Author Topic: CHAPTER 13 - Yoga of Distinction between Field and Knower of Field  (Read 296 times)


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The main subject of the discourse

In the Seventh Discourse two Prakritis (Natures) of the Supreme Lord were shown, - the one composed of the three gunas and divided eightfold, forming the inferior (apara) Prakriti, because of its being the cause of Samsara or mundane life; and the other, the superior (para) Prakriti, forming the very life (jiva), the Kshetrajna or ‘the Knower of Matter’, being essentially one with the Lord Himself. And through these two Prakritis, the Lord becomes the cause of the origin, sustenance and dissolution of the Universe. Now this discourse on Kshetra (Matter) is commenced with a view - by way of describing the two Prakritis of Kshetra and Kshetrajna - to determine the essential nature of their possessor, the Lord (Isvara). Again, in the last preceding discourse, from verse 13 to the end, the path of the samnyasins who possess the knowledge of Truth, - i.e., what sort of life they lead, - has been described. Now arises the question: Possessed of what sort of knowledge of truth do they become dear to the Lord by following the rule of life set forth above? - The present discourse is also intended as an answer to this question.

The body and the soul
That Prakriti which is composed of the three gunas transforms itself into all objective forms, such as the bodies (karya), the senses (karana), and sense-objects (vishaya), and is combined into various aggregates of the body and the senses, to subserve the two ends of Purusha or Spirit, viz., enjoyment and liberation. Such an aggregate is this, our body. In reference to this body, the Lord says:

The Blessed Lord said:
1. This, the body, O son of Kunti, is called Kshetra; him who knows it, they who know of them call Kshetrajna.
In the words 'the body’ the Lord specifies the thing referred to by the pronoun ‘this.’ Kshetra - the field, the body, matter - is so - called because it is shielded from injury, or because it is destructible, or because it is liable to decay, or because the fruits of actions are reaped in it as in a field. This body is designated as ‘Kshetra,’ ‘the field’ ‘matter.’ He who knows this Kshetra, i.e., he who comprehends it in understanding from head to foot, he who perceives it as distinct from himself by knowledge, natural or imparted by others, - him they designate as Kshetrajna, ‘the knower of the field,’ 'the comprehender of matter', - they who know of Kshetra and Kshetrajna.

Identity of the soul with the Lord
Thus, Kshetra and Kshetrajna have been described. Is this all the knowledge that one has to acquire about them? No Listen:

2. And do thou also know Me as Kshetrajna in all Kshetras, O Bharata. The knowledge of Kshetra and Kshetrajna is deemed by Me as the knowledge.
Do thou also know the Kshetrajna, described above, to be Myself, tu be the Supreme Lord, not a being of the world (samsara). The meaning is this: - The Kshetrajna who is in all Kshetras, and who is differentiated by the manifold upadhis or Kshetras, from Brahma down to a clump of grass, is, you should understand, really devoid of all the various upadhis (conditions) and is inaccessible to any such word or thought as ‘sat ‘or ‘asat ', existent or nonexistent. As nothing else remains to be known apart from the true nature of Kshetra, Kshetrajna and the Isvara, that knowledge by which the two objects of knowledge, Kshetra and Kshetrajna, are known is considered by Me - the Lord, Vishnu - to be the right knowledge.

The soul is subject to evil only through ignorance

Objection: If only one Being, namely, Isvara, exists in all Kshetras, if there exists no being, no other enjoyer, distinct from Him, it would follow either that the Isvara is a samsarin; or that there is no samsara because there is no samsarin, none else apart from the Isvara. Neither conclusion is acceptable; for, then, it would follow that the scriptures which treat of bondage and liberation and their - respective causes would have no purpose to serve. Moreover, the conclusion is opposed to all evidence, including sensuous perception (pratyaksha). In the first place, pleasure and pain and their causes, which together constitute the samsara, are known to us by immediate perception. And from our perception of variety in the world may also be inferred the existence of samsara arising from dharma and a-dharma. All this would be inexplicable if the Atman and the Isvara, the Self and the Lord, be identical.
Answer: No; for, that can be explained as due to a distinction between jnana and ajnana, between knowledge and ignorance. It has been said: "These, what is known as wisdom and what is known as unwisdom, are quite distinct and lead to different goals." (Katha - Up. ii. 4.) And so also a distinction through effect between vidya and avidya, wisdom and unwisdom, as producing quite opposite results, - the right and the sweet, - is pointed out (in the same Upanishad and in the same context), wisdom leading to the right, while the sweet is the effect of unwisdom. Accordingly, Vyasa says: 'Then there are these two paths, etc.,’- (Mokshadharma,24 - 6.) 'There are only these two paths,’ etc. Here (in the Gita) also two paths have been spoken of. Now, we learn from the sruti, smriti and reasoning, that unwisdom with its effect should be got rid of. As to the sruti, the following passages may be quoted: "If in this world a person knows (the Self), then the true end is gained; if a person in this world does not know (the Self), then there will be a great calamity." (Kena Upanishad, 2 - 5). 'He who knows Him (the Supreme Self) thus becomes immortal here; there is no other way to reach the Goal.’- (Purusha - sukta) 'The wise man is afraid of nothing‘- (Taittiriya Upanishad, 2 - 4). As regards the ignorant person: 'But to him there is the fear (of samsara).’- (Ibid. 2 - 7.) 'Those who live in the midst of avidya or ignorance ……go round and with an erring step, deluded as blind people led by the blind!’- (Katha - Upanishad. 2 - 5). 'He who knows Brahman is Brahman Itself.’- (Mundaka - Up. 3 - 2 - 9). “Whoever worships another Deity, thinking ‘He is another, another am I,’ he does not know; for, he is like a beast for the Gods." - (Brihadaranyaka - Up. 1 - 4 - 10). As to him who knows the Self, 'He becomes all this.’- (Ibid. 1 - 4 - 10). "When men can roll up the sky like leather, then (only, not till then) can the end of sorrow be, without men knowing God" (Sveta. Up. 6 - 20). And passages from the smriti - the Bhagavad-gita v. 15,19, and xiii. 28, - - may also be quoted. By reasoning (nyaya) also we come to the same conclusion. It is said: ‘Men avoid by knowledge serpents, thorns and wells; by ignorance some fall into them; see how estimable is the effect of knowledge.’- (Mokshadharma, 201 - 16).

Thus, we see that an ignorant man regards the physical body, etc., as the Self, is impelled by attachment and hatred and the like, performs righteous and unrighteous deeds (Dharma and A-dharma), and is born and dead, while those are liberated who, knowing the Self to be distinct from the body and the like, give up attachment and hatred, and no longer engage in righteous or unrighteous deeds to which those passions may lead. This nobody can deny by argument. Such being the case, the Kshetrajna, who is the Isvara Himself, appears to be a samsarin owing to a distinction in the upadhis set up by avidya, in the same way that the Atman or individual Self appears (by avidya) to be identical with the physical body, etc., It is a well - ascertained truth that that notion of identity of the individual Self with the not - Self, - with the physical body and the like, - which is common to all mortal creatures is caused by avidya, just as a pillar (in darkness) is mistaken (through avidya) for a human being. But thereby no essential quality of the man is actually transferred to the pillar, nor is any essential quality of the pillar actually transferred to the man. Similarly, consciousness never actually pertains to the body; neither can it be that any attributes of the body - such as pleasure, pain and dulness - actually pertain to Consciousness, to the Self; for, like decay and death, such attributes are ascribed to the Self through avidya.

Kshetrajna is really unaffected by samsara

Objection: No, the two cases are dissimilar. The pillar and the man are both objects of cognition (i.e., external to the Self) and are as such mistaken one for the other by the cogniser through avidya, whereas you say that the body and the Self, which are respectively the cognised and the cogniser, are mistaken one for the other. Thus, the illustration differs from what has to be illustrated. Wherefore the attribute of the body, though an object of cognition actually pertains to the Self, the cogniser.
Answer: No; for, then the Self would also become unconscious, etc., If the attributes - such as pleasure, pain, delusion, desire, hatred - of the body, etc., i.e. of Kshetra (Matter) which is an object of cognition, could ever pertain to the Self, the cogniser, then it would be necessary to state a reason for the difference, - i.e., to explain why a few attributes only of Khetra (an object of cognition) which are ascribed to the Self by avidya actually pertain to the Self, while others such as decay and death do not. On the other hand, we are led to infer that those qualities of Kshetra do not actually pertain to the Self, because, like decay and death, they also are attributed to the Self by avidya; as also because they are objects shunned or sought for, and so on.
Such being the case, - inasmuch as samsara which consists in doing and enjoying, and which has its root in the cognized, is only attributed to the cognizer by avidya, - the cogniser is not thereby affected, just as the akasa or ether is not affected by the attributes of dirtiness and concavity which are ascribed to it by children through ignorance. Thus, it cannot be imagined that the Kshetrajna, the Lord, though existing in all Kshetras, can ever so much as smell of the nature of a samsarin. Nowhere in our experience have we found anything improved or spoiled by a quality being falsely attributed through avidya.
As to the contention that the illustration is not quite analogous, we reply that it is wrong to say so. Why? - For, the intended point of agreement between the illustration and the thing illustrated consists in something being falsely attributed through ignorance. In this respect, both agree. But as to the contention that no false attribution of the qualities of the object to the subject is ever experienced, it has been shewn that even this contention fails in the case of decay and death.

