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Life is very complex in these days. The struggle for existence is very keen. Man finds no time to study big philosophical and religious books, or the whole of the Gita. Here is an abridged edition of the Gita which contains its quintessence for the use of students, doctors, advocates and busy people.

That man who merely studies daily even a few Slokas is not stained by Karma. He obtains perfect wisdom, Supreme Peace and eternal Bliss and Immortality. Then what to speak of him who lives and acts according to the spirit of the teachings of the Gita?

He who reads even a quarter of a Sloka is freed from great sins and fear of death.

The Gita is your benefactor and constant companion. The Gita is your Teacher and Guru. The Gita is your real Father and Mother. The Gita is your solace, support and prop. The Gita is an embodiment of nectar. Drink this nectar daily and attain Immortality. May the Gita guide you!


Chapter I

The Despondency of Arjuna

(Arjuna Vishada Yoga)

This is the Yoga of the despondency of Arjuna. Arjuna saw all his kinsmen, sons, brothers-in-law, cousins, teachers (Bhishma, Drona and others) standing arrayed in battle and said to Lord Krishna (26): “My limbs fail and my mouth is parched, my body quivers and my hairs stand on end; Gandiva slips from my hand (29). I do not wish to kill them even for the sake of the Kingship of the three worlds (35). It is a great sin to kill my teachers and relatives. If I kill them, family traditions will perish. There will be lawlessness (40). Women will become corrupt. There will be caste-confusion. The slayer of the families will go to hell for, their ancestors will fall, deprived of rice-balls and oblations (42). Caste-customs and family-customs will vanish”(43). Arjuna was overwhelmed with grief. He threw away his bow and arrows and sank down on the seat of the chariot (47).

Chapter II

Sankhya Yoga

This is Jnana Yoga or Vedanta which bespeaks of the Immortality of the Soul. Lord Krishna said to Arjuna: “Wake up from the slumber of ignorance. This body and the world are indwelt by the Imperishable Atman, Brahman or the Soul. None can cause the destruction of That—the Imperishable. This Atman is not born nor does It ever die. It is unborn, eternal, changeless, ancient and inexhaustible. It is not killed when the body is killed (20). It slays not, nor is It slain. Just as a man casts off worn out clothes and puts on new ones, so also the embodied Self casts off worn out bodies and enters others which are new (22). Weapons cut It not, fire burns It not, water wets It not, wind dries It not (23). This Self is unmanifested, unthinkable and unchangeable (24).

“O Arjuna! do your duty. It is the duty of a Kshatriya to fight. There is nothing higher for a Kshatriya than a righteous war (31). Develop a balanced mind. Having made pleasure and pain, gain and loss, victory and defeat the same, engage thou in battle, thus thou shalt not incur sin; thou shalt cast off the bonds of action (38).

“Thy right is to work only but never with its fruits. Let not the fruit of action be thy motive, nor let thy attachment be for inaction (47). Perform action, being steadfast in Yoga abandoning attachment and balanced in success and failure. Evenness of mind is Yoga” (48). Arjuna says, “O Lord Krishna! What is the state of a Sthithaprajna? How does he speak? How does he sit, how does he walk?” (54). Lord Krishna replies, “A Jivanmukta is free from desires, longings, mine-ness, I-ness, attachment and fear. He is satisfied in his own Self. He is indifferent amidst sensual pleasures. He is not elated by getting desirable objects. He has a poised mind at all times and under all conditions. He has perfect control over his mind and senses. He lives in Brahman. He is centred in his own Self. He is dead to the sensual world” (55 to 57).

Chapter III

The Yoga of Action

(Karma Yoga)

Arjuna said, “If it be thought by Thee that knowledge is superior to action, why then O Krishna, does Thou engagest me in this terrible action (1)? Thou confusest my understanding. Tell me that one way for certain by which I may attain eternal bliss” (2). Lord Krishna replies, “In this world there is a twofold path, the path of knowledge of the Sankhyas and the path of action of the Yogins (3). Man cannot remain even for a moment without performing some kind of action. Everyone is helplessly driven to action by the qualities born of nature (5). That fool, who merely controls the organs of action but continually thinks of the objects of senses is called a Mithyachara or hypocrite (6).

“Do sacrifice to the Devatas. They will in turn give you plenty of food and cattle (11). Constantly perform your duty without attachment. You will attain the Supreme (19). Janaka attained perfection by action (20). The great man should set an example to the world (21). I perform action though there is nothing in the three worlds that should be done by Me (22).

“The egoistic man thinks ‘I am the doer’. In reality Prakriti does everything (27). A Jnani who remains as a silent witness and who knows the essence of the division of the quality and functions is not bound (28).

“Control Raga-dvesha, obstructors of the spiritual path. Do your own duty well. Control desire and anger—the enemies of wisdom. Master first the senses. Kill this enemy-desire by restraining the self by the Self and by knowing Him who is superior to intellect” (37-43).

