aśocyān anvaśocas tvaḿ
prajñā-vādāḿś ca bhāṣase
gatāsūn agatāsūḿś ca
Translation of Bhagavad Gita 2.11
The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: While speaking learned words, you are mourning for what is not worthy of grief. Those who are wise lament neither for the living nor for the dead.
Commentary by Sri A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
The Lord at once took the position of the teacher and chastised the student, calling him, indirectly, a fool. The Lord said, “You are talking like a learned man, but you do not know that one who is learned—one who knows what is body and what is soul—does not lament for any stage of the body, neither in the living nor in the dead condition.” As explained in later chapters, it will be clear that knowledge means to know matter and spirit and the controller of both. Arjuna argued that religious principles should be given more importance than politics or sociology, but he did not know that knowledge of matter, soul and the Supreme is even more important than religious formularies. And because he was lacking in that knowledge, he should not have posed himself as a very learned man. As he did not happen to be a very learned man, he was consequently lamenting for something which was unworthy of lamentation. The body is born and is destined to be vanquished today or tomorrow; therefore the body is not as important as the soul. One who knows this is actually learned, and for him there is no cause for lamentation, regardless of the condition of the material body.
Commentary by Sri Vishvanatha Chakravarthi Thakur of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
“O Arjuna, this lamentation of yours caused by attachment to friends and relatives is the cause of bewilderment. Your power of discernment arising from your concerns starting in verse four with ‘How can I fight against Bhisma and Drona?’ are the cause of lack of wisdom.” That is stated in this verse.
“You are continually lamenting (anu socah) for what is not worthy of grief (asocyan). Thus you are uttering words of wisdom to me, who am trying to enlighten you. You speak words (vadan) of wisdom (prajna) as in verse four.” The intention behind the Lord’s words is the opposite: “Actually you have no wisdom.”
“This is because those who are wise (panditah) do not lament for that from which life has passed (gata asun)~the gross bodies, since the bodies are destructible by their very nature. Neither do they lament for the subtle bodies from which the life airs have not passed (agata asun), for those subtle bodies will certainly be destroyed before liberation. They do not lament because they accept the inherent natures of all of the gross and subtle bodies. But fools lament at the passing of life airs (subtle bodies) from the gross bodies of fathers and others, and do not at all lament for their subtle bodies. That, unfortunately, is the extent of their recognition. All these, including Bhisma, are souls equipped with gross and subtle bodies. Because of the eternal nature of their souls, there is no cause for lamentation. Previously you said that dharma sastra was stronger than artha sastra. But I say here that jnana sastra is stronger than dharma sastra.”
Commentary by Sri Ramanuja of Sri Sampradaya:
2.11 The Lord said — You are grieving for those who do not deserve to be grieved for. You also speak words of wisdom about the nature of the body and the self as follows: ‘The ancestors fall degraded, deprived of the ritual oblations of food and water’ (I. 42). There is no reason for such grief for those who possess the knowledge of the nature of the body and the self. Those who know the exact truth will not grieve for those bodies from which life has departed and for those from whome the principle of life has not departed. They do not grieve for bodies or souls. Hence, in you this contradiction is visible — your grief at the thought ‘I shall slay them?’ and at the same time your talk about righteousness and unrighteousness, as if it were the result of knowledge of the self as distinct from the body. Therefore you do not know the nature of the body nor of the self which is distinct from the body and is eternal. Nor do you know of duties like war etc., which (as duty) constitute the means for the attainment of the self, nor of the fact that this war (which forms a duty in the present context), if fought without any selfish desire for results, is a means for the attainment of the knowledge of the true nature of the self. The implied meaning is this: This self, verily, is not dependent on the body for Its existence, nor is It subjected to destruction on the death of the body, as there is no birth or death for It. Therefore there is no cause for grief. But the body is insentient by nature, is subject to change, and its birth and death are natural; thus it (body) too is not to be grieved for. First listen about the nature of the self.
Commentary by Sri Sridhara Swami of Rudra Sampradaya:
Discerning that Arjuna’s grief was due to the absence of discrimination between the soul and the physical body the Supreme Lord remembering Arjuna words stated in verse 28 of chapter one, regarding his lamentation for all his kinsman preparing for battle reminded him that in verse 2 of Chapter 2 He had instructed him asking: wherefore has this weakness arisen in this moment of crisis, yet here you are again merely speaking learned words befitting the wise like in verse four of Chapter 2, how are you to fight against worshippable superiors? But actually you only speak the words of a learned person because factually a spiritually intelligent person laments neither for one’s kin who are dead or alive, sputtering about how can you cannot live if you lose your relations.
Commentary by Sri Madhvacharya of Brahma Sampradaya:
Prajnavadah is a speculative concoction which appeals very much to the mind bewildering it so much that the intelligence accepts it even though it is not according to the injunctions of the Vedic scriptures. Why is it unworthy of sorrow? Because the intelligent neither lament for the living or for the dead.
Now begins the summation.
Those who are illuminated are factually illuminated by knowledge due to realization. They are prajnah or wise and knowledgeable. Avadah means they who are opposed to the Vedic injunctions. Whatever the wise and knowledgeable proclaim is always in conjunction with the Vedic injunctions. Whatever is contrary to the Vedic injunctions on any level of consciousness is not worthy of contemplation. This is factually what is meant here in this verse.
