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Full text of "Srimad Bhagavad Gita Rahasya - BG Tilak - Volumes 1 and 2"





( English Translation ) 

First Edition 

Published for Tilak Bros, by :— R. B. Tilak, Lokamanya 
Tilak Mandir, 568, Naiayan Peth, Poona City, (INDIA). 


Printed by S. V. Parulekar at the Bombay Vaibhav Press, 

Servants of India Society's Building, Sandhurst Road, 

Bombay, ( INDIA ). 


All rights including rights of translation, abridgement, summary, 
synopsis, etc. are reserved by the Publishers, 

hacalar Editions 


- ;,ion June 1915. 
" lit' on; September 191.', 
.oil, September 1918. 
„,£*tion, 1923. 
3£Jba^on in two Tiart?, 1924-1926. 

Various Vernacular Editions 



First Edition, June 1915. 

Second Edition, September 1915. 

Third Edition, September 1918. 

Fourth Edition, 1933. 

First Edition in two parts, 1924-1926. 


First Edition, 1917. 

Second Edition, 1918. 

Third Edition, 1919. 

Fourth Edition, 1924. 

Fifth Edition, 1925. 

Sixth Edition, 1928. 

First Edition in two parts, 1926. 

Seventh Edition, 1933. 


First Edition, 1917. 
Second Edition, 1924. 


First Edition, 1924. 


First Edition, 1919. 


First Edition, 1919. 


First Edition, (First Volume only' 

Works of the Late LOK. B. G. TILAK- 

1. The Arctic Home in the Vedas (In English). 

2. The Orion, or Researches into the Antiquity of the 
Vedas (In English). 

3. The Vedic Chronology and the Vedanga Jyotisha 
(In English). 


Marathi, in two volumes. 
Gujarathi, (cloth bound) in one volume. 
Hindi, „ ditto. 

Kanarese, ,, ditto. 

Bengali, „ ditto. 

All the above books can be had of :— 
Messrs. TILAK Bros., 

Lokamanya Tilak Mandir, 

568, Narayan Peth, 

Poona City (INDIA). 

5. S'rimad Bhagavadglta, text, translation and important, 
commentaries, in Hindi, Gujarathi, and Marathi. -" 

6. Three-coloured portraits and pictures :•— 
Lokamanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak, 

size 20" by 27", 8 as. each. 
size 12" by 18", 4 as. each. 
The Battle-field of Kuru-Ksetra 

size 20" by 27", 8 as. each, 
size 12" by 18", 4 as; each.. 


Lokamanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak, the author of the present 
work, had intended to publish an English translation of his 
work in order to give it an international circulation, which it 
would necessarily not have in its Marathi form as originally 
written out by him. It was his great ambition that the 
interpretation put by him on the doctrine preached by the 
Bhagavadgita, should come before the eyes of learned 
philosophers, scholars, and alumni, all the world over, so that 
he could have the benefit of their views on the line of argument 
and interpretation adopted by him ; and he had in his life-time 
made an attempt to get the work put into the English language. 
He was, however, unable to see this matter through on account 
of his numerous activities, and ultimately he suddenly fell ill 
• and died, without seeing the realisation of his desire and 

After his demise, we his two sonB, as the publishers of his 
works, tried to carry out this his wish, but were unable to give 
the matter our whole-hearted attention, owing to being involved 
in heavy litigation arising out of the chaos resulting from the 
unfair advantage which certain interested parties took of his 
death. We spent a large sum of money in trying to get the 
work translated into English, but in spite of this expense, the 
matter remained incomplete ; and in the meantime one of us, 
viz., my brother, Shridhar died, leaving this task unfinished. I 
am, therefore, now glad to announce that I have at last been 
.able to successfully carry out the most cherished wish of my 
father, as also of my brother, and am publishing this volume 
on 1st August 1935, being the fifteenth anniversary of my 
father's death ; and I shall feel that all the trouble which has 
been,taken by me in bringing out this publication will be 
more than amply rewarded, if it gets into international 
circulation, and if I am thus enabled to fulfil the wishes of my 
late father, and brother ; for, I shall then feel that I am free 
from my obligations to the deceased. I am writing this 
foreword on the seventh anniversary of my brother's death and 
1 am dedicating this publication to- his memory. 


I am grateful to the various photographers, photographs 
taken by whom are reproduced in this publication ; as also to 
the eminent writers and the publishers of works containing 
leferences to the Glta, the Glta-Rahasya, and to my late father, 
•extracts from whose publications or writings, have been 
included in this publication. 

My thanks are also due to a friend whose help was greatly 
responsible for this publication seeing the light of the day, 
and especially to Mr. A. V. Patvardhan, a member of the 
Servants of India Society, and the Manager of the Arya- 
Bhushan Press, Poona, who, out of regard for the late 
Lokamanya Tilak, undertook the printing of this work at the 
Bombay Vaibhava Press, without asking for any advance 
payment, and has agreed to receive all charges payable to the 
Press out of the sale proceeds of the book. In fact, but for 
this most generous accommodation, it would have been 
difficult for me to undertake and carry out such an expensive 
and ambitious project, at least in my present circumstances, . 
I must also here acknowledge my gratitude to the Translator 
Mr. B. S. Sukthankar, who also has gladly consented to receive 
the amount payable to him for the translation, out of the sale 
proceeds of the book, in due course. 

It is true that the price of the publication has been put 
a little high for moderate purses, as also that I have had 
to publish the book in two volumes, so as to partly meet the 
coste of the Press out of the sale proceeds of the first volume ; 
but this has been done as there was no alternative- course left 

Nevertheless, I have not made this division arbitrarily, as 
will appear from what follows. The book consists of two un- 
«qual parts, as written, the first part being the Philosophical 
Exposition, consisting of fifteen chapters and Appendices, and 
going over the first 588 pages of the original text, and the 
second consisting of the Glta, with its translation, and the 
Commentary on Buch translation, stanza by stanza, which goes 
over about 360 pages. In publishing the book in two volumes 
I have included the first thirteen chapters of the Philosophical 
Exposition in the first volume, and chapters 14 and 15 of the 


Philosophical Exposition, and the Appendioes together with the 
indices in the second volume, for the following reasons : — 

(i) With the thirteenth ohapter, the" Exposition proper, 
comes to an end; the three remaining chapters, though an 
integral part of the Exposition, respectively contain only 
1(0) an explanation ahout the continuity of the chapters of 
■the Glta, (6) the Summing up, or resume, and (c) the 
Appendices ; so that strictly speaking, the subject-matter does 
not suffer by my division (sej the last words of the Author at 
ihe end of the thirteenth chapter, on p. 618). 

(ii) In writing the book itself, the late Lokamanya wrote 
chapters I to VIII in one book, chapters IX to XIII, in the second 
book ; chapters XIV and XV, and the External Examination 
■(Appendices), and the translation of the first three Adhyayas 
A chapters) of the Glta in the third book ; and the translation of 
the Adhyayas four to eighteen of the Glta and his Pref aoe in 
•the fourth book (see, Information regarding the original 
manuscript of the Glta-Rahasya printed at p. xxviii following ) ; 
■thus, the first Volume as now published contains a translation 
of the subject-matter included in the first two books written 
by the Author. 

(iii) The Volumes, as now published are more or less of 
■the same size and price, so that from the point of view of the 
purchaser, it is easier for him to pay the purchase price of the 
whole book in two, more or less equal instalments, at different 
times. If the first Volume had been made to include the 
fifteen chapters and the Appendices, its price would have been 
much higher than as now fixed. 

I have, however, implicit trust in the inherent spiritual 
power of this wonderful and well-known work of a recognised 
Oriental Scholar and Researcher, which enabled the first 
iten thousand copies of the Marathi publication to be sold off 
within a few months of its publication, and enabled it to go 
into several editions in Marathi, and to be translated into half 
a dozen Indian vernaculars ; and I am sure that the same 
success will be met with by the present English translation. 

Not only has the translator, Mr. B. S. Sukthankar, helped 
me by not putting any financial pressure on me, but he has put 
ihe translation through within a comparatively short space of 


time after it had beenAe.ntrusted to him, by dint of untiring 
energy, in spare time, in spite of the numerous other taxes on 
his time and labour, apart from his professional work as an 
Attorney-at-Law, which ties him down most part of the day to 
his office ; and he has put me under further ohligations by 
personally carefully examining all the proofs. He has also 
to a certain extent given me financial accommodation for 
meeting such payments as had to be met in advance ; and 
I may without exaggeration say that but for his sympathy ^ 
accommodation, enthusiasm, and help, it would have been 
difficult for me to bring out the present edition. A. grateful 
mention must also be made of Dr. V. S. Sukthankar, of the 
Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute, Foona, for the 
valuable help given by him in looking into the transliterated 
Sanskrit portions of the work, and making such valuable' 
suggestions regarding the publication, as a man of his 
qualifications alone could make on account of his Continental 
experience of publications of similar works. 

Last, but not least, my sincere thanks are due to 
Mr. B. M. Sidhaye, the Manager of the Bombay Vaibhav 
Press, who has ungrudgingly spared no pains to make the' 
technical and difficult printing of this book as faultless and 
satisfactory as possible ; and but for whose obliging help it 
would not have been possible to put this work through the 
press during that short space of time in which it has been 
actually printed. 

; I feel that in quoting this stanza, with which I am ending 
this Foreword, I am only voicing sentiments similar to those 
expressed by my revered father in the concluding remarks of 
his, Preface to the original Marathi work, in parting with 
his precious thoughts and placing them into the hands of his 
.readers : — 

" Go little book from this my solitude ; 
" I cast thee on the water, go thy ways ; 
" And if, as I believe, thy tone be good, 
" The world will find thee, after many days ". 
Bombay, 1 _ r. B. TILAK, 

25th May 1935./ Publisher. 




The Qita is a bouquet composed of the beautiful flowers of 
spiritual truths collected from the Upanishads. 

Among the priceless teachings that may be found in the 
great Hindu poem of the Mahabharata, there is none so rare 
and precious as this, " The Lord's Song ". Since it foil from 
the divine lips of Shri Krishna on the field of battle, and 
stilled the surging emotions of his disciple and friend, how 
many troubled hearts has it quieted and strengthened, how 
many weary souls has it led to Him I It is meant to lift the 
aspirant from the lower levels of Tenunoiation, where objects 
are renounced, to the loftier heights, where desires are dead, 
and where the Yogi dwells in calm and ceaseless contemplation 
while his body and mind are actively employed in discharging 
the duties that fall to his lot in life. That the spiritual man 
need not be a recluse, that union with the divine Life may be 
aohieved and maintained in the midst of worldly affairs, that 
the obstacles to that union lie, not outside us, but within lis, 
such is the central lesson of the BHAGAVAD-G-ITA. 

It is a scripture of Yoga: now Yoga is literally Union ; and 
it means harmony with the Divine Law, the becoming one with 
the Divine Life, by the subdual of all outward-going energies.. 
To reach this, balance must be gained, as also equilibrium, so 
that self, joined to the Self, shall not be affected by pleasure oj 
pain, desire or aversion, or any of the " pairs of opposites ", 
between which untrained selves swing backwards and forwards. 
Moderation is, therefore, the key-note of the Gifca and the 
harmonising of all the constituents of man, till they vibrate 
in perfect attunement with the One, the Supreme Self. This is 
the aim the disciple is to set before him. He must learn not 
to be attracted by the attractive, nor repelled by the 
repellent, but must see both as manifestations of the one 


Lord, so that they may • be lessons for his guidance, 
not fetters for his bondage. In the midst of turmoil, he must 
rest in the Lord of Peao'e, discharging every duty to the fullest, 
not because he seeks the results of his actions, but because it is 
his duty to perform them. His heart is an altar ; love to his 
Lord, the flame burning upon it; all his acts, physical and 
mental, are sacrifices offered on the altar, and once offered, he 
has with them no further concern. 

As though to make the lessto more impressive, it was 
given on a field of battle. Arjuna, the warrior-prince, was to 
vindicate his brother's title, to destroy a usurper who was 
oppressing the land ; it was his duty as prince, as warrior, 
to fight for the deliverance of his nation and to restore order 
and peaoe. To make the contest more bitter, loved comrades 
and friends stood on both sides, wringing his heart with 
personal anguish, and making the conflict of duties as well as 
-physical strife. Gould he slay those to whom he owed love 
and duty, and trample on ties of kindred 1 To break family 
ties was a sin ; to leave the people in cruel bondage was a 
-sin; where was the right way ? Justice must be done, else law 
would be disregarded ; but how slay without sin 1 The answer 
is the burden of the book : Have no personal interest in the 
• event; carry out the duty imposed by the position in life, realise 
that Ishvara, at once Lord and Law, is the doer, working out 
the mighty evolution that ends in bliss and peace; be identified 
with Him by devotion, and then perform duty as duty, fighting 
■without passion or desire, without anger or hatred; thus 
.Activity forges no bonds, Yoga is accomplished, and the Soul 
js free. 

Such is the obvious teaching of this sacred book. But as 
. all the acts of an Avatara are symbolical, we may pass from 
ithe outer to the inner planes, and see in the fight of Kurukshetra 
the battle-field of the Soul, and in the sons of Dhritarashtra, 
enemies it meets in its progress ; Arjuna becomes the type of 
the struggling Soul of the disciple, and Shri Krishna is the 
Logos of the Soul. Thus, the teaching of the ancient battle- 
ifield gives guidance in all later days, and trains the aBpiring 
•soul in treading the steep and thorny path that leads to peace. 


To all such, souls in the East and West come these divine • 
lessons; for the path is one, though it has many names, and all' 
Souls seek the same goal, though they may not realise theirunity. 
(From Mrs. Besant's Pocket Gita published by G. A . 
Natesan & Co. Madras.) 


I believe that in the whole history of mankind, the - 
greatest outstanding personality having the deepest and the 
most pTof ound knowledge and possessing super-human powers 
is Shri Krishna. I further believe that in all the living 
languages of the world, there is no book so full of truth- 
knowledge, and yet so handy as the Bhagavadgita. 

This wonderful book of eighteen small chapters contains 
the essence of the Vedas and the Upanishads, and is a sure 
guide of the way to perfect happiness, here as well as hereafter. 
It preaches the three-fold way of Knowledge, Action, and 
Devotion, leading to the highest good of mankind. It brings 
to men the highest knowledge, the purest love and the most- 
luminous action. It teaches self-control, the threefold austerity, 
non-violence, truth, compassion, obedience to the call of duty 
for the sake of duty, and putting up a fight Against 
unrighteousness (Adharma). 

Full of knowledge and truth and moral teaching, it has 
the power to raise men from the lowest depths of ignorance 
and suffering to the highest glories of divine beings. To my 
knowledge, there is no book in the whole range of the world's ■ 
literature so high above all as the Blmgavadgita, which is a 
treasure-house of Dharma, not only for Hindus but for all 
mankind. Several scholars of different countries have by 
study of this book acquired a pure and perfect knowledge of 
the Supreme Being Who is responsible for the creation, 
preservation and destruction of the universe, and have gained 
a stainless, desireless, supreme devotion to His feet. Those men 
and women are very fortunate who have got this little lamp of 
light full of an inexhaustible quantity of the oil of love, 
showing the way out of the darkness and ignorance of the- 
world. It is incumbent on such people to useit for all. 
mankind groping in the darkness. :, , ,]; '\ 



There is no more beautiful book in the sacred literature of 
the Hindus ;- theie is none in which the more enlightened find 
greater spiritual comfort. 

It was a Hindu gentleman and a Brahmin who told me 
that if I wanted to study the psychology of the Indian unrest, I 
should begin by studying Tilak's career. " Tilak's onslaught 
in Poona upon Ranade, his alliance with the bigots of ortho- 
doxy, his appeals to popular superstition in the new Ganapati 
celebrations, to racial fanaticism in the ' Anti-Cow-Killing 
movement ', to Mahratta sentiment in the cult which he 
introduced of Shivaji, his active propaganda amongst school- 
boys and students, his gymnastic societies, his preaching in 
favour of physical training, and last but not least his control 
of the Press, and the note of personal violence which he 
imparted to newspaper polemics, represent the progressive 
stages of a highly-organised campaign -which has served as a 
model to the apostles of unrest all over India". This was a 
valuable piece of advice, for, if any one can claim to be truly 
the father of Indian unrest, it is Bal Gangadhar Tilak. 

c (From Indian Unrest by Sir Valentine Chirol.) 


Tilak's natural endowments are first-rate. He has used 
them for the service of the country and although I did not 
approve of bis methods, I never questioned his motives. There 
is no man who has suffered so much for the country, who has 
had in his life to contend against powerful opposition so much 
as Tilak ; and there is no man who has shown grit, patience 
t and courage so rare, that several times he lost his fortune and 
by his indomitable will gathered it together again. 

(From Dnyan-Prakash dated 3-2-1915). 

"Early in my childhood I had felt the need of a scripture 
that would serve me as an unfailing guide through the trials 
and temptations of life. The Vedas could not supply that 
need, if only because to learn them would require fifteen to 
sixteen years of hard study at a place like Kashi, for which 


I was not ready then. But the Gita, I had read somewhere, 
-gave within the compass of its 700 verses the quintessence of 
all the Shastras and the Upanishads. That decided me. I learnt 
Sanskrit to enable me to read the Gita. To-day the Gita is not 
only my Bible or my Koran ; it is more than that — it is my 
mother. I lost my earthly mother who gave me birth long 
ago ; but this eternal mother has completely filled her place 
by my side ever since. She has never changed, she has never 
failed me. When I am in difficulty or distress, I seek refuge 
in her bosom. 

It is sometimes alleged against the Gita that it is too 
■difficult a work for the man in the street. The criticism, 
I venture to submit, is ill-founded. If you find all the eighteen 
chapters too difficult to negotiate, make a careful study of the 
first three chapters only. They will give you in a nutshell 
what is propounded in greater detail and from different angles 
in the remaining fifteen chapters. 

Even these three chapters can be further epitomised in a 
,few verses that can be selected from these chapters. Add to 
this the fact that at three distinct places, the Gita goes even 
■further and exhorts us to leave alone all ' isms ' and take refuge 
in the Lord alone, and it will be seen how baseless is the charge 
that the message of the Gita is too subtle or complicated for 
lay minds to understand. 

The Gita is the universal mother. She turns away 
nobody. Her door is wide open to any one who knocks. A 
true votary of the Gita does not know what disappointment is. 
He ever dwells in perennial joy and peace that passeth under- 
standing. But that peace and joy come not to the sceptic or 
to him who is proud of his intellect or learning. It is reserved' 
only for the humble in spirit who brings to her worship a full- 
ness of faith and an undivided singleness of mind. There 
never was a man who worshipped her in that spirit and went 
back disappointed. 

The Gita inculcates the duty of perseverance in the face 
■of seeming failure. It teaches us that we have a right to 
-actions only but not to the fruit thereof, and that success and 
failure are one and the same thing at bottom. It calls upon 


us to dedicate ourselves, body, mind and soul, to pure duty,, 
and not to become,, mental voluptuaries at the mercy of all 1 
chance desires and undisciplined impulses. As a "Satyagrahi",. 
I can declare that the Gita is ever presenting me with fresh 
lessons. If somebody tells me that this is my delusion, my 
reply to him would be that I shall hug this delusion as my 
richest treasure. 

I would advise every one to begin the day with an early 
morning recitation of the Gita. Take up the study of the Gitar 
not in a carping or critical spirit, but in a devout and reverent 
spirit. Thus approached, she will grant your every wish. Once 
you have tasted of its sweet nectar, your attachment to it will' 
grow from day to day. The recitation of the Gita verses will 
support you in your trials and console you in your distress, 
even in the darkness of solitary confinement. And, if with' 
these verses on your lips you receive the final summons and' 
deliver up your spirit, you will attain ' Brahma-Nirvana,' the' 
Final Liberation. 

The Gita enabled the late Lokamanya Tilak out of his 
encyclopaedic learning and study, to produce a monumental, 
commentary. For him it was a store-house of profound 
truths to exercise his intellect upon. I believe his commentary 
on the Gita will be a more lasting monument to his memory .. 
It will survive even the successful termination of the struggle 
for Swarajya. Even then his memory will remain as fresh as 
ever on account of his spotless purity of life and his great 
commentary on the Gita. No one in his life time, nor even, 
now, could claim deeper and vaster knowledge of the Shastras 
than he possessed. His masterwork commentary on the Gita 
»is unsurpassed and will remain so for a long time to come. 
Nobody has yet carried on more elaborate research in the-- 
questions arising from the Gita and the Vedas." 

Paying a glowing tribute to the memory of the Late 
Lokmanya Tilak, Gandhiji said "his vast learning, his immense 
sacrifices and his life-long service have won for him a unique 
'. jdace in the hearts of the people ". 

(From Speeches of , Mahatma .Gandhi at Benares and- 
at Oawnpore). 



What is the message of the Gita anil what its working 
value, its spiritual utility to {he human mind of the present 
day, after the long ages that have elapsed since it was written 
and the great subsequent transformation's of thought and 
experience ? The human mind moves always forward, alters 
its view-point and enlarges its thought-substance, and the 
effect of these changes is to render past systems of thinking 
obsolete or, when they are preserved, to extend, to modify 
and subtly or visibly to alter their value. The vitality of 
an ancient doctrine consists in the extent to which it naturally^ 
lends itself to such a treatment ; for that means that whatever 
may have been the limitations or the obsolescences of the form 
of its thought, the truth of substance, the truth of iivingi vision 
and experience on which its system was built, is still sound 
and retains a permanent validity and significance. The Gita 
is a book that has worn extraordinarily well, and it is almost 
as fresh and still in its real substance quite as new, because 
always renewable in experience, as when it first appeared in 
or was written into the frame of the ' Mahabharata '. It is 
still received in India as one of the great bodies of doctrine 
that most authoritatively govern religious thinking ; and its 
teaching is acknowledged as of the highest value if not wholly 
accepted, by almost all shades of religious belief and opinion. 
Its influence is not merely philosophic or academic but 
immediate and living, an influence both for thought and 
action, and its ideas are actually at work as a powerful 
shaping factor in the revival and renewal of a nation and 
a culture. It has even been said recently by a great voice 
that all we need of spiritual truth for the spiritual life is* 
to be found in the Gita, It would be to encourage the 
superstition of the book to take too literally that utterance. 
The truth of the spirit is infinite and cannot be circumscribed 
in that manner. Still it may be said that most of the main 
clues are there and that after all the_ later developments of 
spiritual experience and discovery, we can still return to 
it for a large inspiration and guidance. Outside India 
too it is universally acknowledged as one of the world's 


great scriptures, although in Europe its thought is better 
understood than its secret of spiritual practice. 

Neither Mr. Tilak nor his works really require any 
presentation of foreword. 

His Orion and his Arctic Home have acquired at once a 
world-wide recognition and left as strong a mark as can at all 
be imprinted on the ever-shifting sands of oriental research. 
His work on the Gita, no mere commentary, but an original 
criticism and presentation of ethical truths, is a monumental 
LIKELY TO BECOME A CLASSIC. This one book sufficiently proves 
that had he devoted his energies in this direction, he might easily 
have filled a large place in the history of Marathi literature and 
in the history of ethical thought, so subtle and comprehensive in 
its thinking, so great the perfection and satisfying force of its 
style. But it was psychologically impossible for Mr. Tilak to 
devote his energies in any great degree to another action than 
the one life-mission for which the Master of his works had 
chosen him. His powerful literary gift has been given up to 
a journalistic work, ephemeral as even the best journalistic 
work must be, but consistently brilliant, vigorous, politically 
educative through decades, to an extent seldom matched and 
certainly never surpassed. His scholastic labour has been done 
almost by way of recreation. Nor can anything be more 
significant than the fact that the works which have brought 
him a fame other than that of the politician and patriot, were 
done in periods of compulsory cessation from his life work, — 
planned and partly, if not wholly, executed during the impri- 
sonments which could alone enforce leisure upon this unresting 
worker for his country. Even these by-products of his genius 
have some reference to the one passion of his life, the renewal, 
if not the surpassing, of the past greatness of the nation by the 
greatness of its future. His Vedic researches seek to fix its 
pre-historic point of departure; the Gita-rahasya takes the 
scripture which is perhaps the 'strongest and most comprehen- 
sive production of Indian spirituality and justifies to that 
spirituality by its own authoritative ancient message the sense 


of the importance of life, of action, of human existence, of 
man's labour for mankind which is indispensable to the 
idealism of the modern spirit. 

Mr. Tilak himself, his career, his place in Indian polities 
are also a self-evident proposition, a hard fact baffling and 
dismaying in the last degree to those to whom his name has 
been anathema, and his increasing pre-eminence figured as a 
portent of evil. Yet is Mr. Tilak a man of various and no 
ordinary gifts, and in several lines of life he might have 
achieved present distinction or a pre-eminent and enduring 
fame. Though he has never practised, he has a close know- 
ledge of law and an acute legal mind which, had he oared in 
the least degree for wealth and worldy position, would have 
brought him to the front at the bar. He is a great Sanskrit 
scholar, a powerful writer and a strong, subtle and lucid 
•thinker. He might have filled a large place in the field of 
• contemporary Asiatic scholarship. He is the very type and 
incarnation of the Maratha character, the Maratha qualities, 
■the Maratha spirit, but with the unified solidity in the 
•character, the touch of genius in the qualities, the vital force 
in the spirit which make a great personality readily the 
representative man of his people. The Maratha race, as their 
soil and their history have made them, are a rugged, strong and 
sturdy people ; democratic in their every fibre ; keenly intelligent 
and practical to the very marrow ; following in ideas, even in 
.poetry, philosophy and religion, the drive towards life and 
action ; capable of great fervour, feeling and enthusiasm, like 
all Indian people, but not emotional idealists; having in their 
thought and speech, always a turn for strength, sense, accuracy, 
lucidity and vigour; in learning and scholarship, patient, 
industrious, careful, thorough and penetrating ; in life, simple, 
hardy and frugal ; in their temperament, courageous, 
pugnacious, full of spirit, yet with a tact in dealing with hard 
facts and circumventing obstacles; shrewd yet aggressive 
•diplomatists, born politicians, born fighters. All this Mr. 
Tilak is with a singular and eminent completeness, and all on 
a large scale, adding to it all a lucid simplicity and genius, a 
secret intensity, and ; inner strength of will, a single-miaded- 
Jiess in aim of quite extraordinary force, which remind one of 


the brightness, sharpness and perfect temper of a fine sword? 
hidden in a sober scabbard. 

The indomitable will and the unwavering devotion have- 
been the whole meaning of Mr. Tilak's life; they arethe- 
Teason of his immense hold on the people. For he does, 
not owe his pre-eminent position to wealth and great, 
social position, professional success, recognition by 
Government, a power of fervid oratory or of fluent and/ 
telling speech; for he had none of these things to help him. 
He owes it to himself alone and to the thing his life has 
meant and because he has meant it with his whole mind and 
his whole soul. He has kept back nothing for himself or 
for other aims, but has given all himself to his country. - 
As he emerged on the political field, his people saw more 
and more clearly in him their representative man, themselves 
in large, the genius of their type. They felt him to be of one 
spirit and make, with the great men who had made their 
past history, almost believed him to be a reincarnation of 
one of them returned to carry out his old work in a new form . 
and under new conditions. They beheld in him the spirit of 
Maharashtra once again embodied in a great individual. He 
occupies a position in his province which has no parallel 
in the rest of India. 

The landmarks of Mr. Tilak's life are landmarks also- 
in the history of his province and his country. 

His first great step associated him in a pioneer work- 
whose motive was to educate the people for a new life under 
the new conditions, on the one side, a purely educational . 
movement of which the fruit was the Ferguson College, fitly 
founding the reawakening of the country by an effort of 
which co-operation in self-sacrifice was the moving spirit, 
on the other, the initiation of the Kesari newspaper, which 
figured increasingly as the characteristic and powerful 
expression of the political mind of Maharashtra. Mr. Tilak's- 
career has counted three periods each of which had an ■ 
imprisonment for its culminating point. His first imprison- 
ment in the Kolhapur case belongs to this first stage of self- 
development and development of the Maratha country for, 
new ideas and activities and for the national future. 


The second period brought in a wider conception and 
a profounder effort. For now it was to reawaken not only 
the political mind but the soul of the people by linking its 
■future to its past ; it worked by a more strenuous and popular 
propaganda which reached its height in the organisation of 
the Shivaji and the Ganapati festivals. His separation from 
'the Social reform leader, Agarkar, had opened the way for the 
•peculiar role which he has played as a trusted and accredited 
■leader of conservative and religious India in the paths of 
democratic politics. It was this position which enabled him 
to effect the union of the new political spirit with the tradition 
and sentiment of the historic past and of both with the 
ineradicable religious temperament of the people of which 
these festivals were the symbol. The congress movement was 
'for a long time purely occidental in its mind, character and 
methods, confined to the English-educated few, founded on the 
political rights and interests of the people read in the light of 
English history and European ideals, but with no roots either 
in the past of the country or in the inner spirit of the nation. 
Mr. Tilak was the first political leader to break through the 
routine of its somewhat academical methods, to bridge the 
gulf between the present and the past, and to restore continuity 
to the political life of the nation. He developed a language 
and a spirit and he used methods which indianised the 
: movement and brought into it the masses. To his work of this 
period we owe that really living, strong and readily organised 
movement in Maharashtra which has shown its energy and 
sincerity in more than one crisis and struggle. This divination 
of the mind and spirit of his people and its needs and this 
power to seize on the right way to call it forth prove strikingly 
the political genius of Mr. Tilak ; they made him the on«3 
man predestined to lead them in this trying and difficult 
iperiod when all has to be discovered and all has to be 
reconstructed. What was done then by Mr. Tilak in Mahara- 
shtra has been initiated for all India by the Swadeshi 
movement. To bring in the mass of the people, to found the 
greatness -of ' the future on "the greatness of the past, to 
infuse Indian politics with Indian religious fervour and 
^spirituality, are the indispensable conditions for a great and 


powerful political awakening in India. Others, writers,, 
thinkers, 'spiritual leaders, had seen this truth. Mr. Tilak was 
the first to bring it into the actual field of practical politics; 
The second period of his labour for this country culminated 
in a longer and harsher imprisonment which was as it were 
the second seal of the divine hand upon his work ; for there 
can be no diviner seal than suffering for a cause. 

A third period, that the Swadeshi movement, brought' 
Mr. Tilak forward prominently as an All-India leader r it gave 
him at last the wider field, the greater driving power, the 
larger leverage he needed to bring his life-work rapidly to a . 
head, and not only in Maharashtra but throughout the 
country. From the inception of the Boycott Movement to the 
Surat catastrophe and his last and longest imprisonment> 
which was its equal, the name and work of Mr. Tilak are a part 
of Indian history. 

These three imprisonments, each showing more clearly the 
moral stuff and quality of the man under the test and glare of: 
suffering, have been the three seals of his career. The first' 
found him one of a small knot of pioneer workers; it marked 
him out to be the strong and inflexible leader of a strong and 
sturdy people. The second found him already the inspiring 
power of a great awakening of the Maratha spirit ; it left him 
an uncrowned king in the Deccan and gave him. that high 
reputation throughout India, which was the foundation-stone 
of his commanding influence. The last found him the leader 
of an All-India party, the foremost exponent and head of a 
thorough-going Nationalism ; it sent him back to be one of the 
two or three foremost men of India adored and followed by 
the whole nation. No prominent man in India has suffered 
more for his country ; none has taken his sacrifices and 
sufferings more quietly and as a matter of course. 

All the Indian provinces and communities have spoken 
with one voice, Mr. Tilak 's principles of work have beert 
accepted ; the ideas which he had so much troubled to enforce 
have become the commonplaces and truisms of our political 
thought. The only question that remains is the rapidity of a new 
inevitable evolution. That is the hope for which Mr. Tilak. 
still stands, a leader of all India. 


Mr, Tilak's name stands already for history as a Nation- 
builder, one of the half-dozen greatest political personalities, 
memorable figures, representative men of the nation in this 
most critical period of India's destinies, a name to be 
remembered gratefully so long as the country has pride in its 
paBt and hope for its future. 

Let me begin by telling you what induced me to take 
up the study of Blmgvad Gita. When I was quite a boy, I was 
often told by my elders that strictly religious and really 
philosophic life was incompatible with the hum-drum life 
of every day. If one was ambitious enough to try to attain 
Moksha, the highest goal a person could attain, then he must 
divest himself of all earthly desires and renounce this world. 
One could not serve two masters, the world and God, I 
understood this to mean that if one would lead a life which 
was the life worth living, according to the religion in which 
I was born, then the Booner the world was given up the better. 
This set me thinking. The question that I formulated for 
myself to be solved was : Does my religion want me to give 
up this world and renounce it before I attempt to, or in order 
to be able to, attain the perfection of manhood ? In my boy- 
hood I was also told that Bliagvada Gita was universally 
acknowledged to be a book containing all the principles 
and philosophy of the Hindu Religion, and I thought if this 
be so I should find an answer in this book to my query ; and 
thus began my study of the Blmgvad Gita. I approaohed 
the book with a mind prepossessed by no previous ideas about 
any philosophy, and had no theory of my own for which 
I Bought any support in the Gita. A person whose mind is 
prepossessed by certain ideas, reads the book with a prejudiced 
mind ; for instance, when a Christian reads it, he does not 
want to know what the Gita says but wants to find out if 
there are any principles in the Gita which he has already 
met with in the Bible, and if bo the conclusion he rushes to is 
that the Gita was copied from the Bible. I have dealt with this 
tepic in my book Gita Bahasya and I need hardly say much 
about it here, but what I want to emphasise is this, that when 
you want to read and understand a book, especially a great 
work like the Gita — you must approach it with an unprejudiced 
and unprepossessed mind. To do this, I know, is one of the 
most difficult things. Those who profess to do it may have 
a lurking thought or prejudice. in their minds which vitiates 
the reading of the book to some extent. However I am 
describing to you the frame of mind one must get into if 


•one wants to get at the truth ; and however difficult it be, 
at has to be done. The next thing one has to do is to take 
into consideration the time and the circumstances in which 
the book was written and the purpose for which the book 
was written. In short, the book must not be read devoid of 
its context. This is especially true about a book like Bliagvad 
Gila. Various commentators have put as many interpretations 
on the book, and surely the writer or composer could not have 
written or composed the book for so many interpretations 
being put on it. He must have put one meaning and one 
purpose running through the book, and that I have tried to 
find out. I believe I have succeeded in it, because having 
no theory of mine for which I sought any support from the 
book so universally respected, I had no reason to twist 
'the text to suit my theory. There has not been a commentator 
of the Gita who did not advocate a pet theory of his own 
and has not tried to support the same by showing that 
the Bliagvad Gita lent him support. The conclusion I have 
come to is that the Gita advocates the performance of action 
in this world even after the actor has achieved the highest 
union with the Supreme Deity by Jnana (knowledge) or Bhakti 
(Devotion). This action must be done to keep the world going 
by the right path of evolution which the Creator has destined 
the world to follow. In order that the action may not 
bind the actor, it must be done with the aim of helping 
His purpose, and without any Attachment to the coming 
result. This I hold is a lesson of the Gita. Jnana-Yoga 
there is, yes. Bhakti-Yoga there is, yes. Who says not ? 
But they are both subservient to the Karma-Yoga preached 
in the Gita. If the Gita was preached to desponding Arjuna 
to make him ready for the fight — for the Action— how can 
it be said that the ultimate lesson of the great book is 
Bhakti or Jnana alone ? In fact, there is a blending of all 
these Yogas in the Gita; and as the air is not Oxygen or 
Hydrogen, or any other gas alone, but a composition of all 
these in a certain proportion, so in the Gita all these Yogas 
are blended into one. • 

I differ from almost all the commentators when I say that 
the Gita enjoins Action even after the perfection in Jnana and 


Bhakti is attained and the Deity is reached through these 
mediums. Now, there is a fundamental unity underlying the 
Logos (Ishvara), man, and world. The world is in existence 
hecause the Logos has willed it so. It is His Will that holds 
it together. Man strives to gain union with God ; and when 
this union is achieved, the individual will merges in the 
mighty Universal Will. When this is achieved, will the 
individual say: "I shall do no Action, and I shall not help 
the world"— the world which is, hecause the Will with Which 
he has sought union has willed it to he so ? It does not stand 
to reason. It is not I who say so : the G-ita says so. Shri 
Krishna himself says that there is nothing in all the three 
worlds that He need acquire, and still He acts. He acts because 
if He did not, the world will be ruined. If man seeks unity 
with the Deity, he must necessarily seek unity with the 
interests of the world also, and work for it. If he does not. 
then the unity is not perfect, because there is union between 
two elements out of the three (man and Deity) and the third 
(the world) is left out. I have thus solved the question for 
myself and I hold that serving the wotH, and thus serving. 
His Will) is the surest way of Salvation; and this way can be 
followed by remaining in the world and not going away 
from it. 

(A summary of the speech of Mr. Tilak, re : Oita Raliasya)- 

The Karma-Yoga which I preach is not a new theory ; 
neither was the discovery of the Law of Karma made as 
recently as to-day. The knowledge of the Law is so ancient 
that not even Shri Krishna was the great Teacher who first 
propounded it. It must be remembered that Karma-Yoga has 
been our sacred heritage from times immemorial when we 
Indians were seated on the high pedestal of wealth and lore. 
Karma-Yoga or to put it in another way, the law of duty, is 
the combination of all that is best in spiritual science, in 
actual action and in an unselfish meditative life. Compliance' 
with this universal law leads to the realisation of the most 
cherished ideas of man. Suc'n was the doctrine taught by our 
f oref athers, -who never intended that the goal of life should be 
meditation alone. No one can expect Providence to protect 


one who sits with folded arms and throws his burden on 
others. God does not help the indolent. You must be doing 
all that you can to lift yourself up, and then only may you 
rely on the Almighty to help you. You should not, however, 
presume that you have to toil that you yourself might reap> 
the fruit of your labour. That cannot always be the case. 
Let us then try our utmost and leave the generations to come 
to enjoy that fruit. Remember, it is not you who bad planted 
the mango-trees the fruit whereof you have tasted. Let the 
advantage now go to our chil dren and their descendants. It is 
only given to us to toil and work. And so, there ought to be no 
relaxation in our efforts, lest we incur the curse of those that 
come after us. Action alone must be our guiding principle, 
action disinterested and well thought out. It does not matter 
who the Sovereign is. It is enough if we have full liberty to 
elevate ourselves in the best possible manner. This is called 
immutable Dharma, and Karma-Yoga is nothing but the 
method which leads to the attainment of Dharma or material 
and spiritual glory. God has declared His will. HE has 
willed that self can be exalted only through its own efforts. 
Everything lies in your hands. Karma-Yoga does not look 
upon this world as nothing ; it requires only that your motives 
should be untainted by selfish interest and passion. This is 
the true view of practical Vedanta, the key to which is apt to 
be lost in sophistry. 

(Poona Sarvajanik Sabha Quarterly). 


the Vedas, he discovered ' the Ancient Home of the Aryas '. 
Although the Glta-Rahasya was the last book to be published 
in point of time, yet, greater importance must he attached 
"to that book than to the two other books, if one bears in mind 
"the history of the writing of those two books. These two 
books have come into existence only as a result of the 
investigations made by him into the import of the Glta. 
In his introduction to 'Orion', he has made a reference 
to his study of the Glta, 

These two books were published in due course, and they 
were talked of all the world over ; but the Lokamanya could 
not get a propitious moment for starting the writing of the 
■Glta-Rahasya until he went to jail for the third time. The 
ideas regarding the two other books were also conceited during 
his previous imprisonments. He could not be free from the 
burden of public work and get the necessary peace and leisure 
for writing the book until he was in jail ; but, before he could 
actually start writing the book, he had to overcome many 
difficulties. It is best to describe these difficulties in his own 
words : "Three different orders were received at three different 

times regarding the book After a few days, the order 

of leaving all my books with me was cancelled ; and a new 
•order was received, that only four books should be left with 
me at a time. When I complained about this to the Govern- 
ment of Burma, another order was received, that all the books 
should be left with me to enable me to write the book. At 
the date when I was released from jail, the number of books 
with me was between 350 and 400. I was given bound books 
■(and not loose pages) for writing, after the pages in them 
( had been counted and numbered on either side. I was not 
given ink for writing but only a lead pencil and that too, 
ready sharpened" (Interview with Lokmanya Tilak after 
his release from jail, published in the Kesari of 30th 
June 1914). 

If the readers put some pressure on their imagination, 
they cannot but have before their eyes a clear picture of what 
difficulties had to be overcome by him and what trouble 
he experienced while he was writing the book. Despite all this. 


'he got the manuscript of the book ready for printing in the 
winter of 1910. The fact of the rough draft of the book being 
iready for printing is mentioned by him in a letter written 
in the beginning of the year 1911; and that letter has been 
,printed in toto in an issue of the Maratha, published in the 
month of March. In order that the Exposition of the Glta 
made by him in the Glta-Rahasya should be easier to follow 
.for his readers, Lokamanya Tilak delivered four lectures 
during the Ganapati festival in the year 1914 ; after this the 
printing of the work was taken in hand, and the first edition 
-of the book was published in June 1915. The subsequent 
iistory is well-known to everybody. 


In placing before the public this English translation of 
the GITA-RAHASYA (the Esoteric Import of the Gita) by the- 
late Lokamanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak, the object of the 
publishers has been to give this Exposition of the Message of 
the Gita a far wider circulation than it could have in its 
original Marathi form. It is true that the work has been 
translated into some of the Indian vernaculars ; but that 
circulation has necessarily been a limited one, 

The late Lokamanya Bal Gangadbar Tilak was a spiritual 
and intellectual giant. Ho was a monumental figure in the 
histoiy of India, and it is a question whether he was more 
a philosopher than a politician and statesman, in as much 
as his statesmanship and his political activities would appear 
to have been based on the Karma-Yoga and the principles of 
Ethics, which he believed to have been expounded in the Gita. 
In fact, the Gita and its teachings would seem to have been the 
guiding beacon of his life ; and if one considers what he did for 
India, and compares it with what he has preached in the Gita- 
Bahasya, one will come to believe that he has practised what 
he preached, ( which few people do ), and that his political 
activities were a concrete example of that 'universal welfare ' 
( lohiMVitgralui ), which according to him, was preached .by 
the Gita to be the basis of Karma- Yoga. And, one will not be 
far wide of the mark, if one looks upon him as a maharti 
in an age of National regeneration. 

As a result of the various commentaries in ancient times 
on the Siimad Bhagavadglta, this Divine Book has been 
considered by some as advocating the Path of Renunciation, 
whereas, others have interpreted it as advocating the Path of 
Devotion. Both these being paths of indifference to the world 
(nvrTiqiia), the effect of these commentaries has been to 
emasculate the devotees of the Gita, and to fill them with an 
apathy towards worldly affairs, and towards a spirited and 
acti\ p n?< "onal existence. 

The Lokamanya has, however, shown in this Exposition of 
the Esoteric Import of the Gita, that the true path of life 


taught by the Gita has been pure, righteous, and moral Action 
in the affairs of the world (as against Senuneiation, or in- 
difference to the world), based on the Spiritual Realisation of 
the identity and equality of the Soul or Self (Atman) in all 
created beings, and in which intense Devotion to the Almighty is 
the most important factor. The Author has in effect proved that 
the Gita does not support any individual mode of life, such as 
Renunciation purely, or Action purely, or Devotion purely, but 
that it preaches a fusion and harmony between all the three 
modes of life, and declares the best mode of life to be incessant 
Righteous Action ( " na fie srantasya sakhyaya devah ", i. e., " the 
gods do not like any, except those who labour until they are 
tired "), based on an Equability of Reason arising from the 
Spiritual Realisation of the Absolute Self, combined with an 
mtense Devotion to the Paramesvara (Almighty). 
, Q At the 18th Session of the Maharastra Sahitya Parisad 
uJtlaharashtra Literary Conference) held at Nagpur in the 
year 1933, I tabled a Resolution that : " This Conference is of 
opinion that there should be a Society for translating Marathi 
literature into English, in order to give international 
importance to the Marathi language ". This Resolution was 
unanimously passed by the Conference, and pursuant co that 
Resolution, I framed the draft of a scheme for the establish- 
ment and registration of such a literary society. 

While I was busy with this project, my friond and my 
office client, Mr. R. B. Tilak, the surviving son of the late 
Lokamanya Tilak, who had seen my English translations of some 
Marathi poems which had been published in certain Magazines, 
and who also knew of the Resolution passed at the islagpur 
Conference, approached me with a request that I should' 
undertake the translation into English of the Glta-Raliasya, 
which is one of the most brilliant gems of Marathi literature, 
and thus place before the public a ooncruto example of 
the usefulness of the Resolution adopted at my instance 
by the Maharastra Sahitya Parisad. As tho tusk' sot before 
me was a stupendous one, both on account of its volume and 
the labour involved, as also on account of the extremely 
difficult and involved style of the author, 1 was at first 
doubtful whether or rot 1 should undertake tlio work. In 
v — vi 


fact, the task of getting this work translated into English had 

at first been attempted in the life-time of the late Lokamanya 

Tilak, and again after his death, by his sons, as has been 

mentioned by Mr. R. B. Tilak, in the Publisher's Foreword. 

Being inspired, however, by the " spiritual power of this 

wonderful and well-known work", which saw the sale of ten 

thousand copies of the first Marathi edition of it " within a few 

months of its being published " ( as stated in the Publisher's 

Foreword ), and being further inspired by the advice of Vidula 

to her son that, " muhurtam jvalifam sreyo rta ca dhumayitam 

dram " ( Ma. Bha. U. 132. 15 ), that is, " it is better to shine 

like a flame for a little while, than to perpetually smoulder ", 

I resolved that I would see this work through at any cost. In 

forming this resolve, I wanted to place before the Maharastra 

public a concrete example of the usefulness of the Resolution. 

which I had tabled at the Maharastra Sahitya Parisad, as also t; 

place the real message of the Gita according to one of the ma 

brilliant Indian philosophers as stated in the beginning of this. 

Preface, before the world, which, to me, seems sadly in need of it 

at the present moment. Having regard to the hold which the 

English language has on the -world, no better medium could be 

found for sending this message of the Gita to every home in every 

corner of the world. There was a time when Indians considered it a 

sacrilege to put religious and philosophical lore into the hands of 

theunregenerate classes, and more so, into the hands of foreigners 

who would, of course, be far beyond the pale of these classes ; 

but, in my humble opinion, it is the sacred duty of any one 

who possesses any kind of Knowledge, to place such Knowledge 

at the disposal of those who are inclined to purify themselves 

in the Flame of Knowledge ; for, " asamskrtas tu samskaryah 

bhratrbhih purvasamskrtaih" ', i.e., "it is the duty of those who 

have been previously initiated, to initiate their brethren, who 

are uninitated ". And, if this Message of the Gita, which the 

late Lokamanya Tilak, placed before hi3 Maharashtriyan 

compatriots through this book, and which his sons circulated 

further into India itself through the medium of its vernacular 

translations, goes round the world, on the River of Time, 

spreading the inspiration given by the original text, I shall feel 

that I have diBoharged to a certain extent my obligations to my 


mother-land, and to my mother-tongue, by advancing to a 
■certain extent the spiritual regeneration of the world. 

To enable the reader to understand the method followed 
by me in this translation, I would like to draw his attention to 
-the rules, printed immediately after this preface at p. xxxix, 
which fhave attempted to follow. 

As will be seen from the details about the original work 
which are given at p. xxviii, the whole book was written by the 
Author in the Mandalay jail within the period of about five 
months from 2nd November 1910 to 30th March 1911. So 
great has been my anxiety to place this wonderful interpreta- 
tion of the philosophy of the G-ita before the world at large, 
that I have translated the whole of the book within about the 
same time, that is, from 20th May to 14th November 1934, by 
devoting every spare moment to the translation in spite of 
:my other work. This was, of course, the first draft of the work 
which I prepared ; and the same has been subsequently revised, 
;re-cast, and even re-written by me in some places, as the 
printing was going on. 

The translation of the first six chapters (about 147 pages 
• of the original), had been prepared by another gentleman, and 
'the type-written copy of it was placed by the publishers in 
my hands ; but I have not mada any use of it whatsoever, as I 
have preferred to have a homogeneous, and consistent style 
and method of translation for the whole text, which would be 
■ entirely mine. 

In translating, I have attempted to be as faithful to the 
■text as possible, as I have thought that in the case of a 
.philosophical and technical book written by a genius like the 
late Lokamanya, it would be extremely wrong to take any 
liberty whatsoever with the text. The late Lokamanya, 
besides being a great philosopher, and a great statesman, was 
also a master of the Marathi language ; and even an apparently 
insignificant word used by him has an immense modifying or 
limiting value, and the omission sf even a small conjunction; 
or the translation of an 'and' as an 'or,' would considerably 
injure the sense intended to be conveyed by the author. I have, 
.therefore, not changed the text at all, but only altered the garb • 


or the medium of expression ; for, a translation is no translation, 
if it is not faithful. I have not even broken up long and 
involved sentences ; for, though a sentence may be long and 
involved, each portion of it has a bearing and a limiting value 
on the remaining portions of the sentence ; and breaking up 
such a sentence into several small sentences, would make it 
lose its cumulative force, and to that extent the meaning 
intended to be conveyed by the author would be disabled. In 
following this procedure, I have satisfied myself by thinking, 
that if there are persons in India, who can without difficulty 
understand the long and involved sentences in the original 
Marathi text, there cannot be a dearth of intelligent persons 
in the world, who will be able to understand the same 
sentences, with their long and involved construction, in the 
garb of the English language and character. Some readers 
will possibly find the sense being continually interrupted by 
the Sanskrit quotations. But the rendering of those quotations 
has been made in such a way, that if the reader reads only the 
English rendering without reading the quotation, he will 
find that the rendering fits into the sentence and that the 
sense runs on without any interruption. 

I had at one time thought of omitting the quotations, and 
giving only the English rendering, but I realized that I would 
thereby be destroying the characteristic feature of the style of 
the Author, though it would have made reading easy. 

As stated above, I have made this translation both as 
a national duty which I owe to my mother-tongue, as 
also with the idea of placing the immortal Spiritual 
Knowledge contained in the Glta-Rahasya within the grasp of 
everyone, whose Destiny inspires him to study it with 
attention ; and, I have no doubt that every reader who goes 
through these pages conscientiously and sincerely, and with 
an unbiassed, impartial, and Truth-seeking mind will be 
spiritually benefited by doing so. 

