Chapter Two—Sankhya Yoga

Sanjaya said:
To him who was thus overcome
By pity, and whose eyes were filled
With tears, downcast and despairing,
Madhusudana1 spoke these words: (1)

The Holy Lord said:
Whence has come this faintheartedness
Of yours in the time of danger
Ignoble, not leading to heav’n,
But to disgrace, O Arjuna? (2)

At no time should you entertain
Such cowardice–unsuitable.
Abandon this faintheartedness
And stand up, O Scorcher of Foes! (3)

Arjuna said:
But how can I in battle fight
With arrows, Madhusudana,
Against Bhishma and Drona, too,
Who are worthy of reverence? (4)

Better that I eat the food of beggary
Instead of my slaying these great-souled gurus.
If I kill them my enjoyments in this world
Of wealth and desires will all be stained with blood. (5)

Indeed, I cannot tell which will be better,
That we should conquer them or they conquer us.
The sons of Dhritarashtra stand facing us–
After whose slaying we would not wish to live. (6)

Weakness and pity overcome my being,
With mind in confusion I supplicate You,
O say decidedly what is my duty.
I am Your disciple, do You direct me. (7)

I see nothing that can remove this sorrow
That dries up my senses, though I should attain
The unrivalled and prosperous dominion
Over the earth, and mast’ry over the gods. (8)

Sanjaya said:
Having said this to Govinda,
Arjuna, scorcher of his foes,
Then further said “I shall not fight,”
And fell into a silence deep. (9)

To him who thus was despondent
In the midst of the two armies,
O Bharata, as though smiling
Hrishikesha then spoke these words: (10)

The Holy Lord said:
You have been mourning for those who
Should not be mourned for, though you speak
Words of wisdom–for the wise grieve
Not for the living or the dead. (11)

Truly there never was a time
When I was not, nor you, nor these
Lords of men–nor in the future
A time when we shall cease to be. (12)

As to the embodied childhood,
Youth and old age arise in turn,
So he gets another body–
The wise are not confused by this. (13)

Truly material contacts
Produce cold, heat, pleasure, and pain.
Impermanent, they come and go,
Learn to endure them, Bharata. (14)

He whom these things do not afflict,
The same in pain or in pleasure,
That wise one, O Leader of Men,
Is fit for immortality. (15)

The unreal never comes to be,
The real does never cease to be.
The certainty of both of these
Is known to those who see the truth. (16)

That by Which all is pervaded–
Know That is indestructible.
There is none with the power to
Destroy the Imperishable. (17)

These bodies inhabited by
The eternal embodied Self
Are declared to come to an end.
Therefore now fight, O Bharata.2 (18)

He who thinks the Self is slayer
And he who thinks the Self is slain–
Neither of the two understands;
The Self slays not, nor is it slain. (19)

Neither is the Self slain, nor yet does it die,
Nor having been will it e’er come not to be,
Birthless, eternal, perpetu’l, primeval,
It is not slain whene’er the body is slain. (20)

In what way can he who knows this–
Indestructible, eternal,
Birthless and imperishable–
Slay or cause another to slay? (21)

Even as a man casts off his worn-out clothes
And then clothes himself in others which are new
So the embodied casts off worn-out bodies
And then enters into others which are new. (22)

This self by weapons is cut not;
This self by fire is burnt not;
This self by water is wet not;
And this self is by wind dried not. (23)

This self cannot be cut, nor burnt,
Nor wetted, nor dried: ’tis changeless,
All-pervading and unmoving,
Immovable, eternal self. (24)

Unmanifest, unthinkable,
This Self is called unchangeable.
Therefore, knowing this to be such,
You surely ought never to mourn. (25)

And if you think this self to have
Constant birth and death–even then,
O mighty-armed, you should not be
Impelled for this reason to grieve. (26)

Of that which is born, death is sure,
Of that which is dead, birth is sure.
Over the unavoidable,
Therefore you never should lament. (27)

All beings are unmanifest
In their beginning, Bharata,
Manifest in their middle state,
Unmanifest then in their end.3 (28)

Someone perceives this self as being wondrous,
Another speaks of it as being wondrous,
Another hears of it as being wondrous,
And another, hearing, does not understand. (29)

This indweller in all bodies
Is ever indestructible.
Therefore you should not, Bharata,
Ever mourn for any creature. (30)

And looking at your own dharma,
You surely ought never waver,
For there is nothing better than
A righteous war for Kshatriyas. (31)

Fortunate are those Kshatriyas,
Who thus are called, O Arjuna,
To fight in a battle like this,
That comes to them as heaven’s gate. (32)

But if you refuse to engage
In righteous warfare, Arjuna,
Then forfeiting your own dharma
And honor you shall incur sin. (33)

The world will also ever hold
You as a craven reprobate.
To the honored such disrepute
Is surely worse even than death. (34)

The great car-warriors will believe
You shrink back from battle through fear.
And you will be lightly esteemed
By those who have thought much of you. (35)

Your enemies, then cavilling
At your great prowess, then will say
Of you things not to be uttered.
What could be greater pain than this? (36)

