Key Verses from the Bhagavad Gita
Date: May 08, 2016
Tags: Bhagavad Gita, Slokas, Verses, Death
English Translation by A.C.
Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Gita Press~ and Eknath Easwaran*.
What happens after we die? Is god there? How do we know?
If we really want to know, the answer is below.
There is no shortcut, one has to understand the whole context.
To have success in meditation, in trying to reach god, one must first
understand the context.
If we incorporate these learnings in our lives, we will realize
The Blessed Lord said: While speaking learned words, you are mourning for
what is not worthy of grief. Those who are wise lament neither for the
living nor the dead.
Never was there a time when I did not exist, nor you, nor all these kings;
nor in the future shall any of us cease to be.
As the embodied soul continually passes, in this body, from boyhood to
youth to old age, the soul similarly passes into another body at death.
The self-realized soul is not bewildered by such a change.
O best among men [Arjuna], the person who is not disturbed by happiness
and distress and is steady in both is certainly eligible for liberation.
Know that which pervades the entire body is indestructible. No one is able
to destroy the imperishable soul.
He who thinks that the living entity is the slayer or that he is slain,
does not understand. One who is in knowledge knows that the self slays not
nor is slain.
For the soul there is never birth nor death. Nor, having once been, does
he ever cease to be. He is unborn, eternal, ever-existing, undying and
primeval. He is not slain when the body is slain.
As a person puts on new garments, giving up old ones, similarly, the soul
accepts new material bodies, giving up the old and useless ones.
The soul can never be cut into pieces by any weapon, nor can he be burned
by fire, nor moistened by water, nor withered by the wind.
This individual soul is unbreakable and insoluble, and can be neither
burned nor dried. He is everlasting, all-pervading, unchangeable,
immovable and eternally the same.
It is said that the soul is invisible, inconceivable, immutable, and
unchangeable. Knowing this, you should not grieve for the body.
For one who has taken his birth, death is certain; and for one who is
dead, birth is certain. Therefore, in the unavoidable discharge of your
duty, you should not lament.
O descendant of Bharata, he who dwells in the body is eternal and can
never be slain. Therefore you need not grieve for any creature.
Thus far I have declared to you the analytical knowledge of sankhya
philosophy. Now listen to the knowledge of yoga whereby one works without
fruitive result. O son of Prtha, when you act by such intelligence, you
can free yourself from the bondage of works.
In this endeavor there is no loss or diminution, and a little advancement
on this path can protect one from the most dangerous type of fear.
In the minds of those who are too attached to sense enjoyment and material
opulence, and who are bewildered by such things, the resolute
determination of devotional service to the Supreme Lord does not take
The Vedas mainly deal with the subject of the three modes of material
nature. Rise above these modes, O Arjuna. Be transcendental to all of
them. Be free from all dualities and from all anxieties for gain and
safety, and be established in the Self.
You have a right to perform your prescribed duty, but you are not entitled
to the fruits of action. Never consider yourself to be the cause of the
results of your activities, and never be attached to not doing your duty.
Be steadfast in yoga, O Arjuna. Perform your duty and abandon all
attachment to success or failure. Such evenness of mind is called yoga.
A man engaged in devotional service rids himself of both good and bad
actions even in this life. Therefore strive for yoga, O Arjuna, which is
the art of all work.
The wise, engaged in devotional service, take refuge in the Lord, and free
themselves from the cycle of birth and death by renouncing the fruits of
action in the material world. In this way they can attain that state
beyond all miseries.
The Blessed Lord said: O Partha, when a man gives up all varieties of
sense desire which arise from mental concoction, and when his mind finds
satisfaction in the self alone, then he is said to be in pure
One who is not disturbed in spite of the threefold miseries, who is not
elated when there is happiness, and who is free from attachment, fear and
anger, is called a sage of steady mind.
He who is without attachment, who does not rejoice when he obtains good,
nor lament when he obtains evil, is firmly fixed in perfect knowledge.
One who is able to withdraw his senses from sense objects, as the tortoise
draws his limbs within the shell, is to be understood as truly situated in
The embodied soul may be restricted from sense enjoyment, though the taste
for sense objects remains. But, ceasing such engagements by experiencing a
higher taste, he is fixed in consciousness.
The senses are so strong and impetuous, O Arjuna, that they forcibly carry
away the mind even of a man of discrimination who is endeavoring to
One who restrains his senses and fixes his consciousness upon Me is known
as a man of steady intelligence.
While contemplating the objects of the senses, a person develops
attachment for them, and from such attachment lust develops, and from lust
From anger, delusion arises, and from delusion bewilderment of memory.
When memory is bewildered, intelligence is lost, and when intelligence is
lost, one falls down again into the material pool.
One who can control his senses by practicing the regulated principles of
freedom can obtain the complete mercy of the Lord and thus become free
from all attachment and aversion.
For one who is so situated in the Divine consciousness, the threefold
miseries of material existence exist no longer; in such a happy state,
one's intelligence soon becomes steady.
One who is not in transcendental consciousness can have neither a
controlled mind nor steady intelligence, without which there is no
possibility of peace. And how can there be any happiness without peace?
As a boat on the water is swept away by a strong wind, even one of the
senses on which the mind focuses can carry away a man's intelligence.
Therefore, O mighty-armed, one whose senses are restrained from their
objects is certainly of steady intelligence.
What is night for all beings is the time of awakening for the
self-controlled; and the time of awakening for all beings is night for the
A person who is not disturbed by the incessant flow of desires that enter
like rivers into the ocean which is ever being filled but is always still,
can alone achieve peace, and not the man who strives to satisfy such
A person who has given up all desires for sense gratification, who lives
free from desires, who has given up all sense of proprietorship and is
devoid of false ego-he alone can attain real peace.
That is the way of the spiritual and godly life, after attaining which a
man is not bewildered. Being so situated, even at the hour of death, one
can enter into the kingdom of God.
One who restrains the senses and organs of action, but whose mind dwells
on sense objects, certainly deludes himself and is called a pretender.
On the other hand, he who controls the senses by the mind and engages his
active organs in works of devotion, without attachment, is by far
Perform your prescribed duty, for action is better than inaction. A man
cannot even maintain his physical body without work.
Work done as a sacrifice for Visnu has to be performed, otherwise work
binds one to this material world. Therefore, O son of Kunti, perform your
prescribed duties for His satisfaction, and in that way you will always
remain unattached and free from bondage.
One who is, however, taking pleasure in the self, who is illumined in the
self, who rejoices in and is satisfied with the self only, fully
satiated-for him there is no duty.
A self-realized man has no purpose to fulfill in the discharge of his
prescribed duties, nor has he any reason not to perform such work. Nor has
he any need to depend on any other living being.
Therefore, without being attached to the fruits of activities, one should
act as a matter of duty; for by working without attachment, one attains
Even kings like Janaka and others attained the perfectional stage by
performance of prescribed duties. Therefore, just for the sake of
educating the people in general, you should perform your work.
O son of Prtha, there is no work prescribed for Me within all the three
planetary systems. Nor am I in want of anything, nor have I need to obtain
anything - and yet I am engaged in work.
One who is in knowledge of the Absolute Truth, O mighty-armed, does not
engage himself in the senses and sense gratification, knowing well the
differences between work in devotion and work for fruitive results.
