SrI: SrImathE SatakOpAya nama: SrImathE rAmAnujAya nama: SrImath varavaramunayE nama:
aśocyān anvaśocas tvaṁ
prajñā-vādāṁś ca bhāṣase
gatāsūn agatāsūṁś ca
Śri Bhagavān (Kṛishṇa), to Arjuna:
Thou dost lament for those regarding whom thou hast no reason to lament. Judging by thy own utterances in such verses as “Verily the manes (pitaraḥ) of these men fall, deprived of (offerings of) food, water, rites, etc.” (1-42), thou sayest wise words, implying that thou art enlightened enough on the subject of the distinction between the nature of body and the nature of soul. To those then who are knowers of this distinction between body-nature and soul-nature, there can never be the slightest reason for expressions of grief. Body as body being a lifeless thing, and soul as soul being life itself, neither can be the cause for any regret, to those who understand their true natures. Grief to thee is a contradiction; for on the one hand, thou givest vent to it where thou hast to destroy these (men before thee); but that grief hath no place when thou dost descant on questions of dharma and adharma (or moral and non-moral questions), inasmuch as such questions can only arise on at least a hypothetic knowledge of a distinction between soul and body. It is thus evident, thou dost not know the nature of body, nor the nature of the eternal soul, nor dost thou seem to know those righteous laws (dharma) which regulate why wars are undertaken. For when righteousness is the basis of all principles of warfare, engagement therein is itself a means for soul-realization. The secret consists in not embarking on war (or any other undertaking) with a motive for reward. A war conducted thus with no (selfish) interest in the result (but solely conducted as a matter of duty, a duty demanded for the righting of wrongs), is surely a passport to realize the true nature of soul.
The soul is not that which springs anew into existence, as a product of material combination (or organization), nor is it one that passes into extinction (or annihilation) when but a material process dissolves, called death. For soul has neither births nor deaths. Hence as respects the soul, thou hast no cause to lament; nor have thou cause to lament for body, for by nature it is insentient and is in constant flux. The inherent characteristics of bodies are such that at one time they come into being and at another time go out of being (i.e., according to the ideas our senses give us regarding matter).
To begin with, listen to the nature of souls.
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- Gatāsu: asu=life, gata=entered; hence that which life enters into is gatāsu, or matter (body) which life energy vivifies. All matter can only form, cohere, separate, organize, transform, etc., only by means of the life-force. ↩
- Ātma, is lit: self, it means soul, spirit, mind, God, etc., according to context. I would prfer to keep the original term where it is likely to mean either individual soul or God, or that which is ‘spirit’, as differentiated from ‘matter’. Where it means ‘individual spirit’, I translate ātmā as ‘soul’ instead of ‘self’. ↩