Chapter IV

The Yoga of Wisdom

(Jnana-Vibhaga Yoga)

Lord Krishna said, “O Bharata! Whenever righteousness declines and unrighteousness becomes powerful, then I Myself come to birth (7). For the protection of the good, for the destruction of evil-doers, for the sake of firmly establishing righteousness I am born from age to age (8). In whatever way men approach Me, so do I reward them: men follow in every way My path, O son of Pritha (11). He who sees inaction in action and action in inaction, he is wise among men, he is a Yogi, even while performing all actions (18). Whose undertakings are all destitute of desires and purposes and whose actions have been burnt by the fire of knowledge him the wise have called a Sage (19).

“Without hope, with the mind self-controlled, having abandoned attachment to the fruit of actions, all greed and envy, always content with whatsoever he obtains without effort, free from the pairs of opposites, balanced in success and failure, with his thoughts established in Brahman, he is not doing anything, although doing actions; he is not bound, though acting (20-23).

“Brahman is the oblation; Brahman is the clarified butter; by Brahman is the oblation poured into the fire of Brahman; Brahman verily shall be reached by him who always sees Brahman in action (24).

“Some Yogins perform sacrifice to Devas; while the Jivanmuktas offer the Self in the fire Brahman. Some again offer hearing and other senses in the fire of restraint. Others again sacrifice all the functions of the senses and the breath in the fire of Yoga of self-restraint kindled by knowledge. Others again offer wealth, austerity, study of scriptures and knowledge as sacrifice. Others offer as sacrifice the outgoing breath in the incoming and the incoming in the outgoing (25-29).

“Superior is knowledge-sacrifice to the sacrifice of objects. All actions in their entirety, O Partha, culminate in knowledge (33).

“Know that by long prostration, by question and service; the wise who have realised the Truth will instruct thee in that knowledge (34). Even if thou art the most sinful of all sinners, yet thou shalt verily cross all sins by the raft of knowledge (39). Just as the blazing fire reduces fuel to ashes, O Arjuna, so does the fire of knowledge reduce all actions to ashes (37).

“The man who is full of faith, who is devoted to it, and who has subdued the senses and obtains this knowledge and having obtained knowledge he goes at once to the Supreme Peace (39). The ignorant, the faithless, the doubting self goes to destruction; there is neither this world, nor the other, nor happiness for the doubting (40).

“Therefore, with the sword of knowledge cut asunder the doubt of the Self born of ignorance, residing in the heart and take refuge in Yoga. Arise, O Bharata” (42).

Chapter V

The Yoga of Renunciation of Action

(Karma-Sannyasa Yoga)

Arjuna said, “Renunciation of actions, O Krishna, Thou praisest, and then also Yoga. Tell me conclusively that which is the better of the two” (1).

The Blessed Lord said, “Renunciation and Yoga of action both lead to the highest bliss; but out of the two, Yoga of action is superior to the renunciation of action (2). Children, not the wise, speak of Sankhya (knowledge) and Yoga (Yoga of action) as distinct; he who is truly established in one obtains the fruits of both (4). That place which is reached by the Sankhyas (Jnanis) is reached by the Yogis (Karma Yogis). He sees, who sees Sankhya and Yoga are one (5).

“’I do nothing at all’, thus would the knower of Truth think—seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, eating, going, sleeping, breathing, speaking, letting go, seizing, opening and closing the eyes—convinced that the senses move among the sense-objects (8-9). Neither agency nor action does the Lord create for the world, nor union with the fruits of actions. But it is Nature that acts (14).

“Thinking of That, merged in That, established in That, solely devoted to That, they go whence there is no return, their sins dispelled by knowledge (17).

“Sages look with an equal eye in a Brahmin endowed with learning and humility, in a cow, in an elephant, and even in a dog and in an outcaste (13). With the self unattached to external contacts he finds bliss in the Self: with the self engaged in the meditation of Brahman he attains endless bliss (21). The enjoyments that are born of contacts are only generators of pain, for they have a beginning and an end, O son of Kunti (O Kaunteya); the wise do not rejoice in them (22).

“He who is able, while still in the world, to withstand before the liberation from the body the impulse born out of desire and anger, he is a Yogi, he is a happy man (23).

“Eternal peace lies near to those controlled ascetics who are free from desire and anger, who have controlled their thoughts and who have realised the Self (26).

“Shutting out all external contacts and fixing the gaze between the eyebrows, equalising the outgoing and incoming breaths moving within the nostrils, with senses, mind and intellect ever controlled, having liberation as his supreme goal, free from desire, fear and anger—the sage is verily liberated for ever” (27-28).

Chapter VI

The Yoga of Meditation

(Adhyatma Yoga)

Lord Krishna said, “He who performs his bounden duty without depending on the fruits of action—he is a Sannyasin and a Yogi; not he who is without fire and without action (1). For a Muni or a sage who wishes to attain to Yoga, action is said to be the means; for the same sage who has attained to Yoga, inaction or quiescence is said to be the means (3).

“Let a man lift himself by his own Self alone, let him not lower himself; for the Self alone is the friend of oneself and this Self alone is the enemy of oneself (5). The Self is the friend of the self for him who has conquered himself by the Self, but to the unconquered self, this self stands in the position of an enemy like the external foe (6).

“Having in a clear spot established a firm seat of his own, neither too high nor too low, made of a cloth, a skin and Kusa grass one over the other, let him firmly hold his body, head and neck erect and still, gazing at the tip of his nose, without looking around, serene-minded fearless, firm in the vow of a Brahmachari, having controlled the mind, thinking on Me, and balanced, let him sit, having Me as the Supreme Goal (11-14).

