Bhagavad Gita English 13

Kshetra Kshetrajna Vibhaga Yoga

The Field and the knower of the Field

”’अथ त्रयोदशोऽध्यायः”’


The scheme of discussion in this chapter






The field of knower and field



The Process of Knowledge (Jnanam) (8 -12)



The Object of Knowledge (Jneyam)



Material Nature, the Soul, and the




Seeing with Eyes of Knowledge





The Field and the Knower of the Field (2 -7)-

Kshetra refers to the body and kshetragna refers to both Brahman and the jiva.   However, the Brhaman or the spirit knows all bodies whereas the jiva or soul only knows his own. The Kshetra consists of twenty -four elements which interact and produce various conditions such as happiness or distress.


 The Process of Knowledge (Jnanam) (8 -12)

The process by which the knower of the field transcends the limitations of his field of activities is called the process of knowledge. Among these items of knowledge, an unalloyed devotion stands foremost and the others are accessories which serve to clear the kshetra of its unfavorable elements.

The Object of Knowledge (Jneyam) (13 -19)  

Brahman, who is all pervading and situated in the hearts of all, is the object of knowledge. Only the unalloyed devotees can thoroughly understand the Kshetra, jnanam, and jneyam.  Understanding this they attain the lord.


Material Nature, the Soul, and the Brahaman (20 -26)  

 Material nature (prakrti) and the living entities (purusha) are beginningless; their transformations are a product of material nature.  Due to the living entities’ association with nature, he meets with good and evil.  He is the cause of his suffering and enjoyment; above this is the overseer and permitter, the Supersoul (parama -purusa), who may be perceived through the various practices mentioned.  By understanding this knowledge one shall attain liberation and shall never is born again.


Seeing with Eyes of Knowledge (27 :35)  

 One who sees the Kshetra, kshetra -jna, and the Supersoul, and who properly understands their interactions, actually sees.  Understanding the process of liberation, he approaches the transcendental destination.


Conclusion –

 If one properly understands the Kshetra, kshetra -jna, the Supersoul, and the process of liberation; one can approach transcendence.


VERSE – 13:01

The Prakruti, purusha, the field, and knower of field

अर्जुन उवाच

प्रकृतिं पुरुषं चैव क्षेत्रं क्षेत्रमेव च

एतद्वेदितुमिच्छामि ज्ञानं ज्ञेयं च केशव ।। १३:१।।

arjuna uvāca

prakr̥tiṁ puruṣaṁ caiva kṣētraṁ kṣētrajñamēvaca ca |

ētadvēditumicchāmi jñānaṁ jñēyaṁ ca kēśava || 13:1||


अर्जुन उवाच

प्रकृतिम् पुरुषम् च एव  क्षेत्रम्  क्षेत्रज्ञम् एव च  ।

एतत् वेदितुम् इच्छामि ज्ञानम्  ज्ञेयम्  च केशव ।


प्रकृतिम् – the matter (mother universe) पुरुषम् – spirit or soul च – and एव – even क्षेत्रम् – the field क्षेत्रज्ञम् – the knower of the field एव – even च -and  एतत् – this  वेदितुम् – to know इच्छामि – I wish ज्ञानम् – knowledge ज्ञेयम् – what ought to be known च – and  केशव – O Keshava


O Keshava (Krishna), I wish to learn about Prakrati (matter) and purusha (transcendenatal God, the spirit); about kshetra (the “field” or the body) and kshetrajna (the soul); about the knowledge and what ought to be known.(object)

This verse is not included in many versions of Gita. More commonly it is included with no assigned number as a preface since otherwise the total number of the Gita verses becomes 701 instead of 700, whereas Shankaracharya says that he is writing a commentery for 700 verses of Gita.

The order of Arjuna’s questions was Prakruti -Purusha; kshetra -kshetrajnya and Jnayna -jneya.  The lord explains this in a different order. He explains kshetra -kshetrajna first,

followed by jnana -jneya and finally Prakruti and Pusrusha. Kshetra and Prakruti are the same.  First 7 verses deal with kshetra and kshetrajna; 8 to 19 with jnana and jneya and

finally 20 to the last verse 35, deals with Prakruti and



VERSE – 13:02

The Field and the Knower of the Field (verses 2 to-7)

श्री भगवान उवाच

इदं शरीरं कौन्तेय  क्षेत्रं इति अभिदीयते

एतद्योवेत्ति तं प्राहुः क्षेत्रज्ञ इति तद्विदः।। १३:२।।

śrī bhagavāna uvāca

idaṁ śarīraṁ kauntēya  kṣētraṁ iti abhidīyatē

ētadyōvētti taṁ prāhuḥ kṣētrajña iti tadvidaḥ|| 13:2||


श्री भगवान उवाच

इदम् शरीम् कौन्तेय क्षेत्रम् इति अभिदीयते

एतत् यः वेत्ति  तम् प्राहुः क्षेत्रज्ञ इति तद्विदः।।


O offspring of Kunti (Arjuna) this physical body, the miniature universe is called kshetra. One who knows this field is called kshetrajna.


इदम्This शरीरम् – body कौन्तेयO son of kunti क्षेत्रम् – the field इति – thus अभिदीयते – is called  एतत् -this यः – who वेत्ति – knows तम् – him प्राहुः –they say  क्षेत्रज्ञ – the knower of the field इति – thus तद्विदः – the knowers of truth about them.



क्षेत्रम्, क्षेत्रज्ञ and तद्विदः

The lord has used three technical terms in this verse.

इदम् शरीरम् कौन्तेय  क्षेत्रम्  इति अभिदीयते – This physical body is called field or kshetra. It means the site, domain, or area.  The holy places are called punya kshetra पुण्य  क्षेत्र. This body is also a holy place because jiva is settled here. Jiva is the protector of the field  and so he is called क्षेत्र पाल. He sows the seeds in this field and reaps crop. If you sow the seed of punya you reap the crop of sukha or happiness. If you sow the seed of evil you will grow the crop of grief. If you sow the seed of knowledge you will reap mokhsa or liberation.

In earlier scriptures body is referred to as pura, chariot, temple etc. and for the first time the lord uses the word field or kshetra to refer the body.

What is the real character of the “Field”?

This physical body has 3 elements; the gross body, subtle body and causal body. (स्थूल, सूक्ष्म and  कारण शरीर) The sutle body includes the mind, intellect, the senses, and the ten sense organs. The physical body is made uop of the five  basic elements. All these are material in nature and therefore

perishable and subject to change. The conscious self is wholly different from the objective body. It is the knower and lord of the the body pervades it. That is why it is spoken as kshetrajna (क्षेत्रज्ञ) or the knower of the field. It is this knowing conscious self which is referred as para shakti (पराशक्ति) or the higher nature in chapter 7, and as adhyatma (अध्यात्मा) or the spirit in  chapter 8 and akshara purusha (अक्षर पुरुष) in chapter 8 -03. It is also called कूटस्थः.   

The kshetra is a battle field where there are clashes between the prakruti and the purusha. The purusha or spirit, the real self, has tendentatious inclinations towards the absolute whereas the desire of ego and mind is to establish its body kingdom of sense pleasures. The soul wants to set up divine kingdom of the spirit. One who knows and practices this fact is called the knower of the field क्षेत्रज्ञ.

एतत् यः  वेत्ति तम् प्राहुः क्षेत्रज्ञ इति तद्विदः -The seers of the truth say that one who knows the real character of the “field”is called ksherajna or the knower of the field. The knower of the field is the soul – the pure reflection of God.


VERSE – 13:03

The knowledge of field and knower of field is wisdom of enlightenmentक्षेत्रज्ञं चापि मां विद्धि सर्वक्षेत्रेषु भारत ।क्षेत्रक्षेत्रज्ञयोर्ज्ञानं यत्तज्ज्ञानं मतं मम ॥१३:२॥

kṣētrajñaṁ cāpi māṁ viddhi sarvakṣētrēṣu bhārata |

kṣētrakṣētrajñayōrjñānaṁ yattajjñānaṁ mataṁ mama ||13:2||


क्षेत्रज्ञम् च अपि माम्  विद्धि सर्वक्षेत्रेषु भारत ।

क्षेत्रक्षेत्रज्ञयोः ज्ञानम् यत् ज्ञानम् मतम् मम ॥  


क्षेत्रज्ञम् – the knower of the field or soul , jivatma  च – and अपि – also माम् – me विद्धि  – know सर्वक्षेत्रेषु – in all fields or living organisms भारत – O Bharata क्षेत्रक्षेत्रज्ञयोः – of the khsetra and kshetrajna (matter along with its evolutes and the spirit) ज्ञानम् – knowledge  यत् – which ज्ञानम् – knowledge , wisdom or spiritual enlightenment तत् – that ज्ञानम् – wisdom or spiritual enlightenment मम –my मतम् – view.


 O descendent of Bharata (Arjuna), also know me to be the kshetrajna knower of field) in all kshetras. The knowledge of kshetra and kshetrajna is deemed by me as constituting true wisdom.


क्षेत्रज्ञम् च अपि माम्  विद्धि सर्वक्षेत्रेषु भारत ।

– Know that I am knower of the field as well.  The lord declares that he is the jivatma as well as paramatma. The Lord declares that he is the soul as well as oversoul. The apparent difference between them is due to the association of the soul with the matter. This stanza refers to the omniscient nature of spirit. He alone is manifested as countless souls. There is millions of bodies but the soul in all is the same. A possessor of true wisdom is one who understands that God is the only kshetrajna singularly present in all sentient and insentient bodies.   Here Krshna is confirming the declarations made in Shruti such as तत्वमसि, सर्वम् खल्विदम् ब्रम्ह.        

क्षेत्रक्षेत्रज्ञयोः ज्ञानम् यत् ज्ञानम् मतम् मम ॥  

 The kshetra or the body is liable to come and go, material in constitution, transient, and finite. The Kshetrajna on the other hand, is the eternal and conscious  subject,  immutable and has no birth and death. He is always the same. The

human mind is conditioned to believe in the testimony of the senses with their substantive proof that “I” exist, perceive, feel and think; one therefore concludes that he is the feeler and enjoyer. In the opinion of the lord knowledge or wisdom consists in realization of this truth that the body is mutating and the self is permanent.

Chinmayananda has given a beautiful explanation, “In this mechanical age, it is very easy to understand that there must be a ‘field’ for energy to play in, and that, then alone it can manifest as work done and serve man. Steam energy cannot be resolved into locomotion unless it is made to pass through a steam engine. Electricity cannot give us breeze unless it passes through the machine of a fan. The equipments (or assembly of matter layers), through which Life passes when an individuality is expressed, are defined here by Krishna as the “Field.” The dynamic spirit which prompts the ‘field’ into activity is ‘kshetrajna’


VERSE – 13:04

The Field and its modifications and the spledour of kshetrajna is explainedतत्क्षेत्रं यच्च यादृक्च यद्विकारि यतश्च यत् ।स च यो यत्प्रभावश्च तत्समासेन मे शृणु ॥१३:४॥ 

tatkṣētraṁ yacca yādr̥kca yadvikāri yataśca yat |

sa ca yō yatprabhāvaśca tatsamāsēna mē śr̥ṇu ||13:4||


तत् क्षेत्रम् यत् च यादृक् च  यद्विकारि यतः  च यत् ।

सः च यः यत् प्रभावः च तत् समासेन मे शृणु ॥ 


तत् -that क्षेत्रम् – field यत् -which च – and यादृक् – what it is like च and यद्विकारी – with what modifications यत् – whence(from where, from what origin) च – and यत् – what सः – he (Kshetrajna) च – and यः – who  यत् प्रभावः -what are his powers, splendour  च -and (finally) तत् – that (kshetrajna or soul) समासेन – in brief मे – from me शृणु – hear


What the field is, what it is like, what its transformations are, where its source is, who that creator is (kshetrajna), and what His powers are, hear all these from me in brief.


तत् क्षेत्रम् यत् च यादृक् च  यद्विकारि यतः च यत् ।

तत् क्षेत्रम् यत् -The adjective तत् क्षेत्रम् indicates that the Lord wants to continue the discussion about Kshetra started in the previous shloka. The lord has explained the details of Kshetra in verse 6.

यादृक् – What the kshetra is like?; Means its attributes, cause effect principle. This has been explained in verses 27 and 28 of this chapter by declaring all created beings as liable to appear and disappear.

यद्विकारी – What are the modifications, transformations or

evolutes of kshetra? This has been explained in verse 6 as being subject to changes either favourable or unfavourable.

यतः   यत् – from where or what origin; by combination of matter and soul. This has been explained in second half of verse 20 and first half of verse 21. Kshetra is a conglomeration of 5 gross elements, prana, senses and other things.

सः – he (Kshetrajna) jiva or paramatma. His true character has been declared by lord as rooted in matter and and existing in his real state. In support of his statement that the Kshetrajna is rooted in the matter, the lord gives several examples such as – 1. He undergoes experiences of pain and pleasureसुखदुःखानाम् भोक्तृत्वे हेतुरुच्यते ॥१३:२१॥) 2. He takes birth in good and evil wombs

कारणम् गुणसङ्गोऽस्य सदसद्योनिजन्मसु ॥१३:२२॥)

In support of his statement that still he exists in his real

unattached, untainted state

शरीरस्थोऽपि कौन्तेय न करोति न लिप्यते॥१३:३२॥

the following examples are given –

  1. Detached beholder, consenter, great Lord etc. (उपद्रष्टानुमन्ता….देहेऽस्मिन्पुरुषः परः॥१३:२३॥)
  2. Verses 28 to 30 explain that the same lord resides in all


यत्प्रभावश्च – This refers to kshetrajna. The glory of Kshetrajna has been explained in in verse 32 to 33 as anadi, nirguna and non -attached like the space.


