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Prabhupada. Bhagavad Gita As It Is

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  1. Contents of the Gita Summarized
  2. Karma-yoga

2 - Contents of the Gita Summarized

Sanjaya said; Seeing Arjuna full of compassion, his mind depressed, his eyes full of tears, Madhusudana, Krishna, spoke the following words. [2.1]

The Supreme Personality of Godhead said; My dear Arjuna, how have these impurities come upon you? They are not at all befitting a man who knows the value of life. They lead not to higher planets but to infamy. [2.2]

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. [2.3]

Arjuna said; O killer of enemies, O killer of Madhu, how can I counterattack with arrows in battle men like Bhisma and Drona, who are worthy of my worship? [2.4]

It would be 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 desiring worldly gain, they are superiors. If they are killed, everything we enjoy will be tainted with blood. [2.5]

Nor do we know which is better conquering them or being conquered by them. If we killed the sons of Dhritarastra, we should not care to live. Yet they are now standing before us on the battlefield. [2.6]

Now I am confused about my duty and have lost all composure because of miserly weakness. In this condition I am asking You to tell me for certain what is best for me. Now I am Your disciple, and a soul surrendered unto You. Please instruct me. [2.7]

I can find no means to drive away this grief which is drying up my senses. I will not be able to dispel it even if I win a prosperous, unrivaled kingdom on earth with sovereignty like the demigods in heaven. [2.8]

Sanjaya said; Having spoken thus, Arjuna, chastiser of enemies, told Krishna, "Govinda, I shall not fight," and fell silent. [2.9]

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. [2.10]

The Supreme Personality of Godhead said; While speaking learned words, you are mourning for what is not worthy of grief. Those who are wise lament neither for the living nor for the dead. [2.11]

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. [2.12]

As the embodied soul continuously passes, in this body, from boyhood to youth to old age, the soul similarly passes into another body at death. A sober person is not bewildered by such a change. [2.13]

O son of Kunti, the nonpermanent appearance of happiness and distress, and their disappearance in due course, are like the appearance and disappearance of winter and summer seasons. They arise from sense perception, O scion of Bharata, and one must learn to tolerate them without being disturbed. [2.14]

O best among men [Arjuna], the person who is not disturbed by happiness and distress and is steady in both is certainly eligible for liberation. [2.15]

Those who are seers of the truth have concluded that of the nonexistent [the material body] there is no endurance and of the eternal [the soul] there is no change. This they have concluded by studying the nature of both. [2.16]

That which pervades the entire body you should know to be indestructible. No one is able to destroy that imperishable soul. [2.17]

The material body of the indestructible, immeasurable and eternal living entity is sure to come to an end; therefore, fight, O descendant of Bharata. [2.18]

Neither he who thinks the living entity the slayer nor he who thinks it slain is in knowledge, for the self slays not nor is slain. [2.19]

For the soul there is neither birth nor death at any time. He has not come into being, does not come into being, and will not come into being. He is unborn, eternal, ever-existing and primeval. He is not slain when the body is slain. [2.20]

O Partha, how can a person who knows that the soul is indestructible, eternal, unborn and immutable kill anyone or cause anyone to kill? [2.21]

As a person puts on new garments, giving up old ones, the soul similarly accepts new material bodies, giving up the old and useless ones. [2.22]

The soul can never be cut to pieces by any weapon, nor burned by fire, nor moistened by water, nor withered by the wind. [2.23]

This individual soul is unbreakable and insoluble, and can be neither burned nor dried. He is everlasting, present everywhere, unchangeable, immovable and eternally the same. [2.24]

It is said that the soul is invisible, inconceivable and immutable. Knowing this, you should not grieve for the body. [2.25]

If, however, you think that the soul [or the symptoms of life] is always born and dies forever, you still have no reason to lament, O mighty-armed. [2.26]

One who has taken his birth is sure to die, and after death one is sure to take birth again. Therefore, in the unavoidable discharge of your duty, you should not lament. [2.27]

All created beings are unmanifest in their beginning, manifest in their interim state, and unmanifest again when annihilated. So what need is there for lamentation? [2.28]

Some look on the soul as amazing, some describe him as amazing, and some hear of him as amazing, while others, even after hearing about him, cannot understand him at all. [2.29]

O descendant of Bharata, he who dwells in the body can never be slain. Therefore you need not grieve for any living being. [2.30]

Considering your specific duty as a ksatriya, you should know that there is no better engagement for you than fighting on religious principles; and so there is no need for hesitation. [2.31]

