Bhagavad Gita Treatise

Bhagvad-Gita: Treatise of Self-Help
Verses in Contemporary Idiom sans Interpolations
By BS Murthy
Audio Rendition Link

Introduction

If Ramayana's Sundara Kanda [read the author's sloka to sloka versification of Sundara Kanda: Hanuman's Odyssey in contemporary idiom] is sought for spiritual solace, Mahabharata's Bhagvad-Gita is taken as a philosophical guide.

The spiritual ethos and the philosophical outlook that the Bhagvad-Gita postulates paves the way for the liberation of man, who, as Rousseau said, 'being born free, is everywhere in chains'. But equally it is a mirror of human psychology, which enables man to discern his debilities for appropriate redressal. All the same, the boon of an oral tradition that kept it alive for over two millennia became its bane with the proliferation of interpolations therein. Besides muddying its pristine philosophy, these insertions affect the sequential conformity and structural economy of the grand discourse. What is worse, to the chagrin of the majority of the Hindus, some of these legitimize the inimical caste system while upholding the priestly perks and prejudices.

This rendition seeks to restore to the Gita, its original character by ridding it of hundred and ten interpolations, which tend to keep the skeptics away from it. And ironically these muddle the understanding of the ardent as well. In the theatre of man as nothing surpasses the drama of war, the stage for unveiling the Gita's unrivalled philosophy was set on the battleground of Kurukshetra at the threshold of the battle of Mahabharata.


Awe Unfounded

The Bhagvad Gita, popularly known as Gita, with its twin tracks of spiritual ethos and philosophical outlook, helps man commute to the destination of human excellence on the broad gauge of life. The unsurpassed art of living that the Gita expostulates, paves the way for the 'liberation of man' and that's what makes the Gita, which probably is around for over two millennia now, the treatise of self-help.

Nonetheless, all along, its spiritual track has come to acquire primacy what with its protagonists being the religiously inclined men and women for most part. Even Mahatma Gandhi, the most famous and ardent advocate of Gita of our times, was eloquent about the spiritual solace that it afforded him. Needless to say, the innumerable commentaries on the Gita that appear in print or get voiced in discourses, invariably come from people with religio-spiritual orientation. Insensibly, all these led to the public perception of the Gita as a spiritual tome, and that has brought about a situation where everyone swears by it but few venture to approach it. That is due to, either the general lack of spiritual inclination in man, or his palpable apprehension that, anyway, it might be beyond one's comprehension. And those who attempt to read any of the commentaries give up soon enough - bowled either by the spiritual spin in theological jargon or tired of those lengthy commentaries. Oh, don't these texts tend to exhibit the commentator's own scholarship in Vedanta! In the bargain, hardly any reach the end, which would have helped them understand themselves better. What an irony in that having been bogged down in the semantics, one fails to grasp Krishna's message that's tailor made for him! And it is all about realization made difficult.

The public or private discourses on the Gita relatively fare better for they enthrall the audience by the eloquence of the speaker besides the interest the interspersed anecdotes elicit. However, amidst all this verbiage, the profundity of Krishna's message would seldom register in the minds of those who try to seek it. Of course, the commentary-discourse route misses on the essential ingredient of understanding - contemplation. After all, Krishna himself recommends to Arjuna at the end of his talk, s63, ch.18, 'That thee heard of this wisdom / For task on hand now apply mind'.

If only Sanskrit, the deva bhaasha, the language of the gods for the Hindus, and for the 18th Century British intellectual Sir William Jones, 'is of wonderful structure, more perfect than Greek, more copious than Latin and more exquisitely refined than either' were in currency now, it would have been a different proposition. Thus, the average person needing no interpretative crutches might have read the Gita in its pristine beauty, speculating about the profound wisdom lying in the sophisticated philosophy it postulates. That would have afforded one to view human nature, including his or her own, in that contemplative mirror enamelled by the Gita. But that might be if and when Sanskrit, by the will of the gods, becomes a language of the masses in times to come.

But for the present, English, which many proud British linguists humbly held as the second best language in the world, is the right medium for contemplating the Gita even in the native land of Sanskrit. Of course, in verse sans commentary, and this is an attempt with that objective, needless to say, with divine inspiration.

What is the Gita all about that made many western intellectuals, though alien to the Hindu philosophy sing its praises? It is owing to its emphasis on human emancipation as opposed to the religious conditioning of man. Thus, its universal appeal jells with the hearts and minds of people, irrespective of their religious beliefs and cultural sensitivities. Simply put, the philosophy the Gita portrays is meant to help one imbibe the right attitude to lead life, but not to buttress his religious dogma of God. How this was achieved is the wonder that is Gita, cast in the Hindu mould but shaped into the secular form! After all, it might have been in the realms of human genius aided by some divine metallurgy.

The stage chosen for unfolding the grand philosophy is in itself reflective of the brilliance of the Gita. Nothing ever surpasses the drama of war in the realms of life and so is the case with the accompanying debate about its rights and wrongs. At the threshold of the epic battle of Mahabharata, on the sacred grounds of Kurukshetra, Arjuna, the Pandava Prince, suffers from qualms at the prospect of killing kith and kin in the Kaurava camp besides all those whom he adores therein. It has always been in the nature of man to worry about the prospect of his death besides that of his near and dear. Thus Lord Krishna, a friend of the Pandavas who happened to be Arjuna's charioteer, opens this classic discourse in s11, ch..2 by chiding his disciple and setting its trend as well, 'Averring as knowing / Worried over trivia! / Reckon never wise / Dead and alive both'.

What follows in the best part of the remaining 643 verses spread over 17 chapters can be summarized thus: The Supreme Spirit through Nature causes the birth of all beings. Thus, the indwelling spirit in the beings is a divisible part of the same Indivisible Supreme Spirit. The spirit lying within beings is subject in degrees to virtue, passion and delusion, the three attributes of Nature. It should remain the human endeavour to free the indwellig spirit from these nature-induced influences. This, however, is not possible for any in a single birth, and indeed, it would take the sustained effort of lot many births for that. Thus, in the end, the soul could be tended towards that state of purity, which matches with that of the Supreme Spirit. As and when this happens, the indwelling spirit merges with the Supreme Spirit which is nothing but moksha. Understandably, from that state of unison with the Supreme, man never returns to be born again. This is about the spiritual goal of man in this world. In short, it's in the nature of the Supreme Spirit to separate the wheat from the chaff by bringing beings for dalliance in the domain of the Nature. While a pass ensures merger with the Supreme Spirit, failure keeps man ever in limbo. It is thus left for man to reach the Supreme, and the Gita shows him the way.

In the Gita lie the tools that tend one's spirit to that pristine purity, and that makes it the kitbag of moksha. Were it to postulate reaching that state through devotion alone, it would have been no more than a Hindu religious scripture, though of immense quality. In this, it is to be appreciated; the one thing that is common with the Oriental as well as the Semitic religions is the stress upon good human conduct. Nevertheless, the commonality seems to fork at some length, what with the Semitic religious precepts having their own caveat conditional. Well, Hinduism and its derivatives, Buddhism, Jainism etc., advocate virtue per se as the ideal human condition. But at the other end of the religious tunnel, Judaism, and its siblings, Christianity and Islam, obliging the faithful to uphold their dogmas, provide a religious code to human virtue.