Bewildered by the modes of material nature, the ignorant fully engage
themselves in material activities and become attached. But the wise should
not unsettle them, although these duties are inferior due to the
performer's lack of knowledge.
Attraction and repulsion for sense objects are felt by embodied beings,
but one should not fall under the control of senses and sense objects
because they are stumbling blocks on the path of self-realization.
It is far better to discharge one's prescribed duties, even though they
may be faulty, than another's duties. Destruction in the course of
performing one's own duty is better than engaging in another's duties, for
to follow another's path is dangerous.
The Blessed Lord said: It is lust only, Arjuna, which is born of contact
with the material modes of passion and later transformed into wrath, and
which is the all-devouring, sinful enemy of this world.
As fire is covered by smoke, as a mirror is covered by dust, or as the
embryo is covered by the womb, similarly, the living entity is covered by
different degrees of this lust.
Thus, a man's pure consciousness is covered by his eternal enemy in the
form of lust, which is never satisfied and which burns like fire.
The senses, the mind and the intelligence are the sitting places of this
lust, which veils the real knowledge of the living entity and bewilders
Therefore, O Arjuna, best of the Bharatas, in the very beginning curb this
great symbol of sin [lust] by regulating the senses, and slay this
destroyer of knowledge and self-realization.
The working senses are superior to dull matter; mind is higher than the
senses; intelligence is still higher than the mind; and he [the soul] is
even higher than the intelligence.
Thus knowing oneself to be transcendental to material senses, mind and
intelligence, one should control the lower self by the higher self and
thus - by spiritual strength - conquer this insatiable enemy known as
The Blessed Lord said: Many, many births both you and I have passed. I can
remember all of them, but you cannot, O subduer of the enemy!
One who knows the transcendental nature of My appearance and activities
does not, upon leaving the body, take his birth again in this material
world, but attains My eternal abode, O Arjuna.
Being freed from attachment, fear and anger, being fully absorbed in Me
and taking refuge in Me, many, many persons in the past became purified by
knowledge of Me - and thus they all attained transcendental love for Me.
All of them - as they surrender unto Me - l reward accordingly. Everyone
follows My path in all respects, O son of Prtha.
There is no work that affects Me; nor do I aspire for the fruits of
action. One who understands this truth about Me also does not become
entangled in the fruitive reactions of work.
All the liberated souls in ancient times acted with this understanding and
so attained liberation. Therefore, as the ancients, you should perform
your duty in this divine consciousness.
One who sees inaction in action, and action in inaction, is intelligent
among men, and he is in the transcendental position, although engaged in
all sorts of activities.
One is understood to be in full knowledge whose every act is devoid of
desire for sense gratification. He is said by sages to be a worker whose
fruitive action is burned up by the fire of perfect knowledge.
Abandoning all attachment to the results of his activities, ever satisfied
and independent, he performs no fruitive action, although engaged in all
kinds of undertakings.
Such a man of understanding acts with mind and intelligence perfectly
controlled, gives up all sense of proprietorship over his possessions and
acts only for the bare necessities of life. Thus working, he is not
affected by sinful reactions.
He who is satisfied with gain which comes of its own accord, who is free
from duality and does not envy, who is steady both in success and failure,
is never entangled, although performing actions.
The work of a man who is unattached to the modes of material nature and
who is fully situated in transcendental knowledge merges entirely into
Those who are interested in self-realization, in terms of mind and sense
control, offer the functions of all the senses, as well as the vital force
[breath], as oblations into the fire of the controlled mind.
Even if you are considered to be the most sinful of all sinners, when you
are situated in the boat of transcendental knowledge, you will be able to
cross over the ocean of miseries.
A faithful man who is absorbed in transcendental knowledge and who subdues
his senses, quickly attains the supreme spiritual peace.
Therefore, one who has renounced the fruits of his action, whose doubts
are destroyed by transcendental knowledge, and who is situated firmly in
the self, is not bound by (reactions of) work, O conqueror of riches.
One who neither hates nor desires the fruits of his activities is known to
be always renounced. Such a person, liberated from all dualities, easily
overcomes material bondage and is completely liberated, O mighty-armed
One who works in devotion, who is a pure soul, and who controls his mind
and senses, is dear to everyone, and everyone is dear to him. Though
always working, such a man is never entangled.
A person in the divine (god) consciousness, although engaged in seeing,
hearing, touching, smelling, eating, moving about, sleeping, and
breathing, always knows within himself that he actually does nothing at
all. Because while speaking, evacuating, receiving, opening or closing his
eyes, he always knows that only the material senses are engaged with their
objects and that he is aloof from them.
One who performs his duty without attachment, surrendering the results
unto the Supreme God, is not affected by sinful action, as the lotus leaf
is untouched by water.
The yogis, abandoning attachment, act with body, mind, intelligence, and
even with the senses, only for the purpose of purification.
The steadily devoted soul attains unadulterated peace because he offers
the result of all activities to Me; whereas a person who is not in union
with the Divine, who is greedy for the fruits of his labor, becomes
When the embodied living being controls his nature and mentally renounces
all actions, he resides happily in the city of nine gates [the material
body], neither working nor causing work to be done.
When one's intelligence, mind, faith and refuge are all fixed in the
Supreme, then one becomes fully cleansed of misgivings through complete
knowledge and thus proceeds straight on the path of liberation.
A person who neither rejoices upon achieving something pleasant nor
laments upon obtaining something unpleasant, who is self-intelligent,
unbewildered, and who knows the science of God, is to be understood as
already situated in Transcendence.
Such a liberated person is not attracted to material sense pleasure or
external objects but is always in trance, enjoying the pleasure within. In
this way the self-realized person enjoys unlimited happiness, for he
concentrates on the Supreme.
An intelligent person does not take part in the sources of misery, which
are due to contact with the material senses. O son of Kunti, such
pleasures have a beginning and an end, and so the wise man does not
delight in them.
Before, giving up this present body, if one is able to tolerate the urges
of the material senses and check the force of desire and anger, he is a
yogi and is happy in this world.
One whose happiness is within, who is active within, who rejoices within
and is illumined within, is actually the perfect mystic. He is liberated
in the Supreme, and ultimately he attains the Supreme.
One who is beyond duality and doubt, whose mind is engaged within, who is
always busy working for the welfare of all sentient beings, and who is
free from all sins, achieves liberation in the Supreme.
Those who are free from anger and all material desires, who are
self-realized, self-disciplined and constantly endeavoring for perfection,
are assured of liberation in the Supreme in the very near future.
Shutting out all external sense objects, keeping the eyes and vision
concentrated between the two eyebrows, suspending the inward and outward
breaths within the nostrils - thus controlling the mind, senses and
intelligence, the transcendentalist becomes free from desire, fear and
anger. One who is always in this state is certainly liberated.
The Blessed Lord said: One who is unattached to the fruits of his work and
who works as he is obligated is in the renounced order of life, and he is
the true mystic: not he who lights no fire and performs no work.
What is called renunciation is the same as yoga, or linking oneself with
the Supreme, for no one can become a yogi unless he renounces the desire
for sense gratification.
A person is said to have attained to yoga when, having renounced all
material desires, he neither acts for sense gratification nor engages in
A man must elevate himself by his own mind, not degrade himself. The mind
is the friend of the conditioned soul, and his enemy as well.