“Verily Yoga is not possible for him who eats too much, nor for him who does not eat at all, nor for him who sleeps too much nor for him who is always wakeful, O Arjuna (16).

“Yoga becomes the destroyer of pain for him who is moderate in eating and recreation, who is moderate in exertion in actions, who is moderate in sleep and wakefulness (17). Little by little let him attain quietude by intellect held in firmness; having made the mind established in the Self, let him not think of anything (25). From whatever cause the restless and unsteady mind wanders away, from that let him restrain it and bring it under the control of the self alone (26).

“With the mind harmonised by Yoga he sees the Self, abiding in all beings, and all beings in the Self, he sees the same everywhere (29). He who sees Me everywhere and sees everything in Me, he never becomes separated from Me, nor do I become separated from him” (30).

Arjuna said, “The mind verily, O Krishna, restless, turbulent, strong and unyielding, I deem it quite as difficult to control it as that of the wind” (34).

Lord Krishna said, “Undoubtedly, O mighty-armed, the mind is difficult to control and restless, but by practice, O Kaunteya and by dispassion, it can be restrained” (35).

Arjuna said, “He who is unable to control himself though he is possessed of faith, whose mind wanders away from Yoga, what end does he, having failed to attain perfection in Yoga meet, O Krishna?” (37).

The blessed Lord said, “Having attained to the worlds of the righteous and having dwelt there for everlasting years, he who fell from Yoga is reborn in a house of the pure and wealthy (41). Or he is born in a family of wise Yogins only; verily a birth like this is very difficult to obtain in this world (42). Then he comes in touch with the knowledge acquired in his former body and strives more than before for perfection, O son of the Kurus (43). By that very former practice he is born on in spite of himself. Even he who merely wishes to know Yoga goes beyond the Brahmic world (44).

“The Yogi is thought to be superior to the ascetics and even superior to men of knowledge (obtained through study of Sastras); he is also superior to men of action; therefore, be thou a Yogi, O Arjuna! (46). And among all Yogins, he who, full of faith with his inner self merged in Me, worships Me, he is deemed by Me to be the most devout (47).

Chapter VII

The Yoga of Wisdom

(Jnana Yoga)

The Blessed Lord said, “I shall declare to thee in full this knowledge combined with realisation, which being known, nothing here remains to be known (2). Among thousands of men, one perchance strives for perfection; even among those successful strivers, only one perchance knows Me in essence (3).

“Earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intellect, egoism—thus is My Prakriti divided eightfold (4). This is the inferior Prakriti, but different from it, know thou, O mighty-armed, My higher Prakriti, the very life-element, by which this world is upheld (5).

“I am the sapidity in waters, O son of Kunti. I am the light in the moon, and the sun; I am the syllable OM in all the Vedas, sound in ether and virility in men (8).

“Verily, this divine illusion of Mine, caused by the qualities is difficult to cross over; those who take refuge in Me alone cross over this illusion (14).

“Four kinds of virtuous men worship Me O Arjuna, and they are the distressed, the seeker of knowledge, the seeker of wealth and the wise, O lord of Bharatas (16). Of these, the wise, ever steadfast and devoted to the One excels; for I am exceedingly dear to the wise, and he is dear to Me (17). Noble indeed are all these; but the wise man, I deem as My very Self; for, steadfast in mind he is established in Me alone, as the Supreme Goal (18). At the end of many births the wise man comes to Me, realising that all this is Vasudeva, the innermost Self, such a great soul is very hard to find (19).

“By the delusion of the pairs of opposites, arising from desire and aversion (likes and dislikes) O Bharata, all beings are subject to illusion, O Parantapa (scorcher of foes) (27). But those men of pure deeds, whose sin has come to an end, who are freed from the delusion of the pairs of opposites, worship Me, steadfast in vows (23).

“Those who know Me in the Adhibhuta (pertaining to the elements) in the Adhidaiva (pertaining to the gods) and in the Adhiyajna (pertaining to the sacrifice), know Me even at the time of death, steadfast in mind” (30).


Chapter VIII

The Yoga of Imperishable Brahman

(Akshara Brahma Yoga)

Arjuna asked: “What is that Brahman? What is Self-knowledge? What is action, O Purushottama? What is declared to be the knowledge of the elements? And, what is Adhidaiva? (1). Who and how is Adhiyajna here in this body, O Madhusudana (destroyer of Madhu)? And how at the time of death, art Thou to be known by the self-controlled?” (2).

The Blessed Lord said: “Brahman is the Imperishable, the Supreme; His essential nature is called self-knowledge; the offering to gods which causes the origin, existence and manifestation of beings and also sustains them is called action (3). Adhibhuta or knowledge of the elements pertains to My perishable nature and the Purusha or the Soul is Adhidaivata; I alone am the Adhiyajna here in this body, O best of the embodied (4).

“Whosoever, leaving the body, goes forth remembering Me alone at the time of death, he attains My Being; there is no doubt about this (5). Whosoever at the end leaves the body, thinking upon any being, to that being alone he goes, O Kaunteya (O son of Kunti), because of his constant thought of that being (6).

