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Srimad

BHAGAVAD GITA
The Song of the Lord
an American Translation in Prose


by

Sri Sivadasa Bharati Swami
Foreword by Sri Dharma Pravartaka Acharya

CONTENTS
Chapter-1: Arjuna’s Distress Chapter-2: The Yoga of Discriminative Logic

Chapter-3: The Yoga of Action Chapter-4: The Yoga of Wisdom Chapter-5: The Yoga of Renunciation of Action Chapter-6: The Yoga of Meditation Chapter-7: The Yoga of Wisdom and Realization Chapter-8: The Yoga of the Imperishable Brahman Chapter-9: The Royal Science and the Royal Secret Chapter-10: The Divine Manifestation Chapter-11: Vision of the Cosmic Form Chapter-12: The Yoga of Devotion Chapter-13: Creator and Creation Chapter-14: The Three Gunas Chapter-15: The Knowledge of Supreme Spirit Chapter-16: Division of Divine and Demonic Qualities Chapter-17: Three Kinds of Faith Chapter-18: The Yoga of Liberation by Renunciation

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Prologue
Some 5,100 years ago, Prince Vichitraviryan became king of Hastinapur after his elder brother, King Chitrangada, died. Vichitraviryan died rather young before he could produce an heir through either of his two wives, Ambika and Ambalika. Since there was no heir, Vichitrayiryan’s mother, Queen Satyavati, summoned her surviving son Vyasa to impregnate Vichitrairyan’s two wives so that the throne would have heirs. First Ambika gave birth to Dhritarashtra and then Ambalika gave birth to Pandu. Dhritarashtra was born blind and, by custom, could not be king because of it; therefore, Pandu inherited the kingdom. Dhritarashtra had one hundred suns, known as the Kauravas. King Pandu had five sons, known as the Pandavas. As young cousins, the Pandavas and the Kauravas often played together. However, Bhima, one of the Pandava brothers, constantly teased the Kuravas, playing childish tricks on them, which made the Kauravas resentful. Duryodhana grew more resentful as time passed and eventually he began to plot against the Pandavas. The plot began when Dhritarashtra appointed his nephew Yudhishtira as the crown prince instead of his own son. This angered Duryodana that he decided to kill all five Pandava brothers together with their mother Kunti. He tricked them into going to a place called Ekacakra - a place where Duryodhana had erected a huge building secretly made of highly flammable wax. His idea was to burn them alive while they slept in the building that night. Fortunately, the plan was discovered by Vidura, who was the uncle of the Five
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Pandavas. So Yudhishtira learned of the assassination plot and the Pandavas fled the place and ran into the forest. During their flight the five brothers heard about an archery competition in the Kingdom of Panchaal. Sure that the prize for winning the competition would be great, Arjuna, being one of the greatest archers in the world, decided to compete. His mother, Kunti, made him swear to share whatever the prize was equally with his four brothers and Arjuna agreed. Upon winning the competition, it was discovered that the prize was the beautiful princess of Panchaal, Draupadi. In order to keep their mother's word, the brothers agreed to share the princess. When word reached Dhritarashtra that the five brothers were alive, he invited them to his kingdom and gifted them with half the lands of his kingdom. The Pandavas built a great city called Indraprastha as their capitol. Full of malice and envy, Duryodhana invited the Pandavas to his court and challenged Yudhishtira to a game of dice, knowing that he had a weakness for gambling. At the last minute, Duryodhana craftily arranged for uncle Shakuni, who was famed as unbeatable at dice, to take his place at the game table. Yudhishtira lost all his wealth and his kingdom in the game and then he wagered himself and lost. He was then enticed by Duryodhana and Shakuni to put up the other Pandava brothers as a wager. Yudhishtira fell for it and wagered brothers, losing them, too. Playing on Yudhisthira’s desperation, Duryodhana convinced him to wager the brothers’ wife Draupadi, offering to return everything he had lost if Yudhisthira won. Of course, Yudhishtira wagered Draupadi and lost again.

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Duryodhana then had Draupadi brought to the court, dragged by her by her hair, as she was now, like the Pandava brothers, his slave. Duryodhana then commanded his brother Dushasana to disrobe Draupadi then and there. As Dushasana begins to pull at Draupadi's sari in order to disrobe her, she prays to Lord Krishna and her sari miraculously grows in length as it is pulled. Thus unable to be disrobed, Draupadi is saved from dishonor. Finally, horrified at what is happening, Dhritarashtra intervenes, apologizing to Draupadi for the indecent behavior of his sons, offering to grant whatever she desires. Draupadi asks that her five husbands be released from bondage. Duryodhana is forced to compromise and exchanges his winnings for thirteen years of exile for the Pandavas, after which their kingdom and their losses are to be restored. After completing the long exile, they return and demand the return of their kingdom as agreed. But Duryodhana refuses to part with 'land even as much as a needle point'. This leads to the inevitable war between the Kauravas and the Pandavas. The first chapter of the Bhagavad Gita opens as the armies of the Kauravas and the Pandas assemble in their battle formations on the great field of Kurukshetra. The blind Dhritarashtra is sitting with Sanjaya, who is able, through yogic powers, to remotely view and hear everything on the battlefield, and is relating events as they unfold to Dhritarashtra.

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Chapter 1 Arjuna’s Distress
Dhritarashtra asked: Oh Sanjaya, what did my sons and the Pandavas do, who are assembled and eager to fight, out on the field of righteousness called Kurukshetra? Sanjaya replied: After seeing the army of the Pandavas in battle formation, King Duryodhana approached his teacher Drona and said: “Oh Guruji, I see the mighty army of Pandu's sons, arranged in formation by Drupada's son, who is your great disciple.” “I see many heroes and archers, the likes of Bhima and Arjuna, such as Yuyudhana, Virata and the great warrior Drupadha. Among them also are great heroes like Drushtakethu, Chekithana, and the heroic King of Kashi. Also I see Purujit, Kunthibhoja and the great man Shaibhya. Brave Yudhamanyu I see, and the great warrior Uttamouja, Subhadras son along with Draupadi's sons, all of them great warriors.” “Also know, oh best of the twice-born, the warriors of distinction on our side. That you may know I shall name our commanders. Besides yourself, our commanders include Bhishma, Karna, the victorious Kripa, Asvatthama, Vikarna and Soumadatta's son as well as many more heroes who have risked their lives for me in battle. They are well armed and highly skilled in warfare. Our army, led by Bhishma, is invincible, arrayed against theirs, commanded by Bhima is wanting in strength. Therefore I charge each of

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you, take your positions and at any cost protect the great Bhishma.” Then the great elder of the Kuru clan, the mighty Bhishma, grandfather of the warriors, gave a ringing lion’s roar and a loud blast from his conch shell, reassuring Duryodhana. After that there came a loud response of many conches, drums, trumpets, bugles and horns sounding all together making a tremendous commotion. Then from their great chariot drawn by white horses, Arjuna and Krishna sounded their celestial conches in reply. Lord Krishna blew his conch called Panchajanya, Arjuna blew his, Devadatta, and the formidable Bhima sounded the mighty conch Paundra. Kunti's son King Yudhisthira, Nakula and SahaDeva, together with the King of Kashi, Shikhandi, Dhristadyumna, Viraata, the invincible Saatyaki, King Drupada, Draupadi's sons and the mighty son of Subhadra all sounded their conchs, creating a tumultuous sound that echoed and shattered the hearts of the Kauravas. Then, seeing the effect upon the sons of Dhritarashtra and realizing the war was about to commence, the bearer of the Hanuman banner, Arjuna, took up his bow and spoke to Lord Krishna, oh Dhritarashtra, Lord of the Earth. Arjuna said: Lord please bring my chariot between the two armies that I may behold all those who stand prepared for battle with whom I must now face in battle, who have come to serve the evil-minded son of Dhritarashtra by arraying themselves here for war. Sanjaya said: As requested by Arjuna, Lord Krishna placed the chariot in the midst of the two armies; facing Bhishma, Drona and all the other leaders saying, “Behold the assembled Kuru army!” Then seeing his in-laws and his friends, his
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grandfather, his uncles, brothers, sons, grandsons and comrades arrayed in the armies of both sides, Arjuna was overcome with compassion and full of sorrow. Arjuna said: Oh Keshava, seeing my kinsmen ready to fight, my body weakens and my mouth is dry. I quiver and sweat and my hairs stand on end. My bow, Gandiva slips from my hand and I cannot stand steady. I see no reason in killing my kinsmen, no glory in killing friends and family. I have no desire for victory or kingdom. What use is a life of pleasure or even life, when all those for whom we desire these things are standing here for battle, sacrificing their lives and fortune: teachers, uncles, grandfathers, grandsons, in-laws and other relatives? I do not wish to kill them who are also about to kill, not even for the rule of all three worlds, let alone for this earthly kingdom. What good will come of killing these sons of Dhritarashtra? For even though they deserve death, in killing them we will only incur sin. Therefore we should not kill them, for how can this bring us any joy? Though, blinded by greed and wealth, they do not see the sin of family destroyed or of treachery towards friends, how can we who clearly see evil in family destruction not turn away from such? Destruction of family destroys family traditions forever and with the loss of these sacred traditions, unrighteousness pervades all society. When unrighteousness prevails, good women lose their virtue. And with such loss social problems then arise. This brings both family and slayers of family into a hellish state because the spirits of the ancestors cease to be honored with the proper offerings of rice and water. The sins of those who
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destroy the family destroy the social order and righteous family traditions. I have heard from the wise that those whose family traditions are lost dwell long in hell. Alas, how strange that we have resolved to commit the great sin of genocide out of greed to rule the nation. It would be better for me even should the sons of Dhritarashtra kill me while unarmed in battle. Sanjaya said: Having spoken thus, Arjuna threw down his bow and his arrows and sat in his chariot, his mind filled with sorrow.

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Chapter 2 The Yoga of Discriminative Logic
Sanjaya said: Krishna spoke to the grieving Arjuna who was tearful and overwhelmed with compassion and despair. The Blessed Lord said: Oh Arjuna where has this illusion and dejection come from? Such disgraceful behavior is not noble and will not lead to heaven. Do not be a coward, Arjuna; it does not befit you. Shake off this weakness of heart and rise up! Arjuna said: Oh Krishna, how can I attack with arrows Bhishma and Drona, who are worthy, of my respect? It would be better to live in this world as a beggar than to slay these noble gurus, for by killing them my victory would be tainted by the blood of these great men. We do not know whether it is better for us to conquer them or for them to conquer us. We should not wish to live should we kill the sons of Dhritarashtra who are arrayed before us. I am overcome by the weakness of pity and my thoughts confused regarding Dharma, the eternal law that governs, upholds and supports all the universe. Please tell me what path is best to choose, for I am your disciple and take refuge in you. Even should I gain an unrivaled and prosperous kingdom on this Earth, or even lordship over Heaven, I see no way to dispel this grief that dries up my senses.

