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Essays Teachings Of Bhagavad Gita Quotes

by Jayaram V

The Bhagavadgita is a spiritual discourse delivered by Lord Krishna in the middle of the battlefield. It contains 18 chapters, which deal with a variety of subjects such as the nature of the self, the need to restrain the mind and the senses, withdrawing them from the sense objects through the practice of yoga, performing desireless actions, the vision of the Universal Self, the qualities of Nature, incarnation of God and reincarnation of individual souls, devotion to God, liberation and so on.

The various topics discussed in the scripture can be grouped under four main headings: the individual self, God or the Universal Self, the relationship between the two and liberation of the individual self. The Bhagavadgita encourages us to perform our obligatory duties as a sacrificial offering to God and not to turn our back upon them. It explains how delusion arises and how we become bound to our present conditions, suggesting the various alternatives that are available to us to escape from them.

The main paths

Although on a superficial note the Bhagavadgita seems to favor the path of devotion, a careful student of the scripture cannot ignore its obvious connection with the other paths described in it such as jnanayoga (the path of knowledge), karmayoga (the path of action) and karma sanyasa yoga (the path of renunciation of attachment to the fruit of our actions).

Jnanayoga is the first stage. Every student engaged in the religious studies is a practitioner of this path. On this path a person acquires the knowledge of the inner self through study and contemplation and becomes aware of the importance of realizing his true self and achieving salvation.

After a person spends time acquiring the knowledge of the scriptures, he should turn to karma yoga to discharge his responsibilities towards himself, his family and society by performing his obligatory duties in deference to his dharma and as a sacrificial offering to God.

The culmination of the practice of karmayoga is karma sanyasa yoga in which the seeker realizes either because of the knowledge he has already gained or through experience that it is not actions but attachment to the results of his actions which is responsible for his bondage. So he begins to perform his actions without desire and attachment, renouncing the sense of doer-ship and offers the fruit of his actions to God.

When a seeker practises these different types of yoga for a considerable time, he develops sattva or purity and divine qualities which are enumerated in the Bhagavadgita. With these refinements in his lower self or the outer consciousness, he eventually comes to the fourth and the final stage, which make him fit for the practice of bhakti yoga, or the yoga of devotion. In this stage he experiences intense devotion and unconditional love for God. He surrenders to God completely and spends his time in His service and contemplation. His mind and senses become fixed on the thoughts of God. He sees Him everywhere and in himself and experience oneness with Him.

Having developed distaste for the things of the world, he withdraws mentally from the distractions of the external world and contemplates upon God. As his mind is now totally occupied with the thoughts of God, he lives in the constant pain of not being able to find Him. When his devotion reaches its crescendo, God reciprocates with abundant love, just as He promised in the Bhagavadgita, and releases Him from the bonds of mortal life forever.

A holistic teaching of duty, discipline and devotion

Thus we can see that the Bhagavadgita is not just about bhakti yoga but a holistic spiritual effort which demands from people physical and mental purity, self-control, performance of duty, renunciation and devotion to God for their liberation. We learn from it that while bhakti yoga is the most direct solution to achieve liberation its true practice is possible only for those who have progressed on the path of salvation through their previous effort.

True devotion in which all sense of egoism becomes dissolved and only the thought of God remains is a product of years of practice and self-discipline. It is possible only for those who are able to restrain their senses, stabilize their minds, cultivate purity and perform their obligatory duties in the amidst of society and their families.

Only those whose hearts and minds are infused with the love of God can practise true devotion. Where there is love for one's self, there is truly not much love left for God. Where there is a consideration for the self, devotion to God is just an excuse for furthering that self. Therefore, people who claim themselves to be devotees of God should search their hearts and minds to see how their egos are still active and seeking.

If you are still in love with yourself, will it be possible for you to love God unconditionally all the time? This question, we must all ask ourselves to see whether we are qualified enough to be considered the true devotees of God. The fact becomes obvious when we study the Bhagavadgita from a wider perspective and begin to connect the various seemingly divergent approaches and practices discussed by it into one broad based solution.

Classical interpretations

The Bhagavadgita has been interpreted in many ways from ancient times, by scholars belonging to various religious traditions or sampradayas in support of their respective schools of thought. For example, Shankaracharya (8th-9th century A. D) wrote a commentary upon it from the perspective of advaita vedanta or the philosophy of monism, declaring Brahman to be the only reality and ignorance as the main cause for our inability to recognize the truth.

Sri Ramanuja (11th century A. D) interpreted it from the perspective of Vishishtadvaita or the philosophy of qualified monism. He argued that while God is the One and the only Reality He was not without attributes. The individual souls are similar to Him in their essence, yet they are not completely identical, because there is a subtle distinction between the two, which cannot be clearly defined but which cannot be denied either.

Sri Machavacharya (the 11th-12th century AD), a great proponent of the dualistic (dvaita) school of philosophy, wrote a commentary (Gitabhasya) and an interpretation (Gitatatparya) upon it, stating that God and individual souls are distinct and different and that individual souls can gain liberation through self-surrender and devotion to God.

Also deserving a mention in this regard are Nimbarka (12th century A. D), his disciple Kesavakasmirin, Vallbha (15th century A. D), the proponent of suddhadvaita or pure non-dualism, B.G. Tilak, Sri Aurobindo, M.K.Gandhi and Sri Swami Prabhupada. All these eminently scholarly and spiritual people interpreted the Bhagavadgita according to their respective beliefs. In the scripture itself, Lord Krishna mentions a lineage of scholars who received the knowledge contained in it at different times in the history of mankind.

The seven teachings

While the scripture has been the subject of different interpretations, we can identify in it the following seven fundamental teachings or instructions. These seven teachings sum up the philosophy of the Bhagavadgita and help us develop the necessary qualities and discipline to progress eventually on the path of devotion towards our liberation.

