ञा प्रतिष्ठिताHe is a man established in wisdom.

VERSE 2: 58

यदा संहरते चायं कूर्मोऽङ्गानीव सर्वशः |

इन्द्रियाणीन्द्रियार्थेभ्यस्तस्य प्रज्ञा प्रतिष्ठिता || २.५८ ||

 yadā saṁharatē cāyaṁ kūrmō:’ṅgānīva sarvaśaḥ |

indriyāṇīndriyārthēbhyastasya prajñā pratiṣṭhitā || 2.58 ||

यदा संहरते च अयम् कूर्मः अङ्गानि इव सर्वशः  इन्द्रियाणि इन्द्रियार्थेभ्यः तस्य प्रज्ञा प्रतिष्ठिता

यदा-when संहरते- withdraws च-and अयम्-this Yogi कूर्मः-toroise अङ्गानि-limbs इव-like सर्वशः-from every directions  इन्द्रियाणि-senses इन्द्रियार्थेभ्यः-from the sense objectrs तस्य-his प्रज्ञा-mind प्रतिष्ठिता-is steadied .

When one can completely withdraw the senses from the sense objects, like a tortoise withdraws its limbs into the shell from all directions, then the intellect of such a man is said to be steady.

So far the Lord has defined the following charcteristices of a  man of stable mind.

  1. Ever satisfied in the self. verse 55 आत्मनि एव आत्मना तुष्टः
  2. Lives in perfect equanimity in pleasure and pain. Verse 56 दुखेषु अनुद्विग्नमनाः
  3. Absence of attachment to good and evil results. Verse 57 यः सर्वत्र अनभिस्नेहः

Now in this verse he adds the next qualification that is withdrawl of senses from the sense objects यदा संहरते च अयम् कूर्मः अङ्गानि इव सर्वशः This is the answer to Arjuna’s querry, “How does a perfect man sit”

यदा संहरते च अयम् कूर्मः अङ्गानि इव सर्वशःjust as a tortoise retracts its limbs in case of calamity into its shell. The example of tortoise is amazing. When the tortoise is in water it spreads it limbs to hunts for food. But it withdraws its limbs into its armour at the slightest sign of danger to protect itself from harm.  Similarly a sthitaprajnya engges in the transactions of the world. But he  withdraws his from any or all of the five senses at the slightest indication of tempatation. In otherwords he switches off  his mind from sensory perceptions.

इन्द्रियाणि इन्द्रियार्थेभ्यः तस्य प्रज्ञा प्रतिष्ठिताthe yogi withdraws his senses from the sense organs. His mind concentrates on the real joy of  Brahanada (God-bliss) and is not interested in the trifle, fleeting worldly pleasures.

The capacity in an individual to withdraw his senses at will from the fields of objects is called “pratyahara” in Yoga shastra and uparati in Tattvashastra.

Swami Raghaveshananda: Control of the mind (shama) and control of the seses (dama) are very important preconditions for becoming a sthitapragnya. It is not sufficient to repeat “Shivoham., shivoham “like a parrot. One has to practice.

तस्य प्रज्ञा प्रतिष्ठिता  – such a man’s mind is established in he spirit. 

VERSE 2: 59

विषया विनिवर्तन्ते निराहारस्य देहिनः |
रसवर्र्ज्यं रसोऽप्यस्य परं दृष्ट्वा निवर्तते ||२.५९ ||
viṣayā vinivartantē nirāhārasya dēhinaḥ |

rasavarrjyaṁ rasō:’pyasya paraṁ dr̥ṣṭvā nivartatē ||2.59 ||

विषयाः विनिवर्तन्ते निराहारस्य देहिनः रसवर्जम् रसः अपि अस्य परम् दृष्ट्वा निवर्तते

विषयाः-objects of senses विनिवर्तन्ते-turn away निराहारस्य-abstinent देहिनः-of a man रसवर्जम्- leaving the craving for them रसः- the craving अपि-too अस्य-of his (man of sable mind) परम्-supeme दृष्ट्वा-having seen निवर्तते-tuns away.

The desire for sensual pleasures fades away if one abstains from sense enjoyment, but the craving for sense enjoyment remains in a very subtle form. But such craving also disappears in the case of a man of stable mind who seest the supreme.


In this verse, the lord brings out the difference between the sense conrol by the ordinary man and the sense control by a realized soul.

  1. विषयाः विनिवर्तन्ते निराहारस्य देहिनःthe sense objects turn away from the abstinent man. Two words need to be explained to make the meaning of this phrase clear. विषयाः –sense objects and निराहारः– fasting, giving up food.
  2. विषयाः The sense are five in number पंच ज्ञानेन्द्रियाणि – श्रोत्रं (ear) त्वक् (skin) चक्षु: (eyes) रसना (tongue) घ्राणम् (nose) इति corresponding sense objects are also five in number. These are: शब्द (sound),स्पर्श (touch).रूप(sight) रस(taste) and गन्ध(smell).
  3. निराहारः means withdrawing food, normally refers to fasting. In Vedanta food does not refer to only the food we take by mouth, but also includes the food or inputs given to all the five sense organs namely श्रोत्रं (ear) त्वक् (skin) चक्षु: (eyes) रसना (tongue) घ्राणम् (nose). An obstiant (निराहारः ) is one who is fasting from the five sense objects. The meaning is, the desire for sensual pleasures gets repelled from one who is obstiant or nirahari.

रसवर्जम् रसः अपि अस्य परम् दृष्ट्वा निवर्तते leaving the craze for their enjoyment behind. But in the case of yogi who has realized God, even this craze also goes away.

An abstiant man outwardly shuts his yes to he sense objecs,  while he entertains their enjoyment in his mind. He as a tortoise withdraws its limbs into its shell and when the calamity is over, it puts forth its limbs out. Simlarly an outwardly  refrained man can at any time be seduced by the fatal sense objects.

A wise man on the other hand has no desire for their enjoyments although he may transact his work with impunity among the sense objects. This is possible because he has seen the supreme high everywhere.

The Lord makes this position very clear in Chapter 3:6

कर्मेन्द्रियाणि संयम्य य आस्ते मनसा स्मरन्

इन्द्रियार्थान विमूढात्मा मिथ्याचारः स उच्यते॥३ -६ ॥

He, who outwardly restraining the organs of sense and action, sits mentally dwelling upon sense objects is a hypocrite. ॥ 3 -6॥

VERSE 2: 60

यततो ह्यपि कौन्तेय पुरुषस्य विपश्चितः|
इन्द्रियाणि प्रमाथीनि हरन्ति प्रसभं मनः||२.६०||

yatatō hyapi kauntēya puruṣasya vipaścitaḥ|

indriyāṇi pramāthīni haranti prasabhaṁ manaḥ||2.60||

यततः हि अपि कौन्तेय पुरुषस्य विपश्चितः इन्द्रियाणि प्रमाथीनि हरन्ति प्रसभम् मनः

यततः-(in spite of) striving for self-control हि-indeed अपि-also कौन्तेय-O Son of Kunti,  पुरुषस्य-of the man विपश्चितः-wise, learned person इन्द्रियाणि-the senses प्रमाथीनि-turbulant हरन्ति-carry away प्रसभम्-forcibly मनः-the mind

O Son of Kunti, Arjuna! The senses are so strong and impetuous* that they forcibly seize the mind even of a wise person who is trying for liberation.

