|The Knower and The Known |
The Blessed Lord said:
1. This body, O son of Kunti, is called the Ksetra, the field (because the fruits of action are
reaped in it). He who knows it (as his property) is the Ksetrajna or the Spirit who knows
the field. So say those versed in this subject.
2. Know Me, O scion of the Bharata race, to be the Ksetrajna (the Spirit) in all Kshetras
(bodies). The knowledge of the distinction between Ksetra and Ksetrajna alone is real
knowledge according to Me.
3. Hear from Me in brief what the Kshetra is, of what nature it is, what its modifications
are, and from what causes what effects have sprung. Also know who the Kshetrajna is and
what his powers are.
4. In many and different ways have the Rishis sung about this subject in metres of varying
description. The well-reasoned and definitive aphorisms of the Brahma-sutras too have
5-6. The five great elements, the I-sense, the intellect, and the Unmanifested (Root Matter);
the ten organs along with the mind as the eleventh, and the five objects of the senses;
desire, hatred, pleasure and pain; the body, consciousness, and will - such is a brief
description of the Kshetra with all its modifications.
7. Freedom from self-importance, unpretentiousness, non-violence, patience, straight-
forwardness, service of the teacher, cleanliness, stead-fastness, and self-control;
8. Abhorrence of sensuality, self-effacement and perception of evil and misery in birth,
death, old age and sickness;
9. Detachment from property and family members, non-identification with them and their
fortunes, and constant evenness of mind in favourable and unfavourable situations;
10. Practice of unswerving devotion through contemplation on Me as one's 'own' (or on Me
in non-separation), resort to solitude and abhorrence of vulgar company;
11. Constant application to the study of spiritual texts and practice of spiritual disciplines,
and a clear comprehension of the goal of spiritual enlightenment and the destiny of man -
all these described before constitute knowledge; what all is opposed to it is ignorance.
12. I shall now declare the Object which ought to be known, by knowing which one attains
to immortality. It is the Supreme Brahman, the eternal Being who cannot be described
either as existent or non-existent (in the way sense-bound material objects are described).
13. His hands and feet are everywhere. His eyes, ears and mouth grasp everything. His face
is in all directions. He is the transcendent Spirit, enveloping all that exists.
14. By His power the faculties of the senses function, but sense organs He has none. He is
the support of all things, but they do not affect Him. He transcends Nature and its
functions, but these constitute the objects for His enjoyment.
15. He is within and without all beings. Though unmoving. He looks like one moving
(because He is everywhere). He is both far and near - far to the ignorant, and near to the
knowing ones. Owing to subtlety. He cannot be known like gross objects.
16. He, (the Brahman) whom aspirants seek to know, is the impartible Whole, yet does He
seem to dwell in all beings as if divided into many. He is the generator and supporter of all
beings, and their devourer too.
17. The self-luminous light of consciousness revealing even all that is luminous. He is
beyond obscuration by the darkness of ignorance. He, the light of knowledge. He, the quest
of knowledge. He, the way to whom is knowledge - in the innermost recess of all beings is
18. Thus has been briefly expounded what the Kshetra (material Nature) is, as also what
constitutes knowledge and the object of knowledge. My devotee who understands these
verities becomes worthy of My state.
19. Know both Prakriti (Nature) and Purusha (Spirit) to be beginningless, eternal verities.
Know also that all changeful objects and attributes (that constitute the world of daily
experience) are sprung from Prakriti.
20. Prakriti is the cause of the formation and functioning of the body and the senses, while
it is the Purusha that experiences pleasure and pain, joy and sorrow.
21. Seated in bodies, which are the products of Prakrti, the Purusa enjoys the objects and
qualities born of Prakriti. Attachment to these objects is the cause of the Spirit getting
embodiments in evil or exalted wombs.
22. In this body there is also the Transcendent and the Supreme Spirit, who is described as
the Supreme Self and Sovereign Lord, the unconcerned Witness, the Sanctioner, the
Supporter and the Enjoyer.
23. Whoever thus knows the Purusha (Spirit) and Prakriti (Nature) along with its effects,
will never be born again, whatever be his mode of living.
24. There are some who perceive the Atman within themselves by the practice of
meditation with a purified mind. There are also others who approach Him through the
discipline of knowledge or of work.
25. There are still others, who, being unfit to follow the disciplines described before - for
they lack the knowledge of the Yoga Shastra and the Vedas -, adopt forms of worship
(devotional disciplines) under instruction from teachers or elders. Full of faith in these
instructions heard, and following them sincerely as their only refuge, they too certainly
overcome the cycle of births and deaths.
26. O thou the best of the Bharata clan! Whatever there is born - whether moving or
unmoving - it has come into being due to the union of Kshetra (body) and Kshetrajna
27. He really sees who perceives the Supreme Lord alike in everything - as the Imperishable
Substance abiding amidst perishing phenomena.
28. For, he who perceives the Lord's presence alike everywhere no longer works against
his own spiritual well-being (by mistaking the ego for the true spiritual Self as men in
ignorance do). He therefore attains to the Supreme Goal.
29. He is the real seer who perceives that Prakriti (i.e.. one's body-mind born of Prakriti)
alone is doing all works and that the Atman. the true spiritual self. is the actionless
30. When one perceives the manifold objects as centred in the One and as evolved from It
as well - then he attains Brahman.
31. That highest Self. being the immutable and unoriginated Spirit beyond Nature, is free
from all action and stain, though dwelling in the body.
32. Just as the all-pervading Akasha, because of its subtlety, is not stained by anything, so
this Atman, though abiding in all bodies, is never affected by any impurity.
33. Just as the single sun illumines the whole universe, so the (one) Indwelling Spirit
enlivens all bodies (with self-consciousness).
34. Whoever perceives by spiritual insight the distinction between Kshetra (Nature) and
Kshetrajna (Spirit) as also the freedom of the Spirit from the hold of Nature, they reach the