“Having closed all the gates, having confined mind in the heart, having fixed the life-breath in the head, engaged in the practice of concentration, uttering the one-syllabled Om, the Brahman, and remembering Me, he who departs, leaving the body, attains the Supreme Soul (12-13).

“I am easily attainable by that ever-steadfast Yogi who constantly remembers Me, daily, not thinking of another (with a single mind) O Partha! (14). What is called the unmanifested and Imperishable, That, they say is the highest goal (path). They who reach It return not. That is My highest abode (place or state) (20).

“That Highest Purusha, O Partha, is attainable by unswerving devotion to Him alone, within Whom all beings dwell, by Whom all this is pervaded (22).

“Fire, light, daytime, the bright fortnight, the six months of the northern path of the sun (the northern solstice)—then departing men who know Brahman go to Brahman (24). This is the path of Devayana or the path of light.

“Smoke, night time, the dark fortnight also, the six months of the southern path of the sun (the southern solstice)—attaining by these to the lunar light, the Yogi returns (29). This is the path of Pitriyana or the path of darkness.

“Whatever fruit of merit is declared in the scriptures to accrue from the study of the Vedas, the performance of sacrifices, practice of austerities and gift beyond all this goes the Yogi, having known this, and attains to the Supreme Primeval or first Abode” (28).

Chapter IX

The Yoga of Kingly Science and Kingly Secret

(Raja Vidya Raja Guhya Yoga)

Lord Krishna said, “Kingly Science, Kingly Secret, the Supreme Purifier is this realisable by direct intuitional knowledge, according to righteousness, very easy to perform, imperishable (2).

“All this world is pervaded by Me in My unmanifested form (aspect); all beings exist in Me, but I do not dwell in them (4). I am the father of this world, the mother, the dispenser of fruits of action, and grandfather; the one thing to be known, the Purifier, the syllable Om, and also the Rik, the Sama and the Yajus also (17). I am the goal, the supporter, the Lord, the witness, the Abode, the shelter, the friend, the origin, dissolution, the foundation, the treasure-house and the seed imperishable (18).

“To those men who worship Me alone, thinking of no other, to those ever united, I secure what is not already possessed (Yoga) and preserve what they already possess (Kshema) (22). Whoever offers Me with devotion a leaf, a flower, a fruit, water, that I accept, offered with devotion by the pure-minded (26). Whatever thou doest, whatever thou eatest, whatever thou offerest in sacrifice, whatsoever givest, whatsoever practiseth as austerity, O Kaunteya, do it as an offering unto Me (27).

“Even if the most sinful worship Me, with devotion to none else, he too should indeed be regarded as righteous, for he has rightly resolved (30). Soon he becomes righteous and attains eternal peace, O Kaunteya; know thou for certain that My devotee is never destroyed” (31).

Chapter X

The Yoga of Divine Glories

(Vibhuti Yoga)

The Blessed Lord said, “With their minds wholly in Me, with their life absorbed in Me, enlightening each other and ever speaking of Me, the wise are satisfied and delighted (9). To them ever steadfast, worshipping Me with love, I give the Yoga of discrimination by which they come to Me (10). Out of mere compassion for them, I, dwelling within their self, destroy the darkness born of ignorance by the luminous lamp of knowledge” (11).

Arjuna said, “O Lord! Thou shouldst indeed tell, without reserve of Thy divine glories by which Thou existeth pervading all these worlds” (16).

The Blessed Lord said, “I am the Self, O Gudakesa, seated in the hearts of all beings; I am the beginning, the middle, and also the end of all beings (20). Among the twelve Adityas, I am Vishnu; among luminous objects, the radiant Sun; I am Marichi among the forty-nine Maruts; among the stars the Moon am I (21). Among the Vedas I am the Sama Veda; I am Vasava (Indra) among the gods; among the senses I am the mind; and I am the intelligence among living beings (22). And among the Rudras, I am Sankara; among the Yakshas and Rakshasas, the Lord of wealth (Kubera); among the Vasus I am Pavaka (Agni); and among the (seven) mountains I am the Meru (23). Among the household priests (of kings) O Partha, know Me to be the chief, Brihaspati; among generals I am Skanda; among lakes, I am the ocean (24). Among the great Rishis I am Bhrigu; among words I am the one syllable OM; among sacrifices I am the sacrifice of silent repetition (Japa Yajna); among immovable things, the Himalayas (25). Among the trees I am the Asvattha; among divine Rishis Narada; among Gandharvas Chitraratha; among the perfected ones the Muni Kapila (26).

“Of purifiers I am the wind; Rama of warriors am I; among fishes I am the shark; among streams I am the Ganga (31). Among letters the letter ‘A’ I am; and the dual among all compounds; I am, verily the inexhaustible or everlasting Time; I am the dispenser of fruits of actions having faces in all directions (33). I am the gambling of cheat; I am the splendour of the splendid; I am victory, I am determination of those who are determined; I am the goodness of the good (36). There is no end of My Divine Glories, O Parantapa; but this is a brief statement of My divine attributes” (40).

Chapter XI

The Yoga of the vision of the Cosmic Form

(Visva Rupa Darsana Yoga)

Arjuna said, “Now O Supreme Lord, as Thou hast thus described Thyself in that way O Purushottama (Purusha Supreme), I wish to see actually Thy divine form” (3).

