Shrimad Bhagavad-gita

by Narayana Gosvami | 2013 | 327,105 words

The Bhagavad-gita Verse 2.11, English translation, including the Vaishnava commentaries Sarartha-varsini-tika, Prakashika-vritti and Rasika-ranjana (excerpts). This is verse 11 from the chapter 2 called “Sankhya-yoga (Yoga through distinguishing the Soul from the Body)”

Sanskrit text, Unicode transliteration, Word-for-word and English translation of verse 2.11:

श्री भगवान् उवाच–
अशोच्यान् अन्वशोचस् त्वं प्रज्ञा-वादांश् च भाषसे ।
गतासून् अगतासूंश् च नानुशोचन्ति पण्डिताः ॥ ११ ॥

śrī bhagavān uvāca
aśocyān anvaśocas tvaṃ prajñā-vādāṃś ca bhāṣase |
gatāsūn agatāsūṃś ca nānuśocanti paṇḍitāḥ || 11 ||

śrī bhagavān uvāca–Śrī Bhagavān said; aśocyān–for what is not worthy of grief; anvaśocaḥ–are lamenting; tvam–you; prajñā-vādān–learned words; ca–but; bhāṣase–you are speaking; gata–lost; asūn–life; agata–not lost; asūn–life; ca–yet; na anuśocanti–do not lament; paṇḍitāḥ–the wise.

Śrī Bhagavān said: Though you are speaking learned words, you lament for that which is not worthy of grief. Those who are truly learned lament not for the living nor for the dead.

Commentary: Sārārtha-Varṣiṇī Ṭīkā

(By Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura; the innermost intention of the commentary named ‘the shower of essential meanings’)

Śrī Kṛṣṇa says, “O Arjuna, your grief, which is born from the painful thought of killing your relatives, is illusory. Your question, ‘How shall I fight with Bhīṣma?’ shows that your reasoning is based on ignorance.” To explain why the above statement is true, Śrī Bhagavān says, “aśocyān anvaśocaḥ–You are grieving for that which is not worthy of grief.” Śrī Kṛṣṇa further says, “Even after being reassured by Me, you are asking questions such as, ‘kathaṃ bhīṣmam-ahaṃ-saṅkhye–how can I fight with Grandfather Bhīṣma?’ (Gītā 2.4). Even though you are presenting yourself as a learned personality, your presentation of such arguments and logic shows that you are not actually learned and that you actually have no knowledge. The wise do not lament for a gross material body from which the life-air has gone, because the body is temporary.

Agatāsūn means ‘from whom the life-air has not gone’. Until one achieves the stage of liberation, the subtle body is indestructible. The learned or wise do not lament even for the subtle bodies of such persons. In both conditions, with and without life, the nature of both the gross and subtle bodies is unchangeable. Yet foolish people lament for the gross body of their father or relatives when the life-air leaves it. They do not lament for the subtle body, because generally, they do not have knowledge of that.

“Bhīṣma and others are also the soul and covered by the gross and subtle bodies. Since the soul is eternal, to lament for it is improper. Earlier you were saying that scriptures on morality are superior to scriptures on economical development, but know that scriptures on knowledge, from where this understanding comes (jñāna-śāstra) are superior even to scriptures on morality (dharma-śāstra).”

Commentary: Sārārtha-Varṣiṇī Prakāśikā-vṛtti

(By Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja; the explanation that illuminates the commentary named Sārārtha-varṣiṇī)

The portion of the Supreme Absolute Reality–who is composed of eternality, consciousness and bliss–that is endowed only with the marginal potency (taṭasthā-śakti) is called the jīvātmā, the individual soul. The jīvas are atomic particles of consciousness, and their eternal and natural characteristic is to serve Bhagavān. Jīvas are of two types: liberated (mukta) and conditioned (baddha). The liberated souls are eternally engaged in the service of Śrī Bhagavān in His abode. They never fall down. The conditioned souls have forgotten the service of Śrī Bhagavān since time immemorial, and thus being covered by the two types of material bodies, gross and subtle, they are suffering from the three types of miseries as punishment in this material world.

The gross body of the conditioned soul is made of the five material elements–earth, water, fire, air and sky–and it is temporary and perishable. After death, the soul changes his gross body. When there is birth, death will always follow.  Today, tomorrow, or after some years, death is certain.

mṛtyur janmavatāṃ vīra dehena saha jāyate
adya vābda-śatānte vā mṛtyur vai prāṇināṃ dhruvaḥ

Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.1.38)

O great hero, one who takes birth is sure to die, for death is born along with the body. One may die today or after hundreds of years, but death is sure for every living entity.*

In the Gītā (2.27) it is said, “jātasya hi dhruvo mṛtyuḥ–for one who has taken birth, death is a certainty.”

That which covers the pure nature of the soul is called the subtle body, and it is made up of mind, intelligence and false ego. In each birth, one is granted a new gross body, and at the time of death, that body is destroyed. But such is not the case with the subtle body. Because the jīva has forgotten Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s svarūpa, or eternal form, the subtle body has covered the jīva’s svarūpa since time immemorial. This subtle body cannot be dissolved even after remembering Bhagavān, through such processes as knowledge, yoga, austerities, meditation or the study of the Vedas. It can only be dissolved by remembering Him through the medium of pure devotional service to Him (bhagavad-bhakti). At that time, the soul becomes situated in his pure nature.

prītir na yāvan mayi vāsudeve na mucyate deha-yogena tāvat

Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (5.5.6)

Therefore, until one has love for Lord Vāsudeva, who is none other than Me, he is certainly not delivered from having to accept a material body again and again.*

sa liṅgena vimucyate

Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (4.29.83)

He will be liberated from the bodily conception of life by hearing My pastimes.

bhayaṃ dvitīyābhiniveśataḥ syāt

Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (11.2.37)

Fearfulness is caused by forgetfulness of the Lord and is the cause of the bodily conception of life.

yadā ratir brahmaṇi naiṣṭhikī pumān

Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (4.22.26)

Upon becoming fixed in his attachment to the Supreme Personality, the living entity burns up his material surroundings exactly as fire, arising from wood, burns the wood itself.*

mām upetya tu kaunteya
punar janma na vidyate

Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā (8.16)

But one who attains Me, O son of Kuntī, never takes birth again.

When we study these verses, it becomes quite clear that although the subtle body has no beginning, it is acquired by forgetfulness of Bhagavān and destroyed by remembrance of Him. Therefore, those who know the nature of the soul to be immutable, imperishable and eternal do not lament or become disturbed at the loss of the gross body. They grieve neither for a gross body without a soul nor for a gross body with a soul, which will be destroyed in the future. On the other hand, those who consider their gross body to be their self are ignorant. Such persons are not even aware of the subtle body, what to speak of the soul. They consider the gross body (which contains the soul) to be their mother, father, brother or relative. When the soul leaves that body, they consider their mother, father, brother or relative to be dead, and they lament for that body.

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