The Bhagavad Gita

Translated by Ramanand Prasad

Chapter 1:
Arjuna's Dilemma
Chapter 2:
Transcendental Knowledge
Chapter 3:
Path of Karma Yoga
Chapter 4:
Path of Renunciation
with Knowledge
Chapter 5:
Path of Renunciation
Chapter 6:
Path of Meditation
go to Chapters 7-12
go to Chapters 13-18

Bach to the Church Within
Spiritual Ed. Page


Chapter 1: Arjuna's Dilemma

      Dhritaraashtra said: O Sanjaya, assembled in the holy field of Kurukshetra and eager to fight, what did my people and the Paandavas do? (1.01)

      Sanjaya said: Seeing the battle formation of the Paandava's army, King Duryodhana approached his guru, Drona, and spoke these words: (1.02)
      O master, behold this mighty army of the sons of Paandu, arranged in battle formation by your talented disciple, the son of Drupada. (1.03)
      There are many heroes and mighty archers equal to Bheema and Arjuna in war such as Yuyudhaana and Viraata; and the great warrior, Drupada; (1.04)
      Dhrishtaketu, Chekitaana, and the heroic King of Kaashi; Purujit, Kuntibhoja, and the great man Saibya; (1.05)
      The valiant Yudhaamanyu, the formidable Uttamauja, the son of Subhadraa, and the sons of Draupadi; all of them are great warriors. (1.06)
      Also know, O best among the twice born, the distinguished ones on our side. I name the commanders of my army for your information. (1.07)
      Yourself, Bheeshma, Karna, and the victorious Kripa; Ashvatthaamaa, Vikarna, and the son of Somadatta. (1.08)
      And many other heroes who have risked their lives for me. They are armed with various weapons, and all are skilled in warfare. (1.09)
      Our army, commanded by Bheeshma, is invincible; while their army, protected by Bheema, is easy to conquer. (1.10)
      Therefore all of you, occupying your respective positions on all fronts, protect Bheeshma only. (1.11)
      The mighty Bheeshma, the eldest man of the Kuru dynasty, roared as a lion and blew his conch loudly bringing joy to Duryodhana. (1.12)
      After that, conches, kettledrums, cymbals, drums, and trumpets were sounded together. The commotion was tremendous. (1.13)
      Then Lord Krishna and Arjuna, seated in a grand chariot yoked with white horses, blew their celestial conches. (1.14)
      Krishna blew His conch, Paanchajanya; Arjuna blew his conch, Devadatta; and Bheema, the doer of formidable deeds, blew (his) big conch, Paundra. (1.15)
      The son of Kunti, King Yudhishthira, blew (his conch) Anantavijaya, while Nakula and Sahadeva blew Sughosha and Manipushpaka conches, respectively. (1.16)
      The King of Kaashi, the mighty archer; Shikhandi, the great warrior; Dhristadyumna, Viraata, and the invincible Saatyaki; (1.17)
      King Drupada, and the sons of Draupadi; the mighty son of Subhadraa; all of them blew their respective conches, O lord of the earth. (1.18)
      The tumultuous uproar, resounding through earth and sky, tore the hearts of the Kauravas. (1.19)

      Seeing the sons of Dhritaraashtra standing; and the war about to begin; Arjuna, whose banner bore the emblem of Hanumana, took up his bow; and (1.20)
      Spoke these words to Lord Krishna: O Lord, (please) stop my chariot between the two armies until I behold those who stand here eager for battle and with whom I must engage in this act of war. (1.21-22)
      I wish to see those who are willing to serve the evil-minded son of Dhritaraashtra by assembling here to fight the battle. (1.23)

      Sanjaya said: O King, Lord Krishna, as requested by Arjuna, placed the best of all the chariots in the midst of the two armies; (1.24)
      Facing Bheeshma, Drona, and all other Kings; and said to Arjuna: Behold these assembled Kurus! (1.25)
      There Arjuna saw his uncles, grandfathers, teachers, maternal uncles, brothers, sons, grandsons, and comrades. (1.26)

      Seeing fathers-in-law, all those kinsmen, and other dear ones standing in the ranks of the two armies, (1.27)
      Arjuna was overcome with great compassion and sorrowfully said: O Krishna, seeing my kinsmen standing with a desire to fight, (1.28)
      My limbs fail and my mouth becomes dry. My body quivers and my hairs stand on end. (1.29)
      The bow, Gaandeeva, slips from my hand and my skin intensely burns. My head turns, I am unable to stand steady and, O Krishna, I see bad omens. I see no use of killing my kinsmen in battle. (1.30-31)
      I desire neither victory nor pleasure nor kingdom, O Krishna. What is the use of the kingdom, or enjoyment, or even life, O Krishna? (1.32)
      Because all those, for whom we desire kingdom, enjoyments, and pleasures, are standing here for the battle, giving up their lives and wealth. (1.33)
      Teachers, uncles, sons, grandfathers, maternal uncles, fathers-in-law, grandsons, brothers-in-law, and other relatives. (1.34)
      I do not wish to kill them, who are also about to kill, even for the sovereignty of the three worlds, let alone for this earthly kingdom, O Krishna. (1.35)
      O Lord Krishna, what pleasure shall we find in killing the sons of Dhritaraashtra? Upon killing these felons we shall incur sin only. (1.36)
      Therefore, we should not kill our brothers, the sons of Dhritaraashtra. How can we be happy after killing our kinsmen, O Krishna? (1.37)
      Though they, blinded by greed, do not see evil in the destruction of the family, or sin in being treacherous to friends. (1.38)
      Why shouldn't we, who clearly see evil in the destruction of the family, think about turning away from this sin, O Krishna? (1.39)
      With the destruction of the family, the eternal family traditions are destroyed, and immorality prevails due to the destruction of family traditions. (1.40)
      And when immorality prevails, O Krishna, the women of the family become corrupted; when women are corrupted, social problems arise. (1.41)
      This brings the family and the slayers of the family to hell, because the spirits of their ancestors are degraded when deprived of ceremonial offerings of rice-ball and water. (1.42)
      The everlasting qualities of Varna and family traditions of those who destroy their family are ruined by the sinful act of illegitimacy. (1.43) (Note: Varna means color, or the make up and the hue of mind; a social division or order of society such as caste in India.)
      We have been told, O Krishna, that people whose family traditions are destroyed necessarily dwell in hell for a long time. (1.44)
      Alas! We are ready to commit a great sin by striving to slay our kinsmen because of greed for the pleasures of the kingdom. (1.45)
      It would be far better for me if the sons of Dhritaraashtra should kill me with their weapons in battle while I am unarmed and unresisting. (1.46)

