The Bhagavad-gita As It Is
His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Observing the Armies on the Battlefield of Kurukshetra
1.1 Dhritarashtra said: O Sanjaya, after assembling in the
place of pilgrimage at Kurukshetra, what did my sons and the sons
of Pandu do, being desirous to fight?
1.2 Sanjaya said: O King, after looking over the army gathered
by the sons of Pandu, King Duryodhana went to his teacher and
began to speak the following words:
1.3 O my teacher, behold the great army of the sons of Pandu, so
expertly arranged by your intelligent disciple, the son of
1.4 Here in this army there are many heroic bowmen equal in
fighting to Bhima and Arjuna; there are also great fighters like
Yuyudhana, Virata and Drupada.
1.5 There are also great, heroic powerful fighters like
Dhrishtaketu, Chekitana, Kashiraja, Purujit, Kuntibhoja and
1.6 There are the mighty Yudhamanyu, the very powerful
Uttamauja, the sons of Subhadra and the sons of Draupadi. All
these warriors are great chariot fighters.
1.7 O best of the brahmanas, for your information, let me tell
you about the captains who are especially qualified to lead my
1.8 There are personalities like yourself, Bhishma, Karna,
Kripa, Ashvatthama, Vikarna and the son of Somadatta called
Bhurishrava, who are always victorious in battle.
1.9 There are many other heroes who are prepared to lay down
their lives for my sake. All of them are well equipped with
different kinds of weapons, and all are experienced in military
1.10 Our strength is immeasurable, and we are perfectly
protected by Grandfather Bhishma, whereas the strength of the
Pandavas, carefully protected by Bhima, is limited.
1.11 Now all of you must give full support to Grandfather
Bhishma, standing at your respective strategic points in the
phalanx of the army.
1.12 Then Bhishma, the great valiant grandsire of the Kuru
dynasty, the grandfather of the fighters, blew his conchshell
very loudly like the sound of a lion, giving Duryodhana joy.
1.13 After that, the conchshells, bugles, trumpets, drums and
horns were all suddenly sounded, and the combined sound was
1.14 On the other side, both Lord Krishna and Arjuna, stationed
on a great chariot drawn by white horses, sounded their
1.15 Then, Lord Krishna blew His conchshell, called Panchajanya;
Arjuna blew his, the Devadatta; and Bhima, the voracious eater
and performer of Herculean tasks, blew his terrific conchshell
1.16-18 King Yudhishthira, the son of Kunti, blew his
conchshell, the Anantavijaya, and Nakula and Sahadeva blew the
Sughosha and Manipushpaka. That great archer the King of Kashi,
the great fighter Shikandi, Dhrishtadyumna, Virata and the
unconquerable Satyaki, Drupada, the sons of Draupadi, and the
others, O King, such as the son of Subhadra, greatly armed, all
blew their respective conchshells.
1.19 The blowing of these different conchshells became
uproarious, and thus, vibrating both in the sky and on the earth,
it shattered the hearts of the sons of Dhritarashtra.
1.20 O King, at that time Arjuna, the son of Pandu, who was
seated in his chariot, his flag marked with Hanuman, took up his
bow and prepared to shoot his arrows, looking at the sons of
Dhritarashtra. O King, Arjuna then spoke to Hrishikesha
[Krishna] these words:
1.21-22 Arjuna said: O infallible one, please draw my chariot
between the two armies so that I may see who is present here, who
is desirous of fighting, and with whom I must contend in this
great battle attempt.
1.23 Let me see those who have come here to fight, wishing to
please the evil-minded son of Dhritarashtra.
1.24 Sanjaya said: O descendant of Bharata, being thus
addressed by Arjuna, Lord Krishna drew up the fine chariot in the
midst of the armies of both parties.
1.25 In the presence of Bhishma, Drona and all other chieftains
of the world Hrishikesha, the Lord, said, Just behold, Partha,
all the Kurus who are assembled here.
1.26 There Arjuna could see, within the midst of the armies of
both parties, his fathers, grandfathers, teachers, maternal
uncles, brothers, sons, grandsons, friends, and also his father-
in-law and well-wishers--all present there.
1.27 When the son of Kunti, Arjuna, saw all these different
grades of friends and relatives, he became overwhelmed with
compassion and spoke thus:
1.28 Arjuna said: My dear Krishna, seeing my friends and
relatives present before me in such a fighting spirit, I feel the
limbs of my body quivering and my mouth drying up.
1.29 My whole body is trembling, and my hair is standing on end.
My bow Gandiva is slipping from my hand, and my skin is burning.
1.30 I am now unable to stand here any longer. I am forgetting
myself, and my mind is reeling. I foresee only evil, O killer of
the Keshi demon.
1.31 I do not see how any good can come from killing my own
kinsmen in this battle, nor can I, my dear Krishna, desire any
subsequent victory, kingdom, or happiness.
1.32-35 O Govinda, of what avail to us are kingdoms, happiness
or even life itself when all those for whom we may desire them
are now arrayed in this battlefield? O Madhusudana, when
teachers, fathers, sons, grandfathers, maternal uncles, fathers-
in-law, grandsons, brothers-in-law and all relatives are ready to
give up their lives and properties and are standing before me,
then why should I wish to kill them, though I may survive? O
maintainer of all creatures, I am not prepared to fight with them
even in exchange for the three worlds, let alone this earth.
1.36 Sin will overcome us if we slay such aggressors. Therefore
it is not proper for us to kill the sons of Dhritarashtra and our
friends. What should we gain, O Krishna, husband of the goddess
of fortune, and how could we be happy by killing our own kinsmen?
1.37-8 O Janardana, although these men, overtaken by greed, see
no fault in killing one's family or quarreling with friends, why
should we, with knowledge of the sin, engage in these acts?
1.39 With the destruction of dynasty, the eternal family
tradition is vanquished, and thus the rest of the family becomes
involved in irreligious practice.
1.40 When irreligion is prominent in the family, O Krishna, the
women of the family become corrupt, and from the degradation of
womanhood, O descendant of Vrishni, comes unwanted progeny.
1.41 When there is increase of unwanted population, a hellish
situation is created both for the family and for those who
destroy the family tradition. In such corrupt families, there is
no offering of oblations of food and water to the ancestors.
1.42 Due to the evil deeds of the destroyers of family
tradition, all kinds of community projects and family welfare
activities are devastated.
1.43 O Krishna, maintainer of the people, I have heard by
disciplic succession that those who destroy family traditions
dwell always in hell.
1.44 Alas, how strange it is that we are preparing to commit
greatly sinful acts, driven by the desire to enjoy royal
1.45 I would consider it better for the sons of Dhritarashtra to
kill me unarmed and unresisting, rather than fight with them.
1.46 Sanjaya said: Arjuna, having thus spoken on the
battlefield, cast aside his bow and arrows and sat down on the
chariot, his mind overwhelmed with grief.
Contents of the Gita Summarized
2.1 Sanjaya said: Seeing Arjuna full of compassion and very
sorrowful, his eyes brimming with tears, Madhusudana, Krishna,
spoke the following words.
2.2 The Supreme Person [Bhagavan] said: My dear Arjuna, how
have these impurities come upon you? They are not at all
befitting a man who knows the progressive values of life. They
do not lead to higher planets, but to infamy.
2.3 O son of Pritha, do not yield to this degrading impotence.
It does not become you. Give up such petty weakness of heart and
arise, O chastiser of the enemy.
2.4 Arjuna said: O killer of Madhu [Krishna], how can I
counterattack with arrows in battle men like Bhishma and Drona,
who are worthy of my worship?
2.5 It is better to live in this world by begging than to live
at the cost of the lives of great souls who are my teachers.
Even though they are avaricious, they are nonetheless superiors.
If they are killed, our spoils will be tainted with blood.
2.6 Nor do we know which is better--conquering them or being
conquered by them. The sons of Dhritarashtra, whom if we killed
we should not care to live, are now standing before us on this
2.7 Now I am confused about my duty and have lost all composure
because of weakness. In this condition I am asking You to tell
me clearly what is best for me. Now I am Your disciple, and a
soul surrendered unto You. Please instruct me.
2.8 I can find no means to drive away this grief which is drying
up my senses. I will not be able to destroy it even if I win an
unrivalled kingdom on the earth with sovereignty like the
demigods in heaven.
2.9 Sanjaya said: Having spoken thus, Arjuna, chastiser of
enemies, told Krishna, "Govinda, I shall not fight," and fell
2.10 O descendant of Bharata, at that time Krishna, smiling, in
the midst of both the armies, spoke the following words to the
2.11 The Blessed Lord said: While speaking learned words, you
are mourning for what is not worthy of grief. Those who are wise
lament neither for the living nor the dead.
2.12 Never was there a time when I did not exist, nor you, nor
all these kings; nor in the future shall any of us cease to be.
2.13 As the embodied soul continually passes, in this body, from
boyhood to youth to old age, the soul similarly passes into
another body at death. The self-realized soul is not bewildered
by such a change.
2.14 O son of Kunti, the nonpermanent appearance of happiness
and distress, and their disappearance in due course, are like the
appearance and disappearance of winter and summer seasons. They
arise from sense perception, O scion of Bharata, and one must
learn to tolerate them without being disturbed.
2.15 O best among men [Arjuna], the person who is not disturbed
by happiness and distress and is steady in both is certainly
eligible for liberation.
2.16 Those who are seers of the truth have concluded that of the
nonexistent there is no endurance, and of the existent there is
no cessation. This seers have concluded by studying the nature
2.17 Know that which pervades the entire body is indestructible.
No one is able to destroy the imperishable soul.
2.18 Only the material body of the indestructible, immeasurable
and eternal living entity is subject to destruction; therefore,
fight, O descendant of Bharata.
2.19 He who thinks that the living entity is the slayer or that
he is slain, does not understand. One who is in knowledge knows
that the self slays not nor is slain.
2.20 For the soul there is never birth nor death. Nor, having
once been, does he ever cease to be. He is unborn, eternal,
ever-existing, undying and primeval. He is not slain when the
body is slain.
2.21 O Partha, how can a person who knows that the soul is
indestructible, unborn, eternal and immutable, kill anyone or
cause anyone to kill?
2.22 As a person puts on new garments, giving up old ones,
similarly, the soul accepts new material bodies, giving up the
old and useless ones.
2.23 The soul can never be cut into pieces by any weapon, nor
can he be burned by fire, nor moistened by water, nor withered by
2.24 This individual soul is unbreakable and insoluble, and can
be neither burned nor dried. He is everlasting, all-pervading,
unchangeable, immovable and eternally the same.
2.25 It is said that the soul is invisible, inconceivable,
immutable, and unchangeable. Knowing this, you should not grieve
for the body.
2.26 If, however, you think that the soul is perpetually born
and always dies, still you have no reason to lament, O might
2.27 For one who has taken his birth, death is certain; and for
one who is dead, birth is certain. Therefore, in the unavoidable
discharge of your duty, you should not lament.
2.28 All created beings are unmanifest in their beginning,
manifest in their interim state, and unmanifest again when they
are annihilated. So what need is there fore lamentation?
2.29 Some look on the soul as amazing, some describe his as
amazing, and some hear of him as amazing, while others, even
after hearing about him, cannot understand him at all.
2.30 O descendant of Bharata, he who dwells in the body is
eternal and can never be slain. Therefore you need not grieve
for any creature.
2.31 Considering your specific duty as a kshatriya, you should
know that there is no better engagement for you than fighting on
religious principles; and so there is no need for hesitation.
2.32 O Partha, happy are the kshatriyas to whom such fighting
opportunities come unsought, opening for them the doors of the
2.33 If, however, you do not fight this religious war, then you
will certainly incur sins for neglecting your duties and thus
lose your reputation as a fighter.
2.34 People will always speak of your infamy, and for one who
has been honored, dishonor is worse than death.
2.35 The great generals who have highly esteemed your name and
fame will think that you have left the battlefield out of fear
only, and thus they will consider you a coward.
2.36 Your enemies will describe you in many unkind words and
scorn your ability. What could be more painful for you?
2.37 O son of Kunti, either you will be killed on the
battlefield and attain the heavenly planets, or you will conquer
and enjoy the earthly kingdom. Therefore get up and fight with
2.38 Do thou fight for the sake of fighting, without considering
happiness or distress, loss or gain, victory or defeat--and, by
so doing, you shall never incur sin.
2.39 Thus far I have declared to you the analytical knowledge of
sankhya philosophy. Now listen to the knowledge of yoga whereby
one works without fruitive result. O son of Pritha, when you act
by such intelligence, you can free yourself from the bondage of
2.40 In this endeavor there is no loss or diminution, and a
little advancement on this path can protect one from the most
dangerous type of fear.
2.41 Those who are on this path are resolute in purpose, and
their aim is one. O beloved child of the Kurus, the intelligence
of those who are irresolute is many-branched.
2.42-3 Men of small knowledge are very much attached to the
flowery words of the Vedas, which recommend various fruitive
activities for elevation to heavenly planets, resultant good
birth, power, and so forth. Being desirous of sense
gratification and opulent life, they say that there is nothing
more than this.
2.44 In the minds of those who are too attached to sense
enjoyment and material opulence, and who are bewildered by such
things, the resolute determination of devotional service to the
Supreme Lord does not take place.
2.45 The Vedas mainly deal with the subject of the three modes
of material nature. Rise above these modes, O Arjuna. Be
transcendental to all of them. Be free from all dualities and
from all anxieties for gain and safety, and be established in the
2.46 All purposes that are served by the small pond can at once
be served by the great reservoirs of water. Similarly, all the
purposes of the Vedas can be served to one who knows the purpose
2.47 You have a right to perform your prescribed duty, but you
are not entitled to the fruits of action. Never consider
yourself to be the cause of the results of your activities, and
never be attached to not doing your duty.
