Filognostic* understanding of the Bhagavad Gîtâ of Order
Arjuna said: 'If being intelligent is considered better than doing fruitive work, as You said o Janârdana, then why are You engaging me in this ghastly action Kes'ava?
Arjuna said: 'You say that it's better to go for the intelligence than to desire the result of a victory, o spur of man. With that being so, why do you encourage me to engage in this ghastly confrontation, o paragon of beauty? (Sanskrit & tradition)
Surely you are confusing my intelligence with Your equivocal words, therefore please make sure You tell me of one only so that I may really benefit from it.'
Isn't speaking that equivocally not confusing the issue? Tell me which position to take, so that I can really benefit from what you're saying!' (Sanskrit & tradition)
The Supreme Lord said: 'In this world there are two kinds of faith, as I told you before o sinless one, it is the linking of oneself in the knowledge of the analytic mind [to attain stability of intelligence] and the connectedness in action [forsaking the desire for the fruits] as practiced by the mystical [the volition of yoga].
Krishna said: 'Indeed, there are two positions one may take in this world, as I told you before o faultless one. On the one hand, you may spiritually connect in the analytic mind, and on the other hand you may connect in being devoted to some kind of action. (Sanskrit & tradition)
Nor by forsaking work does a man attain liberation nor does he attain success by simply renouncing [the fruits].
A man will not attain the perfection when he, as a devoted person, simply tries to escape from the rest of his material duties, nor will he be free from actions and reactions when he, turning away from the world, connects for the insight only. (Sanskrit & tradition)
Surely no one is but for a moment without action and certainly everyone is irresistibly drawn to fruitive work [undergo karma] according to the qualities born from the modes of nature.
No one, not even for a moment, can exist without doing something. Whether one likes it or not, one is, depending the passion, the dullness or goodness one is in, always forced to act because of one's karma. (Sanskrit & tradition)
Anyone who, controlling the senses, in his mind keeps thinking of the sense-objects is a foolish soul called a pretender.
Sure enough you're faking it when you, restraining the senses, foster a sense-oriented mind. (Sanskrit & tradition)
But one who, regulating the senses with his mind, o Arjuna, makes a beginning with connecting his senses in working without the attachment of desiring the fruits [karma-yoga] - he is by far the better.
But Arjuna, when you, regulating the senses mindfully, make a beginning with connecting the operating senses in detaching from the results of your labor, you are far better off. (Sanskrit & tradition)
Do your prescribed duties, as working for certain is better than not to work - even your bodily maintenance is never without the effect of work.
In sum: even if it's just for the sake of your body, there's always work to do; so engage in your duty, for to engage is better than to do nothing. (Sanskrit & tradition)
Work for the purpose of sacrifice, otherwise work in this world will bind you. Work done for that sake, o son of Kuntî, will liberate you perfectly from that [material] association.
But remember to do it as a sacrifice, otherwise you'll dance to the tune of the world; and so you will, thus proceeding o son of Kuntî, get over all attachment. (Sanskrit & tradition)
In the coming about in the beginning of the generations along with the sacrifices, the Lord of mankind [Brahmâ, the Creator] said to this: 'Be more and more prosperous; may this [sacrifice] bestow upon you all that you desire.'
Starting the universe with the generations and the sacrifices they have to make, the Creator, Lord Brahmâ, said to mankind: 'Prosper more and more, may this sacrifice bring you all you desire.' (Sanskrit & tradition)
Having pleased the godly by sacrifices, the godly will please you and thus mutually pleasing one another you will achieve the Supreme.
If you please the people of God with your sacrifices, they will please you on their turn, and thus pleasing one another you'll attain the highest grace. (Sanskrit & tradition)
The gods satisfied by sacrifice will surely award you with the necessities of life, but he who enjoys the things given without offering is certainly a thief.
To please the representatives of God with sacrifices will bring you all you need, but he who enjoys life without being of sacrifice is surely a thief. (Sanskrit & tradition)
Eating of the sacrifices the devoted find relief of all kinds of sin, but the impious who consider just to please their senses only eat of trouble.
The ones devoted find relief eating from their sacrifices, but those impure profiteers who eat only to please their senses run into all kinds of trouble. (Sanskrit & tradition)
From grains material bodies grow, from rains there is the production of grains while rains become possible with the [watering by] sacrifices that are performed out of duty.
Our bodies grow on grains, grains are there from rains, and rains one finds in areas where one is conscientiously of sacrifice for producing the crops. (Sanskrit & tradition)
Ones duty is realized through the culture of knowledge while the regulation of that knowledge is of the Supreme, therefore in sacrifice one will always find the all-pervading spirit.
