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THE FIELD AND THE KNOWER OF THE FIELD
Shri Krishna said, "Arjuna, this body is called the Field and one who knows this is called the Knower of the field. And understand properly that it is I who is the Knower of the Fields and the one who sustains all the Fields. I consider Knowledge as that which makes one understand properly the Field and the Knower of the Fields. Now I shall tell you why the name Field has been given to the body. (13:7-10)
Why it should be called Field, where and how it is created, by which emotions make it grow, whether it is exactly three and half cubits long or not and whether it is a wasteland or a fertile land and to whom does it belong and all its qualities are the matters which will be fully told now. Listen to them carefully. (13:11-13)
IGNORANCE ABOUT THE FIELD BY VEDAS, SHASTRAS ETC.
Vedas: Vedas continue to talk about this Field and even logic began to talk about it endlessly. The six Darshans became tired discussing it and they have not come to any conclusion. Because of it the relations between the various Shastras have broken and throughout the world debate is going on for their coming to an agreement. So far nobody has been able to say whom this Field belongs. But the power of ego is such that everywhere the matter is being debated and discussed. (13:14-18).
Atheists: Seeing that Vedas have tried to elaborate on it in order to face the Atheists, the nonbelievers started arguing differently. They say to the Vedas that their arguments are false and without base. Some of the nonbelievers shed their clothes and move around naked while some shave their heads but the arguments they offer do not carry any weight. (13:19-21).
Yogis: Because the body will die and be wasted the yogis opted for secluded life and practised Yama and Niyama (Self-control). Because the ego associated with this Field comes in the way of yoga Lord Shiva gave up the kingdom and went to live in the funeral ground. Because of this resolve he considered the ten directions as his cover and burnt the Lord of Love because he entices with pleasure of women. Brahmadeo acquired four mouths to gain additional strength but even he could not understand anything about it. (13:22-26).
Karmayogi: Some (people who follow the path of action) say that the field completely belongs to the Individual Soul and the Prana, the life-force is its tenant. In this house of Prana toil his four brothers (Apana, Vyana, Samana and Udana, see 6:200) and Mind is their supervisor. Mind owns bullock pairs in the form of the ten organs ( five sense organs and five action organs) and he labours day and night in the farm of sense pleasures. Avoiding the bed of righteous duties, planting the seeds of injustice and using the fertiliser of sinful deeds he gets the harvest of sins because of which he is reborn millions of times and undergoes suffering. Contrarily, if he uses the bed of righteous duties and plants the seeds of righteous deeds then he enjoys happiness for hundreds of rebirths. (13:27-32)
Sankhyas: On this the followers of the Sankyha philosophy say that this Field does not belong to the Individual soul. He is only a wayfarer in this Field whose residence is temporary. Prana is an entitled labourer who guards it day and night. The Field is leased to the beginningless Prakriti described by the Sankhyas. Since she has domestic labourers it is she who carries out the farming. The three attributes which farm the Field have been born of her. Of these three the Raja attribute sows, the Sattva attributes sustains it and the Tama attribute harvests it. Then Prakriti prepares the trampling enclosure out of the Mahat principle and gets the harvest trampled by the bull which is the Time to separate the grains. Then the evening of the Unmanifestable (Brahman) approaches. (13:33-39)
The intellectuals: The intellectuals did not like these arguments of the Sankhyas. They said, "Prakriti stands nowhere in comparison with the Supreme Brahman. The Will was sleeping in the bedroom of the Formless Brahman on the mattress of dissolution. He suddenly woke up and being always of active disposition he discovered the treasure of the three worlds as per his wish. Then in the garden of the formless Brahman the three worlds which had dissolved took form again. Then he brought together the barren plots of the five principles (Air, Water, Earth, Fire and Sky) and built the four kinds of life, those who are born from sweat, those born from eggs, those through mating and those born from seeds. Then by making parts of each of the five principles he created the material world. Then using the rubble of actions and non-actions he built walls on two sides and converted the barren land in the middle into forests. In order to sustain the comings and goings in the forest, he created the two tunnels of birth and death arranging by means of the Divine will that the tunnels will extend from the material world to the Brahman. Then the Divine will in collaboration with the ego and with the intellect as intermediary, arranged to cultivate the living and nonliving world throughout life. Thus the Divine will which branched out of the Brahman is therefore the root of the world." (13:40-50)
Naturalists: When the intellectuals said this, the Naturalists (Swabhavavadi) asked, "If one has to imagine the bedroom of the Divine will in the village of the Brahman then what is wrong with believing in the Prakriti aspect of the Brahman as propounded by the Sankhyas? But forget about these things and listen to the real facts. Who filled the sky with the clouds? Who supports the stars in space? Who stretched the ceiling of the sky and when? Who decided that wind should always flow? Who planted the hair? Who filed the oceans? Who makes the rain pour? Just as these things occur because they are natural the Field is also natural. It does not anybody's proprietary right over it. Whoever carries its burden and works it gets its benefits, it is not fruitful to anybody else." (13:51-57)