Before concluding this foreword, I must express my 
appreciation of the sincere pains taken by the Manager and. 
the staff of the Bombay Vaibhava Press for ensuring the 
correct printing of the press copy, which has been- considerably 



troublesome on account of the Sanskrit quotations and words, 
which are printed in a transliterated form ; and I have even been 
allowed, as an exceptional case, to make corrections when 
the form was on the machine ready for printing. My 
gratitude is due to my brother Dr. V. S. Sukthankar, the 
Chief Editor of the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute in 
charge of the Critical edition of the Mahabharata, who has 
for some time looked into the transliterated portions and made 
very valuable suggestions regarding the translation. My 
thanks are similarly due to Professor A. B. Gajendragadkar 
of the ElphinBtone College, Nyaya-Ratna Dhundiraj 
G. Vinod M. A., and Mr. S. A. Sabnis, Solicitor, for the 
■suggestions occasionally made by them, and the encourage- 
ment I have received from them. My thanks are lastly due 
to Mr. P. B. Gothaskar, retired Librarian of the Bombay 
Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, who on account of 
having been in touch with the publication of the Journal of 
that Society, was of great use to me in correcting the earlier 
proofs and who, in carefully revising those proofs, also drew 
my attention to such sundry inaccuracies, as he thought, had 
remained in the translation, so as to enable me to correct them, 
if necessary. The final proofs were corrected by me. Apart 
from the printer's devils which have inevitably crept in, 
it is necessary to mention the mistake in the heading of 
Chapter XII, in which the word 'Siddha-Vyavahara ' is wrong, 
and the correct word, as in the original, is only ' Vyavahara.' 

In concluding this Preface, I cannot but follow the 
injunction of the Blessed Lord that, " yat karosi yad asnasi yaj 

juhosi tat kurusva mad arpartam ", (Gi. 9. 27), which has 

also been carried out by the Author himself (see foot-note to ; 
Author's Dedication) ; and I humbly dedicate this compilation 
to the Paramesvara in the shape of the Eternal Trinity of 
(i) Sri Maha LaksmI Indira, the Goddess of Wealth, tbe consort 
of Sri Visnu, Who claimed my Devotion, and was the 
cause of my taking this work in hand and completing 
it, (ii) Sri Maha Kali Parvati, the Goddess of Destruc- 
tion, Who destroyed the Knot of Ignorance in my heart 
< " ajnana-hrdaya-grantlri "— Siva-Gita, 13. 32 ), and opened 
my eyes to the Realities of Life, and kept my footsteps 


continually on the Path of Knowledge, and (iii) Sri Maha 
SarasvatiVidya, the Goddess of Learning, Who has now claimed 
me for Her own, and compelled me to cast this Fruit of my 
Action (karmany evadhikaras te maphalem kada ca na — GrI. 2. 47)> 
in the shape of this translation, on the River of Time, which 
circumscribes and goes round the whole world, and Who is 
verily my Mother (for I am a Sarasvat by birth !). 


snm srnfar^r swwrrf^ i gff miff tf?t msfr iwr i 
¥(%■ wrif s£ht gstfr i MivcMiQ atetsrr ii 

12th toeYm } B - S " SDKTHANKAE. 

3 V' "WWs^S^g 



(i) Wherever a philosophical Sanskrit word used in the 
Marathi text (not being a technical philosophical term which 
has been Anglicised), has been rendered by me into English, I 
have, wherever necessary, placed immediately after such 
rendering the actual word used by the author in the original, in 
italics, and within brackets ; e. g., bodily (kayika), Self-Realised 
{atma-jnamn), occasional (naimittika), etc, This has been done to 
enable such of my readers as are acquainted with Sanskrit to 
understand what the author himself wanted to say, in case my 
rendering has not been correct. 

(ii) If the word in the original text is a technical philoso- 
phical word, which has been Anglicised, I have used the word 
in Roman characters, beginning with a capital letter, e. g„ 
JIva, Paramesvara, Prakrfci, Paramatman, Atman etc. 

(iii) Diacritical signs have been used in order to ensure 
correct pronunciation by the reader, whose attention is drawn 
to the tabular statement at p. xl showing what diacritical 
sign has been used for indicating which sound, 

(iv) Technical philosophical Bnglish words are used with 
an initial capital letter in order to distinguish them from 
when they are not so used, e. g., Real, Matter, Spirit, the 
Imperceptible, Knowledge, Mind, Consciousness, the Quality- 
less etc., unless they have been used as adjectives, or in a 
non-technical sense, e. g., the qualityless Brahman etc 

(v) If in the text itself, there is a Sanskrit word in 
brackets after another Sanskrit word, (which latter one has 
been rendered by me into English), the Author's word in 
brackets, though in Sanskrit, has not been put into italics, in ' 
order to distinguish the case from where I have put such words 
in italic characters, in brackets, after the rendering, as 
mentioned in (i) above. 

(vi) If the Sanskrit word in the original has been retained 
in the translated text, its rendering in English is placed after 
it in brackets; e. g., the karya ( product ), karma ( Action ) etc- 
This has been done only where the retention has been necessary 
on account of the context. 


(vii) I have not added anything of my own in the translated 
text except as follows :-In almost all places where the Author 
has given a Sanskrit quotation, he has immediately after- 
wards translated this quotation or given a summary of it in 
Marathi ; and this, of course, has been translated into English. 
In some places, however, the Author has not translated a 
Sanskrit quotation into Marathi ; and in these cases, I myBelf 
have translated it into English, for the convenience of the 
reader not acquainted with Sanskrit ; but, wherever this has 
been done, I have added the word " — Trans." after the trans- 
lation. Any inaccuracies in such translations, would, of 
course, be mine. Where, however, such a quotation has been 
from the Gita itself, I have rendered into English, the transla- 
tion of that quotation, as made by the Author himself, in his 
translation of the stanzas of the Gita (See Vol. II of this work). 


3? . 

an . 

? . 

i • 

*r . 










■ 9 

. ii, 


. ch 

■ J 
. a 
. t 

. th 

5T ... . 

■■ d 

« ... . 

.. dh 

H ... 

.. n 

*r ... 

.. t 

* ... 

.. th 

a ... . 

.. d 

* ... 

.. dh 

*r ... . 

.. n 

7 ... . 

■■ P 

tf ... . 

.. ph 

? ... 






- (anusvara) m , : (tisarga) ah, ^ ks, % ,_/» 

•S (avagraha) ' 




mentioned in the GITA-RAHASYA, 

Shown on the wrapper 

and opp, page 18. 

The river is the River of Time, on the banks which are the 
■various Ages through which India has passed, namely, (1) the 
Vedic Age, (2) the Age of the ..Gita, (3) the Age of Buddha, 
(i) the Age of Shri Shankaracharya, (5) the Age Jnaneshvara, 
Tukarama and others being the Age of Devotion, (6) the Age of 
Shri Samaitha Ramadasa, showing the revival of Action, and 
W'the deputation of Indian Leaders at the gates of the Houses 
■of Parliament and (8) Mahatma Gandhi, in the Present Age. 

Nos. 1, %, 6, 7 and 8 are the Ages of Action, or of Karma- 
Yoga starting with the Vedic Karma age, and ending with the 
present days, and forming a big L, which means the Lucky 
Ages, whereas Nos. 3, i and 5 are the Ages of Renunciation, 
which are only a small passing cloud on the Karma-Yoga 
tradition of India. 

The narrow bed of the river in the Ages of Renunciation, 
.spreads out as it flows down along the plains of the Ages of ; 
Action, suggesting the widening out of the view-point of 
Philosophy from the narrow Pass of Renunciation to the broad 
Fields of Action. 

The two inset pictures in the form of the ' Svastika ' show 
■the five Pandavas on the Kuru field, and the five Indian 
leaders near the Houses of Parliament, in each case, on the 
Field of Action. The last picture is of Mahatma Gandhi, the 
latest Karma-Yogin of India. 





How very profound is the importance of the Glta, whichi 
was expounded in ancient times by wise men, and which was 
further explained in various ways by Acarayas, and how 
limited is the scope of my intelligence ? Still, I am impelled) 
by my rashness to explain the same once more, keeping before 
my eyes the old Sastras as well as notable modern ideas ; and: 
honourable people desiring to understand what is doable 
and what not-doable, deserve to hear this (new) explanation. 
Having made this request to revered persons in the sweet. 
words of Kalidasa, I, a Brahmin, (by name) Bala, the son 
of Gahgadhara, born in the family of Tilaka, belonging to. 
the clan {gotra) of the Rsi Sandilya, and a resident of the 
town of Poona, situate in the Maharastra, following the path 
of the Good, and with the words of Hari * in my mind, do> 
dedicate this work to the Lord of Laksml, the Soul of the 
"World, in the Salivahana Saka 1837. May the Blessed Lord,, 
the Highest Purusa, be pleased by this dedication. 

* " Whatever you do, or eat, or offer by way of sacrifice, or 
give, or perform by way of austerity, dedicate all that to Me,, 
0, son of Kunti ". 

(Gils 9. 27). 



I am only repeating the stale words uttered by Saints I 
How can an insignificant man like me know this ? « 

— Tukarama. 

Although in the beginning of this book, I have explained 
my reasons for publishing it, in spite of the fact that there are 
in existence many Sanskrit 'commentaries, or criticisms, or 
Prakrit translations, or exhaustive and universally accepted 
expositions of the Srimad Bhagavadglta, yet, there is no better 
place than an Introduction for explaining all such things as . 
oannot be included in the discussion of the subject-matter of 
the book itself. The first of these things is about the 
author himself. It is now nearly forty-three years since I made' 
my first acquaintance with the Bhagavadglta. In the 
year 1872, during the last illness of my father, the task of 
reading out to him a Prakrit commentary on the Bhagavadglta 
called BhMirvivrtti fell to my lot. At that date, that is, when 
I was only 16 years old, it was not possible for me to fully 
understand the import of the Gita. Still, as the impressions 
made on the mind in young age are lasting, the liking for 
the Bhagavadglta which then came into existenoe did not 
die out; and when I had later on made further studies in 
Sanskrit and English, I had occasion to read from time to 
time the Sanskrit commentaries and other criticisms, as also the 
expositions by many learned scholars in English and in 
Marathi on the Gita. I was then faoed by the doubt as to why 
the Gita, which was expounded in order to induce to fight that 
Arjuna, who was dejected by the idea that it was a sin to war 
with one's own relatives, should contain an Exposition of the j 
manner in which Release could be obtained by Knowledge 
(Jnana) or by Devotion (Bhakti), that is to say, only of the 
' moksa-marga' ; and that doubt gradually gained ground, 
because, I could not find a satisfactory answer to that question 
in any commentary on the Gita. It is quite possible that 
others too might have felt the same doubt. One cannot say no 
to that. When a person is engulfed in commentaries, he 
cannot find a different solution, though he may feel that the 
solution given in the commentary is not satisfactory. I' 


therefore, put aside all criticisms and commentaries, and 
independently and thoughtfully read the Glta over several 
times. I then got out of the clutches of the commentators, and 
waB convinced that the original Glta did not preach the 
Philosophy of Renunciation (mvrtti), but of Energism (Karma- 
Yoga) ; and that possibly, the single word ' yoga ' used in the 
■Gita had been used to mean Karma-Yoga. That conviction 
was strengthened by the study of the Mahabharata, the Vedanta- 
Sutras, the ITpanisads and other Sanskrit and English treatises 
on Vedanta ; and believing that by publishing that opinion, 
there would be a fuller discussion on the subject, and that it 
would be easier to arrive at the truth, I delivered public 
lectures on the subject on four or five occasions at different 
times. One of these was delivered at Nagpur in January 1902, 
and the other one at the Sankesvara Matha in August 1904, 
in the presence of Jagadguru Sri Sarhkaracarya of the 
Karavira and Sankesvara Matha, and at his request. The 
summary of the lecture delivered at Nagpur was published 
in the newspapers at the time. With the same object, I also 
discussed the matter from time to time privately, whenever 
I had leisure, with some of my learned friends. One of these 
was the late Mr. Shripati Buva Bhingarkar. In his company, 
I had occasion to see some Prakrit treatises pertaining to the 
Bhagavata cult, and some of the ideas explained in the Gita- 
Rahasya were first fixed in the discussions between myself 
and the Buva. It is a matter of deep regret that he is not 
alive to see this work. Though my opinion that the creed 
preached in the Glta was one of Action, had, in this way, 
become quite definite, and though I had decided to reduce it 
-to writing, many years went by. But I thought that a 
considerable amount of misunderstanding would arise if 
I merely published in a book form, this moral of the Gita> 
which had not been accepted in the commentaries, criticisms, 
or translations now commonly available, without assigning 
any reasons as to why I was unable to accept the conclusions 
arrived at by the former commentators. At the same time, 
as the work of dealing with the opinions of all the commenta- 
tors, and exposing their incompleteness with reasons, and of 
comparing the religion expounded in the Glta with other 


religions or philosophies was one entailing great labour, it 
was not possible for me to satisfactorily complete it, within 
a short period of time. Therefore, although my friends Daji 
Saheb Kharay and Dada Saheb Khaparday had, in anticipation 
and somewhat hastily, announced that I was shortly going 
to publish a treatise on the Gita, yet, seeing that the material 
in hand was not sufficient, I went on putting off the work 
of writing the hook. And later on, when in the year 1908, 
I was convicted and sent to Mandalay, in Burma, the chance 
of this book being written came practically to an end. But, 
when after sometime, Government was pleased to grant 
permission to take the books and other things essential for 
writing this book from Poona to Mandalay, the draft of this 
book was first made in the Mandalay Jail in the Winter 
of 1910-1911 (between Karfcik Shuddha 1st and Falgun Vadya 
30th of the Saka Year 1832); and thereafter, the draft was 
improved upon from time to time, as things suggested 
themselves to me; and those portions which had remained 
incomplete as the necessary books had not been available, 
were completed after my release from jail. Nevertheless, 
I cannot even now say that this work is complete in every 
respect; because, the elementary principles of Release (moksa) 
and Moral Philosophy are very recondite, and they have 
been so exhaustively expounded by ancient and- modern 
scholars, that it is very often difficult to correctly decide 
which portion of such expositions ought to be incorporated 
in this small book, without including too much. But, my 
physical condition is now becoming weak, as described by 
the great Maharastra poet Moropanta in the following 
a rya stanza:- , 

Old age, which is the spotless white banner carried by the 
army of attendants of Death, is already in sight I 

And my body is exhausted in the struggle with diseases, 
which are the advance-guard of that army ll ; 

and my contemporaries in life have passed on. So, having 
come to the conclusion that I should place before the public the 
information which I have gathered, and the ideas which have 
occurred to me, and that someone else possessed by the same 


inspiration ( samanadharma ), will come to birth in the 
immediate or distant future, and develop and work them out, 
I have published this book. 

Though I am not prepared to accept the opinion that the 

Glta. gives only an exposition of the paths of Release based 

on Renunciation, such as, 'the Knowledge of the Brahman' 

or 'Devotion', after proving worldly Action to be inferior and 

negligible, I must, at the outset, make it dear that I do not 

also say that there is no exposition at all in the Bhagavadglta 

of the paths of obtaining Release. Nay ; I too have shown in 

this book, that according to the philosophy of the Glta, it is the 

•primary duty of every human being in this world, to acquire 

the Knowledge of the pure form of the Paramesvara, and 

thereby to cleanse out and purify his own Reason as far as 

possible. But, that is not the principal subject-matter of the 

Glta. At the commencement of the war, Arjuna was engulfed in 

a perplexity about what his duty was, namely, whether he 

should or should not take part in a war, which would ruin the 

welfare of his Atman, in the shape of Release, as a result of his 

committing heinous sins like the destruction of his own clan, 

etc., though it was the duty of every Ksatriya to fight. 

And I am of opinion that in order to clear this 

•doubt, the Glta has propounded the device of performing 

Action in such a way that one ultimately attains Release 

without committing sin, namely, the Karma-Yoga founded on 

Knowledge, in which Devotion is the principal factor, after it 

'had fully expounded the Philosophy of Action and Non-Action, 

.and also the various paths of attaining Release according to 

■pure Vedanta Philosophy, and had established that no man is 

.free from Action, and that Action should never be given up. 

This exposition of Action and Non-Action, or of Morality and 

Immorality is called ' Ethics ' by modern purely Materialistic 

philosophers. It is not that I could not have made this 

exposition by following the usual procedure, and explained 

how this principle has been established by the Glta, by 

commenting on the Gita stanza by stanza. But, unless one is 

thoroughly conversant with the various philosophical doctrines, 

arguments and deductions pertaining to Vedanta, Mimamsa, 

Sarhkhya, the Doctrine of Causality (karma-mpdka) and 


Devotion, on the authority of which the doctrine of Karma- 
Yoga has been established in the Gita, and the reference to 
which is sometimes very succinct, the full purport of the 
exposition made in the Gita is not easily understood. I have, 
■therefore, scientifically divided all the various subjects or 
■doctrines, which one comes across in the Gita, into chapters, 
and briefly expounded them, together with the most important 
logical arguments relating to them ; and I have, at the same 
■time, consistently with the critical methods of the present day, 
■compared in brief and as occasion aros?, the most important 
doctrines propounded in the Gita, with the doctrines 
propounded in other religions and philosophies. It may thus 
be said that the essay ' Gita-Rahasya ' (the Esoteric Import 
■of the Gita), which is published in the beginning of this book, 
'is by itself an independent, though a small, book on the. 
■doctrine of Proper Action (Karma-Yoga). But, in any case, 
•it was not possible to consider fully each individual 
stanza of the Gita in a general exposition of this kind. 
I have, therefore, at the end of the book, translated the Qlta, 
stanza by stanza, and added exhaustive commentaries to the 
translations in different places, in order to explain the 
anterior and posterior context ; or, in order to show how former 
commentators have stretched the meaning of some of the 
stanzas of the Gita in order to support their own doctrines 
(See Gita 3. 17-19 ; 6. 3 ; and 18. 2); or, in order to show which 
of the various doctrines enunciated in the Gita-Rahasya appear 
how and where in the Gita, according to the catechismal 
method of the Gita, It is true that by following this method, 
■some subject-matter has been repeated ; but, as I felt convinced 
'that I could not in any other way fully dissipate the misunder- 
standing, which now exists in the mind of the common reader 
as regards the import of the Gita, I have separated the 
■exposition of the Gita-Rahasya (Esoteric Import of the Gita) 
from the translation itself ; and thereby, it has become easy 
for me (i) to show with authorities and with former history, 
where and in what manner, the , doctrines of the Gita with 
reference to Vedanta, Mimamsa, Devotion etc., have appeared 
in the Bharata, the Samkhya system, the Vedanta-Sutras, the 
Upanisads, the Mimamsa. and other original texts, (ii) to 


explain in a lucid way the difference between Renunciation. 
(Sarhnyasa) and Action (Karma-Yoga), as also (iii) to expound, 
in a proper way the importance of the Gita, from the point of 
view of practical Action, by comparing the Gita with other 
religious opinions or philosophies. If there had not been all 
sorts of commentaries on the Gita, and if various persons had. 
not interpreted the import of the Gita, each in a different 
way, it would have been totally unnecessary for me to quote- 
the original Sanskrit authorities which go to support the 
propositions laid down by me in my book. But such a thing, 
cannot be done in the present times ; and it is likely that many 
may doubt the correctness of the import of the Gita or of the 
propositions, laid down by me. I have, therefore, everywhere- 
pointed out the authorities which support what I say, and in. 
important places, I have given the original Sanskrit text of the 
authorities with translations. As many of these dicta are 
usually accepted as proved truths in books on Vedanta, my 
secondary object in quoting them has been, that my readers 
should get acquainted with them in the course of reading, and 
finu it easier on that account to remember the doctrines embo- 
died in those statements. But, as it is not likely that all 
readers will be knowing Sanskrit, I have arranged my book on 
the whole in such a way that, if any reader who does not 
understand Sanskrit, reads the book, omitting the Sanskrit 
stanzas, there will not be any interruption anywhere in the 
sense ; on this account, it has became necessary in many places, 
to remain satisfied with giving a mere summary of the Sans- 
krit stanza, instead of giving a literal translation of it. 
But as the original stanza is given in each case, there is no 
, risk of any misunderstanding arising as a result of this 
procedure having been followed. 

There is a story told about the Kohinoor diamond that after 
it had been taken from India to England, it was again cut there, 
and on that account, it began to look more brilliant. This 
law, which is true in the case of a diamond, also applies to a 
jewel in the shape of truth. It is true that the religion pro- 
pounded by the Gita is true and unshakeable. But, as the 
time at which and the form in which it was propounded and 
the other attendant circumstances have considerably changed,- 


it does not strike may as as brilliant as before. As the Gita 
was propounded at a time, when ' whether to act or renounoe * 
was considered a question of great importance, to be determined! 
before arriving at a decision as to which act was good and 
which bad, many people look upon a considerable portion of it 
as now unnecessary ; and, as that position has been further 
made worse by commentaries supporting the Path of Renuncia- 
tion, the exposition of Karma-Yoga contained in the Gita has 
become very difficult to understand for many in the present 
age. Besides, some of our new scholars are of opinion that 
as a result of the present growth of the Material sciences in 
the West, the deductions laid down in ancient times with 
reference to the Karma-Yoga, on the basis of the Philosophy 
of the Absolute Self, cannot possibly be fully applicable to. 
modern conditions. In order to prove that this idea is wrong,. 
I have briefly mentioned in various places in my exposition of 
the Gita-Rahasya (Esoteric Import of the Gita) the doctrines of 
Western philosophers, which are similar to those in the Gita. 
Really speaking, the exposition of Ethics in the Gita is in no- 
way fortified by such a comparison. Yet, those people whose 
eyes are dazzled by the present unheard of growth of the 
Material sciences, or who have learnt to consider the Science 
of Ethics, only externally, that is to say, only in its Material 
aspect, as a result of the present one-sided methods of education, 
will be made to see clearly by means of this comparison that, 
not only has human knowledge not yet gone beyond the 
doctrines laid down on this subject by our philosophers, for the 
simple reason that Ethics and the science of Release are both 
beyond Material Knowledge, but, deliberations are still going; 
on on these questions in the West, from the Metaphysical 
point of view, and the opinions of these Metaphysicians are 
not materially different from the doctrines laid down in the- 
Gita. This fact will be clearly borne out by the comparative 
exposition appearing in the different chapters of the Gita- 
Rahasya. But, as this subject is very extensive, I must 
explain here, with reference to the summaries of the opinions 
of Western philosophers which 1 have given in various places, 
that, as my principal object has been only to expound the 
import of the Gita, I have accepted as authoritative the 

vii — viii 


doctrines laid down in the Gita, and have mentioned the 
Western opinions only so far as was necessary in order to 
show to what extent the doctrines of Western moral philoso- 
phers or scholars tally with the doctrines in the Gita ; and this 
too has been done by me only to such an extent that the 
ordinary Marathi reader should experience no difficulty in 
grasping their import. It cannot, therefore, be disputed that 
those who wish to ascertain the minute differences between the 
two— and these differences are many — or to see the full argu- 
mentative exposition or developing-out of these theorems, must 
examine the original Western books themselves. Western 
scholars say that the first systematic treatise on the discrimina- 
tion between Right and Wrong Action or on Morality was 
written by the Greek philosopher Aristotle. But in my 
opinion, these questions had been examined long before 
Aristotle in a more exhaustive and scientific manner in the 
Mahabharata and in the Gita ; and no moral doctrine has yet 
been evolved, which is different from the doctrines metaphysi- 
cally expounded in the Gita. The solution given by Aristotle 
of the question whether it is better to spend one's life peace- 
fully, in philosophical meditation, and living like a hermit, or 
to spend it in all sorts of political activities, is to be found in 
the Gita ; and the opinion of Socrates that whatever sin is 
committed by man, is committed by him only as a result of 
ignorance, is also to be found to a certain extent in the Gita, 
because it is a doctrine of the Gita that it is not possible for a 
man to commit any sin, after his Reason has become equable 
as a result of the Knowledge of the Brahman. The doctrine 
of the Epicureans and the Stoics that the conduct of the perfect 
Jnanin is a standard for everybody, from the moral point of 
view, is to be found in the Gita; and the description of the 
perfect Jnanin, given by the philosophers belonging to these 
sects, tallies with the description of the Sthitaprajna (Steady- 
in-Mind) given in the Gita. Similarly, the dictum of Mill, 
Spencer, Kant, and other Materialistic philosophers, that the 
highest peak or test of Morality consists in everybody acting 
so as to promote the welfare » of the whole of mankind, is 
included in the external characteristic of a Sthitaprajna 
descibed in the Gita in the words " sarvabhutahite-ratah " (i. e., 


"one busy promoting the welfare of all created beings" — ■ 
Trans.); and the arguments relating to Ethics, and the 
doctrines regarding Freedom of Will, enunciated by Kant and 
Green, are to be found mentioned in the Gita, on the authority 
of the Knowledge contained in the Upanisads. If the Gita had not 
contained anything more than this, it would still have comman- 
ded universal respect. But the Gita does not Btop there. After 
showing that the conflict between Release (moksa), Devotion 
(bhakti), and Ethics {nlti-dbarma) imagined by Materialistic 
philosophers, as also the conflict between Knowledge (jiiana) 
and Right Action ( karma ) imagined by the followers of 
the School of Renunciation ( samnyasa ) were groundless, and 
also showing that the fundamental element in the brahma- 
vidya (science of the Brahman), and in bhakti (the Path of 
Devotion) is the foundation of Ethics and good behaviour, the 
Gita has shown what path of life should be adopted by a man 
by properly harmonising Knowledge (jnana ), Renunciation 
(samnyasa), Right Action (karma) and Devotion (bhakti). The 
Gita is thus essentially a treatise on Right or Proper Action 
(Karma- Yoga) ; and that is why it has been given a position 
of supreme importance in all Vedic treatises, which refer to it 
as ' brdhmavidyantargata (karma-) yoga-sastra (i. e., " the Science 
of Right Action included in the Science of the Brahman" — 
Trans.) The saying " gita sugita kartavya kirn anyaih sastra 
vistaraih", i.e., " it is quite enough if one thoroughly studies the 
Gita ; what is the use of dabbling in the other Sastras ?" is 
indeed correct ; and, therefore, it is my earnest and respectful 
.request to everyone, who wishes to become acquainted with the 
basic principles of the Hindu Religion and Morality, that he 
should first study this wonderful and unprecedented book ; 
because, as the Gita expounds the root principles of the present 
Vedic Religion, as also its final aspect, based on Knowledge 
and giving primary importance to Devotion, and preaching the 
Karma-Toga (Right Action), which (aspect) it had assumed after 
Samkhya, Nyaya, Mimarhsa, Upanisads, Vedanta and other 
ancient Sastras, which dealt with the Perishable and the 
Imperishable (ksaraksara) and the Body and the Atman (ksetra- 
ksetrajna) had come to as perfect a state as possible, it may 
' well be said that there is no other work in the whole of Sanskrit 


literature, which explains the principles of the present Hindu 
Religion in as succinct and yet as clear and unambiguous 
a manner as the Glta. 

From what has been stated above, my readers will get an 
idea as to the general trend of the exposition contained in 
the Gita-Rahasya, From the reference to the opinions of the 
earlier commentators on the Glta, made in the beginning of 
the third chapter of the Samkarabhasya on the Glta, it would 
appear that these commentaries were in favour of Karma-Yoga 
(Right Action). These commentaries are not now available ; 
therefore, there is no reason why this book of mine should not 
be called the first comparative exposition of the Glta, in 
support of Right Action. The meanings of some stanzas 
given in this book are different from those given in the present 
commentaries, and I have also had to deal with many other 
subjects, which have nowhere been fully explained in the 
Marathi language. I have attempted to explain these subjects 
and the arguments in support of such explanation succinctly, 
but in as clear and easily intelligible a manner as possible ; 
and notwithstanding repetition, I have purposely given, in 
many places, synonyms for various words, of which the 
meanings have not yet become current or commonly known 
in the Marathi language, side by side with those words ; and 
I have also clearly shown in different places the most salient 
theorems in these subjects, by separating them from the 
exposition itself. Yet, it is always difficult to discuss scienti- 
fic and difficult subjects in a few words ; and the Marathi 
terminology of these subjects is also not yet definite. I am, 
therefore, alive to the fact that in this my new way of 
exposition, there may possibly creep in difficulty, unintelli- 
gibleness, or incompleteness, as a result of mental confusion, 
inadvertence, or for some other reasons. But the Bhagavad- 
glta is not something unknown to my readers. The Glta is a 
book which is daily recited by many, and there are also many 
who have studied, or who are studying it scientifically. I have, 
therefore, to request such authoritative persons, that if this 
book comes to their hands, and they come across any flaws in 
it of the nature mentioned above, they will please draw my 
attention to them, so that I will consider the suggestions, and. 


will also make the necessary corrections, if there is any 
occasion to bring out a second edition of this book. Some 
persons are likely to gather the impression that I have a 
particular system {sampradaya) of mine own, and that I have 
explained the Glta in a special way, in support of that system. 
I must, therefore, make it clear here that the Gita-Rahasya has 
not been written with reference to any particular person, or 
any particular system. I have put forward the clear meaning 
of the Sanskrit stanzas in the Glta, according to my understand- 
ing. If, as a result of this straight-forward translation — 
and as Sanskrit is now widely understood, may people will 
easily see whether or not my translation is straight-forward — 
my exposition assumes a doctrine-supporting character, then 
such character is of the Glta and not mine. As the clear request 
of Arjuna to the Blessed Lord was : " Do not confuse me by 
placing before me several courses of conduct, but point out to 
me definitely only one course, which is the proper course" 
(Gl, 3. 2 ; 5. 17), it is clear that the Glta must be in support of 
one particular opinion (Gi. 3. 31); and I have set out to explain 
what that opinion is, by impartially interpreting the original 
Glta. I have not preconceived a doctrine first, and then 
attempted to stretch the meaning of the Glta, because the Glta 
will not fit in with that doctrine. In short, my attempt is to 
popularise the true inner import of the Gits with the 
devotees of the Glta — to whatever doctrine such import may 
pertain — and I have come forward to make, so to say, such 
a Sacrifice of Knowledge (jnana-yajna) as is referred to by 
the Blessed Lord at the end of the Glta; and I am sanguine 
that my countrymen, and co-religionists, will willingly give 
me this charitable offering of information in order to make my 
attempt flawless. 

I have explained at length in the Gita-Rahasya the reasons 
for the difference between the Esoteric Import of the Glta accord- 
ing to me, and that propounded by ancient commentators. 
But, though there may be such a difference of opinion as to the 
teaching of the Glta, yet, as I ha?e always made use more or less, 
of the various commentaries or criticisms on the Glta, as also 
of the former or modern Prakrit translations of the Glta, as 
occasion arose in writing the present book, I must here say that 


I am deeply indebted to them. I must likewise express my 
gratitude towards those Western philosophers, to the theorems 
mentioned in whose works I have now and then referred. As 
it is doubtful whether it would have been possible for me to 
write this book without the help of all those works, I have quoted 
in the beginning of this introduction the following words of 
Tukarama : " I am only repeating the stale words uttered by 
saints". That a work like the Gita, which propounds* 
Knowledge, untouched by Time, that is, equally true at all 
times, should, according to changing times, give fresh inspira- 
tion to human beings, is not a matter of surprise ; because, that 
is the characteristic feature of such universal worka. But, the 
labour spent on such works by ancient scholars is not, on that 
account, wasted. This same argument applies to the transla- 
tions of the Gita into English, German, and other languages- 
made by Western scholars. Though these translations are 
based primarily on the ancient commentaries on the Gita, 
some Western scholars have also started interpreting the Gita 
independently. But, these expositions of the Western scholars are 
to a certain extent incomplete, and in some places undoubtedly 
misleading and wrong, whether because, they have not property 
understood the principle of the true (Karma-) Yoga or the 
history of the Vedic religious systems, or because, they have 
principally inclined towards the external examination of the 
matter only, or, for some other similar reason. There is no 
occasion to consider or examine here in detail those works of 
Western scholars on the Gita. In the Appendices to this book, 
I have stated what I have to say regarding the important 
questions raised by them. Nevertheless, I must in this 
Preface refer to some writings in English on the Gita, 
which I have recently come across. One such writing is that 
of Mr. Brooks. Mr. Brooks is a Theosophist and he has 
maintained in his book on the Gita, that the Bhagavadgita is 
in favour of Action (Karma-Yoga); and he has expressed the 
same opinion in his lectures. The second thesis is by Mr. S- 
Radhakrishnam of Madras, which has appeared in the form 
of a small essay in the International Ethical Quarterly 
(July 1911) published in America. In this work, the similarity 
between the Gita and Kant on questions of Ethics and 


Freedom of Will has been shown. In my opinion, this 
similarity is even more comprehensive than has been shown in 
this essay ; and the arguments of Green on the question of 
Ethics are even more consistent with the Glta than those of 
Kant. But as both these questions have been dealt with by me 
in this book, I shall not repeat the same matter here. 
Pandit Sitanath Tatvabhushana has also recently published 
a book in English called Krsna and the Gitfi, which contains 
the twelve lectures delivered by that scholar on the Glta. But, 
any one who reads those books will be sure to notice, that 
there is a great deal of difference between the arguments 
contained in these books or in the book of Brooks and those 
advanced in mine. But, these writings show that my ideas 
about the Gita are not new-fangled ; and, as these works are 
a propitious sign that people are paying more and more 
attention to the doctrine of Right Action {karma-yoga) in the 
Glta, I am taking this opportunity of congratulating these 
modem writers. 

It is true that this work was completed in the Mandalay 
Jail ; but it had bBen written with a lead pencil, and it 
contained corrections and deletions in many places ; so, when 
it had been returned to me after inspection by Government, it 
was necessary to make a fair copy of it for printing ; and if 
I myself had to do that work, who knows how many months 
more would have passed before the work was published ! But 
Messrs. Waman Gopal Joshi, Narayan Krishna Gogte, 
Ramkrishna Dattatraya Paradkar, Ramkrishna Sadashiva 
Pimputkar, Appaji Vishnu Kulkarni and other gentlemen, 
have willingly rendered assistance in this matter and quickly 
finished the work, for which I am grateful to them. Similarly 
Mr. Krishnaji Prabhakar Khadilkar, and especially Vedasastra- 
sampanna Dlksit Kasinath Sastri Lele, specially came here 
from Bombay, and took the trouble of reading the manuscript, 
and made many useful and critical suggestions, for which I am 
grateful to them. The reader, however, must not forget that 
the responsibility of the opinions expressed in this book is 
mine. In this way, the book was got ready for printing, 
but there was the risk of shortage of paper on account of 
the War. This difficulty was overcome by the timely supply 


of paper, which was good in my opinion, by Messrs D. Padamji 
& Son, proprietors of the Swadeshi Paper Mills in Bombay; 
and it became possible to publish a book on the Gits 
on good Indian paper. Yet, as the book was found to be 
larger than estimated, while the printing was in progress, 
there was again shortage of paper ; and, if that deficit had 
not been met by the proprietor of the Reay Paper Mills, 
Poona, my readers would have had to wait for a few months 
more for the publication of the book. Therefore, not only I, 
but also my readers, must feel grateful to the proprietors 
of these two mills. The task of correcting proofs still 
remained. This was undertaken by Messrs Ramkrishna 
Dattatraya Paradkar, Ramkrisbna Sadashiva Pimputkar and 
Hari Raghunath Bhagvat. But of these, Mr. Hari Raghunath 
Bhagvat was alone attending to the work of verifying the 
references to other books made in different places, and 
of pointing out to me such defects as had remained. 
Needless to say, without the assistance of all these people, 
it would have been impossible for me to publish this book 
so soon. I, therefore, take this opportunity of sincerely 
thanking all these people. Finally, I must express my thanks 
to the owner of the Chitra-Shala Press, who undertook to 
publish this ,book carefully and as early as possible, and who 
has carried out his undertaking. Just as the assistance 
of many persons is necessary before the grain is turned into 
food for the eater, though there may be a harvest in the field, 
so also I may safely say, is the case with writers— at any 
rate, that was the case with me. And therefore, I once more 
sincerely thank all those persons who have helped me— whether 
or not I have specifically mentioned their names in the above 
list — and I end this preface. 

The preface is over. Now, though I feel unhappy at the 
idea that that subject, in thinking on which I have spent 
many years, and the constant company of and meditation 
over which has brought so much satisfaction to my mind, 
and happiness into my heart, is now going to leave my 
'. hands in the shape of a book, yet, as these thoughts have come 
' into my mind for the sole purpose of being handed down 
to coming generations— with interest, or at any rate, just as 


-they are— I am placing this philosopher's stone, in the shape 
of a raja-guhya ( the king of mysticisms ) of the Vedia 
religion into the hands -of my promising readera, uttering 
the canon (mantra): " uitistluita I jagralu, \ prap^mranr 
nibodhataV, that is, "Arise, awake, and understand these 
blessings (conferred by the Blessed Lord)", and with faeiings 
of affection. In this (mysticism) lies the entire essence ct Bight 
and Wrong Action, and the BlessedLord Himself has confidently 
given us the assurance, that the observance of this Religion, 
even to a small extent, delivers a person from great diffi- 
culties. What more can anybody want ? Keep in mind the 
universal rale that. "Nothing happens, unless something 
is done ", and devote yourselves to Desireless Action ; that is all. 
The Glta. was not preached either as a pastime for persons 
tired out after living a worldly life in tho pursuit of selfish 
motives, nor as a preparatory lesson for living such worldly 
life, but ia order to give philosophical advice as to how one 
should live his worldly life with an eye to Release (nuk^a\ and 
as to the true duty of human beings in worldly life. My 
last prayer to everyone, therefore, is, that ono should not fail 
to thoroughly understand this ancient science ot the life 
of a householder, or of worldly life, as early as possible in 
one's life. 

Poona, Adhika Vaisakha, ) „ 
Saka Year, 1837. J 



Subject. Page. 

Title-page ... ... ... ... "i 

Various vernacular editions of the Gita-Rahasya ... v 

Publisher's Foreword ... •■■ ■■• v " 

Publisher's Dedication ... ... to face viii 

Opinions of prominent personalities on the Gita, 

Gita-Rahasya, and Lok. Bal Gangadar Tilak ... xi 

Mr. Tilak on the Glta-Rahasya ... ... xxiv 

Some information regarding the manuscript of the 

Glta-Rahasya ... ... •■• xxviii* 

Translator's Preface ... ... ... xxxii 

General Rules regarding the Translation ... xxxix 

Scheme of transliteration of Sanskrit words ... xl 

Explanation of pictorial map of Schools of 

Philosophy ... ... ... — xli 

Author's Dedication ... ... ••• xlii 

Author's Preface ... ... ... ... xliii 

Contents of Volume I (General) ... ... Iviii 

Detailed contents of Volume I, with special reference 

to the subject-matter of chapters I to XIII ... lix 

List of Illustrations ... ... ... lxxi 

Detailed contents of chapters XIV and XV, and 

Appendices, included in Vol. II ... ... Ixxii 

Explanation of Abbreviations ... ... Ixxvii 

Chapters I to XIII of the Gita-Rahasya or the 

Karma-Yoga-Sastra ... ... ... 1 to 618 

Text of the Bhagavadgita 

Note .■—Volume II will contain Chap. XIV and XV of the 
Exposition, the Appendioes, the text of the Gita with 
translation of each stanza and • commentaries on such transla- 
tion, and several indices. 

Detailed Contents of Volume I with special reference 
to the subject-matter of chapters I to XIII 


The importance of Srimad Bhagavadglta — the words used 
at the end of each chapter of the Gita showing the conclusion 
of the chapter — the meaning of the word 'Gita' — description of 
several other Gitas and the inferiority of these Gitas and of 
the Yoga-Vasistha etc. — methods of examination of a book — 
modern external critics of the Bhagavadglta — the explanation 
of the moral of the Gita as given in the Mahabharata — the 
Prasthanatrayl ( i. e., the Upanisads, the Vedanta-Sfttras and 
the Bhagavadglta), and the doctrine-supporting commentaries 
on it — explanations of the moral of the Gita according to these 
commentaries — Sri Sarhkaracarya — Madhusudana — 'Tat-Tvam- 
Asi ' — the Paisaea-Bhasya — Ramanujacary a — Madhvacarya — 
VallabhSclrya — Nimbarka — Siidharsvami — Jrianesvara — the 
point of view of all of them is to support some doctrine or 
other — the method of finding out the import of a work, without 
seeking to support a doctrine — how that method is neglected 
by the doctrine-supporting method— the introductory remarks 
and the concluding portion in the Gita — the deadlock arising 
from mutually conflicting Ethical principles, and the resulting 
confusion as to one's duty — the advice in the Gita for solving 
that confusion ... ... ... p. 1 to 39 



Two English (foreign) examples of the doubt about duty— 
the importance of the Mahabharata from this point of view — the 
doctrine of Non-Violence (ahimsa-clliarma), and the exceptions to 
it — the doctrine of Forgiveness (ksama), and the exceptions to 
it — the discrimination between Truth (satya) and Falsehood 
(anrta) according to our Sastras — a comparison of that discrimi- 
nation according to English (foreign) Ethics -superiority and 
importance of the point of view of our philosophers — the 
observance of a vow (pratijm) and its linn itations— the doctrine 
of Not-Stealing, and the exceptions to it— the exceptions to 


the doctrine that ' living is mrae important than dying ' — 
self-defence — duties owed to one's mother, father, preceptor 
{guru) and other revered persons, and the exceptions to the 
same— the relative importance of the restraint of Desire (Kama), 
Anger (krodlia) and Avarice (lobha)— the occasions and the 
limits of Time and Place for showing courage, and other 
virtues— the relative importance of different courses of 
Action — the subtle distinction between Morality {dharma) and 
Immorality (adharma), and the wonderfulness of the 
Gita... ... ... ... ... p, 40-69 



(The Science of Right Action). 

The importance of the Desire to know the Right Action 
{karma-jijnasaj — the first Chapter of the Gita and the necessity of 
the Science of Right Action— the definition of the meaning of 
the word 'Karma'— the subject of Karma according to Mlmamsa 
writers — the definition of the meaning of the word ' Yoga ' 
according to the Gita — Yoga= Karma-Yoga, and that is the only 
doctrine which is expounded — synonyms for Right Action 
{karma) and Wrong Action or Non- Action {akarma) — the three 
methods of scientific exposition, namely the Materialistic 
(adhibhautika), the Intuitionist (adhidaivika), and the Metaphy- 
sical (adhyatmika) — why these methods came into existence — the 
opinion of Comte — the Metaphysical point of view is the best 
according to the Gita — two meanings of the word 'dharma' (i) 
with ref erenoe to the next world and (ii) with reference to this 
world — the system of the four castes and other systems— it is 
* dharma ', because it maintains the world — 'dharma ' in the form 
of precepts (codaria)— ordinary rules for distinguishing between 
righteous and unrighteous Action (dharmadharma) — the doctrine 
of ' mahiija.no yena gatah sa panthah ', i. e., 'that path is the true 
one which is followed by the great', and the exceptions to it— 
the doctrine of 'ati sarvatra varjauet', i. e., 'avoid extremes', and 
, its incompleteness— the definition of Righteousness by consi- 
dering what is not objected to (avirodha)— -the object of the 
science of Karma-Yoga ... ... ... p, 70-101 




( The Materialistic theory of Happiness ). 

An indroduction to the outlines of the subject — principles 
determining Morality (dharma) and Immorality (adharma)— 
Carvaka's doctrine of unalloyed selfishness — 'far-sighted 
selfishness ' of Hobbes — Philanthropy is as much an inherent 
desire as selfishness — the doctrine of Yajnavalkya of the benefit 
of the Atman {atmartha) — the doctrine of the combination of 
self-interest and other 's-inteiest, or 'enlightened self-interest ' — 
the objections to that doctrine — the doctrine of giving higher 
importance to other's-interest — the doctrine of 'the greatest 
good of the greatest number' — the objections to that doctrine— 
who is to decide in what the greatest good of the greatest 
number lies, and how — the superiority of the Reason (buddhi)' 
of the doer, over the Action itself — why one should do good to- 
others — the perfect state of mankind — that which is meritorious- 
(sreya), and that" which is pleasurable (preya) — the transitoriness 
of Happiness and Unhappiness, and the immutability of Moral 
principles ... ... ... ... p. 102-128 



( The Consideration of Happiness and Unhappiness ). 

The inclination of everyone towards Happiness— the 
characteristic features of and difference between Happiness and' 
Unhappiness — whether Happiness is an independent thing, or 
means only the absence of Unhappiness — the opinion of the 
School of Renunciation — the refutation of that opinion — fcho 
doctrine of the Gita — Happiness and Unhappinoss ure two- 
independent feelings (bham) — the contrariety hntweon the 
Happiness and TJnhappiness arising in this world— whether 
there is more of Happiness or of Unhappiness in worldly ltt\H» 
the Western theory that there is a prepondemmm of 1Tai>pfnes8= 
that worldly life is full of happftiess does not follow tail tile 
fact that all mankind does not commit Hillside the uuwttol-- 
lable growth of the Desire for tIttppJMf!g=-=ih<? imjmasibftfty i& 


extinguishing the Desire for Happiness by enjoying Happi- 
ness — therefore, there is a preponderance of Unhappiness in 
worldly life— the propositions of our philosophers, consistent 
with this point of view — the opinion of Schopenhauer — the 
iisefulnesss of Dissatisfaction— how to avoid its evil effects- 
experiencing of Happiness or Unhappiness is within one's 
control, and characteristic features of the Hope for Fruit of, 
Action — prohibition of the Abandonment of Action, since - 
Unhappiness can be averted only by giving up Hope for Fruit 
•of Action— the limits of restraint of the organs— the fout 
aphorisms (siitras) of the doctrine of Eight Action — the animal 
nature of Bodily, that is, of Material Happiness— the superi- 
ority and immutability of Happiness which is born of the 
Atman, that is, of Metaphysical Happiness — the blending of 
these two kinds of Happiness is the ideal according to the 
doctrine of Sight Action— the happiness born of the enjoyment 
of Bodily pleasures, is inconstant and unfit to be an 
ideal— the incompleteness of the Doctrine of Material 
Happiness ... ... ... ... p. 129-166 



( The Intuitionist School and the Consideration of the 
Body and the Atman ). 

The Western School of ' Conscience '—similar references 
in Indian philosophical works to the Goddess of the Mind 
( manodeixUS )— the objections of the Materialistic school 
against the Intuitionist school— the decision as to what ought 
not to be done can be quickly made, by habit and practice— 
- Conscience ' is not an independent force — the objections of the 
Metaphysical school— the great factory of the human Body— 
the respective functions of the organs of Perception and the 
organs of Action— the respective functions of the Mind and the 
Reason— the difference and inter-relation between the Discern- 
ing (Pure) Reason {mjavasayatimka buddhi) and Practical Reason 
•(vasanatmika buddhi)— the Discerning Reason is initially one, 
.but is of three different kinds, according as it is sattvika, etc.— 


Conscience is included in, and not different from, Discerning 
Reason — the nature of tho Consideration of the Body and the 
Atman, and of the Perishable and the Imperishablo, and its 
relation to the doctrine of Karma-Yoga (Right Action) — the 
meaning of the word ' ksetra ' (Body) — the existence of the 
' ksetrajm ' that is, of the Atman — introduction to the Consi- 
deration of the Perishable and the Imperishable ... p. 187-201 




■{The Kapila-Sarhkya Philosophy or the Consideration of tho 

Mutable and the Immutable). 

