Bhagvad-Gita: Treatise of Self-help
Author: BS Murthy

Chapter 3
All about Life Chapter 2

This character defining chapter of the Gita comprising 72 slokas, known assaankhya yoga, Realization through Knowledge, is regarded by many, as the peerless part of the great epic. Arjuna’s dilemma, meanwhile, turns into grief, as the horrific prospect of slaying Bhishma, his revered granduncle, and Drona, his venerated guru, sinks into his consciousness. Bogged down by sentiment, Arjuna appeals to Lord Krishna for guidance. The Lord’s response starting with the epoch making eleventh sloka,

‘Averring as knowing
Worried over trivia! 
Reckon never wise 
Dead and alive both.’
is indeed the curtain raiser to the grand discourse.

It is apparent that the sentiment of causing death and destruction plagues Arjuna. Thus, Lord Krishna brings the very issue to the fore to dispel the unwarranted fear of death by stressing upon the trans-migratory nature of the indwelling spirit of all beings. Then the Lord proceeds to enlighten Arjuna about his duty to fight as a warrior besides touching upon the infamy of surrender. 

To enable Arjuna overcome the predicament of attachment, Lord Krishna elaborates upon the precepts and practices of detached action, besides its spiritual and philosophical connotations. As a way of caution, the Lord finally explains to Arjuna how his sensual nature hinders man to act in true detachment. This chapter, indeed, is the spectrum supreme of the kaleidoscope of wisdom that Bhagavad Gita is.

1  
Thus spoke Sanjaya:
In pity Krishna 
Addressed Arjuna,
Bogged in sorrow  
With tears profuse.

2   
Thus spoke the Lord:
Oh, what affliction
At this juncture!
Wholly un-Aryan  
Unholy as well!!

3  
Mind-set impotent that unnerves
Strengthen thou for fight on hand. 

4   
Thus spoke Arjuna:
Adore as I, how dare I  
Make Bhishma ’n Dron target?

5  
Better I go with begging bowl
Than earn disgrace slaying them, 
Would the scepter ever glitter  
In the bloodstained hands of mine?

6  
Those us oppose
We hate hurting,
What use war
Who victors are?

7  
About my duty I’m in doubt 
Tell me kindly what is right.

8  
Beset by doubts,  
Saddled by grief
Would I be joyous
Were I the king?    

9  
Thus spoke Sanjaya:
Bent to rescind 
Arjun had no more to speak.

10 
Make I privy O my Lord
Speaks as Krishna to Arjun
Stood who there in confusion.

11  
Thus spoke the Lord:
Averring as knowing
Worried over trivia!
Reckon never wise 
Dead and alive both.

12  
You and Me    
As well these, 
Have had past 
Future as well.

13  
Wise all realize
Embodies selfsame spirit in one
From birth to death, in every birth.       

14  
Sensual feelings, grief ’n joy 
Transient are like, heat and cold.

15 
Weigh who pain ’n pleasure equal 
Such are those on path freedom. 

16  
What’s not real, it’s never been
And that’s true, it’s ever there  
That’s how wise all came to see. 

17     
Spirit in lay us All-Pervading  
Given that not to destruction, 
What sense doth it make to think
That’s immutable gets destroyed!

18  
Perish all bodies, Spirit not therein 
Know this truth, and take up arms. 

19  
With no slayer, nor one slain        
Whoso feels that he might kill
It's in delusion that he harps.

20  
Unbound being ever unborn
Ageless since it’s endless too  
Goes on Spirit, beyond life-span. 

21  
Spirit as entity hath no birth
How can thou kill what’s not born!

22  
Change as men fade if clothes
So doth Spirit as frames are worn.  

23  
Hurts no weapon the Spirit in thee
Nor scathe elements, wind, water ’n fire.

24  
Unalterable ’n Eternal  
Immovable but pervades all
Permanent ’n so Everlasting        
Spirit thus none can ever destruct.

25  
Can sans form Spirit get bound? 
Get right answer thou won’t burn.

26  
Prima facie if thou feel
Subject Spirit is to rebirths  
Why grieve over end of frame?

27  
Dies as one
For like rebirth,
Why feel sad
Of what’s cyclic.  

28  
Isn’t thy lament over that
Un-manifested to start with 
Gets manifested just as guest  
And bids adieu in due course.

