THE BHAGAVAD-GITA 1. The God Krishna The god Krishna has his origins in the non-vedic (non-Aryan) religion of the Satvatas, a tribe in northern India, whose principal deity was Krishna Vasudeva. This tribe eventually was incorporated into the caste system as kshatriya status and their god Krishna was incorporated into the Vedic pantheon. The Satvatas continued their devotion to Krishna and he became over time the only supreme god; also they maintained their distinctive religious practise and belief (referred to as the Vaisnava tradition) against the Brahmins. This leads to a consideration of the Bhagavad-Gita. This work represents the synthesis in Indian religion of the Vaisnava tradition with the Upanishad ic tradition.

Krishna becomes Brahman but retains his nature as a personal god: there is a fusion of monism and monotheism in this work. Eventually Krishna is identified with Vishnu, thus connecting it with the Vedic pantheon and therefore with popular 'Hinduism. ' 2. Introduction to the Bhagavad-Gita Although it can and does exist as an independent text, the Bhagavad-Gita, meaning 'Song of the Lord' (i. e, Lord Krishna) is actually part of the much larger epic poem called Mahabharata; this epic poem relates a feud over succession in the ancient kingdom of Kurukshetra; the rivals factions are two sets of cousins who are descended from king Bharat a. In the Bhagavad-Gita the two rival factions have met on the battle field; Arjuna is one of the. Although he is initially ready and willing to do combat, Arjuna falls into a state of despair at the prospect of killing his own kinsmen; he confesses his reluctance to Krishna, his charioteer.

Thus the stage is set for the philosophical dialogue between Arjuna and Krishna. (Actually, the reader soon discovers that Krishna is more than he appears.) The narrator of the poem is Sanjaya, who is the charioteer for another warrior. Two fundamental questions are raised and answered in the Bhagavad-Gita. First, what is the nature of the Self? The question of the Self is also the question of the nature of the Absolute. Second, how does one attain to the knowledge of one's true nature, which will bring release from the cycle of birth and death?

This is the question of the methodology to be employed to reach the philosophical or religious goal. All of the philosophical content of the text relates to the answering of one or both of these questions. It must be noted that the Bhagavad-Gita tends to be eclectic, drawing upon various traditions within Indian religion and harmonizing them. This results in some obscurities and tensions within the work.

There is significant conceptual overlap between the Bhagavad Gita and the Upanishads. Nevertheless, in the Bhagavad Gita there are two modifications of the the philosophical stance represented by the Upanishads. First, Brahman is identified with the god Krishna, which means that, as a personal god, Krishna can become an object of devotion. In the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna reveals himself in his true nature of all-encompassing reality, but, because Krishna incarnates himself either as a god or even, as in the Bhagavad Gita, as a man, a person can relate to him as a person.

In fact, Krishna recommends devotion to him as a means of release. Second, the preferred path to perfection is that of action detached from concern about the results of action; the path of renunciation of action is not as recommended. 3. Selective Passages from the Bhagavad Gita Illustrative of Its Central Philosophical Ideas 1. Bhagavad Gita 2.11-30 The Supreme Lord said: You grieve for those who are not worthy of grief, and yet speak the words of wisdom. The wise grieve neither for the living nor for the dead.

(2.11) There was never a time when I, you, or these kings did not exist; nor shall we ever cease to exist in the future. (2.12) Just as the Atman acquires a childhood body, a youth body, and an old age body during this life, similarly Atman acquires another body after death. The wise are not deluded by this. (See also 15.08) (2.13) (Atman means consciousness, spirit, soul, self, the source of life and the cosmic power behind the body-mind complex. Just as our body exists in space, similarly our thoughts, intellect, emotions, and psyche exist in Atman, the space of consciousness. Atman cannot be perceived by the senses, because, the senses abide in Atman.) The contacts of the senses with the sense objects give rise to the feelings of heat and cold, and pain and pleasure.

They are transitory and impermanent. Therefore, (learn to) endure them, O Arjuna. (2.14) Because the calm person, who is not afflicted by these feelings and is steady in pain and pleasure, becomes fit for immortality, O Arjuna. (2.15) There is no nonexistence of the Sat (or Atman) and no existence of the Asat.

The reality of these two is indeed certainly seen by the seers of truth. (2.16) (Sat exists at all times -- past, present, and future. Atman is called Sat. Asat is a notion that does not exist at all (like the horn of a rabbit, or the water in a mirage). The one that has a beginning and an end is neither Sat nor Asat. The body is neither Sat nor Asat, or both Sat and Asat, because, it has a temporary existence.

Mithya is the one that appears Sat at first sight, but is really Asat. Body, like the universe or Jagat, is called Mithya.) Know That, by which all this (universe) is pervaded, to be indestructible. No one can destroy the indestructible (Atman). (2.17) Bodies of the eternal, imperishable, and incomprehensible soul are said to be perishable. Therefore, fight, O Arjuna.

