Adhyaya 13 : Kshetra-Kshetradnya
The unitised knowledge of the Absolute
Brahman and the knowledge of the phenomenal world of matter and individualised
consciousness were referred to as Dnyan - vidnyan in the 9th Adhyaya.
Discussion about the perishable and imperishable ksharaksharvichar remains
incomplete without the knowledge of the human body and the indwelling self called Atman.
All the manifested objects are born out of Prakriti which is a divine power of the
Absolute and it remains as an immanent principle in all the created beings. But how the Gunas
of the Prakriti expand forming this universe and in what stages, was not explained.
The 13th Adhyaya picks up that thread and discusses the theory of the field
(kshetra) and the knower of the field (kshetradnya)
The 13th Adhyaya takes a sudden turn
and plunges into serious discussion about the nature of the body and its knower. The Lord
directly enters into discussion :-
"This body is called the field,
Kshetra and one who knows it is called Kshetradnya."
The body passes through birth, growth
and death. Many events take place in it. As if a man sows seeds of actions in this body
and after some time or immediately, reaps the crop so it is rightly called the field.
However the immanent principle in the body just witnesses all happenings taking place
there, remaining unattached. It sees and knows everything hence it is called the knower of
the field. The lord brings to Arjunas attention two aspects of mans
personality, his dual character, and proceeds explaining further :
The Lord tells Arjuna to the frim as the
knower of all fields and the knowledge of the field and its knower is the real knowledge
The knower of the field in every body is
nothing but the all pervading Supreme Absolute Brahman appearing as different
individualised souls not getting divided but remaining one and the same.
What is the field, its nature, the changes
that take place in it ? From where it has come and what is the nature of its knower and
what are his powers?" These are some important aspects which the Lord wishes to
explain in brief.
All this is sung earlier by the sages in
many hymns and aphorisms explaining the nature of Brahman in a well-reasoned
and decisive manner.
The Lord thus, giving its rich tradition
and lineage starts describing the nature of the field, the body. First, the Avyakta,
the unmanifest called Prakriti stands behind all visible and
invisible features as their unseen cause forming into three Gunas sattwa,
rajas and tamas.
First unmanifest, Prakriti,
(2nd Mahat, (Intellect)
Five great elements; earth, water, fire,
air and ether
Ten sense organs and mind
(Five organs of knowing; eyes, ears, nose, tongue and skin
Five organs of actions and organs of reproduction.)
Five objects of the senses: sight smell,
hearing, taste and touch
In addition to these twenty four
principles the Lord adds some mental events or states since they are also the objects of
knowledge. In fact they are the integral part of Life.
6) Desire and hatred, happiness and sorrow
7) Sanghăt : the totality
means coordinating and organising ability of the body.
8) Chetană, animating principle
brings movement in the body called life force
9) Dhriti, the fortitude,
The sum of all these elements along with
their changes and interactions make the field. It is prone to changes. It is born, it
grows, stays, produces, decays and at last dies. This field is non permanent.
However the Kshetradnya, the Knower of the
field is totally different, permanent in nature. Knowledge of this knower is the same as
that of Brahman. This knowledge does not merely signify knowing by
intellect. In spiritual field what is important is the influence of this spiritual
knowledge upon the bodily and mental behaviour of the knower. This influence is a
reflection of steady wisdom attained by him- Dawning of this unitive knowledge of Atama
in the seeker of knowledge is indicated by the virtues of greatness appearing in him.
Twenty virtues of ethical nature, enumerated in stanzas one to eleven, when are distinctly
visible in the behaviour of the knower, are indicative of transcendental knowledge gained
by him. The Lord makes the mention of these virtues which speak for themselves:
Verses 7 to 11
1) Amănitva - though
deserving he is shy of any respect or honour.
2) Adambhitva - Absence of
sense of self glorification.
3) Ahimsa - Nonviolence;
body, mind and speech harming no one.
4) Kshanti - Forgiveness as
5) Arjavam - Non crooked,
6) Achăryopasanam -
Devotional service to the master.
7) Shoucham - Purity of body,
mind and intellect.
8) Sthairyam - Steadiness,
Loyalty to principles.
9) Atmavinigraha - Self
10) lndriyeshu vairagyam -
Non-attached to sense organs and the pleasures of their objects.
11) Anahamkaram - Absence of
ego, Absence of Iness that separates oneself from others, feeling identity
12) Janma - mrutyu -
jară - vyădhi dukkha - dőshanudarshanam : Correct understanding of the
significance of the birth, death, old age, disease and pain.
13) Anăkti - feeling of
14) Anabhishwangah putradară
gruhădishu : Absence of attachment towards ones son, wife, home etc.
15) Nityam cha samchittatwam
istănistopapattishu : Evenness of mind towards pleasant and unpleasant events.
16) Mayi cha Ananay yogen Bhaktir
Avyabhichărini - Exclusive devotion to the Lord, constant and non - deviant
17) Vivikta Desha sevitvam :
Liking for a solitary place
18) Araijansamsadi - Distaste
for the company of worldly men.