It is thus, the Gita, without any religious dogma, deals with all aspects of human nature, and what is more, proposes corrective approaches for a peaceful, purposeful and realized life. And this makes it the Treatise of Self- help for one and all, irrespective of his or her religious orientation and social background. Figure it out for yourself as Arjuna could do.

Now back to where it all began - the misleading image of the Gita as something that cannot be comprehended, even by the spiritually oriented, leave alone the mundane minded, without the guidance from a guru, well versed in the nuances of theology. Nothing could be farther from truth considering what Arjuna averred after having heard Krishna, 'Glad O Lord / Gone are doubts, / Sense I gained / With Thy words.' (s73, ch.18).

And consider this. Arjuna was an educated prince and an exemplary warrior but with no specialized knowledge or training in theology. Yet he found no difficulty in grasping the centrality of Krishna's advice that helped dispel his doubts. After all, it could be expected that Krishna who knew his friend's limitations on that count would have fashioned his discourse suitably. And won't that bring the Gita into the orbit of average human understanding? More so, Krishna's discourse was intended to be a ready reckoner for Arjuna and not an assignment in spirituality to be attended to as homework, with reference books and all, leaving the battlefield for the day.

But then why all this spin of spiritual intricacy on such a straightforward man-to-man talk! We must appreciate that the philosophy of the Gita is the apogee of the Hindu thought process that evolved through the Vedas, the Brahmasutras and finally the Upanishads. In a way, the Gita is the Seal of the Hindu Wisdom, for it separates the ritualistic chaff from the spiritual grain in the granary of sanaatana dharma. For those well versed in these and other such works, it is a tempting proposition to delve into the conceptual origins of a given sloka of the Gita in those ancient classics. But to what avail all that, and what is sought to be proved after all! That the Gita was a plagiarized work of Vyasa?

Well, didn't Vyasa place the Gita in proper perspective with 'the end of the chapter averment that it is the quintessence of the Upanishads and the Brahmasutras'. Yet this futile exercise of backward integration of the Gita with the Upanishads and others continues, giving raise to myriad interpretations to what is essentially a simple and straightforward message that Krishna intended for average human comprehension. In modern parlance, Bhagvad-Gita is like the Board Note, and it does not behove the board members to pore over the relevant files.

Though some well-meaning men and women have all along tried to straightjacket the Gita as a 'Book of Work', still it is the scriptural tag that sticks to it. Admittedly, this is not only detrimental to the Great Gita but also the misfortune of the common man who would have otherwise ventured to read it, and benefited as well. Thus, this work should be viewed as the outcome of an urge to place the Gita in its proper perspective for the utmost common good. On the degree of its success could depend how it would have served the cause of the Lord and that of man for whose benefit the Gita, the Treatise of Self-help, was fashioned, though not as scripture. It pays to recall the words of Krishna, 'That thee heard of this wisdom / For task on hand now apply mind'.

Now it is left for all to deliberate and decide whether the Gita per se was Krishna's unrivalled divine revelation, or Vyasa's philosophical discourse nonpareil. It is noteworthy that each of the eighteen chapters of the Gita has this post script - this chapter, with so and so designation, has the bearing of the Upanishads, possesses the knowledge of the Brahmasutras and deals with the science of its application. And the Upanishads, as we all know, were but the works of man, though of divine proportion.

Thus, if we were to concede that the Gita was a divine disclosure, then that would suggest that Krishna borrowed from the Upanishadic philosophy to fashion his discourse! Won't that mean Lord Vishnu in His avatar as Krishna, relied on the works of man to formulate moksha for him! That is an absurd proposition, at any rate that is, isn't it? Well, it's a matter for man to deliberate and decide.

Last but not the least is the sectarian twist some interpolations give to the Gita to the hurt of the majority of the Hindus. Understandably, the offended sections view this secular text with suspicion, and thus keep away from it altogether, missing so much as a consequence of the same. In 'All About Interpolations' that follows, this aberration is sought to be corrected, and it is hoped that for the general good of the Hindus this aspect of the Gita would be set right for all times to come.


All about Interpolations

It was long suspected there could be interpolations in the Gita as it was being received down the ages through oral tradition. One way to scent the nature of these, if not zero in on every one of them, is to subject the text to the twin tests of sequential conformity and structural economy. Sequential conformity is all about uniformity of purpose sans digression and structural economy but represents the absence of repetitiveness. If the body Bhagvad Gita of 700 slokas were to be scanned for possible fault lines on the above lines, the result would be but positive.

It must be realized that Bhagvad-Gita is the quintessence of the Brahmasutras and the Upanishads, themselves the offshoots of the Vedic spiritual roots. Those esoteric portions that relate to spiritual knowledge apart, the Vedas contain ritualistic nuances of religious ceremonies. It is the latter that has been the source of the temporal power, which the priestly class of Brahmans came to exert on the Hindu religious mind. And these very people happened to be the principal protagonists of the Gita.

It is pertinent to note that while postulating nishkaama karma, the theory of disinterested action, Krishna is critical of the ritualistic aspects of and expectations from the Vedas (s42 - 45 and s53 of ch.2.). Indeed, the guiding philosophy of the Gita is all about action, pure and simple, to tend one on the path of duty without attachment. Were the message to be allowed to percolate down, wouldn't it have hurt the Brahmans, the gods' own angels on earth as the Narayana Upanishad proclaims, where it hurts most? Herein lies the provocation for them to dilute the philosophy, and the opportunity was theirs, being the repositories of the very message. Won't the priestly perks associated with the rituals of death do, to cite an example?

If upon its death, as Krishna avers, the soul were to transmigrate into another body, what for are the elaborate rituals for the dead! It is against this background that we might appreciate those interpolations that tend to advocate the ritualism on one hand, and the Brahman preeminence on the other. However, the non application of mind on part of the Hindus who vouchsafe for these aspects of the Gita is indeed saddening.

Nevertheless, such interpolative slokas that are at variance with the avowed purpose of the Gita would show themselves up for ready pickings. In a seemingly about turn from s42- s45 and s53 of ch.2, s9-s16 of ch.3 formulate the procedural aspects of the rituals and the divine backing they enjoy. These, and such other aberrations highlighted in the prefaces of the chapters in this work were clearly the handiwork of the priestly interests to obfuscate the impact of the anti ritualistic thrust of the Gita.

On one hand, these interpolations were meant to impart legitimacy to their creed by advocating the same through the revered text. And on the other, these were meant to stall the threat the Gita might pose to their calling in the long run. Likewise, the sprinkling of slokas that seek to confirm the prominence of the priestly class or affirm their prejudices cannot be anything but interpolations. To cap it all, are the s23-s27 of ch. 8 which literally mean that if a person dies when the moon is on ascent he would attain moksha, other way round were it in descent, and such like. These slokas espousing superstition, simply put are out of tune. Nevertheless, when interpreted figuratively they jell with the overall message of the Gita as if to prove that the discourse of reason cannot be polluted even by superstitious insertions. Be that as it may, there is an uncanny element in these artful interpolations in that they were inserted in the narrative in such a manner that if read casually they effectively merge with the text. More so for the religiously conditioned Hindu whose upbringing conforms to the ritualistic regimen.

