Shloka 11. Chapter 2

Krishna teaches in Bhagavad Gita that the enlightened neither mourn the living nor the dead, seeing beyond illusions

श्रीभगवानुवाच |
अशोच्यानन्वशोचस्त्वं प्रज्ञावादांश्च भाषसे |
गतासूनगतासूंश्च नानुशोचन्ति पण्डिताः || 2.11 ||

śrī-bhagavān uvāca
aśocyān anvaśocas tvaṁ prajñā-vādāṁś ca bhāṣase
gatāsūn agatāsūṁś ca nānuśocanti paṇḍitāḥ


The Blessed Lord said:
'While you speak words of wisdom, you are mourning for that which is not worthy of grief. Those who are wise lament neither for the living nor the dead.'


In this shloka, Krishna begins his teaching to Arjuna on the battlefield of Kurukshetra. Arjuna is confused and filled with sorrow at the prospect of fighting in the war against his own relatives and teachers. He is overwhelmed by the fear of causing their deaths and is conflicted about his duty as a warrior.


  1. Acknowledging Wisdom and Ignorance:
    • Krishna acknowledges Arjuna’s expressions of wisdom, indicating that Arjuna is speaking about higher principles such as morality and duty.
    • However, Krishna points out that Arjuna's sorrow is misplaced because it arises from ignorance rather than true understanding.
  2. Nature of Life and Death:
    • Krishna explains that wise individuals do not grieve for the living or the dead because they understand the eternal nature of the soul.
    • In essence, the physical body may perish, but the soul remains unaffected, transcending the cycle of life and death.
  3. Detachment and Duty:
    • Krishna's message emphasizes the importance of performing one's duty without being attached to the outcomes.
    • For Arjuna, this means fulfilling his role as a warrior, regardless of the potential consequences for those involved in the battle.

Today's Context:

  • Dealing with Loss: In modern life, this shloka can help us understand and cope with loss. The message that wise people do not grieve for what is inevitable can provide comfort and perspective during times of bereavement.
  • Mindful Action: It highlights the importance of performing one's responsibilities with detachment and focusing on one's duty rather than the results. This is particularly relevant in today's work environment, where outcome-focused stress can be overwhelming.
  • Understanding Impermanence: The verse teaches the impermanence of physical existence and encourages us to focus on the eternal aspects of life, such as personal growth, spiritual development, and inner peace.
  • Wisdom Over Emotion: It encourages prioritizing wisdom and rationality over emotional reactions, which is crucial in making balanced decisions in personal and professional life.

Some Examples

  1. Coping with Job Loss:
    • Scenario: Imagine someone loses their job due to company downsizing.
    • Explanation: The immediate reaction might be sorrow and anxiety about the future. According to Krishna’s teaching, the wise person understands that this loss is part of the impermanent nature of material life. They would focus on using this as an opportunity for growth, perhaps by learning new skills or seeking better opportunities rather than lamenting over the lost job.
  2. Dealing with Relationship Breakups:
    • Scenario: A person goes through a breakup or divorce.
    • Explanation: Initially, there is a sense of grief and emotional turmoil. Krishna’s message suggests that mourning excessively for the relationship may stem from attachment and a lack of understanding of the impermanent nature of human interactions. Instead, the person should reflect on the lessons learned and focus on personal growth and future possibilities.
  3. Handling the Death of a Loved One:
    • Scenario: Someone faces the death of a family member.
    • Explanation: The grief can be overwhelming. The shloka teaches that while grieving is natural, understanding the eternal nature of the soul helps in finding peace. Instead of remaining in sorrow, one can honor the memory of the deceased by celebrating their life and continuing to live meaningfully, as the soul is believed to transcend death.
  4. Navigating Business Failures:
    • Scenario: An entrepreneur's business fails.
    • Explanation: The initial reaction might be to lament the failure and financial loss. Krishna’s guidance suggests that failure is part of the journey and not a reason for prolonged sorrow. The wise approach is to learn from the experience, innovate, and try again, rather than becoming paralyzed by the setback.
  5. Responding to Societal Changes:
    • Scenario: Rapid technological changes make someone's skills obsolete.
    • Explanation: The person might feel distressed about their diminishing relevance in the job market. According to the shloka, wise individuals would not dwell on what they cannot change (the past) but would instead adapt by learning new skills, understanding that change is a constant part of life.
  6. Facing Personal Failures:
    • Scenario: A student fails an important exam.
    • Explanation: The student might feel despondent about their future. Krishna’s teaching encourages them to see this as a temporary setback. The wise response is to analyze what went wrong, improve study methods, and prepare better for the next opportunity, rather than being consumed by failure.

In all these examples, the essence of Krishna's teaching is to encourage a perspective that focuses on growth and learning rather than sorrow and attachment.

  • Embrace Change: Life’s challenges and changes are natural and inevitable.
  • Focus on Learning: Each situation, whether perceived as success or failure, is an opportunity for learning and growth.
  • Stay Detached: Maintain a balanced view, doing what needs to be done without becoming overly attached to the outcomes.
  • Look Forward: Instead of lamenting the past, use experiences to build a better future.

By applying these principles, one can navigate life's ups and downs with greater wisdom and resilience, embodying the timeless teachings of the Bhagavad Gita in a contemporary setting.



This modern take on Bhagavad Gita's wisdom is so insightful! 🌟 Timeless truths for today's world.😇 -Viji S

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Knowledge Bank

Which character from Mahabharata was also called Panchali?

Draupadi. She was called Draupadi because she was the daughter of king Drupada. She was called Panchali because she belonged to Panchala desha (daughter of the king of Panchala).

How many hands does Durga Maa have?

Durga Maa has got a thousand hands, but she is famous as the eighteen-handed Goddess. This is mentioned in the Vaikrithika rahasya of Durga Saptashati - अष्टादशभुजा पूज्या सा सहस्रभुजा सती.


How many forms of Goddess Mahalakshmi are famous ?
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