Systems of philosophy dealing with the Mutable and the 
Immutable — the Atomic Theory of Kanadas — Kapila-SSrhkhya- 
the meaning of the word ' Samkhya ' — works dealing with the 
Kspila-Sarhkhya System — the Doctrine of Satkarya-vada (some- 
thing being produced out of something which existed)— the 
fundamental substance of the world, or Prakrti is one— mttva, 
raja, and tarna are its three constituents— the Static or aatnya 
condition (samyavastha) of the three constituents, and the 
creation of various objects by their mutual intermixtures- 
Matter (Prakrti) is imperceptible, unbroken, homogeneous, and 
inactive — the evolution of the Pei!!~?tib';9 (?^to) out of the 
Imperceptible (avyakta) — Mind and Reason i^y'ig- from 
Matter— the Gross (Materialistic) Monism (Non-Dualism) of 
Haeckel, and, tracing the origin of the Atman from Matter are 
not acceptable to Sarhkhya philosophy — Matter ( prakrti) and 1 - 
Spirit ( purusa) are two independent Prinoiples^-of these, the 
Spirit ( purusa) is inactive, qualityless, and apathetic, and all 
activity is of Matter ( prakrti) — the unfurlment of the Ooamos*f 
is due to the union of the two — Release (mokqa) is attained 'by 
Realising the difference between Matter and Spirit — whose J 
■the Release, of Matter or of the Spirit ?— innumerable Spiaji^ 
of the Sarhkhya system, and the sole Spirit of the Vedantigj£«H." 
the condition of being beyond tho three constituents (trigwwtitfa 1 
vastlm)— the difference between the doctrines, of the flSnj^jjK^: ; 
■system, and similar doctrines of the Gita ... p, 202-228^ 




The unfurlment of Matter — the characteristic features of 
(Spiritual) Knowledge (jnana) and worldly knowledge 
{ujilana) — the various theoiies as to the Creation of the Coamos,. 
and their ultimate oneness — the modem theory of Evolution, and. 
its similarity to the Sarhkhya theory of the ' Developing-out ' 
of the Constituents (guviotkarsa) — an exposition of the theory of 
the order of unfurlment of the Constituents of Matter, or of 
the theory of the development of Constituents ( gunotkarsa- 
vada, or gumpannama-vada ) — the growth from Prakrti, first> 
of Discerning Reason {vyavasayatmika buddhi), and then of 
Individuation (ahamkara) — their innumerable sub-divisions- 
under three main heads — the growth from Individuation of 
eleven elements, including the Mind, in the organic world, and 
of the five Subtle (fine) Elements called 'Tanmatras' in the- 
inorganic world — the reason why there are only five fine- 
elements (Tanmatras), and only eleven subtle organs — the evo- 
lution of the Gross from the Subtle — Cosmic Tree of 2S 
elements— The Cosmic Tree (brahma-vrksa) of the Anuglta and 
the Pipal-Tree (asvattha) in the Q-Ita— the different Sarhkhya and 
Vedantic methods of classifying the twenty-five elements— the 
relative tabular statement — the order given in books on 
Vedanta of the creation of the five gross primordial elements— 
and the subsequent growth of all gross objects by Panclkarana 
(unifying of five)— its comparison with the Trivrtkarana 
(union of three) mentioned in the Upanisads— the living 
creation and the Subtle Body (linga-iarlra)— the difference- 
between the Subtle Body according to the Vedanta and the 
Sarhkhya philosophies— the activity (bhava) of the Reason, and 
the Karma of Vedanta— Cosmic Destruction {pralaya )— the 
period from Cosmic Creation to Cosmic Destruction— the 
duration of a Kalpayuga— the day and night of Brahma- 
deva, and the duration of his life— the contrast and similarity 
of this Theory of the Evolution of the Cosmos with other 
Tories - ... ... p. 239-267' 




( The Philosophy of the Absolute Self ) 

Objections to the Duality of Matter and Spirit— the 
method of considering that which is beyond both — the 
Absolute Self ( paramatma or para purusa) is beyond both — the 
Trinity of Matter (Cosmos), Spirit (Jiva) and the Highest 
Isvara (Paramesvara) — the description of the form of the 
Paramesvara as given in the Gita — the Perceptible (vyakta) 
or Qualityful (saguya) form, and its inferiority — the Impercep- 
tible, capable of Perception by Illusion ( Maya ) — the three 
divisions of the Imperceptible into (i) qualityful (ii) quality- 
less and (iii) qualityful-qualityless— similar descriptions 
in the Upanisads — the methods of worship (vidya) and symbols 
■ ( pratika ) mentioned in the Upanisads for worship ( upasana ) — 
of the three imperceptible forms, the qualityless is the 
best — (p. 289) — the scientific exposition of the above doctrines — 
the moot meanings of the words ' Qualityful ' (sagitna) and 
'Qualityless' (nirguna) — the natural idea of Immortality — how 
the Knowledge of the universe is acquired, and what it consists 
of — the description of the process of acquiring Knowledge, and 
definition of Names and Forms— the Appearance of Names 
and Forms, and the Thing-in-Itself (vastu-tatvaj^the definition 
of the Real (satya); Names and Forms are unreal (asatya) 
because they are perishable, and the Thing-in-itself (vastit-tatva) 
is Real, because imperishable — the Thing-in-Itself is the 
imperishable Brahman, and Names and Forms are illusory— 
the meaning of the words Real (satya) and Illusory (mithya) 
in Vedanta — the embodiment of Material Sciencos is Names 
and Forms (p. 30/2) — the theory of vijnana is not acceptable 
to Vedanta — the ancientness of the doctrine of Maya — the 
form of the immutable (nitya) Brahman, clothed in Names 
and Forms, and of the Embodied (sarira) Atman is the same — 
why both are said to be of the form of Consciousness 
[tit) — the identity of the Brahman and the Atman is expressed 
by saying: "what is in the body (pirtda) is also in the Cosmos 
(brahmanda)" — the bliss of Realising the Brahman (brahma- 
nanda )— the death of the Ego — the fourth state ( turiyavastha) 



and the exclusive contemplation of the One Entity, without 
separate consciousness of the Known and the Knower 
( mrvikcdpa-samadhi )— the ultimate limit of Immortality and 
the death of Death (p. 321) — the growth of Dualism ( dvaita- 
vada)— both the Glta and the Upanisads propound the 
Non-Dualistic Vedanta— how the qualityful Maya ( Illusion ) 
grows out of the Qualityless { nirguna ) — the ' vivarta ' theory 
and the ' gumparinaina' theory — the doctrines of the 
Philosophy of the Absolute Self, in short, regarding the 
Cosmos ( jagat ), the Personal Self ( jlva ) and the Highest 
Isvara ( Paramesvara ), ( p. 336 )— the Reality or Unreality 
of the Brahman— 'Om-Tat-Sat ' and other symbols of 
the Brahman — how the Personal Self {jlva) is a part of the 
Paramesvara— the Paramesvara is unbounded by Time and 
Space (p. 341)— the ultimate doctrine of the Philosophy of 
the Absolute Self— the feeling of Equability ingrained in 
the bodily organs — the nature of Release (moksa) and a 
description of the State of Perfection fsiddhavasthaj, (p. 346) — ■ 
an exposition giving the literal meaning of the Nasadlya- 
Sutta in the Rg-Veda — the inter-relation between the previous 
and the subsequent chapters ... ... p. 268-358 


(The Effect of Karma and Freedom of Will). 
The Maya-world and the Brahman-world— the strata of 
the Body ; and the Subtle Body to which Karma clings— the 
mutual relation between Karma, Names and Forms, and 
Maya — the definitions of Karma and Maya— as the origin of 
Maya cannot be found, it is eternal, though it is dependent — 
the expansion of Matter embodied in Maya, or the Cosmos, 
is Karma— therefore, Karma is also eternal— the uninterrupted 
working of Karma— the Paramesvara gives the Fruit of 
Action according to the Action, without interfering with the 
matter (p. 368)— the adherence of the bond of Karma, and an 
introduction to the theory of Freedom of Natural Inclination 
(pravrtti smtamtrydj—fhe division of Karma into Accumulated 
(samcita), Commenced (prarabdlia), and To-Be-Performed 
(foiyamana)— the Accumulated Karma is exhausted only by 


Its being suffered (" prarabdha karmanam bhogad em ksayah") — 
"the Doctrine of ' Naiskarmyasiddhi ' (Release by refraining 
from Action) of the Mimarhsa School, is not acceptable to the 
Vedantists — there is no escape from the Bond of Karma, 
except by Jnana (Knowledge)— the meaning of the word 
' Jnana ' — the Embodied Atman is free to acquire Knowledge 
(p. 389), but as it does not possess implements for doing so, it 
is to that extent dependent — even the most trifling Action, 
performed for obtaining Release is not wasted— therefore, 
success will be obtained sometime or other by hard work— 
the nature of the Destruction of Karma — one cannot escape 
Karma, but should give up the Hope of Fruit— the bond of 
"Karma is in the Mind, not in the Karma— therefore, whenever 
Jnana is acquired, Release is the only possible result — the 
importance, nevertheless, of the hour of close of life (p. 400) 
the Kanna-kanda and the Jiana-kanda — the Yajna prescribed 
'by the Srutis, and that prescribed by the Smrtis— the state of 
a householder involving .the performance of Action — its two 
divisions into Knowledge-full and Knowledge-leBs Action- 
different ultimate states accordingly — the Devayana and the 
Pitryana paths— whether these words indicate the time of 
death, or deities— the third path namely, the path to hell— a 
description of the condition of one who is Free from Re-birth 
lijimnmukta) ... ... ... ... p. 359-415. 

(Renunciation and Karma-Yoga.) 
The question of Arjuna as to whether Samnyasa or Karma- 
Yoga was the better course— similar paths of life according to 
Western philosophy — synonyms of the words 'Samnyasa' and 
■'Karma-Yoga' — -meaning of the word ' Samnyasa ' — Karma- 
Yoga is not a part of Samnyasa, but both are independent of 
■each other — the confusion created in this matter by commen- 
tators — the clear doctrine of the Glta that the path of Karma- 
Yoga is the better of the two — the perversions made by the 
commentators belonging to the School of Renunciation— the 
reply to the same— Arjuna cannot be looked upon as Ignorant 
■hjnani), (p. 432) —the reason given in the GHS why -Karat it- 
Yoga is superior— from times immemorial, the course of conduct 


(acara) has been two-fold, and therefore, useless for determining 

which is bettei — the three Nisthas according to Janaka and the 

two Nisthas according to the Glta — it does not follow that Karma 

should be renounced, because it creates a bond ; it is enough if 

one renounces the Hope for Fruit of Action— it is impossible to 

renounce Karma — if one renounces Karma, one will not get 

even food to eat— even if as a result of Knowledge, there is no 

duty of one's own to perform, and one's desires are extinguished, 

one cannot escape Karma — it is, therefore, essential to continue 

Karma desirelessly, even after the Acquisition of Knowledge — 

the illustrations of the Blessed Lord and of Janaka — the 

giving up of the Hope of Fruit of Action — indifference towards 

the world (vairagya) and enthusiasm for Action ( p. 455 ) — 

Universal Welfare (lokasamgraha) and the nature of it — this 

is the true resolution of the Realisation of the Brahman 

(brahmajnana) — still, this universal welfare must be obtained 

according to the arrangement of the four castes and desirelessly 

(p. 467) — the path of leading one's life in four stages, which is 

described in the Smrti texts — the importance of the state of a 

householder (grhastliasrama) — the Bhagavata dootrine — the 

original meanings of the word 'Bhagavata' and 'Smarta' — the 

Glta supports the Karma-Yoga, that is to say, the Bhagavata 

doctrine— the difference between the Karma-Yoga of the Glta 

and the Karma-Yoga of the Mlmamsa School — the difference 

between Bhagavata Sarhnyasa and Smarta Sarhnyasa— points of 

similarity between the two— the ancientness of the Vedie 

Karma-Yoga in the Manu-Smrti and of the Bhagavata 

doctrine— the meaning of the words used in the Gita to show 

the close of a chapter— the wonderfulness of the Gita, and the- 

appropriateness of the three parts of the Prasthanatrayl' 

(p. 490)— a concise statement in a tabular form showing the 

points of difference and similarity between the Sarhnyasa 

(Samkhya), and Karma-Yoga (Yoga)— the different ways of 

leading one's life— the doctrine of the Gita that Karma-Yoga 

is the best of all— hymns (mantra) from the Isavasyopanisad 

in support of this proposition— a consideration of the 

Samkarabhasya on those hymns— authorities from the Manu 

and other Smrtis in support of the fusion of Knowledge and 

Aotion - ». ... ... p. 416-509- 




( The State of a Perfect, and Worldly Affairs ) 

The perfect state of society— in this state, everyone is a 
Steady-in-Mind (sthitaprajna) — the climax of Morality — the 
Sthitaprajna according to Western Philosophy— the state of a 
Sthitaprajna, which is beyond laws — the behaviour of the 
Kanna-yogin Sthitaprajna is the climax of Morality — the 
difference between the Morality of a selfish society, and the 
Absolute Ethics in the State of Perfection — the description of the 
best of men according to the Dasahodlia— but, the immutability 
of Ethical principles is not affected by this difference 
{p. 526)— on what basis this difference is observed by the 
Sthitaprajna' — the welfare or happiness of society, or the benefit 
of all living beings — but Equability of Eeason (samya-bitddhi) 
is superior to these external considerations — a comparison of 
the doctrine of Equability of Reason with the theory of ' the 
greatest good of the greatest number ' — living in the world 
with Equability of Reason — philanthropy and one's own 
maintenance — Self -Identification ( atmaupamya ) — the compre- 
hensiveness, importance, and logical explanation of that 
doctrine — ''the universe is the family' ^vasudhaiva-kutumbaham') 
>(p. 544)— though one might acquire Equability of Reason, one 
cannot give the go-bye to considerations of who is deserving 
and who not — absence of enmity ( nirvaim ) does not mean 
inactivity, or non-resistance — ' measure for measure ' — the 
restraint of evil-doers— the justification of patriotism, clan- 
pride etc. — observing the limits of Time and Place, and Self- 
defence— the duty of the Jnanin (scient) — universal welfare and 
Karma-Yoga— summary of the 'subject— self-interest, other's- 
interest, and the highest interest (paramartha) ... p. 510-565 

CHAPTER £111. 


(The Path of' Devotion.) 

The difficulty of ordinary persons of small intelligence in 

Realising the qualityless form of the Brahman— the means of 


acquiring Knowledge, Religious Faith (sraddha) and Reason — 
both these are mutually dependent — the accomplishment of 
practical purposes by Faith— though one may acquire Know- 
ledge of the Paramesvara by Faith, that is not enough— in 
order to be able to assimilate that Knowledge, it is necessary 
to contemplate on the Paramesvara with an intense and 
desireless love— this is called DEVOTION— the Contemplation 
of the Qualityful Imperceptible, is laborious and difficult of 
achievement — therefore, it is necessary to have some definite 
object for worship — the Path of Knowledge and the Path of 
Devotion lead to the same goal — nevertheless, Devotion cannot- 
become a Nistha like Knowledge— the visible form of the 
Paramesvara, accessible by love, which is taken for Devotion — 
the meaning of the word ' pratilat ' — the meaning of the words 
' raja-vidya ' and ' raja-guhya ' — the lovingness in the Gita 
(p. 585) — any one of the innumerable manifestations of the 
Paramesvara can be taken as a symbol (pratlka) — different- 
symbols taken by different people and the resulting confu- 
sion — how that can be avoided — the difference between the 
symbol (pratlka) and the belief with which one worships the 
symbol — whatever the symbol is, the result obtained is 
according to one's belief about it — worship of different deities 
—but the One who gives the Fruit is the Paramesvara and not . 
the deity — whichever deity is worshipped, that becomes an 
informal worship of the Paramesvara — the superiority of the 
Path of Devotion in the Gita from this point of view — the 
purity or impurity of Devotion and Love— improvement takes- 
place by gradual degrees, as a result of industry, and perfection 
is reached after many births— that man who has neither Faith 
nor Reason is lost— whether by Reason or by Devotion, the 
knowledge of the same Non-Dual Brahman is obtained (p. 601) — 
all the doctrines pertaining to the theory 'of Causality 
(karma-vipaka-prakriya) and the Philosophy of the Absolute 
Self, also stand good in the Path of Devotion—See, for 
instance, the form of the Personal Self {'jiva'), and of the 
Paramesvara according to the Gita— nevertheless, there is 
Bometimes a verbal difference rn these doctrines— for instance,. 
Karma now becomes the same as the Paramesvara— dedication - 
to the Brahman (brahmarpana) and dedication to Krsna 


(krsiyurpaya)— but these verbal differences aie not made, if 
confusion results— the fusion of Faith and Spiritual Knowledge 
in the Glta Religion— there is no room for ' Sariinyasa ' in the 
Path of Devotion — there is no conflict between Devoticn 
(bhakti) and Action [karma) — devotees of the Blessed Lord 
and Universal Welfare — worship of and sacrifice to the 
Blessed Lord by one's own Actions only — whereas the Path 
of Knowledge is open to the three re-generate classes, the Path 
of Devotion is open to women and to SSdras etc.— there is 
Release, even if one surrenders oneself to the Paramesvara at 
the time of death— the superiority of the Religion of the Gita 
over other religions ... ... ... p. 566-618 


Bhagavan Shree Krishna,.. ... ... Frontispiece. 

A page from the Author's note-book ... back of do. 

Author, Translator, and Publishers ... to face p. iv 

Lokamanya Tilak's residence at Poona „ p. v 

Publisher's Dedication ... ... „ p. viii 

Lokamanya Tilak Mandir ... „ p. xii 

Lokamanya Tilak in England ... „ p. xiii 

Silver caskets presented to the Author „ p. xiv 

Statue of the Author in Poona ... „ p. xv 

Profile of the Author ... ... „ p. xxii 

The Translator ... ... „ p. xxxviii 

Three-coloured portrait of the Author „ p. lxxx 

Pictorial Map of Schools of Philosophy „ p. 18 

Full text of the Glta .,„ „ p. 618 

Irxiz COiiiTESTS OF CROP. 3IT T Z7 & iE?ESi>rCIS 


Caettnte of chapters XIV and. XV aoi of the Appendices, 

which are inchiaW In tie 5so»d Volants 

ef tie Book. 

CSAPTE5 117. 

I Tzh Ccaiinuit j od" tie chipife-rs of its Glte }. 

Tsr. Etti'sdi cf pr"jTi.ng E.sTj3,j=ct — sei&ntlsc asecatecisistic 

— tbt g'X'i aad bad ssp^s of tie c&tecaistic method — Hia 

tegmti^g of ths G-'u — iu- first chapiter — ia toe second 

chapto, ts sibj'fect-^: ittoT Etaite with, oaiy two Paths of life, 

narnsij, lift HSnJchvi ana the Yoga — the exposition &t Earma- 

Yo'ga ir: fe third*, fourth aod fifth chapter — Equability of 

P.«a=cn ( yiirvj'i-'swyihi } Is tetKr i.-j,n Karma — it is impossible 

to gst rid 'A Karma — Karma-Toga is superior to Simkhyar 

I? feiha — the necessity of tie control of all organs 1 in order to 

attain Epabfllty of Keason ( mmya-buddM) — the method of 

control of the organs mentioned in the sixth, chapter — it is not 

proper to divide the Glta into the three parts, Action f /.ami}, 

Devotion { bhakti ) and Knowledge (jiiam ) — Knowledge and 

Devotion are the means, of attaining Equability of Season. 

according to the Karma-Yoga — therefore, the Glta cannot be 

divided into three six-chaptered parts, one part for 'ham,' one 

for 'W and one for 'as' — the exposition of jgana' and 'ryfiayw.' 

is given in chapters VII to ZH, for the successful practice of 

Karma- Yoga, and not independently — a. summary of chapters 

VII to XII— even in these chapters of the Glta, Devotion and 

Knowledge haTe not been dealt with, independently, but are 

intermingled with each other, and they have been given the 

single name 'jfiam-vijnana'— a summary of chapters XIII to 

XVII— the summing np in the eighteenth chapter is in support 

of Karma- Yoga— therefore, considering the introductory and 

final chapters {upakrama-upsamham} according to rules of the 

Mimamsa, Karma-Yoga is seen to be the doctrine propounded 

by the Glta— the four-fold goal of human life (purusartha)— 

'urtha (wealth) and ' Kama ' (Desire) must be consistent with 


'dharrna (Morality) — but Release (moksa) is not in conflict 
■with Molality (dharma) — how the Gita came to he explained 
away as supporting Renunciation — Is notSamkhya + Desireless 
Action = Karma-Yoga, to be found in the Gita ?— nevertheless 
Karma-Yoga is the doctrine ultimately expounded— prayer to 
'the followers of the Path of Renunoiation. 



( Resume or Summary ) 

Difference between the science of Karma-Yoga and the 
formulating of rules of Worldly Morality (acarasantgraha) — 
the erroneous idea that Ethics cannot be properly justified by 
Vedanta — Gita does that very thing — the Exposition of the 
■religion of the Gita solely from the point of view of Ethics- 
Reason is superior to Karma — the Naknlopakhyana — similar 
theorems in Buddhism and Christianity — comparison of the 
doctrine of Equability of Reason in the Gita, with the two 
Western doctrines of ' greatest good of the greatest number ' 
and ' Conscience ' — similarity between Western Metaphysics 
and the Exposition in the Gita — the doctrines of Kant and 
Green — Vedanta and Ethics — the reason why there are various 
codes of Ethics, and differences of opinion about the construc- 
tion of the Body and the Cosmos — the important part of the 
Metaphysical exposition in the Gita — the harmonising of 
Release ( moksa ), Ethics and worldly life — Renunciation 
according to Christianity — the Western idea of Action based on 
the search for Happiness — comparison of the same with the 
•Karma-marga in the Gita— difference between the arrangement 
of the four castes and Ethics — the Western Karma-marga is 
based on elimination of pain, and the Gita Teligion is based on 
■Desirelessness— a short history of the Karma-Yoga in the 
Kaliyuga— Jain and Buddhist monks— the Sarhnyasin followers 
of Samkaracarya — the Mahomedan rule — the Devotees of the 
Blessed Lord, the galaxy of saints, and Ramadasa — the living- 
ness of the Gita religion— the fearlessness, immutability, and 
equality of the Gita religion— prayer to the Almighty. 


An External Examination of the Glta. 
The Glta has been included in the Mahabharata for a 
proper reason and at a proper place, it is not spurious nor 
interpolated— PART I : the useful purpose of the GITA and the 
MAHABHARATA— the present form of the Glta— the present 
form of the Mahabharata— the seven references in the Maha- 
bharata to the Glta — similar stanzas and similarity of language 
in both — also similarity of meaning — which proves that the 
Glta and the Mahabharata were written by the Eaoie author — 
PART II : A comparison of the GITA and the UPANISADS— 
similarity of language and similarity of meaning — the 
Metaphysical Knowledge in the Glta is taken from the- 
Upanisads— the theory of Maya (Illusion) in the Upanisads 
and in the Glta — What the Glta contains more than the 
Upanisads— the consistency between the Samkhya system and- 
Vedanta — the worship of the Perceptible or the Path of 
Devotion — but the most important subject is the exposition of 
the Path of Karma-Yoga — the Yoga mentioned in the Glta for 
the control of the organs, the Patanjala Yoga, and the 
Upanisads — PART III :— Which, was first in point of time, the 
GiTA or the BRAHMA-SUTRAS ?— the clear reference to the 
Brahma-Sutras in the Glta — the repeated reference in the 
Brahma-Sutras to the Glta. by the word ' Smrti '—a considera- 
tion of the relative chronological position of the two books-^- 
the Brahma-Sutras are either contemporary with or prior in 
point of time to the present Glta., but not- subsequent — one sound 
reason for the Brahma-Sutras being referred to in the Glta— 
and the GITA— the Path of Devotion in the Glta is consistent 
■with Vedanta, Samkhya and Yoga — it is not that the doctrines 
of Vedanta have been subsequently inserted in the Gita-^- 
the most ancient form of the Vedic religion is pre-eminently 
for Action— the subsequent growth of Vedanta, Samkhya, and 
Renunciation— the harmonisation of the two Paths of life had 
been arrived at already in^ ancient times — the subsequent 
growth of Devotion — the consequent necessity for making: 
Devotion consistent, from its very inception, with the former 
paths of life— that is the trend of the Bhagavata doctrine, and 


also of the Glta— the combination of Spiritual Knowledge with 
Action in the.Glta is from the Upanisads, but there is the addi- 
tion of Devotion — the ancient treatises on the Bhagavata doctrine, 
the Gita and the Narayaniyopakhyana — the date of Sri Krsna 
and of the growth of the Satvata or Bhagavata religion is the 
same — that time, is about 700 to 800 years before Buddha, or 
about 1500 years before Christ— the reasons for thinking so— 
the impossible position arising out of a different conclusion— 
the original aspect of the Bhagavata religion supports Inaction— 
the next aspect is Devotional — and the final aspect is for 
Qualified Monism ( Visistadvaita )— the original Glta is 
about 900 years before Christ-PART V:— THE DATE OF 
THE PRESENT GlTA— the date of the present Glta is the 
same as of the present Mahabharata — out of these, the present 
Mahabharata is prior in point of time to Bhasa, Asvaghosa 
Asvalayana, Alexander, and the method of starting the year 
with the Sun in Aries (Mesa), but subsequent to Buddha; 
so it is about 500 years prior to the Saka era — the 
present Glta is prior in point of time to Kalidasa, 
Banabhatta, the dramatist Bhasa, the Puranas, Baudhayana, 
and the Mahayana sect in Buddhism, that is, about 500 years 
before the Saka era— PART VI : GtTA and the BUDDHIST 
LITERATURE— the similarity betweeD the description of the 
' Sthitaprajna ' in the Glta and the ' Arhata ' of Buddhism — 
the nature of the Buddhist religion, and its growth out of the 
previous Brahmin religion — Buddha has discarded the doctrine 
of the Atman in the Upanisads, and has adopted only a course 
of conduct consistent with Renunciation (nivrtti) — the visible 
reasons for this Path of life according to the Buddhist religion, 
or the four arya truths — the similarity between the Vedic Smarta 
religion, and the duties of a householder according to 
Buddhism— all these ideas are originally from the Vedic 
religion — the reason, nevertheless, for considering the Maha- 
bharata and the Glta independently — the improbability of the 
subsequent Devotional Buddhist religion having been evolved 
out of the original Renunciatory Buddhist religion, which 
denied the existence of the Atman— the growth of the Maha- 
yana Sect— reasons for concluding that the Path of Devotion 
based on Action (pravrtti) in the Mahayana creed has been 


adopted from the Gita, and the consequent conclusion as to the 
date of the Gita-PART VII :-GlTA and the CHRISTIAN 
BIBLE— the improbability of the Gita having adopted any 
principle from the Christian religion— the Christian religion 
is not a gradual and independent development out of the 
Jewish religion— opinions of old Christian scholars as to how 
it came into existence— the Esin sect and Greek philosophy— 
the astonishing similarity between the Buddhist and Christian 
religions— but the priority in point of time of the Buddhist 
religion is undoubted — evidence in support of the fact that the 
Buddhist monks (yatin) had entered Jewish territory in 
ancient times — the high probability, therefore, of the 
elementary principles of Christianity having been adopted from 
Buddhism, and consequently from the Vedic religion or from 
the Gita— the resulting irresistible conclusion as to the 
undoubted antiquity of the Gita. 


Explanation of the Abbreviations used in the Glta- 

Rahasya, and information about the treatises 

referred to by the Abbreviations. 

NOTE :— These are not in the same order as in the original,, 
as they have been re-arranged aooording to the English 
Alphabet, whereas in the original, thoy are arranged aooording 
to the Marathi Alphabet — Trans,). 

Ai. Bra. Aitareya Brahmaita; paficika and khaipja, (Dr. Houda's 

Ai. or 1 Aitareyopamsad; chapter, khawfa and stanza (Ananda- 
Ai. U. J srama Edition ). 
Asta. Astavakragita; chapter and stanza, { GltU-Samgmha 

published by Messrs Ashtekar & Co. ) 
Atharva. Atkarvaveda; the figures after this show respectively, 

the Mnda, the sukta, and the rcu. 
Bhag. Srlmad Bhagavatapurana, (Nirnaya-Sagara Edition). 
Bha. Jyo. Bliaratuja Jyotth Sastra ( Written by the lata 

Balkrishna Dikshit ). 
Br. or "I Brliadaraityakopamsat ; adhymja, brahmiia and inanlm 
Brha. J ( Anandasrama Edition ). The usual reference is to thu 

Kanvapatha, but in one place, there is a reference to 

the Madhyandina-sakha. 
Bra. Sfl. See. Ve. Su. below. 

Chan. Chandogyopanisat ; chapter, Ichandu and mautrit. (Anan- 
dasrama Edition), 
Da. or 1 The Dusabodha of Sri Samartha ( Edition of the 
Dasa. j Satkaryottejaka Sabha, Dhulia ). 

Ga. Tukarama's GatM (Damodar Savlarama'a Edition, 1900). 

Gl. Bhagavadgita, chapter and stanza ; Gl. Sam. Bha. ; UUu 
Samkarabhasya. Gita. Ea. Bha , Gild. Bamfutitjalihiiayu. 
The Anandasrama Edition of the Git.i and of the 
Samlcarabhasya contains at the end a glossary, which I 
have found very useful ; and I am vary grateful for it 
to the compiler. The Ramanujabhamja is the one 
printed in the Venkatesvara Press; The Uudhva- 
bhaw is the one printed by Krishnaeharya of Kumbha- 
konam; The Anandagiri Commentary, and the 
Paramtirlha-wapa, are those printed in the Jagadbi- 


tecchu Press ; the MadhusUdana Commentary is the 
one printed in the Native Opinion Press ; the Srldhari 
and Vamani (Marathi) Commentaries are those printed 
in the Nirnayasagara Press ; the Paisacabhasya is the 
one printed in the Anandasrama Press; the Tatvadlpika 
of the Vallabha school is the one printed in the Guzarati 
Printing Press ; the NilakanthZ is from the Bombay 
Mahabharata ; and the Brahmanandi is the one printed 
in Madras ; these are the commentaries of which I 
have made use. But, as the Guzarati Printing Press' 
has recently published together in one volume all 
these commentaries except the Paisacablidsya and the 
Brahamanandi, as also the commentary of the 
Nimbarka School and some other commentaries, in all 
fifteen, that one volume is now sufficient for all needs. 

C~~\- P r f ^'fu-Ba]iasya. The first essay of this book. 

Hari, Harivamsa; parva, chapter and stanza (Bombay Edition). 

Isa. Isavasyopanisat. (Anandasrama Edition). 

Jai. Sii. The Mimaftisa-Svtras of Jaimini ; chapter, pada, and 
sutra. (Calcutta Edition). 

Jfia. JMnesvari with translation ; Indira Press Edition. 

Ka. or 1 Kathopanisat; valll and mantra (Anandasrama 

Katha. J Edition). 

Kai. Kaivalyovanisal. ; khanda and mantra ; Twenty-eight 
Upanisads (Nirnaya-Sagara Edition). 

Eausi. Kausitakyupanisat or Kausltald Brahmaiwpanisat; 
chapter and khanda ; sometimes the first chapter of 
this Upanisad is referred to as the third chapter 
according to the order of the Brahmanas ; (Ananda- 
srama Edition). 

Kena. Kenopanisat ( = Talavakaropanisat ), khanda and mantra 
(Anandasrama Edition). 

Ma. Bha. Sriman Mahabharata. The following letter shows the 
various Parvas, and the numbers are of the chapters 
and the stanzas. I have everywhere used the Sanskrit 
Edition published at 'Calcutta by Babu Pratapchandra 
Roy. If the same stanzas have to be referred to in 
the Bombay edition, they will be found a little in 
advance or behind. 


^laitryu. Mailryupanisat or ikitm/amjupaimt ; prapBthaka and 

mantra (Anandasrama Edition), 
llanu. Mann-SmTti, chapter and stanza. (Dr. Jolly's Edition ; 

but in the Maudalik's or in any other edition, these 

stanzas will mostly he found in the same places ; the 

commentaries on Mann are from the Maudalik 

Matsya. Matst/a-Purrum (Anandasrama Edition). 
Ml. Pra. Mitinda Prasna, Pali text, English trail.Oation. 

(Sacred Books of the East Series). 
Mun. or \ Mitudakopanisat; muiulahi, khawla mid mantra 
Munda. J ( Anandasrama Edition ). 
2to. Pan. Xdrada Pailoaratm. (Calcutta edition). 
Wa. Su. NCtrada-SUtras (Bombay edition). 
Nrsimha. U. Nrsimhottam tapan'mopanisat. 
Pafica. Pancadasi with commentary (Nimaya-Sagara Edition). 
Patanjala-Su. Putaiijala-Yoga-FlTtfras. (Tnkarama Tatya's 

Prasna. Prasnopanisat ; prahire and mantra. (AnandiWiumi 

Bg. Hg-veda ; mandala, sTikla, and rca. 
Ramapu. RamapUrvatapinyupanimt (Anandasrama Edition), 
S. B. E. Saert'd Books of this Uaxl timi's. 
Sam. Ka. Samkhya Kiirikti (Tukaramu Talya'n Kdilioii). 
San. Su. Sandilya-X films (Bombay Edition). 
Siva. S'iva-tjita ; chapter and stanza; (Tilii-Xai'iiijraiia of 

Messrs Ashtekar & Co., 
Surya. Gl. SUrya-Oild ; chapter and sfair/a, (Madras Rdition). 
Sve. Rmlasmrfaropaidsal; chapter add mtmlrti (Anandasninia 

Tai. or \ Taittiriya Upan,iy.d ; valli, anuatlai, and mantra 
Tai. U. J (Anandasrama Edition). 

Tai. Bra. Taittiriya BrUli.rnaya ; kanila, prapathnka, annuahi 

and mantra (Anandasrama Kdition). 
Tai. Sarh. Taittiriya Hamhila ; kilvdn, praputlmka, amnika and 

Tuka. Ga. Tukarama'e CJUtlui ; See Ga. above. 
Vaja. Sam. Vdjammeyi ftxinhitti ; chapter and vi intra (Beliitr 



Valmiki Ra. orl Valmiki Ramayana; kanda, chapter and) 

Va. Ra. J stanza (Bombay Edition). 

Ve. Su, Vedarita-Sutras or Brahma-Sutras ; chapter, pada, and* 

Ve. Su. Sam. Bha. &amlearabliasya on the Vedania-Siitras ; the-- 

Anandasrama Edition has been used everywhere. 
Visnu. Visnu-Puraya ; amsa, chapter, and stanza (Bombay 

Yajna. YajHavalkya-Smrti ; chapter and stanza (Bombay 

Edition) ; I have in one or two places referred to the- 

Apararlca commentary (Bombay Edition) on this. 
Yo. orl Yoga-Vusistha ; chapter, sarga, and stanza. There- 
Yoga, J are two sub-divisions, Pu. (purvdrdha) and 

U. ( uttarardln ) of the sixth chapter (Commentated' 

Nirnaya-Sagara Edition).; 

NOTE :— Besides these, there are many Sanskrit, English,. 
Marathi, and Pali treatises, which have been mentioned in. 
various places ; but as a general rule, the names of those books- 
have been given in full, wherever they occur, or they have- 
been mentioned in such a way as to be easily intelligible ; 
and they have, therefore, not been mentioned in the above list- 







Narayavam mniaskrtya naram cairn narottamam 1 
devim Sarasuatirn Vyasam tato jayam udiraijet II * 

Mahabharata (opening ver.se) 

The S'limad Bhagavadglta is one of the most brilliant 
and pure gems of our ancient sacred books. It would be 
difficult to find a simpler work in Sanskrit literature or even 
in all the literature of the world than the G-Ita, which explains 
to us in an unambiguous and succint manner the deep and 
sacred principles of the sacred science of the SELF (Atman), 
after imparting to us the knowledge of the human body and 
the cosmos, and on the authority of those principles acquaints 
every human being with the most perfect and complete 
condition of the Self, that is to say, with what the highest- 
manhood is, and which further establishes a logical and 
admirable harmony between Devotion (bhakli) and Spiritual 
Knowledge (jfiana), and ultimately between both these and the 
duties of ordinary life enjoined by the S'Uslras, thereby inspiring 
the mind, bewildered by the vicissitudes of life to calmly and, 
what is more, desirelessly adhere to the path of duty. Even 

* This verse means that one should first offer obeisance to 

Narayarja, to Nara, the most excellent among men, to Devf 

Sarasvati, and to Vyasa and then begin to recite the "Jaya", 'tat is, 

the Mahabharata. The two Rsis Nara and Narayaea were the two 



if one examines the work looking upon it as a poem, this work, 
which simplifies to every reader, young or old, the numerous 
abstruse doctrines of Self-Knowledge in inspired language and 
is replete with the sweetness of Devotion plus Self-Realisation, 
will certainly he looked upon as an excellent poem. The 
pre-eminent worth, therefore, of a book which contains the 
quintessence of Vedic religion, uttered by the voice of the 
Blessed Lord can best only be imagined. It is stated at the 
commencement of the Anuglta, that after the Bharata war 
was over, and S'ri Krsna and Arjuna were one day chatting 
together, Arjuna conceiving the desire of hearing the Glta. again 
from the lips of the Blessed Lord, said to Sri Kraiia : — " I have 
forgotten the advice you gave me when the war commenced ; 
so, please repeat it to me. " In reply the Blessed Lord said to 
him that even He could not repeat that advice in the same 
way, because on the previous occasion the advice had been 
given, when His mind was in the highest Yogic state (Ma. Bh.5. 
As'vamedha. 16, stanzas 10-13). Really speaking, nothing 
was impossible for the Blessed Lord, but His answer that it 
would be impossible for Him to repeat the Glta, clearly 
reveals the excellent worth of the Glta. The fact that the Gits 
is considered by all the different traditionary schools of the 
Vedic religion for over twenty-five centuries to be as venerable 
and authoritative as the Vedas themselves is due to the same 

components into which the Paramatman had broken itself up Bad 
Arjuna and Sri Krsaa were their later incarnations, as has been 
stated in the Mahabharata (Ma, Bha. U. 48. 7-9 and 20-22; and 
Vana. 12. 44-46). As these two Bsis were the promulgators of the 
NarayaDiya or the Bhagavata religion, consisting of Desireless 
Action, they are first worshipped in all the treatises on the 
Bhagavata religion. In some readings, the word 'cairn' is used 
instead of 'Vyasa' as in this verse, but I do not think that is 
correct; because, although Nara and Narayapa were the promulgators 
of the Bhagavata, religion, yet I think it only proper that Vyasa, 
who wrote both the Bharata and the Glta, which are the two principal 
works relating to this religion,' should also be worshipped in the 
beginning of the book. "Jaya" U the ancient name for the 


cause ; and on the same account, this work, which ie as old 
as the Smrtis, has been appropriately, though figuratively 
described in the Gita-dhyana as follows ;— 

sarvopanisado yavo dogdha Gopulanandwiah I 

Partho mtsah sudhir bhokta ducjdham Gltamrtafh muhat II 

that is :— " All the Upanisads are, so to say, cows, the Blessed 
Lord Sri Krsna is Himself the drawer of the milk (milk-man), 
the intelligent Arjuna is the drinker, the calf (which causes 
the flow of the milk in the cows), and (when these unpreceden- 
ted circumstances have come about) the milk which has 
been drawn, is the Gita-nectai of the highest order. " It 
cannot, therefore, be a matter of surprise that any number of 
translations, commentaries, or expositions of this work have 
appeared in all the vernacular languages of India ; but, after 
the Westerners have got acquainted with Sanskrit, there have 
been made any number of translations of the Gita into Greek, 
Latin, German, French, English etc., and this wonderful work 
has now come to be known throughout the world. 

Not only does this work contain the quintessence of all the 
Upanisads, but the full name of this work is "Srlmad Bhagavad- 
glfca Upanisat ". The enunciative words, convoying that the 
chapter is closed, which are ussd at the end of each chapter of 
the Gita contain the words "iti srlmad Bhagavadgitasu- 
Upanisatsu Bralimaadyayavi. yogasastre 8ri-KriRiarju.nasaiiiixide" 
etc. i.e., " thus the conversation between Sri-Krsna and Arjuna 
on the Karma-yoga science, (that is to say, on the science of 
the yoga based on the knowledge of the Brahman) in the 
Upanisad sung by the Blessed Lord. " Although these 
enunciative words are not to be found in the original Bharataj 
yet as we find them in all the editions of the Gita, one may 
draw the inference that, that mode of enunciation must have 
come into vogue, when the Gita was for the first time separated 
from the Mahabharata for daily recital, that is to^ say, before 
any commentary was written on it ; and I shall explain later 
on the importance of these words in determining the import 
of the Gita from this point of view. For the present, it is 
necessary for us to consider only the words " Bhagavadgitasu 
Upanimtsu. " Although the word " Upanisat " is of the neuter 


gender in the Marathi language, yet as it is of the feminine 
gender in Sanskrit, so the idea " the Upanisad sung, that is, 
told by the Blessed Lord " is conveyed, in Sanskrit, by the 
expression " Srimad Bhagavadglta Upanisat ", a compound 
of an adjective and a noun in the feminine gender ; and 
although the work is singular in number, yet as it has become 
customary to refer to it in the plural number by way of respect, 
one comes across the plural seventh-case-ended form of 
" S'rimad Bhagavaclgitasii,panisatsu". Even in the commentary 
(bhasya) written by S'arhkaTacaTya, we come across the 
expression " iti gitasu ' ' in the plural number with reference 
to this work. But in contracting the expression, the affixes 
or words used for indicating respect and also the common- 
noun " Upanisat " at the end, indicative of a class, being 
dropped, the two first-case-ended singular words " S'rimad 
Bhagavadglta " and " Upanisat " have at first been changed 
into " Bliagavadgita " and later on merely " Gita ", which is a 
feminine and extensively contracted form,— as has been the 
case with the names Kena, Katha, Ghandogya etc., If the word 
" Upanisat " had not occurred in the original name, then the 
name of this work would have been contracted into the neuter 
form " Bhagavadgitarh " or merely " Gltam " as has been the 
case with " Bhagavatarh " or " Bharatarh " or " Goplgltarh ", but 
as, instead of that, the word has remained in the feminine form 
as " Bhagavadglta, " or " Gita, " we must always take the word 
" Upanisat " as implied after it. The word " Anuglta " has 
been interpreted in the same way in the commentary of 
Arjunamisra on the Anuglta. 

But we find that the word " Gita " is applied not only to 
the Bhagavadglta of 700 verses but also in an ordinary meaning 
to many other works dealing with Spiritual Knowledge. For 
instance, in certain sundry chapters of the Moksaparva 
included in the Santiparva of the Mahabharata, we find that 
the names Pihgalagita, Sarhpakaglta, Mankiglta, Bodhyaglta^ 
Vicakkhyuglta, Haritaglta, Vrtragita, Parasaragita, and" 
Harhsagita have been used and one part of the Anuglta in the 
Asvamedhaparva has been called by the separate and special 
name of " Brahrnanaglta ". Besides these, there are also- 
numerous other gltas which are well-known, such as the- 


AvadhQtagita, Astavakragita, Isvaragita, Uttaragita, Kapilaglta, 
Ganesaglta, Devlgita, Pandavaglta, Brahmaglta Bhiksugita, 
Yamaglta, Ramagita, Vyasagita, Sivaglta, Sutaglta, Siiryaglta, 
etc. Some of these exist independently, whereas the others are 
to be found in different Puranas. For instance, the Ganesagita, 
is to be found at the end of the Ganesapurana in the Krida- 
khanda in the 138th to 148th chapters and one may say that it 
is a faithful copy of the Bhagavadgita, with slight verbal 
differences. The Isvaragita is to be found in the first eleven 
chapters in the Uttaravibhaga of the Kurmapurana, and the 
Vyasagita starts in the next chapter. The Brahmaglta is to be 
found in the first twelve chapters of the latter portion of the 
fourth i. e., the Yajna-vaibhava kharida of the Suta-Samhita 
included in the Skandapurana and the Sutaglta is in the 
subsequent eight chapters. There is to be found a Brahmaglta 
different from this Brahmaglta of the Skandapurana, in the 
173rd to 181st stanzas of the latter half of the chapter on 
" Nirvana ", in the Yogavasistha. The Yamaglta is of three 
kinds. The first is to be found in the seventh chapter of the 
3rd part ( arhsa ) of the Yisnupurana, the second one in the 
381st chapter of the 3rd division ( khanda ) of the Agnipurana 
and the third one in the 8th chapter of Nrsimnapurana. The 
same is the case with the Ramaglta. The Ramagita which is 
in common acceptance in this part of the country is to be found 
in the fifth sarga of the Uttarakanda of the Adhyatma 
Ramayapa and this Adhyatma Ramayana is looked upon as a 
part of the Brahmandapuraiia. But there is also another 
Ramaglta to be found in the work known as " Gurujnana- 
vasistha-tafctvasarayana " which is well-known on the Madras 
side. This book deals with Vedanta philosophy and is divided 
into three divisions ( ka-nd/ts ) called the Jnana, Upasana, and 
Karma. In the first eighteen chapters of the second part {padaj 
called the Upasanakanda, we find the Ramagita and in the first 
five chapters of the third part ( pada ) of the third kanda, called 
the Karmakanda, we find the Suryagita. The Sivaglta is said 
to be in the Patalakhanda of the Padmapurana. But, in the 
edition of this purana which .has been printed in the 
Anandashrama Press in Poona, we do not find the Sivaglta. 
Pandit Jwalaprasad has stated in his book called Astadasa- 


puranadarsana ( Survey of the eighteen Puranas ) that it is to 
be found in the Gaudiya Padmottarapurana, and in the table 
of contents of the Padmapurana which is given along with 
those of other Puranas in the Naradapurana, we find a 
reference to the Sivaglta. Besides these, the Hamsaglta is to 
be found in the 13th chapter of the 11th skandha of the Srf 
BhSgavatpurana and the Bhiksuglta is to he found in the 23rd 
chapter of the same skandlm, ; and the Kapileyopakhyana 
contained in the chapters 23 to 33 of the third skandha, is also 
known as Kapilagita. But I have seen an independent printed 
book by the name Kapilagita. This Kapilagita deals principally 
with the Hathayoga, and one finds it stated in it that it has 
been taken from the Padmapurana ; however, not only do we 
not find it in the Padmapurana, but as we find in it in one 
place (4. 7) such words as " Jaina " " Jangama " (lingaita), and 
"Sophi" (a Mahomedan saint), we have.to say that it must hare 
been written after the Mahomedan rule commenced. As in 
the BhSgavatpurana, so also in the Devlbhagavata, we find a 
Glta from the 31sfc to the 40th chapters of the seventh skandha, 
and as that glta is supposed to have come out of the mouth of 
the Devi, it is called the " Deviglta ". Besides {these, a 
summary of the Bhagavadgita itself is to be found inj the 380th 
chapter of the third khanda, of the Agnipurana as also in the 
247th chapter of the purmkluinda of the Garudapurana. In 
the same way, although it is stated that the work " Yogava- 
^ sistha " was recited by Vasistha to Raroa in the Rama 
incarnation, yet we find a summary of the Bhagavadgita t 
which was preached to Arjuua by the Blessed Lord in the 
subsequent Krsna incarnation, reproduced in the last, that is r 
in the Nirvana chapter, in which many verses are taken as 
they are from Bhagavadgita, and it is given the name 
"Arjunopakhyana"(Gf. Yoga. 6, Pu. Sarga. 52-58). I have 
stated above that the Sivaglta is not to be found in the 
Padmapurana printed at Poona, but though that is so, yet a 
Bhagavadglta-mahStmya is described from the 171st to the 
188th chapters of the Uttarakhanda of this edition (of the 
Padmapurana), and one chapter of this mahalmya is dedicated 
to each chapter of the Bhagavadgita and it also contains 
traditionary stories about the same. There is besides one 


Gita-mahatmya in the Varahapurana and it is said that there is 
also a third Gita-mahatmya in the Saiva or Vayupurana. But 
I do not come across it in the Vayupurana printed in Calcutta* 
A small chapter of nine verses called " Gita-dhyana " is to be 
found printed in the beginning of the printed editions of the 
Bhagavadglta, but I cannot say from where it has been taken. 
Nevertheless, the verse " Bhismadroiia-tata Jayadratha-jala " 
(from these nine verses) is to be found, with slight verbal 
differences, at the very commencement of the recently 
published drama of Bhasa called " Urubhanga ". There- 
fore, it would seem that this Gita-dhyana must have come 
into vogue probably after the date of the dramatist Bhasa. 
Because, it would be more proper to say that the Gita-dhyana 
has been prepared by borrowing different verses from different 
texts and writing some new verses, rather than to say that a 
well-known dramatist like Bhasa has taken that verse from the 
Gita-dhyana. As the dramatist Bhasa lived before Kalidasa* 
his date cannot at most be later than Saka 300. * 

From what has been stated above, one can understand 
which and how many copies, and good or bad imitations; 
summaries and mahuhnijas of the Gita are to be found in the 
puranas. One cannot definitely say to what puranas some 
gitas like the Avadhutagita, the AstSvakraglta, etc., belong, 
and if they do not form part of any puranas, then by whom 
and when they were independently written. Yet, if one 
considers the arrangement or the disposition of subject matters, 
in all these gitas, one will see that all these works musC 
have been written after the Bhagavadglta had come into, 
prominence and acquired general acceptance. Nay, one may 
even go further and say that these various gitas have been, 
brought into existence with the idea that the sacred literature 
of a particular sect or a purana does not become- complete 
unless it contains a gita similar to the Bhagavadglta. As in 
the Bhagavadglta, the Blessed Lord first showed to Arjuna his. 
Cosmic Form and then preached to him the Divine Knowledge, 

* Moat of the above-mentioned Gitas and also several other 
Gitas (including the Bhagavadglta) have been printei by Mr. Uari 
Raghunath Bhagwat. 


-so also is the case with the S'ivaglta and Devigita, or the 
-Ganes'agita; and in the S'ivagita, Is'varagitS, etc., we find 
•many verses taken literally from the Bhagavadglta. 
Considering the matter .from the point of view of Spiritual 
Knowledge, these various gitas do not contain anything more 
than the Bhagavadglta; but, what is more, the wonderful 
skill of establishing a harmony between the Realisation 
.of the Highest Self (adhyatma) and Action (karma) which 
is seen in the Bhagavadglta, is not to be found in any- 
one of these gitas. Somebody has subsequently written the 
Uttaragita as a supplement to the Bhagavadglta in the form of 
a conversation between Krsna and Arjuna, in the belief that 
the Patafrjala-yoga or the Hatha-yoga or the Philosophy of 
Renunciation (sammjusa) by Abandonment of Action (karma) 
has not been sufficiently well described in the Bhagavadglta, 
and the Avadhuta, the Astavakra and some other gitas are 
■purely one-sided, that is to say, they are only in support of the 
;path of Renunciation ; and the Yamagita, Pacdavaglta, and 
■some other gitas are very small and purely devotional, like 
•eulogistic hymns. It is true that the same is not the case 
'with the Sivaglta, the Ganes'agita and the Suryaglta and they 
■contain a skilful harmonising of Action and Spiritual 
Knowledge ; yet, as that exposition in them has been more or 
less adopted from the Bhagavadglta there is no novelty about 
them. Therefore, these pauranic stale gitas which have come 
into existence later on, fall into the shade before the profound 
and comprehensive brilliance of the Bhagavadglta and the 
excellence of the Bhagavadglta has been all the more established 
■and enhanced by these imitation gitas ; and the word " gita " 
has come to mean Bhagavadglta principally. Although the 
■works Adhyatma Ramayana and Yogavasistha are more 
exhaustive, yet from their construction, they are evidently of 
a later date. The (Jurujnanavasistha-tafctvasarayana of the 
Madras Presidency is a very ancient work according to some, 
but I am not of that opinion, because it contains a reference 
to 108 Upanisads and it cannot be said that all of them are 
ancient ; and if one considers the Suryaglta, we find in it a 
reference (see 3. 30) to Qualified-Monism (visistadvaita), and in 
some places the arguments too seem to have been adopted from 


the Bhagavadglta (1. 68), and therefore, one has to come to the 
■conclusion that even this work was written much later on, 
possibly even after the date of S'ri S'amkaracarya. 