* acting or done quickly and without thought or care, impulsive


Paramarthananda: In the these four verses (60 to 64) the Lord emphasises the need for self-control of the mind (मनोनिग्रहः ,दम) and declares in verse 64 that a restrained and stable mind attains perfect peace and tranquiliy.Ths is called thought discipline. This is the final topic in second chapter. Krishna has taken up two aspects of Sthitaprajna, marks or  traits of sthitaprajna and sadhana or methods of acquiring this status. Knowldge is acquired and later assimilated. Assimilatation is conversion of knowledge into emotional strength. It is called nidhidhyasana. Krishna prescribes three desciplines for assimilation. These are mastery of senses organs or dama. Sense organs are the gateway for the experiences of the world to get into one’s mind. It has five channesl in the form of ear, skin, eyes, tongue and nose. Mastery of the senses is called dama. Mastery of the mind is called shama. Shama is more difficult than dama because mind is subtler than the sense objects. The third discipline is called nidhidhyasana. It is assimilation of the knowledge and getting emotional stability in case of crisis.


यततः हि अपि कौन्तेय पुरुषस्य विपश्चितःeven a wise person who is striving for perfection. Here is a note of warning by Krishna. In the previous verse the Lord said that the lust for pleasure may be suppressed by withdrawing the sense organs like a tortoise,  but a craze or thirst for enjoyment of them lurks in the subconscious mind. Even without outward contact of specific object, the mind may  be internally excited by mere thought of it. So no devotee should undermine the formidable power of the mind.

इन्द्रियाणि प्रमाथीनि हरन्ति प्रसभम् मनःthe sense organs are so turbulent that they may even drive a yogi who is very near to realization go wayward. In this sentence, the noun इन्द्रियाणि or the senses has two adjectives- प्रमाथीनि and प्रसभम् meaning turbulent and forcibly. The idea is even for a wise man who is near his goal of realization, the mind is so powerful that it may deceive him. What will be he fate of an ordinary practioner? So one has to be very alert and vigilant to hold the mind against the thought of sin and enjoyment. Descipline, vigilance and sincere spiritual practice is required. Mother Sarda said: It is the very nature of the mind to go to lower objects of enjoyment, just as it is the nature of water to flow downwards. There are many learned sages and philosophers who tried to conquer the senses, but in spite of their endeavors, fell victim to lust of sense enjoyment. There is a storey of sage Vishwamitra, who became a prey to the fatal seduction by Menaka. Many statesmen all over the world have in a moment of weakness become victims of sexual or monetary attractions and had disastrous career.  So there is no room for complacency in spiritual practice.

VERSE 2: 61

Verse  61 to 70  -Path of Love (Bhakti Yoga)

तानि सर्वाणि संयम्य युक्त आसीत मत्परः |
वशे हि यस्येन्द्रियाणि तस्य प्रज्ञा प्रतिष्ठिता ||२:६१||

tāni sarvāṇi saṁyamya yukta āsīta matparaḥ |

vaśē hi yasyēndriyāṇi tasya prajñā pratiṣṭhitā ||2:61||

तानि सर्वाणि संयम्य युक्तः आसीत मत्परः वशे हि यस्य इन्द्रियाणि तस्य प्रज्ञा प्रतिष्ठिता

तानि-them, the sense organs  सर्वाणि-all संयम्य-having restrained युक्तः-with his mind fully collected आसीत-should sit down for meditation मत्परः-intent on me वशे-under control हि-indeed यस्य-whose इन्द्रियाणि-senses तस्य-his प्रज्ञा-intellect (mind)  प्रतिष्ठिता- is settled

Therefore, having subjugated all his senses one should sit down for meditation with a mind devoted to me. For he, whose senses are mastered is known to have a stable mind.


In the previous verse the Lord emphasized the need for sense control, and in this verse he declares that only a man of controlled mind could visualize God.


तानि सर्वाणि संयम्य having controlled all the sense organs. How many sense organs are there? They are five in number, five organs of knowledge (श्रोत्रं त्वक् चक्षु: रसना घ्राणम् इति पंच ज्ञानेन्द्रियाणि). All of them are saboteurs in the kingdom of spirit.  Each one of them  is powerful enough to pull the seeker astray. So the seeker should carefully and deligently subdue all of them सर्वाणि. Even if one sense organ rebels the devotee faces obstacle in his path of progress. If you keep one door or a window open it is an inivation for the robber to enter. So all the senses should be controlled. This is made clear in 2 -67.

इन्द्रियाणांम्  हि चरताम्  यन्मनोनुविधीयते

तदस्य हरति प्रज्ञाम् वायुर्नावमिवाम्भसि ॥२:६७॥)

 “The mind, which is subservient to the senses, carries away his discrimination, just as the wind carries away a boat in the water”.

Kabir says,” मन गए तो जाने दो तन को मत छोड़ो”; if the mind goes astray; Let it be; do not let the body go. We must take control of gross objects to begin with and later take care of the subtle mind. 

Controlling the sense organs is like controlling the steering of a car. The wheels have to move according to the direction of the driver. He sense organs are not to be suppressed but they must be mastered.

युक्तः आसीत मत्परःsit down in meditation. Is it sufficient if the senses are under one’s sway? No. They bind a man to sense objects. So, the second prerequisite is the seeker should fix the mind on God. Otherwise it will waver into realm of sense pleasures. Mind by nature is fickle and has to be kept engaged in study or meditation. The Lord says one should contemplate on “me”, युक्तः means collecting the scattered mind. So, the prescription is control the mind and contemplate on God. The same idea has been given in Dhyanayoga, 4:14.

प्रशान्तात्मा विगतभीर्ब्रह्मचारिव्रते स्थितः । मनः संयम्य मच्चित्तो युक्त आसीत मत्परः ॥६:१४॥

Keeping himself perfecty calm and free from fear, with steadfastness in Brahmacharya, with the mind fully controlled and the thoughts centered on me, the yogi should sit meditating on me as the final goal.

मत्परः means dwell upon me. Atma dhyana, if this not possible meditation on personal god.This is the second discipline called nidhidhyasana or atma dhayana.

वशे हि यस्य इन्द्रियाणिOne whose senses and intellect are contolled (This is called Antahkarana). The yogi has his five sense organs and the mind fully under his sway and meditates on God.

तस्य प्रज्ञा प्रतिष्ठिताThe spiritual knowledge is assimilated. Yogananda adds: This outer and inner control makes the wisdom of the devotee unwavering–that is not hovering between divine and sensual pleasures.