      Sanjaya said: Having said this in the battle field and casting aside his bow and arrow, Arjuna sat down on the seat of the chariot with his mind overwhelmed with sorrow. (1.47)

Chapter 2: Transcendental Knowledge

      Sanjaya said: Lord Krishna spoke these words to Arjuna whose eyes were tearful and downcast, and who was overwhelmed with compassion and despair. (2.01)

      The Supreme Lord said: How has the dejection come to you at this juncture? This is not fit for an Aryan (or the people of noble mind and deeds). It is disgraceful, and it does not lead one to heaven, O Arjuna. (2.02)
      Do not become a coward, O Arjuna, because it does not befit you. Shake off this weakness of your heart and get up (for the battle), O Arjuna. (2.03)

      Arjuna said: How shall I strike Bheeshma and Drona, who are worthy of my worship, with arrows in battle, O Krishna? (2.04)
      It would be better, indeed, to live on alms in this world than to slay these noble gurus, because, by killing them I would enjoy wealth and pleasures stained with (theirs) blood. (2.05)
      Neither do we know which alternative (to beg or to kill) is better for us, nor do we know whether we shall conquer them or they will conquer us. We should not even wish to live after killing the sons of Dhritaraashtra who are standing in front of us. (2.06)
      My heart is overcome by the weakness of pity, and my mind is confused about Dharma. I request You to tell me, decisively, what is better for me. I am Your disciple. Teach me who has taken refuge in You. (2.07) (Dharma may be defined as the eternal law governing, upholding, and supporting the creation and the world order. It also means duty, righteousness, ideal conduct, moral principles, and truth. Adharma is an antonym to Dharma. Expert guidance should be sought during the moment of crisis.)
      I do not perceive that gaining an unrivaled and prosperous kingdom on this earth, or even lordship over the gods will remove the sorrow that is drying up my senses. (2.08)

      Sanjaya said: O King, after speaking like this to Lord Krishna, the mighty Arjuna said to Krishna: I shall not fight, and became silent. (2.09)

