Bhagavad Gita Chapter 13

Chapter XIIIKshetrakshetrajnavibhagayogo or "The Book by Religion of Separation of Matter and Spirit"


Now would I hear, O gracious Kesava!1 Of Life which seems, and Soul beyond, which sees, And what it is we know - or seem to know.

[Footnote 1: The Calcutta edition of the Mahabharata has these opening lines.]


bhgch13Yea! Son of Kunti! for this flesh ye see Is Kshetra, is the field where Life disports; And that which views and knows it is the Soul, Kshetrajna. In all "fields," thou Indian prince! Iam Kshetrajna. I am what surveys! Only that knowledge knows which knows the known By the knower!2 What it is, that "field" of life, What qualities it hath, and whence it is, And why it changeth, and the faculty That wotteth it, the mightiness of this, And how it wotteth - hear these things from Me! . . . . . . . .3 The elements, the conscious life, the mind, The unseen vital force, the nine great gates Of the body, or the five domains of sense, Desire, dislike, pleasure and pain, and thought Deep-woven, and persistency of being; These all are wrought on matter by the Soul!

[Footnote 2: This is the nearest possible version of Kshetrakshetrajnayojnanan yat tagjnan matan mama.]

[Footnote 3: I omit two lines of the Sanskrit here, evidently interpolated by some Vedantist.]

Humbleness, truthfulness, and harmlessness, Patience and honor, reverence for the wise, Purity, constancy, control of self, Contempt of sense-delights, self-sacrifice, Perception of the certitude of ill In birth, death, aye, disease, suffering, and sin; Detachment, lightly holding unto home, Children, and wife, and all that bindeth men; An ever-tranquil heart in fortunes good And fortunes evil, with a will set firm To worship Me - Me only! ceasing not; Loving all solitudes, and shunning noise Of foolish crowds; endeavors resolute To reach perception of the Utmost Soul, And grace to understand what gain it were So to attain, - this is true Wisdom, Prince! And what is otherwise is ignorance!

Now will I speak of knowledge best to know That Truth which giveth man Amrit to drink, The Truth of Him, the Para-Brahm, the All, The Uncreated; not Asat, not Sat, Not Form, nor the Unformed; yet both, and more; Whose hands are everywhere, and everywhere Planted His feet, and everywhere His eyes Beholding, and His ears in every place Hearing, and all His faces everywhere Enlightening and encompassing His worlds. Glorified by the senses He hath given, Yet beyond sense He is; sustaining all, He dwelleth unattached; of forms and modes Master, yet neither form nor mode hath He; He is within all beings - and without Motionless, yet still moving; not discerned For subtlety of instant presence; close To all, to each, yet measurelessly far! Not manifold, and yet subsisting still In all which lives; for ever to be known As the Sustainer, yet, at the End of Times, He maketh all to end - and re-creates.

The Light of Lights He is, in the heart of the Dark Shining eternally. Wisdom He is And Wisdom's way, and Guide of all the wise, Planted in every heart.

So have I told Of Life's stuff, and the moulding, and the lore To comprehend. Whoso, adoring Me, Perceiveth this, shall surely come to Me!

Know thou that Nature and the Spirit both Have no beginning! Know that qualities And changes of them are by Nature wrought; That Nature puts to work the acting frame, But Spirit doth inform it, and so cause Feeling of pain and pleasure. Spirit, linked To moulded matter, entereth into bond With qualities by Nature framed, and, thus Married to matter, breeds the birth again In good or evil yonis.4

[Footnote 4: Wombs.]

Yet is this Yea! in its bodily prison! - Spirit pure, Spirit supreme; surveying, governing, Guarding, possessing; Lord and Master still Purusha, Ultimate, One Soul with Me.

Whoso thus knows himself, and knows his soul Purusha, working through the qualities With Nature's modes, the light hath come for him! Whatever flesh he bears, never again Shall he take on its load. Some few there be By meditation find the Soul in Self Self-schooled; and some by long philosophy And holy life reach thither; some by works. Some, never so attaining, hear of light From other lips, and seize, and cleave to it Worshipping; yea! and those - to teaching true Overpass Death!

Wherever, Indian Prince! Life is - of moving things, or things unmoved, Plant or still seed - know, what is there hath grown By bond of Matter and of Spirit: Know He sees indeed who sees in all alike The living, lordly Soul; the Soul Supreme, Imperishable amid the Perishing: For, whoso thus beholds, in every place, In every form, the same, one, Living Lord, Doth no more wrongfulness unto himself, But goes the highest road which brings to bliss. Seeing, he sees, indeed, who sees that works Are Nature's wont, for Soul to use, not love, Acting, yet not the actor; sees the mass Of separate living things - each of its kind Issue from One, and blend again to One: Then hath he Brahma, he attains!

O Prince! That Ultimate, High Spirit, Uncreate, Unqualified, even when it entereth flesh Taketh no stain of acts, worketh in nought! Like to th' ethereal air, pervading all, Which, for sheer subtlety, avoideth taint, The subtle Soul sits everywhere, unstained: Like to the light of the all-piercing sun [Which is not changed by aught is shines upon,] The Soul's light shineth pure in every place; And they who, by such eye of wisdom see How matter, and what deals with it, divide; And how the Spirit and the flesh have strife, These wise ones go the way which leads to Life!

Here ends Chapter XIII. of the Bhagavad-Gita, entitled "Kshetrakshetrajnavibhagayogo," or "The Book by Religion of Separation of Matter and Spirit"

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