Recovering Alcoholics May Better Understand

Chapter II, Verse 30

Sri Nerode’s Translation:


The dweller in the body of everyone, is this soul, ever beyond the range of destruction. Wherefore then thou suffer for that which can never suffer.

Helpful Translation:

The One who enlivens all bodies never dies. Grief over the death of any being is ignorance that should be avoided.


The recovering alcoholic perhaps has more insight into this verse than an average person.

In Sanskrit the word used for the incarnate soul is “dehin.” This word may also be applied to any living being. In the esoteric battle that happens within the yogi, habits and attachments and their liberating counterparts of free choice and self-discipline are described as soldiers on the battlefield. “Killing” a soldier often signifies freedom from a bad habit.

The aspiring yogi potentially views this form of self-discipline as a restriction. This yogi thinks “If I give up alcohol, then I can never experience drunken states.”

Yet an addict like a recovering alcoholic knows that the drunken state is forever just one drink away. The recovering alcoholic tracks the days since his last drink and celebrates the clear perspective and conscious control he has achieved over his daily routines.

Krishna tells Arjuna that killing these bad habits does not put an end to the consciousness behind the experience. An enlightened human can experience any limited human condition with full awareness without becoming attached. This is similar to a person who is able to drink alcohol at will throughout life but who never becomes an alcoholic.

The yogi who counts his days to enlightenment is like a recovering alcoholic who counts the days since his last drink. Both are still ruled by their past habits. Neither are free from attachment to gross materialism until they choose to shift their consciousness from the suffering of attachment to the unparalleled joy of expanded awareness.

Easter Eggs:

Easter Eggs (hidden references to deeper meanings) in the original version of this this verse include:

Dehin – The soul enveloped in a body. The consciousness within every living being.

BharataThe Average Human Devotee. Arjuna is a descendant of King Bharata and this is a general epithet also applied to King Dhrtarastra who in the Bhagavad Gita represents the intellect blinded by the senses. In other words, Bharata is a devotee, but an ignorant one who is new to the path of enlightenment. Contrast the root “Bharata” with the root “Kuru” in other epithets for Arjuna. The “Kuru” dynasty represents the ida nadi and the pursuit of worldliness, while the Bharata dynasty represents the pingala nadi and the pursuit of enlightenment.

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Ancient History

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