2.48 Be steadfast in yoga, O Arjuna. Perform your duty and
abandon all attachment to success or failure. Such evenness of
mind is called yoga.
2.49 O Dhananjaya, rid yourself of all fruitive activities by
devotional service, and surrender fully to that consciousness.
Those who want to enjoy the fruits of their work are misers.
2.50 A man engaged in devotional service rids himself of both
good and bad actions even in this life. Therefore strive for
yoga, O Arjuna, which is the art of all work.
2.51 The wise, engaged in devotional service, take refuge in the
Lord, and free themselves from the cycle of birth and death by
renouncing the fruits of action in the material world. In this
way they can attain that state beyond all miseries.
2.52 When your intelligence has passed out of the dense forest
of delusion, you shall become indifferent to all that has been
heard and all that is to be heard.
2.53 When your mind is no longer disturbed by the flowery
language of the Vedas, and when it remains fixed in the trance of
self-realization, then you will have attained the Divine
2.54 Arjuna said: What are the symptoms of one whose
consciousness is thus merged in Transcendence? How does he
speak, and what is his language? How does he sit, and how does
2.55 The Blessed Lord said: O Partha, when a man gives up all
varieties of sense desire which arise from mental concoction, and
when his mind finds satisfaction in the self alone, then he is
said to be in pure transcendental consciousness.
2.56 One who is not disturbed in spite of the threefold
miseries, who is not elated when there is happiness, and who is
free from attachment, fear and anger, is called a sage of steady
2.57 He who is without attachment, who does not rejoice when he
obtains good, nor lament when he obtains evil, is firmly fixed in
2.58 One who is able to withdraw his senses from sense objects,
as the tortoise draws his limbs within the shell, is to be
understood as truly situated in knowledge.
2.59 The embodied soul may be restricted from sense enjoyment,
though the taste for sense objects remains. But, ceasing such
engagements by experiencing a higher taste, he is fixed in
2.60 The senses are so strong and impetuous, O Arjuna, that they
forcibly carry away the mind even of a man of discrimination who
is endeavoring to control them.
2.61 One who restrains his senses and fixes his consciousness
upon Me is known as a man of steady intelligence.
2.62 While contemplating the objects of the senses, a person
develops attachment for them, and from such attachment lust
develops, and from lust anger arises.
2.63 From anger, delusion arises, and from delusion bewilderment
of memory. When memory is bewildered, intelligence is lost, and
when intelligence is lost, one falls down again into the material
2.64 One who can control his senses by practicing the regulated
principles of freedom can obtain the complete mercy of the Lord
and thus become free from all attachment and aversion.
2.65 For one who is so situated in the Divine consciousness, the
threefold miseries of material existence exist no longer; in such
a happy state, one's intelligence soon becomes steady.
2.66 One who is not in transcendental consciousness can have
neither a controlled mind nor steady intelligence, without which
there is no possibility of peace. And how can there be any
happiness without peace?
2.67 As a boat on the water is swept away by a strong wind, even
one of the senses on which the mind focuses can carry away a
2.68 Therefore, O mighty-armed, one whose senses are restrained
from their objects is certainly of steady intelligence.
2.69 What is night for all beings is the time of awakening for
the self-controlled; and the time of awakening for all beings is
night for the introspective sage.
2.70 A person who is not disturbed by the incessant flow of
desires--that enter like rivers into the ocean which is ever
being filled but is always still--can alone achieve peace, and
not the man who strives to satisfy such desires.
2.71 A person who has given up all desires for sense
gratification, who lives free from desires, who has given up all
sense of proprietorship and is devoid of false ego--he alone can
attain real peace.
2.72 That is the way of the spiritual and godly life, after
attaining which a man is not bewildered. Being so situated, even
at the hour of death, one can enter into the kingdom of God.
3.1 Arjuna said: O Janardana, O Keshava, why do You urge me to
engage in this ghastly warfare, if You think that intelligence is
better than fruitive work?
3.2 My intelligence is bewildered by Your equivocal
instructions. Therefore, please tell me decisively what is most
beneficial for me.
3.3 The Blessed Lord said: O sinless Arjuna, I have already
explained that there are two classes of men who realize the Self.
Some are inclined to understand Him by empirical, philosophical
speculation, and others are inclined to know Him by devotional
3.4 Not by merely abstaining from work can one achieve freedom
from reaction, nor by renunciation alone can one attain
3.5 All men are forced to act helplessly according to the
impulses born of the modes of material nature; therefore no one
can refrain from doing something, not even for a moment.
3.6 One who restrains the senses and organs of action, but whose
mind dwells on sense objects, certainly deludes himself and is
called a pretender.
3.7 On the other hand, he who controls the senses by the mind
and engages his active organs in works of devotion, without
attachment, is by far superior.
3.8 Perform your prescribed duty, for action is better than
inaction. A man cannot even maintain his physical body without
3.9 Work done as a sacrifice for Vishnu has to be performed,
otherwise work binds one to this material world. Therefore, O
son of Kunti, perform your prescribed duties for His
satsifaction, and in that way you will always remain unattached
and free from bondage.
3.10 In the beginning of creation, the Lord of all creatures
sent forth generations of men and demigods, along with sacrifices
for Vishnu, and blessed them by saying, "Be thou happy by this
yajna [sacrifice] because its performance will bestow upon you
all desirable things."
3.11 The demigods, being pleased by sacrifices, will also please
you; thus nourishing one another, there will reign general
prosperity for all.
3.12 In charge of the various necessities of life, the demigods,
being satisfied by the performance of yajna [sacrifice], supply
all necessities to man. But he who enjoys these gifts, without
offering them to the demigods in return, is certainly a thief.
3.13 The devotees of the Lord are released from all kinds of
sins because they eat food which is offered first for sacrifice.
Others, who prepare food for personal sense enjoyment, verily eat
3.14 All living bodies subsist on food grains, which are
produced from rains. Rains are produced by performance of yajna
[sacrifice], and yajna is born of prescribed duties.
3.15 Regulated activities are prescribed in the Vedas, and the
Vedas are directly manifested from the Supreme Personality of
Godhead. Consequently the all-pervading Transcendence is
eternally situated in acts of sacrifice.
3.16 My dear Arjuna, a man who does not follow this prescribed
Vedic system of sacrifice certainly leads a life of sin, for a
person delighting only in the senses lives in vain.
3.17 One who is, however, taking pleasure in the self, who is
illumined in the self, who rejoices in and is satisfied with the
self only, fully satiated--for him there is no duty.
3.18 A self-realized man has no purpose to fulfill in the
discharge of his prescribed duties, nor has he any reason not to
perform such work. Nor has he any need to depend on any other
3.19 Therefore, without being attached to the fruits of
activities, one should act as a matter of duty; for by working
without attachment, one attains the Supreme.
3.20 Even kings like Janaka and others attained the perfectional
stage by performance of prescribed duties. Therefore, just for
the sake of educating the people in general, you should perform
3.21 Whatever action is performed by a great man, common men
follow in his footsteps. And whatever standards he sets by
exemplary acts, all the world pursues.
3.22 O son of Pritha, there is no work prescribed for Me within
all the three planetary systems. Nor am I in want of anything,
nor have I need to obtain anything--and yet I am engaged in work.
3.23 For, if I did not engage in work, O Partha, certainly all
men would follow My path.
3.24 If I should cease to work, then all these worlds would be
put to ruination. I would also be the cause of creating unwanted
population, and I would thereby destroy the peace of all sentient
3.25 As the ignorant perform their duties with attachment to
results, similarly the learned may also act, but without
attachment, for the sake of leading people on the right path.
3.26 Let not the wise disrupt the minds of the ignorant who are
attached to fruitive action. They should not be encouraged to
refrain from work, but to engage in work in the spirit of
3.27 The bewildered spirit soul, under the influence of the
three modes of material nature, thinks himself to be the doer of
activities, which are in actuality carried out by nature.
3.28 One who is in knowledge of the Absolute Truth, O mighty-
armed, does not engage himself in the senses and sense
gratification, knowing well the differences between work in
devotion and work for fruitive results.
3.29 Bewildered by the modes of material nature, the ignorant
fully engage themselves in material activities and become
attached. But the wise should not unsettle them, although these
duties are inferior due to the performers' lack of knowledge.
3.30 Therefore, O Arjuna, surrendering all your works unto Me,
with mind intent on Me, and without desire for gain and free from
egoism and lethargy, fight.
3.31 One who executes his duties according to My injunctions and
who follows this teaching faithfully, without envy, becomes free
from the bondage of fruitive actions.
3.32 But those who, out of envy, disregard these teachings and
do not practice them regularly, are to be considered bereft of
all knowledge, befooled, and doomed to ignorance and bondage.
3.33 Even a man of knowledge acts according to his own nature,
for everyone follows his nature. What can repression accomplish?
3.34 Attraction and repulsion for sense objects are felt by
embodied beings, but one should not fall under the control of
senses and sense objects because they are stumbling blocks on the
path of self-realization.
3.35 It is far better to discharge one's prescribed duties, even
though they may be faulty, than another's duties. Destruction in
the course of performing one's own duty is better than engaging
in another's duties, for to follow another's path is dangerous.
3.36 Arjuna said: O descendant of Vrishni, by what is one
impelled to sinful acts, even unwillingly, as if engaged by
3.37 The Blessed Lord said: It is lust only, Arjuna, which is
born of contact with the material modes of passion and later
transformed into wrath, and which is the all-devouring, sinful
enemy of this world.
3.38 As fire is covered by smoke, as a mirror is covered by
dust, or as the embryo is covered by the womb, similarly, the
living entity is covered by different degrees of this lust.
3.39 Thus, a man's pure consciousness is covered by his eternal
enemy in the form of lust, which is never satisfied and which
burns like fire.
3.40 The senses, the mind and the intelligence are the sitting
places of this lust, which veils the real knowledge of the living
entity and bewilders him.
3.41 Therefore, O Arjuna, best of the Bharatas, in the very
beginning curb this great symbol of sin [lust] by regulating the
senses, and slay this destroyer of knowledge and self-
3.42 The working senses are superior to dull matter; mind is
higher than the senses; intelligence is still higher than the
mind; and he [the soul] is even higher than the intelligence.
3.43 Thus knowing oneself to be transcendental to material
senses, mind and intelligence, one should control the lower self
by the higher self and thus--by spiritual strength--conquer this
insatiable enemy known as lust.
4.1 The Blessed Lord said: I instructed this imperishable
science of yoga to the sun-god, Vivasvan, and Vivasvan instructed
it to Manu, the father of mankind, and Manu in turn instructed it
4.2 This supreme science was thus received through the chain of
disciplic succession, and the saintly kings understood it in that
way. But in course of time the succession was broken, and
therefore the science as it is appears to be lost.
4.3 That very ancient science of the relationship with the
Supreme is today told by Me to you because you are My devotee as
well as My friend; therefore you can understand the
transcendental mystery of this science.
4.4 Arjuna said: The sun-god Vivasvan is senior in birth to
You. How am I to understand that in the beginning You instructed
this science to him?
4.5 The Blessed Lord said: Many, many births both you and I
have passed. I can remember all of them, but you cannot, O
subduer of the enemy!
4.6 Although I am unborn and My transcendental body never
deteriorates, and although I am the Lord of all sentient beings,
I still appear in every millennium in My original transcendental
4.7 Whenever and wherever there is a decline in religious
practice, O descendant of Bharata, and a predominant rise of
irreligion--at that time I descend Myself.
4.8 In order to deliver the pious and to annihilate the
miscreants, as well as to reestablish the principles of religion,
I advent Myself millennium after millennium.
4.9 One who knows the transcendental nature of My appearance and
activities does not, upon leaving the body, take his birth again
in this material world, but attains My eternal abode, O Arjuna.
4.10 Being freed from attachment, fear and anger, being fully
absorbed in Me and taking refuge in Me, many, many persons in the
past became purified by knowledge of Me--and thus they all
attained transcendental love for Me.
4.11 All of them--as they surrender unto Me--I reward
accordingly. Everyone follows My path in all respects, O son of
4.12 Men in this world desire success in fruitive activities,
and therefore they worship the demigods. Quickly, of course, men
get results from fruitive work in this world.
4.13 According to the three modes of material nature and the
work ascribed to them, the four divisions of human society were
created by Me. And, although I am the creator of this system,
you should know that I am yet the non-doer, being unchangeable.
4.14 There is no work that affects Me; nor do I aspire for the
fruits of action. One who understands this truth about Me also
does not become entangled in the the fruitive reactions of work.
4.15 All the liberated souls in ancient times acted with this
understanding and so attained liberation. Therefore, as the
ancients, you should perform your duty in this divine
4.16 Even the intelligent are bewildered in determining what is
action and what is inaction. Now I shall explain to you what
action is, knowing which you shall be liberated from all sins.
4.17 The intricacies of action are very hard to understand.
Therefore one should know properly what action is, what forbidden
action is, and what inaction is.
4.18 One who sees inaction in action, and action in inaction, is
intelligent among men, and he is in the transcendental position,
although engaged in all sorts of activities.
4.19 One is understood to be in full knowledge whose every act
is devoid of desire for sense gratification. He is said by sages
to be a worker whose fruitive action is burned up by the fire of
4.20 Abandoning all attachment to the results of his activities,
ever satisfied and independent, he performs no fruitive action,
although engaged in all kinds of undertakings.
