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Published by


Distt. Tehri-Garhwal, Uttarakhand, Himalayas, India

www.sivanandaonline.org, www.dishq.org




First Edition                        1939

Nineteenth Edition:       2023

[3,000 Copies ]










The Divine Life Trust Society

ISBN 81-7052-000-2

ES 13





PRICE: ₹ 500/-





Published by Swami Padmanabhananda for

The Divine Life Society, Shivanandanagar, and printed

By him at the Yoga-Vedanta Forest Academy Press, P.O. Shivanandanagar, Distt. Tehri-Garhwal, Uttarakhand, Himalayas, India

For online orders and catalogue visit: dlsbooks.org










Bhagavan Vyasa


Lord Krishna

Avatara of Lord Vishnu

Flute-Bearer of Vrindavana

Joy of Devaki, Beloved of Radha

Redeemer of the Fallen

Friend of Arjuna

The Ideal of the Devotees




























श्रीगीतामाहात्म्यम्.. 25

श्रीगीताकरादिन्यासः... 31

श्रीगीताध्यानम्.. 32






















3. ।। सप्तश्लोकी गीता ।।. 426

4. ।। एकश्लोकी गीता ।।. 426



आरती... 433






















ॐ 15th January 1946


Gita embodies in itself a solution to the immediately pressing problems of man and carries  a wonderful message of encouragement, hope, cheer and consolation. It is a direct appeal to divinise the entire nature of man.

My little book of 700 verses is a constant companion for every man. IN finds a place in the pocket of every man. It gives man a positive promise of salvation and makes him fearless. Therein lies the supreme value of Gita.



















The Bhagavad Gita has been acclaimed to be a gospel of life. It has been translated into almost all the languages and has drawn the attention of scholars, saints and mystics, the world over. The importance of the Bhagavad Gita is in its offering satisfactory solutions to the problems that beset mankind of all times. His Holiness Sri Swami Sivanandaji Maharaj is one of the great exponents of the philosophy, religion and the technique of the Bhagavad Gita system, and his commentary is regarded as one of the most authoritative expositions available.

 This work originally appeared, in the early days of the Divine Life Society, as a series in six parts, published separately, which, later on, was combined into a single volume and released for the benefit of the students of Yoga. Having passed through several editions, it is now once again being made available to the public, after it ran out of print some time ago. It has been our endeavour to bring out this edition in as neat a form as possible, which, we are confident, will meet the demands of students as well as the public in general, in an appreciable manner.



















O Adorable Lord of Mercy and Love!

Salutations and prostrations unto Thee.

 Thou art Satchidananda.

Thou art Omnipresent, Omnipotent and Omniscient.

Thou art the Indweller of all beings.


Grant us an understanding heart,

Equal vision, balanced mind,

Faith, devotion and wisdom.

 Grant us inner spiritual strength

To resist temptations and to control the mind.

 Free us from egoism, lust, greed, hatred, anger and jealousy.

 Fill our hearts with divine virtues.


 Let us behold Thee in all these names and forms.

Let us serve Thee in all these names and forms.

 Let us ever remember Thee.

 Let us ever sing Thy glories.

 Let Thy Name be ever on our lips.

 Let us abide in Thee for ever and ever.

 Swami Sivananda






नमोऽस्तु ते व्यास विशालबुद्धे फुल्लारविन्दायतपत्रनेत्र

येन त्वया भारततैलपूर्णः प्रज्वालितो ज्ञानमयः प्रदीपः ।।

Salutations to Thee, O Vyasa, of broad intellect, with eyes large like the petals of full-blown lotus, by whom the lamp of knowledge, filled with the oil of the Mahabharata, has been lighted.






गुरुर्ब्रह्मा गुरुर्विष्णुर्गुरुर्देवो महेश्वरः

गुरुः साक्षात् परं ब्रह्म तस्मै श्रीगुरवे नमः

Guru is the Creator (Brahma); Guru is the Preserver (Vishnu); Guru is the Destroyer (Mahesvara); Guru is verily the Supreme Absolute. Prostration to That Guru.

 ध्यानमूलं गुरोर्मूर्तिः पूजामूलं गुरोः पदम्

मन्त्रमूलं गुरोर्वाक्यं मोक्षमूलं गुरोः कृपा ।।

The Guru’s Form is the root of meditation; the Guru’s Feet are the root of worship; the Guru’s Word is the root of Mantra; the Guru’s Grace is the root of Liberation.









कृष्णाय वासुदेवाय देवकीनन्दनाय

नन्दगोपकुमाराय गोविन्दाय नमो नमः ।।

Prostration, again and again, to Lord Sri Krishna, the son of Vasudeva, the delighter of Devaki, the darling of Nandagopa, the protector of the cows.

 Krishna! Thou art my sweet companion now. Thou hast a soft corner for me in Thy heart. Teach me now the mysteries of Thy divine play (Lilas) and the secrets of Vedanta. Thou sayest in the Gita: “I am the Vedantakrit and the Vedavit (the author of Vedanta and the knower of the Vedas).” Thou art my best teacher. Explain to me the intricate problems of Vedanta. Give me easy lessons. Kindly explain: why did Sukadeva, a Brahma Jnani who was absorbed in Brahman (established in Advaita-Samadhi or the highest non-dual state), teach the Bhagavata to Parikshit? What are the differences in the experiences of a Bhakta who enjoys Sayujya state (of union with his God), of a Yogi who is established in Asamprajnata-Samadhi (the highest superconscious state) and of a Jnani who has Advaita-Avastharupa-Samadhi (a state in which he is firmly established in Oneness or Brahman)? What is the real difference between Jivanmukti (liberation while living) and Videhamukti (disembodied liberation), Turiya (transcendent state) and Turiyatita (beyond the Turiya), Kshara-Purusha (mutable Person), Akshara-Purusha (imperishable Person), and Purushottama (Supreme Person)?

Let me be frank with Thee, O Krishna, because Thou art the indweller of my heart, the witness of my mind, and the Lord of my Prana (life-breath). I cannot hide anything from Thee, because Thou directly witnessest all the thoughts that emanate from my mind. I have no fear of Thee. Thou art my friend now. Treat me as Thou didst treat Arjuna. I shall sing and dance. You can play on the flute. Let us eat butter and sugar-candy together. Let us sing. Teach me the Gita. Let me hear it directly from Thy lips once more.

 O Thou invisible One! O adorable and supreme One! Thou permeatest and penetratest this vast universe from the unlimited space down to the tiny blade of grass at my feet. Thou art the basis of all these names and forms. Thou art the apple of my eye, and the Prema (divine love) of my heart, the very life of my life, the very soul of my soul, the illuminator of my intellect and senses, the sweet Anahata (mystic) music of my heart, and the substance of my physical, mental and causal frames.

 I recognise Thee alone as the mighty ruler of this universe and the inner controller of my three bodies. I prostrate myself again and again before Thee, my Lord! Thou art my sole refuge. I trust Thee alone, O ocean of mercy and love! Elevate! Enlighten! Guide! Protect! Remove the obstacles from my spiritual path. Remove Avidya or the veil of ignorance. O Thou Jagadguru! I cannot bear any longer, even for a second, the miseries of this body, this life and this Samsara. Meet me quickly. O Prabho! I am pining, I am melting. Listen, listen, listen to my fervent, Antarika (innermost) prayer. Do not be cruel, my Lord. Thou art Dinabandhu (friend of the afflicted). Thou art Adhama-Uddharaka (one who raises the down-trodden). Thou art Patitapavana (purifier of the fallen).

 O Magnificent Lord of love and compassion! O fountainhead of bliss and knowledge! Thou art the eye of our eyes, the ear of our ears, the Prana of our Pranas, the mind of our minds, and the soul of our souls. Thou art the unseen seer, the unheard hearer, the unthought thinker and the unknown knower. Pray, deliver us from all temptations. Give us light, purity and knowledge.

 O Prabho, Prananatha (Lord of my Prana), Vibhu-Visvanatha (all-pervading Lord of the universe)! Accept our prayer. Guide us. Lift us from the mire of Samsara. Enlighten us. Protect us. Thee alone we adore, Thee alone we worship, on Thee alone we meditate, in Thee alone we have taken refuge.

























The Bhagavad Gita is a dialogue between Lord Krishna and Arjuna, narrated in the Bhishma-Parva of the Mahabharata. It comprises eighteen chapters of a total of 700 Sanskrit verses. Considerable matter has been condensed and compressed within these verses. On the battlefield of Kurukshetra, Lord Krishna, during the course of His most interesting and instructive talk with Arjuna, revealed the profound, sublime and soul-stirring spiritual truths, and expounded to him the rare secrets of Yoga, Vedanta, Bhakti and Karma. All the teachings of Lord Krishna were subsequently recorded as the Song Celestial or the Bhagavad Gita by Sri Bhagavan Vyasa for the benefit of humanity at large. The world is under a great debt of gratitude to Sri Vyasa who has presented this Celestial Song to humanity for their daily conduct in life, spiritual uplift and Self-realisation. Only those who are self-controlled and are endowed with faith can reap the full benefit of the Gita, which is the Science of the Soul.

 The Gita Jayanti day or the birthday of the Bhagavad Gita is celebrated throughout India by all the admirers and lovers of this unique book on the 11th day (Ekadasi) of the bright half of the Margasirsha month according to the Hindu almanac. It was the day on which this scripture was revealed to the world by Sanjaya.

 In the whole world-literature there is no book so elevating and so inspiring as the Gita. The Gita expounds very lucidly the cardinal principles or the fundamentals of the Hindu religion and the Hindu Dharma. It is the source of all wisdom. It is your great guide. It is your supreme teacher. It is an inexhaustible spiritual treasure. It is a fountain of bliss. It is an ocean of knowledge. It is full of divine splendour and grandeur.

 The Gita is the cream of the Vedas. It is the essence of the Upanishads. It is the universal scripture for all people of all temperaments and for all times. It is a wonderful book with sublime thoughts and practical instructions on Yoga, devotion, Vedanta and action. It is a marvellous book, profound in thoughts and sublime in heights of vision. It gives peace and solace to the souls who are afflicted by the three fires (Taapas) of this mortal world (Samsara), viz., Adhyatmika (afflictions caused by one’s own body), Adhibhautika (those caused by beings around one), and Adhidaivika (those caused by the gods).

 The Bhagavad Gita contains the divine nectar. It is the Chintamani, Kalpataru and Kamadhenu (wish-fulfilling gem, tree and cow respectively). You can milk out anything from it. It is a book of eternity. It is not a catch-penny book which has a life like that of a mushroom. The Gita has been my constant companion of life. It is a vade mecum for all. Peace, Bliss, Ananda, Happiness, Wisdom, Atman, Brahman, Purusha, Dhama, Nirvana, Param Padam, Gita are all only synonymous terms.

 The Gita is a boundless ocean of nectar. It is an immortal celestial fruit of the tree of the Upanishads. In this unique book, you will find an unbiased exposition of the philosophy of action, devotion and knowledge, and a wonderful synthesis. The Bhagavad Gita is a rare and splendid flower that wafts its sweet aroma throughout the world. All the Upanishads represent the cows. Sri Krishna is the milker of the Upanishad-cows; Partha (Arjuna) is t’e calf who first tasted that milk of wisdom of the Self, which was milked by the Divine Cowherd, Sri Krishna, for the benefit of Arjuna and all humanity, as the Bhagavad Gita. It helps to solve not only Arjuna’s problems and doubts, but also the world problems and the problems and doubts of every individual. Glory to Lord Krishna, the friend of the cowherds of Gokula, the Joy of Devaki! He who drinks the nectar of the Gita through purification of the heart and meditation, attains immortality, eternal bliss, everlasting peace and perennial joy.

 Just as the dark, unfathomed depths of the ocean contain most precious pearls, so also the Gita contains spiritual gems of incalculable value. You will have to dive deep into the depths of the ocean of the Gita with sincere attitude of reverence and faith. Only then will you be able to collect the spiritual pearls of the Gita. Only then will you be able to comprehend the profound and subtle teachings of the Gita.

 The Gita is a unique book for all ages. It is a book that comes under the category of Prasthanatraya, the authoritative books of the Hindu religion. The Gita is the Immortal Song of the Soul, which bespeaks of the glory of life. The instructions that are inculcated b Lord Krishna are for the whole world. It is a standard book on Yoga for all. The language is as simple as it could be. Even a man who has an elementary knowledge of Sanskrit can go through the book. It deals with the four Yogas, viz., Karma Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Raja Yoga and Jnana Yoga.

 There are countless commentaries on the Gita at the present day. A volume can be written on each verse. A busy man with Karmic tendencies will be benefited by the commentary of Sri Bala Gangadhara Tilak (Gita Rahasya), a man of devotion by studying Sridhara’s commentary, and a man of reason by Sri Sankara’s is.

 There are now hundreds of commentaries on this wonderful book. The Gita is like an ocean. Sri Sankara, Sri Ramanuja and Sri Madhva have given their own interpretations of the Gita and established their own philosophy. Anyone can dive deep into this ocean of the Gita, bring out the most precious pearls of divine knowledge and give his own interpretation. Glory to the Gita! Glory to the Lord of the Gita!

The teachings of the Gita are broad, universal and sublime. Its teachings do not belong to any cult, sect, creed, particular age, place or country. They are meant for the people of the whole world at large. The teachings are based on the Upanishads, the ancient wisdom of the seers (Rishis) and sages. It teaches a method which is within the reach of all. It has a message for the solace, peace, freedom, salvation and perfection of all human beings.

 The Gita is like the lake Manasasarovara for the Parama- hamsas (monks and renunciates) and thirsting aspirants to sport in. It is the ocean of bliss in which the seekers of Truth swim with joy and ecstasy. If the philosopher’s stone touches a piece of iron even at one point, the whole of it is transformed into gold. Even so, if you live in the spirit of even one verse, you will doubtless be transmuted into divinity.

 Study of the Gita alone is sufficient for the purpose of daily Svadhyaya (scriptural study). You will find a solution here for all your doubts. The more you study with devotion and faith, the more you will get deeper knowledge, penetrative insight and clear right thinking. Even if you live in the spirit of one verse of the Gita, all your miseries will come to an end and you will attain the goal of life-Immortality and Eternal Peace.

The Gita is a gospel for the whole world. It is meant for the generality of mankind. It was given over five thousand years ago on the battlefield of Kurukshetra, by Lord Krishna to Arjuna.

 None but the Lord can bring out such an unprecedented and marvellous book which gives peace to the readers, which helps and guides them in the attainment of Supreme Bliss, which has survived up to this time. This itself proves clearly that God exists, that God is an embodiment of knowledge and that one can attain perfection or liberation by realising God alone.

 The whole world is a big battlefield. The real Kurukshetra is within you. The battle of Mahabharata is still raging within you. Ignorance (Avidya) is Dhritarashtra. The individual soul is Arjuna. The Indweller Who dwells in your heart is Lord Krishna, the charioteer. The body is your chariot. The senses (Indriyas) are the horses. The mind, egoism, senses, Samskaras (mental impressions), Vasanas (latent tendencies), cravings, Raga-Dvesha (likes and dislikes), lust, jealousy, greed, pride and hypocrisy are your dire enemies.


As the Gita contains subtle and profound teachings, you should study the Gita under a qualified teacher-a Brahma-Nishtha Guru (a preceptor who is established in the Absolute), with great and intense faith, single-minded devotion and purity. Only then will the truths of the Gita be revealed unto you like the fruit on the palm of your hand. Good commentaries like those of Swami Madhusudana Sarasvati, Swami Sankarananda, and Sri Sankara, written by sages of Self-realisation, will be of immense help to you.

 Worldly-minded people, however intellectual they may be, cannot grasp the essential teachings of the Gita. They will enter into unnecessary discussions and useless debates. They will cavil and carp at the teachings. Ignorant people only say: “There is no intimate connection between the verses. They are thrown together in a disorderly manner. There is a great deal of repetition.” If they study the Gita with reverence and faith under a qualified teacher. All their doubts will vanish. They will realise that there is a close connection between the verses in all the chapters. Repetitions in the Gita and the Upanishads are useful repetitions. They are calculated to create a deep and indelible impression on the minds of the aspirants.

 Lord Krishna speaks from different levels of consciousness. In the Gita, the term “Avyakta” sometimes refers to Mulaprakriti (primordial Nature), sometimes also to Para Brahman (the Absolute). Therefore, the help of a teacher is necessary if you wish to know the right significance of the verses. In the Kathopanishad, the term ‘brick’ is used to denote the Devata (god). In Hatha Yoga it is said: “At the junction of the rivers Ganga and Yamuna, there is a young virgin.” The esoteric meaning is: “There is the Sushumna- Nadi between the Ida and the Pingala.” You cannot understand the real meaning of these terms without the help of a Master. Even so, you cannot rightly comprehend the meaning of the verses of the Gita without the help of a teacher. Otherwise, you will be like the man who brought a horse before one who asked for “Saindhava”, when he was taking his food. “Saindhava” means “salt” as well as “horse”!


Man is a composite of three fundamental factors, viz., cognition, feeling and will. There are people with three kinds of temperaments, viz., the active temperament, the emotional temperament and the rational temperament. So, there are the three Yogas, viz., Jnana Yoga for the man of enquiry and self-analysis or rational temperament, Bhakti Yoga for the man of emotional temperament, and Karma Yoga for the man of active temperament. One Yoga is as efficacious as the other.

 The Gita formulates the theory of the three Margas (paths), viz., the Jnana Marga, the Bhakti Marga and the Karma Marga. According to the teaching of the Gita, there is no conflict among the three. The Gita harmonises wonderfully the philosophy of action, devotion and knowledge. All the three must be harmoniously blended if you wish to attain perfection. You should have the head of Sri Sankara, the heart of Lord Buddha and the hand of Raja Janaka. The three horses of this body-chariot-action, emotion and intellect-should work in perfect harmony. Only then will this body-chariot move smoothly and you can reach the destination safely and quickly. Only then can you rejoice in the Self within. Only then can you sing the song of Soham (I am He).

Only then can you be in tune with the Infinite. Only then can you hear the soundless voice of the soul and enjoy the sweet internal music of the Self.

 The central teaching of the Gita is the attainment of the final beatitude of life or perfection or freedom (Moksha) by doing the duties of life or one’s Svadharma. The Lord says to Arjuna: “Therefore without attachment, do thou always perform action which should be done; for by performing action without attachment man reaches the Supreme.”

The Gita is divided into three sections, illustrative of the three terms of the Mahavakya or the Great Sentence of the Sama Veda, Tat-Tvam-Asi, (That thou art). In accordance with this view, the first six chapters deal with the path of action or Karma Yoga and the nature of “thou” or the Tvam-Pada. The next six chapters explain the path of devotion or Bhakti Yoga and the nature of “That”, Tat-Pada. The last six chapters treat of the path of knowledge or Jnana Yoga and the nature of the term “art” or Asi-Pada which establishes the identity of the individual and the Supreme Soul, Jiva-Brahma-Aikya.

 The eighteen chapters of the Gita are not woven in a disconnected or discordant manner. There is an intimate relationship or vital connection between one chapter and another. Arjuna became very despondent and the teachings of the second chapter which bespeak of the immortality of the Soul, opened his eyes and gave him strength and courage. Arjuna then understood the technique of Karma Yoga and renunciation of the fruits of actions. Then he learnt the methods to control the senses and the mind and to practise concentration and meditation. Then Lord Krishna gave a description of His various Vibhutis (manifestations) in order to prepare him for the vision of the Cosmic Form or Visvarupa-Darsana. Then Arjuna experienced the magnificent Cosmic Vision. Then he understood the nature of a Jivanmukta or Bhagavata. Then he had knowledge of the field and the knower of the three Gunas and the Purushottama. Then he had knowledge of the divine attributes and the three kinds of faith, and the essence of Sannyasa Yoga in the end. Just as a student is coached up in the university, so also Arjuna was coached up by Lord Krishna for the attainment of knowledge of the Self in the Adhyatmic (spiritual) University. Arjuna had various kinds of doubts. Lord Krishna cleared his doubts one by one. He pushed Arjuna up the ladder of Yoga from one rung to another. Ultimately Arjuna placed his foot on the highest rung of the ladder, attained knowledge of the Self, and then exclaimed in joy: “O my Lord! My delusion has been destroyed. I have attained knowledge through Thy Grace. I am firm now. My doubts have now vanished in toto. I will act according to Thy word.”

You can become a Jivanmukta by annihilating the ego, and the two currents of Raga (likes) and Dvesha (dislikes). You can become a liberated sage by annihilating the desires and cravings and by destroying the residual potencies (Samskaras) and Sankalpas (desireful thoughts). You can thus rest in your own Satchidananda-Svarupa (essential nature as Existence-Knowledge- Bliss Absolute) and still you can be active in the affairs of the world like Raja Janaka. You will not be bound by Karmas. You will not be tainted by the actions, because the idea of doership has been destroyed by the attainment of knowledge of the Self or Brahma-Jnana. This is the keynote of the Gita.


The seers of the Upanishads emphatically declare that the real man is the all-pervading, immortal Soul which is the substratum of this body, mind and world, which is behind the five sheaths, viz., the food sheath, the vital sheath, the mental sheath, the intellectual sheath and the blissful sheath.

 The goal of life is the direct cognition or realisation of this self-luminous Self which is hidden in this body like fire in wood, and butter in milk. This Self (Atman) is the inner ruler or Antaryamin. He is the unseen governor or hidden proprietor of this house, the body.

 Real religion is the attainment of this transcendental, supreme, undying, undecaying Tattva or principle through constant and profound meditation. Real life is life in the eternal Atman or Soul. True life is identification with this Supreme Soul which exists in the past, present and future, which has neither beginning, middle nor end, which has neither parts nor limbs, which is neither subtle nor gross.

 The Rishis of yore attained this mysterious and marvellous Atman through the eye of intuition or the divine inner third eye (Jnanachakshus) and then explained things of this world in the light of their knowledge of the Self. This is the direct method of Self-realisation.

 You can ascend the summit of the hill of knowledge of the Self through science, art, Nature, music, etc. This is the indirect method. From the effect you go to the cause and ultimately reach the causeless Cause or Para Brahman or the ultimate, transcendental Truth. Our Western scientists will be groping in utter darkness if their purpose is only to invent some things for our physical comforts or convenient living. The goal of science is to find out the one ultimate Truth which is the substratum of the atoms, molecules, electrons, energy, motion and all physical and mental phenomena and all the laws of Nature through enquiry, observation, analysis, investigation and study of the laws of Nature. A real scientist is only a Vedantin. His mode of approach to the Truth only is different. The scientist who was saying previously: “There is nothing beyond this world”, proclaims now: “The more I know of the phenomena, the more I am puzzled. Intellect is finite and cold. Behind these changing phenomena, there is the unchanging Noumenon. Behind the rotating dynamic electrons, there is the static, motionless something: or something beyond the intellect and the world.” The Brahman of the Upanishads is the Atman of the Vedantins, Who is the Lord of these laws of Nature. “My method of approach is a posteriori method, from the effect to the cause. The Vedantins’ method is the a priori method, from the cause to the effect. The goal is the same.”


In the Vishnu Purana, Bhagavan Vishnu is highly eulogised and a secondary place is given to Lord Siva. In the Siva Purana, Lord Siva is immensely praised and a secondary place is given to Lord Hari. In Devi Bhagavatam, Devi is highly praised and a secondary place is given to Lord Siva and Lord Hari. This is done in order to create intense and unswerving faith in the aspirant for his Ishta Devata or favourite deity. Siva, Hari and Devi are one. They are different aspects of the Lord. It is simply absurd if you believe that Siva is inferior to Hari or Hari is inferior to Siva.

 Even so, in one place Lord Krishna praises Karma Yoga. “Karmasannyasat karmayogo visishyate-Yoga of action is better verily han renunciation of action.” (Chapter V. 2). In another place He praises Yoga. “The Yogi is greater than the ascetic; he is thought to be even greater than the wise; the Yogi is greater than the man of action; therefore, become thou a Yogi, O Arjuna.” (Chapter VI. 46). In another place, the Lord praises Bhakti Yoga. “He, the Highest Spirit, O Partha, may be reached by unswerving devotion to Him alone.” (Chapter VIII. 22). In another place, He praises Jnana Yoga. “Noble are all these, but I hold the wise as verily Myself; he, self-united, is fixed on Me, the highest path.” (Chapter VII. 18)

A neophyte will be confused when he comes across these verses. But there is no room for any confusion if you think deeply. Lord Krishna has praised each Yoga in order to create interest in the aspirant in his particular Marga or path. You must remember that the Gita is a book for the people of the world at large. It was not meant for Arjuna alone. Each Yoga is as efficacious and potent as the other.


The Gita emphasises again and again that one should cultivate an attitude of non-attachment or detachment. It urges repeatedly that one should live in the world like the lotus-leaf, which is unaffected by water. He who acts placing all actions in the Eternal, abandoning attachment, is as unaffected by sin as a lotus-leaf by water-Padmapatramivambhasa. (Chapter V. 10)

Attachment is due to Moha. Attachment is the offspring of the quality of Rajas. Non-attachment is born of Sattva. Attachment is an Asuri-Sampat, demoniacal quality. Non-attachment is a Daivi-Sampat, divine attribute. Attachment is born of ignorance, selfishness and passion. Attachment brings death. Non-attachment is wisdom. Non-attachment brings freedom. Practice of detachment is a rigorous discipline indeed. You will have to practise it again and again. You may tumble down like a baby who is just learning to walk, but you will have to rise up again with a smile and a cheerful heart. Failures are not stumbling blocks, but stepping- stones to success. Try to dwell always in your own Self. Abide in your own Self. Abide in your centre. Think of the Self constantly. All attachments will die automatically. Attachment to God or Atman is a potent antidote to annihilate all worldly attachments. He who has no attachment can really love others. He has pure love or divine Prema. Therefore, without attachment, constantly perform action which is duty, for, by performing actions without attachment, man verily reacheth the Supreme. (Chapter III. 19)

The thirteenth, fourteenth and fifteenth discourses deal with Jnana Yoga. He who has knowledge of Prakriti and Purusha (Nature and God), the three Gunas (qualities of Nature) and their operation, and of the wonderful tree of Maya (illusory power) or the Samsara-Vriksha, can transcend the Prakriti and the Gunas, and cut this marvellous, deep-rooted tree with the sword of wisdom of the Self or the axe of dispassion, and attain Atma-Sakshatkara or direct Self-realisation which releases him from the round of births and deaths. The fifteenth discourse is a soul-elevating one. It contains the essence of Vedanta. He who rightly understands this discourse will soon attain Moksha or the imperishable Seat of Brahman. Get by heart the twenty verses and repeat them before you take your food. All Sannyasins repeat them before they take food.

 The eighteenth chapter must be studied again and again. It contains the quintessence of the whole Gita Sastra. It is the supreme pinnacle on the magnificent hill of the knowledge of the Gita. It is the crowning jewel in the priceless necklace and in it is condensed the substance of those teachings found in the first seventeen chapters.

 Constant remembrance and practice of the teachings of verses 19, 20, 23, and 24 of chapter II will confer on you Immortality and will remove fear and Dehadhyasa (identification of the Self with the body).

 Constant remembrance and practice of the teachings of verse 22 of chapter V: Ye hi samsparsaja bhogah........, verse 8 of chapter XIII: Indriyartheshu vairagyam...... and verse 38 of chapter XVIII: Vishayendriya samyogat.. will induce dispassion (Vairagya).

 Life in the spirit of verses II. 71, and IV. 39, will give you supreme peace. Verses V. 27, 28, VI. 11 to 14, and 26, VIII. 8, 12, 13 and 14, IX. 34, XII. 8 to 10, XVIII. 51 to 53, deal with Yoga Sadhana or spiritual practice for Self-realisation. The philosophy of the Gita begins from verse II. 11. Verse XVIII. 66 is the most important one in the Gita: “Abandoning all duties, come unto Me alone for shelter; sorrow not; I will liberate thee from all sins.” Arjuna asks Lord Krishna: “My heart is overpowered by the taint of pity; my mind is confused as to duty. I ask Thee: tell me decisively what is good for me. I am Thy disciple. Instruct me who has taken refuge in Thee.” (Chapter II. 17) Lord Krishna gives His answer to this question of Arjuna in verse XVIII. 66. The essence of the whole Gita is contained in verses 65 and 66 of chapter XVIII.