The Blessed Lord said, “Behold O Partha forms of Me by hundreds and thousands of different sorts, divine, of various colours and shapes (5). Behold the Adityas, the Vasus, the Rudras, the two Asvins and also the forty-nine Maruts: behold many wonders never seen before, O Bharata (6). Now behold O Gudakesa in this My body the whole universe centred in one—including the moving and the unmoving—and whatever else thou desirest to see (7). But thou art not able to behold Me with these thine eyes alone; I give thee divine eye; behold My lordly Yoga” (8).

Lord Kdshna showed to Partha His Supreme Form with numerous mouths and eyes with numerous wonderful sights, with numerous divine ornaments, with numerous divine weapons uplifted (10).

Arjuna said, “I see all the gods, O God, in Thy body and also hosts of various classes of beings, Brahma the Lord seated on the lotus, all the Rishis and celestial serpents (15). I see Thee Without beginning, middle or end, infinite in power of endless arms, the sun and the moon being Thy eyes, the burning fire Thy mouth heating the whole universe with the radiance (19). Into Thy mouths terrible with teeth and fearful to behold all the sons of Dhritarashtra, Bhishma, Drona, Karna, etc, hurriedly enter; some are found sticking in the gaps between the teeth with their heads crushed to powder” (26-27).

The Blessed Lord said, “Therefore, stand up and obtain fame. Conquer the enemies and enjoy the unrivalled kingdom. Verily by Myself they, have been already slain; be thou a mere instrument, O Savyasachi (Arjuna)” (33).

Arjuna said, “Thou art the Primeval God, the Ancient Purusha; Thou art the supreme refuge of this universe. Thou art the knower, the knowable and the supreme abode. By Thee is this universe pervaded, O Being of infinite form (38). I am delighted, having seen what was never seen before and yet my mind is distressed with fear. Show me that form only with four hands, O God; have mercy, O God of gods, O Abode of the Universe (45-46).

The Blessed Lord assumed His gentle form with four hands and showed this form to Arjuna and consoled him who was terrified (50).

The Blessed Lord said, “Neither by the Vedas nor by austerity, nor by gifts, nor by sacrifice can I be seen in this form, as thou hast seen Me so easily. But by the single-minded devotion, can I of this form be known and seen in reality and also entered into, O Parantapa. He who does actions for Me, who looks on Me as, the Supreme, who is devoted to Me, who is free from attachment, who bears enmity towards no creature, he comes to Me, Pandava” (53-55).

Chapter XII

The Yoga of Devotion

(Bhakti Yoga)

Arjuna said, “Those devotees, who ever steadfast, thus worship Thee, and those also who worship the Imperishable, the Unmanifested—which of these are better-versed in Yoga?” (1)

The Blessed Lord said, “Those who, fixing their mind on Me, worship Me, ever-steadfast and endowed with supreme faith, in My opinion are the best in Yoga (2). Greater is their trouble whose minds are set on the unmanifested; for the goal, the unmanifested, is very hard for the embodied to reach (5). Fix thy mind on Me only, place Thy intellect in Me; then thou shalt no doubt live in Me alone hereafter (8). If thou art not able to fix thy mind steadily on Me, then by Yoga of constant practice (Abhyasa Yoga) do thou seek to reach Me, O Dhananjaya (9). If thou art unable to practise even this Abhyasa Yoga, be thou intent on doing actions for My sake; even by doing actions for My sake, thou shalt attain perfection (10). If thou art unable to do even this then taking refuge in union with Me, renounce the fruits of all actions, with the self controlled (11). Better indeed is knowledge than practice; than knowledge meditation is better; than meditation renunciation of the fruits of actions; peace immediately follows renunciation (12).

“He who hates no creature, who is friendly and compassionate to all, who is free from attachment and egoism, balanced in pleasure and pain, and forgiving; ever content, steady in meditation, self-controlled, possessed of firm conviction, with mind and intellect dedicated to Me, he, My devotee, is dear to Me (13-14). He who is free from envy, fear and anxiety, who is free from wants, pure, expert, unconcerned, untroubled, who has renounced all undertakings or commencements, who neither rejoices nor hates, neither grieves nor desires, who has renounced good and evil, who is full of devotion, he is dear to Me (16-17).

“He who is the same to a foe and friend, and also in honour and dishonour, who is the same in cold and heat, and in pleasure and pain, who is free from attachment, who is balanced in censure and praise, pain and pleasure, who is silent, content with anything, homeless, steady-minded, full of devotion—that man is dear to Me (18-19).

“They verily, who follow this Immortal Dharma (law or doctrine) as described above endowed with faith, regarding Me as their supreme goal, devotees, they are exceedingly dear to Me” (20).

Chapter XIII

The Yoga of Distinction Between the Field and Knower of the Field

(Kshetra-Kshetrajna-Vibhaga Yoga)

Arjuna said: “Prakriti (matter) and Purusha (spirit), also the field (Kshetra) and the knower of the field (Kshetrajna), knowledge and which ought to be known—these I desire to learn, O Kesava.”

