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Four translations of the Gita

ABSTRACT: In this study, four popular translations of the Bhagavad Gitā are reproduced for the sake of study and research by serious students of the bhagavad Gita who may want to compare the English translations of the teachings of Lord Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita. The bhagavad Gita gives the essence of the teachings of Hinduism. The four translations are: (1)Translations by A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the founder of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) (2) American/International Gita Society's translation of the Gita by Dr. Ramananda Prasad, the founder of the Gita Society.(3) Rendition by Dr. S. Radhakrishnan, former Vice President of India, and (4) Translation by Swami Gambhirananda of the Vedanta Society.


NOTE: Not for commercial use. Solely to be fairly used for the educational purposes of research and open discussion. Most of the translations are copyrighted and commercial use is prohibited. Compilation was done by Harry Bhalla, who took great care in typing and double checking. Typo-errors found in this document will be immediately corrected if notified to: Gita Society

The motivation for comparing translation of the Sanskrit verses, by different authors, came from a “want” of better understanding of the Bhagavad-Gita. I had just finished abbreviating the Gita, when this desire to compare translations of the verses from Sanskrit to English took hold. I find it easier to read books on my computer screen for various reasons, I can change the font to suit reading conditions, I have access to a thesaurus at a click of a button, a notebook weighs considerably less, I can search for words, verses etc.

Often people say that the epics are merely a translation or an author’s understanding of the real text. A verse by verse comparison of various authors translations help alleviate this doubt.

The translations of the Bhagavad-Gita I have compared so far are very similar even though the authors wrote their versions of the Gita miles apart from each other and in different time frames. The subtle differences between the translations make for good discussion leading to better understanding of the teachings of the Bhagavad-Gita. As far as possible, the verses have been copied exactly as they appeared in publications, except possibly for “typos”. Verses typed in red color are considered important by Dr. Prasad.

Example of differences; verse 7.24, 15.16-18. Also it appears that in Iskon (Bhagavad-Gita as it is) the word “Yoga” means bhakti in most cases. Where Dr. Prasad has used deity worship for Upasanaa, Iskon says worship of the Supreme Lord, as they do not seem to believe in the existence of deities, even though we know that deity worship exists.

The Gita says;

  • “Do your duty to the best of your ability without worrying about the results.” A farmer has control over how he works his land, yet no control over the harvest. But, he cannot expect a harvest if he does not work his land.
  • “Perceive that God is present equally in all beings”
  • “Treat all beings equally.”
  • The four goals of human life are:
    • Doing one’s duty
    • Earning wealth
    • Material and sensual enjoyment (with senses under control)
    • Attaining salvation

It seems to me that the Gita differentiates between knowledge required to earn wealth from knowledge required to attain salvation.

The aim of the Gita doctrine is to lead one to tranquility, happiness and equanimity. No rituals are prescribed. The Gita says that the world needs different religions, cults and deities to meet the vastly different needs of individuals.

For those who have never read the Gita, or are interested to know what the Gita is about, we suggest that you read “Beyond Religion”, our BlueBook, available free of charge from The International Gita Society or Those who wish to buy a copy for the Gita, may find the comparison of verses helpful in determining which publication to purchase.

Verse 1.01

Dr. Prasad

The King inquired: Sanjaya, please now tell me, in details, what did my people (the Kauravas) and the Pandavas do in the battlefield before the war started? (1.01)

Gita as it is

Dhrtarastra said: O Sanjaya, after my sons and the sons of Pandu assembled in the place of pilgrimage at Kuruksetra, desiring to fight, what did they do? (1.01)


Dhrtarastra said:

(1) In the field of righteousness, the field of the Kurus, when my people and the sons of Pandu had gathered together, eager for battle, what did they do, O Samjaya?

Swami Gambhirananda

O Sanjaya, what did my sons (and others) and Pandu’s sons (and others) actually do when, eager for battle, they assembled on the sacred field, the Kuruksetra? (1.01)

Verse 1.02-11

Dr. Prasad

Sanjaya said: O King, After seeing the battle formation of the Pandava's army, your son approached his guru and spoke these words:

O Master, behold this mighty army of the Pandavas, arranged in battle formation by your other talented disciple! There are many great warriors, valiant men, heroes, and mighty archers. (1.03-06)

Also there are many heroes on my side who have risked their lives for me. I shall name few distinguished commanders of my army for your information. He named all the officers of his army, and said: They are armed with various weapons, and are skilled in warfare. (1.07-09) Our army is invincible, while their army is easy to conquer. Therefore all of you, occupying your respective positions, protect our commander-in-chief. (1.10-11)

Gita as it is

Sanjaya said: O King, after looking over the army arranged in military formation by the sons of Pandu, King Duryodhana went to his teacher and spoke the following words. (1.02)

O my teacher, behold the great army of the sons of Pandu, so expertly arranged by your intelligent disciple the son of Drupada. (1.03)

Here in this army are many heroic bowmen equal in fighting to Bhima and Arjuna: great fighters like Yuyudhana, Virata and Drupada. (1.04)

There are also great, heroic, powerful fighters like Dhrstaketu, Cekitana, Kasiraja, Purujit, Kuntibhoja and Saibya. (1.05)

There are the mighty Yudhamanyu, the very powerful Uttamauja, the son of Subhadra and the sons of Draupadi. All these warriors are great chariot fighters. (1.06)

But for your information, O best of the brahmanas, let me tell you about the captains who are especially qualified to lead my military force. (1.07)

There are personalities like you, Bhisma, Karna, Krpa, Asvatthama, Vikarna and the son of Somadatta called Bhurisrava, who are always victorious in battle. (1.08)

There are many other heroes who are prepared to lay down their lives for my sake. All of them are well equipped with different kinds of weapons, and all are experienced in military science. (1.09)

Our strength is immeasurable, and we are perfectly protected by Grandfather Bhisma, whereas the strength of the Pandavas, carefully protected by Bhima, is limited. (1.10)

All of you must now give full support to Grandfather Bhisma, as you stand at your respective strategic points of entrance into the phalanx of the army. (1.11)


Samjaya said:

(2) Then, Duryodhana the prince, having seen the army of the Pandavas drawn up in battle order, approached his teacher and spoke this word:

(3) Behold, O Teacher, this mighty army of the sons of Pandu organized by thy wise pupil, the son of Drupada.

(4) Here are heroes, great bowmen equal in battle to Bhima, Arjuna, Yuyudhana, Virata and Drupada, a mighty warrior.

(5) Dhrstaketu, Cekitana and the valiant King of Kasi, also Purujit, kuntibhoja and Siaibya the foremost of men.

(6) Yudhamanyu, the strong and Uttamauja, the brave; and also the son of Subhadra and sons of Draupadi, all of great warriors.

(7) Know also, O Best of the twiceborn, the leaders of my army those who are most distinguished among us. I will name them now for thy information.

(8) Thyself and Bhisma and Karna and Karpa, ever victorious in battle; Asvatthaman, Vikarna, and also the son Somadatta.

(9) And many other heroes who have risked their lives for my sake. They are armed with many kinds of weapons and are all well skilled in war.

(10) Unlimited is this army of ours which is guarded by Bhisma, while that army of theirs which is guarded by Bhima is limited.

(11) Therefore do ye all support Bhisma, standing firm in all the fronts, in your respective ranks.

Swami Gambhirananda

But then, seeing the army of the Pandavas in battle array, King Duryodhana approached the teacher (Drona) and uttered a speech: (1.02)

O teacher, (please) see this vast army of the sons of Pandu, arrayed for battle by the son of Drupada, your intelligent disciple. (1.03)

Here are the heroes wielding great bows, who in battle are compeers of Bhima and Arjuna : Yuyudhana (Satyaki) and Virata, and the maharatha (great chariot rider) Drupada : (1.04)

Dhrstaketu, Cekitana, and the valiant king of Kasi (Varanasi) ; Purujit and Kuntibhoja, and Saibya the choicest among men ; (1.05)

And the Chivalrous Yudhamanyu, and the valiant Uttamaujas ; son of Subhadra (Abhimanyu) and the son of Draupadi, - all (of whom) are verily, maharathas (1.06)

But, O best among the Brahmanas, please be appraised of those who are foremost among us, the commanders of my army. I speak of them to you by way of example (1.07)

(They are;) Your venerable self, Bhisma and Karna who is ever victorious in battle ;Asvatthama, Vikarna, Saumadatti and Jayadratha. (1.08)

There are many other heroes dedicated their lives for my sake, who possess various kinds of weapons and missiles (and) all of whom are skilled in battle (1.09)

Therefore, our army under the complete protection of Bhisma and others is unlimited. But this army of these (enemies) under the protection of Bhima and others is limited. (1.10)

However, venerable sirs, all of you without exception while occupying all the positions in the different directions as allocated (to you respectively), please fully protect Bhisma in particular. (1.11)

Verse 1.12-19

Dr. Prasad

The mighty commander-in-chief and the eldest man of the dynasty, roared as a lion and blew his conch loudly, bringing joy to your son. (1.12)

Soon after that; conches, kettledrums, cymbals, drums, and trumpets were sounded together. The commotion was tremendous. (1.13)

After that, Lord Krishna and Arjuna, seated in a grand chariot yoked with white horses, blew their celestial conches. (1.14)

Krishna blew His conch first, and then Arjuna and all other commanders of various divisions of the army of Pandavas blew their respective conches. The tumultuous uproar, resounding through the earth and sky, tore the hearts of your sons. (1.15-19)

Gita as it is

Then Bhisma, the great valiant grandsire of the Kuru dynasty, the grandfather of the fighters, blew his conchshell very loudly, making a sound like the roar of a lion, giving Duryodhana joy. (1.12)

After that, the conchshells, drums, bugles, trumpets and horns were all suddenly sounded, and the combined sound was tumultuous. (1.13)

On the other side, both Lord Krsna and Arjuna, stationed on a great chariot drawn by white horses, sounded their transcendental conchshells. (1.14)

Lord Krsna blew His conchshell, called Pancajanya; Arjuna blew his, the Devadatta; and Bhima, the voracious eater and performer of herculean tasks, blew his terrific conchshell, called Paundra. (1.15)

King Yudhisthira, the son of Kunti, blew his conchshell, the Ananta-vijaya, and Nakula and Sahadeva blew the Sughosa and Manipuspaka. That great archer the King of Kasi, the great fighter Sikhandi, Dhrstadyumna, Virata, the unconquerable Satyaki, Drupada, the sons of Draupadi, and the others, O King, such as the mighty-armed son of Subhadra, all blew their respective conchshells. (1.16-18)

The blowing of these different conchshells became uproarious. Vibrating both in the sky and on the earth, it shattered the hearts of the sons of Dhrtarastra. (1.19)


(12) In order to cheer him up, the aged kuru, his valiant grandsire roared aloud like a lion and blew his conch.

(13) Then conches and kettledrums, tabors and drums and horns suddenly were struck and the noise was tumultuous.

(14) When stationed in their great chariot, yoked to white horses, Krsana and Ariuna blew their celestial conches.

(15) Krsna blew his Pancajanya and Arjuna his Devadatta and Bhima of terrific deeds blew his mighty conch, Paundra.

(16) Prince Yudhisthira, the son of Kunti, blew his Ananta-vijaya and Nakula and Sahadeva blew their Sughosa and Manipuspaka.

(I7) And the king of Kasi, the Chief of archers, Sikhandin, the great warrior, Dhrstadyumna and Virata and the invincible Satyaki.

(18) Drupada and the sons of Draupadi, O Lord of earth, the strong-armed son of Subhaadra, on all sides blew their respective conches.

(19) The tumultuous uproar resounding through earth and sky rent the hearts of Dhrtarastra's sons.

Swami Gambhirananda

The valiant grandfather, the eldest of the Kurus, sounding a lion roar, blew the conch to raise his (Duryodhana’s) spirits. (1.12)

Just immediately after that conchs and kettle drums , and tabors, trumpets and cow-horns blared forth. The sound became tumultuous. (1.13)

Then, Madhava (Krsna) and the son of Pandu (Arjuna) stationed in their magnificent chariot with white horses yoked to it, loudly blew their divine conchs. (1.14)

Hrsikesa (Krsna) (blew the conch) Pancajanya ; Dhananjaya (Arjuna) (the conch) Devatta ; and Vrkodara (Bhima) of terrible deeds blew the great conch Paundra; (1.15)

King Yudhisthira, son of Kunti, (blew) the Anantavijaya ; Nakula and Sahadeva, the Sughusa and the Manipupaka (respectively) (1.16)

And the King of Kasi, wielding a great bow, and the great charioteer Sikhandi, Dhrstadyumna and Virata and Satyaki the unconquerable ; (1.17)

Drupada and the sons of Draupadi and the son of Subhdra (Abhimanyu) the mighty-armed , - all (of them ) together , O King , blew their respective conchs. (1.18)

That tremendous sound pierced the hearts of Dhrtarastra as it reverberated through the skies. (1.19)

Verse 1.20-1.26

Dr. Prasad

Seeing your sons standing, and the war about to begin with the hurling of weapons; Arjuna, whose banner bore the emblem of Lord Hanumana, took up his bow and spoke these words to Lord Krishna: O Lord, please stop my chariot between the two armies until I behold those who stand here eager for the battle and with whom I must engage in this act of war. (1.20-22) I wish to see those who are willing to serve and appease the evil-minded Kauravas by assembling here to fight the battle. (1.23)

Sanjaya said: O King; Lord Krishna, as requested by Arjuna, placed the best of all the chariots in the midst of the two armies facing Arjuna's grandfather, his guru and all other Kings; and said to Arjuna: Behold these assembled soldiers! (1.24-25) Arjuna saw his uncles, grandfathers, teachers, maternal uncles, brothers, sons, grandsons, and other comrades in the army. (1.26)

Gita as it is

At that time Arjuna, the son of Pandu, seated in the chariot bearing the flag marked with Hanuman, took up his bow and prepared to shoot his arrows. O King, after looking at the sons of Dhrtarastra drawn in military array, Arjuna then spoke to Lord Krsna these words. (1.20)

Arjuna said: O infallible one, please draw my chariot between the two armies so that I may see those present here, who desire to fight, and with whom I must contend in this great trial of arms.(1.21-22)

Let me see those who have come here to fight, wishing to please the evil-minded son o Dhrtarastra.(1.23)

Sanjaya said: O descendant of Bharata, having thus been addressed by Arjuna, Lord Krsna drew up the fine chariot in the midst of the armies of both parties.(1.24)

In the presence of Bhisma, Drona and all the other chieftains of the world, the Lord said, Just behold, Partha, all the Kurus assembled here.(1.25)

There Arjuna could see, within the midst of the armies of both parties, his fathers, grandfathers, teachers, maternal uncles, brothers, sons, grandsons, friends, and also his fathers-in-law and well-wishers.(1.26)


(20) Then Arjuna, whose banner bore the crest of Hanuman, looked at the sons of Dhrtarastra drawn up in battle order; and as the flight of missiles (almost) started, he took up his bow.

(21) And, O Lord of earth, he spoke this word to Hrsikesa (Krsna): Draw up my chariot, O Acyuta (Krsna), between the two armies.

(22) So that I may observe these men standing eager for battle, with whom I have to contend in this strife of war.

(23) I wish to look at those who are assembled here, ready to fight and eager to achieve in battle what is dear to the evil-minded son of Dhrtarastra.

(24) Thus addressed by Gudakesa (Arjuna), Hrsikeasa (Krsana) drew up that best of chariots, O Bharata (Dhrtarastra) betweens the two armies.

(25) In front of Bhisma, Drona and all the chiefs he said: “Behold, O Partha (Arjuna), these Kurus assembled (here)."

(26) There saw Arjuna standing fathers and grandfathers, teachers, uncles, brothers, sons and grandsons as also companions.

Swami Gambhirananda

O king, thereafter, seeing Dhrtarastra’s men standing in their positions, when all the weapons were ready for action, the son of Pandu (Arjuna) who had the insignia of Hanuman on his chariot flag, raising up his bow, said the following to Hrsikesa. (1.20)

O Acyuta, please place my chariot between both the armies – (1.21)

until I survey these who stand intent on fighting, and those who are going to engage in battle with me in the impending war. (1.22)

I wish to survey these who have assembled here with the intention of fighting, and who want to accomplish in the war what is dear to the perverted son of Dhrtarastra (1.23)

Sanjaya said: O scion of the line of Bharata (Dhrtarastra) Hrsikesa being told so by Gudakesa (Arjuna) placed the excellent chariot between the two armies, in front of Bhisma Drona as also the other rulers of the earth, and said, ‘O Partha (Arjuna), see these assembled people of the Kuru dynasty. (1.24-25)

Then Partha (Arjuna) saw, marshaled among both the armies, (his) uncles as also grandfathers, teachers, maternal uncles, brothers, (and cousins), sons grandsons, as well as comrades and fathers-in-law and friends. (1.26)

Verse 1.27-39

After seeing fathers-in-law, companions, and all his kinsmen standing in the ranks of the two armies, Arjuna was overcome with great compassion and sorrowfully spoke these words: O Krishna, seeing my kinsmen standing with a desire to fight, my limbs fail and my mouth becomes dry. My body quivers and my hairs stand on end. (1.27-29) The bow slips from my hand, and my skin intensely burns. My head turns, I am unable to stand steady, and O Krishna, I see bad omens. I see no use of killing my kinsmen in battle. (1.30-31) I desire neither victory, nor pleasure nor kingdom, O Krishna. What is the use of the kingdom, or enjoyment, or even life, O Krishna? Because all those for whom we desire kingdom, enjoyments, and pleasures are standing here for the battle, giving up their lives. (1.32-33) I do not wish to kill my teachers, uncles, sons, grandfathers, maternal uncles, fathers-in-law, grandsons, brothers-in-law, and other relatives who are about to kill us, even for the sovereignty of the three worlds, let alone for this earthly kingdom, O Krishna. (1.34-35) O Lord Krishna, what pleasure shall we find in killing our cousin brothers? Upon killing these felons we shall incur sin only. (1.36) Therefore, we should not kill our cousin brothers. How can we be happy after killing our relatives, O Krishna? (1.37) Though they are blinded by greed, and do not see evil in the destruction of the family, or sin in being treacherous to friends. Why should not we, who clearly see evil in the destruction of the family, think about turning away from this sin, O Krishna? (1.38-39)

Gita as it is

When the son of Kunti, Arjuna, saw all these different grades of friends and relatives, he became overwhelmed with compassion and spoke thus.(1.27)

Arjuna said: My dear Krsna, seeing my friends and relatives present before me in such a fighting spirit, I feel the limbs of my body quivering and my mouth drying up.(1.28)

My whole body is trembling, my hair is standing on end, my bow Gandiva is slipping from my hand, and my skin is burning.(1.29)

I am now unable to stand here any longer. I am forgetting myself, and my mind is reeling. I see only causes of misfortune, O Krsna, killer of the Kesi demon.(1.30)

I do not see how any good can come from killing my own kinsmen in this battle, nor can I, my dear Krsna, desire any subsequent victory, kingdom, or happiness.(1.31)

O Govinda, of what avail to us are a kingdom, happiness or even life itself when all those for whom we may desire them are now arrayed on this battlefield? O Madhusudana, when teachers, fathers, sons, grandfathers, maternal uncles, fathers-in-law, grandsons, brothers-in-law and other relatives are ready to give up their lives and properties and are standing before me, why should I wish to kill them, even though they might otherwise kill me? O maintainer of all living entities, I am not prepared to fight with them even in exchange for the three worlds, let alone this earth. What pleasure will we derive from killing the sons of Dhrtarastra?(1.32-35)

Sin will overcome us if we slay such aggressors. Therefore it is not proper for us to kill the sons of Dhrtarastra and our friends. What should we gain, O Krsna, husband of the goddess of fortune, and how could we be happy by killing our own kinsmen?(1.36)

O Janardana, although these men, their hearts overtaken by greed, see no fault in killing one's family or quarreling with friends, why should we, who can see the crime in destroying a family, engage in these acts of sin?(1.37-38)

With the destruction of dynasty, the eternal family tradition is vanquished, and thus the rest of the family becomes involved in irreligion.(1.39)


(27) And also fathers-in-law and friends in both the armies. When the son of Kunti (Arjuna) saw all these kinsmen thus standing arrayed.

(28) He was overcome with great compassion and uttered this in sadness:

(29) My limbs quail, my mouth goes dry, my body shakes my hair stands on end.

(30) (The bow) Gandiva slips from my hand and my skin is burning all over. I am not able to stand steady. My mind is reeling.

(31) And I see evil omens, O Kesava (Krsna), nor do I foresee any good by slaying my own people in the fight.

(32) I do not long for victory, O Krsna, nor kingdom nor pleasures. Of what use is kingdom to us, O Krsna, or enjoyment or even life?

(33) Those for whose sake we desire kingdom, enjoyments pleasures, they stand here in battle, renouncing their lives and riches.

(34) Teachers, fathers, sons and also grandfathers; uncles fathers-in-law, grandsons and brothers-in-law and (other) kinsmen.

(35) These I would not consent to kill, though they kill me, O Madhusudana (Krsna), even for the kingdom of the three worlds how much less for the sake of the earth?

(36) What pleasure can be ours, O Krsna, after we have slain the sons of Dhrtarastra? Only sin will accrue to us if kill these malignants.

(37) So it is not right that we slay our kinsmen, the sons of Dhrtarastra. Indeed. How can we be happy? O Madhava (Krsna), if we kill our own people?

(38) Even if these whose minds are overpowered by greed, see no wrong in the destruction of the family and no crime in treachery to fiends:

(39) Why should we not have the wisdom to turn away from this sin, O Janardana (Krsana), we who see the wrong in the destruction of the family?

Swami Gambhirananda

The son of Kunti (Arjuna), seeing all those relatives arrayed (there), became overwhelmed by supreme compassion and said this sorrowfully; (1.27)

O Krsna, seeing these relatives and friends who have assembled here with the intention of fighting, my limbs become languid and my mouth becomes completely dry. (1.28)

And there is trembling in my body, and there is horripillation; the Gandiva (bow) slips from the hand and even the skin burns intensely. (1.29)

Moreover, O kesava (Krsna), I am not able to stand firmly, and my mind seems to be whirling. And I notice the omens to be adverse. (1.30)

Besides I do not see any good (to be derived) from killing my own people in battle. O Krsna, I do not hanker after victory, nor even a kingdom nor pleasures. (1.31)

O Govinda ! What need do we have of a kingdom, or what (need) of enjoyments and livelihood? Those for whom kingdom, enjoyments and pleasures are desired by us, viz teachers, uncles, sons, and so also grandfathers, maternal uncles. Fathers-in-law, grandsons, brothers-in-law, and also relatives, - those very ones stand arrayed for battle risking their lives and wealth. (1.32-34)

O Madhusudana, even if I am killed, I do not want to kill these even for the sake of a kingdom extending over three worlds; what to speak of doing so for the earth ! (1.35)

O Janardana, what happiness shall we derive by killing those sons of Dhrtarastra? Sin alone will accrue to us by killing these felons. (1.36)

Therefore, it is not proper for us to kill the sons of Dhrtarastra who are our own relatives. For, O Madhava, how can we be happy by killing our kinsman ? (1.37)

O Janardana, although these people, whose hearts have become perverted by greed, do not see the evil arising from destroying the family and sin in hostility towards friends, yet how can we who clearly see the evil arising from destroying the family remain unaware of (the need for) abstaining from all sin? (1.38-39)

Verse 1.40-46

Dr. Prasad

Eternal family traditions and codes of moral conduct are destroyed with the destruction of the family. And immorality prevails in the family due to the destruction of family traditions. (1.40)

And when immorality prevails, O Krishna, the women of the family become corrupted; when women are corrupted, unwanted progeny is born. (1.41) This brings the family and the slayers of the family to hell, because the spirits of their ancestors are degraded when deprived of ceremonial offerings of love and respect by the unwanted progeny. (1.42) The everlasting qualities of social order and family traditions of those who destroy their family are ruined by the sinful act of illegitimacy. (1.43) We have been told, O Krishna, that people whose family traditions are destroyed necessarily dwell in hell for a long time. (1.44) Alas! We are ready to commit a great sin by striving to slay our relatives because of greed for the pleasures of the kingdom. (1.45) It would be far better for me if my cousin brothers kill me with their weapons in battle while I am unarmed and unresisting. (1.46)

Gita as it is

When irreligion is prominent in the family, O Krsna, the women of the family become polluted, and from the degradation of womanhood, O descendant of Vrsni, comes unwanted progeny. (1.40)

An increase of unwanted population certainly causes hellish life both for the family and for those who destroy the family tradition. The ancestors of such corrupt families fall down, because the performances for offering them food and water are entirely stopped.(1.41)

By the evil deeds of those who destroy the family tradition and thus give rise to unwanted children, all kinds of community projects and family welfare activities are devastated. (1.42)

O Krsna, maintainer of the people, I have heard by disciplic succession that those who destroy family traditions dwell always in hell. (1.43)

Alas, how strange it is that we are preparing to commit greatly sinful acts. Driven by the desire to enjoy royal happiness, we are intent on killing our own kinsmen.(1.44)

Better for me if the sons of Dhrtarastra, weapons in hand, were to kill me unarmed and unresisting on the battlefield.(1.45)

Better for me if the sons of Dhrtarastra, weapons in hand, were to kill me unarmed and unresisting on the battlefield. It is the custom--according to ksatriya fighting principles--that an unarmed and unwilling foe should not be attacked. Arjuna, however, decided that even if attacked by the enemy in such an awkward position, he would not fight. He did not consider how much the other party was bent upon fighting. All these symptoms are due to soft-heartedness resulting from his being a great devotee of the Lord. Sanjaya said: Arjuna, having thus spoken on the battlefield, cast aside his bow and arrows and sat down on the chariot, his mind overwhelmed with grief.(1.46)

[Note: There are only 46 verses in this version, almost all other versions have 47 verses in Chapter 1]


(40) In the ruin of a family, its ancient laws are destroyed: and when the laws perish, the whole family yields to lawless-ness.

(41) And when lawlessness prevails, O Varsneya (Krsna), the women of the family become corrupted and when women are corrupted, confusion of castes arises.

(42) And to hell does this confusion bring the family itself, as well as those who have destroyed it. For the spirits of their ancestors fall, deprived of their offerings of rice and water.

(43) By the misdeeds of those who destroy a family and create confusion of varanas, the immemorial laws of the caste and the family are destroyed.

(44) And we have heard it said, O Janardana (Krsna), that the men of the families whose laws are destroyed needs must live in hell.

(45) Alas, what a great sin have we resolved to commit in striving to slay our own people through our greed for the pleasures of the kingdom!

(46) Far better would it be for me if the sons of Dhrtarastra, with weapons in hand, should slay me in the battle, while I remain unresisting and unarmed.

Swami Gambhirananda

From the ruin of the family are totally destroyed the traditional rites and duties of the family. When rites and duties are destroyed, vice overpowers the entire family also. (1.40)

O Krsna, when vice predominates the women of the family become corrupt. O descendant of the Vrsnis, when women become corrupted, it results in the intermingling of castes. (1.41)

And the intermingling in the family leads the ruiners of the family verily into hell. The forefathers of these fall down (into hell) because of being deprived of the offerings of rice-ball and water. (1.42)

Due to these misdeeds of the ruiners of the family, which cause intermingling of castes, the traditional rites and duties of the castes and families become destroyed. (1.43)

O Janardana, we have heard that living in hell becomes inevitable for those persons whose family duties get destroyed. (1.44)

What a pity that we have resolved to commit a great sin by being eager to kill our own kith and kin out of greed for the pleasures of a kingdom! (1.45)

If, in this battle, the sons of Dhrtarastra armed with weapons kill me who am non resistant and unarmed, that will be more beneficial to me. (1.46)

Verse 1.47

Dr. Prasad

Sanjaya said: Having said this in the battlefield and casting aside his bow and arrow, Arjuna sat down on the seat of the chariot with his mind overwhelmed with sorrow. (1.47)


(47) Having spoken thus on the (field of) battle, Ariuna sank down on the seat of his chariot, casting away his bow and arrow, his spirit overwhelmed by sorrow.

Swami Gambhirananda

Having said so, Arjuna, with a mind afflicted with sorrow, sat down on the chariot in the midst of the battle, casting aside the bow along with the arrows. (1.47)

Verse 2.01-2.03

Dr. Prasad

Sanjaya said: Lord Krishna spoke these words to Arjuna whose eyes were tearful and downcast, and who was overwhelmed with compassion and despair. (2.01)

Lord Krishna said: How has the dejection come to you at this juncture? This is not fit for a person of noble mind and deeds. It is disgraceful, and it does not lead one to heaven, O Arjuna. (2.02)

Do not become a coward, O Arjuna, because it does not befit you. Shake off this trivial weakness of your heart and get up for the battle, O Arjuna. (2.03)

Gita as it is

Sanjaya said: Seeing Arjuna full of compassion, his mind depressed, his eyes full of tears, Madhusudana, Krsna, spoke the following words. (2.01)

The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: My dear Arjuna, how have these impurities come upon you? They are not at all befitting a man who knows the value of life. They lead not to higher planets but to infamy. (2.02)

O son of Prtha, do not yield to this degrading impotence. It does not become you. Give up such petty weakness of heart and arise, O chastiser of the enemy. (2.03)


(1) Samjaya said:
To him (who was) thus overcome by pity, whose eyes were filled with tears and troubled and (who was) much depressed in mind, Madhusudana (Krsna) spoke this word.

(2) The Blessed Load said:
Whence has come to thee this stain (this dejection) of spirit in this hour of crisis? It is unknown to men of noble mind (not cherished by the Aryans); it does not lead to heaven; (on earth) it causes disgrace, O Arjuna.

(3) Yield not to this unmanliness, O Partha (Ariuna), for it does not become thee. Cast off this petty faintheartedness and arise, O Oppressor of the foes (Arjuna).

Swami Gambhirananda

Sanjaya said: To him who had been thus filled with pity, whose eyes were filled with tears and showed distress, and who was sorrowing, Madhusudana uttered these words; (2.01)

O Arjuna, in this perilous place, whence has come to you this ignominious sentiment entertained by unenlightened persons, which does not lead to heaven and which brings infamy ? (2.02)

O Partha, yield not to unmanliness. This does not befit you. O scorcher of foes, arise, giving up the petty weakness of the heart. (2.03)

Verse 2.04-10

Dr. Prasad

Arjuna said: How shall I strike my grandfather, my guru, and all other relatives, who are worthy of my respect, with arrows in battle, O Krishna? (2.04)

It would be better, indeed, to live on alms in this world than to slay these noble personalities, because by killing them I would enjoy wealth and pleasures stained with their blood. (2.05)

We do not know which alternative to fight or to quit is better for us. Further, we do not know whether we shall conquer them or they will conquer us. We should not even wish to live after killing our cousin brothers, who are standing in front of us. (2.06)

My senses are overcome by the weakness of pity, and my mind is confused about duty (Dharma). Please tell me what is better for me. I am Your disciple, and I take refuge in You. (2.07)

I do not perceive that gaining an unrivaled and prosperous kingdom on this earth, or even lordship over all the celestial controllers will remove the sorrow that is drying up my senses. (2.08)

Sanjaya said: O King, after speaking like this to Lord Krishna, the mighty Arjuna said to Krishna: I shall not fight, and became silent. (2.09)

O King, Lord Krishna, as if smiling, spoke these words to the distressed Arjuna in the midst of the two armies. (2.10)

Gita as it is

Arjuna said: O killer of enemies, O killer of Madhu, how can I counterattack with arrows in battle men like Bhisma and Drona, who are worthy of my worship? (2.04)

It would be better to live in this world by begging than to live at the cost of the lives of great souls who are my teachers. Even though desiring worldly gain, they are superiors. If they are killed, everything we enjoy will be tainted with blood. (2.05)

Nor do we know which is better–conquering them or being conquered by them. If we killed the sons of Dhrtarastra, we should not care to live. Yet they are now standing before us on the battlefield. (2.06)

Now I am confused about my duty and have lost all composure because of miserly weakness. In this condition I am asking You to tell me for certain what is best for me. Now I am Your disciple, and a soul surrendered unto You. Please instruct me. (2.07)

I can find no means to drive away this grief which is drying up my senses. I will not be able to dispel it even if I win a prosperous, unrivaled kingdom on earth with sovereignty like the demigods in heaven. (2.08)

Sanjaya said: Having spoken thus, Arjuna, chastiser of enemies, told Krsna, “Govinda, I shall not fight,” and fell silent. (2.09)

O descendant of Bharata, at that time Krsna, smiling, in the midst of both the armies, spoke the following words to the grief-stricken Arjuna. (2.10)


(4) Arjuna said:
How shall I strike Bhisma and Drona who are worthy worship, O Madhusadana (Krsna), with arrows in battle, O Slayer of foes (Krsna)?

(5) It is better to live in this world by begging than to slay these honoured teachers. Though they are mindful of their gains, they are my teachers and by slaying them, only, I would enjoy in this world delights which are smeared with blood.

(6) Nor do we know which for us is better whether we conquer them or they conquer us. The sons Dhrtarastra whom if we slew we should not care to live, are standing before us in battle array.

(7) My very being is stricken with weakness of (sentimental) pity. With my mind bewildered about my duty. I ask Thee. Tell me, for certain, which is better. I am Thy pupil; teach me, who am seeking refuge in Thee.

(8) I do not see what will drive away this sorrow which dries up my senses even if I should attain rich and unrivalled Kingdom on earth or even the sovereignty of the gods.

(9)Samjaya said:
Having thus addressed Hrisikesa (Krsna), the mighty Gudakesa (Arjuna) said to Govinda (Krsna) “I will not fight” and became silent.

(10) To him thus depressed in the midst of the two armies, O Bharata (Dhrtarastra), Hrisikesa (Krsna), smiling as it were, spoke this word.

Swami Gambhirananda

O Madhusudana, O destroyer of enemies, how can I fight with arrows in battle against Bhisma and Drona who are worthy of adoration? (2.04)

Rather than killing the noble minded elders, it is better in this world to live on alms. But by killing the elders we shall only be enjoying here pleasures of wealth and desirable things drenched in blood. (2.05)

And we do not know which is better (course) for us; whether we shall win, or whether they shall conquer us. Those very sons of Dhrtarastra, by killing whom we do not wish to live, stand in confrontation. (2.06)

With my nature overpowered by weak commiseration, with a mind bewildered about duty, I supplicate to you. Tell me for certain that which is better; I am your disciple. Instruct me who have taken refuge in You. (2.07)

Because, I do not see that which can, even after acquiring on this earth a prosperous kingdom free from enemies and even sovereignty over the gods, remove my sorrow (which is) blasting the senses. (2.08)

Sanjaya said; Having spoken thus to Hrsikesa (krsna), Gudakesa (Arjuna), the afflictor of foes, verily became silent, telling Him ( Govinda), ‘I shall not fight’. (2.09)

O descendant of Bharata, to him who was sorrowing between the two armies, Hrsikesa, mocking as it were, said these words: (2.10)

Verse 2.11-15

Dr. Prasad

Lord Krishna said: You grieve for those who are not worthy of grief, and yet speak words of wisdom. The wise grieves neither for the living nor for the dead. (2.11) There was never a time when these monarchs, you, or I did not exist; nor shall we ever cease to exist in the future. (2.12) Just as the soul acquires a childhood body, a youth body, and an old age body during this life; similarly, the soul acquires another body after death. This should not delude the wise. (2.13) The contacts of the senses with the sense objects give rise to the feelings of heat and cold, and pain and pleasure. They are transitory and impermanent. Therefore, one should learn to endure them. (2.14) Because a calm person who is not afflicted by these sense objects, and is steady in pain and pleasure becomes fit for salvation. (2.15)

Gita as it is

The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: While speaking learned words, you are mourning for what is not worthy of grief. Those who are wise lament neither for the living nor for the dead. (2.11)

Never was there a time when I did not exist, nor you, nor all these kings; nor in the future shall any of us cease to be. (2.12)

As the embodied soul continuously passes, in this body, from boyhood to youth to old age, the soul similarly passes into another body at death. A sober person is not bewildered by such a change. (2.13)

O son of Kunti, the nonpermanent appearance of happiness and distress, and their disappearance in due course, are like the appearance and disappearance of winter and summer seasons. They arise from sense perception, O scion of Bharata, and one must learn to tolerate them without being disturbed. (2.14)

O best among men [Arjuna], the person who is not disturbed by happiness and distress and is steady in both is certainly eligible for liberation. (2.15)


(11) The Blessed Lord said:
Thou grievest for those whom thou shouldst not grieve for, and yet thou speakest words about wisdom. Wise men do not grieve for the dead or for the living.

(12) Never was there a time when I was not, nor thou, nor these lords of men, nor will there ever be a time hereafter when we all shall cease to be.

(13) As the soul passes in this body through childhood, youth and aged even so is its taking on of another body. The sage is not perplexed by this.

(14) Contacts with their objects. O Son of Kunti (Arjuna), give rise to cold and heat, pleasure and pain. They come and go and do not last forever, these learn to endure, O Bharata (Arjuna).

(15) The man who is not troubled by these, O Chief of men (Arjuna), who remains the same in pain and pleasure, who is wise makes himself fit for eternal life.

Swami Gambhirananda

ou grieve for those who are not to be grieved for, and you speak words of wisdom ! The learned do not grieve for the departed and those who have not departed. (2.11)

But certainly (it is) not ( a fact) that I did not exist at any time; nor you, nor these rulers of men. And surely it is not that we all shall cease to exist after this. (2.12)

As are boyhood, youth and decrepitude to an embodied being in this (present) body so, an intelligent person does not get deluded. (2.13)

But, the contacts of the organs with the objects are the producers of cold and heat, happiness and sorrow. They have a beginning and an end, (and) are transient. Bear them, O descendant of Bharata. (2.14)

O (Arjuna, who are) foremost among men, verily, the person whom these do not torment, the wise man to whom sorrow and happiness are the same, – he is fit for Immorality. (2.15)

Verse 2.16-21

Dr. Prasad

The invisible Spirit (Atma, Atman) is eternal, and the visible physical body, is transitory. The reality of these two is indeed certainly seen by the seers of truth. (2.16)

The Spirit by whom this entire universe is pervaded is indestructible. No one can destroy the imperishable Spirit. (2.17)

The physical bodies of the eternal, immutable, and incomprehensible Spirit are perishable. Therefore fight, O Arjuna. (2.18)

The one who thinks that the Spirit is a slayer, and the one who thinks the Spirit is slain, both are ignorant. Because the Spirit neither slays nor is slain. (2.19)

The Spirit is neither born nor does it die at any time. It does not come into being, or cease to exist. It is unborn, eternal, permanent, and primeval. The Spirit is not destroyed when the body is destroyed. (2.20)

O Arjuna, how can a person who knows that the Spirit is indestructible, eternal, unborn, and immutable, kill anyone or causes anyone to be killed? (2.21)

Gita as it is

Those who are seers of the truth have concluded that of the nonexistent [the material body] there is no endurance and of the eternal [the soul] there is no change. This they have concluded by studying the nature of both. (2.16)

That which pervades the entire body you should know to be indestructible. No one is able to destroy that imperishable soul. (2.17)

The material body of the indestructible, immeasurable and eternal living entity is sure to come to an end; therefore, fight, O descendant of Bharata. (2.18)

Neither he who thinks the living entity the slayer nor he who thinks it slain is in knowledge, for the self slays not nor is slain. (2.19)

For the soul there is neither birth nor death at any time. He has not come into being, does not come into being, and will not come into being. He is unborn, eternal, ever-existing and primeval. He is not slain when the body is slain. (2.20)

O Partha, how can a person who knows that the soul is indestructible, eternal, unborn and immutable kill anyone or cause anyone to kill? (2.21)


(16) Of the non-existent there is no coming to be; of the existent there is no ceasing to be. The conclusion about these two has been perceived by the seers of truth.

(17) Know thou that that by which all this is pervaded is indestructible. Of this immutable being, no one can bring about the destruction.

(18) It is said that these bodies of the eternal embodied (soul) which is indestructible and incomprehensible come to end. Therefore fight, O Bharata (Arjuna).

(19) He who thinks that this slays and he who thinks that is slain; both of them fail to perceive the truth; this one neither slays nor is slain.

(20) He is never born, nor does he die at any time, nor having (once) come to be will he again cease to be. He is unborn, eternal, permanent and primeval. He is not slain when the body is slain.

(21) He who knows that it is indestructible and eternal, uncreate and unchanging, how can such a person slay anyone, O Partha (Arjuna), or cause any one to slay?

Swami Gambhirananda

Of the unreal there is no being; the real has no nonexistence. But the nature of both these, indeed, has been realized by the seers of Truth. (2.16)

But know That to be indestructible by which all this is pervaded. None can bring about the destruction of this Immutable. (2.17)

These destructible bodies are said to belong to the everlasting, indestructible, indeterminable, embodied One. Therfore, O descendant of Bharata, join the battle. (2.18)

He who thinks of this One as the killer, and he who thinks of this One as the killed, – both of them do not know. This One does not kill nor is it Killed. (2.19)

Never is this One born, and never does It die; nor is it that having come to exist, It will again cease to be. This One is birthless, eternal, undecaying, ancient; It is not killed when body is killed. (2.20)

O Partha, he who knows this One as indestructible, eternal birthless and undecaying, how and whom does that person kill, or whom does he consider to be killed ! (2.21)

Verse 2.22-28

Dr. Prasad

Just as a person puts on new garments after discarding the old ones; similarly, the living entity or the individual soul acquires new bodies after casting away the old bodies. (2.22)

Weapons do not cut this Spirit, fire does not burn it, water does not make it wet, and the wind does not make it dry. The Spirit cannot be cut, burned, wetted, or dried. It is eternal, all pervading, unchanging, immovable, and primeval. (2.23-24)

The Spirit is said to be unexplainable, incomprehensible, and unchanging. Knowing the Spirit as such you should not grieve. (2.25)

Even if you think that the physical body takes birth and dies perpetually, even then, O Arjuna, you should not grieve like this. Because death is certain for the one who is born, and birth is certain for the one who dies. Therefore, you should not lament over the inevitable. (2.26-27)

All beings are unmanifest, or invisible to our physical eyes before birth and after death. They manifest between the birth and the death only. What is there to grieve about? (2.28)

Gita as it is

As a person puts on new garments, giving up old ones, the soul similarly accepts new material bodies, giving up the old and useless ones. (2.22)

The soul can never be cut to pieces by any weapon, nor burned by fire, nor moistened by water, nor withered by the wind. (2.23)

This individual soul is unbreakable and insoluble, and can be neither burned nor dried. He is everlasting, present everywhere, unchangeable, immovable and eternally the same. (2.24)

It is said that the soul is invisible, inconceivable and immutable. Knowing this, you should not grieve for the body. (2.25)

If, however, you think that the soul [or the symptoms of life] is always born and dies forever, you still have no reason to lament, O mighty-armed. (2.26)

One who has taken his birth is sure to die, and after death one is sure to take birth again. Therefore, in the unavoidable discharge of your duty, you should not lament. (2.27)

All created beings are unmanifest in their beginning, manifest in their interim state, and unmanifest again when annihilated. So what need is there for lamentation? (2.28)


(22) Just as a person casts off worn-out garments and puts on others that are new, even so does the embodied soul cast off worn-out bodies and take on others that are new.

(23) Weapons do not cleave this self, fire does not burn him; water does not make him wet; nor does the wind make him dry.

(24) He is uncleavable, He cannot be burnt. He can be neither wetted nor dried. He is eternal, all pervading, unchanging and immovable. He is the same forever.

(25) He is said to be unmanifest, unthinkable and unchanging. Therefore, knowing him as such thou shouldst not grieve.

(26) Even if thou thinkest that the self is perpetually born and perpetually dies, even then, O Mighty-armed (Arjuna), thou shouldst not grieve.

(27) For to the one that is born death is certain and certain is birth for the one that has died. Therefore for what is unavoidable, thou shouldst not grieve.

(28) Beings are unmanifest in their beginnings, manifest in the middles and unmanifest again in their ends, O Bharata (Arjuna), what is there in this for lamentation?

Swami Gambhirananda

As after rejecting worn out clothes, a man takes up other new ones, likewise after rejecting worn out bodies, the embodied one unites with other new ones. (2.22)

Weapons do not cut It, fire does not burn It, water does not moisten It, and air does not dry It. (2.23)

It cannot be cut, It cannot be burnt cannot be moistened, and surely cannot be dried up. It is eternal, omnipresent, stationary, unmoving and changeless. (2.24)

It is said that This is unmanifest; This is inconceivable; This is unchangeable. Therefore, having known This you ought not to grieve. (2.25)

On the other hand, if you think this One is born continually or dies constantly, even then, O mighty-armed one, you ought not to grieve thus. (2.26)

For, death of anyone born is certain, and of dead (re)birth is certainty. Therefore you ought not to grieve over an inevitable fact. (2.27)

O descendant of Bharata, all beings remain unmanifesr in the beginning; they become manifest in the middle. After death they certainly become unmanifest. What lamentation can there be with regard to them? (2.28)

Verse 2.29-30

Dr. Prasad

Some look upon this Spirit as a wonder, another describes it as wonderful, and others hear of it as a wonder. Even after hearing about it very few people know what the Spirit is. (See also KaU 2.07) (2.29)

O Arjuna, the Spirit that dwells in the body of all beings is eternally indestructible. Therefore, you should not mourn for anybody. (2.30)

Gita as it is

Some look on the soul as amazing, some describe him as amazing, and some hear of him as amazing, while others, even after hearing about him, cannot understand him at all. (2.29)

O descendant of Bharata, he who dwells in the body can never be slain. Therefore you need not grieve for any living being. (2.30)


(29) One looks upon Him as a marvel, another likewise speaks of Him as a marvel; another hears of Him as a marvel; and even after hearing, no one whatsoever has known Him.

(30) The dweller in the body of every one, O Bharata (Arjuna), is eternal and can never be slain, Therefore thou shouldst not grieve for any creature.

Swami Gambhirananda

Someone visualizes It as a wonder; and similarly indeed, someone else talks of It as a wonder; and someone else hears of It as a wonder. And someone else indeed, does not realize It even after hearing about It. (2.29)

O descendant of Bharata, this embodied Self existing in everyone’s body can never be killed. Therefore you ought not to grieve for all (these) beings. (2.30)

Verse 2.31-38

Dr. Prasad

Considering also your duty as a warrior you should not waver like this. Because there is nothing more auspicious for a warrior than a righteous war. (2.31)

Only the fortunate warriors, O Arjuna, get such an opportunity for an unsought war that is like an open door to heaven. (2.32)

If you will not fight this righteous war, then you will fail in your duty, lose your reputation, and incur sin. (2.33)

People will talk about your disgrace forever. To the honored, dishonor is worse than death. (2.34)

The great warriors will think that you have retreated from the battle out of fear. Those who have greatly esteemed you will lose respect for you. (2.35)

Your enemies will speak many unmentionable words and scorn your ability. What could be more painful to you than this? (2.36)

You will go to heaven if killed on the line of duty, or you will enjoy the kingdom on the earth if victorious. Therefore, get up with a determination to fight, O Arjuna. (2.37)

Treating pleasure and pain, gain and loss, and victory and defeat alike, engage yourself in your duty. By doing your duty this way you will not incur sin. (2.38)

Gita as it is

Considering your specific duty as a ksatriya, you should know that there is no better engagement for you than fighting on religious principles; and so there is no need for hesitation. (2.31)

O Partha, happy are the ksatriyas to whom such fighting opportunities come unsought, opening for them the doors of the heavenly planets. (2.32)

If, however, you do not perform your religious duty of fighting, then you will certainly incur sins for neglecting your duties and thus lose your reputation as a fighter. (2.33)

People will always speak of your infamy, and for a respectable person, dishonor is worse than death. (2.34)

The great generals who have highly esteemed your name and fame will think that you have left the battlefield out of fear only, and thus they will consider you insignificant. (2.35)

Your enemies will describe you in many unkind words and scorn your ability. What could be more painful for you? (2.36)

O son of Kunti, either you will be killed on the battlefield and attain the heavenly planets, or you will conquer and enjoy the earthly kingdom. Therefore, get up with determination and fight. (2.37)

Do thou fight for the sake of fighting, without considering happiness or distress, loss or gain, victory or defeat–and by so doing you shall never incur sin. (2.38)


(31) Further, having regard for thine own duty, thou shouldst not falter, there exists no greater good for a Ksatriya than a battle enjoined by duty.

(32) Happy are the Ksatriyas, O Partha (Arjuna), for whom such a war comes of its own accord as an open door to Heaven.

(33) But if thou doest not this lawful battle, then thou wilt fail thy duty and glory and will incur sin.

(34) Besides, men will ever recount thy ill fame and for one who has been honoured. Ill-fame is worse than death.

(35) The great warriors will think that thou hast abstained from battle through fear and they by whom thou wast highly esteemed will make light of thee.

(36) Many unseemly words will be uttered by thy enemies, slandering thy strength. Could anything be sadder than that?

(37) Either slain thou shalt go to heaven; or victorious thou shalt enjoy the earth; therefore arise, O Son of Kunti (Arjuna), resolved on battle.

(38) Treating alike pleasure and pain, gain and loss, victory and defeat, then get ready for battle. Thus thou shalt not incur sin.

Swami Gambhirananda

Even considering your own duty you should not waver, since there is nothing else better for a Ksatriya than a righteous battle. (2.31)

O son of Partha, happy are the Ksatriyas who come across this kind of a battle, which presents itself unsought for and which is an open gate to heaven. (2.32)

On the other hand, if you will not fight this righteous battle, then, forsaking your own duty and fame, you will incur sin. (2.33)

People also will speak of your unending infamy. And to an honored person infamy is worse than death. (2.34)

The great chariot-riders will think of you as having desisted from the fight out of fear; and you will fall into disgrace before them to whom you had been estimable. (2.35)

And your enemies will speak many indecent words while denigrating your might/ What can be more painful than that? (2.36)

Either by being killed you will attain heaven, or by winning you will enjoy the earth. Therfore, O Arjuna, rise up with determination for fighting. (2.37)

Treating happiness and sorrow, gain and loss, and conquest and defeat with equanimity, then engage in battle. Thus you will not incur sin. (2.38)

Verse 2.39-41

Dr. Prasad

The science of transcendental knowledge has been imparted to you, O Arjuna. Now listen to the science of selfless service (Seva), endowed with which you will free yourself from all Karmic bondage, or sin. (2.39)

No effort is ever lost in selfless service, and there is no adverse effect. Even a little practice of the discipline of selfless service protects one from the great fear of repeated birth and death. (2.40)

A selfless worker has resolute determination for God-realization, but the desires of the one who works to enjoy the fruits of work are endless. (2.41)

Gita as it is

Thus far I have described this knowledge to you through analytical study. Now listen as I explain it in terms of working without fruitive results. O son of Prtha, when you act in such knowledge you can free yourself from the bondage of works. (2.39)

In this endeavor there is no loss or diminution, and a little advancement on this path can protect one from the most dangerous type of fear.(2.40)

Those who are on this path are resolute in purpose, and their aim is one. O beloved child of the Kurus, the intelligence of those who are irresolute is many-branched. (2.41)


(39) This is the wisdom of the Samkhya given to thee, O Partha (Ariuna). Listen now to the wisdom of the Yoga. If your intelligence accepts it, thou shalt cast away the bondage of works.

(40) In this path, no effort is ever lost and no obstacle prevails; even a little of this righteousness (dharma) saves from great fear.

(4I) In this, O joy of the kurus (Arjuna), the resolute (decided) understanding is single; but the thoughts of the irresolute (undecided) are many-branched and endless.

Swami Gambhirananda

O Partha, this wisdom has been imparted to you from the standpoint of Self-realization. But listen to this (wisdom) from the standpoint of Yoga, endowed with which wisdom you will get rid of the bondage of action. (2.39)

Here there is no waste of attempt; nor is there (any) harm. Even a little of this righteousness saves (one) from great fear. (2.40)

O scion of the Kuru dynasty, in this there is a single, one-pointed conviction. The thoughts of irresolute ones have many branches indeed, and are innumerable. (2.41)

Verse 2.42-46

Dr. Prasad

The misguided ones who delight in the melodious chanting of the Veda without understanding the real purpose of the Vedas think, O Arjuna, as if there is nothing else in the Vedas except the rituals for the sole purpose of obtaining heavenly enjoyment. (2.42)

They are dominated by material desires, and consider the attainment of heaven as the highest goal of life. They engage in specific rites for the sake of prosperity and enjoyment. Rebirth is the result of their action. (2.43)

The resolute determination of Self-realization is not formed in the minds of those who are attached to pleasure and power, and whose judgment is obscured by ritualistic activities. (2.44)

A portion of the Vedas deals with three modes – goodness, passion, and ignorance – of material Nature. Become free from pairs of opposites, be ever balanced and unconcerned with the thoughts of acquisition and preservation. Rise above these three modes, and be Self-conscious, O Arjuna. (2.45)

To a Self-realized person the Vedas are as useful as a small reservoir of water when the water of a huge lake becomes available. (2.46)

Gita as it is

Men of small knowledge are very much attached to the flowery words of the Vedas, which recommend various fruitive activities for elevation to heavenly planets, resultant good birth, power, and so forth. Being desirous of sense gratification and opulent life, they say that there is nothing more than this. (2.42-43)

In the minds of those who are too attached to sense enjoyment and material opulence, and who are bewildered by such things, the resolute determination for devotional service to the Supreme Lord does not take place. (2.44)

The Vedas deal mainly with the subject of the three modes of material nature. O Arjuna, become transcendental to these three modes. Be free from all dualities and from all anxieties for gain and safety, and be established in the self. (2.45)

All purposes served by a small well can at once be served by a great reservoir of water. Similarly, all the purposes of the Vedas can be served to one who knows the purpose behind them. (2.46)


(42-43) The undiscerning who rejoice in the letter of the Veda, who contend that there is nothing else, whose nature is desire and who are intent on heaven, proclaim these flowery words that result in rebirth as the fruit of actions and (lay down) various specialized rites for the attainment of enjoyment and power.