Avidya inheres in the organ, not in the Self

Objection: As possessed of avidya, Kshetrajna is a samsarin.
Answer: No; for avidya is born of Tamas. As partaking of the nature of a veil, avidya - whether causing perception of what is quite the contrary of truth, or causing doubt, or causing nescience or non - perception of a truth - is a Tamasic notion, i e., a notion born of Tamas; for, on the dawn of the light of discrimination, it disappears; and (for instance) we find the same three modes of avidya - such as non - perception, etc., - arising also from. timira (an eye - disease causing dimness of sight), which is Tamasic, as partaking of the nature of a veil.
Objection: Then avidya is an inherent property (dharma) of the cogniser.
Answer: No; for, we see that it is the organ of sight that is affected with the disease of timira.
To explain: You (the opponent) say: Avidya is an inherent property of the cogniser. As possessed of this avidya, Kshetrajna is a samsarin. It is therefore unjust to say that Kshetrajna is the Isvara Himself and not a samsarin. We reply: It is not right to say so; for, we see that such diseases as lead to the perception of what is contrary to truth, and so on, pertain to the eye, to the organ. Neither the perception of what is contrary to truth, nor the cause thereof (viz., the disease of timira), pertains to the percipient; for, when timira is removed by the treatment of the eye, the percipient is no longer subject to such perception, which is therefore not a property of the percipient. Similarly, non - perception, false perception, and doubt, as well as their cause, properly pertain the instrument, to one or another sense - organ, but not to the Kshetrajna, the cogniser. Moreover, they are all objects of cognition and cannot therefore form the properties of the cogniser, any more than the light of a lamp. And because they are cognisable, it follows also that they can be cognised only through some organ which is distinct from the cogniser; and no philosopher admits that, in the state of liberation wherein all the sense-organs are absent, there is any such evil as avidya. If they (false perception, etc.) were essential properties of the Self, of the Kshetrajna, as the heat is an essential property of fire, there could be no getting rid of them at any time; and it is impossible for the immutable and formless Self, all-pervading like the akasa, to unite or part with anything whatsoever. Wherefore we conclude that the Kshetrajna is ever identical with Isvara. The Lord also says, “Being beginning-less and without qualities.” (xiii. 31).

Scriptural injunctions apply only to the state of bondage

Objection: Then, in the absence of Samsara and samsarins, the conclusion is inevitable that the sastra or scripture serves no purpose, and so on.
Answer: No; for, it is admitted by all. The burden of explaining an objectionable point admitted into their systems by all those philosophers who argue the existence of Atman does not lie on only one of them. In what way do all classes of philosophers admit into their systems this objectionable point? - All philosophers who admit the existence of a Self agree that liberated Selfs are not conscious of samsara or of the state of being bound to samsara; still, it is not believed that their systems are open to the objection that the sastra serves no purpose. So, according to our view, when the Kshetrajnas become one with the Lord, then let the sastra serve no purpose. It has, however, a purpose to serve where there is avidya. Just as, with the dualists (dvaitins) of all classes, the sastra has a purpose to serve only in the state of bondage, but not in the state of liberation, so with us also.

Bondage and liberation are not real states of the Self

Objection: All dualistic philosophers (Dvaitins) hold that states of bondage and liberation are real conditions of the Self, real in the literal sense of the term. Since thus there really exist, something to be avoided and something to be attained, as also the means thereto, the sastra has some purpose to serve. But in the case of the non-dualists (Advaitins), the dual world is unreal; and as the bondage of the Self is caused by avidya, it is also unreal.
Thus the sastra would have no subject to treat of and would therefore serve no purpose.
Answer: No; for, the Self cannot (really) exist in different states. - If bondage and liberation be states of the Self, they must be either simultaneous or successive. They cannot be simultaneous states of the Self as they are mutually opposed, just as motion and rest cannot be simultaneous states of one and the same thing. If successive, they are either caused or uncaused by another. If uncaused by another, there can be no liberation, If caused by another, they cannot be inherent in the Self and cannot therefore be real. And this is opposed to the hypothesis. Moreover, if we would determine the order of their occurrence, the state of bondage should come first, without a beginning, but having an end; and this is opposed to all evidence. Similarly, it has to be admitted that the state of liberation has a beginning and has no end; which is alike opposed to all evidence. Nor is it possible to maintain the eternality of that which passes from one state to another. Now, if, in order to avoid the objection of non-eternality, it be held that the states of bondage and liberation do not pertain to the Self, then even the dualists cannot avoid the objection that the sastra has no purpose to serve. The dualists and the non-dualists being thus similarly situated, the burden of answering the objection does not lie on the non-dualists alone.

Scriptural injunctions concern the unenlightened

In point of fact, the objection that the sastra would have no purpose to serve cannot be brought against non-dualism; for, the Sastra is concerned with the ignorant who view things as they present themselves to their consciousness. - It is, indeed, the ignorant who identify themselves with the cause and the effect I, with the not-Self. But not the wise; for, these latter do not identify themselves with the cause and the effect, since they know that the Self is distinct from the cause and the effect. Not even the dullest or the most insane person regards water and fire, or light and darkness, as identical; how much less a wise man. Wherefore, the injunctions and prohibitions of the sastra do not apply to him who knows the Self to be distinct from the cause and the effect. Of course, when a certain person has been commanded to do an action in the words " Do this, O Devadatta," no other person, such as Vishnu - mitra, though standing near and hearing the word of command, thinks that he (Vishnu-mitra) has been so ordered; he might, however, think so if he did not understand to whom the injunction has been addressed. So, too, in the case of the cause and the effect here.

Objection: Notwithstanding his knowledge that the Self is unconnected with the cause and the effect, it is quite possible for a wise man to regard himself in reference to the connection (between the Self and the body, etc.,) once set up by avidya (prakriti) as still bound by the injunctions of the sastra, thinking that he has been enjoined to adopt a certain course of action by which to attain a desirable end, and to avoid a certain other course of action
which leads to an evil; just as a father and his sons regard everyone among themselves as bound by the injunctions and prohibitions addressed to every other, notwithstanding their knowledge that they are all persons distinct from each other.
Answer: No; it is only prior to the knowledge of the Self unconnected with causes and effects that it is possible for one to identify the Self with them; for, it is only after having duly observed the injunctions and prohibitions of the sastra - but not before that a person attains to the knowledge that the Self is quite unconnected with causes and effects. Hence the conclusion that the injunctions and prohibitions of the sastra concern only the ignorant.
Objection: Neither those who know that the Self is independent of the body, etc., nor those who regard the mere body as the Self are, (according to non-dualists), concerned with the injunctions such as “He who desires svarga must sacrifice,” " Let none eat kalanja "; thus, there being no person who would observe scriptural injunctions, the Sastra would have no purpose to serve.
Answer: Performance of enjoined acts and abstention from prohibited acts are possible in the case of those who know of the Self only through the Scriptures. - He who knows Brahman and has realized the identity of the Kshetrajna with the Lord does not certainly engage in the Vedic rites. Neither does the person who denies the existence of the Self and of the other world engage in such rites. But, he who derives his idea of the Self only from the scriptural injunctions, - i.e., who believes in the existence of the Self because the teaching of the sastra enjoining certain actions and prohibiting (certain others) would otherwise be inexplicable but who does not directly know the Self in His essential nature, - cherishes a longing for the results of the Vedic rites and devoutly performs them: a fact which is evident to us all. Wherefore, it cannot be said that the sastra would have no purpose to serve.
Objection: On seeing the wise not performing Vedic rites, their followers also may not perform them;
and thus the sastra would serve no purpose at all.
Answer: No; for, very rare is the person who attains wisdom. It is, indeed, only one among many that attains wisdom, as we now see. Nor do the ignorant follow the wise men; for, attachment and other evil passions necessarily lead to action. We do see people engaging in the practice of Black Magic. Lastly, action is natural to man, as has been said already, "It is nature that acts" (v. 14).
Therefore, samsara is only based on avidya and exists only for the ignorant man who sees the world as it appears to him. Neither avidya nor its effect pertains to Kshetrajna pure and simple. Nor is illusory knowledge able to affect the Real Thing. The water of the mirage, for instance, can by no means render the saline soil miry with moisture. So, too, avidya can do nothing to Kshetrajna. Wherefore it has been said, ‘Do thou also know Me as Kshetrajna’ (xiii. 2); and 'By unwisdom wisdom is covered’ (v. 15).

Learned but deluded

Objection: How is it that the learned (pandits) also feel - "I am so and so," " this is mine," like the samsarins?
Answer: Listen. Their learning consists in regarding the body itself as their Self! If, on the other hand, they really see the immutable Kshetrajna, they would desire neither pleasure nor action with the attachment 'let it be mine'; for, pleasure and action are but changes of state.

Thus, then, it is the ignorant man who, longing for results, engages in action. The wise man, on the contrary, who sees the immutable Self, cherishes no longing for results and does not therefore engage in action; and when, as a consequence, the activity of the aggregate - of the body and the senses - ceases, we say, only figuratively, that he abstains from action. There is, again, another sort of learning professed by some other (class of pandits), which may be stated as follows: The Lord Himself is Kshetrajna, and Kshetra is quite distinct from Kshetrajna who perceives it; but I am a samsarin subject to pleasure and pain. To bring about the cessation of samsara I should first acquire a discriminative knowledge of Kshetra and Kshetrajna, then attain a direct perception of the Kshetrajna, the Lord, by means of Dhyana or meditation of the Lord, and then dwell in the true nature of the Lord. He who is given to know thus and he who teaches thus, neither of them is the Kshetrajna.

