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Adhyaya 13 : Kshetra-Kshetradnya Vibhag Yoga  

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 Arjuna’s attention two aspects of man’s 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 for Him.

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

Ego, intelligence

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, resolution.

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 also tolerance

5) Arjavam - Non crooked, righteous, simple

6) Achăryopasanam - Devotional service to the master.

7) Shoucham - Purity of body, mind and intellect.

8) Sthairyam - Steadiness, Loyalty to principles.

9) Atmavinigraha - Self restraint

10) lndriyeshu vairagyam - Non-attached to sense organs and the pleasures of their objects.

11) Anahamkaram - Absence of ego, Absence of ‘I’ness that separates oneself from others, feeling identity with everything

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 detachment

14) Anabhishwangah putradară gruhădishu : Absence of attachment towards one’s 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; the’Knowable’.

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 out :-

‘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 one’s 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 Lord’s 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 self.

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 affected.

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.

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