      O King, Lord Krishna, as if smiling, spoke these words to the despondent Arjuna in the midst of the two armies. (2.10)
      The Supreme Lord said: You grieve for those who are not worthy of grief, and yet speak the words of wisdom. The wise grieve neither for the living nor for the dead. (2.11)
      There was never a time when I, you, or these kings did not exist; nor shall we ever cease to exist in the future. (2.12)
      Just as the Atma acquires a childhood body, a youth body, and an old age body during this life, similarly Atma acquires another body after death. The wise are not deluded by this. (See also 15.08) (2.13) (Atma or Atman means consciousness, spirit, soul, self, the source of life and the cosmic power behind the body-mind complex. Just as our body exists in space, similarly our thoughts, intellect, emotions, and psyche exist in Atma, the space of consciousness. Atma cannot be perceived by the senses, because, the senses abide in Atma.)
      The contacts of the senses with the sense objects give rise to the feelings of heat and cold, and pain and pleasure. They are transitory and impermanent. Therefore, (learn to) endure them, O Arjuna. (2.14)
      Because the calm person, who is not afflicted by these feelings and is steady in pain and pleasure, becomes fit for immortality, O Arjuna. (2.15)
      There is no nonexistence of the Sat (or Atma) and no existence of the Asat. The reality of these two is indeed certainly seen by the seers of truth. (2.16) (Sat exists at all times -- past, present, and future. Atma is called Sat. Asat is a notion that does not exist at all (like the horn of a rabbit, or the water in a mirage). The one that has a beginning and an end is neither Sat nor Asat. The body is neither Sat nor Asat, or both Sat and Asat, because, it has a temporary existence. Mithya is the one that appears Sat at first sight, but is really Asat. Body, like the universe or Jagat, is called Mithya.)
      Know That, by which all this (universe) is pervaded, to be indestructible. No one can destroy the indestructible (Atma) . (2.17)
      Bodies of the eternal, imperishable, and incomprehensible soul are said to be perishable. Therefore, fight, O Arjuna. (2.18)
      The one who thinks that Atma is a slayer, and the one who thinks that Atma is slain, both are ignorant, because Atma neither slays nor is slain. (2.19)
      The Atma is neither born nor does it die at any time, nor having been it will cease to exist again. It is unborn, eternal, permanent, and primeval. The Atma is not destroyed when the body is destroyed. (2.20)
      O Arjuna, how can a person who knows that the Atma is indestructible, eternal, unborn, and imperishable, kill anyone or cause anyone to be killed? (2.21)
      Just as a person puts on new garments after discarding the old ones, similarly Atma acquires new bodies after casting away the old bodies. (2.22)
      Weapons do not cut this Atma, fire does not burn it, water does not make it wet, and the wind does not make it dry. (2.23)
      This Atma cannot be cut, burned, wetted, or dried up. It is eternal, all pervading, unchanging, immovable, and primeval. (2.24)
      The Atma is said to be unmanifest, unthinkable, and unchanging. Knowing this Atma as such you should not grieve. (2.25)
      If you think that this (body) takes birth and dies perpetually, even then, O Arjuna, you should not grieve like this. (2.26)
      Because, death is certain for the one who is born, and birth is certain for the one who dies. Therefore, you should not lament over the inevitable. (2.27)
      All beings, O Arjuna, are unmanifest before birth and after death. They are manifest between the birth and the death only. What is there to grieve about? (2.28)
      Some look upon this Atma as a wonder, another describes it as wonderful, and others hear of it as a wonder. Even after hearing about it no one actually knows it. (2.29)
      O Arjuna, the Atma that dwells in the body of all (beings) is eternally indestructible. Therefore, you should not mourn for any body. (2.30)
      Considering also your duty as a warrior you should not waver. Because there is nothing more auspicious for a warrior than a righteous war. (2.31)
      Only the fortunate warriors, O Arjuna, get such an opportunity for an unsought war that is like an open door to heaven. (2.32)
      If you will not fight this righteous war, then you will fail in your duty, lose your reputation, and incur sin. (2.33)
      People will talk about your disgrace forever. To the honored, dishonor is worse than death. (2.34)
      The great warriors will think that you have retreated from the battle out of fear. Those who have greatly esteemed you will lose respect for you. (2.35)
      Your enemies will speak many unmentionable words and scorn your ability. What could be more painful than this? (2.36)
      You will go to heaven if killed, or you will enjoy the earth if victorious. Therefore, get up with a determination to fight, O Arjuna. (2.37)
      Treating pleasure and pain, gain and loss, victory and defeat alike, engage yourself in your duty. By doing your duty this way you will not incur sin. (2.38)
      The wisdom of Saamkhya (or the knowledge of the Self) has been imparted to you, O Arjuna. Now listen to the wisdom of Karma-yoga endowed with which you will free yourself from the bondage of Karma. (2.39)
      In Karma-yoga no effort is ever lost, and there is no harm. Even a little practice of this discipline protects one from great fear (of birth and death). (2.40) (Karma-yoga is also referred to as Nishkaama Karma-yoga, Seva, selfless service, Buddhi yoga, yoga of work, science of proper action, and yoga of equanimity. A Karma-yogi works for the Lord as a matter of duty without a selfish desire for the fruits of work, or any attachment to results. The word Karma also means duty, action, deeds, work, or the results of past deeds.)
      Those who are resolute have only one thought (of Self-realization), but the thoughts of the irresolute are endless and many-branched, O Arjuna. (2.41)
      The unwise who delight in flowery words (or the chanting of the Vedas without understanding the real meaning) stress Karma-Kaanda, the ritualistic aspect of the Vedas, O Arjuna, and say that there is nothing else (except material enjoyment). (2.42)
      They prescribe various specific rites for the attainment of pleasure and power to those who are full of desires, and hold the attainment of heaven as the highest goal of life. The rebirth is their fruit of action. (2.43)
      The resolute determination (of Self-realization) is not formed in the minds of those who are attached to pleasure and power; and whose discernment is obscured by such (ritualistic) activities. (2.44)
      The Vedas deal with the three states or Gunas of mind. Become free from dualities, be ever balanced and unconcerned with the thoughts of acquisition and preservation. Rise above the three Gunas, and be Self-conscious, O Arjuna. (2.45) (Guna means the quality, state, or the property of mind, matter, and the nature. Refer to Chapter 14 for more details on Gunas.)
      To a Self-realized person the Vedas are as useful as a reservoir of water when there is flood water available everywhere. (2.46)
      You have Adhikaara over your respective duty only, but no control or claim over the results. The fruits of work should not be your motive. You should never be inactive. (2.47) (The word Adhikaara means ability and privilege, prerogative, jurisdiction, discretion, right, preference, choice, rightful claim, authority, control.)
      Do your duty to the best of your ability, O Arjuna, with your mind attached to the Lord, abandoning (worry and) attachment to the results, and remaining calm in both success and failure. The equanimity of mind is called Karma-yoga. (2.48)
      Work done with selfish motives is inferior by far to the selfless service or Karma-yoga. Therefore be a Karma-yogi, O Arjuna. Those who seek (to enjoy) the fruits of their work are verily unhappy (because one has no control over the results). (2.49)
      A Karma-yogi gets freedom from both vice and virtue in this life itself. Therefore, strive for Karma-yoga. Working to the best of one's abilities without getting attached to the fruits of work is called (Nishkaama) Karma-yoga. (2.50)
      Wise Karma-yogis, possessed with mental poise by renouncing the attachment to the fruits of work, are indeed freed from the bondage of rebirth and attain the blissful divine state. (2.51)
      When your intellect will completely pierce the veil of delusion, then you will become indifferent to what has been heard and what is to be heard (from the scriptures). (2.52)
      When your intellect, that is confused by the conflicting opinions and the ritualistic doctrine of the Vedas, shall stay steady and firm with the Self, then you shall attain Self-realization. (2.53)

      Arjuna said: O Krishna, what is the mark of a person whose Prajna is steady and merged in superconscious state? How does a person of steady Prajna speak? How does such a person sit and walk? (2.54) (Prajna means consciousness, mind, intellect, judgment, discrimination, and wisdom.)

