Sunday, April 3, 2011

Revised Bhăgvăt-Gēētā

(Note: The text of Bhăgvăt-Gēētā as it was originally published begins with the post following this one.)

In his introduction to The Bhăgvăt-Gēētā Charles Wilkins discusses the difficulties he had in translating the Sanskrit into English. Overall Wilkins's translation is very good, even astonishingly good considering that he was breaking new ground as the first English-speaking person to undertake mastery of the Sanskrit language to the level required for the translation of full works. Nevertheless, as Wilkins says, there are "imperfections" in the work and "obscurity of many passages." After more than two centuries of additional study of the Sanskrit language, and Bhagavad-gita in particular, by numerous English-speaking people, many of the obscurities and imperfections in Wilkins's translation can be addressed. While I personally have only a limited knowledge of Sanskrit, I have taken the bold step of attempting to clarify and improve some of Wilkins's wording. To do this I have referred to several sources, including Monier-Williams's Sanskrit-English Dictionary, A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami's Bhagavad-gita As It Is (primarily the word-for-word Sanskrit-English translations), and occasionally Sir Edwin Arnold and Barbara Stoler Miller's translations of Bhagavad-gita, as well as standard English dictionaries and thesauruses. Below I offer the first installment of this effort, my revision of Chapter 1 (Lecture I) and the first 49 verses of Chapter 2 of Charles Wilkins's Bhăgvăt-Gēētā. Your comments, suggestions, and criticisms are welcome.

~Gordon Wieland

(Numbers in parentheses refer to the numbered notes below them, also enclosed in parentheses. The notes are Wilkins's original endnotes, which I have inserted into the text for convenience of reference.)

Lecture I.

The Grief of Ărjŏŏn.

Dhrĕĕtărāshtră said, “Tell me, O Sănjăy, what the people of my own party, and those of the Pāndŏŏs, who are assembled at the place of spiritual duty called Kŏŏrŏŏ-kshētră resolved for war, have been doing.”

Sănjăy replied, “Dŏŏryōdhăn having seen the army of the Pāndŏŏs drawn up for battle, went to his Preceptor, and addressed him in the following words”:

“Behold! O master,” said he, “the mighty army of the sons of Pāndŏŏ drawn forth by thy pupil, the experienced son of Drŏŏpăd. In it are heroes, such as Bhēēm or Ărjŏŏn: there is Yŏŏyŏŏdhānă, and Vĕĕrāt, and Drŏŏpăd, and Dhrĕĕshtăkētŏŏ, and Chēkĕĕtānă, and the valiant prince of Kāsĕĕ, and Pŏŏrŏŏjĕĕt, and Kŏŏntĕĕbhōjă, and Sīvyă a mighty chief, and Yŏŏdhāmănyŏŏ-Vĕĕkrāntă, and the daring Oŏtāmowjā; so the son of Sŏŏbhădrā, and the sons of Krĕĕshnā the daughter of Drŏŏpăd, all of them great in arms. Be acquainted also with the names of those of our party who are the most distinguished. I will mention a few of those who are amongst my generals, by way of example. There is thyself, my Preceptor, and Bhēēshmă, and Krĕĕpă the conqueror in battle, and Ăswătthāmā, and Vĕĕkărnă, and the son of Sāmă-dăttă, with others in vast numbers who for my service have forsaken the love of life. They are all of them practised in the use of arms, and experienced in every mode of fight. Our innumerable forces are commanded by Bhēēshmă, and the inconsiderable army of our foes is led by Bhēēm. Let all the generals, according to their respective divisions, stand in their posts, and one and all resolve Bhēēshmă to support.”

The ancient chief (1), and brother of the grandsire of the Kŏŏrŏŏs, then, resounding like a roaring lion, blew his shell (2) to raise the spirits of the Kŏŏrŏŏ chief;

(1 The ancient chief.—Bhēēshmă, brother of Vĕĕchĕĕtră-vĕĕryă, grandfather of the Kŏŏrŏŏs and the Pāndŏŏs.)

(2 Shell.—The conch or chank.)

and instantly innumerable shells, and other warlike instruments, were struck up on all sides, so that the clangour was excessive. At this time Krĕĕshnă (3) and Ărjŏŏn (4) were standing in a splendid chariot drawn by white horses.

(3 Krĕĕshnă.—An incarnation of the Deity.)

(4 Ărjŏŏn.—The third son of Pāndŏŏ, and the favorite of Krĕĕshnă.)

They also sounded their shells, which were of celestial form: the name of the one which was blown by Krĕĕshnă, was Pānchăjănyă, and that of Ărjŏŏn was called Dēvă-dăttă. Bhēēm, of dreadful deeds, blew his capacious shell Powndră, and Yŏŏdhĕĕshtĕĕr, the royal son of Kŏŏntēē, sounded Ănăntă-Vĕĕjăy. Năkŏŏl and Săhădēvă blew their shells also; the one called Sŏŏgōshă, the other Mănĕĕpŏŏshpăkă. The prince of Kāsĕĕ of the mighty bow, Sĕĕkhăndēē, Dhrĕĕshtădhŏŏmnă, Vĕĕrāta, Sātyăkĕĕ of invincible arm, Drŏŏpăd and the sons of his royal daughter Krĕĕshnā, with the son of Sŏŏbhădrā, and all the other chiefs and nobles, blew also their respective shells; so that their clamorous voices pierced the hearts of the Kŏŏrŏŏs, and re-echoed with a dreadful noise from heaven to earth.

In the mean time Ărjŏŏn, perceiving that the sons of Dhrĕĕtărāshtră stood ready to begin the fight, and having taken up his bow and prepared to release his arrows, addressed Krĕĕshnă in the following words:

Ărjŏŏn.

“I pray thee, Krĕĕshnă, cause my chariot to be driven and placed between the two armies, that I may behold who are the men that stand ready, anxious to commence the bloody fight; and with whom it is that I am to fight in this ready field; and who they are that are here assembled to support the vindictive son of Dhrĕĕtărāshtră in the battle.”

Krĕĕshnă being thus addressed by Ărjŏŏn, drove the chariot; and, having caused it to halt in the midst of the space in front of the two armies, bad Ărjŏŏn cast his eyes towards the ranks of the Kŏŏrŏŏs, and behold where stood the aged Bhēēshmă, and Drōn, with all the chief nobles of their party. He looked at both the armies, and beheld, on either side, none but grandsires, uncles, cousins, tutors, sons, and brothers, near relations, or bosom friends; and when he had gazed for a while, and beheld such friends as these prepared for the fight, he was seized with extreme pity and compunction, and uttered his sorrow in the following words:

Ărjŏŏn.

“Having beheld, O Krĕĕshnă! my kindred thus standing anxious for the fight, my members fail me, my countenance withereth, the hair standeth an end upon my body, and all my frame trembleth with horror! Even Gāndēēv my bow escapeth from my hand, and my skin is parched and dried up.

(Gāndēēv my bow.—The gift of Vărŏŏn the God of the Ocean.)

I am not able to stand; for my understanding, as it were, turneth round, and I behold inauspicious omens on all sides. When I shall have destroyed my kindred, shall I longer look for happiness? I wish not for victory, Krĕĕshnă; I want not dominion; I want not pleasure; for what is dominion, and the enjoyments of life, or even life itself, when those, for whom dominion, pleasure, and enjoyment were to be coveted, have abandoned life and fortune, and stand here in the field ready for the battle? Tutors, sons and fathers, grandsires and grandsons, uncles and nephews, cousins, kindred, and friends! Although they would kill me, I wish not to fight them; no not even for the dominion of the three regions of the universe, much less for this earth only! Having killed the sons of Dhrĕĕtărāshtră, what pleasure, O Krĕĕshnă, can we enjoy? Should we destroy them, tyrants as they are, sin would take refuge with us. It therefore behoveth us not to kill such near relations as these. How, O Krĕĕshnă, can we be happy hereafter, when we have been the murderers of our race? What if they, whose minds are depraved by the lust of power, see no sin in the extirpation of their race, no crime in the murder of their friends, is that a reason why we should not resolve to turn away from such a crime, we who abhor the sin of extirpating the kindred of our blood? In the destruction of a family, the ancient virtue of the family is lost. Upon the loss of virtue, vice and impiety overwhelm the whole of a race. From the influence of impiety the females of a family are put at risk of immoral conduct and unintended pregnancy; and from women with unwanted pregnancies are born the spurious brood called Vărnă-sănkăr. The Sănkăr provideth Hell (5) both for those who would destroy the family and those family which survive;

(5 Hell.—In the original Nărk. The infernal regions, supposed to be situated at the bottom of the earth, where those whose virtues are less than their vices are doomed to dwell for a period proportioned to their crimes, after which they rise again to inhabit the bodies of unclean beasts.)

and their forefathers (6), being deprived of the ceremonies of cakes and water offered to their manes, sink into the infernal regions.