He who holds this view and hopes to make out that the Sastra concerning bondage and liberation has a meaning is the meanest of the learned. He is the slayer of the Self. Ignorant in himself, he confounds others, devoid as he is of the traditional key (sampradaya) to the teaching of the sastras. Ignoring what is directly taught, he suggests what is not taught. Therefore, not being acquainted with the traditional interpretation, he is to be neglected as an ignorant man, though learned in all sastras.

The relation of the Self to samsara is a mere illusion
Now as to the objections that the Isvara would be a samsarin if He be one with Kshetrajna, and that if Kshetrajnas be one with the Isvara there can be no samsara because there is no samsarin: these objections have been met by saying that knowledge and ignorance are distinct in kind and in effects, as admitted by all –
To explain: The Real Entity (viz., Isvara) is not affected by the defect (Samsara) attributed to Him through ignorance of that Real Entity. This has also been illustrated by the fact that the water of the mirage does not wet the saline soil. And the objection raised on the ground that in the absence of a samsarin there can be no samsara has been answered by explaining that the samsara and the samsarin are creatures of avidya.

Objection: The very fact that Kshetrajna is possessed of avidya makes Him a samsarin; and the effect thereof - happiness and misery and so on - is directly perceived.
Answer: No; for, what is perceived is an attribute of Kshetra (matter); and Kshetrajna, the cogniser, cannot be vitiated by the blemish due to it. To explain: whatever blemish - not inhering in Kshetrajna - you ascribe to Him, it comes under the cognised, and therefore forms a property of Kshetra, and not a property of Kshetrajna. Nor is Kshetrajna affected by it, since such intimate association of the cogniser and the cognised is impossible. If there should be such an association, then that blemish could not be cognised. That is to say, if misery and nescience were properties of the Self, how could they be objects of immediate perception Or, how could they ever be regarded as the properties of the Self? Since it has been determined that all that is knowable is Kshetra (xiii. 5 - 6) and that Kshetrajna is the knower and none else (xiii. 1), it is nothing but sheer ignorance which may lead one to contradict it by saying that nescience and misery and the like are the attributes and specific properties of Kshetrajna and that they are immediately perceived as such.

The perception of the relation of avidya, etc, to the Self is due to illusion

Now asks (the opponent): Whose is this avidya? [To explain: - This avidya which accounts for the mistaken notion is not an independent entity and should inhere in something else which has an independent existence. But it cannot inhere in Chit or Consciousness which is vidya by nature, and there is no independent entity outside Chit. Hence the question. - (A)]
Reply: By whomsoever it is seen. [To explain: Do you ask to know whether avidya Inheres as an attribute in something else which is an independent entity, or to know in particular what that entity is wherein it inheres? In the first case, there is no occasion for the question at all, for, if avidya be cognised, then, since it cannot exist by itself, it must be cognised as inhering in something else. If, on the other hand, avidya be not cognised, then how do you know that avidya exists at all? The opponent perhaps means to ask what that entity is wherein avidya inheres. Hence the question that follows. - (A)]
Opponent: By whom is it seen?
Reply: As regards this we say: There is no use asking the question, "By whom is avidya seen?" For, if avidya is perceived, you perceive also the one who has that avidya. When its possessor is perceived, it is not proper to ask, "Whose is it?" When the possessor of cows is seen, there is no occasion for the question " whose are the cows?" [To explain: Since avidya is an object of cognition, and since the Self wherein it inheres reveals Himself in one's own consciousness - there is no occasion for the question. (A)].
Opponent: The illustration is not analogous to the case in point. Since the cows and their possessor are objects of immediate perception, their relation is also an object of immediate perception; and so the question has no meaning. But not so are avidya and its possessor both objects of immediate perception. If they were, the question would have been meaningless.
Reply: If you know to what particular entity, not immediately perceived, avidya is related, of what avail is it to you? [The meaning is: - Though the possessor of avidya is not immediately perceived, still, you know in what entity avidya inheres. Where is then any occasion for your question? The opponent does not understand the real drift of the reply and proceeds as follows: - (A)]
Opponent: Since avidya is the cause of evil, it is a thing that should be got rid of. [So, I ask to know whose is avidya. - (B)].
Reply: He who has avidya will get rid of it, [and it can be no other - (A).]
Opponent: Why, it is I who have avidya, and I should try and get rid of it - A.)].
Reply: Then you know avidya and the Self, its possessor, [so that your question has no meaning - (A)].
Opponent: I know, but not by immediate perception. [Hence my question - (A)].
Reply: Then you know the Self by inference. How can you perceive the relation between the Self and avidya? It is not indeed possible for you to perceive your Self as related to avidya, at the same moment (that your Self cognises avidya); for, the cogniser (the Self) acts at the moment as the percipient of avidya. Neither can there be a (separate) cogniser of the relation between the cogniser (the Self) and avidya, nor a separate cognition of that (relation); for then you would commit the fallacy of infinite regress (anavastha). - If the relation between the cogniser (the Self) and the cognised could be cognised, another cogniser should be supposed to exist; then another cogniser of that cogniser; then another of that again; and so on; and thus, the series would necessarily be endless. If, on the other hand, avidya - or, for that matter, anything else - is the cognised, then it is ever the cognised only. So also the cogniser is ever the cogniser; he can never become the cognised. Such being the case, Kshetrajna, the cogniser, is not at all tainted by nescience, misery and the like.
Objection: There is in the Self this blemish, viz., that He is the cogniser of Kshetra or matter which is full of blemishes.
Answer: No; for, it is only by a figure of speech that the Self, the immutable Consciousness, is spoken of as the cogniser, just as, in virtue of its heat, fire is said, by a figure, to do the act of heating. We have shewn how here, in ii. 19, iii. 27, and v. 15 and other places, the Lord has taught that the Self has in Himself no concern with action or with its accessories or with its results, that they are imputed to the Self by avidya, and that they are therefore, said to belong to the Self only by a figure of speech. And we shall also explain how the same truth is taught in the sequel.
Objection: Well! if the Self has in Himself no concern with action or with its accessories or with its results, and if they are ascribed (to the Self) by avidya, then it would follow that the rituals (karmas) are intended only for the ignorant, not for the wise.
Answer: Yes, it does follow, as we shall explain when commenting on xviii. 11. And in the section (xviii. 50, et seq.) where the teaching of the whole sastra is summed up, we shall dwell more particularly on this point. No need here to expatiate further on the subject; so we conclude for the present.

Summary of the Doctrine
Here follows a verse which forms a summary of the teaching of the Discourse on Kshetra (i.e., thirteenth Discourse), which is already contained in brief in the verses xiii. 1,2; for, it is but proper to give beforehand a summary of the whole doctrine to be explained at length in the sequel.

3. And what that Kshetra is, and of what nature, and what its changes; and whence is what; and who He is and what His powers; this hear thou briefly from Me.
“That Kshetra” refers to what was spoken of as 'this body’ (xiii. 1). What that Kshetra is: what it is in itself. Of what nature: what it is in its properties. And whence is what: what effects arise from what causes. Who He is etc: Who He is that was spoken of as Kshetrajna and what His powers (prabhavas, saktis, such as the power of seeing) are which arise from the upadhis or environments (such as the eye). Do thou hear My speech describing briefly the true nature of Kshetra and Kshetrajna in all these specific aspects; and on hearing that speech, thou wilt understand the truth. - The (five) and’s imply that one should understand Kshetra and Kshetrajna in all these aspects.

The Doctrine extolled
The Lord now extols what He has proposed to teach, - namely, the doctrine of the true nature of Kshetra and Kshetrajna, - with a view to interest the mind of the hearer:

4. Sung by sages, in many ways and distinctly, in various hymns, as also in the suggestive words about Brahman, full of reasoning and decisive.
Sages (Rishis): such as Vasishtha. Hymns: such as the Rik. The true nature of Kshetra and Kshetrajna has also been taught in the Brahma - sutras, i.e., in the passages treating of Brahman, - such as "Only as the Self, let a man contemplate Him" (Bri. Up. 1 - 4 - 7), - in the words through which alone Brahman is known. They are full of reasoning. They admit of no doubt, i.e., they are productive of certain knowledge.

Matter in all its forms
To Arjuna who has, by this praise (of the doctrine), been prepared to hear it, the Lord says:

5. The Great Elements, Egoism, Reason, as also the Unmanifested, the ten senses and one, and the five objects of the senses.
The Great Elements (Mahabhutas) are so called because they pervade all vikaras, all modifications of matter. The elements here referred to are the subtle ones (sukshma), not the gross (sthula) elements, which latter will be spoken of as "the objects of the senses." Egoism (Ahamkara): self-consciousness, consciousness of ego, the cause of ‘the Great Elements'. Reason (Buddhi) is defined by determination and is the cause of Ahamkara. The cause of Reason (Buddhi) is the Avyakta, the Unmanifested, the Avyakrita or Undifferentiated, the Energy of the Lord (Isvara - Sakti) spoken of in vii. 14. So much alone is Prakriti, divided eightfold. The ten senses are made up of the five " buddhi-indriyas", senses of knowledge - such as hearing, - so called because they produce knowledge, and of the five "karma - indriyas," senses of action such as speech and hand, so called because they bring about action. And the one: the manas, which is composed of thoughts and purposes (samkalpa) and so on, is the eleventh sense. The five objects of the senses are sound, etc. The Sankhyas speak of these as the twenty-four principles (tattvas).