That duty is realized in the culture of knowledge, and the knowledge finds its regulation and order with religious austerities; and so, for that reason, you will always find the spirit that connects each and all in sacrifices . (Sanskrit & tradition)
Thus it is so that one who in his life does not adopt this regular [cakra*] order as established in the Vedas, will lead a useless life full of sin and sense-gratification.
Therefore it is so that he, who in his life fails to adopt the cyclic order of sacrifice as one finds in nature, in his catering to his senses is of a life full of trouble which is quite meaningless. (Sanskrit & tradition)
But one who takes pleasure in the soul surely remains a self-realized man contented in himself only and freed from obligations.
On the other hand the one who takes pleasure in the true and natural self, is someone who finds himself enlightened in self-realization; and such a one, who seeks the perfect of satisfaction within himself alone, knows no further obligations. (Sanskrit & tradition)
Certainly never his doing or not doing in this world will be for a material purpose and never will he see any advantage in taking to the shelter of other living beings.
What he does or not does in the world as a matter of duty, he will never do in service of the world, nor will he think it useful to hide behind the back of other living beings in that. (Sanskrit & tradition)
Therefore, do your work constantly without attachment as a duty, because performing labor unattached certainly one will achieve the Original Person.
And so a man rises above matters when he unattached, but constantly, is motivated to do his job as a matter of duty. (Sanskrit & tradition)
For sure even kings like Janaka [father of Sîtâ, the wife of Râma] and others attained to perfection through this work and also in consideration of what the world needs you should act.
There are great examples of rulers in our family who managed perfectly, strictly keeping to their duty, and so you should as well consider it the proper way to be an example to others. (Sanskrit & tradition)
Whatever a respectable leader does is surely and solely done for other people and whatever the example he gives the whole world will do in following.
Whatever a respectable man does, will also by other people be done; what he does will be used by the whole world as an example to follow in his footsteps. (Sanskrit & tradition)
For Me there is no obligation of service in the three worlds [heaven, hell and purgatory] yet, indeed without wanting or desire to obtain, I am engaged in activities also.
I myself, having no obligations in regard of the heavenly, the earth-bound or the underworld, am as well engaged, even though there's nothing in it for me. (Sanskrit & tradition)
Surely if I ever fail thus to be engaged with great care, that path of Mine all men would follow, o son of Prithâ, in every respect.
You see, all the world would run into chaos when people like me would refrain from doing their job, o son of Prithâ, it would lead to great confusion, and all the people in the world would come to naught. (Sanskrit & tradition)
All these worlds would run into chaos if I wouldn't do My work; I would create confusion and would destroy all these living entities.
Surely the path that I followed in failing to be engaged with care, would be followed by everyone in every respect. (Sanskrit & tradition)
As the ignorant do their work in attachment, o descendant of Bharata, so the learned must act without attachment in desiring to be the example for the common people.
Since the ignoramus does his work in attachment, o descendant of Bharata, the man of learning must do so without attachment, with the wish to set the example for the common man. (Sanskrit & tradition)
He should not disturb the minds of the ignorant attached to the fruits of labor; a wise man should, engaged in his duty, fit all in with his work.
At the same time, he shouldn't upset the man of ignorance who is attached to his karma; a man of learning should, attending to his duty, try to involve all in his work. (Sanskrit & tradition)
From all kinds of activities performed by the modes of material nature, the self, bewildered by the identification with the physical, thinks itself from that the doer.
The individual soul bewildered by false ego - his identification with the body -, engages in all kinds of activities under the influence of the threefold of the modes of nature, and thus he considers himself the doer. (Sanskrit & tradition)
But knowing the principle reality [tattva] with the operating modes, o mighty armed one, he will, who thinks that way about the difference between the senses and their engagement, never become attached.
But as a knower of the supreme truth, o man of grip, mindful of the difference between the two types of being engaged in the work of the senses and in the work for the senses, he is never that fixed. (Sanskrit & tradition)
Bewildered by the modes of nature those persons who have little knowledge and who are lax in selfrealization, become entangled in material activities; they should not be agitated by the ones who know.
Those who, bewildered by the modes of matter, are bent on serving those qualities have no clue being lax in self-realization; they shouldn't be agitated by the ones who know. (Sanskrit & tradition)
Therefore dedicate all sorts of work to Me, giving up in the full knowledge of your soul, with a consciousness free from desiring profit and property and being thus: fight without hesitation!
Instead, better do it in your forsaking the world all with me in mind, in the full knowledge of the soul that is being fed by a consciousness free from desire and greed; and thus being free from the material fever, engage in the fight. (Sanskrit & tradition)
Those who follow these directions about the eternal in a regulated manner are human beings with faith and devotion not looking at others; all of them will become free from even the bond of fruitive labor.
