silverbook9




hit
counter




Bhagavad-Gita

 

THE
BHAGAVAD-GITA

(The Sacred Song)

Revised
2020 Edition

(visit: www.gita-society.com/explanationRead.html

 for explanation and Audio Gita)

 

 

CONTENTS

(All 700 Verses only)

1. ARJUNA’S DILEMMA23

Introduction of the army commanders

Arjuna wants to inspect the army

Arjuna’s dilemma

Arjuna describes the evils of war

Going gets tough, even tough gets deluded

2. KNOWLEDGE OF GOD

Arjuna talks against the war 27

Teachings of the gita begins. 28

The spirit is eternal, body is transitory. 29

Death and transmigration of soul 30

Lord krishna reminds arjuna of his duty 31

Importance of karma-yoga. 32

The vedas deal with both aspects of life. 32

Theory and practice of karma-yoga. 33

Marks of a self-realized person. 35

Dangers of unrestrained senses. 35

Happiness through self-knowledge. 36

3. PATH OF DUTY (KARMA-YOGA)37

Why one shoiuld serve others?. 38

The first commandment of the creator 39

Leaders should set an example. 40

All works are the works of nature. 41

Stumbling blocks on the path of perfection. 42

Lust is the origin of sin. 42

How to control lust 43

4. PATH OF
RENUNCIATION w/ KNOWLEDGE…
43

Karma-yoga is an ancient law.. 43

The purpose of incarnation of God. 44

Path of worship and prayer 45

Attached, detached, forbidden action. 46

A karma-yogi is not bound by kārmic laws. 46

Different types of spiritual practices. 47

Acquiring knowledge is spiritual practice. 48

Knowledge is revealed to a karma-yogi 49

Knowledge, karma-yoga needed for nirvāna. 50

5. PATH OF
RENUNCIATION……………………..
50

Both paths lead to the supreme. 50

A karma-yogi works for God. 51

The path of self-knowledge. 52

Additional marks of a saintly person. 53

The path of devotional contemplation. 54

6. PATH OF
MEDITATION
55

A karma-yogi is also a renunciant 55

A definition of yoga and yogi 55

Mind is both a friend and an enemy. 55

Techniques of meditation. 56

Who is a yogi?. 58

Two methods to subdue the mind. 59

Destination of unsuccessful yogi 60

Who is the best yogi?. 61

7. KNOWLEDGE AND
ENLIGHTENMENT
61

Matter, consciousness, and spirit 62

The supreme spirit is the basis of everything. 62

Who seeks God?. 63

God can be seen in any image of worship. 64

8. THE ETERNAL BEING66

Supreme spirit, spirit, individual soul, karma. 66

Theory of reincarnation and karma. 67

A simple method of God-realization. 67

Salvation by meditating on God during death. 68

Everything in the creation is cyclic. 69

Two basic paths of departure. 69

Transcendental knowledge leads to salvation. 70

9. SUPREME KNOWLEDGE
and BIG
MYSTERY
71

Knowledge of the supreme, biggest mystery. 71

The theory of evolution and involution. 72

The ways of the wise and of the ignorant 72

Everything is manifestation of the truth. 73

Attaining salvation by devotional love. 74

Lord accepts and eats the offering of love. 75

There is no unforgivable sinner 75

The path of devotional love is easier 76

10. MANIFESTATION OF
THE GOD
76

God is the origin of everything. 76

God gives knowledge to his devotees. 77

Nobody can know the nature of reality. 78

Everything is a manifestation of the absolute. 79

Brief description of divine manifestations. 79

Creation is a very small fraction of the absolute. 81

11. VISION OF THE GOD81

The vision of God is the aim of a seeker 82

Lord krishna shows his cosmic form.. 82

One may not be prepared or qualified to see God. 83

Arjuna is frightened to see the cosmic form.. 85

We are only a divine instrument 86

Arjuna’s prayers to the cosmic form.. 86

One may see God in any form.. 88

God can be seen by devotional love. 89

12. PATH OF DEVOTION90

Worship a personal or an impersonal God?. 90

Reasons for worshipping a personal form of God. 90

The four paths to God. 91

Karma-yoga is the best way. 92

The attributes of a devotee. 92

One should sincerely try to develop divine qualities. 93

13. CREATION AND THE
CREATOR
93

The theory of creation. 93

The fourfold noble truth is a means of nirvāna. 94

God can be described by parables only. 95

Supreme spirit, spirit, and individual soul 96

The faith alone can lead to nirvāna. 97

Attributes of the spirit 98

14. THREE MODES
(GUNAS) OF NATURE
99

Beings are born from union of spirit and matter 99

Three modes of
nature bind the soul to the body.
99

Characteristics of three gunas of nature. 100

Three modes are vehicles of transmigration. 101

Nirvāna after transcending three modes of nature. 101

Process of rising above the three modes. 102

Bonds of gunas can be cut by devotional love. 103

15. THE SUPREME
PERSON
103

Creation is like a tree of the powers of māyā. 103

Cut the tree of attachment and attain salvation. 104

The embodied soul is the enjoyer 104

Spirit is the essence of everything. 105

The supreme spirit, spirit and the created beings?. 106

16. DIVINE AND THE
DEMONIC QUALITIES..
107

A list of major divine qualities for salvation. 107

A list of demonic qualities that must be given up. 108

Two types of human beings: wise and the ignorant 108

The destiny of the ignorant 110

Lust, anger, and greed are three gates to hell 110

One must follow the scripture. 110

17. THREEFOLD FAITH111

Three types of faith. 111

Three types of food. 112

Three types of sacrifices. 112

Austerity of thought, word, and deed. 113

Three types of austerity. 113

Three types of charity. 113

Threefold name of God. 114

18. MOKSHA BY GIVING
UP EGO
115

Definition of renunciation and sacrifice. 115

Three types of sacrifice. 115

Five causes of an action. 116

Three types of knowledge. 117

Three types of action. 118

Three types of agent 118

Three types of intellect 119

Three types of resolve, four goals of life. 119

Three types of pleasure. 120

Division of labor is based on one’s ability. 120

Moksha through duty, discipline, and devotion. 121

Kārmic bondage and the free will 123

Path of surrender, the ultimate path to God. 124

Highest service to God, and the best charity. 125

The grace of the gita. 125

Both Knowledge and action are needed. 126

 

 

A 10-minute
Gita for Daily Reading

Do
your duty to the best of your ability, O Arjuna, with your mind at­tached to the Lord. Give up
worry for and selfish
attachment
to the
results. Remain calm in both success and failure, because one has no control
over the results. The calmness of mind is the fruit of Nishkāma-Karma-yoga.
(2.48)

All
works are done by the forces (or Gunas) of Nature. Due to ignorance, people
assume themselves to be the doer and suffer from karmic bondage. We all are
just a
divine instrument and should help each other. (3.27)

As a
blazing fire reduces wood to ashes, similarly, the fire of Self-knowledge
removes all our past Karma and demonic qualities.
Spiritual knowledge is
the best purifier.
It opens
up the gates of Nirvana for us. (4.37)

Samnyāsa
or giving up the feeling of
doership and ownership (Kartā and Bhoktā), is
difficult to attain without Nishkām-Karma-Yoga (selfless service, Sevā). We are
just a trustee of
God-given wealth. Sevā gradually leads to Self-knowledge, faith, deep devotion,
and Mukti. (5.06)

One who sees Me everywhere and in everything, and sees everything in
Me, is not away from Me, and I am not away from him. Such a person loves all
and hates no one. (6.30)

After many births the wise ones surrender to
My will by realizing that everything is, indeed, another form of Brahman. The
One has become all
these
. Such
a great soul is very rare. (7.19)

Always remember Me before starting any work and do your duty.
Thus you shall certainly remember Me at the time of death and come to Me if
your mind and intellect are ever focused on Me. (8.07)

Whosoever
offers Me a leaf, a flower, a fruit, or water
with faith and devotion
¾ even mentally; I accept and eat the offering
of devotion by the faithful. (9.26)

O
Creator and Lord of all, God of gods, the Supreme person, and Lord of the
universe, only You know Yourself.
No one can know God, the Source of creation. (10.15)

The devotee
who offers all his or her
work as a worship to Me, who has
detached-attachment or no deep
attachment to anything, who is My devotee and depends on Me,
and who is
free from
enmity toward any creature, reaches Me. (11.55)

Lord Krishna
said: I consider the best yogis to be those devotees who worship with supreme
faith by fixing their mind on
My personal form. (12.02)

Dislike for sensual pleasures, absence of “I
and my”, thinking about pain and suffering in birth, old age, disease and death
leads to Self-knowledge and Nirvana. This
world is called the house of misery.
(13.08)

One who is always God-conscious
and depends on My will
and,
remains calm in pain and pleas­ure,
censure and praise, to whom a clod, a stone, and gold are alike, and to whom
the dear and the unfriendly are alike and is full of devotion, attains Me.
(14.24)

Moksha
is attained by those who are free from pride, desires and delusion (Moha); who
have controlled the evil of attachment,
who are always God conscious and
remains calm in gain and loss, victory and defeat. (15.05)

Lust
(for wealth, power, and sensual pleasures), anger, and greed are the
three gates of hell leading to
the down­fall (or reincarnation) of the individual soul. Uncontrolled sensual
desire is the root of all evils and misery. Therefore, one must learn to give
up these three. (16.21)

The
faith of each is according to one’s
own nature or Samskāra. One is known by one’s faith.
One can become
whatever one wants to be
(if he
constantly thinks about his goal with a burning desire and deep faith in God).
All we are is the result of our thoughts. (17.03)

Sensual
pleasures, appear as nectar in the beginning but become poi­son in the end, are
in the mode of passion. One should not get attached to sense pleasures. (18.38)

One who shall study and help propagate this supreme secret philosophy to
My devotees, shall be doing the highest devotional service (Bhakti) to Me,
shall be very dear to Me and shall certainly come to Me.
The gift of knowledge is the best gift. (18.68-69)

 

INTRODUCTION

The Gita is a doctrine of universal truth. Its message is
universal, sublime, and non-sectarian although it is a part of the scriptural trinity
of San
|tana Dharma, commonly known as Hinduism. The Gita is very
easy to understand in any language for a mature mind. A repeated reading with
faith will reveal all the sublime ideas contained in it. A few abstruse
statements are interspersed here and there, but they have no direct bearing on
practical issues or the central theme of Gita. The Gita deals with the most
sacred metaphysical science. It imparts the knowledge of the Self and answers
two universal questions: Who am I, and how can I lead a happy and peaceful life
in this world of dualities? It is a book of yoga, the moral and spiritual
growth for mankind, based on the cardinal principles of Hindu religion.