6. Desire, hatred, pleasure, pain, the aggregate, intelligence, courage; - the Kshetra has been thus briefly described with its modifications.
Now, the Lord proceeds to teach that even those which the Vaiseshikas speak of as the inherent attributes of Atman (the Self) are merely the attributes of Kshetra (matter), but not the attributes of Kshetrajna (the knower of matter). - Desire (ichchha) is that which impels a person who has once experienced a certain object of pleasure to seek - on again perceiving an object of the same class, - to get hold of this latter as conducive to pleasure. This, namely desire, is a property of the inner sense (Antah-karana); and it is Kshetra (matter) because it is knowable. So also, hatred is that which leads a person, who once experienced a certain object of pain, to dislike an object of the same class on perceiving this latter. This, namely hatred, is only Kshetra (matter), because it is knowable. Pleasure is the agreeable, the tranquil, made up of the Sattva principle. Even this is Kshetra, because it is knowable. Pain is the disagreeable; and it is Kshetra because it is knowable. The aggregate is the combination of the body and the senses. Intelligence is a mental state which manifests itself in the aggregate - just as fire manifests itself in a burning metallic mass, - pervaded by the semblance of the consciousness of the Self. It is Kshetra, because it is knowable. Courage is that by which the body and the senses are upheld when they get depressed; and it is Kshetra because it is knowable. - Desire and other qualities mentioned here stand for all the qualities of the inner sense (antah-karana). The Lord concludes the present subject as follows: the Kshetra has been thus briefly described, with its modifications such as Mahat (Buddhi).

Virtues conducive to Self-knowledge

The Kshetra, of which the various modifications in their totality have been spoken of as "this body" (xiii. 1), has been described in all its different forms, from 'the Great Elements ‘to 'courage’ (xiii. 5 - 6). The characteristic marks of Kshetrajna will be shortly described. In xiii. 12, the Lord Himself will describe Kshetrajua in detail, - that Kshetrajna through a knowledge of whose powers immortality can be attained. But, now, the Lord prescribes, as means to that knowledge, virtues such as humility, which qualify a person for a knowledge of the Knowable, intent on which a samnyasin is said to be a jnana-nishtha, a firm devotee in the path of knowledge, and which are designated as knowledge (jnana) because they are the means of attaining knowledge.

7. Humility, modesty, innocence, patience, uprightness, service of the teacher, purity, steadfastness, self-control.
Humility: absence of self-esteem. Modesty: not proclaiming one's own virtues. Innocence: doing no injury to any living being. Patience: not being affected when others have done any injury. Service of the teacher: doing acts of service to the preceptor (acharya) who teaches the means of attaining moksha. Purity: washing away the dirt from the body by means of water and earths, - the inner purity of mind consisting in the removal from it of the dirt of attachment and other passions by cultivating the idea that is inimical to them. Steadfastness: concentration of all efforts exclusively in the path of salvation. Self-control: control of the self, of the aggregate of the body and the senses. This aggregate is spoken of as the self, because it is of some service to the true Self. Self-control consists in directing exclusively to the right path the body and the mind which are by nature attracted in all directions. Moreover,

8. Absence of attachment for objects of the senses, and also absence of egoism; perception of evil in birth, death and old age, in sickness and pain.
Absence of attachment: for sense-objects such as sound, for pleasures seen or unseen. Perception, et.,.: thinking of what evil there is severally in birth, etc. Thus, the evil in birth lies in having to dwell in the womb and to issue out through the uterus. Similarly, in death. The evil of old age consists in the decay of intelligence, power and strength, and in being treated with contempt. So also, may be seen the evil caused by sickness such as head - disease; or the evil caused by pain, whether adhyatmika, i.e., arising in one's own person, or adhibhautika, i.e., produced by external agents, or adhidaivika, i.e., produced by supernatural beings. Or, the passage may be thus interpreted: - Pain itself is evil. Birth, etc., should be regarded as painful, as shown above. Birth is a misery; death is a misery; old age is a misery; and sickness is a misery. Birth, etc., are all miseries, because they produce misery; they are not miseries in themselves. From this perception of the evil of pain in birth, etc., there arises indifference to the pleasures of the body and of the senses; and then the senses turn towards the Innermost Self to obtain a glimpse of the Self. Because the perception of the evil of pain in birth, etc., conduces to knowledge, it is itself spoken of as knowledge.

9. Unattachment, absence of affection for son, wife, home and the like, and constant, equanimity on the attainment of the desirable and the undesirable.
Unattachment: absence of liking for things which may form objects of attachment. Affection is an intense form of attachment and consists in complete identification with another, as in the case of a man who feels happy or miserable when another is happy or miserable and who feels himself alive or dead when another is alive or dead. The like: others who are very dear, other dependents. Unattachment and absence of affection are termed knowledge because they lead to knowledge. Constant equanimity consists is not being delighted on attaining the desirable, and in not chafing on the undesirable. This equanimity also is (conducive to) knowledge.

10. Unflinching devotion to Me in Yoga of nonseparation, resort to solitary places, distaste for the society of men.
Yoga of non-separation: aprithak-samadhi, a steady unflinching meditation on the One with the idea that there is no Being higher than the Lord, Vasudeva, and that therefore He is our sole Refuge. And this devotion is (conducive to) knowledge. Solitary places: which are naturally free, or made free, from impurities, as also from fear of serpents, thieves and tigers: such as a jungle, the sandbank of a river, the temple of a God, and so on. It is in solitude that the mind becomes calm; so that meditation of the Self and the like is possible only in a solitary place. Wherefore resort to I solitude is said to be (conducive to) knowledge. Society of men: of the ordinary unenlightened and undisciplined people, not of the enlightened and disciplined men, because the society of these latter is an aid to knowledge. Distaste for the society of ordinary men is knowledge because it leads to knowledge. Moreover,

11. Constancy in Self - knowledge, perception of the end of the knowledge of truth. This is declared to be knowledge, and what is opposed to it is ignorance.
Self-knowledge: knowledge of the Self and the like. Perception, etc.: Knowledge of truth results from the mature development of such attributes as humility (xiii. 7), which are the means of attaining knowledge. The end of this knowledge is moksha, the cessation of mortal existence, of samsara. The end should be kept in view; for, it is only when one perceives the end of the knowledge of truth that one will endeavor to cultivate the attributes which are the means of attaining that knowledge. These attributes – from ‘humility ‘to ‘perception of the end of the knowledge of truth’ - are declared to be knowledge, because they are conducive to knowledge. What is opposed to this - viz., pride, hypocrisy, cruelty, impatience, insincerity and the Like - is ignorance, which should be known and avoided as tending to the perpetuation of samsara.

Brahman, the Knowable
What is it that has to be known by this knowledge? In answer to this question the Lord proceeds with xiii. 12, etc.

Objection: Humility and the like are only forms of self-control (yama and niyama); by them cannot be perceived the Knowable. Never indeed have we found humility and Other attributes (mentioned above) serving to determine the nature of anything. And in all cases, it is only the knowledge or consciousness of an object that has been found to determine the nature of that object of knowledge. And, certainly, no object can bs determined through the knowledge of another object, any more than fire can be perceived through the knowledge of a pot.
Answer: This objection does not apply here; for, we have said that humility and the like are spoken of as knowledge because they conduce to knowledge, or because they are secondary or auxiliary causes of knowledge.

12. That which has to be known I shall describe; knowing which one attains the Immortal. Beginningless is the Supreme Brahman. It is not said to be 'sat ‘or 'asat.'
That which has to be known, I shall fully describe as It is. - The Lord then goes on to describe what the result of that knowledge will be, in order to call the hearer's attention by way of creating in him a desire to know of It. - It, the unsurpassed One, the Brahman, just spoken of as 'That which has to be known, ‘has no beginning. With a view to avoid tautology some split the expression 'anadimatparam’ into ‘anadi matparam’, and explain it differently; thus: Brahman is beginningless, and I am Its Para - Sakti, the Supreme Energy called Vasudeva. But we say) - True, tautology might thus be avoided, provided the given interpretation were possible. But the interpretation does not hold good, for it is intended here to expound the nature of Brahman by denying all specific attributes. It is a self - contradiction to speak of Brahman as possessed of a particular kind of energy and at the same time as devoid of all specific attributes. Therefore, tautology should be explained as due to the exigencies of the metre.

Brahman is beyond speech and thought

After saying that He is going to speak of what, as leading to immortality, is worth knowing, and after having thus called the hearer's attention by creating a desire for the knowledge, the Lord says: It is not said to be ‘sat (existent)’or ‘asat (non-existent).’

