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Gita - Chapter 2

		  Chapter 2 - Contents of the Gita Summarized

Arjuna submits to Lord Krishna as His disciple, and Krishna begins His 
teachings to Arjuna by explaining the fundamental distinction between the 
temporary material body and the eternal spiritual soul. The Lord explains the 
process of transmigration, the nature of selfless service to the Supreme and 
the characteristics of a self-realized person.
Arjuna argued that he would give up the battle on the grounds of his 
magnanimous attitude for the most respectable Bhisma and his relatives, but 
Krishna considered that sort of magnanimity mere weakness of heart.  Arjuna 
thought that it would be better to live in this world by begging than to live 
at the cost of the lives of great souls who are his teachers.  Actually, 
Bhisma and Drona were obliged to take the side of Duryodhana because of his 
financial assistance, although they should not have accepted such a position 
simply on financial considerations. Under the circumstances, they have lost 
the respectability of teachers. But Arjuna thinks that nevertheless they 
remain his superiors.  He also wondered which is better--conquering them or 
being conquered by them.  All these considerations by Arjuna definitely proved 
that not only was he a great devotee of the Lord but he was also highly 
enlightened and had complete control over his mind and senses. His desire to 
live by begging, although he was born in the royal household, is another sign 
of detachment.  It is concluded that Arjuna was quite fit for liberation. 
Unless the senses are controlled, there is no chance of elevation to the 
platform of knowledge, and without knowledge and devotion there is no chance 
of liberation.  Arjuna requested Lord Krishna to tell him what is best for 

On seeing Arjuna full of compassion, his eyes full of tears, Lord Krishna 
started instructing Arjuna.  Material compassion, lamentation and tears are 
all signs of ignorance of the real self. Compassion for the eternal soul is 
self-realization.  Lord Krishna, however, can dissipate the lamentation of 
the ignorant man, and for this purpose the Bhagavad-gita was sung by Him.  
Persons who are led by the material conception of life do not know that the 
aim of life is realization of the Absolute Truth, Visnu, or Bhagavan, and they 
are captivated by the external features of the material world, and therefore 
they do not know what liberation is.  Arjuna was deviating from his prescribed 
duties by declining to fight. Such deviation from duty does not help one in 
the progress of spiritual life.  Lord Krishna did not approve of the so-called 
compassion of Arjuna for his kinsmen.  This human form of life is a most 
valuable asset for the living entity who can utilize it for solving the 
problems of life; therefore, one who does not utilize this opportunity 
properly is a miser.  The miserly persons, waste their time in being overly 
affectionate for family, society, country, etc., in the material conception 
of life.  Arjuna on account of this miserly weakness, could not discharge the 
duties.  Academic knowledge, scholarship, high position, etc., are all useless 
in solving the problems of life; help can be given only by a spiritual master 
like Krishna.  Therefore, if we want to curb lamentation for good, then we 
have to take shelter of Krishna, as Arjuna is seeking to do. So Arjuna asked 
Krishna to solve his problem definitely, and that is the way of Krishna 
consciousness.  It appears that the talk between Lord Krishna and Arjuna was 
openly exchanged in the presence of both armies so that all were benefitted. 
So the talks of Bhagavad-gita are not for any particular person, society, or 
community, but they are for all, and friends or enemies are equally entitled 
to hear them.

Lord Sri krishna advised Arjuna to fight because the eternal, indestructible,
immutable soul cannot  be killed, and the temporary body cannot be saved.  By
nature, the body is ever changing, and the soul is eternal.  This soul finally
changes the body at death and transmigrates to another body.  Transference of
the atomic individual soul to another body is made possible by the grace of
the Supersoul.  Therefore, since the soul is sure to have another body in the
next birth--either material or spiritual--there was no cause for lamentation
by Arjuna on account of death, neither for Bhisma nor for Drona, for whom he
was so much concerned.  Rather, he should rejoice for their changing bodies
from old to new ones, thereby rejuvenating their energy.   Bhisma and Drona,
being noble souls, were surely going to have spiritual bodies in the next
life, or at least life in heavenly bodies for superior enjoyment of material
existence.  So, in either case, there was no cause of lamentation.  Though the
soul is immortal, violence is not encouraged, but at the time of war it is not
discouraged when there is actual need for it. That need must be justified in
terms of the sanction of the Lord, and not capriciously.

