SRIMAD BHAGAVAD-GITA: CHAPTER THIRTEEN
Distinction Between Matter and Spirit
arjunah uvacha–Arjuna said: (he) kesava–O Kesava; (aham)–I; ichchhami–wish; veditum–to know; etat–about these subjects: prakrtim–material nature; purusam cha eva–and the person; ksetram–the field; ksetra-jnam eva cha–and the knower of the field; jnanam–knowledge; jneyam cha–and the object of knowledge.
1 Arjuna said: O Kesava, I would like to know about material nature, the person, the field, the knower of the field, knowledge and the object of knowledge.
sri-bhagavan uvacha–The Supreme Lord said: (he) kaunteya–O son of Kunti; idam sariram–this body; abidhiyate iti–is called; ksetram–ksetra, or the field. yah vetti–One who knows; etat–this field; tat vidah–the learned; prahuh–describe; tam–him; ksetra-jnah iti–as ksetrajna, the knower of the field.
2 The Supreme Lord said: O Arjuna, this body is known as the field. One who knows this field is described by the learned as the knower of the field.
ksetrajnam chapi mam viddhi, sarva-ksetresu bharata
(he) bharata–O descendant of the Bharata dynasty; api–further; cha–also; viddhi–know; mam–Me; sarva-ksetresu–within all bodies; ksetra-jnam–as ksetrajna, the knower of the field. yat jnanam–This knowledge; ksetra-ksetrajnayoh–of the field and the knower of the field; tat jnanam–is actual knowledge; mama matam–in My opinion.
3 O Bharata, you should also know Me as the knower of all fields. This knowledge, of the field and of the knower of the field, is true knowledge, in My opinion.
tat ksetram yach cha yadrk cha, yad vikari yatas cha yat
srnu–Hear; me–from Me; tat samasena–briefly; yat tat ksetram–what that field is; cha–and; yadrk–how is it constituted; cha–and; yat vikari–what its transformations are; cha–and; yatah–wherefrom; yat–it develops; cha–and; yah–who is; sah–that knower of the field; cha–and; yat prabhavah–what his potency is.
4 Now hear from Me briefly what this field is, its constitution, transformations, causes and effects; and who the knower of the field is, and of his potency.
rsibhir bahudha gitam, chhandobhir vividhaih prthak
(tat)–That knowledge of ksetra and ksetrajna; gitam–is sung; vividhaih rsibhih–by many types of sages; bahudha eva–in many ways; prthak chhandobhih–by the different Vedas; brahma-sutra-padaih–and by the aphorisms of Vedanta; vinischitaih–with conclusive; hetumadbhih cha–logic.
5 This has been taught in many ways by various sages, the different Vedas and the aphorisms of the Brahma-sutra with its conclusive logic.
maha-bhutany ahankaro, buddhir avyaktam eva cha
maha-bhutani–The five primary elements; ahankarah–ego; buddhih–intelligence (mahat-tattva); avyaktam eva cha–the unmanifest material nature; dasa indriyani–the ten senses (the five senses of action—voice, hands, legs, anus and genital; and the five senses of perception—eye, tongue, skin, nose and ear); ekam cha–and the mind; pancha cha–and the five; indriya-gocharah–corresponding objects of the senses (form, taste, touch, smell and sound); ichchha–likes; dvesah–dislikes; sukham–happiness; duhkham–unhappiness; sanghatah–the aggregate, the gross body; chetana–consciousness; dhrtih–determination; etat–all these; udahrtam–are described; samasena–in brief; ksetram–as the field; sa-vikaram–with its transformations.
6-7 The five primary elements of ether, air, fire, water and earth; ego, intelligence, and the unmanifest material nature; the ten senses, the mind, and the five objects of the senses; likes, dislikes, happiness, unhappiness, the aggregate, consciousness and determination—all these are summarily known as the field and its transformations.
