Bhagavad Gita – Chapter 2, Slokas 13 to 14

Newsletter on Bhagavadgita by Dr. P.V. Nath

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Sloka 13

DEHINOSMIN YATHA DEHE’ KAUMARAM YAUVANAM JARA
TATHA DEHANTARA PRAPTIR DHIRAS TATRA NA MUHYATI

Just as man in this body goes through the various stages of boyhood, youth and old age, likewise, he passes through another body after death. The wise man does not grieve at it.

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Every second of our life is birth of a new life and death of the old. The past is dead and the present is living. We do not realise the subtle changes that happen all along in our lives.

But we do notice gross changes as we grow. From being infant we reach the old age. The changes of infancy, childhood, youth, adult and old age are evident in our external features.

We do not grieve when we move from infancy to childhood and from childhood to adult. We do not realise that the past form for all purposes is dead.

Here we must recollect the law of memory. The law states that:

Experiencer and memoriser must be the same entity. I am the only person who can remember my experiences and nobody else can. I am the only one who knows the thoughts I entertained in my earlier days.

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Sloka 14

MATRA SPARSHASTU KAUNTEYA SHEETOSHNA SUKHA DUKHADAHA
AGAMAPAYINO NITYAS TAMS TITIKSHASVA BHARATA

The contact of the senses with the objects produces heat and cold, pain and pleasure. Those experiences come and go and are impermanent. Endure them, O Arjuna.

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Matra sparsha: contact of the senses with the objects.

Here, we should remember that the term “senses” is used to mean the Jnanendriyas or the sense organs.

We do possess five organs of senses: eyes, ears, nose, tongue and skin.

The word “objects” refers to all the objects around us which come in contact with the sense organs.

Each sense organ, we have discussed before, has a specific quality.

The ears hear the sound.
The eyes see the form of the objects.
The nose detects the smell.
The tongue experiences the taste.
The skin can feel the objects.

The five qualities: the sound, the touch, the form, the taste and the smell are collectively termed as “Tanmatras.”

All the sense organs send the details of the objects to the centre of activity: the mind.

The mind analyses these details and experiences a reaction. This reaction could be “pain or pleasure”, sensation of “heat or cold.”

Different people react differently to the same object and the same object can produce a different reaction at different times.

Some people like coffee and some hate coffee. The same individual who likes an object will not respond the same way another time.

The pleasure of having birth of a new baby is wonderful but the experience of death is very painful. There cannot be birth without subsequent death. The more we get attached to the object, greater will be the pain when the time comes to part with that object.

This proves that the pains and pleasures, heat and cold are not in the objects. They are the experiences at the mental plane of each individual.

It is also a fact that the intensity of these experiences does not remain the same all the time. Like a curve on a graph, the intensity increases slowly or rapidly over a period of time and reaches the peak after some time. After remaining in the peak for a varied length of time, the intensity reduces and after some time there is no such experience.

The Lord hence says that these experiences come and go and are not constantly present.

The human mind being what it is, likes to keep the sensation of pleasure as long as possible. He does not like the sensation of sorrow and would like it to disappear quickly.

No one can keep the sensation of happiness eternally. Experience of passing exams, getting rank in the exams cannot last for ever. After few days one has to come down to the routine life again.

Our duty is duty to our parents and the society. We have an obligation to conduct our work in a prescribed way and produce results that are expected from our work. During states of happiness or sorrow, the efficiency of the work is reduced and productivity is affected. It is obligatory on our part that the productivity is not affected.

Hence, Sri.Krishna uses the word “Titikshava”: it means “endure”

We must learn the art of not over reacting to any situation and have a balance state of mind at all times.

This does not mean we should remain like a stone and not react. We must learn the art of “mind over matter” and control the emotions experienced and divert our mind to the task ahead.

The state of equanimity of mind to the experiences of pairs of opposites is “The Bliss.” The one who is in a state of constant peace in himself and does not depend on the outside world to stimulate him is a “Sthita Prajna.” We will come across this word towards the end of this chapter.

Like the famous saying, “this will also pass away”, we must take every experience in this mental frame of mind.

Copyright for the texts on Bhagavad Gita by Dr. P.V. Nath, UK.
Questions concerning the text please direct to Dr. Nath at “snath@btinternet.com“.

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