(44) The intelligence which discriminates between right and wrong, of those who are devoted to enjoyment and power and whose minds are carried away by these words (of the Veda) is not well-established in the Self (or concentration).

(45) The action of the three-fold modes is the subject matter of the Veda; but do thou become free, O Ariuna, from this threefold nature; be free from the dualities (the pairs of opposites), be firmly fixed in purity, not caring for acquisition and preservation, and be possessed of the Self.

(46) As is the use of a pond in a place flooded with water everywhere, so is that of all the Vedas for the Brahmin who understands.

Swami Gambhirananda

O son of Partha, those undiscerning people who utter this flowery talk – which promises birth as a result of rites and duties, and full of various special rites meant for the attainment of enjoyment and affluence -, they remain engrossed in the utterances of the Vedas and declare that nothing else exists; their minds are full of desires and they have heaven as the goal. (2.42 -43)

One pointed conviction does not become established in the minds of those who delight in enjoyment and affluence, and whose intellects are carried away by that (speech). (2.44)

O Arjuna, the Vedas have the three qualities as their object. You become free from worldliness, free from the pairs of, ever-poised in the quality of sattva, without (desire for) acquisition and protection and self-collected. (2.45)

A Brahmana with realization has that much utility in all the Vedas as a man has in a well when there is flood all around. (2.46)

Verse 2.47-54

Dr. Prasad

You have control over doing your respective duty only, but no control or claim over the results. The fruits of work should not be your motive, and you should never be inactive. (2.47)

Do your duty to the best of your ability, O Arjuna, with your mind attached to the Lord, abandoning worry and selfish attachment to the results, and remaining calm in both success and failure. The selfless service is a yogic practice that brings peace and equanimity of mind. (2.48)

Work done with selfish motives is inferior by far to the selfless service. Therefore be a selfless worker, O Arjuna. Those who work only to enjoy the fruits of their labor are verily unhappy, because one has no control over the results. (2.49)

A Karma-yogi or the selfless person becomes free from both vice and virtue in this life itself. Therefore, strive for selfless service. Working to the best of one’s abilities without becoming selfishly attached to the fruits of work is called Karma-yoga or Seva. (2.50)

Karma-yogis are freed from the bondage of rebirth due to renouncing the selfish attachment to the fruits of all work, and attain blissful divine state of salvation or Nirvana. (2.51)

When your intellect will completely pierce the veil of confusion, then you will become indifferent to what has been heard and what is to be heard from the scriptures. (2.52)

When your intellect, that is confused by the conflicting opinions and the ritualistic doctrine of the Vedas, shall stay steady and firm on concentration of the Supreme Being, then you shall attain union with the Supreme in trance. (2.53)

Arjuna said: O Krishna, what are the marks of an enlightened person whose intellect is steady? What does a person of steady intellect think and talk about? How does such a person behave with others, and live in this world? (2.54)

Gita as it is

You have a right to perform your prescribed duty, but you are not entitled to the fruits of action. Never consider yourself the cause of the results of your activities, and never be attached to not doing your duty. (2.47)

Perform your duty equipoised, O Arjuna, abandoning all attachment to success or failure. Such equanimity is called yoga. (2.48)

O Dhananjaya, keep all abominable activities far distant by devotional service, and in that consciousness surrender unto the Lord. Those who want to enjoy the fruits of their work are misers. (2.49)

A man engaged in devotional service rids himself of both good and bad actions even in this life. Therefore strive for yoga, which is the art of all work. (2.50)

By thus engaging in devotional service to the Lord, great sages or devotees free themselves from the results of work in the material world. In this way they become free from the cycle of birth and death and attain the state beyond all miseries [by going back to Godhead]. (2.51)

When your intelligence has passed out of the dense forest of delusion, you shall become indifferent to all that has been heard and all that is to be heard. (2,52)

When your mind is no longer disturbed by the flowery language of the Vedas, and when it remains fixed in the trance of self-realization, then you will have attained the divine consciousness. (2.53)

Arjuna said: O Krsna, what are the symptoms of one whose consciousness is thus merged in transcendence? How does he speak, and what is his language? How does he sit, and how does he walk? (2.54)


(47) To action alone hast thou a right and never at all to its fruits; let not the fruits of action be thy motive; neither let there be in thee any attachment to inaction.

(48) Fixed in yoga, do thy work, O Winner of wealth (Arjuna), abandoning attachment, with an even mind in success and failure, for evenness of mind is called yoga.

(49) Far inferior indeed is mere action to the discipline of intelligence (buddhiyoga), O Winner of wealth (Ariuna), seek refuge in intelligence. Pitiful are those who seek for the fruits (of their action).

(50) One who has yoked his intelligence (with the Divine) (or is established in his intelligence) casts away even here both good and evil. Therefore strive for yoga, yoga is skill in action.

(51) The wise who have united their intelligence (with the Divine) renouncing the fruits which their action yields and freed from the bonds of birth reach the sorrowless state.

(52) When thy intelligence shall cross the turbidity of delusion, then shalt thou become indifferent to what has been heard and what is yet to be heard.

(53) When thy intelligence, which is bewildered by the Vedic texts, shall stand unshaken and stable (samadhi), then shalt thou attain to insight (yoga).

(54) Arjuna said: What is the description of the man who has this firmly founded wisdom, whose being is steadfast in spirit, O Kesava (Krsna)? How should the man of settled intelligence speak, how should he sit, how should he walk?

Swami Gambhirananda

Your right is for action alone, never for the results. Do not become the agent of the results of action. May you not have any inclination for inaction. (2.47)

By being established in Yoga, O Dhananjaya (Arjuna) undertake actions, casting off attachments and remaining equipoised in success and failure. Euanimity is called Yoga. (2.48)

O Dhananjaya, indeed, action is quite inferior to the Yoga of wisdom. Take resort to wisdom. Those who thirst for rewards are pitiable. (2.49)

Possessed of wisdom, one rejects here both virtue and vice. Therefore devote yourself to (Karma-) yoga. Yoga is skillfulness in action. (2.50)

Because, by giving up the results produced by actions, the men of knowledge who are devoted to wisdom and are freed from the bondage of birth, reach the state beyond evils. (2.51)

When your mind will go beyond the turbility of delusion, then you will acquire dispassion for what has to be heard and what has been heard. (2.52)

When your mind that has become bewildered by hearing will become unshakable and steadfast in the Self, then you will attain Yoga that arises from discrimination. (2.53)

Arjuna said: O Kesava, what is the description of a man of steady wisdom who is Self-absorbed? How does the man of steady wisdom speak? How does he sit? How does he move about? (2.54)

Verse 2.55-59

Dr. Prasad

Lord Krishna said: When one is completely free from all desires of the mind and is satisfied with the Supreme Being by the joy of Supreme Being, then one is called an enlightened person, O Arjuna. (2.55)

A person whose mind is unperturbed by sorrow, who does not crave pleasures, and who is completely free from attachment, fear, and anger, is called an enlightened sage of steady intellect. (2.56)

The mind and intellect of a person become steady who is not attached to anything, who is neither elated by getting desired results, nor perturbed by undesired results. (2.57)

When one can completely withdraw the senses from the sense objects as a tortoise withdraws its limbs into the shell for protection from calamity, then the intellect of such a person is considered steady. (2.58)

The desire for sensual pleasures fades away if one abstains from sense enjoyment, but the craving for sense enjoyment remains in a very subtle form. This subtle craving also completely disappears from the one who knows the Supreme Being. (2.59)

Gita as it is

The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: O Partha, when a man gives up all varieties of desire for sense gratification, which arise from mental concoction, and when his mind, thus purified, finds satisfaction in the self alone, then he is said to be in pure transcendental consciousness. (2.55)

One who is not disturbed in mind even amidst the threefold miseries or elated when there is happiness, and who is free from attachment, fear and anger, is called a sage of steady mind.(2.56)

In the material world, one who is unaffected by whatever good or evil he may obtain, neither praising it nor despising it, is firmly fixed in perfect knowledge.(2.57)

One who is able to withdraw his senses from sense objects, as the tortoise draws its limbs within the shell, is firmly fixed in perfect consciousness (2.58).

The embodied soul may be restricted from sense enjoyment, though the taste for sense objects remains. But, ceasing such engagements by experiencing a higher taste, he is fixed in consciousness. (2.59)


(55) The blessed Lord said: When a man puts away all the desires of his mind O Partha (Arjuna), and when his spirit is content in itself, then is he called stable in intelligence.

(56) He whose mind is untroubled in the midst of sorrows and is free from eager desire amid pleasures, he from whom passion, fear, and rage have passed away, he is called a sage of settled intelligence.

(57) He who is without affection on any side, who does not rejoice or loathe as he obtains good or evil, his intelligence is-firmly set (in wisdom).

(58) He who draws away the senses from the objects of sense on every side as a tortoise draws in his limbs (into the shell), his intelligence is firmly set (in wisdom).

(59) The objects of sense turn away from the embodied soul who abstains from feeding on them but the taste for them remains. Even the taste turns away when the Supreme is seen.

Swami Gambhirananda

The Blessed lord said: O Partha, when one fully renounces all the desires that have entered the mind, and remains satisfied in the Self alone by the Self, then he is called a man of steady wisdom. (2.55)

That monk is called a man of steady wisdom when his mind unperturbed in sorrow, he is free from longing for delights, and has gone beyond attachment, fear and anger. (2.56)

The wisdom of that person remains established, who has no attachment for anything anywhere, who neither welcomes nor rejects anything what ever good or bad when he comes across it. (2.57)

And when this one fully withdraws the senses from the object of the senses, as a tortoise wholly (withdraws) the limbs, then his wisdom remains established. (2.58)

The objects recede from an abstinent man, with the exception of the taste (for them). Even the taste of this person falls away after realizing the absolute. (2.59)

Verse 2.60-63

Dr. Prasad

Restless senses, O Arjuna, forcibly carry away the mind of even a wise person striving for perfection. (2.60)

One should fix one’s mind on God with loving contemplation after bringing the senses under control. One’s intellect becomes steady when one’s senses are under complete control. (2.61)

One develops attachment to sense objects by thinking about sense objects. Desire for sense objects comes from attachment to sense objects, and anger comes from unfulfilled desires. (2.62)

Delusion or wild idea arises from anger. The mind is bewildered by delusion. Reasoning is destroyed when the mind is bewildered. One falls down from the right path when reasoning is destroyed. (2.63)

Gita as it is

The senses are so strong and impetuous, O Arjuna, that they forcibly carry away the mind even of a man of discrimination who is endeavoring to control them. (2.60)

One who restrains his senses, keeping them under full control, and fixes his consciousness upon Me, is known as a man of steady intelligence. (2.61)

While contemplating the objects of the senses, a person develops attachment for them, and from such attachment lust develops, and from lust anger arises. (2.62)

From anger, complete delusion arises, and from delusion bewilderment of memory. When memory is bewildered, intelligence is lost, and when intelligence is lost one falls down again into the material pool. (2.63)


(60) Even though a man may ever strive (for perfection) and be ever so discerning, O Son of Kunti (Arjuna), his impetuous senses will carry off his mind by force.

(61) Having brought all (the senses) under control, he should remain firm in yoga intent on Me; for he, whose senses are under control, his intelligence is firmly set.

(62) When a man dwells in his mind on the objects of sense, attachment to them is produced. From attachment springs desire and from desire comes anger.

(63) From anger arises bewilderment, from bewilderment loss of memory; and from loss of memory, the destruction of intelligence and from the destruction of intelligence he perishes.

Swami Gambhirananda

For, O son of Kunti, the turbulent organs violently snatch away the mind of an intelligent person, even while he is striving diligently. (2.60)

Controlling all of them, one should remain concentrated on Me as the supreme. For the wisdom of one whose organs are under control becomes steadfast. (2.61)

In the case of a person who dwells on objects, there arises attachment for them. From attachment grows hankering, from hankering springs anger. (2.62)

From anger follows delusion; from delusion, failure of memory; from failure of memory, the loss of understanding; from loss of understanding he perishes. (2.63)

Verse 2.64-73

Dr. Prasad

A disciplined person, enjoying sense objects with senses that are under control and free from attachments and aversions, attains tranquillity. (2.64)

All sorrows are destroyed upon attainment of tranquillity. The intellect of such a tranquil person soon becomes completely steady and united with the Supreme. (2.65)

There is neither Self-knowledge, nor Self-perception to those who are not united with the Supreme. Without Self-perception there is no peace, and without peace there can be no happiness. (2.66)

Because the mind, when controlled by the roving senses, steals away the intellect as a storm takes away a boat on the sea from its destination the spiritual shore of peace and happiness. (2.67)

Therefore, O Arjuna, one’s intellect becomes steady whose senses are completely withdrawn from the sense objects. (2.68)

A yogi, the person of self-restraint, remains wakeful when it is night for all others. It is night for the yogi who sees when all others are wakeful. (2.69)

One attains peace, within whose mind all desires dissipate without creating any mental disturbance, as river waters enter the full ocean without creating any disturbance. One who desires material objects is never peaceful. (2.70)

One who abandons all desires, and becomes free from longing and the feeling of ‘I’ and ‘my’, attains peace. (2.71)

O Arjuna, this is the superconscious state of mind. Attaining this state, one is no longer deluded. Gaining this state, even at the end of one’s life, a person becomes one with the Absolute. (2.72).

Gita as it is

But a person free from all attachment and aversion and able to control his senses through regulative principles of freedom can obtain the complete mercy of the Lord. (2.64)

For one thus satisfied [in Krsna consciousness], the threefold miseries of material existence exist no longer; in such satisfied consciousness, one’s intelligence is soon well established. (2.65)

One who is not connected with the Supreme [in Krsna consciousness] can have neither transcendental intelligence nor a steady mind, without which there is no possibility of peace. And how can there be any happiness without peace? (2.66)

As a boat on the water is swept away by a strong wind, even one of the roaming senses on which the mind focuses can carry away a man’s intelligence. (2.67)

Therefore, O mighty-armed, one whose senses are restrained from their objects is certainly of steady intelligence.(2.68)

What is night for all beings is the time of awakening for the self-controlled; and the time of awakening for all beings is night for the introspective sage. (2.69)

A person who is not disturbed by the incessant flow of desires–that enter like rivers into the ocean, which is ever being filled but is always still–can alone achieve peace, and not the man who strives to satisfy such desires.(2.70)

A person who has given up all desires for sense gratification, who lives free from desires, who has given up all sense of proprietorship and is devoid of false ego–he alone can attain real peace.(2.71)

That is the way of the spiritual and godly life, after attaining which a man is not bewildered. If one is thus situated even at the hour of death, one can enter into the kingdom of God.(2.72)


(64) But a man of disciplined mind, who moves among the objects of sense, with the senses under control and free from attachment and aversion, be attains purity of Spirit.

(65) And in that purity of spirit, there is produced for him an end of all sorrow; the intelligence of such a man of pure spirit is soon established (in the peace of the self).

(66) For the uncontrolled, there is no intelligence; nor for the uncontrolled is there the power of concentration and for him without concentration, there is no peace and for the unpeaceful, how can there be happiness?

(67) When the mind runs after the roving senses, it carries away the understanding, even as a wind carries away a ship on the waters.

(68) Therefore, O Mighty-armed (Arjuna), he whose senses are all withdrawn from their objects his intelligence is firmly set.

(69) What is night for all beings is the time of waking for, the disciplined soul; and what is the time of waking for all beings is night for the sage who sees (or the sage of vision).

(70) He unto whom all desires enter as waters into the sea, which, though ever being filled is ever motionless, attains to peace and not he who hugs his desires.

(71) He who abandons all desires and acts free from longing without any sense of mineness or egotism, he attains to peace.

(72) This is the divine state (brahmisthiti) O Partha (Ariuna), having attained thereto, one is (not again) bewildered; fixed in that state at the end (at the hour of death) one can attain to the bliss of God (brahmanirvana).

Swami Gambhirananda

But by perceiving objects with the organs that are free from attraction and repulsion, and are under control, the self-controlled man attains serenity. (2.64)

When there is serenity, there follows eradication of all his sorrows, because the wisdom of one who has serene mind soon becomes firmly established. (2.65)

For the unsteady there is no wisdom, and there is no meditation for the unsteady man. And for an unmeditative man there is no peace. How can there be happiness for one without peace? (2.66)

For the mind which follows in the wake of the wandering senses, that (mind) carries away his wisdom like the wind (diverting) a boat on the waters. (2.67)

Therefore, O mighty-armed one, his wisdom becomes established whose organs are completely withdrawn from the objects. (2.68)

The self-restrained man keeps awake during that which is night for all creatures. That during which creatures keep awake, it is night to the seeing sage. (2.69)

The man attains peace, into whom all desires enter the same way as waters flow into a sea that remains unchanged (even) when being filled up from all sides. Not so one who is desirous of objects. (2.70)

The man attains peace, who after rejecting all desires, moves about free from hankering, without the idea of (‘me’ and) ‘mine’, and devoid of pride. (2.71)

O Partha, this is the state of being established in Brahman. One does not become deluded after attaining this. One attains identification with Brahman by being established in this state even in the closing years of one’s life. (2.72)

Verse 3.01-06

Dr. Prasad

Arjuna asked: If You consider that acquiring transcendental knowledge is better than working, then why do You want me to engage in this horrible war, O Krishna? You seem to confuse my mind by apparently conflicting words. Tell me, decisively, one thing by which I may attain the Supreme. (3.01-02)

Lord Krishna said: In this world I have stated a twofold path of spiritual discipline in the past. The path of Self-knowledge for the contemplative ones, and the path of unselfish work (Seva, Karma-yoga) for all others. (3.03)

One does not attain freedom from the bondage of Karma by merely abstaining from work. No one attains perfection by merely giving up work, because no one can remain actionless even for a moment. Everyone is driven to action helplessly indeed by the forces of Nature. (3.04-05)

Anyone, who restrains the senses but mentally dwells upon the sense objects, is called a pretender. (3.06)

Gita as it is

Arjuna said: O Janardana, O Kesava, why do You want to engage me in this ghastly warfare, if You think that intelligence is better than fruitive work? (3.01)

My intelligence is bewildered by Your equivocal instructions. Therefore, please tell me decisively which will be most beneficial for me. (3.02)

The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: O sinless Arjuna, I have already explained that there are two classes of men who try to realize the self. Some are inclined to understand it by empirical, philosophical speculation, and others by devotional service. (3.03)

Not by merely abstaining from work can one achieve freedom from reaction, nor by renunciation alone can one attain perfection. (3.04)

Everyone is forced to act helplessly according to the qualities he has acquired from the modes of material nature; therefore no one can refrain from doing something, not even for a moment. (3.05)

One who restrains the senses of action but whose mind dwells on sense objects certainly deludes himself and is called a pretender. (3.06)


(1) Arjuna said: If thou deemest that (the path of) understanding is more excellent than (the path of) action, O Janardana (Krsna), why then dost thou urge me to do this savage deed, O Kesava (Krsana)?

(2) With an apparently confused utterance thou seemest to bewilder my intelligence. Tell (me) then decisively the one thing by which I can attain to the highest good.

(3) The Blessed Lord said: O, blameless One, in this world a two-fold way of life has been taught of yore by Me, the path of knowledge for men of contemplation and that of works for men of action.

(4) Not by abstention from work does a man attain freedom from action; nor by mere renunciation does he attain to his perfection.

(5) For no one can remain even for a moment without doing work; every one is made to act helplessly by the impulses born of nature.

(6) He who restrains his organs of action but continues in his mind to brood over the objects of sense, whose nature is deluded is said to be a hypocrite (a man of false conduct).

Swami Gambhirananda

O Janardana (Krsna), if it be Your opinion that Wisdom is superior to action, why then do you urge me to horrible action? (3.01)

You bewilder my understanding, as it were, by a seemingly conflicting statement ! Tell me for certain one of these by which I may attain the highest Good. (3.02)

O unblemished one, two kinds of steadfastness in this world were spoken by Me in the days of yore – through the Yoga of Knowledge for the men of realization; through the Yoga of Action for the yogis. (3.03)

A person does not attain freedom from action by abstaining from action; nor does he attain fulfillment merely through renunciation. (3.04)

Because no one ever remains even for a moment without doing work. For all are made to work under compulsion by the gunas born of Nature. (3.05)

One who, after withdrawing the organs of action, sits mentally recollecting the objects of the senses, that one, of deluded mind, is called a hypocrite. (3.06)

Verse 3.07-09

Dr. Prasad

The one who controls the senses by the trained and purified mind and intellect, and engages the organs of action to selfless service is considered superior. (3.07)

Perform your obligatory duty, because working is indeed better than sitting idle. Even the maintenance of your body would not be possible without work. (3.08)

Work other than those done as a selfless service (Seva) binds human beings. Therefore, becoming free from selfish attachment to the fruits of work, do your duty efficiently as a service to Me. (3.09)

Gita as it is

On the other hand, if a sincere person tries to control the active senses by the mind and begins karma-yoga [in Krsna consciousness] without attachment, he is by far superior. (3.07)

Perform your prescribed duty, for doing so is better than not working. One cannot even maintain one’s physical body without work. (3.08)

Work done as a sacrifice for Visnu has to be performed, otherwise work causes bondage in this material world. Therefore, O son of Kunti, perform your prescribed duties for His satisfaction, and in that way you will always remain free from bondage. (3.09)


(7) But he who controls the senses by the mind, O Ariuna, and without attachment engages the organs of action in the path of work, he is superior.

(8) Do thou thy allotted work, for action is better than inaction; even the maintenance of thy physical life cannot be effected without action.

(9) Save work done as and for a sacrifice this world is in bondage to work. Therefore, O son of Kunti (Arjuna), do thy work as a sacrifice, becoming free from all attachment.

Swami Gambhirananda

But, O Arjuna, one who engages in Karmayoga with the organs of action, controlling the organs with the mind and becoming unattached, – that one excels. (3.07)

You perform the obligatory duties, for action is superior than in action. And through inaction, even the maintenance of your body will not be possible. (3.08)

This man becomes bound by actions other than that action meant for God. Without being attached, O son of Kunti, you perform actions for Him. (3.09)

Verse 3.10-18

Dr. Prasad

In the beginning the creator created human beings together with selfless service (Seva, sacrifice) and said: By serving each other you shall prosper and the sacrificial service shall fulfill all your desires. (3.10)

Nourish the celestial controllers with selfless service, and they will nourish you. Thus nourishing one another you shall attain the Supreme goal. (3.11)

The celestial controllers, served by selfless service, will give you all desired objects. One who enjoys the gift of celestial controllers without sharing with others is, indeed, a thief. (3.12)

The righteous who eat after feeding others are freed from all sins, but the impious who cook food only for themselves without first offering to God, or sharing with others verily eat sin. (3.13)

The living beings are born from food grains, grains are produced by sacrificial work or duty performed by farmers and other field workers. Duty is prescribed in the scriptures. Scriptures (such as the Vedas, the Holy Bible, the Holy Koran) come from the Supreme Being. Thus the all-pervading Supreme Being or God is ever present in selfless service. (3.14-15)

The one who does not help to keep the wheel of creation in motion by sacrificial duty (Seva), and rejoices sense pleasures, that sinful person lives in vain. (3.16)

The one who rejoices the Supreme Being, who is delighted with the Supreme Being, and who is content with the Supreme Being alone, for such a Self-realized person there is no duty. Such a person has no interest, whatsoever, in what is done or what is not done. A Self-realized person does not depend on anybody, except God, for anything. (3.17-18)

Gita as it is

In the beginning of creation, the Lord of all creatures sent forth generations of men and demigods, along with sacrifices for Visnu, and blessed them by saying, ” Be thou happy by this yajna [sacrifice] because its performance will bestow upon you everything desirable for living happily and achieving liberation.” (3.10)

The demigods, being pleased by sacrifices, will also please you, and thus, by cooperation between men and demigods, prosperity will reign for all.(3.11)

In charge of the various necessities of life, the demigods, being satisfied by the performance of yajna [sacrifice], will supply all necessities to you. But he who enjoys such gifts without offering them to the demigods in return is certainly a thief.(3.12)

The devotees of the Lord are released from all kinds of sins because they eat food which is offered first for sacrifice. Others, who prepare food for personal sense enjoyment, verily eat only sin. (3.13)

All living bodies subsist on food grains, which are produced from rains. Rains are produced by performance of yajna [sacrifice], and yajna is born of prescribed duties.(3.14)

Regulated activities are prescribed in the Vedas, and the Vedas are directly manifested from the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Consequently the all-pervading Transcendence is eternally situated in acts of sacrifice.(3.15)

My dear Arjuna, one who does not follow in human life the cycle of sacrifice thus established by the Vedas certainly leads a life full of sin. Living only for the satisfaction of the senses, such a person lives in vain.(3.16)

But for one who takes pleasure in the self, whose human life is one of self-realization, and who is satisfied in the self only, fully satiated — for him there is no duty. (3.17)

A self-realized man has no purpose to fulfill in the discharge of his prescribed duties, nor has he any reason not to perform such work. Nor has he any need to depend on any other living being. (3.18)


(10) In ancient days the Lord of creatures created men along with sacrifice and said, “By this shall ye bring forth and this shall be unto you that which will yield the milk of your desires.”

(11) By this foster ye the gods and let the gods foster you; thus fostering each other you shall attain to the supreme good.

(12) Fostered by sacrifice the gods will give you the enjoyments you desire. He who enjoys these gifts without giving to them in return is verily a thief.

(13) The good people who eat what is left from the sacrifice are released from all sins but those wicked people who prepare food for their own sake -verily they eat sin.

(I4) From food creatures come into being; from rain is the birth of food; from sacrifice rain comes into being and sacrifice is born of work.

(15) Know the origin of karma (of the nature of sacrifices) to be in Brahma (the Veda) and the Brahma springs from the Imperishable. Therefore the Brahma, which comprehends all, ever centres round the sacrifice.

(I6) He who does not, in this world, help to turn the wheel thus set in motion, is evil in his nature, sensual in his delight, and he, O Partha (Arjuna), lives in vain.

(17) But the man whose delight is in the Self alone. Who is content with the Self, who is satisfied with the Self, for him there exists no work that needs to be done.

(18) Similarly, in this world he has no interest whatever to gain by the actions that he has done and none to be gained by the actions that he has not done. He does not depend on all these beings for any interest of his.

Swami Gambhirananda

In the days of yore, having created the beings together with the sacrifices, Prajapati said: “ By this you multiply. Let this be your yielder of coverted objects of desire.” (3.10)

“you nourish the gods with this. Let those gods nourish you. Nourishing one another, you shall attain the supreme Good.” (3.11)

“Being nourished by sacrifices, the gods will indeed give you the coveted enjoyments. He is certainly a thief who enjoys what have been given by them without offering (these) to them.” (3.12)

By becoming partakers of the remnants of sacrifices, they become freed from all sins. But the unholy persons who cook for themselves, they incur sin. (3.13)

From food are born the creatures; the origin of food is from rainfall; rainfall originates from sacrifice; sacrifice has action in origin. (3.14)

Know that action has the Vedas as its origin; the Vedas have the Immutable as their source. Hence, the all-pervading Vedas are for ever based on sacrifice. (3.15)

O Partha, he lives in vain who does not follow here the wheel thus set in motion., whose life is sinful, and who indulges in the senses. (3.16)

But, that man who rejoices only in the Self and is satisfied with the Self, and is contented only in the Self, – for him there is no duty to perform. (3.17)

For him there is no concern here at all with performing an action; nor any (concern) with non-performance. Moreover, for him there is no dependence on any object to serve any purpose. (3.18)

Verse 3.19-24

Dr. Prasad

Always perform your duty efficiently and without any selfish attachment to the results, because by doing work without attachment one attains Supreme. (3.19)

King Janaka and others attained perfection of Self-realization by selfless service (Karma-yoga) alone. You should also perform your duty with a view to guide people, and for the welfare of the society. (3.20)

Because whatever noble persons do, others follow. Whatever standard they set up, the world follows. (3.21)

O Arjuna, there is nothing in the three worlds – heaven, earth, and the lower regions – that should be done by Me, nor there is anything unobtained that I should obtain, yet I engage in action. (3.22)

Because, if I do not engage in action relentlessly, O Arjuna, people would follow My path in everyway. These worlds would perish if I do not work, and I shall be the cause of confusion and destruction of all these people. (3.23-24)

Gita as it is

Therefore, without being attached to the fruits of activities, one should act as a matter of duty, for by working without attachment one attains the Supreme. (3.19)

Kings such as Janaka attained perfection solely by performance of prescribed duties. Therefore, just for the sake of educating the people in general, you should perform your work. (3.20)

Whatever action a great man performs, common men follow. And whatever standards he sets by exemplary acts, all the world pursues. (3.21)

O son of Prtha, there is no work prescribed for Me within all the three planetary systems. Nor am I in want of anything, nor have I a need to obtain anything–and yet I am engaged in prescribed duties. (3.22)

For if I ever failed to engage in carefully performing prescribed duties, O Partha, certainly all men would follow My path. (3.23)

If I did not perform prescribed duties, all these worlds would be put to ruination. I would be the cause of creating unwanted population, and I would thereby destroy the peace of all living beings. (3.24)


(19) Therefore, without attachment, perform always the work that has to be done, for man attains to the highest by doing work without attachment.

(20) It was even by works that Janaka and others attained to perfection. Thou shouldst do works also with a view to the maintenance of the world.

(21) Whatsoever a great man does, the same is done by others as well. Whatever standard be sets, the world follows.

(22) There is not for me, O Partha (Arjuna), any work in the three worlds which has to be done nor anything to be obtained which has not been obtained; yet I am engaged in work.

(23) For, if ever I did not engage in work unwearied, O Partha (Arjuna), men in every way follow my path.

(24) If I should cease to work, these worlds would fall in ruin and I should be the creator of disordered life and destroy these people.

Swami Gambhirananda

Therefore, remaining unattached, always perform the obligatory duty, for, by performing (one’s) duty without attachment, a person attains the Highest. (3.19)

For Janaka and others strove to attain Liberation through action itself. You ought to perform (your duty) also with a view to preventing mankind from going astray. (3.20)

Whatever a superior person does. Another person that very thing ! Whatever he upholds as authority, an ordinary person follows that. (3.22)

In all the three worlds, O Partha, there is no duty whatsoever for Me (to fill); nothing remains unachieved or to be achieved. Still do I continue in action. (3.23)

For O Partha, if at any time I do not continue vigilantly in action, men will follow My path in every way.

These worlds will be ruined if I do not perform action. And I shall become the agent of intermingling (of castes), and shall be destroying these beings. (3.24)

Verse 3.25-26

Dr. Prasad

As the ignorant work with attachment to the fruits of work, so the wise should work without attachment, for the welfare of the society. (3.25)

The wise should not unsettle the mind of the ignorant ones who are attached to the fruits of work, but the enlightened one should inspire others by performing all works efficiently without selfish attachment. (See also 3.29) (3.26)

Gita as it is

As the ignorant perform their duties with attachment to results, the learned may similarly act, but without attachment, for the sake of leading people on the right path. (3.25) So as not to disrupt the minds of ignorant men attached to the fruitive results of prescribed duties, a learned person should not induce them to stop work. Rather, by working in the spirit of devotion, he should engage them in all sorts of activities [for the gradual development of Krsna consciousness]. (3.26)


(25) As the unlearned act from attachment to their work should the learned also act, O Bharata (Arjuna), but without any attachment, faith the desire to maintain the world-order.

(26) Let him (jnanin) not unsettle the minds of the ignorant who are attached to action. The enlightened man doing all works in a spirit of yoga should set others to act (as well).

Swami Gambhirananda

O scion of the Bharata dynasty, as the unenlightened people act with attachment to work, so should the enlightened person act, without attachment, being desirous of prevention of people from going astray. (3.25)

The enlightened man should not create any disturbance in the beliefs of the ignorant, who are attached to work. Working, while himself remaining diligent, he should make them do all the duties. (3.26)

Verse 3.27-33

Dr. Prasad

The forces of Nature do all works. But due to delusion of ignorance people assume themselves to be the doer. (See also 5.09, 13.29, and 14.19) (3.27)

The one who knows the truth about the role of the forces of Nature in getting work done does not become attached to the work. Such a person knows that it is the forces of Nature that get their work done by using our organs as their instruments. (3.28)

But those who are deluded by the illusive power (Maya) of Nature become attached to the works done by the forces of Nature. The wise should not disturb the mind of the ignorant whose knowledge is imperfect. (See also 3.26) (3.29)

Do your duty dedicating all works to God in a spiritual frame of mind free from desire, attachment, and mental grief. (3.30)

Those who always practice this teaching of Mine with faith and are free from cavil become free from the bondage of Karma. But those who carp at this teaching and do not practice it, consider them ignorant, senseless, and lost. (3.31-32)

All beings follow their nature. Even the wise act according to their own nature. What, then, is the value of sense restraint? (3.33)

Gita as it is

The spirit soul bewildered by the influence of false ego thinks himself the doer of activities that are in actuality carried out by the three modes of material nature. (3.27)

One who is in knowledge of the Absolute Truth, O mighty-armed, does not engage himself in the senses and sense gratification, knowing well the differences between work in devotion and work for fruitive results. (3.28)

Bewildered by the modes of material nature, the ignorant fully engage themselves in material activities and become attached. But the wise should not unsettle them, although these duties are inferior due to the performers’ lack of knowledge. (3.29)

Therefore, O Arjuna, surrendering all your works unto Me, with full knowledge of Me, without desires for profit, with no claims to proprietorship, and free from lethargy, fight. (3.30)

Those persons who execute their duties according to My injunctions and who follow this teaching faithfully, without envy, become free from the bondage of fruitive actions. (3.31)

But those who, out of envy, disregard these teachings and do not follow them are to be considered bereft of all knowledge, befooled, and ruined in their endeavors for perfection. (3.32)

Even a man of knowledge acts according to his own nature, for everyone follows the nature he has acquired from the three modes. What can repression accomplish? (3.33)


(27) While all kinds of work are done by the modes of nature, be whose soul is bewildered by the self-sense thinks “I am the doer.”

(28) But he who knows the true character of the two distinctions (of the soul) from the modes of nature acid their works, O Mighty-armed (Arjuna), understanding that it is the modes which are acting on the modes, does not get attached.

(29) Those who are misled by the modes of nature get attached to the works produced by them. But let no one who knows the whole unsettle the minds of the ignorant who know only a part.

(30) Resigning all thy works to Me, with thy consciousness fixed in the Self, being free from desire and egoism, fight, delivered from thy fever.

(31) Those men, too, who, full of faith and free from cavil constantly follow this teaching of Mine are released from (the bondage of) works.

(32) But those who slight My teaching and do not follow it, know them to be blind to all wisdom, lost and senseless.

(33) Even the man of knowledge acts in accordance with his own nature. Beings follow their nature. What can repression accomplish?

Swami Gambhirananda

While actions are being done in every way by the gunas (qualities) of Nature, one who is deluded by egotism thinks thus: “I am the doer”. (3.27)

But, O mighty-armed one, the one who is a knower of the facts about the varieties of the gunas (qualities) and actions, does not become attached, thinking thus; ‘The organs rest (act) on the objects of the organs’. (3.28)

Those who are wholly deluded by the gunas of Nature become attached to the activities of the gunas. The knower of the All should not disturb those of dull intellect, who do not know the All. (3.29)

Devoid of the fever of the soul, engage in battle by dedicating all actions to Me, with (your) mind intent on the Self, and becoming free from expectations and egoism. (3.30)

Those men who ever follow this teaching of Mine, with faith and without cavil, they also become freed from actions. (3.31)

But those who, decrying this, do not follow My teaching, Know them – who are deluded about all knowledge and who are devoid of discrimination – to have gone to ruin. (3.32)

Even a man of wisdom behaves according to his own nature. What can restraint do? (3.33)

Verse 3.34-35

Dr. Prasad

Attachments and aversions for the sense objects remain in the senses. One should not come under the control of these two, because they are two major stumbling blocks, indeed, on one’s path of Self-realization. (3.34)

One’s inferior natural work is better than superior unnatural work. Death in carrying out one’s natural work is useful. Unnatural work produces too much stress. (See also 18.47) (3.35)

Gita as it is

There are principles to regulate attachment and aversion pertaining to the senses and their objects. One should not come under the control of such attachment and aversion, because they are stumbling blocks on the path of self-realization. (3.34)

It is far better to discharge one’s prescribed duties, even though faultily, than another’s duties perfectly. Destruction in the course of performing one’s own duty is better than engaging in another’ duties, for to follow another’s path is dangerous. (3.35)


(34) For (every) sense attachment and aversion are fixed (in regard) to the objects of (that) sense. Let no one come under their sway for they are his (two) waylayers.

(35) Better is one’s own law though imperfectly earned out than the law of another carried out perfectly. Better is death in (the fulfillment of) one’s own law for to follow another’s law is perilous.

Swami Gambhirananda

Attraction and repulsion are ordained with regard to the objects of all the organs. One should not come under the sway of these two because they are his adversaries. (3.34)

One’s own duty, though defective, is superior to another’s duty well performed. Death is better while engaged in one’s own duty; another’s duty is fraught with fear. (3.35)

Verse 3.36-41

Dr. Prasad

Arjuna said: O Krishna, what impels one to commit sin as if unwillingly and forced against one’s will? (3.36)

Lord Krishna said: It is the lust born out of passion that becomes anger when unfulfilled. Lust is insatiable and is a great devil. Know this as the enemy. (3.37)

As the fire is covered by smoke, as a mirror by dust, and as an embryo by the amnion; similarly, Self-knowledge gets covered by different degrees of this insatiable lust, the eternal enemy of the wise. (3.38-39)

The senses, the mind, and the intellect are said to be the abode of lust; with these it deludes a person by veiling the Self-knowledge. (3.40)

Therefore, O Arjuna, by controlling the senses first, kill this devil of material desire that destroys Self-knowledge and Self-realization. (3.41)

Gita as it is

Arjuna said: O descendant of Vrsni, by what is one impelled to sinful acts, even unwillingly, as if engaged by force? (3.36)

The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: It is lust only, Arjuna, which is born of contact with the material mode of passion and later transformed into wrath, and which is the all-devouring sinful enemy of this world. (3.37)

As fire is covered by smoke, as a mirror is covered by dust, or as the embryo is covered by the womb, the living entity is similarly covered by different degrees of this lust. (3.38)

Thus the wise living entity’s pure consciousness becomes covered by his eternal enemy in the form of lust, which is never satisfied and which burns like fire.(3.39)

The senses, the mind and the intelligence are the sitting places of this lust. Through them lust covers the real knowledge of the living entity and bewilders him.(3.40)

Therefore, O Arjuna, best of the Bharatas, in the very beginning curb this great symbol of sin [lust] by regulating the senses, and slay this destroyer of knowledge and self-realization. (3.41)


(36) Arjuna said: But by what is a man impelled to commit sin, as if by force, even against his will, O Varsneya (Krsna)?

(37) The Blessed Lord said: This is craving, this is wrath, born of the mode of passion, all devouring and most sinful. Know this to be the enemy here.

(38) As fire is covered by smoke, as a mirror by dust, as an embryo is enveloped by the womb, so is this covered by that (passion).

(39) Enveloped is wisdom, O Son of Kunti (Arjuna), by this insatiable fire of desire, which is the constant foe of the wise.

(40) The senses, the mind and the Intelligence are said to be its seat. Veiling wisdom by these, it deludes the embodied (soul).

(41) Therefore, O Best of Bharatas (Arjuna) control thy senses from the beginning and slay this sinful destroyer of wisdom and discrimination.

Swami Gambhirananda

Now then, O scion of the Vrsni dynasty (Krsna), impelled by what does this man commit sin even against his wish, being constrained by force, as it were? (3.36)

This desire, this anger, born of the quality of rajas, is a great devourer, a great sinner. Know this to be the enemy here. (3.37)

As fire is enveloped by smoke, as a mirror by dirt, and as a fetus remains enclosed in the womb, so is this shrouded by that. (3.38)

O son of Kunti, Knowledge is covered by this constant enemy of the wise, in the form of desire which is an insatiable fire. (3.39)

The organs, mind, and the intellect are said to be its abode. This one diversely deludes the embodied being by veiling Knowledge with the help of these. (3.40)

Therefore, O scion of the Bharata dynasty, after first controlling the organs, renounce this one which is sinful and a destroyer of learning and wisdom. (3.41)

Verse 3.42-43

Dr. Prasad

The senses are said to be superior to the body, the mind is superior to the senses, the intellect is superior to the mind, transcendental knowledge is superior to the intellect, and the Self is superior to transcendental knowledge. (3.42)

Thus, knowing the Self to be superior to the intellect, and controlling the mind by the intellect that is purified by spiritual practices, one must kill this mighty enemy, lust, O Arjuna. (3.43)

Gita as it is

The working senses are superior to dull matter; mind is higher than the senses; intelligence is still higher than the mind; and he [the soul] is even higher than the intelligence.(3.42)

Thus knowing oneself to be transcendental to the material senses, mind and intelligence, O mighty-armed Arjuna, one should steady the mind by deliberate spiritual intelligence [Krsna consciousness] and thus–by spiritual strength–conquer this insatiable enemy known as lust. (3.43)


(42) The senses, they say, are great, greater than the senses is the mind, greater than the mind is the intelligence but greater than the intelligence is He.

(43) Thus knowing Him who is beyond the intelligence, steadying the (lower) self by the Self, smite, O Mighty-armed (Arjuna), the enemy in the form of desire, so hard to get at.

Swami Gambhirananda

They say that the organs are superior (to the gross body); the mind is superior to the organs; but the intellect is superior to the mind. However, the one who is superior to the intellect is He. (3.42)

Understanding the Self thus as superior to the intellect, and completely establishing (the Self) in spiritual absorption with the (help of) mind, O mighty armed one, vanquish the enemy in the form of desire, which is difficult to subdue. (3.43)

Verse 4.01-04

Dr. Prasad

Lord Krishna said: I taught this Karma-yoga, the eternal science of right action, to King Vivasvan. Vivasvan taught it to Manu. Manu taught it to Ikshvaku. Thus handed down in succession the saintly Kings knew this science of proper action (Karma-yoga). After a long time this science was lost from this earth. Today I have described the same ancient science to you, because you are my sincere devotee and friend. This science is a supreme secret indeed. (4.01-03)

Arjuna said: You were born later, but Vivasvan was born in ancient time. How am I to understand that You taught this science in the beginning of the creation? (4.04)

Gita as it is

The Personality of Godhead, Lord Sri Krsna, said: I instructed this imperishable science of yoga to the sun-god, Vivasvan, and Vivasvan instructed it to Manu, the father of mankind, and Manu in turn instructed it to Iksvaku. (4.01)

This supreme science was thus received through the chain of disciplic succession, and the saintly kings understood it in that way. But in course of time the succession was broken, and therefore the science as it is appears to be lost. (4.02)

That very ancient science of the relationship with the Supreme is today told by Me to you because you are My devotee as well as My friend and can therefore understand the transcendental mystery of this science. (4.03)

Arjuna said: The sun-god Vivasvan is senior by birth to You. How am I to understand that in the beginning You instructed this science to him? (4.04)


(1) The Blessed Lord said:
I proclaimed this imperishable yoga to Vivasvan; Vivasvan told it to Manu and Manu spoke it to Iksvaku.

(2) Thus handed down from one to another the royal sages knew it till that yoga was lost to the world through long lapse of time, O Oppressor of the foe (Arjuna).

(3) This same ancient yoga has been today declared to thee by Me; for thou art My devotee and My friend; and this is the supreme secret.

(4) Arjuna said;
Later was Thy birth and earlier was the birth of Vivasvat. How then am I to understand that thou didst declare it to him in the beginning?

Swami Gambhirananda

I imparted this imperishable Yoga to Vivasvan. Vivasvan taught it to Manu, Manu transmitted this to Iksvaku. (4.01)

The king sages knew this (Yoga) which was received thus in regular succession. That Yoga, O destroyer of foes, is now lost owing to a long lapse of time. (4.02)

The ancient Yoga itself, which is this, has been taught to you by Me today, considering that you are My devotee and friend. For this (Yoga) is a profound secret. (4.03)

Your birth was later, (whereas) the birth of Vivasvan was earlier. How am I to understand this that You instructed (him) in the beginning? (4.04)

Verse 4.05-10

Dr. Prasad

Lord Krishna said: Both you and I have taken many births. I remember them all, O Arjuna, but you do not remember. (4.05)

Though I am eternal, immutable, and the Lord of all beings, yet I manifest Myself by controlling the material Nature using My own divine potential energy (Maya). (See also 10.14) (4.06)

Whenever there is a decline of Dharma (Righteousness) and a predominance of Adharma (Unrighteousness), O Arjuna, then I manifest Myself. I appear from time to time for protecting the good, for transforming the wicked, and for establishing world order (Dharma). (4.07-08)

The one who truly understands My transcendental appearance, and activities of creation, maintenance, and dissolution attains My Supreme Abode and is not born again after leaving this body, O Arjuna. (4.09)

Many have become free from attachment, fear, anger, and attained salvation by taking refuge in Me, by becoming fully absorbed in My thoughts, and by getting purified by the fire of Self-knowledge. (4.10)

Gita as it is

The Personality of Godhead said: Many, many births both you and I have passed. I can remember all of them, but you cannot, O subduer of the enemy! (4.05)

Although I am unborn and My transcendental body never deteriorates, and although I am the Lord of all living entities, I still appear in every millennium in My original transcendental form. (4.06)

Whenever and wherever there is a decline in religious practice, O descendant of Bharata, and a predominant rise of irreligion–at that time I descend Myself. (4.07)

To deliver the pious and to annihilate the miscreants, as well as to reestablish the principles of religion, I Myself appear, millennium after millennium.(4.08)

One who knows the transcendental nature of My appearance and activities does not, upon leaving the body, take his birth again in this material world, but attains My eternal abode, O Arjuna. (4.09)

Being freed from attachment, fear and anger, being fully absorbed in Me and taking refuge in Me, many, many persons in the past became purified by knowledge of Me–and thus they all attained transcendental love for Me.(4.10)


(5) The Blessed Lord said:
Many are My lives that are past, and thine also, O Arjuna; all of them I know but thou knowest not, O Scourge of the foe (Arjuna).

(6) Though (I am) unborn, and My self (is) imperishable, though (I am) the lord of all creatures, yet establishing Myself in My own nature, I come into (empiric) being through My power (maya).

(7) Whenever there is a decline of righteousness and rise of unrighteousness, O Bhrata (Arjuna), then I send forth (create incarnate) Myself.

(8) For the protection of the good, for the destruction of the wicked and for the establishment of righteousness, I come into being from age to age.

(9) He who knows thus in its true nature My divine birth and works, is not born again, when he leaves his body but comes to Me, O Arjuna.

(10) Delivered from passion, fear and anger, absorbed in Me, taking refuge in Me, many purified by the austerity of Wisdom, have attained to My state of being.

Swami Gambhirananda

O Arjuna, many lives of Mine have passed, and so have yours. I know them all, (but) you know not, O scorcher of enemies ! (4.05)

Though I am birthless, undecaying by nature, and the Lord of beings, (still) by subjugating My Prakrti, I take birth by means of My own Maya. (4.06)

O scion of the Bharata dynasty, whenever there is a decline of virtue and increase of vice, then do I manifest Myself. (4.07)

For the protection of the pious, the destruction of the evil-doers, and establishing virtue, I manifest Myself in every age. (4.08)

He who thus knows truly the divine birth and actions of Mine, does not get rebirth after casting off the body. He attains Me, O Arjuna. (4.09)

Many who were devoid of attachment, fear and anger, who were absorbed in Me, who had taken refuge in Me, and were purified by the austerity of Knowledge, have attained My state. (4.10)

Verse 4.11-12

Dr. Prasad

With whatever motive people worship Me, I fulfill their desires accordingly. People worship Me with different motives. (4.11)

Those who long for success in their work here on the earth worship the celestial controllers. Success in work comes quickly in this human world. (4.12)

Gita as it is

As all surrender unto Me, I reward them accordingly. Everyone follows My path in all respects, O son of Prtha.(4.11)

Men in this world desire success in fruitive activities, and therefore they worship the demigods. Quickly, of course, men get results from fruitive work in this world.(4.12)


(11) As men approach me so do I accept them: men on all sides follow my path, O Partha (Ariuna).

(12) Those who desire the fruition of their works on earth offer sacrifices to the gods (the various forms of the one Godhead) for the fruition of works in this world of men is very quick.

Swami Gambhirananda

According to the manner in which they approach Me, I favour them in that very manner. O son of Partha, human beings follow My path in every way. (4.11)

Longing for the fruition of actions (of their rites and duties), they worship the gods here. For, in the human world, success from action comes quickly. (4.12)

Verse 4.13-15

Dr. Prasad

I created the four divisions of human society based on aptitude and vocation. Though I am the author of this system of the division of labor, one should know that I do nothing directly and I am eternal. (See also 18.41) (4.13)

Works do not bind Me, because I have no desire for the fruits of work. The one who fully understands and practices this truth is also not bound by Karma. (4.14)

The ancient seekers of salvation also performed their duties with this understanding. Therefore, you should do your duty as the ancients did. (4.15)

Gita as it is

According to the three modes of material nature and the work associated with them, the four divisions of human society are created by Me. And although I am the creator of this system, you should know that I am yet the nondoer, being unchangeable.(4.13)

There is no work that affects Me; nor do I aspire for the fruits of action. One who understands this truth about Me also does not become entangled in the fruitive reactions of work.(4.14)

All the liberated souls in ancient times acted with this understanding of My transcendental nature. Therefore you should perform your duty, following in their footsteps.(4.15)


(13) The fourfold order was created by Me according to the divisions of quality and work. Though I am its creator know Me to be incapable of action or change.

(14) Works do not defile Me; nor do I have yearning for their fruit. He who knows Me thus is not bound by works.

(15) So knowing was work done also by the men of old who sought liberation. Therefore do thou also work as the ancients did in former times.

Swami Gambhirananda

The four castes have been created by Me through the classification of the gunas and duties. Even though I am the agent of that (act of classification), still know Me to be a non-agent and changeless. (4.13)

Actions do not taint Me; for Me there is no hankering for the results of actions. One who knows Me thus, does not become bound by actions. (4.14)

Having known me thus, duties were performed even by the ancient seekers of Liberation. Therefore, you undertake action itself as was performed earlier by the ancient ones. (4.15)

Verse 4.16-17

Dr. Prasad

Even the wise ones are confused about what is action and what is inaction. Therefore, I shall clearly explain what is action, knowing that one shall be liberated from the evil of birth and death. (4.16)

The true nature of action is very difficult to understand. Therefore, one should know the nature of attached action, the nature of detached action, and also the nature of forbidden action. (4.17)

Gita as it is

Even the intelligent are bewildered in determining what is action and what is inaction. Now I shall explain to you what action is, knowing which you shall be liberated from all misfortune.(4.16)

The intricacies of action are very hard to understand. Therefore one should know properly what action is, what forbidden action is, and what inaction is.(4.17)


(16) What is action? What is inaction? -As to this even the wise are bewildered I will declare to thee what action is, knowing which thou shalt be delivered from evil.

(17) One has to understand what action is, and likewise one has to understand what is wrong action and one has to understand about inaction. Hard to understand is the way of work.

