Proper Understanding of The Bhagavad Gita – Part 105

The 12th chapter deals with Krishna’s teachings of Bhakti Yoga or the Yoga of Spiritual Love. In contrast, the biological or material or worldly love is mainly based on emotions and egoism and leads to bondage and Karma and Karmaphala and to time and space. The consequence of this is the fate of the perpetual victim of repeated births and degeneration and deaths. This necessarily means fears, sufferings and lack of happiness and joy. But the spiritual love or Bhakti Yoga prevents egoism and emotionalism leading to the perception of one’s own true absolute identity i.e. self and God realization. This, in turn, takes a person beyond fears, sorrow, and sufferings. This is real joy and enjoyment of life.

For this knowledge and practicing it in daily life, one needs to know about one’s own Self, both materially (biologically) and spiritually. This means one should know about the constituent parts of one’s own personality. Knowledge is strength. Strength is necessary in practicing, leading to progress and perfection. In the 13th chapter, Lord Krishna teaches this knowledge. This is known as Kṣhetra Kṣhetrajña Vibhāg Yog. The meaning is the wisdom (knowledge) of the field (one’s material Self) and the master of the field (one’s soul or spirit). This also means, distinguishing the material and spiritual aspects of a person.

Arjuna says:

अर्जुन उवाच |
प्रकृतिं पुरुषं चैव क्षेत्रं क्षेत्रज्ञमेव च |
एतद्वेदितुमिच्छामि ज्ञानं ज्ञेयं च केशव || 1||

arjuna uvācha
prakṛitiṁ puruṣhaṁ chaiva kṣhetraṁ kṣhetra-jñam eva cha
etad veditum ichchhāmi jñānaṁ jñeyaṁ cha keśhava

Bhagavad Gita Chapter 13 Verse 1

General Meaning:

O Kesava, I want to know, what is Prakriti, what is Purusha, and also what is Kshetra, what is Kṣhetrajña and the knowledge, which should be known? Shri Bhagwan Uvaacha (The blessed God says):

श्रीभगवानुवाच |
इदं शरीरं कौन्तेय क्षेत्रमित्यभिधीयते |
एतद्यो वेत्ति तं प्राहु: क्षेत्रज्ञ इति तद्विद: || 2||

śhrī-bhagavān uvācha
idaṁ śharīraṁ kaunteya kṣhetram ity abhidhīyate
etad yo vetti taṁ prāhuḥ kṣhetra-jña iti tad-vidaḥ

Bhagavad Gita Chapter 13 Verse 2

General Meaning:

O Kounteya, this body is known as the field, the Kshetra, whoever knows it, is known as the Kṣhetrajña, by the learned people.


The distinction should be made between a field and the wilderness. The field is reclaimed and cultivable, prepared land, which can give benefits and profits if properly cultivated. This body if properly trained and used can bring us the greatest gift of Self-realization or liberation. The person, who realizes this and works for it, is considered as the knower of the field. This body has the spinal cord and the brain, inside which is the Sushumna, which is the highway connecting the material life and the cosmic life. By opening it and traveling on it, one can rise above the limitations and sufferings of the material life and realize one’s oneness with the Spirit or the Soul.

क्षेत्रज्ञं चापि मां विद्धि सर्वक्षेत्रेषु भारत |
क्षेत्रक्षेत्रज्ञयोर्ज्ञानं यत्तज्ज्ञानं मतं मम || 3||

kṣhetra-jñaṁ chāpi māṁ viddhi sarva-kṣhetreṣhu bhārata
kṣhetra-kṣhetrajñayor jñānaṁ yat taj jñānaṁ mataṁ mama

Bhagavad Gita Chapter 13 Verse 3

General Meaning:

Know Me as the Kṣhetrajña in all the Kshetras, O Bharata. In my opinion, this knowledge of the Kshetra and the Kṣhetrajña is the real knowledge.


There are infinite categories of knowledge. Lord Krishna opines that the real knowledge is the knowledge of the Kshetra and Kṣhetrajña, i.e. the knowledge of the matter and the spirit; the knowledge of the body and the soul. True knowledge is the source of strength and freedom from fear, disease, decay, and death. Only the knowledge of the body and soul, matter and spirit, mortality, and immortality can give strength and freedom from suffering. The body including the mind, intellect, and ego in the field (Kshetra, matter). The soul or the spirit is the master of this field, the Knower or the Kṣhetrajña. God as the spirit or the soul is the knower, the master in all the bodies. The knower of the Kshetras or of all bodies, belonging to all species of beings, including the plants, is the Spirit or Soul or God. If one can realize God, one can realize one’s oneness with all beings, including the plants.

तत्क्षेत्रं यच्च यादृक्च यद्विकारि यतश्च यत् |
स च यो यत्प्रभावश्च तत्समासेन मे शृणु || 4||

tat kṣhetraṁ yach cha yādṛik cha yad-vikāri yataśh cha yat
sa cha yo yat-prabhāvaśh cha tat samāsena me śhṛiṇu

Bhagavad Gita Chapter 13 Verse 4

General Meaning:

What is this Kshetra? What are its properties? What are its modifications? What is the source of what, who really is this Kṣhetrajña and what are his influences, that you hear from Me briefly?


In this verse, Lord Krishna, outlines his teaching plans, so that, every point and term and definitions are clear. As these points are of inexhaustible interpretations, Krishna promises to make it brief. He also alerts Arjuna to listen attentively. These topics are of so deep and broad meanings, that to do justice, the teacher has to be and so also the listener.