(2.18) The one who thinks that Atman is a slayer, and the one who thinks that Atman is slain, both are ignorant, because Atman neither slays nor is slain. (2.19) The Atman is neither born nor does it die at any time, nor having been it will cease to exist again. It is unborn, eternal, permanent, and primeval. The Atman is not destroyed when the body is destroyed.

(2.20) O Arjuna, how can a person who knows that the Atman is indestructible, eternal, unborn, and imperishable, kill anyone or cause anyone to be killed? (2.21) Just as a person puts on new garments after discarding the old ones, similarly Atman acquires new bodies after casting away the old bodies. (2.22) Weapons do not cut this Atman, fire does not burn it, water does not make it wet, and the wind does not make it dry. (2.23) This Atman cannot be cut, burned, wetted, or dried up. It is eternal, all pervading, unchanging, immovable, and primeval.

(2.24) The Atman is said to be un manifest, unthinkable, and unchanging. Knowing this Atman as such you should not grieve. (2.25) If you think that this (body) takes birth and dies perpetually, even then, O Arjuna, you should not grieve like this. (2.26) Because, death is certain for the one who is born, and birth is certain for the one who dies. Therefore, you should not lament over the inevitable. (2.27) All beings, O Arjuna, are un manifest before birth and after death.

They are manifest between the birth and the death only. What is there to grieve about? (2.28) Some look upon this Atman as a wonder, another describes it as wonderful, and others hear of it as a wonder. Even after hearing about it no one actually knows it.

(2.29) O Arjuna, the Atman that dwells in the body of all (beings) is eternally indestructible. Therefore, you should not mourn for any body. (2.30) In this passage, Krishna discourses on the Self or Atman. He says that Atman is 'indestructible, eternal, unborn, and imperishable. ' Atman cannot not be ('There is no non-existence of the Sat nor existence of the Asat'), which means it is necessarily existent. It dwells in the body, but is not the body; rather, remaining the same, self-identical, it transmigrates from one body to another: 'Just as a person puts on new garments after discarding the old ones, similarly Atman acquires new bodies after casting away the old bodies.

' Therefore, Arjuna should not be concerned with the killing of the body, since it is not the true Self. The constant flow of ever-changing sense perceptions is not the operation of Atman; rather sense perception arises with the contact of bodily sense organs with sense objects. Atman is ever calm and undisturbed, and the one who knows Atman as such and remains unattached to the flow of sense perceptions has reached the goal of immortality: 'Because the calm person, who is not afflicted by these feelings and is steady in pain and pleasure, becomes fit for immortality, O Arjuna. ' 2. Bhagavad Gita 2.54-72 Arjuna said: O Krishna, what is the mark of a person whose Prajna is steady and merged in super conscious state?

How does a person of steady Prajna speak? How does such a person sit and walk? (2.54) (Prajna means consciousness, mind, intellect, judgment, discrimination, and wisdom.) The Supreme Lord said: When one is completely free from all desires of the mind and is satisfied in the Self by the (joy of) Self, then one is called a person of steady Prajna, O Arjuna. (2.55) A person whose mind is unperturbed by sorrow, who does not crave pleasures, and who is free from attachment, fear, and anger; such a person is called a sage of steady Prajna.

(2.56) Those who are not attached to anything, who are neither elated by getting desired results nor troubled by undesired results, their Prajna is deemed steady. (2.57) When one can completely withdraw (or restrain) the senses from the sense objects as a tortoise withdraws its limbs (into the shell), then the Prajna of such a person is considered steady. (2.58) The desire for sensual pleasures fades away if one abstains from sense enjoyment, but the craving (for sense enjoyment) remains. The craving also disappears from the one who has seen (or known) the Supreme. (2.59) Restless senses, O Arjuna, forcibly carry away the mind of even a wise person striving for perfection. (2.60) Having brought the senses under control, one should fix one's mind on the Self.

One's Prajna becomes steady whose senses are under control. (2.61) One develops attachment to sense objects by thinking about sense objects. Desire for sense objects comes from attachment to sense objects, and anger comes from unfulfilled desires. (2.62) Delusion arises from anger. The mind is bewildered by delusion.

Reasoning is destroyed when the mind is bewildered. One falls down (from the right path) when reasoning is destroyed. (2.63) A disciplined person, enjoying sense objects with senses that are under control and free from likes and dislikes, attains tranquillity. (2.64) All sorrows are destroyed upon attainment of tranquillity. The intellect of such a tranquil person soon becomes completely steady. (2.65) There is neither Self-knowledge nor Self-perception to those whose senses are not under control.