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Sanjaya said: Having addressed Krishna thus, Arjuna said, “I shall not fight,” and became silent. Lord Krishna smiled and spoke to the despondent Arjuna in the midst of the two great armies. Lord Krishna said: You grieve for those unworthy of grief, and yet you speak like one who is wise. But the wise grieve neither for the living nor for the dead. Truly there was never a time when I did not exist, nor you, nor all these kings; nor truly shall we ever cease to exist in the future. Just as the Self acquires a body that passes through childhood, youth and old age, similarly the Self acquires another body after death. In this the wise are never deluded. Oh son of Kunti, it is only through the interaction of the senses with sense objects that we feel heat and cold or pain and pleasure. These things are transitory and impermanent. Therefore, Arjuna, learn to tolerate them. Arjuna, noblest of men, those who are wise remain calm and steady through pain and pleasure or happiness and sorrow will not be afflicted by these feelings and becomes fit for immortality. There is no duration in unreality and no cessation in reality. This is known by the seers of truth. But know that that which in immanent in all is indestructible. None can destroy the imperishable Self. The embodied Self is eternal and indestructible. Only the physical body is perishable. Therefore, fight, oh Arjuna, descendent of Bharata. They who think that the Self slays or that the Self can be slain are both ignorant, for this Self neither slays nor is slain. The Self is neither born nor does
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it ever die, nor having been will it cease to exist again. The Self is birthless, eternal, perennial and timeless. The Self is not destroyed when the body is destroyed. Arjuna, how can he who knows this Self as eternal, unborn and imperishable kill anyone and whom does he slay? Just as a man puts on new clothes after discarding the old worn-out clothes, in the same way the Self acquires a new body after casting off the old worn-out body. Weapons cannot harm nor fire burn, nor water wet, nor air dry up the Self. It is indestructible, incombustible, insoluble, unwhithering. The Self is eternal, immanent, immovable and primeval. The Self is said to be unmanifest, inconceivable and immutable. Knowing the Self as such, it is improper for you to grieve. Oh mighty Arjuna, even if you think the Self takes birth and is ever subject to death, still you should not lament. For one that is born, death is certain and for one who dies, birth is certain. Therefore you should not grieve over than which is inevitable. Every being is unmanifest before birth and unmanifest after death. They are only manifest between birth and death. So what is there to grieve about? Some view the Self with awe, while others speak of it as awesome and others yet hear that it is a wonder. But even after hearing about it, no one actually knows it. Oh Arjuna, this soul which is immanent in every living entity is immortal. Therefore you should not mourn the death of anybody. Moreover, considering your duty as a warrior you should not waver. Indeed there is nothing more appropriate for a warrior than a battle for righteousness.

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Happy is the righteous warrior presented with such a righteous battle, which is an open door to Heaven. If you will not engage in this righteous war, then you will fail in your sacred duty, lose your reputation and incur great sin. For people will speak of your disgrace forever. For a man of respect, dishonor is worse than death. The great warriors will think that you have run away from the war out of fear and those who have held you in great esteem will lose their respect for you. Your enemies will say malicious and insulting things, scorning your abilities. What could be more painful than that? Either you will be killed and attain Heaven or be victorious and enjoy the Earth. Therefore rise up with confidence, Arjuna, and fight. Treating alike pleasure and pain, gain and loss, victory and defeat, dutifully engage yourself in battle so that you will not incur sin. Arjuna, I have imparted to you the wisdom of Samkhya Yoga, the nature of the Self. Now listen to the wisdom of Karma Yoga, the science of desireless action, with which you will free yourself from the bondage of Karma. In this Yoga no effort is ever lost and no harm is incurred. Even the slightest effort, righteously performed, saves you from the greatest of dangers. In this Yoga, beloved son of the Kuru clan, intelligence is resolute in Self-realization, but the thoughts of the irresolute are full of material desires and have endlessly diverse branches. Oh Arjuna, the ignorant who delight in the flowery words of the Vedas without understanding, denying the divine principle in creation and full of lascivious desires, glorify selective Vedic verses stressing performance of excessive ritual to attain good birth, wealth and power, seeking only
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material enjoyment. They recommend various rites for the attainment of pleasure and power to those full of desire. By such ideas they do not attain the intelligence to focus their minds. The Vedas deal with the three Gunas, or states of mind. Become Self-realized, free from dualities and transcend the three Gunas, and rise above all thoughts of acquisition and preservation. To the wise, the Vedas are as only as useful as a small well of water during a flood. You certainly have rightful claim to your actions, but never claim to the results of your actions. You should never be motivated by the results of your activities and should never be inactive. Oh Arjuna, do your duty to the best of your ability giving up attachment to the results of your actions, remaining calm in both success and failure. This equanimity of mind is called Karma Yoga which is the science of unity the individual consciousness with the ultimate consciousness. Actions performed with selfish motives are greatly inferior to the selfless service of Karma Yoga. Therefore be a Karma yogi, Arjuna, and work without attachment to the fruits of your labor. Those who seek to enjoy the fruits of their work are wretched. One endowed with spiritual intelligence rids themselves of both vice and virtue in this very life. Therefore be diligent in your Yoga without becoming attached to the fruits of your labor. Endowed with spiritual intelligence the wise reject the results of their actions, liberating themselves from the bondage of birth and death, attaining the blissful state. When your spiritual intellect pierces the veil of delusion, you will then become indifferent to all that you have heard or will hear. When your
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spiritual intellect, which can be confused by conflicting opinion and ritualistic doctrine of the scriptures, becomes steady in the self and unaffected by such opinions and doctrines, then you shall have attained Self-realization. Arjuna said: Oh Keshava, how does recognize a person whose mind is steady absorbed in pure spiritual consciousness? does such a one converse? How does he sit? does he talk? one and How How

The Blessed Lord said: Arjuna, when one gives up producing desires in the mind and becomes satisfied in the Self through the pure state of Self, then it is said that one is steady minded and absorbed in pure spiritual consciousness. One whose mind is unperturbed by sorrow, who seeks not happiness and who is free from attachment, fear and anger, such a one is called a sage, steadfast in consciousness. One who is without attachment to anything, who neither rejoices nor curses in obtaining good or evil, respectively, such a one is established in steady consciousness. When one can completely withdraw the senses from sense objects as a tortoise withdraws his limbs, he is established in steady consciousness. When one abstains from sense enjoyment, the desire for such sensual pleasures fades away. Yet the taste for enjoyment remains; however even this taste for sense enjoyment disappears from one who has realized the Supreme. Oh son of Kunti, the restless senses can forcibly lead astray even the mind of someone vigilant and of sound judgment. Keeping all the senses under control, one should fix one’s mind on Me who am the Self of selves. When the senses are
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under control, then one is established in steady consciousness. By focusing the mind on sense objects, one becomes attached to them. This attachment brings desires and anger comes from unfulfilled desires. From anger delusion is born and from that delusion the mind is bewildered. Such bewilderment leads to the destruction of wisdom. From loss of wisdom one then perishes. But a wise and disciplined person who enjoys sense objects while free from likes and dislikes and without attachment, such a one attains grace. All sorrow and misery ends with the attainment of such grace and tranquility and soon becomes fully established in spiritual intelligence. One whose mind is not controlled cannot have spiritual intelligence and such a one never meditates upon the ultimate truth. For such a one there is no peace and without peace there can be no happiness. When the wandering mind becomes fixed on senses, then spiritual intelligence is lead astray, just as the wind may blow a ship off its course. Therefore, oh mighty Arjuna, when the senses are fully withdrawn from sense objects, one becomes established in steadfast consciousness. Day is night and night is day for the Self-controlled sage who sees when others are in darkness and rests while uncontrolled minds are awake. He who remains unaffected in the midst of sensual pleasures has peace of mind, just as the sea remains undisturbed even as the rivers rush into it. One filled with material desires has no peace. One who abandons all desires attains peace, living free from attachment, with no thought of me or
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mine. Having attained the super-conscious state, one is no longer deluded. Even if one attains this state at the moment of death, oneness with the Supreme is attained.

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Chapter 3 The Yoga of Action
Arjuna said: If knowledge is superior to action, then why are you urging me to engage in this horrible war, oh Lord? My mind is confused by your words which seem contradictory. Please tell me which path by which I may attain the greatest spiritual benefit. The Blessed Lord said: Oh sinless Arjuna, previously I have declared two paths: Jnyana Yoga (the path of Self-knowledge) for the contemplative and Karma Yoga (the path of unselfish action) for the active. One cannot achieve freedom from the bondage of Karma by abstaining for action. Nor can perfection be obtained merely by renouncing action. One cannot ever be completely inactive. All beings are helplessly compelled to action by the Gunas, the qualities of material nature. Those fools who restrain themselves for activity, yet still dwell upon the senses in their minds are hypocrites. But they who control their senses and engage in actions of unselfish service are superior. So perform your duty, for action is better than inaction. If all activity ceased you would not even be able to maintain your physical body. All the world is in bondage to Karma, except for those actions performed as selfless service and as a sacred sacrifice to the Supreme. Therefore, Arjuna, do your duty and be free from attachment of the fruits of your work. Let all your works be a service to Me.

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In the beginning the creator, Brahma Prajapati, created all beings as a sacrifice to the Supreme and said: By sacrificial service shall you prosper and this sacrificial service shall fulfill all your desires. Your sacrificial service nourishes the celestial beings, and so they will also nourish you. Thus nourishing one another you shall prosper and receive what is for your best spiritual good. The celestial beings, nourished by your sacrificial services will grant to you all desired necessities of life. One who enjoys the gifts of the gods without offering anything in return is truly a thief. Those righteous persons who eat the remains of the sacrificial food offerings are relieved of sin, but the impious who cook food only for themselves selfishly only eat sin. Living bodies subsist on food which is produced by rain. The rains are produced through sacrificial offerings and the sacrifice is born of the performance of action. Actions are prescribed in the Vedas. The Vedas are manifested from God. Thus the all-pervading Transcendent God is ever present in sacrificial service. Those sinful people who do not maintain wheel of creation through sacrificial duty, rejoicing in sensual pleasure live in vain. But for the one who rejoices in the Self, becoming Self-realized and fully satisfied in the Self, there is no duty left to perform. Such a person has no purpose in doing or not doing anything. The Selfrealized person does not depend on any other living being. Therefore always perform you duty without attachment to the results, for by working without attachment to the fruits of your labor man attains the Supreme. King Janaka and others attained Self-realization through Karma Yoga alone. Therefore you should

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perform your duties without attachment for the sake of guiding the population by example for the universal welfare of society. For whatever a great man does, others follow. And whatever standards he sets by example, all the world pursues. There is nothing, Arjuna, which I am required to do in all the three worlds. Neither is there anything that I want or need, and yet still I engage in action. For if I ever failed to act, all men would follow me in the path of inaction. All the worlds would perish if I did not act, and then I would be the cause of confusion and the destruction of all people. As the ignorant work with attachment to results, Arjuna, so the wise should act without attachment for the welfare of all. The wise should not confuse the ignorant nor try to stop them from their duties; rather he should engage in action without attachment as an example and inspiration to others. All action is done by the three Gunas and the impetus of nature, though those deluded by the ego assume themselves to be the doer. But, mighty warrior, he who knows the truth does not get attached to the results of his actions, knowing the difference between working out of devotion and working for results. Therefore, Arjuna, dedicating all your works to Me, with full knowledge of the Self and without desire for profit, be free from anxiety and fight! Those who always practice this teaching of Mine faithfully and free of envy will be freed from the bondage of Karma. But those who argue with these teachings, refusing to follow them, consider them as bereft of knowledge, senseless and lost in their endeavors for perfection.