amanitvam adambhitvam, ahimsa ksantir arjavam
etat jnanam–The following qualities denote knowledge: amanitvam–the quality of desirelessness for honour; adambhitvam–pridelessness; ahimsa–nonviolence; ksantih–forbearance; arjavam–straightforwardness and simplicity; acharya-upasanam–service to the spiritual master; saucham–purity; sthairyam–steadiness; atma-vinigrahah–self-control; indriya-arthesu vairagyam–detachment from the objects of the senses; anahankarah eva cha–absence of egoism; duhkha-dosa-anudarsanam–awareness of the miseries; janma-mrtyu-jara-vyadhi–of birth, death, infirmity and disease; asaktih–worldly detachment; anabhisu-angah–not to dote on; putra-dara-grha-adisu–children, wife, home, etc.; nityam sama-chittatvam cha–constant equanimity; ista-anista-upapattis u–in desirable or undesirable circumstances; cha–and; ananya-yogena–singleminded; avyabhicharini–undeviating; bhaktih–devotion; mayi–to Me; vivikta-desasevitam–residing in a solitary place; aratih–indifference; jana-samsadi–to mundane association; adhyatma-jnana-nityatvam–constancy in self-knowledge; tattva-jnanaartha-darsanam–and the vision of the goal of true knowledge; iti–thus; proktam–has been proclaimed; (rsibhih)–by the sages. yat–Anything; anyatha–contrary; atah–to this; ajnanam–is nescience.
8-12 Desirelessness for honour, pridelessness, nonviolence, forbearance, honesty, service to the spiritual master, purity, stability, self-control, detachment from the objects of the senses, absence of egoism, awareness of the miseries of birth, disease, old age and death; worldly detachment, absence of doting on children, wife, home, etc., constant equanimity in desirable or undesirable circumstances, undeviating pure devotion to Me, residing in a solitary place, indifference to mundane association, constancy in selfknowledge, and the vision of the goal of true knowledge—all these qualities have been said to denote knowledge. Anything contrary to this is to be considered ignorance.
jneyam yat tat pravaksyami, yaj jnatvamrtam asnute
(aham) pravaksyami–I now describe; tat–that; yat–which; jneyam–is the object of knowledge; jnatva–realizing; yat–which; amrtam–the nectar of life; asnute–is attained. tat brahma uchyate–That is known as Brahma; anadi–beginningless, eternal; matparam–resting in Me; na sat–beyond being, beyond the material effect; na asat–and beyond non-being, beyond the material cause.
13 Now I shall describe the object of knowledge, realizing which one attains the nectar of life. Resting in Me, it is known as Brahman, eternal, neither being nor non-being.
sarvatah pani-padam tat, sarvato 'ksi-siro-mukham
sarvatah–Everywhere; pani-padam–hands and feet; sarvatah–everywhere; aksi-sirah-mukham–eyes, heads and mouths; sarvatah–everywhere; srutimat–ears; tat–that object of knowledge; tisthati–exists; avrtya–pervading; sarvam–everything; loke–in the universe.
14 Everywhere are His hands and feet, everywhere are His eyes, heads, mouths and ears. He pervades the entire universe (as the Supersoul).
sarva-indriya-guna-abhasam–(He) illuminates all the senses and their functions; (tad api)–yet; sarva-indriya-vivarjitam–is without (material) senses. asaktam–(Although) aloof; sarva-bhrt cha–(He is) the maintainer of all. nirgunam cha–(Although) transcendental to the modes of nature; guna-bhoktr eva–(He is) the Lord of all qualities.
15 He illuminates all the senses and their functions, yet He is without material senses; He is completely aloof to everything, yet He is the maintainer of all (Visnu); He is transcendental to the three modes of material nature, yet He is the Lord of all qualities.
bahir antas cha bhutanam, acharam charam eva cha
tat–That knowable is; bahih cha–outside; antah–and inside; acharam–stationary; charam eva cha–and moving; bhutanam–beings. suksmatvat–Due to subtlety; tat–that; avijneyam–is difficult to comprehend; antike cha–near; dura-stham cha–yet far.
16 He is situated within and without all moving and stationary beings, near yet far, subtle and therefore most difficult to comprehend.
avibhaktam cha bhutesu, vibhaktam iva cha sthitam
tat avibhaktam–That indivisible; sthitam–appears; vibhaktam iva cha–as divided; bhutesu–in the living beings. (tat eva)–He; jneyam–is to be known; prabha-visnu cha–as the manifestor; bhuta-bhartr cha–the maintainer; grasisnu cha–and the devourer.
17 Although indivisible, He appears as divided in all beings. He is to be known as the one who manifests, maintains, and devours all beings.
jyotisam api taj jyotis, tamasah param uchyate
tat–He; uchyate–is said to be; jyotih–the illuminator; jyotisam api–of the luminaries; param–beyond; tamasah–the darkness; (tat eva)–He is; jnanam–knowledge; jneyam–the object of knowledge; jnana-gamyam–reached by knowledge (verses 8-12); dhisthitam–situated as the Supersoul; hrdi–within the hearts; sarvasya–of all.