O Partha, happy are the ksatriyas to whom such fighting opportunities come unsought, opening for them the doors of the heavenly planets. [2.32]

If, however, you do not perform your religious duty of fighting, then you will certainly incur sins for neglecting your duties and thus lose your reputation as a fighter. [2.33]

People will always speak of your infamy, and for a respectable person, dishonor is worse than death. [2.34]

The great generals who have highly esteemed your name and fame will think that you have left the battlefield out of fear only, and thus they will consider you insignificant. [2.35]

Your enemies will describe you in many unkind words and scorn your ability. What could be more painful for you? [2.36]

O son of Kunti, either you will be killed on the battlefield and attain the heavenly planets, or you will conquer and enjoy the earthly kingdom. Therefore, get up with determination and fight. [2.37]

Do thou fight for the sake of fighting, without considering happiness or distress, loss or gain, victory or defeat and by so doing you shall never incur sin. [2.38]

Thus far I have described this knowledge to you through analytical study. Now listen as I explain it in terms of working without fruitive results. O son of Pritha, when you act in such knowledge you can free yourself from the bondage of works. [2.39]

In this endeavor there is no loss or diminution, and a little advancement on this path can protect one from the most dangerous type of fear. [2.40]

Those who are on this path are resolute in purpose, and their aim is one. O beloved child of the Kurus, the intelligence of those who are irresolute is many-branched. [2.41]

Men of small knowledge are very much attached to the flowery words of the Vedas, which recommend various fruitive activities for elevation to heavenly planets, resultant good birth, power, and so forth. Being desirous of sense gratification and opulent life, they say that there is nothing more than this. [2.42-43]

In the minds of those who are too attached to sense enjoyment and material opulence, and who are bewildered by such things, the resolute determination for devotional service to the Supreme Lord does not take place. [2.44]

The Vedas deal mainly with the subject of the three modes of material nature. O Arjuna, become transcendental to these three modes. Be free from all dualities and from all anxieties for gain and safety, and be established in the self. [2.45]

All purposes served by a small well can at once be served by a great reservoir of water. Similarly, all the purposes of the Vedas can be served to one who knows the purpose behind them. [2.46]

You have a right to perform your prescribed duty, but you are not entitled to the fruits of action. Never consider yourself the cause of the results of your activities, and never be attached to not doing your duty. [2.47]

Perform your duty equipoised, O Arjuna, abandoning all attachment to success or failure. Such equanimity is called yoga. [2.48]

O Dhananjaya, keep all abominable activities far distant by devotional service, and in that consciousness surrender unto the Lord. Those who want to enjoy the fruits of their work are misers. [2.49]

A man engaged in devotional service rids himself of both good and bad actions even in this life. Therefore strive for yoga, which is the art of all work. [2.50]

By thus engaging in devotional service to the Lord, great sages or devotees free themselves from the results of work in the material world. In this way they become free from the cycle of birth and death and attain the state beyond all miseries [by going back to Godhead]. [2.51]

When your intelligence has passed out of the dense forest of delusion, you shall become indifferent to all that has been heard and all that is to be heard. [2.52]

When your mind is no longer disturbed by the flowery language of the Vedas, and when it remains fixed in the trance of self-realization, then you will have attained the divine consciousness. [2.53]

Arjuna said; O Krishna, what are the symptoms of one whose consciousness is thus merged in transcendence? How does he speak, and what is his language? How does he sit, and how does he walk? [2.54]

The Supreme Personality of Godhead said; O Partha, when a man gives up all varieties of desire for sense gratification, which arise from mental concoction, and when his mind, thus purified, finds satisfaction in the self alone, then he is said to be in pure transcendental consciousness. [2.55]

One who is not disturbed in mind even amidst the threefold miseries or elated when there is happiness, and who is free from attachment, fear and anger, is called a sage of steady mind. [2.56]

In the material world, one who is unaffected by whatever good or evil he may obtain, neither praising it nor despising it, is firmly fixed in perfect knowledge. [2.57]

One who is able to withdraw his senses from sense objects, as the tortoise draws its limbs within the shell, is firmly fixed in perfect consciousness. [2.58]

The embodied soul may be restricted from sense enjoyment, though the taste for sense objects remains. But, ceasing such engagements by experiencing a higher taste, he is fixed in consciousness. [2.59]

The senses are so strong and impetuous, O Arjuna, that they forcibly carry away the mind even of a man of discrimination who is endeavoring to control them. [2.60]

