Gita 2.6

na caitad vidmah kataran no gariyo

yad va jayema yadi va no jayeyuh

yan eva hatva na jijivisamas

te ‘vasthitah pramukhe dhartarastrah


We don’t know which is meritorious for us, to fight or not to fight, nor do we know, whether we shall win or they will conquer us. The sons of Dhritarashtra, by killing whom we do not even wish to live, are arrayed against us


Arjuna did not know whether he should fight and risk unnecessary violence, although fighting is the duty of the Kshatriyas, or whether he should refrain and live by begging. If he did not conquer the enemy, begging would be his only means of subsistence. Nor was there certainty of victory, because either side might emerge victorious. Even if victory awaited them (and their cause was justified), still, if the sons of Dhritarashtra died in battle, it would be very difficult to live in their absence. Under the circumstances, that would be another kind of defeat for them.

Arjuna’s desire to live by begging, although he was born in the royal household, could be seen either a sign of detachment or sense of desperation and defeat. This is what happens to most of us when confronted by unimaginable problems in our day to day life. When hysteria attacks, intellectual composure is destroyed, resulting confusion leads to inefficiency and ultimately to failure in life.

Gita 2.7


prcchami tvam dharma-sammudha-cetah

yac chreyah syan niscitam bruhi tan me

sisyas te ‘ham sadhi mam tvam prapannam


Now I am confused about my duty and have lost all composure because of weakness. In this condition I am asking You to tell me clearly what is best for me. Now I am Your disciple, and a soul surrendered unto You. Please instruct me.


According to Vedic scriptures one who dies in this world without becoming ‘self-realized’, who is destitute of knowledge of the nature and qualities of their immortal soul, is called a miser. In common parlance a miser is one who is extremely stingy with their money. Miserliness here is the affliction of weakness regarding ones spiritual identity and integrity. Discriminatory power weakened by vices forms the delusion which bewilders the intelligence. Arjuna realized this and unconditionally surrendered to Lord Krishna with the words ‘tvam prapannam’ meaning ‘surrendered unto you’ and asks the Lord for spiritual guidance as confirmed by the words ‘sadhi mam’ instruct me. Arjuna qualifies himself to receive instructions from Lord Krishna by the words ‘sisyah te aham’ meaning I am your disciple.

Arjuna exhausted himself and seemed to be at crossroads and said “I am utterly confused please tell me what is good for me.” He uses the word ‘Sreyas’. So long he had been talking about what was ‘preyas’ to him, what he wanted to do or what is enjoyable. Now he was asking what is good to do. Then and then only the Lord started talking. Drinking alcohol may be ‘preyas’ or enjoyable to you, but it will not give you ‘sreyas’.

In our life we go on telling the Lord what to do, give us wealth, health and happiness and never ask Him what we should do to achieve the same thinking that we are already doing what is to be done and just waiting for the GOD to do his duty. When we do ask, He starts telling us what to do. Similarly when Arjuna said ‘sishyaste aham Sadhimam tvam prapannam’, I am your disciple I surrender to you, only then Krishna starts giving him the advice because advice given unasked will not be taken well!

Gita 2.8

na hi prapasyami mamapanudyad

yac chokam ucchosanam indriyanam

avapya bhumav asapatnam rddham

rajyam suranam api cadhipatyam


Even on obtaining undisputed sovereignty and an affluent kingdom on this earth as well as lordship over the gods in heaven, I do not see any remedy that can remove my grief, which withers my senses


Arjuna continues to lament and says “Not to talk of worldly pleasure, even lordship over heaven (position of Indra) cannot remove my worry and grief. If I grieved over the loss of a kingdom, it might be overcome by gaining it. But I am now grieved at thinking of the massacre of my kinsmen. Who could enjoy the kingdom, after the death of my kinsmen? Therefore, undisputed sovereignty and an affluent kingdom on this earth and lordship over the gods cannot remove the grief that is parching my senses.

Although Arjuna was quoting scriptures and principles of religion and moral codes, it appears that he was unable to solve his real problem all by himself. He could understand that academic knowledge, scholarship, high position, money etc., are all useless in solving the problems of life; only a qualified spiritual master can help. Thus Arjuna completely surrenders to Lord Krishna as a student and requests for instructions.

Gita 2.9

sanjaya uvaca

evam uktva hrsikesam

gudakesah parantapah

na yotsya iti govindam

uktva tusnim babhuva ha


Sanjaya said: Having spoken thus, Arjuna, chastiser of enemies, told Krishna, “Govinda, I shall not fight,” and fell silent.


