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Bhagavad Gita Chapter 13 Verse 3

भगवद् गीता अध्याय 13 श्लोक 3

क्षेत्रज्ञं चापि मां विद्धि सर्वक्षेत्रेषु भारत।
क्षेत्रक्षेत्रज्ञयोर्ज्ञानं यत्तज्ज्ञानं मतं मम।।13.3।।

English Translation - Swami Sivananda

13.3 Do thou also know Me as the knower of the field in all fields, O Arjuna. Knowledge of both the field and the knower of the field is considered by Me to be ï1the ï1 knowledge.

English Translation of Sanskrit Commentary By Sri Shankaracharya's

13.3 Ca api, and; viddhi, understand; mam, Me, the supreme God who is transcendental; to be the ksetrajnam, Knower of the field with the characterisitics noted above; sarva-ksetresu, in all the fields. The idea is this: Know the Knower of the field- who has become diversified by limiting adjuncts in the form of numerous fields ranging from Brahma to a clump of grass-as free from differentiations resulting from all the limiting adjuncts, and as beyond the range of such words and ideas as existece, nonexistence, etc. O scion of the Bharata dynasty, since there remains nothing to be known apart from the true nature of the field, the knower of the field and God, therefore; tat, that; is jnanam, Knowledge, right knowledge; yat, which; is the jnanam, knowledge; ksetra-ksetrajnayoh, of the field and the knower of the field-which are the two knowables-, and by which Knowledge the field and the knower of the field are made objects of knowledge. This is mama, My, God Vishus; matam, opinion. Objection: Well, if it be that in all the field there exists God alone, and none else other than Him, as the enjoyer, then God will become a mundane being; or, due to the absence of any mundane creature other than God, there will arise the contingency of the negation of mundance existence. And both these are undesirable, since the scriptures dealing with bondage, Liberation and their causes will become useless, and also becuase they contradict such valid means of knowledge as direct perception. In the first place, mundane existence which is characterized by happiness, sorrow and their cause is apprehended through direct perception. Besides, from the perception of variety in the world it can be inferred that mundane existence results from virtue and vice. All this becomes illogical if God and the individual soul be one. Reply: No, because this becomes justifiable owing to the difference between Knowledge and ignorance. These two, viz that which is know as Knowledge and that which is known as ignorance are widely contradictory, and they follow divergent courses (Ka. 1.2.4.); and similarly, the different results, viz Liberation and enjoyment, belonging (respectively) to those Knowledge and ignorance, have also been pointed out to be contrary by saying that Liberation is the goal of Knowledge, and enjoyment is the result of ignorance (see Ka. 1.2.2). Vyasa, also has said so: Now, there are these two paths (Mbh Sa. 241.6) etc. and, There are only these two paths, etc. Here (in the Gita) also, two kinds of steadfastness have been stated. And it is understood from the Vedas, the Smrtis and reason that ignorance together with its effects has to be destroyed by Knowledge. As for the Vedic texts, they are: If one has realized here, then there is truth; if he has not realized here, then there is great destruction (Ke. 2.5); Knowing Him in this way, one becomes Immortal here (Nr. Pu. 6); There is no other path to go by (Sv. 3.8); The enlightened man is not afraid of anything (Tai. 2.9.1). On the other hand, (the texts) with regard to the unenlightened person are: Then, he is smitten with fear (Tai. 2.7.1); Living in the midst of ognorance (Ka. 1.2.5); One who knows Brahman becomes Brahman indeed. In his line is not born anyone who does not know Brahman (Mu. 3.2.9); (While he who worships another god thinking,) He is one, and I am another, does not know. He is like an animal to the gods (Br. 1.4.10). He who is a knower of the Self, He becomes all this (Universe) (Br. 1.4.10); When men will fold up space like (folding) leather, (then) there will be cessation of sorrow, without knowing the Deity (Sv. 6.9). There are thousands of texts like these. And the Smrti texts (from the Gita) are: Knowledge remains covered by ignorance. Thery the creatures become deluded (5.15); Here itself is rirth conered by them whose minds are established on sameness (5.19); Since by seeing eally the God who is present alike everywhere (he does not injure the Self by the Self, therefore he attains the supreme Goal) (13.28), etc. And as for reason, there is the text, Men avoid snakes, tips of kusa-grass as also well when they are aware of them. Some fall into them owing to ignorance. Thus, see the special result arising from knowledge (Mbh. Sa. 201.17). Similarly, it is known that an unelightened person, who identifies himself with the body etc. and who practises righteousness and unrighteousness under the impulsion of attachment and aversion, takes birth and dies. It cannot