Without Self-perception there is no peace; and without peace there can be no happiness. (2.66) The mind, when controlled by the roving senses, steals away the Prajna as a storm takes away a boat on the sea from its destination, the spiritual shore. (2.67) Therefore, O Arjuna, one's Prajna becomes steady whose senses are completely withdrawn from the sense objects. (2.68) A yogi is aware of the thing (or Atman) about which others are unaware. A sage who sees is unaware of the experience (of sense objects) about which others are aware. (2.69) One attains peace in whose mind all desires enter without creating any disturbance, as river waters enter the full ocean without creating a disturbance.

One who desires material objects is never peaceful. (2.70) One who abandons all desires and becomes free from longing and the feeling of 'I' and 'my' attains peace. (2.71) O Arjuna, this is the Braahmee or super conscious state. Attaining this (state), one is no longer deluded.

Gaining this state, even at the end of one's life, a person attains oneness with the Supreme. (2.72) The religious goal is to have one's Prajna (mind or consciousness) in a steady state, for in such a state one is aware of one's true Self or Atman: 'When one is completely free from all desires of the mind and is satisfied in the Self by the (joy of) Self, then one is called a person of steady Prajna, O Arjuna. ' The natural state of the consciousness is to be restless, roving and agitated as it comes into contact with its objects, about which it is concerned. In other words, consciousness is directed outwards towards the world (maya), where inevitably it will find no peace: 'One develops attachment to sense objects by thinking about sense objects. ' Thus, one must bring the senses under control by withdrawing one's consciousness from the external world towards one's true Self: 'Having brought the senses under control, one should fix one's mind on the Self. ' The realization of one's true Self, Atman, leads one no longer to identify with one's body, sensations and individual mind.

Krishna says, 'A yogi is aware of the thing (or Atman) about which others are unaware. ' This true Self-knowledge is the presupposition of Karma-yoga. (See also Chapter 6) 3. Bhagavad Gita 3.3-26 The Supreme Lord said: In this world, O Arjuna, a twofold path of Sadhana (or the spiritual practice) has been stated by Me in the past.

The path of Self-knowledge (or Jnana-yoga) for the contemplative, and the path of unselfish work (or Karma-yoga) for the active. (3.03) (Jnana-yoga is also called Saamkhya-yoga, Samnyasa-yoga, and yoga of knowledge. A Jnana-yogi does not consider oneself the doer of any action, but only an instrument in the hands of divine for His use. The word Jnana means metaphysical or transcendental knowledge.) One does not attain freedom from the bondage of Karma by merely abstaining from work. No one attains perfection by merely giving up work. (3.04) Because no one can remain actionless even for a moment.

Everyone is driven to action, helplessly indeed, by the Gunas of nature. (3.05) The deluded ones, who restrain their organs of action but mentally dwell upon the sense enjoyment, are called hypocrites. (3.06) The one who controls the senses by the (trained and purified) mind and intellect, and engages the organs of action to Nishkaama Karma-yoga, is superior, O Arjuna. (3.07) Perform your obligatory duty, because action is indeed better than inaction.

Even the maintenance of your body would not be possible by inaction. (3.08) Human beings are bound by Karma (or works) other than those done as Yajna. Therefore, O Arjuna, do your duty efficiently as a service or Seva to Me, free from attachment to the fruits of work. (3.09) (Yajna means sacrifice, selfless service, unselfish work, Seva, meritorious deeds, giving away something to others, and a religious rite in which oblation is offered to gods through the mouth of fire.) Brahman, the creator, in the beginning created human beings together with Yajna and said: By Yajna you shall prosper and Yajna shall fulfill all your desires. (3.10) Nourish the Devas with Yajna, and the Devas will nourish you.

Thus nourishing one another you shall attain the Supreme goal. (3.11) (Deva means a deity, a demigod, a celestial person, the agent of God, one who fulfills desires and protects.) The Devas, nourished by Yajna, will give you the desired objects. One who enjoys the gift of the Devas without offering them (anything in return) is, indeed, a thief. (3.12) The righteous who eat the remnants of the Yajna are freed from all sins, but the impious who cook food only for themselves (without sharing with others in charity) verily eat sin. (3.13) The living beings are born from food, food is produced by rain, rain comes by performing Yajna. The Yajna is performed by doing Karma.

(See also 4.32) (3.14) The Karma or duty is prescribed in the Vedas. The Vedas come from Brahman. Thus the all-pervading Brahman is ever present in Yajna or service. (3.15) The one who does not help to keep the wheel of creation in motion by sacrificial duty, and who rejoices in sense pleasures, that sinful person lives in vain, O Arjuna. (3.16) The one who rejoices in the Self only, who is satisfied with the Self, who is content in the Self alone, for such a (Self-realized) person there is no duty. (3.17) Such a person has no interest, whatsoever, in what is done or what is not done.

