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The original Sanskrit verses and
(word for word translated) of the
Mahābhārata, Bhīshma Parva ch. 23-40.

with comments taken from the writings of





'There is the Fortune of the World
when there is Love for Knowledge'
A small Philosopy of Association


1 2a 2b 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18a 18b


Chapter 2a (2.1-2.38)
The Yoga of Analytic Knowledge
'On the knowledge of the soul'
'Sānkhya Yoga'  



     "Of the eighteen chapters of the Gītā, Sānkhya Yoga is very important. Mahatma Gandhi used to read Sānkhya Yoga twice or thrice whenever his mind was restless and perturbed. It restored the peace of his mind. Sānkhya Yoga is the life of the Gītā. The name is derived from the inquiry of Sānkhya in the chapter. Sānkhya Yoga revealed the features of a sthithapraj˝a [stable in transcendence, established in wisdom; balance] to Arjuna and chased away his delusions." - Summer Showers in Brindavan 1979, p. 34

"There is a widespread misconception that spiritual values have no place in modern society. It is erroneously supposed that spirituality is incompatible with secular society. Krishna removes this misconception in Sānkhya Yoga. Many fallaciously imagine that spirituality is only concerned with salvation. Spirituality is, in fact, the backbone of society and is indispensable for social progress and solidarity. Its importance for and relevance to society cannot be exaggerated." - Summer Showers in Brindavan 1979, p. 24


     " Listen to this chapter sung!  "
[slokas ch. 2a: 1 & 11, 20 to 25 & 27,
slokas ch. 2b: 47 to 52, 62 & 63, 66 to 68]

" Listen to this spoken chapter in Audio "


Verse 1.

sa˝jaya uvāca 
tam tathā kripayāvishtham 
vishīdantam idam vākyam
uvāca madhusūdanah

 Verse 2.

śrī bhagavān uvāca
kutas tvā kaśmalam idam
vishame samupasthitam
anārya-jushtham asvargyam
akīrti-karam arjuna

     In the Bhagavad Gītā, Arjuna finds himself on the horns of a spiritual dilemma. He is worried about his sva-dharma. He finds himself in an unenviable predicament. He hesitates to kill his own relatives and be guilty of fratricide. So he begins to detest the homicidal glory of a battlefield. - Summer Showers in Brindavan 1979, p. 26

Verse 3.

klaibyam mā sma gamah pārtha
naitat tvayy upapadyate
kshudram hridaya-daurbalyam
tyaktvottishthha parantapa

Verse 4.

arjuna uvāca
katham bhīshmam aham sankhye
dronam ca madhusūdana
ishubhih pratiyotsyāmi
pūjārhāv ari-sūdana

     The sammoha of Arjuna was the feeling of "I" and "mine". All of a sudden he began to feel that he was a killer, that he would be responsible and that they were his teachers and elders and relations. This mamakara has to go, the "I" has to be crossed and all words, thoughts, and deeds have to be dedicated to the Lord. - Sathya Sai Speaks I, p. 171

Verse 5.

gurūn ahatvā hi mahānubhāvān
śreyo bhoktum bhaikshyam apīha loke
hatvārtha-kāmāms tu gurūn ihaiva
bhu˝jīya bhogān rudhira-pradigdhān

     Arjuna also was telling Krishna that it is better to beg for food and live than to achieve victory by killing all those who are near and dear. Krishna, in a prophetic manner addressing Arjuna said, "What is ordained by fate is inescapable; Justice will be done; Victory will go to the righteous ones; Truth will survive. - Summer Showers in Brindavan 1978, p. 37

Verse 6.

na caitad vidmah kataran no garīyo
yad vā jayema yadi vā no jayeyuh
yān eva hatvā na jijīvishāmas
te 'vasthitāh pramukhe dhārtarāshthrāh

Verse 7.

pricchāmi tvām dharma-sammūdha-cetāh
yac chreyah syān niścitam brūhi tan me
śishyas te 'ham śādhi mām tvām prapannam

     For Arjuna sought from Krishna not preyas, the pleasing worldly glory of power and status and wealth, but śreyah, the lasting glory of full joy. He said, "Preyas is available for human effort; it can be won by human activity or karma. Why should I crave from You what I can win by my own endeavor? I am not so foolish as all that. Grant me the sreyas that is beyond the reach of my effort. Sreyas is not the fruit of karma, it is the fruit of grace!" Thus, Arjuna rose to the height of saranagathi, absolute self-surrender, the state called prapathi (prapannam). - Gītā Vahini, p. 18

     As long as the consciousness of the deha or body persists, the bhakta is the servant and the Lord is Master. As long as the individual feels that he is separate from other individuals, the bhakta is a part and the Lord is the Whole. When he progresses to the state when he gets beyond the limits of the body as well as of "I" and "mine", then there is no more distinction; bhakta and bhagavān are the same. In the Ramāyana, Hanumān achieved the third stage through bhakti.

