Hello and welcome to Truth Amid Chaos, Chapter 2 of the Bhagavad Gita. I am honored to share this amazing epic with you. It’s a story of a battle in the 3D matrix of the mind, and ascension to freedom. The Gita is a beloved foundation of Hindu philosophy because it outlines a clear path to freedom.
Once upon a time, in a faraway land, Gods ruled the Earth, and all learning took place in the form of stories and sacred verses, that people remembered and passed down with each generation.
Bhagavad Gita is “God’s Song”, or “Gita” for short.
One of the underlying roots of the story is our desire for happiness, higher states of awareness, ascension, and freedom. Hindu legends assume 14 levels of being. 7 Higher God realms, and 7 Hellish realms. While on earth you must try to move upward, not fall downward, to balance your 3d duties with your ultimate goal of Moksha or spiritual freedom. This means your earthly lessons are finished, and you finally merge with God, ending the cycle of birth and death.
The Gita takes place as a huge battle is about to break between the virtuous Pandava brothers and their evil Kaurava cousins. The warriors from both sides are assembled on a huge battlefield. Armies, tents, spears, weapons, chariots, horses, and elephants cover the vast plain. Arjuna, the great Pandava warrior prince is joined by his charioteer, who just happens to be Lord Krishna, the blue God.
As the two armies stand poised for battle, Arjuna asks Krishna to drive his chariot in between them so that he might survey the enemy. He is horrified to see, his opponents are his beloved teacher, cousins, uncles, fathers-in-law, their grandsons, neighboring kings and childhood friends. Confusion floods Arjuna’s mind. Dropping his powerful bow, Arjuna falls into despair and refuses to fight.
The battle of the Gita symbolizes the internal struggle of the mind, constant choices between Good and Evil, Desire vs. Wise action. Krishna shows the path to ascended states. The entire story is a conversation between Arjuna’s uncle Dritarahtra, the blind king who sees what happens though his clairvoyant servant Sanjaya. And a conversation between Arjuna and Krishna standing between two armies poised for battle, in an infinite moment discussing Life and death.
Symbolism is Everywhere
- God Krishna represents your higher Self that knows all.
- Arjuna is your physical self as you face choices in real life.
- Dritarashtra the blind king, Arjuna’s uncle, father of the evil Kauravas, is your blind ego full of desire.
- Sanjaya is that clairvoyant part of you that can see everything without judging.
What happens in Chapter 2?
Krishna begins to reveal the Laws of Nature that apply to physical life. But how is this relevant to us now? Interestingly, ancient wisdom holds that the laws of Nature are the laws of God or relgion, which are also the Secrets of Science. That’s it. There’s no separation between Truth, Laws of Nature, God, Religion, and Science. These are the law. So, it can never be a matter of opinion, or “faith” or what “spin” you put on it. These are the RULES of LIFE. Maybe in modern times we’ve gotten into thinking that we can actually work independently of Nature to make things happen. Krishna says that’s silly, there’s a lot more to the picture. If you learn the game and play by these rules, you’ll get ahead, find happiness, and you can advance to higher levels of existence. But if you get distracted by selfishness or believing everything you see or hear, you’ll be trapped in 3D, and just have to repeat the lessons over and over through living and dying many times into eternity until you learn.
The Bhagavad Gita is 18 chapters of verse in Sanskrit, the sacred language of the Gods, in which Krishna explains how to live with integrity. He begins to tell Arjuna from many different perspectives why it is the best choice for him to stand up and fight. He introduces, the three basic paths of life. Each path is called a discipline, YOGA, meaning a training path that integrates your life. It is NOT a physical yogic movement. The first is the path of action, doing service in the world is called Karma Yoga, teaching you through your actions. The second is the path of knowledge, which works with the mind, called Jyana or Sankya yoga. The third is the path of devotion to God, or Bhakti Yoga that purifies the heart.
First Arjuna tells his despair, which Krishna sees as a lack of courage. In lines 11-30 Krishna says: “Relax! The soul lives forever. You and all these men are going to die sooner or later. Since you can’t kill anything, you may as well just do your duty. The physical senses show you moments of things you like and dislike, but the soul is eternal. The soul can never kill, and it cannot be killed. So why should we grieve for something that is going to die?
Then verses 31-38 reveal the path of action, chiding Arjuna to do his duty. As a trained warrior, he should welcome an opportunity to engage in righteous battle. If he does nothing he’ll be ridiculed as cowardly and weak. By fighting bravely, he will be respected by all.