 Verse 65 of chapter XVIII contains the essence of Navavidha-Bhakti or the nine modes of devotion. Here is the Sadhana for perfect control of thoughts. By fixing the mind again and again on the Lord, all worldly thoughts die by themselves. Bhakti Yoga can hardly be separated from Raja Yoga. There is a blending of these two Yogas. Patanjali Maharshi says that Samadhi can be attained through devotion unto the Lord: Isvara- pranidhanadva, or by self-surrender to the Lord. Self-surrender to the Lord is an important item in the Kriya Yoga and Niyama of Raja Yoga. Manmana Bhava is merging the mind. It is a Raja Yoga Sadhana. It is difficult to say where Bhakti Yoga ends and where Raja Yoga begins. Raja Yoga is the fulfilment of Bhakti Yoga. There is no hard and fast rule or line of demarcation between Bhakti Yoga and Raja Yoga. A Raja Yogi is also a Bhakta. A devotee is also a Raja Yogi. There is difference only in name. Lord Krishna gives His word of assurance to Arjuna to encourage him as he is in a despondent and confused state of mind by saying: “Thou shalt come even to Me. I pledge thee My Truth (word); thou art dear to Me.” Follow these instructions. He who has practised these four vital instructions will be able to effect unconditioned, unreserved self-surrender.

 The next verse contains the essence of self-surrender. The Advaita Vedantin explains the verse thus: “Give up the notion that you are an individual soul. You will attain liberation. You will become a Jivanmukta (a sage liberated while living).” An Acharya (teacher) of the Bhakti cult explains it thus: “Surrender the fruits of all actions and the actions themselves at the Feet of the Lord. The Lord will give you liberation.” Dharma here cannot signify the Dharma of the senses, because even a Jivanmukta sees, hears, tastes, and so forth; but, he stands as a witness; he does not identify himself with the actions of the senses. In this verse, Lord Krishna gives His definite answer to the query of Arjuna contained in the verse: “My heart is overpowered by the taint of pity; my mind is confused as to duty. I ask Thee: tell me decisively what is good for me. I am Thy disciple. Instruct me who has taken refuge in Thee.”

You need not study many books on Yoga and Vedanta. If you can live in the true spirit of those two verses, you will attain the summum bonum of existence, i.e., immortality, eternal bliss and knowledge of the Self.

 “Work without egoism, without expectation of fruits. Surrender the actions and their fruits as offerings unto the Lord. Divinise your life by melting the mind and the ego in the Lord. Spiritualise your life by dedicating your mind and intellect to the Lord (Macchitta, Yukta, Matparah). Fix the mind on the Lord. Be devoted to Him. Be intent on the welfare of all beings, sarvabhutahite ratah. Sacrifice everything unto the Lord. Then, you will enter into His Being.” This is the note ringing throughout the Gita.

 Sadhana in the Gita is explained in the following verses:

Karma Yoga:                       II. 48, IV. 20 to 22 and 24.

 Bhakti Yoga:                      IX. 27, 34, XII. 8, XVIII. 52 to 54.

 Japa Yoga:                          VIII. 14.

 Abhyasa Yoga:                  XII. 9.

 Hatha Yoga:                       VIII. 10, 12.

 Raja Yoga:                          VI. 25, 26.

 Jnana Yoga:                       III. 28, V. 8, 9.


Some people study the Gita in order to find out loopholes in it and criticise the teachings contained in it. The teachings of the Gita can only be understood if you approach it with a reverential attitude of mind and with intense faith.

 Someone in a newspaper gave vent to the criticism thus: “The Gita is not a sacred book at all. It teaches violence. Lord Krishna has asked Arjuna to kill even his dear relations and preceptors.” It seems that this critic has obviously no real knowledge of the Gita. He is like Virochana who received spiritual instructions from Prajapati and took the body for the Self on account of his perverted intellect. He is obviously a follower of the philosophy of the flesh. He cannot comprehend the depths of the Gita philosophy as his mind is callous and impervious to the reception of Truth. He has read the Gita not for gaining spiritual knowledge, but for attacking it! If he really understood the right significance of the three verses, viz., “He who regardeth this as a slayer, and he who thinketh he is slain, both of them are ignorant. He slayeth not, nor is He slain.” (Chapter II. 19). “Therefore, stand up. By Me they have already been overcome. Be thou the outward cause.” (Chapter XI. 33). “He who is free from the egoistic notion, whose intellect is not affected, though he slays these people, he slayeth not, nor is he bound.” (Chapter XVIII. 17) he would not have made this vain criticism. The Universal Being transcends all parochial values.

 Just as coloured water penetrates a piece of cloth freely and nicely when it is pure white, so also the instructions of a sage can penetrate and settle down in the hearts of aspirants only when their minds are calm, when there are no desires for enjoyments and when the impurities of their minds are destroyed. That is the reason why an aspirant is expected to possess the qualifications of Viveka (discrimination), Vairagya (dispassion), Sama (control of the mind), Dama (control of the senses), Uparati (turning away from worldly attractions), before he could practise the threefold Sadhana of hearing of the scriptures, reflection, and meditation on them. Discipline and purification of the mind and the senses are the prerequisites in the aspirants on the path of Truth and God-realisation.

 Even when the nature of God is explained, those who have not been purged of their faults and impurities, either disbelieve or misbelieve it, as was the case with Indra and Virochana. Therefore, knowledge as inculcated arises only in him who has purified himself by Tapas (austerity), etc., performed either in this or in a previous birth. The Sruti (Upanishad) says: “To that high-souled man whose devotion to his preceptor is as great as that to the Lord, these secrets explained here become illumined.”

Some people catch fish in the river Ganga for satisfying their palate and quote the Gita to support their evil action: “Weapons cleave him not, nor fire burneth him.” (Chap. II. 23). Wonderful philosophy indeed! Devils also can quote scriptures. These people are also followers of the Virochana school. They are the evil-doing, the deluded and the vilest of men. They cannot understand the

Teachings of the Gita as their wisdom has been destroyed by illusion and as they have embraced the nature of demons. May the Lord grant them subtle and pure intellect, inner spiritual strength and right understanding to comprehend the teachings of the Gita in their proper light and live in the spirit of the teachings.

 Some ignorant people say: “Krishna is not God. He is not an Avatara (incarnation). He was a passionate cow-herd who lustfully played with the Gopis.” What was the age of Lord Krishna at that time? Was He not a boy of seven? Could there have been a tinge of passion in Him? Who can understand the secret of Rasa Lila and Madhurya Bhava (the lover-beloved relationship between the devotee and God), the culmination of highest Bhakti, Atma- nivedana or total surrender to the Lord. It is only Narada, Suka Deva, Chaitanya, Mira, Hafiz, Ramananda, the Sakhis or the Gopis that could understand the secret of Rasa Lila. The Sakhis only are qualified for this. Did He not perform miracles when He was a boy? Did He not show that He was the Avatara of Lord Hari? Did He not show His Cosmic Form to His mother when He was a baby? Did He not subdue the Kaliya-serpent by standing on its hood? Did He not multiply Himself as countless Krishnas? Who were the Gopis? Were they not God-intoxicated beings who saw Krishna alone everywhere, who saw themselves also as Krishna? The sound of the Murali could throw them in a state of divine ecstasy or holy communion. They were above body-consciousness.

 What is the fate of such people who cavil and carp against the Lord? Just listen. “Those devoid of reason think of Me, the unmanifested, as having manifestation, knowing not My supreme nature, imperishable, most excellent.” (Chapter VII. 24) “The foolish disregard Me, when clad in human semblance, ignorant of My supreme nature, the great Lord of beings. Empty of hope, empty of deeds, empty of wisdom, senseless, partaking of the deceitful, brutal and demoniacal nature (chapter IX. 11, 12), they, enwrapped in darkness, think wrong to be right, and see things in a perverted light. These demoniacal men know neither action nor renunciation, neither purity nor right conduct, neither truth nor uprightness. They do not know what ought to be done and what ought not to be done. I ever throw them into demoniacal wombs. Deluded birth after birth, not attaining Me, they sink into the lowest depths.” (Chapter XVI. 19, 20)

Some thoughtless people begin to entertain a doubt and say: “How could the Gita have been taught to Arjuna on the battlefield in such a short time? It could not.” This is wrong. It was all a revelation to Arjuna. Lord Krishna gave Arjuna the divine eye of intuition. The omniscient, omnipotent Lord can do anything. His Grace can make the dumb man eloquent and the cripple a climber of mountains.


An opponent writes: “In the Gita, chapter III. 33, it is said, ‘Even the man of knowledge behaves in conformity with his own nature; beings follow Nature; what shall restraint do?’ What is the use of our attempt at controlling the senses and the mind when Nature is all in all? When Nature is all-powerful and over- whelming, how can Sadhana overcome it?”

In the next verse, Lord Krishna distinctly advises us to control Raga-Dvesha (likes and dislikes). Nature can be subdued by Sadhana. In the study of the Gita, you should not try to confine the meaning to one verse alone. You will have to connect it with the previous and succeeding verses of the same chapter and the verses of the previous chapters. You will also have to make cross- references. Only then will you get the right answer.

 Those who disregard the Lord’s commandment in III. 30: “Renouncing all actions in Me, with the mind centred in the Self, free from hope and egoism, free from mental fever, do thou fight,” and sit quiet renouncing their own duty will not derive any benefit by such renunciation. This Maya is invincible by even wise men: then how much more difficult will it be for worldly men to conquer it! For them, renunciation of work without attainment of knowledge is not desirable. They will be caught in the clutches of Maya. Of what avail is their effort to control the senses or what can restraint do in their case? These worldly men cannot escape the clutches of Raga-Dvesha.

 Even the residual Sattvic Vasanas (good tendencies) in Jnanis which keep the body, work in accordance with the qualities of Nature, viz., Sattva, Rajas and Tamas. Even the wise men are affected by the three Gunas when they are not actually in Samadhi. They have no attachment to the body and other objects of enjoyment and, therefore, they will not be affected mentally. They will be self-contented and self-satisfied. They will not long for objects not attained, nor weep over things lost.

 The objector says: “In the Gita, chapter XVIII. 61, Lord Krishna says: ‘The Lord dwelleth in the hearts of all beings, O Arjuna, by His illusive power, causing all beings to revolve, as though mounted on a potter’s wheel.’ Is man then a perfect slave? Is he like straw tossed about here and there? Has he not got free will to act?”

Lord Krishna tries His level best to persuade Arjuna to do his duty. He wants to extract work from Arjuna. So He speaks of his utter helplessness. In chapter VI. 5, Lord Krishna preaches about Purushartha or right exertion: “Uddharedatmanatmanam natma- namavasadayet-Let him raise the self by the Self and let not the self become depressed.”

Being under the sway of Nature, the natural Karmas or duties can never be forsaken. One’s duty should in no case be ignored. The Lord, the inner ruler, is the director of the individual soul. So long as he is not free from ignorance, he is bound to his own Dharma. Lord Krishna wants to make Arjuna fight as he is a Kshatriya. Elsewhere, the Lord has said: “Sreyan svadharmah -one’s own duty is good.” (XVIII. 47)

The opponent says: “In chapter XV. 7, Lord Krishna says: ‘A portion of Mine own Self, transformed in the world of life into an immortal spirit, draweth round itself the five senses with the mind as the sixth, veiled in matter.’ It is quite clear that the Jiva (individual soul) is an Amsa or part of Brahman, the Absolute. How can we say that the Jiva is identical with Brahman? The doctrine of Advaita (non-dualism) is wrong.”

In chapter, VII. 17, the Lord says: “I hold the wise as verily Myself.” Here He speaks of identity. The doctrine of non-dualism is quite correct. Non-dualism is the highest realisation. The Lord gives instructions according to the type of the Adhikari (qualified aspirant). Advaita philosophy can be grasped only by the microscopic few. So, He speaks of other kinds of philosophical doctrines in other places, to suit different kinds of aspirants. There is neither Jiva nor Self-realisation from the Absolute viewpoint. Brahman alone exists in reality. Dvaita (dualism), Visishtadvaita (qualified monism), Suddha Advaita (pure monism) are different rungs in the ladder of realisation. The truth is that the Jiva and Brahman are One in essence. The Dvaitin and the Visishtadvaitin eventually reach the Advaitic goal or Vedantic realisation of Oneness. Do not be confused. Clarify your ideas and understand things in their proper light.


India is held in high esteem by the Westerners on account of the Gita. Mahatma Gandhi once visited one of the biggest libraries in London and asked the librarian: “What spiritual book is most often issued?” The librarian replied: “It is the Gita.” The Gita is very popular throughout the world. All aspirants should try to get the whole 18 chapters by heart. This can be done through daily Svadhyaya (scriptural study) in about two years, by getting by heart two verses daily.

 Study of the Gita must be made compulsory in all schools and colleges of India: nay, of the whole world. It must become a textbook for students of schools and colleges. It must be introduced in their curriculum. It should find a very important place in every scheme of education. Only that system of education wherein moral and spiritual training is imparted along with secular knowledge, can be deemed sound, practical, sensible and perfect.

 Everyone of you should study very carefully the Gita, a sublime and soul-stirring book that can bestow on you supreme peace, immortality and eternal bliss.

 Hold the magnificent torch of faith. Let float high the unique banner of peace. Carry the magnificent shield of dispassion. Wear the marvellous armour of discrimination. Sing the immortal song of Soham or Sivoham or Radhesyam or Sitaram. March boldly with the band of Pranava, Om, Om. Blow the wonderful conch of courage. Kill the enemies: doubt, ignorance, passion and egoism, and enter the illimitable kingdom of Atman. Taste the divine immortal essence. Drink the nectar of immortality.

 My silent adorations to Lord Ganesa, Lord Subrahmanya, Lord Rama, Sita Devi, Sri Sarasvati, Sri Bhagavan Vyasa, Sri Adi Sankaracharya, Padmapadacharya, Hastamalakacharya, Trotak- acharya, Suresvaracharya, Sri Jnanadeva, Sri Swami Vishvananda, Sri Swami Vishnudevananda, all the Brahma Vidya Gurus, Saints, Acharyas, all commentators on the Bhagavad Gita, through whose grace and blessings alone I was able to write a commentary on the Bhagavad Gita. May their blessings be upon you all.

 Glory, glory to the Gita. Glory to Lord Krishna Who has placed the Gita before men of this world for attaining Sreyas or Moksha. May His blessings be upon you all! May the Gita be your centre, ideal and goal! Blessed is the man who studies the Gita daily. Twice blessed is he who lives in the spirit of the Gita. Thrice blessed is he who has realised the knowledge of the Gita, Atmajnana or Self-knowledge!

Om Tat Sat Om Santih, Santih, Santih


























(To be read at the end of the day’s Gita-study)

 श्री गणेशाय नमः ।। श्री गोपालकृष्णाय नमः ।।


भगवन् परमेशान भक्तिरव्यभिचारिणी

प्रारब्धं भुज्यमानस्य कथं भवति हे प्रभो ।।१।।

Mother Earth said:

1.       O Bhagavan! The Supreme Lord! How can unflinching devotion arise in him who is immersed in his Prarabdha Karmas (worldly life), O Lord?


प्रारब्धं भुज्यमानो हि गीताभ्यासरतः सदा

मुक्तः सुखी लोके कर्मणा नोपलिप्यते ॥२॥

The Lord Vishnu said:

2.       Though engaged in the performance of worldly duties, one who is regular in the study of the Gita, becomes free. He is the happy man in this world. He is not bound by Karma.


 महापापादिपापानि गीताध्यानं करोति चेत्

 क्वचित्स्पर्श कुर्वन्ति नलिनीदलमम्बुवत् ।।३।।

3.       Just as the water stains not the lotus-leaf, even so, sins do not taint him who is regular in the recitation of the Gita.


 गीतायाः पुस्तकं यत्र यत्र पाठः प्रवर्तते

 तत्र सर्वाणि तीर्थानि प्रयागादीनि तत्र वै ।।४।।

4.       All the sacred places of pilgrimage like Prayaga and others, dwell in that place where the book, the Gita, is kept, and where the Gita is read.


 सर्वे देवाश्च ऋषयो योगिनः पन्नगाश्च ये

गोपाला गोपिका वापि नारदोद्धवपार्षदैः ॥५॥

5.       All the gods, sages, Yogins, divine serpents, Gopalas, Gopikas (friends and devotees of Lord Krishna), Narada, Uddhava and others (dwell here).


 सहायो जायते शीघ्रं यत्र गीता प्रवर्तते

 यन्त्र गीताविचारश्च पठनं पाठनं श्रुतम्

 तत्राहं निश्चितं पृथ्वि निवसामि सदैव हि ॥६॥

6.       Help comes quickly where the Gita is recited and, O Earth, I dwell at all times where the Gita is read, heard, taught and contemplated upon.


 गीताश्रयेऽहं तिष्ठामि गीता मे चोत्तमं गृहम्

 गीताज्ञानमुपाश्रित्य त्रील्लोकान्पालयाम्यहम् ॥७॥

7.       I reside in the Gita and the Gita is My best abode. I protect the three worlds with the knowledge of the Gita.


 गीता मे परमा विद्या ब्रह्मरूपा संशयः

 अर्धमात्राक्षरा नित्या स्वानिर्वाच्यपदात्मिका ॥८॥

8.       The Gita is My highest science, which is, without doubt, of the form of Brahman, the eternal, the Ardhamatra (of the Pranava Om), the ineffable splendour of the Self.


 चिदानन्देन कृष्णेन प्रोक्ता स्वमुखतोऽर्जुनम्

 वेदत्रयी परानन्दा तत्त्वार्थज्ञानसंयुता ॥९॥

9.       It was spoken by the blessed Krishna, the all-knowing, with His own mouth to Arjuna. It contains the essence of the three Vedas, the knowledge of the Reality. It is full of supreme bliss.


 योऽष्टादश जपेन्नित्यं नरो निश्चलमानसः

 ज्ञानसिद्धि लभते ततो याति परं पदम् ।।१०।।

10.   He who recites the eighteen chapters of the Gita daily, with a pure, unshaken mind, attains perfection in knowledge and reaches the highest state or supreme goal.


 पाठेऽसमर्थः संपूर्णे ततोऽर्द्ध पाठमाचरेत्

तदा गोदानजं पुण्यं लभते नात्र संशयः ।॥११॥

11.   If a complete reading is not possible, even if only half of

It is read, he attains the benefit of giving a cow as a gift. There is no doubt about this.


 त्रिभागं पठमानस्तु गङ्गास्नानफलं लभेत्

 षडंशं जपमानस्तु सोमयागफलं लभेत् ॥१२॥

12.   He who recites one-third part of it achieves the merit of a bath in the sacred Ganga, and who recites one-sixth of it attains the merit of performing a Soma-sacrifice (a ritual).


 एकाध्यायं तु यो नित्यं पठते भक्तिसंयुतः

 रुद्रलोकमवाप्नोति गणो भूत्वा वसेच्चिरम् ।।१३।।

13.   That person who reads one chapter with great devotion attains the world of Rudra and, having become a Gana (attendant of Lord Siva), lives there for many years.


 अध्यायं श्लोकपादं वा नित्यं यः पठते नरः

  याति नरतां यावन्मन्वन्तरं वसुन्धरे ॥१४॥

14.   If one reads a chapter or even a part of a verse daily, he, O

Earth, retains a human body till the end of a Manvantara (71

Mahayugas or 308,448,000 years).


गीतायाः श्लोकदशकं सप्त पञ्च चतुष्टयम्

द्वौ त्रीनेकं तदर्थं वा श्लोकानां यः पठेन्नरः ।॥१५॥

चन्द्रलोकमवाप्नोति वर्षाणामयुतं ध्रुवम्

 गीतापाठसमायुक्तो मृतो मानुषतां व्रजेत् ।।१६।।

15.   And,

16.   He who repeats ten, seven, five, four, three, two verses or even one or half of a verse, attains the region of the moon and lives there for 10,000 years. Accustomed to the daily study of the Gita, a person, after death, is born again as a human being.


 गीताभ्यासं पुनः कृत्वा लभते मुक्तिमुत्तमाम्

 गीतेत्युच्चारसंयुक्तो म्रियमाणो गतिं लभेत् ।।१७।।

17.   By repeated study of the Gita, one attains the highest liberation. Uttering “Gita” at the time of death, he attains the Goal (of life).


 गीतार्थश्रवणासक्तो महापापयुतोऽपि वा

 वैकुण्ठं समवाप्नोति विष्णुना सह मोदते ॥१८॥

18.   Though full of sins, one who is ever intent on hearing the meaning of the Gita, goes to the kingdom of God and rejoices with Lord Vishnu.


 गीतार्थं ध्यायते नित्यं कृत्वा कर्माणि भूरिशः

 जीवन्मुक्तः विज्ञेयो देहान्ते परमं पदम् ॥१९॥

19.   He who meditates on the meaning of the Gita, having performed a great number of good actions, attains the supreme Goal after death. Such a man should be known as a Jivanmukta (a person liberated while living).


 मलनिर्मोचनं पुंसां जलस्नानं दिने दिने

 सकृद्गीताम्भसि स्नानं संसारमलनाशनम् ॥२०॥

20.   A daily bath in water cleanses people of their bodily dirt; a bath taken once in the waters of the Gita cleanses them of the dirt of Samsara.


 गीतामाश्रित्य बहवो भूभुजो जनकादयः

 निर्भूतकल्मषा लोके गीता याताः परं पदम् ॥२१॥

21.   In this world, taking refuge in the Gita many kings like Janaka and others have reached the highest state or goal, purified of all sins. It is so sung.


 ये शृण्वन्ति पठन्त्येव गीताशास्त्रमहर्निशम्

  ते वै मानुषा ज्ञेया देवा एव संशयः ॥२२॥

22.   Those who hear or read day and night the scripture Gita should not be regarded as human beings; they are verily gods.


 ज्ञानाज्ञानकृतं नित्यमिन्द्रियैर्जनितं यत्

 तत्सर्वं नाशमायाति गीतापाठेन तत्क्षणम् ॥२३॥

23.   All sins whether committed knowingly or unknowingly. Through senses or otherwise, get destroyed instantaneously by a constant study of the Gita.


धिक् तस्य ज्ञानमाचारं व्रतं चेष्टां तपो यशः

 गीतार्थपठनं नास्ति नाधमस्तत्परो जनः ॥२४॥

24.   Fie on the learning, conduct, observances, activity, austerity and renown of that person who has not studied the Gita; he is lowly indeed.


 संसारसागरं घोरं तर्तुमिच्छति यो जनः

 गीतानावं समारुह्य पारं याति सुखेन सः ॥२५॥

25.   He who wishes to cross the fearful ocean of Samsara reaches its other shore easily by mounting on the boat of the Gita.


 गीतायाः पठनं कृत्वा माहात्म्यं नैव यः पठेत्

 वृथा पाठो भवेत्तस्य श्रम एव ह्युदाहृतः ॥२६॥

26.   He who fails to read this Glory of the Gita (the Gita Mahatmyam), after having read the Gita, loses the benefit thereby, and the effort alone remains.

 This is to test and confirm the faith of the reader in the Gita. It is not a mere book but the Word of God and should therefore be studied with great faith and devotion which this Mahatmyam generates in one’s heart.


 एतन्माहात्म्यसंयुक्तं गीताभ्यासं करोति यः

  तत्फलमवाप्नोति दुर्लभां गतिमाप्नुयात् ॥२७॥

27.   One who studies the Gita, together with this Glory of the Gita, attains the fruit mentioned above and reaches the state which is otherwise very difficult to be attained.

सूत उवाच


माहात्म्यमेतद्गीतायाः मया प्रोक्तं सनातनम्

 गीतान्ते पठेद्यस्तु यदुक्तं तत्फलं लभेत् ॥२८॥

Suta said:

28.   This greatness or Glory of the Gita which is eternal, as narrated by me, should be read at the end of the study of the Gita and the fruits mentioned therein will be obtained.


इति श्रीवराहपुराणे श्रीगीतामाहात्म्यं सम्पूर्णम्

Thus ends the Glory of the Gita, contained in the Varaha Purana.

Om Santih, Santih, Santih.




















श्रीगणेशाय नमः श्रीगोपालकृष्णाय नमः ।।

  अस्य श्रीमद्भगवद्गीतामालामन्त्रस्य भगवान्वेदव्यास ऋषिः अनुष्टुप्छन्दः श्रीकृष्णः परमात्मा देवता अशोच्यानन्वशोचस्त्वं प्रज्ञावादांश्च भाषसे इति बीजम् सर्वधर्मान् परित्यज्य मामेकं शरणं व्रज इति शक्तिः ।। अहं त्वा सर्वपापेभ्यो मोक्षयिष्यामि मा शुचः इति कीलकम् नैनं छिन्दन्ति शस्त्राणि नैनं दहति पावक इत्यंगुष्ठाभ्यां नमः ।। चैनं क्लेदयन्त्यापो शोषयति मारुत इति तर्जनीभ्यां नमः अच्छेद्योऽयमदाह्योऽयमक्लेद्योऽशोष्य एव इति मध्यमाभ्यां नमः ।। नित्यः सर्वगतः स्थाणुरचलोऽयं सनातन इत्यनामिकाभ्यां नमः ।। पश्य मे पार्थ रूपाणि शतशोऽथ सहस्रश इति कनिष्ठिकाभ्यां नमः ।। नानाविधानि दिव्यानि नानावर्णाकृतीनि इति करतलकरपृष्ठाभ्यां नमः ।। इति करन्यासः ।। अथ हृदयादिन्यासः ।। नैनं छिन्दन्ति शस्त्राणि नैनं दहति पावक इति हृदयाय नमः ।। चैनं क्लेदयन्त्यापो शोषयति मारुत इति शिरसे स्वाहा ।। अच्छेद्योऽयमदाह्योऽयमक्लेद्योऽशोष्य एव इति शिखायै वषट् ।। नित्यः सर्वगतः स्थाणुरचलोऽयं सनातन इति कवचाय हुम् पश्य मे पार्थ रूपाणि शतशोऽथ सहस्रश इति नेत्रत्रयाय वौषट् ।। नानाविधानि दिव्यानि नानावर्णाकृतीनि इति अस्त्राय फट् श्रीकृष्णप्रीत्यर्थे पाठे विनियोगः ।।



















पार्थाय प्रतिबोधितां भगवता नारायणेन स्वयम्

व्यासेन ग्रथितां पुराणमुनिना मध्येमहाभारतम्

अद्वैतामृतवर्षिणीं भगवतीमष्टादशाध्यायिनी-

मम्ब त्वामनुसन्दधामि भगवद्गीते भवद्वेषिणीम् ॥१॥

3 Om (the monosyllable indicative of the Supreme Brahman), पार्थाय प्रतिबोधिताम् with which Partha (Arjuna) was illumined, भगवता by the Lord, नारायणेन by Narayana, स्वयम् Himself, व्यासेन by Vyasa, ग्रथिताम् composed, पुराणमुनिना by the ancient Muni, मध्येमहाभारतम् in the midst of Mahabharata, अद्वैतामृतवर्षिणीम् the showerer of the nectar of Advaita, भगवतीम् the Divine Mother, अष्टादशाध्यायिनीम् in the form of eighteen chapters, अम्ब affectionate Mother, त्वाम् Thee, अनुसन्दधामि I meditate, भगवद्गीते O Bhagavad Gita, भवद्वेषिणीम् destroyer of rebirth.

1.        Om, O Bhagavad Gita, with which Partha (Arjuna) was illumined by Lord Narayana Himself and which was composed in the middle of the Mahabharata by the ancient sage Vyasa, O Divine Mother, the destroyer of rebirth, the showerer of the nectar of Advaita (teaching on the Oneness of all things) and consisting of eighteen chapters-upon Thee, O Bhagavad Gita! O affectionate mother! I meditate.


 नमोऽस्तु ते व्यास विशालबुद्धे फुल्लारविन्दायतपत्रनेत्र

येन त्वया भारततैलपूर्णः प्रज्वालितो ज्ञानमयः प्रदीपः ॥२॥

नमः salutation, अस्तु be, ते unto thee, व्यास (O) Vyasa, विशालबुद्धे of broad intellect, फुल्लारविन्दायतपत्रनेत्र with eyes like the petals of a full-blown lotus, येन by which, त्वया by thee, भारततैलपूर्णः full of the oil of the Mahabharata, प्रज्वालितः lighted, ज्ञानमयः consisting of wisdom, प्रदीप: lamp.

2.        Salutations unto thee, O Vyasa of broad intellect and with eyes like the petals of full-blown lotus, by whom the lamp of knowledge, filled with the oil of the Mahabharata, has been lighted.


 प्रपन्नपारिजाताय तोत्रवेत्रैकपाणये

ज्ञानमुद्राय कृष्णाय गीतामृतदुहे नमः ॥३॥

प्रपन्नपारिजाताय the Parijata, or the Kalpataru, the bestower of all desires, for those who take refuge in Him, तोत्रवेत्रैकपाणये who holds a whip in one hand, ज्ञानमुद्राय the holder of knowledge- symbol, कृष्णाय to Krishna, गीतामृतदुहे the milker of the Gita Nectar, नमः salutation.

