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Srimad-Bhagavad-Gita, English translation and commentary by Swami Swarupananda, [1909], at

p. 288


Arjuna said:

Prakriti and Purusha, also the Kshetra and the knower of the Kshetra, knowledge, and that which ought to be known—these, O Keshava, I desire to learn. 1

p. 289

The Blessed Lord said:

1. This body, O son of Kunti, is called Kshetra, and he who knows it is called Kshetrajna by those who know of them (Kshetra and Kshetrajna). 1

2. Me do thou also know, O descendant of Bharata, to be Kshetrajna in all Kshetras. The knowledge of Kshetra and Kshetrajna is considered by Me to be the knowledge.

p. 290

3. What the Kshetra is, what its properties are, what are its modifications, what effects arise from what causes, and also who He is and what His powers are, that hear from Me in brief. 3

4. (This truth) has been sung by Rishis in many ways, in various distinctive chants, in passages indicative of Brahman, full of reasoning, and convincing.

p. 291

5-6. The great Elements, Egoism, Intellect, as also the Unmanifested (Mulâ Prakriti), the ten senses and the one (mind), and the five objects of the senses; desire, hatred, pleasure, pain, the, aggregate, intelligence, fortitude,—the Kshetra has been thus briefly described with its modifications. 5

p. 292

7. Humility, unpretentiousness, non-injury, forbearance, uprightness, service to the teacher, purity, steadiness, self-control; 7

p. 293

8. The renunciation of sense-objects, and also absence of egoism; reflection on the evils of birth, death, old age, sickness and pain; 8

p. 294

9. Non-attachment, non-identification of self with son, wife, home, and the rest, and constant even-mindedness in the occurrence of the desirable and the un-undesirable; 9

10. Unswerving devotion to Me by the Yoga of non-separation, resort to sequestered places, distaste for the society of men;  10

p. 295

11. Constant application to spiritual knowledge, understanding of the end of true knowledge: this is declared to be knowledge, and what is opposed to it is ignorance. 11

p. 296

12. I shall describe that which has to be known, knowing which one attains to immortality, the beginningless Supreme Brahman. It is called neither being nor non-being.

13. With hands and feet everywhere, with eyes, heads and mouths everywhere, with ears everywhere in the universe,—That exists pervading all.

14. Shining by the functions of all the

p. 297

senses, yet without the senses; Absolute, yet sustaining all; devoid of Gunas, yet their experiencer.

15. Without and within (all) beings; the unmoving and also the moving; because of Its subtlety incomprehensible; It is far and near. 15

16. Impartible, yet It exists as if divided in beings: It is to be known as

p. 298

sustaining beings; and devouring, as well as generating (them). 16

17. The Light even of lights, It is said to be beyond darkness; Knowledge, and the One Thing to be known, the Goal of' knowledge, dwelling in the hearts of all. 17

p. 299

18. Thus Kshetra, knowledge, and that which has to be known, have been briefly stated. Knowing this, My devotee is fitted for My state.

19. Know thou that Prakriti and Purusha are both beginningless; and know thou also that all modifications and Gunas are born of Prakriti. 19

20. In the production of the body and the senses, Prakriti is said to be the cause; in the experience of pleasure and pain, Purusha is said to be the cause. 20

p. 300

21. Purusha seated in Prakriti, experiences the Gunas born of Prakriti; the reason of his birth in good and evil wombs is his attachment to the Gunas. 21

p. 301

22. And the Supreme Purusha in this body is also called the Looker-on, the Permitter, the Supporter, the Experiencer, the Great Lord, and the Highest Self. 22

23. He who thus knows the Purusha and Prakriti together with the Gunas, whatever his life, is not born again. 23

p. 302

24. Some by meditation behold the Self in their own intelligence by the purified heart, others by the path of knowledge, others again by Karma Yoga.

25. Others again not knowing thus, worship as they have heard from others.

p. 303

[paragraph continues] Even these go beyond death, regarding what they have heard as the Supreme Refuge. 25

26. Whatever being is born, the moving or the unmoving, O bull of the Bhâratas, know it to be from the union of Kshetra and Kshetrajna. 26

p. 304

27. He sees, who sees the Lord Supreme, existing equally in all beings, deathless in the dying.

28. Since seeing the Lord equally existent everywhere, he injures not Self by self, and so goes to the highest Goal. 28

p. 305

29. He sees, who sees that all actions are done by Prakriti alone and that the Self is actionless.

30. When he sees the separate existence of all beings inherent in the One, and their expansion from That (One) alone, he then becomes Brahman.

p. 306

31. Being without beginning and devoid of Gunas, this Supreme Self, immutable, O son of Kunti, though existing in the body neither acts nor is affected. 31

32. As the all-pervading Akâsha, because of its subtlety, is not tainted, so the Self existent in the body everywhere is not tainted.

p. 307

33. As the one sun illumines all this world, so does He who abides in the Kshetra, O descendant of Bharata, illumine the whole Kshetra.

34. They who thus with the eye of knowledge perceive the distinction between the Kshetra and the Kshetrajna, and also the emancipation from the Prakriti of beings, they go to the Supreme. 34


The end of the thirteenth chapter designated, The Discrimination of the Kshetra and the Kshetrajna.


