discourse reveals the glory of devotion.
1. I will now declare to thee, who art uncensorious, this
mysterious knowledge, together with discriminative knowledge, knowing
which thou shalt be released from ill.
2. This is the king of
sciences, the king of mysteries, pure and sovereign, capable of direct
comprehension, the essence of dharma, easy to practice, changeless.
3. Men who have no faith in this doctrine, O Parantapa, far from
coming to Me, return repeatedly to the path of this world of death.
4. By Me, unmanifest in form, this whole world is pervaded; all
beings are in Me, I am not in them.
5. And yet those beings are not
in Me. That indeed is My unique power as Lord! Sustainer of all beings,
I am not in them; My Self brings them into existence.
sovereign power of God lies in this mystery, this miracle, that all
beings are in Him and yet not in Him, He in them and yet not in them.
This is the description of God in the language of mortal man. Indeed He
soothes man by revealing to him all His aspects by using all kinds of
paradoxes. All beings are in him inasmuch as all creation is His; but as
He transcends it all, as He really is not the author of it all, it may
be said with equal truth that the beings are not in Him. He really is in
all His true devotees, He is not, according to them, in those who deny
Him. What is this if not a mystery, a miracle of God?
6. As the
mighty wind, moving everywhere, is ever contained in ether, even so know
that all beings are contained in Me.
7. All beings, O Kaunteya,
merge into my prakriti, at the end of a kalpa, and I send them forth
again when a kalpa begins.
8. Resorting to my prakriti, I send forth
again and again this multitude of beings, powerless under the sway of
9. But all this activity, O Dhananjaya, does not bind Me,
seated as one indifferent, unattached to it.
10. With me as
Presiding Witness, prakriti gives birth to all that moves and does not
move; and because of this, O Kaunteya, the wheel of the world keeps
11. Not knowing My transcendent nature as the sovereign Lord
of all beings, fools condemn Me incarnated as man.
they deny the existence of God and do not recognize the Director in the
are the hopes, actions and knowledge of those witless ones who have
resorted to the delusive nature of monsters and devils.
those great souls who resort to the divine nature, O Partha, know Me as
the Imperishable Source of all beings and worship Me with an undivided
14. Always declaring My glory, striving in steadfast faith,
they do Me devout homage; ever attached to Me, they worship Me.
Yet others, with knowledge-sacrifice, worship Me, who am to be seen
everywhere, as one, as different or as many.
16. I am the
sacrificial vow; I am the sacrifice; I the ancestral oblation; I the
herb; I the sacred text; I the clarified butter; I the fire; I the burnt
17. Of this universe I am the Father, Mother, Creator,
Grandsire: I am what is to be known, the sacred syllable AUM; the rig,
the Saman and the Yajus;
18. I am the Goal, the Sustainer, the Lord,
the Witness, the Abode, the Refuge, the Friend; the Origin, the End the
Preservation, the Treasurehouse, the Imperishable Seed.
19. I give
heat; I hold back and pour forth rain; I am deathlessness and also
death. O Arjuna, Being and not-Being as well.
20. Followers of the
three Vedas, who drink the soma juice and are purged of sin, worship Me
with sacrifice and pray for going to heaven; they reach the holy world
of the gods and enjoy in heaven the divine joys of the gods.
reference is to the sacrificial ceremonies and rites in vogue in the
days of the Gita. We cannot definitely say what they were like nor what
the soma juice exactly was.
enjoy the vast world of heaven, and their merit spent, they enter the
world of the mortals; thus those who, following the Vedic law, long for
the fruit of their action earn but the round of birth and death.
As for those who worship Me, thinking on Me alone and nothing else, ever
attached to Me, I bear the burden of getting them what they need.
are thus three unmistakable marks of a true yogi or
bhakta—even-mindedness, skill in action, undivided devotion. These three
must be completely harmonized in a yogi. Without devotion there is no
even-mindedness, without even-mindedness no devotion, and without skill
in action devotion and even-minded might well be a pretense.
those who, devoted to other gods, worship them in full faith, even they,
O Kaunteya, worship none but Me, though not according to the rule.
according to the rule' means not knowing Me as the Impersonal and the
24. For I
am the Acceptor and the Director of all sacrifices; but not recognizing
Me as I am, they go astray.
25. Those who worship the gods go to the
gods; those who worship the manes go to the manes; those who worship the
spirits go to the spirits; but those who worship Me come to Me.
Any offering of leaf, flower, fruit or water, made to Me in devotion, by
an earnest soul, I lovingly accept.
to say, it is the Lord in every being whom we serve with devotion who
accepts the service.
Whatever thou doest, whatever thou eatest, whatever thou offerest as
sacrifice or gift, whatever austerity thou dost perform, O kaunteya,
dedicate all to Me.
28. So doing thou shalt be released from the
bondage of action, yielding good and evil fruit; having accomplished
both renunciation and performance, thou shalt be released (from birth
and death) and come unto Me.
29. I am the same to all beings; with
Me there is non disfavoured, none favoured; but those who worship Me
with devotion are in Me and I in them.
30. A sinner, howsoever
great, if he turns to Me with undivided devotion, must indeed be counted
a saint; for he has a settled resolve.
undivided devotion subdues both his passions and his evil
soon he becomes righteous and wins everlasting peace; know for a
certainty, O kaunteya, that my bhakta never perishes.
finding refuge in Me, even those who though are born of the womb of sin,
women, vaishyas, and shudras too, reach the supreme goal.
much more then, the pure brahmanas and seer-kings who are my devotees?
Do thou worship Me, therefore, since thou hast come to this fleeting and
34. On Me fix thy mind, to Me bring thy devotion, to
Me offer thy sacrifice, to Me make thy obeisance; thus having attached
thyself to Me and made Me thy end and aim, to Me indeed shalt thou come.
ends the ninth discourse entitled ‘Rajavidya-rajaguhya Yoga' in the
converse of Lord Krishna and Arjuna, on the science of Yoga, as part of
the knowledge of Brahman in the Upanishad called the
benefit of His devotees, the Lord gives in this discourse a glimpse of
His divine manifestations.
1. Yet once more, O Mahabahu, here My supreme word, which I
will utter to thee, gratified one, for thy benefit.
2. Neither the
gods nor the great seers know My origin; for I am, every way, the origin
of them both.
3. He who knows Me, the great lord of the worlds, as
birthless and without beginning, he among mortals, undeluded, is
released from sins.
4. Discernment, knowledge, freedom from
delusion, long suffering, truth, self-restraint, inward calm, pleasure,
pain, birth, death, fear and fearlessness;
even-mindedness, contentment, austerity, beneficence, good and ill
fame,—all these various attributes of creatures proceed verily from Me.
6. The seven great seers, the ancient four, and the Manus too were
born of Me and of My mind, and of them were born all the creatures in
7. He who knows in truth My immanence and My yoga becomes
gifted with unshakable yoga; of this there is no doubt.
8. I am the
source of all, all proceeds from me; knowing this, the wise worship Me
with hearts full of devotion.
9. With me in their thoughts, their
whole soul devoted to Me, teaching one another, with me ever on their
lips, they live in contentment and joy.
10. To these, ever in tune
with Me worshipping me with affectionate devotion, I give the power of
selfless action, whereby they come to Me.
11. Out of every
compassion for them, I who dwell in their hearts, destroy the darkness,
born of ignorance, with the refulgent lamp of knowledge.
12. Lord! Thou art the supreme Brahman, the supreme Abode, the
supreme Purifier! Everlasting Celestial Being, the Primal God, Unborn,
13. Thus have all the seers—the divine seer Narada,
Asita, Devala, Vyasa—declared Thee; and Thou Thyself dost tell me so.
14. All that Thou tellest me is true, I know, O Keshava, verily,
Lord, neither the gods nor the demons know Thy manifestation.
Thyself alone Thou knowest by Thyself, O Purushottama, O Source and Lord
of all beings, God of Gods, O Ruler of the universe.
16. Indeed Thou
oughtest to tell me of all Thy manifestations, without a remainder,
whereby Thou dost pervade the worlds.
17. O Yogin! constantly
meditating on Thee, how am I to know Thee? In what various aspects am I
to think of Thee, O Lord?
18. Recount to me yet again, in full
detail, Thy unique power and Thy immanence, O Janardana! For my ears
cannot be sated with listening to Thy life-giving words.
19. Yea, I will unfold to thee, O Kurushreshtha, My divine
manifestations,—the chiefest only; for there is no limit to their
20. I am the Atman, O Gudakesha, seated in the heart of
every being; I am the beginning, the middle and the end of all beings.
21. Of the Adityas I am Vishnu; of luminaries, the radiant Sun; of
Maruts, I am Marichi; of constellations, the moon.
22. Of the Vedas
I am the Sama Veda; of the gods Indra; of the senses I am the mind; of
beings I am the consciousness.
23. Of Rudras I am Shankara; of
Yakshas and Rakshasas Kubera; of Vasus I am the Fire; of mountains Meru.
24. Of priests, O Partha, know Me to be the chief Brihaspati; of
army captains I am Kartikeya; and of waters the ocean.
25. Of the
great seers I am Bhrigu; of words I am the one syllable ‘AUM'; of
sacrifices I am the Japa sacrifice; of things immovable, the Himalaya.
26. Of all trees I am Ashvattha; of the divine seers, Narada; of the
heavenly choir I am Chitraratha; of the perfected I am Kapila the
27. Of horses, Know Me to be the Uchchaihshravas born with
Amrita; of mighty elephants I am Airavata; of men, the monarch.
