CHAPTER I: Arjuna Vishada
The Yoga of Arjuna’s
In the field of
righteousness, the field of the Kurus, gathered together, intent on battle,
what did my people and also the sons of Pandu do, O Sanjaya?
On seeing the army
of the Pandavas in battle array, Prince Duryodhana, having approached his
teacher, then gave utterance to the following speech:
O Teacher, look at this grand army of the
Sons of Pandu, marshalled by your talented pupil, the Son of Drupada.
Here are heroes, mighty archers, equal in
battle to Bhima and Arjuna, Yuyudhana, Virata, and Drupada, of the great
Chekitana, and the valiant King of Kasi, Purujit and Kuntibhoja, and that bull
among men, Saibya.
The heroic Yudhamanyu, and the brave
Uttamaujas, the Son of Subhadra, and the Sons of Draupadi, all of great
But know who are the most distinguished
among us, O Best of the Twice-born, the leaders of my army; these I tell you,
for you to recognize by name:
You and Bhishma, and Karna, and also Kripa,
the victor in war, Asvatthama and Vikarna, and also the Son of Somadatta,
and many other heroes who are willing to
for me, who have various missiles and weapons, all skilled in warfare.
10) That army of ours which is under the care of Bhishma is
insufficient, but this army of theirs which is under the care of Bhima is
11) And so let all of you, standing in your respective
positions at the entrance to every formation, keep guard on Bhishma.
12) So as to cheer him, the mighty old Kuru patriarch roared
loudly like a lion and blew a conch.
Then conches and
drums and gongs, (other) drums, and horns, were played together suddenly, and
that sound made a confused clang.
Then standing in
their great chariot, to which white horses were yoked, Madhava and the Son of
Pandu together blew their divine conches.
Panchajanya, and Arjuna blew Devadatta. He of wolf-like appetite and deeds of
enormity blew his great conch, Paundra.
Son of Kunti, blew Anantavijaya, and Nakula and Sahadeva (blew together) the
Sughosha and Manipushpaka.
17) And the King of Kashi, excellent bowman, Sikhandin,
great charioteer, Dhrishtadyumna and Virata and the unconquered Satyaki,
Drupada, and the
Sons of Draupadi, O Lord of the Earth, and the Son of Subhadra, of mighty
arms—from all sides each blew his conch separately.
19) That loud blast, filling earth and sky with sound,
pierced the hearts of Dhritarashtra’s Sons.
Then, beholding the
Sons of Dhritarashtra standing marshalled in order, while the flight of arrows
was beginning, Arjuna, the Son of Pandu, of monkey ensign, took up his bow;
21) and, O King, he spoke thus to Krishna: O Acyuta! Stop my
chariot right in the middle between the two armies,
22) so that I may behold these standing eager to fight by my
side in the present battle-undertaking,
23) and might observe those here gathered together who
desire to please in war the evil-minded Son of Dhritarashtra.
Thus addressed by
Arjuna, Krishna, having stationed that excellent chariot right in the middle
between the two armies,
facing Bhishma and
Drona and all the rulers of the earth, Krishna said: O Arjuna! Behold these Kurus
Then Arjuna saw
standing fathers as well as grandfathers, teachers, maternal uncles, brothers,
sons, grandsons, and companions too.
27) And upon seeing these relatives, fathers-in-law, and
friends, all standing, in both armies,
Filled with a
supreme pity, in mental distress, said: Beholding my own people, O Krishna,
standing together, wanting to fight,
29) my limbs fail and my mouth dries up, my body trembles
and my hair stands on end.,
30) (the bow) Gandiva slips from my hand, my skin feels as
if burning all over, I am unable to stand, and my mind is whirling round.
31) and I see conflicting portents, O Krishna, nor do I
foresee good from killing one’s own people in battle.
32) I do not wish for victory, O Krishna, nor kingdom, nor
pleasures; what is kingdom to us, what enjoyment, or even life?
33 & 34) They for whose
sake kingdom, enjoyments, and pleasures are desired by us, are standing here in
battle, having renounced their interests in life and wealth—teachers, fathers,
sons, and also grandfathers, maternal uncles, fathers-in-law, grandsons,
brothers-in-law, as well as other kinsman,
These I do not want
to kill, though they kill me, O Krishna, not even for the sake of dominion over
the three worlds—how then for the sake of the earth?
Having killed the
sons of Dhritarashtra, what delight can there be for us? Only sin would come to
us after killing this marauding rabble.
37) And so we ought not to kill the Sons of Dhritarashtra,
our relations; for how indeed can we be happy after killing our own people, O
38) Even if they, whose minds are overpowered by greed, see
no wrong in the destruction of family, and no crime in treachery to friends,
39) yet why should we not learn to turn away from this
sin—we who do see wrong in the destruction of family?
40) In the destruction of family, the immemorial clan
traditions perish, and on the loss of tradition the whole clan comes under the
sway of lawlessness.
When wrong ways
prevail, O Krishna, the women of the family become corrupt, and when women
become corrupt, mixing of clans arises.
42) This mixing leads (both the) family and the destroyers
of the family to hell, for their ancestors fall when deprived of their offering
of rice balls and water rites.
43) By these misdeeds of the destroyers of families, causing
intermixture of clans, the immemorial traditions of clan and family are
44) Men of families whose clan traditions are destroyed are
destined to live in hell—thus we have heard.
45) Alas! A great sin are we engaged in committing in
endeavoring to kill our own people through greed for the pleasures of kingdom!
46) It would be better for me if the Sons of Dhritarashtra,
arms in hand, should kill me, unarmed and unresisting, in the battle.
Thus having spoken
in the midst of the battle, Arjuna sat down in his chariot seat, casting away
his bow and arrow, his mind overwhelmed with sorrow.
CHAPTER II: Samkhya Yoga
To him who was thus
filled with tenderness, whose eyes were filled with tears, and agitated, and
who was in distress, Krishna spoke these words:
In the midst of this
difficulty, whence comes to you this dejection typical of non-Aryans,
heaven-barring and disreputable, O Arjuna?
Give yourself not to impotence, O Arjuna,
does not befit you. Cast off this base faint-heartedness. Arise, O Terror of
How could I
encounter with arrows in battle Bhishma and Drona, who are worthy of worship, O
Desisting from the
killing of the Gurus, who are highly honorable, it would be more meritorious in
this world even to have to eat of a beggar’s pittance. Choosing, on the other
hand, to kill these Gurus as fortune-seekers, I should be feasting even here on
blood-stained benefits of life.
Neither is it clear
which would be of greater advantage to us: that we win or that they win over
us. Those very persons are standing ranged before us, the Sons of
Dhritarashtra, killing whom we would no longer wish to live.
Struck down by the
evil of a tender disposition, with a mind confounded in regard to what is right
to do, I ask you: that which is definitely more meritorious do indicate to me.
I am your disciple; do discipline me coming thus for refuge to you.
I cannot visualize what could rid me of
distress which dries up the senses in this way—even should (it transpire that)
I obtain unrivalled dominion of the earth’s plenty or overlordship of the gods
in heaven too.
Having spoken thus
to Krishna, Arjuna, the Terror of the Foe, saying “I will not fight,” lapsed
finally into silence.
10) On this, Krishna, with a semblance of smiling, spoke
these words to him who was in grief between the two armies:
You are sorry for
those for whom sorrow is unreasonable. You speak in terms of reason too.
Veritable philosophers are not affected in regard to those whose breath has
gone and those whose breath has not gone.
Further, never was I
nonexistent, nor you, nor these chiefs of men; neither shall we, all of us,
ever cease becoming hereafter.
13) As there is here in the body, for the embodied,
childhood, youth, and old age, so also the passing on to another body in the
same manner; those firm in mind are not thereby bewildered.
contacts, on the other hand, yielding cold-warmth, joy-pain, alternately coming
and going, are transitory. Do you endure them, O Arjuna.
15) That human indeed of firm mind who is unaffected by
these, equal-minded in joy as well as pain—he is destined for immortality.
What is unreal
cannot have being, and non-being cannot be real; the conclusion in regard to
both these has been known to philosophers.
Know That to be
indestructible by which all this is pervaded. None can bring about the
destruction of This that knows no decrease.
(however) of the everlasting indestructible and undefinable embodied One are
spoken of as having an end. Therefore go on with the battle, O Arjuna.
19) He who thinks of This as the killer, and he who thinks
of This as killed—both these know not. This does not kill, is not killed.
20) This is neither born nor does This die, nor, having once
come into being, cease to become any more: unborn, perpetual, eternal is This
Ancient One. It is not killed on the killing of the body.
About him who knows
This as the indestructible, the everlasting, the unborn, never-decreasing
one—of such a person how could the questions arise “whose death he causes,”
“whom he kills,” O Arjuna?
22) As a man casting off his worn-out garments assumes
others that are new, likewise casting off bodies that are worn-out, the
embodied One takes to others that are new.
Weapons do not cut
This, fire does not burn This, and water does not wet This; wind does not dry
Indeed it is
uncleavable; It is non-inflammable; It is unwettable and non-dryable
also—everlasting, all-pervading, stable, immobile; It is eternal.
25) It is undefined, unthinkable is It, as non-subject to
change is It spoken of: therefore, knowing It as such, there is no reason for
you to feel sorry for It.
26) Or again if you should hold This to be constantly
ever-born or as constantly ever-dying, even then you have no reason to regret
27) In respect of anyone born, death is certain, and certain
is birth for anyone dead; therefore, regarding something inevitable, you have
no reason to feel any regret.
Beings have an
unmanifested origin and manifested middle states, and again unmanifested
terminations. Where is room for plaint herein?
29) A certain person sees This as a
wonder, likewise another speaks about This as a wonder. Another hears of It
even as a wonder, but even hearing no one understands This at all.
This embodied One within the bodies
of all is ever immune to killing, Arjuna. Therefore in respect of any being you
have no reason for regretting.
31) Further, having regard also for the
pattern of behavior natural to you there is no reason for vacillation, for
there could be nothing more meritorious than a war that is right for a true
32) True warriors have reason to be
happy, Arjuna, to have the chance of such a war presenting itself unsought
before them as an open door to heaven.
33) If, on the other hand, you will not take to this battle
which conforms to the requirements of righteousness, then thwarting what is
consistent with your own nature and your good repute you will become involved
34) Living beings will also pronounce a
never-ending verdict of calumny on you, and to one used to honor, dishonor is
worse than death.
35) The great car-generals will look
upon you as quitting the battle from fear, and having been honorably looked
upon by them you will be held in derision.
36) Those against you will speak of you
in unspeakable terms, scorning your ability; what pain could there be keener
37) Dying you will attain heaven or
winning you will have the enjoyment of the earth. Therefore arise, O Arjuna,
making up your mind to fight.
both pleasure and pain, both gain and loss, both victory and defeat, enter
wholly into the battle. Thus you will avoid sin.
39) What has just been taught is
reasoning according to Samkhya, but hear now of the same according to Yoga,
attaining to the unity of which reasoning you will be able to throw off the
bondage of works.
40) Here there is no forfeiture of any
merit, nor is there involved any demerit by transgression. Even a little of
such a way of life saves one from great apprehension.
41) Here, O Prize of the Kurus (Arjuna), the well-founded
reasoning is unitive, but many branched and endless are the reasonings of them
in whom reason is ill-founded.
42-44) Such flowery speech
as uttered by the foolish, adhering to the doctrine of the Veda, negating any
other (transcendental) verity, the self of which is nothing but desire-made,
holding heaven to be the highest goal, offering only birth as the result of
works abounding in many special observances, which aim at enjoyment and
domination; in the case of those whose minds are under the sway of such
teachings, who are attached to enjoyment and domination, a well-founded reason
does not come under the sway of the peace of contemplation.