The message of the Gita came to
humanity because of Arjuna’s unwillingness to do his duty as a warrior because
fighting involved destruction and killing. Nonviolence or Ahims
|
is one of the most fundamental tenets of Hinduism. All lives, human or
non-human, are sacred. This immortal discourse between the Supreme Lord, Krishna, and His devotee-friend, Arjuna, occurs not
in a temple, a secluded forest, or on a mountain top but on a battlefield on
the eve of a war and is recorded in the great epic, Mah
|bh|rata.
In the Gita Lord Krishna advises
Arjuna to get up and fight. This may create a misunderstanding of the
principles of Ahims
| if the background of the war of Mah|bh|rata
is not kept in mind. Therefore, a brief historical description is in order.

In ancient times there was a king who
had two sons, Dhritar
|shtra and P|ndu. The former was born blind;
therefore, P
|ndu inherited the kingdom. P|ndu had five
sons. They were called the P
|ndavas. Dhritar|shtra
had one hundred sons. They were called the Kauravs. Duryodhana was the eldest
of the Kauravas.

After the death of king P|ndu
the P
|ndavas became the lawful king. Duryodhana was a very
jealous person. He also wanted the kingdom. The kingdom was divided into two
halves between the P
|ndavas and the Kauravas. Duryodhana was not satisfied with
his share of the kingdom. He wanted the entire kingdom for himself. He
unsuccessfully planned several foul plays to kill the P
|ndavas
and take away their kingdom. He unlawfully took possession of the entire
kingdom of the P
|ndavas and refused to give back even an acre of land
without a war. All mediation by Lord Krishna
and others failed. The big war of Mah
|bh|rata was thus inevitable. The P|ndavas
were unwilling participants. They had only two choices:
fight for their right as a matter of duty or run away from war and accept
defeat in the name of peace and nonviolence. Arjuna, one of the five P
|ndava
brothers, faced the dilemma in the battlefield whether to fight or run away
from war for the sake of peace.

Arjuna’s dilemma is, in reality, the
universal dilemma. Every human being faces dilemmas, big and small, in their
everyday life when performing their duties. Arjuna’s dilemma was the biggest of
all. He had to make a choice between
fighting the war and killing his most revered guru, very dear friends, close
relatives, and many innocent warriors, or running away from the battlefield for
the sake of preserving the peace and nonviolence. The entire seven hundred
verses of the Gita is a discourse between Lord Krishna
and the confused Arjuna on the battlefield of Kurukshetra near New Delhi, India,
in about 3,100 years BCE. This discourse was narrated to the blind king,
Dhritar
|shtra, by his charioteer,
Sanjaya, as an eye-witness war report.

The central teaching
of the Gita is the attainment of freedom or happiness from the bondage of life
by doing one’s duty. Always remember the glory and greatness of the creator,
and do your duty efficiently without being attached
to or affected by the results, even if that duty may at times demand
unavoidable violence. Some people neglect or give up their duty in life for the
sake of a spiritual life while others excuse themselves from spiritual
practices because they believe that they have no time. The Lord’s message is to
sanctify the entire living process itself. Whatever a person does or thinks
ought to be done for the glory and satisfaction of the Maker. No effort or cost
is necessary for this process. Do your duty as a service to the Lord and
humanity and see God alone in everything in a spiritual frame of mind. In order
to gain such a spiritual frame of
mind, personal discipline, austerity, penance, good conduct, selfless service,
yogic practices, meditation, worship, prayer, rituals, and study of scriptures,
as well as the company of holy persons, pilgrimage, chanting
of the holy names of God, and Self-inquiry are needed to purify the body, mind,
and intellect. One must learn to give up lust, anger, greed, and establish
mastery over the six senses (hearing, touch,
sight, taste, smell, and mind) by the purified intellect. One should always
remember that all works are done by the energy of nature and that he or she is
not the doer but only an instrument. One must strive for excellence in all
undertakings but remain calm in success and failure, gain and loss, and pain
and pleasure.

The ignorance of metaphysical
knowledge is humanity’s greatest predicament. A scripture, being the voice of
transcendence, cannot be translated. Language is incapable and translations are
defective to clearly impart the knowledge of the Absolute. In this rendering,
an attempt has been made to make it easy to read and understand. We have tried
to improve the clarity by adding words or phrases within parentheses in the
English translation of the verses. The translations of one hundred and
thirty-three (133) key verses are printed in underlined-bold and/or hilighted for the
convenience of beginners. We suggest that all our readers ponder, contemplate,
and act upon these verses. The
beginners and the busy persons should first read and understand the meaning of
these key verses
before delving deep into the bottomless ocean of
transcendental knowledge of the Gita. It is said that there is no human mind that cannot be
purified by a repeated study of the Gita
— just one chapter a week.

This book is dedicated to all my gurus
whose blessings, grace, and teachings
have been invaluable. It is offered to the greatest Guru, Lord Krishna, with love and devotion. May the Lord bless
those who repeatedly read this with peace, happiness, and the true knowledge of
the Self.

 

OM TAT SAT

Ramananda Prasad, Ph.D.

Fremont, CA (USA)

Revised in June,
2020

 

 



1. ARJUNA’S DILEMMA

(All 700 verses of the Gita)

 

(visit:
www.gita-society.com/explanationRead.html

for explanation)

King Dhritarāshtra said: O Sanjaya, assembled in the holy field of Kurukshetra and
eager to fight, what did my people and the P
āndavas do? (1.01) Sanjaya said: Seeing the battle
formation of the P
āndava’s army,
King Duryodhana approached his guru
and spoke these words: (1.02) O master, behold this mighty army of the sons of
P
āndu, arranged
in battle formation by your other talented disciple. There are many great
warriors, valiant men, heroes, and mighty archers.
I shall name a few of them for you. (1.03-06) Also know, O best among the men,
the distinguished ones on our side.

Introduction
of the army commanders

I shall name
the commanders of my army and many other heroes who have risked their lives for
me. They are armed with various weapons, and all 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 on all fronts,
protect our commander, Bhishma. (1.10-11) The mighty Bhishma, the eldest man of
the Kuru dynasty, roared as a lion and blew his conch
loudly, bringing joy to Duryodhana. (1.12) After that,

conches, kettledrums, cymbals, drums, and trumpets were
sounded together. The commotion was tremendous. (1.13) Then Lord Krishna and Arjuna, seated in a grand chariot yoked with white horses, blew their
celestial conches. (1.14) Krishna blew
His conch; then Arjuna and all other
commanders of various divisions of the army blew their respective conches. The tumultuous uproar, resounding through
earth and sky, tore the hearts of the Kauravas. (1.15-19)

Arjuna wants
to inspect the army

Seeing the
Kauravas standing, and the war about to begin with the hurling of weapons,
Arjuna, whose banner bore the emblem of Lord Hanum
āna, 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 Bhishma, Drona, and all other Kings, and
said to Arjuna: Behold these assembled Kauravas! (1.24-25) There, Arjuna

saw his
uncles, grandfathers, teachers,
maternal uncles, brothers, sons, grandsons, and comrades. (1.26)

Arjuna’s
dilemma

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 said: 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 and wealth. (1.32-33) I do not wish to kill 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 the sons of Dhritar
āshtra? Upon killing these felons, we shall incur only sin.
(1.36) Therefore, we should not kill our cousin brothers, the sons of Dhritar
āshtra. How can we be happy after killing our relatives, O Krishna? (1.37) Though they, blinded by greed, 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)

Arjuna
describes the evils of war

Eternal family
traditions and codes of conduct are destroyed with the destruction of the
family. 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, many social
problems arise. (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 rice-ball and water. (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)

 

When the
going gets tough, even tough ones can get deluded

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 the
sons of Dhritar
āshtra should
kill me with their weapons in battle while I am unarmed and unresisting. (1.46)
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)

2. KNOWLEDGE OF GOD

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) The Supreme Lord 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)

Arjuna talks against the war

Arjuna said: How shall I strike Bhishma and Drona, who are worthy of my
worship, 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 gurus 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 the sons of Dhritar
āshtra
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). I request You to tell me, decisively, what is better for me. I am
Your disciple. Teach me who has
taken refuge in You. (2.07) I do not perceive that gaining an unrivaled and
prosperous kingdom on this earth, or even lordship over the celestial
controllers (Devas), 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)

Teachings of the Gita begins

The Supreme Lord said: You grieve for those who
are not worthy of grief; and yet speak words of wisdom. The wise grieve 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 living
entity (Atm
ā, Jeeva, Jeevātmā) acquires a childhood body, a youth body, and an old age body during
this life; similarly, it acquires another body after death. The wise are not
deluded by this. (See also 15.08) (2.13)
The
contacts of the senses with the sense objects give rise to the feelings of heat
and cold, pain and pleasure. They are transitory and impermanent. Therefore,
learn to endure them, O Arjuna, (2.14) because a calm person— who is not
afflicted by these sense objects, and is steady in pain and pleasure— becomes
fit for immortality, O Arjuna. (2.15)

The spirit is eternal, body is transitory

The invisible Spirit (Sat, Atmā) is eternal, and the visible world
(including the physical body) is transitory. The reality of these two is indeed
certainly seen by the seers of truth. (2.16) The Spirit (Atm
ā) by which
all this universe is pervaded is indestructible. No one can destroy the
imperishable Spirit. (2.17) Bodies of the eternal, immutable, and
incomprehensible Spirit are perishable. Therefore, fight, O Arjuna. (2.18) One who thinks that Spirit is a
slayer, and one who thinks Spirit is slain, are both ignorant. Because 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 cause anyone
to be killed? (2.21)

Death and transmigration of soul

Just as a person puts on new garments after
discarding the old ones; similarly, the living entity 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. Spirit
cannot be cut, burned, wet, 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
this Spirit as such, you should not
grieve. (2.25) Even if you think that this living entity or body takes birth
and dies perpetually, even then, O Arjuna, you should not grieve like this.
Because, death is certain for one who is born, and birth is certain for one who
dies. Therefore, you should not lament over the inevitable. (2.26-27) All beings, O Arjuna, are
unmanifest— 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)
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 it. (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)

