The Bhagavadgita

The Mystical Father of All Beings

The Highest Knowledge

Translation and Comment by Dr. Radhakrishnan

Sanskrit Text, Transliteration, Word Translation by Veeraswamy Krishnaraj




परं भूयः प्रवक्ष्यामि ज्ञानानां ज्ञानमुत्तमम् ।

यज्ज्ञात्वा मुनयः सर्वे परां सिद्धिमितो गताः ॥१४- १॥

śrībhagavān uvāca
paraṁ bhūyaḥ pravakṣyāmi jānānāṁ jānam uttamam
yaj jātvā munayaḥ sarve parāṁ siddhim ito gatāḥ 14.1

śrībhagavān uvāca
param1 bhūyaḥ2 pravakṣyāmi3 jānānām4 jānam5 uttamam6
yat7 jātvā8 munayaḥ9 sarve10 parām11 siddhim12 itaḥ13 gatāḥ14 14.1


śrībhagavān uvāca = Sri Bhagavan said:  pravakṣyāmi3 = I shall declare; bhūyaḥ2 = again;  param1 = supreme; jānam5 = knowledge; uttamam6 = the highest; jānānām4 = of all knowledge;  jātvā8 = knowing; yat7 = which;  sarve10 = all; munayaḥ9 = sages; gatāḥ14 = attained; itaḥ13 = from here [this world]; parām11 = supreme; siddhim12 = perfection. 14.1


The Blessed Lord said:

14.1) I shall again declare that supreme wisdom, of all wisdom the best, by knowing which all sages have passed from this world to the highest perfection.


इदं ज्ञानमुपाश्रित्य मम साधर्म्यमागताः ।

सर्गेऽपि नोपजायन्ते प्रलये न व्यथन्ति च ॥१४- २॥

idaṁ jānam upāśritya mama sādharmyam āgatāḥ
sargepi nopajāyante pralaye na vyathanti ca 14.2

idam1 jānam2 upāśritya3 mama4 sādharmyam5 āgatāḥ6
sarge7 api8 na upajāyante9 pralaye10 na vyathanti11 ca12 14.2


upāśritya3 = Taking refuge in;  idam1 = this; jānam2 = knowledge; [and] āgatāḥ6 = attaining; mama4 = My; sādharmyam5 = Nature [same identity]; [they]  na upajāyante9  = are neither born; sarge7 = during creation; na vyathanti11ca12  = nor suffer pain; api8 = even;  pralaye10 = at dissolution.14.2


(14.2) Having resorted to this wisdom and become of like nature to Me, they are not born at the time of creation; nor are they disturbed at the time of dissolution.

Life eternal is not dissolution into the indefinable Absolute but attainment of a universality and freedom of spirit, which is lifted above the empirical movement. Its status is unaffected by the cyclic processes of creation and dissolution, being superior to all manifestations. The saved soul grows into the likeness of the Divine and assumes an unchangeable being, eternally conscious of the Supreme Lord who assumes varied cosmic forms. It is not svarūpatā or identity but only samānadharmatā or similarity of quality. He becomes one in nature with what he seeks, attains sādṛśyamukti. He realizes the divine in his outer consciousness and life. Cp. "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect:' Matthew v, 48. S.'s view is different from this. He holds that sādharmya means identity of nature and not equality of attributes.1

1mama parameśvarasya sādharmyaṁ mat svarūpataāṁ na tu

samānadharmatāṁ sādharmyam kṣetrajneśvarayor bhedān abhyupagamāt gītāśāstre. Śaṁkara.

mama Īśvarasya sādharmyaṁ sarvātmatvaṁ sarvaniyantṛtvaṁ, ityādidharmasāmyaṁ sādharmyam. Nīlakaṇṭha.

mamasādharmyam madrūpatvam. Śrīdhara.

मम योनिर्महद्ब्रह्म तस्मिन्गर्भं दधाम्यहम् ।

संभवः सर्वभूतानां ततो भवति भारत ॥१४- ३॥

mama yonir mahad brahma tasmin garbhaṁ dadhāmy aham
saṁbhavaḥ sarvabhūtānāṁ tato bhavati bhārata 14.3

mama1 yoniḥ2 mahat brahma3 tasmin4 garbham5 dadhāmi6 aham7
8 sarva-bhūtānām9 tataḥ10 bhavati11 bhārata12 14.3


       mahat brahma3  = The Great Brahman; [is] mama1 = My; yoniḥ2 = Womb;  tasmin4 = in it [in the Womb]; aham7= I; dadhāmi6 = induce [place]; garbham5 = pregnancy;  tataḥ10 = thereafter;  sambhavaḥ8 = birth; sarva-bhūtānām9 = of all beings;bhavati11 = occurs; bhārata12 O Scion of Bharata. 14.3


(14.3) Great brahma (prakṛti) is My womb: in that I cast the seed and from it is the birth of all beings, O Bharata (Arjuna).

If we were merely products of nature, we could not attain life eternal. This verse affirms that all existence is a manifestation of the Divine. He is the cosmic seed. With reference to this world, He becomes Hiraṇyagarbha, the cosmic soul. S. says: "1 unite the Kṣetra with the Kṣetraja, giving birth to Hiraṇyagarbha, hence to all beings." The Lord is the Father who deposits in the womb which is not-self, the seed which is essential life, thus causing the birth of every individual. The world is the play of the Infinite on the finite. See note on II, I2. The author here adopts the theory of creation as the development of form from non-being, chaos or night. The forms of all things which arise out of the abysmal void are derived from God. They are the seeds He casts into non-being.

