Discrimination between Nature and Soul – Chapter 13 – Slokas 13.01 – 13.34

The Blessed Lord said, “idam sariram kaunteya
ksetram ity abhidhiyate
etad yo vetti tam prahuh
ksetra-jna iti tad-vidah
– O son of Kunti, this body is referred to as the ‘field’. Those who versed in this and aware of this ‘field’ call him who is conscious of it as the ‘knower of the field’.

 

ksetra-jnam capi mam viddhi
sarva-ksetresu bharata
ksetra-ksetrajnayor jnanam
yat taj jnanam matam mama
– And, O scion of the Bharata dynasty, understand Me to be the ‘Knower of the field’ in all fields. In My opinion, that is Knowledge which is the knowledge of the field and the knower of the field.

 

tat ksetram yac ca yadrk ca
yad-vikari yatas ca yat
sa ca yo yat-prabhavas ca
tat samasena me srnu
– Hear from Me, in brief about all that as to what the field is and how it is; what its changes are, and from what cause arises what effect; and who He is and what His powers are.

 

rsibhir bahudha gitam
chandobhir vividhaih prthak
brahma-sutra-padais caiva
hetumadbhir viniscitaih
– It has been sung of in various ways by the Rsis, separately by different kinds of Vedic texts, and also by the rational and convincing sentences themselves which are indicative of and lead to Brahman.

 

maha-bhutany ahankaro
buddhir avyaktam eva ca
indriyani dasaikam ca
panca cendriya-gocarah

iccha dvesah sukham duhkham
sanghatas cetana dhrtih
etat ksetram samasena
sa-vikaram udahrtam – The great elements, egoism, intellect and the Unmanifest itself; the ten organs and the one, and the five objects of the senses; Desire, repulsion, happiness, sorrow, the aggregate of the body and organs, sentience, fortitude – this field together with its modifications has been briefly spoken of.

 

amanitvam adambhitvam
ahimsa ksantir arjavam
acaryopasanam saucam
sthairyam atma-vinigrahah
indriyarthesu vairagyam
anahankara eva ca
janma-mrtyu-jara-vyadhi-
duhkha-dosanudarsanam
asaktir anabhisvangah
putra-dara-grhadisu
nityam ca sama-cittatvam
istanistopapattisu
 – Humility, unpretentiousness, non-injury and absence of cruelty towards creatures, forbearance, sincerity, service of the teacher, cleanliness, steadiness, control of the body and organs in perseverance in the path of Liberation;

Non-attachment with regard to objects of the senses, and also absence of egotism, seeing the evil in birth, death, old age, disease and miseries;

Non-attachment and absence of fondness with regard to sons, wives, homes etc., and constant equanimity of the mind to the attainment of the desirable and the undesirable;

 

mayi cananya-yogena
bhaktir avyabhicarini
vivikta-desa-sevitvam
aratir jana-samsadi 
– And unwavering devotion to Me with single-minded concentration; inclination to find solace in a clean place; lack of delight in a crowd of people;

 

adhyatma-jnana-nityatvam
tattva-jnanartha-darsanam
etaj jnanam iti proktam
ajnanam yad ato ‘nyatha
– Steadfastness in the knowledge of the Self, contemplation on the Goal of knowledge of Reality – this is spoken of as Knowledge. Ignorance is that which is other than this.

 

jneyam yat tat pravaksyami
yaj jnatvamrtam asnute
anadi mat-param brahma
na sat tan nasad ucyate
– I shall speak of THAT which is to be known, by realizing which, one attains Immortality. The Supreme Unsurpassable Brahman is without beginning. THAT is called neither being nor is it called non-being.

 

sarvatah pani-padam tat
sarvato ‘ksi-siro-mukham
sarvatah srutimal loke
sarvam avrtya tisthati
– THAT, which has hands and feet everywhere, which has eyes, heads and mouths everywhere, which has ears everywhere, exists in the multitude of creatures by pervading them all.

 

sarvendriya-gunabhasam
sarvendriya-vivarjitam
asaktam sarva-bhrc caiva
nirgunam guna-bhoktr ca
– Shining through the functions of all organs, yet devoid of all the organs; unattached, also verily the supporter of all; without quality and the perceiver of qualities.

 

bahir antas ca bhutanam
acaram caram eva ca
suksmatvat tad avijneyam
dura-stham cantike ca tat
– Existing outside and inside all beings; moving as well as non-moving, IT is incomprehensible due to its subtleness. So also, IT is far away and yet near.