1. Know the reality of the world in which you live. Know it to be impermanent, unreal and the source of your suffering and delusion.

2. Know the Reality about yourself, who you are and what you are really. Know that you are neither your body nor your mind, but the true self that can neither be slain nor hurt. It is eternal, divine and transcendental.

3. Know that the senses are responsible for your desires, attachment and the instability of your mind and that by restraining your senses you can achieve the stability of your mind and become impervious to the pairs of opposites, such as pain and pleasure, which is the key to self-realization.

4. Cultivate buddhi or your discriminating intelligence to discern true knowledge, and practice wisdom so that you will know the difference between truth and untruth, reality and illusion, your false self and true self, the divine qualities and demonic qualities, knowledge and ignorance and how true knowledge illuminates and liberates while ignorance veils your wisdom and holds you in bondage.

5. Know the true nature of action and inaction and how actions bind you to the world and cause you suffering. know that it is not actions but the desires and the attachment behind your actions which are responsible for your karma. Know the truth about the doer-ship and who the real doer is. Do not seek to escape from your responsibility because not doing your obligatory duties is also bad karma. To neutralize your karma, perform your actions without desires, without attachment and without seeking the fruit of your actions, as a sacrificial offering to God, accepting Him as the True Doer and yourself as a mere instrument. Know that true renunciation is the renunciation of your desires and the fruit of your actions.

6. Know the Supreme-Self to be the all-pervading and all-knowing Creator of all. Accept Him to be the cause of everything and the real Doer in your life. Surrender yourself to Him completely and offer Him everything that you have.

7. Cultivate the quality of sattva or purity so that you can experience true love for God and know the true meaning of devotion, surrender and sacrifice. Restraining your mind and senses, focusing your mind on the thoughts of God, and surrendering yourself to Him completely. Make your life and actions as true offerings to Him, acknowledging His role in all your affairs and expressing your gratitude. If you persist in your practice, you will begin to experience total devotion to God and His unconditional love. He will take full responsibility for your life and manage your affairs for you.

Suggestions for Further Reading

  • The Samkhya Philosophy and 24 Principles of Creation
  • The Bhagavadgita On The Problem Of Sorrow
  • The Concept of Atman or Eternal Soul in Hinduism
  • The Practice of Atma Yoga Or The Yoga Of Self
  • The Problem of Maya Or Illusion and How To Deal With It
  • Belief In Atman, The Eternal Soul Or The Inner Self
  • Brahman, The Highest God Of Hinduism
  • The Bhagavad Gita Original Translations
  • The Bhagavadgita, Philosophy and Concepts
  • Bhakti yoga or the Yoga of Devotion
  • Hinduism And The Evolution of Life And Consciousness
  • Why to Study the Bhagavadgita Parts 1 to 4
  • The Triple Gunas, Sattva, Rajas and Tamas
  • The Practice of Tantra and Tantric Ritual in Hinduism and Buddhism
  • The Tradition Of Gurus and Gurukulas in Hinduism
  • Origin, Definition and Introduction to Hinduism
  • Hinduism, Way of Life, Beliefs and Practices
  • A Summary of the Bhagavadgita
  • Avatar, the Reincarnation of God Upon Earth
  • The Bhagavadgita on Karma, the Law of Actions
  • The Mandukya Upanishad
  • The Bhagavadgita On The Mind And Its Control
  • Symbolic Significance of Numbers in Hinduism
  • The Belief of Reincarnation of Soul in Hinduism
  • The True Meaning Of Renunciation According To Hinduism
  • The Symbolic Significance of Puja Or Worship In Hinduism
  • Introduction to the Upanishads of Hinduism
  • Origin, Principles, Practice and Types of Yoga
  • Hinduism and the Belief in one God

The Bhagavad Gita (Sanskrit in Devanagari script: भगवद्गीता, in transliteration: Bhagavad Gītā) is a 700-verse, 18-chapter religious text within the Mahabharata, located in the Bhisma Parva chapters 25–42. A core text of Hinduism and Indian philosophy, often referred to simply as "the Gita", it is a summation of many aspects of the Vedic, Yogic, Vedantic and Tantric philosophies. The Bhagavad Gita, meaning "Song of the Lord", refers to itself as an 'Upanishad' and is sometimes called Gītopanişad. During the message of the Gita, Krishna proclaims that he is an Avatar, or a Bhagavat, an appearance of the all-embracing God. To help Arjuna believe this, he reveals to him his divine form which is described as timeless and leaves Arjuna shaking with awe and fear.

Quotes[edit]

Chapter 1 (Arjuna–Visada yoga)[edit]

  • Now seeing the armies
    of the Pandavas arrayed
    in battle formation,
    King Duryodhana,
    approaching his teacher,
    spoke these words:
    [Duryodhana said:]
    Behold these mighty warriors
    of the sons of Pandu,
    O Revered Teacher,
    Arrayed in
    battle formation
    by the son of Drupada,
    your own skillful student.
  • [Duryodhana said:]
    This force
    of ours
    guarded by Bhishma
    is unbounded;
    although this force,
    of theirs –
    guarded by Bhima,
    is bounded.
  • all those
    for whom i'd want
    to live it up
    are here to die
  • And even if, because their minds are overwhelmed by greed, they cannot see the evil incurred by destroying one's own family, and the degradation involved in the betrayal of a friend,
    How can we be so ignorant as not to recoil from this wrong? The evil incurred by destroying one's own family is plain to see, Janardana.
    • Arjuna; Chapter 1, verses 38–39; W. J. Johnson translation
  • What is this crime
    I am planning, O Krishna?
    Murder most hateful,
    Murder of brothers!
    Am I indeed
    So greedy for greatness?
  • If me unresisting,
    Weaponless, with weapons in their hands
    Dhritarāshtra's men should slay in battle,
    That would be a safer course for me.
  • Thus speaking Arjuna in the battle
    Sat down in the box of the car,
    Letting fall his bow and arrows,
    His heart smitten with grief.
    • Sanjaya; Chapter 1, verse 47 (the last verse in the chapter); Franklin Edgerton translation

