In the last part of the Bhagavad Gita Weekly series, we stopped at chapter 2, verse 64, where Shree Krishna was telling Arjuna that the only way for one to attain moksha is by freeing oneself from all attachments, aversions and through developing immense control over one’s senses. Krishna says,
viṣayān indriyaiś caran
We are trying to fulfill our never ending quest for peace and happiness all our life, which is very innate. In fact, every living being seeks for peace and happiness, nobody wishes to be in misery. However, what we have always been doing is to seek for peace and happiness in all the wrong places, going after everything that is transient, making it the sole reason for all our miseries. That is why Krishna says in this verse, the only way to attain moksha – the ultimate union with the Paramatma – is by freeing ourselves from all attachments and developing great control over our senses.
Let us now continue from verse 65 onwards in this part. With this part, we will conclude chapter 2 of the Holy Gita and we will begin chapter 3 from next part onwards. Thank you for all your constant support and prayers. <3
Chapter 2, Verse 65
प्रसादे सर्वदुःखानां हानिरस्योपजायते।
प्रसन्नचेतसो ह्याशु बुद्धिः पर्यवतिष्ठते।।
prasanna-cetaso hy āśu
For one who attains complete mercy of the Lord, all miseries of material existence cease to exist; in such satisfied consciousness, one’s intelligence is soon well established.
Chapter 2, Verse 66
नास्ति बुद्धिरयुक्तस्य न चायुक्तस्य भावना।
न चाभावयतः शान्तिरशान्तस्य कुतः सुखम्।।
nāsti buddhir ayuktasya
na cāyuktasya bhāvanā
na cābhāvayataḥ śāntir
aśāntasya kutaḥ sukham
One with an uncontrolled mind cannot have spiritual intelligence or a steady mind, one devoid of spiritual intelligence never meditates on the Ultimate Truth and for one who never meditates on the Ultimate Truth, there is no peace and for one devoid of peace, where is happiness?
Chapter 2, Verse 67
इन्द्रियाणां हि चरतां यन्मनोऽनुविधीयते।
तदस्य हरति प्रज्ञां वायुर्नावमिवाम्भसि।।
indriyāṇāṁ hi caratāṁ
yan mano ’nuvidhīyate
tad asya harati prajñāṁ
vāyur nāvam ivāmbhasi
As the strong wind sweeps away the boat on water, even one of the roaming senses on which the mind focuses can carry away a man’s intelligence.
Chapter 2, Verse 68
तस्माद्यस्य महाबाहो निगृहीतानि सर्वशः।
इन्द्रियाणीन्द्रियार्थेभ्यस्तस्य प्रज्ञा प्रतिष्ठिता।।
tasmād yasya mahā-bāho
tasya prajñā pratiṣṭhitā
Therefore, O mighty armed Arjuna, one whose senses are restrained from sense objects is certainly established in perfect knowledge.
Chapter 2, Verse 69
या निशा सर्वभूतानां तस्यां जागर्ति संयमी।
यस्यां जाग्रति भूतानि सा निशा पश्यतो मुनेः।।
yā niśā sarva-bhūtānāṁ
tasyāṁ jāgarti saṁyamī
yasyāṁ jāgrati bhūtāni
sā niśā paśyato muneḥ
What all beings consider as day is the night of ignorance for the wise, what is night for all beings is the time of awakening for the introspective sage.
Chapter 2, Verse 70
समुद्रमापः प्रविशन्ति यद्वत्।
तद्वत्कामा यं प्रविशन्ति सर्वे
स शान्तिमाप्नोति न कामकामी।।
samudram āpaḥ praviśanti yadvat
tadvat kāmā yaṁ praviśanti sarve
sa śāntim āpnoti na kāma-kāmī
A person who is not disturbed by the incessant flows of desires can alone achieve peace, not the man who strives to satisfy such desires. like the ocean which is always being filled by the approaching river, but it remains still.
Chapter 2, Verse 71
विहाय कामान्यः सर्वान्पुमांश्चरति निःस्पृहः।
निर्ममो निरहंकारः स शांतिमधिगच्छति।।
vihāya kāmān yaḥ sarvān
pumāṁś carati niḥspṛhaḥ
sa śāntim adhigacchati
A person who has given up all desires for sense gratification, who lives free from all desires, who has given up all sense of proprietorship and is devoid of false ego – he alone can attain real peace.
