Summary of Reflections – Chapter II of the Bhagwat Geeta

We believe that Chapter II of the Bhagwat Geeta is one of the most important chapters of the Great Dialog between Shree Krishna and Arjun. It is also a bit complex in that Chapter II covers five separate topics. For ease of reading and reference, below is a short summary of our Reflections on this critical Chapter:

Section 1, Chapter II – The Moral Dilemma of Arjun – Verses 1-10

In this short section, Arjun describes his dilemma and asks Shree Krishna for unequivocal instructions. The famous verses of this section are:

Verse 6
                न चैतत विद्मः कतरनों गरियो
            Na Chaitat Vidma Kataranno Gariyo
            I do not understand which is greater (more ethical)

            यद् वा जयेम यदि वा नो जयेयुः
            Yad Vaa Jayema Yadi Vaa No Jayeyuhu
            Whether they should defeat us or we should defeat them

            यान एव न जिजीविषामः
            Yaan Ev Hatva Na Jiji-Vishama
            After killing whom, I would choose not to live

            ते अवस्तिता प्रमुखे धार्तराष्ट्राः 
            Te Avastita Pramukhe Dhaat-Rashtraa
            They stand before me, the sons of Dhrut-Raashtra

Verse 7, Line 2

              यत श्रेयः अस्यात  निश्चितं ब्रूहि तत में
             Yat Shreya Asyaat Nishitam Bruhi Tat Me
             Whichever is Ethically better, Please Instruct me Unequivocally

             शिष्यः ते अहम् शाधि माँ त्वां प्रपनं
             Shishya Te Aham Shadhi Maam Tvam Prapanam
             Disciple I am of yours, Teach Me, the one who beseeches you

Section 2, Chapter II – The Indestructibility of Atma (Soul) – Verses 11-30

In this section, Shree Krishna distinguishes between the destructibility of the physical body and the indestructibility of the Atma (soul) . He further explains that that Death is inevitable to the Born and asks Arjun to not grieve for what is ungrievable. The most famous Verse of this Section is:

Verse 22

            वासांसी जीर्णानी यथा विहाय
            Vasaamsee Jeernnanee yathaa Vihaaya
            As old clothes are discarded

            नवानी ग्रुहान्नाती नरः अपराणी
            Navanee Gruhannatee Narah Aparaanee
           & new clothes are worn by man 

            तथा शरीरानी विहाय जीर्णानी 
            Tatha Shareeranee Vihaaya Jeernnanee
            Similarly after discarding old tired bodies  

             नन्यानी संयाति नवानी देही
             Nanyanee Sanyaatee Navanee Dehee
            (the soul) wears other new bodies
Freedom fighters like Bhagat Singh went smiling to their death singing this Verse.

Section 3, Chapter II – The Dharma of a Warrior – Verses 31-39.5

In our opinion, these eight verses are of great clarity and purpose for the Eternal Dharma. These have been ignored by some due to unease of such a clear directive for धर्मं युद्ध or Just War. The most famous verse of this section is:

Verse 37

           हतो वा प्राप्स्यसी  स्वर्गम जित्वा व भोक्षय्से महीम
           Hato Vaa Prapsyasee Swargam Jitvaa Vaa Bhokshasee Maheem 
           If you die you will obtain Heaven, If you win, you will earn the Earth

           तस्मात् उत्थिष्ट कौन्तेय युद्ध्हाय कृत निश्चयः
           Tasmaat Utthishta Kaunteya Yuddhhaya Krut Nischayah
           Therefore Rise, O son of Kunti (Arjun) determined for War  

Section 4, Chapter II – Karma-Yog, the Yog of Action – Verses 39.5 – 53

The most famous Verse of this section is:

Verse 47

            कर्मणि एव अधिकारः ते
            Karmani Ev Adhikaar Te
            To Action is Your Only Right

            मा फलेषु कदाचन
            Maa Phaleshu Kadaachan
            Never to the Fruits (of that Action)

            मा कर्म फल हेतुः भूः
            Maa Karma Phal Hetu Bhu
            Never Let Your Objective be the Fruits of Action

            मा ते संगः अस्तु अकर्मणि
            Maa Te Sanga Astu A-Karmani
            Do not associate with Avoidance of Action

Then Shree Krishna delivers the definition of Yog and the importance of Stable Buddhi in the achievement of Yog.

  • Verse 48 – Perform your Actions with the Yog approach (योगस्थ  कुरु कर्माणि) by shedding or jettisoning attachment (संगं त्यक्त्वा). The approach that accepts the equality (समत्वं) of success (सिद्ध) and lack of success (सिद्ध) is called Yog.
  • Verse 50, line 2 – Therefore adopt Yog (तस्मात् योगाय युज्यस्व). Yog is Skill in Action (योगः कर्मसु कौशलम).
  • Verse 53 – ………….When your Buddhi (बुद्धि) becomes absolutely Stable (निश्चला), totally focused (समाधौ अचला), Then You Will Attain Yog (तदा योगम अवाप्स्यसि).

Section 5, Chapter II – Attributes of a Stable Buddhi Achiever – Verses 54 – 72

In this section, Shree Krishna answers the question by Arjun about how Stable Buddhi is achieved and what are the characteristics of One who has achieved it. The most famous verse of this section is:

Verse 69

          या निशा सर्व भूतानाम तस्यां जागर्ति संयमी
          Yaa Nishaa Sarva Bhutaanaam Tasyaam Jagarti SamYamee
          In what is Night to all people, the Balanced One Stays Wide Awake

          यस्यां जाग्रति भूतानि सा निशा पश्यतो मुनेः
          Yasyaam Jagrati Bhutaani Saa Nishaa Pashyato Mune he
          When all people remain wide awake, that is Night to the Muni

We urge readers to read these great verses again and again. This is a priceless heritage given to all of us and it is as relevant to today’s world as it was to Arjun.

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