Bhagavad Gita: Become & Becoming – Part 1

This chapter in Bhagavad Gita is called the Kshetra-Kshetragyana-Yoga. In the standard translations kshetra-kshetragyana is translated as “nature and the enjoyer”. While the actual translation can imply this, it is just a subset. The problem with such a translation is, it becomes very subjective and all understanding comes with respect to “me” which then twists the meaning irreparably.

In life you can read a set of words any number of times, but until such time as you have reached a certain level of understanding, the core message conveyed in that set of words is never absorbed. The core understanding required to change the meaning conveyed in this chapter is to understand “kshetra”. Kshetra means environment. “Kshetragyana” means the “knowledge of the environment”. The instant we start talking about this as “the environment” and “the knowledge of the environment”, the subjectiveness goes and we are able to read the chapter differently. So, what is the kshetra that this chapter is describing?

If we look at the translations of various different sthotrams and tantras, we see that these various literature describe the unmanifested, manifested and the process of unmanifested becoming the manifested. If the unmanifested is the “infinite choices that can become”, the manifested is “that one specific choice that has become”, then, that manifested by becoming “has created a vibrant environment which can support more that are becoming”, this I believe is called “the environment”. This is the environment that is being described here.

To note here, “bhUtam” is “that which has become”, generally translated as “living beings”. Problem with the later translation is we have gone to the next level of abstraction and hence get terribly caught with a number of assumptions. This needs to be talked of as “that which has a potential to become”, “that which is becoming” and “that which has become”, only then will we remain in the realm of no assumptions. This chapter can be split into two parts, the first where it talks about the environment and the knower of the environment and the second that talks about Purusham and Prakriti interaction. Here, I will translate the first part, the second in the next blog.

idaM SareeraM kauntEya kShEtramityabhidheeyatE |
EtadyO vEtti taM praahuH kShEtragnya iti tadvidaH || 1 ||

idam + sharIram + kaunteya + kshetra + mitya + abhIdhI + yate =
this + body + oh arjuna + environment + is measured + consider + in this
etad + yo + vetti + taM + prAhuh + kShetra + jnaya + iti + tad + vidih =
he who + knows + he + consider as + environment + knowledge of + thus + that + knows

kShEtragnyaM chaapi maaM viddhi sarvakShEtrEShu bhaarata |
kShEtrakShEtragnyayOrgnyaanaM yattajgnyaanaM mataM mama || 2 ||

kshreagnyaM + chApi + mAM + vidhI + sarva + kshetra + eShu + bhArata =
the knowledge of environment + rather than + I + knowing + all + environments + seeking + oh bhArata
kShetra + kShetra + jnAyor + jnAn + yat + taj + jnAn + mataM + mama =
environment + environment + having knowledge, knowing + knowledge + is that + that + knowledge + thought / imaginged / understood + as I

tatkShEtraM yachcha yaadRukcha yadvikaari yataScha yat |
sa cha yO yatprabhaavaScha tatsamaasEna mE SRuNu || 3 ||

tat + kShetram + yach + cha + yAdRuk + cha + yad + vikAri + yatash + ca + yat =
that + environment + which + also + appearing + also + that + liable to change + from where + also + that
sa + ca + yo + yat + prabhAvash + ca + tat + samasena + me + shRuNu =
he + also + this + that + consequence oft + also + that + equanimity + in + be known as

RuShibhirbahudhaa geetaM CandObhirvividhaiH pRuthak |
brahmasootrapadaiSchaiva hEtumadbhirviniSchitaiH || 4 ||

ruSha + ibhir + bahudhA + gItam + Candhobhir + vividhai + pRuthak =
to approach + this + many + chant+ seem + different + separately
brahma + sUtra + pAdai + ca + iva + hetu + madbhir + vinishcitah =
creation + thread + verses +also + almost + reason + pleasant + certain

mahaabhootaanyahaMkaarO buddhiravyaktamEva cha |
indriyaaNi daSaikaM cha pancha chEndriyagOcharaaH || 5 ||

mahA + bhUtAnya + buddhi + avyaktam + ca =
great + that which has become + intelligence + undeveloped + also
indriyANi + dashaikam + ca + panca + cha + indriya + gocharam =
sensory + all 10 senses + also + five + senses also + scope