Chapter 2, Verse 72
एषा ब्राह्मी स्थितिः पार्थ नैनां प्राप्य विमुह्यति।
eṣā brāhmī sthitiḥ pārtha
naināṁ prāpya vimuhyati
sthitvāsyām anta-kāle ’pi
O Arjuna, having gained the realisation of Ultimate Truth, one is never again deluded, even at the moment of death, liberation from material existence and attainment of the Ultimate Consciousness is assured.
Commentary for Chapter 2, verses 65 to 72
Shree Krishna says (verse 65), “for one who attains complete mercy of the Lord, all miseries of material existence cease to exist; in such satisfied consciousness, one’s intelligence is soon well established”. But for (in verse 66) “one with an uncontrolled mind cannot have spiritual intelligence or a steady mind, one devoid of spiritual intelligence never meditates on the Ultimate Truth and for one who never meditates on the Ultimate Truth, there is no peace and for one devoid of peace, where is happiness?”.
Krishna says that a person who has attained complete control over his mind, all miseries of life disappear. He thus attains pure mind and the highest form of spiritual intelligence, taking him into a state of ananda – the pure, blissful state where nothing can affect his joy of simply Being. Whereas, those with an uncontrolled mind can never attain a steady mind and are devoid of any spiritual intelligence, resulting in them being stuck in a constant cycle of misery.
One who has control over his mind and senses develops a high state of buddhi – intelligence – that pushes him towards a never ending quest for self-discovery and true knowledge of the self. As he thus grows his spiritual intelligence, he comes closer and closer to the realisation of his Oneness with the Supreme Soul.
True happiness is when we realise that there is absolutely no point in holding onto anything that is transient, it not only destroys our peace of mind, but also takes us far away from finding our own reality. The only thing that is permanent in this life is our soul which is unchanging, undestroyable, pure, limitless existence which is the brahman himself. Only those who have unwavering control over their senses recognises this truth about themselves and attains a steady mind.
A person who has no control over his senses can never bring about concentration and power of focus into his life. Instead they waste their whole life by running around from one thing to another, in search of pleasure and happiness in every possible place where they will neither find peace or happiness. Such a person does not possess the wisdom to recognize that the purpose of life itself is to walk on the path of self-discovery and to realise the true nature of life which is Aham Brahmasmi, that I am Brahman. There is no peace and tranquility for people with no control over their mind.
Shree Krishna continues in the next verse (verse 67), “as the strong wind sweeps away the boat on water, even one of the roaming senses on which the mind focuses can carry away a man’s intelligence.”
A person with an unsteady mind is like the boat that gets tossed violently hither and thither in the strong wind, causing it to lose its course of direction. Similarly, even the thought of a single object of pleasure can derail one from his spiritual path.
In our scriptures, the mind is often compared to the reins and our senses to the horse. Our body to the chariot that carries our soul/atman and our intellect is compared to the charioteer. Imagine a charioteer having no control over the reins and the horse goes loose and races directionless. Such is the life of someone with no control over his mind and his senses. The purpose of this chariot (the body) is to take our soul to its destination which is moksha – the liberation from the cycle of birth and death and to be one with God. That can only be achieved using our buddhi – intellect.
One who has the buddhi to recognize how important it is to have a steady mind shall experience the never ending joy, peace and tranquility. They remain rooted in their spiritual quest and propel towards the true knowledge of the self.
Shree Krishna continues by reaffirming the need for a steady mind by saying (verse 68), “therefore, O mighty armed Arjuna, one whose senses are restrained from sense objects is certainly established in perfect knowledge.”
After explaining various effects uncontrolled mind has on a person in the previous verses which includes the complete degradation of one’s intellect – buddhi, Shree Krishna now reaffirms it again by saying that the only those whose mind is steady can certainly attain perfect knowledge which is the knowledge of the self. Only such a person whose buddhi is situated in the quest for self-discovery through his power of descrimination shall experience tranquility, peace and lasting happiness.
Making this point even clearer, Shree Krishna continues (verse 69), “what all beings consider as day is the night of ignorance for the wise, what is night for all beings is the time of awakening for the introspective sage.”
In this verse, Shree Krishna uses “day” and “night” figuratively to denote ‘knowledge or vidya’ and ‘ignorance or darkness or avidya’ respectively. Our senses – the sense of hearing, touch, smell, taste, etc. – are all the same in every human being regardless of our state of spiritual awareness. One who has no control over his senses experience everything as objects of pleasure and get carried away and be like the boat that loses its direction in the heavy wind. However, the ones with a steady mind, focuses on the pure atman, see and experience everything as One – the Ultimate Truth.
