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#Gita Chapter 14 (English translation)

November 17, 2017

Introduction, Acknowledgements, Translation notes

Chapter 14

 

YOGA OF THE THREE DISTINCT TEMPERAMENTS

GUNA TRAYA VIBHAAGA YOGA

 

Sri Krishna Bhagavan speaks:

I will again declare that sublime knowledge, the best of all knowledges knowing which all the sages have gone on to Supreme Perfection. II14.1II

 

Those who have taken refuge in this knowledge and attained union with Me are not born in the cycle of creation and are not disturbed at the time of dissolution. II14.2II

 

My womb is the great sustainer. In that I deposit the germ which is the cause of birth of all beings (“Hiranyagarbha”), Bhaarata (Arjuna). II14.3II

(Quotes from Swami Gambhirananda’s translation of Adi Shankaracharya’s Sankara Bhashya.)

 

The great sustainer is the source of whatever forms are produced from all wombs, and I am the father who deposits the seed. II14.4II

 

Purity (sattva), passion for action (rajas), and inertia (tamas) are the gunas (temperaments) born of Nature which bind the Changeless in embodied beings. II14.5II

 

Of the temperaments, sattva is stain-less, luminous, and healthy. It binds by attachment to happiness and attachment to knowledge, Anagha (Arjuna). II14.6II

 

Rajas is of the nature of passion. Know it to be the source of thirst (for things not acquired) and the need to cling on (to things acquired). It binds by attachment to action, Kaunteya (Arjuna). II14.7II

 

Also know that tamas is born of ignorance and is the deluder of all beings. It binds by heedlessness, laziness, and sloth, Bhaarata (Arjuna). II14.8II

 

Sattva attaches you to happiness, rajas to action, while tamas shrouds knowledge and attaches you to heedlessness, Bhaarata (Arjuna) II14.9II

 

Purity will prevail by subduing passion for action and inertia. Passion for action will prevail by overpowering purity and inertia. Inertia will prevail by dominating purity and passion for action. II14.10II

 

When the light of knowledge radiates from all the gates of the body (see 5.13), then know that sattva is predominant. II14.11II

 

When greed, activity, undertaking of action, restlessness, and hankering arise, know that rajas is predominant, Bharatarshaba (Arjuna). II14.12II

 

When non-discrimination, inactivity, heedlessness, and delusion arise, know that tamas is predominant, Kurunandana (Arjuna). II14.13II

 

If you die when sattva prevails, you attain the spotless worlds of those who know the Highest. II14.14II

 

If you die when rajas predominates, you are born among people attached to activity. If you die when tamas is on the increase, you are born in the wombs of the deluded. II14.15II

 

They say that the fruit of good action is stain-less and filled with sattva; the fruit of rajas is sorrow; and the fruit of tamas is ignorance. II14.16II

 

From purity arises knowledge; from the passion for action arises greed; and from inertia arise heedlessness, delusion and ignorance, as well. II14.17II

 

Those established in sattva go to higher worlds; those dwelling in rajas remain in the middle (“among human beings”); and those who are given to tamas go to lower worlds. II14.18II

(Quotes from Swami Gambhirananda’s translation of Adi Shankaracharya’s Sankara Bhashya)

 

When you understand that the temperaments (gunas) are the agents that act and nothing else, and realize That which is superior to the temperaments, you attain My state. II14.19II

 

Having transcended the three temperaments from which the body evolves, the embodied one becomes free from birth, death, decay, and pain and attains Immortality. II14.20II

 

Arjuna speaks:

By what signs do I know the one who has transcended the (three) temperaments Prabho (Lord, Sri Krishna)? How does he behave? In what way does he transcend the temperaments? II14.21II

 

Sri Krishna Bhagavan speaks:

When illumination (knowledge), activity, and delusion are present, he does not hate them; nor does he long for them when they are absent. II14.22II

 

He remains unconcerned, unmoved by the gunas, and aware that the temperaments are operating, is centered in the Self and calm. II14.23II

 

For him joy and sorrow are the same. Established in the Self, he regards a lump of clay, a stone, and gold as the same. He neither likes nor dislikes. He is steadfast and indifferent to insult and praise. II14.24II

 

He who is the same in honor and dishonor, the same to friend and foe, renouncing all undertakings, he transcends the gunas, it is said. II14.25II

 

And he who serves Me with the unswerving Yoga of Devotion, having transcended the gunas, he becomes one with Brahman. II14.26II

 

I am indeed the abode of the Supreme Self which is Immortal, Unchanging, and Everlasting, the Principle of Absolute Bliss. II14.27II

 

Concluding verse:

Om! Such is the Truth in the Bhagavad Gita and the Upanishads. This is the knowledge of Supreme Consciousness. It is a scripture of union; a dialogue between Sri Krishna (the teacher) and Arjuna (the student). The fourteenth discourse ends, titled “Yoga of the Three Distinct Temperaments–Guna Traya Vibhaaga Yoga”.

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