(6 Forefathers, &c.—The Hindoos are enjoined by the Vēds to offer a cake, which is called Pĕĕndă, to the ghosts of their ancestors, as far back as the third generation. This ceremony is performed on the day of the new moon in every month. The offering of water is in like manner commanded to be performed daily, and this ceremony is called Tărpăn, to satisfy, appease.—The souls of such men as have left children to continue their generation, are supposed to be transported, immediately upon quitting their bodies, into a certain region called the Pĕĕtrĕĕ-lōg, where they may continue in proportion to their former virtues, provided these ceremonies be not neglected; otherwise they are precipitated into Nărk, and doomed to be born again in the bodies of unclean beasts; and until, by repeated regenerations, all their sins are done away, and they attain such a degree of perfection as will entitle them to what is called Mŏŏktĕĕ, eternal salvation, by which is understood a release from future transmigration, and an absorption in the nature of the Godhead, who is called Brăhm. These ceremonies, which are called Srādh, were not unknown to the Greeks and Romans, and are still practised by the followers of Mahommed.)

By the crimes of those who murder their own relations, sore cause of contamination and birth of Vărnă-sănkărs, the family virtue, and the virtue of a whole tribe is for ever done away; and we have been told, O Krĕĕshnă, that the habitation of those mortals whose generation hath lost its virtue, shall be in Hell. Woe is me! what a great crime are we prepared to commit! Alas! that for the lust of the enjoyments of dominion we stand here ready to murder the kindred of our own blood! I would rather patiently suffer that the sons of Dhrĕĕtărāshtră, with their weapons in their hands, should come upon me, and, unopposed, kill me unguarded in the field.”

When Ărjŏŏn had ceased to speak, he sat down in the chariot between the two armies; and having put away his bow and arrows, his heart was overwhelmed with affliction.

LECTURE II.

Of the Nature of the Soul, and Speculative Doctrines.

Krĕĕshnă beholding him thus influenced by compunction, his eyes overflowing with a flood of tears, and his heart oppressed with deep affliction, addressed him in the following words:

Krĕĕshnă.

“Whence, O Ărjŏŏn, cometh unto thee, thus standng in the field of battle, this impurity and weakness? It is unbefitting, contrary to duty (7), and the foundation of dishonour.

(7 Contrary to duty.—Contrary to the duty of a soldier.)

Yield not thus to unmanliness, for it ill becometh one like thee. Abandon this unworthy weakness of thy heart, and stand up.”

Ărjŏŏn.

“How, O Krĕĕshnă, shall I resolve to fight with my arrows in the field against such as Bhēēshmă and Drōn, who, of all men, are most worthy of my respect? I would rather beg my bread about the world, than be the murderer of my preceptors, to whom such awful reverence is due. Should I destroy such friends as these, I should partake of possessions, wealth, and pleasures, polluted with their blood. We know not whether it would be better that we should defeat them, or they us; for those, whom having killed, I should not wish to live, are even the sons and people of Dhrĕĕtărāshtră who are here drawn up before us. My compassionate nature is overcome by the dread of sin.

Tell me truly what may be best for me to do. I am thy disciple, wherefore instruct me in my duty, who am under thy tuition; for my understanding is confounded by the dictates of my duty (8),

(8 By the dictates of my duty.—The duty of a soldier, in opposition to the dictates of the general moral duties.)

and I see nothing that may assuage the grief which drieth up my faculties, although I were to obtain a kingdom without a rival upon earth, or dominion over the hosts of heaven.”

Ărjŏŏn having thus spoken to Krĕĕshnă, and declared that he would not fight, was silent. Krĕĕshnă smiling, addressed the afflicted prince, standing in the midst of the two armies, in the following words:

Krĕĕshnă.

“Thou grievest for those who are unworthy to be lamented, whilst thy sentiments are those of the wise men (9).

(9 The wise men.—Păndĕĕts, or expounders of the law; or in a more general sense, such as by meditation have attained that degree of perfection which is called Gnān, or inspired wisdom.)

The wise neither grieve for the dead nor for the living. I myself never was not, nor thou, nor all the princes of the earth; nor shall we ever hereafter cease to be. As the soul in this mortal frame findeth infancy, youth, and old age; so, in some future frame, will it find the like. One who is confirmed in this belief, is not disturbed by any thing that may come to pass. The sensibility of the faculties giveth heat and cold, pleasure and pain; which come and go, and are transient and inconstant. Bear them with patience, O son of Bhărăt; for the wise man, whom these disturb not, and to whom pain and pleasure are the same, is formed for immortality. A thing that is not real hath no existence, whilst that which is true is a stranger to non-entity. By those who look into the principles of things, the design of each is seen. Learn that he by whom all things were formed is incorruptible, and that no one is able to effect the destruction of this thing which is inexhaustible. These bodies, which envelope the souls which inhabit them, which are eternal, incorruptible, and surpassing all conception, are declared to be finite beings; wherefore, O Ărjŏŏn, resolve to fight. The man who believeth that it is the soul which killeth, and he who thinketh that the soul may be destroyed, are both alike deceived; for it neither killeth, nor is it killed. It is not a thing of which a man may say, it hath been in the past but is not any longer, it is about to be now but has not been before, or it hath not yet been but is to be hereafter; for it is a thing without birth; it is ancient, constant, and eternal, and is not to be destroyed in this its mortal frame. How can the man, who believeth that this thing is incorruptible, eternal, inexhaustible, and without birth, think that he can either kill or cause it to be killed? As a man throweth away old garments, and putteth on new, even so the soul, having quitted its old mortal frames, entereth into others which are new. The weapon divideth it not, the fire burneth it not, the water corrupteth it not, the wind drieth it not away; for it is indivisible, inconsumable, incorruptible, and is not to be dried away: it is eternal, universal, permanent, immoveable; it is invisible, inconceivable, and unalterable; therefore, believing it to be thus, thou shouldst not grieve. But whether thou believest it of eternal duration and eternally reborn, or that it dieth with the body, still thou hast no cause to lament it. Death is certain to all things which are subject to birth, and regeneration to all things which are mortal; wherefore it doth not behove thee to grieve about that which is inevitable. The former state of beings is unknown; the middle state is evident, and their future state is not to be discovered. Why then shouldst thou trouble thyself about such things as these? Some regard the soul as a wonder, whilst some speak, and others hear of it with astonishment; but still others knoweth it not, although they may have heard it described. This spirit being never to be destroyed in the mortal frame which it inhabiteth, it is unworthy for thee to be troubled for all these mortals. Cast but thy eyes towards the duties of thy particular tribe, and it will ill become thee to tremble. A soldier of the Kshătrĕĕ tribe hath no duty superior to fighting with the purpose of upholding morality without self interest. Just to thy wish the door of heaven is found open before thee. Such soldiers only as are the favorites of Heaven obtain such a glorious fight as this. But, if thou wilt not perform the duty of thy calling, and fight out the field, thou wilt abandon thy duty and thy honor, and be guilty of a crime. Mankind speak of thy renown as infinite and inexhaustible. For one who hath been respected in the world, ill fame is worse to bear than death. The generals of the armies will think that thy retirement from the field arose from fear, and thou wilt become despicable, even amongst those by whom thou wert wont to be respected. Thy enemies will speak of thee in words which are unworthy to be spoken, and depreciate thy courage and abilities: what can be more dreadful than this! If thou art slain thou wilt obtain heaven; if thou art victorious thou wilt enjoy a world for thy reward; wherefore, son of Kŏŏntēē, arise and be determined for the battle. Make pleasure and pain, gain and loss, victory and defeat, the same, and then prepare for battle; or if thou dost not, thou wilt be criminal in a high degree. Let thy reason be thus applied in the field of battle.