Next is the aspect of structural economy. One finds similitude of a given content in many a sloka in the same or in a different context throughout the text. Obviously, some of them are interpolations but which were the originals and which are the imitations, may be impossible to find out for they smugly fit into the overall structure. Be that as it may, save lengthening the discourse, they do not belittle the same and fortunately not even tire the reader, thanks to the exemplary charm of Sanskrit as a language. In this context, it is relevant to note that Krishna indicated in s19, ch.10 that he would reveal a few of His Glories, but what we have is a twenty-two sloka block of the same, s 20-42, in the same chapter and another twenty, s15-s31 in the next. One can be certain that many of the slokas in them contain interpolative padding. Nevertheless, these slokas make an exciting reading notwithstanding the faux pas in s36 ch.10 where fraud in gambling is described as the Glory of the Supreme. However, s12 -s15 of ch 15 in similar vein are interpolations being digressions.

If after deliberating, one decides that the Gita is more a work of Vyasa's genius than any divine revelation by Lord Krishna, then he or she might come to the conclusion that the concluding s78 of the last chapter meant to impart divinity to the discourse is an interpolation.

However, no exercise of this kind would be complete unless the four pairs of slokas that have the same first lines are scrutinized. With the common first line, sreyaan sva-dharmo vigunah, s35, ch.3 and s47, ch.18, seek to perpetuate caste oriented duties by discouraging any switch over, and thus are clear interpolations. S15 and s 28 of ch.6 both open with yunjann evam sadaatmaanam and the message too remains more or less the same though contextually different. Yet it appears that the former could be an interpolation. S34, ch.9 and s65, ch.18 not only start with man-manaa bhava mad-bhakto but also mean same thing. In the ninth chapter as discussed in the introduction therein, s32 and s33 are clear interpolations. It also need be noted that s31 has the chapter closing character about it. Now follows this repetitive chapter-concluding sloka after two interpolations, s32 and s33. Logically speaking s34 is but an interpolation to help a proper chapter closure by slightly altering s65, ch.18. S7, ch.16 and s30, ch.18 both start with pravrurttim cha nivruttim cha line but are contextually different and thus remain above suspicion.

Identified here in this third edition are 110 slokas of deviant nature in the entire text that could be taken as interpolations with reasonable certainty. Be that as it may, there naturally arises a hypothetical question - What if the priestly interests of yore had seen to it that the said philosophy defining slokas of the second chapter that are inimical to their creed were omitted altogether? In that case we would have been left with no option but to take the perplexing interpolations with a pinch of salt in the absence of any clue to negate them as such.

Chapter-1: Arjuna's Dilemma

In this opening chapter, the grand stage for the discourse nonpareil is set on the battlefield of Kurukshetra. Gathered with their armies are the estranged cousins, the Pandavas and the Kauravas, all set to join the battle. After reviewing the relative strengths of the opposing formations, Duryodhana, the Kaurava prince, fancies his chances. On the other hand, Arjuna, alias Paartha, the spearhead of the Pandava forces, is beset with moral indignation. He begins to see the futility of a fratricidal war that would result in the death of kith and kin in numbers. To Lord Krishna, who dons the role of his charioteer, a distressed Arjuna enumerates the ills that visit society in the wake of wars. Exasperated in the end, he expresses his intent to rescind from the impending war regardless.

The contrasting attitudes of the principal combatants of the Battle of Mahabharata are illustrative of the dualities inherent in human nature, exemplified by man's proclivities. Duryodhana as well as Arjuna meticulously prepared for the battle ahead, and both were bent upon fighting to the finish. But when the chips are down, while Duryodhana dreamt of victory, Arjuna suffered from qualms. It is this inherent duality of human nature that so prominently figures in Lord Krishna's discourse in the coming chapters.

In popular parlance, this chapter, comprising 47 slokas (verses), is known as arjuna vishaada yoga, Arjuna's Grief. However, it is worth noting that though Arjuna's demeanour in the battlefield personifies grief, it's the dilemma of his persona that gives cause to it. Thus, there is merit in this chapter being rechristened as Arjuna's Dilemma. On the other hand, it is the supreme irony, or in the fitness of things, depending on how one views it, that this Treatise of Self-help should begin with Dhrutarashtra's query, whose blind love towards his son Duryodhana brought things to this pass.

One might notice the inconsistency in Duryodhana's assessment of Pandava forces in that while in s3-s6 he considers them formidable, in s10 he dismisses them as pygmean. Maybe it has something to do with his state of mind on the eve of war.

1
Thus spoke Dhrutarashtra:
Appraise Sanjay as my sons
Gathered at the battleground
Face the sons of my sibling
Eager for the war on hand..
2
Thus spoke Sanjaya:
Eyeing Pandavs there lined up
So to assess relative strengths
Reached Duryodhan, Dron in time.
3
Find acharya, said the Prince,
Pandav force thus there arrayed
None other than by Drushtadyumn
Whom thou taught all tricks of war.
4
Virat 'n Drupad, so Yuyudhaana
With Bhim 'n Arjun they stand out.
5
Dhrushtaket, the one to dread
King of Kashi and Purujit
Kuntibhoj 'n Saibya too
Chekitan, their force augment.
6
Uttamouj 'n Yudhamanyu
Abhimanyu so Vikranta
Draupadi's offspring not to speak
Five-star generals all no less.
7
For thy feel of our own strength
Roll-call heroes of ours O, revered.
8
Thou with Bhishm, Karn 'n Kripa
Make all four our Field Marshals,
Bhurisrav, Aswatham 'n Vikarn
Our Marshals, near Field Marshals.
9
With their lives on line for me
Adept at weaponry varied all
Abound valorous in our ranks
Past masters of group warfare.
10
Nurses Bhishma force our vast
Lot it's Bhima's tend their small.
11
Let's close ranks in well laid files
Cover we flanks for Bhishma's guard.
12
Words by these moved
Grandsire Bhishm,
Warrior verily unrivalled
War cry he gave with his conch.
13
Egged by Bhishma, geared Kauravs
War cries their rent, those high skies.
14
Krishn 'n Arjun, in their turn
From chariot of white stallions
Gave in kind they with kindred.
15
With Panchajanya, Lord Krishna
Broke sound barriers with Arjun
Who blew to hilt Devadatta
As blared Bhima, his Paundra.
16
Blew conch Yudhisthir full throated
Anantavijaya in tandem
With his siblings, Nakul 'n Sahadev,
Blew who Sughosh 'n Manipushpak.
17
King of Kashi, master archer
Sikhandi Marshal, their formidable
Saathyaki, Drushtadyumn 'n Virat
Warriors they all never vanquished,
18
Drupada as well Draupadi's progeny
With their hero Abhimanyu
Blew, O monarch, at one go
Conchs of theirs to deafening sound.
19
Tumult that ensued shook the ground
Bewildered Kauravs, as skies roared.
20
When came time to join lines
So it happened O my Lord
With his Gandiv in harness
Hanumaan's ensign in flutter
Arjun stared at Kauravs hard
And thus spoke to Lord Krishna.
21/22
Thus spoke Arjuna:
Pray posit chariot ours upfront
So that I can have a look
At those itching for this war.
23
Time I discern those backing
Duryodhan the evil minded.
24
Thus spoke Sanjaya:
Upfront Krishna took Arjun
In their chariot drawn by four.
25
Beseeched Krishna then Arjun
That he behold Bhishm 'n Dron
As well all those there gathered.
26
Espied Arjun his clansmen
Grandads, uncles, brothers and all
Teachers as well friends of note.
27
At the sight of
His kinsmen,
He in distress
Spoke worried.
28
Thus spoke Arjuna:
Disturb kinsfolk here gathered
Feel I parched, it nauseates too.
29
Horrify no end prospects war
Un-grips Gandiv, looks I'm sick.
30
Looks like it's an illusion
Lord I envision bad omens all.
31
Crave I not for power or pelf
What's it worth to kill Kauravs?
32
Know not avails what empire
What sort pleasures it entails!
33
Whom all we wish well in life
Here they face us risking same.
34
Us they oppose
Dads, grandads
Sons, grandsons, so uncles
Brothers-in-law 'n teachers too!
35
Were the stakes be sky high like
Ruling earth 'n heaven as well
Let those Kauravs itch for fight
I won't have this war on hand.
36
Set as they on sinful path
Why earn sin by slaying them.
37
See I no gain by their end
Why then kill our kith 'n kin?
38
Blinded by greed, bent on deceit
Fail they foresee, war ruins the race.
39
Wiser for the woes of wars
Why not Lord we rescind now.
40
Die aged en masse dharma's votaries
Won't that let go youth ours haywire?
41
Sex ratio adverse that war ensues
Turns women soft on caste barriers.
42
Fallen women all go to hell
What is more their bastards rob
Posthumous rites of forebearers.
43
Liaisons low of women wanton
Set our race on ruinous course.
44
Is it not said, O My Lord
Fail who dharma are hell bound.
45
What urge killing kith and kin,
Why should we sin lusting crown?
46
Disarm I now on my own
Let them harm me if they deem.
47
Thus spoke Sanjaya:
Thus O Raja
Despaired Arjun
Arms he threw
And sat distressed.