Now let us answer the question कस्य प्रज्ञा प्रतिष्ठिता? whose mind is of  steady wisom? Verse 57

  1. आत्मनि एव आत्मना तुष्टः Ever satisfied in the self. verse 55
  2. दुखेषु अनुद्विग्नमनाः Lives in perfect equanimity in pleasure and pain verse 56
  3. यः सर्वत्र अनभिस्नेहः Absence of attachment to good and evil results. Verse 57
  4. न अभिनन्दति न द्वेष्टि Does not produce unhealthy reaction Verse 58
  5. रसवर्जम् रसः अपि अस्य Desire for the sense objects in the mind and subconscious mind disappears Verse 59
  6. तानि सर्वाणि संयम्य युक्तः आसीत मत्परः Control the senses and contemplate on me. Sit in meditation of the Lord Verse 61

With this the first exercise of dama or control of senses organs is over. (–Swami Paramathananda)

VERSE 2: 62/63

 ध्यायतो विषयान्पुंस – सङ्गस्तेषूपजायते |
सङ्गात्संजायते कामः कामात्क्रोधोsभिजायते ||२:६२ ||

dhyāyatō viṣayānpuṁsa – saṅgastēṣūpajāyatē |

saṅgātsaṁjāyatē kāmaḥ kāmātkrōdhōsbhijāyatē ||2:62 ||

ध्यायतः विषयान् पुंसः सङ्गः तेषु उपजायते सङ्गात् सङ्जायते कामः कामात् क्रोधः  अभिजायते

ध्यायतः- dwelling on विषयान्-sense-objects पुंसः-of man सङ्गः-attachment तेषु-in them उपजायते-springs up सङ्गात्-from attachment सङ्जायते- is born कामः-desire कामात्-from desire (unfulfilled) क्रोधः- anger अभिजायते -ensues

A man brooding on sense objects develops attachment for them; from attachment springs up desire, and from unfulfilled desire breeds anger.02:62

क्रोधात्भवति संमोहः संमोहात्स्मृतिविभ्रमः |
स्मृतिभ्रंशाद बुद्धिनाशो बुद्धिनाशात्प्रणश्यति ||२:६३||
krōdhātbhavati saṁmōhaḥ saṁmōhātsmr̥tivibhramaḥ |

smr̥tibhraṁśāda buddhināśō buddhināśātpraṇaśyati ||2:63||

क्रोधात् भवति संमोहः संमोहात् स्मृति विभ्रमः स्मृतिभ्रंशात् बुद्धिनाशः बुद्धिनाशात् प्रणश्यति

क्रोधात -from anger, भवति -happens संमोह – -delusion, संमोहात -from delusion, समृतिविभ्रमः loss of memory, स्मृतिभ्रंशात-from loss of memory, बुद्धिनाशः –the destruction of discrimination, बुद्धिनाशात-from the destruction of discrimination, प्रणश्यति-(he) perishes.


 “Anger breeds delusion; from delusion arises loss of memory. Loss of right memory causes decay of discrimination, and annihilation of spiritual life fallows” 02:63.


In the previous verse the lord emphasised the need for conrolling the mind and senses for perfection in sadhana. In the next two verses he shows what are the adverse resuts if mind and senses are not leashed in. He gives a step by step road map of descent of man. Now


ध्यायतः विषयान् पुंसः सङ्गः तेषु उपजायतेA man brooding on sensual objects and visualizing the pleasures given by them develops (vishaya dhyana) attachment to the sense-objects.

सङ्गात् सङ्जायते कामःsuch attachment  becomes crystallized into active desire for its possession. Extreme greed is a foe of peace. You feel that you cannot survive without obtaining that  object. What is the diference between love and attachment?. Love is a devine trait. It is the nature of God. Love is done without any expectation. Attachement causes greed. In attachemnt you expect some return.

कामात् क्रोधः अभिजायतेFrom the desires which are not fulfilled arises anger. “Obstruction to good desires gives birth to righteous anger whereas hindrance to evil desire rouses destructive and unreasonable wrath. Righteous anger may inspire a man to correct a wrong or to work with more zeal.  But egotistical anger blinds a man so that he beomes increasingly irritative  trying to to fulfil his obstructed desires. Extreme anger has turned many a men into criminals and murderers and doers of ungodly actions.” Yogananda.

Suppose kama is fulfilled, he will try to acquire more. There is no limit to desire. He can go to any extent to get it. Kama may lead to lobha, which of course Krshna discusses here.

क्रोधात् भवति संमोहःfrom anger arises delusion, a state of blindness that spreads through all the faculties. It clouds his thinking faculty and makes him unable to decide what is right and what is wrong. He will not heed to consequences of his actions. Shankaracharya says such a man  may beat even his mother.

संमोहात् स्मृति विभ्रमःthe  angry man is left in lurch without the faculty of discrimination and  memory. His memory of good behaviour and code of conduct abandons him. The angry man with confused thinking loses his memory.  He forgets his goal, his plans and designs in life, and his relationship with others around him.

स्मृतिभ्रंशात् बुद्धिनाशःthe mind confused of memory  becomes unable to determine what one should do, what one should no do. The inputs sent by sense faculties cannot be processed in the mind. He loses all reasons. “Such a man will exhibit acrimony, harshness, pussilanimityy, violence, vindictiveness, and silly behaviour”. (Goyandka) He loses his mental balance.

बुद्धिनाशात् प्रणश्यति This is the way a man of uncontrolled anger falls into the ditch of mental imbalance and ultimately perishes. Society as a whole also undergoes degradation by the same process as the individual.

Gita warns therefore  against blind worship of sense objects. He who conqueres the mind conquers the world.

He ladder of human fall : Vishaya dhyana, sanga, kama, krodha, moha, smruti bhrsamha, buddhinasha and pranasha. (Paramatmananda)

Thought Lures          Attachment              Desire               Anger                Disillussion

Loss of Memory         Prejudice of Mind           destruction     

VERSE 2: 64

रागद्वेषवियुक्तैस्तु विषयानिन्द्रियैश्चरन् |

आत्मवश्यैर्विधेयात्मा प्रसादमधिगच्छति ||२: ६४||

rāgadvēṣaviyuktaistu viṣayānindriyaiścaran |

ātmavaśyairvidhēyātmā prasādamadhigacchati ||2: 64||

रागद्वेषवियुक्तैः तु विषयान् इन्द्रियैः चरन् आत्मवश्यैः विधेयात्मा

प्रसादम् अधिगच्छति 

रागद्वेषवियुक्तैः-free from attraction and repulsion तु-on the other hand विषयान्- various sense objects इन्द्रियैः-through his senses चरन्-moving or enjoying आत्मवश्यैः-desciplined by the mind विधेयात्मा – the self-controlled seeker प्रसादम्-tranquility of mind अधिगच्छति-attains 

A disciplined seeker on the other hand, enjoying sense objects with senses that are under control and free from attachments and aversions, attains tranquility.

Real peace and happiness are achieved, not by sense gratification, but by sense management. In two previous verses, the Lord gave a road map of descent and fall of man who has no control  over the mind and sense objects. In this verses 61 to 64 he explains the reverse process of spiritual ascent of a sadhaka.This also anwers Arjuna’s fourth question, “How the yogi of stable mind walks” स्थितधीः किम् आसीत व्रजेत किम्


Paramarthananda: Krishna devides this topic into two portions.