Fatalists: On this the Fatalists said, "If this were true then how does Death always rule over the body? The tentacles of Death extend even beyond the time of the great Kalpa (Time at which world is destroyed by deluge) when it devours even Satyaloka, the Brahmadeo's region. He kills the eight ever renewed Guardians and the keepers of the eight directions and the residents of heaven. And other weaker lives die and fall in the ravine of birth-death just by the breath of Death. (Free translation). Just look at the jaws of death which are big enough to swallow the entire universe. Therefore we hypothesise that it is the Death which rules the Field." (13:58-65)
Debate by Rishis: Thus there are various opinions about this Field. The Rishis in the Naimisha Forest debated on it extensively which are recorded in the Puranas. In Vedas, the Brihatsama Sutra is very holy from the point of view of Knowledge. But it has also not been able to fathom it. Many great poets also have used their intelligence to analyse this question of this Field. But this Field is of such a nature and so extensive that nobody has ever found out whom exactly it belongs. Now I shall explain to you completely the nature of this Field. (13:66-71)
CONSTITUTION OF THE FIELD
This Field is made up of thirty-six principles which are, the five principles (or elements), the ego, intellect, the Unmanifest, the ten organs (five sense organs and five organs of action), the mind which is the eleventh organ, the ten objects of the senses, pleasure, pain, desire, aversion and the aggregate (Sanghat) of all these, the consciousness and fortitude. Now I shall tell you about which are he five principles, which are the sense objects, what is the nature of the organs etc. one by one. (13:72-75).
Five elements and ego: The five elements are the earth, water, fire, air and sky. (13:76). The ego is hidden and is latent within the Prakriti. When the five elements come together to form the body it is this ego which makes this body dance around. (13:79, 81). The surprising thing about this ego is that it does not affect the ignorant persons but gets its hold on the learned ones putting them into all sorts of difficulties. (13: 82).
Intellect: Now listen to the characteristics of intellect. When desire (lust) becomes strong the sense-organs if they are favourable, help to bring in their objects and expose the individual to a variety of pleasures and pains. The intellect decides how much is the pleasure and how much is the pain. It decides where the pleasure lies and where pain occurs; which is a meritorious deed and which is sinful; which is pure and which is impure. The quality by which an individual is able to tell good and bad, small and big etc. and judge the sense-objects, that which is the basic means of gaining knowledge and due to which the Sattva attribute in a person grows and which is the meeting place of the individual and the Soul is to be recognised as the intellect. (13:83-89)
Unmanifest: Now I shall tell you the characteristics of the Unmanifest. The Prakriti of the Sankhya philosophy is the Unmanifestable. I had described two different aspects of Prakriti, A-Para and Para, when I explained the Sankhya philosophy to you earlier (Seventh chapter). Out of those two the second one Para which is the Life (or life-force) is also called Unmanifestable. (13:90-92). Just as after death of the material body all the impressions of actions throughout the lifetime merge with the Karmas associated with the subtle body of desires, (13:94) the five principles and the creatures created by them shed their gross qualities and the place where merge should be called Unmanifestable. (13:96-97).
The Ten Organs: Now listen to the different types of organs. Ears, nose, eyes, skin and tongue are the five sense organs. Once these five senses come to an accord then the intellect starts thinking about pleasures and pains. The organs of speech, hands, feet, anus and the sex organs are the five organs of action through which the power of action which accompanies life and is present in a living being makes its body perform actions. (13:98-102).
Mind: Now I shall explain to you what mind is. That which lies at the joining place of the organs and the intellect, playing around by its fickle nature and with the help of the Raja attribute, it gives deceptive appearances like the blue colour of the sky or like the waves in a mirage. When the body takes shape out of the five principles (elements) through the union of the semens and the ovum the air principle gets divided into ten parts with ten different aspects which get themselves established in ten different parts according to the individual properties and functions of each. Due to its purely fickle nature it gains its strength from the Raja attribute and implants itself firmly outside the intellect and above the ego i.e. in between them. It has been named as "mind" for no particular reason but actually it is only a concept. Because of it the Soul gets to be associated with the body. It is the root cause of the inclination for action. It strengthens the lust and always incites the ego. It increases the desire, strengthens the hope and nurtures fear. Because of it the duality (disunity) is created, ignorance prevails and it pushes the organs into sense-pleasures. It creates conceptual world and immediately destroys it also. It assembles stacks of ambitions and disassembles them. It is a storehouse of delusion and is the inner core of the air principle. It has closed the doors of the intellect. This then without doubt is the mind. (13:103-116).
