(The Philosophy of Wisdom)
1. Sanjaya said: To him who was overcome with pity and sorrow,
and whose eyes were flowing with tears, Madhusudhana spake thus:
2. "Whence has come over thee, O Arjuna, this unmanly and
shameful dejection which bars the gates of heaven
, especially at this critical juncture?
3. "Yield not to feebleness, O Partha, for it does not become
thee. Cast off this miserable faint- heart
edness, O Parantapa, and arise."
4. Arjuna said: "How shall I, O Madhusudana, with bows and arrows
engage Bhishma and Drona in battle, they who are worthy of the
5. "Far better it is to beg and live on alms than to slay these
respected elders. The victory and all the enjoyments resulting from
their killing would be bloodstained.
6. "Nor do I know which is better - whether we conquer them or
they conquer us; since after killing these sons of Dhritarashtra now
arrayed before us, I should not care to live.
7. "My being is paralyzed by feebleness and my mind perplexed
about duty; hence I ask Thee and I pray to Thee: Tell me in no
uncertain language, what is good for me. I seek refuge in Thee.
8. "Even if I were to win unrivalled monarchy here on earth or
lordship over the gods,that would not dispel the anguish that is
shriveling up my senses."
9. Sanjayaya said: Thus spake Gudakesha Parantapa to Hrishikesha
Govinda, and with the words, "I will not fight," became
10. O Dhritarashtra, smiling as it were, Hrishikesha spake these
words to him stricken thus with anguish, and stationed between the
11. The Blessed Lord said: "Thou mournest for those who should
not be mourned for, and utterest vain words of wisdom. Neither for
the living nor for the dead do the Wise grieve.
12. "For never was I not, nor thou, nor these kings; nor will any
of us cease to be hereafter.
13. "As the embodied Self 1
passes, in this body, through the stages of childhood, youth,
and old age, so does It pass into another body. The Wise One is not
deluded by all this.
14. "O Kaunteya, contact of the senses with objects produces
sensations of heat and cold, of pleasure and pain. They come and go
and are impermanent. Endure these, O Bharata.
15. "That calm man who remains unmoved by pain and pleasure, whom
these cannot disturb, alone is able, O greatest of men, to attain
16. "The unreal never is. The Real never ceases to be. The
conclusion about these two is truly perceived by the seers of
17. "Know that alone to be imperishable which pervades the entire
Universe. None can destroy that Immutable Being.
18. "These bodies of the Indweller, Who by Himself is Eternal,
Indestructible and Immutable, are all perishable. Fight, therefore,
19. "He who looks at the Atman
(Self) as the slayer and he who believes It can be slain are both
ignorant. The Atman
slays not nor is It slain [when the body is slain].
20. "It is neither born nor does It die; nor, having once been,
does It ever cease to be. Unborn, Eternal and Ancient, It is not
destroyed when the body is slain.
21. "He who cognizes the Atman
as Imperishable, Eternal and Changeless - whom and how can that man
slay or cause to be slain?
22. "Even as a man casts off worn-out garments and puts on others
that are new, so the Indweller casts off worn-out bodies and enters
into others that are new.
23. "Weapons cannot cut It, nor can fire burn It; water cannot
wet It, nor can wind wither It.
24. "Beyond all cutting, burning and withering is the Atman
- Eternal, All-Pervading, Unchanging, Immovable, Everlasting.
25. "This Atman
is said to be unmanifest, incomprehensible, and immutable.
Therefore, knowing It to be as such, thou shouldst not grieve.
26. "And if thou thinkest It repeatedly comes into being and
dies, even then, O Mahabahu, thou shouldst not grieve.
27. "For to that which is born death is certain and to that which
is dead birth is certain; therefore, thou shouldst not grieve over
what is inevitable.
28. "All beings are unmanifest before birth, O Bharata, and
become unmanifest after death; they are manifest only in the middle.
What cause then is there for grief?
29. "One person looks upon the Atman
as wondrous, another speaks of It as marvelous, yet another as
strange. Though many speak of It, truly none comprehends.
30. "O Bharata, this Indweller in the body of every being is
beyond all harm, thou shouldst therefore not grieve for any
31. "Again, considering thine own duty 2
, thou shouldst not shrink from it; for to a Kshatriya there
is nothing more welcome than a righteous war.
32. "Happy indeed are the Kshatriyas, O Partha, to whom comes
such a war, offering itself unsought, opening the gate to heaven
33. But if thou refuse to wage this righteous war, then, failing
in thy duty and losing thine honor, thou wilt incur sin.
34. "The world will for ever recount the story of thy infamy; and
for a man of honor, disgrace is worse than death.
35. "The Maharathas will think that fear made thee withdraw from
battle; and thou wilt fall in the esteem of those very ones who
earlier held thee high.
36. "And thine enemies, disparaging thy might, will speak
slanderous words about thee. What could be more painful?
37. "Slain, thou shalt enter heaven
; victorious, thou shalt inherit the earth; arise therefore, O
Kaunteya, resolved to fight.