be reasonably denied by anyone that, those who see the Self as different from the body etc. become liberated as a result of the cessation of righteous and unrighteous conduct, which depends on the destruction of attachment and aversion. The being so, the Knower of the field, who is reality is God Himself, appears to have become a mundane soul owing to the various adjuncts which are products of ignorance; as for instance the individual soul becomes identified with the body etc. For it is a well-known fact in the case of all creatures that their self-identify with the body etc. which are not-Self is definitely caused by ignorance. Just as, when a stump, of a tree is firmly regarded as a man, the alities of a man do not thery come to exist in the stump, nor do the alities of the stump come to the person, similarly the property ofconsciousness does not come to the body, nor those of the body to consciousness. It is not proper that the Self should be identified with happiness, sorrow, delusion, etc., since they, like decrepitude and death, are eally the products of ignorance. Objection: May it not be said that this is not so, becuase of dissimilarity? The stump and the man, which are verily objects of perception, are superimposed on each other through ignorance by their perceiver. On the other hand, in the case of the body and the Self,, the mutual superimposition occurs verily between a knower and an object of perception. Thus, the illustration is not eally applicable. Therefore, may it not be that the properties of the body, though objects of knowledge, belong to the Self which is the knower? Reply: No, since there arises the contingency of (the Self) becoming devoid of consciousness! If alities such as happiness, sorrow, delusion, desire, etc. of the body etc., which are the field and are objects of knowledge, indeed belong to the knower, then it will be necessary to explain the particular reason why some of the alities of the object of knowledge-the field-superimposed through ignorance belong to the Self, while decrepitude, death, etc. do not. (On the contrary) it is possible to infer that they (happiness etc.) do not pertain to the Self, since, like decrepitude etc., they are superimposed on the Self through ignorance, and because they are either avoidable or acceptable. This being so, the mundane state, consisting of agentship and enjoyership pertaining to the objects of knowledge, is superimposed on the knower through ignorance. Hence, nothing of the knower is affected thery-in the same way as nothing of the sky is affected by the superimposition of surface, diret, etc. (on it) by fools. Such being the case, not the least touch of the mundane state is to be apprehended with regard to the almighty [see footnote on p.5, and p.168.] God, the Knower of the field, even though He exists in all the fields. For it is nowhere seen in the world that anybody is benefitted or harmed by a ality attributed to him through ignorance. As for the statement that the illustration is not eally applicable-that is wrong. Objection: How? Reply: Because what is intended as common between the illustration and the thing illustrated is merely the superimposition through ignorance. There is no disagreement as to that. However, as for your contention that the illustration fails with regard to the Knower, that too has been shown to be inapt by citing the example of decrepitude etc. [If it be held that objects of experience may be superimposed on one another, but they cannot be superimposed on the experiencer, the answer is that this cannot be a universal proposition. For decrepitude and death, which are matters of experience, are superimposed on the Self, the experiencer.] Objection: May it not be that the Knower of the field becomes a mundane being owing to his having ignorance? Reply: No, because ignorance is of the nature of tamas. Since ignorance has the nature of covering, it is indeed a notion born of tamas; it makes one perceive contrarily, or it arouses doubt, or it leads to non-perception. For it disappears with the dawn of discrimination. And the three kind of ignorance, viz non-perception etc. [Etc: false perception and doubt.], are experienced when there are such defects as blindness etc. which are forms of tamas and have the nature of veiling. [It is known through the process of agreement and difference that false perception etc. arise from some defects,and they are not the alities of the Self.] Objection: Here it is asserted that if this be the case, then ignorance is a ality of the knower? Reply: No, for the defects such as blindness are seen to belong to the eye which is an organ. As for your notion that ignorance is a ality of the experiencer, and the very fact of being possessed of the ality of ignorance is what constitutes the mundane state of the Knower of the field; the assertion which was made (by the Vedantin) in that connection, that the Knower of th field is God Himself and not a mundane being, is improper,-this is