Lord Krishna reminds Arjuna of his

duty as a warrior

Considering also your duty as a
warrior, you should not waver. 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 (in 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)

Importance of Karma-yoga, the

selfless service

The wisdom of transcendental knowledge
has been imparted to you, O Arjuna. Now listen to the wisdom of Karma-yoga, the
selfless service (Sev
ā), endowed with which
you will free yourself from the bondage of action (Karma). (2.39) In Karma-yoga,
no effort is ever lost and there is no adverse effect. Even a little practice
of this discipline protects one from the great fear of birth and death. (2.40)
A Karma-yogi has a resolute determination for God-realization, O Arjuna, but
the desires of one who works to enjoy the fruits of work are endless and
many-branched. (2.41)

The Vedas deal with both material and spiritual aspects
of life

The misguided ones who delight in the
melodious chanting of the Vedas—
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 such ritualistic activities. (2.44) A portion of the
Vedas deals with three modes or states (Gunas) of the material Nature. Become
free from pairs of opposites; be ever balanced and unconcerned with the
thoughts of acquisition and preservation. Rise above the three states, 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)

Theory and practice of Karma-yoga

You have control over your respective duty only,
but no control or claim over the results. The fruits of work should not be your
motive. 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 attachment
to the results, and remaining calm in both success and failure. The calmness of
the mind is called Karma-yoga. (2.48)
Work
done with selfish motives is inferior by far to selfless service or Karma-yoga.
Therefore, be a Karma-yogi, O Arjuna. Those who work only to enjoy the fruits
of their labor are, in truth, unhappy. (because one has no control over the
results). (2.49)

A Karma-yogi becomes free from both
vice and virtue in this life itself. Therefore, strive for Karma-yoga. Working
to the best of one’s abilities without becoming attached
to the fruits of work is called Karma-yoga. (2.50)
Wise Karma-yogis are freed from the bondage of rebirth by
renouncing attachment to the fruits
of all work and attain a blissful divine state. (2.51) When your intellect
completely pierces 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 concentrating
on the Supreme Being, then you shall attain union with the Supreme Being in
trance (Sam
ādhi). (2.53) Arjuna said: O Krishna,
what are the marks of an enlightened person whose intellect is steady? How does
a person of steady intellect speak? How does such
a person sit and walk? (2.54)

Marks of a Self-realized person

The Supreme
Lord said:
When one is completely free from all
desires of the mind and is satisfied with the Eternal Being (Brahma) by the joy
of Eternal 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 a sage of steady intellect. (2.56)
Those who are not attached to anything, who are neither elated by getting
desired results, nor troubled by undesired results, their intellect is
considered steady. (2.57) When one can completely withdraw the senses from
sense objects, as a tortoise withdraws its limbs into the shell for protection,
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. The
craving also disappears from one who has known the Supreme Being. (2.59)

Dangers of unrestrained senses

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 Me 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 ideas arise from anger. The mind is
bewildered by delusion. Reasoning is destroyed when the mind is bewildered. One
falls from the right path when reasoning is destroyed. (2.63)

Attainment of peace and happiness through sense control
and Self-knowledge

A disciplined person, enjoying sense
objects with senses that are under control and free from likes and dislikes,
attains tranquility. (2.64) All sorrows are destroyed upon attainment of
tranquility. The intellect of such a
tranquil person soon becomes completely steady and united with the Eternal
Being. (2.65) There is neither Self-knowledge nor Self-perception to those who
are not united with the Eternal Being. Without Self-perception there is no
peace, and without peace there can be no happiness. (2.66)

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. (2.67)
Therefore,
O Arjuna, one’s intellect becomes steady when the senses are completely
withdrawn from 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)
(While most people sleep and make dream plans in the night
of the illusory world, a yogi keeps awake or detached
from the world while living in it.)

One attains peace when all desires
dissipate within the mind without creating any mental disturbance, just 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 (Br
āhmi) state of mind. Attaining this state, one is no longer
deluded. Gaining this state, even at the end of one’s life, a person attains
Brahma-Nirv
āna (or becomes one with the Absolute). (2.72)

3. PATH OF DUTY (KARMA-YOGA)

Arjuna said: If You consider 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) The Supreme Lord said: In this world, O Arjuna, a twofold
path of spiritual discipline has been stated by Me in the past— the path of
Self-knowledge (Jn
ānaYoga)
for the contemplative, and the path of unselfish work (Sev
ā, Karma-yoga) for the active. (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. (3.04) Because no one can remain actionless even for a moment, everyone
is driven to action— helplessly indeed— by the forces of nature. (3.05) The
deluded ones, who restrain their organs of action but mentally dwell upon the
sense enjoyment, are called hypocrites. (3.06)

Why one should serve others?

One who controls the senses by a trained and
purified mind and intellect, and engages the organs of action to selfless
service, is superior, O Arjuna. (3.07)
Perform
your obligatory duty because working is indeed better than sitting idle. Even
the maintenance of your body would be impossible without work. (3.08) Human beings are bound by work
that is not performed as a selfless service. Therefore, O Arjuna, becoming free
from attachment to the fruits of
work, do your duty efficiently as a service to Me. (3.09)

To help each other is the first commandment of the
creator

Brahmā,
the creator, in the beginning created human beings together with selfless
service (Sev
ā, Yajna, sacrifice) and said: By Yajna you shall prosper,
and Yajna shall fulfill all your desires. (3.10) Nourish the celestial
controllers (Devas) with selfless service, and they will nourish you. Thus
nourishing one another, you shall attain the Supreme goal. (3.11) The celestial
controllers, nourished by selfless service, will give you the desired objects.
One who enjoys the gift of Devas without offering them anything in return is,
indeed, a thief. (3.12) The righteous who eat the remnants of selfless service
are freed from all sins, but the impious who cook food only for themselves
(without first offering to Me, or sharing with others), in truth, eat sin.
(3.13) The living beings are born from food grains; grains are produced by
rain; rain comes (as a favor from Devas) if duty is performed as a selfless
service. (See also 4.32). Duty is prescribed in the Vedas. The Vedas come from
Brahma (Eternal Being). Thus the all-pervading Brahma is ever present in Sev
ā. (3.14-15) One who does not help to keep the wheel of creation in motion by
sacrificial duty (Sev
ā), and who rejoices
sense pleasures, that sinful person lives in vain, O Arjuna. (3.16)
For a Self-realized person, who rejoices only with the
Eternal Being, who is delighted with the Eternal Being and who is content with
the Eternal Being, there is no duty. (3.17) 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.
(3.18)

Leaders should set an example

Therefore, always perform your duty efficiently
and without any attachment to the
results, because by doing work without attachment
one attains the Supreme Being. (3.19) King Janaka and others attained
perfection (or Self-realization) by selfless service (Karma-yoga) alone. You
should also perform your duty with a view to guide people, and for the
universal welfare of society. (3.20)
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 un-obtained
that I should obtain, yet I engage in action. (3.22) If I do not engage in
action relentlessly, O Arjuna, people would follow the same path in every way.
These worlds would perish if I do not work, and I would be the cause of
confusion and destruction of all these people. (3.23-24) As the ignorant work,
O Arjuna, 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 minds of the ignorant,
who are attached to the fruits of
work, but should inspire others by performing all works efficiently without
attachment. (See also 3.29) (3.26)

All works are the works of Nature

All work is done by the energy and power of
nature, but due to delusion of ignorance, people assume themselves to be the
doer. (See also 5.09, 13.29, and 14.19) (3.27)
One who knows the truth, O Arjuna, about the role of the
forces of nature and work, does not become attached
to work, knowing very well that it is the forces of nature that work with their
instruments— our organs. (3.28) Those who are deluded by the illusive power (
Māyā) of Nature
become attached to the work 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 work to Me— 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 (or full attention and
sincerity) and free from cavil— are freed from the bondage of Karma. But those
who carp at My teaching and do not
practice should be considered ignorant of all knowledge, 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) The answer
comes:

Two major stumbling blocks on the path of perfection

Likes and dislikes for sense objects remain in the
senses. One should not come under the control of these two because they are,
indeed, two major stumbling blocks 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)

Lust is the origin of sin

Arjuna said: O Krishna,
what impels one to commit sin as if unwillingly and forced against one’s will?
(3.36) The Supreme Lord
said: It is lust (or intense desire for material and sensual pleasures), 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
becomes obscured by lust. (3.38)
O Arjuna, Self-knowledge becomes
covered by this insatiable fire of lust, the eternal enemy of the wise. (3.39) The senses, the mind, and the
intellect are said to be the seat of lust. Lust— by controlling the senses, the
mind, and the intellect— deludes a person by veiling 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)

How to control lust

The senses are said to be superior to
the body; the mind is superior to the senses; the intellect is superior to the
mind; and Spirit is superior to the intellect. (See also 6.07-08) (3.42) Thus, knowing the Spirit 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)

4. PATH OF RENUNCIATION

WITH KNOWLEDGE

Karma-yoga is an ancient law

The Supreme
Lord said:
I taught this Karma-yoga, the eternal
science of right action, to King Vivasv
ān.
Vivasv
ān taught it to Manu. Manu taught it to Ikshvāku. Thus handed down in succession the saintly Kings knew
this (Karma-yoga). After a long time the science of Karma-yoga was lost from
this earth. Today I have described the same ancient science to you because you
are my sincere devotee and friend. Karma-yoga is a supreme secret indeed.
(4.01-03) Arjuna said: You were born later, but Vivasv
ān was born in ancient time. How am I to understand that You
taught this Karma-yoga in the beginning of the creation? (4.04)

The purpose of incarnation of God

The Supreme Lord
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 My own material Nature, using My divine potential energy (Yoga-
Māyā). (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 (Mukti) by taking refuge in Me, becoming
fully absorbed in My thoughts, and becoming purified by the fire of
Self-knowledge. (4.10)

Path of worship and prayer

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) The four
divisions— based on aptitude and vocation— of human society were created by Me.
Though I am the author of this system of the division of labor, one should know
that I do nothing and I am eternal. (See also 18.41) (4.13)
Work or
Karma does 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 liberation also performed their duties with this
understanding. Therefore, you should do your duty as the ancients did. (4.15)