 

avibhaktam ca bhutesu
vibhaktam iva ca sthitam
bhuta-bhartr ca taj jneyam
grasisnu prabhavisnu ca
– And further THAT Knowable, though undivided, appears to be existing as divided in all beings, and, IT is the sustainer of all beings and the devourer and originator.

 

jyotisam api taj jyotis
tamasah param ucyate
jnanam jneyam jnana-gamyam
hrdi sarvasya visthitam
– THAT is the Light even of the lights; IT is spoken of as beyond darkness. IT is Knowledge, the Knowable and the Known or Goal of Knowledge. IT exists specially in the hearts of all creatures.

 

iti ksetram tatha jnanam
jneyam coktam samasatah
mad-bhakta etad vijnaya
mad-bhavayopapadyate
– Thus has been spoken of in brief about the field as also Knowledge and the Knowable. By understanding this, My devotee becomes qualified for My State.

 

prakrtim purusam caiva
viddhy anadi ubhav api
vikarams ca gunams caiva
viddhi prakrti-sambhavan
– Know that both prakrti, Nature and purusam, the individual soul to be verily without beginning; know that the modifications as also the qualities are born in Nature.

 

karya-karana-kartrtve
hetuh prakrtir ucyate
purusah sukha-duhkhanam
bhoktrtve hetur ucyate
– With regard to the source of the body and the organs where kārya is the body and karana are the organs and kartrtvam, is the agentship, Nature is said to be the cause. Purusha, or the soul is the cause so far as beneficiary of happiness and sorrow is concerned.

 

purusah prakrti-stho hi
bhunkte prakrti-jan gunan
karanam guna-sango ‘sya
sad-asad-yoni-janmasu
– Since the purusah, the soul is seated in Nature, therefore it experiences the qualities born of Nature. Contact with the qualities is the cause of its births in good and evil wombs.

 

upadrastanumanta ca
bharta bhokta mahesvarah
paramatmeti capy ukto
dehe ‘smin purusah parah
– He who is the Witness, the Permitter or the Approver, the Sustainer, the Experiencer, the great Lord and who is spoken of as the transcendental Self is the Supreme Person in this body.

 

ya evam vetti purusam
prakrtim ca gunaih saha
sarvatha vartamano ‘pi
na sa bhuyo ‘bhijayate
– He who knows thus the Supreme Person in this body and Nature along with the qualities will not be born again in whatever way he may live.

 

dhyanenatmani pasyanti
kecid atmanam atmana
anye sankhyena yogena
karma-yogena capare
– Through meditation some realize the Self in their intellect with the help of the internal organ; others through Sānkhya-yoga and others through Karma-yoga.

 

anye tv evam ajanantah
srutvanyebhya upasate
te ‘pi catitaranty eva
mrtyum sruti-parayanah
– Others again who do not know the Self thus, take to thinking after hearing from others; they too who are devoted to hearing, certainly overcome death.

 

yavat sanjayate kincit
sattvam sthavara-jangamam
ksetra-ksetrajna-samyogat
tad viddhi bharatarsabha
– O scion of Bharata dynasty, whatever object moving or non-moving comes into being, know that to be originating from the association of the field and the Knower of the field!

 

samam sarvesu bhutesu
tisthantam paramesvaram
vinasyatsv avinasyantam
yah pasyati sa pasyati
– He sees who sees the Supreme Lord as existing equally in all the beings and as the Imperishable among the perishable.

 

samam pasyan hi sarvatra
samavasthitam isvaram
na hinasty atmanatmanam
tato yati param gatim
– Since by seeing equally God who is present alike everywhere, he does not injure the Self by the Self, therefore he attains the Supreme Goal.

 

prakrtyaiva ca karmani
kriyamanani sarvasah
yah pasyati tathatmanam
akartaram sa pasyati
– And he who sees actions as being done in various ways by Nature itself, and also the Self as the non-agent, – he sees. 

 

yada bhuta-prthag-bhavam
eka-stham anupasyati
tata eva ca vistaram
brahma sampadyate tada
– When one realizes that the state of diversity of living things is rooted in the One, and their manifestation is also from THAT, then one becomes identified with Brahman.

 

anaditvan nirgunatvat
paramatmayam avyayah
sarira-stho ‘pi kaunteya
na karoti na lipyate
– Being without beginning and without qualities, O son of Kunti, this Immutable Supreme Self does not act, nor is IT affected by action or the result of any action, although existing in the body.

 

yatha sarva-gatam sauksmyad
akasam nopalipyate
sarvatravasthito dehe
tathatma nopalipyate
– As the all-pervading space is not defiled because of its subtlety similarly the Self present everywhere in the body is not defiled.