For him who has conquered the mind, the mind is the best of friends; but
for one who has failed to do so, his very mind will be the greatest enemy.
For one who has conquered the mind, the Supersoul is already reached, for
he has attained tranquility. To such a man happiness and distress, heat
and cold, honor and dishonor are all the same.
A person is said to be established in self-realization and is called a
yogi [or mystic] when he is fully satisfied by virtue of acquired
knowledge and realization. Such a person is situated in transcendence and
is self-controlled. He sees everything-whether it be pebbles, stones or
gold-as the same.
A person is said to be still further advanced when he regards all - the
honest well-wisher, friends and enemies, the envious, the pious, the
sinner and those who are indifferent and impartial - with an equal mind.
A transcendentalist should always try to concentrate his mind on the
Supreme Self; he should live alone in a secluded place and should always
carefully control his mind. He should be free from desires and feelings of
To practice yoga, one should go to a secluded place and should lay
kusa-grass on the ground and then cover it with a deerskin and a soft
cloth. The seat should neither be too high nor too low and should be
situated in a sacred place. The yogi should then sit on it very firmly and
should practice yoga by controlling the mind and the senses, purifying the
heart and fixing the mind on one point.
One should hold one's body, neck and head erect in a straight line and
stare steadily at the tip of the nose. Thus, with an unagitated, subdued
mind, devoid of fear, completely free from sex life, one should meditate
upon Me within the heart and make Me the ultimate goal of life.
Thus practicing control of the body, mind and activities, the mystic
transcendentalist attains to the kingdom of God [or the abode of Krsna] by
cessation of material existence.
There is no possibility of one's becoming a yogi, O Arjuna, if one eats
too much, or eats too little, sleeps too much or does not sleep enough.
He who is temperate in his habits of eating, sleeping, working and
recreation can mitigate all material pains by practicing the yoga system.
When the yogi, by practice of yoga, disciplines his mental activities and
becomes situated in Transcendence - devoid of all material desires - he is
said to have attained yoga.
As a lamp in a windless place does not waver, so the transcendentalist,
whose mind is controlled, remains always steady in his meditation on the
The stage of perfection is called trance, or samadhi, when one's mind is
completely restrained from material mental activities by practice of yoga.
This is characterized by one's ability to see the self by the pure mind
and to relish and rejoice in the self. In that joyous state, one is
situated in boundless transcendental happiness and enjoys himself through
transcendental senses. Established thus, one never departs from the truth,
and upon gaining this he thinks there is no greater gain. Being situated
in such a position, one is never shaken, even in the midst of greatest
difficulty. This indeed is actual freedom from all miseries arising from
One should engage oneself in the practice of yoga with undeviating
determination and faith. One should abandon, without exception, all
material desires born of false ego and thus control all the senses on all
sides by the mind.
Gradually, step by step, with full conviction, one should become situated
in trance by means of intelligence, and thus the mind should be fixed on
the Self alone and should think of nothing else.
From whatever and wherever the mind wanders due to its flickering and
unsteady nature, one must certainly withdraw it and bring it back under
the control of the Self.
The yogi whose mind is fixed on Me verily attains the highest happiness.
By virtue of his identity with Brahman, he is liberated; his mind is
peaceful, his passions are quieted, and he is freed from sin.
Steady in the Self, being freed from all material contamination, the yogi
achieves the highest perfectional stage of happiness in touch with the
A true yogi observes Me in all beings, and also sees every being in Me.
Indeed, the self-realized man sees Me everywhere.
For one who sees Me everywhere and sees everything in Me, I am never lost,
nor is he ever lost to Me.
He is a perfect yogi who, by comparison to his own self, sees the true
equality of all beings, both in their happiness and distress, O Arjuna!
The Blessed Lord said: O mighty-armed son of Kunti, it is undoubtedly very
difficult to curb the restless mind, but it is possible by constant
practice and by detachment.
For one whose mind is unbridled, self-realization is difficult work. But
he whose mind is controlled and who strives by right means is assured of
success. That is My opinion.
The Blessed Lord said: Son of Prtha, a transcendentalist engaged in
auspicious activities does not meet with destruction either in this world
or in the spiritual world; one who does good, My friend, is never overcome
The unsuccessful yogi, after many, many years of enjoyment on the planets
of the pious living entities, is born into a family of righteous people,
or into a family of rich aristocracy. Or he takes his birth in a family of
transcendentalists who are surely great in wisdom. Verily, such a birth is
rare in this world. On taking such a birth, he again revives the divine
consciousness of his previous life, and he tries to make further progress
in order to achieve complete success, O son of Kuru.
By virtue of the divine consciousness of his previous life, he
automatically becomes attracted to the yogic principles - even without
seeking them. Such an inquisitive transcendentalist, striving for yoga,
stands always above the ritualistic principles of the scriptures.
But when the yogi engages himself with sincere endeavor in making further
progress, being washed of all contaminations, then ultimately, after many,
many births of practice, he attains the supreme goal.
A yogi is greater than the ascetic, greater than the empiricist and
greater than the fruitive worker. Therefore, O Arjuna, in all
circumstances, be a yogi.
And of all yogis, he who always abides in Me with great faith, worshiping
Me in transcendental loving service, is
most intimately united with Me in
yoga and is the highest of all.
Earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intelligence and false
ego-altogether these eight comprise My separated material energies.
Of all that is material and all that is spiritual in this world, know for
certain that I am both its origin and dissolution.
O conquerer of wealth [Arjuna], there is no Truth superior to Me.
Everything rests upon Me, as pearls are strung on a thread.
O son of Kunti [Arjuna], I am the taste of water, the light of the sun and
the moon, the syllable om in the Vedic mantras; I am the sound in ether
and ability in man.
I am the original fragrance of the earth, and I am the heat in fire. I am
the life of all that lives, and I am the penances of all ascetics.
O son of Prtha, know that I am the original seed of all existences, the
intelligence of the intelligent, and the prowess of all powerful men.
This divine energy of Mine, consisting of the three modes [goodness,
passion and ignorance] of material nature, is difficult to overcome. But
those who have surrendered unto Me can easily cross beyond it.
O best among the Bharatas [Arjuna], four kinds of pious men render
devotional service unto Me - the distressed, the desirer of wealth, the
inquisitive, and he who is searching for knowledge of the Absolute.
Of these, the wise one who is in full knowledge in union with Me through
pure devotional service is the best. For I am very dear to him, and he is
dear to Me.
All these devotees are undoubtedly magnanimous souls, but he who is
situated in knowledge of Me I consider verily to dwell in Me. Being
engaged in My transcendental service, he attains Me.
After many births and deaths, he who is actually in knowledge surrenders
unto Me, knowing Me to be the cause of all causes and all that is. Such a
great soul is very rare.
Unintelligent men, who know Me not, think that I have assumed this form
and personality. Due to their small knowledge, they do not know My higher
nature, which is changeless and supreme.
I am never manifest to the foolish and unintelligent. For them I am
covered by My eternal creative potency [yoga-maya]; and so the deluded
world knows Me not, who am unborn and infallible.
O Arjuna, as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, I know everything that
has happened in the past, all that is happening in the present, and all
things that are yet to come. I also know all living entities; but Me no
O scion of Bharata [Arjuna], O conquerer of the foe, all living entities
are born into delusion, overcome by the dualities of desire and hate.
