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Shrimad Bhagwat Gita : : 2.11

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śhrī bhagavān uvācha
aśhochyān-anvaśhochas-tvaṁ prajñā-vādānśh cha bhāṣhase
gatāsūn-agatāsūnśh-cha nānuśhochanti paṇḍitāḥ

śhrī-bhagavān uvācha—the Supreme Lord said; aśhochyān—not worthy of grief; anvaśhochaḥ—are mourning; tvam—you; prajñā-vādān—words of wisdom; cha—and; bhāṣhase—speaking; gata āsūn—the dead; agata asūn—the living; cha—and; na—never; anuśhochanti—lament; paṇḍitāḥ—the wise

2.11: The Supreme Lord said: You speak words of wisdom, but you are mourning for that which is not worthy of grief. Those who are wise lament neither for the living nor for the dead.

Krishna initiates his discourse with this advice to Arjun. While Arjun feels his doubts and anxiety are well-founded, Krishna does not concur with him. He tells Arjun that though what he is saying sounds wise but there is no reason for him to feel that way. Because those who are truly wise, the *Pundits, never lament, neither for the living nor for the dead. The grief that Arjun is experiencing at the thought of killing his cousins is illusory and shows that he has not yet attained complete wisdom.

We shall overcome

Why does Krishna say that the wise never lament, neither the living nor the dead? The Gita tells us that all life is born of God and returns to God. Krishna in his virat roop even shows this phenomenon to Arjun. 

When this shloka is considered in the context of what follows, one understands that the body,  was, is and always will be transient, the Atma on the other hand is neither created, nor destroyed. 

*There is a differentiation between the caste Brahmin, and the Brahman – the wise one, the one whose mind expands to become one with the universe’s, as the Atma strives to merge with the Paramatma. The word ‘pundit’ used in the shloka, similarly, means ‘the wise one’ and should not be confused with the caste.

The Gita’s philosophy and teachings have helped me understand much of what otherwise lay in the realm of the unexplained. More importantly, it has helped me come to terms with the finite nature of life on this earth, and simultaneously draw solace from accepting the infinite existence of the soul. It is reassuring to understand the significance of following one’s dharma (duty), performing good karma (deeds), while being engaged in the quest for gyan (knowledge) as one walks on in the hope of attaining moksha (salvation).

Shared here is a brief documentation of what this shloka of the Gita says to me.

Vandana R Singh
New Delhi, June 2020

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