3.        Salutations to Krishna, the Parijata tree or the Kalpataru or the bestower of all desires for those who take refuge in Him, the holder of the whip in one hand, the wielder of the symbol of knowledge, and the milker of the nectar of the Bhagavad Gita.


 सर्वोपनिषदो गावो दोग्धा गोपालनन्दनः

पार्थो वत्सः सुधीर्भोक्ता दुग्धं गीतामृतं महत् ॥४॥

सर्वोपनिषदः all the Upanishads, गावः the cows, दोग्धा the milker, गोपालनन्दनः Krishna, the cowherd boy, पार्थ: Arjuna, वत्सः the calf, सुधीः (man) of purified intellect, भोक्ता the drinker, दुग्धम् the milk, गीता Gita, अमृतम् nectar, महत् the great.

4.        All the Upanishads are the cows; the Milker is Krishna, the cowherd-boy; Partha (Arjuna) is the calf; men of purified intellect are the drinkers, the milk is the great nectar of the Gita.


वसुदेवसुतं देवं कंसचाणूरमर्दनम्

देवकीपरमानन्दं कृष्णं वन्दे जगद्गुरुम् ॥५॥

वसुदेवसुतम् the son of Vasudeva, देवम् God, कंसचाणूरमर्दनम् the destroyer of Kamsa and Chanura, देवकीपरमानन्दम् the Supreme bliss of Devaki (mother of Krishna), कृष्णम् to Krishna, वन्दे 1 salute, जगद्गुरुम् the world-teacher.

5.        I salute Lord Krishna, the world-teacher, the son of Vasudeva, the destroyer of Kamsa and Chanura, the supreme bliss of Devaki.


भीष्मद्रोणतटा जयद्रथजला गान्धारनीलोत्पला

शल्यग्राहवती कृपेण वहनी कर्णेन वेलाकुला

 अश्वत्थामविकर्णघोरमकरा दुर्योधनावर्तिनी

सोत्तीर्णा खलु पाण्डवै रणनदी कैवर्तकः केशवः ॥६॥

भीष्मद्रोणतटा with Bhishma and Drona as the banks, जयद्रथजला with Jayadratha as the water, गान्धारनीलोत्पला with the king of Gandhara as the blue water-lily, शल्यग्राहवती with Salya as the crocodile, कृपेण वहनी with Kripa as the current, कर्णेन वेलाकुला with Karna as the billow, अश्वत्थामविकर्णघोरमकरा with Asvatthama and Vikarna as terrible alligators, दुर्योधनावर्तिनी with Duryodhana as the whirlpool, सः that, उत्तीर्णा crossed over, खलु indeed, पाण्डवैः by Pandavas, रणनदी the battle-river, कैवर्तकः the helmsman, केशवः Kesava (Krishna).

6.        With Kesava as the helmsman, verily was crossed by the Pandavas, the battle-river whose banks were Bhishma and Drona, whose water was Jayadratha, whose blue lotus was the king of Gandhara, whose crocodile was Salya, whose current was Kripa, whose billow was Karna, whose terrible alligators were Asvatthama and Vikarna, whose whirlpool was Duryodhana.


 पाराशर्यवचः सरोजममलं गीतार्थगन्धोत्कटं

नानाख्यानककेसरं हरिकथासम्बोधनाबोधितम्

लोके सज्जनषट्पदैरहरहः पेपीयमानं मुदा

भूयाद्भारतपङ्कजं कलिमलप्रध्वंसिनः श्रेयसे ॥७॥

पाराशर्यवचःसरोजम् born in the lake of the words of the son of Parasara (Vyasa), अमलम् spotless, गीतार्थगन्धोत्कटम् sweet with the fragrance of the meaning of the Gita, नानाख्यानककेसरम् with many stories as its stamens, हरिकथासम्बोधनाबोधितम्: fully opened by the discourses on Hari, लोके in the world, सज्जनषट्पदैः by the bees of good men, अहरहः day by day, पेपीयमानम् drunk, मुदा joyously, भूयात् may be, भारतपङ्कजम् the lotus of the Mahabharata, कलिमलप्रध्वंसि the destroyer of the dirt of Kali age, नः to us, श्रेयसे for the supreme good.

7.       May this lotus of the Mahabharata, born in the lake of the words of Vyasa, sweet with the fragrance of the meaning of the Gita, with many stories as its stamens, fully opened by the discourses on Hari, the destroyer of the sins of the Kali age, and drunk joyously by the bees of good men in the world, day by day, become the bestower of good to us.


 मूकं करोति वाचालं पङ्गु लङ्घयते गिरिम्

 यत्कृपा तमहं वन्दे परमानन्दमाधवम् ॥८॥

मूकम् the dumb, करोति makes, वाचालम् eloquent, पङ्गुम् the cripple, लङ्घयते enables to climb, गिरिम् mountain, यत्कृपा whose grace, तम् that, अहम् Ⅰ, वन्दे salute, परमानन्दमाधवम् Madhava, the source of supreme Bliss.

8.        I salute that Madhava, the source of supreme bliss, whose grace makes the dumb man eloquent and the cripple cross mountains.


 यं ब्रह्मावरुणेन्द्ररुद्रमरुतः स्तुन्वन्ति दिव्यैः स्तवै-

र्वेदैः सांगपदक्रमोपनिषदैर्गायन्ति यं सामगाः

ध्यानावस्थिततद्गतेन मनसा पश्यन्ति यं

योगिनो यस्यान्तं विदुः सुरासुरगणा देवाय तस्मै नमः ॥९॥

यम् whom, ब्रह्मावरुणेन्द्ररुद्रमरुतः Brahma, Varuna, Indra, Rudra and Maruts, स्तुन्वन्ति praise, दिव्यैः divine, स्तवैः with hymns, वेदैः with the Vedas, सांगपदक्रमोपनिषदैः with their Angas in the Pada and Krama methods and by the Upanishads, गायन्ति sing, यम् whom, सामगाः the Sama-chanters, ध्यानावस्थिततद्गतेन मनसा with the mind absorbed in Him through meditation, पश्यन्ति see, यम् whom, योगिनः the Yogins, यस्य whose, अन्तम् end, not, विदुः know, सुरासुरगणाः the hosts of Devas and Asuras, देवाय to God, तस्मै that,

नमः salutation.

9.       Salutations to that God Whom Brahma, Varuna, Indra Rudra and the Maruts praise with divine hymns, of Whom the Sama-chanters sing by the Vedas and their Angas, in the Pada and the Krama methods, and by the Upanishads, Whom the Yogins see with their minds absorbed in Him through meditation, and Whose end the hosts of Devas and Asuras know not.







































Om Sri Sadguru Paramatmane Namah

अथ प्रथमोऽध्यायः




धृतराष्ट्र उवाच

धर्मक्षेत्रे कुरुक्षेत्रे समवेता युयुत्सवः

 मामकाः पाण्डवाश्चैव किमकुर्वत सञ्जय ।।१।।

धर्मक्षेत्रे on the holy plain, कुरुक्षेत्रे in Kurukshetra, समवेताः assembled together, युयुत्सवः desirous to fight, मामकाः my people, पाण्डवाः the sons of Pandu, and, एव also, किम् what, अकुर्वत did do, सञ्जय O Sanjaya.

Dhritarashtra said:

1.       What did my people and the sons of Pandu do when they had assembled together eager for battle on the holy plain of Kurukshetra, O Sanjaya?

Commentary: Dharmakshetra-that place which protects Dharma is Dharmakshetra. Because it was in the land of the Kurus, it was called Kurukshetra.

 Sanjaya is one who has conquered likes and dislikes and who is impartial.

सञ्जय उवाच

दृष्ट्वा तु पाण्डवानीकं व्यूढं दुर्योधनस्तदा

आचार्यमुपसङ्गम्य राजा वचनमब्रवीत् ॥२॥

दृष्ट्वा having seen, तु indeed, पाण्डवानीकम् the army of the Pandavas, व्यूढम् drawn up in battle-array, दुर्योधनः Duryodhana, then, आचार्यम् the teacher, उपसङ्गम्य having approached, राजा the king, वचनम् speech, अब्रवीत् said.

Sanjaya said:

2.       Having seen the army of the Pandavas drawn up in battle-array, King Duryodhana then approached his teacher (Drona) and spoke these words.

 पश्यैतां पाण्डुपुत्राणामाचार्य महतीं चमूम्

 व्यूढां द्रुपदपुत्रेण तव शिष्येण धीमता ॥३॥

पश्य behold, एताम् this, पाण्डुपुत्राणाम् of the sons of Pandu, आचार्य O Teacher, महतीम् great, चमूम् army, व्यूढाम् arrayed, द्रुपदपुत्रेण son of Drupada, तव शिष्येण by your disciple, धीमता wise.

3.        “Behold, O Teacher! This mighty army of the sons of Pandu, arrayed by the son of Drupada, thy wise disciple.


 अत्र शूरा महेष्वासा भीमार्जुनसमा युधि

 युयुधानो विराटश्च द्रुपदश्च महारथः ॥४॥

अत्र here, शूराः heroes, महेष्वासाः mighty archers, भीमार्जुनसमा equal to Bhima and Arjuna, युधि in battle, युयुधानः Yuyudhana, विराटः Virata, and, द्रुपदः Drupada, and, महारथः of the great car.

4.        “Here are heroes, mighty archers, equal in battle to Bhima and Arjuna, Yuyudhana (Satyaki), Virata and Drupada, of the great car (mighty warriors).

 Commentary: Technically, maharatha means a warrior who is proficient in the science of war and who is able to fight alone with ten thousand archers.


धृष्टकेतुश्चेकितानः काशिराजश्च वीर्यवान्

 पुरुजित्कुन्तिभोजश्च शैब्यश्च नरपुङ्गवः ॥५॥

धृष्टकेतुः Dhrishtaketu, चेकितानः Chekitana, काशिराजः king of Kasi, and, वीर्यवान् valiant, पुरुजित् Purujit, कुन्तिभोजः Kuntibhoja, and, शैब्यः son of Sibi, and, नरपुङ्गवः the best of men.

5.       “Dhrishtaketu, Chekitana and the valiant king of Kasi, Purujit and Kuntibhoja and Saibya, the best of men,


युधामन्युश्च विक्रान्त उत्तमौजाश्च वीर्यवान्

 सौभद्रो द्रौपदेयाश्च सर्व एव महारथाः ॥६॥

युधामन्युः Yudhamanyu, and, विक्रान्तः the strong, उत्तमौजाः Uttamaujas, and, वीर्यवान् the brave, सौभद्रः the son of Subhadra, द्रौपदेयाः the sons of Draupadi, and, सर्वे all, एव even, महारथाः great car-warriors.

6.        “The strong Yudhamanyu and the brave Uttamaujas, the son of Subhadra (Abhimanyu, the son of Subhadra and Arjuna), and the sons of Draupadi, all of great chariots (great heroes).


 अस्माकं तु विशिष्टा ये तान्निबोध द्विजोत्तम

 नायका मम सैन्यस्य संज्ञार्थं तान्ब्रवीमि ते ॥७॥

अस्माकम् ours, तु also, विशिष्टाः the best, ये who (those), तान् those, निबोध know (thou), द्विजोत्तम (O) best among the twice-born ones, नायकाः the leaders, मम my, सैन्यस्य of the army, संज्ञार्थम् for information, तान् them, ब्रवीमि speak, ते to thee.

7.        “Know also, O best among the twice-born! The names of those who are the most distinguished amongst ourselves, the leaders of my army; these I name to thee for thy information.


 भवान्भीष्मश्च कर्णश्च कृपश्च समितिञ्जयः

 अश्वत्थामा विकर्णश्च सौमदत्तिस्तथैव ॥८॥

भवान् yourself, भीष्मः Bhishma, and, कर्ण: Karna, and, कृपः Kripa, and, समितिञ्जयः victorious in war, अश्वत्थामा Asvatthama, the son of Dronacharya, विकर्ण: Vikarna, and, सौमदत्तिः the son of Somadatta, तथा thus, एव even, and.

8.        “Thyself and Bhishma, and Karna and also Kripa, the victorious in war, Asvatthama, Vikarna, and also Bhurisrava, the son of Somadatta.


 अन्ये बहवः शूरा मदर्थे त्यक्तजीविताः

नानाशस्त्रप्रहरणाः सर्वे युद्धविशारदाः ॥९॥

अन्ये others, and, बहवः many, शूराः heroes, मदर्थे for my sake, त्यक्तजीविताः who are ready to give up their lives, नानाशस्त्रप्रहरणाः armed with various weapons and missiles, सर्वे all, युद्धविशारदाः well-skilled in battle.

9.        “And also many other heroes who are ready to give up their lives for my sake, armed with various weapons and missiles, all well-skilled in battle.


अपर्याप्तं तदस्माकं बलं भीष्माभिरक्षितम्

 पर्याप्तं त्विदमेतेषां बलं भीमाभिरक्षितम् ।।१०।।

अपर्याप्तम् insufficient, तत् that, अस्माकम् ours, बलम् army, भीष्माभिरक्षितम् marshalled by Bhishma, पर्याप्तम् sufficient, तु while, इदम् this, एतेषाम् their, बलम् army, भीमाभिरक्षितम् marshalled by Bhima.

10.    “This army of ours marshalled by Bhishma is insufficient, whereas that army of theirs marshalled by Bhima is sufficient.

 Commentary: The verse is differently interpreted by different commentators. Sridhara Swami takes the word aparyaptam to mean ‘insufficient’. Ananda Giri takes it to mean ‘unlimited’.


 अयनेषु सर्वेषु यथाभागमवस्थिताः

 भीष्ममेवाभिरक्षन्तु भवन्तः सर्व एव हि ।।११।।

अयनेषु in the arrays (of the army), and, सर्वेषु in all, यथाभागम् according to division, अवस्थिताः being stationed, भीष्मम् Bhishma, एव alone, अभिरक्षन्तु protect, भवन्तः ye, सर्वे all, एव even, हि indeed.

11.    “Therefore, do ye all, stationed in your respective positions, in the several divisions of the army, protect Bhishma alone.”


तस्य संजनयन्हर्ष कुरुवृद्धः पितामहः

 सिंहनादं विनद्योच्चैः शङ्ख दध्मौ प्रतापवान् ।।१२।।

तस्य his (Duryodhana’s), संजनयन् causing, हर्षम् joy, कुरुवृद्धः oldest of the Kurus, पितामहः grandfather, सिंहनादम् lion’s roar विना

Having sounded, उच्चैः loudly, शङ्खम् conch, दध्मौ blew, प्रतापवान् the glorious.

12.    His glorious grandsire (Bhishma), the oldest of the Kauravas, in order to cheer Duryodhana, now roared like a lion, and blew his conch.


 ततः शङ्खाश्च भेर्यश्च पणवानकगोमुखाः

 सहसैवाभ्यहन्यन्त शब्दस्तुमुलोऽभवत् ।।१३।।

ततः then, शङ्खाः conches, and, भेर्य: kettledrums, and, पणवानकगोमुखाः tabors, drums and cow-horns, सहसा एव quite suddenly, अभ्यहन्यन्त blared forth, सः that, शब्दः sound, तुमुलः tremendous, अभवत् was.

13.    Then (following Bhishma), conches and kettledrums, tabors, drums and cow-horns blared forth quite suddenly (from the Kaurava side) and the sound was tremendous.


 ततः श्वेतैर्हयैर्युक्ते महति स्यन्दने स्थितौ

 माधवः पाण्डवश्चैव दिव्यौ शङ्खौ प्रदध्मतुः ।।१४।।

ततः then, श्वेतैः (with) white, हयैः horses, युक्ते yoked, महति magnificent, स्यन्दने in the chariot, स्थितौ seated, माधवः Madhava, पाण्डवः Pandava, the son of Pandu, and, एव also, दिव्यौ divine, शङ्खौ conches, प्रदध्मतुः blew.

14.    Then, also, Madhava (Krishna) and the son of Pandu (Arjuna), seated in the magnificent chariot, yoked with white horses, blew their divine conches.


पाञ्चजन्यं हृषीकेशो देवदत्तं धनंजयः

 पौण्डूं दध्मौ महाशङ्ख भीमकर्मा वृकोदरः ॥१५॥

पाञ्चजन्यम् (the conch named) Panchajanya, हृषीकेशः (the Lord of the senses) Krishna, देवदत्तम् (the conch named) Devadatta, धनंजयः (the victor of wealth) Arjuna, पौण्ड्रम् (the conch named) Poundra, दध्मौ blew, महाशङ्खम् great conch, भीमकर्मा doer of terrible deeds, वृकोदरः (having the belly of a wolf) Bhima.

15.   Hrishikesha blew the Panchajanya and Arjuna blew the Devadatta and Bhima (the wolf-bellied), the doer of terrible deeds, blew the great conch Paundra.


 अनन्तविजयं राजा कुन्तीपुत्रो युधिष्ठिरः

 नकुलः सहदेवश्च सुघोषमणिपुष्पकौ ।।१६।।

अनन्तविजयम् (the conch named) Anantavijayam, राजा the king, कुन्तीपुत्रः son of Kunti, युधिष्ठिरः Yudhishthira, नकुलः Nakula, सहदेवः Sahadeva, and, सुघोषमणिपुष्पकौ (the conches named) Sughosha and Manipushpaka.

16.    The king Yudhishthira, the son of Kunti, blew the Anantavijaya; Nakula and Sahadeva blew the Sughosha and the Manipushpaka.


 काश्यश्च परमेष्वासः शिखण्डी महारथः

 धृष्टद्युम्नो विराटश्च सात्यकिश्चापराजितः ॥१७॥

काश्यः Kasya, the king of Kasi, and, परमेष्वासः an excellent archer, शिखण्डी Sikhandi, and, महारथः mighty car-warrior, धृष्टद्युम्नः Dhrishtadyumna, विराटः Virata, and, सात्यकिः Satyaki, and, अपराजितः unconquered.

17.    The king of Kasi, an excellent archer, Sikhandi, the mighty car-warrior, Dhrishtadyumna and Virata and Satyaki, the unconquered,


द्रुपदो द्रौपदेयाश्च सर्वशः पृथिवीपते

 सौभद्रश्च महाबाहुः शङ्खान्दध्मुः पृथक्पृथक् ॥१८॥

द्रुपदः Drupada, द्रौपदेयाः the sons of Draupadi, and, सर्वशः all, पृथिवीपते O Lord of the earth, सौभद्रः the son of Subhadra (Abhimanyu), and, महाबाहुः the mighty-armed, शङ्खान् conches, दध्युः blew, पृथक् पृथक् separately.

18.    Drupada and the sons of Draupadi, O Lord of the earth, and the son of Subhadra, the mighty-armed, blew their conches separately.

 Commentary: This blowing of conches announced the commencement of the battle.


घोषो धार्तराष्ट्राणां हृदयानि व्यदारयत्

 नभश्च पृथिवीं चैव तुमुलो व्यनुनादयन् ।।१९।।

सः that, घोषः uproar, धार्तराष्ट्राणाम् of Dhritarashtra’s party, हृदयानि hearts, व्यदारयत् rent, नभः sky, and, पृथिवीम् earth, and, एव also, तुमुलः tumultuous, व्यनुनादयन् resounding.

19.    That tumultuous sound rent the hearts of (the members of) Dhritarashtra’s party, making both the heaven and the earth resound.


 अथ व्यवस्थितान् दृष्ट्वा धार्तराष्ट्रान्कपिध्वजः

 प्रवृत्ते शस्त्रसंपाते धनुरुद्यम्य पाण्डवः ॥२०॥

हृषीकेशं तदा वाक्यमिदमाह महीपते

अथ now, व्यवस्थितान् standing arrayed, दृष्ट्वा seeing, धार्तराष्ट्रान् Dhritarashtra’s party, कपिध्वज: monkey-ensigned, प्रवृत्ते about to begin, शस्त्रसंपाते discharge of weapons, धनुः bow, उद्यम्य having taken up, पाण्डवः the son of Pandu, हृषीकेशम् to Hrishikesha, तदा then, वाक्यम् word, इदम् this, आह said, महीपते O Lord of the earth.

20.    Then, seeing the people of Dhritarashtra’s party standing arrayed and the discharge of weapons about to begin, Arjuna, the son of Pandu, whose ensign was a monkey, took up his bow and said the following to Krishna, O Lord of the earth.


 अर्जुन उवाच

सेनयोरुभयोर्मध्ये रथं स्थापय मेऽच्युत ॥२१॥

यावदेतान्निरीक्षेऽहं योद्धुकामानवस्थितान्

 कैर्मया सह योद्धव्यमस्मिन्रणसमुद्यमे ॥२२॥

सेनयोः of the armies, उभयोः of both, मध्ये in the middle, रथम् car,

स्थापय place, मे my, अच्युत O Achyuta (O changeless, Krishna), यावत् while, एतान् these, निरीक्षे behold, अहम् I, योद्धकामान् desirous to fight, - अवस्थितान् standing, कैः with whom, मया by me, सह together, योद्धव्यम् must be fought, अस्मिन् in this, रणसमुद्यमे eve of battle.

Arjuna said:

21, 22. In the middle between the two armies, place my chariot, O Krishna, so that I may behold those who stand here desirous to fight, and know with whom I must fight, when the battle is about to commence.


 योत्स्यमानानवेक्षेऽहं एतेऽत्र समागताः

 धार्तराष्ट्रस्य दुर्बुद्धेर्युद्धे प्रियचिकीर्षवः ॥२३॥

योत्स्यमानान् with the object of fighting, अवेक्षे observe, अहम् I, ये who, एते those, अत्र here (in this Kurukshetra), समागताः assembled, धार्तराष्ट्रस्य of the son of Dhritarashtra, दुर्बुद्धेः of the evil-minded, युद्धे in battle, प्रियचिकीर्षवः wishing to please.

 23. For I desire to observe those who are assembled here to fight, wishing to please in battle the evil-minded Duryodhana (the son of Dhritarashtra).


 सञ्जय उवाच

एवमुक्तो हृषीकेशो गुडाकेशेन भारत

 सेनयोरुभयोर्मध्ये स्थापयित्वा रथोत्तमम् ।।२४।।

एवम् thus, उक्तः addressed, हृषीकेशः Hrishikesha, गुडाकेशेन by Gudakesha (the conqueror of sleep, Arjuna), भारत O Bharata (descendant of king Bharata, Dhritarashtra), सेनयोः of the armies, उभयोः of both, मध्ये in the middle, स्थापयित्वा having stationed, रथोत्तमम् best of chariots.

 Sanjaya said:

24. Thus addressed by Arjuna, Krishna, having stationed that best of chariots, O Dhritarashtra, in the midst of the two armies,


भीष्मद्रोणप्रमुखतः सर्वेषां महीक्षिताम्

 उवाच पार्थ पश्यैतान्समवेतान्कुरूनिति ॥२५॥

भीष्मद्रोणप्रमुखतः in front of Bhishma and Drona, सर्वेषाम् of all, and, महीचिताम् rulers of the earth, उवाच said, पार्थ O Partha, पश्य behold, एतान् these, समवेतान् gathered, कुरून् Kurus, इति thus.

25. In front of Bhishma and Drona, and all the rulers of the earth, said: “O Arjuna (son of Pritha), behold these Kurus gathered together.”


तत्रापश्यत्स्थितान्पार्थः पितृनथ पितामहान्

आचार्यान्मातुलान्भ्रातृन्पुत्रान्पौत्रान्सखींस्तथा ॥२६॥

तत्र there, अपश्यत् saw, स्थितान् stationed, पार्थ: Partha, पितृन् fathers, अथ also, पितामहान् grandfathers, आचार्यान् teachers, मातुलान् maternal uncles, भातृन् brothers, पुत्रान् sons, पौत्रान् grandsons, सखीन् friends, तथा too.

 26. Then, Arjuna (son of Pritha) saw there (in the armies) stationed, fathers and grandfathers, teachers, maternal uncles, brothers, sons, grandsons and friends too.


 श्वशुरान्सुहृदश्चैव सेनयोरुभयोरपि

 तान्समीक्ष्य कौन्तेयः सर्वान्बन्धूनवस्थितान् ॥२७॥

कृपया परयाऽऽविष्टो विषीदन्निदमब्रवीत्

श्वशुरान् fathers-in-law, सुहृदः friends, and, एव also, सेनयोः in armies, उभयोः (in) both, अपि also, तान् those, समीक्ष्य having seen, सः he, कौन्तेयः Kaunteya, सर्वान् all, बन्धून् relatives, अवस्थितान् standing (arrayed), कृपया by pity, परया deep, आविष्टः filled, विषीदन् sorrowfully, इदम् this, अब्रवीत् said.

 27. (He saw) fathers-in-law and friends also in both the armies. The son of Kunti, Arjuna, seeing all those kinsmen thus standing arrayed, spoke this, sorrowfully filled with deep pity.


 अर्जुन उवाच

दृष्ट्वेमं स्वजनं कृष्ण युयुत्सुं समुपस्थितम् ॥२८॥

दृष्ट्वा having seen, इमम् these, स्वजनम् kinsmen, कृष्ण O Krishna (the dark one, He who attracts), युयुत्सुम् eager to fight, समुपस्थितम् arrayed.

 Arjuna said:

28. Seeing these, my kinsmen, O Krishna, arrayed, eager to fight,


सीदन्ति मम गात्राणि मुखं परिशुष्यति

 वेपथुश्च शरीरे मे रोमहर्षश्च जायते ॥२९॥

सीदन्ति fail, मम my, गात्राणि limbs, मुखम् mouth, and, परिशुष्यति is parching, वेपथुः shivering, and, शरीरे in body, मे my, रोमहर्षः horripilation, and, जायते arises.

 29. My limbs fail and my mouth is parched, my body quivers and my hair stands on end,


गाण्डीवं संसते हस्तात्त्वक्चैव परिदह्यते

  शक्नोम्यवस्थातुं भ्रमतीव मे मनः ॥३०॥

गाण्डीवम् Gandiva, संसते slips, हस्तात् from (my) hand, त्वक् (my) skin, and, एव also, परिदह्यते burns all over, not, and, शक्नोमि (1) am able, अवस्थातुम् to stand, भ्रमति इव seems whirling, and, मे my, मनः mind.

 30. The (bow) Gandiva slips from my hand, and also my skin burns all over; I am unable even to stand and my mind is reeling, as it were.


 निमित्तानि पश्यामि विपरीतानि केशव

श्रेयोऽनुपश्यामि हत्वा स्वजनमाहवे ॥३१॥

निमित्तानि omens, and, पश्यामि I see, विपरीतानि adverse, केशव Kesava, not, and, श्रेयः good, अनुपश्यामि (I) see, हत्वा killing, स्वजनम् our people, आहवे in battle.

 31. And I see adverse omeris, O Kesava. I do not see any good in killing my kinsmen in battle.

Commentary: Kesava means ‘he who has fine or luxuriant


काङ्क्षे विजयं कृष्ण राज्यं सुखानि

किं नो राज्येन गोविन्द किं भोगैर्जीवितेन वा ॥३२॥

not, काड्क्षे (I) desire, विजयम् victory, कृष्ण O Krishna, not, and, राज्यम् kingdom, सुखानि pleasures, and, किम् what, नः to us, राज्येन by kingdom, गोविन्द O Govinda, किम् what, भोगैः by pleasures, जीवितेन life, वा or.

32. I desire not victory, O Krishna, nor kingdom, nor pleasures. Of what avail is dominion to us, O Krishna, or pleasures or even life?


येषामर्थे काङ्क्षितं नो राज्यं भोगाः सुखानि

इमेऽवस्थिता युद्धे प्राणांस्त्यक्त्वा धनानि ॥३३॥

येषाम् of whose, अर्थे sake, काङ्क्षितम् (is) desired, नः by us, राज्यम् kingdom, भोगाः enjoyment, सुखानि pleasures, and, ते they, इमे these, अवस्थिताः stand, युद्धे in battle, प्राणान् life, त्यक्त्वा having abandoned, धनानि wealth, and.

 33. Those for whose sake we desire kingdom, enjoyments and pleasures, stand here in battle, having renounced life and wealth.


 आचार्याः पितरः पुत्रास्तथैव पितामहाः

मातुलाः श्वशुराः पौत्राः श्यालाः सम्बन्धिनस्तथा ॥३४॥

आचार्याः teachers, पितरः fathers, पुत्राः sons, तथा thus, एव also, and, पितामहाः grandfathers, मातुलाः maternal uncles, श्वशुराः fathers-in-law, पौत्राः grandsons, श्यालाः brothers-in-law, सम्बन्धिनः relatives, तथा as well as.

