Chapter 13 - Ksetra Ksetrajna Vibhaaga Yoga


Yoga through Distinguishing the Field and the Knower of the Field



The thirteenth chapter of the Bhagavad Gita is Ksetra Ksetrajna Vibhaaga Yoga. The word kshetra means the field, and the kshetrajna means the knower of the field. We can think of our material body as the field and our immortal soul as the knower of the field. In this chapter, Krishna discriminates between the physical body and the immortal soul. He explains that the physical body is temporary and perishable whereas the soul is permanent and eternal. The physical body can be destroyed but the soul can never be destroyed. The chapter then describes God, who is the Supreme Soul. All the individual souls have originated from the Supreme Soul. One who clearly understands the difference between the body, the Soul and the Supreme Soul attains the realization of Brahman.


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Verse 1-2


Arjun said, “O Keshav, I wish to understand what are prakṛiti and puruṣh, and what are kṣhetra and kṣhetrajña? I also wish to know what is true knowledge, and what is the goal of this knowledge? The Supreme Divine Lord said: O Arjun, this body is termed as kṣhetra (the field of activities), and the one who knows this body is called kṣhetrajña (the knower of the field) by the sages who discern the truth about both.

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Verse 3


O scion of Bharat, I am also the knower of all the individual fields of activity. The understanding of the body as the field of activities, and the soul and God as the knowers of the field, this I hold to be true knowledge.

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Verse 4


Listen and I will explain to you what that field is and what its nature is. I will also explain how change takes place within it, from what it was created, who the knower of the field of activities is, and what his powers are.

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Verse 5


Great sages have sung the truth about the field and the knower of the field in manifold ways. It has been stated in various Vedic hymns, and especially revealed in the Brahma Sūtra, with sound logic and conclusive evidence.

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Verse 6-7


The field of activities is composed of the five great elements, the ego, the intellect, the unmanifest primordial matter, the eleven senses (five knowledge senses, five working senses, and mind), and the five objects of the senses. Desire and aversion, happiness and misery, the body, consciousness, and the will—all these comprise the field and its modifications.

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Verse 8-12


Humbleness; freedom from hypocrisy; non-violence; forgiveness; simplicity; service of the Guru; cleanliness of body and mind; steadfastness; and self-control; dispassion toward the objects of the senses; absence of egotism; keeping in mind the evils of birth, disease, old age, and death; non-attachment; absence of clinging to spouse, children, home, and so on; even-mindedness amidst desired and undesired events in life; constant and exclusive devotion toward me; an inclination for solitary places and an aversion for mundane society; constancy in spiritual knowledge; and philosophical pursuit of the Absolute Truth—all these I declare to be knowledge, and what is contrary to it, I call ignorance.

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