Chapter 2 (Sankhya yoga)[edit]

  • My dear Arjuna, how have these impurities come upon you? They are not at all befitting a man who knows the progressive values of life. They do not lead to higher planets, but to infamy. O son of Prtha, do not yield to this degrading impotence. It does not become you. Give up such petty weakness of heart and arise, O chastiser of the enemy.
  • You grieve for those who should not be grieved for;
    yet you speak wise words.

    Neither for the dead nor those not dead do the wise grieve.
    Never was there a time when I did not exist
    nor you nor these lords of men.
    Neither will there be a time when we shall not exist;
    we all exist from now on.
    As the soul experiences in this body
    childhood, youth, and old age,
    so also it acquires another body;
    the sage in this is not deluded.
    • Krishna; Chapter 2, verses 11–13; Sanderson Beck translation
  • The senses, moving toward their appropriate objects, are producers of heat and cold, pleasure and pain, which come and go and are brief and changeable; these do thou endure, O son of Bharata!
  • As you put on fresh new clothes and take off those you've worn,
    You'll replace your body with a fresh one, newly born.
    • Krishna; Chapter 2, verse 22; Carl E. Woodham
  • Swords cut him not, nor may fire burn him, O son of Bharata, waters wet him not, nor dry winds parch.
    He may not be cut nor burned nor wet nor withered; he is eternal, all-present, firm, unshaken, everlasting.
    He is called unmanifest, unimaginable, unchanging; therefore, knowing him thus, deign not to grieve!
    • Krishna; Chapter 2, verses 23–25; Charles Johnston
  • One sees This as a wonder; another speaks of This as a wonder; another hears of This as a wonder; yet, having heard none understands This at all!
  • Either slain thou shalt go to heaven; or victorious thou shalt enjoy the earth. Therefore arise, O Son of Kuntī (Arjuna), resolved on battle.
  • You are only entitled to the action, never to its fruits. Do not let the fruits of action be your motive, but do not attach yourself to nonaction.
    • Krishna; Chapter 2, verse 47; Lars Martin Fosse translation
  • When your intellect transcends the mire of delusion, then you will attain to disgust of what has been heard and what is yet to be heard.
    When, perplexed by what you have heard, you stand immovable in samadhi, with steady intellect, then you will attain yoga.
    • Krishna; Chapter 2, verses 52–53; Jeaneane D. Fowler translation
  • When one's mind dwells on the objects of Senses, fondness for them grows on him, from fondness comes desire, from desire anger.
    Anger leads to bewilderment, bewilderment to loss of memory of true Self, and by that intelligence is destroyed, and with the destruction of intelligence he perishes
    • Krishna; Chapter 2, verses 62–63
  • To him [the Sage], what seemeth the bright things of day to the mass, are known to be the things of darkness and ignorance—and what seemeth dark as night to the many, he seeth suffused with the light of noonday.

Chapter 3 (Karma yoga)[edit]

  • If thou deemest that (the path of) understanding is more excellent than (the path of) action, O Janardana (Krishna), why then dost thou urge me to do this savage deed, O Kesava (Krishna)?
    • Arjuna; Chapter 3, verse 1; Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan translation
  • Not by not acting in this world
    does one become free from action,
    nor does one approach perfection
    by renunciation only.
    Not even for a moment does
    someone exist without acting.
    Even against one’s will, one acts
    by the nature-born qualities.
  • From food come forth beings; from rain food is produced; from sacrifice arises rain, and sacrifice is born of action.
    Know you that action comes from BRAHMAJI (the Creator) and BRAHMAJI come from the Imperishable. Therefore, the all-pervading BRAHMAN (God-principle) ever rests in sacrifice.
    • Krishna; Chapter 3, verses 14–15; Swami Chinmayananda commentary
  • not for me, partha, is there any duty in the three
    worlds,
    nor anything to attain that is unattained; and i am
    always at work.
  • All actions are performed by the gunas of prakriti.
    Deluded by identification with the ego, a person
    thinks, "I am the doer."
  • One's own duty, even if imperfectly performed, is better than being done by other even if well performed. Death in (performance of) one's own duty is preferable. (The adoption of) the duty of another carries fear (with it).

Chapter 4 (Gyaana–Karma-Sanyasa yoga)[edit]

  • I explained this eternal science of yoga to Vivasvān. Vivasvān shared it with Manu, then Manu imparted it to Ikṣvāku.
    This science was taught and handed down in succession, but in time it was broken and the science of yoga seems to be lost.
  • Whensoever there is the fading of the Dharma and the uprising of unrighteousness, then I loose myself forth into birth.
    For the deliverance of the good, for the destruction of the evil-doers, for the enthroning of the Right, I am born from age to age.
  • However men try to reach me,
    I return their love with my love;
    whatever path they may travel,
    it leads to me in the end.
  • The four divisions of human order were created by me according to differences in quality, activities, and aptitude; although the creator of this, know me as the non-doer being immutable.
    • Krishna; Chapter 4, verse 13; Bhagavad-Gita Trust translation (1998)
    • Variant translations:
    • Depending upon the distribution of the three attributes or guṇas and actions, I have created the four castes. Yet, I am to be known as the non-doer, the unchangeable.
  • Works do not stain me, nor in me is there longing for fruit of works; who recognizes this to be my state, he is not bound by works.
    • Krishna; Chapter 4, verse 14; W. Douglas P. Hill translation
  • For verily (the true nature) of 'right action' should be known; also (that) of 'forbidden (or unlawful) action' and of 'inaction'; imponderable is the nature (path) of action.
    He who recognises inaction in action and action in inaction is wise among men; he is a YOGI and a true performer of all actions.
    • Krishna; Chapter 4, verses 17–18; Swami Chinmayananda commentary
  • Kill therefore with the sword of wisdom the doubt born of ignorance that lies in thy heart. Be one in self-harmony, in Yoga, and arise, great warrior, arise.