4.21 Such a man of understanding acts with mind and intelligence
perfectly controlled, gives up all sense of proprietorship over
his possessions and acts only for the bare necessities of life.
Thus working, he is not affected by sinful reactions.
4.22 He who is satisfied with gain which comes of its own
accord, who is free from duality and does not envy, who is steady
both in success and failure, is never entangled, although
4.23 The work of a man who is unattached to the modes of
material nature and who is fully situated in transcendental
knowledge merges entirely into transcendence.
4.24 A person who is fully absorbed in Krishna consciousness is
sure to attain the spiritual kingdom because of his full
contribution to spiritual activities, in which the consummation
is absolute and that which is offered is of the same spiritual
4.25 Some yogis perfectly worship the demigods by offering
different sacrifices to them, and some of them offer sacrifices
in the fire of the Supreme Brahman.
4.26 Some of them sacrifice the hearing process and the senses
in the fire of the controlled mind, and others sacrifice the
objects of the senses, such as sound, in the fire of sacrifice.
4.27 Those who are interested in self-realization, in terms of
mind and sense control, offer the functions of all the senses, as
well as the vital force [breath], as oblations into the fire of
the controlled mind.
4.28 There are others who, enlightened by sacrificing their
material possessions in severe austerities, take strict vows and
practice the yoga of eightfold mysticism, and others study the
Vedas for the advancement of transcendental knowledge.
4.29 And there are even others who are inclined to the process
of breath restraint to remain in trance, and they practice
stopping the movement of the outgoing breath into the incoming,
and incoming breath into the outgoing, and thus at last remain in
trance, stopping all breathing. Some of them, curtailing the
eating process, offer the outgoing breath into itself, as a
4.30 All these performers who know the meaning of sacrifice
become cleansed of sinful reaction, and, having tasted the nectar
of the remnants of such sacrifice, they go to the supreme eternal
4.31 O best of the Kuru dynasty, without sacrifice one can never
live happily on this planet or in this life: what then of the
4.32 All these different types of sacrifice are approved by the
Vedas, and all of them are born of different types of work.
Knowing them as such, you will become liberated.
4.33 O chastiser of the enemy, the sacrifice of knowledge is
greater than the sacrifice of material possessions. O son of
Pritha, after all, the sacrifice of work culminates in
4.34 Just try to learn the truth by approaching a spiritual
master. Inquire from him submissively and render service unto
him. The self-realized soul can impart knowledge unto you
because he has seen the truth.
4.35 And when you have thus learned the truth, you will know
that all living beings are but part of Me--and that they are in
Me, and are Mine.
4.36 Even if you are considered to be the most sinful of all
sinners, when you are situated in the boat of transcendental
knowledge, you will be able to cross over the ocean of miseries.
4.37 As the blazing fire turns firewood to ashes, O Arjuna, so
does the fire of knowledge burn to ashes all reactions to
4.38 In this world, there is nothing so sublime and pure as
transcendental knowledge. Such knowledge is the mature fruit of
all mysticism. And one who has achieved this enjoys the self
within himself in due course of time.
4.39 A faithful man who is absorbed in transcendental knowledge
and who subdues his senses quickly attains the supreme spiritual
4.40 But ignorant and faithless persons who doubt the revealed
scriptures do not attain God consciousness. For the doubting
soul there is happiness neither in this world nor in the next.
4.41 Therefore, one who has renounced the fruits of his action,
whose doubts are destroyed by transcendental knowledge, and who
is situated firmly in the self, is not bound by works, O
conqueror of riches.
4.42 Therefore the doubts which have arisen in your heart out of
ignorance should be slashed by the weapon of knowledge. Armed
with yoga, O Bharata, stand and fight.
Karma-yoga--Action in Krishna Consciousness
5.1 Arjuna said: O Krishna, first of all You ask me to renounce
work, and then again You recommend work with devotion. Now will
You kindly tell me definitely which of the two is more
5.2 The Blessed Lord said: The renunciation of work and work in
devotion are both good for liberation. But, of the two, work in
devotional service is better than renunciation of works.
5.3 One who neither hates nor desires the fruits of his
activities is known to be always renounced. Such a person,
liberated from all dualities, easily overcomes material bondage
and is completely liberated, O mighty-armed Arjuna.
5.4 Only the ignorant speak of karma-yoga and devotional service
as being different from the analytical study of the material
world [sankhya]. Those who are actually learned say that he who
applies himself well to one of these paths achieves the results
5.5 One who knows that the position reached by means of
renunciation can also be attained by works in devotional service
and who therefore sees that the path of works and the path of
renunciation are one, sees things as they are.
5.6 Unless one is engaged in the devotional service of the Lord,
mere renunciation of activities cannot make one happy. The
sages, purified by works of devotion, achieve the Supreme without
5.7 One who works in devotion, who is a pure soul, and who
controls his mind and senses, is dear to everyone, and everyone
is dear to him. Though always working, such a man is never
5.8-9 A person in the divine consciousness, although engaged in
seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, eating, moving about,
sleeping, and breathing, always knows within himself that he
actually does nothing at all. Because while speaking,
evacuating, receiving, opening or closing his eyes, he always
knows that only the material senses are engaged with their
objects and that he is aloof from them.
5.10 One who performs his duty without attachment, surrendering
the results unto the Supreme God, is not affected by sinful
action, as the lotus leaf is untouched by water.
5.11 The yogis, abandoning attachment, act with body, mind,
intelligence, and even with the senses, only for the purpose of
5.12 The steadily devoted soul attains unadulterated peace
because he offers the result of all activities to Me; whereas a
person who is not in union with the Divine, who is greedy for the
fruits of his labor, becomes entangled.
5.13 When the embodied living being controls his nature and
mentally renounces all actions, he resides happily in the city of
nine gates [the material body], neither working nor causing work
to be done.
5.14 The embodied spirit, master of the city of his body, does
not create activities, nor does he induce people to act, nor does
he create the fruits of action. All this is enacted by the modes
of material nature.
5.15 Nor does the Supreme Spirit assume anyone's sinful or pious
activities. Embodied beings, however, are bewildered because of
the ignorance which covers their real knowledge.
5.16 When, however, one is enlightened with the knowledge by
which nescience is destroyed, then his knowledge reveals
everything, as the sun lights up everything in the daytime.
5.17 When one's intelligence, mind, faith and refuge are all
fixed in the Supreme, then one becomes fully cleansed of
misgivings through complete knowledge and thus proceeds straight
on the path of liberation.
5.18 The humble sage, by virtue of true knowledge, sees with
equal vision a learned and gentle brahmana, a cow, an elephant, a
dog and a dog-eater [outcaste].
5.19 Those whose minds are established in sameness and
equanimity have already conquered the conditions of birth and
death. They are flawless like Brahman, and thus they are already
situated in Brahman.
5.20 A person who neither rejoices upon achieving something
pleasant nor laments upon obtaining something unpleasant, who is
self-intelligent, unbewildered, and who knows the science of God,
is to be understood as already situated in Transcendence.
5.21 Such a liberated person is not attracted to material sense
pleasure or external objects but is always in trance, enjoying
the pleasure within. In this way the self-realized person enjoys
unlimited happiness, for he concentrates on the Supreme.
5.22 An intelligent person does not take part in the sources of
misery, which are due to contact with the material senses. O son
of Kunti, such pleasures have a beginning and an end, and so the
wise man does not delight in them.
5.23 Before giving up this present body, if one is able to
tolerate the urges of the material senses and check the force of
desire and anger, he is a yogi and is happy in this world.
5.24 One whose happiness is within, who is active within, who
rejoices within and is illumined within, is actually the perfect
mystic. He is liberated in the Supreme, and ultimately he
attains the Supreme.
5.25 One who is beyond duality and doubt, whose mind is engaged
within, who is always busy working for the welfare of all
sentient beings, and who is free from all sins, achieves
liberation in the Supreme.
5.26 Those who are free from anger and all material desires, who
are self-realized, self-disciplined and constantly endeavoring
for perfection, are assured of liberation in the Supreme in the
very near future.
5.27-8 Shutting out all external sense objects, keeping the eyes
and vision concentrated between the two eyebrows, suspending the
inward and outward breaths within the nostrils--thus controlling
the mind, senses and intelligence, the transcendentalist becomes
free from desire, fear and anger. One who is always in this
state is certainly liberated.
5.29 The sages, knowing Me as the ultimate purpose of all
sacrifices and austerities, the Supreme Lord of all planets and
demigods and the benefactor and well-wisher of all living
entities, attain peace from the pangs of material miseries.
6.1 The Blessed Lord said: One who is unattached to the fruits
of his work and who works as he is obligated is in the renounced
order of life, and he is the true mystic: not he who lights no
fire and performs no work.
6.2 What is called renunciation is the same as yoga, or linking
oneself with the Supreme, for no one can become a yogi unless he
renounces the desire for sense gratification.
6.3 For one who is a neophyte in the eightfold yoga system, work
is said to be the means; and for one who has already attained to
yoga, cessation of all material activities is said to be the
6.4 A person is said to have attained to yoga when, having
renounced all material desires, he neither acts for sense
gratification nor engages in fruitive activities.
6.5 A man must elevate himself by his own mind, not degrade
himself. The mind is the friend of the conditioned soul, and his
enemy as well.
6.6 For him who has conquered the mind, the mind is the best of
friends; but for one who has failed to do so, his very mind will
be the greatest enemy.
6.7 For one who has conquered the mind, the Supersoul is already
reached, for he has attained tranquility. To such a man
happiness and distress, heat and cold, honor and dishonor are all
6.8 A person is said to be established in self-realization and
is called a yogi [or mystic] when he is fully satisfied by virtue
of acquired knowledge and realization. Such a person is situated
in transcendence and is self-controlled. He sees everything--
whether it be pebbles, stones or gold--as the same.
6.9 A person is said to be still further advanced when he
regards all--the honest well-wisher, friends and enemies, the
envious, the pious, the sinner and those who are indifferent and
impartial--with an equal mind.
6.10 A transcendentalist should always try to concentrate his
mind on the Supreme Self; he should live alone in a secluded
place and should always carefully control his mind. He should be
free from desires and feelings of possessiveness.
6.11-12 To practice yoga, one should go to a secluded place and
should lay kusha-grass on the ground and then cover it with a
deerskin and a soft cloth. The seat should neither be too high
nor too low and should be situated in a sacred place. The yogi
should then sit on it very firmly and should practice yoga by
controlling the mind and the senses, purifying the heart and
fixing the mind on one point.
6.13-14 One should hold one's body, neck and head erect in a
straight line and stare steadily at the tip of the nose. Thus,
with an unagitated, subdued mind, devoid of fear, completely free
from sex life, one should meditate upon Me within the heart and
make Me the ultimate goal of life.
6.15 Thus practicing control of the body, mind and activities,
the mystic transcendentalist attains to the kingdom of God [or
the abode of Krishna] by cessation of material existence.
6.16 There is no possibility of one's becoming a yogi, O Arjuna,
if one eats too much, or eats too little, sleeps too much or does
not sleep enough.
6.17 He who is temperate in his habits of eating, sleeping,
working and recreation can mitigate all material pains by
practicing the yoga system.
6.18 When the yogi, by practice of yoga, disciplines his mental
activities and becomes situated in Transcendence--devoid of all
material desires--he is said to have attained yoga.
6.19 As a lamp in a windless place does not waver, so the
transcendentalist, whose mind is controlled, remains always
steady in his meditation on the transcendent Self.
6.20-23 The stage of perfection is called trance, or samadhi,
when one's mind is completely restrained from material mental
activities by practice of yoga. This is characterized by one's
ability to see the self by the pure mind and to relish and
rejoice in the self. In that joyous state, one is situated in
boundless transcendental happiness and enjoys himself through
transcendental senses. Established thus, one never departs from
the truth, and upon gaining this he thinks there is no greater
gain. Being situated in such a position, one is never shaken,
even in the midst of greatest difficulty. This indeed is actual
freedom from all miseries arising from material contact.
6.24 One should engage oneself in the practice of yoga with
undeviating determination and faith. One should abandon, without
exception, all material desires born of false ego and thus
control all the senses on all sides by the mind.
6.25 Gradually, step by step, with full conviction, one should
become situated in trance by means of intelligence, and thus the
mind should be fixed on the Self alone and should think of
6.26 From whatever and wherever the mind wanders due to its
flickering and unsteady nature, one must certainly withdraw it
and bring it back under the control of the Self.
6.27 The yogi whose mind is fixed on Me verily attains the
highest happiness. By virtue of his identity with Brahman, he is
liberated; his mind is peaceful, his passions are quieted, and he
is freed from sin.
6.28 Steady in the Self, being freed from all material
contamination, the yogi achieves the highest perfectional stage
of happiness in touch with the Supreme Consciousness.
6.29 A true yogi observes Me in all beings, and also sees every
being in Me. Indeed, the self-realized man sees Me everywhere.
6.30 For one who sees Me everywhere and sees everything in Me, I
am never lost, nor is he ever lost to Me.
6.31 The yogi who knows that I and the Supersoul within all
creatures are one worships Me and remains always in Me in all
6.32 He is a perfect yogi who, by comparison to his own self,
sees the true equality of all beings, both in their happiness and
distress, O Arjuna!
6.33 Arjuna said: O Madhusudana, the system of yoga which you
have summarized appears impractical and unendurable too me, for
the mind is restless and unsteady.
6.34 For the mind is restless, turbulent, obstinate and very
strong, O Krishna, and to subdue it is, it seems to me, more
difficult than controlling the wind.