Of weapons, I am Vajra; of cows, Kamadhenu; I am Kandarpa, the god of
generation; of serpants I am Vasuki.
29. Of cobras I am Anata; of
water-dwellers I am Varuna; of the manes I am Aryaman; and of the
30. Of demons I am Prahlada; of reckoners, the
time; of beasts I am the lion; and of birds, Garuda.
cleansing agents I am the Wind; of wielders of weapons, Rama; of fishes
I am the crocodile; of rivers the Ganges.
32. Of creations I am the
beginning, end and middle, O Arjuna; of sciences, the science of
spiritual knowledge; of debators, the right argument.
letters, the letter A; of compounds I am the dvandva; I am the
imperishable Time; I am the creator to be seen everywhere.
All-seizing Death am I, as the source of things to be; in feminine
virtues I am Kirti (glory), Shri (beauty), Vak (speech), Smriti
(memory), Medha (intelligence), Dhriti (constancy) and Kshama
35. Of Saman hymns I am Brihat Saman; of metres,
Gayatri; of months I am Margashirsha; of seasons, the spring.
deceivers I am the dice-play; of the splendid the splendour; I am
victory, I am resolution, I am the goodness of the good.
‘dice-play of deceivers' need not alarm one. For the good and evil
nature of things in not the matter in question, it is the directing and
immanent power of God that is being described. Let the deceivers also
know that they are under God's rule and judgment and put away their
pride and deceit.
Vrishnis I am Vasudeva; of Pandavas Dhananjaya; of ascetics I am Vyasa;
and of seers, Ushanas.
38. I am the rod of those that punish; the
strategy of those seeking victory; of secret things I am silence, and
the knowledge of those that know.
39. Whatever is the seed of every
being, O Arjuna, that am I; there is nothing, whether moving or fixed,
that can be without Me.
40. there is no end to my divine
manifestations; what extent of them I have told thee now is only by way
41. Whatever is glorious, beautiful and mighty know
thou that all such has issued from a fragment of My splendour.
But why needest thou to learn this at great length, O Arjuna? With but a
part of Myself I stand upholding this universe.
ends the tenth discourse, entitled ‘Vibhuti Yoga' in the converse of
Lord Krishna and Arjuna, on the science of Yoga, as part of the
knowledge of Brahman, in the Upanishad called the Bhagawadgita.
discourse the Lord reveals to Arjuna's vision what Arjuna has heard with
his ears—the Universal Form of the Lord. This discourse is a favourite
with the Bhaktas. Here there is no argument, there is pure poetry. Its
solemn music* reverberates in one's ears and it is not possible to tire
of reading it again and again.
*The music, of course, of the
original! In translation, ‘the glory is gone'. For a very free rendering
which brings out some at least of the haunting music of the original the
reader must go to Sir Edwin Arnold's flowing stanzas.
1. Out of
Thy grace towards me, thou hast told me the supreme mystery revealing
the knowledge of the Supreme; it has banished my delusion.
2. Of the
origin and destruction of beings I have heard from Thee in full detail,
as also Thy imperishable ajesty [sic], O Kamala-patraksha!
3. Thou art
indeed as Thou hast described Thyself, Parameshvara! I do crave to
behold, now, that form of Thine as Ishvara.
Lord, thou thinkest it possible for me to bear the sight, reveal to me,
O Yogeshvara, Thy imperishable form.
O Partha, my forms divine in their hundreds and thousands, infinitely
diverse, infinitely various in color and aspect.
the Adityas, the Vasus, the Rudras, the two Ashwins, the Maruts; behold,
O Bharata, numerous marvels never revealed before.
today, O Gudakesha, in my body, the whole universe, moving and unmoving,
all in one, and whatever else thou cravest to see.
8. But thou
canst not see Me with these thine own eyes. I give thee the eye divine;
behold My sovereign power!
these words, O King, the great Lord of Yoga, Hari, then revealed to
Partha His supreme form as Ishvara.
many mouths and many eyes, many wondrous aspects, many divine ornaments,
and many brandished weapons divine.
divine garlands and vestments, annointed with divine perfumes, it was
the form of God, all-marvellous [sic], infinite, seen everywhere.
the splendour of a thousand suns to shoot forth all at once in the sky
that might perchance resemble the splendour of that Mighty One.
did Pandava see the whole universe in its manifold divisions gathered as
one in the body of that God of gods.
Dhananjaya, wonderstruck and thrilled in every fibre of his being, bowed
low his head before the Lord, addressing Him thus with folded hands.
Thy form, O Lord, I see all the gods and the diverse multitudes of
beings, the Lord Brahma, on his lotus-throne and all the seers and
many arms and bellies, mouths and eyes, I see Thy infinite form
everywhere. Neither Thy end, nor middle, nor beginning, do I see, O Lord
of the Universe, Universal-formed!
crown and mace and disc, a mass of effulgence, gleaming everywhere I see
Thee, so dazzling to the sight, bright with the splendour of the fiery
sun blazing from all sides,—incomprehensible.
art the Supreme Imperishable worthy to be known; Thou art the final
resting place of this universe; Thou art the changeless guardian of the
Eternal Dharma; Thou art, I believe, the Everlasting Being.
hast no beginning, middle nor end; infinite is Thy might; arms
innumerable; for eyes, the sun and the moon; Thy mouth a blazing fire,
overpowering the universe with Thy radiance.
20. By Thee
alone are filled the spaces between heaven and earth and all the
quarters; at the sight of this Thy wondrous terrible form, the three
worlds are sore oppressed, O Mahatman!
too, the multitudes of gods are seen to enter Thee; some awe-struck
praise Thee with folded arms; the hosts of great seers and siddhas, ‘All
Hail' on their lips, hymn Thee with songs of praise.
Rudras, Adityas, Vasus, Sadhyas, all the gods, the twin Ashwins, Maruts,
Manes, the hosts of Gandharvas, Yakshas, Asuras and Siddhas—all gaze on
Thee in wonderment.
23. At the
sight of thy mighty form, O Mahabahu, many-mouthed, with eyes, arms,
thighs and feet innumerable, with many vast bellies, terrible with many
jaws, the worlds feel fearfully oppressed, and so do I.
24. For as
I behold Thee touching the sky, glowing, numerous-hued with gaping
mouths and wide resplendent eyes, I feel oppressed in my innermost
being; no peace nor quiet I find, O Vishnu!
25. As I
see Thy mouths with fearful jaws, resembling the Fire of Doom, I lose
all sense of direction, and find no relief. Be gracious, O Devesha, O
26. All the
sons of Dhritarashtra, and with them the crowd of kings, Bhishma, Drona,
and that Karna too, as also our chief warriors—
hastening into the fearful jaws of Thy terrible mouths. Some indeed,
caught between Thy teeth, are seen, their heads being crushed to atoms.
rivers, in their numerous torrents, run head-long to the sea, even so
the heroes of the world of men rush into Thy flaming mouths.
moths, fast-flying, plunge into blazing fire, straight to their doom,
even so these rush headlong into Thy mouths, to their destruction.
Devouring all these from all sides, Thou lappest them with Thy flaming
tongues; Thy fierce rays blaze forth, filling the whole universe with
me, Lord, who Thou art so dread of form! Hail to Thee, O Devavara! Be
gracious! I desire to know Thee, Primal Lord; for I comprehend not what
The Lord Said:
32. Doom am
I, full-ripe, dealing death to the worlds, engaged in devouring mankind.
Even without slaying them not one of the warriors, ranged for battle
against thee, shall survive.
Therefore, do thou arise, and win renown! Defeat thy foes and enjoy a
thriving kingdom. By Me have these already been destroyed; be thou no
more than an instrument, O Savyasachin!
Bhishma, Jayadratha and Karna, as also the other warrior chiefs—already
slain by Me—slay thou! Fight! Victory is thine over the foes in the
this world of Keshava, crown-wearer Arjuna folded his hands, and
trembling made obeisance. Bowing and all hesitant, in faltering accents,
he proceeded to address Krishna once more.
proper it is, O Hrishikesha, that Thy praise should stir the world to
gladness and tender emotion; the Rakshasas in fear fly to every quarter
and all the hosts of Siddhas do reverent homage.
37. And why
should they not bow down to Thee, O Mahatma? Thou art the First Creator,
greater even than Brahma. O Ananta, O Devesha, O Jagannivasa, Thou art
the Imperishable, Being, not-Being, and That which transcends even
art the Primal God, the Ancient Being; Thou art the Final Resting Place
of this Universe; Thou art the Knower, the ‘to-be-known', the Supreme
Abode; by Thee, O Myriad-formed, is the universe pervaded.
art Vayu, Yama, Agni, Varuna, Shashanka, Prajapati, and Prapitamaha! All
Hail to Thee, a thousand times all hail! Again and yet again all hail to
hail to Thee from before and behind! all hail to Thee from every side, O
All; Thy prowess is infinite, Thy might is measureless! Thou holdest
all; therefore Thou art all.
41. If ever
in carelessness, thinking of Thee as comrade, I addressed Thee saying,
‘O Krishna!', ‘O Yadava!' not knowing Thy greatness, in negligence or in
42. If ever
I have been rude to Thee in jest, whilst at play, at rest-time, or at
meals, whilst alone or in company, O Achyuta, forgive Thou my fault—I
beg of Thee, O Incomprehensible!
art Father of this world, of the moving and the un-moving; thou art its
adored, its worthiest, Master; there is none equal to Thee; how then any
greater than Thee? Thy power is matchless in the three worlds.
Therefore, I prostrate myself before Thee, and beseech Thy grace, O Lord
adorable! As father with son, as comrade with comrade, so shouldst Thou
bear, beloved Lord, with me, Thy loved one.