Persons who have acted piously in previous lives and in this life, whose
sinful actions are completely eradicated and who are freed from the
duality of delusion, engage themselves in My service with determination.
Intelligent persons who are endeavoring for liberation from old age and
death take refuge in Me in devotional service. They are actually Brahman
because they entirely know everything about transcendental and fruitive
Those who know Me as the Supreme Lord, as the governing principle of the
material manifestation, who know Me as the one underlying all the demigods
and as the one sustaining all sacrifices, can, with steadfast mind,
understand and know Me even at the time of death.
The Supreme Lord said, The indestructible, transcendental living entity is
called Brahman, and his eternal nature is called the self. Action
pertaining to the development of these material bodies is called karma, or
Physical nature is known to be endlessly mutable. The universe is the
cosmic form of the Supreme Lord, and I am that Lord represented as the
Supersoul, dwelling in the heart of every embodied being.
And whoever, at the time of death, quits his body, remembering Me alone,
at once attains My nature. Of this there is no doubt.
Whatever state of being one remembers when he quits his body, that state
he will attain without fail.
Therefore, Arjuna, you should always think of Me in the form of Krsna and
at the same time carry out your prescribed duty of fighting. With your
activities dedicated to Me and your mind and intelligence fixed on Me, you
will attain Me without doubt.
He who meditates on the Supreme Personality of Godhead, his mind
constantly engaged in remembering Me, undeviated from the path, he, O
Partha [Arjuna] , is sure to reach Me.
One should meditate upon the Supreme Person as the one who knows
everything, as He who is the oldest, who is the controller, who is smaller
than the smallest, who is the maintainer of everything, who is beyond all
material conception, who is inconceivable, and who is always a person. He
is luminous like the sun and, being transcendental, is beyond this
One who, at the time of death, fixes his life air between the eyebrows and
in full devotion engages himself in remembering the Supreme Lord, will
certainly attain to the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Persons learned in the Vedas, who utter omkara and who are great sages in
the renounced order, enter into Brahman. Desiring such perfection, one
practices celibacy. I shall now explain to you this process by which one
may attain salvation.
The yogic situation is that of detachment from all sensual engagements.
Closing all the doors ofthe senses and fixing the mind on the heart and
the life air at the top of the head, one establishes himself in yoga.
After being situated in this yoga practice and vibrating the sacred
syllable om, the supreme combination of letters, if one thinks of the
Supreme Personality of Godhead and quits his body, he will certainly reach
the spiritual planets.
For one who remembers Me without deviation, I am easy to obtain, O son of
Prtha, because of his constant engagement in devotional service.
After attaining Me, the great souls, who are yogis in devotion, never
return to this temporary world, which is full of miseries, because they
have attained the highest perfection.
From the highest planet in the material world down to the lowest, all are
places of misery wherein repeated birth and death take place. But one who
attains to My abode, O son of Kunti, never takes birth again.
By human calculation, a thousand ages taken together is the duration of
Brahma's one day. And such also is the duration of his night. When
Brahma's day is manifest, this multitude of living entities comes into
being, and at the arrival of Brahma's night they are all annihilated.
Again and again the day comes, and this host of beings is active; and
again the night falls, O Partha, and they are helplessly dissolved.
Yet there is another nature, which is eternal and is transcendental to
this manifested and unmanifested matter. It is supreme and is never
annihilated. When all in this world is annihilated, that part remains as
That supreme abode is called unmanifested and infallible, and it is the
supreme destination. When one goes there, he never comes back. That is My
The Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is greater than all, is attainable
by unalloyed devotion. Although He is present in His abode, He is
all-pervading, and everything is situated within Him.
According to the Vedas, there are two ways of passing from this world -
one in light and one in darkness. When one passes in light, he does not
come back; but when one passes in darkness, he returns.
The devotees who know these two paths, O Arjuna, are never bewildered.
Therefore be always fixed in devotion.
A person who accepts the path of devotional service is not bereft of the
results derived from studying the Vedas, performing austere sacrifices,
giving charity or pursuing philosophical and fruitive activities. At the
end he reaches the supreme abode.
Those who are not faithful on the path of devotional service cannot attain
Me, O conqueror of foes, but return to birth and death in this material
By Me, in My unmanifested form, this entire universe is pervaded. All
beings are in Me, but I am not in them.
And yet everything that is created does not rest in Me. Behold My mystic
opulence! Although I am the maintainer of all living entities, and
although I am everywhere, still My Self is the very source of creation.
As the mighty wind, blowing everywhere, always rests in ethereal space,
know that in the same manner all beings rest in Me.
O son of Kunti, at the end of the millennium every material manifestation
enters into My nature, and at the beginning of another millennium, by My
potency I again create.
The whole cosmic order is under Me. By My will it is manifested again and
again, and by My will it is annihilated at the end.
O Dhananjaya, all this work cannot bind Me. I am ever detached, seated as
This material nature is working under My direction, O son of Kunti, and it
is producing all moving and unmoving beings. By its rule this
manifestation is created and annihilated again and again.
O son of Prtha, those who are not deluded, the great souls, are under the
protection of the divine nature. They are fully engaged in devotional
service because they know Me as the Supreme Personality of Godhead,
original and inexhaustible.
Always chanting My glories, endeavoring with great determination, bowing
down before Me, these great souls perpetually worship Me with devotion.
Others, who are engaged in the cultivation of knowledge, worship the
Supreme Lord as the one without a second, diverse in many, and in the
I am the goal, the sustainer, the master, the witness, the abode, the
refuge and the most dear friend. I am the creation and the annihilation,
the basis of everything, the resting place and the eternal seed.
O Arjuna, I control heat, the rain and the drought. I am immortality, and
I am also death personified. Both being and nonbeing are in Me.
Those who study the Vedas and drink the soma juice, seeking the heavenly
planets, worship Me indirectly. They take birth on the planet of Indra,
where they enjoy godly delights. When they have thus enjoyed heavenly
sense pleasure, they return to this mortal planet again. Thus, through the
Vedic principles, they achieve only flickering happiness. But those who
worship Me with devotion, meditating on My transcendental form - to them I
carry what they lack and preserve what they have.
I am the only enjoyer and the only object of sacrifice. Those who do not
recognize My true transcendental nature fall down.
Those who worship the demigods will take birth among the demigods; those
who worship ghosts and spirits will take birth among such beings; those
who worship ancestors go to the ancestors; and those who worship Me will
live with Me.
If one offers Me with love and devotion a leaf, a flower, fruit or water,
I will accept it.
O son of Kunti, all that you do, all that you eat, all that you offer and
give away, as well as all austerities that you may perform, should be done
as an offering unto Me.
In this way you will be freed from all reactions to good and evil deeds,
and by this principle of renunciation you will be liberated and come to
I envy no one, nor am I partial to anyone. I am equal to all. But whoever
renders service unto Me in devotion is a friend, is in Me, and I am also a
friend to him.
Even if one commits the most abominable actions, if he is engaged in
devotional service, he is to be considered saintly because he is properly
situated. He quickly becomes righteous and attains lasting peace. O son of
Kunti, declare it boldly that My devotee never perishes.
O son of Prtha, those who take shelter in Me, though they be of lower
birth - women, vaisyas [merchants], as well as Sudras [workers] - can
approach the supreme destination.
