I acknowledge this graphic from the Net
Where are these unworthy thoughts arising from Arjuna
Of disgrace and being unworthy of the heavens?
Don’t be a coward, son of Pritha, it does not suit you
Get up, let go this weakness of heart, tormentor of foes
How can I send my arrows against Bhishma and Drona
Who I worship, destroyer of Madhu and other enemies?
I would rather beg than kill my teachers who I honor
If I do kill them my rewards will be tainted in blood
I am in a dilemma, fight or not to, who will win over who
I do not wish to live after killing my kinsmen
I feel helpless, my mind is in turmoil
Tell me what to do as your pupil?
I cannot see what will help overcome my grief
Even if I power, wealth and control over all the worlds?
Saying this to Krishna Arjuna said
I will not fight and lapsed into silence
Krishna , the coach of coaches, enters the scene here. The word ‘coach’ came from the word referring to a horse-drawn vehicle. So, it is quite appropriate that Krishna, as the charioteer of Arjuna, becomes his coach as well. In a sense, Krishna is more the acharya than the coach. While the two words are almost synonymous, an acharya in the Hindu tradition carries a greater responsibility and therefore, respect.
These verses are the beginning of the second chapter of Bhagavad Gita, which is called Sankhya Yoga. In this blog I use the original commentary of Adi Shankara translated by Alladi Mahadeva Sastry, first published in 1897. The explanation by Shankara on Sankhya philosophy is somewhat at odds with what I read in Wikipedia and other sources that rely upon foreign authors for explanation. Contrary to the explanation I find in these sources that Sankhya is a dualist philosophy and is similar to Yoga, Shankara says the opposite. Shankara says that Sankhya is about the non dual Self and its wisdom, Gnana, as different from Yoga, which is to do with action and differentiates between the duality of the doer and the Self, I am no expert, and any day I would go by Shankara.
This chapter, though called Sankhya Yoga, has nothing to do with the Ashtanga Yoga concepts of Patanjali. I could not find any good explanation as to why the chapters end with the term Yoga and also why they are classified as Karma, Bhakti and Gnana Yoga sections, each with six chapters. When I do find convincing answers shall write about them. However, this chapter is all about Krishna’s explanation about the Self, in line with Shankara’s definition of Sankhya.
In a sense, starting from this chapter, the rest of the Bhagavad Gita verses are about discovery of this Self, as taught by Krishna, God Incarnate to Arjuna, the quintessential superman. Arjuna’s dilemma that paralyzed him in the first chapter continues. He is unsure as to what to do, whether to fight as his natural dharma enjoins him to do, or to leave the battlefield based on his interpretation of universal dharma of ahimsa, non violence. As the coach, Krishna starts challenging his assumptions. This is how the coaching begins.
In all coaching situations, the client comes into play with a dilemma of sorts, posed as a disempowering problem. Each one of us has been through similar situations before. When we are in a problem state, as Einstein says, we cannot find a solution to that problem at the same level of consciousness in which the problem arose. We need to move higher to an empowered state. This is where the coach comes.
This is where Krishna comes in.