Chapter 2

  1. Sanjaya said:
    Thus he was overwhelmed with compassion, his eyes full of tears and regret. Krishna spoke to him these words:
  2. The Blessed One said: 
    From where has this dirtiness of regret come upon you, at this very critical hour? This is practiced by those who don't know the true essence. This line of thought doesn't lead to a higher dimension; it will only lead you to disgrace, Arjuna!
  3. Do not take to helplessness, you who are the son of Partha. This behaviour does not suit you. It is a petty weakness of sentimentality, give it up! Get up, you who are the punisher of your enemies!
  4. Arjuna said:
    How can I attack with arrows men like Bhisma and Drona, who are worthy of my veneration, o Krishna?
  5. They are my superiors, certainly I should not kill such great beings. It would be better to live as a beggar in this very life, than to desire to gain by killing my superiors in society! It would be too difficult to enjoy anysuch pleasures if they are tainted with blood.
  6. Nor do we even know what would be better; we can't know if we shall conquer or they will. But I know that by killing those before me, the sons of Dhirtarashtra, I would not wish to live.
  7. I am afflicted now by hesitation and weakness. I ask you to help me, my spirit is confused in my heart. Tell me what would be right, I am your disciple. I surrender unto you, tell me what can be known.
  8. I do not see how I can be free of that which fills me with grief and clouds my senses. Even if I were to gain a Kingdom in this world as great as the heavenly kingdoms, and power as great as the Gods', it would not free me from this.
  9. Sanjaya said:
    Saying this to Krishna, Arjuna the punisher of his enemies declared: "Krishna, I shall not fight". Then he fell silent.
  10. O my King, descendant of Bharata, Krishna then smiled and spoke to the grieving Arjuna, right in the midst of the two great armies.
  11. The Blessed One said:
    You are grieving for that which is not worthy of grief. Speaking from wisdom you would say that no life is lost, now or ever. You would not grieve over death.
  12. There has never existed a time when I was not, or you were not, or these were not, any of these kings. Nor shall there ever be a time when we will not be.
  13. Any who lives a mortal life in a body will experience childhood, youth, and old age. Likewise, they will achieve other forms of life beyond this one. One who is focused will not be blind to this.
  14. Son of Queen Kunti, it is only the senses that see the winter and summer of suffering and joy. They come and go, but are in no way permanent. One must accept them all, scion of Bharata.
  15. Finest of men, one who isn't disturbed by these things, who is the same in happiness and suffering, he has discovered patience. For one like this, the nectar of liberation is obtainable.
  16. There is nothing in this world that lasts forever as it is. The only thing which is unchanging is the eternal. These two forces, the essential and the nonessential, have been studied by the seekers of truth.
  17. Know the essential to be indestructible, and to be found throughout your entire body. No person or thing can harm it.
  18. Our physical bodies are easily destroyed, but the essence within them is said to be eternal. It is beyond all measure, and indestructible. Therefore, you may fight, scion of Bharata!
  19. One who thinks himself the slayer, or one who thinks himself slain, is in delusion. The essential cannot destoy nor be destroyed.
  20. Nor is it ever born, nor does it ever die. It has never been created, nor will it ever be created, nor is it being created. It is unborn, eternal, permanent. That which is eternally ancient is not killed, even if its body is being killed.
  21. If you know this essence to be unborn, unchangeable, indestructible, and always existing, then how can you believe that you can cause harm or death to anything essential, son of Partha?
  22. Just as one gives up old worn out clothes, and accepts and wears new clothes, in the same way does the embodied essence give up old or worn bodies, and take on new ones.
  23. This essence can never be cut with a blade or burned by fire, nor will water make it wet, nor will wind dry it.
  24. This essence cannot be broken, burned, dissolved, or dessicated.  It is certainly immortal, omnipresent, immutable, unchangeable, and eternally as it is.
  25. It is invisible, and beyond the understanding of the mind. This essence cannot be altered. Thus, if you are aware of this, you should not feel regret.
  26. But even if you think that this essence is one that is always being reborn and dying, there is still no reason to grieve.
  27. For anyone who is born is sure to die. This is known for certain. Thus there is no reason to grieve for that which was bound to occur.
  28. That which in the beginning has no form, gains form in the middle, and then is destroyed and once again becomes formless. All things are such, scion of Bharata, so why grieve?
  29. Some will see this essence as awe-inspiring. They will describe it as a Mystery. It is likewise awe-inspiring to one who hears of this Mystery. For to any who hear of it, it will be beyond all comprehension.
  30. The essential self is eternal and cannot be killed. It is the Mystery. It is within all beings, scion of Bharata. Thus you need not grieve for any living things.
  31. One's own spiritual nature must also be considered. You should never hesitate, for to your spiritual nature, there is nothing that suits you better than being a warrior. It is your destiny to be a warrior, you have no other choice.
  32. When it naturally occurs, conflict such as this can open the doors to higher consciousness. For those who are kings, this is a very fortuitous event.
  33. Thus, if you see this as a spiritual duty, to avoid fighting now will go against your nature and lead to the loss of your prestige.  You will gain only further disturbance in this way.
  34. You will be shamed before all the people, and they will speak ill of you forever as one who not true to his nature.. For a man of insight, such a fate is much worse than death.
  35. If you quit the battle out of fear, your fellow warriors who currently honour you will judge you as unworthy of any respect.
