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

p. 163


The Blessed Lord said:

1. With the mind intent on Me, O son of Prithâ, taking refuge in Me, and practising Yoga, how thou shalt without doubt know Me fully, that do thou hear. 1

p. 164

2. I shall tell you in full, of knowledge, speculative and practical, knowing which, nothing more here remains to be known.

3. One, perchance, in thousands of men, strives for perfection; and one perchance, among the blessed ones, striving thus, knows Me in reality. 3

p. 165

4. Bhumi (earth), Ap (water), Anala (fire), Vâyu (air), Kha (ether), mind, intellect, and egoism: thus is My Prakriti divided eight-fold. 4

p. 166

5. This is the lower (Prakriti). But different from it, know thou, O mighty-armed, My higher Prakriti—the principle of self-consciousness, by which this universe is sustained.

6. Know that these (two Prakritis) are the womb of all beings. I am the origin and dissolution of the whole universe. 6

p. 167

7. Beyond Me, O Dhananjaya, there is naught. All this is strung in Me, as a row of jewels on a thread. 7

8. I am the sapidity in waters, O son of Kunti; I, the radiance in the moon and the sun; I am the Om in all the Vedas, sound in Akâsha, and manhood in men. 8

p. 168

9. I am the sweet fragrance in earth, and the brilliance in fire am I; the life in all beings, and the austerity am I in ascetics.

10. Know Me, O son of Prithâ, as the eternal seed of all beings. I am the intellect of the intelligent, and the heroism of the heroic.

p. 169

11. Of the strong, I am the strength devoid of desire and attachment. I am, O bull among the Bhâratas, desire in beings, unopposed to Dharma. 11

12. And whatever states pertaining to Sattva, and those pertaining to Rajas, and to Tamas, know them to proceed from Me alone; still I am not in them, but they are in Me. 12

p. 170

13. Deluded by these states, the modifications of the three Gunas (of Prakriti), all this world does not know Me, beyond them, and immutable.

14. Verily, this divine illusion of Mine, constituted of the Gunas, is difficult to cross over; those who devote themselves to Me alone, cross over this illusion. 14

p. 171

15. They do not devote themselves to Me,—the evil-doers, the deluded, the lowest of men, deprived of discrimination by Mâyâ, and following the way of the Asuras. 15

p. 172

16. Four kinds of virtuous men worship Me, O Arjuna,—the distressed, the seeker of knowledge, the seeker of enjoyment, and the wise, O bull among the Bhâratas. 16

17. Of them, the wise man, ever-steadfast, (and fired) with devotion to the One, excels; for supremely dear am I to the wise, and he is dear to Me.

p. 173

18. Noble indeed are they all, but the wise man I regard as My very Self; for with the mind steadfast, he is established in Me alone, as the supreme goal.

19. At the end of many births, the man of wisdom takes refuge in Me, realising that all this is Vâsudeva (the innermost Self). Very rare is that great soul.

20. Others again, deprived of discrimination by this or that desire, following this or that rite, devote themselves to other gods, led by their own natures. 20

p. 174

21. Whatsoever form any devotee seeks to worship with Shraddhâ,—that Shraddhâ of his do I make unwavering.

22. Endued with that Shraddhâ, he engages in the worship of that, and from it, gains his desires,—these being verily dispensed by Me alone.

p. 175

23. But the fruit (accruing) to these men of little understanding is limited. The worshippers of the Devas go to the Devas; My devotees too come to me. 23

24. The foolish regard Me, the un-manifested, as come into manifestation, not knowing My supreme state,—immutable and transcendental. 24

p. 176

25. Veiled by the illusion born of the congress of the Gunas, I am not manifest to all. This deluded world knows Me not, the Unborn, the Immutable. 25

26. I know, O Arjuna, the beings of the whole past, and the present, and the future, but Me none knoweth.

p. 177

27. By the delusion of the pairs of opposites, arising from desire and aversion, O descendant of Bharata, all beings fall into delusion at birth, O scorcher of foes. 27

28. Those men of virtuous deeds, whose sin has come to an end,—they, freed from the delusion of the pairs of opposites, worship Me with firm resolve.

p. 178

29. Those who strive for freedom from old age and death, taking refuge in Me, they know. Brahman, the whole of Adhyâtma, and Karma in its entirety. 29

30. Those who know Me with the Adhibhuta, the Adhidaiva, and the Adhiyajna, (continue to) know Me even at the time of death, steadfast in mind. 30


The end of the seventh chapter, designated The Way of Knowledge with Realisation.


