Filognostic* understanding of the Bhagavad Gîtâ of Order
Arjuna said: 'Of nature and the original person and indeed also of the field of action and its knower I for sure wish to know all the knowledge and that what is known, oh Kes'ava.'
Arjuna said: 'I'd like to know everything about the object of knowledge and the knowledge itself, about the material world and the person, about the field of knowledge and the knower of the field, oh man of harmony.' (Sanskrit & tradition)
The Supreme Lord said: 'This body, oh son of Kuntî, is so called the field of action and he who knows this is by those who know thus called the knower of the field.
The fortunate one said: 'Oh son of Kuntî, by the ones who know reality this physical body that we have is called the field and the witness within this body is called the knower of the field. (Sanskrit & tradition)
Certainly you should understand Me as the knower of the field in all fields, oh son of Bharata; that which is of the field as well as of the knower of the field is true knowledge in My vision.
Oh descendant of Bharata, you are correct if you consider me the knower of the field in all the fields; the way I see it, spiritual knowledge is that knowledge which is concerned with the field as well as with the knower of the field. (Sanskrit & tradition)
What that field of action actually is and what its changes are, where it is from and about him [the knower] as also what his influence is, you may now in short hear from Me.
Let me now explain in short to you what that field of action actually is, what forms it assumed and where they belong to, as also about the knower within and what his dignity is. (Sanskrit & tradition)
In many ways it is in the Vedic hymns glorified by the sages and in different ways by the various aphorisms of the holy scriptures affirmed in logic and reason: in summary do the basic elements, the false ego, the intelligence and the unmanifest as surely also the eleven of the senses [the five senses of knowing and the working ones of the voice, hands, legs, anus and genitals and the mind], the five sense objects [as sound to the ear e.g.], like and dislike, happiness and distress, the combinations of them, the consciousness and the determination, form the field of action with its [six] transformations [birth, youth, maturity, retreat, old age and death].
(5) By the seers it is described in many ways in the scriptures, in the various hymns and in the form of comments put in verses that are explicit about the matter of cause and effect. (6-7) There are the external fields of 1 - one's material business, 2 - one's private interest of intelligence, 3 - one's club-interest of association to the so-called non-apparent, and 4 - the social interest of the identified ego or I-awareness19. Furthermore there are the internal fields, which are the departments of the brain, of 1 - the active and receptive functions of the senses, 2 - the cognition of the cortical versus the emotions one has with the objects of the senses of like and dislike, happiness and distress, and 3 - the combination of the lateral functions of a - the awareness of space and the active force thereof, and b - the linear function of planning things in time with one's determination and language20. Thus the states, or forms the original nature changed into, hus are summed up. (Sanskrit & tradition 5, 6-7)
Humble, modest and nonviolent; peaceful, simple and loyal to the teacher of example; clean, steadfast, and self-controlled; detached and unidentified with the sensory and surely aware of the defects and miseries of birth, death, old age and disease; without preference or clinging to son, wife and home and being constant and balanced in the realization of the wanted and unwanted; of an unalloyed unbroken devotion unto Me also and going for secluded places without being attached to people in general; of self-knowledge and stable in the realization of truth for the good of the divine encounter - all this is declared to be of true knowledge and that which deviates from it is nescience.
The dignity of a human being in relation to these fields in the sense of being humble, modest and nonviolent; peaceful, simple and faithful to the teacher of example; clean, steadfast, and self-controlled; detached and unidentified with the sensory in being aware of the defects and miseries of birth, death, old age and disease; not fostering any prejudice and the not being entangled with a child, a wife and a home, as also one's being constant and equal-minded in the realization of what and when something is wanted and not wanted; being of an unalloyed, unbroken devotion unto me, the integrity of all the fields, as also of retreat in secluded places without being attached to people in general; to be of self-knowledge and stability in the realization of the truth for the sake of finding association to the divine - is all declared to be of âtmatattva4, true knowledge, or, as belonging to the internal as also the external fields; and that what deviates from this is nescience. (Sanskrit & tradition)
I will now explain that which is to be known and is subordinate to Me and of which is said that it is neither the true nor the untrue; knowing it one will taste the nectar of the beginningless spiritual realm.