18 He is known as the illuminator of the luminaries, beyond darkness. Situated in the hearts of all beings, He is knowledge, the object of knowledge, reached by knowledge.
iti ksetram tatha jnanam, jneyam choktum samasatah
iti–Thus; ksetram–the field; jnanam–knowledge; jneyam cha–and the object of knowledge (the Lord in His aspects of Brahman, Paramatman and Bhagavan); tatha uktam–are described; samasatah–in brief. etat vijnaya–Realizing this; mat-bhaktah–My devotee; upapadyate–attains; mat-bhavaya–love for Me.
19 The field, knowledge and the object of knowledge have been briefly described by Me. Realizing these truths, My devotee attains love for Me.
prakrtim purusam chaiva, viddhy anadi ubhav api
viddhi–Know; ubhau api–both; prakrtim–nature—Maya; purusam cha–and the jivatman, individual soul, described as 'knower of the field'; anadi eva–to be beginningless. viddhi–Know; vikaran cha–the transformations—body, senses and their functions; gunan eva cha–and the transformations of the modes of nature, as happiness, unhappiness, sorrow and delusion, etc.; prakrti-sambhavan–as born of material nature.
20 Know that both material nature (Maya) and the person (individual soul) are beginningless, and know that the transformations (body, senses and their functions) and the transformations of the modes of nature (such as pleasure, pain, sorrow and delusion) are born of material nature.
karya-karana-kartrtve, hetuh prakrtir uchyate
prakrtih–Material nature (with the presence of purusa); uchyate–is said to be; hetuh–the cause; karya-karana-kartrtve–via the presiding demigods of the senses, of the production of the effect, as the body, and of the cause, as the senses. purusah–The person—jiva; uchyate–is said to be; hetuh–the cause; bhoktrtve–of the state of being an enjoyer or a sufferer; sukha-duhkhanam–of happiness and unhappiness.
21 Material nature is said to be the cause of the production of effect (the body) and cause (the senses); the person (in material bondage) is said to be the cause of the condition of being an enjoyer or a sufferer of happiness and unhappiness.
purusah prakrti-stho hi, bhunkte prakrti-jan gunan
prakrti-sthah–Situated within (the body which is an effect of) material nature; purusah hi–a person; bhunkte–enjoys; gunan–the modes; prakrti-jan–born of material nature. guna-sangah–Attachment to the modes (as body, senses, etc.); (bhavati)–is; karanam–the cause; asya–of that person's; sat-asat-yoni-janmasu–births in higher and lower species.
22 Being situated within material nature, a person enjoys the modes born of material nature. His attachment to these modes is the cause of his repeated births in higher and lower species.
upadrastanumanta cha, bharta bhokta mahesvarah
parah purusah–The Supreme Person; upadrasta–witness; anumanta–sanctioner; bharta–support; bhokta–maintainer; maha-isvarah cha–and Supreme Lord; asmin dehe–within this body; api uktah–is also described; iti cha–as; paramatma–Paramatman, the Supersoul.
23 The Supreme Person—the witness, sanctioner, support, guardian, and almighty Lord within this body, is known as Paramatman, the Supersoul.
ya evam vetti purusam, prakrtim cha gunaih saha
yah–One who; evam vetti–thus knows; purusam–the Supreme Person; prakrtim cha–and material nature; gunaih saha–with its modes; sah–he; vartamanah api–though present; sarvatha–in any situation; na abhijayate–is not born; bhuyah–again.
24 Thus, one who truly knows the Supreme Person and material nature with its modes, will never in any circumstances have to take birth again.
dhyanenatmani pasyanti, kechid atmanam atmana
kechit–Some; pasyanti–see; dhyanena–by meditation; atmana–by the pure consciousness; atmanam–the Supersoul; atmani–within the heart; anye–others; sankhyena yogena–by sankhya-yoga; apare cha–and yet others; karma-yogena–by karma-yoga.
25 With their pure consciousness, some persons see the Supersoul within the heart, in their meditation. Others perceive Him through enlightenment, and yet others by the yoga of selfless action.
anye tv evam ajanantah, srutvanyebhya upasate
anye tu–Yet others; ajanantah–not knowing; evam–of all these methods; upasate–worship; srutva–by hearing; anyebhyah–from others. te api–They too; sruti-parayanah (santah)–when their faith is deepened by hearing; atitaranti eva–surpass; mrtyum cha–death.