Chapter 5 (Karma–Sanyasa yoga)[edit]

  • You commend, O Krishna, the renunciation of action and you also praise yoga. Tell me definitely which is the better of the two.
    • Arjuna; Chapter 5, verse 1; B. Srinivasa Murthy translation
  • Both renunciation and the yoga of action lead to the supreme good. But of these two, performance of action is superior to the renunciation of action.
    • Krishna; Chapter 5, verse 2; B. Srinivasa Murthy translation
  • He is unaffected by Karma, although engaged in action, who has yoked himself to the way of Yoga, whose mind is purified, whose self has triumphed and whose senses have been subdued, and whose self has, indeed, become the self of all beings. Although acting he remains unaffected by Karma.
  • As enjoyments, born of contacts (with external objects), have a beginning and an end, they become the cause of unhappiness. The wise man, O Kaunteya! does not find happiness in them.
    • Krishna; Chapter 5, verse 22; Bal Gangadhar Tilaktranslation (The original, B. G. Tilak translation is in Marathi, whose English translation is by Bhalchandra Sitaram Sukthankar; published for Tilak Brothers by D. J. Tilak & S. S. Tilak under the title "Gita Rahasya": B. G. Tilak, 13th edition)

Chapter 6 (Dhyan yoga or Atmasanyam yoga)[edit]

  • 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 is said to be a means.
  • Use the atman to raise the atman. Do not lower the atman. The atman is the atman’s friend and the atman is the atman’s enemy.
    The atman, which has been used to conquer the atman, is the atman’s friend. For someone who has failed to control the atman, the atman harms like an enemy.
    • Krishna; Chapter 6, verses 5–6; Bibek Debroy translation
  • Who sees Me everywhere, and sees all in Me, him I lose not, nor will he lose Me.
    • Krishna; Chapter 6, verse 30; Charles Johnston translation
  • O Madhusūdana, the mind is an unsteady thing. Hence it is unrealistic to expect evenness out of it as your system of yoga demands.
    O, Keśava, it is easier to control the wind than to try and control the fickle, unsettling, dominant, and stubborn mind.
    • Arjuna; Chapter 6, verses 33–34; The Times of India translation
  • o strong armed arjuna
    no doubt the mind's moves are hard to stay
    you get a grip by practice &
    undifference
    • Krishna; Chapter 6, verse 35; Mani Rao translation
  • The yogin is greater than the ascetic; he is considered to be greater than the man of knowledge, greater than the man of ritual works, therefore do thou become a yogin, O Arjuna.
    • Krishna; Chapter 6, verse 46; Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan translation

Chapter 7 (Gyaana–ViGyaana yoga)[edit]

  • Among thousands of men hardly one strives after perfections; among those who strive hardly one knows Me in truth.
  • This divine illusion of Mine, caused by the qualities, is hard to pierce; they who come to Me, they cross over this illusion.
  • Men without wisdom consider Me, the Unmanifest, as assuming embodiment (like a mortal being taking a form)—not understanding My unsurpassable state, My unchangeable unutterable nature.
  • I am not plain to all, being cloaked by my yogamaya;
    this foolish world does not know me: un-born, immortal.
    • Krishna; Chapter 7, verse 25; Ramesh Menon translation

Chapter 8 (Aksara–Brahma yoga)[edit]

  • Yogis not yet free from the world revolve back again (to the world) even from the high sphere of Brahma (union with God in samadhi). But on entering into Me (the transcendental Spirit) there is no rebirth, O son of Kunti (Arjuna)!
    • Krishna; Chapter 8, verse 16; Paramahansa Yogananda translation

Chapter 9 (Raja–Vidya–Raja–Guhya yoga)[edit]

  • As an eon ends, all creatures
    fold into my nature, Arjuna;
    and I create them again
    as a new eon begins.
    Gathering in my own nature,
    again and again I freely create
    this whole throng of creatures,
    helpless in the force of my nature.
  • For Nature while I supervise
    gives birth to moving and unmoving,
    and as this motive-force applies
    the cosmos is revolving.
  • Fools scorn me when I dwell in human form: my higher being they know not as Great Lord of beings.
    • Krishna; Chapter 9, verse 11; W. Douglas P. Hill translation
  • I take upon Myself the concern for the welfare of those who worship Me with undistracted mind, and have thereby yoked themselves permanently to Divine Spirit.
    • Krishna; Chapter 9, verse 22; C. Rajagopalachari translation
  • For even if the greatest sinner worships me with all his soul, he must be considered righteous, because of his righteous will.
    And he shall soon become pure and reach everlasting peace. For this is my word of promise, that he who loves me shall not perish.
    • Krishna; Chapter 9, verses 30–31; Juan Mascaró translation

Chapter 10 (Vibhuti–Vistara–yoga)[edit]

  • Worlds of flesh and spirit both originate with Me.
    Sages understand this well and serve me earnestly.
    My devotees think of Me and serve Me all the time.
    Speaking of Me makes their lives delightful and sublime.
    • Krishna; Chapter 10, verses 8–9; Carl E. Woodham translation
  • Of the Vrishnis, I am Vasudeva; of the sons of Pandu, Arjuna; of the sages, moreover, I am Vyasa; of poets, the poet Ushana.