45. I am
filled with joy to see what never was seen before, and yet my heart is
oppressed with fear. Show me that original form of Thine, O Lord! Be
gracious, Devesha, O Jagannivasa!
46. I crave
to see Thee even as Thou wast, with crown, with mace, and disc in hand;
wear Thou, once more, that four-armed form, O thousand-armed
47. It is
to favour thee, O Arjuna, that I have revealed to thee, by My own unique
power, this My form Supreme, Resplendent, Universal, Infinite,
Primal—which none save thee has ever seen.
48. Not by
the study of the Vedas, not by sacrifice, not by the study of other
scriptures, not by gifts, nor yet by performance of rites or of fierce
austerities can I, in such a form, be seen by any one save thee in the
world of men, O Kurupravira!
49. Be thou
neither oppressed nor bewildered to look on this awful form of Mine.
Banish thy fear, ease thy mind, and lo! behold Me once again as I was.
50. So said
Vasudeva to Arjuna, and revealed to him once more His original form.
Wearing again His form benign, the Mahatma consoled him terrified.
Beholding again thy benign human form I am come to myself and once more
in my normal state.
hard to behold is that form of Mine which thou hast seen; even the gods
always yearn to see it.
53. Not by
the Vedas, not by penance, nor by gifts, nor yet by sacrifice, can any
behold Me in the form that thou hast seen.
54. But by
single-minded devotion, O Arjuna, I may in this form be known and seen,
and truly entered into, O Parantapa!
alone comes to me, O Pandava, who does My work, who has made Me his
goal, who is My devotee, who has renounced attachment, who has ill-will
ends the eleventh discourse, entitled ‘Vishvarupadarshana Yoga' in the
converse of Lord Krishna and Arjuna, on the science of Yoga as part of
the knowledge of Brahman in the Upanishad called the
see that vision of God is possible only through single-minded devotion.
Contents of devotion must follow as a matter of course. This twelfth
discourse should be learnt by hard even if all discourses are not. It is
one of the shortest. The marks of a devotee should be carefully noted.
1. Of the devotees who thus worship Thee, incessantly attached,
and those who worship the Imperishable Unmanifest, which are the better
The Lord Said:
2. Those I regard as the best yogins who,
riveting their minds on Me, ever attached, worship Me, with the highest
3. But those who worship the Imperishable, the indefinable,
the Unmanifest, the Omnipresent, the Unthinkable, the Rock-seated, the
Immovable, the Unchanging,
4. Keeping the whole host of senses in
complete control, looking on all with an impartial eye, engrossed in the
welfare of all beings—these come indeed to Me.
5. Greater is the
travail of those whose mind is fixed on the Unmanifest; for it is hard
for embodied mortals to gain the Unmanifest—Goal.
man can only imagine the Unmanifest, the Impersonal, and as his language
fails him he often negatively describes It as ‘Neti', ‘Neti' (Not That,
Not That). And so even iconoclasts are at bottom no better than
idol-worshippers. To worship a book, to go to church, or to pray with
one's face in a particular direction—all these are forms of worshipping
the Formless in an image or idol. And yet, both the idol-breaker and the
idol-worshipper cannot lose sight of the fact that there is something
which is beyond all form, Unthinkable, Formless, Impersonal, Changeless.
The highest goal of the devotee is to become one with the object of his
devotion. The bhakta extinguishes himself and merges into, becomes,
Bhagvan. This state can best be reached by devoting oneself to some
form, and so it is said that the short cut to the Unmanifest is really
the longest and the most difficult.
those who casting all their actions on Me, making Me their all in all,
worship Me with the meditation of undivided devotion,
7. Of such,
whose thoughts are centered on Me, O Partha, I become ere long the
Deliverer from the ocean of this world of death.
8. On Me set thy
mind, on Me rest thy conviction; thus without doubt shalt thou remain
only in Me hereafter.
9. If thou canst not set thy mind steadily on
Me, then by the method of constant practice seek to win Me, O
10. If thou art also unequal to this method of constant
practice, concentrate on service for Me; even thus serving Me thou shalt
11. If thou art unable even to do this, then
dedicating all to Me, with mind controlled, abandon the fruit of action.
12. Better is knowledge than practice, better than knowledge is
concentration, better than concentration is renunciation of the fruit of
all action, from which directly issues peace.
‘Practice' (abhyasa) is the practice of the yoga of
meditation and control of psychic processes; ‘knowledge' (jnana) is
intellectual effort; ‘concentration' (dhyana) is devoted worship. If as
a result of all this there is no renunciation of the fruit of action,
‘practice' is no ‘practice', ‘knowledge' is no ‘knowledge', and
‘concentration' is no ‘concentration'.
13. Who has
ill-will towards none, who is friendly and compassionate, who has shed
all thought of ‘mine' or ‘I', who regards pain and pleasure alike, who
14. Who is ever content, gifted with yoga,
self-restrained, of firm conviction, who has dedicated his mind and
reason to Me—that devotee (bhakta) of Mine is dear to Me.
gives no trouble to the world, to whom the world causes no trouble, who
is free from exultation, resentment, fear and vexation,—that man is dear
16. Who expects naught, who is pure, resourceful,
unconcerned, untroubled, who indulges in no undertakings,—that devotee
of Mine is dear to Me.
17. Who rejoices not, neither frets nor
grieves, who covets not, who abandons both good and ill—that devotee of
Mine is dear to Me.
18. Who is same to foe and friend, who regards
alike respect and disrespect, cold and heat, pleasure and pain, who is
free from attachment;
19. Who weighs in equal scale blame and
praise, who is silent, content with whatever his lot, who owns no home,
who is of steady mind,—that devotee of Mine is dear to Me.
who follow this essence of dharma, as I have told it, with faith,
keeping Me as their goal,—those devotees are exceeding dear to Me.
ends the twelfth discourse entitled ‘Bhakti Yoga' in the converse of
Lord Krishna and Arjuna, on the science of Yoga, as part of the
knowledge of Brahman in the Upanishad called the Bhagawadgita.
discourse treats of the distinction between the body (not-Self) and the
Atman (the Self).
1. This body, O Kaunteya, is called the Field; he who knows it
is called the knower of the Field by those who know.
understand Me to be, O Bharata, the knower of the Field in all the
Fields; and the knowledge of the Field and the knower of the Field, I
hold, is true knowledge.
3. What the Field is, what its nature, what
its modifications, and whence is what, as also who He is, and what His
power—hear this briefly from Me.
4. This subject has been sung by
seers distinctively and in various ways, in different hymns as also in
aphoristic texts about Brahman well reasoned and unequivocal.
great elements, Individuation, Reason, the Unmanifest, the ten senses,
and the one (mind), and the five spheres of the senses;
dislike, pleasure, pain, association, consciousness, cohesion—this, in
sum, is what is called the Field with its modifications.
great elements are Earth, Water, Fire, Air and Ether. ‘Individuation' is
the thought of I, or that the body is ‘I'; the ‘Unmanifest' is prakriti
or maya; the ten senses are the five senses of perception—smell, taste,
sight, touch and hearing, and the five organs of action, viz.: the
hands, the feet, the tongue, and the two organs of excretion. The five
spheres or objects of the senses are smell, savour, form, touch, and
sound. ‘Association' is the property of the different organs to
co-operate. Dhriti is not patience or constancy but cohesion, i.e. the
property of all the atoms in the body to hold together; from
‘individuation' springs this cohesion. Individuation is inherent in the
unmanifest prakriti. The undeluded man is he who can cast off the
individuation or ego, and having done so the shock of an inevitable
thing like death and pairs of opposites caused by sense-contacts fail to
affect him. The Field, subject to all its modifications, has to be
abandoned in the end by the enlightened and the unenlightened alike.
from pride and pretentiousness, nonviolence, forgiveness, uprightness,
service of the Master, purity, steadfastenes, self-restraint;
Aversion from sense-objects, absence of conceit, realization of the
painfulness and evil of birth, death, age and disease;
9. Absence of
attachment, refusal to be wrapped up in one's children, wife, home and
family, even-mindedness whether good or ill befall;
and all-exclusive devotion to Me, resort to secluded spots, distaste for
the haunts of men;
11. Settled conviction of the nature of the
Atman, perception of the goal of the knowledge of Truth,—
is declared to be Knowledge and the reverse of it is ignorance.
I will (now) expound to thee that which is to be known and knowing which
one enjoys immortality; it is the supreme Brahman which has no
beginning, which is called neither Being nor non-Being.
Supreme can be described neither as Being nor as non-Being. It is beyond
definition or description, above all attributes.
Everywhere having hands and feet, everywhere having eyes, heads, mouths,
everywhere having ears, It abides embracing everything in the universe.
14. Seeming to possess the functions of the senses, It is devoid of
all the senses; It touches naught, upholds all; having no gunas, It
experiences the gunas.
15. Without all beings, yet within; immovable
yet moving, so subtle that It cannot be perceived; so far and yet so
near It is.
knows It is within It, close to It; mobility and immobility, peace and
restlessness, we owe to It, for It has motion and yet is
Undivided, It seems to subsist divided in all beings; this Brahman—That
which is to be known as the Sustainer of all, yet It is their Devourer
17. Light of all lights, It is said to be beyond
darkness; It is knowledge, the object of knowledge, to be gained only by
knowledge; It is seated in the hearts of all.
18. Thus have I
expounded in brief the Field, Knowledge and That which is to be known;
My devotee, when he knows this, is worthy to become one with Me.
Know that Prakriti and Purusha are both without beginning; know that all
the modifications and gunas are born of Prakriti.