 34. Teachers, fathers, sons and also grandfathers, maternal uncles, fathers-in-law, grandsons, brothers-in-law and other relatives,-


एतान्न हन्तुमिच्छामि घ्नतोऽपि मधुसूदन

अपि त्रैलोक्यराज्यस्य हेतोः किं नु महीकृते ॥३५॥

एतान् these, not, हन्तुम् to kill, इच्छामि (I) wish, घ्नतः अपि even if they kill me, मधुसूदन O Madhusudana (the slayer of Madhu, a demon), अपि even, त्रैलोक्यराज्यस्य dominion over the three worlds, हेतोः for the sake of, किम् how, नु then, महीकृते for the sake of the earth.

 35. These I do not wish to kill, though they kill me, O Krishna, even for the sake of dominion over the three worlds; leave alone killing them for the sake of the earth.


 निहत्य धार्तराष्ट्रान्नः का प्रीतिः स्याज्जनार्दन

 पापमेवाश्नयेदस्मान्हत्वैतानाततायिनः ॥३६॥

निहत्य having slain, धार्तराष्ट्रान् sons of Dhritarashtra, नः to us, का what, प्रीतिः pleasure, स्यात् may be, जनार्दन O Janardana, पापम् sin, एव only, आश्रयेत् would take hold, अस्मान् to us, हत्वा having killed, एतान् these, आततायिनः felons.

 36. By killing these sons of Dhritarashtra, what pleasure can be ours, O Janardana? Only sin will accrue to us from killing these felons.

 Commentary: ‘Janardana’ means ‘one who is worshipped by all for prosperity and salvation’-Krishna.

 He who sets fire to the house of another, who gives poison, who runs with sword to kill, who has plundered wealth and lands, and who has taken hold of the wife of somebody else is an atatayi. Duryodhana had done all these evil actions.


 तस्मान्नार्हा वयं हन्तुं धार्तराष्ट्रान्स्वबान्धवान्

स्वजनं हि कथं हत्वा सुखिनः स्याम माधव ॥३७॥

तस्मात् therefore, (are) not, अर्हाः justified, वयम् we, हन्तुम् to kill, धार्तराष्ट्रान् the sons of Dhritarashtra, स्वबान्धवान् our relatives. स्वजनम् kinsmen, हि indeed, कथम् how, हत्वा having killed, सुखिनः happy, स्याम may (we) be, माधव O Madhava.

 37. Therefore, we should not kill the sons of Dhritarashtra, our relatives; for how can we be happy by killing our own people, O Madhava (Krishna)?

यद्यप्येते पश्यन्ति लोभोपहतचेतसः

कुलक्षयकृतं दोषं मित्रद्रोहे पातकम् ॥३८॥

यद्यपि though, एते these, not, पश्यन्ति see, लोभोपहतचेतसः with intelligence overpowered by greed, कुलयकृतम् in the destruction of families, दोषम् evil, मिन्द्रो in hostility to friends, and, पातकम् sin.

 38. Though they, with intelligence overpowered by greed, see no evil in the destruction of families, and no sin in hostility to friends,


कथं ज्ञेयमस्माभिः पापादस्मान्निवर्तितुम्

कुलक्षयकृतं दोषं प्रपश्यद्धिर्जनार्दन ॥३९॥

कथम् why, not, ज्ञेयम् should be learnt, अस्माभिः by us, पापात् from sin, अस्मात् this, निवर्तितुम् to turn away, कुलक्षयकृतम् in the destruction of families, दोषम् evil, प्रपश्यन्द्रिः clearly seeing, जनार्दन O Janardana.

 39. Why should not we who clearly see evil in the destruction of families, learn to turn away from this sin, O Janardana (Krishna)?

Commentary: Ignorance of law is no excuse; but wanton

Sinful conduct is a grave crime, unworthy of us, who are wiser.


कुलक्षये प्रणश्यन्ति कुलधर्माः सनातनाः

धर्मे नष्टे कुलं कृत्स्नमधर्मोऽभिभवत्युत ।॥४०॥

कुलक्षये in the destruction of a family, प्रणश्यन्ति perish, कुलधर्माः family religious rites, सनातनाः immemorial, धर्मे spirituality, नष्टे being destroyed, कुलम् कृत्स्नम् the whole family, अधर्म: impiety, अभिभवति overcomes, उत indeed.

 40. In the destruction of a family, the immemorial religious rites of that family perish; on the destruction of spirituality, impiety, indeed, overcomes the whole family.

 Commentary: Dharma-the duties and ceremonies prac- tised by the family in accordance with the injunctions of the scriptures.


अधर्माभिभवात्कृष्ण प्रदुष्यन्ति कुलस्त्रियः

स्त्रीषु दुष्टासु वार्षोय जायते वर्णसङ्करः ॥४१॥

अधर्माभिभवात् from the prevalence of impiety, कृष्ण O Krishna, प्रदुष्यन्ति become corrupt, कुलखियः the women of the family, खीषु in women, दुष्टासु (being) corrupt, वाष्र्णेय O Varshneya, जायते arises, वर्णसङ्करः caste-admixture.

 41. By the prevalence of impiety, O Krishna, the women of the family become corrupt; and, women being corrupted, Varshneya (descendant of Vrishni), there arises intermingling of castes.


सङ्करो नरकायैव कुलघ्नानां कुलस्य

पतन्ति पितरो ह्येषां लुप्तपिण्डोदकक्रियाः ॥४२॥

सङ्करः confusion of castes, नरकाय for the hell, एव also, कुलघ्नानाम् of the slayers of the family, कुलस्य of the family, and, पतन्ति fall, पितरः the forefathers, हि verily, एषां their, लुप्तपिण्डोदकक्रियाः deprived of the offerings of rice-ball and water.

 42. Confusion of castes leads to hell the slayers of the family, for their forefathers fall, deprived of the offerings of rice-ball and water (libations).


दोषैरेतैः कुलघ्नानां वर्णसङ्करकारकैः

उत्साद्यन्ते जातिधर्माः कुलधर्माश्च शाश्वताः ॥४३॥

दोषैः by evil deeds, एतैः (by) these, कुलघ्नानाम् of the family destroyers, वर्णसङ्करकारकैः causing intermingling of castes, उत्साद्यन्ते are destroyed, जातिधर्माः religious rites of the caste, कुलधर्माः family religious rites, and, शाश्वताः eternal.

 43. By these evil deeds of the destroyers of the family, which cause confusion of castes, the eternal religious rites of the caste and the family are destroyed.


 उत्सन्नकुलधर्माणां मनुष्याणां जनार्दन

नरकेऽनियतं वासो भवतीत्यनुशुश्रुम ॥४४॥

उत्सन्नकुलधर्माणाम् whose family religious practices are destroyed, मनुष्याणाम् of the men, जनार्दन O Janardana, नरके in hell, अनियतं for unknown period, वासः dwelling, भवति is, इति thus, अनुशुश्रुम we have heard.

 44. We have heard, O Janardana, that inevitable is the dwelling for an unknown period in hell for those men in whose families the religious practices have been destroyed.


अहो बत महत्पापं कर्तुं व्यवसिता वयम्

यद्राज्यसुखलोभेन हन्तुं स्वजनमुद्यताः ॥४५॥

अहो बत alas, महत् great, पापम् sin, कर्तुम् to do, व्यवसिताः prepared, वयम् we, यत् that, राज्यसुखलोभेन by the greed of pleasure of kingdorn, हन्तुम् to kill, स्वजनम् kinsmen, उद्यताः prepared.

 45. Alas! We are involved in a great sin, in that we are prepared to kill our kinsmen, through greed for the pleasures of a kingdom.


 यदि मामप्रतीकारमशस्त्रं शस्त्रपाणयः

 धार्तराष्ट्रा रणे हन्युस्तन्मे क्षेमतरं भवेत् ।।४६।।

यदि if, माम् me, अप्रतीकारम् unresisting, अशस्त्रम् unarmed, शस्त्रपाणयः with weapons in hand, धार्तराष्ट्राः the sons of Dhritarashtra, रणे in the battle, हन्युः should slay, तत् that, मे of me, क्षेमतरम् better, भवेत् would be.

 46. If the sons of Dhritarashtra with weapons in hand should slay me in battle, unresisting and unarmed, that would be better for me.


 सञ्जय उवाच

एवमुक्त्वाऽर्जुनः संख्ये रथोपस्थ उपाविशत्

विसृज्य सशरं चापं शोकसंविग्नमानसः ।॥४७॥

एवम् thus, उक्त्वा having said, अर्जुनः Arjuna, संख्ये in the battle, रथोपस्थे on the seat of the chariot, उपाविशत् sat down, विसृज्य having cast away, सशरम् with arrow, चापम् bow, शोकसंविग्नमानसः with a mind distressed with sorrow.

 Sanjaya said:

47. Having thus spoken in the midst of the battlefield, Arjuna, casting away his bow and arrow, sat down on the seat of the chariot with his mind overwhelmed with sorrow.


तत्सत् इति श्रीमद्भगवद्गीतासूपनिषत्सु

ब्रह्मविद्यायां योगशास्त्रे श्रीकृष्णार्जुनसंवादे

अर्जुनविषादयोगो नाम प्रथमोऽध्यायः ।।

Thus in the Upanishads of the glorious Bhagavad Gita, the science of the Eternal, the scripture of Yoga, the dialogue between Sri Krishna and Arjuna, ends the first discourse entitled:

The Yoga of the Despondency of Arjuna.








अथ द्वितीयोऽध्यायः




सञ्जय उवाच

तं तथा कृपयाऽविष्टमश्रुपूर्णाकुलेक्षणम्

 विषीदन्तमिदं वाक्यमुवाच मधुसूदनः ।।१।।

तम् to him, तथा thus, कृपया with pity, आविष्टम् overcome, अश्रुपूर्णाकुलेक्षणम् with eyes filled with tears and agitated, विषीदन्तम् despondent, इदम् this, वाक्यम् speech, उवाच spoke, मधुसूदनः Madhusudana.

Sanjaya said:

1.       To him who was thus overcome with pity and who was despondent, with eyes full of tears and agitated, Madhusudana (the destroyer of Madhu) or Krishna spoke these words:


श्री भगवानुवाच

कुतस्त्वा कश्मलमिदं विषमे समुपस्थितम्

 अनार्यजुष्टमस्वर्ण्यमकीर्तिकरमर्जुन ॥२॥

कुतः whence, त्वा upon thee, कश्मलम् dejection, इदम् this, विषमे in perilous strait, समुपस्थितम् comes, अनार्यजुष्टम् unworthy (un-aryan- like), अस्वर्ण्यम् heaven-excluding, अकीर्तिकरम् disgraceful, अर्जुन O Arjuna.

The Blessed Lord said:

2.       Whence is this perilous strait come upon thee, this dejection which is unworthy of you, disgraceful, and which will close the gates of heaven upon you, O Arjuna?


क्लैब्यं मा स्म गमः पार्थ नैतत्त्वय्युपपद्यते क्षु

द्रं हृदयदौर्बल्यं त्यक्त्वोत्तिष्ठ परन्तप ।।३।।

क्लैब्यम् impotence, मा स्म गमः do not get, पार्थ O Partha, not, एतत् this, त्वयि in thee, उपपद्यते is fitting, क्षुद्रम् mean, हृदयदौर्बल्यम् weakness of the heart, त्यक्त्वा having abandoned, उत्तिष्ठ stand up, परन्तप O scorcher of the foes.

3.        Yield not to impotence, O Arjuna, son of Pritha. It does not befit thee. Cast off this mean weakness of the heart! Stand up, O scorcher of the foes!


अर्जुन उवाच

कथं भीष्ममहं संख्ये द्रोणं मधुसूदन

इषुभिः प्रतियोत्स्यामि पूजार्हावरिसूदन ॥४॥

कथम् how, भीष्मम् Bhishma, अहम् I, संख्ये in battle, द्रोणम् Drona, and, मधुसूदन O Madhusudana, इषुभिः with arrows, प्रतियोत्स्यामि shall fight, पूजार्हो worthy to be worshipped, अरिसूदन O destroyer of enemies.

Arjuna said:

4.       How, O Madhusudana, shall I fight in battle with arrows against Bhishma and Drona, who are fit to be worshipped, O destroyer of enemies?


गुरूनहत्वा हि महानुभावान् श्रेयो भोक्तुं भैक्ष्यमपीह लोके

 हत्वार्थकामांस्तु गुरूनिहैव भुञ्जीय भोगान् रुधिरप्रदिग्धान् ।।५।।

गुरून् the Gurus (teachers), अहत्वा instead of slaying, हि indeed, महानुभावान् most noble, श्रेयः better, भोक्तुम् to eat, भैक्ष्यम् alms, अपि even, इह here, लोके in the world, हत्वा having slain, अर्थकामान् desirous of wealth, तु indeed, गुरून् Gurus, इह here, एव also, भुञ्जीय enjoy, भोगान्

Enjoyments, रुधिरप्रदिग्धान् stained with blood.

5.       Better it is, indeed, in this world to accept alms than to slay the most noble teachers. But if I kill them, even in this world all my enjoyments of wealth and fulfilled desires will be stained with (their) blood.


  चैतद्विद्मः कतरन्नो गरीयो

यद्वा जयेम यदि वा नो जयेयुः

यानेव हत्वा जिजीविषाम-

स्तेऽवस्थिताः प्रमुखे धार्तराष्ट्राः ।।६।।

not, and, एतत् this, विद्यः (we) know, कतरत् which, नः for us, गरीयः better, यत् that, वा or, जयेम we should conquer, यदि if, वा or, नः us, जयेयुः they should conquer, यान् whom, एव even, हत्वा having slain, not, जिजीविषामः we wish to live, ते those, अवस्थिताः (are) standing, प्रमुखे in face, धार्तराष्ट्राः sons of Dhritarashtra.

6.        We can hardly tell which will be better, that we should conquer them or that they should conquer us. Even the sons of Dhritarashtra, after slaying whom we do not wish to live, stand facing us.



पृच्छामि त्वां धर्मसंमूढचेताः

यच्छ्रेयः स्यान्निश्चितं ब्रूहि तन्मे

शिष्यस्तेऽहं शाधि मां त्वां प्रपन्नम् ।।७।।

कार्पण्यदोषोपहतस्वभावः with nature overpowered by the taint of pity, पृच्छामि I ask, त्वाम् Thee, धर्मसंमूढचेताः with a mind in confusion about duty, यत् which, श्रेयः good, स्यात् may be, निश्चितम् decisively, ब्रूहि say, तत् that, मे for me, शिष्यः disciple, ते Thy, अहम् I, शाधि teach, माम् me, त्वाम् to Thee, प्रपन्नम् taken refuge.

7.        My heart is overpowered by the taint of pity; my mind is confused as to duty. I ask Thee: Tell me decisively what is good for me. I am Thy disciple. Instruct me who has taken refuge in Thee.


  हि प्रपश्यामि ममापनुद्या-


अवाप्य भूमावसपत्नमृद्धम् राज्यं सुराणामपि चाधिपत्यम् ।।८।।

हि not, प्रपश्यामि I see, मम my, अपनुद्यात् would remove, यत् that, शोकम् grief, उच्छोषणम् drying up, इन्द्रियाणाम् of my senses, अवाप्य having obtained, भूमौ on the earth, असपलम् unrivalled, ऋद्धम् prosperous, राज्यम् dominion, सुराणाम् over the gods, अपि even, and, आधिपत्यम् lordship.

8.        I do not see that it would remove this sorrow that burns up my senses, even if I should attain prosperous and unrivalled dominion on earth or lordship over the gods.


सञ्जय उवाच

एवमुक्त्वा हृषीकेशं गुडाकेशः परन्तप

योत्स्य इति गोविन्दमुक्त्वा तूष्णीं बभूव ।।९॥

एवम् thus, उक्त्वा having spoken, हृषीकेशम् to Hrishikesha, गुडाकेशः Arjuna (the conqueror of sleep), परन्तप destroyer of foes, योत्स्ये I will not fight, इति thus, गोविन्दम् to Govinda, उक्त्वा having said, तूष्णीम् silent, बभूव became.

Sanjaya said:

9.       Having spoken thus to Hrishikesha (the Lord of the senses), Arjuna (the conqueror of sleep), the destroyer of foes, said to Krishna, “I will not fight” and became silent.

 तमुवाच हृषीकेशः प्रहसन्निव भारत

सेनयोरुभयोर्मध्ये विषीदन्तमिदं वचः ।।१०।।

तम् to him, उवाच spoke, हृषीकेशः Hrishikesha, प्रहसन् smiling, इव as it were, भारत O Bharata, सेनयोः of the armies, उभयोः (of) both, मध्ये in the middle, विषीदन्तम् despondent, इदम् this, वचः word.

10.   To him who was despondent in the midst of the two armies, Krishna, as if smiling, O Bharata, spoke these words.


श्री भगवानुवाच

अशोच्यानन्वशोचस्त्वं प्रज्ञावादांश्च भाषसे

गतासूनगतासुंश्च नानुशोचन्ति पण्डिताः ॥११॥

अशोच्यान् those who should not be grieved for, अन्वशोचः hast grieved, त्वम् thou, प्रज्ञावादान् words of wisdom, and, भाषसे speakest, गतासून् the dead, अगतासून् the living, and, अनुशोचन्ति grieve not, पण्डिताः the wise.

The Blessed Lord said:

11.   Thou hast grieved for those that should not be grieved for, yet thou speakest words of wisdom. The wise grieve neither for the living nor for the dead.

 Commentary: The philosophy of the Gita begins from this Verse.

 Bhishma and Drona deserve no grief because they are eternal in their real nature and they are virtuous men who possess very good conduct. Though you speak words of wisdom, you are unwise because you grieve for those who are really eternal and who deserve no grief. They who are endowed with the knowledge of the Self are wise men. They will not grieve for the living or for the dead because they know well that the Self is immortal and that It is unborn. They also know that there is no such a thing as death, that it is a separation of the astral body from the physical, that death is nothing more than a disintegration of matter and that the five elements of which the body is composed return to their source. Arjuna had forgotten the eternal nature of the Soul and the changing nature of the body. Because of his ignorance, he began to act as if the temporary relations with kinsmen, teachers, etc., were permanent. He forgot that his relations with this world in his present life were the results of past actions. These, when exhausted, end all relationship and new ones crop up when one takes on another body.

 The result of past actions is known as karma and that portion of the karma which gave rise to the present incarnation is known as prarabdha karma.


त्वेवाहं जातु नासं त्वं नेमे जनाधिपाः

चैव भविष्यामः सर्वे वयमतः परम् ।।१२।।

not, तु indeed, एव also, अहम् I, जातु at any time, not, आयम was, not, त्वम् thou, not, इमे these, जनाधिपाः: rulers of men, noυ, and, एवं also, not, भविष्यामः shall be, सर्वे all, वयम् we, अतः from this time, परम् after.

12.    Nor at any time indeed was I not, nor thou, nor these rulers of men, nor verily shall we ever cease to be hereafter.

 Commentary: Lord Krishna speaks here of the immortality of the Soul or the imperishable nature of the Self (Atman). The Soul exists in the three periods of time (past, present and future). Man continues to exist even after the death of the physical body. There is life beyond.


देहिनोऽस्मिन्यथा देहे कौमारं यौवनं जरा

तथा देहान्तरप्राप्तिर्धारस्तत्र मुह्यति ।।१३।।

देहिनः of the embodied (soul), अस्मिन् in this, यथा as, देहे in body, कौमारम् childhood, यौवनम् youth, जरा old age, तथा so also, देहान्तरप्राप्तिः the attaining of another body, धीरः the firm, तत्र thereat, not, मुह्यति grieves.

13.    Just as in this body the embodied (soul) passes into childhood, youth and old age, so also does it pass into another body; the firm man does not grieve thereat.

 Commentary: Just as there is no interruption in the passing of childhood into youth and youth into old age in this body, so also there is no interruption by death in the continuity of the ego. The Self is not dead at the termination of the stage, viz.. childhood. It is certainly not born again at the beginning of the second stage, viz., youth. Just as the Self passes unchanged from childhood to youth and from youth to old age, so also the Self passes unchanged from one body into another. Therefore, the wise man is not at all distressed about it.


मात्रास्पर्शास्तु कौन्तेय शीतोष्णसुखदुःखदाः

आगमापायिनोऽनित्यास्तांस्तितिक्षस्व भारत ।।१४।।

मध्यस्पर्शी: contacts of senses with objects, तु indeed, कौरोग 0 Kaunteya (son of Kunti), शीतोष्णसुखद jects, inde of cold and heat, pleasure and pain, आगमापायिनः with beginning and end, अनित्याः impermanent, तान् them, तितिक्षस्व bear (thou), भारत Bharata.

14.    The contacts of the senses with the objects, O son of Kunti, which cause heat and cold, pleasure and pain, have a beginning and an end; they are impermanent; endure them bravely, O Arjuna.

 Commentary: Cold is pleasant at one time and painful at another. Heat is pleasant in winter but painful in summer. The same object that gives pleasure at one time gives pain at another time. So the sense-contacts that give rise to the sensations of heat and cold, pleasure and pain come and go. Therefore, they are impermanent in nature. The objects come in contact with the senses or the Indriyas, viz., skin, ear, eye, nose, etc., and the sensations are carried by the nerves to the mind which has its seat in the brain. It is the mind that feels pleasure and pain. One should try to bear patiently heat and cold, pleasure and pain and develop a balanced state of mind. (Cf. V. 22)


यं हि व्यथयन्त्येते पुरुषं पुरुषर्षभ

समदुःखसुखं धीरं सोऽमृतत्वाय कल्पते ॥१५॥

यम् whom, हि surely, व्यथयन्ति afflict not, एते these, पुरुषम् man, पुरुषर्षभ chief among men, समदु खसुखम् same in pleasure and pain, धीरम् firm man, सः he, अमृतत्वाय for immortality, कल्पते is fit.

15.    That firm man whom, surely, these afflict not, O chief among men, to whom pleasure and pain are the same, is fit for attaining immortality.

 Commentary: Dehadhyasa or identification of the Self with the body is the cause of pleasure and pain. The more you are able to identify yourself with the immortal, all-pervading Self, the less will you be affected by the pairs of opposites (Dvandvas, pleasure and pain, etc.)

Titiksha or the power of endurance develops the will-power. Calm endurance in pleasure and pain, and heat and cold is one of the qualifications of an aspirant on the path of Jnana Yoga. It is one of the Shatsampat or sixfold virtues. It is a condition of right knowledge. Titiksha by itself cannot give you Moksha or liberation, but still, when coupled with discrimination and dispassion, it becomes a means to the attainment of Immortality or knowledge of the Self. (Cf. XVIII. 53)


नासतो विद्यते भावो नाभावो विद्यते सतः

उभयोरपि दृष्टोऽन्तस्त्वनयोस्तत्त्वदर्शिभिः ।।॥१६॥

not, असतः of the unreal, विद्यते is, भावः being, not, अभावः non-being, विद्यते is, सतः of the real, उभयोः of the two, अपि also, दृष्टः (has been) seen, अन्तः the final truth, तु indeed, अनयोः of these, तत्त्वदर्शिभिः by the knowers of the Truth.

16.    The unreal hath no being; there is no non-being of the real; the truth about both has been seen by the knowers of the Truth (or the seers of the Essence).

 Commentary: The changeless, homogeneous Atman or the Self always exists. It is the only solid Reality. This phenomenal world of names and forms is ever changing. Hence it is unreal. The sage or the Jivanmukta is fully aware that the Self always exists and that this world is like a mirage. Through his Jnanachakshus or the eye of intuition, he directly cognises the Self. This world vanishes for him like the snake in the rope, after it has been seen that only the rope exists. He rejects the names and forms and takes the underlying Essence in all the names and forms, viz., Asti-Bhati-Priya or Satchidananda or Existence- Knowledge-Bliss Absolute. Hence he is a Tattvadarshi or a knower of the Truth or the Essence.

 What is changing must be unreal. What is constant or permanent must be real.


अविनाशि तु तद्विद्धि येन सर्वमिदं ततम्

विनाशमव्ययस्यास्य कश्चित् कर्तुमर्हति ॥१७॥

अविनाशि indestructible, तु indeed, तत् That, विद्धि know (thou), येन by which, सर्वम् all, इदम् this, ततम् is pervaded, विनाशर destruction, अव्ययस्य अस्य of this Imperishable, not, कश्चित् anyone. कर्तुम् to do, अर्हति is able.

17.   Know That to be indestructible, by Which all this is pervaded. None can cause the destruction of That, the Imperishable.

 Commentary: Brahman or Atman pervades all the objects like ether. Even if the pot is broken, the ether that is within and without the pot cannot be destroyed. Even so, if the bodies and all other objects perish, Brahman or the Self that pervades them cannot perish. It is the living Truth, Sat.

 Brahman has no parts. There cannot be either increase or diminution in Brahman. People are ruined by loss of wealth. But Brahman does not suffer any loss in that way. It is inexhaustible. Therefore, none can bring about the disappearance or destruction of the Self. It always exists. It is always all-full and self- contained. It is Existence Absolute. It is immutable.


अन्तवन्त इमे देहा नित्यस्योक्ताः शरीरिणः

अनाशिनोऽप्रमेयस्य तस्माद्युध्यस्व भारत ॥१८॥

अन्तवन्तः having an end, इमे these, देहाः bodies, नित्यस्य of the everlasting, उक्ताः are said, शरीरिणः of the embodied, अनाशिनः of the indestructible, अप्रमेयस्य of the immeasurable, तस्मात् therefore, युध्यस्व fight, भारत O Bharata.

18.    These bodies of the embodied Self, Which is eternal, indestructible and immeasurable, are said to have an end. Therefore fight, O Arjuna.

 Commentary: Lord Krishna explains to Arjuna the nature of the all-pervading, immortal Self in a variety of ways and thus induces him to fight by removing his delusion, grief and despondency which are born of ignorance.


एनं वेत्ति हन्तारं यश्चैनं मन्यते हतम्

उभौ तौ विजानीतो नायं हन्ति हन्यते ॥१९॥

यः he who, एनम् this (Self), वेत्ति knows, हन्तारम् slayer, यः he who, and, एनम् this, मन्यते thinks, हतम् slain, उभौ both, तौ those, not, विजानीतः know, not, अयम् this, हन्ति slays, not, हन्यते is slain.

19.   He who takes the Self to be the slayer and he who thinks It is slain, neither of them knows. It slays not, nor is it slain.

 Commentary: The Self is non-doer (Akarta) and as It is immutable, It is neither the agent nor the object of the act of slaying. He who thinks “I slay” or “I am slain” with the body or the Ahamkara (ego), he does not really comprehend the true nature of the Self. The Self is indestructible. It exists in the three periods of time. It is Sat (Existence). When the body is destroyed, the Self is not destroyed. The body has to undergo change in any case. It is inevitable. But the Self is not at all affected by it. Verses 19, 20, 21, 23 and 24 speak of the immortality of the Self or Atman. (Cf. XVIII. 17)


जायते म्रियते वा कदाचि-

न्नायं भूत्वा भविता वा भूयः

जो नित्यः शाश्वतोऽयं पुराणो हन्यते हन्यमाने शरीरे ॥२०॥

not, जायते is born, म्रियते dies, वा or, कदाचित् at any time, not, अयम् this (Self), भूत्वा having been, भविता will be, वा or, not, भूयः (any) more, अजः unborn, नित्यः eternal, शाश्वतः changeless, अयम् this, पुराणः ancient, not, हन्यते is killed, हन्यमाने being killed, शरीरे in body.

20.    It is not born, nor does It ever die; after having been, It again ceases not to be; unborn, eternal, changeless and ancient, It is not killed when the body is killed.

 Commentary: This Self (Atman) is destitute of the six types of transformation or Bhava-Vikaras such as birth. Existence, growth, transformation, decline and death. As It is indivisible (Akhanda), It does not diminish in size. It neither grows nor does It decline. It is ever the same. Birth and death are for the physical body only. Birth and death cannot touch the immortal, all-pervading Self.


 वेदाविनाशिनं नित्यं एनमजमव्ययम्

कथं पुरुषः पार्थ कं घातयति हन्ति कम् ॥२१॥

वेद knows, अविनाशिनम् indestructible, नित्यम् eternal, यः who, एनम् this (Self), अजम् unborn, अव्ययम् inexhaustible, कथम् how, सः he (that), पुरुषः man, पार्थ O Partha (son of Pritha), कम् whom, घातयति causes to be slain, हन्ति kills, कम् whom.

21.    Whosoever knows It to be indestructible, eternal, unborn and inexhaustible, how can that man slay, O Arjuna, or cause to be slain?

Commentary: The enlightened sage who knows the immutable and indestructible Self through direct cognition or spiritual Anubhava (experience) cannot do the act of slaying. He cannot cause another to slay also.