Let me tell you about the knowable over which I hold sway: it is the beginningless supreme Brahman of the Absolute Truth21 which tastes like nectar and which is neither a thing happening, nor a thing not existing. (Sanskrit & tradition)
That which has hands, legs everywhere; eyes, heads and faces all around and ears to the world, pervades everything that exists.
Existing with hands, legs, eyes, heads, faces and ears extending everywhere, it encompasses everything in the world. (Sanskrit & tradition)
Of all the senses and their qualities being the original source it is yet without all those senses and unattached itself, and as the maintainer of each and certainly also being outside the modes of nature, it is yet the master of the modes of matter itself.
As reflected with all the senses and their qualities it is yet without all those senses the unattached maintainer of all; being itself independent of the qualities it is also the ruler of the qualities. (Sanskrit & tradition)
Inside as well as being outside of the living entities, not moving and moving as well and not known of being subtle, that being far away is also near as that.
It is inside as well as outside of the living entities that move or not move; it is the reality known which is not known of being so subtle; it is far away and yet as near as that. (Sanskrit & tradition)
Undivided in all living beings it seems to be divided and while situated as the maintainer of all it is also to be understood as devouring and developing all.
Undivided within all living beings it seems to be divided, and in the position of the maintainer of all the Absolute of God is also understood as evolving and devouring all. (Sanskrit & tradition)
It is also the source of light of all luminous objects and said to be beyond the darkness as the knowledge, realized as the wisdom of this direct experience situated in the heart of everyone.
As the light in all luminous objectsit is the source of light as well, and as the knowledge beyond the darkness it is just as well the âtmatattva, the love of knowledge, in the heart of everyone. (Sanskrit & tradition)
Thus the field as also the knowledge and what is to be known has been described in summary. My devotee will, after understanding all of this, attain My nature.
And thus the field, the âtmatattva as also the known itself have been described by me; it is my devotee who, attaining my nature, understands all this. (Sanskrit & tradition)
Both material nature and the original person you must certainly know as beginningless and the transformations and modes of nature surely as being produced by that material nature.
The combination of the person and material nature22 you must know as being sourceless, and also you should know the three modes23, together with their transformations, as being the time-bound effect that was produced by that material nature. (Sanskrit & tradition)
Material nature is said to be the reason of cause and effect in the matter of creation, while the original person is said to be the reason of happiness and distress in the experiencing.
Material nature is mentioned as the reason of why we have cause and effect in the sense of having a doer or causer - in the form of Time, the natural force or the modes24 -, while the person is said to be the cause of having experiences of happiness and distress. (Sanskrit & tradition)
Of the original person being situated in the material energy one certainly enjoys by the qualities of that material nature and consequently of the attachment to it one is of the channels of birth in the true and untrue.
The person situated in a material position enjoys the three qualities produced by material nature, and as a consequence the person, who is attached that way, is of either a good or a bad channel of rebirth. (Sanskrit & tradition)
As the witness and allower, supporter and enjoyer, the Great Lord and Supersoul, is indeed the transcendental original person said to be also present in this body.
One speaks of yet another, transcendental person situated within this body who is the supervisor and permitter, the master and Supersoul, the Supreme Lord and enjoyer25. (Sanskrit & tradition)
Anyone who thus understands the original person, material nature and its qualities will, despite of however one is situated, never take birth again.
He who, in this twofold sense, understands how material nature, the three qualities and the person are related, will, regardless the situation, never have to start a new life again. (Sanskrit & tradition)
Some do by meditation see the Supersoul within themselves, others do so by minding exercises of yogic analysis, and still others do so by acting in giving up the fruits of action.