The Blessed Lord said: “This body, O son of Kunti, is called the field (Kshetra), he who knows it (body) is called (Kshetrajna) (the knower of the field) by the sages (1). Do thou also know Me as the knower of the field in all fields, O Arjuna. Knowledge of both the field and the knower of the field is considered by Me to be the knowledge (2).

“The great elements, egoism, intellect, and also the unmanifested (Mula-Prakriti or Avyaktam), the ten senses and the one (mind) and the five objects of the senses, desire, hatred, pleasure and pain, the aggregate, intelligence, courage—the Kshetra has been thus described briefly with its modifications (5-6).

“Humility, unpretentiousness, non-injury, forbearance, uprightness, service of the teacher, purity, steadfastness, self-control; indifference to the objects of the senses and also absence of egoism; perception of evil in birth, death, old age, in sickness and pain; non-attachment, non-identification of self with son, wife, home and the like and constant balance of mind in the occurrence of the desirable and the undesirable, unswerving devotion to Me by Yoga, without other object, resort to solitary places, distaste for the society of men, constant application to spiritual knowledge of Truth—this is declared to be knowledge, and what is opposed to it is ignorance (7-11).

“With hands and feet everywhere, with eyes, heads and mouths everywhere, with ears everywhere He exists in the world, enveloping all (13). Without and within all beings, the immovable and also the moveable; because of His subtlety incomprehensible; and near and far away is That (15). That the Light of all lights, is said to be beyond darkness, knowledge, the knowable, the goal of knowledge, seated in the hearts of all (17).

“He sees, who sees, that all actions are performed by Prakriti alone and that the Self is actionless (30). They who by the eye of wisdom perceive the difference between Kshetra (the field) and the Kshetrajna (the knower of the field) and the liberation of beings from Matter (Prakriti)—they go to the Supreme” (34).

Chapter XIV

The Yoga of the Division of the Three Gunas


The Blessed Lord said: “Sattva, Rajas and Tamas (purity, passion and inertia)—these Gunas, O mighty-armed, born of Prakriti, bind fast in the body the indestructible embodied one (5). Of these Sattva (purity) which from its stainlessness is luminous and healthy, binds by attachment to happiness and by attachment to knowledge, O sinless one! (6). Know thou Rajas to be of the nature of passion, the source of thirst for life and objects and attachment, it binds fast, O son of Kunti, the embodied one by attachment to action (7). But know thou Tamas (inertia) born of ignorance is the deluder of all embodied beings; it binds fast, O Bharata, by heedlessness, indolence and sloth (8).

“Now Sattva (purity) prevails, having overpowered Rajas and Tamas, O Bharata; now Rajas, having overpowered Sattva and Tamas; now Tamas, having overpowered Sattva and Rajas (10).

“When the wisdom-light shines at every gate (sense) in this body, then it should be known that Sattva is increasing (11). Greed, activity, the undertaking of actions, restlessness, desire—these are born of increase of Rajas, O best of the Bharatas (12). Darkness, inertness, heedlessness, and also delusion—these are born of the increase Of Tamas, O descendant of the Kuru (13).

“If the embodied one dies when Sattva is predominant, then he goes to the spotless worlds of the Highest (14). If he dies when Rajas is predominant, he is born among those attached to action; if he dies when Tamas is predominant he is born in the wombs of the senseless (15). The fruit of good action, they say, is Sattvic and pure; verily the fruit of Rajas is pain and the fruit of Tamas is ignorance (16). Those who are seated in Sattva rise upwards; the Rajasic remain in the middle; and the Tamasic who follow in the course of the lowest Guna, go downwards (18).

“When the seer beholds not an agent other than the Gunas and knows that which is higher than the Gunas, he attains to My being (19). The embodied one, having crossed beyond these three Gunas out of which the body is evolved is freed from birth, death, old age and pain and attains the immortal” (20).

Arjuna said: “What are the marks of him who has crossed over the three qualities, O Lord? What is his conduct and how does he pass beyond the three Gunas?” (21)

The Blessed Lord said: “He, O Pandava, who hates not radiance nor activity, nor even delusion when present, nor longs for them when absent (22), he who, seated as a neutral, is not moved by Gunas; who knowing that the Gunas act, is firm and moves not (23). He to whom pain and pleasure are alike, who dwells in the Self, to whom a lump of earth, stone and gold are alike, to whom the dear and the undear are alike, who is firm, to whom censure and praise are same; the same in honour and disgrace, the same to friend and foe, abandoning all undertakings—he is said to have crossed over the qualities” (24-25).

Chapter XV

The Yoga of Supreme Purusha

(Purushottama Yoga)

The Blessed Lord said: “With roots above, branches below, the Asvattha is said to be indestructible; its leaves are the hymns; he who knows this knows the Vedas (1). Below and above spread its branches, nourished by the Gunas; sense-objects are its buds, and its roots grow downwards in the world of men ending in action (2). Its form is not perceived here, neither its end nor its origin nor its existence; having cut asunder this firm-rooted Asvattha with the strong axe of non-attachment, that goal should be sought for, going whither none returns again. I seek refuge in that Primeval Purusha whence streamed forth the ancient energy (3-4).

