Swami Satyasangananda Saraswati

The Bhagavad Gita says the wise mourn neither the living nor the dead. If we don't mourn where is our compassion?

Mourning for someone does not mean that you have compassion. Compassion is when you have love and a type of feeling of oneness with creation. It is a type of unconditional love. Just to cry for somebody who is dead doesn't mean that you have compassion.

There is no death

You cry out of ignorance. If you have knowledge about death and life and an understanding of the processes of life and death, you don't have to mourn. Supposing this building becomes old, tattered and broken and one day it is being pulled down, what is the use of mourning? Do you want to continue living in that old and tattered house which is falling down, where rain is coming in, where you cannot protect yourself? No, you want a new house. With an understanding or a philosophy there is no need to mourn.

The Bhagavad Gita speaks about the understanding of life and moving from the state of ignorance to the state of knowledge: knowledge of the five tattwas, the mind, the senses and the eternal in you, the atman. There is something that does not die. Are you going to mourn for the body or the senses?

The Bhagavad Gita gives knowledge about the atman. The wise know of the reality and eternity of life. A seed is planted. A tree is born and bears fruit which gives seed for another tree to be born. The continuity, the cause and the effect are true. Therefore, if it is true for all of creation, why not for living beings? There is eternity of life for whatever it may be called: soul, atman, the karmic body or the causal body.


In the middle of the battlefield with the two armies standing opposite each other, Arjuna does not want to fight. He, who is a brave and courageous warrior, the best of its kind, suddenly has a change of mind. He is depressed, starts trembling, perspiring and his bow falls out of his hand.

The Bhagavad Gita is a textbook on yoga. The eighteen chapters explain how to move from the state of ignorance, imbalance, depression and dejection to the state of yoga. Yoga begins when one is imbalanced and one becomes aware of the imbalance within. When one is balanced one does not need yoga.

The first chapter is called Arjuna Vishada Yogah, the yoga of Arjuna's depression. At that time Sri Krishna instructed him about yoga. He said, "What you are refusing to do has already happened." With the divine vision Arjuna saw all the dead soldiers lying in front of him. Sri Krishna said, "Even if you don't fight, they are going to die. So it is better to pick up the bow and start fighting. Whether you like it or not, whether you mourn or not, whether you want it or not, it is going to happen."

It is foolish to cry over something which is destined to happen and it is wise to accept destiny lovingly. Mahatma Gandhi spent many years in jail, but he was happy. Others spend their life in jail and cry and cry.

Mourning does not prevent anything from happening. By not worrying about it or by worrying about it, no matter what you do, death is going to happen. It is destiny.

24 July 2009, London, England