      The Supreme Lord said: When one is completely free from all desires of the mind and is satisfied in the Self by the (joy of) Self, then one is called a person of steady Prajna, O Arjuna. (2.55)
      A person whose mind is unperturbed by sorrow, who does not crave pleasures, and who is free from attachment, fear, and anger; such a person is called a sage of steady Prajna. (2.56)
      Those who are not attached to anything, who are neither elated by getting desired results nor troubled by undesired results, their Prajna is deemed steady. (2.57)
      When one can completely withdraw (or restrain) the senses from the sense objects as a tortoise withdraws its limbs (into the shell), then the Prajna of such a person is considered steady. (2.58)
      The desire for sensual pleasures fades away if one abstains from sense enjoyment, but the craving (for sense enjoyment) remains. The craving also disappears from the one who has seen (or known) the Supreme. (2.59)
      Restless senses, O Arjuna, forcibly carry away the mind of even a wise person striving for perfection. (2.60)
      Having brought the senses under control, one should fix one's mind on the Self. One's Prajna becomes steady whose senses are under control. (2.61)
      One develops attachment to sense objects by thinking about sense objects. Desire for sense objects comes from attachment to sense objects, and anger comes from unfulfilled desires. (2.62)
      Delusion arises from anger. The mind is bewildered by delusion. Reasoning is destroyed when the mind is bewildered. One falls down (from the right path) when reasoning is destroyed. (2.63)
      A disciplined person, enjoying sense objects with senses that are under control and free from likes and dislikes, attains tranquillity. (2.64)
      All sorrows are destroyed upon attainment of tranquillity. The intellect of such a tranquil person soon becomes completely steady. (2.65)
      There is neither Self-knowledge nor Self-perception to those whose senses are not under control. Without Self-perception there is no peace; and without peace there can be no happiness. (2.66)
      The mind, when controlled by the roving senses, steals away the Prajna as a storm takes away a boat on the sea from its destination, the spiritual shore. (2.67)
      Therefore, O Arjuna, one's Prajna becomes steady whose senses are completely withdrawn from the sense objects. (2.68)
      A yogi is aware of the thing (or Atma) about which others are unaware. A sage who sees is unaware of the experience (of sense objects) about which others are aware. (2.69)
      One attains peace in whose mind all desires enter without creating any disturbance, as river waters enter the full ocean without creating a disturbance. One who desires material objects is never peaceful. (2.70)
      One who abandons all desires and becomes free from longing and the feeling of 'I' and 'my' attains peace. (2.71)
      O Arjuna, this is the Braahmee or superconscious state. Attaining this (state), one is no longer deluded. Gaining this state, even at the end of one's life, a person attains oneness with the Supreme. (2.72)

Chapter 3: Path of Karma Yoga

      Arjuna said: If You consider that transcendental knowledge is better than work then why do You want me to engage in this horrible war, O Krishna? (3.01)
      You seem to confuse my mind by apparently conflicting words. Tell me, decisively, one thing by which I may attain the Supreme. (3.02)

      The Supreme Lord said: In this world, O Arjuna, a twofold path of Sadhana (or the spiritual practice) has been stated by Me in the past. The path of Self-knowledge (or Jnana-yoga) for the contemplative, and the path of unselfish work (or Karma-yoga) for the active. (3.03) (Jnana-yoga is also called Saamkhya-yoga, Samnyasa-yoga, and yoga of knowledge. A Jnana-yogi does not consider oneself the doer of any action, but only an instrument in the hands of divine for His use. The word Jnana means metaphysical or transcendental knowledge.)
      One does not attain freedom from the bondage of Karma by merely abstaining from work. No one attains perfection by merely giving up work. (3.04)
      Because no one can remain actionless even for a moment. Everyone is driven to action, helplessly indeed, by the Gunas of nature. (3.05)
      The deluded ones, who restrain their organs of action but mentally dwell upon the sense enjoyment, are called hypocrites. (3.06)
      The one who controls the senses by the (trained and purified) mind and intellect, and engages the organs of action to Nishkaama Karma-yoga, is superior, O Arjuna. (3.07)
      Perform your obligatory duty, because action is indeed better than inaction. Even the maintenance of your body would not be possible by inaction. (3.08)
      Human beings are bound by Karma (or works) other than those done as Yajna. Therefore, O Arjuna, do your duty efficiently as a service or Seva to Me, free from attachment to the fruits of work. (3.09) (Yajna means sacrifice, selfless service, unselfish work, Seva, meritorious deeds, giving away something to others, and a religious rite in which oblation is offered to gods through the mouth of fire.)
      Brahmaa, the creator, in the beginning created human beings together with Yajna and said: By Yajna you shall prosper and Yajna shall fulfill all your desires. (3.10)
      Nourish the Devas with Yajna, and the Devas will nourish you. Thus nourishing one another you shall attain the Supreme goal. (3.11) (Deva means a deity, a demigod, a celestial person, the agent of God, one who fulfills desires and protects.)
      The Devas, nourished by Yajna, will give you the desired objects. One who enjoys the gift of the Devas without offering them (anything in return) is, indeed, a thief. (3.12)
      The righteous who eat the remnants of the Yajna are freed from all sins, but the impious who cook food only for themselves (without sharing with others in charity) verily eat sin. (3.13)
      The living beings are born from food, food is produced by rain, rain comes by performing Yajna. The Yajna is performed by doing Karma. (See also 4.32) (3.14)
      The Karma or duty is prescribed in the Vedas. The Vedas come from Brahman. Thus the all-pervading Brahman is ever present in Yajna or service. (3.15)
      The one who does not help to keep the wheel of creation in motion by sacrificial duty, and who rejoices in sense pleasures, that sinful person lives in vain, O Arjuna. (3.16)
      The one who rejoices in the Self only, who is satisfied with the Self, who is content in the Self alone, for such a (Self-realized) person there is no duty. (3.17)
      Such a person has no interest, whatsoever, in what is done or what is not done. A Self-realized person does not depend on anybody (except God) for anything. (3.18)
      Therefore, always perform your duty efficiently and without attachment to the results, because by doing work without attachment one attains the Supreme. (3.19)
      King Janaka and others attained perfection (or Self-realization) by Karma-yoga alone. You should perform your duty (with apathetic frame of mind) with a view to guide people and for the universal welfare (of the society). (3.20)
      Because, whatever noble persons do, others follow. Whatever standard they set up, the world follows. (3.21)
      O Arjuna, there is nothing in the three worlds (earth, heaven, and the upper regions) that should be done by Me, nor there is anything unobtained that I should obtain, yet I engage in action. (3.22)
      Because, if I do not engage in action relentlessly, O Arjuna, people would follow My path in every way. (3.23)
      These worlds would perish if I do not work, and I shall be the cause of confusion and destruction of all these people. (3.24)
      As the ignorant work, O Arjuna, with attachment (to the fruits of work), so the wise should work without attachment, for the welfare of the society. (3.25)
      The wise should not unsettle the mind of the ignorant who is attached to the fruits of work, but the enlightened one should inspire others by performing all works efficiently without attachment. (See also 3.29) (3.26)
      All works are being done by the Gunas (or the energy and power) of nature, but due to delusion of ego people assume themselves to be the doer. (See also 5.09, 13.29, and 14.19) (3.27)
      The one who knows the truth, O Arjuna, about the role of Guna and action does not get attached to the work, knowing that it is the Gunas that work with their instruments, the organs. (3.28)
      Those who are deluded by the Gunas of nature get attached to the works of the Gunas. The wise should not disturb the mind of the ignorant whose knowledge is imperfect. (See also 3.26) (3.29)
      Dedicating all works to Me in a spiritual frame of mind, free from desire, attachment, and mental grief, do your duty. (3.30)
      Those who always practice this teaching of Mine, with faith and free from cavil, are freed from the bondage of Karma. (3.31)
      But, those who carp at My teaching and do not practice it, consider them as ignorant of all knowledge, senseless, and lost. (3.32)
      All beings follow their nature. Even the wise act according to their own nature. What, then, is the value of sense restraint? (3.33)
      Raaga and Dwesha (or the attachments and aversions) for the sense objects remain in the senses. One should not come under the control of these two, because they are two stumbling blocks, indeed, on one's path of Self-realization. (3.34)
      One's inferior natural work is better than superior unnatural work. Death in carrying out one's natural work is useful. Unnatural work produces too much stress. (See also 18.47) (3.35)