20. Prakriti is
described as the cause in the creation of effects from causes; Purusha
is described as the cause of the experiencing of pleasure and pain.
21. For the Purusha, residing in Prakriti, experiences the gunas
born in Prakriti; attachment to these gunas is the cause of his birth in
good or evil wombs.
Prakriti in common parlance is Maya. Purusha is the Jiva.
Jiva acting in accordance with his nature experiences the fruit of
actions arising out of the three gunas.
22. What is
called in this body the Witness, the Assentor, the Sustainer, the
Experiencer, the Great Lord and also the Supreme Atman, is Supreme
23. He who thus knows Purusha and Prakriti with its gunas, is
not born again, no matter how he live and move.
the light of discourses II, IX and XII this shloka may not be taken to
support any kind of libertinism. It shows the virtue of self-surrender
and selfless devotion. All actions bind the self, but if all are
dedicated to the Lord they do not bind, rather they release him. He who
has thus extinguished the ‘self or the thought of ‘I' and who acts as
ever in the great witness' eye, will never sin nor err. the self-sense
is at the root of all error or sin. Where the ‘I' has ben extinguished,
there is no sin. This shloka shows how to steer clear of all sin.
through meditation hold the Atman by themselves in their own self;
others by Sankhya Yoga, and others by Karma Yoga.
25. Yet others,
not knowing (Him) thus, worship (Him) having heard from others; they too
pass beyond death, because of devoted adherence to what they have heard.
26. Wherever something is born, animate or inanimate, know thou
Bharatarshabha, that it issues from the union of the Field and the
Knower of the Field.
27. Who sees abiding in all beings the same
Parameshvara, imperishable in the perishable, he sees indeed.
When he sees the same Ishvara abiding everywhere alike, he does not hurt
himself by himself and hence he attains the highest goal.
sees the same God everywhere merges in Him and sees naught else; he thus
does not yield to passion, does not become his own foe and thus attains
sees that it is Prakriti that performs all actions and thus (knows) that
Atman performs them not, he sees indeed.
as, in the case of a man who is asleep, his "Self" is not the agent of
sleep, but Prakriti, even so the enlightened man will detach his "Self"
from all activities. to the pure everything is pure. Prakriti is not
unchaste, it is when arrogant man takes her as wife that of these twain
passion is born.
30. When he
sees the diversity of beings as founded in unity and the whole expanse
issuing therefrom, then he attains to Brahman.
realize that everything rests in Brahman is to attain to the state of
Brahman. Then Jiva becomes Shiva.
imperishable Supreme Atman, O Kaunteya, though residing in the body,
acts not and is not stained, for he has no beginning and no gunas.
32. As the all-pervading ether, by reason of its subtlety, is not
soiled even so Atman pervading every part of the body is not soiled.
33. As the one Sun illumines the whole universe, even so the Master
of the Field illumines the whole field, O Bharata!
34. Those who,
with the eyes of knowledge, thus perceive the distinction between the
Field and the Knower of the Field, and (the secret) of the release o
beings from Prakriti, they attain to the Supreme.
ends the thirteenth discourse, entitled ‘Kshetra-kshetrajnavibhaga Yoga'
in the converse of Lord Krishna and Arjuna, on the science of Yoga, as
part of the knowledge of Brahman in the Upanishad called the
description of Prakriti naturally leads on to that of its constituents,
the Gunas, which from the subject of this discourse. And that, in turn,
leads to a description of the marks of him who has passed beyond the
three gunas. These are practically the same as those of the man of
secure understanding (II. 54-72) as also those of the ideal Bhakta (XII.
1. Yet again I will expound the highest and the best of all
knowledge, knowing which all the sages passed hence to the highest
2. By having recourse to this knowledge they became one
with Me. They need not come to birth even at a creation, nor do they
suffer at a dissolution.
3. The great prakriti is for me the womb in
which I deposit the germ; from it all beings come to birth, O Bharata.
4. Whatever forms take birth in the various species, the great
prakriti is their Mother and I the seed-giving Father.
rajas and tamas are the gunas sprung from prakriti; it is they, O
Mahabahu, that keep the imperishable Dweller bound to the body.
Of these sattva, being stainless, is light-giving and healing; it binds
with the bond of happiness and the bond of knowledge, O sinless one.
7. Rajas, know thou, is of the nature of passion, the source of
thirst and attachment; it keeps man bound with the bond of action.
8. Tamas, know thou, born of ignorance, is mortal man's delusion; it
keeps him bound with heedlessness, sloth and slumber, O Bharata.
Sattva attaches man to happiness, rajas to action, and tamas, shrouding
knowledge, attaches him to heedlessness.
10. Sattva prevails, O
Bharata, having overcome rajas and tamas; rajas, when it has overpowered
sattva and tamas; likewise tamas reigns when sattva and rajas are
11. When the light—knowledge—shines forth from al the gates
of this body, then it may be known that the sattva thrives.
Greed, activity, assumption of undertakings, restlessness, craving—these
are in evidence when rajas flourishes, O Bharatarshabha.
Ignorance, dullness, heedlessness, and delusion—these are in evidence
when tamas reigns, O Kurunandana.
14. If the embodied one meets his
end whilst sattva prevails, then he attains to the spotless worlds of
the knowers of the Highest.
15. If he dies during the reign within
him of rajas, he is born among men attached to action; and if he dies in
tamas, he is born in species not endowed with reason.
16. The fruit
of sattvika action is said to be stainless merit. That of rajas is pain
and that of tamas ignorance.
18. Those abiding in sattva rise
upwards, those in rajas stay midway, those in tamas sink downwards.
19. when the seer perceives no agent other than the gunas, and knows
Him who is above the gunas, he attains to My being.
as a man realizes that he is not the doer, but the gunas are the agent,
the ‘self' vanishes, and he goes through all his actions spontaneously,
just to sustain the body. And as the body is meant to subserve the
highest end, all his actions will even reveal detachment and dispassion.
Such a seer can easily have a glimpse of the One who is above the gunas
and offer his devotion to Him.
20. When the embodied one transcends
these three gunas which are born of his contact with the body, he is
released from the pain of birth, death and age and attains
21. What, O Lord, are the marks of him who has transcended the
three gunas? How does he conduct himself? How does he transcend the
The Lord Said:
22. He, O Pandava, who does not
disdain light, activity, and delusion when they come into being, nor
desires them when they vanish;
23. He, who seated as one
indifferent, is not shaken by the gunas, and stays still and moves not,
knowing it is gunas playing their parts;
24. He who holds pleasure
and pain alike, who is sedate, who regards as same earth, stone and
gold, who is wise and weighs in equal scale things pleasant and
unpleasant, who is even-minded in praise and blame;
25. Who holds
alike respect and disrespect, who is the same to friend and foe, who
indulges in no undertakings—That man is called gunatita.
22-25 must be read and considered together. Light activity and delusion,
as we have seen in the foregoing shlokas, are the products or
indications of sattva, rajas and tamas respectively. The inner meaning
of these verses is that he who has transcended the gunas will be
unaffected by them. A stone does not desire light, nor does it disdain
activity or inertness; it is still, without having the will to be so. If
someone puts it into motion, it does not fret; if again, it is allowed
to lie still, it does not feel that inertness or delusion has seized it.
The difference between a stone and a gunatita is that the latter has
full consciousness and with full knowledge he shakes himself free from
the bonds that bind an ordinary mortal. He has, as a result of his
knowledge, achieved the purpose of a stone. Like the stone he is
witness, but not the doer, of the activities of the gunas or prakriti.
Of such jnani one may say that he is sitting still, unshaken in the
knowledge that it is the gunas playing their parts. We who are every
moment of our lives acting as though we are the doers can only imagine
the state, we can hardly experience it. But we can hitch our waggon to
that star and work our way closer and closer towards it by gradually
withdrawing the self from our actions. A gunatita has experience of his
own condition but he cannot describe it, for he who can describe it
ceases to be one. The moment he proceeds to do so, ‘self' peeps in. The
peace and light and bustle and inertness of our common experience are
illusory. The Gita itself has made it clear in so many words that the
sattvika state is the one nearest that of a gunatita. Therefore every
one should strive to develop more and more sattva in himself, believing
that some day he will reach the goal of the state of gunatita.
26. He who
serves me in an unwavering and exclusive bhaktiyoga transcends these
gunas and is worthy to become one with Brahman.
27. For I am the
very image of Brahman, changeless and deathless, as also of everlasting
dharma and perfect bliss.
ends the fourteenth discourse, entitled ‘Gunatrayavibhaga Yoga' in the
converse of Lord Krishna and Arjuna, on the science of Yoga, as part of
the knowledge of Brahman, in the Upanishad called the Bhagawadgita.
discourse deals with the supreme form of the Lord, transcending Kshara
(perishable) and Akshara (imperishable).
1. With the root above and branches below, the ashvattha tree,
they say, is impossible; it has Vedic hymns for its leaves; he who knows
it knows the Vedas.
means tomorrow, and ashvattha (na shvopi sthata) means that which will
not last even until tomorrow, i.e. the world of sense which is every
moment in a state of flux. But even though it is perpetually changing,
as its root is Brahman or the Supreme, it is imperishable. It has for
its protection and support the leaves of the Vedic hymns, i.e. dharma.
He who knows the world of sense as such and who knows dharma is the real
jnani, that man has really known the Vedas.
all and below its branches spread, blossoming because of the gunas,
having for their shoots the sense-objects; deep down in the world of men
are ramified its roots, in the shape of the consequences of
the description of the tree of the world of sense as the unenlightened
see it. They fail to discover its Root above in Brahman and so they are
always attached to the objects of sense. They water the tree with the
three gunas and remain bound to Karman in the world of men.