“Free from pride and delusion, with the evil of attachment conquered, constantly abiding in the Self, their desires having completely turned away, liberated from the pairs of opposites known as pleasure and pain, the undeluded reach that goal Eternal (5).

“There the sun does not shine, nor the moon, nor fire; having gone thither they return not; that is My Supreme Abode (7). An eternal portion of My own self having become a living soul in the world of life, draws to itself the five senses with mind for the sixth abiding in Prakriti (8). Abiding in the body of living beings as the fire Vaisvanara, united with Prana and Apana, I digest the four kinds of food (14).

“I am seated in the hearts of all; from Me are memory, knowledge and their absence; I am verily that which has to be known by all the Vedas; I indeed am the author of the Vedanta and the knower of the Vedas am I (15).

“There are two Purushas in the world—the perishable and the Imperishable; all beings are perishable and the Kutastha (immutable, unchanging) is called the Imperishable (16). But there is another, the supreme Purusha, called the Highest Self, the indestructible Lord, who pervading all, sustains the three worlds (17). As I transcend the perishable and am even higher than the Imperishable, I am known in the world and in the Veda as ‘Purushottama’ (the Highest Purusha) (18).

“He who, undeluded thus knows Me, the Highest Purusha, he knowing all worships Me with his whole being O Bharata, this most profound teaching has been taught by Me, O sinless one. On knowing thus one becomes illumined, O Bharata and all his duties are accomplished” (19-20).

Chapter XVI

The Yoga of Division Between the Divine and the Demoniacal

(Daivasura-Sampad-Vibhaga Yoga)

The Blessed Lord said: “Fearlessness, purity of heart, steadfastness in the Yoga of wisdom, alms-giving, control of the senses (self-restraint) sacrifice, study of one’s own scriptures, austerity, straightforwardness, non-injury, absence of anger, renunciation, peacefulness, absence of crookedness, compassion to living beings, uncovetousness, gentleness, modesty, absence of fickleness, vigour, forgiveness, fortitude, purity, absence of hatred, absence of pride—these belong to one who is born with the divine properties, O Bharata (1-3).

“Hypocrisy, arrogance, self-conceit, anger, harshness and ignorance, belong to one who is born, O Partha, with demoniacal properties (4).

“The divine properties are deemed to make for liberation, the demoniacal for bondage. Grieve not, thou art born with divine properties, O Pandava (5).

“Demoniacal men know not what to do and what to refrain from; neither purity nor good conduct, nor truth is found in them (7). They say, ‘The universe is without truth, without a moral basis, without a God, brought about by mutual union, brought about by lust and nothing else’ (8). Filled with insatiable desires, full of hypocrisy, pride and arrogance, holding evil ideas through delusion, they work with impure resolves (10). Bound by a hundred ties of hope, given over to lust and anger, they strive to secure by unlawful means hoards of wealth for sensual enjoyments (12). ‘This today has been gained by me, this desire I shall obtain; this wealth is mine already, and also this shall be mine in future’ (13). ‘I have slain this enemy, and others also I shall slay. I am lord, I enjoy, I am perfect, powerful and happy’ (14). ‘I am rich, well-born, who else is equal to me? I will sacrifice. I will give charity. I will rejoice’ (15). These malicious; and cruel-doers, worst of men in the world, I hurl them for ever into the wombs of demons only (19).

“Triple is the gate of this hell, destructive of the Self, lust, anger and greed; therefore, these three one should abandon (21). A man who is released from these three gates to darkness, O son of Kunti, does good to the self and thus reaches the Supreme Goal (22).

“He who setting aside the ordinances of the scriptures, acts under the impulse of desire, attains not to perfection, nor happiness, nor the Supreme Goal (23). Therefore let the scriptures be thy authority in deciding as what ought to be done and what ought not to be done. Having known what is said in the ordinances of the scriptures, thou shouldst work in this world” (24).

Chapter XVII

The Yoga of the Threefold Faith

(Sraddha-Traya-Vibhaga Yoga)

Arjuna said: “Those who setting aside the ordinances of the scriptures, perform sacrifice with faith—what faith is theirs? Is it Sattva or Rajas or Tamas (Is it purity or passion or darkness)?” (1).

The Blessed Lord said: “Threefold is the faith of the embodied, which is inherent in their nature—Sattvic (pure), Rajasic (passionate) and Tamasic (darkness). Do thou hear of these (2). The faith of each is in accordance with his nature, O Bharata. The man consists of his faith, as a man’s faith is, so is he (3).

“Those men who perform terrible austerities not enjoined by the scriptures, given to hypocrisy and egoism, impelled by the force of their desires and passions, torture, senseless as they are, the aggregated elements forming the body, and Me also, who dwells in the body within, know thou these to be of demoniac resolves (5-6).

“The foods which increase vitality, energy, strength, health, joy and cheerfulness, which are savoury, oleaginous, substantial and agreeable, are dear to the Sattvic (8). The foods like foods that are bitter, sour, saline, excessively hot, pungent, dry and burning, and which cause pain, grief and diseases, are dear to the Rajasic (9). That which is stale, tasteless, putrid, rotten, refused and impure, is dear to the Tamasic (10).