VERSE – 13:05

The knowledddge about kshetra and kshetrajnya has been extensively

 discussed in vedic chants and brahmasutras

ऋषिभिर्बहुधा गीतं छन्दोभिर्विविधैः पृथक् ।ब्रह्मसूत्रपदैश्चैव हेतुमद्भिर्विनिश्चितैः ॥१३:५॥

r̥ṣibhirbahudhā gītaṁ chandōbhirvividhaiḥ pr̥thak |

brahmasūtrapadaiścaiva hētumadbhirviniścitaiḥ ||13:5||


ऋषिभिः बहुधा गीतम् छन्दोभिः विविधैः  पृथक् ।

ब्रह्मसूत्रपदैः च एव  हेतुमद्भिः विनिश्चितैः ॥ 

ऋषिभिः -by the rishis बहुधा – in many ways गीतम् – sung छन्दोभिः – in vedic chants विविधैः – various पृथक् – distinictive ब्रम्हसूत्रपदैः – in bramhasutras च – and एव – even हेतुमद्भिः – the logical and reasoning texts विनिश्चितैः – has been discussed.

 The knowledge about the kshetra and kshetrajna (field of activities and the knower of activities) has been expounded by the seers in many ways; again it has been separately stated in the Vedic chants and also in the conclusive and reasoned texts of Bramhasutras. ऋषिभिः बहुधा गीतम् छन्दोभिः विविधैः  पृथक्The Lord says, Arjuna, “the knowledge about the field and knower of field that I am now going to explain to you is not my own opinion. It has already been expouned in many ways by the Rishis like Vashishta, in the Mantra and Bramhanas of the Vedas and also in Upanishads. छन्दोभिर्विविधैः पृथक् – This  refrs to four vedas, (Rik, yajur, Sama and Atharva) The Lord quotes authorities and evidences in support of his opinion; an opinon without an evidence or authority is like a fake currency. 

VERSE – 13:06

The 24 evolutes of Kshetra are it nature (swarupa) महाभूतान्यहंकारो बुद्धिरव्यक्तमेव च ।इन्द्रियाणि दशैकं च पञ्च चेन्द्रियगोचराः ॥१३:६॥ 

mahābhūtānyahaṁkārō buddhiravyaktamēva ca |

indriyāṇi daśaikaṁ ca pañca cēndriyagōcarāḥ ||13:6||


महाभूतानि अहंकारः बुद्धिः अव्यक्तम् एव च ।

इन्द्रियाणि दश एकम् च पञ्च च इन्द्रियगोचराः ॥ 


महाभूतानि – the five great elements अहंकारः – the ego बुद्धिः – the intellect अव्यक्तम्  – the unmanifested, primordial moola prakruti एव – even च – and  इन्द्रियाणि – the senses दश एकम् च –ten and one trhat is mind च – and  पञ्च – the  five च – and इन्द्रियगोचराः – objects of senses (perceived by senses)


The Kshetra and its modifications are composed of the five great elements, egoism, the intellect, the unmanifested (mula prakrati, undifferentiated nature), the ten senses, and the one sense that is mind, and the five objects of senses.                                                                               

This is the lord’s reply for the question तत् क्षेत्रम् यत्  – What the field is?

महाभूतानि अहंकारः बुद्धिः अव्यक्तम् एव च ।

महाभूतानि – Space, air, fire, water and earth. They are the rudimentary elements – tanmatras. Out of their combinations are produced, the perceptiblce (इन्द्रियगोचराः) the grosser elements. (śrōtraṁ tvak cakṣu: rasanā ghrāṇam iti paṁca jñānēndriyāṇi )

अहंकारः – ego is an aspect of the cosmic mind. The sense of “I” arises with our identification with the world of objects (तादात्म्य). It is the ego which sufferes or enjoys the world and emotions. (Joy, sorrow, love, hatred etc,) It is like a post to which is anchored all our conditionings (upadhis) like mind and intellect.  This is indeed outside us but we are inseperably identified with it .

बुद्धिः – the intellect –

अव्यक्तम् –The unmanifested; Primordial moola prakrati called as maya by advaitins. It has been referred to as Mahad, or  Brahma in chapter 14 and as prakrati in verse 19 of this chapter.

इन्द्रियाणि दश  – the ten senses – five organs of action and five of perception. The tongue, hands, and feet, generative organ and organ of defecation – these are the five organs of action. Touch, taste, sound, sight, and smell constitute the five organs of perception. These are together called as ten sense organs. (pañcakarmēndriyāṇi vāk-pāṇi-pāda-pāyū-upasthāni –iti)

एकञ्च – (The one ekam) This refers to the mind which is also a sense organ.

पञ्च चेन्द्रियगोचराः (the five objects of senses) – Each sense organ has one definite field of sense objectes to perceive. The eyes can perceive forms, the ears listen to the sound, the nose can smell, the tongue can taste, and skin feels the touch. (शब्द, रूप, रस, स्पर्श,  गन्ध    śabda rūpa, rasa sparśa  gandha )

The total aggregate of the above 24 distorting cosmic qualities created the objective Kshetra or physical body. All these 24 qualities belong to the domain of the prakruti or nature but not purusha or the kshetrajna.


Components of the nature or prakrati



Five subtle elements






The unmanisfested


Ten sense organs




Five sense objects





VERSE – 13:07

The evolutes of field

इच्छा द्वेषः सुखं दुःखं संघातश्चेतना धृतिः ।एतत्क्षेत्रं समासेन सविकारमुदाहृतम् ॥१३:७॥

icchā dvēṣaḥ sukhaṁ duḥkhaṁ saṁghātaścētanā dhr̥tiḥ |

ētatkṣētraṁ samāsēna savikāramudāhr̥tam ||13:7||


इच्छा द्वेषः सुखम् दुःखम् संघातः चेतना धृतिः ।

एतत् क्षेत्रम्  समासेन सविकारम् उदाहृतम् ॥  


इच्छा – desire द्वेषः – hatred सुखम् – pleasure दुखम्  – pain संघातः – the aggregate the body चेतना  – consciousness धृतिः – fortitude (will power) एतम् – this क्षेत्रम् – field – समासेन – briefly सविकारम् – with modifications उदाह्रुतम् – has been described


Desire, hatred, pleasure, pain, the physical body, intelligence and will power – these are the evolutes or modifications of Kshetra.


इच्छा द्वेषः सुखम् दुःखम् संघातः चेतना धृतिः ।

इच्छा – or desire is a passionate longing for acquisition of an objet for the gratification of pleasure. It is an evolute of mind and therefore considered as kshetra.

 Desire is a function of the mind and the intellect, which creates a longing for the acquisition of an object, a situation, a person, etc.  In discussing the body, we would probably take desire for granted, but imagine how different the nature of life would have been if there were no desire.  So the

Supreme Lord, who designed the field of activities and

included desire as a part of it, naturally makes special mention of it.  The intellect analyses the desirability of an object, and the mind harbors its desire.  When one becomes self-realized, all material desires are extinguished, and now the purified mind harbors the desire for God.  While material desires are the cause of bondage, spiritual desires lead to liberation. -Swami Mukundanada.

द्वेषः – Aversion, hatredness or Antipathy towards a thing which one consideres as causing him pain. Animosity, jealously, hatred and anger are some of its modifications.

सुखम् – The pleasurable feeling aroused in the mind  by the presence of an agreeable thing or by the abscence of one which is disagreeable, is called Sukha. It being a modification of the mind is also regarded as kshetra.

दुखम् – The agony caused in the mind by the presence of

disagreeable  or removal of agreeable.

संघातः – The agregate of five sense elements which is visible to the eyes;. Physical body, being modifications of 5 elements it is considered kshetra.

चेतना – This is the cognizing capacity of the body and mind; also a modification of mind. This should not be confused with चेतना or consciousness which is the quality of Brahman.

धृतिः – persistence or fortitude denotes firmness. It is the will power


The Process of Knowledge (Jnanam) (8 -12)

VERSE – 13:08

Nine qualities of a sage

अमानित्वमदम्भित्वमहिंसा क्षान्तिरार्जवम् ।आचार्योपासनं शौचं स्थैर्यमात्मविनिग्रहः ॥१३:८॥  

amānitvamadambhitvamahiṁsā kṣāntirārjavam |

ācāryōpāsanaṁ śaucaṁ sthairyamātmavinigrahaḥ ||13:8||


अमानित्वम् अदम्भित्वम् अहिंसा क्षान्तिः आर्जवम् ।

आचार्योपासनम्  शौचम् स्थैर्यम् आत्मविनिग्रहः ॥


अमानित्वम् – Humility (absence of pride) अदम्भित्त्वम् – unpretending अहिंसा – non -injury क्षान्तिः – forgiveness आर्जवम् – uprightness (straight forward) अचार्योपासनम् – service to the teacher शौचम् – purity स्थैर्यम् – steadfastness of mind  आत्मविनिग्रहः – self control (control of, mind ,body, and senses)


Humility, unpretentiousness, harmlessness, forgiveness, uprightness, service to the guru, purity of mind, body and senses, steadfastness, and self control Now the Lord sets out to describe Jnana and Jneya in verses 8 to 10. Having described the nature of the Kshetra, the “field”, Krishna now speaks of jnana or true knowledge whose qualitites are manifested by the sage. These should be guidance for emulation by the seekers.

अमानित्वम् – This is the 1st requirement. Manitva or self -esteem is the attitude that ‘every one should honour me, I am the learned man in this congregation, the admirations, adorations, adulations and titles are my entire domain’. A learned man never goes after ficlkle human honours; the least or the highest price is the same to him. He lives in the service of God. Amanitva is the absence such a supercilous attitude. A sage has simple living and high thinking. Look at water. It saves life. But it has no shape of its own. It takes the shape of the container. A seeker should never try to blow his own trumpet. Your good quality will in course of time save you just as a seed sown in the ground grows up to a tree.

अदम्भित्त्वम् – This is the 2nd quality. Dambha is pretentiousness; a hypocryte. He pretends to be a devout man, wise or rich man, saint, yogi, a politician, a good samaritan etc; his ulterior motive is to get profit by cheating unsuspecting

victims. Adambhitva denotes complete absence of hypocracy. Keeping my good quality under wrap is modesty, whereas disclosing my weakness is unpretnetiousness.

अहिंसा –This is the 3rd requiste for devine grace; harmlessness, absence of violence, or infliction of pain for any creature by body, speech, or mind. He does not harbour ill -will to any one. Seeing God in all he does not abuse or vilify another by uttering harsh or harmful words, or giving a physical blow.

क्षान्तिः This is the 4th prerequisite. Kshanti means forebearence or forgiveness. The sage refuses to recognise the fault of others and he does not entertain the idea of punishing him. He forgets and forgives with the hope that the wrong doer will improve by this incident.

A priest in a church was popular because of his virtue and skilful delivering. A lot of people attended his congregation. A theif was also attending and once in a while stole during service. No amount of counselling by the priest would help. So the people said to the priest “Please expel this guy”. The preist said. “No”. the priest said, “in that case Sir, all of us will leave” The priest said, “Look all of you know that stealing is a sin. My duty is to teach this man the virtue of honest  living. Please forgive him”. At that, the thief started crying and he never stole again.

आर्जवम् – This is the 5th qualification’ uprightness of mind, speech and behaviour. He has no crookedness. His dealings are wholly free from duplicity and dishonesty. He is always aboveboard.

अचार्योपासनम् -service to the Guru is the 6th quality for

spiritual growth. He recognizes the guru as the mesenger of God and the channel of salvation. He is devouted to the guru and serves him with body, speech and mind.

शौचम् – Cleanliness or purity is the 7th essential qualification for upliftment. . Purity of money comes by honest and truthful dealings.  Purity of food is ensured by well earned money. Conduct is purified by correct and appropriate behaviour and Dharma. Body is purified by cleaning with water. Internal purity comes when the mind is purged of all evils, prejudices, and partiality. Shaucha includes both external and internal purity.

There is a story. Once all the pandavas went on pilgrimage. They invited Krishna to join them. The latter politely declined but instead handed a bitter -gourd to Dharmaraja, the Pandava prince. Krishna said, “Please take this with you and bathe it in all the rivers and ponds you bathe and give it the holy darshan of God”. After a few months, the Pandavas returned to the capital and invited many guests and Krishna for a celebration. After dinner Krishna enquired about the bitter -gourd. The Pandava prince said, ‘Krishna, your gourd has also completed the pilgrimage”. Krishna promptly gave a piece of the bitter gourd to the Pandavas as Prasad. Naturally it was bitter.Then Krishna is reported to have said,” What is the use of pilgrimage and bathing if the inner bitter has not gone”?

स्थैर्यम् – This is the 8th sine qua non for spiritual realization; firmness is remaining unshaken to one’s sacred obligations and duties even in the midst of trials and tribulations; not giving in to lust, anger, fear or greed and  fickleness  of mind. 

आत्मविनिग्रहः – control over the mind, sense and body is the 9th obligatory need for growth.  The yogi is the master of the mind. It obeys all his commands. It can no longer entangle him into the cobweb of sensual pleasures. He remains calm and cool and takes correct decisions without distorment of mind.

Once a disciple asked Sant Kabir,” Guruji, I try a lot but I am not able to restrain my mind”; to which Kabir said, “मन गए तो जाने दो, तन को मत छोडो” (let the mind vacillate, do not let go of the body). The technique is to control the gross body first and gradually the subtle senses.


VERSE – 13:09

Renunciation and freedom from egoism are important tools for gaining knowledge

इन्द्रियार्थेषु वैराग्यमनहंकार एव च ।जन्ममृत्युजराव्याधिदुःखदोषानुदर्शनम् ॥१३:९॥ 

indriyārthēṣu vairāgyamanahaṁkāra ēva ca |

janmamr̥tyujarāvyādhiduḥkhadōṣānudarśanam ||13:9||


इन्द्रियार्थेषु वैराग्यम् अनहंकार एव च ।

जन्ममृत्युजराव्याधि दुःखदोषानुदर्शनम् ॥  


इन्द्रियार्थेषु  – sense objects (objects of enjoyment) वैराग्यम्  – dispassion अनहन्करः – absence of egoism एव – even च – and जन्मम्रुत्युजराव्याधिदुखःदोशनुदर्शनम् – understanding the evils of in birth, death, old age, sickness, and pain


Indifference to sense objects, absence of egotism, understanding the inherent evils in birth, death, old age, and illness inherent in mortal life


इन्द्रियार्थेषु वैराग्यम् Indifference to sense objects is listed as 10th essential need for Vairagya.  There are five senses and five sense objects. The deer is enamoured by the sound, the elephant by touch of the female, the moth by the sight of the light, the fish is tempted by the taste of the bait, and the moth is trapped by the fragrance of the flower. Each of these is tricked by a single sense, what about man who is enchanted by all the five sense objects?  Indriyaarthas are no purusharthas. The sense objects are means of pleasure, which is shortlived in nature and ultimately end up as evil. Dispassion to objects of pleasure and absence of ego leads to Godhood.