How much greater then are the brahmanas, the righteous, the devotees and
saintly kings who in this temporary miserable world engage in loving
service unto Me.
Engage your mind always in thinking of Me, offer obeisances and worship
Me. Being completely absorbed in Me, surely you will come to Me.
Neither the hosts of demigods nor the great sages know My origin, for, in
every respect, I am the source of the demigods and the sages.
He who knows Me as the unborn, as the beginningless, as the Supreme Lord
of all the worlds - he, undeluded among men, is freed from all sins.
Intelligence, knowledge, freedom from doubt and delusion, forgiveness,
truthfulness, self-control and calmness, pleasure and pain, birth, death,
fear, fearlessness, nonviolence, equanimity, satisfaction, austerity,
charity, fame and infamy are created by Me alone.
The seven great sages and before them the four other great sages and the
Manus [progenitors of mankind) are born out of My mind, and all creatures
in these planets descend from them.
He who knows in truth this glory and power of Mine engages in unalloyed
devotional service; of this there is no doubt.
I am the source of all spiritual and material worlds. Everything emanates
from Me. The wise who know this perfectly engage in My devotional service
and worship Me with all their hearts.
The thoughts of My pure devotees dwell in Me, their lives are surrendered
to Me, and they derive great satisfaction and bliss enlightening one
another and conversing about Me.
To those who are constantly, devoted and worship Me with love, I give the
understanding by which they can come to Me.
Out of compassion for them, I, dwelling in their hearts, destroy with the
shining lamp of knowledge the darkness born of ignorance.
Indeed, You alone know Yourself by Your own potencies, O origin of all,
Lord of all beings, God of gods, O Supreme Person, Lord of the universe!
I am the Self, O Gudakesa, seated in the hearts of all creatures. I am the
beginning, the middle and the end of all beings.
Of all creations I am the beginning and the end and also the middle, O
Arjuna. Of all sciences I am the spiritual science of the Self, and among
logicians I am the conclusive truth.
Furthermore, O Arjuna, I am the generating seed of all existences. There
is no being - moving or unmoving - that can exist without Me.
But you cannot see Me with your present eyes. Therefore I give to you
divine eyes by which you can behold My mystic opulence.
Arjuna saw in that universal form unlimited mouths and unlimited eyes. It
was all wondrous. The form was decorated with divine, dazzling ornaments
and arrayed in many garbs. He was garlanded gloriously, and there were
many scents smeared over His body. All was magnificent, all-expanding,
unlimited. This was seen by Arjuna.
If hundreds of thousands of suns rose up at once into the sky, they might
resemble the effulgence of the Supreme Person in that universal form.
At that time Arjuna could see in the universal form of the Lord the
unlimited expansions of the universe situated in one place although
divided into many, many thousands.
Then, bewildered and astonished, his hair standing on end, Arjuna began to
pray with folded hands, offering obeisances to the Supreme Lord.
Arjuna said: My dear Lord Krsna, I see assembled together in Your body all
the demigods and various other living entities. I see Brahma sitting on
the lotus flower as well as Lord Siva and many sages and divine serpents.
O Lord of the universe, I see in Your universal body many, many forms -
bellies, mouths, eyes - expanded without limit. There is no end, there is
no beginning, and there is no middle to all this.
Your form, adorned with various crowns, clubs and discs, is difficult to
see because of its glaring effulgence, which is fiery and immeasurable
like the sun.
You are the supreme primal objective; You are the best in all the
universes; You are inexhaustible, and You are the oldest; You are the
maintainer of religion, the eternal Personality of Godhead.
You are the origin without beginning, middle or end. You have numberless
arms, and the sun and moon are among Your great unlimited eyes. By Your
own radiance You are heating this entire universe.
Although You are one, You are spread throughout the sky and the planets
and all space between. O great one, as I behold this terrible form, I see
that all the planetary systems are perplexed.
All the demigods are surrendering and entering into You. They are very
much afraid, and with folded hands they are singing the Vedic hymns.
O mighty-armed one, all the planets with their demigods are disturbed at
seeing Your many faces, eyes, arms, bellies and legs and Your terrible
teeth, and as they are disturbed, so am I.
O all-pervading Visnu, I can no longer maintain my equilibrium. Seeing
Your radiant colors fill the skies and beholding Your eyes and mouths, I
O Lord of lords, O refuge of the worlds, please be gracious to me. I
cannot keep my balance seeing thus Your blazing deathlike faces and awful
teeth. In all directions I am bewildered.
All the sons of Dhrtarastra along with their allied kings, and Bhisma,
Drona and Karna, and all our soldiers are rushing into Your mouths, their
heads smashed by Your fearful teeth. I see that some are being crushed
between Your teeth as well.
As the rivers flow into the sea, so all these great warriors enter Your
blazing mouths and perish.
I see all people rushing with full speed into Your mouths as moths dash
into a blazing fire.
O Visnu, I see You devouring all people in Your flaming mouths and
covering the universe with Your immeasurable rays. Scorching the worlds,
You are manifest.
The Blessed Lord said: Time I am, destroyer of the worlds, and I have come
to engage all people. With the exception of you [the Pandavas], all the
soldiers here on both sides will be slain.
You are the Supreme Lord, to he worshiped by every living being. Thus I
fall down to offer You my respects and ask Your mercy. Please tolerate the
wrongs that I may have done to You and hear with me as a father with his
son, or a friend with his friend, or a lover with his beloved.
After seeing this universal form, which I have never seen before, I am
gladdened, but at the same time my mind is disturbed with fear. Therefore
please bestow Your grace upon me and reveal again Your form as the
Personality of Godhead, O Lord of lords, O abode of the universe.
Your mind has been perturbed upon seeing this horrible feature of Mine.
Now let it be finished. My devotee, be free from all disturbance. With a
peaceful mind you can now see the form you desire.
When Arjuna thus saw Krsna in His original form, he said: Seeing this
humanlike form, so very beautiful, my mind is now pacified, and I am
restored to my original nature.
My dear Arjuna, only by undivided devotional service can I be understood
as I am, standing before you, and can thus be seen directly. Only in this
way can you enter into the mysteries of My understanding.
My dear Arjuna, one who is engaged in My pure devotional service, free
from the contaminations of previous activities and from mental
speculation, who is friendly to every living entity, certainly comes to
The Blessed Lord said: He whose mind is fixed on My personal form, always
engaged in worshiping Me with great and transcendental faith, is
considered by Me to be most perfect.
But those who fully worship the unmanifested, that which lies beyond the
perception of the senses, the all-pervading, inconceivable, fixed, and
immovable - the impersonal conception of the Absolute Truth - by
controlling the various senses and being equally disposed to everyone,
such persons, engaged in the welfare of all, at last achieve Me.
For one who worships Me, giving up all his activities unto Me and being
devoted to Me without deviation, engaged in devotional service and always
meditating upon Me, who has fixed his mind upon Me, O son of Prtha, for
him I am the swift deliverer from the ocean of birth and death.
Just fix your mind upon Me, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and engage
all your intelligence in Me. Thus you will live in Me always, without a
If you cannot steadily fix the mind on Me, Arjuna, then seek to attain Me
through the Yoga of practice [practice of meditation].
If you are unequal even to the pursuit of such practice, be intent to work
for Me; you shall attain perfection (in the shape of My realization) even
by performing actions for My sake.
