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.
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. (See also 15.08)
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Restless senses, O Arjuna, forcibly carry away the mind of even a wise person striving for perfection.
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.
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.
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 ¾ the spiritual shore of peace and happiness.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Always perform your duty efficiently and without any selfish attachment to the results, because by doing work without attachment one attains Supreme.
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.
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.
The forces of Nature do all works. But due to delusion of ignorance people assume themselves to be the doer.
Do your duty dedicating all works to God in a spiritual frame of mind free from desire, attachment, and mental grief.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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 ¾ though engaged in activity ¾ does nothing at all, and incurs no Karmic reaction.
The Spirit shall be realized by the one who considers everything as a manifestation, or an act, of the Spirit.
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?
Acquiring transcendental knowledge is superior to any material sacrifice ¾ 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.
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.
As the blazing fire reduces wood to ashes; similarly, the fire of Self-knowledge reduces all bonds of Karma to ashes, O Arjuna.
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.
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.
But, true renunciation, O Arjuna, is difficult to attain without Karma-yoga. A sage equipped with Karma-yoga quickly attains Nirvana.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
One must elevate ¾ and not degrade ¾ 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.
A person is considered superior who is impartial towards companions, friends, enemies, neutrals, arbiters, haters, relatives, saints, and sinners.
Wheresoever this restless and unsteady mind wanders away, one should (witness it and) bring it under the watchful eye (supervision, control) of the Self.
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.
Those who perceive Me in everything, and behold everything in Me, are not separated from Me, and I am not separated from them.
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.
Lord Krishna said: Undoubtedly, O Arjuna, the mind is restless and difficult to restrain, but it is subdued by any constant vigorous spiritual practice ¾ such as meditation ¾ with perseverance, and by detachment, O Arjuna.
The unsuccessful yogi is instinctively carried towards God by virtue of the impressions of yogic practices of previous lives. Even the inquirer of yoga ¾ the union with God ¾ surpasses those who perform Vedic rituals.
And I consider the yogi-devotee ¾ who lovingly contemplates on Me with supreme faith, and whose mind is ever absorbed in Me ¾ to be the best of all the yogis.
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.
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
O Lord, You are as You have said; yet I wish to see Your divine cosmic form, O Supreme Being.
I am gambling of the cheats; splendor of the splendid; victory of the victorious; resolution of the resolute; and goodness of the good.
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.
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.
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.
I am the origin of all. Everything emanates from Me. The wise ones who understand this adore Me with love and devotion.
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?
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.
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.
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)
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.
Set aside all meritorious deeds and religious rituals, and just surrender completely to My will with firm faith and loving devotion. I shall liberate you from all sins, the bonds of Karma. Do not grieve.
One attains perfection by worshipping the Supreme Being ¾ from whom all beings originate, and by whom all this universe is pervaded ¾ through performance of one’s natural duty for Him.
By devotion one truly understands what and who I am in essence. Having known Me in essence, one immediately merges with Me.
Whatever is done without faith ¾ whether it is sacrifice, charity, austerity, or any other act ¾ is useless. It has no value here or hereafter, O Arjuna.
Speech that is non-offensive, truthful, pleasant, beneficial, and is used for the regular study of scriptures is called the austerity of word.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
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 ¾ including the mind ¾ of perception and activates them.
The one who shall propagate this supreme secret philosophy ¾ the transcendental knowledge of the Bhagavad-Gita ¾ 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.
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.
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.
The one who sees the same eternal Supreme Lord dwelling as Spirit equally within all mortal beings truly sees.
Goodness, activity, and inertia — these three modes or ropes material Nature fetter the eternal individual soul to the body, O Arjuna.
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)
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.
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.
Therefore, always remember Me and do your duty. You shall certainly attain Me if your mind and intellect are ever focused on Me.
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.
I am easily attainable, O Arjuna, by that ever steadfast devotee who always thinks of Me and whose mind does not go elsewhere.
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.
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 ¾ or affected by ¾ them; because I am the highest of all.
Look at the power of My divine mystery; in reality, I ¾ the sustainer and creator of all beings ¾ 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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
Therefore, focus your mind on Me, and let your intellect dwell upon Me alone through meditation and contemplation. Thereafter you shall certainly attain Me.
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)