BECK index
WISDOM OF CHINA AND INDIA Contents

BHAGAVAD-GITA
THE LORD'S SONG

English version by Sanderson Beck
(Continued)

This has been published in the WISDOM BIBLE as a book. For ordering information, please click here. This text is also available as spoken by Sanderson Beck on CD.

10. The Yoga of Manifestation
11. Vision of the Universal Form
12. The Yoga of Devotion
13. Distinguishing the Field and the Knower
14. Distinguishing the Three Qualities
15. The Yoga of the Highest Spirit
16. Distinguishing the Divine and the Demonic
17. Distinguishing Three Kinds of Faith
18. The Yoga of Liberation by Renunciation

10
"The blessed Lord said,
'Again, great-armed one, hear my supreme word,
which I shall tell to you, the beloved,
with desire for your welfare.
Neither the many gods nor the great seers know my origin,
for I am the source of the divine ones
and the great seers in every way.
Whoever knows me, unborn and without beginning,
the great Lord of the world,
this one undeluded among mortals is released from all evils.

"'Intuition, knowledge, non-delusion, patience, truth,
control, equanimity, happiness, sorrow,
being, non-being, and fear and fearlessness,
nonviolence, impartiality, contentment, austerity, charity,
fame, disrepute, the manifold essences of being
come to be from me alone.
The seven great seers of old, the four Manus also,
are my mental essences,
whose creatures are born in the world.

"'Whoever knows in truth this manifest power and my union,
by unwavering yoga is united; of this there is no doubt.
I am the origin of everything; from me everything proceeds.
Thinking thus, the wise honor me endowed with essence.
Those conscious of me, their vitality focused on me,
enlightening each other and always speaking of me,
they are content and pleased.
To those worshippers constantly united affectionately,
I give this intuitive union by which they come to me.
Out of compassion for them,
I staying in the soul essence,
destroy the darkness born of ignorance
with the illuminating lamp of knowledge.'

"Arjuna said,
'Supreme God, supreme domain, purifier supreme, Lord,
eternal divine Spirit, primal God, unborn, omnipresent,
thus all seers call you,
the divine seer Narada, Asita Devala, Vyasa,
and yourself, you tell me.
I think all this is right which you say to me, Keshava,
for neither the gods nor the demons
know your manifestation, blessed one.
You know the soul by your soul alone, highest Spirit,
essence of being, Lord of beings,
God of gods, ruler of the universe.
You can tell completely the divine soul manifestations
by which manifestation you stay pervading these worlds.

"'How may I know you, yogi, always meditating?
And in what various essences
are you conceived by me, blessed one?
Explain further in detail
the union and manifestation of the soul, Janardana,
for to me there is no satiation of hearing immortality.'

"The blessed Lord said,
'Listen, for I shall explain to you
the main soul manifestations, best of Kurus;
there is no end to my expansion.

"'I am the soul, Gudakesha,
staying in the heart of all beings,
and I am the beginning and the middle and the end of beings.
Of the Adityas, I am Vishnu;
of the lights, the radiant sun;
I am Marici of the Maruts;
of the mighty ones, I am the moon.
Of the Vedas, I am the Sama Veda;
of the gods, I am Vasava;
and of the senses, I am the mind;
of beings, I am the consciousness.
And of the Rudras, I am Shankara,
Vittesha of the Yakshas and Rakshasas;
and of the Vasus, I am fire;
I am Meru of the mountains.
And of the household priests, Partha,
know me to be the chief, Brihaspati;
of the army commanders, I am Skanda;
of the lakes, I am the ocean.
Of the great seers, I am Bhrigu;
of words, I am the one syllable;
of sacrifices, I am the prayer,
of immovable things, the Himalaya,
the sacred fig tree of all trees
and of the divine seers, Narada,
of the Gandharvas, Chitraratha,
of the perfected, the sage Kapila.
Uchchaihshravas of the horses,
know me to be born of nectar,
Airavata of the lordly elephants,
and of people, the Lord of people.
Of weapons, I am the thunderbolt;
of cows, I am the cow of plenty;
and I am the generating desire god;
of snakes, I am Vasuki,
and I am Ananta of the cobras;
I am Varuna of the water creatures,
and of the ancestors, I am Aryaman.
I am Yama of the governors,
and I am Prahlada of the Daityas;
I am time of the calculators,
and of the beasts I am king of beasts;
and I am Vainateya of the birds.
I am the wind of the purifiers;
I am Rama of the warriors,
and of sea monsters, I am Makara;
of rivers, I am the daughter of Jahnu.

"'Of creations, I am the beginning
and the end and also the middle, Arjuna;
oversoul science of the sciences,
I am the dialectic of those who debate.
Of letters, I am the letter A
and the dual of the compounds;
I am imperishable time;
I am the establisher facing all directions,
and I am all-destroying death
and the origin of things that come to be.
Fame, prosperity, and speech of the feminine words,
memory, intelligence, courage, patience,
also the Brihat Saman of the chants,
I am the gayatri of the meters;
of months, I am Sagittarius, of seasons, the spring.
I am gambling of the cheats;
I am the splendor of the splendid ones;
I am victory; I am determination;
I am the goodness of the good ones.
Of the Vishnis, I am Vasudeva,
of the sons of Pandu, wealth winner,
of the sages, I am also Vyasa,
of the poets, the poet Ushanas.
I am the clout of the rulers;
I am the guidance of those seeking victory;
and I am also the silence of secrets;
I am the knowledge of those that know.
And that which is the seed of all beings, I am that, Arjuna;
there is no being, animate or inanimate,
that could exist without me.
There is no end to my divine manifestations, foe scorcher;
but this extent of the manifestation
declared by me is illustrative.