“कुरंगमातंगपतंगभृंग मीना हताः पंचभिरेव पन्च”

Viveka Chudamani

अनहन्करःthe absence of identification with mind, body and intellect is listed as the 11th condition for realization. Once bhakta kankadas was asked by his Guru whether after death he thinks he would go to heaven. Kanadadas said’ “Master,” If “I goes I may go”.


जन्मम्रुत्युजराव्याधिदुखःदोशनुदर्शनम् This is the 12th quality of a realized man. A wise aspiring man ponders over the transitory nature of the body and its modifications since birth filled with grief and pain. He realizes therefore that except for the self there is nothing in this world which is free from the above four evils. 


VERSE – 13:10

The absence of attachment and even mindedness are hallmarks in God-realizationअसक्तिरनभिष्वङ्गः पुत्रदारगृहादिषु ।नित्यं च समचित्तत्वमिष्टानिष्टोपपत्तिषु ॥१३:१०॥ 

asaktiranabhiṣvaṅgaḥ putradāragr̥hādiṣu |

nityaṁ ca samacittatvamiṣṭāniṣṭōpapattiṣu ||13:10||


असक्तिः अनभिष्वङ्गः पुत्रदारगृहादिषु ।

नित्यम् च समचित्तत्वम् इष्टानिष्टोपपत्तिषु ॥ 


असक्तिः – absence of attachment अनभिष्वङ्गः – absence of feeling of myness पुत्रदारग्रुहादिशु – in respectof  son, wife, home etc., नित्यम् – constant च – and समचित्वम् – even mindedness इष्टानिष्टोपपत्तिषु – on the attainment of favourable or unfavourable


Non – attachment, non -identification of self with One’s children, wife, and home; Continuous even mindedness in desireable and undesirable circumstances;


असक्तिः – This is the 13th quality of a realized man. The sense of extreme liking is called attachment. Attachmet to any objct or a person militates against advancement in spirituality. Krishna recommends that a Yogi consciously detach from all objects and relations even as he serves them deligently. He performs his role as a duty to God.  He knows that any moment he can be dispossed of them by Divine will. A bank cashier counts  thousands of notes in his career. He does not get attachmed to so much of wealth. He knows it does not belong to him. On the day of retirement, he has no regrets. It is because he has no attachment or  mamakakara.


पुत्रदारग्रुहादिशु  अनभिष्वङ्गः This is 14th prerequisite for 

divine knowledge; Non -identification with close relatives. Although this quality is covered by असक्ति special mention has been made. Even after one develops dispassion for other

objects he may have a lurking interest in personal associations. Even this has to be dropped. Even as Lord Rama was getting ready for coronation, a word came from his step mother that he should retire to the forest and abdicate throne. Rama said ‘yes’ to his mother. His attitude was पुत्रदारग्रुहादिशु अनभिष्वङ्गः


नित्यम् समचित्वम्  इष्टानिष्टोपपत्तिषु – even – mindedness towards favourable or unfavourable circumstances for ever. This is the 15th quality. In the field of spirituality there is no room for the ‘pairs of opposits’. Normally, occurance of agreeable happenings or disappearances of disagreeable ones make one happy (Ishta). Similarly disappearance of what is agreeable, and appearance of what is disagreeable is unwelcome. (Anishta) A yogi keeps his mind cool and composed in both the circumstance. Praise does not elevate him or a snub depresses him. He is equipoised always.


VERSE – 13:11

The importrance of unflinching devotion and practicing in secluded places

मयि चानन्ययोगेन भक्तिरव्यभिचारिणी ।विविक्तदेशसेवित्वमरतिर्जनसंसदि ॥१३:११॥ 

mayi cānanyayōgēna bhaktiravyabhicāriṇī |

viviktadēśasēvitvamaratirjanasaṁsadi ||13:11||


मयि च अनन्ययोगेन भक्तिः अव्यभिचारिणी ।

विविक्तदेशसेवित्वम् अरतिः  जनसंसदि ॥ 


मयि – to me च – and अनन्ययोगेन – through exclusive attachment of mind भक्तिः – devotion अव्यभिचारिणी – unflinching विविक्तदेशसेवित्वम् – living in secluded places अरतिः – absence of enjoyment जनसम्सदि – in the company of men


Unswerving devotion unto me by exclusive attachment, resort to solitary places, distate for the company of wordly men,


मयि च अनन्ययोगेन भक्तिः अव्यभिचारिणी

This is 16th requirement for spiritual uplift. Anaya yoga

implies that there is some body else. Ananya yoga means that there is none other than God (अन्यथा शरणम् नास्ति, त्वमेव शरणम् मम). Bhakti means devotion or extreme love.  

The love towards God should be अव्यभिचारिणी – unadulterated. Therefore this phrase means focused on God exclusively as one’s sole lord, mother, father, friend and benefactor. He contemplates on him with steady, onsummate love for god. त्वमेव मताच पिता त्वमेव त्वमेव बन्धुश्च सकलम् त्वमेव

विविक्तदेशसेवित्वम् – 17th qualification. The seeker practices meditation in solitary places away from the humdrum of activity and distraction. These include banks of a river, under a tree in the courtyard of a temple, seat of realized persons, sacred woodland, a mountain cave etc.  Like a lion he loves solitary places.

अरतिः जनसम्सदि  -18th quality. While he avoids the company of wordly men, he joins the company of sadhakas. He is not lonely but wants to be let alone with self as company. Such a company is called सत्संग. Association with knowledgable people has been give importance in spiritualty. The hunter valmiki became a saint by company of Narada.    

सत्सङ्गत्वे निस्स्ङ्गत्वं निस्सङ्गत्वे निर्मोहत्वम् ।

निर्मोहत्वे निश्चलतत्त्वं निश्चलतत्त्वे जीवन्मुक्तिः ॥ Bh. Go ९॥


VERSE – 13:12

Perseverence in self-knowledge and seeing God as the end of

knowledge is wisdom, all others are ignorance.

अध्यात्मज्ञाननित्यत्वं तत्त्वज्ञानार्थदर्शनम् ।एतज्ज्ञानमिति प्रोक्तमज्ञानं यदतोऽन्यथा ॥१३:१२॥ 

adhyātmajñānanityatvaṁ tattvajñānārthadarśanam |

ētajjñānamiti prōktamajñānaṁ yadatō’nyathā ||13:12||


अध्यात्मज्ञाननित्यत्वम् तत्त्वज्ञानार्थदर्शनम् ।

एतत् ज्ञानम् इति प्रोक्तम् अज्ञानम् यत् अतः अन्यथा ॥ 


अध्यात्मज्ञ्याननित्वत्वम् – constancy in self -knowledge तत्त्वज्ञानार्थदर्शनम् – seeing God as the end of true knowledge एतत् – this ज्ञानम् -knowledge इति – thus प्रोक्तम् – declared अज्ञानम् – ignorance यत्  – which than this अतः  -to it अन्यथा  – other


Perseverernce in self -knowledge and seeing God as the end result of all learning,; all these qualities constitute wisdom, and what is opposed to it is ignorance.


अध्यात्मज्ञाननित्यत्वम् – consistency in self -knowledge is the 19th quality. The knowledge which gives us wareness about atma vastu and anatma vastu is adhyatma jnyana. By the study of scriptures and teaching of Guru, the sadhaka comes to know that the self or the spirit is eternal. All other objects appear and disappear but it is the self alone that is present in all periods of time. The self has absolutely no relation with them. Adhyatma jnyana thus consists in realising the eternal truth about self.

तत्त्वज्ञानार्थदर्शनम् – 20th quality which means seeing God as the object of true knowledge. The object of true knowledge is realization of Brahman or God who is truth, consciousness and bliss solidified. सच्चिदानन्द.

एतत् ज्ञानम् इति प्रोक्तम् अज्ञानम् यत् अतः अन्यथा –All this is declared as knowledge. What is antithesis to it is called ignorance. These are the twenty characters of the wise; all other characters are otherwise.  The twenty virtues enumberated in preceding verses 8 to the present one 12, are conductive to the attainment of jnyana or knowledge.  Constant practices of these virtues lead one to the subjective wisdom that kshetra and kshtrajna are one and the same as declared by the Lord in verse 13:3

क्षेत्रक्षेत्रज्ञयोः ज्ञानम् यत् ज्ञानम् मतम् मम

The opposite of these virtues viz., Superciliousness,

hypocrisy, violence, anger, duplicity, crookedness, malice,

impurity, fikleness, covetousness, attachment, egotism, the sense of mineness, differentiation, impiety (lack of reverence to God) association with evil men, are called ignorance. This is the cause of birth and death, which degrades the soul.

A sadhak should try to develop these 20 qualities in his endeavour to attainment of wisdom. If one does not make an attempt he is said to be ignoract.


The Object of Knowledge (Jneyam) (13 -19) –

VERSE – 13:13

That which is to be known is the supreme spirit. It is neither  existent nor non-existentज्ञेयं यत्तत्प्रवक्ष्यामि यज्ज्ञात्वामृतमश्नुते ।अनादि मत्परं ब्रह्म न सत्तन्नासदुच्यते ॥१३:१३॥

jñēyaṁ yattatpravakṣyāmi yajjñātvāmr̥tamaśnutē |

anādi matparaṁ brahma na sattannāsaducyatē ||13:13||


ज्ञेयम् यत् तत्  प्रवक्ष्यामि यत् ज्ञात्वा अमृतम् अश्नुते ।

अनादिमत्   परम्  ब्रह्म न सत् तत् न असत् उच्यते ॥  

ज्ञेयम्  -worth knowing यत्  -which  तत्  – that प्रवक्ष्यामि  – I shall speak at length यत्  – which ज्ञात्वा – having known अमृतम् – immortality अश्नुते  – one attains अनादिमत्  – the beginningless परम्  – supreme ब्रह्म  – Brahman न  – neither सत्  – being तत्  – that न  – not असत् –non -being उच्यते  – is called 


I will tell you that which is to be known, because such knowledge bestows immortality. Hear about the beginingless supreme spirit; He who is spoken of as neither existent (sat) nor non -existent (asat)


ज्ञेयम् यत् तत्  प्रवक्ष्यामि यत् ज्ञात्वा अमृतम् अश्नुते

I shall now tell you that which is to be known. Krishna has so far discussed about क्षेत्र क्षेत्रज्ञ and ज्ञान. The 20 qualities explained in verses 7 to 11 are indicators of knowledge.  Rest are ignorance. Do we get knowledge by reading these 20 characters? Yes we obtained intellectual knowledge. Real knowledge comes from transformation of our mind. We have to cultivaate the qualities such as अमानित्वम् अदम्भित्वम् to obtain this transformation. This knowledge is called ज्ञेयम् or to be known. It is not a subject of understanding. It is just existence.

Such a knowledge bestows immortality. The word jneyam is the synonym for kshetrajna mentioned earlier by Krishna.

After finishing his commentery on matter (Kshetra) the Lord now sets out to describe Kshetrajna

यत् ज्ञ्यात्वा  अम्रुतम् अश्नुते  – knowing which one attains immortality. Mortality is the destiny of matter. By the knowledge of what I am going to tell you right now one attains immortality. That means he becomes free from the chains of birth and death. The Man comes to this mortal world to become immortal.

अनादिमत्   परम्  ब्रह्म न सत् तत् न असत् उच्यते ॥  

beginingless supreme spirit. The spirit or the highest Brahman has no begining or end. He is neither existent nor non-existent

सत् तत् असत् उच्यते  – That spoken of as neither existent nor non -existent. That which is established by proof is called ‘sat’ (Being, existent). That which cannot be established by proof is called ‘asat’ (non- existent). These conscepts are the judgements of the human mind. The consciousness that illumines these concepts is indeed the self. The illuminator and the illumined field cannot be one and the same. Therefore Brahman who is the very subject, as  opposed to all objects whose existence could be proved, can only be neither ‘sat’ nor ‘asat’. He is beyond creation, causless cause, without attributes, eludes classification either as ‘sat or ‘asat’. ’

Swami Muktananda: Day and night are like two sides of the same coin for one cannot exist without the other.  We can only say it is day in some place if night too falls in that place.  But if there is no night, then there is no day either; there is only perpetual light.  Similarly, in the case of Brahman, the word “existence” is not descriptive enough.  Shree Krishna says that Brahman is beyond the relative terms of existence and non-existence. 

The Brahman, in Its formless and attributeless aspect, is the object of worship of the jñānīs.  In Its personal form, as Bhagavān, it is the object of worship of the bhaktas.  Residing within the body, It is known as Paramātmā.  All these are three manifestations of the same Supreme Reality.  Later, in verse 14.27, Shree Krishna states:  brahmao hi pratihhāham  “I am the basis of the formless Brahman.” Thus, the formless Brahman and the personal form of God are both two aspects of the Supreme Entity.  Both exist everywhere, and hence they both can be called all-pervading. 