ऋषिभिर्बहुधा गीतं छन्दोभिर्विविधै: पृथक् |
ब्रह्मसूत्रपदैश्चैव हेतुमद्भिर्विनिश्चितै: || 5 ||

ṛiṣhibhir bahudhā gītaṁ chhandobhir vividhaiḥ pṛithak
brahma-sūtra-padaiśh chaiva hetumadbhir viniśhchitaiḥ

Bhagavad Gita Chapter 13 Verse 5

General Meaning:

Enlightened scholars and saints have described this in many ways, in specialized distinct styles and compositions. These are dealt with in original styles in the BrahmaSutras. All these authorities have described these in logical and rational inferences.


Before giving his divine opinion, Lord Krishna narrates the then prevalent views on these spiritual topics. It seems this Yoga spiritual topic of matter and spirit; body-mind-spirit connection and relationship was a hot topic among scholars, yogis, and saints. That a person’s identity is not just the body but much more complex and deep, was just not a guess but a confirmed conclusion, even during the days of Lord Krishna, i.e. Dwaapara Yuga is about more than 5000 years ago. After reviewing this prevalent knowledge, in these five preceding verses, Lord Krishna gives His own views and conclusions.

Rishis are saintly scholars and philosophers, many of them running residential schools and were married with a family. The Vedas are the highest authorities of knowledge, starting from conception, birth, education, growth, marriage, profession. In short all aspects of human life in this world and the other. They also deal with health and healing, music, culture, religion, spirituality, military science, political science, and much more. Their source is God, who reveals these truths to rishis and saints, who practiced rituals, fire ceremonies, and yoga meditation.

The Rishis were full-time students and teachers, leaders, counselors, and what not? They lived an active and highly moral, idealistic but practical life. The Vedas also include Yoga Vedanta, which includes Upanishads, Brahma Sutras, and the Bhagavad Gita. The Vedas with the Upanishads, Brahma Sutras, and the Bhagavad Gita, is the highest authorities of religion and philosophy for the Hindus. In fact, in those days of the Vedas, there was no other organized religion in the world. In fact, many believe that the earlier Vedas were the source of inspiration for most of the major religions of the present-day world. Till Lord Krishna’s time, there were only 3 Vedas i.e.the Rig Veda, the Yajur Veda, and the Saam Veda. The 4th Atharva Veda was commissioned, by the great sage Ved-Vyaas with support from Lord Krishna in the Dwaapara Yuga.

महाभूतान्यङ्ककारो बुद्धिरव्यक्त मेव च |
इन्द्रियाणि दशैकं च पञ्च चेन्द्रियगोचरा: || 6||

mahā-bhūtāny ahankāro buddhir avyaktam eva cha
indriyāṇi daśhaikaṁ cha pañcha chendriya-gocharāḥ

Bhagavad Gita Chapter 13 Verse 6

General Meaning:

The five great Elements, Ego, Intellect, The Unmanifest Nature, The 10 organs of the senses, One Mind and the objects of the senses.


Here Lord Krishna is describing the constituent parts of the Kshetra (the field). He continues in the following verse six. The unmanifest refers to the Mool Prakriti or Mother Nature.

इच्छा द्वेष: सुखं दु:खं सङ्घातश्चेतना धृति: |
एतत्क्षेत्रं समासेन सविकारमुदाहृतम् || 7||

ichchhā dveṣhaḥ sukhaṁ duḥkhaṁ saṅghātaśh chetanā dhṛitiḥ
etat kṣhetraṁ samāsena sa-vikāram udāhṛitam

Bhagavad Gita Chapter 13 Verse 7

General Meaning:

The desire, hatred, pleasure, pain, the combinations of these, the consciousness, fortitude. In this way, the Kshetra with its modifications has been described. 


The 2 verses, the 5th, and the 6th are considered as one unit for the descriptive purpose of the Kshetra or the field. In the 5th chapter – the 5 great elements, the building bricks of the body are, the Earth, Water, Fire, Air, Space. Egoism holds these together and brings a sense of me and mine. Consciousness brings these to life as an identifiable unit. These have their source in the unmanifest Mother nature or the or higher nature. The description in the 6th chapter completes the descriptions of the Kshetra. These are desire or Sankalpa, hatred or repulsion, pleasure or joy, pain or sufferings, all these hold together as a functional unit, the consciousness, and fortitude. Both 5th and the 6th verses describe briefly the Kshetra with its modifications. This is in, the essence is the knowledge of the material world, which is represented through the body, referred to here as the Kshetra.

Dear divine friends,

If you think deeply and meditate on this knowledge, it will be clear that the Kshetra or the field of your body is your material aspect. It is not the whole of you. The Spirit, Soul makes your egoistic personality whole. However, yoga scriptures declare that the truth is deeper and higher. Your real identity is the deathless Soul or the Spirit. It is not many, but the One, the Absolute, the SAT CHIT ANANDA. Intellectual conviction or knowledge will not bring you the eternal joy of freedom or liberation. Through sufficient practice of Kriya Yoga and meditation, you will perceive it in your heart and will be established in the Truth i.e. TAT TWAM ASI – That Thou Are. May that Supreme, bless, guide, protect, and inspire you. Make your life enjoyable. Please remember that MANO MATARAM, JAGAT. Meaning the mind is the occasion of this Creation whose functional unit is the world.

May God bless you with Love, Laughter, Light, Longevity and Life.

With Love and Best Wishes,
Paramahansa Atmananda Ji

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