The grief-stricken Arjuna is reduced to tears. He puts down his bow and arrow and refuses to fight. He surrenders to Krsna and says, “I am your disciple. Please teach me”. Arjuna is now ready for Krsna’s message.
Krsna smiles. He knows Arjuna is only going through a temporary setback and is confident of dispelling his confusion. But he does not comfort Arjuna. He speaks the Truth – uncompromising and forthright. This dries the tears and makes Arjuna take notice. It knocks off the grief and despair and prepares Arjuna for the philosophy that is to come.
Krsna’s opening words are – Arjuna, you speak words of wisdom but you mourn for those that should not be mourned for. The wise grieve neither for the living nor for the dead. Thus from verses 11 to 53 Krsna presents the highest knowledge – the indestructibility of the Soul.
Atman, the real you, never dies. Even the mind and intellect do not perish. All that happens at death is that you leave behind the body and environment that no longer meet with your needs and move to another body and circumstances that are more suited to the fulfilment of your desires. Just as a man gives up tattered clothes to don new ones.
Krsna says – There was never a time when you and I did not exist nor will there ever come a time when we shall cease to be. Everything around us changes. One who is not troubled by these fluctuations and remains steady, equal to joy and sorrow, is fit for Immortality.
In the midst of this cycle of birth and death it is your duty to act. For a ksatriya there is nothing more sacred than a righteous cause. You are fortunate to have such an opportunity that is a win-win situation. If victorious you will gain the vast kingdom. If you die you will attain heaven.
We are all warriors in the battle of life. Each one has obligations to perform. Do what you have to do, without attachment. Your right is to action only, not to its fruit. If you act thus you will be freed from the sorrow and bondage of birth and death. Then through meditation you will transcend the mass of delusion and move to the state of Godhood.
In verse 54 Arjuna asks Krsna, “Who is a Perfect Person? What are the hallmarks of one who has reached the state of Enlightenment? What is his inner nature and how does he interact with the world of finitude?” Krsna answers in the next 18 verses with masterstrokes to paint the picture of a Perfect Person. It serves as a guide to humanity for all times.
Krsna defines a Perfect Person as one who has completely abandoned all desires from the mind as a result of being fulfilled in the Self by the Self. It is desire that takes away your might and power. To regain Perfection you need to drop desire. However, desire cannot just be wished away. You can only take up a higher desire that is more gratifying and fulfilling. As a result, the lower fascinations and temptations drop of their own accord. Go back to your own life. As a child you were captivated with toys. Today you have no desire for toys. How did the desire go away? Did you ever make a decision to give it up? No. You just moved on to more satisfying things, as a result of which the desire for toys dropped. The same principle works now. As a spiritual child you are stuck with physical and material playthings. Move to emotional joys and the material preoccupations no longer have a grip over you. Pick up an intellectual ideal and even the emotional attachments lose their charm. Take the final plunge to the Spirit and nothing will hold you back. All desires drop. You regain your Immortal stature.
As you rise above desire objects of desire come to you, unsought. The way to gain the world is to escalate to higher realms. You will obtain the lower effortlessly. Thus you become successful, happy and grow to your Divine potential.
Krsna emphasises the importance of sense control which requires a strong and alert intellect. He then gives the formula for self-control. With a powerful intellect that keeps the senses and mind subdued you take off into higher realms. He concludes with the definition of happiness. We all seek happiness but are clueless about where it lies or how to obtain it. Here is a clear indication that we can follow to rise to higher levels of happiness until we attain infinite happiness. Thereafter nothing in the world will impact on our Bliss. We will remain untouched like the ocean that remains still in spite of all the rivers entering it.
Krsna concludes by saying, “This is the state of Brahman. Having attained it one is not deluded again. Being established in it one attains union with Brahman even after death”.