स्थितप्रज्ञ साधनानि tools to become sthitaprajnya

स्थितप्रज्ञ लक्षणानि –Traits of sthitaprajnya


  1. what are the tools to become a sthitaprajnya स्थितप्रज्ञ साधनानि . This is described in verses 65 to 67. First he has to become a prajnya or wise man by studying the scriptures from a Guru. This involves shravana, listening to the discourse of a Guru, manana where all doubts are eliminated. These two desciplines make him a prajnya. Prajnya is an inellectual with academic qualifications. In order  to become a realized man he has to go a long way. The knowldge should be changed into emotional conviction or strength so that he may remain ever balanced emotionally. Jnyana has to be transformed into vijnyana. By this transformation a prajna becomes a sthitaprajnya.


Human body is compared to a car. Its body is the body of man. The stearing wheel is the mind. Wheels of the car are like the sense organs. If the wheels or the sense organs are to be controlled the driver of the car will control the steering. That means if the mind is in leash the sense organs become subservient. Then the man will not succumb to the seductions of the senses.

  1. the natural behaviour or triats of a sthitaprajnya स्थितप्रज्ञ लक्षणानि. The lord does not speak about this aspect but we have to supply it from other verses. Verse 68-69.


रागद्वेषवियुक्तैः तु विषयान् इन्द्रियैः चरन्On the other hand, a yogi free from likes and dislikes, (raga, dwesha) enjoying the sense objects.

आत्मवश्यैः विधेयात्मा प्रसादम् अधिगच्छति– a man of desciplined mind with the senses under his conrtol attains peace. This

process of controlling the mind is called shama (शमः). A man who has control over the mind has discarded “likes and dislikes”. In ordinary people, favourable objects create attraction and unfavourable ones create repulsion. In the case of विधेयात्मा–(one who has restrained the mind) he  has no attraction and repulsion and takes the results as it is presented. His transacts with the sense objects of शब्द स्पर्श रूप रस गन्ध (sound, touch, sight, taste and smell) with the sense organs of ear, skin, eyes, tongue and nose without mentally responding to their impact. So it is his attitude which is different from us. As a result he attains perfect peace.

Mere abandonment of sense pleasures under duress does not ensue peace. It should be combined with abandonment of likes and dislikes.

The sense objects per se are not culprit. A bottle of champaign or Scotch does not cause any temptation in me but a man who is addicted may become its victim. It is our attachment or repulsion to them that cause entanglement. A yogi’s mind is just like our shadow. The shadow follows us wherever we go but it is not tainted with our love or hatred for objects.

VERSE 2: 65

प्रसादे सर्वदुःखानां हानिरस्योपजायते|
प्रसन्नचेतसो ह्याशु बुद्धिः पर्यवतिष्ठते ||२: ६५||

prasādē sarvaduḥkhānāṁ hānirasyōpajāyatē|

prasannacētasō hyāśu buddhiḥ paryavatiṣṭhatē ||2: 65||

प्रसादे सर्वदुःखानाम्  हानिः अस्य उपजायते प्रसन्नचेतसः हि आशु बुद्धिः पर्यवतिष्ठते

प्रसादे-with attainment of tranquillity of mind सर्वदुःखानाम्-allsorrows  हानिः-destruction अस्य-his (perfect yogi) उपजायते-takes place प्रसन्नचेतसः-of such a person of tranquil mind हि-indeed आशु-soon बुद्धिः-inellect पर्यवतिष्ठते-becomes steadily established in God.

Gita Society pdf translates this portion as below:

All sorrows are destroyed upon attainment of tranquility. The intellect of such a tranquil person soon becomes completely steady and united with the Supreme.

In this verse the Lord speaks about two rewards a  man of balanced mind (samatvam, prasanna chitta) recevies . It produces two fold benefit;  destruction of all sorrows and arrival of happiness सुख प्राप्ति दुख्ः नाशः  Happiness is not brought from outside world because  the ouside world does not have it. We ourselves are the source of happiness. Second benefit is  when the mind is calmer, self knowledge becomes stronger. It is not the amount of food that is important but the food assimilated is important. When the sorrow is gone the knowledge is assimilated. A prajnya is converted into sthitaprajna.  65 o 67 sthitaprajna sadhanani-how to convert prajna into sthita prajna.


प्रसादे सर्वदुःखानाम्  हानिः अस्य उपजायतेwith the attainment of peace of mind all the sorrows are annihilated. Which are the sorrows? Fear, death, disease, calamity etc., All these are stored in the form of a seed and collectively called Sanchita karma. By the dawn of knowledge all the karmas are burnt down by the practice of  karmayoga and meditation. The contact of or loss of objects or situations have no adverse impact on him. He is ever immersed in God-bliss. Such a state is called  प्रसाद . The word ‘अस्य’  in this verse refers to  the perfect yogi who has kept his mind and senses under control and is free from likes and dislike (raga and dwesha).

प्रसन्नचेतसः हि आशु बुद्धिः पर्यवतिष्ठतेthe mind (antahkarana) of the sadhaka composed in himself, free from likes and dislikes soon becomes firmly  established in self  (आत्म स्वरूप). This is the second benefit for the sadhaka of Prasada chitta. All the distractions of the mind disappear, the antahkarana becomes extremely pure and serene, and nothing remains in his consciousness except God. He enjoys Brahmananda.

This revelry is described in verse 18:37 as sattvika joy. Here is the shloka

यत्तदग्रे विषमिव परिणामेऽमृतोपमम् । तत्सुखं सात्त्विकं प्रोक्तमात्मबुद्धिप्रसादजम् ॥१८:३७॥


Such a joy though appearing as poison in the beginning, tastes like nectar in the end. Hence that joy born of tranquillity of mind is spoken as sattvika joy.

VERSE 2: 66

नास्ति बुद्धिरयुक्तस्य न चायुक्तस्य भावना |
न चाभावयतः शान्तिरशान्तस्य कुतः सुखम् ||२: ६६||

nāsti buddhirayuktasya na cāyuktasya bhāvanā |

na cābhāvayataḥ śāntiraśāntasya kutaḥ sukham ||2: 66||

न अस्ति बुद्धिः अयुक्तस्य न च अयुक्तस्य भावना न च अभावयतः शान्तिः अशान्तस्य कुतः सुखम्

न-not अस्ति-is there बुद्धिः-knowledge of the self अयुक्तस्य-one who has not controlled mind and senses  न च- nor there is अयुक्तस्य- one who has not controlled mind and senses भावना-thought of God न च-nor again अभावयतः-one without thought of God शान्तिः-peace अशान्तस्य-one without peace of mind कुतः-where सुखम्-happiness

The following transaltion of Goyandka is slightly modified by the author.

There is no wisdom for a man who has not controlled senses, nor such an undisciplined man can think of God. There is no wisdom  for a man who has not controlled senses, nor such an undisciplined man think of God.


Having explained in the last three verses the concept of management of mind and senses to attain tranquillity, the Lord explains in the next two verses how the worldly man who has not controlled the mind and senses moves away from happiness and tranquillity.