38. "Treating alike victory and defeat, gain and loss, pleasure
and pain, get ready to fight; thus thou shalt incur no sin.
39. "What has been declared to thee is the Truth according to the
Sankhya. Now listen, O Partha, to that (path) which is suitable to
your intelligence, practicing which thou canst break through the
bondage of karma.
40. "In this path [of Yoga], no effort is wasted nor is there any
adverse effect. Even a little of this righteous course protects one
from the Great Fear 3
41. "The intelligence of those following this path is directed
towards a single objective. In those without any spiritual
conviction, the intelligence gets scattered and pursues countless
42. "The ignorant, O Partha, revelling in the letter of the Vedas
declare that beyond that there is naught else.
43. "Gripped by desires and holding heaven
to be their only goal, they utter flowery words of praise for
rituals which merely yield pleasure and lordship.
44. "Intent on pleasure and power, with discrimination lost and
their minds swept away, they are unable to concentrate on the
45. "Arjuna, the Vedas deal with the evolutes of the three Gunas
(or the modes of Prakriti
). Transcend thou the three Gunas and free thyself from the pairs of
opposites, remaining ever balanced and centered in the Self.
46. "To the enlightened Brahmin, the Vedas are of as much use as
a pond when there is everywhere a flood.
47. "To action, alone, thou art entitled and not the fruits
thereof. Seek not the fruits of action nor shouldst thou avoid
48. "Act thou, O Dhananjaya, renouncing attachments, even-minded
in success and failure; verily, such equanimity is called Yoga.
49. "For, motivated action 4
, O Dhananjaya, is far inferior to desireless action; seek
thou refuge in equanimity; wretched are those who work for selfish
50. "Endowed with equanimity, one frees oneself in this life from
good and evil alike; therefore, devote thyself to Yoga; verily, Yoga
is skill in action.
51. "The Wise, imbued with equanimity, renouncing the fruits of
action, free themselves from entanglement in the cycle of births and
deaths and attain Supreme Bliss.
52. "When thy intelligence transcends delusion, then thou shalt
be indifferent to things heard and those yet to be heard.
53. "When thy mind, though distracted by conflicting philosophies
and opinions, becomes poised, steadfast and unmoved in
concentration, then wilt thou attain Yoga."
54. Arjuna said: "What, O Kesava, is the mark of the man of
, steeped in Samadhi? How does he talk, how sit, how
55. The Blessed Lord said: "When a person rejects all the
cravings of the mind and is satisfied with the Self alone, then such
a one is spoken of as a person of steadfast wisdom.
56. "He whose mind is unruffled by sorrows, who thirsts not for
pleasures, who is free from passion, fear and wrath - such a one is
called a sage of secure understanding.
57. "He who is totally unattached and, facing both good and bad,
neither rejoices nor recoils - such a one is poised in Wisdom
58. "He who can withdraw his senses from the attractions of the
phenomenal world even as the tortoise withdraws its limbs into its
shell - such is the one with a stable mind.
59. "When a man starves his senses, the objects of the senses are
no doubt withdrawn but not necessarily the yearning for them (the
objects); however, even the yearning fades away when he beholds the
60. "O Kaunteya, turbulent by nature, the senses even of a wise
man practicing abstinence, distract his mind.
61. "Therefore, holding the senses and the mind in check, the
Yogi should be intent on Me; for he whose senses are under control
is secure in understanding.
62. "Dwelling with the mind on sense objects develops attachment;
attachment leads to desire, and desire breeds anger;
63. "From anger arises delusion; delusion promotes confusion of
memory; confusion of memory generates loss of intelligence; and
finally, loss of intelligence leads to complete ruin.
64. "But the self-controlled Yogi, who has weaned his mind away
from attractions, though surrounded by sense objects is able to
65. "In tranquility, all sorrow is destroyed; when the mind gains
peace, right discrimination ( Wisdom
66. " Wisdom
is not for the fickle-minded. Without steadiness of mind there can
be no spiritual development, and without spiritual development there
can be no peace. And when there is no peace of mind how can there be
67. "For even one of the roving senses, if the mind yields to it,
carries away discrimination as a gale carries away a ship on the
68. "Therefore, O Mahabahu, he alone whose senses are reined in
from all sides is the man of Wisdom
69. "What is night for all beings is for the enlightened one day;
and that, which is day to others, to him, who dwells in the Self,
70. "Not the desirer of desires attains peace, but he into whom
all desires enter as the waters enter into the ocean, which is full
to the brim and grounded in stillness.
71. "He attains peace who, conquering desires, lives without the
sense of 'I' and 'mine'.
72. "This is the state, O Partha, of the one who rests in Brahman
. Having attained that state, he is beyond delusion. He who remains
established in that state at the moment of death becomes one with Brahman
Thus in the Bhagavad Gita, the Essence of the Upanishads,
the Science of Brahman
, the Scripture of Yoga, the Dialogue between Sri Krishna and
Arjuna, ends the second chapter, entitled:
3Of birth and death.
4i.e., action performed with an eye on the
5Man of steadfast