If you are unable to do even this, surrender yourself to me, disciplining
yourself and renouncing the results of all your actions.
If you cannot take to this practice, then engage yourself in the
cultivation of knowledge. Better than knowledge, however, is meditation,
and better than meditation is renunciation of the fruits of action, for by
such renunciation one can attain peace of mind.
One who is not envious but who is a kind friend to all living entities,
who does not think himself a proprietor [owner] and is free from false
ego, who is equal in both happiness and distress, who is tolerant, always
satisfied, self-controlled, and engaged in devotional service with
determination, his mind and intelligence fixed on Me - he is very dear to
He for whom no one is put into difficulty and who is not disturbed by
anxiety, who is steady in happiness and distress, is very dear to Me.
He who wants nothing, who is both internally and externally pure, is wise
and impartial and has risen above all distractions, and who renounces the
sense of doership in all undertakings - such a devotee of Mine is dear to
One who neither grasps pleasure or grief, who neither laments nor desires,
and who renounces both auspicious and inauspicious things, is very dear to
That devotee who looks upon friend and foe with equal regard, who is not
buoyed up by praise nor cast down by blame, alike in heat and cold,
pleasure and pain, free from selfish attachments, the same in honor and
dishonor, quiet, ever full, in harmony everywhere, firm in faith - such a
one is dear to me.
He who follows this imperishable path of devotional service and who
completely engages himself with faith, making Me the supreme goal, is
very, very dear to Me.
The five great elements [earth, water, fire, air and ether], false ego,
intelligence, the unmanifested, the ten senses [eyes, ears, nose, tongue
and touch - voice, legs, hands, the anus and the genitals] and the mind,
the five sense objects [smell, taste, warmth, touch and sound], desire,
hatred, happiness, distress, the aggregate, the life symptoms, and
convictions - all these are considered, in summary, to be the field of
activities and its interactions.
Humility, pridelessness, nonviolence, tolerance, simplicity, approaching a
bona fide spiritual master, cleanliness, steadiness and self-control;
renunciation of the objects of sense gratification, absence of false ego,
the perception of the evil of birth, death, old age and disease;
nonattachment to children, wife, home and the rest, and evenmindedness
amid pleasant and unpleasant events; constant and unalloyed devotion to
Me, resorting to solitary places, detachment from the general mass of
people; accepting the importance of self-realization, and philosophical
search for the Absolute Truth - all these I thus declare to be knowledge,
and what is contrary to these is ignorance.
I shall now explain the knowable, knowing which you will taste the
eternal. This is beginningless, and it is subordinate to Me. It is called
Brahman, the spirit, and it lies beyond the cause and effect of this
Everywhere are His hands. and legs, His eyes and faces, and He hears
everything. In this way the Supersoul exists.
The Supersoul is the original source of all senses, yet He is without
senses. He is unattached, although He is the maintainer of all living
beings. He transcends the modes of nature, and at the same time He is the
master of all modes of material nature.
The Supreme Truth exists both internally and externally, in the moving and
nonmoving. He is beyond the power of the material senses to see or to
know. Although far, far away, He is also near to all.
Nature is said to be the cause of all material activities and effects,
whereas the living entity is the cause of the various sufferings and
enjoyments in this world.
The living entity in material nature thus follows the ways of life,
enjoying the three modes of nature [Sattva-guna, Rajo-guna, Tamo-guna].
This is due to his association with that material nature. Thus he meets
with good and evil amongst various species.
Yet in this body there is another, a transcendental enjoyer who is the
Lord, the supreme proprietor, who exists as the overseer and permitter,
and who is known as the Supersoul.
One who un
derstands this philosophy concerning material nature, the living
entity and the interaction of the modes of nature is sure to attain
liberation. He will not take birth here again, regardless of his present
That Supersoul is perceived by some through meditation, by some through
the cultivation of knowledge, and by others through working without
Again there are those who, although not conversant in spiritual knowledge,
begin to worship the Supreme Person upon hearing about Him from others.
Because of their tendency to hear from authorities, they also transcend
the path of birth and death.
O chief of the Bharatas, whatever you see in existence, both moving and
unmoving, is only the combination of the field of activities and the
knower of the field.
One who sees the Supersoul accompanying the individual soul in all bodies
and who understands that neither the soul nor the Supersoul is ever
destroyed, actually sees.
One who sees the Supersoul in every living being and equal everywhere does
not degrade himself by his mind. Thus he approaches the transcendental
One who can see that all activities are performed by the body, which is
created of material nature, and sees that the self does nothing, actually
When a sensible man ceases to see different identities, which are due to
different material bodies, he attains to the Brahman conception. Thus he
sees that beings are expanded everywhere.
Those with the vision of eternity can see that the soul is transcendental,
eternal, and beyond the modes of nature. Despite contact with the material
body, O Arjuna, the soul neither does anything nor is entangled.
The sky, due to its subtle nature, does not mix with anything, although it
is all-pervading. Similarly, the soul, situated in Brahman vision, does
not mix with the body, though situated in that body.
O son of Bharata, as the sun alone illuminates all this universe, so does
the living entity, one within the body, illuminate the entire body by
One who knowingly sees this difference between the body and the owner of
the body and can understand the process of liberation from this bondage,
also attains to the supreme goal.
By becoming fixed in this knowledge, one can attain to the transcendental
nature, which is like My own nature. Thus established, one is not born at
the time of creation nor disturbed at the time of dissolution.
The total material substance, called Brahman, is the source of birth, and
it is that Brahman that I impregnate, making possible the births of all
living beings, O son of Bharata.
It should he understood that all species of life, O son of Kunti, are made
possible by birth in this material nature, and that I am the seed-giving
Material nature consists of the three modes - goodness, passion and
ignorance. When the living entity comes in contact with nature, he becomes
conditioned by these modes.
O sinless one, the mode of goodness, being purer than the others, is
illuminating, and it frees one from all sinful reactions. Those situated
in that mode develop knowledge, but they become conditioned by the concept
The mode of passion is born of unlimited desires and longings, O son of
Kunti, and because of this one is bound to material fruitive activities.
O son of Bharata, the mode of ignorance causes the delusion of all living
entities. The result of this mode is madness, indolence and sleep, which
bind the conditioned soul.
The mode of goodness conditions one to happiness, passion conditions him
to the fruits of action, and ignorance to madness.
Sometimes the mode of passion becomes prominent, defeating the mode of
goodness; O son of Bharata. And sometimes the mode of goodness defeats
passion, and at other times the mode of ignorance defeats goodness and
passion. In this way there is always competition for supremacy.
The manifestations of the mode of goodness can be experienced when all the
gates of the body are illuminated by knowledge.
O chief of the Bharatas, when there is an increase in the mode of passion,
the symptoms of great attachment, uncontrollable desire, hankering, and
intense endeavor develop.
O son of Kuru, when there is an increase in the mode of ignorance,
madness, illusion, inertia and darkness are manifested.
When one dies in the mode of goodness, he attains to the pure higher
When one dies in the mode of passion, he takes birth among those engaged
in fruitive activities; and when he dies in the mode of ignorance, he
takes birth in the animal kingdom.
By acting in the mode of goodness, one becomes purified. Works done in the
mode of passion result in distress, and actions performed in the mode of
ignorance result in foolishness.