सर्वयोनिषु कौन्तेय मूर्तयः संभवन्ति याः ।

तासां ब्रह्म महद्योनिरहं बीजप्रदः पिता ॥१४- ४॥

sarvayoniṣu kaunteya mūrtayaḥ saṁbhavanti yāḥ
tāsāṁ brahma mahad yonir ahaṁ bījapradaḥ pitā 14.4

sarva-yoniṣu1 kaunteya2 mūrtayaḥ3 sambhavanti4 yāḥ5
tāsām6 brahma7 mahat8 yoniḥ9 aham10 bīja-pradaḥ11 pitā12 14.4


yāḥ5 = Whatever; mūrtayaḥ3 = forms; sambhavanti4 = appear/are born; sarva-yoniṣu1 = from all wombs; kaunteya2 = O son of Kunti; mahat8 = the Great; brahma7 = Brahman; [is] yoniḥ9 = the Womb; aham10 = I; [am]  bīja-pradaḥ11= the seed giving; pitā12 = father tāsām6 = of them.    14.4


(4.4) Whatever forms are produced in any wombs whatsoever, o Son of Kuntī (Arjuna), great brahma is their womb and I am the Father who casts the seed.

Prakṛti is the mother and God is the father of all living forms. As prakṛti is also of the nature of God, God is the father and mother of the universe. He is the seed and the womb of the universe. This conception is utilized in certain forms of worship which are developed out of what some modem puritans deride

as obscene phallicism. The Spirit of God fertilizes our lives and makes them what God wants them to be.

The Supreme is the Seminal Reason of the world. All beings result from the impregnation of matter through logoi spermatikoi or animating souls. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rationes_seminales. Through them God carries out His work in the world. These seeds of the Logos are the ideal forms which mould the gross world of matter into beings. The ideas, the patterns of things to be, are all in God. Every possibility of manifestation has its root in a corresponding possibility in the unmanifest, wherein it subsists as in its eternal cause, of which the manifestation is an explicit affirmation. God has an eternal vision of creation in all its details. Whereas in Socrates and Plato, ideas and matter are conceived as a dualism, where the relation between the subtle world of ideas and the gross world of matter is difficult to understand, in the Gītā the two are said to belong to the Divine. God Himself incarnates the seminal ideas in the forms of the gross world. These seminal ideas which have a divine origin, which belong to the causal Logos are the explanation of our love for God. While God is in one sense transcendent to human nature, there is also in the soul a direct expression of the Divine. The cosmic process continues until the causal origin, alpha and the final consummation omega, coincide. 


Goodness, Passion and Dullness


सत्त्वं रजस्तम इति गुणाः प्रकृतिसंभवाः ।

निबध्नन्ति महाबाहो देहे देहिनमव्ययम् ॥१४- ५॥

sattvaṁ rajas tama iti guṇāḥ prakṛtisambhavāḥ
nibadhnanti mahābāho dehe dehinam avyayam 14.5

sattvam1 rajas2 tamaḥ3 iti4 guṇāḥ5 prakṛti-sambhavāḥ6
nibadhnanti7 mahābāho8 dehe9 dehinam10 avyayam11 14.5


sattvam1 = Sattva/goodness; rajas2 = Rajas/passion; tamaḥ3 = Tamas/darkness; iti4 = thus; guṇāḥ5 = the Gunas or qualities; prakṛti-sambhavāḥ6  = are born of nature; [and] nibadhnanti7 = bind down; avyayam11 = the imperishable; dehinam10 = living being [soul]; dehe9 = to the body; mahābāho8 = O Mighty-armed Arjuna. 14.5

(14.5) The three modes (guṇas) goodness (sattva), passion (rajas), and dullness (tamas) born of nature (prakṛti) bind down in the body, O Mighty-armed (Arjuna), the imperishable dweller in the body.

What leads to the appearance of the immortal soul in the cycle of birth and death is the power of the guṇas or modes. They are "the primary constituents of nature and are the bases of all substances. They cannot therefore be said to be qualities inhering in these substances." Ᾱnandagiri. They are called guṇas, because their emergence is ever dependent on the puruṣa of the Sāṁkhya or the Kṣetraja of the Gītā. The guṇas are the three tendencies of prakṛti or the three strands making up the twisted rope of nature. Sattva reflects the light of consciousness and is irradiated by it, and so has the quality of radiance (prakāśa). Rajas has an outward movement (pravṛtti) and tamas is characterized by inertia (apravṛtti) and heedless indifference (pramāda),1 It is difficult to have adequate English equivalents for the three words, sattva, rajas and tamas. Sattva is perfect purity and luminosity while rajas is impurity which leads to activity and tamas is darkness and inertia. As the main application of the guṇas in the Gītā is ethical, we use goodness for sattva, passion for rajas and dullness for tamas.

