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The Song Celestial - translated by Sir Edwin Arnold

Song Celestial




Dhritirashtra. Ranged thus for battle on the sacred plain --

On Kurukshetra -- say, Sanjaya! say

What wrought my people, and the Pandavas?

Sanjaya. When he beheld the host of Pandavas,

Raja Duryodhana to Drona drew,

And spake these words: "Ah, Guru! see this line,

How vast it is of Pandu fighting-men,

Embattled by the son of Drupada,

Thy scholar in the war! Therein stand ranked

Chiefs like Arjuna, like to Bhima chiefs,

Benders of bows; Virata, Yuyudhan,

Drupada, eminent upon his car,

Dhrishtaket, Chekitan, Kasi's stout lord,

Purujit, Kuntibhoj, and Saivya,

With Yudhamanyu, and Uttamauj

Subhadra's child; and Drupadi's; -- all famed!

All mounted on their shining chariots!

On our side, too, -- thou best of Brahmans! see

Excellent chiefs, commanders of my line,

Whose names I joy to count: thyself the first,

Then Bhishma, Karna, Kripa fierce in fight,

Vikarna, Aswatthaman; next to these

Strong Saumadatti, with full many more

Valiant and tried, ready this day to die

For me their king, each with his weapon grasped,

Each skilful in the field. Weakest -- meseems --

Our battle shows where Bhishma holds command,

And Bhima, fronting him, something too strong!

Have care our captains nigh to Bhishma's ranks

Prepare what help they may! Now, blow my shell!"

Then, at the signal of the aged king,

With blare to wake the blood, rolling around

Like to a lion's roar, the trumpeter

Blew the great Conch; and, at the noise of it,

Trumpets and drums, cymbals and gongs and horns

Burst into sudden clamour; as the blasts

Of loosened tempest, such the tumult seemed!

Then might be seen, upon their car of gold

Yoked with white steeds, blowing their battle-shells,

Krishna the God, Arjuna at his side:

Krishna, with knotted locks, blew his great conch

Carved of the "Giant's bone;" Arjuna blew

Indra's loud gift; Bhima the terrible --

Wolf-bellied Bhima -- blew a long reed-conch;

And Yudhisthira, Kunti's blameless son,

Winded a mighty shell, "Victory's Voice;"

And Nakula blew shrill upon his conch

Named the "Sweet-sounding," Sahadev on his

Called "Gem-bedecked," and Kasi's Prince on his.

Sikhandi on his car, Dhrishtadyumn,

Virata, Satyaki the Unsubdued,

Drupada, with his sons, (O Lord of Earth!)

Long-armed Subhadra's children, all blew loud,

So that the clangour shook their foemen's hearts,

With quaking earth and thundering heav'n.

Then 'twas --

Beholding Dhritirashtra's battle set,

Weapons unsheathing, bows drawn forth, the war

Instant to break -- Arjun, whose ensign-badge

Was Hanuman the monkey, spake this thing

To Krishna the Divine, his charioteer:

"Drive, Dauntless One! to yonder open ground

Betwixt the armies; I would see more nigh

These who will fight with us, those we must slay

To-day, in war's arbitrament; for, sure,

On bloodshed all are bent who throng this plain,

Obeying Dhritirashtra's sinful son."

Thus, by Arjuna prayed, (O Bharata!)

Between the hosts that heavenly Charioteer

Drove the bright car, reining its milk-white steeds

Where Bhishma led, and Drona, and their Lords.

"See!" spake he to Arjuna, "where they stand,

Thy kindred of the Kurus:" and the Prince

Marked on each hand the kinsmen of his house,

Grandsires and sires, uncles and brothers and sons,

Cousins and sons-in-law and nephews, mixed

With friends and honoured elders; some this side,

Some that side ranged: and, seeing those opposed,

Such kith grown enemies -- Arjuna's heart

Melted with pity, while he uttered this:

Arjuna. Krishna! as I behold, come here to shed

Their common blood, yon concourse of our kin,

My members fail, my tongue dries in my mouth,

A shudder thrills my body, and my hair

Bristles with horror; from my weak hand slips

Gandiv, the goodly bow; a fever burns

My skin to parching; hardly may I stand;

The life within me seems to swim and faint;

Nothing do I foresee save woe and wail!

It is not good, O Keshav! nought of good

Can spring from mutual slaughter! Lo, I hate

Triumph and domination, wealth and ease,

Thus sadly won! Aho! what victory

Can bring delight, Govinda! what rich spoils

Could profit; what rule recompense; what span

Of life itself seem sweet, bought with such blood?

Seeing that these stand here, ready to die,

For whose sake life was fair, and pleasure pleased,

And power grew precious: -- grandsires, sires, and sons,

Brothers, and fathers-in-law, and sons-in-law,

Elders and friends! Shall I deal death on these

Even though they seek to slay us? Not one blow,

O Madhusudan! will I strike to gain

The rule of all Three Worlds; then, how much less

To seize an earthly kingdom! Killing these

Must breed but anguish, Krishna! If they be

Guilty, we shall grow guilty by their deaths;

Their sins will light on us, if we shall slay

Those sons of Dhritirashtra, and our kin;

What peace could come of that, O Madhava?

For if indeed, blinded by lust and wrath,

These cannot see, or will not see, the sin

Of kingly lines o'erthrown and kinsmen slain,

How should not we, who see, shun such a crime --

We who perceive the guilt and feel the shame --

O thou Delight of Men, Janardana?

By overthrow of houses perisheth

Their sweet continuous household piety,

And -- rites neglected, piety extinct --

Enters impiety upon that home;

Its women grow unwomaned, whence there spring

Mad passions, and the mingling-up of castes,

Sending a Hell-ward road that family,

And whoso wrought its doom by wicked wrath.

Nay, and the souls of honoured ancestors

Fall from their place of peace, being bereft

Of funeral-cakes and the wan death-water.

So teach our holy hymns. Thus, if we slay

Kinsfolk and friends for love of earthly power,

Ahovat! what an evil fault it were!

Better I deem it, if my kinsmen strike,

To face them weaponless, and bare my breast

To shaft and spear, than answer blow with blow.

So speaking, in the face of those two hosts,

Arjuna sank upon his chariot-seat,

And let fall bow and arrows, sick at heart.


Entitled "Arjun-Vishad,"

Or "The Book of the Distress of Arjuna."




Sanjaya. Him, filled with such compassion and such grief,

With eyes tear-dimmed, despondent, in stern words

The Driver, Madhusudan, thus addressed:

Krishna. How hath this weakness taken thee?

Whence springs

The inglorious trouble, shameful to the brave,

Barring the path of virtue? Nay, Arjun!

Forbid thyself to feebleness! it mars

Thy warrior-name! cast off the coward-fit!

Wake! Be thyself! Arise, Scourge of thy Foes!

Arjuna. How can I, in the battle, shoot with shafts

On Bhishma, or on Drona -- O thou Chief! --

Both worshipful, both honourable men?

Better to live on beggar's bread

With those we love alive,

Than taste their blood in rich feasts spread,

And guiltily survive!

Ah! were it worse -- who knows? -- to be

Victor or vanquished here,

When those confront us angrily

Whose death leaves living drear?

In pity lost, by doubtings tossed,

My thoughts -- distracted -- turn

To Thee, the Guide I reverence most,

That I may counsel learn:

I know not what would heal the grief

Burned into soul and sense,

If I were earth's unchallenged chief --

A god -- and these gone thence!

Sanjaya. So spake Arjuna to the Lord of Hearts,

And sighing, "I will not fight!" held silence then.

To whom, with tender smile, (O Bharata!)

While the Prince wept despairing 'twixt those hosts,

Krishna made answer in divinest verse:

Krishna. Thou grievest where no grief should be! thou speak'st

Words lacking wisdom! for the wise in heart

Mourn not for those that live, nor those that die.

Nor I, nor thou, nor any one of these,

Ever was not, nor ever will not be,

For ever and for ever afterwards.

All, that doth live, lives always! To man's frame

As there come infancy and youth and age,

So come there raisings-up and layings-down

Of other and of other life-abodes,

Which the wise know, and fear not. This that irks --

Thy sense-life, thrilling to the elements --

Bringing thee heat and cold, sorrows and joys,

'Tis brief and mutable! Bear with it, Prince!

As the wise bear. The soul which is not moved,

The soul that with a strong and constant calm

Takes sorrow and takes joy indifferently,

Lives in the life undying! That which is

Can never cease to be; that which is not

Will not exist. To see this truth of both

Is theirs who part essence from accident,

Substance from shadow. Indestructible,

Learn thou! the Life is, spreading life through all;

It cannot anywhere, by any means,

Be anywise diminished, stayed, or changed.

But for these fleeting frames which it informs

With spirit deathless, endless, infinite,

They perish. Let them perish, Prince! and fight!

He who shall say, "Lo! I have slain a man!"

He who shall think, "Lo! I am slain!" those both

Know naught! Life cannot slay. Life is not slain!

Never the spirit was born; the spirit shall cease to be never;

Never was time it was not; End and Beginning are dreams!

Birthless and deathless and changeless remaineth the spirit for ever;

Death hath not touched it at all, dead though the house of it seems!

Who knoweth it exhaustless, self-sustained,

Immortal, indestructible, -- shall such

Say, "I have killed a man, or caused to kill?"

Nay, but as when one layeth

His worn-out robes away,

And, taking new ones, sayeth,

"These will I wear to-day!"

So putteth by the spirit

Lightly its garb of flesh,

And passeth to inherit

A residence afresh.

I say to thee weapons reach not the Life;

Flame burns it not, waters cannot o'erwhelm,

Nor dry winds wither it. Impenetrable,

Unentered, unassailed, unharmed, untouched,

Immortal, all-arriving, stable, sure,

Invisible, ineffable, by word

And thought uncompassed, ever all itself,

Thus is the Soul declared! How wilt thou, then, --

Knowing it so, -- grieve when thou shouldst not grieve?

How, if thou hearest that the man new-dead

Is, like the man new-born, still living man --

One same, existent Spirit -- wilt thou weep?

The end of birth is death; the end of death

Is birth: this is ordained! and mournest thou,

Chief of the stalwart arm! for what befalls

Which could not otherwise befall? The birth

Of living things comes unperceived; the death

Comes unperceived; between them, beings perceive:

What is there sorrowful herein, dear Prince?

Wonderful, wistful, to contemplate!

Difficult, doubtful, to speak upon!

Strange and great for tongue to relate,

Mystical hearing for every one!

Nor wotteth man this, what a marvel it is,

When seeing, and saying, and hearing are done!

This Life within all living things, my Prince!

Hides beyond harm; scorn thou to suffer, then,

For that which cannot suffer. Do thy part!

Be mindful of thy name, and tremble not!

Nought better can betide a martial soul

Than lawful war; happy the warrior

To whom comes joy of battle -- comes, as now,

Glorious and fair, unsought; opening for him

A gateway unto Heav'n. But, if thou shunn'st

This honourable field -- a Kshattriya --

If, knowing thy duty and thy task, thou bidd'st

Duty and task go by -- that shall be sin!

And those to come shall speak thee infamy

From age to age; but infamy is worse

For men of noble blood to bear than death!

The chiefs upon their battle-chariots

Will deem 'twas fear that drove thee from the fray.

Of those who held thee mighty-souled the scorn

Thou must abide, while all thine enemies

Will scatter bitter speech of thee, to mock

The valour which thou hadst; what fate could fall

More grievously than this? Either -- being killed --

Thou wilt win Swarga's safety, or -- alive

And victor -- thou wilt reign an earthly king.

Therefore, arise, thou Son of Kunti! brace

Thine arm for conflict, nerve thy heart to meet --

As things alike to thee -- pleasure or pain,

Profit or ruin, victory or defeat:

So minded, gird thee to the fight, for so

Thou shalt not sin!

Thus far I speak to thee

As from the "Sankhya" -- unspiritually --

Hear now the deeper teaching of the Yog,

Which holding, understanding, thou shalt burst

Thy Karmabandh, the bondage of wrought deeds.

Here shall no end be hindered, no hope marred,

No loss be feared: faith -- yea, a little faith --

Shall save thee from the anguish of thy dread.

Here, Glory of the Kurus! shines one rule --

One steadfast rule -- while shifting souls have laws

Many and hard. Specious, but wrongful deem

The speech of those ill-taught ones who extol

The letter of their Vedas, saying, "This

Is all we have, or need;" being weak at heart

With wants, seekers of Heaven: which comes -- they say --

As "fruit of good deeds done;" promising men

Much profit in new births for works of faith;

In various rites abounding; following whereon

Large merit shall accrue towards wealth and power;

Albeit, who wealth and power do most desire

Least fixity of soul have such, least hold

On heavenly meditation. Much these teach,

From Veds, concerning the "three qualities;"

But thou, be free of the "three qualities,"

Free of the "pairs of opposites," and free

From that sad righteousness which calculates;

Self-ruled, Arjuna! simple, satisfied.

Look! like as when a tank pours water forth

To suit all needs, so do these Brahmans draw

Text for all wants from tank of Holy Writ.

But thou, want not! ask not! Find full reward

Of doing right in right! Let right deeds be

Thy motive, not the fruit which comes from them.

And live in action! Labour! Make thine acts

Thy piety, casting all self aside,

Contemning gain and merit; equable

In good or evil: equability

Is Yog, is piety!

Yet, the right act

Is less, far less, than the right-thinking mind.

Seek refuge in thy soul; have there thy heaven!

Scorn them that follow virtue for her gifts!