  36. Your enemies will be able to speak terrible slanders against you.  This will be more terrible to you than anything else.
  37. If you die here, you will gain a higher state of consciousness.  If on the other hand you are victorious, you will have the world.  Thus arise, son of Kunti, be secure in determination to fight.
  38. Joy and sorrow are equal in gain and loss, as are victory and death. Thus if you approach any of these without attachment, you will never incur distress.
  39. I have described all of this to you intellectually, but you must understand this from the perspective of enlightened consciousness, beyond the limits of intellectual thought. If you can enter into enlightened thought, you will be free of the restrictions of karmic consequences.
  40. Even in attempting this form of understanding you cannot go wrong. Even if you can reach a limited form of enlightened understanding, it will help to decrease your distress.
  41. If you are determined to be conscious, to be enlightened, you will achieve greater unity to reality, my beloved friend. There are various paths by which you can reach this enlightenment, and thus be free from internal division.
  42. All of these flowery words have been said before by those who had not actually achieved this enlightement, by those who claim to be religious. But there is no substitute for the actual experience.
  43. Being filled with desires, including the desire for consciousness itself, but also for material comforts, these false religionists engage in elaborate ceremonies in the hope of gaining material goals.
  44. Those who are attached to such things are actually deluded. They cannot focus their consciousness on enlightenment, they will never transcend their minds.
  45. The old scriptures mostly relate to the states of material being, the gunas. But you should attempt to transcend these gunas altogether, Arjuna. Go beyond duality, in a pure state of existence, free from notions of desire, centred in your soul.
  46. That which can be found in a drop of water can also be found in the vast ocean. Likewise, all that can be known in studying religion can be understood in a true way by a man who has become aware of the Brahman, the supreme consciousness.
  47. It is certainly right of you to follow your duties in society, but do it without lust of result. You should not perform actions for the sake of some desired result, nor should you seek to avoid action for the sake of some desire.
  48. Act according to your true nature, in a balanced state. Give up your attachments to desires of success, or fear of failure, Arjuna.  Being balanced, taking all things equally, this is yoga. This is being united.
  49. Leave all of your harmful karma far behind, by becoming united to Enlightenment. This is called Buddha-Yoga, conqueror of the world. Try to surrender to this consciousness, do not try to hold on to false desires for that which is unreal.
  50. One who is in consciousness can be freed, even in this very life, from concern about all good or bad results. Thus, for the sake of being united, follow this art of Yoga in all you do.
  51. Great mystics can give up all karma and its consequences by entering this state of consciousness. They are freed from the restrictions of birth and death, and reach a state that is beyond any suffering.
  52. When your consciousness takes you beyond the dark forest of illusion, then you will no longer need to rely on seeking knowledge or on what you already think you know.
  53. When your interest in religion is no longer motivated by your desires, you will achieve absolute transcendental enlightenment.  Then you have achieved union.
  54. Arjuna said:
    How do you recognize someone who is in this state, Krishna? How does one in this state speak? How does he sit? How does he walk?
  55. The Blessed One said:
    One such as this is free of any kind of investments, son of Partha, and free of mental notions. Purely centred in his soul, fulfilled.  One who obtains this is said to have achieved awareness.
  56. One who is surrounded by miseries without himself being distressed, one who is surrounded by happiness without himself being invested, free from desire, fear or anger. He whose awareness is steady, he is called a mystic.
  57. One who avoids sentimentality, regardless of the situation, takes good or bad results without pride or envy, he is in a state of awareness.
  58. When he can draw inside himself, like the turtle draws its limbs into its shell, separating the senses from the sensed, he is in a state of awareness.
  59. Some abstain from the material sources of pleasure for the sake of appearing religious, but will secretly keep lusting for these things. But one who actually gives up the lust for these things, he will experience a vastly greater pleasure.
  60. Son of Kunti, even while trying to be a man of consciousness, the senses can become agitated and the mind can throw you off track.
  61. Keep all these senses under control, they should all be focused upon me. One who can thus dedicate all his senses to a single focus is in a state of awareness.
  62. One who is undisciplined in the senses will develop attachment.  Attachment leads to desire. Desire leads to anger.
  63. Anger leads to deludedness. Deludedness leads to false perceptions. And one who perceives the unreal cannot be aware. Such a person will fall.
  64. One who has become free of desire and repulsion, who does not allow his senses to be wildly led by outer lusts, he has come under the control of his own soul, and has attained freedom of the soul.  He has obtained a divine blessing.
  65. Achieving this blessing leads to the end of all misery. For one who is in such bliss, enlightenment will soon follow.
  66. Enlightenment cannot happen if you are not unified. Nor can bliss. Nor peace. And how can there be joy without peace?
  67. If one is being led by the senses, constantly distracted by one's mind, one's awareness is lost. One becomes like a boat on a windswept ocean.
  68. Thus, great warrior, one who can make the distinction between the senses and the sensed, he is in awareness. 
  69. When others are in the dark of the night, such a person is awake and in control. And what others consider being awake, the mystic knows to be nothing but the dark of night.
  70. As the oceans are constantly being filled by water flowing into them, so is one constantly being filled with desires. One who is trying to fulfill all his desires will never be at peace.
  71. But in giving up desires, living free of lust or a sense of material possessiveness, you lose the ego. You attain peace.
  72. Son of Partha, one who is unaware of the real can never gain this spiritual state. But if you can obtain this state,even at the very end of life, you will reach the divine Nirvana.