“The sacrifice that is offered by men without desire for fruit as enjoined by ordinance, with a fixed resolve in the mind that they should do the sacrifice as duty, is pure (11). That which is offered with a view to obtain fruit and for ostentation, O best of the Bharatas, know it to be a Rajasic Yajna (12). The sacrifice performed contrary to the ordinances in which no food is distributed, which is destitute of Mantras, gifts and faith, is said to be Tamasic (13).

“Worship of the gods, the twice-born, the Gurus and the wise, purity, straightforwardness, continence, and non-injury are called the austerity of the body (14). Speech which causes no annoyance and is true, as also pleasant and beneficial and also study of the scriptures, are called the austerity of the speech (15). Serenity of the mind, equanimity, silence, self-control, purity of nature—this is called the mental austerity (16).

“This threefold austerity, practised by steadfast men with the utmost faith, without desire for fruit is said to be Sattvic (pure) (17). That austerity which is practised with the object of gaining good reception, honour and worship and with ostentation is here (in this world) said to be Rajasic, unstable and transitory (18). That austerity which is practised out of a foolish notion with self-torture, or for the purpose of ruining another is declared to be Tamasic (19).

“That alms (gift) which is given—knowing it to be a duty to give—to one who does no service in return, in a fit place and time, to a worthy person, that alms is said to be Sattvic (20). That gift which is given with a view to receiving in return or looking for the fruit or again reluctantly that gift is held to be Rajasic (21). That gift given at a wrong place or time, to unworthy persons, without respect and with insult, that is declared to be Tamasic” (22).

Chapter XVIII

The Yoga of Liberation by Renunciation

(Moksha Sannyasa Yoga)

Arjuna said: “I desire to know severally, O mighty-armed, the essence of Sannyasa, O Hrishikesa, as also ‘Tyaga,’ O Kesinisudana (slayer of Kesi)” (1).

The Blessed Lord said: “Sages understand ‘Sannyasa’ to be the renouncing of works with desires; the wise declare the abandonment of the fruits of all works as ‘Tyaga’ (2). Acts of sacrifice, gift and austerity should not be relinquished, but should be performed; sacrifice, gift, and also austerity are the purifiers of the wise (5).

“These five causes, O mighty-armed, know thou from Me as declared in the Sankhya system for the accomplishment of all actions (13). The body, the actor, the various organs, the several functions of various sorts and the presiding deities also, the fifth (14). He who is free from the notion of egoism, whose intellect is not affected (by good or evil), though he kills these people, he kills not, nor is bound by the action (17).

“An action which is ordained, done without love or hatred by one not desirous of the fruit and free from attachment, is declared to be Sattvic (21). But that action which is done by one longing for desires or again with egoism or with much effort, is declared to be Rajasic (24).

The action which is undertaken from delusion, without regarding the consequence, loss of wealth, injury (to others) and one’s own ability, that is declared to be Tamasic (25).

“That which knows the paths of action and renunciation, what ought to be done and what ought not to be done, fear and fearlessness, bondage and liberation, that intellect, O Partha, is Sattvic (30). That by which one wrongly understands right (Dharma) and wrong (Adharma), and also what ought to be done and what ought not to be done, that intellect, O partha, is Rajasic (31). That which enveloped in darkness regards wrong (Adharma) as right (Dharma) and sees all things in a perverted light, that intellect, O Partha, is Tamasic (32).

“That which is like poison at first but like nectar in the end; that happiness is said to be Sattvic, born of the blissful knowledge of the Self (37). That pleasure which arises from the contact of the senses with their objects, at first like nectar but in the end like poison, that is declared to be Rajasic (38). That pleasure which both at first and afterwards is delusion of the Self, arising from sleep; indolence and heedlessness, that is declared to be Tamasic (39).

“Dwelling in solitude, eating but little, speech, body and mind controlled, ever engaged in meditation and concentration, taking refuge in dispassion (52), having abandoned egoism, violence, arrogance, desire, anger, covetousness, freed from the notion of ‘mine’ and peaceful, he is fit for becoming Brahman (53). Becoming Brahman, tranquil-minded, he neither grieves nor desires the same to all beings, he attains supreme devotion to Me (54). By devotion he knows Me in reality, what and who I am; then having known Me in reality, he forthwith enters into the Supreme (55).

“The Lord dwells in the hearts of all beings, O Arjuna, causing all beings, by His Maya, to revolve as if mounted on a machine (61). Take refuge in Him with all thy heart, O Bharata; by His grace thou shalt attain supreme peace and the eternal abode (62).

“Fix thy mind in Me, be My devotee, sacrifice to Me, bow down to Me, thou shalt reach Myself; truly do I promise unto thee, for thou art dear to Me (65). Abandoning all duties take refuge in Me alone; I will liberate thee from all sins; grieve not (66).

“Has this been heard by thee, O Partha, with an attentive mind? Has thy delusion caused by ignorance been destroyed, O Dhananjaya?” (72).

Arjuna said: “My delusion is destroyed, and I have gained knowledge through Thy grace, O Achyuta (O Immutable One), I am firm; my doubts have vanished. I will do according to Thy word” (73).

Wherever is Krishna, the Lord of Yoga, wherever is Partha, the archer, there are prosperity, victory, happiness and sound policy, so I think (78).

Hari Om Tat Sat.

Om Santi! Santi! Santi!