The soul is individual and infinitesimal and it can never become one with the 
infinite soul or the Supreme Lord.  The individuality of the soul existed in 
the past, and its individuality will continue in the future without 
interruption.  Each and every body is the embodiment of an individual soul, 
and the symptom of the soul's presence is perceived as individual 
consciousness.  The soul is described as one ten-thousandth part of the
upper portion of the hair point in size.  This very small spiritual spark is
the basic principle of the material body, and the influence of such a
spiritual spark is spread all over the body.  The individual atomic soul is
definitely there in the heart along with the Supersoul, and thus all the
energies of bodily movement are emanating from this part of the body. The
soul does not deteriorate.  It has no by-product either. The by-products of
the body, namely children, are also different individual souls; and, owing to
the body, they appear as children of a particular man. The body develops
because of the soul's presence, but the soul has neither offshoots nor change.
The consciousness of the individual soul is prone to be forgetful. When he is
forgetful of his real nature, he obtains education and enlightenment from the
superior lessons of Krishna. But Krishna is not like the forgetful soul. If
so, His teachings of Bhagavad-gita would be useless.

The easiest process for understanding the subject matter of self, however, is 
to accept the statements of the Bhagavad-gita spoken by the greatest authority, 
Lord Krishna, without being deviated by other theories. But it also requires 
a great deal of penance and sacrifice, either in this life or in the previous 
ones, before one is able to accept Krishna as the Supreme Personality of 
Godhead. Krishna can, however, be known as such by the causeless mercy of the 
pure devotee and by no other way.  But, those who are envious of Krishna as 
the Supreme Personality of Godhead have no bonafide access to the great 
literature.  Nor can the Gita touched by persons who envy the very existence 
of the Lord. 

Another reason why Krishna asked Arjuna to fight is, if he should conquer his 
enemies, he would enjoy the kingdom; and if he should die in the battle, he 
would be elevated to the heavenly planets. Fighting would be for his benefit 
in either case.  But if he is not performing his religious duty of fighting, 
then he will certainly incur sins for neglecting his duties.  Therefore 
performance of duty must not be effected by happiness and distress arising 
from sense perception. Hence, the Lord advised Arjuna not to be inactive, but 
to perform his prescribed duty without being attached to the result. 

Lord Krishna now directly said that Arjuna should fight for the sake of 
fighting because He desires the battle. There is no consideration of happiness 
or distress, profit or gain, victory or defeat in the activities of Krishna 
consciousness.  Activity in Krishna consciousness without expectation of sense 
gratification, is the highest transcendental quality of work.  Any work begun 
on the material plane has to be completed, otherwise the whole attempt becomes 
a failure. But any work begun in Krishna consciousness has a permanent effect, 
even though not finished.  The highest perfection of Krishna consciousness is 
renunciation of the material conception of life. This state is automatically 
achieved by progressive Krishna consciousness.  As by watering the root of a 
tree one automatically distributes water to the leaves and branches, so by 
acting in Krishna consciousness one can render the highest service to 
everyone--namely self, family, society, country, humanity, etc. If Krishna is 
satisfied by one's actions, then everyone will be satisfied.  The Vedas deal 
mostly with fruitive activities for elevation to heavenly planets, resultant 
good birth, etc.  Therefore, one should not be attached to the flowery words 
of the vedas.  Rather, one should understand that the purpose of studying the 
Vedas is to know Lord Krishna, the primeval cause of everything.  But it is 
not possible for the common man in this age to follow all the rules and 
regulations of the Vedic rituals.  The best purpose of Vedic culture is 
served, however, by chanting the holy name of the Lord, as recommended by 
Lord Caitanya, the deliverer of all fallen souls.