45) The Vedas treat of matters related to the three gunas;
you should be free from these three modalities, Arjuna, free from (relative)
pairs of opposites, established ever in pure being, without alternately
striving and resting, (unitively) Self-possessed.
46) There would be as much use for all
the Vedas to a Brahmin of wisdom as there could be for a pool of water when a
full flood prevails all over.
47) Your concern should be with action
(as such) alone, not for any benefits ever. Do not become benefit motivated; be
not attached to inaction either.
48) Engage in activity, Arjuna, taking
your stand on the unitive way, discarding attachments, and capable of regarding
both attainment and nonattainment as the same: in sameness consists the unitive
49) Far inferior is the way of action
to the unitive way of reason, Arjuna, resort to reason for final refuge;
pitiful indeed are they who are benefit motivated.
50) Affiliated to reason one leaves
behind here both meritorious and unmeritorious deeds. Therefore affiliate
yourself to the unitive way; yoga is reason in action.
51) By affiliation to unitive reason
the wise, transcending birth bondage, renouncing benefit interest, go onward to
a state beyond all pain.
52) When your reason has transcended
the dross of vagueness, then you attain to that neutral attitude, both in
respect of what is to be learnt and what has already been heard.
53) When, disillusioned respecting the
(contradictory injunctions of the) scriptures, your reason stands unshaken and
steady in samadhi, then you shall have reached yoga.
54) Arjuna said:
is the way of one whose reason is well founded, who is established in samadhi,
O Krishna? How does he discourse, what is his state of being, how does he move
55) Krishna said:
one banishes all desires that enter the mind, Arjuna, satisfied in the Self by
the Self alone, then he is said to be one of well founded reason.
56) He whose mind is unaffected by
mishaps, who on happy occasions too evinces no interest, rising above
attachment, anxiety or anger—such a sage-recluse is said to be of well founded
57) He who remains in all cases
unattached on gaining such or such desirable-undesirable end, who neither
welcomes anything nor rejects in anger—his reason is well founded.
Again, when, as a tortoise retracts
its limbs from all sides, the senses are withdrawn from objects of sense
interest—his reason is well founded.
59) Objective interests revert without
the relish for them on starving the embodied of them. Even the residual relish
reverts on the One Beyond being sighted.
60) Even with a man of wisdom, Arjuna,
in spite of his effort, excited sense interests can forcibly distract the mind.
every one of them, he should rest unitively established, having Me for his
Supreme ideal. He in whom sense interests are subdued—his reason is well
objects of sense-interest there is born in man an attachment for them; from
attachment rises passion; in the face of passion (frustrated) arises rage.
From rage is
produced distortion of values, from distortion of values memory-lapse, from
memory-lapse comes loss of reason, and from loss of reason he perishes.
64) But he whose Self is subdued, whose attachment and
aversion are both within the sway of the Self, although his senses still move
amidst sense-interests, he wends toward a state of spiritual clarity.
65) By spiritual clarity there takes place the effacement
for him of all sufferings, and for one whose spirit has become lucid, very soon
reason becomes properly founded.
66) For one unbalanced there can be no
reason, nor is there any creative intuition for the unbalanced, and for one
incapable of creative intuition there could be no peace, and for the unpeaceful
where could there be happiness?
67) Still moving amid sense interests,
that item to which the mind submits draws away the reasoning as the wind does a
ship on the waters.
Arjuna, he whose senses have been in every way withdrawn from sense
interests—his reason is well founded.
What is night for
all creatures, the one of self-control keeps awake therein; wherein all
creatures are wakeful, that is night for the sage-recluse who sees.
70) Still getting filled, while fixed firm in immobility,
the ocean remains; so, too, he in whom all interests enter—he attains to peace,
not the craver of desires.
71) That man who, giving up all attachments, moves about
desirelessly, without owning anything, and without egoism—he goes to peace.
72) This is the state of being in the Absolute, Arjuna, on
reaching which one suffers from delusion no more. Established in this at the
very last moments of life, one reaches that final state of pure being in the
CHAPTER III: Karma Yoga
The Unitive Way of
If you are of the
opinion, O Krishna, that reason is superior to action, why then in an action
that is ghastly do you enjoin me?
By words that appear to be mixed up you
to confound my reasoning. Tell me, after taking a decision, of that one (way)
by which I may obtain merit.
There are two kinds
of discipline in this world, as declared in ancient times by Me, O sinless
One—the unitive way of wisdom of the samkhyas and the unitive way of action of
By refraining from initiating activities
person does not come to have the attainment of transcending action, nor can one
by renunciation alone come to perfection.
Not even for a single instant can one ever
remain engaged in no action at all. By virtue of modalities born from nature,
all are made to engage in action helplessly.
He who sits controlling the organs of
activity while ruminating mentally over items of sensuous interest—such a lost
soul is said to be one of spurious conduct.
He, on the other hand, who keeps the senses
under control by means of the mind, then commences unitive activity while still
Do engage yourself in action that is
necessary; activity is indeed better than non-activity, and even the bodily
life of yours would not progress satisfactorily through non-action.
Outside of activity
with a sacrificial purpose, this world is bound by action. Even with such a
purpose, do engage in work, O Arjuna, freed of all attachments.
10) In ancient times, having created the peoples with
sacrifice as pertaining to them (necessarily), Prajapati said: “By this shall
you grow and multiply; let this be to you the milch-cow of all desires.
“With this do you
gratify the gods, and the gods gratify you; thus gratifying reciprocally you
shall reach to supreme merit.
“Those gods shall
bestow on you all the gratifications you desire; one who eats what is given by
them without giving in turn to them—he is a thief indeed.
13) “The good man who eats of the remnants of a sacrifice is
absolved of all faults; however, those sinners eat of evil itself who cook with
themselves alone for motive.
“Food is the cause
of beings, and from rain food is produced; sacrifice has its effect in rain,
and sacrifice has its origin in action.
“Know that action
arises from Brahma, and that Brahma traces his being to the Imperishable.
Therefore the all-pervasive Absolute is eternally bound up with sacrifice.”
16) He who leads a life hereunder that does not conform to
the rotation of such a wheel—such a man of vicious lifetimes lives in vain
17) But for him who happens to be attached to the Self
alone, who finds full satisfaction in the Self—for such a man who is happy in
the Self as such, there is nothing that he should do.
Neither is there
anything indeed for him resulting from work done, nor anything from work
omitted here, nor is there either for him any dependence in respect of anything
derivable from any being whatsoever.
remain detached, engage yourself in actions that are necessary; indeed,
performing actions with detachment man attains to the Supreme.
Janaka and such
others reached perfection even performing acts. Again, having due regard for
the integration of the world too, you have to act.
Whichever may be the
way of life that a superior man adopts—that very one is (followed) by other
people. What he makes his guiding principle, the world behaves even according
to the same.
There is nothing in
the three worlds that I am obliged to do, nor anything unaccomplished to be
accomplished, while still I remain active (in principle).
23) If I should not remain active (in principle), never
relaxing, men in every walk of life would take to my (inactive) way.
worlds would fall into ruin should I refrain from activity, and I would become
the agent of (evolutive) confusion, killing in effect the peoples.
25) In the same manner as uninstructed people would take to
activity with attachment to work, the instructed man likewise should act
without attachment, interested (merely) in world order.
26) The person who is wise should not give room for
disruption in the way of thinking of those who have not attained wisdom, but by
behaving unitively should render every kind of action enjoyable.
Irrespective of the
occasion, it is nature that through the gunas accomplishes every act. One
possessed of egoism, however, thinks of himself as the actor.
28) On the other hand, the one who knows the principle
underlying guna as distinct from karma, holding the view that (subjective)
modes inhere in (their corresponding objective) modes, is not affected.
Those confounded by
the modalities of nature become attached to objective modalities existing in
works. Such men who are not all-wise, and are dull, should not be unsettled by
those who are all-wise.
Renouncing in Me all
works, coming to be without expectation or possessiveness, with a full
awareness about the Self, do fight with fever gone.
They, too, who ever
adhere to this doctrine of mine, men full of faith and free from any mistrust
in respect of it—they gain release from (obligatory) works.
32) On the other hand, those soulless ones who look upon
this my doctrine with mistrust and adhere not to it—know them as shut away from
all knowledge and as lost.
33) Even a man of wisdom behaves in conformity with his own
nature. All creation goes on subject to nature. Of what avail is control?
abide mutually, between the senses and their sense-objects. One should never
come under their double sway. They are indeed one’s twin path-hindering
Better is activity
rightly conforming to one’s own nature, though lacking in superior quality,
than activity foreign to one’s own nature, although it may be well done
(otherwise). (Even) death by the performance of what fits one properly has
merit. Activity foreign to oneself is fraught with danger.
Then impelled by
what does man lead such a life of sin even against his will, as if forcibly
Such is desire, such
is anger, born out of the modality called rajas, all-devouring, all-vitiating;
know this to be the enemy here.
38) As smoke shrouds fire, as a mirror (is beclouded) by
dirt, as the fetus is enclosed in the amnion, likewise by such is This
Wisdom is enveloped by
this which is the eternal enemy of the wise, remaining in the form of desire,
Arjuna, which is a fire that is difficult to satiate.
40) This is said to be lodged in the senses, mind and
reason. By means of these, this (desire) bewilders the embodied one by veiling
first the senses, slay this which is of sin, which can destroy both pure and
42) It is taught that the senses are great; beyond the
senses is the mind, beyond the mind is reason, and beyond reason is That.
Thus knowing That to
be beyond reason, stabilizing the self by the Self, kill that enemy in the form
of desire, so difficult to overcome.
CHAPTER IV: Jnana Yoga
unitive wisdom did I declare to Vivasvan, Vivasvan taught it to Manu, and Manu
taught it to Ikshvaku.
Thus handed down the
line in succession, this (wisdom) the king-sages understood; by great lapse of
time here (however) this unitive wisdom came to be lost, O Arjuna.
That very same ancient secret is being today
declared to you by Me, seeing that you are both my devotee and friend.
Your birth was
posterior and the birth of Vivasvan was anterior; how then have I to understand
it that You declared it in the beginning?
Many are the lives
that have gone past for me, as also for you, Arjuna; I am conscious of them
all; you are not conscious of them.
Although I remain
ever unborn as the never-diminishing Self, while I am the Lord of Creation too,
grounded in my own nature I assume being through the negative principle of my
Whenever there comes
to be laxity in regard to right life, O Arjuna, and wrong coming to assert
itself, then I bring about the creation of myself.
To protect those who are good and to destroy
evildoers, for establishing righteousness, I assume being, age by age.
He who understands this divine nature of
birth and work as consistent with basic principles, on leaving this body does
not attain to repeated birth, but (only) comes to Me.
10) Rid of attachment, fear and anger, wholly filled by Me
alone, and surrendering to Me, many who have been purified by the discipline of
wisdom have entered into My (very) being.
11) As each chooses to approach Me, even accordingly do I
have regard for him. My very path it is, O Arjuna, that all men do tread from
every (possible) approach.
benefits coming from actions and thus sacrificing to the gods, quick indeed are
the results born of works in this world of men.
13) The fourfold color grades were created by myself on the
basis of innate disposition and vocation that accorded with each; know Me to be
the maker of such as also to be its undoer, unexpended.
14) I am not affected by works, nor have I any interest in
the benefit of works; he who understands Me in this manner comes no more under
the bondage of works.
15) The ancients performed work after knowing in this
manner, therefore do that kind of work also, as was performed by the ancients, desiring
emancipation in times more ancient.
16) On what is action and what is inaction even intelligent
men here are confused. I shall indicate to you that action on knowing which you
will be emancipated from evil.
17) One has to understand about action and understand also
what is wrong action; again, one has to have a proper notion of non-action; the
way of action is elusively subtle indeed.
