The Bhagavad Gita – Capsule 13

The Bhagavad Gita in Capsules – Chapter 13

The book “The Prasthānatraya – An Introduction” by Revered Swami Harshananda, President of Ramakrishna Math, Bengaluru was published in 2001. The Swami has bestowed on us a summary of the 18 chapters of the Bhagavad Gita of Lord Krishna. I bow my head in reverence and in praise of Swamiji and pray for his blessings in my taking the liberty of retyping the summary from the book and posting it in my blog.

This is the Summary of the thirteenth chapter, Kshetra-kshetrajna Yoga


Continuing the spiritual discourse, Srīkrishna now describes the kshetra (the field) and the kshetrajna (the knower of the field), the terms used in a philosophical sense.

The body is the kshetra or the field and the Self or the soul is the kshetrajna or the knower of the field.

Details of the two have been described by the sages in several works. In the ultimate analysis, Srīkrishna as the Supreme Lord is the kshetrajna in all the kshetras.

The five elements, ego-sense, intellect, sense-organs, mind, objects of senses, pleasure and pain – all these belong to the kshetra.

Jnāna or knowledge consists in cultivating certain virtues like humility, simplicity, nonviolence, uprightness, service to the preceptor, purity, self-control, detachment, absence of egoism, equanimity and devotion to Srīkrishna, the Lord.

Resorting to lonely places, shunning crowds, steady devotion to spiritual wisdom – these also help in getting jnāna or wisdom.

Then follows a description of the jneya, that which is to be known, viz., Brahman, by knowing which one gets immortality. It is without beginning and cannot be defined as either existence or nonexistence. It has its hands, feet, eyes, and faces everywhere. It pervades everything. Though it reveals itself through the functions of the senses, it is without sense-organs. It is inside and outside of all beings. It is the light of lights; it is knowledge as well as the known and is established in the hearts of all.

Prakriti  (nature, the kshetra) and purusha (the being, kshetrajna) are both beginningless. Purusha, being stationed in prakriti experiences pleasure and pain born out of the gunas. It is attachment to the gunas that causes transmigration in good or bad births. One who knows the purusha and the prakriti thus will transcend rebirth. Those who realize the ātman (the purusha) through the pure mind or through Jnānayoga or Karmayoga will transcend death. All objects in thus world have een created out of the conjunction of kshetra and kshetrajna. Parameshvara, the Supreme Lord, exists in all without distinction. One who realizes this fact attains the final goal of life.

It is prakriti or nature that acts whereas the Self, though stationed in the body, never acts nor gets tainted, even as the sky. The kshetrajna (the knower, the Self) illumines the kshetra (the body) with consciousness like the sun illuminating the whole world. Those who can intuit the difference between the two – the kshetra and the kshetrajna – will attain Brahman.


Courtesy: Swami Harshananda  (emphases, if any, are mine. – nytanaya)

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