O Krishna, when I see my kinsmen assembled here and eager to fight,
My limbs falter, my mouth becomes dry, my body shivers, and my hairs stand on end.
Gandiva (the bow) slips from my hand, and my skin is burning all over. I cannot stand still. My mind seems to whirl.
And I see adverse portents O Keshava (Krishna). I do not foresee any good will come from killing my family in this battle.
I wish no victory, nor kingdom nor things of pleasure, O Krishna! What should I do with a kingdom? O Govinda, of what use is having sovereignty, or enjoyment, or life itself to us?
Those for whom we desire sovereignty, enjoyment, and things of pleasure, stand here in readiness to fight, having given up (the hope of) life and wealth;
Teachers, fathers, sons and also grandfathers, uncles, fathers-in-law, grandsons, brothers-in-law, and other relatives.
Therefore, it is not right that we slay our kinsmen, the sons of Dhritarashtra. How can we be happy by killing our own people, O Madhava (Krishna)?
With the destruction of the family, the eternal family laws are destroyed; and when Law is destroyed, lawlessness prevails over the whole family.
It would be better for me if the sons of Dhritarashtra (the Kauravas) with weapons in their hands, should slay me in the battle, while I remain unresisting and unarmed.
Having spoken thus on the battlefield, Arjuna sat down on the seat of his chariot, throwing away his bow and arrow, overwhelmed with grief.
O Partha (Arjuna), do not yield to unmanliness. It does not befit thee. Cast off this petty weakness of the heart! And stand up, O scorcher of the foes!
You are lamenting for those whom you should not lament for. And yet you speak words of wisdom. Wise men do not grieve for the dead or for the living.
There was never a time when I did not exist, or you, or these kings, nor shall any of us cease to exist hereafter.
Just as this body passes through childhood, youth, and old age, so also does it pass into another body. The wise man is not perplexed about it.
The contacts of the senses with the objects, O son of Kunti (Arjuna), cause heat and cold, happiness (sukha) and sorrow (dukha), have a beginning and an end. They are impermanent. O Bharata, endure them.
O prince of men, the wise man who is not disturbed by these and to whom happiness and sorrow are alike, is fit for immortality.
There is no coming into being of what is non-existent; nor does the existent cease to be. The truth about these two has been perceived by the knowers of the tattvas (elements).
Know that by which all that is pervaded is indestructible. None can cause the destruction of that-the imperishable (gunas).
These bodies which embody the indestructible, immeasurable, and everlasting are said to have an end. Therefore fight, O Bharata.
He who thinks that this being is a slayer, and he who thinks that it is slain, both of them do not possess true knowledge. He neither slays nor is he slain.
It is not born, nor does it ever die. After having been, it again ceases not to be. It is unborn, everlasting, permanent, and primeval. It is not killed when the body is slain.
He who knows that it is indestructible, eternal, unborn, and inexhaustible-how and whom can he cause to be killed, and how and whom can he kill?
Just as a person casts off worn-out garments and puts on different ones that are new, so also the individual casts off a worn-out body and joins with other ones that are new.
Weapons cannot cut it (the subtle body), fire does not burn it; water does not make it wet, nor does the wind make it dry.
This cannot be cut, cannot be burnt. It can neither be wetted nor dried. It is eternal, all-pervading, stable, immovable, and forever.
This (mool-prakriti) is said to be unmanifest, unthinkable and unchangeable. Therefore, knowing it to be such, thou shouldst not grieve.
Even if you think that this body is constantly born and constantly dying, even then, O mighty-armed, you should not grieve.
For the one who is born, death is certain; and certain is the birth for the one that has died. Therefore, you should not grieve over what is inevitable.
Beings are unmanifested in their beginning, manifested in their middle state, and unmanifested again in their ends. O Bharata, what is there in this to grieve?
One looks upon it as a marvel, another speaks of it as astonishing, others hear of it as a wonder. Yet having heart of it, no one whatsoever knows it.
The dweller in the body of everyone is eternal and indestructible. Therefore, O Bharata, you have no cause to sorrow over any creatures.
Further, even if you consider your own duty, you should not falter because there is nothing higher for a Kshatriya than to fight a righteous war.
And also, people will speak of your everlasting dishonor. And for one who has been honored, dishonor is worse than death.
The great warriors will think that you withdrew from the battle on account of fear; and you will be held in less esteem by those who hold you high.
Also, your enemies will spread many unspeakable tales about you, condemning your skill. What is more painful than that?
This wisdom explained to you is according to Samkhya. Now listen to wisdom according to Yoga, knowing which, O Partha, you will get rid of restraints on action.
Herein (that is, in this path of Yoga) action commenced is not lost, (and afterwards) obstacles do not arise. Even a little practice of this discipline (Yoga) will protect you from great fear.
U Kuru Nandana (descendent of Kuru, Arjuna), in this path (Yoga discipline) there is one-pointed determination; but the thoughts of the irresolute are many-branched and endless.
O Dhananjaya (Arjuna), perform action being firm in Yogastha (Yoga). Abandon attachment and be balanced in success and failure. The state of equilibrium is knows as Yoga.
Those with proper knowledge (buddhi-yuktah) leave behind both good and evil deeds in this life. Therefore, discipline yourself in Yoga, for achieving excellence in action is called Yoga.
When your intellect, which is puzzled by the (shruti) Veda text you have heard, will become fixed and immovable in samadhi, you shall attain this Yoga.