18) One who is able to see action in inaction and inaction
in action—he among men is intelligent; he is one of unitive attitude, while
still engaged in every (possible) kind of work.
19) The one whose works are all devoid of desire and willful
motive, whose (impulse of) action has been reduced to nothing in the fire of
wisdom, is recognized as a knowing person by the wise.
attachment for the benefit of works, ever happy and independent, though such a
man be engaged in work, (in principle) he does nothing at all.
21) One free of all expectancy and of subjugated relational
self-consciousness, who has given up all possessiveness, and is engaged merely
bodily in actions—he does not acquire evil.
chance gains, unaffected by conflicting pairs (of interests), non-competitive,
remaining the same in gain or no gain, he remains unbound in spite of having
23) In the case of one whose attachments are gone, who has
gained freedom, whose spiritual being has been founded on wisdom, his works,
having a sacrificial character only, become wholly dissolved.
24) For him the Absolute is the act of offering, the
Absolute is the substance offered into the Absolute which is the fire, offered
by (him), the Absolute, the end to be reached by him being even the Absolute,
by means of his peace supreme of absolutist action.
25) As referring to the gods is (the nature of) sacrifice of
some yogis; others offer sacrifice into the fire of the Absolute by sacrifice
Some offer as
sacrifice the ear and other such sense organs into the fire of restraint;
others offer the sacrifice of sound and other sense interests into the fire of
27) All the functions of the senses, as also the vital
functions, others make as an offering into the fire of unitive discipline,
consisting of self-restraint.
Likewise there are
others of object-sacrifice, those of austerity-sacrifice, those who sacrifice
unitive discipline, and those of self-study and wisdom sacrifice, who are (all)
men of self-control and fully accomplished vows.
29) Into the downward (inward) vital tendencies others
sacrifice the upward (outward) one, and in the outward one the inward likewise;
thus countering the tendencies, they remain ever as those (who resort to the
way) of vital breath control.
in food, make an offering of vital breaths into vital breaths. All these are
connoisseurs of sacrifice who have gotten rid of evil through sacrifice.
Those who partake of
the immortal nectar of sacrificial remains go to the eternal Absolute. This
world is not for one of no sacrifice. How can he have the next?
Thus, many and
varied are the sacrifices spread in front of the Absolute. Know them all as
originating in action. Thus understanding them, you shall gain release.
Superior to any
sacrifice with (valuable) objects is the wisdom sacrifice; all actions have
their culmination in wisdom, Arjuna.
Learn this by
prostration, by searching questioning, and by service; they will instruct you
(duly) in wisdom—those wise ones who can see the basic principles.
Having known this,
Arjuna, you will not give way to delusion thus any more; by this all beings
without exception will be seen by you in the Self and thus in Me.
36) Even if you should happen to be among evil-doers the
most evil-doing man, by the very raft of wisdom you will be able to cross over
37) Just as fire when kindled reduces to ashes the fuel,
likewise the fire of wisdom reduces all works to ashes.
There is nothing
indeed here so purificatory as wisdom, which same the man of perfection through
unitive discipline discovers in himself in due course.
39) A man of faith comes to wisdom being intent on That,
with the senses subjugated. On obtaining wisdom he reaches without delay (the
state of) supreme peace.
40) The man who is unwise and without faith, with the Self
held in (the conflict of) doubt, is destroyed; neither is there this world, nor
the world beyond, nor can there be any happiness for a man (caught) in doubt.
41) One of unitively renounced action, who by wisdom has
sundered doubt and come to full self-possession, cannot be bound by works.
with the sword of Self-knowledge this ignorance-born doubt residing in the
heart, stand firm in the unitive way, and stand up, Arjuna.
CHAPTER V: Karma Sannyasa Yoga
Unitive Action and
Renunciation (Renouncing the benefits of action through yoga)
You recommend the renunciation
of action, Krishna, and again yoga also; tell me, duly determined, which of
these two is spiritually better.
and unitive action have emancipation as their common effect; of the two,
however, unitive action is superior to (mere) renunciation of action.
That man should be recognized as a perennial
renouncer who neither hates nor desires; free indeed from conflicting pairs (of
interests) O Arjuna, he is happily released from the bondage (of necessity).
That rationalism and yogic self-discipline
are distinct, only children say, not the well-informed; one well-established in
either one of them obtains the result of both.
That status attained by rationalists is
reached also by yogis; he who thus sees rationality and yoga as one—he (alone)
But non-unitive renunciation is full of
to achieve; one unitively harmonized, of subdued ways, without any delay
attains the Absolute.
One affiliated to the unitive way of life,
attained to lucidity of Self, of Self-conquest, who has gained a victory over
the senses, whose Self-existence has become the same as the Self-existence of
all, though active, is unaffected (thereby).
8 & 9) “I do nothing at
all”—saying thus, he of unitive ways, who is a philosopher, should think,
(while) seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, eating, going, sleeping,
grasping, opening and closing the eyes—treating the senses as (merely) related
to their (corresponding) sense objects.
10) He who acts, placing all actions in the Absolute, having
given up attachment, is not affected by sin, like a lotus leaf by water.
11) By the body, by the mind, by intelligence, and even by
the senses alone, yogis engage in action, abandoning attachment, for (purposes
of) purity of Self.
12) The one of unitive discipline, discarding
benefit-motive, attains to ultimate peace; the one of non-unitive discipline,
being desire-motivated, attached to results, is bound.
means of the mind all activities, the embodied One sits happily, a victor, in
the nine-gated city, neither acting nor causing to act.
14) The Supreme does not generate either the idea of agency
or activity in regard to the world, nor the union of action and benefit; the
innate urge in beings, however, exerts itself.
15) The all-pervading One takes cognizance neither of the
sinful nor the meritorious actions of anyone; wisdom is veiled by unwisdom;
beings are deluded thereby.
16) To those, however, in whom that unwisdom in the Self has
been destroyed, wisdom shines sunlike as the Ultimate.
Thus having That for
reasoning, That for the Self, That for finalized discipline, That for supreme
goal, they go to a state of final non-return, all their (relativistic) dross
being canceled out by wisdom.
18) In regard to a Brahmin endowed with learning or
humility, a cow, an elephant, and even a dog, as also one who cooks the dog
(for food), the well-informed ones see the same (differenceless reality).
19) Even here creative urges are conquered by those whose
minds are balanced in sameness; free from blemish and unitively balanced is
indeed the Absolute; therefore such persons become grounded in the Absolute.
20) He should not rejoice on good befalling him nor be
disturbed by a mishap; stabilized in reason, delusion-free, as knower of the
Absolute, firmly established is he in the Absolute.
21) That (same) joy which is felt by one in his own Self
when he is unattached to outer contacts (such as touch), he whose Self has
established unity with the Absolute experiences never-decreasingly.
pleasures indeed are the sources of pain, having a beginning and an end,
Arjuna; the wise man does not take pleasure in them.
23) He who is able to experience undisturbed here itself
before liberation from the body, that impulse arising out of desire and
hatred—he is the unified and happy man.
24) He of inward happiness, whose inner life is free and
easy, and likewise of inward brilliance—he of unitive understanding, having
become the Absolute, enters the self-effacement of the Absolute.
Seers, their evils
weakened, cutting themselves away from conflicting pairs of interests, who are
self-controlled, who are ever kindly disposed to all beings, attain to
self-effacement in the Absolute.
26) To those disjoined from desire and anger, those
self-controlled ones whose vital consciousness is subdued, (who are also)
knowers of the Self, self-effacement in the Absolute lies near at hand.
27 & 28) Having
peripherally discarded outward factors (such as touch), and also with eyes
fixed between the eyebrows, equalizing the positive and negative vital
tendencies moving within the nasal orifice,
with the senses, mind and
reason controlled, the silent recluse, wholly intent on liberation, with
desire, fear and anger gone, is ever himself, the liberated one.
Having known Me as
the Enjoyer of ritual sacrifices, the Acceptor of austerities, the great Lord
of all worlds, and the Friend of all beings, one reaches peace.
CHAPTER VI: Dhyana Yoga
Without depending on
the results of action, he who does necessary action is a renouncer and also a
contemplative, not he who has (merely) given up the sacrificial fire, or who
(merely) abstains from ritualist (or other) action.
That which people call renunciation—know
that to be yoga, O Arjuna; one who has not given up his willful desires for
particularized ends never indeed becomes a yogi.
The yoga of a man of self-control who is
still an aspirant, is said to have action as its motive principle; for the same
person, when he has ascended to the unitive state, tranquility is said to be
its motive principle.
When, however, one
finds attachment neither in the objects of the senses nor in actions—such a
man, who has renounced all willful desires for particularized ends, is said to
be one who has ascended to yoga.
By the Self the Self must be upheld; the
Self should not be let down; the Self indeed is its own dear relative; the Self
indeed is the enemy of the Self.
The Self is dear to one (possessed) of Self,
by whom even the Self by the Self has been won; for one not (possessed) of
Self, the Self would be in conflict with the very Self, as if an enemy.
To one of conquered Self, who rests in
peace, the Supreme is in a state of neutral balance in heat-cold,
That yogi whose Self is satisfied by
(synthetic) wisdom and (analytic) knowledge, established in unchanging
immobility, who has gained full control over sense-attachments, is said to be
unified—one to whom a lump of earth, a stone, and gold are the same.
As between dear well-wishers, friends,
enemies, those indifferent, those in-between, haters, relations, and also as
between good people and sinners, he who can maintain an equal attitude, excels.
10) The yogi should constantly gather his own Self
unitively, established in a place where he can be by himself, alone, with
relational mind and Self under control, without expectations and without
11 & 12) Having
established firmly in a clean place a seat for himself, one neither too high or
too low, and covered respectively with cloth, skin and grass,
there having made the mind
one-pointed, and with relational mind and sense-functions subdued, (duly)
taking his place on his seat, let him unitively engage in yoga for transparent
13 & 14) With body, head
and neck held evenly and in immobile poise, looking at one’s nose tip and not
perceiving the (actual) directions (of space),
with tranquil Self, with fear
gone, established in the vow of a brahmachari, having mind subdued, related to
Me through contemplative thought, he may sit, united, having Me for his supreme
Thus, ever unitively
joining the Self, the yogi whose mind is subdued enters into that peace which
abides in Me, which has as its ultimate phase total effacement.
16) To be sure, there is no yoga for a glutton nor for one
who fasts, nor is it either for one who oversleeps or is (over) wakeful.
17) To one of proper food (habits) and recreation, who
engages in activities in proper moderation, who sleeps and wakes in a
well-regulated way, yoga takes its course painlessly.
When the subdued
relational mind stays in the Self itself, desireless of all desires, then it is
said to be united.
19) As a lamp set in a windless place does not flicker—such
a simile is thought of in regard to a yogi who has brought under restraint his
(relational) mind, (ever) uniting thus in the union of the Self.
(That state) where
the (relational) mind attains tranquility, restrained through continued
cultivation of a yogic attitude, and where also the Self by the Self in the Self
21) that in which one cognizes the ultimate limit of
happiness which can be grasped by reason and goes beyond the senses, and
established wherein there is no more swerving from the true principle,
22) and which, having obtained, there is no other gain
thought of which could be greater (in value), in which, when established, there
is no swerving even by heavy suffering
—that should be
known by the name of yoga: disaffiliation from the context of suffering. Such a
yoga should be adhered to with determination, free from spiritual regret.
completely all desires originating in the will for particularized ends, curbing
the collection of sense-functionings on every side
activities should be brought to a standstill by reason steadily applied,
establishing the mind reflexively in the Self, without thinking of anything
Whatever causes the
changeful, unsteady mind to go out (again and again), from each such,
restraining it (again and again), it should ever be led to the side of the
Such a yogi, verily,
of calmed mind, of pacified passion, who has become the Absolute, free from all
dross, comes to supreme happiness.
