Bhagavadgita !

Chapter 13

Kshetra Kshetrajnya Vibhaaga Yoga !

||om tat sat||
अर्जुन उवाच:
प्रकृतिं पुरुषं चैव क्षेत्रं क्षेत्रज्ञ मेवच ।
एतद्वेदितुमिच्छामि ज्ञानं ज्ञेयंच केशव ॥

"Prakruti , Purusha similarly Kshetra and Kshetrajnya as well as Knowledge and that which is ought to be known - all these things O Krishna I want to know ! "

||Salutations to Sri Krishna||
Kshetra Kshetragnya Vibhaga Yoga
Thirteenth Chapter

Kshetra means field and in the context of the spiritual enquiry it is the body of the Jiva.
Kshetragnya means the one who is knowledgeable about this Kshetra or the field or the body in this context. The one knowledgeable about this body is 'Self'. That is the Atma or "Self" is the "Kshetragnya".
This chapter is primarily about these two namely Kshetra and the Kshetragnya.

The worship of manifested Brahman, the characteristics of such worshippers was dealt in detail in the Bhakti Yoga, the twelfth chapter. Having heard all of that, Arjuna moves on to the enquiry into the un-manifested Brahman, the knowledge there of as well as attaining the un-manifested Brahman. That is the start of the thirteenth chapter. Thus, the first shloka is in the form of a query from Arjuna:

अर्जुन उवाच:
प्रकृतिं पुरुषं चैव क्षेत्रं क्षेत्रज्ञ मेवच ।
एतद्वेदितुमिच्छामि ज्ञानं ज्ञेयंच केशव ॥1||

Arjuna asks Krishna - "Prakruti, Purusha similarly Kshetra and Kshetragnya as well as Knowledge and that which is ought to be known - all these things O Krishna I want to know! "

Starting with this query, we can call this chapter as the one focusing on spiritual knowledge of the un-manifested Brahman.

Most commentators designate the first six chapters of Gita as chapters dealing with Karma - or कर्मषट्कं - the "Six of Karma". The chapters from seven to twelve are called chapters dealing with devotion or 'भक्तिषट्कं ' - the "Six of Bhakti". The chapters from thirteenth to eighteenth chapters are called chapters dealing with knowledge or ' ज्ञानषट्कं ' or "the Six of knowledge".

So, the thirteenth becomes the first in the "Six of Knowledge". As the first of the six, it will be more about the definitions etc. So Arjuna promptly asks Krishna about the six key entities in knowledge domain namely Kshetra, Kshetragnya, Prakruti, Purusha, Knowledge, and that which is ought to be known!

Krishna answers Arjuna's prayer.

श्री भगवानुवाच:
इदंशरीरंकौंतेय क्षेत्रमित्यभिधीयते ।
एतद्योवेत्तितंप्राहुः क्षेत्रज्ञ इति तद्विदः॥

"इदं शरीरं कौन्तेय - Kaunteya! Oh, Son of Kunti! This "Sariram" or this body is called "Kshetra"! This body with its heart is the field in which the seeds of knowledge grow and in time allow him to attain liberation. Hence it is rightly called "Kshetra" or "the field" which allows the spiritual seeds to grow to yield fruits of the labor.

The one who is knowledgeable about the Kshetra or the field or the body is the one who is called "Kshetragnya". The immediate question will be who is that one knowledgeable about the 'body'.

The one who is knowledgeable about body is the "Self" which lives in all of us. That the Self or "Kshetragnya" or Jivatma is different from the 'Kshetra' or 'Sarira' or the body, is the real knowledge. Moving one more step we can say that the knowledge of Kshetra and Kshetragnya is the real knowledge.

Having stated that the Self is the "Kshetragnya", who is the knower of the field, Krishna adds one more important link.
"क्षेत्रज्ञं चापि मां विद्धि
"- know me also as the Kshetragnya or "Knower of the field".
Since Kshetra is body or Sarira one may wonder which body or Sarira Krishna is referring to as the resident knower.
The answer is direct.
"सर्व क्षेत्रेषु भारत!" - " among all Kshetras or Sariras" -
"That 'He' is the resident knower of all beings"!
That means that Brahman is the resident of all.
That is the 'Self' and the 'Brahman' are one and the same
That Jivatma and Paramatma are one and the same
This is one of the Mahavakya of the Brahmasutras.
In Upanishads, this comes out as the knowledge of Seers.
Here it comes out as the statement of the Bhagavan himself!

There is one more thing.
क्षेत्र क्षेत्रज्ञयोः ज्ञानं
- The knowledge of kshetra and kshetragnya
तत् ज्ञानं
- is the knowledge.

