Chapter 53 — Krishna Admonishes Arjuna

The Lord Krishna said:—

Arjuna, you are not the killer (of any soul). You must shun your false conceit. The soul is ever lasting and free from death and decay. He who has no sense of individual ego in him and whose mind is not moved (by joy or grief) neither kills nor is killed by anybody, though he may kill everyone in the world.

Whatever is known in our consciousness, the same is felt within us. Therefore shun your inner consciousness of your individual ego, such as this is “I”, these are mine, and these others are theirs. The thought that you are connected with persons and things, the thought that you might be deprived of them, and the resulting joy or grief to which you are subjected, must affect your soul in great measure.

5 He who does something with his body and connects even the least amount of his soul’s attention with what he is doing becomes infatuated by his egoism and believes himself to be the doer of his action. Let the eyes see, the ears hear, and your touch feel their objects. Let your tongue taste the taste of a thing, but why take them to your soul? Where is your sense of “I” situated in these sensations? The minds of even the great are truly employed in what they are doing, but where is your ego in all this that you should be sorry for its pains? Your assumption that you are doing any action, actions which result from many, only amounts to a conceit of your vanity and exposes you not only to ridicule, but to frustrate the merit of your act.

Yogis and hermits do their rituals and their ordinary actions with the attention of only their minds and senses, often only with the physical body, in order to acquire and preserve the purity of their souls. 10 Those who have not subdued their bodies with the sleep of detachment are employed repeating their actions without ever being healed of their disease (of anxiety).

11 No person is graceful whose mind is soiled with selfishness, just as no man however learned and wise is held in honor whose conduct is blemished with impoliteness and misbehaviors. 12 He who is devoid of his selfishness and egotism, patient both in prosperity and adversity, is neither affected nor dejected whether engaged in activities or not.

13 O son of Pandu, know that this battlefield is the best field for your martial action, worthy of your great good, glory and ultimate happiness. 14 Though you reckon it as heinous on the one hand and unrighteous on the other, yet you must acknowledge the excellence of the occasion and the imperative of the duties required of your martial race. So do your duty and immortalize yourself. 15 Even the ignorant stick fast to the proper duties of their race. No intelligent person can neglect or set his duties at nothing. The mind devoid of vanity cannot be ashamed or dejected, even if one fails or falls in the discharge of his duty.

16 O Arjuna, do you duty with the fixed attention of your yoga on it and avoid all company. If you do your works as they come to you by yourself alone, you will never fail or be foiled in any. 17 Be as quiet as Brahman. Do your works as quietly as Brahman. Like Brahman, leave the result to Him and by doing so, assimilate yourself into the nature of Brahman. 18 Commit yourself and all your actions and intentions to God. Remain as unaltered as God himself. Know him as the soul of all and thus be the decoration of the world. 19 If you can lay down all your desires and become as even and cool mind as a muni if you can join your soul to the yoga of contemplative renunciation (sannyasa). Then you can do all your actions with a mind unattached to any.

20 Arjuna said, “Please Lord, explain to me fully. What is meant by the renunciation of all connections, commitment of our actions to Brahman, dedication of ourselves to God, and abdication of all concerns? 21 Tell me also about the acquisition of true knowledge and divisions of yoga meditation, all of which I require to know in their proper order to remove my gross ignorance on those subjects.”

22 The Lord Krishna replied:—

The learned know the true form of Brahman, of which we can form no idea or conception, but which may be known after restraining our imagination and pacifying our desires. 23 After these, readiness of action constitutes our wisdom, and perseverance in these practices is what is called yoga. Self dedication to Brahman rests in the belief that Brahma is all this world and myself also.

24 As a stone statue is hollow inside and outside, so is Brahman as empty, tranquil and transparent as the sky, which is neither to be seen by us nor is it beyond our sight. 25 Then Brahman bulges out a little from itself and appears as something other than what it is. It is the reflection of the universe, but all as insubstantial as this empty void. 26 What is this idea of your own ego when everything is evolved out of Supreme Consciousness? Of what account is anyone’s personality which is only an infinitesimal part of the Universal Soul?

27 The ego of the individual soul is not apart from the Universal Spirit, although it seems to be separate, because there is no possibility of exclusion or separation of anything from the omnipresent and all comprehensive soul of God. Therefore, a distinct ego is meaningless. 28 As is the case with our egos, so it is with the individuality of a pot or a monkey. Nothing is separate from the universal whole. All existences are likes drops of water in the sea. It is absurd for anyone to presume an ego. 29 Things that appear to be different to the conscious soul are to be considered as the various imageries represented in the one soul. 30 Knowledge of particulars and species is lost in the idea of the general and the highest all.

Renunciation of the world means renouncing the results of our actions. 31 Without attachment means renouncing all our worldly desires and intensely applying the mind to the one sole God of the many varieties of the creation in His imaginary representations. 32 Dualism is the belief that one’s self-existence is distinct from that of God. Lack of dualism constitutes dedication of oneself to God. Ignorance creates distinctions by giving different names and attributes to the one Intellectual Soul. 33 The meaning of the term “Intelligent Soul” undoubtedly is that God is one with the universe and that Consciousness is the same with all space and its contents of worlds and their motions. 34 Consciousness is the unity of Eternity, and Consciousness is duality and plurality in the world, and the variety of its many varied productions. Therefore be devoted to the sole Ego of Consciousness, and drown your own individual ego in the universal Ego.