 

Attached, detached, and

forbidden action

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
(or selfish) action, the nature of detached
(or selfless) action, and also the nature of forbidden action. (4.17)

A Karma-yogi is not subject to

the Kārmic laws

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)
(To see inaction in action and vice
versa is to understand that the Lord does all the work indirectly through His
power by using us. He is the inactive actor. We are actively inactive because
we cannot do anything without the flow of His power. Therefore, we are not the
doer, just an instrument in His hands.)
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 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 K
ārmic reaction, good or bad. (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 K
ārmic reaction— by doing bodily action. (4.21) Content with
whatever gain comes naturally by His will, unaffected by pairs of opposites,
free from envy, calm in success and failure, though engaged in work, such a Karma-yogi is not bound by Karma. (4.22) The
one who is free from attachment,
whose mind is fixed in Self-knowledge, who does work as a service (Sev
ā) to the Lord, all Kārmic
bonds of such a philanthropic person
(Karma-yogi) dissolve away. (4.23) Brahma, the eternal Being, shall be realized by the one
who considers everything as a manifestation or an act of Brahma. (Also see
9.16) (4.24)

Different types of spiritual practices

Some Yogis perform the service of
worship to celestial controllers (Devas, guardian angels), 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 (Sam
ādhi) by offering inhalation into exhalation and exhalation
into inhalation as a sacrifice by using yogic 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 Eternal 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 them all to be born from Karma or
the action of body, mind, and senses. Knowing this, you shall attain salvation
(Moksha, Nirv
āna). (See also 3.14) (4.32)

Acquiring transcendental knowledge is a superior
spiritual practice

The acquisition and propagation of Self-knowledge
are superior to any material gain or gift, O Arjuna. Because all actions in
their entirety culminate in knowledge. (4.33)
Acquire this transcendental knowledge from a Self-realized
person by humble reverence, by sincere inquiry, and by service. The wise ones
who have realized the Truth will teach
you. (4.34) After knowing the Truth, O Arjuna, you shall not again become
deluded like this. By this knowledge you shall behold the entire creation
(first) within Me, the Supreme Being, then within your own higher Self (and
then see Me alone in everything). (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)

Transcendental Knowledge is revealed to a Karma-yogi

In truth, there is no purifier in this
world like the true knowledge of the Supreme Being. One who becomes purified by
Karma-yoga discovers this knowledge within, naturally, in course of time. (See
also 4.31, and 5.06, 18.78) (4.38) The one who has faith and is sincere in
yogic practices and has control over the senses, gains this transcendental
knowledge. Having gained this knowledge, one at once attains supreme peace.
(4.39) The irrational, the faithless, and the disbeliever (atheist) perish or
take repeated birth and death. There is neither this world, nor the world
beyond, nor happiness for the disbeliever. (4.40)

 

Both transcendental knowledge and Karma-yoga are needed
for
Nirvāna

Work (Karma) does not bind a person
who has renounced work by renouncing the fruits of work, and whose doubts about
the Self are completely destroyed by Self-knowledge, O Arjuna. (4.41)
Therefore, cut the ignorance-born doubt (about the Supreme Being) abiding in
your mind by the sword of Self-knowledge, resort to Karma-yoga, and get up for
the war, O Arjuna. (4.42)

5. PATH OF RENUNCIATION

Arjuna said: O Krishna,
You praise transcendental knowledge and also performance of selfless service.
Tell me, definitely, which one is
the better of the two. (See also 5.05) (5.01) The Supreme Lord said: The
path of Self-knowledge and the path of selfless service both lead to the
supreme goal. But, of the two, selfless service is superior to Self-knowledge.
(5.02) A person should be considered a true Samny
āsi
(renunciant) who neither likes nor dislikes. One is easily liberated from K
ārmic bondage by becoming free from the pairs of opposites,
O Arjuna. (5.03)

Both paths lead to the Supreme

The ignorant— not the wise— consider the path of
Self-knowledge (or renunciation) 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 Samnyāsi 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 Brahma. (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 Eternal
Being in all beings, is not bound by Karma though engaged in work. (5.07)

A Karma-yogi works for God

The wise (or Samnyāsi) 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, a Samny
āsi
believes that only the senses are operating upon their objects. (See also 3.27,
13.29, and 14.19) (5.08-09) One who does all work as an offering to the Lord— abandoning attachment to the results— remains untouched by K
ārmic
reaction or sin as a lotus leaf never gets wet by water. (5.10)
The Karma-yogis perform action— without attachment— with their body, mind, intellect, and senses
only for the sake of self-purification. (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 work. (5.12)

The path of Self-knowledge

A person who has completely renounced
the fruits of all works, lives happily, neither performing nor directing any
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. All these are done by the powers of Nature. (5.14)
The Lord does not take the responsibility for the good or evil deeds of anybody.
The Self-knowledge becomes covered by the veil of ignorance; thereby people
become deluded (and do evil deeds). (5.15) Transcendental knowledge destroys
the ignorance of the Self and reveals the Supreme, just as the sun reveals the
beauty of objects of the world. (5.16) Persons whose mind and intellect are totally merged in
Brahma (Eternal Being), who are firmly devoted to Brahma, who have Brahma as
their supreme goal and sole refuge, and whose impurities are destroyed by the
knowledge of Brahma, do not take birth again. (5.17)

Additional marks of an

enlightened person

An enlightened person (by perceiving the Lord in
all) looks at a learned and humble priest, 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 Eternal Being because the Eternal 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 Eternal Being, such a person eternally abides with Eternal Being.
(5.20) Such a person who is in union with the Eternal 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, in truth,
the source of misery, and have a beginning and an end. Therefore the wise, O
Arjuna, do 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 Eternal Being, who
rejoices Eternal Being (Brahma) within, and who is illuminated by
Self-knowledge; such a yogi attains
Brahma-Nirv
āna, 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) They who are free from lust and
anger, who have subdued the mind and senses, and who have known the Self,
easily attain Brahma-Nirv
āna. (5.26)

The third path— the path of devotional meditation and
contemplation

A sage is, in truth, liberated by
renouncing all sense enjoyments, fixing the mind between the eye brows,
equalizing the breath moving through the nostrils, keeping the senses, mind,
and intellect under control, having salvation (Mukti) as the prime goal, and
becoming free from lust, anger, and fear. (5.27-28) My devotee attains peace by
knowing Me (or Krishna,
the Supreme Being) as the enjoyer of sacrifices and austerities, as the great
Lord of all the universe, and the friend of all beings. (5.29)

 

6. PATH OF MEDITATION

 

A Karma-yogi is also a renunciant

The Supreme
Lord said:
One who performs the prescribed duty
without seeking its fruit (for personal enjoyment) is a renunciant (Samny
āsi) and a Karma-yogi. One does not become Samnyāsi merely by not lighting the fire, and one does not become
a yogi merely by abstaining from work. (6.01) O Arjuna, what they call
renunciation (Samny
āsa) is also known as Karma-yoga. 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)

A definition of yoga and yogi

For the wise who seeks to attain yoga
(of meditation, or the calmness of mind), Karma-yoga is said to be the means.
For the one who has attained yoga, the calmness 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)

Mind is both a friend and an enemy

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 calm, 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)

Techniques of meditation

A yogi, seated in solitude and alone,
should constantly try to contemplate 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 sacred Kusha 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
in front of the nostrils, 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 Brahma-Nirv
āna
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 who keeps awake. (6.16) But for the one who is
moderate in eating, recreation, working, sleeping, and waking, the yoga of
meditation destroys all sorrow. (6.17) A person is said to have achieved yoga, the union with the Eternal Being, when
the perfectly disciplined mind becomes free from all desires and gets
completely united with Brahma in Sam
ādhi
(trance). (6.18) A lamp in a spot sheltered (by the Eternal Being) from the
wind (of desires) does not flicker; this simile is used for the subdued mind of
a yogi, practicing meditation on the Eternal Being. (6.19)

When
the mind, disciplined by the practice of meditation, becomes steady, one
becomes content with the Eternal Being by beholding Him 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 Eternal Being, one is never separated from the
Absolute Reality. (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 tranquility of mind by totally
abandoning all desires, completely restraining the senses from the sense
objects by the intellect, keeping the mind fully absorbed in the Eternal Being
by means of a well-trained and purified intellect, and thinking of Me.
(6.24-25) Wheresoever
this restless and unsteady mind wanders away during meditation, one should just
witness it under the watchful eye
(or supervision) of the self. (6.26)

Who is a yogi?

Supreme bliss comes to a Self-realized
yogi, whose mind is tranquil, whose desires are under control, and who is free
from sin (or faults). (6.27) Such a
sinless yogi, who constantly engages his or her mind and intellect with the
Eternal Being, easily enjoys the infinite bliss of contact with Brahma. (6.28) Because of perceiving the
omnipresent Eternal Being abiding in all beings, and all beings abiding in the
Eternal Being; a yogi, who is in union with the Eternal Being, sees every being
with an equal eye. (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)

Two methods to subdue the mind

Arjuna said: O Krishna,
You have said that the yoga of meditation is characterized
by the calmness 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)
The Supreme Lord said:
Undoubtedly, O Arjuna, the mind is restless and difficult to restrain, but it
is subdued by constant vigorous spiritual practice 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)

Destination of unsuccessful yogi

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) Does he not perish like a dispersing
cloud, O Krishna, having lost both
(Yoga and Bhoga, the heavenly and 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) The
Supreme Lord 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
unsuccessful yogi is reborn in the house of the pious and prosperous after
attaining heaven and living there for many years, or such
a yogi is born in a family of enlightened yogis. 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 the Eternal Being by virtue of the impressions
(Samsk
āra) 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 sins (or imperfections) after gradually perfecting through many
incarnations, and reaches the
Supreme Abode. (6.45)

Who is the best yogi?