The cosmic trinity reflects the dominance of one of the three modes, sattva in Viṣṇu, the preserver, rajas in Brahma, the creator and tamas in Śiva, the destroyer. Sattva contributes to the stability of the universe, rajas to its creative movement and tamas represents the tendency of things to decay and die. They are responsible for the maintenance, origin and dissolution of the world. The application of the guṇas to the three aspects of the Personal Lord shows that the latter belongs to the objective or the manifested world. God is struggling in humanity to redeem it and the godlike souls co-operate with Him in this work of redemption.2

When the soul identifies itself with the modes of nature, it forgets its own eternity and uses mind, life and body for egoistic satisfaction. To rise above bondage, we must rise above the modes of nature, become triguṇātīta; then we put on the free and

incorruptible nature of spirit. Sattva is sublimated into the light of consciousness, jyoti, rajas into austerity, tapas and tamas into tranquillity or rest, śānti.

1 II and 22, 12 and 22, 13.

2 Cp, Isaiah who speaks of the Messiah these words: "He hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows. He was wounded for our transgressions. The chastisement of our peace was upon Him and with His stripes we are healed" (liii, 45).


तत्र सत्त्वं निर्मलत्वात्प्रकाशकमनामयम् ।

सुखसङ्गेन बध्नाति ज्ञानसङ्गेन चानघ ॥१४- ६॥

tatra sattvaṁ nirmalatvāt prakāśakam anāmayam
sukhasaṅgena badhnāti jānasaṅgena cānagha 14.6

tatra1 sattvam2 nirmalatvāt3 prakāśakam4 anāmayam5
sukhasaṅgena6 badhnāti7 jāna-saṅgena8 ca9 anagha10 14.6


tatra1 = Therefore; sattvam2 = Sattva; nirmalatvāt3 = being pure; [is] prakāśakam4 = shining; [and] anāmayam5 = free of sickness; [ but] badhnāti7 = binds; sukhasaṅgena6 =  because of connection to happiness; ca9 = and; jāna-saṅgena8 = connection to knowledge;  anagha10 = O sinless one.14.6


(14.6) Of these, goodness (sattva) being pure, causes illumination and health. It binds, O blameless one, by attachment to happiness and by attachment to knowledge.

Knowledge here means lower intellectual knowledge. Sattva does not rid us of the ego-sense. It also causes desire though for noble objects. The self which is free from all attachment is here attached to happiness and knowledge. Unless we cease to think and will with the ego-sense, we are not liberated. Jāna or knowledge relates to buddhi which is a product of prakṛti and is to be distinguished from the pure consciousness which is the essence of atman.


रजो रागात्मकं विद्धि तृष्णासङ्गसमुद्भवम् ।

तन्निबध्नाति कौन्तेय कर्मसङ्गेन देहिनम् ॥१४- ७॥

rajo rāgātmakaṁ viddhi tṛṣṇāsaṅgasamudbhavam
tan nibadhnāti kaunteya karmasaṅgena dehinam 14.7

rajaḥ1 rāgātmakam2 viddhi3 tṛṣṇā-asaṅga-samudbhavam4
tat5 nibadhnāti6 kaunteya7 karma-saṅgena8 dehinam9 14.7


kaunteya7 = O son of Kunti; viddhi3 = know; rajaḥ1 = Rajas/passion; [is] rāgātmakam2 = of the form of desire;  tṛṣṇā-asaṅga-samudbhavam4 = born of avidity and attachment [avidity-attachment-born of]; tat5 = that; nibadhnāti6 = binds; dehinam9 = the embodied self; karma-saṅgena8  = by its attachment to actions.  14.7


(14.7) Passion (rajas), know thou, is of the nature of attraction, springing from craving and attachment. It binds fast, O Son of Kuntī (Arjuna), the embodied one by attachment to action.

Though the self is not the agent, rajas makes him act with the idea ''Ī am the doer." Ᾱnandagiri.

तमस्त्वज्ञानजं विद्धि मोहनं सर्वदेहिनाम् ।

प्रमादालस्यनिद्राभिस्तन्निबध्नाति भारत ॥१४- ८॥

tamas tv ajānajaṁ viddhi mohanaṁ sarvadehinām
pramādālasyanidrābhis tan nibadhnāti bhārata 14.8

tamaḥ1 tu2 ajānajam3 viddhi4 mohanam5 sarva-dehinām6
pramāda-ālasya-nidrābhiḥ7 tat8 nibadhnāti9 bhārata10 14.8


tu2 = But; viddhi4 = know; tamaḥ1 = Tamas/darkness; ajānajam3 = is born of ignorance; [causing] mohanam5 = delusion; sarva-dehinām6  = to all embodied selves; tat8 = that;  nibadhnāti9 = binds; pramāda-ālasya-nidrābhiḥ7 = by negligence, laziness, and sleep;  bhārata10 = O son of Bharata.14.8 


(14.8) But dullness (tamas), know thou, is born of ignorance and deludes all embodied beings. It binds, O Bharata (Arjuna), by (developing the qualities of) negligence, indolence and sleep.