From the mode of goodness, real knowledge develops; from the mode of
passion, grief develops; and from the mode of ignorance, foolishness,
madness and illusion develop.
Those situated in the mode of goodness gradually go upward to the higher
planets; those in the mode of passion live on the earthly planets; and
those in the mode of ignorance go down to the hellish worlds.
When you see that there is nothing beyond these modes of nature in all
activities and that the Supreme Lord is transcendental to all these modes,
then you can know My spiritual nature.
When the embodied being is able to transcend these three modes, he can
become free from birth, death, old age and their distresses and can enjoy
nectar even in this life.
The Blessed Lord said: He who does not hate illumination, attachment and
delusion when they are present, nor longs for them when they disappear;
who is seated like one unconcerned, being situated beyond these material
reactions of the modes of nature, who remains firm, knowing that the modes
alone are active; who regards alike pleasure and pain, and looks on a
clod, a stone and a piece of gold with an equal eye; who is wise and holds
praise and blame to be the same; who is unchanged in honor and dishonor,
who treats friend and foe alike, who has abandoned all fruitive
undertakings - such a man is said to have transcended the modes of nature.
One who engages in full devotional service, who does not fall down in any
circumstance, at once transcends the modes of material nature and thus
comes to the level of Brahman.
And I am the basis of the impersonal Brahman, which is the constitutional
position of ultimate happiness, and which is immortal, imperishable and
One who is free from illusion, false prestige, and false association, who
understands the eternal, who is done with material lust and is freed from
the duality of happiness and distress, and who knows how to surrender unto
the Supreme Person, attains to that eternal kingdom.
That abode of Mine is not illumined by the sun or moon, nor by
electricity. One who reaches it never returns to this material world.
The living entities in this conditioned world are My eternal, fragmental
parts. Due to conditioned life, they are struggling very hard with the six
senses, which include the mind. The living entity in the material world
carries his different conceptions of life from one body to another as the
air carries aromas. The living entity, thus taking another gross body,
obtains a certain type of ear, tongue, and nose and sense of touch, which
are grouped about the mind. He thus enjoys a particular set of sense
The foolish cannot understand how a living entity can quit his body, nor
can they understand what sort of body he enjoys under the spell of the
modes of nature. But one whose eyes are trained in knowledge can see all
The endeavoring transcendentalist, who is situated in self-realization,
can see all this clearly. But those who are not situated in
self-realization cannot see what is taking place, though they may try to.
I am seated in everyone's heart, and from Me come remembrance, knowledge
and forgetfulness. By all the Vedas am I to he known; indeed I am the
compiler of Vedanta, and I am the knower of the Vedas.
Whoever knows Me as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, without doubting,
is to be understood as the knower of everything, and he therefore engages
himself in full devotional service, O son of Bharata.
The Blessed Lord said: Fearlessness, purification of one's existence,
cultivation of spiritual knowledge, charity, self-control, performance of
sacrifice, study of the Vedas, austerity and simplicity; nonviolence,
truthfulness, freedom from anger; renunciation, tranquility, aversion to
faultfinding, compassion and freedom from covetousness; gentleness,
modesty and steady determination; vigor, forgiveness, fortitude,
cleanliness, freedom from envy and the passion for honor - these
transcendental qualities, O son of Bharata, belong to godly men endowed
with divine nature.
Arrogance, pride, anger, conceit, harshness and ignorance - these
qualities belong to those of demonic nature, O son of Prtha.
Those who are demoniac do not know what is to be done and what is not to
he done. Neither cleanliness nor proper behavior nor truth is found in
They say that this world is unreal, that there is no foundation and that
there is no God in control. It is produced of sex desire, and has no cause
other than lust.
Following such conclusions, the demoniac, who are lost to themselves and
who have no intelligence, engage in unbeneficial, horrible works meant to
destroy the world.
The demoniac, taking shelter of insatiable lust, pride and false prestige,
and being thus illusioned, are always sworn to unclean work, attracted by
They believe that to gratify the senses unto the end of life is the prime
necessity of human civilization. Thus there is no end to their anxiety.
Being bound by hundreds and thousands of desires, by lust and anger, they
secure money by illegal means for sense gratification.
The demoniac person thinks: "So much wealth do I have today, and I will
gain more according to my schemes. So much is mine now, and it will
increase in the future, more and more. He is my enemy, and I have killed
him; and my other enemy will also be killed. I am the lord of everything,
I am the enjoyer, I am perfect, powerful and happy. I am the richest man,
surrounded by aristocratic relatives. There is none so powerful and happy
as I am. I shall perform sacrifices, I shall give some charity, and thus I
shall rejoice." In this way, such persons are deluded by ignorance.
Thus perplexed by various anxieties and hound by a network of illusions,
one becomes too strongly attached to sense enjoyment and falls down into
Bewildered by false ego, strength, pride, lust and anger, the demon
becomes envious of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is situated in
his own body and in the bodies of others, and blasphemes against the real
Those who are envious and mischievous, who are the lowest among men, are
cast by Me into the ocean of material existence, into various demoniac
species of life.
Attaining repeated birth amongst the species of demoniac life, such
persons can never approach Me. Gradually they sink down to the most
abominable type of existence.
There are three gates leading to this hell - lust, anger, and greed. Every
sane man should give these up, for they lead to the degradation of the
The man who has escaped these three gates of hell, O son of Kunti,
performs acts conducive to self-realization and thus gradually attains the
The Supreme Lord said, according to the modes of nature acquired by the
embodied soul, one's faith can be of three kinds-goodness, passion or
ignorance. Now hear about these.
According to one's existence under the various modes of nature, one
evolves a particular kind of faith. The living being is said to he of a
particular faith according to the modes he has acquired.
Men in the mode of goodness worship the demigods; those in the mode of
passion worship the demons; and those in the mode of ignorance worship
ghosts and spirits.
But that sacrifice performed for some material end or benefit or performed
ostentatiously, out of pride, is of the nature of passion, O chief of the
That gift which is given out of duty, at the proper time and place, to a
worthy person, and without expectation of return, is considered to be
charity in the mode of goodness.
From the beginning of creation, the three syllables - om tat sat - have
been used to indicate the Supreme Absolute Truth [Brahman]. They were
uttered by brahmanas while chanting Vedic hymns and during sacrifices, for
the satisfaction of the Supreme.
The Supreme Lord said, To give up the results of all activities is called
renunciation [tyaga] by the wise. And that state is called the renounced
order of life [sannyasa] by great learned men.
Acts of sacrifice, charity and penance are not to be given up but should
be performed. Indeed, sacrifice, charity and penance purify even the great
All these activities should be performed without any expectation of
result. They should be performed as a matter of duty, O son of Prtha. That
is My final opinion.
Prescribed duties should never be renounced. If, by illusion, one gives up
his prescribed duties, such renunciation is said to be in the mode of
Anyone who gives up prescribed duties as troublesome, or out of fear, is
said to be in the mode of passion. Such action never leads to the
elevation of renunciation.
But he who performs his prescribed duty only because it ought to be done,
and renounces all attachment to the fruit - his renunciation is of the
nature of goodness, O Arjuna.
Those who are situated in the mode of goodness, who neither hate
inauspicious work nor are attached to auspicious work, have no doubts
It is indeed impossible for an embodied being to give up all activities.