 वासांसि जीर्णानि यथा विहाय नवानि गृह्णाति नरोऽपराणि

तथा शरीराणि विहाय जीर्णा- न्यन्यानि संयाति नवानि देही ॥२२॥

वासांसि clothes, जीर्णानि worn out, यथा as, विहाय having cast away, नवानि new, गृह्णाति takes, नरः man, अपराणि others, तथा so, शरीराणि bodies, विहाय having cast away, जीर्णानि worn-out, अन्यानि others, संयाति enters, नवानि new, देही the embodied (one).

22.    Just as a man casts off worn-out clothes and puts on new ones, so also the embodied Self casts off worn-out bodies and enters others which are new.


 नैनं छिन्दन्ति शस्त्राणि नैनं दहति पावकः

चैनं क्लेदयन्त्यापो शोषयति मारुतः ॥२३॥

not, एनम् this (Self), छिन्दन्ति cut, शस्त्राणि weapons, not, एनम् this, दहति burns, पावकः fire, not, and, एनम् this, क्लेदयन्ति wet, आपः waters, not, शोषयति dries, मारुतः wind.

23.    Weapons cut It not, fire burns It not, water wets it not, wind dries It not.

 Commentary: The Self is indivisible. It has no parts. It is extremely subtle. It is infinite. Therefore, sword cannot cut It; fire cannot burn It; water cannot wet It; wind cannot dry It.


अच्छेद्योऽयमदाह्योऽयमक्लेद्योऽशोष्य एव

नित्यः सर्वगतः स्थाणुरचलोऽयं सनातनः ॥२४॥

अच्छेद्यः cannot be cut, अयम् this (Self), अदाह्यः cannot be burnt, अयम् this, अक्लेद्यः cannot be wetted, अशोष्य: cannot be dried, एव also, and, नित्यः eternal, सर्वगतः all-pervading, स्थाणु: stable, अचलः immovable, अयम् this, सनातनः ancient.

24.    This Self cannot be cut, burnt, wetted, nor dried up. It is eternal, all-pervading, stable, immovable and ancient.

 Commentary: The Self is very subtle. It is beyond the reach of speech and mind. It is very difficult to understand this subtle Self. So Lord Krishna explains the nature of the immortal Self in a variety of ways with various illustrations and examples, so that It can be grasped by the people.

 Sword cannot cut this Self. So It is eternal. Because It is eternal, It is all-pervading. Because It is all-pervading, It is stable like a statue. Because It is stable, It is immovable. It is everlasting. Therefore, It is not produced out of any cause. It is not new. It is ancient.



तस्मादेवं विदित्वैनं नानुशोचितुमर्हसि ॥२५॥

अव्यक्तः unmanifested, अयम् this (Self), अचिन्त्यः unthinkable, अयम् this, अविकार्यः unchangeable, अयम् this, उच्यते is said, तस्मात् therefore, एवम् thus, विदित्वा having known, एनम् this, not, अनुशोचितुम् to grieve, अर्हसि (thou) oughtest.

25.    This (Self) is said to be unmanifested, unthinkable and unchangeable. Therefore, knowing This to be such, thou shouldst not grieve.

 Commentary: The Self is not an object of perception. It can hardly be seen by the physical eyes. Therefore, the Self is unmanifested. That which is seen by the eyes becomes an object of thought. As the Self cannot be perceived by the eyes, It is unthinkable. Milk when mixed with buttermilk changes its form. The Self cannot change Its form like milk. Hence, It is changeless and immutable. Therefore, thus understanding the

Self, thou shouldst not mourn. Thou shouldst not think also that

Thou art their slayer and that they are killed by thee.


अथ चैनं नित्यजातं नित्यं वा मन्यसे मृतम्

तथापि त्वं महाबाहो नैवं शोचितुमर्हसि ॥२६॥

अंथ now, and, एनम् this (Self), नित्यजातम् constantly born, नित्यम् constantly, वा or, मन्यसे thinkest, मृतम् dead, तथापि even then, त्वम् thou, महाबाहो mighty-armed, not, एवम् thus, शोचितुम् to grieve, अर्हसि (thou) oughtest.

26.    But even if thou thinkest of It as being constantly born and constantly dying, even then, O mighty-armed, thou shouldst not grieve.

 Commentary: Lord Krishna here, for the sake of argument, takes up the popular supposition. Granting that the Self is again and again born whenever a body comes into being, and again and again dies whenever the body dies, O mighty-armed (O Arjuna of great valour and strength), thou shouldst not grieve thus, because birth is inevitable to what is dead and death is inevitable to what is born. This is the inexorable or unrelenting Law of Nature.


जातस्य हि ध्रुवो मृत्युर्भुवं जन्म मृतस्य

तस्मादपरिहार्येऽर्थे त्वं शोचितुमर्हसि ॥२७॥

जातस्य of the born, हि for, धुवः certain, मृत्युः death, ध्रुवम् certain, जन्म birth, मृतस्य of the dead, and, तस्मात् therefore, अपरिहार्ये inevitable, अर्थे in matter, not, त्वम् thou, शोचितुम् to grieve, अर्हसि (thou) oughtest.

27.    For certain is death for the born, and certain is birth for the dead; therefore, over the inevitable thou shouldst not grieve.

 Commentary: Birth is sure to happen to that which is dead; death is sure to happen to that which is born. Birth and death are certainly unavoidable. Therefore, you should not grieve over an inevitable matter.


अव्यक्तादीनि भूतानि व्यक्तमध्यानि भारत

अव्यक्तनिधनान्येव तत्र का परिदेवना ॥२८॥

अव्यक्तादीनि unmanifested in the beginning, भूतानि beings, व्यक्तमध्यानि manifested in their middle state, भारत O Bharata, अव्यक्तनिधनानि unmanifested again in the end, एव also, तत्र there, का what, परिदेवना grief.

28.    Beings are unmanifested in their beginning, manifested in their middle state, O Arjuna, and unmanifested again in their end. What is there to grieve about?

Commentary: The physical body is a combination of the five elements. It is seen by the physical eyes only after the five elements have entered into such combination. After death, the body disintegrates and the five elements go back to their source; it cannot be seen. Therefore, the body can be seen only in the middle state. The relationship as son, friend, teacher, father, mother, wife, brother and sister is formed through the body on account of attachment and Moha (delusion). Just as planks unite and separate in a river, just as pilgrims unite and separate in a public inn, so also fathers, mothers, sons and brothers unite and separate in this world. This world is a very big public inn. People unite and separate.

 There is no pot in the beginning and in the end. Even if you see the pot in the middle, you should think and feel that it is illusory and does not really exist. So also there is no body in the beginning and in the end. That which does not exist in the beginning and in the end must be illusory in the middle also. You must think and feel that the body does not really exist in the middle as well. He who thus understands the nature of the body and all human relationships based on it, will not grieve.


आश्चर्यवत्पश्यति कश्चिदेन- माश्चर्यवद्वदति तथैव चान्यः

आश्चर्यवच्चैनमन्यः शृणोति श्रुत्वाप्येनं वेद चैव कश्चित् ॥२९॥

आश्चर्यवत् as a wonder, पश्यति sees, कश्चित् some one, एनम् this (Self), आश्चर्यवत् as a wonder, वदति speaks of, तथा so, एव also, and, अन्यः another, आश्चर्यवत् as a wonder, and, एनम् this, अन्यः another, शृणोति hears, श्रुत्वा having heard, अपि even, एनम् this, वेद knows, not, and, एव also, कश्चित् any one.

29.    One sees This (the Self) as a wonder; another speaks of It as a wonder; another hears of It as a wonder; yet having heard, none understands It at all.

 Commentary: The verse may also be interpreted in this manner. He that sees, hears and speaks of the Self is a wonderful man. Such a man is very rare. He is one among many thousands. Thus the Self is very hard to understand.


 देही नित्यमवध्योऽयं देहे सर्वस्य भारत

तस्मात्सर्वाणि भूतानि त्वं शोचितुमर्हसि ॥३०॥

देही indweller, नित्यम् always, अवध्यः indestructible, अयम् this, देहे in the body, सर्वस्य of all, भारत O Bharata, तस्मात् therefore, सर्वाणि (for) all, भूतानि creatures, not, त्वम् thou, शोचितुम् to grieve, अर्हसि (thou) shouldst.

30.    This, the Indweller in the body of everyone, is ever indestructible, O Arjuna; therefore, thou shouldst not grieve for any creature.

 Commentary: The body of any creature may be destroyed but the Self cannot be killed. Therefore you should not grieve regarding any creature whatever, Bhishma or anybody else.


 स्वधर्ममपि चावेक्ष्य विकम्पितुमर्हसि

धर्माद्धि युद्धाछ्रेयोऽन्यत्क्षत्रियस्य विद्यते ॥३१॥

स्वधर्मम् own duty, अपि also, and, अवेक्ष्य looking at, not, विकम्पितुम् to waver, अर्हसि (thou) oughtest, धर्मात् than righteous, हि indeed, युद्धात् than war, श्रेयः higher, अन्यत् other, क्षत्रियस्य of a Kshatriya, not, विद्यते is.

31.    Further, having regard to thy duty, thou shouldst not waver, for there is nothing higher for a Kshatriya than a righteous war.

 Commentary: Lord Krishna now gives to Arjuna worldly reasons for fighting. Up to this time, He talked to Arjuna on the

[गीता. 2]

Immortality of the Self and gave him philosophical reasons Now He says to Arjuna, “O Arjuna! Fighting is a Kshatriya own duty. You ought not to swerve from that duty. To Kshatriya (one born in the warrior or ruling class) nothing is more welcome than a righteous war. A warrior should fight.”


यदृच्छ्या चोपपन्नं स्वर्गद्वारमपावृतम्

सुखिनः क्षत्रियाः पार्थ लभन्ते युद्धमीदृशम् ॥३२॥

यदृच्छया of itself, and, उपपन्नम् come, स्वर्गद्वारम् the gate of heaven, अपावृतम् opened, सुखिनः happy, क्षत्रियाः Kshatriyas, पार्थ 0 Partha, लभन्ते obtain, युद्धम् battle, ईदृशम् such.

32.    Happy are the Kshatriyas, O Arjuna! Who are called upon to fight in such a battle that comes of itself as an open door to heaven.

 Commentary: The scriptures declare that if a Kshatriya dies for a righteous cause on the battlefield, he at once goes to heaven.


अथ चेत्त्वमिमं धर्म्य संग्रामं करिष्यसि

ततः स्वधर्म कीर्ति हित्वा पापमवाप्स्यसि ॥३३॥

अथ चेत् but if, त्वम् thou, इमम् this, धर्म्यम् righteous, संग्रामम् warfare, not, करिष्यसि will do, ततः then, स्वधर्मम् own duty, कोर्तिम् fame, and, हित्वा having abandoned, पापम् sin, अवाप्स्यसि shall incur.

33.    But if thou wilt not fight this righteous war, then having abandoned thine own duty and fame, thou shalt incur sin.

 Commentary: The Lord reminds Arjuna of the fame he had already earned and which he would now lose if he refused to fight. Arjuna had acquired great fame by fighting with Lord Siva. Arjuna proceeded on a pilgrimage to the Himalayas. He fought with Siva Who appeared in the guise of a mountaineer (Kirata) and got from Him the Pasupatastra, a celestial weapon.


अकीर्ति चापि भूतानि कथयिष्यन्ति तेऽव्ययाम्

संभावितस्य चाकीर्तिर्मरणादतिरिच्यते ॥३४॥

अकीर्तिम् dishonour, and, अपि also, भूतानि beings, कथयिष्यन्ति will tell, ते thy, अव्ययाम् everlasting, संभावितस्य of the honoured, and, अकीर्तिः dishonour, मरणात् than death, अतिरिच्यते exceeds.

34.    People, too, will recount thy everlasting dishonour; and to one who has been honoured, dishonour is worse than death.

 Commentary: The world also will ever recount thy infamy which will survive thee for a long time. Death is really preferable to disgrace to one who has been honoured as a great hero and mighty warrior with noble qualities.


भयाद्रणादुपरतं मंस्यन्ते त्वां महारथाः

येषां त्वं बहुमतो भूत्वा यास्यसि लाघवम् ॥३५॥

भयात् from fear, रणात् from the battle, उपरतम् withdrawn, मंस्यन्ते will think, त्वाम् thee, महारथाः the great car-warriors, येषाम् of whom, and, त्वम् thou, बहुमतः much thought of, भूत्वा having been, यास्यसि will receive, लाघवम् lightness.

35.    The great car-warriors will think that thou hast withdrawn from the battle through fear; and thou wilt be lightly held by them who have thought much of thee.

 Commentary: Duryodhana and others will certainly think that you have fled from the battle from fear of Karna and others, but not through compassion and reverence for elders and teachers. Duryodhana and others who have shown great esteem to you on account of your chivalry, bravery and other noble qualities, will think very lightly of you and treat you with contempt.


अवाच्यवादांश्च बहून् वदिष्यन्ति तवाहिताः

निन्दन्तस्तव सामर्थ्यं ततो दुःखतरं नु किम् ॥३६॥

अवाच्यवादान् words that are improper to be spoken, and, बहून् many, वदिष्यन्ति will say, तव thy, अहिताः enemies, निन्दन्तः cavilling, तव thy, सामर्थ्यम् power, ततः than this, दुःखतरम् more painful, नु indeed, किम् what.

36.    Thy enemies also, cavilling at thy power, will speak many abusive words. What is more painful than this?

Commentary: There is really no pain more unbearable and tormenting than that of slander thus incurred.


 हतो वा प्राप्स्यसि स्वर्ग जित्वा वा भोक्ष्यसे महीम्

तस्मादुत्तिष्ठ कौन्तेय युद्धाय कृतनिश्चयः ॥३७॥

हतः slain, वा or, प्राप्स्यसि (thou) wilt obtain, स्वर्णम् heaven, जिला having conquered, वा or, भोक्ष्यसे (thou) wilt enjoy, महीम् the earth, तस्मात् therefore, उत्तिष्ठ stand up, कौन्तेय O son of Kunti, युद्धाय for fight, कृतनिश्चयः resolved.

37.    Slain, thou wilt obtain heaven; victorious, thou wilt enjoy the earth; therefore, stand up, O son of Kunti, resolved to fight.

 Commentary: In either case you will be benefited. Therefore, stand up with the firm resolution: “I will conquer the enemy or die.”


सुखदुःखे समे कृत्वा लाभालाभौ जयाजयौ

ततो युद्धाय युज्यस्व नैवं पापमवाप्स्यसि ॥३८॥

सुखदुःखे pleasure and pain, समे same, कृत्वा having made, लाभालाभौ gain and loss, जयाजयौ victory and defeat, ततः then, युद्धाय for battle, युज्यस्व engage thou, not, एवम् thus, पापम् sin, अवाप्स्यसि shalt incur.

38.    Having made pleasure and pain, gain and loss, victory and defeat the same, engage thou in battle for the sake of battle: thus thou shalt not incur sin.

 Commentary: This is the Yoga of equanimity or the doctrine of poise in action. If anyone does any action with the above mental attitude or balanced state of mind he will not reap the fruits of his action. Such an action will lead to the purification of his heart and freedom from birth and death. One has to develop such a balanced state of mind through continuous struggle and vigilant efforts.


 एषा तेऽभिहिता सांख्ये बुद्धिर्योगे त्विमां शृणु

बुद्धयायुक्तो यया पार्थ कर्मबन्धं प्रहास्यसि ॥३९॥

एषा this, ते to thee, अभिहिता (is) declared, सांख्ये in Sankhya, बुद्धिः wisdom, योगे in the Yoga, तु indeed, इमाम् this, शृणु hear, बुद्धत्रा with wisdom, युक्तः endowed with, यया which, पार्थ O Partha, कर्मबन्धम् bondage of Karma, प्रहास्यसि (thou) shalt cast off.

39.    This, which has been taught to thee, is wisdom concerning Sankhya. Now listen to wisdom concerning Yoga, endowed with which, O Arjuna, thou shalt cast off the bonds of action.

 Commentary: Lord Krishna taught Jnana (knowledge) to Arjuna till now. (Sankhya Yoga is the path of Vedanta or Jnana Yoga, which treats of the nature of the Atman or the Self and the methods to attain Self-realisation. It is not the Sankhya philosophy of sage Kapila.) He is now going to teach Arjuna the technique or secret of Karma Yoga endowed with which he (or anybody else) can break through the bonds of Karma. The Karma Yogi should perform work without expectation of fruits of his actions, without the idea of agency (or the notion “I do this”), without attachment, after annihilating or going beyond all the pairs of opposites such as heat and cold, gain and loss, victory and defeat, etc. Dharma and Adharma, or merit and demerit will not touch that Karma Yogi who works without attachment and egoism. The Karma Yogi consecrates all his works and their fruits as offerings unto the Lord (Isvararpanam) and thus obtains the grace of the Lord (Isvaraprasada).


 नेहाभिक्रमनाशोऽस्ति प्रत्यवायो विद्यते

स्वल्पमप्यस्य धर्मस्य त्रायते महतो भयात् ॥४०॥

not, इह in this, अभिक्रमनाशः loss of effort, अस्ति is, प्रत्यवायः production of contrary results, not, विद्यते is, स्वल्पम् very little, अपि even, अस्य of this, धर्मस्य duty, त्रायते protects, महतः (from) great, भयात् fear.

40.    In this there is no loss of effort, nor is there any harm (production of contrary results or transgression). Even a little of this knowledge (even a little practice of this Yoga) protects one from great fear.

 Commentary: If a religious ceremony is left uncompleted, it is a wastage as the performer cannot realise the fruits. But it is not so in the case of Karma Yoga because every action causes immediate purification of the heart.

 In agriculture there is uncertainty. The farmer may till the land, plough and sow the seed; but he may not get a crop if there is no rain. This is not so in Karma Yoga. There is no uncertainty at all. Further, there is no chance of any harm coming out of it. In the case of medical treatment great harm will result from the doctor’s injudicious treatment if he uses a wrong medicine. But it is not so in the case of Karma Yoga. Anything done, however little it may be, in this path of Yoga, the Yoga of action, saves one from great fear of being caught in the wheel of birth and death. Lord Krishna here extols Karma Yoga in order to create interest in Arjuna in this Yoga.


 व्यवसायात्मिका बुद्धिरेकेह कुरुनन्दन

बहुशाखा ह्यनन्ताश्च बुद्धयोऽव्यवसायिनाम् ।।४१।।

व्यवसायात्मिका one-pointed, बुद्धिः determination, एका single, इह here, कुरुनन्दन O joy of the Kurus, बहुशाखाः many-branched, हि indeed, अनन्ताः endless, and, बुद्धयः thoughts, अव्यवसायिनाम् of the irresolute.

41.    Here, O joy of the Kurus, there is but a single one-pointed determination; many-branched and endless are the thoughts of the irresolute.

 Commentary: Here, in this path to Bliss there is only one thought of a resolute nature; there is single-minded determi- nation. This single thought arises from the right source of knowledge. The student of Yoga collects all the dissipated rays of the mind. He gathers all of them through discrimination, dispassion and concentration. He is free from wavering or vacillation of the mind.

 The worldly-minded man who is sunk in the mire of Samsara has no single-minded determination. He entertains countless thoughts. His mind is always unsteady and vacillating.

 If thoughts cease, Samsara also ceases. Mind generates endless thoughts and this world comes into being. Thoughts, and names and forms are inseparable. If the thoughts are controlled, the mind is controlled and the Yogi is liberated.


 यामिमां पुष्पितां वाचं प्रवदन्त्यविपश्चितः

वेदवादरताः पार्थ नान्यदस्तीति वादिनः ॥४२॥

याम् which, इमाम् this, पुष्पिताम् flowery, वाचम् speech, प्रवदन्ति utter, विपश्चितः the unwise, वेदवादरताः taking pleasure in the eulogising words of the Vedas, पार्थ O Partha, not, अन्यत् other, अस्ति is, इति thus, वादिनः saying.

42.    Flowery speech is uttered by the unwise, taking pleasure in the eulogising words of the Vedas, O Arjuna, saying, “There is nothing else.”

Commentary: Unwise people who are lacking in discrimination lay great stress upon the Karma Kanda or the ritualistic portion of the Vedas, which lays down specific rules for specific actions for the attainment of specific fruits and extol these actions and rewards unduly. They are highly enamoured of such Vedic passages which prescribe ways for the attainment of heavenly enjoyments. They say that there is nothing else beyond the sensual enjoyments in Svarga (heaven) which can be obtained by performing the rites of the Karma Kanda of the Vedas.

 There are two main divisions of the Vedas-Karma Kanda (the section dealing with action) and Jnana Kanda (the section dealing with knowledge). The Karma Kanda comprises the Brahmanas and the Samhitas. This is the authority for the Purvamimamsa school founded by Jaimini. The followers of this school deal with rituals and prescribe many of them for attaining enjoyments and power here and happiness in heaven. They regard this as the ultimate object of human existence. Ordinary people are attracted by their panegyrics. The Jnana Kanda comprises the Aranyakas and the Upanishads which deal with the nature of Brahman or the Supreme Self.

 Life in heaven is also transitory. After the fruits of the good actions are exhausted, one has to come back to this earth-plane. Liberation or Moksha can only be attained by knowledge of the Self but not by performing a thousand and one sacrifices.

Lord Krishna assigns a comparatively inferior position to for obtaining heaven, power and lordship in this world as they the doctrine of the Mimamsakas cannot give us final liberation. Of performing Vedic sacrificer


कामात्मानः स्वर्गपरा जन्मकर्मफलप्रदाम्

क्रियाविशेषबहुलां भोगैश्वर्यगतिं प्रति ।॥४३॥

कामात्मानः full of desires, स्वर्गपराः with heaven as their highest goal, जन्मकर्मफलप्रदाम् leading to (new) births as the result of their works, क्रियाविशेषबहुलाम् exuberant with various specific actions, भोगैश्वर्यगतिम् प्रति for the attainment of pleasure and lordship.

43.    Full of desires, having heaven as their goal, (they utter speech which is directed to ends) leading to new births as the result of their works, and prescribe various methods abounding in specific actions, for the attainment of pleasure and power.


 भोगैश्वर्यप्रसक्तानां तयापहृतचेतसाम्

व्यवसायात्मिका बुद्धिः समाधौ विधीयते ॥४४॥

भोगैश्वर्यप्रसक्तानाम् of the people deeply attached to pleasure and lordship, तया by that, अपहृतचेतसाम् whose minds are drawn away, व्यवसायात्मिका determinate, बुद्धिः reason, समाधौ in Samadhi, not, विधीयते is fixed.

44.    For those who are attached to pleasure and power, whose minds are drawn away by such teaching, that determinate reason is not formed which is steadily bent on meditation and Samadhi (superconscious state).

Commentary: Those who cling to pleasure and power cannot have steadiness of mind. They cannot concentrate of meditate. They are ever busy in planning projects for the acquisition of wealth and power. Their minds are ever restless They have no poised understanding.


 त्रैगुण्यविषया वेदा निस्त्रैगुण्यो भवार्जुन

निर्द्वन्द्वो नित्यसत्त्वस्थो निर्योगक्षेम आत्मवान् ॥४५॥

त्रैगुण्यविषयाः deal with the three attributes, वेदाः the Vedas, निस्त्रैगुण्यः without these three attributes, भव be, अर्जुन O Arjuna,

निर्द्धन्द्रः free from the pairs of opposites, नित्यसत्त्वस्थः ever remaining in the Sattva (goodness), निर्योगक्षेमः free from (the thought of) acquisition and preservation, आत्मवान् established in the Self.

45.    The Vedas deal with the three attributes (of Nature); be thou above these three attributes. O Arjuna, free yourself from the pairs of opposites, and ever remain in the quality of Sattva (goodness), freed from (the thought of) acquisition and preservation, and be established in the Self.

 Commentary: Guna means attribute or quality. It is substance as well as quality. Nature (Prakriti) is made up of three Gunas, viz., Sattva (purity, light or harmony), Rajas (passion or motion) and Tamas (darkness or inertia). The pairs of opposites are heat and cold, pleasure and pain, gain and loss, victory and defeat, honour and dishonour, praise and censure. He who is anxious about new acquisitions or about the preservation of his old possessions cannot have peace of mind. He is ever restless. He cannot concentrate or meditate on the Self. He cannot practise virtue. Therefore, Lord Krishna advises Arjuna that he should be free from the thought of acquisition and preservation of things. (Cf. IX. 20, 21)


यावानर्थ उदपाने सर्वतः संप्लुतोदके

तावान्सर्वेषु वेदेषु ब्राह्मणस्य विजानतः ॥४६॥

यावान् as much, अर्थ: use, उदपाने in a reservoir, सर्वतः everywhere, संप्लुतोदके being flooded, तावान् so much (use), सर्वेषु in all, वेदेषु in the Vedas, ब्राह्मणस्य of the Brahmana, विजानतः of the knowing.

46.    To the Brahmana who has known the Self, all the Vedas are of as much use as is a reservoir of water in a place where there is a flood.

 Commentary: Only for a sage who has realised the Self, the Vedas are of no use, because he is in possession of the infinite knowledge of the Self. This does not mean that the Vedas are useless. They are useful for the neophytes or the aspirants who have just started on the spiritual path.

All the transient pleasures derivable from the proper performance of all actions enjoined in the Vedas are comprehended in the infinite bliss of Self-knowledge.


 कर्मण्येवाधिकारस्ते मा फलेषु कदाचन

मा कर्मफलहेतुर्भूर्मा ते सङ्गोऽस्त्वकर्मणि ॥४७॥

कर्मणि in work, एव only, अधिकारः right, ते thy, मा not, फलेषु in the fruits, कदाचन at any time, मा not, कर्मफलहेतुः भूः let not the fruits of action be thy motive, मा not, ते thy, सङ्ग: attachment, अस्तु let (there) be, अकर्मणि in inaction.

47.    Thy right is to work only, but never with its fruits; let not the fruits of action be thy motive, nor let thy attachment be to inaction.

 Commentary: When you perform actions have no desire for the fruits thereof under any circumstances. If you thirst for the fruits of your actions, you will have to take birth again and again to enjoy them. Action done with expectation of fruits (rewards) brings bondage. If you do not thirst for them, you get purification of heart and you will get knowledge of the Self through purity of heart and through the knowledge of the Self you will be freed from the round of births and deaths.

 Neither let thy attachment be towards inaction thinking “what is the use of doing actions when I cannot get any reward for them?”

In a broad sense Karma means action. It also means duty which one has to perform according to his caste or station of life. According to the followers of the Karma Kanda of the Vedas (the Mimamsakas) Karma means the rituals and sacrifices prescribed in the Vedas. It has a deep meaning also. It signifies the destiny or the storehouse of tendencies of a man which give rise to his future birth.


 योगस्थः कुरु कर्माणि सङ्गं त्यक्त्वा धनञ्जय

सिद्धयसिद्धयोः समो भूत्वा समत्वं योग उच्यते ॥४८॥

योगस्थः steadfast in Yoga, कुरु perform, कर्माणि actions, सङ्गम् attachment, त्यक्त्वा having abandoned, धनञ्जय O Dhananjaya,

सिद्धयसिद्धयोः in success and failure, समः the same, भूत्वा having become, समत्वम् evenness of mind, योग: Yoga, उच्यते is called.

48.    Perform action, O Arjuna, being steadfast in Yoga, abandoning attachment and balanced in success and failure. Evenness of mind is called Yoga.

 Commentary: Dwelling in union with the Divine perform actions merely for God’s sake with a balanced mind in success and failure. Equilibrium is Yoga. The attainment of the knowledge of the Self through purity of heart obtained by doing actions without expectation of fruits is success (Siddhi). Failure is the non-attainment of knowledge by doing actions with expectation of fruit. (Cf. III. 9; IV. 14; IV. 20)


दूरेण ह्यवरं कर्म बुद्धियोगाद्धनञ्जय

बुद्धौ शरणमन्विच्छ कृपणाः फलहेतवः ॥४९॥

दूरेण by far, हि indeed, अवरम् inferior, कर्म action or work, बुद्धियोगात् than the Yoga of wisdom, धनञ्जय O Dhananjaya, बुद्धौ in wisdom, शरणम् refuge, अन्विच्छ seek, कृपणाः wretched, फलहेतवः seekers after fruits.

49.    Far lower than the Yoga of wisdom is action, O Arjuna. Seek thou refuge in wisdom; wretched are they whose motive is the fruit.

 Commentary: Action done with evenness of mind is Yoga of wisdom. The Yogi who is established in the Yoga of wisdom is not affected by success or failure. He does not seek fruits of his actions. He has poised reason. His reason is rooted in the Self. Action performed by one who expects fruits for his actions, is far inferior to the Yoga of wisdom wherein the seeker does not seek fruits; because the former leads to bondage and is the cause of birth and death. (Cf. VIII. 18)


बुद्धियुक्तो जहातीह उभे सुकृतदुष्कृते

तस्माद्योगाय युज्यस्व योगः कर्मसु कौशलम् ॥५०॥

बुद्धियुक्तः endowed with wisdom, जहाति casts off, इह in this life, उभे both, सुकृतदुष्कृते good and evil deeds, तस्मात् therefore, योगाय to Yoga, युज्यस्व devote thyself, योग: Yoga, कर्मसु in action s, कौशलम् Skill.

