CHAPTER 14: The Three types of material form.
©2001, TheBhagavatGita.com



Text: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22-25, 26, 27

 

TEXT 1

sri-bhagavan uvaca
param bhuyah pravaksyami
jnananam jnanam uttamam
yaj jnatva munayah sarve
param siddhimn ito gatah

WORD FOR WORD

sri-bhagavan uvaca -- The Supreme said; param -- transcendental; bhuyah -- again; pravaksyami -- I shall speak; jnananam -- of all knowledge; jnanam -- knowledge; uttamam -- the supreme; yat -- which; jnatva -- knowing; munayah -- the sages; sarve -- all; param -- transcendental; siddhim -- perfection; itah -- from this world; gatah -- attained.

TRANSLATION

The Supreme said: Again I shall declare to you this supreme wisdom, the best of all knowledge, knowing which all the sages have attained the supreme perfection.

 



TEXT 2

idam jnanam upasritya
mama sadharmyam agatah
sarge 'pi nopajayante
pralaye na vyathanti ca

WORD FOR WORD

idam -- this; jnanam -- knowledge; upasritya -- taking shelter of; mama -- My; sadharmyam -- same nature; agatah -- having attained; sarge api -- even in the creation; na -- never; upajayante -- are born; pralaye -- in the annihilation; na -- nor; vyathanti -- are disturbed; ca -- also.

TRANSLATION

By becoming fixed in this knowledge, one can attain to the transcendental nature like My own. Thus established, one is not born at the time of creation or disturbed at the time of dissolution.

 



TEXT 3

mama yonir mahad brahma
tasmin garbham dadhamy aham
sam bhavah sarva-bhutanam
tato bhavati bharata

WORD FOR WORD

mama -- My; yonih -- source of birth; mahat -- the total material existence; brahma -- supreme; tasmin -- in that; garbham -- pregnancy; dadhami -- create; aham -- I; sambhavah -- the possibility; sarva-bhutanam -- of all living entities; tatah -- thereafter; bhavati -- becomes; bharata -- O son of Bharata.

TRANSLATION

The total material substance, called Brahman, is the source of birth, and it is that Brahman that I impregnate, making possible the births of all living beings, O son of Bharata.

 



TEXT 4

sarva-yonisu kaunteya
murtayah sambhavanti yah
tasam brahma mahad yonir
aham bija-pradah pita

WORD FOR WORD

sarva-yonisu -- in all species of life; kaunteya -- O son of Kunti; murtayah -- forms; sambhavanti -- they appear; yah -- which; tasam -- of all of them; brahma -- the supreme; mahat yonih -- source of birth in the material substance; aham -- I; bija-pradah -- the seed-giving; pita -- father.

TRANSLATION

It should be understood that all species of life, O son of Kunti, are made possible by birth in this material nature, and that I am the seed-giving father.

 



TEXT 5

sattvam rajas tama iti
gunah prakrti-sambhavah
nibadhnanti maha-baho
dehe dehinam avyayam

WORD FOR WORD

sattvam -- the quality of goodness; rajah -- the quality of passion; tamah -- the quality of ignorance; iti -- thus; gunah -- the qualities; prakrti -- material nature; sambhavah -- produced of; nibadhnanti -- do condition; maha-baho -- O mighty-armed one; dehe -- in this body; dehinam -- the living entity; avyayam -- eternal.

TRANSLATION

Material nature consists of three qualities -- goodness, passion and ignorance. When the eternal living entity comes in contact with nature, O mighty-armed Arjuna, he becomes conditioned by these qualities.

 



TEXT 6

tatra sattvam nirmalatvat
prakasakam anamayam
sukha-sangena badhnati
jnana-sangena canagha

WORD FOR WORD

tatra -- there; sattvam -- the quality of goodness; nirmalatvat -- being purest in the material world; prakasakam -- illuminating; anamayam -- without any sinful reaction; sukha -- with happiness; sangena -- by association; badhnati -- conditions; jnana -- with knowledge; sangena -- by association; ca -- also; anagha -- O sinless one.

TRANSLATION

O sinless one, the quality of goodness, being purer than the others, is illuminating, and it frees one from all sinful reactions. Those situated in that quality become conditioned by a sense of happiness and knowledge.

 



TEXT 7

rajo ragatmakam viddhi
trsna-sanga-samudbhavam
tan nibadhnati kaunteya
karma-sangena dehinam

WORD FOR WORD

rajah -- the quality of passion; raga-atmakam -- born of desire or lust; viddhi -- know; trsna -- with hankering; sanga -- association; samudbhavam -- produced of; tat -- that; nibadhnati -- binds; kaunteya -- O son of Kunti; karma-sangena -- by association with fruitive activity; dehinam -- the embodied.