Therefore it is said that he who renounces the fruits of action is one who
has truly renounced.
For one who is not renounced, the threefold fruits of action - desirable,
undesirable and mixed - accrue after death. But those who are in the
renounced order of life have no such results to suffer or enjoy.
O mighty-armed Arjuna, learn from Me of the five factors which bring about
the accomplishment of all action. These are declared in sankhya philosophy
to be the place of action, the performer, the senses, the endeavor, and
ultimately the Supersoul. Whatever right or wrong action a man performs by
body, mind or speech is caused by these five factors. Therefore one who
thinks himself the only doer, not considering the five factors, is
certainly not very intelligent and cannot see things as they are.
One who is not motivated by false ego, whose intelligence is not
entangled, though he kills men in this world, is not the slayer. Nor is he
bound by his actions.
Knowledge, the object of knowledge and the knower are the three factors
which motivate action; the senses, the work and the doer comprise the
threefold basis of action.
In accordance with the three modes of material nature, there are three
kinds of knowledge, action, and performers of action. Listen as I describe
That knowledge by which one undivided spiritual nature is seen in all
existences, undivided in the divided, is knowledge in the mode of
goodness. That knowledge by which a different type of living entity is
seen to be dwelling in different bodies is knowledge in the mode of
passion. And that knowledge by which one is attached to one kind of work
as the all in all, without knowledge of the truth, and which is very
meager, is said to be in the mode of darkness.
As for actions, that action in accordance with duty, which is performed
without attachment, without love or hate, by one who has renounced
fruitive results, is called action in the mode of goodness. But action
performed with great effort by one seeking to gratify his desires, and
which is enacted from a sense of false ego, is called action in the mode
of passion. And that action performed in ignorance and delusion without
consideration of future bondage or consequences, which inflicts injury and
is impractical, is said to be action in the mode of ignorance.
The worker who is free from all material attachments and false ego, who is
enthusiastic and resolute and who is indifferent to success or failure, is
a worker in the mode of goodness. But that worker who is attached to the
fruits of his labor and who passionately wants to enjoy them, who is
greedy, envious and impure and moved by happiness and distress, is a
worker in the mode of passion. And that worker who is always engaged in
work against the injunction of the scripture, who is materialistic,
obstinate, cheating and expert in insulting others, who is lazy, always
morose and procrastinating, is a worker in the mode of ignorance.
O son of Prtha, that understanding by which one knows what ought to be
done and what ought not to be done, what is to be feared and what is not
to be feared, what is binding and what is liberating, that understanding
is established in the mode of goodness. And that understanding which
cannot distinguish between the religious way of life and the irreligious,
between action that should be done and action that should not be done,
that imperfect understanding, O son of Prtha, is in the mode of passion.
That understanding which considers irreligion to be religion and religion
to be irreligion, under the spell of illusion and darkness, and strives
always in the wrong direction, O Partha, is in the mode of ignorance.
O son of Prtha, that determination which is unbreakable, which is
sustained with steadfastness by yoga practice, and thus controls the mind,
life, and the acts of the senses, is in the mode of goodness. And that
determination by which one holds fast to fruitive result in religion,
economic development and sense gratification is of the nature of passion,
O Arjuna. And that determination which cannot go beyond dreaming,
fearfulness, lamentation, moroseness, and illusion-such unintelligent
determination is in the mode of darkness.
O best of the Bharatas, now please hear from Me about the three kinds of
happiness which the conditioned soul enjoys, and by which he sometimes
comes to the end of all distress. That which in the beginning may be just
like poison but at the end is just like nectar and which awakens one to
self-realization is said to be happiness in the mode of goodness. That
happiness which is derived from contact of the senses with their objects
and which appears like nectar at first but poison at the end is said to be
of the nature of passion. And that happiness which is blind to
self-realization, which is delusion from beginning to end and which arises
from sleep, laziness and illusion is said to be of the nature of
There is no being existing, either here or among the demigods in the
higher planetary systems, which is freed from the three modes of material
Brahmanas, ksatriyas, vaisyas and sudras are distinguished by their
qualities of work, O chastiser of the enemy, in accordance with the modes
of nature. Peacefulness, self-control, austerity, purity, tolerance,
honesty, wisdom, knowledge, and religiousness - these are the qualities by
which the brahmanas work. Heroism, power, determination, resourcefulness,
courage in battle, generosity, and leadership are the qualities of work
for the ksatriyas. Farming, cattle raising and business are the qualities
of work for the vaisyas, and for the sudras there is labor and service to
By following his qualities of work, every man can become perfect. Now
please hear from Me how this can be done.
By worship of the Lord, who is the source of all beings and who is
all-pervading, man can, in the performance of his own duty, attain
It is better to engage in one's own occupation, even though one may
perform it imperfectly, than to accept another's occupation and perform it
perfectly. Prescribed duties, according to one's nature, are never
affected by sinful reactions.
Every endeavor is covered by some sort of fault (defect), just as fire is
covered by smoke. Therefore one should not give up the work which is born
of his nature, O son of Kunti, even if such work is full of fault
One can obtain the results of renunciation simply by self-control and by
becoming unattached to material things and disregarding material
enjoyments. That is the highest perfectional stage of renunciation.
O son of Kunti, learn from Me in brief how one can attain to the supreme
perfectional stage, Brahman, by acting in the way which I shall now
Being purified by his intelligence and controlling the mind with
determination, giving up the objects of sense gratification, being freed
from attachment and hatred, one who lives in a secluded place, who eats
little and who controls the body and the tongue, and is always in trance
and is detached, who is without false ego, false strength, false pride,
lust, anger, and who does not accept material things, such a person is
certainly elevated to the position of self-realization.
One who is thus transcendentally situated at once realizes the Supreme
Brahman. He never laments nor desires to have anything; he is equally
disposed to every living entity. In that state he attains pure devotional
service unto Me.
One can understand the Supreme Personality as He is, only by devotion. And
when one is in full consciousness of the Supreme Lord by such devotion, he
can enter into the kingdom of God.
Though engaged in all kinds of activities, My devotee, under My
protection, reaches the eternal and imperishable abode by My grace.
In all activities just depend upon Me and work always under My protection.
In such devotional service, be fully conscious of Me.
If you become conscious of Me, you will pass over all the obstacles of
conditional life by My grace. If, however, you do not work in such
consciousness but act through false ego, not hearing Me, you will be lost.
The Supreme Lord is situated in everyone's heart, O Arjuna, and is
directing the wanderings of all living entities, who are seated as on a
machine, made of the material energy.
O scion of Bharata, surrender unto Him utterly. By His grace you will
attain transcendental peace and the supreme and eternal abode.
Always think of Me and become My devotee. Worship Me and offer your homage
unto Me. Thus you will come to Me without fail. I promise you this because
you are My very dear friend.
Abandon all varieties of religion (supports) and just surrender unto Me. I
shall deliver you from all sinful reaction. Do not fear (worry or grieve).
For one who explains the supreme secret to the devotees, devotional
service is guaranteed, and at the end he will come back to Me. There is no
servant in this world more dear to Me than he, nor will there ever be one
And I declare that he who studies this sacred conversation worships Me by
his intelligence. And one who listens with faith and without envy becomes
free from sinful reaction and attains to the planets where the pious
May 10, 2016
Thanks for the great collection of key verses. Hare Krishna!