सत्त्वं सुखे संजयति रजः कर्मणि भारत ।

ज्ञानमावृत्य तु तमः प्रमादे संजयत्युत ॥१४- ९॥

sattvaṁ sukhe saṁjayati rajaḥ karmaṇi bhārata
jānam āvṛtya tu tamaḥ pramāde saṁjayaty uta 14.9

sattvam1 sukhe2 sajayati3 rajaḥ4 karmaṇi5 bhārata6
jānam7 āvṛtya8 tu9 tamaḥ10 pramāde11 sajayati12 uta13 14.9 


sattvam1 = Sattvam/goodness; sajayati3 = attaches a person; sukhe2 = to happiness; rajaḥ4 = rajas/passion; karmaṇi5 = to action; bhārata6 = O Bharata; tu9 = but; tamaḥ10 = tamas/darkness; sajayati12 =  attaches; pramāde11 = to negligence; uta13 = also āvṛtya8 = by hiding; jānam7 = wisdom.14.9   


(14.9) Goodness attaches one to happiness, passion to action, o Bharata (Arjuna), but dullness, veiling wisdom, attaches to negligence.


रजस्तमश्चाभिभूय सत्त्वं भवति भारत ।

रजः सत्त्वं तमश्चैव तमः सत्त्वं रजस्तथा ॥१४- १०॥

rajas tamaś cābhibhūya sattvaṁ bhavati bhārata
rajaḥ sattvaṁ tamaś caiva tamaḥ sattvaṁ rajas tathā 14.10

rajaḥ1 tamaḥ2 ca3 abhibhūya4 sattvam5 bhavati6 bhārata7
rajaḥ8 sattvam9 tamaḥ10 ca11 eva12 tamaḥ13 sattvam14 rajaḥ15 tathā16 14.10


sattvam5 = Sattva/virtue; bhavati6 = becomes; abhibhūya4 = superior; [by subduing] rajaḥ1 = Rajas/passion; ca3 = and; tamaḥ2 = Tamas/darkness; bhārata7 = O Scion of Bharata Clan. rajaḥ8 = Rajas; [augments by subduing] sattvam9 = Sattva; ca11 = and;  tamaḥ10 = Tamas; eva12 = indeed. tamaḥ13 = Tamas; tathā16 = thus; [augments by subduing] sattvam14 = Sattva; [and] rajaḥ15 = Rajas. 14.10

(14.10) Goodness prevails, overpowering passion and dullness, o Bharata (Arjuna). Passion prevails, (overpowering) goodness and dullness and even so dullness prevails (overpowering) goodness and passion.

The three modes are present in all human beings, though in different degrees. No one is free from them and in each soul one or the other predominates. Men are said to be sattvika, rajasa or tamasa according to the mode which prevails. When the theory of the "humours" of the body dominated physiology, men were divided into the sanguine, the bilious, the lymphatic and the nervous, according to the predominance of one or the other of the four humours. In the Hindu classification, the psychic characteristics are taken into account. The sattvika nature aims at light and knowledge: the rajasa nature is restless, full of desires for things outward. While the activities of a sattvika temperament are free, calm and selfless, the rajasa nature wishes to be always active and cannot sit still and its activities are tainted by selfish desires. The tamasa nature is dull and inert, its mind is dark and confused and its whole life is one continuous submission to environment.


सर्वद्वारेषु देहेऽस्मिन्प्रकाश उपजायते ।

ज्ञानं यदा तदा विद्याद्विवृद्धं सत्त्वमित्युत ॥१४- ११॥

sarvadvāreṣu dehesmin prakāśa upajāyate
jānaṁ yadā tadā vidyād vivṛddhaṁ sattvam ity uta 14.11

sarva-dvāreṣu1 dehe2 asmin3 prakāśa4 upajāyate5
jānam6 yadā7 tadā8 vidyāt9 vivṛddham10 sattvam11 iti12 uta13 14.11


yadā7 = When; prakāśa4 = light; [of] jānam6 = knowledge; upajāyate5 = manifests [shines]; sarva-dvāreṣu1 = from all gates; asmin3 = in this; dehe2 = body; tadā8 = then; vidyāt9 = know; sattvam11 = Sattva; iti12 = thus; uta13 = indeed; vivṛddham10 = has augmented.14.11


(14.11) When the light of knowledge streams forth in all the gates of the body, then it may be known that goodness has increased.

sarva-dvāreṣu1 dehe2 asmin3: all the gates of the body. The light of knowledge can have a full physical manifestation. The truth of consciousness is not opposed to expression in matter. The Divine can be realized on the physical plane. To divinize the human consciousness, to bring the light into the physical, to transfigure our whole life is the aim of yoga.

When our minds are illumined and senses quickened, then sattva predominates.


लोभः प्रवृत्तिरारम्भः कर्मणामशमः स्पृहा ।

रजस्येतानि जायन्ते विवृद्धे भरतर्षभ ॥१४- १२॥

lobhaḥ pravṛttir ārambhaḥ karmaṇām aśamaḥ spṛhā
rajasy etāni jāyante vivṛddhe bharatarṣabha 14.12

lobhaḥ1 pravṛttiḥ2 ārambhaḥ3 karmaṇām4 aśamaḥ5 spṛhā6
7 etāni8 jāyante9 vivṛddhe10 bharata-rṣabha11 14.12


lobhaḥ1 = Greed; pravṛttiḥ2 = activity; ārambhaḥ3 = beginning; karmaṇām4 = of actions; aśamaḥ5 = unrest; [and] spṛhā6 = desire: etāni8 = these; jāyante9 = manifest; [when] rajasi7 = Rajas quality;  vivṛddhe10 = becomes dominant; bharata-rṣabha11  = O the best of Bharatas. 14.12


(14.12) Greed, activity, the undertaking of actions, unrest and craving: these spring up, O Best of the Bharatas (Arjuna), when rajas increases.