26 Further, there are those who, not knowing of these methods, engage in worship by hearing the scriptures. When their faith is deepened by such hearing, they, too, surpass the mortal plane.
yavat sanjayate kinchit, sattvam sthavara-jangamam
(he) bharatarsabha–O best of the Bharata dynasty; yavat kinchit–whatever; sthavarajan gamam–stationary or moving; sattvam–being; sanjayate–is born; viddhi–know; tat–that; ksetra-ksetrajna-samyogat–as born of the combination of the field and its knower.
27 O Arjuna, best of the Bharatas, whatever is born in the world, whether moving or stationary, know it to be manifest from the combination of the field and its knower.
samam sarvesu bhutesu, tisthantam paramesvaram
yah–One who; pasyati–sees; parama-isvaram–the Supreme Lord; tisthantam–situated; samam–equally; sarvesu bhutesu–in all beings; avinasyantam–as the imperishable; vinasyatsu–within the perishable; sah–such a person; pasyati–sees perfectly.
28 One who sees the Supreme Lord situated equally within all beings as the imperishable within the perishable—such a person sees perfectly.
samam pasyan hi sarvatra, samavasthitam isvaram
(sah) hi–Such a person; pasyan–by seeing; samam–with equality; isvaram–the Lord; samavasthitam–dwelling alike; sarvatra–in every place; na hinasti–does not deceive, deprive; atmanam–himself; atmana–by himself; tatah–and therefore; yati–attains; param gatim–the supreme destination.
29 Such a person with the vision of equality, seeing the Lord dwelling in every place alike, does not deceive himself, and thus he attains the supreme destination.
prakrtyaiva cha karmani, kriyamanani sarvasah
cha–And; yah–he who; pasyati–sees; tatha–that; sarvasah–all; karmani–actions; kriyamanani–are brought about; eva–only; prakrtya–by material nature; sah–such a person; pasyati–sees; atmanam–himself; akartaram–as non-doer.
30 He who sees that all actions are brought about only by material nature, sees himself as non-doer.
yada bhuta-prthag-bhavam, eka-stham anupasyati
yada–When; (sah)–such a seer; anupasyati–can see; bhuta-prthak-bhavam–the different types of beings; eka-stham–situated in the one nature; cha–and; (bhutanam) vistaram–the projection of all beings; tatah eva–from that nature; tada–then; brahma sampadyate–the state of Brahman is reached.
31 When such an enlightened person realizes that the different types of beings are situated within the one nature and that all are made manifest from that nature, he attains realization of Brahman.
anaditvan nirgunatvat, paramatmayam avyayah
(he) kaunteya–O son of Kunti; anaditvat–because of eternality; nirgunatvat–and being transcendental to the material modes; avyayah–and inexhaustible; ayam–the; paramatma–Supersoul; sarira-sthah api–although present within the field; na karoti–neither acts; na lipyate–nor is affected by any action.
32 O Arjuna, since the Supersoul is beginningless, transcendental and inexhaustible, although also present within the field (with the individual soul), He neither acts nor is affected by any action.
yatha sarva-gatam sauksmyad, akasam nopalipyate
yatha–As; sarva-gatam–the all-pervading; akasam–space; na upalipyate–is not tainted by anything, is untouched; sauksmyat–due to its subtleness; tatha–similarly; atma–atman, the soul; avasthitah–situated; sarvatra–pervading; dehe–the body; na upalipyate–is not tainted or touched.
33 As the most subtle element of space pervades everything yet is not tainted by anything, similarly, the soul, though pervading the body, is not tainted by it.
yatha prakasayaty ekah, krtsnam lokam imam ravih
(he) bharata–O Arjuna; yatha–as; ekah–the one; ravih–sun; prakasayati–illuminates; imam–this; krtsnam–entire; lokam–world; tatha–similarly; ksetri–the occupier of the field; prakasayati–illuminates; krtsnam–the entire; ksetram–field.
34 O Bharata, as the one sun illuminates the entire world, the occupier of the field illuminates the entire field.
ksetra-ksetrajnayor evam, antaram jnana-chaksusa
ye–Those who; jnana-chaksusa–through the eyes of knowledge; evam viduh–can thus know; antaram–the distinction; ksetra-ksetrajnayoh–between the field and its knower; cha–and (can thus know); bhuta-prakrti-moksam–the way of liberation of the living beings from material nature; te–they; yanti–attain; param–the Supreme.
35 Those who, through the eyes of knowledge, can thus distinguish between the field and the knower of the field, and who can thus know the path of liberation of the living beings from material nature—such persons attain the Supreme.
iti sri-mahabharate sata-sahasryam samhitayam vaiyasikyam
End of Chapter Thirteen
Distinction between Matter and Spirit
from the conversation
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