TRANSLATION

The quality of passion is born of unlimited desires and longings, O son of Kunti, and because of this the embodied living entity is bound to material fruitive actions.

 



TEXT 8

tamas tv ajnana-jam viddhi
mohanam sarva-dehinam
pramadalasya-nidrabhis
tan nibadhnati bharata

WORD FOR WORD

tamah -- the quality of ignorance; tu -- but; ajnana-jam -- produced of ignorance; viddhi -- know; mohanam -- the delusion; sarva-dehinam -- of all embodied beings; pramada -- with madness; alasya -- indolence; nidrabhih -- and sleep; tat -- that; nibadhnati -- binds; bharata -- O son of Bharata.

TRANSLATION

O son of Bharata, know that the quality of darkness, born of ignorance, is the delusion of all embodied living entities. The results of this quality are madness, indolence and sleep, which bind the conditioned soul.

 



TEXT 9

sattvam sukhe sanjayati
rajah karmani bharata
jnanam avrtya tu tamah
pramade sanjayaty uta

WORD FOR WORD

sattvam -- the quality of goodness; sukhe -- in happiness; sanjayati -- binds; rajah -- the quality of passion; karmani -- in fruitive activity; bharata -- O son of Bharata; jnanam -- knowledge; avrtya -- covering; tu -- but; tamah -- the quality of ignorance; pramade -- in madness; sanjayati -- binds; uta -- it is said.

TRANSLATION

O son of Bharata, the quality of goodness conditions one to happiness; passion conditions one to fruitive action; and ignorance, covering one's knowledge, binds one to madness.

 



TEXT 10

rajas tamas cabhibhuya
sattvam bhavati bharata
rajah sattvam tamas caiva
tamah sattvam rajas tatha

WORD FOR WORD

rajah -- the quality of passion; tamah -- the quality of ignorance; ca -- also; abhibhuya -- surpassing; sattvam -- the quality of goodness; bhavati -- becomes prominent; bharata -- O son of Bharata; rajah -- the quality of passion; sattvam -- the quality of goodness; tamah -- the quality of ignorance; ca -- also; eva -- like that; tamah -- the quality of ignorance; sattvam -- the quality of goodness; rajah -- the quality of passion; tatha -- thus.

TRANSLATION

Sometimes the quality of goodness becomes prominent, defeating the qualities of passion and ignorance, O son of Bharata. Sometimes the quality of passion defeats goodness and ignorance, and at other times ignorance defeats goodness and passion. In this way there is always competition for supremacy.

 



TEXT 11

sarva-dvaresu dehe 'smin
prakasa upajayate
jnanam yada tada vidyad
vivrddham sattvam ity uta

WORD FOR WORD

sarva-dvaresu -- in all the gates; dehe asmin -- in this body; prakasah -- the quality of illumination; upajayate -- develops; jnanam -- knowledge; yada -- when; tada -- at that time; vidyat -- know; vivrddham -- increased; sattvam -- the quality of goodness; iti uta -- thus it is said.

TRANSLATION

The manifestations of the quality of goodness can be experienced when all the gates of the body are illuminated by knowledge.

 



TEXT 12

lobhah pravrttir arambhah
karmanam asamah sprha
rajasy etanijayante
vivrddhe bharatarsabha

WORD FOR WORD

lobhah -- greed; pravrttih -- activity; arambhah -- endeavor; karmanam -- in activities; asamah -- uncontrollable; sprha -- desire; rajasi -- of the quality of passion; etani -- all these; jayante -- develop; vivrddhe -- when there is an excess; bharata-rsabha -- O chief of the descendants of Bharata.

TRANSLATION

O chief of the Bharatas, when there is an increase in the quality of passion the symptoms of great attachment, fruitive activity, intense endeavor, and uncontrollable desire and hankering develop.

 



TEXT 13

aprakaso 'pravrttis ca
pramado moha eva ca
tamasy etanijayante
vivrddhe kuru-nandana

WORD FOR WORD

aprakasah -- darkness; apravrttih -- inactivity; ca -- and; pramadah -- madness; mohah -- illusion; eva -- certainly; ca -- also; tamasi -- the quality of ignorance; etani -- these; jayante -- are manifested; vivrddhe -- when developed; kuru-nandana -- O son of Kuru.

TRANSLATION

When there is an increase in the quality of ignorance, O son of Kuru, darkness, inertia, madness and illusion are manifested.