Swami Gambhirananda

Even the intelligent are confounded as to what is action and what is inaction. I shall tell you of that action by knowing which you will become free from evil. (4.16)

For there is something to be known even about action, and something to be known about prohibited action; and something has to be known about inaction. The true nature of action is inscrutable. (4.17)

Verse 4.18-24

Dr. Prasad

The one who sees inaction in action, and action in inaction, is a wise person. Such a person is a yogi and has accomplished everything. (See also 3.05, 3.27, 5.08 and 13.29) (4.18)

A person, whose desires have become selfless by being roasted in the fire of Self-knowledge, is called a sage by the wise. (4.19)

The one who has abandoned selfish attachment to the fruits of work, and remains ever content and dependent on no one but God, such a person though engaged in activity does nothing at all, and incurs no Karmic reaction. (4.20)

The one who is free from desires, whose mind and senses are under control, and who has renounced all proprietorship, does not incur sin the Karmic reaction by doing bodily action. (4.21)

A Karma-yogi who is content with whatever gain comes naturally by His will, who is unaffected by pairs of opposites, and free from envy, equanimous in success and failure is not bound by Karma. (4.22)

All Karmic bonds of a Karma-yogi who is free from attachment, whose mind is fixed in Self-knowledge, and who does work as a service to the Lord dissolves away (4.23)

The Spirit shall be realized by the one who considers everything as a manifestation, or an act, of the Spirit. (Also see 9.16) (4.24)

Gita as it is

One who sees inaction in action, and action in inaction, is intelligent among men, and he is in the transcendental position, although engaged in all sorts of activities.(4.18)

One is understood to be in full knowledge whose every endeavor is devoid of desire for sense gratification. He is said by sages to be a worker for whom the reactions of work have been burned up by the fire of perfect knowledge.(4.19)

Abandoning all attachment to the results of his activities, ever satisfied and independent, he performs no fruitive action, although engaged in all kinds of undertakings.(4.20)

Such a man of understanding acts with mind and intelligence perfectly controlled, gives up all sense of proprietorship over his possessions, and acts only for the bare necessities of life. Thus working, he is not affected by sinful reactions.(4.21)

He who is satisfied with gain which comes of its own accord, who is free from duality and does not envy, who is steady in both success and failure, is never entangled, although performing actions. The work of a man who is unattached to the modes of material nature and who is fully situated in transcendental knowledge merges entirely into transcendence. (4.22)

The work of a man who is unattached to the modes of material nature and who is fully situated in transcendental knowledge merges entirely into transcendence.(4.23)

A person who is fully absorbed in Krsna consciousness is sure to attain the spiritual kingdom because of his full contribution to spiritual activities, in which the consummation is absolute and that which is offered is of the same spiritual nature.(4.24)


(18) He who in action sees inaction and action in inaction, he is wise among men, he is a yogin and he has accomplished all his work.

(19) He whose undertakings are all free from the will of desire, whose works are burned up in the fire of wisdom, him the wise call a man of learning.

(20) Having abandoned attachment to the fruit of works, ever content, without any kind of dependence, he does nothing though he is ever engaged in work.

(21) Having no desires, with his heart and self under control, giving up all possessions, performing action by the body alone, he commits no wrong.

(22) He who is satisfied with whatever comes by chance, who has passed beyond the dualities (of pleasure and pain), who is free from jealousy, who remains the same in success and failure, even when he acts, he is not bound.

(23) The work of a man whose attachments are sundered who is liberated, whose mind is firmly founded in wisdom, who does work as a sacrifice, is dissolved entirely.

(24) For him the act of offering is God, the oblation is God. By God is it offered into the fire of God. God is that which is to be attained by him who realizes God in his works.

Swami Gambhirananda

He who finds inaction in action, and action in inaction, he is the wise one among men; he is engaged in yoga and is a performer of all actions ! (4.18)

The wise call him learned whose actions are all devoid of desires and their thoughts, and whose actions have been burnt away by the fire of wisdom. (4.19)

Having given up attachment to the results of action, he who is ever-contented, dependent on nothing, he really does not do anything even though engaged in action. (4.20)

One who is without solicitation, who has the mind and organs under control, (and) is totally without possessions, he incurs no sin by performing actions merely for the (maintenance of the) body. (4.21)

Remaining satisfied with what comes unasked for, having transcended the dualities, being free from spite, and equipoised under success and failure, he is not bound even by performing actions. (4.22)

Of the liberated person who has got rid of attachment, whose mind is fixed on Knowledge, actions undertaken for a sacrifice get totally destroyed. (4.23)

The ladle is Brahman: the oblation is Brahman, the offering is poured by Brahman in the fire of Brahman. Brahman alone is to be reached by him who has concentration on Brahman as the objective. (4.24)

Verse 4.25-32

Dr. Prasad

Some yogis perform the service of worship to celestial controllers, while others study scriptures for Self-knowledge. Some restrain their senses and give up their sensual pleasures. Others perform breathing and other yogic exercises. Some give charity and offer their wealth as a sacrifice. (4.25-28)

Those who are engaged in yogic practices, reach the breathless state of trance by offering inhalation into exhalation and exhalation into inhalation as a sacrifice (by using short breathing Kriya techniques). (4.29)

Others restrict their diet and offer their inhalations as sacrifice into their inhalations. All these people are the knowers of sacrifice, and are purified by their sacrifice. (4.30)

Those who perform selfless service obtain the nectar of Self-knowledge as a result of their sacrifice and attain the Supreme Being. O Arjuna, even this world is not a happy place for the non-sacrificer, how can the other world be? (See also 4.38, and 5.06). (4.31)

Many types of spiritual disciplines are described in the Vedas. Know that all of them are the action of body, mind, and senses prompted by the forces of Nature. Understanding this, one shall attain Nirvana or salvation. (See also 3.14) (4.32)

Gita as it is

Some yogis perfectly worship the demigods by offering different sacrifices to them, and some of them offer sacrifices in the fire of the Supreme Brahman.(4.25)

Some [the unadulterated brahmacaris] sacrifice the hearing process and the senses in the fire of mental control, and others [the regulated householders] sacrifice the objects of the senses in the fire of the senses.(4.26)

Others, who are interested in achieving self-realization through control of the mind and senses, offer the functions of all the senses, and of the life breath, as oblations into the fire of the controlled mind.(4.27)

Having accepted strict vows, some become enlightened by sacrificing their possessions, and others by performing severe austerities, by practicing the yoga of eightfold mysticism, or by studying the Vedas to advance in transcendental knowledge.(4.28)

Still others, who are inclined to the process of breath restraint to remain in trance, practice by offering the movement of the outgoing breath into the incoming, and the incoming breath into the outgoing, and thus at last remain in trance, stopping all breathing. Others, curtailing the eating process, offer the outgoing breath into itself as a sacrifice.(4.29)

All these performers who know the meaning of sacrifice become cleansed of sinful reactions, and, having tasted the nectar of the results of sacrifices, they advance toward the supreme eternal atmosphere.(4.30)

O best of the Kuru dynasty, without sacrifice one can never live happily on this planet or in this life: what then of the next?(4.31)

All these different types of sacrifice are approved by the Vedas, and all of them are born of different types of work. Knowing them as such, you will become liberated.(4.32)


(25) Some yogins offer sacrifices to the gods while others offer sacrifice by the sacrifice itself into the fire of the Supreme.

(26) Some offer hearing and the other senses into the fires of restraint; others offer sound and the other objects of sense in the fires of sense.

(27) Some again offer all the works of their senses and the works of the vital force into the fire of the yoga of self-control, kindled by knowledge.

(28) Some likewise offer as sacrifice their material possessions, or their austerities or their spiritual exercises while others of subdued minds and severe vows offer their learning and knowledge.

(29) Others again who are devoted to breath control, having restrained the paths of prana (the outgoing breath) and apana (the incoming breath) pour as sacrifice prana into apana and apana into prana.

(30) While others, restricting their food, pour as sacrifice their life breaths into life breaths, All these are knowers of sacrifice (know what sacrifice is) and by sacrifice have their sins destroyed.

(31) Those who eat the sacred food that remains after a sacrifice attain to the eternal Absolute; this world is not for him who offers no sacrifice, how then any other world, O Best of the Kurus (Arjuna)?

(32) Thus many forms of sacrifice are spread out in the face of Brahman (i.e. set forth as the means of reaching the Absolute). Know thou that all these are born of work, and so knowing thou shalt be freed.

Swami Gambhirananda

Other yogis undertake sacrifice to gods alone. Others offer the Self as a sacrifice by the Self itself, in the fire of Brahman. (4.25)

Others offer the organs, viz ear etc., in the fire of self-control. Others offer the objects, viz sound etc., in the fires of the organs. (4.26)

Others offer all activities of the organs and the activities of the vital forces into the fire of the yoga of self-control which has been lighted by Knowledge. (4.27)

Similarly, others are performers of sacrifices through wealth, through austerity, through yoga, and through study and knowledge; others are ascetics with severe vows. (4.28)

Constantly practicing control of the vital forces by stopping the movements of the outgoing and incoming breaths, some offer as a sacrifice the outgoing breath in the incoming breath; while still others, the incoming breath in the outgoing breath. (4.29)

Others having their food regulated, offer the vital forces in the vital forces. All of them are knowers of the sacrifice and have their sins destroyed by sacrifice. (4.30)

Those who partake of the nectar leftover after a sacrifice, reach the eternal Brahman. This world ceases to exist for one who does not perform sacrifices. What to speak of the other (world), O best among the Kurus (Arjuna) ! (4.31)

Thus, various kinds of sacrifices lie spread at the mouth of the Vedas. Know them all to be born of action. Knowing thus, you will become liberated. (4.32)

Verse 4.33-37

Dr. Prasad

Acquiring transcendental knowledge is superior to any material sacrifice such as giving charity. Because, purification of mind and intellect that eventually leads to the dawn of transcendental knowledge and Self-realization is the sole purpose of any spiritual action. (4.33)

Acquire this transcendental knowledge from a Self-realized master by humble reverence, by sincere inquiry, and by service. The empowered ones, who have realized the Truth, will teach you. (4.34)

After knowing the transcendental science, O Arjuna, you shall not again become deluded like this. With this knowledge you shall see the entire creation within your own higher Self, and thus within Me. (See also 6.29, 6.30, 11.07, 11.13) (4.35)

Even if one is the most sinful of all sinners, one shall yet cross over the ocean of sin by the raft of Self-knowledge alone. (4.36)

As the blazing fire reduces wood to ashes; similarly, the fire of Self-knowledge reduces all bonds of Karma to ashes, O Arjuna. (4.37)

Gita as it is

O chastiser of the enemy, the sacrifice performed in knowledge is better than the mere sacrifice of material possessions. After all, O son of Prtha, all sacrifices of work culminate in transcendental knowledge.(4.33)

Just try to learn the truth by approaching a spiritual master. Inquire from him submissively and render service unto him. The self-realized souls can impart knowledge unto you because they have seen the truth.(4.34)

Having obtained real knowledge from a self-realized soul, you will never fall again into such illusion, for by this knowledge you will see that all living beings are but part of the Supreme, or, in other words, that they are Mine.(4.35)

Even if you are considered to be the most sinful of all sinners, when you are situated in the boat of transcendental knowledge you will be able to cross over the ocean of miseries.(4.36)

As a blazing fire turns firewood to ashes, O Arjuna, so does the fire of knowledge burn to ashes all reactions to material activities.(4.37)


(33) Knowledge as a sacrifice is greater than any material sacrifice, O scourge of the foe (Arjuna), for all works without any exception culminate in wisdom.

(34) Learn that by humble reverence, by inquiry and by service. The men of wisdom who have seen the truth will instruct thee in knowledge.

(35) When thou hast known it, thou shalt not fall again into this confusion, O Pandava (Arjuna), for by this thou shalt see all existences without exception in the Self, then in Me.

(36) Even if thou shouldst be the most sinful of all sinners, thou shalt cross over all evil by the boat of wisdom alone.

(37) As the fire which is kindled turns its fuel to ashes, O Arjuna, even so does the fire of wisdom turn to ashes all work.

Swami Gambhirananda

O destroyer of enemies, Knowledge considered as a sacrifice is greater than sacrifice requiring materials. O son of Partha, all actions in their totality culminate in Knowledge. (4.33)

Know that through prostration, inquiry and service. The wise ones who have realized the Truth will impart the Knowledge to you. (4.34)

Knowledge which. O Pandava (Arjuna), you will not come under delusion in this way, and through which you will see all beings without exception in Self and also in Me. (4.35)

Even if you be the worst sinner among all sinners, still you will cross over all the wickedness with the raft of Knowledge alone. (4.36)

O Arjuna, as a blazing fire reduces pieces of wood to ashes, similarly the power of Knowledge reduces all actions to ashes. (4.37)

Verse 4.38-40

Dr. Prasad

Verily, there is no purifier in this world like the true knowledge of the Supreme Being. One discovers this knowledge within, naturally, in course of time when one’s mind is cleansed of selfishness by Karma-yoga. (See also 4.31, and 5.06, 18.78). (4.38)

The one who has faith in God, is sincere in yogic practices, and has control over the mind and senses gains this transcendental knowledge. Having gained this knowledge, one quickly attains supreme peace or liberation. (4.39)

The irrational, the faithless, and the disbeliever (atheist) perishes. There is neither this world, nor the world beyond, nor happiness for the disbeliever. (4.40)

Gita as it is

In this world, there is nothing so sublime and pure as transcendental knowledge. Such knowledge is the mature fruit of all mysticism. And one who has become accomplished in the practice of devotional service enjoys this knowledge within himself in due course of time.(4.38)

A faithful man who is dedicated to transcendental knowledge and who subdues his senses is eligible to achieve such knowledge, and having achieved it he quickly attains the supreme spiritual peace.(4.39)

But ignorant and faithless persons who doubt the revealed scriptures do not attain God consciousness; they fall down. For the doubting soul there is happiness neither in this world nor in the next.(4.40)


(38) There is nothing on earth equal in purity to wisdom. He who becomes perfected by yoga finds this of himself, in his self in course of time.

(39) He who has faith, who is absorbed in it (i.e. wisdom) and who has subdued his senses gains wisdom and having gained wisdom he attains quickly the supreme peace.

(40) But the man who is ignorant, who has no faith, who is of a doubting nature, perishes. For the doubting soul, there is neither this world nor the world beyond nor any happiness.

Swami Gambhirananda

Indeed there is nothing purifying here comparable to Knowledge. One who has become perfected after a (long) time through yoga, realizes That by himself in his own heart. (4.38)

The man who has faith, is diligent and has control over the organs, attains Knowledge. Achieving Knowledge, one soon attains supreme peace. (4.39)

One who is ignorant and faithless, and has a doubting mind perishes. Neither this world, nor the next, nor happiness exist for one who has doubting mind. (4.40)

Verse 4.41-42

Dr. Prasad

Work does not bind a person who has renounced work by renouncing the fruits of work through Karma-yoga, and whose confusion with regard to body and Spirit is completely destroyed by the application of Self-knowledge, O Arjuna. (4.41)

Therefore, cut the ignorance-born confusion with regard to body and Spirit by the sword of Self-knowledge, resort to Karma-yoga, and get up for the war, O Arjuna. (4.42)

Gita as it is

One who acts in devotional service, renouncing the fruits of his actions, and whose doubts have been destroyed by transcendental knowledge, is situated factually in the self. Thus he is not bound by the reactions of work, O conqueror of riches.(4.41)

Therefore the doubts which have arisen in your heart out of ignorance should be slashed by the weapon of knowledge. Armed with yoga, O Bharata, stand and fight.(4.42)


(41) Works do not bind him who has renounced all works by yoga, who has destroyed all doubt by wisdom and who ever possesses his soul, O winner of wealth (Arjuna).

(42) Therefore having cut asunder with the sword of wisdom this doubt in thy heart that is born of ignorance, resort to yoga and stand up, O Bharata (Ariuna).

Swami Gambhirananda

O Dhananjaya ( Arjuna), actions do not bind one who has renounced actions through yoga, whose doubt has been dispelled by Knowledge, and who is not inadvertent. (4.41)

Therefore, O scion of the Baharta dynasty, take recourse to yoga and rise up, cutting asunder with a sword of Knowledge this doubt of your own in the heart, arising from ignorance. (4.42)

Verse 5.01-03

Dr. Prasad

Arjuna asked: O Krishna, You praise the path of transcendental knowledge, and also the path of performance of selfless service (Karma-yoga). Tell me, definitely, which one is the better of the two paths. (See also 5.05) (5.01)

Lord Krishna said: The path of Self-knowledge and the path of selfless service both lead to the supreme goal. But, of the two, the path of selfless service is superior to path of Self-knowledge, because it is easier to practice. (5.02)

A person should be considered a true renunciant who has neither attachment nor aversion for anything. One is easily liberated from Karmic bondage by becoming free from attachment and aversion. (5.03)

Gita as it is

Arjuna said: O Krsna, first of all You ask me to renounce work, and then again You recommend work with devotion. Now will You kindly tell me definitely which of the two is more beneficial?(5.01)

The Personality of Godhead replied: The renunciation of work and work in devotion are both good for liberation. But, of the two, work in devotional service is better than renunciation of work.(5.02)

One who neither hates nor desires the fruits of his activities is known to be always renounced. Such a person, free from all dualities, easily overcomes material bondage and is completely liberated, O mighty-armed Arjuna.(5.03)


(1) Arjuna said:
Thou praisest, O Krsna, the renunciation of works and again their unselfish performance. Tell me for certain which one is the better of these two.

(2) The Blessed Lord said:
The renunciation of works and their unselfish performance both lead to the soul’s salvation. But of the two, the unselfish performance of works is better than their renunciation.

(3) He who neither loathes nor desires should be known as one who had ever the spirit of renunciation: for free from dualities he is released easily, O Mighty-armed (Arjuna), from bondage.

Swami Gambhirananda

O Krsna, You praise renunciation of actions, and again, (Karma) yoga ! Tell me for certain that which is better among these two. (5.01)

Both renunciation of actions and Karma-yoga lead to Liberation. Among the two, Karma-yoga however, excels over renunciation of actions. (5.02)

He who does not hate and does not crave should be known as a man of constant renunciation. For. O mighty-armed one, he who is free from duality becomes easily freed from bondage. (5.03)

Verse 5.04-07

Dr. Prasad

The ignorant – not the wise – consider the path of Self-knowledge and the path of selfless service (Karma-yoga) as different from each other. The person, who has truly mastered one, gets the benefits of both. (5.04)

Whatever goal a renunciant reaches, a Karma-yogi also reaches the same goal. Therefore, the one who sees the path of renunciation and the path of unselfish work as the same really sees. (See also 6.01 and 6.02) (5.05)

But, true renunciation, O Arjuna, is difficult to attain without Karma-yoga. A sage equipped with Karma-yoga quickly attains Nirvana. (See also 4.31, and 4.38) (5.06)

A Karma-yogi, whose mind is pure, whose mind and senses are under control, and who sees one and the same Spirit in all beings, is not bound by Karma though engaged in work. (5.07)

Gita as it is

Only the ignorant speak of devotional service [karma-yoga] as being different from the analytical study of the material world [Sankhya]. Those who are actually learned say that he who applies himself well to one of these paths achieves the results of both.(5.04)

One who knows that the position reached by means of analytical study can also be attained by devotional service, and who therefore sees analytical study and devotional service to be on the same level, sees things as they are.(5.05)

Merely renouncing all activities yet not engaging in the devotional service of the Lord cannot make one happy. But a thoughtful person engaged in devotional service can achieve the Supreme without delay.(5.06)

One who works in devotion, who is a pure soul, and who controls his mind and senses is dear to everyone, and everyone is dear to him. Though always working, such a man is never entangled.(5.07)


(4) The ignorant speak of renunciation (Samkhya) and practice of works (Yoga) as different, not the wise. He who applies himself well to one, gets the fruit of both.

(5) The status which is obtained by men of renunciation is reached by men of action also. He who sees that the ways of renunciation and of action are one, he sees (truly).

(6) But renunciation, O Mighty-armed (Arjuna), is difficult to attain without yoga; the sage who is earnest in yoga (the way of works) attains soon to the Absolute.

(7) He who is trained in the way of works, and is pure in soul, who is master of his self and who has conquered the senses, whose soul becomes the self of all beings, he is not tainted by works, though he works.

Swami Gambhirananda

The fools, not the learned ones, speak of Sankhya (the Path of Knowledge) and (Karma) yoga as different. Anyone who properly resorts to even one (of them), gets the result of both. (5.04)

The State that is reached by the Sankhyas, that is reached by the yogis as well. He sees who sees Sankhya as yoga one. (5.05)

But, O mighty armed-one, renunciation is hard to attain without (Karma-) yoga. The meditative man equipped with yoga attains Brahman without delay. (5.06)

Endowed with yoga, pure in mind, controlled in body, a conqueror of the organs, the Self of the selves of all beings, – he does not become tainted even while performing actions. (5.07)

Verse 5.08-09

Dr. Prasad

The wise who knows the truth thinks: “I do nothing at all.” In seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, eating, walking, sleeping, breathing; and speaking, giving, taking, as well as opening and closing the eyes, the wise believes that only the senses are operating upon their objects. (See also 3.27, 13.29, and 14.19) (5.08-09)

Gita as it is

A person in the divine consciousness, although engaged in seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, eating, moving about, sleeping and breathing, always knows within himself that he actually does nothing at all. Because while speaking, evacuating, receiving, or opening or closing his eyes, he always knows that only the material senses are engaged with their objects and that he is aloof from them.(5.08-09)


(8) The man who is united with the Divine and knows the truth thinks, “I do nothing at all” for in seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, tasting. walking, sleeping, breathing;

(9) In speaking, emitting, grasping, opening and closing the eyes he holds that only the senses are occupied with the objects of the senses.

Swami Gambhirananda

Remaining absorbed in the Self, knower of Reality should think, ‘I certainly do not do anything’, even while seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, eating, moving, sleeping, breathing, speaking, releasing, holding, opening and closing the eyes, – remembering that the organs function in relation to the objects of the organs. (5.08-09)

Verse 5.10-12

Dr. Prasad

One who does all work as an offering to God – abandoning selfish attachment to results – remains untouched by Karmic reaction or sin as a lotus leaf never gets wet by water. (5.10)

The Karma-yogis perform action without selfish attachment with their body, mind, intellect, and senses only for the purification of their mind and intellect. (5.11)

A Karma-yogi attains Supreme Bliss by abandoning attachment to the fruits of work; while others, who are attached to the fruits of work, become bound by selfish work. (5.12)

Gita as it is

One who performs his duty without attachment, surrendering the results unto the Supreme Lord, is unaffected by sinful action, as the lotus leaf is untouched by water.(5.10)

The yogis, abandoning attachment, act with body, mind, intelligence and even with the senses, only for the purpose of purification.(5.11)

The steadily devoted soul attains unadulterated peace because he offers the result of all activities to Me; whereas a person who is not in union with the Divine, who is greedy for the fruits of his labor, becomes entangled.(5.12)


(10) He who works, having given up attachment, resigning his actions to God, is not touched by sin, even as a lotus leaf (is untouched) by water.

(11) The yogins (men of action) perform works merely with the body, mind, understanding or merely with the senses, abandoning attachment, for the purification of their souls.

(12) The soul earnest (or devoted) attains to peace well-founded, by abandoning attachment to the fruits of works, but he whose soul is not in union with the Divine is impelled by desire, and is attached to the fruit (of action) and is (Therefore) bound.

Swami Gambhirananda

One who acts by dedicating actions to Brahman and renouncing attachment, he does not become polluted by sin, just as a lotus leaf is not by water. (5.10)

By giving up attachment, the yogis undertake work merely through the body, mind intellect and even the organs, for the purification of themselves. (5.11)

By renouncing the result of work, one who is resolute in faith attains Peace arising from steadfastness. One who is lacking in resolute faith, being attached to the result under the impulsion of desire, becomes bound. (5.12)

Verse 5.13-17

Dr. Prasad

A person, who has completely renounced the fruits of all works, dwells happily in the City of Nine Gates, neither performing nor directing action. (5.13)

The Lord neither creates the urge for action, nor the feeling of doership, nor the attachment to the results of action in people. The powers of material Nature do all these. (5.14)

The Lord does not take the responsibility for the good or evil deeds of anybody. The veil of ignorance covers the Self-knowledge; thereby people become deluded and do evil deeds. (5.15)

Transcendental knowledge destroys the ignorance of the Spirit and reveals the Supreme Being just as the sun reveals the beauty of objects of the world. (5.16)

Persons, whose mind and intellect are totally merged in the Supreme Being, who are firmly devoted to the Supreme, who have God as their supreme goal and sole refuge, and whose impurities are destroyed by the knowledge of the self, do not take birth again. (5.17)

Gita as it is

When the embodied living being controls his nature and mentally renounces all actions, he resides happily in the city of nine gates [the material body], neither working nor causing work to be done.(5.13)

The embodied spirit, master of the city of his body, does not create activities, nor does he induce people to act, nor does he create the fruits of action. All this is enacted by the modes of material nature.(5.14)

Nor does the Supreme Lord assume anyone’s sinful or pious activities. Embodied beings, however, are bewildered because of the ignorance which covers their real knowledge.(5.15)

When, however, one is enlightened with the knowledge by which nescience is destroyed, then his knowledge reveals everything, as the sun lights up everything in the daytime.(5.16)

When one’s intelligence, mind, faith and refuge are all fixed in the Supreme, then one becomes fully cleansed of misgivings through complete knowledge and thus proceeds straight on the path of liberation.(5.17)


(13) The embodied (soul), who has controlled his nature having renounced all actions by the mind (inwardly) dwells at ease in the city of nine gates, neither working nor causing work to be done.

(14) The Sovereign Self does not create for the people agency, nor does He act. Nor does He connect works with their fruits. It is nature that works out (these).

(15) The All-pervading Spirit does not take on the sin or the merit of any. Wisdom is enveloped by ignorance; thereby creatures are bewildered.

(16) But for those in whom ignorance is destroyed by wisdom, for them wisdom lights up the Supreme Self like the sun.

(17) Thinking of That, directing one’s whole conscious being to That, making That their whole aim, with That as the sole object of their devotion, they reach a state from which there is no return, their sins washed away by wisdom.

Swami Gambhirananda

The embodied man of self-control, having given up all actions mentally, continues happily in the town of nine gates, without doing or causing (others) to do anything at all. (5.13)

The Self does not create agentship or any objects (of desire) for anyone; nor association with the result of actions. But it is Nature that acts. (5.14)

The Omnipresent neither accepts anybody’s sin nor even virtue. Knowledge remains covered by ignorance. Thereby the creatures become deluded. (5.15)

But in the case of those of whom that ignorance of theirs becomes destroyed by the Knowledge of the Self, their Knowledge, like the sun, reveals that supreme Reality. (5.16)

Those who have their intellect absorbed in That, who are steadfast in That, who have That as their supreme goal, – they attain the state of non-returning, their dirt having been removed by Knowledge. (5.17)

Verse 5.18-26

Dr. Prasad

An enlightened person – by perceiving God in all – looks at a learned person, an outcast, even a cow, an elephant, or a dog with an equal eye. (See also 6.29) (5.18)

Everything has been accomplished in this very life by the one whose mind is set in equality. Such a person has realized the Supreme Being, because the Supreme Being is flawless and impartial. (See also 18.55) (5.19)

One who neither rejoices on obtaining what is pleasant, nor grieves on obtaining the unpleasant, who has a steady mind, who is undeluded, and who is a knower of the Supreme Being, such a person eternally abides with the Supreme Being. (5.20)

Such a person who is in union with the Supreme Being becomes unattached to external sensual pleasures by discovering the joy of the Self through contemplation, and enjoys transcendental bliss. (5.21)

Sensual pleasures are verily the source of misery, and have a beginning and an end. Therefore the wise, O Arjuna, does not rejoice in sensual pleasures. (See also 18.38) (5.22)

One who is able to withstand the impulse of lust and anger before death is a yogi, and a happy person. (5.23)

One who finds happiness with the Supreme Being, who rejoices Supreme Being within, and who is illuminated by Self-knowledge; such a yogi attains Nirvana, and goes to the Supreme Being. (5.24)

Seers, whose sins (or imperfections) are destroyed, whose doubts have been dispelled by Self-knowledge, whose minds are disciplined, and who are engaged in the welfare of all beings, attain the Supreme Being. (5.25)

Those who are free from lust and anger, who have subdued the mind and senses, and who have known the Self, easily attain Nirvana. (5.26)

Gita as it is

The humble sages, by virtue of true knowledge, see with equal vision a learned and gentle brahmana, a cow, an elephant, a dog and a dog-eater [outcaste].(5.18)

Those whose minds are established in sameness and equanimity have already conquered the conditions of birth and death. They are flawless like Brahman, and thus they are already situated in Brahman.(5.19)

A person who neither rejoices upon achieving something pleasant nor laments upon obtaining something unpleasant, who is self-intelligent, who is unbewildered, and who knows the science of God, is already situated in transcendence.(5.20)

Such a liberated person is not attracted to material sense pleasure but is always in trance, enjoying the pleasure within. In this way the self-realized person enjoys unlimited happiness, for he concentrates on the Supreme.(5.21)

An intelligent person does not take part in the sources of misery, which are due to contact with the material senses. O son of Kunti, such pleasures have a beginning and an end, and so the wise man does not delight in them.(5.22)

Before giving up this present body, if one is able to tolerate the urges of the material senses and check the force of desire and anger, he is well situated and is happy in this world.(5.23)

One whose happiness is within, who is active and rejoices within, and whose aim is inward is actually the perfect mystic. He is liberated in the Supreme, and ultimately he attains the Supreme.(5.24)

Those who are beyond the dualities that arise from doubts, whose minds are engaged within, who are always busy working for the welfare of all living beings, and who are free from all sins achieve liberation in the Supreme.(5.25)

Those who are free from anger and all material desires, who are self-realized, self-disciplined and constantly endeavoring for perfection, are assured of liberation in the Supreme in the very near future.(5.26)


(18) Sages see with an equal eye, a learned and humble Brahmin, a cow, an elephant or even a dog or an outcaste.

(19) Even here (on earth) the created (world) is overcome by those whose mind is established in equality. God is flawless and the same in all. Therefore are these (persons) established in God.

(20) One should not rejoice on obtaining what is pleasant nor sorrow on obtaining what is unpleasant. He who is (thus) firm of understanding and unbewildered, (such a) knower of God is established in God.

(21) When the soul is no longer attached to external contacts (objects) one finds the happiness that is in the Self. Such a one who is self-controlled in Yoga on God (Brahma) enjoys undying bliss.

(22) Whatever pleasures are born of contacts (with objects) are only sources of sorrow, they have a beginning and an end, O Son of Kunti (Arjuna), no wise man delights in them.

(23) He who is able to resist the rush of desire and anger, even here before he gives up his body, he is a yogin, he is the happy man.

(24) He who finds his happiness within, his joy within and likewise his light only within, that yogin becomes divine and attains to the beatitude of God (brahmanirvana).

(25) The holy men whose sins are destroyed, whose doubts (dualities) are cut asunder, whose minds are disciplined and who rejoice in (doing) good to all creatures, attain to the beatitude of God.

(26) To those austere souls (yatis) who are delivered from desire and anger and who have subdued their minds and have knowledge of the Self, near to them lies the beatitude of God.

Swami Gambhirananda

The learned ones look with equanimity on a Brahman endowed with learning and humility, a cow, an elephant and even a dog as well as an eater of dog’s meat. (5.18)

Here itself is rebirth conquered by them whose minds are established on sameness. Since Brahman is the same (in all) and free from defects, therefore they are established in Brahman. (5.19)

A knower of Brahman, who is established in Brahman, should have his intellect steady and should not be deluded. He should not get delighted by getting what is desirable, nor get dejected by getting what is undesirable. (5.20)

With his heart unattached to external objects, he gets the bliss that is in the Self. With his heart absorbed in meditation on Brahman, he acquires undecaying bliss. (5.21)

Since enjoyments that result from contact with objects are verily the source of sorrow and have a beginning and an end, (therefore) O son of Kunti, the wise one does not delight in them. (5.22)

One who can withstand here itself – before departing from the body – the impulse arising from desire and anger, that man is a yogi; he is happy. (5.23)

One who is happy within, whose pleasure is within, and who has his light only within, that yogi having become Brahman, attains absorption in Brahman. (5.24)

The seers whose sins have been attenuated, who are freed from doubt, whose organs are under control, who are engaged in doing good to all beings, attain absorption in Brahman. (5.25)

To the monks who have control over their internal organ, who are free from desire and anger, who have known the Self, there is absorption in Brahman either way. (5.26)

Verse 5.27-29

Dr. Prasad

A sage is verily liberated by renouncing all sense enjoyments, fixing the eyes and the mind at an imaginary black dot between the eye brows, equalizing the breath moving through the nostrils by using yogic techniques, keeping the senses, mind, and intellect under control, having salvation as the prime goal, and by becoming free from lust, anger, and fear. (5.27-28)

My devotee attains peace by knowing the Supreme Being as the enjoyer of sacrifices and austerities, as the great Lord of the entire universe, and as the friend of all beings. (5.29)

Gita as it is

Shutting out all external sense objects, keeping the eyes and vision concentrated between the two eyebrows, suspending the inward and outward breaths within the nostrils, and thus controlling the mind, senses and intelligence, the transcendentalist aiming at liberation becomes free from desire, fear and anger. One who is always in this state is certainly liberated.(5.27-28)

A person in full consciousness of Me, knowing Me to be the ultimate beneficiary of all sacrifices and austerities, the Supreme Lord of all planets and demigods, and the benefactor and well-wisher of all living entities, attains peace from the pangs of material miseries.(5.30)


(27) and (28). Shutting out all external objects, fixing the vision between the eyebrows, making even the inward and the outward breaths moving within the nostrils, the sage who has controlled the senses, mind and understanding, who is intent on liberation, who has cast away desire, fear and anger, he is ever freed.

(29) And having known Me as the Enjoyer of sacrifices and austerities, the Great Lord of all the worlds, the Friend of all beings, he (the sage) attains peace.

Swami Gambhirananda

Keeping the external objects outside, the eyes at the juncture of the eye-brows, and making equal the outgoing and incoming breaths that move through the nostrils, the contemplative who has control over his organs, mind and intellect should be fully intent on Liberation and free from desire, fear and anger. He who is ever thus is verily free. (5.27-28)

One attains Peace by knowing Me who, as the great Lord of all the worlds, am enjoyer of sacrifices and austerities, (and) who am the friend of all creatures. (5.29)

Verse 6.01-02

Dr. Prasad

Lord Krishna said: One who performs the prescribed duty without seeking its fruit for personal enjoyment is a renunciant and a Karma-yogi. One does not become a renunciant merely by not lighting the fire, and one does not become a yogi merely by abstaining from work. (6.01)

O Arjuna, renunciation (Samnyasa) is same as Karma-yoga. Because, no one becomes a Karma-yogi who has not renounced the selfish motive behind an action. (See also 5.01, 5.05, 6.01, and 18.02) (6.02)

Gita as it is

The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: One who is unattached to the fruits of his work and who works as he is obligated is in the renounced order of life, and he is the true mystic, not he who lights no fire and performs no duty.(6.01)

What is called renunciation you should know to be the same as yoga, or linking oneself with the Supreme, O son of Pandu, for one can never become a yogi unless he renounces the desire for sense gratification.(6.02)


(1) The Blessed Lord said:
He who does the work which he ought to do without seeking its fruit he is the samnyasin, he is the yogin, not he who does not light the sacred fire, and performs no rites.

(2) What they call renunciation, that know to be disciplined activity, O Pandava (Arjuna), for no one becomes a yogin who has not renounced his (selfish) purpose.

Swami Gambhirananda

He who performs an action which is his duty, without depending on the result of the action, he is a monk and a yogi; (but) not (so is) he who does not keep a fire and is actionless. (6.01)

That which they call monasticism, know that to be Yoga. O Pandava. For nobody who has not given up expectations can be a yogi. (6.02)

Verse 6.03-04

Dr. Prasad

For the wise, who seeks to attain yoga of meditation, or the equanimity of mind, Karma-yoga is said to be the means. For the one who has attained yoga, the equanimity becomes the means of Self-realization. A person is said to have attained yogic perfection when he or she has no desire for sensual pleasures, or attachment to the fruits of work, and has renounced all personal selfish motives. (6.03-04)

Gita as it is

For one who is a neophyte in the eightfold yoga system, work is said to be the means; and for one who is already elevated in yoga, cessation of all material activities is said to be the means.(6.03)

A person is said to be elevated in yoga when, having renounced all material desires, he neither acts for sense gratification nor engages in fruitive activities.(6.04)


(3) Work is said to be the means of the sage who wishes to attain to yoga; when he has attained to yoga, serenity is said to be the means.

(4) When one does not get attached to the objects of sense or to works, and has renounced all purposes, then be is said to have attained to yoga.

Swami Gambhirananda

For the sage who wishes to ascend to (Dhyana-) yoga, action is said to be the means. For that person, when he has ascended to ( Dhyana-) yoga, inaction alone is said to be the means. (6.03)

Verily, when a man who has given up thought about everything does not get attached to actions or sense-objects, he is then said to be established in Yoga. (6.04)

Verse 6.05-09

Dr. Prasad

One must elevate and not degrade oneself by one’s own mind. The mind alone is one’s friend as well as one’s enemy. The mind is the friend of those who have control over it, and the mind acts like an enemy for those who do not control it. (6.05-06)

One who has control over the lower self the mind and senses is tranquil in heat and cold, in pleasure and pain, and in honor and dishonor, and remains ever steadfast with the supreme Self. (6.07)

A person is called yogi who has both Self-knowledge and Self-realization, who is equanimous, who has control over the mind and senses, and to whom a clod, a stone, and gold are the same. (6.08)

A person is considered superior who is impartial towards companions, friends, enemies, neutrals, arbiters, haters, relatives, saints, and sinners. (6.09)

Gita as it is

One must deliver himself with the help of his mind, and not degrade himself. The mind is the friend of the conditioned soul, and his enemy as well.(6.05)

For him who has conquered the mind, the mind is the best of friends; but for one who has failed to do so, his mind will remain the greatest enemy.(6.06)

For one who has conquered the mind, the Supersoul is already reached, for he has attained tranquility. To such a man happiness and distress, heat and cold, honor and dishonor are all the same.(6.07)

A person is said to be established in self-realization and is called a yogi [or mystic] when he is fully satisfied by virtue of acquired knowledge and realization. Such a person is situated in transcendence and is self-controlled. He sees everything–whether it be pebbles, stones or gold–as the same.(6.08)

A person is considered still further advanced when he regards honest well-wishers, affectionate benefactors, the neutral, mediators, the envious, friends and enemies, the pious and the sinners all with an equal mind.(6.09)


(5) Let a man lift himself by himself; let him not degrade himself; for the Self alone is the friend of the self and the Self alone is the enemy of the self.

(6) For him who has conquered his (lower) self by the (higher) Self his Self is a friend but for him who has not possessed his (higher) Self, his very Self will act in enmity like an enemy.

(7) When one has conquered one’s self (lower) and has attained to the calm of self-mastery, his Supreme Self abides ever concentrate, he is at peace in cold and heat, in pleasure and pain, in honour and dishonour.

(8) The ascetic (yogi) whose soul is satisfied with wisdom and knowledge, who is unchanging and master of his senses, to whom a clod, a stone and a piece of gold are the same, is said to be controlled (in yoga).

(9) He who is equal-minded among friends, companions and foes, among those who are neutral and impartial, among those who are hateful and related, among saints and sinners, he excels

Swami Gambhirananda

One should save oneself by oneself; one should not lower oneself. For oneself is verily one’s own friend; oneself is verily one’s own enemy. (6.05)

Of him, by whom has been conquered his very self by the self, his self is the friend of his self. But, for one who has not conquered his self, his self itself acts inimically like an enemy. (6.06)

The supreme Self of one who has control over aggregate of his body and organs, and who is tranquil, becomes manifest. (He should be equipoised) in the midst of cold and heat, happiness and sorrow, as also honor and dishonor. (6.07)

One whose mind is satisfied with knowledge and realization, who is unmoved, who has his organs under control, is said to be Self-absorbed. The yogi treats equally a lump of earth, a stone, and gold. (6.08)

He excels who has sameness of view with regard to a benefactor, a friend, a foe, a neutral, an arbiter, the hateful, a relative, good people and even sinners. (6.09)

Verse 6.10-26

Dr. Prasad

A yogi, seated in solitude and alone, should constantly try to contemplate on a mental picture or just the majesty of the Supreme Being after bringing the mind and senses under control, and becoming free from desires and proprietorship. (6.10)

One should sit on his or her own firm seat that is neither too high nor too low, covered with grass, a deerskin, and a cloth, one over the other, in a clean spot. Sitting there in a comfortable position and concentrating the mind on God, controlling the thoughts and the activities of the senses, one should practice meditation for self-purification. (6.11-12)

One should sit by holding the waist, spine, chest, neck, and head erect, motionless and steady; fix the eyes and the mind steadily on the front of the nose, without looking around; make your mind serene and fearless, practice celibacy; have the mind under control, think of Me, and have Me as the supreme goal. (See also 4.29, 5.27, 8.10, and 8.12) (6.13-14)

Thus, by always practicing to keep the mind fixed on Me, the yogi whose mind is subdued attains peace of Nirvana and comes to Me. (6.15)

This yoga is not possible, O Arjuna, for the one who eats too much, or who does not eat at all; who sleeps too much or too little. (6.16)

The yoga of meditation destroys all sorrow for the one who is moderate in eating, recreation, working, sleeping, and waking. (6.17)

A person is said to have achieved yoga, the union with the Spirit, when the perfectly disciplined mind becomes free from all desires, and gets completely united with the Spirit in trance. (6.18)

A lamp in a spot sheltered by the Spirit from the wind of desires does not flicker. This simile is used for the subdued mind of a yogi practicing meditation on the Spirit. (6.19)

When the mind disciplined by the practice of meditation becomes steady, one becomes content with the Spirit by beholding the Spirit of God with purified intellect. (6.20)

One feels infinite bliss that is perceivable only through the intellect, and is beyond the reach of the senses. After realizing the Absolute Reality, one is never separated from it. (6.21)

After Self-realization (SR), one does not regard any other gain superior to SR. Established in SR, one is not moved even by the greatest calamity. (6.22)

The state of severance of union with sorrow is called yoga. This yoga should be practiced with firm determination, and without any mental reservation. (6.23)

One gradually attains tranquillity of mind by totally abandoning all selfish desires, completely restraining the senses from the sense objects by the intellect, and keeping the mind fully absorbed in the Spirit by means of a well-trained and purified intellect and thinking of nothing else. (6.24-25)

Wheresoever this restless and unsteady mind wanders away, one should gently bring it back to the reflection of God. (6.26)

Gita as it is

A transcendentalist should always engage his body, mind and self in relationship with the Supreme; he should live alone in a secluded place and should always carefully control his mind. He should be free from desires and feelings of possessiveness.(6.10)

To practice yoga, one should go to a secluded place and should lay kusa grass on the ground and then cover it with a deerskin and a soft cloth. The seat should be neither too high nor too low and should be situated in a sacred place. The yogi should then sit on it very firmly and practice yoga to purify the heart by controlling his mind, senses and activities and fixing the mind on one point.(6.11-12)

One should hold one’s body, neck and head erect in a straight line and stare steadily at the tip of the nose. Thus, with an unagitated, subdued mind, devoid of fear, completely free from sex life, one should meditate upon Me within the heart and make Me the ultimate goal of life.(6.13-14)

Thus practicing constant control of the body, mind and activities, the mystic transcendentalist, his mind regulated, attains to the kingdom of God [or the abode of Krsna] by cessation of material existence.(6.15)

There is no possibility of one’s becoming a yogi, O Arjuna, if one eats too much or eats too little, sleeps too much or does not sleep enough.(6.16)

He who is regulated in his habits of eating, sleeping, recreation and work can mitigate all material pains by practicing the yoga system.(6.17)

When the yogi, by practice of yoga, disciplines his mental activities and becomes situated in transcendence–devoid of all material desires–he is said to be well established in yoga.(6.18)

As a lamp in a windless place does not waver, so the transcendentalist, whose mind is controlled, remains always steady in his meditation on the transcendent self.(6.19)

In the stage of perfection called trance, or samadhi, one’s mind is completely restrained from material mental activities by practice of yoga. This perfection is characterized by one’s ability to see the self by the pure mind and to relish and rejoice in the self. In that joyous state, one is situated in boundless transcendental happiness, realized through transcendental senses. Established thus, one never departs from the truth, and upon gaining this he thinks there is no greater gain. Being situated in such a position, one is never shaken, even in the midst of greatest difficulty. This indeed is actual freedom from all miseries arising from material contact.(6.20-23)

One should engage oneself in the practice of yoga with determination and faith and not be deviated from the path. One should abandon, without exception, all material desires born of mental speculation and thus control all the senses on all sides by the mind.(6.24)

Gradually, step by step, one should become situated in trance by means of intelligence sustained by full conviction, and thus the mind should be fixed on the self alone and should think of nothing else.(6.25)

From wherever the mind wanders due to its flickering and unsteady nature, one must certainly withdraw it and bring it back under the control of the self.(6.26)


(10) Let the yogin try constantly to concentrate his mind (on the Supreme Self) remaining in solitude and alone, self-controlled, free from desires and (longing for) possessions.

(11) He should set in a clean place his firm seat, neither too high nor too low, covered with sacred grass, a deerskin and a cloth, one over the other.

(12) There taking his place on the seat, making his mind one-pointed and controlling his thought and sense, let him practice yoga for the purification of the soul.

(13) Holding the body, head and neck, erect and still, looking fixedly at the tip of his nose, without looking around (without allowing his eyes to wander).

(14) Serene and fearless, firm in the vow of celibacy, subdued in mind, let him sit, harmonized, his mind turned to Me and intent on Me alone.

(15) The yogin of subdued mind, ever keeping himself thus harmonized, attains to peace, the supreme, nirvana, which abides in Me.

(16) Verily, yoga is not for him who eats too much or abstains too much from eating. It is not for him, O Arjuna, who sleeps too much or keeps awake too much.

(17) For the man who is temperate in food and recreation, who is restrained in his actions, whose sleep and waking are regulated, there ensues discipline (yoga) which destroys sorrow.

(18) When the disciplined mind is established in the Self alone, liberated from all desires, then is he said to be harmonized (in yoga).

(19) As a lamp in a windless place flickereth not, to such is likened the yogi of subdued thought who practices union with the Self (or discipline of himself).

(20) That in which thought is at rest, restrained by the practice of concentration, that in which he beholds the Self through the self and rejoices in the Self;

(21) That in which he finds this supreme delight, perceived by the intelligence and beyond the reach of the senses, wherein established, he no longer falls away from the truth;

(22) That, on gaining which he thinks that there is no greater gain beyond it, wherein established he is not shaken even by the heaviest sorrow;

(23) Let that be known by the name of yoga, this disconnection from union with pain. This yoga should be practiced with determination, with heart undismayed.

(24) Abandoning without exception all desires born of (selfish) will, restraining with the mind all the senses on every side;

(25) Let him gain little by little tranquility by means of reason controlled by steadiness and having fixed the mind on the Self, let him not think of anything (else).

(26) Whatsoever makes the wavering and unsteady mind wander away let him restrain and bring it back to the control of the Self alone.

Swami Gambhirananda

A yogi should constantly concentrate his mind by staying in a solitary place, alone, with mind and body controlled, free from expectations (and) free from acquisition. (6.10)

Having firmly established in a clean place his seat, neither too high nor too low, and made of cloth, skin and kus-grass, placed successively one below the other; (6.11)

(and) sitting on that seat, he should concentrate his mind for the purification of the internal organ, making the mind one-pointed and keeping the actions of the mind and senses under control. (6.12)

Holding the body, head and neck erect and still being steady, looking at the tip of his own nose – and not looking around; (6.13)

He should remain seated with a placid mind, free from fear, firm in vow of a celibate, and with mind fixed on Me by controlling it through concentration, having Me as the supreme Goal. (6.14)

Concentrating the mind thus forever, the yogi of controlled mind achieves the Peace which culminates in Liberation and which abides in Me. (6.15)

But, O Arjuna, Yoga is not for one who eats too much, nor for one who does not eat at all; neither for one who habitually sleeps too long, nor surely for one who keeps awake. (6.16)

Yoga becomes a destroyer of sorrow of one whose eating and movements are regulated, whose effort in work is moderate, and whose sleep and wakefulness is temperate. (6.17)

A man who has become free from hankering for all desirable objects is then said to be Self-absorbed when the controlled mind rests on the Self alone. (6.18)

As a lamp kept in a windless place does not flicker, such is the simile thought of for the yogi whose mind is under control, and who is engaged in concentration on the Self. (6.19)

At the time when the mind, restrained through the practice of Yoga, gets withdrawn, and just when by seeing the Self by the self one remains contented in the Self alone; (6.20)

When one experiences that absolute Bliss which can be intuited by the intellect and which is beyond the senses, and being established thus, this person surely does not swerve from Reality; (6.21)

Obtaining which one does not think of any other acquisition to be superior to that, and being established in which one is not perturbed even by great sorrow; (6.22)

One should know that severance of contact with sorrow to be what is called Yoga. That Yoga has to be practiced with perseverance and with an undepressed heart. (6.23)

By totally eschewing all desires which arise from thoughts, and restraining with the mind itself all the organs from every side; (6.24)

One should gradually withdraw with the intellect endowed with steadiness. Making the mind fixed in the Self, one should not think of anything whatsoever. (6.25)

(The yogi) should bring (the mind) under the subjugation of the Self Itself by restraining it from all those causes whatever, due to which the restless, unsteady mind wanders away. (6.26)

Verse 6.27-32

Dr. Prasad

Supreme bliss comes to a Self-realized yogi whose mind is tranquil, whose desires are under control, and who is free from faults. (6.27)

Such a sinless yogi, who constantly engages his or her mind and intellect with the Spirit, easily enjoys the infinite bliss of contact with The Spirit. (6.28)

A yogi, who is in union with the Supreme Being, sees every being with an equal eye because of perceiving the omnipresent Spirit abiding in all beings, and all beings abiding in the Supreme Being. (See also 4.35, 5.18) (6.29)

Those who perceive Me in everything, and behold everything in Me, are not separated from Me, and I am not separated from them. (6.30)

The non-dualists, who adore Me as abiding in all beings, abide in Me irrespective of their mode of living. (6.31)

One is considered the best yogi who regards every being like oneself, and who can feel the pain and pleasures of others as one’s own, O Arjuna. (6.32)

Gita as it is

The yogi whose mind is fixed on Me verily attains the highest perfection of transcendental happiness. He is beyond the mode of passion, he realizes his qualitative identity with the Supreme, and thus he is freed from all reactions to past deeds.(6.27)

Thus the self-controlled yogi, constantly engaged in yoga practice, becomes free from all material contamination and achieves the highest stage of perfect happiness in transcendental loving service to the Lord.(6.28)

A true yogi observes Me in all beings and also sees every being in Me. Indeed, the self-realized person sees Me, the same Supreme Lord, everywhere.(6.29)

For one who sees Me everywhere and sees everything in Me, I am never lost, nor is he ever lost to Me.(6.30)

Such a yogi, who engages in the worshipful service of the Supersoul, knowing that I and the Supersoul are one, remains always in Me in all circumstances.(6.31)

He is a perfect yogi who, by comparison to his own self, sees the true equality of all beings, in both their happiness and their distress, O Arjuna!(6.32)


(27) For supreme happiness comes to the yogin whose mind is peaceful, whose passions are at rest, who is stainless and has become one with God.

(28) Thus making the self ever harmonized, the yogic, who has put away sin, experiences easily the infinite bliss of contact with the Eternal.

(29) He whose self is harmonized by yoga seeth the Self abiding in all beings and all beings in the Self; everywhere he sees the same.

(30) He who sees Me every where and sees all in Me; I am not lost to him nor is he lost to Me.

(31) The yogin who established in oneness, worships Me abiding in all beings lives in Me, howsoever he may be active.

(32) He, O Arjuna, who sees with equality everything, in the Image of his own self, whether in pleasure or in pain, he is considered a perfect yogi.

Swami Gambhirananda

Supreme Bliss comes to this yogi alone whose mind has become perfectly tranquil, whose (quality of) rajas has been eliminated, who has become identified with Brahman, and is taintless. (6.27)

By concentrating his mind constantly thus, the taintless yogi easily attains the absolute Bliss of contact with Brahman. (6.28)

One who has his mind Self-absorbed through Yoga, and who has the vision of sameness every-where, sees his Self existing in everything, and everything in his Self. (6.29)

One who sees Me in everything, and sees all things in Me,- I do not go out of his vision, and he also is not lost to My vision. (6.30)

That yogi who, being established in unity, adores Me as existing in all things, he exists in Me – in whatever condition he may be. (6.31)

O Arjuna, that yogi is considered the best who judges what is happiness and sorrow in all beings, by the same standard as he would apply to himself. (6.32)

Verse 6.33-36

Dr. Prasad

Arjuna said: O Krishna, You have said that the yoga of meditation is characterized by the equanimity of mind, but due to restlessness of mind I do not perceive the steady state of mind. Because the mind, indeed, is very unsteady, turbulent, powerful, and obstinate, O Krishna. I think restraining the mind is as difficult as restraining the wind. (6.33-34)

Lord Krishna said: Undoubtedly, O Arjuna, the mind is restless and difficult to restrain, but it is subdued by any constant vigorous spiritual practice such as meditation with perseverance, and by detachment, O Arjuna. (6.35)

In My opinion, yoga is difficult for the one whose mind is not subdued. However, yoga is attainable by the person of subdued mind by striving through proper means. (6.36)

Gita as it is

Arjuna said: O Madhusudana, the system of yoga which You have summarized appears impractical and unendurable to me, for the mind is restless and unsteady.(6.33)

For the mind is restless, turbulent, obstinate and very strong, O Krsna, and to subdue it, I think, is more difficult than controlling the wind.(6.34)

Lord Sri Krsna said: O mighty-armed son of Kunti, it is undoubtedly very difficult to curb the restless mind, but it is possible by suitable practice and by detachment.(6.35)

For one whose mind is unbridled, self-realization is difficult work. But he whose mind is controlled and who strives by appropriate means is assured of success. That is My opinion.(6.36)


(33) Arjuna said: This yoga declared by you to be of the nature of equality (evenness of mind), O Madhusudana (Krsna), I see no stable foundation for, on account of restlessness.