This thy judgment is formed upon the speculative doctrines of the Sānkhyă sāstră; hear what it is in the practical doctrines of Kărmă-yōg, with which being endued thou shalt forsake the bonds of action (10).

(10 The bonds of action.—The Hindoos believe that every action of the body, whether good or evil, confineth the soul to mortal birth; and that an eternal release, which they call Mŏŏktĕĕ, is only to be attained by a total neglect of all sublunary things, or, which is the same thing according to the doctrine of Krĕĕshnă, the abandonment of all hopes of the reward of our actions; for such reward, they say, can only be a short enjoyment of a place in heaven which they call Swărg; because no man can, merely by his actions, attain perfection owing to the mixture of good and evil which is implanted in his constitution.)

A very small portion of this duty delivereth a man from great fear. In performing this duty a man hath but one judgment or aim, which is of a definite nature, whilst the judgments of those of indefinite principles are infinite and of many branches.

Men of confined notions, delighting in the controversies of the Vēds, tainted with worldly lusts, and preferring a transient enjoyment of heaven to eternal union with the Supreme, whilst they declare there is no other reward, pronounce, for the attainment of worldly riches and enjoyments, flowery sentences, ordaining innumerable and manifold ceremonies, and promising rewards for the actions of this life. Those who are attached to riches and enjoyment, and whose reason is led astray by this doctrine, do not have a determined judgment formed upon mature consideration and meditation on the Supreme. The Vēds teach of the threefold qualities of nature (11).

(11 [This note does not apply to the revised translation, so I am not including it here. If you are interested in reading it, it is available in the unrevised translation that follows this post.])

Be thou free from the threefold qualities; be free from the duplicities, and stand firm in the path of truth; be free from care and trouble, and turn thy mind to things which are spiritual. The knowing divine findeth as many uses in the whole Vēds collectively, as in a reservoir full flowing with water.

Let the motive be in the deed, in the act of performing duty, and not in the event. Be not one whose motive for action is the hope of reward. Let not thy life be spent in inaction. Depend upon application, perform thy duty, abandon all thought of the consequence, and make the event equal, whether it terminate in good or evil; for such an equality is called Yōg (12).

(12 Yōg.—There is no word in the Sănskrĕĕt language that will bear so many interpretations as this. Its first signification is junction or union. It is also used for bodily or mental application; but in this work it is generally used as a theological term, to express the application of the mind in spiritual things, and the performance of religious ceremonies. The word Yōgēē, a devout man, is one of its derivatives. If the word devotion be confined to the performance of religious duties, and a contemplation of the Deity, it will generally serve to express the sense of the original; as will devout and devoted for its derivatives.)

Action in the hope of reward stands at a distance inferior to action in the application of wisdom, or knowledge of the Divine Nature. Seek an asylum then in wisdom (13) alone; for the miserable and unhappy are so on account of the event of things.

(13 Wisdom.—Wherever the word wisdom is used in this Translation, is to be understood inspired wisdom, or a knowledge of the Divine Nature. The original word is Gnān, or as it is written Jnān.)

Revision to be continued.

Lecture (Chapter) 1: The Grief of Ărjŏŏn.

The following series of posts consists of the chapters of Bhagavad-gita as translated by Charles Wilkins and published in 1785 with the title The Bhăgvăt-Gēētā, or Dialogues of Krĕĕshnă and Ărjŏŏn.

The numbers in parentheses refer to the numbered notes below them, also enclosed in parentheses, which I have inserted into the text for convenience of reference.



Lecture I.

The Grief of Ărjŏŏn.




Dhrĕĕtărāshtră said,

“Tell me, O Sănjăy, what the people of my own party, and those of the Pāndŏŏs, who are assembled at Kŏŏrŏŏ-kshētră resolved for war, have been doing.

Sănjăy replied,

“Dŏŏryōdhăn having seen the army of the Pāndŏŏs drawn up for battle, went to his Preceptor, and addressed him in the following words:”

“Behold! O master, said he, the mighty army of the sons of Pāndŏŏ drawn forth by thy pupil, the experienced son of Drŏŏpăd. In it are heroes, such as Bhēēm or Ărjŏŏn: there is Yŏŏyŏŏdhānă, and Vĕĕrāt, and Drŏŏpăd, and Dhrĕĕshtăkētŏŏ, and Chēkĕĕtānă, and the valiant prince of Kāsĕĕ, and Pŏŏrŏŏjĕĕt, and Kŏŏntĕĕbhōjă, and Sīvyă a mighty chief, and Yŏŏdhāmănyŏŏ-Vĕĕkrāntă, and the daring Oŏtāmowjā; so the son of Sŏŏbhădrā, and the sons of Krĕĕshnā the daughter of Drŏŏpăd, all of them great in arms. Be acquainted also with the names of those of our party who are the most distinguished. I will mention a few of those who are amongst my generals, by way of example. There is thyself, my Preceptor, and Bhēēshmă, and Krĕĕpă the conqueror in battle, and Ăswătthāmā, and Vĕĕkărnă, and the son of Sāmă-dăttă, with others in vast numbers who for my service have forsaken the love of life. They are all of them practised in the use of arms, and experienced in every mode of fight. Our innumerable forces are commanded by Bhēēshmă, and the inconsiderable army of our foes is led by Bhēēm. Let all the generals, according to their respective divisions, stand in their posts, and one and all resolve Bhēēshmă to support.”

The ancient chief (1), and brother of the grandsire of the Kŏŏrŏŏs, then, shouting with a voice like a roaring lion, blew his shell (2) to raise the spirits of the Kŏŏrŏŏ chief;

(1 The ancient chief.—Bhēēshmă, brother of Vĕĕchĕĕtră-vĕĕryă, grandfather of the Kŏŏrŏŏs and the Pāndŏŏs.)

(2 Shell.—The conch or chank.)

and instantly innumerable shells, and other warlike instruments, were struck up on all sides, so that the clangour was excessive. At this time Krĕĕshnă (3) and Ărjŏŏn (4) were standing in a splendid chariot drawn by white horses.

(3 Krĕĕshnă.—An incarnation of the Deity.)

(4 Ărjŏŏn.—The third son of Pāndŏŏ, and the favorite of Krĕĕshnă.)

They also sounded their shells, which were of celestial form: the name of the one which was blown by Krĕĕshnă, was Pānchăjănyă, and that of Ărjŏŏn was called Dēvă-dăttă. Bhēēm, of dreadful deeds, blew his capacious shell Powndră, and Yŏŏdhĕĕshtĕĕr, the royal son of Kŏŏntēē, sounded Ănăntă-Vĕĕjăy. Năkŏŏl and Săhădēvă blew their shells also; the one called Sŏŏgōshă, the other Mănĕĕpŏŏshpăkă. The prince of Kāsĕĕ of the mighty bow, Sĕĕkhăndēē, Dhrĕĕshtădhŏŏmnă, Vĕĕrāta, Sātyăkĕĕ of invincible arm, Drŏŏpăd and the sons of his royal daughter Krĕĕshnā, with the son of Sŏŏbhădrā, and all the other chiefs and nobles, blew also their respective shells; so that their shrill sounding voices pierced the hearts of the Kŏŏrŏŏs, and re-echoed with a dreadful noise from heaven to earth.

In the mean time Ărjŏŏn, perceiving that the sons of Dhrĕĕtărāshtră stood ready to begin the fight, and that the weapons began to fly abroad, having taken up his bow, addressed Krĕĕshnă in the following words:

Ărjŏŏn.

“I pray thee, Krĕĕshnă, cause my chariot to be driven and placed between the two armies, that I may behold who are the men that stand ready, anxious to commence the bloody fight; and with whom it is that I am to fight in this ready field; and who they are that are here assembled to support the vindictive son of Dhrĕĕtărāshtră in the battle.”