35 Arjuna asked, “There being two forms of God, one transcendent of spiritual and the other transparent or material, tell me, to which of these I shall resort for my ultimate perfection?”

36 Lord Krishna replied:—

Truly there are two forms of the all pervading Vishnu, the ordinary or exoteric and the other supreme or esoteric. The ordinary has a body and hands holding the conch shell, the discus, and the mace and lotus. It is the common form for public worship. 37 The other is the esoteric or spiritual form which is undefined and without beginning or end. It is usually expressed by the term Brahman (great).

38 As long as you are unacquainted with the nature of the Supreme Soul and you are not awakened to the light of the spirit, you continue to adore the form of god with four arms. 39 By this means you will be awakened to light by your knowledge of the Supreme. When you come to comprehend the Infinite in yourself, then you shall no longer have to be born in any mortal form. 40 When you are acquainted with the knowledge of the knowable soul, then your soul will find its refuge in the eternal soul of Hari (Vishnu) who absorbs all souls in him.

41 When I tell you “this is I” and “I am that”, bear in mind that I mean to say “this and that is the consciousness of the Supreme Soul” which I assume to myself for your instruction.

42 I understand you to be enlightened to truth and to rest in the state of supreme joy. Now that you are freed from all your temporal desires, I wish you to be one with the true and Divine Spirit. 43 See yourself as the soul of all beings and those beings themselves. Think your own self or soul as the microcosm of the great universe, and be tolerant and broad sighted in your practice of yoga. 44 He who worships the Universal Soul that resides in all beings as the one identical and undivided spirit is released from the doom of repeated births, whether he leads a secular or holy life in this world.

45 The meaning of the word “all” is unity and the meaning of the word “one” is the unity of the soul. The phrase “all is one” means that the whole universe is collectively only one soul.

46 He who shines as light within the minds of all persons and dwells in the inner consciousness and perception of every being, is no other than the very soul that dwells within me also. 47 That which is settled in shape of taste in the waters all over the three worlds, what gives flavor to milk, curd and butter, what dwells as taste in salt and imparts its sweetness in sweet foods, that is this savory soul which gives a delight to our lives and a good taste to all the objects of our enjoyment. 48 Know that your soul is the capacity to perceive which is situated in the hearts of all physical beings. Its subtle rarity eludes our perception of it, and it is quite removed from all perceptible phenomena. Therefore it is omnipresent everywhere in everything.

49 As butter is in all kinds of milk and the sap of all sappy substances is inborn in them, so the Supreme Soul is intrinsic and immanent in everything. 50 As all the gems and pearls of the sea have a luster inherent in them which shines forth both inside and outside, so the soul shines in and out of everybody without being seated in any part of it, whether inside or outside anywhere. 51 As air pervades both inside and outside of all empty pots, so the spirit of God is diffused in and about all bodies in all the three worlds. 52 As hundreds of pearls are strung together by a thread in the necklace, so the soul of God extends through and connects these millions of beings without it being known by any.

53 He who dwells in the hearts of everybody in the world, from Brahma the Creator to the simples grasses that grow on the earth, the essence which is common in all of them is Brahman the unborn and undying. 54 Brahma is a slightly developed form of Brahman who resides in the spirit of the great Brahman. The same dwelling in us makes us mistake the true Ego to be our individual ego.

55 The Divine Soul being manifest in the form of the world, tell me what can destroy or be destroyed in it? Tell me, Arjuna, what can be subject to or involved in pleasure or pain? 56 The Divine Soul is like a large mirror showing the images of things upon its surface, like reflections on glass. Though these reflections disappear and vanish in time, yet the mirror of the soul is never destroyed but looks as it looked before.

57 When I say “I am this and not the other”, I am quite wrong and inconsistent with myself. Similarly it is wrong to say that the human soul is the spirit or image of God, and not that of any other being, when the identical Divine Spirit is present and immanent in all.

58 The revolutions of creation, preservation and final dissolution take place in an unvaried and unceasing course in the spirit of God, and so are feelings on the surface of the waters of the sea. 59 As stone is the essence of rocks, wood of trees and water of waves, so the soul is the constituent element of all existence. 60 He who sees the soul in all substances and every substance in the soul, and who views both as the component of each another, sees the uncreated God as the reflector and reflection of Himself. 61 Arjuna, know that the soul is the integral part of everything, the constituent element of the different forms and changes of things, just as water is of waves and gold is of jewelry. 62 As loud, noisy waves are let loose in the waters and jewelry is made of gold, so all things exist and are composed of the spirit of God. 63 All material beings of every species are forms of the great Brahman himself. Know this one as all, and there is nothing apart or distinct from him.

64 How can there be an independent existence or any voluntary change of anything in the world? Where can they or the world be except in the essence and omnipresence of God? Then why do you think of them in vain?

65 By knowing all that I have told you, the saints live fearlessly in this world by reflecting on the Supreme Being in themselves. They move about liberated in their lifetime with the inner calmness of their souls. 66 Enlightened saints attain their imperishable states by being invincible to the errors of fiction without being subdued by the evils of worldly attachment. They always remain in their spiritual and holy states by being free from temporal desires and the conflicts of jarring passions, doubts and dualities.