6.35 The Blessed Lord said: O mighty-armed son of Kunti, it is
undoubtedly very difficult to curb the restless mind, but it is
possible by constant practice and by detachment.
6.36 For one whose mind is unbridled, self-realization is
difficult work. But he whose mind is controlled and who strives
by right means is assured of success. That is My opinion.
6.37 Arjuna said: What is the destination of the man of faith
who does not persevere, who in the beginning takes to the process
of self-realization but who later desists due to worldly-
mindedness and thus does not attain perfection in mysticism?
6.38 O mighty-armed Krishna, does not such a man, being deviated
from the path of Transcendence, perish like a riven cloud, with
no position in any sphere?
6.39 This is my doubt O Krishna, and I ask You to dispel it
completely. But for Yourself, no one is to be found who can
destroy this doubt.
6.40 The Blessed Lord said: Son of Pritha, a transcendentalist
engaged in auspicious activities does not meet with destruction
either in this world or in the spiritual world; one who does
good, My friend, is never overcome by evil.
6.41 The unsuccessful yogi, after many, many years of enjoyment
on the planets of the pious living entities, is born into a
family of righteous people, or into a family of rich aristocracy.
6.42 Or he takes his birth in a family of transcendentalists who
are surely great in wisdom. Verily, such a birth is rare in this
6.43 On taking such a birth, he again revives the divine
consciousness of his previous life, and he tries to make further
progress in order to achieve complete success, O son of Kuru.
6.44 By virtue of the divine consciousness of his previous life,
he automatically becomes attracted to the yogic principles--even
without seeking them. Such an inquisitive transcendentalist,
striving for yoga, stands always above the ritualistic principles
of the scriptures.
6.45 But when the yogi engages himself with sincere endeavor in
making further progress, being washed of all contaminations, then
ultimately, after many, many births of practice, he attains the
6.46 A yogi is greater than the ascetic, greater than the
empiricist and greater than the fruitive worker. Therefore, O
Arjuna, in all circumstances, be a yogi.
6.47 And of all yogis, he who always abides in Me with great
faith, worshiping Me in transcendental loving service, is most
intimately united with Me in yoga and is the highest of all.
Knowledge of the Absolute
7.1 Now hear, O son of Pritha [Arjuna], how by practicing yoga
in full consciousness of Me, with mind attached to Me, you can
know Me in full, free from doubt.
7.2 I shall now declare unto you in full this knowledge both
phenomenal and noumenal, by knowing which there shall remain
nothing further to be known.
7.3 Out of many thousands among men, one may endeavor for
perfection, and of those who have achieved perfection, hardly one
knows Me in truth.
7.4 Earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intelligence and false
ego--altogether these eight comprise My separated material
7.5 Besides this inferior nature, O mighty-armed Arjuna, there
is a superior energy of Mine, which are all living entities who
are struggling with material nature and are sustaining the
7.6 Of all that is material and all that is spiritual in this
world, know for certain that I am both its origin and
7.7 O conqueror of wealth [Arjuna], there is no Truth superior
to Me. Everything rests upon Me, as pearls are strung on a
7.8 O son of Kunti [Arjuna], I am the taste of water, the light
of the sun and the moon, the syllable om in the Vedic mantras; I
am the sound in ether and ability in man.
7.9 I am the original fragrance of the earth, and I am the heat
in fire. I am the life of all that lives, and I am the penances
of all ascetics.
7.10 O son of Pritha, know that I am the original seed of all
existences, the intelligence of the intelligent, and the prowess
of all powerful men.
7.11 I am the strength of the strong, devoid of passion and
desire. I am sex life which is not contrary to religious
principles, O Lord of the Bharatas [Arjuna].
7.12 All states of being--be they of goodness, passion or
ignorance--are manifested by My energy. I am, in one sense,
everything--but I am independent. I am not under the modes of
this material nature.
7.13 Deluded by the three modes [goodness, passion and
ignorance], the whole world does not know Me who am above the
modes and inexhaustible.
7.14 This divine energy of Mine, consisting of the three modes
of material nature, is difficult to overcome. But those who have
surrendered unto Me can easily cross beyond it.
7.15 Those miscreants who are grossly foolish, lowest among
mankind, whose knowledge is stolen by illusion, and who partake
of the atheistic nature of demons, do not surrender unto Me.
7.16 O best among the Bharatas [Arjuna], four kinds of pious men
render devotional service unto Me--the distressed, the desirer of
wealth, the inquisitive, and he who is searching for knowledge of
7.17 Of these, the wise one who is in full knowledge in union
with Me through pure devotional service is the best. For I am
very dear to him, and he is dear to Me.
7.18 All these devotees are undoubtedly magnanimous souls, but
he who is situated in knowledge of Me I consider verily to dwell
in Me. Being engaged in My transcendental service, he attains
7.19 After many births and deaths, he who is actually in
knowledge surrenders unto Me, knowing Me to be the cause of all
causes and all that is. Such a great soul is very rare.
7.20 Those whose minds are distorted by material desires
surrender unto demigods and follow the particular rules and
regulations of worship according to their own natures.
7.21 I am in everyone's heart as the Supersoul. As soon as one
desires to worship the demigods, I make his faith steady so that
he can devote himself to some particular deity.
7.22 Endowed with such a faith, he seeks favors of a particular
demigod and obtains his desires. But in actuality these benefits
are bestowed by Me alone.
7.23 Men of small intelligence worship the demigods, and their
fruits are limited and temporary. Those who worship the demigods
go to the planets of the demigods, but My devotees ultimately
reach My supreme planet.
7.24 Unintelligent men, who know Me not, think that I have
assumed this form and personality. Due to their small knowledge,
they do not know My higher nature, which is changeless and
7.25 I am never manifest to the foolish and unintelligent. For
them I am covered by My eternal creative potency [yoga-maya]; and
so the deluded world knows Me not, who am unborn and infallible.
7.26 O Arjuna, as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, I know
everything that has happened in the past, all that is happening
in the present, and all things that are yet to come. I also know
all living entities; but Me no one knows.
7.27 O scion of Bharata [Arjuna], O conqueror of the foe, all
living entities are born into delusion, overcome by the dualities
of desire and hate.
7.28 Persons who have acted piously in previous lives and in
this life, whose sinful actions are completely eradicated and who
are freed from the duality of delusion, engage themselves in My
service with determination.
7.29 Intelligent persons who are endeavoring for liberation from
old age and death take refuge in Me in devotional service. They
are actually Brahman because they entirely know everything about
transcendental and fruitive activities.
7.30 Those who know Me as the Supreme Lord, as the governing
principle of the material manifestation, who know Me as the one
underlying all the demigods and as the one sustaining all
sacrifices, can, with steadfast mind, understand and know |Me
even at the time of death.
Attaining the Supreme
8.1 Arjuna inquired: O my Lord, O Supreme Person, what is
Brahman? What is the self? What are fruitive activities? What
is this material manifestation? And what are the demigods?
Please explain this to me.
8.2 How does this Lord of sacrifice live in the body, and in
which part does He live, O Madhusudana? And how can those
engaged in devotional service know You at the time of death?
8.3 The Supreme Lord said, The indestructible, transcendental
living entity is called Brahman, and his eternal nature is called
the self. Action pertaining to the development of these material
bodies is called karma, or fruitive activities.
8.4 Physical nature is known to be endlessly mutable. The
universe in the cosmic form of the Supreme Lord, and I am that
Lord represented as the Supersoul, dwelling in the heart of every
8.5 And whoever, at the time of death, quits his body,
remembering Me alone, at once attains My nature. Of this there
is no doubt.
8.6 Whatever state of being one remembers when he quits his
body, that state he will attain without fail.
8.7 Therefore, Arjuna, you should always think of Me in the form
of Krishna and at the same time carry out your prescribed duty of
fighting. With your activities dedicated to Me and your mind and
intelligence fixed on Me, you will attain Me without doubt.
8.8 He who meditates on the Supreme Personality of Godhead, his
mind constantly engaged in remembering Me, undeviated from the
path, he, O Partha [Arjuna], is sure to reach Me.
8.9 One should meditate upon the Supreme Person as the one who
knows everything, as He who is the oldest, who is the controller,
who is smaller than the smallest, who is the maintainer of
everything, who is beyond all material conception, who is
inconceivable, and who is always a person. He is luminous like
the sun and, being transcendental, is beyond this material
8.10 One who, at the time of death, fixes his life air between
the eyebrows and in full devotion engages himself in remembering
the Supreme Lord, will certainly attain to the Supreme
Personality of Godhead.
8.11 Persons learned in the Vedas, who utter omkara and who are
great sages in the renounced order, enter into Brahman. Desiring
such perfection, one practices celibacy. I shall now explain to
you this process by which one may attain salvation.
8.12 The yogic situation is that of detachment from all sensual
engagements. Closing all the doors of the senses and fixing the
mind on the heart and the life air at the top of the head, one
establishes himself in yoga.
8.13 After being situated in this yoga practice and vibrating
the sacred syllable om, the supreme combination of letters, if
one thinks of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and quits his
body, he will certainly reach the spiritual planets.
8.14 For one who remembers Me without deviation, I am easy to
obtain, O son of Pritha, because of his constant engagement in
8.15 After attaining Me, the great souls, who are yogis in
devotion, never return to this temporary world, which is full of
miseries, because they have attained the highest perfection.
8.16 From the highest planet in the material world down to the
lowest, all are places of misery wherein repeated birth and death
take place. But one who attains to My abode, O son of Kunti,
never takes birth again.
8.17 By human calculation, a thousand ages taken together is the
duration of Brahma's one day. And such also is the duration of
8.18 When Brahma's day is manifest, this multitude of living
entities comes into being, and at the arrival of Brahma's night
they are all annihilated.
8.19 Again and again the day comes, and this host of beings is
active; and again the night falls, O Partha, and they are
8.20 Yet there is another nature, which is eternal and is
transcendental to this manifested and unmanifested matter. It is
supreme and is never annihilated. When all in this world is
annihilated, that part remains as it is.
8.21 That supreme abode is called unmanifested and infallible,
and it is the supreme destination. When one goes there, he never
comes back. That is My supreme abode.
8.22 The Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is greater than
all, is attainable by unalloyed devotion. Although He is present
in His abode, He is all-pervading, and everything is situated
8.23 O best of the Bharatas, I shall now explain to you the
different times at which, passing away from this world, one does
or does not come back.
8.24 Those who know the Supreme Brahman pass away from the world
during the influence of the fiery god, in the light, at an
auspicious moment, during the fortnight of the moon and the six
months when the sun travels in the north.
8.25 The mystic who passes away from this world during the
smoke, the night, the moonless fortnight, or in the six months
when the sun passes to the south, or who reaches the moon planet,
again comes back.
8.26 According to the Vedas, there are two ways of passing from
this world--one in light and one in darkness. When one passes in
light, he does not come back; but when one passes in darkness, he
8.27 The devotees who know these two paths, O Arjuna, are never
bewildered. Therefore be always fixed in devotion.
8.28 A person who accepts the path of devotional service is not
bereft of the results derived from studying the Vedas, performing
austere sacrifices, giving charity or pursuing philosophical and
fruitive activities. At the end he reaches the supreme abode.
The Most Confidential Knowledge
9.1 The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: My dear Arjuna,
because you are never envious of Me, I shall impart to you this
most confidential knowledge and realization, knowing which you
shall be relieved of the miseries of material existence.
9.2 This knowledge is the king of education, the most secret of
all secrets. It is the purest knowledge, and because it gives
direct perception of the self by realization, it is the
perfection of religion. It is everlasting, and it is joyfully
9.3 Those who are not faithful in this devotional service cannot
attain Me, O conqueror of enemies. Therefore they return to the
path of birth and death in this material world.
9.4 By Me, in My unmanifested form, this entire universe is
pervaded. All beings are in Me, but I am not in them.
9.5 And yet everything that is created does not rest in Me.
Behold My mystic opulence! Although I am the maintainer of all
living entities and although I am everywhere, I am not a part of
this cosmic manifestation, for My Self is the very source of
9.6 Understand that as the mighty wind, blowing everywhere,
rests always in the sky, all created beings rest in Me.
9.7 O son of Kunti, at the end of the millennium all material
manifestations enter into My nature, and at the beginning of
another millennium, by My potency, I create them again.
9.8 The whole cosmic order is under Me. Under My will it is
automatically manifested again and again, and under My will it is
annihilated at the end.
9.9 O Dhananjaya, all this work cannot bind Me. I am ever
detached from all these material activities, seated as though
9.10 This material nature, which is one of My energies, is
working under My direction, O son of Kunti, producing all moving
and nonmoving beings. Under its rule this manifestation is
created and annihilated again and again.
9.11 Fools deride Me when I descend in the human form. They do
not know My transcendental nature as the Supreme Lord of all that
9.12 Those who are thus bewildered are attracted by demonic and
atheistic views. In that deluded condition, their hopes for
liberation, their fruitive activities, and their culture of
knowledge are all defeated.
9.13 O son of Pritha, those who are not deluded, the great
souls, are under the protection of the divine nature. They know
Me as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, original and
9.14 Always chanting My glories, endeavoring with great
determination, bowing down before Me, these great souls
perpetually worship Me with devotion.
9.15 Others, who engage in sacrifice by the cultivation of
knowledge, worship the Supreme Lord as the one without a second,
as diverse in many, and in the universal form.
9.16 But it is I who am the ritual, I the sacrifice, the
offering to the ancestors, the healing herb, the transcendental
chant. I am the butter and the fire and the offering.