not so. As for example: Since such defects as false perception etc. are seen to belong to the organ eye, therefore false perception etc. or their causes, viz defects like blindness etc., do not belong to the perceiver. Just as blindness of the eyes does not pertain to the perceiver since on being curved through treatment it is not seen in the perceiver, similarly notions like non-perception, false perception, doubt, and their causes should, in all cases, pertain to some organ; not to the perceiver, the Knower of the field. And since they are objects of perception, they are not alities of the Knower in the same way that light is of a lamp. Just because they are objects of perception, they are cognized as different from ones own Self. Besides, it is denied by all schools of thought that in Liberation, when all the organs depart, there is any association with such defects as ignorance etc. If they (the defects) be the alities of the Self Itself, the Knower of the field, as heat is of fire, then there can never be a dissociation from them. Again, since there can be no association with or dissociation from anything for the immutable, formless Self which is all-pervading like space, therefore it is established that the Knower of the field is ever identical with God. This follows alos from the utternance of the Lord, Being without beginning and without alities (31), etc. Objection: Well, if this be so, then, owing to the nonexistence of the world and the mundane creatures, there will arise the defect of the uselessness of the scriptures, etc. Reply: No, since this (defect) is admitted by all. A defect that is admitted by all who believe in the Self is not to be explained by one alone! Objection: How has this been admitted by all? Reply: People of all schools of thought who believe in the Self admit that there is no worldly behaviour or the behaviour of a worldling in the liberated ones. Yet, in their case (i.e. in those various schools), it is not admitted that there is any possibility of such a defect as the scriptures becoming useless, etc. Similarly, in our case let the scriptures be useless when the knowers of the field become identified with God; and purposeful within the sphere of ignorance. This is just as in the case of all the dualists, where it is admitted that the scriptures etc. become useful in the state of bondage, not in the state of Liberation. Objection: Well, for us all dualists, bondage and Liberation of the Self are real in the truest sense. So, when things to be renounced or accepted as also the means thereto are real, the scriptures etc. become meaningful. On the other hand, may it not be that for the non-dualists, since duality deos not exist in truest sense, it being the creation of ignorance, therefore the state of bondage of the Self is not ultimately real, and hence the scriptures etc. become purposeless as they remain shorn of a subject-matter? Reply: No, since it is not logical that the Self should have different states. If this were possible at all, then the states of bondage and freedom of the Self should be simultaneous, or successive. As to that, they cannot occur simultaneously, since they are contradictory-like rest and motion in the same object. Should they occur successively and without being caused, then there will arise the contingency of there being no Liberation; if they occur through some cause, then, since they do not exist inherently, there arises the contingency of their being ultimately unreal. In this case also the assumption becomes falsified. Moreover, when ascertaining the precedence and succession of the states of bondage and Liberation, the state of bondage will have to be considered as being the earlier and having no beginning, but an end. And that is contrary to valid means of knowledge. Similarly it will have to be admitted that the state of Liberation has a beginning, but no end- which is certainly opposed to valid means of knowledge. And it is not possible to established eternality for something that has states nd undergoes a change from one state to another. On the other hand, if for avoiding the defect of non-eternality the different states of bondage and Liberation be not assumed, then, even for the dualists such defects as the purposelessness of the scriptures become certainly unavoidable. Thus, the situation being similar (for both), it is not for the Advaitin (alone) to refute the objection. Nor do the scriptures become purposeless, because the scriptures are applicable to the commonly known unenlightened person. It is indeed in the case of the ignorant person-not in the case of the enlightened one-that there occurs the perception of identity of the Self with the effect (i.e. enjoyership) and the cause (i.e. agentship) which are not-Self. For, in the case of the enlightened persons, it is impossible that, after the dawn of the realization of non-identity of the Self with effect and cause, they can have Self identification with these as I. Surely, not even a