Gita 02.16 explained

2.11-2.30: counters first argument – compassion – by Jayana


So now Krishna will describe actually there are two natures, what is this  ‘mritatvaya? What is this eternity we will attain where it is situated that will be described in the next verse:

BG 2.16

nasato vidyate bhavo

nabhavo vidyate satah

ubhayor api drishto ‘ntas

tv anayos tattvadarsibhih


na — never; asatah — of the nonexistent; vidyate — there is; bhavah — endurance; na — never; abhavah — changing quality; vidyate — there is; satah — of the eternal; ubhayoh — of the two; api — verily; drishtah — observed; antah — conclusion; tu — indeed; anayoh — of them; tattva — of the truth; darsibhih — by the seers.


Those who are seers of the truth have concluded that of the nonexistent [the material body] there is no endurance and of the eternal [the soul] there is no change. This they have concluded by studying the nature of both.



It is quite poetic we have repeating word asata and bhavo repeatedly.

Words interchange to make speech more sweet and appealing.

BG is a poem …it was sung by Krishna, deals with philosophy.

Poetry is more esoteric, it may be having multiple levels of meaning.

While describing it we should not only understand it but also recite it. Ramping words, diff fig of speech, there is an inversion of the way in 2nd line then in 1st line.

Here Krishna is referring to spiritual and material nature and also on soul and the body.

ubhayor api drishto ‘ntas, ubhaya is two, drishta + antas, first we have dristi but when we will take our drishti deep when we take more philosophy and when the drishti goes to anta goes to the conclusion like we have Veda and we have Vedanta so Vedanta is conclusion of Veda similarly similarly drista Anta so drishto ‘ntas, which means when out drishti come to conclusion we understand that essentially there are two natures, there is material nature and there is spiritual nature and what is the characteristic of each of these so nasato vidyate bhavo, so of the asat means temporary so of the temporary there is vidyate bhavo, there is no existence for a long time of the temporary there is no endurance and of the eternal nabhavo vidyate satah, satah is that which is eternal, of the eternal there is no cessation.

When Sri Krishna is talking about this what He is referring to? He is referring in a generic sense to spiritual and material nature and specifically He is referring to soul and the body, so the soul it eternal and the body is temporary. Now Asat means temporary Srila Prabhupada has used the translation nonexistent and then he says the material body so those who are seers of the truth have concluded so drishto ‘ntas, tattvadarsibhih, seers to the truth have concluded, drishtantha of the nonexistent [the material body] there is no endurance and of the eternal [the soul] there is no change. Srila Prabhupada has used big braces, 


In English parentheses () is put to clarify further were as square bracket [] is put to add what is said earlier.

Krishna is saying this world is nonexistence, body is nonexistence, so how this is possible, so often Srila Prabhupada used the word nonexistence over temporary for example Srila Prabhupada once gave a class in which he is actually this world is an illusion and our identification of separate identification is also in illusion and we have to go out of illusion, so one disciple of SP was thinking and meditating that I am in illusion this wall is in illusion and he tried to walk through the wall go a bang so he approached Srila Prabhupada and told what has happened and Prabhupada said that you have understand what is the meaning of the world is an illusion it is like a dream. While experiencing a dream it appears to be a reality e.g. a tiger is chasing me in dream, but once we wake up, what was that all about there is no meaning to it. So when we think in this sense we undersatnd that actually when we call world as illusion as this is temporary so it will not remain e.g. we have some possessions now, we have some hobbies now, all of these are temporary. If it is connected to Krishna then there is a spiritual meaning to it…

Getting attached to illusion is unfortunate.

Illusion is our inability to see things in connection with Krishna.

As mentioned in one verse Ritey artham…what we think of is meaningful but if we don’t see its connection with the Absolute Truth know that to be Maya, so the illusion is inability to see things in connection with Krishna

When we see things in connection to Krishna we move forward and use those things in the service of Krishna, here Arjuna [or people in general] was not able to see things in connection to Krishna so in that sense so things are asata so they are not illusion but illusory so they are temporary and we don’t see connection with Krishna we will come under illusion.

When we see world around there is something underlying some reality beyond this world that is spiritual reality.

Author: Bhavin Kataria

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