50.   Endowed with wisdom (evenness of mind), one casts off in this life both good and evil deeds; therefore, devote thyself to Yoga; Yoga is skill in in action.

 Commentary: Work performed with motive towards frui only Canbind a man. It will bring the fruits and the performer f only canh will have to take birth again in this mortal world to enjoy them. If work is performed with evenness of mind (the Yoga of wisdom, i.e., united to pure Buddhi, intelligence of reason) with the mind resting in the Lord, it will not bind him; it will not bring any fruit; it is no work at all. Actions which are of a binding nature lose that nature when performed with equanimity of mind, or poised reason. The Yogi of poised reason attributes all actions to the Divine Actor within (Isvara or God).

 कर्मजं बुद्धियुक्ता हि फलं त्यक्त्वा मनीषिणः

जन्मबन्धविनिर्मुक्ताः पदं गच्छन्त्यनामयम् ॥५१॥

कर्मजम् action-born, बुद्धियुक्ताः possessed of knowledge, हि indeed, फलम् the fruit, त्यक्त्वा having abandoned, मनीषिणः the wise, जन्मबन्धविनिर्मुक्ताः freed from the fetters of birth, पदम् the abode, गच्छन्ति go, अनामयम् beyond evil.

51.    The wise, possessed of knowledge, having abandoned the fruits of their actions, and being freed from the fetters of birth, go to the place which is beyond all evil.

 Commentary: Clinging to the fruits of actions is the cause of rebirth. Man takes a body to enjoy them. If anyone performs actions for the sake of God in fulfilment of His purpose without desire for the fruits, he is released from the bonds of birth and attains to the blissful state or the immortal abode

Sages who possess evenness of mind abandon the fruits of their actions and thus escape from good and bad actions.

 Buddhi referred to in the three verses 49, 50 and 51 may be the wisdom of the Sankhyas, i.e., the knowledge of the Self or Atma-Jnana which dawns when the mind is purified by Karma Yoga.


यदा ते मोहकलिलं बुद्धिर्व्यतितरिष्यति

तदा गन्तासि निर्वेदं श्रोतव्यस्य श्रुतस्य ॥५२॥

यदा when, ते thy, मोहकलिलम् mire of delusion, बुद्धिः intellect, व्यतितरिष्यति crosses beyond, तदा then, गन्तासि thou shalt attain, निर्वेदम् to indifference, श्रोतव्यस्य of what has to be heard, श्रुतस्य what has been heard, and.

52.    When thy intellect crosses beyond the mire of delusion, then thou shalt attain to indifference as to what has been heard and what has yet to be heard.

 Commentary: The mire of delusion is the identification of the Self with the not-Self. The sense of discrimination between the Self and the not-Self is confounded by the mire of delusion and the mind runs towards the sensual objects and the body is taken as the pure Self. When you attain purity of mind, you will attain to indifference regarding things heard and yet to be heard. They will appear to you to be of no use. You will not care a bit for them. You will entertain disgust for them. (Cf. XVI. 24)


श्रुतिविप्रतिपन्ना ते यदा स्थास्यति निश्चला

समाधावचला बुद्धिस्तदा योगमवाप्स्यसि ।।५३।।

श्रुतिविप्रतिपन्ना perplexed by what thou hast heard, ते thy, यदा when, स्थास्यति shall stand, निश्चला immovable, समाधौ in the Self, अचला steady, बुद्धिः intellect, तदा then, योगम् Self-realisation, अवाप्स्यसि (thou) shalt attain.

53.    When thy intellect, which is perplexed by the Veda text, which thou hast read, shall stand immovable and steady in the Self, then thou shalt attain Self-realisation.

 Commentary: When your intellect which is tossed about by the conflict of opinions regarding the Pravritti Marga (the path of action) and the Nivritti Marga (the path of retirement or renunciation) has become immovable without distraction and doubt and firmly established in the Self, then thou shalt attain Self-realisation or knowledge of the Self (Atma-Jnana).


अर्जुन उवाच

स्थितप्रज्ञस्य का भाषा समाधिस्थस्य केशव

स्थितधीः किं प्रभाषेत किमासीत व्रजेत किम् ॥५४॥

स्थितप्रज्ञस्य of the (sage of) steady wisdom, का what, भाषा description, समाधिस्थस्य of the (man) merged in the superconscious state, केशव O Kesava, स्थितधीः the sage of steady wisdom, किम् what (how), प्रभाषेत speaks, किम् what (how), आसीत sits, व्रजेत walks, किम् what (how).

Arjuna said:

54.   What, O Krishna, is the description of him who has steady wisdom, and is merged in the superconscious state? How does one of steady wisdom speak, how does he sit, how does he walk?

Commentary: Arjuna wants to know from Lord Krishna the characteristic marks of one who is established in the Self in Samadhi; how he speaks, how he sits, how he moves about.

 The characteristic marks of the sage of steady wisdom and the means of attaining that steady knowledge of the Self are described in the verses from 55 to 72 of this chapter.

 Steady wisdom is settled knowledge of one’s identity with Brahman attained by direct realisation. (Cf. XIV. 21, 27)


श्री भगवानुवाच

प्रजहाति यदा कामान् सर्वान् पार्थ मनोगतान्

आत्मन्येवात्मना तुष्टः स्थितप्रज्ञस्तदोच्यते ॥५५॥

प्रजहाति casts off, यदा when, कामान् desires, सर्वान् all, पार्थ O Partha, मनोगतान् of the mind, आत्मनि in the Self, एव only, आत्मना by the Self, तुष्ट: satisfied, स्थितप्रज्ञः of steady wisdom, तदा then, उच्यते (he) is called.

The Blessed Lord said:

55.   When a man completely casts off, O Arjuna, all the desires of the mind and is satisfied in the Self by the Self, then is he said to be one of steady wisdom.

Commentary: In this verse Lord Krishna gives His answer to the first part of Arjun’s question.

 If anyone gets sugarcandy will he crave for black-sugar? Certainly not. If anyone can attain the supreme bliss of the Self, will he thirst for the sensual pleasures? No, not at all. The sum-total of all the pleasures of the world will seem worthless for the sage of steady wisdom who is satisfied in the Self. (Cf. III. 17; VI. 7, 8)


दुःखेष्वनुद्विग्नमनाः सुखेषु विगतस्पृहः

वीतरागभयक्रोधः स्थितधीर्मुनिरुच्यते ॥५६॥

दुःखेषु in adversity, अनुद्विग्नमनाः of unshaken mind, सुखेषु in pleasure, विगतस्पृहः without hankering, वीतरागभयक्रोधः free from attachment, fear and anger, स्थितधीः of steady wisdom, मुनिः sage, उच्यते (he) is called.

56.    He whose mind is not shaken by adversity, who does not hanker after pleasures, and is free from attachment, fear and anger, is called a sage of steady wisdom.

 Commentary: Lord Krishna gives His answer to the second part of Arjuna’s question as to the conduct of a sage of steady wisdom in the 56th, 57th and 58th verses.

 The mind of a sage of steady wisdom is not distressed in calamities. He is not affected by the three afflictions (Taapas) -Adhyatmika (arising from diseases or disorders in one’s own body), Adhidaivika (arising from thunder, lightning, storm, flood, etc.), and Adhibhautika (arising from scorpions, cobras, tigers, etc.). When he is placed in an affluent condition he does not long for sensual pleasures. (Cf. IV. 10)


यः सर्वत्रानभिस्नेहस्तत्तत्प्राप्य शुभाशुभम्

नाभिनन्दति द्वेष्टि तस्य प्रज्ञा प्रतिष्ठिता ।॥५७॥

यः he who, सर्वत्र everywhere, अनभिस्नेहः without attachment, तत् that, तत् that, प्राप्य having obtained, शुभाशुभम् good and evil, not, अभिनन्दति rejoices, not, द्वेष्टि hates, तस्य of him, प्रज्ञा wisdom, प्रतिष्ठिता is fixed.

57.   He who is everywhere without attachment, on meeting with anything good or bad, who neither rejoices nor hates, his wisdom is fixed.

 Commentary: The sage possesses poised understanding or evenness of mind. He does not rejoice in pleasure nor is he averse to pain that may befall him. He is quite indifferent as he is rooted in the Self. He has no attachment even for his life or body as he identifies himself with Brahman or the Supreme Self. He will not praise anybody when the latter does any good to him nor censure anyone when one does him any harm. This is the answer given by the Lord to Arjuna’s query: “How does a sage of steady wisdom talk?”


यदा संहरते चायं कूर्मोऽङ्गानीव सर्वशः

इन्द्रियाणीन्द्रियार्थेभ्यस्तस्य प्रज्ञा प्रतिष्ठिता ।॥५८॥

यदा when, संहरते withdraws, and, अयम् this (Yogi), कूर्मः tortoise, अङ्गानि limbs, इव like, सर्वशः everywhere, इन्द्रियाणि the senses, इन्द्रियार्थेभ्यः from the sense-objects, तस्य of him, प्रज्ञा wisdom, प्रतिष्ठिता is steadied.

58.    When, like the tortoise which withdraws on all sides its limbs, he withdraws his senses from the sense-objects, then his wisdom becomes steady.

 Commentary: Withdrawal of the senses is Pratyahara or abstraction. The mind has a natural tendency to run towards external objects. The Yogi again and again withdraws the mind from the objects of the senses and fixes it on the Self. A Yogi who is endowed with the power of Pratyahara can enter into Samadhi even in a crowded place by withdrawing his senses within the twinkling of an eye. He is not disturbed by tumultuous sounds and noises of any description. Even on the battlefield he can rest in his centre, the Self, by withdrawing his senses. He who practises Pratyahara is dead to the world. He will not be affected by the outside vibrations. At any time by mere willing he can bring his senses under his perfect control. They are his obedient servants or instruments.


 विषया विनिवर्तन्ते निराहारस्य देहिनः

रसवर्ज रसोऽप्यस्य परं दृष्ट्वा निवर्तते ॥५९॥

विषयाः the objects of senses, विनिवर्तन्ते turn away, निराहारस्य abstinent, देहिनः of the man, रसवर्णम् leaving the longing, रसः loving (taste), अपि even, अस्य of his, परम् the Supreme, दृष्ट्वा having seen, निवर्तते turns away.

59.    The objects of the senses turn away from the abstinent man leaving the longing (behind); but his longing also turns away on seeing the Supreme.

 Commentary: Knowledge of the Self alone can destroy in toto the subtle Vasanas (latent tendencies) and all the subtle desires, all subtle attachments and even the longing for objects. By practising severe austerities, by abandoning the sensual objects, the objects of the senses may turn away from the ascetic but the relish or taste or longing for the objects will still remain.


यततो ह्यपि कौन्तेय पुरुषस्य विपश्चितः

इन्द्रियाणि प्रमाथीनि हरन्ति प्रसभं मनः ॥६०॥

यततः of the striving, हि indeed, अपि even, कौन्तेय O Kaunteya (son of Kunti), पुरुषस्य of man, विपश्चितः (of the) wise, इन्द्रियाणि the senses, प्रमाथीनि turbulent, हरन्ति carry away, प्रसभम् violently, मनः the mind.

60.    The turbulent senses, O Arjuna, do violently carry away the mind of a wise man though he be striving (to control them).

 Commentary: The aspirant should first bring the senses under his control. The senses are like horses. If you keep the horses under your perfect control you can reach your destination safely. Turbulent horses will throw you down on the way. Even so the turbulent senses will hurl you down into the objects of the senses and you cannot reach your spiritual destination, viz., Param Dhama (the supreme abode) or the abode of eternal peace and immortality or Moksha (final liberation). (Cf. III. 33; V. 14)


तानि सर्वाणि संयम्य युक्त आसीत मत्परः

वशे हि यस्येन्द्रियाणि तस्य प्रज्ञा प्रतिष्ठिता ।।६१॥

तानि them, सर्वाणि all, संयम्य having restrained, युक्तः joined, आसीत should sit, मत्परः intent on Me, वशे under control, हि indeed, यस्य whose, इन्द्रियाणि senses, तस्य his, प्रज्ञा wisdom, प्रतिष्ठिता is settled.

61.    Having restrained them all he should sit steadfast, intent on Me; his wisdom is steady whose senses are under control.

 Commentary: He should control the senses and sit focussed on Me as the Supreme, with a calm mind. The wisdom of the Yogi who thus seated has brought all his senses under subjugation is doubtless quite steady. He is established in the Self. Sri Sankaracharya explains Asita Matparah as “He should sit contemplating: ‘I am no other than He’.” (Cf. II. 64)


ध्यायतो विषयान्युंसः सङ्गस्तेषूपजायते

सङ्गात् संजायते कामः कामात्क्रोधोऽभिजायते ॥६२॥

ध्यायतः thinking, विषयान् (on) objects of the senses, पुंसः of a man, सङ्गः attachment, तेषु in them, उपजायते arises, सङ्गात् from attachment, संजायते is born, कामः desire, कामात् from desire, क्रोधः anger, अभिजायते arises.

62.    When a man thinks of the objects, attachment for them arises; from attachment desire is born; from desire anger arises.

 Commentary: When a man thinks of the beauty and the pleasant and alluring features of the sense-objects he becomes attached to them. He then regards them as something worthy of acquisition and possession and hankers after them. He develops a strong desire to possess them. Then he endeavours his level best to obtain them. When his desire is frustrated by some cause or other, anger arises in his mind. If anybody puts any obstruction in his way of obtaining the objects he hates him, fights with him and develops hostility towards him. (Cf. II. 64)


क्रोधाद्भवति संमोहः संमोहात्स्मृतिविभ्रमः

स्मृतिभ्रंशाद् बुद्धिनाशो बुद्धिनाशात्प्रणश्यति ॥६३॥

क्रोधात् from anger, भवति comes, संमोह: delusion, संमोहात् from delusion, स्मृतिविभ्रमः loss of memory, स्मृतिभ्रंशात् from loss of

Memory, बुद्धिनाशः the destruction of discrimination, बुद्धिनाशात् from the destruction of discrimination, प्रणश्यति (he) perishes.

63.    From anger comes delusion; from delusion loss of memory; from loss of memory the destruction of discrimination; from the destruction of discrimination he perishes.

 Commentary: From anger arises delusion. When a man becomes angry he loses his power of discrimination between right and wrong. He will speak and do anything he likes. He will be swept away by the impulse of passion and emotion and will act irrationally.


रागद्वेषवियुक्तैस्तु विषयानिन्द्रियैश्चरन्

आत्मवश्यैर्विधेयात्मा प्रसादमधिगच्छति ।।६४।।

रागद्वेषवियुक्तैः free from attraction and repulsion, तु but, विषयान् objects, इन्द्रियैः with senses, चरन् moving (amongst), आत्मवश्यैः self-restrained, विधेयात्मा the self-controlled, प्रसादम् to peace, अधिगच्छति attains.

64.    But the self-controlled man, moving among the objects with the senses under restraint and free from attraction and repulsion, attains to peace.

 Commentary: The mind and the senses are naturally endowed with the two currents of attraction and repulsion. Therefore, the mind and the senses like certain objects and dislike certain other objects. But the disciplined man moves among sense-objects with the mind and the senses free from attraction and repulsion and mastered by the Self, attains to the peace of the Eternal. The senses and the mind obey his will, as the disciplined self has a very strong will. The disciplined self takes only those objects which are quite necessary for the maintenance of the body without any love or hatred. He never takes those objects which are forbidden by the scriptures.

 In this verse Lord Krishna gives the answer to Arjuna’s fourth question, “How does a sage of steady wisdom move about?” (Cf. III. 7, 19, 25; XVIII. 9)


प्रसादे सर्वदुःखानां हानिरस्योपजायते

प्रसन्नचेतसो ह्याशु बुद्धिः पर्यवतिष्ठते ॥६५॥

प्रसादे in peace, सर्वदु:खानाम् (of) all pains, हानि: destruction, अस्य of him, उपजायते arises (or happens), प्रसत्रचेतसः of the tranquil- minded, हि because, आशु soon, बुद्धिः intellect (or reason), पर्यवतिष्ठते becomes steady.

65.    In that peace all pains are destroyed; for the intellect of the tranquil-minded soon becomes steady.

 Commentary: When the mental peace is attained, there is no hankering after sense-objects. The Yogi has perfect mastery over his reason. The intellect abides in the Self. It is quite steady The miseries of the body and the mind come to an end.


नास्ति बुद्धिरयुक्तस्य चायुक्तस्य भावना

चाभावयतः शान्तिरशान्तस्य कुतः सुखम् ६६॥

not, अस्ति is, बुद्धिः knowledge (of the Self), अयुक्तस्य of the unsteady, not, and, अयुक्तस्य of the unsteady, भावना meditation, not, and, अभावयतः of the unmeditated, शान्तिः peace, अशान्तस्य of the peaceless, कुतः whence, सुखम् happiness.

66.    There is no knowledge of the Self to the unsteady and to the unsteady no meditation is possible, and to the unmeditative there can be no peace, and to the man who has no peace, how can there be happiness?

Commentary: The man who cannot fix his mind in meditation cannot have knowledge of the Self. The unsteady man cannot practise meditation. He cannot have even intense devotion to Self-knowledge nor can he have burning longing for liberation or Moksha. He who does not practise meditation cannot possess peace of mind. How can the man who has no peace of mind enjoy happiness?

Desire or Trishna (thirsting for sense-objects) is the enemy of peace. There cannot be an iota or tinge of happiness for a man who is thirsting for sensual objects. The mind will be ever restless, and will be hankering for the objects. Only when thisthirsting dies, does man enjoy peace. Only then can he meditate and rest in the Self.


इन्द्रियाणां हि चरतां यन्मनोऽनुविधीयते

तदस्य हरति प्रज्ञां वायुर्नावमिवाम्भसि ॥६७॥

इन्द्रियाणाम् senses, हि for, चरताम् wandering, यत् which, मनः mind, अनुविधीयते follows, तत् that, अस्य his, हरति carries away, प्रज्ञाम् discrimination, वायुः the wind, नावम् boat, इव like, अम्पसि in the water.

67.    For the mind, which follows in the wake of the wandering senses, carries away his discrimination, as the wind (carries away) a boat on the waters.

 Commentary: The mind which constantly dwells on the sensual objects and moves in company with the senses destroys altogether the discrimination of the man. Just as the wind carries away a boat from its course, so also the mind carries away the aspirant from his spiritual path and turns him towards the objects of the senses.


तस्माद्यस्य महाबाहो निगृहीतानि सर्वशः

इन्द्रियाणीन्द्रियार्थेभ्यस्तस्य प्रज्ञा प्रतिष्ठिता ।॥६८॥

तस्मात् therefore, यस्य whose, महाबाहो O mighty-armed, निगृहीतानि restrained, सर्वशः completely, इन्द्रियाणि the senses, इन्द्रियार्थेभ्यः from the sense-objects, तस्य his, प्रज्ञा knowledge, प्रतिष्ठिता is steady.

68.    Therefore, O mighty-armed Arjuna, his knowledge is steady whose senses are completely restrained from sense-objects.

 Commentary: When the senses are completely controlled, the mind cannot wander wildly in the sensual grooves. It be- comes steady like the lamp in a windless place. The Yogi is now established in the Self and his knowledge is steady. (Cf. III. 7)


या निशा सर्वभूतानां तस्यां जागर्ति संयमी

यस्यां जाग्रति भूतानि सा निशा पश्यतो मुनेः ॥६९॥

या which, निशा night, सर्वभूतानाम् of all beings, तस्याम् in that, जागर्ति wakes, संयमी the self-controlled, यस्याम् in which, जाग्रति wake, भूतानि all beings, सा that, निशा night, पश्यत: (of the) seeing, मुझे of the Muni.

69.    That which is night to all beings, in that the self-controlled man is awake; when all beings are awake, that is night for the Muni (sage) who sees.

 Commentary: That which is real for the worldly-minded people is illusion for the sage, and vice versa. The sage lives in the Self. This is day for him. He is unconscious of the worldly phenomena. They are night for him, as it were. The ordinary man is unconscious of his real nature. Life in the spirit is night for him. He is experiencing the objects of sensual enjoyment This is day for him. The Self is a non-entity for him! For a sage this world is a non-entity.

 The worldly-minded people are in utter darkness as they have no knowledge of the Self. What is darkness for them is all light for the sage. The Self, Atman or Brahman is night for the worldly-minded persons. But the sage is fully awake. He is directly cognising the supreme Reality, the Light of lights. He is full of illumination and Atma-Jnana or knowledge of the Self.



समुद्रमापः प्रविशन्ति यद्वत्

तद्वत्कामा यं प्रविशन्ति सर्वे

शान्तिमाप्नोति कामकामी ॥७०॥

आपूर्यमाणम् filled from all sides, अचलप्रतिष्ठम् based in stillness. समृद्रम् ocean, आप: water, प्रविशन्ति enter, यद्वत् as, तद्वत् so, कामा desires, यम् whom, प्रविशन्ति enter, सर्वे all, . He, शान्तिम् peace, आपोति attains, not, कामकामी desirer of desires.

70.    He attains peace into whom all desires enter as waters enter the ocean which, filled from all sides, remains unmoved. But not the man who is full of desires.

 Commentary: Just as the ocean filled with waters from all sades remains unmoved, so also the sage who is resting in his own Svarupa or the Self is not a bit affected though desires of all sorts enter from all sides. The sage attains peace or liberation but not he who longs for objects of sensual enjoyment and entertains various desires. (Cf. XVIII, 53, 54)


विहाय कामान्यः सर्वान्पुमांश्चरति निःस्पृहः

निर्ममो निरहंकारः शांतिमधिगच्छति ॥७१।।

विहाय abandoning, कामान् desires, यः that, सर्वान् all, पुमान् man, चरति moves about, निःस्पृहः free from longing, निर्ममः devoid of ‘mine-ness’, निरहंकारः without egoism, सः he, शान्तिम् to peace, अधिगच्छति attains.

71.    That man attains peace who, abandoning all desires, moves about without longing, without the sense of mine and without egoism.

 Commentary: That man who lives destitute of longing, abandoning all desires, without the senses of ‘I’ and ‘mine’, who is satisfied with the bare necessities of life, who does not care even for those bare necessities of life, who has no attachment even for the bare necessities of life, attains Moksha or eternal peace. (Cf. II. 55)


एषा ब्राह्मी स्थितिः पार्थ नैनां प्राप्य विमुह्यति

स्थित्वाऽस्यामन्तकालेऽपि ब्रह्मनिर्वाणमृच्छति ॥७२॥

एषा this, ब्राह्मी of Brahmic, स्थितिः state, पार्थ O Partha, not, एनाम् this, प्राप्य having obtained, विमुह्यति is deluded, स्थित्वा being established, अस्याम् in this, अन्तकाले at the end of life, अपि even, ब्रह्मनिर्वाणम् oneness with Brahman, ऋच्छति attains.

72.    This is the Brahmic seat (eternal state), O son of Pritha. Attaining to this, none is deluded. Being established therein, even at the end of life, one attains to oneness with Brahman.

 Commentary: The state described in the previous verse to renounce everything and to live in Brahman-is the Brahmic state or the state of Brahman. If one attains to this state one is never deluded. He attains Moksha if he stays in that state even at the hour of his death. It is needless to say that he who gers established in Brahman throughout his life attains to the state of Brahman or Brahma-Nirvana. (Cf. VIII, 5, 6)

Maharshi Vidyaranya says in his Panchadasi that Antakala here means “the moment at which Avidya or mutual super- imposition of the Self and the not-Self ends.”


तत्सत् इति श्रीमद्भगवद्गीतासूपनिषत्सु

ब्रह्मविद्यायां योगशास्त्रे श्रीकृष्णार्जुनसंवादे

सांख्ययोगो नाम द्वितीयोऽध्यायः ।।

Thus in the Upanishads of the glorious Bhagavad Gita, the science of the Eternal, the scripture of Yoga, the dialogue between Sri Krishna and Arjuna, ends the second discourse entitled:

The Sankhya Yoga.














अथ तृतीयोऽध्यायः




अर्जुन उवाच

ज्यायसी चेत्कर्मणस्ते मता बुद्धिर्जनार्दन

तत्कि कर्मणि घोरे मां नियोजयसि केशव ॥१॥

ज्यायसी superior, चेत् if, कर्मणः than action, ते by Thee, मता thought, बुद्धिः knowledge, जनार्दन O Janardana, तत् then, किम् why, कर्मणि in action, घोरे terrible, माम् me, नियोजयसि Thou engagest, केशव O Kesava.

Arjuna said:

1.       If Thou thinkest that knowledge is superior to action, O Krishna, why then, O Kesava, dost Thou ask me to engage in this terrible action?

Commentary: In verses 49, 50 and 51 of chapter II, Lord Krishna has spoken very highly about Buddhi Yoga. He again asks Arjuna to fight. That is the reason why Arjuna is perplexed now.


व्यामिश्रेणेव वाक्येन बुद्धि मोहयसीव मे

तदेकं वद निश्चित्य येन श्रेयोऽहमाप्नुयाम् ॥२॥

व्यामिश्रेण perplexing, इव as it were, वाक्येन with speech, बुद्धिम् understanding, मोहयसि (Thou) confusest, इव as it were, मे my, तत् that, एकम् one, वद tell, निश्चित्य for certain, येन by which, श्रेयः bliss (the good or the highest), अहम् I, आप्नुयाम् may attain.

2.        With this apparently perplexing speech, Thou confusest, as it were, my understanding; therefore tell me that one way for certain by which I may attain bliss of

Commentary: Arjuna says to Lord Krishna, “Teach me one of the two, knowledge or action, by which I may attain to the highest good or bliss or Moksha.” (Cf. V. 1)


श्री भगवानुवाच

लोकेऽस्मिन्द्विविधा निष्ठा पुरा प्रोक्ता मयानघ

ज्ञानयोगेन सांख्यानां कर्मयोगेन योगिनाम् ॥३॥

लोके in world, अस्मिन् in this, द्विविधा twofold, निष्ठा path, पुरा previously, प्रोक्ता said, मया by Me, अनघ O sinless one, ज्ञानयोगेन by the path of knowledge, सांख्यानाम् of the Sankhyas, कर्मयोगेन by the path of action, योगिनाम् of the Yogins.

The Blessed Lord said:

3.       In this world there is a twofold path, as I said before, 0 sinless one; the path of knowledge of the Sankhyas and the path of action of the Yogins.

 Commentary: The path of knowledge of the Sankhyas (Jnana Yoga) was described by Lord Krishna in chapter II. Verses 11 to 38; the path of action (Karma Yoga) from 40 to 53.

 Pura Prokta may also mean “In the beginning of creation the twofold path was given by Me to this world.”

Those who are endowed with the four means and who have sharp, subtle intellect and bold understanding are fit for Jnana Yoga. Those who have a tendency or inclination for work are f for Karma Yoga. (The four means are discrimination, dispassion sixfold virtues, and longing for liberation. The sixfold virtues are control of the mind, control of the senses, fortitude (endurance), turning away from the objects of the world. Faith tranquillity.)

lt is not possible for a man to practise the two You martaneously. Karma Yoga is man to the purifies this heart and prepares the aspirant for the reception of knowledge is purified. Inana Yoga takes the aspirant directly to the goal karma Yogi should take up or the reception of as his without any extraneous help. (Cf. V. S)


कर्मणामनारम्भान्नैष्कर्म्यं पुरुषोऽश्नुते

संन्यसनादेव सिद्धि समधिगच्छति ॥४॥

not, कर्मणाम् of actions, अनारम्भात् from non-performance, वैौकर्यम् actionlessness, पुरुषः man, अश्नुते reaches, not, and, संन्यसनात् from renunciation, एव only, सिद्धिम् perfection, समधिगच्छति attains.

4.        Not by non-performance of actions does man reach actionlessness; nor by mere renunciation does he attain to perfection.

 Commentary: Actionlessness (Naishkarmyam) and perfec- tion (Siddhi) are synonymous. The sage who has attained to perfection or reached the state of actionlessness rests in his own essential nature as Existence-Knowledge-Bliss Absolute (Satchid- ananda Svarupa). He has neither necessity nor desire for action as a means to an end. He has perfect satisfaction in the Self.

 One attains to the state of actionlessness by gaining the knowledge of the Self. If a man simply sits quiet by abandoning action you cannot say that he has attained to the state of actionlessness. His mind will be planning, scheming and speculating. Thought is real action. The sage who is free from affirmative thoughts, wishes, and likes and dislikes, who has the knowledge of the Self can be said to have attained to the state of actionlessness.