downright fool, or a lunatic and such others, see water and fire or shade and light as identical; what to speak of a discriminating person! Therefore, such being the case, the scriptures dealing with injunction and prohibition do not concern a person who sees the distinction of the Self from effect and cause. For, when Devadatta is ordered to do som work with the words, You do this, Visnumitra who happens to be there does not, even on hearing the ?nd, conclude, I have been ordered. But this conclusion is reasonable when the person for whom the order is meant is not understood. So also with regard to cause and effect. Objection: Can it not be that, even after having realized the Self as different from effect and cuase, it is ite reasonable from the standpoint of natural relationship, [Natural relationship-Self-identification with the body through ignorance.] that with regard to the scriptures one should have the understanding, I am enjoined to adotp the means that yields a desired result, and am porhibited from adopting the means that leads to an undesirable result? As for instance, in the case of a father and son, or between others, even though there exists the awareness of the distinction between each other, still there is the comprehension of the implication of the injunctions and prohibitions meant for one as being also meant for the other. [In the (Br. (1.5.17) we read, Now therefore the entrusting: When a man thinks he will die, he says to his son, You are Brahman, you are the sacrifice, and you are the world, etc. It has been enjoined here in this manner that the son should accept as his own all the duties thus entrusted to him by the father. Similarly, it is understood that when a son in unable to perform his own duties, the father has to accept them. So also in the case of brothers and others. Thus, in the case of the enlightened person also, though there is a comprehension of his own distinction from effect and cause, still, owing to his earlier relationship with ignorance, body, etc., there is no contradiction in his understanding that the injunctions and prohibitions are meant for him.] Reply: No, since identification of the Self with effect and cause is possible only before attaining the knowledge of the Self as distinct (from them). It is only after one has followed (or eschewed) what is enjoined or prohibited by the scriptures that he comprehends his own distinction from the effect and cause; not before. [In B.S. (3.4.26-7) it is said that the merit earned by the performance of scriptural duties helps to generate knowledge of Brahman. Therefore these duties are not meant for the enlightened. (By following what is enjoined, and avoiding what is prohibited, ones mind becomes purified, and then only one understands he is different from cause and effect-agentship and enjoyership.-Tr.)] Therefore it is established that the scriptures dealing with injunctions and prohibitions are meant for the ignorant. Objection: Well, if (injunctions and prohibitions) such as, One who desires heaven shall perform sacrifices, One should not eat poisoned meat, etc. be not observed by those who have realized the Self as distinct and by those who view only the body as the Self, then, from the absence of any observer of those (injunctions etc.) there would follow the uselessness of the scriptures. Reply: No, because engagement in or abstention from actions follows from what is ordained by the scriptures. As for one who has realized the identity of the Lord and the knower of the field, one who has realized Brahman-he does not engage in action. Similarly, even the person who does not believe in the Self does not engage in action, under the idea that the other world does not exist. However, one who has inferred the existence of the Self on the ground of the wellknown fact that study of the scriptures dealing with injunctions and prohibitions becomes otherwise purposeless, who has no knowledge of the essential nature of the Self, and in whom has arisen hankering for the results of actions-he faithfully engages in action. This is a matter of direct perception to all to us. Hence, the scriptures are not purposeless. Objection: May it not be that the scriptures will become meaningless when, by noticing abstention from action in the case of men with discrimination, their followers too will abstain? Reply: No, because discrimination arises in some rare person only. For, as at present, some rare one among many people comes to possess discrimination. Besides, fools do not follow one who has discrimination, because (their) engagement in action is impelled by defects such as attachment etc. And they are seen to get engaged in such acts as black magic. Moreover, engagement in action is natural. Verily has it been said (by the Lord), But it is Nature that acts (5.14). Therefore, the mundane state consists of nothing but ignorance, and is an object of perception (to the ignorant man who sees it) just as it appears to him. Ignorance and its