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The Bhagavad-Gita

The Bhagavad-Gita

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Preface

The Song CelestialorBhagavad-Gita This famous and marvellous Sanskrit poem occurs as an episode of the Mahabharata, in the sixth—or "Bhishma"—Parva of the great Hindoo epic. It enjoys immense popularity and authority in India, where it is reckoned as one of the ''Five Jewels,"—pancharatnani—of Devanagiri literature. In plain but noble language it unfolds a philosophical system which…
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The Distress of Arjuna

Dhritirashtra:Ranged thus for battle on the sacred plain—On Kurukshetra—say, Sanjaya! sayWhat wrought my people, and the Pandavas? Sanjaya:When he beheld the host of Pandavas,Raja Duryodhana to Drona drew,And spake these words: "Ah, Guru! see this line,How vast it is of Pandu fighting-men,Embattled by the son of Drupada,Thy scholar in the war! Therein stand rankedChiefs like…
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The Book of Doctrines

Sanjaya.Him, filled with such compassion and such grief,With eyes tear-dimmed, despondent, in stern wordsThe Driver, Madhusudan, thus addressed: Krishna.How hath this weakness taken thee? Whence springsThe inglorious trouble, shameful to the brave,Barring the path of virtue? Nay, Arjun!Forbid thyself to feebleness! it marsThy warrior-name! cast off the coward-fit!Wake! Be thyself! Arise, Scourge of thy Foes!…
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Virtue in Work

Arjuna.Thou whom all mortals praise, Janardana!If meditation be a nobler thingThan action, wherefore, then, great Kesava!Dost thou impel me to this dreadful fight?Now am I by thy doubtful speech disturbed!Tell me one thing, and tell me certainly;By what road shall I find the better end? Krishna.I told thee, blameless Lord! there be two pathsShown to…
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The Religion of Knowledge

Krishna.This deathless Yoga, this deep union,I taught Vivaswata, the Lord of Light;Vivaswata to Manu gave it; heTo Ikshwaku; so passed it down the lineOf all my royal Rishis. Then, with years,The truth grew dim and perished, noble Prince!Now once again to thee it is declared—This ancient lore, this mystery supreme—Seeing I find thee votary and…
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Religion of Renouncing Works

Arjuna.Yet, Krishna! at the one time thou dost laudSurcease of works, and, at another time,Service through work. Of these twain plainly tellWhich is the better way? Krishna.To cease from worksIs well, and to do works in holinessIs well; and both conduct to bliss supreme;But of these twain the better way is hisWho working piously refraineth…
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Religion by Self-Restraint

Krishna.Therefore, who doeth work rightful to do,Not seeking gain from work, that man, O Prince!Is Sanyasi and Yogi—both in oneAnd he is neither who lights not the flameOf sacrifice, nor setteth hand to task. Regard as true Renouncer him that makesWorship by work, for who renounceth notWorks not as Yogin. So is that well said:"By…
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Religion by Discernment

Krishna.Learn now, dear Prince! how, if thy soul be setEver on Me—still exercising Yog,Still making Me thy Refuge—thou shalt comeMost surely unto perfect hold of Me.I will declare to thee that utmost lore,Whole and particular, which, when thou knowest,Leaveth no more to know here in this world. Of many thousand mortals, one, perchance,Striveth for Truth;…
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Religion by Service of the Supreme

Arjuna.Who is that BRAHMA? What that Soul of Souls,The ADHYATMAN? What, Thou Best of All!Thy work, the KARMA? Tell me what it isThou namest ADHIBHUTA? What againMeans ADHIDAIVA? Yea, and how it comesThou canst be ADHIYAJNA in thy flesh?Slayer of Madhu! Further, make me knowHow good men find thee in the hour of death? Krishna.I…
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Religion by the Kingly Knowledge and the Kingly Mystery