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All beings follow their nature, even the wise act according to their own nature. What, then, is the value of repressing the senses? The principles that regulate attachment and aversion remain within the senses. One should not become controlled by these two, for they are stumbling blocks on the path of Self-realization. It is better to perform your own duties, even if faulty, that to perform someone else duties perfectly. Death in the course of your own duties is natural and useful. Performance of another’s duties is dangerous. Arjuna said: Lord what impels one to commit sinful acts, as if by forced and unwillingly? The Blessed Lord said: Lust is what comes of passion, Arjuna, and is transformed into anger. It is all-devouring and the greatest enemy of this world. Just as fire covers smoke, dust covers a mirror and the embryo is hidden by the womb, lustful desire obscures Self-knowledge. Thus knowledge is covered by the insatiable fire of lust, which is the eternal enemy of the wise. The sense, the mind and the intellect are called the seats of lust. Lust, aided by the senses, deludes the Self by covering knowledge of the Self. The senses are superior to matter; the mind superior to the senses; the intellect is superior to the mind and the Self is superior to the intellect. Thus, knowing the Self to be superior to the intellect, controlling the mind by the intellect purified by knowledge, one must destroy this mighty enemy of lust, oh Arjuna.

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Chapter 4 The Path of Wisdom
The Blessed Lord said: I taught this imperishable science of right action, Karma Yoga, to Vivasvan who, in turn, taught it to Manu. It then was taught by Manu to Ikshavaku. Thus passed down in succession, the royal sages knew this Karma Yoga. But in the course of time the succession was broken and the science of Karma Yoga was lost from the world. Today I teach you this same ancient science to you because you are my sincere devotee and friend and can, therefore understand the great mystery of this science. Arjuna said: But Krishna, you were born in the present age, while Vivasvan was born in ancient ages past. How can You have taught this Yoga in the beginning so long ago, before Your birth? The Blessed Lord said: Arjuna, you and I have had many births throughout the ages. I remember all my past incarnations, but you do not remember yours. Though I am eternal and deathless and Lord of all beings, still I choose to manifest on this Earth in every age by My divine energy and power. Whenever and wherever there is a decline of righteousness and a rise in unrighteousness, I manifest myself again into the world. I incarnate myself into the world again and again in every age to protect the righteous, transform the wicked and re-establish Dharma, the righteous world order. Those who truly understand My transcendental births and activities will not be

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born again after leaving this life, for they will attain my eternal abode. Being freed from attachment, fear and anger; fully absorbed in Me, taking refuge in Me and purified by Self-realization, many in the past have attained transcendental love for Me. I bless those devoted to Me in whatever way they choose. All follow my path, Arjuna, in all respects. Those who long for the fruits of their labor worship the gods. For in this world the results of action are quickly received. The division of society, based on aptitude and vocation, were created by Me. Though I created this system of social division, one should know that I do no work Myself, being immutable. Works do not hold me in bondage, for I have no desire for the fruits of work. He who understands this truth is also free from the bondage of Karma. Those liberated ones of ancient times acted with this understanding of My true transcendental nature. Therefore you should do your duty, following in their footsteps. Even the wise are confused over what is action and what is inaction. Now I shall explain to you what action is, by which knowledge you shall be liberated from the cycle of death and rebirth. The true nature of action is hard to understand. Therefore, one should know the nature of attached action, detached action, and forbidden action. Wise is he who sees action in inaction and inaction in action. Such a one is transcendental, though engaged in all activities. A person whose works are free of selfish desires burns up all Karma in the fire of Self-knowledge and is called a sage by the wise. Abandoning all attachment to the results of his work, ever
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content and independent, one incurs no Karma as if he takes no action at all. Free of all desires, mind and sense under control, renouncing all ownership, he acts only for the bare necessities of life. He who is content with whatever gain comes of its own accord, free from duality or envy, steady in both success and failure; though engaged in action, is never in bondage to Karma. Devoid of attachment, with the mind fixed in knowledge, performing selfless service for the Lord, such a liberated person merges into transcendence. Brahman is the sacrificial fire. Brahman is the oblation offered. The oblation is poured by Brahman into the fire of Brahman. Brahman is realized by the one who sees everything that is as either a manifestation or as an act of Brahman. Some yogis perform their sacrifices perfectly to the Devas, while others offer the sacrifice itself as an offering in the fire of Brahman by performing the sacrifice of Self-knowledge. Some sacrifice their hearing and other senses in the fires of self-control, while still others sacrifice sound and other sense objects in the fires of the senses And some offer all the functions of all the senses, as well as the breath and life force itself, into the fires of self-restraint that are kindled by Self-knowledge. Having accepted strict vows, some achieve Selfrealization by sacrificing their possessions, or their austerity, or their practice of Yoga, or by studying the Vedas to advance in transcendental knowledge. Those practicing Yoga may reach the breathless state by offering inhalation into exhalation and exhalation into inhalation as a sacrifice. Others
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fast and offer the breath itself as a sacrifice. All of these are knowers of the sacrifice, and are purified through their sacrifice. They obtain the nectar of knowledge as a result and attain the eternal Brahman. This world is not a happy place without sacrifice in life, Arjuna. What then of the next? All these different types of sacrifice are described in the Vedas. Know that they all are born of Karma or action of the body, mind and senses. Knowing this, you shall be liberated. Arjuna, the sacrificial offering of knowledge is superior to the mere sacrifice of material possessions, because all actions in their entirety culminate in knowledge. One may acquire this transcendental knowledge by humble reverence and sincere inquiry and by service to a Self-realized guru. The wise who have realized the truth will teach you. Knowing that, Arjuna, you will never fall again into such delusion like this, for by this knowledge you will see the entirety of creation in the Supreme Self – in other words, in Me. Even if you are considered the most sinful of all sinners, once you are in the boat of transcendental knowledge you will cross over the ocean of miseries. As a blazing fire burns wood to ashes, Arjuna, so too does the fire of Self-knowledge reduce all Karma to ashes. Nothing in this world purifies like transcendental knowledge. One who becomes purified by this Karma Yoga discovers this knowledge within in due course of time. The faithful and sincere have mastery over the senses and gain this knowledge. Once gained, they quickly attain supreme spiritual peace. But the ignorant and faithless who are full of doubt will fail to attain Self-realization in this life. There is no

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happiness in this life or the next for those who continue to engage in doubt. Karma does not bind the renunciate who has given up the fruits of work and whose doubt is destroyed by Self-realization. Therefore, take up the sword of Self-knowledge and destroy the doubt born of ignorance in your heart, Arjuna. Armed with this Yoga, get up and fight!

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Chapter 5 The Yoga of Renunciation of Action
Arjuna said: Oh Krishna, you praised both renunciation of action as well as action with devotion. Please tell me definitively which of the two is best? The Blessed Lord said: Both renunciation of action and action in devotion can bring liberation. But, of the two, Karma Yoga, or action in devotional service without attachment to results, is better than renunciation of action. The true Sannyasi renunciate neither hates nor desires the fruits of his activities. Such a person, free from all dualities, is easily liberated from bondage, oh mighty Arjuna. Only those in ignorance consider the two as different from each other. Whoever has attained mastery of one obtains the benefits of both. Whatever goal a Sannyasi reaches, a Karma yogi also reaches. One who sees the path of renunciation and the path of devotional work as the same sees things are they truly are. But taking Sannyasa alone, renouncing all activities without also engaging in the Karma Yoga of devotional service would have difficulty in attaining true Self-realization. A Karma Yogi sage, by virtue of his devotional service, attains Brahman quickly without having to renounce all activities. One who works in devotion, the Karma Yogi, whose mind is pure with senses under control and
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who the one Self in all beings is never in bondage to Karma, though always engaged in activity. The person living in divine consciousness, knowing the true state of things realizes that when seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, eating, moving, sleeping and breathing, he does nothing at all. This is because in speaking, giving, taking, opening and closing the eyes, it is only the senses operating upon the sense objects. Like a lotus leaf untouched by water, so he who does all work as an offering to the Lord, abandoning all attachment to results, is unaffected by sinful action or the effects of Karma. A Karma Yogi performs actions by body, mind, intellect and senses without any attachment only for self-purification. The Karma Yogi, abandoning the fruit of action, attains perfect peace while others, who are attached to the results of their actions, become entangled in the expectation of results. The person who has subdued his senses and renounced the fruits of all works dwells happily in the City of Nine Gates, which is the body. The Lord neither creates activities nor induces people to act, nor does he create the fruits of action. All these are brought about by the Gunas, the modes of nature. Nor does the Lord assume the deeds, good or evil, of anyone. This knowledge, being covered by ignorance, causes people to be deluded. But when one is enlightened through the knowledge which destroyed ignorance, that Self-knowledge is as revealing as the rising sun. Those whose intelligence, mine and faith are always fixed upon the Supreme, taking refuge in Him become liberated, their impurities cleaned by knowledge.
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The wise sees a learned and humble priest, an outcast, even a cow, elephant or dog with equal vision. Those whose mind is set in equality have already conquered birth and death. They are flawless and impartial like Brahman because they are steadfast in Brahman. One who neither rejoices in their achieving what is pleasant nor grieves over obtaining what is unpleasant, who is firm in intelligence, possessing a steady mind and undeluded with knowledge of Brahman; such a person abides in Brahman. The person whose mind is unattached to sensual pleasures, discovering the joy of the Self, enjoys eternal bliss for their mind is in union with Brahman through meditation on Brahman. External pleasures, Arjuna, are the source of miser, for they have a beginning and an end. The wise take no delight in them. One who is able to withstand the urges of lust and anger before leaving the body is well integrated and happy. One who finds happiness within, rejoicing in the Self and illuminated by Self-realization, becomes one with Brahman and attains the supreme state. Seers free from all sin, being beyond the dualities that arise from doubt, their minds focused within and engaged in the welfare of all beings attain liberation in Brahman. The self-realized and selfdisciplined person, free from anger and material desires, aiming for perfection, easily attains liberation. Shutting out all external objects, focusing the eyes and mind between the brows, equalizing the breath in the nostrils, with senses, mind and intellect under control, the transcendentalist aiming at liberation becomes free of all desire, fear and anger. Remaining in this state, one is certainly liberated.

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By knowing that I am the beneficiary of all sacrifices and austerities, knowing that I am the Lord of all worlds and of all living beings, one attains peace.

