Sankhya-Yog: Doctrinesby Vyasa
How could I shoot with shafts in the battle?
It is better to live on beggar’s bread with those we love alive, than survive with them dead.
Sanjaya: Arjuna became silent.
You grieve when you should not be grieving! You are lacking wisdom.
The wise in heart mourn not for those who live, nor those who die.
Everyone lives forever. Physical life is just short and mutable.
Bear with it, Arjuna, as the wise bear. The soul which is not moved, with a strong and constant calm, takes sorrow and joy indifferently. Such a soul never dies.
To see this truth of both is theirs who part essence from accident, substance from shadow.
Learn that you are Indestructible. Life spreads life through all.. It cannot anywhere, by any means, be anywise diminished, stayed, or changed.
But for these fleeting frames which it informs with spirit deathless, endless, infinite, They perish.
He who shall say, “Lo! I have slain a man!”
He who shall think, “Lo! I am slain!” those both
Know naught! Life cannot slay. Life is not slain!
Never the spirit was born; the spirit shall cease to be never; Never was time it was not; End and Beginning are dreams! Birthless and deathless and changeless remaineth the spirit for ever; Death hath not touched it at all, dead though the house of it seems! Who knoweth it exhaustless, self-sustained, Immortal, indestructible,–shall such Say, “I have killed a man, or caused to kill?” Nay, but as when one layeth His worn-out robes away, And taking new ones, sayeth, “These will I wear to-day!” So putteth by the spirit Lightly its garb of flesh, And passeth to inherit A residence afresh.
Weapons cannot reach the Life.
- Flame burns it not
- Waters cannot overwhelm it
- Dry winds cannot wither it.
It is impenetrable, Unentered, unassailed, unharmed, untouched, Immortal, all-arriving, stable, sure, Invisible, ineffable, by word And thought uncompassed, ever all itself,
Thus is the Soul declared!
How wilt thou, then,– Knowing it so,–grieve when thou shouldst not grieve? How, if thou hearest that the man new-dead Is, like the man new-born, still living man– One same, existent Spirit–wilt thou weep? The end of birth is death; the end of death Is birth: this is ordained! and mournest thou, Chief of the stalwart arm! for what befalls Which could not otherwise befall? The birth Of living things comes unperceived; the death Comes unperceived; between them, beings perceive: What is there sorrowful herein, dear Prince? Wonderful, wistful, to contemplate! Difficult, doubtful, to speak upon! Strange and great for tongue to relate, Mystical hearing for every one! Nor wotteth man this, what a marvel it is, When seeing, and saying, and hearing are done! This Life within all living things, my Prince! Hides beyond harm; scorn thou to suffer, then, For that which cannot suffer. Do thy part! Be mindful of thy name, and tremble not! Nought better can betide a martial soul..
Than lawful war; happy the warrior to whom comes joy of battle–comes, as now, Glorious and fair, unsought; opening for him A gateway unto Heav’n. But, if thou shunn’st
This honourable field–a Kshattriya– If, knowing thy duty and thy task, thou bidd’st Duty and task go by–that shall be sin! And those to come shall speak thee infamy From age to age; but infamy is worse For men of noble blood to bear than death!
The chiefs upon their battle-chariots Will deem ’twas fear that drove thee from the fray.
Of those who held thee mighty-souled the scorn Thou must abide, while all thine enemies Will scatter bitter speech of thee, to mock The valour which thou hadst; what fate could fall More grievously than this? Either–being killed– Thou wilt win Swarga’s safety, or–alive And victor–thou wilt reign an earthly king. Therefore, arise, thou Son of Kunti! brace Thine arm for conflict, nerve thy heart to meet– As things alike to thee–pleasure or pain, Profit or ruin, victory or defeat: So minded, gird thee to the fight, for so Thou shalt not sin! Thus far I speak to thee
As from the “Sankhya”–unspiritually–
Hear now the deeper teaching of the Yog, Which holding, understanding, thou shalt burst Thy Karmabandh, the bondage of wrought deeds. Here shall no end be hindered, no hope marred, No loss be feared: faith–yea, a little faith– Shall save thee from the anguish of thy dread. Here, Glory of the Kurus! shines one rule– One steadfast rule–while shifting souls have laws Many and hard. Specious, but wrongful deem The speech of those ill-taught ones who extol The letter of their Vedas, saying, “This Is all we have, or need;” being weak at heart With wants, seekers of Heaven: which comes–they say– As “fruit of good deeds done;” promising men Much profit in new births for works of faith; In various rites abounding; following whereon Large merit shall accrue towards wealth and power; Albeit, who wealth and power do most desire Least fixity of soul have such, least hold On heavenly meditation. Much these teach, From Veds, concerning the “three qualities;” But thou, be free of the “three qualities,” Free of the “pairs of opposites,"[FN#2] and free from that sad righteousness which calculates; Self-ruled, Arjuna! simple, satisfied![FN#3] Look! like as when a tank pours water forth To suit all needs, so do these Brahmans draw Text for all wants from tank of Holy Writ. But thou, want not! ask not! Find full reward Of doing right in right! Let right deeds be Thy motive, not the fruit which comes from them. And live in action! Labour! Make thine acts Thy piety, casting all self aside, Contemning gain and merit; equable In good or evil: equability Is Yog, is piety!
Yet, the right act
Is less, far less, than the right-thinking mind. Seek refuge in thy soul; have there thy heaven! Scorn them that follow virtue for her gifts! The mind of pure devotion–even here– Casts equally aside good deeds and bad, Passing above them. Unto pure devotion Devote thyself: with perfect meditation Comes perfect act, and the right-hearted rise– More certainly because they seek no gain– Forth from the bands of body, step by step, To highest seats of bliss. When thy firm soul Hath shaken off those tangled oracles Which ignorantly guide, then shall it soar To high neglect of what’s denied or said, This way or that way, in doctrinal writ. Troubled no longer by the priestly lore, Safe shall it live, and sure; steadfastly bent On meditation. This is Yog–and Peace!
When one, O Pritha’s Son!
Abandoning desires which shake the mind– Finds in his soul full comfort for his soul, He hath attained the Yog–that man is such! In sorrows not dejected, and in joys Not overjoyed; dwelling outside the stress Of passion, fear, and anger; fixed in calms Of lofty contemplation;–such an one Is Muni, is the Sage, the true Recluse!
He who to none and nowhere overbound By ties of flesh, takes evil things and good Neither desponding nor exulting, such Bears wisdom’s plainest mark! He who shall draw As the wise tortoise draws its four feet safe Under its shield, his five frail senses back Under the spirit’s buckler from the world Which else assails them, such an one, my Prince! Hath wisdom’s mark! Things that solicit sense Hold off from the self-governed; nay, it comes, The appetites of him who lives beyond Depart,–aroused no more.