Ends thus
Arjuna's Dilemma,
The First Chapter
Of Bhagvad-Gita
Treatise of self-help.

Chapter-2: All about Life

This character defining chapter of the Gita comprising 72 slokas, known as saankhya yoga, Realization through Knowledge, is regarded by many, as the peerless part of the great epic.

Arjuna's dilemma, meanwhile, turns into grief, as the horrific prospect of slaying Bhishma, his revered granduncle, and Drona, his venerated guru, sinks into his consciousness. Bogged down by sentiment, Arjuna appeals to Lord Krishna for guidance. The Lord's response starting with the epoch making eleventh sloka, 'Averring as knowing/ Worried over trivia! /Reckon never wise / Dead and alive both.' is indeed the curtain raiser to the grand discourse.

It is apparent that the sentiment of causing death and destruction plagues Arjuna. Thus, Lord Krishna brings the very issue to the fore to dispel the unwarranted fear of death by stressing upon the transmigratory nature of the indwelling spirit of all beings. Then the Lord proceeds to enlighten Arjuna about his duty to fight as a warrior besides touching upon the infamy of surrender. To enable Arjuna overcome the predicament of attachment, Lord Krishna elaborates upon the precepts and practices of detached action, besides its spiritual and philosophical connotations. As a way of caution, the Lord finally explains to Arjuna how his sensual nature hinders man to act in true detachment.This chapter, indeed, is the spectrum supreme of the kaleidoscope of wisdom that Bhagvad Gita is.

1 .
Thus spoke Sanjaya:
In pity Krishna
Addressed Arjuna,
Bogged in sorrow
With tears profuse.
2
Thus spoke the Lord:
Oh, what affliction
At this juncture!
Wholly un-Aryan
Unholy as well!!
3
Mind-set impotent that unnerves
Strengthen thou for fight on hand.
4
Thus spoke Arjuna:
Adore as I, how dare I
Make Bhishma 'n Dron target?
5
Better I go with begging bowl
Than earn disgrace slaying them,
Would the scepter ever glitter
In the bloodstained hands of mine?
6
Those us oppose
We hate hurting,
What use war
Who victors are?
7 .
About my duty I'm in doubt
Tell me kindly what is right.
8
Beset by doubts,
Saddled by grief
Would I be joyous
Were I the king?
9
Thus spoke Sanjaya:
Bent to rescind
Arjun had no more to speak.
10
Make I privy O my Lord
Speaks as Krishna to Arjun
Stood who there in confusion.
11
Thus spoke the Lord:
Averring as knowing
Worried over trivia!
Reckon never wise
Dead and alive both.
12
You and Me
As well these,
Have had past
Future as well.
13
Wise all realize
Embodies selfsame spirit in one
From birth to death, in every birth.
14
Sensual feelings, grief 'n joy
Transient are like, heat and cold.
15
Weigh who pain 'n pleasure equal
Such are those on path freedom.
16
What's not real, it's never been
And that's true, it's ever there
That's how wise all came to see.
17
Spirit in lay us All-Pervading
Given that not to destruction,
What sense doth it make to think
That's immutable gets destroyed!
18
Perish all bodies, Spirit not therein
Know this truth, and take up arms.
19
With no slayer, nor one slain
Whoso feels that he might kill
It's in delusion that he harps.
20
Unbound being ever unborn
Ageless since it's endless too
Goes on Spirit, beyond life-span.
21
Spirit as entity hath no birth
How can thou kill what's not born!
22
Change as men fade if clothes
So doth Spirit as frames are worn.
23
Hurts no weapon the Spirit in thee
Nor scathe elements, wind, water 'n fire.
24
Unalterable 'n Eternal
Immovable but pervades all
Permanent 'n so Everlasting
Spirit thus none can ever destruct.
25
Can sans form Spirit get bound?
Get right answer thou won't burn.
26
Prima facie if thou feel
Subject Spirit is to rebirths
Why grieve over end of frame?
27
Dies as one
For like rebirth,
Why feel sad
Of what's cyclic.
28
Isn't thy lament over that
Un-manifested to start with
Gets manifested just as guest
And bids adieu in due course.
29
Seen in wonder, spoken in awe
Spirit none knows that lies in him.
30
Dies not Spirit as die beings
What for man then tends to grieve!
31
Being a warrior dharma thine
That thee fight with all thy might.
32 .
For martyrs of unsought wars
Ever open are heavenly gates.
33
If thee back out from duty
Imperil thou thy own dharma
And that earns thee infamy.
34
What for lead a dishonoured life
Why leave legend dubious behind!
35
Amiss be taken thine intent
Treat thee coward thy friends 'n foes.
36
Count on thou thy detractors
Besmirch they thy character,
Damned be thine obituary
By their campaign of slander.
37
If slain, heaven; alive, it's reign
Resolve to fight with right intent.
38
Shed thy sentiment, guilt unhinge
Eye not gain as wage thou war.
39
It's this knowledge that liberates
And helps thee act, with no restraint.
40
Goes not waste
Effort thine ever,
Zeal for action
Frees from fear.
41
In their resolve
Succeed firm,
Mind as wavers
Lose infirm.
42
Unwise use all enticing
Flowery language to further
Rituals Vedic in their scores
Not the knowledge of Vedas.
43
Eyeing heaven with mind mundane
Go for ceremonies such in hope
Of having best of both the worlds.
44
Pursue if thou wants with zeal
Instincts then would spin thy mind.
45
Aspects three of life, reveal Vedas four
Transcend thou dualities, in them as inherent.
46
Well-waters draw Veda-dependent
Banks on reservoir dwell all realized.
47
Hold as patent on thy work
Reckon thou not on royalty
With no way to ceasing work
Never mind outcome but go on.
48
It's but yoga
If thou strive
Wants without
Emotions bereft.
49
Work well greedy with motive
Work wise not with result in mind.
50
Wise not sentiment bring to work
That's hallmark of art of work.
51
Freed from bonds with mind even
Act wise regardless ever composed.
52
Clears if reason one's illusion
Bothers he not to what's over
Or for what might lie in store.
53
Stands as firm mind thy clear
Steer thou clear of path rituals.
54
Thus spoke Arjuna:
How to spot the yogi true
Were he there ever in the crowd?
55 .
Thus spoke the Lord:
Blessed are strong with blissful self
Helps them that slight all that tempts.
56
Oblivious of misfortune
Not the one to crave for fun
Sways not ever by his feelings
Stays thus yogi ever even.
57
Unfettered by attachment
Compliments to indifferent
Adversity by unshaken
Wisdom thus is personified.
58
Stimuli those of organs sensory
Tortoise like wise draw into shell.
59
Senses reined
Who so abstains,
Sans he longing
Turns he godly.
60
Senses as may tend them rash
Wise as well stray, from right path.
61
Rein in senses, hone thine effort
Rely on Supreme, that's true wisdom.
62
Leans man on
Lends what charm,
Brings that want
And that's fault.
63
Despair is what clouds reason
Brings that ruin through deeds mindless.
64
Yield to senses sans craving
Cap as thou thy wants dubious.
65
Calm that offsets woes of life
And that equable makes thy mind.
66
Lacks mind focus as it strays
Robs that peace 'n joy thereby.
67
As in seas sans boat rudder
So course sensual man loses.
68
With tight leash on their senses
Wise with ease lead poised lives.
69
Ignoring all ignorant crave
Wise take note what folks not note.
70
Subdues as sea, rivers it holds
Wise keep cool while wants taming.
71
Freed of ego 'n wants as well
Blessed are wise who lack longing.
72
State it's that of true being
With no tenseness of being,
Life ever in that mode being
Makes what one with All-being.

