Narach Philosophy

CHAPTER 2: SANKHYA YOGA


The second chapter is called "Sankhya Yoga". It consists of two parts: in the first Krishna tells Arjuna of the evanescent character of life as understood in Sankhya death following life and life following death endlessly; in the second part He explains in the light of Yoga how a person should act in life renouncing all attachment, undisturbed by failure or success, renouncing the fruit of action but not action itself, with senses subdued and soul controlled, and without self-conceit or selfishness.

Sanjaya said:

Then Madhusudana unto him,
Whose eyes were dim with flowing tears,
And overwhelmed with pity all,
And full of sorrow, thus did say:

The Blessed Lord said:

O Arjuna, whence has come to thee
This great dejection at this time?
Excluding thee from heaven, and all
Un-Aryan, full of deep disgrace.

Yield not to unmanliness,
Unworthy of thee, Pritha's son!
Cast off this mean faint-heartedness!
Arise, O scorcher of thy foes!

Arjuna said:

How can I, O Madhusudana,
Oppose in battle with my darts
Bhishma and Drona in battle-field,
So worthy of my reverence?

It is better on this earth to live on alms,
Than slay preceptors of such great renown;
And slaying them, though worldly goods they seek,
I should enjoy but pleasure stained with blood.

What's good for us, indeed, we do not know,
That they should win, or we should vanquish them!
When slaying those who stand before us there,
Dhritarashtra's sons, no wish to live have we.

My hearts overcome with taint of helplessness;
My mind's confused not knowing what is right;
I ask thee, tell me, what is best for me:
Teach me, thy pupil O my refuge thou!

I see not anything that can remove
This grief that over-bears my senses all,
Though I should gain unrivalled power on earth,
Or else the sovereignty of gods above.

Sanjaya said:

Thou spoke he unto Hrishikesa,
Arjuna, the scorcher of his foes;
And said "I cannot fight at all,
O Govinda", sinking silently.

And then, O Lord of Bharata race,
All smiling, Krishna spoke to him,
Even as between the warrior hosts
He stood, overcome with sorrow deep.

The Blessed Lord said:

Thou grieves for those who need no grief,
Yet words of wisdom speakest thou:
The wise indeed are those who feel
No grief for living or the dead.

For never was time when I was not,
Or thou, or all these lords of men;
And never shall we cease to be
Hereafter all of us again.

As follow childhood, youth, and age
The embodied one in bodily frame,
So doth another body too;
The wise one's not perplexed thereby.

The contacts of the senses born
Give cold and heat, and joy and pain;
They come and go, impermanent;
Bear them, O thou of Bharata race.

He who is not disturbed by these,
That person, O thou chief of men,
So calm, the same in joy and pain,
Deserveth immortality.

The unreal never can exist,
The real never cease to be;
The truth about this has been seen
By those who understand the truth.

Know that is indestructible
By whom pervaded is this all;
And none hath power to destroy
That being indestructible.

The bodies of the embodied one,
Are mortal, though immortal he,
Eternal, and the infinite;
So fight, O thou of Bharata race.

Who thinketh him a slayer to be,
And he who thinks that he is slain,
Devoid of knowledge are they both:
He slayeth not, he is not slain.

He is not born, nor ever can he die;
Nor, having been, my ever cease to be;
Eternal, changeless, ancient, and unborn,
He is not slain, when is the body slain.

Who knows he's indestructible,
Eternal, changeless, and unborn,
How can he, O Pritha's son,
Slay him, or cause him to be slain?

Just as a man his worn-out clothes discards,
And weareth others, new ones, even so,
The embodied soul, abandoning the old,
Doth enter other bodies that are new.

Weapons can never cleave the soul,
Nor ever can the fire consume;
Nor water yet can moisten him;
And him no wind can ever dry.

He can never be cleft or burnt;
Never be moistened or made dry;
Unchanging, all pervading he;
Eternal, firm, immovable.

And he is called unchangeable,
Unthinkable, unmanifest;
So knowing him as such to be,
Thou hast no reason ever to grieve.

