The second chapter of the Bhagwad Gita is a primary source of eternal knowledge. Bewildered by the challenges before him, Arjuna seeks Krishna’s intervention in removing his ignorance and leading him on the path of righteousness.

In response, Krishna talks about the immortality of soul, knowledge of eternity and the transient, supremacy of action bereft of desire for its fruits and the necessity of being equipoised under the spell of dualities of life. Just as a body experiences different stages of life such as childhood, youthfulness and old age, death is also an inevitable process. However, with decay of body, the soul is not affected.

For those who are born, death is inevitable. Similarly for those who die, birth, too, is inevitable. However, the latter is incomprehensible. Ordinarily we do not know what happens after death. It is basically a belief. However, it is a strong belief and our own philosophy is built around it. Let me try a scientific simile. Electronics is an outgrowth of semiconductors which are ordinarily understood through a combination of chemistry and quantum theory. In the ground state, a semiconductor is described simply by two bands.

The lower valence band is completely filled with electrons and the upper conduction band, separated by a small energy gap from the valence band, is empty. A semiconductor can be excited by various means such as heat or light energy or even by impurities. When an electron is excited from the valence band to the conduction band, it is considered as annihilated in the former and created in the later.

Thus something which decays reappears again elsewhere. Its nature, too, changes. The electron was localised or confined earlier, but after excitation it is free. In the same chapter, Krishna talks about senses and sense objects. The quality of a person is ascertained from the response of his senses to sense objects. If the response is negative, then his senses are under control and the person is said to be in a state of equipoise.

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If the senses are affected by sense objects, then the person loses control over himself and his conscience is lost. A person with a lost conscience can harm himself and his fellowmen. Conscience never lets us down, provided it is guarded against attackers — lust, anger and greed. If conscience wins we are happy and blissful. If, however, the attackers win, we lose control over ourselves and fall from the blissful state. It always keeps one ordered.

If we do not listen to the voice of our conscience, all order is lost in us and we are vulnerable to attacks by its destroyers. It is indeed true that no one has complete control over the three vices, which, according to the Gita, can lead one to hell-like situations. Conscience is a kind of internal force that results from values acquired from education, adherence to moral and spiritual practice in thought and action, strength of mind, fearlessness, freedom and truthfulness.

Many of the wrong doings would not have happened if we listened to our conscience. If the conscience is weakened by aforesaid enemies, then we lose order and become devilish. We commit crimes and, as a consequence, are lost to the mercy of circumstances. The Gita teaches us how to overcome the three vices and establish supremacy of conscience. Although it is hard to attain completely, sincere effort could lead us from sorrow to bliss.

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