      Arjuna said: O Krishna, what impels one to commit sin as if unwillingly and forced against one's will? (3.36)

      The Supreme Lord said: It is Kaama and anger born of Rajo Guna. Kaama is insatiable and is a great devil. Know this as the enemy. (3.37)
      Kaama, the passionate desire for all sensual and material pleasures, becomes anger if it is unfulfilled. As the fire is covered by smoke, as a mirror by dust, and as an embryo by the amnion, similarly the Self-knowledge gets obscured by Kaama. (3.38)
      O Arjuna, Jnana gets covered by this insatiable fire of Kaama, the eternal enemy of Jnani. (3.39)
      The senses, the mind, and the intellect are said to be the seat of Kaama. Kaama, with the help of the senses, deludes a person by veiling Jnana. (3.40)
      Therefore, O Arjuna, by controlling the senses kill this devil (of material desire) that destroys knowledge and discrimination. (3.41)
      The senses are said to be superior (to matter or the body), the mind is superior to the senses, the intellect is superior to the mind, and Atma is superior to the intellect. (3.42)
      Thus, knowing the Atma to be superior to the intellect, and controlling the mind by the intellect (that is purified by Jnana), one must kill this mighty enemy, Kaama, O Arjuna. (3.43)

Chapter 4: Path of Renunciation with Knowledge

      The Supreme Lord said: I taught this imperishable (science of right action, or) Karma-yoga to (King) Vivasvaan. Vivasvaan taught it to Manu. Manu taught it to Ikshavaaku. (4.01)
      Thus handed down in succession the royal sages knew this (Karma-yoga). After a long time the science of Karma-yoga was lost from this earth. (4.02)
      Today I have described the same ancient science to you, because you are my sincere devotee and friend. Karma-yoga is a supreme secret indeed. (4.03)

      Arjuna said: You were born later, but Vivasvaan was born in ancient time. How am I to understand that You taught this yoga in the beginning (of the creation)? (4.04)