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Chapter 6 The Path of Meditation
The Blessed Lord said: The Sannyasi and Karma Yogi is the one who performs his duties without seeking results, and not the one who forsakes the sacrificial fire and abandons all obligations. Oh son of Pandu, you must know that Sannyasa and Karma Yoga are the one and the same for no one can become a Karma yogi who has not renounced all desire for selfish sense gratification. For those aspirants taking the first steps in wisdom, Karma Yoga, or work without attachment to results, is the means to achieve the goal. For those who have attained Karma Yoga, equanimity is the means to maintain that state of achievement. When a person has no desire for sensual pleasures or attachment to the fruits of their work, renouncing all selfish motives, then they have attained yogic perfection. One must deliver and not degrade oneself through the mind. The mind can be both a friend and an enemy of the Self. For him who has conquered the mind, the mind is the best of friends; but for him who has failed to control it, the mind will remain the Self’s greatest enemy. One who has conquered the mind has attained tranquility though such control. To him, heat and cold, pleasure and pain, dishonor and dishonor are all the same. A yogi is considered Self-realized when he is satisfied with knowledge and Self-understanding, steadfast as a mountain and self controlled. One
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with such equanimity considers mud, stone and gold to be all the same. Very advanced is the person who is impartial towards companions, friends, enemies, neutrals, relatives, saints and sinners. A yogi seated alone and having mind and senses under control, free from desires or attachments to possessions, strive for constant contemplation on the Supreme Self. The yogi should choose a clean place to sit on a firm seat, neither too high nor too low, covered with sacred kusha grass, a deerskin and a soft cloth, one over the other. Sitting comfortably, the yogi should meditate for selfpurification, fixing the mind on one point. Holding the body, neck and head straight and still, fix the mind steadily between the brows or the tip of the nose. With a peaceful and subdued mind, free of fear and celibate, one should meditate on Me as the ultimate goal. Thus practicing constant control of the body, mind and activities, the yogi, his mind regulated, attains the peace of the spiritual sky at the end of physical life. This Yoga is not possible, Arjuna, for the one who overeats or for one who fasts too much; neither for one who sleeps to much or who stays too long awake. But one who practices moderation in eating, recreation, working, sleeping and wakefulness can relieve all distress through this Yoga. When the yogi through practice of this Yoga has discipline of mind and is freed of all desires, then he is well established in Yoga. As a lamp in a windless place does not waver, so the yogi, whose mind is controlled, remains always steady in his meditation on the transcendent Self. When, through practicing Yoga, all material mental activities cease and the mind becomes
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steady, one becomes content in the Self by beholding the Supreme with the purified intellect. One feels infinite bliss, perceived only through transcendental senses. After perceiving Brahman, one can never be separated from the absolute reality. Once Self-realized, nothing is considered greater than Self-realization. Established in Selfrealization, one is freed from all miseries arising from material contact. With determination, one should practice this Yoga with firm perseverance and without any deviation or doubt. Abandon all material desires by means of a well trained and purified intellect with conviction, the mind fixed on the Self alone, thinking of nothing else. Peace and the happiness belong to the Selfrealized yogi who is beyond all desires and passion, and freed from all sin. Thus the selfcontrolled yogi, constantly engaging the mind with the Self, enjoys the eternal joy of union with Brahman. By perceiving the same Self indwelling all living beings, and seeing all living beings as a part of the Self, the yogi who is in union with the Self sees every living being equally. Those who see Me in everything and everything in Me are never separated from Me, nor am I separated from them. The yogi engaged in devotional service to the Self, knowing that I and the Self are one, abides in me always and in all respects. The perfect yogi sees true equality between himself and all beings, and feels both joy and sorrows of all as his own, Arjuna. Arjuna said: This Yoga of meditation that you describe requires the equanimity of mind, but because of my restlessness, my mind is not steady. Because the mind is so restless, turbulent,
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strong and obstinate, oh Krishna, I think subduing it is more difficult than controlling the wind. The Blessed Lord said: Without doubt, mighty Arjuna, the mind is restless and difficult to control, but through practice and detachment, it can be achieved. In My opinion, Yoga is difficult to obtain if the mind is uncontrolled, but the one who is self-controlled can obtain it by striving through the appropriate means. Arjuna said: What happens to those who are faithful, but unable to conquer the mind, who stray from the path of meditation, failing in the perfection of Yoga, oh Krishna? Do they not perish like a dispersing cloud, oh mighty Krishna, having lost both, bewildered on the path of Selfrealization and without support? Completely dispel my doubt, oh Krishna, for there is none other that can do so but You. The Blessed Lord said: There is no destruction, oh Arjuna, for such a seeker either in this world or the next, for truly, those who seek and do good never come to grief, My friend. Having attained to the heaven of the righteous and dwelling there for many long years, the unsuccessful yogi is reborn into a pure and prosperous family. Or he may be born into a family of transcendentalists. Truly a birth like this is very difficult to obtain in this world. Upon rebirth the knowledge acquired in the former body is regained and he strives more than before for perfection, oh Arjuna. By virtue of the impressions of spiritual practice in previous lives, one is instinctively carried towards Brahman. Even he who merely wishes to know Yoga surpasses those who perform Vedic rituals alone. But the yogi who strives diligently, gradually perfecting through many incarnations, becomes purified of sins and reaches the supreme goal of
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Self-realization. The yogi is superior to the ascetics, superior to the ritualists and even superior to Vedic scholars. Therefore, be a yogi, oh Arjuna! I consider to be the most devoted of yogis the one who lovingly contemplates on Me full of faith.

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Chapter 7 The Yoga of Wisdom and Realization
The Blessed Lord said: Oh Arjuna, hear how you may know Me fully, with the mind focused upon Me, practicing Yoga and, becoming free of all doubt, taking refuge in Me. I shall now fully explain to you Self-knowledge combined with direct realization, after which there is nothing further to be known. Barely one in a thousand strives for perfection of Self-realization. Of those who do so strive, or even of those who succeed, scarcely any of these truly understand My essence. Earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intellect and ego - these are my eight separated energies. This Prakriti is my lower energy, oh mighty Arjuna. Besides these inferior energies is My higher Prakriti, a superior energy by which the entire universe is sustained. Know that all living beings evolved from this twofold energy, so I am the source and dissolution of the entire universe. Oh Arjuna, there is nothing whatsoever that is higher than Me. Everything in the universe is strung on Me like jewels on the thread of a necklace. Oh son of Kunti, I am the taste of water. I am the light of the sun and the moon; I am the sacred syllable AUM in the Vedas; I am the sound in ether and the manhood of men.

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I am the sweet fragrance of the earth and the brilliance of fire; I am the life in all living beings and the austerity of the ascetics. Oh Arjuna, know Me as the eternal seed of all beings; I am the intelligence of the intelligent and the brilliance of the brilliant. I am the strength of the strong, devoid of desire and attachment, and in all beings I am the sexual desire that is in accordance with Dharma, oh Arjuna. Know that the three Gunas of Sattva, Rajas and Tamas emanate from me. But I am not dependent on the Gunas, rather they are dependent on Me. Human beings are deluded by these three qualities in nature, and therefore do not know Me, for I am above these Gunas and immutable. Truly My divine illusion of Maya, made up of these three qualities of nature, is difficult to overcome. Only those who take their refuge in Me can overcome the illusion of My Maya. The evil doers and the ignorant, are the lowest of persons and do not seek Me. Those whose knowledge is stolen away by illusion embrace a demonic nature do not worship or seek Me Four types of virtuous men worship Me, oh Arjuna. They are the distressed, the seekers of knowledge, the seekers of wealth, and the wise, oh best of Bharatas. Among these, the wise, ever engaged in devotional service to me, is the best. For I am very dear to the wise, and the wise are very dear to Me. All these seekers are indeed noble, but I deem the wise man as My very Self, for the one who is steadfast certainly attains the highest goal. After many births and deaths, the wise surrender to God by realizing that everything is a
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manifestation of God. Such a great soul is very rare, indeed. Those whose wisdom has been taken away by various desires surrender to other Devas, practicing the various corresponding religious rites. Whatever form anyone desires to worship with faith, using whatever name, form or method, I make their faith steady in that deity. Endowed with such steady faith, they worship that deity and from it obtains their desires, these being ordained only by Me. Such rewards that accrues to those of lesser intelligence are finite. The worshippers of Devas go to those Devas they worship, but My devotees come to Me. The foolish think of Me, the Unman fest, as having manifestation. They do not know My higher, immutable and incomparable nature. Veiled by My divine Maya, I am not manifest to all. Therefore the ignorant do not know me as the unborn and imperishable Brahman. Oh Arjuna, I know all beings of the past, the present and of the future, but no one really knows Me fully. All beings in this world are under delusion of duality arising from desire and hatred, oh Bharata, and subject to delusion at birth, oh conqueror of enemies. But those men of virtuous deeds, whose Karma has come to end, being free from the delusion of dualities, worship Me with determination and steadfastness. Those who strive for liberation from birth and death by taking refuge in Me fully realize that Brahman, knowledge of the Self and Karma in its entirety. Those who know Me as Adhibhuta, the governing principle of nature, Adhidaiva, the governing principle of the Devas, and Adhiyajna, the governing principle of the sacrifice, they know Me even at the time of death, steadfast in mind.
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Chapter 8 The Yoga of the Imperishable Brahman

Arjuna said: Oh Krishna, what is Brahman? What is Adhyatma? What is Karma, oh best among men? What is that called Adhibutha? And what is known as Adhidaiva? Who is Adhiyajna and how does He dwell in the body? And how, at the time of death, can you be known by the steadfast? The Blessed Lord said: Brahman is the Imperishable, the Supreme One; His essential nature is the Self. The individual self, or jivatma, is called Adhyatma. The creative power that causes the manifestation of beings is called Karma. All perishable objects are known as Adhibhuta, and the soul is Adhidaiva. I alone am the Adhiyajna here in the body, oh Arjuna. And whoever, upon leaving the body, remembers Me at the time of death will without doubt attain My Being. Whatever one remembers as one leaves the body at death, that is what one attains to, Arjuna, because of the constant thought of that object in life that causes one to focus upon it at death. Therefore, at all times remember Me and carry out your duty to fight. You will certainly attain Me if your mind and intellect are fixed on Me. By contemplating Me with an unwavering mind, disciplined by habitual meditation, one goes to the Supreme Transcendental Lord, Arjuna.

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Whoever meditates on Brahman as omniscient, most ancient, controller, smaller than the tiniest atom, sustainer of all, of inconceivable form, bright shining as the sun and transcending the darkness of ignorance; such a one, at the time of death, with steadfast mind and devotion, fixing the breath through the power of Yoga between the brows, he reaches the Supreme Transcendental Lord. I will briefly explain to you how to attain that goal which is called the imperishable by those who know the Vedas, that which the ascetics, freed from attachment, enter; the desire of which causes one chooses to be celibate. Having closed the nine gates of the body, focusing the mind on the heart and the life-breath in the head, engaged in yogic concentration; he who leaves the body uttering the sacred syllable AUM and meditating on Brahman, attains the supreme goal. I am easily attainable, oh Arjuna, by that ever steadfast yogi who always thinks of Me with a single-mindedness. Having attained Me these great souls do not take rebirth in the material world, which is an transient place of misery, for they have reached the highest liberation. The inhabitants of all the worlds, including the world of Brahma the Creator, are subject to repeated birth and death. But he, who attains Me, oh son of Kunti, never takes birth again. Those who know that the day of Brahma lasts 4.32 billion years, as does his night, they truly know day and night. From the unmanifest all the manifested worlds proceed at the coming of the day; at the coming of the night, they again merge into the same unmanifest state. This same multitude of beings, born again and again, with
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the coming of the day, and when night comes, they are helplessly dissolved again. But truly there exists, higher yet than the unmanifest state, another unmanifested Eternal that does not perish when all living beings perish. This unmanifest is called the Imperishable or Brahman. This is said to be the ultimate goal. Those who reach it do not return. That is My highest abode. This Supreme abode, oh Arjuna, is attainable by unswerving devotion to Me within whom all beings dwell, and by which all this universe is pervaded. Now I will tell you, oh chief of the Bharatas, at which times, upon departing, the yogi will return or will not return. Fire, light, daytime, the bright lunar fortnight, and the six months of the northern solstice; departing by these paths, men who know Brahman attain Brahman. Smoke, night, the dark lunar fortnight, and the six months of the southern solstice; departing by these paths, the yogi returns to reincarnate. The light and dark paths of passing are, in Vedic opinion, are the world’s two eternal paths. The former leads to nirvana and the latter leads to rebirth. Knowing these two paths, Arjuna, a yogi is never bewildered. Therefore, always be steadfast in the Yoga of meditation. The yogi who knows all these things transcends the benefits of the study of the Vedas, the performance of sacrifices, the practice of austerities and the offering of gifts, and attains the supreme primeval abode.

