tasmaatpranamya pranidhaaya kaayam prasaadaye tvaamahameeshameedyam |
piteva putrasya sakheva sakhyuhu priyaha priyaayaarhasi deva sodhum || 44 ||

 
Therefore, prostrating my body, bowing down, I beg you to be pleased, O Ishvara, worthy of worship. Like a father tolerates his son, a friend his friend, a lover his beloved, so should you tolerate (me), O Lord.
 
tasmaat : therefore
pranamya : bow
pranidhaaya : prostrating
kaayam : body
prasaadaye : pleased
tvaam : you
aham : I
eesham : Ishvara
eedyam : worthy of worship
pitaa : father
eva : like
putrasya : son
sakhaa : friend
eva : like
sakhyuhu : friend
priyaha : lover
priyaahaa : beloved
arhasi : should
deva : O Lord
sodhum : tolerate
 
This shloka evokes an illustration from The Mundaka Upanishad of two birds sitting on the branch of a tree. The two birds are friends. One bird, symbolizing the human condition, is completely engrossed in enjoying the fruit of the tree. This bird doesn’t realize that it has developed an attachment to the fruit, and that the fruit will eventually become the cause of its sorrow. Similarly, we do not realize that the more we get stuck in objects, the more the objects get stuck to us. The Gita has repeatedly pointed out this theme.
 
Now, the second bird on that branch symbolizes the Ishvara principle. It does not get attached to the fruit, it simply watches the show as a passive onlooker. The first bird is so engrossed in its sense enjoyments that it never pays attention to the second bird. Like Arjuna, and like all of us, the first bird is stuck in the delusion of the material world. The moment the first bird stops its indulgence and looks at the second bird, its bondage is snapped. Without the help of this Ishvara principle, we cannot extricate ourselves from the pull of the senses. For most of us, this Ishvara principle is our teacher, our guru.
 
So through this shloka, we are instructed to completely surrender ourselves in prostration to that Ishvara principle. When Arjuna undertook a “saashtaanga namaskaara”, a total surrender of his body through prostration, he referred to SHri Krishna as his friend, recalling the illustration of the two birds who were friends. Arjuna asked for a father’s forgiveness, a friend’s forgiveness and the beloved’s forgiveness – three categories of forgiveness since he wanted all of these from Shri Krishna.

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