Bhagavad Gita – Chapter 3, Sloka 2

Newsletter on Bhagavadgita by Dr. P.V. Nath

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Sloka 2

VYAMISHRENEVA VAAKYENA BUDDHIM MOHAYASEEVA ME’
TADEKAM VADA NISCHITYA YENA SHREYOHAMAPNUVAAM.

You confuse my intellect as it were with speech which appears paradoxical. Therefore, tell me that “one” path, by which I may attain the Highest.

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In continuation of the first sloka, Arjuna is putting forward the doubts raised in his mind about “the need for right action and his doubt as to what is the right action?”

The important word to note here is “Vyamishrena vaakyena”: it means, “Paradoxical speech.” He says, “You confuse my intellect as it were with speech which appears paradoxical.”

Arjuna is not saying “you are confusing me,” but saying “as it were, confusing me.” This is the quality in a genuine seeker who looks upon his teacher as a “Guru.” After all, “Guru” is a “dispeller of darkness.” “Ignorance is darkness” is what the experts say. The student must be free to express his doubts but not in a spirit of challenge: “You do not know how to tell me.”

“I am confused and I need to have a deeper understanding of your words. The way I have understood your words is wrong and you have to help me to get a clearer understanding” is the plea.

Let us see which the confusing words are:
Sloka 31 – chapter 2: ”For a Kshatriya, a righteous war is the only path to Liberation.”
Sloka 45 – chapter 2: “Go beyond the three gunas.”
Sloka 47 – chapter 2: “You have a right to work.”
Qualities of a “Sthitaprajna.”

By listening to “go beyond the three gunas”, Arjuna probably thought that he should not be in the war and fighting the enemy. “I should not encourage any type of desires”, he thought. Desires meant that he should fight and not encouraging desires meant he should take up sanyasa.

But then Krishna said “you have a right to work”. It means that He is implying that Arjuna should be in the war and fighting the enemy.

Finally the description of a “Sthitaprajna” totally confused Arjuna.

Arjuna understood that “Jnana” meant “realising the Atman within and all around. and to take the individual away from the world of senses.” He understood “Karma” as “actions that keep one in the world of senses.”

He therefore finally asks, “tell me what is for my Shreyas?”

The path Arjuna wanted to take was definitely a noble one as it was meant to attain “Moksha.” As he was in a hysterical state when the advice was given, the message was not understood clearly. Like a sincere student he is asking for clarification.

Indirectly, through the medium of Arjuna, the sage poet Bhagawan Veda Vyasa is putting the question on behalf of all sincere seekers of Liberation. A true Guru is he who encourages his students to clarify all doubts. But the student must at the same time have full faith in the guru. Arjuna on his part also is to be looked upon as a sincere student with full faith in his guru.

The faith that my guru will help me to clarify my doubts and help me in achieving the final aim should be the attitude by all sincere seekers. Any doubt based on sincere trust is “Satvic doubt.” It is like the child putting forward questions to his/her mother to clear the doubts. The child does so with full love and faith towards the mother.

Sri Krishna wants Arjuna to develop the true understanding of the words He has used. Proper understanding only comes when the master encourages doubts in the mind of his students.

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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