The mind of pure devotion -- even here --

Casts equally aside good deeds and bad,

Passing above them. Unto pure devotion

Devote thyself: with perfect meditation

Comes perfect act, and the righthearted rise --

More certainly because they seek no gain --

Forth from the bands of body, step by step,

To highest seats of bliss. When thy firm soul

Hath shaken off those tangled oracles

Which ignorantly guide, then shall it soar

To high neglect of what's denied or said,

This way or that way, in doctrinal writ.

Troubled no longer by the priestly lore,

Safe shall it live, and sure; steadfastly bent

On meditation. This is Yog -- and Peace!

Arjuna. What is his mark who hath that steadfast heart,

Confirmed in holy meditation? How

Know we his speech, Kesava? Sits he, moves he

Like other men?

Krishna. When one, O Pritha's Son! --

Abandoning desires which shake the mind --

Finds in his soul full comfort for his soul,

He hath attained the Yog -- that man is such!

In sorrows not dejected, and in joys

Not overjoyed; dwelling outside the stress

Of passion, fear, and anger; fixed in calms

Of lofty contemplation; -- such an one

Is Muni, is the Sage, the true Recluse!

He who to none and nowhere overbound

By ties of flesh, takes evil things and good

Neither desponding nor exulting, such

Bears wisdom's plainest mark He who shall draw

As the wise tortoise draws its four feet safe

Under its shield, his five frail senses back

Under the spirit's buckler from the world

Which else assails them, such an one, my Prince!

Hath wisdom's mark! Things that solicit sense

Hold off from the self-governed; nay, it comes,

The appetites of him who lives beyond

Depart, -- aroused no more. Yet may it chance,

O Son of Kunti that a governed mind

Shall some time feel the sense-storms sweep, and wrest

Strong self-control by the roots. Let him regain

His kingdom! let him conquer this, and sit

On Me intent. That man alone is wise

Who keeps the mastery of himself! If one

Ponders on objects of the sense, there springs

Attraction; from attraction grows desire,

Desire flames to fierce passion, passion breeds

Recklessness; then the memory -- all betrayed --

Lets noble purpose go, and saps the mind,

Till purpose, mind, and man are all undone.

But, if one deals with objects of the sense

Not loving and not hating, making them

Serve his free soul, which rests serenely lord,

Lo! such a man comes to tranquillity;

And out of that tranquillity shall rise

The end and healing of his earthly pains,

Since the will governed sets the soul at peace.

The soul of the ungoverned is not his,

Nor hath he knowledge of himself; which lacked,

How grows serenity? and, wanting that,

Whence shall he hope for happiness?

The mind

That gives itself to follow shows of sense

Seeth its helm of wisdom rent away,

And, like a ship in waves of whirlwind, drives

To wreck and death. Only with him, great Prince!

Whose senses are not swayed by things of sense --

Only with him who holds his mastery,

Shows wisdom perfect. What is midnight-gloom

To unenlightened souls shines wakeful day

To his clear gaze; what seems as wakeful day

Is known for night, thick night of ignorance,

To his true-seeing eyes. Such is the Saint!

And like the ocean, day by day receiving

Floods from all lands, which never overflows;

Its boundary-line not leaping, and not leaving,

Fed by the rivers, but unswelled by those; --

So is the perfect one! to his soul's ocean

The world of sense pours streams of witchery,

They leave him as they find, without commotion,

Taking their tribute, but remaining sea.

Yea! whoso, shaking off the yoke of flesh

Lives lord, not servant, of his lusts; set free

From pride, from passion, from the sin of "Self,"

Toucheth tranquillity! O Pritha's Son!

That is the state of Brahm! There rests no dread

When that last step is reached! Live where he will,

Die when he may, such passeth from all 'plaining,

To blest Nirvana, with the Gods, attaining.


Entitled "Sankhya-Yog,"

Or "The Book of Doctrines."




Arjuna. Thou whom all mortals praise, Janardana!

If meditation be a nobler thing

Than action, wherefore, then, great Kesava!

Dost thou impel me to this dreadful fight?

Now am I by thy doubtful speech disturbed!

Tell me one thing, and tell me certainly;

By what road shall I find the better end?

Krishna. I told thee, blameless Lord! there be paths

Shown to this world; two schools of wisdom. First

The Sankhya's, which doth save in way of works

Prescribed by reason; next, the Yog, which bids

Attain by meditation, spiritually:

Yet these are one! No man shall 'scape from act

By shunning action; nay, and none shall come

By mere renouncements unto perfectness.

Nay, and no jot of time, at any time,

Rests any actionless; his nature's law

Compels him, even unwilling, into act;

[For thought is act in fancy]. He who sits

Suppressing all the instruments of flesh,

Yet in his idle heart thinking on them,

Plays the inept and guilty hypocrite:

But he who, with strong body serving mind,

Gives up his mortal powers to worthy work,

Not seeking gain, Arjuna! such an one

Is honourable. Do thine allotted task!

Work is more excellent than idleness;

The body's life proceeds not, lacking work.

There is a task of holiness to do,

Unlike world-binding toil, which bindeth not

The faithful soul; such earthly duty do

Free from desire, and thou shalt well perform

Thy heavenly purpose. Spake Prajapati --

In the beginning, when all men were made,

And, with mankind, the sacrifice -- "Do this!

Work! sacrifice! Increase and multiply

With sacrifice! This shall be Kamaduk,

Your 'Cow of Plenty,' giving back her milk

Of all abundance. Worship the gods thereby;

The gods shall yield thee grace. Those meats ye

The gods will grant to Labour, when it pays

Tithes in the altar-flame. But if one eats

Fruits of the earth, rendering to kindly Heaven

No gift of toil, that thief steals from his world."

Who eat of food after their sacrifice

Are quit of fault, but they that spread a feast

All for themselves, eat sin and drink of sin.

By food the living live; food comes of rain,

And rain comes by the pious sacrifice,

And sacrifice is paid with tithes of toil;

Thus action is of Brahma, who is One,

The Only, All-pervading; at all times

Present in sacrifice. He that abstains

To help the rolling wheels of this great world,

Glutting his idle sense, lives a lost life,

Shameful and vain. Existing for himself,

Self-concentrated, serving self alone,

No part hath he in aught; nothing achieved,

Nought wrought or unwrought toucheth him; no hope

Of help for all the living things of earth

Depends from him. Therefore, thy task prescribed

With spirit unattached gladly perform,

Since in performance of plain duty man

Mounts to his highest bliss. By works alone

Janak and ancient saints reached blessedness!

Moreover, for the upholding of thy kind,

Action thou should'st embrace. What the wise choose

The unwise people take; what best men do

The multitude will follow. Look on me,

Thou Son of Pritha! in the three wide worlds

I am not bound to any toil, no height

Awaits to scale, no gift remains to gain,

Yet I act here! and, if I acted not --

Earnest and watchful -- those that look to me

For guidance, sinking back to sloth again

Because I slumbered, would decline from good,

And I should break earth's order and commit

Her offspring unto ruin, Bharata!

Even as the unknowing toil, wedded to sense,

So let the enlightened toil, sense-freed, but set

To bring the world deliverance, and its bliss;

Not sowing in those simple, busy hearts

Seed of despair. Yea! let each play his part

In all he finds to do, with unyoked soul.

All things are everywhere by Nature wrought

In interaction of the quahties.

The fool, cheated by self, thinks, "This I did"

And "That I wrought;" but -- ah, thou strong-armed Prince! --

A better-lessoned mind, knowing the play

Of visible things within the world of sense,

And how the qualities must qualify,

Standeth aloof even from his acts. Th' untaught

Live mixed with them, knowing not Nature's way,

Of highest aims unwitting, slow and dull.

Those make thou not to stumble, having the light;

But all thy dues discharging, for My sake,

With meditation centred inwardly,

Seeking no profit, satisfied, serene,

Heedless of issue -- fight! They who shall keep

My ordinance thus, the wise and willing hearts,

Have quittance from all issue of their acts;

But those who disregard My ordinance,

Thinking they know, know nought, and fall to loss,

Confused and foolish. 'Sooth, the instructed one

Doth of his kind, following what fits him most:

And lower creatures of their kind; in vain

Contending 'gainst the law. Needs must it be

The objects of the sense will stir the sense

To like and dislike, yet th' enlightened man

Yields not to these, knowing them enemies.

Finally, this is better, that one do

His own task as he may, even though he fail,

Than take tasks not his own, though they seem good.

To die performing duty is no ill;

But who seeks other roads shall wander still.

Arjuna. Yet tell me, Teacher! by what force doth man

Go to his ill, unwilling; as if one

Pushed him that evil path?

Krishna. Kama it is!

Passion it is! born of the Darknesses,

Which pusheth him. Mighty of appetite,

Sinful, and strong is this! -- man's enemy!

As smoke blots the white fire, as clinging rust

Mars the bright mirror, as the womb surrounds

The babe unborn, so is the world of things

Foiled, soiled, enclosed in this desire of flesh.

The wise fall, caught in it; the unresting foe

It is of wisdom, wearing countless forms,

Fair but deceitful, subtle as a flame.

Sense, mind, and reason -- these, O Kunti's Son!

Are booty for it; in its play with these

It maddens man, beguiling, blinding him.

Therefore, thou noblest child of Bharata!

Govern thy heart! Constrain th' entangled sense!

Resist the false, soft sinfulness which saps

Knowledge and judgment! Yea, the world is strong

But what discerns it stronger, and the mind

Strongest; and high o'er all the ruling Soul.

Wherefore, perceiving Him who reigns supreme,

Put forth full force of Soul in thy own soul!

Fight! vanquish foes and doubts, dear Hero! slay

What haunts thee in fond shapes, and would betray!


Entitled "Karma-Yog,"

Or "The Book of Virtue in Work."




Krishna. This deathless Yoga, this deep union,

I taught Vivaswata, the Lord of Light;

Vivaswata to Manu gave it; he

To Ikshwaku; so passed it down the line

Of all my royal Rishis. Then, with years,

The truth grew dim and perished, noble Prince!

Now once again to thee it is declared --

This ancient lore, this mystery supreme --

Seeing I find thee votary and friend.

Arjuna. Thy birth, dear Lord, was in these later days

And bright Vivaswata's preceded time!

How shall I comprehend this thing thou sayest,

"From the beginning it was I who taught?"

Krishna. Manifold the renewals of my birth

Have been, Arjuna! and of thy births, too!

But mine I know, and thine thou knowest not,

O Slayer of thy Foes! Albeit I be

Unborn, undying, indestructible,

The Lord of all things living; not the less --

By Maya, by my magic which I stamp

On floating Nature-forms, the primal vast --

I come, and go, and come. When Righteousness

Declines, O Bharata! when Wickedness

Is strong, I rise, from age to age, and take

Visible shape, and move a man with men,

Succouring the good, thrusting the evil back,

And setting Virtue on her seat again.

Who knows the truth touching my births on earth

And my divine work, when he quits the flesh

Puts on its load no more, falls no more down

To earthly birth: to Me he comes, dear Prince!

Many there be who come! from fear set free,

From anger, from desire; keeping their hearts

Fixed upon me -- my Faithful -- purified

By sacred flame of Knowledge. Such as these

Mix with my being. Whoso worship me,

Them I exalt; but all men everywhere

Shall fall into my path; albeit, those souls

Which seek reward for works, make sacrifice

Now, to the lower gods. I say to thee

Here have they their reward. But I am He

Made the Four Castes, and portioned them a place

After their qualities and gifts. Yea, I

Created, the Reposeful; I that live

Immortally, made all those mortal births:

For works soil not my essence, being works

Wrought uninvolved. Who knows me acting thus

Unchained by action, action binds not him;

And, so perceiving, all those saints of old

Worked, seeking for deliverance. Work thou

As, in the days gone by, thy fathers did.

Thou sayst, perplexed, It hath been asked before

By singers and by sages, "What is act,

And what inaction?" I will teach thee this,

And, knowing, thou shalt learn which work doth save

Needs must one rightly meditate those three --

Doing, -- not doing, -- and undoing. Here

Thorny and dark the path is! He who sees

How action may be rest, rest action -- he

Is wisest 'mid his kind; he hath the truth!

He doeth well, acting or resting. Freed

In all his works from prickings of desire,

Burned clean in act by the white fire of truth,

The wise call that man wise; and such an one,

Renouncing fruit of deeds, always content.

Always self-satisfying, if he works,

Doth nothing that shall stain his separate soul,

Which -- quit of fear and hope -- subduing self --

Rejecting outward impulse-yielding up

To body's need nothing save body, dwells

Sinless amid all sin, with equal calm

Taking what may befall, by grief unmoved,

Unmoved by joy, unenvyingly; the same

In good and evil fortunes; nowise bound

By bond of deeds. Nay, but of such an one,

Whose crave is gone, whose soul is liberate,

Whose heart is set on truth -- of such an one

What work he does is work of sacrifice,

Which passeth purely into ash and smoke

Consumed upon the altar! All's then God!

The sacrifice is Brahm, the ghee and grain

Are Brahm, the fire is Brahm, the flesh it eats

Is Brahm, and unto Brahm attaineth he

Who, in such office, meditates on Brahm.

Some votaries there be who serve the gods

With flesh and altar-smoke; but other some

Who, lighting subtler fires, make purer rite

With will of worship. Of the which be they

Who, in white flame of continence, consume

Joys of the sense, delights of eye and ear,

Foregoing tender speech and sound of song:

And they who, kindling fires with torch of Truth,

Burn on a hidden altar-stone the bliss

Of youth and love, renouncing happiness:

And they who lay for offering there their wealth,

Their penance, meditation, piety,

Their steadfast reading of the scrolls, their lore

Painfully gained with long austerities:

And they who, making silent sacrifice,

Draw in their breath to feed the flame of thought,

And breathe it forth to waft the heart on high,

Governing the ventage of each entering air

Lest one sigh pass which helpeth not the soul:

And they who, day by day denying needs,

Lay life itself upon the altar-flame,

Burning the body wan. Lo! all these keep

The rite of offering, as if they slew

Victims; and all thereby efface much sin.

