Saturday, April 2, 2011

Lecture (Chapter) 13: Explanation of the Terms Kshētră and Kshētră-gnă.

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


I now am anxious to be informed, O Kēsŏŏ! what is Prăkrĕĕtĕĕ, who is Pŏŏrŏŏsh; what is meant by the words Kshētră and Kshētră-gnă, and what by Gnān and Gnēyă.


Learn that by the word Kshētră is implied this body, and that he who is acquainted with it is called Kshētră-gnă. Know that I am that Kshētră-gnă in every mortal frame. The knowledge of the Kshētră and the Kshētră-gnă is by me esteemed Gnān or wisdom.

Now hear what that Kshētră or body is, what it resembleth, what are its different parts, what it proceedeth from, who he is who knoweth it, and what are its productions. Each hath been manifoldly sung by the Rĕĕshĕĕs in various measures, and in verses containing divine precepts, including arguments and proofs.

This Kshētră or body, then, is made up of the five Măhābhōōt (elements), Ăhănkār (self-consciousness), Bŏŏdhĕĕ (understanding), Ăvyăktăm (invisible spirit), the eleven Eĕndrĕĕyă (organs), and the five Eĕndrĕĕyă-gōchăr (faculties of the five senses); with Eechā and Dwēshă (love and hatred), Sookh and Dookh (pleasure and pain), Chētănā (sensibility), and Dhrĕĕtĕĕ (firmness).

Thus have I made known unto thee what that Kshētră or body is, and what are its component parts.

Gnān, or wisdom, is freedom from self-esteem, hypocrisy and injury; patience, rectitude, respect for masters and teachers, chastity, steadiness, self-constraint, disaffection for the objects of the senses, freedom from pride, and a constant attention (102) to birth, death, decay, sickness, pain and defects; exemption from attachments and affection (103) for children, wife, and home; a constant evenness of temper upon the arrival of every event, whether longed for or not; a constant and invariable worship paid to me alone; worshipping in a private place, and a dislike to the society of man; a constant study of the superior spirit (104); and the inspection of the advantage to be derived from a knowledge of the Tăttwă or first principle.

(102 And a constant attention to birth, etc.—To look upon them as evils.)

(103 Exemption from attachments and affection, etc.—i.e. That no attachments or affections should draw a man from the exercise of his devotion; or that all worldly cares must be abandoned for the attainment of that wisdom which is to free the soul from future birth.)

(104 The superior spirit.—God, the universal soul.)

This is what is distinguished by the name of Gnān, or wisdom. Ăgnān, or ignorance, is the reverse of this.

I will now tell thee what is Gnēa, or the object of wisdom, from understanding which thou wilt enjoy immortality. It is that which hath no beginning, and is supreme, even Brăhm, who can neither be called Săt (ens) nor Asăt (non ens) (105).

(105 Săt (ens) nor Asăt (non ens).—The opposite meanings of these two words render this passage peculiarly mysterious; and even the commentators differ about their true signification. The most rational interpretation of them is, that the Deity in his works is a substance, or a material Being, and in his essence immaterial; but as he is but one, he cannot positively be denominated either one or the other.)

It is all hands and feet; it is all faces, heads, and eyes; and, all ear, it sitteth in the midst of the world possessing the vast whole. Itself exempt from every organ, it is the reflected light of every faculty of the organs. Unattached, it containeth all things; and without quality it partaketh of every quality. It is the inside and the outside, and it is the moveable and immoveable of all nature. From the minuteness of its parts it is inconceivable. It standeth at a distance, yet is it present. It is undivided, yet in all things it standeth divided. It is the ruler of all things: it is that which now destroyeth, and now produceth. It is the light of lights, and it is declared to be free from darkness. It is wisdom, that which is the object of wisdom, and that which is to be obtained by wisdom; and it presideth in every breast.

Thus hath been described together what is Kshētră or body, what is Gnān or wisdom, and what is Gnēyă or the object of wisdom. He my servant who thus conceiveth me obtaineth my nature.

Learn that both Prăkrĕĕtĕĕ and Pŏŏrŏŏsh are without beginning. Know also that the various component parts of matter and their qualities are co-existent with Prăkrĕĕtĕĕ.

Prăkrĕĕtĕĕ is that principle which operateth in the agency of the instrumental cause of action.

Pŏŏrŏŏsh is that Hētŏŏ or principle which operateth in the sensation of pain and pleasure. The Pŏŏrŏŏsh resideth in the Prăkrĕĕtĕĕ, and partaketh of those qualities which proceed from the Prăkrĕĕtĕĕ. The consequences arising from those qualities, are the cause which operateth in the birth of the Pŏŏrŏŏsh (106), and determineth whether it shall be in a good or evil body.

(106 Are the cause which operateth in the birth of the Pŏŏrŏŏsh, etc.—That is, The influence of the three Gŏŏn, or qualities, over the human mind, not only determines the future birth of the soul, but into what rank of beings it shall transmigrate; for to transmigrate it is doomed, until it hath attained a degree of wisdom more powerful than the influence of those qualities.)

Pŏŏrŏŏsh is that superior being, who is called Măhēswar, the great God, the most high spirit, who in this body is the observer, the director, the protector, the partaker.

He who conceiveth the Pŏŏrŏŏsh and the Prăkrĕĕtĕĕ, together with the Gŏŏn or qualities, to be even so as I have described them, whatever mode of life he may lead, he is not again subject to mortal birth.

Some men, by meditation, behold, with the mind, the spirit within themselves; others, according to the discipline of the Sānkhyă (contemplative doctrines), and the discipline which is called Kărmă-yōg (practical doctrines); others again, who are not acquainted with this, but have heard it from others, attend to it. But even these, who act but from the report of others, pass beyond the gulf of death.

Know, O chief of the race of Bhărăt, that every thing which is produced in nature, whether animate or inanimate, is produced from the union of Kshētră and Kshētră-gnă, matter and spirit. He who beholdeth the Supreme Being alike in all things, whilst corrupting, itself uncorrupting; and conceiving that God in all things is the same, doth not of himself injure his own soul, goeth the journey of immortality. He who beholdeth all his actions performed by Prăkrĕĕtĕĕ, nature, at the same time perceiveth that the Ătmă or soul is inactive in them. When he beholdeth all the different species in nature comprehended in one alone, and so from it spread forth into their vast variety, he then conceiveth Brăhm, the Supreme Being. This supreme spirit and incorruptible Being, even when it is in the body, neither acteth, nor is it affected, because its nature is without beginning and without quality. As the all-moving Ākās, or ether, from the minuteness of its parts, passeth every where unaffected, even so the omnipresent spirit remaineth in the body unaffected. As a single sun illuminateth the whole world, even so doth the spirit enlighten every body. They who, with the eye of wisdom, perceive the body and the spirit to be thus distinct, and that there is a final release from the animal nature, go to the Supreme.

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