Gita teaching begins from the 11<SUP>th</SUP> shloka of the second chapter. Krishna did not drive the chariot to a quiet place to start the teaching. For gaining self-knowledge, time and place are irrelevant. Only person or persons are necessary. There should be someone like Krishna who, in the din and roar of the battlefield, had all the composure necessary to talk to Arjuna. Arjuna also had the composure to listen to Krishna and the appropriateness of his questions indicates that he listened well. Therefore, who the teacher and the student are, matter more than the place and the time. The first verse of the Gita teaching is that, there was no reason for grief As(h)Ochyaan anvas(h)Ochah thvam You grieve for those who should not be grieved for 2.11 And in the conclusion Krishna says Ma s(h)ucha Do not grieve 18.66 So between the chapters 2 & 18, the topic is removal of the “ reason-for-grief”. The cause of, grief, ignorance and error is removed totally. So the corollary is, the entire Gita shastra is one which removes sorrow. Sorrow refers here to any complaint. Any uneasiness about oneself, centred on the self is sorrow. Physical pain is not sorrow, but complaining about the same is sorrow. The problem lies in thinking that we are not happy or well when everyone else is ! This shloka is self-centred sorrow & is a result of ignorance. Our wrong thinking stems from our wrong notions about our self. As mentioned earlier, Krishna first re-educates the intellect in the right values of life. He discusses life and makes us see through the viscera of its eternal changes, the Permanent Abiding Truth, the Beginningless Reality. Krishna, seeking to save Arjuna, introduces to him the theme of Self-Knowledge. AshOchyaa-nanvas(h)Ochasthvam prajnaavaadaamscha bhaashasae Gathaasoo-nagathaasoomscha naanus(h)Ochanthi paNdithaa: 2.11 (Krishna says) You are grieving for those who should not be grieved for. At the same time, you are speaking the words of the wise people. Wise men do not grieve for the dead and for the living. This verse conveys in a nutshell, the entire Gita Shastra. Aathma ajnaanam samsara karaNam Athma jnanam mOkshakaraNam Self-ignorance is the cause of all human problems. Self knowledge in the only solution for liberation from the problems. Arjuna’s sorrow is the sorrow of any individual(jiva) and we feel, there is nothing unusual. We feel his sorrow is legitimate and we also remember how much of sorrow we feel for much less or legitimate reasons! So, the jiva, wanting to get rid of sorrow is obvious. Arjuna wants to get rid of his sorrow for good and that is why and how Gita is born ! Sorrow or grief or shoka is discussed in this shloka. We will see more about it in the next post. Love, Chithra.