Arjuna was therefore advised to act in Krishna consciousness, the purifying 
process of resultant action.  If one can reach the platform of understanding, 
by service to the Supreme Lord Krishna, he has to no longer execute different 
types of penances and sacrifices as recommended in revealed scriptures. And, 
similarly, if one has not understood that the purpose of the Vedas is to reach 
Krishna and simply engages in the rituals, etc., then he is uselessly wasting 
time in such engagements.  In Krishna consciousness, one comes directly into 
communion with Krishna and one carries out the orders of Krishna or His 
representative, the spiritual master.

Arjuna asked Krishna about the symptoms of those in Krishna consciousness.  
The immediate symptom of a Krishna conscious man is that he speaks only of 
Krishna and of matters relating to Him.  The highly developed soul always 
remains satisfied in himself by realizing himself as the eternal servitor of 
the Supreme Lord. Such a transcendentally situated person has no sense desires 
resulting from petty materialism; rather, he remains always happy in his 
natural position of eternally serving the Supreme Lord.  He is not at all 
disturbed by the onslaughts of the threefold miseries, for he accepts all 
miseries as the mercy of the Lord, thinking himself only worthy of more 
trouble due to his past misdeeds; and he sees that his miseries, by the grace 
of the Lord, are minimized to the lowest. Similarly, when he is happy he gives 
credit to the Lord, thinking himself unworthy of the happiness; he realizes 
that it is due only to the Lord's grace that he is in such a comfortable 
condition and able to render better service to the Lord. He has neither 
attachment nor detachment because his life is dedicated in the service of 
the Lord. Consequently he is not at all angry even when his attempts are 
unsuccessful. Success or no success, a Krishna conscious person is always 
steady in his determination.  He is not affected by good and evil, because he 
is simply concerned with Krishna, who is all-good absolute.  His senses are 
used only for some particular purpose in the service of the Lord and are 
withdrawn otherwise. Therefore,  in the course of his advancement in Krishna 
consciousness, he no longer has a taste for dead, material things and 
enjoyments.  Thus by development of Krishna consciousness one can know that 
everything has its use in the service of the Lord. Those who are without 
knowledge of Krishna consciousness artificially try to avoid material objects, 
and as a result, although they desire liberation from material bondage, they 
do not attain to the perfect stage of renunciation.  On the other hand, a 
person in Krishna consciousness knows how to use everything in the service of 
the Lord; therefore he does not become a victim of material consciousness.  
Thus everything becomes spiritualized, and there is no danger of a downfall.  
One can curb the forces of sense gratification only by means of Krishna 
consciousness, or engaging all the senses in the transcendental loving service 
of the Lord.  As long as one has the material body, the demands of the body 
for sense gratification will continue. The devotee, however, is not disturbed 
by such desires, because of his fullness. A Krishna conscious man is not in 
need of anything, because the Lord fulfills all his material necessities.  
He is happy in the service of the Lord, and he has no desires to be fulfilled. 
To become desireless means not to desire anything for sense gratification. In 
other words, desire for becoming Krishna conscious is actually desirelessness. 
One can attain Krishna consciousness or divine life at once, within a second--
or one may not attain such a state of life even after millions of births. It 
is only a matter of understanding and accepting the fact.  By living this way, 
one can enter into the kingdom of God at the time of death.

Arjuna did not want to fight for his own sense satisfaction, but when he 
became fully Krishna conscious he fought because Krishna wanted him to fight. 
For himself there was no desire to fight, but for Krishna the same Arjuna 
fought to his best ability.

This summary is taken from the book, "Bhagavad Gita As It Is", By His Divine
Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupad. If you need clarifications or 
detailed explanations on any point please do not hesitate to contact me.
My E-mail address: m9306021@whitetail.cse.rmit.edu.au
	      and  s936021@minyos.xx.rmit.edu.au

Yours in service of Lord Sri Krishna,
R Jayashri.

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