The yogi 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) I consider the yogi-devotee— who
lovingly contemplates 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)

7. KNOWLEDGE AND ENLIGHTENMENT

The Supreme
Lord 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) I shall impart you Self-knowledge,
together with enlightenment, after comprehending that nothing more remains to
be known in this world. (7.02) Scarcely one out of thousands of persons strives
for perfection of Self-realization. Scarcely one among those successful
strivers truly understands Me.
(7.03)

 

Definitions of matter, consciousness,

and spirit

The mind, intellect, ego, ether, air,
fire, water, and earth are the eightfold transformation (or division) of My
material energy (Prakriti). (See also 13.05) (7.04) The material energy is My lower Nature. My other
higher Nature is Spirit (Purusha) by which
this entire universe is sustained, O Arjuna. (7.05) Know that all creatures
have evolved from this twofold energy; and I— the Supreme Being (ParaBrahma, Krishna)— am
the source of origin, as well as dissolution of the entire universe. (See also
13.26) (7.06)

The Supreme spirit is the

basis of everything

There is nothing higher than Me, O Arjuna.
Everything in the universe is strung on Me, the Supreme Being, like jewels are
strung on the thread (of a necklace). (7.07)
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 lust and attachment. I am lust (Cupid) in human beings that is in
accord with righteousness (Dharma) (for the sacred and sole purpose of
procreation after marriage), O Arjuna. (7.10-11) Know that three modes (Gunas)
of material Nature— goodness, passion, and ignorance— also emanate from Me. I
am not dependent on, or affected by, the Gunas, but the Gunas are dependent on Me. (See also 9.04 and
9.05) (7.12) Human beings are deluded by the various aspects of these three
Gunas of material Nature; therefore, they do not know Me, who is eternal and
above these Gunas. (7.13)

Who seeks God?

This divine power (Māyā) of Mine,
consisting of three Gunas of
material Nature, is very difficult to overcome. Only those
who surrender unto Me easily cross over this
Māyā. (See also 14.26,
15.19, and 18.66) (7.14)
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 (
Māyā)
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.
(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. One who is steadfast
becomes one with Me and 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 K
ārmic impression (Samskāra),
resort to celestial controllers and practice various religious rites. (7.20)

God can be seen in an image of any desired form of
worship

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)

The ignorant ones— unable to understand
My immutable, incomparable, incomprehensible, and transcendental form (or
existence)— assume that I, the Supreme Being, am formless and take forms.
(7.24) Concealed by My divine power (
Māyā), I do not reveal Myself to the ignorant ones,
who do not know and understand My unborn, eternal, and transcendental form and
personality (and consider Me formless). (7.25)

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 Me
fully comprehend Brahma (or Eternal Being), the nature of Brahma, and Karma,
the power of Brahma. (7.29) The steadfast persons who know Me alone as the
basis of all— mortal beings, Divine Beings, and the Supreme Being— even at the
time of death, attain Me. (See also 8.04) (7.30)

8. THE ETERNAL BEING

Arjuna said: O Krishna,
who is the Eternal Being? What is the nature of the Eternal Being? What is
Karma? Who are the mortal beings? And who are Divine Beings? Who is the Supreme
Being, and how does He dwell in the body? How can You be remembered at the time
of death by those who have control over their minds, O Krishna?
(8.01-02)

Definition of supreme spirit, spirit, individual soul,
and Karma

The Supreme Lord said: The immutable Atmā (Spirit) is called
Brahma (Eternal Being). The nature (including the inherent power of cognition
and desire) of Brahma is called Adhy
ātma. The creative power of Brahma that causes
manifestation of the living entity is called Karma. (8.03)
Mortal beings are changeable.
Various expansions of the Supreme Being are called Divine Beings. I, the
Supreme Being reside inside the physical bodies as the supreme enjoyer and
divine controller (Ishvara), O Arjuna. (8.04)

 

Theory of reincarnation and Karma

The one who remembers Me exclusively,
even while leaving the body at the time of death, attains Me; there is no doubt
about it. (8.05) Remembering
whatever object one leaves the body at the end of life, one attains that
object, O Arjuna, because of the constant thought of that object (one remembers
that object at the end of life and achieves
it). (8.06)

A simple method of God-realization

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 as transcendental or beyond the material reality— at the time
of death with steadfast mind and devotion; making the flow of bioimpulses (life
forces, Pr
āna) rise up to the middle of two eye brows (or the sixth
Chakra) by the power of yoga and holding there, attains Krishna,
the Supreme Divine Person. (See also 4.29, 5.27, 6.13) (8.09-10) 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)

Attain salvation by meditating on God at the time of
death

When one leaves the physical body by controlling
all the senses, focusing the mind on God and Pr
āna (life forces) in
the cerebrum, engaged in yogic practice, meditating on Me and uttering OM— the sacred monosyllable sound power of Eternal
Being— one attains the supreme abode. (8.12-13) I am easily attainable, O
Arjuna, by that ever steadfast yogi 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 Brahm
ā, 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)

 

Everything in the creation is cyclic

Those who know that the day of the
creator (Brahm
ā) lasts one thousand Yugas (or 4.32 billion years) and that
his night also lasts one thousand Yugas, they are the knowers of day and night.
(8.17) All manifestations come out of the primary material Nature
(Adi-Prakriti) at the arrival of the day of Brahm
ā, the Creative
Power, and they again merge into the same at the coming of Brahm
ā’s night. (8.18) The same multitude of beings comes into existence again
and again at the arrival of the day of the creator (Brahm
ā); and are
annihilated, inevitably, at the arrival of Brahm
ā’s night. (8.19)

There
is another eternal transcendental existence— higher than the changeable material Nature (Prakriti)— that does not
perish when all created beings perish. This is called the Eternal Being (or
Brahma). This is also said to be the supreme abode. Those who attain My supreme
abode do not take birth again. (8.20-21) This supreme abode, O Arjuna, is
attainable by unswerving devotion to Me, within which
all beings exist and by which all
this universe is pervaded. (See also 9.04 and 11.55) (8.22)

Two basic paths of departure

O Arjuna, now I shall describe different paths
departing by which,
after
death, the yogis do or do not come back. (8.23)
Passing
gradually, after death, through celestial controllers of fire, light, daytime,
the bright lunar fortnight, and the six months of the northern solstice of the
sun, yogis who know the Self attain supreme abode (and do not come back to
earth). (8.24) Passing gradually, after death, through celestial controllers of
smoke, night, the dark lunar fortnight, and the six months of southern solstice
of the sun, the righteous person at­tains heaven and comes back to earth again.
(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 (Mukti, Nirv
āna), and the
latter leads to rebirth. (8.26)

Transcendental knowledge leads

to salvation

Knowing these two paths, O Arjuna, a
yogi is not bewildered at all. Therefore, O Arjuna, be steadfast in yoga with
Me at all times. (8.27) The yogi who knows all this goes beyond getting the
benefits of the study of the Vedas, performance of sacrifices, austerities, and
charities, and attains My Supreme
Eternal Abode. (8.28)

 

9. SUPREME KNOWLEDGE AND

THE BIG MYSTERY

The Supreme
Lord said:
I shall reveal to you, who do not
disbelieve, the most profound, secret, transcendental knowledge, together with
transcendental experience. Knowing this, you will be freed from the miseries of
worldly existence. (9.01)

Knowledge of the nature of the supreme is the biggest
mystery

This Self-knowledge is the king of all
knowledge, is the most secret, is very sacred, 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. I do not depend on 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. (9.05)
(Like a gold chain depends on gold, and the milk products depend
on milk. In fact, the gold chain
does not depend on gold; the chain is
nothing but gold. Similarly, 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.
(9.06)

The theory of evolution and involution

All beings merge into My Adi-Prakriti
(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 (
Māyā)— with the help of material Nature— creates all animate
and inanimate objects under My supervision; thus, the creation keeps on going,
O Arjuna. (See also 14.03) (9.10)

The ways of the wise and of

the ignorant

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), and they have
false hopes, false actions, false knowledge, and delusive qualities (See
16.04-18) of fiends and demons (and are unable to recognize Me). (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 and
propagating Self-knowledge. 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)

Everything is a manifestation

of the Absolute

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 also
the Rig, the Yajur, and the S
āma 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 absolute and the temporal, O Arjuna. (The
Supreme Being has become everything. See also 13.12
) (9.19)

Attaining salvation by devotional love

The doers of the rituals prescribed in
the Vedas, the drinkers of the nectar of devotion, 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 their good Karma. Thus following the
injunctions of the three 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 the
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 (Yajna) 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 deities go to the deities; worshippers of ancestors go to
the ancestors, and 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)

The Lord accepts and eats the offering of love and
devotion

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 by this attitude of
complete renunciation (Samny
āsa-yoga).
Becoming liberated, you shall come to Me.
(9.28)

There is no unforgivable sinner

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) If even 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)

The path of devotional love is easier

Anybody— including women, merchants, laborers, and the evil-minded— can attain
the supreme abode by just surrendering unto My will with loving devotion, O
Arjuna. (See also 18.66) (9.32) It should then be very easy for holy priests
and devout royal 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) Fix
your mind on 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)

10. MANIFESTATION OF GOD

The Supreme
Lord said:
O Arjuna, listen once again to My
supreme word that I shall speak to you, who are very dear to Me, for your
welfare. (10.01)

God is the origin of everything

Neither the celestial controllers
(Devas), nor the great sages know My origin because I am the origin of all
Devas 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, tranquility, pleasure, pain, birth, death,
fear, fearlessness, nonviolence, calmness, contentment, austerity, charity, fame, ill fame— these diverse qualities in
human beings arise from Me alone. (10.04-05) The seven great sages, four
Sanakas, and fourteen Manus, from whom all the creatures of the world were
born, originated 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.
Understanding this, the wise 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)

God gives knowledge to His devotees

I give knowledge and understanding of
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 Divine Being, the primal God, the unborn, and the omnipresent. All
sages have thus acclaimed You. The divine sage N
ārada,
Asita, Devala, Vy
āsa, and You Yourself tell me that. (10.12-13)

Nobody can know the real nature

of Reality

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, 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 am I to think of You, 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)

Everything is a manifestation of

the Absolute

The Supreme
Lord 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 Spirit abiding in the inner psyche
of all beings. I am also 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
supernatural controllers 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 god of fire, 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 sage Bhrigu among the great sages; I am the
monosyllable cosmic sound, OM, among the words; I am the silent repetition of
mantra (Japa) among the spiritual disciplines; and I am the Himalaya
among the mountains. (10.25)