Krĕĕshnă being thus addressed by Ărjŏŏn, drove the chariot; and, having caused it to halt in the midst of the space in front of the two armies, bad Ărjŏŏn cast his eyes towards the ranks of the Kŏŏrŏŏs, and behold where stood the aged Bhēēshmă, and Drōn, with all the chief nobles of their party. He looked at both the armies, and beheld, on either side, none but grandsires, uncles, cousins, tutors, sons, and brothers, near relations, or bosom friends; and when he had gazed for a while, and beheld such friends as these prepared for the fight, he was seized with extreme pity and compunction, and uttered his sorrow in the following words:

Ărjŏŏn.

“Having beheld, O Krĕĕshnă! my kindred thus standing anxious for the fight, my members fail me, my countenance withereth, the hair standeth an end upon my body, and all my frame trembleth with horror! Even Gāndēēv my bow escapeth from my hand, and my skin is parched and dried up.

(Gāndēēv my bow.—The gift of Vărŏŏn the God of the Ocean.)

I am not able to stand; for my understanding, as it were, turneth round, and I behold inauspicious omens on all sides. When I shall have destroyed my kindred, shall I longer look for happiness? I wish not for victory, Krĕĕshnă; I want not dominion; I want not pleasure; for what is dominion, and the enjoyments of life, or even life itself, when those, for whom dominion, pleasure, and enjoyment were to be coveted, have abandoned life and fortune, and stand here in the field ready for the battle? Tutors, sons and fathers, grandsires and grandsons, uncles and nephews, cousins, kindred, and friends! Although they would kill me, I wish not to fight them; no not even for the dominion of the three regions of the universe, much less for this little earth! Having killed the sons of Dhrĕĕtărāshtră, what pleasure, O Krĕĕshnă, can we enjoy? Should we destroy them, tyrants as they are, sin would take refuge with us. It therefore behoveth us not to kill such near relations as these. How, O Krĕĕshnă, can we be happy hereafter, when we have been the murderers of our race? What if they, whose minds are depraved by the lust of power, see no sin in the extirpation of their race, no crime in the murder of their friends, is that a reason why we should not resolve to turn away from such a crime, we who abhor the sin of extirpating the kindred of our blood? In the destruction of a family, the ancient virtue of the family is lost. Upon the loss of virtue, vice and impiety overwhelm the whole of a race. From the influence of impiety the females of a family grow vicious; and from women that are become vicious are born the spurious brood called Vărnă-sănkăr. The Sănkăr provideth Hell (5) both for those which are slain and those which survive;

(5 Hell.—In the original Nărk. The infernal regions, supposed to be situated at the bottom of the earth, where those whose virtues are less than their vices are doomed to dwell for a period proportioned to their crimes, after which they rise again to inhabit the bodies of unclean beasts.)

and their forefathers (6), being deprived of the ceremonies of cakes and water offered to their manes, sink into the infernal regions.

(6 Forefathers, &c.—The Hindoos are enjoined by the Vēds to offer a cake, which is called Pĕĕndă, to the ghosts of their ancestors, as far back as the third generation. This ceremony is performed on the day of the new moon in every month. The offering of water is in like manner commanded to be performed daily, and this ceremony is called Tărpăn, to satisfy, appease.—The souls of such men as have left children to continue their generation, are supposed to be transported, immediately upon quitting their bodies, into a certain region called the Pĕĕtrĕĕ-lōg, where they may continue in proportion to their former virtues, provided these ceremonies be not neglected; otherwise they are precipitated into Nărk, and doomed to be born again in the bodies of unclean beasts; and until, by repeated regenerations, all their sins are done away, and they attain such a degree of perfection as will entitle them to what is called Mŏŏktĕĕ, eternal salvation, by which is understood a release from future transmigration, and an absorption in the nature of the Godhead, who is called Brăhm. These ceremonies, which are called Srādh, were not unknown to the Greeks and Romans, and are still practised by the followers of Mahommed.)

By the crimes of those who murder their own relations, sore cause of contamination and birth of Vărnă-sănkărs, the family virtue, and the virtue of a whole tribe is for ever done away; and we have been told, O Krĕĕshnă, that the habitation of those mortals whose generation hath lost its virtue, shall be in Hell. Woe is me! what a great crime are we prepared to commit! Alas! that for the lust of the enjoyments of dominion we stand here ready to murder the kindred of our own blood! I would rather patiently suffer that the sons of Dhrĕĕtărāshtră, with their weapons in their hands, should come upon me, and, unopposed, kill me unguarded in the field.”

When Ărjŏŏn had ceased to speak, he sat down in the chariot between the two armies; and having put away his bow and arrows, his heart was overwhelmed with affliction.

Lecture (Chapter) 2: Of the Nature of the Soul, and Speculative Doctrines.

Krĕĕshnă beholding him thus influenced by compunction, his eyes overflowing with a flood of tears, and his heart oppressed with deep affliction, addressed him in the following words:

Krĕĕshnă.

“Whence, O Ărjŏŏn, cometh unto thee, thus standing in the field of battle, this folly and unmanly weakness? It is disgraceful, contrary to duty (7), and the foundation of dishonour.

(7 Contrary to duty.—Contrary to the duty of a soldier.)

Yield not thus to unmanliness, for it ill becometh one like thee. Abandon this despicable weakness of thy heart, and stand up.”

Ărjŏŏn.

“How, O Krĕĕshnă, shall I resolve to fight with my arrows in the field against such as Bhēēshmă and Drōn, who, of all men, are most worthy of my respect? I would rather beg my bread about the world, than be the murderer of my preceptors, to whom such awful reverence is due. Should I destroy such friends as these, I should partake of possessions, wealth, and pleasures, polluted with their blood. We know not whether it would be better that we should defeat them, or they us; for those, whom having killed, I should not wish to live, are even the sons and people of Dhrĕĕtărāshtră who are here drawn up before us. My compassionate nature is overcome by the dread of sin.

Tell me truly what may be best for me to do. I am thy disciple, wherefore instruct me in my duty, who am under thy tuition; for my understanding is confounded by the dictates of my duty (8),

(8 By the dictates of my duty.—The duty of a soldier, in opposition to the dictates of the general moral duties.)

and I see nothing that may assuage the grief which drieth up my faculties, although I were to obtain a kingdom without a rival upon earth, or dominion over the hosts of heaven.”

Ărjŏŏn having thus spoken to Krĕĕshnă, and declared that he would not fight, was silent. Krĕĕshnă smiling, addressed the afflicted prince, standing in the midst of the two armies, in the following words:

Krĕĕshnă.

“Thou grievest for those who are unworthy to be lamented, whilst thy sentiments are those of the wise men (9).

(9 The wise men.—Păndĕĕts, or expounders of the law; or in a more general sense, such as by meditation have attained that degree of perfection which is called Gnān, or inspired wisdom.)

