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The Bhagavad Gita—Chapter 13: The Yoga of the Distinction Between the Field and the Knower of the Field

Arjuna said:
Prakriti and Purusha and
The Field and Knower of the Field,
Knowledge, and that which should be known–
I wish to know these, Keshava.1

The Holy Lord said:
This body is known as the Field,
And he who knows it thus is called
The Knower of the Field by those
Who know of both Field and Knower. (1)

Know Me also, O Bharata,
To be the Knower in all Fields.
The knowledge of Field and Knower
I consider as the knowledge. (2)

What the Field is–its properties,
Modifications, cause-effects,
Who He is and what His powers,
That do you hear from Me in brief. (3)

This has been sung by the Rishis
In many ways, in sacred chants,
In passages about Brahman,
Full of convincing reasoning. (4)

The great Elements, Egoism,
Intellect, the Unmanifest,
The ten senses2 and the one–mind–
The five objects of the senses; (5)

Desire, aversion, pleasure, pain,
The aggregate, intelligence,
And steadfastness: thus is the Field
Briefly described, and its aspects. (6)

Absence of both pride and deceit,
Harmlessness,3 patience, rectitude,
Approach of teacher,4 purity,
Stability and self-restraint. (7)

Indifference to sense objects,
And absence of egotism;5
Keeping in mind the evils of
Birth, death, old age, disease, and pain; (8)

Non-attachment and non-clinging
To son, wife, home, and all suchlike;
Constant evenmindedness in
Desired and undesired events. (9)

Unswerving devotion to Me
With single-minded yoga, and
Frequenting secluded places,
Distaste for others’ company;6 (10)

Constant in knowledge of the Self,
Seeing the goal of truth-knowledge–
This is said to be true knowledge.
The contrary is ignorance. (11)

I shall describe what must be known,
Which bestows immortality–
Beginningless Supreme Brahman:
Neither being nor non-being. (12)

With hands and feet everywhere,
Eyes, heads, and faces ev’rywhere,
With ears throughout the universe–
THAT stands, pervading ev’rything. (13)

Shining by functions of senses,
Yet without senses; detached, yet
Maintaining all; free from gunas,
Yet experiencing gunas. (14)

Outside and inside all beings;
Both the unmoving and moving;
Incomprehensible because
It is subtle and far and near. (15)

Undivided, yet It exists
As if divided in beings:
The sustainer of all beings–
He absorbs and generates them. (16)

The Light even of lights, It is
Said to be beyond all darkness;
Knowledge, the One Thing to be known,
Goal of knowledge, within all hearts. (17)

Thus Field, knowledge and that which must
Be known has been briefly stated.
Knowing all this, My devotee
Attains to My state of being. (18)

Know Prakriti and Purusha
Are both beginningless; and know
That all modifications and
Gunas are born of Prakriti. (19)

In production of the body
And senses Prakriti’s the cause;
Pleasure and pain’s experience,
Originates from Purusha. (20)

Purusha within Prakriti
Undergoes Prakriti’s gunas;
Birth in good and evil wombs comes
From his attachment to gunas. (21)

The Supreme Purusha is called
The Looker-on in this body:
The Permitter, the Supporter,
Experiencer, Lord, and Self. (22)

He who thus knows the Purusha
And Prakriti with the gunas,
Whatever be his state in life,
He shall never be born again. (23)

Some perceive the Self in the Self
By the Self through meditation;
Others by Sankhya yoga, and
Still others by karma yoga. (24)

Others, again, not knowing thus,
Worship as they hear from others.
Even these, too, go beyond death,
Devoted to what they have heard. (25)

Whate’er is born, the moving or
The unmoving, O Bharata,
Know it to be from the union
Of the Field and the Field-Knower. (26)

The one who truly sees is he
Who ever sees the Supreme Lord
Existing equally in all
Beings, deathless in the dying. (27)

Since seeing the Lord equally
Existing ev’rywhere in all,
He injures not the Self by Self,
Then goes unto the Supreme Goal. (28)

The one who truly sees is he
Who sees that all actions are done
Solely by Prakriti alone,
And that the Self is actionless. (29)

He sees the sep’rate existence
Of all inherent in the One,
And their expansion from That One–
He then becomes one with Brahman. (30)

Being without beginning and
Devoid of gunas, unchanging,
This Supreme Self, though embodied,
Does not act, and is not tainted. (31)

As the all-pervading ether,
Through subtlety is not tainted,
The Self seated in the body
Is not tainted in any case. (32)

As the sun alone illumines
This entire world, in the same way
The lord of the field illumines
The entire field, O Bharata. (33)

They who with the eye of knowledge
Distinguish Field, Field-Knower, and
Freedom from beings’ Prakriti,
They indeed go to the Supreme. (34)

Om Tat Sat
Thus in the Upanishads of the glorious Bhagavad Gita, the science of the Eternal, the scripture of Yoga, the dialogue between Sri Krishna and Arjuna, ends the thirteenth discourse entitled: The Yoga of the Distinction Between the Field and the Knower of the Field.

