Sacred Texts  Hinduism  Mahabharata  Index  Previous  Next 

(Bhagavad Gita, Chapter XIII)

"The Holy One said, 'This body, O son of Kunti, is called Kshetra. Him who knoweth it, the learned call Kshetrajna2 Know me, O Bharata, to be Kshetras. The knowledge of Kshetra and Kshetrajna I regard to be (true) knowledge. What that Kshetra (is), and what (it is) like, and what changes it undergoes, and whence (it comes), what is he (viz., Kshetrajna), and what his powers are, hear from me in brief. All this hath in many ways been sung separately, by Rishis in various verses, in well-settled texts fraught with reason and giving indications of Brahman. The great elements, egoism, intellect, the unmanifest (viz., Prakriti), also the ten senses, the one (manas), the five objects of sense, desire, aversion, pleasure, pain, body consciousness, courage,--all this in brief hath been declared to be Kshetra in its modified form. Absence of vanity, absence of ostentation, abstention from injury, forgiveness, uprightness, devotion to preceptor, purity, constancy, self-restraint, indifference to objects of sense, absence of egoism, perception of the misery and evil of birth, death, decrepitude and disease, 3

p. 85

freedom from attachment, absence of sympathy for son, wife, home, and the rest, and constant equanimity of heart on attainment of good and evil, unswerving devotion to me without meditation on anything else, frequenting of lonely places, distaste for concourse of men, 1 constancy in the knowledge of the relation of the individual self to the supreme, perception of the object of the knowledge of truth,--all this is called Knowledge; all that which is contrary to this is Ignorance. 2 That which is the object of knowledge I will (now) declare (to thee), knowing which one obtaineth immortality. [It is] the Supreme Brahma having no beginning, who is said to be neither existent nor non-existent; whose hands and feet are on all sides, whose eyes, heads and faces are on all sides, who dwells pervading everything in the world, who is possessed of all the qualities of the senses (though) devoid of the senses, without attachment (yet) sustaining all things, without attributes (yet) enjoying (a) all attributes, 3 without and within all creatures, immobile and mobile, not knowable because of (his) subtlety, remote yet near, undistributed in all beings, (yet) remaining as if distributed, who is the sustainer of (all) beings, the absorber and the creator (of all); who is the light of all luminous bodies, who is said to be beyond all darkness; who is knowledge, the Object of knowledge, the End of knowledge and seated in the hearts of all. Thus Kshetra, and Knowledge, and the Object of Knowledge, have been declared (to thee) in brief. My devotee, knowing (all) this, becomes one in spirit with me. Know that Nature and Spirit are both without beginning (and) know (also) that all modifications and all qualities spring from Nature. 4 Nature is said to be the source of the capacity of enjoying pleasures and pains. 5 For Spirit, dwelling in nature enjoyeth the qualities born of Nature. The cause of its births in good or evil wombs is (its) connection with the qualities. 6 The Supreme Purusha in this body is said to be surveyor, approver, supporter, enjoyer, the

p. 86

mighty lord, and also the Supreme Soul. 1 He who thus knows Spirit, and Nature, with the qualities, in whatever state he may be, is never born again. Some by meditation behold the self in the self by the self; others by devotion according to the Sankhya system; and others (again), by devotion through works. Others yet not knowing this, worship, hearing of it from others. Even these, devoted to what is heard, cross over death. 2 Whatever entity, immobile or mobile, cometh into existence, know that, O bull of Bharata's race, to be from the connection of Kshetra and Kshetrajna (matter and spirit). He seeth the Supreme Lord dwelling alike in all beings, the Imperishable in the Perishable. For seeing the Lord dwelling alike everywhere, one doth not destroy 3 himself by himself, and then reacheth the highest goal. He seeth (truly) who seeth all actions to be wrought by nature alone in every way and the self likewise to be not the doer. When one seeth the diversity of entities as existing in one, and the issue (everything) from that (One), then is one said to attain to Brahma. This inexhaustible Supreme Self, O son of Kunti, being without beginning and without attributes, doth not act, nor is stained even when stationed in the body. As space, which is ubiquitous, is never, in consequence of its subtlety tainted, so the soul, stationed in every body, is never tainted. 4 As the single Sun lights up the entire world, so the Spirit, O Bharata, lights up the entire (sphere of) matters. They that, by the eye of knowledge, know the distinction between matter and spirit, and the deliverance from the nature of all entities, attain to the Supreme. 5


84:2 The learned, i.e., they that are themselves acquainted with is Kshetra and what not. As explained by Krishna himself below, Kshetra is Matter, and Kshetrajna is Soul.

84:3 Dukha-dosha is explained by both Sankara and Sreedhara as a Dwanda compound.

85:1 Vivikta is explained by the commentators as Suddha or Chittaprasadakara. There can be no doubt, however, that it is in opposition to Janasamsadi following. Hence I render it "lonely".

85:2 The object of the knowledge of truth is the dispelling of ignorance and the acquisition of happiness.

85:3 Nor having eyes, etc., yet seeing, etc.; without attributes, yet having or enjoying all that the attributes give.

85:4 All modifications, i.e., of material forms; all qualities, i.e., pleasure, pain, etc. The word rendered "nature" is Prakriti (primal matter), and that rendered "spirit" is Purusha (the active principle). Vikarna and Gunan include all material forms and attributes of the soul.

85:5 Karya-karana-karttritwa is explained by both Sankara and Sreedhara to mean "the capacity of working (residing) in the body and the senses." K. T. Telang adopts this. Mr. Davies in his text has "in the activity of the organs of action." In course of his philological notes, however, he gives the correct rendering. 'Is said to be' is explained by Sreedhara. as referring to Kapila and others.

85:6 It is the embodied spirit only that can enjoy the qualities of Nature. Then again, the kind of connection it has with those qualities settles its birth in good or evil wombs.

86:1 Mr. Davies misunderstands the grammatical connection of the words in the second line of this verse. K. T. Telang, following Sreedhara, says, the word should be rendered "approver."

86:2 What is heard, i.e., the Srutis or the sacred doctrines.

86:3 Destroying self by self is to be deprived of true knowledge.

86:4 Sarvatra in the second line is explained by Sreedhara as "in every body, superior and inferior." Grammatically it may mean also, "in every part of the body." Such a theory, however, of the seat of the soul would be contrary to all Hindu ideas.

86:5 Bhuta-Prakriti-moksha is explained by both Sankara and Sreedhara as moksha or deliverance from the prakriti (nature) of bhutas' or entities. It is true knowledge that effects such deliverance. Mr. Davies renders it "deliverance of beings from Nature." This is evidently incorrect. "Beings" is not synonymous with self or soul.

Next: Section XXXVIII (Bhagavad Gita Chapter XIV)