Ends thus:
All about Life,
The Second Chapter
Of Bhagvad-Gita
Treatise of self-help.

Chapter-3: Theory of Action

This chapter of 42 slokas, known as karma yoga, Theory of Action, covers the whole gamut of action. It is apparent that not all slokas here could be originals. It is pertinent to note that Lord Krishna was unequivocal, in s 42- s45, and s53 of the previous chapter, about the fallacy of the Vedic rituals, and the lack of wisdom in those that clamour for ceremonies, which promise rewards here and in hereafter.

Given that postulation and going by the contextual nature of this chapter that emphasizes action, the s9 -s16 that eulogize the benefits of ritualistic sacrifices should be viewed. In this context, it is pertinent to note that while describing the Omnipresence of Supreme Spirit in chapter 10, it is postulated that among the Vedas, the Supreme Spirit is Sama Veda, symbolizing music (s22), and not Rig Veda or Yajur Veda, both associated with ritualism. And again, in (s25) of the same chapter, it is averred that among the sacrifices, the Lord is tapo yagjna, prayer muted, and not Asvamedha, the horse sacrifice. Thus, these eight slokas seem to be clear interpolations. However, in this interpretative verse, yagjna (sacrifice) is taken as selfless effort, a synonym anyway. Besides, s17,s18 and s35 are not only out of context but also break the continuity of the discourse. S24 is but an analogy of s23 and thus is an interpolation. However, the readers may note that these slokas, if interpreted in the ritualistic sacrificial sense, would broadly convey that -
9. Man is not attached to his actions performed in ritualistic sacrifices but all other actions bind him.
10. The Creator wanted mankind to prosper through sacrifices, which shall be the milch cow of man's desires.
11. Foster the gods through sacrifices
12. Fostered by sacrifices, gods would bestow desired enjoyments, but they are thieves who do not return anything to them (gods).
13. Those that partake the remnants of sacrificial food are sinless.
14. Food that sustains mankind comes from rains, which are but the outcome of sacrificial ceremonies.
15. Brahma is seated in sacrifice.
16. Who follow the above regimen would attain moksha.

To appreciate the background for these interpolations, one might refer to 'All about Interpolations' of this book. Such interpolative slokas in this and other chapters of the text bear asterisks for ready identification. In what could be a fascinating experience for the readers, these earmarked verses, wherever they crop up, would bring them face to face with the logical disconnect in the discourse. In the end, bypassing these would tend them on the path of sequential thinking outlined by the Lord for the enlightenment of man.

1
Thus spoke Arjuna:
Capping wants, if betters action
How come Thou then push for war!
2
Find I hard to grasp all this
Thou be forthright, what is right.
3 .
Thus spoke the Lord:
Apply knowledge 'n be freed
Or thou make tango, with forgo
Precepts these yore, I fashioned.
4
Work-shy being, is no freedom
Dormant being, makes no living.
5
None like for man, non-action
Keeps him nature ever engaged.
6
Refrains if one, ever craving
Restraint it's but misleading.
7
Reins as carnal, tucked in mind
Strive who doth in deeds excel.
8
Lest thee should stake survival
Turn thy back not on thy work
19
Ever thee act at par duty
Let that be thy goal of life.
20
Lead mankind in Janaka's route
To moksha en route deeds selfless.
21
As and when thou prove thy worth
Emulates world then acts all thine.
22
Left with none to gain or prove
Keep I Myself ever engaged.
23
Were I to fail to self-exert
Man might follow suit as well.
25
Strive as wise to act freely
Get bound unwise ever restrained.
26
Waste not breath, ill-informed with
Wise show ways through their own deeds.
27
Gloat as egotists of their deeds
Sourced are acts in one's nature.
28
Those that see the senses lie
Behind the deeds are truly freed.
29
Let go wise, who swear by
Joys of life that nature tends.
30
Act not with fear or favour
Unto Me leave, right 'n wrong.
31
Whoso takes, this advice
Feels no burden ever engaged.
32
Who this lets go mindlessly
Gropes in darkness, ever in life.
33
Beings as by nature ruled
In spite of their self-restraint
Wise too tend to lose their way.
34
Pays it to see grips avarice
Senses those thine nature tends.
36
Thus spoke Arjuna:
Why should one with right intent
Stray ever on the wayward ways!
37
Thus spoke the Lord:
Well, it's passion, lust 'n wrath
Drag that man on path painful.
38
Flame 'n mirror as shrouded
Without let by smoke 'n dust
As well embryo in the womb
Wisdom is by wants clouded.
39
Wise all tend to cap all wants
Which like fire all burn to core.
40
Veiled off wisdom sees not man
Mind and body steeped in wants.
41
Rein in matter with thy mind
Thus thou nip thy wants in bud.
42
Score over senses sensuous feelings
Betters that mind, bettered by knowing
But above all Spirit that reins supreme.
43
Let thy Spirit
Rule the roost,
Restrain thou
Thy mind mischievous.