Arjuna honoured the Lord’s word and wanted to obey it. But after thinking seriously, over what Lord Krishna had said and applying his own mind to his thoughts, came to the conclusion that war could result in providing him with an affluent kingdom, honour and fame. But it would not wipe out his grief, worry and misery. Therefore, it was not befitting for him to wage war. So Arjuna speaks his mind in clear words “I’ll not fight.” Having declared his decision not to fight, and having nothing more to say, Arjuna became quiet. Here the terms used to denote Arjuna and Krishna are significant. The one who asked was ‘gudakesa’, meaning one who conquered sleep, that is, he is capable of controlling his senses and this weakness is only temporary. Arjuna is also called ‘parantapa’ meaning scorcher of enemy who will not show any mercy towards them. Arjuna’s current enemy is his mental imbalance and he is ready to fight that with the help of the Jagatguru who is the lord himself.  The names ‘hrshikesa and Govinda’, both denote that the one who is going to advise is the master of the senses.

The greatest fear in life is of death. If we are able to overcome the fear of death of self and others, life becomes much more peaceful and enjoyable. Gita teaches you that we all are eternal and only our body keep changing with time.

Gita 2.10

tam uvaca hrsikesah

prahasann iva bharata

senayor ubhayor madhye

visidantam, idam vacah


O descendant of Bharata, at that time Krishna, smiling, in the midst of both the armies, spoke the following words to the grief-stricken Arjuna.


Lord Krishna with a subtle smile upon his face then spoke to Arjuna who was lamenting at a most inappropriate time between the two opposing armies. The word ‘prahasan’ meaning smiling is used to subtly indicate sarcasm and evoke anger at the impropriety of such limpid sensitivity by Arjuna who in his own right is a mighty warrior respected by all the mightiest warriors of his time. Hrsikesa’, means that the Lord is the in-dweller viz., He knows feelings of beings.

Krishna was a friend of Arjuna. Yet when Arjuna requested Krishna to be his ‘Guru’ at once He takes up the task with all its seriousness and began the great discourse called Gita. Since the Gita was told not in the confines of a room or in the isolation of the forest but in the midst of two armies, we can assume that Gita is not only for Arjuna but also for the entire world, you and me included.

Chapter 2 – Sankhya Yoga (Yoga of Knowledge)

In Chapter 2 we can study an exhaustive summary of the entire Gita philosophy. Sankhya means knowledge and particularly knowledge of GOD.

In Gita we address Lord Sri Krishna as “Bhagavan”. In fact this term is used generally to address God and for goddess the term used is “Bhagavati”. Bhagavan means He who possesses All Aisvarya (Lordship), dharma (righteousness), Yashas (renown/fame), Sri (splendour), jnana (knowledge) and vairagya (detachment). You may find many who claims to have or seems to have most of these ‘gunas’, yet it is only limited and not ‘All’. But the most important ‘Guna’ is that God also possess vairagya (detachment) which is always lacking in people with power or money.

Arjuna advises Lord Krishna to place his chariot in between the two armies, so that he may behold the war-minded warriors who dared to risk their lives, by fighting against such a valiant warrior, as he. But the same heroic and zealous Arjuna, at the sight of his kinsmen, becomes overwhelmed with grief, his limbs give way, his mouth is parched, his body shivers, his hairs stand on end, his bow slips, from his hand, his skin burns all over and his mind reels. His bravery turns into faint-heartedness and he slips into the seat of the chariot. Sanjaya conveys the same feelings of Arjuna, who was drowned in distress and despondency.

Gita 2.1

sanjaya uvaca

tam tatha krpayavistam


visidantam idam vakyam

uvaca madhusudanah


Sanjaya said: Seeing Arjuna full of compassion and very sorrowful, his eyes brimming with tears, Madhusudana, Krishna, spoke the following words.


Sanjaya gives a complete picture of Arjuna’s mental state to Dhritarashtra which is overwhelmed with sorrow for his near and dear ones.   Sanjaya by using the word ‘Madhusudana’, means to say that Lord Krishna is the killer of demon, Madhu i.e., He is the destroyer of people having a villainous nature, and so He will certainly destroy wicked natured Duryodhana, and his group.

If the situation controls you and you are not in a position to take control of the situation, failure is imminent.

Gita 2.2

sri-bhagavan uvaca

kutas tva kasmalam idam

visame samupasthitam

anarya-justam asvargyam

akirti-karam arjuna


The Bhagavan said: My dear Arjuna, how have these impurities come upon you? They are not at all befitting a man who knows the progressive values of life. They do not lead to higher planets, but to infamy.


All the lofty arguments of Arjuna have been summarily dismissed by Krishna as being ‘kasmalam’, rubbish or ignominious, more so because this attitude has come to him, at the most inappropriate moment. Here, the Lord by giving these three expressions ‘Anaryajustam’, ‘Asvargyam’ and ‘Akirtikaram’, in a sequence has explained that there are three types of persons (i) Thoughtful-whose aim is to attain benediction, (ii) Virtuous-who by doing virtuous actions want to attain heaven, (iii) and Ordinary-who want name and fame in the world. So, by giving the above-mentioned three kinds, Lord Krishna wants to warn Arjuna that, his affliction would bring him neither benediction, nor heaven nor fame, but would degrade and defame him, and lead him to hell. Such unmanly sentiments are never expected from a person belonging to the civilized class of men known as Aryans. The word Aryan is applicable to persons who know the value of life and have a civilization based on spiritual realization. Persons who have no knowledge of liberation from material bondage are called non-Aryans. Although Arjuna was a Kshatriya, he was deviating from his prescribed duties by declining to fight. Such deviation from duty does not help one in the progress of spiritual life, nor does it even give one the opportunity to become famous in this world. Lord Krishna did not approve of the so-called compassion of Arjuna for his kinsmen.