Objection: After proclaiming very loudly that He is going to speak of the Knowable, it does not become the Lord to describe It
as neither 'sat’ nor 'asat.'
Answer: No; it is quite the right thing that has been said. How? Thus: being inaccessible to speech, Brahman, the Knowable, is defined in all Upanishads only by a denial of all specialties, - 'Not thus’ (Bri. Up, 2 - 3 - 6) and ‘not gross, not subtle’ (Ibid, 3 - 8 - 8) - in the terms "It is not this."
Objection: That thing (alone) exists which can be spoken of as existing. If the Knowable cannot be spoken of as existing, then It cannot exist.
And it is a contradiction in terms to say that It is knowable and that It cannot be spoken of as existing.
Answer: - Neither is It non-existent, since It is not an object of the consciousness of Nonexistence.
Objection: Every state of consciousness involves either the consciousness of existence or that of Non-existence. Such being the case, the Knowable should be comprehended either by a state of consciousness accompanied with the consciousness of existence, or by a state of consciousness accompanied with the consciousness of Non-existence.
Answer: No; for, being beyond the reach of the senses. It is not an object of consciousness accompanied with the idea of either (existence or Non-existence). That thing, indeed, which can be perceived by the senses, such as a pot, can be an object of consciousness accompanied with the idea of existence, or an object of consciousness accompanied with the idea of Nonexistence. Since, on the other hand, the Knowable is beyond the reach of the senses and as such can be known solely through that instrument of knowledge which is called 'Sabda’ (the Word, i.e., Revelation), It cannot be, like a pot, etc., an object of consciousness accompanied with the idea of either (existence or Non-existence) and is therefore not said to be 'sat’ or 'asat'. Now, as regards the allegation that it is a self - contradiction in terms to say that the Knowable is not said to be ‘sat ‘or 'asat', (we say that) there is no contradiction; for, the sruti says, 'It is other than the known and above the unknown.’- (Kena - Up.2 - 3.)
Objection:  Even the passage of the sruti just quoted is self - contradictory, just as the sruti is self - contradictory when, after putting up the hall for the sacrifice, it says "(who knows) there exists (any good) in the next world?" (Taittiriya - Samhita, 6 - 1 - 1).
Answer:  No; the passage which says that "It is other than the known and above the unknown, teaches, by itself, something which should be accepted as true, whereas the passage quoted by the opponent - " who knows if there exist any good in the next world?" - is a mere artha-vada, a statement which, to be understood in its full import, should be read along with the injunction to which it is subsidiary. Moreover, it stands to reason to say that Brahman cannot be expressed in words such as 'sat'; for, every word employed to denote a thing denotes that thing - when heard by another - as associated with a certain genus, or a certain act, or a certain quality, or a certain mode of relation. Thus: cow and horse imply genera, cook and teacher imply acts, white and black imply qualities, wealthy and cattle - owner imply possession. But Brahman belongs to no genus wherefore It cannot be denoted by such words as ‘sat (existent)'. Being devoid of attributes. It possesses no qualities. If It were possessed of qualities, then It could be denoted by a word implying a quality. Being actionless, It cannot be indicated by a word implying an act. The Sruti says: "It is without parts, actionless and tranquil." (Svet. Up. 6 - 19). It is not related to anything else; for It is one, It is without a second, It is no object (of any sense). It is the very Self. Wherefore, it is but right to say that It can be denoted by no word at all; and the passages of the sruti like the following point to the same thing: Whence (i.e., away from Brahman, unable to approach Brahman) all words return." - (Tait. Up. 2 - 4 - 1.)

Brahman is the source of all activity

When it is said that Brahman the Knowable is not accessible to the word or thought of 'sat’(existent), one may perhaps suppose It to be 'asat’ or non-existent. To prevent this supposition the Lord proceeds to declare Its existence as manifested through the upadhis, through the senses of all living beings. [To explain: Since nothing is found which is devoid of all conditions and quite beyond all speech and thought, - nay, since everything we experience is of a contrary nature, - one may suppose that Brahman as described above must be a void or non-entity (sunya). To prevent this supposition, the Lord proceeds to teach that Brahman exists (i) as the Inner Self (Pratyak), (2) as the source of all activity of the senses and the like, (3) as the source whence arises our consciousness of existence with reference to all duality which is imaginary, (4) as Isvara or the Lord of the universe. First of all, here, the Lord proves, by way of inference, the existence of Brahman as the Inner Self - consciousness: there must be some self-conscious principle (pratyak-chetana) behind insentient principles in activity, such as the physical body; for, we invariably find self - consciousness lying behind all insentient objects in activity, such as a carriage in motion. - (A)]

13. With hands and feet everywhere, with eyes and heads and mouths everywhere, with hearing everywhere, That exists enveloping all.
The Knowable has hands and feet everywhere. The existence of Kshetrajna is indicated by the upadhis of the sense-organs of all living beings. Kshetrajna (the self-conscious principle lying behind the sense-organs) is so called because of the upadhi of Kshetra; and this Kshetra is of various forms, such as hands, feet, etc. All the variety caused in Kshetrajna by the variety in the upadhis of Kshetra is but illusory, and it has therefore been said - in the words “It is not said to be 'sat’ or ‘asat’” - that It should be known as devoid of all variety. Though what is caused (in Kshetrajna) by upadhis is illusory, still it is spoken of - in the words that ‘It has hands and feet everywhere’ - as though it were an attribute of the Knowable, only with a view to indicate Its existence. Accordingly, there is the saying of the sampradaya - vids - of those who know the right traditional method of teaching - which runs as follows: "That which is devoid of all duality is described by adhyaropa and apavada,"i.e., by superimposition and negation, by attribution and denial. Hands, feet and the like, constituting the limbs of all bodies in all places, derive their activity from the Energy inherent in the Knowable, and as such they are mere marks of Its existence and are spoken of as belonging to It only by a figure of speech. - All the rest should be similarly interpreted It (Brahman) exists in the world, in the whole animal creation, pervading all.

Brahman is unconditioned
The purpose of this verse is to prevent the supposition that the Knowable is (really) possessed of the upadhis - the sense-organs such as hands, feet, and the like, - which are merely superimposed (upon It).

14. Shining by the functions of all the senses, (yet) without the senses, unattached, yet supporting all; devoid of qualities.
All the senses: the buddhi-indriyas and karma-indriyas, the organs of knowledge and the organs of action. The inner senses, - manas and buddhi, - which alike form the upadhis of the Knowable, are included in the term ‘all the senses’. Moreover, even hearing and other senses form upadhis only through the upadhi of the antah-karana, the inner sense. Thus, we should understand that Brahman manifests Itself through the upadhis of external and internal senses through the functions of all the senses, viz., determination, purposes and thoughts, hearing, speech and the like. That is to say, the Knowable functions, as it were, through the functions of all the senses. The sruti says: " It meditates as it were, It moves as it were." (Bri Up - 4 - 3 - 7) - Why should it not mean that It actually functions? - Says the Lord: It is not possessed of any of the senses. Wherefore, the Knowable does not actually function when the senses are functioning. And as regards the verse, "Without hands and feet, He is swift, He grasps; He sees without the eye, He hears without the ear." (Svet. Up. 3 - 19) - there, the sruti implies that the Knowable has the power to accommodate Itself to the varying functions of all the senses which are Its upadhis, but not that It actually possesses swift motion and such other activities. The verse should be interpreted like the passage " The blind one saw the gem." (Taitt. Aranyaka, i. 11). Because It is devoid of the senses, therefore It is unattached, devoid of all attachments.

Brahman, the basic Reality in all illusory phenomena

Though It is so, yet It supports all. Indeed, everything is based on the 'sat,’ the Existent; for everywhere the idea of 'sat’ is present. Not even the mirage and the like exist without a basis. Hence it is said that It supports all.

Brahman, the perceiver of the Gunas

There is this yet another gate to a knowledge of the existence of the Knowable: Though devoid of the gunas, - Sattva, Rajas, and Tamas - yet, the Knowable is the enjoyer, the perceiver, of the gunas which, assuming the forms of sound and other (objects of sense), transform themselves into pleasure, pain and delusion.

Brahman is all

15. Without and within (all) beings; the unmoving; as also the moving. Because subtle, That is incomprehensible; and near and far away is That.
Without: What lies outside the body which is inclusive of the skin and which is regarded through ignorance as one's own self. And 'within ‘refers to the Inner Self, Pratyagatman, lying inside the body. - The statement that It is ‘without and within’ may imply Its absence in the middle. To prevent this implication, the Lord says that It is ‘the unmoving as also the moving.’ It is Brahman, the Knowable, that appears as the bodies, moving and unmoving, just as a rope appears as a snake.

Brahman is comprehended only by the wise

Objection: If all things we perceive, the moving and the unmoving, were the Knowable, then how is it that Brahman is not directly comprehended by everybody, as ‘This It is’?
Answer: True, It manifests Itself as everything; but It is subtle like the akasa. Wherefore, on account of Its subtlety. It is incomprehensible to the unenlightened, though knowable in Itself. It is, however, always known to the enlightened, as revealed in the following texts: 'All this is the Self and the Self alone’ (Bri.Up. 2 - 4 - 6.) 'All this is Brahman and Brahman alone.’ (ibid. 2 - 5 - 1.) It is far away when unknown; for. It is unattainable by the unenlightened even in millions of years. And to the enlightened It is very near, because It is their own Self.

Brahman is the one Self in all

16. And undivided, yet remaining divided as it were in beings; supporter of beings, too, is That, the Knowable; devouring, yet generating.
It is undivided in the different bodies, It is one like the akasa. Still, it appears to be different in all the different bodies, inasmuch as It manifests Itself only in the bodies.

