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Essence of Bhagavad Gita - Chapter-13




THIRTEEN: SPIRIT AND MATTER

“Arjuna asked: My Lord! Who is God and what is Nature; what is Matter and what is the
Self; what is that they call Wisdom, and what is it that is worth knowing? I wish to have
this explained.
Lord Shri Krishna replied: O Arjuna! The body of man is the playground of the Self; and
That which knows the activities of Matter, sages call the Self.
I am the Omniscient self that abides in the playground of Matter; knowledge of Matter
and of the all-knowing Self is wisdom.
What is called Matter, of what it is composed, whence it came, and why it changes, what
the Self is, and what Its power – this I will now briefly set forth.
Seers have sung of It in various ways, in many hymns and sacred Vedic songs, weighty in
thought and convincing in argument.
The five great fundamentals (earth, fire, air, water and ether), personality, intellect, the
mysterious life force, the ten organs of perception and action, the mind and the five
domains of sensation;
Desire, aversion, pleasure, pain, sympathy, vitality and the persistent clinging to life, these
are in brief the constituents of changing Matter.
Humility, sincerity, harmlessness, forgiveness, rectitude, service of the Master, purity,
steadfastness, self-control;
Renunciation of the delights of sense, absence of pride, right understanding of the painful
problem of birth and death, of age and sickness;
Indifference, non-attachment to sex, progeny or home, equanimity in good fortune and in
bad;
Unswerving devotion to Me, by concentration on Me and Me alone, a love for solitude,
indifference to social life;
Constant yearning for the knowledge of Self, and pondering over the lessons of the great
Truth – this is Wisdom, all else ignorance.
I will speak to thee now of that great Truth which man ought to know, since by its means
he will win immortal bliss – that which is without beginning, the Eternal Spirit which
dwells in Me, neither with form, nor yet without it.
Everywhere are Its hands and Its feet; everywhere It has eyes that see, heads that think
and mouths that speak; everywhere It listens; It dwells in all the worlds; It envelops them
all.
Beyond the senses, It yet shines through every sense perception. Bound to nothing, It yet
sustains everything. Unaffected by the Qualities, It still enjoys them all.

It is within all beings, yet outside; motionless yet moving; too subtle to be perceived; far
away yet always near.
In all beings undivided, yet living in division, It is the upholder of all, Creator and
Destroyer alike;
It is the Light of lights, beyond the reach of darkness; the Wisdom, the only thing that is
worth knowing or that wisdom can teach; the Presence in the hearts of all.
Thus I have told thee in brief what Matter is, and the Self worth realising and what is
Wisdom. He who is devoted to Me knows; and assuredly he will enter into Me.
Know thou further that Nature and God have no beginning; and that differences of
character and quality have their origin in Nature only.
Nature is the Law which generates cause and effect; God is the source of the enjoyment of
all pleasure and pain.
God dwelling in the heart of Nature experiences the Qualities which nature brings forth;
and His affinity towards the Qualities is the reason for His living in a good or evil body.
Thus in the body of man dwells the Supreme God; He who sees and permits, upholds and
enjoys, the Highest God and the Highest Self.
He who understands God and Nature along with her qualities, whatever be his condition
in life, he comes not again to earth.
Some realise the Supreme by meditating, by its aid, on the Self within, others by pure
reason, others by right action.
Others again, having no direct knowledge but only hearing from others, nevertheless
worship, and they, too, if true to the teachings, cross the sea of death.
Wherever life is seen in things movable or immovable, it is the joint product of Matter and
Spirit.
He who can see the Supreme Lord in all beings, the Imperishable amidst the perishable, he
it is who really sees.
Beholding the Lord in all things equally, his actions do not mar his spiritual life but lead
him to the height of Bliss.
He who understands that it is only the Law of Nature that brings action to fruition, and
that the Self never acts, alone knows the Truth.
He who sees the diverse forms of life all rooted in One, and growing forth from Him, he
shall indeed find the Absolute.
The Supreme Spirit, O Prince, is without beginning, without Qualities and Imperishable,
and though it be within the body, yet It does not act, nor is It affected by action.
As space, though present everywhere, remains by reason of its subtlety unaffected, so the
Self, though present in all forms, retains its purity unalloyed.

As the one Sun illuminates the whole earth, so the Lord illumines the whole universe.
Those who with the eyes of wisdom thus see the difference between Matter and Spirit, and
know how to liberate Life from the Law of Nature, they attain the Supreme.”
Thus, in the Holy Book the Bhagavad Gita, one of the Upanishads, in the Science of the Supreme
Spirit, in the Art of Self-Knowledge, in the colloquy between the Divine Lord Shri Krishna and the
Prince Arjuna, stands the thirteenth chapter, entitled: Spirit and Matter.

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