Ends thus:
Theory of Action,
The Third Chapter
Of Bhagavad-Gita
Treatise of self-help.

Chapter-4: Practical Wisdom

This chapter of 42 slokas, known as gjnaana yoga, Spiritual Knowledge, is replete with practical wisdom as well.

So in this chapter as with the previous one, there are interpolations galore. Slokas from 24 to 32 that are of religious/ritualistic nature seem clearly out of context and character. Prior to this seemingly interpolated body of eleven slokas, the nature of the Supreme Spirit and the conduct of those who realize it are dealt with. Thus, the discontinuity in the text brought about by the body of these interpolative slokas would be self-evident. Among these is s24, in which the nature of Brahman is described in terms of sacrificial fire, the oblation, its ladle, and the sacrifice et al, an antithesis of the Gita at any rate. And the other slokas of this group that describe states of yogic practices may be enlightening in their own way though out of context. But s34 that advises Arjuna to seek wise counsel is irrelevant in the context of the discourse fashioned to set his fears at rest in the battlefield of Kurukshetra itself.

That brings us to the first of the caste-oriented precepts in the Gita - chaatur varnyam mayaa srustam (s13). The plain reading of this sloka would have us believe that the Lord Himself created the four-caste system, of Brahman, Kshatriya, Vaisya and Sudra, to suit the inclinations of a given soul towards certain earmarked calling of social and spiritual life in this world. And then, as a rider that is vague at the very best; Lord Krishna says that though He is the author of it all, He should not be deemed as the doer. These so-called caste characteristics and duties as well figure in s 41-s48 of the concluding chapter, which are discussed therein.

It is imperative that we try to see whether these solkas belong to the original text, or are mere later day insertions, meant to sanctify the Aryan caste credo with the underpinning of 'exclusivity of duties' through the venerated Gita. It should not be lost on one that s11's return of favour by the Lord is juxtaposing to the stated detachment of His as espoused in s14. On the other hand, s12 that is akin to s20,ch.7, itself an interpolation, and s13 do not jell with the spirit of the philosophy.

Just the same, one school of thought tends to view chaatur varnyam as a way of general differentiation amongst men. However, this would not cut much ice since common sense suggests that Lord Krishna would have been aware that this turn of phrase is likely to be viewed in caste colours rather than in general terms. That being the case, the Lord would have been circumspect in his word choices to convey his scheme of things governing man's birth if they aren't as narrow as the Aryan caste system propounds.

Or is the chaatur varnyam His real will, whether one likes it or not? The answer could be found in the Lord's averments as one reads on. The four types of beings the Lord identifies by their nature and disposition are - the virtuous, the vile, the passionate and the deluded. Isn't the proposition that people of a given nature and disposition could be bracketed into one single caste so absurd? After all, even a given family provides many shades of human nature in its members, won't it? That being the case, could Krishna be so naive as not to know about it! Above all, hasn't He declared in s 29 ch.9, 'None I favour, slight I none / Devout Mine but gain Me true'. Slokas like chaaturvarnyam that would be encountered intermittently in the Gita are but mischievous, if not malicious, interpolations meant to buttress the Aryan caste prejudices and thus should be dismissed as such. However the said slokas are versified in nonpartisan manner in this rendering.

1
Thus spoke the Lord:
Advice this to Sun I gave
Told he Manu
Ikshvaku thus got in turn.
2
Followed world My word for long
Lost which mankind in due course.
3
It's but love I nurse for thee
Made Me reveal this Secret
Wisdom Supreme I gave Sun.
4
Thus spoke Arjuna:
Born of now, how come Thou
Did Sun advise there for long!
5
Thus spoke the Lord:
Born all here times umpteen
Aware am I but know not thou.
6
Beyond the pale of birth 'n death
On My volition I take birth.
7
Wanes if good 'n vile gain reign
Know it's then that I come forth.
8
It's thus I from time to time
Manifest here to uproot ill
And uphold well for public good.
9
Grasp who this true self of Me
Are bound to become one with Me.
10
So with who lead poised life
Reining in their base instincts.
14
Detached Am from what happens
It's this knowledge that frees man.
15
Men of yore all came to know
That's how one can free himself.
16
Aspects action, inaction too
Wont to puzzle the wise even.
17
Apart actions' rights 'n wrongs
Inaction no less confounds man.
18
Grasping action, in non-action
Inaction in action, discern wise.
19
Whoso privy to this truth
Gives up wants all senses seek.
20
He that content leans on none
Resigned he lives in thick of things.
21
Mind if keeps thy greed at bay
It's no sin thou meet thy needs.
22
One that truly well realized
Happy being with his share
Rids of envy from his mind
Easy he feels ever engaged
Treats he alike grief 'n joy
Wins 'n losses not to speak.
23
Acts of man to favour none
Grace they have of deeds selfless.
33
Better wise deeds than acts selfless
Wise thus strive to better themselves.
35
As 'n when thou this realize
In us both then world discern
And get rid of thy illusions.
36
Voyage by thy boat knowledge
Helps thee cross all seas sinful.
37
Fire as wood to ashes turns
So spark wisdom burns thy sloth.
38
None that betters this wisdom
Realize thou by striving hard.
39
Hone thy senses steeped in faith
And thou be wise 'n freed of all.
40
Besides those who this doubt
Here as above suffer uncouth.
41
Doubts at bay with analyzed thought
Detached deeds of applied knowledge
That's how regardless wise all work.
42
Thus O Arjun,
Sever doubts with thy sword wisdom
And fight thy foes with all thy strength.

Ends thus:
Practical Wisdom,
The Fourth Chapter
Of Bhagavad-Gita,
Treatise of self-help.

Chapter-5: Art of Renunciation

This chapter of 29 slokas, known as karma sanyaasa yoga, Renunciation of Action, is in response to Arjuna's plea at the beginning of the chapter, 'Pray be clear, as Thee aver / Act 'n give up in selfsame breath' Lord Krishna sets the tone for self-help in this chapter with the opening statement, 'Give up all 'n thou be freed / So's the case with selfless work/ But know latter scores much better'.

S18 avers the Omnipresence of the Supreme in Brahmans, cows, elephants, dogs and dog eaters. This tasteless description could be but an interpolation as it is so ill behoves the Lord's eloquence and sophistication of expression seen throughout. Incidentally, the succeeding s19 makes it clear that whoever recognizes Him in all beings attains the Supreme State in life itself. It may be noted that s29 and s30 of next chapter also run along the same lines. S27-s28 that deal with yogic practices and s29, which asserts the Supreme as the beneficiary of sacrificial rituals are but interpolation for reasons that bear no repetition.

