Daily Readings from the Works of Swami Venkatesananda

Bhagavad Gita - Song of God - Chapter 13: 5-6

September 15, 2022

mahābhūtāny ahaṁkāro buddhir avyaktam eva ca
indriyāṇi daśai ’kaṁ ca pañca ce ’ndriyagocarāḥ (XIII-5)
™icchā dveṣaḥ sukhaṁ duḥkhaṁ saṁghātaś cetanā dhṛtiḥ
etat kṣetraṁ samāsena savikāram udāhṛtaṁ (XIII-6)

XIII/5. The great elements, egoism, intellect and also the
unmanifested nature, the ten senses and one (mind),
and the five objects of the senses,

XIII/6. Desire, hatred, pleasure, pain, the power that holds
the elements together, intelligence, fortitude – the field
has thus been briefly described with its modifications.

Swamiji's Commentary

      The field is the object, and the knower is the subject. Here we are given a description of the object. Strange as it may seem, even egoism and the intellect are included in the list of objects!  Viewing the whole universe as the body of God, it is apparent that individualization is inherent in that body. When we realize this, a host of puzzling questions is banished. Even this egoism is not a totally foreign commodity imported in ignorance, but it is inherent in the ‘object’ of God, who is the subject. However, in states of ignorance it assumes alarming proportions.

      Again, since we (the ego) are ourselves objects, limited and veiled, occupying but a small part of the ‘field’, it is impossible for the little ‘I’ either to completely understand other ‘objects’, or to fully understand the subject of whom we are only allowed occasional glimpses.

     Our waking and dreaming consciousness is filled with objects acting as subjects, such subjects acting as objects for others in their turn. The object is thus a projection of the subject on to something else, another subject! Hence, any scene is the object of the eye, the eye is the object of the nerves, the nerves of the brain, the brain of the intellect and the intellect of the ego-sense, which itself is the object of the self – the sole subject.

     Even thoughts and emotions (desire and so on) are objects of the self or consciousness. One who knows them thus has full control over them and does not identify with them. When we are tempted to be certain about the source of our emotions and thoughts, whether happy or unhappy, we should remind ourselves that what is obvious may not be true. Let us enquire into the emotion till we arrive at the reality that is hinted at. It is the ego’s ignorant identification of the knower with the field that gives rise to karma, sin and rebirth. The wise man is free from this bondage. The body is not his, yet it functions; the mind is not his, yet it thinks. In his case there is instant harmony within, and great love.

Back to Daily Readings