The wise neither grieve for the dead nor for the living. I myself never was not, nor thou, nor all the princes of the earth; nor shall we ever hereafter cease to be. As the soul in this mortal frame findeth infancy, youth, and old age; so, in some future frame, will it find the like. One who is confirmed in this belief, is not disturbed by any thing that may come to pass. The sensibility of the faculties giveth heat and cold, pleasure and pain; which come and go, and are transient and inconstant. Bear them with patience, O son of Bhărăt; for the wise man, whom these disturb not, and to whom pain and pleasure are the same, is formed for immortality. A thing imaginary hath no existence, whilst that which is true is a stranger to non-entity. By those who look into the principles of things, the design of each is seen. Learn that he by whom all things were formed is incorruptible, and that no one is able to effect the destruction of this thing which is inexhaustible. These bodies, which envelope the souls which inhabit them, which are eternal, incorruptible, and surpassing all conception, are declared to be finite beings; wherefore, O Ărjŏŏn, resolve to fight. The man who believeth that it is the soul which killeth, and he who thinketh that the soul may be destroyed, are both alike deceived; for it neither killeth, nor is it killed. It is not a thing of which a man may say, it hath been, it is about to be, or is to be hereafter; for it is a thing without birth; it is ancient, constant, and eternal, and is not to be destroyed in this its mortal frame. How can the man, who believeth that this thing is incorruptible, eternal, inexhaustible, and without birth, think that he can either kill or cause it to be killed? As a man throweth away old garments, and putteth on new, even so the soul, having quitted its old mortal frames, entereth into others which are new. The weapon divideth it not, the fire burneth it not, the water corrupteth it not, the wind drieth it not away; for it is indivisible, inconsumable, incorruptible, and is not to be dried away: it is eternal, universal, permanent, immoveable; it is invisible, inconceivable, and unalterable; therefore, believing it to be thus, thou shouldst not grieve. But whether thou believest it of eternal birth and duration, or that it dieth with the body, still thou hast no cause to lament it. Death is certain to all things which are subject to birth, and regeneration to all things which are mortal; wherefore it doth not behove thee to grieve about that which is inevitable. The former state of beings is unknown; the middle state is evident, and their future state is not to be discovered. Why then shouldst thou trouble thyself about such things as these? Some regard the soul as a wonder, whilst some speak, and others hear of it with astonishment; but no one knoweth it, although he may have heard it described. This spirit being never to be destroyed in the mortal frame which it inhabiteth, it is unworthy for thee to be troubled for all these mortals. Cast but thy eyes towards the duties of thy particular tribe, and it will ill become thee to tremble. A soldier of the Kshătrĕĕ tribe hath no duty superior to fighting. Just to thy wish the door of heaven is found open before thee. Such soldiers only as are the favorites of Heaven obtain such a glorious fight as this. But, if thou wilt not perform the duty of thy calling, and fight out the field, thou wilt abandon thy duty and thy honor, and be guilty of a crime. Mankind speak of thy renown as infinite and inexhaustible. The fame of one who hath been respected in the world is extended even beyond the dissolution of the body. The generals of the armies will think that thy retirement from the field arose from fear, and thou wilt become despicable, even amongst those by whom thou wert wont to be respected. Thy enemies will speak of thee in words which are unworthy to be spoken, and depreciate thy courage and abilities: what can be more dreadful than this! If thou art slain thou wilt obtain heaven; if thou art victorious thou wilt enjoy a world for thy reward; wherefore, son of Kŏŏntēē, arise and be determined for the battle. Make pleasure and pain, gain and loss, victory and defeat, the same, and then prepare for battle; or if thou dost not, thou wilt be criminal in a high degree. Let thy reason be thus applied in the field of battle.

This thy judgment is formed upon the speculative doctrines of the Sānkhyă sāstră; hear what it is in the practical, with which being endued thou shalt forsake the bonds of action (10).

(10 The bonds of action.—The Hindoos believe that every action of the body, whether good or evil, confineth the soul to mortal birth; and that an eternal release, which they call Mŏŏktĕĕ, is only to be attained by a total neglect of all sublunary things, or, which is the same thing according to the doctrine of Krĕĕshnă, the abandonment of all hopes of the reward of our actions; for such reward, they say, can only be a short enjoyment of a place in heaven which they call Swărg; because no man can, merely by his actions, attain perfection owing to the mixture of good and evil which is implanted in his constitution.)

A very small portion of this duty delivereth a man from great fear. In this there is but one judgment; but that is of a definite nature, whilst the judgments of those of indefinite principles are infinite and of many branches.

Men of confined notions, delighting in the controversies of the Vēds, tainted with worldly lusts, and preferring a transient enjoyment of heaven to eternal absorption, whilst they declare there is no other reward, pronounce, for the attainment of worldly riches and enjoyments, flowery sentences, ordaining innumerable and manifold ceremonies, and promising rewards for the actions of this life. The determined judgment of such as are attached to riches and enjoyment, and whose reason is led astray by this doctrine, is not formed upon mature consideration and meditation. The objects of the Vēds are of a threefold nature (11).

(11 The objects of the Vēds are of a threefold nature.—The commentators do not agree with respect to the signification of this passage; but, as the Vēds teach three distinct systems of religion, it is probable that it refers to this circumstance.)

Be thou free from a threefold nature; be free from duplicity, and stand firm in the path of truth; be free from care and trouble, and turn thy mind to things which are spiritual. The knowing divine findeth as many uses in the whole Vēds collectively, as in a reservoir full flowing with water.

Let the motive be in the deed, and not in the event. Be not one whose motive for action is the hope of reward. Let not thy life be spent in inaction. Depend upon application, perform thy duty, abandon all thought of the consequence, and make the event equal, whether it terminate in good or evil; for such an equality is called Yōg (12).

(12 Yōg.—There is no word in the Sănskrĕĕt language that will bear so many interpretations as this. Its first signification is junction or union. It is also used for bodily or mental application; but in this work it is generally used as a theological term, to express the application of the mind in spiritual things, and the performance of religious ceremonies. The word Yōgēē, a devout man, is one of its derivatives. If the word devotion be confined to the performance of religious duties, and a contemplation of the Deity, it will generally serve to express the sense of the original; as will devout and devoted for its derivatives.)

The action stands at a distance inferior to the application of wisdom. Seek an asylum then in wisdom (13) alone; for the miserable and unhappy are so on account of the event of things.

(13 Wisdom.—Wherever the word wisdom is used in this Translation, is to be understood inspired wisdom, or a knowledge of the Divine Nature. The original word is Gnān, or as it is written Jnān.)

Men who are endued with true wisdom are unmindful of good or evil in this world. Study then to obtain this application of thy understanding, for such application in business is a precious art.

Wise men, who have abandoned all thought of the fruit which is produced from their actions, are freed from the chains of birth, and go to the regions of eternal happiness.

When thy reason shall get the better of the gloomy weakness of thy heart, then shalt thou have attained all knowledge which hath been, or is worthy to be taught. When thy understanding, by study brought to maturity, shall be fixed immoveably in contemplation, then shall it obtain true wisdom.”

Ărjŏŏn.

What, O Krĕĕshnă, is the distinction of that wise and steady man who is fixed in contemplation? What may such a sage declare? Where may he dwell? How may he act?

Krĕĕshnă.

A man is said to be confirmed in wisdom, when he forsaketh every desire which entereth into his heart, and of himself is happy, and contented in himself. His mind is undisturbed in adversity, he is happy and contented in prosperity, and he is a stranger to anxiety, fear, and anger. Such a wise man is called a Mŏŏnĕĕ. The wisdom of that man is established, who in all things is without affection; and, having received good or evil, neither rejoiceth at the one, nor is cast down by the other. His wisdom is confirmed, when, like the tortoise, he can draw in all his members, and restrain them from their wonted purposes. The hungry man loseth every other object but the gratification of his appetite, and when he is become acquainted with the Supreme, he loseth even that. The tumultuous senses hurry away, by force, the heart even of the wise man who striveth to restrain them. The inspired man, trusting in me, may quell them and be happy. The man who hath his passions in subjection, is possessed of true wisdom.

The man who attendeth to the inclinations of the senses, in them hath a concern; from this concern is created passion, from passion anger, from anger is produced folly (14), from folly a depravation of the memory, from the loss of memory the loss of reason, and from the loss of reason the loss of all!

(14 Folly.—In the original Mōhă, which signifies an embarrassment of the faculties, arising from the attendant qualities of the principles of organized matter.)

A man of a governable mind, enjoying the objects of his senses, with all his faculties rendered obedient to his will, and freed from pride and malice, obtaineth happiness supreme. In this happiness is born to him an exemption from all his troubles; and his mind being thus at ease, wisdom presently floweth to him from all sides. The man who attendeth not to this, is without wisdom or the power of contemplation. The man who is incapable of thinking, hath no rest. What happiness can he enjoy who hath no rest? The heart, which followeth the dictates of the moving passions, carrieth away his reason, as the storm the bark in the raging ocean. The man, therefore, who can restrain all his passions from their inordinate desires, is endued with true wisdom. Such a one walketh but in that night when all things go to rest, the night of time. The contemplative Mŏŏnĕĕ sleepeth but in the day of time, when all things wake.

The man whose passions enter his heart as waters run into the unswelling passive ocean, obtaineth happiness; not he who lusteth in his lusts. The man who, having abandoned all lusts of the flesh, walketh without inordinate desires, unassuming, and free from pride, obtaineth happiness. This is divine dependance. A man being possessed of this confidence in the Supreme, goeth not astray: even at the hour of death, should he attain it, he shall mix with the incorporeal nature of Brăhm.