Great men who want to achieve success do so with fixed objectives, during activity as well as non-activity. They do not shirk their duty. According to prevailing circumstances, they perform their duty thoroughly, with zeal and enthusiasm, to achieve their objectives. If we leave aside the goal of success and consider the matter from a worldly point of view, the attainment of heaven, is the highest achievement. With timidity one can never attain the heaven. Even without having the aim of attainment of heaven, a noble person performs those deeds which bring him name and fame in the world.

Gita 2.3

klaibyam ma sma gamah partha

naitat tvayy upapadyate

ksudram hrdaya-daurbalyam

tyaktvottistha parantapa


O son of Pritha, do not yield to this degrading impotence. It does not become you. Give up such petty weakness of heart and arise, O chastiser of the enemy.


By addressing Arjuna as the son of Pritha it refers to his mother Kunti who by worshipping Indra, the ruler of the demi-gods received Arjuna as her son endowed with extraordinary might and valour like Indra. “Pritha” is also a symbol of renunciation as she left her own house and became the adopted daughter of Kuntibhoja who was a friend of her father. Lord Krishna reminds Arjuna of this to instruct him not to yield to this impotence for it does not befit him and that he should discard this weakness of heart. By using the vocative ‘parantapa’ meaning chastiser of enemies Lord Krishna is reminding Arjuna that at the time of his birth a heavenly voice proclaimed that he would conquer all enemies.

Krishna could see that the pity that has come over Arjuna was not due to mercy towards his relatives in general, especially towards Kauravas but it was prompted by his reluctance to fight against Bhishma, Drona, Kripa, etc. who were his respected elders. That was why Krishna calls it ‘hrdaya daurbalyam’.

Gita 2.4

arjuna uvaca

katham bhismam aham sankhye

dronam ca madhusudana

isubhih pratiyotsyami

pujarhav ari-sudana


Arjuna said: O killer of Madhu, how can I counterattack with arrows in battle men like Bhishma and Drona, who are worthy of my worship?


Arjuna addresses the Lord as ‘Madhusudana’ and ‘Arisudana’, because he had killed unrighteous, villainous and cruel demons, such as Madhu etc., and foes also who always are jealous of others, without rhyme or reason. But how can he kill his great well-wisher, the respected grandfather Bhishma, and adorable preceptor Drona, who have great affection for him? Arjuna is not turning away from war because of faint-heartedness, but because it is unrighteous for him to fight, with the revered grandsire Bhishma and venerable teacher Drona. Arjuna said “I am not afraid of dying but I do not want to kill my venerable elders, who have always been very affectionate to me”. Duryodhana by placing Bhishma and Drona directly in the forefront caused the ever righteous Pandavas discomfort at the thought of having to fight against them as it was opposed to the time honoured noble traditions of their family lineage. Arjuna is asking how he can engage in battle with respectable elders, when even to argue against them is improper.

Most problems in life are due to the fact that we identify ourselves with a big “I”. The moment we expand beyond the “I” ness and identify with a larger cause, movement, organization or country, we become really insignificant and reaches an egoless state. We become humble and willing to do anything to achieve our larger cause and objectives.

Gita 2.5

gurun ahatva hi mahanubhavan

sreyo bhoktum bhaiksyam apiha loke

hatvartha-kamams tu gurun ihaiva

bhunjiya bhogan rudhira-pradigdhan


It is better to live in this world by begging than to live at the cost of the lives of great souls who are my teachers. Even though they are avaricious, they are nonetheless superiors. If they are killed, our spoils will be tainted with blood.


Why should Bhishma and Drona fight for the unlawful kingdom of the Kauravas on the side of the wicked Duryodhana? Bhishma’s statement that a man is slave to wealth but wealth is slave to no man; therefore due to accepting wealth he was controlled by the Kauravas. So this proves that controlled by wealth and not righteousness and thus slaying them incurs no sin. Bhishma himself has stated that a superior who is degraded by these qualities deserves to be abandoned. But to this Arjuna states that by slaying elders we may undoubtedly enjoy some pleasures in this world but these pleasures would be tainted with blood as they are derived from the sin of slaying superiors.

To treat any disease or problems in life, the first step is correct diagnosis of the problem. If the diagnosis is wrong, the treatment will be wrong. And once we misread the situation our emotions and sentiments could further cloud our understanding and judgements that leads to deterioration of the situation.