This translates to:

This body is only considered to be measured only in this environment. He who understands this, he considers, the knowing of this environment is thus that knowledge. The knowledge of the environment rather than the knowledge of the I, is seeking of all environments. The knowledge of the environment and the environment, is that, knowledge is imagined as I. That environment which appears to be liable to change from anywhere also knows the consequence of equanimity. Many approach this separately chanting verses which appear to be different threads of creation and certainly this motive is almost pleasant. But that which has become and becoming are only in the scope of 10 and 5 senses.

ichCaa dvEShaH sukhaM duHkhaM saMghaataSchEtanaa dhRutiH |
EtatkShEtraM samaasEna savikaaramudaahRutam || 6 ||

icchA + dvesha + sukham + dukham + saMghAtash + cetana + dhRutih =
like + dislike + happiness + sadness + union + visible + supporting
etat + kshetram + samAsena + sa + vikAram + udAhRutam = this + environment + equally + all + change + illustrated

amaanitvamadambhitvamahiMsaa kShaantiraarjavam |
aachaaryOpaasanaM SauchaM sthairyamaatmavinigrahaH || 7 ||

amAntaitvam + adambhaitvam + ahiMsA + kShAntir + ArjavaM =
humility + sincerity + non-violence + peaceful + straight direction
AcAryA + apAsanaM + shaucaM + sthairvaM + Atma + vinigrahah =
to be approached + discarding + purity + calm + self + control

indriyaarthEShu vairaagyamanahaMkaara Eva cha |
janmamRutyujaraavyaadhiduHkhadOShaanudarSanam || 8 ||

indriya + artha + eshu + vairagya + ahamkAra + eva + ca =
senses + purpose + seeking + indifference to worldly objects + also + is
janma + mrtyu + jarA + vyAdhi + dukha + doshAnu + darshanam =
birth + death + act of decaying + sick + sadness + deficiency + exhibiting

asaktiranabhiShvangaH putradaaragRuhaadiShu |
nityaM cha samachittatvamiShTaaniShTOpapattiShu || 9 ||

asktir + anabhiShvangah + putradAra + gRuhAdiShu =
disinteredted + detachment / unattached + family + without grasping
nityaM + ca + sama + citta + tvam + iShTa + niShTo + papattiShu =
continuous + also + equal + intention+ your + want + being in + without feeling pain

mayi chaananyayOgEna bhaktiravyabhichaariNee |
viviktadESasEvitvamaratirjanasaMsadi || 10 ||

mayi + ca + ananya + yogena + bhaktir + avyabhicAriNI =
consisting of + also + not other + union + divided + non-deviation
vivikta + desha + sevitvam + aratir + janas + saMsadi =
distinction + region + followed + discontent + race / class + assembly / meeting

This translates to:

Like and dislike, happiness and sadness are visible supported by this environment, equally all changes are displayed. Humility, sincerity, non-violence, peace, honesty, are approached by discarding pure calm self control. The exhibition of birth, death, act of decaying, sickness sadness is the cause for the senses seeking indifference to worldly objects, disinterested, detached, without grasping to family, also continuously having equal intention, wanting to be in without feeling pain. Discontentment follows the meeting of non-divided, divided, non-deviation, separate region.

adhyaatmagnyaananityatvaM tattvagnyaanaarthadarSanam |
Etajgnyaanamiti prOktamagnyaanaM yadatOnyathaa || 11 ||

adhyAtma + gnyAna + nityatvam + tatva + gnyAna + artha + darshanam =
concerning one's own self + knowledge + continuously + true state + knowledge + purpose + seeing
etat + gnyAnam + iti + proktam + agnyAnam + yad + atho + anyathA =
which + of knowledge + this + announced + not knowing + which + likewise + other (etc)

gnyEyaM yattatpravakShyaami yajgnyaatvaamRutamaSnutE |
anaadimatparaM brahma na sattannaasaduchyatE || 12 ||

