2.11 aSOchayAn anvaSOchas thvam

SrI:  SrImathE SatakOpAya nama:  SrImathE rAmAnujAya nama:  SrImath varavaramunayE nama:

Chapter 2

<< Chapter 2 verse 10

SlOkam – Original

SrI bhagavAn uvAcha
aSOchayAn anvaSOchas thvam pragyA vAdhAmS cha bhAshasE |
gathAsUn agathAsUmS cha nAnuSochanthi paNdithA: ||

word-by-word meaning (based on puththUr krishNamAchArya swAmy’s thamizh translation)

SrI bhagavAn uvAcha – bhagavAn said
thvam – you (arjuna)
aSOchayAn – those who are not qualified to be worried for
anvaSOcha: – worried
pragyA vAdhAn cha – speech arising out of intelligence also
bhAshasE – speaking
paNdithA: – intelligent persons
gathAsUn – on bodies that have no life
agathAsUn – souls that have life
na anuSOchanthi – will not worry

Simple Translation (based on puththUr krishNamAchArya swAmy’s thamizh translation)

krishNa spoke – You (arjuna) worried for those who are not qualified to be worried for; you are also speaking that which arises out of intelligence; intelligent persons will neither worry for bodies that have no life nor for the souls that have life.

Rendering based on ALkoNdavilli gOvindhAchArya swAmy’s English translation of gIthA bhAshyam

Śri Bhagavān (Kṛishṇa), to Arjuna:

‘You mourn for those you should not mourn for. Yet you do speak words of wisdom. The wise grieve not either as respects bodies (gatā-sūn1) or as respects souls (agātāsūn2 = ātmā).

You do lament for those regarding whom you have no reason to lament. Judging by your own utterances in such verses as “Verily the manes (pitaraḥ) of these men fall, deprived of offerings of food, water, rites, etc.” (1-42), you say wise words, implying that you are 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 you is a contradiction; for on the one hand, you give vent to it where you have to destroy these men before you; but that grief has no place when you do descant on questions of dharma and adharma (or moral and non-moral questions), inasmuch as such questions can only arise on at least a hypothetical knowledge of a distinction between soul and body. It is thus evident, you do not know the nature of body, nor the nature of the eternal soul, nor do you 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-realisation. 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 realise 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, you have no cause to lament; nor have you 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.

>> Chapter 2 verse 12

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  1. 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.
  2. Ātma, is lit: self, it means soul, spirit, mind, God, etc., according to context. I would prefer 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’.

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