Brahman is the Cause of the Universe
The Knowable supports beings during sthiti, the period of sustenance of the Universe; and It devours them at pralaya, i.e., at the time of dissolution. It generates them at the time of utpatti, the origin of the Universe, just as a rope gives rise to an illusory snake.

Brahman is the Illuminator of all
Objection: If the Knowable, though existing everywhere, is not perceived, then It is but darkness (Tamas).
Answer: No. What then?

17. The Light even of lights, That is said to be beyond darkness. Knowledge, the Knowable, the Goal of knowledge, (It) is implanted in the heart of everyone.
That, the Knowable, is the Light even of lights such as the sun. Indeed, these latter shine only when illumined by the light of the consciousness of the Self. The Chants say: ‘That Light by which illumined the sun shines’- (Taitt. Br. 3 - 12 - 9.) 'By Its light all this shines‘- (Svet. Up. 6 - 14). So says the smriti also here (in the Bhagavad-gita xv. 12.) It is said to be uncontaminated by Tamas, by ajnana, by nescience.

The Light is in the heart of everyone
Now, with a view to cheer up Arjuna who seemed dejected at the thought of the knowledge (of Brahman) being very difficult of attainment, the Lord says: knowledge, such as humility (xiii. 7 - 11); the Knowable, as described in xiii. 12 - 17; and the same thing, viz., the Knowable, which, when known, forms the fruit of knowledge and is therefore said to be the Goal of knowledge, and which as a thing to be known forms the Knowable: these three (knowledge, the Knowable, and the Goal of knowledge) are implanted pre-eminently in the heart (buddhi) of every living being; it is indeed there that the three are distinctly manifested.

Seek the Light through devotion
Here follows the verse which concludes the subject just treated of:

18. Thus the Kshetra, as well as knowledge and the Knowable, have been briefly set forth. My devotee, on knowing this, is fitted for My state.
Thus, the Kshetra, described above (xiii - 5 - 6), beginning with the ‘Great elements ‘and ending with ‘firmness;’ knowledge, comprising the attributes which have been enumerated, beginning with 'humility ‘and ending with ‘perception of the end of the knowledge of truth’ (xiii. 7 - 11); and the Knowable, described in xiii - 12 - 17; - these have been set forth in brief. Such, indeed, is the whole doctrine, the doctrine of the Vedas and the doctrine of the Gita, taught in brief.

Question: Who is fit to attain this right knowledge?
Answer: He who is devoted to Me, who regards Me - Vasudeva, the Supreme Lord, the Omniscient, the Supreme Guru - as the Self (Soul, Essence) of everything, i.e., he who is possessed (as it were) with the idea that all that he sees or hears, or touches is nothing but the Lord, Vasudeva. Thus, devoted to Me, and having attained the right knowledge described above, he is fit to attain to My state, i.e., he attains moksha.

Prakriti and Purusha are eternal

In the seventh discourse were described two Prakritis, the superior and the inferior, corresponding to Kshetra and Kshetrajna; and it was said that they are the womb of all creatures (vii. 6). - It may now be asked, how can it be said that the two Prakritis, Kshetra and Kshetrajna, are the womb of all beings? - This question will now be answered:

19. Know thou that Prakriti as well as Purusha are both beginningless; and know thou also that all forms and qualities are born of Prakriti.
Prakriti and Purusha, Matter and Spirit, are the two Prakritis of the Isvara, the Lord. These two, Prakriti and Purusha - you should know have no beginning. As the Isvara is the eternal Lord, it is but right that His Prakritis also should be eternal. The Lordship of the Isvara consists indeed in His possession of the two Prakritis by which He causes the origin, preservation and dissolution of the universe. The two Prakritis are beginningless, and they are therefore, the cause of samsara. Some construe the passage so as to mean that the two Prakritis are not primeval. It is by such an interpretation, they hold, that the causality of the Isvara can be established. If, on the other hand, Prakriti and Purusha were eternal, it would follow that they are the cause of the universe, and that the Isvara is not the creator of the universe. It is wrong to say so; for the Isvara would then be no Isvara, inasmuch as there would be nothing for Him to rule over prior to the birth of Prakriti and Purusha. Moreover, if samsara had no cause (other than Isvara), there could be no cessation thereof; and thus the sastra (the scripture) would have no purpose to serve. Likewise, there could be neither bondage nor salvation,

Prakriti and Purusha as the Cause of samsara

If, on the other hand, the Prakritis of the Isvara be eternal, all this can be explained. - How? - Know thou that all forms, all emanations (vikaras) from buddhi down to the physical body, and all qualities (gunas) such as those which manifest themselves as pleasure, pain, delusion and other mental states to be described hereafter, spring from Prakriti, Maya, composed of the three gunas, that Energy of the Isvara which constitutes the cause of (all) emanations. Know thou that they are all modifications of Prakriti. What then are those forms and qualities which are said to be born of Prakriti? Says the Lord:

20. As the producer of the effect and the instruments, Prakriti is said to be the cause; as experiencing pleasure and pain, Purusha is said to be the cause.
The effect (karya) is the physical body, and the instruments (karanas) are the thirteen located in the body. The five elements (bhutas) which build up the body, and the five sense objects which are the emanations of Prakriti as mentioned above, are included under the term 'effect; ‘and all qualities, such as pleasure, pain and delusion, which are born of Prakriti, are included under the term ‘instruments,’ since those qualities are seated in the instruments, the senses. In the production of the physical body, of the senses and their sensations, Prakriti is said to be the cause, for, it generates them all. Thus, as producing the physical body and the senses, Prakriti is the cause of samsara.
In the place of ‘karana’ which means instrument, some read ‘karana’ which means cause. Whatever is a modification of another is the effect or emanation (vikara) of that other; and that from which it emanates is the cause (karana). Prakriti is the source of the cause and the effect, which comprise the same things (that were denoted by the terms 'the effect and the instruments'). Or, it may be that the sixteen vikaras - or emanations are here spoken of as the effect; and the seven which are at once Prakriti and vikriti, cause and effect, and which are therefore called Prakriti - Vikritis, are spoken of as the cause. In the production of these, the cause is Prakriti, as generating them all. And now will be shown how Purusha is the cause of samsara. ‘Purusha’, ‘Jiva’, ‘Kshetrajna’, ‘Bhoktri (Enjoyer)’ are all synonymous terms. Purusha is said to be the cause, as perceiving pleasure, pain, and other objects of experience.

Objection: Why should Prakriti and Purusha be regarded as the cause of Samsara by way of generating causes and effects and experiencing pleasure and pain?
Answer: How could there be Samsara at all without Prakriti transforming itself as causes and effects, as the body and the senses, as pleasure and pain, and without the conscious Purusha experiencing them? When, on the other hand, there is a conjunction - in the form of avidya or nescience - of Purusha, the experiencer, with Prakriti, the opposite, the object of experience, in all its transformations as the body and the senses, as pleasure and pain, as causes and effects, then only is samsara possible. Wherefore it is but right to say that Prakriti and Purusha are the cause of samsara; the one generating the body and the senses, the other experiencing pleasures and pains.
Objection: What, then, is this samsara?
Answer: Samsara is the experience of pleasure and pain; and Purusha is the samsarin, as the experiencer of pleasure and pain

Avidya and Kama are the cause of rebirths
It has been said that Purusha is the samsarin as experiencing pleasure and pain. What is this (experiencing of pleasure and pain) due to? The Lord says;

21. Purusha, when seated in Prakriti, experiences the qualities born of Prakriti. Attachment to the qualities is the cause of his birth in good and evil wombs.
Because Purusha, the experiencer, is seated in Prakriti, in avidya or nescience, - that is to say, because he identifies himself with the body and the senses which are emanations of Prakriti, - he experiences the qualities born of Prakriti, manifesting themselves as pleasure, pain and delusion; he thinks, "I am happy, I am miserable, I am deluded, I am wise." Over and above avidya (the cause of birth), His attachment to (i.e., identification of Himself with) what He experiences, - namely, the (qualities of pleasure, pain and delusion, - forms the main cause of Purusha's birth. The sruti says: "As is his desire, so is his will." (Bri. Up. 4 - 4 - 5) Accordingly, the Lord says here: - The experiencer's attachment for qualities leads him to births in good and evil wombs. Or, the second half of the verse may be construed, by supplying the word ‘samsara,’ so as to mean: Attachment for qualities is the cause of His samsara through births in good and evil wombs. Good wombs are those of Devas and the like; evil wombs are those of lower animals. We may also add, as implied here - being opposed to no teaching, - the wombs of men which are (partly) good and (partly) evil. The sense of the passage maybe explained as follows: Avidya, - spoken of as (Purusha's) being 'seated in Prakriti,’- and Kama or attachment for qualities, together constitute the cause of Samsara.