28) Ever uniting thus the Self, that yogi, rid of dross,
having contact with the Absolute, enjoys easily happiness that is ultimate.
29) One whose Self is united by yoga sees the Self as
abiding in all beings and all beings as abiding in the Self, everywhere seeing
30) He who sees Me everywhere, and sees everything in Me, to
him I am not lost and he is not lost to Me.
31) That yogi who honors Me as abiding in all beings,
established in unity, remaining as he may in every possible way—he abides in
32) By establishing an analogy with the Self, he who sees equality
everywhere, whether in pleasant or painful situations—he is considered a
That yoga you have
outlined as consisting of sameness, O Krishna, I do not see for this any stable
foundation, owing to changefulness.
34) The mind is changeful indeed; it is agitated, forceful,
and imperative (in character); like the wind, I consider its control difficult.
Doubtless the mind
is difficult to control and changeful. By practice and by dispassion it can be
36) By a Self uncontrolled yoga is hard to attain; such is
my opinion; but by a Self which is its own support, endeavoring, it is possible
to reach through the means (indicated).
37 & 38) Arjuna said:
He who is unsubdued
(but) endowed with faith, whose mind has deviated from yoga, not reaching to
yogic attainments—what path does he take?
Is he not fallen from both
like a riven cloud, destroyed without a mainstay, confounded regarding the path
of the Absolute?
39) My doubt, O Krishna, you should dispel completely. Other
than you there is none to be found to dispel this doubt.
Arjuna, neither here
nor hereafter is there destruction for him, for none of good deeds ever goes to
Having attained to
the worlds of the righteous, and having dwelt there for eternal years, he who
deviated from the path of yoga is reborn in a house of the pure and well to do.
42) Else he is born in a family of wise yogis only. A birth
like this is very rare to obtain in this world.
There he obtains
that union with reason, pertaining to a previous body, and strives thence again
44) By the former practice itself he is drawn on, though
disabled; as one merely desiring to know of yoga, he transcends the Absolute of
45) But the yogi who strives with perseverance, purified
from evils, and perfected by many births, then reaches the supreme path.
46) The yogi is greater than men of austerity, and he is
thought to be greater than men of wisdom, and greater than men of works;
therefore become a yogi, Arjuna.
47) Of all yogis, he who with inner Self is merged in me,
full of faith, devoted to Me, is considered by Me the most unitive.
The Unitive Way of Wisdom Synthesis
Having a mind
attached to Me, Arjuna, joining unitively through yoga, and having Me as
refuge, how you will know Me without any doubt, comprehensively, that do hear.
I shall teach you the (pure) wisdom together
with this (applied) knowledge, without any omission, knowing which there will
be nothing more here left over that should be known.
Among thousands of
men, one perchance strives for perfection. Even among the striving who have
attained, one perchance knows Me according to proper principles.
Earth, water, fire,
air, sky, mind, reason, and also consciousness of individuality—thus, here is
divided My eightfold nature.
This is the non-transcendental. Know the
other to be My nature, which is transcendental, constituting life, by which the
phenomenal world is sustained.
Know that all beings
have this as their common source. I am the becoming as also the dissolution of
all this (phenomenal) world.
Nothing else is
higher than Me. In Me all this is strung as a classified series of precious
beads on a string.
I am the taste in waters, I am the light
the moon and the sun, I am Aum in all the Vedas, sound in the sky, and the
human quality in men.
I am the holy fragrance of the earth, and
also the brilliance of the luminary (presence), the vital principle in all
beings, and the (essence of) austerity in all ascetics.
Know Me to be the
perennial seed of all beings; I am the reason of the intelligent, and I the
brightness of (those who are) the brilliant.
11) I am the strength of the strong, devoid of desire and
passion. In beings I am desire which is not contrary to righteousness.
12) Even sattva, rajas and tamas—know those manifestations
to be My own. I am not in them, but they are in Me.
Deluded by these
three manifestations of value, this whole world is unable to know Me, who am
beyond them and unexpended.
Verily this divine
illusion of Mine, made up of the manifestations of value (gunas), is hard to
surmount. Those who seek Me alone pass over this illusion.
lowest among men, do not attain Me, their wisdom being distracted by illusion,
affiliated as they are to the demonic (or non-intelligent) aspect of nature.
Among doers of the
good, four kinds are intent on Me: the distressed, the seeker of knowledge, the
seeker of the goods of life, and the wise.
17) Of these, the wise man, forever united and unitively
affiliated with the Absolute, excels, for dear to the utmost limit am I to the
wise one, and he is dear to Me.
Honorable are all
these, but My firm opinion is that the wise one is the Self itself. He of
unitively established Self indeed remains in My path, which has nothing higher.
After many births
the wise man attains Me. Such a Great Self, thinking Vasudeva to be all, is rare
indeed to find.
distracted by such or such (other) desire counterparts, they attain to other
divinities, committed to various obligations belonging to each, prompted by
their own particular nature (in each case).
21) By whichever particular form such and such a devotee
with faith wishes to worship, each to his own faith I confirm.
22) He, endowed with that faith, seeks the worship of such a
one, and from him obtains his desires, the benefits being decreed by Me.
Terminable indeed is
the benefit accruing to these of small intelligence; sacrificers of the
divinities go to the divinities, but My devotees surely come to Me.
consider Me as the unmanifest come to manifestation, not knowing My supreme
existence (value), unexpended, with no superior.
25) I am not revealed brightly to all; shrouded as I am by
the illusive effect of negative reality, this deluded world does not know Me,
26) I know the beings that are past, present, and to come, Arjuna,
but no one knows Me.
From the delusion of
the pairs of opposites arising from attraction and repulsion, all beings, on
being created, are subject to confusion (of values).
28) But those persons of pure deeds, whose sin has come to
an end, freed from the conflict of pairs of opposites, adore me with a firm
Those who, resorting
to Me, strive for liberation from decay and death—they know That, the Absolute,
all that constitutes Self-knowledge, and everything pertaining to (ritualistic)
Those who know Me,
taking together what refers to existential, hypostatic, and sacrificial
aspects—they know Me in a unitive spirit, even at the time of their departure.
CHAPTER VIII: Akshara
The Unitive Way in Spiritual Progress
What is that
Absolute? What is the principle of the Self? What is action, Krishna? What is
said to be the principle of existence, and what is spoken as the principle of
Here in this body, what and how is (to be
understood) the principle of sacrifice? Again, how are You to be known by
self-controlled persons at the time of going forth from the body?
The Absolute, perennial,
supreme—(its) own nature is called the principle of Self. The creative urge,
the cause of the origin of existent beings, is designated action.
The principle of existence is the transient
aspect, and the spirit is the principle of divinity; what pertains to sacrifice
is Myself here in the body, Arjuna.
And he who, at the time of death, thinking
of Me alone leaves the body and goes forth, reaches My being; herein there is
no room for doubt.
aspect a man might think of at death, when he leaves the body—that he reaches,
whose thoughts always conform to that particular life-expression.
Therefore, at all
times remember Me and fight; when your mind and intelligence are surrendered to
Me, you shall come to Me; have no doubt.
Meditating, with the
mind engaged in the yoga involving positive effort, undistracted by anything
else, he goes to the supreme divine Person.
9 & 10) He who meditates
on the Poet-seer, the Ancient, the Ordainer, minuter than the atom, the
Dispenser of all, of unthinkable nature, sun-colored, beyond the darkness,
who meditates at the time of
departure with a steady mind possessed of devotion, as also of the strength
that comes from yoga, well-fixing the life-breath between the eyebrows—he
reaches that supreme divine Person.
11) That imperishable (value) which the knowers of the Vedas
speak of, which the self-controlled and passion free enter, desiring which they
lead the life of the disciplined student—that state I shall succinctly
12 & 13) Inhibiting all
exits, holding the mind-factors convergent in the heart, vitality-functionings
operating centered between the eyebrows, well-established in sustained unitive
uttering the one-syllable
word AUM, which is the Absolute, while constantly remembering Me, he who
departs, abandoning the body, treads the highest path.
14) One without extraneous relational mental interests,
remembering Me day in and day out—to such an ever unitively affiliated man of
contemplation I am easy of attainment.
Having attained to
Me, they do not return to this transitory abode of suffering, having reached
the highest attainment.
16) All worlds, beginning from here to the world of Brahma,
are subject to phenomenal repetition, but on reaching Me, Arjuna, there is not
Those who know that
the day of Brahma is a thousand unit periods in the cosmic cycle, and the night
a thousand such units—they are knowers of the day and night (principle).
unmanifested all the manifested proceed at the coming of day; at the coming of
night they merge in that same, named the unmanifest.
19) This very same aggregate of beings, coming into
existence again and again, merges, subject to necessity, at the onset of night,
and comes into being at the coming of day.
20) But beyond this unmanifested there is yet another
unmanifested perennial existence, which among perishables itself does not
21) That unmanifested is called the imperishable. That they
speak of as the highest path, attaining which they return not. Such is My
22) This is the supreme Spirit, within whom all existences
abide and by whom all this is pervaded, who is attainable, however, by devotion
exclusive of all extraneous factors.
23) That (cosmological) occasion in which yogis go forth
(causes them) to return or not return (as the case may be)—that temporal
circumstance I am going to tell you, Arjuna.
24) Fire, light, daytime, the bright fortnight, the six
months of the northern solstice (summer)—going forth on that (cosmological)
occasion, those people who can understand the Absolute reach the Absolute.
Smoke, night, the
dark fortnight, the six months of the southern solstice (winter)—on that
(cosmological) occasion, the yogi, attaining the lunar (relativist) light,
These, the white and
the black, are known to be in this world the twin perennial paths; by one of
them one attains non-return, while by the other one comes back.
basic nature of) these two paths, one of contemplation is not confounded at
all; therefore at all times, Arjuna, be unitively established in yoga.
result is found implied in the Vedas, in sacrifices, austerities and in gifts,
the contemplative who is unitively established, having understood this
(teaching), transcends all these and attains to the supreme primal state.
Raja Guhya Yoga
Unitive Contemplation as a Royal Science and Crowning
To you indeed who do
not mistrust I shall declare this profound secret of wisdom together with its
applied aspects, by knowing which you shall be freed from what savors of evil.
crowning secret, purificatory is this, superior, objectively verifiable,
conforming to right living, very easy to live, and subject to no decrease.
Men without wholehearted faith-affiliation
to this way of right living, not attaining to Me, return to the paths of
mortality and cyclic repetition of existence.
4) By Me all this world is
pervaded, My form unmanifested; all beings have existence in Me and I do not
have existence in them.
5) And further, beings do
not exist in Me; behold My status as a divine mystery; further, Myself
remaining that urge behind beings, I bear them but do not exist in them either.
As the great (expanse of) air filling all
space has its basis in pure extension, thus you should understand all
existences as having their basis in Me.
All beings pass into My nature at the end
a unit of cosmic duration, and at the beginning of the same unit I emanate
By virtue of My nature, I
emanate again and again the whole aggregate of beings, subject as they are to
the necessary compulsion of nature.
Further, these works
do not bind Me, Arjuna, for I am seated, seemingly indifferent, unattached to
10) With Me presiding, nature gives birth to both the
movable and the unmovable entities; because of this the world revolves.
11) The foolish misunderstand Me because of My adopting the
human form, ignorant as they are of My being that is beyond, as Lord of all
12) of frustrated hope, of frustrated deeds, empty of
wisdom, non-discriminating, (they are) like malignant titans and demons,
submitting themselves to a nature of confounding values.
13) But those of Great Self, affiliated to My divine nature,
adore Me with mind exclusive of all extraneous interests, having known Me as
the unexpended primal Source of all beings.
praises of Me, ever striving, firm in vows, and saluting Me devotedly, they are
ever united in worshipful attendance;
sacrificing with the wisdom sacrifice, unitively, dualistically, as also in
many ways facing universally everywhere, worshipfully attend on Me.