A Self-realized person does not depend on anybody (except God) for anything. (3.18) Therefore, always perform your duty efficiently and without attachment to the results, because by doing work without attachment one attains the Supreme. (3.19) King Janaka and others attained perfection (or Self-realization) by Karma-yoga alone. You should perform your duty (with apathetic frame of mind) with a view to guide people and for the universal welfare (of the society). (3.20) Because, whatever noble persons do, others follow.

Whatever standard they set up, the world follows. (3.21) O Arjuna, there is nothing in the three worlds (earth, heaven, and the upper regions) that should be done by Me, nor there is anything un obtained that I should obtain, yet I engage in action. (3.22) Because, if I do not engage in action relentlessly, O Arjuna, people would follow My path in every way. (3.23) These worlds would perish if I do not work, and I shall be the cause of confusion and destruction of all these people.

(3.24) As the ignorant work, O Arjuna, with attachment (to the fruits of work), so the wise should work without attachment, for the welfare of the society. (3.25) The wise should not unsettle the mind of the ignorant who is attached to the fruits of work, but the enlightened one should inspire others by performing all works efficiently without attachment. (See also 3.29) (3.26) Krishna distinguishes two ways to perfection: 'In this world, O Arjuna, a twofold path of Sadhana (or the spiritual practice) has been stated by Me in the past. ' Of the two, the path of unselfish work (karma yoga) is to be preferred, since the one who imagines that he can abandon all action is in error. (The theory behind the abandonment of all doing is that, since all action is rooted in maya, recognizing maya as non ultimate reality or illusion should lead one to total inaction.) Since it is impossible to renounce all work or action, since it is is the nature of human beings 'to do,' it is better 'to do' in such as way as to be indifferent to or detached from the results of one's actions. In other words, one acts in such a way as to be unconcerned about the results of one's actions, for one has no need of 'the fruits of work,' since such are illusory anyway.

The only goal of the work of the wise is for the welfare of others, but even to this goal the wise is no attached. To act in this way is to attain the Supreme Krishna himself follows the way of karma-yoga, because without his sustaining of the universe all existence would cease: 'These worlds would perish if I do not work, and I shall be the cause of confusion and destruction of all these people. ' 4. Bhagavad Gita 4.5-15 The Supreme Lord said: Both you and I have taken many births.

I remember them all, O Arjuna, but you do not remember. (4.05) Though I am eternal, imperishable, and the Lord of all beings; yet I (voluntarily) manifest by controlling My own material nature using My Yoga-Maya. (See also 10.14) (4.06) (Yoga-Maya is same as Maya; the supernatural, extraordinary, and mystic power of Brahman. The word Maya means unreal, illusory, or deceptive image of the creation. Due to the power of Maya one considers the universe as existent and distinct from Brahman, the Supreme spirit.

Brahman is invisible potential energy; Maya is kinetic energy, the force of action. They are inseparable like fire and heat. Maya is a metaphor used to explain the visible world or Jagat to common people.) Whenever there is a decline of Dharma and the rise of Adharma, O Arjuna, then I manifest (or incarnate) Myself. I incarnate from time to time for protecting the good, for transforming the wicked, and for establishing Dharma, the world order. (4.07-08) The one who truly understands My transcendental birth and activities (of creation, maintenance, and dissolution), is not born again after leaving this body and attains My abode, O Arjuna. (4.09) Freed from attachment, fear, and anger; fully absorbed in Me, taking refuge in Me, and purified by the fire of Self-knowledge, many have attained Me.

(4.10) With whatever motive people worship Me, I reward them (or fulfill their desires) accordingly. People worship (or approach) Me with different motives. (4.11) Those who long for success in their work here (on the earth) worship the demigods (or Devas). Success in work comes quickly in this human world. (4.12) The four Varna or divisions of human society, based on aptitude and vocation, were created by Me. Though I am the author of this system, one should know that I do nothing and I am eternal.

(See also 18.41) (4.13) Works do not bind Me, because I have no desire for the fruits of work. The one who understands this truth is (also) not bound by Karma. (4.14) The ancient seekers of liberation also performed their duties with this understanding. Therefore, you should do your duty as the ancients did. (4.15) Krishna describes himself as having undergone many past incarnations in order to help in times of spiritual decline; he is in effect the incarnation of Brahman. The person who recognizes Krishna as God and Krishna's sacrifice (i. e, his work in his many incarnations) will no no longer go from death to death, but go to Krishna, i. e., not be reborn.