Lecture (Chapter) 3: Of Works

Ărjŏŏn.

If, according to thy opinion, the use of the understanding be superior to the practice of deeds (15), why then dost thou urge me to engage in an undertaking so dreadful as this?

(15 The practice of deeds.—The performance of religious ceremonies and moral duties, called Kărmă-Yōg.)

Thou, as it were, confoundest my reason with a mixture of sentiments; wherefore choose one amongst them, by which I may obtain happiness, and explain it unto me.

Krĕĕshnă.

It hath before been observed by me, that in this world there are two institutes: That of those who follow the Sānkhyă, or speculative science, which is the exercise of reason in contemplation; and the practical, or exercise of the moral and religious duties.

The man enjoyeth not freedom from action, from the non-commencement of that which he hath to do; nor doth he obtain happiness from a total inactivity. No one ever resteth a moment inactive. Every man is involuntarily urged to act by those principles which are inherent in his nature. The man who restraineth his active faculties, and sitteth down with his mind attentive to the objects of his senses, is called one of an astrayed soul, and the practiser of deceit. So the man is praised, who, having subdued all his passions, performeth with his active faculties all the functions of life, unconcerned about the event. Perform the settled functions: action is preferable to inaction. The journey of thy mortal frame may not succeed from inaction. This busy world is engaged from other motives than the worship of the Deity. Abandon then, O son of Kŏŏntēē, all selfish motives, and perform thy duty for him alone.

When in ancient days Brăhmā (16), the lord of the creation,

(16 Brăhmā.¬—The Deity in his creative quality.)

had formed mankind, and, at the same time, appointed his worship, he spoke and said: "With this worship pray for increase, and let it be that on which ye shall depend for the accomplishment of all your wishes. With this remember the Gods, that the Gods may remember you. Remember one another, and ye shall obtain supreme happiness. The Gods being remembered in worship, will grant you the enjoyment of your wishes. He who enjoyeth what hath been given unto him by them, and offereth not a portion unto them, is even as a thief. Those who eat not but what is left of the offerings, shall be purified of all their transgressions. Those who dress their meat but for themselves, eat the bread of sin. All things which have life are generated from the bread which they eat. Bread is generated from rain; rain from divine worship, and divine worship from good works. Know that good works come from Brăhm, whose nature is incorruptible; wherefore the omnipresent Brăhm is present in the worship."

The sinful mortal, who delighteth in the gratification of his passions, and followeth not the wheel, thus revolving in the world, liveth but in vain.

But the man who may be self-delighted and self-satisfied, and who may be happy in his own soul, hath no occasion (17).

(17 Hath no occasion.—Hath no occasion to perform the ceremonial parts of religion.)

He hath no interest either in that which is done, or that which is not done; and there is not, in all things which have been created, any object on which he may place dependance. Wherefore, perform thou that which thou hast to do, at all times, unmindful of the event; for the man who doeth that which he hath to do, without affection, obtaineth the Supreme.

Jănăkă and others have attained perfection (18) even by works.

(18 Attained perfection.—That degree of perfection which is necessary to salvation.)

Thou shouldst also observe what is the practice of mankind, and act accordingly. The man of low degree followeth the example of him who is above him, and doeth that which he doeth. I myself, Ărjŏŏn, have not, in the three regions of the universe, any thing which is necessary for me to perform, nor any thing to obtain which is not obtained; and yet I live in the exercise of the moral duties. If I were not vigilantly to attend to these duties, all men would presently follow my example. If I were not to perform the moral actions, this world would fail in their duty; I should be the cause of spurious births, and should drive the people from the right way. As the ignorant perform the duties of life from the hope of reward, so the wise man, out of respect to the opinions and prejudices of mankind, should perform the same without motives of interest. He should not create a division in the understandings of the ignorant, who are inclined to outward works. The learned man, by industriously performing all the duties of life, should induce the vulgar to attend to them.

The man whose mind is led astray by the pride of self-sufficiency, thinketh that he himself is the executor of all those actions which are performed by the principles of his constitution. But the man who is acquainted with the nature of the two distinctions of cause and effect, having considered that principles will act according to their natures, giveth himself no trouble. Men who are led astray by the principles of their natures, are interested in the works of the faculties. The man who is acquainted with the whole, should not drive those from their works who are slow of comprehension, and less experienced than himself.

Throw every deed on me, and with a heart, over which the soul presideth, be free from hope, be unpresuming, be free from trouble, and resolve to fight.

Those who with a firm belief, and without reproach, shall constantly follow this my doctrine, shall be saved even by works; and know that those who, holding it in contempt, follow not this my counsel, are astrayed from all wisdom, deprived of reason, and are lost.

But the wise man also seeketh for that which is homogeneous to his own nature. All things act according to their natures, what then will restraint effect? In every purpose of the senses are fixed affection and dislike. A wise man should not put himself in their power, for both of them are his opponents. A man’s own religion, though contrary to, is better than the faith of another, let it be ever so well followed. It is good to die in one’s own faith, for another’s faith beareth fear.

Ărjŏŏn.

By what, O Krĕĕshnă, is man propelled to commit offences? He seems as if, contrary to his wishes, he was impelled by some secret force.

Krĕĕshnă.

Know that it is the enemy lust, or passion, offspring of the carnal principle, insatiable and full of sin, by which this world is covered as the flame by the smoke, as the mirror by rust, or as the fœtus by its membrane. The understanding of the wise man is obscured by this inveterate foe, in the shape of desire (19), who rageth like fire, and is hard to be appeased.

19 Desire.—The will, as presiding over the organs, the heart and the understanding.

It is said that the senses, the heart, and the understanding are the places where he delighteth most to rule. By the assistance of these he overwhelmeth reason, and stupifieth the soul. Thou shouldst, therefore, first subdue thy passions, and get the better of this sinful destroyer of wisdom and knowledge.

The organs are esteemed great, but the mind is greater than they. The resolution (20) is greater than the mind,

(20 The resolution.—In this place resolution means the power of distinguishing the truth of a proposition: the understanding.)

and who is superior to the resolution is he (21).

(21 He.—The soul, or universal spirit, of which the vital soul is supposed to be a portion.)

When thou hast resolved what is superior to the resolution, and fixed thyself by thyself, determine to abandon the enemy in the shape of desire, whose objects are hard to be accomplished.

Lecture (Chapter) 4: Of the Forsaking of Works.

(Numbers in parentheses refer to the numbered notes below them, also enclosed in parentheses.)


Krĕĕshnă.

This never-failing discipline I formerly taught unto Vĕĕvăswăt, and Vĕĕvăswăt communicated it to Mănŏŏ, and Mănŏŏ made it known unto Eĕkshwākŏŏ; and being delivered down from one unto another, it was studied by the Rājărshĕĕs; until at length, in the course of time, the mighty art was lost. It is even the same discipline which I have this day communicated unto thee, because thou art my servant and my friend. It is an ancient and a supreme mystery.

Ărjŏŏn.

Seeing thy birth is posterior to the life of Eĕkshwākŏŏ, how am I to understand that thou hadst been formerly the teacher of this doctrine?

Krĕĕshnă.

Both I and thou have passed many births. Mine are known unto me; but thou knowest not of thine.

Although I am not in my nature subject to birth or decay, and am the lord of all created beings; yet, having command over my own nature, I am made evident by my own power; and as often as there is a decline of virtue, and an insurrection of vice and injustice, in the world, I make myself evident; and thus I appear, from age to age, for the preservation of the just, the destruction of the wicked, and the establishment of virtue.

He, O Ărjŏŏn, who, from conviction, acknowledgeth my divine birth and actions to be even so, doth not, upon his quitting his mortal frame, enter into another, for he entereth into me. Many who were free from affection, fear, and anger, and, filled with my spirit, depended upon me, having been purified by the power of wisdom, have entered into me. I assist those men who in all things walk in my path, even as they serve me.

Those who wish for success to their works in this life, worship the Dēvătās (22).