Although there were many gltas, yet inasmuch as the 
Bhagavadglta was of unquestionable excellence, as shown 
above, later philosophers, following the Vedic cult, thought it 
proper not to take much notice of the other gltas and to 
examine only the Bhagavadglta and explain its import to their 
■co-religionists. The examination of a work is of two kinds ; 
there is the internal examination and the external examination. 
If one considers the book as a whole and extracts the inner 
meaning, the import, the implied meaning, or conclusions 
Bought to be proved by it, that is called the " internal 
examination ". Considering where a particular work was 
written, who wrote it, what kind of language is used in it, to 
what extent good sense or sweetness of sound are to be found in 
it from the poetical point of view, whether the diction of it is 
grammatically correct, or it contains any old archaic 
•constructions, what opinions, places or personages are mentioned 
in it, and whether or not such references enable you to 
determine the date of the work or the social conditions availing 
at the time when the work was written, whether the ideas in 
the book are original or are borrowed from some one else, and 
if borrowed, then which they are, and from whom they are 
borrowed, etc. — which is an exposition of the purely external 
aspects of the book, — is called the " external examination " of 
the work. Those ancient commentators who have written 
-commentaries ( bhusya ) or criticisms ( tlka ) on the Glta have 
not given much attention to these external aspects. Because, 
-considering these matters, while examining a supernatural 
work like the Bhagavadglta, would, in their opinion, be like 
wasting time in merely counting the petals of an excellent 
flower, instead of admiring its scent, colour or beauty or in 
-criticising the combs of a honey-comb full of honey ; but 
■ following the example of Western critics, modern scholars are 
now devoting much attention to the external examination of 
*the Glta. One of these has counted the archaic constructions 
in the Gifca and come to the conclusion that this work must 
have been written at least a few centuries before the birth of 


Christ ; and that, the doubt that the path of Devotion described, 
in the Gita may have been adopted from the Christian religion 
( which was promulgated at a later date ) is absolutely without 
foundation. Another scholar has taken it for granted that the 
atheistic opinions which have been mentioned in the 16th 
chapter of the Gita, must, most probably, be Buddhistic, and 
come to the conclusion that the Gita must have come into- 
existence after the date of Buddha. Another scholar says that 
as in the verse " brahmasuira padais-caiva " in the 13th chapter, 
the Brahma-Sutras have been mentioned, the Gita must have 
been written after the date of Brahma-Sutras; on the other- 
hand, several others say that as the Gita has undoubtedly been 
taken as an authority in some places at least in the Brahma-- 
Sutras, one cannot imagine that the Gita was later than the 
Brahma-Sutras. Still other scholars say that there could have 
been no time for Sri Krsna to recite the Bhagavadgita of 700 
stanzas to Arjuna on the battle-field during the Bharata war. 
In the hurry and scurry of the war, the most that Sri Krsna . 
could have told Arjuna would be about 40 or 50 very important 
and crucial verses or the import of them and that the 
expansion of these verses must have been made later on 
when the story of the war was recited by Sarhjaya to 
Dhrtarastra or by Vyasa to Suka or by Vaisampayana to 
Janamejaya, or by Suta to Saunaka, or at least when the 
original Bharata was expanded by some one into the 
' Mahabharata '. When such an idea has taken root in the 
mind regarding the construction of the Gita, scholars have 
taken to diving into the ocean of the Gita and some scholars 
have declared seven * and others twenty-eight or thirty-six or 
one hundred verses to be the original verses of the Gita 1 Some 
* At present, there is one Gita which consists only of seven 
verseB, namely, the following : — (1) "Om ilyeialsaraih Brahma 
etc." (Gi. 8. 13); (2) " sthune ffrfikesa tava prakirtya etc." (GI. 11. 36) 
(3) "sarvatah pmipudam tat" etc, (Gi. 13. 13); (i) kavim purmam- 
amiaiitciram" etc. (GI. 8. 9). (5) "urdhva mulamadhah sakham" etc. 
(Gi. 15. 11); (6) " sarvasya caham hrdi sammvifto etc." (Gi. 15. 15); 
(7) ''manmam bhava madbhakto -etc" (GI. 18. 65); and there are 
various other abbreviated editions of the Gita based on the^ 
same sample. 


have even gone to the length of saying that there was no- 
occasion whatsoever for explaining to Arjuna the philosophy 
of the Brahman on the battle-field and that this excellent 
treatise on the Vedanta philosophy has been interpolated by 
some one later on into the Mahabharata. It is not that these 
questions of external examination are totally useless. For 
instance, let us take the illustration of the petals of the flower or 
of the honey-comb which was mentioned above. In classifying 
vegetables, it is very necessary to consider the petals of their 
flowers ; and it has now been proved mathematically that there 
are to be found combs for storage of honey in a honeycombi 
which are made with the idea of economising as far as possible 
the quantity of wax and thereby reducing as far as possible 
the surface area of the external envelopes or combs without in 
any way reducing the cubic contents of the comb in weight of 
honey, and that thereby the inherent skill and intelligence of 
the bees can be proved. Therefore, taking into account these 
uses of such examination, I too have in the appendix at the end 
of this book, considered some important points arising in the 
external examination of the Gita. But those who want to 
understand the esoteric import of any book, should not waste 
time in these external examinations. In order to show the 
difference between those who understand the hidden message of 
VakdevI and those who formally worship her, the poet Murari 
has given a very excellent illustration. He says : — 

abdhir kwghita eoa vauarabliutaih Mm I aisijn 

gatiibhimlam I 
apatrUanimagnapivanitantir-jaiiati mantlulnilah II 

If one wants to know of the immense depth of the ocaan, 
whom should he ask of it V It is true that on the occasion of 
the war between Rama and Ravaua, powerful and agile monkey 
warriors crossed the ocean without difficulty and reached 
Ceylon (Lanka); but how could these poor fellows have gained 
any knowledge of the immense depth of the ocean ? The only 
one who can know truly of this depth is the great Mandaracala 
(Mandara mountain) rooted in paljala, which was placed by the 
gods at the bottom of the ocean, in order to make of it a 
"mantha" or churner at the time of the churning of the ocean. 

n gita-kahasya or karma-yoga 

According to this logic of the poet Murari, we must now take 
into account only the words of those scholaTS and learned 
pereonB who have churned the ocean of the Gita in order to 
■draw out its moral. The foremost of these writers is the writer 
of the Mahabharata. One may even say that he is in a way 
the author of the present-day Gita. I will, therefore, in the 
first place shortly explain what is the moral involved in the 
Gita according to the writer of the Mahabharata. 

From the fact that the Gita is called " Bhagavadgita " or 
" the Upanisad sung by the Blessed Lord " one sees that the 
"advice given in the Gita to Arjuna is principally of the 
Bhagavata religion, that is to say, of the religion promulgated 
by the Bhagavan, because, Sri Krsna is known by the name 
" Sri Bhagavan " usually in the Bhagavata religion. It is 
stated in the commencement of the fourth chapter of the 
-Gita (4. 1-3) that this religion was nothing new, but was 
something which had been preached by the Bhagavan to 
Vivasvan and by Vivasvan to Manu and by Mann to Iksvaku. 
And in the exposition of the Narayaniya or Bhagavata religion 
at the end of the Santiparva of the Mahabharata, after the 
tradition of the Bhagavata religion in the various incarnations 
of Brahmadeva, that is, during the various kalpas has been 
described, it is stated in the description of the Tretayuga out of 
the present life of Brahmadeva, that : — 

Tretayuaadau, ca tato Yivauvn Manave dadau I 
Manns' ca lohubhrlijarthafn sutayekwakave dadau I 
Iksmkund cu kathito vyupya lokvnawsthitah II 

(Ma. Bha. San. 348. 51-52). 

i.e., "the Bhagavata religion has been traditionally handed down 
by Vivasvan to Manu and by Manu to Iksvaku ". These two 
■traditions are consistent with each other (see my commentary 
on Gi. 4. 1). And in as much as the traditions of two different 
religions cannot be the same, one comes to the necessary 
conclusion, on seeing this unity of traditions, that the Gita 
religion and Bhagavata religion must be one and the same. 
But this matter does not depend on inference alone. Because, 
in the exposition of the Narayaniya or Bhagavata religion 
which is to be found in the Mahabharata itself, Vais'arhpayana 


has described the summary of the G-ita to Janamejaya in the 
following words ;- 

e mm esa mahun dharmah sa te purmm nrpottama I 
hithito HarigUami sainasauidhikalpitah U 

(Ma. Bha. San. 346. 10). 
that is ; "Oh excellent king, Janamejaya ! this magnificent 
Bhagavata religion together with its ritual was described by 
me to you concisely on a former occasion namely, in the 
Harigita, that is, in the Bhagavadglta. ' ' And in the second 
foilowing chapter, it is clearly stated that this exposition of 
the Marayanlya religion :- 

samupodhesmnlkem Kumpandavaijor mrdlie I 
Arjune vimanaske ca glta Bhagavata svayam II 

(Ma. Bha. San. 348. 8). 
that is ; " was made by the Blessed Lord when during the 
fight between the Kauravas ar.d the Pandavas both the armies 
had become ready for war and Arjuna had become dejected 
i.e. 'mnumski.' " From this it follows beyond doubt that 
the word " Harigita " in this place means the Bhagavadglta 
and nothing else. Thus, the preceptorial tradition of these 
two religions is the same. This " Bhagavata " or " Narayaniya " 
religion which has been twice mentioned in the G-ita as being 
the subject matter of exposition, has the other names of 
" Satvata " or " Ekantika " religion, and where that religion 
is being expounded in the Mahsbharata, its two-fold quality 
is described thus :- 

Ntirayauaparo dharmah punara urttidurlabhdh I 
pravHtilaksams caiva dharmci Naivi/ayatmatoh II 

(Ma. Bha. San. 347. 80-81) 
that is ; " this Narayaniya religion is such as'obviates re-birth 
(pumr-janma) i. e. gives complete Release (moksa) and is also 
Energistic ( pravrttipara)" and then it is clearly explained how 
this religion is Energistic. 

The word " Energism " (praurtii) is understood in popular 
acceptance as meaning, performing desirelessly the duties 
which pertain to one's status" in life, according to Hie 
arrangement of the four castes, without taking up Asceticism 
{saHimjasa). It, therefore, follows that the senium given J« 


the Gita to Arjuna is of the Bhagavata religion and, in as 
much as that religion is Energistic, it also follows that the 
-writer of the Mahabharata looked upon that advice also as 
Energistic. Nevertheless, it is not that the Gita. contains only 
the Energistic Bhagavata religion. Vais'ampayana has further 
said to Janamejaya : 

yatlnam capi yo dharmah m te purmm nrpottama I 

kathito Harigilasu samasavidhikalpitah II 

(Ma. Bha. S'an. 348. 53). 
that is : — " this Bhagavata religion and side hy side with it 
( capi I the renunciatory religion of ascetics (samnyasi) together 
with the relative ritual has, excellent King, been explained 
hy me to you before in the Bhagavadgita ". Still, although 
the renunciatory religion has in this way been mentioned in 
the Glta side hy side with the energistic religion of Action, 
yet the tradition of the Glta religion of Manu, Iksvaku etc. 
which has been mentioned in the Gita does not at all apply 
to the renunciatory religion ; it is consistent only with the 
tradition of the Bhagavata leligion. It, therefore, follows 
Irom the statements referred to above that according to the 
writeT of the Mahabharata, the advice which has been given to 
Arjuna in the Glta relates principally to the Energistic Bhaga- 
vata religion traditionally handed down from Manu to Iksvaku 
etc., and that it contains a'reference to the renunciatory path of 
ascetics only as a side reference. That this progressive or Ener- 
gistic Naray amy a religion in the Mahabharata and theBhagavata 
religion of the Bhagavata-Purana are fundamentally one and 
the same, will he seen to be quite clear from the statements 
made by Prthu, Priyavrata, Prahlada and other devotees of the 
Blessed Lord or from the other descriptions of the path of 
Desireless Action which are to be found elsewhere in the 
Bhagavata ( Bhagavata. 4. 22. 51-52 ; 7. 10. 23 and 11. 4. 6 ). 
But the true purpose of the Bhagavata-Purana is not to justify 
the Energistic principles in favour of Action contained in 
Bhagavata religion. This justification is to be found in the 
Mahabharata or principally in the Gita. But, it is stated in 
the earlier chapters of the Bhagavata, that while justifying 
■these principles, Sri Vyasa forgot to define the moral value of 


the devotional aspect of the Bhagavata religion, and as 
Desireless Action ( miskarmya ) by itself is useless without 
Devotion ( Bhagavata. 1. 5. 12 ), the Bhagavata-Purana had to 
be subsequently written to make up for this deficit. From this, 
the real import of the Bhagavata-Purana becomes quite clear ;' 
and on that account, the Euergistic aspect of the Bhagavata 
religion has not been as forcefully emphasised in the Bhagavata 
as the devotional aspect of devotion to the Blessed Lord, which 
has been explained by the recitation of numerous stories. Nay, 
the writer of the Bhagavata says that all yoga of Energism 
( Karma-Yoga ) is useless in the absence of Devotion ( Bhag 
1. 5. 34 ). Therefore, the Bhagavata-Purana which lays stress 
on Devotion is not — although it relates to the Bhagavata 
religion — as useful for determining the moral laid down in the 
Glta, as the Narayamya Upakhyana of the Bharata itself which 
contains the Glta ; and if the Bhagvata-Purana is made use of 
for that purpose, then one must do so, bearing clearly in mind, 
that both the object and the time of the Bharata and the 
Bhagavata are quite different. The various questions as to 
-what were the original forms of the renunciatory religion of 
monks and of the Energistic Bhagavata religion, what the 
reasons were for this difference, in what respects the form of 
ithe original Bhagavata religion has changed in present times 
■etc. will be considered later on in detail. 

I have so far dealt with what the moral of the Glta is 
according to the writer of the Mahabharata himself. Let us 
now see what the purport of the Glta is according to those 
persons who have written commentaries [bhasya) and criticisms 
on the Glta. Among these commentaries and criticisms, the 
bhasya on the Glta, of Sri Sarhkaracarya is considered to be the 
most ancient. But there is no doubt that there had been 
numerous other commentaries or criticisms on the Glta before 
that date. These commentaries, however, are not now available 
and therefore, there are now no means for determining in what 
way the Glta was interpreted in the interval between the date of 
the Mahabharata and the birth of Sarhkaracarya. Nevertheless, - 
it is quite clear from the references to the opinions of these 
earlier critics which are to be found in the Samkarabhasya 
itself ( Gl. Sam. Bha. Introductions to Chap. 1 and 3 ) that the 


commentators who had come before Samkaracarya had placed, 
an Energistic interpretation on the Gita, as combining Actiotu 
with Spiritual Realisation, that is to say, to the effect that 
every man who had acquired spiritual knowledge had never- 
theless to continue performing the duties pertaining to his- 
particular status in life so long as he lived— as had been done 
by the writer of the Mahabharata. But as this doctrine of the 
Vedic Karma-Yoga was not palatable to Samkaracarya, he has- 
in the commencement of the Bhasya, in the introduction, clearly 
stated that he had written the Bhasya with the sole intention, 
of refuting that opinion and of explaining what the esoteric 
moral of the Gita was according to himself. As a matter of 
fact, this is exactly what the word " bhasya " means. The two* 
words "' commentary " ( bhasya ) and " criticism " ( t'ika, ) are, it 
is true, often used as being synonymous. But ordinarily 
" tlka " means explaining the plain meaning of the original 
work and making the understanding of the words in it easy ; 
but the writer of the "bhasya" does not remain satisfied with 
that ; he critically and logically examines the entire work and: 
explains what its purport is according to his opinion and how 
that work has to be interpreted consistently with that purport. 
That is the nature of the Samkarabhasya on the Gita. But th& 
different way in which the Acarya has interpreted the moral of 
the Gita requires the previous history to be shortly mentioned 
before one understands the underlying reason for it, The 
Vedic religion was not purely ritualistic (tanfrilca) and the 
TJpanisads had minutely considered even in very ancient times, 
the deep underlying import of it. But as these Upanisads have 
been written by different rsis at different times, they contain 
various kinds of thought and some of them are apparently 
mutually contradictory. Badarayanacarya has reconciled 
these inconsistencies and he has in his Brahma-Sutras 
harmonised all the Upanisads ; and on that account, the 
Vedanta-Sutras are considered to he as authoritative on this 
matter as the Upanisads themselves. These Vedanta-Sutras 
are also known by the other names of " Brahma-Sutras " or 
" Sariraka-Sutras ". Yet the consideration of the philosophy of 
the Vedic religion does not end here. Because, as the spiritual 
knowledge in the Upanisads is primarily ascetical, that i=> 


renunciatory, and as the Vedanta-Sutras fcaire beam wrattiasc 
only with the intention of harmonising the Upaoisatk, ™« iw& 
nowhere even in the Upanisads any detailed sad fegial 
exposition of the Energistio Vedic religion. Therefore, wIkb 
as stated above, the Energistio Bhagavadgita for the first time 
supplemented the philosophy of the Vedic religion it became, as 
a supplement to the religious philosophy in the Yedas and in. 
the Upanisads, a work as authoritative and acceptable as both; 
and later on, the Upanisads, the Vedanta-Sutras and the 
Bhagavadgita acquired the colbctive name of "Prasthana- 
trayi " (the Trinity of Systems). " Prasthana-trayl " 
means the three principal authoritative works or pillars of the 
Vedic religion which systematically and scientifically 
expounded the two paths of Renunciation (mvrfti) and 
Energism (pixivrtti). When once the Bhagavadgita came in 
this way to be included in the " Prasthana-trayl " and tha 
sovereignty of this "Prasthana-trayl" came to be firmly 
established, all religious opinions or cults which were, 
inconsistent with these three works or which could not find a 
place in them, came to be eonsiderc-d as inferior and unaccept- 
able by the followers of the Vedic religion. The net result of 
■ this was that the protagonist Acaryas of each of the various- 
cults which came into existence in India after the extinction 
of the Buddhistic religion, such as, the Monistic fadvaita), the 
Qualified-Monistic ( visistudmita ), the Dualistic (dvaita) and 
and the Purely Monistic (sudtlhadiaila) cults with the super- 
added principles of Devotion ( bhakii ) or Renunciation 
( sanvmjasa ) had to write commentaries on all the three parts of 
the Prasthana-trayl ( and, necessarily on the Bhagavadgita. 
also ), and had somehow or other to prove that according to> 
these three works, which had become authoritative and 
acceptable as Scriptures long before those cults came into- 
existence, the particular cult promulgated by them was the 
correct cult, and that the other cults were inconsistent with 
those Soriptures. Because, if they had admitted that these 
authoritative religious treatises would support other cults 
besides those propounded by themselves, the value of their 
particular cult would to that extent suffer and that was not 
desirable for any of these protagonists. When once this rule 


of writing sectarian ( santpradayilca ) commentaries on the 
Prasthana-trayi supporting a particular doctrine came into 
vogue, different learned writers began to propound in their 
criticisms their own interpretations of the moral of the Gita 
■on the authority of the commentaries pertaining to their 
particular doctrine and such criticisms began to gain authority 
in those particular sects. The commentaries or criticisms 
which are now available on the Gita, are more or less all of 
this kind, that is to say, they are written by Acaryas pertaining 
to diverse sects ; and on that account, although the original 
Bhagavadgita propounds only one theme, yet it has come to be 
believed that the same Gita supports all the various cults. 
The first, that is the most ancient of these cults is that of 
Sri Samkaracarya, and from the point of view of philosophy, 
that cult has become the one most accepted in India. The 
first Samkaracarya was born in the year 710 of the Salivahana 
■era (788 A. D.) and in the 32nd year of his age, he entered the 
caves (Salca. 710 to 742.) i. e. 788-820 A.D.'' The Acarya was a 
superman and a great sage and he had by his brilliant intellec- 
tual power refuted the Jain and the Buddhistic doctrines which 
had then gained ground on all sides and established his own 
Non-Dualistic (advaita) doctrine; and, as is well-known, he 
established four monasteries (mafha) in thef our directions of India 
for the protection of theVedic religion contained in the Srutis and 
Smrtis and for the second time in the Kali-Yuga gave currency 
to the Vedic renunciatory doctrine or cult of Asceticism 
< saiimnasa ). Whatever religious doctrine is taken, it 
naturally falls into two divisions ; one is the philosophical 
aspect of it and the other, the actual mode of life prescribed by 
it. In the first part, the meaning of Release (moksa) is usually 
explained in a scientific and logical way after explaining what 
conclusions must be drawn as to the nature of the Paramesvara 
after a proper consideration of the material body fpinda) in its 
relation to the Cosmos (bmhmanda) ; in the other part, there is 
an explanation of how a man has to lead his life in this world, 
so that such mode of life should become a means for obtaining 
* In my opinion, the date of the first Samkaracarya' mnst be 
pushed back by at least 100 years, and I have given my reasons for 
doing so in the Appendix. 


that Release (mokfa). According to the first of these, that is to 
say, according to the philosophical aspects of the doctrine, 
Sarhkaracarya says that (1) the multiplicity of the various 
objects in the world, such as, " I ", " You ", or all the other 
things which are visible to the eye, is not a true multiplicity, 
hut that there is in all of them a single, pure, and eternal 
Highest Self ( Parabralimmi ), and various human organs 
experience a sense of multiplicity as a result of the Illusion 
(mm/S) of that Parahrahman ; (2) the Self (Ahimn) of a man 
is also fundamentally of the same nature as the Parahrahman- 
and (3) that it is not possible for any one to obtain Release 
fmoksa) except after the complete Realisation (jnuna) or 
personal experience of this identity of the Atman and the 
Parahrahman. This is known as Non-Dualism ( admita-vada ), 
because, the sum and substance of this doctrine is, that there 
is no other independent and real substance except one pure 
self-enlightened, eternal, and Released Parahrahman ; that the 
multiplicity which is visible to the eyes is an optical illusion 
or an imaginary experience resulting from the effect of Illusion 
(maya) ; and that Maya is not some distinct, real, or indepen- 
dent substance, hut is unreal (mthyu) ; and, when one has to 
■consider only the philosophical aspect of the doctrine, it is not 
necessary to go deeper into this opinion of Sri Sarhkaracarya. 
But that does not end there. Coupled with the Non-Dualistic 
philosphy there is another proposition of the Sarhkara doctrine 
relating to the mode of life, that, although it is necessary to 
perform the Actions pertaining to the state of a householder in 
order to acquire the capacity of realising the identity of the 
Brahman and the Atman by the purification of the mind, yet it 
will be impossible to obtain Release unless one discontinues 
ihose aotions later on and ultimately gives them up and takes 
up samnyasa (asceticism); because, in as much as Action'(/ca?-ma) 
.and Knowledge (jMna) are mutually antogonistic like light 
.and darkness, the knowledge of the Brahman does not become 
■perfect unless a man has entirely conquered all root tendencies 
.(■msaria) and given up all Actions. This second proposition is 
known as the Path of Renunciation ( nivrtti-marga ), or because 
in this path one ultimately gives up all Actions and remains 
rsteeped in Knowledge or Realisation it- is also called 


" sai'unyasa-ni&tha" (the Path of Renunciation) or "jrlana-nidha' 
( the Path of Realisation ). It is stated in the SarhkarabMsy: 
on the Upanisads and on the Brahmasutras that not only th 
Non-Dualistic philosophy hut also the Path of Rtnunciatioi 
that is to say, both the aspects of the cult of Samkara hav 
been preached in those books ; and in the Bhasya on the Glta, . 
definite conclusion has been drawn that the teaching of th 
Bhagavadgita is the same ( GI. Sam. Bha. Introduction; ai> 
Brahnia-Su. Sam. Bha. 2. 1. 14 ) ; and as authority for that. 1 
has quoted such sentences from the Git a a,s " jPanatjiah san 
karmuni Ihisma-sut kurute " i. e., " all Action {karma) is redue 
to ashes in the fire of jnana " (Gi. 4. 37) and "sarm hirnuikML 
Partita jiiaiie jxjrisantapyaie " i.e., " all Actions culminate i 
Realisation (jiianaj " ( Gi 4. 33 ). In short, the Siir±arabhL=y 
has been written in order to show that the teaching of the GM 
is consistent with that particular Yedie path which — aftt 
proving it to he the most excellent one — was recommended "nj 
Sarhkaraearya, after he had refuted the Buddhistic .doctrines : 
and further, to show that the Glta is net in favour of the 
combination of Knowledge with Action, which was prescribed 
by the previous commentators: and to show that the Blesssd 
Lord has in the Glta preached to Arjuna the dc-etrine of the 
Samkara cult, that Action is only a means of aocjalring 
Knowledge and is inferior and that Release is ultimately 
obtained only by Knowledge combined with Renunciation of 
Action. If there had been any commentary on the Gits, bsfcre the 
date of Saiiikaiacaiya. interpreting it as favouring Asoeiieism, 
such a commentary is not now available. Therefore, we 
must any that the first attempt to deprive the Gita of its 
Energistic form and to give it a Renunciatory doctrinal form 
was made by the Samkarabhasya. Those commentators on the 
Gita who eaaie after Sri Samkaracarya and who followed bis 
doctrines, such as, Madhusudana and others, have in this 
natter principally adopted the procedure of the Acarya. Yet, 
later on, there came into existence another queer idea, 
namdy that the principal saeied canon enunciated in the 
Chaniegyopanisaa, namely, " TAT TTAM ASI " ie., "THAT 
( Paiabrahnian ) ART THOU ( SVetaketu ) ", which is one of the 
sacred canons of the Non-Dualistic cult, is the canon which has. 


"been expatiated upon in the eighteen chapters of the CfltS, hut 
that the Blessed Lord has changed the order of the three parts 
of that sacred canon and taken " (mm " first and " tat " after 
that and " asi " last, and He has in this new order impartially 
allotted six chapters of the Gita to each of these parts' equally I 
The Paisaca-bhasya on the Gita does not pBrtain to any 
particular doctrine but is independent and it is believed to have 
been written by Hanuman i. e., by Marutl. But such is not 
the case. This Bhasya has been written by the philosopher 
Hanuman, who has also written a criticism on the Bhagavata 
and it supports the path of Renunciation and in it, in some 
places, interpretations have been copied verbatim from the 
Sarhkarabhasya, In the same way, the older or modern 
Marathi translations of or commentaries on the Gita principally 
follow the Sarhkarabhasya ; and the English translation of the 
Bhagavadglta by the late Kashinath Trimhak Telang, published 
in the Sacred Books of East Series brought out by Professor 
Max Muller, is stated by him at the end at the introduction to 
that translation, to be as far as possible consistent with Sri 
Sarbkaraclrya and the commentator;-; of hi-; school. 

When once in this way, doctrinal commentaries on the 
Gita and on the other two works out of the Prasfchina-fcrayl 
"began to be written, the same course wan later on followed by 
persons holding other doctrinal views. About 250 years after 
the coming to existence of the Sarnkara tradition which 
maintained the theory rjf Illusion (nwii/U). Non-P:mli«im (idaiiia) 
and Renunciation {miitmjwa.1, Sri Ramsvnujac&rya (born Saka 
93S i. e, 1016 A. DJ founded the Qualified-Monism ( diidail ixtHa) 
tradition ; and in order to substantiate that cult he also, like Sri 
Sariikaraearya.lias written independent commentaries (Itlinimu) on * 
"the Prasfijanartrayi. including, of course, the Gits, This school 
is of the opinion that the doctrines of the UnranUty of Illusion 
(nidga} and Ncsn-Thialism laid down by Sarhkarac&rya were not 
■correct and that although the three principles of ComefgumwCB 
(fun), Cosmos ( jagal / and Isvara were independent, f(4 )l) flf 
much as jim, Lie., consciousness (a//, and fcho Oomw (wlijpb 
is aai L a, unconscious ) were both the body of ntic 'Mul Wl§ 
same Isvara, therefore, the dl-aa(-bodUn1 Tfivfij'tt wse (W» iWu 
one abae and that out of this mUU ' ell ' ftlld 'wit * ill t^ 


body of the Isvara, the gross at and the gioss acit 01 the 
numerous forms of Life and the Cosmos came into existence 
later on ; and Ramanujacarya says that from the philosophical 
point of view, this is the doctrine which has been enunciated 
by the Upanisads and the Brahma-Sutras (Gl. Rama. 2. 12 ; -IS. 
2). One may even say that the works of Ramanujacarya were 
responsible for the Qualified-Monism doctrine finding its way 
into the Bhagavata religion; because, the previous exposition 
of the Bhagavata religion to be found in the Mahabharata and 
in the Glta is seen to be on the basis of the Non-Dualistic cult. 
As Ramanujacarya belonged to the Bhagavata religion, he 
ought to have naturally realised that the Glta enunciated the 
Energistic path of Karma-Yoga. But as at the date of 
Jlainauujacarya, the Karma-Yoga of the original Bhagavata 
religion had practically come to an end and it had acquired 
a Qualified-Monistic ( visistadvaita ) form in its philosophical 
aspect, and principally a Devotional form from the point 
of view of the mode of life, Ramanujacarya drew the 
further conclusions that although jrlam, Icanna and bltakti 
(Devotion) are all three referred to in the Glta, yet the doctrine 
enunciated in the Gita is in essence Qualified-Monistic from 
the point of view of philosophy, and of Devotion to the 
Vasudeva from the point of view of mode of life; and that the 
Path of Action ( Imrma-nistha ) was something which led to Path 
ofifcnGwL;>ge_( Jiiwm-nisiUU ) and was not something indepen- 
dent ( Gi. Ra. Bha. iu.-l-&od-3rl ). But although Ramanuja- 
carya had effected a change in the cult of Samkara by 
substituting the Qualified-Monism for Non-Duality and 
Devotion for Renunciation, yet if Devotion is looked upon as 
the highest duty of man from the point of view of mode of life,, 
then the lifelong performance of the worldly duties pertaining 
to one's particular status, becomes an inferior mode of life ; and 
on that account the interpretation put on the Glta by 
Ramanujacarya must also be looked upon as in a way in 
favour of Renunciation of Action. Because, when once the 
mind has become purified as a result of an Energistic mode of 
life, and man has attained Realisation ( jnaim j, whether he, 
thereafter, adopts the fourth stage of life and remains steeped 
in the contemplation of the Brahman or he is steeped in the. 


unbounded loving worship of the Vasudeva is just tie same- 
from the point of view of Action (karma) ; that is to say, boii 
are Renunciatory. And the same objection appliss to the other 
cults which came into existence after the date of Ramanujs- 
carya. Although Ramanujaearya may have been right in. 
saying that the theory of the Non-Reality of Illusion is wrong 
and that one ultimately attains Release only by devotion to the 
Vasudeva, yet looking upon'the Parabrahman and the Conscious 
Ego (jiva ) as ONE in one way, and different in other ways 
is a contradiction in terms and an, inconsistency. Therefore, a 
third school which came into existence aftor the date of Sri 
Ramanujaearya, is of the opinion, that both must be looked upon 
as eternally different fiGm each other and that there never 
can be any unity between them, wnetnoi partial or total, and 
therefore, this school is known as the Dualist.\\ school. The 
protagonist of this school was Sri Madhvacarya"; -Efiig^ 
Srimadanandatlrtha. He died in Saka 1120 ( 1198 A.D. ) and 
according to the Madhva school, he was then 79 years old. 
But Dr. Bharidarkar has in the English Book "Vaisnavism, 
Saivism, and other sects" recently published by him, established 
on the authority of stone inscriptions and other books ( see 
page 59 ) that Madhvacarya must ha taken to have lived 
from Saka 1119 to 119S ( 1197 to 1276 A. D. ). Madhvacarya 
has shown in his commentaries on the Prasthana-trayl 
(which includes the Gita) that all these sacred books are 
in favour of the theory of Duality. In his commentary 
on the Gita, he says that although Desireless Action has 
been extolled in the Glta, yet Desireless Action is only a 
means and Devotion is the true and ultimate cult, and 
that when once one has become perfect by following the 
Path of Devotion, whether one thereafter performs or does not 
perform Action is just the same. It is true that there are some- 
statements in the Glta such as, " dhijanut Icannuphalatyayah '" 
...i. e., " the abandonment of the fruit of the action ( i. e. t 
Desireless Action ) is superior to the meditation on the 
Paramesvara ( i. e., Devotion ) " etc. which are inconsistent 
with this doctrine ; but, says the Madhvabhasya on the Gita, such 
sentences are not to be understood literally but as mere expletives 
and unimportant ( Gi. Mabha. 12. 30). The fourth school is the 


school of Sri Vallabhacarya (born in Saka 1401 i. e. 1479 A. D.) 
This is also a Vaisnava School like those of Ramanuja and 
Madhvacarya. However, the opinions of this school Regarding 
ihe Conscious Ego ( jlva A Cosmos < jagat ), and Isvara are 
different from the opinions of the Qualified-Monism or the 
Dualistic Schools. This school accepts the doctrine thai the 
•Conscious Ego (jlva) when pure and unblinded by Illusion 
■(maya) and the Parabrahman are one, and are not two distinct 
things ; and that is why, this school is known as the pure 
Non-Dualistic (suddhudvuila), school. Nevertheless this School 
•differs from the Sarhkara school on account of the other 
doctrines pertaining to it, namely that, the Conscious Ego 
i(jiva) and the Brahman cannot be looked upon as one and the 
same in the same sense as , ' ""ubne by Sri Sarhkaracarya but 
that the varioup Souls are particles of the Isvara, like 
sparks of firo ; that the Cosmos, which is composed of Illusion, 
M not unreal ( mithya ) but Illusion is a Force which has 
separated itself from the Isvara at the desire of the Para- 
anesvara, that the Conscious Ego (jlva) which has become 
•dependent on Illusion, cannot acquire the knowledge necessary 
for obtaining Release except by divine pleasure ; and that, 
therefore, Devotion to the Blessed Lord is the most important 
means of obtaining Release. This pleasure of the Paramesvara 
is also known by the other names of ' pusti ' ' posana ' etc. 
and, therefore, this cult is also known as ' pusti-marga '. In 
■the books of this school on the Gita, such as the TaUmdlpika 
And others, it is laid down that in at; much as the Blessed Lord 
has, after first preaching to Arjuna the Sarhkhya philosophy 
and the Karma-Yoga, ultimately made him perfect by treating 
him with the nectar of the philosophy of Devotion, Devotion 
but above all, the Devotion included in 'pasti-marga' — which 
entails the abandonment of home and domestic ties — is the 
most concentrated moral of the Gita and that on that account 
ithe Blesssd Lord has in the end given the advice : — " sarm- 
dhannan parityajya lrmmehiiii saranam iraja " — i.e.," give up 
all other religions and surrender yourself to Me alone " ( Gi. 
18. 66 ). Besides these, there is .another Vaisnava cult, entailing 
the worship of Radhakrsna, which- was promulgated by 
ITimbarka. Dr. Bhandarkar has established that this Acarya 


Hived after the date of Ramanujacarya and before the date of 
Madhvacarya ; that is to say about Saka. 1084 (1162 A. D.) Tin 
■opinion of Nimbarka carya regarding the Conscious Ego (Jim) th< 
■Cosmos /jagat) and the Isvara is, that although these three an 
different from each other, yet the existence and activity of th< 
■Conscious Ego (jlva) and of the Cosmos are not independent bul 
depend upon the desire of the Isvara; and that the subtle elements 
of the Conscious Ego (jiva) and of the Cosmos are contained ir 
■the fundamental Isvara. In order to prove this doctrine 
Nimbarka has written an independent bhaxi/a on the Vedanta- 
siitras, and Kesava Kasmiri Bhattacarya, who belongs to this 
■ school has written a commentary on the Bhagavadglta called 
" " Taltvapralaisika ' and has shown in it that the moral laid 
down by the Gita is consistent with the doctrines of this school. 
In order to differentiate this school from the Qualified-Monism 
.school of Ramanujacarya, one may refer to it as the Daal-Non- 
Dual (dixutadvaita! school. It is quite clear that these differenl 
Devotional sub-cults of Duality and Qualified- Monism which 
• discard the Samkara doctrine of Maya have come into existence 
because of the belief that Devotion, that is, the worship of a 
tangible thing, loses foundation and to a certain extent 
becomes forceless, unless one looks upon the visible objects in 
the world as real. But one cannot say that in order to justify 
Devotion, the theories of Non-duality or of Illusion have to bb 
discarded. The saints in the Maharastra have substantiated the 
doctrine of Devotion without discarding the doctrines of Illusion 
and Non-Duality ; and this course seems to have been followed 
from before the time of Sri Saihkaraoarya. In this cult, the 
doctrines of Non-Duality, the illusory nature of things, and 
the necessity of abandonment of Action which are the 
concomitant doctrines of the Samkara cult are taken for 
granted. But the advice of the followers of this school, such as 
the Saint Tukaram, is that Devotion is the easiest of the 
means by which Release in the shape of realising the identity 
of the Brahman and the Atman, can be obtained : " if you 
want to reach the Isvara, then this is the easiest way " ( Tuka. 
•Ga. 3002. % ) ; and they say that the path of Devotion based on 
Non-Duality is the principal moral of the Gita in as much as 
the Blessed Lord himself has first told Arjuna that "Idesodlri- 


katarastesam avyaldasaldacetasam " ( Gl. 12. 5 )...i. e., " con- 
centrating the mind on the Intangible Brahman is more 
difficult " and subsequently told him that : " bhaktastetiva me 
priyah " i. e., " my devotees are most beloved of me " ( Gi. 12. 
20 ). The summing up of the Gita. which has been made by 
Sridhar SvamI in his commentary on the Glta. ( Gl. 18. 78 ) is 
of this kind. But, the most valuable work relating to this 
school, though in the Marathi language, is the Jfianesvari. In 
this work it is stated that the Doctrine of Karma is dealt with 
in the first four out of the 18 chapters of the Glta, the Doctrine 
of Devotion in the next seven and the Doctrine of Jnana in the 
subsequent chapters and Jfianeavara himself has at the end of 
his book said that he has written his commentary " aftti- 
consulting the Bhasyakaras (Sarhkaracarya)." But, as Jnanesvara. 
Maharaja had the wonderful skill of expounding the meaning 
"of the Glta, by numerous beautiful illustrations and com- 
parisons and also, as he has propounded the doctrines of 
Desireless Action and principally the doctrine of Devotion in a 
much better way than Sri Sarhkaracarya, the Jfianesvari must 
be looked upon as an independent treatise on the Gita. 
Jnanesvara Maharaja himself was a yogi. Therefore, he has 
written a very detailed commentary on that verse in the sixth 
chapter of the Glta which deals with the practice of the 
Patanjala Yoga, and in it he has said that the words of the 
Blessed Lord at the end of the chapter namely : " tasimdyoyi 
bhavurjuna "...i. e., "therefore, Oh Arjuna, become a Yogi, that 
is, become proficient in the practice of the Yoga " show that the 
Blessed Lord has declared the Patanjala Yoga to be the 
' pantktni.ja ' i. e., the most excellent of all paths. In short, 
different commentators have interpreted the Glta in their 
own ways by first declaring the Energistic path of Action 
( Karma-Yoga ) preached by the Gita to be inferior, that is to 
say, merely a means for Realisation (jilana), and then going 
on to say that the Gita has preached the various philosophical 
doctrines, as also the highest duties from the point of view of 
Reltase, which are prescribed, by their respective schools, such 
as: Non-Dualism based on the doctrine of Illusion, coupled with 
Renunciation of Action; or Qualified-Monism based on the- 
reality of Illusion, coupled with Devotion to the Vasudeva; or ■ 


Dualism, coupled with worship of theVisnu; or pure Non-dualism,, 
coupled with Devotion; or the Non-Dualism of the Saihkara 
oult, coupled with Devotion; or Pataiijala yoga, coupled with 
Devotion; or Devotion pure and simple; or Yoga pure and 
simple; or Realisation of the Brahman pure and simple,* — all 
of which are paths of Release, based on Renunciation. No one 
says that the Bhagavadglta looks upon the Karma-Yoga as the 
most excellent path of life. It is not that I alone say so. Even 
the well-known Marathi poet Vaman Pandit is of the same 
opinion. In his exhaustive commentary on the Gita, in the 
Marathi language known as Yathartlia-dipika, he first says : — ■ 
" But Oh, Blessed Lord, in this Kali-yuga each one interpretes 
the Gita according to his own opinion ", and he goes on to say : 
" Everyone on some pretext or other gives a different meaning- 
to the Gita but I do not like this their doing, thoughjhey are 
great ; what shall I do, Oh, Blessed Lord ? " This isTS^ 
complaint to the Blessed Lord. Seeing this confusion of the 
diverse opinions of the commentators, some scholars say that 
in as much as these various traditionary doctrines of Release 
are mutually contradictory and one cannot definitely say that 
any particular one of them has been recommended by the Gita, 
one has to come to the conclusion that the Blessed Lord has on 
the battle-field at the commencement of the war described 
individually, precisely, and skilfully all those various means 
of attaining Release — and specially, the three paths of Action 
(karma), Devotion (bhakti), and Realisation (jilana) and 
satisfied Arjuna in whose mind there had arisen a confusion 
about these diverse means of attaining Release. It is true that- 
some commentators do maintain that these descriptions of the 
various means of Release are not several or unconnected with 
each other, but the Gita has harmonised them with each other ; 
and finally, there are also to be found others who say that 
although the teaching of the Biahman in the Gita is apparently 
easy, yet the true import of it is very deep and no one can 

4 *The Beveral commentaries on the Gita by the Aearyos of the 
various cults and the important criticisms pertaining to tho-e cults 
in all fifteen, have been recently published at the Guzrathi Printing 
Press. This book is very useful for studying the opinions advanced 
by the various commentators Bide by side. 


understand it except from the mouth of a preceptor (Gi. 4. 34.), 
and that though there may be numerous criticisms on the Gita, 
yet, there is no other way to realise the true meaning of it, 
except from the mouth of a preceptor. 

These numerous interpretations of the Bhagavadgita, 

namely, the Energistic interpretation consistent with the 

Bhagavata religion made by the writer of the Mahabharata 

.and the other purely Renunciatory ones made by several later 

Acaryas, posts, yogis, or devotees of the Blessed Lord, 

consistently with the different traditionary schools to 

which they respectively belonged, are likely to cause 

confusion and one will naturally ask whether it is possible that 

all these mutually contradictory interpretations can be put on 

one and the same work ; and if it is not only possible but even 

desirable, then why so ? !No one can entertain any doubt that 

Jhsse-^arTous Acaryas who wrote the commentaries were 

learned, religious and extremely pure-minded. Nay, one may 

even say that the world has not to this day produced a 

philosopher of the calibre of Sri. Sarhkaracarya. Then why 

should there have been such a difference between him and the 

later Acaryas ? The Gita is not such a pot of jugglery, that any 

one can extract any meaning he likes out of it. The Gita had 

been written long before these various schools of thought came 

into existence, and it was preached by Sri Krsna to Arjuna not 

to increase his confusion but to remove it ; and it contains a 

preaching of one definite creed to Arjuna( Gi. 5. 1, i ), and the 

effect uf that advice on Arjuna has also been what it ought to 

Jiave been. Then, why should there be so much confusion about 

the teaching of the Gita ? This question seems a really 

difficult one. But the answer of it is not as difficult as would 

appear, at first sight. Suppose, looking at a sweet and nice 

food-preparation, one says that it is made of wheat, and another 

one says it is made of ghee and a third one says, it is made of 

sugar, according to his own taste ; then, which one of them will 

you call wrong ? Each one is correct in his own way and 

ultimately the question what that food-preparation is, remains 

unsolved. Because, as it is possible to mix wheat, clarified 

butter, and sugar and to prepare from them various kinds of 

eatablessuoh as 'ladus,' 'jilebi', 'ghiwar' etc. the particular eatable 


cannot be sufficiently defined by saying that ghee or wheat 
or sugar is the principle element in it. Just as when the ocean 
was churned, though one person got nectar, another one got 
poison, and others got LaksmI, Airavata, Kaustubha, Parijata, 
and other articles, yet the real nature of the ocean was not 
thereby fixed, so also is the case of the commentators who have 
churned the ocean of the Gita on a doctrinal basis, or one may 
even say that just as, the same Sri, Krsna Bhagavana who had 
entered the Durbar at the time of the assasiuation of Kamsa, 
appeared to various persons in different forms, that is, he 
appeared to athleteslike adamant and to women like the God of 
Beauty ( Madana ) and to parents like their own son etc. (Bhag. 
10. Pu. 43. 17), so also although the Bhagavadgita is one and 
the same, people following different cults see it in a different 
light. Whatever religious cult may be taken, it is quite clear 
that ordinarily it must be based on some authoritative reli^ious^ 
text or other ; otherwise that cult will be considered to be 
totally without authority and will not be acceptable to people. 
Therefore, however numerous the different cults of the Vedic 
religion may be, yet with the exception of a few specified 
things, such as, the Isvara, the Conscious Ego and the Cosmos 
and their mutual interrelations, all other things are common 
to all the various cults; and therefore, in the various doctrinal 
commentaries or criticisms which have been written on our 
authoritative religious texts, ninety per cent of the statements 
or stanzas in the original work are interpreted in more or less 
the same way. The only difference is as regards the remaining 
statements or doctrines. If these statements are taken in their, 
literal meaning, they cannot possibly be equally appropriate to 
all the cults. Therefore, different commentators, who have 
propounded different doctrines, usually accept as important only 
such of these statements as are consistent with their own 
particular cult, and either say that the others are unimportant, 
or skilfully twist the meanings of such statements as might 
be totally inconsistent with their cults, or wherevsr possible, 
they draw hidden meanings or inferences favourabla to them- 
selves from easy and plain statements, and say that the 
particular work is an authority for their particular cult. For 
instance, see my commentary on Gita 2. 12 and 16 ; 3. 19 ; 6. 


3 and 18. 2. But it will be easily seen that laying down in 
this way that a book has a particular purport, and examining 
in the first place, without prejudice, the whole of the work, and 
drawing its implied purport without insisting that one's own 
cult is propounded by the Glta, or on any such other thing, are 
two totally different things. 

If one gives up the doctrinal method of determining the 
purport of a book as faulty, one must show what other means 
there are for determining the import of the Glta. There is an 
old and more or less generally accepted rule on this matter in 
the form of a verse of the Mimarhsa writers, who were 
extremely skilful in determining the meanings of a particular 
book, chapter, or sentence. That verse is as follows ;— 
upakramopasamharav abhyaso 'purvatu phalam I 
arthamdopapattl ca liiiyaik tWpari/aniryaye tt 
The Mimarhsa writers say that if one has to find out the purport 
■of 'any particular writing, chapter, or book, then the seven 
things mentioned in the above verse are necessary ( i. e., liiiga ). 
and all these seven things have got to be considered. The first 
two out of these are ' upakramopasaniharau ', which mean the 
beginning and the end of the book. Every writer starts 
writing a book with some motive or other in his mind ; and 
when that particular object has been achieved, he completes his 
book. Therefore, the commencement and the end of the work 
have first to be taken into account in determining the purport 
of the book. Geometry has defined a straight line as a line 
which goes from the point of commencement straight to the last 
point without swerving above or below or to the right or to the 
left. The same rule applies to the purport of a book. That 
purport which is properly fixed between the beginning and the 
end of the book and does not leave or divert from either of them, 
is the proper purport of it. If there are other roads for going 
from the beginning to the end, all those roads must be 
considered as crooked roads or bye-paths. When the direction 
of the purport of a work has in this way been fixed with due 
consideration for the commencement and the end, one should 
ssa what things are told repeatedly in it, that ie to say, of 
what things an ' abhyasa ' has been made. Because, whatever 
;thing is intended by the writer of a book to be proved, he shows 


numerous reasons in support of it on numerous occasions and 

refers to it as a definite proposition over and over again, saying 

each time : " therefore, this thing is proved ", or, " therefore, 

this particular thing has got to he done ", The fourth and the 

fifth means for determining the purport of the work are the 

new-ness ( apurmta ) and the effect [phala ) of it. ' ApTtrvata ' 

means something new. Unless the writer has something new 

to tell, he is usually not induced to write a new book ; at any 

rate, that used to be so when there were no printing-presses. 

Therefore, before determining the purport of a book one has in 

the first instance to see what it contains which is new, 

particular, or not previously known. In the same way. if some 

particular result has been achieved by that writing or by that 

book, that is to say, if it has had some definite effect, then one 

.must also take into account that result or effect. Because, in 

■as much as the book has been written with the express 

intention that that particular result or effect should be 

■achieved, the object of the writer becomes clearer from the effect 

•which has been achieved. The sixth and the seventh means 

are ' artharacia ' and ' upapntti '. ' Artharuda ' is a technical 

*erm of the Mimamsa school ( Jai.-Su. 1. 2. 1-18 ). Although 

the thing about which a statement is to be made or the fact 

which is to be proved is fixed, the writer nevertheless, deals 

with many other things as occasion arises, whether by way of 

illustration or by way of comparison in the course of the 

argument, and whether for showing consistency or for showing 

the similarity or the difference, or in order to support his own 

side by showing the faults of the opposite side, or for the sake 

of grace or as an exaggeration, or by way of stating the 

previous history of the question, or for some other reason, with 

the idea of supplementing the argument, and sometimes 

without any reason whatsoever. The statements, which are 

made by the writer on such occasions, are given by way of 

glorification merely or of further elucidation or are only 

supplemental, though they might not be totally irrelevant to 

the subject-matter to be proved ; and therefore, it is not certain 

that such statements are always true. * 

• : I£ the Btatamsuta miide m the arlhaviida are consistent with the 
actual state of things, it is oalled 'amwada,' if inconsistent it is 


One may even say that the writer is not particularly 
careful to see whether or not the statements made in the- 
artliavada, are literally true ; and therefore, one is not justified 
in looking upon the statements made in an artliavada, as 
authoritative, that is to say, as indicating the conclusions 
arrived at by the writer with reference to the various subject- 
matters in it. Looking upon them as pure glorifications, that 
is to say, as hollow, irrelevant, or mere praise, the Mimarhsa 
writers call them ' artliavada ', and they do not take into 
account these statements in determining the final conclusion to 
be drawn from the work. Even after all this, one has still to 
sea ultimately the u-papatti. ' VpapaUi ' or ' upaptxdana ' 
is the name given to the refuting of all things which would 
prove the contrary case and the subsequent logical and 
systematic martialling of things, which support one's own case,, 
when you are proving a particular point. When the two ends,, 
being the upalmana and the upasaiiJiura, have once been 
fixed, the intervening line can be defined by the consideration 
of the artliavada and the upapatti. As the arthamdcc 
shows you what subject matter is irrelevant or merely 
atixilliary, the man who attempts to determine the conclusion 
of the book, does not touch the several bye-paths when once 
the artliavada has been determined ; and when once all the bye- 
paths have been abandoned and the reader or the critic takes 
to the correct path, the ladder of upipafti like the wave of 
the sea pushes him forward from stage to stage further and 
further from the beginning until at last he reaches the con- 
clusion. As these rules of determining the purport of a book 
laid down by our ancient Mimamsa writers are equally 
accepted by learned persons in all countries, it is not necessary 
to further labour their usefulness or necessity. * 
called 'gmmuAa', and if it is neither, it is called 'Uuiartliuvada' . 
'Jrthamda' Is a common word and these arc the three Bub-divisions- 
of arthttvada according to the truth or falsj-hood of the statements 
made in it. 