effects do not belong to the Knower of the feild, the Absolute. Moreover, false knowledge cannot taint the supreme Reality. For, water in a mirage cannot taint the supreme Reality. For, water in a mirage cannot make a desert muddy with its moisture. Similarly, ignorance cannot act in any way on the Knower of the field. Hence has this been said, And understand Me to be knower of the field, as also, Knowledge remains covered by ignorance (5.15). Objection: Then, what is this that even the learned say like the worldly people, Thus [Possessed of aristorcracy etc.] am I, This [Body, wife, etc.] verily belongs to Me? Reply: Listen. This is that learnedness which consists in seeing the field as the Self! On the contrary, should they realize the unchanging Knower of the field, then they will not crave for enjoyment or action with the idea, May this be mine. Enjoyment and action are mere perversions. This being so, the ignorant man engages in action owing to his desire for results. On the other hand, in the case of an enlightened person who has realized the changeless Self, engagement in aciton in impossible because of the absence of desire for results. Hence, when the activities of the aggregate of body and organs cease, his withdrawal from action is spoken of in a figurative sense. Some may have this other kind of learnedness: The Knower of the field is God Himself; and the field is something different and an object of knowledge to the Knower of the field. But I am a mundane being, happy and sorrowful. And it is my duty to bring about the cessation of worldly existence through the knowledge of the field and the Knower of the field, and by continuing to dwell in His true nature after directly perceiving through meditation God, the Knower of the field, and he who, understands thus, and he who teaches that he (the taught) is not the Knower of the field, and he who, being under such an idea, thinks, I shall render meaningful the scriptures dealing with the worldly state and Liberation-is the meanest among the learned. That Self-immolator, being devoid of any link with the traditional interpreters of the purport of the scriptures, misinterprets what is enjoined in the scriptures and imagines what is not spoken there, and thery himself becoming deluded, befools others too. Hence, one who is not a knower of the traditional interpretation is to be ignored like a fool, though he may be versed in all the scriptures. As for the objection that, if God be one with the knower of the field, He will then become a mundane being, and that, if the knowers of the fields are one with God, then from the nonexistence of mundane beings will follow the absence of the mundane state, -these two objections have been refuted by admitting Knowledge and ignorance as having different characteristics. Objection: How? Reply: By saying that any defect imagined through ignorance does not affect the supreme Reality which is the substratum of that (imagination). In accordance with this an illustration was cited that a desert is not made muddy by water in a mirage. Even the defect of the possibility of nonexistence of the mundange state, conseent on the nonexistence of individual souls, stands refuted by the explanation that the mundane state and the individual souls are imagined through ignorance. Objection: The defect of mundane existence in the knower of the field consists in his being possessed of ignorance. And sorrowfulness etc. which are its products are matters of direct experience. Reply: No, since whatever is known is an attribute of the field, therefore the knower-the knower of the field-cannot reasonably be tainted by the defects arising from it. Whatsoever blemish-not existing in the knower of the field-you attribute to It is logically an object of experience, and hence it is verily a ality of the field; not the ality of the knower of the field. Nor does the knower of the field become tainted thery, because of knower cannot possibly have any conjunction with an object of knowledge. Should there be a conjunction, then there will be no possibility at all of its (the latters) becoming a knowable. Oh! Sir, if being ignorant, sorrowful, etc. be alities of the Self, how is it that they are directly perceived? Or how can they be alities of the Knower of the field? If the conclusion be that all that is known consititutes the field, and that the one who knows is verily the knower of the field, then, to say that being ignorant, sorrowful, etc.are the alities of the knower of the field and that they are directly perceived is a contradictory statement having only ignorance as its basis. Here, (the opponent) asks: To whom does ignorance belong? (The answer is that) it belongs verily to him by whom it is experienced! Objection: In whom is it perceived? Reply: Here the answer is: It is pointless to ask, In whom is ignorance experienced? Objection: How? Reply: If ignorance be perceived (by you), then you perceive its possessor as well. Moreover, when that possessor