The passionate seeking of life and its pleasures arises from the dominance of rajas. 


अप्रकाशोऽप्रवृत्तिश्च प्रमादो मोह एव च ।

तमस्येतानि जायन्ते विवृद्धे कुरुनन्दन ॥१४- १३॥

aprakāśopravṛttiś ca pramādo moha eva ca
tamasy etāni jāyante vivṛddhe kurunandana 14.13

aprakāśaḥ1 apravṛttiḥ2 ca3 pramādaḥ4 mohaḥ5 eva6 ca7
tamasi8 etāni9 jāyante10 vivṛddhe11 kuru-nandana12 14.13


aprakāśaḥ1 = Darkness; apravṛttiḥ2 = stagnation/inactivity; pramādaḥ4 = negligence;  ca3 = and; mohaḥ5 ca7 = also delusion: etāni9 = these; eva6 = indeed; jāyante10 = come forth; [when]  tamasi8 = Tamas quality;  vivṛddhe11 = increases; kuru-nandana12  = O son of Kuru.14.13

(14.I3) Unillumination, inactivity, negligence and mere delusion: these arise, O Joy of the Kurus (Arjuna), when dullness increases.

While prakāśa or illumination is the effect of sattva, aprakāśa or non-illumination is the result of tamas. Error, misunderstanding, negligence and inaction are the characteristic marks of a tāmasa temperament.


यदा सत्त्वे प्रवृद्धे तु प्रलयं याति देहभृत् ।

तदोत्तमविदां लोकानमलान्प्रतिपद्यते ॥१४- १४॥

yadā sattve pravṛddhe tu pralayaṁ yāti dehabhṛt
tadottamavidāṁ lokān amalān pratipadyate 14.14

yadā1 sattve2 pravṛddhe3 tu4 pralayam5 yāti6 deha-bhṛt7
tadā8 uttamavidām9 lokān10 amalān11 pratipadyate12 14.14


yadā1 = When; deha-bhṛt7 = the embodied;  yāti6 = proceeds to; pralayam5 = dissolution/death; [and] sattve2 = Sattva/virtue; pravṛddhe3 = is on the ascent/ dominant; tu4 = certainly; tadā8 = then; pratipadyate12 = he attains; amalān11 = the pure; lokān10 = world; uttamavidām9 = of knowers of the highest. 14.14

(14.14) When the embodied soul meets with dissolution, when goodness prevails, then it attains to the pure worlds of those who know the Highest.

They do not obtain release but birth in brahmaloka. Nistraiguya or the transcendence of the three guṇas is the condition of release.


रजसि प्रलयं गत्वा कर्मसङ्गिषु जायते ।

तथा प्रलीनस्तमसि मूढयोनिषु जायते ॥१४- १५॥

rajasi pralayaṁ gatvā karmasaṅgiṣu jāyate
tathā pralīnas tamasi mūḍhayoniṣu jāyate 14.15

rajasi1 pralayam2 gatvā3 karma-saṅgiṣu4 jāyate5
tathā6 pralīnaḥ7 tamasi8 mūḍha-yoniṣu9 jāyate10 14.15


pralayam2 gatvā3 = Attaining death [ death-attain]; rajasi1 = in Rajas quality; jāyate5 = he takes birth;  karma-saṅgiṣu4 = [among people] attached to action;  tathā6 = likewise; pralīnaḥ7 = when one dies; tamasi8 = in Tamas; jāyate10 = he takes birth; mūḍha-yoniṣu9  = in ignorant wombs [in animal wombs]. 14.15

(14.15) Meeting with dissolution when passion prevails, it is born among those attached to action; and if it is dissolved when dullness prevails, it is born in the wombs of the deluded.


कर्मणः सुकृतस्याहुः सात्त्विकं निर्मलं फलम् ।

रजसस्तु फलं दुःखमज्ञानं तमसः फलम् ॥१४- १६॥

karmaṇaḥ sukṛtasyāhuḥ sāttvikaṁ nirmalaṁ phalam
rajasas tu phalaṁ duḥkham ajānaṁ tamasaḥ phalam 14.16

karmaṇaḥ1 sukṛtasya2 āhuḥ3 sāttvikam4 nirmalam5 phalam6
rajasaḥ7 tu8 phalam9 duḥkham10 ajānam11 tamasaḥ12 phalam13 14.16


phalam6 = The fruit; sukṛtasya2 = of good/pious; karmaṇaḥ1 = action;  āhuḥ3 = is said to be; nirmalam5 = pure; sāttvikam4 = virtue; tu8 = but; phalam9 = fruit;  rajasaḥ7 = of passion; [is] duḥkham10 = sorrow; phalam13 = the fruit; [of] ajānam11 = ignorance; [ is] tamasaḥ12 = Tamas. 14.16


(14.16) The fruit of good action is said to be of the nature of "goodness" and pure; while the fruit of passion is pain, the fruit of dullness is ignorance.