(22 Worship the Dēvătās.—The word Dēvătā is synonymous with Dēv, Dēw or Dēb, as it is sometimes pronounced. The Angels, or subordinate celestial beings; all the attributes of the Deity; and every thing in Heaven and Earth which has been personified by the imagination of the Poets.)

That which is atchieved in this life, from works, speedily cometh to pass.

Mankind was created by me of four kinds, distinct in their principles, and in their duties. Know me then to be the creator of mankind, uncreated, and without decay.

Works affect not me, nor have I any expectations from the fruits of works. He who believeth me to be even so, is not bound by works. The ancients, who longed for eternal salvation, having discovered this, still performed works. Wherefore perform thou works, even as they were performed by the ancients in former times. The learned even are puzzled to determine what is work, and what is not. I will tell thee what that work is, by knowing which thou wilt be delivered from misfortune. It may be defined—action, improper action, and inaction. The path of action is full of darkness.

He who may behold, as it were, inaction in action, and action in inaction, is wise amongst mankind. He is a perfect performer of all duty.

Wise men call him a Păndĕĕt, whose every undertaking is free from the idea of desire, and whose actions are consumed by the fire of wisdom. He abandoneth the desire of a reward of his actions; he is always contented and independent; and although he may be engaged in a work, he, as it were, doeth nothing. He is unsolicitous, of a subdued mind and spirit, and exempt from every perception; and, as he doeth only the offices of the body, he committeth no offence. He is pleased with whatever he may by chance obtain; he hath gotten the better of duplicity, and he is free from envy. He is the same in prosperity and adversity; and although he acteth, he is not confined in the action. The work of him, who hath lost all anxiety for the event, who is freed from the bonds of action, and standeth with his mind subdued by spiritual wisdom, and who performeth it for the sake of worship, cometh altogether unto nothing. God is the gift of charity; God is the offering; God is in the fire of the altar; by God is the sacrifice performed; and God is to be obtained by him who maketh God alone the object of his works.

Some of the devout attend to the worship of the Dēvătās, or angels; others, with offerings, direct their worship unto God in the fire; others sacrifice their ears, and other organs, in the fire of constraint; whilst some sacrifice sound, and the like, in the fire of their organs. Some again sacrifice the actions of all their organs and faculties in the fire of self-constraint, lighted up by the spark of inspired wisdom. There are also the worshippers with offerings, and the worshippers with mortifications; and again the worshippers with enthusiastic devotion; so there are those, the wisdom of whose reading is their worship, men of subdued passions and severe manners. Some there are who sacrifice their breathing spirit, and force it downwards from its natural course; whilst others force the spirit which is below back with the breath; and a few, with whom these two faculties are held in great esteem, close up the door of each; and there are some, who eat but by rule, who sacrifice their lives in their lives. All these different kinds of worshippers are, by their particular modes of worship, purified from their offences. He who enjoyeth but the Ămrĕĕtă which is left of his offerings, obtaineth the eternal spirit of Brăhm, the Supreme. This world is not for him who doth not worship; and where, O Ărjŏŏn, is there another (23)?

(23 And where, O Ărjŏŏn, is there another?—fit for him is understood. The sentence would perhaps read better in this form: "He who neglecteth the duties of life is not for this world, much less for that which is above." But the other translation is literally correct.)

A great variety of modes of worship like these are displayed in the mouth of God. Learn that they are all the offsprings of action. Being convinced of this, thou shalt obtain an eternal release; for know that the worship of spiritual wisdom is far better than the worship with offerings of things. In wisdom is to be found every work without exception. Seek then this wisdom with prostrations, with questions, and with attention, that those learned men who see its principles may instruct thee in its rules; which having learnt, thou shalt not again, O son of Pāndŏŏ, fall into folly; by which thou shalt behold all nature in the spirit; that is, in me (24).

(24 In me.—In the Deity, who is the universal spirit.)

Although thou wert the greatest of all offenders, thou shalt be able to cross the gulf of sin with the bark of wisdom. As the natural fire, O Ărjŏŏn, reduceth the wood to ashes, so may the fire of wisdom reduce all moral actions to ashes. There is not any thing in this world to be compared with wisdom for purity. He who is perfected by practice, in due time findeth it in his own soul. He who hath faith findeth wisdom; and, above all, he who hath gotten the better of his passions; and having obtained this spiritual wisdom, he shortly enjoyeth superior happiness; whilst the ignorant, and the man without faith, whose spirit is full of doubt, is lost. Neither this world, nor that which is above, nor happiness, can be enjoyed by the man of a doubting mind. The human actions have no power to confine (25) the spiritual mind, which, by study, hath forsaken works, and which, by wisdom, hath cut asunder the bonds of doubt.

(25 Have no power to confine.—Have no power to confine the soul to mortal birth.)

Wherefore, O son of Bhărăt, resolve to cut asunder this doubt, offspring of ignorance, which hath taken possession of thy mind, with the edge of the wisdom of thy own soul, and arise and attach thyself to the discipline.

Lecture (Chapter) 5: Of Forsaking the Fruits of Works.

(Numbers in parentheses refer to the numbered notes below them, also enclosed in parentheses.)


Ărjŏŏn.

Thou now speakest, O Krĕĕshnă, of the forsaking of works, and now again of performing them. Tell me positively which of the two is best.

Krĕĕshnă.

Both the desertion and the practice of works are equally the means of extreme happiness; but of the two the practice of works is to be distinguished above the desertion. The perpetual recluse, who neither longeth nor complaineth, is worthy to be known. Such a one is free from duplicity, and is happily freed from the bond of action. Children only, and not the learned, speak of the speculative and the practical doctrines as two. They are but one, for both obtain the self-same end, and the place which is gained by the followers of the one, is gained by the followers of the other. That man seeth, who seeth that the speculative doctrines and the practical are but one. To be a Sănnyāsēē, or recluse, without application, is to obtain pain and trouble; whilst the Mŏŏnĕĕ, who is employed in the practice of his duty, presently obtaineth Brăhm, the Almighty. The man who, employed in the practice of works, is of a purified soul, a subdued spirit, and restrained passions, and whose soul is the universal soul, is not affected by so being. The attentive man, who is acquainted with the principles of things, in seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, eating, moving, sleeping, breathing, talking, quitting, taking, opening and closing his eyes, thinketh that he doeth nothing; but that the faculties are only employed in their several objects. The man who, performing the duties of life, and quitting all interest in them, placeth them upon Brăhm, the Supreme, is not tainted by sin; but remaineth like the leaf of the lotus unaffected by the waters. Practical men, who perform the offices of life but with their bodies, their minds, their understandings, and their senses, and forsake the consequence for the purification of their souls; and, although employed, forsake the fruit of action, obtain infinite happiness; whilst the man who is unemployed, being attached to the fruit by the agent desire, is in the bonds of confinement. The man who hath his passions in subjection, and with his mind forsaketh all works, his soul sitteth at rest in the nine-gate city of its abode (26), neither acting nor causing to act.

(26 In the nine-gate city of its abode.—The body, as furnished with nine passages for the action of the faculties: the eyes, nose, mouth, etc.)

The Almighty createth neither the powers nor the deeds of mankind (27), nor the application of the fruits of action: nature prevaileth.

(27 The powers nor the deeds of mankind.—To understand this, and many similar passages, it is necessary to be apprized that the Hindoos believe that all our actions, whether good or evil, arise from the inherent qualities of the principles of our constitutions.)

The Almighty receiveth neither the vices nor the virtues of any one. Mankind are led astray by their reasons being obscured by ignorance; but when that ignorance of their souls is destroyed by the force of reason, their wisdom shineth forth again with the glory of the sun, and causeth the Deity to appear. Those whose understandings are in him, whose souls are in him, whose confidence is in him, and whose asylum is in him, are by wisdom purified from all their offences, and go from whence they shall never return.

The learned behold him alike in the reverend Brāhmăn perfected in knowledge, in the ox, and in the elephant; in the dog, and in him who eateth of the flesh of dogs. Those whose minds are fixed on this equality, gain eternity even in this world. They put their trust in Brăhm, the Eternal, because he is every where alike, free from fault.