VERSE – 13:14

The universal form of God is explainedसर्वतः पाणिपादं तत्सर्वतोऽक्षिशिरोमुखम् ।सर्वतः श्रुतिमल्लोके सर्वमावृत्य तिष्ठति ॥१३:१४॥  sarvatah pani -padam tat sarvato ’ksi -shiro -mukham
sarvatah shrutimalloke sarvam avrtya tishthati  13 -14

सर्वतः पाणिपादम् तत् सर्वतोऽक्षिशिरोमुखम् ।

सर्वतः श्रुतिमत् लोके  सर्वम् आवृत्य तिष्ठति ॥ 


सर्वतः  – everywhere पाणिपादम् – with hands and feet सर्वतः  -everywhere अक्षिशिरोमुखम् – with eyes, head and mouth सर्वतः  -everywhere श्रुतिमत् – with ears लोके – in the world सर्वम्  – all आवृत्य – having enveloped तिष्ठति – exists


He dwells in the world, enveloping all, everywhere, His hands and feet, His eyes and ears, His mouth and heads, present on all sides.  The subject of discussion here is kshetrajna or jneya. The scriptures have adopted a technique of explaining the unknown and unmanifested through a known object. It is called Shakha Chandra Nyaya (शाखाचन्द्र न्याय). If you want to show a streak of crescent in the horizon, what you do is to take the support of a large tree and indicate that the moon is right over the tip of its particular branch. Similarly in the three verses from 14 to 17 the Lord gives us the indications of the Brahman. He describes the macrocosmic nature of God. ”Arjuna, the absolute Brahman has the hands and legs everywhere. All the heads, eyes, ears of the beings belong to him. He pervades everywhere.” Just as the gold in all gold ornamenrts are made of gold; the objects in cosmos are supported by God. In other words he is present in all names and forms. Pursuha sukta says – ” सहस्र शीर्षः पुरुषः सहस्राक्ष सहस्रपात्”

The lord is not a person with sense organs, but the very consciousness or the light of all lights. He is therefore aware of the thought and sensory perceptions of every being. He is the consciousness because of which all the perceptions of the body take place. The reference to hands and feet, head, ears and mouth are symbolic to denote the all pervading nature of God.


VERSE – 13:15

Unity of the Lord’s saguna and nirguna formsसर्वेन्द्रियगुणाभासं सर्वेन्द्रियविवर्जितम् ।असक्तं सर्वभृच्चैव निर्गुणं गुणभोक्तृ च ॥१३;१५॥ 

sarvēndriyaguṇābhāsaṁ sarvēndriyavivarjitam |

asaktaṁ sarvabhr̥ccaiva nirguṇaṁ guṇabhōktr̥ ca ||13;15||


सर्वेन्द्रियगुणाभासम् सर्वेन्द्रियविवर्जितम् ।

असकक्तम्  सर्वभृत् च एव निर्गुणम् गुणभोक्तृ च ॥ 


सस्र्वेन्द्रियगुणाभासम् – seeming to perceive  all sense objects सर्वेन्द्रिय विवर्जितम् – yet without the senses असक्तम् – unattached सर्वभृत् – yet supporting all च – and एव – even निर्गुणम् – devoid of qualities गुणभोक्तृ – yet experiencer of qualities च – and


Shining in all the sense faculties, yet transcending them; unattached to creation, yet the sustainer of all, free from the gunas (modes of nature), yet the enjoyer of them


सर्वेन्द्रियगुणाभासम् सर्वेन्द्रियविवर्जितम्

seeming to posses the function of all senses and yet devoid of all senses. Vedanta uses apparent contradictions to explain nature of God. We must know some basic words aropa and svabhava. Aropa is superimposition of triats on God. Svabhava is nature without superimposition of triats. Sarvashaktiman, intelligent, omnipresent etc. are superimposition. His nature or svabhava is he is free from all gunas. The eye sees, the ear hears. These characters are superimposed on Atman. It is also called as upadhi.

Spiritual advice is often paradoxical. A Zen guru advised “you must eat and you mustn’t eat”. What he meant was you must eat when you are hungry just to maintain your body; and you mustn’t eat when you are tempted by the food. In Christian theology the paradoxes like,”music without sound”, with fire that can consume and yet does no harm” are abundant. Krishna’s advice here is, Brahman has all the faculties of senses, but still he is devoid of senses. 

Electricity is not the light of the bulb, but when the power goes off, it appears as though as though electricity is the light in the bulb.

असकक्तम्  सर्वभृत् च एव निर्गुणम् गुणभोक्तृ च

असक्तम्  सर्वभ्रुत्  एव – detached yet upholding all. Parents also sustain the family. The difference is they are attached. Herein lays his transcendence. But God sustains and

nourishes all without attachment. To understand this

phenomenon some examples are often given.

  1. No wave is the ocean. The waves develop, live and die in the ocean. The ocean is not attached to the waves but it supports its origin, growth, and fall.
  2. Cloth is made of cotton; but cloth is not cotton. Yet it is cotton in the cloth that supports the cloth.
  3. Between the ghost and post no attachment is possible. Yet it is the post that supports apprehensions of a ghost.

Similarly, the world of plurality is not consciousness. Yet the consciousness supports it.

निर्गुणम् गुणभोक्तृ च – without gunas, still enjoying all Gunas. This is another example to show the transcendence of God.


VERSE – 13:16

Atman is all pervading. He is inside and outside but not perceivable due to subtlety.बहिरन्तश्च भूतानामचरं चरमेव च ।सूक्ष्मत्वात्तदविज्ञेयं दूरस्थं चान्तिके च तत् ॥१३:१६॥

bahirantaśca bhūtānāmacaraṁ caramēva ca |

sūkṣmatvāttadavijñēyaṁ dūrasthaṁ cāntikē ca tat ||13:16||


बहिः अन्तः च भूतानाम् अचरम् चरम् एव च ।

सूक्ष्मत्वात् अविज्ञेयम्  दूरस्थम् च अन्तिके च तत् ॥ 


भूतानाम् –  बहिः अन्तः च – (The supreme spirit ) lies within and without of all beings अचरम् – inanimate (unmoving) चरम् – animate (moving) एव – also च – and सूक्ष्मत्वात् – because of subtlety तत् – that  अविज्ञेयम् – unknowable दूरस्थम् – is far off च – as well अन्तिके – near तत् -that


Arjuna, the kshetrajna or Brahman is within and without all that exist – the animate and inanimate; he is near and far away, and unknowable because of subtlety.


बहिः अन्तः च भूतानाम् अचरम् चरम् एव च

भूतानाम् बहिः अन्तः च – Just as an iceberg floating in the ocean is pervaded by water inside as well as out side; even so the kshetrajna is inside and outside of all animate and inanimate objects. The space has no distinction as inside and outside. If the walls of a room are pulled down, the space inside and outside become one. It is an account of the wall and roof that he appears as separate. Similarly the self in all is the self in me; it is an account of my conditioning of the body or upadhi  that I do not recognize the all pervading nature of self. The subtle invisible spirit is omnipresent. 

सूक्ष्मत्वात् अविज्ञेयम्  दूरस्थम् च अन्तिके च तत् ॥ 

सूक्ष्मत्वात् तत् अविज्ञेयम्.  –The invisibility is due to subtlety. Brahman is not an object to be perceived. He is the very subject and therefore cannot be perceived with any instrumentation. The grosser an object, the more perceptible it is. Earth can be can be heard (श्रोत्रम्), touched (त्वक्), seen, (चक्शुः) tasted (रसना )and smelt (घ्राणम्), Water is subtler than earth because it lacks the quality of smell (घ्राणम्). Fire lacks the quality of taste and smell (रसना घ्राणम्). So it is subtler than water. Air lacks the quality of sight, smell and taste (चक्शुः रसना घ्राणम् एव च) . So it is much subtler. Finally the space is devoid of all attributes of sight, smell, touch and taste. It has the only attribute of sound. So it is the subtlest of all and all pervading. The Brahman is subtler than the space. So an account of the subtlety he cannot be seen.दूरस्थं चान्तिके च तत् The subtle invisible spirit has no movement. Indeed he has nowhere to go since he is filled up everywhere. Still he appears as so near so far. Krishna has taken this idea from the eshavasyopanishad which says – तदेजति तन्नैजति तद्दूरे तद्वन्तके ।तदन्तस्य सर्वस्य तदु सर्वस्यास्य बाह्यतः ॥ “It moves and it does not move; it is far and near too. It is within this all, as well as without the enire creation”

VERSE – 13: 17

The indivisible kshetrajnya appears as many. But he is one and is the  cause of ceatrion, sustenance and dissolution of world.अविभक्तं च भूतेषु विभक्तमिव च स्थितम् ।भूतभर्तृ च तज्ज्ञेयं ग्रसिष्णु प्रभविष्णु च ॥१३:१७॥ avibhaktam cha bhuteshu vibhaktam iva cha sthitam
bhuta -bhartr cha tajjneyam grasishnu prabhavishnu ca 13 -17

अविभक्तम् – undivided, integral like space च  – and  भूतेषु  -in beings विभक्तम् – divided इव – as if च – and स्थितम् – existing भूतभर्तृ – the supporter of beings च – and  तत् – that ज्ञेयम् – to be known ग्रसिष्णु – devouring प्रभविष्णु –  generating च – and

 He (the kshetrajna), the only object worth knowing, the indivisible one, appears as countless beings; He is the sustainer (as Vishnu); the destroyer (as Shiva) and the creator of all (as Bramha)  अविभक्तं च भूतेषु विभक्तमिव च स्थितम् – undivided and yet he appears as divided. The space although one appears asdivided in the rooms, hall and pot. The electric power although one, appears as different when passed through different gadgets; similarly the supreme Brahman although one appers as different, in various species and objects. अविभक्तं that which is undivided, all pervading.  If you devide a zero as quarter, half and three-fourths every thing becomes zero. If you put astick in flowing water it appears as devided. Only by appearance it looks as if deivided. Similarly, the indivisible spirit appears as devided in the form of different objects and species.  

तत् ज्ञेयम् – That is to be known. The subject of our discussion from verse 13 to 17 is “that which is knowable (ज्ञेयम्). In the four stanzas the lord has explained the attributes of the spirit according to Shakha Chandra Nyaya (शाखाचन्द्र न्याय).


Swami Ramakrishna says, once a king requested a yogi to teach him Brahma jnayna in one single word. At that time a magician entered the court and shouted. “king look here. He started to twisting his two fingers rapidly. Look here, behold, now there are two fingers. By their rapid movement it appeared as one. King, do you understand the meaning? In the begining there were two fingers. Look at them now they have become one. Due to ignorance, the world appears as spirit and matter. After gaining knowledge they appear as one and the same.


VERSE – 13: 18

He is the light of all lights,  he is the knowledge, that is worth knowing and the goalज्योतिषामपि तज्ज्योतिस्तमसः परमुच्यते ।ज्ञानं ज्ञेयं ज्ञानगम्यं हृदि सर्वस्य विष्ठितम् ॥१३:१८॥ jyotisham api tajjyotistamasah paramuchyate
jnanam jneyam jnana -gamyam hridi sarvasya visthitam 13: 18

ज्योतिषाम् – of lights अपि – even तत् – that Kshetrajna ज्योतिः  – light तमसः –from darkness परम्  -beyond उच्यते – is said (to be) ज्ञानम् – knowledge ज्ञेयम् – that which is to be known ज्ञानगम्यम् – the goal of knowledge ह्रुदि –in the heart सर्वस्य –of all विष्तितम् – seated

 That supreme Brahman is said to be the light of all lights, entirely beyond darkness. He is the knowledge itself, the object of knowledge, and the goal of knowledge. He is seated in the hearts of living beings.


ज्योतिषाम् अपि तत्  ज्योतिः – The kshetrajna or the supreme Brahman is the illuminator of all external lights such as the sun, moon, lightning, stars and fire.  He is the illuminator of psychic lights namely, intellect, mind and senses. He is also the cause of all celestial lights in the shape of deities. The power of illumination in all these is just a fraction of God. It is a borrowed power. The Lord is self- effulgent (स्वयम् ज्योति)  and not illuminated by another.


 Kathopanishad says –

न तत्र सूर्यो भाति न चन्द्रतारकं नेमा विद्युतो भान्ति कुतोsयमग्निः

तमेव भान्तमनुभाति सर्वं तस्य भासा सर्वमिदं विभाति ॥


“Neither the sun, nor the moon nor the stars shine in that realm; nor do again lightning flash there. How then can this camphor shed its luster? All these are his refleced light; all these borrow the light from him”.

The lord repeats the same view in Gita 15:12 as under –

यदादित्यगतं तेजो जगत्भासयते अखिलं ।

यच्चन्द्रमसि यच्चाग्नौ तत्तेजो विद्धि मामकम् ॥१५ :१२॥

“The light in the sun, which illumines the entire universe, and that which exists in the moon and the fire, know it to be my effulgence”


तमसः परम् – Beyond darkness. The word tamas refers to ignorance as well as darkness.  The kshetragna being the source of all light is beyond darkness. Light and darkness cannot co -exist.

ज्ञानम् ज्ञेयं ज्ञानगम्यम् – The spirit is knowledge, the only one thing to be known and the goal of all learning.  By practice of good moral characters listed from verse 8 to 11 (अमानित्वमदम्भित्वमहिंसा क्षान्तिरार्जवम्), jiva expands into omnipresence; the sentient intelligence expands to infinite wisdom; enters into my being”, says the Lord.

सर्वस्य हृदि विष्ठितम् – Where to find him? He stays in the heart of everyone. We need not go elsewhere in search of him. We just have to searh inside us. The God who shines in the heart of every one is right there. That is why we close our eyes while praying. Some people close therir ears. Some raise their hands up and look at the sky. God is right inside our heart. That is why he is called अंतर्यामी


VERSE – 13: 19

One who understands the field, nature of knowledge and object of knowledge becomes freeइति क्षेत्रं तथा ज्ञानं ज्ञेयं चोक्तं समासतः ।मद्भक्त एतद्विज्ञाय मद्भावायोपपद्यते ॥१३:१९॥


iti kṣētraṁ tathā jñānaṁ jñēyaṁ cōktaṁ samāsataḥ |

madbhakta ētadvijñāya madbhāvāyōpapadyatē ||13:19||



इति क्षेत्रम् तथा ज्ञानम् ज्ञेयम् च उक्तम् समासतः ।

मद्भक्तः एतत् विज्ञाय मद्भावाय उपपद्यते ॥


इति -thus क्षेतम् – the field तथा – as well as ज्ञानम् – knowledge ज्ञेयम् -the knowable च -and उक्तम् – have been stated समासतः – briefly मद्भक्तः -my devotee एतत् -this विज्ञाय – knowing मद्भावायः – to my being उपपद्यते – enters


I have briefly described the field, the nature of wisdom, and the object of wisdom. Understanding these, my devotee enters my being.