A brief description of divine

manifestations

I am the holy fig tree among the
trees, N
ārada among the sages, and I am all other celestial rulers.
(10.26) Know Me as the celestial animal among the animals and the King among
men. I am the thunderbolt among weapons, and I am Cupid for procreation.
(10.27-28) I am the water god and the manes. I am the controller of death. I
was that great devotee of Mine, Prahl
āda.
I am 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 R
āma among the warriors. I am the crocodile among the sea
creatures and the holy Gangā river among the rivers. (10.31)

I
am the beginning, the middle, and the end of all creation, O Arjuna. Among
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 of all, and have
faces on all sides (or 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 Brihats
āma among the Vedic hymns. I am Gāyatri mantra among the Vedic 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
among the Vrishni family, Arjuna among the P
āndavas,
Vy
āsa among the sages, and Ushanā
among the poets. (10.37) I am the power of rulers, the statesmanship of the
seekers of victory, I am silence among the secrets, and the Self-knowledge of
the knowledgeable. (10.38) 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)

The manifest creation is a very small fraction of the
Absolute

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 small fraction of My divine
power (Yoga-
Māyā).
(10.42)

11. VISION OF THE COSMIC FORM

Arjuna said: My illusion is dispelled by the profound words of wisdom
You spoke out of compassion for me about the supreme secret of Eternal Being.
(11.01) O Krishna, I have heard from
You in detail about the origin and dissolution of beings and Your immutable
glory. (11.02)

The vision of God is the ultimate

aim of a seeker

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) The Supreme Lord 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 would 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)

Lord Krishna shows His cosmic form

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 marvelous visions with numerous divine ornaments, 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)

One may not be prepared or

qualified to see God

(Upon seeing 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 multitudes of beings,
all sages, celestial serpents, Lord Shiva, as well as Lord Brahm
ā seated on the lotus. (11.15) O Lord of the universe, I see You everywhere with
infinite forms, 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
massive radiance, difficult to behold, shining all around like the immeasurable
brilliance and blazing fire of the sun. (11.17)

I
believe You are the Supreme Being to be realized. You are the ultimate resort
of the universe. You are the Eternal Being 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 the entire
universe with Your radiance. (11.19) O Lord, the entire space between heaven
and earth in all directions is pervaded by You. 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 adore 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)

 

Arjuna is frightened to see

the Cosmic form

Seeing Your effulgent and colorful
form touching the sky; Your mouth
wide open and large shining eyes; I am frightened and find neither peace nor
courage, O Krishna. (11.24) Seeing
Your mouths with fearful tusks, glowing like fires of cosmic dissolution, I
lose my sense of direction and find no comfort. Have mercy on me, O Lord of
celestial rulers, refuge of the universe! (11.25) All my cousin brothers, along
with the hosts of other kings and warriors on 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 You are 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)

We are only a divine instrument

The Supreme
Lord 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 get up and attain glory. Conquer
your enemies, and enjoy a prosperous kingdom. All these warriors have already
been destroyed by Me. You are merely My 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)

Arjuna’s prayers to the Cosmic form

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 perfected ones 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 Brahm
ā, the creator of material worlds? O infinite Lord, O God of
all celestial rulers, O abode of the universe, You are both Sat (eternal) and
Asat (temporal), and the Supreme Being that is beyond both Sat and Asat. (See
also 9.19, and 13.12) (11.37)

You
are the primal God, the most ancient Person. You are the ultimate resort of all
the universe. You are the knower, the object of knowledge, and the supreme
abode. The entire universe is pervaded by You, O Lord of the infinite form.
(11.38) You are the controller of death, the fire, the wind, the water god, the
moon god, and Brahm
ā, the creator, as well as the father of Brahmā. 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 obeisances to You from all sides. You are infinite valor and boundless
might. You pervade everything; 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 Y
ādava, O friend, etc., 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) I am delighted by beholding that which has never been seen before, 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)

One may see God in any form

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) The Supreme
Lord 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 anyone other than you in this human world.
(11.48)

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)

God can be seen by devotional love

The Supreme
Lord 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) One who dedicates all works to 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)

12. PATH OF DEVOTION

Should one worship a personal or an impersonal God?

Arjuna said: Which
of these has the best knowledge of yoga— those ever-steadfast devotees who thus
worship You (as Krishna,
Your personal aspect), or those who worship Your impersonal aspect, the Eternal
Being? (12.01) The Supreme Lord said: I consider the best yogis to be those
ever steadfast devotees who worship with supreme faith by fixing their mind on
Me as their personal god. (See also 6.47) (12.02)
They also attain Me who worship the unchangeable, the inexplicable, the invisible, the
omnipresent, the inconceivable, the unchanging,
and the immovable Eternal Being; restraining all the senses, even minded under
all circumstances, and engaged in the welfare of all creatures. (12.03-04)

Reasons for worshipping a

personal form of God

Self-realization is more difficult for those who
fix their mind on the impersonal, unmanifest, Eternal Being because
comprehension of the unmanifest by embodied beings is attained with difficulty.
(12.05)
But for those who worship Me with
unswerving devotion as their personal god, 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)

The four paths to God

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, O Arjuna, by practice of (any other)
spiritual discipline that suits you. (12.09) If you are unable even to do any
spiritual discipline, then be intent on performing your duty for Me. You shall
attain perfection just by working for Me (as an instrument, just to serve and
please Me, without any selfish motive). (See also 9.27, 18.46) (12.10) If you
are unable to work for Me, then just surrender unto My will and renounce (the
attachment to, and the anxiety for)
the fruits of all work with subdued mind (by learning to accept all results, as
God’s grace with calmness. (12.11)

 

Karma-yoga is the best way

The knowledge of scriptures is better than mere
ritualistic practice; meditation is better than scriptural knowledge; Ty
āga, or renunciation
of attachment to the fruits of work
is better than meditation; peace immediately follows Ty
āga. (See more on
renunciation in 18.02, 18.09) (12.12)

The attributes of a devotee

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 the yogi 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, quiet,
content with whatever one has, unattached
to a place (a country, or a house), calm, and full of devotion— that person is
dear to Me. (12.18-19)

One should sincerely try to develop

divine qualities

But those faithful devotees are very dear to Me
who set Me as their supreme goal and follow (or just sincerely try to develop)
the above mentioned nectar of moral values. (12.20)

13. CREATION AND THE CREATOR

The theory of creation

The Supreme
Lord 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 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 (or metaphysical)
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 the Brahma-Sutra. (13.04) The primary material Nature,
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)

The fourfold noble truth as

means of Nirvāna

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)
detached
attachment with family members,
home, etc.; unfailing calmness 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 Eternal Being, and seeing the omnipresent Supreme
Being everywhere— this is said to be (the means of) Self-knowledge. That which is contrary to this is ignorance. (13.09-11)

God can be described by parables and not in any other way

I shall fully describe the object of
knowledge— knowing which one attains
immortality. The beginningless Supreme Being is said to be neither eternal
(Sat) nor temporal (Asat). (See also 9.19, 11.37, and 15.18) (13.12) The
Eternal Being 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 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, the object of knowledge, appears
as: Brahm
ā, the creator; Vishnu, the sustainer; and Shiva, the
destroyer of all beings. (See also 11.13, and 18.20) (13.16)

The
Supreme Person is the source of all light. He is said to be beyond darkness (of
ignorance or
Māyā).
He is the Self-knowledge, the object of Self-knowledge, and seated in the inner
psyche (or the causal heart as
consciousness (See verse 18.61)) of all beings, He is to be realized by
Self-knowledge. (See also 15.06 and 15.12) (13.17) Thus the creation as well as
the knowledge and the object of knowledge have been briefly described by Me.
Understanding this, My devotee attains My supreme abode. (13.18)

A description of the supreme spirit, spirit, and
individual soul

Know that both the material Nature and
the Spiritual Being are beginningless. All manifestations and three states of
mind and matter, called modes or Gunas, are born of Prakriti. Prakriti is said
to be the cause of production of the physical body and the eleven organs of
perception and action. Purusha (Consciousness, Spirit) is said to be the cause
of experiencing pleasure and pain. (13.19-20) Purusha enjoys three modes of material Nature (Prakriti)
by associating with Prakriti. Attachment
to the Gunas (due to ignorance caused by previous Karma) is the cause of birth
of the living entity in good and evil wombs. (13.21)

Eternal
Being (Brahma, Atm
ā, Spirit) in
the body is also called the witness, the guide, the supporter, the enjoyer, the
great Lord, and also the Supreme Self. (13.22) They who truly understand
Spiritual Being (Purusha) and the material Nature (Prakriti) with its three
modes (Gunas) 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 Karma-yoga. (13.24)

The faith alone can lead to Nirvāna

Others, however, do not know the yogas
of meditation, knowledge, 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 in what they have heard. (13.25) Whatever
is born, animate or inanimate, know them to be born from the union of the
matter and Spirit, 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)

Because
of beholding one and the same Lord existing equally in every being, one does
not injure anybody and thereupon attains the supreme abode. (13.28) One who
perceives that all works are done by the powers (Gunas) of material Nature
(Prakriti) alone, and thus does not consider oneself as the doer, that person
truly understands. (See also 3.27, 5.09, and 14.19) (13.29) The moment one
discovers the diverse variety of beings and their ideas abiding in One and
coming out from That alone, one attains the Supreme Being. (13.30)

Attributes of the spirit

Because of being beginningless and
unaffectable by the 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, Spirit, abiding in all bodies, is
not tainted. (13.32) Just as one sun illuminates the entire world; similarly,
Eternal Being illumines (or gives life to) the entire creation, O Arjuna.
(13.33)

They attain the Supreme, who perceive
the difference between creation (or the body) and the creator (or the Atm
ā) with the eye of Self-knowledge,
and know the technique
(by using any one of
the five paths— Selfless service, Knowledge, Devotion, Meditation, and
Surrender
)
of liberation of the living entity (Jeeva) from the trap
of divine illusory energy (
Māyā). (13.34)

The
Vedas and Upanishads say: The Creator has become the creation.