One who restrains his senses, keeping them under full control, and fixes his consciousness upon Me, is known as a man of steady intelligence. [2.61]

While contemplating the objects of the senses, a person develops attachment for them, and from such attachment lust develops, and from lust anger arises. [2.62]

From anger, complete delusion arises, and from delusion bewilderment of memory. When memory is bewildered, intelligence is lost, and when intelligence is lost one falls down again into the material pool. [2.63]

But a person free from all attachment and aversion and able to control his senses through regulative principles of freedom can obtain the complete mercy of the Lord. [2.64]

For one thus satisfied [in Krishna consciousness], the threefold miseries of material existence exist no longer; in such satisfied consciousness, ones intelligence is soon well established. [2.65]

One who is not connected with the Supreme [in Krishna consciousness] can have neither transcendental intelligence nor a steady mind, without which there is no possibility of peace. And how can there be any happiness without peace? [2.66]

As a strong wind sweeps away a boat on the water, even one of the roaming senses on which the mind focuses can carry away a mans intelligence. [2.67]

Therefore, O mighty-armed, one whose senses are restrained from their objects is certainly of steady intelligence. [2.68]

What is night for all beings is the time of awakening for the self-controlled; and the time of awakening for all beings is night for the introspective sage. [2.69]

A person who is not disturbed by the incessant flow of desires that enter like rivers into the ocean, which is ever being filled but is always still can alone achieve peace, and not the man who strives to satisfy such desires. [2.70]

A person who has given up all desires for sense gratification, who lives free from desires, who has given up all sense of proprietorship and is devoid of false ego he alone can attain real peace. [2.71]

That is the way of the spiritual and godly life, after attaining which a man is not bewildered. If one is thus situated even at the hour of death, one can enter into the kingdom of God. [2.72]

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3 - Karma-yoga

Arjuna said; O Janardana, O Kesava, why do You want to engage me in this ghastly warfare, if You think that intelligence is better than fruitive work? [3.1]

My intelligence is bewildered by Your equivocal instructions. Therefore, please tell me decisively which will be most beneficial for me. [3.2]

The Supreme Personality of Godhead said; O sinless Arjuna, I have already explained that there are two classes of men who try to realize the self. Some are inclined to understand it by empirical, philosophical speculation, and others by devotional service. [3.3]

Not by merely abstaining from work can one achieve freedom from reaction, nor by renunciation alone can one attain perfection. [3.4]

Everyone is forced to act helplessly according to the qualities he has acquired from the modes of material nature; therefore no one can refrain from doing something, not even for a moment. [3.5]

One who restrains the senses of action but whose mind dwells on sense objects certainly deludes himself and is called a pretender. [3.6]

On the other hand, if a sincere person tries to control the active senses by the mind and begins karma-yoga [in Krishna consciousness] without attachment, he is by far superior. [3.7]

Perform your prescribed duty, for doing so is better than not working. One cannot even maintain ones physical body without work. [3.8]

Work done as a sacrifice for Visnu has to be performed, otherwise work causes bondage in this material world. Therefore, O son of Kunti, perform your prescribed duties for His satisfaction, and in that way you will always remain free from bondage. [3.9]

In the beginning of creation, the Lord of all creatures sent forth generations of men and demigods, along with sacrifices for Visnu, and blessed them by saying, "Be thou happy by this yajna [sacrifice] because its performance will bestow upon you everything desirable for living happily and achieving liberation." [3.10]

The demigods, being pleased by sacrifices, will also please you, and thus, by cooperation between men and demigods, prosperity will reign for all. [3.11]

In charge of the various necessities of life, the demigods, being satisfied by the performance of yajna [sacrifice], will supply all necessities to you. But he who enjoys such gifts without offering them to the demigods in return is certainly a thief. [3.12]

The devotees of the Lord are released from all kinds of sins because they eat food which is offered first for sacrifice. Others, who prepare food for personal sense enjoyment, verily eat only sin. [3.13]

All living bodies subsist on food grains, which are produced from rains. Rains are produced by performance of yajna [sacrifice], and yajna is born of prescribed duties. [3.14]

Regulated activities are prescribed in the Vedas, and the Vedas are directly manifested from the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Consequently the all-pervading Transcendence is eternally situated in acts of sacrifice. [3.15]

My dear Arjuna, one who does not follow in human life the cycle of sacrifice thus established by the Vedas certainly leads a life full of sin. Living only for the satisfaction of the senses, such a person lives in vain. [3.16]

