Chapter 13

Kshetra - Kshetrajna Vibhaga Yoga

(The Yoga of Discrimination between Matter and Spirit)

1. Arjuna asked: "My Lord, who is Purusha and what is Prakriti? What is Kshetra 56 and what is Kshetrajna 57 ? What is it that is called Wisdom and what is that which truly ought to be known? These I desire to learn from Thee."

2. The Blessed Lord said: "This body is called the Kshetra, O Kaunteya, and the Wise refer to the Him who knows as the Kshetrajna.

3. "And know Me, O Bharata, as the Omnipresent Kshetrajna who abides in all Kshetras; and the Knowledge of these two is deemed by Me as true Knowledge.

4. "Briefly shall I now give thee a description of what is matter, of what it is composed, whence it came, why it changes, what the Self is and what Its powers are.

5. "Sages have sung of these in diverse ways through hymns and sacred Vedic songs, weighty in thought and convincing in argument.

6. "The five elements 58 , ego 59 , buddhi as also the Unmanifest 60 , the ten indriyas, the mind, and the five domains of sensation 61 ;

7. "Desire, hatred, pleasure, pain, the physical body, the living force, determination - this in sum is what constitutes the Kshetra and its modifications.

8. "Humility, sincerity, non-violence, forgiveness, rectitude, service of the master, purity, steadfastness, self-control;

9. "Dispassion to sense objects, absence of pride, perception of the painful problems of birth, death, old-age and sickness;

10. "Non-attachment, absence of infatuation with wife, progeny, home and the like, equanimity whether good or ill befall;

11. "Unswerving and all-exclusive devotion to Me, love for solitude and a distaste for social life;

12. "Settled conviction of the nature of the Atman, and perception of the Self as the ultimate in Knowledge - all this is declared to be true Knowledge; everything else is ignorance.

13. "I shall now expound to thee that which is to be known, and knowing which one enjoys Immortality; it is the Supreme Brahman Who has no beginning and Who is said to be neither Sat nor Asat 62 ;

14. "With hands and feet everywhere, with eyes, heads, mouths and ears everywhere, He exists enveloping all.

15. "Seeming to possess the function of the senses, yet devoid is He of the senses; though unattached, He is the sustainer of all; though attributeless 63 , yet He experiences all [the evolutes of the Gunas].

16. "Without all beings and yet within; immovable and yet moving; so subtle He cannot be perceived; so far and yet so near He is.

17. Undivided [like space] this Brahman is, and yet divided as it were He appears in all animate and inanimate beings - that Godhead who is the Protector of all, is also the Creator as well as the Destroyer.

18. "The Light of all lights, He is beyond all darkness. He is Knowledge, the object of Knowledge, and to be gained only by Knowledge; He is seated [as the Self] in the hearts of all.

19. "Thus have I expounded to thee in brief the truth about Kshetra and Kshetrajna. My devotee, when he knows and understands this, is worthy of being one with Me.

20. "Know that Prakriti and Purusha are both without beginning; and know thee also that all evolutes and Gunas are born of Prakriti alone.

21. "In creation and in evolution Prakriti is said to be the cause, while for the experience of pleasure and pain Purusha is the cause.

22. "Purusha seated in Prakriti experiences the Gunas of Prakriti . Attachment to the Gunas is the cause of man's birth in good or evil wombs.

23. "The Spirit dwelling in the body is really the same as the Supreme Lord. He has been variously described as the Witness, the Guide, The Sustainer, the Experiencer, the Great and also as the Paramatman.

24. "He who thoroughly understands the interrelationship of the Purusha and Prakriti as also the Gunas, is never born again, whatever be his mode of living .

25. "Some through meditation behold the Atman in their self by their own self; others experience It through the Yoga of Knowledge and still others through the Yoga of Action.

26. "Yet others, not knowing Him thus, worship Him as they have heard from others. They too, staunch in their devotion, and true to what they have heard, go beyond death.

27. "Whenever something animate or inanimate comes into existence, O Bharatarishabha, know thou that it is the result of the union of matter 64 and the Spirit 65 .

28. "He truly sees, who perceives the same Imperishable Supreme Lord 66 in all diverse perishable beings.

29. "Indeed, beholding the Supreme Lord in all beings, he does not harm the Self by the self and therefore attains the Supreme Goal.

30. "He sees most clearly that all actions are performed by Prakriti alone, and that the Atman remains actionless.

31. "When thus he perceives that diversity is actually rooted in One, and further has emerged from that One alone, he becomes that very One 67 himself.

32. "The Imperishable Supreme Atman, O Kaunteya, has neither a beginning nor attributes. Thus, though residing in the body, It acts not nor is It ever stained.

33. "As the all-pervading ether, by reason of its subtlety is not contaminated, even so the Atman pervading every part of the body is not tainted.

34. "As the one Sun illumines the whole world, so does the Lord of the Kshetra illumine the whole Kshetra.

35. "Those who with the eyes of Wisdom thus perceive the distinction between Kshetra and Kshetrajna, and also comprehend the secret of the release of beings from the grip of Prakriti, reach the Supreme.

Thus in the Bhagavad Gita, the Essence of the Upanishads, the Science of Brahman, the Scripture of Yoga, the Dialogue between Sri Krishna and Arjuna, ends the thirteenth chapter, entitled:



56The Field.
57The Knower of the Field.
58The Pancha Bhutas: earth, fire, air, water and ether.
60i.e., primordial matter.
61i.e., sound, touch, sight, taste and smell.
62Neither Sat nor Asat - neither Being nor Non-Being.
63Devoid of Gunas - Nirguna.
64Kshetra/ Prakriti.