"'Whatever manifest goodness, glorious and powerful,
you understand that
that originates from a fraction of my splendor.
However, what is this extensive knowledge to you, Arjuna?
I support this whole stable universe with one fraction.'

11
"Arjuna said,
'As a favor to me, the word has been spoken by you
which is the supreme secret known as the oversoul.
By this my delusion has departed,
for the origin and dissolution of beings
have been heard in detail by me from you,
lotus-petal-eyed, and also imperishable greatness.
So this, as you say, is the soul, supreme Lord.
I wish to see your lordly form, highest Spirit.
If you think that it is possible for me to see this, Lord,
then, yoga Lord, reveal to me your imperishable soul.'

"The blessed Lord said,
'Look, Partha, at my hundreds of forms, or thousands,
diverse, divine, of various colors and shapes.
Look at the Adityas, the Vasus, the Rudras,
the two Asvins, the Maruts, also;
look at many wonders previously unseen, Bharata.
Look at the whole universe standing as one here now
everything animate and inanimate in my body, Gudakesha,
and whatever else you wish to see.
But you are not able to see me with your own eye.
I give you a divine eye; look at my majestic union.'"

Sanjaya said,
"Saying this then, king, the great yoga Lord, Hari,
revealed to Partha the supreme majestic form,
many faces, many marvelous aspects,
many divine ornaments, many raised divine weapons,
wearing divine garlands and garments,
divine perfumed ointment, made of all marvels,
the divine, infinite, omniscient.
If there should be in the sky a thousand suns risen at once,
such brightness as this
would be like the brilliance of this great soul.
There standing as one the whole universe,
divided in many ways,
the son of Pandu then was seeing
in the body of the god of gods.
Then the amazed wealth winner, his hair standing on end,
bowing with the head to the god reverently, spoke.

"Arjuna said,
'I see divinities in your body, divine one,
also all kinds of beings assembled,
the Lord God on the lotus seat
and all seers and divine serpents,
many arms, bellies, faces, eyes;
I see you everywhere, infinite form;
not the end nor the middle nor yet the beginning of you
do I see, cosmic Lord, cosmic form.
With crown, mace, and disk,
a massive radiance shining everywhere I see you,
though it is hard to look completely at
the blazing fire of shining sun immeasurable.

"'You are the supreme imperishable to be known;
you are the supreme haven of all;
you are the immortal protector of eternal justice;
you are the ancient Spirit of my thought.
Without beginning, middle, or end, infinite power,
innumerable arms, eyes of moon and sun,
I see you, a face of blazing fire
burning all this universe with its brilliance,
for here between heaven and earth is pervaded
by you alone and all directions.

"'Seeing this marvelous mighty form of yours
the three worlds trembled, great soul,
for yonder companies of gods enter you,
some terrified they praise reverently.
Thus saying, "Hail!" the companies of perfected great seers
praise you with resounding hymns.
The Rudras, Adityas, Vasus, and the Sadhyas,
Vishvas, the two Asvins, the Maruts, and Ushmapas,
the companies of Gandharvas, Yakshas, Asuras, Siddhas
see you and are all amazed.
Seeing your great form of many faces, great-armed one,
many arms, thighs, feet, many bellies, many terrible teeth,
the worlds are trembling, and so am I.

"'For seeing you touching the sky,
a blazing many-colored open mouth, fiery enormous eyes,
my inner self trembling I find no courage nor calm, Vishnu.
And seeing your mouths of terrible teeth
like the fires of destructive time,
I do not know directions, and I do not find refuge.

"'Have mercy, divine Lord, universal home!
And yonder to you all the sons of Dhritarashtra,
along with the ruling companies, Bhishma, Drona, Suta's son,
thus there together with our chief warriors also,
enter speedily your faces of fearful terrible teeth,
some are seen clinging in between teeth with crushed heads.
As the many rushing waters of rivers flow toward the sea,
so those heroes of the human world enter your flaming faces.
As moths accelerating to destruction enter a blazing flame,
so too worlds accelerating to destruction enter your faces.
You lick swallowing from every side all the worlds
with flaming mouths, filling all the universe with splendor,
your fierce radiance consumes it, Vishnu.

"'Tell me who you are, the terrible form.
Honor be to you, most divine one! Have mercy!
I wish to understand you, the primal one.
I do not comprehend your work.'

"The blessed Lord said,
'I am time, powerful destroyer of worlds
working here to annihilate worlds.
Even without you, all the warriors
who are deployed in the opposing armies will not exist.
Therefore stand up, obtain glory!
Conquering the enemies, enjoy prosperous kingship.
By me these have already been struck down;
Be the mere instrument, left-handed one.
Drona and Bhishma and Jayadratha and Karna
as also other warrior heroes killed by me, slay.
Do not hesitate; fight!
You will conquer the adversaries in battle.'"