of ignorance is perceived it is not reasonable to ask, In whom is it perceived? For, when an owner of cattle is seen, the estion, To whom do the cattle belong, does not become meaningful. Objection: Well, is not the illustration dissimilar? Since, the cattle and their owner are directly perceived, their relation also is directly perceived. Hence the estion is meaningless. Ignorance and its possessor are not directly perceived in that manner, in which case the estion would have been meaningless. Reply: What will it matter to you if you know the relation of ignorance with a person who is not directly perceived as possessed of ignorance? Opponent: Since ignorance is a source of evil, therefore it should be got rid of. Reply: He to whom ignorance belongs will get rid of it! Opponent: Indeed, ignorance belongs to myself. Reply: In that case, you know ignorance as also yourself who possess it? Opponent: I know, but not through direct perception. Reply: If you know through inference, then how is the connection (between yourself and ignorance) known? Surely it is not possible for you the knower to have at that time [When you are knowing your own ignorance.] the knowledge of the relation (of the Self) with ignorance which is an object of knowledge; [After having perceived ignorance as an object of your knowledge, how can you who continue to be the knower cognize yourself as the knower of that ignorance? For this would lead to the contradiction of the same person becoming the subject and the object of cognition.] because the cognizer is then engaged in cognizing ignorance as an object. Besides, there cannot be someone who is a (separate) cognizer of the relation between the knower and ignorance, and a separate cognition of that (relation), for this would lead to infinite regress. If the knower and the relation between the knower and the thing known be cognizable, then a separate cognizer has to be imagined. Of him, again, another knower has to be imagined; of him again a separate cognizer would have to be imagined! Thus, an infinite regress be comes unavoidable. Again, whether the knowable be ignorance or anything else, a knowable is verily a knowable; similarly, even a knower is surely a knower; he does not become a knowable. And when this is so, [Since the knower cannot be known, therefore his relation with ignorance also cannot be known by himself or by anybody else] nothing of the cognizer-the knower of the field-is tainted by such defects as ignorance, sorrowfulness, etc. Objection: May it not be said that the (Selfs) defect is surely this, that the field, which is full of defects, is cognized (by It)? Reply: No, because it is the Immutable, which is consciousness, by nature, that is figuratively spoken of as the cognizer. It is just like figuratively attributing the act of heating to fire merely because of its (natural) heat. Just as it has been shown here by the Lord Himself that identification with action, cause and effect are absent in the Self, and that action, cause, etc. are figuratively attributed to the Self owing to their having been superimposed (on It) through ignorance, so has it been shown by Him in various places: He who thinks of this One as the killer৷৷. (2.19), While actions are being done in ever way by the gunas of Nature (3.27), The Omnipresent neither accepts anybodys sin৷৷. (5.15), etc. It has been explained by us, too, in that very way, and in the following contexts also we shall explain accordingly. Objection: Well, in that case, if identification with action, cause and effect be naturally absent in the Self, and it they be superimpositions through ignorance, then it amounts to this that actions are meant for being undertaken only by the ignorant, not by the enlightened. Reply: It is true that is comes to this. This very fact we shall explain under the verse, Since it is not possible for one who holds on to a body৷৷. (18.11). And, in the context dealing with the conclusion of the purport of the whole Scripture, we shall explain this elaborately under the verse, ৷৷.in brief indeed, O son of Kunti,৷৷.which is the supreme consummation of Knowledge (ibid. 50) It is needless here to expatiate further, Hence we conclude. The next verse, (Hear about)৷৷.what that field is, etc., summarizing the purport of the chapter dealing with the field taught in the verses begining from This body৷৷.etc., is being presented. For it is proper to introduce briefly the subject-matter that is sought to be explained.

Transliteration Bhagavad Gita 13.3

Kshetrajnam chaapi maam viddhi sarvakshetreshu bhaarata; Kshetrakshetrajnayor jnaanam yattat jnaanam matam mama.

Word Meanings Bhagavad Gita 13.3

kṣhetra-jñam—the knower of the field; cha—also; api—only; mām—me; viddhi—know; sarva—all; kṣhetreṣhu—in individual fields of activities; bhārata—scion of Bharat; kṣhetra—the field of activities; kṣhetra-jñayoḥ—of the knower of the field; jñānam—understanding of; yat—which; tat—that; jñānam—knowledge; matam—opinion; mama—my