Some see that Supersoul of the qualities within themselves by means of meditation, others see it by weighing things in yogic analysis, and still others arrive at the insight by means of uniting consciousness in selfless service. (Sanskrit & tradition)
But others who do not know of all this begin to worship by hearing from others and as well transcend for sure the path of death in affinity with that process of hearing.
Other people not that proficient in spirituality, try to be of worship by simply listening to what others say; they also, devoted to the hearing process, transcend the notion of death. (Sanskrit & tradition)
Oh chief of the Bhâratas, whatever comes into being, anything existing that is animate or inanimate, you must know as a combination of the knower [called purusha or the original person] and the field [called prakriti or material nature].
Oh leader of the Kuru dynasty, whatever comes into being you must see, whether it exists animate or inanimate, as a result of the marriage between the field and the knower of the field. (Sanskrit & tradition)
He who sees that the imperishable Lord of the beyond is equally present in the perishable of all living beings, truly sees..
He who truly sees, is the one who sees the imperishable Lord in the beyond of all the perishable living entities. (Sanskrit & tradition)
He who for sure sees the Lord equally in all does not lose his self-respect with the soul and consequently reaches the goal of transcendence.
He, sure to see the Lord as equally situated everywhere, will, with the soul, never lose his self-respect and will consequently reach the goal of transcendence. (Sanskrit & tradition)
Anyone who sees that all activities certainly in all respects are the result of material conditioning and that one as the soul is not the doer, sees perfectly.
Anyone realizing that all that is done, in every way is the result of being conditioned by material nature, and that one, as the soul, is not the doer at all, sees it perfectly. (Sanskrit & tradition)
When one following that tries to see that the diversity of the living beings is resting in oneness and that it expanded to that reality, at that time one attains the Absolute of the Spirit.
When one next sees that life, the way it expanded everywhere into different identities, rests in oneness, one attains that very moment the Absolute of the Spirit. (Sanskrit & tradition)
This inexhaustible soul is because of being beginningless and its freedom from the modes of nature of the beyond; although embodied, oh son of Kuntî, it never does anything nor is it entangled.
This inexhaustible self, even though dwelling in the body, never does anything nor gets entangled ever, oh son of Kuntî, because it is eternal and transcendentally positioned on top of the modes of nature. (Sanskrit & tradition)
As the ether is all pervading and in its subtlety never mixes with anything, so does the soul within the body never mix.
The way the all-pervading ether26 never mixes with anything, also this embodied soul never mixes. (Sanskrit & tradition)
Like one sun illumining the whole world, so does the soul within this body similarly illumine all, oh son of Bharata.
Like the one sun that illuminates all the world, this one soul within this body illumines all and everything, oh descendant of Bharata. (Sanskrit & tradition)
Those who, through spiritual insight, thus know of the difference between the field and the knower of the field and know about the liberation of the living being from material nature; they reach the Supreme.'
Those who, gifted with the âtmatattva vision, thus know of the difference between the field and the knower of the field, and know about the possibility for the living being to find liberation from the material world, are the ones who reach the supreme.' (Sanskrit & tradition)
Versions consulted:- A Song of Fortune One - A modern Gîtâ - the modern version of filognosy (also in mp3-audio).
- A Song of Fortune - A Classical Gîtâ - the classical version of filognosy.
- The Bhagavad Gîta-as-it-is by Swami Bhaktivedânta Prabhupâda (PDF-download).
- The Bhagavad Gîtâ-as-it-is: online (version 1.0).
- The Bhagavad Gita As It Is By His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (pdf-download).
- The Bhagavad Gita by the Bhagavad Gita Trust.
- Bhagavad Gita by Sanderson Beck.
- Bhagavad Gita by Ramanad Prasad (American Gita society).
- Srimad Bhagavad-gita - The Hidden Treasure of the Sweet Absolute (from the Vaishnav' S'rî Caitanya Saraswath math).
Sanskrit dictionary: (Monier-Williams' 'Sanskrit-English Dictionary').
The filognostic translations are of the same author.