      The Supreme Lord said: Both you and I have taken many births. I remember them all, O Arjuna, but you do not remember. (4.05)
      Though I am eternal, imperishable, and the Lord of all beings; yet I (voluntarily) manifest by controlling My own material nature using My Yoga-Maya. (See also 10.14) (4.06) (Yoga-Maya is same as Maya; the supernatural, extraordinary, and mystic power of Brahman. The word Maya means unreal, illusory, or deceptive image of the creation. Due to the power of Maya one consider the universe as existent and distinct from Brahman, the Supreme spirit. Brahman is invisible potential energy; Maya is kinetic energy, the force of action. They are inseparable like fire and heat. Maya is a metaphor used to explain the visible world or Jagat to common people.)
      Whenever there is a decline of Dharma and the rise of Adharma, O Arjuna, then I manifest (or incarnate) Myself. I incarnate from time to time for protecting the good, for transforming the wicked, and for establishing Dharma, the world order. (4.07-08)
      The one who truly understands My transcendental birth and activities (of creation, maintenance, and dissolution), is not born again after leaving this body and attains My abode, O Arjuna. (4.09)
      Freed from attachment, fear, and anger; fully absorbed in Me, taking refuge in Me, and purified by the fire of Self-knowledge, many have attained Me. (4.10)
      With whatever motive people worship Me, I reward them (or fulfill their desires) accordingly. People worship (or approach) Me with different motives. (4.11)
      Those who long for success in their work here (on the earth) worship the demigods (or Devas). Success in work comes quickly in this human world. (4.12)
      The four Varna or divisions of human society, based on aptitude and vocation, were created by Me. Though I am the author of this system, one should know that I do nothing and I am eternal. (See also 18.41) (4.13)
      Works do not bind Me, because I have no desire for the fruits of work. The one who understands this truth is (also) not bound by Karma. (4.14)
      The ancient seekers of liberation also performed their duties with this understanding. Therefore, you should do your duty as the ancients did. (4.15)
      Even the wise are confused about what is action and what is inaction. Therefore, I shall clearly explain what is action, knowing that one shall be liberated from the evil (of birth and death). (4.16)
      The true nature of action is very difficult to understand. Therefore, one should know the nature of attached action, the nature of detached action, and also the nature of forbidden action. (4.17)
      Attached action is selfish work that produces Karmic bondage, detached action is unselfish work or Seva that leads to nirvana, and forbidden action is harmful to society. The one who sees inaction in action, and action in inaction, is a wise person. Such a person is a yogi and has accomplished everything. (See also 3.05, 3.27, 5.08 and 13.29) (4.18)
      A person whose all works are free from selfish desires and motives, and whose all Karma is burned up in the fire of Self-knowledge, is called a sage by the wise. (4.19)
      Having abandoned attachment to the fruits of work, ever content, and dependent on no one (but God); though engaged in activity, one does nothing at all (and incurs no Karmic reaction). (4.20)
      Free from desires, mind and senses under control, renouncing all proprietorship, doing mere bodily action, one does not incur sin (or Karmic reaction). (4.21)
      Content with whatever gain comes naturally by His will, unaffected by dualities, free from envy, equanimous in success and failure; though engaged in work such a person is not bound (by Karma). (4.22)
      Those who are devoid of attachment, whose mind is fixed in knowledge, who does work as a Seva to the Lord, all Karma of such liberated persons dissolves away. (4.23)
      Brahman is the oblation. Brahman is the clarified butter. The oblation is poured by Brahman into the fire of Brahman. Brahman shall be realized by the one who considers everything as (a manifestation or) an act of Brahman. (Also see 9.16) (4.24)
      Some yogis perform the Yajna of worship to Devas alone, while others offer Yajna itself as offering in the fire of Brahman by performing the Yajna (of Self-knowledge). (4.25)
      Some offer their hearing and other senses (as sacrifice) in the fires of restraint, others offer sound and other objects of the senses (as sacrifice) in the fires of the senses. (4.26)
      Others offer all the functions of the senses, and the functions of Prana (or the five bioimpulses) as sacrifice in the fire of the yoga of self-restraint that is kindled by knowledge. (4.27)
      Others offer their wealth, their austerity, and their practice of yoga as sacrifice, while the ascetics with strict vows offer their study of scriptures and knowledge as sacrifice. (4.28)
      Those who are engaged in yogic practice, reach the breathless state by offering inhalation into exhalation and exhalation into inhalation as sacrifice (by using short breathing Kriya techniques). (4.29) (Deep spiritual meaning and interpretation of the practical yogic verses (4.29, 4.30, 5.27, 6.13, 8.10, 8.12, 8.13, 8.24, and 8.25) should be acquired from a Self-realized master of Kriya-yoga.)
      Others restrict their diet and offer their inhalations as sacrifice into their inhalations. All these are the knowers of sacrifice, and are purified by (theirs) sacrifice. (4.30)
      Those who perform Yajna obtain the nectar (of knowledge) as a result of their sacrifice and attain eternal Brahman. O Arjuna, even this world is not (a happy place) for the non-sacrificer, how can the other world be? (See also 4.38, and 5.06). (4.31)
      Thus many types of sacrifice are described in the Vedas. Know them all to be born from Karma or the action of body, mind, and senses. Knowing this, you shall attain nirvana. (See also 3.14) (4.32)
      The knowledge sacrifice is superior to any material sacrifice, O Arjuna. Because, all actions in their entirety culminate in knowledge. (4.33)
      Acquire this transcendental knowledge by humble reverence, by sincere inquiry, and by service (to a Self-realized guru). The wise who have realized the truth will teach you. (4.34)
      Knowing that, O Arjuna, you shall not again get deluded like this. By this knowledge you shall behold the entire creation in your own Self/Lord, or in Brahman. (See also 6.29) (4.35)
      Even if one is the most sinful of all sinners, yet one shall cross over the ocean of sin by the raft of knowledge alone. (4.36)
      As the blazing fire reduces wood to ashes, similarly, the fire of Self-knowledge reduces all Karma to ashes, O Arjuna. (4.37)
      Verily there is no purifier in this world like knowledge. One who becomes purified by Karma-yoga discovers this knowledge within (naturally) in course of time. (See also 4.31, and 5.06). (4.38)
      The one who has faith, and is sincere, and has mastery over the senses, gains this knowledge. Having gained this, one at once attains the supreme peace. (4.39)
      But the ignorant, who has no faith and is full of doubt (about the Self), perishes. There is neither this world nor the world beyond nor happiness for the one who doubts. (4.40)
      Karma does not bind one who has renounced work (by renouncing the fruits of work) through Karma-yoga; whose doubt is completely destroyed by knowledge; and who is Self-realized, O Arjuna. (4.41)
      Therefore, resort to Karma-yoga and cut the ignorance-born doubt abiding in your heart by the sword of Self-knowledge, and get up (to fight), O Arjuna. (4.42)

Chapter 5: Path of Renunciation

      Arjuna said: O Krishna, You praise transcendental knowledge (the Saamkhya or Karma-Samnyasa) and also performance of unattached action, Karma-yoga. Tell me, definitely, which one is better of the two. (See also 5.05) (5.01) ( Karma-Samnyasa means renunciation of doership, ownership, and selfish motive behind an action, and not the renunciation of work, or the worldly objects. Karma-Samnyasa comes only after the dawn of Self-knowledge. Therefore, words Jnana, Saamkhya, Samnyasa, and Karma-Samnyasa are used interchangeably throughout the Gita. Renunciation is considered the goal of life, and Karma and Jnana are the necessary means to achieve the goal.)