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Chapter 9 The Royal Science and the Royal Secret

The Blessed Lord said: I shall reveal to you, who does not disbelieve, the greatest secret, knowledge combined with self-realization. Knowing this you will be freed from this miserable material existence. This is the royal knowledge, the royal secret, the transcendent knowledge that can by directly intuited which is in accordance with Dharma, very easy to practice and which is imperishable. Those who have no faith in this Dharma of Selfknowledge, oh conqueror of enemies, return again to this world after death without attaining Me. This entire universe is pervaded by Me in my unmanifest aspect; All living beings exist in Me, but I do not dwell in them. And yet beings, in reality, do not remain in Me. Behold the power of My divine power of mystery. Though I am the sustainer of all living beings, and though I am everywhere, I am not part of this cosmic manifestation. My Self is the very source of all creation. Just as the mighty wind, blowing everywhere, rests within the sky, so too do all beings rest in Me. All beings, oh son of Kunti, merge into Me at the end of each Kalpa of 4.32 billion years, and I manifest them again at the beginning of the next Kalpa. Animating My nature, I create, again and again, all this multitude of beings which are
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helpless, being under the control of the Gunas of Prakriti. These actions of creation do not bind Me, oh Arjuna, because I remain indifferent and unattached to those acts of creation. Under My supervision, nature produces all animate and inanimate objects and thus creation is ongoing. Fools disregard and deride Me when I take human form, not knowing My higher being as the great Lord of all beings. Vain in their hopes, their knowledge and their actions, the foolish are possessed of the deluded and deceitful nature of demons and fiends. But the great souls, Arjuna, possessing divine qualities, knowing Me as the imperishable source of all beings, worship Me with single-mindedness. Always singing My glories, striving, and firm in their vows, prostrating before Me, they worship Me with ever steadfast devotion. Others also worship Me with the wisdom sacrifice, as the infinite, as the one and as the many manifested and as the all. I am the ritual, I am the sacrifice, I am the offering, I am the sacred herb, I am the mantra, I am the ghee, I am the fire, and I am the oblation. I am the father and the mother of this world. I am the grandfather. I am that which is to be known. I am the purifier, the sacred syllable AUM. I am also the Rig, the Sama and the Yajur Vedas. I am the goal, the support, the Lord, the witness, the refuge, the abode, the friend, the origin, the dissolution, the foundation, the treasure and the imperishable seed. I give heat; I send as well as withhold the rains. I am immortality and also I am death, existence and non-existence. I am both the Sat and the Asat, Arjuna.

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The knowers of the Vedas and the drinkers of the Soma purified of all sin, worshipping me with sacrifices hoping to gain heaven. These, as a result of their holy activities attain heaven and enjoy the celestial pleasures of the Devas. Then, having exhausted their merits in the enjoyment of the vast heavenly world, they return to the mortal world. Thus, abiding by the Vedic injunctions and having desires, they take repeated birth and death. For those steadfast devotees who always worship Me with single-mindedness, I secure what they lack and preserve what they already possess. Even those devotees who worship the Devas with faith, in their worship they are truly worshipping Me, Arjuna, but without perfect knowledge. For I alone am the enjoyer of all sacrifices, as well as the Lord of all sacrifices. But they do not know my transcendental nature, and hence they fall back into repeated birth and death. The worshippers of the Devas go to the Deva whom they worship. The worshippers of the ancestors go to their ancestors. And the worshippers of ghosts and spirits will become such beings. But My devotees come to Me. Whoever may offer Me a leaf, a flower or a little water with devotion and a pure heart; I will accept such an offering. Whatever you do, whatever you eat, whatever you offer in sacrifice, whatever charity you give, whatever austerity you perform, Oh Arjuna, do it as an offering unto Me. By this renunciation you shall be freed from the bondage, good and bad, of Karma. You shall be liberated and come unto Me. I am the same towards all beings. There is no being hatful or dear to Me. But those who worship Me with devotion, they are in Me and I am also in
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them. Even if the most sinful person worships Me with single-minded loving devotion, he too must be regarded as saintly, for he has rightly resolved. He soon becomes righteous, attaining everlasting peace. Arjuna, know without doubt that My devotees are never destroyed. All people, whether women, men, merchants, laborers – all can attain the supreme goal by taking refuge in me. How much easier, then, it should be for the holy brahamans and devoted royal sages to attain this goal. Having obtained this joyless and transient world, one should always remember Me with loving devotion. Fix your mind upon Me, be devoted to Me, worship Me and bow down before Me. Having thus united your whole self to Me as your supreme goal, you shall indeed come unto Me.

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Chapter 10 The Divine Manifestation
The Blessed Lord said: Hear again, oh mighty Arjuna, My supreme word which I shall speak to you who are dear, for your welfare. Neither the hosts of Devas nor the great sages know My origin, for I am the source of both the Devas and the sages. He who knows Me as the unborn, without beginning, and as the great Lord of worlds, is considered wise among mortals, and gets liberation from the bondage of Karma. Intellect, wisdom, non-delusion, forgiveness, truth, selfrestraint, calmness, happiness, pain, birth, death, fear and fearlessness, non-violence, equanimity, contentment, austerity, fame, infamy, and beneficence; all these qualities of beings arise from Me alone. The seven great Rishis and the four ancient Manus come from me, born of My mind, and from them are all living beings in this world born. He whose truly knows My manifold manifestations and My yogic power is united with Me in unswerving devotion. Of this there is no doubt. I am the source of all. Everything emanates from Me and evolves. Understanding this, the wise worship Me with love and devotion. With their minds absorbed in Me, their lives devoted to Me, enlightening each other and talking about Me, they remain ever content and delighted. To them ever engaged in loving devotional service to Me, I give the Yoga of intelligence, by which they come to Me. Out of compassion for them I, who dwell
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within their hearts, destroy the darkness born of ignorance by the lamp which sheds the light of knowledge. Arjuna said: You are the supreme Brahman, the supreme abode, the supreme purifier. You are the eternal, transcendental and primal God, unborn and omnipresent. All the sages have so acclaimed You. The divine sage Narada, as well as Asita, Devala and Vyasa. And now You yourself are explaining so to me. I believe all that You have told me to be true, oh Krishna. Oh Lord, neither the Devas nor the Asuras understand Your manifestations. You know Yourself by Yourself, oh supreme personage, oh God of gods, oh source and Lord of all beings and Lord of all the universe. You alone can fully describe Your divine glories by which You exist, pervading all these worlds. How shall I, by constant contemplation, know you oh supreme Yogi? In which of Your manifested forms am I to think of You, oh Lord? Tell me again in detail of Your yogic power and glory, for I can never get enough of hearing the nectar of Your words. The Blessed Lord said: Yes, I will tell you of the most prominent of My glorious manifestations, Arjuna; and My manifestations are truly limitless. I am the Self, abiding in the hearts of every living being. I am the beginning, the middle and the end of all beings. Of the Adityas, I am Vishnu, of all the luminaries I am the sun, of the Maruts I am Marichi, and I am the moon among the stars. Of all the Vedas I am the Sama Veda; I am Vasava among the Devas; I am the mind among the

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senses and I am the consciousness in all living beings. Of all the Rudras I am Shankara; among the Yakshas and Rakshasas I am Kubera; I am Pavaka among the Vasus, and among the peaked mountains I am Mount Meru. I am chief among all priests, Brihaspati, oh Arjuna. Among military commanders I am Skanda. Among all bodies of water I am the ocean. Among the great sages I am Bhrigu. Among words I am the sacred syllable AUM. Among sacrifices I am the sacrifice of chanting. Among immovable things I am the Himalayas. Among trees, I am the banyan. Among the divine sages I am Narada. I am Chiraratha among the Gandharvas. Among the perfected Siddhas I am sage Kapila. Know me to be Ucchaisravas among horses, born when the ocean was churned for nectar. I am Airavata among elephants, and I am monarch of all men. Of all weapons I am the thunderbolt. Among cows I am the wish-fulfilling Surabhi. Of the causes of birth I am the god of love. Of serpents I am Vasuki. I am Ananta among the Nagas. I am Varuna among aquatic deities. Among ancestors I am Aryama, And among dispensers of the law I am Yama, Lord of death. I am Prahlada among the Daitya demons. Among reckoners I am time. Among the beasts I am the lion and I am Garuda among the birds. Among purifiers I am the wind. Among the warriors I am Rama. I am the shark among the fishes. Among rivers I am the Ganga.
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Among creations I am the beginning, the middle and the end, Arjuna. Among the sciences I am the science of the Self. I am the logic of logicians.’ I am the Alpha among alphabets. Among compound words I am the dual. Among time I am eternal. I am sustainer of all, facing all directions. I am all-devouring death as well as the generation of future manifestations of being. Among women I am fame, prosperity, beauty, memory, speech, intelligence, firmness and forgiveness. Among hymns I am the Brihatsaman and I am Gayatri among poetry. Among the months I am cool Margasirsha. And I am spring among the seasons. I am the gambling of cheaters. Of the splendid I am the splendor. I am victory, I am resolution and I am the goodness of the good. Of the Vrishnis I am Vasudeva. Among the Pandavas I am Arjuna. Among the sages I am Vyasa and I am Ushana among the poets. Among punishers I am the punishment. I am statesmanship among those who seek victory. I am silence among secrets. I am the knowledge of the wise. I am the seed of all beings, oh Arjuna. There is nothing, whether moving or still, that can exist without Me. There is no end to my divine manifestations, oh conqueror of enemies. What I have told you is but a brief example of the extent of my infinite manifestations. Whatever there is that is glorious, brilliant, prosperous or powerful; know that to be but a fraction of My splendorous manifestations.

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But of what avail are all these details to you, Arjuna? With only a small fragment of My Self I continually support this entire universe.

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Chapter 11 Vision of the Cosmic Form
Arjuna said: My delusion has been dispelled because you have favored me with your profound words explaining to me the supreme secret of the Self. Oh Lotus-eyed Lord, I have heard from you in detail of the origin and dissolution of all beings and of Your imperishable glory. Oh Supreme Lord, as You have thus described Yourself, I wish to see Your divine cosmic form. Lord, if You think it is possible for me to behold it, oh Lord of Yogis, show me Your imperishable Self. The Blessed Lord said: Behold, Arjuna, My hundreds and thousands of divine forms of various colors and shapes. Behold the Adityas, the Vasus, the Rudras, the Asvins and the Maruts. Behold, oh Arjuna, many wonders never seen before. Now behold, Arjuna, the entirety of creation, moving and still and whatever else you wish to see, all at once here in My body. But you cannot see me with these physical eyes of yours. Therefore, I give you divine vision that you may see. Behold My inconceivable power and glory! Sanjaya said: Oh King, having said this, the great Lord of Yoga, Hari, revealed His supreme cosmic form to Arjuna! In that universal form Arjuna saw countless faces, countless mouths, countless eyes and countless wonderful sights, with numerous divine ornaments and holding countless divine weapons. Wearing divine garlands and clothing, anointed with celestial ointments and perfumes. All was wondrous, shining, eternal and all-pervading.

