Gita 2 : 26 – No Reason to Grieve


atha chainam nitya-jaatam, nityam va manyase mrtam
tathapi tvam mahaa-baaho, nainam shochitum arhasi

“And, O’ mighty-armed (Arjuna), even if you regard this Atman as
constantly taking birth and constantly dying, even then you should
not grieve like this.”

From Gita Prabodhani in Hindi pg. 35 by Swami Ramsukhdasji

Chapter 2, Verse 26 is as follows;

Atha = now
Cha = and
Enam = This (the Self, the Aatman)
Nityajaatam = constantly born
Nityam = constantly
Vaa = or
Manyase = you think
Mrutam = dead
Tathaapi = even then
Tvam = you
Mahaabaaho = mighty armed one
Na = not
Enam = This (the Self, the Aatman)
Shochitum = to grieve
Arhasi = should / ought

English translation:-

Even if you conceive of the Atman as subject to constant births and
deaths, even then, O mighty armed Arjuna, you should not grieve like

The philosophy of materialism holds that the only thing that can be
truly proven to exist is the physical matter. Materialists believe
that, fundamentally all things are composed of material and all
phenomena (including consciousness) are the result of material
interactions of a physical body, the mind and the intellect.
Therefore, from a materialist’s point of view, physical matter is
the only substance that we need to investigate and know. According
to this view, all that exists is matter and void, and all phenomena
are the result of different motions and conglomerations of base
material particles called atoms. Some of the basic principles like
`nothing can come from nothing’ and `nothing can touch body but
body’ first appeared in the works of a Greek philosopher called

On the other hand, the famous German philosopher Schopenhauer has
said, “Materialism is the subject of philosophy for those who forget
to take account of themselves i.e. it is the philosophy of the
extroverts for the extroverts.” All the known solid, liquid, and
gaseous substances of matter are composed of protons, neutrons and
electrons. However it is now known that less than 5% of the physical
composition of the universe is made up of such `matter’ and the
balance 95% of the Universe is composed of `Dark Matter and Dark
Energy’ – with no agreement amongst scientists about what these are
actually made of. Some philosophers feel that these dichotomies
necessitate a switch from a pure materialistic point of view to a
much broader philosophical point of view.

There is a merit in this point of view as many students of science
and technology including myself, finally turn to the study of
Vedanta philosophy.

Materialism takes the position that society and reality originate
from a set of simple economic acts which human beings carry out in
order to provide the fundamental material necessities of human
existence like food, shelter and clothing. Materialism takes as its
starting point that, before anything else, human beings must produce
their everyday economic needs through their physical labour with
productivity. As per Karl Marx, this single economic act, gives rise
to a system of social relations, which include political, legal and
religious structures of any society.

A man may subscribe to a theory of either theism, atheism,
agnosticism, materialism, existentialism or any other any school of
thought and belief; it is of no consequence. Irrespective of one’s
inclinations and beliefs, one must try to become free from sorrow
and seek freedom from miseries of poverty, hunger and ignorance in
human life.

In this verse, Lord Krishna takes this materialistic standpoint of
inquiry. He says, granting that even this materialistic point of
view is valid; even then there is no basis for grieving. A layman
believes that the Aatman is born when living beings are born and the
Aatman dies when the living beings succumb to death. A layman has a
partial picture of the true working of the entire Universe. He
perceives the world as an endless series of births and deaths. From
his limited vision, nothing existed prior to births and nothing
exists post deaths. Due to the attachment and love, he develops a
preferential relationship with his near and dear ones and he
experiences grief upon their deaths. Similarly, the very thoughts of
parting from Bheeshmaachaarya, Dronaachaarya and Kauravas have
generated immense mental anguish to Arjuna and have landed him in
the state of despondency.

Lord Krishna addresses Arjuna as `Mahaabaaho’ i.e. mighty armed one
just to imply that being a warrior of strength and valour, Arjuna
can certainly pass the test of endurance and Arjuna should not
resort to the attitude of `fait accompli’ i.e. an accomplished,
presumably irreversible deed or fact.

Thanking you with Best Regards,
Shrikant Joshi

About dhavalrajgeera

Physician who is providing free service to the needy since 1971. Rajendra M. Trivedi, M.D. who is Yoga East Medical Advisor Graduated in 1968 from B. J. Medical College, Amadavad, India. Post Graduate training in Neurological Surgery from Charles University in Czechoslovakia. 1969 - 71. and received Czechoslovakian Government Scholarship. Completed training at the Cambridge Hospital and Harvard University in Psychiatry. Rajendra M. trivedi is an Attending Psychiatrist at Baldpate Hospital. He is the Medical Director of CCA and Pain Center in Stoneham, MA where he has been serving the community since 1971 as a Physician. OTHER AFFILIATIONS: Lifer of APA - American Psychiatrist Association Senior Physician and Volunteer with Massachusetts Medical Society and a Deligate of the Middlesex District. Patron member of AAPI - American Association of PHYSICIANS OF INDIA. LIFE MEMBER OF IMANE - Indian Medical Association of New England. Member of the Board of Advisors "SAHELI, Boston,MA. Dr. Trivedi is working closely with the Perkin's School for the Blind. Dr. Trivedi is a Life member and Honorary Volunteer for the Fund Raising Contact for North America of BPA - Blind People Association of Amadavad, India. Dr.Trivedi is the Medical Advisor for Yoga East since 1993. He is a Physician who started Health Screening and Consultation At Shri Dwarkami Clinic in Billerica, MA.

One response »

  1. Visnuswami
    ‘Thus it has been stated by authoritative testimony that because the soul is neither subject to birth or death there is no need to lament. Now it is being stated that even if one erroneously believes that the eternal soul is perpetually born when the body is born and perpetually dies with the death of the body then and still there is no need for lamentation. Since both virtue and sin with their resultant reactions of birth and death are also attached to the soul perpetually there is still no need to lamen
    ‘Even though the immortal soul is eternal, because of its constant connection and disconnection with the physical body from time immemorial it believes it is experiencing birth and death.
    Now begins the summation.
    Thus exists this expansive samsara known as the endless cycle of birth and death in the material existence. Until and unless the living entity has attained liberation from the material existence, one is subject to the stringent laws of endless births and deaths in different physical bodies as ordained by the material nature and so are following natural order. Therefore by possessing even this small amount of knowledge there is no need to worry.In the Shabda Nirnaya it is stated:Eternal and permanent the immortal soul is known to be and also the immortal soul is eternally in accordance with the cosmic order. Understanding in the knowledge that there is a cosmic order to existence one should not grieve.
    Here the Supreme Lord Krishna gives Arjuna another reason not to lament for He states that even if one considers the eternal soul to be the same as the physical body which is subject to incessant births and deaths and not a separate and distinct reality; then still there is no need for grief because from birth the ageing of the physical body due to the passage of time leads to death and birth and death is a law of nature in the material existence and unavoidable.
    In this way after establishing the eternal reality of the souls immortality according to the authority of Vedic scripture, the Supreme Lord Krishna describes that it is not intelligent to lament about it, even if one accepts the hypothesis of the Digambaras who believe that the soul is the same size as the body and is born and experiences death along with the body. This is referred to by the particle atha meaning if however, indicating according to another view. Accepting even this other view that the soul is constantly being born and constantly dying there is still no reason to lament about it and the reason why Lord Krishna reveals in the next verse.

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