PRINCIPLES OF A HIGHER ORDER OF LIFE
by Swami Krishnananda
The Import of the Gita's Second Chapter
The highest wisdom and solace,
The Divine Song, the Gita called,
Condenses knowledge in practice,
And thrills the soul to fullness' peaks.
The Lord declares that no one dies
But forms are shed for soul's ascent,
That deathless soul pervades all space,
Immortal is the soul of man.
Many have died and gone to winds
And none is spared from ending thus;
So grief on death behoves us not
Since death is law of every life.
'Tis natural that beings die,
Unnatural they breathe and live;
For ocean's tide is life's turmoil
And not a drop fixed remains.
In such a sea of movement this,
Who can afford to stand unmoved;
All statis forms seemingly don
Illusion's fantastic joke.
All speed and transit is this world,
A flux, a wisp, a puff of wind;
But steady none is ever posed;
All things are seen removed from truth;
Becoming though is all this life
And nothing is as being's core,
Yet one is there that knows the flux
Which itself is outside the flow.
Immortal soul, the Atman, here
Permeates all, the flowing stream;
Eternal, deathless, transcendent
Is self of all this universe.
Involved in earth, in plant and mind
The soul rises to reason's form
To think and act as human will
By cycles of evolution.
Since all the seeds of variants
Are hidden well in all species,
The worst can one day best become
And none is lowly anywhere.
If this is so, there are no norms,
Either aesthetic or ethic,
In all the world at any time,
Except within a framework's fence.
By contrast and comparison
The codes behavioural thrive;
An absolutely right or wrong
No one can pinpoint forever.
The finely forms or ugly looks
Are also not by themselves there;
These are the modes of reaction
Of conditioned mention's moods.
The pains and pleasures filling life
Are also psycho-physical;
Adjustments, maladjustments made
With Nature are pleasures and pains.
Hence duty and not right is law
Since all demands are out of tune
With law integral which is world;
The world is law rather than things.
To do one's duty one has right,
But not to covet fruits of deeds;
Be not attached to ends of works,
Not also cleave to inaction.
Action incumbent reigns all worlds,
Since action is evolution
To higher goals' integration
To culminate in Godhead's reach.
Balance is health, is Yoga known,
Participation is the rule,
Attachments lose their meaning here
Where all the world is self-contained.
Desires cease for want of things
That stand outside the knower's field;
The consciousness is firmly poised
In Yoga which is attention.
Rooted in itself is the world,
Its knowledge is its being's self;
To plant oneself in such a state
Is yoga's peak where sorrow melts.
As winds hurry the boats in sea,
The senses drive the reason out;
Hence, reason balanced his remains
Who restrains senses in the self.
As world of senses which see light
Is night of darkness for the sage;
The realm of light where sages live
Is dark abyss to passion's rage.
In subdued states of Yoga's heights
Desires merge in liquid mass
As rivers lose identity
In ocean's fullness, vast and deep.
This is the state of Brahman great,
In this established no one grieves;
Fixed thus even at end of life
Brahman's beatitude attains.