Sensory control and mind conrtol  are highlighted. Arjuna build up  shama and dama foremost.  A person who has sense control  and mind control  (shama and dama)  is called yukta and one who has no control  is called ayukta. An ayukta has no shanti and sukha.

न अस्ति बुद्धिः अयुक्तस्यone who has not controlled the mind has no wisdom. Yukta means one who is united with self. Ayukta is therefore one who is not united with the supreme. As a logical consequence, one who is disunited with soul is attached to the senses. If one is not in the light he is in darkness. One who is not united with the self cannot see the light of spirit. A disunited man or ayukta has restlessness,  lacks judgement and discrimination. Buddhi means intellect, faculty of discrimination. This word buddhi has been explained in verse 41 which says:

व्यवसायात्मिका बुद्धिरेकेह कुरुनन्दन । बहुशाखा ह्यनन्ताश्च बुद्धयोऽव्यवसायिनाम् ॥२:४१॥

O joy of Kurus, Arjuna, in this yoga of disinterested action, the seeker has single pointed determination for God realization; but the desires of the one who works for enjoyment of fruits of action are many and endless.


न च अयुक्तस्य भावनाnor has the disunited man any thought of the supreme. A man who is a slave of the senses lacks the intellect and due to the attachment and desire for various forms of enjoyment his mind is ever distracted.

न च अभावयतः शान्तिः अशान्तस्य कुतः सुखम्for one who is disunited and has no thought of the supreme has no peace of mind as well. Peace is a quality of the soul. One who is away from the bliss of soul is also away from the peace. Such a man who is disunited from God and is a worshipper of sense pleasures lacks determinate mind. He is ever distracted by the lure of sense pleasures, performing various activities to achieve more and more of it, becomes victim of love and hatred, attraction and repulsion, lust, anger, greed, jealousy etc. How can such a man have peace and happiness? Unless mind is peaceful there cannot be any happiness.

There is a storey. Three old women were waiting at the door step of a man. They wanted to meet the master of the house. Upon learning that he was not in, they preferred to wait outside till he returned. The man came in the evening and asked them to come in. They introduced themselves as Wealth (Laxmi), Peace (Shanti), and Happiness (Sukhada).  “Only one of us can come in; Whom will you invite” they said. The man went inside and discussed with his wife. He and his wife decided to invite wealth, but their young daughter wanted to invite peace. They all agreed and asked peace to come in. As Peace stood up, the other two also followed her. The man said; “But only one of you wanted to come in”. The three old women said, “If you had invited one of us the other two would have gone back. We follow wherever there is Peace”

VERSE 2: 67

इन्द्रियाणां हि चरतां यन्मनोऽनुविधीयते |
तदस्य हरति प्रज्ञां वायुर्नावमिवाम्भसि ||२: ६७||

indriyāṇāṁ hi caratāṁ yanmanō:’nuvidhīyatē |

tadasya harati prajñāṁ vāyurnāvamivāmbhasi ||2: 67||

इन्द्रियाणां हि चरताम् यत् मनः अनुविधीयते तत् अस्य हरति प्रज्ञाम् वायुः नावम् इव अम्भसि

इन्द्रियाणां-among the sense organs  हि- indeed चरताम्-moving यत्-which मनः-the mind अनुविधीयते-follows तत्- that sense alone अस्य- of him (the man lacking self-control) हरति- carries away प्रज्ञाम्-discrimination वायुः-(just as ) thew wind नावम्-the boat इव-like अम्भसि-in the waters.

Just as a boat on the waters is drifted away by a gale, the mind wandering in the sense objects succumbs to them taking away his discrimination.


इन्द्रियाणां हि चरताम् यत् मनः अनुविधीयतेthe mind wandering in the sense organs, colludes and conspires with the senses and succumbs to their temptations. The indriyanam (इन्द्रियाणां) is in plural. Ther are five sense organs; the organs of sound, touch, sight, taste and smell (श्रोत्रं त्वक् चक्षु: रसना घ्राणम् इति पंच ज्ञानेन्द्रियाणि). Each of them is individually capable of seducing the mind. The deer meets its death due to the lack of conrol over the sense of hearing. The elephant meets its death for lack of control over the sense of touch. The light- moth being attracted to the sight of fire or a lamp falls into the trap and perishes. The fish meets it end for the lack of control over the sense of taste. And the bee meets its doom for lack of control over the sense of smell. Each one of them is so powerful then what about a man in whom are all the five charming? The mind instead of being a master of he senses becomes its slave and the man stays away from the light of the soul.

शब्दादिभिः पंचभिरेव पंचपंचत्वमापुः स्वगुणेन बद्धाः ।

कुरंग मातंग पतंग मीन भृंगा नरः पंचभिरंचितः किम् ॥

 – विवेकचूडामणि

An account of the temptation and loss of conrol over the mind,  the individual’s judgment is vitiated. He walks into the fatal trap of sense enjoyments.

तत् अस्य हरति प्रज्ञाम् वायुः नावम् इव अम्भसिthe uncontrolled mind takes away his discrimination. The mind which is not a master of the senses, fallows the dictates of the senses which are wandering amidst the sense objects. It destroys his power of decision and discrimnation and may lead to sinful pursuits dragging him into the snare of sense pleasures. To prove this point the Lord has used a simile. Just as powerful gale drifts away a ship without its rudder, a temptation may unwittingly drag a seeker into errors. So he should constantly remain vigilant at all the time from the threat of sense pleasures.

The temptations may be not only in the form of any sensual pleasures but for less tangible attractions like name, fame, power, ego-grazing of his contributions in the media etc.  The devotee should always keep his mind focussed on God.

VERSE 2: 68

तस्माद्यस्य महाबाहो निगृहीतानि सर्वशः|
इन्द्रियाणीन्द्रियार्थेभ्यस्तस्य प्रज्ञा प्रतिष्ठिता ||२.६८||

tasmādyasya mahābāhō nigr̥hītāni sarvaśaḥ|

indriyāṇīndriyārthēbhyastasya prajñā pratiṣṭhitā ||2.68||

तस्मात् यस्य महाबाहो निगृहीतानि सर्वशः इन्द्रियाणि इन्द्रियार्थेभ्यः तस्य प्रज्ञा प्रतिष्ठिता

तस्मात्-therefore यस्य-whose महाबाहो-O mighty armed Arjuna निगृहीतानि-restrained सर्वशः-compleely इन्द्रियाणि-the senses इन्द्रियार्थेभ्यः-from the sense-objects तस्य-his प्रज्ञा-mind प्रतिष्ठिता-is steady.

Therefore Arjuna, he, whose senses are completely restrained from their objects is said to have a stable mind.


In the verses 65 and 67 the Lord explained that a man whose mind is not in full control of the senses is swayed by them and yield to their temptations. But one who has restrained the mind, is not victimized by the temptations. Such a person is called a man of stable mind (स्थितप्रज्ञ ).   Verse 68-69 deals with the traits  of sthita prajna.