Sanjaya said,
"Hearing this speech of Keshava,
the crowned one, trembling reverently, bowing again,
spoke to Krishna falteringly, bowing low, frightened.

"Arjuna said,
'Properly, Hrishikesha, the universe rejoices
and is delighted by your fame.
Frightened demons flee in all directions,
and companies of perfected ones will give homage.
And why should they not give homage to you, great soul?
to the original creator, a greater teacher even than God,
the infinite divine Lord, universal home,
you, the imperishable, being, nonbeing, which is beyond that.
You are the ancient primal divine Spirit,
supreme heaven of this universe;
you are the knower to be known and the supreme state.
The universe is pervaded by you, infinite form.
You are Vayu, Yama, Agni, Varuna, the moon,
the Lord of creatures, and the great grandfather.

"'Hail, hail to you; may it be a thousand times!
Further and also again hail, hail to you!
Hail from in front, moreover hail to you from behind!
May it be to you on all sides, the all.
Infinite valor, boundless strength,
you fulfill all; therefore you are all.

"'Thinking, impetuously thus a friend who said,
"Oh Krishna, oh Yadava, oh friend,"
out of ignorance of your greatness this was said by me
from negligence or even with affection,
and as if for a jest you are not respected at play,
while in bed, seated, dining, alone, or even before others,
unshaken one, I ask your pardon for this, boundless one.

"'You are father of the world,
of the animate and inanimate,
and you are its revered and venerable teacher.
There is nothing like you, how then any even greater
in the three worlds, incomparable power?

"'Therefore bowing, prostrating the body,
I ask your mercy, honored Lord;
as a father of a son, as a friend of a friend,
a lover to a lover, you are able to be patient, Lord.
I am excited seeing what was unseen before,
and my mind trembled with fear.

"'Reveal to me that form, Lord;
have mercy, divine Lord, universal home!
I wish to see you with crown, mace, and disk;
become the four-armed form, thousand-armed one of all forms.'

"The blessed Lord said,
'By my grace to you, Arjuna,
this supreme form is revealed from soul union,
made of universal, infinite, original brilliance of mine
which no one other than you has seen before.
Not by Vedic sacrifice study nor by gifts
and not by ritual acts nor by severe austerities
can I be seen in such a form in the human world
except by you, Kuru hero.
You should not tremble nor be confused,
seeing this so awful form of mine;
fear gone away, your mind is cheerful again;
look at this form of mine.'"

Sanjaya said,
"Saying this to Arjuna,
Vasudeva thus revealed his own form once more
and consoled this frightened one,
becoming again the gentle, handsome great soul.

"Arjuna said,
'Seeing this human form of yours, gentle Janardana,
now I am composed with thoughts returned to normal.'

"The blessed Lord said,
'Hard to see is this form which you have seen;
even gods are always wishing for the revelation of this form.
Not by the Vedas, not by discipline, not by charity,
and not by ritual can I be seen in such a way
as you have seen me,
but by unswerving love I can in such a way, Arjuna,
be known, seen, and truly reached, foe scorcher.
Whoever does my work, intent on me, loving me,
attachment let go, free from hostility to any being,
comes to me, son of Pandu.'

12
"Arjuna said,
'Of the constantly united who worship you with love
and those with the imperishable unmanifest,
which has the best knowledge of union?'

"The blessed Lord said,
'The mind focused on me, those who worship me
eternally united, endowed with supreme faith,
they are thought to be most united with me.

"'But those who worship the imperishable, ineffable,
unmanifest, omnipresent and inconceivable,
unchanging, immovable, constant,
controlling the senses, the same intuition everywhere,
they attain me, rejoicing in the welfare of all beings.
The exertion is great for those whose consciousness
is set on the unmanifest, for the goal of the unmanifest
is reached with difficulty by the embodied.

"'But those renouncing in me all actions,
intent on me with undistracted union,
who meditating worship me,
I soon become their deliverer
from the ocean of the death cycle, Partha,
whose consciousness has entered into me.

"'Keep the mind on me; let the intuition enter into me;
then no doubt you will live in me hereafter.
If you are not able to keep consciousness steadily on me,
then by yoga practice seek to attain me, wealth winner.
If you are unable even in practice,
become intent on my work;
doing actions for my sake also, you will attain perfection.
If you are even unable to do this,
then resorting to my union,
renouncing all the fruits of action, act self-restrained.
For knowledge is better than practice;
meditation is superior to knowledge;
renunciation of the fruit of action
is better than meditation;
from renunciation peace follows.

"'A non-hater of all beings, friendly and compassionate,
free of "mine," free of ego,
indifferent to pain and pleasure, patient,
the yogi who is always satisfied, self-restrained,
firmly resolved with mind and intuition focused on me,
who is devoted to me, this one is my beloved.

"'Whomever the world does not trouble
and who does not trouble the world,
who is liberated from the anxieties of joy, anger, and fear,
this one also is my beloved.

"'Whoever is impartial, pure,
capable, detached, untroubled,
who renouncing all undertakings is devoted to me,
this one is my beloved.