(34) For the mind is verily fickle, O Krsna, it is impetuous, strong and obstinate. I think that it is as difficult to control as the wind.

(35) The Blessed Lord said: Without doubt, O Mighty-armed (Arjuna), the mind is difficult to curb and restless but it can be controlled, O Son of Kunti (Arjuna), by constant practice and non-attachment.

(36) Yoga is hard to attain, I agreed, by one who is not self-controlled; but by the self-controlled it is attainable by striving through proper means.

Swami Gambhirananda

Arjuna said; O Madhusudana (Krsna), this Yoga that has been spoken by You as sameness, I do not see its steady continuance, owing to the restlessness (of the mind). (6.33)

For, O Krsna, the mind is unsteady, turbulent, strong and obstinate, I consider its control to be as greatly difficult as of the wind. (6.34)

The Blessed Lord said; O mighty armed-one, undoubtedly the mind is untractable and restless. But, O son of Kunti, it is brought under control through practice and detachment. (6.35)

My conviction is that Yoga is difficult to be attained by one of uncontrolled mind. But it is possible to be attained through the (above) means by one who strives and has a controlled mind. (6.36)

Verse 6.37-45

Dr. Prasad

Arjuna said: The faithful who deviates from the path of meditation and fails to attain yogic perfection due to unsubdued mind – what is the destination of such a person, O Krishna? (6.37)

Do they not perish like a dispersing cloud, O Krishna, having lost both the heavenly and the worldly pleasures, supportless and bewildered on the path of Self-realization? (6.38)

O Krishna, only You are able to completely dispel this doubt of mine. Because there is none, other than You, who can dispel this doubt. (See also 15.15) (6.39)

Lord Krishna said: There is no destruction, O Arjuna, for a yogi either here or hereafter. A transcendentalist is never put to grief, My dear friend. (6.40)

The less evolved unsuccessful yogi is reborn in the house of the pious and prosperous after attaining heaven and living there for many years. The highly evolved unsuccessful yogi does not go to heaven, but is born in a spiritually advanced family. A birth like this is very difficult, indeed, to obtain in this world. (6.41-42)

There he or she regains the knowledge acquired in the previous life, and strives again to achieve perfection, O Arjuna. (6.43)

The unsuccessful yogi is instinctively carried towards God by virtue of the impressions of yogic practices of previous lives. Even the inquirer of yoga the union with God surpasses those who perform Vedic rituals. (6.44)

The yogi, who diligently strives, becomes completely free from all imperfections after gradually perfecting through many incarnations, and reaches the Supreme Abode. (6.45)

Gita as it is

Arjuna said: O Krsna, what is the destination of the unsuccessful transcendentalist, who in the beginning takes to the process of self-realization with faith but who later desists due to worldly-mindedness and thus does not attain perfection in mysticism?(6.37)

O mighty-armed Krsna, does not such a man, who is bewildered from the path of transcendence, fall away from both spiritual and material success and perish like a riven cloud, with no position in any sphere?(6.38)

This is my doubt, O Krsna, and I ask You to dispel it completely. But for You, no one is to be found who can destroy this doubt.(6.39)

The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: Son of Prtha, a transcendentalist engaged in auspicious activities does not meet with destruction either in this world or in the spiritual world; one who does good, My friend, is never overcome by evil.(6.40)

The unsuccessful yogi, after many, many years of enjoyment on the planets of the pious living entities, is born into a family of righteous people, or into a family of rich aristocracy.(6.41)

Or [if unsuccessful after long practice of yoga] he takes his birth in a family of transcendentalists who are surely great in wisdom. Certainly, such a birth is rare in this world.(6.42)

On taking such a birth, he revives the divine consciousness of his previous life, and he again tries to make further progress in order to achieve complete success, O son of Kuru.(6.43)

By virtue of the divine consciousness of his previous life, he automatically becomes attracted to the yogic principles–even without seeking them. Such an inquisitive transcendentalist stands always above the ritualistic principles of the scriptures.(6.44)

And when the yogi engages himself with sincere endeavor in making further progress, being washed of all contaminations, then ultimately, achieving perfection after many, many births of practice, he attains the supreme goal.(6.45)


(37) Arjuna said: He who cannot control himself though he has faith, with the mind wandering away from yoga, failing to attain perfection in yoga, what way does he go, O Krsna?

(38) Does he not perish like a rent cloud, O Mighty-armed (Krsna), fallen from both and without any hold and bewildered in the path that leads to the Eternal?

(39) Thou shouldst dispel completely this, my doubt, O Krsna, for there is none else than Thyself Who can destroy this doubt.

(40) The Blessed Lord said: O, Partha (Arjuna), neither in this life nor hereafter is there destruction for him; for never does any one who does good, dear friend, tread the path of woe.

(41) Having attained to the world of the righteous and dwelt there for very many years, the man who has fallen away from yoga is again born in the house of such as are pure and prosperous.

(42) Or he may be born in the family of yogins who are endowed with wisdom. For such a birth as this is more difficult to obtain in the world.

(43) There he regains the (mental) impressions (of union with the Divine) which he had developed in his previous life and with this (as the starting point) he strives again for perfection, O Joy of the Kurus (Arjuna).

(44) By his former practice, he is carried on irresistibly. Even the seeker after the knowledge of yoga goes beyond the Vedic rule.

(45) But the yogi who strives with assiduity, cleansed of all sins, perfecting himself through many lives, then attains to the highest goal.

Swami Gambhirananda

O Krsna, failing to achieve perfection in Yoga, what goal does one attain who, though possessed of faith, is not diligent and whose mind becomes deflected from Yoga? (6.37)

O Mighty-armed one, fallen from both without support, deluded on the path to Brahman, does he not get ruined like scattered cloud? (6.38)

O Krsna, You should totally eradicate this doubt of mine. For none other than Yourself can be the dispeller of this doubt ! (6.39)

The Blessed Lord said; O Partha, there is certainly no ruin for him here or hereafter. For no one engaged in good meets with deplorable end, My son ! (6.40)

Attaining the worlds of the righteous, and residing there for eternal years, the man fallen from Yoga is born in the house of the pious and the prosperous. (6.41)

Or he is born in the family of wise yogis only. Such a birth as is of this kind is surely more difficult to get in this world. (6.42)

There he becomes endowed with the wisdom acquired in the previous body. And he strives more than before for perfection, O scion of the Kuru dynasty. (6.43)

For, by that very past practice, he is carried forward even in spite of himself ! Even a seeker of Yoga transcends the results of Vedic rituals ! (6.44)

However, the yogi, applying himself assiduously, becoming purified from sin and attaining perfection through many births, thereby achieves the highest Goal. (6.45)

Verse 6.46-47

Dr. Prasad

The yogi, who is devoted to meditation, is superior to the ascetics. The yogi is superior to the Vedic scholars. The yogi is superior to the ritualists. Therefore, O Arjuna, be a yogi. (6.46)

And I consider the yogi-devotee who lovingly contemplates on Me with supreme faith, and whose mind is ever absorbed in Me to be the best of all the yogis. (See also 12.02 and 18.66) (6.47)

Gita as it is

A yogi is greater than the ascetic, greater than the empiricist and greater than the fruitive worker. Therefore, O Arjuna, in all circumstances, be a yogi.(6.46)

And of all yogis, the one with great faith who always abides in Me, thinks of Me within himself, and renders transcendental loving service to Me–he is the most intimately united with Me in yoga and is the highest of all. That is My opinion.(6.47)


(46) The yogin is greater than the ascetic; he is considered to be greater than the man of knowledge, greater than the man of ritual works, therefore do thou become a yogin, O Arjuna.

(47) And of all yogins, he who full of faith worships Me, with his inner self abiding in Me, him, I hold to be the most attuned (to me in Yoga).

Swami Gambhirananda

A yogi is higher than men of austerity; he is considered higher even than men of knowledge. The yogi is also higher than men of action. Therefore, O Arjuna, do you become a yogi? (6.46)

Even among all the yogis, he who adores Me with his mind fixed on Me and with faith, he is considered by Me to be the best of the yogis. (6.47)

Verse 7.01

Dr. Prasad

Lord Krishna said: O Arjuna, listen how you shall know Me fully without any doubt, with your mind absorbed in Me, taking refuge in Me, and performing yogic practices. (7.01)

Gita as it is

The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: Now hear, O son of Prtha, how by practicing yoga in full consciousness of Me, with mind attached to Me, you can know Me in full, free from doubt.(7.01)


(1) The Blessed Lord said: Hear then, O Partha (Arjuna), how, practising yoga, with the mind clinging to Me, with Me as thy refuge, thou shalt know Me in full, without any doubt.

Swami Gambhirananda

O Partha, hear how you, having the mind fixed on Me, practicing the Yoga of Meditation and taking refuge in Me, will know Me with certainty and in fullness. (7.01)

Verse 7.02

Dr. Prasad

I shall impart you Self-knowledge together with enlightenment, after comprehending that nothing more remains to be known in this world. (7.02)

Gita as it is

I shall now declare unto you in full this knowledge, both phenomenal and numinous. This being known, nothing further shall remain for you to know.(7.02)


(2) I will declare to thee in full this wisdom together with knowledge by knowing which there shall remain nothing more here left to be known.

Swami Gambhirananda

I shall tell you in detail of this Knowledge which is combined with realization, after experiencing which there remains nothing else here to be known again. (7.02)

Verse 7.03

Dr. Prasad

Scarcely one out of thousands of persons strives for perfection of Self-realization. Scarcely one among those successful strivers truly understands Me. (7.03)

Gita as it is

Out of many thousands among men, one may endeavor for perfection, and of those who have achieved perfection, hardly one knows Me in truth.(7.03)


(3) Among thousands of men scarcely one strives for perfection and of those who strive and succeed, scarcely one knows Me in truth.

Swami Gambhirananda

Among thousands of men, a rare one endeavors for perfection. Even of the perfected ones who are diligent, one perchance knows Me in truth. (7.03)

Verse 7.04-05

Dr. Prasad

The mind, intellect, ego, ether, air, fire, water, and earth are the eightfold division of My material energy. (See also 13.05) (7.04)

The material Nature or matter is My lower Nature. My other higher Nature is the Spirit by which this entire universe is sustained, O Arjuna. (7.05)

Gita as it is

Earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intelligence and false ego–all together these eight constitute My separated material energies.(7.4)

Besides these, O mighty-armed Arjuna, there is another, superior energy of Mine, which comprises the living entities who are exploiting the resources of this material, inferior nature.(7.05)


(4) Earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind and understanding self-sense-this is the eightfold division of My nature.

(5) This is My lower nature. Know thy other and higher nature which is the soul, by which this world is upheld. O Mighty-armed (Arjuna).

Swami Gambhirananda

This Prakrti of Mine is divided eight-fold thus; earth, water, fire, air, space, mind, intellect, and also egoism. (7.04)

O mighty armed-one, this is the inferior (Prakrti), Know the other Prakrti of Mine which, however, is higher than this, which has taken the form of individual souls, and by which this world is upheld. (7.05)

Verse 7.06-07

Dr. Prasad

Know that all creatures have evolved from this twofold energy; and the Supreme Spirit is the source of origin as well as dissolution of the entire universe. (See also 13.26) (7.06)

There is nothing higher than the Supreme Being, O Arjuna. Everything in the universe is strung on the Supreme Being, like jewels are strung on the thread of a necklace. (7.07)

Gita as it is

All created beings have their source in these two natures. Of all that is material and all that is spiritual in this world, know for certain that I am both the origin and the dissolution.(7.06)

O conqueror of wealth, there is no truth superior to Me. Everything rests upon Me, as pearls are strung on a thread.(7.07)


(6) Know that all beings have their birth in this. I am the origin of all this world and its dissolution as well.

(7) There is nothing whatever that is higher than I, O winner of wealth (Arjuna). All that is here is strung on me as rows of gems on a string.

Swami Gambhirananda

Know it for certain that all things (sentient and insentient) have this as their source. I am origin as also the end of the whole Universe. (7.06)

O Dhananjaya, there is nothing else whatsoever higher than Myself. All this is strung on Me like pearls on a string. (7.07)

Verse 7.08-13

Dr. Prasad

O Arjuna, I am the sapidity in the water, I am the radiance in the sun and the moon, the sacred syllable OM in all the Vedas, the sound in the ether, and potency in human beings. I am the sweet fragrance in the earth. I am the heat in the fire, the life in all living beings, and the austerity in the ascetics. (7.08-09)

O Arjuna, know Me to be the eternal seed of all creatures. I am the intelligence of the intelligent, and the brilliance of the brilliant. (See also 9.18 and 10.39). I am the strength of the strong who is devoid of selfish attachment. I am the lust in human beings that is devoid of sense gratification, and is in accord with Dharma (for the sacred purpose of procreation after marriage), O Arjuna. (7.10-11)

Know that three modes of material Nature goodness, passion, and ignorance also emanate from Me. I am not dependent on, or affected by, the modes of material Nature; but the modes of material Nature are dependent on Me. (See also 9.04 and 9.05) (7.12)

Human beings are deluded by various aspects of these three modes of material Nature; therefore, they do not know Me, who is eternal and above these modes. (7.13)

Gita as it is

O son of Kunti, I am the taste of water, the light of the sun and the moon, the syllable om in the Vedic mantras; I am the sound in ether and ability in man.(7.08)

I am the original fragrance of the earth, and I am the heat in fire. I am the life of all that lives, and I am the penances of all ascetics.(7.09)

O son of Prtha, know that I am the original seed of all existences, the intelligence of the intelligent, and the prowess of all powerful men.(7.10)

I am the strength of the strong, devoid of passion and desire. I am sex life which is not contrary to religious principles, O lord of the Bharatas [Arjuna].(7.11)

Know that all states of being–be they of goodness, passion or ignorance–are manifested by My energy. I am, in one sense, everything, but I am independent. I am not under the modes of material nature, for they, on the contrary, are within Me.(7.12)

Deluded by the three modes [goodness, passion and ignorance], the whole world does not know Me, who am above the modes and inexhaustible.(7.13)


(8) I am the taste in the waters, O Son of Kunti (Arjuna), I am the light in the moon and the sun. I am the syllable Aum in the Vedas; I am the sound in ether and manhood in men.

(9) I am the pure fragrance in earth and brightness in fire. I am the life in all existences and the austerity in ascetics.

(10) Know Me, O Partha (Arjuna), to be the eternal seed of all existences. I am the intelligence of the intelligent; I am the splendour of the splendid.

(11) I am the strength of the strong, devoid of desire and passion. In beings am I the desire which is not contrary to law, O Lord of the Bharatas (Arjuna).

(12) And whatever states of being there may be, be they harmonious (sattvika), passionate (rajasa), slothful (tamasa) -know thou that they are all from Me alone. I am not in them, they are in Me.

(13) Deluded by these threefold modes of nature (gunas) this whole world does not recognize Me who am above them and imperishable.

Swami Gambhirananda

O son of Kunti, I am the taste of water, I am effulgence of the moon and the sun; (the letter) Om in all the Vedas, the sound of space, and manhood in men. (7.08)

I am also the sweet fragrance in the earth; I am the brilliance in the fire, and the life in all beings; and I am the austerity of ascetics. (7.09)

O Partha, know Me to be the eternal Seed of all beings. I am the intellect of the intelligent, I am the courage of the courageous. (7.10)

And of the strong I am the strength which is devoid of passion and attachment. Among creatures I am desire which is not contrary to righteousness, O scion of the Bharata dynasty (7.11)

Those things that indeed are made of (the quality of) sattva, and those things that are made of (the quality) of rajas and tamas, know them to have sprung from Me alone. However, I am not in them, they are in Me. (7.12)

All this world, deluded as it is by these three things made up of the gunas (qualities), does not know Me who am transcendental to these and undecaying. (7.13)

Verse 7.14

Dr. Prasad

This divine power (Maya) of Mine, consisting of three states of matter or mind, is very difficult to overcome. Only those who surrender unto Me easily cross over this Maya. (See also 14.26, 15.19, and 18.66) (7.14)

Gita as it is

This divine energy of Mine, consisting of the three modes of material nature, is difficult to overcome. But those who have surrendered unto Me can easily cross beyond it.(7.14)


(14) This divine maya of Mine, consisting of the modes is hard to overcome. But those who take refuge in Me alone cross beyond it.

Swami Gambhirananda

Since this divine Maya of Mine which is constituted of by the gunas is difficult to cross over, (therefore), those who take refuge in Me alone cross over this Maya. (7.14)

Verse 7.15-20

Dr. Prasad

The evil doers, the ignorant, the lowest persons who are attached to demonic nature, and whose power of discrimination has been taken away by divine illusive power (Maya) do not worship or seek Me. (7.15)

Four types of virtuous ones worship or seek Me, O Arjuna. They are: The distressed, the seeker of Self-knowledge, the seeker of wealth, and the enlightened one who has experienced the Supreme Being. (7.16)

Among them the enlightened devotee, who is ever united with Me and whose devotion is single-minded, is the best. Because I am very dear to the enlightened, and the enlightened is very dear to Me. (7.17)

All these seekers are indeed noble. But, I regard the enlightened devotee as My very Self, because the one who is steadfast abides in My Supreme Abode. (See also 9.29) (7.18)

After many births the enlightened one resorts to Me by realizing that everything is, indeed, My (or Supreme Being’s) manifestation. Such a great soul is very rare. (7.19)

Persons, whose discernment has been carried away by various desires impelled by their Karmic impression, resort to celestial controllers and practice various religious rites. (7.20)

Gita as it is

Those miscreants who are grossly foolish, who are lowest among mankind, whose knowledge is stolen by illusion, and who partake of the atheistic nature of demons do not surrender unto Me.(7.15)

O best among the Bharatas, four kinds of pious men begin to render devotional service unto Me–the distressed, the desirer of wealth, the inquisitive, and he who is searching for knowledge of the Absolute.(7.16)

Of these, the one who is in full knowledge and who is always engaged in pure devotional service is the best. For I am very dear to him, and he is dear to Me.(7.17)

All these devotees are undoubtedly magnanimous souls, but he who is situated in knowledge of Me I consider to be just like My own self. Being engaged in My transcendental service, he is sure to attain Me, the highest and most perfect goal.(7.18)

After many births and deaths, he who is actually in knowledge surrenders unto Me, knowing Me to be the cause of all causes and all that is. Such a great soul is very rare.(7.19)

Those whose intelligence has been stolen by material desires surrender unto demigods and follow the particular rules and regulations of worship according to their own natures.(7.20)


(15) The Evil doers who are foolish, low in the human scale, whose minds are carried away by illusion and who partake of the nature of demons do not seek refuge in Me

(16) The virtuous ones who worship Me are of four kinds, the man in distress, the seeker for knowledge, the seeker for wealth and the man of wisdom, O Lord of the Bharatas (Arjuna).

(17) Of these the wise one, who is ever in constant union with the Divine, whose devotion is single-minded, is the best. For I am supremely dear to him and he is dear to Me.

(IS) Noble indeed are all these but the sage, I hold, is verily Myself. For being perfectly harmonized, he resorts to Me alone as the highest goal.

(19) At the end of many lives, the man of wisdom resorts to Me, knowing that Vasudeva (the Supreme) is all that is. Such a great soul is very difficult to find.

(20) But those whose minds are distorted by desires resort to other gods, observing various rites, constrained by their own natures.

Swami Gambhirananda

The foolish evildoers, who are the most depraved among men, who are deprived of (their) wisdom by Maya, and who resort to demonical ways, do not take refuge in Me. (7.15)

O Arjuna, foremost of the Bharata dynasty four classes of people of virtuous deeds adore Me; the afflicted, the seeker of Knowledge, the seeker of wealth, and the man of Knowledge. (7.16)

Of them the man of Knowledge, endowed with constant steadfastness and one-pointed devotion excels. For I am very much dear to the man of Knowledge, and he too, is dear to Me. (7.17)

All of these, indeed are noble, but the man of Knowledge is the very Self. (This is) My opinion. For, with a steadfast mind, he is set on a path leading to Me alone who am the super-excellent Goal. (7.18)

At the end of many births the man of Knowledge attains Me, (realizing) that Vasudeva is all. Such a high-souled one is very rare. (7.19)

People, deprived of their wisdom by desires for various objects and guided by their own nature, resort to other deities following the relevant methods. (7.20)

Verse 7.21-23

Dr. Prasad

Whosoever desires to worship whatever deity – using any name, form, and method – with faith, I make their faith steady in that very deity. Endowed with steady faith they worship that deity, and obtain their wishes through that deity. Those wishes are, indeed, granted only by Me. (7.21-22)

Such material gains of these less intelligent human beings are temporary. The worshipers of celestial controllers go to celestial controllers, but My devotees certainly come to Me. (7.23)

Gita as it is

I am in everyone’s heart as the Supersoul. As soon as one desires to worship some demigod, I make his faith steady so that he can devote himself to that particular deity.(7.21)

Endowed with such a faith, he endeavors to worship a particular demigod and obtains his desires. But in actuality these benefits are bestowed by Me alone.(7.22)

Men of small intelligence worship the demigods, and their fruits are limited and temporary. Those who worship the demigods go to the planets of the demigods, but My devotees ultimately reach My supreme planet.(7.23)


(21) Whatever form any devotee with faith wishes to worship, I make that faith of his steady.

(22) Endowed faith that faith, he seeks the propitiation of such a one and from him he obtains his desires, the benefits being decreed by Me alone.

(23) But temporary is the fruit gained by these men of small minds. The worshippers of the gods go to the gods but My devotees come to Me.

Swami Gambhirananda

Whichever form (of a deity) any devotee wants to worship with faith, that very firm faith of his I strengthen. (7.21)

Being imbued with that faith, that person engages in worshipping that form, and he gets those very desired results there from as they are dispensed by Me alone. (7.22)

That result of theirs who are of poor intellect is indeed limited. The worshippers of gods go to the gods. My devotees go to Me alone. (7.23)

Verse 7.24-30

Dr. Prasad

The ignorant ones – unable to understand My immutable, incomparable, incomprehensible, and transcendental form – assume that I, the Supreme Being, am formless and take forms or incarnate. Concealed by My divine power (Maya), I do not reveal Myself to such ignorants who do not know and understand My unborn, eternal, and transcendental form and personality. (7.24-25)

I know, O Arjuna, the beings of the past, of the present, and those of the future, but no one really knows Me. (7.26)

All beings in this world are in utter ignorance due to delusion of pairs of opposites born of likes and dislikes, O Arjuna. But persons of unselfish deeds, whose Karma or sin has come to an end, become free from the delusion of pairs of opposites and worship Me with firm resolve. (7.27-28)

Those who strive for freedom from the cycles of birth, old age, and death – by taking refuge in God – fully comprehend the true nature and powers of the Supreme. (7.29)

The steadfast persons, who know Me alone as the basis of all the mortal beings, Temporal Beings, and the Eternal Being even at the time of death, attain Me. (See also 8.04) (7.30)

Gita as it is

Unintelligent men, who do not know Me perfectly, think that I, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna, was impersonal before and have now assumed this personality. Due to their small knowledge, they do not know My higher nature, which is imperishable and supreme.(7.24)

I am never manifest to the foolish and unintelligent. For them I am covered by My internal potency, and therefore they do not know that I am unborn and infallible.(7.25)

O Arjuna, as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, I know everything that has happened in the past, all that is happening in the present, and all things that are yet to come. I also know all living entities; but Me no one knows.(7.26)

O scion of Bharata, O conqueror of the foe, all living entities are born into delusion, bewildered by dualities arisen from desire and hate.(7.27)

Persons who have acted piously in previous lives and in this life and whose sinful actions are completely eradicated are freed from the dualities of delusion, and they engage themselves in My service with determination.(7.28)

Intelligent persons who are endeavoring for liberation from old age and death take refuge in Me in devotional service. They are actually Brahman because they entirely know everything about transcendental activities.(7.29)

Those in full consciousness of Me, who know Me, the Supreme Lord, to be the governing principle of the material manifestation, of the demigods, and of all methods of sacrifice, can understand and know Me, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, even at the time of death.(7.30)


(24) Men of no understanding think of Me, the unmanifest, as having manifestation, not knowing My higher nature, changeless and supreme.

(25) Veiled by My creative power (yogamaya) I am not revealed to all. This bewildered world knows Me not, the unborn, the unchanging.

(26) I know the beings that are past, that are present. O Arjuna, and that are to come but Me no one knows.

(27) All beings are born to delusion O Bharata (Ariuna), overcome by the dualities which arise from wish and hate, O Conqueror of the foe (Arjuna).

(28) But those men of virtuous deeds in whom sin has come to an end (who have died to sin), freed from the delusion of dualities, Worship Me steadfast in their vows.

(29) Those who take refuge in Me and strive for deliverance from old age and death, they know the Brahman (or Absolute) entire (they know) the Self and all about action.

(30) Those who know Me as the One that governs the material and the divine aspects, and all sacrifices, they, with their minds harmonized, have knowledge of Me even at the time of their departure (from here).

Swami Gambhirananda

The unintelligent, unaware of My supreme state which is immutable and unsurpassable, think of Me as the unmanifest that has become manifest. (7.24)

Being enveloped by yoga-Maya, I do not become manifest to all. This deluded world does not know Me who am birthless and undecaying. (7.25)

O Arjuna, I know the past and the present as also the future beings; but no one knows Me! (7.26)

O scion of the Bharata dynasty, O destroyer of foes, due to the delusion of duality arising from likes and dislikes, all creatures become bewildered at time of their birth. (7.27)

On the other hand, those persons who are of virtuous deeds, whose sin has come to an end, they, being free from the delusion of duality and firm in their convictions, adore Me. (7.28)

Those who strive by resorting to Me for becoming free from old age and death, they know that Brahman, everything about the individual Self, and all about actions. (7.29)

Those who know Me as existing in the physical and divine planes, and also in the context of the sacrifice, they of concentrated minds know Me even at the time of death. (7.30)

Verse 8.01-02

Dr. Prasad

Arjuna said: O Krishna, who is the Eternal Being or the Spirit? What is the nature of the Eternal Being? What is Karma? Who are the mortal beings? And who are Temporal Beings? Who is the Supreme Being, and how does He dwell in the body? How can You, the Supreme Being, be remembered at the time of death by those who have control over their minds, O Krishna? (8.01-02)

Gita as it is

Arjuna inquired: O my Lord, O Supreme Person, what is Brahman? What is the self? What are fruitive activities? What is this material manifestation? And what are the demigods? Please explain this to me.(8.01)

Who is the Lord of sacrifice, and how does He live in the body, O Madhusudana? And how can those engaged in devotional service know You at the time of death? (8.02)


(1) Arjuna said: What is Brahman (or the Absolute)? What is the Self and what is action, O the best of persons? What is said to be the domain of the elements? What is called the domain of the gods?

(2) What is the domain (part) of sacrifice in this body and how O Madhusudana (Krsna). How again art Thou to be known at the time of departure by the self-controlled?

Swami Gambhirananda

O supreme Person, what is that Brahman? What is that which exists in the individual plane? What is action? And what is that which is said to exist in the physical plane? What is that which is said to be exiting in the divine plane? (8.01)

O Madhusudana, how and who is the entity existing in the sacrifice here in this body? And at the time of death, how are You known by people of concentrated minds? (8.02)

Verse 8.03-04

Dr. Prasad

Lord Krishna said: The eternal and immutable Spirit of the Supreme Being is also called Eternal Being or the Spirit. The inherent power of cognition and desire of Eternal Being (Spirit) is called the nature of Eternal Being. The creative power of Eternal Being (or Spirit) that causes manifestation of the living entity is called Karma. (8.03)

Various expansions of the Supreme Being are also called Temporal Beings or Divine Beings. The Supreme Being also resides inside the physical bodies as the divine Controller. (8.04)

Gita as it is

The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: The indestructible, transcendental living entity is called Brahman, and his eternal nature is called adhyatma, the self. Action pertaining to the development of the material bodies of the living entities is called karma, or fruitive activities.(8.03)

O best of the embodied beings, the physical nature, which is constantly changing, is called adhibhuta [the material manifestation]. The universal form of the Lord, which includes all the demigods, like those of the sun and moon, is called adhidaiva. And I, the Supreme Lord, represented as the Supersoul in the heart of every embodied being, am called adhiyajna [the Lord of sacrifice].(8.04)


(3) The Blessed Lord said: Brahman (or the Absolute) is the indestructible, the Supreme (higher than all else), essential nature is called the Self. Karma is the name given to the creative force that brings beings into existences.

(4) The basis of all created things is the mutable nature: the basis of the divine elements is the cosmic spirit. And the basis of all sacrifices, here in the body is Myself, O Best of embodied beings (Arjuna).

Swami Gambhirananda

The immutable is the supreme Brahman; self-hood is said to be the entity present in the individual plane. By action is meant the offerings which bring about the origin of the existence of things. (8.03)

That which exists in the physical plane is the mutable entity, and what exists in the divine plane is the Person. O best among the embodied beings, I Myself am the entity that exists in the sacrifice in this body. (8.04)

Verse 8.05-06

Dr. Prasad

The one who remembers the Supreme Being exclusively even while leaving the body at the time of death, attains the Supreme Abode; there is no doubt about it. (8.05)

Remembering whatever object one leaves the body at the end of life, one attains that object. Thought of whatever object prevails during one’s lifetime, one remembers only that object at the end of life and achieves it. (8.06)

Gita as it is

And whoever, at the end of his life, quits his body, remembering Me alone, at once attains My nature. Of this there is no doubt.(8.05)

Whatever state of being one remembers when he quits his body, O son of Kunti, that state he will attain without fail.(8.06)


(5) And whoever, at the time of death, gives up his body and departs, thinking of Me alone, he comes to My status (of being); of that there is no doubt.

(6) Thinking of whatever state (of being) he at the end gives up his body, to that being does he attain, O Son of Kunti (Arjuna), being ever absorbed in the thought thereof.

Swami Gambhirananda

And at the time of death anyone who departs by giving up the body while thinking of Me alone, he attains My state. There is no doubt about this. (8.05)

O son of Kunti, thinking of any entity whichever it may be, one gives up the body at the end, and attains that very one, having been always engrossed in its thought. (8.06)

Verse 8.07-11

Dr. Prasad

Therefore, always remember Me and do your duty. You shall certainly attain Me if your mind and intellect are ever focused on Me. (8.07)

By contemplating on Me with an unwavering mind that is disciplined by the practice of meditation, one attains the Supreme Being, O Arjuna. (8.08)

One who meditates on the Supreme Being as the omniscient, the oldest, the controller, smaller than the smallest and bigger than the biggest, the sustainer of everything, the inconceivable, the self-luminous like the sun, and transcendental (or beyond the material reality) at the time of death with steadfast mind and devotion by making the flow of bioimpulses rise up to the middle of the eye brows by the power of yogic practices; one attains the Supreme Being. (See also verses 4.29, 5.27, 6.13) (8.09-10)

Now I shall briefly explain the process to attain the Supreme Abode that the knowers of the Veda call immutable; into which the ascetics, freed from attachment, enter; and desiring which people lead a life of celibacy. (8.11)

Gita as it is

Therefore, Arjuna, you should always think of Me in the form of Krsna and at the same time carry out your prescribed duty of fighting. With your activities dedicated to Me and your mind and intelligence fixed on Me, you will attain Me without doubt.(8.07)

He who meditates on Me as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, his mind constantly engaged in remembering Me, undeviated from the path, he, O Partha, is sure to reach Me.(8.08)

One should meditate upon the Supreme Person as the one who knows everything, as He who is the oldest, who is the controller, who is smaller than the smallest, who is the maintainer of everything, who is beyond all material conception, who is inconceivable, and who is always a person. He is luminous like the sun, and He is transcendental, beyond this material nature.(8.09)

One who, at the time of death, fixes his life air between the eyebrows and, by the strength of yoga, with an undeviating mind, engages himself in remembering the Supreme Lord in full devotion, will certainly attain to the Supreme Personality of Godhead.(8.10)

Persons who are learned in the Vedas, who utter omkara and who are great sages in the renounced order enter into Brahman. Desiring such perfection, one practices celibacy. I shall now briefly explain to you this process by which one may attain salvation.(8.11)


(7) Therefore at all times remember Me and fight When thy mind and understanding are set on Me, to Me alone shalt thou come without doubt.

(8) He who meditates on the Supreme Person with his thought attuned by constant practice and not wandering after anything else, he, O Partha (Arjuna), reaches the Person, Supreme and Divine. [Home]

(9) He who meditates on the Seer, the ancient, the ruler, subtler than the subtle, the supporter of all, whose form is beyond conception, who is suncoloured beyond the darkness

(10) He who does so, at the time of his departure, with a steady mind, devotion and strength of yoga and setting well his life force in the centre of the eyebrows, he attains to this Supreme Divine Person

(11) I shall briefly describe to thee that state which the knowers of the Veda call the Imperishable, which ascetics freed from passion enter and desiring which they lead a life of self-control.

Swami Gambhirananda

Therefore, think of Me at all times and fight. There is no doubt that by dedicating your mind and intellect on Me, you will attain Me alone. (8.07)

O son of Partha, by meditating with a mind which is engaged in the yoga of practice and which does not stray away to anything else, one reaches the supreme Person existing in the effulgent region. (8.08)

He who meditates on the Omniscient, the Ancient, the Ruler, subtler than the subtlest, the Ordainer of everything, of inconceivable form, effulgent like the sun, and beyond darkness,-(he attains the supreme person). (8.09)

At the time of death, having fully fixed the Prana (vital force) between the eye-brows with devotion as also the strength of concentration, he attains to that resplendent supreme Person. (8.10)

I shall speak to you briefly of that immutable Goal which the knowers of the Vedas declare, into which enter the diligent ones free from attachment, and aspiring for which people practice celibacy. (8.11)

Verse 8.12-16

Dr. Prasad

When one leaves the physical body by controlling all the senses; focusing the mind on God, and the bioimpulses (Pranas) in the cerebrum; engaged in yogic practice; meditating on Me and uttering OM the sacred monosyllable sound power of Spirit one attains the Supreme Abode. (8.12-13)

I am easily attainable, O Arjuna, by that ever steadfast devotee who always thinks of Me and whose mind does not go elsewhere. (8.14)

After attaining Me, the great souls do not incur rebirth in this miserable transitory world, because they have attained the highest perfection. (8.15)

The dwellers of all the worlds up to and including the world of the creator are subject to the miseries of repeated birth and death. But, after attaining Me, O Arjuna, one does not take birth again. (See also 9.25) (8.16)

Gita as it is

The yogic situation is that of detachment from all sensual engagements. Closing all the doors of the senses and fixing the mind on the heart and the life air at the top of the head, one establishes himself in yoga.(8.12)

After being situated in this yoga practice and vibrating the sacred syllable om, the supreme combination of letters, if one thinks of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and quits his body, he will certainly reach the spiritual planets.(8.13)

For one who always remembers Me without deviation, I am easy to obtain, O son of Prtha, because of his constant engagement in devotional service.(8.14)

After attaining Me, the great souls, who are yogis in devotion, never return to this temporary world, which is full of miseries, because they have attained the highest perfection.(8.15)

From the highest planet in the material world down to the lowest, all are places of misery wherein repeated birth and death take place. But one who attains to My abode, O son of Kunti, never takes birth again.(8.16)


(12) All the gates of the body restrained, the mind confined within the heart, one’s life force fixed in the head, established in concentration by yoga

(13) He who utters the single syllable Aum (which is) Brahaman remembering Me as he departs, giving up his body, he goes to the highest goal.

(14) He who constantly meditates on Me, thinking of none else, by him who is a yogin ever disciplined (or united with the Supreme), I am easily reached.

(15) Having come to Me, these great souls do not get back to rebirth, the place of sorrow, impermanent, for they have reached the highest perfection.

(16) From the realm of Brahma downwards, all worlds are subject to return to rebirth, but on reaching Me. O son of Kunti (Arjuna), there is no return to birth again.

Swami Gambhirananda

Having controlled all the passages, having confined the mind in the heart, and having fixed his own vital force in the head, continuing in the firmness in yoga; (8.12)

He who departs by leaving the body while uttering the single syllable, viz Om, which is Brahman, and thinking of Me, he attains the supreme Goal. (8.13)

O son of Partha, to that yogi of constant concentration and single minded attention, who remembers Me uninterruptedly and for long, I am easy of attainment. (8.14)

As a result of reaching Me, the exalted ones who have attained the highest perfection do not get rebirth which is an abode of sorrows and which is impermanent. (8.15)

O Arjuna, all the worlds together with the world of Brahma are subject to return. But, O son of Kunti, there is no rebirth after reaching Me. (8.16)

Verse 8.17-21

Dr. Prasad

Those who know that the duration of creation lasts 4.32 billion years and that the duration of destruction also lasts 4.32 billion years, they are the knowers of the cycles of creation and destruction. (8.17)

All manifestations come out of the primary material Nature during the creative cycle, and they merge into the primary material Nature during the destructive cycle. (8.18)

The same multitude of beings comes into existence again and again at the arrival of the creative cycle; and is annihilated, inevitably, at the arrival of the destructive cycle. (8.19)

There is another eternal transcendental existence higher than the changeable material Nature called Eternal Being or Spirit that does not perish when all created beings perish. This is also called the Supreme Abode. Those who attain the Supreme Abode do not take birth again. (8.20-21)

Gita as it is

By human calculation, a thousand ages taken together form the duration of Brahma’s one day. And such also is the duration of his night.(8.17)

At the beginning of Brahma’s day, all living entities become manifest from the unmanifest state, and thereafter, when the night falls, they are merged into the unmanifest again.(8.18)

Again and again, when Brahma’s day arrives, all living entities come into being, and with the arrival of Brahma’s night they are helplessly annihilated.(8.19)

Yet there is another unmanifest nature, which is eternal and is transcendental to this manifested and unmanifested matter. It is supreme and is never annihilated. When all in this world is annihilated, that part remains as it is.(8.20)

That which the Vedantists describe as unmanifest and infallible, that which is known as the supreme destination, that place from which, having attained it, one never returns–that is My supreme abode.(8.21)


(17) Those who know that the day of Brahma is of the duration of a thousand ages and that the night (of Brahma) is a thousand ages long, they are the knowers of day and night.

(18) At the coming of day, all manifested things come forth from the unmnanifested and at the coming of night they merge in that same, called the unmanifested.

(19) This very same multitude of existences arising again and again merges helplessly at the coming of night, O Partha (Arjuna), and streams forth into being at the coming of day.

(20) But beyond this unmanifested, there is yet another Unmanifested Eternal Being who does not perish even when all existences perish.

(21) This Unmanifested is called the Imperishable. Him they speak of as the Supreme Status. Chose who attain to Him return not. That is My supreme abode.

Swami Gambhirananda

Those people who are knowers of what day and night are, know the day of Brahma which ends in a thousand yugas, and His night which ends in a thousand yugas. (8.17)

With the coming of day all manifested things emerge from the Unmanifested, and when night comes they merge in that itself which is called the Unmanifested. (8.18)

O son of Partha, after being born again and again, that very multitude of beings disappears in spite of itself at the approach of the night. It comes to life at the approach of day. (8.19)

But distinct from that Unmanifested is the other eternal unmanifest Reality, who does not get destroyed when all beings are destroyed. (8.20)

He who has been mentioned as the Unmanifest, the Immutable, they call Him the supreme Goal. That is the supreme abode of Mine, reaching which they do not return. (8.21)

Verse 8.22-26

Dr. Prasad

This Supreme Abode, O Arjuna, is attainable by unswerving devotion to Me within which all beings exist, and by which the entire universe is pervaded. (See also 9.04 and 11.55) (8.22)

O Arjuna, now I shall describe different paths departing by which, during death, the yogis do or do not come back. (8.23)

Fire, light, daytime, the bright lunar fortnight, and the six months of the northern solstice of the sun – departing by the path of these celestial controllers, yogis who know the Spirit attain the Supreme. (8.24)

Smoke, night, the dark lunar fortnight, and the six months of southern solstice of the sun – departing by these paths, the righteous person attains heaven and comes back to earth. (8.25)

The path of light of spiritual practice and Self-knowledge and the path of darkness of materialism and ignorance are thought to be the world’s two eternal paths. The former leads to salvation and the latter leads to rebirth as human beings. (8.26)

Gita as it is

The Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is greater than all, is attainable by unalloyed devotion. Although He is present in His abode, He is all-pervading, and everything is situated within Him.(8.22)

O best of the Bharatas, I shall now explain to you the different times at which, passing away from this world, the yogi does or does not come back.(8.23)

Those who know the Supreme Brahman attain that Supreme by passing away from the world during the influence of the fiery god, in the light, at an auspicious moment of the day, during the fortnight of the waxing moon, or during the six months when the sun travels in the north.(8.24)

The mystic who passes away from this world during the smoke, the night, the fortnight of the waning moon, or the six months when the sun passes to the south reaches the moon planet but again comes back.(8.25)

According to Vedic opinion, there are two ways of passing from this world–one in light and one in darkness. When one passes in light, he does not come back; but when one passes in darkness, he returns.(8.26)


(22) This is the Supreme Person, O Partha (Arjuna), in whom all existences abide and by whom all this is pervaded (who) can, however, be gained by unswerving devotion.

(23) Now I shall declare to thee, O Best of Bharatas (Arjuna), time in which yogins departing, never return and also that wherein departing they return.

(24) Fire, light, day, the bright (half of the month), the six months of the northern path (of the Sun), then going forth the men who know the Absolute go to the Absolute.

(25) Smoke, night, so also the dark (half of the month), the six months of the southern part (of the Sun), then going forth, the yogi obtains the lunar light and returns.

(26) Light and darkness, these paths are thought to be the world’s everlasting (paths). By the one he goes not to return, by the other he returns again.

Swami Gambhirananda

O son of Partha, that supreme Person – in whom are included (all) the beings and by whom all this is pervaded –is, indeed, reached through one-pointed devotion. (8.22)

O best of Bharata dynasty, I shall now speak of that time by departing at which the yogis attain the State of Non-return, and also (of the time of departing at which they attain) the State of Return. (8.23)

Fire, light, daytime, the bright fortnight, the six months of Northern solstice – by following this Path, persons who are knowers of Brahman attain Brahman when they die. (8.24)

Smoke, night, as also the dark fortnight and the six months of the Southern solstice – following this Path the yogis, having reached the lunar light, return. (8.25)

These two courses of the world, which are white and black, are verily considered eternal. By the one a man goes to the State of Non-return, by the other he returns again. (8.26)

Verse 8.27-28

Dr. Prasad

Knowing these two paths, O Arjuna, a yogi is not bewildered at all. Therefore, one should be resolute in attaining salvation – the goal of human birth – at all times. (8.27)

The one who knows all this knowledge goes beyond getting the benefits of the study of the Vedas, performance of sacrifices, austerities, and charities; and attains salvation. (8.28)

Gita as it is

Although the devotees know these two paths, O Arjuna, they are never bewildered. Therefore be always fixed in devotion.(8.27)

A person who accepts the path of devotional service is not bereft of the results derived from studying the Vedas, performing austere sacrifices, giving charity or pursuing philosophical and fruitive activities. Simply by performing devotional service, he attains all these, and at the end he reaches the supreme eternal abode.(8.28)


(27) The yogin who knows these paths, O Partha (Arjuna), is never deluded. Therefore, at all times, O Arjuna, be thou firm in yoga.

(28) The yogis having known all this, goes beyond the fruits of meritorious deeds assigned to the study of the Vedas, sacrifices, austerities and gifts and attains to the supreme and primal status.

Swami Gambhirananda

O son of Partha, no yogi whosoever has known these two courses becomes deluded. Therefore, O Arjuna, be your steadfast in yoga at all times. (8.27)

Having known this, the yogi transcends all those results of righteous deeds that are declared with regard to the Vedas, sacrifices, austerities and also charities and he reaches the primordial supreme State. (8.28)

Verse 9.01

Dr. Prasad

Lord Krishna said: I shall reveal to you, who do not disbelieve, the most profound secret transcendental knowledge together with transcendental experience. Having known this you will be freed from the miseries of worldly existence. (9.01)

Gita as it is

The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: My dear Arjuna, because you are never envious of Me, I shall impart to you this most confidential knowledge and realization, knowing which you shall be relieved of the miseries of material existence.(9.01)


(1) The Blessed Lord said:
To Thee, who dost not cavil, I shall declare this profound secret of wisdom combined with knowledge, by knowing which thou shalt be released from evil.

Swami Gambhirananda

However, to you who are not given to caviling I shall speak of the highest secret itself, which is Knowledge combined with experience, by realizing which you shall be free from evil. (9.01)

Verse 9.02-06

Dr. Prasad

This Self-knowledge is the king of all knowledge, is the most secret, is very sacred, it can be perceived by instinct, conforms to righteousness (Dharma), is very easy to practice, and is timeless. (9.02)

O Arjuna, those who have no faith in this knowledge do not attain Me, and follow the cycles of birth and death. (9.03)

This entire universe is an expansion of Mine. All beings depend on Me (like a chain depends on gold, and the milk products depend on milk). I do not depend on or affected by them; because I am the highest of all. (See also 7.12) (9.04)

Look at the power of My divine mystery; in reality, I the sustainer and creator of all beings do not depend on them, and they also do not depend on Me. (In fact, the gold-chain does not depend on gold; the gold-chain is nothing but gold. Also, matter and energy are different as well as non-different). (9.05)

Perceive that all beings remain in Me – without any contact or without producing any effect – as the mighty wind, moving everywhere, eternally remains in space. (9.06)

Gita as it is

This knowledge is the king of education, the most secret of all secrets. It is the purest knowledge, and because it gives direct perception of the self by realization, it is the perfection of religion. It is everlasting, and it is joyfully performed.(9.02)

Those who are not faithful in this devotional service cannot attain Me, O conqueror of enemies. Therefore they return to the path of birth and death in this material world.(9.03)

By Me, in My unmanifested form, this entire universe is pervaded. All beings are in Me, but I am not in them.(9.04)

And yet everything that is created does not rest in Me. Behold My mystic opulence! Although I am the maintainer of all living entities and although I am everywhere, I am not a part of this cosmic(9.05)

Understand that as the mighty wind, blowing everywhere, rests always in the sky, all created beings rest in Me.(9.06)


(2) This is sovereign Knowledge, sovereign secret, supreme sanctity, known by direct experience, in accord with the law, very easy to practice and imperishable.

(3) Men who have no faith in this way, not attaining to Me, O Oppressor of the foe (Arjuna), return to the path of mortal living (samsara).

(4) By Me all the universe is pervaded through My un-manifested form. All beings abide in Me but I do not abide in them.

(5) And (yet) the beings do not dwell in Me; behold My divine mystery. My spirit which is the source of all beings sustains the beings but does not abide in them.

(6) As the mighty air moving everywhere ever, abides in the etheric space (akasa), know thou that in the same manner all existences abide in Me.

Swami Gambhirananda

This is the Sovereign Knowledge, the Sovereign Profundity, the best sanctifier; directly realizable, righteous, very easy to practice and imperishable. (9.02)

O destroyer of foes, persons who are regardless of this Dharma (Knowledge of the Self), certainly go round and round, without reaching Me, along the path of transmigration which is fraught with death. (9.03)

This whole world is pervaded by Me in My unmanifest form. All beings exist in Me but I am not contained in them! (9.04)

Nor do the beings dwell in Me. Behold My, divine Yoga! I am the sustainer and originator of beings, but My Self is not contained in the beings. (9.05)

Understand that just as the voluminous wind moving everywhere is ever present in space, similarly, all beings abide in Me. (9.06)

Verse 9.07-10

Dr. Prasad

All beings merge into My primary material Nature at the end of a cycle of just over 311 trillion solar years, O Arjuna, and I create them again at the beginning of the next cycle. (See also 8.17) (9.07)

I create the entire multitude of beings again and again with the help of My material Nature. These beings are under control of the modes of material Nature. (9.08)

These acts of creation do not bind Me, O Arjuna, because I remain indifferent and unattached to those acts. (9.09)

The divine kinetic energy (Maya) with the help of material Nature creates all animate and inanimate objects under My supervision, and thus the creation keeps on going, O Arjuna. (See also 14.03) (9.10)

Gita as it is

O son of Kunti, at the end of the millennium all material manifestations enter into My nature, and at the beginning of another millennium, by My potency, I create them again.(9.07)

The whole cosmic order is under Me. Under My will it is automatically manifested again and again, and under My will it is annihilated at the end.(9.08)

O Dhananjaya, all this work cannot bind Me. I am ever detached from all these material activities, seated as though neutral.(9.09)

This material nature, which is one of My energies, is working under My direction, O son of Kunti, producing all moving and non moving beings. Under its rule this manifestation is created and annihilated again and again.(9.10)


(7) All beings, O son of Kunti (Arjuna), pass into nature which is My own at the end of the cycle; and at the beginning of the (next) cycle, I send them forth.

(8) Taking hold of nature which is My own, I send forth again and again all this multitude of beings which are helpless, being under the control of nature (prakrti).

(9) Nor do these works bind Me, O winner of wealth (Arjuna), for I am seated as if indifferent, unattached in those actions.

(10) Under My guidance, nature (prakrti) gives birth to all things, moving and unmoving and by this means, O Son of Kunti (Arjuna), the world revolves.

Swami Gambhirananda

O son of Kunti, all the beings go back at the end of a cycle to My Prakrti. I project them forth again in the beginning of a cycle. (9.07)

Keeping My own Prakrti under control, I project forth again and again the whole of this multitude of beings which are powerless owing to the influence of (their own) nature. (9.08)

O Dhananjaya (Arjuna), nor do those actions bind Me, remaining (as I do) like one unconcerned with, and unattached to, those actions. (9.09)

Under Me as the supervisor, the Prakrti produces (the world) with all the moving and non-moving things. Owing to this reason, O son of Kunti, the world revolves. (9.10)

Verse 9.11-15

Dr. Prasad

The ignorant persons despise Me when I appear in human form, because they do not know My transcendental nature as the great Lord of all beings, and take Me for an ordinary human being. They are unable to recognize Me, because they have false hopes, false actions, and false knowledge; and possess delusive qualities of fiends and demons. (9.11-12)

But great souls, O Arjuna, who possess divine qualities (See 16.01-03) know Me as immutable; as the material and efficient cause of creation, and worship Me single-mindedly with loving devotion. (9.13)

Persons of firm resolve worship Me with ever-steadfast devotion by always singing My glories, striving to attain Me, and prostrating before Me with devotion. (9.14)

Some worship Me by acquiring the knowledge of God. Others worship the infinite as the One in all (or non-dual), as the master of all (or dual), and in various other ways. (9.15)

Gita as it is

Fools deride Me when I descend in the human form. They do not know My transcendental nature as the Supreme Lord of all that be.(9.11)

Those who are thus bewildered are attracted by demonic and atheistic views. In that deluded condition, their hopes for liberation, their fruitive activities, and their culture of knowledge are all defeated.(9.12)

O son of Prtha, those who are not deluded, the great souls, are under the protection of the divine nature. They are fully engaged in devotional service because they know Me as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, original and inexhaustible.(9.13)

Always chanting My glories, endeavoring with great determination, bowing down before Me, these great souls perpetually worship Me with devotion.(9.14)

Others, who engage in sacrifice by the cultivation of knowledge, worship the Supreme Lord as the one without a second, as diverse in many, and in the universal form.(9.15)


(11) The deluded despise Me clad in human body, not knowing My higher nature as Lord of all existences.

(12) Partaking of the deceptive nature of fiends and demons, their aspirations are vain, their actions vain and their knowledge vain and they are devoid of judgment.

(13) The great-souled, O Partha (Arjuna), who abide in the divine nature, knowing (me as) the imperishable source of all beings, worship Me with an undistracted mind.

(14) Always glorifying Me, strenuous and steadfast in vows, bowing down to Me with devotion, they worship Me, ever disciplined.

(15) Others again sacrifice with the sacrifice of wisdom and worship me as the one, as the distinct and as the manifold, facing in all directions.

Swami Gambhirananda

Not knowing My supreme nature as the Lord of all beings, foolish people disregard Me who have taken a human body. (9.11)

Of vain hopes, of vain actions, of vain knowledge, and senseless, they become verily possessed of the deceptive disposition of friends and demons. (9.12)

O son of Partha, the noble ones, being possessed by divine nature, surely adore me with single-mindedness, knowing Me as the immutable source of all objects. (9.13)

Always glorifying Me and striving, the men of firm vows worship Me by praying obeisance to Me and being ever endowed with devotion. (9.14)

Others verily worship Me by adoring exclusively through the sacrifice of the knowledge of oneness; (others worship Me) multifariously, and (others) as the multiformed existing variously. (9.15)

Verse 9.16-19

Dr. Prasad

I am the ritual, I am the sacrifice, I am the offering, I am the herb, I am the mantra, I am the clarified butter, I am the fire, and I am the oblation. (See also 4.24). I am the supporter of the universe, the father, the mother, and the grandfather. I am the object of knowledge, the sacred syllable OM, and the Vedas. I am the goal, the supporter, the Lord, the witness, the abode, the refuge, the friend, the origin, the dissolution, the foundation, the substratum, and the immutable seed. (See also 7.10 and 10.39) (9.16-18)

I give heat, I send as well as withhold the rain. I am immortality as well as death, I am also both the eternal Absolute and the temporal, O Arjuna. (The Supreme Being has become everything, See also 13.12) (9.19)

Gita as it is

But it is I who am the ritual, I the sacrifice, the offering to the ancestors, the healing herb, the transcendental chant. I am the butter and the fire and the offering.(9.16)

I am the father of this universe, the mother, the support and the grandsire. I am the object of knowledge, the purifier and the syllable om. I am also the Rg, the Sama and the Yajur Vedas.(9.17)

I am the goal, the sustainer, the master, the witness, the abode, the refuge, and the most dear friend. I am the creation and the annihilation, the basis of everything, the resting place and the eternal seed.(9.18)

O Arjuna, I give heat, and I withhold and send forth the rain. I am immortality, and I am also death personified. Both spirit and matter are in Me.(9.19)


(16) I am the ritual action, I am the sacrifice, I am the ancestral oblation, I am the (medicinal) herb, I am the (sacred) hymn, I am also the melted butter, I am the fire and I am the offering.