तस्मात् यस्य महाबाहो निगृहीतानि सर्वशःTherefore O mighty armed one! Whose sense faculties are wholly subjugated in regard to sense objects. तस्मात्  -Therefore; this word is used to conclude a statement. In the previous verse Lord demonstrated that undisciplined senses of a worldly man entrap his mind into a snare of sense-enjoyments, prejudice his intellect and ultimately he succumbs to their commands. Therefore, the mind and senses have to be controlled. महाबाहो-mightily armed निगृहीतानि complete subdual of the sense organs is possible only when there is no attachment for sense enjoyment

इन्द्रियाणि इन्द्रियार्थेभ्यः तस्य प्रज्ञा प्रतिष्ठिता having full control over the senses of touch, taste, sound, sight and smell. This phrase has appeared in the verse 2:58 as well


यदा संहरते चायं कूर्मोऽङ्गानीव सर्वशः |

इन्द्रियाणीन्द्रियार्थेभ्यस्तस्य प्रज्ञा प्रतिष्ठिता || २.५८ ||

When, one can completely withdraws the senses from the sense objects like a tortoise withdraws its limbs into the shell from all directions, then the intellect of such a man is said to be steady.

Yogananda adds:

Yogananda: Jesus urged, to a thief,  “If thy hand offended thee, cut it off”. What he meant was severance of impulse that created the temptation of stealing. A woman who was a compulsive shop-lifter literally followed this advice in moment of repentence.  But later she started to steal articles with her leg and mouth. Removal of a man’s eye does not destroy his desire for sensuous beauty. Cutting off the hands does not remove the desire to steal. What is need is education of the mind towards miseries of following the commands of the sense organs. The sense organs are mere instruments of the mind; they cannot act by themselves. It is the mind and discrimination that must be freed from enslavement.  The technique given by Krishna is to divest the mind of the desires and fix it in union with God.  Control the mind and contemplate on God.

In the media, we have innumerable advertisements for consumer products which creates a feeling in our mind that happiness depends on owning them. Then we start brooding on them (ध्यायतो विषयान् पुंसः ) and get hooked to it. Today’s greed becomes tomarrow’s need. We have a list of artificially created needs.

Swami Tejomayananda said – “We buy things that ‘we don’t need’, with the money that ‘we don’t have’, to impress those who ‘don’t care about us”

VERSE 2: 69

या निशा सर्वभूतानां तस्यां जागर्ति संयमी ।
यस्यां जाग्रति भूतानि सा निशा पश्यतो मुने – ||२.६९||

yā niśā sarvabhūtānāṁ tasyāṁ jāgarti saṁyamī |

yasyāṁ jāgrati bhūtāni sā niśā paśyatō munē – ||2.69||

या निशा सर्वभूतानाम् तस्याम् जागर्ति संयमी यस्याम् जाग्रति भूतानि सा निशा पश्यतः मुनेः

या-that which निशा-is night  सर्वभूतानाम्-to all beings तस्याम्-in that state (of divine knowledge and supreme bliss) जागर्ति-keeps awake संयमी-a self-controlled man यस्याम्-in which जाग्रति-keeps awake भूतानि- all beings सा-that (the state of transient worldy happiness) निशा-is night पश्यतः-of the seeing or relized  मुनेः-the seer

That which is night  to all beings, in that the self-controlled man keeps awakes. When all beings are awake, it is night for the self-controlled muni.

So far the Lord has stated the harms of being a sense-slave (ajnyani) and also the benefits of being a master of mind (Jnyani).  In this verse the Lord states that when the worldly man is awake in pursuits of pleasureful activities, the yogi is oblivious to them. When the worldly man is oblivious to cultivation of God-consciousness, the yogi is alive to spiritual pursuits. He has used the example of day and night for our understanding.

Krishna is comparing a jnyani and ajnyani. Both of them are going to face the same world and set of people. You cannot change them. It is our responce to the world, makes a differnce  between jnyani and ajnyani. Two people are seeing the waves. One of them knows that  the  truth of the wave is water and the other sees several names and forms of waves.  The jnyani  is absorbed in immortality, the ajnyani  in dvaita  or mortality.  There is another example of a movie and its characters. The Screen alone is there. But the spectator is  absorbed in pluralistic shadows of character. In fact there is no  character; all you see is the is the projectin of  light and shadows.   

या निशा सर्वभूतानाम् तस्याम् जागर्ति संयमीThe meaning should not be taken literally. In that case we will have to declare all the people who are awake in the night such as the security, police, BPO’s and criminals as realized people. A man wanted to become sthitaprajna. He used to sleep all over the day and spend time by viewing movies in the night. The words day and night should not be taken literally. It has been used in a metaphorical (रूपक) sense. 

An ordinary man is oblivious to the virtue, glory, mistery, truth and the supreme joy of God. Such a state is referred to as night or निशा. This so called night is a day to the realized man because he is spirityually awake.

संयमी -self-controlled, restrained. One who has controlled the mind and senses and has realized God; He has been referred to as पश्यतः मुनिः or a seer.

यस्याम् जाग्रति भूतानि सा निशा पश्यतः मुनेःWhen all beings keep awake all the day in acquiring and enjoying worldly pursuits, the God-conscious man is in deep slumber to such endeavours.  So it is a night to him.

VERSE 2: 70  

आपूर्यमाणमचलप्रतिष्ठं समुद्रमापः प्रविशन्ति यद्वत्।

तद्वत्कामा यं प्रविशन्ति सर्वे स शान्तिमाप्नोति न कामकामी ||२.७०||

āpūryamāṇamacalapratiṣṭhaṁ samudramāpaḥ praviśanti yadvat|

tadvatkāmā yaṁ praviśanti sarvē sa śāntimāpnōti na kāmakāmī ||2.70||

आपूर्यमाणम् अचलप्रतिष्ठम् समुद्रम् आपः प्रविशन्ति यद्वत् तद्वत् कामाः यम् प्रविशन्ति सर्वे सः शान्तिम् आप्नोति न कामकामी

आपूर्यमाणम्- filled from all sides ever full   अचलप्रतिष्ठम्-stay undistrurbed  whether arrival of water or evoperation of water समुद्रम्- the oceaan आपः- varieties of  water प्रविशन्ति-enters यद्वत्-as  तद्वत्-so  कामाः-desires यम्-whom  प्रविशन्ति- enter सर्वे-all  सः-he शान्तिम्-peace आप्नोति-attains न-not कामकामी-desirer of desires

Just as an ocean although full to the brim, receives  waters (of the rivers) from all sides without swelling, likewise an infinite number of desires do not disturb the peace of a muni; but not so of one  he who hankers after desires.


In the previous verse, the Lord said that when the wordly man is busy in acquiring  pleasure giving material objects, the spiritual man engages in his spiritual persuits. In the present verse he uses a simile to show that the man of knowledge obtains supreme peace but not an ignorant man who  hankers after material wealth. Here is another example. A Jnyani iscompared to an ocean which is everfull  or purna. Its fullness does not depend upon on any exernal factors. It is independent of external factors. Similarly a jnyani  enjoys  sensory experiences with unagitated  mind all the time. But not an  ignorant person who is heavily dependient on external factors.