* These rules of determining the import of a book are seen to. 
be observed even in English Courts of justice. For instance, if it 
is not possible to understand any particular judgment, such, 
meaning is decided by considering the result (phala) of that. 


Here some one may ask : Did not the various Acaryas, who 
founded the various cults, know these rules of Mimamsa ? 
And, if one finds these rules in their own works, then what 
reason is there for saying that the purport of the Gita drawn 
by the Mimamsa school is one-sided ? To that, the only answer 
is, that once a man's vision has become doctrinal, he naturally 
adopts that method by which he can prove that the cult which 
he follows is the cult established by authoritative religious 
treatises. Because, doctrinal commentators start with this 
fixed pre-conceived notion regarding the purport of a book, that 
if it yields some purport, inconsistent with their own doctrine, 
that purport is wrong, and that some other meaning is intended ; 
and though some rule of the Mimamsa logic is violated when 
they attempt to prove that the meaning, which in their opinion 
is the proved correct meaning has been accepted everywhere, 
these commentators, as a result of this fixed pre-conviction are 
not in the least perturbed thereby. The works Mitaksara and 
Dayabhaga etc. which deal with the Hindu Law, attempt to 
harmonise the Smrti texts on this principle. But the books of 
Hindu Law are not unique in this respect. Even, the numerous 
sectarian writers belonging to the numerous subsequent sects, 
of Christian and Mahomedan religions, twist in the same way 
the original works on those religions namely the Bible and 
Quran, and it is on the same principle that tho followers of 
Christ have ascribed meanings to some of the sentences in the 
Old Testament of the Bible, which are different from those 
given to them by the Jews. Nay, wherever the number of the 
authoritative treatises or writings on any subject is fixed in 
advance and one has to subsequently justify one's own 
position on the basis of these limited authoritative books, the 
same method of determining the meaning of any book is seen 
to be followed. This also accounts for the way in which 
present-day legislators, pleaders or judges, very often twist 
judgment, namely, the Decreo or order passed on it; and if the 
judgment contains any statements wlich are not necessary for 
determining the point at issue, these statements are not taken as 
authorities ior the purpose of later cases. Such statements are 
known as "obiter dicta" or " useless statements ", and strictly 
speaking this is one kind of '< arthacadi ". 
K R 


one way or the other, former authoritative or legal treatises. 
If such be the case with purely worldly matters, what wonder 
is there that divergent commentaries based on different 
traditions have been written on the Upanisads and the Vedanta- 
Sufcras and side by side with them, on the third book out of the 
Prasthanatrayi, namely, the Bhagavadglta ? But if one leaves 
aside this doctrinal method, and pays a little attention to the 
upakrama, wpaminlura etc., of the Bhagavadglta, it will 
be seen that the Blessed Lord preached the Gita to Arjuna at 
the critical moment before the Bharata war was actually 
started, when the armies of both sides had formed themselves 
into ranks on the Kuruksetra and were on the point of 
opening the fight, and that He has done so with the idea of 
inducing Arjuna, — who had become dejected and was on the 
point of renouncing the world, — to perform his duties as a 
warrior by preaching to him the gospel of the Brahman. 
When Arjuna began to see who had come to fight with him 
taking the part of the unjust Duryodhana, he saw the old 
ancestor Bhisma, the preceptor Dronacarya, the preceptor's son 
Asvatthaman, the Kauravas ( who though antagonistic were yet 
his cousins ), and his next-of-kin, relations, friends, maternal 
uncles, paternal uncles, brothers-in-law, kings, princes, etc. ; 
.and realising that in order to win the kingdom of Hastinapura, 
he would have to kill these people and thereby incur the 
greatest of sins like the destruction of one's own clan, his mind 
suddenly became dejected. On the one hand, the religion of 
the warrior was saying to him: "Fight!", and on the "other 
hand, devotion to his ancestors, devotion to his preceptors, love 
for his brethren, affection for his relatives, and other natural 
laws were pulling him backwards. If he fought, it would be a\ 
fight with his own people, and thereby he would incur the 
terrible sin of killing his ancestors, preceptors, relatives etc. ; 
and if he did not fight, he would be failing in his duty as a 
warrior ; and when in this way he was between the frying-pan 
and the Are, he was in the same position as a person caught 
between two fighting Tarns ! He was indeed a great warrior, 
hut when he was suddenly caught in the moral net of 
righteousness and unrighteousness, he felt faint, his hair rose 
on end, the bow in his hand fell down and he suddenly flopped 


down in his chariot, crying : "I shall not fight 1 ", and ultimately 
the distant feeling of his duty as a warrior was overcome by the 
naturally more proximate feeling of love for his brethren and he 
in self-deception began to think to himself : — "It would be 
better to beg in order to fill the pit of the stomach, rather than 
that I should win the kingdom by committing such terrible sins 
as killing ancestors or preceptors or brethren or relatives or ex- 
terminating even the whole clan. It does not matter one whit if 
my enemies, seeing me unarmed at this moment, come and cut my 
throat, but I do not wish to enjoy that happiness which is steeped 
in the blood of my own relatives killed in warfare, and burdened 
with their curses. It is true the warrior-religion is there, but if 
on that account I have to incur such terrible sins as killing my 
own ancestors, brethren, or preceptors, then, may that warrior- 
religion and warrior-morality go to perdition. If the other 
side, not realising this, have become cruel in heart, I ought not 
do the same thing ; I must see in what consists the true 
salvation of my Self, and if my conscience does not consider it 
proper to commit such terrible sins, then, however sacred the 
warrior-religion may be, of what use is it to me in these 
circumstances ? " When in this way his conscience began to 
prick him and he became uncertain as to his duty ( dliarma- 
sammudjia ) and did not know which path of duty to follow, he 
surrendered himself to Sri Krsna, who preached the Gita, to him 
and put him on the right path ; and when Arjuna, wanted to 
back out of the fight, fearing that it would entail the death 
of Bhisma and others— though it was his duty to fight — Sri 
Krsna made him take up the fight of his own accord. If we 
have to extract the true purport of the teaching of the Gita, 
such purport must be consistent with this ' upakrama ' 
( beginning ) and 'upasamhara' (conclusion). It would have 
been out of place here for Sri Krsna to explain how Release 
could be obtained by Devotion ov by the Knowledge of the 
Brahman or by the Patanjala-yoga, which were purely 
renunciatory paths or paths entailing asceticism and abandon- 
ment of Action. Sri Krsna did not intend to send Arjuna 
to the woods as a mendicant by making a samnyasin of him, 
filling his mind with apathy (vairiigya), nor to induce him to 
go to the Himalayas as a yogin wearing a loin cloth (kaupina) 


and eating the leaves of the nim-tree. Nor did the Blessed 
Lord intend to place in his hands oymhals and a drum and a 
harp instead of bow and arrow.? and to makehim dance again like 
Brhannali before the entire warrior community of India, on 
the sacred field of the Kura, steeped in the beatific happiness 
of loudly reciting the name of the Blessed Lord with supreme 
devotion, to the tune of those muBical instruments. The dance 
which Arjuna had t-o make on th& battle-field of Kura, after 
having finished his period of remaining incongnifco (ajnula-vasa) 
was of quite a different nature. When the Blessed Lord was 
preaching the Gita, He has in numerous places, and showing 
reasons at every step and using the conjunction 'lasmat' i.e., 
1 for this reason ' — which is an important conjunction showing 
the reason — said: — "tusmudyudhyasm Bliarata" — i.e., " there- 
fore, Arjuna, fight " (Gl. 2. 18), or "fasmad uttitflia Kamitei/a 
yaddhaija krluniscayah" — i.e., "therefore, determine to fight 
and rise ( Gi. i. 37 ), or " tasnuid asahtah sutatain karyam karma 
mvwaun " — i. e., " therefore, give up attachment, and do your 
duty" ( Gi. 3. 19 ), or, "~ku.ru karmaiva tasnuit team " — i.e. 

" therefore, perform Action " ( Gi. 4. 15 ), or " tasmut 

mdmanumara yudhya ca " — i.e., "therefore, think of me and 
fight " ( Gi. 8. 7 ) ; " the doer and the causer of everything is I 
myself, and you are only the tool ; and therefore, fight and 
conquer your enemies " ( Gi. 11. 33 ) ; " it is proper that you 
should perform all Actions, which are your duties according to 
the Sastras *' ( Gi. 16. 24 ) — all which is a preaching definitely 
Energistic ; and in the eighteenth chapter of the upasamhura 
(conclusion), He says again : " you must do all these duties " 
(Gi. 18. 6), as His definite and best advice ; and ultimately 
asking Arjuna the question : — " Oh, Arjuna, has your self- 
deception, duo to ignorance, yet been removed or not ? " ( Gi. 
18. 72 ), He has taken an acknowledgment from him in the 
following words : — 

imUomohnh smrlir labdha tvatprasadan mayacyuta I 
slbito'smi gulusamdehah Icarisye vacanam tava II 
i. e., " my doubts and my ignorance about my duties, have now 
been removed ; I shall now do as You say ". And it is not 
that this acknowledgment was merely orally given by Arjuna, 
but thereafter, he did really fight and in the course of the fight 


arising on that occasion, he has actually killed Bhlsma, Karna, 
Jayadratha, and others as occasion arose. The objection taken 
to this by some is that : the advice given by the Blessed Lord 
preached Realisation (jnana) based on Renunciation (safmnjasa), 
or Yoga or Devotion, and that that was the principal subject- 
matter of proof ; but that as the war had already started, the 
Blessed Lord has here and there briefly praised in His preaching 
the worth of Action and allowed Arjuna to complete the war 
which had been started ; that is to say, the completion of the 
war must not be looked upon as the central or the most 
important factor hut something which was auxilliary or merely 
an artliavada. But by such a spineless argument, the vpakrama, 
upasamhara and phala of the Gita is not satisfactorily accounted 
for. The Blessed Lord had to show the importance and 
necessity of performing at all costs the duties enjoined by one's 
dliarma while life lasts, and the Gita has nowhere advanced 
any such hollow argument as the one mentioned above for 
doing so ; and if such an argument had been advanced, that 
would never have appealed to such an intelligent and critical 
person like Arjuna. When the prospect of a terrible clan- 
destruction was staring him in the face, whether to fight or not, 
and, if fighting was the proper course, then how that could be 
done without incurring sin, was the principal question before 
him ; and however much one tries to do so, it will be impossi- 
ble to dismiss, as an artliavada, the definite answer given to 
this principal question in the following words, namely : — 
" Fight with a disinterested frame of mind," or " Perform 
Action ". Doing so would amount to treating the owner of 
the house as a guest. I do not say that the Gita has not 
preached Vedanta, or Devotion or the Patafijala Yoga at all. 
But the combination of these three subjects which has been 
made by the Gita must be such that thereby Arjuna, who was on 
the horns of a terrible dilemma of conflicting principles of 
morality, and who had on that account become so confused 
about his proper duty as to say : " Shall I do this, or shall I do 
that ? ", could find a sinless path of duty and feel inclined to 
perform the duties enjoined on him by his status as a warrior. 
In short, it is perfectly clear that the proper preaching in this 
place would be of Energism (pravrttij and that, as all other 


things are only supporting Energism, that is, as they are all 
auxiliary, the purport of the Gita religion must also be to 
support Energism, that is, to support Action. But no com- 
mentator has properly explained what this Energistic purport 
is and how that implied moral can be authoritatively based on 
Vedanta philosophy. Whichever commentator is taken, he 
totally neglects the upalmma of the Gita, that is, its first, 
chapter and the concluding upasainliCira, and the phala, and 
becomes engrossed in discussing from a Renunciatory point of 
view how the preaching in the Gita about the Realisation of 
the Brahman or about Devotion support their respective cults: 
as though it would be a great sin to link together a permanent 
union between Knowledge and Devotion on the one hand and 
Action (karma) on the other ! The doubt mentioned by me was 
experienced by one of these commentators who said that the 
Bhagavadglfca must be interpreted keeping before one's eyes the 
life of Sri Krsna himself ;* and the Non-Dualistic philosopher 
Paramahamsa Sri Krsnananda Svami, who has recently died 
at Kasi (Benares) has in the short Sanskrit monograph written 
by him on the Gita entitled Gitartlia-paramarsa made the 
definite statement that : "tasmat gita nama Bmhviavidyamulum 
nitisastram" — i. e., " therefore, the Gita is the philosophy of 
Duty, that is, the philosophy of Ethics based on the science of 
the Brahman (bralunuMya) " t The German philosopher 
Prof. Deussen, in his work called The Philosophy of tlte 
Upanisads has given expression to the same thoughts in one 
place with reference to the Bhagavadglta, and several other 

* The name of this commentator and some extracts from his 
commentary were communicated to me many years ago by a 
respectable scholar, but I cannot trace that letter anywhere in the 
confusion of my papers ; and I have also forgotten the name of 
the commentator ; so I have to beg this respectable scholar to 

communicate that information lo me again if he chances to read 
this book. 

t Sri Krsnananda Svami has written four monographs on 
this subject which are named Sri Gita-Rahasya, Gitaitha-p'aiaia 
Ol&rtha-paramarsa and Gita-saroddhara, and they have all been 
collected and published together at Rajkot. The above quotation is 
from the GUni'tha-paramarsa. 


Eastern and Western critics of the Gita have expressed the 
same opinion. Nevertheless, none of these persons have 
thoroughly examined the Gita or attempted to clearly and in 
detail show how all the statements, deductions,' or chapters in 
it can be explained as being connected together on tho basis of 
the philosophy of Enorgism (Ivrma). On the other hand. 
Prof. Deussen has said in his book that such a conclusion 
would be very difficult to justify. * Therefore, the principal 
object of this book is to critically examine tho Gits, in that 
light and to show the complete consistency which is to bo found 
in it. But before I do so, it is necessary to deal in greater 
detail with the nature of the difficulty experienced by Arjuna 
as a result of his having been caught on the horns of the 
dilemma of mutually contradictory ethical principles, for other- 
wise, the readers will not realise the true bearing of the subject- 
matter of the Gita. Therefore, in order to understand tha 
nature of these difficulties in the shape of having to decide 
between Action and Inaction and to explain how a man on 
many occasions becomes non-plussed by being caught in the 
dilemma of " Shall I do this, or shall I do that ? ", we shall now 
first consider the numerous illustrations of such occasions, 
which are come across in our sacred books and especially in the 

* Prof. Deussen's The Philosophy of the Upanisadt, P. 362, Eng: 
Trans. 1906. 




kim kanra kirn akarmeti havwjo'py at fa mohituh I * 

Gifca. 4. 16. 

The critical position in which Arjuna had found himself 
in the commencement of the Bhagavadgita, as a result of heing 
caught between two mutually contradictory paths of duty and 
become doubtful about bis proper duty is not something unique. 
The cases of persons who, taking up Asceticism (samnyasa), 
give up the world and live in the woods, or of self-centred 
weaklings who meekly submit to all kinds of injustice in the 
■world without a nmrmei, are different. But those great and 
responsible persons, who have to live in society and to do their 
duties consistently with righteousness and morality often find 
themselves in such circumstances. Whereas Arjuna got 
confused and was filled with this desire to know his proper 
duty in the commencement of the war, Yudhisthira, was in the 
same position when he was later on faced with the duty of 
performing the sraddha ceremonies of the various relatives who 
had been killed in the war ; and the Santiparva has come to be 
written in order to pacify the doubts by which he was then 
puzzled. Nay, great writers have written charming poems or 
excellent dramas based on such puzzling situations of duty and 
non-duty which they have either found in history or imagined. 
For instance, take the drama Hamlet of the well-known English 
dramatist Shakespeare. The uncle of the Prince of Denmark, 
named Hamlet had murdered his ruling brother, that is, the 
father of Hamlet, and married his widow and seized the throne. 
This drama has portrayed in an excellent manner the state of 
mind of the young and tender-hearted Hamlet, who on this 

* " What is doable (right action), and what it is not-doable 
(wrong action or inaction) is a question which puzzles even sages". 
In this place, the word "a/carmn" (not-doable) must be interpreted 
as meaning < absence of action' or 'wrong action' according to 
the context. See my commentary on the verse. 


'Occasion was faced with the puzzle as to whether he should put 
to death his sinful uncle and discharge his filial obligations 
towards his father, or pardon him, because he was his own 
uncle, his step-father, as also the ruling king ; and how he 
later on became, insane because he did not find any proper path- 
shower and guardian like Sri Krsna ; and how ultimately the 
poor fellow met his end while vacillating between " to be " and 
" not to be ". Shakespeare has described another similar 
occasion in a drama of his called Coriolanus. Coriolanus 
was a brave Roman potentate, who had boon driven out of 
Rome by the citizens of Rome and on that account had gone 
• and joined hands with the enemies of Rome, whom he promised 
never to forsake. After sometime, the camp of the hostile 
army under his command came to be placed outside the gates 
of Rome itself, he having attacked and defeated the Romans 
and conquered teiritory after territory. Then, the women of 
Rome put forward the wife and the mother of Coriolanus and 
advised him as to his duty to his motherland, and made 
him break the promise given by him to the enemies of 
Rome. There are numerous other similar examples of persons 
being puzzled as to duty and non-duty in the ancient or the 
modern history of the world. But it is not necessary for us to 
go so far. We may say that our epic Mahabharata is a mine 
of such critical occasions. In the beginning of the book 
(A. 2), while describing the Bharata, Vyasa himself has 
qualified it by the adjectives " sulamrirtha-uytiijayukkim " (i. e., 
filled with the discrimination between subtle positions ) and 
" anelca samayaiwitam " (i.e., replete with numerous critical 
occasions ), and he has further praised it by saying that, not 
only does it contain the philosophy of Ethics ( dharma-sastra), 
the philosophy of wealth {arlha-sastra) and the philosophy of 
Release ( molcsa-saxtra ) but that in this matter, "yad ihasii 
tad anyatra yan nehasti na hi! kvacit", i.e., "what is to be found 
here, is to be found everywhere and what cannot be found here 
can be found nowhere else". (A. 62. 53). It may even be said 
that the Bharata has been expanded into the ' Mahabharata ' 
for the sole purpose of explaining to ordinary persons in the 
simple form of stories how our great ancient personages have 
behaved in numerous difficult circumstances of life; for, 


otherwise, it would not be necessary to writs 18 partus (cantos) 
for describing merely the Bharata war or the history known 
as Maya'. 

Some persons may say : " Keep aside the case of Sri 
Kisna and Arjuua ; why is it necessary for you or us to enter 
into such deep questions ? Have not Manu and the other 
writers of the Smrtis laid down in their own books, clear rules 
as to how persons should behave in worldly life ? If one 
follows the ordinary commandments prescribed for everybody 
in all religions, such as : 'Do not commit murder ', ' Do not 
hurt others', ' Act according to moral principles', ' Speak the 
truth ', ' Respect your elders and your preceptors', ' Do not 
commit theft or adultery', etc., where is the necessity of enter- 
ing into these puzzling questions ?" But I will in reply ask 
them : "So long as every human being in this world has not 
started living according to these rules, should virtuous people, 
by their virtuous conduct, allow themselves to be caught in the 
nets spread by rascals or should they give measure for measure 
by way of retaliation and protect themselves ?" Besides, even 
if these ordinary commandments are considered as unchanging, 
and authoritative, yet responsible persons are very often faced 
with such situations, that two or more of these commandments 
become applicable simultaneously ; and then, the man is 
puzzled as to whether he should follow this commandment or 
that commandment, and loses his reason. The situation into 
which Arjuna had found himself was such a situation ; and 
the Mahabharata contains in several places critical descriptions 
of similar circumstances having engulfed other illustrious 
persons besides Arjuna. For instance, let us take the precept of 
"Harmlessness" (ahimsa) which is one of the five eternal moral 
principles enjoined by Manu (Manu. 10. 63) as binding on all 
the four castes namely, "ahimsa sat yam asteijaih saucamindriya- 
nigrahah " i. e., Harmlessness (ahiihsa), Truth (satya), Not- 
stealing (asteyai, Purity of the body, the mind, and of speech 
(saucal, and Control of the organs {indriya-nigraha). "Ahimsa 
paramo dharmah" i. e., "Harmlessness is the highest religion"' 
(Ma. Bha. A. 11. 13.), is a principle which has been accepted as 
pre-eminent not only in our Vedic religion but in all other- 
religions. The religious commandments given in the Buddhistic. 


and Christian sacred books have given the first place to the- 
commandment 'Thou shalt not kill' as has been done by Manu. 
'Hi'hsa' does not mean only destroying life but also includes, 
harming the minds or the bodies of others. Therefore, 'ahimsa' 
means 'not harming in any way any living being'. Patricide, 
matricide, homicide, etc. are the most terrible forms of himsa 
and this religion of Harmlessness is looked upon as the highest, 
religion according to all people in the world. But, assuming 
for the sake of argument that some villain has come, with 
a weapon in his hands to kill you, or to commit rape on your 
wife or daughter, or to set fire to your house, or to steal all 
your wealth, or to deprive you of your immoveable property ; 
and, there is nobody there who can protect you ; then should 
you close your eyes and treat with unconcern such a villain 
(atatayin) saying : " ahimsa paramo dliarmah ?" or should you, as 
much as possible, punish him if he does not listen to reason ? 
Manu says : — 

gurum va btUaurddlum va brahmanain va baliusrutam 1 
atatayinam ayaniani hanyad evavicarayan II 

i.e., " such an atatayin that is, villain, should be killed without 
the slightest compunction and without considering whether 
he is a preceptor {yum) or an old man or a child or learned 
Brahmin ". For the Sastras say : on such an occasion, the 
killer does not incur the sin of killing, but the villain is 
killed by his own unrighteousness (Manu. 8. 350). Not only 
Manu, but also modern criminal law has accepted the 
right of self-defence with some limitations. On these 
occasions, self-protection is considered to be of higher 
importance than Harmlessness. The killing of tender infants 
{bhrfiiia-liatya) is considered to be the most objectionable of 
murders; but, if the child is being born by transverse presentation, 
is it not necessary to cut the child and deliver the mother T 
The slaughter of animals for the purposes of ritualistic 
sacrifice (yajiia) is considered blameless even by the Vedas 
(Manu. 5. 31) ; yet, that at least 'can be avoided by making an 
animal of flour for purposes of sacrifice (Ma. Bha. San. 337 ; 
Aim. 115. 56). But how are you going to stop the killing of 
the numerous micro-organisms with which the air, water, fruit 


etc., and all other places are filled ? Arjuna in the Maha- 

WiM-ata sa.yi :- 

stiksmaijoifuii bhTitani larkaqamijfmi kladcit I 
pakxmano 'pi aipatc.nn ye.sdm syat slcandha-pari/ai/ah II 

(Ma. Bha. San. 15. 26). 

i.e., " there are in this world so many micro-organisms invisible 
to the naked eye, of which the existence can, however, he 
imagined, that merely by the moving of one's eye-lids, their 
limbs will be destroyed " 1 Then, where is the sense of repeat- 
ing orally : ' Thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not kill " ? It is on 
the basis of this discrimination, that hunting has been justified 
in the Anusasanaparva (Ami. 116). In the Vana-parva, there 
is a story that a Brahmin, being urged by anger to destroy 
a virtuous woman, and heing unsuccessful, surrendered himself 
to that woman ; then, that woman sent him to a hunter in 
order to learn from him the true import of one's duties. This 
hunter earned his living by selling flesh and he was extremely 
devoted to his parents. Seeing the way in which the hunter 
was earning bis living, this Brahmin was filled with intense 
surprise and sorrow. Then the hunter explained to him the 
true principle of Harmlessness and opened his eyes ! Does 
not everybody eat everybody else in this world 1 " Jh'o jimsya 
jivanam ' (Bhaga. 1. 13, 46) i.e., " life is the life of life ", is an 
eternal truth; and it is stated not only in the Smrtis (Maim. 5. 
28 : Ma. Bha. 15. 21) but also in the Upanisads (Ve. Su. 3. i. 28; 
Chan. 5. 2. 1 ; Br, 6. 1. 14) that in times of distress " pruii'isyun- 
nam id am Mr nam", i.e., " all this is the food for life ". If every 
one becomes harmless, how is warriorship to continue ? And 
when once warriorship has come to an end, subject-people will 
have no protectors and anybody will he in a position to destroy 
anybody else. In short, the ordinary rules of morality are not 
always sufficient, and even the most principle maxim of Ethics, 
namely that of Harmlessness, does not escape the necessity of 
discrimination between the duty and the non-duty. 

The Sastras have recommended the qualities of forgiveness, 
peace and kindness 'consistently with Harmlessness, but how 
will it be possible to practise peace on all occasions 1 Prahlada 
in the Mah&bharata first points out to his grandson Bali, that 
people will not stop at openly running away with even the 


wife and children of an always peaceful man and he advises 
Bali as follows :- 

na sreyah sntatam tejo na nityam sreyani kfamn I 

tasman nityam ktsamii tata pandilair apamdita II 
i. e. " Forgiveness in all cases or warlikeness in all cases ia 
not the proper thing. Therefore, 0, my son ! the wise have 
mentioned exceptions to the law of forgiveness" (Vana. 28. 6, 8). 
Prahlada has then described some of the occasions which 
would be proper occasions for forgiveness, but Prahlada does 
not explain the principle by which these occasions are to be 
recognised ; and if some one takes ad vantage of the prescribed 
exceptions, without knowing the occasions when they apply, 
he will be guilty of misbehaviour ; therefore, it is extremely 
important to understand the principle by which these occasions 
are to be recognised. 

There is another law which has become wholly authori- 
tative and acceptable to everybody in the world, whether old 
or young, and male or female, in all countries, and among all 
religions, and that is the law of Truth. Who can sufficiently 
praise the worth of Truth ? ' Stain' and ' satyain- ' came into 
existence before the world. The Vedas extol the worth of 
Truth by saying that it is satya which controls the firmament, 
the earth, tho air and the other primordial elements. See the 
incantations : " Hani ca satyain (vhhidilhat tajiaso 'dhyajayata " 
(R. 10. 190. 1) i. e. " Law (rtum) and Truth (safi/am) have been 
brought into existence after tho performance of effulgent 
penance ", and " satyenotfabhiia bhumih. " (Ft. 10. 85. 1) i.e. " the 
Earth has become dignified on account of Truth ". The root 
meaning of the word ' satya ' is ' which exists, ' that is, ' which 
never ceases to exist, ' or ' which is not touched by the past, 
present or the future ' ; and therefore, the value of salya has 
been properly described by saying : " there is no religion like 
Truth, Truth is Parabrahma ". The statement : " nasti satyUt 
parn dharmah " (San. 162. 24) i. e. " there is no religion higher 
than Truth ", is found in many places in the Mahabharsta. 
which also says :- 

asvamedJiusahasram ca satyam ca Maya dhrtam I 
nkamedha-sahasrad did satyam em -cisivjate II 

UX1A l^A^^AU J 

i. e. " when the respective merits of a thousand asmmedha 
yajrias and of Truth were weighed in the scale, it was found 
that Truth weighed more " (A. 74. 102). This refers to the 
ordinary rule of Truth. Manu in addition says about speaking 
the truth that :- 

vacy artha niyalah sarve vufimTda vagvinihsrtuh I 
tain fu yah stenayed vacant sa sarcasteya-krnnarah II 

(Manu. 4. 256). 

i. e. " all the activities of mankind are carried on by speech; 
there is no other means like speech for the communication of 
thoughts ; then, that man who sullies this fountain-head of 
speech, which is the basic foundation of all these activities, 
that is to say, the man who is false to his own speech must be 
said to be despoiling everything at one stroke". Therefore, says 
Manu: " satyaputam vaded Tucaih " (Manu, 6. 46) that is, "Speak 
only that which has been purified by Truth. " In the Upanisads 
also, the law of Truth has been given a higher place than all 
other laws, in the following words: "safyam, mda \ dharmam, cam I ' ' 
(Tai. 1. 11, 1) that is : "Speak the truth, do what is right " ; and 
Bhiama, who was lying on the bed of arrows, after having in the 
Santiparva and the Anusasanaparva taught to Yudhisthira 
all the various laws, has before yielding up his breath preached 
to every one the law of Truth as being the sum and substance 
of all laws, in the following words : "satyesu yatitavyam mh 
sal yam, hi paramam balam" i.e. "You should strive for Truth, 
in as much as Truth is the highest power." (Ma. Bha. Anu. 
167. 50). "We find that the vary same laws have been adopted 
into the Buddhistic and Christian religions. 

Can any one dream that there can be exceptions to this 
eternally-lasting law of Truth, which is thus established on all 
hands? But life in this world, which is full of villains, is 
difficult. Suppose, you have seen some persons escaping from 
the hands of marauders and hiding in a thick forest; and the 
marauders, who follow them with naked swords in their hands, 
stand before you and ask you, where those people are ! What 
answer will you give ? Will you speak the truth or will you 
•save the lives of unoffending and innocent people ? I ask this 


"question because, preventing the murder of innocent people is 
-according to the Sutras a religion, as highly important as 
'Truth itself. Manu Ra,ys:—"iuiprs(ah kasyadd bruyun na 
■canyuyeiia prcclmfah" (Maim. 3. 110; Ma. Bha. San. 287. 34) — 
that is, "Do not speak to anyone unless he questions you, and if 
.some one asks you a question unjustly, then, do not give a 
reply, even if you are questioned"; and, "junaim api hi medhavl 
jadarcd loka acaret ' ' — i.e. "even if you know the answer simply 
say : 'hm ! hm !' like an ignorant person", and save the 
situation. Very well ; hut, is not saying merely : 'Hm 1 hm !' 
in effect speaking the untruth V It is stated in many places in 
the Bharata itself that : na ri/Ujena cared dliarmam", i.e. "do not 
■somehow satisfy yourselves by being false to morality; 
morality is not deceived, it is you who are deceived" (Ma. Bha. 
A. 215. 34). But if you cannot save the situation even by 
saying : ' Hm 1 hm ! ', what is to be done ? What will you do 
if a thief is sitting on your chest with a dagger in his hand 
and asking you where the money is, and you are sure to lose 
your life if you do not give a proper reply ? Tho Blessed Lord 
Sri Krsna who understood the inner meaning of all laws says 
to Arjuna in the Karnaparva (Ka. 69. 61), after giving him the 
illustration of highway robbers mentioned above, and later on 
in the Satyanrtadhyaya, of the Sfintiparva, Bhisma also says to 
Yudhisthira : — " 

akUjanena ceil moltso nuvakujii hrtiliafncmm I 
avasyaih kujitavye va saiikemn i:Up\j ahTijanut I 
ireyas iatranrtaih valdam xutyad ifi dcurUum II 

(San. 109. 15, 16.) 

i.e. "if you can escape without speaking, then do not speak 
under any circumstances: hut if it is necessary to spwk, or if 
hy not speaking you may rouse suspicion in the mind (of 
another), then, telling a He has been found, after mature 
deliberation, to be much better than speaking the truth." 
Because, the law of Truth is not confined to speech, and that 
conduct which leads to the benefit of all, cannot be looked 
upon as objectionable merely on the ground that the vocal 
•expression is untruthful. That by which everybody will 


harmed is neither Truth nor Harmlessness. Narada says to 
Suka in the Santiparva on the authority of Sanatkumara :- 

salyasya vacanam sivyah satyildapi hitam vadet i 
ynd bhuta-hitam atyantam etat satyam matarn mama II 

(Ma. BhS. San. 329. 13 ; 287. 19). 

i. e., "speaking the truth is the proper thing ; but rather than 
truth, speak that which will lead to the welfare of all ; because, 
that in which the highest welfare of all consists is in my 
opinion the real Truth ". Seeing the words ' yad bhuta-hitam ', 
one will certainly think of the modern western Utilitarians, 
and these words may be looked upon as an interpolation. I, 
therefore, say that these words have appeared more than twice 
in the Vanaparva of the Bharata in the conversation between 
the Brahmin and the hunter ; and in one of those places, there 
is a verbal change as : " ahinisa satya-uacamin sarm-bhUta- 
hitam param " (Vana. 206. 73), and in another place, there is 
another verbal difference as : "ijad bhuta-hitam atyantam tat 
satyam iti dliaranu " (Vana. 208. 4). There is no other reason for 
the fact that the truthful Yudhisthira confused Drona by the 
ambiguous answer : " naro va kuiljaro va " i. e., "either the 
man (named Asvatthama) or the elephant ", and the same rule 
applies to other similar things. Our religion does not ask us to 
save the life of a murderer by telling a lie. Because, as the 
Sastras themselves have prescribed the punishment of death for 
a murderer, such a person is certainly punishable or fit for 
death, All the Sastras say that one who bears false witness 
on such or similar occasions, goes to hell personally, and also 
sends to ths" same place seven or more of his ancestors (Manu. 
8.J9-49 ; Ma. Bha. A. 7. 3). But what are you going to do 
""when, as in the illustration of the highway robbers given above 
from the Karna-parva, speaking the truth will lead to innocent 
persons being unnecessarily killed ? The English writer Green 
has in his book named Prolegomena to Ethics said that books on 
moral philosophy are silent on this question. It is true that 
Manu and Yajhavalkya look upon such situations as excep- 
tions to the law of Truth. But as even according to them, 


untruthfulness is the less praiseworthy conduct, they have 
prescribed a penance for it in the following words :- 
tat pauanai/a nirvapyas caruh sarasvato dvijaih II 

( Yajiia. 2. 83 ; Manu. 8. 104-6 ). 
i. e., "Brahmins should expiate that sin by offering the 'Saras- 
vata' oblation". ? 

Those learned Western philosophers who have not been 
surprised by the exceptions to the law of Harmlessness, have 
attempted to blame our law-givers on account of the exceptions 
to the law of Truth 1 I will, therefore, explain here what, 
authoritative Christian preachers and Western writers on. 
Ethics have said on this subject. The following words of St. 
Paul who was a disciple of Christ namely : ''for, if the truth of" 
God hath more abounded through my lie unto His glory ; why 
yet am I also judged as a sinner ? " ( The Romans 3. 7 ) are to- 
be found in the New Testament of the Bible ; and Millman, 
who has written a history of the Christian religion says that 
ancient Christian preachers very often followed the same 
principle. Moralists will not in the present times, as a rule,, 
consider it justifiable to delude people or to cheat them and 
convert them. Nevertheless, even they do not say that the law 
of Truth is without exception. Take, for instance, the book on. 
Ethics written by the scholar Sidgwick, which is being taught 
in our colleges. Sidgwick decides questions of morality, where 
there are doubts as to what is doable and what not-doable, by 
the rule of the ' greatest happiness of the greatest number' ; and 
by the test of that principle he has ultimately laid down that : 
"We do not think that truth ought always to be told to> 
children, or madmen, or invalids, or by advocates ; and we are 
not sure that we are bound to tell it to enemies or robbers, or 
even to persons who ask question! „kich they know they have 
no right to ask (if a mere refusal to answer would practical!?., 
reveal an important secret)". (Sidgwick's Methods of Ethics 
Book III Chapter XI, Paragraph 6, p. 355, 7th Edition. Also 
see pp. 315-317). Mill has included this exception to the law 
of Truth in his book on Ethics. * Besides these exceptions, 

* Mill's Utilitarianism, Chapter II, pp. 33-34 ( loth M. 
LoEgman's 1907 ). 


Sidgwiok also says in his book that : "Again, though we 
esteem candour and scrupulous sincerity in most persons, we 
scarcely look for them in a diplomatist who has to conceal 
secrets, or in a tradesman describing his goods, (for purchasers 
can find out the defects of what they buy)". * In a third 
place, he says that similar exceptions are made in favour of 
Christian missionaries and soldiers. Leslie Stephen, another 
Western writer, who discusses Ethics from the material point 
of view, gives other similar illustrations and says ultimately 
that : " It seems to me that the known consequences of 
an action must always be relevant to its morality. If 
I were absolutely certain that a lie would do good, I 
should certainly hesitate before speaking the truth, and the 
certainty might be of such a kind as to make me think it a 
duty to lie ". f Green, who has considered the subject of 
Ethics from the metaphysical (adhi/afma) point of view, 
definitely says with reference to such occasions, that in these 
cases the principles of Ethics do not satisfy the doubts of men ; 
and ultimately comes to the conclusion that : " A true Moral 
Philosophy does not recognise any value in conformity to the 
universal rule, simply as such, but only in that which 
ordinarily issues in such conformity, viz., the readiness to 
sacrifice every lower inclination in the desire to do right for 
the sake of doing it ". I The same is the opinion of other 
Western writers on Ethics, such as, Bain, vVhewell, and 
others. § 

If you compare the rules laid down by the Western 
philosophers mentioned above, with the rules laid down by our 

* SidgwicU's Methods of Ethics, Book IV Chap. Ill, Para. 7. 
P. 454, Ifk JM. and Book II Oliap. V Para. 3, P. 169. 

f Leslie Stephen's, Science of Ethia Cha. IX. Para 29, p, 369 
ij^tii 'Ed) " And the certainty might be of such a kind as to make 
ine think it a duty to lie ". 

t Green's Prolegomena to Ethics Para 315 p. 379, 5th Cheaper 
Edition. , 

§ Bain's Menial and Moral Science, p. 445 (Ed. 1875); Whewell's 
Elements of Morality, Bk. II, Oh. XIII and XIV, (4th Ed. 1864). 


lawgivers, you will clearly see who had greater respect for 
Truth. It is true that our religions texts (Sastra-s) say :- 

na narmayuktain vacanam Mnasti 

m strisu rajan na vivahakale I 
pranatyaye sarvadhanapahare 

pancamtuny ahur aputakani II 

(Ma. Bha. A. 82. 16). 

i.e., " There is no sin in speaking the untruth on the following ") 
' five occasions, namely, if in joke or wh ile speaking with wom en ■; 
or at th e time of marria ge, or if yo ur lif e is in danger, or for 
protecting youT own property. " (See alecT^an" 109 and Mami._ 
8. 110). But that does not mean that one must always speak 
the untruth in speaking with women, and these exceptions 
are to be understood in the same way in the Mahabharata, as 
those mentioned by Prof. Sidgwick with reference to " children, 
■or madmen or invalids ". But Western philosophers, who have 
shelved the metaphysical as also the next-world view of the 
matter, have gone further and have barefacedly permitted even 
merchants to tell any lies they like for their own benefit, which 
is a thing our lawgivers have not done! It is true that 
where there is a conflict between Verbal Truth, that is to Bay, 
truthful speech, and Practical Truth, that is to say, the benefit 
of humanity, they have permitted that the situation may be 
saved by telling a lie, if, from the practical point of view, 
that is unavoidable. Nevertheless, as they look upon the 
moral laws of Truth etc. as permanent, that is to say, 
immutable under all circumstances, they have considered this 
speaking of untruth as a sin to a certain extent, from the next- 
world point of view, and have prescribed relative panances. 
Purely materialistic philosophers will say, that these penances 
are mere bug-bears. But as those who prescribed these penances 
or those for whom these penances were prescribed, were not of 
the same opinion, one has got to say that both these classes 
look upon these exceptions to the law of Truth as the less 
proper course of conduct ; and the same moral has been 
conveyed by the relative traditional stories on this point. 
For instance, Yudhisthira, on a difficult occasion, half- 
heartedly and only once, uttered the words " nam va 


kuiijaro va." But on that account his chariot, which till 
then used to move in the air about four inches above- 
the surface of the earth began to move in contact with 
the earth like the chariots of other people, and he had also to 
spend a few hours in hell, as has been stated in the Maha- 
bharata itself (Drona. 191. 57, 58 and Svarga. 3.15). In the 
same way, as Arjuna killed Bhisma, taking shelter behind 
Sikhandi, though according to the laws of warfare, he had to 
suffer defeat later on at the hands of his son Babhruvahana,, 
as has been stated in the Asvamedhaparva (Ma. Bha. Asva. 81. 
10). From this it will be seen that these exceptions, which 
have been contigently permitted, are not to he treated as the 
rule or as authority, and that our religious writers have drawn, 
the following ultimate philosophical proposition, namely :- 
almahetoh pararthe va narmahasySsrayat tatha I 
ye mrsa na vadantVia te mrah svargayamlnah II 
that is : " those persons alone attain heaven, who never speak 
the untruth in this world, whether for their own benefit, or 
for the benefit of others, or in joke ; " as was explained by 
Mahadeva to Parvatt. (Ma. Bha. Anu. 144. 19). 

The law of Truth consists in performing one's promisee 
or vows. Sri Krsna and Bhisma both said, that the Himalaya 
might move from its site, or fire itself would become cold, but 
■what they had said would not be otherwise (Ma. Bha. A. 103 
and U. 81. 48) ; and even Bhartrhari has described righteous- 
persons in the following terms :~ 

tejasrinah wkham asun api samfyajanti I 
satymratavysanino 11a puuah pivtijmm II 


that is : " illustrious i.e. high-principled persons will willingly 
sacrifice their lives, but will not break a vow ". In the same 
way, the vows of Dasarathi Ramchandra of being true to his 
speech and shooting only one arrow have become as famous as his- 
vow of monogamy, as appears from : " dvih saram liabhisamdliatte 
Rumo dvir nabhibhasate " i.e., " Sri Rama had not to draw an 
arrow twice nor did lie prevaricate " — (Subhasita) ; and there 
are tales in the Puranas ; that Harishchandra served as a 
domestic for drawing water in the home of a burner of dead. 


hodies in order to cany out a promise whioh lie had given in 
a dream. But, on the other hand, it is stated in the Vedas that 
even the gods themselves broke the pledges made by them with 
Vrfcra' or found out some loop-holes in them and killed Vrtra; 
and the murder of Hiranyakasipu is justified in the Puranas on 
the same basis. Besides, some agreements made in ordinary 
life are such as are considered unlawful or unfit for observance 
according to law. A similar story is related in the Maha- 
bharata with reference to Arjuna. Arjuna had made a vow 
that he would immediately behead any person who asked him 
to surrender his Gandiva bow to another. Later on, when 
Karna had defeated Yudhisthira in the war, and Yudhisthira 
naturally said to him (Arjuna) in despair : " What has been 
the use of your Gandiva bow to us 1 Throw it away from 
your hands ", Arjuna rose, sword in hand, to behead 
Yudhisthira. But as Sri Krsna was near him at the time, he 
critically expounded to him the religion of Truth from the 
philosophical point of view, and said to him : " You are a fool, 
you do not understand the subtle points of morality, and you 
must learn them from your elders; you have not learnt at the 
feet of elders — ' mi vrddliah sevitas Ivatja '. If you wish only 
to be true to your vow, then deprecate Yudhisthira, because 
for respectable persons, deprecation is as painful as 
death, etc."; and he thus saved him from the sin of murder 
.of an elder brother which he would have thoughtlessly 
.committed, as has been stated in the Karnaparva. ( Ma. Bha. 
Karna. 69 ). The discrimination between Truth and Falsehood 
which was made by Sri Krsna on this occasion, has been 
subsequently preached by Bhisma to Yudhisthira in the 
.Satyanrtadhyaya of the Santiparva ( San. 109 ) ; and all must 
bear it in mind in relation to the affairs of ordinary life. Yet, 
it is difficult to explain how to recognise these subtle excep- 
tions, and my readers will readily notice that although the law 
■of fraternity was in this particular case looked upon as 
superior to the law of veracity, yet, the occasion mentioned in 
the Gita was just the oppposite, and there the warrior-religion 
has been pronounced to be superiot'to the law of fraternity. 

If there is so much difference of opinion with reference to 
Harmlessness (ahinisa) and Veracity (satya), then why should 


one be surprised if the game line of reasoning is applied to the 
third common law, namely of. Not-Stealing (asteya)'! If 
stealing or taking away by force that wealth which a man has 
lawfully acquired is permitted, then people will stop accumula- 
ting wealth, and all will suffer ; and chaos will reign as a 
result of the arrangement of society being broken up. But, 
there are exceptions to this rule. When such a calamity 
(apatti) arises that food cannot be had, whether for money or 
by labour or for charity on account of a general famine, shall 
we look upon as a sinner, some person who thinks of saving 
his life by committing theft ? There is a story in the 
Mahabharata that when such a difficult contingency befell 
Visvamitra, as a result of famine for twelve consecutive years, 
he was on the point of saving his life by stealing a leg of dog's 
flesh hung up in the home of a butcher (San. 141), and by 
eating that uneatable food ; thereupon, this butcher gave him. 
much advice based on the Sastras, not to commit the sin of 
eating such uneatable food, and that too by theft, and quoted : 
" palica panmnakliu bhakw^b " ( Manu. 5. 18 ). * But Visva- 
mitra rejected that advice, saying :- 

pibanty evodakam gavo maydukesu ruvatsv api I 
>ia te 'dhikaro dharmc. 'sti ma bhur atmaprasamsakah II 
* Out of the animals who have five toes, such as, the dog, the 
monkey etc. Maim and Yajfiavalkya have prescribed the porcupine 
(which has arrow-like hair), sallaka, (this is a kind of a porcupine), 
the iguana, the tortoise, and the hare as edible (Manu 5. 18 . 
YajBa. 1. 177). Manu has included in the list also tbe 'khadga' 
that is, the rhinoceros ; but commentators say that there is a doubt 
about that animal. If this doubtful case is omitted, only five 
animals remain, of which the flesh is edible, and this is what is 
meant by the words :-'' pafica pancamkhci b/m&§yah " i. e., "it ia only 
five five-toed animals which are edible". Still, the Mimamsa 
writers interprete this as meaning that, those who are allowed to 
eat flesh should not eat the flesh of any five-toed animals except 
these ; and not that one must necessarily eat the flesh of these 
animals. This technical interpretation is known as 'parisamkfiyn' . 
The rule '' paiica pancanakha bhuksyah " ia an illustration of this 
'parisamkhya'. "Where flesh-eating is itself unlawful, the eating 
of the flesh of these animala is also unlawful. 


that is :-" butcher !, cows do not stop drinking water, 
although frogs remonstrate. Keep quiet ! you have no right to 
explain principles of morality to me, do not boast un- 
necessarily ". Visvamitra has on this occasion also said: 
" jivitam marauat sreyo jiuan dharmam avcipnuyut " i. e., "if one- 
remains alive, then he can think of religion ; and therefore, 
even from the point of view of religion, keeping alive is better 
than dying " ; and Manu has given the illustration not only of 
Visvamitra but also of Ajigarta, Vamadcva, and other rsis whc> 
have, in similar circumstances, behaved similarly ( Manu. 10. 
105-108 ). The English writer Hobbes says in his book that r 
"If in a great famine, he takes the food by force or stealth, 
which he cannot obtain for money nor charity ; or, in defence 
of his life, snatch away another man's sword, he is totally 
excused for the reason next before alleged " ; * and Mill has 
said that in such circumstances, it is the duty of every 
human being to save his own life even by commiting theft. 

But are there no exceptions to this theory of Visvamitra. 
that : ' Keeping alive is better than dying ' ? Keeping aliv& 
is not the only thing worth doing in this world ' Even crows 
keep alive, for many years, by eating the pinda offerings. 
Therefore, Virapatni Vidula says to her son that : "Rather 
than that you should rot in the bed or remain cooped up in the 
house for a hundred years, it is better that you show warrior- 
like prowess even for a few hours and then die " — " muliurtam 
jralita'h sreyo na ca dhumayituw ciram " ( Ma. Bha, U. 132. 15 ). 
If one is bound to die either to-day or to-morrow or at any rate 
aft9r a hundred years ( Bhag. 10. 1. 38 ; Gi. 2. 27 ), then why be 
afraid of it or cry or dread it or lament ? Prom the 
metaphysical point of view, the Self (Atmaii) is eternal and 
never dies. Therefore, in considering the question of death, all 
that one has to consider is the body which has fallen to one's 
lot according to one's destiny ( prarabdlta ). This body is perisha- 
ble in any case. But in as much as this perishable human 
body is the only means by which one can perform whatever is 

* Hobbes' Leviathan, Part II Cliap. XXVII P. 1S9, ( Morley'ff 
Universal Library Edition) ; Milk', Utilitarianism, Chap. V. P. 95 
(loth Ed.). — " Thus, to save a life, it may not only be allowable, 
but a duty to steal etc. " 



to be performed in this world for the benefit of the A traan, even 
Mami says : " atmanam salataih rak/tet durair apt dhamir api "— 
i.e. " it is better first to protect one's Self (utman) before protect- 
ing one's wife, children or property (7. 213). Yet, noble souls 
have willingly sacrificed their lives in the fire of duty, in order 
to obtain something much more permanent than this peri- 
shable human body, e.g. for their God or religion, or for the 
sake of truth, or for acting according to their avowed purpose 
or sacred vow, or their professed course of conduct, ov for 
protecting their reputation, or for the sake of success, or for the 
benefit of the entire world 1 There is a story in the Raghuvamsa 
that Dilipa, while offering his body to a lion in order to protect 
the cow of Vasistha from him, said to him : " People like me 
are indifferent towards the human body which is made up of 
the five elements; therefore, look at my virtuous body rather 
than at my physical body " (Raghu, 2. 57) and the story of 
Jimiitavahana having sacrificed his own body to an eagle in 
order to protect the lives of serpents, is to be found in the 
Katliasmtsagara, as also in the Nagananda drama. In the 
Mrcchakatika (10. 27) Carudatta says :- 

na bhlto maranad asmi kevalam dutitam yasah \ 
visuddhasya hi me mrtyuh putmjanmasamah lala II 

that is : " I am not afraid of death; I am unhappy only because 
my reputation will be tarnished. If my reputation remains 
untarnished, then even if I have to suffer death, I will be as 
happy about it as if a son were born to me"; and on this same 
principle, the king Sibi, in order to protect a kapota bird, 
which had surrendered itself to him, took the form of a syena 
bird and cut off pieces of flesh from his own body and offered 
them to the Dharma who was hunting the Icapola bird; and 
when a sword made out of the bones of a rsi named Dadhici 
was needed for killing Vrtra, the enemy of the gods, all the 
gods went to that rsi and said to him : " sarlratyugam loka- 
hilartliam bhavan Icartum arkati " i. e. " Rsi, be pleased to 
give up your life for the sake of the benefit of all ", and 
thereupon, that rsi most willingly gave up his life and allowed 
the gods to take his bones. These stories are to be found 


respectively in the Vanaparva and the Santiparva of the 
Bharata (Vana. 100 and 131 ; San. 342). When the god Surya 
i(Sun) came to know that India was going to the most generous 
Karua in the form of a Brahmin for begging from him the 
shield and ear-ornaments {kavuca-kundala) with which he had 
•come to birth, he (Siirya), warned Kama not to part with the 
•same by gift to anybody and said to him that though he 
'(Earns) was known as a most magnanimous person, yet he 
should not part-with the shield and ear-ornaments to anybody, 
as his life would be in danger if he did so ; and " mrtasya 
klrhja kirn karyam " i. e. " once he was dead, fame would be 
of no use to him. " Hearing this message of the Sun-god, 
Karna gave him the fearless reply that: " jwifenapi me raksya 
kirtis tad -uiddhi me vratam " i. e. " I do not care, if I lose my 
life, but protecting my reputation is my avowed purpose " 
-{Ma. Bha. Vana. 299. 38). I may even say that such warlike 
.doctrines as : " If you die you will go to heaven and if you 
win, you will enjoy the wealth of the earth" (Gi. 2. 37) or 
"" svadliarme nidhanam sivi/ah " (Gl. 3. 35), i. e. " Even if you meet 
your death, in acting according to your own religion, yet there 
3s virtue in that", are based on the same principle ; and 
■consistently with that principle Sri Samartha Bamadasa Svami 
has preached that : " If you think of your reputation , you wil l 
have no happiness and if you_pursne happines s, _vou will hav e 
'to"sacrTrTciryour r eputat ion " (Dasa. 12. 10. 19 ; 19. 10. 25) ; and 
that therefore : " When you have shed your body, your renown 
should survive you ; my mind ! righteous persons should 
act in this way ". Nevertheless the questions : " What is the 
use of renown after you are dead, though it may be true that 
by doing good to others you obtain renown ?" or, " Why should 
a righteous man prefer death to disgrace ? (GI. 2. 34), or 
prefer doing good to others to saving his own life ?" will not 
be satisfactorily answered unless one enters into the consider- 
-tiori of the Self and the Non-self (utmanatma) ; and even if 
these questions are answered otherwise, yet in order to under- 
stand on what occasions it is proper to sacrifice one's life and 
when it is not proper to do so, one has also to consider the 
■question of the philosophy of Action and Non-Action 
(karmakarma) ; otherwise, far from acquiring the glory of 


having sacrificed one's ] jfe, one will have incurred the sin of 
having foolishly committed suicide. 