(17) I am the father of this world, the mother, the supporter and the grandsire. I am the object of knowledge, the purifier. I am the syllable Aum and I am the rk, the sama and the yajus as well.

(18) (I am) the goal, the upholder, the lord, the witness, the abode, the refuge and the friend (I am) the origin and the dissolution, the ground, the resting place and the imperishable seed.

(19) I give heat; I withhold and send forth the rain. I am immortality and also death, I am being as well as nonbeing, O Arjuna.

Swami Gambhirananda

I am the kratu, I am the yajna, I am the svadha I am the ausadha, I am the mantra, I Myself am the ajya, I am the fire, and I am the act of offering. (9.16)

Of this world I am the father, mother, ordainer, (and the) grand-father; I am the knowable, the sacrifier, the syllable Om as also Rk, Sama and Yajus. (9.17)

(I am) the fruit of actions, the nourisher, the Lord, witness, abode, refuge, friend, origin, end, foundation, store, and the imperishable seed. (9.18)

O Arjuna, I give heat, I withhold and pour down rain. I am verily the nectar, and also death, existence and nonexistence. (9.19)

Verse 9.20-25

Dr. Prasad

The doers of the rituals prescribed in the Vedas, the drinkers of the nectar of devotion, and whose sins are cleansed, worship Me by doing good deeds for gaining heaven. As a result of their meritorious deeds they go to heaven and enjoy celestial sense pleasures. (9.20)

They return to the mortal world after enjoying the wide world of heavenly pleasures upon exhaustion of the fruits of their good Karma. Thus following the injunctions of the Vedas, persons working for the fruit of their actions take repeated birth and death. (See also 8.25) (9.21)

I personally take care of both spiritual and material welfare of those ever-steadfast devotees who always remember and adore Me with single-minded contemplation. (9.22)

O Arjuna, even those devotees who worship the deities with faith, they also worship Me, but in an improper way. (9.23)

Because I, the Supreme Being, alone am the enjoyer of all sacrificial services, and Lord of the universe. But people do not know My true transcendental nature. Therefore, they fall into the repeated cycles of birth and death. (9.24)

Worshippers of the celestial controllers go to the celestial controllers, the worshippers of the ancestors go to the ancestors, and the worshippers of the ghosts go to the ghosts, but My devotees come to Me, and are not born again. (See also 8.16) (9.25)

Gita as it is

Those who study the Vedas and drink the soma juice, seeking the heavenly planets, worship Me indirectly. Purified of sinful reactions, they take birth on the pious, heavenly planet of Indra, where they enjoy godly delights.(9.20)

When they have thus enjoyed vast heavenly sense pleasure and the results of their pious activities are exhausted, they return to this mortal planet again. Thus those who seek sense enjoyment by adhering to the principles of the three Vedas achieve only repeated birth and death.(9.21)

But those who always worship Me with exclusive devotion, meditating on My transcendental form–to them I carry what they lack, and I preserve what they have.(9.22)

Those who are devotees of other gods and who worship them with faith actually worship only Me, O son of Kunti, but they do so in a wrong way.(9.23)

I am the only enjoyer and master of all sacrifices. Therefore, those who do not recognize My true transcendental nature fall down.(9.24)

Those who worship the demigods will take birth among the demigods; those who worship the ancestors go to the ancestors; those who worship ghosts and spirits will take birth among such beings; and those who worship Me will live with Me.(9.25)


(20) The knowers of the three Vedas who drink the soma juice and are cleansed of sin, worshipping Me with sacrifices, pray for the way to heaven. They reach the holy world of Indra (the lord of heaven) and enjoy in heaven the pleasures of the gods.

(2I) Having enjoyed the spacious world of heaven, they enter (return to) the world of mortals, when their merit is exhausted; thus conforming to the doctrine enjoined in the three Vedas and desirous of enjoyments, they obtain the changeable (what is subject to birth and death).

(22) But those who worship Me, meditating on Me alone, to them who ever persevere, I bring attainment of what they have not and security in what they have.

(23) Even those who are devotees of other gods, worship them with faith, they also sacrifice to Me alone, O Son of Kunti (Arjuna), though not according to the true law.

(24) For I am the enjoyer and lord of all sacrifices. But these men do not know Me in My true nature and so they fall.

(25) Worshippers of the gods go to the gods, worshippers of the manes go to the manes, sacrificers of the spirits go to the spirits and those who sacrifice to Me come to Me.

Swami Gambhirananda

Those who are versed in the Vedas, who are drinkers of Soma and are purified of sin, pray for the heavenly goal by worshipping Me through sacrifices. Having reached the place (world) of the king of gods, which is the result of righteousness, they enjoy in heaven the divine pleasures of gods. (9.20)

After having enjoyed that vast heavenly world, they enter into the human world on the exhaustion of their merit. Thus those who follow the rites and duties prescribed in the three Vedas and who are desirous of pleasures, attain the state of going and returning. (9.21)

Those persons who, becoming non-different from Me and meditative, worship Me everywhere, for them who are ever attached (to Me0, I arrange for securing what they lack and preserving what they have. (9.22)

Even those who, being devoted to other deities and endowed with faith, worship (them), they also, O son of Kunti, worship Me alone (through) following the wrong method. (9.23)

I indeed am the enjoyer as also the Lord of all sacrifices; but they do not know Me in reality. Therfore they fall. (9.24)

Votaries of the gods reach the gods; the votaries of the manes go to the manes; the worshippers of the Beings reach the Being; and those who worship Me reach Me. (9.25)

Verse 9.26-29

Dr. Prasad

Whosoever offers Me a leaf, a flower, a fruit, or water with devotion; I accept and eat the offering of devotion by the pure-hearted. (9.26)

O Arjuna, whatever you do, whatever you eat, whatever you offer as oblation to the sacred fire, whatever charity you give, whatever austerity you perform, do all that as an offering unto Me. (See also 12.10, 18.46) (9.27)

You shall become free from the bondage good and bad of Karma and come to Me by this attitude of complete renunciation. (9.28)

The Self is present equally in all beings. There is no one hateful or dear to Me. But, those who worship Me with love and devotion are very close to Me, and I am also very close to them. (See also 7.18) (9.29)

Gita as it is

If one offers Me with love and devotion a leaf, a flower, fruit or water, I will accept it. (9.26)

Whatever you do, whatever you eat, whatever you offer or give away, and whatever austerities you perform–do that, O son of Kunti, as an offering to Me.(9.27)

In this way you will be freed from bondage to work and its auspicious and inauspicious results. With your mind fixed on Me in this principle of renunciation, you will be liberated and come to Me.(9.28)

I envy no one, nor am I partial to anyone. I am equal to all. But whoever renders service unto Me in devotion is a friend, is in Me, and I am also a friend to him.(9.29)


(26) Whosoever offers to Me with devotion a leaf, a flower, a fruit, or water, that offering of love, of the pure of heart I accept.

(27) Whatever thou doest, whatever thou eatest, whatever thou offerest, whatever thou givest away, whatever austerities thou dost practise-do that, O Son of Kunti (Arjuna), as an offering to Me.

(28) Thus shalt thou be freed from the good and evil results which are the bonds of action. With thy mind firmly set on the way of renunciation, thou shalt become free and attain to Me.

(29) I am the same in (alike to) all beings. None is hateful nor dear to Me. But those who worship Me with devotion they are in Me and I also in them.

Swami Gambhirananda

Whoever offers Me with devotion – a leaf, a flower, a fruit, or water, I accept that (gift) of the pure-hearted man which has been devotionally presented. (9.26)

O son of Kunti, whatever you do, whatever you eat, whatever you offer as sacrifice, whatever you give and whatever austerities you undertake, (all) that you offer to Me. (9.27)

Thus, you will become free from bondages in the form of actions which are productive of good and bad results. Having your mind imbued with the yoga of renunciation and becoming free, you will attain Me. (9.28)

I am impartial towards all beings; to Me there is none detestable or none dear. But those worship Me with devotion, they exist in Me, and I too exist in them. (9.29)

Verse 9.30-31

Dr. Prasad

Even if the most sinful person resolves to worship Me with single-minded loving devotion, such a person must be regarded as a saint because of making the right resolution. (9.30)

Such a person soon becomes righteous and attains everlasting peace. Be aware, O Arjuna, that My devotee shall never perish or fall down. (9.31)

Gita as it is

Even if one commits the most abominable action, if he is engaged in devotional service he is to be considered saintly because he is properly situated in his determination.(9.30)

He quickly becomes righteous and attains lasting peace. O son of Kunti, declare it boldly that My devotee never perishes.(9.31)


(30) Even if a man of the most vile conduct worships me with undistracted devotion, he must be reckoned as righteous for he has rightly resolved.

(31) Swiftly does he become a soul of righteousness and obtain lasting peace. O Son of Kunti (Arjuna), know thou for certain that My devotee perishes never.

Swami Gambhirananda

Even if a man of very bad conduct worships Me with one-pointed devotion, he is to be considered verily good; for he has resolved rightly. (9.30)

He soon becomes possessed of a virtuous mind; he attains ever lasting peace. Do you proclaim boldly, O son of Kunti, that My devotee does not get ruined. (9.31)

Verse 9.32-34

Dr. Prasad

Anybody can attain the Supreme Abode by just surrendering unto My will with loving devotion, O Arjuna. (See also 18.66) (9.32)

Then, it should be very easy for the wise and devout sages to attain the Supreme Being. Therefore, having obtained this joyless and transitory human life, one should always worship Me with loving devotion. (9.33)

Always think of Me, be devoted to Me, worship Me, and bow down to Me. Thus uniting yourself with Me by setting Me as the supreme goal and the sole refuge, you shall certainly come to Me. (9.34)

Gita as it is

O son of Prtha, those who take shelter in Me, though they be of lower birth–women, vaisyas [merchants] and sudras [workers]–can attain the supreme destination.(9.32)

How much more this is so of the righteous brahmanas, the devotees and the saintly kings. Therefore, having come to this temporary, miserable world, engage in loving service unto Me.(9.33)


Engage your mind always in thinking of Me, become My devotee, offer obeisances to Me and worship Me. Being completely absorbed in Me, surely you will come to Me.(9.34)


(32) For those who take refuge in Me, O Partha (Arjuna), though they are lowly born, women, Vaisyas, as well as Sudras, they also attain to the highest goal.

(33) How much more then, holy Brahmins and devoted royal saints; having entered this impermanent sorrowful world, do thou worship Me.

(34) On Me fix thy mind; to Me be devoted; worship Me; revere Me; thus having disciplined thyself, with Me as thy goal, to Me shalt thou come.

Swami Gambhirananda

For, O son of Partha, even those who are born of sin – women, Vaisyas, as also Sudras-, even they reach the highest Goal by taking shelter under Me. (9.32)

What to speak of the holy Brahmanas as also of devout king sages! Having come to this ephemeral and miserable world, do you worship Me. (9.33)

Having your mind fixed on Me, be devoted to Me, sacrifice to Me, and bow down to Me. By concentrating your mind and accepting Me as the supreme Goal, you shall surely attain Me who am thus the Self. (9.34)

Verse 10.01

Dr. Prasad

Lord Krishna said: O Arjuna, listen once again to My supreme word that I shall speak to you, who is very dear to Me, for your welfare. (10.01)

Gita as it is

The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: Listen again, O mighty-armed Arjuna. Because you are My dear friend, for your benefit I shall speak to you further, giving knowledge that is better than what I have already explained.(10.01)


(1) The Blessed Lord said:
Again, O Mighty-armed (Arjuna), hearken to My supreme word. From a desire to do thee good, I will declare it to thee, now that thou art taking delight (in My words).

Swami Gambhirananda

O mighty-armed one, listen over again to My supreme utterance, which I, wishing your welfare, shall speak to you who take delight (in it). (10.01)

Verse 10.02-10-09

Dr. Prasad

Neither the celestial controllers, nor the great sages know My origin, because I am the origin of celestial controllers and great sages also. (10.02)

One who knows Me as the unborn, the beginningless, and the Supreme Lord of the universe, is considered wise among the mortals, and becomes liberated from the bondage of Karma. (10.03)

Discrimination, Self-knowledge, non-delusion, forgiveness, truthfulness, control over the mind and senses, tranquillity, pleasure, pain, birth, death, fear, fearlessness; nonviolence, equanimity, contentment, austerity, charity, fame, ill fame these diverse qualities in human beings arise from Me alone. (10.04-05)

The great saints, sages, and all the creatures of the world were born from My potential energy. (10.06)

One who truly understands My manifestations and yogic powers is united with Me by unswerving devotion. There is no doubt about it. (10.07)

I am the origin of all. Everything emanates from Me. The wise ones who understand this adore Me with love and devotion. (10.08)

My devotees remain ever content and delighted. Their minds remain absorbed in Me, and their lives surrendered unto Me. They always enlighten each other by talking about Me. (10.09)

Gita as it is

Neither the hosts of demigods nor the great sages know My origin or opulences, for, in every respect, I am the source of the demigods and sages.(10.02)

He who knows Me as the unborn, as the beginningless, as the Supreme Lord of all the worlds–he only, undeluded among men, is freed from all sins.(10.03)

Intelligence, knowledge, freedom from doubt and delusion, forgiveness, truthfulness, control of the senses, control of the mind, happiness and distress, birth, death, fear, fearlessness, nonviolence, equanimity, satisfaction, austerity, charity, fame and infamy–all these various qualities of living beings are created by Me alone.(10.04-05)

The seven great sages and before them the four other great sages and the Manus [progenitors of mankind] come from Me, born from My mind, and all the living beings populating the various planets descend from them.(10.06)

One who is factually convinced of this opulence and mystic power of Mine engages in unalloyed devotional service; of this there is no doubt.(10.07)

I am the source of all spiritual and material worlds. Everything emanates from Me. The wise who perfectly know this engage in My devotional service and worship Me with all their hearts.(10.08)

The thoughts of My pure devotees dwell in Me, their lives are fully devoted to My service, and they derive great satisfaction and bliss from always enlightening one another and conversing about Me.(10.09)


(2) Neither the hosts of gods nor the great sages know any origin of Me for I am the source of the gods and the great sages in every way.

(3) He who knows Me, the unborn, without beginning, also the mighty lord of the worlds, he, among mortals is undeluded and freed from all sins

(4) Understanding, knowledge, freedom from bewilderment, patience, truth, self-control and calmness; pleasure and pain, existence and non-existence, fear and fearlessness.

(5) Non-violence, equal-mindedness, contentment, austerity, charity, fame and ill-fame (are) the different states of beings proceed from Me alone.

(6) The seven great sages of old, and the four Manus also are of My nature and born of My mind and from them are all these creatures in the world.

(7) He who knows in truth this glory (magnifestation) and power (steady action) of Mine is united (with Me) by unfaltering yoga; of this there is no doubt.

(8) I am the origin of all; from Me all (the whole creation) proceeds. Knowing this, the wise worship Me, endowed with conviction.

(9) Their thoughts (are fixed) in Me, their lives (are wholly) given up to Me, enlightening each other and ever conversing of Me, they are contented and rejoicing in Me.

Swami Gambhirananda

Neither the gods nor the great sages know My majesty. For in all respects, I am the source of the gods and the great sages. (10.02)

He who knows Me – birthless, the beginingless, and the great Lord of the worlds, he the undeluded one among mortals, becomes freed from all sins. (10.03)

Intelligence, wisdom, non-delusion, forgiveness, truth, control of external organs, control of the internal organs, happiness, sorrow, birth, death and fear as also fearlessness; (10.04)

Non-injury, equanimity, satisfaction, austerity, charity, fame, infamy,- (these) different dispositions of beings spring from Me alone. (10.05)

The seven great sages as also the four Manus of ancient days, of whom are these creatures in the world, had their thoughts fixed on Me, and they were born from My mind. (10.06)

One who knows truly this majesty and yoga of Mine, he becomes imbued with unwavering Yoga. There is no doubt about this. (10.07)

I am the origin of all; everything moves on owing to Me. Realizing thus, the wise ones, filled with favour, adore Me. (10.08)

With minds fixed on Me, with lives dedicated to Me, enlightening each other, and always speaking of Me, they derive satisfaction and rejoice. (10.09)

Verse 10.10-13

Dr. Prasad

I give the knowledge and understanding of the metaphysical science to those who are ever united with Me and lovingly adore Me by which they come to Me. (10.10)

I, who dwell within their inner psyche as consciousness, destroy the darkness born of ignorance by the shining lamp of transcendental knowledge as an act of compassion for them. (10.11)

Arjuna said: You are the Supreme Being, the Supreme Abode, the Supreme Purifier, the Eternal Being, the primal God, the unborn, and the omnipresent. All saints and sages have thus acclaimed You, and now You Yourself are telling me. (10.12-13)

Gita as it is

To those who are constantly devoted to serving Me with love, I give the understanding by which they can come to Me.(10.10)

To show them special mercy, I, dwelling in their hearts, destroy with the shining lamp of knowledge the darkness born of ignorance.(10.11)

Arjuna said: You are the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the ultimate abode, the purest, the Absolute Truth. You are the eternal, transcendental, original person, the unborn, the greatest. All the great sages such as Narada, Asita, Devala and Vyasa confirm this truth about You, and now You Yourself are declaring it to me.(10.12-13)


(10) To those who are constantly devoted and worship Me with love, I grant the concentration of understanding by which they come unto Me.

(11) Out of compassion for those same ones, remaining within My own true state, I destroy the darkness born of ignorance by the shining lamp of wisdom.

(12) Arjuna said: Thou art the Supreme Brahman, the Supreme Abode and the Supreme Purifier, the Eternal, Divine Person, the First of the gods, the unborn, the All-pervading.

(13) All the sages say this of Thee, as well as the divine seer Narada, so also Asita, Devala, Vyasa and Thou thyself declarest it to me

Swami Gambhirananda

To them who are ever devoted and worship Me with love, I grant the possession of wisdom by which they reach Me. (10.10)

Out of compassion for them alone, I, residing in their hearts, destroy the darkness born of ignorance with the luminous lamp of Knowledge. (10.11)

Arjuna said; You are the supreme Brahman, the supreme Light, the supreme Sanctifier. All the sages as also the divine sage Narada, Asita, Devala and Vyasa call You the eternal divine Person, the Primal God, the Birthless, the Omnipresent; and You Yourself verily tell me (so). (10.12-13)

Verse 10.14-18

Dr. Prasad

O Krishna, I believe all that You have told me to be true. O Lord, neither the celestial controllers nor the demons fully understand Your real nature. (See also 4.06) (10.14)

O Creator and Lord of all beings, God of all celestial rulers, the Supreme person, and Lord of the universe, You alone know Yourself by Yourself. (10.15)

Therefore, You alone are able to fully describe Your own divine glories the manifestations by which You exist pervading all the universes. (10.16)

How may I know You, O Lord, by constant contemplation? In what form of manifestation are You to be thought of by me, O Lord? (10.17)

O Lord, explain to me again in detail, Your yogic power and glory; because I am not satiated by hearing Your nectar-like words. (10.18)

Gita as it is

O Krsna, I totally accept as truth all that You have told me. Neither the demigods nor the demons, O Lord, can understand Your personality.(10.14)

Please tell me in detail of Your divine opulences by which You pervade all these worlds.(10.16)

O Krsna, O supreme mystic, how shall I constantly think of You, and how shall I know You? In what various forms are You to be remembered, O Supreme Personality of Godhead?(10.17)

O Janardana, again please describe in detail the mystic power of Your opulences. I am never satiated in hearing about You, for the more I hear the more I want to taste the nectar of Your words.(10.18)


(14) I hold as true, all this that thou sayest to me, O Kesava (Krsna); neither the gods nor the demons, O Lord, know Thy manifestation.

(15) Verily Thou Thyself knowest Thyself by Thyself, O supreme Person; the Source of beings, the Lord of creatures; the God of gods, the Lord of the world!

(16) Thou shouldst tell me of Thy divine manifestations, without exception. Whereby, pervading these worlds, Thou dost abide (in them and beyond).

(17) How may I know Thee, O Yogin, by constant meditation? In what various aspects art Thou, O Blessed Lord, to be thought of by me?

(18) Relate to me again in detail, O Janardana (Krsna), of Thy power and manifestation; for I am not satiated with hearing Thy nectar-like speech.

Swami Gambhirananda

O Kesava, I accept to be true all this which You tell me. Certainly. O Lord, neither the gods nor the demons comprehend Your Glory. (10.14)

O supreme Person, the Creator of beings, the Lord of beings. God of gods, the Lord of the worlds, You Yourself alone know Yourself by Yourself. (10.15)

Be pleased to speak in full of Your own manifestations which are indeed divine, through which manifestations You exist pervading these worlds. (10.16)

O Yogi, how shall I know You by remaining ever-engaged in meditation? And through what objects, O Lord, are You to be meditated on by me? (10.17)

O Janardana, narrate to me again Your own yoga and divine manifestations elaborately. For, while hearing (Your) nectar-like (words), there is no satiety in me. (10.18)

Verse 10.19-25

Dr. Prasad

Lord Krishna said: O Arjuna, now I shall explain to you My prominent divine manifestations, because My manifestations are endless. (10.19)

O Arjuna, I am the Supreme Spirit (or Supersoul) abiding in the inner psyche of all beings. I am also the creator, maintainer, and destroyer or the beginning, the middle, and the end of all beings. (10.20)

I am the sustainer, I am the radiant sun among the luminaries, I am the controller of wind, I am the moon among the stars. (10.21)

I am the Vedas, I am the celestial rulers, I am the mind among the senses, I am the consciousness in living beings. (10.22)

I am Lord Shiva, I am the god of wealth, I am the fire god, and the mountains. (10.23)

I am the priest, and the army general of the celestial controllers, O Arjuna. I am the ocean among the bodies of water. (10.24)

I am the monosyllable cosmic sound, OM, among the words; I am the chanting of mantra among the spiritual disciplines; and I am the Himalaya among the mountains. (10.25)

Gita as it is

The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: Yes, I will tell you of My splendorous manifestations, but only of those which are prominent, O Arjuna, for My opulence is limitless.(10.19)

I am the Supersoul, O Arjuna, seated in the hearts of all living entities. I am the beginning, the middle and the end of all beings.(10.20)

Of the Adityas I am Visnu, of lights I am the radiant sun, of the Maruts I am Marici, and among the stars I am the moon.(10.21)

Of the Vedas I am the Sama Veda; of the demigods I am Indra, the king of heaven; of the senses I am the mind; and in living beings I am the living force [consciousness].(10.22)

Of all the Rudras I am Lord Siva, of the Yaksas and Raksasas I am the Lord of wealth [Kuvera], of the Vasus I am fire [Agni], and of mountains I am Meru.(10.23)

Of priests, O Arjuna, know Me to be the chief, Brhaspati. Of generals I am Kartikeya, and of bodies of water I am the ocean.(10.24)

Of the great sages I am Bhrgu; of vibrations I am the transcendental om. Of sacrifices I am the chanting of the holy names [japa], and of immovable things I am the Himalayas.(10.25)


(19) The Blessed Lord said: Yes, I will declare to thee of My divine forms but only of those which are prominent, O best of the Kurus (Arjuna), for there is no end to my extent (the details).

(20) I, O Gudakesa (Arjuna), am the self seated in the hearts of all creatures. I am the beginning, the middle and the very end of beings.

(21) Of the Adityas I am Vishnu; of the lights (I am) the radiant Sun; I am Marici of the Maruts; of the stars I am the moon.

(22) Of the Vedas I am the Samaveda; of the gods I am Indra; of the sensor I am mind and of beings I am consciousness.

(23) Of the Rudras I am Samkara (Siva); of the Yakass and the Raksasas (I am) Kubera; of the Vasus I am Agni (Fire) and of mountain-peaks I Meru.

(24) Of the household priests, O Partha (Arjuna), know Me to be the chief-Brhaspati; of the (war) generals I am Skanda; of the lakes I am the ocean.

(25) Of the great sages I am Bhrgu; of utterances, I am the single syllable Aum; of offerings I am the offering of silent meditation and of unmovable things (I am) the Himalaya.

Swami Gambhirananda

O best of the Kurus, now according to their importance, I shall describe to you My own glories, which are indeed divine. There is no end to my manifestations. (10.19)

O Gudakesa, I am the Self residing in the hearts of all beings, and I am the beginning and the middle as also the end of (all) beings. (10.20)

Among the Adityas I am Visnu; among the luminaries, the radiant sun; among the (forty-nine) Maruts I am Marici; among the stars I am the moon. (10.21)

Among the Vedas I am Sama-Veda; among the gods I am Indra. Among the organs I am the mind, and I am the intelligence in creatures. (10.22)

Among the Rudras I am Sankara, and among the Yakas and goblins I am Kubera. Among the Vasus I am Fire, and among the mountains I am Meru. (10.23)

O son of Partha, know Me to be Brhaspati, the foremost among the priests of kings. Among commanders of armies I am Skanda; among large expanse of water I am the ocean. (10.24)

Among the great sages I am Bhrgu; of words I am the singles syllable (Om). Among rituals I am the ritual of Japa; of the immovables, the Himalaya. (10.25)

Verse 10.26-39

Dr. Prasad

I am the holy fig tree among the trees, Narada among the sages, and I am all other celestial rulers. (10.26)

Know Me as the celestial animals among the animals, and the King among men. I am thunderbolt among the weapons, and I am the cupid for procreation. (10.27-28)

I am the water-god, and the manes. I am the controller of death. I am the time or death among the healers, lion among the beasts, and the king of birds among birds. (10.29-30)

I am the wind among the purifiers, and Lord Rama among the warriors. I am the crocodile among the fishes, and the holy Ganges river among the rivers. (10.31)

I am the beginning, the middle, and the end of all creation, O Arjuna. Among the knowledge I am knowledge of the supreme Self. I am logic of the logician. (10.32)

I am the letter “A” among the alphabets. I am the dual compound among the compound words. I am the endless time. I am the sustainer, and I am omniscient. (10.33)

I am the all devouring death, and also the origin of future beings. I am the seven goddesses or guardian angels presiding over the seven qualities fame, prosperity, speech, memory, intellect, resolve, and forgiveness. (10.34)

I am the Vedic and other hymns. I am the mantras, I am November-December among the months, I am the spring among the seasons. (10.35)

I am gambling of the cheats; splendor of the splendid; victory of the victorious; resolution of the resolute; and goodness of the good. (10.36)

I am Krishna, Vyasa, Arjuna, and the power of rulers, the statesmanship of the seekers of victory. I am silence among the secrets, and the Self-knowledge of the knowledgeable. (10.37-38)

I am the origin of all beings, O Arjuna. There is nothing, animate or inanimate, that can exist without Me. (See also 7.10 and 9.18) (10.39)

Gita as it is

Of all trees I am the banyan tree, and of the sages among the demigods I am Narada. Of the Gandharvas I am Citraratha, and among perfected beings I am the sage Kapila.(10.26)

Of horses know Me to be Uccaihsrava, produced during the churning of the ocean for nectar. Of lordly elephants I am Airavata, and among men I am the monarch.(10.27)

Of weapons I am the thunderbolt; among cows I am the surabhi. Of causes for procreation I am Kandarpa, the god of love, and of serpents I am Vasuki.(10.28)

Of the many-hooded Nagas I am Ananta, and among the aquatics I am the demigod Varuna. Of departed ancestors I am Aryama, and among the dispensers of law I am Yama, the lord of death.(10.29)

Among the Daitya demons I am the devoted Prahlada, among subduers I am time, among beasts I am the lion, and among birds I am Garuda.(10.30)

Of purifiers I am the wind, of the wielders of weapons I am Rama, of fishes I am the shark, and of flowing rivers I am the Ganges.(10.31)

Of all creations I am the beginning and the end and also the middle, O Arjuna. Of all sciences I am the spiritual science of the self, and among logicians I am the conclusive truth.(10.32)

Of letters I am the letter A, and among compound words I am the dual compound. I am also inexhaustible time, and of creators I am Brahma.(10.33)

I am all-devouring death, and I am the generating principle of all that is yet to be. Among women I am fame, fortune, fine speech, memory, intelligence, steadfastness and patience.(10.34)

Of the hymns in the Sama Veda I am the Brhat-sama, and of poetry I am the Gayatri. Of months I am Margasirsa [November-December], and of seasons I am flower-bearing spring.(10.35)

I am also the gambling of cheats, and of the splendid I am the splendor. I am victory, I am adventure, and I am the strength of the strong.(10.36)

Of the descendants of Vrsni I am Vasudeva, and of the Pandavas I am Arjuna. Of the sages I am Vyasa, and among great thinkers I am Usana.(10.37)

Among all means of suppressing lawlessness I am punishment, and of those who seek victory I am morality. Of secret things I am silence, and of the wise I am the wisdom.(10.38)

Furthermore, O Arjuna, I am the generating seed of all existences. There is no being–moving or nonmoving–that can exist without Me.(10.39)


(26) Of all trees (I am) the Asvattha and of divine seers (I am) Narada; among the gandharvas (I am) Chitraratha and of the perfected ones (I am) Kapila the sage.

(27) Of horses, know me to be Ucchaisravas, born of nectar; of lordly elephants (I am) Airavata and of men (I am) the monarch.

(28) Of weapons I am the thunderbolt; of the cows I am the cow of plenty; of the progenitors I am the God of love: of the serpents I am Vasuki.

(29) Of the nagas I am Ananta; of the dwellers in water I am Varuna; of the (departed) ancestors I am Aryama; of those who maintain law and order, I am Yama.

(30) Of the Titans I am Prahlada; of calculators I am Time: of beasts I am the King of beasts (lion) and of birds (I am) the son of Vinata (Garuda).

(31) Of purifiers I am the wind: of warriors I am Rama; of fishes I am the alligator and of rivers I am the Ganges.

(32) Of creations I am the beginning, the end and also the middle, O Arjuna: of the sciences (I am) the science of the self; of those who debate I am the dialectic.

(33) Of letters I am (the letter) A and of compounds (I am) the dual; I also am Imperishable time and I the creator whose face is turned on all sides.

(34) I am death, the all-devouring and (am) the origin of things that are yet to be: and of feminine beings, (I am) fame, prosperity, speech, memory, intelligence, firmnesss and patience.

(35) Likewise, of hymns (I am) Brihatsaman, of metres (I am) gayatri; of months (I am) margasirsa and of seasons (I am) the flower-bearing (spring).

(36) Of the deceitful I am the gambling; of the splendid I am the splendour; I am victory; I am effort and I am the goodness of the good.

(37) Of the Vrsnis I am Vasudeva: of the Pandavas (I am) the Winner of wealth (Arjuna); of the sages I am Vyasa also and of the poets (I am) the poet Usana.

(38) Of those who chastise I am the rod (of chastisement); of those that seek victory I am the wise policy; of things secret I am the silence and of the knowers of wisdom I am the wisdom.

(39) And further, whatsoever is the seed of all existences that am I, O Arjuna; nor is there anything, moving or unmoving that can exist without Me.

Swami Gambhirananda

Among all tress (I am) the Asvattha (Peepul), and Narada among the divine sages. Among the gandharvas (I am) Citraratha; among the perfected ones; the sage Kapila. (10.26)

Among horses, know Me to be Uccaihsravas, born of nectar; Airavata among the lordly elephants; and among men, the King of men. (10.27)

Among weapons I am the thunderbolt; among cows I am Kamadhenu. I am Kandarpa, the Progenitor, and among serpents I am Vasuki. (10.28)

Among sneaks I am Ananta, and Varuna among gods of the waters. Among the manes I am Aryama, and among the maintainers of law and order I am Yama (King of death). (10.29)

Among demons I am Prahlada, and I am Time among reckonsers of time. And among animals I am the lion, and among birds I am Garuda. (10.30)

Of the purifiers I am air; among the wielders of weapons I am Rama. Among fishes, too, I am the shark; I am Ganga among rivers. (10.31)

O Arjuna, of creations I am the beginning and the end as also the middle. I am the knowledge of the Self among knowledges; of those who debate I am Vada. (10.32)

Of the letters I am the letter a, and of the group of compound words I am (the compound) called) Dvandva. I Myself am the infinite time; I am the Dispenser with faces everywhere. (10.33)

And I am Death, the destroyer of all; and the prosperity of those destined to be prosperous. Of the feminine (I am) fame, beauty, speech, memory, intelligence, fortitude and forbearance. (10.34)

I am also the Brhat-sama of the Sama (-mantras); of the mantras, Gayatri. Of the months I am Marga-sira, and of the seasons, spring. (10.35)

Of the fraudulent I am the gambling; I am the irresistible command of the mighty. I am excellence, I am effort, I am the sattva quality of those possessed of sattva. (10.36)

Of the Vrsnis I am Vasudeva; of the Pandavas, Dhananjaya (Arjuna). And of the wise, I am Vyasa; of the omniscient, the omniscient Usanas. (10.37)

Of the punishers I am the rod; I am the righteous policy of those who desire to conquer. And of things secret, I am verily silence; I am knowledge of the men of knowledge. (10.38)

Moreover, O Arjuna, whatsoever is the seed of all beings, that I am. There is nothing moving of moving which can exist without Me. (10.39)

Verse 10.40-42

Dr. Prasad

There is no end of My divine manifestations, O Arjuna. This is only a brief description by Me of the extent of My divine manifestations. (10.40)

Whatever is endowed with glory, brilliance, and power; know that to be a manifestation of a very small fraction of My splendor. (10.41)

What is the need for this detailed knowledge, O Arjuna? I continually support the entire universe by a very small fraction of My divine power. (10.42)

Gita as it is

O mighty conqueror of enemies, there is no end to My divine manifestations. What I have spoken to you is but a mere indication of My infinite opulences(10.40).

Know that all opulent, beautiful and glorious creations spring from but a spark of My splendor.(10.41)

But what need is there, Arjuna, for all this detailed knowledge? With a single fragment of Myself I pervade and support this entire universe.(10.42)


(40) There is no end to My divine manifestations, O Conqueror of the foe (Arjuna). What has been declared by Me is only illustrative of My infinite glory.

(41) Whatsoever being there is, endowed with glory and grace and vigour, know that to have sprung from a fragment of My splendour.

(42) But what need is there, O Arjuna, for such detailed knowledge by you? I support this entire universe pervading it with a single fraction of Myself.

Swami Gambhirananda

O destroyer of enemies, there is no limit to My divine manifestations. This description of (My manifestations, however, has been stated by Me by way of illustration. (10.40)

Whatever object is verily endowed with majesty, possessed of prosperity, or is energetic, you know for certain each of them as having a part of My power as its source. (10.41)

Or, on the other hand, what is the need of your knowing this extensively, O Arjuna? I remain sustaining this whole creation in a special way with part (of Myself). (10.42)

Verse 11.01-02

Dr. Prasad

Arjuna said: My illusion is dispelled by the profound words of wisdom You spoke out of compassion towards me about the supreme secret of Spirit. (11.01)

O Krishna, I have heard from You in detail about the origin and dissolution of beings, and Your immutable glory. (11.02)

Gita as it is

Arjuna said: By my hearing the instructions You have kindly given me about these most confidential spiritual subjects, my illusion has now been dispelled.(11.01)

O lotus-eyed one, I have heard from You in detail about the appearance and disappearance of every living entity and have realized Your inexhaustible glories.(11.02)


(1) Arjuna said: The supreme mystery, the discourse concerning the Self which thou hast given out of grace for me-by this my bewilderment is gone from me.

(2) The birth and passing away of things have been heard by me in detail from Thee, O Lotus-eyed (krsna), as also thy imperishable majesty.

Swami Gambhirananda

Arjuna said: This delusion of mine has departed as a result of that speech which is most secret and known as pertaining to the Self, and which was uttered by You for my benefit. (11.01)

O You with eyes like lotus leaves, the origin and dissolution of beings have been heard by me in detail from You. And (Your) undecaying glory, too, (has been heard). (11.02)

Verse 11.03-08

Dr. Prasad

O Lord, You are as You have said; yet I wish to see Your divine cosmic form, O Supreme Being. (11.03)

O Lord, if You think it is possible for me to see Your universal form, then, O Lord of the yogis, show me Your transcendental form. (11.04)

Lord Krishna said: O Arjuna, behold My hundreds and thousands of multifarious divine forms of different colors and shapes. Behold all the celestial beings, and many wonders never seen before. Also behold the entire creation animate, inanimate, and whatever else you like to see all at one place in My body. (11.05-07)

But, you are not able to see Me with your physical eye; therefore, I give you the divine eye to see My majestic power and glory. (11.08)

Gita as it is

O greatest of all personalities, O supreme form, though I see You here before me in Your actual position, as You have described Yourself, I wish to see how You have entered into this cosmic manifestation. I want to see that form of Yours.(11.03)

If You think that I am able to behold Your cosmic form, O my Lord, O master of all mystic power, then kindly show me that unlimited universal Self.(11.04)

The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: My dear Arjuna, O son of Prtha, see now My opulences, hundreds of thousands of varied divine and multicolored forms.(11.05)

O best of the Bharatas, see here the different manifestations of Adityas, Vasus, Rudras, Asvini-kumaras and all the other demigods. Behold the many wonderful things which no one has ever seen or heard of before.(11.06)

O Arjuna, whatever you wish to see, behold at once in this body of Mine! This universal form can show you whatever you now desire to see and whatever you may want to see in the future. Everything–moving and nonmoving–is here completely, in one place.(11.07)

But you cannot see Me with your present eyes. Therefore I give you divine eyes. Behold My mystic opulence!(11.08)


(3) As Thou hast declared Thyself to be, O Supreme Lord, even so it is. (But) I desire to see Thy divine form, O Supreme person.

(4) If Thou, O Lord. thinkest that by me, it can be seen then reveal to me, Thy Imperishable Self, O Lord of yoga (Krsna) .

(5) The Blessed Lord said : Behold, O Partha (Arjuna), My forms, a hundred-fold, a thousand-fold, various in kind, divine, of various colours and shapes.

(6) Behold, the Adityas, the Vasus, the Rudras, the two Asvins and also the Maruts. Behold, O Bharata (Arjuna), many wonders never seen before.

(7) Here today, behold the whole universe, moving and unmoving and whatever else thou desirest to see, O Gudakesa (Arjuna), all unified in My body.

(8) But thou canst not behold Me with this (human) eye of yours; I will bestow on thee the supernatural eye. Behold My divine power.

Swami Gambhirananda

O Supreme Lord, so it is, as You speak about Yourself. O supreme Person, I wish to see the divine form of Yours. (11.03)

O Lord, if You think that it is possible to be seen by me, then, O Lord of Yoga, You show me Your own eternal Self. (11.04)

The Blessed Lord said: O son of Partha, behold My forms in (their) hundreds and in thousands, of different kinds, celestial, and of various colours and shapes. (11.05)

See the Adityas, the Vasus, the Rudras, the two Asvins and Maruts. O scion of the Bharata dynasty, behold also the many wonders not seen before. (11.06)

See now in My body, O Gudakesa (Arjuna), the entire Universe together with the moving and the non-moving, concentrated at the same place here in My body, as also whatever else you would like to see. (11.07)

But you are not able to see Me merely with this eye of yours. I grant you the supernatural eye; behold My divine Yoga. (11.08)

Verse 11.09-13

Dr. Prasad

Sanjaya said: O King, having said this; Lord Krishna, the great Lord of the mystic power of yoga, revealed His supreme majestic form to Arjuna. (11.09)

Arjuna saw the Universal Form of the Lord with many mouths and eyes, and many visions of marvel, with numerous divine ornaments, and holding many divine weapons. Wearing divine garlands and apparel, anointed with celestial perfumes and ointments, full of all wonders, the limitless God with faces on all sides. (11.10-11)

If the splendor of thousands of suns were to blaze forth all at once in the sky, even that would not resemble the splendor of that exalted being. (11.12)

Arjuna saw the entire universe, divided in many ways, but standing as all in One, and One in all in the transcendental body of Krishna, the Lord of celestial rulers. (See also 13.16, and 18.20) (11.13)

Gita as it is

Sanjaya said: O King, having spoken thus, the Supreme Lord of all mystic power, the Personality of Godhead, displayed His universal form to Arjuna.(11.09)

Arjuna saw in that universal form unlimited mouths, unlimited eyes, unlimited wonderful visions. The form was decorated with many celestial ornaments and bore many divine upraised weapons. He wore celestial garlands and garments, and many divine scents were smeared over His body. All was wondrous, brilliant, unlimited, all-expanding.(11.10-11)

If hundreds of thousands of suns were to rise at once into the sky, their radiance might resemble the effulgence of the Supreme Person in that universal form.(11.12)

At that time Arjuna could see in the universal form of the Lord the unlimited expansions of the universe situated in one place although divided into many, many thousands.(11.13)


(9) Samjaya said: Having thus spoken, O King, Hari, the great lord of yoga, then revealed to Partha (Arjuna), His Supreme and Divine Form.

(10) Of many mouths and eyes, of many visions of marvel, many divine ornaments, of many divine uplifted weapons.

(11) Wearing divine garlands and raiments, with devine perfumes and ointments, made up of all wonders, resplendent, boundless, with face turned everywhere.

(12) If the light of a thousand suns were to blaze forth all at once in the sky, that might resemble the splendour of that exalted Being.

(13) There the Pandava (Arjuna) beheld the whole universe, with its manifold divisions gathered together in one, in the body of the God of gods.

Swami Gambhirananda

O King, having spoken thus, thereafter, Hari (Krsna) the great Master of Yoga, showed to the son of Partha the supreme divine form: (11.09)

Having many faces and eyes, possessing many wonderful sights, adorned with numerous celestial ornaments, holding many uplifted heavenly weapons; (11.10)

Wearing heavenly garlands and apparel, anointed with heavenly scents, abounding in all kinds of wonder, resplendent, infinite, and with faces everywhere. (11.11)

Should the effulgence of a thousand suns blaze forth simultaneously in the sky, that might be similar to the radiance of that exalted One. (11.12)

At that time, Pandava saw there in the body of the God of gods, the whole diversely differentiated Universe united in the one (Cosmic form). (11.13)

Verse 11.14-23

Dr. Prasad

Having seen the cosmic form of the Lord, Arjuna was filled with wonder; and his hairs standing on end, bowed his head to the Lord and prayed with folded hands. (11.14)

Arjuna said: O Lord, I see in Your body all supernatural controllers, and multitude of beings, sages, and celestials. (11.15)

O Lord of the universe, I see You everywhere with infinite form, with many arms, stomachs, faces, and eyes. O Universal Form, I see neither your beginning nor the middle nor the end. (11.16)

I see You with Your crown, club, discus; and a mass of radiance, difficult to behold, shining all around like the immeasurable brilliance of the sun and the blazing fire. (11.17)

I believe You are the Supreme Being to be realized. You are the ultimate resort of the universe. You are the Spirit, and protector of the eternal order (Dharma). (11.18)

I see You with infinite power, without beginning, middle, or end; with many arms, with the sun and the moon as Your eyes, with Your mouth as a blazing fire scorching all the universe with Your radiance. (11.19)

O Lord, You pervade the entire space between heaven and earth in all directions. Seeing Your marvelous and terrible form, the three worlds are trembling with fear. (11.20)

Hosts of supernatural rulers enter into You. Some with folded hands sing Your names and glories in fear. A multitude of perfected beings hail and adores You with abundant praises. (11.21)

All the celestial beings amazingly gaze at You. Seeing your infinite form with many mouths, eyes, arms, thighs, feet, stomachs, and many fearful tusks; the worlds are trembling with fear and so do I, O mighty Lord. (11.22-23)

Gita as it is

Then, bewildered and astonished, his hair standing on end, Arjuna bowed his head to offer obeisances and with folded hands began to pray to the Supreme Lord.(11.14)

Arjuna said: My dear Lord Krsna, I see assembled in Your body all the demigods and various other living entities. I see Brahma sitting on the lotus flower, as well as Lord Siva and all the sages and divine serpents.(11.15)

O Lord of the universe, O universal form, I see in Your body many, many arms, bellies, mouths and eyes, expanded everywhere, without limit. I see in You no end, no middle and no beginning.(11.16)

Your form is difficult to see because of its glaring effulgence, spreading on all sides, like blazing fire or the immeasurable radiance of the sun. Yet I see this glowing form everywhere, adorned with various crowns, clubs and discs.(11.17)

You are the supreme primal objective. You are the ultimate resting place of all this universe. You are inexhaustible, and You are the oldest. You are the maintainer of the eternal religion, the Personality of Godhead. This is my opinion.(11.18)

You are without origin, middle or end. Your glory is unlimited. You have numberless arms, and the sun and moon are Your eyes. I see You with blazing fire coming forth from Your mouth, burning this entire universe by Your own radiance.(11.19)

Although You are one, You spread throughout the sky and the planets and all space between. O great one, seeing this wondrous and terrible form, all the planetary systems are perturbed.(11.20)

All the hosts of demigods are surrendering before You and entering into You. Some of them, very much afraid, are offering prayers with folded hands. Hosts of great sages and perfected beings, crying “All peace!” are praying to You by singing the Vedic hymns.(11.21)

All the various manifestations of Lord Siva, the Adityas, the Vasus, the Sadhyas, the Visvedevas, the two Asvis, the Maruts, the forefathers, the Gandharvas, the Yaksas, the Asuras and the perfected demigods are beholding You in wonder.(11.22)

O mighty-armed one, all the planets with their demigods are disturbed at seeing Your great form, with its many faces, eyes, arms, thighs, legs, and bellies and Your many terrible teeth; and as they are disturbed, so am I.(11.23)


(14) Then he, the Winner of wealth (Arjuna), struck with amazement, his hair standing on end, bowed down his head to the Lord, with hands folded (in salutation), said:

(13) Arjuna said: In Thy body, O God, I see all the gods and the varied hosts of beings as well, Brahmin, the lord seated on the lotus throne and all the sages and heavenly nagas.

(16) I behold thee, infinite in form on all sides, with numberless arms, bellies, faces and eyes, but I see not Thy end or Thy middle or Thy beginning, O Lord of the universe, O Form Universal

(17) I behold Thee with Thy crown, mace and discos, glowing everywhere as a mass of light, hard to discern, (dazzling) on all sides with the radiance of the flaming fire and sun, incomparable.

(18) Thou art the Imperishable, the Supreme to be realized. Thou art the ultimate resting-place of the universe: Thou-art the undying guardian of the eternal law. Thou art the Primal Person, I think.

(19) I behold Thee as one without beginning, middle or end, of infinite power, of numberless arms, with the moon and the sun as Thine eyes, with Thy lace as a flaming fire, whose radiance burns up this universe.

(20) This space between heaven and earth is pervaded by Thee alone, also all the quarters (directions of the sky). O Exalted One, when this wondrous, terrible form of Thine is seen, the three worlds tremble.

(21) Yonder hosts of gods enter Thee and some, in fear; extol Thee, with folded hands, and bands of great seers and perfected ones cry “hail” and adore Thee with hymns of abounding praise.

(22) The Rudras, the Adityas, the Vasus, the Sadhyas ; the Visvas, the two Asvins, the maruts and the manes and the hosts of Gandharvas, Yaksas, Asuras and Siddhas, all gaze at Thee and are quite amazed.

(23) Seeing Thy great form, of manly mouths and eyes, O Mighty-armed, of many arms, thighs and feet, of many bellies, terrible with many tusks, the worlds tremble and so do I.

Swami Gambhirananda

Then, filled with wonder, with hairs standing on end, he, Dhananjaya (Arjuna), bowing down with his head to the Lord, said with folded hands: (11.14)

O God, I see in Your body all the gods as also hosts of (various) classes of beings; Brahma the Ruler, sitting on a lotus seat, and all the heavenly sages and serpents. (11.15)

I see You as possessed of numerous arms, bellies, mouths and eyes; having infinite forms all around. O Lord of the Universe, O Cosmic Person, I see not Your limit nor the middle, nor again, the beginning! (11.16)

I see You as wearing a diadem, wielding a mace, and holding a disc; a mass of brilliance glowing all around, difficult to look at from all sides, possessed of the radiance of the blazing fire and sun, and immeasurable. (11.17)

You are the Immutable, the supreme One to be known; You are the most perfect repository of this Universe. You are the Imperishable, the Protector of the ever-existing religion; You are the eternal Person. This is my belief. (11.18)

I see You as without beginning, middle and end, possessed of infinite valour, having innumerable arms, having the sun and the moon as eyes, having a mouth like a blazing fire, heating up this Universe by Your own brilliance. (11.19)

This intermediate space between heaven and earth as also all the directions is pervaded by You alone. O exalted One, the three worlds are struck with fear by seeing this strange, fearful form of Yours. (11.20)

These very groups of gods enter into You; struck with fear, some extol (You) with joined palms. Groups of great sages and perfected beings praise You with elaborate hymns, saying, ‘May it be well!’ (11.21)

Those who are the Rudras, the Adityas, the Vasus and the Sadhyas, the Visve(-devas), the two Asvins, the Maruts and the Usmapas, and hosts of Gandharvas, Yaksas, demons and Siddhas-, all of those very ones gaze at You, being indeed struck with wonder. (11.22)

O mighty-armed One, seeing Your immense form with many mouths and eyes, having numerous arms, thighs and feet, with many bellies, and fearful with many teeth, the creatures are struck with terror, and so am I. (11.23)

Verse 11.24-31

Dr. Prasad

I am frightened and find neither peace nor courage, O Krishna, after seeing Your effulgent and colorful form touching the sky, and Your wide open mouth with large shining eyes. (11.24)

I lose my sense of direction and find no comfort after seeing Your mouths with fearful tusks glowing like the fires of cosmic dissolution. Have mercy on me! O Lord of celestial rulers, and refuge of the universe. (11.25)

All my cousin brothers, along with the hosts of other kings and warriors of the other side, together with chief warriors on our side, are also quickly entering into Your fearful mouths with terrible tusks. Some are seen caught in between the tusks with their heads crushed. (11.26-27)

These warriors of the mortal world are entering Your blazing mouths as many torrents of the rivers enter into the ocean. (11.28)

All these people are rapidly rushing into Your mouths for destruction as moths rush with great speed into the blazing flame for destruction. (11.29)

You are licking up all the worlds with Your flaming mouths, swallowing them from all sides. Your powerful radiance is filling the entire universe with effulgence and burning it, O Krishna. (11.30)

Tell me, who are You in such a fierce form? My salutations to You, O best of all celestial rulers, be merciful! I wish to understand You, O primal Being, because I do not know Your mission. (11.31)

Gita as it is

O all-pervading Visnu, seeing You with Your many radiant colors touching the sky, Your gaping mouths, and Your great glowing eyes, my mind is perturbed by fear. I can no longer maintain my steadiness or equilibrium of mind.(11.24)

O Lord of lords, O refuge of the worlds, please be gracious to me. I cannot keep my balance seeing thus Your blazing deathlike faces and awful teeth. In all directions I am bewildered. (11.25)

All the sons of Dhrtarastra, along with their allied kings, and Bhisma, Drona, Karna–and our chief soldiers also–are rushing into Your fearful mouths. And some I see trapped with heads smashed between Your teeth.(11.26-27)

As the many waves of the rivers flow into the ocean, so do all these great warriors enter blazing into Your mouths.(11.28)

I see all people rushing full speed into Your mouths, as moths dash to destruction in a blazing fire.(11.29)

O Visnu, I see You devouring all people from all sides with Your flaming mouths. Covering all the universe with Your effulgence, You are manifest with terrible, scorching rays.(11.30)

O Lord of lords, so fierce of form, please tell me who You are. I offer my obeisances unto You; please be gracious to me. You are the primal Lord. I want to know about You, for I do not know what Your mission is.(11.31)


(24) When I see Thee touching the sky, blazing with many hues, with the mouth opened wide, and large glowing eyes, my inmost soul trembles in fear and I find neither steadiness nor peace, O Vishnu!

(25) When I see Thy mouths terrible with their tusks, like time’s devouring flames, I lose sense of the directions and find no peace. Be gracious, O Lord of gods, Refuge of the worlds!

(26) All yonder sons of Dhrtarastra together with the hosts of kings and also Bhisma, Drona and Karna along with the chief warriors on our side too,

(27) Are rushing into Thy fearful mouths set with terrible tusks. Some caught between the teeth are seen with their heads crashed to powder.

(28) As the many rushing torrents of rivers race towards the ocean, so do these heroes of the world of men rush into Thy flaming mouths.

(29) As moths rush swiftly into a blazing fire to perish there, so do these men rush into Thy mouths with great speed to their own destruction.