Sense-objects: Now listen to the various types of sense-objects and their names. Touch, sound, form, taste and smell are the objects of the five sense organs through which knowledge reaches out. (13:117-118).
Action-objects: The pronunciation of vowels and consonants, the action of taking or throwing, walking, passing of fecus and urine are the objects of the five organs of action through which the body functions. These are then the ten objects present in the body. (13:119-120).
Desire: Now I shall describe the desire. That which excites the emotions after remembering or hearing about past events, that which generates craving when the senses encounter sense objects, causes the mind to run helter-skelter and the organs to step in where they should not go, that which makes the intellect crazy and that which has a liking for the sense objects is called desire. (13:121-125)
Hatred: The feeling in the mind when the organs do not get the desired pleasures of sense objects is called hatred. (13:126)
Bliss: Now, bliss or happiness is to be understood as that due to which an individual forgets all other things including one's body because activities of the body and mind have ceased. The state of mind which causes the life force to be inactivated but makes goodness grow, which causes the tendencies of the sense organs to be lulled into sleep and in which the individual meets the soul, that state is called bliss. And the state of mind where these things are not gained is called sorrow. One does not gain happiness when desires and ambitions are present but it comes automatically in their absence. Therefore presence or absence of desire and ambitions are the causes of sorrow and happiness respectively. (13:127-133).
Chetana: The aloof and unattached power of the consciousness is called the vital power or life-principle (Chetana). It functions throughout the body right from the nail of the toe to the hair on the head and remains unchanged throughout during the three states of the body viz. wakefulness, dream and sleep. It brings freshness to the mind, intellect etc. and keeps the Nature lovely and cheerful. It is present in some measure or other in all the animate and inanimate objects. (13:134-137). By association with the Soul this vital power or life-principle puts life into the inanimate body. (13: 141).
Fortitude: Now listen to the description of fortitude or courage. The five principles are natural enemies of each other. Water destroys the earth and is itself dried away by fire. Wind fights with fire and is itself devoured by the sky (space). These five principles come together in the body and abandoning the mutual conflict help each other through their individual characteristics. The quality which causes this rare unity to occur and sustains it is called the fortitude or courage. (13:142-148).
Sanghat And the assembly of all these thirty-six principles including life principle is called the aggregate or Sanghat. (13:149).
Thus I have explained to you the characteristics of the thirty-six principles which constitute the Field. When these thirty-six principles come together that aggregate is called the Field. Figuratively also it is called the Field because the crop of meritorious and sinful deeds is harvested in this aggregate. Some also call it the body and is also known by many other names. But whatever occurs and is destroyed between the material up to this side of the Brahman is all Field. (13:150, 155-158).
Attributes influences birth Living creatures are born in various species like deities, humans, reptiles etc. They are born so according to the influence of the three attributes Sattva, Raja and Tama and the Karma. The details about these attributes will be discussed later (Chapter fourteen). Thus I have told you all the characteristics and attributes of the Field. (13:159-161).
Now I shall tell you about the generous Knowledge. For the sake of this knowledge yogis adopt the difficult path of yoga avoiding the attractions of a place in heaven and of the Siddhis. people perform difficult penances, yajnas and other ritualistic worship or jump wholeheartedly into devotion or follow the path of Kundalini yoga and in the hope they will some day attain this knowledge spend hundreds of lifetimes in the service of their Guru. This knowledge which destroys the ignorance and unifies the individual with the Brahman, closes the doors of the senses, cripples the tendency for materialistic actions and removes the unhappiness from the mind. Because of it the duality becomes scarce and the sense of equality prevails. It removes the arrogance and destroys delusion and does not let the language of "I" and "others". It uproots the worldly attitude and cleans the mire of desire and embraces with ease the difficult-to-know ultimate principle of Brahman. When it manifests itself the vital force which drives the world loses its power. By its light intellect opens its eyes and the individual rolls in bliss. The pure and holy knowledge purifies the mind laden with all sorts of impure notions. By attaining it the disease of I-am-the-body feeling with which an individual is suffering is cured. I am explaining that knowledge though it is really not explainable. It has to be heard and understood through intellect because it is not visible to the eyes. But if it is understood once by intellect it becomes visible to the eyes through the actions of the organs just as the presence of underground water when discovered by the deep roots becomes apparent through the foliage. In the same way the presence of this knowledge in the heart of a person is indicated through certain characteristic signs on that person's body which I shall now tell you. (13:162-184)
BODY SIGNS ON MAN OF KNOWLEDGE
Humility: Because he lacks pride a man of knowledge does not like to be equated with anybody and he feels awkward if burdened with greatness and honour. He feels nervous by praise or honour or if one openly applauds his worthiness. He does not let greatness to be showered on him. He feels distressed even by obeisance from others. Lest his greatness increase in public eyes he pretends to be a simpleton, hiding his wisdom. Ignoring his greatness he deliberately goes around as if he is a mad person. (13:185-192).