The man who knoweth Brăhm, and confideth in Brăhm, and whose mind is steady and free from folly, should neither rejoice in prosperity, nor complain in adversity. He whose soul is unaffected by the impressions made upon the outward feelings, obtaineth what is pleasure in his own mind. Such an one, whose soul is thus fixed upon the study of Brăhm, enjoyeth pleasure without decline. The enjoyments which proceed from the feelings are as the wombs of future pain. The wise man, who is acquainted with the beginning and the end of things, delighteth not in these. He who can bear up against the violence which is produced from lust and anger in this mortal life, is properly employed and a happy man. The man who is happy in his heart, at rest in his mind, and enlightened within, is a Yōgēē, or one devoted to God, and of a godly spirit; and obtaineth the immaterial nature of Brăhm, the Supreme. Such Rĕĕshĕĕs as are purified from their offences, freed from doubt, of subdued minds, and interested in the good of all mankind, obtain the incorporeal Brăhm. The incorporeal Brăhm is prepared, from the beginning, for such as are free from lust and anger, of humble minds and subdued spirits, and who are acquainted with their own souls.

The man who keepeth the outward accidents from entering his mind, and his eyes fixed in contemplation between his brows; who maketh the breath to pass through both his nostrils alike in expiration and inspiration; who is of subdued faculties, mind, and understanding, and hath set his heart upon salvation; and who is free from lust, fear, and anger, is for ever blessed in this life; and, being convinced that I am the cherisher of religious zeal, the lord of all worlds, and the friend of all nature, he shall obtain me and be blessed.

Lecture (Chapter) 6: Of the Exercise of Soul.

(Numbers in parentheses refer to the numbered notes below them, also enclosed in parentheses.)


Krĕĕshnă.

He is both a Yōgēē and a Sănnyāsēē who performeth that which he hath to do independent of the fruit thereof; not he who liveth without the sacrificial fire and without action. Learn, O son of Pāndŏŏ, that what they call Sănnyās, or a forsaking of the world, is the same with Yōg or the practice of devotion. He cannot be a Yōgēē, who, in his actions, hath not abandoned all intentions. Works are said to be the means by which a man who wisheth, may attain devotion; so rest is called the means for him who hath attained devotion. When the all-contemplative Sănnyāsēē is not engaged in the objects of the senses, nor in works, then he is called one who hath attained devotion. He should raise himself by himself: he should not suffer his soul to be depressed. Self is the friend of self; and, in like manner, self is its own enemy. Self is the friend of him by whom the spirit is subdued with the spirit; so self, like a foe, delighteth in the enmity of him who hath no soul. The soul of the placid conquered spirit is the same collected in heat and cold, in pain and pleasure, in honor and disgrace. The man whose mind is replete with divine wisdom and learning, who standeth upon the pinnacle, and hath subdued his passions, is said to be devout. To the Yōgēē, gold, iron, and stones, are the same. The man is distinguished whose resolutions, whether amongst his companions and friends; in the midst of enemies, or those who stand aloof or go between; with those who love and those who hate; in the company of saints or sinners, is the same.

The Yōgēē constantly exerciseth the spirit in private. He is recluse, of a subdued mind and spirit; free from hope, and free from perception. He planteth his own seat firmly on a spot that is undefiled, neither too high nor too low, and sitteth upon the sacred grass which is called Kǒǒs, covered with a skin and a cloth. There he, whose business is the restraining of his passions, should sit, with his mind fixed on one object alone, in the exercise of his devotion for the purification of his soul, keeping his head, his neck, and body, steady without motion, his eyes fixed on the point of his nose, looking at no other place around. The peaceful soul, released from fear, who would keep in the path of one who followeth God, should restrain the mind, and, fixing it on me, depend on me alone. The Yōgēē of an humbled mind, who thus constantly exerciseth his soul, obtaineth happiness incorporeal and supreme in me.

This divine discipline, Ărjŏŏn, is not to be attained by him who eateth more than enough, or less than enough; neither by him who hath a habit of sleeping much, nor by him who sleepeth not at all. The discipline which destroyeth pain belongeth to him who is moderate in eating and in recreation, whose inclinations are moderate in action, and who is moderate in sleep. A man is called devout when his mind remaineth thus regulated within himself, and he is exempt from every lust and inordinate desire. The Yōgēē of a subdued mind, thus employed in the exercise of his devotion, is compared to a lamp, standing in a place without wind, which waveth not. He delighteth in his own soul, where the mind, regulated by the service of devotion, is pleased to dwell, and where, by the assistance of the spirit, he beholdeth the soul. He becometh acquainted with that boundless pleasure which is far more worthy of the understanding than that which ariseth from the senses; depending upon which, the mind moveth not from its principles; which having obtained, he respecteth no other acquisition so great as it; in which depending, he is not moved by the severest pain. This disunion from the conjunction of pain may be distinguished by the appellation Yōg, spiritual union or devotion. It is to be attained by resolution, by the man who knoweth his own mind. When he hath abandoned every desire that ariseth from the imagination, and subdued with his mind every inclination of the senses, he may, by degree, find rest; and having, by a steady resolution, fixed his mind within himself, he should think of nothing else. Wheresoever the unsteady mind roameth, he should subdue it, bring it back, and place it in his own breast. Supreme happiness attendeth the man whose mind is thus at peace; whose carnal affections and passions are thus subdued; who is thus in God, and free from sin. The man who is thus constantly in the exercise of the soul, and free from sin, enjoyeth eternal happiness, united with Brăhm the Supreme. The man whose mind is endued with this devotion, and looketh on all things alike, beholdeth the supreme soul in all things, and all things in the supreme soul. He who beholdeth me in all things, and beholdeth all things in me, I forsake not him, and he forsaketh not me. The Yōgēē who believeth in unity, and worshippeth me present in all things, dwelleth in me in all respects, even whilst he liveth. The man, O Ărjŏŏn, who, from what passeth in his own breast, whether it be pain or pleasure, beholdeth the same in others, is esteemed a supreme Yōgēē.

Ărjŏŏn.

From the restlessness of our natures, I conceive not the permanent duration of this doctrine of equality which thou hast told me. The mind, O Krĕĕshnă, is naturally unsteady, turbulent, strong, and stubborn. I esteem it as difficult to restrain as the wind.

Krĕĕshnă.

The mind, O valiant youth, is undoubtedly unsteady, and difficult to be confined; yet, I think it may be restrained by practice and temperance. In my opinion, this divine discipline which is called Yōg is hard to be attained by him who hath not his soul in subjection; but it may be acquired by him who taketh pains, and hath his soul in his own power.

Ărjŏŏn.

Whither, O Krĕĕshnă, doth the man go after death, who, although he be endued with faith, hath not obtained perfection in his devotion, because his unsubdued mind wandered from the discipline? Doth not the fool who is found not standing in the path of Brăhm, and is thus, as it were, fallen between good and evil, like a broken cloud, come to nothing? Thou, Krĕĕshnă, canst entirely clear up these my doubts; and there is no other person to be found able to remove these difficulties.

Krĕĕshnă.

His destruction is found neither here nor in the world above. No man who hath done good goeth unto an evil place. A man whose devotions have been broken off by death, having enjoyed for an immensity of years the rewards of his virtues in the regions above, at length is born again in some holy and respectable family; or perhaps in the house of some learned Yōgēē. But such a regeneration into this life is the most difficult to attain. Being thus born again, he is endued with the same degree of application and advancement of his understanding that he held in his former body; and here he begins again to labour for perfection in devotion. The man (28) who is desirous of learning this devotion, this spiritual application of the soul, exceedeth even the word of Brăhm.

(28 The man, etc.—i.e. That the desire of becoming a devout man is equal to the study of the Vēds.)

The Yōgēē who, labouring with all his might, is purified of his offences, and, after many births, made perfect, at length goeth to the supreme abode. The Yōgēē is more exalted than Tăpăswĕĕs, those zealots who harrass themselves in performing penances, respected above the learned in science, and superior to those who are attached to moral works; wherefore, O Ărjŏŏn, resolve thou to become a Yōgēē. Of all Yōgēēs, I respect him as the most devout, who hath faith in me, and who serveth me with a soul possessed of my spirit.