 No one can reach perfection or freedom from action or knowledge of the Self by mere renunciation or by simply giving up activities without possessing the knowledge of the Self. (Cf. XVIII. 49)


हि कश्चित्क्षणमपि जातु तिष्ठत्यकर्मकृत्

कार्यते ह्यवशः कर्म सर्वः प्रकृतिजैर्गुणैः ॥५॥

नहि not, कश्चित् anyone, क्षणम् a moment, अपि even, जातु verily. निष्ठति remains, अकर्मकृत् without performing action, कार्यते is made to do, fo for, अचश helpless, कर्म action, सर्व all, प्रकृतिजै: born of Prakriti, गुणै by the qualities.

5.       Verily none can ever remain for even a moment without performing action; for everyone is made to act helplessly indeed by the qualities born of Nature.

 Commentary: The Gunas (qualities of Nature) are three, viz., Sattva, Rajas and Tamas. Sattva is harmony or light or purity, Rajas is passion or motion; Tamas is inertia or darkness. Sattvic actions help a man to attain to Moksha. Rajasic and Tamasic actions bind a man to Samsara.

 These qualities cannot affect a man who has knowledge of the Self. He has crossed over these qualities. He has become a Gunatita (one who has transcended the qualities of Nature). The ignorant man who has no knowledge of the Self and who is swayed by Avidya or nescience is driven helplessly to action by the Gunas. (Cf. IV. 16, XVIII. 11)


कर्मेन्द्रियाणि संयम्य आस्ते मनसा स्मरन्

इन्द्रियार्थान्विमूढात्मा मिथ्याचारः उच्यते ॥६॥

कर्मेन्द्रियाणि organs of action, संयम्य restraining, यः who, आस्ते sits, मनसा by the mind, स्मरन् remembering, इन्द्रियार्थान् sense-objects. विमूढात्मा of deluded understanding, मिथ्याचारः hypocrite, सः he, उच्यते is called.

6.        He who, restraining the organs of action, sits thinking of the sense-objects in mind, he of deluded understanding is called a hypocrite.

 Commentary: The five organs of action, Karma Indriyas, are Vak (organ of speech), Pani (hands), Padam (feet), Upastha (genitals) and Guda (anus). They are born of the Rajasic portion of the five Tanmatras or subtle elements; Vak from the Akasa Tanmatra (ether), Pani from the Vayu Tanmatra (air), Padam from the Agni Tanmatra (fire). Upastha from the Apas Tanmatra (water), and Guda from the Prithivi Tanmatra (earth). That man who, restraining the organs of action, sits revolving in his mind thoughts regarding the objects of the senses is a man of sinful conduct. He is self-deluded. He is a veritable hypocrite.

 The organs of action must be controlled. The thoughts should also be controlled. The mind should be firmly fixed on the Lord. Only then will you become a true Yogi. Only then will you attain to Self-realisation.


 यस्त्विन्द्रियाणि मनसा नियम्यारभतेऽर्जुन

कर्मेन्द्रियैः कर्मयोगमसक्तः विशिष्यते ॥जा

यः whose, तु but, इन्द्रियाणि the senses, मनसा by the mind, नियम्य controlling, आरभते commences, अर्जुन O Arjuna, कर्मेन्द्रियैः by the organs of action, कर्मयोगम् Karma Yoga, असक्तः unattached, सः he, विशिष्यते excels.

7.        But whosoever, controlling the senses by the mind, O Arjuna, engages himself in Karma Yoga with the organs of action, without attachment, he excels.

 Commentary: If anyone performs actions with his organs of action (viz., hands, feet, organ of speech, etc.) controlling the organs of knowledge by the mind, and without expectation of the fruits of the actions and without egoism, he is certainly more worthy than the other who is a hypocrite or a man of false conduct. (Cf. II. 64, 68; IV. 21)

The five organs of knowledge are the eyes, the ears, the nose, the skin and the sense of taste (tongue).


नियतं कुरु कर्म त्वं कर्म ज्यायो ह्यकर्मणः

शरीरयात्रापि ते प्रसिद्धयेदकर्मणः ॥८॥

नियतम् bounden (prescribed or obligatory), कुरु perform, कर्म action, त्वम् thou, कर्म action, ज्यायः superior, हि for, अकर्मण: than inaction, शरीरयात्रा maintenance of the body, अपि even, and, ते thy, not, प्रसिद्धयेत् would be possible, अकर्मणः by inaction.

8.        Do thou perform (thy) bounden duty, for action is superior to inaction and even the maintenance of the body would not be possible for thee by inaction.

 Commentary: Niyatam Karma is an obligatory duty which one is bound to perform. The non-performance of the bounden dufies causes demerit. The performance of the obligatory duties is not a means for the attainment of a specific result. The performance does not cause any merit.

Living itself involves several natural and unavoidable actions which have to be performed by all. It is ignorance to say, “I can live doing nothing.”


यज्ञार्थात्कर्मणोऽन्यत्र लोकोऽयं कर्मबन्धनः

तदर्थं कर्म कौन्तेय मुक्तसंगः समाचर ।॥९॥

यज्ञार्थात् for the sake of sacrifice, कर्मणः of action, अन्यत्र otherwise, लोकः the world, अयम् this, कर्मबन्धनः bound by action, तदर्थम् for that sake, कर्म action, कौन्तेय O Kaunteya, मुक्तसंगः free from attachment, समाचर perform.

9.        The world is bound by actions other than those performed for the sake of sacrifice; do thou, therefore, O son of Kunti (Arjuna), perform action for that sake (for sacrifice alone), free from attachment.

 Commentary: Yajna means sacrifice or religious rite or any unselfish action done with a pure motive. It means also Isvara. The Taittiriya Samhita (of the Veda) says “Yajna verily is Vishnu” (1-7-4). If anyone does actions for the sake of the Lord, he is not bound. His heart is purified by performing actions for the sake of the Lord. Where this spirit of unselfishness does not govern the action, it will bind one to Samsara however good or glorious it may be. (Cf. II. 48)


सहयज्ञाः प्रजाः सृष्ट्वा पुरोवाच प्रजापतिः

अनेन प्रसविष्यध्वमेष वोऽस्त्विष्टकामधुक् ॥१०।।

सहयज्ञाः together with sacrifice, प्रजा: mankind, सृष्ट्वा having created, पुरा in the beginning, उवाच said, प्रजापतिः Prajapati, अनेन by this, प्रसषिष्यध्वम् shall ye propagate, एषः this, वः your, अस्तु let be इसकाममुक् milch cow of desires.

10.    The Creator, having in the beginning (of creation) created mankind together with sacrifice, said, “By this shall yo propagate; let this be the milch cow of your desires (the cow which yields all the desired objects).”

Commentary: Prajapati is the Creator or Brahma Kamalhak is another name for the cow Kamadhen Kamadhenu is the cow of Indra from which everyone can milk whatever one desires. (Cf. VIII. 4; IX. 24, 27; Χ. 25)


देवान्भावयतानेन ते देवा भावयन्तु वः

परस्परं भावयन्तः श्रेयः परमवाप्स्यथ ।।११।।

देवान् the gods, भावयत nourish (ye), अनेन with this, ते those, देवाः gods, भावयन्तु may nourish, वः you, परस्परम् one another, भावयन्तः nourishing, श्रेय: good, परम् the highest, अवाप्स्यथ shall attain.

11.    With this do ye nourish the gods and may those gods nourish you; thus nourishing one another, ye shall attain to the highest good.

 Commentary: Deva literally means “the shining one.” By this sacrifice you nourish the gods such as Indra. The gods shall nourish you with rain, etc. The highest good is the attainment of the knowledge of the Self which frees one from the round of births and deaths. The highest good may mean the attainment of heaven also. The fruit depends upon the motive of the aspirant.


इष्टान्भोगान्हि वो देवा दास्यन्ते यज्ञभाविताः

तैर्दत्तानप्रदायैभ्यो यो भुङ्क्ते स्तेन एव सः ॥१२॥

इष्टान् desired, भोगान् objects, हि so, वः to you, देवाः the gods, दास्यन्ते will give, यश्चभाविताः nourished by sacrifice, तैः by them, दत्तान् give, अप्रदाय without offering, एभ्यः to them, यः who, मुङ्क्ते enjoys, स्तेन thief, एवं verily, सः he.

12.    The gods, nourished by the sacrifice, will give you the desired objects. So, he who enjoys the objects given by the gode without offering (in return) to them, is verily a thief.

 Commentary: When the gods are pleased with your sacrifices, they will bestow on you all the desired objects such as children, cattle, property, etc. He who enjoys what has been given to him by the gods, ie, he who gratifies the cravings of his own body and the senses without offering anything to the gods in return is a veritable thief. He is really a dacoit of the property of the gods.


यज्ञशिष्टाशिनः सन्तो मुच्यन्ते सर्वकिल्बिषैः

भुञ्जते ते त्वघं पापा ये पचन्त्यात्मकारणात् ।।१३।।

यज्ञशिष्टाशिनः who eat the remnants of the sacrifice, सन्तः the righteous, मुच्यन्ते are freed, सर्वकिल्बिषैः from all sins, भुञ्जते eat, ते those, तु indeed, अघम् sin, पापाः sinful ones, ये who, पचन्ति cook, आत्मकारणात् for their own sake.

13.    The righteous who eat the remnants of the sacrifice are freed from all sins; but those sinful ones who cook food (only) for their own sake verily eat sin.

 Commentary: Those who, after performing the five great sacrifices, eat the remnants of the food are freed from all the sins committed by these five agents of insect slaughter, viz., (1) the pestle and mortar, (2) the grinding stone, (3) the fireplace, (4) the place where the water-pot is kept, and (5) the broom. These are the five places where injury to life is daily committed. The sins are washed away by the performance of the five Maha-Yajnas or great sacrifices which every Dvija (twice-born or the people belonging to the first three castes in Hindu society, especially the Brahmin) ought to perform:

1.       Deva-Yajna: Offering sacrifices to the gods which will satisfy them,

2.       Brahma-Yajna or Rishi-Yajna: Teaching and reciting the scriptures which will satisfy Brahman and the Rishis,

3.       Pitri-Yajna: Offering libations of water to one’s ancestors which will satisfy the manes,

4.       Nri-Yajna: The feeding of the hungry and the guests, and,

5.       Bhuta-Yajna: The feeding of the sub-human species, such as animals, birds, etc.


अन्नाद्भवन्ति भूतानि पर्जन्यादन्नसम्भवः

यज्ञाद्भवति पर्जन्यो यज्ञः कर्मसमुद्भवः ॥१४॥

ऊजास from food, भवन्ति come forth, भूतानि beings, पर्जन्यात् from rain, अन्नसम्भवः production of food, यज्ञात् from sacrifice, भवति arises, पर्जन्यः rain, यज्ञः sacrifice, कर्मसमुद्भवः born of action.

14.   From food come forth beings; from rain food is produced; from sacrifice arises rain and sacrifice is born of action.

 Commentary: Here Yajna means “Apurva” or the subtle principle or the unseen form which a sacrifice assumes between the time of its performance and the time when its fruits manifest themselves.


कर्म ब्रह्मोद्भवं विद्धि ब्रह्माक्षरसमुद्भवम्

तस्मात्सर्वगतं ब्रह्म नित्यं यज्ञे प्रतिष्ठितम् ।।१५।।

कर्म action, ब्रह्मोद्भवम् arisen from Brahma, विद्धि know, ब्रह्म Brahma, अक्षरसमुद्भवम् arisen from the Imperishable, तस्मात् there- fore, सर्वगतम् all-pervading, ब्रह्म Brahma, नित्यम् ever, यज्ञे in sacrifice, प्रतिष्ठितम् (is) established.

15.    Know thou that action comes from Brahma and Brahma comes from the Imperishable. Therefore, the all-pervading (Brahma) ever rests in sacrifice.

 Commentary: Brahma may mean “Veda.” Just as the breath comes out of a man, so also the Veda is the breath of the Imperishable or the Omniscient. The Veda ever rests in the sacrifice, i.e., it deals chiefly with sacrifices and the ways of their performance. (Cf. IV. 24 to 32)

Karma: Action, Brahmodbhavam: arisen from the injunc- tions of the Vedas.


एवं प्रवर्तितं चक्रं नानुवर्तयतीह यः

अघायुरिन्द्रियारामो मोघं पार्थ जीवति ॥१६॥

एवम् thus, प्रवर्तितम् set revolving, चक्रम् wheel, not, अनुवर्तयति follows, इह here, यः who, अघायुः living in sin, इन्द्रियारामः rejoicing in the senses, मोघम् in vain, पार्थ O Partha, सः he, जीवति lives.

16.    He who does not follow here the wheel thus set revolving, who is of sinful life, rejoicing in the senses, he lives in vain, O Arjuna.

 Commentary: This is the wheel of action set in motion by the Creator on the basis of the Veda and sacrifice. He who does not follow the wheel by studying the Vedas and performing the sacrifices prescribed therein but who indulges only in sensual pleasures lives in vain. He is wasting his life. He is leading a worthless life indeed. (गीता, 31)

 One who does not live in accordance with this law and who is selfish commits sin. He violates the law of the Creator and that is the worst sin.


यस्त्वात्मरतिरेव स्यादात्मतृप्तश्च मानवः

आत्मन्येव सन्तुष्टस्तस्य कार्यं विद्यते ॥१७॥

यः who, तु but, आत्मरतिः who rejoices in the Self, एव only, स्वान may be, आत्मतृप्तः satisfied in the Self, and, मानवः the man, आत्मनि in the Self, एव only, and, सन्तुष्टः contented, तस्य his, कार्यम् work to be done, not, विद्यते is.

17.    But for that man who rejoices only in the Self, who is satisfied with the Self and who is content in the Self alone, verily there is nothing to do.

 Commentary: The sage does not depend on external objects for his happiness. He is quite satisfied with the Self. He finds his joy, bliss and contentment within his own Self. For such a sage who has knowledge of the Self, there is nothing to do. He has already done all actions. He has satisfied all his desires. He has complete satisfaction. (Cf. II. 55)


नैव तस्य कृतेनार्थो नाकृतेनेह कश्चन

चास्य सर्वभूतेषु कश्चिदर्थव्यपाश्रयः ।।१८।।

not, एवं even, तस्य of him, कृतेन by action, अर्थ: concern, 7 not, अकृतेन by actions not done, इह here, कशन any, not, and. अस्य of this man, सर्वभूतेषु in all beings, कश्चित् any, अर्थव्यपाश्रयः depending for any object.

18.    For him there is no interest whatever in what is done or what is not done; nor does he depend on any being for any abject.

 Commentary: The sage who is thus rejoicing in the Self does not gain anything by doing any action. For him really no purpose is served by any action. No evil (Pratyavaya Dosha) cat touch him from inaction. He does not lose anything from inaction. He need not depend upon anybody to gain a particular object. He need not exert himself to get the favour of anybody.


 तस्मादसक्तः सततं कार्यं कर्म समाचर

असक्तो ह्याचरन्कर्म परमाप्नोति पूरुषः ।।१९।।

तस्मात् therefore, असक्तः without attachment, सततम् always, कार्यम् which should be done, कर्म action, समाचर perform, असक्तः without attachment, हि because, आचरन् performing, कर्म action, परम् the Supreme, आप्नोति attains, पूरुषः man.

19.    Therefore without attachment, do thou always perform action which should be done; for by performing action without attachment man reaches the Supreme.

 Commentary: If you perform actions without attachment, for the sake of the Lord, you will attain to Self-realisation through purity of heart. (Cf. II. 64; IV. 19, 23; XVII. 49)



कर्मणैव हि संसिद्धिमास्थिता जनकादयः

लोकसंग्रहमेवापि संपश्यन्कर्तुमर्हसि ॥२०॥

कर्मणा by action, एव only, हि verily, संसिद्धिम् perfection, आस्थिताः attained, जनकादय: Janaka and others, लोकसंग्रहम् protection of the masses, एवापि only, संपश्यन् having in view, कर्तुम् to perform, अर्हसि thou shouldst.

20.    Janaka and others attained perfection verily by action only, even with a view to the protection of the masses thou shouldst perform action.

 Commentary: Samsiddhi is Moksha (perfection or libera- lion) Janaka, (Asvapati) and others had perfect knowledge of the Self, and yet they performed actions in order to set an example to the masses. They worked for the guidance of men.


 यञ्चदाचरति श्रेष्ठस्तत्तदेवेतरो जनः

यत्यमाणं कुरुते लोकस्तदनुवर्तते ॥२१॥

पद्य whatsoever, आचरति does, श्रेष्ठ the best, तत्तत् that, एव only, इतर: the other बनः people, the (that great man), यत् what, प्रमाणम्

Standard (authority, demonstration), कुरुते does, लोक: the world (people), सत् that, अनुवर्तते follows.

21.   Whatsoever a great man does, that the other men also do: whatever he sets up as the standard, that the world (mankind) follows.

 Commentary: Man is a social animal. He is an imitating animal too. He takes his ideas of right and wrong from those whom he regards as his moral superior. Whatever a great man follows, the same is considered as an authority by his followers. They try to follow him. They endeavour to walk in his footsteps


मे पार्थास्ति कर्तव्यं त्रिषु लोकेषु किञ्चन

नानवाप्तमवाप्तव्यं वर्त एव कर्मणि ॥२२॥

not, मे my, पार्थ O Partha, अस्ति is, कर्तव्यम् to be done (duty), त्रिषु in the three, लोकेषु worlds, किञ्चन anything, not, अनवाप्तम् unattained, अवाप्तव्यम् to be attained, वर्ते am, एव also, and, कर्मणि in action.

22.    There is nothing in the three worlds, O Arjuna, that should be done by Me, nor is there anything unattained that should be attained; yet I engage Myself in action.

 Commentary: I am the Lord of the universe and therefore have no personal grounds to engage Myself in action. I have nothing to achieve as I have all divine wealth, as the wealth of the universe is Mine, and yet I engage Myself in action.

 Why do you not follow My example? Why do you not endeavour to prevent the masses from following the wrong path by setting an example yourself? If you set an example, people will follow you as you are a leader with noble qualities.


यदि ह्यहं वर्तेयं जातु कर्मण्यतन्द्रितः

मम वर्मानुवर्तन्ते मनुष्याः पार्थ सर्वशः ॥२३॥

यदि if, हि surely, अहम् L, not, वर्तेयम् engage Myself in action ever, कमीण in action, अतन्द्रितः unwearied, मम My, वर्म path अनुवर्तन्ने follow, मनुष्याः men, पार्थ O Partha, सर्वशः in every way

23.   For, should I not ever engage Myself in action uweaned, men would in every way follow My path, O Arjuna

Commentary: If I remain inactive, people also will imitate Me and keep quiet. They will all become Tamasic and pass into a state of inertia.


उत्सीदेयुरिमे लोका कुर्यां कर्म चेदहम्

सङ्करस्य कर्ता स्यामुपहन्यामिमाः प्रजाः ॥२४॥

उत्सीदेयुः would perish, इमे these, लोकाः worlds, not, कुर्याम् would do, कर्म action, चेत् if, अहम् I, सङ्करस्य of confusion of castes, and, कर्ता author, स्याम् would be, उपहन्याम् would destroy, इमाः these, प्रजाः beings.

24.    These worlds would perish if I did not perform action; I should be the author of confusion of castes and destruction of these beings.

 Commentary: If I did not engage in action, people would also be inactive. They would not do their duties according to the Varnasrama Dharma (code of morals governing their own order and stage of life). Hence confusion of castes would arise. I would have to destroy these beings.


 सक्ताः कर्मण्यविद्वांसो यथा कुर्वन्ति भारत

कुर्याद्विद्वांस्तथासक्तश्चिकीर्षुर्लोकसंग्रहम् ॥२५॥

सक्ताः attached, कर्मणि to action, अविद्वांसः the ignorant, यथा as, कुर्वन्ति act, भारत O Bharata, कुर्यात् should act, विद्वान् the wise, तथा so, असक्तः unattached, चिकीर्षुः wishing, लोकसंग्रहम् the welfare of the world.

25.    As the ignorant men act from attachment to action, O Bharata (Arjuna), so should the wise act without attachment, wishing the welfare of the world.

 Commentary: The ignorant man works in expectation of fruits. He says, “I will do such and such work and will get such and such fruit.” But the wise man who knows the Self, serves not for his own end. He should so act that the world, following his example, would attain peace, harmony, purity of heart, divine light and knowledge. A wise man is one who knows the Self. (Cf. II. 64; III. 19; XVIII. 49)


बुद्धिभेदं जनयेदज्ञानां कर्मसङ्गिनाम्

जोषयेत्सर्वकर्माणि विद्वान् युक्तः समाचरन् ॥२६॥

not, बुद्धिभेदम् unsettlement in the mind, जनयेत् should produce, अज्ञानाम् of the ignorant, कर्मसङ्गिनाम् of the persons attached to actions, जोषयेत् should engage, सर्वकर्माणि all actions, विद्वान् the wise, युक्तः balanced, समाचरन् performing.

26.    Let no wise man unsettle the mind of ignorant people who are attached to action; he should engage them in all actions, himself fulfilling them with devotion.

 Commentary: An ignorant man says to himself, “I shall do this action and thereby enjoy its fruit.” A wise man should not unsettle his belief. On the contrary he himself should set an example by performing his duties diligently but without attachment. The wise man should also persuade the ignorant never to neglect their duties. If need be, he should place before them in vivid colours the happiness they would enjoy here and hereafter by discharging such duties. When their hearts get purified in course of time, the wise man could sow the seeds of Karma Yoga (selfless service without desire) in them.


प्रकृतेः क्रियमाणानि गुणैः कर्माणि सर्वशः

अहङ्कारविमूढात्मा कर्ताऽहमिति मन्यते ॥२७॥

प्रकृतेः of nature, क्रियमाणानि are performed, गुणैः by the qualities, कर्माणि actions, सर्वशः in all cases, अहङ्कारविमूढात्मा one whose mind is deluded by egosim, कर्ता doer, अहम् I, इति thus, मन्यते thinks.

27.    All actions are wrought in all cases by the qualities of Nature only. He whose mind is deluded by egoism thinks, “I am the doer.”

Commentary: Prakriti or Pradhana or Nature is that state in which the three Gunas, viz., Sattva, Rajas and Tamas exist in a state of equilibrium. When this equilibrium is disturbed, creation begins; body, senses, mind, etc., are formed. The man who is deluded by egoism identifies the Self with the body, mind, the life force and the senses and ascribes to the Self all the attributes of the body and the senses. He, therefore, thinks through ignorance, “I am the doer.” In reality the Gunas of Nature perform all actions. (Cf. III. 29; V. 9; IX. 9, 10; XIII. 21, 24, 30, 32; XVIII. 13, 14)


तत्त्ववित्तु महाबाहो गुणकर्मविभागयोः

गुणा गुणेषु वर्तन्त इति मत्वा सज्जते ॥२८॥

तत्त्ववित् the knower of the Truth, but, महाबाहो O mighty- armed, गुणकर्मविभागयोः of the divisions of qualities and functions, गुणाः the qualities (in the shape of senses), गुणेषु amidst the qualities (in the shape of objects), वर्तन्ते remain, इति thus, मत्वा knowing, not, सज्जते is attached.

28.    But he who knows the Truth, O mighty-armed (Arjuna), about the divisions of the qualities and (their) functions, knowing that the Gunas as senses move amidst the Gunas as the sense-objects, is not attached.

 Commentary: He who knows the truth that the Self is entirely distinct from the three Gunas and actions does not become attached to the actions. He who knows the truth about the classification of the Gunas and their respective functions understands that the qualities as sense-organs move amidst the qualities as sense-objects. Therefore he is not attached to the actions. He knows, “I am Akarta-I am not the doer.” (Cf. XIV. 23)


प्रकृतेर्गुणसम्मूढाः सज्जन्ते गुणकर्मसु

तानकृत्स्नविदो मन्दान्कृत्स्नविन्न विचालयेत् ॥२९॥

प्रकृतेः of nature, गुणसंमूढाः persons deluded by the Gunas, सज्जन्ते are attached, गुणकर्मसु in the functions of the qualities, तान् those, अकृत्स्नविदः of imperfect knowledge, मन्दान् the foolish (the dull-witted), कृत्स्नवित् man of perfect knowledge, not, विचालयेत् should unsettle.

29.    Those deluded by the qualities of Nature are attached to the functions of the qualities. The man of perfect knowledge should not unsettle the foolish one who is of imperfect knowledge.

Commentary: The ignorant people do action with the expectation of fruits. The wise people who have the knowledge of the Self should not distract the faith or conviction or belief of such ignorant persons. If they unsettle their minds they will give up actions and become victims of inertia. They will lead an idle life. They should be encouraged by the wise to do actions of the Sakama type (actions for the sake of their fruits) in the beginning. The wise ones should turn the minds of the ignorant by giving them gradual instructions on Karma Yoga (Yoga of selfless, desireless action) and its benefits, viz., purification of the heart that leads to the attainment of Self-realisation.


 मयि सर्वाणि कर्माणि संन्यस्याध्यात्मचेतसा

निराशीर्निर्ममो भूत्वा युध्यस्व विगतज्वरः ॥३०॥

मयि in Me, सर्वाणि all, कर्माणि actions, संन्यस्य renouncing, अध्यात्मचेतसा with the mind centred in the Self, निराशीः free from hope, निर्ममः free from egoism, भूत्वा having become, युध्यस्व fight (thou), विगतज्वरः free from (mental) fever.

30.    Renouncing all actions in Me, with the mind centred in the Self, free from hope and egoism, and from (mental) fever, do thou fight.

 Commentary: Surrender all the actions to Me with the thought, “I perform all actions for the sake of the Lord.” Fever means grief, sorrow. (Cf. V. 10; XVIII, 66)


ये मे मतमिदं नित्यमनुतिष्ठन्ति मानवाः

श्रद्धावन्तोऽनसूयन्तो मुच्यन्ते तेऽपि कर्मभिः ।।३१।।

ये those who, मे My, मतम् teaching, इदम् this, नित्यम् constantly, अनुतिष्ठन्ति practise, मानवाः men, श्रद्धावन्तः full of faith, अनसूयन्तः not cavilling, मुच्यन्ते are freed, ते they, अपि also, कर्मभिः from actions.

31.    Those men who constantly practise this teaching of Mine with faith and without cavilling, they too are freed from actions.

 Commentary: Sraddha is a mental attitude. It means faith. It is faith in one’s own Self, in the scriptures and in the teachings of the spiritual preceptor. It is a compound of the higher emotion of faith, reverence and humility.


ये त्वेतदभ्यसूयन्तो नानुतिष्ठन्ति मे मतम्

सर्वज्ञानविमूढांस्तान्विद्धि नष्टानचेतसः ॥३२॥

ये those who, तु but, एतत् this, अभ्यसूयन्तः carping at, not, अनुतिष्ठन्ति practise, मे My, मतम् teaching, सर्वज्ञानविमूढान् deluded of all knowledge, तान् them, विद्धि know, नष्टान् ruined, अचेतसः devoid of discrimination.

32.    But those who carp at My teaching and do not practise it, deluded of all knowledge, and devoid of discrimination, know them to be doomed to destruction.

 Commentary: The pig-headed people who are obstinate, who find fault with the teachings of the Lord and who do not practise them are certainly doomed to destruction. They are incorrigible and senseless persons indeed.


 सदृशं चेष्टते स्वस्याः प्रकृतेर्शानवानपि

प्रकृतिं यान्ति भूतानि निग्रहः किं करिष्यति ॥३३॥

सदृशम् in accordance, चेष्टते acts, स्वस्याः of his own, प्रकृतेः of nature, ज्ञानवान् a wise man, अपि even, प्रकृतिम् to nature, यान्ति follow, भूतानि beings, निग्रहः restraint, किम् what, करिष्यति will do.

33.    Even a wise man acts in accordance with his own nature; beings will follow Nature; what can restraint do?

Commentary: He who reads this verse will come to the conclusion that there is no scope for man’s personal exertion. It is not so. Read the following verse. It clearly indicates that man can conquer Nature if he rises above the sway of Raga-Dvesha (love and hatred).

 The passionate and ignorant man only comes under the sway of his natural propensities, and his lower nature. He cannot have any restraint over the senses and the two currents of likes and dislikes. The seeker after Truth who is endowed with the four means, and who is constantly practising meditation can easily control Nature. (Cf. II. 60; V. 14; XVIII. 59)


इन्द्रियस्येन्द्रियस्यार्थे रागद्वेषौ व्यवस्थितौ

तयोर्न वशमागच्छेत्तौ ह्यस्य परिपन्थिनौ ।।३४।।

इन्द्रियस्य इन्द्रियस्य of each sense, अर्थ in the object, रागद्वेषौ attachment and aversion, व्यवस्थितौ seated, तयोः of these two, not, वशम् sway, आगच्छेत् should come under, तौ these two, हि verily, अस्य his, परिपन्थिनौ foes.