If that is the real knowledge, what is that kshetra or field, what kind of modifications it goes through, who is the knower of this and what is his power etc. As a good teacher Krishna summarizes what he is going to teach Arjuna about Kshetra and Kshetragnya.
तत् क्षेत्रं यच्च यादृक्च यद्विकारि यतश्च यत्।
स च यो यत्प्रभावश्च तत्समासेन मे श्रुणु॥3||
"What that Kshetra or field is, its nature, its modifications, from where it is, and also who he is and its powers - all these you hear from me in brief "

Indicating that this is not a new topic, Krishna says that it has been talked about in various ways by the Seers for a long time. He also adds that it was not simply a statement of Seers but it is full of reason.

And Krishna continues.

Though Krishna began the discourse with a simple statement ' इदं शरीरं कौन्तेय क्षेत्रमित्यभिदीयते - meaning this Body is known as kshetra, now he elaborates on that. Krishna says-
'Kshetra is not simply the body but also the great elements, ego, intellect, and also the unmanifested nature or Prakruti , the ten senses, one mind and five objects of the senses, the desire , hatred, pleasure, pain , the body , the intellect and the fortitude'. Thus, the Kshetra is body with all its modifications. (13.5,6)

Then comes the knower, the Kshetragnya.

The kshetragnya or the knower has also been defined by Krishna in the beginning - क्षेत्रज्ञंचापि मां विद्धि saying know me as the indweller of the kshetra, here Krishna goes on to define the attributes of the Kshetragnya or the Knower. These attributes are like humility modesty etc.

What is the use of these attributes? These are instruments of acquiring knowledge. The one with these attributes uses them for acquiring the knowledge. Using these attributes, he becomes one capable of acquiring the knowledge.

So, what are the tools for acquiring knowledge.

These have been described in the five shlokas 13.7 to 13.11
अमानित्वं अदम्भित्वं अहिंसा क्षान्तिरार्जवम्।
आचार्योपासनं शौचं स्थैर्यमात्मविनिग्रहः॥7||
इन्द्रियार्थेषु वैराग्यं अनहंकार एव च।
जन्ममृत्यु जराव्याधि दुःखदोषानुदर्शनम्॥8||
आसक्तिः अनभिष्वंगः पुत्रदारगृहादिषु।
नित्यं च समचित्तत्व मिष्टानिष्टोपपत्तिषु॥9||
मयि चानन्ययोगेन भक्तिरव्यभिचारिणी।
विविक्तदेश सेवित्वमरतिर्जनसंसदि॥10||
अध्यात्म ज्ञान नित्यत्वं तत्त्वज्ञानार्थदर्शनम्।
एतत् ज्ञानमिति प्रोक्तं अज्ञानं यदतोन्यथा॥11||

These tools of the knower for acquiring knowledge are as follows:

Humility, unpretentiousness, nonviolence, forgiveness, uprightness, service to the teacher, purity, steadiness, self-control, indifference to objects of senses, absence of ego, perception of evils of birth , death, old age and sickness, pain and evil, non attachment , not identifying self with son , wife , home etc., being even minded about attainment of desirable and undesirable , unswerving devotion to the Brahman, inclination to withdraw into solitary location, disinterest in crowds of ignorance - these are the attributes of the Kshetragnya and tools for acquiring knowledge (13.7-11)

These tools for acquiring the knowledge also help in acquiring that which is worth knowing.

The one that is worth knowing is the Supreme being or Brahman.

So, for reaching that supreme goal what is needed is that knowledge. When all the attributes mentioned above are present that leads to a disposition ready to know the Self.

Krishna says : "I will tell you about that ज्ञेयं-Jnyeyam - or that knowledge which is to be known - knowing which you will attain liberation".( 13.13)

Then he again describes that un-manifested Brahman

सर्वतः पाणीपादं तत्सर्वतोsक्षि शिरोमुखम्।
सर्वतः श्रुतिमल्लोके सर्वमावृत्य तिष्ठति॥14||
सर्वेन्द्रिय गुणाभासं सर्वेन्द्रियविवर्जितम्।
असक्तं सर्वभृच्छैव निर्गुणं गुणभोक्तृ च॥15||
बहिरन्तश्च भूतानां अचरं चरमेवच।
सूक्ष्मत्वात् अविज्ञेयं दूरस्थं चान्तिकेच तत् ॥16||
अविभक्तं च भूतेषु विभक्तमिव स्थितम्।
भूतभर्तृच तत् ज्ञेयं ग्रसिष्णु प्रभविष्णु च॥17||
ज्योतिषामपि तज्ज्योतिः तमसः परमुच्यते।
ज्ञानं ज्ञेयं ज्ञानगम्यं हृदि सर्वस्य विष्ठितम्॥18||

" with hands, feet, eyes, head, mouth and ears everywhere he exists in the world enveloping all. Shining by the functions of senses yet without senses, unattached yet supporting all, devoid of all qualities yet experiencing the results of qualities, being within and outside of all beings, unmoving as well as moving, unknowable because of its atomicity, near and far away too, undivided yet existing as divided in all beings. Existing as supporter of all beings, he is devouring and generating. That Brahman who is light of all lights is said to be beyond darkness. It is knowledge, that which is to be known, the goal of knowledge. Seated in the hearts of all it is to be reached by knowledge.'

