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Thoughts on the Second Chapter of the Bhagavad Gita - Swami Tyagishananda

The second chapter of the Gita gives the essence of the whole text in two parts. The first part deals with the nature of the human being and the second with one’s mission in life. The first part says that the human being is not the body or the mind but the spirit. The second part points out that one’s mission in life is to recognise that one isa spirit after conquering the ignorance that covers one and the consequent ego and its appurtenances that obstruct the vision.

The first part exhorts the dejected Arjuna to use his intellect or cognitive powers to know his real nature. The second part exhorts him to live in the light of that knowledge.

The Atman is the main subject of the first part and brahmisthiti or stithaprajna, the state of being established in Brahman or steady wisdom, is the subject of the second part.

The first part deals with the intellect and the second part deals with the will. In short the whole chapter deals with Samkhya or knowledge and yoga or spiritual life.

This spiritual life based on the recognition of oneself as the spirit is not so easy and sadhana is required to achieve this and hence all the subsequent chapters are meant to elucidate how this stage could be attained by self-effort. Hence the whole of the Gita may be said to be a gospel of self-effort for getting rid of the bondage of the ego which is the result of ignorance and consequent freedom of action without being bound by such action.

Swami Tyagishananda

Source - Prabhuda Bharata Magazine March 2017 page 16 article title Essence of Bhagavad Gita and its Significance