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If the splendor of thousands of suns were to blaze all at once in the sky, their radiance might only just begin to resemble the splendor of that exalted being. There, in the body of the God of gods, Arjuna then saw the entire universe in all its divisions, yet all there in one place. Then Arjuna, overwhelmed with wonder, his hairs standing on end in awe, bowed his head and folded his hands before the Supreme Lord and began to speak. Arjuna said: Oh Shining One, I see all the Devas in your body, as well as various other beings, sages and celestial serpents. I see Lord Shiva and Lord Brahma, seated on lotus flowers. Oh Lord of the Universe, I see You everywhere with infinite forms, with many arms, faces and eyes. I can find no end, nor any middle or beginning of Your Universal Form. I see You with the crown, the club, the disc, a mass of radiance, difficult to behold, blazing all around like fire and with the immeasurable brilliance of the sun. You are the Imperishable, the Supreme Primal Being, and the supreme basis of all this universe. You are the inexhaustible protector of the eternal Dharma. You are the ultimate Truth personified. This is my opinion. I see You with infinite power, without beginning, middle or end; with many arms, with the sun and the moon as Your eyes, from Your mouth issues blazing fire, burning this entire universe with Your radiance. The space between the heavens and the earth is pervaded by You alone; having seen this, Your wonderful and terrible form, the three worlds tremble with awe, oh Great Soul of all.

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Certainly the fellowship of Devas enter You. Some praise You in fear with joined palms offer prayers. Multitudes of maharishis and Siddhas hail and adore You with great praises and hymns. The Rudras, Adityas, Vasus, Sadhyas, Visvedevas, the Asvins, Maruts, Ushmapas, Gandharvas, Yakshas, Asuras and Siddhas all gaze upon You in astonishment. Seeing Your infinite form with many mouths, eyes, arms, thighs, feet, stomachs and many fearful teeth, all the worlds tremble with fear, as do I, oh mighty Lord. Oh Vishnu, seeing You with many radiant colors, with gaping mouths and great fiery eyes, and touching the sky, I am lost and unsteady, and without calmness. The vision of Your mouths, fearful with teeth, glowing like the fires of the cosmic dissolution, I lose my sense of direction and find no comfort. Have mercy on me, oh Lord of Devas, oh refuge of the universe. All the sons of Dhritarashtra with the hosts of earthly kings; Bhishma, Drona and Karna, together with chief warriors on our side are rushing into Your fearful mouths with terrible teeth. Some I see caught between the teeth with their heads crushed. As rivers rush toward the ocean, so these worldly warriors rush into Your mouths. As moths rush with great speed into the blazing flame towards destruction, so all these people rush into Your mouths for their destruction. Oh Vishnu, You lick up all the people on every side with Your flaming mouths. Your powerful radiance, filling the world, are burning. You are manifest with terrible scorching rays! Oh Lord of Lords, so fierce in form, tell me who You are! Salutations to You, oh Great One amongst the Devas. You are the primal Lord and I
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desire to know You, for I do not know Your mission. The Blessed Lord said: I am Time; behold, I am the great destroyer of worlds, and I have come to all. Even without your participation, all of the warriors from both sides arrayed shall perish. Therefore, get yourself up and attain glory! Conquer the enemies and enjoy a prosperous kingdom. Truly they have already been slain by Me. So be the instrument, Arjuna. Kill Drona, Bhishma, Jayadratha, Karna and all the other great warriors who are already slain by Me. Do not fear. You will, without doubt, conquer the enemies, so get up and fight! Sanjaya said: Having heard these words of Lord Krishna, the crowned Arjuna, trembling with joined palms, prostrated himself and spoke to Krishna in a choked voice. Arjuna said: It is right, oh Krishna, that the world delights and rejoices in Your praise. Demons flee in all directions. The hosts of perfected Siddhas bow to You in adoration. And why should they not bow to You, oh Great Soul, for You are greater even than Brahma, creator of the physical world? Oh infinite Lord, oh God of gods, oh refuge of the universe, You are imperishable that transcends both being and nonbeing. You are the primal, the cosmic man. You are the ultimate refuge of all the universe. You are the knower, the object of knowledge and the supreme abode. The entire universe is pervaded by You, oh Lord of infinite forms! You are the Vayu, Yama, Agni, Shashanka, Brahma and the creator of Brahma. Salutations, salutations, a thousand times again, salutations to
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You! Salutations to you from front and back. Salutations from every side. Infinite in power and might, You pervade everything, You are All! Having considered You merely as a friend till now, not knowing of Your greatness, I have inadvertently addressed You as “Krishna” and “Yadava” only out of affection or carelessness. In whatever ways I may have insulted You while joking, playing, relaxing, or at meals, whether alone or in front of others; Oh Infallible One, please forgive me! You are the father of this world and all that is in it, both moving and still, and the greatest of Gurus. There is none greater than You, for who can equal You? How can there be any above You in all the worlds, oh Great One of incomparable power and glory? Therefore, oh adorable Lord, I seek Your grace by prostrating myself before You. As a father forgives his son, as a friend forgives a friend, as a lover forgives his beloved, bear with me, oh shining Lord. I am filled with delight having seen what has never been seen before, and yet my mind is tormented with fear. Show to me Your previous form, oh Lord of the universe. I wish to see You as before, in your four limbed form, bearing crown, mace and disc, oh thousand-armed, oh great Cosmic Form! The Blessed Lord said: Arjuna, I have happily shown to you, through My own yogic power, this supreme, universal, transcendent and primal form of Mine, which no one besides yourself has ever seen before. Great hero of the Korus, neither through study of the Vedas, nor performance sacrifices, nor rituals,
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nor austerities, nor acts of charity can anyone in this world see this cosmic form of Mine besides you. Do not be afraid or bewildered by seeing such an awesome form as this. Now, Arjuna, with your fears dispelled and cheerful mind, behold as I return to my previous four-limbed form. Sanjaya said: Having spoken thus to Arjuna, Vasudeva again showed his previous four-limbed form. Assuming His beautiful, gentle human form, Mahatma Krishna then consoled the terrified Arjuna. Arjuna said: Seeing this gentle human form, dear Krishna, I am now composed and back to normal. The Blessed Lord said: This form of Mine which you have seen is difficult to bear. Even the Devas are ever longing to gaze upon this form. Not by Vedic study, nor by austerity nor ritual can I been seen in the form as you have seen Me. But only through single-minded devotion can I be seen in that form, and known in essence and entered into, oh Arjuna. Only one who performs all works for Me, holding Me as the supreme goal, devoted to Me, free of attachments or enmity towards any living being; only such a one attains Me.

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Chapter 12 The Yoga of Devotion
Arjuna said: Of those devotees who are ever steadfast and worship You, or those who worship the eternal unmanifest Brahman, which of these two have the best knowledge of Yoga? The Blessed Lord said: Those ever steadfast devotees endowed with supreme faith who worship Me; these I consider most perfected in Yoga, Arjuna. Those who worship the imperishable, the indefinable, the unmanifested, the all-pervading, the inconceivable. unchanging and immovable Brahman; restraining all the senses, even-minded at all times and intent on the welfare of all beings; these certainly also attain Me. For those whose minds are on fixed on the unmanifested, the labor required is much greater. To progress in the comprehension of the unmanifest is difficult for those who are embodied. But for those who worship Me, renouncing all actions to Me, setting Me as the goal and meditating on Me with single-minded devotion; I quickly become the deliverer from ocean of death and rebirth. So fix your mind on Me, situate your intellect in Me. Then you will certainly live in Me thereafter, without a doubt. But if you should be unable to fix your mind steadily on Me, then strive, oh winner of wealth, to develop a desire to attain Me by the constant practice of Yoga. Even if you are unable to regularly practice Yoga, then become intent on

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doing all work for Me. Even in dedicating your work to Me, you can achieve perfection. If you are unable to even work for Me, then take refuge in Me and renounce the fruits of all your actions. Better indeed is knowledge than empty practice; Meditation is better than knowledge. Renunciation of the fruits of actions is better than meditation, for peace comes of such renunciation. One who is envious of none, who is friendly and compassionate to all, freed from attachment and egoism, even-minded in pleasure and pain, tolerant, ever content, with the mind and intellect dedicated to Me; such a devotee is dear to Me. One who does not agitate others and who cannot be agitated by others, who is free from joy, envy, fear and anxiety; he is also dear to Me. One who is free from desires, who is pure, wise, impartial and free of anxiety, having renounced all undertakings and is devoted to Me; such a one is dear to Me. The one who is the same towards both friend and foe, in honor and disgrace, in heat and cold, in pleasure and pain, who is free from attachment, indifferent to censure or praise, who is silent, content with anything, homeless, possessing a steady mind and full of devotion; such a one is dear to Me. But those devotees who follow this Dharma by adopting these virtues, endowed with faith and regarding Me as the supreme goal are very, very dear to Me.

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Chapter 13 Creator and Creation
The Blessed Lord said: Arjuna, this perishable body is known as the Field, or creation. He who knows it is called by the sages the Knower of the Field. Know also that I am the Knower in every body – the Knower of the Field in all fields, oh scion of Bharata. Understanding both the Field and the Knower of the Field is considered by Me to be knowledge. Now hear from Me in brief what the Field is, what its nature is, what its transformations are, who its creator is and what His powers are. The sages have described Him in many ways in various Vedic hymns and in the conclusive and verses of the Brahmasutra. This body, the Field, is made up of the five great elements together with the ego, the intellect, the unmanifest nature, the ten senses, the mind, the five objects of the senses, desire, aversion, pleasure and pain, persistency of life, firmness and the power of cohesion. These are the Field and its interactions. I will tell you what is true knowledge: It is freedom from self-esteem, pride, and injury to others; it is patience, sincerity, respect for spiritual instructors, purity, firmness, self-restraint, dispassion for objects of sense, freedom from pride, and a meditation upon birth, death, decay, sickness, and error; it is an exemption from selfidentifying attachment for children, wife, and household, and a constant unwavering steadiness of mind in every event whether favorable or unfavorable; it is a never-ceasing love for Me
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alone, the self being effaced, and worship paid in a solitary spot, and a want of pleasure in congregations of men; it is a resolute continuance in the study of the Superior Spirit, and a perception of the end of true knowledge; this is called wisdom or spiritual knowledge; its opposite is ignorance. I will now tell you what is the object of wisdom, from knowing which one attains immortality; it is the beginningless supreme Brahman, and of which it cannot be said that it is either Being or NonBeing. With hands and feet in all directions; eyes, heads, mouths, and ears in every direction; He is immanent in the world, pervading all. Himself without sense organs, He is reflected by all the senses and faculties; unattached, yet supporting all; without qualities, yet the experiencer of them all. He is within and without all creatures moving and still; inconceivable because of his subtlety, and although near He is also far away. Although undivided He appears as if divided among living beings, and while He sustains existing things, He is also to be known as their devourer and creator. The light of all lights, He is declared to be beyond all darkness; and is knowledge itself, the object of knowledge; presiding in the hearts of all. Thus the Field as well as knowledge and the Knowable have been briefly stated. My devotee, knowing this, enters into My being. Know that Prakriti, material Nature, and Purusha, the Spirit, are without beginning. And know that the passions and the three qualities of the Gunas are sprung from Nature. Nature is said to be that which operates in producing cause and effect in actions; individual Spirit is said to be the cause of experiencing pain and pleasure. The Spirit seated in Nature experiences the qualities born of Nature; attachment these qualities is the cause of
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its rebirth in good and evil wombs. The Supreme Spirit in the body is called Mahesvara, the Great Lord, the spectator, the admonisher, the sustainer, the enjoyer, and also the Paramatma or Supreme Self. Those who truly understand Purusha and Prakriti with its Gunas are not born again, regardless of their condition. Some perceive God in the heart by intellect through meditation; others through the Yoga of knowledge, still others by the Yoga of action. Some, who do not understand Brahman, still worship, having heard of it from others. They also transcend death by their faith in what they have heard of the Supreme Refuge. Whatever is born, moving or still, know them to be born from the union of the Field (Prakriti) and the Knower of the Field (Purusha), oh best of Bharatas. The one who sees the Supreme Lord dwelling equally in all living beings, the imperishable within the imperishable, sees truly. Seeing the same Lord existing in every being, one does not destroy the Self by the self and attains the supreme goal. Those who perceive that all actions are performed by the Gunas of Nature alone, recognizing the Self as without action, they truly understand. When one perceives the diverse variety of beings resting in the One and spreading forth from That alone, then one attains Brahman. The imperishable Supreme Self, being devoid of the qualities of the Gunas, though dwelling in the body as the Self, neither acts nor is tainted by action. As the all-pervading ether is not tainted because of its subtlety, so the Self, residing in all beings, is not tainted.