Being prideless avoids attention: He detests fame and does not like discussing Shastras. He prefers to sit quietly and he strongly wishes that people should ignore him and relatives should not worry about him. His actions are generally such that they will instil humility in him and appearance of being insignificant. He prefers to live in such a way that people ignore his existence. He moves around in such a light-footed manner that people wonder whether he is really walking or is being carried around by wind. He prays that his existence should be ignored, nobody should remember his name or looks and everybody should go away from him frightened. He always prefers to live in solitude and feels happy in deserted places. He is in sympathy with the wind, converses with the sky and is friendly with the trees. He who has these characteristics of pridelessness may be considered as having attained knowledge. (13:193-202).
Unpretentiousness: Now listen to the characteristic of unpretentiousness (inostensibility) and how to identify it. (13:202). An unpretentious person does not speak about his meritorious actions. (13:204). He makes a secret of his charitable and benevolent deeds. He does not talk about the favours he has done to others. He does not boast about his learning and does not sell his knowledge for public applause. He behaves like a miser when it comes to expenditure on his own person but he spends generously on religious work. At home he may be wanting in everything but when it comes to charity he competes with the wishing tree. In short, he is wise in the religious duties, generous in charity and clever in spiritual discussions but behaves like a simpleton in other matters. Though he knows perfectly well the path to liberation he is poor in the worldly matters. (13:207-212). Therefore Arjuna, he who has these characteristics may be considered to be having Knowledge in his grasp. (13:216).
Nonviolence: Now I shall tell you about the characteristics of nonviolence. Many people have defined nonviolence in different ways according to their own school of thought. (13:217-218).
Nonviolence according to Purvamimansa: It has been told rather oddly in Purvamimansa that some types violence such as cutting the branches of a tree to fence the trunk or satisfying one's hunger by cutting one's hand, cooking and eating it are not violence but nonviolence. People perform Yajnas for preventing drought. The very base of the Yajnas is the killing of animals. Under this situation how can one achieve nonviolence? Where only violence is sown how can one harvest nonviolence? But the greed of the performers of the Yajnas is strange. (13:219-224).
Nonviolence according to Ayurveda: In Ayurveda also the same approach, i.e. that of taking a life to save another has been recommended. For preparing the medicines the Ayurveda experts dig the roots of the trees, some trees are uprooted with the roots and leaves, some are in the middle, the bark of some is peeled away and the cores of some are boiled. They bleed the trees dry, trees who have no enmity with anyone at all by making cuts all over them to extract their essence. Diseased people are thus cured by killing the trees. They cut the stomach of live animals to remove the biles in order to save sick people. (13:225-230). It is like looting the poor to distribute free food in charity or like burning one's blanket to warm oneself. One doe not know whether one should laugh or cry. (13:231-234).
Nonviolence according to Jain Religion: In one religion (Jain) they drink water after filtering it. But because of the filtering many lives die. Some people, afraid of committing violence, eat the grains raw without cooking. But this indigestible food causes agony to the person and brings him on the verge of death which is nothing but violence. (13:235-236).
Nonviolence according to Shri Krishna: Thus, understand that according to the ritualistic approach, permitted violence is equivalent to nonviolence. When I mentioned nonviolence first, I did not want to omit mentioning these opinions hence I mentioned them first so that you also will know about them. When one puts forth one's opinions one has also to consider other opinions which is the reason I discussed them so far. (13:237-240).
Now listen to the characteristics of nonviolence according to my opinion. If these characteristics are found in any person then it will be found that he has attained knowledge. Whether nonviolence is ingrained in a person or nor may be found from his behaviour. Similarly, the impression of nonviolence on the mind after one attains knowledge is as follows (13:241-245).
Characteristics of nonviolence: Such person treads very carefully due to compassion for the minute living beings which he knows are present even in atoms. His path is filled with friendly feelings and he is extremely careful about treading on the insects and other living beings under his feet. His sense of nonviolence cannot be expressed in words. (13:249-251). He treads on the ground so delicately that if by mistake his feet touch any living thing then it actually gets comfort from it. (13:254). He feels that if he were to walk stamping his feet than that the sleep of the all-pervading Lord would get disturbed and His health would get affected and with these thoughts he returns without treading on any creature. (13:257-258).