The religion of worshipping and serving one's mother, 
father, preceptor, etc., who are worshipful persons, as if they 
were deities, is looked upon as an important religion out of the 
several general and generally accepted religions, Because, if 
such were not the case, the family, the gurukula and even 
society itself will not ho properly arranged. Therefore, not 
only in the Smrti treatises but also in the Upanisads, it is 
stated that each preceptor after firjt preaching " salaam vada I 
dharmam cava I ", i.e., " speak the truth, live righteously " to the 
disciple who left him to go home after finishing his instruction, 
used next to preach to him : " matrdevo bhava I pitrdevo bhava ' 
ucanjadevo bhava I " i.e. " treat your mother, your father, and 
your preceptor as if they were gods " (Tai. 1. 11. 1. and 2); and 
that is the sum and substance of the chapter on the coversation 
between the Brahmin and the hunter in the Mahabharata 
(Vana. 213). But even in this religion, unexpected 
difficulties arise. Manu has said : 

upadhyayun dasacaryah acaryanam satam pita I 
mliasiwh tu pitrn mata gauravertatiricyate II 

(Manu. 2. 145). 

i. e. " thep receptor is more in worth than ten lecturers, th e 
father is worth more_than a hundr ed prec eptor s ! _and th e mothe r 
is worth more than a thousand fathers '. Yet, it is a well-known 
skiryTIrat because his mother had committed a grievous sin, 
Parasurama, at the instance of his father, cut her throat 
(Vana. 116. 14); and in the Cirakarikopakhyana of the Santi- 
parva (San. 265) the question of the relative propriety of killing 
one's mother at the behest of one's father or of disobeying one's 
father, has been considered in all its bearings with arguments 
pro and con in a separate chapter by itself. From this it will 
be seen that the practice of discussing such subtle positions in 
life from the ethical point of view was fully in vogue at the 
date of the Mahabharata. Every one is conversant with the 
story of Sri Ramacandra ha-ving at the behest of his father 
willingly accepted banishment into the forests for 14 years in 
order to give effect to the promise made by his father. But the 


prinoiple which has been enunciated above with reference to- 
the mother, has occasionally to be applied to the case of the 
father. For instance, if after a son has become a king by his 
own prowess, he has occasion to try some crime committed by 
his father, should he in his capacity as a king, punish his- 
father or let him off because he is his father ? Manu says :- 

pitacaryah suhrn rriata bharya putrah purohtah I 
nadaivjyo nama rajno 'sti yah svadharme na (istliati II 

i. e. "May he be a father or a preceptor or a friend or a son or 
a priest, may she be a mother, or a wife, if he or she have not 
behaved according to their own duties, they are not unpuni- 
shable for the king; that is, the king must give them condign 
punishment" (Manu. 8. 335; Ma. Bha. San. 121. 60). Because, in 
this situation, the religion of sonhood is inferior to the religion 
of kinghood. And it is stated both in the Bharata and the 
Ramayana, that the most illustrious King Sagara, belonging 
to the Suryavamsa banished his son, acting on this principle, 
because he found that his son was unreasonable and ill- 
behaved and was harassing his subjects. (Ma. Bha. 107; Rama. 
1. 38). Even in the Mami-Smrti, there is a story that a rsi 
named Angirasa, having acquired excellent knowledge already 
at a tender age, his uncles (paternal and maternal) and other 
elders began to learn at his feet; on one such occasion Angirasa, . 
in addressing them, naturally used the words : 'my children' 
which are used by a teacher in addressing his pupils-'putovfca 
iti hoKica jnanena parigrhi/a tan" i.e. "having imparted know- 
ledge to them, he addressed them as 'my children' !" — Then what 
an uproar arose I All the old people became livid with anger, 
and were convinced that the boy had become arrogant; and they 
made a complaint to the gods that he should be properly puni- 
shed. The gods listened to the pleadings on either side, and 
ultimately gave the decision that the words which Angirasa had 
used in addressing them were perfectly proper; because :- 

na term vrddho bhauati yenasya palitam sirah I 

yo vai yuvapy adhiyanas tan devah sthaoirain viduh II 

that is :-" if his hair have become white, a man does not on 
that account alone, beoome old ; although a man may be young, 


yet if he is learned, the gods look upon him as old " (Manu. 2. 
156 ; and also Ma. Bha. Vana. 133. 11 ; Salya, 51. 47). This 
principle has been accepted not only by Manu and Vy asa but also 
by the Lord Buddha. Because, the first line of the above verse 
from the Smrti has been adopted verbatim into the well-known 
Buddhistic treatise on Ethics, in the Pali language, known as 
the ' Dliammapada ' * (Dhammapada, 260) ; and later on 
it is said in the same book that the man who has become mature 
only by age, has lived in vain ; and that in order that a 
person should become truly religious and old, he must have 
acquired the virtues of veracity, harmlessness etc. ; and in 
another treatise named ' Cullavayya ', the Lord Buddha has 
himself permitted that even if the bliiksy, ( mendicant ) who 
may be preaching may be young, yet he should sit on a high 
pedestal and preach the religion to other bluksus who had 
been previously invested into the creed and may be older than 
Mm (Cullavagga, 6. 13. 1). The story of Prahlada having 
disobeyed his father Hiranyakasipu, and won the Blessed LoTd 
mentioned in the Puranas is well-known; and from these 
stories it will be seen that as a result of other important 
considerations coming into existence, one has unavoidably to 
temporarily forget not only the relationship between the older 
and the younger in age, but also the universally accepted 
relationship between father and son. But if, when such an 
occasion has not arisen, an arrogant son begins to abuse his 
father, will he not be looked upon as a brute ? Bhisma has 
* The work ' Dhammnpada ' has been translated into 
English in the Sacred Books of the East Series Vol X and the 
Cullaeni/ga has also been translated into English in the Volumes 
XVII and XX of the same aeries. Mr. Yadavarao Varvikar, has 
ako translated the Dhammapada into Marathi, and that was first 
published in the Kolhapur Oranthamala and later on as an 
independent book. The verae in Pali in the Dhammapada is as 
follows :- 

MB tenathero hoti ymassa palitam siro \ 
St* paripaHo vayo tctssa moghct-jinno ti mccati \\ 

vrll t word 'thera' is applied to Bnddhist mendicants. It is a 
Order ,pti on from the Sanskrit word " sthavira". 


said to Yudhisthira : " ivmir aar'njTw piirto matrtas ceti me 
matsh " (San. 108. 17), i. p. " the preceptor is superior even to 
the mother ot the father. "' But it is stated in the Mahabharata 
itself, that when the preceptor of the king Marutta had 
abandoned him for his seltisli interests, Marutta said :- 

guror apt/ amltptasi/a hiiriiaWmvn ajUmilah I 
utjmthapratipaiutdit/a ■iiya!/n,im hlijvati siiijmm fl 

(Ma. BUS. A, 142. 53-53). 

i. e. " Even a preceptor, who, disregarding what ought to be 
done and what ought not to be done, takes up arrogantly the 
wrong path, deserves punishment ". This verse lias appeared 
four times in the Mahabharata. (Ma. Bha. A. 142. 52-53 ; IT. 
179. U ; San. 57. 7 ; 140. 48). Out of these, the reading in the 
first reference is as above and in the other references, the fourth 
part of the verse reads: " tlando bhamli sasvatah " or " pnriti/ago 
lidhiyate ''. But where this verse has appeared in the Valmiki 
Bamayana (Rama. 2. 21. 13), the reading mentioned above is the 
only reading which has appeared; and. therefore, I have adopted 
it in this book. The fights between Bhlsma and Parsurama and 
between Aijumi and Drona were justified on the same principle 
and when the preceptors of Prahlada appointed by Hiranya- 
kasipu began to advise him against worshipping the Blessed Lord, 
he has disregarded their advice uii the same principle. In the 
Santiparva, Bhlsma hiin&eli ;:-ays to Sri Kisna that, although a 
preceptor may be venerable yet he also must be bound by rules 
of Ethics ; otherwise .- 

mma,tjaty~igiii<~i Inbdhun quruii apt ca Kesarn I 
nihamSi samare pTipjn ksatriyah. sa hi dharmaiit II 

(San. 55. 16). 

that is : " Oh Kesava, that ksatriya is truly law-abiding, who 
kills such persons as break laws, ethical principles, or rules of 
proper conduct, or is greedy or sinful, notwithstanding that they 
occupy the position of pracaptors." So also, in the Taittiriyo- 
panisad, after first stating : " acanjadevo bhaoo, ", i.e., " Treat 
your proceptor, as a deity ", it is immediately afterwards stated 
that : " yany asmilhaih sucaritam i tuiii tvaijopasijani I no itarmii II" 
(Tai, 1. 11. 2), i.e., " Imitate only such of our actions as are 


good, and disregard the others ". From this, it is quite clear 
that the net advice of the Upanisads is that, even if the elders 
are god-like, because they are preceptors, or parents, yet, do not 
become addicted to drink, because they were addicted to drink ; 
because, the position of ethical principles or of laws is even 
nigher than that of the mother or the father or the preceptor, 
etc. The statement of Manu that : " Follow your religion ; if 
any one destroys his religion, that is to say, disregards it, that 
religion will, without fail, destroy him." (Manu. 8. 14-16), has 
been made on the same principles. The king is a deity who is 
even more worshipful than the preceptor (Manu. 7. 8, and Ma. 
Bha. San, 68. 40). But, the Manu-Smrti says that even he does 
not escape the binding force of laws, and that if he breaks 
them, he will be destroyed ; and the same idea is conveyed by 
the histories of the two kings Vena and Khaninetra mentioned 
in the Mahabharata (Manu. 7, 41 and 8. 128 ; Ma. Bha. San. 59. 
92-100 and Asva. 4). 

Control of the organs is placed on the same level with 
Harmlessness {ahimsa), Veracity {satya), and Not-stealing 
(astei/a), in the ordinary general religions (Manu. 10. 63). All 
the Sastras contain the advice that Desire (kama ), An ger 
lykrod lm) and Avarice \iobha) a re the en emies of "man, and that 
unless they are fully conquered, neither he nor society will in 
any way be benefitted ; and it is stated in the Viduraniti, as 
also in the Bhagavadgita, that :- 

irividham narakasyeda/h dvarain nasanam atmamh I 
kamah krodhas tatha loblias tasmad etat trayam ti/ajef II 

i.e., " Ka ma, krodha and Ic bba are the three gateways of hell ; 
and as they are destructive agents, they must be eschewed " 
<GI. 16. 21 ; Ma. Bha. IT. 32. 70). But the Blessed Lord has 
in the Gita itself described his own form in the following 
words : " dharmaviruddko bhutesu kamo 'smi Uharatarsablia " 
(GI. 7. 11), i.e„ " _Ajjunal Jjtmjhat kama (desire) which 
exists in the hearts of l iyjngthings, bBingconsistenTwitbTTaw 
(dliarma)". Therefore, UiaTllmold^slrerwBcTnsTncOTs^ent 
with dliarma is the gateway of hell and other kinds of kama are 
not proscribed by the Blessed Lord ; and even Manu has said : 
"parityajed arthakamau yau syatam dharmavarjitau", i.e., 


"' that wealth (artha) and desire (hlma) which are inconsistent 
with justice (dhanna) should be eschewed" (Manu. -4. ITS). 
If to-morrow all living beings decide to say good-bye to the 
Lord Kama, and to observe celibacy the whole of their lives, 
the entire living creation will come to an end within fifty 
or at most one hundred years, and the silence of death 
will reign everywhere ; and that creation, in order to save 
which from destruction, the Blessed Lord takes incarnations 
every now and then, will within a short lime, be destroyed. 
Kama and krndlta are enemies, it is true, but, when ? : if you 
allow them to become uncontrolled. Even Maun and the other 
writers of the Sastras have accepted the position that kdma and 
krodlia are extremely essential, within proper limits, in order 
that the world should go on ( Manu. 5. 56 ). The highest 
civilisation consists in putting a. proper restraint on these 
powerful mental impulses, and not in totally destroying them. 
It is stated in the Bhagavata that :- 

lake vtjamyanusamadijascm 

mti/anti jantor na hi tatm co'hmi l 
ryavastliitis tcsti viwluiuajiln- ' ! 

sitrugrahat'ruxu nhrlfir isffi II 

(Bhag. 11. 5. 11). 

i. e. " In this_ worl d, it is not n ecessary Jjg_ t ell any »ne_ to 
indulge in the enjoyment of jiexuaMiiteroourse or in e ating 
fleslTor drinking~wiiie7 These arc things which humarTliBings 
wanTn"atura ny7~Snd it is" in order to systematise 'ITiesethreo 
impulses, that is to say, in order to give them a systematic 
basis by subjecting them to limitations or restraint, that the 
writers of the Sastras have ordained marriage, and the Soma- 
yaga and the Sautramani-yajfia respectively for them ; but even 
with reference to these mattors, the most excellent course is 
Renunciation (mvrlti), that is to say, Desire] ess Action". 
Although the word ' nivrttt ', when used in relation to fifth- 
>case-ended nouns, means, ' renunciation of a particular thing ' 
■or 'giving up a particular Action altogether'; yet, iw the 
.adjective ' nivrtta ' is in the Karma-Yoga applied to the noun 
'karma', the word 'nivrllu-lcarma', it must be borne in mind, 
means 'Action which is to be performed desirelesely'; and the 


word has been used clearly in those meanings in the Manu- 
Smrti and in the Bhagavata-purana ( Manu. 12. 89 ; Bhag. 11. 
10. 1 and 7. 15. 47 ). In speaking about anger (krodha) Bharavi. 
says in the Kirata-kavya (1. 33) that :- 

amarsasunyena janasya jantima 

na jatahardena na -ridvisadarah II 

i. e., "if a man does not get angry or annoyed when he has been 
insulted, it is just the same whether he is your friend or 
whether he hates you I" Vidula has said, that from the point of 
view of the warrior (ksatriya) religion :- 

etavan eva puruso yad amarsi yad aksami I 
ksamavan niramarsas ca naiva stri na punah puman II 

( Ma. Bha. U. 132. 33 ). 

i. e., "he who gets angry ( on account of injustice ) and wk>' 
does not submit (to insult), is truly a man. He who does not 
get angry or annoyed is neither a woman nor a man". It has 
already been stated above that in order that the world should 
go on, there must not be either angeT or valour at all times, or 
forgiveness at all times. The same law applies to avarice 
(lobha) ; because, even if a man is a samnyasi (ascetic) yet he 
wants Release (moksa). 

Vyasa has stated in various stories in the Mahabharata,. 
that the various virtues of valour, courage, kindness, probity,, 
friendship, impartiality etc., are, in addition to their mutual 
oppositions, also limited by considerations of time and place. 
'Whatever the virtue may be, it is not equally appropriate in all 
circumstances. Bhartrhari says that :- 

upadi dliain/am alhabhyudaye ksarria 
sadttsi vakpatuta yudhi vikmmah I 

( Niti. 63 ). 
that is : "Courage is a virtue in days of misfortune, forgiveness- 
in days of power (that is, notwithstanding that you are in a. 
position to punish), oratory in an assembly, and valour in 
warfare". In times of peace, there are not wanting mere 
talkers like Uttara; but although there may be many Hambira- 
raos who are courageous enough to shoot arrows through the 
nose-iings of their wives, it is only one of them who acquits 


himself with credit as an archer on the battle-field ! Not only- 
are courage and the other abovementioned virtues really- 
appropriate in the respective circumstances mentioned, but they 
cannot even be properly tested except in such circumstances. 
There are not wanting shoals of school-friends; but, "mlcasagravw 
tu tesam vipat", i.e. "adversity is their touchstone". Misfortune 
is the true test for trying them. The word ' circumstances ' 
above includes considerations of worthiness and unworthiness, 
in addition to considerations of time and place. No virtue is 
greater than impartiality. The Bhagavadgita itself clearly 
says that being: " samah sarvesu bhtUesu", i.e., "impartial 
towards all created things", is a characteristic feature of a 
perfect being (siddlia). But, what does this impartiality mean ? 
If somebody showers charity on each and every one alike, that 
is to say, without considering their respective merits, shall we 
call him a wise man or a fool ? This question has been 
answered in the Gita itself in the following words : "dese laM 
capalre ca tad danam sattvikam viduh", i.e., "that charity which. 
is made with proper regard for the place, the time, and the 
worthiness (of the party) is the pure (saltvilca) charity" 
(Gi. 17. 20). Considerations of time, are not limited to the 
present time. As times change, bo also changes take place in the 
laws relating to worldly life; and therefore, if one has to 
consider the propriety or otherwise of any thing psi-taining to 
ancient times, one has necessarily to consider also the ideas of 
righteousness or unrighteousness prevailing at that time. Mann 
(1. 85) and Vyasa (Ma. Bha. San. 359. 8) say :- 

amje krtayuge dharmas tretayam dvupare 'pare I 
anye Jtaliyuge nrnain yugahraaunurupatah II 

i. e., "the laws relating to the Krta, Treta, Duapam and the- 
Kali-yuga are all different according as the yugas (eras) change". 
And it is stated in the Mahabharata itself that in ancient 
times, women were not restricted by marriage, and they were 
entirely independent and unchecked in that matter ; but, when 
the evil effects of this kind of life manifested themselves later 
on, Svetaketu laid down the limitation of marriage ( Ma. Bha. 
A. 122 ) ; and Sukracarya was the first one to promulgate the 
prohibition against drink (Ma. Bha, A. 76). Needless to say, 



there must be different standards for considering the laws 
pertaining to the times when these restrictions were not in 
vogue, than those relating to the times when they came into 
vogue ; and in the same way, if the laws which are in force in 
the present age are changed in the future, then the considera- 
tion of the righteousness or unrighteousness of actions in the 
future will also be on a different basis. As there are considera- 
tions of time, so also are there considerations of the customs of 
the country, the customs of the family, as also the customs of 
the community ; for, custom is the root of all religion. Never- 
theless, there are inconsistencies even among customs. Bhlsma 
has described the differences between customs in the following 
words : 

na hi sarvaMIdh kascid ucarah sampravarlate I 
tenaivanyah prabhavati so 'param badliate puruA II 

( San. 259. 17. 18 ). 

"that is : "One cannot find any custom, which is "beneficial to 
everybody, at all times. If you take one custom, another one 
is better, and if you accept the second custom, it is again 
■contrary to a third one " ; and he has said that we have to 
discriminate between customs and customs. 

If I go on solving in this way all the riddles about what 
should be done and what should not be done [Icarmdlcarma) and 
what is righteous and what unrighteous (dliarmadliarma), I shall 
have to write a second Mahabharata myself. I have laboured 
on this subject so long only with the idea of impressing on the 
mind of my readers how the circumstances in which Ai'juna 
-found himself in the beginning of the Gita as a result of a 
conflict between fraternal affection and a warrior's duties were 
not something out of the common ; and how similar circum- 
stances very often befall great and responsible persons in life, 
giving rise sometimes to a conflict between the principles of 
Harmlessness and Self-protection, or of Veracity and general 
welfare, or between the protection of one's person and one's 
imputation, or again between different duties arising out of 
different aspects of the same situation ; and how, many excep- 
tions thus arise, which are not provided for by ordinary and 
: generally accepted moral laws; and lastly, how^-pa such 


occasions, not only ordinary, but even very clever and 
learned persons, naturally feel the desire of finding out 
whether or not there is some definite formula or basis for 
determining what should be done and what not, or, what 
is one's duty and what is not one's duty. It is true that 
some concessions have been made in the Sastras to meet 
calamities like a famine which are technically known as 
4 apaddharma '. For instance, the writers of the Smrtis say 
that in such calamities ( apatlmla ) a Brahmin incurs no 
sin, if he takes food in any place; and in the Chandogyo- 
panisad, there is even a story of Usasticakrayana having done 
so. (Yajfia. 3. 41; Chan. 1. 10). But there is a world of differ- 
ence between those circumstances and the circumstance men- 
tioned above. In the case of famine, there is a conflict between 
religious principles on the one hand and hunger, thirst, and 
other bodily needs on the other, and the bodily organs drag you 
in one direction and religious principles in the opposite_direc- 
tion. But in many of the circumstances mentioned above, the 
conflict is not between bodily impulses and religious principles 
but there is an inter-conflict between two principles laid down 
in the Sastras themselves and it becomes necessary to consider 
minutely whether to follow this religious preoept or that; and 
though it may be possible for person? of ordinary intelligence 
to arrive at a decision on a few such occasions by considering 
what pure-minded persons have done in the past in similar cir- 
•cumstances, yet on other occasions, even sages are puzzled; 
because, the more one thinks about a particular matter, more 
and more of doubts and counter-arguments come into existence, 
and it becomes very difficult to arrive Jat a r definite conclusion; 
and if a proper decision is not arrived at, there is a risk of 
one's committing an unlawful thing or even a crime. Consi- 
dering the matter from this point of view, it will be seen that 
the discrimination between the lawful and the unlawful or 
between the doable and the not-doable becomes an independent 
science by itself, which is even more difficult than the sciences 
of logic or grammar. In old Sanskrit treatises, the word 
J nlti-sMra ' ( Ethics ) used to be applied principally to 
regal jurisprudence (raja-nlh) and the doable and the not- 
idoable used to be technically called ' dliarma-sastra '. But as 


the word ' niti ' includes both duty arid good conduct, I have va 
this book referred to the discussion of the questions of 
righteousness and unrighteousness or of what ought to be done 
and what ought not be done, by the name ' mti-sastra '. In 
order to show that this science, which expounds Ethics, or 
shows what is doable and what is not-doable, or what is 
righteous and what unrighteous, is indeed a very difficult 
science, the sentence " suksma gatir hi dharmasya ", i.e. 
" the true nature of righteousness, that is to say, of 
the Ethics of worldly life, is very subtle ", occurs several 
times in the Mahabharata. It is extremely difficult to 
satisfactorily answer such questions as : — How did five 
Pandavas many one Draupadi 1 or, Why did Bhisnia, 
Drona and others sit quiet, as if with a dead heart, when 
attempts were made to denude Draupadi ?, or, Whether 
the principle ; '" arthisya puniso dasah dusas to artho na kasyacit" 
i.e., " man is the servan t o f wealt h (art ha), wealth is the s ervant 
of nobody " (Ma. JJha. ±iM. 43. 35), e nunciated by Bh]sm a~"an3 
Drona, in justification of their having sided with the wicked 
Duryodhana in the civil war is or is not correct ? or, if 
service is looked upon as dog-like, as is shown by the words : 
" seva soavrttir akhyata ", i.e., " servitude is said to be the 
tendency of a dog " (Manu. 406) and is accordingly considered 
eschewable, then why did Bhisma and others not give up the 
service of Duryodhana, rather than becoming the slaves of 
wealth ? Because, on such occasions different persons arrive 
at different inferences or decisions according to different 
circumstances. Not only are the principles of justice 
extremely subtle (" suksma gatir hi dliarmasya ", Ma. Bha. 
Anu. 10. 70 ), but, as is stated later on in the Mahabharata 
itself, there are numerous branches to those principles and 
the inferences which can be drawn from them are numerous 
( " bahusakha hy anantika ", Ma. Bha. Vana. 208. 2). Tuladhara 
also, where he is discoursing on questions of morality,. 
in the Tuladhara-Jajali conversation, says': " suksmatvan na 
sa vijnatum sakyate bahurdhnavah ", i. e., " as morality 
is subtle and complicated, one very often does not know what 
it is " (San. 261. 37). The writer of the Mahabharata was 
fully conversant with these subtle occasions, and he has. 


collected together different traditionary stories in the 
Mahabharata in order to explain how great men behaved in 
the past in those ciTcumstanc.es. But it was necessary to 
scientifically examine all these subjects and to enunciate the 
universal principle underlying them, in a religious work like 
the Mahabharata. Vyasa has explained this underlying 
principle in the Bhagavadgita, taking his stand on the advice 
given in the past by Sri Krsna to Avjuna on the piotoxt of 
removing his doubts about his duty ; and, therefore, the Glta 
has become the mystic Upauisad and the crown jewel of the 
Mahabharata, and the Mahabharata has become an illustrated 
and detailed lecture on the fundamental principles of Right 
Action (Karma-Yoga) which have been enunciated in the 
Gita. I have to suggest to those who imagine that the Glta 
has been subsequently interpolated into the Mahabharata 
that they should pay close attention to this fact. Nay, the 
uniqueness and special feature of the Gita consists in this very 
thing. Because, although there are numerous treatises like the 
Upanisads etc. which deal with the pure science of Release 
(moksa) that is, with Vedanta, or like the Smrtis which merely 
enunciate rules of righteous conduct such as Harmlessness etc., 
yet there is not to be found, at least in these days, another 
ancient work in the Sanskrit literature like the Gita which, 
discriminates between the doable and the not-doable (karya- 
kUrya-i-yamsthiti) on the authority of the extremely recondite 
philosophy of the Vedanta. Devotees of the Glta need not be 
told that the word ' kuryakarya-vijavasthiW has not been coined 
by me, but is from the Gita itself (Gita. 16. 24). In the Yoga- 
vasistha, Vasistha has ultimately preached to Sri Rama, the 
path of Energism (Karma-Yoga) based on Self-Realisation 
( jTuma ), as has been done in the Gita; but such works, which 
have been written after the date of the Gita, and which are 
only imitations of it, do not in any way detract from the 
.uniqueness of the Glta, to which I have referred above. 




tasmad yogaya yujyasva yogah karmasu kausalam I * 

Gita 2. 50 r 

If a man is not actuated by the desire of acquiring tee- 
knowledge of a particular science, he is unfit to study that 
science, and explaining such a science to such an unfit person 
is like pouring water on an obverse vessel. Sot only is the 
disciple not benefited by it, but even the preceptor wastes his 
labour, and both waste their time. Therefore, the aphorisms 
"atliato dliarmajijnasu, " and "athato brahmajijnasa " appear 
at the beginning of both the Jaimini and the Badarayana- 
Sutras. Just as the teaching of the Brahman is best imparted 
to a 'mumuksu' (one who is desirous of Release) or as the 
teaching of Law or justice is best imparted to one who 
seeks that knowledge, so also is the teaching of the Science of 
of Right Action (Karma) most properly given to the person 
who has been inspired with the ' jijnasa ' ( desire of knowing ) 
how to rightly perform Action while leading a worldly life ; 
and that is why I have -disposed of the ' athato ' in the first 
chapter and have outlined the nature of ' kwmajijfuisa ' and 
the importance of the science of Karma-Yoga in the second 
chapter. Unless a man has by experience found where his 
difficulty lies, he does not realise the importance of the science 
of getting over that difficulty ; and if this importance is not 
realised, a science which has been learnt merely by rote, is 
later on found difficult to remember. Therefore, good teachers- 
first ascertain whether or -not the disciple has been inspired 
with, desire for the knowledge, and if there is no such inspira- 
tion, they attempt to rouse the desire. The Science of Right 
Action (Karma-Yoga) has been expounded in the Gita on this 

* "Therefore, take shelter in the Yoga ■ ! < Yoga ' is the name 
given to the skill, the wisdom or the gracefulness of performing 
Action [Karma)" : such is the definition or connotation of the 
term 'Yoga', which has been more fully dealt with later on in thia 


basis. When, being beset with the doubt whether or not he* 
should take part in a war in which he would be responsible for 
the slaughter of ancestors and preceptors 'and also of all kings 
and brethren, Arjuna was inspired by the desire to give up the- 
war and renounce the world, and when he was not satisfied by 
the ordinary arguments that abandoning a duty which had 
befallen him was a foolish and weak act and that by doing 
so, far from obtaining heaven he would on the other hand, 
suffer disgrace, Sri Krsna preached to him the science of 
Karma- Yoga, after in the first instance seeming to ridicule 
him by saying : " asoci/au aniiasoaas tvaih prajnavadaihs ca 
bliasase" i. e., '" you lament those for whom you ought not to 
lament and at the same time, tell me big tales about the know- 
ledge of the Brahman ". I have shown in the last ^chapter 
that the doubt by which Arjuna had been beset, was not 
groundless, and that even great sages are in certain circum- 
stances, puzzled as to 'what to do and what not to do '. But 
the starting advice of Sri Krsna to Arjuna is : that it is not. 
proper to give up Action (karma) on the ground that numerous 
difficulties arise in the consideration of what should be done 
and what should not be done]; that, a wise man should practise 
such a 'yoga' or device whereby instead of Actions being done 
away with in the world, one will only escape their evil effects 
or binding ['force, and that: " tasniad yogaya wjliasva" i.e., 
" therefore, you, should do the same ". This 'Yoga' is the 
science of 'KARMA-YOGA' ; and in as much as, the circum- 
stances in which Arjuna found himself were not unique, but 
every one of us comes across small or big difficulties of the 
same nature in worldly life, it is necessary that we should all 
profit by the exposition of this Karma-Yoga science which has 
been made in the Bhagavadglta. But whichever science is 
taken, it is necessary to properly define the important words 
occurring in its exposition so that their meanings are properly 
understood, and to first precisely explain the fundamental 
outline of the exposition of that science; otherwise, many 
misunderstandings or difficulties subsequently arise. Therefore, 
following this usual practice, I shall first examine and explain 
the meanings of some of the important words which occur in. 
this science. 


'The first of these words is 'KARMA'. The word ' karmi ' 
comes from the root ' At ', and means ' doing ', ' affairs ', or 
'activity' ; and that same ordinary meaning is intended in the 
Bhagavadgita. My only reason for explaining this is, that the 
Teader should not he confused by the limited and restricted 
meaning 1 ; in which this word has been used in the Mimarhsa 
philosophy or in other places. Whichever religion is taken, it 
prescribes some Action or other for reaching the Is vara. 
According to the ancient Vedic religion, this Action was 
sacrificial ritual ; and the Purva-Mimamsa of Jaimini has been 
written with the sole purpose of showing how the various 
different and sometimes apparently contradictory statements 
which are to be found in the Vedic treatises regarding the 
performance of this sacrificial ritual can be reconciled with 
«ach other. According to Jaimini, the performance of this 
Vedic or Srauta ( prescribed by the Srutis ) sacrificial ritual was 
the principal and the ancient religion. Whatever a man does, 
must be taken to have been done by him for the purpose of the 
'yajiia' (sacrifice). If he earns money, he must earn it for the 
sake of the yajiia ; and if he collects grain, that also must be 
understood to have been done for the yajiia ( Ma. Bha. San. 26. 
25 ). In as much as the Vc-das themselves have enjoined the 
performance of the yajnas, any Action done for the purpose of the 
yajiia cannot of itself be a source of bondage to man ; it is a 
"•^Sniffor theyaina an5~"h0t,- 3E- independent object; and 
therefore, the effect of that Action is included in the result to 
be achieved by the yajna ; it has no independent effect. But 
although these Actions, which are performed for the purpose of 
the yajiia, may not have an independent effect, yet the yajiia 
itself leads to heaven (which, according to the Mimarhsa6chool, 
is a kind of happiness), and the performer of the yajiia performs 
it willingly, only in order to attain heaven. Therefore, the 
performance (karma) of the yajiia itself falls into the category 
of ' purusdrtha ' (something which a man desires). Any parti- 
cular thing which a man likes and which he desires to attain' 
is called ' purtisartha' (Jai. Su. i, 1.1 and 2). ' Kratu' is a 
synonym for ' yajiia ' and therefore, the word ' kratvartha ' is 
also used in place of the word ' yajMrtha ' and therefore, all 
Actions fall into the two divisions of 'yajiiartlia' ('kratvartha' ) 


that' is, Actions which do not give' any independent fruit or 
benefit and are, therefore, non-binding, and 'pnrusartha' that is, 
.Actions performed for the benefit of the doer and, therefore, 
binding. The Sarhhitas and the Brahmanas contain nothing 
else but a description of sacrificial ritual. It is true that in 
the Rg-Veda-sarhhita there are verses (sukta) in praise of Indra 
■and the other gods ; but as these are to be used only at the time 
■ of the yajiia, the Mimarhsa writers say that all Sruti treatises 
preach only the yajiia and other sacrificial ritual. These 
■orthodox ritual-masters, and pure karma-mdins say that heaven 
can be attained only by performing the sacrificial ritual 
prescribed by the Vedas and not otherwise ; and that, that is so, 
whether you perform the yajilas ignorantly or after Realising 
the Brahman. Although this sacrificial ritual is accepted by 
the Upanisads, yet their worth is declared to be lower than that 
■of the Knowledge of the Brahman, and the Upanisads say that 
though heaven may be attained by the yajiias, Realisation of 
the Brahman (brahma-jiiam) is necessary for attaining the true 
Release. The desire-prompted Actions in the shape of sacrificial 
ritual, described in the second chapter of the Bhagavadgita by 
the words " vedavudaratah Purlha namjadastiti vadinah " ( Gl. 2. 
42 ) are the above-mentioned sacrificial ritual, performed 
without having realised the Brahman. In the same way, the 
sentence yajnarlhat karmavo 'uyalm loko 'yam Icarnuibmtdluirmh" 
i.e., " Actions performed for the purpose of the yajiia, do not 
■create bondage ; all other Actions have a binding force " ( Gl. 
3. 9 ) is only a repetition of the opinion of the MlmarhsS 
school. Besides this sacrificial ritual, (being the Actions 
prescribed by the Vedas and the Gratis), there are other Actions, 
necessary from the point of view of religion, which have been 
prescribed by the Manu-Smrti and other religious treatises, 
having regard to the division of society into the four castes. 
For instance, fighting has been prescribed for the warrior 
(kgatriya), trade for the merchant (aiisya) etc. ; and, as these 
have been for the first time systematically prescribed in the 
.Smrti writings, they are referred to as 'Smarta' (prescribed 
by the Smrtis) Actions or yajiias* There are besides these 
Actions prescribed by the Srutis and the Smrtis, other 
leligious Aotions, e.g., fasting, austerities etc., which have 


for the first time been described in detail in the Puranas r 
and these may, therefore, be described as ' pauranika, karnur 
( Actions ). All these Actions are again sub-divided into- 
everyday (nitya), occasional (naimiUika), and for-a-particular- 
purpose (kamyaj Actions. Such Actions as must be performed 
every day, such as bathing and offering prayers at twilight, ar& 
called nitya-karma. By performing these, no special purpose- 
(artha-si'Mhi) is achieved; but if they are not performed, one. 
incurs sin. Naimittika (occasional) Actions are such as have 
to be performed because some occasion necessitating thr-m has. 
arisen, such as, the pacification of unauspicious stars, penances 
etc. If that occasion for which we perform this pacification or 
penance had not come into existence, there would be no 
necessity for performing this Action. In addition to these > 
there are certain other Actions which we very often perform 
because we desire a particular thing and for acquiring that 
thing, as enjoined by the Sastras. These Actions are kumyu 
(desire-prompted) actions; e.g., sacrificial ritual for causing 
rain or for obtaining a son. In addition to these everyday, 
occasional, and desire-prompted Actions, there are other Actions 
such as, drinking etc. which have been pronounced to b& 
totally objectionable by the Sastras and therefore, they are- 
named nisiddlui (objectionable) actions. Which Actions are. 
everyday Actions, which occasional, which desire-prompted 
and which objectionable has been laid down by our religious 
treatises ; and if any parson versed in religion is asked whether 
a particular act performed by a particular person is sinful or 
virtuous, he will consider whether that particular Action is 
yajnartha or purusarthu or nitya or mimitiika or kamya or 
nisiddha according to the directions of the Sastras and give his 
opinion accordingly. The view-point of the Bhagavadglta is. 
more exhaustive than this or may even be said to be beyond 
this. It may be that a particular Action has not been pro- 
nounced as objectionable by the Sastras ; nay, it may even have 
been prescribed as proper, e.g., in the case in point, the warrior- 
religion was the 'prescribed ' (vihita) thing for Arjuna; but on 
that account, it does not follow that one should always perform 

^ that Action, nor also that it will always be certainly beneficial; 

i sp.it the injunctions of the Sastras are very often mutually 


contradictory, as has been shown in the previous chapter. The 
subject-matter of the Gita is to show whether or not there are 
any means for ascertaining what course should be followed by 
a person on such an occasion and if so, what those means are. 
It is not necessary for the purpose of this exposition to pay any 
special attention to the divisions of 'karma ' mentioned above. 
In order to explain to what extent the doctrines laid down 
by the Mimamsa school regarding the sacrificial ritual etc. 
prescribed by the Vedas or the other duties prescribed for the 
four castes are consistent with the Karma-Yoga advooated in 
the Gita, their theories have been examined in the Gita as 
oocasion arose ; and in the last chapter, the question whether 
or not a Self -Realised (jiianin) man should perform sacri- 
ficial ritual has been precisely answered (Gl. 18. 6). But 
in as much as the principal subject-matter of the Gita is more 
exhaustive than this, the word ' Karma ' as used in the exposi- 
tion made in the Gita must not be taken in the restricted 
meaning of Actions prescribed by the Srutis or the Smrtis, but 
in a more comprehensive meaning. In short, all the Actions 
which a man performs, e.g., eating, drinking, playing, sitting, 
rising, residing, breathing, smiling, weeping, smelling, seeing, 
speaking, hearing, walking, giving, taking, sleeping, waking, 
killing, fighting, meditating or contemplating, commanding, or 
objecting, giving, performing sacrificial ritual, agriculture or 
commerce, desiring, deciding, keeping quiet, etc., etc., etc., are all 
included in the word ' Karma ' as used in the Bhagavadglta, 
whether those Actions are bodily (liayilca) or vocal (vacilca) or 
mental (manasika) (Gita 5. 8-9). In short, even the remaining 
alive or the dying of the body itself, are Actions, and as 
occasion arises, it becomes necessary to consider whioh of the 
two actions of 'remaining alive ' or ' dying ' is to be chosen. - 
When this consideration arises, the word ' karma ' (Action) can 
also be understood in the meaning of Duty (kartaoya-lairma) or 
proper action (rihita-luirim) (Gl. 4. 16). We have so far 
considered the actions of human beings. Going beyond this, 
the word ' karma ' is also applied to the activities of the 
moveable and immoveable world, 'that is to say, even of life- 
less things. But that matter will be considered in the- 
subsequent chapter on Cause and Effect (karma-vipalca-prabiya). 


The word " YOGA " is even more complicated in its 
meaning than the word ' karma '. The present-day ordinary 
meaning of this word is ' controlling the mental impulses of 
the organs by means of prunayama, i.e., 'control of the breath' 
or ' the Yoga of mental absorption or meditation prescribed by 
the Patarijala-Sutras ', and the word has been used in the same 
meanings also in the Upanisads (Katha. 6. 11). But it must 
first be borne in mind that this restricted meaning is not the 
meaning in which it has been used in the Bhagavadglta. The 
word ' Yoga ' comes from the root ' yuj ' which means ' to join ', 
and its root meaning is 'the state of union', 'combination', 
' addition ' or ' co-existence ' or ' staying together ', and later on, 
it has also come to mean the ' means ', ' device ' or ' method ' or 
' thing to he done ', that is, the ' Karma ' (Action) which is 
necessary for acquiring that state, and the Amarakosa has 
given all these meanings of the word in the following sentence: 
"yogah sahnakanoixji/a-dhyam-sai'Hgati-yiiktisu'' ( 3. 3. 22 ). In 
practical astrology, if some planets have become propitious or 
unpropitious, we say that they are forming a propitious or 
unpropitious 'yoga', and the word 'yoga in the phrase 'yoga-ksemd 
means 'acquiring such things as one has not got' (Gi. 9. 22). On 
seeing that Dronacarya would not be vanquished in the Bharati 
war, Sri Krsna has, in the following words said that: " there was 
only one ' yoga ' (means or ' trick ') for vanquishing him " .— 
"eko hiyogo 's.i/n bhaved vadhaya", i.e., "he can be killed only by 
one trick " (Ma. Bha. Dro. 181. 31) and later on He has narrated 
,bow He had killed Jarasaihdha and other kings for the 
protection of the Religion by means of ' yoga '. It is stated in 
the TJdyoga parva that after Bhlsma had taken away the 
damsels Amba, Ambika and Ambalika, the other kings pursued 
Jlim crying : " Yoga, Yoga " (U. 172), and the word ' yoga ' has 
been used in the same meaning in numerous other places in the 
Mahabharata. In the Gita, the words ' yoga ', ' 1/09/ ' or other 
compounds from the word ' yoga ' have occured about 80 times. 
'But nowhere except in at most four or five places has it been 
used in the meaning of ' Patanjala-yoga ' (Gi. 6. 12 and 23). 
"We find almost everywhere the word used more or less in the 
■meaning of ' means ', ' skilful device,' 'method', ' the thing to be 
-done';', ' union ', etc., and it must be said that this is one of the 


comprehensive words used in the Gita-science. Still, it is not 
enough even to say in a general way that 'yoga' means 'means' 
'skilful device' or 'method'. Because, according as the speaker 
may wish, it may be a means of Renunciation (samnyusa) or 
Action (Icarma.) or mental control (citta-nirodha) or of Release 
{Moksa) or of something else. For instance, the word 'yoga' 
has been used in the Gita itself, in three or four places, to 
signify the divine skill or wonderful power of the Blessed Lord 
in creating the variegated perceptible creation (Gi. 7. 25 ; 9. 
5 ; 10. 7 ; 11. 8) and on that account, the Blessed Lord has 
been referred to as ' Yogeivara (Gi. 18. 75). But this is not the 
principal meaning of the word 'yoga in the Gita. Therefore, in 
order to explain what particular skill, means, method or 
process is principally signified in the Gita by the use of the 
word 'yoga', this word has intentionally been clearly defined in 
the Gita itself as : "yogah kwtnasu kausalam" (Gi. 2. 50) i.e. 
" 'yoga' means some special skill, device, intelligent method, or 
graceful way of performing Actions"; and in the Sarhkara- 
bhasya on this phrase, the phrase 'karmasu Icausalam' has been 
interpreted as meaning : "the device of eliminating the natural 
tendency of karma to create a bondage". Normally, there are 
numerous 'yoga or means of performing one and the same action, 
but the best of all these methods is specially referred to as 'yoga'. 
For instance, the earning of money can be achieved by theft or 
deceit or by begging or by service or by borrowing or by 
physical labour, and many other such ways ; and although 
the word ' yoga ' can be applied to each of these ways, according 
to the root meaning of the word, yet, 'earning money by one's 
own labour without sacrificing one's independence ' is 
principally referred to as " the yoga of acquiring wealth " 
( dravya-prapti-yoga ). 

If the Blessed Lord Himself has intentionally and 
specifically defined the word ' yoga ' in the Gita itself as : 
" yogah Icarmam Icausalam " i. e., "'Yoga' means a special device 
of performing Actions", then, there should strictly speaking 
remain no doubt whatsoever about the primary meaning of 
this word in the Gita. But, as several commentators have 
extracted various hidden meanings from the Gita by twisting 
the meaning of this word, disregarding this definition of the 


word given by the Blessed Lord Himself, it is necessary here 
to go deeper into the meaning of the word 'yoga\ in order to 
■clear that mis-interpretation. The word 'yoga' appears for the 
first time in the second chapter of the Gita and at that very 
place the meaning of that word is explained. AfteT haying 
justified the war on the authority of the Samkhya philosophy, 
the Blessed Lord goes on to say that He will next give Arjuna 
the justification of the war on the authority of the Yoga ( Gl. 
2. 39 ), and He, to begin with, describes how the minds of persons . 

■ continually engrossed in desire-prompted Action like sacrificial 
ritual, become disintegrated on account of the desire for the 
reward { Gi. 2, 41-46 ). He then goes on to say that Arjuna 
should not allow Ms mind to he disintegrated in this way, and 
should " give up all attachments ( asakti ), but not think 
of giving up Action ", and He has further said to him : 

'" become steeped in the yoga ( yogastlia ) and perform Actions " 

■ (Gi. 2. 48) and in the same place the word ' yoga ' has been to 
begin with clearly defined as meaning : " ' Yoga ' means 

■ equability of mind towards success or failure ". Then, He goes 
■on to say : " this ' yoga ' of equability of mind is better than 
performing Actions with the desire for the fruit " (Gi, 2. 49) 
and that " when the mind is equable, the doer is not affected by 
the sin or the virtue of the Action, and, therefore, acquire this 
Yoga". Immediately thereafter, He again defines the nature of 

' ' Yoga ' by the words : " yogah karmam kausalam " (Gi. 2. 50). 
From this, it becomes clear that the special device mentioned to 

■ start with by the Blessed Lord for the sinless performance of 
Actions, namely an equable mind, is what is known as 

'' leausala ' (skilful device) and that performing Actions by this 
' kausala ' or device is, in the Gita, known as ' yoga ' ; and this 
very meaning of that word has further been made perfectly 
•clear by Arjuna who says: " yo 'yam yogas tvayo proktah 
.samyem Madhusuciam" (Gi. 6. 33), i.e., "this yoga of equality, that 
is, of an equable frame of mind which has been prescribed by 
you to me". There are two ways in which the Self-Realised man 
should live in this world which have been prescribed by the Vedic 
religion in existence long before the date of Sri Sarhkaracarya. 
One of these ways is the literal abandonment (samnyasa) or 
giving up itgaga) of all Action after Self -Realisation, and the 


other way is of not giving up Actions even after Self-Realisa- 
tion, but going on performing them while life lasts, in such 
a way that one does not thereby incur either sin or merit. It is 
with reference to these two paths that the words 'samnyasa' and 
* karma-yoga ' have been used later on in the Gita (Gl. 5. 2). 
''samnyasa ' means ' give up ' and ' yoga ' means ' stick to '; 
therefore, these are two independent paths of the giving up or 
the sticking to Action. The two words ' samlchya ' and ' yoga ' 
■(Samkhya-yogau) are two abbreviated terms, which are used later 
•on with reference to these two paths (Gl. 5. 4). It is true 
that the sixth chapter of the Gita contains a description 
■of the postures (asanas) of the Patanjala-yoga necessary 
-for steadying the mind; but for whom has that description 
been given ? Not for the ascetic, but for the Karma- 
Yogi, i. e,, for the person who continues skilfully 
-performing Actions, and, in order that he might thereby 
acquire an equable frame of mind. Otherwise, the sentence 
'" tapasvibhyo 'dhiko yogi", i.e., "the yogi is superior 
to the ascetic" is meaningless. Also, the advice given to 
Arjuna at the end of this chapter in the terms "tasmad yogi 
bhavarjuna" (6. 46), i.e., "therefore, O Arjuna, become a yogi", 
does not mean "take to the practice of Patanjala-Yoga" but 
has to bs taken as meaning "become a yogi, who performs 
Actions skilfully or a Karma-Yogi", in which meaning that 
word has been used in the phrases : "yogasthah (cam kurmuni" (2. 
48) i.e., perform Action, having become a yogi", or after that : 
"tasmad. yoguya yujyasoa yogah karmasu kauialam (Gi. 2. 50), i.e., 
"therefore, take shelter in yoga; 'yoga' means the skill of per- 
forming Action", or at the end of the fourth chapter, "yogam 
Stisthottistha Bharata' (4. 42), i.e., "take shelter in the yoga, O, 
Bharata, and stand up". Because, His saying "follow the 
Patanjala-yoga and stand up and fight" would be impossible 
and even improbable. It has been clearly stated previously 
that : Icarmayogeija yoginam" (Gi. 3. 3) i.e., "yogis are persons 
who perform Actions"; and in the exposition of the Narayaniya 
or the Bhagavata religion in the Mahabharata, it is stated that 
persons belonging to that religion 'do not abandon worldly- 
affairs but perform them skilfully ( "suprayuktena Icarmana" ) 
and attain the Paramasvara ( Ma. Bhs. San. 34S. 56 ). From 


this it follows, that the words ' yogi ' and ' Icarma-yogi ' have> 
been used synonymously in the Gita, and that they mean : " a- 
psrson who performs Action according to a particular device. "' 
Yet, instead of using the long word ' karma-yoga ', its abbrevia- 
ted form ' yoga ' has been more frequently used both in the Gita 
and in the Mahabharata. The word ' yoqa ', which has been 
used by the Blessed Lord three times in succession in the 
stanza : " this yoga which I have explained to you had been 
taught by me before to Vivasvan ( Gi. 4. 1 ) ; Vivasvan taught 
it to Manu, but as this .(/03a subsequently ceased to exist, I had 
once more to-day to explain that yoga to you ", has not beea 
intended to mean the Patanjala-yoga ; and one has to under- 
stand it a3 meaning " a particular kind of device, method, or 
process of performing Action ". In the same way, the reference- 
by Safijaya to the conversation between Sri Krsna and Arjuna 
as ' yoga ' ( Gi. 18. 75 ) means the same thing. Although Sri 
Samkaracarya himself followed the path of Renunciation, yet 
he has in the beginning of his Glta-bhasya pointed out the two 
divisions of the Vedic Religion into ' pravrtti ' and ' nivrtti ' and 
the word ' yoga ' has been interpreted by him in some plaoes. 
according to the definition given by the Blessed Lord as; 
" samyag darsanopaya Icarmanusthanam " ( Gi. Bha.. 4. 42 ) and in. 
other places as " yogah yuktih " ( Gi. Bha. 17. 7 ). In the same 
way also in the Mahabharata, these two words have been 
clearly defined in the Anugita in the phrase "pravrtti laksam 
yogah jiiawuii samnyasa laksavam " i. e., " yoga means the path 
of Energism {pravrtti-marga) and juana means the path of 
Renunciation ( samnyasa or nivrtti-marga ) (Ma. Bha. Asva. 43. 
25 ) and even in the Narayaniyopakhyana at the end of the 
Santiparva the words ' samkhya ' and ' yoga ' have occurred on 
numerous occasions in these two senses, and it is explained how 
and why these two paths were created by the Blessed Lord in 
the beginning of the creation itself (Ma. Bha. San. 240 and 348). 
That this Narayamya or Bhagavata religion has been pro- 
pounded in the Bhagavadglta will become perfectly clear from 
the quotation from the Mahabharata which has been given at 
the beginning of the first chapter. Therefore, one has to say 
that the meanings of ' samkhya ' as ' nivrtti ' and of ' yoga ' as- 
'pravrtti ', which are their ancient technical meanings accord- 


ing to the Narayaniya religion, are also their meanings in th» 
Gita ; and, if anybody has any doubts about this, these doubts, 
ought to be fully cleared by the definition of that word given 
in the Gita as : "samatmm yoga neonate", i.e., " 'yoga' is the name 
given to equability" or " yogah karmasu kausalam ", i. e., " 'yoga' 
means skill in Action, " as also by such phrases used in the 
Gita as " lairma-yogeya yoginam " etc. ; and, it is established 
beyond argument that the word ' yoga ' has been used in the 
Gita in the sense of only the path of Energism (jn-avrtti-rmrga) 1 
i. e., the " KARMA- YOGA ". Not only in the Vedic religious 
treatises, but also in the Buddhistic religious treatises in Pali 
and in Sanskrit, the word Yoga is found to have been used in 
this meaning. For instance, in the Pali work, named Milinda- 
prasna written about Sake 200, we come across the word. 
"Pubba-yoga (pUroa-yoga ) " where its meaning has been defined, 
as "pubbakamma" fparva-karma) (Mi. Pra. 1.4); and in the 50th. 
verse of the first canto fsargal of the Sanskrit poem Buddha- 
carita written by the poet Asvaghosa in the beginning of the- 
Salivahana era, we find the following statement :— " (karyahcah 
yogavidlum dcijamm-apmplam-myair-Javaho jaguina " i. e. 
"The king Janaka had become an UcUrya (preacher) for teach- 
ing the Yoga methods (yoga-vidhil to Brahmins, and such a, 
preceptorship had not been acquired by any one before him. '" 
In this place, the word ' yoga-vidhi ' has to be interpreted as 
meaning "the method (vidhi) of the Desire-less Karma- Yoga". 
Because, the Gita, and all the other works emphatically say 
that that was the true bearing of the mode of life of Janaka 
and Asvaghosa has in the Buddlia-carita (9. 19-20) given the 
illustration of Janaka himself in order to show " how Release 
can be obtained notwithstanding that one leads the life of a. 
house-holder ". When it has been in this way proved that even 
according to the Buddhistic treatises, this path of Action, 
prescribed by Janaka was known as 'yoga', one has to under- 
stand the word ' yoga ' used in the Gita also in the same 
meaning ; because, the Gita itself says that the path prescribed 
by Janaka is the very path it advocates (Gi. 3. 20). We will 
later on consider in greater detail the two paths of 'Samkhya ' 
and 'Yoga'. The matter under consideration at present is in 
what meaning the word 'yoga' has been used in the Gita. 