9.17 I am the father of this universe, the mother, the support
and the grandsire. I am the object of knowledge, the purifier
and the syllable om. I am also the Rig, the Sama and the Yajur
9.18 I am the goal, the sustainer, the master, the witness, the
abode, the refuge and the most dear friend. I am the creation
and the annihilation, the basis of everything, the resting place
and the eternal seed.
9.19 O Arjuna, I give heat, and I withhold and send forth the
rain. I am immortality, and I am also death personified. Both
spirit and matter are in Me.
9.20 Those who study the Vedas and drink the soma juice, seeking
the heavenly planets, worship Me indirectly. Purified of sinful
reactions, they take birth on the pious, heavenly planet of
Indra, where they enjoy godly delights.
9.21 When they have thus enjoyed vast heavenly sense pleasure
and the results of their pious activities are exhausted, they
return to this mortal planet again. Thus those who seek sense
enjoyment by adhering to the principles of the three Vedas
achieve only repeated birth and death.
9.22 But those who always worship Me with exclusive devotion,
meditation on My transcendental form--to them I carry what they
lack, and I preserve what they have.
9.23 Those who are devotees of other gods and who worship them
with faith actually worship only Me, O son of Kunti, but they do
so in a wrong way.
9.24 I am the only enjoyer and master of all sacrifices.
Therefore, those who do not recognize My true transcendental
nature fall down.
9.25 Those who worship the demigods will take birth among the
demigods; those who worship the ancestors go to the ancestors;
those who worship ghosts and spirits will take birth among such
beings; and those who worship Me will live with Me.
9.26 If one offers Me with love and devotion a leaf, a flower,
fruit or water, I will accept it.
9.27 Whatever you do, whatever you eat, whatever you offer or
give away, and whatever austerities you perform--do that, O son
of Kunti, as an offering to Me.
9.28 In this way you will be freed from bondage to work and its
auspicious and inauspicious results. With your mind fixed on Me
in this principle of renunciation, you will be liberated and come
9.29 I envy no one, nor am I partial to anyone. I am equal to
all. But whoever renders service unto Me in devotion is a
friend, is in Me, and I am also a friend to him.
9.30 Even if one commits the most abominable action, if he is
engaged in devotional service he is to be considered saintly
because he is properly situated in his determination.
9.31 He quickly becomes righteous and attains lasting peace. O
son of Kunti, declare it boldly that My devotee never perishes.
9.32 O son of Pritha, those who take shelter in Me, though they
be of lower birth--women, vaishyas and shudras--can attain the
9.33 How much more this is so of the righteous brahmanas, the
devotees, and the saintly kings. Therefore, having come to this
temporary, miserable world, engage in loving service unto Me.
9.34 Engage your mind always in thinking of Me, become My
devotee, offer obeisances to Me and worship Me. Being completely
absorbed in Me, surely you will come to Me.
The Opulence of the Absolute
10.1 The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: Listen again, O
mighty-armed Arjuna. Because you are My dear friend, for your
benefit I shall speak to you further, giving knowledge that is
better than what I have already explained.
10.2 Neither the hosts of demigods nor the great sages know My
origin or opulences, for, in every respect, I am the source of
the demigods and sages.
10.3 He who knows Me as the unborn, as the beginningless, as the
Supreme Lord of all the worlds--he only, undeluded among men, is
freed from all sins.
10.4-5 Intelligence, knowledge, freedom from doubt and delusion,
forgiveness, truthfulness, control of the senses, control of the
mind, happiness and distress, birth, death, fear, fearlessness,
nonviolence, equanimity, satisfaction, austerity, charity, fame
and infamy--all these various qualities of living beings are
created by Me alone.
10.6 The seven great sages and before them the four other great
sages and the Manus [progenitors of mankind] come from Me, born
from My mind, and all the living beings populating the various
planets descend from them.
10.7 One who is factually convinced of this opulence and mystic
power of Mine engages in unalloyed devotional service; of this
there is no doubt.
10.8 I am the source of all spiritual and material worlds.
Everything emanates from Me. The wise who perfectly know this
engage in My devotional service and worship Me with all their
10.9 The thoughts of My pure devotees dwell in Me, their lives
are fully devoted to My service, and they derive great
satisfaction and bliss from always enlightening one another and
conversing about Me.
10.10 To those who are constantly devoted to serving Me with
love, I give the understanding by which they can come to Me.
10.11 To show them special mercy, I, dwelling in their hearts,
destroy with the shining lamp of knowledge the darkness born of
10.12-13 Arjuna said: You are the Supreme Personality of
Godhead, the ultimate abode, the purest, the Absolute Truth. You
are the eternal, transcendental, original person, the unborn, the
greatest. All the great sages such as Narada, Asita, Devala and
Vyasa confirm this truth about You, and now You Yourself are
declaring it to me.
10.14 O Krishna, I totally accept as truth all that You have
told me. Neither the demigods nor the demons, O Lord, can
understand Your personality.
10.15 Indeed, You alone know Yourself by Your own internal
potency, O Supreme Person, origin of all, Lord of all beings, God
of gods, Lord of the universe!
10.16 Please tell me in detail of Your divine opulences by which
You pervade all these worlds.
10.17 O Krishna, O supreme mystic, how shall I constantly think
of You, and how shall I know You? In what various forms are You
to be remembered, O Supreme Personality of Godhead?
10.18 O Janardana, again please describe in detail the mystic
power of Your opulences. I am never satiated in hearing about
You, for the more I hear the more I want to taste the nectar of
10.19 The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: Yes, I will tell
you of My splendorous manifestations, but only of those which are
prominent, O Arjuna, for My opulence is limitless.
10.20 I am the Supersoul, O Arjuna, seated in the hearts of all
living entities. I am the beginning, the middle and the end of
10.21 Of the Adityas I am Vishnu, of lights I am the radiant
sun, of the Maruts I am Marichi, and among the stars I am the
10.22 Of the Vedas I am the Sama Veda; of the demigods I am
Indra, the king of heaven; of the senses I am the mind; and in
living beings I am the living force [consciousness].
10.23 Of all the Rudras I am Lord Shiva, of the Yakshas and
Rakshasas I am the Lord of wealth [Kuvera], of the Vasus I am
fire [Agni], and of mountains I am Meru.
10.24 Of priests, O Arjuna, know Me to be the chief, Brihaspati.
Of generals I am Kartikeya, and of bodies of water I am the
10.25 Of the great sages I am Bhrigu; of vibrations I am the
transcendental om. Of sacrifices I am the chanting of the holy
names [japa], and of immovable things I am the Himalayas.
10.26 Of all trees I am the banyan tree, and of the sages among
the demigods I am Narada. Of the Gandharvas I am Chitraratha,
and among perfected beings I am the sage Kapila.
10.27 Of horses know Me to be Uchchaihshrava, produced during
the churning of the ocean for nectar. Of lordly elephants I am
Airavata, and among men I am the monarch.
10.28 Of weapons I am the thunderbolt; among cows I am the
surabhi. Of causes for procreation I am Kandarpa, the god of
love, and of serpents I am Vasuki.
10.29 Of the many-hooded Nagas I am Ananta, and among the
aquatics I am the demigod Varuna. Of departed ancestors I am
Aryama, and among the dispensers of law I am Yama, the lord of
10.30 Among the Daitya demons I am the devoted Prahlada, among
subduers I am time, among beasts I am the lion, and among birds I
10.31 Of purifiers I am the wind, of the wielders of weapons I
am Rama, of fishes I am the shark, and of flowing rivers I am the
10.32 Of all creations I am the beginning and the end and also
the middle, O Arjuna. Of all sciences I am the spiritual science
of the self, and among logicians I am the conclusive truth.
10.33 Of letters I am the letter A, and among compound words I
am the dual compound. I am also inexhaustible time, and of
creators I am Brahma.
10.34 I am all-devouring death, and I am the generating
principle of all that is yet to be. Among women I am fame,
fortune, fine speech, memory, intelligence, steadfastness and
10.35 Of the hymns in the Sama Veda I am the Brihat-sama, and of
poetry I am the Gayatri. Of months I am Margashirsha [November-
December], and of seasons I am flower-bearing spring.
10.36 I am also the gambling of cheats, and of the splendid I am
the splendor. I am victory, I am adventure, and I am the
strength of the strong.
10.37 Of the descendants of Vrishni I am Vasudeva, and of the
Pandavas I am Arjuna. Of the sages I am Vyasa, and among great
thinkers I am Ushana.
10.38 Among all means of suppressing lawlessness I am
punishment, and of those who seek victory I am morality. Of
secret things I am silence, and of the wise I am the wisdom.
10.39 Furthermore, O Arjuna, I am the Generating seed of all
existences. There is no being--moving or nonmoving--that can
exist without me.
10.40 O mighty conqueror of enemies, there is no end to My
divine manifestations. What I have spoken to you is but a mere
indication of My infinite opulences.
10.41 Know that all opulent, beautiful and glorious creations
spring from but a spark of My splendor.
10.42 But what need is there, Arjuna, for all this detailed
knowledge? With a single fragment of Myself I pervade and
support this entire universe.
The Universal Form
11.1 Arjuna said: By my hearing the instructions You have
kindly given me about these most confidential spiritual subjects,
my illusion has now been dispelled.
11.2 O lotus-eyed one, I have heard from You in detail about the
appearance and disappearance of every living entity and have
realized Your inexhaustible glories.
11.3 O greatest of all personalities, O supreme form, though I
see You here before me in Your actual position, as You have
described Yourself, I wish to see how You have entered into this
cosmic manifestation. I want to see that form of Yours.
11.4 If you think that I am able to behold Your cosmic form, O
my Lord, O master of all mystic power, then kindly show me that
unlimited universal Self.
11.5 The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: My dear Arjuna, O
sun of Pritha, see now My opulences, hundreds of thousands of
varied divine and multicolored forms.
11.6 O best of the Bharatas, see here the different
manifestations of Adityas, Vasus, Rudras, Ashvini-kumaras and all
the other demigods. Behold the many wonderful things which no
one has ever seen or heard of before.
11.7 O Arjuna, whatever you wish to see, behold at once in this
body of Mine! This universal form can show you whatever you now
desire to see and whatever you may want to see in the future.
Everything--moving and nonmoving--is here completely, in one
11.8 But you cannot see Me with your present eyes. Therefore I
give you divine eyes. Behold My mystic opulence!
11.9 Sanjaya said: O King, having thus spoken, the Supreme Lord
of all mystic power, the Personality of Godhead, displayed His
universal form to Arjuna.
11.10-11 Arjuna saw in that universal form unlimited mouths,
unlimited eyes, unlimited wonderful visions. The form was
decorated with many celestial ornaments and bore many divine
upraised weapons. He wore celestial garlands and garments, and
many divine scents were smeared over His body. All was wondrous,
brilliant, unlimited, all expanding.
11.12 If hundreds of thousands of suns were to rise at once into
the sky, their radiance might resemble the effulgence of the
Supreme Person in that universal form.
11.13 At that time Arjuna could see in the universal form of the
Lord the unlimited expansions of the universe situated in one
place although divided into many, many thousands.
11.14 Then, bewildered and astonished, his hair standing on end,
Arjuna bowed his head to offer obeisances and with folded hands
began to pray to the Supreme Lord.
11.15 Arjuna said: My dear Lord Krishna, I see assembled in
Your body all the demigods and various other living entities. I
see Brahma sitting on the lotus flower, as well as Lord Shiva and
all the sages and divine serpents.
11.16 O Lord of the universe, O universal form, I see in Your
body many, many arms, bellies, mouths and eyes, expanded
everywhere, without limit. I see in You no end, no middle and no
11.17 Your form is difficult to see because of its glaring
effulgence, spreading on all sides, like blazing fire or the
immeasurable radiance of the sun. Yet I see this glowing form
everywhere, adorned with various crowns, clubs and discs.
11.18 You are the supreme primal objective. You are the
ultimate resting place of all this universe. You are
inexhaustible, and You are the oldest. You are the maintainer of
the eternal religion, the Personality of Godhead. This is my
11.19 You are without origin, middle or end. Your glory is
unlimited. You have numberless arms, and the sun and moon are
Your eyes. I see You with blazing fire coming forth from Your
mouth, burning this entire universe by Your own radiance.
11.20 Although You are one, You spread throughout the sky the
planets and all space between. O great one, seeing this wondrous
and terrible form, all the planetary systems are perturbed.
11.21 All the hosts of demigods are surrendering before You and
entering into You. Some of them, very much afraid, are offering
prayers with folded hands. Hosts of great sages and perfected
beings, crying "All peace!" are praying to You by singing the
11.22 All the various manifestations of Lord Shiva, the Adityas,
the Vasus, the Sadhyas, the Vishvadevas, the two Asvins, the
Maruts, the forefathers, the Gandharvas, the Yakshas, the Asuras
and the perfected demigods are beholding You in wonder.
11.23 O mighty-armed one, all the planets with their demigods
are disturbed at seeing Your great form, with its many faces,
eyes, arms, thighs, legs, and bellies and Your many terrible
teeth; and as they are disturbed, so am I.
11.24 O all-pervading Vishnu, seeing You with Your many radiant
colors touching the sky, Your gaping mouths,and Your great
glowing eyes, my mind is perturbed by fear. I can no longer
maintain my steadiness or equilibrium of mind.
11.25 O Lord of lords, O refuge of the worlds, please be
gracious to me. I cannot keep my balance seeing thus Your
blazing deathlike faces and awful teeth. In all directions I am
11.26-27 All the sons of Dhritarashtra, along with their allied
kings, and Bhishma, Drona, Karna--and our chief soldiers also--
are rushing into Your fearful mouths. And some I see trapped
with heads smashed between Your teeth.
