Home  »  Harvard Classics, Vol. 45, Part 4  »  Chapter XIV

The Bhagavad-Gita.
The Harvard Classics. 1909–14.

Chapter XIV

YET father will I open unto thee
This wisdom of all wisdoms, uttermost,
The which possessing, all My saints have passed
To perfectness. On these high verities
Reliant, rising into fellowship         5
With Me, they are not born again at birth
Of Kalpas, nor at Pralyas suffer change!
  This Universe the Womb is where I plant
Seed of all lives! Thence, Prince of India comes
Birth to all beings! Whoso, Kunti’s Son!         10
Mothers each mortal form, Brahma conceives,
And I am He that fathers, sending seed!
  Sattwan, Rajas, and Tamas, so are named,
The qualities of Nature, “Soothfastness,”
“Passion,” and “Ignorance.” These three bind down         15
The changeless Spirit in the changeful flesh.
Whereof sweet “Soothfastness”—by purity
Living unsullied and enlightened—binds
The sinless Soul to happiness and truth;
And Passion, being kin to appetite,         20
And breeding impulse and propensity,
Binds the embodied Soul, O Kunti’s Son!
By tie of works. But Ignorance, the child
Of Darkness, blinding mortal men, binds down
Their souls to stupor, sloth, and drowsiness.         25
Yea, Prince of India! Soothfastness binds souls
In pleasant wise to flesh; and Passion binds
By toilsome strain; but Ignorance, which blots
The beams of wisdom, binds the soul to sloth
Passion and Ignorance, once overcome,         30
Leave Soothfastness, O Bharata! Where this
With Ignorance are absent, Passion rules;
And Ignorance in hearts not good nor quick.
When at all gateways of the Body shines
The Lamp of Knowledge, then may one see well         35
Soothfastness settled in that city reigns;
Where longing is, and ardor, and unrest,
Impulse to strive and gain, and avarice,
Those spring from Passion—Prince!—engrained; and where
Darkness and dulness, sloth and stupor are,         40
’Tis Ignorance hath caused them, Kuru Chief!
  Moreover, when a soul departeth, fixed
In Soothfastness, it goeth to the place—
Perfect and pure—of those that know all Truth
If it departeth in set hebetude         45
Of impulse, it shall go into the world
Of spirits tied to works; and, if it dies
In hardened Ignorance, that blinded soul
Is born anew in some unlighted womb.
  The fruit of Soothfastness is true and sweet;         50
The fruit of lusts is pain and toil; the fruit
Of Ignorance is deeper darkness. Yea!
For Light brings light, and Passion ache to have.
Blindness, bewilderments, and ignorance
Grow forth from Ignorance. Those of the first         55
Rise ever higher; those of the second mode
Take a mid place; the darkened souls sink back
To lower deeps, loaded with witlessness!
  When, watching life, the living man perceives
The only actors are the Qualities,         60
And knows what lives beyond the Qualities,
Then is he come nigh unto Me!
        The Soul,
Thus passing forth from the Three Qualities—
Whereof arise all bodies—overcomes         65
Birth, Death, Sorrow, and Age; and drinketh deep
The undying wine of Amrit.
Oh, my Lord!
Which be the signs to know him that hath gone
Past the Three Modes? How liveth he? What way         70
Leadeth him safe beyond the threefold modes?
He who with equanimity surveys
Lustre of goodness, strife of passion, sloth
Of ignorance, not angry if they are,
Not angry when they are not: he who sits         75
A sojourner and stranger in their midst
Unruffled, standing off, saying—serene—
When troubles break, “These are the Qualities!”
He unto whom—self-centred—grief and joy
Sound as one word; to whose deep-seeing eyes         80
The clod, the marble, and the gold are one;
Whose equal heart holds the same gentleness
For lovely and unlovely things, firm-set,
Well-pleased in praise and dispraise; satisfied
With honor or dishonor; unto friends         85
And unto foes alike in tolerance,
Detached from undertakings,—he is named
Surmounter of the Qualities!
        And such—
With single, fervent faith adoring Me,         90
Passing beyond the Qualities, conforms
To Brahma, and attains Me!
        For I am
That whereof Brahma is the likeness! Mine
The Amrit is; and Immortality         95
Is mine; and mine perfect Felicity!
Here ends Chapter XIV. of the Bhagavad-Gîtâ,
entitled “Gunatrayavibhâgayôgô,” or “The
Book of Religion by Separation
from the Qualities”