Krishna.Now will I open unto thee—whose heartRejects not—that last lore, deepest-concealed,That farthest secret of My Heavens and Earths,Which but to know shall set thee free from ills,—A royal lore! a Kingly mystery!Yea! for the soul such light as purgeth itFrom every sin; a light of holinessWith inmost splendour shining; plain to see;Easy to walk by,…
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Religion by the Heavenly Perfections

Krishna.Hear farther yet, thou Long-Armed Lord! these latest words I say—Uttered to bring thee bliss and peace, who lovest Me alway—Not the great company of gods nor kingly Rishis knowMy Nature, Who have made the gods and Rishis long ago;He only knoweth-only he is free of sin, and wise,Who seeth Me, Lord of the Worlds,…
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The Manifesting of the One and Manifold

Arjuna.This, for my soul's peace, have I heard from Thee,The unfolding of the Mystery SupremeNamed Adhyatman; comprehending which,My darkness is dispelled; for now I know—O Lotus-eyed!—whence is the birth of men,And whence their death, and what the majestiesOf Thine immortal rule. Fain would I see,As thou Thyself declar'st it, Sovereign Lord!The likeness of that glory…
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Religion of Faith

Arjuna.Lord! of the men who serve Thee—true in heart—As God revealed; and of the men who serve,Worshipping Thee Unrevealed, Unbodied, Far,Which take the better way of faith and life? Krishna.Whoever serve Me—as I show Myself—Constantly true, in full devotion fixed,Those hold I very holy. But who serve—Worshipping Me The One, The Invisible,The Unrevealed, Unnamed, Unthinkable,Uttermost,…
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Religion by Separation of Matter and Spirit

Arjuna.Now would I hear, O gracious Kesava!Of Life which seems, and Soul beyond, which sees,And what it is we know-or think to know. Krishna.Yea! Son of Kunti! for this flesh ye seeIs Kshetra, is the field where Life disports;And that which views and knows it is the Soul,Kshetrajna. In all "fields," thou Indian prince!I am…
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Religion by Separation From the Qualities

Krishna.Yet farther will I open unto theeThis wisdom of all wisdoms, uttermost,The which possessing, all My saints have passedTo perfectness. On such high veritiesReliant, rising into fellowshipWith Me, they are not born again at birthOf Kalpas, nor at Pralyas suffer change! This Universe the womb is where I plantSeed of all lives! Thence, Prince of…
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Religion by Attaining the Supreme

Krishna.Men call the Aswattha,—the Banyan-tree,—Which hath its boughs beneath, its roots above,—The ever-holy tree. Yea! for its leavesAre green and waving hymns which whisper Truth!Who knows the Aswattha, knows Veds, and all. Its branches shoot to heaven and sink to earth,Even as the deeds of men, which take their birthFrom qualities: its silver sprays and…
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The Separateness of the Divine and Undivine

Krishna.Fearlessness, singleness of soul, the willAlways to strive for wisdom; opened handAnd governed appetites; and piety,And love of lonely study; humbleness,Uprightness, heed to injure nought which lives,Truthfulness, slowness unto wrath, a mindThat lightly letteth go what others prize;And equanimity, and charityWhich spieth no man's faults; and tendernessTowards all that suffer; a contented heart,Fluttered by no…
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Religion by the Threefold Faith

Arjuna.If men forsake the holy ordinance,Heedless of Shastras, yet keep faith at heartAnd worship, what shall be the state of those,Great Krishna! Sattwan, Rajas, Tamas? Say! Krishna.Threefold the faith is of mankind and springsFrom those three qualities,—becoming "true,"Or "passion-stained," or "dark," as thou shalt hear! The faith of each believer, Indian Prince!Conforms itself to what…
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Religion by Deliverance and Renunciation

Arjuna.Fain would I better know, Thou Glorious One!The very truth—Heart's Lord!—of Sannyas,Abstention; and enunciation, Lord!Tyaga; and what separates these twain! Krishna.The poets rightly teach that SannyasIs the foregoing of all acts which springOut of desire; and their wisest sayTyaga is renouncing fruit of acts. There be among the saints some who have heldAll action sinful,…
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