Chapter 11 (Visvarupa–Darsana yoga)[edit]

  • Arjuna said: My illusion is dispelled by Your profound words, that You spoke out of compassion towards me, about the supreme secret of the Self. (11.01)
  • O Krishna, I have heard from You in detail about the origin and dissolution of beings, and Your imperishable glory. (11.02)
  • O Lord, You are as You have said, yet I wish to see Your divine cosmic form, O Supreme Being. (11.03)
  • O Lord, if You think it is possible for me to see this, then O Lord of the yogis, show me Your imperishable Self. (11.04)
  • The Supreme Lord said: O Arjuna, behold My hundreds and thousands of multifarious divine forms of different colors and shapes. (11.05)
  • See the Adityas, the Vasus, the Rudras, the Ashvins, and the Maruts. Behold, O Arjuna, many wonders never seen before. (11.06)
  • O Arjuna, now behold the entire creation; animate, inanimate, and whatever else you like to see; all at one place in My body. (11.07)
  • But, you are not able to see Me with your physical eye; therefore, I give you the divine eye to see My majestic power and glory. (11.08)
  • Sanjaya said: O King, having said this; Lord Krishna, the great Lord of (the mystic power of) yoga, revealed His supreme majestic form to Arjuna. (11.09)
  • (Arjuna saw the Universal Form of the Lord) with many mouths and eyes, and many visions of marvel, with numerous divine ornaments, and holding divine weapons. (11.10)
  • Wearing divine garlands and apparel, anointed with celestial perfumes and ointments, full of all wonders, the limitless God with faces on all sides. (11.11)
  • If the splendor of thousands of suns were to blaze forth all at once in the sky, even that would not resemble the splendor of that exalted being. (11.12)
  • Arjuna saw the entire universe, divided in many ways, but standing as (all in) One (and One in all) in the body of Krishna, the God of gods. (11.13)
  • Then Arjuna, filled with wonder and his hairs standing on end, bowed his head to the Lord and prayed with folded hands. (11.14)
  • Tell me who are You in such a fierce form? My salutations to You, O best of gods, be merciful! I wish to understand You, the primal Being, because I do not know Your mission. (11.31)
  • Thou seest Me as Time who kills, Time who brings all to doom,
    The Slayer Time, Ancient of Days, come hither to consume;
    Excepting thee, of all these hosts of hostile chiefs arrayed,
    There shines not one shall leave alive the battlefield!
    Dismayed
    No longer be! Arise! obtain renown! destroy thy foes!
    Fight for the kingdom waiting thee when thou hast vanquished those.
    By Me they fall—not thee! the stroke of death is dealt them now,
    Even as they stand thus gallantly; My instrument art thou!
    Strike, strong-armed Prince! at Drona! at Bhishma strike! deal death
    To Karna, Jyadratha; stay all this warlike breath!
    ’Tis I who bid them perish! Thou wilt but slay the slain.
    Fight! they must fall, and thou must live, victor upon this plain!
  • Variant translations:
    • The Supreme Lord said: I am death, the mighty destroyer of the world, out to destroy. Even without your participation all the warriors standing arrayed in the opposing armies shall cease to exist.
    • The Lord said: I am Time, the mighty force which destroys everything, fully Manifesting Myself, I am here engaged in destroying the worlds. Even without you, none of the warriors arrayed in the enemy ranks shall survive.
    • Krishna; Chapter 11, verse 32; Paramahamsa Vishwananda translation
  • Saying thus to Arjuna, Krishna revealed again his own familiar form. Having thus assumed that gentle form, the Exalted One comforted the awe-struck Arjuna over again.
  • This My form, which you have seen, is very difficult to see. Even the gods always desire to see this form.
    It is not possible for any one to see Me, as you have seen Me, whether by Vedas, or by austerity, or by charity, or by Yajnās.
    O Arjuna! only by exclusive devotion, is it possible to thus acquire knowledge of Me, and O Parantapa! to enter Me essentially.
    • Krishna; Chapter 11, verses 52–54; Bal Gangadhar Tilak translation

Chapter 12 (Bhakti yoga)[edit]

