by Kashinath Trimbak Telang | 1882 | 125,859 words

Volume 8, The Sacred Books of the East. This part Contains the english translation of the Bhagavad-gita....

The Deity said:

He who, regardless of the fruit of actions, performs the actions which ought to be performed, is the devotee and renouncer; not he who discards the (sacred) fires[1], nor he who performs no acts. Know, O son of Pāṇḍu! that what is called renunciation is devotion; for nobody becomes a devotee who has not renounced (all) fancies[2]. To the sage who wishes to rise to devotion, action is said to be a means, and to him, when he has risen to devotion, tranquillity[3] is said to be a means. When one does not attach oneself to objects of sense, nor to action, renouncing all fancies, then is one said to have risen to devotion. (A man) should elevate his self by his self[4]; he should not debase his self, for even (a man's) own self is his friend, (a man's) own self is also his enemy[5]. To him who has subjugated his self by his self[6], his self is a friend; but to him who has not restrained his self, his own self behaves inimically, like an enemy. The self of one who has subjugated his self and is tranquil, is absolutely concentrated (on itself), in the midst of cold and heat, pleasure and pain, as well as honour and dishonour. The devotee whose self is contented with knowledge and experience[7], who is unmoved[8], who has restrained his senses, and to whom a sod, a stone, and gold are alike, is said to be devoted. And he is esteemed highest, who thinks alike[9] about well-wishers, friends, and enemies, and those who are indifferent, and those who take part with both sides, and those who are objects of hatred, and relatives, as well as about the good and the sinful. A devotee should constantly devote his self to abstraction, remaining in a secret place[10], alone, with his mind and self[11] restrained, without expectations, and without belongings. Fixing his seat firmly in a clean[12] place, not too high nor too low, and covered over with a sheet of cloth, a deerskin, and (blades of) Kuśa (grass),--and there seated on (that) seat, fixing his mind exclusively on one point, with the workings of the mind and senses restrained, he should practice devotion for purity of self. Holding his body, head, and neck even and unmoved, (remaining) steady, looking at the tip of his own nose[13], and not looking about in (all) directions, with a tranquil self, devoid of fear, and adhering to the rules of Brahmacārins[14], he should restrain his mind, and (concentrate it) on me, and sit down engaged in devotion, regarding me as his final goal. Thus constantly devoting his self to abstraction, a devotee whose mind is restrained, attains that tranquillity which culminates in final emancipation, and assimilation with me. Devotion is not his, O Arjuna! who eats too much, nor his who cats not at all; not his who is addicted to too much sleep, nor his who is (ever) awake. That devotion which destroys (all) misery is his, who takes due food and exercise[15], who toils duly in all works, and who sleeps and awakes (in) due (time)[16]. When (a man's) mind well restrained becomes steady upon the self alone, then he being indifferent to all objects of desire, is said to be devoted. As a light standing in a windless (place) flickers not, that is declared to be the parallel for a devotee, whose mind is restrained, and who devotes his self to abstraction. That (mental condition), in which the mind restrained by practice of abstraction, ceases to work; in which too, one seeing the self by the self[17], is pleased in the self; in which one experiences that infinite happiness which transcends the senses, and which can be grasped by the understanding only; and adhering to which, one never swerves from the truth; acquiring which, one thinks no other acquisition higher than it; and adhering to which, one is not shaken off even by great misery; that should be understood to be called devotion in which there is a severance of all connexion with pain. That devotion should be practised with steadiness and with an undesponding heart. Abandoning, without exception, all desires[18], which are produced from fancies, and restraining the whole group of the senses on all sides by the mind only[19], one should by slow steps become quiescent[20], with a firm resolve coupled with courage[21]; and fixing his mind upon the self, should think of nothing. Wherever the active and unsteady mind breaks forth[22], there one should ever restrain it, and fix it steadily on the self alone. The highest happiness comes to such a devotee, whose mind is fully tranquil, in whom the quality of passion has been suppressed, who is free from sin, and who is become (one with) the Brahman. Thus constantly devoting his self to abstraction, a devotee, freed from sin, easily obtains that supreme happiness--contact with the Brahman[23]. He who has devoted his self to abstraction, by devotion, looking alike on everything, sees the self abiding in all beings, and all beings in the self[24]. To him who sees me in everything, and everything in me, I am never lost, and he is not lost to me[25]. The devotee who worships me abiding in all beings, holding that all is one[26], lives in me, however he may be living[27]. That devotee, O Arjuna! is deemed to be the best, who looks alike on pleasure or pain, whatever it may be, in all (creatures), comparing. all with his own (pleasure or pain)[28].