All those who, faithful to these instructions, are ever of a practice as regular as nature, are human beings of belief and sharing who free from envy become free, even free from the bond of profit-minded work. (Sanskrit & tradition)
But those however who do not regularly follow My instructions out of envy are confused about all knowledge and know them well as being lost without that servitude.
Those, however, who covetous after what others have, being envious, are not of such a regular practice to my instruction, are confused in every type of logic one may adhere to; know them to be lost without natural consciousness. (Sanskrit & tradition)
The learned one tries according to his own way [to relate to] the modes of nature, nevertheless all living beings are subjected to it [the creation, maintenance and destruction ] - what [then] can one expect from defeat and destruction?
Even though a man of knowledge endeavors on his own, he is still subjected to material nature; so what's the point of turning away from it? (Sanskrit & tradition)
The attachment and aversion of the senses to their objects needs to be regulated as one certainly should never come under the control of those stumbling blocks.
The senses, fixed in being directed to their objects, are of attachment and aversion; and these are emotions one should never be controlled by because they no doubt are one's stumbling blocks. (Sanskrit & tradition)
It is better [to that] to follow one's own nature making mistakes than to be perfect in following an estranged course of action; to find destruction with following one's own duty is [thus] better than to run into danger with an estranged sense of duty.'
Dealing with these matters, it is far better to follow one's own course making mistakes than to be perfect in an estranged way; it is no doubt better to suffer loss following one's nature than to run into danger following a strange course.' (Sanskrit & tradition)
Arjuna said: 'Then by what is a man impelled to sin even if he doesn't want to, o descendant of Vrishni [Krishna's family name], as if engaged by force?'
Arjuna said: 'What then is it that impels man to be wicked, even unwillingly, o strength of a bull, as if he's forced to it?' (Sanskrit & tradition)
The Supreme Lord said: 'It is lust, it is anger born from the mode of passion which is the all-devouring greatly sinful; know this here to be your greatest enemy.
The fortunate one said: 'The lust and anger you have from your passion is the all-time wicked evil destroying the whole world; know that emotionality to be your greatest enemy out here. (Sanskrit & tradition)
Just like smoke covering a fire, a mirror covered with dust and a womb enclosing an embryo, so similarly by this lust this [knowing] is covered.
One is covered by it like a fire is by smoke, a mirror by dust and an embryo by a womb. (Sanskrit & tradition)
The knowing of the knower, covered by this eternal enemy in the form of [the unregulated] desire, o son of Kuntî, is just like fire never satisfied.
Just like fire the knowing of the knower who is covered by this eternal enemy in the form of unregulated desires, is never satisfied, o son of Kuntî. (Sanskrit & tradition)
The senses, the mind and the intelligence are called the stronghold of this lust which by all these clouds the knowledge in covering the embodied [soul].
This lust rules the senses, the mind and the intelligence, and thus is the real knowledge concealed and is the one embodied bewildered. (Sanskrit & tradition)
Therefore you must, regulating the senses from the beginning, o best among the Bhâratas, curb this drive of sin that is the destroyer of knowledge and wisdom.
Therefore, to begin with, tie the senses down by proper regulation, o best of the Kuru dynasty, and thus curb this drive of evil which is the destroyer of all knowledge and wisdom. (Sanskrit & tradition)
The senses are above things one says and more than the senses is the superior [directing] mind. Also above that is the [planning] intelligence - but more than the intelligence is He who is the [controlling transcendent soul] beyond.
One says that the senses rank higher than their objects, that the mind is on top of them, and that the intelligence rules the mind, but you are the master of the intelligence. (Sanskrit & tradition)
Thus, superior to the intelligence, knowing from the steadying of the mind, deliberately conquer this enemy which, o mighty armed one, is so formidable in the form of lust.'
Superior to the intelligence, knowing it all from steadying the mind deliberately, o man of grip, thus rule and conquer that so difficult to defeat enemy found in the form of lust.' (Sanskrit & tradition)
Versions consulted:- A Song of Fortune One - A modern Gîtâ - the modern version of filognosy (also in mp3-audio).
- A Song of Fortune - A Classical Gîtâ - the classical version of filognosy.
- The Bhagavad Gîta-as-it-is by Swami Bhaktivedânta Prabhupâda (PDF-download).
- The Bhagavad Gîtâ-as-it-is: online (version 1.0).
- The Bhagavad Gita As It Is By His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (pdf-download).
- The Bhagavad Gita by the Bhagavad Gita Trust.
- Bhagavad Gita by Sanderson Beck.
- Bhagavad Gita by Ramanad Prasad (American Gita society).
- Srimad Bhagavad-gita - The Hidden Treasure of the Sweet Absolute (from the Vaishnav' S'rî Caitanya Saraswath math).
Sanskrit dictionary: (Monier-Williams' 'Sanskrit-English Dictionary').
The filognostic translations are of the same author.