इति क्षेतम् तथा ज्ञानम् ज्ञेयम् उक्तम् समासतः –I have thus described briefly kshetra (the field), jnyanam (knowledge), and jnyeyam (the object of knowledge). Particulars about the field and its evolutes have been described in verses 5 and 6. Twenty accessories to knowledge have been discussed in verse 7 to 11. The true character of God, who is the only subject worth knowing, is discussed in verse 12 to 17 above.

Krishna discusses about the  three factos necessary for self knowledge. These are the field, nature of knowledge and

object of knowledge (क्षेत्र, ज्ञान and ज्ञेय).  One who learns these three factors, goes into the nature of God. He becomes free.

मद्भक्त एतद्विज्ञाय मद्भावायोपपद्यते – My devotee that means the sadhaka who treads the path of knowledge and completely surrenders to me enters into my being. He becomes one with me. Just as the rivers entering the ocean lose their identity, the seeker loses his individual identification and expands into infinite wisdom.

This is the concluding verse. The Lord now starts the next subject of prakrati and purusha


VERSE – 13: 20

Material Nature, the Soul, and the Brahaman (20 -26) –

The matter and spirit are both beginningless. Their evoutes like lust and greed and three gunas are   born of the matter

प्रकृतिं पुरुषं चैव विद्ध्यनादी उभावपि ।विकारांश्च गुणांश्चैव विद्धि प्रकृतिसंभवान् ॥१३:२०॥

prakr̥tiṁ puruṣaṁ caiva viddhyanādī ubhāvapi |

vikārāṁśca guṇāṁścaiva viddhi prakr̥tisaṁbhavān ||13:20||


प्रकृतिम् पुरुषम् च एव विद्धि अनादी उभौ अपि ।

विकारान् च गुणान् च एव विद्धि प्रकृतिसंभवान् ॥  

प्रक्रुतिम् – Prakrati or matter पुरुषम् – Purusha the spirit च -and एव – even विद्धि –know अनादी – beginingless उभौ – both of them अपि – also विकारान् – modifications; evolutes च – and गुणान् – 3 gunas or attributes च – and एव – even विद्धि – know प्रक्रुतिसम्भवान् – born of prakrati


Know that both purusha and prakrati are beginingless; and know also that all modifications and qualities (gunas) are born of prakriti.


The nature of prakrti has been explained by the lord in second line one Verse 20 and first line of verse 21


प्रक्रुतिम् पुरुषम् एव – Prakrati, the primordial nature of God and Purusha or jiva, the individualized soul indicate two aspects of the same God. Purusha or soul is eternal, unmoving, and changless; whereas the Prakrati or matter is always under modification. In old Indian housedholds, there used to be stonemill for grinding flour. The base part of it was fixed whereas the upperpart was revolving to grind the flour. Similarly in the creation of universe, the base part or substratum is Purusha or spirit and the moving part is prakruti. Prakruti is Lord’s kinetic aspect and Purusha is his transcendental and inactive aspect. Prakrati is ‘utsav murti’ and purusha is ’moola murti’


It is better to know the different terminologies and synonyms used in this text. Prakrati is also called as matter, Mahad – Brahma (मम योनि महद्ब्र्म्ह –14 -03), Apara Prakruti (अपरा प्रकृति) – Lower prakriti, and as Kshetra in 5 above (क्षेत्र). The only difference is that Kshetra refers to the primordial prakrati along with its evolutes of mind, Intellect, ego, and five gross elements etc. Prakrati is the Lord’s immanent (inherent, existing inside) and kinetic aspect.

Purusha or the spirit is also known as Khestrajna, the witness (साक्षी), and paraashakti पराशक्ति higher or spiritual nature (अपरेयमितस्त्वन्यां प्रक्रितिं विद्धि मे पराम् (7:05), Paraa purusha, and kutastha (कूटस्थ).  Purusha is the Lord’s transcendental and inactive aspect.

एव – the words cha and eva indicate that prakrati and purusha are two aspects of the same God.

विद्धि अनादि उभौ अपि – know that both are beginingless and endless. Since God is causeless and eternal his manifestations are also causeless and eternal.

विकारान् गुणान् एव विद्धि प्रक्रुतिसम्भवान् – The word ‘vikaaran’ refers to the modifications such as desire, aversion, sorrow etc referred in 6th verse which is reproduced here.

महाभूतान्यहंकारो बुद्धिरव्यक्तमेव च ।इन्द्रियाणि दशैकं च पञ्च चेन्द्रियगोचराः ॥१३: 

The Kshetra and its modifications are composed of the five great elements, egoism, the intellect, the unmanifested (mula prakrati, undifferentiated nature), the ten senses, and the one sense that is mind, the five objects of senses.

 The gunas are satva, rajas and tamas and all material objects evolved from them. The lord here specifically says that all the modifications as well as the gunas are not prakrati but they are evolved from prakrati. There cannot be any modifications and gunas in Purusha. There are several other references in Gita of Lord confirming that gunas are born from prakrati. Below are listed some. 1. कार्यते ह्यवशः कर्मः सर्वः प्रक्रितिजैर्गुणैः ॥०३:०५॥ 2. पुरुषः प्रकृतिस्थो हि भुङ्‌क्ते प्रकृतिजान्गुणान् । ॥१३:२२॥ “Prakrati, God’s maya is the lady phenomenon, the mistress of illusion. What a mysterious magic is her power; secret in its workings, bold in its displays?”  

VERSE – 13: 21

 The individualized purusha or jiva becomes the doer and enjoyer by association with Prakratiकार्यकारणकर्त्रुत्वे हेतुः प्रकृतिरुच्यते ।पुरुषः सुखदुःखानां भोक्तृत्वे हेतुरुच्यते ॥१३:२१॥

kāryakāraṇakartrutvē hētuḥ prakr̥tirucyatē |

puruṣaḥ sukhaduḥkhānāṁ bhōktr̥tvē hēturucyatē ||13:21||


कार्यकारणकर्त्रुत्वे हेतुः प्रकृति: उच्यते ।

पुरुषः सुखदुःखानाम् भोक्तृत्वे हेतुः उच्यते ॥ 


कार्य-the effect कारण- the cause कर्त्रुत्वे- in the matter of creation हेतुः-the the cause, responsibility of प्रकृति:- material energy उच्यते- is said to be पुरुषः–the individual soul सुखदुःखानाम्- of pleasure and pain भोक्तृत्वे-in experiencing हेतुः-the cause, resonsibility उच्यते-  is said to be


Prakrati or matter is said to be the material cause for the production of body and senses and the individual soul or purusha is said to be cause for the experience of joy and sarrow.


कार्य कारणकर्त्रुत्वे हेतुः प्रकृति: उच्यते It is the material energy which is responsibe for the creation of cosmos which consists of myriads of species of beings and non-beings. If that is so, what is the role of Brahma or chaturmukha brahma? He prepares the master plan, and prakruti or material energy excutes it. so kinetic or material energy is the cause of creation (Karana). Karya is the final version of prakruti.

Cosmic nature of prakrati is the creative cause or karana, and the the human body including the bodily senses or instruments is its effect or karya.  In other words, Prakrati is karta (कर्ता) and purusha is Bhokta (भोक्ता)

The word ‘karana” (material cause viz. prakrati) includes:

  1. the five great elements the earth, water, air, fire and space (पृथ्वी अप्, वायु तेज and आकाश) =05
  2. the five objects of senses (इन्द्रियगोचराः) viz., sound, touch, sight, taste, and smell (शब्द, स्पर्श, रूप, रस गन्ध). =05
  3. antahkarana – अन्तःकरण , the internal organs viz., intellect, ego and mind (चित्त, अहंकार, and मनस्); – 03
  4. the five senses of perception (ज्ञानेन्द्रिय), viz., the sense of touch, taste, sense of hearing, seeing and smelling;

पंच ज्ञानेन्द्रियाणि – श्रोत्रं त्वक् चक्षु: रसना घ्राणम् इति =05

  1. the five organs of action (कर्मेन्द्रिय) viz., toungue, hands, feet and the organs of generation and defecation. =05. पञ्चकर्मेन्द्रियाणि — वाक्-पाणि- पादौ-पायू-उपस्थानि -इति Total =23

The scriptures recognize antakarana – अन्तःकरण as consisting of four elements Viz., intellect (बुद्धि), ego (अहंकार), Chitta (the faculty of reflection -चित्त), and mind (मनस्). However the lord does not consider chitta and mind as different faculties; he considers the two of them as only one and the same faculty. That is why instead of four, the Lord speaks about only three aspects of antahkarana. Chitta has been dropped out.


पुरुषः सुखदुःखानां भोक्तृत्वे हेतुरुच्यते – The purusha mentioned here is not the supreme spirit (परम पुरुषः) because he is immutable. Being unattached he cannot be said to enjoy and grieve. It therefore refers to the individualized soul that is conditioned and limited by the body (Jeevatma -जीवात्मा). It is only with contact with prakrati that the purusha or Jeevatma appears to be the experiencer of joys and sorrows.

The soul gets a bodily form (field of activity) according to its past karmas, and it identifies itself with the body, mind, and intellect.  Thus, it seeks the pleasure of the bodily senses.  When the senses come in contact with the sense objects, the mind experiences a pleasurable sensation.  Since the soul identifies with the mind, it vicariously enjoys that pleasurable sensation.  In this way, the soul perceives the sensations of both pleasure and pain, through the medium of the senses, mind, and intellect. 

This can be compared to a dream state: The world is sustained by God.  It creates an illusion, which, although unreal, gives misery to the soul.  This is just like if someone’s head gets cut in a dream, the misery will continue until the person wakes up and stops dreaming.”  In this dream state of identifying with the body, the soul experiences pleasure and pain in accordance with its own past and present karmas.  As a result, it is said to be responsible for both kinds of experiences.


VERSE – 13: 22

The soul aligns with the three attributes which is  a prgeny of matter.This is the cause of his taking birth in good and bad wombs पुरुषः प्रकृतिस्थो हि भुङ्‌क्ते प्रकृतिजान्गुणान् ।कारणं गुणसङ्गोऽस्य सदसद्योनिजन्मसु ॥१३:२२॥ 

puruṣaḥ prakr̥tisthō hi bhuṅ–ktē prakr̥tijānguṇān |

kāraṇaṁ guṇasaṅgō’sya sadasadyōnijanmasu ||13:22||


पुरुषः प्रकृतिस्थः हि भुङ्‌क्ते प्रकृतिजान् गुणान् ।

कारणम् गुणसङ्गः अस्य सदसद्योनिजन्मसु ॥१३:२२॥


पुरुषः  -purusha प्रक्रतिस्थः –seated in prakrati हि – indeed भुङ्‌क्ते – enjoys प्रक्रितिजान् – born of prakrati गुणान् – qualities (3 gunas evolved from prakrati)  कारणम् – the cause गुणसन्गः –contact with the gunas अस्य – of his (embodied soul) सदसद्योनिजन्मसु – (सत् -good असत्-evil यॊनी- womb जन्मसु-births) is responsible for birth in good and evil wombs


Purusha seated in prakrati experiences the three gunas born of prakrati. And it is the attachment with these gunas that is responsible for purusha (soul) to take birth in good or evil wombs.

 पुरुषः प्रकृतिस्थो हि -The individualized soul becomes ‘prakratisthah’ meaning,  remains stationed in, enclosed in and identified with the body and senses, which are the effects of Mother Nature. His identity with the prakrati becomes complete, because he possesses ‘atmabudhi” or ownership with the activities of the body.  भुङ्‌क्ते प्रकृतिजान्गुणान् – He experiences qualities born of prakrati. He comes to experience the opposites like pleasure and pain, heat and cold, success and failure etc. These are not the traits of  knower of the field or purusha but since he becomes attached to the field or the body and senses, he experiences the qualities of prakruti; the destinies of matter become the tragic experiences of soul. 

अस्य गुणसन्गः कारणम्  – Contact with the gunas is the cause of attachment  to the body. Gunas are three in number Viz., satva, rajas and tamas which are the evolutes of prakrati.


सदसद्योनिजन्मसु – is responsible for birth in good and evil wombs. The human body is considered as ‘good’womb. All the sub -human species e.g., beasts, birds, trees, worms, bacteria etc., are considered ‘evil’ wombs. Attachment to gunas cause desire, Ignorance, identification with the body ctivities (अध्यास). By performing good deeds he is incarnated in a better body and by performance of bad deeds in a lower body.

VERSE – 13: 23

Unity of the soul and spirit reitratedउपद्रष्टानुमन्ता च भर्ता भोक्ता महेश्वरः ।परमात्मेति चाप्युक्तो देहेऽस्मिन्पुरुषः परः ॥१३:२३॥              

upadraṣṭānumantā ca bhartā bhōktā mahēśvaraḥ |

paramātmēti cāpyuktō dēhē’sminpuruṣaḥ paraḥ ||13:23||            


उपद्रष्टा अनुमन्ता च भर्ता भोक्ता महेश्वरः ।

परमात्मा इति च अपि उक्तः देहे अस्मिन्  पुरुषः परः ॥ 


उपद्र्ष्टा—the seer or witness अनुमन्ता -true guide च – and भर्ता – the nourisher भोक्ता – enjoyer महेश्वरः –the great Lord परमात्मा – the supreme self इति -thus च -and अपि – also उक्तः –is called देहे – in the body अस्मिन् -in this पुरुषः  -purusha परः supreme


The soul dwelling in the body is really the same as the supreme spirit. He has been spoken of as detached beholder, the consenter, the sustainer, the experiencer ,the great Lord (Overlord), and also the highest (absolute) self. 