आपूर्यमाणम् अचलप्रतिष्ठम् समुद्रम् आपः प्रविशन्ति यद्वत् Although waters from different rivers empty themselves into the ocean which is already full, it does not swell and overflow. It remains ever the same level, peaceful in its bosom. It is indifferent to  flood of waters coming or big sheet of water evoperating from its surface. Similarly a jnyani. The sense objects ener into his mind day and night. But unlike us, he does not resond to them because he has his sense-control. He remains abiding in God.

तद्वत् कामाः यम् प्रविशन्ति सर्वे – Similarly a man of perfection, who is ever calm and joyful in in God- consciousness, shows no sign of disturbance in the mind when he is amidst objects of sense enjoyment. The five sense objects and their senses do not cause a ripple of desire in the mind of a sthitaprajna. The sense objects per se are not the culprits, but it is the mind which yields to them and become their slave.

सः शान्तिम् आप्नोति न कामकामी such an individual who is not seduced by the sense objects obtains peace but not the one who is a desirer of desires. The stable minded yogi although moves about in the midst of sense attractions, is not moved by them. But, the one who entertains desire for enjoyment remains ever distracted by cravings for enjoyment finds no peace.

There was a princess by name Atlanta. She was a fast runner. She declared that she will marry a person who would defeat her in running race. Durng the race if some one tried to run past her, she would throw  gold coins. The runner would stop to collect the coins and get defeated. One wise boy did not care for the coins but continued to run and defeated her.

Swami Chinmayananda has given a mathematical formula to measure the joy or happiness in a man. Happiness quotient (HQ) is the number of desisres fulfilled  (nominator) divided by the number of number of desires entertained (denominator). It can be represented thus.

Happiness Quotient HQ =        Number of desires fulfilled

                                                      Number of desires entertained

It is the human tendency to entertain more and more desires, as the earlier ones are fulfilled. So the HQ does not increase.  The spiritual way of reaching perfect happiness is to reduce desires of entertained so that happiness quotient increases. 

VERSE 2: 71

71 to 72  -Path of Renunciation (Sanyasa Yoga)

विहाय कामान्यः सर्वान्पुमांश्चरति निःस्पृहः।
निर्ममो निरहङ्कारः स शान्तिमधिगच्छति ||२.७१||

vihāya kāmānyaḥ sarvānpumāṁścarati niḥspr̥haḥ|

nirmamō nirahaṅkāraḥ sa śāntimadhigacchati ||2.71||

विहाय कामान् यः सर्वान् पुमान् चरति निःस्पृहः निर्ममः निरहङ्कारः सः शान्तिम् अधिगच्छति

विहाय-giving up कामान्-desires यः who- सर्वान्-all पुमान्-man चरति-moves about निःस्पृहः-free from longing ,detachment निर्ममः-free from the feeling of’mine’  or body identification निरहङ्कारः-free from egoism सः-he शान्तिम्- peace अधिगच्छति-attains

He attains peace who moves about among the sense objects relinquishing all desires, the thirst for enjoyment; the sense of me and mine, and egoism.


Krishna continues with the traits of jnani. Moksha is not a mystic experience but enjoying a poised mind.


विहाय कामान् यः पुमान् सर्वान्  -A person  giving up lust or dependence for sense objects. 

चरति निःस्पृहः he moves about in the object of senses and performs  his normal duties without becoming a beneficiary for his actions. He is united to God and works only to please him. Although कामान्  and स्पृहा  mean desire, they are mentioned separately because there is a subtle diffeerence in their meaning.  कामान्  means passion, lust, desire. It is the desire to acquire the things and facilities for pleasure and enjoyment. स्पृहा  is thirst for pleasure. One gets a feeling of indespensibily of the object he is seeking. In both cases   one wants more even after acquiring it.

निर्ममः – Mama means mine. One who does not have the sense of mine is called nirmama. The wordly man is a slave to the ego’s mean consciousness of “I” and “mine”. He has identified with the body, mind and senses and thinks everything related to the body such as wife, progeny, relations, friends, houses, possessions and power etc., as “mine”. Such a feeling of mine is called ममता or attachment. The word निर्ममः therefore means one who has no such feeling of “mine”. He has nothing whatsoever as his own, no ownership

निरहङ्कारः-Non-egoistic; even attaining desirelessness and freedom from yearning cannot guarantee peace of mind as long as he is not free from ego.

सः शान्तिम् अधिगच्छति Such a person realizes peace. Peace is the first product of freedom from all desires. The formula of external peace advocated in Bhagavad Gita is first to give up all desires, sense of possession and egoism. Egoism is the root cause of all desire, craving and identification with the mortal body. A man free from ego works in this world without being a beneficiary for his actions but only to please God, ever united with him. Such a man casts off his body consciounes and merges into God consciousness.

Yogananda adds: A king slept on a bed of gold in a stately castle and dreamt he was a beggar. He cried – “please give me alms; I am a hungry beggar”. When the queen awakend him, he sat up, free from dream delusions amused by their absurdity.

Similarly every one of us, a kingly soul, in the perfect image of the omnipresent, all powerful spirit, is sleeping in ignorance. We are dreaming that we are a poor mortal with afflictions and limitations. When by meditation and sadhana the false body consciousness disappears, the ego soul or jiva realizes its own status as the eternal reality.

VERSE 2:72

एषा ब्राम्हीस्तितिः पार्थ नैनां प्राप्य विमुह्यति ।
स्थित्वास्यामन्तकालेऽपि ब्रह्मनिर्वाणमृच्छति ||२:७२||

ēṣā brāmhīstitiḥ pārtha naināṁ prāpya vimuhyati |

sthitvāsyāmantakālē:’pi brahmanirvāṇamr̥cchati ||2:72||

एषा ब्राम्ही स्तितिः पार्थ न ऎनम् प्राप्य विमुह्यति  स्थित्वा अस्याम् अन्तकाले अपि ब्रह्मनिर्वाणम् ऋच्छति

एषा-this ब्राम्ही-brahman or God -realized स्तितिः-state पार्थ- O son of Pritha, Arjuna न-not ऎनम्-this state प्राप्य- having obtained विमुह्यति-is again deluded  स्थित्वा-being established अस्याम्-in this state अन्तकाले- at the end of life अपि-also- ब्रह्मनिर्वाणम् –oneness with Brahman ऋच्छति –attains.

O Partha, such is the state of an enlightened soul that having attained it, one is never again deluded. Being established in this consciousness even at the hour of death, one is liberated from the cycle of life and death and reaches the Supreme Abode of God.




Having answered all the four questions of Arjuna, the Lord now concludes the chapter by extolling the state of God-realized soul.This state of mind is borne out of atma jnyana  or sthitaprajna. This  composed state of mind or a perspective of the world as described in verses 12 to 25, is called Brahmee sthiti. (ब्राह्मी स्थिति) or jivanmukti. There is no more fall back into the samsara. He lives in this wold to wear away his residual prarabdha karma and later his gross body merges with the gross elements. The subtle body merges with the subtle elements. The jiva merges with the spirit; he gets union with God.


