• Ch. 1: Arjuna feels despondent on seeing his family and friends ranged in battle against each other
  • Ch. 2: When he seeks Krishna's advice, Arjuna is told that only the physical self perishes, whereas the Spirit is immortal. Krishna exhorts Arjuna to do his duty as a warrior.
  • Ch. 3: Karmayoga. Arjuna asks, if knowledge is suprior to action, why he should engage in battle. Krishna stresses to Arjuna that performing his duties for the greater good, but without attachment to results is the appropriate course of action.
  • Ch. 4: Krishna reveals that He has lived through many births, always teaching Yoga for the protection of the pious and the destruction of the impious and stresses the importance of accepting a teacher.
  • Ch. 5: Arjuna asks Krishna if it is better to forgo action or to act. Krishna answers that both ways may be beneficent, but that acting in dispassionate and detached manner is superior.
  • Ch. 6: Krishna describes the correct method of meditation and self-control for achieving that special state of consciousness which allows self-control and helps to reach the Supreme Being.
  • Ch. 7: Krishna speaks to Arjuna about the path of knowledge.
  • Ch. 8: Krishna defines the terms Supreme Spirit, the philosophy of duty, the spirit of the Imperishable and the Unmanifest and explains how one can remember him at the time of death and attain His supreme abode.
  • Ch. 9: Krishna explains panentheism, "all beings are in Me" as a way of remembering Him in all circumstances. He posits that He exists and interpenetrates every part of nature, and timelessly extends beyond as well.
  • Ch. 10: Krishna describes his various manifestations and how He is the ultimate source of all material and spiritual worlds.
  • Ch. 11: On Arjuna's request, Krishna displays his "universal form", a theophany of a being emitting the radiance of a thousand suns, containing all other beings and material in existence.
  • Ch. 12: Krishna describes the process of devotional service .
  • Ch. 13: Krishna describes nature (prakrti), the enjoyer (purusha) and consciousness.

Saturday, September 6, 2008


Lord Krishna said: 'He who acts because it is his duty, not thinking of the consequences, is really spiritual and a true ascetic; and not he who merely observes rituals or who shuns all action.

'O Arjuna, renunciation is in fact what is called Right Action. No one can become spiritual who has not renounced all desire.

'For the savant who seeks the heights of spiritual meditation, practice is the only method, and when he has attained them, he must maintain himself there by continuous self-control.

'When a man renounces even the thought of initiating action, when he is not interested in sense-objects or any results which may flow from his acts, then in truth he understands spirituality.

'Let him seek liberation with the help of the highest Self, and let him never disgrace his own self. For that self is his only friend, yet it also be his enemy.

'To him who has conquered his lower nature by its help, the Self is a friend, but to him who has not done so, it is an enemy.

'The Self of him who is self-controlled and has attained peace, is equally unmoved by heat or cold, pleasure or pain, honour or dishonour.

'He who desires nothing but wisdom and spiritual insight, who has conquered his senses and who looks with the same eye upon a lump of earth, a stone or fine gold, is the real saint.

'He looks impartially on all - lover, friend, or foe; indifferent or hostile; alien or relative; virtuous or sinful.

'Let the student of spirituality try to concentrate his mind unceasingly; let him live in seclusion, absolutely alone, with mind and personality controlled, free from yearning, and without possessions.

'Having chosen a holy place, let him sit in a firm posture on a seat, neither too high nor too low, and covered with a grass mat, a deerskin and a cloth.

'Seated thus, his mind concentrated, its functions controlled, and his senses regulated, let him practise meditation for the purification of his own lower nature.

'Let him hold body, head and neck erect, motionless and steady; let him look fixedly at the tip of his nose, turning neither to his right nor to his left.

'With peace in his heart and no fear, observing the vow of celibacy, with mind controlled and fixed on me, let the scholar lose himself in contemplating me.

'Thus keeping his mind always in communion with me, and with his thoughts subdued, he shall attain that peace which is mine and which will lead him to liberation at last.

'Meditation is not for him who eats too much, nor for him who eats not at all; nor for him who is overmuch addicted to sleep, nor for him who is always awake.

'But for him who regulates his food and recreation, who is balanced in action, in sleep and in waking, it shall dispel all unhappiness.

'When the mind, completely reigned in, is centred in the Self, and free of all earthly desires, then is the man truly spiritual.

'The wise man who has conquered his mind and is absorbed in the Self is like a lamp which does not gutter, since it stands sheltered from every wind.