  • Which is considered to be more perfect, those who are properly engaged in Your devotional service, or those who worship the impersonal Brahman, the unmanifested?
    • Arjuna; Chapter 12, verse 1; A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada translation
  • The Blessed Lord said: Those who, fixing their minds on Me, adore Me, ever united to Me with supreme devotion, are in My eyes the perfect knowers of yoga.
    • Krishna; Chapter 12, verse 2; Paramahamsa Yogananda's translation
  • But those who seek after the indefinable unmanifested, Immutable, omnipresent, unthinkable, self-poised, immobile, constant, having subdued all their senses, unprejudiced, intent on the welfare of all beings - they too come to Me alone.
    • Krishna; Chapter 12, verses 3-4; Paramahamsa Vishwananda's translation
  • The difficulty of those who devote themselves to the search of the unmanifested Brahman is greater; it is a think to which embodied souls can only arrive by a constant mortification, a suffering of all the repressed members, a stern difficulty and anguish of the nature.
    • Krishna; Chapter 12, verse 5; Paramahamsa Vishwananda's translation
  • But those who giving up all their actions to Me, and wholly devoted to Me, worship meditating on me with an unswerving Yoga, those who fix on Me all their consciousness, O Paartha, speedily I deliver them out of the sea of death-bound existence.
    • Krishna; Chapter 12, verses 6-7; Paramahamsa Vishwananda's translation
  • On Me repose all your mind and lodge all thy understanding in Me; doubt not that you shall dwell in Me above this mortal existence.
    • Krishna; Chapter 12, verse 8; Paramahamsa Vishwananda's translation
  • And if you are not able to consciousness fixed steadily in Me, then by the Yoga of practice seek after Me, O Arjuna.
    • Krishna; Chapter 12, verse 9; Paramahamsa Vishwananda's translation
  • If you are unable even to seek by practice, then be it your supreme aim to do My work; doing all actions for My sake, you shall attain perfection.
    • Krishna; Chapter 12, verse 10; Paramahamsa Vishwananda's translation
  • But if even this constant remembering of Me and lifting up of your works to Me is felt beyond your power, then renounce all fruit of action with the self-controlled.
    • Krishna; Chapter 12, verse 11; Paramahamsa Vishwananda's translation
  • Verily, wisdom (born from yoga practice) is superior to (mechanical) yoga practice; meditation is more desirable than the possession of (theoretical) wisdom; the relinquishment of the fruits of action is better than (the initial states of) meditation. Renunciation of the fruits of actions is followed immediately by peace.
    • Krishna; Chapter 12, verse 12; Paramahamsa Yogananda's translation
  • He who is free from hatred toward all creatures, is friendly and kind to all, is devoid of the consciousness of "I-ness" and possessiveness; is evenminded in suffering and joy, forgiving, ever contented; a regular yoga practitioner, constantly trying by yoga to know the Self and to unite with Spirit, possessed of firm determination, with mind and discrimination surrendered to Me - he is My devotee, dear to Me.
    • Krishna; Chapter 12, verse 13-14; Paramahamsa Yogananda's translation
  • A person who does not disturb the world and who cannot be disturbed by the world, who is free from exultation, jealousy, apprehension, and worry - he too is dear to Me.
    • Krishna; Chapter 12, verse 15; Paramahamsa Yogananda's translation
  • He who is free from worldly expectations, who is pure in body and mind, who is ever ready to work, who remains unconcerned with and unafflicted by circumstances, who has forsaken all ego initiated desireful undertakings - he is My devotee, dear to Me.
    • Krishna; Chapter 12, verse 16; Paramahamsa Yogananda's translation
  • He who feels neither rejoicing not loathing toward the glad nor the sad (aspects of phenomenal life), who is free from grief and cravings, who has banished the relative consciousness of good and evil, and who is intently devout - he is dear to Me.
  • He who is tranquil before friend and foe alike, and in encountering adoration and insult, and during the experiences of warmth and chill and of pleasure and suffering; who has relinquished attachment, regarding blame and praise in the same light; who is quiet and easily contented, not attached to domesticity, and of calm disposition and devotional - that person is dear to Me.
  • But those who adoringly pursue this undying religion (dharma) as heretofore declared, saturated with devotion, supremely engrossed in Me - such devotees are extremely dear to Me.

Chapter 13 (Ksetra–Ksetrajna Vibhaga yoga)[edit]

  • This body, O Kaunteya, is called the Field; he who knows it
    is called knower of the Field by those who know.
    And understand Me to be, O Bharata, the knower of the
    Field in all the Fields; and the knowledge of the Field and the
    knower of the Field, I hold, is true knowledge.
    • Krishna; Chapter 13, verses 1–2; Mahatma Gandhi translation
  • O Arjuna! The Supreme Self, having no beginning, (no ending,) and no attributes, even though it dwells in a body (as a realized master), neither acts nor is touched by any action.

Chapter 14 (Gunatraya–Vibhaga yoga)[edit]

  • Those who live in Sattva go upwards; those
    in rajas remain where they are. But those
    immersed in tamas sink downwards.
    The wise see clearly that all action is the work
    of the gunas. Knowing that which is above
    the gunas, they enter into union with me.
    • Krishna; Chapter 14, verses 18–19; Eknath Easwaran translation

Chapter 15 (Purusottama yoga)[edit]

  • There is a fig tree
    In ancient story,
    The giant Aswattha,
    The everlasting,
    Rooted in heaven,
    Its branches earthward:
    Each of its leaves
    Is a song of the Vedas,
    And he who knows it
    Knows all the Vedas.
    • Krishna; Chapter 15, verse 1; Swami Prabhavananda and Christopher Isherwood translation
  • It is I who remain seated in the heart of all creatures as the inner controller of all; and it is I who am the source of memory, knowledge and the ratiocinative faculty. Again, I am the only object worth knowing through the Vedas; I alone am the origin of Vedānta and the knower of the Vedas too.
  • There are two Beings (Purushas) in the cosmos, the destructible and the indestructible. The creatures are the destructible, the Kutastha is the indestructible.
    But there exists Another, the Highest Being, designated the "Supreme Spirit"—the Eternal Lord who, permeating the three worlds, upholds them.
    • Krishna; Chapter 15, verses 16–17; Paramahansa Yogananda translation
  • Since I am wholly beyond the perishable world of matter or Ksetra, and am superior even to the imperishable soul, Jivatma, hence I am known as the Purushottama, the Supreme Self, in the world as well as in the Vedas.
    • Krishna; Chapter 15, verse 18; Gita Press translation

Chapter 16 (Daivasura–Sampad–Vibhaga yoga)[edit]

  • These cruel and wretched haters, the vilest of men, I continually cast into demoniac wombs in mortal worlds.
    Fallen into demoniac wombs, deluded birth after birth, O son of Kunti, they, instead of attaining to Me, tread the lowest path.
    • Krishna; Chapter 16, verses 19–20; Jogindranath Mukharji translation, first published in 1900 under the title Young Men's Gita.
  • Hell has three gates – lust, anger, and greed;
    for your own sake, Arjuna, give up these three.
    • Krishna; Chapter 16, verse 21; Purushottama Lal translation