The knowledge of the self is revealed to only those who are focused on that atma – the supreme reality. Due to our avidya – the lack of knowledge/ignorance – this supreme reality can appear as night to the ignorant, however the same which appears as night is the time of awakening for the enlightened ones.
Krishna says, “sā nisā pasyato muneh” – muneh (muni) is one who sees things clearly – the enlightened being – who has mastered his mind and senses and has realised his true nature which is aham purnah – that I am limitless and Aham brahma – that I am brahman! For a person with true knowledge, every object and experience comes from the reality of Oneness – suchness. However, a person who is ignorant of this reality uses the same senses for his own sensual gratification which is predominantly born out of his ego and greed.
It is like the one who sees a rope and thinks of it to be a snake and shivers in fear. However, the one who sees the same rope as a mere rope experiences no fear. It is our acceptance of that reality which comes from a state of knowledge and awareness that makes the rope to be a rope and not a snake. The object is the same, but the perception and experiences differ. The ignorant one sees the duality in a simple rope, not knowing that it is his own Self manifested in the form of a snake.
Shree Krishna then continues in the next verse (70), “a person who is not disturbed by the incessant flows of desires can alone achieve peace, not the man who strives to satisfy such desires. like the ocean which is always being filled by the approaching river, but it remains still.”
Just like how the ocean receives all the rivers that flows into it, without ever overflowing or depleting and even remaining unmoved, the one who is not disturbed by desires and sensual pleasures remain at peace at all times.
“āpūryamānam achala-pratishtham” is what Krishna says. āpūryamānam means “filled from all sides” and achala-pratishtham means that it is “steadily situated or undisturbed”. The enlightened beings are undisturbed by anything – neither happiness nor sorrows, neither peace nor conflicts. The enlightened ones recognises that the happiness and sorrows, peace and conflicts, etc. are all two sides of the same coin and that they are transient unless otherwise they come from within. So long as we go after the pursuit of sensual pleasures, all of these emotions remain as an experience of the body, hence they are not permanent. Our physical body keeps decaying as days pass and the only thing that remains unchanged is the atma. The enlightened ones recognise that I am not this body but I am the Atma which is the undestroyable, limitless, unchangeable reality! Thus, they remain content in the pursuit of self-discovery through the practice of meditation to control their mind and senses. Changes which are happening around them do not affect them as they simply recognise the truth that nothing can alter or even touch their atman which is their true self.
However, the one who is constantly disturbed by the changes happening around him remains unhappy and irritated forever. Such a person never even gets a glimpse of shanti – true peace and ananda – the ultimate joy!
Shree Krishna then continues to list all things that affect one’s peace and happiness in the next verse (71) by saying, “a person who has given up all desires for sense gratification, who lives free from all desires, who has given up all sense of proprietorship and is devoid of false ego – he alone can attain real peace.”
As we know, life in this world is filled with turbulence – everything that we hold on to is changing constantly and it only adds to our miseries and unhappiness. Our perception of the “I” has its root in our ego. “I want to be rich, I want to be this or that…and it is mine, etc.” are nothing but our ego. Only when we recognise that the “I” is not our body and that everything we try to accumulate to please our body are transient.
Only when we recognise the ultimate truth that the “I” is atman (soul) which is the minute particle of the Parabrahman himself and it has all attributes of the brahman – thus it is said, aham brahmasmi! Every other living being too originates from the same source where we originated from and every living being returns back to that same origin, making us all interconnected. That atman is limitless, undestroyable, infinite brahman himself. That is the Ultimate Reality, the Truth, which leads us to shanti and ananda – pure joy and true happiness!
When we detach ourselves from all things that are transient and our desires for sensual pleasures, we develop a steady mind. Just as we can see our reflections only in the still water, we then start to reflect our true selves in the still ocean of our mind. In such a state of awareness, we see ourselves in everything around us and the “I” which is the ego dissipates, making us experience the divine Oneness, bringing peace and harmony within.
That is why Shree Krishna stresses throughout these verses that only those who can detach themselves from all their desires for sensual objects and are devoid of false ego attain true, lasting peace. Krishna emphasises the same thing in an earlier verse as well (chapter 2, verse 57) by saying, “one who remains unattached under all conditions, and is neither delighted by good fortune nor dejected by tribulation, he is firmly fixed in perfect knowledge.”