Yea! and who feed on the immortal food

Left of such sacrifice, to Brahma pass,

To The Unending. But for him that makes

No sacrifice, he hath nor part nor lot

Even in the present world. How should he share

Another, O thou Glory of thy Line?

In sight of Brahma all these offerings

Are spread and are accepted! Comprehend

That all proceed by act; for knowing this,

Thou shalt be quit of doubt. The sacrifice

Which Knowledge pays is better than great gifts

Offered by wealth, since gifts' worth -- O my Prince!

Lies in the mind which gives, the will that serves:

And these are gained by reverence, by strong search,

By humble heed of those who see the Truth

And teach it. Knowing Truth, thy heart no more

Will ache with error, for the Truth shall show

All things subdued to thee, as thou to Me.

Moreover, Son of Pandu! wert thou worst

Of all wrong-doers, this fair ship of Truth

Should bear thee safe and dry across the sea

Of thy transgressions. As the kindled flame

Feeds on the fuel till it sinks to ash,

So unto ash, Arjuna! unto nought

The flame of Knowledge wastes works' dross away!

There is no purifier like thereto

In all this world, and he who seeketh it

Shall find it -- being grown perfect -- in himself.

Believing, he receives it when the soul

Masters itself, and cleaves to Truth, and comes --

Possessing knowledge -- to the higher peace,

The uttermost repose. But those untaught,

And those without full faith, and those who fear

Are shent; no peace is here or other where,

No hope, nor happiness for whoso doubts.

He that, being self-contained, hath vanquished doubt,

Disparting self from service, soul from works,

Enlightened and emancipate, my Prince!

Works fetter him no more! Cut then atwain

With sword of wisdom, Son of Bharata!

This doubt that binds thy heart-beats! cleave the bond

Born of thy ignorance! Be bold and wise!

Give thyself to the field with me! Arise!


Entitled "Jnana Yog,"

Or "The Book of the Religion of Knowledge."




Arjuna. Yet, Krishna at the one time thou dost laud

Surcease of works, and, at another time,

Service through work. Of these twain plainly tell

Which is the better way?

Krishna. To cease from works

Is well, and to do works in holiness

Is well; and both conduct to bliss supreme;

But of these twain the better way is his

Who working piously refraineth not.

That is the true Renouncer, firm and fixed,

Who -- seeking nought, rejecting nought -- dwells proof

Against the "opposites." O valiant Prince!

In doing, such breaks lightly from all deed:

'Tis the new scholar talks as they were two,

This Sankhya and this Yoga: wise men know

Who husbands one plucks golden fruit of both!

The region of high rest which Sankhyans reach

Yogins attain. Who sees these twain as one

Sees with clear eyes! Yet such abstraction, Chief!

Is hard to win without much holiness.

Whoso is fixed in holiness, self-ruled,

Pure-hearted, lord of senses and of self,

Lost in the common life of all which lives --

A "Yogayukt" -- he is a Saint who wends

Straightway to Brahm. Such an one is not touched

By taint of deeds. "Nought of myself I do!"

Thus will he think -- who holds the truth of truths --

In seeing, hearing, touching, smelling; when

He eats, or goes, or breathes; slumbers or talks,

Holds fast or loosens, opes his eyes or shuts;

Always assured "This is the sense-world plays

With senses." He that acts in thought of Brahm,

Detaching end from act, with act content,

The world of sense can no more stain his soul

Than waters mar th' enamelled lotus-leaf.

With life, with heart, with mind, -- nay, with the help

Of all five senses -- letting selfhood go --

Yogins toil ever towards their souls' release.

Such votaries, renouncing fruit of deeds,

Gain endless peace: the unvowed, the passion-bound,

Seeking a fruit from works, are fastened down.

The embodied sage, withdrawn within his soul,

At every act sits godlike in "the town

Which hath nine gateways," neither doing aught

Nor causing any deed. This world's Lord makes

Neither the work, nor passion for the work,

Nor lust for fruit of work; the man's own self

Pushes to these! The Master of this World

Takes on himself the good or evil deeds

Of no man -- dwelling beyond! Mankind errs here

By folly, darkening knowledge. But, for whom

That darkness of the soul is chased by light,

Splendid and clear shines manifest the Truth

As if a Sun of Wisdom sprang to shed

Its beams of dawn. Him meditating still,

Him seeking, with Him blended, stayed on Him,

The souls illuminated take that road

Which hath no turning back -- their sins flung off,

By strength of faith. [Who will may have this Light;

Who hath it sees.] To him who wisely sees,

The Brahman with his scrolls and sanctities,

The cow, the elephant, the unclean dog,

The Outcast gorging dog's meat, are all one.

The world is overcome -- aye! even here!

By such as fix their faith on Unity.

The sinless Brahma dwells in Unity,

And they in Brahma. Be not over-glad

Attaining joy, and be not over-sad

Encountering grief, but, stayed on Brahma, still

Constant let each abide! The sage whose soul

Holds off from outer contacts, in himself

Finds bliss; to Brahma joined by piety,

His spirit tastes eternal peace. The joys

Springing from sense-life are but quickening wombs

Which breed sure griefs: those joys begin and end!

The wise mind takes no pleasure, Kunti's Son!

In such as those! But if a man shall learn,

Even while he lives and bears his body's chain,

To master lust and anger, he is blest!

He is the Yukta; he hath happiness,

Contentment, light, within: his life is merged

In Brahma's life; he doth Nirvana touch!

Thus go the Rishis unto rest, who dwell

With sins effaced, with doubts at end, with hearts

Governed and calm. Glad in all good they live,

Nigh to the peace of God; and all those live

Who pass their days exempt from greed and wrath,

Subduing self and senses, knowing the Soul!

The Saint who shuts outside his placid soul

All touch of sense, letting no contact through;

Whose quiet eyes gaze straight from fixed brows,

Whose outward breath and inward breath are drawn

Equal and slow through nostrils still and close;

That one -- with organs, heart, and mind constrained,

Bent on deliverance, having put away

Passion, and fear, and rage; -- hath even now,

Obtained deliverance, ever and ever freed.

Yea! for he knows Me Who am He that heeds

The sacrifice and worship, God revealed;

And He who heeds not, being Lord of Worlds,

Lover of all that lives, God unrevealed,

Wherein who will shall find surety and shield!


Entitled "Karmasanyasayog,"

Or "The Book of Religion by Renouncing Fruit of Works."




Krishna. Therefore, who doeth work rightful to do,

Not seeking gain from work, that man, O Prince!

Is Sanyasi and Yogi -- both in one

And he is neither who lights not the flame

Of sacrifice, nor setteth hand to task.

Regard as true Renouncer him that makes

Worship by work, for who renounceth not

Works not as Yogin. So is that well said:

"By works the votary doth rise to faith,

And saintship is the ceasing from all works;

Because the perfect Yogin acts -- but acts

Unmoved by passions and unbound by deeds,

Setting result aside.

Let each man raise

The Self by Soul, not trample down his Self,

Since Soul that is Self's friend may grow Self's foe.

Soul is Self's friend when Self doth rule o'er Self,

But Self turns enemy if Soul's own self

Hates Self as not itself.

The sovereign soul

Of him who lives self-governed and at peace

Is centred in itself, taking alike

Pleasure and pain; heat, cold; glory and shame.

He is the Yogi, he is Yukta, glad

With joy of light and truth; dwelling apart

Upon a peak, with senses subjugate

Whereto the clod, the rock, the glistering gold

Show all as one. By this sign is he known

Being of equal grace to comrades, friends,

Chance-comers, strangers, lovers, enemies,

Aliens and kinsmen; loving all alike,

Evil or good.

Sequestered should he sit,

Steadfastly meditating, solitary,

His thoughts controlled, his passions laid away,

Quit of belongings. In a fair, still spot

Having his fixed abode, -- not too much raised,

Nor yet too low, -- let him abide, his goods

A cloth, a deerskin, and the Kusa-grass.

There, setting hard his mind upon The One,

Restraining heart and senses, silent, calm,

Let him accomplish Yoga, and achieve

Pureness of soul, holding immovable

Body and neck and head, his gaze absorbed

Upon his nose-end, rapt from all around,

Tranquil in spirit, free of fear, intent

Upon his Brahmacharya vow, devout,

Musing on Me, lost in the thought of Me.

That Yogin, so devoted, so controlled,

Comes to the peace beyond, -- My peace, the peace

Of high Nirvana!

But for earthly needs

Religion is not his who too much fasts

Or too much feasts, nor his who sleeps away

An idle mind; nor his who wears to waste

His strength in vigils. Nay, Arjuna! I call

That the true piety which most removes

Earth-aches and ills, where one is moderate

In eating and in resting, and in sport;

Measured in wish and act; sleeping betimes,

Waking betimes for duty.

When the man,

So living, centres on his soul the thought

Straitly restrained -- untouched internally

By stress of sense -- then is he Yukta. See!

Steadfast a lamp burns sheltered from the wind;

Such is the likeness of the Yogi's mind

Shut from sense-storms and burning bright to Heaven.

When mind broods placid, soothed with holy wont;

When Self contemplates self, and in itself

Hath comfort; when it knows the nameless joy

Beyond all scope of sense, revealed to soul --

Only to soul! and, knowing, wavers not,

True to the farther Truth; when, holding this,

It deems no other treasure comparable,

But, harboured there, cannot be stirred or shook

By any gravest grief, call that state "peace,"

That happy severance Yoga; call that man

The perfect Yogin!

Steadfastly the will

Must toil thereto, till efforts end in ease,

And thought has passed from thinking. Shaking off

All longings bred by dreams of fame and gain,

Shutting the doorways of the senses close

With watchful ward; so, step by step, it comes

To gift of peace assured and heart assuaged,

When the mind dwells self-wrapped, and the soul broods

Cumberless. But, as often as the heart

Breaks -- wild and wavering -- from control, so oft

Let him re-curb it, let him rein it back

To the soul's governance; for perfect bliss

Grows only in the bosom tranquillised,

The spirit passionless, purged from offence,

Vowed to the Infinite. He who thus vows

His soul to the Supreme Soul, quitting sin,

Passes unhindered to the endless bliss

Of unity with Brahma. He so vowed,

So blended, sees the Life-Soul resident

In all things living, and all living things

In that Life-Soul contained. And whoso thus

Discerneth Me in all, and all in Me,

I never let him go; nor looseneth he

Hold upon Me; but, dwell he where he may,

Whate'er his life, in Me he dwells and lives,

Because he knows and worships Me, Who dwell

In all which lives, and cleaves to Me in all.

Arjuna! if a man sees everywhere --

Taught by his own similitude -- one Life,

One Essence in the Evil and the Good,

Hold him a Yogi, yea! well perfected!

Arjuna. Slayer of Madhu! yet again, this Yog,

This Peace, derived from equanimity,

Made known by thee -- I see no fixity

Therein, no rest, because the heart of men

Is unfixed, Krishna! rash, tumultuous,

Wilful and strong. It were all one, I think,

To hold the wayward wind, as tame man's heart.

Krishna. Hero long-armed! beyond denial, hard

Man's heart is to restrain, and wavering;

Yet may it grow restrained by habit, Prince!

By wont of self-command. This Yog, I say,

Cometh not lightly to th' ungoverned ones;

But he who will be master of himself

Shall win it, if he stoutly strive thereto.

Arjuna. And what road goeth he who, having faith,

Fails, Krishna! in the striving; falling back

From holiness, missing the perfect rule?

Is he not lost, straying from Brahma's light,

Like the vain cloud, which floats 'twixt earth and heaven

When lightning splits it, and it vanisheth?

Fain would I hear thee answer me herein,

Since, Krishna! none save thou can clear the doubt.

Krishna. He is not lost, thou Son of Pritha! No!

Nor earth, nor heaven is forfeit, even for him,

Because no heart that holds one right desire

Treadeth the road of loss! He who should fail,

Desiring righteousness, cometh at death

Unto the Region of the Just; dwells there

Measureless years, and being born anew,

Beginneth life again in some fair home

Amid the mild and happy. It may chance

He doth descend into a Yogin house

On Virtue's breast; but that is rare! Such birth

Is hard to be obtained on this earth, Chief!

So hath he back again what heights of heart

He did achieve, and so he strives anew

To perfectness, with better hope, dear Prince!

For by the old desire he is drawn on

Unwittingly; and only to desire

The purity of Yog is to pass

Beyond the Sabdabrahm, the spoken Ved.

But, being Yogi, striving strong and long,

Purged from transgressions, perfected by births

Following on births, he plants his feet at last

Upon the farther path. Such as one ranks

Above ascetics, higher than the wise,

Beyond achievers of vast deeds! Be thou

Yogi Arjuna! And of such believe,

Truest and best is he who worships Me

With inmost soul, stayed on My Mystery!


Entitled "Atmasanyamayog,"

Or "The Book of Religion of Self-Restraint."




Krishna. Learn now, dear Prince! how, if thy soul be set

Ever on Me -- still exercising Yog,

Still making Me thy Refuge -- thou shalt come

Most surely unto perfect hold of Me.

I will declare to thee that utmost lore,

Whole and particular, which, when thou knowest,

Leaveth no more to know here in this world.

Of many thousand mortals, one, perchance,

Striveth for Truth; and of those few that strive --

Nay, and rise high -- one only -- here and there --

Knoweth Me, as I am, the very Truth.