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Just as the one sun illumines the entire world, so also the Lord of the Field, the Supreme Self, illumines the entire Field, Arjuna. They who perceive, through the eye of knowledge, the distinction between the Field and its Knower and who know the technique of liberation from illusion of objects, attain the Supreme.

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Chapter 14 The Three
Gunas

of Nature

The Blessed Lord said: I shall further explain to you that supreme spiritual knowledge, superior to all other knowledge, the knowledge by which all the sages have attained to supreme perfection upon the dissolution of the body. Those who have taken refuge in this knowledge attain unity with Me, and are neither born at the time of creation nor afflicted at the time of dissolution. My womb is the great Brahma, in which I place the seed of spirit from which all beings are born. Whatever forms are produced, oh son of Kunti, the great Brahma is the womb and I am the seedgiving father. Sattva, Rajas and Tamas; purity, passion and inertia, respectively, these are the three Gunas, the qualities of material nature; these bind the imperishable soul to the body. Of these, Sattva, luminous and healing and binds by attachment to knowledge and to happiness, oh sinless one. Know Rajas to be characterized by intense and selfish passion, the source of sensual desire. It binds one by the attachment to the fruits of activity. Know Tamas, the deluder of the self, to be born of inertia. It binds by ignorance, laziness and sleep. Sattva attaches one to happiness, Rajas to action, while Tamas shrouds knowledge and attaches one to ignorance. Sattva dominates by suppressing Rajas and Tamas; Rajas dominates by suppressing Sattva

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and Tamas; and Tamas dominates by suppressing Sattva and Rajas, oh son of Bharata. When the lamp of knowledge shines through all the gates of the body, then Sattva is predominant. Greed, activity, passion, restlessness and longing arise when Rajas is predominant. Ignorance, darkness, inertness and delusion arise when Tamas is predominant, Arjuna. One who dies while Sattva is predominant attains to the pure world of the knowers of the Supreme. Meeting death in Rajas, one is born among those who are attached to activities; and when one dies in Tamas he is born in the womb of the senseless. The fruit of good actions is said to be Sattvika and pure, the fruit of Rajas is misery and the fruit of Tamas is ignorance. Knowledge arise from Sattva; desires arise from Rajas; and delusion and ignorance arise from Tamas. Those established in Sattva move upwards; the Rajasika dwell in the middle; and the Tamasika, abiding in the lowest Guna, go downwards. When the seer beholds no doer other than the Gunas, knowing That which is above and beyond the Gunas, they attain to My Being. When the embodied being transcends these three Gunas, from which the material body is evolved, he is freed from the misery birth, death, and old age, attaining the nectar of immortality. Arjuna said: What are the characteristics of one who has transcended the Gunas and how do they behave. My dear Lord, how does one transcend these three Gunas? The Blessed Lord said: Oh son of Pandu, one who does hate the qualities illumination, activity and delusion when they appear, nor longs for them when they disappear; who remains
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unconcerned and undisturbed by them, standing firm and not wavering; dwelling in the Self, indifferent to pain and pleasure, centered in the Self and unmoving; to whom a lump of earth, a stone, and gold are alike; who is of equal mind with those who love or dislike, constant, the same whether blamed or praised; equally minded in honor and disgrace, and the same toward friend or foe, renouncing doership; such a one is said to have transcended the Gunas. And he, who serve Me with unswerving devotion, having completely overcome the qualities of the three Gunas, is fit for realizing Brahman. For I am the embodiment of the immortal and eternal Brahman, of everlasting Dharma, and of absolute and endless bliss.

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Chapter 15 The Knowledge of Supreme Spirit
The Blessed Lord said: The wise say that the eternal Asvattha, the sacred Banyan tree, grows with its roots above and its branches below, and the leaves of which are the Vedic hymns. One who knows this knows the Vedas. The branches of this world tree spread both below and above, nourished by the Gunas. Sensual pleasures are its sprouts, and its roots, of ego and desires, originating in action, stretch below in the human world causing Karmic bondage. Its form, its beginning, its origin, its foundation and its resting place are not perceived on earth. When one cuts the roots of this tree with the strong axe of dispassion, then the goal should be sought, reach which one does not return again. Seek refuge in that Primal Spirit from which streamed forth the ancient energy. Freed from pride and delusion, victorious over the evil of attachment, constantly dwelling in the Supreme Self, completely free of all desires and from the opposites of pain and pleasure, the undeluded reach the eternal goal. There the sun shines not, nor the moon, nor fire. That is My supreme abode. Having reached there they do not return. The Self dwelling in the body is an eternal fragment of Myself in the world of life. This fragment draws the five senses together with the mind and struggles with material nature. When the Lord obtains a body and when He leaves it, He takes the senses and goes, as the wind takes the scent from their sources. Presiding over the ear,
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the eye, touch, taste and smell, together with the mind, he enjoys the objects of the senses. The deluded do not see Him who departs, stays and enjoys; but they who possess the eye of knowledge perceive Him. The yogis, striving for perfection, behold Him in the Self; but the ignorant, whose intellect is not pure, even if they try, do not perceive Him. The from the sun which illumines the world; that which is in the moon and in fire; know that light to be Mine. Permeating the earth I support all beings by My energy; and having become the sap-giving moon I nourish all plant life. Becoming the fire of digestion, I remain in the body of all living beings; uniting with Prana and Apana, the vital breaths, I digest the four types of food. And I am seated in the hearts of all, from Me come memory and knowledge, as well as their absence. I am truly that which is to be known by the study of the Vedas. I am, indeed the author of the Vedanta and the knower of the Vedas. There are two Purushas, or spiritual beings, in this world, the immutable and the mutable; the mutable is all living beings, the Kutastha, or He who stands on high unaffected, is called the immutable. But besides these two there is that highest spirit called the Paramatma, the Supreme Self, who enters the three worlds and sustains them, the imperishable Lord. Since I am beyond the mutable and am greater and higher even than the immutable, both in the world and in the Veda I am proclaimed as the Purushottama, the Supreme Self. He who is not deluded knows Me as the Supreme Self, knows all things and worships Me under every form and in all conditions, Arjuna.

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Thus this most secret science has been explained by Me, oh sinless Arjuna. Having understood this, one becomes enlightened and all one’s duties are accomplished.

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Chapter 16 Division of Divine and Demonic Qualities
The Blessed Lord said: Fearlessness, purity of heart, perseverance in the Yoga of knowledge, charity,

control of the senses, sacrifice, scriptural study, austerity, honesty, simplicity, non-violence, compassion for all living beings, renunciation, absence of anger, generosity, equanimity, modesty, absence of fickleness, splendor, forgiveness, fortitude, cleanliness, absence of malice, absence of pride; these are the qualities of one born with a divine nature, Arjuna. Hypocrisy, arrogance, anger, pride, harshness and ignorance; these are the indications of one born with a demonic nature. The destiny of those born with a divine nature is liberation and those of a demonic nature are destined for bondage. Do not worry, son of Pandu, for you were born with a divine nature. There are two types of beings in this world – the divine and the demonic; the divine I have described at length, now hear from Me about the demonic, Arjuna. Persons of a demonic nature do not know what to do, nor do they know what to refrain from doing. Neither purity nor proper behavior nor truthfulness is found in them. They say, “This universe is unreal, without foundation, without a God, without a moral basis, a world brought about by lust and nothing else.” Adhering to this view,

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these ruined souls of small minds and cruel deeds, enemies of the world, they are born to destroy. They indulge in their insatiable desires, absorbed in hypocrisy, pride and arrogance, fixed fast in false belief due to their delusion. Believing that sense gratification and satisfaction of lust are the highest goals of life, they give themselves over to great fear and anxiety which only end with death. Bound by a hundred ties to a network of vain hopes and enslaved by lust and anger, they strive by unlawful means to amass hoards of wealth and fulfillment of their lustful desires, thinking, “So much I have gained today; I shall obtain this desire; this is mine, and more wealth too shall be mine tomorrow. I have slain this enemy, and others I shall also slay. I am the lord; I am the enjoyer. I am successful, powerful and happy; I am rich and my family is noble. What can equal me? I shall perform sacrifices to gain more. I shall give some charity and I shall rejoice.” In this way such persons are deluded by ignorance. Bewildered by much anxiety and bound in a network of delusions, they become addicted and attached to sensual pleasures and fall into a foul hell. Self-conceited, stubborn, intoxicated with pride and wealth, they perform sacrifices with hypocrisy only for outward show, contrary to scriptural injunctions. Indulging in pride, selfishness, ostentation, power, lust and anger, they hate Me who am in their bodies and in the bodies of others, blaspheming against Dharma. I forever hurl these cruel haters, the worst among men, into the wombs of demons. And dooming themselves to those infernal wombs, they become more and more deluded in each succeeding rebirth, never to come to Me, oh son of Kunti, but go to the lowest type of existence.

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There are three gates of this hell – lust, anger and envy, which destroy the soul. Therefore, one should abandon these three. One who is liberated from these three gates of darkness, Arjuna, practices what is good for him, thus attaining the supreme goal. One who, disobeying scriptural injunctions, acts under the influence of desire, neither attains perfection, nor happiness, nor the supreme goal. Therefore, let the scripture be your authority in determining what should be done and what should not. You should perform your duties in accordance with scriptural injunctions.