It is advised that, in his action, a person imitate Krishna: 'Works do not bind Me, because I have no desire for the fruits of work. ' (4.14). To be free from desire for the fruits of work is to be unattached to one's actions, not to care one way or the other about the results of one's actions. Only adopting this attitude will result in not being bound by Karma, which means that one will escape the consequences of willful or intentional action, which is continuation in samsara, the cycle of birth and death. 5.

Bhagavad Gita 5.1-11 Arjuna said: O Krishna, You praise transcendental knowledge (the Saamkhya or Karma-Samnyasa) and also performance of unattached action, Karma-yoga. Tell me, definitely, which one is better of the two. (See also 5.05) (5.01) (Karma-Samnyasa means renunciation of doer ship, ownership, and selfish motive behind an action, and not the renunciation of work, or the worldly objects. Karma-Samnyasa comes only after the dawn of Self-knowledge. Therefore, words Jnana, Saamkhya, Samnyasa, and Karma-Samnyasa are used interchangeably throughout the Gita.

Renunciation is considered the goal of life, and Karma and Jnana are the necessary means to achieve the goal.) The Supreme Lord said: Karma-Samnyasa, and Karma-yoga both lead to the Supreme. But, of the two, Karma-yoga is superior to Karma-Samnyasa. (5.02) A person should be considered a true Samnyasi or renunciant who neither likes nor dislikes. Because, free from the dualities, O Arjuna, one is easily liberated from bondage. (5.03) The ignorant, not the wise, consider Karma-Samnyasa and Karma-yoga as different from each other. The person who has truly mastered one, gets the benefits of both.

(5.04) Whatever goal a Samnyasi reaches, a Karma-yogi also reaches the same goal. One who sees the path of renunciation and the path of work as the same, really sees. (See also 6.01 and 6.02) (5.05) But Samnyasa, O Arjuna, is difficult to attain without Karma-yoga. A Karma-yogi sage quickly attains Brahman. (See also 4.31, and 4.38) (5.06) A Karma-yogi whose mind is pure, whose mind and senses are under control, and who sees one and the same Self in all beings, is not bound (by Karma) though engaged in work. (5.07) A Samnyasi who knows the truth thinks: I do nothing at all.

For in seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, eating, walking, sleeping, breathing; and (5.08) Speaking, giving, taking, opening and closing the eyes, a Samnyasi believes that only the senses are operating upon their sense objects. (See also 3.27, 13.29, and 14.19) (5.09) One who does all work as an offering to the Lord, abandoning attachment to the results, is as untouched by sin (or Karmic reaction) as a lotus leaf is untouched by water. (5.10) A Karma-yogi performs action by body, mind, intellect, and senses, without attachment (or ego), only for self-purification. (5.11) Krishna distinguishes two ways to the Supreme, which are actually the same. There is the one who has renounced action because of transcendental knowledge, knowledge that goes beyond all duality (Karma-Samnyasa). Such a one has realized that ultimately there is no doer, since the true Self is Atman.

What 'does' is merely the senses acting on sense objects: 'A Samnyasi who knows the truth thinks: I do nothing at all. For in seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, eating, walking, sleeping, breathing; and speaking, giving, taking, opening and closing the eyes, a Samnyasi believes that only the senses are operating upon their sense objects. ' (The assumption is that without the senses and sense objects there can be no doing.) In other words, the true Self is separated from the apparent self, identified with the body and its functions, in particular, the five senses that bring the body into contact with other material objects and lead one to act with the body. The result of this realization of the the separation of the true Self from the apparent is inaction, for, when one realizes that one is essentially a non-actor, one stops acting as if one were.

This leads to minimizing all 'doing. ' Although recognizing the value of Karma-Samnyasa, Krishna prefers the performance of unattached action (Karma-yoga), presumably for reasons given earlier. Instead of renouncing action, however, the Karma-yogi acts without any attachment to the results of the action, because he or she knows that the true Self does not act and is not affected by the consequences of action. 6. Bhagavad Gita 7.5-14 The mind, intellect, ego, ether, air, fire, water, and earth are the eightfold transformation of My Prakriti.

(See also 13.05) (7.04) (That which creates diversity, and all that can be seen or known is called Prakriti. Prakriti is also the material cause or the material out of which everything is made. Prakriti is the original source of the material world consisting of three Gunas, and eight basic elements out of which everything in this universe has evolved according to Saamkhya doctrine. Prakriti is also referred to as Asat, perishable, body, matter, nature, material nature, Maya, Mah at Brahma, field, creation, and manifest state.) This Prakriti is My lower energy. My other higher energy is the Purusha by which this entire universe is sustained, O Arjuna. (7.05) (Purusha is the consciousness that observes, witnesses, watches, and supervises Prakriti.

