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Chapter 13: Discrimination between arena and the performer

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Life is a dream
Staff member
(The difference between the physical ,body which performs actions and the ultimate spirit, which makes it act but never gets involved in the nature of action is clearly brought out here.)

The Lord told:-

Oh Son of Kunthi, those with knowledge tell,
That this body is called the Kshethra (Field/arena),
And he who knows this is called the Kshethagna (Farmer/performer)

(In one of the translations by Sri Swaroopananda there is one extra verse. It is

Arjuna asks:-

I desire to learn Oh lord,
The difference between Nature and the Holy Spirit,
And also that between the field and the performer,
And also knowledge and the knower, in its entirety)

Oh Arjuna, understand that in all kshetras,
I am the Kshethragna and I am of the opinion,
That knowledge about Kshethra and Ksethragna,
Is the only real and true knowledge.
(Kshethra-Arena and Kshethragna-The performer)

I would tell you in brief, what Kshethra is,
What is it like, what its modifications are?
Wherefrom it arose, who is the Kshethragna?
And what powers are that of the Kshethragna?

This has been sung differently by great sages,
This truth has been separately sung by the Vedas,
And also has been explained by words,
Which are causal and indicative of the Brahman?

In brief Kshethra is the five great elements,
And egoism, intellect, that truth which is not clear,
The ten sense organs, the mind, five sense objects,
Desire, aversion, happiness, misery, the body,
Intellect and patience, along with their modifications.

Humility, lack of snobbishness, non violence,
Patience, honesty, service to the teacher,
Cleanliness, steadiness, self control,
Non attachment to the sense organs,
Lack of egoism, seeing misery in,
Birth, death, old age and sickness,
Non attachment towards son, wife and family,
Being even minded, stable equanimity when,
Likes and dislikes are presented,
Unswerving devotion to me through yoga,
Attachment to clean places of solitude,
Dislike for crowd, Constant unfaltering,
Action towards getting divine knowledge,
And research for finding the true knowledge,
Is all called divine knowledge?
And all others are termed as ignorance.

I will now tell you about that,
Which should be achieved and,
When achieved leads to deathlessness.
For that is the highest, birth less Brahman,
Which is neither a being nor a none being.

It has arms and legs everywhere,
It has eyes, head and mouth everywhere,
And it has ears everywhere and exists,
Pervading everything in the world.

Though it exists in the actions of sense organs,
It is completely bereft of all sense organs,
Though it is unattached to anything,
It sustains everything, though it is without properties,
It is the prime protector of all properties,
Though it is outside of all beings, it is also inside,
Though it is moving, it is also not moving,
And being subtle, it is difficult to understand,
And though it is far away, it is very near.

Though it is an undivided in beings,
It appears as if it is divided and,
It is known as the creator,
Maintainer and destroyer of beings.

It is described as the light of lights,
And is also mentioned as beyond darkness,
And it exists in the heart of every being,
As the knowledge, that is to be known,
And as that one which can be attained by knowledge.

Thus has been told in brief, the properties,
Of Kshethra, knowledge and the knowable.
Knowing which properly, my devotee,
Becomes fit to attain my being.

Know that, the principles of,
Nature and purusha are beginning less,
And also understand that the differing,
Properties and shapes are born out of nature.

The nature is the creator of all effects and causes,
And the Purusha is said to be the cause of joy and sorrow.

In reality Purusha* resides in nature and
Experiences the properties of nature,
And the reason for his birth in good and bad forms,
Is because of his attachment to those properties.
* Literally a” male” but here the “performer”
The Purusha is the overseer, he who permits,
He, who nourishes, the consumer, the lord of lords,
And also supreme soul and is different from this body.

He who realizes the Purusha and Nature,
Along with these properties,
Whatever may be his mode of life?
Is surely, never born again.

Some people are able to see the soul,
Within themselves by meditation,
Some see it by the path of knowledge,
And others see it through the path of action.

Others though they do realize it in these ways,
Serve and worship, by hearing it from someone,
And they also definitely by their devotion,
Cross the state of life and death.

Oh Arjuna, please understand that all that exists,
Whether they are animate or inanimate,
Have come, in to being because of,
Interaction between arena and the performer.

He who is able to see that great God,
Who exists equally in all things and,
As Imperishable in all perishable objects, sees me.

Seeing that God who abides
Equally everywhere, he reaches
The higher self by, not denying the real self.

He only sees, who sees that,
Only nature does all the actions of the world,
And knows that the soul is inactive.

When he realizes in his mind,
That the diversity of beings,
Ultimately belong to one source,
And they also emanate from one source,
He himself becomes the ultimate Brahman.

Oh son of Kunthi, the supreme self*,
Which is indestructible and without beginning,
And which is bereft of any properties,
Does not act, even if it is in the body,
Nor is it attached to anything.
*supreme soul/Brahman
Similar to the sky, which is subtle?
Never gets contaminated by anything,
This supreme self which is located,
In every body, never gets affected by the body.

Just like one Sun is lighting everywhere,
This one real soul illuminates all bodies, Oh Arjuna

Those who perceive the difference between,
The nature and the Supreme Purusha,
And see through their eye of knowledge,
That all beings that are born merge in nature,
Reach and merge with the supreme Self.

Thus ends the thirteenth chapter of Bhagawad Gita,
Which is the essence of all Upanishads,
Which is the science of the eternal and yoga,
And the dialogue between Krishna and Arjuna,
Which is called “Discrimination between arena and the performer”
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