Chapter III, Verse 16
Sri Nerode’s Translation:
He who on earth does not follow the rolling wheel of Cosmic Karma (where blessing, food, rain, charity, and Divine Grace and God are all strung on one chain) lives in sin and sorrow, dwelling only in the sense-life. His life is vain indeed. (To the subtle understanding of a wise man, it is evident that the blessings of life come out of Divine Grace. So one must repay it by charity and love.)
The inevitable cycles of joy and sorrow, health and illness, wealth and poverty, self-discipline and incontinence, intellectual stature and simple minded, all opposites are born of the dual nature of creation. The person attached to sense pleasures is alternately enthralled and tortured by the good and bad attributes of his attachments.
Don’t waste your life. If you are naïve, seek guidance on how to live in a manner that will help you to progress.
Krishna addresses Arjuna as “Partha” in this verse, that means the verse is addressed to the naïve human consciousness versus the worldly consciousness of Kaunteya that was addressed in the previous verses. From this verse through verse 24, Krishna teaches Arjuna as a kind and loving teacher shares information with kindergarten students.
A deeper meaning to this verse refers to the yogi who practices techniques to control the physical breath and the subtle energy breath (prana). Through meditation and related techniques, the yogi quickly learns there are several wheels turning within his own form. To create and sustain a body, energy descends from consciousness through the physical spine and nervous system was well as through the subtle system identified by the nadis, especially the ida, the pingala and the sushumna. Once the negative pole of the human form is reached in the coccygeal region of the body, then the energy is drawn back towards the positive pole in the cerebrum.
Attachment to the senses and to the objects of the senses is the source of all misery and pain as well as the temporary “highs”. By practicing correct self-discipline and cultivating wisdom, every human can lead a supremely joyous life.
The imbecile enthralled with the senses is like a child who studies pictures in a travel book and dreams about adventures that could happen. Though this average man has never been to snow-capped mountains, due to reading a book and studying pictures, he imagines he knows all about life in the highest peaks.
A sage who experiences the senses without attachment is like the experienced traveler who lives in snow-capped mountains until he knows the seasons, the hardships, the beauty and the rewards of alpine life. To experience any sense completely requires that obsession with the various aspects of the senses be surrendered.
In the course of individual evolution, the sense slave tires of the pairs of opposites and seeks to enjoy all experiences equally. The enlightened man without attachments is the only person who succeeds at this loft goal of ever-new joy.
Easter Eggs (hidden references to deeper meanings) in the original version of this this verse include:
Partha – Son of Pritha
Pritha is the birth name of Arjuna’s mother Kunti. Partha indicates the state of human consciousness that is innocent or naïve.
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