When the principal meanings of the words 'yoga, namely, 
" Karma- Yoga', and ' yogi ', namely ' Karma-Yogi ', have in this 
way been established, it is not necessary to say in so many 
words what the subject-matter of the Bhagavadgita. is. The 
Blessed Lord Himself refers to the advice given by Him 
as ' yoga ' ( Gi. 4. 1-3 ). Not only that, but as I have already 
.stated above, Arjuna in the sixth chapter ( GI. 6. 33 ), and 
•Sanjaya in the conclusion ( upasamhara ) at the end of 
the Gita ( Gi. 18. 75 ) have characterised the preaching 
of the Gita as ' yoga '. In the same way, in the enunciatory 
words used at the end of each chapter of the Gita signify- 
ing the conclusion of the chapter ( which is technically 
•called samkalpa ), it is clearly stated that the Science 
•of Yoga ( yoga-sastm ) is the subject-matter of the Gita; 
but none of the commentators on the Gita, seem to have paid 
any attention to this meaning of the word in the samkalpa. 
After the the two opening words "Srlmad-Blmgavadgltusu 
npanisastu"in this samkalpa, come the two words "brahrta- 
vidyayam yoga-sastre" '. Out of these, the first two words mean 
"in the Upanisat sung by the Blessed Lord" and it is quite 
•clear from the following two words that "the Yoga-Sastra which 
is one of the Brahma-Vidyas", that is, the KARMA-YOGA- 
■■SASTRA, is the subject matter of the Gita. ' Brahma-vidya ' 
means 'Knowledge of the Brahman' {Brahmajumia); and when 
that has been acquired, the Self -Released man has two cults or 
paths open before him (Gi. 3.3). One is the Samkhya path or the 
xa/imyasa (Renunciation) path, that is, the path of abandoning 
all wordly affairs or Actions after Self-Realisation, and living 
like an apathetic (viralda) person ; and the other path is the 
path of Yoga or of Kamia-Yoga, that is to say, of not giving 
up wordly affairs but continuing to perforin them in such a 
■way that they do not create any difficulty in the matter of 
obtaining Release. Out of these two paths, the first one is 
also known as the 'path of Self -Realisation' (jilana-mstha ) and 
.an exposition of that will be found to have been made by many 
rsis in the Upanisads and other writers. But there is no 
scientific exposition anywhere, except in the Gita, of the 
Karma-Yoga, which is included in the Brahma-vidya. There- 
fore, it now becomes quite clear that those persons who first 


prepared that samkalpa — and, as I have stated above, it must 
have been there before any of the commentaries on the Gita 
were written, since it is to be found in all the editions of the 
Gita — must have added the words "brahm-vklyayam yoga-sastre" 
in this samkalpa. on proper authority, and intentionally, for 
emphasising the uniqueness of the subject-matter of the GitS- 
sastra, and not uselessly or frivolously ; and at the same time, 
we also easily understand what the import of the Gita was 
understood to be before any commentaries in support of 
particular cults came to be written on it. It is our great 
fortune that this work of preaching the Karma- Yoga was taken 
on his. own shoulders by Sri Krsna Bhagavan, who was the 
promulgator of this path of Yoga and who was the personified 
4 Is vara of all y ogas' ( ' Yoges vara ' is 'yoga' plus 'Isvara'), and 
who has explained the esoteric import of it to Arjuna for the 
benefit of the whole world. It is true that the words 'karma- 
j/oga' and ' kanna-yoga-sastm' are longer than the words 'yoga' 
and 'yoga-sastra' used in the Gita; but in order that there 
should no more be any doubts as to what the Gita preaches, 
I have intentionally given the name "Karma-Yoga-Sastra" to 
this work and to this chapter. 

That science by means of which we can decide suoh ques- 
tions as : Which is the best and purest of the several 'yogas', 
means, or processes in which a -particular Action can be perfor- 
med; whether it can be always followed; if not, what are the 
exceptions to it, and how they arise ; why is that path which we 
call good, really good, or that which we call bad, really bad, and 
on the strength of what, is this goodness or badness to be deoided 
and who is to do so or what is the underlying principle in it etc. 
is known as the ' KARMA-YOGA-SASTRA ' (science of Karma- 
Yoga) or, as expressed briefly in the- Gita 'YOGA-SASTRA ' (the 
science of Yoga). 'Good' or 'bad' are words in ordinary use and 
the following other words : propitious and unpropitious, or bene- 
fioial and harmful, or meritorious and non-meritorious, or sin 
and virtue, or righteous and unrighteous, are used in the same 
■sense. The same is the meaning conveyed by the word-couples 
■doable and not-doable (kanja and akarya), duty and non-duty 
{kai-tamja and akartavya), just and unjust (nyayya and amjayya). 
Nevertheless, as the various persons who have used these 

""fUr ,. 


words have different ideas about the formation of the universe? 
there have also come into existence, different ways in which 
the ' Karma-Yoga ' science has been expounded. Whatever 
science is taken, the subject-matter of it can be discussed 
ordinarily in three ways :— (1) considering the various objects- 
in the physical world from the point of view that they really are 
as they are perceived by our organs, and that there is nothing- 
beyond, is the first of these methods, which is known as- 
"ADHI-BHAUTIKA" (positive or materialistic) way of 
considering them. For instance, when you look upon the Sun 
not as a deity, but as a round-mass of gross matter made up of 
the five primordial elements, and examine its various 
properties, such as its heat, or light, or weight, or distance, or 
power of attraction, etc., that becomes the positive or material- 
examination of the Sun. Take the tree as another illustration. 
If we do not consider the internal force in the tree which is 
responsible for its getting leaves etc., but consider the tree 
purely externally, that is, consider only the facts that when the 
seed is put into the earth, it takes root and becomes a sprout,, 
whioh grows later on and goes through the visible changes of 
leaves, flowers, fruits etc., that is a purely material examina- 
tion of the tree. The examination of the subject-matter in 
Chemistry or Physics or the science of electricity or other- 
modern sciences is of this kind. Nay, materialists imagine, 
that when they have examined in this way the visible 
properties of any object, that is all they need to do and that it 
is useless to further examine the objects in the world. 
(2) When we discard this point of view, and examine what 
there is at the root of the object in the material world and 
whether the activities of these objects are due to some inherent 
properties in them or there is some other power or principle 
behind those activities, then one has to transcend the material, 
examination of the object. For instance, if we believe that in 
the gross or'lifeless globe of the Sun, made up of the five 
primordial elements, there exists a deity called the ' Sun ' 
which dwells within it, and that this deity carries on the 
activities of the'material Sua, such examination is called an 
ADHI-DAIVIKA (Theological) examination of the object. 
According to this point of view, there are in the tree, water* 


air, etc., innumerable deities, which are distinct from those 
objects, and which activate those objects. (3) But, when 
instead of believing in this way that there are millions and 
millions of independent deities in all the various objects in the 
gross world, we believe that there exists in this world.some 
Spiritual Force, i.e., factor of consciousness (ctccliakti) 
imperceptible to the organs, which carries on all the activities 
of the external world ; and that this Spiritual Force exists in 
the human body in the shape of an Atman and acquaints the 
human being with the entire creation ; and that this cosmos is 
kept going by that force, such consideration of the object is 
called an ADHYATMIKA (metaphysical) examination of 
the object. For instance, metaphysicians believe that the 
movements of the Sun and the Moon or even of the leaves 
of the tree are inspired by this unimaginable Power and that 
there are not different and independent deities in the Sun 
or in other objects. These throe ways of examining any 
subject-matter have been in existence from times immemorial 
and they seem to have been followed even in the Upanisads- 
For instance, in the Brhadaranyaka and other Upanisads, 
while considering whether the organs of perception 
{ J nanendriija ) or the vital force ( prana ) is superior, their 
respective strengths are considered, once from the point of view 
that they have deities like Agni etc., and again by considering 
their subtle ( metaphysical i. e., adliyatmika ) forms ( Br. 1. 5. 21 
and 22 ; Chan. 1. 2 and 3 ; Kausi 2. 8 ) ; and the consideration 
of the form of the Isvam at the end of the seventh chapter and 
in the beginning of the eight chapter of the G-ita is also from 
this point of view. Out of these three methods, our religious 
writers attach a higher importance to the metaphysical 
( adhyatmika ) method of consideration than to others, relying 
on the authority " adlujatma-vidtja vidyunam " (Gi. 10. 32) i. e. 
" the metaphysical science is the highest of all sciences ". But 
in modern times, the meanings of these three words are to a 
certain extent changed and the well-known French 
Materialist Comte * has given the hig hest importan ce 

* Augusts Comte was a groat philosopher who lived in 
France in the last century. Ha wrote a very important book on 
Sociology and has shown for tbo first time how tie constitution of 


to the Positive ( material ) exposition. He says that there is 
no sense in trying to find out the fundamental element, if any, 
which exists at the root of the world ; and in as much as this 
element is always unknowable {agarnya) it is neither possible 
nor proper to found on it the edifice of a science. When the 
aboriginal man for the first time, saw trees, clouds, volcanoes 
and other moving objects, he credulously began to believe that 
they were all deities. According to Comte, this was the 
Theological consideration of the universe. But man very soon 
gave-up this idea and began to think that there must be some 
element in the shape of an Atman in all these objects- 
According to Comte, this is the second stage of the progress of 
human knowledge; and this stage is called by him the 
Metaphysical stage. But when even after considering the 
universe in this way, actual practical scientific knowledge did 
not grow, man ultimately began to examine deeper and deeper 
only the visible properties of the objects in this world ; and on 
that account, man has now begun to exercise greater control 
over the external world, as a result of his having been able to 
invent steam-engines, telegraphs etc. Comte calls this the 
Positive adhibhautika ) consideration and he has come to the 
conclusion that this method of consideration of any science or 
object is the most profitable one. According to Comte, we must 
adopt this method for scientifically considering Sociology or 
the science of Karma-Yoga ; and after a careful consideration 
of the history of the world, this philosopher has drawn the 
following conclusion regarding the science of wordly life, 
from that point of view, namely that: the highest religion of 
society can be scientifically considered. He has come to the 
conclusion after considering numerous sciences, that whichever 
science is taken, the consideration of it is first Theological and then 
Metaphyseal and that, lastly it attains the Positive form. These 
three systems have been respectively given by me the ancient names- 
of ' adhiduwika ' ' adhyatmiia ' and ' adhibhautika ' in this book.. 
Comte has not invented these methods. They are old methods 1 but 
he has fixed a new historical order for them and the only discovery 
made by hiia is that of all tile three, the positive ( adhibhautika ) 
system of consideration is the best. The most important of thc- 
• tvotBb of this writer have been translated into English. 


every human being is to love the whole human race and 
to continually strive for the benefit of everybody. Mill, 
Spencer and other English philosophers may be said to- 
support this opinion. On the other hand, Kant, Haegel, 
Schaupenhaur and other German philosophers, have proved, 
that this positive method of considering Ethics is inefficient, 
and they have recently revived in Europe the method of basing. 
Ethics on Metaphysics adopted by our Vedanta philosophers. 
This matter, however, will be dealt with in greater detail 
later on. 

The reason why different writers have used the different, 
words ' karija ' and ' akarya ' (doable and not-doable), ' dliarnvya " 
and ' adliarnuja ' (moral and immoral) in the meaning of 
' good ' and ' bad ' although they all convey the same meaning, 
is that every one has his own different way or view of dealing; 
with a particular subject-matter. The question of Arjuna was- 
whether or not that war in which he would have to kill 
Bhlsma, Drona, etc., was meritorious (Gi. 2. 7); and if a. 
Materialist had to answer this question, he would have, 
critically considered the palpable profit or loss of it to Arjuna 
personally, as also the results of it on the entire society and 
would have declared whether the fight was just ( nyayya ) or 
unjust ( anijaijya ) ; because, these Materialists do not admit 
of any other test for determining the goodness or badness of 
any particular Action except the material, that is, the actual, 
external results of that Action on the world. But such an 
answer would not have satisfied Arjuna ; his vision was more 
comprehensive ; what he wanted was to know whether that 
war would in the end benefit his Self (atman), not in this 
world alone, but from the next-world point of view. He had 
no doubt as to whether or not he would acquire the kingdom 
or material happiness as a result of the death of Bhlsma 
and Drona or whether his rule would be more benefioial 
to people than the rule of Duryodhana. In short, he had to see 
whether or not what he did was 'dharinya' (moral) or 'adlmrmya' 
(immoral), ' pimya ' (non-sin) or ' papa ' (sin); and the exposition 
in the Gita has been made from that point of view. Not only 
in the Gita but also in other places in the Mahabharata has the 
examination of karma (Action) and alcanna (non-Action)"been 


made from this next-world and Metaphysical point of view and 
in it, the two words 'dharma and 'adharma have been primarily 
used in order to show the goodness or badness of any particular 
act. But as the word 'dharma' and its opposite correlative 
'adharma are likely to create confusion on account of their 
very comprehensive meaning, it is necessary to discuss here in 
greater detail the meanings in which those words have been 
principally used in the science of Karma- Yoga. 

The word 'DHARMA' is in ordinary practice very often 
used to imply only the path leading to next-world happiness. 
When we ask some one "What is your dharma (religion)"? 
our intention is to ask him by what path he goes — whether 
"Vedic, Buddhist, Jain, Christian, Mahomedan or Parsi — for 
acquiring happiness in the .next world ; and the reply which he 
gives is also from the same point of view. In the same way, 
where the subject-matter of the Vedic yajftas and yagas instru- 
mental to the acquisition of heaven is being considered, the 
word 'dharma' is used in the same [meaning, as in the canon 
"ailiuto dliarmajijuUsu" etc. but the word 'dharma is not to be 
understood in such a restricted meaning, and it is very often 
used for indicating the limitations of worldly morality, as in the 
phrases, 'rajarlharma' (the duty of kings), 'praj adharma (the duty 
of subjects), 'desadharma (the duty of a country), ' j natidlmrma 
{the duty pertaining to a caste), ' kuladlmrma' (the duty pertaining 
to clan or family), 'milradharma' (one's duty as a friend) etc. If 
these two meanings of the word 'dharma are to be individually 
explained, the dhurma relating to the life after death may be 
called ' moksadhaniKi ' or simply ' moksa ' and the dharma 
relating to this worldly life, i. e., Ethics may be given the 
name of ' dharma ' simply. For instance, in enumerating the 
four ideals of manhood (puru&rtki), we say 'dharma' (morality), 
J artha' (wealth), 'kTnwt (desire), 'moksa' (Release). If 'mokt-a 
is meant to be included in the first word 'dlianm, then it 
would not be necessary to mention 'moksa' as an independent 
ideal at the end. Therefore, we must say that the writers of 
our scriptures use the word 'dharma in this place as meaning 
the numerous ethical duties -which form part of our worldly 
life. The same meaning is conveyed by the words kartavya- 
karma ( duty ), 'niti' ( Ethics ), ' nitidharma ' ( morality ) or 


"sadacarava' (good conduct) used now-a-days. But in ancient 
Sanskrit treatises, the words ' nili ' or 'nitisastra were used 
principally with reference to regal jurisprudence (rajaniti) and 
therefore, the ordinary exposition of duty (kartainja-karma) or 
good conduct (sad-rar(ana) used to be called the 'exposition of 
dharma (dlmrnvi-prarai'ana) instead of the ' exposition of nlti ' 
( 'niti-pramcana' ). But this technical distinction between the 
two words nlti. ' and ' dharmi ' has not been adopted in all 
Sanskrit treatises; and, therefore, I too, have used the terms 
'nlti', 'Icaiiartja or simply 'dliarmu' as synonymous ; and, where 
the subject of Release (molcsaj has to be considered, I have used 
the independent terms ' adhyutma ' (Metaphysics) or ' bhakti- 
marga (Path of Devotion). The word 'dharma' has appeared on 
numerous occasions in the Mahabharata, and whenever it has 
been said there that a particular person is bound to 
•do a particular thing according to his 'dharma', the 
word 'dharma means ethical science ( kartaiya-sastra ) or 
the then sociology (xamuja-vyaazstha-sustra) ; and wherever 
there has been occasion to refer to the paths leading to next- 
world happiness, in the latter half of the Santi-parva, the 
specific word ' nwkbu-dharnia ' has been used. So also in the 
Manu-Smrti and other Smrti texts, in mentioning the specific 
duties of the four castes, Brahmin, ksatriya, vaisya, and sudra, 
the word 'dharma ' has been used on many occasions and in many 
places ; and even in the Bhagavadglta the word 'dliarnia' has 
been used as meaning ' the duties of the four castes in this 
world ' in the expression " svadlwrmam api caveksya" (Gl. 2. 31 ) 
where the Blessed Lord is telling Arjuna to fight, having 
regard to what his 'dharma' is, and also later on in the expres- 
sion :" svadharme nidlianam sreyah paradliarmo bhayavahah" 
(Gl. 3. 35), i.e., "it is better to die performing one's caste duties ; 
following the duties enjoined on another caste is dangerous ". 
The ancient this had created the institution of the four castes — 
which was in the nature of a division of labour — in order that 
all the affairs of society should go on without a hitch, and that 
society should be protected and maintained on all sides, without 
any particular person or group of persons having to bear the 
whole burden. Later ■ on, people belonging to this sooiety 
".fcecame 'jatimatropajivi' that is "persons, who forgetting their 


respective caste duties, belonged to a particular caste merely by- 
reason of birth." and became mere nominal Brahmins, ksatriyas, 
vaisyas, or sudras ; but let us keep that thing aside for a time. 
Originally, this institution had been made for the maintenance- 
of society and it is quite clear that if any one of the four castes. 
had given up the 'dliarma' i. e., duties allocated to it, or if any 
particular caste had totally ceased to exist and its place had 
not been taken by some other persons, the entire society would to 
that extent have been disabled and would later on have either 
been gradually destroyed or at least have sunk to a very low 
stage. There are numerous societies in the Western hemisphere,- 
which have come to prominence notwithstanding that they do- 
not have the institution of the four castes. But we must not 
forget that although the institution of the four castes may not 
be in existence among them, yet all the duties of the four 
castes are seen being performed in those societies, if not in th& 
shape of castes, at any rate by some other arrangement in the 
shape of professional divisions or classes. In short, when we 
use the word ' dharma ' from the worldly point of view, we- 
consider in what way society will be maintained (dharana) and 
benefited. Manu has said that that ' dharma ' which is- 
'asukhodarka', that is to say, 'from which unhappiness ulti- 
mately results' should be given up (Manu. 4. 176) ; and Bhisma 
says in the Satyanrtodhyaya of the Santiparva (San. 109. 12), 
where the exposition of 'dharma' and 'adiianna ' is made, and 
before that, Sri Krsna also says in the Earnaparva ( Ma. Bha- 
Karna. 69. 59 ), that :- 

dharaifdd dharmam ihj ahar dliarmo dharuyate prajah I 
yat syad dliaraiia sanyuktam sa dharma iti niicayah II; 

that is, " the word Dharma comes from the root dhr, i. e.,. 
to hold or uphold, and all human beings are held together 
by dharma. That by which the holding together (of all human 
beings) takes place is dharma". Therefore, when this dharma 
ceases to be observed, the binding-ropes of society may be said 
to have become loose, and when these binding ropes are 
loosened, society will be in the same position as the planetary 
system consisting of the Sun and the planets would be in the 
sky*without the binding fores of gravitation or as a ship- 


would be on the ocean without a rudder. Therefore, Vyasa in* 
the Bharata gives the advice that, in order that society should 
not come to an end by reaching such a lamentable state, money 
(arthal if it has to be acquired, must be acquired by 'dharma', 
that is, without disturbing the arrangement of society ; and if 
the desires, such as the sex impulses (kama) etc. have to be 
satisfied, that should also be done consistently with 'dharma ' ; . 
and he says at the end of the Bharata that :- 

Urdhvabahur viraumy esah na ca Icascic chrnoti mam I 
dharmad artlias ca kamai ca sa dhanmh lam na sevyate II 
i. e,, "Oh people I am haranguing you with raised hands, (but) ' 
no one listens to me ! if both wealth (artha) and desires (kama) • 
can be acquired by dharma, (then) why do you not follow such 
a dhanna? " My readers will from this understand the chief 
meaning in whioh the word ' dharma ' has been used in the 
expression dharma-sam/u'ta, when the Mahabharata, from the 
point of view of 'dharma', is looked upon as the fifth Veda or- 
dharma-samhita ; and for the same reason, namely, on the 
ground that it is a dharma-grantha, has the Mahabharata been 
included among the religious texts prescribed for daily recital 
in the Brahma-yajfia (ritual for Brahmins) — as is shown by the 
use of the symbolical words : " Narwja-nai'n namaskrtya " — along 
with the two treatises Purva-Mlmamsa and Uttara-Mlmamsa 
(which deal with the question of next- world happiness). 

Reading the exposition made by me above of what is . 
dhanm and what is adharma, some one may object : if you 
accept these principles of 'the maintenance of society' (samaja- 
dmramj and 'general welfare' (surm-bhuta-hitani), as mentioned 
in the second chapter when discussing the question of Truth 
and Falsehood (satyanrta), then there is no difference between 
your point of view and the Materialistic point of view ; because. - 
both these principles are outwardly real, that is Materialistic. 
This question has been dealt with by me in detail in the next 
chapter. For the present, I will only say that although we 
accept maintenance of society as being the chief outward use 
of dhanna, yet we never lose sight of the Redemption of the 
Atman falma-kalyanaj or Release (rholcsa) which is the highest 
ideal according to the Vedic or all other religions and which is 
the special feature of our view-point. Whether it is mainten— 


ance of society or the general material welfare of everybody, if 
these externally useful principles obstruct the Redemption of 
the Atman, we do not want them. If even our works on 
medicine maintain that the medical science is a useful science, 
because it serves as a means for obtaining Release (moksa), by 
protecting the body, then it is absolutely impossible that our 
religious writers would divorce the Karnia-Yoga-Sastra, which 
■ considers the most important subject of the performance of 
various worldly Actions, from the Metaphysical philosophy of 
Release. And therefore, we look upon that Action which is 
favourable to our Metaphysical betterment as 'pumja (reli- 
giously meritorious), 'dharma' (moral), or 'svhlta (good) and 
that which is unfavourable to it, as ' papa ' (sinful), 'adharma 
(immoral), or 'asubhd (bad). It is for this very reason that we 
use the words ' dharma ' and ' adharma ' (notwithstanding that 
they have a double meaning and are to a certain extent ambi- 
guous) in place of the words ' kartavya ' (duty) ' akartavya ' 
(non-duty) and ' karya ' (doable) and ' aluirya ' (non-doable). 
Even when the worldly affairs or activities in the external 
world are primarily to be considered, we consider whether or 
not these activities are conducive to Atmic * benefit, simul- 
taneously with considering their external effects. If a Mate- 
rialist is asked why I should sacrifice my own benefit for the 
benefit of others, what answer can he give except by saying : 
"That is ordinary human nature " ? The writers of our Sastras 
have seen further than this and the science of Karma-Yoga has 
been considered in the Mahabharata from this comprehensive 
Metaphysical standpoint, and Vedanta has for the same reason 
been dealt with in the Bhagavadgita. Even the ancient Greek 
philosophers were of the opinion that one has to take 'the 
greatest benefit' or 'the climax of virtue' as the highest ideal 
of mankind and dealt with the question of the doable and the 
not-doable from that point of view ; and Aristotle has in his 
book on Ethics said that all these things are included in the 
Atmic benefit (1. 7, 8). Yet, Aristotle has not given due 
importance to Atmic benefit. That is not the case with our 
philosophers. They have 'laid down, that Atmic benefit or 
[*TMs word 'Atmic' (i. e., of the 'Atman') has been coined by 
:me on the analogy 'Vedic' Trans.] 


Metaphysical perfection is the first and the highest duty of 
every man ; that the question of the doable and the not-doable ■ 
must be considered on the basis that Atmic benefit is more- 
important than any other benefit; and that, it is not proper 
to consider that question without reference to Metaphysical 
philosophy. The same position seems to have been accepted in 
modern times by some Western philosophers, in dealing with 
the question of the doable and the not-doable. For instance, 
the German philosopher Kant first wrote the metaphysical 
book Critique of Pure Reason, that is, of ' vyavasayatmika ', 
(i.e., pure) ' buddhi ' (i.e., Reason), and subsequently the book 
Critique of Practical Reason, that is, of ' vasanatmaka ' (i.e. 
practical) 'buddhi' (i.e., Reason). * And even in England,. 
Green has started his book entitled Prolegomena to Ethics 
with the consideration of the Atman, which is the bed-rock of 
the entire universe. But, as the works of purely materialistic 
philosophers on Ethics are principally taught in our colleges 
the fundamental principles of the Karma-Yoga mentioned in 
the Gita, are not well understood even by learned persons 
among us, who have had an English education. 

It will be clear from the exposition made by me above 
why we apply the common word ' DHARMA ' chiefly to 
wordly morality or to systems laid down for the maintenance 
of society. Not only in the Sanskrit treatises, Mahabharata 
and Bhagavadglta, but also in vernacular works is the word 
' dharma ' always used as meaning worldly duties or laws- 
We understand the words ktiladliarrna and kidacara as 
synonymous. The Marathi poet, Moropant, has used the word 
' dharma ' in this sense, in describing the incident in the 
Bharata war when Karna had got out of his chariot for raising 
the wheel of his chariot which had sunk into the earth, and 
Arjuna was on the point of killing him. Karna then said : 
" It is not the ethics of warfare (yuddhadliarma) to kill an 
enemy when he is unarmed," and Sri Krsna retaliated by 
reminding him of the previous incidents of the attempted 
* Kant was a German philosopher, and he is looked upon at 
the father of modern philosophy. Two of -his works, the Critique ■ 
of Pure Reason and the Critique of Pratical Reason are well-known.. 
The work written by Green is known as Prolegomena to Ethics. 


•denuding of DraupadI, or the murder of Abhimanyu, when 
alone, by a number of persons, and asking him : "Where was 
then your dharma, Oh, Radhasuta ?' ' with reference to all those 
incidents ; and even in the Mahabharata the word ' dharma' 
has been used in relating this incident in the expression 
" leva te dharmas tada gatah ", i.e., " where did your ' dharma ' 
(morality) go then?", and it is shown that it is morally 
right to give measure for measure to such immoral persons. 
In short, as it has become usual, whether in Sanskrit 
or in Prakrit literature, to use -the word 'dharma' 
as indicating the rules of morality which have been 
laid down by high and reverend persons, with reference to 
various matters, for the maintenance of society, I have 
-adopted the same word in this book. These rules, which 
have been laid down by reverend people (sista) and which 
have become acceptable on all hands and are known as 
' respectable behaviour ' (sistucara), are, from this point of view, 
the root of morality {dharma) ; and therefore, in the 
Mahabharata (Anu. 104. 157) and also in the Smrti treatises 
there are such statements as : ' acaraprabhavo dliarmah ", i.e., 
'" morality springs from custom " or : " acarah paramo dharmah", 
i.e., " rules of custom are the highest morality " (Manu. 1. 108), 
■•or (where the origin of morality is mentioned), "vedah smrtih 
sadacarah svasya ca p, riyarnutmanah ", (Manu. 2. 12), i.e., 'the 
Vedas, the Smrtis, good conduct and that which we ourselves 
•desire." But that is not enough for the science of Karma. 
Yoga, and, as has been stated by me before in the second 
chapter, it is necessary to fully and critically consider what 
■ causes led to a particular acura or code of conduct being fixed. 

We must also here consider another definition of the word 
'' dharma ' which is come across in ancient treatises. This is 
the definition given by the Mimamsa school. That school 
•says : " codanalaksano 'rtho dfuirmah " ( Jai. Su. 1.1. 2 ) 
'' Oodana ' means ' inspiring,' that is, some authoritative person 
rsaying or ordering : " Do this " or " Do not do this ".So long as 
no one has laid down such a limitation or such a limitation 
has not come into existence, bne . is at liberty to do what he 
likes. This means that dharma originally came into existence 
.as a result of suoh limitations, and this definition of morality 


is to a certain extent similar to the opinions of the well-known 
English writer Hobbes. The human being, in the aboriginal 
condition behaved according to the particular frame of mind 
ruling at the time. But when he later on found out that Buoh 
unrestricted behaviour wag not beneficial on the whole, he 
came to the definite conclusion that it was in the best interests 
•of everybody to lay down and observe certain restrictions on 
the self -inspired actions of the organs, and every human being 
began to observe these limitations, which have gained ground 
on account of general acceptance ( sistucara ), or for some other 
reason, as if they were laws ; and when such limitations grew 
in number, they formed themselves into a code. I have 
mentioned in the previous chapter that the institution of 
marriage was not at first in vogue, but was brought into 
existence by Svetaketu, and also that the prohibition against 
drink was first laid down by Sukracarya. In defining the word 
dlmrma as : " codamlaksano 'tiho dliarmah " only the fact of 
such restrictions having been dictated by these law-givers has 
been taken into account and the motives of Svetaketu or of 
.Sukracarya in laying down these limitations has been lost 
sight of. Even in the case of a rule of morality ( dharma ), 
some one first realises its importance and then it is 
promulgated. It is not necessary to ask anyone to eat, drink, 
and make merry, because, those are the inherent tendencies of 
the physical organs. That is what is meant by Manu when he 
says : " na mamsabhaksane doso na madye ivx ca maitlmne " 
■( Manu. 5. 56 ), i. e., '^Eating flesh or drinking wine or 
enjoying sexual intercourse, is not sinful. ", that is, there is 
nothing in them which is contrary to the rules of nature. All 
these things are the inherent desires, not only of ,'men but of 

every living being[ "pravHtir esa bhutanam", i. e., " these are 

the tendencies of created beings ". Morality consists in 
putting proper limitations on an unrestricted course of life 
resulting from passions in the interest of the maintenance 
•of society or of general welfare. Because : — 

Uharanidra bluiyamailhunam ca 

samanyam etat pasubhir nafanam I 

dliarmo hi tesam adhlko visefto 

dharmem hinah pasubhih mmanah II 


i. e. " eating, sleeping, fear, and sexual relations are the? 
heritage of men, same as of animals ; dlianna, ( that is, restrain- 
ing them by rules of morality ), is the difference between man 
and beast ; and those who are not governed by this code of 
morality may be looked upon as beasts. " There is in the 
Santiparva of the Mahabharata, a similar verse ( San. 294. 29 } 
and the verse in the Bhagavata, which prescribes limitations 
on the desires of hunger etc. has been quoted in the previous 
chapter. In the same way what the Blessed Lord is referring 
to, is the nature of morality to lay down limitations on 
unrestricted mental impulses, where in the Bhagavadgita, 
He says to Arjuna : — ■ 

indriyasyendriyasij arthe raga dvesau vvavasthitau I 
tayor m vasam agacchet tau hy asya paripanlhinau II 

i.e. "the attractions and repulsions between the organs of sense 
on the one hand and the various objects which are pleasurable 
or repulsive to them on the other are unchangingly inherent. 
One should not become their slaves, because, both love and hate 
are enemies". The organs of a man urge him to behave like a 
beast, and his intelligence pulls him in the opposite direction. 
'Those persons who redeem themselves by sacrificing the animal 
tendencies rampant in their bodies into the fire of this warfare 
are the true sacrificeTS, and are indeed blessed. 

Call dharma, 'Ucam-prablmva' (born of custom), or call it 
'dharanat' (something which upholds or keeps together), or call 
it 'codanalaksava' (some precept which has been dictated), which- 
ever definition of dharma (worldly morality) is accepted, none 
of them is much, useful for coming to a definite conclusion, 
when«*pne has to decide between what is moral and what 
imnforal. The first definition only tells us what the funda- 
mental form of dharma is! The second definition tells us what 
its external use is, and the third definition tells us that moral 
restrictions were laid down in the beginning by some persons or 
other. Not only is there much difference between customs and 
customs but, as there are numerous consequences of one and the 
same act, and also as the 'cotiana' i.e., precepts of different rsis 
are also different, we have to look out for some other way of 
. determining what the dharma is, when there are doubts in the. 



matter. When Yaksa asked Yudhisthira -what this othe?rt aln 

was, Yudhisthira replied :- ' a "' e 

. It 

tarko 'pratisthah srutayo vibhinnah • 

" ' , 1. o., 

naiko rsir yasya ■vacah pramanam I ,. ^ 

dharmasya tattvam nihitam guhayam f 0T 

mahdjano yena gatah sa, pantluih II \ a ^ 

(Ma.Bha. ¥ana. 312. 115). 

that is : " inferential logic is uncertain, i. e., it is such that if 
will give birth to various inferences according to different 
degrees of keenness of intelligence in me'n ; the Srutis, that iff 
the precepts of the Vadas, are all mutually conflioting ; and,-af 
regards the Smrtis, there is not a single rsi (sage) whose preoepi 
we can look upon as more auftoritative than that of othera 
Well, if we seek the fundamental principle of this^(woil||| 
dharma, it is lost in darkness, that is ; 'tt)»^ 
cannot be understood by a man of i 
Therefggg^bg jgath whi ch"' hW ; 
~._^.,.^ x,^-!^ oidMrma". ; Very\^I^KMf "S-ib'-i^f 

(rmmjanOii't iT SHf ' ; " ' Ul: ^ : ' -^•'^ L 

id to meaii'*a''iai 

pereciBaHMB!^- -Bfecause; fbl 
laM dronby ordinary 
minds are never trout] 
and what is wrong$ 
like " andhenaiva niyct: 
led by the blind ", as* 
interprete the word 
venerable persons'— and 

above verse-^then, .where is there, any >iiniformity1 
behaviour?: The sinless "RamaCaridra "discarded' 
though she had passed through'thte r ciraeal of fire, merely 'o'fl 
ground of public criticism; and the same Ramacandra, 
order that Sugriva should be on his side, entered into an- 
offensive and defensive alliance with him, by making him, 
'tulyarimitra', i. e., ' with common friends and enemies ', and 
killed Vali who had in no way wronged him ! Parasurama. 
murdered his own mother at the behest of his father 1 , mt, 
as regards- the Fandavas, five of them had only one wife ! I 13 ' 


'nsider the gods in the heavens, then some of them are the 

jours of Ahilya, whereas others are seen lying in the sky 

mutilated bodies, being wounded by the arrows of Rudra, 

i Brahmadeva because he ran after his own daughter in 

form of a stag (Ai. Bra. 3. 33). With these things 

e his mind's eye, Bhavabhuti has put the words : 

idhas te na vicaramyacaritah", i.e., "one must not attach too 

Auch importance to the doings of these old people " in the 

iiouth of Lava in the Uttararamaearitra. A writer, who 

"has written in English the history of the Devil, has said 

in his book that if one considers the history of the warfare 

between the supporters of the gods and of the Devil, we see that 

very often the gods (dews) have cheated the non-gods (daityas) ; 

and in the same way, in the IJausitakl-Brahmanopanisad (See, 

Kausi. 3. 1 as also Ai. Bra. 7. 28), Indra says to Pratardana : 

"I have killed Vrtra (although he was a Brahmin) ; I have 

aces the ascetic Arunmukha, and thrown the 

lives ; and, breaking all the various treaties which 

Be by me, I have killed the friends and clansmen 

find also killed the demons named Pauloma and 

yet on that account, " tasya me tatra na loma ca 

I e., " not a hair of my head has been touched ". 

pays : "You have no occasion to consider the evil 

these venerable persons, but, as stated in the 

Taittiriyopanisad ( Taitti. 1. 11. % ), imitate only their good 

actions, and neglect the rest ; for instance, obey your father, 

as was done by Parasurama, but do not kill your mother ", 

■then, the primary question of how good actions are to be 

•differentiated from bad actions again arises. Therefore, after 

laving described his various deeds as mentioned above, Indra 

says to Pratardana : "Bearing in mind that that man who has 

fully Realised his Self is not prejudicially affected by patricide, 

matricide, infanticide, theft, or any other sinful actions, try 

and realise in the first instance what the Atnian is, so that all 

your doubts will be answered" ; and he has thereafter explained 

to Pratardana the science of the Atnian. In short, although 

the precept "nmhajano yena yatah sa panthah" may be easy to 

allow for ordinary persons; yet it does not meet all possible 

ontingencies ; and thoughtful persons have ultimately to enter 


into the Philosophy of the -Atman (atma-jnava) and ascertain 
the true principle underlying the actions of the venerable 
persons (maliajanah), however deep that principle may be. It 
is for this reason that the advice : "m devacaritam caret ".i.e., 
"one must not follow only the external actions of gods", is 
given, Some persons have hit upon an easier way for 
determining the doable and the not-doable. They Bay that 
whatever virtue is taken, we must always take care against 
excess of it, foT such excess turns a virtue into a vice. Charity 
is a virtue; but, " atidanad balir baddkah ", i. e., " because of too 
much charity, Bali was undone ". The well-known Greek 
philosopher Aristotle has in his book on Ethics prescribed the 
same test for distinguishing between the doable and the not- 
doable ; and he has clearly shown how every virtue, in excess, 
is the cause of one's undoing. Even Kalidasa has come to the 
conclusion ( see Raghuvarhsa 17. 47 ) that courage, pure and 
simple, is like the cruel behaviour of an animal like a tiger ; 
and morality, pure and simple, is nothing else but cowardice ; 
and that the king Atithi, used to rule by a judicious admixture 
of the sword and regal jurisprudence. If a man speaks too 
much, he is talkative, if he speaks too little, he is reserved ; if 
he spends too much, he is a spendthrift, if he spends too little, 
he is a miser ; if he is too advanced, he is wayward, and if he 
lags behind, he is a laggard ; if he insists on anything too 
much, he is obstinate, and if he insists too little, he is fickle ; 
if he is too accommodating, he makes himself cheap, and if he 
remains stiff, then he is proud : this is how Bhartrhari and 
•others have described some good and bad qualities. However, 
such a rule of the thumb does not overcome all difficulties, 
because, who is to decide what is 'too much', and what is 
^moderate' ? What may be 'too much' for one or on any parti- 
cular occasion, may be too little for another person or on 
another occasion. Jumping into the firmament at the moment 
of his birth in order to catch hold of the Sun was as nothing to 
Maruti (VS. Rama. 7. 35). Therefore, as the syena bird advised 
the King Sibi, every man, when faced with the discernment 
between the duty (dharmal and the non-duty (adharrna) 
should on every occasion consider the relative merits and 
the importance or unimportance of mutually conflicting duties, 


and intelligently arrive at a conclusion as to the true duty or 
proper Action :— 

avirodhat tu yo dliarmah sa dharmah satyavikrama I 

virodhisu mahlpala itiscitya gurulaghawm I 

na iadha vidyate yatra tarn dharrmni samupaearet II 

(Ma. Bha. Vana. 131. 11. 12 and Manu. 9. 299X 

i. e., "Oh, Satyavikrama 1 that is dharma (duty) in which there 
is no contradiction ; Oh, King !, if there is such a contradiction,, 
then come to a decision as to the relative worth of the act and 
the opposition, and follow that path of duty in which, 
there is no opposition-". But one cannot, on that account 
only, say that the true test of determining the proper 
conduct on a doubtful occasion is to discriminate between the 
duty and the non-duty. Because, as we often see in ordinary 
life, different learned people discriminate in different ways. 
j,o their own lights, and arrive at several different. 
! regards the morality of a particular act ; and this, 
meant by the words, "tarko 'pratisthah " in the. 
Ibove. We must, therefore, now see whether or not 
py other means for arriving at a correct solution of 
Iful points about the duty and the non-duty ; and if 
|ose means are ; and if there are more than one ways,, 
i is the best way of all. This is what science has to 
determine for us. The true characteristic feature of a science- 
is : " anehasamsayocchedi paroksarthasya darsakam ", i. e., " it 
must remove confusion regarding matters which the mind 
cannot at first grasp on account of numerous doubts which 
spring up, and make their meaning free from doubt and easy,, 
and, even give a proper insight into matters which might not. 
be actually before the eyes or which may be matters of the 
future " ; and the fact that by learning astronomy, one can. 
predict the occurrence and the time of future eclipses justifies. 
the words "paroksarthasya darsakam" used in the latter part of 
the above definition. But in order that all these various, 
difficulties should be solved, one has first to see what these, 
difficulties are. And, therefore, ancient as also modern writers, 
before dealing with the subject-matter to ba proved by a science' 
first enumerate all the other existing aspects of the same- 


'subject-matter, and show the faults or insufficiency in them. 
Following this method, I shall, before mentioning the YOGA 
or devioe established or preached in the Gits for determining 
the doability or non-doability. of any . particular Action, first 
consider the more well-known of the other devioes which are 
prescribed by philosophers for the same purpose. ■ It is true 
that thea&'other devices were not very much in vogue in India 
but were promulgated principally by Western philosophers. 
But it cannot, on that account, be said that I shquld not 
^consider them in this book ; because, it is necessary to be 
acquainted- with these other devices, if even to a small extent, 
not only for the purpose of comparison, but also in order to 
understand the true importance of the Metaphysical ( adkyat- 
mika) Karma- Yoga expounded in the Glta. 




duhkhad uddvijate saruah saroasya sukhafit Ipsitam I * 
Mahabhaiata. Santi. 139, 61. 

As we hare seen that stock precepts like : 'mahajano yena 
gatah sa panthah', i. e. 'follow the path which has been followed 
by venerable persons', or, 'aU. sarwtra varjayet', i. e., 'do too- 
much of nothing', do not satisfactorily explain : (J-)' why 
Manu and the other legislators laid down the rules of 'aUfnsa 
satyamasteya' (Non-Violence, Veracity, Not-stealing) ?so., (ii) 
whether those rules are mutable or immutable, (iii) what their 
extent or the fundamental principle underlying them is, and 
(iv) which precept should be followed when two or more of 
them are equally in point and yit conflict with each other, it is 
STneoessary for us to see whether or not there are any 
Tnitft means for properly determining these questions, and 
aging which is the most beneficial or meritorious path of 
J^jVas also, in what way and from what point of view we 
aine the relative importance or the greater or less 
p£, mutually conflicting principles of morality. I have- 
^^^ past chapter explained that there are three ways of 
considering the questions involved in the exposition of Action 
and Non-Action, namely, the Positive, (Mkibkautika), the 
Theological (adhidaivika), and the Metaphysical (adhyatmika), 
just as in the case of the scientific exposition of other matters. 
According to our philosophers the most exoellent of these ways 
is the Metaphysical way. But, as it is necessary to carefully 
consider the other two methods in order to fully understand the 
importance of the Metaphysical method, I have in this ohapter 
first considered the fundamental Materialistic principles under- 
lying the examination of the question of Aotion and Non- 
Action. The positive physical sciences, which have had an 
immense growth in modern times have to deal principally 
with the external or visible properties of tangile objects. 
* that is : — ''Every one is unwilling to suffer pain and every- 
one wants happineBs". 


Therefore, those persons who have spent their lives in studying' 
the physical sciences, or who attach much importance to the 
critical methods particular to these sciences, get into the habit, 
of always considering only the external effects of things ; and 
their philosophical vision being thereby to a certain extent, 
narrowed, they do not, in discussing any particular thing, 
attach much importance to causes which are Metaphysical, or 
intangible, or invisible, or which have reference to the next, 
world. But, although on that account, they leave out of 
consideration the Metaphysical or the next-world point of 
view, yet, as codes of morality are necessary for the satisfactory 
regulation of the mutual relations of human beings and for 
public welfare, even these philosophers, who are indifferent, 
about life after death or who have no faith in intangible or' 
Metaphysical knowledge, ( and also necesssarily no faith in. 
God ), look upon the science of Proper Action (Karma-Yoga) as. 
a most important science ; and, therefore, there has been in the. 
past and there is still going on, a considerable amount of 
discussion in the West, as to whether the science of Proper andi 
Improper Action can be satisfactorily dealt with in th& 
same way as the physical sciences, that is to say, by 
means of arguments based on purely worldly and visible, 
effects. As a result of this discussion, modern Western- 
philosophers have made up their minds that the science of 
Metaphysics is of no use whatsoever for the consideration of 
Ethics, that the goodness or badness of any particular Action, 
must be determined by considering only those of its external 
effects which are actually visible to us, and that we can do so. 
Any act which a man performs, is performed by him either for 
obtaining happiness, or for warding off unhappin3ss. One may 
even say that ' the happiness of all human beings ' is the- 
highest worldly goal, and if the ultimate visible resultant of all 
Action is thus definite, the correct method of deciding Ethical, 
■problems, is to dstermins the moral value of all Actions by 
weighing the greater or lesser possibilities of each Action 
producing happiness or preventing unhappiness. If one judges, 
the goodness or badness of any particular object in ordinary 
life by considering its external usefulness, e. g., if we decide- 
that that cow whioh has short horns and which is dooile, and 


■at the same time gives a large quantity of milk is the best 
flow, then on the sams principle, we must also consider that 
Action as the most meritorious one, from the ethical point of 
view, of which the external result of producing happiness or 
preventing unhappiness is the highest. If it is possible to 
■decade the ethical value of any particular act in such an easy 
■and scientific way, namely, by considering the greater or less 
value of its purely external and visible effects, one should not 
trouble about entering into the discussion of the Self and Non- 
Self (Ufmaruttinal ; "arte cen madhu liiukla kimartliam parvatam 
vrapl "* i. e., "if one can get honey near at hand where he sits, 
then where is the sense of going into the hills to look for 
honey-combs ? " I call this method of determining the 
morality of any particular Action by considering merely its 
external results the ' adlubliautika suk/uivt'ila ' (the Materialistic 
Theory of Happiness), because, the happiness to be considered 
for determining the morality of any Action is, according to 
Litany, actually visible and is external — that is, is such as 
Tom the contact of the organs with external objects, and 
fteiilly Materialistic (UdhibluiiUika) — and this school has 
Ireen brought into existence by those philosophers who 

he world from the purely positive or Materialistic 
(fiew. But, it is not possible to fully discuss this 
this book. It would be necessary to write an 
nt book to even merely summarise the opinions of 
the different writers. I have, therefore, in this chapter collected 
together and given as precisely as possible as much general 
information about this Materialistic school of Ethics as is 
.absolutely necessary for fully understanding the nature and 
importance of the science of Proper Action expounded in the 
Bhagavadgvta. If any one wants to go deeper into the 
matter, he must study the original works of the Western philo- 

'•' 1'ke wotd 'aria' in this atanaa has been .interpreted by some 
as meaning the 'rut' tree (swallow-wart or calotropis gigantea). 
IS nt, in his commentary on the SumkarabliSsya on the Brahma-Sutras 
3, 4, 3, Anandagiri has defined the word 'arks' as meaning 'near.' 
Tha other p&it of this verse is "stidhasy artfiasya mmpraplav k$ 
«idt'«n yuittam-acant" ', i.e., if the desired object is already achieved, 
•what wise man will make further efforts ? 