Having thus explained in these words Kshetram, the Kshetragnya and that knowledge that is worth to be known ( ज्ञेयं ) namely the Supreme being Krishna says the following.

एतत् विज्ञाय - knowing this
मद्भावायोपपद्यते - becomes fit to attain me( or moksha)

In the seventh chapter Krishna described two Prakrutis one higher and the other lower. or 'Para and Apara'. These two corresponding to Kshetra and Kshetragnya are responsible for all creation

Now Krishna moves on to elaborate on Prakruti and Purusha.

In cause and effect, Prakruti is the cause
In experiencing the pain and pleasure the Purusha is enjoyer hence becomes the cause.

Because of the interaction of senses, mind, intellect and ego, Purusha is seen as the enjoyer or experiencer of the results of such interaction. In reality he is neither. The supreme Purusha is only a spectator, much like the Self. Purusha is nothing but the supreme Self.

Krishna says that one who knows the Purusha and Prakruti and knows that happiness and sorrow are the result of the interaction of the sensory organs with the ego complex, sees the Purusha is but a witness to all that and not an enjoyer is the one who is liberated. The Purusha will remain stable

Some see through their own efforts the Self in the Self through the yoga of meditation. Some others by the yoga of knowledge. Yet others through the yoga of action. There will be others who having heard from others worship the truth to attain liberation.

The knowledge that even as the perishable body perishes, the Self free from the body does not perish, is the real knowledge.
One who has understood this is the one who has the eye for the real knowledge.
Krishna makes the same point in wonderful statement
"विनश्यत्स्व विनश्यन्तं यः पश्यति स पश्यति"(13.28)
(one who sees) among the perishing seeing the imperishable is the one who sees ( the truth).

It is in the nature of things that all actions are the result of the interaction of senses, mind, intellect and ego. Purusha may be seen as the enjoyer though in fact the Purusha or the Self is only a witness. One who realizes that the Supreme Purusha is only a witness releases the truth. This is also what was stated in the yoga of action namely that all actions performed are seen as actions owned by the ego complex. The one who is free from that ego complex sees that Self is free from the ownership of all actions. The same thought is again expressed beautifully by Krishna another powerful statement.

यः पश्यति तथाssत्मानं अकर्तारं सपश्यति ॥(13.30)
'Who ever sees that and sees the Self as action less, he sees ( the truth)'

The one who sees whole variety of beings resting on substratum of Brahman and sees everything as spreading out from the same Brahman - That one indeed has perceived the truth.

Krishna said that he is the Kshetragnya who is present in all beings. Just as the all-pervading ether is everywhere and yet is not tainted, the all-pervading Brahman though resident of all beings is not affected by the Prakruti, the nature of all those beings.

Krishna gives one more example of the striking nature of Brahman saying just like the Sun who lights up the whole worlds, the divine Kshetragnya too lights up all the Kshetras!

The theme of complete Gita is that freedom from ignorance is the path to liberation.

In the same manner Krishna adds that those who are aware of the difference between the Kshetra and Kshetragnya which means the difference between the body and the in-dwelling Self and achieves the freedom from all the modifications of nature they achieve the supreme being!

That is the secret of liberation.

Adi Sankara in his poem - निर्वाण षट्कं - the six jewels on liberation - says the following.

अहं निर्विकल्पो निराकार रूपः
विभुत्वा च्च सर्वत्र सर्वेंद्रियाणां
नचासंगतंनैवमुक्तिः नमेयः
चिदानंदरूपा शिवोहंशिवोहं॥

This is mantra to be repeated again and again till it becomes the only thought.

||om tat sat||
क्षेत्र क्षेत्रज्ञयोरेवं अंतरं ज्ञानचक्षुषा।
भूतप्रकृति मोक्षं च ये विदुर्यान्ति ते परम्॥35||
Those who know through the eye of wisdom the distinction between field and knower of the field and of the liberation from the nature of body complex( prakruti) attains the supreme.
||om tat sat||