You are here: Sri Vaishnava Home Page : Bhakti List : Archives : June 1998

Srimad Bhagavad Geeta Chapter 2 Part 4 by Thirukallam Narasimha Raghavachariar

From: Bharadwaj, Jaganath (jbb0_at_nreca.org)
Date: Tue Jun 02 1998 - 14:33:53 PDT

Arjuna:	"Oh Govinda!  Is it possible for those under the misconception
that the body is the soul, to avoid grieving over the separation of the
soul from the body?"

Sri Bhagavaan:	"Oh Strong-armed One!  Even if you consider the soul to
be the body that is caught up in the never ending cycle of birth and
death, there is no reason to fear either your own death or the prospect
of killing others.  The soul cannot be destroyed.  If you accept the
concept of the eternality of the soul, then there is no reason to fear
hell as a result of killing of Bhishma and the others.  Even if you
consider the body to be the soul, then how can an object that is
destroyed here in the battle field or elsewhere on earth proceed to
hell?  In that case why do you fear the prospect of killing Bhishma and
the others?"

Arjuna:	"Oh All knowing One (Sarvajna)!  You say that the soul is
totally separate from the body.  But there is no discernable evidence of
the soul being separate from the body."

Sri Bhagavaan:	"Oh Phalguna!  The soul is an object that is totally
different in nature from the body we experience.  It is eternal and
wondrous.  It can be experienced only by one practicing a lot of
austerities (tapas).  The result of such austerities causes sin to be
almost destroyed and a great accumulation of pious deeds (punya).  Only
such a person can perceive the soul.  Only a person who has accumulated
so much pious deeds even gets to hear the Srimad Bhagavad Geeta.  One
who speaks of the soul and one who hears about the soul are both rare.
Even after hearing about it, one does not come to know about the nature
of the soul."

Arjuna:	"One can discern considerable difference in species and
attributes of the bodies of living entities from the demigods down to
insignificant creatures.  Similarly we can see differences in the way
souls experience pleasure and pain through various bodies.  The souls
occupying the position of the demigods, humans and the like are called
divine, for example.  Is it therefore, similarly possible that some
souls may have eternal existence whereas other souls may have finite
existence?"

Sri Bhagavaan:	"The perceived difference between various categories of
beings from the demigods downwards is confined to the body.  Even if
pleasure and pain is experienced by the soul, varies from soul to soul,
it is caused by the connection of the soul with the body.  Therefore,
the soul is eternal and indestructible.  Statements that refer to souls
occupying the position of gods as being divine merely give importance to
the inseparable nature of the soul form the body.

"Oh Arjuna!  Understand that for your caste, killing the enemy is the
highest duty just as performance of the Agnishomiya sacrifice is
understood to be auspicious though it results in a violent death to a
cow.  For a soul that has obtained the body of a human being in the
Kshatriya class there is no greater opportunity to attain perfection,
than to fight in a war that has chanced upon it as a duty.  (Arjuna did
not seek this war.  It was his elder brother's duty to request the
Kauravas to return the kingdom, after they had fulfilled their end of
the bargain in the second game of dice.  Sri Krishna Himself went as the
Paandavas' ambassador.  This mission failed.  It was now Arjuna's duty
to help his elder brother and the king of Indraprastha regain his lost
kingdom, as it was his elder brother who supported Arjuna all these
years.)  Get up and fight!  This battle is getting delayed because you
have not made an effort to fight.  This is the way for you to attain
pleasures unmixed with pain.  It is by securing a great deal of merit
(punya) in previous lives, that you have chanced upon such an
opportunity."

Arjuna:	"What will be the consequences of a Kshatriya refusing to fight
in a war?"

Sri Bhagavaan:	"Oh Paartha!  If as a Kshatriya you abandon a battle
which has begun, considering it to be a sin, even though it is your
highest duty, you lose the opportunity to gain limitless pleasure
unmixed with pain (after this life) and fame as a result of victory in
this life.  Instead you accrue sin, which is the cause of pain.  Not
only will you lose fame.  You will earn notoriety.  Notoriety is worse
than death (for a Kshatriya).  It will be the cause for hellish
experiences.

Arjuna:	"Keshava!  I am not refusing to fight them because of fear.  It
is only my affection for them which is making me refuse to fight them."

Sri Bhagavaan:	"Arjuna!  Even if your thought process takes you in that
direction, this is not the time to display affection to your relatives.
Wouldn't everybody else think and gossip - He (Arjuna) got frightened
and ran away from the battlefield, after seeing the Kaurava army
comprising of eleven akshownis and led by Mahaarathis like Karna, from
in between the two armies?  What can cause you more pain than hearing
such words from the sons of Dhritaraashtra, who bear nothing but hatred
towards you?  Therefore, get up and fight.  If you get killed by your
enemies, you will go to Svarga and enjoy happiness.  If they were to get
killed by you, you will inherit a kingdom with no enemies and enjoy
comforts.  It does not behoove you to avoid fighting, after having taken
birth in an elevated princely family."

Arjuna:	"Oh Madhusoodhana (the killer of the demon Madhu)!  Even if one
were to offer me Lordship of the three worlds, I will decline such
temporal pleasures.  I am only interested in Moksha."

Sri Bhagavaan:	"Dhananjaya (winner of wealth)!  If you consider fighting
in this war to be a mere duty, because you have taken birth in a
Kshatriya family, and fight without consideration of fruits like
elevation to the land of Svarga, and without worrying about victory or
defeat, you will be relieved from the ocean of nescience, or suffering
as a result of ignorance."

Arjuna:	"Kanna! You say that fighting in a war is performance of karma
Yoga for a Kshatriya.  I wish to hear about the glories of such an
elevated path.  Please tell me more about this method of attaining
liberation (moksha)."

Sri Bhagavaan:	"If one has started performance of Karma yoga, but is
unable to continue it because of residence in inauspicious places or the
current time is not suitable for practicing this yoga, one does not lose
the fruits of what one has practiced till now.  You do not run the risk
of any negative consequences of incomplete practice.  Even a feeble
attempt at practicing this Karma Yoga relieves one from the fear of
Samsaara (a state of existence without the knowledge of oneself and
one's relationship with God)."

Arjuna:	"Oh Devakinandana (Son of Devaki)!  Is one allowed to practice
rites to fulfil one's desires, or is one prohibited from doing so?"

Sri Bhagavaan:	"Paartha!  One who performs rites to obtain comforts and
wealth, is unable to concentrate his mind on the goal of liberation.
Therefore, those desirous of liberation (moksha) should not be attracted
to the performance of rites that will only give material benefits."


If you enjoyed the above post please support Sri Ranganatha Temple which
made this possible.  Send your tax deductible check to Sri Ranganatha
Temple.  117 Demarest Mill Road, West Nyack, NY 10994.  or visit

http://dileepan.busi.utc.edu/ahboard.html

for monthly direct debits from your bank account.  Please visit Sri
Ranganatha Temple homepage at 

http://www.geocities.com/~ahobilam/ranga.html

and enjoy the beauty of this archa avataram from the comfort of your
home or office.

adiyen
jaganath.