1
Thus spoke Arjuna:
Pray be clear, as Thee aver
Act 'n give up in selfsame breath.
2
Thus spoke the Lord:
Give up all 'n thou be freed
So is the case with selfless work
But know latter scores much better.
3
Wise neither want, nor they shun
That's how they give up ever engaged.
4
Way action 'n path learning
Know not ignorant not different.
5
Work highway 'n lane freedom
Know the learned are the same.
6
What thou forego if thee cease
Deeds selfless make acts forsake.
7
Such one realized
Self-willed, dutiful
Within self remains
Without ever engaged.
8
Privy to this will realize
On his body as it works
Say hath he none to name one.
9
Wise do realize needs physical
Urges are they driven by genes.
10
Spreads on lotus leaves as water
Sticks none sin of deeds duteous.
11
Wise in selfless work engage
Forego while they self-purify.
12
Wise ever stay cool never in want
Bog down but naive ever in want.
13
Covetous not 'n ever laid back
Wise in tune with Supreme lay.
14
It's his nature, not the Spirit
Makes man act by wants induced.
15
Takes not Supreme credit or fault
Grasp none have of this uncouth.
16
He that keeps his bias at bay
Sun-like he shines being wise.
17
In clear conscience 'n fairness
Gives man freedom faith in Him
19
Keeps who equity ever in thought
Faultless being attains he Brahman.
20
In state Brahman,
Gloats never man as smiles fortune
Nor loses heart when things go wrong.
21
Joys induced all tire one soon
Stay self-joyous all blissful souls.
22
End as in grief joys of flesh
Go not wise for pleasures such brief.
23
Subdue lust 'n rein in wrath
Leads that to thy state of joy.
24
Live in ease the true knowing
Enjoy they all within themselves.
25
With pure intent sans ill-will
Realized all reach State Supreme.
26
Unmoved by his mind subdued
Stays ever free the self-realized.

Ends thus:
Art of Renunciation,
The Fifth Chapter
Of Bhagavad-Gita,
Treatise of self-help.

Chapter-6: Practice of Restraint

This chapter of 47 slokas, known as aatma samyama yoga, Self Restraint, deals with all aspects of self-control needed for renunciation in action. Here Arjuna's queries as to what would be the fate of man, were he to fail midway, in his efforts at self- control (s37). Even if it were the case, asures the Lord, still one wouldn't come to grief here or hereafter (s40). What is more, after being born many times over, eventually he attains moksha(s45). Further in s46, the Lord asserts that such a man is superior to the ritualistic character, and concludes in s47 that he remains His most blessed devotee.

Seen in this background, s 41 and s42 are clearly interpolations not only for affecting the continuity of the text but also for what they contain. S41 would have it that those who perform the asvamedha (ritualistic horse sacrifice) would reach heaven to be born again rich. Likewise s 42 would have us that, or such would be born in learned homes.It would seem that s46-s47 are digressions, but in effect they carry forward the Lord's discourse from s32, at which point Arjuna interrupted Him with his queries.

S10-s17 deal with aspects of ascetic practice and do seem to be interpolations, even going by what is stated in the very opening verse, besides breaking the continuity in the proposition.

1
Thus spoke the Lord:
Forego none if forsake chores
Eye not gain 'n thou be freed.
2
If thou let go its godly
Makes that hard thy self-interest.
3
Uphill though the way forsake
As 'n when thou make it there
Stay thus put with no more strain.
4
Reining senses sans motive
Wise on selfless deeds focus.
5
Noble or naughty it's thy make
Self thus thine but shapes thyself.

6
Mind if reined, it's thy friend
Foe it turns, let when loose.
7
Overcome if vicissitudes
Vibe thee well with Me Supreme.
8
Valuable or be otherwise
Treat all alike self-realized
Thus they remain ever even.
9
Wise is one, folks who treats
None the fear 'n sans favour.
18
With no longing freed of want
It's then thou reach yogic state.
19
Rooted in self yogi true
Lamp he likens in still air.
20
Restrain mind in self-focus
Beatitude of life that makes
21
Transcends senses if thy mind
It's then thou reach state of bliss.
22
Rooted so on peak of bliss
Wise not bother lows of life.
23
So to live in yogic state
Untie wise from life's bothers.
24
Wise keep tabs on self-impulse
Affects to without are they immune.
25
Wed wise focus with calm mind
Makes that life of theirs tranquil.
26
Pulled by wants as trips the mind
Gain ground wise by self-leverage.
27
Passions languid, mind tranquil
Keep man ever on blissful course.
28
Mind that's pure with self-control
Leads that man to State Brahman.
29
Espy wise in right outlook
Others in self 'n vice versa.
30
Discern Me in what they see
Ever they find Me nearby them.
31
Me who sees in all beings
He's the one that dwells in Me.
32
He's the yogi self-feels who
Joys of others 'n grief as well.
33
Thus spoke Arjuna:
Frail being man, fail I see
Yoga Thou espouse, lasting in practice.
34
Can one ever tame his mind
Like the wind that yields to none?
35 .
Thus spoke the Lord:
Calm 'n custom bring in ropes
Tough ask though to subdue mind.
36
Fail keep going unruly
Persevere self-willed all the way.
37 .
Thus spoke Arjuna:
What if one
Throws up all
Lacks who zeal
Hath though faith?
38
Resolve if dissolves in mid-course
Won't that be like scattered clouds?
39
Kindly dispel all my doubts
Think I none of else for that.
40
Thus spoke the Lord:
Strives if one to enrich self
Ends not in grief here or there.
43
Harnessed habit, of births past
Helps man strive to self-realize.
44
With the reason thus imbibed
Realized outwit scholars there.
45
Awareness of births of yore
Helps the striving gain moksha.
46
Ahead in protocol comes yogi
Learned, ascetics, as all sticklers for rituals.
47
He's the yogi of yogis
Self-inner who fills with Me.

Ends thus:
Practice of Restraint,
The Sixth Chapter
Of Bhagavad-Gita,
Treatise of self-help.

Chapter-7: Know the Spirit

This chapter of 30 slokas, known as gjnaana vigjnaana yoga, Spiritual knowledge and Secular intelligence, is about understanding the nature of the Supreme through knowing and meditation.

However, s20-s23 besides breaking the continuity in the character of the discourse, would advocate worship of gods for boon seeking that Krishna chastises is s42-s44,ch.2. And thus these slokas undoubtedly are interpolations.