It is the spiritual energy or the efficient cause of the universe. This is also referred to as Sat, imperishable, Atman, consciousness, spirit, self, soul, energy, field knower, creator, and the un manifest state. Prakriti and Purusha are not two independent identities but the two aspects of Brahman, the Absolute Reality.) Know that all creatures have evolved from this twofold energy, and Brahman is the origin as well as the dissolution of the entire universe. (See also 13.26) (7.06) O Arjuna, there is nothing higher than Brahman.

Everything in the universe is strung on Brahman like jewels on the thread of a necklace. (7.07) O Arjuna, I am the sapidity in the water, I am the radiance in the sun and the moon, the sacred syllable OM in all the Vedas, the sound in the ether, and the manhood in men. (7.08) I am the sweet fragrance in the earth. I am the heat in the fire, the life in all living beings, and the austerity in the ascetics. (7.09) O Arjuna, know Me to be the eternal seed of all creatures. I am the intelligence of the intelligent, and the brilliance of the brilliant.

(See also 9.18 and 10.39) (7.10) I am the strength, that is devoid of lust and attachment, of the strong. I am the lust (or Karma) in human beings that is in accord with Dharma (for procreation), O Arjuna. (7.11) Know that the three Gunas, Saattvika, Raajasika, and Taamasika, also emanate from Me. I am not in (or dependent on) the Gunas, but the Gunas are in (or dependent on) Me.

(See also 9.04 and 9.05) (7.12) Human beings are deluded by these three Gunas of nature; therefore, they do not know Me who is above these Gunas and eternal. (7.13) My divine Maya consisting of three Gunas or states of mind is difficult to overcome. Only they who surrender unto Me cross over this Maya. (See also 14.26, 15.19, and 18.66) (7.14) Krishna is identified as Brahman, the ultimate reality behind the apparent pluralism of the world. All things are dependent on Krishna or Brahman for their existence.

Prakriti is said to be Krishna's lower energy, which undergoes an eightfold transformation into mind, intellect, ego, ether, air, fire, water, and earth, which are the elements out of which the world of multiplicity (maya) is composed. These eight elements constitute all corporeal existence and non-corporeal existence or individual sentience which is based on the corporeal. Krishna's higher nature is purusha, by which the universe is sustained. The difference between Krishna as prakrit i and Krishna as purusha is roughly the difference between matter and spirit, the combination of which accounts for the universe; the latter is that which causes the former to become what it can become, so that matter is passive and potentiality whereas spirit is active and actuality. Purusha is also that which causes all consciousness, being the ultimate subject of all sentience or knowing. All things derive from the interaction of prakrit i and purusha, but ultimately they derive from Brahman: 'Know that all creatures have evolved from this twofold energy, and Brahman is the origin as well as the dissolution of the entire universe.

' Krishna as prakrit i also consists of three gun as or qualities of nature, which are the principles of the universe: 'Know that the three Gunas, Saattvika, Raajasika, and Taamasika, also emanate from Me. ' The three gun as of prakrit i, of material and sensible existence, are said to be sat tva (light, intelligence, goodness), rajas (fire, passion, power), tam as (darkness, ignorance). Human beings are deceived into accepting the three gun as as ultimate, not seeing that Krishna is above these and they are dependent on him. The three gun as are the maya of Krishna, since they are those basic elements of all things; this maya is also that which conceals Krishna.

7. Bhagavad Gita 10.19-42 The Supreme Lord said: O Arjuna, now I shall explain to you My prominent divine manifestations, because My manifestations are endless. (10.19) O Arjuna, I am the Atman abiding in the heart of all beings. I am also the beginning, the middle, and the end of all beings. (10.20) I am Vishnu among the (twelve) sons of Adit i, I am the radiant sun among the luminaries, I am Mar ici among the gods of wind, I am the moon among the stars. (10.21) I am the Sama Veda among the Vedas; I am Indra among the Devas; I am the mind among the senses; I am the consciousness in living beings.

(10.22) I am Shiva among the Rudras; (I am) Kucera among the Yakshas and demons; I am the fire among the Vasus; and I am Meru among the mountain peaks. (10.23) Among the priests, O Arjuna, know Me to be the chief, Brihaspati. Among the army generals, I am Skanda; I am the ocean among the bodies of water. (10.24) I am the origin or seed of all beings, O Arjuna. There is nothing, animate or inanimate, that can exist without Me. (See also 7.10 and 9.18) (10.39) There is no end of My divine manifestations, O Arjuna.

This is only a brief description by Me of the extent of My divine manifestations. (10.40) Whatever is endowed with glory, brilliance, and power; know that to be a manifestation of a fraction of My splendor. (10.41) What is the need for this detailed knowledge, O Arjuna? I continually support the entire universe by a small fraction of My energy. (10.42) Krishna describes himself in absolute terms as everything, as the reality that stands behind the reality of the visible, pluralistic world, as the Atman or consciousness in all sentient beings and even as all the gods. Krishna is that by which all things exist: 'There is nothing, animate or inanimate, that can exist without Me.