In verses 39-53 Krishna further describes Karma Yoga, the path of action which means doing good works without fixating on the results or the fruits of action. He says cause and effect are a complex mystery of destiny. You can never know exactly what will happen, nor assume YOU were the sole cause of anything. Just offer your best work and let your highest destiny take care of the results.
In the final verses Krishna introduces the path of knowledge, showing how wise people transcend selfish desires to live with a stable mind in a high state of equanimity.
Krishna calls Arjuna many names, reminders of his past. He calls Arjuna Parth, devoted student, Son of Kunti, his queen mother. Or descendent of Bharat, his distant forefather king. Arjuna calls Krishna Keshav a God, or Madhusudan, killer of ancient demons, or by his historical name, Govind.
As you hear the verses I invite you to ponder these questions. See if you can integrate the ideas from Chapter 2.
- What are the three basic paths of life that train through actions, mind, or the heart?
- Which of these three paths most closely serves your unique character?
- What good works do you do? Do you do them without desire or attachment to the results?
- What are your favorite quotes from Chapter 2 to remember for life lessons?
- What situation in current world events illustrates these concepts?
Now the great warrior Arjuna has just refused to fight. Here are the verses of Chapter 2:
Bhagavad Gita 2.1
Sanjay said: Seeing Arjuna overwhelmed with pity, his mind grief-stricken, and his eyes full of tears, Shree Krishna spoke the following words:
Bhagavad Gita 2.2
The Supreme Lord said: My dear Arjuna, how has this delusion overcome you in this hour of danger? It is not befitting an honorable person. It leads not to the higher abodes, but to disgrace.
Bhagavad Gita 2.3
O Parth, it does not befit you to yield to this unmanliness. Give up such petty weakness of heart and arise, O vanquisher of enemies.
Bhagavad Gita 2.4
Arjuna said: O Madhusudan slayer of the demons, how can I shoot arrows in battle to kill great men like Bheeshma and Dronacharya, who are worthy of my worship?
Bhagavad Gita 2.5
It would be better to live my life as a beggar, than to enjoy kingly pleasures by killing these noble elders, who are my teachers. If we kill them, the wealth and pleasures we enjoy will be tainted with blood.
Bhagavad Gita 2.6
We do not even know which result of this war is preferable if we conquer them or they conquer us. Even after killing them we will not desire to live. Yet they have taken the side of Dhritarasthra, the blind king and now stand before us on the battlefield.
Bhagavad Gita 2.7
I am confused about my duty, and am besieged with anxiety and faintheartedness. I am your disciple, and am surrendered to you. Please instruct me for certain what is best for me.
Bhagavad Gita 2.8
I can find no means of driving away this anguish that drys up my senses. Even if I win a prosperous and unrivalled kingdom on the earth, or gain sovereignty of a god, I will never dispel this grief.
Bhagavad Gita 2.9
Sanjay said: Having thus spoken, the great warrior Arjuna said to Krishna “Govind, I shall not fight,” and fell silent.
Bhagavad Gita 2.10
O Dhritarashtra, blind king, thereafter, in the midst of both the armies, Shree Krishna smilingly spoke the following words to the grief-stricken Arjuna.
Bhagavad Gita 2.11
The Supreme Lord said: While you speak words of wisdom, you are mourning for that which is not worthy of grief. For the wise lament neither the living nor the dead.
Bhagavad Gita 2.12
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.
Bhagavad Gita 2.13
Just as the embodied soul continuously passes from childhood to youth to old age, similarly, at the time of death, the soul passes into another body. The wise are not deluded by this.
Bhagavad Gita 2.14
O son of Kunti, the contact between the senses and the sense objects gives rise to fleeting perceptions of happiness and distress. These are impermanent. They come and go like the winter and summer seasons. O descendent of Bharat, one must learn to tolerate them without being disturbed.
Bhagavad Gita 2.15
O Arjuna, noblest amongst men, that person who is not affected by happiness or distress, who remains steady in both, becomes eligible for liberation.
Bhagavad Gita 2.16
The transient always falls away, and the eternal never dies. This has verily been observed by the seers of the truth, after studying the laws of nature.
Bhagavad Gita 2.17
The soul which pervades the entire body, know it to be indestructible. No one can cause the destruction of the imperishable soul.
Bhagavad Gita 2.18
Only the physical body is perishable. The embodied soul within is indestructible, immeasurable, and eternal. Therefore, fight, O descendent of Bharat.
Bhagavad Gita 2.19
One who thinks the soul can kill and one who thinks the soul can be killed, neither knows the truth. For the soul neither kills nor can it be killed.
Bhagavad Gita 2.20
The soul is neither born, nor does it ever die; nor having once existed, does it ever cease to be. The soul is without birth, eternal, immortal, and ageless. It is not destroyed when the body is destroyed.