16) I the ritual action, I the sacrifice, I the ancestral
oblation, I the potent medicinal herb, I the holy formula, I also the melted
butter, I the fire, I the offering.
17) I the Father of this world, the Mother, the Supporter,
and the Grandsire, the Holy One who is to be known, the Purifier, the syllable
AUM, as also the Vedas called Rik, Sama and Yajus.
18) I am the Goal, the Supporter, the Lord, the Witness, the
Abode, the Refuge, the Friend, the Becoming, the Dissolution, and Ground of
Being, ontological Basis, and never-expended Seed.
19) I radiate heat and I rain, I withhold and I send forth,
I am immortality and death, as also being and nonbeing, Arjuna.
Knowers of the three
Vedas, soma drinkers, purified from sin, worshiping by sacrifices, pray of Me
the way to heaven; they, attaining the holy world of Indra, enjoy divine feasts
They, having enjoyed
that expansive heaven-world, their merit exhausted, enter the world of
mortality, thus conforming to the righteous notions implied in the three Vedas:
desiring desirable objects they obtain values which come and go.
22) To those persons who, meditating on Me to the exclusion
of all else, worship Me, ever established unitively, I bring that solace of the
unitive way of Yoga.
23) Even those who, devoted to other gods, worship them with
faith, they in fact worship Myself, though not conforming to orthodox rules.
24) I am indeed the Enjoyer, as also the Lord of all
sacrifices; but they fall indeed who do not understand Me according to first
Votaries of the
divinities go to the divinities, votaries of the ancestors go to the ancestors,
sacrificers to elemental existences go to the elemental existences, and so too
My worshippers attain to Me.
26) He who offers to Me with devotion a leaf, a flower, a
fruit, or water, that do I accept as being offered with devotion by one who
makes the right effort.
What you do, what
you eat, what you offer, what you give, what austerity you practice—let that be
done as an offering to Me.
Thus you will be
liberated from the bonds of action, whether its results are good or evil. With
self affiliated to unitive self-denial, as one thus emancipated you will attain
29) I regard all beings equally. To Me there is none hateful
or dear. They, however, who worship with devotion—they are in Me and I too am
30) Even if one of very evil actions should worship Me with
a devotion exclusive of all else, he should be accounted to be good all the
same, merely by the fact that he has a properly settled determination.
becomes established in his own right nature and enters into eternal peace.
Believe Me in all confidence, Arjuna, that one affiliated to Me with fidelity
knows no destruction.
They too who resort
to Me for refuge, whoever they might be, (whether) women, workers, as well as
farmer-merchants, all of sinful origin—they too attain to the supreme goal.
33) How much more then the pure brahmanas, as also the
devoted royal sages! Having reached this transient joyless world do you worship
Become one with Me;
be devoted to Me; sacrifice to Me; bow down to Me; unifying thus yourself, you
shall surely come to Me, your supreme Goal none other than Me.
X: Vibhuti Yoga
Recognition of Positive Values
1) Krishna said:
Arjuna, listen to My supreme word, which I, desiring your well-being, shall
tell you, so dear (and favorably disposed).
2) Neither the hosts of
the gods, nor the great sages know My origin; for I am indeed in every way the
source of the gods and the great sages.
3) He who understands Me
as unborn and beginningless, as the great Lord of the world—that man, undeluded
among mortals, is absolved from all sins.
& 5) Reason, wisdom, non-delusion, patience, truth, self-restraint,
calmness, pleasure-pain, becoming and non-becoming, sense of danger and
balance, contentment, austerity, benevolence, fame-shame, are the various
distinct attitudes arising from Me alone.
6) The seven great sages
of old, as also the four law-givers, are born from My own process of becoming
and mind, and from these all progeny in the world.
7) He who understands
according to fundamental principles My unique value together with its unitive
balance, by non-wavering contemplation attains union. In this there is no room
8) I am the Source of all;
from Me everything moves outward; understanding thus, the wise adore Me,
endowed with the intuition of pure becoming.
9) With their relational
minds affiliated to Me, their life tendencies penetrating in Me, enlightening
each other and ever conversing about Me, they are content and rejoice.
To such (wise ones) established in
unbroken unity with affectionate adoration, I grant that kind of unitive
understanding by which they attain to Me.
because of compassion for them I, abiding as what has become the Self, destroy
the ignorance born of darkness by the shining lamp of wisdom.
& 13) Arjuna said:
are the supreme Absolute, the supreme Abode, the supreme Purifier, the eternal
divine Person, the primal Divinity, the Unborn, the All-pervading—
the sages say this of You, the divine sage Narada, so too Asita, Devala, Vyasa,
and you yourself confirm it to Me.
14) I believe that all this that You
say is valid, O Krishna; neither the divinities nor the demons know your unique
15) You Yourself indeed know Yourself
by Yourself, most high Godhead, presiding Principle of elemental expression and
of becoming, Light of Shining Ones, Lord of the universe.
16) Be pleased to tell me without
omission of the divine perfections of Your own Self, by which specific expressions
You pervade these worlds, while remaining apart.
17) How shall I, constantly meditating
on You, know You, O Mystic Yogi? In what particular expressions are you to be
cognized by Me?
18) Tell me again in detail of your
balanced perfections and specific expressions, for I am never tired of hearing
Your words of ambrosial immortality.
19) Krishna said:
I shall recount to you the bright, glorious values that pertain to Myself,
(graded) according to their importance, for there is no end to the elaboration
of items pertaining to Me.
20) I am the soul seated in the heart
of all beings; and I am the beginning and the middle and even the end of
21) Of the Adityas I am Vishnu; of
luminaries the radiant Sun; I am Marici of the Maruts; among the stars I am the
22) Of the Vedas I am the Sama Veda; of
the divinities I am Indra; in respect of the senses I am the mind; and of
life-expressions I am pure Intelligence.
23) Of the Rudras I am Shiva; of the
Yakshas and the Rakshasas, Vittesa; of the Vasus I am Pavaka; and among heights
I am Meru.
24) Even in the case of the household
priests, know Me to be the chief, Brihaspati; of the generals I am Skanda; in
respect of lakes I correspond to the ocean.
25) Of the great hermit-sages I am
Bhrigu; of articulated words I am the one-syllable (AUM); of sacrifices I am
the sacrifice of silent repetition; of immovables I am the Himalaya.
Of trees I am Asvattha, and of
divine sages, Narada; of Gandharvas, Citraratha, and of those of psychophysical
attainments, Kapila the recluse.
27) Know Me among horses to be
Ucchaihsravas, born of the ambrosia of immortality; of noble elephants,
Airavata, and of men the king.
28) Of weapons I am the thunderbolt; of
cows I am the milk-yielder of all desires; of progenitors I am the god of
erotics; of serpents I am Vasuki.
29) And I am Ananta of Nagas; I am
Varuna of the denizens of the deep, and Aryama of the ancestors; I am Yama of
30) And I am Prahalada of the Daityas;
among bases of measurement I am time; of beasts I am the lord of beasts, and
Vainateya of birds.
31) Of purifiers I am the wind; I am
Rama of bowmen; of fishes I am the makara; of streams I am the Ganges.
(In the structure) of cantos (or
chapters) I am the beginning, end, and also the middle; of the sciences I am
the Science of the Self; I am the dialectic of preeminent dialecticians.
Among syllabic letters I am the A,
of compounds I am the paired-compound; I am also unexpended time; I am the
maintainer, universally facing.
34) I am all-engulfing death, and the
Source of all things that are to be; and of womanly values, fame, grace,
speech, memory, will power, firmness and endurance.
35) Likewise, of hymns I am the
brihasama; of meters I am the gayatri, of months I am margasirsha, and of
seasons the flower-abounding.
36) I am the chance-risk of
(irresponsible) gamblers; I am the brilliance of the brilliant people; I am
victory; I am decisiveness; I am the goodness of those established in the real.
Of the Vrishnis I am Vasudeva; of
the Pandavas, Dhanamjaya; of the recluses I am Vyasa; of the poets, the poet
38) Of rulers I am the scepter; of
those who seek victory I am the statesmanship; in esoterics I am silence; and
of knowers I am knowledge.
39) And further, what is the seed of
all beings, that I am, Arjuna; nor is there anything moving or unmoving that
can exist without Me.
40) There is no end to My divine unique
values, Arjuna. What has been said of these unique values is but indicatory of
their possible extensive elaboration.
41) Whatever entity is unique in
perfected values, in grace, or in radical strength, understand that to have
manifested itself from a mere fractional spark of My brilliance.
42) But what use is there for you,
Arjuna, in this pluralistic knowledge? Supporting this whole world by a single
fraction of Myself, I remain still as ever.
XI: Visvarupa Darsana Yoga
Vision of the Absolute
1) Arjuna said:
that speech which has been spoken by You out of favor for me—the highest secret
known as pertaining to the Self—this, my confusion, has vanished.
The origin and
dissolution of beings have also been heard by me in elaboration from You, O
Krishna, as also Your unexpended greatness.
3) So it is as You have
said Yourself, Supreme Lord; I desire to see Your divine Form, O Supreme
4) If You think that it is
possible for me to see it, then do You, O Master of Yoga, show me Your
5) Krishna said:
Arjuna, My forms, by hundreds and thousands, various in kind, divine, and of
varied colors and shapes.
6) Behold the Adityas, the
Vasus, the Rudras, the two Asvins, and also the Maruts; behold many marvels
never seen before.
7) Now behold here in My
body the whole world, including the static and the dynamic, unitively
established, and whatever else you desire to see.
8) But if you are unable
to see Me with this your (human) eye, I give you a divine eye; behold My
9) Sanjaya said:
thus spoken then O King the great Master of Yoga showed Arjuna the supreme
10) With many faces and eyes, with many
marvelous aspects, with many divine ornaments, with many divine weapons held
11) wearing divine garlands and
vestures, anointed with divine perfumes and unguents, a God representing sheer
marvel, without end, universally facing.
12) If the splendor of a thousand suns
were to rise together in the sky, that might resemble the splendor of that
13) There Arjuna then beheld the whole
world, divided into many kinds, unitively established in the body of the God of
14) Then Arjuna, struck with amazement,
with his hair standing on end, reverently bowing his head to the God, and with
joined palms, spoke.
15) Arjuna said:
see the gods, O God, in Your body, and all specific groups of beings, Brahma,
the Lord, established on his lotus seat, and all seers and divine serpents.
I see You on every side, of
boundless form, with multitudinous arms, stomachs, faces and eyes; neither Your
end nor Your middle nor Your beginning do I see, O Lord of the Universe, O
17) I behold You with diadem, mace and
discus, glowing everywhere as a mass of light, hard to look at, everywhere
blazing like fire and sun, immeasurable.
18) You are the Imperishable, the
Supreme that is to be known; You are the ultimate Basis of this universe; You
are the unexpended and everlasting Custodian of (natural) law; You are the
immemorial Person, I believe.
19) I see You without beginning, middle
or end, of never ending force, of numberless arms, having moon and sun for
eyes, Your face like a lit fire of sacrifice burning this universe with Your
20) The space between heaven, earth,
and the intermediate realm is pervaded by You alone, as also the quarters;
having seen this wonderful, terrible form of Yours, the three worlds are in
distress, O Great Self.
21) Into You enter those hosts of the
Suras, some in fear of You mutter with joined palms, bands of great rishis and
Perfected Ones hail You with the cry “May it be well!” and praise You with
22) The Rudras, Adityas, Vasus and
Sadhyas, Visvas and the two Asvins, Maruts and Ushmapas, hosts of Gandharvas,
Yashas, Asuras and Siddhas, all gaze at You, wonderstruck.