"'Whoever does not rejoice nor hate nor grieve nor crave,
renouncing good and bad, who is full of love,
this one is my beloved.

"'The same toward enemy and friend
and thus in honor and disgrace,
the same in cold, heat, pleasure, pain,
freed from attachment,
alike in blame or praise, quiet,
satisfied with anything whatever,
homeless, steady-minded,
the person full of love is my beloved.
Those who worship this immortal justice previously spoken
endowed with faith, intent on me, devoted,
they transcendentally are my beloved.'

13
"Arjuna said,
'Nature and Spirit, the field and the knower of the field,
this I wish to know: knowledge and what is known, Keshava.'

"The blessed Lord said,
'This body, Kaunteya, is called the field;
this one who knows it,
the knowers of that declare the knower of the field.
And also know me as the field knower in all fields, Bharata,
knowledge of the field and the field knower,
which is thought by me to be true knowledge.

"'What that field is and of what kind
and of what modifications and from where
and who this one is and what its power is,
hear that briefly from me.
Chanted many times by the seers in various sacred hymns
and distinctly in God's scriptures,
with undeniable reasons,
the great elements, ego, intuition, and the unmanifest,
the senses ten and one, and the five objects of the senses,
desire, aversion, pleasure, pain,
combination, consciousness, firmness,
this in brief is the field described with modifications.

"'Non-pride, non-deceit, nonviolence, patience, honesty,
service of the teacher, integrity, stability, self-control,
in the objects of sense detached, and non-ego;
insight into the pain and evil
of birth, death, old age, disease;
non-attachment, non-clinging to son, wife, home, et cetera,
and constant equanimity in wanted and unwanted events;
and unswerving love to me by exclusive union,
resorting to a secluded place, dissatisfied in a crowd,
constant oversoul knowledge,
observing the purpose of true knowledge:
this knowledge is explained thus;
ignorance is what is contrary to this.

"'What is to be known that I shall explain,
knowing which, one attains immortality;
this beginningless supreme God
is said to be neither being nor non-being.
Everywhere having hands and feet,
everywhere eyes, heads, faces,
everywhere in the world ears,
this stands all pervading,
the appearance of all sense qualities, freed from all senses,
unattached and yet all supporting,
free of the qualities and enjoyer of the qualities.

"'Outside and inside of beings inanimate and animate,
because of its subtlety this is unknown;
also far away and nearby is this.
Also undivided and as if staying divided in beings,
also supporting beings this is to be known,
the devourer and the creator.
This is even the light of lights,
said to be beyond darkness---
the knowledge to be known, the goal of knowledge
situated in the heart of all.
Thus the field and the knowledge to be known are described.

"'My devotee, understanding this, approaches my essence.
Know nature and Spirit, both also beginningless,
and know the modifications and qualities coming from nature.
Concerning the doer, the doing, and the instrument,
nature is said to be the cause.
Spirit is said to be the cause
in the experiencing of pleasure and pain,
for Spirit situated in nature
experiences the qualities born of nature.
Attachment to the qualities is the instrument
of its birth in good and evil wombs.

"'The supreme Spirit in this body is also said to be
the observer, allower, supporter, experiencer,
the great Lord and the supreme soul.
Whoever thus knows Spirit and nature
together with the qualities,
even in any stage of existence,
this one is not born again.

"'Some perceive the soul through meditation
by the soul in the soul,
others by Sankhya yoga, and others by action yoga;
yet others, not knowing this, worship hearing it from others,
and they also transcend death following the scripture.
Since any being, stable or moving,
is born from the union of the field and the field knower,
know that, Bharata bull.

"'Whoever perceives the same supreme Lord
situated in all beings, not perishing in their perishings,
this one perceives;
for perceiving the same Lord established everywhere,
one does not hurt the soul with the soul.
Then one goes to the supreme goal.

"'And whoever perceives actions
completely performed by nature,
the soul thus the non-doer, this one perceives.
When one discerns various states of being situated in one
and spreading out from that, then one attains God.

"'Because this imperishable supreme soul
dwelling in the body
is beginningless and free of qualities also, Kaunteya,
it does not act nor is it stained.
As omnipresent space from its subtlety is not stained,
so the soul situated in the body is not ever stained.

"'As the one sun illumines this entire world,
so the Lord of the field illumines the entire field, Bharata.
Those who know by the eye of knowledge
this distinction between the field and the field knower
and the liberation of being from nature
go to the supreme.'

14
"The blessed Lord said,
'I shall explain the supreme knowledge,
best of the sciences, knowing which
all the sages have gone from here to supreme perfection.
Having recourse to this knowledge,
arrived at my state of identity,
even at creation they are not born
and at dissolution they do not tremble.

"'My womb is great God; in it I put the seed.
The origin of all beings comes from there, Bharata.
In all wombs, Kaunteya, forms come to be
of which God is the great womb.
I am the seed-sowing father.

"'Goodness, emotion, darkness---
thus the qualities born of nature
bind, great-armed one, in the body
the imperishable embodied one.

"'Of these, goodness, free from impurity, illuminating,
healthy, binds by attachment to happiness
and by attachment to knowledge, sinless one.

"'Know that emotion whose soul is passion
is born of thirsty attachment.
This binds down the embodied one, Kaunteya,
by attachment to action.