29  
Seen in wonder, spoken in awe 
Spirit none knows that lies in him.

30  
Dies not Spirit as die beings 
What for man then tends to grieve!

31  
Being a warrior dharma thine 
That thee fight with all thy might.

32  
For martyrs of unsought wars
Ever open are heavenly gates.                          

33  
If thee back out from duty
Imperil thou thy own dharma    
And that earns thee infamy. 

34  
What for lead a dishonored life 
Why leave legend dubious behind!

35  
Amiss be taken thine intent 
Treat thee coward thy friends ’n foes.

36  
Count on thou thy detractors  
Besmirch they thy character, 
Damned be thine obituary  
By their campaign of slander.

37  
If slain, heaven; alive, it’s reign  
Resolve to fight with right intent.

38  
Shed thy sentiment, guilt unhinge  
Eye not gain as wage thou war.

39  
It's this knowledge that liberates 
And helps thee act, with no restraint. 

40  
Goes not waste
Effort thine ever, 
Zeal for action
Frees from fear.

41
In their resolve
Succeed firm,  
Mind as wavers
Lose infirm.

42  
Unwise use all enticing
Flowery language to further
Rituals Vedic in their scores 
Not the knowledge of Vedas.   

43  
Eyeing heaven with mind mundane  
Go for ceremonies such in hope
Of having best of both the worlds.

44  
Pursue if thou wants with zeal
Instincts then would spin thy mind.

45  
Aspects three of life, reveal Vedas four
Transcend thou dualities, in them as inherent.

46 
Well-waters draw Veda-dependent 
Banks on reservoir dwell all realized.

47  
Hold as patent on thy work  
Reckon thou not on royalty 
With no way to ceasing work
Never mind outcome but go on. 

48  
It’s but yoga  
If thou strive 
Wants without  
Emotions bereft. 

49  
Work well greedy with motive 
Work wise not with result in mind.

50  
Wise not sentiment bring to work   
That's hallmark of art of work.  

51  
Freed from bonds with mind even 
Act wise regardless ever composed.

52  
Clears if reason one’s illusion  
Bothers he not to what's over 
Or for what might lie in store.

53  
Stands as firm mind thy clear
Steer thou clear of path rituals.   

54  
Thus spoke Arjuna:
How to spot the yogi true   
Were he there ever in the crowd?

55  
Thus spoke the Lord:
Blessed are strong with blissful self
Helps them that slight all that tempts. 

56  
Oblivious of misfortune  
Not the one to crave for fun
Sways not ever by his feelings  
Stays thus yogi ever even.

57  
Unfettered by attachment  
Compliments to indifferent 
Adversity by unshaken
Wisdom thus is personified.

58  
Stimuli those of organs sensory
Tortoise like wise draw into shell.

59  
Senses reined 
Who so abstains, 
Sans he longing
Turns he godly.

60  
Senses as may tend them rash
Wise as well stray, from right path.

61  
Rein in senses, hone thine effort  
Rely on Supreme, that’s true wisdom. 

62  
Leans man on  
Lends what charm, 
Brings that want 
And that’s fault.

63
Despair is what clouds reason  
Brings that ruin through deeds mindless.

64  
Yield to senses sans craving
Cap as thou thy wants dubious.

65  
Calm that offsets woes of life  
And that equable makes thy mind. 

66  
Lacks mind focus as it strays 
Robs that peace ’n joy thereby.  

67
As in seas sans boat rudder
So course sensual man loses.

68  
With tight leash on their senses  
Wise with ease lead poised lives.

69  
Ignoring all ignorant crave
Wise take note what folks not note. 

70  
Subdues as sea, rivers it holds
Wise keep cool while wants taming. 

71  
Freed of ego ’n wants as well 
Blessed are wise who lack longing.

72  
State it’s that of true being 
With no tenseness of being, 
Life ever in that mode being
Makes what one with All-being.

Ends thus: 
All about Life,
The Second Chapter  
Of Bhagavad-Gita
Treatise of self-help.

 

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