23) Seeing Your great form, with many
faces and eyes, of many arms, thighs and feet, with many stomachs, with many
terrible teeth, the worlds are distressed, as also myself.
24) On seeing You touching the sky,
shining in many a color, with mouths wide open, with large fiery eyes, my
inmost self, intensely distressed, I find neither courage nor control, O
25) Having seen Your mouths fearful
with teeth, like time’s devouring flames, I lose my spatial bearings and find
no joy; be gracious, O Lord of Gods, Container of the world!
& 27) All these sons of Dhritarastra, with hosts of rulers, Bhisma, Drona,
and that son of a charioteer, with our warrior chiefs,
rushing into Your fearful mouths, terrible with teeth; some are found sticking
in the gaps between the teeth with their heads crushed to powder.
28) As many rushing torrents of rivers
race toward the ocean, so do these heroes in the world of men enter Your
29) As moths speed into a blazing fire
to be destroyed, just so do these worlds also speed into Your mouths unto their
30) You lick up all worlds, devouring
on every side with Your flaming mouths, filling the whole world with glory.
Your fierce rays are blazing forth, O All-Pervading One.
31) Tell me who You are, so fierce in
form! I bow to You, O Superior God. Be gracious! I want to understand You, O
Primal One, nor do I know Your positive continued becoming.
am world-destroying Time, grown into hardened maturity, operating here
continuously, desolating the worlds. Even without you, none of the warriors
standing in the opposing armies shall continue to exist.
arise and gain fame! Conquering your foes, enjoy the realm of abundance. By Me
they have already been slain. Be the incidental cause only, Arjuna.
and Bhishma, Jayadratha, Karna, and the other great battle heroes, are all
slain by Me. Do not be distressed. Fight on, you shall conquer in battle your
35) Sanjaya said:
heard that speech, Arjuna, stuttering emotionally and trembling with fear, with
palms joined worshipfully, bowed down before Krishna and spoke these words:
Krishna, it is but right that the world is delighted in praising You, that
demons fly in fear to every quarter, and that all hosts of perfected ones bow
in adoration to You.
37) And why should they not bow to You,
O Great Self, more venerable even than Brahma, the first maker, O Endless God
of Gods, Basis of the Universe! You are the Imperishable One, existence and
nonexistence, and what is beyond even that.
38) You are the First of the Gods, and
the Ancient Spirit; You are the Supreme Basis of the Universe; You are both the
Knower and the Knowable; You are the (transcendent) Beyond and the (immanent)
Receptacle (here); the universe is pervaded by You, O One of Limitless Form!
You are the God of Wind, Death,
Fire, Ocean, the Moon, first of Progenitors and the Great-Grandsire. Hail! Hail
to You! A thousand times and again, hail! Hail to You!
to You before and after; prostrations to You on every side; O All, of endless
potency and immeasurable strength, You terminate all, then You become All!
& 42) Whatever I have said rashly, from carelessness or fondness,
addressing You as “O Krishna, O Yadava, O Comrade,” thinking of You as an
intimate and ignorant of Your greatness,
for whatever jesting irreverence I may have shown You, whether at play,
reposing or seated, or at meals, either when remaining by myself or when You
were present, that I ask you to forgive, O Unpredicable One!
43) You are the Father of the world, of
the moving and unmoving; You are to be reverenced by this world, and are the
Supreme Guru; none is Your equal; how then could there be one greater than You,
even in the three worlds, O One of Incomparable Greatness!
bowing down and prostrating my body, I seek Your grace, O Adorable Lord; (it is
but proper that) You should bear with me, as father to son, as friend to
friend, as lover to beloved.
& 46) I am glad having seen what has never been seen by anyone before, and
my mind is troubled with fear; O God, be pleased to show me that very form, O
God of gods, O Abode of the Universe;
want to see You even so, diademmed, with mace and discus in Your hand; assume
that very form with four arms, O Thousand–Armed, O One of Universal Form!
My favor, Arjuna, this supreme form has been shown, by union with the
Self, made up of light, universal, endless, primal, never before seen by any
other than yourself.
48) Neither by the Vedas, sacrifices,
nor by study, nor by gifts, nor by ritual, nor by severe austerities, can I
possibly be seen in such a form in the human world, by anyone other than you.
Be not distressed, do not be
confused, having seen such a terrible form of Mine; free from fear, mentally
comforted, again behold that very form of Mine (presently) here.
50) Sanjaya said:
thus spoken to Arjuna, Krishna again showed His own form, and the Great Self,
becoming mild in form, consoled him who was terrified.
51) Arjuna said:
again this Your mild human form, I am now calm, with my mind restored to its
This form of Mine
which you have seen is very hard to see indeed; even the gods ever aspire to
behold this form.
53) Not by worship, nor by austerity, nor by gifts, nor by
sacrifice, can I be seen in this form as you have seen Me.
54) But by devotion that excludes all else I can be known,
seen, and in principle entered into.
55) He who does actions that are Mine, whose supreme is
Myself, whose devotion is to Me, devoid of attachment, free from enmity to all
beings—he reaches Me, Arjuna.
CHAPTER XII: Bhakti Yoga
Those devotees who
worship You ever unitively, and those again who meditate on the Imperishable
and the Unmanifested—of them which excels in yoga knowledge?
Those with minds
entered into Me, who unitively meditate on Me, with a fervor pertaining to the
Supreme—those according to Me are the most unitively attuned in yoga.
3 & 4) But those who
meditate upon the Imperishable, the Undefinable, the Unmanifested, the
All-Pervasive, and the Thought-transcending, the Firmly-Established, the
Immobile, the Constant,
having restrained all
sense-aggregates, regarding all with equalizing understanding, interested in
the well-being of all creatures—they reach Me too.
The difficulty of those whose relational
minds are set on the Unmanifested is greater, for the way of the Unmanifested is
very hard for the embodied to reach.
6 & 7) But those who
worship Me, renouncing all actions in Me, regarding Me supreme, meditating on
Me by that yoga exclusive of all else,
for them whose minds have
entered into Me, I become ere long the savior out of the ocean of death and
repeated cyclic existences.
Place your mind in
Me only, let your higher reason enter into Me; you shall without doubt
thereafter live in Me.
If you are unable to fix your thoughts
steadily on Me, then by means of unitive ascent seek to reach Me.
10) If you happen to be incapable even of practice, then
become one whose every action belongs to Me, the Supreme; even doing work for
My sake you shall attain to perfection.
11) If you are unable to do even this, then seek refuge (for
your individuality) in My unitive Being, renouncing the benefits of all
actions, as one of controlled self.
Better indeed is
knowledge than practice; than knowledge, meditation is superior; than
meditation, renunciation of the benefit of action; after renunciation—peace.
13 & 14) He who has no
hatred toward all creatures, who is also friendly and compassionate, who is
free from possessiveness, and egoism, who is equalized in pain and pleasure,
such a unitively disciplined
one, who is always contented, self-controlled, firmly resolved, whose mind and
reason are dedicated to Me—he, My devotee, is dear to Me.
15) He who does not disturb (the peace of) the world and
(whose peace) is not disturbed by the world, and who is free from exaggerations
of joy, hate and fear—he too is dear to Me.
16) He who expects no favors, who is clean, expert, who sits
unconcerned, carefree, who has relinquished all undertakings—he, My devotee, is
dear to Me.
17) He who neither rejoices nor hates, nor grieves nor
desires, and who has relinquished both the beneficial and the harmful—such a
one, endowed with devotion, is dear to Me.
18) He who is the same to foe and friend, and also in honor and
dishonor, who is the same in cold and heat, in pleasure and pain, and who is
free from attachment,
19) to whom censure and praise are equal, who is silent (in
manner), content with whatever happens to come, having no fixed abode, mentally
constant—such a man of devotion is dear to Me.
20) But they who cherish devotedly this righteous immortal
value, as stated, endowed with faith, with Me for the Supreme—these devotees
are exceedingly dear to Me.
CHAPTER XIII: Kshetra-Kshetrajna Yoga
The Unitive Understanding of the Distinction Between
the Actual and the Perceptual
Nature and spirit,
the field and the knower of the field, knowledge and what is to be known—these
I should like to know, Krishna.
This body is called
the field, and he who knows this, thus they call, who know, the knower of the
And also know Me as the knower of the field
in all fields. That knowledge which refers to the knowledge of the field and
the knower of the field, is, in My opinion, the knowledge.
That hear in brief from Me: what the field
is, what it is like, of what it is the modification, and whence and which it
is; also what the knower of the field is, and what is his specialized resulting
Sung by rishis in
many ways, severally and distinctly, in different meters, and also in the aphoristic
words of the Brahma Sutras, replete with critical reasonings and positively
5 & 6) The great
elements, ego sense, reason, and also the Unmanifest, the ten senses, the one
(mind), and the five conceptual aspects of the senses,
the organic aggregation, vital intelligence, firmness—this, in brief, is the
field, with modifications named.
conventional pride, unpretentiousness, non-hurting, non-retaliating
forbearance, straightforwardness, loyal support of the teacher, purity,
steadfastness, state of self-withdrawal,
respect of sense interests, absence of egoism, insight regarding the pain and
evil of birth, death, old age, and disease,
without clinging to,
and without intensely involved attachment to (relations such as) sons, wives,
(and property such as) houses, and having a constant neutral mental attitude in
respect of desirable and undesirable happenings,
devotion to Me to
the exclusion of everything extraneous, and never straying from the direct
path, preference to dwell in a place apart, distaste for crowded living,
affiliation to the wisdom pertaining to the Self, insight into the content of
philosophical wisdom—this is declared to be wisdom; whatever is other than this
12) I shall declare that which is to be known, knowing which
one gains immortality: the beginningless, having Me as its supreme culminating
factor, the Absolute, which is said to be neither existence nor non-existence.
13) With hands and feet everywhere, with eyes and heads and
mouths and hearing everywhere—in the world, That remains, enveloping all.
Shining by the
specific characters of the senses, devoid of all sense attributes, unattached,
supporting all, without qualities yet perceiving qualities,
without and within
beings, immobile and mobile too—because subtle, That is unknowable; That stands
far and near also.
16) And undivided, yet remaining divided, as it were, in
beings, supporter of existence, and That which is to be known, holding back and
releasing for expansive becoming,
17) the Light even of lights—That is said to be beyond
darkness; knowledge, the knowable, and what is to be reached through knowledge,
particularly located in the hearts of everyone.
Thus, the field, and
wisdom, and what has to be known, have been briefly told; My devotee, having
known this, attains to My state of being.
Know that nature and
spirit are both beginningless; and know also that modifications and their
intrinsic modalities are born of nature.
20) In what concerns the agency of cause and effect the
motivating factor is called nature; in the matter of the experiencer of
pleasure and pain the motivating factor is called spirit.
21) The spirit, seated in nature, appreciates the modalities
born of nature; association with the modalities is the cause of births in good
or evil wombs.
Permitter, Supporter, Experiencer, the Great Lord, also called the Supreme
Self, is the supreme spirit in the body.
23) He who thus knows spirit and nature, together with the
intrinsic modalities, though he may happen to be leading any kind of life, is
not born again.
24) By meditation some behold the Self in the Self by the
Self, others by samkhya yoga, and others by karma yoga.
25) But others, not knowing in this way, worship, having
heard from others; they also cross beyond death, depending on hearsay.
produced, the unmoving or the moving, know that to be from the union of the
field and the knower of the field.
27) He who sees the supreme Lord abiding in a state of
equality in all beings, within the perishing as the non-perishing—he sees.
28) He who sees the Lord seated equally everywhere, destroys
not the Self by the Self; and so he attains the supreme goal.
29) He who sees that all actions are done by nature alone,
and likewise that the Self is actionless—he truly sees.
When he perceives
the disjunct existence of beings established in the One, and from whence also
their expansion, then he becomes the Absolute.