You will notice kindness even in his speech. When he speaks, love oozes from his mouth first and then the words follow. As far as possible he does not speak to anybody and if an occasion for speaking arises then fearing that his words may hurt somebody he observes silence. Then if perhaps someone requests then he speaks with love and to the listener he appears like his parents. (13:263-268).
His talk, true but soft, limited but straightforward, is like the flow of nectar. Contradiction, arguments, irritating harsh words, ridicule, torture, maliciousness, obstruction, irritation, nastiness, showing false hope, doubt, falsehood are completely absent in his talk. (13:270-272).
Also, his gaze is such that his eyebrows are never raised. The reason is that he believes every living creature has a soul and is afraid that his gaze might hurt it. He therefore generally does not look at anybody and if at all he looks out of the inner kindness then the creature at whom he looks feels satisfied. (13:273-276).
Just as his eyes are kind to the living creatures so are his hands. Yogis are not left with any desires because of their fulfilment. In the same way his hands are inactive because nothing more remains to be done. He does not like to take even a staff or stick in his hand then why talk of a weapon? He does not stroke his body lest the hair on his body get disturbed. And he feels that cutting his nails is like committing violence therefore he grows them. He feels shy even while raising his hands in reassurance or giving a supporting hand to a falling person or gently stroking a suffering person. But even moon's rays do not have that love with which he helps to remove the suffering by his touch. The movements of his hands are have the character and nature of a good person. (13:277-292).
Now regarding his mind, understand that the behaviour of the organs I told so far are not different from the behaviour of the mind. (13:293). Mind expresses itself through the organs. (13:296). If there is no place for nonviolence in the mind itself then how can it be seen outside? Anything is created in the mind first and is then expressed through speech, looks or hands. How can anything be expressed in words if it is not there in the mind? When the mind-ness of mind vanishes then the organs stop functioning. (13:297-301). Mind is the root of actions of the organs and it functions through the organs. The desires in the mind are manifested through the organs. If nonviolence is well ingrained in the mind then the organs function on its strength. The mind imparts the kindness in it to the limbs and makes them behave with nonviolence. Thus, he who has abandoned all violence from his mind, body and speech is the beautiful temple of Knowledge. Not only that, he is the Knowledge personified. If you wish to see nonviolence the greatness of which we hear and read about then you see that person and your wish will be fulfilled. (13:303-313).
Tolerance and Forbearance: Now that your outlook has become clear, I shall introduce you properly to Knowledge. Knowledge is present where there is forbearance (forgiveness) without regret. (13:339-340). Forbearance gets nurtured within a man of Knowledge. I shall now tell you the signs by which one may judge this. (13:342). He is tolerant to all good and bad situations. He does not feel perturbed by any of the three kinds of difficulties - personal, external and elemental. He gets the same sense of contentment with the expected gains as with the unexpected losses. He accepts honour and insult, pleasure and pain with the same calmness. Praise and slander do not disturb his balance. He does not feel uneasy by the heat of the sun nor does he shiver by cold and he does not feel frightened in any situation. (13:343-347). There is nothing which he cannot tolerate and he is not even aware that he is tolerating. He considers that all the sufferings and enjoyments a body has to go through are himself. Therefore he does not feel that he is doing something out of ordinary. He who possesses such forbearance without regret imparts greatness to Knowledge. Such persons are really the essence of Knowledge. (13:351-353).
Uprightness: Now I shall tell you about the nature of uprightness. An upright person is impartial to everybody like the vital force (Prana) which supports with equal favour both good and bad people. (13:354-355). Its mental attitude and behaviour does not change from person to person. He knows the nature of the world thoroughly and behaves as if he has known it since old times and therefore he does not know the meaning of "mine" and "yours". He can mix with anybody and he does not have prejudice against anybody. His nature is straightforward. There are no desires or doubts in his mind. He does not hesitate to express his mind before people. He cannot hide anything in the corners of his mind. His mind being pure his actions are also pure. Since he is fully satisfied due to Self- realisation. he does not spend his time in thoughts. He neither reins his mind nor does he let it go adrift. He does not have deceit in his mind nor vagueness in his words and he never behaves with ill will with anybody. All his actions are straightforward, without deceit and pure and his five vital airs also are always free. A person having these qualities is to be understood as uprightness personified and Knowledge resides in him. (13:357-368).
Devotion to Guru: Now I shall tell you about the method of devotion to one's Guru. This service of the Guru is the birth- place of all fortunes and makes an individual even in sorrowful state to attain Brahman. Listen with complete attention. (13:369-371).