 



TEXT 14

yada sattve pravrddhe tu
pralayam yati deha-bhrt
tadottama-vidam lokan
amalan pratipadyate

WORD FOR WORD

yada -- when; sattve -- the quality of goodness; pravrddhe -- developed; tu -- but; pralayam -- dissolution; yati -- goes; deha-bhrt -- the embodied; tada -- at that time; uttama-vidam -- of the great sages; lokan -- the planets; amalan -- pure; pratipadyate -- attains.

TRANSLATION

When one dies in the quality of goodness, he attains to the pure higher planets of the great sages.

 



TEXT 15

rajasi pralayam gatva
karma-sangisu jayate
tatha pralinas tamasi
mudha-yonisu jayate

WORD FOR WORD

rajasi -- in passion; pralayam -- dissolution; gatva -- attaining; karma-sangisu -- in the association of those engaged in fruitive activities; jayate -- takes birth; tatha -- similarly; pralinah -- being dissolved; tamasi -- in ignorance; mudha-yonisu -- in animal species; jayate -- takes birth.

TRANSLATION

When one dies in the quality of passion, he takes birth among those engaged in fruitive activities; and when one dies in the quality of ignorance, he takes birth in the animal kingdom.

 



TEXT 16

karmanah sukrtasyahuh
sattvikam nirmalam phalam
rajasas tu phalam duhkham
ajnanam tamasah phalam

WORD FOR WORD

karmanah -- of work; su-krtasya -- pious; ahuh -- is said; sattvikam -- in the quality of goodness; nirmalam -- purified; phalam -- the result; rajasah -- of the quality of passion; tu -- but; phalam -- the result; duhkham -- misery; ajnanam -- nonsense; tamasah -- of the quality of ignorance; phalam -- the result.

TRANSLATION

The result of pious action is pure and is said to be in the quality of goodness. But action done in the quality of passion results in misery, and action performed in the quality of ignorance results in foolishness.

 



TEXT 17

sattvat sanjayate jnanam
rajaso lobha eva ca
pramada-mohau tamaso
bhavato 'jnanam eva ca

WORD FOR WORD

sattvat -- from the quality of goodness; sanjayate -- develops; jnanam -- knowledge; rajasah -- from the quality of passion; lobhah -- greed; eva -- certainly; ca -- also; pramada -- madness; mohau -- and illusion; tamasah -- from the quality of ignorance; bhavatah -- develop; ajnanam -- nonsense; eva -- certainly; ca -- also.

TRANSLATION

From the quality of goodness, real knowledge develops; from the quality of passion, greed develops; and from the quality of ignorance develop foolishness, madness and illusion.

 



TEXT 18

urdhvam gacchanti sattva-stha
madhye tisthanti rajasah
jaghanya-guna-vrtti stha
adho gacchanti tamasah

WORD FOR WORD

urdhvam -- upwards; gacchanti -- go; sattva-sthah -- those situated in the quality of goodness; madhye -- in the middle; tisthanti -- dwell; rajasah -- those situated in the quality of passion; jaghanya -- of abominable; guna -- quality; vrtti-sthah -- whose occupation; adhah -- down; gacchanti -- go; tamasah -- persons in the quality of ignorance.

TRANSLATION

Those situated in the quality of goodness gradually go upward to the higher planets; those in the quality of passion live on the earthly planets; and those in the abominable quality of ignorance go down to the hellish worlds.

 



TEXT 19

nanyam gunebhyah kartaram
yada drastanupasyati
gunebhyas ca param vetti
mad-bhavam so 'dhigacchati

WORD FOR WORD

na -- no; anyam -- other; gunebhyah -- than the qualities; kartaram -- performer; yada -- when; drasta -- a seer; anupasyati -- sees properly; gunebhyah -- to the qualities of nature; ca -- and; param -- transcendental; vetti -- knows; mat-bhavam -- to My spiritual nature; sah -- he; adhigacchati -- is promoted.

TRANSLATION

When one properly sees that in all activities no other performer is at work than these qualities of nature and he knows the Supreme Lord, who is transcendental to all these qualities, he attains My spiritual nature.

 



TEXT 20

gunan etan atitya trin
dehi deha-samudbhavan
janma-mrtyu jara-duhkhair
vimukto 'mrtam asnute

WORD FOR WORD

gunan -- qualities; etan -- all these; atitya -- transcending; trin -- three; dehi -- the embodied; deha -- the body; samudbhavan -- produced of; janma -- of birth; mrtyu -- death; jara -- and old age; duhkhaih -- the distresses; vimuktah -- being freed from; amrtam -- nectar; asnute -- he enjoys.

TRANSLATION

When the embodied being is able to transcend these three qualities associated with the material body, he can become free from birth, death, old age and their distresses and can enjoy nectar even in this life.