Bhagavad Gita 2.21
O Parth, how can one who knows the soul to be imperishable, eternal, unborn, and unchangeable, kill anyone or cause anyone to kill?
Bhagavad Gita 2.22
As a person sheds worn-out clothes and puts on new ones, likewise, at the time of death, the soul casts off its worn-out body and enters a new one.
Bhagavad Gita 2.23
Weapons cannot pierce the soul, and fire cannot burn it. Water cannot wet it. Wind cannot dry it.
Bhagavad Gita 2.24
The soul is unbreakable and unburnable. It can neither be dampened nor dried. It is everlasting, everywhere, unalterable, unchangeable, and primordial.
Bhagavad Gita 2.25
The soul is spoken of as invisible, inconceivable, and unchangeable. Knowing this, you should not grieve for the body.
Bhagavad Gita 2.26
If, however, you think that your family is subject to constant birth and death, O mighty-armed Arjun, even then you should not grieve like this.
Bhagavad Gita 2.27
Death is certain for anyone who has been born. And rebirth is inevitable for anyone who has died. Therefore, you should not lament the inevitable.
Bhagavad Gita 2.28
O descendant of Bharat, all physical beings are unmanifest before birth, manifest in life, and again unmanifest on death. So why grieve?
Bhagavad Gita 2.29
Some see the soul as amazing, some describe it as amazing, and some hear of the soul as amazing, while others, even on hearing, cannot understand it at all.
Bhagavad Gita 2.30
O Arjuna, the soul that dwells within the body is immortal, therefore, you should not mourn for anyone.
Bhagavad Gita 2.31
Also considering your duty as a warrior, you should not waver. Indeed, for a warrior, there is no better engagement than fighting to uphold righteousness.
Bhagavad Gita 2.32
O Parth, happy are the warriors for whom such opportunities to defend righteousness come unsought, opening for them the path to higher realms.
Bhagavad Gita 2.33
However, if you refuse to fight this righteous war, abandoning your social duty and reputation, you will certainly incur sin.
Bhagavad Gita 2.34
People will speak of you as a coward and a deserter. For a respectable person, infamy is worse than death.
Bhagavad Gita 2.35
The great generals who now hold you in high esteem, will think that you fled from the battlefield out of fear, and thus will lose their respect for you.
Bhagavad Gita 2.36
Your enemies will defame and humiliate you with unkind words, disparaging your abilities. Alas, what could be more painful than that?
Bhagavad Gita 2.37
If you fight, you will either be slain on the battlefield and go to the celestial abodes, or you will win victory and enjoy the kingdom on earth. Therefore, arise with determination, O son of Kunti, and prepare to fight.
Bhagavad Gita 2.38
Fight for the sake of duty, treating alike happiness and distress, loss and gain, victory and defeat. Fulfilling your responsibility in this way, you will never incur sin.
Bhagavad Gita 2.39
Now than I have explained to you Sānkhya Yog, or analytic knowledge regarding the nature of the soul. Now listen, O Parth, as I reveal Buddhi Yog, or the Discipline of Intellect. When you work with this understanding, you will be freed from the bonds of karma.
Bhagavad Gita 2.40
Working in this state of consciousness, there is no loss or adverse result, and even a little effort saves one from great danger.
Bhagavad Gita 2.41
O descendent of the Kurus, the intellect of those who are on this path is resolute. Their aim is strong and one-pointed. But the intellect of the tentative is weak and leads nowhere.
Bhagavad Gita 2.42
Those of limited knowledge are attracted by the flowery words of the Veda scriptures, which advocate ostentatious rituals to attain the celestial abodes, and presume no higher principle in them.
Bhagavad Gita 2.43
They glorify only ceremonies that please their senses, performing extravagant rituals for attaining high birth, wealth, sensual enjoyment, and entry into heaven.
Bhagavad Gita 2.44
With their minds deeply attached to worldly pleasures and intellects bewildered by such complexity, they cannot hold the resolute determination for success on the path to God.
Bhagavad Gita 2.45
The Vedas deal with the three modes of material nature, O Arjuna. Rise above the three modes into a state of pure spiritual consciousness. Free yourself from dualities. Be eternally focused on truth, without concern for material gain and safety. Be rooted in the higher Self.
Bhagavad Gita 2.46
If you already have a full water reservoir then you will never need a glass of water to quench your thirst. Similarly, when you realize the Absolute Truth, you have also fulfilled the purpose of all the Vedas.
Bhagavad Gita 2.47
You have a right to perform your prescribed duties, but you are not entitled to the fruits of your actions. Never consider yourself to be the cause of the results of your activities, nor be attached to inaction.