"'But know that darkness is born of ignorance,
confusing all embodied ones.
This binds down by negligence, laziness, sleep, Bharata.

"'Goodness causes attachment to happiness,
emotion to action, Bharata,
but obscuring knowledge, darkness
even in negligence causes attachment.
Prevailing over emotion and darkness,
goodness comes to be, Bharata,
emotion over goodness and darkness,
likewise darkness over goodness and emotion.

"'When the light of knowledge is born
in all the doors in this body,
then it may be known
that goodness has thus grown powerful indeed.
Greed, exertion, undertaking of actions, unrest, lust,
these are produced when emotion is in power, Bharata bull.
Lack of light and lack of exertion, negligence and confusion,
these are produced when darkness is in power, Kuru joy.

"'But with goodness in power,
when the embodied one goes at dissolution,
then one arrives at the stainless worlds
of the knowers of the highest.
Going to dissolution in emotion,
one is born among those attached to action;
likewise dissolving in darkness,
one is born in wombs of the deluded.

"'Of action well done they say
the fruit is good without impurity,
but the fruit of emotion is pain,
the fruit of darkness ignorance.

"'From goodness springs knowledge
and from emotion greed;
negligent confusion comes from darkness, as does ignorance.

"'Those staying good go upward;
the emotional remain in the middle;
the lowest quality state, the dark, go downward.

"'When the observer perceives
no doer other than the qualities
and knows the highest, this one attains my essence.
Transcending these three qualities coming to be in the body,
the embodied, released from birth, death, old age, pain,
attains immortality.'

"Arjuna said,
'By what characteristics does the one transcending
these three qualities come to be, Lord?
What is the conduct?
And how does one transcend these three qualities?'

"The blessed Lord said,
'Illumination and progress and delusion, son of Pandu,
one neither hates their occurrence
nor longs for their absence.
Whoever is seated impartially
is not disturbed by the qualities;
the qualities operate thus;
whoever stands firm does not waver;
the same in pain and pleasure, self-reliant,
the same to a clod, a stone, gold,
equal to the loved and the unloved, constant,
equal to blame and praise,
in honor and dishonor equal,
equal toward friend and enemy,
renouncing all undertakings,
this one is said to be quality-transcending.
And whoever serves me with unswerving devotional union,
transcending these qualities
this one is fit for God realization.
For I am the foundation of God,
of the immortal and of the imperishable
and of everlasting justice and of absolute happiness.'

15
"The blessed Lord said,
'High the root, low the branch,
they say the ashvattha tree is eternal;
its leaves are sacred hymns.
Whoever knows this is a Veda knower.
Below and above its branches spread,
nourished by qualities sprouting sense objects,
and below the roots stretch forth
engendering action in the human world.
Its form is not perceived here in this way
nor the end nor the beginning nor the maintenance.
This ashvattha tree with fully grown root
being cut down by the strong ax of detachment,
then that place is to be sought,
having gone to which they do not return again;
and I take refuge in that primal Spirit
from where ancient progress flowed.

"'Without arrogant delusions,
with evil attachments conquered,
the eternal oversouls, with desires turned away,
released from dualities known as pleasure-pain,
go unconfused to that imperishable place.
The sun does not illumine nor the moon nor fire
that place going to which they do not return;
that is my supreme home.
My primeval part becoming alive in the world of the living
draws existing in nature the senses,
of which the mind is the sixth.

"'When the Lord acquires a body,
and also when the Lord departs,
taking these the wind blows scents as if from the source.
Presiding over hearing, sight, touch, taste and smell,
and mind, this one enjoys the objects of the senses.

"'Whether it is departing, staying, or enjoying,
those confused by the accompanying qualities do not perceive;
those with the eye of knowledge do perceive.
And striving yogis perceive this one existing in the soul,
while striving undisciplined thoughtless souls
do not perceive this one.

"'That brilliant sunshine which lights the entire universe,
the brilliance which is in the moon and in fire,
know that to be mine.
And entering the earth I maintain creatures with energy,
and I nourish all plants becoming the flavor-souled nectar.
Becoming digestive fire entering the body of the breathing
uniting with the breath I digest the fourfold food.
And I am seated in the hearts of all;
from me are memory, knowledge, and reasoning;
and I am recognized by all the Vedas;
I am the Vedanta maker and the Veda knower.

"'There are these two spirits in the world,
perishable and imperishable,
and all creatures are perishable;
the imperishable is called unchanging.

"'But the highest spirit is another,
called the supreme soul, who,
entering the three worlds as the undying Lord,
supports them.
Since I transcend the perishable
and am higher than the imperishable,
therefore I am celebrated in the world and in the Veda
as the highest spirit.
Whoever thus unconfused knows me as the highest spirit,
this omniscient one worships me
with the whole being, Bharata.
So this most secret doctrine explained by me, blameless one,
intuiting this, one should be enlightened
and accomplished, Bharata.'

16
"The blessed Lord said,
'Fearlessness, purity of heart,
perseverance in knowledge of union,
charity and restraint and sacrifice,
spiritual study, austerity, straightforwardness,
nonviolence, truth, no anger, renunciation, peace,
no slander, compassion for creatures, no greed,
kindness, modesty, no fickleness,
vigor, patience, courage, purity,
no hatred, and no excessive pride
are the endowment of the one born to the divine, Bharata.