He whose mind is not distressed in adversities, who does not hanker after pleasures,and is free from passion, fear and anger, is called a muni (sage) of steady wisdom.
He who is without attachment on any side, and who feels no exultation or aversion about the agreeable or disagreeable, his wisdom is firmly fixed.
When a person is able to withdraw his senses from sense objects, as the tortoise withdraws its limbs, his wisdom becomes steady.
Because, O son of Kunti, these whirling senses forcibly carry away the mind of even the intelligent purusha, in an improper direction, though he be striving (for controlling the senses).
But the self-controlled person who moves among the objects of sense, with the senses under control and free from attachment and aversion, attains peace.
When the mind is serene, all his sorrow (dukha) is destroyed and prasanna chetasah (happiness) arises. The intellect soon becomes steady.
The person, who is not yukta (that is, who has not become Yoga-yukta as mentioned above) has no singleness of purpose; the one who is not yukta has no power to bring things about; and he who does not bring things about knows no serenity. And how can a man without serenity know happiness?
When the mind runs after the wandering senses, it carries away the understanding, just as the wind carries away a boat on the waters.
Therefore, O mighty-armed, he whose senses are completely restrained from sense-objects, his knowledge is firmly set.
What is night for all beings is he time of waking for the one disciplined in Yoga; and what is the time for waking for all beings is night for him.
He attains peace into whom all desires enter as waters enter the ocean, filling from all sides yet remaining unmoved; but not Kamkami, the man who hankers after the objects of the senses.
O Janardana! If you consider that knowledge is superior to action, O Keshava, why then do you urge me to engage in this terrible action (warfare)?
With quite contradictory words, you seem to be confusing my understanding. Therefore, tell me definitely which is the course by which I will attain to the supreme good.
O Arjuna! As I have said before, there are two paths, in this world: the path of knowledge is that of Samkhyas, and the path of action is that of yogins (practitioners of Yoga).
By non-performance of actions, a man does not attain actionlessness, nor does he attain siddhim (success) by giving up actions.
Because no one can remain even for a moment without performing some form of action. The gunas of prakriti compel every person to helplessly perform action.
He who merely controls the faculties of action but keeps continually thinking of the objects of the senses in his mind, is called a mithyacharya (self-deceiving hypocrite).
But he who controls the senses by the mind, O Arjuna, and engages his action faculties in the discipline of action without attachment, is superior.
Perform action which you are obliged to do or which is nityam (obligatory), for action is superior to inaction. Moreover, if you do not perform action, even your body will not be maintained.
This world is bound by action, other than those performed for the sake of yajna (sacrifice) or rituals; therefore, O son of Kunti (Arjuna), perform action for that sake, mukta sangah (freedom from bondage).
He who does not keep rolling the wheel that has been set in motion, indulging his senses in a lifespan of evil, lives for nothing, O Partha.
On the other hand, an individual who delights in the self, is satisfied with the self, is completely contented with the self alone, has nothing left to do (he finishes his work).
For him there is no concern for what is done or what is not done nor does he depend on any being for any object.
Therefore, without attachment, ever perform work that has to be done. The purusha achieves the highest good by performing action without attachment.
For it was by acting alone that Janaka and others achieved success, so you too must act while keeping an eye to universal welfare.
What a great man does, others do the same. Whatever he sets up as standard, the world (mankind) follows.
If I did not perform action, giving up idleness, people all around would follow my path, O Partha.
If I did not perform action, these worlds would fall in ruin, and I would be the cause of disordered life and destruction of these people.
Ignorant men perform action from attachment to their work. Learned men should act without any attachment, but with the desire to achieve universal welfare.
The wise man should not sow dissention in the minds of the ignorant who are attached to work; rather he should perform all actions with yukta (excellence), and make others perform them willingly.
Though all actions take place as a result of the gunas (sattva, rajas, and tamas) of prakriti, the ignorant man, being overwhelmed by the self-consciousness (ahamkara) thinks: 'I am the doer.'
But he who knows the characteristics of gunas and the tattvas (25 elements), and the divisions of their qualities and functions, does not become attached to them (manifestations of nature), O mighty-armed.
Those who are confused by the functions of the constituents of prakriti become attached to the works produced by them. He who knows the whole should not upset these dull men who knows only a part.
Those who do not act according to my teaching, finding fault with it with a fault-finding vision, are to be considered blind to all wisdom, thoughtless, and lost.
Even the man of knowledge acts in accordance with his own nature. All beings act according to their natures. Such being the case, what can restraint or pressure do?
Attachment and aversion lie waiting in the sense and its objects. A man should not be carried away by this affection and repulsion, for they are his two enemies.
Better is one's own duty, even when imperfectly done, than another's duty well performed. Better is death in one's duty: the duty of another is fraught with fear (productive of danger).
Just as fire is covered by smoke, or a mirror by dust, or the embryo is covered by the caul, so this wisdom is covered by that (passion).
O Kaunteya (Arjuna)! wisdom is covered by this in satiable flame of passion (kama rupen), which is the constant foe of the wise.
The senses, the mind, and the intellect are said to be its seat; through these it obscures knowledge and deludes his wisdom.
The senses, they say, are superior to their objects; higher than the senses is the mind, and higher than the mind is the buddhi (intellect); but higher even than the intellect is the purusha (self).
Thus, knowing the purusha which is higher than the buddhi and controlling the self by the self, O mighty-armed, destroy this enemy which, like passion (kama rupam), is difficult to conquer.