Bhagavad Gita: Chapter 2: contents of the Gita Summarized: Text14
mātrā-sparśās tu kaunteya
tāṁs titikṣasva bhārata
mātrā–sparśāḥ — sensory perception; tu — only; kaunteya — O son of Kuntī; śīta — winter; uṣṇa — summer; sukha — happiness; duḥkha — and pain; dāḥ — giving; āgama — appearing; apāyinaḥ — disappearing; anityāḥ — nonpermanent; tān — all of them; titikṣasva — just try to tolerate; bhārata — O descendant of the Bharata dynasty.
O son of Kuntī, the nonpermanent appearance of happiness and distress, and their disappearance in due course, are like the appearance and disappearance of winter and summer seasons. They arise from sense perception, O scion of Bharata, and one must learn to tolerate them without being disturbed.
In the battle of Kurukshetra, Arjuna was bewildered by seeing all his relatives and was reluctant to do his duty as a Kshatriya. Arjuna in fact is a great warrior, addressed as Parantapa, but still he is in the state of depression. Basically he is not convinced about the purpose of the war. Krishna speaks to Arjuna convincingly what is the purpose of war and what is his duty as a Kshatriya. The first instruction Krishna gave Arjuna in BG 2:11 is you are mourning for what is not worthy of grief. Those who are wise lament neither for the living nor for the dead and also in BG 18:66 Krishna says Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reactions. Do not fear.
Same way in this material world like how the appearances and disappearance of winter and summer seasons come the appearance of happiness and distress comes and it is not always permanent. There is always confusion and in that situation we cannot understand what is the goal of our life and will end up suffering. We need someone who can guide us, convince us, to be with us so we will get the inspiration and guidance to perform our duties well and develop resilience against various obstacles of our life. This verse is one of the most critical verses of Bhagavad Gita. It teaches us the glorious quality of Tolerance. Krishna says titikṣasva – just try to tolerate. We should develop tolerance because no relation can sustain without tolerance. It’s impossible to do anything consistently without tolerance and forgiveness.
In order to fight in our life ,there are 4 levels of Motivation. Fear , desire, duty ,love. Of these duty and love are the highest motivational factors. When one is inspired by the highest motivational factors like duty and love definitely one should have tolerance.
How can one develop tolerance?
The material world is a place of duality . We cannot expect everything to be pleasing to us. Our senses like eyes, ears, tongue always search for pleasure. And if it is not met according to our wish then we are always depressed. For example no body wants to get old, but reality is we all will get old one day, get wrinkles on our face, become weak and die. No point in getting upset regarding this instead we should train our senses properly in such a way by accepting the reality that there are dualities in this material world, and it is temporary, there will be criticism, difference of opinions: tolerate that or else relationship won’t sustain, tolerate other’s success: The Best example is Duryodhana: he could not tolerate the success of Pandavas hence resulted in war. So we should learn to set our expectations right. The best way to remove all these aspects of illusion, pain, fear and lamentation is to focus on Hari Katha and chant the holy name of the Lord, that way we can utilize our time in this world in a productive way by developing tolerance and forgiveness. With the foundation of this knowledge that the appearance and disappearance of pain and pleasure is like the changes of the Season, we will get the strength to tolerate the urges of all our negative qualities like anger, lust ,greed which are the 3 gates of hell.
Krishna says to Arjuna Tanmstikisva Bharata :You are coming from a royal ancestry which has a great heritage .So you have to get up and fight. Fighting for the pleasure of the Lord is the duty of Arjuna now. That is doing devotional service without expecting any results. And tells Arjuna not to worry about his relatives. In fact Krishna says in BG 8:15 After attaining Me, the great souls, who are yogīs in devotion, never return to this temporary world, which is full of miseries, because they have attained the highest perfection. Suffering all sorts of unavoidable misfortunes, one should make progress in spiritual realization because that is the mission of human life. The spirit soul is transcendental to all material calamities; therefore, the so-called calamities are called false.
In this verse Krishna address Arjuna as Kaunteya : means son of Mother Kunti Devi. Indirectly Krishna says the hardships which Mother Kunti had to face .She became a widow at very young age, had to bring up 5 children without father, had to see her children deprived of their kingdom and going to forest, had to see her daughter-in-law disrobed .Still she was tolerant .She has set an example of highest level of tolerance. When your mother tolerated so much why can’t you do it. Irrespective of all these circumstances , she was always under the shelter of Lotus feet of the Supreme Lord . Kunti Devi in fact prays to the Lord that all those calamities would happen again and again so that she could see the Lord again and again, for seeing the Lord means that she will no longer see repeated births and deaths.
Another great example for tolerance in Our Guru Srila Prabhupad. At the age of 70 years, he travelled to the United States .He tolerated all the sickness in Jala duta. He tolerated the culture, people , climatic conditions (Sita and Ushna) everything of this Country and established ISKCON. Because of his tolerance we are enjoying the Fruits. If Prabhupad and his tolerance was not there ,millions of souls wouldn’t have known about the loving devotional service to the Supreme Lord.
In the Path of Bhakti, we may face difficulties but we should be tolerant. In BG 2.56 Krishna says one who is not disturbed in mind even amidst the threefold miseries or elated when there is happiness, and who is free from attachment, fear and anger, is called a sage of steady mind. A fully Kṛṣṇa conscious person has neither attachment nor detachment , and is not at all disturbed by the effects of the threefold miseries, for he accepts all miseries as the mercy of the Lord, thinking himself only worthy of more trouble due to his past misdeeds; and he sees that his miseries, by the grace of the Lord, are minimized to the lowest. He completely dedicates his life to Krishna. Similarly, when he is happy he gives credit to the Lord, thinking himself unworthy of the happiness; he realizes that it is due only to the Lord’s grace that he is in such a comfortable condition and able to render better service to the Lord. And, for the service of the Lord, he is always daring and active and is not influenced by attachment or aversion, success or defeat, a Kṛṣṇa conscious person is always steady in his determination. By following the path of Bhakti, we can tolerate the dualities of this material world and can achieve the highest goal of life which is Krishna Prema.