"'Hypocrisy, arrogance and conceit,
anger and harshness, and ignorance
are the endowment of the one born to the demonic, Partha.

"'The divine endowment is for liberation,
for bondage the demonic, it is thought.
Do not grieve.
To the divine endowment you are born, son of Pandu.
Two created beings are in this world,
the divine and the demonic.

"'The divine has been described in detail;
hear from me about the demonic, Partha.
Progress and cessation demonic people do not understand;
neither purity nor good conduct nor truth is found in them.
Untruthful, they are unstable.
The universe, they say, is godless,
not by a succession created.
What else but desire caused it?
Holding this view lost souls of little intelligence
and evil actions come forth as enemies
for the destruction of the world.

"'Attached to insatiable desire,
accompanied by hypocrisy, arrogance, and lust,
out of confusion accepting false notions,
they proceed with impure purposes,
and clinging to immeasurable anxiety ending in death,
with gratification of desire their highest aim,
convinced that this is all,
bound by a hundred expectations,
devoted to desire and anger,
they wish for the gratification of desires
by the unjust means of hoards of wealth.

"'"This today was acquired by me;
this wish I shall obtain;
this is it; and this shall be my property also.
That enemy was slain by me;
and I shall kill others also.
I am the Lord; I am the enjoyer;
I am perfect, powerful, happy.
I am wealthy, aristocratic.
Who else is there like me?
I shall sacrifice, give, be merry."

Thus are those deluded by ignorance.
Led astray by more than one thought,
wrapped in a net of delusion,
attached to the gratification of desires,
they fall into an unclean hell.

"'Conceited souls, stubborn,
full of the pride and intoxication of wealth,
they sacrifice in the name of sacrifices with hypocrisy,
not in the sacred manner.
Clinging to the ego, force, insolence, desire, and anger,
the envious hate me in the soul of others' bodies.
Those hating, cruel, vicious wretches I throw continually
into the cycles of reincarnation in demonic wombs.
Entering a demonic womb, the deluded in birth after birth
not attaining me, Kaunteya, go then to the worst path.

"'This threefold gate of hell is destructive of the soul:
desire, anger, and greed.
Therefore one should renounce this threesome.
Released from these three dark gates, Kaunteya,
the best person practices for the soul,
then goes to the supreme goal.

"'Whoever, discarding scriptural knowledge,
follows willful desire does not attain perfection
nor happiness nor the supreme goal.
Therefore scripture is your authority
for determining what is to be done or not to be done.
Knowing what is said in scripture you should do work here.'

17
"Arjuna said,
'Those who, discarding scriptural knowledge,
sacrifice filled with faith,
what is their position, Krishna?
Is it goodness, emotion, or darkness?'

"The blessed Lord said,
'Triple is the faith of the embodied;
it is essentially goodness, emotion, and darkness.

"'Thus hear of this.
The faith of each becomes according to the form of goodness.
This Spirit is made of faith.
Whoever has the faith which this is is this.
The good sacrifice to the gods,
the emotional to spirits and demons,
and others, the men of darkness,
sacrifice to the dead and ghosts.

"'People who undergo terrible austerities
not ordained by scripture,
joined with egotistical hypocrisy
along with desire, rage, and force,
torturing the organs within the body,
and unconscious of me inside within their body,
know them to be demonic in their resolves.

"'But food also preferred by each becomes triple,
as sacrifice, austerity, and charity.
Hear this distinction of these.
Promoting life, goodness, strength, health,
happiness, and satisfaction,
flavorful, juicy, substantial, and hearty foods
are liked by the good.
Pungent, sour, salty, hot, spicy, dry, burnt foods
are wanted by the emotional,
causing pain, misery, and sickness.
Spoiled, tasteless, putrid, stale,
and what is rejected as well as the unclean
is the food liked by the ignorant.

"'Scripture-ordained sacrifice which is offered
by those not desiring the fruit,
offering thus with the mind focused, this is good.
But having in view the fruit and also hypocritical purpose,
Bharata, know this sacrifice which is offered is emotional.
Scripture discarded, food unoffered, sacred words discarded,
no price paid, devoid of faith,
they regard as ignorant sacrifice.

"'Revering the divine,
the twice-born, the teacher, the wise,
purity, virtue, continence, and nonviolence
is called the austerity of the body.
Non-disturbing speech, true, pleasant, beneficial,
and which practices reciting sacred texts
is called speech-making austerity.
Mental clarity, kindness, silence, self-control,
purity of being, this is called mental austerity.

"'This triple austerity practiced with the highest faith
by people united by not desiring fruit, they regard as good.
And austerity which is done with hypocrisy
for the sake of honor, respect, and reverence here on earth,
this is said to be emotional, insecure, impermanent.
Austerity which is done with torture of self
with a deluded notion
or for the purpose of destroying another,
this is said to be dark.

"'The gift which is given as being given,
to one who does no favor,
at the proper place and time and to a worthy person,
this gift is considered good.
But that which is given for the sake of reward
or again with a view to the fruit or unwillingly,
that gift is considered emotional.
That gift which is given
in the wrong place and time to the unworthy
disrespectfully and with contempt is said to be dark.