gnyeyam + yat + tat + prava + akShyAmi + yad + gnyAtva + mRutam + ashnute =
knowing + what + that + hovering + visible to the eye + which + by knowing + destruction + will come
anAdi + matparam + brahma + na + sattam + nAsad + uchyate =
having no beginning + devoted to + creation + not + existence + nor any other + is told

sarvataHpaaNipaadaM tatsarvatOkShiSirOmukham |
sarvataHSrutimallOkE sarvamaavRutya tiShThati || 13 ||

sarvatah + pANipAdaM + tat + sarva + akShi + shiro + mukham =
everything that has + hands and feet + that + everything with eyes, head, face
sarvatah + Shrutimal + loke + sarvam + avRutya + tiShThati =
everything that is + possessed of knowledge + world + every + not happened + remain

sarvEndriyaguNaabhaasaM sarvEndriyavivarjitam |
asaktaM sarvabhRuchchaiva nirguNaM guNabhOktRu cha || 14 ||

sarvendriya + guNAbhAsaM + sarvedriya + vivarjitam =
all senses + with semblance of qualities + all senses +abandoned
asaktam + sarva + bhRuchcha + iva + nirguNam + guNAbhoktRu + ca =
detached + all + carrying + also + without qualities + with qualities + also

bahirantaScha bhootaanaamacharaM charamEva cha |
sookShmatvaattadavignyEyaM doorasthaM chaantikE cha tat || 15 ||

bahir + antashca + bhUtAnAm + acaram + caram + eva + ca =
outer + also inside + all that has become + immovable + movable + and + also
Sukshma + tvAt + tad + avijyeyam + dUrastham + ca + antike + ca + tat =
subtle + other + that + not knowing + remote + also + near + also that

avibhaktaM cha bhootEShu vibhaktamiva cha sthitam |
bhootabhartRu cha tajgnyEyaM grasiShNu prabhaviShNu cha || 16 ||

avibhaktaM + ca + bhUteShu + vibhakta + iva + ca + sthitaM =
undivided + also + become + divided + almost + also + stable
bhUta + bhartRu + ca + tad + gneyaM + grasiShNu + prabhaviShNu + ca =
also + become + supporter + also + that + knowing + absorb + potent + also

jyOtiShaamapi tajjyOtistamasaH paramuchyatE |
gnyaanaM gnyEyaM gnyaanagamyaM hRudi sarvasya viShThitam || 17 ||

jyotiSham + api + tad + jyotis + tamasah + param + uccate =
light + also + that + brightness + darkness + great + is told
gnyAnaM + gnyeyaM + gnyAna + gamyaM + hRudi + sarvasya + viShThitaM =
of knowledge + knowing + knowledge + accessible + mental activity + all this is + standing apart

iti kShEtraM tathaa gnyaanaM gnyEyaM chOktaM samaasataH |
madbhakta Etadvignyaaya madbhaavaayOpapadyatE || 18 ||

iti + kshetram + tathA + gyAnaM + gnyEyam + choktaM + samAsatah =
this environment + thus + knowledge + knowing + pure + concisely
mad + bhakta + etad + vijnayAya + mad + bhAva + yopa + padyate =
easily + distributed + that which + is coherent + easily + becoming / existing + destroying + perish

This translates to:

The knowledge of one’s own self, continuously seeing the purpose of the true state of knowledge, that which is said to be known and that which is therefore other, the unknown, knowing that, that which is visible to the knowledge will be destroyed. It is told that creation has no beginning and is not dependant on the existence of any other. All that has hands and feet, all with eyes, head and face, everything that is possessed of knowledge, everything in this world and that remaining that has not happened, all senses with semblance of qualities, all senses avoided, detached, all carrying without qualities as well as with qualities, outer and also inner, all that has become movable and immovable, not knowing that subtle other remote as well as the near, undivided also becomes stable as divided. The maintainer of the become also that potent knowing is absorbed. it is told that light and also brightness is greater than darkness, knowing of knowledge stands apart from mental activity accessing the knowledge. This environment is thus the knowing of that concise pure knowledge, that which is coherent will be easily distributed and easily become, then destroyed and perished.

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