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Article CXII: Divine Guidance

In the second chapter of the Gita, Arjuna continues to be "overcome with pity and despondency" (II:1), and Krishna, God-Incarnate, is present in physical form to guide Arjuna. In our lives, guidance and orientation to the Divine is not as straightforward as it was for Arjuna. However, the symbolism of the Gita offers insight into how we might orient to the Divine in the actions of our own lives. The analogy of a chariot is often used to describe Vedantic concepts, which is depicted here in the Gita, as well as in other scriptures, e.g. the Katha Upanishad. The five horses of Arjuna's chariot represent the five senses, and the physical path, across which the horses travel, represents the objects of the world. Objects are often understood as physical objects, but here the word also implies any sound, event, circumstance, or stimulus, which the senses perceive. The chariot itself represents the physical body. The reins represent the mind -- the emotional faculty, which is the receiver of sensory input. Arjuna represents the intellect -- the rational faculty that reasons, discriminates, and decides. Krishna represents the Self, or Atman, which is the Divine within. This analogy emphasizes the concept that the Divine is always within ourselves. God-Incarnate need not be in front of us in physical form for us to follow Divine guidance when we face "pity and despondency" or when we aspire for enlightenment. The Gita will continue to go into more depth regarding how one orients to that Divine within and approaches greater peace, bliss, joy, and ultimately -- enlightenment.

Gita Full Text:

Bhagavad Gita: Chapter II -- Translated by Swami Chinmayananda

Sanjaya said:
1. To him who was thus overcome with pity and despondency, with eyes full of tears and agitated, Madhusudana spoke these words.
The Blessed Lord said:
2. Whence is this perilous condition come upon thee, this dejection, un-Aryan-like, heaven-excluding, disgraceful, O Arjuna?
3. Yield not to impotence, O Partha! It does not befit thee, Cast off this mean weakness of heart! Stand up, O Parantapa (O scorcher of foes) !
Arjuna said:
4. How, O Madhusudana, shall I, in battle, fight with arrows against Bhishma and Drona, who are fit to be worshipped, O destroyer of enemies!
5. Better indeed, in this world, is to eat even the bread of 'beggary' than to slay the most noble of teachers. But, if I kill them, even in this world, all my enjoyments of wealth and desires will be stained with blood.
6. I can scarcely say which will be better, that we should conquer them or that they should conquer us. Even the sons of Dhritarashtra, after slaying whom we do not wish to live, stand facing us.
7. My heart is overpowered by the taint of pity; my mind is confused as to duty. I ask Thee. Tell me decisively what is good for me. I am Thy disciple. Instruct me, who have taken refuge in Thee.
8. I do not see that it would remove this sorrow that burns up my senses, even if I should attain prosperous and unrivalled dominion on earth, or even Lordship over the gods.
Sanjaya said:
9. Having spoken thus to Hrishikesha, Gudakesha, the destroyer of foes, said to Govinda: "I will not fight" ; and became silent.
10. To him who was despondent in the midst of the two armies, Hrishikesha, as if smiling, O Bharata, spoke these words. The Blessed Lord said: 11. You have grieved for those that should not be grieved for; yet, you speak words of wisdom. The wise grieve neither for the living nor for the dead.
12. It is not that at any time (in the past) , indeed, was I not, nor were you, nor these rulers of men. Nor, verily, shall we all ever cease to be hereafter.
13. Just as in this body the embodied (soul) passes into childhood, youth and old age, so also does he pass into another body; the firm man does not grieve at it.
14. The contacts of senses with objects, O son of Kunti, which cause heat and cold, pleasure and pain, have a beginning and an end; they are impermanent; endure them bravely, O descendant of Bharata.
15. That firm man whom, surely, these afflict not, O chief among men, to whom pleasure and pain are the same, is fit for realising the Immortality of the Self.

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