"'"AUM tat sat" is considered the triple symbol of God.
By this the priests and the Vedas and the sacrifices
were anciently ordained.
Therefore acts of sacrifice, charity, and austerity
always begin by uttering AUM
as proclaimed in the precepts of the expounders of God.
Saying tat without interest in the fruit,
acts of sacrifice, austerity, and various charities
are done by those desirous of liberation.
In meaning truth and in meaning goodness this sat is used.
In praise, also in action the sound sat is used, Partha.
In sacrifice, austerity and charity
steadiness is also called sat,
and action related to this is likewise designated sat.

"'An offering given or an austerity practiced and done
which is without faith is said to be false, Partha,
and that is nothing to us here or hereafter.'

18
"Arjuna said,
'Great-armed one, I wish to know the truth
of renunciation and of relinquishment, Hrishikesha,
individually, slayer of Keshin.

"The blessed Lord said,
'The renouncing of desired actions
the sages know as renunciation;
relinquishment of the fruit of all action
the clear-sighted say is relinquishment.
Some thinkers say that action is to be relinquished as wrong,
and others that action by sacrifice, charity, and austerity
is not to be thus relinquished.

"'Hear my conclusion in this matter of relinquishment,
best Bharata, for relinquishment, tiger spirit,
is described as threefold.
Action by sacrifice, charity, and austerity
is not to be relinquished;
that sacrifice, charity, and austerity
are the purifiers of the thinkers.
But these actions are to be done
relinquishing attachment and the fruits.
This, Partha, is definitely my final opinion,
for renunciation of required action is not proper;
the confused relinquishing of this is declared dark.
Whoever relinquishes action which is troublesome
out of fear of physical suffering,
doing emotional relinquishment
would not obtain the fruit of that relinquishment.
Action which is to be done is done in a disciplined way,
Arjuna, relinquishing attachment and the fruit;
this relinquishment is thought of as good.

"'Filled with goodness, intelligent, doubt eliminated,
the relinquisher, does not hate disagreeable action
nor is attached to the agreeable,
for embodied beings can not relinquish actions entirely.
But whoever is a relinquisher of the fruit of action,
this one is called thus a relinquisher.
Triple is the fruit of action for the dying relinquishers:
unwanted, wanted, and mixed;
but for the renouncers there is none whatever.

"'Great-armed one, learn from me these five factors
proclaimed in Sankhya doctrine for success in all actions:
the basis, also the actor,
and the instrument of various kinds,
and many separate movements,
and the divine as the fifth.
Whatever action a person undertakes
with body, speech, and mind,
whether right or wrong, these are its five factors.

"'But in this reality,
whoever sees the soul as the only actor
out of incomplete understanding, this fool does not see.
The one whose condition is not egoistic,
whose intuition is not affected,
even though killing these people,
this one does not kill and is not bound.

"'Knowledge, the known, and the knower
are the threefold action incentives;
the instrument, the action, and the actor
are the threefold constituents of action.
Knowledge, action, and the actor are said to be threefold,
determined by the qualities in the qualities-doctrine.

"'Hear about these also.
Learn that good knowledge by which one sees in all creatures
one imperishable essence undivided in the divided.
But the knowledge which regards as separate
the different beings of various kinds in all creatures
learn that knowledge is emotional.
But that which is attached
to one thing to be done as if it were all,
without reason, without true purpose, and insignificant,
is said to be dark.

"'Action which is controlled, free of attachment,
done without liking or disliking, wishing to obtain no fruit,
that is called good.
But action which is done wishing to obtain desire
with self-interest or again with much effort,
that is said to be emotional.
Action which is undertaken out of confusion
disregarding the consequence, loss, harm, and capability,
that is called dark.

"'Liberated from attachment, not egotistical,
accompanied by courage and resolution,
unperturbed in success or failure,
the actor is called good.
Passionate, wishing to obtain the fruit of action, greedy,
violent-natured, impure, accompanied by joy and sorrow,
the actor is proclaimed to be emotional.
Undisciplined, vulgar, stubborn, deceitful, dishonest,
lazy, depressed, and procrastinating,
the actor is called dark.

"'Hear the distinction of the intuition and the will
according to the threefold qualities
explained completely and distinctly, wealth winner.

"'Intuition which knows action and withdrawal,
what is to be done and what is not to be done,
what is to be feared and what is not to be feared,
bondage and liberation,
this, Partha, is good.
Intuition which distinguishes incorrectly right and wrong,
what is to be done and what is not to be done,
this, Partha, is emotional.
Intuition which thinks wrong is right,
covered by darkness, and perverted in every aim,
this, Partha, is dark.

"'The will by which one holds steady
the mind, breath, and sense functions with unbroken union,
this, Partha, is good.
But the will by which one holds to duty, desire, and wealth
with firmness, Arjuna, with attachment to desired fruits,
this, Partha, is emotional.
The will by which the stupid does not abandon
sleep, fear, sorrow, depression, and pride,
this, Partha, is dark.