     This same subject is mentioned in the seventh sloka of the second chapter of the Gītā. The word prapannam used there indicates that Arjuna has the qualification, the discipline of bhakti. - Gītā Vahini, p. 20

     Verse 8.

na hi prapaśyāmi mamāpanudyād
yac chokam ucchoshanam indriyānām
avāpya bhūmāv asapatnam riddham
rājyam surānām api cādhipatyam

     What exactly is the cause of all grief? It is the attachment to the body that produces grief as well as its immediate precursors: affection and hate. These two are the results of the intellect considering some things and conditions as beneficial, and some other things and conditions as not. This is a delusion, this idea of beneficence and maleficence. Still you get attached to objects that are considered beneficial and you start hating the others. But from the highest point of view, there is neither; the distinction is just meaningless. There is no two at all; how can there be good and bad then? To see two where there is only one, that is māyā, or ignorance (illusion). The ignorance that plunged Arjuna into grief was of this nature - seeing many, when there is only one. - Gītā Vahini, pp. 20-1

Verse 9.

sa˝jaya uvāca
evam uktvā hrishīkeśam
gudākeśah parantapah
na yotsya iti govindam
uktvā tūshnīm babhūva ha

     If Arjuna has, by his efforts, won control over his senses and earned the name Gudākeśa, Krishna, as Hrishīkeśa, is the presiding deity of all the senses! On the field of Kurukshetra both are in the same chariot, one as learner and the other as teacher! - Gītā Vahini, p. 20

Verse 10.

tam uvāca hrishīkeśah
prahasann iva bhārata
senayor ubhayor madhye
vishīdantam idam vacah

     This is the distinguishing mark that separates the 'wise' (j˝āni) from the 'unwise' (aj˝āni). Krishna spoke, laughing with an out-burst of joy; Arjuna listened while overpowered by sorrow. The j˝āni is always full of joy; he laughs. The aj˝āni is afflicted with sorrow; he weeps. - Sanathana Sarathi, July 1980, p. 147

Verse 11.

śrī-bhagavān uvāca
aśocyān anvaśocas tvam
praj˝ā-vādāmś ca bhāshase
gatāsūn agatāsūmś ca
nānuśocanti panditāh

     What exactly is the cause of all grief? It is the attachment to the body that produces grief as well as its immediate precursors: affection and hate. These two are the results of the intellect considering some things and conditions as beneficial, and some other things and conditions as not. This is a delusion, this idea of beneficence and maleficence. Still, you get attached to objects that are considered beneficial and you start hating the others. But from the highest point of view, there is neither; the distinction is just meaningless. There is no two at all; how can there be good and bad then? To see two where there is only one, that is māyā, or ignorance (illusion). The ignorance that plunged Arjuna into grief was of this nature -seeing many, when there is only one. - Gītā Vahini, pp. 20-1

     Thus, Krishna started giving him, in the very first instance the most effective drug, j˝āna. This is detailed from the eleventh sloka of the second chapter. This is a key sloka for all students of the Gītā. Krishna condemns outright two objections that were haunting Arjuna for long, saying that the destruction of the body does not mean the destruction of the ātmā and that he is grieving for those he need not grieve for. Praj˝ā-vādāmś ca bhāshase: "You talk like a wise man. You say this is dharma and the other is adharma, as if you know how to distinguish between them," said Krishna. - Gītā Vahini, p. 22

Verse 12.

na tv evāham jātu nāsam
na tvam neme janādhipāh
na caiva na bhavishyāmah
sarve vayam atah param