Why is Krishna asking Arjuna to detach himself from all desires and the false perception of “I”, the ego? That is where the origin of this whole Gita! Arjuna became delusional at the sight of his grandfather, Bhishma, his guru, Drona, his kith and kins, all waiting to kill each other at the battlefield of Kurukshetra. Arjuna says (chapter 1, verse 31), “I do not see how any good can come from killing my own kinsmen in this battle, nor can I, my dear Krishna, desire any subsequent victory, kingdom or happiness.”
It was Arjuna’s attachment to his gurus, family, friends, etc. that made him delusional, forgetting the very fact that the sole reason for this war was the greed and destruction of dharma by the same people Arjuna now calls his kith and kin! This war was to uphold dharma. Being a Kshatriya warrior, it was Arjuna’s duty to uphold dharma at any cost as dharma protects only those who protect dharma.
To shake off Arjuna’s despondency, Krishna teaches him in chapter 2, verse 12 about the true nature of our life by saying, “never was there a time when I did not exist, nor you, nor all these kings, nor in the future shall any of us cease to be.”
It was to point out how false our idea of life is. Only when we recognise that the “I” is not this body and that the “I” is the atman which cannot be destroyed even by the gods as they are infinite and immortal! This is why Krishna is asking us to give up all wrong ideas of life, our ego, shed away all which is not ours that are transient, develop a steady mind by meditating up on the self and realise our true nature which is “aham brahmasmi” and that “aham purnah” and attain true and lasting peace and happiness.
Shree Krishna then concludes chapter 2 by saying (verse 72), “O Arjuna, having gained the realisation of Ultimate Truth, one is never again deluded, even at the moment of death, liberation from material existence and attainment of the Ultimate Consciousness is assured.”
Having explained the nature of the atman which is unchangeable, infinite and immortal, Krishna now tells Arjuna to realise the truth that no one can be killed, that their soul moves from one body to another whether they live or die at this battlefield. Only those who realise this truth recognize that “I am brahman” and that, every living being are brahman as well.
Krishna says, “esā brāhmī sthitih pārtha” – “brāhmī sthitih” means, the state of god realisation. “I am brahman” is not a state that one needs to attain because it IS who we already are! We are all particles of the same Brahman which is the Supreme Lord. All we need to do is to discover that truth within ourselves by creating a steady mind, by discarding all thoughts, desires and objects of pleasures for the sake of satisfying this physical body.
The moment one realises his own truth that “I am brahman”, his soul is freed from all maya, the illusions. Being free of maya, all his karma phalams (the results of the Karmas) get cleared. All ignorance (avidya) which he has accumulated from all his lifetimes in various forms and shapes in various worlds are dispelled. The influence of three-gunas (Sattva – Goodness, Rajas – Passion and Tamas – Ignorance) cease to exist and he grows beyond all those gunas. Similarly, he becomes free from three-doshas (Vata, Pitta and Kapha) and so on and he becomes free from all bondage and illusions. And he attain moksha – liberation from the cycle of life and death – the samsara!
Such a soul which is free from all bondage reunites with the Supreme God – the Origin – where we all came from. It is said in Rig Veda that, “tadvishnoh paramam padam sadā paśhyanti sūrayah”, meaning, “once the soul attains God, it always remains in union with the God. Ignorance of maya can never overpower such a soul again after that”!
Krishna thus teaches Arjuna and all of us to realise that true knowledge which is the knowledge of the self and that the self – the atman – cannot be modified or destroyed by anyone, including the God himself. One who realises this true knowledge discovers his “brāhmī sthitih” – the state of god realisation within – where all actions are performed with no attachments to its results or rewards. He who attains such a state performs his actions for the sake of performing his duties and never with any intentions of enjoying its results, for all his actions become an offering to God, the creator, himself, and thus an offering to one Self!
With that we come to the end of Bhagavad Gita chapter 2 which is longest and it is considered to be the most important chapters in the whole Gita where Shree Krishna condenses the entire message contained the whole Gita!
In the next part, we will begin Gita, chapter 3!
ॐ पूर्णमदः पूर्णमिदं पूर्णात्पुर्णमुदच्यते
पूर्णस्य पूर्णमादाय पूर्णमेवावशिष्यते ॥
ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः ॥
Om Puurnnam-Adah Puurnnam-Idam Puurnnaat-Purnnam-Udacyate
Puurnnasya Puurnnam-Aadaaya Puurnnam-Eva-Avashissyate ||
Om Shaantih Shaantih Shaantih ||
My Pranams to you!