By dying you attain heaven;
Conquering, you enjoy the earth.
Therefore, O son of Kunti, rise,
In strength of heart resolved to fight. (37)

Make pain and pleasure, gain and loss,
victory and defeat the same,
Then engage now in this battle.
This way you shall incur no sin. (38)

This buddhi yoga4 by Sankhya5
Is now declared to you–so heed!
Joining this insight to your will,
You shall be rid of karma’s bonds. (39)

In this no effort is wasted,
Nor are adverse results produced.
E’en a little of this dharma
Protects you from the greatest fear. (40)

There is a single, resolute
Understanding here, Arjuna.
The thoughts of the irresolute
Are many-branched, truly endless. (41)

They, the ignorant ones, proclaim
Their flow’ry speech, O Pritha’s son,
Delighting in the Veda’s word,
And saying: “There is nothing else.” (42)

Filled with desires, intent on heav’n,
Off’ring rebirth as actions’ fruit,
Addicted to so many rites,
Whose goal is enjoyment and pow’r. (43)

Attached to pleasure and power
Their minds are drawn away by this
Speech, and to them is not granted
The insight from meditation. (44)

The Vedas deal with the gunas;
Free yourself from them, and be free
From the pairs of opposites, and
Eternally fixed in the self.6 (45)

For the Brahmin who knows the self
The Vedas are of no more use
Than a reservoir of water
When there is a flood ev’rywhere. (46)

Your right is to action alone,
Not to its fruits at any time.
Never should they move you to act,
Or be attached to inaction. (47)

Then being steadfast in yoga,
Without attachment do actions
Heedless of success and failure–
Evenness of mind is yoga. (48)

Action’s inferior by far
To Yoga of Intelligence.7
Seek refuge in enlightenment,
Abhor action done from desire. (49)

Joined to enlightenment, cast off
In this world good and evil deeds;
Therefore to yoga yoke yourself!
For skill in action is yoga. (50)

Those whose minds are joined to wisdom,
Having abandoned action’s fruit,
Are freed from bondage to rebirth
And go to the place free from pain. (51)

When your intelligence crosses
Beyond delusion’s confusion,
Then you shall be indifferent
To the heard and the to-be-heard. (52)

When your intellect stands, fixed in
Deep meditation, unmoving,
Disregarding Vedic doctrine,
You’ll attain self-realization. (53)

Arjuna said:
What, Krishna, is the description
Of the man of steady wisdom,
Steadfast in deep meditation–
How does he speak, or sit, or walk? (54)

The Holy Lord said:
When he completely casts away
All the desires of the mind,
His self satisfied by the self,
He is called “of steady wisdom.” (55)

Unshaken by adversity,
And freed from desire for pleasures,
Free from passion, fear, and anger,
Steady in thought–such is a sage. (56)

Without attachment on all sides,
In the pleasant or unpleasant
Not rejoicing or disliking,
His wisdom is seen to stand firm. (57)

And when he withdraws completely
The senses from the sense-objects,
As the tortoise draws in its limbs,
His wisdom is established firm. (58)

Sense-objects turn away from the
Abstinent, but the taste for them
Remains, but that, too, turns away
From him who has seen the Supreme. (59)

Know this indeed, Son of Kunti:
The turbulent senses carry
Away forcibly the mind of
E’en the striving man of wisdom. (60)

Restraining all senses, he should
Sit disciplined, intent on Me;
He whose senses are thus controlled–
His wisdom stands steadfast and firm. (61)

Dwelling on objects of senses
Engenders attachment to them;
From attachment desire is born;
And from desire8 anger is born. (62)

From anger ’rises delusion;
From delusion, loss of mem’ry;
From loss of mem’ry, destruction
Of intelligence: All is lost. (63)

Desire and loathing banishing,
Moving amongst objects of sense,
By self-restraint, the self-controlled
Thus attains to tranquility. (64)

In tranquility all sorrows
Cease to arise for him, indeed;
For the tranquil-minded at once
The intellect becomes steady. (65)

For the undisciplined there is
No wisdom, no meditation,
For him who does not meditate
There is no peace or happiness. (66)

When the mind is guided by the
Wandering senses, it carries
Away the understanding, as
The wind a ship on the waters. (67)

The wisdom of him whose senses
Are withdrawn from objects of sense
On all sides, O mighty-armed one,
Will be found firmly established. (68)

The man of restraint is awake
In what is night for all beings;
That in which all beings awake
Is night for the wise one who sees. (69)

As the ocean, becoming full,
Yet remains unmoving and still,
He in whom all desires enter
And yet remains, unmoved, has peace.9 (70)

He who abandons all desires
Attains peace, acts free from longing,
Indifferent to possessions
And free from all egotism.10 (71)

This is the divine state–having
Attained this, he’s not deluded.
Fixed in it at the time of death,
He attains Brahmanirvana.11 (72)

Om Tat Sat
Thus in the Upanishads of the glorious Bhagavad Gita, the science of the Eternal, the scripture of Yoga, the dialogue between Sri Krishna and Arjuna, ends the second discourse entitled: Sankhya Yoga.