3. Its form
as such is not here perceived, neither is its end, nor beginning, nor
basis. Let man first hew down this deep-rooted Ashvattha with the sure
weapon of detachment;
4. Let him pray to win to that haven from
which there is no return and seek to find refuge in the primal Being
from whom has emanated this ancient world of action.
‘Detachment in shl. 3 here means dispassion, aversion to the
objects of the senses. Unless man is determined to cut himself off from
the temptations of the world of sense he will go deeper into the mire
every day. These verses show that one dare not play with the objects of
the senses with impunity.
5. To that
imperishable haven those enlightened souls go—who are without pride and
delusion, who have triumphed over the taints of attachment, who are ever
in tune with the Supreme, whose passions have died, who are exempt from
the pairs of opposites, such as pleasure and pain.
6. Neither the
sun, nor the moon, nor fire illumine it; men who arrive there return
not—that is My supreme abode.
7. As part indeed of Myself which has
been the eternal Jiva in this world of life, attracts the mind and the
five senses from their place in prakriti.
8. When the master (of the
body) acquires a body and discards it he carries these with him wherever
he goes, even as the wind carries scents from flower beds.
settled himself in the senses—ear, eye, touch, taste, and smell—as well
as the mind, through them he frequents their objects.
objects are the natural objects of the senses. The frequenting or
enjoyment of these would be tainted if there were the sense of ‘I' about
it; otherwise it is pure, even as a child's enjoyment of these objects
deluded perceive Him not as He leaves or settles in (a body) or enjoys
(sense objects) in association with the gunas; it is those endowed with
the eye of knowledge who alone see Him.
11. Yogins who strive see
Him seated in themselves; the witless ones who have not cleansed
themselves to see Him not, even though they strive.
does not conflict with the covenant that God has made even with the
sinner in discourse 9. Akritatman (who has not cleansed himself) means
one who has no devotion in him, who has not made up his mind to purify
himself. The most confirmed sinner, if he has humility enough to seek
refuge in surrender to God, purifies himself and succeeds in finding
Him. Those who do not care to observe the cardinal and the casual vows
and expect to find God through bare intellectual exercise are witless,
Godless; they will not find Him.
light in the sun which illumines the whole universe and which is in the
moon and in fire—that light, know thou, is Mine;
13. It is I, who
penetrating the earth uphold all beings with My strength, and becoming
the moon—the essence of all sap—nourish all the herbs;
14. It is I
who becoming the Vaishvanara Fire and entering the bodies of all that
breathe, assimilate the four kinds of food with the help of the outward
and the inward breaths.
15. And I am seated in the hearts of all,
from Me proceed memory, knowledge and the dispelling of doubts; it is I
who am to be known in all the Vedas, I, the author of Vedanta and the
knower of the Vedas.
16. There are two Beings in the world: kshara
(perishable) and akshara (imperishable). Kshara embraces all creatures
and their permanent basis is akshara.
17. The Supreme Being is
surely another—called Paramatman who is the Imperishable Ishvara
pervades and supports the three worlds.
18. Because I transcend the
kshara and am also higher than the akshara, I am known in the world and
in the Vedas as Purushottama (the Highest Being).
19. He who,
undeluded, knows Me as Purushottama, knows all, he worships Me with all
his heart, O Bharata.
20. Thus I have revealed to thee, sinless one,
this most mysterious shastra; he who understands this, O Bharata, is a
man of understanding, he has fulfilled his life's mission.
ends the fifteenth discourse, entitled ‘purushottama Yoga' in the
converse of Lord krishna and Arjuna, on the science of Yoga, as part of
the knowledge of Brahman in the Upanishad called the Bhagawadgita.
discourse treats of the divine and the devilish heritage.
1. Fearlessness, purity of heart, steadfastness in jnana and
yoga—knowledge and action, beneficence, self-restraint, sacrifice,
spiritual study, austerity, and uprightness;
2. Non-violence, truth,
slowness to wrath, the spirit of dedication, serenity, aversion to
slander, tenderness to all that lives, freedom from greed, gentleness,
modesty, freedom from levity;
3. Spiritedness, forgiveness,
fortitude, purity, freedom from ill-will and arrogance—these are to be
found in one born with the divine heritage, O Bharata.
Pretentiousness, arrogance, self-conceit, wrath, coarseness,
ignorance—these are to be found in one born with the devilish heritage.
5. The divine heritage makes for Freedom, the devilish for bondage.
Grieve not, O Partha; thou art born with a divine heritage.
are two orders of created beings in this world—the divine and the
devilish; the divine order has been described in detail, hear from Me
now of the devilish, O Partha.
7. Men of the devil do not know what
they may do and what they may not do; neither is there any purity, nor
right conduct, nor truth to be found in them.
8. ‘Without truth,
without basis, without God is the universe,' they say; ‘born of the
union of the sexes, prompted by naught but lust.'
9. Holding this
view, these depraved souls, of feeble understanding and of fierce deeds,
come forth as enemies of the world to destroy it.
10. Given to
insatiable lust, possessed by pretentiousness, arrogance and conceit,
they seize wicked purposes in their delusion, and go about pledged to
11. Given to boundless cares that end only with
their death, making indulgence or lust their sole goal, convinced that
that is all;
12. Caught in a myriad snares of hope, slaves to lust
and wrath, they speak unlawfully to amass wealth for the satisfaction of
13. ‘This have I gained today; this aspiration
shall I now attain; this wealth is mine; this likewise shall be mine
14. ‘This enemy I have already slain, others also I shall
slay; lord of all am I; enjoyment is mine, perfection is mine, strength
is mine, happiness is mine;
15. ‘Wealthy am I, and high-born. What
other is like unto me? I shall perform a sacrifice! I shall give alms! I
shall be merry!' Thus think they, by ignorance deluded;
tossed about by diverse fancies, caught in the net of delusion, stuck
deep in the indulgence of appetites, into foul hell they fall.
Wise in their own conceit, stubborn, full of the intoxication of pelf
and pride, they offer nominal sacrifices for show, contrary to the rule.
18. Given to pride, force, arrogance, lust and wrath they are
deriders indeed, scorning Me in their own and other' bodies.
These cruel scorners, lowest of mankind and vile, I hurl down again and
again, into devilish wombs.
20. Doomed to devilish wombs, these
deluded ones, far from ever coming to Me, sink lower and lower in birth
21. Three-fold is the gate of hell, leading man to
perdition—Lust, Wrath, and Greed; these three, therefore, should be
22. The man who escapes these three gates of Darkness, O
Kaunteya, works out his welfare and thence reaches the highest state.
23. He who forsakes the rule of shastra and does but the bidding of
his selfish desires, gains neither perfection, nor happiness, nor the
does not mean the rites and formulae laid down in the so-called
dharmashastra, but the path of self-restraint laid down by the seers and
Therefore let shastra be thy authority for determining what ought to be
done and what ought not to be done; ascertain thou the rule of the
shastra and do thy task here (accordingly).
here too has the same meaning as in the preceding shloka. Let no one be
a law unto himself, but take as his authority the law laid down by men
who have known and lived religion.
ends the sixteenth discourse, entitled ‘Daivasurasampadvibhaga Yoga' in
the converse of Lord Krishna and Arjuna, on the science of Yoga, as part
of the knowledge of Brahman in the Upanishad called the
being asked to consider shastra (conduct of the worthy) as the
authority, Arjuna is faced with a difficulty. What is the position of
those who may not be able to accept the authority of Shastra but who may
act in faith? An answer to the question is attempted in this discourse.
Krishna rests content with pointing out the rocks and shoals on the path
of the one who forsakes the beaconlight of Shastra (conduct of the
worthy). In doing so he deals with the faith and sacrifice, austerity
and charity, performed with faith, and their divisions according to the
spirit in which they are performed. He also sings the greatness of the
mystic syllables AUM TAT SAT—a formula of dedication of all work to God.
1. What, then, O Krishna, is the position of those who forsake
the rule of Shastra and yet worship with faith? Do they act from sattva
or rajas or tamas?
The Lord Said:
2. Threefold is the faith of
men, an expression of their nature in each case; it is sattvika, rajas
or tamasa. Hear thou of it.
3. The faith of every man is in accord
with his innate character; man is made up of faith; whatever his object
of faith, even so is he.
4. Sattvika persons worship the gods; rajas
ones, the Yakshas and Rakshasas; and others—men of tamas—worship manes
5. Those men who, wedded to pretentiousness and
arrogance, possessed by the violence of lust and passion, practice
fierce austerity not ordained by shastra;
6. They, whilst they
torture the several elements that make up their bodies, torture Me too
dwelling in them; know them to be of unholy resolves.
7. Of three
kinds again is the food that is dear to each; so also are sacrifice,
austerity, and charity. Hear how they differ.
8. Victuals that add
to one's years, vitality, strength, health, happiness and appetite; are
savoury, rich, substantial and inviting, are dear to the sattvika.
9. Victuals that are bitter, sour, salty, over-hot, spicy, dry,
burning, and causing pain, bitterness and disease, are dear to rajasa.
10. Food which has become cold, insipid, putrid, stale, discarded
and unfit for sacrifice, is dear to the tamasa.
11. That sacrifice
is sattvika which is willingly offered as a duty without desire for
fruit and according to the rule.
12. But when sacrifice is offered
with an eye to fruit and for vain glory, know, O Bharatashreshtha, that
it is rajasa.
13. Sacrifice which is contrary to the rule, which
produces no food, which lacks the sacred text, which involves no giving
up, which is devoid of faith is said to be tamasa.