Earth, water, flame, air, ether, life, and mind,

And individuality -- those eight

Make up the showing of Me, Manifest.

These be my lower Nature; learn the higher,

Whereby, thou Valiant One! this Universe

Is, by its principle of life, produced;

Whereby the worlds of visible things are born

As from a Yoni. Know! I am that womb:

I make and I unmake this Universe:

Than me there is no other Master, Prince!

No other Maker! All these hang on me

As hangs a row of pearls upon its string.

I am the fresh taste of the water; I

The silver of the moon, the gold o' the sun,

The word of worship in the Veds, the thrill

That passeth in the ether, and the strength

Of man's shed seed. I am the good sweet smell

Of the moistened earth, I am the fire's red light,

The vital air moving in all which moves,

The holiness of hallowed souls, the root

Undying, whence hath sprung whatever is;

The wisdom of the wise, the intellect

Of the informed, the greatness of the great.

The splendour of the splendid. Kunti's Son!

These am I, free from passion and desire;

Yet am I right desire in all who yearn,

Chief of the Bharatas! for all those moods,

Soothfast, or passionate, or ignorant,

Which Nature frames, deduce from me; but all

Are merged in me -- not I in them! The world --

Deceived by those three qualities of being --

Wotteth not Me Who am outside them all,

Above them all, Eternal! Hard it is

To pierce that veil divine of various shows

Which hideth Me; yet they who worship Me

Pierce it and pass beyond.

I am not known

To evil-doers, nor to foolish ones,

Nor to the base and churlish; nor to those

Whose mind is cheated by the show of things,

Nor those that take the way of Asuras.

Four sorts of mortals know me: he who weeps,

Arjuna! and the man who yearns to know;

And he who toils to help; and he who sits

Certain of me, enlightened.

Of these four,

O Prince of India! highest, nearest, best

That last is, the devout soul, wise, intent

Upon "The One." Dear, above all, am I

To him; and he is dearest unto me!

All four are good, and seek me; but mine own,

The true of heart, the faithful -- stayed on me,

Taking me as their utmost, blessedness,

They are not "mine," but I -- even I myself!

At end of many births to Me they come!

Yet hard the wise Mahatma is to find,

That man who sayeth, "All is Vasudev!"

There be those, too, whose knowledge, turned aside

By this desire or that, gives them to serve

Some lower gods, with various rites, constrained

By that which mouldeth them. Unto all such --

Worship what shrine they will, what shapes, in faith --

'Tis I who give them faith! I am content!

The heart thus asking favour from its God,

Darkened but ardent, hath the end it craves,

The lesser blessing -- but 'tis I who give!

Yet soon is withered what small fruit they reap:

Those men of little minds, who worship so,

Go where they worship, passing with their gods.

But Mine come unto me! Blind are the eyes

Which deem th' Unmanifested manifest,

Not comprehending Me in my true Self!

Imperishable, viewless, undeclared,

Hidden behind my magic veil of shows,

I am not seen by all; I am not known --

Unborn and changeless -- to the idle world.

But I, Arjuna! know all things which were,

And all which are, and all which are to be,

Albeit not one among them knoweth Me!

By passion for the "pairs of opposites,"

By those twain snares of Like and Dislike, Prince!

All creatures live bewildered, save some few

Who, quit of sins, holy in act, informed,

Freed from the "opposites," and fixed in faith,

Cleave unto Me.

Who cleave, who seek in Me

Refuge from birth and death, those have the Truth!

Those know Me BRAHMA: know Me Soul of Souls,

The ADHYATMAN: know KARMA, my work;

Know I am ADHIBHUTA, Lord of Life,

And ADHIDAIVA, Lord of all the Gods,

And ADHIYAJNA, Lord of Sacrifice;

Worship Me well, with hearts of love and faith,

And find and hold me in the hour of death.


Entitled "Vijnanayog,"

Or "The Book of Religion by Discernment."




Arjuna. Who is that BRAHMA? What that Soul of Souls,

The ADHYATMAN? What, Thou Best of All!

Thy work, the KARMA? Tell me what it is

Thou namest ADHIBHUTA? What again

Means ADHIDAIVA? Yea, and how it comes

Thou canst be ADHIYAJNA in thy flesh?

Slayer of Madhu! Further, make me know

How good men find thee in the hour of death?

Krishna. I BRAHMA am! the One Eternal GOD,

And ADHYATMAN is My Being's name,

The Soul of Souls! What goeth forth from Me,

Causing all life to live, is KARMA called:

And, Manifested in divided forms,

I am the ADHIBHUTA, Lord of Lives;

And ADHIDAIVA, Lord of all the Gods,

Because I am PURUSHA, who who begets.

And ADHIYAJNA, Lord of Sacrifice,

I -- speaking with thee in this body here --

Am, thou embodied one! (for all the shrines

Flame unto Me!) And, at the hour of death,

He that hath meditated Me alone,

In putting off his flesh, comes forth to Me,

Enters into My Being -- doubt thou not!

But, if he meditated otherwise

At hour of death, in putting off the flesh,

He goes to what he looked for, Kunti's Son!

Because the Soul is fashioned to its like.

Have Me, then, in thy heart always! and fight!

Thou too, when heart and mind are fixed on Me,

Shalt surely come to Me! All come who cleave

With never-wavering will of firmest faith,

Owning none other Gods: all come to Me,

The Uttermost, Purusha, Holiest!

Whoso hath known Me, Lord of sage and singer,

Ancient of days; of all the Three Worlds Stay,

Boundless, -- but unto every atom Bringer

Of that which quickens it: whoso, I say,

Hath known My form, which passeth mortal knowing;

Seen my effulgence -- which no eye hath seen --

Than the sun's burning gold more brightly glowing,

Dispersing darkness, -- unto him hath been

Right life! And, in the hour when life is ending,

With mind set fast and trustful piety,

Drawing still breath beneath calm brows unbending,

In happy peace that faithful one doth die, --

In glad peace passeth to Purusha's heaven.

The place which they who read the Vedas name

AKSHARAM, "Ultimate;" whereto have striven

Saints and ascetics -- their road is the same.

That way -- the highest way -- goes he who shuts

The gates of all his senses, locks desire

Safe in his heart, centres the vital airs

Upon his parting thought, steadfastly set;

And, murmuring OM, the sacred syllable --

Emblem of BRAHM -- dies, meditating Me.

For who, none other Gods regarding, looks

Ever to Me, easily am I gained

By such a Yogi; and, attaining Me,

They fall not -- those Mahatmas -- back to birth,

To life, which is the place of pain, which ends,

But take the way of utmost blessedness.

The worlds, Arjuna! -- even Brahma's world --

Roll back again from Death to Life's unrest;

But they, O Kunti's Son! that reach to Me,

Taste birth no more. If ye know Brahma's Day

Which is a thousand Yugas; if ye know

The thousand Yugas making Brahma's Night,

Then know ye Day and Night as He doth know!

When that vast Dawn doth break, th' Invisible

Is brought anew into the Visible;

When that deep Night doth darken, all which is

Fades back again to Him Who sent it forth;

Yea! this vast company of living things --

Again and yet again produced -- expires

At Brahma's Nightfall; and, at Brahma's Dawn,

Riseth, without its will, to life new-born.

But -- higher, deeper, innermost -- abides

Another Life, not like the life of sense,

Escaping sight, unchanging. This endures

When all created things have passed away;

This is that Life named the Unmanifest,

The Infinite! the All! the Uttermost.

Thither arriving none return. That Life

Is Mine, and I am there! And, Prince! by faith

Which wanders not, there is a way to come

Thither. I, the PURUSHA, I Who spread

The Universe around me -- in Whom dwell

All living Things -- may so be reached and seen!

. . . . .

Richer than holy fruit on Vedas growing,

Greater than gifts, better than prayer or fast,

Such wisdom is! The Yogi, this way knowing,

Comes to the Utmost Perfect Peace at last.


Entitled "Aksharaparabrahmayog,"

Or "The Book of Religion by Devotion to the One Supreme God."




Krishna. Now will I open unto thee -- whose heart

Rejects not -- that last lore, deepest-concealed,

That farthest secret of My Heavens and Earths,

Which but to know shall set thee free from ills, --

A royal lore! a Kingly mystery!

Yea! for the soul such light as purgeth it

From every sin; a light of holiness

With inmost splendour shining; plain to see;

Easy to walk by, inexhaustible!

They that receive not this, failing in faith

To grasp the greater wisdom, reach not Me,

Destroyer of thy foes! They sink anew

Into the realm of Flesh, where all things change!

By Me the whole vast Universe of things

Is spread abroad; -- by Me, the Unmanifest!

In Me are all existences contained;

Not I in them!

Yet they are not contained,

Those visible things! Receive and strive to embrace

The mystery majestical! My Being --

Creating all, sustaining all -- still dwells

Outside of all!

See! as the shoreless airs

Move in the measureless space, but are not space,

[And space were space without the moving airs];

So all things are in Me, but are not I.

At closing of each Kalpa, Indian Prince!

All things which be back to My Being come:

At the beginning of each Kalpa, all

Issue new-born from Me.

By Energy

And help of Prakriti, my outer Self,

Again, and yet again, I make go forth

The realms of visible things -- without their will --

All of them -- by the power of Prakriti.

Yet these great makings, Prince! involve Me not

Enchain Me not ! I sit apart from them,

Other, and Higher, and Free; nowise attached!

Thus doth the stuff of worlds, moulded by Me,

Bring forth all that which is, moving or still,

Living or lifeless! Thus the worlds go on!

The minds untaught mistake Me, veiled in form; --

Naught see they of My secret Presence, nought

Of My hid Nature, ruling all which lives.

Vain hopes pursuing, vain deeds doing; fed

On vainest knowledge, senselessly they seek

An evil way, the way of brutes and fiends.

But My Mahatmas, those of noble soul

Who tread the path celestial, worship Me

With hearts unwandering, -- knowing Me the Source,

Th' Eternal Source, of Life. Unendingly

They glorify Me; seek Me; keep their vows

Of reverence and love, with changeless faith

Adoring Me. Yea, and those too adore,

Who, offering sacrifice of wakened hearts,

Have sense of one pervading Spirit's stress,

One Force in every place, though manifold!

I am the Sacrifice! I am the Prayer!

I am the Funeral-Cake set for the dead!

I am the healing herb! I am the ghee,

The Mantra, and the flame, and that which burns!

I am -- of all this boundless Universe --

The Father, Mother, Ancestor, and Guard!

The end of Learning! That which purifies

In lustral water! I am OM! I am

Rig-Veda, Sama-Veda, Yajur-Ved;

The Way, the Fosterer, the Lord, the Judge,

The Witness; the Abode, the Refuge-House,

The Friend, the Fountain and the Sea of Life

Which sends, and swallows up; Treasure of Worlds

And Treasure-Chamber! Seed and Seed-Sower,

Whence endless harvests spring! Sun's heat is mine;

Heaven's rain is mine to grant or to withhold;

Death am I, and Immortal Life I am,

Arjuna! SAT and ASAT, Visible Life,

And Life Invisible!

Yea! those who learn

The threefold Veds, who drink the Soma-wine,

Purge sins, pay sacrifice -- from Me they earn

Passage to Swarga; where the meats divine

Of great gods feed them in high Indra's heaven.

Yet they, when that prodigious joy is o'er,

Paradise spent, and wage for merits given,

Come to the world of death and change once more.

They had their recompense! they stored their treasure,

Following the threefold Scripture and its writ;

Who seeketh such gaineth the fleeting pleasure

Of joy which comes and goes! I grant them it!

But to those blessed ones who worship Me,

Turning not otherwhere, with minds set fast,

I bring assurance of full bliss beyond.

Nay, and of hearts which follow other gods

In simple faith, their prayers arise to me,

O Kunti's Son! though they pray wrongfully;

For I am the Receiver and the Lord

Of every sacrifice, which these know not

Rightfully; so they fall to earth again!

Who follow gods go to their gods; who vow

Their souls to Pitris go to Pitris; minds

To evil Bhuts given o'er sink to the Bhuts;

And whoso loveth Me cometh to Me.

Whoso shall offer Me in faith and love

A leaf, a flower, a fruit, water poured forth,

That offering I accept, lovingly made

With pious will. Whate'er thou doest, Prince!

Eating or sacrificing, giving gifts,

Praying or fasting, let it all be done

For Me, as Mine. So shalt thou free thyself

From Karmabandh, the chain which holdeth men

To good and evil issue, so shalt come

Safe unto Me -- when thou art quit of flesh --

By faith and abdication joined to Me!

I am alike for all! I know not hate,

I know not favour! What is made is Mine!

But them that worship Me with love, I love;

They are in Me, and I in them!

Nay, Prince!

If one of evil life turn in his thought

Straightly to Me, count him amidst the good;

He hath the high way chosen; he shall grow

Righteous ere long; he shall attain that peace

Which changes not. Thou Prince of India!

Be certain none can perish, trusting Me!

O Pritha's Son! whoso will turn to Me,

Though they be born from the very womb of Sin,

Woman or man; sprung of the Vaisya caste

Or lowly disregarded Sudra, -- all

Plant foot upon the highest path; how then

The holy Brahmans and My Royal Saints?

Ah! ye who into this ill world are come --

Fleeting and false -- set your faith fast on Me!

Fix heart and thought on Me! Adore Me! Bring

Offerings to Me! Make Me prostrations! Make

Me your supremest joy! and, undivided,

Unto My rest your spirits shall be guided.


Entitled "Rajavidyarajaguhyayog,"

Or "The Book of Religion by the Kingly Knowledge and the Kingly Mystery."