     Bhīshma, Drona and the rest have come like true soldiers and kshatriyas to engage in battle. They do not weep like you. Consider that. They will never grieve or withdraw. Arjuna! This is the testing time for you, remember! Let me tell you this also. There never was a time when I was not. Why? There was never a time when even you and all these kings and princes were not. Tat is the Paramātmā, tvam is the jivātmā; and both were the same, are the same, and will be so forever. Prior to the pot, in the pot and after the pot, it was, is, and will be mud. - Gītā Vahini, p. 24 


Verse 13.

dehino 'smin yathā dehe
kaumāram yauvanam jarā
tathā dehāntara-prāptir
dhīras tatra na muhyati

     Though it is associated with the body, the ātmā is unaffected by the gunas and the dharmas; that is to say, it has no qualities and characteristics. You are unaffected by the changes that the body undergoes when you grow from the infant to the boy, from the boy into youth, from the youth to the middle-aged man and thence to the old man. You persist, in spite of all this. It is the same when the body is destroyed; the ātmā persists. So the hero will not pine for the change called death". Krishna said this with such emphasis that the chariot shook! Arjuna was still doubt-ridden. "O Lord," he began, "You said that the bodily changes are like the stages of wakefulness, dream and sleep. The experiences of previous births are destroyed in memory by the incident called death." Krishna replied that it was not possible to recall to memory all experiences, but it was possible to recall some. For the ātmā persisted, though the vehicle changed.

     Arjuna then shifted to another point; a point that pesters many besides Arjuna. That is why, Krishna says, "dhīras tatra na muhyati", [the dhīrah is not deluded by this]. He does not say that Arjuna should not be deluded by this. He intends to teach all wavering minds. Krishna solves every doubt as soon as it arises. He said, "Arjuna! While passing through the three stages, buddhi somehow manages to keep some points in its hold. But it too is destroyed when death comes to the body. At one stroke, all is forgotten. Memory is the function of the intellect, not the ātmā. - Gītā Vahini, p. 26

Verse 14.

mātrā-sparsās tu kaunteya 
āgamāpāyino 'nityās
tāms titikshasva bhārata

     The object-ward movement of the senses is the cause of grief and its twin, joy. It is like heat and cold; when it is the cold season, you crave for warmth, and in the hot season you crave for coolness. The sense object contact is exactly like this. As long as the world is there, objective contact cannot be avoided. Still, one can master the art, the discipline, the secret, of avoiding them or bearing them without bother... Arjuna! Wear the armor of fortitude, of titiksha, and the blows of good and bad fortune can never harm you. 

     Titiksha means equanimity in the face of opposites, putting up boldly with duality. It is the privilege of the strong, the treasure of the brave... Fortitude is different from patience. Titiksha is not the same as sahana. Sahana is putting up with something, tolerating it, bearing it, because you have no other go; having the capacity to overcome it, but yet, disregarding it - that is the spiritual discipline. Patiently putting up with the external world of duality combined with inner equanimity and peace - that is the path to liberation. Bearing all, with analytic discrimination - that is the type of sahana that will yield good result. - Gītā Vahini, pp. 27-8

Verse 15.

yam hi na vyathayanty ete
purusham purusharshabha
sama-duhkha-sukham dhīram
so 'mritatvāya kalpate

     Generally, man seeks only happiness and joy; under no stress will he desire misery and grief! He treats happiness and joy as his closest well-wishers and misery and grief as his direct enemies. This is a great mistake. When one is happy, the risk of grief is great; fear of losing the happiness will haunt the man. Misery prompts inquiry, discrimination, self-examination and fear of worse things that might happen. It awakens you from sloth and conceit. Happiness makes one forget one's obligations to oneself as a human being. It drags man into egoism and the sins that egoism leads one to commit. Grief renders man alert and watchful. 

     So misery is a great friend; happiness spends out the stock of merit and arouses the baser passions. So it is really an enemy. Really, misery is an eye-opener; it promotes thought and the task of self-improvement. It also endows one with new and valuable experiences. Happiness draws a veil over experiences that harden a person and make him tough. So, troubles and travails are to be treated as friends - at least not as enemies. Only, it is best to regard both happiness and misery as gifts of God. That is the easiest path for one's own liberation. - Gītā Vahini, p. 28-29

Verse 16.

nāsato vidyate bhāvo
nābhāvo vidyate satah
ubhayor api drishtho 'ntas
tv anayos tattva-darśibhih

Verse 17.