अस्मिन् देहे पुरुषः  परः  – The true character of the Kshetrajna is mentioned here.This is an impor­tant sholka of Gita. The lord declares that the soul stationed in the body, limited by the gunas of prakrati is none other than the supreme spirit. In reality he is beyond the prakrati and is is not tainted by its activities. Suppose the reflection of the moon is seen in a

basin of agitated water, the reflection appears to be dancing. But the moon is not affected by the agitation of water. In the sunlight, a wise man may study scriptures and a criminal may indulge in vile activites. But the sun is not affected by these activities or responsible for that. Similarly the pure spirit is uncontaminated by the ‘field’and is not responsible for the action of the person. He remains untained. He is charac­terized by the following six terms –

 1.  उपद्र्ष्टा—the seer or detached witness; Onlooker. If a murderer chops off an innocent vic­tim’s head, the lord expresses through the criminal’s body as an unattached witness. This word उपद्र्ष्टा is used in the yagnas. There are 15 priests who are active participants in its performance, in addition to the spon­sor and his wife. There is another priest called उपद्र्ष्टा who does not take part in the activities but only oversees it. He is unattached.2. अनुमन्ता—the guide. The very same God residing in the heart of all, gives proper advice to those who seek it. In our example, if a person is a good man and he saves the victim from being beheaded, the supreme self expresses as a guide.3.  भर्ता -the sustainer. He is the fullfiller. He protects and sustains the whole universe.4. भोक्ता –enjoyer. In the form of various beings he undergoes all sorts of experiences. So he is called the enjoyer

  1. महेश्वरः -the great Eshwara or the lord of lords; It means the higher self or real purusha who is the dynamic illuminator of all activities.

6.परमात्मा – the overlord; since he remains beyond the gunas he is called paramatma or the absolute.By declaring that अस्मिन् देहे पुरुषः परः  the lord removes all the doubt about the duality of jivatma and paramatma. 

VERSE – 13: 24

One who truly understands the nature of matter with three gunas is liberated य एवं वेत्ति पुरुषं प्रकृतिं च गुणैः सह ।सर्वथा वर्तमानोऽपि न स भूयोऽभिजायते ॥१३:२४॥ 

ya ēvaṁ vētti puruṣaṁ prakr̥tiṁ ca guṇaiḥ saha |

sarvathā vartamānō’pi na sa bhūyō’bhijāyatē ||13:24||


यः एवम्  वेत्ति पुरुषम् प्रकृतिम् च गुणैः सह ।

सर्वथा वर्तमान्ः अपि न सः भूयः अभिजायते ॥ 


यः -who एवम् – thus वेत्ति – knows पुरुषम् – purusha प्रक्रतिम् – prakrati च – and गुणैः -qualities सह – with सर्वथा – in all ways वर्तमान – living , the present condition अपि -also न – not सः – he भूयः – again अभिजायते – is born


Those who understand the truth about Supreme Soul, the individual soul, material nature, and the interaction of the three modes of nature will not take birth here again. They will be liberated regardless of their present condition.


य एवं वेत्ति पुरुषम्  – One who realizes that the spirit in me is the spirit in all; understands that the diversity appearing in them is due to contact with the prakrati. Really speaking there is no difference between embodied soul and God who is eternal, pure, awakend, free and wholly beyond prakrati.  य एवं वेत्ति – One who realizes the kshetrajna -purusha and the three -­fold nature of the kshetra (prakrati) will not again suffer rebirth regardless of their present condition.

“There are three entities in creation—the ever-changing material nature, the unchangeable soul, and the Master of both, who is the Supreme Lord.  Ignorance of these entities is the cause of bondage of the soul, while knowledge of them helps it cut asunder the fetters of Maya.” 

 प्रकृतिं च गुणैः सह – means grasping the truth of the three gunas, and that the whole uni­verse is nothing but a projection of prakrati which is perishable, and transient.   सर्वथा वर्तमानोऽपि न स भूयोऽभिजायते – Reagardless of his way of life he is not subject to rebirth. Such a yogi is freed for ever from karma and compulsory reincarnation. Whether such a yogi lives the life of yogi or Bhogi,  as long as he is realized; there is no karmic reaction on him. In Mahabharata, Dharmavyadha, a butcher by profession is described as a realized soul. There are many examples of Sant Kabir, Tulsidas, and Gora Kumbhar who did menial work and at the same time reached exalted state of realization.  Shankara says this all in his bhajagovindam as under – 

योगरतो वा भोगरतो वा सङ्गरतो वा सङ्गवीहिनः ।

यस्य ब्रह्मणि रमते चित्तं नन्दति नन्दति नन्दत्येव ॥ १९॥



VERSE – 13: 25

God can be ealized by different ways: by meditation, right action or by knowledgeध्यानेनात्मनि पश्यन्ति केचिदात्मानमात्मना ।अन्ये सांख्येन योगेन कर्मयोगेन चापरे ॥१३:२५॥

dhyānēnātmani paśyanti kēcidātmānamātmanā |

anyē sāṁkhyēna yōgēna karmayōgēna cāparē ||13:25||


ध्यानेन आत्मनि पश्यन्ति केचित् आत्मानम् आत्मना ।

अन्ये सांख्येन योगेन कर्मयोगेन च अपरे ॥


ध्यानेन-  by meditation आत्मनि – within ones heart पश्यन्ति – behold केचित् -some आत्मानम् – the super soul, Brahman, the absolute self आत्मना – by the mind अन्ये – others  साख्येन योगेन – by the yoga of cultivation of knowledge कर्मयोगेन – by union of God through path of action च – and अपरे – others 

Some try to perceive the Supreme Soul within their hearts through meditation, and others try to do so through the cultivation of knowledge, while still others strive to attain that realization by the path of self-less action

Three main paths to self -realization are mentioned here –  (1) Dhyana yoga (2) Sankhya yoga, the path of discriminative wisdom (jnyana), (3) karma yoga, the path of right action, in which the devotee dedicates all actions to God. The first path is suit­able for beginers  the second for middle level and the third path for highly advanced devotees. Dhyana Yoga: or meditation. Chapter 5, veerse 27 says;स्पर्शान्कृत्वा बहिर्बाह्यांश्चक्षुश्चैवान्तरे भ्रुवोः ।प्राणापानौ समौ कृत्वा नासाभ्यन्तरचारिणौ ॥५ – २७॥ Turn away the mind from non-self material objects and internalize it to perceive the Brahman situated in your heart. For this mind is first purified by sadhanas like Sharavan, manana. Internalization is called nidhidhyasana. By this process the idea of me as the body and mind is removed. I come to feel that I am nothing but pure consciousness. Sankya yoga or the path of knowledge: This is also called as Jnyana yoga. Here the aspirant has realized that all material objects are unreal like water in a mirage or in a dream. The aspirant puts his best effort for the actions he undertakes without selfish ulterior motive. He continues his work for the gratification of God. He does not arrogate for himself any role in it. He believes that the gunas are themselves playing with gunas for the execution of an action. Karma yoga or the path of selfless action; He realizes God by offering the fruit of action to God. He continues to do all activities without expecting any reward. That means he is free from desire, and attachment.  

ध्यानेन आत्मानम् पश्यन्ति – Some realize the absolute soul by meditation or dhyana. Dhyana is the process of totally connecting the mind with God. (Verse 11 to 13 of Ch. 06). The thought process of the mind towards worldly experiences, emotions, the physical body and senses (OET; and BMI) is completely inactivated. The mind is ultimately silenced (समाधि), turned to­wards God or Brahman who is none other than the self or jiva . Verse 22 in this chapter has established the unity of soul (jiva)and spirit. (पुरुषः प्रकृतिस्थो हि)


By such continued interiorization of mind, the body consciousness gradually and imperceptibly leads to God consciousness. The meditation referred to in this verse is the meditation on the absolute, formless Brahman viewed as identical with one’s own self. This is called Dhyana yoga. He relizes the supreme eternal truth as his own self by the practice of Dhyanayoga.

केचित् आत्मानम् आत्मना पश्यन्ति-  Some others realize Brahman within their heart. आत्मानम् – the absolute self आत्मनि – within ones heart आत्मना –by the mind. “ Perceive the self in the self  by the self.” Here is a play on the word self. It is repeated 3 times. The first one refers to the absolute self -the consciouness or supreme spirit. The second self indicates the soul or jiva and the third one refers to the mind or purified antahkarana.

अन्ये सांख्येन योगेन पश्यन्ति – Other devotees seek to attain Godhood by the yoga (discipline) of sankhya or discipline of knowledge; jnyana yoga. Jnyanayoga has been discussed at length in verses 11 to 30 chapter 2, verses 8, 09, and 13 of chapter 5 and elsewhere. A follower of Jnyanayoga realizes that all material objects are nothing but illusion like water in a mirage, or things in a dream and they have no separate existence from God. He believes that the guna which is a product of prakrati act on the gunas themselves to produce an action and the individual has no role in the action. Therefore he gives up the sense of doership and ownership of all activities of the mind, senses and body. He remains ever established in all pervading God, who is truth and consciouness, refuses to recognize separate existence anything other than God.  He realizes the supreme eternal truth as his own self by the practice of Jnyanayoga.

कर्मयोगेन च अपरे पश्यन्ति – others realize Brahman by right action or karma yoga. This  has been discussed in verse from 40 to the end of the chapter 2.  Karmayoga consists of doing one’s duty deligently, treating success and failure alike with equal mind. The action is performed deligently with disinterested spirit renouncing all attachment to its fruit of and treating success and failure alike. A yogi performs all actions as a duty to God. He realizes the supreme eternal truth as his own self through the practice of karmayoga.


VERSE – 13: 26

Some are not aware of the three paths of realization. They also attain immortalityby carefully listening and practicing this art from a learned manअन्ये त्वेवमजानन्तः श्रुत्वान्येभ्य उपासते ।तेऽपि चातितरन्त्येव मृत्युं श्रुतिपरायणाः ॥१३:२६॥

anyē tvēvamajānantaḥ śrutvānyēbhya upāsatē |

tē’pi cātitarantyēva mr̥tyuṁ śrutiparāyaṇāḥ ||13:26||


अन्ये तु एवम् अजानन्तः श्रुत्वा अन्येभ्यः उपासते ।

ते अपि च अतितरंति एव मृत्युम्  श्रुतिपरायणाः ॥ 


अन्ये – others तु – however एवम् – thus अजानन्तः – not knowing (dull -witted) श्रुत्वा – having heard अन्येभ्यः – from others उपासते – worship ते – they अपि – also अतिरन्ति – cross beyond एव – even म्रुत्युम् -death श्रुतिपरायणाः – persons given to hearing scriptures


Others however, who do not know the yogas of meditation, knowledge, and right action, listen with full faith the instructions of Guru; they too transcend death.


अन्ये तु एवम् अजानन्तः श्रुत्वा अन्येभ्यः उपासते – There are some devotees who are unaware of the paths available for realization, cannot follow any of the above three paths of Dhyana yoga, Jnyana yog or karma yoga for spiritual persuits. Still the lord says there is no despondency; there is hope for them. Such people listen to the glory of Lord with great devotion and follow the advice of the Guru in letter and spirit. Such people are called ‘shrutipara­yanah’ (श्रुतिपरायणाः)- good listners. All such men would be able to transform their life by hearing with deep attention and following the words of a Guru.


Some people in a congregation go to sleep as the srmon goes on; some others listen with one ear and give out through the other. One, who has mastered the art of listening, hears carefully with full attention and practices it in his life is called  श्रुतिपरायणाः  perfect listener. Parixit Raja attained immortality by the art of listening.


The power of listening has profound impact. A government officer once attended a dis­course in an Ashram. At the end of the lecture, he asked the sage, “Hey Holy Man, you are

wasting your time as well as the time of so many people. They hear your storey and go away and forget everything. What is the effect of such lectures to the masses?” Hearing this, the sage angrily odered his colleague, “Drive away this man out”. The officer protested and threatened to have the sage arrested. The sage said, “My dear, did you now notice what the impact of listening is. There was so much agitation in you and you lost your temper, after hearing my angry words.  That is the power of hearing”.

ते अपि च अतितरंति एव मृत्युम्  श्रुतिपरायणाः ॥ 

– They too go beyond death. A perfect listener could also attain lasting union with supreme eternal spirit, and will never be born again. The words mrutyum atiranti in this verse convey the same meaning as न सः भूयोऽभिजायते – the meaning is that he crosses the unending cycles of birth and death or will never be born again as explained in verse 24 of this chapter.


VERSE – 13: 27

All animate and inanimagte bings are born by the union of kshetra and kshetrajnya

Seeing with Eyes of Knowledge (27-:35)

यावत्संजायते किंचित्सत्त्वं स्थावरजङ्गमम् ।

क्षेत्रक्षेत्रज्ञसंयोगात्तद्विद्धि भरतर्षभ ॥१३:२७॥


yāvatsaṁjāyatē kiṁcitsattvaṁ sthāvarajaṅgamam |

kṣētrakṣētrajñasaṁyōgāttadviddhi bharatarṣabha ||13:27||


यावत्  संजायते किंचित् सत्त्वम्  स्थावरजङ्गमम् ।

क्षेत्रक्षेत्रज्ञसंयोगात् तत् विद्धि  भरतर्षभ ॥ 


यावत् whatever सन्जायते – is born किन्चित् – anything, whatever  सत्वम् – being स्थावरजङ्गमम् –( स्थावर-immovable जङ्गम – movable) unmoving and moving beings  क्षेत्र क्षेत्रज्ञसंयोगात् – from the union between the field and the knower of the field  तत् = that विद्धि – know भरतर्षभ  – O the best of Bharatas


O Best of Bharatas (Arjuna), whatever animate or inanimate is born, understand it to be from the union of kshetra and Ksherjna (nature and spirit).

यावत्  सन्जायते किन्चित् सत्वम् – All things in the world that are born – both inert matter, inanimate, unmoving  (sthavara= fixed स्थावर) and conscious beings (jangama= moving, जन्गम), are formed by a union of kshetra and  kshetrajna. किन्चित् means anything or whatever. whether the being is gigantic  or minute is the product of union of kshetrajnya (knower of the field)  and khetra or the field factivities.


