Gita Series – 130: Bhagavad Gita Chapter XIII. Verse 1 – 3

Chapter 13 of Bhagavad Gita is known as Kṣetrakṣetrajñavibhāgayogaḥ(Kshetra Kshetrajna Vibhaga Yoga). Kṣetra means body and kṣetrajña(Kshetrajna) means soul. This chapter is considered very important for all spiritual aspirants as Krishna dwells at length about His formless form. This chapter is highly useful for all meditators as well. This chapter has 34 verses, though some mention 35 verses. The difference is due to the inclusion of first verse of this chapter wherein Arjuna expresses his desire to know about Puruṣa, Prakṛti, the field knowing and the knowledge that is to be known. Krishna explains this Arjuna.

Arjuna, the body is only a field, where all the actions take place and is known as kṣetra and the one who realises this is called kṣetrajña(Kshetrajna). Know Me as kṣetrajña(Kshetrajna) in all the kṣetra-s. Knowledge about kṣetra and kṣetrajña(Kshetrajna) is wisdom. Now, I will give you a brief about kṣetra and its nature, its modifications, its origin and kṣetrajña (Kshetrajna) and its glory.”

Krishna begins by saying that a kṣetra or body is nothing but a play field, where kṣetrajña(Kshetrajna) known as the soul plays. Kṣetrajña(Kshetrajna) or the soul is the source of energy of kṣetra or body to function. Apart from providing energy for the body to function, soul is simply seated as witness watching the unfoldment of actions in the body. Actions of the body unfold due to one’s karma. Karma is embedded in the soul. The soul and karma always stay together, but are not connected to each other. The kṣetrajña(Kshetrajna), hereinafter referred to as soul, is not perishable, whereas kṣetra, hereinafter referred to as body is perishable. A body cannot exist without a soul, whereas soul can exist with body. A soul becomes capable of merging with the Brahman, only if its embedded karma is emptied. A soul is a direct representative of the Lord or the Brahman. In creation, Lord or the Brahman is the highest authority, beyond whom nothing exists. When a soul exists in a body it is known as jīvātman. Ātman means individual soul and jīva means the body. Jīva and ātman combine together and cause a jīvātman to exist. The combination of all the souls that exist in the universe is called Paramātman. Paramātman is the Brahman or the Lord, from whom all the individuals arise and into whom all the individual souls dissolve at the time of annihilation. Except at the time of annihilation, all the souls do not become eligible to get absorbed into the Brahman, except where the souls do not carry any karmic account with them. Irrespective of the karmic account, whether it is good or bad, soul should not carry any karmic account with it, to become eligible for liberation.

An individual soul is also known as puruṣa and the Brahman is known as Puruṣa. The difference between puruṣa and Puruṣa is the difference between self and Self. Self is the Lord and self is an individual soul. A puruṣa cannot take a shape and form on its own. Only when a puruṣa conjoins with Prakṛti, a creation takes place. Prakṛti can be explained as the absolute and independent power of the Lord. Puruṣa is the static energy of the Lord, from which Prakṛti originates. Prakṛti is the kinetic energy of the Lord. Without the kinetic energy of the Lord, creation cannot take place. For the sake of convenience Puruṣa can be treated as the masculine energy and Prakṛti can be treated as the feminine energy. Unless these two energies come together, a creation cannot take place. A body is considered sacred because, it is the result of conjugation of Puruṣa and Prakṛti. Sheathing the puruṣa within, prakṛti evolves, in the form of a shape and form. Only prakṛti undergoes changes and the puruṣa does not. Puruṣa continues to be a witness, comfortably seated within, watching the activities of the body and consequent accrual of karmas arising out ignorance and ego. As long as one does not realise the Brahman, one continues to be bound by duality and bondage. Knowledge does not actually modify an object. It only removes the ignorance relating to that object. Realization of the Brahman alone leads to becoming Brahman.

Krishna says that one who understands this process of creation and evolution is kṣetrajña(Kshetrajna), who is nothing but the Lord Himself. Understanding this process is also known as wisdom, which leads to realising the Self. With these preliminaries, Krishna now proceeds to go into the details.

Further Readings:

Bhagavad Gita Chapter XII. 17 - 20

Bhagavad Gita Chapter XIII. 4 - 6

Bhagavad Gita Chapter XIII. 7 - 11