(30) Devouring all the worlds on every side with Thy flaming mouths, thou lickest them up. Thy fiery rays fill this whole universe and scorch it with their fierce radiance, O Vishnu!

(31) Tell me who thou art with form so terrible. Salutation to Thee, O Thou Great Godhead, have Mercy. I wish to know Thee (who art) the Primal One, for I know not Thy working.

Swami Gambhirananda

O Visnu, verily, seeing Your form touching heaven, blazing, with many colors, open-mouthed, with fiery large eyes, becoming terrified in my mind, I do not find steadiness and peace. (11.24)

Having merely seen Your mouths made terrible with (their) teeth, and resembling the fire of Dissolution, I have lost the sense of direction and find no comfort. Be gracious, O Lord of gods, O Abode of the Universe. (11.25)

And into You (enter) all those sons of Dhrtarastra along with multitude of rulers of the earth, Bhisma, Drona as also the son of Suta (Karna) together with even our prominent warriors. (11.26)

They rapidly enter into Your terrible mouths with cruel teeth’s! Some are seen sticking in the gaps between the teeth, with their heads crushed! (11.27)

As the numerous currents of the waters of rivers rush towards the sea alone, so also do these heroes of the human world enter into Your blazing mouths. (11.28)

As mouths enter with increased haste into a glowing fire for destruction, in that very way do the creatures into Your mouths too, with increased hurry for destruction. (11.29)

You lick Your lips while devouring all the creatures from every side with flaming mouths which are completely filling the entire world with heat. O Visnu, your fierce rays are scorching. (11.30)

Tell me who You are, fierce in form? Salutation be to you, O supreme God; be gracious. I desire to know You who are the Primal One. For I do not understand Your actions! (11.31)

Verse 11.32-34

Dr. Prasad

Lord Krishna said: I am death, the mighty destroyer of the world. I have come here to destroy all these people. Even without your participation in the war, all the warriors standing arrayed in the opposing armies shall cease to exist. (11.32)

Therefore, you get up and attain glory. Conquer your enemies, and enjoy a prosperous kingdom. I have already destroyed all these warriors. You are only an instrument, O Arjuna. (11.33)

Kill all these great warriors who are already killed by Me. Do not fear. You will certainly conquer the enemies in the battle; therefore, fight! (11.34)

Gita as it is

The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: Time I am, the great destroyer of the worlds, and I have come here to destroy all people. With the exception of you [the Pandavas], all the soldiers here on both sides will be slain.(11.32)

Therefore get up. Prepare to fight and win glory. Conquer your enemies and enjoy a flourishing kingdom. They are already put to death by My arrangement, and you, O Savyasaci, can be but an instrument in the fight.(11.33)

Drona, Bhisma, Jayadratha, Karna and the other great warriors have already been destroyed by Me. Therefore, kill them and do not be disturbed. Simply fight, and you will vanquish your enemies in battle.(11.34)


(32) Blessed Lord said: Time am I, world-destroying, grown mature, engaged here in subduing the world. Even without thee (thy action), all the warriors standing arrayed in the opposing armies shall cease to be.

(33) Therefore arise thou and gain glory. Conquering thy foes, enjoy a prosperous kingdom. By Me alone are they slain already. Be thou merely the occasion, O Savyasacin (Arjuna).

(34) Slay Drona, Bhisma, Jayadratha, Karna and other great warriors as well, who are already doomed by Me. Be not afraid. Fight, thou shalt conquer the enemies in battle.

Swami Gambhirananda

I am the world-destroying Time, grown in stature, and now engaged in annihilating the creatures. Even without you, all the warriors who are arrayed in the confronting armies will cease to exist! (11.32)

Therefore, you rise up, (and) gain fame; and defeating the enemies; enjoy a prosperous kingdom. These have been killed verily by Me even earlier; be you merely an instrument, O Savyasacin (Arjuna) (11.33)

You destroy Drona and Bhisma, and Jayadratha and Karna as also the other heroic warriors who have been killed by Me. Do not be afraid. Fight You shall conquer the enemies in battle. (11.34)

Verse 11.35-45

Dr. Prasad

Sanjaya said: Having heard these words of Krishna; the crowned Arjuna, trembling with folded hands, prostrated with fear and spoke to Krishna in a choked voice. (11.35)

Arjuna said: Rightly, O Krishna, the world delights and rejoices in glorifying You. Terrified demons flee in all directions. The hosts of sages bow to You in adoration. (11.36)

Why should they not O great soul bow to You, the original creator who is even greater than the creator of material worlds? O infinite Lord, O God of all celestial rulers, O abode of the universe, You are both Eternal and Temporal, and the Supreme Being that is beyond Eternal and Temporal. (See also 9.19, and 13.12 for a commentary) (11.37)

You are the primal God, the most ancient Person. You are the ultimate resort of the entire universe. You are the knower, the object of knowledge, and the Supreme Abode. You, O Lord of the infinite form, pervade the entire universe. (11.38)

You are the controller of death, the fire, the wind, the water god, the moon god, and the creator, as well as the father of the creator. Salutations to You a thousand times, and again and again salutations to You. (11.39)

My salutations to You from front, and from behind. O Lord, my obeisance to You from all sides. You are infinite valor and the boundless might. You pervade everything, and therefore You are everywhere and in everything. (11.40)

Considering You merely as a friend, and not knowing Your greatness, I have inadvertently addressed You as O Krishna, O Yadava, and O friend merely out of affection or carelessness. (11.41)

In whatever way I may have insulted You in jokes; while playing, reposing in bed, sitting, or at meals; when alone, or in front of others; O Krishna, the immeasurable One, I implore You for forgiveness. (11.42)

You are the father of this animate and inanimate world, and the greatest guru to be worshipped. No one is even equal to You in the three worlds; how can there be one greater than You? O Being of incomparable glory. (11.43)

Therefore, O adorable Lord, I seek Your mercy by bowing down and prostrating my body before You. Bear with me as a father to his son, as a friend to a friend, and as a husband to his wife, O Lord. (11.44)

Beholding that which has never been seen before delights me, and yet my mind is tormented with fear. Therefore, O God of celestial rulers, the refuge of the universe, have mercy on me; and show me your four-armed form. (11.45)

Gita as it is

Sanjaya said to Dhrtarastra: O King, after hearing these words from the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the trembling Arjuna offered obeisances with folded hands again and again. He fearfully spoke to Lord Krsna in a faltering voice, as follows.(11.35)

Arjuna said: O master of the senses, the world becomes joyful upon hearing Your name, and thus everyone becomes attached to You. Although the perfected beings offer You their respectful homage, the demons are afraid, and they flee here and there. All this is rightly done.(11.36)

O great one, greater even than Brahma, You are the original creator. Why then should they not offer their respectful obeisances unto You? O limitless one, God of gods, refuge of the universe! You are the invincible source, the cause of all causes, transcendental to this material manifestation.(11.37)

You are the original Personality of Godhead, the oldest, the ultimate sanctuary of this manifested cosmic world. You are the knower of everything, and You are all that is knowable. You are the supreme refuge, above the material modes. O limitless form! This whole cosmic manifestation is pervaded by You!(11.38)

You are air, and You are the supreme controller! You are fire, You are water, and You are the moon! You are Brahma, the first living creature, and You are the great-grandfather. I therefore offer my respectful obeisances unto You a thousand times, and again and yet again!(11.39)

Obeisances to You from the front, from behind and from all sides! O unbounded power, You are the master of limitless might! You are all-pervading, and thus You are everything!(11.40)

Thinking of You as my friend, I have rashly addressed You “O Krsna,” “O Yadava,” “O my friend,” not knowing Your glories. Please forgive whatever I may have done in madness or in love. I have dishonored You many times, jesting as we relaxed, lay on the same bed, or sat or ate together, sometimes alone and sometimes in front of many friends. O infallible one, please excuse me for all those offenses.(11.41-42)

You are the father of this complete cosmic manifestation, of the moving and the nonmoving. You are its worshipable chief, the supreme spiritual master. No one is equal to You, nor can anyone be one with You. How then could there be anyone greater than You within the three worlds, O Lord of immeasurable power?(11.43)

You are the Supreme Lord, to be worshiped by every living being. Thus I fall down to offer You my respectful obeisances and ask Your mercy. As a father tolerates the impudence of his son, or a friend tolerates the impertinence of a friend, or a wife tolerates the familiarity of her partner, please tolerate the wrongs I may have done You.(11.44)

After seeing this universal form, which I have never seen before, I am gladdened, but at the same time my mind is disturbed with fear. Therefore please bestow Your grace upon me and reveal again Your form as the Personality of Godhead, O Lord of lords, O abode of the universe.(11.45)


(35) Samjaya said: Having heard this utterance of Kesava (Krsna). Kiritin (Arjuna), with folded hands and trembling, saluted again and prostrating himself with great fear, spoke in a faltering voice to Krsna.

(36) Arjuna said: O Hrisikesa (Krsna), rightly does the world rejoice and delight in glorifying Thee. The Raksasas are fleeing in terror in all directions and all the hosts of perfected ones are bowing down before Thee (in adoration).

(37) And why should they not do Thee homage, O Excited One, who art greater than Brahma, the original creator? O Infinite Being, Lord of the gods, Refuge of the universe, Thou art the Imperishable, the being and the non-being and what is beyond that.

(38) Thou art the First of gods, the primal Person, the Supreme Resting Place of the world. Thou art the knower and that which is to be known and the supreme goal. And by Thee is this universe pervaded, O Thou of infinite form!

(39) Thou art Vayu (the wind), Yama (the destroyer), Agini (the fire), Varuna the (sea-god) and Sasanka (the moon) , and Prajapati, the grandsire (of all). Hail, hail to Thee, a thousand times. Hail, hail to Thee again and yet again.

(40) Hail to Thee in front, (hail) to Thee behind and hail to Thee on every side, O All; boundless in power and immeasurable in might, Thou dost penetrate all and therefore Thou art All.

(41) For whatsoever I have spoken in rashness to Thee, thinking that Thou art my companion and unaware of this (fact of) Thy greatness, “O Krsnaa, O Yadava, O Comrade”; out of my negligence or may be through foundness,

(42) And for whatsoever disrespect was shown to Thee in jest, while at play or on the bed or seated or at meals, either alone or in the presence of others, I pray, O Unshaken One, forgiveness from Thee, the Immeasurable.

(43) Thou art the father of the world of the moving and the unmoving. Thou art the object of its worship and its venerable teacher. None is equal to thee, how then could there be one greater than Thee in the three worlds, O Thou of incomparable greatness?

(44) Therefore bowing down and prostrating my body before Thee, Adorable Lord, I seek Thy grace. Thou, O God, shouldst bear with me as a father to his son, as a friend to his friend, as a lover to his beloved.

(45) I have seen what was never seen before and I rejoice but my heart is shaken with fear. Show me that other (previous) form of Thine. O God and be gracious, O Lord of the gods and Refuge of the Universe!

Swami Gambhirananda

Hearing the utterance of Kesava, Kiriti (Arjuna), with joined palms and trembling, prostrating himself, said again to Krsna with a faltering voice, bowing down overcome by fits of fear: (11.35)

It is proper, O Hrsikesa, that the world becomes delighted and attracted by Your praise; that the Raksasas, stricken with fear, run in all directions; and that all the groups of the Siddhas bow down (to You). (11.36)

And why should they not bow down to You, O exalted One, who are greater (than all) and who are the first Creator even of Brahma! O infinite One, supreme God, Abode of the Universe, You are the Immutable, being and non-being (and) that which is Transcendental. (11.37)

You are the primal Deity, the ancient Person; You are the supreme Resort of this world. You are knower as also the object of knowledge, and the supreme Abode. O You of infinite forms, the Universe is pervaded by You. (11.38)

You are Air, Death, Fire, the god of the waters, the moon, the Lord of the creatures, and the Great-grandfather. Salutations! Salutation be to You a thousand times; salutation to You again and again! Salutation! (11.39)

Salutation to You in the East and behind. Salutation be on all sides to You, O All! You are possessed of infinite strength and infinite heroism. You pervade everything; hence You are all! (11.40)

Without knowing this greatness of Yours, whatever was said by me (to you) rashly, through inadvertence or even out of intimacy thinking (You to be) a friend, addressing (You) as ‘O Krsna’, ‘O Yadava,’ ‘O friend’, etc.- (11.41)

And that You have been discourteously treated out of fun – while walking, on the bed, on the seats and eating -, in privacy or, O acyuta, even in public, for that I beg pardon of You, the incomprehensible One. (11.42)

You are the Father of all beings, moving and non-moving; to this (world) You are worthy of worship, the Teacher, and greater (than a teacher). There is no one equal to You; how at all can there be anyone greater even in all the three worlds, O You of unrivalled power? (11.43)

Therefore, by bowing down and prostrating the body, I seek to propitiate You who are God and are adorable. O Lord, You should forgive (my faults) as would a father (the faults) of a son, as a friend of a friend, and as a lover of a beloved. (11.44)

I am delighted by seeing something not seen heretofore, and my mind is stricken with fear. O Lord show me that very form; O supreme God, O Abode of the Universe, be gracious! (11.45)

Verse 11.46-48

Dr. Prasad

I wish to see You with a crown, holding mace and discus in Your hand. Therefore, O Lord with thousand arms and universal form, please appear in the four-armed form. (11.46)

Lord Krishna said: O Arjuna, being pleased with you I have shown you, through My own yogic powers, this particular supreme, shining, universal, infinite, and primal form of Mine that has never been seen before by anyone other than you. (11.47)

O Arjuna, neither by study of the Vedas, nor by sacrifice, nor by charity, nor by rituals, nor by severe austerities, can I be seen in this cosmic form by any one other than you in this human world. (11.48)

Gita as it is

O universal form, O thousand-armed Lord, I wish to see You in Your four-armed form, with helmeted head and with club, wheel, conch and lotus flower in Your hands. I long to see You in that form.(11.46)

The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: My dear Arjuna, happily have I shown you, by My internal potency, this supreme universal form within the material world. No one before you has ever seen this primal form, unlimited and full of glaring effulgence.(11.47)

O best of the Kuru warriors, no one before you has ever seen this universal form of Mine, for neither by studying the Vedas, nor by performing sacrifices, nor by charity, nor by pious activities, nor by severe penances can I be seen in this form in the material world.(11.48)


(46) I wish to see Thee even as before with Thy crown, mace, and disc in Thy hand. Assume Thy four-armed shape. O Thou of a thousand arms and of universal form.

(47) The Blessed Lord said: By My grace, through My divine power; O Arjuna, was shown to thee this supreme form, luminous universal, infinite and primal which none but thee has seen before.

(48) Neither by the Vedas, (nor by) sacrifices nor by study nor by gifts nor by ceremonial rites nor by severe austerities can I with this force be seen in the world of men by any one else but thee, O hero of the Kurus (Arjuna).

Swami Gambhirananda

I want to see You just as before, wearing a crown, wielding a mace, and holding a disc in hand. O You with thousand arms, O You of Cosmic form, appear with that very form with four hands. (11.46)

The blessed Lord said: Out of grace, O Arjuna, this supreme, radiant, Cosmic, infinite, primeval form – which (form) of mine has not been seen by anyone before other than you, has been shown to you by Me through the power of My own Yoga. (11.47)

Not by the study of Vedas and sacrifices, not by gifts, not even by rituals, nor by severe austerities can I, in this form, be perceived in the human world by anyone other than you, O most valiant among the Kurus. (11.48)

Verse 11.49-51

Dr. Prasad

Do not be perturbed and confused by seeing such a terrible form of Mine as this. With fearless and cheerful mind, now behold My four-armed form. (11.49)

Sanjaya said: After speaking like this to Arjuna, Krishna revealed His four-armed form. And then assuming His pleasant human form, Lord Krishna, the Great One, consoled Arjuna who was terrified. (11.50)

Arjuna said: O Krishna, seeing this lovely human form of Yours, I have now become tranquil and I am normal again. (11.51)

Gita as it is

You have been perturbed and bewildered by seeing this horrible feature of Mine. Now let it be finished. My devotee, be free again from all disturbances. With a peaceful mind you can now see the form you desire.(11.49)

Sanjaya said to Dhrtarastra: The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna, having spoken thus to Arjuna, displayed His real four-armed form and at last showed His two-armed form, thus encouraging the fearful Arjuna.(11.50)

When Arjuna thus saw Krsna in His original form, he said: O Janardana, seeing this humanlike form, so very beautiful, I am now composed in mind, and I am restored to my original nature.(11.51)


(49) May you not be afraid, may you not be bewildered seeing this terrific form of Mine. Free from fear and glad at heart, behold again this other (former) form of Mine.

(50) Samjaya said: Having thus spoken to Arjuna, Vasudeva (Krsna) revealed to him again His own form. The Exalted One, having assumed again the form of grace, comforted the terrified Arjuna.

(51) Arjuna said: Beholding again this Thy gracious human form, O Janardana (Krsna), I have now become collected in mind and am restored to my normal nature.

Swami Gambhirananda

May you have no fear, and may not there be bewilderment by seeing this form of Mine, so terrible. Becoming free from fear and gladdened in mind again, see this very earlier form of Mine. (11.49)

Thus, having spoken to Arjuna in that manner, Vasudeva showed His own form again. And He, the exalted one, reassured this terrified one by again becoming serene in form. (11.50)

O Janardana, having seen this serene human form of Yours, I have now become calm in mind and restored to my own nature. (11.51)

Verse 11.52-55

Dr. Prasad

Lord Krishna said: This four-armed form of Mine that you have seen is very difficult, indeed, to see. Even celestial controllers are ever longing to see this form. (11.52)

This four-armed form of Mine that you have just seen cannot be seen even by study of the Vedas, or by austerity, or by acts of charity, or by the performance of rituals. (11.53)

However, through single-minded devotion alone, I can be seen in this form, can be known in essence, and also can be reached, O Arjuna. (11.54)

The one who does all works for Me, and to whom I am the supreme goal; who is my devotee, who has no attachment, and is free from enmity towards any being; attains Me, O Arjuna. (See also 8.22) (11.55)

Gita as it is

The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: My dear Arjuna, this form of Mine you are now seeing is very difficult to behold. Even the demigods are ever seeking the opportunity to see this form, which is so dear.(11.52)

The form you are seeing with your transcendental eyes cannot be understood simply by studying the Vedas, nor by undergoing serious penances, nor by charity, nor by worship. It is not by these means that one can see Me as I am.(11.53)

My dear Arjuna, only by undivided devotional service can I be understood as I am, standing before you, and can thus be seen directly. Only in this way can you enter into the mysteries of My understanding.(11.54)

My dear Arjuna, he who engages in My pure devotional service, free from the contaminations of fruitive activities and mental speculation, he who works for Me, who makes Me the supreme goal of his life, and who is friendly to every living being–he certainly comes to Me.(11.55)


(52) The Blessed Lord said: This form of Mine which is indeed very hard to see, thou hast seen, even the gods are ever eager to see this form.

(53) In the form in which thou hast seen Me now, I cannot be seen either by the Vedas or by austerities or by gifts or by sacrifices.

(54) But by unswerving devotion to Me, O Arjuna, I can be thus known, truly seen and entered into, O Oppressor of the foe (Arjuna).

(55) He who does work for Me, he who looks upon Me as his goal, he who worships Me, free from attachment, who is free from enmity to all creatures, he goes to Me, O Pandava (Arjuna).

Swami Gambhirananda

This form of Mine which you have seen, is very difficult to see; even the gods are ever desirous of a vision of this form. (11.52)

Not through the Vedas, not through austerity, not by gifts, nor even by sacrifice can I be seen in this form as you have seen Me. (11.53)

But, O Arjuna, by single minded devotion am I – in this form – able to be known and seen in reality, and also be entered into, O destroyer of foes. (11.54)

O son of Pandu, he who works for Me, accepts Me as the supreme Goal, is devoted to Me, devoid of attachment and free from enmity towards all beings, -he attains Me. (11.55)

Verse 12.01-04

Dr. Prasad

Arjuna asked: Those ever steadfast devotees who worship the personal aspect of God with form(s), and others who worship the impersonal aspect, or the formless Absolute; which of these has the best knowledge of yoga? (12.01)

Lord Krishna said: Those ever steadfast devotees who worship with supreme faith by fixing their mind on a personal form of God, I consider them to be the best yogis. (See also 6.47) (12.02)

But those who worship the unchangeable, the inexplicable, the invisible, the omnipresent, the inconceivable, the unchanging, the immovable, and the formless impersonal aspect of God; restraining all the senses, even-minded under all circumstances, engaged in the welfare of all creatures, also attain God. (12.03-04)

Gita as it is

Arjuna inquired: Which are considered to be more perfect, those who are always properly engaged in Your devotional service or those who worship the impersonal Brahman, the unmanifested? (12.01)

The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: Those who fix their minds on My personal form and are always engaged in worshiping Me with great and transcendental faith are considered by Me to be most perfect. (12.02)

But those who fully worship the unmanifested, that which lies beyond the perception of the senses, the all-pervading, inconceivable, unchanging, fixed and immovable–the impersonal conception of the Absolute Truth–by controlling the various senses and being equally disposed to everyone, such persons, engaged in the welfare of all, at last achieve Me. (12.03-04)


(1) Arjuna said: Those devotees who, thus ever earnest, worship Thee and those again (who worship) the Imperishable and the Umnanifested, which of these have the greater knowledge of yoga?

(2) The Blessed Lord said: Those who fixing their minds on Me worship Me, ever earnest and possessed of supreme faith them do I consider most perfect in yoga.

(3) But those who worship the Imperishable, the Undefinable, the Unmanifested, the Omnipresent, the Unthinkable, the Unchanging and the Immobile, the Constant.

(4) By restraining all the senses, being even-handed in all conditions, rejoicing in the welfare of all creatures, they come to Me indeed (just like the others).

Swami Gambhirananda

Arjuna said: Those devotees who, being thus ever dedicated meditate on You, and those again, (who meditate) on the Immutable, the Unmanifested, – of them who are the best experiencers of yoga? (12.01)

The blessed Lord said: Those who meditate on Me by fixing their minds on Me with steadfast devotion (and) being endowed with supreme faith – they are considered to be the most perfect yogis according to Me. (12.02)

Those, however, who meditate in every way on the Immutable, the Indefinable, the Unmanifest, which is all-pervading, incomprehensible, changeless immovable and constant, – (12.03)

By fully controlling all the organs and always being even-minded, they, engaged in the welfare of all beings, attain, Me alone. (12.04)

Verse 12.05-07

Dr. Prasad

Self-realization is more difficult for those who fix their mind on the impersonal, unmanifest, and formless Absolute; because, comprehension of the unmanifest by embodied beings is attained with difficulty. (12.05)

For those who worship the Supreme with unswerving devotion as a personal deity of their choice, offer all actions to Me, intent on Me as the Supreme, and meditate on Me; I swiftly become their savior from the world that is the ocean of death and transmigration whose thoughts are set on My personal form, O Arjuna. (12.06-07)

Gita as it is

For those whose minds are attached to the unmanifested, impersonal feature of the Supreme, advancement is very troublesome. To make progress in that discipline is always difficult for those who are embodied. (12.05)

But those who worship Me, giving up all their activities unto Me and being devoted to Me without deviation, engaged in devotional service and always meditating upon Me, having fixed their minds upon Me, O son of Prtha–for them I am the swift deliverer from the ocean of birth and death. (12.06-07)


(5) The difficulty of those whose thoughts are set on the Unmnifested is greater, for the goal of the Unmanifested is hard to reach by the embodied beings.

(6) But those, who, laying all their actions on Me, intent on Me, worship, meditating on Me, with unswerving devotion,

(7) Those whose thoughts are set on Me, I straightway deliver from the ocean of death-bound existence, O Partha (Arjuna).

Swami Gambhirananda

For them who have their minds attached to the Unmanifest, the struggle is greater, for the Goal which is the Unmanifest is attained with difficulty by the embodied ones. (12.05)

As for those, having dedicated all actions to Me and accepted Me as the supreme, meditate by thinking of Me with single-minded concentration only – (12.06)

O son of Partha, for them who have their minds absorbed in Me, I become, without delay, the Deliverer from the sea of the world which is fraught with death. (12.07)

Verse 12.08-11

Dr. Prasad

Therefore, focus your mind on Me, and let your intellect dwell upon Me alone through meditation and contemplation. Thereafter you shall certainly attain Me. (12.08)

If you are unable to focus your mind steadily on Me, then long to attain Me by practice of any other spiritual discipline; such as a ritual, or deity worship that suits you. (12.09)

If you are unable even to do any spiritual discipline, then be intent on performing your duty just for Me. You shall attain perfection by doing your prescribed duty for Me – without any selfish motive – just as an instrument to serve and please Me. (12.10)

If you are unable to do your duty for Me, then just surrender unto My will, and renounce the attachment to, and the anxiety for, the fruits of all work – by learning to accept all results as God’s grace – with equanimity. (12.11)

Gita as it is

Just fix your mind upon Me, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and engage all your intelligence in Me. Thus you will live in Me always, without a doubt.(12.08)

My dear Arjuna, O winner of wealth, if you cannot fix your mind upon Me without deviation, then follow the regulative principles of bhakti-yoga. In this way develop a desire to attain Me.(12.09)

If you cannot practice the regulations of bhakti-yoga, then just try to work for Me, because by working for Me you will come to the perfect stage.(12.10)

If, however, you are unable to work in this consciousness of Me, then try to act giving up all results of your work and try to be self-situated.(12.11)


(8) On Me alone fix thy mind, let thy understanding dwell in Me. In Me alone shalt thou live thereafter, Of this there is no doubt.

(9) If, however, thou art not able to fix thy thought steadily on Me, then try to reach Me by the practice of concentration, O Winner of wealth (Arjuna).

(10) If thou art unable even to seek by practice, then be as one whose supreme aim is My service; even performing actions for My sake, thou shalt attain perfection.

(11) If thou art not able to do even this, then taking refuge in My disciplined activity, renounce the fruit of all action, with the self subdued.

Swami Gambhirananda

Fix the mind on Me alone; in Me alone rest the intellect. There is no doubt that thereafter you will dwell in Me alone. (12.08)

If, however you are unable to establish the mind steadily on Me, then O Dhananjaya, seek to attain Me through the Yoga of Practice. (12.09)

If you are unable even to practice, be intent on works for Me. By undertaking works for Me as well, you will attain perfection. (12.10)

If you are unable to do even this, in that case, having resorted to the Yoga for Me, thereafter, renounce the results of all works by becoming controlled in mind. (12.11)

Verse 12.12

Dr. Prasad

The transcendental knowledge of scriptures is better than mere ritualistic practice; meditation is better than scriptural knowledge; renunciation of selfish attachment to the fruits of work (Karma-yoga) is better than meditation; peace immediately follows renunciation of selfish motives. (See more on renunciation in 18.02, 18.09) (12.12)

Gita as it is

If you cannot take to this practice, then engage yourself in the cultivation of knowledge. Better than knowledge, however, is meditation, and better than meditation is renunciation of the fruits of action, for by such renunciation one can attain peace of mind.(12.12)


(12) Better indeed is knowledge than the practice (of concentration); better than knowledge is meditation; better than meditation is the renunciation of the fruit of action; on renunciation (follows) immediately peace.

Swami Gambhirananda

Knowledge is surely superior to practice; meditation surpasses knowledge. The renunciation of the results of works (excels) meditation. From renunciation, Peace follows immediately. (12.12)

Verse 12.13-19

Dr. Prasad

One who does not hate any creature, who is friendly and compassionate, free from the notion of “I” and “my”, even-minded in pain and pleasure, forgiving; and who is ever content, who has subdued the mind, whose resolve is firm, whose mind and intellect are engaged in dwelling upon Me, who is devoted to Me, is dear to Me. (12.13-14)

The one by whom others are not agitated and who is not agitated by others, who is free from joy, envy, fear, and anxiety, is also dear to Me. (12.15)

One who is desireless, pure, wise, impartial, and free from anxiety; who has renounced the doership in all undertakings; such a devotee is dear to Me. (12.16)

One who neither rejoices nor grieves, neither likes nor dislikes, who has renounced both the good and the evil, and is full of devotion; is dear to Me. (12.17)

The one who remains the same towards friend or foe, in honor or disgrace, in heat or cold, in pleasure or pain; who is free from attachment; who is indifferent to censure or praise; who is quiet, and content with whatever he or she has; unattached to a place, a country, or a house; equanimous, and full of devotion that person is dear to Me. (12.18-19)

Gita as it is

One who is not envious but is a kind friend to all living entities, who does not think himself a proprietor and is free from false ego, who is equal in both happiness and distress, who is tolerant, always satisfied, self-controlled, and engaged in devotional service with determination, his mind and intelligence fixed on Me–such a devotee of Mine is very dear to Me.(12.13-14)

He for whom no one is put into difficulty and who is not disturbed by anyone, who is equipoised in happiness and distress, fear and anxiety, is very dear to Me.(12.15)

My devotee who is not dependent on the ordinary course of activities, who is pure, expert, without cares, free from all pains, and not striving for some result, is very dear to Me.(12.16)

One who neither rejoices nor grieves, who neither laments nor desires, and who renounces both auspicious and inauspicious things–such a devotee is very dear to Me.(12.17)

One who is equal to friends and enemies, who is equipoised in honor and dishonor, heat and cold, happiness and distress, fame and infamy, who is always free from contaminating association, always silent and satisfied with anything, who doesn’t care for any residence, who is fixed in knowledge and who is engaged in devotional service–such a person is very dear to Me. (12.18-19)


(13) He who has no ill will to any being, who is friendly and compassionate, free from egoism, and self-sense, even-minded in pain and pleasure and patient.

(14) The Yogi who is ever content, self-controlled, unshakable in determination, with mind and understanding given up to Me-he, My devotee, is dear to Me.

(15) He from whom the world does not shrink and who does not shrink from the world and who is free from joy and anger, fear and agitation, he too is dear to Me.

(16) He who has no expectation, is pure, skilful in action, unconcerned, and untroubled, who has given up all initiative (in action), he, My devotee, is dear to Me.

(I7) He who neither rejoices nor hates, neither grieves nor desires, and who has renounced good and evil, he who is thus devoted is dear to Me.

(18) He who (behaves) alike to foe and friend, also to good and evil repute and who is alike in cold and heat, pleasure and pain and who is free from attachment.

(19) He who holds equal blame and praise, who is silent (restrained in speech), content with anything (that comes), who has no fixed abode and is firm in mind, that man who is devoted is dear to Me.

Swami Gambhirananda

He who is not hateful towards any creature, who is friendly and compassionate, who has no idea of ‘mine’ and the idea of egoism, who is the same under sorrow and happiness, who is forgiving; (12.13)

He who is ever content, who is a yogi, who has self control, who has firm conviction, who has dedicated his mind and intellect to Me – he who is such a devotee of Mine is dear to Me. (12.14)

He too, owing to whom the world is not disturbed, and who is not disturbed by the world, who is free from joy, impatience, fear and anxiety, is dear to Me. (12.15)

He who has no desires, who is pure, who is dexterous, who is impartial, who is free from fear, who has renounced every undertaking- he who is (such) a devotee of Mine is dear to Me. (12.16)

He who does not rejoice, does not fret, does not lament, does not hanker; who gives up good and bad, who is filled with devotion – he is dear to Me. (12.17)

He who is the same towards friend and foe, and so also in honour and dishonour; who is the same under cold, heat, happiness and sorrow; who is free from attachment to everything; (12.18)

The person to whom denunciation and praise are the same, who is silent, content with anything, homeless, steady-minded, and full of devotion is dear to Me. (12.19)

Verse 12.20

Dr. Prasad

But those faithful devotees, who set Me as their supreme goal and follow – or just sincerely try to develop – the above mentioned nectar of moral values are very dear to Me. (12.20)

Gita as it is

Those who follow this imperishable path of devotional service and who completely engage themselves with faith, making Me the supreme goal, are very, very dear to Me. (12.20)


(20) But those who with faith, holding Me as their supreme aim, follow this immortal wisdom, those devotees are exceedingly dear to Me.

Swami Gambhirananda

But those devotees who accept Me as the supreme Goal, and with faith seek for this ambrosia which is indistinguishable from the virtues as stated above, they are very dear to Me. (12.20)

Verse 13.01-06

Dr. Prasad

Lord Krishna said: O Arjuna, this physical body, the miniature universe, may be called the field or creation. One who knows the creation is called the creator (or Spirit) by the seers of truth. (13.01)

O Arjuna, know Me to be the creator of all the creation. The true understanding of both the creator and the creation is considered by Me to be the transcendental knowledge. (13.02)

What the creation is, what it is like, what its transformations are, where its source is, who that creator is, and what His powers are, hear all these from Me in brief. (13.03)

The seers have separately described the creation and the creator in different ways in the Vedic hymns, and also in the conclusive and convincing verses of other scriptures. (13.04)

The primary material Nature, the cosmic intellect, “I” consciousness or ego, five basic elements, ten organs, mind, five sense objects; and desire, hatred, pleasure, pain, the physical body, consciousness, and resolve thus the entire field has been briefly described with its transformations. (See also 7.04) (13.05-06)

Gita as it is

Arjuna said: O my dear Krsna, I wish to know about prakrti [nature], purusa [the enjoyer], and the field and the knower of the field, and of knowledge and the object of knowledge. (13.01-02)

[Note: There is one extra verse, verse 13.01, in this version. In almost all other versions, this verse starting with “Arjuna said …..” is either unnumbered or deleted in order to make the total number of verses an even seven hundred.]

O scion of Bharata, you should understand that I am also the knower in all bodies, and to understand this body and its knower is called knowledge. That is My opinion. (13.03)

Now please hear My brief description of this field of activity and how it is constituted, what its changes are, whence it is produced, who that knower of the field of activities is, and what his influences are. (13.04)

That knowledge of the field of activities and of the knower of activities is described by various sages in various Vedic writings. It is especially presented in Vedanta-sutra with all reasoning as to cause and effect. (13.05)

The five great elements, false ego, intelligence, the unmanifested, the ten senses and the mind, the five sense objects, desire, hatred, happiness, distress, the aggregate, the life symptoms, and convictions–all these are considered, in summary, to be the field of activities and its interactions. (13.06-07)


Arjuna said: Prakti and purusa, the field and the Knower of the field, knowledge and the object of knowledge, these I should like to know, O Kesava (Krsna)

(1) The Blessed Lord said: This body, O Son of Kunti (Arjuna), is called the field and him who knows this, those who know thereof call the knower of the field.

(2) Know Me as the Knower of the field in all fields, O Bharata (Arjuna). The knowledge of the self and its knower, do I regard as true knowledge.

(3) Hear briefly from Me what the Field is, of what nature, what its modifications are, whence it is, what he (the knower of the field) is, and what his powers are.

(4) This has been sung by sages in many ways and distinctly, in various hymns and also in well-reasoned and conclusive expressions of the aphorisms of the Absolute (brahmasutra).

(5) The great (five gross) elements, self-sense, understanding as also the unmanifested, the ten senses and mind and the five objects of the senses.

(6) Desire and hatred, pleasure and pain, the aggregate (the organism), intelligence and steadfastness described, this in brief is the field along with its modifications.

Swami Gambhirananda

O son of Kunti, this body is referred to as the ‘field’. Those who are versed in this call him who is conscious of it as the ‘knower of the field’. (13.01)

And O scion of the Bharata dynasty, understand Me to be the ‘Knower of the field’ in all the fields. In My opinion that is Knowledge which is knowledge of the field and the knower of the field. (13.02)

Hear from Me in brief about (all) that as to what field is and how it is; what its changes are, and from what cause arises what effect; and who He is and what His powers are. (13.03)

It has been sung in various ways by the Rsis, separately by the different kinds of Vedic texts, and also by the rational and convincing sentences themselves which are indicative of and lead to Brahman. (13.04)

The great elements, egoism, intellect, and the Unmanifest itself; the ten organs and the one, and the five objects of the senses; (13.05)

Desire, repulsion, happiness, sorrow, the aggregate (of body and organs), sentence, fortitude – this field, together with its modifications, has been spoken of. (13.06)

Verse 13.07-12

Dr. Prasad

Humility, modesty, nonviolence, forgiveness, honesty, service to guru, purity of thought, word, and deed, steadfastness, self-control; and aversion towards sense objects, absence of ego, constant reflection on pain and suffering inherent in birth, old age, disease, and death; (13.07-08)

Detachment, non-fondness with son, wife, and home; unfailing equanimity upon attainment of the desirable and the undesirable; and unswerving devotion to Me through single-minded contemplation, taste for solitude, distaste for social gatherings and gossips; steadfastness in acquiring the knowledge of Spirit, and seeing the omnipresent Supreme Being everywhere this is said to be knowledge. That which is contrary to this is ignorance. (13.09-11)

I shall fully describe the object of knowledge. By knowing this one attains immortality. The beginningless Supreme Being is said to be neither eternal, nor temporal. (See also 9.19, 11.37, and 15.18) (13.12)

Gita as it is

Humility; pridelessness; nonviolence; tolerance; simplicity; approaching a bona fide spiritual master; cleanliness; steadiness; self-control; renunciation of the objects of sense gratification; absence of false ego; the perception of the evil of birth, death, old age and disease; detachment; freedom from entanglement with children, wife, home and the rest; even-mindedness amid pleasant and unpleasant events; constant and unalloyed devotion to Me; aspiring to live in a solitary place; detachment from the general mass of people; accepting the importance of self-realization; and philosophical search for the Absolute Truth–all these I declare to be knowledge, and besides this whatever there may be is ignorance.(13.08-12)


(7) Humility (absence of pride), integrity (absence of deceit), non-violence, patience, uprightness, service of the teacher, purity (of body and mind), steadfastness and self-control.

(8) Indifference to the objects of sense, self-effacement and the perception of the evil of birth, death, old age, sickness and pain.

(9) Non-attachment, absence of clinging to son, wife, home and the like and a constant equal-mindedness to all desirable and undesirable happenings.

(10) Unswerving devotion to Me with wholehearted discipline, resort to solitary places, dislike for a crowd of people.

(11) Constancy in the knowledge of the Spirit, insight into the end of the knowledge of Truth-this is declared to be (true) knowledge and all that is different from it is non-knowledge.

(12) I will describe that which is to be known and by knowing which life eternal is gained. It is the supreme Brahman who beginningless and who is said to be neither existent nor non-existent.

Swami Gambhirananda

Humility, unpretentiousness, non-injury, forbearance, sincerity, service of the teacher, cleanliness, steadiness, control of body and organs; (13.07)

Non-attachment with regard to objects of the senses, and also absence of egotism, seeing the evil in birth, death, old age, diseases and miseries; (13.08)

Non-attachment and absence of fondness with regard to sons, wives, homes, etc., and constant equanimity of the mind with regard to attainment of the desirable and the undesirable; (13.09)

And unwavering devotion to Me with single-minded concentration; inclination to repair into a clean place; lack of delight in crowd of people; (13.10)

Steadfastness in the knowledge of the Self, contemplation on the Goal of knowledge of Reality – this is spoken of as Knowledge. Ignorance is that which is other than this. (13.11)

I shall speak of that which is to be known, by realizing which one obtains Immortality. The supreme Brahman is without any beginning. That is neither called being or non-being. (13.12)

Verse 13.13-18

Dr. Prasad

The Spirit has His hands, feet, eyes, head, mouth, and ears everywhere, because He is all-pervading and omnipresent. (13.13)

He is the perceiver of all sense objects without the physical sense organs; unattached, and yet the sustainer of all; devoid of the three modes of material Nature, and yet the enjoyer of the modes of material Nature by becoming a living entity. (13.14)

He is inside as well as outside all beings, animate and inanimate. He is incomprehensible because of His subtlety. And because of His omnipresence, He is very near residing in one’s inner psyche; as well as far away in the Supreme Abode. (13.15)

He is undivided, and yet appears to exist as if divided in beings. He is the object of knowledge, and appears as the creator, sustainer, and destroyer of all beings. (See also 11.13, and 18.20) (13.16)

The Supreme Being is the source of all lights. He is said to be beyond darkness of ignorance. He is the Self-knowledge, the object of Self-knowledge, and seated in the inner psyche as consciousness (See verse 18.61) of all beings, He is to be realized by Self-knowledge. (13.17)

Thus the creation as well as the knowledge and the object of knowledge have been briefly described by Me. Having understood this, My devotee attains My Supreme Abode. (13.18)

Gita as it is

I shall now explain the knowable, knowing which you will taste the eternal. Brahman, the spirit, beginningless and subordinate to Me, lies beyond the cause and effect of this material world.(13.13)

Everywhere are His hands and legs, His eyes, heads and faces, and He has ears everywhere. In this way the Supersoul exists, pervading everything. (13.14)

The Supersoul is the original source of all senses, yet He is without senses. He is unattached, although He is the maintainer of all living beings. He transcends the modes of nature, and at the same time He is the master of all the modes of material nature.(13.15)

The Supreme Truth exists outside and inside of all living beings, the moving and the nonmoving. Because He is subtle, He is beyond the power of the material senses to see or to know. Although far, far away, He is also near to all.(13.16)

Although the Supersoul appears to be divided among all beings, He is never divided. He is situated as one. Although He is the maintainer of every living entity, it is to be understood that He devours and develops all.(13.17)

He is the source of light in all luminous objects. He is beyond the darkness of matter and is unmanifested. He is knowledge, He is the object of knowledge, and He is the goal of knowledge. He is situated in everyone’s heart.(13.18)


(13) With his hands and feet everywhere, with eyes, heads and faces on all sides, with ears on all sides, He dwells in the world, enveloping all.

(14) He appears to have the qualities of all the senses and yet is without (any of) the senses, unattached and yet supporting all, free from the gunas (dispositions of prakrti) and yet enjoying them.

(15) He is without and within all beings. He is unmoving as also moving. He is too subtle to be known. He is far away and yet is He near.

(16) He is undivided (indivisible) and yet He seems to be divided among beings. He is to be known as supporting creatures, destroying them and creating them afresh.

(17) He is the Light of lights, said to be beyond darkness. Knowledge, the object of knowledge and the goal of knowledge-He is seated in the hearts of all.

Swami Gambhirananda

That (Knowledge) which has hands and feet everywhere, which has eyes, heads and mouths everywhere, which has ears everywhere, exists in creatures by pervading them all. (13.13)

Shining through the functions of all the organs, (yet) devoid of all organs; unattached, and verily the supporter of all; without quality, and the perceiver of qualities; (13.14)

Existing outside and inside all beings; moving as well as non-moving, It is incomprehensible due to subtleness. So also, It is far away and yet near. (13.15)

And that Knowable, though undivided, appears to be existing as divided in all beings, and It is sustainer of all beings as also the devourer and originator. (13.16)

That is the Light even of lights; It is spoken as beyond darkness. It is Knowledge, the Knowable, and the Known. It exists specially in the hearts of all. (13.17)

Thus has been spoken in brief the field as also Knowledge and the Knowable. By understanding this My devotee becomes qualified for My state. (13.18)

Verse 13.19-24

Dr. Prasad

Know that both the material Nature and the Spiritual Being are beginningless. All manifestations and three dispositions of mind and matter, called modes, are born of material Nature. Material Nature is said to be the cause of production of physical body and organs of perception and action. Spirit (or Consciousness) is said to be the cause of experiencing pleasures and pains. (13.19-20)

Spiritual Being enjoys three modes of material Nature by associating with the material Nature. Attachment to the three modes of material Nature due to ignorance caused by previous Karma is the cause of birth of living entity in good and evil wombs. (13.21)

The Spirit in the body is the witness, the guide, the supporter, the enjoyer, and the controller. (13.22)

They who truly understand Spirit and the material Nature with its three modes are not born again regardless of their way of life. (13.23)

Some perceive the Supersoul in their inner psyche through mind and intellect that have been purified either by meditation, or by metaphysical knowledge, or by selfless service. (13.24)

Gita as it is

Thus the field of activities [the body], knowledge and the knowable have been summarily described by Me. Only My devotees can understand this thoroughly and thus attain to My nature.(13.19)

Material nature and the living entities should be understood to be beginningless. Their transformations and the modes of matter are products of material nature.(13.20)

Nature is said to be the cause of all material causes and effects, whereas the living entity is the cause of the various sufferings and enjoyments in this world.(13.21)

The living entity in material nature thus follows the ways of life, enjoying the three modes of nature. This is due to his association with that material nature. Thus he meets with good and evil among various species.(13.22)

Yet in this body there is another, a transcendental enjoyer, who is the Lord, the supreme proprietor, who exists as the overseer and permitter, and who is known as the Supersoul.(13.23)

One who understands this philosophy concerning material nature, the living entity and the interaction of the modes of nature is sure to attain liberation. He will not take birth here again, regardless of his present position.(13.24)


(18) Thus the field, also knowledge and the object of knowledge have been briefly described. My devotee who understands thus becomes worthy of My state.

(19) Know thou that prakrti (nature) and purusa (soul) are both beginningless; and know also that the forms and modes are born of prakrti (nature).

(20) Nature is said to be the cause of effect, instrument and agent (ness) and the soul is said to be the cause, in regard to the experience of pleasure and pain.

(21) The soul in nature enjoys the modes born of nature. Attachment to the modes is the cause of its births in good evil wombs.

(22) The Supreme Spirit in the body is said to be the Witness the Permitter, the Supporter, the Experiencer, the Great Lord and the Supreme Self.

(23) He who thus knows soul (purusa) and nature (prakrti) together with the modes, though he acts in every way, he is not born again.

Swami Gambhirananda

Know both Nature and also the individual soul to be verily without beginning; know the modifications as also the qualities as born of Nature. (13.19)

With regard to the source of body and organs, Nature is said to be the cause. The soul is the cause so far as enjoyership of happiness and sorrow is concerned. (13.20)

Since the soul is seated in Nature, therefore it experiences the qualities born of Nature. Contact with the qualities is the cause of its births in good and evil wombs. (13.21)

He who is the Witness, the Permitter, the Sustainer, the Experiencer, the great Lord, and who is also spoken of as the transcendental Self is the supreme Person in this body. (13.22)

He who knows thus the Person and Nature along with the qualities will not be born again, in whatever way he may live. (13.23)

Through meditation some realize the Self in (their) intellect with the help of the internal organ; others through Sankhya-yoga, and others through Karma-yoga. (13.24)

Verse 13.25-30

Dr. Prasad

Others, however, do not know the yogas of meditation, knowledge, devotion, and work; but they perform deity worship with faith as mentioned in the scriptures by the saints and sages. They also transcend death by virtue of their firm faith to what they have heard. (13.25)

Whatever is born animate or inanimate know them to be born from the union of Spirit and matter, O Arjuna. (See also 7.06) (13.26)

The one who sees the same eternal Supreme Lord dwelling as Spirit equally within all mortal beings truly sees. (13.27)

When one beholds one and the same Lord existing equally in everybeing, one does not injure anybody; because one considers everything as one’s own self. And thereupon attains the Supreme Abode. (13.28)

The one who perceives that all works are done by the powers of material Nature truly understands, and thus does not consider oneself as the doer. (See also 3.27, 5.09, and 14.19) (13.29)

The moment one discovers diverse variety of beings and their different ideas abiding in One, and coming out from ‘That’ alone, one attains the Supreme Being. (13.30)

Gita as it is

Some perceive the Supersoul within themselves through meditation, others through the cultivation of knowledge, and still others through working without fruitive desires.(13.25)

Again there are those who, although not conversant in spiritual knowledge, begin to worship the Supreme Person upon hearing about Him from others. Because of their tendency to hear from authorities, they also transcend the path of birth and death.(13.26)

O chief of the Bharatas, know that whatever you see in existence, both the moving and the nonmoving, is only a combination of the field of activities and the knower of the field.(13.27)

One who sees the Supersoul accompanying the individual soul in all bodies, and who understands that neither the soul nor the Supersoul within the destructible body is ever destroyed, actually sees. (13.28)

One who sees the Supersoul equally present everywhere, in every living being, does not degrade himself by his mind. Thus he approaches the transcendental destination.(13.29)

One who can see that all activities are performed by the body, which is created of material nature, and sees that the self does nothing, actually sees.(13.30)


(24) By meditation some perceive the Self in the self by the self; others by the path of knowledge and still others by the path of works.

(25) Yet others, ignorant of this (these paths of yoga) hearing from others worship; and they too cross beyond death by their devotion to what they have heard.

(26) Whatever being is born, moving or unmoving, know thou, O Best of the Bharatas (Arjuna), that it is (sprung) through the union of the field and the knower of the field.

(27) One who sees the Supreme Lord abiding equally in all beings, never perishing when they perish, he, verily, sees.

(28) For, as he sees the Lord present, equally everywhere, does not injure his true Self by the self and then be attains to the supreme goal.

(29) He who sees that all actions are done only by nature (prakrti) and likewise that the self is not the doer, he verily sees.

Swami Gambhirananda

Others again, who do not know thus, take to thinking after hearing from others; they, too, who are devoted to hearing, certainly overcome death. (13.25)

O scion of the Bharata dynasty, whatever object, moving or non-moving, comes into being, know that to be from the association of the field and the Knower of the field! (13.26)

He sees who sees the supreme Lord as existing equally in all beings, and as the Imperishable among the perishable. (13.27)

Since by seeing equally God who is present alike everywhere he does not injure the Self by the Self, therefore, he attains the supreme Goal. (13.28)

And he who sees actions as being done is various ways by Nature itself, and also the Self as the non-agent, – he sees. (13.29)

When one realizes that the state of diversity of living things is rooted in the One, and that their manifestation is also from That, then one becomes identified with Brahman. (13.30)

Verse 13.31-34

Dr. Prasad

Because of being beginningless and unaffectable by three modes of material Nature, the eternal Supersoul even though dwelling in the body as a living entity neither does anything nor becomes tainted, O Arjuna. (13.31)

Just as the all-pervading space is not tainted because of its subtlety; similarly, the Spirit abiding in all bodies is not tainted. (13.32)

Just as one sun illuminates the entire world; similarly, Spirit gives life to the entire creation, O Arjuna. (13.33)

They who perceive – with the eye of Self-knowledge – the difference between the creation (or the body) and the creator (or the Spirit) as well as know the technique of liberation of the living entity from the trap of divine illusory energy (Maya), attain the Supreme. (13.34)

Gita as it is

When a sensible man ceases to see different identities due to different material bodies and he sees how beings are expanded everywhere, he attains to the Brahman conception.(13.31)

Those with the vision of eternity can see that the imperishable soul is transcendental, eternal, and beyond the modes of nature. Despite contact with the material body, O Arjuna, the soul neither does anything nor is entangled.(13.32)

The sky, due to its subtle nature, does not mix with anything, although it is all-pervading. Similarly, the soul situated in Brahman vision does not mix with the body, though situated in that body.(13.33)

O son of Bharata, as the sun alone illuminates all this universe, so does the living entity, one within the body, illuminate the entire body by consciousness.(13.34)

Those who see with eyes of knowledge the difference between the body and the knower of the body, and can also understand the process of liberation from bondage in material nature, attain to the supreme goal.(13.35)


(30) When he sees that the manifold state of beings is centred in the One and from just that it spreads out, then he attains Brahman.

(31) Because this Supreme Self imperishable is without beginning, without qualities, so, O Son of Kunti (Arjuna), though It dwells in the body, It neither acts nor is tainted.

(32) As the all-pervading ether is not tainted, by reason of its subtlety, even so the Self that is present in every body does not suffer any taint.

(33) As the one sun illumines this whole world, so does the Lord of the field illumine this entire field, O Bharata (Arjuna).

(34) Those who perceive thus by their eye of wisdom the distinction between the field and the knower of the field, and the deliverance of beings from nature (prakrti), they attain to the Supreme.

Swami Gambhirananda

Being without beginning and without qualities, O son of Kunti, this immutable, supreme Self does not act, nor is It affected although existing in the body. (13.31)

As the all-pervading space is not defiled because of its subtlety, similarly the Self, present everywhere in the body, is not defiled. (13.32)

As the single sun illumines this whole world, similarly, O descendant of the Bharata dynasty, the Knower of the field illumines the whole field. (13.33)

Those who know thus through the eye of wisdom the distinction between the field and the Knower of the field, and the annihilation of the Matrix of being, – they reach the Supreme. (13.34)

Verse 14.01-02

Dr. Prasad

Lord Krishna said: I shall further explain to you that supreme knowledge, the best of all knowledge, knowing that all the sages have attained supreme perfection after this life. (14.01)

They who have taken refuge in this transcendental knowledge attain unity with Me; and are neither born at the time of creation, nor afflicted at the time of dissolution. (14.02)

Gita as it is

The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: Again I shall declare to you this supreme wisdom, the best of all knowledge, knowing which all the sages have attained the supreme perfection.(14.01)

By becoming fixed in this knowledge, one can attain to the transcendental nature like My own. Thus established, one is not born at the time of creation or disturbed at the time of dissolution.(14.02)


(1) The Blessed Lord said: I shall again declare that supreme wisdom, of all wisdom the best, by knowing which all sages have passed from this world to the highest perfection.

(2) Having resorted to this wisdom and become of like nature to Me, they are not born at the time of creation; nor are they disturbed at the time of dissolution.