"'But now hear from me, Bharata bull,
the threefold happiness one enjoys through practice
and in which one comes to the end of suffering.
That which in the beginning is like poison
but in maturity resembles nectar,
that happiness is declared good,
born from the clarity of soul intuition.
That which in the beginning
from contact between sense objects and sense resembles nectar
but in maturity is like poison,
this happiness is considered emotional.
And happiness which in the beginning and in consequence
is confusing for the soul,
arising from sleep, laziness, and negligence,
that is said to be dark.

"'There is nothing,
either on earth or even in heaven among the gods,
no being, which can be freed
by these three qualities born of nature.

"'The actions of the priests,
rulers, merchants, and servants,
foe scorcher, are distributed by the qualities
arising from their nature.
Calmness, control, austerity, purity, patience and sincerity,
knowledge, discernment, and piety
are priestly action born of their essence.
Valor, vigor, courage, skill in battle and also not fleeing,
charity, and leadership
are the action born of the ruler essence.
Cultivation, cow-herding, and trade
are the action born of the merchant essence.
Service-type action is born of the servant essence.

"'Satisfied in one's own repeated action
a person attains success.
How one content in one's own action
finds perfection, hear that.
By worshipping with one's own action
that from whom is the origin of all creatures,
by whom all this is pervaded,
a human finds perfection.

"'Better one's own duty of less quality
than another's duty well done;
performing action ordained by one's own essence
one does not incur guilt.
One should not relinquish inborn action,
Kaunteya, even though deficient,
for all undertakings are veiled with deficiency
like fire with smoke.
Unattached intuition everywhere, soul conquered,
longing disappeared, actionless perfection,
one goes by renunciation to the supreme.

"'Learn from me briefly, Kaunteya,
how having attained perfection
one also attains God,
which is the highest state of knowledge.
United with cleansed intuition,
controlling the self with will,
and relinquishing, starting with sound, sense objects,
and rejecting passion and hatred,
living isolated, eating lightly,
controlling speech, body, and mind,
constantly intent on union meditation,
relying on detachment,
releasing ego, force, pride, desire, anger, possessiveness;
unselfish, peaceful, one is fit for oneness with God.

"'Becoming God, soul serene,
one does not grieve nor desire,
the same among all creatures,
one attains supreme devotion to me.
By devotion to me one realizes who and what I am in truth;
then knowing me in truth one enters immediately.
Performing all actions always trusting in me,
one attains by my grace the imperishable eternal home.
Surrendering consciously all actions in me, intent on me,
constantly be conscious of me relying on intuitive union.

"'Conscious of me,
you will transcend all difficulties through my grace;
but if through egotism you will not listen, you will perish.
If, relying on egotism, you think, "I will not fight,"
vain is this resolve; your nature will compel you.
Bound by your own essential karma, Kaunteya,
what you do not wish to do out of confusion
you will perform that even against your will.

"'The Lord stands in the heart region
of all creatures, Arjuna,
causing to move all creatures mounted mechanically by magic.
Go to that shelter with your whole essence, Bharata.
From that grace you will attain supreme peace
and the eternal state.
Thus knowledge more secret than the secret
has been explained to you by me.
Reflecting on this completely, do whatever you wish.

"'Hear from me again the most secret supreme word.
You are surely loved by me;
therefore I shall speak for your benefit.
Become mentally me, devoted to me, sacrificing to me;
revere me, and you will come to me truly;
I promise you; you are my beloved.
Giving up all duties, take shelter in me alone.
I shall liberate you from all evils; do not grieve.

"'This is not to be told by you
to one who neglects austerity
nor to one who neglects devotion
nor to one who does not want to listen
nor to one who speaks ill of me.

"'Whoever shall explain
this supreme secret to my devotees,
performing the highest devotion to me,
will come to me without doubt.
And no one among humanity is pleasing me more than this one,
and no other is more beloved by me on earth.
And whoever shall study this sacred dialogue of us two,
by this one with this knowledge sacrifice I may be loved;
such is my thought.

"'Also whoever may hear with faith and not scoffing,
this person, also liberated,
should attain the happy worlds of pure actions.
Has this been heard by you, Partha,
with one-pointed thought?
Has it destroyed your ignorant delusion, wealth winner?'

"Arjuna said,
'Delusion is lost, recognition gained,
through your grace by me, unchanging one.
I stand with doubt dispelled.
I shall do your word.'"

Sanjaya said,
"Thus from Vasudeva and Partha, the great soul,
I heard this marvelous dialog,
causing my hair to stand on end.
Through the grace of Vyasa
I heard this secret supreme yoga
from the Lord of yoga, Krishna,
speaking himself before my eyes.

"O King, remembering again and again
this marvelous and holy dialog of Keshava and Arjuna,
I rejoice over and over.
And remembering again and again
that most marvelous form of Hari,
my amazement is great, King,
and I rejoice again and again.
My thought is that wherever is the Lord of yoga, Krishna,
and wherever is Partha, the archer,
there is splendor, victory, well-being, and eternal wisdom."

Copyright 1996, 2002 by Sanderson Beck

This has been published in the WISDOM BIBLE as a book. For ordering information, please click here. This text is also available as spoken by Sanderson Beck on CD.

WISDOM OF CHINA AND INDIA Contents
Hindu Philosophy ETHICS OF CIVILIZATION

BECK index