1
Thus spoke the Lord:
How to retain Me in mind
He in yoga comes to know.
2
Make thee privy that knowledge
Leaves that no scope for some more.
3
Rarely beings seek their self
Of them but a few Me grasp.
4
Earth 'n ether, fire 'n air
Water, mind, sense 'n self
Elements are of My Nature.
5
It's this Nature holds all worlds
But above 'n apart is My Nature.
6
While My Higher Nature brings
Ends all that Low Nature Mine.
7
Better than Me none exists
On Me hinges whatever exists.
8
I'm that what is sapid in water
I'm the glow of sun and moon
I'm the thunder above in skies
Verily I'm the virility of males.
9
Odour of this earth is Me
Heat of fire 'n life in being
As well wisdom in forsake.
10
I'm the seed of all beings
Intellect as well man's valour.
11
It's Me strength of even life
As well ardour of sex in order.
12
Virtue, passion so too delusion
Send I forth though all of them
Come to dwell in none of them.
13
Spellbound by My these natures
Knows not man My true nature.
14
If thee forsake well and true
To Me then thou come 'n grasp
Natures these Mine illusions.
15
Who in Supreme hath no faith
Gripped are by these illusions
And thus go on path wayward.
16
Distressed, desirous 'n knowing
Such pious are those Me worship.
17
Of these but the steadfast man
With pure intent gets My nod.
18
Noble as all worship Me
The knower true is selfsame Me.
19
Once in a while
Births after many,
Born who knows
I pervade worlds.
24 .
Unmanifest Am State Supreme
But saddle Me with form uncouth.
25
Dull in delusion won't perceive
Me that's unborn veiled from them.
26
Am privy to what goes on
But man hath no grasp of Me.
27
Illusions dual, want and wrath
Ever in delusion keep they man.
28
Pure minded sans illusions
On Me such of virtue lean.
29
Seek all those who My refuge
See they Brahman ever in self.
30
Me Be-All 'n End -All grasps
Me he ponders on deathbed.

Ends thus:
Know the Spirit,
The Seventh Chapter
Of Bhagavad-Gita
Treatise of self-help.

Chapter-8: Cycle of Creation

This chapter of 28 slokas, known as akshara parabrahma yoga, The Indestructible Brahman, emphasizes the need of un-wavered devotion to the Supreme so as to attain Him. It also describes the science of meditation to reach the Supreme by understanding the nature of the Brahman. And s 22 is a seemingly concluding statement of the Lord that only through un-swerved devotion the Supreme could be reached from which there is no return (s 21).

Then appear s23 to s28 which if literally taken would imply that if one dies when the moon is on the ascent he would go to heaven and, to hell if it's other way round. Needless to say, these slokas spelling superstition in an otherwise thought-elevating treatise are but interpolations. It is worth noting that Sir Edwin Arnold dismissed these as the work of some vedanti and thought it fit, justifiably at that, not to include them in his 'Song Celestial'. In this connection it may be noted that the relationship between the state in which a person dies and his imminent rebirth is covered in s 14 and s15 of c14, which seem to be authentic.

It can be seen that s5, places the cart before the horse. Besides, s9-s14 too are interpolations going by their content that's out of context. It is worth noting that s1-s4,s6-s8 and s15-s22, if read together would bear an unmistakable continuity of argument that the interpolations deprive.

1
Thus spoke Arjuna:
O Lord appraise what's Brahman
Lies what within 'n backs action
Nature of deities besides the beings.
2
What is that guides bodily acts,
What makes yogis realize Thee?
3 .
Thus spoke the Lord:
Self Imperishable is Brahman
But dwells it yet there in beings
Brings that forth is Act Supreme.
4
Perish as beings all in time
Spirit that lasts of them is Me.
6
In the end the way one tends
Charts that future course he takes.
7
If thou act with this in mind
In the end thou gain Me true,
By My word now opt for war
With thy strength 'n skill I gave.
8
Me they reach whoso keep
On Me focus as they work.
15
Having come to stay with Me
Get they rid of births and deaths.
16
Journey to Brahman holds return ticket
Journeys back none abode from Mine.
17
Wise all realize days Brahman
Ages thousands make with nights.
18
By day as He brings beings
Un-manifests He all by night.
19
It's all rebirths through His day
But with nightfall cease they all
As He wakes up puts He back.
20
My State Supreme that never ends
Un-manifested it's above Brahman.
21
It's My Abode that Supreme
For man to reach not to leave.
22
It's through devotion that thee gain
State Supreme that pervades worlds.

Ends thus:
Cycle of Creation,
The Eighth Chapter
Of Bhagavad-Gita,
Treatise of self-help.

Chapter-9: The Sacred Secret

This chapter of 34 slokas, known as raja-vidyaa raja-guhya yoga, Supreme Knowledge and Supreme Secret, describes various ways of attaining the Supreme that lends itself readily for interpolations.

In s13, it is stated that the realized man constantly and single-mindedly remains devoted to the Supreme and in s14 it is averred that such ever remain united with Him in meditation. But it is only in s22 that the protection of the Supreme to those engaged in His service in true devotion is assured. While s23 states that those who worship other gods with faith, worship Him only, albeit defectively, s25 pictures varied outcome of worshipping other gods, a contradiction of s3,ch.12. And in s24, He is the Enjoyer and the Lord of all Sacrifice, an anathema to the philosophy of the Gita. Also s15 is but a digression to facilitate s16-s21 and s23-s25. What is more, there could be some omissions from the original, given the seemingly incomplete exposition of the promised dharma in s2.

Further, in s 30 and s 31, it is said that even a reformed sinner is dear and valuable to Him. Then in s 32 it is stated that women, Vaisyas and Sudras could win His favour through devotion, sounding as if they are all in an inferior league. Leave aside the Lord's averment in many a context in this text that the Supreme Spirit lies in all beings, it is specifically stated in s34 of ch.10 that He symbolizes all that is glorious in woman. Given this, and the background of interpolations, s32 surely is a case of trespass. S33 of this chapter is but a jointing medium of the said obnoxious verse and in itself is patronizing in nature towards the virtuous Brahmans.

S7, that contravenes s15-s16 of ch.8 and echoes the interolative s18-s19 of this, is an interpolation. S34 that falls into a separate category, that too seemingly an interpolation, for reasons explained in 'All about Interpolations'.

1
Thus spoke the Lord:
Unenvied as thou I would tell
The art of leading fruitful life.
2
Supreme secret that's sacred
Profound dharma for mankind
Fair and simple, practicable.
3
Fail who follow this dharma
Pay they price in recurring births.
4
Whatever is there I pervade
In My ambit lay beings
Though it's not the other way round.
5
Fail if thou to grasp it thus
Feel as though I'm confined in
What I bring forth 'n sustain.
6
Skies in rooted wind as spreads
Dwell in Me though disperse all.
8
It's I make the Nature bring
Beings hapless in their scores.
9
Since I function not in passion
Bound Am none by acts all these.
10
It's the Nature ruled by Me
Takes the world the way it goes.
11
Though Am Lord of all beings
Give Me human form the naive
And thus they do belittle Me.
12
Vile in delusion lead their lives
In vainness they waste their time.
13
With Me in mind well-meaning
See they beings sourced in Me.
14
With right intent 'n focus
Such Me worship with true faith.
22
Those as meditate 'n worship
Them I take My wings under
26
Hold I dear a leaf even
Offered when by pure minded.
27
Act thou throughout in good faith
Thus thou make Me feel honoured.
28
Rid be thou of all that binds
Freed be thus thou come to Me.
29
None I favour; slight I none
Devout Mine all gain Me true.
30
Start as wicked My worship
Take them all as well realized.
31
Tend I them then turn even
Devout Mine none go restive.

Ends thus:
The Secret Sacred,
The Ninth Chapter
Of Bhagavad-Gita,
Treatise of self-help.

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