' He asks, 'What is the need for this detailed knowledge, O Arjuna? ' The manifestations of Krishna are nothing compared to Krishna in himself. 8. Bhagavad Gita 11.5-9, 53-55 O Lord, You are as You have said, yet I wish to see Your divine cosmic form, O Supreme Being. (11.03) O Lord, if You think it is possible for me to see this, then O Lord of the yogis, show me Your imperishable Self. (11.04) The Supreme Lord said: O Arjuna, behold My hundreds and thousands of multifarious divine forms of different colors and shapes.

(11.05) See the A dityas, the Vasus, the Rudras, the Ash vins, and the Maruts. Behold, O Arjuna, many wonders never seen before. (11.06) O Arjuna, now behold the entire creation; animate, inanimate, and whatever else you like to see; all at one place in My body. (11.07) But, you are not able to see Me with your physical eye; therefore, I give you the divine eye to see My majestic power and glory.

(11.08) Sanjaya said: O King, having said this; Lord Krishna, the great Lord of (the mystic power of) yoga, revealed His supreme majestic form to Arjuna. (11.09) Neither by study of the Vedas, nor by austerity, nor by charity, nor by ritual, can I be seen in this form as you have seen Me. (11.53) However, through single-minded devotion alone, I can be seen in this form, can be known in essence, and also can be reached, O Arjuna. (11.54) The one who does all works for Me, and to whom I am the supreme goal, who is my devotee, who has no attachment, and is free from enmity towards any being attains Me, O Arjuna. (See also 8.22) (11.55) Krishna says that he may assumes many forms. He then reveals himself to Arjuna in his supreme divine form: 'Arjuna saw the entire universe, divided in many ways, but standing as (all in) One (and One in all) in the body of Krishna, the God of gods' (11.13).

Krishna also reveals himself as all-powerful time, which destroys all things. He explains that only by love or devotion towards him can human beings see him in his supreme form; the one who does so goes to Krishna after death (10.53-55). 9. Bhagavad Gita 13.5-23 The five basic elements, the 'I' consciousness or ego, the intellect, the un manifest Prakriti, the ten senses, the mind, and the five sense objects; (See also 7.04) (13.05) Desire, hatred, pleasure, pain, the physical body, consciousness, and resolve. Thus the field (the creation or body) has been briefly described with its transformations. (13.06) Humility, modesty, nonviolence, forbearance, honesty, service to guru, purity (of thought, word, and deed), steadfastness, self-control; and (13.07) Aversion towards sense objects, absence of ego, constant reflection on the agony and suffering inherent in birth, old age, disease, and death.

(13.08) Detachment, non-fondness with son, wife, and home; unfailing equanimity upon attainment of the desirable and the undesirable; and (13.09) Unswerving devotion to Me by the yoga of exclusivity, love for solitude, distaste for social gossips; and (13.10) Steadfastness in knowledge of the Supreme Spirit, and the perception of (the omnipresent God as) the object of true knowledge is called knowledge; what is contrary to this is ignorance. (13.11) I shall fully describe the object of knowledge, knowing which one attains immortality. The beginning less Supreme Brahman is said to be neither Sat nor Asat. (See also 9.19) (13.12) Having hands and feet everywhere; having eyes, head, and face everywhere; having ears everywhere; the creator exists in the creation by pervading everything.

(13.13) He is the perceiver of all sense objects without the senses; unattached, yet the sustainer of all; devoid of the Gunas, yet the enjoyer of the Gunas. (13.14) He is inside as well as outside all beings, animate and inanimate. He is incomprehensible because of His subtlety. He is very near as well as far away.

(13.15) Undivided, yet appears as if divided in beings; He, the object of knowledge, is the creator, sustainer, and destroyer of (all) beings. (13.16) The light of all lights, He is said to be beyond darkness. He is the knowledge, the object of knowledge, and seated in the hearts of all beings, He is to be realized by the knowledge. (13.17) Thus the creation as well as the knowledge and the object of knowledge have been briefly described. Understanding this, My devotee attains Me. (13.18) Know that Prakriti and Purusha are both beginning less; and also know that all manifestations and Gunas arise from the Prakriti.

(13.19) The Prakriti is said to be the cause of production of physical body and organs (of perception and action). The Purusha (or the consciousness) is said to be the cause of experiencing pleasures and pains. (13.20) The Purusha associating with Prakriti (or matter), enjoys the Gunas of Prakriti. Attachment to the Gunas (due to ignorance caused by previous Karma) is the cause of the birth of Jeevaatma in good and evil wombs. (13.21) (Jeevaatma or Jeeva is defined as Atman accompanied by the subtle (or astral) body consisting of the six sensory faculties and vital forces; the living entity; the individual soul enshrined in the physical body.) The Supreme Spirit in the body is also called the witness, the guide, the supporter, the enjoyer, and the great Lord or Paramaatman. (13.22) They who truly understand Purusha and Prakriti with its Gunas are not born again regardless of their mode of life.