सत्त्वात्संजायते ज्ञानं रजसो लोभ एव च ।

प्रमादमोहौ तमसो भवतोऽज्ञानमेव च ॥१४- १७॥

sattvāt saṁjāyate jānaṁ rajaso lobha eva ca
pramādamohau tamaso bhavatojānam eva ca 14.17

sattvāt1 sajāyate2 jānam3 rajasaḥ4 lobha5 eva6 ca7
pramāda-mohau8 tamasaḥ9 bhavataḥ10 ajānam11 eva12 ca13 14.17


sattvāt1 = From virtue; sajāyate2 = arises; jānam3 = knowledge; rajasaḥ4 = from passion; lobha5 = greed; eva6 = indeed; ca7 = and; tamasaḥ9 = from darkness; bhavataḥ10 = comes; pramāda-mohau8 = madness and delusion; ca13 = and; ajānam11 = ignorance; eva12 = indeed.14.17

(14.I7) From goodness arises knowledge and from passion greed, negligence and error arise from dullness, as also ignorance.

The psychological effects of the three modes are here set forth.

ऊर्ध्वं गच्छन्ति सत्त्वस्था मध्ये तिष्ठन्ति राजसाः ।

जघन्यगुणवृत्तिस्था अधो गच्छन्ति तामसाः ॥१४- १८॥

ūrdhvaṁ gacchanti sattvasthā madhye tiṣṭhanti rājasāḥ
jaghanyaguṇavṛttisthā adho gacchhanti tāmasāḥ 14.18

ūrdhvam1 gacchanti2 sattvasthāḥ3 madhye4 tiṣṭhanti5 rājasāḥ6
jaghanya-guṇa-vṛttisthāḥ7 adhaḥ8 gacchhanti9 tāmasāḥ10 14.18


sattvasthāḥ3 = They who are steadfast in Sattva; gacchanti2 = go; ūrdhvam1 = higher [in the realm of gods];  rājasāḥ6 = the Rajasic; tiṣṭhanti5 = stay/remain; madhye4 = in the middle; tāmasāḥ10 = the Tamasic; jaghanya-guṇa-vṛttisthāḥ7 = immersed in lowest quality, [the lowest-quality-being in any state or condition or employment]; gacchhanti9 = go; adhaḥ8 = low [born as worms, birds, animals]. 14.18


(14.18) Those who are established in goodness rise upwards; the passionate remain in the middle (regions); the dull steeped in the lower occurrences of the modes sink downwards.

The soul evolves through these three stages; it rises from dull inertia and subjection to ignorance, through the struggle for material enjoyments to the pursuit of knowledge and happiness. But so long as we are attached, even though it may be to very noble objects, we are limited and there is always a sense of insecurity since rajas and tamas may overcome the sattva in us. The highest ideal is to transcend the ethical level and rise to the spiritual. The good man (sāttvika) should become a saint (triguṇātīta). Until we reach this stage, we are only in the making; our evolution is incomplete. triguṇātīta = Transcending the three guṇas.


नान्यं गुणेभ्यः कर्तारं यदा द्रष्टानुपश्यति ।

गुणेभ्यश्च परं वेत्ति मद्भावं सोऽधिगच्छति ॥१४- १९॥

nānyaṁ guṇebhyaḥ kartāraṁ yadā draṣṭānupaśyati
guṇebhyaś ca paraṁ vetti madbhāvaṁ sodhigacchhati 14.19

na anyam guṇebhyaḥ1 kartāram2 yadā3 draṣṭā4 anupaśyati5
guṇebhyaḥ6 ca7 param8 vetti9 madbhāvam10 saḥ11 adhigacchhati12 14.19


yadā3 = When; draṣṭā4 = a Seer; anupaśyati5 = sees; na anyam guṇebhyaḥ1 = none other than the three Gunas; [as] kartāram2 = the agent;  ca7 = and; vetti9 = knows; [that which is] param8 = Supreme; guṇebhyaḥ6 = to the Gunas/qualities; saḥ11 = he; adhigacchhati12 = attains; madbhāvam10 = My State.14.19

(14.19) When the seer perceives no agent other than the modes, and knows also that which is beyond the modes, he attains to My being.

"Then his identity with Brahman becomes manifest." Ᾱnandagiri.


गुणानेतानतीत्य त्रीन्देही देहसमुद्भवान् ।

जन्ममृत्युजरादुःखैर्विमुक्तोऽमृतमश्नुते ॥१४- २०॥

guṇān etān atītya trīn dehī dehasamudbhavān
janmamṛtyujarāduḥkhair vimuktomṛtam aśnute 14.20

guṇān1 etān2 atītya3 trīn4 dehī5 deha-samudbhavān6
janma-mṛtyu-jarā-duḥkhaiḥ7 vimuktaḥ8 amṛtam9 aśnute10 14.20


atītya3 = Transcending; etān2 = these;  trīn4 = three; guṇān1 = Gunas; [which] deha-samudbhavān6  = give rise to the body [body-giving birth to]; dehī5 = the embodied [soul]; vimuktaḥ8 = having become free; janma-mṛtyu-jarā-duḥkhaiḥ7 = from birth, death, old age, and sorrow; aśnute10 = attains/experiences; amṛtam9 = immortality.14.20

(14.20) When the embodied soul rises above these three modes that spring from the body, it is freed from birth, death, old age and pain and attains life eternal.

dehasamudbhavān: this implies that the modes are caused by the body. "Which are the seed out of which the body is evolved." S.1 Even sāttvika goodness is imperfect since this goodness has for its condition the struggle with its opposite. The moment the struggle ceases and the goodness becomes absolute, it ceases to be goodness and goes beyond all ethical compulsion. By developing the nature of sattva, we rise beyond it and obtain transcendent wisdom.2

1 dehotpattibījabhūtān.