19) AdhyătmaDnyannityatvam :
Constant dedication to the spiritual knowledge of the self
20) TattvaDnyănărth darshanam
: Perception of the goal of knowledge of inner truth.
All this is said to be true knowledge and
whatever is other than this is gross ignorance.
Verses 12 to 20
Now the Lord directs his attention to the
third aspect called Dnyeyam, the object of the said knowledge;
By knowing what is worthy to be known, the
knower gains immortality. That is Supreme Absolute - ParaBrahma - which has
no beginning and which it is said, transcends existence and non - existence.
It is non- existence because it is not
limited in extent or period. It is beyond time and space, It is existent because its
presence is manifested in everything in the universe. The Lord now describes the ineffable
character of this ParaBrahma using opposing terminology to establish its
transcendental nature. Its omnipresence, omniscience and omnipotence is vividly brought
Its hands and feet are every where.
Its eyes, heads and faces are in all sides. Its ears are in all directions. Encompassing
all, It stays in this world.
It illuminates the senses to life yet
itself devoid of senses. It is detached yet sustains all. It has no attributes yet
experiences all attributes.
It is outside as well as inside of
creatures. It is inanimate as well a animate. It is so subtle that. It can not be grasped.
It is far and also near.
It is one undivided yet stands split up
into objects and creatures. It is to be known as the sustainer of beings, their dissolve
and their creator.
It is the Light of Lights and said to be
beyond darkness. It is knowledge, the object of knowledge and to be known by knowledge
itself. It dwells in every ones heart.
With utmost economy of words the Lord so
far described the nature of the field, the knowledge and that which must be known. The
Lords devotee who understands this becomes fit to reach His state.
The Lord dosing this topic of the Field and
the Knower of the field now turns to their equivalents called Prakriti and Purusha.
Like Sankhya philosophers Gita does not consider them separate principles.
According to Gita Prakriti is the lower nature and the Purusha is higher
nature of the Supreme Godhead.
It is a mystery when the original Prakriti
is born of the Absolute. The Purusha, the individual soul, the higher Prakriti,
dwelling in the body, the lower Prakriti is also beginningless. Absolute
itself is called Purishottam.
The Lord commences detailing important
features of both:
Prakriti and Purasha are to
be known as beginningies. It is also to be under stood that the qualities (Gunas)
and the changing forms (Vikar) are produced from Prakriti.
Prakriti is said to be the
cause of the doer, his actions and his instruments. Purusha is said to be
the cause of experiencing pleasure and pain. The affected body and instruments of the
senses are evolved from nature and their functions are also controlled by nature. And the
pleasures and pains are experienced, by the Purusha when he identifies himself with
the nature, called Prakriti..
Verses 21 to 34
The purusha dwelling in the Prakriti
and getting identified with it enjoys the Gunas produced from Prakriti.
This attachment with these Gunas decides to what good or bad wombs purusha
would take his birth.
The Lord brings to our attention the
greatness of the Purusha who gets involved in the play of Gunas produced from Prakriti
and forgets his real nature. The Lord speaks about the greatness of the Self that rises to
its highest stratum once liberated from the clutches of Prakriti. The same Purush
otherwise is a Parampurusha, the supreme self.
That great God staying in this body is also
known as the Witness, He is one who sanctions, sustains and enjoys. He is said to be the
Highest God, the Supreme Self.
One who knows this Purusha and
Prakriti along with the Gunas will have no rebirth. The Lord
explains various ways of attaining realisation.
Some perceive the Atman
within their own Atman by self - meditation. Some realise it through
discriminatory knowledge Sankhya Yoga and some get the vision of the Atman
by following the path of detached action.
But there are others, who not knowing these
paths, worship God by listening from others. They who thus listen with utmost faith, also
surpass the death.
The Lord now brings out the underlying
unity of the universe and stresses the need of knowing this eternal that liberates the
All moving and non moving entities have
come into existenceas combination of the Field and the Knower of the field. Therefore he
who sees the Suprerm Lord equally present in all beings and not getting destroyed even
after their destruction, that man really sees. And thus seeing the Lord equally present
everywhere he does not harm his own Self, He achieves the Supreme Goal.
One who sees that all action is being
carried out by Prakriti and the Self is action less that man really sees.
And when he sees that all the differentiated entities have their common ground in that Brahman
and this all expanse also has the same origin, he then attains Brahman.
Because this eternal Supreme Self has no
beginning and has no attributes although it dwells in the body, It neither acts nor gets
As the sky does not get tainted due to its
subtle nature although it is spread all over, the Atman also, though
situated all over in the body is not tainted.
As the single Sun illuminates this entire
universe this Knower of the field illuminates the whole field.
Those who perceive through the eyes of knowledge the
difference between the Field and its Knower and know how the beings get liberated from
their Prakriti they reach the highest.