The Mahabharata Home
(Bhagavad Gita Chapter XIV)
"The Holy One said, 'I will again declare (to thee) that supernal science of sciences, that excellent science, knowing which all the munis have attained to the highest perfection from (the fetters of) this body. 6
[paragraph continues] Resorting to this science, and attaining to my nature, they are not reborn even on (the occasion of) a (new) creation and are not disturbed at the universal dissolution. The mighty Brahma is a womb for me. Therein I place the (living) germ. Thence, O Bharata, the birth of all beings taketh place. Whatever (bodily) forms, O son of Kunti, are born in all wombs, of them Brahma is the mighty womb, (and) I the seed-imparting Sire. 1 Goodness, passion, darkness, these qualities, born of nature, bind down, O thou of mighty arms, the eternal embodied [soul] in the body. 2 Amongst these, Goodness, from its unsullied nature, being enlightening and free from misery, bindeth (the soul), O sinless one, with the attainment of happiness and of knowledge. Know that passion, having desire for its essence, is born of thirst and attachment. That, O son of Kunti, bindeth the embodied (soul) by the attachment of work. Darkness, however, know, is born of ignorance, (and) bewilders all embodied [soul]. That bindeth, O Bharata, by error, indolence, and sleep. Goodness uniteth (the soul) with pleasure; Passion, O Bharata, uniteth with work; but darkness, veiling knowledge, uniteth with error. Passion and darkness, being repressed, Goodness remaineth, O Bharata. Passion and goodness (being repressed), darkness (remaineth); (and) darkness and goodness (being repressed), passion (remaineth). When in this body, in all its gates, the light of knowledge is produced, then should one know that goodness hath been developed there. Avarice, activity, performance of works, want of tranquillity, desire,--these, O bull of Bharata's race, are born when passion is developed. Gloom, inactivity, error, and delusion also,--these, O son of Kuru's race, are born when darkness is developed. When the holder of a body goeth to dissolution while goodness is developed, then he attaineth to the spotless regions of those that know the Supreme. Going to dissolution when passion prevails, one is born among those that are attached to work. Likewise, dissolved during darkness, one is born in wombs that beget the ignorant. The fruit of good action is said to be good and untainted. The fruit, however, of passion, is misery; (and) the fruit of Darkness is ignorance. From goodness is produced knowledge; from passion, avarice; (and) from darkness are error and delusion, and also ignorance. They that dwell in goodness go on high; they that are addicted to passion dwell in the middle; (while) they that are of darkness, being addicted to the lowest quality, go down. When an observer recognises none else to be an agent save the qualities, and knows that which is beyond (the qualities), he attaineth to my nature. The embodied [soul], by transcending these three qualities which constitute the source of all bodies, enjoyeth immortality, being freed from birth,
death, decrepitude, and misery.' 1
"Arjuna said, 'What are indications, O Lord, of one who hath transcended these three qualities? What is his conduct? How also doth one transcend these three qualities?"
"The Holy One said, 'He who hath no aversion for light, activity, and even delusion, O son of Pandu, when they are present, nor desireth them when they are absent, 2 who, seated as one unconcerned, is not shaken by those qualities; who sitteth and moveth not, thinking that it is the qualities (and not he) that are engaged (in their respective functions); to whom pain and pleasure are alike, who is self-contained, and to whom a sod of earth, a stone, and gold are alike; to whom the agreeable and the disagreeable are the same; who hath discernment; to whom censure and praise are the same; to whom honour and dishonour are the same; who regardeth friend and foe alike; who hath renounced all exertion--is said to have transcended the qualities. He also who worshippeth Me with exclusive devotion, he, transcending those qualities, becometh fit for admission into the nature of Brahma. For I am the stay of Brahma, of immortality, of undestructibility, of eternal piety, and of unbroken felicity.' 3
86:6 Itas is explained by Sreedhara as "from the fetters of this body."
87:1 Sreedhara makes mahat an adjective of yoni; Sankara makes it an adjective of Brahma. K. T. Telang follows Sankara.
87:2 Happiness and knowledge are attributes of the mind, not of the soul. Hence, when attached to the soul, they are as fetters from which the soul should be freed.
88:1 Deha samudbhava is explained by the commentators as having their "samudbhava or parinama in deha." It is an instance of the vahuvrihi compound.
88:2 Light, activity, and delusion are the three qualities as indicated by their effects.
88:3 Pratishtha is explained by Sankara as "something on which another (here Brahma) stays or rests." Sreedhara explains it as Pratima. Telang following Sreedhara, renders it "embodiment;" Mr. Davies, as "seat." Amritasya and Avyayasya are taken separately by the commentators.
Next: Section XXXIX (Bhagavad Gita Chapter XV)