avināśi tu tad viddhi
yena sarvam idam tatam
vināśam avyayasyāsya
na kaścit kartum arhati

Verse 18.

antavanta ime dehā
nityasyoktāh śarīrinah
anāśino prameyasya
tasmād yudhyasva bhārata

     It is enough. Get up and get ready for the fray. Why slide to the ground under the weight of all this useless ego? The Lord is the cause of all, not you. There is a higher power that moves everything. Know this and bend your will to it.  - Gītā Vahini, p. 24

Verse 19.

ya enam vetti hantāram
yaś cainam manyate hatam
ubhau tau na vijānīto
nāyam hanti na hanyate

     This explains why Krishna taught Arjuna the key science of atmaj˝āna. The ātmā does not kill, nor does it die. Those who believe that it kills or dies are unaware of its nature. The ātmā of Arjuna does not kill; the ātmā of Bhīshma or Drona does not die, the ātmā of Krishna does not prompt! These are just phases of the cause-consequence duality. The ātmā cannot be the cause or consequence of any karma; it is nir-vikara, incapable of change. - Gītā Vahini, p. 31

Verse 20.

na jāyate mriyate vā kadācin
nāyam bhūtvā bhavitā vā na bhūyah
ajo nityah śāśvato 'yam purāno
na hanyate hanyamāne śarīre

     There are six forms of modulation or modification: Originating, existing, growing, altering, declining, getting destroyed. These are the shad-vikaras. Originating or janma is when it "was not" and later "is". When it "is" and becomes "is not", it is called maranam or death. Janma happens to organic beings, not inorganic things. But the ātmā has no organs, it is nira-vayava. The ātmā is not born, so how can it die? Whom does it kill? It is unborn, eternal. - Gītā Vahini, p. 31

Verse 21.

vedāvināśinam nityam
ya enam ajam avyayam
katham sa purushah pārtha
kam ghātayati hanti kam

Verse 22.

vāsāmsi jīrnāni yathā vihāya
navāni grihnāti naro 'parāni
tathā śarīrāni vihāya jīrnāny
anyāni samyāti navāni dehī

     Just as a person discards old clothes and wears new ones, the dehi (dweller in the body) discards one body and dons another. The body is to the individual what the clothes are to the body. - Gītā Vahini, p. 31

Verse 23.

nainam chindanti śastrāni
nainam dahati pāvakah
na cainam kledayanty āpo
na śoshayati mārutah

     If you understand the real nature of the ātmā, then you would not give way to grief. All the weapons that you wield can harm but the material body; they cannot harm the modification-less ātmā. Know this truth and renounce this despondency. - Gītā Vahini, p. 31

Verse 24.

acchedyo 'yam adāhyo 'yam
akledyo 'śoshya eva ca
nityah sarva-gatah sthānur
acalo 'yam sanātanah

Verse 25.

avyakto 'yam acintyo 'yam
avikāryo 'yam ucyate
tasmād evam viditvainam
nānuśocitum arhasi

avyaktah -- invisible; ayam -- this soul; acintyah -- inconceivable; ayam -- this soul; avikāryah -- unchangeable; ayam -- this soul; ucyate -- is said; tasmāt -- therefore; evam -- like this; viditvā -- knowing it well; enam -- this soul; na -- do not; anuśocitum -- to lament; arhasi -- you deserve.



Verse 26.

atha cainam nitya-jātam
nityam vā manyase mritam
tathāpi tvam mahā-bāho
nainam śocitum arhasi

Verse 27.

jātasya hi dhruvo mrityur
dhruvam janma mritasya ca
tasmād aparihārye'rthe
na tvam śocitum arhasi

Verse 28.

avyaktādīni bhūtāni
vyakta-madhyāni bhārata
avyakta-nidhanāny eva
tatra kā paridevanā

     Of course, in the deluded stage, the world appears as real and brahman as a meaningless concoction. In the stage of intelligent clarity, the jagat is grasped in its true sense as unreal. The fairy of delusion overpowers you by her charms and by her arrows of falsehood and guilt. It is only the person possessed of the vision of universal brahman that can soon escape her wiles. Such a person fully knows that names and forms arose a little time ago and disappear a little time after. In the Gītā too it is said: "These, o Bharata, appear in the middle only... " (11-28). The world is subject to evolution and involution. To understand this, one need not wait till the end of the world; it is enough if the angle of the vision is corrected. That is the gateway to knowledge. That is real control of pranas, the consciousness that the world is unreal, or mithya. - Prasanthi Vahini, pp. 86-7

Verse 29.