He who has dedicated his mind and body to the Guru-tradition is the storehouse of Guru-devotion. His thoughts are about the place of abode of his Guru. He rushes to welcome even the wind blowing from that region and requests it to visit his home. Out of the mad love he has for the Guru he likes to talk only about the direction in which his Guru lives. He considers Guru's home as his own legacy but being bound by Guru's orders he has to live in his own place. Then he longs for the release from Guru's orders and an opportunity to meet him and in this mood a moment feels like a thousand years to him. If somebody arrives from Guru's village or Guru himself sends someone then he feels like person revived from death. (13:374-380). He feels elated even by the name of his Guru's tradition. If you find anybody with this kind of love for the Guru tradition then understand that Knowledge is always at his service. (13:382-383).
Then with great love in his heart he meditates on the form of his Guru. By installing that form in his pure heart he himself becomes the articles of worship or he installs his Guru like Shivalinga in the temple of bliss situated in the premises of Knowledge and bathes with the nectar of meditation. Then when the sun of Self-realisation rises he fills the basket of intellect with flowers of pure feelings and offers them to the Guru as Lord Shiva. He considers all the three times i.e. morning, noon and evening as auspicious for this worship and burns the myrrh of ego and ever waves Arti with the lamp of knowledge. He offers his Guru the food of non-duality and taking him to be Shivalinga serves like its priest. (13:385-390).
Sometimes his intellect imagines his Guru to be the husband lying on the bed of life and experiences his loving admiration. Sometimes there is such strong waves of love in his mind that he calls the love as the ocean of milk and the limitless bliss experienced by meditating there same as the bed of the Great Shesha the serpent where his Guru is relaxing in the form of Lord Vishnu; and he himself becomes His consort Laxmi serving Him. He stands before Him becoming Garuda as well and becomes Brahmadeo created from His navel and with the love for his Guru he experiences the bliss of meditation within his mind. (13:391-395).
Sometimes on the strength of devotion he fancies his Guru as his mother and lying on her lap enjoys the breast milk. Or imagining his Guru to be a cow under the tree of Knowledge becomes its calf. Sometimes an idea that he is a fish in the waters of his Guru's benevolence flashes in his mind. He imagines the Guru's benevolence to be a shower of nectar watering the plant of attitude of service. (13:396-399).
See how limitless his love is! Sometimes he considers himself to be just hatched chick without eyes or wings of his Guru and imagining him to be the mother bird gets fed by her beak. Thus, just as at high tide waves arise one after another, he goes from one state of meditation to the next, overcome by the love for his Guru. (13:400-402).
Now I shall tell you how he serves the Guru externally. He resolves, "I will serve my Guru in the best possible way and Guru will become pleased by it and tell me affectionately to ask for something. Once my master is pleased with my service I shall pray to him thus: ‘Oh Master, let me be your entire entourage. I shall be the articles you need.’ And you will see the wonder of my service. Guru is a mother to many he will be mother to me alone and I shall make him say it on oath. (13:403-410). I shall arrange such that the Guru will be obsessed with me and will be dedicated only to me and will shower his love only on me." (13: 411)
Thus runs his mind in fanciful thoughts. He says, "I shall be the place of abode of my Guru and serve him becoming his servant. I shall be the threshold which my Guru crosses and I shall also be the doors of the house as well as the doorkeeper. I shall be his sandals and I myself will make him wear them. I shall be his umbrella too and I myself will hold it over him. I shall be his vanguard and warn him of the ups and downs of the ground before him. I shall be the fly whisk, the valet, the server of water-jug for washing hands and mouth and I shall be the clean basin to receive the mouthwash. I shall be the server of the betel leaf and also the residue which is spitted out. And I shall be the one to serve him in giving bath. (13:412-420).
"I shall be the seat, ornaments, clothes, applications like sandal paste etc. of my Guru. I shall become the cook and serve him food and wave the lamp round him in worship (Arati - a ritual of worship in which a lamp is waved around the object of worship.) When the Guru sits for his meals I shall sit with him and later I shall come forward to offer him the betel leaf. I shall remove his dish, spread his bed and massage his legs. I shall be his throne and the Guru will sit on it. Thus I shall fulfil my vow to serve him. (13:421-425).
"There will be a miracle by which I shall be whatever Guru's mind turns to. I shall be the countless words that enter Guru's ears and I shall become everything that touches his body too. I shall be the forms which my Guru's affectionate eyes see. I shall be the eatables which his tongue will savour and shall serve the nose by becoming a fragrance." (13:426-429).
Thus he feels that he should pervade all things to serve his Guru from outside as long as he lives. But he feels that even after death he should serve his Guru. Listen to how he thinks. (13:430-431).