Krishna. Hear farther yet, thou Long-Armed Lord! these latest

words I say --

Uttered to bring thee bliss and peace, who lovest Me alway --

Not the great company of gods nor kingly Rishis know

My Nature, Who have made the gods and Rishis long ago;

He only knoweth -- only he is free of sin, and wise,

Who seeth Me, Lord of the Worlds, with faith-enlightened eyes,

Unborn, undying, unbegun. Whatever Natures be

To mortal men distributed, those natures spring from Me!

Intellect, skill, enlightenment, endurance, self-control,

Truthfulness, equability, and grief or joy of soul,

And birth and death, and fearfulness, and fearlessness, and shame,

And honour, and sweet harmlessness, and peace which is the same

Whate'er befalls, and mirth, and tears, and piety and thrift,

And wish to give, and will to help, -- all cometh of My gift!

The Seven Chief Saints, the Elders Four, the Lordly Manus set --

Sharing My work -- to rule the worlds, these too did I beget;

And Rishis, Pitris, Manus, all, by one thought of My mind;

Thence did arise, to fill this world, the races of mankind;

Wherefrom who comprehends My Reign of mystic Majesty --

That truth of truths -- is thenceforth linked in faultless faith to Me:

Yea! knowing Me the source of all, by Me all creatures wrought,

The wise in spirit cleave to Me, into My Being brought;

Hearts fixed on Me; breaths breathed to Me; praising Me, each to each,

So have they happiness and peace, with pious thought and speech;

And unto these -- thus serving well, thus loving ceaselessly --

I give a mind of perfect mood, whereby they draw to Me;

And, all for love of them, within their darkened souls I dwell,

And, with bright rays of wisdom's lamp, their ignorance dispel.

Arjuna. Yes! Thou art Parabrahm! The High Abode!

The Great Purification! Thou art God

Eternal, All-creating, Holy, First,

Without beginning! Lord of Lords and Gods!

Declared by all the Saints -- by Narada,

Vyasa Asita, and Devalas;

And here Thyself declaring unto me!

What Thou hast said now know I to be truth,

O Kesava! that neither gods nor men

Nor demons comprehend Thy mystery

Made manifest, Divinest! Thou Thyself

Thyself alone dost know, Maker Supreme!

Master of all the living! Lord of Gods!

King of the Universe! To Thee alone

Belongs to tell the heavenly excellence

Of those perfections wherewith Thou dost fill

These worlds of Thine; Pervading, Immanent!

How shall I learn, Supremest Mystery!

To know Thee, though I muse continually?

Under what form of Thine unnumbered forms

Mayst Thou be grasped? Ah! yet again recount,

Clear and complete, Thy great appearances,

The secrets of Thy Majesty and Might,

Thou High Delight of Men! Never enough

Can mine ears drink the Amrit of such words!

Krishna. Hanta! So be it! Kuru Prince! I will to thee unfold

Some portions of My Majesty, whose powers are manifold!

I am the Spirit seated deep in every creature's heart;

From Me they come; by Me they live; at My word they depart!

Vishnu of the Adityas I am, those Lords of Light;

Maritchi of the Maruts, the Kings of Storm and Blight;

By day I gleam, the golden Sun of burning cloudless Noon;

By Night, amid the asterisms I glide, the dappled Moon!

Of Vedas I am Sama-Ved, of gods in Indra's Heaven

Vasava; of the faculties to living beings given

The mind which apprehends and thinks; of Rudras Sankara;

Of Yakshas and of Rakshasas, Vittesh; and Pavaka

Of Vasus, and of mountain-peaks Meru; Vrihaspati

Know Me 'mid planetary Powers; 'mid Warriors heavenly

Skanda; of all the water-floods the Sea which drinketh each,

And Bhrigu of the holy Saints, and OM of sacred speech;

Of prayers the prayer ye whisper; of hills Himila's snow,

And Aswattha, the fig-tree, of all the trees that grow;

Of the Devarshis, Narada; and Chitrarath of them

That sing in Heaven, and Kapila of Munis, and the gem

Of flying steeds, Uchchaisravas, from Amritwave which burst;

Of elephants Airavata; of males the Best and First;

Of weapons Heav'n's hot thunderbolt; of cows white Kamadhuk,

From whose great milky udder-teats all hearts' desires are strook;

Vasuki of the serpent-tribes, round Mandara entwined;

And thousand-fanged Ananta, on whose broad coils reclined

Leans Vishnu; and of water-things Varuna; Aryam

Of Pitris, and, of those that judge, Yama the Judge I am;

Of Daityas dread Prahlada; of what metes days and years,

Time's self I am; of woodland-beasts -- buffaloes, deers, and bears --

The lordly-painted tiger; of birds the vast Garud,

The whirlwind 'mid the winds; 'mid chiefs Rama with blood imbrued,

Makar 'mid fishes of the sea, and Ganges 'mid the streams;

Yea! First, and Last, and Centre of all which is or seems

I am, Arjuna! Wisdom Supreme of what is wise,

Words on the uttering lips I am, and eyesight of the eyes.

And "A" of written characters, Dwandwa of knitted speech,

And Endless Life, and boundless Love, whose power sustaineth each;

And bitter Death which seizes all, and joyous sudden Birth,

Which brings to light all beings that are to be on earth;

And of the viewless virtues, Fame, Fortune, Song am I,

And Memory, and Patience; and Craft, and Constancy:

Of Vedic hymns the Vrihatsam, of metres Gayatri,

Of months the Margasirsha, of all the seasons three

The flower-wreathed Spring; in dicer's-play the conquering Double-Eight;

The splendour of the splendid, and the greatness of the great,

Victory I am, and Action! and the goodness of the good,

And Vasudev of Vrishni's race, and of this Pandu brood

Thyself! -- Yea, my Arjuna! thyself; for thou art Mine!

Of poets Usana, of saints Vyasa, sage divine;

The policy of conquerors, the potency of kings,

The great unbroken silence in learning's secret things;

The lore of all the learned, the seed of all which springs.

Living or lifeless, still or stirred, whatever beings be,

None of them is in all the worlds, but it exists by Me!

Nor tongue can tell, Arjuna! nor end of telling come

Of these My boundless glories, whereof I teach thee some;

For wheresoe'er is wondrous work, and majesty, and might,

From Me hath all proceeded. Receive thou this aright!

Yet how shouldst thou receive, O Prince! the vastness of this word?

I, who am all, and made it all, abide its separate Lord!


Entitled "Vibhuti Yog,"

Or "The Book of Religion by the Heavenly Perfections."




Arjuna. This, for my soul's peace, have I heard from Thee,

The unfolding of the Mystery Supreme

Named Adhyatman; comprehending which,

My darkness is dispelled; for now I know --

O Lotus-eyed! -- whence is the birth of men,

And whence their death, and what the majesties

Of Thine immortal rule. Fain would I see,

As thou Thyself declar'st it, Sovereign Lord!

The likeness of that glory of Thy Form

Wholly revealed. O Thou Divinest One!

If this can be, if I may bear the sight,

Make Thyself visible, Lord of all prayers!

Show me Thy very self, the Eternal God!

Krishna. Gaze, then, thou Son of Pritha! I manifest for thee

Those hundred thousand thousand shapes that clothe my Mystery:

I show thee all my semblances, infinite, rich, divine,

My changeful hues, my countless forms. See! in this face of mine,

Adityas, Vasus, Rudras, Aswins, and Maruts; see

Wonders unnumbered, Indian Prince! revealed to none save thee.

Behold! this is the Universe! -- Look! what is live and dead

I gather all in one -- in Me! Gaze, as thy lips have said

On GOD, ETERNAL, VERY GOD! See ME! what thou prayest!

. . . . .

Thou canst not! -- nor, with human eyes, Arjuna! ever mayest!

Therefore I give thee sense divine. Have other eyes, new light!

And, look! This is My glory, unveiled to mortal sight!

Sanjaya. Then, O King! to God, so saying,

Stood, to Pritha's Son displaying

All the splendour, wonder, dread

Of His vast Almighty-head.

Out of countless eyes beholding,

Out of countless mouths commanding,

Countless mystic forms enfolding

In one Form: supremely standing

Countless radiant glories wearing,

Countless heavenly weapons bearing,

Crowned with garlands of star-clusters,

Robed in garb of woven lustres,

Breathing from His perfect Presence

Breaths of every subtle essence

Of all heavenly odours; shedding

Blinding brilliance; overspreading --

Boundless, beautiful -- all spaces

With His all-regarding faces;

So He showed! If there should rise

Suddenly within the skies

Sunburst of a thousand suns

Flooding earth with beams undeemed-of,

Then might be that Holy One's

Majesty and radiance dreamed of!

So did Pandu's Son behold

All this universe enfold

All its huge diversity

Into one vast shape, and be

Visible, and viewed, and blended

In one Body -- subtle, splendid,

Nameless -- th' All-comprehending

God of Gods, the Never-Ending


But, sore amazed,

Thrilled, o'erfilled, dazzled, and dazed,

Arjuna knelt; and bowed his head,

And clasped his palms; and cried, and said:

Arjuna. Yea! I have seen! I see!

Lord! all is wrapped in Thee!

The gods are in Thy glorious frame! the creatures

Of earth, and heaven, and hell

In Thy Divine form dwell,

And in Thy countenance shine all the features

Of Brahma, sitting lone

Upon His lotus-throne;

Of saints and sages, and the serpent races

Ananta, Vasuki;

Yea! mightiest Lord! I see

Thy thousand thousand arms and breasts, and faces,

And eyes, -- on every side

Perfect, diversified;

And nowhere end of Thee, nowhere beginning,

Nowhere a centre! Shifts --

Wherever soul's gaze lifts --

Thy central Self, all-wielding, and all-winning!

Infinite King! I see

The anadem on Thee,

The club, the shell, the discus; see Thee burning

In beams insufferable,

Lighting earth, heaven, and hell

With brilliance blazing, glowing, flashing; turning

Darkness to dazzling day,

Look I whichever way;

Ah, Lord! I worship Thee, the Undivided,

The Uttermost of thought,

The Treasure-Palace wrought

To hold the wealth of the worlds; the Shield provided

To shelter Virtue's laws;

The Fount whence Life's stream draws

All waters of all rivers of all being:

The One Unborn, Unending:

Unchanging and Unblending!

With might and majesty, past thought, past seeing!

Silver of moon and gold

Of sun are glories rolled

From Thy great eyes; Thy visage, beaming tender

Throughout the stars and skies,

Doth to warm life surprise

Thy Universe. The worlds are filled with wonder

Of Thy perfections! Space

Star-sprinkled, and void place

From pole to pole of the Blue, from bound to bound,

Hath Thee in every spot,

Thee, Thee! -- Where Thou art not,

O Holy, Marvellous Form! is nowhere found!

O Mystic, Awful One!

At sight of Thee, made known,

The Three Worlds quake; the lower gods draw nigh Thee;

They fold their palms, and bow

Body, and breast, and brow,

And, whispering worship, laud and magnify Thee!

Rishis and Siddhas cry

"Hail! Highest Majesty!

From sage and singer breaks the hymn of glory

In dulcet harmony,

Sounding the praise of Thee;

While countless companies take up the story,

Rudras, who ride the storms,

Th' Adityas' shining forms,

Vasus and Sadhyas, Viswas, Ushmapas;

Maruts, and those great Twins

The heavenly, fair, Aswins,

Gandharvas, Rakshasas, Siddhas, and Asuras, --

These see Thee, and revere

In sudden-stricken fear;

Yea! the Worlds, -- seeing Thee with form stupendous,

With faces manifold,

With eyes which all behold,

Unnumbered eyes, vast arms, members tremendous,

Flanks, lit with sun and star,

Feet planted near and far,

Tushes of terror, mouths wrathful and tender; --

The Three wide Worlds before Thee

Adore, as I adore Thee,

Quake, as I quake, to witness so much splendour!

I mark Thee strike the skies

With front, in wondrous wise

Huge, rainbow-painted, glittering; and thy mouth

Opened, and orbs which see

All things, whatever be

In all Thy worlds, east, west, and north and south.

O Eyes of God! O Head!

My strength of soul is fled,

Gone is heart's force, rebuked is mind's desire!

When I behold Thee so,

With awful brows a-glow,

With burning glance, and lips lighted by fire

Fierce as those flames which shall

Consume, at close of all,

Earth, Heaven! Ah me! I see no Earth and Heaven!

Thee, Lord of Lords! I see,

Thee only -- only Thee!

Now let Thy mercy unto me be given,

Thou Refuge of the World!

Lo! to the cavern hurled

Of Thy wide-opened throat, and lips white-tushed,

I see our noblest ones,

Great Dhritarashtra's sons,

Bhishma, Drona, and Karna, caught and crushed!

The Kings and Chiefs drawn in,

That gaping gorge within;

The best of both these armies torn and riven!

Between Thy jaws they lie

Mangled full bloodily,

Ground into dust and death! Like streams down-driven

With helpless haste, which go

In headlong furious flow

Straight to the gulfing deeps of th' unfilled ocean,

So to that flaming cave

Those heroes great and brave

Pour, in unending streams, with helpless motion!

Like moths which in the night

Flutter towards a light,

Drawn to their fiery doom, flying and dying,

So to their death still throng,

Blind, dazzled, borne along

Ceaselessly, all those multitudes, wild flying!

Thou, that hast fashioned men,

Devourest them again,

One with another, great and small, alike!

The creatures whom Thou mak'st,

With flaming jaws Thou tak'st,

Lapping them up! Lord God! Thy terrors strike

From end to end of earth,

Filling life full, from birth

To death, with deadly, burning, lurid dread!