11.28 As the many waves of the rivers flow into the ocean, so do
all these great warriors enter blazing into Your mouths.
11.29 I see all people rushing full speed into Your mouths, as
moths dash to destruction in a blazing fire.
11.30 O Vishnu, I see You devouring all people from all sides
with Your flaming mouths. Covering all the universe with Your
effulgence, You are manifest with terrible, scorching rays.
11.31 O Lord of lords, so fierce of form, please tell me who You
are. I offer my obeisances unto You; please be gracious to me.
You are the primal Lord. I want to know about You, for I do not
know what Your mission is.
11.32 The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: Time I am, the
great destroyer of the worlds, and I have come here to destroy
all people. With the exception of you [the Pandavas], all the
soldiers here on both sides will be slain.
11.33 Therefore get up. Prepare to fight and win glory.
Conquer your enemies and enjoy a flourishing kingdom. They are
already put to death by My arrangement, and you, O Savyasachin,
can be but an instrument in the fight.
11.34 Drona, Bhishma, Jayadratha, Karna and the other great
warriors have already been destroyed by Me. Therefore, kill them
and do not be disturbed. Simply fight, and you will vanquish
your enemies in battle.
11.35 Sanjaya said to Dhritarashtra: O King, after hearing
these words from the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the
trembling Arjuna offered obeisances with folded hands again and
again. He fearfully spoke to Lord Krishna in a faltering voice,
11.36 Arjuna said: O master of the senses, the world becomes
joyful upon hearing Your name, and thus everyone becomes attached
to You. Although the perfected beings offer You their respectful
homage, the demons are afraid, and they flee here and there. All
this is rightly done.
11.37 O great one, greater even than Brahma, You are the
original creator. Why then should they not offer their
respectful obeisances unto You? O limitless one, God of gods,
refuge of the universe! You are the invincible source, the cause
of all causes, transcendental to this material manifestation.
11.38 You are the original Personality of Godhead, the oldest,
the ultimate sanctuary of this manifested cosmic world. You are
the knower of everything, and You are all that is knowable. You
are the supreme refuge, above the material modes. O limitless
form! This whole cosmic manifestation is pervaded by You!
11.39 You are air, and You are the supreme controller! You are
fire, You are water, and You are the moon! You are Brahma, the
first living creature, and You are the great-grandfather. I
therefore offer my respectful obeisances unto You a thousand
times, and again and yet again!
11.40 Obeisances to You from the front, from behind and from all
sides! O unbounded power, You are the master of limitless might!
You are all-pervading, and thus You are everything!
11.41-42 Thinking of You as my friend, I have rashly addressed
You, "O Krishna," "O Yadava," "O my friend," not knowing Your
glories. Please forgive whatever I may have done in madness or
in love. I have dishonored You many times, jesting as we
relaxed,lay on the same bed, or sat or ate together, sometimes
alone and sometimes in front of many friends. O infallible one,
please excuse me for all those offenses.
11.43 You are the father of this complete cosmic manifestation,
of the moving and the nonmoving. You are its worshipable chief,
the supreme spiritual master. No one is equal to You, nor can
anyone be one with You. How then could there be anyone greater
than You within the three worlds, O Lord of immeasurable power?
11.44 You are the Supreme Lord, to be worshiped by every living
being. Thus I fall down to offer You my respectful obeisances
and ask Your mercy. As a father tolerates the impudence of his
son, or a friend tolerates the impertinence of a friend, or a
wife tolerates the familiarity of her partner, please tolerate
the wrongs I may have done You.
11.45 After seeing this universal form, which I have never seen
before, I am gladdened, but at the same time my mind is disturbed
with fear. Therefore please bestow Your grace upon me and reveal
again Your form as the Personality of Godhead, O Lord of lords, O
abode of the universe.
11.46 O universal form, O thousand-armed Lord, I wish to see You
in Your four-armed form, with helmeted head and with club, wheel,
conch and lotus flower in Your hands. I long to see You in that
11.47 The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: My dear Arjuna,
happily have I shown you, by My internal potency, this supreme
universal form within the material world. No one before you has
ever seen this primal form, unlimited and full of glaring
11.48 O best of the Kuru warriors, no one before you has ever
seen this universal form of Mine, for neither by studying the
Vedas, nor by performing sacrifices, nor by charity, nor by pious
activities, nor by severe penances can I be seen in this form in
the material world.
11.49 You have been perturbed and bewildered by seeing this
horrible feature of Mine. Now let it be finished. My devotee,
be free again from all disturbances. With a peaceful mind you
can now see the form you desire.
11.50 Sanjaya said to Dhritarashtra: The Supreme Personality of
Godhead, Krishna, having spoken thus to Arjuna, displayed His
real four-armed form and at last showed His two-armed form, thus
encouraging the fearful Arjuna.
11.51 When Arjuna thus saw Krishna in His original form, he
said: O Janardana, seeing this humanlike form, so very
beautiful, I am now composed in mind, and I am restored to my
11.52 The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: My dear Arjuna,
this form of Mine you are now seeing is very difficult to behold.
Even the demigods are ever seeking the opportunity to see this
form, which is so dear.
11.53 The form you are seeing with your transcendental eyes
cannot be understood simply by studying the Vedas, nor by
undergoing serious penances, nor by charity, nor by worship. It
is not by these means that one can see Me as I am.
11.54 My dear Arjuna, only by undivided devotional service can I
be understood as I am, standing before you, and can thus be seen
directly. Only in this way can you enter into the mysteries of
11.55 My dear Arjuna, he who engages in My pure devotional
service, free from the contaminations of fruitive activities and
mental speculation, he who works for Me, who makes Me the supreme
goal of his life, and who is friendly to every living being--he
certainly comes to Me.
12.1 Arjuna inquired: Which are considered to be more perfect,
those who are always properly engaged in Your devotional service
or those who worship the impersonal brahman, the unmanifested?
12.2 The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: Those who fix
their minds on My personal form and are always engaged in
worshiping Me with great and transcendental faith are considered
by Me to be most perfect.
12.3-4 But those who fully worship the unmanifested, that which
lies beyond the perception of the senses, the all-pervading,
inconceivable, unchanging, fixed and immovable--the impersonal
conception of the Absolute Truth--by controlling the various
senses and being engaged in the welfare of all, at last achieve
12.5 For those whose minds are attached to the unmanifested,
impersonal feature of the Supreme, advancement is very
troublesome. To make progress in that discipline is always
difficult for those who are embodied.
12.6-7 But those who worship Me, giving up all their activities
unto Me and being devoted to Me without deviation, engaged in
devotional service and always meditating upon Me, having fixed
their minds upon Me, O son of Pritha--for them I am the swift
deliverer from the ocean of birth and death.
12.8 Just fix your mind upon Me, the Supreme Personality of
Godhead, and engage all your intelligence in Me. Thus you will
live in Me always, without a doubt.
12.9 My dear Arjuna, O winner of wealth, if you cannot fix your
mind upon Me without deviation, then follow the regulative
principles of bhakti-yoga. In this way develop a desire to
12.10 If you cannot practice the regulations of bhakti-yoga,
then just try to work for Me, because by working for Me you will
come to the perfect stage.
12.11 If, however, you are unable to work in this consciousness
of Me, then try to act giving up all results of your work and try
to be self-situated.
12.12 If you cannot take to this practice, then engage yourself
in the cultivation of knowledge. Better than knowledge, however,
is meditation, and better than meditation is renunciation of the
fruits of action, for by such renunciation one can attain peace
12.13-14 One who is not envious but is a kind friend to all
living entities, who does not think himself a proprietor and is
free from false ego, who is equal in both happiness and distress,
who is tolerant, always satisfied, self-controlled, and engaged
in devotional service with determination, his mind and
intelligence fixed on Me--such a devotee of Mine is very dear to
12.15 He for whom no one is put into difficulty and who is not
disturbed by anyone, who is equipoised in happiness and distress,
fear and anxiety, is very dear to Me.
12.16 My devotee who is not dependent on the ordinary course of
activities, who is pure, expert, without cares, free from all
pains, and not striving for some result, is very dear to Me.
12.17 One who neither rejoices nor grieves, who neither laments
nor desires, and who renounces both auspicious and inauspicious
things--such a devotee is very dear to Me.
12.18-19 One who is equal to friends and enemies, who is
equipoised in honor and dishonor, heat and cold, happiness and
distress, fame and infamy, who is always free from contaminating
association, always silent and satisfied with anything, who
doesn't care for any residence, who is fixed in knowledge and who
is engaged in devotional service--such a person is very dear to
12.20 Those who follow this imperishable path of devotional
service and who completely engage themselves with faith, making
Me the supreme goal, are very, very dear to Me.
Nature, the Enjoyer, and Consciousness
13.1-2 Arjuna said: O my dear Krishna, I wish to know about
prakriti [nature], purusha [the enjoyer], and the field and the
knower of the field, and of knowledge and the object of
13.3 O scion of Bharata, you should understand that I am also
the knower in all bodies, and to understand this body and its
knower is called knowledge. That is My opinion.
13.4 Now please hear My brief description of this field of
activity and how it is constituted, what its changes are, whence
it is produced, who that knower of the field of activities is,
and what his influences are.
13.5 That knowledge of the field of activities and of the knower
of activities is described by various sages in various Vedic
writings. It is especially presented in Vedanta-sutra with all
reasoning as to cause and effect.
13.6-7 The five great elements, false ego, intelligence, the
unmanifested, the ten senses and the mind, the five sense
objects, desire, hatred, happiness, distress, the aggregate, the
life symptoms, and convictions--all these are considered, in
summary, to be the field of activities and its interactions.
13.8-12 Humility; pridelessness; nonviolence; tolerance;
simplicity; approaching a bona fide spiritual master;
cleanliness; steadiness; self-control; renunciation of the
objects of sense gratification; absence of false ego; the
perception of the evil of birth, death, old age and disease;
detachment; freedom from entanglement with children, wife, home
and the rest; evenmindedness amid pleasant and unpleasant events;
constant and unalloyed devotion to Me; aspiring to live in a
solitary place; detachment from the general mass of people;
accepting the importance of self-realization; and philosophical
search for the Absolute Truth--all these I declare to be
knowledge, and besides this whatever there may be is ignorance.
13.13 I shall now explain the knowable, knowing which you will
taste the eternal. Brahman, the spirit, beginningless and
subordinate to Me, lies beyond the cause and effect of this
13.14 Everywhere are His hands and legs, His eyes, heads and
faces, and He has ears everywhere. In this way the Supersoul
exists, pervading everything.
13.15 The Supersoul is the original source of all senses, yet He
is without senses. He is unattached, although He is the
maintainer of all living beings. He transcends the modes of
nature, and at the same time He is the master of all the modes of
13.16 The Supreme Truth exists outside and inside of all living
beings, the moving and the nonmoving. Because He is subtle, He
is beyond the power of the material senses to see or to know.
Although far, far away, He is also near to all.
13.17 Although the Supersoul appears to be divided among all
beings, He is never divided. He is situated as one. Although He
is the maintainer of every living entity, it is to be understood
that He devours and develops all.
13.18 He is the source of light in all luminous objects. He is
beyond the darkness of matter and is unmanifested. He is
knowledge, He is the object of knowledge, and He is the goal of
knowledge. He is situated in everyone's heart.
13.19 Thus the field of activities [the body], knowledge and the
knowable have been summarily described by Me. Only My devotees
can understand this thoroughly and thus attain to My nature.
13.20 Material nature and the living entities should be
understood to be beginningless. Their transformations and the
modes of matter are products of material nature.
13.21 Nature is said to be the cause of all material causes and
effects, whereas the living entity is the cause of the various
sufferings and enjoyments in this world.
13.22 The living entity in material nature thus follows the ways
of life, enjoying the three modes of nature. This is due to his
association with that material nature. Thus he meets with good
and evil amongst various species.
13.23 Yet in this body there is another, a transcendental
enjoyer, who is the Lord, the supreme proprietor, who exists as
the overseer and permitter, and who is known as the Supersoul.
13.24 One who understands this philosophy concerning material
nature, the living entity and the interaction of the modes of
nature is sure to attain liberation. He will not take birth here
again, regardless of his present position.
13.25 Some perceive the Supersoul within themselves through
meditation, others through the cultivation of knowledge, and
still others through working without fruitive desires.
13.26 Again there are those who, although not conversant in
spiritual knowledge, begin to worship the Supreme Person upon
hearing about Him from others. Because of their tendency to hear
from authorities, they also transcend the path of birth and
13.27 O chief of the Bharatas, know that whatever you see in
existence, both the moving and the nonmoving, is only a
combination of the field of activities and the knower of the
13.28 One who sees the Supersoul accompanying the individual
soul in all bodies, and who understands that neither the soul nor
the Supersoul within the destructible body is ever destroyed,
13.29 One who sees the Supersoul equally present everywhere, in
every living being, does not degrade himself by his mind. Thus
he approaches the transcendental destination.
13.30 One who can see that all activities are performed by the
body, which is created of material nature, and sees that the self
does nothing, actually sees.
13.31 When a sensible man ceases to see different identities due
to different material bodies and he sees how beings are expanded
everywhere, he attains to the Brahman conception.
13.32 Those with the vision of eternity can see that the
imperishable soul is transcendental, eternal, and beyond the
modes of nature. Despite contact with the material body, O
Arjuna, the soul neither does anything nor is entangled.