14. Homage to the
gods, to Brahmanas, to gurus and to wise men; cleanliness, uprightness,
brahmacharya and non-violence—these constitute austerity (tapas) of the
15. Words that cause no hurt, that are true loving and
helpful, and spiritual study constitute austerity of speech.
Serenity, benignity, silence, self-restraint, and purity of the
spirit—these constitute austerity of the mind.
17. This threefold
austerity practiced in perfect faith by men not desirous of fruit, and
disciplined, is said to be sattvika.
18. Austerity which is
practiced with an eye to gain praise, honour and homage and for
ostentation is said to be rajasa; it is fleeting and unstable.
Austerity which is practiced from any foolish obsession, either to
torture oneself or to procure another's ruin, is called tamasa.
Charity, given as a matter of duty, without expectation of any return,
at the right place and time, and to the right person is said to be
21. Charity, which is given either in hope of receiving in
return, or with a view of winning merit, or grudgingly, is declared to
22. Charity given at the wrong place and time, and to the
undeserving recipient disrespectfully and with contempt is declared to
23. AUM TAT SAT has been declared to be the threefold
name of Brahman and by that name were created of old the Brahmanas, the
Vedas and sacrifices.
24. Therefore, with AUM ever on their lips,
are all the rites of sacrifice, charity and austerity, performed always
to the rule, by Brahmavadins.
25. With the utterance of TAT and
without the desire for fruit are the several rites of sacrifice,
austerity and charity performed by those seeking Freedom.
26. SAT is
employed in the sense of ‘real' and ‘good'; O Partha, SAT is also
applied to beautiful deeds.
27. Constancy in sacrifice, austerity
and charity, is called SAT; and all work for those purposes is also SAT.
substance of the last four shlokas is that every action should be done
in a spirit of complete dedication to God. For AUM alone is the only
Reality. That only which is dedicated to It counts.
Whatever is done, O Partha, by way of sacrifice, charity or austerity or
any other work, is called Asat if done without faith. It counts for
naught hereafter as here.
ends the seventeenth discourse, entitled ‘Sharaddhatrayavibhaga Yoga' in
the converse of Lord Krishna and Arjuna, on the science of Yoga, as part
of the knowledge of Brahman in the Upanishad called the Bhagawadgita.
concluding discourse sums up the teaching of the Gita. It may be said to
be summed up in the following: "Abandon all duties and come to Me, the
only Refuge" (66). That is true renunciation. But abandonment of all
duties does not mean abandonment of actions; it means abandonment of the
desire for fruit. Even the highest act of service must be dedicated to
Him, without the desire. That is Tyaga (abandonment), that is Sannyasa
1. Mahabahu! I would fain learn severally the secret of
sannyasa and of tyaga, O Hrishikesha, O Keshinishudana.
2. Renunciation of actions springing from selfish desire is
known as sannyasa by the seers; abandonment of the fruit of all action
is called tyaga by the wise.
3. Some thoughtful persons say: ‘All
action should be abandoned as an evil'; others say: ‘Action for
sacrifice, charity and austerity should not be relinquished'.
Hear my decision in this matter of tyaga, O Bharatasattama; for tyaga,
too, O mightiest of men, has been described to be of three kinds.
Action for sacrifice, charity and austerity may not be abandoned; it
must needs be performed. Sacrifice, charity and austerity are purifiers
of the wise.
6. But even these actions should be performed
abandoning all attachment and fruit; such, O Partha, is my best and
7. It is not right to renounce one's allotted
task; its abandonment, from delusion, is said to be tamasa.
who abandons action, deeming it painful and for fear of straining his
limbs, he will never gain the fruit of abandonment, for his abandonment
9. But when an allotted task is performed from a sense of
duty and with abandonment of attachment and fruit, O Arjuna, that
abandonment is deemed to be sattvika.
10. Neither does he disdain
unpleasant action, nor does he cling to pleasant action—this wise man
full of sattva, who practices abandonment, and who has shaken off all
11. For the embodied one cannot completely abandon action;
but he who abandons the fruit of action is named a tyagi.
those who do not practice abandonment accrues, when they pass away, the
fruit of action which is of three kinds: disagreeable, agreeable, mixed;
but never to the sannyasins.
13. Learn, from me, O Mahabahu, the
five factors mentioned in the Sankhyan doctrine for the accomplishment
of all action:
14. The field, the doer, the various means, the
several different operations, the fifth and the last, the Unseen.
15. Whatever action, right or wrong, a man undertakes to do with the
body, speech or mind, these are the five factors thereof.
being so, he who, by reason of unenlightened intellect, sees the
unconditioned Atman as the agent—such a man is dense and unseeing.
17. He who is free from all sense of ‘I', whose motive is untainted,
slays not nor is bound, even though he slay all these worlds.
shloka though seemingly somewhat baffling is not really so. The Gita on
many occasions presents the ideal to attain which the aspirant has to
strive but which may not be possible completely to realize in the world.
It is like definitions in geometry. A perfect straight line does not
exist, but it is necessary to imagine it in order to prove the various
propositions. Even so, it is necessary to hold up ideals of this nature
as standards for imitation in matters of conduct. This then would seem
to be the meaning of this shloka: He who has made ashes of ‘self', whose
motive is untainted, may slay the whole world, if he will. But in
reality he who has annihilated ‘self' has annihilated his flesh too, and
he whose motive is untainted sees the past, present and future. Such a
being can be one and only one—God. He acts and yet is no doer, slays and
yet is no slayer. For mortal man and royal road—the conduct of the
worthy—is ever before him, viz. ahimsa—holding all life sacred.
Knowledge, the object of knowledge, and the knower compose the threefold
urge to action; the means, the action and the doer compose the threefold
sum of action.
19. Knowledge, action, and the doer are of three kinds
according to their different gunas; hear thou these, just as they have
been described in the science of the gunas.
20. Know that knowledge
whereby one sees in all beings immutable entity—a unity in diversity—to
21. That knowledge which perceives separately in all
beings several entities of diverse kinds, know thou to be rajasa.
22. And knowledge which, without reason, clings to one single thing,
as though it were everything, which misses the true essence and is
superficial is tamasa.
23. That action is called sattvika which,
being one's allotted task, is performed without attachment, without like
or dislike, and without a desire for fruit.
24. That action which is
prompted by the desire for fruit, or by the thought of ‘I', and which
involves much dissipation of energy is called rajasa.
action which is blindly undertaken without any regard to capacity and
consequences, involving loss and hurt, is called tamasa.
doer is called sattvika who has shed all attachment, all thought of ‘I',
who is filled with firmness and zeal, and who recks neither success nor
27. That doer is said to be rajasa who is passionate,
desirous of the fruit of action, greedy, violent, unclean, and moved by
joy and sorrow.
28. That doer is called tamasa who is undisciplined,
vulgar, stubborn, knavish, spiteful, indolent, woebegone, and dilatory.
29. Hear now, O Dhananjaya, detailed fully and severally, the
threefold division of understanding and will, according to their gunas.
30. That understanding, O Partha, is sattvika which knows action
from inaction, what ought to be done from what ought not to be done,
fear from fearlessness and bondage from release.
understanding, O Partha, is rajasa, which decides erroneously between
right and wrong, between what ought to be done and what ought not to be
32. That understanding, O Partha, is tamasa, which, shrouded
in darkness, thinks wrong to be right and mistakes everything for its
33. That will, O Partha, is sattvika which maintains an
unbroken harmony between the activities of the mind, the vital energies
and the senses.
34. That will, O Partha, is rajasa which clings,
with attachment, to righteousness, desire and wealth, desirous of fruit
in each case.
35. That will, O Partha, is tamasa, whereby insensate
man does not abandon sleep, fear, grief, despair and self-conceit.
36. Hear now from Me, O Bharatarshabha, the three kinds of pleasure.
Pleasure which is enjoyed only by repeated practice, and
which puts an end to pain.
in its inception, is as poison, but in the end as nectar, born of the
serene realization of the true nature of Atman—that pleasure is said to
38. That pleasure is called rajasa which, arising from
the contact of the senses with their objects, is at first as nectar but
in the end like poison.
39. That pleasure is called tamasa which
arising from sleep and sloth and heedlessness, stupefies the soul both
at first and in the end.
40. There is no being, either on earth or
in heaven among the gods, that can be free from these three gunas born
41. The duties of Brahmanas, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas, and
Shudras, are distributed according to their innate qualifications, O
42. Serenity, self-restraint, austerity, purity,
forgiveness, uprightness, knowledge and discriminative knowledge, faith
in God are the Brahmana's natural duties.
43. Valour, spiritedness,
constancy, resourcefulness, not fleeing from battle, generosity, and the
capacity to rule are the natural duties of a Kshatriya.
the soil, protection of the cow and commerce are the natural functions
of a Vaishya, while service is the natural duty of a Shudra.
Each man, by complete absorption in the performance of his duty, wins
perfection. Hear now how he wins such perfection by devotion to that
46. By offering the worship of his duty to Him who is the
moving spirit of all beings, and by whom all this is pervaded, man wins
47. Better one's own duty, though uninviting, than
another's which may be more easily performed; doing duty which accords
with one's nature, one incurs no sin.
central teaching of the Gita is detachment—abandonment of the fruit of
action. And there would be no room for this abandonment if one were to
prefer another's duty to one's own. Therefore one's own duty is said to
be better than another's. It is the spirit in which duty is done that
matters, and its unattached performance is its own reward.
should not abandon, O Kaunteya, that duty to which one is born,
imperfect though it be; for all action, in its inception, is enveloped
in imperfection, as fire in smoke.