Ah, Vishnu! make me know

Why is Thy visage so?

Who art Thou, feasting thus upon Thy dead?

Who? awful Deity!

I bow myself to Thee,

Namostu Te, Devavara! Prasid!

O Mightiest Lord! rehearse

Why hast Thou face so fierce?

Whence doth this aspect horrible proceed?

Krishna. Thou seest Me as Time who kills,

Time who brings all to doom,

The Slayer Time, Ancient of Days, come hither to consume;

Excepting thee, of all these hosts of hostile chiefs arrayed,

There stands not one shall leave alive the battlefield! Dismayed

No longer be! Arise! obtain renown! destroy thy foes!

Fight for the kingdom waiting thee when thou hast vanquished those.

By Me they fall -- not thee! the stroke of death is dealt them now,

Even as they show thus gallantly; My instrument art thou!

Strike, strong-armed Prince, at Drona! at Bhishma strike! deal death

On Karna, Jyadratha; stay all their warlike breath!

'Tis I who bid them perish! Thou wilt but slay the slain;

Fight! they must fall, and thou must live, victor upon this plain!

Sanjaya. Hearing mighty Keshav's word,

Trembling that helmed Lord

Clasped his lifted palms, and -- praying

Grace of Krishna -- stood there, saying,

With bowed brow and accents broken,

These words, timorously spoken:

Arjuna. Worthily, Lord of Might!

The whole world hath delight

In Thy surpassing power, obeying Thee;

The Rakshasas, in dread

At sight of Thee, are sped

To all four quarters; and the company

Of Siddhas sound Thy name.

How should they not proclaim

Thy Majesties, Divinest, Mightiest?

Thou Brahm, than Brahma greater!

Thou Infinite Creator!

Thou God of gods, Life's Dwelling-place and Rest.

Thou, of all souls the Soul!

The Comprehending Whole!

Of being formed, and formless being the Framer;

O Utmost One! O Lord!

Older than eld, Who stored

The worlds with wealth of life! O Treasure-Claimer,

Who wottest all, and art

Wisdom Thyself! O Part

In all, and All; for all from Thee have risen

Numberless now I see

The aspects are of Thee!

Vayu Thou art, and He who keeps the prison

Of Narak, Yama dark;

And Agni's shining spark;

Varuna's waves are Thy waves. Moon and starlight

Are Thine! Prajapati

Art Thou, and 'tis to Thee

They knelt in worshipping the old world's far light,

The first of mortal men.

Again, Thou God! again

A thousand thousand times be magnified!

Honour and worship be --

Glory and praise, -- to Thee

Namo, Namaste, cried on every side;

Cried here, above, below,

Uttered when Thou dost go,

Uttered where Thou dost come! Namo! we call;

Namostu! God adored!

Namostu! Nameless Lord

Hail to Thee! Praise to Thee Thou One in all;

For Thou art All! Yea, Thou!

Ah! if in anger now

Thou shouldst remember I did think Thee Friend,

Speaking with easy speech,

As men use each to each;

Did call Thee "Krishna," "Prince," nor comprehend

Thy hidden majesty,

The might, the awe of Thee;

Did, in my heedlessness, or in my love,

On journey, or in jest,

Or when we lay at rest,

Sitting at council, straying in the grove,

Alone, or in the throng,

Do Thee, most Holy! wrong,

Be Thy grace granted for that witless sin

For Thou art, now I know,

Father of all below,

Of all above, of all the worlds within

Guru of Gurus; more

To reverence and adore

Than all which is adorable and high!

How, in the wide worlds three

Should any equal be?

Should any other share Thy Majesty?

Therefore, with body bent

And reverent intent,

I praise, and serve, and seek Thee, asking grace.

As father to a son,

As friend to friend, as one

Who loveth to his lover, turn Thy face

In gentleness on me!

Good is it I did see

This unknown marvel of Thy Form! But fear

Mingles with joy! Retake,

Dear Lord! for pity's sake

Thine earthly shape, which earthly eyes may bear!

Be merciful, and show

The visage that I know;

Let me regard Thee, as of yore, arrayed

With disc and forehead-gem,

With mace and anadem,

Thou that sustainest all things! Undismayed

Let me once more behold

The form I loved of old,

Thou of the thousand arms and countless eyes!

This frightened heart is fain

To see restored again

My Charioteer, in Krishna's kind disguise.

Krishna. Yea! thou hast seen, Arjuna! because I loved thee well,

The secret countenance of Me, revealed by mystic spell,

Shining, and wonderful, and majestic, manifold,

Which none save thou in all the years had favour to behold;

For not by Vedas cometh this, nor sacrifice, nor alms,

Nor works well-done, nor penance long, nor prayers, nor chanted


That mortal eyes should bear to view the Immortal Soul unclad,

Prince of the Kurus! This was kept for thee alone! Be glad!

Let no more trouble shake thy heart, because thine eyes have seen

My terror with My glory. As I before have been

So will I be again for thee; with lightened heart behold!

Once more I am thy Krishna, the form thou knew'st of old!

Sanjaya. These words to Arjuna spake

Vasudev, and straight did take

Back again the semblance dear

Of the well-loved charioteer;

Peace and joy it did restore

When the Prince beheld once more

Mighty BRAHMA'S form and face

Clothed in Krishna's gentle grace.

Arjuna. Now that I see come back, Janardana!

This friendly human frame, my mind can think

Calm thoughts once more; my heart beats still again!

Krishna. Yea! it was wonderful and terrible

To view me as thou didst, dear Prince! The gods

Dread and desire continually to view!

Yet not by Vedas, nor from sacrifice,

Nor penance, nor gift-giving, nor with prayer

Shall any so behold, as thou hast seen!

Only by fullest service, perfect faith,

And uttermost surrender am I known

And seen, and entered into, Indian Prince!

Who doeth all for Me; who findeth Me

In all; adoreth always; loveth all

Which I have made, and Me, for Love's sole end,

That man, Arjuna! unto Me doth wend.


Entitled "Viswarupadarsanam,"

Or "The Book of the Manifesting of the One and Manifold."




Arjuna. Lord! of the men who serve Thee -- true in heart --

As God revealed; and of the men who serve,

Worshipping Thee Unrevealed, Unbodied, Far,

Which take the better way of faith and life?

Krishna. Whoever serve Me -- as I show Myself --

Constantly true, in full devotion fixed,

Those hold I very holy. But who serve --

Worshipping Me The One, The Invisible,

The Unrevealed, Unnamed, Unthinkable,

Uttermost, All-pervading, Highest, Sure --

Who thus adore Me, mastering their sense,

Of one set mind to all, glad in all good,

These blessed souls come unto Me.

Yet, hard

The travail is for such as bend their minds

To reach th' Unmanifest. That viewless path

Shall scarce be trod by man bearing the flesh!

But whereso any doeth all his deeds

Renouncing self for Me, full of Me, fixed

To serve only the Highest, night and day

Musing on Me -- him will I swiftly lift

Forth from life's ocean of distress and death,

Whose soul clings fast to Me. Cling thou to Me!

Clasp Me with heart and mind! so shalt thou dwell

Surely with Me on high. But if thy thought

Droops from such height; if thou be'st weak to set

Body and soul upon Me constantly,

Despair not! give Me lower service! I seek

To reach Me, worshipping with steadfast will;

And, if thou canst not worship steadfastly,

Work for Me, toil in works pleasing to Me!

For he that laboureth right for love of Me

Shall finally attain! But, if in this

Thy faint heart fails, bring Me thy failure! find

Refuge in Me! let fruits of labour go,

Renouncing hope for Me, with lowliest heart,

So shalt thou come; for, though to know is more

Than diligence, yet worship better is

Than knowing, and renouncing better still.

Near to renunciation -- very near --

Dwelleth Eternal Peace!

Who hateth nought

Of all which lives, living himself benign,

Compassionate, from arrogance exempt,

Exempt from love of self, unchangeable

By good or ill; patient, contented, firm

In faith, mastering himself, true to his word,

Seeking Me, heart and soul; vowed unto Me, --

That man I love! Who troubleth not his kind,

And is not troubled by them; clear of wrath,

Living too high for gladness, grief, or fear,

That man I love! Who, dwelling quiet-eyed,

Stainless, serene, well-balanced, unperplexed,

Working with Me, yet from all works detached,

That man I love! Who, fixed in faith on Me,

Dotes upon none, scorns none; rejoices not,

And grieves not, letting good or evil hap

Light when it will, and when it will depart,

That man I love! Who, unto friend and foe

Keeping an equal heart, with equal mind

Bears shame and glory; with an equal peace

Takes heat and cold, pleasure and pain; abides

Quit of desires, hears praise or calumny

In passionless restraint, unmoved by each;

Linked by no ties to earth, steadfast in Me,

That man I love! But most of all I love

Those happy ones to whom 'tis life to live

In single fervid faith and love unseeing,

Drinking the blessed Amrit of my Being!


Entitled "Bhaktiyog,"

Or "The Book of the Religion of Faith."




Arjuna. Now would I hear, O gracious Kesava!

Of Life which seems, and Soul beyond, which sees,

And what it is we know -- or think to know.

Krishna. Yea! Son of Kunti! for this flesh ye see

Is Kshetra, is the field where Life disports;

And that which views and knows it is the Soul,

Kshetrajna. In all "fields," thou Indian prince!

I am Kshetrajna. I am what surveys!

Only that knowledge knows which knows the known

By the knower! What it is, that "field" of life,

What qualities it hath, and whence it is,

And why it changeth, and the faculty

That wotteth it, the mightiness of this,

And how it wotteth -- hear these things from Me!

. . . . .

The elements, the conscious life, the mind,

The unseen vital force, the nine strange gates

Of the body, and the five domains of sense;

Desire, dislike, pleasure and pain, and thought

Deep-woven, and persistency of being;

These all are wrought on Matter by the Soul!

Humbleness, truthfulness, and harmlessness,

Patience and honour, reverence for the wise.

Purity, constancy, control of self,

Contempt of sense-delights, self-sacrifice,

Perception of the certitude of ill

In birth, death, age, disease, suffering, and sin;

Detachment, lightly holding unto home,

Children, and wife, and all that bindeth men;

An ever-tranquil heart in fortunes good

And fortunes evil, with a will set firm

To worship Me -- Me only! ceasing not;

Loving all solitudes, and shunning noise

Of foolish crowds; endeavours resolute

To reach perception of the Utmost Soul,

And grace to understand what gain it were

So to attain, -- this is true Wisdom, Prince!

And what is otherwise is ignorance!

Now will I speak of knowledge best to know --

That Truth which giveth man Amrit to drink,

The Truth of HIM, the Para-Brahm, the All,

The Uncreated; not Asat, nor Sat,

Not Form, nor the Unformed; yet both, and more; --

Whose hands are everywhere, and everywhere

Planted His feet, and everywhere His eyes

Beholding, and His ears in every place

Hearing, and all His faces everywhere

Enlightening and encompassing His worlds.

Glorified in the senses He hath given,

Yet beyond sense He is; sustaining all,

Yet dwells He unattached: of forms and modes

Master, yet neither form nor mode hath He;

He is within all beings -- and without --

Motionless, yet still moving; not discerned

For subtlety of instant presence; close

To all, to each; yet measurelessly far!

Not manifold, and yet subsisting still

In all which lives; for ever to be known

As the Sustainer, yet, at the End of Times,

He maketh all to end -- and re-creates.

The Light of Lights He is, in the heart of the Dark

Shining eternally. Wisdom He is

And Wisdom's way, and Guide of all the wise,

Planted in every heart.

So have I told

Of Life's stuff, and the moulding, and the lore

To comprehend. Whoso, adoring Me,

Perceiveth this, shall surely come to Me!

Know thou that Nature and the Spirit both

Have no beginning! Know that qualities

And changes of them are by Nature wrought;

That Nature puts to work the acting frame,

But Spirit doth inform it, and so cause

Feeling of pain and pleasure. Spirit, linked

To moulded matter, entereth into bond

With qualities by Nature framed, and, thus

Married to matter, breeds the birth again

In good or evil yonis.

Yet is this --

Yea! in its bodily prison! -- Spirit pure,

Spirit supreme; surveying, governing,

Guarding, possessing; Lord and Master still

PURUSHA, Ultimate, One Soul with Me.

Whoso thus knows himself, and knows his soul

PURUSHA, working through the qualities

With Nature's modes, the light hath come for him!

Whatever flesh he bears, never again

Shall he take on its load. Some few there be

By meditation find the Soul in Self

Self-schooled; and some by long philosophy

And holy life reach thither; some by works:

Some, never so attaining, hear of light

From other lips, and seize, and cleave to it

Worshipping; yea! and those -- to teaching true --

Overpass Death!

Wherever, Indian Prince!

Life is -- of moving things, or things unmoved,

Plant or still seed -- know, what is there hath grown

By bond of Matter and of Spirit: Know

He sees indeed who sees in all alike

The living, lordly Soul; the Soul Supreme,

Imperishable amid the Perishing:

For, whoso thus beholds, in every place,

In every form, the same, one, Living Life,

Doth no more wrongfulness unto himself,

But goes the highest road which brings to bliss.

Seeing, he sees, indeed, who sees that works

Are Nature's wont, for Soul to practise by

Acting, yet not the agent; sees the mass

Of separate living things -- each of its kind --

Issue from One, and blend again to One:

Then hath he BRAHMA, he attains!

O Prince!

That Ultimate, High Spirit, Uncreate,

Unqualified, even when it entereth flesh

Taketh no stain of acts, worketh in nought!