34.    Attachment and aversion for the objects of the senses abide in the senses; let none come under their sway; for, they are his foes.

 Commentary: Each sense has got attraction for a pleasant object and aversion for a disagreeable object. If one can control these two currents, viz., attachment and aversion, he will not come under the sway of these two currents. Here lies the scope for personal exertion or Purushartha. Nature which contains the sum total of one’s Samskaras or the latent self-productive impressions of the past actions of merit and demerit draws a man to its course through the two currents, attachment and aversion. If one can control these two currents, if he can rise above the sway of love and hate through discrimination and Vichara or right enquiry, he can conquer Nature and attain immortality and eternal bliss. He will no longer be subject to his own nature now. One should always exert to free himself from attachment and aversion to the objects of the senses.


श्रेयान्स्वधर्मो विगुणः परधर्मात्स्वनुष्ठितात्

स्वधर्मे निधनं श्रेयः परधर्मो भयावहः ॥३५॥

श्रेयान् better, स्वधर्मः one’s own duty, विगुणः devoid of merit, परधर्मात् than the duty of another, स्वनुष्ठितात् than well discharged, स्वधर्मे in one’s own duty, निधनम् death, श्रेयः better, परधर्मः another’s duty, भयावहः fraught with fear.

35.    Better is one’s own duty, though devoid of merit than the duty of another well discharged. Better is death in one’s own duty; the duty of another is fraught with fear (is productive of danger).

Commentary: It is indeed better for man to die discharging his own duty though destitute of merit than for him to live doing the duty of another though performed in a perfect manner. For the duty of another has its pitfalls. The duty of a Kshatriya is to fight in a righteous battle. Arjuna must fight. This is his duty. Even if he dies in the discharge of his own duty, it is better for him. He will go to heaven. He should not do the duty of another man. This will bring him peril. He should not stop from fighting and enter the path of renunciation. (Cf. XVIII. 47)

अर्जुन उवाच

अथ केन प्रयुक्तोऽयं पापं चरति पूरुषः

अनिच्छन्नपि वार्णेय बलादिव नियोजितः ॥३६॥

अथ now, केन by which, प्रयुक्तः impelled, अयम् this, पापम् sin, चर्यंत does, पूरुषः man, अनिच्छन् not wishing, अपि even, वार्ष्णय Varshneya, बलात् by force, इव as it were, नियोजितः constrained..

Arjuna said:

36.   But impelled by what does man commit sin, though against his wishes, O Varshneya (Krishna), constrained as it were, by force?

Commentary: Varshneya is one born in the family of the Vrishnis, a name of Krishna.


श्री भगवानुवाच

काम एष क्रोध एष रजोगुणसमुद्भवः

महाशनो महापाप्मा विद्धयेनमिह वैरिणम् ॥३७॥

कामः desire, एषः this, क्रोधः anger, एषः this, रजोगुणसमुद्भवः born of the Rajo-guna, महाशनः all-devouring, महापाप्मा all-sinful, विद्धि know, एनम् this, इह here, वैरिणम् the foe.

The Blessed Lord said:

37.   It is desire, it is anger born of the quality of Rajas, all-devouring, all-sinful; know this as the foe here (in this world).

 Commentary: Bhagavan: Bhaga means the six attributes, Viz., Jnana (knowledge), Vairagya (dispassion), Kirti (fame), Aishvarya (divine manifestations and excellences), Sri (wealth), and Bala (might). He who possesses these six attributes and who has a perfect knowledge of the origin and the end of the universe is Bhagavan or the Lord.

 The cause of all sin and wrong action in this world is desire Anger is desire itself. When a desire is not gratified, the man becomes angry against those who stand as obstacles on the path of fulfilment. The desire is born of the quality of Rajas. When desire arises, it generates Rajas and urges the man to work in order to possess the object. Therefore, know that this desire is man’s foe on this earth. (Cf. XVI. 21)


धूमेनाव्रियते वह्निर्यथाऽऽदर्शो मलेन

यथोल्बेनावृतो गर्भस्तथा तेनेदमावृतम् ॥३८॥

धूमेन by smoke, आव्रियते is enveloped, वह्निः fire, यथा as, आदर्शः a mirror, मलेन by dust, and, यथा as, उल्बेन by the amnion, आवृतः enveloped, गर्भः embryo, तथा so, तेन by it, इदम् this, आवृतम् enveloped.

38.    As fire is enveloped by smoke, as a mirror by dust, and as an embryo by the amnion, so is this enveloped by that. Commentary: This means the universe. This also means knowledge. That means desire.


आवृतं ज्ञानमेतेन ज्ञानिनो नित्यवैरिणा

कामरूपेण कौन्तेय दुष्पूरेणानलेन ॥३९॥

आवृतम् enveloped, ज्ञानम् wisdom, एतेन by this, ज्ञानिनः of the wise, नित्यवैरिणा by the constant enemy, कामरूपेण whose form is desire, कौन्तेय O Kaunteya, दुष्पूरेण unappeasable, अनलेन by fire, and.

39.    O Arjuna, wisdom is enveloped by this constant enemy of the wise in the form of desire, which is unappeasable as fire.

 Commentary: Manu says, “Desire can never be satiated or cooled down by the enjoyment of objects. But as fire blazes forth the more when fed with Ghee (melted butter) and wood, so fogrows the more it feeds on the objects of enjoyment. If all the foodstuffs of the earth, all the precious metals, all the animals and all the beautiful women were to pass into the possession of one man endowed with desire, they would still fail to give him satisfaction.”

The ignorant man considers desire as his friend when he craves for objects. He welcomes desire for the gratification of the senses; but the wise man knows from experience even before suffering the consequence, that desire will bring only troubles and misery for him. So it is a constant enemy of the wise but not of the ignorant.


इन्द्रियाणि मनो बुद्धिरस्याधिष्ठानमुच्यते

एतैर्विमोहयत्येष ज्ञानमावृत्य देहिनम् ॥४०॥

इन्द्रियाणि the senses, मनः the mind, बुद्धिः the intellect, अस्य its, अधिष्ठानम् seat, उच्यते is called, एतैः by these, विमोहयति deludes, एषः this, ज्ञानम् wisdom, आवृत्य having enveloped, देहिनम् the embodied.

40.    The senses, the mind and the intellect are said to be its seat; through these it deludes the embodied by veiling his wisdom.

 Commentary: If the abode of the enemy is known it is quite easy to kill him. So Lord Krishna like a wise army general points out to Arjuna the abode of desire so that he may be able to attack it and kill it quite readily.


तस्मात्त्वमिन्द्रियाण्यादौ नियम्य भरतर्षभ

पाप्मानं प्रजहि ह्येनं ज्ञानविज्ञाननाशनम् ।।४१।।

तस्मात् therefore, त्वम् you, इन्द्रियाणि the senses, आदौ in the beginning, नियम्य having controlled, भरतर्षभ O best of the Bharatas, पाप्मानम् the sinful, प्रजहि kill, हि surely, एनम् this, ज्ञानविज्ञाननाशनम् the destroyer of knowledge and realisation (wisdom).

41.    Therefore, O best of the Bharatas (Arjuna), controlling the senses first, do thou kill this sinful thing, the destroyer of knowledge and realisation.

 Commentary: Jnana is knowledge obtained through the study of scriptures. This is indirect knowledge or Paroksha Jnana. Vijnana is direct knowledge or personal experience or Anubhava through Self-realisation or Aparoksha Jnana. Control the senses first and then kill desire.


इन्द्रियाणि पराण्याहुरिन्द्रियेभ्यः परं मनः

मनसस्तु परा बुद्धिर्यो बुद्धेः परतस्तु सः ॥४२॥

इन्द्रियाणि the senses, पराणि superior, आहुः (they) say, इन्द्रियेभ्यः than the senses, परम् superior, मनः the mind, मनसः than the mind, but, परा superior, बुद्धिः intellect, यः who, बुद्धेः than the intellect, परतः greater, तु but, सः He.

42.    They say that the senses are superior (to the body), superior to the senses is the mind; superior to the mind is the intellect; one who is superior even to the intellect is He (the Self).

 Commentary: When compared with the physical body which is gross, external and limited, the senses are certainly superior as they are more subtle, internal and have a wider range of activity. The mind is superior to the senses, as the senses cannot do anything independently without the help of the mind. The mind can perform the functions of the five senses. The intellect is superior to the mind because it is endowed with the faculty of discrimination. When the mind is in a state of doubt, the intellect comes to its rescue. The Self, the Witness, is superior even to the intellect, as the intellect borrows its light from the Self.


एवं बुद्धेः परं बुद्ध्वा संस्तभ्यात्मानमात्मना

जहि शत्रु महाबाहो कामरूपं दुरासदम् ॥४३॥

एवम् thus, बुद्धेः than the intellect, परम् superior, बुद्ध्वा having known, संस्तभ्य restraining, आत्मानम् the self, आत्मना by the Self, जहि slay thou, शत्रुम् the enemy, महाबाहो O mighty-armed, कामरूपम् of the form of desire, दुरासदम् hard to conquer.

43.    Thus knowing Him Who is superior to the intellect and restraining the self by the Self, slay thou, O mighty-armed Arjuna, the enemy in the form of desire, hard to conquer.

 Commentary: Restrain the lower self by the higher Self. Subdue the lower mind by the higher mind. It is difficult to conquer desire because it is of a highly complex and incomprehensible nature. But a man of discrimination and dispassion who does constant and intense Sadhana can conquer it quite easily. Desire is the quality of Rajas. If you increase the Sattvic quality in you, you can conquer desire. Rajas cannot stand before Sattva.

 Even though desire is hard to conquer, it is not impossible. The simple and direct method is to appeal to the Indwelling Presence (God) through prayer and Japa.


  तत्सत् इति श्रीमद्भगवद्गीतासूपनिषत्सु

ब्रह्मविद्यायां योगशास्त्रे श्रीकृष्णार्जुनसंवादे

कर्मयोगो नाम तृतीयोऽध्यायः ।।

Thus in the Upanishads of the glorious Bhagavad Gita, the science of the Eternal, the scripture of Yoga, the dialogue between Sri Krishna and Arjuna, ends the third discourse entitled:





















The Yoga of Action.

अथ चतुर्थोऽध्यायः





श्री भगवानुवाच

इमं विवस्वते योगं प्रोक्तवानहमव्ययम् विवस्वान् मनवे प्राह मनुरिक्ष्वाकवेऽब्रवीत् ।।१।।

इमम् this, विवस्वते to Vivasvan, योगम् Yoga, प्रोक्तवान् taught, अहम् 1, अव्ययम् imperishable, विवस्वान् Vivasvan, मनवे to Manu, प्राह taught, मनुः Manu, इक्ष्वाकवे to Ikshvaku, अब्रवीत् taught.

The Blessed Lord said:

1.       I taught this imperishable Yoga to Vivasvan; he told it to Manu; Manu proclaimed it to Ikshvaku.

 Commentary: Vivasvan means the sun. Ikshvaku was the son of Manu. Ikshvaku was the reputed ancestor of the solar dynasty of Kshatriyas.

 This Yoga is said to be imperishable because the result or fruit, i.e., Moksha, that can be attained through it is imperishable.

 If the rulers of dominions possess a knowledge of the Yoga taught by Me in the preceding two discourses, they can protect the Brahmanas and rule their kingdom with justice. So I taught this Yoga to the Sun-god in the beginning of evolution.


एवं परम्पराप्राप्तमिमं राजर्षयो विदुः

कालेनेह महता योगो नष्टः परन्तप ॥२॥

एवम् thus, परम्पराप्राप्तम् handed down in regular succession, इमर this, राजर्षयः: the royal sages, विदुः knew, सः this, कालेन by lapse of time, इह here, महता by long, योग: Yoga, नष्टः destroyed, परन्तप O Parantapa.

2.        This, handed down thus in regular succession, the royal sages knew. This Yoga, by long lapse of time, has been lost here, O Parantapa (burner of the foes).

Commentary: The royal sages: Men who were kings and at the same time sages also, learnt this Yoga.

Arjuna could burn or harass his foes, like the sun, by the heat of his valour and power. Hence the name Parantapa.


एवायं मया तेऽद्य योगः प्रोक्तः पुरातनः

भक्तोऽसि मे सखा चेति रहस्यं ह्येतदुत्तमम् ॥३॥

सः that, एव even, अयम् this, मया by Me, ते to thee, अद्य today, योगः Yoga, प्रोक्तः has been taught, पुरातनः ancient, भक्तः devotee, असि thou art, मे My, सखा friend, and, इति thus, रहस्यम् secret, हि for, एतत् this, उत्तमम् best.

3.        That same ancient Yoga has been today taught to thee by Me, for thou art My devotee and My friend; it is the supreme secret.

 Commentary: This Yoga contains profound and subtle teachings. Hence it is the supreme secret which is revealed by the Lord.


अर्जुन उवाच

अपरं भवतो जन्म परं जन्म विवस्वतः

कथमेतद्विजानीयां त्वमादौ प्रोक्तवानिति ।।४।।

अपरम् later, भवतः Thy, जन्म birth, परम् prior, जन्म birth, विवस्वतः of Vivasvan, कथम् how, एतत् this, विजानीयाम् am I to understand, त्वम् Thou, आदौ in the beginning, प्रोक्तवान् taughtest, इति thus.

Arjuna said:

4.       Later on was Thy birth, and prior to it was the birth of Vivasvan (the Sun); how am I to understand that Thou taughtest this Yoga in the beginning?

Commentary: Thy birth took place later in the house of Vasudeva; Vivasvan or Vivasvat (the Sun) was born earlier in the

Beginning of evolution. How am I to believe that Thou taughtest this Yoga in the beginning to Vivasvan, and that Thou, the self-same person, hast now taught it to me? I am not able to reconcile this. Be kind enough to enlighten me, O my Lord!


श्री भगवानुवाच

बहूनि मे व्यतीतानि जन्मानि तव चार्जुन

तान्यहं वेद सर्वाणि त्वं वेत्थ परन्तप ।॥५॥

बहूनि many, ये My, व्यतीतानि have passed away, जन्मानि births, तव thy, and, अर्जुन O Arjuna, तानि them, अहम् I, वेद know, सर्वाणि all, not, त्वम् thou, वेत्थ knowest, परन्तप O Parantapa.

The Blessed Lord said:

5.       Many births of Mine have passed as well as of thine, O Arjuna; I know them all but thou knowest not, O Parantapa (scorcher of foes).

Commentary: You have no intuitional knowledge. The eye of wisdom has not been opened in you on account of your past actions. So your power of vision is limited and therefore you do not know your previous births. But I know them because I am omniscient.


अजोऽपि सन्नव्ययात्मा भूतानामीश्वरोऽपि सन्

प्रकृतिं स्वामधिष्ठाय संभवाम्यात्ममायया ।।६।।

अजः unborn, अपि also, सन् being, अव्ययात्मा of imperishable nature, भूतानाम् of beings, ईश्वरः the Lord, अपि also, सन् being, प्रकृतिम् Nature, स्वाम् My own, अधिष्ठाय governing, संभवामि come into being, आत्ममायया by My own Maya.

6.        Though I am unborn, of imperishable nature, and though I am the Lord of all beings, yet, governing My own Nature, I am born by My own Maya.

 Commentary: Man is bound by Karma. So he takes birth. He is under the clutches of Nature. He is deluded by the three qualities of Nature whereas the Lord has Maya under His perfect control. He rules over Nature, and so He is not under the thraldom of the qualities of Nature. He appears to be born and embodied through His own Maya or illusory power, but is not so in reality. His embodiment is, as a matter of fact, apparent. It cannot affect in the least His true divine nature. (Cf. IX. 8)


यदा यदा हि धर्मस्य ग्लानिर्भवति भारत

अभ्युत्थानमधर्मस्य तदाऽऽत्मानं सृजाम्यहम् ॥७।।

यदा यदा whenever, हि surely, धर्मस्य of righteousness, ग्लानिः decline, भवति is, भारत O Bharata, अभ्युत्थानम् rise, अधर्मस्य of unrighteousness, तदा then, आत्मानम् Myself, सृजामि manifest, अहम् I.

7.        Whenever there is decline of righteousness, O Arjuna, and rise of unrighteousness, then I manifest Myself.

 Commentary: Dharma is that which sustains and holds together. There is no proper equivalent for this term in the English language. That which helps a man to attain to Moksha or salvation is Dharma. That which makes a man irreligious or unrighteous is Adharma. That which elevates a man and helps him reach the goal of life and attain knowledge is Dharma; that which drags him and hurls him down in the abyss of worldliness and ignorance is Adharma.


परित्राणाय साधूनां विनाशाय दुष्कृताम्

धर्मसंस्थापनार्थाय संभवामि युगे युगे ॥८॥

परित्राणाय for the protection, साधूनाम् of the good, विनाशाय for the destruction, and, दुष्कृताम् of the wicked, धर्मसंस्थापनार्थाय for the establishment of righteousness, संभवामि (I) am born, युगे युगे in every age.

8.        For the protection of the good, for the destruction of the wicked and for the establishment of righteousness, I am born in every age.

 Commentary: Sadhunam: The good who lead a life of righteousness, who utilise their bodies in the service of humanity, who are free from selfishness, lust and greed, and who devote their lives to divine contemplation.

 Dushkritam: Evil-doers who lead a life of unrighteousness, who break the laws of the society, who are vain and are dishonest and greedy, who injure others, who take possession of the property of others by force, and who commit atrocious crimes of various sorts.


 जन्म कर्म मे दिव्यमेवं यो वेत्ति तत्त्वतः

त्यक्त्त्वा देहं पुनर्जन्म नैति मामेति सोऽर्जुन ॥९॥

जन्म birth, कर्म action, and, मे My, दिव्यम् divine, एवम् thus, यः who, वेत्ति knows, तत्त्वतः in true light, त्यक्त्वा having abandoned, देहम् the body, पुनः again, जन्म birth, नः not, एति gets, माम् to Me, एति comes, सः he, अर्जुन O Arjuna.

9.        He who thus knows, in their true light, My divine birth and action, having abandoned the body, is not born again, he comes to Me, O Arjuna.

 Commentary: The Lord, though apparently born, is always beyond birth and death; though apparently active for firmly establishing righteousness, He is ever beyond all actions. He who knows this is never born again. He attains knowledge of the Self and becomes liberated while living.

 The birth of the Lord is an illusion. It is Aprakrita (beyond the pale of Nature). It is divine. It is peculiar to the Lord. Though He appears in human form, His body is Chinmaya (full of consciousness, not inert matter as are human bodies composed of the five elements).


 वीतरागभयक्रोधा मन्मया मामुपाश्रिताः

बहवो ज्ञानतपसा पूता मद्भावमागताः ।।१०।।

वीतरागभयक्रोधाः freed from attachment, fear and anger, मन्मयाः absorbed in Me, माम् Me, उपाश्रिताः taking refuge in, बहवः many, ज्ञानतपसा by the fire of knowledge, पूताः purified, मद्भावम् My Being, आगताः have attained.

10.    Freed from attachment, fear and anger, absorbed in Me, taking refuge in Me, purified by the fire of knowledge, many have attained to My Being.

 Commentary: When one gets knowledge of the Self. Attachment to sense-objects ceases. When he realises he is the constant, indestructible, eternal Self and that change is simply a quality of the body, then he becomes fearless. When he becomes desireless, when he is free from selfishness, when he beholds the Self only everywhere, how can anger arise in him?

He who takes refuge in Brahman or the Absolute becomes firmly devoted to Him. He becomes absorbed in Him (Brahma- lina or Brahmanishtha). Jnanatapas is the fire of wisdom. Just as fire burns cotton, so also this Jnanatapas burns all the latent tendencies (Vasanas), cravings (Trishnas), mental impressions (Samskaras), sins and all actions, and purifies the aspirants. (Cf. II. 56; IV. 19 to 37)


ये यथा मां प्रपद्यन्ते तांस्तथैव भजाम्यहम्

मम वर्मानुवर्तन्ते मनुष्याः पार्थ सर्वशः ॥११॥

ये who, यथा in whatever way, माम् Me, प्रपद्यन्ते approach, तान् them, तथा so, एव even, भजामि reward, अहम् I, मम My, वर्त्म path, अनुवर्तन्ते follow, मनुष्याः men, पार्थ O Partha, सर्वशः in all ways.

11.    In whatever way men approach Me even so do I reward them; My path do men tread in all ways, O Arjuna.

 Commentary: I reward men by bestowing on them the objects they desire in accordance with their ways and the motives with which they seek Me. If anyone worships Me with selfish motives I grant him the objects he desires. If he worships Me unselfishly for attaining knowledge of the Self, I grant him Moksha or final liberation. I am not at all partial to anyone. (Cf. VII. 21 and IX. 23)


काङ्क्षन्तः कर्मणां सिद्धि यजन्त इह देवताः

क्षिप्रं हि मानुषे लोके सिद्धिर्भवति कर्मजा ॥१२॥

काङ्क्षन्तः those who long for, कर्मणाम् of actions, सिद्धिम् success, यजन्ते sacrifice, इह in this world, देवताः gods, क्षिप्रम् quickly, हि because, मानुषे in the human, लोके (in the) world, सिद्धिः success, भवति is attained, कर्मजा born of action.

12.    Those who long for success in action in this world sacrifice to the gods; because success is quickly attained by men through action.

 Commentary: It is very difficult to attain to the knowledge of the Self or Self-realisation. It demands perfect renunciation.

The aspirant should possess the four means (see page 58) and many other virtues, and practise constant and intense meditation. But worldly success can be attained quickly and easily.

 The Vedic injunctions based upon castes and order are meant for the men of this world only.


 चातुर्वर्ण्य मया सृष्टं गुणकर्मविभागशः

तस्य कर्तारमपि मां विद्धयकर्तारमव्ययम् ।।१३।।

चातुर्वर्ण्यम् the fourfold caste, मया by Me, सृष्टम् has been created,

गुणकर्मविभागशः according to the differentiation of Guna and Karma, तस्य thereof, कर्तारम् the author, अपि also, माम् Me, विद्धि know, अकर्तारम् non-doer, अव्ययम् immutable.

13.    The fourfold caste has been created by Me according to the differentiation of Guna and Karma; though I am the author thereof know Me as non-doer and immutable.

 Commentary: The four castes (Brahmana, Kshatriya, Vaishya and Sudra) are classified according to the differentiation of Guna and Karma. In a Brahmana, Sattva predominates. He possesses self-restraint, purity, serenity, straightforwardness, devotion, etc. In a Kshatriya, Rajas predominates. He possesses prowess, splendour, firmness, dexterity, generosity and the nature of a ruler. In a Vaishya, Rajas predominates and Tamas is subordinate to Rajas. He does the duty of ploughing, protection of cattle and trade. In a Sudra Tamas predominates and Rajas is subordinate to Tamas. He does service to the other three castes. Human temperaments and tendencies vary according to the Gunas.

 Though the Lord is the author of the caste system, yet He is not the author as He is the non-doer. He is not subject to Samsara. Really Maya does everything. Maya is the real author. Society can exist in a flourishing state if the four castes do their duties properly. Otherwise there will be chaos, rupture and fighting. (Cf. XVIII. 41)


मां कर्माणि लिम्पन्ति मे कर्मफले स्पृहा

इति मां योऽभिजानाति कर्मभिर्न बध्यते ॥१४॥

not, माम् Me, कर्माणि actions, लिम्पन्ति taint, not, मे to Me, कर्मफले in the fruit of actions, स्पृहा desire, इति thus, माम् Me, यः who, अभिजानाति knows, कर्मभिः by actions, not, सः he, बध्यते is bound.

14.    Actions do not taint Me, nor have I a desire for the fruit of actions. He who knows Me thus is not bound by actions.

 Commentary: As I have neither egoism nor desire for fruits, I am not bound by actions. Worldly people think they are the agents and they perform actions. They also expect fruits for their actions. So they take birth again and again. If one works without attachment, without egoism, without expectation of fruits, he too will not be bound by actions. He will be freed fror.. birth and death. (Cf. IX. 9)


एवं ज्ञात्वा कृतं कर्म पूर्वैरपि मुमुक्षुभिः

कुरु कर्मैव तस्मात्त्वं पूर्वैः पूर्वतरं कृतम् ॥१५॥

एवं thus, ज्ञात्वा having known, कृतम् (was) done, कर्म action, पूर्वे: by ancients, अपि also, मुमुक्षुभिः seekers after freedom, कुरु perform, कर्म action, एव even, तस्मात् therefore, त्वम् thou, पूर्वैः by ancients, पूर्वतरम् in the olden time, कृतम् done.

15.    Having known this, the ancient seekers after freedom also performed action; therefore do thou also perform action, as did the ancients in days of yore.

 Commentary: Knowing thus that the Self can have no desire for the fruits of actions and cannot be tainted by them, and knowing that no one can be tainted if he works without egoism, attachment and expectation of fruits, do thou perform your duty.

 If your heart is impure, perform actions for its purification. If you have attained Atma-Jnana or the knowledge of the Self, work for the well-being of the world. The ancients such as Janaka and others performed actions in the days of yore. So do thou also perform action.


 किं कर्म किमकर्मेति कवयोऽप्यत्र मोहिताः

तत्ते कर्म प्रवक्ष्यामि यज्ज्ञात्वा मोक्ष्यसेऽशुभात् ।।१६।।

किम् what, कर्म action, किम् what, अकर्म inaction, इति thus, कवयः wise, अपि also, अत्र in this, मोहिताः (are) deluded, तत् that, ते to thee, कर्म action, प्रवक्ष्यामि (I) shall teach, यत् which, ज्ञात्वा having known, मोक्ष्यसे (thou) shalt be liberated, अशुभात् from evil.

16.    What is action? What is inaction? As to this even the wise are confused. Therefore I shall teach thee such action (the nature of action and inaction) by knowing which thou shalt be liberated from the evil (of Samsara, the wheel of birth and death).


 कर्मणो ह्यपि बोद्धव्यं बोद्धव्यं विकर्मणः

अकर्मणश्च बोद्धव्यं गहना कर्मणो गतिः ॥१७॥

कर्मणः of action, हि for, अपि also, बोद्धव्यम् should be known, बोद्धव्यम् should be known, and, विकर्मणः of the forbidden action, अकर्मणः of inaction, and, बोद्धव्यम् should be known, गहना deep, कर्मणः of action, गतिः the path.

17.    For verily (the true nature) of action (enjoined by the scriptures) should be known, also (that) of forbidden (or unlawful) action, and of inaction; hard to understand is the nature (path) of action.


 कर्मण्यकर्म यः पश्येदकर्मणि कर्म यः

बुद्धिमान् मनुष्येषु युक्तः कृत्स्नकर्मकृत् ॥१८॥

कर्मणि in action, अकर्म inaction, यः who, पश्येत् would see, अकर्मणि in inaction, and, कर्म action, यः who, सः he, बुद्धिमान् wise, मनुष्येषु among men, सः he, युक्तः Yogi, कृत्स्नकर्मकृत् performer of all actions.

18.    He who seeth inaction in action and action in inaction, he is wise among men; he is a Yogi and performer of all actions.

Commentary: In common parlance action means ‘move- ment of the body, movement of the hands and feet’, and inaction means ‘to sit quiet’.

 It is the idea of agency, the idea I am the doer that binds man to Samsara. If this idea vanishes, action is no action at all. It will not bind one to Samsara. This is inaction in action. If you stand as a spectator or silent witness of Nature’s activities, feeling Nature does everything, I am non-doer (Akarta), if you identify yourself with the actionless Self, no matter what work or how much of it is done, action is no action at all. This is inaction in action. By such a practice and feeling, action loses its binding nature.

 A man may sit quietly. He may not do anything. But if he has the idea of agency or doership, or if he thinks that he is the doer, he is ever doing action, though he is sitting quietly. This is action in inaction. The restless mind will ever be doing actions even though one sits quietly. Actions of the mind are real actions. “Nor can anyone even for one moment remain really actionless, for helplessly is everyone driven to action by the qualities of Nature.” (Chapter III. 5)

Inaction also induces the feeling of egoism. The inactive man says, ‘I sit quietly; I do nothing’. Inaction, like action, is wrongly attributed to the Self.

 He is the performer of all actions who knows this truth. He has attained the end of all actions, i.e., freedom or knowledge or perfection.

 When a steamer moves, the trees on the shore which are motionless, appear to move in the opposite direction to a man who is in the steamer. Moving objects that are very far away appear to be stationary or motionless. Even so in the case of the Self inaction is mistaken for action and action for inaction.

 The Self is actionless (Akarta or non-doer, Nishkriya or without work).