Self-knowledge removes the cause of samsara
This twofold cause has been taught here for avoidance, (i.e., in order that we may try to remove it). The means of bringing about the removal of the (twofold) cause are Jnana and Vairagya, i.e., knowledge and indifference conjoined with samnyasa or renunciation as has been clearly taught in the Gita-sastra. This knowledge, the knowledge of Kshetra and Kshetrajna, has been imparted in the beginning of this discourse. And it has also been imparted in xiii. 12, et. seq., both by eliminating foreign elements (xiii. 12) and by attributing alien properties (xiii. 13, et. seq.) Now again the Lord proceeds to teach directly what that knowledge is:

22. Spectator and Permitter, Supporter, Enjoyer, the Great Lord, and also spoken of as the Supreme Self, (is) the Purusha Supreme in this body.
Spectator (Upadrashtri): a bystander and a witness, Himself not acting. When priests and the sacrificer are engaged in a sacrificial act, there is another, an expert in sacrificial matters, sitting by their side, not taking part in the act, and discerning what is good and what is bad in the acts of the sacrificer and of the priests; just so, not taking part in the activities of the body and the senses, the Self is distinct from them, a near witness of the body and the senses and all their acts. Or, it may be also explained thus; The body, the sense of sight, Manas, Buddhi, and the Self are the seers. Of these, the body is the most external seer; and viewed from the body inwards, the Self is the innermost and nearest seer, and beyond Him there is no seer in the interior. Thus, being the nearest seer. He is spoken of as ‘Upadrashtri.’ Or, the Self is Upadrashtri because, like the Upadrashtri in the sacrificial rite, He watches all. He is also the Permitter (Anumantri), expressing approbation or satisfaction concerning the acts of those who are engaged in action.
Or, though Himself not engaged in action while the body and senses are active, He seems to be active in co-operation with them. Or, being their mere witness, He never stands in the way of those that are engaged in their respective activities. Supporter (Bhartri): The Self is called the Supporter, because the body, the senses, Manas and Buddhi - which aggregate together to serve the purposes of someone else, viz. the Intelligent Self, and which are, or which convey, mere reflections of the Intelligence - are what they are, only as made by that Intelligent Self. Enjoyer (Bhoktri): The Self is the enjoyer because by the Self who is ‘nitya-chaitanyasvarupa', i e., whose inherent nature is eternal intelligence, just as heat is the inherent nature of fire, are clearly perceived, in their mutual relations, all states of mind (buddheh - pratyayah), constituted of pleasure, pain and delusion, which, as they come into being, are permeated as it were by the intelligent Self. The Great Lord: As one with the whole universe and independent of all, He is the Great One as well as the Lord. The Supreme Self (Paramatman): the Self who has been defined as the Spectator, etc., is Supreme, because He is superior to all those things - from the physical body up to the Avyakta - which are through ignorance mistaken for the Inner Self. Whence He is spoken of as ‘Paramatman’ in the Sruti also. Where is He? - Purusha, who transcends the Avyakta, as will be described hereafter in xv. 17, is here in this body. The Self treated of in xiii. 2 has been described at length, and the subject has been concluded. As to him who knows the Self thus described:

23. He who thus knows Purusha and Prakriti together with qualities, whatever his conduct, he is not born again.
He who knows Purusha in the manner mentioned above, i.e., he who directly perceives Him as his very Self, ‘This I am,’ he who knows Prakriti or Avidya described above with all its modifications, i.e., he who knows the Prakriti as resolved into nothing (abhava) by vidya or knowledge, whatever life he may lead, (i.e., whether he is engaged in the prescribed duties or forbidden acts), he is not born again; that is, he will not have to put on another body on the death of this, i.e., at the end of the birth in which he has attained wisdom. How much more so the wise man who stands firm in the path of duty.

Objection: What acts are neutralized by knowledge? Absence of rebirth subsequent to the attainment of knowledge has indeed been taught here. But inasmuch as it is not right (to suppose) the annihilation, before producing their respective effects, of those acts which were done (in the present birth) before the attainment of knowledge or of those acts which may be done thereafter, or of those which had been done in the many past births, there should be at least three (more) births; for it is not right to suppose the annihilation of these acts any more than to suppose the annihilation of the deeds whose fruits are being reaped in the present birth. And we see no distinction between (these two groups of) acts. Accordingly, the three classes of acts will give rise to a single birth. Otherwise, the possibility of annihilation of what has been done would lead to uncertainty everywhere, and the sastra (all scriptural injunctions) would become useless. Wherefore it is not right to say that’ he is not born again.’
Answer: No, (it is right), as the following passages of the sruti show: 'His deeds perish.’- (Mund. Up. 2 - 2 - 8.)’ ‘He who knows Brahman, becomes Brahman Itself.’- (Ibid., 3 - 2 - 9). 'For him there is only delay so long as he is not delivered (from the present body). - (Chand. Up. 6 - 14 - 2). 'As the soft fibres of the ishika reed are burnt in the fire, so all his actions are burnt.’ (Ibid., 5 - 24 - 3). Consumption of all acts has been taught here also in iv.37 and will be taught also hereafter. And this also stands to reason; for, only those acts which spring from avidya (nescience), from desire (kama) and such other affections, which are the seeds of all evil, can cause future births; and it has also been stated by the Lord here and there in the Gita that those actions which are accompanied with egotism and desire - but not other actions - are productive of results. It is also said elsewhere, “As the fire - burnt seeds do not sprout again, so the body cannot be formed again by wisdom - burnt affections.”
Objection: Granted that knowledge consumes acts done subsequently to the attainment of knowledge, inasmuch as they are accompanied with knowledge; but it is not possible to explain how it can consume acts done in this life before the attainment of knowledge, and those done in the several past births.
Answer: Do not say so, because of the qualification ‘all acts’ (iv. 37).
Objection: It may mean all those acts only which are done subsequently to the attainment of knowledge.
Answer: No, for, there is no reason for the limitation. Now as regards the contention that just as the actions which have begun their effects by way of bringing about the present birth do not perish in spite of knowledge, so also even those acts which have not yet begun to produce their effects cannot perish, (we say) it is wrong. - How? For, the former have, like an arrow discharged, begun their effects. Just as an arrow once discharged from a bow at an aim does not, even after piercing through the aim, cease to act till it drops down on the exhaustion of the whole force with which it was propelled, so also, though the purpose of the bodily existence has been gained, the effects of actions which have produced the body continue as before till the exhaustion of their inherent energy. (On the other hand), just as the same arrow when not yet propelled with the energy which is the cause of its activity, i.e., when not discharged, can be withdrawn, though already fixed in the bow, so also, the acts which have not yet begun their effects, which only abide in their own seat, can be neutralized by the knowledge of truth. Thus, it is but right to say that when the body of a wise man perishes ‘he is not born again.’

The four paths to Self-knowledge
Now, there are several paths to Self - knowledge, and they are mentioned here as follows:

24. By meditation some behold the Self in the self by the self, others by Sankhya-Yoga, and others by Karma-Yoga.
Meditation (Dhyana) consists in withdrawing by concentration hearing and other senses into the Manas away from sound and other sense-objects, then withdrawing Manas into the Inner Intelligence, and then contemplating (that Inner Intelligence). Hence the comparison, "the crane meditates as it were; the earth meditates as it were; the mountains meditate as it were" (Cha. Up. 7 - 6 - 1) Dhyana is a continuous and unbroken thought like a line of flowing oil. By meditation the Yogis behold the Self, the Inner Intelligence, in the self (Buddhi) by the self, by their own intelligence, i.e., by the antah-karana refined by Dhyana. - Sankhya consists in thinking thus: ‘these, Sattva Rajas and Tamas, are Gunas, Atman is the witness of their acts, eternal, and distinct from the Gunas.’ By Sankhya-Yoga some behold the Self in the self by the self. - Karma is Yoga, i.e., that Karma or action which is performed in the service of the Lord (Isvara). Such a course of action is Yoga - only by a figure of speech - inasmuch as it leads to Yoga. Some behold the Self by this Yoga of action, which, causing purity of the mind (sattva), gives rise to knowledge.

25. Yet others, not knowing thus, worship, having heard from others; they, too, cross beyond death, adhering to what they heard.
But there are yet others, who, not able to know the Self described above by any one of the several methods already pointed out, learn from others, from acharyas or teachers who tell them "Do thou thus meditate upon this"; they then engage in worship, i.e., they contemplate the idea in full faith. Even they cross beyond death, i.e., beyond samsara which is associated with death - even they whose best equipment when commencing to tread the path of moksha consists in what they have heard, i.e., who solely depend upon the authority of other's instructions and are themselves ignorant. How much more so, then, those who can independently appreciate evidence and discriminate.

Nothing exists outside the Self
The knowledge of the identity of Kshetrajna with the Isvara - of the individual soul with the Lord - as taught in xiii. 2 has been spoken of in xiii. 12 as the means to moksha. - For what reason is it so? - The Lord proceeds to explain the reason. For,

26. Whatever being is born, the unmoving or the moving, know thou, O best of the Bharatas, that to be owing to the union of Kshetra and Kshetrajna.

Objection: Of what sort is this union of Kshetra and Kshetrajna meant to be? The union of Kshetrajna with Kshetra cannot certainly be a relation through contact (samyoga) of each other's parts, as between a rope and a vessel, inasmuch as Kshetrajna is, like the akasa, without parts. Nor can it be of the nature of samavaya or inseparable inherence, inasmuch as it cannot be admitted that Kshetra and Kshetrajna are related to each other as cause and effect.
Answer: The union between Kshetra and Kshetrajna, between the object and the subject, which are opposed to each other in nature, is of the nature of mutual adhyasa; i.e., it consists in confounding them as well as their attributes with each other owing to the absence of a discrimination between the nature of Kshetra and that of Kshetrajna, like the union of a rope and a mother - of - pearl respectively with a snake and silver when they are mistaken the one for the other owing to the absence of discrimination. The union of Kshetra and Kshetrajna which is of the nature of adhyasa - which consists in confounding the one with the other - is a sort of illusion (mithyajnana); and this illusion vanishes - because of its opposition to the right knowledge - when a man attains to a knowledge of the distinction between Kshetra and Kshetrajna as defined in the sastra, when he is able to separate Kshetrajna from Kshetra like the ishika reed from the munja-grass and to realize that Brahman, the Knowable, which is devoid of all upadhis as described in the words "It is not said to be existent or non-existent" (xiii. 12) is his own Self, when he is convinced that, like the elephants and palaces projected by a juggler's art, or like a thing seen in a dream, or like a gandharvanagara (an imaginary city in the sky), Kshetra is non-existent and only appears to be existent. As the cause of birth has vanished in the case of such a man, it stands to reason that the wise man is not born again (xiii. 23).