Read the next Chapter of the Bhagavad Gita: The Yoga of the Division of the Three Gunas


1) “In some of the books you will not find this verse. If you include this verse also, the number of verses of the Bhagavad Gita will come to 701. Some commentators look upon this verse as an interpolation.” (Swami Sivananda in his Gita commentary.) [Go back]

2) The five jnanindriyas (organs of perception) and the five karmendriyas (organs of action). [Go back]

3) Ahimsa [Go back]

4) Acharyopasanam: Approaching a teacher, or sitting near a teacher. [Go back]

5) Pronounce as four syllables: e-go-tiz-um. [Go back]

6) Janasamsadi: crowds of people, or society. [Go back]

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Text of the Bhagavad Gita for Singing:

  1. The Bhagavad Gita—Chapter 1: The Yoga of the Despondency of Arjuna
  2. The Bhagavad Gita—Chapter 2: Sankhya Yoga
  3. The Bhagavad Gita—Chapter 3: The Yoga of Action
  4. The Bhagavad Gita—Chapter 4: The Yoga of Wisdom
  5. The Bhagavad Gita—Chapter 5: The Yoga of Renunciation of Action
  6. The Bhagavad Gita—Chapter 6: The Yoga of Meditation
  7. The Bhagavad Gita—Chapter 7: The Yoga of Wisdom and Realization
  8. The Bhagavad Gita—Chapter 8: The Yoga of Imperishable Brahman
  9. The Bhagavad Gita—Chapter 9: The Yoga of the Kingly Science and Kingly Secret
  10. The Bhagavad Gita—Chapter 10: The Yoga of Divine Glories
  11. The Bhagavad Gita—Chapter 11: The Yoga of the Vision of the Cosmic Form
  12. The Bhagavad Gita—Chapter 12: The Yoga of Devotion
  13. The Bhagavad Gita—Chapter 13: The Yoga of the Distinction Between the Field and the Knower of the Field
  14. The Bhagavad Gita—Chapter 14: The Yoga of the Division of the Three Gunas
  15. The Bhagavad Gita—Chapter 15: The Yoga of the Supreme Spirit
  16. The Bhagavad Gita—Chapter 16: The Yoga of the Division between the Divine and the Demoniacal
  17. The Bhagavad Gita—Chapter 17: The Yoga of the Division of Threefold Faith
  18. The Bhagavad Gita—Chapter 18: The Yoga of Liberation by Renunciation

The Bhagavad Gita—The Song of God A new Translation by Abbot George Burke

  1. Bhagavad Gita Chapter One: The Yoga of the Despondency of Arjuna
  2. Bhagavad Gita Chapter Two: Sankhya Yoga
  3. Bhagavad Gita Chapter Three: The Yoga of Action
  4. Bhagavad Gita Chapter Four: The Yoga of Wisdom
  5. Bhagavad Gita Chapter Five: The Yoga of Renunciation of Action
  6. Bhagavad Gita Chapter Six: The Yoga of Meditation
  7. Bhagavad Gita Chapter Seven: The Yoga of Wisdom and Realization
  8. Bhagavad Gita Chapter Eight: The Yoga of Imperishable Brahman
  9. Bhagavad Gita Chapter Nine: The Yoga of the Royal Science and Royal Secret
  10. Bhagavad Gita Chapter Ten: The Yoga of Divine Glories
  11. Bhagavad Gita Chapter Eleven: The Yoga of the Vision of the Cosmic Form
  12. Bhagavad Gita Chapter Twelve: The Yoga of Devotion
  13. Bhagavad Gita Chapter Thirteen: The Yoga of the Distinction Between the Field and the Knower of the Field
  14. Bhagavad Gita Chapter Fourteen: The Yoga of the Division of the Three Gunas
  15. Bhagavad Gita Chapter Fifteen: The Yoga of the Supreme Spirit
  16. Bhagavad Gita Chapter Sixteen: The Yoga of the Division between the Divine and the Demonic
  17. Bhagavad Gita Chapter Seventeen: The Yoga of the Division of Threefold Faith
  18. Bhagavad Gita Chapter Eighteen: The Yoga of Liberation by Renunciation

Read the Maharshi Gita, an arrangement of verses of the Bhagavad Gita made by Sri Ramana Maharshi that gives an overview of the essential message of the Gita.

Read the Bhagavad Gita for Awakening, a full commentary on the Bhagavad Gita by Abbot George Burke (Swami Nirmalananda Giri).

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