Swami Gambhirananda

Blessed Lord said: I shall speak again of the supreme Knowledge, the best of all knowledges, by realizing which all the contemplatives reached the highest Perfection from here. (14.01)

Those who attain identity with Me by resorting to this knowledge are not born even during creation, nor do they suffer pain during dissolution. (14.02)

Verse 14.03-04

Dr. Prasad

My material Nature is the womb of creation wherein I place the seed of Consciousness from which all beings are born, O Arjuna. (See also 9.10) (14.03)

Whatever forms are produced in all different wombs, O Arjuna, the material Nature is their body-giving mother; and the Spirit or Consciousness is the life-giving father. (14.04)

Gita as it is

The total material substance, called Brahman, is the source of birth, and it is that Brahman that I impregnate, making possible the births of all living beings, O son of Bharata.(14.03)

It should be understood that all species of life, O son of Kunti, are made possible by birth in this material nature, and that I am the seed-giving father.(14.04)


(3) Great brahma (Prakrti) is My womb: in that I cast the seed and from it is the birth of all beings, O Bharata (Arjuna).

(4) Whatever forms are produced in any wombs whatsoever, O Son of Kunti (Arjuna), great brahma is their womb and I am the Father who casts the seed.

Swami Gambhirananda

My womb is the great-sustainer. In that I place the seed. From that, O scion of the Bharata dynasty, occurs the birth of all things. (14.03)

O son of Kunti, whatever forms are born from all the wombs, of them the great-sustainer is the womb; I am the father who deposits the seed. (14.04)

Verse 14.05-09

Dr. Prasad

Goodness, activity, and inertia – these three modes or ropes material Nature fetter the eternal individual soul to the body, O Arjuna. (14.05)

Of these, the mode of goodness is illuminating and good, because it is pure. The mode of goodness fetters the living entity by attachment to happiness and knowledge, O sinless Arjuna. (14.06)

Arjuna, know that the mode of passion is characterized by intense craving for sense gratification, and is the source of material desire and attachment. The mode of passion binds the living entity by attachment to the fruits of work. (14.07)

Know, O Arjuna, that the mode of ignorance the deluder of living entity is born of inertia. The mode of ignorance binds living entity by carelessness, laziness, and excessive sleep. (14.08)

O Arjuna, the mode of goodness attaches one to happiness of learning and knowing the Spirit, the mode of passion attaches to action, and the mode of ignorance attaches to negligence by covering the Self-knowledge. (14.09)

Gita as it is

Material nature consists of three modes–goodness, passion and ignorance. When the eternal living entity comes in contact with nature, O mighty-armed Arjuna, he becomes conditioned by these modes.(14.05)

O sinless one, the mode of goodness, being purer than the others, is illuminating, and it frees one from all sinful reactions. Those situated in that mode become conditioned by a sense of happiness and knowledge.(14.06)

The mode of passion is born of unlimited desires and longings, O son of Kunti, and because of this the embodied living entity is bound to material fruitive actions.(14.07)

O son of Bharata, know that the mode of darkness, born of ignorance, is the delusion of all embodied living entities. The results of this mode are madness, indolence and sleep, which bind the conditioned soul.(14.08)

O son of Bharata, the mode of goodness conditions one to happiness; passion conditions one to fruitive action; and ignorance, covering one’s knowledge, binds one to madness.(14.09)


(5) The three modes (gunas) goodness (sattva), passion (rajas), and dullness (tamas) born of nature (prakrti) bind down in the body, O Mighty-armed (Arjuna), the imperishable dweller in the body.

(6) Of these, goodness (sattva,) being pure, causes illumination and health. It binds, O blameless one, by attachment to happiness and by attachment to knowledge.

(7) Passion (rajas), know thou, is of the nature of attraction, springing from craving and attachment. It binds fast, O Son of Kunti (Arjuna), the embodied one by attachment to action

(8) But dullness (tamas), know thou, is born of ignorance and deludes all embodied beings. It binds, O Bharata (Arjuna), by (developing the qualities of) negligence, indo-lence and sleep.

(9) Goodness attaches one to happiness, passion to action, O Bharata (Arjuna), but dullness, veiling wisdom, attaches to negligence.

Swami Gambhirananda

O mighty-armed one, the qualities, viz sattva, rajas and tams, born of Nature, bind the immutable embodied being to the body. (14.05).

Among them, sattva being pure, is an illuminator and harmless. O sinless one, it binds through attachment to happiness and attachment to knowledge. (14.06)

Know rajas to be of the nature of passion, born of hankering and attachment. O son of Kunti, that binds the embodied one through attachment to action. (14.07)

On the other hand, know tamas, which deludes all embodied beings, to be born of ignorance. O scion of the Bharata dynasty, that binds through inadvertence, laziness and sleep. (14.08)

O scion of the Bharata dynasty, sattva attaches one to happiness, rajas to action, while tamas, covering up knowledge, leads to inadvertence also. (14.09)

Verse 14.10-13

Dr. Prasad

Goodness prevails by suppressing passion and ignorance; passion prevails by suppressing goodness and ignorance; and ignorance prevails by suppressing goodness and passion, O Arjuna. (14.10)

When the light of Self-knowledge glitters all the senses in the body, then it should be known that goodness is predominant. (14.11)

O Arjuna, when passion is predominant; greed, activity, undertaking of selfish works, restlessness, and excitement arise. (14.12)

O Arjuna, when inertia is predominant; ignorance, inactivity, carelessness, and delusion arise. (14.13)

Gita as it is

Sometimes the mode of goodness becomes prominent, defeating the modes of passion and ignorance, O son of Bharata. Sometimes the mode of passion defeats goodness and ignorance, and at other times ignorance defeats goodness and passion. In this way there is always competition for supremacy.(14.10)

The manifestations of the mode of goodness can be experienced when all the gates of the body are illuminated by knowledge.(14.11)

O chief of the Bharatas, when there is an increase in the mode of passion the symptoms of great attachment, fruitive activity, intense endeavor, and uncontrollable desire and hankering develop.(14.12)

When there is an increase in the mode of ignorance, O son of Kuru, darkness, inertia, madness and illusion are manifested. (14.13)


(10) Goodness prevails, overpowering passion and dullness, O Bharata (Arjuna). Passion prevails, (overpowering) goodness and dullness and even so dullness prevails (overpowering) goodness and passion

(11) When the light of knowledge streams forth in all the gates of the body, then it may be known that goodness has increased.

(12) Greed, activity, the undertaking of actions, unrest and craving- these spring up, O Best of the Bharatas (Arjuna), when rajas increases.

(13) Unillumination, inactivity, negligence and mere delusion-these arise, O Joy of the Kurus (Arjuna), when dullness increases.

Swami Gambhirananda

O scion of the Bharata dynasty, sattva increases by subduing rajas and tamas, rajas by overpowering sattva and tamas, and tamas by dominating over sattva and rajas. (14.10)

When the illumination that is knowledge radiates in this body through all the doors (of the senses), then one should know that sattva has increased greatly. (14.11)

O best of the Bharata dynasty, when rajas becomes predominant, these come into being: avarice, movement, undertaking of actions, unrest and hankering. (14.12)

O descendant of the Kuru dynasty, when tamas predominates these surely come into being non-discrimination and inactivity, inadvertence and delusion. (14.13)

Verse 14.14-18

Dr. Prasad

One who dies during the dominance of goodness goes to heaven the pure world of knowers of the Supreme. (14.14)

When one dies during the dominance of passion, one is reborn as attached to action (or the utilitarian type); and dying in ignorance, one is reborn as lower creatures. (14.15)

The fruit of good action is said to be beneficial and pure, the fruit of passionate action is pain, and the fruit of ignorant action is laziness. (14.16)

Self-knowledge arises from mode of goodness; greed arises from mode of passion; and negligence, delusion, and slowness of mind arise from the mode of ignorance. (14.17)

They who are established in goodness go to heaven; passionate persons are reborn in the mortal world; and the insipid ones, abiding in the mode of ignorance, go to lower planets of hell, or take birth as lower creatures depending on the degree of their ignorance. (14.18)

Gita as it is

When one dies in the mode of goodness, he attains to the pure higher planets of the great sages.(14.14)

When one dies in the mode of passion, he takes birth among those engaged in fruitive activities; and when one dies in the mode of ignorance, he takes birth in the animal kingdom.(14.15)

The result of pious action is pure and is said to be in the mode of goodness. But action done in the mode of passion results in misery, and action performed in the mode of ignorance results in foolishness. (14.16)

From the mode of goodness, real knowledge develops; from the mode of passion, greed develops; and from the mode of ignorance develop foolishness, madness and illusion.(14.17)

Those situated in the mode of goodness gradually go upward to the higher planets; those in the mode of passion live on the earthly planets; and those in the abominable mode of ignorance go down to the hellish worlds.(14.18)


(14) When the embodied soul meets with dissolution, when goodness prevails, then it attains to the pure worlds of those know the Highest,

(15) Meeting with dissolution when passion prevails, it is born among those attached to action; and if it is dissolved when dullness prevails, it is born in the wombs of the deluded.

(16) The fruit of good action is said to be of the nature of goodness and pure; while the fruit of passion is pain, the fruit of dullness is ignorance.

(17) From goodness arises knowledge and from passion greed, negligence and error arise from dullness, as also ignorance.

(18) Those who are established in goodness rise upwards; the passionate remain in the middle (regions); the dull steeped in the lower occurrences of the modes sink downwards.

Swami Gambhirananda

When an embodied one undergoes death while sattva is exclusively predominant, then he attains the taintless worlds of those who know the highest (entities). (14.14)

When one dies while rajas predominates, he is born among people attached to activity. Similarly, when one dies while tamas predominates, he takes birth among the stupid species. (14.15)

They say that the result of good work is pure and is born of sattva. But the result of rajas is sorrow the result of tamas is ignorance. (14.16)

From sattva is born knowledge, and from rajas, verily, avarice. From tamas are born inadvertence and delusion as also ignorance, to be sure. (14.17)

People who conform to sattva go higher up; those who conform to rajas stay in the middle; those who conform to tamas, who conform to actions of the lowest quality, go down. (14.18)

Verse 14.19-20

Dr. Prasad

When visionaries perceive no doer other than the powers of the Supreme Being the modes of material Nature; and know That which is above and beyond these modes; then they attain Nirvana or salvation. (See also 3.27, 5.09, and 13.29) (14.19)

When one rises above the three modes of material Nature that originate in the body, one attains immortality or salvation, and is freed from the pains of birth, old age, and death. (14.20)

Gita as it is

When one properly sees that in all activities no other performer is at work than these modes of nature and he knows the Supreme Lord, who is transcendental to all these modes, he attains My spiritual nature.(14.19)

When the embodied being is able to transcend these three modes associated with the material body, he can become free from birth, death, old age and their distresses and can enjoy nectar even in this life.(14.20)


(19) When the seer perceives no agent other than the modes, and knows also that which is beyond the modes, he attains to My being.

(20) When the embodied soul rises above these three modes that spring from the body, it is freed from birth, death, old age and pain and attains life eternal.

Swami Gambhirananda

When the witness sees none other than the qualities as the agent, and knows that which is superior to the qualities, he attains My nature. (14.19)

Having transcended these three qualities which are the origin of the body, the embodied one, becoming free from birth, death, old age and sorrows, experiences Immortality. (14.20)

Verse 14.21-25

Dr. Prasad

Arjuna said: What are the marks of those who have transcended the three modes of material Nature, and what is their conduct? How does one transcend these three modes of material Nature, O Lord Krishna? (14.21)

Lord Krishna said: One who neither hates the presence of enlightenment, activity, and delusion; nor desires for them when they are absent; who remains like a witness without being affected by the modes of material Nature; and stays firmly attached to the Lord without wavering thinking that the modes of material Nature only are operating. (14.22-23)

The one who depends on the Lord and is indifferent to pain and pleasure; to whom a clod, a stone, and gold are alike; to whom the dear and the unfriendly are alike; who is of firm mind, who is calm in censure and in praise, and the one who is indifferent to honor and disgrace, who is impartial to friend and foe, and who has renounced the sense of doership is said to have transcended the modes of material Nature. (14.24-25)

Gita as it is

Arjuna inquired: O my dear Lord, by which symptoms is one known who is transcendental to these three modes? What is his behavior? And how does he transcend the modes of nature? (14.21)

The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: O son of Pandu, he who does not hate illumination, attachment and delusion when they are present or long for them when they disappear; who is unwavering and undisturbed through all these reactions of the material qualities, remaining neutral and transcendental, knowing that the modes alone are active; who is situated in the self and regards alike happiness and distress; who looks upon a lump of earth, a stone and a piece of gold with an equal eye; who is equal toward the desirable and the undesirable; who is steady, situated equally well in praise and blame, honor and dishonor; who treats alike both friend and enemy; and who has renounced all material activities–such a person is said to have transcended the modes of nature.(14.22-25)


(21) Arjuna said: By what marks is he, O Lord, who has risen above the three modes characterized? What is his way of life? How does he get beyond the three modes ?

(22) The Blessed Lord said: He, O Pandava (Arjuna), who does not abhor illumination, activity and delusion when they arise nor longs for them when they cease.

(23) He who is seated like one unconcerned, unperturbed by the modes, who stands apart, without wavering, knowing that it is only the modes that act.

(24) He who regards pain and pleasure alike, who dwells in his own self, who looks upon a clod, a stone, a piece of gold as of equal worth, who remains the same amidst the pleasant and the unpleasant things, who is firm of mind, who regards both blame and praise as one.

(25) He who is the same in honour and dishonour and the same to friends and foes, and who has given up all initiative of action, he is said to have risen above the modes.

Swami Gambhirananda

Arjuna said: O Lord, by what signs is one known who has gone beyond these three qualities? What is his behaviour, and how does he transcend these three qualities? (14.21)

Blessed Lord said: O son of Pandu, he neither dislikes illumination (knowledge), activity and delusion when they appear, nor does he long for them when they disappear. (14.22)

He who, sitting like one indifferent, is not distracted by three qualities; he who, thinking that the qualities alone act, remains firm and surely does not move; (14.23)

He to whom sorrow and happiness are alike, who is established in his own Self, to whom a lump of earth, iron and gold are the same, to whom the agreeable and the disagreeable are the same, who is wise, to whom censure and his own praise are the same; (14.24)

He who is the same under honour and dishonour, who is equally disposed both toward the side of the friend and the foe, who has renounced all enterprise, – he is said to have gone beyond the qualities. (14.25)

Verse 14.26-27

Dr. Prasad

The one who offers service to Me with love and unswerving devotion transcends three modes of material Nature, and becomes fit for Nirvana, or salvation. (See also 7.14 and 15.19) (14.26)

Because, I am the basis (or source) of the immortal Spirit, of everlasting cosmic order (Dharma), and of the absolute bliss. (14.27)

Gita as it is

One who engages in full devotional service, unfailing in all circumstances, at once transcends the modes of material nature and thus comes to the level of Brahman.(14.26)

And I am the basis of the impersonal Brahman, which is immortal, imperishable and eternal and is the constitutional position of ultimate happiness.(14.27)


(26) He who serves Me with unfailing devotion of love, rises above the three modes, he too is fit for becoming Brahman.

(27) For I am the abode of Brahman, the Immortal and the Imperishable, of eternal law and of absolute bliss.

Swami Gambhirananda

And he who serves Me through the unswerving Yoga of Devotion, he, having gone beyond the qualities, qualifies for becoming Brahman. (14.26)

For I am the Abode of Brahman – the indestructible and immutable, the eternal, the Dharma and absolute Bliss. (14.27)

Verse 15.01-02

Dr. Prasad

Lord Krishna said: The universe (or human body) may be compared to an eternal tree that has its origin (or root) in the Supreme Being and its branches below in the cosmos. The Vedic hymns are the leaves of this tree. One who understands this tree is a knower of the Vedas. (15.01)

The branches of this eternal tree are spread all over the cosmos. The tree is nourished by the energy of material Nature; sense pleasures are its sprouts; and its roots of ego and desires stretch below in the human world causing Karmic bondage. (15.02)

Gita as it is

The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: It is said that there is an imperishable banyan tree that has its roots upward and its branches down and whose leaves are the Vedic hymns. One who knows this tree is the knower of the Vedas.(15.01)

The branches of this tree extend downward and upward, nourished by the three modes of material nature. The twigs are the objects of the senses. This tree also has roots going down, and these are bound to the fruitive actions of human society (15.02).


(1) The Blessed Lord said: They speak of the imperishable asvattham (peepal tree) as having its root above and branches below. Its leaves are the Vedas and he who knows this is the knower of the Vedas.

(2) Its branches extend below and above, nourished by the modes, with sense objects for its twigs and below, in the world of men stretch forth the roots resulting in actions.

Swami Gambhirananda

The Blessed Lord said: They say that Peepul Tree, which has its roots upward and branches downward, and of which the Vedas are the leaves, is imperishable. He who realizes it is a knower of the Vedas. (15.01)

The branches of that (Tree), extending downwards and upwards, are strengthened by the qualities and have sense-objects as their shoots. And the roots, which are followed by actions, spread downwards in human world. (15.02)

Verse 15.03-06

Dr. Prasad

The beginning, the end, or the real form of this tree is not perceptible on the earth. Having cut the firm roots the desires of this tree by the mighty ax of Self-knowledge and detachment, one should seek that Supreme Abode reaching where one does not come back to the mortal world again. One should be always thinking: “In that very primal person I take refuge from which this primal manifestation comes forth.” (15.03-04)

Those who are free from pride and delusion, who have conquered the evil of attachment, who are constantly dwelling in the Supreme Being with all lust completely stilled, who are free from dualities of pleasure and pain; such wise ones reach My Supreme Abode. (15.05)

The sun does not illumine My Supreme Abode, nor the moon, nor the fire. Having reached there people attain permanent liberation (Mukti), and do not come back to this temporal world. (15.06)

Gita as it is

The real form of this tree cannot be perceived in this world. No one can understand where it ends, where it begins, or where its foundation is. But with determination one must cut down this strongly rooted tree with the weapon of detachment. Thereafter, one must seek that place from which, having gone, one never returns, and there surrender to that Supreme Personality of Godhead from whom everything began and from whom everything has extended since time immemorial.(15.03-04)

Those who are free from false prestige, illusion and false association, who understand the eternal, who are done with material lust, who are freed from the dualities of happiness and distress, and who, unbewildered, know how to surrender unto the Supreme Person attain to that eternal kingdom.(15.05)

That supreme abode of Mine is not illumined by the sun or moon, nor by fire or electricity. Those who reach it never return to this material world. (15.06)


(3) Its real form is not thus perceived here, nor its end nor beginning nor its foundation. Having cut off this firm-rooted Asvattham (peepal tree) with the strong sword of nonattachment.

(4) Then, that path must be sought from which those who have reached it never return, saying “I seek refuge only in that Primal Person from whom has come forth this ancient current of the world” (this cosmic process).

(5) Those, who are freed from pride and delusion, who have conquered the evil of attachment, who, all desires stilled, are ever devoted to the Supreme spirit, who are liberated from the dualities known as pleasure and pain and are undeluded, go to that eternal state.

(6) The sun does not illumine that, nor the moon nor the fire. That is My supreme abode from which those who reach it never return.

Swami Gambhirananda

Its form is not perceived here in that way; nor its end nor its beginning, nor continuance. After felling the Peepul whose roots are well developed, with the strong sword of detachment -; (15.03)

Thereafter, that State has to be sought for, going where they do not return again: I take refuge in that Primeval Person Himself, from whom has ensured the eternal Manifestation. (15.04)

The wise ones who are free from pride and non-discrimination, who have conquered the evil of association, who are ever devoted to spirituality, completely free from desires, free from dualities called happiness and sorrow, reach that undecaying state. (15.05)

Neither the sun nor the moon or fire illumines That. That is my supreme Abode, reaching which they do not return. (15.06)

Verse 15.07-11

Dr. Prasad

The individual soul (Jiva, Jivatma) in the body of living beings is the integral part of the universal Spirit, or consciousness. The individual soul associates with the six sensory faculties including the mind of perception and activates them. (15.07)

Just as the air takes aroma away from the flower; similarly, the individual soul takes the six sensory faculties from the physical body it casts off during death to the new physical body it acquires in reincarnation. (See also 2.13) (15.08)

The living entity enjoys sense pleasures using six sensory faculties of hearing, touch, sight, taste, smell, and mind. The ignorant cannot perceive living entity departing from the body, or staying in the body and enjoying sense pleasures by associating with the material body. But those who have the eye of Self-knowledge can see it. (15.09-10)

The yogis, striving for perfection, behold the living entity abiding in their inner psyche as consciousness; but the ignorant whose inner psyche is not pure, cannot perceive Him even though striving. (15.11)

Gita as it is

The living entities in this conditioned world are My eternal fragmental parts. Due to conditioned life, they are struggling very hard with the six senses, which include the mind.(15.07)

The living entity in the material world carries his different conceptions of life from one body to another as the air carries aromas. Thus he takes one kind of body and again quits it to take another. (15.08)

The living entity, thus taking another gross body, obtains a certain type of ear, eye, tongue, nose and sense of touch, which are grouped about the mind. He thus enjoys a particular set of sense objects. (15.09)

The foolish cannot understand how a living entity can quit his body, nor can they understand what sort of body he enjoys under the spell of the modes of nature. But one whose eyes are trained in knowledge can see all this.(15.10)

The endeavoring transcendentalists, who are situated in self-realization, can see all this clearly. But those whose minds are not developed and who are not situated in self-realization cannot see what is taking place, though they may try to.(15.11)


(7) A fragment (or fraction) of My own self, having become a living soul, eternal, in the world of life, draws to itself the senses of which the mind is the sixth, that rest in nature.

(8) When the lord takes up a body and when he leaves it, he takes these (the senses and mind) and goes even as the wind carries perfumes from their places.

(9) He enjoys the objects of the senses, using the ear, the eye, the touch sense, the taste sense and the nose as also the mind.

(10) When He departs or stays or experiences, in contact with the modes, the deluded do not see (the indwelling soul) but they who have the eye of wisdom (or whose eye is wisdom) see.

(11) The sages also striving perceive Him as established in the self, but the unintelligent, whose souls are undisciplined, though striving, do not find Him.

Swami Gambhirananda

It is verily a part of Mine which, becoming the eternal individual soul in the region of living beings, draws (to itself) the organs which have the mind as their sixth, and which abide in Nature. (15.07)

When the master leaves it and even when he assumes the body, he departs taking these, as wind (carries away) odours from their receptacles. (15.08)

This one enjoys the objects by presiding over ear, eyes, skin and tongue as also the nose and the mind. (15.09)

Persons who are diversely deluded do not see it even when it is leaving or residing (in this body), or experiencing, or in association with the qualities; those with the eye of knowledge see. (15.10)

And the yogis who are diligent see this one as existing in themselves. The non-discriminating ones who lack self-control do not see this one – though (they be) diligent. (15.11)

Verse 15.12-15

Dr. Prasad

The light energy that coming from the sun illumines the whole world; and that in the moon, and in the fire; know that light to be Mine. (See also 13.17 and 15.06) (15.12).

Entering the earth, I support all beings with My energy; becoming the sap-giving moon, I nourish all the plants. (15.13)

Becoming the digestive fire, I remain in the body of all living beings; uniting with vital breaths or bioimpulses, I digest all types of food; and (15.14)

I am seated in the inner psyche of all beings. The memory, Self-knowledge, and the removal of doubts and wrong notions about God come from Me. I am verily that which is to be known by the study of all the Vedas. I am, indeed, the author as well as the student of the Vedas. (See also 6.39) (15.15)

Gita as it is

The splendor of the sun, which dissipates the darkness of this whole world, comes from Me. And the splendor of the moon and the splendor of fire are also from Me.(15.12)

I enter into each planet, and by My energy they stay in orbit. I become the moon and thereby supply the juice of life to all vegetables.(15.13)

I am the fire of digestion in the bodies of all living entities, and I join with the air of life, outgoing and incoming, to digest the four kinds of foodstuff.(15.14)

I am seated in everyone’s heart, and from Me come remembrance, knowledge and forgetfulness. By all the Vedas, I am to be known. Indeed, I am the compiler of Vedanta, and I am the knower of the Vedas.(15.15)


(12) That splendour of the sun that illumines this whole world, that which is in the moon, that which is in the fire, that splendour, know as Mine.

(13) And entering the earth, I support all beings by My vital energy; and becoming the sapful soma (moon), I nourish all herbs (or plants).

(14) Becoming the fire of life in the bodies of living creatures and mingling with the upward and downward breaths, I digest the four kinds of food.

(15) And I am lodged in the hearts of all; from Me are memory and knowledge as well as their loss. I am indeed He who is to be known by all the Vedas. I indeed (am) the author of the Vedanta and I too the knower of the Vedas.

Swami Gambhirananda

The light in the sun which illumines the whole world, that which is in the moon, and that which is in fire, – know that light to be Mine. (15.12)

And entering the earth I sustain the beings through (My) power; and nourish all the plants by becoming Soma which is the nature of sap. (15.13)

Taking form of Vaisvanara and residing in the bodies of creatures, I, in association with Prana and Apana, digest the four kinds of food. (15.14)

And I am seated in the hearts of all, From Me are memory, knowledge and their loss. I alone an the object to be known through all the Vedas; I am also the originator of Vedanta, and I myself am the knower of the Vedas. (15.15)

Verse 15.16-20

Dr. Prasad

There are two entities in the cosmos: The changeable Temporal Beings, and the unchangeable Eternal Being (Spirit). All created beings are subject to change, but the Spirit does not change. (15.16)

The Supreme Being is beyond both the Temporal Beings and the Eternal Being. He is also called the Absolute Reality that sustains both the Temporal and the Eternal by pervading everything. (15.17)

Because the Supreme Being is beyond both Temporal and Eternal; therefore, He is known in this world and in the scriptures as the Supreme Being (Absolute Reality, Truth, Supersoul) (15.18)

The wise one who truly understands the Supreme Being, knows everything and worships Him wholeheartedly. (See also 7.14, 14.26, and 18.66) (15.19)

Thus this most secret transcendental science of the Absolute has been explained by Me. Having understood this, one becomes enlightened, and one’s all duties are accomplished, O Arjuna. (15.20)

Gita as it is

There are two classes of beings, the fallible and the infallible. In the material world every living entity is fallible, and in the spiritual world every living entity is called infallible.(15.16)

Besides these two, there is the greatest living personality, the Supreme Soul, the imperishable Lord Himself, who has entered the three worlds and is maintaining them.(15.17)

Because I am transcendental, beyond both the fallible and the infallible, and because I am the greatest, I am celebrated both in the world and in the Vedas as that Supreme Person. (15.18)

Whoever knows Me as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, without doubting, is the knower of everything. He therefore engages himself in full devotional service to Me, O son of Bharata. (15.19)

This is the most confidential part of the Vedic scriptures, O sinless one, and it is disclosed now by Me. Whoever understands this will become wise, and his endeavors will know perfection.(15.20)


(16) There are two persons in this world, the perishable and the Imperishable, the perishable is all these existences and the unchanging is the imperishable.

(17) But other than these, the Highest spirit called the Supreme Self who, as the Undying Lord, enters the three worlds and sustains them.

(18) As I surpass the perishable and am higher even than the imperishable, I am celebrated as the Supreme Person in the world and in the Veda.

(19) He who, undeluded, thus knows Me, the Highest Person, is the knower of all and worships Me with all his being (with his whole spirit), O Bharata (Arjuna).

(20) Thus has this most secret doctrine been taught by Me, O blameless one. By knowing this, a man will become wise and will have fulfilled all his duties, O Bharata (Arjuna).

Swami Gambhirananda

There are these two persons in the world – the mutable and the immutable. The mutable consists of all things; the one existing as Maya is called the immutable. (15.16)

But, the difference is the supreme Person who is spoken of as transcendental Self, who, permeating the three worlds, upholds (them), and is the imperishable God. (15.17)

Since I am transcendental to the mutable and above even the immutable, hence I am well known in the world and in the Vedas as the supreme Person. (15.18)

O scion of the Bharata dynasty, he who, being free from delusion, knows Me the supreme Person thus, he is all-knowing and adores Me with his whole being. (15.19)

O sinless one, this most secret scripture has thus been uttered by Me; understanding this, one becomes wise and has his duties fulfilled, O scion of the Bharata dynasty. (15.20)

Verse 16.01-03

Dr. Prasad

Lord Krishna said: Fearlessness, purity of inner psyche, perseverance in the yoga of Self-knowledge, charity, sense restraint, sacrifice, study of the scriptures, austerity, honesty; nonviolence, truthfulness, absence of anger, renunciation, equanimity, abstaining from malicious talk, compassion for all creatures, freedom from greed, gentleness, modesty, absence of fickleness, splendor, forgiveness, fortitude, cleanliness, absence of malice, and absence of pride these are some of the qualities of those endowed with divine virtues, O Arjuna. (16.01-03)

Gita as it is

The Supreme Personality of Godhead said:Fearlessness; purification of one’s existence; cultivation of spiritual knowledge; charity; self-control; performance of sacrifice; study of the Vedas; austerity; simplicity; nonviolence; truthfulness; freedom from anger; renunciation; tranquillity; aversion to faultfinding; compassion for all living entities; freedom from covetousness; gentleness; modesty; steady determination; vigor; forgiveness; fortitude; cleanliness; and freedom from envy and from the passion for honor–these transcendental qualities, O son of Bharata, belong to godly men endowed with divine nature. (16.01-03)


(1) The Blessed Lord said: Fearlessness, purity of mind, wise apportionment of knowledge and concentration, charity, self-control and sacrifice, study of the scriptures, austerity and uprightness.

(2) Non-violence, truth, freedom from anger, renunciation, tranquility, aversion to fault finding, compassion to living beings, freedom from covetousness, gentleness, modesty and steadiness (absence of fickleness).

(3) Valour, forgiveness, fortitude, purity, freedom from malice and excessive pride–these, O Pandava (Arjuna), are the endowments of him who is born with the divine nature.

Swami Gambhirananda

Fearless, purity of mind, persistence in knowledge and yoga, charity and control of the external organs, sacrifice, (scriptural) study, austerity and rectitude; (16.01)

Non injury, truthfulness, absence of anger, renunciation, control of internal organs, absence of vilification, kindness to creatures, non-covetousness, gentleness, modesty, freedom from restlessness; (16.02)

Vigour, forgiveness, fortitude, purity, freedom from malice, absence of haughtiness,-these, O scion of the Bharata dynasty, are (the qualities) of one born destined to have the divine nature. (16.03)

Verse 16.04-05

Dr. Prasad

O Arjuna, the marks of those who are born with demonic qualities are: Hypocrisy, arrogance, pride, anger, harshness, and ignorance. (16.04)

Divine qualities lead to salvation, the demonic qualities are said to be for bondage. Do not grieve, O Arjuna, you are born with divine qualities. (16.05)

Gita as it is

Pride, arrogance, conceit, anger, harshness and ignorance–these qualities belong to those of demoniac nature, O son of Prtha. (16.04)

The transcendental qualities are conducive to liberation, whereas the demoniac qualities make for bondage. Do not worry, O son of Pandu, for you are born with the divine qualities.(16.05)


(4) Ostentation, arrogance, excessive pride, anger, as also harshness and ignorance, these, O Bharata (Arjuna), are the endowments of him who is born with the demoniac nature.

(5) The divine endowments are said to make for deliverance and the demoniac for bondage. Grieve not, O Panadava (Arjuna), thou art born with the divine endowments (for a divine destiny).

Swami Gambhirananda

O son of Pratha, (the attributes) of one destined to have the demoniacal nature are religious ostentation, pride and haughtiness, anger as also rudeness and ignorance. (16.04)

The divine nature is for Liberation, the demoniacal is considered to be for inevitable bondage. Do not grieve, O son of Pandu! You are destined to have the divine nature. (16.05)

Verse 16.06-18

Dr. Prasad

There are only two types (or castes) of human beings in this world: The divine, or the wise; and the demonic, or the ignorant. The divine has been described at length, now hear from Me about the demonic, O Arjuna. (16.06)

Persons of demonic nature do not know what to do and what not to do. They neither have purity nor good conduct nor truthfulness. (16.07)

They say: The world is unreal, without a substratum, without a God, and without an order. Sexual union of man and woman alone and nothing else causes the world. (16.08)

Adhering to this wrong atheist view, these degraded souls – with small intellect and cruel deeds are born as enemies for the destruction of the world. (16.09)

Filled with insatiable desires, hypocrisy, pride, and arrogance; holding wrong views due to delusion; they act with impure motives. (16.10)

Obsessed with endless anxiety lasting until death, considering sense gratification their highest aim, convinced that sense pleasure is everything; (16.11)

Bound by hundreds of ties of desire and enslaved by lust and anger; they strive to obtain wealth by unlawful means for the fulfillment of sensual pleasures. They think: (16.12)

This has been gained by me today, I shall fulfill this desire, I have this much wealth, and will have more wealth in the future; (16.13)

That enemy has been slain by me, and I shall slay others also. I am the Lord. I am the enjoyer. I am successful, powerful, and happy; (16.14)

I am rich and born in a noble family. Who is equal to me? I shall perform sacrifice, I shall give charity, and I shall rejoice. Thus deluded by ignorance; (16.15)

Bewildered by many fancies; entangled in the net of delusion; addicted to the enjoyment of sensual pleasures; they fall into a foul hell. (16.16)

Self-conceited, stubborn, filled with pride and intoxication of wealth; they perform service only in name, for show, and not according to scriptural injunction. (16.17)

These malicious people cling to egoism, power, arrogance, lust, and anger; and hate Me who dwells in their own bodies and those of others. (16.18)

Gita as it is

O son of Prtha, in this world there are two kinds of created beings. One is called the divine and the other demoniac. I have already explained to you at length the divine qualities. Now hear from Me of the demoniac.(16.06)

Those who are demoniac do not know what is to be done and what is not to be done. Neither cleanliness nor proper behavior nor truth is found in them. (16.07)

They say that this world is unreal, with no foundation, no God in control. They say it is produced of sex desire and has no cause other than lust. (16.08)

Following such conclusions, the demoniac, who are lost to themselves and who have no intelligence, engage in unbeneficial, horrible works meant to destroy the world. (16.09)

Taking shelter of insatiable lust and absorbed in the conceit of pride and false prestige, the demoniac, thus illusioned, are always sworn to unclean work, attracted by the impermanent. (16.10)

They believe that to gratify the senses is the prime necessity of human civilization. Thus until the end of life their anxiety is immeasurable. Bound by a network of hundreds of thousands of desires and absorbed in lust and anger, they secure money by illegal means for sense gratification. (16.11-12)

The demoniac person thinks: “So much wealth do I have today, and I will gain more according to my schemes. So much is mine now, and it will increase in the future, more and more. He is my enemy, and I have killed him, and my other enemies will also be killed. I am the lord of everything. I am the enjoyer. I am perfect, powerful and happy. I am the richest man, surrounded by aristocratic relatives. There is none so powerful and happy as I am. I shall perform sacrifices, I shall give some charity, and thus I shall rejoice.” In this way, such persons are deluded by ignorance. (16.13-15)

Thus perplexed by various anxieties and bound by a network of illusions, they become too strongly attached to sense enjoyment and fall down into hell. (16.16)

Self-complacent and always impudent, deluded by wealth and false prestige, they sometimes proudly perform sacrifices in name only, without following any rules or regulations. (16.17)

Bewildered by false ego, strength, pride, lust and anger, the demons become envious of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is situated in their own bodies and in the bodies of others, and blaspheme against the real religion. (16.18)


(6) There are two types of beings created in the world-the divine and the demoniac. The divine have been described at length. Hear from me, O Partha (Arjuna), about the demoniac.

(7) The demoniac do not know about the way of action or the way of renunciation. Neither purity, nor good conduct, nor truth is found in them.

(8) They say that the world is unreal, without a basis, without a Lord, not brought about in regular causal sequence, caused by desire, in short.

(9) Holding fast to this view, these lost souls of feeble understanding, of cruel deeds, rise up as the enemies of the world for its destruction.

(10) Giving themselves up to insatiable desire, full of hypocrisy, excessive pride and arrogance, holding wrong views through delusion, they act with impure resolves.

(11) Obsessed with innumerable cares which would end only with (their) death. Looking upon the gratification of desires as their highest aim, assured that this is all.

(12) Bound by hundreds of ties of desire, given over to lust and anger, they strive to amass hoards of wealth, by unjust means, for the gratification of their desires.

(13) “This today has been gained by me: this desire I shall attain, this is mine and this wealth also shall be mine (in future)”.

(14) “This foe is slain by me and others also I shall slay I am the lord, I am the enjoyer, I am successful, mighty and happy.”

(15) “l am rich and well-born. Who is there like unto me? I shall sacrifice, I shall give, I shall rejoice,” thus they (say), deluded by ignorance.

(16) Bewildered by many thoughts, entangled in the meshes of delusion and addicted to the gratification of desires, they fall into a foul hell.

(17) Self-conceited, obstinate, filled with the pride and arrogance of wealth, they perform sacrifices which are so only in name with ostentation and without regard to rules.

(18) Given over to self-conceit, force and pride acid also to lust and anger, these malicious people despise Me dwelling in the bodies of themselves and others.

Swami Gambhirananda

In this world there are two (kinds of) creation of beings; the divine and the demoniacal. The divine has been spoken of elaborately. Hear about the demoniacal from Me, O son of Pratha. (16.06)

Neither do the demoniacal persons understand what is to be done and what is not to be done; nor does purity, or even good conduct or truthfulness exist in them. (16.07)

They say that the world is unreal, it has no basis, it is without God. It is born of mutual union brought about by passion! What other (cause can there be)? (16.08)

Holding on to this view, (these people) who are of depraved character, of poor intellect, given to fearful actions and harmful, wax strong for the ruin of the world. (16.09)

Giving themselves up to insatiable passion, filled with vanity, pride and arrogance, adopting bad objectives due to delusion, and having impure resolves, they engage in actions. (16.10)

Beset with innumerable cares which end (only) with death, engrossed in the enjoyment of desirable objects (taking them) as the highest goal, feeling sure that this is all; (16.11)

Bound by hundreds of shackles in the form of hope, giving themselves wholly to passion and anger, they endeavor to amass wealth through foul means for the enjoyment of desirable objects. (16.12)

‘This has been gained by me today; I shall acquire this desired object. This is in hand; again, this wealth also will come to me.’ (16.13)

‘That enemy has been killed by me, and I shall kill others as well. I am the lord, I am the enjoyer, I am well-established, mighty and happy.’ (16.14)

‘I am rich and high-born; who else is there similar to me? I shall perform sacrifices; I shall give, I shall rejoice,’ – thus they are diversely deluded by non-discrimination. (16.15)

Bewildered by numerous thoughts, caught in the net of delusion, (and) engrossed in the enjoyment of desirable objects, they fall into foul hell. (16.16)

Self-conceited, haughty, filled with pride and intoxication of wealth, they perform sacrifices which are so in name only, with ostentation, and regardless of the injunctions. (16.17)

Resorting to egoism, power, arrogance, passion, and anger, hating Me in their own and others’ bodies, (they become) envious by nature. (16.18)

Verse 16.19-20

Dr. Prasad

I hurl these haters, cruel, sinful, and mean people into the cycles of rebirth in the womb of demons again and again. (16.19)

O Arjuna, entering the wombs of demons birth after birth, the deluded ones sink to the lowest hell without ever attaining Me (until their minds change for the better by the causeless mercy of the Lord). (16.20)

Gita as it is

Those who are envious and mischievous, who are the lowest among men, I perpetually cast into the ocean of material existence, into various demoniac species of life. (16.19)

Attaining repeated birth amongst the species of demoniac life, O son of Kunti, such persons can never approach Me. Gradually they sink down to the most abominable type of existence. (16.20)


(19) These cruel haters, worst of men, I hurl constantly these evildoers only into the wombs of demons in (this cycle of) births and deaths.

(20) Fallen into the wombs of demons, these deluded beings from birth to birth, do not attain to Me, O son of Kunti (Arjuna), but go down to the lowest state.

Swami Gambhirananda

I cast for ever those hateful, cruel, evil-doers in the worlds, the vilest of human beings, verily into demoniacal classes. (16.19)

Being born among the demoniacal species in births after births, the fools, without ever reaching Me, O son of Kunti, attain conditions lower than that. (16.20)

Verse 16.21-22

Dr. Prasad

Lust, anger, and greed are the three gates of hell leading to the downfall (or bondage) of the individual. Therefore, one must learn to give up these three. (16.21)

One who is liberated from these three gates of hell, O Arjuna, does what is best for him or her, and consequently attains the Supreme Abode. (16.22)

Gita as it is

There are three gates leading to this hell–lust, anger and greed. Every sane man should give these up, for they lead to the degradation of the soul. (16.21)

The man who has escaped these three gates of hell, O son of Kunti, performs acts conducive to self-realization and thus gradually attains the supreme destination. (16.22)


(21) The gateway of this hell leading to the ruin of the soul is threefold, lust, anger and greed. Therefore these three, one should abandon.

(22) The man who is released from these, the three gates to darkness, O son of Kunti (Aruna), does what is good for his soul and then reaches the highest state.

Swami Gambhirananda

This door of hell which is the destroyer of the soul, is of three kinds – passion, anger and also greed. Therefore one should forsake these three. (16.21)

O son of Kunti, a person who is free from these three doors to darkness strives for the good of soul. Thereby he attains the highest Goal. (16.22)

Verse 16.23-24

Dr. Prasad

One, who acts under the influence of his or her desires, disobeying scriptural injunctions, neither attains perfection nor happiness, nor the Supreme Abode. (16.23)

Therefore, let the scripture be your authority in determining what should be done and what should not be done. You should perform your duty following the scriptural injunction. (16.24)

Gita as it is

He who discards scriptural injunctions and acts according to his own whims attains neither perfection, nor happiness, nor the supreme destination. (16.23)

One should therefore understand what is duty and what is not duty by the regulations of the scriptures. Knowing such rules and regulations, one should act so that he may gradually be elevated.(16.24)


(23) But he who discards the scriptural law and acts as his desires prompt him, he does not attain either perfection or happiness or the highest goal.

(24) Therefore let the scripture be thy authority for determining what should be done and what should not be done. Knowing what is declared by the rules of the scripture, thou shouldst do thy work in this world.

Swami Gambhirananda

Ignoring the precept of the scriptures, he who acts under the impulsion of passion, – he does not attain perfection, nor happiness, nor the supreme Goal. (16.23)

Therefore, the scripture is your authority as regards the determination of what is to be done and what is not to be done. After understanding (your) duty as presented by scriptural injunction, you ought to perform (your duty) here. (16.24)

Verse 17.01

Dr. Prasad

Arjuna said: What is the mode of devotion of those who perform spiritual practices with faith but without following the scriptural injunctions, O Krishna? Is it in the mode of goodness, passion, or ignorance? (17.01)

Gita as it is

Arjuna inquired: O Krsna, what is the situation of those who do not follow the principles of scripture but worship according to their own imagination? Are they in goodness, in passion or in ignorance? (17.01)


(1) Arjuna said: Those who, neglecting the ordinances of scriptures, offer sacrifices filled with faith-what is their position, O Krsna? Is it one of goodness or of passion or of dullness?

Swami Gambhirananda

Arjuna said: But, O Krsna, what is the state of those Who, endued with faith, adore by ignoring the injunctions of the scriptures? Is it sattva, rajas, or tamas? (17.01)

Verse 17.02-06

Dr. Prasad

Lord Krishna said: The natural faith of embodied beings is of three kinds: Goodness, passion, and ignorance. Now hear about these from Me. (17.02)

O Arjuna, the faith of each is in accordance with one’s own natural disposition that is governed by Karmic impressions. A person is known by the faith. One can become whatever one wants to be, if one constantly contemplates on the object of desire with faith. (17.03)

Persons in the mode of goodness worship celestial controllers; those in the mode of passion worship supernatural rulers and demons; and those in the mode of ignorance worship ghosts and spirits. (17.04)

They who practice severe austerities without following the prescription of the scriptures; who are full of hypocrisy and egotism; who are impelled by the force of desire and attachment; who senselessly torture the elements in their body and also Me who dwells within the body, know these ignorant persons to be of demonic nature. (17.05-06)

Gita as it is

The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: According to the modes of nature acquired by the embodied soul, one’s faith can be of three kinds–in goodness, in passion or in ignorance. Now hear about this. (17.02)

O son of Bharata, according to one’s existence under the various modes of nature, one evolves a particular kind of faith. The living being is said to be of a particular faith according to the modes he has acquired. (17.03)

Men in the mode of goodness worship the demigods; those in the mode of passion worship the demons; and those in the mode of ignorance worship ghosts and spirits. (17.04)

Those who undergo severe austerities and penances not recommended in the scriptures, performing them out of pride and egoism, who are impelled by lust and attachment, who are foolish and who torture the material elements of the body as well as the Supersoul dwelling within, are to be known as demons.(17.05-06)


(2) The Blessed Lord said: The faith of the embodied is of three kinds, born of their nature, good, passionate and dull. Hear now about it.

(3) The faith of every individual, O Bharata (Arjuna), is in accordance with his nature. Man is of the nature of his faith: what his faith is, that, verily, he is.

(4) Good men worship the gods, the passionate worship the demigods and the demons and the others (who are) the dull, worship the spirits and ghosts.

(5) Those men, vain and conceited and impelled by the force of lust and passion, who perform violent austerities, which are not ordained by the scriptures.

(6) Being foolish oppress the group of elements in their body and Me also dwelling in the body. Know these to be demoniac their resolves.

Swami Gambhirananda

The Blessed Lord said: That faith of the embodied beings, born of their own nature, is threefold – born of sattva, rajas, and tamas. Hear about it. (17.02)

O scion of Bharata dynasty, the faith of all beings is in accordance with their minds. This person is made up of faith as the dominant factor. He is verily what his faith is. (17.03)

Those having the sattva quality worship the gods; those having rajas; the demi-gods and ogres; and other people possessed of tamas worship ghosts and the hosts of spirits. (17.04)

Those persons who, given to ostentation and pride, and possessed of passion, attachment and strength, undertake severe austerities not sanctioned in the scriptures; (17.05)

(And who,) being non-discriminating, torture all the organs in the body as also even Me who reside in the body, – know them as possessed of demoniacal conviction. (17.06)

Verse 17.07-10

Dr. Prasad

The food preferred by all of us is also of three types. So are the sacrifice, austerity, and charity. Now hear the distinction between them. (17.07)

The foods that promote longevity, virtue, strength, health, happiness, and joy are juicy, smooth, substantial, and nutritious. Persons in the mode of goodness like such foods. (17.08)

Foods that are very bitter, sour, salty, hot, pungent, dry, and burning; and cause pain, grief, and disease; are liked by persons in the mode of passion. (17.09)

The foods liked by people in the mode of ignorance are stale, tasteless, putrid, rotten, refuses, and impure (such as meat and alcohol). (17.10)

Gita as it is

Even the food each person prefers is of three kinds, according to the three modes of material nature. The same is true of sacrifices, austerities and charity. Now hear of the distinctions between them. (17.07)

Foods dear to those in the mode of goodness increase the duration of life, purify one’s existence and give strength, health, happiness and satisfaction. Such foods are juicy, fatty, wholesome, and pleasing to the heart. (17.08)

Foods that are too bitter, too sour, salty, hot, pungent, dry and burning are dear to those in the mode of passion. Such foods cause distress, misery and disease. (17.09)

Food prepared more than three hours before being eaten, food that is tasteless, decomposed and putrid, and food consisting of remnants and untouchable things is dear to those in the mode of darkness. (17.10)


(7) Even the food which is dear to all is of three kinds. So are the sacrifices, austerities and gifts. Hear thou the distinction of these.

(8) The foods which promote life, vitality, strength, health, joy and cheerfulness, which are sweet. soft, nourishing and agreeable are dear to the “good.”

(9) The foods that are bitter, sour, saltish, very hot, pungent, harsh and burning, producing pain, grief and disease are liked by the “passionate.”

(10) That which is spoiled, tasteless, putrid, stale, refuse and unclean is the food dear to the “dull.”

Swami Gambhirananda

Foods also, which is dear to all, is of three kinds; and so also are sacrifices, austerity and charity. Listen to this classification of them. (17.07)

Foods that augment life, firmness and mind, strength health happiness and delight, and which are succulent, oleaginous, substantial and agreeable are dear to one endowed with sattva. (17.08)

Foods that are bitter, sour, salty, very hot, pungent, dry and burning, which produce pain, sorrow and disease, are dear to one having rajas. (17.09)

Food which is not properly cooked, lacking in essence, putrid and stale, and even ort and that which is unfit for sacrifice, is dear to one possessed of tamas. (17.10)

Verse 17.11-14

Dr. Prasad

Selfless service enjoined by the scriptures, and performed without the desire for the fruit, with a firm belief and conviction that it is a duty, is in the mode of goodness. (17.11)

Selfless service that is performed only for show, and aiming for fruit, know that to be in the mode of passion, O Arjuna. (17.12)

Selfless service that is performed without following the scripture, in which no food is distributed, which is devoid of mantra, faith, and gift, is said to be in the mode of ignorance. (17.13)

Gita as it is

Of sacrifices, the sacrifice performed according to the directions of scripture, as a matter of duty, by those who desire no reward, is of the nature of goodness. (17.11)

But the sacrifice performed for some material benefit, or for the sake of pride, O chief of the Bharatas, you should know to be in the mode of passion. (17.12)

Any sacrifice performed without regard for the directions of scripture, without distribution of prasadam [spiritual food], without chanting of Vedic hymns and remunerations to the priests, and without faith is considered to be in the mode of ignorance. (17.13)


(11) That sacrifice which is offered, according to the scriptural law, by those who expect no reward and believe firmly that it is their duty to offer the sacrifice, is “good.”

(12) But that which is offered in expectation of reward or for the sake of display, know, O best of the Bharatas (Arjuna), that sacrifice to be “passionate.”

(13) The sacrifice which is not in conformity with the law, in which no food is distributed, no hymns are chanted and no fees are paid, which is empty of faith, they declare to be “dulled’.

Swami Gambhirananda

That sacrifice which is in accordance with injunctions, (and is) performed by persons who do not hanker after results, and with the mental conviction that it is obligatory, is done through sattva. (17.11)

But that sacrifice which is performed having in view some result as also for ostentation, – know that sacrifice to be done thorough rajas, O greatest among the descendants of Bharata. (17.12)

They declare that sacrifice as done through tamas, which is contrary to injunction, in which food is not distributed, in which mantras are not used, in which offerings are not made to priests, and which is devoid of faith. (17.13)

Verse 17.14-16

Dr. Prasad

The worship of celestial controllers, the priest, guru, and the wise; purity, honesty, celibacy, and nonviolence; these are said to be the austerity of deed. (17.14)

Speech that is non-offensive, truthful, pleasant, beneficial, and is used for the regular study of scriptures is called the austerity of word. (17.15)

The serenity of mind, gentleness, equanimity, self-control, and the purity of thought these are called the austerity of thought. (17.16)

Gita as it is

Austerity of the body consists in worship of the Supreme Lord, the brahmanas, the spiritual master, and superiors like the father and mother, and in cleanliness, simplicity, celibacy and nonviolence. (17.14)

Austerity of speech consists in speaking words that are truthful, pleasing, beneficial, and not agitating to others, and also in regularly reciting Vedic literature. (17.15)

And satisfaction, simplicity, gravity, self-control and purification of one’s existence are the austerities of the mind. (17.16)


(14) The worship of the gods, of the twice-born, of teachers and of the wise, purity, uprightness, continence and nonviolence, this is said to be the penance of the body.

(15) The utterance (of words) which gives no offence, which is truthful, pleasant and beneficial and the regular recitation of the Veda-this is said to be the penance of speech.

(16) Serenity of mind, gentleness, silence, self-control, the purity of mind-this is called the penance of mind.

Swami Gambhirananda

The worship of gods, twice – born, venerable persons and the wise; purity, straightforwardness, celibacy and non-injury, – are said to be bodily austerity. (17.14)

The speech which causes no pain, which is true, agreeable and beneficial; as well as the practice of study of the scriptures, – is said to be austerity of speech. (17.15)

Tranquility of mind, gentleness, reticence, withdrawal of the mind, purity of heart,- these are what is called mental austerity. (17.16)

Verse 17.17-19

Dr. Prasad

The above mentioned threefold austerity (of thought, word, and deed) practiced by yogis with supreme faith, without a desire for the fruit, is said to be in the mode of goodness. (17.17)

Austerity that is performed for gaining respect, honor, reverence, and for the sake of show that yields an uncertain and temporary result is said to be in the mode of passion. (17.18)

Austerity performed with foolish stubbornness, or with self-torture, or for harming others, is declared to be in the node of ignorance. (17.19)

Gita as it is

This threefold austerity, performed with transcendental faith by men not expecting material benefits but engaged only for the sake of the Supreme, is called austerity in goodness. (17.17)

Penance performed out of pride and for the sake of gaining respect, honor and worship is said to be in the mode of passion. It is neither stable nor permanent. (17.18)

Penance performed out of foolishness, with self-torture or to destroy or injure others, is said to be in the mode of ignorance.(17.19)


(17) This threefold penance practised with utmost faith by men of balanced mind without the expectation of reward, they call “good.”

(18) That penance which is performed in order to gain respect, honour and reverence and for the sake of show is said to be “passionate”: it is unstable and not lasting.

(19) That penance which is performed with a foolish obstinacy by means of self-torture or for causing injury to others is said to be “dull.”