Like to th' ethereal air, pervading all,

Which, for sheer subtlety, avoideth taint,

The subtle Soul sits everywhere, unstained:

Like to the light of the all-piercing sun

[Which is not changed by aught it shines upon,]

The Soul's light shineth pure in every place;

And they who, by such eye of wisdom, see

How Matter, and what deals with it, divide;

And how the Spirit and the flesh have strife,

Those wise ones go the way which leads to Life!


Entitled "Kshetrakshetrajnavibhagayog,"

Or "The Book of Religion by Separation of Matter and Spirit."




Krishna. Yet farther will I open unto thee

This wisdom of all wisdoms, uttermost,

The which possessing, all My saints have passed

To perfectness. On such high verities

Reliant, rising into fellowship

With Me, they are not born again at birth

Of Kalpas, nor at Pralyas suffer change!

This Universe the womb is where I plant

Seed of all lives! Thence, Prince of India, comes

Birth to all beings! Whoso, Kunti's Son!

Mothers each mortal form, Brahma conceives,

And I am He that fathers, sending seed!

Sattwan, Rajas, and Tamas, so are named

The qualities of Nature, "Soothfastness,"

"Passion," and "Ignorance." These three bind down

The changeless Spirit in the changeful flesh.

Whereof sweet "Soothfastness," by purity

Living unsullied and enlightened, binds

The sinless Soul to happiness and truth;

And Passion, being kin to appetite,

And breeding impulse and propensity,

Binds the embodied Soul, O Kunti's Son!

By tie of works. But Ignorance, begot

Of Darkness, blinding mortal men, binds down

Their souls to stupor, sloth, and drowsiness.

Yea, Prince of India! Soothfastness binds souls

In pleasant wise to flesh; and Passion binds

By toilsome strain; but Ignorance, which blots

The beams of wisdom, binds the soul to sloth.

Passion and Ignorance, once overcome,

Leave Soothfastness, O Bharata! Where this

With Ignorance are absent, Passion rules;

And Ignorance in hearts not good nor quick.

When at all gateways of the Body shines

The Lamp of Knowledge, then may one see well

Soothfastness settled in that city reigns;

Where longing is, and ardour, and unrest,

Impulse to strive and gain, and avarice,

Those spring from Passion -- Prince! -- engrained; and where

Darkness and dulness, sloth and stupor are,

'Tis Ignorance hath caused them, Kuru Chief!

Moreover, when a soul departeth, fixed

In Soothfastness, it goeth to the place --

Perfect and pure -- of those that know all Truth.

If it departeth in set habitude

Of Impulse, it shall pass into the world

Of spirits tied to works; and, if it dies

In hardened Ignorance, that blinded soul

Is born anew in some unlighted womb.

The fruit of Soothfastness is true and sweet;

The fruit of lusts is pain and toil; the fruit

Of Ignorance is deeper darkness. Yea!

For Light brings light, and Passion ache to have;

And gloom, bewilderments, and ignorance

Grow forth from Ignorance. Those of the first

Rise ever higher; those of the second mode

Take a mid place; the darkened souls sink back

To lower deeps, loaded with witlessness!

When, watching life, the living man perceives

The only actors are the Qualities,

And knows what rules beyond the Qualities,

Then is he come nigh unto Me!

The Soul,

Thus passing forth from the Three Qualities --

Whereby arise all bodies -- overcomes

Birth, Death, Sorrow, and Age; and drinketh deep

The undying wine of Amrit.

Arjuna. Oh, my Lord!

Which be the signs to know him that hath gone

Past the Three Modes? How liveth he? What way

Leadeth him safe beyond the threefold Modes?

Krishna. He who with equanimity surveys

Lustre of goodness, strife of passion, sloth

Of ignorance, not angry if they are,

Not wishful when they are not: he who sits

A sojourner and stranger in their midst

Unruffled, standing off, saying -- serene --

When troubles break, "These be the Qualities!

He unto whom -- self-centred -- grief and joy

Sound as one word; to whose deep-seeing eyes

The clod, the marble, and the gold are one;

Whose equal heart holds the same gentleness

For lovely and unlovely things, firm-set,

Well-pleased in praise and dispraise; satisfied

With honour or dishonour; unto friends

And unto foes alike in tolerance;

Detached from undertakings, -- he is named

Surmounter of the Qualities!

And such --

With single, fervent faith adoring Me,

Passing beyond the Qualities, conforms

To Brahma, and attains Me!

For I am

That whereof Brahma is the likeness! Mine

The Amrit is; and Immortality

Is mine; and mine perfect Felicity!


Entitled "Gunatrayavibhagayog,"

Or "The Book of Religion by Separation from the Qualities."




Krishna. Men call the Aswattha, -- the Banyan-tree, --

Which hath its boughs beneath, its roots above, --

The ever-holy tree. Yea! for its leaves

Are green and waving hymns which whisper Truth!

Who knows the Aswattha, knows Veds, and all.

Its branches shoot to heaven and sink to earth,

Even as the deeds of men, which take their birth

From qualities: its silver sprays and blooms,

And all the eager verdure of its girth,

Leap to quick life at kiss of sun and air,

As men's lives quicken to the temptings fair

Of wooing sense: its hanging rootlets seek

The soil beneath, helping to hold it there,

As actions wrought amid this world of men

Bind them by ever-tightening bonds again.

If ye knew well the teaching of the Tree,

What its shape saith; and whence it springs; and, then

How it must end, and all the ills of it,

The axe of sharp Detachment ye would whet,

And cleave the clinging snaky roots, and lay

This Aswattha of sense-life low, -- to set

New growths upspringing to that happier sky, --

Which they who reach shall have no day to die,

Nor fade away, nor fall -- to Him, I mean,

FATHER and FIRST, Who made the mystery

Of old Creation; for to Him come they

From passion and from dreams who break away;

Who part the bonds constraining them to flesh,

And, -- Him, the Highest, worshipping alway --

No longer grow at mercy of what breeze

Of summer pleasure stirs the sleeping trees,

What blast of tempest tears them, bough and stem:

To the eternal world pass such as these!

Another Sun gleams there! another Moon!

Another Light, -- not Dusk, nor Dawn, nor Noon --

Which they who once behold return no more;

They have attained My rest, life's Utmost boon!

When, in this world of manifested life,

The undying Spirit, setting forth from Me,

Taketh on form, it draweth to itself

From Being's storehouse, -- which containeth all, --

Senses and intellect. The Sovereign Soul

Thus entering the flesh, or quitting it,

Gathers these up, as the wind gathers scents,

Blowing above the flower.-beds. Ear and Eye,

And Touch and Taste, and Smelling, these it takes, --

Yea, and a sentient mind; -- linking itself

To sense-things so.

The unenlightened ones

Mark not that Spirit when he goes or comes,

Nor when he takes his pleasure in the form,

Conjoined with qualities; but those see plain

Who have the eyes to see. Holy souls see

Which strive thereto. Enlightened, they perceive

That Spirit in themselves; but foolish ones,

Even though they strive, discern not, having hearts

Unkindled, ill-informed!

Know, too, from Me

Shineth the gathered glory of the suns

Which lighten all the world: from Me the moons

Draw silvery beams, and fire fierce loveliness.

I penetrate the clay, and lend all shapes

Their living force; I glide into the plant --

Root, leaf, and bloom -- to make the woodlands green

With springing sap. Becoming vital warmth,

I glow in glad, respiring frames, and pass,

With outward and with inward breath, to feed

The body by all meats.

For in this world

Being is twofold: the Divided, one;

The Undivided, one. All things that live

Are "the Divided." That which sits apart,

"The Undivided."

Higher still is He,

The Highest, holding all, whose Name is LORD,

The Eternal, Sovereign, First! Who fills all worlds,

Sustaining them. And -- dwelling thus beyond

Divided Being and Undivided -- I

Am called of men and Vedas, Life Supreme,


Who knows Me thus,

With mind unclouded, knoweth all, dear Prince!

And with his whole soul ever worshippeth Me.

Now is the sacred, secret Mystery

Declared to thee! Who comprehendeth this

Hath wisdom! He is quit of works in bliss!


Entitled "Purushottamapraptiyog,"

Or "The Book of Religion by Attaining the Supreme."




Krishna. Fearlessness, singleness of soul, the will

Always to strive for wisdom; opened hand

And governed appetites; and piety,

And love of lonely study; humbleness,

Uprightness, heed to injure nought which lives,

Truthfulness, slowness unto wrath, a mind

That lightly letteth go what others prize;

And equanimity, and charity

Which spieth no man's faults; and tenderness

Towards all that suffer; a contented heart,

Fluttered by no desires; a bearing mild,

Modest, and grave, with manhood nobly mixed,

With patience, fortitude, and purity;

An unrevengeful spirit, never given

To rate itself too high; -- such be the signs,

O Indian Prince! of him whose feet are set

On that fair path which leads to heavenly birth!

Deceitfulness, and arrogance, and pride,

Quickness to anger, harsh and evil speech,

And ignorance, to its own darkness blind, --

These be the signs, My Prince! of him whose birth

Is fated for the regions of the vile.

The Heavenly Birth brings to deliverance,

So should'st thou know! The birth with Asuras

Brings into bondage. Be thou joyous, Prince!

Whose lot is set apart for heavenly Birth.

Two stamps there are marked on all living men,

Divine and Undivine; I spake to thee

By what marks thou shouldst know the Heavenly Man,

Hear from me now of the Unheavenly!

They comprehend not, the Unheavenly,

How Souls go forth from Me; nor how they come

Back unto Me: nor is there Truth in these,

Nor purity, nor rule of Life. "This world

Hath not a Law, nor Order, nor a Lord,"

So say they: "nor hath risen up by Cause

Following on Cause, in perfect purposing,

But is none other than a House of Lust."

And, this thing thinking, all those ruined ones --

Of little wit, dark-minded -- give themselves

To evil deeds, the curses of their kind.

Surrendered to desires insatiable,

Full of deceitfulness, folly, and pride,

In blindness cleaving to their errors, caught

Into the sinful course, they trust this lie

As it were true -- this lie which leads to death --

Finding in Pleasure all the good which is,

And crying "Here it finisheth!"


In nooses of a hundred idle hopes,

Slaves to their passion and their wrath, they buy

Wealth with base deeds, to glut hot appetites;

"Thus much, to-day," they say, "we gained! thereby

Such and such wish of heart shall have its fill;

And this is ours! and th' other shall be ours!

To-day we slew a foe, and we will slay

Our other enemy to-morrow! Look!

Are we not lords? Make we not goodly cheer?

Is not our fortune famous, brave, and great?

Rich are we, proudly born! What other men

Live like to us? Kill, then, for sacrifice!

Cast largesse, and be merry!" So they speak

Darkened by ignorance; and so they fall --

Tossed to and fro with projects, tricked, and bound

In net of black delusion, lost in lusts --

Down to foul Naraka. Conceited, fond,

Stubborn and proud, dead-drunken with the wine

Of wealth, and reckless, all their offerings

Have but a show of reverence, being not made

In piety of ancient faith. Thus vowed

To self-hood, force, insolence, feasting, wrath,

These My blasphemers, in the forms they wear

And in the forms they breed, my foemen are,

Hateful and hating; cruel, evil, vile,

Lowest and least of men, whom I cast down

Again, and yet again, at end of lives,

Into some devilish womb, whence -- birth by birth --

The devilish wombs re-spawn them, all beguiled;

And, till they find and worship Me, sweet Prince!

Tread they that Nether Road.

The Doors of Hell

Are threefold, whereby men to ruin pass, --

The door of Lust, the door of Wrath, the door

Of Avarice. Let a man shun those three!

He who shall turn aside from entering

All those three gates of Narak, wendeth straight

To find his peace, and comes to Swarga's gate.

. . . . .


Entitled "Daivasarasaupadwibhagayog,"

Or "The Book of the Separateness of the Divine and Undivine."




Arjuna. If men forsake the holy ordinance,

Heedless of Shastras, yet keep faith at heart

And worship, what shall be the state of those,

Great Krishna! Sattwan, Rajas, Tamas? Say!

Krishna. Threefold the faith is of mankind, and springs

From those three qualities, -- becoming "true,"

Or "passion-stained," or "dark," as thou shalt hear!

The faith of each believer, Indian Prince!

Conforms itself to what he truly is.

Where thou shalt see a worshipper, that one

To what he worships lives assimilate,

[Such as the shrine, so is the votary,]

The "soothfast" souls adore true gods; the souls

Obeying Rajas worship Rakshasas

Or Yakshas; and the men of Darkness pray

To Pretas and to Bhutas. Yea, and those

Who practise bitter penance, not enjoined

By rightful rule -- penance which hath its root

In self-sufficient, proud hypocrisies --

Those men, passion-beset, violent, wild,

Torturing -- the witless ones -- My elements

Shut in fair company within their flesh,

(Nay, Me myself, present within the flesh!)

Know them to devils devoted, not to Heaven!

For like as foods are threefold for mankind

In nourishing, so is there threefold way

Of worship, abstinence, and almsgiving!

Hear this of Me! there is a food which brings

Force, substance, strength, and health, and joy to live,

Being well-seasoned, cordial, comforting,

The "Soothfast" meat. And there be foods which bring

Aches and unrests, and burning blood, and grief

Being too biting, heating, salt, and sharp,

And therefore craved by too strong appetite.

And there is foul food -- kept from over-night,

Savourless, filthy, which the foul will eat,

A feast of rottenness, meet for the lips

Of such as love the "Darkness."

Thus with rites; --

A sacrifice not for rewardment made,

Offered in rightful wise, when he who vows

Sayeth, with heart devout, "This I should do!