He thinks, "Wherever the feet of my Guru touch, I shall mix the Earth principle of my body into that earth and where he will touch water I shall mix the water principle of my body into it. I shall mingle the Fire principle from my body into the light of the lamps used for waving around the Guru and those lighted in his temple. I shall merge the life principle into the fly-whisk and the fan of my Guru and be the breeze that comforts his body. Whichever space my Guru goes with his entourage I shall introduce the part of my sky (space) principle in it. But on no account I shall allow the service of my Guru be interrupted whether during my life or after death and neither shall I let other people to serve my Guru. Eons will pass while I serve my Guru thus." (13:432-437).
He who holds such courage and serves his Guru with limitless devotion does not count days or nights nor the extent of burden, on the other hand he feels happier if Guru asks him to do more. Even if the tasks Guru tells him to do are bigger than the sky he carries them out single-handed. In this respect his body competes with his mind and completes the task. Sometimes he stakes even his life in order to fulfil Guru's commands even made in jest. He strains his body in Guru's service, gets strength from Guru's love and becomes the mainstay of Guru's orders. He derives respectability from his Guru's tradition and is polite to his brother disciples and is addicted to Guru's service. He considers the rules of his Guru's tradition as the prescribed duties for his caste and devotional service to his Guru as his daily duty. To him, Guru is the place of pilgrimage, Guru is the deity, mother and father and there is nothing other than Guru's service. Guru's door is his everything and he has brotherly love for all who serve his Guru. He has the Mantra given by his Guru always on his tongue and except for his Guru's words he does not touch any Shastras. To him the water which his Gurus feet have touched are superior to all other holy waters from the three worlds. If by chance he gets leftover food from his Guru he prefers it to the bliss of Samadhi. Even a particle of dust raised when his Guru walks is like the bliss from liberation to him. There is no end to how much one can talk about his devotion to his Guru. (13:438-452).
Dnyaneshwar Maharaj says,
"I am saying all this because I am overcome by the feelings of devotion towards my Guru. One who likes this feeling of devotion does not find anything sweeter than to be of service to the Guru. Such a person is the abode of Self-realisation and because of him, Knowledge itself gets respectability and becomes his devotee considering him to be God. In such a person lies Knowledge sufficient for the whole world and to spare. I am extremely anxious about service to the Guru and therefore I have described it extensively but I am handicapped in all respects in this regard. However the extreme love I have in my heart for my Guru compelled me to expand on this topic. I am praying him to accept it and give me an opportunity to serve him so that I shall be able to explain this book further in a better way." (13:453-460).
Purity : Shri Krishna continued, "Like camphor which is clean from outside as well as inside purity is seen in that sage both externally and internally. (13:462). From outside he has become pure by his actions and from inside by his Knowledge. (13:464). Arjuna, to keep the body clean without the internal purity is nothing but mockery. (13:468). If there is Knowledge in the mind then one automatically attains external purity. How otherwise can pure Knowledge and pure action be found together? Therefore Arjuna, he who has cleaned himself from outside by actions and inside by Knowledge is pure both from inside and outside. What more! Only purity remains in such a person. Pure feelings in the mind are reflected in the body. Even if he comes in contact with sense- objects through the sense-organs passions do not touch him. (13:473-479). When heart is pure, desires and doubts do not survive but one knows what is proper and improper. The mind of such a person does not get affected by doubts. Arjuna, this is called Purity and in whomsoever you see it know for sure that Knowledge also occurs in him. (13:482-484).
Steadfastness: A person in whom steadfastness occurs is the life-force of Knowledge. Even though the natural actions of his body go on externally his mind remains undisturbed internally. (13:485-486). His mind does not get discouraged by calamities. He is not tortured by poverty or pain nor does he tremble from fear and sorrow. And he is not frightened even by the approach of death. His straightforward mind does not waver even under pressure from hope or pain or by the rumblings of various diseases. (13:492-494). His mind does not waver when he has to face slander, insult, punishment, desire, greed. (13:495-496).Arjuna, this state is what is called steadfastness and whosoever has it ingrained in him is the treasure cove of Knowledge. (13:501).
Self-restraint:: That sage takes care of his mind and does not allow it to go near sense-objects. (13:504). He keeps a stern watch on the tendencies of his mind and deliberately controls his organs by self-restraint. Then by steadying himself in the three Bandhas, he fixes his consciousness in the central nerve Sushumna and steadies his state of meditation into Samadhi. Then his consciousness unifies with the Divine energy and merges in it. This is what is called controlled state of the mind. Knowledge is manifested where it occurs. He whose commands are respected by the mind is the Knowledge personified. (13:508-512).
Dispassion:: And he is ever dispassionate in his mind regarding the sense-pleasures. (13:513). He does not even like the topic of sense-pleasures mentioned and does not permit the senses to come in contact with the sense-pleasures. His mind is apathetic to sense-pleasures and his body also becomes lean. Even then he likes Shama (control of the mind) and restraint of the senses. He constantly performs penances and austerities and to live among people is like a calamity to him. He likes to practice yoga and live in isolation, and he cannot stand crowds. (13:517-520).