 



TEXT 21

arjuna uvaca
kair lingais trin gunan etan
atito bhavati prabho
kim acarah katham caitams
trin gunan ativartate

WORD FOR WORD

arjunah uvaca -- Arjuna said; kaih -- by which; lingaih -- symptoms; trin -- three; gunan -- qualities; etan -- all these; atitah -- having transcended; bhavati -- is; prabho -- O my Lord; kim -- what; acarah -- behavior; katham -- how; ca -- also; etan -- these; trin -- three; gunan -- qualities; ativartate -- transcends.

TRANSLATION

Arjuna inquired: O my dear Lord, by which symptoms is one known who is transcendental to these three qualities? What is his behavior? And how does he transcend the qualities of nature?

 



TEXTS 22-25

sri-bhagavan uvaca
prakasam ca pravrttim ca
moham eva ca pandava
na dvesti sampravrttani
na nivrttani kanksati

udasina-vad asino
gunair yo na vicalyate
guna vartanta ity evam
yo 'vatisthati nengate

sama-duhkha-sukhah sva-sthah
sama-lostasma-kancanah
tulya-priyapriyo dhiras
tulya-nindatma-samstutih

manapamanayos tulyas
tulyo mitrari-paksayoh
sarvarambha-parityagi
gunatitah sa ucyate

WORD FOR WORD

sri-bhagavan uvaca -- The Supreme said; prakasam -- illumination; ca -- and; pravrttim -- attachment; ca -- and; moham -- illusion; eva ca -- also; pandava -- O son of Pandu; na dvesti -- does not hate; sampravrttani -- although developed; na nivrttani -- nor stopping development; kanksati -- desires; udasina-vat -- as if neutral; asinah -- situated; gunaih -- by the qualities; yah -- one who; na -- never; vicalyate -- is agitated; gunah -- the qualities; vartante -- are acting; iti evam -- knowing thus; yah -- one who; avatisthati -- remains; na -- never; ingate -- flickers; sama -- equal; duhkha -- in distress; sukhah -- and happiness; sva-sthah -- being situated in himself; sama -- equally; losta -- a lump of earth; asma -- stone; kancanah -- gold; tulya -- equally disposed; priya -- to the dear; apriyah -- and the undesirable; dhirah -- steady; tulya -- equal; ninda -- in defamation; atma-samstutih -- and praise of himself; mana -- in honor; apamanayoh -- and dishonor; tulyah -- equal; tuiyah -- equal; mitra -- of friends; ari -- and enemies; paksayoh -- to the parties; sarva -- of all; arambha -- endeavors; parityagi -- renouncer; guna-atitah -- transcendental to the material qualities of nature; sah -- he; ucyate -- is said to be.

TRANSLATION

The Supreme said: O son of Pandu, he who does not hate illumination, attachment and delusion when they are present or long for them when they disappear; who is unwavering and undisturbed through all these reactions of the material qualities, remaining neutral and transcendental, knowing that the qualities alone are active; who is situated in the self and regards alike happiness and distress; who looks upon a lump of earth, a stone and a piece of gold with an equal eye; who is equal toward the desirable and the undesirable; who is steady, situated equally well in praise and blame, honor and dishonor; who treats alike both friend and enemy; and who has renounced all material activities -- such a person is said to have transcended the qualities of nature.

 



TEXT 26

mam ca yo 'vyabhicarena
bhakti-yogena sevate
sa gunan samatityaitan
brahma-bhuyaya kalpate

WORD FOR WORD

mam -- unto Me; ca -- also; yah -- a person who; avyabhicarena -- without fail; bhakti-yogena -- by devotional service; sevate -- renders service; sah -- he; gunan -- the qualities of material nature; samatitya -- transcending; etan -- all these; brahma-bhuyaya -- elevated to the Brahman platform; kalpate -- becomes.

TRANSLATION

One who engages in full devotional service, unfailing in all circumstances, at once transcends the qualities of material nature and thus comes to the level of Brahman.

 



TEXT 27

brahmano hi pratisthaham
amrtasyavyayasya ca
sasvatasya ca dharmasya
sukhasyaikantikasya ca

WORD FOR WORD

brahmanah -- of the impersonal brahmajyoti; hi -- certainly; pratistha -- the rest; aham -- I am; amrtasya -- of the immortal; avyayasya -- of the imperishable; ca -- also; sasvatasya -- of the eternal; ca -- and; dharmasya -- of the constitutional position; sukhasya -- of happiness; aikantikasya -- ultimate; ca -- also.

TRANSLATION

And I am the basis of the impersonal Brahman, which is immortal, imperishable and eternal and is the constitutional position of ultimate happiness.

 



Bhagavad-Gita