13.33 The sky, due to its subtle nature, does not mix with
anything, although it is all-pervading. Similarly, the soul
situated in Brahman vision does not mix with the body, though
situated in that body.
13.34 O son of Bharata, as the sun alone illuminates all this
universe, so does the living entity, one within the body,
illuminate the entire body by consciousness.
13.35 Those who see with eyes of knowledge the difference
between the body and the knower of the body, and can also
understand the process of liberation from bondage in material
nature, attain to the supreme goal.
The Three Modes of Material Nature
14.1 The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: Again I shall
declare to you this supreme wisdom, the best of all knowledge,
knowing which all the sages have attained the supreme perfection.
14.2 By becoming fixed in this knowledge, one can attain to the
transcendental nature like My own. Thus established, one is not
born at the time of creation or disturbed at the time of
14.3 The total material substance, called Brahman, is the source
of birth, and it is that Brahman that I impregnate, making
possible the births of all living beings, O son Bharata.
14.4 It should be understood that all species of life, O son of
Kunti, are made possible by birth in this material nature, and
that I am the seed-giving father.
14.5 Material nature consists of three modes-goodness, passion
and ignorance. When the eternal living entity comes in contact
with nature, O mighty-armed Arjuna, he becomes conditioned by
14.6 O sinless one, the mode of goodness, being purer than the
others, is illuminating, and it frees one from all sinful
reactions. Those situated in that mode become conditioned by a
sense of happiness and knowledge.
14.7 The mode of passion is born of unlimited desires and
longings, O son of Kunti, and because of this the embodied living
entity is bound to material fruitive actions.
14.8 O son of Bharata, know that the mode of darkness, born of
ignorance, is the delusion of all embodied living entities. The
results of this mode are madness, indolence and sleep, which bind
the conditioned soul.
14.9 O son of Bharata, the mode of goodness conditions one to
happiness; passion conditions one to fruitive action; and
ignorance, covering one's knowledge, binds one to madness.
14.10 Sometimes the mode of goodness becomes prominent,
defeating the modes of passion and ignorance, o son of Bharata.
Sometimes the mode of passion defeats goodness and ignorance, and
at other times ignorance defeats goodness and passion. In this
way there is always competition for supremacy.
14.11 The manifestations of the mode of goodness can be
experienced when all the gates of the body are illuminated by
14.12 O chief of the Bharatas, when there is an increase in the
mode of passion the symptoms of great attachment, fruitive
activity, intense endeavor, and uncontrollable desire and
14.13 When there is an increase in the mode of ignorance, O son
of Kuru, darkness, inertia, madness and illusion are manifested.
14.14 When one dies in the mode of goodness, he attains to the
pure higher planets of the great sages.
14.15 When one dies in the mode of passion, he takes birth among
those engaged in fruitive activities; and when one dies in the
mode of ignorance, he takes birth in the animal kingdom.
14.16 The result of pious action is pure and is said to be in
the mode of goodness. But action done in the mode of passion
results in misery, and action performed on the mode of ignorance
results in foolishness.
14.17 From the mode of goodness, real knowledge develops; from
the mode of passion, greed develops; and from the mode of
ignorance develop foolishness, madness and illusion.
14.18 Those situated in the mode of goodness gradually go upward
to the higher planets; those in the mode of passion live on the
earthly planets; and those in the abominable mode of ignorance go
down to the hellish worlds.
14.19 When one properly sees that in all activities no other
performer is at work than these modes of nature and he knows the
Supreme Lord, who is transcendental to all these modes, he
attains My spiritual nature.
14.20 When the embodied being is able to transcend these three
modes associated with the material body, he can become free from
birth, death, old age and their distresses and can enjoy nectar
even in this life.
14.21 Arjuna inquired: O my dear Lord, by which symptoms is one
known who is transcendental to these three modes? What is his
behavior? And how does he transcend the modes of nature?
14.22-25 The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: O son of
Pandu, he who does not hate illumination, attachment and delusion
when they are present or long for them when they disappear; who
is unwavering and undisturbed through all these reactions of the
material qualities, remaining neutral and transcendental, knowing
that the modes alone are active; who is situated in the self and
regards alike happiness and distress; who looks upon a lump of
earth, a stone and a piece of gold with and equal eye; who is
equal toward the desirable and the undesirable; who is steady,
situated equally well in praise and blame, honor and dishonor;
who treats alike both friend and enemy; and who has renounced all
material activities--such a person is said to have transcended
the modes of nature.
14.26 One who engages in full devotional service, unfailing in
all circumstances, at once transcends the modes of material
nature and thus comes to the level of Brahman.
14.27 And I am the basis of the impersonal Brahman, which is
immortal, imperishable and eternal and is the constitutional
position of ultimate happiness.
The Yoga of the Supreme Person
15.1 The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: It is said that
there is an imperishable banyan tree that has its roots upward
and its branches down and whose leaves are the Vedic hymns. One
who knows this tree is the knower of the Vedas.
15.2 The branches of this tree extend downward and upward,
nourished by the three modes of material nature. The twigs are
the objects of the senses. This tree also has roots going down,
and these are bound to the fruitive actions of human society.
15.3-4 The real form of this tree cannot be perceived in this
world. No one can understand where it ends, where it begins, or
where its foundation is. But with determination one must cut
down this strongly rooted tree with the weapon of detachment.
Thereafter, one must seek that place from which, having gone, one
never returns, and there surrender to that Supreme Personality of
Godhead from whom everything began and from whom everything has
extended since time immemorial.
15.5 Those who are free from false prestige, illusion and false
association, who understand the eternal, who are done with
material lust, who are freed from the dualities of happiness and
distress, and who, unbewildered know how to surrender unto the
Supreme Person attain to that eternal kingdom.
15.6 That supreme abode of Mine is not illumined by the sun or
moon, nor by fire or electricity. Those who reach it never
return to this material world.
15.7 The living entities in this conditioned world are My
eternal fragmental parts. Due to conditioned life, they are
struggling very hard with the six senses, which include the mind.
15.8 The living entity in the material world carries his
different conceptions of life from one body to another as the air
carries aromas. Thus he takes one kind of body and again quits
it to take another.
15.9 The living entity, thus taking another gross body, obtains
a certain type of ear, eye, tongue, nose and sense of touch,
which are grouped about the mind. He thus enjoys a particular
set of sense objects.
15.10 The foolish cannot understand how a living entity can quit
his body, nor can they understand what sort of body he enjoys
under the spell of the modes of nature. But one whose eyes are
trained in knowledge can see all this.
15.11 The endeavoring transcendentalists, who are situated in
self-realization, can see all this clearly. But those whose
minds are not developed and who are not situated in self-
realization cannot see what is taking place, though they may try
15.12 The splendor of the sun, which dissipates the darkness of
this whole world, comes from Me. And the splendor of the moon
and the splendor of fire are also from Me.
15.13 I enter into each planet, and by My energy they stay in
orbit. I become the moon and thereby supply the juice of life to
15.14 I am the fire of digestion in the bodies of all living
entities, and I join with the air of life, outgoing and incoming,
to digest the four kinds of foodstuff.
15.15 I am seated in everyone's heart, and from Me come
remembrance, knowledge and forgetfulness. By all the Vedas I am
to be known. Indeed, I am the compiler of Vedanta, and I am the
knower of the Vedas.
15.16 There are two classes of beings, the fallible and the
infallible. In the material world every living entity is
fallible, and in the spiritual world every living entity is
15.17 Besides these two, there is the greatest living
personality, the Supreme Soul, the imperishable Lord Himself, who
has entered the three worlds and is maintaining them.
15.18 Because I am transcendental, beyond both the fallible and
the infallible, and because I am the greatest, I am celebrated
both in the world and in the Vedas as that Supreme Person.
15.19 Whoever knows Me as the Supreme Personality of Godhead,
without doubting, is the knower of everything. He therefore
engages himself in full devotional service to Me, O son of
15.20 This is the most confidential part of the Vedic
scriptures, O sinless one, and it is disclosed now by Me.
Whoever understands this will become wise, and his endeavors will
The Divine and Demoniac Natures
16.1-3 The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: fearlessness;
purification of one's existence; cultivation of spiritual
knowledge; charity; self-control; performance of sacrifice; study
of the Vedas; austerity; simplicity; nonviolence; truthfulness;
freedom from anger; renunciation; tranquillity; aversion to
faultfinding; compassion for all living entities; freedom from
covetousness; gentleness; modesty; steady determination; vigor;
forgiveness; fortitude; cleanliness; and freedom from envy and
from the passion for honor--these transcendental qualities, O son
of Bharata, belong to godly men endowed with divine nature.
16.4 Pride, arrogance, conceit, anger, harshness and ignorance--
these qualities belong to those of demoniac nature, O son of
16.5 The transcendental qualities are conducive to liberation,
whereas the demoniac qualities make for bondage. Do not worry, O
son of Pandu, for you are born with the divine qualities.
16.6 O son of Pritha, in this world there are two kinds of
created beings. One is called the divine and the other demoniac.
I have already explained to you at length the divine qualities.
Now hear from Me of the demoniac.
16.7 Those who are demoniac do not know what is to be done and
what is not to be done. Neither cleanliness nor proper behavior
nor truth is found in them.
16.8 They say that this world is unreal, with no foundation, no
God in control. They say it is produced of sex desire and has no
cause other than lust.
16.9 Following such conclusions, the demoniac, who are lost to
themselves and who have no intelligence, engage in
unbeneficial,horrible works meant to destroy the world.
16.10 Taking shelter of insatiable lust and absorbed in the
conceit of pride and false prestige, the demoniac, thus
illusioned, are always sworn to unclean work, attracted by the
16.11-12 They believe that to gratify the senses is the prime
necessity of human civilization. Thus until the end of life
their anxiety is immeasurable. Bound by a network of hundreds of
thousands of desires and absorbed in lust and anger, they secure
money by illegal means for sense gratification.
16.13-15 The demoniac person thinks: "So much wealth do I have
today, and I will gain more according to my schemes. So much is
mine now, and it will increase in the future, more and more. He
is my enemy, and I have killed him, and my other enemies will
also be killed. I am the lord of everything. I am the enjoyer.
I am perfect, powerful and happy. I am the richest man,
surrounded by aristocratic relatives. There is none so powerful
and happy as I am. I shall perform sacrifices, I shall give some
charity, and thus I shall rejoice." In this way, such persons
are deluded by ignorance.
16.16 Thus perplexed by various anxieties and bound by a network
of illusions, they become too strongly attached to sense
enjoyment and fall down into hell.
16.17 Self-complacent and always impudent, deluded by wealth and
false prestige, they sometimes proudly perform sacrifices in name
only, without following any rules or regulations.
16.18 Bewildered by false ego, strength, pride, lust and anger,
the demons become envious of the Supreme Personality of Godhead,
who is situated in their own bodies and in the bodies of others,
and blaspheme against the real religion.
16.19 Those who are envious and mischievous, who are the lowest
among men, I perpetually cast into the ocean of material
existence, into various demoniac species of life.
16.20 Attaining repeated birth amongst the species of demoniac
life, O son of Kunti, such persons can never approach Me.
Gradually they sink sown to the most abominable type of
16.21 There are three gates leading to this hell--lust, anger
and greed. Every sane man give these up, for they lead to the
degradation of the soul.
16.22 The man who has escaped these three gates of hell, O son
of Kunti, performs acts conducive to self-realization and thus
gradually attains the supreme destination.
16.23 He who discards scriptural injunctions and acts according
to his own whims attains neither perfection, nor happiness, nor
the supreme destination.
16.24 One should therefore understand what is duty and what is
not duty by the regulations of the scriptures. Knowing such
rules and regulations, one should act so that he may gradually be
The Divisions of Faith
17.1 Arjuna inquired: O Krishna, what is the situation of those
who do not follow the principles of scripture but worship
according to their own imagination? Are they in goodness, in
passion or in ignorance?
17.2 The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: According to the
modes of nature acquired by the embodied soul, one's faith can be
of three kinds--in goodness, in passion or in ignorance. Now
hear about this.
17.3 O son of Bharata, according to one's existence under the
various modes of nature, one evolves a particular kind of faith.
The living being is said to be of a particular faith according to
the modes he has acquired.
17.4 Men in the mode of goodness worship the demigods; those in
the mode of passion worship ghosts and spirits.
17.5-6 Those who undergo severe austerities and penances not
recommended in the scriptures, performing them out of pride and
egoism, who are impelled by lust and attachment, who are foolish
and who torture the material elements of the body as well as the
Supersoul dwelling within, are to be known as demons.
17.7 Even the food each person prefers is of three kinds,
according to the three modes of material nature. The same is
true of sacrifices, austerities and charity. Now hear of the
distinctions between them.
17.8 Foods dear to those in the mode of goodness increase the
duration of life, purify one's existence and give strength,
health, happiness and satisfaction. Such foods are juicy, fatty,
wholesome, and pleasing to the heart.
17.9 Foods that are too bitter, too sour, salty, hot, pungent,
dry and burning are dear to those in the mode of passion. Such
foods cause distress, misery and disease.
17.10 Food prepared more than three hours before being, eaten,
food that is tasteless, decomposed and putrid, and food
consisting of remnants and untouchable things is dear to those in
the mode of darkness.
17.11 Of sacrifices, the sacrifice performed according to the
directions of scripture, as a matter of duty, by those who desire
no reward, is of the nature of goodness.
17.12 But the sacrifice performed for some material benefit, or
for the sake of pride, O chief of the Bharatas, you should know
to be in the mode of passion.
17.13 Any sacrifice performed without regard for the directions
of scripture, without distribution of prasadam [spiritual food],
without chanting of Vedic hymns and remunerations to the priests,
and without faith is considered to be in the mode of ignorance.