Is "Soothfast" rite. But sacrifice for gain,

Offered for good repute, be sure that this,

O Best of Bharatas! is Rajas-rite,

With stamp of "passion." And a sacrifice

Offered against the laws, with no due dole

Of food-giving, with no accompaniment

Of hallowed hymn, nor largesse to the priests,

In faithless celebration, call it vile,

The deed of "Darkness!" -- lost!

Worship of gods

Meriting worship; lowly reverence

Of Twice-borns, Teachers, Elders; Purity,

Rectitude, and the Brahmacharya's vow,

And not to injure any helpless thing, --

These make a true religiousness of Act.

Words causing no man woe, words ever true,

Gentle and pleasing words, and those ye say

In murmured reading of a Sacred Writ, --

These make the true religiousness of Speech.

Serenity of soul, benignity,

Sway of the silent Spirit, constant stress

To sanctify the Nature, -- these things make

Good rite, and true religiousness of Mind.

Such threefold faith, in highest piety

Kept, with no hope of gain, by hearts devote

Is perfect work of Sattwan, true belief.

Religion shown in act of proud display

To win good entertainment, worship, fame,

Such -- say I -- is of Rajas, rash and vain.

Religion followed by a witless will

To torture self, or come at power to hurt

Another, -- 'tis of Tamas, dark and ill.

The gift lovingly given, when one shall say

"Now must I gladly give!" when he who takes

Can render nothing back; made in due place,

Due time, and to a meet recipient,

Is gift of Sattwan, fair and profitable.

The gift selfishly given, where to receive

Is hoped again, or when some end is sought,

Or where the gift is proffered with a grudge,

This is of Rajas, stained with impulse, ill.

The gift churlishly flung, at evil time,

In wrongful place, to base recipient,

Made in disdain or harsh unkindliness,

Is gift of Tamas, dark; it doth not bless!


Entitled "Sraddhatrayavibhagayog,"

Or "The Book of Religion by the Threefold Kinds of Faith."




Arjuna. Fain would I better know, Thou Glorious One!

The very truth -- Heart's Lord! -- of Sannyas,

Abstention; and Renunciation, Lord!

Tyaga; and what separates these twain!

Krishna. The poets rightly teach that Sannyas

Is the foregoing of all acts which spring

Out of desire; and their wisest say

Tyaga is renouncing fruit of acts.

There be among the saints some who have held

All action sinful, and to be renounced;

And some who answer, "Nay! the goodly acts --

As worship, penance, alms -- must be performed!"

Hear now My sentence, Best of Bharatas!

'Tis well set forth, O Chaser of thy Foes!

Renunciation is of threefold form,

And Worship, Penance, Alms, not to be stayed;

Nay, to be gladly done; for all those three

Are purifying waters for true souls!

Yet must be practised even those high works

In yielding up attachment, and all fruit

Produced by works. This is My judgment, Prince!

This My insuperable and fixed decree!

Abstaining from a work by right prescribed

Never is meet! So to abstain doth spring

From "Darkness," and Delusion teacheth it.

Abstaining from a work grievous to flesh,

When one saith "'Tis unpleasing!" this is null!

Such an one acts from "passion;" nought of gain

Wins his Renunciation! But, Arjun!

Abstaining from attachment to the work,

Abstaining from rewardment in the work,

While yet one doeth it full faithfully,

Saying, "'Tis right to do!" that is "true" act

And abstinence! Who doeth duties so,

Unvexed if his work fail, if it succeed

Unflattered, in his own heart justified,

Quit of debates and doubts, his is "true" act:

For, being in the body, none may stand

Wholly aloof from act; yet, who abstains

From profit of his acts is abstinent.

The fruit of labours, in the fives to come,

Is threefold for all men, -- Desirable,

And Undesirable, and mixed of both;

But no fruit is at all where no work was.

Hear from me, Long-armed Lord! the makings five

Which go to every act, in Sankhya taught

As necessary. First the force; and then

The agent; next, the various instruments;

Fourth, the especial effort; fifth, the God.

What work soever any mortal doth

Of body, mind, or speech, evil or good,

By these five doth he that. Which being thus,

Whoso, for lack of knowledge, seeth himself

As the sole actor, knoweth nought at all

And seeth nought. Therefore, I say, if one --

Holding aloof from self -- with unstained mind

Should slay all yonder host, being bid to slay,

He doth not slay; he is not bound thereby!

Knowledge, the thing known, and the mind which knows,

These make the threefold starting-ground of act.

The act, the actor, and the instrument,

These make the threefold total of the deed.

But knowledge, agent, act, are differenced

By three dividing qualities. Hear now

Which be the qualities dividing them.

There is "true" Knowledge. Learn thou it is this:

To see one changeless Life in all the Lives,

And in the Separate, One Inseparable.

There is imperfect Knowledge: that which sees

The separate existences apart,

And, being separated, holds them real.

There is false Knowledge: that which blindly clings

To one as if 'twere all, seeking no Cause,

Deprived of light, narrow, and dull, and "dark."

There is "right" Action: that which -- being enjoined --

Is wrought without attachment, passionlessly,

For duty, not for love, nor hate, nor gain.

There is "vain" Action: that which men pursue

Aching to satisfy desires, impelled

By sense of self, with all-absorbing stress:

This is of Rajas -- passionate and vain.

There is "dark" Action: when one doth a thing

Heedless of issues, heedless of the hurt

Or wrong for others, heedless if he harm

His own soul -- 'tis of Tamas, black and bad!

There is the "rightful" doer. He who acts

Free from self-seeking, humble, resolute,

Steadfast, in good or evil hap the same,

Content to do aright -- he "truly" acts.

There is th' "impassioned" doer. He that works

From impulse, seeking profit, rude and bold

To overcome, unchastened; slave by turns

Of sorrow and of joy: of Rajas he!

And there be evil doers; loose of heart,

Low-minded, stubborn, fraudulent, remiss,

Dull, slow, despondent -- children of the "dark."

Hear, too, of Intellect and Steadfastness

The threefold separation, Conqueror-Prince!

How these are set apart by Qualities.

Good is the Intellect which comprehends

The coming forth and going back of life,

What must be done, and what must not be done,

What should be feared, and what should not be feared,

What binds and what emancipates the soul:

That is of Sattwan, Prince! of "soothfastness."

Marred is the Intellect which, knowing right

And knowing wrong, and what is well to do

And what must not be done, yet understands

Nought with firm mind, nor as the calm truth is:

This is of Rajas, Prince! and "passionate!"

Evil is Intellect which, wrapped in gloom,

Looks upon wrong as right, and sees all things

Contrariwise of Truth. O Pritha's Son!

That is of Tamas, "dark" and desperate!

Good is the steadfastness whereby a man

Masters his beats of heart, his very breath

Of life, the action of his senses; fixed

In never-shaken faith and piety:

That is of Sattwan, Prince! "soothfast" and fair!

Stained is the steadfastness whereby a man

Holds to his duty, purpose, effort, end,

For life's sake, and the love of goods to gain,

Arjuna! 'tis of Rajas, passion-stamped!

Sad is the steadfastness wherewith the fool

Cleaves to his sloth, his sorrow, and his fears,

His folly and despair. This -- Pritha's Son! --

Is born of Tamas, "dark" and miserable!

Hear further, Chief of Bharatas! from Me

The threefold kinds of Pleasure which there be.

Good Pleasure is the pleasure that endures,

Banishing pain for aye; bitter at first

As poison to the soul, but afterward

Sweet as the taste of Amrit. Drink of that!

It springeth in the Spirit's deep content.

And painful Pleasure springeth from the bond

Between the senses and the sense-world. Sweet

As Amrit is its first taste, but its last

Bitter as poison. 'Tis of Rajas, Prince!

And foul and "dark" the Pleasure is which springs

From sloth and sin and foolishness; at first

And at the last, and all the way of life

The soul bewildering. 'Tis of Tamas, Prince!

For nothing lives on earth, nor 'midst the gods

In utmost heaven, but hath its being bound

With these three Qualities, by Nature framed.

The work of Brahmans, Kshatriyas, Vaisyas,

And Sudras, O thou Slayer of thy Foes!

Is fixed by reason of the Qualities

Planted in each:

A Brahman's virtues, Prince

Born of his nature, are serenity,

Self-mastery, religion, purity,

Patience, uprightness, learning, and to know

The truth of things which be. A Kshatriya's pride,

Born of his nature, lives in valour, fire,

Constancy, skilfulness, spirit in fight,

And open-handedness and noble mien,

As of a lord of men. A Vaisya's task,

Born with his nature, is to till the ground,

Tend cattle, venture trade. A Sudra's state,

Suiting his nature, is to minister.

Whoso performeth -- diligent, content --

The work allotted him, whate'er it be,

Lays hold of perfectness! Hear how a man

Findeth perfection, being so content:

He findeth it through worship -- wrought by work --

Of HIM that is the Source of all which lives,

Of HIM by Whom the universe was stretched.

Better thine own work is, though done with fault,

Than doing others' work, ev'n excellently.

He shall not fall in sin who fronts the task

Set him by Nature's hand! Let no man leave

His natural duty, Prince! though it bear blame!

For every work hath blame, as every flame

Is wrapped in smoke! Only that man attains

Perfect surcease of work whose work was wrought

With mind unfettered, soul wholly subdued,

Desires for ever dead, results renounced.

Learn from me, Son of Kunti! also this,

How one, attaining perfect peace, attains

BRAHM, the supreme, the highest height of all!

Devoted -- with a heart grown pure, restrained

In lordly self-control, forgoing wiles

Of song and senses, freed from love and hate,

Dwelling 'mid solitudes, in diet spare,

With body, speech, and will tamed to obey,

Ever to holy meditation vowed,

From passions liberate, quit of the Self,

Of arrogance, impatience, anger, pride;

Freed from surroundings, quiet, lacking nought --

Such an one grows to oneness with the BRAHM;

Such an one, growing one with BRAHM, serene,

Sorrows no more, desires no more; his soul,

Equally loving all that lives, loves well

Me, Who have made them, and attains to Me.

By this same love and worship doth he know

Me as I am, how high and wonderful,

And knowing, straightway enters into Me.

And whatsoever deeds he doeth -- fixed

In Me, as in his refuge -- he hath won

For ever and for ever by My grace

Th' Eternal Rest! So win thou! In thy thoughts

Do all thou dost for Me! Renounce for Me!

Sacrifice heart and mind and will to Me!

Live in the faith of Me! In faith of Me

All dangers thou shalt vanquish, by My grace;

But, trusting to thyself and heeding not,

Thou can'st but perish! If this day thou say'st,

Relying on thyself, "I will not fight!"

Vain will the purpose prove! thy qualities

Would spur thee to the war. What thou dost shun,

Misled by fair illusions, thou wouldst seek

Against thy will, when the task comes to thee

Waking the promptings in thy nature set.

There lives a Master in the hearts of men

Maketh their deeds, by subtle pulling-strings,

Dance to what tune HE will. With all thy soul

Trust Him, and take Him for thy succour, Prince!

So -- only so, Arjuna! -- shalt thou gain --

By grace of Him -- the uttermost repose,

The Eternal Place!

Thus hath been opened thee

This Truth of Truths, the Mystery more hid

Than any secret mystery. Meditate!

And -- as thou wilt -- then act!

Nay! but once more

Take My last word, My utmost meaning have!

Precious thou art to Me; right well-beloved!

Listen! tell thee for thy comfort this.

Give Me thy heart! adore Me! serve Me! cling

In faith and love and reverence to Me!

So shalt thou come to Me! I promise true,

For thou art sweet to Me!

And let go those --

Rites and writ duties! Fly to Me alone!

Make Me thy single refuge! will free

Thy soul from all its sins! Be of good cheer!

[Hide, the holy Krishna saith,

This from him that hath no faith,

Him that worships not, nor seeks

Wisdom's teaching when she speaks:

Hide it from all men who mock;

But, wherever, 'mid the flock

Of My lovers, one shall teach

This divinest, wisest, speech --

Teaching in the faith to bring

Truth to them, and offering

Of all honour unto Me --

Unto Brahma cometh he!

Nay, and nowhere shall ye find

Any man of all mankind

Doing dearer deed for Me;

Nor shall any dearer be

In My earth. Yea, furthermore,

Whoso reads this converse o'er,

Held by Us upon the plain,

Pondering piously and fain,

He hath paid Me sacrifice!

(Krishna speaketh in this wise!)

Yea, and whoso, full of faith,

Heareth wisely what it saith,

Heareth meekly, -- when he dies,

Surely shall his spirit rise

To those regions where the Blest,

Free of flesh, in joyance rest.]

Hath this been heard by thee, O Indian Prince!

With mind intent? hath all the ignorance --

Which bred thy trouble -- vanished, My Arjun?

Arjuna. Trouble and ignorance are gone! the Light

Hath come unto me, by Thy favour, Lord!

Now am I fixed! my doubt is fled away!

According to Thy word, so will I do!


Sanjaya. Thus gathered I the gracious speech of Krishna, O my


Thus have I told, with heart a-thrill, this wise and wondrous thing

By great Vyasa's learning writ, how Krishna's self made known

The Yoga, being Yoga's Lord. So is the high truth shown!

And aye, when I remember, O Lord my King, again

Arjuna and the God in talk, and all this holy strain,

Great is my gladness: when I muse that splendour, passing speech,

Of Hari, visible and plain, there is no tongue to reach

My marvel and my love and bliss. O Archer-Prince! all hail!

O Krishna, Lord of Yoga! surely there shall not fail

Blessing, and victory, and power, for Thy most mighty sake,

Where this song comes of Arjun, and how with God he spake.


Entitled "Mokshasanyasayog,"

Or "The Book of Religion by Deliverance and Renunciation,"