Bhagavad Gita – Chapter 2, Sloka 11

Newsletter on Bhagavadgita by Dr. P.V. Nath

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Sloka 11

Sri Bhagawan Uvacha


You have grief for whom there should not be any sorrow. Yet, you speak words of wisdom. The wise do not grieve for the dead or the living.


According to the scholars, this sloka is the beginning of sowing the seed of knowledge in the form of Bhagavadgita by the Lord Himself.

It is therefore known as the “Bija Mantra”: The seed of the Gita sowed by the Lord is the most potent remedy for overcoming the grief. The sadhaka has to look after the seed and assist in its growth to become a big useful tree for the society.

Arjuna, as we have seen so far was in a state of despair and had requested the master for guidance towards the right action. The important word in this sloka is: “grief.”

The wise do not grieve for the dead or the living:


As we have discussed in the beginning the real us is the “Atman”. It does not die at any time. The physical body which covers the atman does die and is born again to fulfil the vasanas stored in its memory bank. Identifying with the physical body and getting attached to it and the surroundings brings out the grief every so often. The ego makes one feel sorry in adverse situations. Knowing this truth makes one a wise man and the wise men do not grieve for the dead.

Why does the Lord say “do not grieve for the living”?

It is only the living beings that experience the grief. The wise are aware of the fact that birth is the beginning of troubles and it goes on till the death. Knowing that it is inevitable after having been born to encounter situations that bring in sorrow, the wise do not grieve for the living.

They remain in a perfect state of equanimity of the mind and do not let it succumb to depression.

In the present context, Arjuna, considered the wise and powerful has talked like a wise man. Really speaking Arjuna is speaking with “half knowledge” and is not truly a wise man. “Act like a wise man and not just speak as a wise man” is the advice by Sri Krishna for the mankind through the medium of Arjuna.

Each one of us have three limbs that participate in any one action. They are the “mind, speech and the physical body.” In Sanskrit we say: “Trikarana”. All the three should work in unison and the sadhaka has to keep all the three pure and clean.

Arjuna spoke words of a wise man but his mind was not acting perfectly. His physical body dropped the bow and he collapsed down unable to hold on to the weapon of action.

The Lord uses the word “Pandita” in the sloka. Really speaking the true Pandita is he who knows his true identity with the Atman and drops his attachment to the physical body and the world around. The person who has understood the real nature of the Atman is a pandita.

The real nature of the Atman is:

Sat – Truth – the Eternal Truth: it was present yesterday in a different form, is present today in the present form and will be present tomorrow in a new form.

Chit – Knowledge: this is the real knowledge of the true identity of the Atman and associating with the Atman and not the physical body.

Ananda – Bliss: knowing the real nature of the Atman who is omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent gives one the eternal everlasting bliss. The individual does not succumb to the modifications of the physical body.

This atman gets a covering of the five gross elements which becomes the physical body which undergoes constant changes and experiences happiness and pain at different periods of life and is prone to death sooner or later. It gives a form to the Atman inside, we call it as “Roopa.”

The society gives a name to that form for the purpose of identity. This is the “Nama.”

So all in all there are five aspects:



Sat chit ananda refers to the atman and nama roopa refers to the physical body.

Lord Krishna is the master of Yoga and called as “yogeshwara.” Yoga is harmony in thought, word and deed. Arjuna wanted to attain Moksha and talked of the Vedas. He did not implement the theory into practice and did not know his true identity of the Atman.

Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa says: “do not create conflict between word and deed as nothing good comes out of it.”

The purpose of the Gita is to enable sadhaka to attain the union of the ego with the Atman and losing the body identity.

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