Having no beginning,
having no attributes, this supreme Self suffers no decrease, though dwelling in
the body, Arjuna. It neither acts nor is it tainted.
32) As the all-pervading, subtle space-principle is
untarnished by reason of its subtlety, so the Self, seated everywhere in the
body, is untarnished.
33) As the one sun illumines this whole world, so the Lord
of the field illumines all the field.
Those who by the eye
of wisdom perceive the difference between the field and the knower of the
field, and (its bearing on) elements-nature-emancipation—they go to the
CHAPTER XIV: Gunatraya
The Unitive Way of Transcending the Three Nature
I shall again
declare that superior wisdom, the best of all wisdom, by knowing which all
sage-recluses have passed to transcendental perfection from here.
Having resorted to
this wisdom, and having attained to conformity in (express) features pertaining
to Me, they are neither born at creation nor are they adversely affected at
My womb is great Brahma; in that I place
germ; thence is the birth of all beings, Arjuna.
forms are produced in all the wombs, great Brahma is their (common) womb, and I
am the seed-bestowing Father.
Sattva, rajas and
tamas—these nature-necessity born modalities bind the imperishable embodied
Of these, sattva, from its purity, causing
brightness and expressing normal well-being, binds by pleasure conditioning and
by knowledge conditioning.
Know you that rajas
is of the nature of attachment, conditioned by thirst for life and the adhering
tendency; it binds the embodied One fast by action association.
But tamas is born of ignorance, deluding
embodied beings; it binds by delusion, lassitude and somnolence.
Sattva conduces to
pleasure and rajas to action, while tamas, shrouding wisdom, conduces to
10) Now sattva dominates, overpowering rajas and tamas; and
rajas prevails over sattva and tamas; likewise tamas over rajas and sattva.
When light, which is
wisdom, streams forth from all the doors of the body, then it may be understood
that sattva is predominant.
When rajas dominates
there arises greed, activity, initiation of works, impatience and covetousness.
dominates, dullness, lack of initiative, delusion and infatuation arise.
14) If the body bearer goes to dissolution when sattva
predominates, then it attains to the pure worlds of those who understand the
dissolution when rajas predominates, it is born among those attached to action;
and likewise if dissolved in a state of tamas, it is born in the wombs of the
16) The benefit of good action is said to be sattvic, while
the benefit of rajas is pain, and ignorance is the benefit of tamas.
From sattva arises
wisdom, as also from rajas, greed; both delusion and infatuation and also
ignorance arise from tamas.
Those who abide in
sattva go upward, the rajasic dwell in the middle, and the tamasic, abiding in
the function of the lowest modality of nature, go downward.
When the seer
beholds no other agent than the modalities of nature, and knows that which lies
beyond the modalities, he attains My state of being.
20) The embodied, having transcended these three modalities
of nature, originating in the body, is freed from the sufferings of birth,
death and old age, and enjoys immortality.
By what marks, O
Master, does he who has transcended those three modalities of nature become
recognized? What is his conduct, and how does he transcend them?
Light and activity
and delusion, when present, Arjuna, he is not dissatisfied, nor does he hanker
for them when absent.
23-25) He who, seated as a
neutral, is not moved by the modalities of nature, realizing that they operate
in rotation, who, standing apart, is unmoved,
the same in pain and
pleasure, at rest in himself, to whom a clod of earth, a stone and gold are
alike, firm in attitude alike to loved and unloved, who regards his being
blamed or praised equally,
the same in honor and
disgrace, taking no sides as between friends or foes, abandoning all initiation
of works—he is said to have transcended the modalities of nature.
26) He who also serves Me with a yoga of devotion, never
deviating from the proper path, transcending these modalities of nature, is
considered fit for becoming the Absolute.
27) For I am the basis of the Absolute, and the unexpended
nectar of immortality, and the eternal way of right conduct, and of lonely
The Unitive Approach to the Paramount Person
They speak of an
unexpended holy fig tree, with roots above and branches below, whose leaves are
sacred verses; he who knows it is a Veda knower.
Below and above
spread its branches, nourished by the modalities of nature, sense values its
buds, and downward also there are ramified roots which bind to action in the
world of men.
3 & 4) Nor is its form
here comprehended thus (as stated), nor its end, nor its beginning, nor its
foundation. Having sundered this holy fig tree, with strongly fixed roots, with
the weapon of decisive nonattachment,
then alone that path is to be
sought, treading which they do not return again, thinking: “I seek refuge in
that Primordial Man from whom of old streamed forth active relativist
Those who are
neither proud nor deluded, who have overcome their selfish attachments, who are
ever constant to that value which pertains to the Self, whose passions are
withdrawn, who are beyond the opposing dual factors known as pleasure-pain, and
who are non-foolish, wend that way of life which knows no decay.
The sun does not illumine That, nor the
moon, nor the fire; That is My supreme abode, from which, having reached, they
A qualitative unit of Mine, which is
eternal, having become life in the world of life, attracts to itself the
senses—of which mind is the sixth—which abide in nature.
When the Lord takes
a body, and when He leaves it, He takes these (mind and senses) and goes, even
as the wind gathering scents from their retreats.
Presiding over the
ear, the eye, touch, taste, smell, and also the mind, this One avails himself
of the values relating to the senses.
staying, or experiencing, conditioned as they are by the modalities of nature,
the foolish cannot see; the wisdom-eyed can see.
11) The yogis, striving, also perceive this One established
in the Self; though striving, those yogis of imperfected Self, lacking wisdom,
do not see this One.
12) That brilliance which reaches the sun and brightens the
whole world, that which is in the moon and the fire too—that brilliance know to
be of Me.
earth, I sustain all elemental existences by My vitalizing heat principle, and
become soma, identical with sap (or taste); I also nourish all herbs.
Having become the
fire of life and resorting to the body of living creatures, uniting with the
ingoing and outgoing vital energies, I digest the four kinds of food.
15) And I am seated in the heart of all; from Me are memory
and positive wisdom and its negative process; I am that which is to be known by
all the Vedas; I am indeed the Vedanta maker and the Veda knower too.
There are two
Persons in the world, the Changing and the Changeless; the Changing comprises
all beings, and the mysteriously fixed is called the Changeless.
17) That Paramount Person, however, is another, called the
Supreme Self, the eternal Lord, who, pervading the three worlds, sustains them.
Because I transcend
the Changing and am even superior to the Changeless, therefore I am celebrated
in the world and in the Veda as the Paramount Person.
19) He who, undeluded, thus knows Me, the Paramount
Person—he, the all-knower, adores Me in all aspects, Arjuna.
Thus this most
secret doctrine has been taught by Me; understanding this, one becomes wise,
and one who has done with all works, O Sinless One.
CHAPTER XVI: Daivasura
Sampad Vibhaga Yoga
The Unitive Way of Discriminating Between higher and
transparency to truth, proper affiliation to unitive wisdom, attitude of
generous sharing, self-restraint, sacrifice, private perusal of sacred books,
non-anger, relinquishment, calmness, self-integrity, compassion to beings,
non-interest in sense values, gentleness, modesty, non-fickleness,
fortitude, cleanliness, absence of malice, absence of excessive
respectability—these make up the divine (higher) values of anyone, O Bharata,
born for them.
arrogance, a sense of self-importance, anger, harshness, and also
ignorance—these, O Arjuna, make up the demonic (lower) values of anyone born
The divine values are deemed to be for
emancipation, and the demonic for bondage to necessity; do not regret, O
Arjuna, you are born for the divine values.
There are two orders
of created beings in this world: the divine and the demonic; the divine have
been described at length; hear from me now of the demonic.
The demonic men do not know the way of
positive action, nor the way of negative withdrawal; in them is found neither
cleanliness, nor propriety in conduct, nor veracity.
They say that the
world is without true existence, without a basis, without a presiding
principle, not resulting from reciprocal factors (lying beyond immediate
vision), as if asking, “What else is there other than that caused by lust?”
Willfully holding to
this view, these men of lost souls, of little understanding, of harsh deeds,
emerge as non-beneficial, effecting the world’s decline.
insatiable desires, accompanied by pretentiousness, arrogance, and madness,
fondly grasping false values deludedly, they act with unclean resolve.
infinite cares lasting till doomsday, for whom desire and enjoyment is the
supreme end, cocksure that such is the way,
bound by a hundred
cords consisting of expectations, given to lust and anger, they strive unfairly
to hoard wealth for sensual enjoyment.
“This today has been
gained by me; this particular end I will get; this wealth is mine, and that wealth
also will be mine;
14) that enemy has been killed by me; and others I will also
kill; I am the Lord; I am the enjoyer; I have satisfied my ambitions; I am
powerful and happy;
15) I am rich and well-born; who else is like me? I will
sacrifice; I will give; I will rejoice”—thus deluded by ignorance
maddened by many
thoughts, caught within the snare of confusing values, addicted to lustful
gratifications, they fall into an unclean hell.
17) Self-righteous, perversely immobile, filled with pride
and intoxication of wealth, they perform sacrifices ostentatiously, which are
only nominal sacrifices, not conforming to scriptural rules.
Resorting to egoism,
force, insolence, lust, and anger, these envious ones hate Me [the Absolute] in
their own and other’s bodies.
These cruel haters
in the world, worst of men, I hurl unceasingly even into the degraded wombs of
attaining a demonic
womb, deluded by birth after birth, not reaching Me, O Son of Kunti, they go to
the lowest state.
Triple is the
infernal gate, destructive of the Self: lust, hate and greed; therefore these
three should be avoided.
22) A man who has abandoned these three gates of darkness
observes what conduces to his progress, and thereafter attains to the Supreme
23) He who, having abandoned the guiding principles of
scripture, acts under the promptings of desire—he cannot attain perfection, nor
happiness, nor the Supreme Path.
scripture is your authority in deciding what should and should not be done.
Understanding what is indicated for guidance in scripture, you should do work
CHAPTER XVII: Sraddhatraya Vibhaga Yoga
Recognition of the Three Patterns of Faith
What is the status
in faith, O Krishna, of those who, discarding scriptural injunctions, sacrifice
with faith, sattvic, rajasic or tamasic?
The faith of the
embodied is of three kinds, according to their predominant nature of sattva,
rajas or tamas. About it hear:
The faith of everyone is shaped according
their true nature, Arjuna; man is made of his faith; of what faith a man is,
even that he is.
Worshipers of the
divinities are sattvic; the rajasic incline toward the gods of eating and
wealth and the gods of ferocity and violence; while the rest, the tamasic,
worship the spirits of the dead and the hosts of elemental beings.
men who practice terrible austerities not enjoined by the scripture, given to
hypocrisy and egoism, lust, passion and power,
torturing all the organs of
the body and harassing Me, seated in the body—know them to be of demonic
Even the food which is dear to everyone
of three kinds, as also the sacrifices, austerities and gifts. Hear you of the
distinction between them.
The foods which promote life, vitality,
strength, health, joy and cheerfulness, and which are tasty, rich, substantial
and appealing, are dear to sattvic types.
Foods that are
strongly flavored, sour, saline, excessively hot, pungent, hardened, and burning
are liked by the rajasic, and are producers of pain, unhappiness and
10) That which is left over, which has lost its taste, which
is putrid, stale, which is refuse, and unfit for consumption—such alimentary
items are welcome to the tamasic types.
11) That sacrifice is sattvic which is offered by those
desiring no gain, having injunctional recognition in the mind, having become
tranquil by saying to themselves that sacrifice is necessary.
12) That sacrifice which is offered with expectation of
return, or for egoistic show, know that to be rajasic.
13) The sacrifice which does not conform to scriptural
rules, without food distribution, without sacred chants and token gifts meant
for the Guru, and devoid of faith, they declare to be tamasic.