      The Supreme Lord said: Karma-Samnyasa, and Karma-yoga both lead to the Supreme. But, of the two, Karma-yoga is superior to Karma-Samnyasa. (5.02)
      A person should be considered a true Samnyasi or renunciant who neither likes nor dislikes. Because, free from the dualities, O Arjuna, one is easily liberated from bondage. (5.03)
      The ignorant, not the wise, consider Karma-Samnyasa and Karma-yoga as different from each other. The person who has truly mastered one, gets the benefits of both. (5.04)
      Whatever goal a Samnyasi reaches, a Karma-yogi also reaches the same goal. One who sees the path of renunciation and the path of work as the same, really sees. (See also 6.01 and 6.02) (5.05)
      But Samnyasa, O Arjuna, is difficult to attain without Karma-yoga. A Karma-yogi sage quickly attains Brahman. (See also 4.31, and 4.38) (5.06)
      A Karma-yogi whose mind is pure, whose mind and senses are under control, and who sees one and the same Self in all beings, is not bound (by Karma) though engaged in work. (5.07)
      A Samnyasi who knows the truth thinks: I do nothing at all. For in seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, eating, walking, sleeping, breathing; and (5.08)
      Speaking, giving, taking, opening and closing the eyes, a Samnyasi believes that only the senses are operating upon their sense objects. (See also 3.27, 13.29, and 14.19) (5.09)
      One who does all work as an offering to the Lord, abandoning attachment to the results, is as untouched by sin (or Karmic reaction) as a lotus leaf is untouched by water. (5.10)
      A Karma-yogi performs action by body, mind, intellect, and senses, without attachment (or ego), only for self-purification. (5.11)
      A Karma-yogi, abandoning the fruit of work, attains Supreme Bliss while others, who are attached to the fruits of work, become bound by selfish work. (5.12)
      A person who has subdued the senses and completely renounced (the fruits of) all works, dwells happily in the City of Nine Gates, neither performing nor directing action. (5.13)
      The Lord neither creates the urge for action nor the feeling of doership nor the attachment to the results of action in people. All these are done by the (Gunas of) nature. (5.14)
      The Lord does not take the (responsibility for) good or evil deeds of anybody. The knowledge is covered by (the veil of) ignorance, thereby people are deluded. (5.15)
      But their knowledge, whose ignorance is destroyed by the Self-knowledge, reveals the Supreme like the sun (reveals the beauty of objects of the world). (5.16)
      They, whose mind and intellect are absorbed in the Self, who remain firmly attached with the Self, who have Self as their supreme goal, whose sins (or impurities) have been destroyed by the knowledge, do not take birth again. (5.17)
      An enlightened person looks at a learned and humble Braahmana, an outcast, even a cow, an elephant, or a dog with an equal eye. (5.18)
      Everything has been accomplished in this very life by those whose mind is set in equality. Such a person has realized Brahman because Brahman is flawless and impartial. (See also 18.55) (5.19)
      One who neither rejoices on obtaining what is pleasant nor grieves on obtaining the unpleasant, who is undeluded, who has a steady mind, and who is a knower of Brahman; such a person abides in Brahman. (5.20)
      A person whose mind is unattached to sensual pleasures, who discovers the joy of the Self, and whose mind is in union with Brahman through meditation, enjoys eternal bliss. (5.21)
      Pleasures derived from the contact of senses with their objects (or the sensual pleasures) are verily the source of misery, and have a beginning and an end. The wise, O Arjuna, do not rejoice in sensual pleasures. (See also 18.38) (5.22)
      One who is able to withstand the impulse of lust and anger before death is a yogi, and a happy person. (5.23)
      One who finds happiness with the Self, who rejoices the Self within, and who is illuminated by the Self-knowledge; such a yogi becomes one with Brahman and attains supreme nirvana. (5.24)
      Seers whose sins (or imperfections) are destroyed, whose doubts have been dispelled by knowledge, whose disciplined minds are attached with the Self, and who are engaged in the welfare of all beings attain Supreme Brahman. (5.25)
      A Self-realized person who is free from lust and anger, and who has subdued the mind and senses easily attains nirvana. (5.26)
      Renouncing sense enjoyments; fixing the eyes and mind at the midbrows; equalizing the breath moving through the nostrils (by Kriya techniques); (See also 4.29, 6.13 and 8.10) (5.27)
      With senses, mind, and intellect under control; having liberation as the prime goal; free from lust, anger, and fear; such a sage is verily liberated. (5.28)
      The one who knows Me as the enjoyer of sacrifices and austerities, as the great Lord of all the worlds, and as the friend of all beings, attains peace. (5.29)