 The Abrahamic traditions accept the existence of the soul in humans, but do not accept that other forms of life also have soul.  This concept condones violence toward the other life forms.  However, the Vedic philosophy stresses that wherever consciousness exists, there must be the presence of the soul.  Without it, there can be no consciousness. 

in the early 16th century Dr. J. C. Bose established by experiments that the plants have conciousnes and feeling and emotion.


क्षेत्र क्षेत्रज्ञसंयोगात् – By the union of Kshetra and Kshetrajna; union of nature and spirit. The union of kshetra and kshetrajna is not a consummate phenomenon. It is a superimposition of purusha on prakrati. It is like the famous ghost and post example. There is indeed no ghost, but it is an imagination an account of wrong data about the post due to ignorance. Similarly the the world of objects and names is a mirage because in the entire substratum there is nothing but the absolute.


Kshetra, the field or prakrati it has already been demonstrated in verse 6 of this chapter that is composed of 24 elements.  महाभूतान्यहंकारो बुद्धिरव्यक्तमेव च । इन्द्रियाणि दशैकं च पञ्च चेन्द्रियगोचराः ॥१३:


Kshetra is also called as ‘apara prakrati’ or Lord’s lower

nature. This is the objective or material nature as opposed to ‘para prakruti’ – the subjective conscious life priniciple or spirit. Other names for this life priniciple are – Kshetrajna, Kshetri, (13: 01); Purusha (15 -16), and Adhyatmaa (7 :209 and 08 -03).  

VERSE – 13: 28

A realized man sees the same Brahman everywhere and in all biengs.

समं सर्वेषु भूतेषु तिष्ठन्तं परमेश्वरम् ।

विनश्यत्स्वविनश्यन्तं यः पश्यति स पश्यति ॥१३:२८॥


samaṁ sarvēṣu bhūtēṣu tiṣṭhantaṁ paramēśvaram |

vinaśyatsvavinaśyantaṁ yaḥ paśyati sa paśyati ||13:28||


समम् सर्वेषु भूतेषु तिष्टंतम् परमेश्वरम् ।

विनश्यत्सु अविनश्यन्तम् यः पश्यति स पश्यति ॥ 


समम् -equally सर्वेषु – in all भूतेषु – beings तिष्टन्तम् – existing परमेश्वरम् – supreme Lord विनश्यत्सु – among the perishing अविनश्यन्तम्  – the unperishing यः – who पश्यति – sees सः -he पश्यति -sees


He alone truly sees who sees the supreme Lord as imperishable and abiding equally in all perishable beings, both animate and inanimate.


समम् सर्वेषु भूतेषु विनश्यत्सु –  He who sees equally in all beings. All creatures are subject to modifications viz., birth, growth, disease, decay and death. (अस्ति जायते वर्धते विपरिणमते अपक्षीयते विनश्यति  इति षड्विकारवदेतत् स्थूलशरीरम् ) All creatures are subject to the six modifications namely–to exist, to take birth, to grow, to mature, to decay and to die. 


तिष्टन्तम्  अविनश्यन्तम् परमेश्वरम् – eternal existence of the

supreme lord. The self or the spirit is eternal and imperishable. That means he undergoes no modifications viz., birth, growth, disease, decay and death. He is समम्,  the same in all living beings, with big or small bodies. They  appear as different due to difference in their bodies.

The word समम् has been used in Gita several times. It is the essence of Gita. It is the maha mantra to establish peace and love in the world. The hatred, inequality, animosity and conflict can be stopped by following the message of Gita . A jnyani sees the eternal god everywhere but a ajnyani sees

differences. He is the kshetrajna or the knower of self. He is also called jivatma when he resides in the body because of his association with prakrati (matter). The body matter on the other hand is subject to constant modifications from birth to death.


A man went to a jeweller to sell his heirloom of an image of Ganapati seated on his mouse. The images of the lord weighed 50 Gms and the mouse weighed 10 Gms. The man wanted more value for the image of Lord than the image of mouse because he is the lord. The jeweller said, “Look my dear, I am not paying for the lord or the mouse; I am paying you for the gold in them”. Remove the gold, there is no

image of the lord or the mouse. Similarly if you remove the basic substratum of all the creatures there is no world.

यः समम् पश्यति  सः पश्यति – This is a powerful and direct assertion. The lord as the consciousness (chit चित्) and existence or being (sat सत्) is the ground of all creations. The names and forms of the creature refer to the physical bodies but not to the common thread in all of them. One who realizes this truth is truly the one who sees; others see but do not see.


VERSE – 13: 29

Those who see the same  supreme Lord  present in all beings,  reach the highest goal

समं पश्यन्हि सर्वत्र समवस्थितमीश्वरम् ।

न हिनस्त्यात्मनात्मानं ततो याति परां गतिम् ॥१३:२९॥

samaṁ paśyanhi sarvatra samavasthitamīśvaram |

na hinastyātmanātmānaṁ tatō yāti parāṁ gatim ||13:29||


समम् पश्यन् हि सर्वत्र समवस्थितम् ईश्वरम् ।

न हिनस्ति  आत्मना आत्मानम् ततः याति पराम् गतिम् ॥

समम् -equally पश्यन् – seeing हि – indeed सर्वत्र – everywhere समवस्थितम् – equally  dwelling ईष्वरम् – the lord न -not हिनस्ति -destroys, degrade आत्मना -by one’s mind आत्मानम् -the self, jiva ततः – then याति – goes पराम् – the highest गतिम् -the goal


Those, who see the Supreme Soul equally present everywhere and in all living beings, do not degrade themselves by their mind. Thereby, they reach the supreme destination.


समम् पश्यन् हि सर्वत्र समवस्थितम् ईष्वरम् – he sees the same supreme Lord equally present in all creatures. The word samam has been mentioned in Gita several times. Samatwa, samabhaava, samadarshinah, means viewing the other as as your own self. A liberated man sees only the Lord in all creatures and creations. Those who lack vision of the truth differentiate one individual from another

हिनस्ति  आत्मना आत्मानम् – he does not destroy the soul by his mind.  One should elevate the soul (atmanam) by the mind freed from desire and attachment (atmana). The verse quoted below in Gita 6:05 makes a similar statement.

उध्हरेदात्मनात्मानं नात्मानमवसादयेत्।

आत्मैव ह्यात्मनो बन्धुरात्मैव रिपुरात्मनः ॥०६ -०५॥


ततो याति परां गतिम् – Therefore he goes to the highest goal. The highest goal is the state attaining which one has no longer to return to this material world. That is the goal of all spiritual practice. The devotee realizes that the self in himself is the self in all. He elivates the soul by the mind freed from desire and attachment.


VERSE – 13: 30

He alone truly sees who has realized that all actions are

indeed done by prakruti and not by the self.

प्रकृत्यैव च कर्माणि क्रियमाणानि सर्वशः ।

यः पश्यति तथात्मानमकर्तारं स पश्यति ॥१३:३०॥

prakr̥tyaiva ca karmāṇi kriyamāṇāni sarvaśaḥ |

yaḥ paśyati tathātmānamakartāraṁ sa paśyati ||13:30||


प्रकृत्या एव  च कर्माणि क्रियमाणानि सर्वशः ।

यः पश्यति तथा आत्मानम् अकर्तारम् सः पश्यति ॥ 


प्रक्रत्या – by prakrati एव – alone च -and कर्माणि – actions क्रियामाणानि – being performed सर्वशः – all यः – who पश्यति – sees तथा – so also आत्मानम् – the self अकर्तारम् – actionless सः – he पश्यति -sees


He, who sees all actions are performed in their entirety by the prakrati alone, and not by the self, is indeed a beholder of truth.


प्रकृत्यैव च कर्माणि क्रियमाणानि सर्वशः -Prakrati alone performs all actions. The attributes, satva, rajas and tamas are evolutes of prakrati. The senses, mind, intellect as well as the objects of senses are extensions of these gunas. The ego or ahamkara is also an evolute of prakruti. When we say that the senses are acting on the sense objects that indeed means that gunas are acting on the gunas. In otherwords, all actions being performed by the gunas are virtually being performed by their source, the prakrati.


तथा आत्मानम् अकर्तारम् यः पश्यति सः पश्यति – One who beholds that the self is actionless is indeed the perceiver of truth. The self is etertnal, and devoid of all modifications. He has no connection whatever with prakrati. That is why neither he is a doer of any action nor experiencer of result. He is a witness, the reflection of transcendental, non-vibrational God.

Some examples are commonly given by different authors to demonstarate the actionless phenomenon of God.

  1. Different models and make of petrol vehicles have different performance. The common source for all their locomotion is petrol. The performance depends on the type of machinery and technology. That means petrol is the dynamic spirit behind all of them but not the performer.
  2. Electricity is the dynamic spirit behind bulbs of different voltage and shapes but in itself it has no action.

In Yoga vashishtha, the Guru says to Rama, “While working externally exert yourself as if the results depend upon you. But internally, realize yourself to be the non-doer”


VERSE – 13: 31


When a man is convinced  that the diversity of the world has arisen

 from one substratum of Brahman , he becomes realized

यदा भूतपृथग्भावमेकस्थमनुपश्यति ।

तत एव च विस्तारं ब्रह्म संपद्यते तदा ॥१३:३१॥


yadā bhūtapr̥thagbhāvamēkasthamanupaśyati |

tata ēva ca vistāraṁ brahma saṁpadyatē tadā ||13:31||


यदा भूतपृथग्भावम् ऎकस्थम् अनुपश्यति ।

ततः एव च विस्तारम् ब्रह्म संपद्यते तदा ॥ 


यदा – when भूतप्र्थक्भावम् – (भूत-living entities प्रथक् -diverse भावम्- variety) the whole variety of beings एकस्थम् – resting in the one (i.e.supreme spirit) अनुपश्यति – sees ततः – there after  एव – alone च -and विस्तारम् -spreading forth, extending  ब्रम्ह – Brahman सम्पद्यते – he attains तदा -then


When a man beholds the whole variety of beings as existent in the One, that has expanded into the many, he then merges with Brahman.


यदा भूतप्र्थक्भावम् एकस्थम् अनुपश्यति –variety of beings resting in one supreme spirit – the variety of animate and inanimate beings that have emanated from the union of Kshetra and Ksetrajna. (13: 27)


यावत्संजायते किंचित्सत्त्वं स्थावरजङ्गमम् ।

क्षेत्रक्षेत्रज्ञसंयोगात्तद्विद्धि भरतर्षभ ॥१३:२७


whatever animate or inanimate is born, understand it to be from the union of kshetra and Ksherjna (nature and spirit).


समं सर्वेषु भूतेषु तिष्ठन्तं परमेश्वरम् ।

विनश्यत्स्वविनश्यन्तं यः पश्यति स पश्यति ॥१३:२८


He alone truly sees who sees the supreme Lord as imperishable and abiding equally in all perishable beings, both animate and inanimate.


To demonstrate this phenomenon, the following examples are usually givem.


  1. The large and small waves arise from the ocean grow in the ocean and ultimately merge into the ocean. The waves are nothing but water of the ocean. The forms are different but the substratum is the same.


  1. There was a post in a field. A man walking in dim light thought that the post was a ghost. A thief thought that the post was indeed a policeman. A third person thought it was a street whore. The post appeared as different objects to three persons. The endless multiplicity of names and forms has only one substratum, the changeless, supreme spirit. One who realizes this truth attains Brahman.

यदा  तदा – The use of these two words shows that the realization of Brahman or attainment of God follows immediately after the perception of the above truth and the process involves no delay.

This phenomenon of multiple objects and beings existing at a single place has been nicely explained in Chaper 11: 13

तत्रैकस्थं जगत्कृत्स्नं प्रविभक्तमनेकधा। 

अपश्यद्देवदेवस्य शरीरे पाण्डवस्तदा॥११ – १३॥

Within the infinite cosmic form of God Arjuna beheld the entire unverse with all its diversified manifestations.


In verse 28 it was shown that all the animate and inanimate objects and beings that are evolved from the union of prakrati and purusha are but made in the image of God. Now in verse 31 the opposite of it, the macrocosmic nature of God is shown. 

It is the attainment of oneness with Brahman who is truth, consciousness, and bliss solidified that is otherwise known as attainment of the supreme state, attainment of liberation, and realization of supreme truth and lasting bliss.


VERSE – 13: 32

The supreme spirit has no beginning, no attributes, and is imperishable. Though

dwelling in the body neither performs actions nor is tainted by them

अनादित्वान्निर्गुणत्वात्परमात्मायमव्ययः ।

शरीरस्थोऽपि कौन्तेय न करोति न लिप्यते ॥१३:३२॥


anāditvānnirguṇatvātparamātmāyamavyayaḥ |

śarīrasthō’pi kauntēya na karōti na lipyatē ||13:32||


अनादित्वात् निर्गुणत्वात् परमात्मा अयम् अव्ययः ।

शरीरस्थः अपि कौन्तेय न करोति न लिप्यते ॥ 


अनादित्वात् – being without begining निर्गुणत्वात्  – being devoid of qualities परमात्मा – the supreme self अयम् – this अव्ययः – imperishable  अपि शरीरस्थः – though dwelling in this body कौन्तेय – O kaunteya न – not करोति – acts न – not लिप्यते – is tainted


O son of Kunti (Arjuna), being without begining, free from attributes this unchanging supreme spirit, though dwelling in the body, neither performs actions nor is tainted by them.


अनादित्वात् – That which has no origin or cause, which is never born is called anadi. It existed ever. Truth is the

uncaused cause for all that has been created. That which has a cause becomes itself an effect.

निर्गुणत्वात्   -Having no quality or attributes. That which has no change cannot have any quality since that which has got quality is a substance; and all substances are perishable. The imperishable, infinite, the cause for everything, itself caused by nothing, therefore cannot perish. And what has no quality cannot perish.