2 Just as we pull out a thorn by a thorn, so renouncing worldly things we must renounce renunciation. kāṇtakaṁ kāṇtakaneva yena tyajasi taṁ tyaja. By means of sattva we overcome rajas and tamas and then get beyond sattva itself.


The Character of Him Who is Beyond the Three Modes


अर्जुन उवाच

कैर्लिङ्गैस्त्रीन्गुणानेतानतीतो भवति प्रभो ।

किमाचारः कथं चैतांस्त्रीन्गुणानतिवर्तते ॥१४- २१॥

arjuna uvāca
kair liṅgais trīn guṇān etān atīto bhavati prabho
kimācāraḥ kathaṁ caitāṁs trīn guṇān ativartate 14.21

arjuna uvāca
kaiḥ1 liṅgaiḥ2 trīn3 guṇān4 etān5 atītaḥ6 bhavati7 prabho8
kim9 ācāraḥ10 katham11 ca12 etān13 trīn14 guṇān15 ativartate16 14.21


arjuna uvāca = Arjuna said:  kaiḥ1 = by what; liṅgaiḥ2 = marks/signs; [one is said to] atītaḥ6 = transcend; etān5 = these; trīn3 = three; guṇān4 = Gunas/qualities? kim9 = What; bhavati7 = is; [his] ācāraḥ10 = conduct; prabho8 = O Lord; ca12 = and; katham11 = how; [does he] ativartate16 = transcend; etān13 = these; trīn14 = three; guṇān15 = Gunas? 14.21


Arjuna said

(14.2I) By what marks is he, O Lord, who has risen above the three modes characterized? What is his way of life? How does he get beyond the three modes?

What are the marks of the jīvanmukta, of him who achieves perfection in the present life? The characteristics are more or less the same as those of the sthitapraja (II, 55 ff.) of the bhaktimān, devotee (XII, I3 ff.). From this it is evident that the marks of perfection are the same, however it may be reached.



प्रकाशं च प्रवृत्तिं च मोहमेव च पाण्डव ।

न द्वेष्टि संप्रवृत्तानि न निवृत्तानि काङ्क्षति ॥१४- २२॥

śrībhagavān uvāca
prakāśaṁ ca pravṛttiṁ ca moham eva ca pāṇḍava
na dveṣṭi saṁpravṛttāni na nivṛttāni kāṅkṣati 14.22

śrībhagavān uvāca
1 ca2 pravṛttim3 ca4 moham5 eva6 ca7 pāṇḍava8
na9 dveṣṭi10 sampravṛttāni11 na12 nivṛttāni13 kāṅkṣati14 14.22


śrībhagavān uvāca = Sri bhagavan said; pāṇḍava8 = O Pandava; [he] na9 = neither; dveṣṭi10 = hates; prakāśam1 = Light [knowledge]; ca2 = and; pravṛttim3 = activity; ca4 = and; moham5 = delusion; eva6 = indeed; sampravṛttāni11 = when they arise; ca7 = and; na12 = nor; kāṅkṣati14 = desires; [for them, when they]   nivṛttāni13 = disappear or cease to exist;  14.22  

(14.22) He, O Paṇḍava (Arjuna), who does not abhor illumination, activity and delusion when they arise nor longs for them when they cease.


उदासीनवदासीनो गुणैर्यो न विचाल्यते ।

गुणा वर्तन्त इत्येव योऽवतिष्ठति नेङ्गते ॥१४- २३॥

udāsīnavad āsīno guṇair yo na vicālyate
guṇā vartanta ity eva yovatiṣṭhati neṅgate 14.23

udāsīnavat1 āsīnaḥ2 guṇaiḥ3 yaḥ4 na vicālyate5
guṇāḥ6 vartante7 iti8 eva9 yaḥ10 avatiṣṭhati11 na iṅgate12 14.23


yaḥ4 = He who; āsīnaḥ2 = is sitting; udāsīnavat1 = indifferent to; guṇaiḥ3 = Gunas; na vicālyate5  = not perturbed; [knowing] guṇāḥ6 = Gunas; vartante7 = act; iti8 = thus; eva9 = surely; yaḥ10 = he; avatiṣṭhati11 = remains firm; [and] na iṅgate12 = does not waver... 14.23


(14.23) He who is seated like one unconcerned, unperturbed by the modes, who stands apart, without wavering, knowing that it is only the modes that act.

He sees the mutations of nature but is not entangled in them. The modes or guṇas are lifted up into pure illumination, divine activity and perfect calm.