Chapter 6: Path of Meditation

      The Supreme Lord said: One who performs the prescribed duty without seeking its fruit is a Samnyasi and a (Karma) yogi, not the one who merely does not light the sacred fire, and does not work. (6.01)
      O Arjuna, know that to be the Karma-yoga which they call Samnyasa. No one becomes a Karma-yogi who has not renounced the selfish motive behind an action. (See also 5.01, 5.05, 6.01, and 18.02) (6.02)
      For the wise who seeks to attain yoga (of meditation or the equanimity of mind), Karma-yoga is said to be the means; for the one who has attained yoga, the equanimity becomes the means (of Self-Realization). (6.03)
      A person is said to have attained yogic perfection when there is no desire for sensual pleasures, or attachment to the fruits of work, and has renounced all personal selfish motives. (6.04)
      One must elevate, not degrade, oneself by one's own mindxe "mind". The mind alone is one's friend as well as one's enemy. (6.05)
      The mind is the friendxe "friend" of those who have control over it, and the mind acts like an enemy for those who do not control it. (6.06)
      One who has control over the mind is tranquil in heat and cold, in pleasure and pain, and in honor and dishonor; and is ever steadfast with the Supreme Self. (6.07)
      A yogi is called Self-realized who is satisfied with knowledge and understanding of the Self, who is equanimous, who has control over the (mind and) senses, and to whom a clod, a stone, and gold are the same. (6.08)
      A person is considered superior who is impartial towards companions, friends, enemies, neutrals, arbiters, haters, relatives, saints, and sinners. (6.09)
      Let the yogi -- seated in solitude and alone -- having mind and senses under control and free from desires and attachments for possessions, try constantly to contemplate on the Supreme Self. (6.10)
      The yogi should sit on a firm seat that is neither too high nor too low, covered with sacred Kusha grass, a deerskin, and a cloth, one over the other, in a clean spot. (6.11)
      Sitting (in a comfortable position) and concentrating the mind on a single object, controlling the thoughts and the activities of the senses, let the yogi practice meditation for self-purification. (6.12)
      Hold the waist, spine, chest, neck, and head erect, motionless and steady, fix the eyes and the mind steadily between the eye brows, and do not look around. (See also 4.29, 5.27 and 8.10) (6.13) (A simple meditation technique is given here: (1) Fix your gaze and the mind inside the chest center, the seat of the causal heart, and breath normally. Imagine a crimson lotus with a cool radiant point-source of light in the center of the lotus. Quietly watch the breath coming in and going out of this lotus. Do not try to control your breathing. (2) Mentally chant your mantra, or "So" as you inhale and "Hum" as you exhale. Meditate calmly on the effulgent lotus, just witness and watch the thought waves of the mind, and feel the peace and serenity.)
      With serene and fearless mind; practicing celibacy; having the mind under control and thinking of Me; let the yogi sit and have Me as the supreme goal. (6.14)
      Thus, by always keeping the mind fixed on the Self, the yogi whose mind is subdued attains peace of the Supreme nirvana by uniting with Me. (6.15)
      This yoga is not possible, O Arjuna, for the one who eats too much, or who does not eat at all; who sleeps too much, or who keeps awake. (6.16)
      But, for the one who is moderate in eating, recreation, working, sleeping, and waking, this yoga (of meditation) destroys (all) sorrow. (6.17)
      A person is said to have achieved yoga, the union with the Self, when the perfectly disciplined mind gets freedom from all desires, and becomes absorbed in the Self alone. (6.18)
      As a lamp in a spot sheltered (by Brahman) from the wind (of desires) does not flicker, this simile is used for the subdued mind of a yogi practicing meditation on Brahman. (6.19)
      When the mind disciplined by the practice of meditation becomes steady, one becomes content in the Self by beholding Him with (purified) intellect. (6.20)
      One feels infinite bliss that is perceivable only through the intellect, and is beyond the reach of the senses. After realizing Brahman, one is never separated from absolute reality. (6.21)
      After Self-Realization (SR), one does not regard any other gain superior to SR. Established in SR, one is not moved even by the greatest calamity. (6.22)
      The (state of) severance of union with sorrow is known by the name of yoga. This yoga should be practiced with firm determination and perseverance, without any mental reservation or doubts. (6.23)
      Totally abandoning all selfish desires, and completely restraining the senses (from the sense objects) by the intellect; (6.24)
      One gradually attains tranquillity of mind by keeping the mind fully absorbed in the Self by means of a well-trained (and purified) intellect, and thinking of nothing else. (6.25)
      Wheresoever this restless and unsteady mind wanders away, one should (gently) bring it back to the reflection of the Supreme. (6.26)
      Supreme bliss comes to a Self-realized yogi whose mind is tranquil, whose desires are under control, and who is free from sin (or faults). (6.27)
      Such a sinless yogi, who constantly engages the mind with the Self, easily enjoys the infinite bliss of contact with Brahman. (6.28)
      Because of perceiving the (same) Self (abiding) in all beings and all beings (abiding) in the (same) Self; a yogi, who is in union with the Self, sees everybeing with an equal eye. (See also 4.35) (6.29)
      Those who see Me in everything and see everything in Me, are not separated from Me and I am not separated from them. (6.30)
      The non-dualists, who adore Me as abiding in all beings, abide in Me irrespective of their mode of living. (6.31)
      One is considered the best yogi who regards every being like oneself, and who can feel the pain and pleasures of others as one's own, O Arjuna. (6.32)

      Arjuna said: O Krishna, You have said that yoga of meditation is characterized by the equanimity (of mind), but, due to restlessness of mind I do not perceive the steady state of mind. (6.33)
      Because the mind, indeed, is very unsteady, turbulent, powerful, and obstinate, O Krishna. I think restraining the mind is as difficult as restraining the wind. (6.34)

      The Supreme Lord said: Undoubtedly, O Arjuna, the mind is restless and difficult to restrain, but it is subdued by Abhyaasa (or constant vigorous spiritual practice with perseverance), and Vairaagya (or detachment), O Arjuna. (6.35)
      In My opinion, yoga is difficult for the one whose mind is not subdued. However, yoga is attainable by the person of subdued mind by striving through proper means. (6.36)

      Arjuna said: For the faithful but of unsubdued mind, who deviates from (the path of) meditation and fails to attain yogic perfection -- what is the destination of such a person, O Krishna? (6.37)
      Do they not perish like a dispersing cloud, O Krishna, having lost both (yoga and Bhoga, the heavenly and worldly pleasures), supportless and bewildered on the path of Self-realization? (6.38)
      O Krishna, only You are able to completely dispel this doubt of mine. Because there is none, other than You, who can dispel this doubt. (See also 15.15) (6.39)

      The Supreme Lord said: There is no destruction, O Arjuna, for such a yogi either here or hereafter. A transcendentalist is never put to grief (or bad state), My dear friend. (6.40)
      The unsuccessful yogi is reborn, after attaining heaven and living there for many years, in the house of the pure and prosperous; or (6.41)
      Such a yogi is born in a family of wise transcendentalists. A birth like this is very difficult, indeed, to obtain in this world. (6.42)
      After taking such a birth, O Arjuna, one regains the knowledge acquired in the previous life, and strives again to achieve perfection. (6.43)
      The unsuccessful yogi is instinctively carried towards Brahman by virtue of Sanskaara (or the impressions) of yogic practices of previous lives. Even the inquirer of Brahman surpasses those who perform Vedic rituals. (6.44)
      The yogi who diligently strives, perfecting (gradually) through many incarnations, becomes completely free from all sins (or imperfections) and reaches the supreme goal (of Self-realization). (6.45)
      The yogi is superior to the ascetics. The yogi is superior to the (Vedic) scholars. The yogi is superior to the ritualists. Therefore, O Arjuna, be a yogi. (6.46)
      I consider one to be the most devoted of all the yogis who lovingly contemplates on Me with supreme faith, and whose mind is ever absorbed in Me. (See also 12.02 and 18.66) (6.47)


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