एषा ब्राम्ही स्तितिः पार्थ  -Arjuna, this is the state of God-bliss. He becomes one with God. It is the goal of human life. एषा means this. This knowledge given to you from verse 55 to the end of this chapter. The endurable state of existence in the spirit of God where the seeker absolves himself of desire, attachment, sense of possession, and egoism, and vicissitude of emotion is called Brahmi Sthiti. The jiva seeped in ignorance, oblivious of the reality of Brahman (The absolute), becomes conscious of the final reality of the immutable Brahman. Thus the delusion or ‘moha which was with the soul for innumerable births is ended.  Such a muni is also called जीवनमुक्त.

न ऎनम् प्राप्य विमुह्यति Having reached this state one does not slip back into delusion again.

स्थित्वा अस्याम् अन्तकालेऽपि -It does not matter when and how the man attains this state of finality. If a devotee is successful even at the very moment preceeding death, in acquiring all-blessed state, he will certainly never again be parted from that spirit-blessedness. He will escape from the merry-go-round wheel of births and deaths

स्थित्वा अस्याम् अन्तकाले अपि ब्रह्मनिर्वाणम् ऋच्छति He will reach the state of Final, irrevocable state of union with the spirit. 

ॐ तत्सदिति श्रीमद्भगवद्गीतासूपनिषत्सु ब्रम्हविद्यायां  योगशास्त्रे श्रीकृष्णार्जुनसंवादे साङ्ख्ययोगो नाम द्वितीयोऽध्यायः ||२||

ōm̐ tatsaditi śrīmadbhagavadgītāsūpaniṣatsu

bramhavidyāyāṁ  yōgaśāstrē śrīkr̥ṣṇārjunasaṁvādē

sāṅkhyayōgō nāma dvitīyō:’dhyāyaḥ ||2||

Thus, in the upanishads of the glorious Bhagawad Geeta, in the Science of God-realization, in the scripture of Yoga, in the dialogue between Shri Krishna and Arjuna, ends the second chapter entitled – “Sankhyayoga” -the yoga of knowledge  

Summary of 2nd  chapter

Based on Swami Paramarthananda’s  audio lecture

The subject of 2nd chapter can be divided into four parts:



Arjuna’s surrender (sharanagati)


Jnyna yoga




Sthita prajna part


Arjuna’s surrender (sharanagati)

Arjuna’ mind was overwhelmed by unplaced pity and sympathy. He was not able to take a right decision about his  duty. Arjuna acknowledges his weakness as karpanya dosha. Every one of us is also placed in such a situation of grief.  Samsara is raga, shoka and moha, the problem of attachment. It is the human problem. The object of attachment may vary from man to man but the problem is universal. Arjuna tries to solve this problem by withdrawing from the battle field. Krishna says escapism is not the answer. One has to face the situaion and fight in this world. 

 Jnyana yoga Verse 11 -38

Jnyana yoga also called  Sankhaya yoga is the central theme of second chapter. It is the essence of all Upanishads. Krsihna discusses the essential nature of an individual. Who am I in reality? Am I the body and the mind? Is consciousness a part of me?

As a man discards the old clothes and puts on new ones, so also the embodied self casts off it’s worn out bodies and enters new ones.

वासांसि जीर्णानि यथा विहाय नवानि गृह्णाति नरोऽपराणि ।तथा शरीराणि विहाय जीर्णान्यन्यानि संयाति नवानि देही ॥२:२२॥

This body is only a temporay vesture which is discared at the time of death. In deep sleep we never transact with physical body. When I wake up I use this body and mind and when I sleep I keep it aside.  I use them for transaction only. I am the consciousness priniciple. I am the nature of chit, chaitanya and jnyana. I, or the consciousness is not a part of the body, a product of the body nor even the property of the body. It is an independent entity which pervades and enlivens this body.  It is not limited by time or space. There is no boundary for it, it pervades everywhere all the time. It continues to survive evenafter this body collapses. It is also known as dehi, shariri, and atma.

 Krishna talks about six main features of Atman in verses 11 to 25. The essence of his talk is:

  1. Atma is eternal नित्यः verse 23
  2. Atma is reality सत्यः verse 16
  3. Atma is all-pervading सर्वगतः Verse 17 सर्वमिदम् ततम्
  4. Atma is ever experiencer but never experienced. अप्रमेयः Anything we experience is called anatma. Just as a camera takes all the pictures but is it is never found in the picture, the atma is never seen. अव्यक्तः अचिन्त्यः
  5. Atma is not a doer or enjoyer of fruit. So he has no papam or punya. अकर्ता अभोक्ता
  6. Atma is without modification. निर्विकारः; न जायते म्रियते वा कदाचित्. He is free from all six modifications. Six modifications are existence, birth, growth, etc.

Karma Yoga Verse 39-53

Jnyana yoga being subtle is difficult to study and practice unless one prepares his mind.

आश्चर्यवत् पश्यति कश्चित् एनम् . Proper action along with proper attitude is karmayoga.

What is proper action?

There are three types of actions, uttama (superior) madhyama (mediocre) and adhama (inferior). These correspond to Sattvika, Rajasika and Tamasika trait. Action done without any self inerest, for the benefit of the largest number of people is the best. It is called nishkma karma. It is sattvik action. Rajasik action is done with selfish motive. The worst action  is tamasik action. It is done in which I benefit at the cost of others.   

What is proper attitude?

Whatever action I do, I do it with dedication and love. I enjoy the action and offer it to God. The result is not in my hands although I expect good result. Whatever the outcome,  favourable or unfavourable to me,  I accept it as Lord’s Prasad. More details of this may be found in chapter 3. The benefit of karma yoga is I become qualified to receive Jnyana (ज्ञान योग्यता प्राप्ति).

Sthita prajna Verse 54-72

In the verses 54 to 72 Krishna discusses the subject of sthita prajna or sthira prajna. Prajna means intellectual knowledge obtained from Shravana, manana and nidhidhyasana. Prajnya becomes sthita prajnya when he is  ever  established in the thought of Brahman.  His intellectual knowledge becomes his emotional strength. IQ grows out to become EQ.

Guru can convert an ajnya to a prajnya. Then the sadhaka is all left to himself to grow his intellectual knowledge into his emotional strength. For this he has to apply self-efforts. He has to transform himself. Krishna discusses these exercises as a means to become sthita prajna.

Sthira prjna sadhanani: Krishna prescribes two exercises.

  1. Sense mastery (इन्द्रिय निग्रहः). The world objects and senses disturb the mind. A disturbed mind cannot acquire Vedanta. So sense discipline is important. It is not suppression but regulation,  channelization of mind. It is called shama.
  1. Thought discipline (मनो निग्रहः). Variety of thoughts are entertained by a man. Many of them are not deliberately entertained. They just come to the mind from sub-consciousness. We have no control over them . Krishna says, ‘don’t bother about the arrival thoughts, let them come, better do not patronize them. Consciously avoid them by practising eveness of mind “.

Sthira prjnya Laxanani

  1. Freedom from binding desisres. Non binding desires like desire to work common good, desire for libeation are harmless.
  2. Equanimity of mind (समत्वम्).