समदुःखसुखः स्वस्थः समलोष्टाश्मकाञ्चनः ।

तुल्यप्रियाप्रियो धीरस्तुल्यनिन्दात्मसंस्तुतिः ॥१४- २४॥

samaduḥkhasukhaḥ svasthaḥ samaloṣṭāśmakācanaḥ
tulyapriyāpriyo dhīras tulyanindātmasaṁstutiḥ 14.24

sama-duḥkha-sukhaḥ1 svasthaḥ2 sama-loṣṭa-aśma-kācanaḥ3
tulya-priya-apriyaḥ4 dhīraḥ5 tulya-nindā-ātma-saṁstutiḥ6 14.24


sama-duḥkha-sukhaḥ1 = equal in sorrow and happiness; svasthaḥ2 = abiding in his self; sama-loṣṭa-aśma-kācanaḥ3  = equal in regarding a clod, a stone and gold [= equal-clod-stone-gold]; tulya-priya-apriyaḥ4 = equal in regarding the desirable and the undesirable [equal-desirable-undesirable]; dhīraḥ5 = wise; tulya-nindā-ātma-saṁstutiḥ6 = equal in blame, and praise of him [equal-blame-self-praise]... 14.24


(14.24) He who regards pain and pleasure alike, who dwells in his own self, who looks upon a clod, a stone, a piece of gold as of equal worth, who remains the same amidst the pleasant and the unpleasant things, who is firm of mind, who regards both blame and praise as one.


मानापमानयोस्तुल्यस्तुल्यो मित्रारिपक्षयोः ।

सर्वारम्भपरित्यागी गुणातीतः स उच्यते ॥१४- २५॥

mānāpamānayos tulyas tulyo mitrāripakṣayoḥ
sarvārambhaparityāgī guṇātītaḥ sa ucyate 14.25

māna-apamānayoḥ1 tulyaḥ2 tulyaḥ3 mitra-ari-pakṣayoḥ4
sarva-ārambha-parityāgī5 guṇātītaḥ6 saḥ7 ucyate8 14.25


[who is] tulyaḥ2 = equal; māna-apamānayoḥ1 = in honor and dishonor;  tulyaḥ3 = equal; mitra-ari-pakṣayoḥ4  = to friends and foes;  arva-ārambha-parityāgī5 = who has renounced all initiatives; saḥ7 = he; ucyate8 = is said to; guṇa-atītaḥ6 = transcend the Gunas. 14.25


(14.25) He who is the same in honour and dishonour and the same to friends and foes, and who has given up all initiative of action, he is said to have risen above the modes.


मां च योऽव्यभिचारेण भक्तियोगेन सेवते ।

स गुणान्समतीत्यैतान्ब्रह्मभूयाय कल्पते ॥१४- २६॥

māṁ ca yovyabhicāreṇa bhaktiyogena sevate
sa guṇān samatītyaitān brahmabhūyāya kalpate 14.26

mām1 ca2 yah3 avyabhicāreṇa4 bhakti-yogena5 sevate6
saḥ7 guṇān8 samatītya9 etān10 brahma-bhūyāya11 kalpate12 14.26


yah3 = Whoever; sevate6 = renders service; mām1 = to Me; avyabhicāreṇa4 = with unswerving; bhakti-yogena5  = devotional service;  ca2 = and; samatītya9 = transcends completely; etān10 = these; guṇān8 = Gunas [qualities]; saḥ7 = he; kalpate12 = is fit; brahma-bhūyāya11 = to become Brahman. 14.26


(14.26) He who serves Me with unfailing devotion of love, rises above the three modes, he too is fit for becoming Brahman.

He is fit for liberation.


ब्रह्मणो हि प्रतिष्ठाहममृतस्याव्ययस्य च ।

शाश्वतस्य च धर्मस्य सुखस्यैकान्तिकस्य च ॥१४- २७॥

brahmaṇo hi pratiṣṭhāham amṛtasyāvyayasya ca
śāśvatasya ca dharmasya sukhasyaikāntikasya ca 14.27

brahmaṇaḥ1 hi2 pratiṣṭhā3 aham4 amṛtasya5 avyayasya6 ca7
śāśvatasya8 ca9 dharmasya10 sukhasya11 aikāntikasya12 ca13 14.27


aham4 = I; [am] pratiṣṭhā3 = the abode; brahmaṇaḥ1 = of Brahman; hi2 = indeed;  amṛtasya5 = of the immortal; avyayasya6 = of the imperishable/ the immutable; ca7 = and; śāśvatasya8 = of the eternal; ca9 = and; dharmasya10 = of Dharma/ righteousness; ca13 = and; aikāntikasya12 = of absolute; sukhasya11 = happiness or Bliss.14.27


(14.27) For I am the abode of Brahman, the Immortal and the Imperishable, of eternal law and of absolute bliss.

Here the personal Lord is said to be the foundation of the Absolute Brahman. Saṁkara (S) makes out that the Supreme Lord is Brahman in the sense that He is the manifestation of Brahman. Brahman shows His grace to His devotees through Īśvaraśakti and He is that power in manifestation and therefore Brahman Himself. S. gives an alternative explanation. Brahman is the personal Lord and the verse means "I, the unconditioned and the unutterable, am the abode of the conditioned Brahman who is immortal and indestructible." Nīlakaṇṭha takes Brahma to mean Veda. R. interprets it as the emancipated soul and Madhva as māyā. Madhusūdana takes it for the personal Lord. Kṛṣṇa identifies Himself with the absolute unconditioned Brahman.

iti . . . guṇatrayavibhāgayogo nāma caturdaśo 'dhyāya.

This is the fourteenth chapter entitled The Yoga of the Differentiation of the Three Modes.