Chapter 17 (Sraddhatraya-Vibhaga yoga)[edit]

  • Pure men worship the Shining Ones; the passionate the gnomes and giants; the others, the dark folk, worship ghosts and troops of nature-spirits.
    • Krishna; Chapter 17, verse 4; Annie Besant translation

Chapter 18 (Moksha–Sanyasa yoga)[edit]

  • what's the nature
    of asceticism, i want to know
    how's renunciation
    different
    • Arjuna; Chapter 18, verse 1; Mani Rao translation
  • asceticism is giving up
    selfish activities
    as poets know
    & the wise declare
    renunciation is giving up
    fruits of action
    • Krishna; Chapter 18, verse 2; Mani Rao translation
  • Acts of sacrifice, charity and austerity should not be abandoned, but should be performed; worship, charity, and also austerity, are the purifiers of even the 'wise'.
    But even these actions should be performed leaving aside attachment and the fruits, O Partha; this is my certain and best belief.
    • Krishna; Chapter 18, verses 5–6; Swami Chinmayananda commentary
  • Better is one's own duty though performed faultily than another's duty well-performed. Performing the duty prescribed by (one's own) nature, one incurreth no sin. One must not abandon, O son of Kunti, one's natural duty though tainted with evil, for all actions are enveloped by evil like fire by smoke.
    • Krishna; Chapter 18, verses 47–48; Kisari Mohan Ganguli translation
  • If, having recourse to self-conceit, thou thinkest--I will not fight,--that resolution of thine would be vain, (for) Nature will constrain thee. That which, from delusion, thou dost not wish to do, thou wilt do involuntarily, bound by thy own duty springing from (thy own) nature.
    • Krishna; Chapter 18, verses 59–60; Kisari Mohan Ganguli translation
  • O Arjuna, God resides in the hearts of all beings, directing their wanderings by the magical power of Māyā, on which they are seated as if it were a machine.
    • Krishna; Chapter 18, verse 61; The Times of India translation
  • In him alone seek refuge with all thy being, Bharata; by his grace shalt thou win to peace supreme, the eternal resting place.
    • Krishna; Chapter 18, verse 62; W. Douglas P. Hill translation
  • all duty abandoning, to me, the sole refuge, come;
    i will liberate you from every sin, do not grieve.
    • Krishna; Chapter 18, verse 66; Ramesh Menon translation
  • Never share these truths with one who is without self-control or devotion, nor with one who won't share with others in a spirit of service, nor give them to one who is indifferent to them, or who finds fault with Me.
    • Krishna; Chapter 18, verse 67; Swami Kriyananda edition
  • Krishna, my delusion is destroyed,
    And by your grace I have regained memory;
    I stand here, my doubt dispelled,
    ready to act on your words.
    • Arjuna; Chapter 18, verse 73; Barbara Stoler Miller translation
  • I heard by grace of Vyasa
    of Krishna’s highest mystery,
    Yoga from the Lord of Yoga
    explaining personally.
    • Sanjaya; Chapter 18, verse 75; Geoffrey Parrinder translation
  • Where Krishna is the Master of combinations, where Partha is the wielder of the bow, there, I am convinced, would be glory, victory, growth and firm morality.
    • Sanjaya; Chapter 18, verse 78 (the last verse in the Bhagavad Gita); Jogindranath Mukharji translation

Chapter 22[edit]

  • The Lord said: I am Time, the mighty force which destroys everything, fully Manifesting Myself, I am here engaged in destroying the worlds. Even without you, none of the warriors arrayed in the enemy ranks shall survive.
    • Krishna; Chapter 22, verse 32; Paramahamsa Vishwananda translation

Quotes about the Bhagavad Gita[edit]