17.14 Austerity of the body consists in worship of the Supreme
Lord, the brahmanas, the spiritual master, and superiors like the
father and mother, and in cleanliness, simplicity, celibacy and
17.15 Austerity of speech consists in speaking words that are
truthful, pleasing, beneficial, and not agitating to others, and
also in regularly reciting Vedic literature.
17.16 And satisfaction, simplicity, gravity, self-control and
purification of one's existence are the austerities of the mind.
17.17 This threefold austerity, performed with transcendental
faith by men not expecting material benefits but engaged only for
the sake of the Supreme, is called austerity in goodness.
17.18 Penance performed out of pride and for the sake of gaining
respect, honor and worship is said to be in the mode of passion.
It is neither stable nor permanent.
17.19 Penance performed out of foolishness, with self-torture or
to destroy or injure others is said to be in the mode of
17.20 Charity given out of duty, without expectation of return,
at the proper time and place, and to a worthy person is
considered to be in the mode of goodness.
17.21 But charity performed with the expectation of some return,
or with a desire for fruitive results, or in a grudging mood,is
said to be charity in the mode of passion.
17.22 And charity performed at an impure place, at an improper
time, to unworthy persons, or without proper attention and
respect is said to be in the mode of ignorance.
17.23 From the beginning of creation, the three words om tat sat
were used to indicate the Supreme Absolute Truth. These three
symbolic representations were used by brahmanas while chanting
the hymns of the Vedas and during sacrifices for the satisfaction
of the Supreme.
17.24 Therefore, transcendentalists undertaking performances of
sacrifice, and penance in accordance with scriptural regulations
begin always with om to attain the Supreme.
17.25 Without desiring fruitive results, one should perform
various kinds of sacrifice, penance and charity with the word
tat. The purpose of such transcendental activities is to get
free from material entanglement.
17.26-27 The Absolute Truth is the objective of devotional
sacrifice, and it is indicated by the word sat. The performer of
such sacrifice is also called sat, as are all works of sacrifice,
penance and charity which, true to the absolute nature, are
performed to please the Supreme Person, O son of Pritha.
17.28 Anything done as sacrifice, charity or penance without
faith in the Supreme, O son of Pritha, is impermanent. It is
called asat and is useless both in this life and in the next.
Conclusion--The Perfection of Renunciation
18.1 Arjuna said: O mighty-armed one, I wish to understand the
purpose of renunciation [tyaga] and of the renounced order of
life [sannyasa], O killer of the Keshi demon, master of the
18.2 The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: The giving up of
activities that are based on material desire is what great
learned men call the renounced order of life [sannyasa]. And
giving up the results of all activities is what the wise call
18.3 Some learned men declare that all kinds of fruitive
activities should be given up as faulty, yet other sages maintain
that acts of sacrifice, charity and penance should be abandoned.
18.4 O best of the Bharatas, now hear My judgment about
renunciation. O tiger among men, renunciation is declared in the
scriptures to be of three kinds.
18.5 Acts of sacrifice, charity and penance are not to be given
up; they must be performed. Indeed, sacrifice, charity and
penance purify even the great souls.
18.6 All these activities should be performed without attachment
or any expectation of result. They should be performed as a
matter of duty, O son of Pritha. That is My final opinion.
18.7 Prescribed duties should never be renounced. If one gives
up his prescribed duties because of illusion, such renunciation
is said to be in the mode of ignorance.
18.8 Anyone who gives up prescribed duties as troublesome or out
of fear of bodily discomfort is said to have renounced in the
mode of passion. Such action never leads to the elevation of
18.9 O Arjuna, when one performs his prescribed duty only
because it ought to be done, and renounces all material
association and all attachment to the fruit, his renunciation is
said to be in the mode of goodness.
18.10 The intelligent renouncer situated in the mode of
goodness, neither hateful of inauspicious work nor attached to
auspicious work, has no doubts about work.
18.11 It is indeed impossible for an embodied being to give up
all activities. But he who renounces the fruits of action is
called one who has truly renounced.
18.12 For one who is not renounced, the threefold fruits of
action--desirable, undesirable and mixed--accrue after death.
But those who are in the renounced order of life have no such
results to suffer or enjoy.
18.13 O mighty-armed Arjuna, according to the Vedanta there are
five causes for the accomplishment of all action. Now learn of
these from Me.
18.14 The place of action [the body], the performer, the various
senses, the many different kinds of endeavor, and ultimately the
Supersoul--these are the five factors of action.
18.15 Whatever right or wrong action a man performs by body,
mind or speech is caused by these five factors.
18.16 Therefore one who thinks himself the only doer, not
considering the five factors, is certainly not very intelligent
and cannot see things as they are.
18.17 One who is not motivated by false ego, whose intelligence
is not entangled, though he kills men in this world, does not
kill. Nor is he bound by his actions.
18.18 Knowledge, the object of knowledge, and the knower are the
three factors that motivate action; the senses, the work and the
doer are the three constituents of action.
18.19 According to the three different modes of material nature,
there are three kinds of knowledge, action and performer of
action. Now hear of them from Me.
18.20 That knowledge by which one undivided spiritual nature is
seen in all living entities, though they are divided into
innumerable forms, you should understand to be in the mode of
18.21 That knowledge by which one sees that in every different
body there is a different type of living entity you should
understand to be in the mode of passion.
18.22 And that knowledge by which one is attached to one kind of
work as the all in all, without knowledge of the truth, and which
is very meager, is said to be in the mode of darkness.
18.23 That action which is regulated and which is performed
without attachment, without love or hatred, and without desire
for fruitive results is said to be in the mode of goodness.
18.24 But action performed with great effort by one seeking to
gratify his desires, and enacted from a sense of false ego, is
called action in the mode of passion.
18.25 That action performed in illusion, in disregard of
scriptural injunctions, and without concern for future bondage or
for violence or distress caused to others is said to be in the
mode of ignorance.
18.26 One who performs his duty without association with the
modes of material nature, without false ego, with great
determination and enthusiasm, and without wavering in success or
failure is said to be a worker in the mode of goodness.
18.27 The worker who is attached to work and the fruits of work,
desiring to enjoy those fruits, who is greedy, always envious,
impure, and moved by joy and sorrow, is said to be in the mode of
18.28 The worker who is always engaged in work against the
injunctions of the scripture, who is materialistic, obstinate,
cheating and expert in insulting others, and who is lazy, always
morose and procrastinating is said to be a worker in the mode of
18.29 O winner of wealth, now please listen as I tell you in
detail of the different kinds of understanding and determination,
according to the three modes of material nature.
18.30 O son of Pritha, that understanding by which one knows
what ought to be done and what ought not to be done, what is to
be feared and what is not to be feared, what is binding and what
is liberating, is in the mode of goodness.
18.31 O son of Pritha, that understanding which cannot
distinguish between religion and irreligion, between action that
should be done and action that should not be done, is in the mode
18.32 That understanding which considers irreligion to be
religion and religion to be irreligion, under the spell of
illusion and darkness, and strives always in the wrong direction,
Partha, is in the mode of ignorance.
18.33 O son of Pritha, that determination which is unbreakable,
which is sustained with steadfastness by yoga practice, and which
thus controls the activities of the mind, life and senses is
determination in the mode of goodness
18.34 But that determination by which one holds fast to fruitive
results in religion, economic development and sense gratification
is of the nature of passion, O Arjuna.
18.35 And that determination which cannot go beyond dreaming,
fearfulness, lamentation, moroseness and illusion--such
unintelligent determination, O son of Pritha, is in the mode of
18.36 O best of the Bharatas, now please hear from Me about the
three kinds of happiness by which the conditioned soul enjoys,
and by which he sometimes comes to the end of all distress
18.37 That which in the beginning may be just like poison but at
the end is just like nectar and which awakens one to self-
realization is said to be happiness in the mode of goodness.
18.38 That happiness which is derived from contact of the senses
with their objects and which appears like nectar at first but
poison at the end is said to be of the nature of passion.
18.39 And that happiness which is blind to self-realization,
which is delusion from beginning to end and which arises from
sleep, laziness and illusion is said to be of the nature of
18.40 There is no being existing, either here or among the
demigods in the higher planetary systems, which is freed from
these three modes born of material nature.
18.41 Brahmanas, kshatriyas, vaishyas and shudras are
distinguished by the qualities born of their own natures in
accordance with the material modes, O chastiser of the enemy.
18.42 Peacefulness, self-control, austerity, purity, tolerance,
honesty, knowledge, wisdom and religiousness--these are the
natural qualities by which the brahmanas work.
18.43 Heroism, power, determination, resourcefulness, courage in
battle, generosity and leadership are the natural qualities of
work for the kshatriyas.
18.44 Farming, cow protection and business are the natural work
for the vaishyas, and for the shudras there is labor and service
18.45 By following his qualities of work, every man can become
perfect. Now please hear from Me how this can be done.
18.46 By worship of the Lord, who is the source of all beings
and who is all-pervading, a man can attain perfection through
performing his own work.
18.47 It is better to engage in one's own occupation, even
though one may perform it imperfectly, than to accept another's
occupation and perform it perfectly. Duties prescribed according
to one's nature are never affected by sinful reactions.
18.48 Every endeavor is covered by some fault, just as fire is
covered by smoke. Therefore one should not give up the work born
of his nature, O son of Kunti, even if such work is full of
18.49 One who is self-controlled and unattached and who
disregards all material enjoyments can obtain, by practice of
renunciation, the highest perfect stage of freedom from reaction.
18.50 O son of Kunti, learn from Me how one who has achieved
this perfection can attain to the supreme perfectional stage,
Brahman, the stage of highest knowledge, by acting in the way I
shall now summarize.
18.51-53 Being purified by his intelligence and controlling the
mind with determination, giving up the objects of sense
gratification, being freed from attachment and hatred, one who
lives in a secluded place, who eats little, who controls his
body, mind and power of speech, who is always in trance and is
detached, free from false ego, false strength, false pride, lust,
anger, and acceptance of material things, who is free from false
proprietorship, and who is peaceful--such a person is certainly
elevated to the position of self-realization.
18.54 One who is thus transcendentally situated at once realizes
the Supreme Brahman and becomes fully joyful. He never laments
or desires to have anything. He is equally disposed toward every
living entity. In that state he attains pure devotional service
18.55 One can understand Me as I am, as the Supreme Personality
of Godhead, only by devotional service. And when one is in full
consciousness of Me by such devotion, he can enter into the
kingdom of God.
18.56 Though engaged in all kinds of activities, My pure
devotee, under My protection, reaches the eternal and
imperishable abode by My grace.
18.57 In all activities just depend upon Me and work always
under My protection. In such devotional service, be fully
conscious of Me.
18.58 If you become conscious of Me, you will pass over all the
obstacles of conditioned life by My grace. If, however, you do
not work in such consciousness but act through false ego, not
hearing Me, you will be lost.
18.59 If you do not act according to My direction and do not
fight, then you will be falsely directed. By your nature, you
will have to be engaged in warfare.
18.60 Under illusion you are now declining to act according to
My direction. But, compelled by the work born of your own
nature, you will act all the same, O son of Kunti.
18.61 The Supreme Lord is situated in everyone's heart, O
Arjuna, and is directing the wanderings of all living entities,
who are seated as on a machine, made of the material energy.
18.62 O scion of Bharata, surrender unto Him utterly. By His
grace you will attain transcendental peace and the supreme and
18.63 Thus I have explained to you knowledge still more
confidential. Deliberate on this fully, and then do what you
wish to do.
18.64 Because you are My very dear friend, I am speaking to you
My supreme instruction, the most confidential knowledge of all.
Hear this from Me, for it is for your benefit.
18.65 Always think of Me, become My devotee, worship Me and
offer your homage unto Me. Thus you will come to Me without
fail. I promise you this because you are My very dear friend.
18.66 Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto
Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reactions. Do not fear.
18.67 This confidential knowledge may never be explained to
those who are not austere, or devoted, or engaged in devotional
service, nor to one who is envious of Me.
18.68 For one who explains this supreme secret to the devotees,
pure devotional service is guaranteed, and at the end he will
come back to Me.
18.69 There is no servant in this world more dear to Me than he,
nor will there ever be one more dear.
18.70 And I declare that he who studies this sacred conversation
of ours worships Me by his intelligence.
18.71 And one who listens with faith and without envy becomes
free from sinful reactions and attains to the auspicious planets
where the pious dwell.
18.72 O son of Pritha, O conqueror of wealth, have you heard
this with an attentive mind? And are your ignorance and
illusions now dispelled?
18.73 Arjuna said: My dear Krishna. O infallible one, my
illusion is now gone. I have regained my memory by Your mercy.
I am now firm and free from doubt and am prepared to act
according to Your instructions.
18.74 Sanjaya said: Thus have I heard the conversation of two
great souls, Krishna and Arjuna. And so wonderful is that
message that my hair is standing on end.
18.75 By the mercy of Vyasa, I have heard these most
confidential talks directly from the master of all mysticism,
Krishna, who was speaking personally to Arjuna.
18.76 O King, as I repeatedly recall this wondrous and holy
dialogue between Krishna and Arjuna, I take pleasure, being
thrilled at every moment.
18.77 O King, as I remember the wonderful form of Lord Krishna,
I am struck with wonder more and more, and I rejoice again and
18.78 Wherever there is Krishna, the master of all mystics, and
wherever there is Arjuna, the supreme archer, there will also
certainly be opulence, victory, extraordinary power, and
morality. That is my opinion.