49. He who has weaned himself of
all kinds, who is master of himself, who is dead to desire, attains
through renunciation the perfection of freedom from action.
Learn now from Me, in brief, O Kaunteya, how he who has gained this
perfection, attains to Brahman, the supreme consummation of knowledge.
51. Equipped with purified understanding, restraining the self with
firm will, abandoning sound and other objects of the senses, putting
aside likes and dislikes,
52. Living in solitude, spare in diet,
restrained in speech, body and mind, ever absorbed in dhyanayoga,
anchored in dispassion,
53. Without pride, violence, arrogance,
lust, wrath, possession, having shed all sense of ‘mine' and at peace
with himself, he is fit to become one with Brahman.
54. One with
Brahman and at peace with himself, he grieves not, nor desires; holding
all beings alike, he achieves supreme devotion to Me.
devotion, he realizes in truth how great I am, who I am; and having
known Me in reality he enters into Me.
56. Even whilst always
performing actions, he who makes Me his refuge wins, by My grace, the
eternal and imperishable haven.
57. Casting, with thy mind, all
actions on Me, make Me thy goal, and resorting to the yoga of
even-mindedness fix thy thought ever on Me.
58. Fixing his thy
thought on Me, thou shalt surmount all obstacles by My grace; but if
possessed by the sense of ‘I' thou listen not, thou shalt perish.
59. If obsessed by the sense of ‘I', thou thinkest, ‘I will not
fight', vain is thy obsession; (thy) nature will compel thee.
What thou wilt not do, O Kaunteya, because of thy delusion, thou shalt
do, even against thy will, bound as thou art by the duty to which thou
61. God, O Arjuna, dwells in the heart of every being and
by His delusive mystery whirls them all, (as though) set on a machine.
62. In Him alone seek thy refuge with all thy heart, O Bharata. By
His grace shalt thou win to the eternal haven of supreme peace.
Thus have I expounded to thee the most mysterious of all knowledge;
ponder over it fully, then act as thou wilt.
64. Hear again My
supreme word, the most mysterious of all; dearly beloved thou art of Me,
hence I desire to declare thy welfare.
65. On Me fix thy mind, to Me
bring thy devotion, to Me offer thy sacrifice, to Me make thy obeisance;
to Me indeed shalt thou come—solemn is My promise to thee, thou art dear
66. Abandon all duties and come to Me the only refuge. I will
release thee from all sins; grieve not!
67. Utter this never to him
who knows no austerity, has no devotion, nor any desire to listen, nor
yet to him who scoffs at Me.
68. He who will propound this supreme
mystery to My devotees, shall, by that act of highest devotion to Me,
surely come to Me.
69. Nor among men is there any who renders dearer
service to Me than he; nor shall there be on earth any more beloved by
Me than he.
only he who has himself gained the knowledge and lived it in his life
that can declare it to others. These two shlokas cannot possibly have
any reference to him, who no matter how he conducts himself, can give
flawless reading and interpretation of the Gita.
70. And the
man of faith who, scorning not, will but listen to it,—even he shall be
released and will go to the happy worlds of men of virtuous deeds.
72. Hast thou heard this, O Partha, with a concentrated mind? Has
thy delusion, born of ignorance, been destroyed, O Dhananjaya?
73. Thanks to Thy grace, O Achyuta, my delusion is
destroyed, my understanding has returned. I stand secure, my doubts all
dispelled; I will do thy bidding.
74. Thus did I
hear this marvellous and thrilling discourse between Vasudeva and the
75. It was by Vyasa's favor that I listened to
this supreme and mysterious Yoga as expounded by the lips of the Master
of Yoga, Krishna Himself.
76. O King, as often as I recall that
marvellous and purifying discourse between Keshava and Arjuna, I am
filled with recurring rapture.
77. And as often as I recall that
marvellous form of Hari, my wonder knows no bounds and I rejoice again
78. Wheresoever Krishna, the Master of Yoga, is, and
wheresoever is Partha the Bowman, there rest assured are Fortune,
Victory, Prosperity, and Eternal Right.
ends the eighteenth discourse, entitled ‘Sannyasa Yoga' in the converse
of Lord Krishna and Arjuna, on the science of Yoga, as part of the
knowledge of Brahman in the Upanishad called the Bhagawadgita.
Gandhi's introduction to the Bhagavad Gita.
acted upon by the affection of co-workers like Swami Anand and others, I
wrote My Experiments with Truth, so has it been regarding my rendering
of the Gita. "We shall be able to appreciate your meaning of the message
of the Gita, only when we are able to study a translation of the whole
text by yourself, with the addition of such notes as you may deem
necessary. I do not think it is just on your part to deduce ahimsa etc.
from stray verses," thus spoke Swami Anand to me during the
non-cooperation days. I felt the force of his remarks. I, therefore,
told him that I would adopt his suggestion when I got the time. Shortly
afterwards I was imprisoned. During my incarceration I was able to study
the Gita more fully. I went reverently through the Gujarati translation
of the Lokamanya's great work. He had kindly presented me with the
Marathi original and the translations in Gujarati and Hindi, and had
asked me, if I could not tackle the original, at least to go through the
Gujarati translation. I had not been able to follow the advice outside
the prison walls. But when I was imprisoned I read the Gujarati
translation. This reading whetted my appetite for more and I glanced
through several works on the Gita.
2. My first
acquaintance with the Gita began in 1888-89 with the verse translation
by Sir Edwin Arnold known as the Song Celestial. On reading it, I felt a
keen desire to read a Gujarati translation. And I read as many
translations as I could lay hold of. But all such reading can give me no
passport for presenting my own translation. Then again my knowledge of
Sanskrit is limited, my knowledge of Gujarati too is in no way
scholarly. How could I then dare present the public with my translation?
3. It has
been my endeavor, as also that of some companions, to reduce to practice
the teaching of the Gita as I have understood it. The Gita has become
for us a spiritual reference book. I am aware that we ever fail to act
in perfect accord with the teaching. The failure is not due to want of
effort, but is in spite of it. Even though the failures we seem to see
rays of hope. The accompanying rendering contains the meaning of the
Gita message which this little band is trying to enforce in its daily
this rendering is designed for women, the commercial class, the
so-called Shudras and the like who have little or no literary equipment,
who have neither the time nor the desire to read the Gita in the
original and yet who stand in need of its support. In spite of my
Gujarati being unscholarly, I must own to having the desire to leave to
the Gujaratis, through the mother tongue, whatever knowledge I may
possess. I do indeed wish that at a time when literary output of a
questionable character is pouring upon the Gujaratis, they should have
before them a rendering the majority can understand of a book that is
regarded as unrivalled for its spiritual merit and so withstand the
overwhelming flood of unclean literature.
desire does not mean any disrespect to the other renderings. They have
their own place. But I am not aware of the claim made by the translators
of enforcing their meaning of the Gita in their own lives. At the back
of my reading there is the claim of an endeavour to enforce the meaning
in my own conduct for an unbroken period of forty years. For this reason
I do indeed harbour the wish that all Gujarati men or women wishing to
shape their conduct according to their faith, should digest and derive
strength from the translation here presented.
6. My co-workers, too,
have worked at this translation. My knowledge of Sanskrit being very
limited, I should not have full confidence in my literal translation. To
that extent, therefore, the translation has passed before the eyes of
Vinoba, Kaka Kalelkar, Mahadev Desai and Kishorlal Mashruwala.
about the message of the Gita.
8. Even in
1888-89, when I first became acquainted with the Gita, I felt that it
was not a historical work, but that, under the guise of physical
warfare, it described the duel that perpetually went on in the hearts
mankind, and that physical warfare was brought in merely to make the
description of the internal duel more alluring. This preliminary
intuition became more confirmed on a closer study of religion and the
Gita. A study of the Mahabharata gave it added confirmation. I do not
regard the Mahabharata as a historical work in the accepted sense. The
Adiparva contains powerful evidence in support of my opinion. By
ascribing to the chief actors superhuman or subhuman origins, the great
Vyasa made short work the history of kings and their peoples. The
persons therein described may be historical, but the author of the
Mahabharata has used them merely to drive home his religious theme.
author of the Mahabharata has not established the necessity of physical
warfare; on the contrary he has proved its futility. He has made the
victors shed tears of sorrow and repentance, and has left them nothing
but a legacy of miseries.
10. In this
great work the Gita is the crown. Its second chapter, instead of
teaching the rules of physical warfare, tells us how a perfected man is
to be known. In the characteristics of the perfected man of the Gita, I
do not see any to correspond to physical warfare. Its whole design is
inconsistent with the rules of conduct governing the relations between
of the Gita is perfection and right knowledge personified; but the
picture is imaginary. That does not mean that Krishna, the adored of his
people, never lived. But perfection is imagined. The idea of a perfect
incarnation is an aftergrowth.
Hinduism, incarnation is ascribed to one who has performed some
extraordinary service of mankind. All embodied life is in reality an
incarnation of God, but it is not usual to consider every living being
an incarnation. Future generations pay this homage to one who, in his
own generation, has been extraordinarily religious in his conduct. I can
see nothing wrong in this procedure; it takes nothing from God's
greatness, and there is no violence done to Truth. There is an Urdu
saying which means, "Adam is not God but he is a spark of the Divine."
And therefore he who is the most religiously behaved has most of the
divine spark in him. It is in accordance with this train of thought that
Krishna enjoys, in Hinduism, the status of the most perfect incarnation.
belief in incarnation is a testimony of man's lofty spiritual ambition.