The one Self in all

It has been said (xiii. 23) that the effect of right knowledge is the cessation of births through the removal of avidya (nescience) and the like which form the seed of samsara. It has also been said that the cause of birth is the union of Kshetra and Kshetrajna caused by avidya. Therefore, the right knowledge which alone can remove avidya, though already described, will again be described in other words as follows:

27. He sees, who sees the Supreme Lord, remaining the same in all beings, the undying in the dying.
The Supreme Lord exists, without any difference, in all living beings, from Brahma down to the unmoving object (sthavara). He is the Lord Supreme as compared with the body, senses, Manas, Buddhi, the Avyakta (the unmanifested, i.e., the causal body, the karayna-sarira, avidya) and the individual soul (Atman, Jiva). All living beings are perishable while the Supreme Lord is imperishable. Thus, there is a great disparity between the Supreme Lord and the created beings. For, of all changing states of a being (bhava-vikaras), the change of state called birth is the root; all the other changes ending with destruction occur subsequently to birth. There can be no change of state subsequent to destruction, since the object itself does not exist. Attributes can exist only when the substance exists. Wherefore, the denial of the final change of state comprehends the denial of all the preceding changes as well as their effects. Thus, it may be seen that the Supreme Lord is quite unlike all beings and that He is one and immutable in all. He sees (rightly) who sees the Supreme Lord as now described.

Objection: The whole world sees; why this one in particular?
Answer: True, the world sees; but it sees erroneously. Hence the particularization ‘he alone sees.’ A man whose eye is affected with timira sees more moons than one; and with reference to him, he who sees one moon may be specified thus, ‘he alone sees.’ Similarly here, lie who sees the one undivided Self as described above is distinguished - from those who erroneously see many distinct selfs - in the words ‘he alone sees.’ Others, though seeing, yet do not see, inasmuch as they see erroneously like those who see more moons than one.

Knowledge of the one Self leads to moksha
To praise the Right Knowledge described above by way of stating its results the Lord proceeds as follows:

28. Because he who sees the Lord, seated the same everywhere, destroys not the self by the self, therefore he reaches the Supreme Goal.
He who realizes that the Isvara described in the last preceding verse is the same - i.e., he who sees that He dwells in all creatures alike - destroys not his own self by himself. Because he does not destroy the self, he reaches the Supreme Goal, he attains moksha.

Objection: No living being whatever destroys itself by itself. Where then is the necessity for the denial "He destroys not the self by the self," any more than for the prohibition" fire should be consecrated not on earth, not in the sky, not in heaven " (Tait. Sam. 5 - 2 - 7)?
Answer: This objection does not apply here; for, the necessity may be explained on the ground that ignorant men are guilty of ignoring the Self. An ignorant man ignores the Self who is quite manifest to all, self - manifested, and directly visible, and he regards the not - Self (physical body, etc.) as himself. Having performed good and evil works (dharma and adharma), he kills even this self (the physical body, etc.) which he had accepted and accepts another new self; he kills this again and accepts another, and so on; thus he goes on killing every new self that he has accepted. An ignorant man is, accordingly, a slayer of the self. Even the real Self is always killed by avidya, inasmuch as there is no perceptible effect of His existence. Thus, all ignorant men are but the slayers of the self. He who, on the other hand, sees the Self as described above, kills not self by self in either of the ways shown above. Wherefore, he reaches the supreme goal; he reaps the fruit spoken of above.

Prakriti acts, not the Self
It has been said that he who sees the Lord (the Self) remaining the same in every being destroys not the self by the self. This may be objected to on the ground that there are many selfs, differentiated by differences in their respective deeds (karma) and qualities. To remove this objection the Lord says:

29. He sees, who sees all actions performed by Prakriti alone and the Self not acting.
Prakriti is the Lord's Maya composed of the three gunas. So the Mantra reads, “Let him know that Maya is the Prakriti and that the Great Lord is the possessor of Maya”. - (Svetasvatara - Up. 4 - 10.) By Prakriti, - i.e., Maya, the Sakti or inherent energy of the Lord, not the other, i.e., not the (Pradhana, the self-existent) Prakriti (of the Sankhyas) described as transforming Itself into causes and effects such as the Mahat, - are done all sorts of actions, whether done in speech, thought, or deed. He sees, who realizes this truth and also the truth that the Self (Kshetrajna) is devoid of all upadhis or conditions; - i.e., he sees the supreme truth. There is no evidence to show that there is any variety in Him who is non-agent, unconditioned, and free from all specialities, just as there is no variety in the akasa.

The Self is the source and the abode of all
The same Right Knowledge is again expounded in other words:

30. When a man realizes the whole variety of beings as resting in the One, and as an evolution from that (One) alone, then he becomes Brahman.
When, in accordance with the teachings of the sastra and (of the teacher, he sees that all the various classes of beings abide in the One, in the Self, i.e., when he intuitively realizes that all that we perceive is only the Self, and when he further sees that the origin, the evolution, (of all) is from that One, the Self, - as stated in the passage " From the Self is life, from the Self is desire, from the Self is love, from the Self is akasa, from the Self is light, from the Self are waters, from the Self is manifestation and disappearance, from the Self is food." (Cha. Up. 7 - 26 - 1) - then he becomes Brahman indeed.

The Self is unaffected by the fruits of acts
If the one Self be the Self in all the bodies, then He must be necessarily affected by their defects. To avoid this conclusion, it is said.

31. Having no beginning, having no qualities, this Supreme Self, imperishable, though dwelling in the body, O son of Kunti, neither acts nor is tainted.
The Self has no beginning, no cause. That which has a cause perishes by itself, whereas This (Self) does not perish, because, as having no cause, He is without parts. Further, He does not perish because He is without qualities; for that which has qualities perishes by loss of qualities; whereas the Self does not perish, because He is devoid of qualities. Thus the Supreme Self is imperishable. He suffers no destruction. Therefore, though dwelling in the body, - the Self is said to dwell in the body because the Self is manifested in the body, - yet He does not act. Because He does not act, He is not affected by the results of acts. The meaning is this: - He that is an agent is affected by the fruit of the act; but this (the Self) is a non-agent and is therefore not tainted by the fruit of action

Objection: Who, then, in the bodies acts and is tainted? If, on the one hand, an embodied self, distinct from the Supreme Self, acts and is tainted, then the identity of Kshetrajna with the Isvara spoken of in such places as xiii. 2 would be inexplicable. If, on the other hand, there be no embodied self distinct from the Isvara, then tell me who acts and is tainted: or say that the Isvara is not Supreme. On the ground that the doctrine of the Upanishads taught by the Lord is thus in every way difficult to understand and difficult to explain, it has been abandoned by the Vaiseshikas, as well as by the Sankhyas, the Arhatas, and the Buddhists.
Answer: As regards this objection, the following answer has been afforded by the Lord Himself. - "It is Nature that acts" (xiii. 2). The idea that there is one who acts and is tainted is a mere illusion (avidya) and nothing else. Action does not really exist in the Supreme Self. It has, for this very reason, been pointed out by the Lord here and there that there is no necessity of performing works (karma) for those devotees of Wisdom, for the order of Paramahamsa - Parivrajakas, who adhere to this doctrine of Supreme Truth (Paramartha - Sankhya - darsana) and have risen above avidya and vyavahara, nescience and all experience (due to avidya). Like what does He not act, like what is he not tainted? - Here follows the illustration:

32. As the all-pervading akasa is, from its Subtlety, never soiled, so the Self seated in the body everywhere is not soiled.

The Self illumines all

33. As the one sun illumines all this world, so does the embodied One, O Bharata, illumine all bodies.
The embodied one (Kshetrin), the Supreme Self (Paramatman), is one and illumines all bodies, the whole material being (Kshetra), from the Avyakta (the unmanifested material cause of the universe) down to the unmoving objects, from the 'Great Elements’ down to ‘firmness’ (xiii. 5 - 6). - The illustration by means of the sun serves here a double purpose with reference to the Self, - showing that, like the sun, the Self is One only in all bodies, and that like the sun, He is unsoiled.

The doctrine summed up

The teaching of the whole discourse is concluded as follows:

34. They who by the eye of wisdom perceive the distinction between Kshetra and Kshetrajna, and the dissolution of the Cause of beings, they go to the Supreme.
They who in this manner perceive the exact distinction, now pointed out, between Kshetra and Kshetrajna, by the eye of wisdom, by means of that knowledge of the Self which has been generated by the teachings of the sastra and the master (Acharya), and who also perceive the nonexistence of Prakriti, Avidya, Avyakta, the material cause of beings, - they reach Brahman, the Real, the Supreme Self, and assume no more bodies.

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