In continuation to my earlier post on summary of Chapter 1, here is the summary of Chapter 2.
In this post, I have tried to retain the discourse between Shri Krishna and Arjun in as much original form as possible, but have attempted to simplify it. And if I have added my own comment, I have highlighted the same in italics.
Chapter 2 (Sankhya Yoga/Path of Knowledge) Summary –
Shri Krishna tries to motivate Arjun and tells him that he shouldn’t surrender to the weakness of the mind. If he surrenders to such weakness, he will not attain heaven but on the contrary it will lead to his disgrace.
Arjun tells Shri Krishna – how can he shoot arrows at his Gurus? Rather than performing such an act it will be better to beg. Even if he was to win the battle, he will have to live with the grief of the death of Dhrirashtra’s sons. He further says – I have forgotten my duty and asks Shri Krishna to lead him on the righteous path.
Upon seeing Arjun get emotional about the death of his beloved ones, Shri Krishna enlightens Arjun on 4 topics – Soul, Dharma, Karma and Senses.
About Soul –
Shri Krishna tells Arjun – there has never been a time when we never existed or will cease to exist. Upon death, the soul leaves this body and enters into a new body. The soul remains unchanged and is indestructible and unimaginable. It never takes birth, and upon death the soul doesn’t die. The soul cannot be pierced through weapons, nor can it be burnt through fire, nor can it be wetted by water and neither can it be dried through air (Essentially the body is affected by weapons, fire, water and air. But the soul isn’t).
And even if Arjun believes that the soul takes birth and dies, then also he shouldn’t grieve. For whatever has taken birth, it has to die one day or the other.
About Dharma –
Shri Krishna reminds Arjun about his responsibility as a warrior (Kshritya) and that he should fight for Dharma (religious and moral duty). If he doesn’t fight for Dharma, it will lead to his disgrace. And if he fights for Dharma and looses the battle then he will be blessed with heaven, and on winning the battle he will gain the vast kingdom on earth.
About Karma –
Shri Krishna tells Arjun to fight without contemplating about the fruits of his action (of fighting) and that he shouldn’t think about happiness or sadness, loss or benefit, winning or loosing. When a person walks on such a path, he becomes fearless and focused and his intellect doesn’t go haywire.
People with superficial learning are too engrossed in Vedas because they seek for heaven, good life, fulfilment of senses and attainment of fame. But doing so doesn’t build devotion towards God and so he asks Arjun to rise above the three gunas (Sattvic, Rajasic and Tamasic) mentioned in the Vedas.
Shri Krishna further adds – Arjun has the right to perform his actions, but he doesn’t have any right on the fruits of his actions. When the action is performed without the thought of success or failure, it is called as Yoga. And Yoga itself liberates one from the cycle of birth and death.
About Senses –
Shri Krishna says – senses are very powerful and by constantly thinking about the topics related to senses, one builds desire which further leads to anger. From anger originates attachment, from attachment originates bewilderment and from bewilderment the intellect is destroyed. Shri Krishna further adds – a person who is devoid of desires has a steady mind, which in turn leads to peace. Happiness and sadness originate from the desires of the senses. A person who is unaffected by happiness and sadness, who is free of fear and anger, who is devoid of desires and who is devoid of ego, only such a person can attain peace. Upon leaving the body in such a state of Yoga, the person can attain the abode of God.
Hence Shri Krishna asks Arjun to gain control over his senses so that his intellect becomes steady.