 

14. THREE MODES (GUNAS) OF NATURE

The Supreme
Lord said:
I shall further explain to you that
supreme knowledge, the best of all knowledge, knowing which
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)

All beings are born from the union of spirit and matter

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 I am the
life-giving father. (14.04)

How three modes of material nature bind the soul to the
body

Goodness, passion (or activity) and ignorance (or
inertia)— these three modes (or ropes, Gunas) of material Nature (Prakriti)
fetter the eternal individual soul (Jeeva) to the body, O Arjuna. (14.05)
Of these, the mode of goodness is illuminating and good
because it is pure. It fetters the living entity by attachment
to happiness and knowledge, O sinless Arjuna. (14.06) Know that the mode of
passion is characterized by intense
craving and is the source of desire and attachment.
It 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. It binds the 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 Eternal Being); the mode of passion attaches to action; and the mode of ignorance attaches to negligence by covering Self-knowledge.
(14.09)

Characteristics of three

modes of nature

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 illuminates all the senses (or gates) 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 work,
restlessness, excitement, etc. arise. (14.12) O Arjuna, when inertia is
predominant, ignorance, inactivity, carelessness, delusion, etc. arise. (14.13)

Three modes are also the vehicles of transmigration for
the individual soul

One who dies when goodness dominates
goes to heaven— the pure world of knowers of the Supreme. (14.14) One who dies
when passion dominates is reborn attached
to action (or the utilitarian type). One who dies in ignorance is reborn as a
lower creature. (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 the mode of goodness; greed
arises from the 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 ignorant,
abiding in the lowest mode of ignorance, go to lower planets or hell (or take
birth as lower creatures). (14.18)

Attain Nirvāna after transcending three modes of material nature

When visionaries perceive no doer
other than the three modes of material Nature and know the Supreme, which is above and beyond these modes, then they attain
salvation (Mukti). (See also 3.27, 5.09, and 13.29) (14.19) When one transcends (or rises
above) the three modes of material Nature that create (and/or originate in) the
body, one attains immortality or salvation (Mukti) and is freed from the pains
of birth, old age, and death. (14.20)

The process of rising above

the three modes

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) The Supreme Lord said: One is said to have transcended the modes
of material Nature 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; who stays
firmly attached to the Lord without
wavering— thinking that only the modes of material Nature are operating.
(14.22-23) And 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 indifferent to honor and disgrace; who is impartial to friend and
foe; and who has renounced the sense of doership. (14.24-25)

 

Bonds of three modes can be

cut by devotional love

One who offers service to Me with love and
unswerving devotion transcends the three modes of material Nature and becomes
fit for BrahmaNirv
āna. (See also 7.14 and 15.19) (14.26) Because I
am the basis of the immortal Eternal Being, of everlasting order (Dharma), and
of the absolute bliss. (14.27)

15. THE SUPREME PERSON

Creation is like a tree created by

the powers of Māyā

The Supreme
Lord said:
Sages
talk about an eternal, ever changing
macrocosmic tree whose root is the Supreme Being and the trunk is Brahman. The Vedic
knowledge are its leaves. One who truly knows this tree is wise. (See also
10.08) (15.01) The branches of the
macrocosmic tree are spread all over the cosmos. The (other microcosmic) tree
(of life) on earth is nourished by the energy of material Nature; sense objects
are its sprouts; and below in the human world its roots of Karmic bondage are
present. (15.02)

(Both the macrocosmic universe and the
microcosmic tree of life on the earth are compared to an eternal tree in verses
15.01 and 15.02, respectively.
)

 

How to cut the tree of attachment

and attain salvation

The beginning, the end, the existence, or the real
form of this tree of life is not perceptible on earth. Having cut the deep
roots of this tree by the sharp ax of (Self-knowledge and) detachment, the Supreme goal should be sought, reaching which
one does not come back to the mortal world again. One should be always
thinking: I take refuge in that very primal person from which this primal manifestation comes forth. (15.03-04)

The wise reach
that eternal goal, who are free from pride and delusion, who have conquered the
evil of attachment, who constantly
dwell in the Supreme Self with all desires completely stilled, and who are free
from dualities of pleasure and pain. (15.05)
The sun does not illumine My supreme
abode, nor does the moon, nor the fire. Having reached
there people attain permanent liberation (Mukti) and do not come back to this
temporal world again. (See also 13.17 and 15.12) (15.06)

The embodied soul is the enjoyer

The eternal individual soul in the body of living
beings is, indeed, My integral part. It associates with the six sensory
faculties of perception— including the mind— and activates them. (15.07) Just
as the air takes aroma away from the flower; similarly, the individual soul
takes out the six subtle sensory faculties (or causal and subtle bodies) from
the physical body it casts off during death to the new physical body it
acquires in reincarnation (by the power of Karma). (See also 2.13) (15.08)
The living entity (Jeeva) enjoys sense pleasures using six
sensory faculties of hearing, touch,
sight, taste, smell, and mind. The ignorant cannot perceive Jeeva departing
from the body, or staying in the body and enjoying sense pleasures by
associating with the modes of material Nature. But those who have the eye of
Self-knowledge can see it. (15.09-10) The yogis, striving for perfection,
behold the living entity (Jeeva) abiding in their inner psyche (as consciousness), but the ignorant and those
whose inner psyche is not pure, even
though striving, do not perceive Him. (15.11)

Spirit is the essence of everything

Know the light energy to be Mine that
comes from the sun and illumines the whole world and is in the moon and in
fire. (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 life forces (Pr
āna
and Ap
āna), I digest all types of food. (15.14) And I am seated in the inner psyche of all beings. Memory, Self-knowledge, and
removal of doubts and wrong notions (about the Eternal Being by reasoning or in
trance (Sam
ādhi)) come from Me.
I am, in truth, that which is to be
known by the study of all the Vedas. I am, indeed, the author of the Ved
ānta and the knower of the Vedas. (See also 6.39)
(15.15)

What are the supreme spirit, spirit

and the created beings?

There are two entities (or Purushas)
in the cosmos: the changeable or
temporal Divine Beings (Kshara Purusha), and the unchangeable
Eternal Being (Brahma, Akshara Purusha). All created beings are subject to change, but the Eternal Being does not change. (15.16) The Supreme Being is beyond both the
Temporal Divine Beings and the Eternal Being. He is also called the Absolute
Reality or Param
ātmā, who sustains
both the Temporal and the Eternal by pervading everything. (15.17) Because I am beyond both the
Temporal and the Eternal, therefore, I am known in this world and in the Veda
as the Supreme Being (ParaBrahma, Param
ātmā, Purushottama, the
Absolute, Truth, Sat, Supersoul, etc.). (15.18)
The wise, who truly understand Me as the Supreme Being,
know everything and worship Me wholeheartedly, O Arjuna. (See also 7.14, 14.26,
and 18.66) (15.19) Thus, I have explained this most secret science of
Self-knowledge, O sinless Arjuna. Having understood this, one becomes
enlightened; one’s all duties are accomplished; and the goal of human life is achieved, O Arjuna. (15.20)

16. DIVINE AND THE DEMONIC QUALITIES

A list of major divine qualities that should be
cultivated for salvation

The Supreme
Lord said:
Fearlessness, purity of the 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, calmness, abstinence 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 the (twenty-six) qualities of those endowed with divine
virtues, O Arjuna. (16.01-03)

 

 

 

 

A list of demonic qualities that

should be given up

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 (Moksha); the demonic
qualities are said to be for bondage. Do not grieve, O Arjuna; you are born
with divine qualities. (16.05)

There are only two types of human beings: the wise and
the ignorant

Basically, there are
only two types or castes of human beings in this world: The divine, and the
demonic.
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 have neither
purity nor good conduct nor truthfulness. (16.07) They say that the world is
unreal, without a substratum, without a God, and without an order. The world is
caused by sexual union of man and woman alone and nothing else. (16.08)
Adhering to this wrong, atheistic 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, and 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 to fulfill 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. (16.15) Thus deluded
by ignorance, 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 sacrifice (charity,
Yajna etc.) 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 they deny My presence in their own body and in others’ bodies.
(16.18)

 

The destiny of the ignorant

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. (16.20)

Lust, anger, and greed are the

three gates to hell

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
and consequently attains the supreme abode. (16.22)

One must follow the scripture

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)

 

 

17. THREEFOLD FAITH

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)

Three types of faith

The Supreme
Lord 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 latent K
ārmic impressions or Samskāra). One is known by one’s faith. One can become
whatever one wants to be (if one constantly contemplates or visualizes the
object of desire with deep faith in God and a burning desire). (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)
Ignorant persons of demonic nature are those 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, and who senselessly torture the elements in
their body and also Me who dwells within the body. (17.05-06)

Three types of food

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. Such foods are liked by persons in the mode of
goodness. (17.08) People in the mode of passion like foods that are very
bitter, sour, salty, hot, pungent, dry, and burning; and cause pain, grief, and
disease. (17.09) People in the mode of ignorance like foods that are stale,
tasteless, putrid, rotten, refuse, and impure (such
as meat and alcohol). (17.10)

Three types of sacrifices

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, is 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)

Austerity of thought, word, and deed

The worship of celestial controllers,
the priest, the guru, and the wise; purity, honesty, celibacy, and nonviolence—
these are said to be 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)
Serenity
of mind, gentleness, calmness, self-control, and purity of thought— these are
called austerity of thought. (17.16)

Three types of austerity

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, yielding 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 said to be in the mode of ignorance.
(17.19)

Three types of charity

Charity that is given at the right
place and time as a matter of duty to a deserving candidate who does nothing in
return, is considered to be in the mode of goodness. (17.20) Charity that is given
unwillingly, or to get something in return, or to gain some fruit, is said to
be in the mode of passion. (17.21)
Charity that is given at a wrong
place and time to unworthy persons, or without paying respect to the receiver
or with ridicule, is said to be in the mode of ignorance. (17.22)

Threefold name of God

OM
TAT SAT’ is said to be the threefold name of the Eternal Being. Persons with
good qualities, the Vedas, and selfless service were created by and from Brahma
in the ancient time. (17.23) Therefore, acts of sacrifice, charity, and austerity prescribed in the scriptures
are always commenced by uttering ‘OM’ by the
knowers of the Supreme Being. (17.24) Various types of sacrifice, charity, and austerity are performed by the seekers
of salvation (Moksha) by uttering ‘TAT’ (or He is all) without seeking a
reward. (17.25) The word ‘SAT’ is used in the sense of Reality and goodness.
The word ‘SAT’ is also used for an auspicious act, O Arjuna. (17.26) Faith in
sacrifice, charity, and austerity is
also called ‘SAT’. Selfless service for the sake of the Supreme is, in truth,
termed as ‘SAT’. (17.27) Whatever
is done without faith— whether it is sacrifice, charity,
austerity, or any other act— is called ‘ASAT’. It has no value here or
hereafter, O Arjuna. (17.28)

