Bhagavad Gita- Chapter 2 (Part-3) Saankhya Yogah - Yoga Of Knowledge

Concepts  and Issues

 In these verses Sri Krishna comes down from  the peaks of vedantic ideologies to the material philosophy and the average  person's wisdom to drive home his teachings with a view to convince Aruba that  the war must be fought.

The  thrust of the arguments is that the sin that is committed by not killing the  one who deserves to be killed is as great as the sin of killing the one who  does not deserve to be killed. When the struggle between right and wrong is on,  he who abstains from it out of false sentimentality, weakness or cowardice  would be committing sin.

The  Lord reminds Arjuna about his name and fame he had already earned which he  would now lose if he refuses to fight and thereby has touched the latter's  sensitive point of self-respect. He tells that the world will always recall the  infamy of Arjuna and it will last for a long time.  Death is really preferable to disgrace to the  one who has been honored as a great hero with noble qualities.
Sri  Bhagavan continues that the great warriors and the battalion commanders in the  enemy camp will laugh and ridicule Arjuna for his running away from the war as  an act of sheer cowardice. He points out that the enemy line will not believe  that Arjuna ran away because of his compassion and reverence for elders and  teachers and that they will look down upon him with contempt.  There is really no pain that is unbearable as  that of the slanderous comments emanating from the side of the enemy.

Finally,  Arjuna, is told by The Lord that he will stand to gain either he wins or loses  in the battle - in case he loses his life, he attains veera swarga and  in case he succeeds, he will rule over the kingdom and enjoy in this world.

Therefore,  Sri Krishna exhorts Arjuna with these words: ‘Arise, resolve to fight’. This is  the divine call to all of us to throw away dejections at the life's challenges  and to go forward to play ‘the game of life’ with a firm determination to win  keeping in mind fairness to all. This verse brings out the true universality of  the Gita and its practical applicability in our daily lives.

In  these verses Krishna clarified several doubts that arose in the mind of Arjuna  in the 1st Chapter. Some of them are illustrated below:

Arjuna’s  doubt: I don’t foresee any good ensuing from the slaughter of my kinsmen -1.31.
  Krishna’s  clarification: There is nothing more welcome to a man of the warrior class than  a righteous war - 2.31

A  - How can we, by killing our kinsmen be happy? 1.37
  K  - Happy are the Kshatrias who get the opportunity of waging such an unsolicited  war 2.32.

A  - The consequences of war will lead to hell - 1.44
  K  - The war is an open way to heaven 2.32, 37.

A  - Sin alone will accrue to us by waging the war and by slaying them 1.36, 39,  45.
  K  - If you do not wage such a righteous war with an equanimous mind and abandon  your duty, you will incur sin 2.33, 38.

A  - The result of the war will be that impiety will take hold of the entire  family 1.40.
  K  - If you do not wage the war you will be abandoning righteousness 2.33.

A  - It is better to live on alms than to wage war 2.5.
  K  - Arjuna is ordered to wage war 2.38.

Live  as the Gita Teaches You to Live

The  advice that Sri Bhagavan gives here is that one must learn to keep oneself in  equilibrium in all the different situations of life at the different levels of  one's existence. To expect life to be without the pairs of opposites such as  favorable and unfavorable, gain or loss etc. is to anticipate the  impossible.  Therefore if one has come to  live in this world one has to learn the art of living unaffected by the  vicissitudes of life. To identify oneself with the life situations - favorable  or unfavorable - is to drift along with the waves and not to stand on the shore  as a spectator enjoying the sight of the same waves.

Sri  Krishna advises Arjuna, while encouraging him to fight, that he should enter  the war keeping himself unaffected by the debilitating mental tendencies like  pleasure and pain, gain and loss, conquest and defeat etc.  This is the Yoga of equanimity of the mind or  the doctrine of poise in action.

Equanimity  in all challenging situations ensures success in life and enables the purging of  ego-sense and egocentric desires. This removal is blocked when the individual  starts getting disturbed by all sorts of pairs of opposites when the ego sense  overtakes him. To be equanimous is to act detached from ego. This kind of right  living results in mental purification or vasana elimination or correction of  mental tendencies.

If  a person performs an action with the above mental attitude or with a balanced  state of mind he will not reap the fruits of such an action.  Such an action will lead to the purification  of his heart and liberation.

It  is always the desire for one of the pairs of opposites that binds. When an act  is done without attachment either for itself or for its fruits then Karma can  be worked out i.e. vasanas can be exhausted without adding any new ones leading  to freedom.

The  idea is that whatever may be the outcome of the war, Arjuna will be the gainer.  Krishna implies that everyone should discharge his duty very sincerely and  enthusiastically, to the best of his power and ability, in whatever  circumstances, he is placed. Humanity demands it.

Points  to Ponder
1.Nature of the soul
2.Even if the soul is subject to birth and death why no one should grieve for it?
3.How the relationships derived from the bodies are illusory?
4.Why grieving is not proper to Arjuna even according to his sense of his duty as a Kshatriya?
5.What makes the performance of one’s duty free from bondage or sin?

Next time we will proceed from the Verse 2.39

Harih Om

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