But for one who takes pleasure in the self, whose human life is one of self-realization, and who is satisfied in the self only, fully satiated — for him there is no duty. [3.17]

A self-realized man has no purpose to fulfill in the discharge of his prescribed duties, nor has he any reason not to perform such work. Nor has he any need to depend on any other living being. [3.18]

Therefore, without being attached to the fruits of activities, one should act as a matter of duty, for by working without attachment one attains the Supreme. [3.19]

Kings such as Janaka attained perfection solely by performance of prescribed duties. Therefore, just for the sake of educating the people in general, you should perform your work. [3.20]

Whatever action a great man performs, common men follow. And whatever standards he sets by exemplary acts, all the world pursues. [3.21]

O son of Pritha, there is no work prescribed for Me within all the three planetary systems. Nor am I in want of anything, nor have I a need to obtain anything — and yet I am engaged in prescribed duties. [3.22]

For if I ever failed to engage in carefully performing prescribed duties, O Partha, certainly all men would follow My path. [3.23]

If I did not perform prescribed duties, all these worlds would be put to ruination. I would be the cause of creating unwanted population, and I would thereby destroy the peace of all living beings. [3.24]

As the ignorant perform their duties with attachment to results, the learned may similarly act, but without attachment, for the sake of leading people on the right path. [3.25]

So as not to disrupt the minds of ignorant men attached to the fruitive results of prescribed duties, a learned person should not induce them to stop work. Rather, by working in the spirit of devotion, he should engage them in all sorts of activities [for the gradual development of Krishna consciousness]. [3.26]

The spirit soul bewildered by the influence of false ego thinks himself the doer of activities that are in actuality carried out by the three modes of material nature. [3.27]

One who is in knowledge of the Absolute Truth, O mighty-armed, does not engage himself in the senses and sense gratification, knowing well the differences between work in devotion and work for fruitive results. [3.28]

Bewildered by the modes of material nature, the ignorant fully engage themselves in material activities and become attached. But the wise should not unsettle them, although these duties are inferior due to the performers' lack of knowledge. [3.29]

Therefore, O Arjuna, surrendering all your works unto Me, with full knowledge of Me, without desires for profit, with no claims to proprietorship, and free from lethargy, fight. [3.30]

Those persons who execute their duties according to My injunctions and who follow this teaching faithfully, without envy, become free from the bondage of fruitive actions. [3.31]

But those who, out of envy, disregard these teachings and do not follow them are to be considered bereft of all knowledge, befooled, and ruined in their endeavors for perfection. [3.32]

Even a man of knowledge acts according to his own nature, for everyone follows the nature he has acquired from the three modes. What can repression accomplish? [3.33]

There are principles to regulate attachment and aversion pertaining to the senses and their objects. One should not come under the control of such attachment and aversion, because they are stumbling blocks on the path of self-realization. [3.34]

It is far better to discharge ones prescribed duties, even though faultily, than anothers duties perfectly. Destruction in the course of performing ones own duty is better than engaging in anothers duties, for to follow anothers path is dangerous. [3.35]

Arjuna said; O descendant of Vrisni, by what is one impelled to sinful acts, even unwillingly, as if engaged by force? [3.36]

The Supreme Personality of Godhead said; It is lust only, Arjuna, which is born of contact with the material mode of passion and later transformed into wrath, and which is the all-devouring sinful enemy of this world. [3.37]

As fire is covered by smoke, as a mirror is covered by dust, or as the embryo is covered by the womb, the living entity is similarly covered by different degrees of this lust. [3.38]

Thus the wise living entitys pure consciousness becomes covered by his eternal enemy in the form of lust, which is never satisfied and which burns like fire. [3.39]

The senses, the mind and the intelligence are the sitting places of this lust. Through them lust covers the real knowledge of the living entity and bewilders him. [3.40]

Therefore, O Arjuna, best of the Bharatas, in the very beginning curb this great symbol of sin [lust] by regulating the senses, and slay this destroyer of knowledge and self-realization. [3.41]

The working senses are superior to dull matter; mind is higher than the senses; intelligence is still higher than the mind; and he [the soul] is even higher than the intelligence. [3.42]

Thus knowing oneself to be transcendental to the material senses, mind and intelligence, O mighty-armed Arjuna, one should steady the mind by deliberate spiritual intelligence [Krishna consciousness] and thus — by spiritual strength — conquer this insatiable enemy known as lust. [3.43]

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