163:1 Fully, i.e., possessed of infinite greatness, strength, power, grace, and other infinite attributes.

164:3 The Blessed: Siddhânâm—this word literally means the perfected ones—but here it means only those who having acquired good Karma in a past incarnation, strive for freedom in this life.

165:4 The raison d’être of this reduction of matter into five elements is quite different from that conceived by modern science. Man has five senses only, just five ways in which he can be affected by matter, therefore his perception of matter cannot be divided further. The five elements are of two kinds, subtle and gross. The gross state is said 'to be formed by taking half of a subtle element, and adding ⅛th to it, of each of the rest: e.g., gross Akâsha = ½ subtle Akâsha + ⅛th subtle Vâyu + ⅛th subtle Tejas + ⅛th subtle Ap + ⅛th subtle Bhumi: Then again, the ether, air, light, water, and earth of modern science, do not answer to the five elements of Hindu philosophy. Akâsha is just the sound-producing agency. From Akâsha rises Vâyu, having the properties of sound and touch. From Vâyu springs Tejas, possessing the property of visibility, as well as those of its predecessors. From Tejas rises Ap, combining with the above properties its distinctive feature,—flavour. Bhumi comes from Ap, bringing the additional property of smell to its inheritance.

166:6 I am the origin &c.: In Me the whole universe originates and dissolves, as everything springs froth My Prakriti.

167:7 Beyond Me—there is no other cause of the universe but Me.

167:8 In Me as essence, all these are woven, as being My manifestations.

169:11 Desire—Kâma: thirst for objects not present to the senses.

Attachment—Râga: for those presented to the senses .

Unopposed to Dharma: the desire which moves in harmony with the ordained duties of life.

169:12 All things are in Him, yet not He in them. Logically, this can' only happen in superimposition through illusion: as that of a ghost seen in the stump of a tree; the ghost is in the stump, from the point of view of the man in the dark, but the stump is never p. 170 in the ghost. Similarly the universe is superimposed on the Lord, seen in His place through Mâyâ, but He is not in it. The Lord returns to the same teaching in Chap. IX. 4, 5.

170:14 p. 171 Divine: transcending human perception.

Devote . . . alone: Abandoning all formal religion (Dharma) completely take refuge in Me, their own Self, the Lord of illusion.

171:15 Way of the Asuras, i.e., cruelty, untruth, and the like.

172:16 Seeker of enjoyment: One who wishes for objects of enjoyment, both here and hereafter.

The Wise: One who has forsaken all desires, knowing them to arise from Mâyâ.

173:20 Own natures: Samskâras acquired in previous lives.

175:23 These men of little understanding: Though the amount of exertion is the same (in the two kinds of worship), these people do not take refuge in Me, by doing which they may attain infinite results.

175:24 The ignorant take Me as an ordinary mortal, assuming embodiment from the unmanifested state, like all other men, being impelled by the force of past Karma. This is due to their ignorance of My real nature; hence they do not worship Me, the One without a second.

176:25 This Yoga-Mâyâ spread over the Lord, which veils the understanding of others in recognising Him, does not obscure His own knowledge, as it is His, and He is the wielder of it,—just as the glamour (Mâyâ) caused by a juggler (Mâyâvin) does not obstruct his own knowledge. This illusion which binds others, cannot dim His vision.

177:27 To one whose mind is subject to the dualistic delusion, caused by the passions of desire and aversion, there cannot indeed arise a knowledge of things as they are, even of the external world; far less can such an intellect grasp the transcendental knowledge of the innermost Self.

178:29 (They know) the whole of Adhyâtma: They realise in full the Reality underlying the innermost individual Self.

178:30 Their consciousness of Me continues as ever, unaffected by the change of approaching death.

Next: Eighth Chapter. The Way to the Imperishable Brahman