Worship offered to
the gods, to wisdom-initiates, to spiritual teachers, and the wise generally,
cleanliness, straightforwardness, the chaste ways of a wisdom novice, and
non-hurting, are said to constitute discipline of the body.
which is truthful, pleasant and beneficial, and contemplative self-study, are
named the discipline of speech.
gentleness, silence, self-restraint, and an imagination of creative
transparency, are named the discipline of the mind.
17) This threefold discipline, practiced with transcendent
faith by unitively balanced yogis, without desire of gain, is named sattvic.
18) That discipline which is practiced for gaining respect,
honor, reverence, and for the sake of show, is named rajasic, changeful and
19) That discipline which is practiced out of foolish
obstinacy, with self-torture, or for the detriment of another, is named
20) That gift which clearly ought to be made, given to one
from whom no return is expected, in the right place and time, and to a
deserving person—that gift is sattvic.
21) And what is given with a view to return benefit, or with
gain in view, reluctantly—that gift is held to be rajasic.
22) The gift that is given at a wrong place or time,
disdainfully, and patronizingly, to persons unfit to receive it, is said to be
23) Aum tat
this, threefold, has been known in the past as designating the Absolute. The
scriptures called Brahmanas, the
Vedas, and sacrifices also, by this were prescribed of old.
Therefore, uttering aum,
sacrifice, giving, austerity, and action enjoined by
scriptural ordinance always begin for those who represent the doctrine of the
25) With tat,
excluding all values of gain, various acts of sacrifice and austerity, as also giving,
are performed by those who desire liberation.
26) This term sat
is used in the sense of existence, and of goodness; and likewise, Arjuna, to
all laudable actions the expression sat is usually applied.
Steady loyalty in
sacrifice, austerity and giving is also called sat, and so also action so intended is called sat.
sacrificed, given, or done, and whatever austerity is gone through without
faith is called asat, Arjuna; it
has no value here or hereafter.
CHAPTER XVIII: Sannyasa Yoga
The Unitive Way in
Behavior Patterns (Unitive Renunciation?)
I desire to know, O
Krishna, the truth of renunciation as also of relinquishment, each distinctly.
Bards of old
understood by sannyasa the renunciation of desire-prompted action; the
relinquishing of the benefit of all actions those with insight declare to be tyaga.
Action should be
given up as an evil, declare some rationalists; others say that acts of
sacrifice, giving and austerity should not be abandoned.
4-6) Hear now from Me the settled conclusion about relinquishment;
indeed relinquishment has been well known as of three kinds:
The acts of sacrifice, giving
and austerity should not be relinquished, each should indeed be observed;
sacrifice, giving and austerity are the purifiers of rational men;
but even these actions should
be done leaving out attachment and desire for result; this is My decided and
renunciation of necessary inevitable action does not arise; the renunciation of
such through delusion is said to be tamasic.
He who relinquishes action from fear of
bodily trouble, considering it painful, thus willfully (rajasically)
relinquishing, does not get the (legitimate) benefit of relinquishment.
action is done, Arjuna, recognizing its imperative character, relinquishing
attachment and benefit, such relinquishment is considered sattvic.
10) The relinquisher pervaded with purity, of strong
intelligence, and of sundered doubts, hates not unpleasant action, nor is he
attached to pleasant ones.
11) Nor indeed is it possible for an embodied one to
completely relinquish action; he who relinquishes the benefit of action is
verily called a relinquisher.
and mixed benefits accrue in the spiritual progress beyond of a
non-relinquisher, but none anywhere to renouncers.
13-15) Arjuna, learn from Me
these five causes for the accomplishment of all actions, as stated in the Sankhya
at the end of the Age called Krita:
The basis and actor, and also
the various mental instruments, the several and varied movements, and fifth,
the divine factor;
whatever action a man
undertakes by the body, speech and mind, justifiable or the opposite—these five
are its causes.
Now, such being the
case, the man of perverted mind who, because of unfinished intelligence, looks
upon himself as the isolated agent of action—he does not see indeed.
17) He who is free from ego-sense, whose intelligence is
unaffected, though he kills these people, he neither kills nor is bound.
knowable, and the knower are the threefold incentive to action; the mental
instrument, the action, and the actor are the threefold aggregate-base of
19) Even knowledge, action and actor are said, according to
modality-difference, by way of their enumeration according to the modalities,
to be of three kinds; hear you of them as they are actually.
20) That by which the unexpended Being is seen in all beings,
undivided in the divided—know that knowledge to be sattvic.
21) The knowledge which sees a multiplicity of beings as
distinct in the different kinds, because of separateness—know that knowledge to
22) But that which clings to one single effect as if it were
the whole, without reason, without meaning, based on any principle, and
insignificant—that is called tamasic.
23) An action which is obligatory, performed without
attachment, without affection or disregard, by one not benefit-motivated—that
is called sattvic.
24) But that action done with great strain, by one
desire-prompted, or possessed of egoism, is called rajasic.
25) The action undertaken from confusion (of values),
disregarding consequences, loss or injury, and human limitations—that is called
26) The actor, free from attachment, who avoids references
to himself in the first person, endowed with firmness and zeal, unmoved by
success or failure, is called sattvic.
27) The actor, passionate, prompted by desire for benefits,
greedy, violent-natured, maladjusted, with moods of exaltation and depression,
is called rajasic.
28) The actor who is a misfit, crude, stubborn, deceitful,
malicious, lazy, despondent and procrastinating, is called tamasic.
29) Hear now the three-fold difference of reason and
firmness also, according to the modalities of nature, O Winner of Wealth, to be
set forth fully and severally.
30) The reason that knows the positive way of action and the
negative way of inaction, what ought to be done and what ought not to be done,
what is to be feared and what is not to be feared, the binding and the
liberating actions, O Arjuna, is sattvic.
31) That reason which takes right and wrong, the permissible
and the banned, in a sense incompatible with reality—that O Arjuna, is rajasic.
32) That reason enveloped in darkness, which regards wrong
as right, and sees all values pervertedly, O Arjuna, is tamasic.
33) The firmness by which the activities of mind, vital
functions, and the senses are kept from deflecting (from the true path) by
yoga, is sattvic.
34) But the firmness by which one holds fast to duty, and
pleasure, and wealth, desirous of the results of each when the occasion
presents itself—that firmness is rajasic.
35) That by which a stupid man does not give up sleep, fear,
grief, despondency and wantonness—that firmness is tamasic.
36-39) And now hear from Me
of the three kinds of happiness, in which one by practice rejoices, and in
which he reaches the end of pain;
that happiness which is like
gall at first, ambrosial at the end, born of lucid self-understanding, is
that happiness arising out of
contact of the senses with objects, at first like ambrosia, at the end like
gall, is called rajasic;
that happiness which at first
and in after-effects is self-confounding, arising from sleep, lassitude and
listlessness, is called tamasic.
There is no entity
either on earth or in heaven, among the Vedic divinities, that could be free
from these three modalities born from nature.
41) Of brahmins,
ksatriyas, vaisyas and sudras,
O Arjuna, vocations are separately distributed in conformity with the
modalities arising from their own nature.
self-restraint, austerity, purity, forgiveness, and straightforwardness, pure
wisdom, applied wisdom, belief: these are the items of activity of the brahmin, born of his own nature.
firmness, skill, and also never-absconding, generosity, and dignity of mien,
refer to the pattern of activity of the ksatriya, born of his own nature.
cattle, and trade are the items of vocation of the vaisya, born of his own nature; work of the nature of menial
service is likewise born of the sudra’s own nature.
Devoted each to his
own occupation, man reaches perfection (in practical yoga); how, devoted to his
own occupation he attains such perfection—that do hear.
46) He from whom all existences come forth, and by whom all
this is pervaded—by offering worship to Him with his own occupation, man wins
Better is one’s own
calling, though inferior, than the duty of another well performed. One doing
the duty determined by his own nature incurs no sin.
inborn in one, though accompanied by defects, ought not to be abandoned; all undertakings
are enveloped by defects, as fire by smoke.
49) He whose reason is unattached in all situations, whose
Self has been won over, from whom desire has gone, by renunciation reaches the
supreme perfection of transcending action.
50) How he who has ascended to perfection thereby obtains
the Absolute, that supreme consummation of wisdom—that do you learn from Me, O
Arjuna, in brief.
51-53) Endowed with pure
reason, restraining the Self with firmness, detaching oneself from sound and
other sense objects, and casting out liking and disliking,
dwelling in solitude, frugal
in diet, controlling speech, body, and mind, ever in meditative contemplation,
resorting to dispassion,
relinquishing egoism, power,
arrogance, desire, anger, and possessiveness, free from ownership, and
tranquil—he is worthy of becoming the Absolute.
Absolute, blissfully serene in the Self, he neither despairs nor hankers;
equal-minded toward all beings, he attains a devotion to Me supreme in
Through devotion he
comes to know Me, how far comprehensible I am and who, in accord with first
principles; then, having known Me philosophically, he immediately enters into
continuing to do all actions in life, treating Me as his refuge, by My grace he
obtains the everlasting undiminishing status.
Mentally renouncing all actions into Me,
regarding Me as the Supreme, resorting to
unitive understanding, having Me wholly filling your relational consciousness,
consciousness filled with Me, you will overcome all obstacles by My grace, but
if, from egoism, you will not listen, you shall come to ruin.
59) If, resorting to egoism, you think, “I will not fight,”
absurd is this, your resolution. Nature will compel you.
60) That which, through confusion, you do not like to do—you
shall do that very thing, helplessly, bound by your own nature-born action.
61) The Lord dwells in the heart-region of all beings, O
Arjuna, causing all beings to revolve through the principle of appearance, as
if mounted on a machine.
62) Seek refuge in Him alone in all ways, Arjuna; by His
grace you shall obtain the peaceful abode, supreme, everlasting.
Thus has wisdom more
secret than all that is secret been declared to you by Me; critically
scrutinizing all, omitting nothing, do as you like.
Listen again to My
supreme word, the most secret of all; because you are greatly beloved of Me, I
will tell you what is for your good.
Become one in mind
with Me; be devoted to Me; sacrifice to Me; bow down to Me; you shall come to
Me alone; I promise you, in truth, you are dear to Me.
duties, come to Me, the One, for refuge; I shall absolve you from all sins; do
67) This is never to be spoken about by you to one
spiritually undisciplined, nor to one devoid of devotion, nor to one indisposed
to listen, nor to one who denies Me.
68) He who gives this supreme secret to My devotee, thereby
doing for Me supreme devotion, shall doubtless come to Me.
69) Nor is there besides such a one, among men, any who is
the highest performer of dear acts, nor shall there be for Me another dearer on
70) And he who will study this dialogue of ours, conducive
to righteousness, by him (in effect) I shall have been worshipped through the
wisdom sacrifice; so I hold.
71) And the man who may merely happen to hear, endowed with faith,
and uncarping—even he, liberated, shall attain to the good worlds of those who
perform meritorious deeds.
72) Has it been heard by you, Arjuna, with one-pointed mind?
O Winner of Wealth, has your delusion of ignorance been destroyed?
Gone is my delusion,
and Self-recognition has been gained by me through Your grace. I am properly
established, with doubts gone; I shall carry out Your word.
Thus have I heard
this wonderful dialogue between Krishna and the high-souled Arjuna, causing my
hair to stand on end.
75) By the grace of Vyasa I heard this supreme and most
secret yoga, spoken by Krishna Himself, the Lord of Yoga, as immediately given
to my senses.
76) O King, as I remember and remember this marvelous and sacred
dialogue between Krishna and Arjuna, I rejoice over and over again.
77) As I remember and remember that most marvelous form of Hari,
great is my astonishment, O King, and I rejoice over and over again.
Where there is
Krishna, the Lord of Yoga, where there is Arjuna, the archer, there will be prosperity,
victory, progress, and well-established justice: such is my belief.