288:1 This verse is omitted in many editions.

289:1 Kshetra: Literally, field; the body is so called because the fruits of action are reaped in it as in a field.

290:3 That: the true nature of Kshetra and Kshetrajna in all these specific aspects.

291:5 The Sânkhyas speak of those mentioned in the fifth Sloka as the twenty-four Tattvas or Principles.

The great Elements—Mahâbhutas—pervade all Vikâras, or modifications of matter.

Aggregate—Samghâta: combination of the body and the senses. p. 292

Desire and other qualities which the Vaiseshikas speak of as inherent attributes of the Atman, are spoken of in the sixth Sloka as merely the attributes of Kshetra, and not the attributes of Kshetrajna. Desire and other qualities mentioned here, stand for all the qualities of the Antah-Karana or inner sense,—as mere mental states. Each of them, being knowable, is Kshetra.

The Kshetra, of which the various modifications in their totality are spoken of as "this body" in the first Sloka, has been here dwelt upon in all its different forms, from 'The great Elements' to 'fortitude.'

292:7 Achârya—one who teaches the means of attaining Moksha.

Purity—external and internal. The former consists in washing away the dirt from the body by means of water &c., and the latter—the purity of p. 293 mind—consists in the removal from it the dirt of attachment and other passions, by the recognition of evil in all objects of the senses.

293:8 Sense-objects: such as sound, touch &c., of pleasures seen or unseen.

Pain—whether Adhyâtmic, i.e., arising in one's own person, or Adhibhautic, i.e., produced by external agents, or Adhidaivic, i.e., produced by supernatural beings.

Reflection . . . pain—or the passage may be interpreted as—reflection on the evils and miseries of birth, death, old age and sickness. Birth &c., are all miseries, not that they are miseries in themselves, but because they produce misery. From such reflection arises indifference to sense-pleasures, and the senses turn towards the Innermost Self for knowledge.

294:9 Identification of self—as in the case of a person who feels happy or miserable when another to whom he is attached, is happy or miserable, and who feels himself alive or dead when his beloved one is alive or dead.

294:10 p. 295 Resort . . . places—favourable to equanimity of mind, so that uninterrupted meditation on the Self, . and the like, may be possible.

Society of men: of the unenlightened and undisciplined people, not of the pure and holy, because association with the latter leads to Jnâna.

295:11 These attributes—from 'Humility' to 'Understanding of the end of true knowledge'—are declared to be knowledge, because they are the means conducive to knowledge.

297:15 Incomprehensible—to the unillumined, though knowable in Itself.

Far—when unknown.

Near—to the illumined, because It is their own Self.

298:16 Devouring—at the time of Pralaya.

Generating—at the time of utpatti or origin of the universe.

298:17 The Light even of lights:—The illuminator of all illuminating things, such as the sun &c., and Buddhi &c. Indeed, these latter shine only when illuminated by the Light of the consciousness of the Self.

299:19 Modifications—Vikâras: From Buddhi down to the physical body.

299:20 p. 300 Senses—five organs of perception, five of action, mind, intellect and egoism.

Purusha: the Jiva is meant here.

Kârya: The effect, the physical body. Karana: Senses. Some read Kârana, and explain 'Kârya and Kârana' as 'effect and cause.'

300:21 Seated in: identifying himself with.

Gunas—manifesting themselves as pleasure, pain and delusion.

301:22 Looker-on, the Permitter—He himself does not participate in the activities of the bodily organs, the mind and the Buddhi, being quite apart from them, yet appears to be so engaged. And being a looker-on, He never stands in the way of the activities of Prakriti as manifested in the body. Indeed, all the consciousness or intelligence that manifests itself in the activities of life is but the reflection of the All-pervading, Absolute and Perfect Intelligence—the Supreme Spirit.

301:23 Whatever his life &c.: Whether he be engaged in prescribed or forbidden acts, he is not born again. For, the acts, the seeds of rebirth, of a knower of p. 302 Truth are burnt by the fire of knowledge, and thus cannot be effective causes to bring about births. In his case they are mere semblances of Karma; a burnt cloth, for instance, cannot serve the purposes of a cloth.

303:25 Not knowing thus: not able to know the Self described above, by one of the several methods as pointed out.

From others: Achâryas or spiritual teachers.

Regarding—following with Shraddhâ.

What they have heard, i.e., they solely depend upon the authority of others' instructions.

303:26 Union . . . Kshetrajna: The union of Kshetra and Kshetrajna, of the object and the subject, is of the nature of mutual Adhyâsa which consists in confounding them as well as their attributes with each other, owing to the absence of discrimination of their real nature. This false knowledge vanishes when one is able to separate Kshetra from Kshetrajna.

304:28 He injures . . . by self—like the ignorant man either by ignoring the Self in others (Avidyâ or nescience), or regarding the non-Self (physical body, &c.) as the Self (Mithyâ-jnâna or false knowledge)—the two veils that hide the true nature of the Self.

306:31 Being without beginning—having no cause.

Neither . . . affected—Because the Self is not the doer, therefore He is not touched by the fruit of action.

307:34 Prakriti of beings: the material nature or delusion of beings due to Avidyâ.

Next: Fourteenth Chapter. The Discrimination of the Three Gunas