(13.23) Krishna compares the human body to a (battle) field; the field as the material part of the human being is then analysed into its component parts. There are 'five basic elements' (i. e., earth, air, fire, water and ether) of which the human being as body is composed; there are also the 'I' consciousness or ego, the intellect and the un manifest prakrit i. It seems that the 'I' consciousness or ego is that which gives a person a sense of identity; the intellect is consciousness and the un manifest prakrit i is that which is not yet manifested, not yet in existence. A human being has ten senses, five sense organs (eye, ear nose tongue and skin) and five motor organs (hand, foot, mouth, anus and genital organ). There is also a mind that supervenes over the ten senses.

Also there are five sense objects (sound, touch color, taste and smell). Also included as part of the 'field' are 'desire, hatred, pleasure, pain, the physical body, consciousness, and resolve. ' The knower of the field is the true Self, the Atman; when one knows oneself as the knower one has understood one's true nature. Following this is a description of the recommended mode of being in all its particulars, which leads to vision of reality or wisdom (13.7-11). Next the end or goal of a human being's vision is described, the achievement of which results in immortality: it is Brahman. Brahman is is said to be neither sat nor a sat, i. e., beyond existence and non existence.

Brahman is the creator but is in the creation, pervading everywhere, but being imperceptible. All consciousness of sense objects, which consist ultimately of the three gun as, is that of Brahman. Being in all beings, Brahman may appear to be divided, but is not (13.12-19). Next, the prakrit i is said to be the cause of the materiality of the body, whereas purusha is the cause of consciousness of objects.

Because it is associated with prakrit i, purusha becomes attached to the gun as, the three principles of prakrit i. This attachments leads to the rebirth of (the individual soul) into other bodies. The Supreme Spirit in the body, as Atman, is called the, as distinct from the. 10. Bhagavad Gita 14.1-8, 19-20 The Supreme Lord said: I shall further explain to you that supreme knowledge, the best of all knowledge, knowing that all the sages have attained supreme perfection after this life. (14.01) Those who have taken refuge in this knowledge attain unity with Me, and are neither born at the time of creation nor afflicted at the time of dissolution.

(14.02) O Arjuna, My Prakriti (or the material nature) is the womb wherein I place the seed (of spirit or Purusha) from which all beings are born. (See also 9.10) (14.03) Whatever forms are produced in all different wombs, O Arjuna, the great Prakriti is their (body-giving) mother, and the Purusha is the (seed or life-giving) father. (14.04) Sattva or goodness, Rajas or activity, and Tamas or inertia; these three Gunas (or states) of mind (or Prakriti) bind the imperishable soul to the body, O Arjuna. (14.05) Of these, Sattva, being calm, is illuminating and ethical. It fetters the embodied being, the Jeevaatma or Purusha, by attachment to happiness and knowledge, O Arjuna.

(14.06) O Arjuna, know that Rajas is characterized by intense (selfish) activity and is born of desire and attachment. It binds the Jeeva by attachment to the fruits of work. (14.07) Know, O Arjuna, that Tamas, the deluder of Jeeva, is born of inertia. It binds by ignorance, laziness, and (excessive) sleep. (14.08) When visionaries perceive no doer other than the Gunas (or the power of Brahman), and know That which is above and beyond the Gunas; then they attain nirvana. (See also 3.27, 5.09, and 13.29) (14.19) When one transcends (or rises above) the three Gunas that originate in the mind; one is freed from birth, old age, disease, and death; and attains nirvana.

(14.20) The metaphor of reproduction is used to describe the interrelation of prakrit i and purusha: prakrit i is like a womb which receives the seed, purusha. Krishna says, 'Whatever forms are produced in all different wombs, O Arjuna, the great Prakriti is their (body-giving) mother, and the Purusha is the (seed or life-giving) father. These are conceived as three principles that give to material existence its nature. The three gun as also correspond to three modes of human existence, each of which binds the individual self (je eva) to the body. Although being in the mode of is preferred, since at death it results in rebirth among those seeking the truth, it is better to transcend completely the material and sensible realm: 'When one transcends (or rises above) the three Gunas that originate in the mind; one is freed from birth, old age, disease, and death; and attains nirvana' (14.20).

When a person understands that the powers or qualities of nature alone are the agents of action, responsible for events in the realm of changing existence and that the true self is separated from what appears to be the self in the material realm, then one enters into nirvana or the being of Krishna. The result is indifference to or detachment from changing existence..