But if thou dost believe that he
Is born and dies unendingly,
Even then, O thou of mighty arms,
Thou hast no reason ever grieve.

For certain is death for him that's born,
And certain is birth for him that's dead;
So over the unavoidable
Thou hast no reason ever to grieve.

Things are unmanifest at source,
And in the middle manifest;
At end unmanifest again;
And so what cause is there to grieve?

As wonderful doth someone see it all;
As wonderful doth some one of it speak;
And some one hears of it as wonderful;
Yet hearing all doth no one understand.

The dweller in each bodily frame
Can never be slain, O Arjuna,
Therefore for any creature born
Thou hast no reason ever to grieve.

And looking at thy duty too,
Thou oughtest not to tremble so;
Nothing is higher than a war
Of righteousness for warrior born.

Happy the warrior who obtains,
O son of Pritha, such a war,
Unsought by him, like open door
That leadeth directly to heaven.

But if thou wilt not undertake
This righteous war, O Arjuna,
Then righteousness and honour all
Forfeiting, wilt thou reap but sin.

And then will all the people speak
Of thy everlasting shame;
And unto one who is esteemed,
Dishonour's blot is worse than death.

"He's fled from battle out of fear,"
So will the great car-warriors deem;
Thou will be held in low esteem
By those who highly think of thee.

Many unutterable things
Thy enemies will say of thee;
Decry thy power, and can there be
A thing more full of shame and pain?

Slain, wilt thou attain to heaven;
Victorious, earth wilt thou enjoy:
Therefore arise, O Kunti's son,
Resolved in battle to engage.

Looking alike on joy and pain,
Success, defeat, and gain and loss,
Be thou for battle now prepared,
And so no sin will come to thee.

This has been taught in Sankhya form;
Hear in the light of Buddhi-Yoga.
With Buddhi, O thou Pritha's son,
Wilt break the bonds of actions all.

No effort ever comes to naught;
Nor any obstacles arise;
Even a little of this truth
Hath power to save from mighty fear.

Their Buddhi is centered in the soul,
Whose Buddhi hath a single aim;
But many branching, endless are
Their thoughts who have no fixed resolve.

The foolish ones, O Pritha's son,
Who utter only flowery speech,
Delighting in the word of Veda,
And saying, "Nothing else is there;"

Full of desires, with heaven for goal,
Holding that birth from actions' fruit
Ariseth, many a sacrifice
For power and pleasure they perform.

For those who pleasure seek and power,
For those whose mind is drawn away,
Soul-centered Buddhi there is none,
In meditation deep engaged.

With Gunas three the Vedas deal;
Above them rise, O Arjuna!
Balanced, and full of soul, and free
From opposites, and wealth and power.

What's in a flood of water large,
Is also in a little tank;
And even so the Vedas are
Unto a Brahman who doth know.

Thy duty is to act alone,
And not to seek its fruit at all.
Seek not the fruit of action thou;
Nor to inaction be attached.

In Yoga established, do thy deeds,
Renouncing all attachment thou;
The same in failure and success.
This evenness is known as Yoga.

Inferior far is action deemed
To Buddhi-Yoga, O Arjuna.
In Buddhi seek thy refuge then;
Wretched are those who long for fruit.

In Buddhi firm, doth one renounce
Both good and evil actions all.
Therefore devote thyself to Yoga;
For Yoga is skill in actions all.

In Buddhi established, do the wise
Renounce the fruit that actions bear;
And freed from bondage of their birth,
A state of blessedness attain.

And when thy Buddhi crosses over
Confusion of delusion born,
Indifferent wilt thou be to all
That has been heard or may be heard.

Confounded by what thou hast heard,
Thy Buddhi when it stands at last
Serene, unmoved, absorbed in self,
Then wilt thou attain to Yoga.

Arjuna said:

What is the mark of him who's wise,
And fixed in meditation deep?
How speaketh he in wisdom firm,
And sits and moves, O Kesava?

The Blessed Lord said:

When he renounces all desires,
Born of the mind, O Pritha's son,
Pleased by the soul within the soul,
Firm is his wisdom said to be.

