The third shloka of Canto II, is its key : 'Don't be a coward, Arjuna'. It is not ordinary debility; not disability; not inability that Arjuna suffers from. It is hriday-durbala (heart-non-strength). This in psychological terms, is indecisiveness resulting from confusion and an erroneous sense of insecurity. In spiritual terminology, it is a moral paralysis of the will caused by fear of death or indeed, by dread of the pointlessness of life itself.
But how to overcome this fearful fear of fear ? Krishna provides many clues, but it is Arjuna who wraps them all up by using, in shloka 54, what is one of the most popular and discussed compounds of the Gita : sthita-prajya ( the steady minded person). Nothing is possible if the mind is not steady, poised, balanced, tranquil, for only then can it do properly what it is programmed to do : think clearly. The steady-minded person cultivates restraint, selflessness and detachment. By allowing life to happen calmly to him instead of he happening to life passionately, he discovers and cherishes the truth that something h igher than matter pervades matter and transcends matter. This something is atman, the quintessential principle of life itself. If all matter disappeared, the atman is would remain, because "the untrue never is; the True never is not". Matter is the perishable dress worn by the imperishable Spirit. Thus sthita-prajna realisation must become the basis for Arjuna's commitment on the battlefield -- and, indeed, for everyone's commitment in the complex business of daily living.