 

yatha prakasayaty ekah
krtsnam lokam imam ravih
ksetram ksetri tatha krtsnam
prakasayati bharata
– As the single sun illumines this whole world, similarly, O descendant of the Bharata dynasty, ksetri – Knower of the field namely the Supreme Self illumines the whole field.

 

ksetra-ksetrajnayor evam
antaram jnana-caksusa
bhuta-prakrti-moksam ca
ye vidur yanti te param
– Those who know thus through the jnāna-caksusā, eye of wisdom, the distinction between the field and the Knower of the field –  ksetra-kestrajnayoh, and the annihilation of the Matrix of beings –  prakrti-moksam, – they reach the Supreme. 

 

[Chapter 13, Slokas 13.01 – 13.34]

Introspection:

Lord Krishna begins the revelation of the intricacy of the ‘field’ known as the body or Nature and Prakriti with all its constituents and the effects or emotions and reactions that arise from a cause, the ‘knower of the field’ referring to the Self and the Lord and Knowledge that is knowledge of the field and knower of the field. The great saints and Rsis have sung plenty of verses on the same adoring Brahman, the Vedic texts speak of them and there are many great Vakyas or great utterances that resonate and are indicative of Brahman and lead to Brahman.

 

Lord Krishna in the above verses continues to elaborate on the qualities of a Jeevanmukta, who is steadfast on the Supreme Goal and adores Him with absolute surrender and experiences the bliss of the Self at all times seeing the Self existing equally as within and outside and all-pervading and existing equally in all the beings thereby remaining immersed and absorbed in the Supreme Self.

 

The knowledge to be known – jneyam, which is the Knowable or THAT, the knowledge itself –jnānam and the Known or the Goal of Knowledge – jnāna-gamyam can be seen in terms of the ‘field’ – kshetra, knower of the field – ksetrajnam referring to the Self and Knowledge – jnānam that is knowledge of the field and knower of the field. As this is esoteric and experiential knowledge revealed through intuition, it is indeed difficult to articulate.

 

Jnānam – Knowledge, jneyam – THAT or the Knowable and jnāna-gamyam, the Known or the Goal of Knowledge as spoken about by the Lord along with the kshetra– the field or body,  ksetrajnam – Knower of the field or Self and jnānam – Knowledge that is knowledge of the field and the Knower of the field can only be known, understood, realized and experienced within and it is possible only if the Lord wills it to be. As this is highly ambiguous and directly dependent on individual experience and esoteric knowledge guided by intuition which is again dependent on the Lord as He pervades all, it is difficult to express, articulate, explain about and deliberate upon. 

As the saying goes, one will not know what the sweetness of sugar is unless they taste it themselves and similarly the above verses also need to be experienced within for better understanding.

 

In the above verses, Lord Krishna continues to reveal the purusah – the Supreme Person residing in this body that is known as kshetra –  field and prakrti – Nature in which purusah – the Supreme Person resides but yet remains as the Witness, the Beneficiary, the great Lord, Supreme Being and the kshetrajnam – or Knower of the field. Hence, as the Lord has stated in the earlier verses, that is jnānam  – Knowledge which is the knowledge of the field and Knower of the field which ultimately leads to jnāna-gamyam, the Known or Goal of Knowledge that one seeks in realization and experience of the Transcendental Self guided by intuition through engagement in Karma-yoga or Yoga of Wisdom or Yoga of Knowledge or Yoga of Practice or Dhyāna- yoga or through listening, contemplation and reading.

 

Lord Krishna in the final verses of the Thirteen Chapter reveals that one who is possessed with jnānacaksusā – the eye of wisdom that can be bestowed only by the Lord, is one, who is devoted to the Lord at all times, spends all the time in contemplation and thinking and adoring the Lord, is steadfast on the Supreme Goal, remains content in the bliss of the Self and remains immersed and absorbed in the Supreme Self and then through the knowledge, understanding, realization and experience of the Supreme Self bestowed by the Lord, he sees the Immutable Supreme Self as existing equally within, outside and all-pervading and as existing equally in all the beings.

Therefore, with this jnāna-caksusā – eye of wisdom, he sees the Supreme Self as the Imperishable among perishables, sees that actions are done by Nature and the Self is the non-agent and thereby unaffected by action and results of actions acting as a Witness, sees the diversity of manifestations emerging from the Supreme Self and their sustenance and inevitable annihilation in that One, and, thus realizes the distinction between the field and Knower of the field and reaches the Supreme. 

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