'There, where the whole nature is seen in the light of the Self, where the man abides within his Self and is satisfied, there its functions restrained by its union with the divine, the mind finds rest.

'When he enjoys the bliss which passes sense, and which only the pure intellect can grasp, when he comes to rest within his own highest Self, never again will he stray from reality.

'Finding that, he will realise that there is no possession so precious. And when once established there, no calamity can disturb him.

'This inner severance from the affliction of misery is spirituality. It should be practised with determination, and with a heart which refuses to be depressed.

'Renouncing every desire which imagination can conceive, controlling the senses at every point by the power of the mind;

'Little by little, by the help of his reason controlled by fortitude, let him attain peace; and fixing his mind on the Self, let him not think of any other thing.

'When the volatile and wavering mind would wander, let him restrain it, and bring it again to its constancy to the Self.

'Supreme bliss is the lot of the sage, whose mind attains Peace, whose passion subside, who is without sin, and who becomes one with the Absolute.

'Thus, free from sin, abiding always in the Eternal, the saint enjoys without effort the Bliss which flows from the realisation of the Infinite.

'He who experiences the unity of life, sees his own Self in all beings, and all beings in his own Self, and looks on everything with an impartial eye;

'He who sees me in everything and everything in me, him shall I never forsake, nor shall he lose me.

'The sage who realises the unity of life and who worships me in all beings, lives in me, whatever be his lot.

'O Arjuna, he is the perfect saint who, taught by the likeness within himself, sees the same Self everywhere, whether the outer form be pleasurable or painful.'

Arjuna said: 'I do not see how I can attain this state of equanimity which you have revealed, owing to the restlessness of my mind.

'My Lord, the mind is fickle and turbulent, obstinate and strong, and extremely difficult as the wind to control.'

Lord Krishna replied: 'Doubtless, o Mighty One, the mind is fickle and exceedingly difficult to restrain, but o son of Kunti, with practice and renunciation, it can be done.

'It is not possible to attain Self-Realisation if a man does not know how to control himself,;but for him who, striving by proper means, learns such control, it is possible.'

Arjuna asked: 'He who fails to control himself, whose mind falls from spiritual contemplation, who attains not perfection but retains his faith, what of him, my Lord?

'Having failed in both, my Lord, is he without hope, like a riven cloud having no support, lost on the spiritual road?

'My Lord, you can solve this doubt once and for all; there is no one competent to do so, save yourself.'

Lord Krishna replied: 'My beloved child, there is no destruction for him, wither in this world or in the next. No evil fate awaits him who treads the path of righteousness.

'Having reached the worlds where the righteous dwell, and having remained there for many years he who has slipped away from the path of spirituality will be born again in the family of the pure, benevolent and prosperous.

'Or, he may be born in the family of wise sages; though a birth like this is, indeed, very difficult to obtain.

'Then the experience acquired in his former life will revive, and with its help he will strive for perfection more eagerly than before.

'Unconsciously he will return to the practices of his old life; so that he eho tries to relaise spiritual consciousness is certainly superior to one who only talks of it.

'Then, after many lives, the student of spirituality who eagerly strives, and whose sins are absolved, attains perfection and reaches the Supreme.

'The wise man is suprior to the ascetic, and to the scholar and to the man of action; be therefore a wise man, o Arjuna.

'I look upon him as the best of mystics who, full of faith, worships me and abides in me'

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Why The Geeta? Why now?

I took to reading the Geeta seriously in 2007. The idea of putting it on the WWW is not original. But I am doing it anyway as a labour of love. Just another excuse to read over and over again the wonderful words of this song divine which are a source of inspiration and of solace.
The context is a scene of battle, but that is only a metaphor for the greater battle that goes on within each one of us: the battle between our higher and lower selves, between desires and detachment, between our material and spiritual selves, between our physical senses and cosmic intuition.
There are five basic concepts: the Supreme Being, the Soul, Matter, Action and Time. In a sense, the entire divine symphony contains variations on these five basic themes.
The Geeta's greatest quality is its non-sectarian and non-dogmatic world-view. Exhorting action above mindless worship, it offers to its reader a whole new way of life; one that is free of fatuous rituals. What needs to be remembered while reading the Geeta is its emphasis on action and self-discipline.

Caveat emptor

This blog contains only a simple translation of the Geeta. I do not offer any commentary on the text (as yet). However, you are more than welcome to leave a comment on your understanding of a particular verse or chapter.

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