Man is not at peace with himself til he has become like unto God. The
endeavour to reach this state is the supreme, the only ambition worth
having. And this is self-realization. This self-realization is the
subject of the Gita, as it is of all scriptures. But its author surely
did not write it to establish that doctrine. The object of the Gita
appears to me to be that of showing the most excellent way to attain
self-realization. That which is to be found, more or less clearly,
spread out here and there in Hindu religious books, has been brought out
in the clearest possible language in the Gita even at the risk of
matchless remedy is renunciation of fruits of action.
15. This is
the centre round which the Gita is woven. This renunciation is the
central sun, round which devotion, knowledge and the rest revolve like
planets. The body has been likened to a prison. There must be action
where there is body. Not one embodied being is exempted from labour. And
yet all religions proclaim that it is possible for man, by treating the
body as the temple of God, to attain freedom. Every action is tainted,
be it ever so trivial. How can the body be made the temple of God? In
other words how can one be free from action, i.e. from the taint of sin?
The Gita has answered the question in decisive language: "By desireless
action; by renouncing fruits of action; by dedicating all activities to
God, i.e., by surrendering oneself to Him body and soul."
desirelessness or renunciation does not come for the mere talking about
it. It is not attained by intellectual feat. It is attainable only by a
constant heart-churn. Right knowledge is necessary for attaining
renunciation. Learned men possess a knowledge of a kind. They may recite
the Vedas from memory, yet they may be steeped in self-indulgence. In
order that knowledge may not run riot, the author of the Gita has
insisted on devotion accompanying it and has given it the first place.
Knowledge without devotion will be like a misfire. Therefore, says the
Gita, "Have devotion, and knowledge will follow." This devotion is not
mere lip worship, it is a wrestling with death. Hence, the Gita's
assessment of the devotee's quality is similar to that of the sage.
the devotion required by the Gita is no soft-hearted effusiveness. It
certainly is not blind faith. The devotion of the Gita has the least to
do with the externals. A devotee may use, if he likes, rosaries,
forehead marks, make offerings, but these things are no test of his
devotion. He is the devotee who is jealous of none, who is a fount of
mercy, who is without egotism, who is selfless, who treats alike cold
and heat, happiness and misery, who is ever forgiving, who is always
contented, whose resolutions are firm, who has dedicated mind and soul
to God, who causes no dread, who is not afraid of others, who is free
from exultation, sorrow and fear, who is pure, who is versed in action
and yet remains unaffected by it, who renounces all fruit, good or bad,
who treats friend and foe alike, who is untouched by respect or
disrespect, who is not puffed up by praise, who does not go under when
people speak ill of him who loves silence and solitude, who has a
disciplined reason. Such devotion is inconsistent with the existence at
the same time of strong attachments.
18. We thus
see that to be a real devotee is to realize oneself. Self-realization is
not something apart. One rupee can purchase for us poison or nectar, but
knowledge or devotion cannot buy us salvation or bondage. These are not
media of exchange. They are themselves the thing we want. In other
words, if the means and the end are not identical, they are almost so.
The extreme of means is salvation. Salvation of the Gita is perfect
such knowledge and devotion, to be true, have to stand the test of
renunciation of fruits of action. Mere knowledge of right and wrong will
not make one fit for salvation. According to common notions, a mere
learned man will pass as a pandit. He need not perform any service. He
will regard as bondage even to lift a little lota. Where one test of
knowledge is non-liability for service, there is no room for such
mundane work as the lifting of a lota.
20. Or take
bhakti. The popular notion of bhakti is soft-heartedness, telling beads
and the like, and disdaining to do even a loving service, least the
telling of beads etc. might be interrupted. This bhakti, therefore,
leaves the rosary only for eating, drinking and the like, never for
grinding corn or nursing patients.
21. But the
Gita says: No one has attained his goal without action. Even men like
Janaka attained salvation through action. If even I were lazily to cease
working, the world would not perish. How much more necessary then for
the people at large to engage in action.
on the one hand it is beyond dispute that all action binds, on the other
hand it is equally true that all living beings have to do some work,
whether they will or no. Here all activity, whether mental or physical
is to be included in the term action. Then how is one to be free from
the bondage of action, even though he may be acting? The manner in which
the Gita has solved the problem is to my knowledge unique. The Gita
says: 'Do your allotted work but renounce its fruit--be detached and
work--have no desire for reward and work.'
This is the unmistakable
teaching of the Gita. He who gives up action falls. He who gives up only
the reward rises. But renunciation of fruit in no way means indifference
to the result. In regard to every action one must know the result that
is expected to follow, the means thereto, and the capacity for it. He,
who, being thus equipped, is without desire for the result and is yet
wholly engrossed in the due fulfillment of the task before him is said
to have renounced the fruits of his action.
let no one consider renunciation to mean want of fruit for the
renouncer. The Gita reading does not warrant such a meaning.
Renunciation means absence of hankering after fruit. As a matter of
fact, he who renounces reaps a thousandfold. The renunciation of the
Gita is the acid test of faith. He who is ever brooding over result
often loses nerve in the performance of his duty. He becomes impatient
and then gives vent to anger and begins to do unworthy things; he jumps
from action to action never remaining faithful to any. He who broods
over results is like a man given to objects of senses; he is ever
distracted, he says goodbye to all scruples, everything is right in his
estimation and he therefore resorts to means fair and foul to attain his
the bitter experiences of desire for fruit the author of the Gita
discovered the path of renunciation of fruit and put it before the world
in a most convincing manner. The common belief is that religion is
always opposed to material good. "One cannot act religiously in
mercantile and such other matters. There is no place for religion in
such pursuits; religion is only for attainment of salvation," we here
many worldly-wise people say. In my opinion the author of the Gita has
dispelled this delusion. He has drawn no line of demarcation between
salvation and worldly pursuits. On the contrary he has shown that
religion must rule even our worldly pursuits. I have felt that the Gita
teaches us that what cannot be followed out in day-to-day practice
cannot be called religion. Thus, according to the Gita, all acts that
are incapable of being performed without attachment are taboo. This
golden rule saves mankind from many a pitfall. According to this
interpretation murder, lying, dissoluteness and the like must be
regarded as sinful and therefore taboo. Man's life then becomes simple,
and from that simpleness springs peace.
Thinking along these lines, I have felt that in trying to enforce in
one's life the central teaching of the Gita, one is bound to follow
Truth and ahimsa. When there is no desire for fruit, there is no
temptation for untruth or himsa. Take any instance of untruth or
violence, and it will be found that at its back was the desire to attain
the cherished end. But it may be freely admitted that the Gita was not
written to establish ahimsa. It was an accepted and primary duty even
before the Gita age. The Gita had to deliver the message of renunciation
of fruit. This is clearly brought out as early as the second chapter.
26. But if
the Gita believed in ahimsa or it was included in desirelessness, why
did the author take a warlike illustration? When the Gita was written,
although people believed in ahimsa, wars were not only not taboo, but
nobody observed the contradiction between them and ahimsa.
assessing the implications of renunciation of fruit, we are not required
to probe the mind of the author of the Gita as to his limitations of
ahimsa and the like. Because a poet puts a particular truth before the
world, it does not necessarily follow that he has known or worked out
all its great consequences or that having done so, he is able always to
express them fully. In this perhaps lies the greatness of the poem and
the poet. A poet's meaning is limitless. Like man, the meaning of great
writings suffers evolution. On examining the history of languages, we
noticed that the meaning of important words has changed or expanded.
This is true of the Gita. The author has himself extended the meanings
of some of the current words. We are able to discover this even on
superficial examination. It is possible that, in the age prior to that
of the Gita, offering of animals as sacrifice was permissible. But there
is not a trace of it in the sacrifice in the Gita sense. In the Gita
continuous concentration on God is the king of sacrifices. The third
chapter seems to show that sacrifice chiefly means body-labour for
service. The third and fourth chapters read together will use other
meanings for sacrifice, but never animal-sacrifice. Similarly has the
meaning of the word sannyasa undergone, in the Gita, a transformation.
The sannyasa of the Gita will not tolerate complete cessation of all
activity. The sannyasa of the Gita is all work and yet no work. Thus the
author of the Gita, by extending meanings of words, has taught us to
imitate him. Let it be granted, that according to the letter of the Gita
it is possible to say that warfare is consistent with renunciation of
fruit. But after forty years' unremitting endeavor fully to enforce the
teaching of the Gita in my own life, I have in all humility felt that
perfect renunciation is impossible without perfect observance of ahimsa
in every shape and form.
Gita is not an aphoristic work; it is a great religious poem. The deeper
you dive into it, the richer the meanings you get. It being meant for
the people at large, there is pleasing repetition. With every age the
important words will carry new and expanding meanings. But its central
teaching will never vary. The teacher is at liberty to extract from this
treasure any meaning he likes so as to enable him to enforce in his life
the central teaching.
29. Nor is
the Gita a collection of Do's and Dont's. What is lawful for one may be
unlawful for another. What may be permissible at one time, or in one
place, may not be so at another time, and in another place. Desire for
fruit is the only universal prohibition. Desirelessness is obligatory.
Gita has sung the praises of Knowledge, but it is beyond the mere
intellect; it is essentially addressed to the heart and capable of being
understood by the heart. Therefore the Gita is not for those who have no
faith. The author makes Krishna say:
"Do not entrust this treasure
to him who is without sacrifice, without devotion, without the desire
for this teaching and who denies Me. On the other hand, those who will
give this precious treasure to My devotees will, by the fact of this
service, assuredly reach me. And those who, being free from malice, will
with faith absorb this teaching, shall, having attained freedom, live
where people of true merit go after death.