अयम् परमात्मा अव्ययः – This paramatma or spirit is the

supreme cause of all creation, but is itself causeless and beginingless. It is imperishable and unchangeable.  The embodied soul too like him is attributeless and perfect,  eventhough it exists in connection with the human body and behaves like the flawed ego. The lord gives it full liberty and free choice either to identify itself temporarily with the body and its egoistic experiences or to identify itself with His transcendental spirit and thus to perform action without attachment.

Several synonyms are used for Paramatma in this chapter. These are parameshwara (verse 28), ishwra (verse 29) atma, (self – verse 30) and Brahma (the supreme -verse 31), in this verse he is eferred to as ayam paramatama.

शरीरस्थोऽपि कौन्तेय न करोति न लिप्यते – The embodied soul has no connection with Prakrati or its evolutes of gunas as also with intellect, mind, body and objects of perception. He lives in the physical structure of all the creatures and enlivens the inert matter field (Kshetra), but he is not accountable for all the activities done by the body. He is just a witness like the sun in whose light, good or bad deeds could be done. Sun is not responsible to it.


VERSE – 13: 33


यथा सर्वगतं सौक्ष्म्यादाकाशं नोपलिप्यते ।

सर्वत्रावस्थितो देहे तथात्मा नोपलिप्यते ॥१३:३३॥

yathā sarvagataṁ saukṣmyādākāśaṁ nōpalipyatē |

sarvatrāvasthitō dēhē tathātmā nōpalipyatē ||13:33||


यथा सर्वगतम् सौक्ष्म्यात् आकाशम् न उपलिप्यते ।

सर्वत्र अवस्थितः देहे तथा आत्मा न उपलिप्यते ॥ 


यथा -as सर्वगतम् – the all -pervading सौक्ष्म्यात् – because of its subtlety आकाशम् – ether न – not लिप्यते – is tainted सर्वत्र – everywhere अवस्थितः – seated देहे – in the body तथा – so  आत्मा – the self न – not उपलिप्यते – is tainted


As the all – pervading ether is not tainted, because of its subtlety, so too the self, seated everywhere in the body is not tainted.

यथा सर्वगतम् सौक्ष्म्यात् आकाशम् लिप्यते –“As the all pervading space is never tainted. Akasha means that which accomodates all things. It is the subtlest of all gross elements and therefore pervades everything grosser than it. It allowes everything to remain in it, but nothing contained in it can contaminate it. The supreme self, which is the very cause of akasha and therefore subtler than akasha cannot be contaminated by anything that exists or happens in the world.


सर्वत्र अवस्थितः देहे तथा आत्मा न उपलिप्यते

The all pervading atman is situated in all bodies in the form of soul. So, it is natural to expect that  the joy, grief, merit, demerit of the body impact the soul. But the soul  is ever uncontaminated. How this is possible? Krishna explains this phenomenon by the example of space. The soul which is the subtlest of matter contains all grosser matter . A black smoke can blacken a wall but it cannot blacken the space. Similarly the changes in the bdy dos not taint the soul who is the



VERSE – 13: 34

The soul which is a reflection of Brahman enlivens the bodies of the fields where he lives.

यथा प्रकाशयत्येकः कृत्स्नं लोकमिमं रविः ।

क्षेत्रं क्षेत्री तथा कृत्स्नं प्रकाशयति भारत ॥१३:३४॥


yathā prakāśayatyēkaḥ kr̥tsnaṁ lōkamimaṁ raviḥ |

kṣētraṁ kṣētrī tathā kr̥tsnaṁ prakāśayati bhārata ||13:34||



यथा प्रकाशयति एकः कृत्स्नम् लोकम् इमम् रविः ।

क्षेत्रम् क्षेत्री तथा कृत्स्नम् प्रकाशयति भारत ॥ 


यथा – as प्रकाशयति – illumines एकः – one क्र्त्स्नम् – the whole लोकम् – world इमम् – this रविः – the sun क्षेत्रम् – the field क्षेत्री – atma or the self तथा – so क्र्त्स्नम् – the whole, everything प्रकाश्यति – illumines भारत – O bharata


O Bharata (Arjuna), as the one sun illumines the entire world, so does the lord (Atma, God and his reflection as the soul) illumine the whole field


यथा प्रकाशयति एकः कृत्स्नम् लोकम् इमम् रविः ।

The illustration of the sun has been used in this verse to demonstrate the non -doership of the self. Just as one sun illumines the whole universe, the one and only Brahman infuses life and activity into the whole world of Kshetra (Verse 6 and 7) and its evolutes. The sun is not sullied by the the activities of the creatures. Similarly the the soul in every creature infuses life and activity but is not tainted by their deeds. The immortal self ever remains pure, conscious, and immaculate in all circumstances.

क्षेत्रम् क्षेत्री तथा कृत्स्नम् प्रकाशयति भारत ॥ 

क्षेत्री, The Lord lives in many fields or bodies क्षेत्रम्. He enlivens them just by his presence but is not impacted by their


Any amount of incessant rain does not dampen the space. A huge smoke screen cannot pollute the space. The grosser elements cannot foul the sutler; if this is the case of physical space what to say about the spiritual God. Paramatma is subtler than the subtlest. Whether he is in the body of tiny creature or a monster he is unattached to the activities done by them. Swami Vivekananda prayed, “God! Give me any number of births, but please let me be unattached.”


VERSE – 13: 35

One who understands the difference between the field and knower

 of field is released from the material world

क्षेत्रक्षेत्रज्ञयोरेवमन्तरं ज्ञानचक्षुषा ।

भूतप्रकृतिमोक्षं च ये विदुर्यान्ति ते परम् ॥१३:३५॥


kṣētrakṣētrajñayōrēvamantaraṁ jñānacakṣuṣā |

bhūtaprakr̥timōkṣaṁ ca yē viduryānti tē param ||13:35||



क्षेत्रक्षेत्रज्ञयो: एवम् अन्तरम् ज्ञानचक्षुषा ।

भूतप्रक्रुतिमोक्षम् च ये विदुः यान्ति ते परम् ॥ 


क्षेत्र क्षेत्रक्षेत्रज्ञयोः  – between the field and the knower of the field एवम् – thus अन्तरम् – distinction ज्ञानचक्षुषा – by the eye of knowledge भूतप्रकृतिमोक्षम्- (भूत-the living entity प्रक्रुति-matter मोक्षम्- liberation, release) -the phenomenon of liberation from the prakrati with her evolutes च – and यः – who विदुः – know यान्ति – go ते – they परम् – the supreme


Those who perceive with the eyes of knowledge the difference between the body and the knower of the body, and the process of release from material nature, attain the supreme destination.


“In His customary style, Shree Krishna now winds up the topic of the field and the knower of the field by summing up all that He has said.  True knowledge is to know the distinction between the material kṣhetra (field of activity) and the spiritual kṣhetrajña (knower of the field).  Those possessing such discriminative knowledge do not look upon themselves as the material body.  They identify with their spiritual nature as soul and tiny spark of God.  Hence, they seek the path of spiritual elevation and release from material nature.  Then, by treading on the path of spiritual enlightenment, such persons of wisdom attain their ultimate goal of God-realizationSwami Muktananda


क्षेत्र क्षेत्रक्षेत्रज्ञयोःएवम् अन्तरम् ज्ञानचक्षुषा  –  who perceives the distinction between Kshetra kshetrajna . The meaning of kshetra or the field has been explained in verse 6.

 महाभूतान्यहंकारो बुद्धिरव्यक्तमेव च । इन्द्रियाणि दशैकं च पञ्च चेन्द्रियगोचराः ॥१३:


Kshetra, the field is the knowable, always subject to change, perishable, mutable, transient and material object. Kshetrajna, the embodied soul, is its knower, conscious, changeless, actionless, eternal, imperishable, unattached, the one and only one. It is same as knowledge. The two are wholly divergent in character. The apparent identity of the two is rooted in ignorance. Kshetrajna has no connection whatsoever with Kshetra except the lodging he gets. This is what is meant by perceiving by the eye of the wisdom. (ज्ञानचक्षुषा) The lord has said in 13: 02 that the true wisdom consists of knowledge of the field and the knower of the field.  (क्षेत्रक्षेत्रज्ञयोर्ज्ञानं यत्तज्ज्ञानं मतं मम)

For the realization of this knowledge, one has to dispel ignorance by practice of amanitva – absence of pride etc. as mentioned from verses 13: 08


अमानित्वमदम्भित्वमहिंसा क्षान्तिरार्जवम् ।आचार्योपासनं शौचं स्थैर्यमात्मविनिग्रहः ॥१३:


भूतप्रकृतिमोक्षम् -In this compound word, bhuta stands for the entire realm of objects  evolved from Prakrati. The meaning of this compound word is complete liberation from prakrati and its evolutes.

ये विदुः यान्ति ते परम् – The sadhaka comes to know that the the apparent connection with Kshetra which erroneously

appears to be real. Riddance from such ignorance opens the gate of identity with the supreme.

ॐ तत्सदिति श्रीमद्भगवद्गीतासूपनिषत्सु ब्रह्मविद्यायां योगशास्त्रे

श्रीकृष्णार्जुनसंवादे क्षेत्रक्षेत्रज्ञविभागयोगो नाम त्रयोदशोऽध्यायः ॥ १३ ॥


Aum Tat Sat

In the upnishad of the holy Bhagavad Gita – the discourse of Lord Krishna to Arjuna, which in the scriptures of yoga and the science of God realization—this is the thirteenth chapter, called union through discriminating between Field and the knower of the Field.



Summary of 13th chapter


Based on the commentery by Swami Paramathananda


As mentined earlier, the Gita can be divded into 3 sections consisting of 6 chapters. Each section is called a shatkam or a group of six chapters. The subject of Gita is eloberaton of the mahavakya (the great  aphorism) ”tvam tat asi” त्वम् तत् असि which means “you are that” You are not the body vesture but you are God.

In the first shatkam, from 1 to 6 chapters, the Lord Krishna  highlighted the karma yoga sadhana and in the second shatkam from 7th to 12th chapters, he highlighted the upasana yoga and in the 3rd shatkam consisting  of 13th to 18th chapters, he discusses jnyana yoga. Krishna brings out the essence of Upanishads in 13, 14th and 15th chapters. Just as the river Ganga is sacred all along its rout of about 2000 miles, it is more sacred in Haridwar, Kashi, Prayag, etc, the 13th chapter is  most important one in Gita.

In the first verse Arjuna requests Krishna to explain to him the meaning of six topics. Here is the shloka.

प्रकृतिं पुरुषं चैव क्षेत्रं क्षेत्रमेव च

एतद्वेदितुमिच्छामि ज्ञानं ज्ञेयं च केशव ।। १३:१।।


I want to know about prakruti and purusha, kshetra and kshetrajnya, jnyana and jneya.


The six topics mentioned by Arjuna can be clubbed into 3 topics. Prakruti, kshetrajnya and jneya refer to the same subject of atma.  Atma is the same as Purusha. So, we have reduced three topics into one. Similarly, the words, kshetram and prakruti imply the same topic of anatma or insentinent.  So we have reduced two topics into one. Thus, the five topics are reduced into two, atma and anatma.  Jnyanam and jneya are the remaining topics.

Whatever is congnizable, (seen, heard, felt, tasted and touched) is matter or prakruti. The entire universe, the hell and heaven, body, mind and intellect, the emotions of the mind like raga and krodha, and ego comer under the group of anatma because they are either an object or an objectifiable thing.

Features of anatma

Swami Paramarthananda considers the following as the features of anatma.

  1. It is achetana or jada, material in nature.
  2. Anatma is full of attributes or saguna.
  3. It is constantly changing, in a state of flux. So, anatma is saguna, savikara and atma is nirguna and nirvikara. Because of its changing nature, anatma could be in manifest condition or unmanifest condition. (vyakta and avyakta avashta). When you boil the vyakta water, it vaporises and becomes invisible or avyakta or water vapor. The cosmos is also available in manifest state or unmanifest state. The latter is called maya. The manifest matter is called universe and unmanifest matter is called maya.


Features of atma

All the drushyam or the experienced object of the universe presupposes the presence of and experiencer. Who is the experiencer  or Druk? When I see multiple forms and colours there must be something which perceives this. It is the eyes. But the  eyes cannot be perceived. Similarly, we see so many objects or experiences in the world which are objectifyable. It proves that thre must be a subject or experiencer who experiences the objects but he can never become an object. He is ever the subject. He is called atma. The world is insentient but Atma is sentient or consciousness principle. Who is that principle? It is jiva, Atma or self.

Swami Paramarthananda gives 5 points which are the features of Atma.

  1. It is not a part, product or property of the body.
  2. I, the consciousness principle is an independent entity.
  3. I pervade the whole cosmos and enliven the body. So, the body becomes conscious.
  4. Since I am all-pervading I am not limited to the body.
  5. I, the consciousness principle surive the body. The body is transient and subject to birth and death.
  6. When the body dies, the infinite I, will not be available for transaction because I need a medium to operate. That is exactly what happens in sleeping state. The mind and body are not available because they are in rest. But I, the conscious ness is ever present.
  7. The next principle is Atma is achalam or immovable. Like the sky and sunlight. I can move my hand in the space and sunlight but they do not move. Similarly I, the consciousness do not move. I am achalam nitya, sarvagataH, sthanu.
  8. I am indivisible or akhanda like space. The space and light cannot be divided. We can divide earth and water. Atma chaitanya like space and light is akhanda or indivisible.
  9. The atma tatva is uncontaminated. You cannot sully the space or light. You can pollute the air, water and earth but not space.
  10. Consciousness is the support of material universe.

We have covered 2 topics atma and anatma of arjun’s question. These 2 topics in fact cover 3+2 topics which are merged into two topics. The remaining topic is jnyanam.

Krishna has given out 20 subjects of ethics and morality in 13th chapter and a follower of these dharmik qualities becomes eligible to get Atma jnyana.

From the verse 25 to 35 Krishna discusses jnyana prapti and jnyana phalam. Then he concludes the chapter.