  • The Bhagavad-Gita is a true scripture of the human race a living creation rather than a book, with a new message for every age and a new meaning for every civilization.
    • Sri Aurobindo, "Sacred Jewels of Yoga: Wisdom from India's Beloved Scriptures, Teachers, Masters, and Monk"
  • The thought of the Gita is not pure Monism although it sees in one unchanging, pure, eternal Self the foundation of all cosmic existence, nor Mayavada although it speaks of the Maya of the three modes of Prakriti omnipresent in the created world; nor is it qualified Monism although it places in the One his eternal supreme Prakriti manifested in the form of the Jiva and lays most stress on dwelling in God rather than dissolution as the supreme state of spiritual consciousness; nor is it Sankhya although it explains the created world by the double principle of Purusha and Prakriti; nor is it Vaishnava Theism although it presents to us Krishna, who is the Avatara of Vishnu according to the Puranas, as the supreme Deity and allows no essential difference nor any actual superiority of the status of the indefinable relationless Brahman over that of this Lord of beings who is the Master of the universe and the Friend of all creatures. Like the earlier spiritual synthesis of the Upanishads this later synthesis at once spiritual and intellectual avoids naturally every such rigid determination as would injure its universal comprehensiveness. Its aim is precisely the opposite to that of the polemist commentators who found this Scripture established as one of the three highest Vedantic authorities and attempted to turn it into a weapon of offence and defence against other schools and systems. The Gita is not a weapon for dialectical warfare; it is a gate opening on the whole world of spiritual truth and experience and the view it gives us embraces all the provinces of that supreme region. It maps out, but it does not cut up or build walls or hedges to confine our vision.
  • That the spiritual man need not be a recluse, that union with the divine Life may be achieved and maintained in the midst of worldly affairs, that the obstacles to that union lie not outside us but within us—such is the central lesson of the Bhagavad-Gītā.
    • Annie Besant, "The Bhagavad Gita: The Lord's Song", The Theosophical Publishing House, Adyar, Preface
  • The subject matter of the Gita ranges from vast universal cosmology to our innermost life. We learn to see the world around us from the perspective of sages who saw the beauty of God reflected in every aspect of nature – the rivers, the mountains, the sky, the ocean, the plants, the animals. And we then learn how to move from appreciation of the reflected beauty of God to contemplation of the original beauty of God Himself. We learn that the journey of life did not begin with birth and will not end with the death of the body—for the soul there is neither birth nor death. We learn how we can become modern yogis, satisfied with the pleasure that comes from within, undisturbed by the turbulence of life in even the fastest lanes of third millenium society.
As the soulexperiences in this body
childhood, youth, and old age,
so also it acquires another body;
the sage in this is not deluded.
— Chapter 2, verse 13
My Lord! How can I, when the battle rages, send an arrow through Bheeshma and Drona, who should receive my reverence? — Chapter 2, verse 4
You are only entitled to the action, never to its fruits. Do not let the fruits of action be your motive, but do not attach yourself to nonaction. — Chapter 2, verse 47
When your intellect transcends the mire of delusion, then you will attain to disgust of what has been heard and what is yet to be heard.
When, perplexed by what you have heard, you stand immovable in samadhi, with steady intellect, then you will attain yoga.
— Chapter 2, verses 52–53
If thou deemest that (the path of) understanding is more excellent than (the path of) action, O Janardana (Krishna), why then dost thou urge me to do this savage deed, O Kesava (Krishna)? — Chapter 3, verse 1
From food come forth beings; from rain food is produced; from sacrifice arises rain, and sacrifice is born of action.
Know you that action comes from BRAHMAJI (the Creator) and BRAHMAJI come from the Imperishable. Therefore, the all-pervading BRAHMAN (God-principle) ever rests in sacrifice. — Chapter 3, verses 14–15
I explained this eternal science of yoga to Vivasvān. Vivasvān shared it with Manu, then Manu imparted it to Ikṣvāku.
— Chapter 4, verse 1
However men try to reach me,
I return their love with my love;
whatever path they may travel,
it leads to me in the end.
— Chapter 4, verse 11
Kill therefore with the sword of wisdom the doubt born of ignorance that lies in thy heart. Be one in self-harmony, in Yoga, and arise, great warrior, arise. — Chapter 4, verse 42
The yogin is greater than the ascetic; he is considered to be greater than the man of knowledge, greater than the man of ritual works, therefore do thou become a yogin, O Arjuna. — Chapter 6, verse 46
I know all past and all present and future existences, O Arjuna, but Me none yet knows. — Chapter 7, verse 26
But those acts do not affect Me, Arjuna–
I am neutral, unattached.
— Chapter 9, verse 9
Fools scorn me when I dwell in human form: my higher being they know not as Great Lord of beings. — Chapter 9, verse 11
I take upon Myself the concern for the welfare of those who worship Me with undistracted mind, and have thereby yoked themselves permanently to Divine Spirit.
— Chapter 9, verse 22
Of the Vrishnis, I am Vasudeva; of the sons of Pandu, Arjuna; of the sages, moreover, I am Vyasa; of poets, the poet Ushana. — Chapter 10, verse 37
Thou seest Me as Time who kills, Time who brings all to doom,
The Slayer Time, Ancient of Days, come hither to consume;
Excepting thee, of all these hosts of hostile chiefs arrayed,
There shines not one shall leave alive the battlefield!
— Chapter 11, verse 32
Saying thus to Arjuna, Krishna revealed again his own familiar form. Having thus assumed that gentle form, the Exalted One comforted the awe-struck Arjuna over again. — Chapter 11, verse 50
He whose mind is fixed on My personal form, always engaged in worshiping Me with great and transcendental faith, is considered by Me to be most perfect.
— Chapter 12, verse 2
It is I who remain seated in the heart of all creatures as the inner controller of all; and it is I who am the source of memory, knowledge and the ratiocinative faculty. Again, I am the only object worth knowing through the Vedas; I alone am the origin of Vedānta and the knower of the Vedas too. — Chapter 15, verse 15
all duty abandoning, to me, the sole refuge, come; i will liberate you from every sin, do not grieve. — Chapter 18, verse 66
Krishna, my delusion is destroyed,
And by your grace I have regained memory;
I stand here, my doubt dispelled,
ready to act on your words. — Chapter 18, verse 73
I heard by grace of Vyasa
of Krishna’s highest mystery,
Yoga from the Lord of Yoga
explaining personally.
— Chapter 18, verse 75
Where Krishna is the Master of combinations, where Partha is the wielder of the bow, there, I am convinced, would be glory, victory, growth and firm morality.
— Chapter 18, verse 78
When doubts haunt me and disappointments stare me in the face and I see not one ray of hope on the horizon, I turn to the Bhagavad Gita and find a verse to comfort me; I immediately begin to smile in the midst of overwhelming sorrow.
— Mahatma Gandhi
In the Bhagavad Gita we have faith, a faith based on spiritual vision. In this vision we have Light. Shall we see? This Song calls us to Love and Life. Shall we hear?
— Juan Mascaró
We knew the world would not be the same. Few people laughed, few people cried, most people were silent. I remembered the line from the Hindu scripture, the Bhagavad-Gita. Vishnu is trying to persuade the Prince that he should do his duty and to impress him takes on his multi-armed form and says, "Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds." I suppose we all thought that, one way or another.
— Robert Oppenheimer
In the morning I bathe my intellect in the stupendous and cosmogonal philosophy of the Bhagvat-Geeta, since whose composition years of the gods have elapsed, and in comparison with which our modern world and its literature seem puny and trivial... — Henry David Thoreau
The message of the Gita is the message of courage, heroism and atmashakti. The Gita teaches us that weakness is a sin, while shakti is a spiritual virtue.
— J. P. Vaswani