Arjuna said:

I cannot see, O destroyer of Madhu! (how) the sustained existence (is to be secured) of this devotion by means of equanimity which you have declared-in consequence of fickleness. For, O Kṛṣṇa! the mind is fickle, boisterous[29] strong, and obstinate; and I think that to restrain it is as difficult as (to restrain) the wind.

The Deity said:

Doubtless, O you of mighty arms! the mind is difficult to restrain, and fickle[30]. Still, O son of Kuntī! it may be restrained by constant practice and by indifference (to worldly objects). It is my belief, that devotion is hard to obtain for one who does not restrain his self. But by one who is self-restrained and assiduous, it can be obtained through (proper) expedients.

Arjuna said:

What is the end of him, O Kṛṣṇa! who does not attain the consummation of his devotion, being not assiduous[31], and having a mind shaken off from devotion, (though) full of faith? Does he, fallen from both (paths)[32], go to ruin like a broken cloud, being, O you of mighty arms! without support, and deluded on the path (leading) to the Brahman? Be pleased, O Kṛṣṇa! to entirely destroy this doubt of mine, for none else than you can destroy this doubt.

The Deity said:

O son of Pṛthā! neither in this world nor the next, is ruin for him; for, O dear friend! none who performs good (deeds) comes to an evil end. He who is fallen from devotion attains the worlds of those who perform meritorious acts, dwells (there) for many a year, and is afterwards born into a family of holy and illustrious[33] men. Or he is even born into a family of talented devotees; for such a birth as that in this world is more difficult to obtain. There he comes into contact with the knowledge which belonged to him in his former body, and then again, O descendant of Kuru! he works for perfection[34]. For even though reluctant[35], he is led away by the self-same former practice, and although he only wishes to learn devotion, he rises above the (fruits of action laid down in the) divine word. But the devotee working with great efforts[36], and cleared of his sins, attains perfection after many births, and then reaches the supreme goal. The devotee is esteemed higher than the performers of penances, higher even than the men of knowledge, and the devotee is higher than the men of action; therefore, O Arjuna! become a devotee. And even among all devotees, he who, being full of faith, worships me, with his inmost self intent on me, is esteemed by me to be the most devoted.

Footnotes and references:


Which are required for ordinary religious rites.


Which are the cause of desires; see supra, p. 50.


Abandonment of distracting actions; means scil. to perfect knowledge, says Śrīdhara.


I. e. by means of a mind possessed of true discrimination.


Self is here explained as mind, the unsteadiness of which prevents the acquisition of devotion, p. 71


This means restraining senses by mind. See Maitrī-upaniṣad, p. 180.


Supra, p. 57.


By any of the vexations of the world.


I. e. is free from affection or aversion towards them.


'Release from society' is insisted on at Sutta Nipāta, p. 55.


Self is here explained as senses; in the previous clause as mind.


This requisite is prescribed by many authorities. Cf. Chāndogya-upaniṣad, p. 626; Maitrī, p. 156) Śvetāśvatara, pp. 318-319 and Āśvalāyana (Gṛhya-sūtra) III, 2, 2, for Vedic study too.


Cf. Kumārasambhava, Canto III, 47. This is done in order to prevent the sight from rambling--a total closing of the eyes being objectionable as leading to sleep.


See these in Āpastamba (p. 7 in this series); and cf. Sutta Nipāta, pp. 159, 160; and Müller's Hibbert Lectures, p. 158.


Cf. Sutta Nipāta, pp. 28, 95.


Buddhism shows similar injunctions. Cf. Sutta Nipāta, pp. 21, 28, 95; and Dhammapada, stanza. 8.


Sees the highest principle by a mind purified by abstraction.


Cf. Sutta Nipāta, p. 62.


Cf. supra, p. 53.


I. e. cease to think of objects of sense. Cf. supra, p. 69.


I. e. an undespairing and firm resolution that devotion will be achieved ultimately.


Cf. Sutta Nipāta, p. 106.


Assimilation with the Brahman.


Realises the essential unity of everything.


He has access to me, and I am kind to him.


Cf. Īsopaniṣad, p. 13.


'Even abandoning all action,' says Śrīdhara; and cf. infra, p. 105.


Who believes that pleasure and pain are as much liked or disliked by others as by himself, and puts himself in fact in the place of others.


Troublesome to the body, senses, &c.


Cf. Dhammapada, stanza 33 seq.


Cf. p. 73 infra.


The path to heaven, and that to final emancipation.


Kings or emperors,' says Madhusūdana.


I. e. final emancipation.


'As Arjuna himself,' says Madhusūdana, 'receives instruction in knowledge, though he comes to the battle-field without any such object; hence it was said before, "nothing is here abortive."' See p. 47.


As distinguished from the others who work half-heartedly, so to say. See p. 72.

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