He finds worldly pleasures and heavenly enjoyment distasteful. This kind of detachment from the sense-pleasures is a sign of Self-realisation. Understand that Knowledge resides in a person who has developed such dislike for worldly and heavenly pleasures.
Absence of pride: Like a man of desires, he performs yajnas, builds lakes, prepares gardens etc. for public but he does not carry the sense of pride of having done these things. (13:521-525).
He spares no efforts in performing his daily and incidental duties appropriate to his caste. But ego about having done them or that the performance was successful because his doing it, does not touch his mind. (13:526-527). This characteristics of his mind is called egoless-ness. There is no doubt that Knowledge occurs where this is fully evident. (13:534-535).
Awareness about evil of birth, death etc. : He observes caution even when birth, death, old age, pain, disease and sin are far away (13:536) and is careful to ensure that he is not reborn because he does not forget the pains of the previous births. He says to himself, " Alas! I am born through the mixing of semens with impure blood and came out through the urinary channel. Then I licked the sweat on the breast of my mother." Thus feeling disgusted about this he resolves not to do anything which will cause him to be reborn. (13:539-541). The sense of shame of having been born does not leave his mind. Even if death is very far away in future he is alert about it right from birth. (13:544-545). He lives with a dejected mind thinking of death. Having received the warning of the old age while in youth itself he listens to things worth hearing, visits places of pilgrimage, commits good quotations to memory and gives away wealth in charity before the organs become weak and useless. Because the mind may not remain pure after such a situation is reached, he ponders in detail on Self-realisation. (13:576-581).He who remembers that he is going to become old some day and takes steps by doing righteous actions while in youth itself before getting disabled by old age is to be considered as having Knowledge. (13:587).
Detachment : Now I shall tell you about one more strange characteristic of a man of Knowledge. He is very detached towards his body. He does not have any affinity for his home and feels detachment towards his wealth. He lives in the world respecting the precepts of Vedas. Such a person who does not keep desire towards wife, son and property is where Knowledge takes shelter. His mind does not waver by pain or pleasure and his sense of balance does not change. Understand that Knowledge actually exists in such a person. (13:594-603).
Devotion to God: He is resolved in his mind that there is nothing good in this world except Me. He has decided that there is no goal in this world other than Me and he has developed so much love for me that we both have become one. Even after becoming one with me he keeps on worshipping me with devotion in all sorts of ways. He who becomes one with me with dedication and worships me is Knowledge personified.
Liking of seclusion: He who likes to live at places of pilgrimage, holy river banks, excellent forests and caves, he who prefers to live in a cave in the mountains or on the shores of a lake and does not like living in cities, he who likes seclusion and dislikes living in villages is Knowledge in the guise of a person. I shall tell some more characteristics of Knowledge to explain its nature further. (13:604-615).
Certain that Knowledge leads to Self-realisation: He has decided with certainty that except for the Knowledge by which the entity called Supreme Soul may be experienced, all other types of knowledge through which one gains knowledge only of the worldly life and heaven etc. are all ignorance. He gives up the desire to gain a place in heaven, ignores the worldly matters and keeping his attention in Self- realisation becomes engrossed in it. He directs his mind and intellect only towards Self-realisation. His intellect becomes steady with the definite understanding that Knowledge of the Self alone is real and knowledge of any other kind only leads to delusion. There is no doubt at all that Knowledge occurs in such a person. And once the Knowledge thus gets completely ingrained in his mind then becomes one with me. But just as person who has just sat down cannot be said to have been sitting around similarly unless Knowledge becomes fixed in a person, he cannot be called a person of Knowledge. Then he steadies his sights on the Brahman, the Object-to-be-known which is the fruit of gaining pure knowledge. If after gaining Knowledge one does not experience the Brahman then it is as good as not gaining the Knowledge. (13:616- 626).
Dedication to Knowledge: If the intellect cannot reach the Supreme Brahman in the light of Knowledge then it must be considered as blind. Therefore he gets the right desire of gaining that Knowledge by which he can see the Supreme Brahman wherever he casts his eyes and he finally gains that Knowledge. His intellect has developed as much as his Knowledge therefore no words are needed to tell that he is the Knowledge personified. Therefore one need not wonder at my saying that he whose intellect has met the Supreme Brahman in the light of Knowledge has become Knowledge. (13:627-633).
Thus Shri Krishna explained the eighteen characteristics of a person of Knowledge. He then said," Now I shall also reveal to you what is known as ignorance along with its characteristics. (13:653).
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