Bhagavad Gita 2.48
Be steadfast in the performance of your duty, O Arjuna, abandoning attachment to success and failure. Such equanimity is called Yog, or discipline
Bhagavad Gita 2.49
Seek refuge in divine knowledge and insight, O Arjuna, and forget reward-seeking actions, for they are certainly inferior to works performed with the intellect established in Divine knowledge. Miserly are those who seek to enjoy the fruits of their works.
Bhagavad Gita 2.50
One who prudently practices the science of work without attachment can get rid of both good and bad reactions in this life itself. Therefore, strive for discipline, the art of working skillfully with the proper awareness.
Bhagavad Gita 2.51
The wise endowed with equanimity of mind, abandon attachment to the fruits of actions, which bind one to the cycle of life and death. By working with this awareness they attain the state beyond all suffering.
Bhagavad Gita 2.52
When your mind crosses over the quagmire of delusion, you will be stabilized in equanimity, beyond concern about what you have heard, or what you may hear in the future.
Bhagavad Gita 2.53
When your intellect is no longer drawn by flowery words and remains steadfast in divine consciousness, you will then attain the state of perfect discipline, or Yoga.
Bhagavad Gita 2.54
Arjuna said : O Keshav, what is the disposition of one who lives in divine consciousness? How does an enlightened person talk? How does he sit? How does he walk?
Bhagavad Gita 2.55
The Supreme Lord said: O Parth, when one discards all selfish desires and cravings of the senses that torment the mind, and becomes satisfied in the realization of the self, such a person is said to be transcendentally situated in harmony.
Bhagavad Gita 2.56
One whose mind remains undisturbed amid misery, who does not crave pleasure, and who is free from desire, fear, and anger, is called a wise sage of steady wisdom.
Bhagavad Gita 2.57
One who is not moved by good fortune nor dejected by difficulty, he is a sage with perfect knowledge.
Bhagavad Gita 2.58
One who can withdraw the senses from their objects, just as a tortoise withdraws its limbs into its shell, is established in divine wisdom.
Bhagavad Gita 2.59
He who identifies himself with his body may limit his enjoyment by withdrawing the senses from their objects, but his taste for sense pleasure remains. However, one whose intellect is trained, has realized Supreme knowledge, and his taste for sensory experience ceases.
Bhagavad Gita 2.60
The senses are so strong and turbulent, O son of Kunti, that they can forcibly carry away the mind even of a person endowed with discrimination and practicing self-control.
Bhagavad Gita 2.61
Those who subdue their senses and keep their minds ever absorbed in me, are stabilized in perfect knowledge.
Bhagavad Gita 2.62
While contemplating the objects of the senses, one develops attachment to them. Attachment leads to desire. From desire arises anger.
Bhagavad Gita 2.63
Anger leads to clouding of judgment, which results in bewilderment of memory. When the memory is bewildered, the intellect is destroyed. When the intellect is destroyed, one is ruined.
Bhagavad Gita 2.64
But one who controls the mind, and is free from attachment and aversion, even while using the objects of the senses, attains the Grace of God.
Bhagavad Gita 2.65
By divine grace comes the peace by which all sorrows end, and the intellect of such a person of tranquil mind soon becomes firmly established in God.
Bhagavad Gita 2.66
But an undisciplined person who has not controlled the mind and senses, can have neither a firm intellect nor steady contemplation on God. For one who never unites the mind in God there is no peace. When one lacks peace, how can he be happy?
Bhagavad Gita 2.67
Just as a strong wind sweeps a boat off its charted course on the water, focusing on any one of the senses can lead the intellect astray.
Bhagavad Gita 2.68
Therefore, one who has restrained the senses from their objects, O mighty armed Arjuna, is firmly established in transcendental higher knowledge.
Bhagavad Gita 2.69
Just like nocturnal creatures can see in the night that which is beyond the range of vision for others, a realized person has clear perception, having awakened from the sleep of ignorance,
Bhagavad Gita 2.70
Although many rivers flow from every direction into the ocean, yet the ocean, full to the brim, remains stable and poised. Likewise, although sensory stimulation arrives from everywhere it cannot disturb the sage firmly established in peace and harmony.
Bhagavad Gita 2.71
The person who gives up all material desires and lives free from a sense of greed, ownership, and egotism, attains perfect peace.
Bhagavad Gita 2.72
O Parth, such is the state of an enlightened soul. Having attained it, one is never again confused. Being established in this consciousness even at the hour of death, one is free from the cycle of life and death and ascends to the Supreme Abode of God.