Whose mind is not disturbed by grief,
Who doth not hanker after joy,
Who's free from fear and love and wrath,
That Muni is in wisdom firm.

Without attachment anywhere,
Who is not pleased, nor yet displeased,
Whatever he gets of good or ill,
Firm is his wisdom said to be.

As a tortoise doth withdraws its limbs
From every side, when he withdraws
His senses from their objects all,
Firm is his wisdom said to be.

The objects of the senses fall
Away from him who fasteth, still
Their taste remains; and that departs
When he has seen the Lord supreme.

The violent senses of a man,
Though wise and striving for his goal,
O son of Kunti, drive away
His mind by force resistlessly.

Controlling them, the steadfast one
Should have me for his goal supreme;
Who hath his senses in control,
Firm is his wisdom said to be.

Thinking of objects of the sense,
A man for them attachment forms;
And from attachment comes desire,
And anger from desire is born.

From anger doth delusion rise,
And from delusion memory's loss;
From memory's loss is Buddhi's death;
With Buddhi's death he perishes.

But he who's free from love and hate,
Whose senses among their objects move,
Whose soul is by his soul controlled,
He doth attain to highest peace.

And in that peace there comes to him
An end to every grief and pain;
For he who hath his mind at peace,
His Buddhi's fixed in firmness soon.

No Buddhi has the unsteady one,
Nor any meditation he;
Who meditates not hath no peace;
The unpeaceful one no happiness;

Because the mind that follows all
The senses, roving everywhere,
Doth all his wisdom bear away,
As bears bark on water, wind.

Therefore, O thou of mighty arms,
The one whose senses are controlled
From objects of the senses all,
Firm is his wisdom said to be.

When it is night for everyone,
The self-controlled one keeps awake;
When others wake, the seeing one,
The sage, doth take it for his night.

As waters all into the ocean flow,
Unmoved and still, yet fall on every side,
So when desires flow unto him, doth he
Attain to peace, not he who seeks desires.

He who abandons all desires,
And liveth from attachment free,
Without conceit or selfishness,
He doth attain to highest peace.

This is the state of Brahma, this
Attaining, one is never perplexed;
Therein established even death,
Nirvana of Brahma he attains.

NOTES:

Madhusudana: A name of Krishna.

Pritha's son: Arjuna. Pritha is another name of Kunti, the mother of the Pandavas.

Hrishikesa: A name of Krishna.

Bharata race: Bharata really refers to Action. Hence it refers to all those who believe in the necessity of Action. Arjuna represents Breath or Prana, the energy of all action, and so he is called Bharata.

Sankhya: All that Krishna has so far been saying is in accordance with the teachings of the Sankhya system. This system holds that all life is subject to activity and change, and life and death and re-birth follow one another in an endless cycle of existence.

Buddhi Yoga: The Yoga system of thought, based on the character of Buddhi-Yoga has Buddhi for its foundation of thought. Krishna, having explained to Arjuna that we must act even in the light of the Sankhya system, now goes on to explain that we must do so in the light of the Yoga system too.

The foolish ones, etc: it is fools alone who believe that the Vedas teach inaction.

Gunas and Vedas: Gunas refer to Prakriti, out of which they arise. The Vedas deal with all systems of thought, including those which have Prakriti for their basis, viz., the Sankhya, Nyaya, etc.

The Vedas are very useful to a man of wisdom. They contain all knowledge of life, which may be acquired from life itself. As water In a tank Is the same as in a flood, though more handy, even so are the Vedas in relation to life.

Action is Inferior to Buddhi-Yoga: Buddhi-Yoga, or the Yoga system of thought based on Buddhi, is really concerned with action. How then can action be inferior to Buddhi-Yoga? Action here is to be understood as that which is performed with an object; for Yoga deals with action which is selfless and beneficial to all, which is performed as a Sacrifice, with renunciation of desire and fruit of action. This is made clear in the verse, where it is said that the wise ones, established in Buddhi, renounce the fruit that actions, bear, and in verse the we are told that when a person renounces all desires, he is established in Buddhi.