na hi prapaśyāmi mamāpanudyād
yac chokam ucchoṣaṇam indriyāṇām
avāpya bhūmāv asapatnam ṛddhaḿ
rājyaḿ surāṇām api cādhipatyam
Translation of Bhagavad Gita 2.8
I can find no means to drive away this grief which is drying up my senses. I will not be able to dispel it even if I win a prosperous, unrivaled kingdom on earth with sovereignty like the demigods in heaven.
Commentary by Sri A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
Although Arjuna was putting forward so many arguments based on knowledge of the principles of religion and moral codes, it appears that he was unable to solve his real problem without the help of the spiritual master, Lord Sri Krishna. He could understand that his so-called knowledge was useless in driving away his problems, which were drying up his whole existence; and it was impossible for him to solve such perplexities without the help of a spiritual master like Lord Krishna. Academic knowledge, scholarship, high position, etc., are all useless in solving the problems of life; help can be given only by a spiritual master like Krishna. Therefore, the conclusion is that a spiritual master who is one hundred percent Krishna conscious is the bona fide spiritual master, for he can solve the problems of life. Lord Caitanya said that one who is master in the science of Krishna consciousness, regardless of his social position, is the real spiritual master.
kiba vipra, kiba nyasi, shudra kene naya
yei krishna-tattva-vetta, sei ’guru’ haya
“It does not matter whether a person is a vipra [learned scholar in Vedic wisdom] or is born in a lower family, or is in the renounced order of life—if he is master in the science of Krishna, he is the perfect and bona fide spiritual master.” (Caitanya-caritamrita, Madhya 8.128) So without being a master in the science of Krishna consciousness, no one is a bona fide spiritual master. It is also said in Vedic literature:
avaisnavo gurur na syad
vaishnavah sva-paco guruh
“A scholarly brahmana, expert in all subjects of Vedic knowledge, is unfit to become a spiritual master without being a Vaishnava, or expert in the science of Krishna consciousness. But a person born in a family of a lower caste can become a spiritual master if he is a Vaishnava, or Krishna conscious.” (Padma Purana)
The problems of material existence—birth, old age, disease and death—cannot be counteracted by accumulation of wealth and economic development. In many parts of the world there are states which are replete with all facilities of life, which are full of wealth and economically developed, yet the problems of material existence are still present. They are seeking peace in different ways, but they can achieve real happiness only if they consult Krishna, or the Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam—which constitute the science of Krishna—through the bona fide representative of Krishna, the man in Krishna consciousness.
If economic development and material comforts could drive away one’s lamentations for family, social, national or international inebrieties, then Arjuna would not have said that even an unrivaled kingdom on earth or supremacy like that of the demigods in the heavenly planets would be unable to drive away his lamentations. He sought, therefore, refuge in Krishna consciousness, and that is the right path for peace and harmony. Economic development or supremacy over the world can be finished at any moment by the cataclysms of material nature. Even elevation into a higher planetary situation, as men are now seeking on the moon planet, can also be finished at one stroke. The Bhagavad-gita confirms this: ksine punye martya-lokam vishanti. “When the results of pious activities are finished, one falls down again from the peak of happiness to the lowest status of life.” Many politicians of the world have fallen down in that way. Such downfalls only constitute more causes for lamentation.
Therefore, if we want to curb lamentation for good, then we have to take shelter of Krishna, as Arjuna is seeking to do. So Arjuna asked Krishna to solve his problem definitely, and that is the way of Krishna consciousness.
Commentary by Sri Vishvanatha Chakravarthi Thakur of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
“But you have a friendly relationship with me, not one of respect. Therefore how can I make you a student? You should thus surrender to someone like Veda Vyasa, whom you greatly revere.” Arjuna answers with this verse.
“I do not see even one person at all (pra pasyami: pra indicates “to a high degree”) in all three worlds except you who can remove (apanudyat) my sorrow. I do not know anyone more intelligent that yourself — even Brhaspati. Therefore, to whom else should one who is full of sorrow surrender? Due to that sorrow (yad) my senses have dried up completely, just as intense summer heat dries up a small pond.”
“Now you are full of grief, but if you fight, by conquering the enemy you will attain a kingdom. Absorbing yourself in the enjoyment of that kingdom, your grief will disappear.”
“Even if I attain a kingdom over the whole earth, or sovereignty in svarga, controlling all the devatas, my senses will still be dried up.”
Commentary by Sri Ramanuja of Sri Sampradaya:
2.6 – 2.8 If you say, ‘After beginning the war, if we withdraw from the battle, the sons of Dhrtarastra will slay us all forcibly’, be it so. I think that even to be killed by them, who do not know the difference between righteousness and unrighteousness, is better for us than gaining unrighteous victory by killing them. After saying so, Arjuna surrendered himself at the feet of the Lord, overcome with dejection, saying. ‘Teach me, your disciple, who has taken refuge in you, what is good for me.
Commentary by Sri Sridhara Swami of Rudra Sampradaya:
It may be argued that Arjuna should think for himself what is is in his best spiritual interests and follow that; but this verse negates that conclusion in as much as Arjuna plainly states: I do not see that action which would remove this grief of mine and further on he states: or even rulership of the very gods. So clearly it can be seen that Arjuna was not to be consoled by any amount of power and prosperity and thus to dispel his grief he turned to the Supreme Lord for guidance.
Commentary by Sri Madhvacharya of Brahma Sampradaya:
Sri Madhvacharya did not comment on this sloka.
Commentary by Sri Keshava Kashmiri of Kumara Sampradaya:
It could be submitted that depending on ones individual inclinations there are numerous merits in this world such as wealth and kingdoms all of which can be acquired through regulatory actions prescribed in the Vedic scriptures; while for the ksatriya rulers in general being without enemies is preferable. It may be put forth that Arjuna himself should decide and act; but the reply is that one in delusion needs to hear knowledge of the ultimate truth from those who are qualified and who is more qualified than the Supreme Lord. Knowledge of the Ultimate Truth helps one cross over this delusion. Wealth and kingdoms are not the means for crossing this delusion and Arjuna asserts this with the words na or not. The understanding of it is even if he was to win a kingdom of unrivaled prosperity free from enemies, Arjuna still could not see any means of alleviating the grief that was drying up his senses. By the use of the word hi meaning certainly the conviction that he could not see any solution to his grief is reinforced, indicating that only the Lord is fit to instruct him.
Commentary by Sri Adi Shankaracharya of Advaita Sampradaya:
2.8 Sri Sankaracharya did not comment on this sloka. The commentary starts from 2.10.
Commentary by Sri Abhinavagupta of Kaula Tantra Sampradaya:
2.8 See Comment under 2.10
Sanskrit Shloka Without Transliteration Marks:
na hi prapasyami mamapanudyad
yac chokam ucchosanam indriyanam
avapya bhumav asapatnam rddham
rajyam suranam api cadhipatyam
Sanskrit to English Word for Word Meanings:
na — do not; hi — certainly; prapaśyāmi — I see; mama — my; apanudyāt — can drive away; yat — that which; śokam — lamentation; ucchoṣaṇam — drying up; indriyāṇām — of the senses; avāpya — achieving; bhūmau — on the earth; asapatnam — without rival; ṛddham — prosperous; rājyam — kingdom; surāṇām — of the demigods; api — even; ca — also; ādhipatyam — supremacy.