āścaryavat paśyati kaścid enam
āścaryavad vadati tathaiva cānyah.
āścaryavac cainam anyah śrinoti
śrutvāpy enam veda na caiva kaścit

Verse 30.

dehī nityam avadhyo 'yam
dehe sarvasya bhārata
tasmāt sarvāni bhūtāni
na tvam śocitum arhasi

Verse 31.

svadharmam api cāvekshya
na vikampitum arhasi
dharmyāddhi yuddhāc chreyo 'nyat
kshatriyasya na vidyate

     The foremost duty of a kshatriya is to stay on the side of dharma and destroy adharma. Consider your good fortune! You have on this battlefield worthy foes like Bhīshma and others. This same Bhīshma fought in the past with his own guru, the brahmin who taught him all the arts, the great Paraśurāma [B.P. 9-15] himself; in order, primarily, to carry out his kshatriya duty. And now you, like a coward, are afraid to take arms against such stalwarts. A kshatriya finds his duty fulfilled when he upholds the cause of dharma in spite of odds. That is the path of progress. - Gītā Vahini, p. 31

Verse 32.

yadricchayā copapannam
svarga-dvāram apāvritam
sukhinah kshatriyāh pārtha
labhante yuddham īdriśam

     Kshatham means dukham, "sorrow", and a kshatriya is he who saves beings from sorrow. A chance like this to wage a war on behalf of dharma against the forces of adharma comes but rarely to a man. You have been blessed as a kshatriya to take part in this dharma-yuddham. Just imagine how much merit you will acquire by the service to the world, which you are set to do now. The war that is waged to establish santhi and soukhya (peace and plenty) in the world is referred to as dharma-yuddham, and this is just such a struggle, where justice is bound to win.

     The Kauravas have desisted from no sin, no injustice and no vice. They insulted elders, deserted the virtuous, defamed the chaste, and wounded the self-respect of the good. Countless are their misdeeds. Now, the moment for retribution has come, if you behave like a poltroon, you bring dishonor to your parents, to your brothers, and indeed to the entire kshatriya caste. - Gītā Vahini, p. 32

Verse 33.

atha cet tvam imam dharmyam
sangrāmam na karishyasi
tatah sva-dharmam kīrtim ca
hitvā pāpam avāpsyasi

     You imagine that it is a sin to engage in war. That is a great error. The sin, on the other hand, lies in avoiding the chance to destroy the wicked, in prolonging the agony of the virtuous. Give up your dharma now, and you run the risk of falling into perdition. Hold fast to it, and you are untouched by sin. Be of fixed mind; do not give way to either one or the other among all the dualities of the world. - Gītā Vahini, p. 32

Verse 34.

akīrtim cāpi bhūtāni
kathayishyanti te 'vyayām
sambhāvitasya cākīrtir
maranād atiricyate

Verse 35.

bhayād ranād uparatam
mamsyante tvām mahā-rathāh
yeshām ca tvam bahu-mato
bhūtvā yāsyasi lāghavam

Verse 36.

avācya-vādāmś ca bahūn
vadishyanti tavāhitāh
nindantas tava sāmarthyam
tato duhkhataram nu kim

Verse 37.

hato vā prāpsyasi svargam
jitvā vā bhokshyase mahīm
tasmād uttishthha kaunteya
yuddhāya krita-niścayah

     One should engage in activity, with a mind steady in the midst of fortune, good or bad. This is what Krishna advised in the 37th sloka. - Gītā Vahini, p. 32

Verse 38.

sukha-duhkhe same kritvā
lābhālābhau jayājayau
tato yuddhāya yujyasva
naivam pāpam avāpsyasi



* Sānkhya: one of six leading systems of spiritual Vedic philosophy, attributed to Sage Kapila. Its chief object is the emancipation of the soul from the bonds of wordly existence; Analytic knowledge; philosophocal analysis of the material and the spiritual and the controller of both.
Sānkhya-yoga: thorough study of the spiritual ego as differing from the physical body. This way is the living soul brought to bhakti-yoga, in which it can enter the spiritual activities, which are his authentic action.







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