Swami Gambhirananda

When the threefold austerity is undertaken with supreme faith by people who do not hanker after results and are self-controlled, they speak of it as born of sattva. (17.17)

That austerity which is undertaken for earning a name, being honoured and worshipped, and also ostentatiously, – that is spoken of as born of rajas, belonging to the world, uncertain and transitory. (17.18)

That austerity which is undertaken with a foolish intent, by causing pain to oneself, or for the destruction of others, – that is said to be born of tamas. (17.19)

Verse 17.20-22

Dr. Prasad

Charity that is given as a matter of duty, to a deserving candidate who does nothing in return, at the right place and time, is considered to be charity in the mode of goodness. (17.20)

Charity that is given unwillingly, or to get something in return, or looking for some fruit, is said to be in the mode of passion. (17.21)

Charity that is given at a wrong place and time, and to unworthy persons; or without paying respect to the receiver or with ridicule, is said to be in the mode of ignorance. (17.22)

Gita as it is

Charity given out of duty, without expectation of return, at the proper time and place, and to a worthy person is considered to be in the mode of goodness. (17.20)

But charity performed with the expectation of some return, or with a desire for fruitive results, or in a grudging mood, is said to be charity in the mode of passion. (17.21)

And charity performed at an impure place, at an improper time, to unworthy persons, or without proper attention and respect is said to be in the mode of ignorance. (17.22)


(20) That gift, which is made to one from whom no return is expected, with the feeling that it is one’s duty to give and which is given in proper place and time and to a worthy person, that gift is held to be “good.”

(21) But that gift which is made with the hope of a return with the expectation of future gain or when it hurts to give, is held to be “passionate.”

(22) And that gift which is made at a wrong place or time or to an unworthy person, without proper ceremony or with contempt that is declared to be “dull.”

Swami Gambhirananda

That gift is referred to as born of sattva, which gift is given with the idea it ought to be given, to one who will not serve in return, and at that (proper) place, (proper) time and to a (proper) person. (17.20)

But the gift which is given expecting reciprocation, or again, with a desire for its results, and which is given grudgingly, – that is considered to be born of rajas. (17.21)

The gift which is made at an improper place and time, and to undeserving persons, without proper treatment and with disdain, is declared to be born of tamas. (17.22)

Verse 17.23-28

Dr. Prasad

The Spirit is all pervading. The persons with divine qualities, the Vedas, and the selfless service were created by and from the Spirit. (17.23)

Therefore, acts of sacrifice, charity, and austerity prescribed in the scriptures are always commenced by uttering any one of the many names of God such as OM, Amen, or Allah by the knowers of the Supreme. (17.24)

The seekers of salvation perform various types of sacrifice, charity, and austerity by uttering “He is all” without seeking a reward. (17.25)

The word “Truth” is used in the sense of Reality and goodness. The word Truth is also used for an auspicious act, O Arjuna. (17.26)

Faith in sacrifice, charity, and austerity is also called Truth. The selfless service for the sake of the Supreme is verily termed as Truth. (17.27)

Whatever is done without faith whether it is sacrifice, charity, austerity, or any other act is useless. It has no value here or hereafter, O Arjuna. (17.28)

Gita as it is

From the beginning of creation, the three words om tat sat were used to indicate the Supreme Absolute Truth. These three symbolic representations were used by brahmanas while chanting the hymns of the Vedas and during sacrifices for the satisfaction of the Supreme. (17.23)

Therefore, transcendentalists undertaking performances of sacrifice, charity and penance in accordance with scriptural regulations begin always with om, to attain the Supreme. (17.24)

Without desiring fruitive results, one should perform various kinds of sacrifice, penance and charity with the word tat. The purpose of such transcendental activities is to get free from material entanglement. (17.25)

The Absolute Truth is the objective of devotional sacrifice, and it is indicated by the word sat. The performer of such sacrifice is also called sat, as are all works of sacrifice, penance and charity which, true to the absolute nature, are performed to please the Supreme Person, O son of Prtha. (17.26-27)

Anything done as sacrifice, charity or penance without faith in the Supreme, O son of Prtha, is impermanent. It is called asat and is useless both in this life and the next. (17.28)


(23) “Aum Tat Sat”-this is considered to be the threefold symbol of Brahman. By this were ordained of old the Brahmins, the Vedas and the sacrifices.

(24) Therefore with the utterance of “aum” the acts of sacrifice, gift and penance enjoined in the scriptures are allways undertaken by the expounders of Brahman.

(25) And with the utterance of the word “tat” the acts of sacrifice and penance and the various acts of giving are performed by the seekers of salvation, without aiming at the reward.

(26) The word “sat” is employed in the sense of reality and goodness; and so also, O Partha (Arjuna), the word “sat” is used for praiseworthy action.

(27) Steadfastness in sacrifice, penance, gift is also called “sat” and so also any action for such purposes is called “sat”.

(28) Whatever offering or gift is made, whatever penance is performed, whatever rite is observed, without faith, it is called “asat,” O Partha (Arjuna); it is of no account hereafter or here.

Swami Gambhirananda

‘Om tat sat’ – this is considered to be the threefold designation of Brahman. The Brahmans the Vedas and the sacrifices were ordained by that in the days of yore. (17.23)

Therefore, acts of sacrifice, charity and austerity as prescribed through injunctions, of those who study and expound the Vedas, always commence after uttering the syllable Om. (17.24)

After (uttering) the word tat, acts of sacrifice and austerity as also the various acts of charity are performed without regard for results by persons aspiring for Liberation. (17.25)

The word sat is used with regard to (something) coming into being and with regard to (someone) becoming good. So also, son of Partha, the word sat is used with regard to an auspicious rite. (17.26)

And that steadfastness in sacrifice, austerity and charity is spoken of as sat. And even the action meant for these is, verily, called as sat (good). (17.27)

O son of Partha, whatever is offered in sacrifice and given in charity, as also whatever austerity is undertaken or whatever is done without faith, is said to be of no avail. And it is of no consequence after death, nor here. (17.28)

Verse 18.01

Dr. Prasad

Arjuna said: I wish to know the nature of renunciation and sacrifice, and the difference between the two, O Lord Krishna. (18.01)

Gita as it is

Arjuna said: O mighty-armed one, I wish to understand the purpose of renunciation [tyaga] and of the renounced order of life [sannyasa], O killer of the Kesi demon, master of the senses. (18.01)


(1) Arjuna said: I desire, O Mighty-armed (Krsna), to know the true nature of renunciation and of relinquishment, O Hrsikesa (Krsna), severally, O Kesinisudana (Krsna).

Swami Gambhirananda

Arjuna said: O mighty – armed Hrsikesa , O slayer of (the demon) Kesi, I want to know severally the truth about sannyasa as also about tyaga. (18.01)

Verse 18.02-06

Dr. Prasad

Lord Krishna said: The sages define renunciation as abstaining from all work for personal profit. The wise define sacrifice as the sacrifice of, and the freedom from, the selfish attachment to the fruits of all work. (See also 5.01, 5.05, and 6.01) (18.02)

Some philosophers say that all work is full of faults and should be given up, while others say that acts of sacrifice, charity, and austerity should not be abandoned. (18.03)

O Arjuna, listen to My conclusion about sacrifice. Sacrifice is said to be of three types. (18.04)

Acts of service, charity, and austerity should not be abandoned, but should be performed, because service, charity, and austerity are the purifiers of the wise. (18.05)

Even these obligatory works should be performed without attachment to the fruits. This is My definite supreme advice, O Arjuna. (18.06)

Gita as it is

The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: The giving up of activities that are based on material desire is what great learned men call the renounced order of life [sannyasa]. And giving up the results of all activities is what the wise call renunciation [tyaga]. (18.02)

Some learned men declare that all kinds of fruitive activities should be given up as faulty, yet other sages maintain that acts of sacrifice, charity and penance should never be abandoned. (18.03)

O best of the Bharatas, now hear My judgment about renunciation. O tiger among men, renunciation is declared in the scriptures to be of three kinds. (18.04)

Acts of sacrifice, charity and penance are not to be given up; they must be performed. Indeed, sacrifice, charity and penance purify even the great souls. (18.05)

All these activities should be performed without attachment or any expectation of result. They should be performed as a matter of duty, O son of Prtha. That is My final opinion. (18.06)


(2) The Blessed Lord said: The wise understand by “renunciation” the giving up of works prompted by desire: the abandonment of the fruits of all works, the learned declare, is relinquishment.

(3) ‘Action should be given up as an evil,’ say some learned men: others declare that ‘acts of sacrifice, gift and penance not to be given up’.

(4) Hear now from Me, O Best of the Bharatas (Arjuna), the truth about relinquishment: relinquishment, O Best of men (Arjuna), has been explained as threefold.

(5) Acts of sacrifice, gift and penance are not to be relinquished but should be performed. For sacrifice, gift and penance are purifiers of the wise.

(6) But even these works ought to be performed, giving up attachment and desire for fruits. This, O Partha (Arjuna), is my decided and final view.

Swami Gambhirananda

The Blessed Lord said: The learned ones who know sanyasa to be the giving up of actions done with a desire for reward. The adepts call the abandonment of the results of all works as tayaga. (18.02)

Some learned persons say that action, beset with evil (as it is), should be given up, and others (say) that the practice of sacrifice, charity and austerity should not be given up. (18.03)

O the most excellent among the descendants of the Bharata, hear from Me the firm conclusion regarding that tayaga. For, O greatest among men, tayaga has been clearly declared to be of three kinds. (18.04)

The practice of sacrifice, charity and austerity is not to be abandoned; it is surely to be undertaken. Sacrifice, charity and austerity are verily the purifiers of the wise. (18.05)

But even these actions have to be undertaken by renouncing attachment and (hankering for) results. This is my firm and best conclusion, O Partha. (18.06)

Verse 18.07-12

Dr. Prasad

Giving up one’s duty is not proper. The abandonment of obligatory work is due to delusion, and is declared to be in the mode of ignorance. (18.07)

One who abandons duty merely because it is difficult, or because of fear of bodily trouble, does not get the benefits of sacrifice by performing such a sacrifice in the mode of passion. (18.08)

Obligatory work performed as duty, renouncing selfish attachment to the fruit, is alone regarded to be sacrifice in the mode of goodness, O Arjuna. (18.09)

The one who neither hates a disagreeable work, nor is attached to an agreeable work, is considered a renunciant (Tyagi), imbued with the mode of goodness, intelligent, and free from all doubts about the Supreme Being. (18.10)

Human beings cannot completely abstain from work. Therefore, the one who completely renounces the selfish attachment to the fruits of all works is considered a renunciant. (18.11)

The threefold fruit of works – desirable, undesirable, and mixed accrues after death to the one who is not a renunciant (Tyagi), but never to a Tyagi. (18.12)

Gita as it is

Prescribed duties should never be renounced. If one gives up his prescribed duties because of illusion, such renunciation is said to be in the mode of ignorance. (18.07)

Anyone who gives up prescribed duties as troublesome or out of fear of bodily discomfort is said to have renounced in the mode of passion. Such action never leads to the elevation of renunciation. (18.08)

O Arjuna, when one performs his prescribed duty only because it ought to be done, and renounces all material association and all attachment to the fruit, his renunciation is said to be in the mode of goodness. (18.09)

The intelligent renouncer situated in the mode of goodness, neither hateful of inauspicious work nor attached to auspicious work, has no doubts about work. (18.10)

It is indeed impossible for an embodied being to give up all activities. But he who renounces the fruits of action is called one who has truly renounced. (18.11)

For one who is not renounced, the threefold fruits of action–desirable, undesirable and mixed–accrue after death. But those who are in the renounced order of life have no such result to suffer or enjoy. (18.12)


(7) Verify the renunciation of any duty that ought to be done is not right. The abandonment of it through ignorance declared to be of the nature of “dullness.”

(8) He who gives up a duty because it is painful or from fear of physical suffering, performs only the relinquishment of the ”passionate” kind and does not gain the reward of relinquishment.

(9) But he who performs a prescribed duty as a thing that ought to be done, renouncing all attachment and also the fruit-his relinquishment is regarded as one of “goodness.”

(10) The wise man, who renounces, whose doubts are dispelled, whose nature is of goodness, has no aversion to disagreeable action and no attachment to agreeable action.

(11) It is indeed impossible for any embodied being to abstain from work altogether. But he who gives up the fruit of action, he is said to be the relinquisher.

(12) Pleasant, unpleasant and mixed-threefold is the fruit of action accruing after death to those who have not relinquished: there is none whatever for those who have renounced.

Swami Gambhirananda

The abandoning of daily obligatory acts (nitya-karma) is not justifiable. Giving up that through delusion is said to be based on tamas. (18.07)

Whatever action one may relinquish merely as being painful, from fear of physical suffering, he, having resorted to renunciation based on rajas, will surely not acquire fruits of renunciation. (18.08)

Whatever obligatory duty is performed just because it is a bounden duty, O Arjuna, by giving up attachment and the result as well, – that renunciation is considered to be based on sattva. (18.09)

The man of renunciation, who has become imbued with sattva, who is wise and freed from doubts, does not hate unbefitting action, nor does he become attached to befitting activity. (18.10)

Since it is not possible for one who holds on to a body to give up actions entirely, therefore, he, on the other hand, who renounces results of the actions is called a man of renunciation. (18.11)

The three fold results of actions – the undesirable, the desirable, and the mixed – accrues after death to those who do not resort to renunciation, but never to those who resort to monasticism. (18.12)

Verse 18.13-18

Dr. Prasad

Learn from Me, O Arjuna, the five causes, as described in the Sankhya doctrine, for the accomplishment of all actions. They are: The physical body, the seat of Karma; the modes of material Nature, the doer; the eleven organs of perception and action, the instruments; various bioimpulses; and the fifth is the presiding deities of the eleven organs. (18.13-14)

Whatever action, whether right or wrong, one performs by thought, word, and deed; these are its five causes. (18.15)

Therefore, the ignorant one who considers one’s body or the soul as the sole agent due to imperfect knowledge does not understand. (18.16)

The one who is free from the notion of doership, and whose intellect is not polluted by the desire to reap the fruit; even after slaying these people, he or she neither slays nor is bound by the act of killing. (18.17)

The subject, the object, and the knowledge of the object are the threefold driving force to an action. The eleven organs; the act, and the agent or the modes of material Nature are the three components of action. (18.18)

Gita as it is

O mighty-armed Arjuna, according to the Vedanta there are five causes for the accomplishment of all action. Now learn of these from Me. (18.13)

The place of action [the body], the performer, the various senses, the many different kinds of endeavor, and ultimately the Supersoul–these are the five factors of action. (18.14)

Whatever right or wrong action a man performs by body, mind or speech is caused by these five factors. (18.15)

Therefore one who thinks himself the only doer, not considering the five factors, is certainly not very intelligent and cannot see things as they are. (18.16)

One who is not motivated by false ego, whose intelligence is not entangled, though he kills men in this world, does not kill. Nor is he bound by his actions. (18.17)

Knowledge, the object of knowledge, and the knower are the three factors that motivate action; the senses, the work and the doer are the three constituents of action. (18.18)


(13) O Mighty-armed (Arjuna), learn of Me, these five factors, for the accomplishment of all actions, as stated In the Samkhya doctrine.

(14) The seat of action and likewise the agent, the instruments of various sorts, the many kinds of efforts and providence being the fifth.

(13) Whatever action a man undertakes by his body, speech or mind, whether it is right or wrong, these five are its factors.

(16) Such being the case, the man of perverse mind who, on account of his untrained understanding, looks upon himself as the sole agent, he does not see (truly).

(17) He who is free from self-sense, whose understanding is not sullied, though he slay these people, he slays not nor is he bound (by his actions).

(18) Knowledge, the object of knowledge and the knowing subject, are the threefold incitement to action: the instrument, the action and the agent are the threefold composite of action.

Swami Gambhirananda

O mighty – armed one, learn from Me these five factors for the accomplishment of all actions, which have been spoken of in Vedanta in which actions terminate. (18.13)

The locus as also agent, the different kinds of organs, the many and distinct activities; and, the divine is here the fifth. (18.14)

Whatever action a man performs with the body, speech and mind, be it just or its reverse, of it these five are the causes. (18.15)

This being the case, anyone who, owing to the imperfection of his intellect, perceives the absolute Self as the agent, that man does not perceive (properly), and has a perverted intellect. (18.16)

He who has not the feeling of egotism, whose intellect is not tainted, he does not kill, nor does he become bound – even by killing these creatures! (18.17)

Knowledge, the object of knowledge and the knower – this is the three fold inducement to action. The comprehension of actions comes under three heads – the instrument, the object, and the subject. (18.18)

Verse 18.19-22

Dr. Prasad

Self-knowledge, action, and agent are said to be of three types according to Sankhya doctrine. Hear duly about these also. (18.19)

The knowledge by which one sees a single immutable Reality in all beings as undivided in the divided; such knowledge is in the mode of goodness. (See also 11.13, and 13.16) (18.20)

The knowledge by which one sees different realities of various types among all beings as separate from one another; consider that knowledge to be in the mode of passion. (18.21)

The irrational, baseless, and worthless knowledge by which one clings to one single effect (such as the body) as if it is everything; such knowledge is declared to be in the mode of darkness of ignorance (18.22)

Gita as it is

According to the three different modes of material nature, there are three kinds of knowledge, action and performer of action. Now hear of them from Me. (18.19)

That knowledge by which one undivided spiritual nature is seen in all living entities, though they are divided into innumerable forms, you should understand to be in the mode of goodness. (18.20)

That knowledge by which one sees that in every different body there is a different type of living entity you should understand to be in the mode of passion. (18.21)

And that knowledge by which one is attached to one kind of work as the all in all, without knowledge of the truth, and which is very meager, is said to be in the mode of darkness. (18.22)


(19) Knowledge, action and the agent are said, in the science of modes, to be of three kinds only, according to difference in the modes. Hear thou duly of these also.

(20) The knowledge by which the one Imperishable Being is seen in all existences, undivided in the divided, know that knowledge is of “goodness.”

(21) The knowledge which sees multiplicity of beings in the different creatures, by reason of their separateness, know that that knowledge is of the nature of “Passion.”

(22) But that which clings to one single effect as if it were the whole, without concern for the cause, without grasping the real, and narrow is declared to be of the nature of “dullness.”

Swami Gambhirananda

Knowledge, action and agent are stated in the teaching about the gunas to be only of three kinds according to the differences of the gunas. Hear about them also as they are. (18.19)

Know that knowledge to be originating from sattva, through which one sees a single, undecaying, undivided Entity in all the diversified things. (18.20)

But know that knowledge to be originating from rajas which, amidst all things, apprehends the different entities of various kinds as distinct. (18.21)

But that (knowledge) is said to be born of tamas, which is confined to one form as though it were all, which is irrational, not concerned with truth and trivial. (18,22)

Verse 18.23-25

Dr. Prasad

The obligatory duty performed without likes and dislikes, and without selfish motives and attachment to enjoy the fruit, is said to be in the mode of goodness. (18.23)

Action performed with ego, with selfish motives, and with too much effort; is declared to be in the mode of passion. (18.24)

Action that is undertaken because of delusion; disregarding consequences, loss, injury to others, as well as one’s own ability is said to be in the mode of ignorance. (18.25)

Gita as it is

That action which is regulated and which is performed without attachment, without love or hatred, and without desire for fruitive results is said to be in the mode of goodness. (18.23)

But action performed with great effort by one seeking to gratify his desires, and enacted from a sense of false ego, is called action in the mode of passion. (18.24)

That action performed in illusion, in disregard of scriptural injunctions, and without concern for future bondage or for violence or distress caused to others is said to be in the mode of ignorance. (18.25)


(23) An action which is obligatory, which is performed without attachment, without love or hate by one undesirous of fruit, that is said to be of “goodness.”

(24) But that action which is done in great strain by one who seeks to gratify his desires or is impelled by self-sense, is said to be of the nature of “passion.”

(25) The action which is undertaken through ignorance, without regard to consequences or to loss and injury and without regard to one’s human capacity, that is said to be of “dullness.”

Swami Gambhirananda

The daily obligatory action which is performed without attachment and without likes or dislikes by one who does not hanker for rewards, that is said to be born of sattva. (18.23)

But that action is said to be born of rajas, which is done by one desirous of results or who is egoistic, and which is highly strenuous. (18.24)

That action is said to be born of tamas, which is undertaken out of delusion, (and) without consideration of its consequences, loss, harm and ability. (18.25)

Verse 18.26-28

Dr. Prasad

The agent who is free from attachment, is non-egotistic, endowed with resolve and enthusiasm, and unperturbed in success or failure is called good. (18.26)

The agent who is impassioned, attached to the fruits of their work, greedy, violent, impure, and is affected by joy and sorrow is called passionate. (18.27)

The undisciplined, vulgar, stubborn, wicked, malicious, lazy, depressed, and procrastinating agent is called ignorant. (18.28)

Gita as it is

One who performs his duty without association with the modes of material nature, without false ego, with great determination and enthusiasm, and without wavering in success or failure is said to be a worker in the mode of goodness. (18.26)

The worker who is attached to work and the fruits of work, desiring to enjoy those fruits, and who is greedy, always envious, impure, and moved by joy and sorrow, is said to be in the mode of passion. (18.27)

The worker who is always engaged in work against the injunctions of the scripture, who is materialistic, obstinate, cheating and expert in insulting others, and who is lazy, always morose and procrastinating is said to be a worker in the mode of ignorance. (18.28)


(26) The doer who is free from attachment, who has no speech of egotism, full of resolution and zeal and who is unmoved by success or failure–he is said to be of the nature of “goodness.”

(27) The doer who is swayed by passion, who eagerly seeks the fruit of his works, who is greedy, of harmful nature, impure, who is moved by joy and sorrow-he is said to be of “passionate” nature.

(28) The doer who is unbalanced, vulgar, obstinate, deceitful, malicious, indolent, despondent and procrastinating, he is said to be of the nature of “dullness.”

Swami Gambhirananda

The agent who is free from attachment, not egoistic, endowed with fortitude and diligence, and unperturbed by success and failure, is said to be possessed of sattva. (18.26)

The agent who has attachment, who is desirous of the results of actions, cruel by nature unclean and subject to joy and sorrow, is declared to be possessed of rajas. (18.27)

The agent who is unsteady, naïve, unbending, deceitful, wicked, lazy, morose and procrastinating is said to be possessed of tamas. (18.28)

Verse 18.29-32

Dr. Prasad

Now hear the threefold division of intellect and resolve, based on modes of material Nature, as explained by Me fully and separately, O Arjuna. (18.29)

O Arjuna, the intellect by which one understands the path of work and the path of renunciation, right and wrong action, fear and fearlessness, bondage and liberation, that intellect is in the mode of goodness. (18.30)

The intellect by which one cannot distinguish between righteousness (Dharma) and unrighteousness (Adharma), and right and wrong action; that intellect is in the mode of passion, O Arjuna. (18.31)

The intellect when covered by ignorance accepts unrighteousness (Adharma) as righteousness (Dharma), and thinks everything to be that which it is not, is in the mode of ignorance, O Arjuna. (18.32)

Gita as it is

O winner of wealth, now please listen as I tell you in detail of the different kinds of understanding and determination, according to the three modes of material nature. (18.29)

O son of Prtha, that understanding by which one knows what ought to be done and what ought not to be done, what is to be feared and what is not to be feared, what is binding and what is liberating, is in the mode of goodness. (18.30)

O son of Prtha, that understanding which cannot distinguish between religion and irreligion, between action that should be done and action that should not be done, is in the mode of passion. (18.31)

That understanding which considers irreligion to be religion and religion to be irreligion, under the spell of illusion and darkness, and strives always in the wrong direction, O Partha, is in the mode of ignorance. (18.32)


(29) Hear now the threefold distinction of understanding as also of steadiness, O Winner of wealth (Arjuna), according to the modes, to be set forth fully and separately.

(30) The understanding which knows action and non-action, what ought to be done and what ought not to be done, what is to be feared and what is not to be feared, what binds and what frees the soul (that understanding), O Partha (Arjuna), is of the nature of “goodness.”

(31) That by which one knows in a mistaken way the right and the wrong, what ought to be done and what ought not to be done–that understanding, O Partha (Arjuna), is of the nature of “passion.”

(32) That which, enveloped in darkness, conceives as right what is wrong and sees all things in a perverted way (contrary to the truth), that understanding, O Partha (Arjuna), is of the nature of “dullness”.

Swami Gambhirananda

O Dhananjaya, listen to the classification of the intellect as also fortitude, which is threefold according to the gunas, while it is being stated elaborately and severally. (18.29)

O Partha, that intellect is born of sattva which understands action and withdrawal, duty and what is not duty, the sources of fear and fearlessness, and bondage and freedom. (18.30)

O Partha, that intellect is born of rajas with which one wrongly understands virtue and vice as also what ought to be done and ought not to be done. (18.31)

Partha, that intellect is born of tamas which, being covered by darkness, considers vice as virtue, and verily perceives all things contrary to what they are. (18.32)

Verse 18.33-35

Dr. Prasad

The resolve by which one manipulates the functions of the mind, Prana (bioimpulses), and senses for God-realization only; that resolve is in the mode of goodness, O Arjuna. (18.33)

The resolve by which a person, craving for the fruits of work, clings to duty, accumulating wealth, and enjoyment with great attachment; that resolve, O Arjuna, is in the mode of passion. (18.34)

The resolve by which a dull person does not give up sleep, fear, grief, despair, and carelessness; that resolve is in the mode of ignorance, O Arjuna. (18.35)

Gita as it is

O son of Prtha, that determination which is unbreakable, which is sustained with steadfastness by yoga practice, and which thus controls the activities of the mind, life and senses is determination in the mode of goodness. (18.33)

But that determination by which one holds fast to fruitive results in religion, economic development and sense gratification is of the nature of passion, O Arjuna. (18.34)

And that determination which cannot go beyond dreaming, fearfulness, lamentation, moroseness and illusion–such unintelligent determination, O son of Prtha, is in the mode of darkness. (18.35)


(33) The unwavering steadiness by which, through concentration, one controls the activities of the mind, the life breaths and the senses, that, O Partha (Arjuna), is of the nature of “goodness.”

(34) The steadiness by which one holds fast to duty, pleasure and wealth desiring the fruit in consequence thereof-that, O Partha (Arjuna), is of the nature of “passion.”

(35) That steadiness by which a fool does not give up sleep, fear, grief, depression and arrogance, that, O Partha (Arjuna), is of the nature of “dullness”.

Swami Gambhirananda

O Partha, that firmness which is unfailing through concentration, with which one restrains the functions of the mind, vital forces and the organs, is born of sattva. (18.33)

But, O Partha, that firmness is born of rajas with which one holds on to righteousness, covetable things and wealth, being desirous of their fruits as the occasion for each arises. (18.34)

That firmness is considered to be born of tamas, due to which a person with a corrupt intellect does not give up sleep, fear, sorrow, despondency and also sensuality. (18.35)

Verse 18.36-40

Dr. Prasad

And now hear from Me, O Arjuna, about the threefold pleasure. The pleasure one enjoys from spiritual practice results in cessation of all sorrows. (18.36)

The pleasure that appears as poison in the beginning, but is like nectar in the end, comes by the grace of Self-knowledge, and is in the mode of goodness. (18.37)

Sensual pleasures appear as nectar in the beginning, but become poison in the end; such pleasures are in the mode of passion. (See also 5.22) (18.38)

Pleasure that confuses a person in the beginning and in the end; which comes from sleep, laziness, and carelessness; such pleasure is said to be in the mode of ignorance. (18.39)

There is no being, either on the earth or among the celestial controllers in the heaven, who can remain free from these three modes of material Nature. (18.40)

Gita as it is

O best of the Bharatas, now please hear from Me about the three kinds of happiness by which the conditioned soul enjoys, and by which he sometimes comes to the end of all distress. (18.36)

That which in the beginning may be just like poison but at the end is just like nectar and which awakens one to self-realization is said to be happiness in the mode of goodness. (18.37)

That happiness which is derived from contact of the senses with their objects and which appears like nectar at first but poison at the end is said to be of the nature of passion. (18.38)

And that happiness which is blind to self-realization, which is delusion from beginning to end and which arises from sleep, laziness and illusion is said to be of the nature of ignorance. (18.39)

There is no being existing, either here or among the demigods in the higher planetary systems, which is freed from these three modes born of material nature. (18.40)


(36) And now hear from Me, O Best of the Bharatas (Arjuna) three kinds of happiness. That in which a man comes to rejoice by long practice and in which he reaches the end of his sorrow.

(37) That happiness which is like poison at first and like nectar at the end, which springs from a clear understanding of the Self is said to be of the nature of “goodness.”

(38) That happiness which arises from the contact of the senses and their objects and which is like nectar at first but poison at the end–such happiness is recorded to be “passionate”.

(39) That happiness which deludes the soul both at the beginning and at the end and which arises from sleep, sloth and negligence–that is declared to be of the nature of ”dullness”.

(40) There is no creature either on earth or again among the gods in heaven, which is free from the three modes born of nature.

Swami Gambhirananda

Now hear from Me, O scion of the Bharata dynasty, as regards the three kinds of joy: That in which one delights owing to habit, and certainly attains the cessation of sorrows; (18.36)

That which is like poison in the beginning, but comparable to nectar in the end, and which arises from the purity of one’s intellect, – that joy is spoken of as born of sattva. (18.37)

That joy is referred to as born of rajas, which, arising from the contact of the organs and (their) objects, is like nectar in the beginning, but like poison in the end. (18.38)

That joy is said to be born of tamas, which, both in the beginning and in the sequel, is delusive to oneself and arises from sleep, laziness and inadvertence. (18.39)

There is no such entity in the world or, again among the gods in heaven, which can be free from the three gunas of Nature. (18.40)

Verse 18.41-44

Dr. Prasad

The division of human labor is also based on the qualities inherent in peoples’ nature or their make up. (See also 4.13) (18.41)

Those who have serenity, self control, austerity, purity, patience, honesty, transcendental knowledge, transcendental experience, and belief in God are labeled as intellectuals (Braahmans). (18.42)

Those having the qualities of heroism, vigor, firmness, dexterity, not fleeing from battle, charity, and administrative skills are called leaders or protectors (Kshatriyas). (18.43)

Those who are good in cultivation, cattle rearing, business, trade, finance, and industry are known as business men (Vaishyas). Those who are very good in service and labor type work only are classed as workers (Shudras). (18.44)

Gita as it is

Brahmanas, ksatriyas, vaisyas and sudras are distinguished by the qualities born of their own natures in accordance with the material modes, O chastiser of the enemy. (18.41)

Peacefulness, self-control, austerity, purity, tolerance, honesty, knowledge, wisdom and religiousness–these are the natural qualities by which the brahmanas work. (18.42)

Heroism, power, determination, resourcefulness, courage in battle, generosity and leadership are the natural qualities of work for the ksatriyas. (18.43)

Farming, cow protection and business are the natural work for the vaisyas, and for the sudras there is labor and service to others. (18.44)


(41) Of Brahmins, of Ksatriyas, and Vaisyas as also of Sudras, O Conqueror of the foe (Arjuna), the activities are distinguished, in accordance with the qualities born of their nature.

(42) Serenity, self-control, austerity, purity, forbearance and uprightness, wisdom, Knowledge and faith in religion, these are the duties of the Brahmin, born of his nature.

(43) Heroism, vigour, steadiness, resourcefulness, not fleeing even in a battle, generosity and leadership, these are the duties of a Ksatriya born of his nature.

(44) Agriculture, tending cattle and trade are the duties of a Vaisya born of his nature; work of the character of service is the duty of a Sudra born of his nature.

Swami Gambhirananda

O scorcher of enemies, the duties of the Brahmanas, the Kastriyas and Vaisyas as also of the Sudras have been fully classified according to the gunas born of Nature. (18.41)

The natural duties of the Brahmanas are the control of the internal and external organs, austerity, purity, forgiveness, straightforwardness, knowledge as also wisdom, and faith. (18.42)

The natural duties of the Kastriyas heroism, boldness, fortitude, promptness, and also not retreating battle, generosity, and lordliness. (18.43)

The natural duties of the Vaisyas are agriculture, cattle-rearing and trade. Of the Sudras, too, the natural duty is in the form of service, (18.44)

Verse 18.45-58

Dr. Prasad

One can attain the highest perfection by devotion to one’s natural work. Listen to Me how one attains perfection while engaged in one’s natural work. (18.45)

One attains perfection by worshipping the Supreme Being from whom all beings originate, and by whom all this universe is pervaded through performance of one’s natural duty for Him. (See also 9.27, 12.10) (18.46)

One’s inferior natural work is better than superior unnatural work even though well performed. One who does the work ordained by one’s inherent nature, without any selfish motive, incurs no sin (or Karmic reaction). (See also 3.35) (18.47)

One’s natural work, even though defective, should not be abandoned; because all undertakings are enveloped by defects as fire is covered by smoke, O Arjuna. (18.48)

The person whose mind is always free from selfish attachment, who has subdued the mind and senses, and who is free from desires attains the supreme perfection of freedom from the bondage of Karma by renouncing selfish attachment to the fruits of work. (18.49)

Learn from Me briefly, O Arjuna, how one who has attained such perfection, or the freedom from the bondage of Karma, attains Supreme Being, the goal of transcendental knowledge. (18.50)

Endowed with purified intellect, subduing the mind with firm resolve, turning away from sound and other objects of the senses, giving up likes and dislikes; living in solitude, eating lightly, controlling the mind, speech, and organs of action, ever absorbed in yoga of meditation, taking refuge in detachment; and after relinquishing egotism, violence, pride, lust, anger, and proprietorship; one becomes peaceful, free from the notion of “I, me, and my”, and fit for attaining oneness with the Supreme Being. (18.51-53)

Absorbed in the Supreme Being, the serene one neither grieves nor desires; becoming impartial to all beings, one obtains the highest devotional love for God. (18.54)

By devotion one truly understands what and who I am in essence. Having known Me in essence, one immediately merges with Me. (See also 5.19) (18.55)

A Karma-yogi devotee attains the eternal immutable abode by My grace even while doing all duties just by taking refuge in Me (by surrendering all action to Me with loving devotion). (18.56)

Sincerely offer all actions to Me, set Me as your supreme goal, and completely depend on Me. Always fix your mind on Me, and resort to Karma-yoga. (18.57)

You shall overcome all difficulties by My grace when your mind becomes fixed on Me. But, if you do not listen to Me due to ego, you shall perish. (18.58)

Gita as it is

By following his qualities of work, every man can become perfect. Now please hear from Me how this can be done. (18.45)

By worship of the Lord, who is the source of all beings and who is all-pervading, a man can attain perfection through performing his own work. (18.46)

It is better to engage in one’s own occupation, even though one may perform it imperfectly, than to accept another’s occupation and perform it perfectly. Duties prescribed according to one’s nature are never affected by sinful reactions. (18.47)

Every endeavor is covered by some fault, just as fire is covered by smoke. Therefore one should not give up the work born of his nature, O son of Kunti, even if such work is full of fault. (18.48)

One who is self-controlled and unattached and who disregards all material enjoyments can obtain, by practice of renunciation, the highest perfect stage of freedom from reaction. (18.49)

O son of Kunti, learn from Me how one who has achieved this perfection can attain to the supreme perfectional stage, Brahman, the stage of highest knowledge, by acting in the way I shall now summarize. (18.50)

Being purified by his intelligence and controlling the mind with determination, giving up the objects of sense gratification, being freed from attachment and hatred, one who lives in a secluded place, who eats little, who controls his body, mind and power of speech, who is always in trance and who is detached, free from false ego, false strength, false pride, lust, anger, and acceptance of material things, free from false proprietorship, and peaceful–such a person is certainly elevated to the position of self-realization. (18.51-53)

One who is thus transcendentally situated at once realizes the Supreme Brahman and becomes fully joyful. He never laments or desires to have anything. He is equally disposed toward every living entity. In that state he attains pure devotional service unto Me. (18.54)

One can understand Me as I am, as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, only by devotional service. And when one is in full consciousness of Me by such devotion, he can enter into the kingdom of God. (18.55)

Though engaged in all kinds of activities, My pure devotee, under My protection, reaches the eternal and imperishable abode by My grace. (18.56)

In all activities just depend upon Me and work always under My protection. In such devotional service, be fully conscious of Me. (18.57)

If you become conscious of Me, you will pass over all the obstacles of conditioned life by My grace. If, however, you do not work in such consciousness but act through false ego, not hearing Me, you will be lost. (18.58)


(45) Devoted each to his own duty man attains perfection. How one, devoted to one’s own duty, attains perfection, that do thou hear.

(46) He from whom all beings arise and by whom all this is pervaded-by worshipping Him through the performance of his own duty does man attain perfection.

(47) Better is one’s own law though imperfectly carried out than the law of another carried out perfectly. One does not incur sin when one does the duty ordained by one’s own nature.

(48) One should not give up the work suited to one’s nature, O Son of Kunti (Arjuna), though it may be defective, for all enterprises are clouded by defects as fire by smoke.

(49) He whose understanding is unattached everywhere, who has subdued his self and from whom desire has fled- he comes through renunciation to the supreme state transcending all work.

(50) Hear from me, in brief, O Son of Kunti (Arjuna), how, having attained perfection, he attains to the Brahman, that supreme consummation of wisdom.

(51) Endowed with a pure understanding, firmly restraining oneself, turning away from sound and other objects of sense and casting aside attraction and aversion.

(52) Dwelling in solitude, eating but little, controlling speech, body and mind, and ever engaged in meditation and concentration and taking refuge in dispassion.

(53) And casting aside self-sense, force, arrogance, desire, anger, possession, egoless and tranquil in mind, he becomes worthy of becoming one vvith Brahman.

(54) Having become one with Brahman, and being tranquil in spirit, he neither grieves nor desires. Regarding all beings as alike he attains supreme devotion to Me.

(55) Thorough devotion he comes to know Me, what My measure is and who I am in truth; then, having known Me in truth, he forthwith enters into Me.

(56) Doing continually all actions whatsoever, taking refuge in Me, he reaches by My grace the eternal, undying abode.

(57) Surrendering in thought all actions to Me, regarding as the supreme and resorting to steadfastness in understanding, do thou fix thy thought constantly on Me.

(58) Fixing thy thought on Me, thou shalt, by My grace, cross over all difficulties; but if, from self-conceit, thou wilt not listen (to Me), thou shalt perish.

Swami Gambhirananda

Being devoted to his own duty, man attains complete success. Hear that as to how one devoted to his own duty achieves success. (18.45)

A human being achieves success by adoring through his own duties Him from whom is the creation of creatures, and by whom is all this pervaded. (18.46)

Ones own duty, (though) defective, is superior to another’s duty well performed. By performing a duty as dictated by one’s own nature, one does not incur sin. (18.47)

O son of Kunti, one should not give up the duty to which one is born, even though it is faulty. For all undertakings are surrounded with evil, as fire is with smoke. (18.48)

He whose intellect remains unattached to everything, who has conquered his internal organs and is desieless, attains through monasticism the supreme perfection consisting in the state of one free from duties. (18.49)

Understand for certain from Me, in brief indeed, O son of Kunti, that process by which one has achieved success attains Brahman, which is the supreme consummation of Knowledge. (18.50)

Being endowed with pure intellect, and controlling ones self with fortitude, rejecting the objects – beginning from sound, and eliminating attachment and hatred; (18.51)

One who resorts to solitude, eats sparingly, has speech, body and mind under control, to whom meditation and concentration are ever the highest (duty), and who is possessed by dispassion; (18.52)

(That person) having discarded egotism, force, pride, desire, anger and superfluous possession, and serene, is fit for becoming Brahman. (18,53)

One who has become Brahman and has attained the blissful Self, does not grieve for desire. Becoming the same towards all beings, he attains supreme devotion to Me. (18.54)

Through devotion he knows Me in reality, as to what and who I am. Then having known Me in truth, he enters (into Me) immediately after that (Knowledge). (18.55)

Ever engaging even in all actions, one to whom I am the refuge, attains the eternal, immutable State through My grace. (18.56)

Mentally surrendering all actions to Me and accepting Me as the supreme, have your mind ever fixed on Me by resorting to the concentration of your intellect. (18.57)

Having your mind fixed on Me, you will cross over all difficulties thorough My grace. If, on the other hand, you do not listen out of egotism, you will get destroyed. (18.58)

Verse 18.59-60

Dr. Prasad

If due to ego you think: I shall not fight; this resolve of yours is vain. Because your own nature will compel you to fight. (18.59)

O Arjuna, you are controlled by your own nature-born Karmic impressions. Therefore, you shall do even against your will what you do not wish to do out of delusion. (18.60)

Gita as it is

If you do not act according to My direction and do not fight, then you will be falsely directed. By your nature, you will have to be engaged in warfare. (18.59)

Under illusion you are now declining to act according to My direction. But, compelled by the work born of your own nature, you will act all the same, O son of Kunti. (18.60)


(59) If indulging in self-conceit, thou thinkest “I will not fight,” vain is this, thy resolve. Nature will compel thee.

(60) That which, through delusion, thou wishest not to do, O son of Kunti (Arjuna), that thou shalt do even against thy will, fettered by thy own acts born of thy nature.

Swami Gambhirananda

That you think ‘I shall not fight’, by relying on egotism, – vain is this determination of yours. (Your) nature will impel you! (18.59)

Being bound by your own duty born of nature, O son of Kunti, you being helpless, will verily do that which you do not wish to do owing to indiscrimination. (18.60)

Verse 18.61-63

Dr. Prasad

The Supreme Lord – as the controller abiding in the inner psyche of all beings – causes them to work out their Karma like a puppet (of Karma created by the free will) mounted on a machine. (18.61)

Seek refuge in the Supreme Lord alone with loving devotion, O Arjuna. By His grace you shall attain supreme peace and the Eternal Abode. (18.62)

Thus the knowledge that is more secret than the secret has been explained to you by Me. After fully reflecting on this, do as you wish. (18.63)

Gita as it is

The Supreme Lord is situated in everyone’s heart, O Arjuna, and is directing the wanderings of all living entities, who are seated as on a machine, made of the material energy. (18.61)

O scion of Bharata, surrender unto Him utterly. By His grace you will attain transcendental peace and the supreme and eternal abode. (18.62)

Thus I have explained to you knowledge still more confidential. Deliberate on this fully, and then do what you wish to do. (18.63)


(61) The Lord abides in the hearts of all beings, O Arjuna, causing them to turn round by His power as if they were mounted on a machine

(62) Flee unto Him for shelter with all thy being, O Bharata (Arjuna). By His grace shalt thou obtain supreme peace and eternal abode.

(63) Thus has wisdom more secret than all secrets, been declared to thee by Me. Reflect on it fully and do as thou choosest.

Swami Gambhirananda

O Arjuna, the Lord resides in the region of the heart of all creatures, revolving through Maya all creatures (as though) mounted on a machine! (18.61)

Take refuge in Him alone with your whole being, O scion of the Bharata dynasty. Through His grace you will attain the supreme Peace and the eternal Abode. (18.62)

To you has been imparted by Me this knowledge which is more secret than any secret. Pondering over this as a whole, do as you like. (18.63)

Verse 18.64-67

Dr. Prasad

Hear once again My most secret, supreme word. You are very dear to Me, therefore, I shall tell this for your benefit. (18.64)

Fix your mind on Me, be devoted to Me, offer service to Me, bow down to Me, and you shall certainly reach Me. I promise you because you are My very dear friend. (18.65)

Setting aside (doership and attachment to the fruits of) all works, just surrender to (or gladly abide by) My Will. I shall liberate you from all sins or bonds of Karma. Do not grieve.. (18.66) 

This knowledge should never be spoken by you to one who is devoid of austerity, who is without devotion, who does not desire to listen, or who speaks ill of Me. (18.67)

Gita as it is

Because you are My very dear friend, I am speaking to you My supreme instruction, the most confidential knowledge of all. Hear this from Me, for it is for your benefit. (18.64)

Always think of Me, become My devotee, worship Me and offer your homage unto Me. Thus you will come to Me without fail. I promise you this because you are My very dear friend. (18.65)

Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reactions. Do not fear. (18.66)

This confidential knowledge may never be explained to those who are not austere, or devoted, or engaged in devotional service, nor to one who is envious of Me. (18.67)


(64) Listen again to My supreme word, the most secret of all. Well beloved art thou of Me, therefore I shall tell thee what is good for thee.

(65) Fix thy mind on Me; be devoted to Me: sacrifice to me: prostrate thyself before Me; so shalt thou come to Me. I promise thee truly, for thou art dear to Me.

(66) Abandoning all duties, come to Me alone for shelter. Be not grieved, for I shall release thee from all evils.

(67) Never is this to be spoken by thee to one who is not austere in life or who has no devotion in him or who is not obedient or who speaks ill of Me.

Swami Gambhirananda

Listen again to My highest utterance which is the profoundest of all. Since you are very dear to Me, therefore I shall speak what is beneficial to you. (18.64)

Having your mind fixed on Me, be My devotee, be a sacrificer to Me and bow down to Me. (Thus) you will come to Me alone. (This) truth do I promise to you. (For) you are dear to Me. (18.65)

Abandoning all forms of rites and duties, take refuge in Me alone. I shall free you from all sins. Therefore, do not grieve. (18.66)

This (that I have taught) you, should not ever be taught to one who is devoid of austerities and to one who is not a devotee; also, neither to one who does not render service, nor as well to one who cavils at Me. (18.67)

Verse 18.68-69

Dr. Prasad

The one who shall propagate this supreme secret philosophy the transcendental knowledge of the Gita amongst My devotees, shall be performing the highest devotional service to Me, and shall certainly come to Me. No other person shall do a more pleasing service to Me, and no one on the earth shall be more dear to Me. (18.68-69)

Gita as it is

For one who explains this supreme secret to the devotees, pure devotional service is guaranteed, and at the end he will come back to Me. (18.68)

There is no servant in this world more dear to Me than he, nor will there ever be one more dear. (18.69)


(68) He who teaches this supreme secret to My devotees, showing the highest devotion to Me, shall doubtless come to Me.

(69) There is none among men who does dearer service to Me than he; nor shall there be another dearer to Me in the World.

Swami Gambhirananda

He who, entertaining supreme devotion to Me, will speak of this highest secret to My devotees, will without doubt reach Me alone. (18.68)

And as compared with him, none else among human beings is the best accomplisher of what is dear to Me. Moreover, nor will there be anyone else in the world dearer to Me than he. (18.69)

Verse 18.70-77

Dr. Prasad

I promise the study of this sacred dialogue of ours will be equivalent to worshipping Me with knowledge-sacrifice. (18.70)

Whoever hears this sacred dialogue with faith and without cavil becomes free from sin, and attains heaven the higher worlds of those whose actions are pure and virtuous. (18.71)

O Arjuna, did you listen to this with single-minded attention? Has your delusion born of ignorance been completely destroyed? (18.72)

Arjuna said: By Your grace my delusion is destroyed, I have gained Self-knowledge, my confusion with regard to body and Spirit is dispelled and I shall obey Your command. (18.73)

Sanjaya said: Thus I heard this wonderful dialogue between Lord Krishna and Arjuna, causing my hair to stand on end. (18.74)

By the grace of sage Vyasa, I heard this most secret and supreme yoga directly from Krishna, the Lord of yoga, Himself speaking to Arjuna before my very eyes of clairvoyance granted by sage Vyasa. (18.75)

O King, by repeated remembrance of this marvelous and sacred dialogue between Lord Krishna and Arjuna, I am thrilled at every moment; and (18.76)

Recollecting again and again, O King, that marvelous form of Krishna I am greatly amazed and I rejoice over and over again. (18.77)

Gita as it is

And I declare that he who studies this sacred conversation of ours worships Me by his intelligence. (18.70)

And one who listens with faith and without envy becomes free from sinful reactions and attains to the auspicious planets where the pious dwell. (18.71)

O son of Prtha, O conqueror of wealth, have you heard this with an attentive mind? And are your ignorance and illusions now dispelled? (18.72)

Arjuna said: My dear Krsna, O infallible one, my illusion is now gone. I have regained my memory by Your mercy. I am now firm and free from doubt and am prepared to act according to Your instructions. (18.73)

Sanjaya said: Thus have I heard the conversation of two great souls, Krsna and Arjuna. And so wonderful is that message that my hair is standing on end. (18.74)

By the mercy of Vyasa, I have heard these most confidential talks directly from the master of all mysticism, Krsna, who was speaking personally to Arjuna. (18.75)

O King, as I repeatedly recall this wondrous and holy dialogue between Krsna and Arjuna, I take pleasure, being thrilled at every moment. (18.76)

O King, as I remember the wonderful form of Lord Krsna, I am struck with wonder more and more, and I rejoice again and again. (18.77)


(70) And he who studies this sacred dialogue of ours, by him I would be worshipped through the sacrifice of knowledge, so I hold.

(71) And the man who listens to it faith and without scoffing, even he, being liberated, shall attain to the happy worlds of the righteous.

(72) O Partha (Arjuna), has this been heard by thee with thy thought fixed to one point? O Winner of wealth (Arjuna), thy distraction (of thought) caused by ignorance been dispelled?

(73) Arjuna said: Destroyed is my delusion and recognition has been gained by me through Thy grace, O Acyuta (krsna). I stand firm with my doubts dispelled. I shall act according to Thy word.

(74) Samjaya said: Thus have I heard this wonderful dialogue between Vasudeva (krsna) and the high-souled Partha (Ariuna) causing my hair to stand on end.

(75) By the grace of Vyasa, I heard this supreme secret, this yoga taught by Krsna himself, the Lord of yoga, in person.

(76) O King, as I recall again and again this dialogue, wondrous and holy: of Kesava (Krsna) and Arjuna, I thrill with joy again and again.

(77) And as often as I recall that most wondrous form of Hari (Krsna), great is my astonishment, O King, and I thrill with joy again and again.

Swami Gambhirananda

And he who will study this sacred conversation between us two, which is conducive to virtue, by him I shall be adored through the Sacrifice in the form of Knowledge. This is My judgment. (18.70)

Any man who, being reverential and free from caviling, might even hear (this), he too, becoming free, shall attain the blessed worlds of those who perform virtuous deeds. (18.71)

O Partha, has this been listened to by you with a one-pointed mind? O Dhananjaya, has your delusion caused by ignorance been destroyed? (18.72)

Arjuna said: O Acyuta, (my) delusion has been destroyed, and memory has been regained by me through Your grace. I stand with my doubt removed; I shall follow your instruction. (18.73)

Sanjaya said: I thus heard this conversation of Vasudeva and of the great-souled Partha, which is unique and makes one’s hair stand on end. (18.74)

Through the favour of Vyasa I heard this secret concerning the supreme Yoga, from Krsna and the Lord of Yogas, while He Himself was actually speaking! (18.75)

And O King, while repeatedly remembering this unique, sacred dialogue between Kesava and Arjuna, I rejoice every moment, (18.76)

O King, repeatedly recollecting that greatly extraordinary form of Hari, I am struck with wonder. And I rejoice again and again. (18.77)

Verse 18.78

Dr. Prasad

Wherever there will be both Krishna, the Lord of yoga, or Dharma in the form of the scriptures, and Arjuna with the weapons of duty and protection; there will be everlasting prosperity, victory, happiness, and morality. This is my conviction. (18.78)

Gita as it is

Wherever there is Krsna, the master of all mystics, and wherever there is Arjuna, the supreme archer, there will also certainly be opulence, victory, extraordinary power, and morality. That is my opinion. (18.78)


(78) Wherever there is Krsna, the lord of yoga, and Partha (Arjuna), the archer, I think, there will surely be fortune, victory, welfare and morality.

Swami Gambhirananda

Where there is Krsna, the Lord of Yogas, and where there is Partha, the wielder of the bow, there are fortune, victory, prosperity and unfailing prudence. Such is my conviction, (18.78)

Dr. Prasad


The Farewell Message of Lord Krishna

Lord Krishna on the eve of His departure from the arena of this world, after finishing the difficult task of establishing righteousness (Dharma), gave His last parting discourse to His cousin brother Uddhava who was also His dearest devotee and follower. At the end of a long sermon comprising more than one thousand verses Uddhava said: O Lord, I think the pursuit of yoga as You narrated to Arjuna, and now to me, is very difficult, indeed, for most people; because it entails control of the unruly senses. Please tell me a short, simple, and easy way to God-realization. Lord Krishna upon Uddhava’s request gave the essentials of Self-realization (BP 11.06-29) for the modern age as follows:

(1) Do your duty, to the best of your abilities, for Me without any selfish motive, and remember Me at all times – before starting a work, at the completion of a task, and while inactive. (2) Practice to look upon all creatures as Myself in thought, word, and deed; and mentally bow down to them. (3) Awaken your dormant Kundalini power and perceive through the activities of mind, senses, breathing, and emotions that the power of God is within you at all times, and is constantly doing all the work using you as a mere instrument.

The Supreme Lord Krishna said: The one who wants to know Me, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, should only understand that I existed before creation, I exist in the creation, as well as after complete dissolution. Any other existence is nothing but My illusory energy (Maya). I exist within the creation and at the same time outside the creation. I am the all-pervading Supreme Lord who exists everywhere, in everything, and at all times.

‘Bhagavad Gita As It Is’ Text courtesy of The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust. Used with permission.”