 

18. MOKSHA
BY GIVING UP EGO

Arjuna said: I wish to know the nature of Samnyāsa and Tyāga and the
difference between the two, O Lord Krishna.
(18.01)

Definition of renunciation and sacrifice

The Supreme Lord said: The sages call Samnyāsa (Renunciation)
the complete renunciation of work for any personal profit. The wise define Ty
āga (Sacrifice) as
the sacrifice of, and the freedom from 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)

Three types of sacrifice

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 affliction, 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 attachment to the fruit,
is alone to be regarded as sacrifice in the mode of goodness, O Arjuna. (18.09)
One who neither hates a disagreeable work, nor is attached
to an agreeable work, is considered a sacrificer (Ty
āgi), 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, one who completely renounces attachment to the fruits of all work is considered a
Ty
āgi. (18.11) The threefold fruit of works— desirable, undesirable, and
mixed— accrues after death to the one who is not a Ty
āgi, but never to a Tyāgi.
(18.12)

Five causes of an action

Learn from Me, O Arjuna, the five
causes, as described in the S
āmkhya
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 Pr
ānas (bioimpulses, life forces); and the fifth is presiding
deities (of the eleven organs). (18.13-14) These are the five causes of
whatever action, whether right or wrong, one performs by thought, word and
deed. (18.15) Therefore, the ignorant, who consider one’s body or the soul as
the sole agent, do not understand due to imperfect knowledge. (18.16) 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 all these people— 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 (or impetus) to an
action. The eleven organs of perception and action, the act, and the modes of
material Nature are the three components of action. (18.18)

Three types of knowledge

Self-knowledge, action, and agent are
said to be of three types, according to the Guna theory of S
āmkhya 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; such knowledge is 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)

Three types of action

Obligatory duty performed without
likes and dislikes, attachment, and
desire 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 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)

Three types of agent

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, who desires the fruits of work, who is greedy,
violent, impure, and gets affected by joy and sorrow, is called passionate.
(18.27) The agent who is undisciplined, vulgar, stubborn, wicked, malicious,
lazy, depressed, and procrastinating, is called ignorant. (18.28)

 

 

Three types of intellect

Now hear Me explain fully and
separately, O Arjuna, the threefold division of intellect and resolve, based on
modes of material Nature. (18.29) O Arjuna, that intellect is in the mode of
goodness which understands the path
of work and the path of renunciation, right and wrong action, fear and
fearlessness, bondage and liberation. (18.30) That intellect is in the mode of
passion which cannot distinguish
between righteousness and unrighteousness, and right and wrong action, O
Arjuna. (18.31) That intellect is in the mode of ignorance which, when covered by ignorance, accepts
unrighteousness as righteousness and thinks everything to be that which it is not, O Arjuna. (18.32)

The four goals of human life

That resolve is in the mode of
goodness by which one manipulates
the functions of the mind, Pr
āna
(bioimpulses, life forces) and senses for God-realization only, O Arjuna.
(18.33) That resolve is in the mode of passion by which
one, craving for the fruits of work, clings to duty (Dharma), earning wealth
(Artha), and pleasure (K
āma) with great attachment.
(18.34) That resolve is in the mode of ignorance by which
a dull person does not give up sleep, fear, grief, despair, and carelessness, O
Arjuna. (18.35)

 

Three types of pleasure

And now hear from Me, O Arjuna, about
the threefold pleasure. The pleasure that 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 that appear as
nectars in the beginning, but become poison in the end, are in the mode of
passion. (See also 5.22) (18.38)
Pleasure that confuses a person in
the beginning and in the end as a result of sleep, laziness, and carelessness,
is 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)

Division of labor is based on

one’s ability

The division of labor into the four
categories (or Varna)—
Br
āhmana, Kshatriya, Vaishya, and Shudra— is also based on the
qualities inherent in people’s nature (or the natural propensities, and not
necessarily as one’s birth right), O Arjuna. (See also 4.13) (18.41)
Intellectuals who have serenity, self-control, austerity, purity, patience,
honesty, transcendental knowledge, transcendental experience, and belief in God
are labeled as Br
āhmans. (18.42) Those having the qualities of heroism,
vigor, firmness, dexterity, steadfastness in battle, charity,
and administrative skills are called Kshatriyas or protectors. (18.43) Those
who are good at cultivation, cattle rearing, business, trade, and industry are
known as Vaishyas. Those who are very good in service and labor type work are
classed as Shudras. (18.44)

Attainment of salvation through duty,

discipline, and devotion

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 incurs no
sin (or K
ārmic 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 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 all 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 the Supreme
Person, 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 relinquishing
egotism, violence, pride, lust, anger, and proprietorship— one becomes
peaceful, free from the notion of "I” 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 My Par
ā-Bhakti, the
highest devotional love. (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 Moksha, 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)
When
your mind becomes fixed on Me, you shall overcome all difficulties by My grace.
But, if you do not listen to Me due to ego, you shall perish. (18.58)

Kārmic bondage and the free will

If due to ego you think: I shall not
fight, your resolve is vain. Because your own nature will compel you to fight.
(18.59) O Arjuna, you are controlled by your own nature-born K
ārmic impressions (or Samskāra).
Therefore, you shall do— even against your will— what you do not wish to do out
of delusion. (18.60) The
Supreme Lord, Krishna, abiding as
the controller in the inner psyche
of all beings, O Arjuna, causes them to act (or work out their Karma) like a
puppet (of Karma) 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, I have explained the knowledge that is more secret than the
secret. After fully reflecting on this, do as you wish. (18.63)

Path of surrender is the ultimate

path to God

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, or ego) in all duties, just surrender (your ego)
completely to My Will or Law (with firm faith). I shall liberate you from all
sins, the bonds of Karma. Do not grieve. (18.66)

The meaning of
abandoning all duties and taking refuge in the Lord is that one should perform duty without ego and
attachment to results as a service to please the Lord, in the spirit of total
surrender to His Will and totally depend only on Him for help and guidance. The
Lord takes full responsibility for a person who totally depends on Him with a
spirit of genuine self-surrender.
Learn
to accept all results as His grace or divine Will.

The highest service to God, and

the best charity

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) The one who shall propagate (or help the
propagation of) this supreme secret philosophy (of the Gita) amongst My
devotees, shall be performing the highest devotional service to Me and shall
certainly (attain the Supreme Abode and) come to Me. (18.68) No other person
shall do a more pleasing service to Me, and no one on the earth shall be more
dear to Me. (18.69)

The grace of the Gita

Those who shall study our sacred
dialogue shall be performing a holy act of knowledge-sacrifice. This is My
promise. (18.70) Whoever hears or reads this sacred dialogue in the form of the
Gita 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 Atm
ā) is dispelled; and I shall obey Your command. (18.73) Sanjaya
said:
Thus, I heard this wonderful dialogue between Lord Krishna and Mah
ātmā Arjuna, causing my hair to stand on
end. (18.74) By the grace of (guru) sage Vy
āsa,
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 Vy
āsa). (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)

Both Knowledge and action are needed

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)

Thus
ends the Bhagavad-Gita

OM TAT SAT

 

 

EPILOGUE

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 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 looking 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 essence of
God-realization is also summarized in the four verses of the Bh
āgavata Mahā-Purāna as follows:

The
Supreme Lord Krishna said:
O Brahmā, the one who
wants to know Me, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Shri Krishna, should only understand that I existed
before creation; I exist in creation, as well as after dissolution. Any other existence
is nothing but My illusory energy (
Māyā).
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.

The Ten
Commandments of Hinduism according
to sage Patanjali (PYS 2.30-2.32), are: (1) Nonviolence, (2) Truthfulness, (3)
Non-steal­ing, (4) Celibacy or sense control, (5) Non-greed, (6) Purity of
thought, word, and deed, (7) Contentment, (8) Austerity or renuncia­tion, (9)
Study of scriptures, and (10) Surrendering to God with faith­ful loving
devotion.

Compare
these with the ten basic teachings of the Bible:
(1) Thou shall not kill; (2) Do not lie; (3) Do not steal; (4) Do not commit
adultery; (5) Do not covet; (6) Do not divorce your wife; (7) Do for others
what you want them to do for you; (8) If anyone slaps you on the right cheek,
turn the other cheek; (9) Love your neighbor as yourself; and (10) Love the
Lord with all thy heart.

The
Eightfold Noble Path of Buddhism is:
Right view, right thought, right speech, right deeds, right livelihood, right
effort, right resolve, and right meditation. Abstinence from all evil,
performance of good acts, and purification of the mind is the doctrine of
Buddha.

The
five cardinal principles of Islam
are: (1) Faith in God, His message, and His messengers; (2) Meditation and
prayer on the glory, greatness, and the message of God for spiritual growth;
(3) Helping others by giving charity; (4) Austerity for self-purification by
fasting in the month of Ramadan; and (5) Pilgrimage to the holy places.

All great
masters have given us Truth revealed by the Supreme. Krishna
taught us to feel spiritual oneness by seeing divinity in each and everyone.
Buddha taught us to purify ourselves and have compassion for all creatures.
Christ asked us to love all beings as we love ourselves. Muhammad taught us to
submit to the will of God and act like His instruments.

In some religions, however, only the
members of one’s own sect are considered favorites of God, and others are
consid­ered infidels. The Vedas teach not only mere religious tolerance but the
acceptance of all other religions and prophets as analogous to one’s own. The
Vedas say: Let noble thoughts come to us from everywhere (RV 1.89.01). The
dignity and welfare of humanity lie in the unity of races and religion (Swami
Harihar). True knowledge of relig­ion breaks down all barriers, including the
barriers between faiths (Gandhi). Any religion that creates walls of conflict
and hatred among people in the name of God is not a religion, but selfish
politics in disguise. We have no right to criticize any religion, sect, or cult
in any way. Differences in human interpretation of scriptures
¾
the transcendent voice
¾ are due to taking the literal meaning, prejudice,
ignorance, taking lines out of context, as well as distortion,
misinterpretation, and interpolation with personal selfish motives.