Commentary by Sri Keshava Kashmiri of Kumara Sampradaya:
The conclusion based on the strength of the Vedic scriptures to be found in various texts such as: the Mundaka Upanisad it states that one who has duly realized the Ultimate Truth, whose heart is calm and whose senses are under control, such a one situated in enlightenment should categorically and comprehensively impart the knowledge of the Ultimate Truth to others by which they can also become self-realized. By disseminating the knowledge which dissolves all lamentation and delusion, the meaning which has been elucidated in the Vedic scriptures and the Vedic books of law like the Brhadaranyaka which states: By the will of He who is imperishable the sun and the moon are vitalised. The wind blows out of fear of Him, the sun rises out of fear of Him, Agni, Indra and even death all perform their duties out of fear of Him.
Encompassing all that exists, internal and external is the Supreme Lord Krishna. Everthing existing is verily manifested from Him. One who is peaceful and tranquil should propitiate and worship under all circumstances. Under the control of the Supreme Lord Krishna the whole cosmic manifestation composed of demigods, demons and humans and various varieagated species is pulsating. O demigods what the Earth says is true the creator and all living species are fragments of the Supreme Lord Krishna. Whatever is present in totality is the Supreme Lord Krishna, the undecayable one, without a second and nothing else. Everything visible and invisible is created from the Supreme Lord Krishna. The Supreme Ultimate Truth is He and He alone. What grief and delusion can exist when one understands this truth?
Discussing the nature and attributes of the Supreme Ultimate Reality Lord Krishna known also as Narayana, Hari, Vasudeva, Visnu and others, who controls all animate and inanimate energies like the sun, moon, fire, the demigods, death, the universes etc. and the non-material, original cause of the creation, maintenance and destruction of the total material manifestation. The all pervading, omnipresent, soul of all being and of the nature of being eternally, simultaneously one and distinctly different.
In order to evoke the power of discrimination between the physical body and the soul, the Supreme Lord Krishna rejecting Arjunas scholarship replied that he was grieving for those who should not be grieved for, such as Bhishma and Drona who are engaged in battle to win merit. Here Lord Krishna responds to Arjunas statement in chapter 1, verse 32 of: What use is kingdom, fabulous wealth, enjoyments or even living. It is only Arjunas deluson that he grieves thinking that without relatives there is no purpose of ruling the kingdom or in living. Moreover Arjuna talks like one learned saying that sin would be incurred but then disregarding the fact that Duryodhana and his brothers are heinious offenders. So in this way Lord Krishna shows that foolishness and scholarship are illogical and a diachotomy being contradictory hence Arjunaâ€™s attempt at scholarship has no value. Why? Because those with spiritual intelligence do not grieve for the dead or the living. The root word of panditah meaning learned is panda which means power of disriminative intellect,. Those who possess such discrimination are considered wise. The wise never lament for the physical body.
Commentary by Sri Adi Shankaracharya of Advaita Sampradaya:
2.11 Bhisma, Drona and others are not to be grieved for, because they are of noble character and are eternal in their real nature. With regard to them, asocyan, who are not to be grieved for; tvam, you; anvasocah, grieve, (thinking) ‘They die because of me; without them what shall I do with dominion and enjoyment?’; ca, and; bhasase, you speak; prajnavadan, words of wisdom, words used by men of wisdom, of intelligence. The idea is, ‘Like one mad, you show in yourself this foolishness and learning which are contradictory.’ Because, panditah, the learned, the knowers of the Self — panda means wisdon about the Self; those indeed who have this are panditah, one the authority of the Upanisadic text, ‘…the knowers of Brahman, having known all about scholarship,…’ (Br. 3.5.1) [‘Therefore the knowers of Brahman, having known all about scholorship, should try to live upon that strength which comes of Knowledge; having known all about this strength as well as scholorship, he becomes meditative; having known all about both meditativeness and its opposite, he becomes a knower of Brahman.’] — ; na anusocanti, do not grieve for; gatasun, the departed, whose life has become extinct; agatasun ca, and for those who have not departed, whose life has not left, the living. The ideas is, ‘Your are sorrowing for those who are eternal in the real sense, and who are not to be grieved for. Hence your are a fool!.’
Commentary by Sri Abhinavagupta of Kaula Tantra Sampradaya:
2.11 Asocyan etc. You lament for the body that cannot be lamented over, because it is of incessantly perishing nature; and also for the Soul that does not require to be lamented. No one, either of departed life, i.e., the dead, or of non-departed life, i.e., the living, is to be mourned for. As for instance, the Soul is ever non-perishing. What sort of lamentability can be for It, as It is plessantly travelling in different bodies ? Nor is it right to say that Its lamentability is due only to Its travel in another body. For, in that case, It should be lamented for, even when the stage of youth etc., is attained. In this manner, the two ideas [the Lord] relates:
Sanskrit Shloka Without Transliteration Marks:
kutas tva kasmalam idam
Sanskrit to English Word for Word Meanings:
śrī-bhagavān uvāca — the Supreme Personality of Godhead said; aśocyān — not worthy of lamentation; anvaśocaḥ — you are lamenting; tvam — you; prajñā-vādān — learned talks; ca — also; bhāṣase — speaking; gata — lost; asūn — life; agata — not past; asūn — life; ca — also; na — never; anuśocanti — lament; paṇḍitāḥ — the learned.