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Chapter 17 Three Kinds of Faith
Arjuna said: What is the state of those who, while neglecting the injunctions of the scriptures, yet worship in faith, Krishna? Is it Sattvika, Rajasika, or Tamasika? The Blessed Lord said: Arjuna, the type of faith in embodied beings is tripartite, like all things in Nature, and varies according to the predominant quality of their nature; Sattva, Rajas or Tamas. Now hear of these: The faith of each man takes the shape given to it by his nature. The embodied being consists of his faith; as a man is, so is he. Sattvika men offer sacrifice to the Devas, the Rajasika sacrifice to tutelary spirits and demons, the Tamasika offer their sacrifice to ghosts and elemental spirits. Those who perform severe austerities not sanctioned in scripture, with arrogance and egoism, impelled by the force of their desires and passions, tormenting the elements forming the body and troubling Me, who dwells in the body, know these ignorant people to be of demonic nature. The food preferred by each is also of three types. So are the sacrifice, charity and austerity. Hear the distinction between them. Foods that promote longevity, virtue, strength, health, happiness, joy, juicy, substantial, and easily digestible are preferred by Sattvika persons. Those who are Rajasika prefer foods that are bitter, sour, salty, spicy, pungent and dry,
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which cause digestive diseases and pain. Rotted, stale, putrid and impure foods, including the halfeaten waste of others is the preference of the Tamasika. The sacrifice which is offered without desire for reward, which is performed according to scriptural ordinance, and done in faith as duty; such is a pure and Sattvika sacrifice. The sacrifice which is offered in expectation of reward, preformed ostentatiously is a Rajasika sacrifice. A Tamasika sacrifice is one which is contrary to scriptural ordinances, in which no food is distributed, performed devoid of mantra, faith and gift. Worship of the Devas, the twice-born, the guru and the wise; the practice of cleanness, honesty, celibacy and non-violence are called the austerities of deed. Speech that is inoffensive, truthful, pleasant, beneficial or used in the study of the scriptures is called austerity of word. Serenity of mind, warm heartedness, and purity of mind are called the austerities of thought. This threefold austerity of thought, word and deed, practiced with steadfastness, faith and without the desire for reward, is called Sattvika austerity. Austerity undertaken with ostentation to gain honor, glory, and praise is declared to be Rajasika austerity, and is unstable and transitory. Austerity without proper understanding, with selftorture, or with the purpose of harming or destroying another, is declared as Tamasika austerity. Charity that is given to the deserving as a matter of duty and with no expectation of return is considered Sattvika charity. When charity is given unwillingly, or to gain something in return, that is Rajasika charity. And Tamasika charity is when something is given inappropriately, to those who
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are undeserving, without being respectful, or given with contempt. AUM TAT SAT is the threefold name of Brahman. By that the Brahmins, the Vedas and the sacrifice were created in ancient times. Therefore, acts of sacrifice, charity and austerity prescribed in the scriptures are always begun by uttering the sacred syllable AUM by the knowers of Brahman. Uttering TAT, without expectation of the fruits, the seekers of liberation perform acts of sacrifice, charity and austerity. SAT is used in the sense of reality and goodness and uttered when performing any auspicious act. Steadfastness in sacrifice, charity and austerity is also called SAT. And any action performed for the sake of the Supreme is also called SAT. Whatever is done without faith, whether it is sacrifice, charity, austerity, or any other act, is called ASAT, and has no value here or hereafter, Arjuna.

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Chapter 18 The Yoga of Renunciation Liberation by

Arjuna said: I wish to know, oh mighty Krishna, the essence of Sannyasa and Tyaaga, or renunciation and abandonment. The Blessed Lord said: The sages understand Sannyasa as the renunciation of action and desire. The wise define Tyaaga as the abandonment of the fruits of all actions. Some philosophers say that all actions should be abandoned as evil, while others maintain that acts of sacrifice, austerity and charity should not be abandoned. Hear from Me the conclusion and final truth about this Tyaaga, best of Bharatas. This abandonment has been said to be of three kinds. Acts of sacrifice, austerity and charity should not be abandoned; rather, they should be performed. For sacrifice, austerity and charity purify the wise. But even these obligatory acts should be performed without attachment to the fruits. In truth, renunciation of obligatory duties is improper. The abandonment of duty is due to ignorance or delusion, and should be considered Tamasika. He who abandons duty merely because it is difficult or unpleasant does not gain the merits of true renunciation by performing such Rajasika abandonment.

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Obligatory work performed as duty, Arjuna, with renunciation of attachment to the fruit; that alone is considered Sattvika Tyaaga. One who is wise and free from doubts, and who renounces in the light of a fully Sattvika mind, neither hates unpleasant work nor is attached to pleasant work. Embodied beings can never abstain for all actions entirely; But the one who relinquishes the rewards of actions is a true renunciate. There are three kinds of fruits that result from actions; good, evil and mixed. These results, in this life or in another, are for the slaves of desire and ego. These results accrues after death to one who does not renounce them, but they never accrue to a Tyaagi – a true renunciate. Learn from me, mighty Arjuna, the five causes, as described in the Samkhya system, for the accomplishment of all actions. These five are the place, the doer, the perceptions, the various functions and the fifth is the presiding Deva. Whatever action one performs, right or wrong, by thought, word and deed; these are its five causes. This being the case, whoever, because of the imperfection of his mind, considers himself as the sole agent, does not see clearly. He who is free from the egoism, and whose discrimination is not blinded, does not slay, though he kills all this people; nor is he bound by the act of killing. Knowledge, the object of knowledge and the knower form the threefold impetus to act. The senses, the work and the doer are the threefold factors which form the basis of action. Knowledge, action and agent are of three kinds, according to the Guna theory of Samkhya doctrine, according to the distinction of the Gunas; hear these also.

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That knowledge by which one sees the one imperishable and undivided reality within all beings, though they be divided into innumerable forms; know such knowledge to be Sattvika. But that knowledge by which one sees in all beings various entities distinct and different from one another; know that knowledge to be Rajasika. And that knowledge by which one clings to one single effect as if it were the whole, which is irrational, baseless and trivial; that knowledge is Tamasika. All action which is rightly regulated, performed without attachment, without liking or disliking, done without desire for the fruits; such action is declared to be Sattvika. But that action performed under the dominion of desire, or with an egoistic sense of his own personality in the action, and which is done with inordinate effort; that action is declared to be Rajasika. The action undertaken due to delusion, disregarding the consequences of loss or injury, as well as one’s own ability; that action is declared to be Tamasika. He who is free from attachment, free of egoism, endowed with resolve and enthusiasm, and indifferent to success or failure, is said to be Sattvika. One who is passionate, desirous of rewards, cruel, greedy, impure and affected by joy or sorrow is said to be Rajasika. And those who are undisciplined, dejected, vulgar, stubborn, wicked, malicious, lazy and procrastinating are Tamasika. Now hear the threefold division of the intellect and resolve, according to the Gunas, as I declare them distinctly, oh Arjuna. That intellect which understands the path of work and renunciation, right and wrong action, fear and fearlessness, bondage and liberation, is Sattvika.
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The intellect obscured by ignorance, which incorrectly distinguishes between righteousness and unrighteousness, right and wrong action, is Rajasika. And the intellect enveloped in darkness and ignorance, which considers unrighteousness to be righteous, and all things perverted, is Tamasika. That unwavering resolve by which, through Yoga, one controls the functions of the mind, the senses and the life-force, is Sattvika. But that resolve by which a person, craving the fruits of work, clings to self-righteous deeds, enjoyment of sensual pleasures and accumulation of wealth with great attachment, is Rajasika. And resolve by which a dull person does not give up sleep, fear, grief, despair and arrogance, is Tamasika. And now hear from Me, Arjuna, of the threefold pleasure, in which one rejoices by spiritual practice resulting in the end of sorrows. This please appears at first like poison, but it is nectar in the end; it is born from purity of mind achieved through Self-realization and is declared to be Sattvika. But sensual pleasures appear as nectar at first, and then become poison in the end. Such pleasures are Rajasika. And that pleasure which deludes a person both at first and at the end comes from indolence, sleep, confusion and laziness. Such pleasure is declared Tamasika. There is no being, either here on earth or in heaven among the Devas, who is free from these three Gunas of Nature. The duties of philosophers and princes, merchants and laborers all are determined by the Gunas inherent in each man’s nature, Arjuna. Those who have serenity, self-restrain, austerity, purity, patience, honesty, knowledge, realization and faith in God are called Brahmanas, the
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intellectuals, according to their nature. Those who display qualities of heroism, vigor, firmness, dexterity, fearlessness, charity, and leadership are called Kshatriyas, the protectors, according to their nature. Those with an aptitude for cultivation, animal husbandry, business, trade and industry are called Vaishyas. Those who perform service and labor are called Shudras. Each man, devoted to his natural work, attains perfection. Now listen as I tell you how one attains perfection which engaged in his natural work and duties. He from whom all beings evolve, and by whom all this universe is pervaded; worshipping Him by performing one’s own natural duties, man attains perfection. One’s inferior natural work is better than superior unnatural work. One does not incur sin when one does the work ordained by one's inherent nature. One’s natural work, though faulty, should never be abandoned. For, indeed, all undertakings are clouded by defects as fire is covered by smoke. He whose mind is ever free from attachment, who has conquered the mind and senses, and who is free from desires, attains the supreme perfection of liberation from the bondage of Karma through renunciation. Learn from Me, Arjuna, how one who has attained such perfection reaches Brahman, that supreme state of knowledge. Endowed with purified intellect, controlling the mind with firm resolve, renouncing sound and other objects, abandoning both hatred and attraction; dwelling in solitude, eating but little; controlling thought, word and deed; ever engaged in concentration and meditation, taking refuge in dispassion; abandoning egoism, violence, arrogance, anger, desire and envy; free from the
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notion of “mine” and peaceful; one becomes fit for attaining oneness with Brahman. When one has become the Brahman, when one, serene in the Self, neither grieves nor desires, when one is equal to all beings, then one attains supreme devotion to Me. By devotion truly knows Me, who and what I am; and knowing Me in essence, one merges into Me. One attains the eternal imperishable abode by My grace, even while performing all actions, just by taking refuge in Me. Mentally offer all actions to Me, be devoted to Me. Resorting to the Yoga of discrimination, ever fix your mind on Me. Fixing your mind on Me, you shall by My grace overcome all obstacles; but if you do not listen to Me due to ego, you shall perish. If, filled with egoism, you think, “I will not fight,” then your resolve is in vain. Your own nature will compel you to your duty. Arjuna, bound by your own Karma born of your own nature, that which, from delusion, you do not wish to do, even against your will, you shall do. The Lord, Arjuna, abides in the heart of all beings, causing all beings, by the illusive power of His Maya to revolve as if mounted on a machine. Seek refuge in Him with all your being, oh Arjuna. By His grace you shall obtain supreme peace and the eternal abode. And so has wisdom more secret than secrecy itself been revealed unto you by Me; reflect on it, then do as you wish. Hear again My supreme word, the most secret of all; because you are dearly beloved of Me, I will speak for your good. Think always on Me, be My devotee, make offerings to Me, bow down before Me, and you shall certainly come to Me. This I
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promise to you for you are my very dear friend. Setting aside all noble deeds, take refuge in Me alone; I shall liberate you from all sins. Do not grieve. This knowledge should never be spoken by you to one devoid of austerities, who is lacking devotion, who does not desire to listen, or who speaks ill of Me. He, who, with supreme devotion to Me, teaches this supreme secret to My devotees, shall come to Me without doubt. Nor is there any among men who does dearer service to Me, nor shall any on earth be dearer to Me than he. I shall be worshipped by the sacrifice of wisdom by those who study this sacred dialogue of ours. This is My promise. Whoever hears this with faith and free of malice, they, too, liberated, shall attain those happy worlds of those of pure actions and righteous deeds. Arjuna, have you listened with single-minded attention? Has the delusion born of your ignorance been fully destroyed, oh Dananjaya? Arjuna said: By Your grace, oh Krishna, my delusion is destroyed; I have gained knowledge, my confusion is dispelled and I shall act according to Your word. Sanjaya said: Thus have I heard this wonderful dialogue between Krishna and the great soul Arjuna, which caused my hair to stand on end. Through the grace of sage Vyasa I have heard this supreme and most secret Yoga directly from Krishna, the Lord of Yoga Himself. Oh king, remembering this marvelous and holy dialogue between Krishna and Arjuna, I take great pleasure. Remembering again and again the most marvelous form of Hari, I am struck with amazement, oh king and rejoice again and again!
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In my opinion, wherever there is Krishna, Lord of Yoga, and wherever there is Arjuna, the supreme archer, there will be always be prosperity, victory, happiness, victory and morality.

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