-gophers. From my statement above, that Materialistic philo- 
sophers are apathetic about the science of the Atman or about 
the next world, one must not draw the conclusion that all the 
learned persons who subscribe to this path, are selfish, self- 
centred or immoral. There belong to this school high-minded 
philosophers like Comte, Spencer, Mill, and others, who 
most earnestly and enthusiastically preached that striving 
for the benefit of the whole world by making at least 
one's worldly outlook as comprehensive as possible (if 
•one does not believe in the next world), is the highest duty 
of every man; and as their works are replete with the most 
noble and deep thoughts, they ought to be read by every one. 
.Although the paths of the science of Proper Action are many, 
.yet, so long as one has not given the go-bye to the external 
ideal of 'the benefit of the world', one must not ridicule a 
^philosopher on the ground that his method of dealing with the 
philosophy of Ethics is different from one's own. I shall now 
.precisely and in their proper order, consider the various divi- 
sions into which the modern or ancient Materialistic philoso- 
phers fall, as a result of differences of opinion between them 
as to whether the external material happiness which has to be 
-considered for determining the ethical propriety or impropriety 
of an action is one's own happiness or the happiness of another, 
.and whether of one person or of several persons; and I shall 
also consider to what extent these opinions are proper or 

The first of these classes is of those who maintain the 
theory of pure selfish happiness. This school of thought says 
■that there is no such thing as life after death or as philan- 
thropy; that all Metaphysical sciences have been written 
by dishonest people to serve their own ends; that the only 
.thing which is real in this world is one's own interest; and 
/that, that act by which this self-interest can be achieved or 
whereby one can promote one's own material happiness is the 
most just, the most proper, and the most meritorious act. 
This opinion was, at a very early date, vociforously proclaimed 
in India by Carvaka. and the mischievous advice given by 
Jabali to Sri Eama at the end of the Ayodhyakanda of the 
JRamayana, as also the Kanikanlti in the Mahabhirata (Ma, 


Bha. A. 143), pertains to this school of thought. The opiniom 

of the illustrious Carvaka was that when the five primordial 

elements are fused together, they acquire the quality of an. 

Atman, and when the body is burnt, the Atman is burnt with. 

it; therefore, a wise man should not bother about the Atman,. 

but should enjoy himself so long as life lasts, even borrowing. 

money for the purpose, if necessary; one should '' mam krtva 

ghrtam pibet ", i. e., "borrow money and drink clarified butter",. 

because there is nothing after death. As Carvaka was born 

in India, he satisfied himself with prescribing the drinking: 

of clarified butter (ghrtam pibet) otherwise, this canon would 

have been transformed into ' math krtva surarh pibet ', i. e., 

'borrow money and drink wine'. This school says: "What 

is this dharma and this charity ? All the objects which have. 

been created in this world by the Paramesvara, — what did I 

say ? I have mads a mistake ! Of course, there is no- 

Paramesvara— all the things which I see in this world have 

oome into existence only for my enjoyment, and as I can see 

no other purpose for them, there is, of course, no such purpose. 

When I am dead, the world is over; and therefore, so long as- 

I am alive, I shall acquire all the various things which can, 

be acquired, acquiring this to-day and that to-morrow, and 

thereby I shall satisfy all my desires. If at all I go in for 

any religious austerity or charity, that will be only to 

inorease my reputation and worth; and if I make a rajastiyct. 

yajna or an asvamedlia yajiia, that too will be for the sole 

purpose of establishing that my power is unchallenged in all 

directions. In short, the EGO, the 'I' is the only focus of 

this world, and this 'I' is the sum and substance of all 

morality; all the rest is false ". The description of godless. 

endowment (asuri sampatti) given in the 16th chapter of the Gits 

in the words: "isvaro 'ham ahcuh bhogi siddhdham balavan 

sukhi " (Gi. 16. 14), i. e., " I am the Isvara, I am the one who 

enjoys, and I am the siddha (perfect), the all-powerful,and the 

happy", applies quite appropriately to the opinions of persons- 

. who follow this philosophy. If instead of Sri Krsna, there had 

been some person like JabaK belonging to this sect for advising 

Arjuna, he would, in the first place, have slapped Arjuna on the- 

face, and then said to him : "What a fool are you ! When yom 


jave without effort got this golden opportunity of fighting and 
conquering everybody and enjoying all kinds of royal enjoy- 
ment and happiness, you are uttering the most foolish things, 
being lost in the futile confusion of 'shall I do this, or shall I do- 
that' ! You will not get such a chance again. What a fool are 
you to think of the Atman and of relatives 1 Strike I and enjoy 
the empire of Hastinapura after having removed all the thorns 
from your path ! In this lies your truest happiness. Is there 
anything in this world except one's visible material happiness 1" 
But, Arjuna was not anxious to hear such a disgustingly 
selfish, purely self-centred, and ungodlike advice ; and he had, 
already in advance, said to Sri Krsna : 

eta?i no, hantum icchami ghnato 'pi MadhusUdana l 
api trmlohjarajuasija lietdh Mm nu mahikrte II 

(Gi. 1. 36). 

that is, "If I had to acquire for myself (by this war), the- 
kingdom even of the three worlds — to say nothing of the- 
kingdom of this world — (that is, such physical pleasures), I do 
not desire for that purpose to kill the Kauravas. I do not 
mind if they slit open my throat". Even a mere reference to- 
this ungodlike self-centred and entirely selfish doctrine of 
material happiness, which Arjuna had, in this way, denounced 
in advance, would amount to a refutation of it. This 
extremely low stage reached by the school of Material 
Happiness, which looks upon one's own physical pleasures 
as the highest ideal of man, and throws religion and 
morality to the winds, and totally disregards what 
happens to other people, has been treated by all writers on 
the science of Proper Action, and even by ordinary people, as 
extremely immoral, objectionable and disdainable. Nay ! , this 
theory does not even deserve the name of Ethics or of an ex- 
position of morality ; and therefore, instead of wasting more 
time in considering this subject, we will now turn to the next 
class of Materialistic philosophers. 

Pure and naked selfishness or self-centredness never suc- 
ceeds in the world; because, although physical and material 
pleasures may be desirable to every one, yet, as is a matter of 
actual experience, if our happiness interferes with the happi- 


mess of others, those others will certainly do us harm. Therefore 
■other Materialistic philosophers maintain that although one's 
happiness or. selfish purposes may be one's goal, yet, in as 
much as it is not possible for one to acquire such happiness, 
unless one makes some sacrifices for other people similar to 
.those one oneself wants from them, one must long-sightedly 
take into account the happiness of others in order to obtain 
-one's own happiness. I put theBe Materialistic philosophers in 
■the second class. It may be said that the Materialistic exposi- 
. tion of Ethics truly begins at this point. Because, instead of 
saying like Carvaka, that no ethical limitations are necessary 
for the maintenance of society, persons belonging to this school 
have made an attempt to explain their own view as to why 
-these limitations must be observed by everybody. These 
people say that, if one minutely consid ers how the theory o f 
Har mlessneBB camTTnto this _world, and why people follow 
that doctrine, there is no other reasonliTthe root "oT~it excep t 
thelear b ased on s elfish consid erations that, ' ifl _ kill others , 
■ otherB will kill me, and then Twill lose my happ iness', andthat 
.all other mora l precepts have come into existence a s a result 
■oft his selfish fear in the same way as this la w of Harm less- 
Jiesg, If we suffer pain, we cry, and if o thers suffer pain, we 
i eel pity for them . But why ? BMaus£the_Jejitha^_we_in 
our turn may have to suf fer th e same pain, that is, of course, 
. theth ought of our jwgsible future unhappin gs~comes to our 
.rninpX Charity, generosity, pity, love, gratefulness, humble- 
ness, friendship, and other qualities which at first sight appear 
to be for the benefit of otheTS are, if we traoe them to their 
.origin, nothing but means of acquiring our own happiness or 
warding off our own unhappiness in another form. Every body- 
soever helps others or gives in charity with the internal 
motive that -if he found himself in the same position, other 
.people should help him; and we love others, only in order 
■that others should love us. At any rate, the selfish idea that 
■other people should call us good is at the back of our minds, 
'The expressions ' doing good to others ' and ' the welfare of 
-others' are words based on confusion of thought. What is 
real, is one's own selfish purpose; and one's own selfish purpose 
.means obtaining one's own happiness or warding off one's own 


Junhappiness. This amount s to saying that a mother suckles* 
i her baby not on~aceount of love, but she does this selfish act' 
in order to~iase herself (as herTr eastiT are full of milk and' 
she feels tbe^mconvenTenceTof the pressure), or in~or3er that 
the" child, after growing up, shOUl fTovFler and" give her 
happiness^ The tact that peopli~of this school of thought , 
' axEflttEat it is neoessary to long-sightedly observe such moral; 
principles as will permit of the happiness of others — though 
that may be for obtaining one's own happiness — is the im- 
portant difference between this school of thought and the 
school of Carvaka. Nevertheless, the idea that a human, 
being is nothing but a statue cast into the mould of selfish 
physical desires, which is the opinion of the Carvaka sohool, 
has been left untouched by this school. This opinion has been 
supported in England by Hobbes and in France by Helvetius. 
But there are not to be found many followers of this school in' 
England or anywhere else. After the exposition of Ethics by 
Hobbes had been published, it was refuted by philosophers like- 
Butler, * who proved that human nature as a whole is not 
absolutely selfish, and that there exist in a human being 
from birth such other qualities as humanity, love, gratitude 
etc., to a greater or less extent, side by side with selfishness ; and', 
therefore, in considering any act or any dealing from the 
ethical point of view, one should instead of considering only 
the qualities of selfishness or even of long-sighted selfishness, 
always consider the two inherent distinct tendencies of human 
beings, namely, 'selfishness', [svartlia) and the 'unselfishness', 
(parurtlia). If even a cruel animal like a tigress is prepared to- 
sacrifice her life for the sake of her eubs, it follows that saying 
that the emotions of love and philanthrophy come into- 
existence in the human mind merely out of selfishness is futile, 
and that weighing between the duty and the non-duty merely 
from the point of view of long-sighted selfishness is 

* The opinion of Hobbes has been given in the book called 
Xeviathan 5 and the opinions of Butler are to be found in his Essay 
called Sermons on Human Nature. M.orrey bas given the summary of 
the book of Helvetius in his (Morley's) book on Diderot, (Volume 

TT. Ohnn VV 


scientifically incorrect. Out ancient writers had not lost sight 
■of the fact that persons, whose intelligence has remained 
"unpuiified on account of their having remained wholly 
engrossed in family life, very often do whatever they do in 
this world for others, only with an eye to their own 
benefit. The saint Tukaram has said : "the daughter-in-law 
•weeps for the mother-in-law, but the motive in her heart 
is quite different " ( Ga. 2583. -2 ) ; and some of our 
philosophers have gone even beyond Helvetius. For 
instance, in commenting on the proposition laid down by Sri 
Sarhkaracarya in -his Brahma-Siitrabhasya (Ve. Su.Sam. Bha. 
%. 2. 3) on the authority of the Gautama-Nyayasutra (1. 1, 18) 
' prawrtana laksaiia dosa\', i. e., 'all human activity, whether 
selfish or unselfish, is faulty', inandgiri says that : " We practis e 
kindness or benevolencD towards others only in order to remove 
that pain" which results from the emotTorTarpity awa^enrngm 
our hearts? 1 This~argumenfoF Anandgiri is "to be found in 
.almraFail our books on the Path of Renunciation, and all that 
is principally attempted to be proved from it is, that all Actions 
are selfish, and, therefore, noa-performable. But in the conver- 
sation betwean Yajnavalkya and his wife Maitieyi, which 
appears twice in the Brhadarariyakopanisad (Br. 2. 4 ; 4. 5), this 
very argument has been made use of in another and a strange 
■way. In answering the question of Maitreyi: "How can one 
acquire immortality ? ", Yajnavalkya says to her : "0 Maitreyi, 
the husbandjsjoyedby the wife, not for the sake of theTfusband, 
but? or thesake of her own atman; in t he same w a^t6e^so"n~"is 
not loveTBy us tor his own sake; we love him for our own sake! * 
'Theiame law applies towealth, animals,liria~aTr61heTo^iicts. 
J utmanastu kamaya sarvpni priyam bhavati', i, e., 'We like all 
things for the sake of our Self (utimn)', and if all love is in 

* "What say you of natural affection ? Is that also a species of 
self-love? Yes; all is self-love. Your children are loved only 
because they are yours. Your friend, for a like reason. And your 
gantry engages you only so far as it has a connection with your- 
self" : this is the way in which Hnme has referred to this line of 
argument in his hook Of lie Dignity or Memnus of Human Nature. 
Hume's own opinion in the matter is different. 


this way based on Self, must we not, in the first place, find 
•out what our Utman (Self) is ? " And, therefore, the concluding 
advice of Yajfiavalkya is; "atma va are drastavyah srotavyo 
mantavyo nidiihyasitavyah" , i. e., "See (first) what the atman 
'(Self) is, hear the -utman, and meditate and contemplate on 
the atman ". When the true form of the Atman has in this 
way baen realised by following this advice, the whole world 
becomes Self-ised {atma-maya), and the distinction between 
selfishness {svHrtlia) and unselfishness (parartha) in the mind 
■ceases to exist. Although this argument of Yajfiavalkya is 
apparently the same as that of Hobbes, yet, as can be easily 
seen, the inferences drawn by them respectively from that 
advice are contrary to each other. Hobbes attaches higher 
importance to selfishness, and, looking upon all philanthrophy 
as long-sighted selfishness, says that there is nothing in this 
world except selfishness; whereas Yajfiavalkya, relying on the 
woT&'sva' (one's own) in the phrase ' svartha' (selfishness), 
■shows, on the authority of that word, that from the Meta- 
physical point of view, all created beings are harmoniously 
■comprised in our Atman and our Atman is likewise harmo- 
niously comprised in all created beings; and he, in that 
way, gets rid of the apparently dualistic (dvaita) conflict 
between the interest of oneself and the interest of others. 
These opinions of Yajfiavalkya and of the school of Eenun- 
ciation will be considered in greater detail later on. I have 
referred here to the opinions of Yajfiavalkya and others only 
for the purpose of showing how our ancient writers have more 
or less praised or accepted as correct the principle that 'the 
■ordinary tendency of human beings is selfish, that' is, is con- 
cerned with their own happiness ', and drawn from it inferences 
which are quite contrary to those drawn by Hobbes. 

Having thus proved that human nature is not purely 
selfish and is not governed wholly by the tanas quality, nor 
totally ungodly (as has been maintained by the English 
writer Hobbes and the French writer Helvetius), and that a 
benevolent (sattvika) mental impulse forms part of human 
nature from birth along with the selfish impulse, and that 
•doing good to others is not long-sighted selfishness, one has 
to give equal importance to the two principles of smrtha, i. e.. 


one's own happiness and parartha, i. e., the happiness of others,, 
in building up the science of the doable and the not-doable 1 
(karyakarya-vyavasthiti). This is the third division of 
Materialistic philosophers. Nevertheless, the Materialistic view- 
that both svartha and parartha deal only with worldly happi- 
ness, and that there is nothing beyond worldly happiness, 
is also held by this school. The only difference is that people' 
who belong to this school consider it their duty to take into- 
account both self-interest (svartha) and other's-interest 
{parartha) in determining questions of morality, because they 
look upon the impulse of doing good to others as, as much an 
inherent impulse, as the selfish impulse. As normally there 
is no conflict between self-interest and other's-interest, all 
the Actions which a man performs are primarily also beneficial- 
to society. If one man accumulates wealth, that ultimately 
benefits the whole society; because, society being a collection-' 
of numerous individuals, if each individual in it benefits 
himself without harming others, that is bound to benefit the 
whole society. Therefore, this school of philosophers has laid' 
down that if one can do good to others without neglecting one's 
own happiness, it is one's duty to do so. But, as this school 
does not admit the superiority of other's-interest and advises 
that one should each time, according to one's own lights,, 
consider whether one's own interests or the interests of others- 
are superior, it is difficult to decide to what extent one should- 
sacrifice one's own happiness for the happiness of others when 
there is a conflict between self-interest and other's-interest,. 
and there is very often a chance of a man falling a prey to 
considerations of his own interests. For instance, if self- 
interest is considered to be as important as other's-interest, it 
is difficult to decide by reference to the doctrines of this school 
of thought, whether or not one should, for the sake of truth,, 
suffer considerable financial loss— to say nothing of the much 
more serious question whether or not one should, for the sake- 
of truth, 'sacrifice one's life or lose one's kingdom. Persons 
belonging to this school may possibly praise a benevolent man 
who sacrifices his life for the advantage of another, but if they 
are themselves faced with a similar situation, these philoso- 
phers, who habitually sit on the two stools of self-interest and.' 


other's-interest, will certainly be dragged towards self-interest. 
This school believes that they do not look upon other's-interest 
as a long-sighted variety of selfishness (as was done by Hobbes), 
but that they minutely weigh self-interest and other's-interest 
in a scale, and very skilfully decide in what self-interest lies; 
and, on that account, they glorify their doctrine by calling it 
the path of ' enlightened ' (udfitta) or 'wise' self-interest (but self- 
interest in any case ! ) * But see what Bhartrhari says :— 

eke satpurusuh pararthaghntakah svarthan parityajya ye I 
sanzanyastu parartham udyamabhrtah svartha 'virodliena ye I 
te'mi mamvarakmsah parahitani svarthaya nighmnti ye I 
-. . yetu ghnanti nirarthakam •parahitam teke na jrmimafie II 
M 1 - (Ni. Sa. 74) 

[that is, "those who do good to others, sacrificing their own 
> interests are the truly good persons ; those who strive for tha ; 
'good of others, without sacrificing self-interest, are ordinary ( 
\ persons; those who harm others, for their self-interest, must be < 
looked upon not as human beings but as godless beings 
(raksasah) ; ' but I do not know how to describe those who are- 
worse than these, that is, those who needlessly harm the 
interests of others". In the same way in describing the most 
exoellent form of regal morality, Kalidasa says : — ""— 

svasuklmnirabhilamh khidyase lokalwloh \ 
pratidimm athava te vrttir evam vidhaiva I! 

(Sakuntala 5. 7). 

that is, "you strive every day for the welfare of others without 
considering your own happiness, or it may be said that such is 
your natural instinct or vocation". Neither Bhartrhari nor 
Kalidasa had to see how to discriminate between Eight Action 
or Wrong Action (karmakarma) or righteousness and unrighte- 
ousness (dkarmadharma) by adopting both the principles of 
self-interest and other's-interest into a science of Right Action 
(Karma-Yoga), and judiciously weighing them. Nevertheless, 

* This is called in English ' enlightened self-interest '. _ I 
have translated the word 'enlightened' into Marathi as ' udaita ' or 



the highest place which has been given by them to persons who 
sacrifice self-interest for other's-tateiest is justifiable even 
from the point of view of Ethics. Persons belonging to 
this school of thought say, that although other 's-interest 
may be superior to self-interest from the philosophical 
point of view, yet, in as much as we have not to consider 
-what ideally pure morality is, but only how 'ordinary' 
persons should act in the ordinary affairs of the world, the 
prominence given by us to 'enlightened self-interest' is proper 
-from the worldly point of view. * But in my opinion, there is 
no sense in this argument. The weights and measures used in 
•commerce are as a rule more or lesB inaccurate ; but if, taking 
•advantage of that fact, the greatest possible accuracy is not 
maintained in the standard weights and measures kept in 
public offices, shall we not blame the persons in authority ? 
The same rule applies to the philosophy of Karma-Yoga. Ethics 
lias been formulated only in order to scientifically define the 
■pure, complete, and constant form of morality ; and, if any 
science of Ethics does not do this, it must be said to be useless. 
•Sidgwick is not wrong in saying that 'enlightened self-interest' 
is the path of ordinary people. Bhartrhari says the game 
thing. But if one examines what the opinion of these ordinary 
people about the highest morality is, it will be seen that, even 
in their opinion, the importance given by Sidgwick to en- 
lightened self-interest is wrong, and the path of spotless 
morality or the path followed by saints, is looked upon by 
them as something much better than the ordinary selfish path; 
and, that is what is intended to be conveyed by the stanzas of 
Bhartrhari quoted above. 

I have so far dealt with the three divisions of the School 
of Material happiness, namely, the purely selfish, the long- 
sighted selfish, and the enlightened selfish (which is both 
the former ones combined), and I have pointed out what the 

* Siigvmk'a Methodt of EthksBookl, 0^ v II 8 2 pp 18 29- 
also Book IV Chap. IV, § 3 p. 474. Sidgwick has no't invented 
this third path ; bat ordinary well-educated English p 00 ple usually 
iollow this path of morality which is also known as 'Common sense 


principal short-comings of their respective systems are. But 
this does not exhaust all the divisions of the Material happi- 
ness school. The next division, that is to say, the best division 
of this school is the one of the henevolent (sattvito) Materialis- 
tic philosophers, who maintain that: one should decide the 
ethical doability or non-doability of all Actions by judiciously 
weighing the Material happiness of not only one human being, 
hut of the entire human race.* It is not possible that one and 
the same act will cause happiness to all persons in the world 
or in a society at one and the same time. If one person looks 
upon a particular thing as productive of happiness, it produces 
unhappiness to another person. But, just as light is not 
considered objectionable on the ground that the owl does not 
like it, so also if a particular thing is not profitable 
to some persons, it cannot be said, even according to the 
Karma- Yoga science, that it is not beneficial to all; and 
on that account, the words 'the happiness of all persons' 
■fsarvabhutahita) have to be understood aB meaning the 'greatest 
happiness (good) of the greatest number'. In short, the opinion 
of this school is that, "we must consider only suoh acts as 
ethically just and fit to be performed, as are conducive to the 
greatest good of the greatest number ; and that, acting in that 
way is the true duty of every human being in this world." This 
doctrine of the school of Material happiness is acceptable to the 
Metaphysical school. Nay, I may even say that this principle 
•was propounded by the Metaphysicians in very ancient times, 
and the Materialistic philosophers have now turned it to use 
in a particular way. It is a well-known fact, as has been 
said by the Saint Tukaram that, " saintly _j£rsons_comeJ2 i 
. life only for the_bene fit of the world; th ey suffer in bod y 
i n order to do good to o thers". Needless to say, there is no 
dispute about the correctness or the propriety of this principle, 
Even 'in the Bhagavadgita, in describing the characteristic 
features of saints (jfianin) who practise the perfect Yoga— 
of course, the Karma- Yoga— the words " sarvabhutahite ratah " 
1. e., " they are engrossed in doing good to all created beings " 
* BeEtham, Mill etc. are the protagonists of this Sohool. I hava 
translated, the words 'greatest good of the greatest number' as the 
^greatest happiness of the greatest number', in this book. 


have been clearly used twice (Gl. 5. 25 ; 12. 4) ; and it becomes-- 
quite clear from the statement from the Mahabharata quoted 
in the second chapter above: "yad bkutahitam atyantam tat 
salytm iti dharana". (Vana 208. 4), i. e., "that is Truth 
according to dharma in which the highest benefit of all lies, "' 
that our ancient writers used to take into account this 
principle in deciding what is just {dharma) and what unjust 
(adharma). But, looking upon the promotion of the welfare- 
of all created beings as the external characteristic feature 
of the conduct of jnamns, and occasionally making use of 
that principle in a broad way for determining what is just 
and what unjust, is something absolutely different from taking, 
for granted that that is the substance of Ethics, and dis- 
regarding everything else, and erecting an immense structure 
of the science of Ethics on that foundation alone. Materialis- 
tic philosophers accept the latter course and maintain that 
Ethics has nothing to do with Metaphysics. It is, therefore, 
necessary for us to see now to what extent they are correct. 
There iB a great deal of difference between the meanings of the 
two words ' happiness '(mkha) and 'benefit'- (i#a); but, although' 
for the moment that difference is not taken into coneideratioa 
and the word ' saroabhutahita ' is taken as meaning 'the greatest 
happiness of the greatest number ', yet it will be seen, that 
numerous important difficulties arise, if we rely only on this 
prinoiple for distinguishing the doable from the not-doable. 
Suppose, a Materialist follower of this principle was advising. 
Arjuna: what would he have told him ? Would he not have 
said: If as a result of your becoming victorious in the 
Bharatiya war, you bring about the greatest happiness of the 
greatest number, then it is your duty to fight, even if you 
might kill Bhisma. Apparently, this advice seems very easy 
But, if we go a little deeper, we realise its insufficiency and 
the difficulties involved in it. 'Greatest number' means 
how much? The Pandava army was of seven aksauUnis 
(a unit for measuring the numbers of soldiers). But, the 
Kaurava army was of eleven aksauhwis. Can one, therefore 
argue that the Pandavas were in the wrong, on the ground 
that if the Pandavas had been defeated these eleven Kaurava. 
akscmhws would have become happy? To decide questions of 


morality merely on the basis of numbers would be wrong.on any 
number of occasions, to say nothing of the Bharatiya war. 
Even in ordinary life everyone believes, that that act whioh 
ipleases even one good man is more truly a good act than the aot 
which gives happiness to a hundred thousand evil-doers. In 
order to justify this belief, the happiness of one saint has to 
be given a higher value than the happiness of a hundred 
thousand evil-doors, and if one does that, the fundamental 
principle that ' the greatest external happiness of the greatest 
number is the only test of morality' becomes, to that extent, 
weak. One has, therefore, to say that numbers have no fixed 
bearing on morality. It must also be borne in mind that 
some thing which is ordinarily considered as productive of 
happiness by all persons is, by a far-sighted person, seen to be 
disadvantageous to all. Take for example the cases of Socrates 
and Jesus Christ. Both of them were preaching to their 
■countrymen what, in their respective opinions, was ultimately 
beneficial. But their eountrymen denounced them as 'enemies 
of society', and put them to death. The people, as also their 
leaders, were acting on the principle of the 'greatest good of 
the greatest number' ; but, we do not now say that what the 
ordinary people then did was just. In short, even if we for a 
moment admit that 'greatest good of the greatest number' is the 
■only fundamental principle of Ethics, yet, we do not thereby 
■solve to any extent the questions, in what lies the happiness of 
millions of persons, how that has to be ascertained, and by 
whom. On ordinary occasions, the task of finding this out 
may be left to those persons whose happiness or unhappiness is 
under consideration. But, as it is not necessary to go so deep 
into the matter on ordinary occasions, and, as ordinary persons 
do not possess the mental grasp to understand and decide fault- 
lessly in what their happiness lies on extraordinary and 
■difficult occasions, putting into the hands of such uneducated 
persons the solitary ethical principle of 'the greatest good of 
the greatest number' js like placing a fire-brand into the hands 
■of an evil spirit, as is apparent from the illustrations of the 
*wo leaders given above. There is no sense in the repartee : 
"Our ethical principle is correct ; what can we do if ignorant 
ipersons have WTongly applied it ? " Because, although the 


principle may be correct, one must at the same time explain 
who are the proper persons to give effect to it, and when and} 
how these persons do so, and other similar limitations of the 
principle. Otherwise, ordinary people will needlessly indulge 
in the fond belief that they are as capable of determining 
questions of morality as Socrates, and serious consequences are 
likely to follow. 

This theory is open to other objections which are more 
serious than the two objections : (i) questions of morality 
cannot be properly decided by reference to numbers alone and 
(ii) there is no definite external measure for logically proving 
in what lies the greatest good of the greatest number, which I 
have mentioned above. For instance, only a little considera- 
tion will show that it is very often impossible to fully and 
satisfactorily decide whether a particular Action is just or 
unjust by considering merely its external effects. It is true- 
that we decide whether a particular watch is good or bad, by 
seeing whether or not it shows correct time ; but before applying 
this rule to human actions, one must bear in mind, that man 
is not merely a watch or a machine. It is true that all saints 
strive for the benefit of the world. But we cannot draw the 
definite converse conclusion that every person who strives for 
the benefit of the world must be a saint. One must also see 
what that man's frame of mind is. This is the great difference 
between a man and a machine ; and therefore, if some one 
commits a crime unintentionally or by mistake, it is legally 
considered a pardonable offence. In short, we cannot arrive at 
a correot decision as to whether a particular act is good or bad,, 
just or unjust, or moral or immoral by considering merely its 
external result or effect, that is, by considering whether or not 
that act will produce the greatest good of the greatest number. 
One has also necessarily to consider at the same time, the 
reason, the desire, or the motive of the doer of the act. There 
was once an occasion to construct a tramway for the benefit 
and happiness of all the citizens of a big city in America. 
But there were delays in obtaining the requisite sanction from 
the proper authorities. Thereupon, the direotors of the tramway 
company gave a bribe to the persons in authority, and 
the necessary sanction was immediately obtained ; and, the 


construction of the tramway being complete soon afterwards,, 
all the people in the city were in consequenoe considerably 
convenienoed and benefited. Some time after that, the bribery- 
was found out, and the manager of the tramway was criminally 
prosecuted. There was no unanimity in the first jury, so a second, 
jury was empanelled and the second jury having found the 
manager guilty, he was convicted. In such a case, the prin- 
ciple of the greatest good of the greatest number is useless 
by itself. The external effect of the bribery, namely, that, 
the tramway came to be constructed because the bribe 
was given, was the greatest good of the greatest number r 
yet, on that account, the fact that the bribe was given does 
not become legal* Though the external effects of the two 
several acts of giving in charity desirelessly in the belief, 
that it is one's duty to do so (datavyam), and of giving iru 
charity for the sake of reputation or for some other purpose- 
are the same, yet, even the Bhagavadgita distinguishes between, 
the two by saying, that the first gift is satlvilm (benevolent) 
and that the second gift is rajasa (desire-prompted) (Gi. 17, 
20-23); and the same gift, if made to an unworthy person 
is said to be tamasa and objectionable. Even ordinary 
people consider a poor man's giving a few pies for a charitable: 
purpose as of the same moral value, as the gift of a hundred 
rupees by a rich man. But, if the matter be considered by an. 
external test like ' the greatest good of the greatest number ', 
we will have to say that these two gifts are not of the same 
moral value. The great drawback of the Materialistic ethical 
principle of the ' greatest good of the greatest number ' is, that, 
it does not attach any importance to the motive or the reason, 
of the doer, and if one says that the inner motive has to be 
taken into account, then the fundamental condition of the 
greatest external good of the greatest number being the only 
test of morality is not satisfied. As the Legislative Council or 
Assembly is a collection of many individuals, it is not 
necessary to ascertain what the state of their conscience was, 
when we consider whether or not the laws made by them are- 
proper; and it is enough if one considers only the external 

* This illustration is taken from the book, Th Ethical Problem 
of Dr. Paul darns, (pp. 58 and 69, 2nd Edition). 


aspect of the laws, namely, whether or not the greatest good 
of the greatest number will result from them. But, as will be 
clear from the illustrations given above, the same test does not 
apply to other oases. I do not say that the principle of 'the 
greatest good or happiness of tha greatest number' is utterly 
useless. One cannot have a more excellent principle for con- 
sidering external matters; but in considering whether a parti- 
cular thing is morally just or unjust, it is very often necessary 
to consider several other things besides this external principle ; 
and therefore, one cannot safely depend on this principle alone 
for determining questions of morality ; and all that I say is, 
that it is necessary to ascertain and fix upon some principle, 
more definite and faultless than this. The same moral is 
conveyed by the statement : "The Reason (buddhi) is of 
greater importance than the Action" (Gl. 2. 49), made in the 
very beginning of the Gita. If one considers only the external 
Action, it is often misleading. It is not impossible for a man 
to be subject to excessive anger, notwithstanding that he 
continues to perform his external Actions of religious austeri- 
ties. But on the other hand, if the heart is pure, the external 
act becomes immaterial, and the religious or moral value of 
■an insignificant external act like the giving of dried boiled rice 
by Sudama to Sri Krsna is considered by people to be as great 
as the public distribution of tons of food, which will give great 
happiness to a great number. Therefore, the well-known German 
philosopher Kant * has treated the weighing of the external 
and visible effects of an act as of minor importance and has 
started his exposition of Ethics witn a consideration of the 
jurity of mind of the doer. It is not that this shortcoming of 
the Materialistic theory of happiness was not noticed by the 
-principal supporters of that theory. Hume has clearly said 
-that in as much as the acts of a person are considered a test 
•of his morality as being the index of his disposition, it 
is impossible to decide that they are praiseworthy or 
unworthy merely from their external effects ; t and even Mill 
* Kant's Theory of Ethics (Trail, by Abbott) 6th Ed. p7o\ 
) ''For as actions are objects of our moral sentiment, so far 
«raly aa they are indications of the internal character pa9Bions, 
and affections, it is impossible that they can give rise either to 


accepts the position that 'the morality of any act depends 
entirely upon the motive of the doer, that is to say, upon the 
reasoning on which he bases that act. ' But, in order to 
■support his own point of view, Mill has added a rider to this 
principle that, ' so long as the external act is the same, its 
moral value remains the same, whatever may have been 
.the desire which prompted it '. * This argument of Mill is 
only doctrinal. Because, if the Reason (buddhi) is different, 
then, though two acts may be the same in appearance, yet 
they can never have the same value essentially. And Green, 
therefore, objects that the limitation : ' so long as there is no 
difference in the (external) act ' etc. laid down by Mill, itself 
falls to the ground t. The same is the opinion expressed in 
the Gita. Because, the Gita says that even if two persons 
have given the same amounts for the same charitable purpose — 
that is, even when their external act is just the same — it is 
possible that one gift will be aattoika, and the other one will 
be rujasa or even tamasa if the two persons have different 
reasons for the gift. But I shall deal in greater detail with 
this question later on, when I compare the Eastern and the 
Western opinions in the matter. All that I have to prove 
at the moment is, that even this refined form of the 
Materialistic theory of happiness, — which depends only on 
the external results of an Action — falls short on the mark 
in determining questions of morality; and Mill's admission 
quoted above is, in my opinion, the best possible proof of 
that fact. 

praise or blame, where they proceed not from these principles but 
are derived altogether from external objects". Hnme's Inquiry 
■concerning Human Understanding. Section VIII Part II ( p. 368 of 
Hume's Essays. The World Library Edition ). 

* 'Morality of the action depends entirely upon the inten- 
tion, that is, upon what the agent mils to do'. But the motive, 
that is, the feeling which makes him will so to do, when it makes 
no difference in the act, makes none in the morality. " 

Mill's Utilitarianism p. 39 (27 f). 

| Green's 'Prolegomena to Ethics' § 292 Note. p. 348 (5th 
Cheaper Ed.). 


The greatest drawback of the theory of 'the greatest 
good of the greatest number' is that it does not take into 
consideration the Beason (buddlti) of the doer. Because, the 
writings of Mill himself show that, even if his arguments- 
are accepted, this principle of determining questions of: 
morality merely by external results, is applicable only within- 
specified limits, that is, is one-sided, and cannot be equally 
applied to all cases. But, there is a further objection to 
this theory, namely that, as the entire argument of the 
theory has been developed on the basis that other 's-interest is. 
superior to self-interest, without explaining why or how it is- 
so, the theory of 'enlightened self-interest' gets a chance 
of pushing itself forward. If both self-interest and other's- 
interest have come into existence with man, why should one 
look upon the good of the greatest number as more important 
than one's own interest ? The answer, that other's interest 
should be protected because it involves the greatest good of the 
greatest number is not satisfactory ; because the question itself 
is why I should bring about the greatest good of the greatest 
number. It is true that this question does not always arise, 
since one's interest, as a general rule, lies in promoting the 
interests of others. But, the difference between this last and 
fourth stage of the Materialistic theory of happiness and its- 
third stage is, that the followers of this last school believe that 
where there is a conflict between self-interest and other 's- 
interest, the duty of everybody is to sacrifice self-interest and 
to strive for other's-interest, instead of following the path of 
'enlightened self-interest.' Is not some explanation due in 
support of this particular feature of this Materialistic theory of 
happiness ? As "one learned Materialistic philosopher belonging 
to this school realised this difficulty, he has examined the 
activities of all living beings, from the minutest organisms to 
the human race, and come to the conclusion that in as much as 
the quality of maintaining one's own progeny or community 
just as one maintains oneself, and of helping one's fellows 
as much as possible without harming any one, is to be seen 
being gradually mora and more developed from the stage of 
minute organisms to the human race, we must say that that is. 
the principle feature of the mode of life of the living world- 


This feature is firstly noticed in the living world in the pro- 
duction of progeny and protecting it. In those minute 
organisms in which the difference of the sexes has not been 
developed, the body of one organism is seen to grow until it 
breaks into two organisms ; or, it may even be said, that this 
minute organism sacrifices its own life for the sate of its 
progeny, that is to say, for the sake of another. In the same 
way, animals of both sexes in grades of life higher than that of 
these organisms, are seen to willingly sacrifice their own 
interests in the living world for the maintenance of their 
progeny; and this quality is seen to be always growing; so- 
that, even in the most aboriginal societies, man is seen 
willingly helping, not only his own progeny, but also his tribe; 
and therefore, the highest duty in this world of man, who is 
the crown jewel of the living world, is to attempt to perma- 
nently do away with the present apparent conflict between 
self-interest and other's-interest by further developing this ten- 
dency of created beings of finding happiness in other's-interest 
as if it was self-interest, which is observed to become stronger 
and stronger in the rising grades of creation.* This argument 
is correct. There is nothing new in the prinoiple that, as the 
virtue of philanthrophy is to be seen even in the dumb world, 
in the shape of protection of progeny, it is the highest duty of 
enlightened man to carry that virtue to its perfection. Only,. 
aB the knowledge of the material sciences has now considerably 
increased, it is now possible to develops more systematically 
the Materialistic demonstration of this principle. Although 
the point of view of our philosophers was Metaphysical,, 
yet, it has been stated in our ancient treatises that : 

asladasa puranSnam saram. saram samuddhrtam l 
paropakarah punyaya papaya parapidartam II 

that is, "doing good to others is meritorious, and doing harm, 
to others, sinful ; this is the sum and substance of the eighteen 

* This argument is to be found in the Data of Ethics written by 
Spencer. Spencer has explained the difference between his opinions 
and the opinions of Mill in his letters to Mill, and this bouk con- 
tains extracts from this correspondence. See pp 57 and 123. Also- 
see Bain's Mental and Moral Science, pp. 721 and 722, (Ed. 1875;. 


^Puranas" ; and, even Bhartrhari says that : "svartho yasya 

parartha em sa puman ekah satam agranih", i. e., "that man with 

whom other's-interest has become self-interest is the best of 

good men". But, when we consider the scale of life gradually 

rising from the minutest organisms to the human race, another 

• question also arises, namely : is the virtue of philanthrophy the 

only virtue which has been fully developed in the human race, 

■ or have other benevolent (sattvika) virtues, such as justice, 

.kindness, wisdom, far-sightedness, logic, courage, perseverance, 

forgiveness, control of the organs, etc., also been developed in 

.man ? When one thinks of this, one has to say that all virtues 

.have been more fully developed in the human race than in 

any other living being. We will for the present refer to this 

aggregate of sattvika qualities as 'humanness'. When in this 

-way 'humanness' is seen to be superior to philanthrophy, one 

has, in determining the propriety or impropriety or the 

morality of any particular Action, to examine that Action 

from the point of view of its 'humanness' — that is, from the 

ipoint of view of all those various qualities which are seen to 

be more developed in the human race than in other living 

beings— rather than from the point of view of its philanthropi- 

.calness. We must, therefore, come to the conclusion, that it is 

better to call that Action alone virtuous, ot to say that that 

alone is morality, which will enhance the state of being human 

or the 'humanness', of all human beings, or which will be 

■ consistent with the dignity of such 'humanness', instead of 

merely relying on the virtue of philanthrophy, and somehow or 

other getting rid of the matter. And when one accepts this 

comprehensive view-point, the consideration of 'the greatest 

good of the greatest number', becomes only an insignificant 

part of such view-point, and the doctrine that the righteousness 

or unrighteousness of all Actions has to be tested only by that 

test falls to the ground, and we see that we have also to take 

'humanness' into account. And when one considers minutely 

in what 'humanness', or 'the state of being human' consists, 

vthe question "atma va are drastavyah" naturally crops up, as 

stated by Yajfiavalkya. An Amerioan writer, who has written 

-an exposition of Ethics, has given this comprenensive quality 

■of 'humanness' the name of 'Atma'. 


From what has been stated above, one will see how even 
"the upholders of the theory of Material happiness have to rise 
from the lowest stage of pure selfishness or pure physical 
happiness of one's self to the higher stage of philanthrophy, 
and ultimately to that of humanness. But, as even in the 
idea of humanness, the upholders of the Material happiness 
theory attach importance solely to the external physical 
happiness of all human beings, even this final stage of 
Materialism, which disregards internal purity and internal 
happiness, is not flawless in the eyes of our Metaphysicians. 
Although we may accept in a general way that the whole 
struggle of mankind is directed towards obtaining happiness 
or preventing unhappiness, yet, until one has in the first place 
satisfactorily solved the question as to whether true and 
permanent happiness is material, that is, lies in the enjoyment 
of worldly physical pleasure or in something else, one cannot 
accept as correct any Materialistic theory. Even Materialistic 
philosophers admit that mental happiness stands on a higher 
footing than physical happiness. If one promises to a human 
being all the happiness which it is possible for a beast to enjoy, 
and asks him whether he is prepared to become a beast, not a 
single human being will say yes. In the same way, an 
intelligent person need not be told that that particular 
peace of mind which results from deep meditation on 
philosophical problems is a thousand times better than 
material wealth, or the enjoyment of external pleasures. And 
even considering the general opinion on the matter, it will 
be seen that people do » not 'accept as wholly correct 
the doctrines that morality depends on numbers, that 
whatever a human being does is for Material happiness, and 
that Material happiness is the highest ideal of a human 
being. We believe that the humanness of a human being 
lies in possessing such an amount of mental control as to 
be able to sacrifice external happiness and even one's own 
life in order to act up to such moral principles as Veracity 
etc., which are of greater importance than life or external 
happiness from the Metaphysical point of View; and also- 
Arjuna had not asked Sri Krsna how much happiness would' 
result to how many persons by his taking part in the war,. 


hut he had said: "Tell me in what lies my highest benefit, 
that is the highest benefit of my Atman" (Gi. 2. 7; 3. 2). 
This constant benefit or happiness of the Atman lies in the 
peace {sanfi) of the Atman; and it is stated in the Brhadaranya- 
kopanisad (Br. 2. 4. 2) that however much of material happi- 
ness or wealth one might obtain, there is no hope of obtaining 
by that alone the happiness or peaoe of the Atman — 
"amrtatvasya tu nasasti vittena"; and in the Kathopanisad, 
it is stated that although Death (Mrtyu) was ready to bestow 
on Naciketa, sons, grand-sons, animals, grain, . money and 
other kinds of material wealth, he gave to Mrtyu the definite 
leply : " I want th e know ledge of the Atman, I do not want 
wealth"; and after differentiating between 'preya', i, e., that 
worldly happinesB which is pleasing to the organs, and 
4 sreya ', i. e. the true benefit of the Atman, it is stated : — 

sreyas ca preyas ca manusyam etas 

tau samparitya vivinakti dhirah I 
sreyo hi dhiro 'bHpreyaso vrrate 

preyo mamdo yogaksemad vrtfite II 

(Katha. 1. 2. 2) 

fthat is, " when man is faced with 'preya' (trans ient external 
plea sure of t he organs) antPsra/q' (true and permanent benefit), 
Tie elects betw een the two. He who is wise prefers sreya to 
jtreya, and the weak-minded man prefers preya, that isrexternal 
"Egpin^Lioi^l? 11 ^ °^ *^ e Atman". It i s, the refore, - not 
■correct to believe that trie highest goal of man in JhjT world js 
theJpEysicaT happiness 'obtainable through theTorgans in 
worldly life^and that whatever a man does~is~do'ne~by him 
^merely fbr^the sake of obtaining' eiternalTTihat'^s, Material 
happiness or for preventing unhappines^ 

Not dnlyTTthe internal happiness obtainable through 
Reason, or Metaphysical happiness of greater worth than the 
-external happiness obtained through the medium of the organs, 
but the physical pleasure which exists to-day comes to an end 
to-morrow, i. e., is transient. The same is not the case with 
rules of Ethics. Non-violence, Veracity and other moral 
principles are looked upon by people as independent of external 


circumstances, that is, of external happiness or unhappiness 
and as being constant in their application at all times and 
in all circumstances, that is to say, they axe looked upon as 
permanent by everybody. Materialism cannot satisfactorily 
explain the reason why moral principles have this permanence 
which does not depend on external matters, nor how it comes 
into existence. For, whatever general doctrine is laid down by 
reference to happiness or unhappiness in the external world, 
yet, in as much as all happiness or unhappiness is inherently 
transient, all doctrines of morality founded on such a transient 
foundation are equally weak, i.e., non-permanent; and, on that 
account, the ever-lasting permanence of the law of Truth seen 
in one's being ready to sacrifice one's life in the interests of 
Truth, irrespective of considerations of happiness or unhappi- 
ness, cannot be based on the doctrine of the ' greatest happi- 
ness of the greatest number'. Some persons advance the 
argument, that if in ordinary life even responsible persons 
are seen taking shelter behind falsehood when faced with the 
problem of sacrificing their lives, and if we see, that in suoh 
Bircumstances even philosophers are not punctillious, then it 
is not necessary to look upon the religion of Truth etc, as 
aternal; but this argument is not correct. Because, even those 
people who have not got the moral courage or do not find it 
Bonvenient to sacrifice their lives for the sake of Truth, admit 
by their own mouths the eternal nature of this principle of 
morality. On this account, in the Mahabharata, after all 
she rules of ordinary life which lead to the acquisition of 
wealth (artha), desires (kama) etc have been dealt with, 
Vyasa ultimately in the Bharata-Savitri, (and also in the 
Viduranlti), has given to everybody the following advice 
namely :— 

na jatu teaman na bkayan no. lobhad 

dharmam tyajed jivitasyapilietoh I 
dharmo nityah sukhaduhkhe to anitye 

jivo nityoh hetur asya tv a?utyah " II 

(Ma. Bha. Sva. 5. 6; U. 39.13, 13), 

that is : " although happiness and unhappiness is transient, yet 
norality is constant: therefore, one should not abandon moral 


principles, whether for desire of happiness or out of fear, or 
avarice, or even if life itself is threatened. Life is funda- 
mentally eternal and its objects, such as, happiness, or un. 
happiness, etc, are t ransien t. " And that, therefore, instead 
of wasting time in thinking of transient happiness or un, 
happiness, one should link eternal life with eternal religion. 
In order to see how far this advice of Vyasa is correct, we 
have now to consider the true nature of happiness and un- 
happiness and to see what permanent happiness is. 




mkham atyantikam yat tat buddHgrahjam atindriyam I * 

Gita. 6. 21. 

Our philosophers have accepted the position that every 
human being in this world is continually struggling in order 
to obtain happiness, or to increase the amount of happiness 
which he has obtained, or to obviate or reduce his unhappiness. 
In the Santiparva, Bhrgu says the Bharadvaja (Ma. Bha. San. 
190. 9) that :-"iha khdu amumims ca loke vastupravrttayak 
sukhartham abMdhlyante na hy atahparam visistataram asli", 
i. e., "in this world or elsewhere, all activity is for obtaining: 
happiness, there is no other goal except this for dharma, artfoa, 
or kama." But, our philosophers say, though a man is suddenly 
seized by the hand of death, while he is grabbing a false coin in 
the belief that it is true because he does not understand in what 
true happiness lies, or while he is spending his life in the hope 
that happiness will come sometime or other, his neighbour does, 
not become any the wiser on that account, and follows the 
same mode of life ; and the cycle of life goes on in this way, 
nobsdy troubling to think in what true and permanent 
happiness lies. There is a great deal of difference between the 
opinions of Eastern and Western philosophers as to whether 
life consists only of unhappiness, or is principally happy or 
principally unhappy. Nevertheless, there is no difference of 
opinion about the fact that whichever position is accepted, the 
advantage of a man lies in obtaining the highest measure of 
happiness by preventing unhappiness to the greatest possible 
extent. The words 'Mtarn' (advantage), or 'sreyas' (merit), or 
'kdyanam' (benefit) are ordinarily more often used than the word 
'sukham' (happiness) ; and I shall later on explain what the 
difference between them is. Yet, if one takes for granted that 
the word ' happiness ' inc ludes all kinds of benefits, then the 
* "That happiness is the most beatific happiness which 
being obtainable only by means of Reason Ibuddfii). is inilfmnnrlont 
of the organs (indriyavi)." 


proposition that ordinarily every human being strives to obtain 
happiness may be said to be generally accepted. But, on that 
account, the definitions of pain and happiness given in the 
Parasaraglta included in the . Mahabharata, (Ma. Bha. San. 
295. 27) namely : "yad istam tat sukham prahuh dvesyam duhkham 
ihesyate", i. e., "that which is desired by us is happiness, and 
that which we dislike, or which we do not desire is unhappi- 
ness", do not become entirely faultless from the philosophical 
point of view. Because, the word 'ista' in this definition car. 
also be interpreted to mean 'a desirable thing or object'; and. jf 
that meaning is accepted, one will have to refer to a desirable 
object as 'happiness'. For example, although we might desire 
water when we are thirsty, yet water, which is an external 
object, cannot be called 'happiness'. If tbii were so, one will 
have to say that a person who is frowned in the waters of a 
river, has been drowned in happiness I That organic satis- 
faction which results from the drinking of water is happiness. 
It is true that men desire this satisfaction of the organs or this 
happiness, but we cannot, on that account, lay down the broad 
proposition, that all that is desirable must be happiness. 
Therefore, the Nyaya school haB given the two definitions: 
"anukulavedanlyam sukham", i. e., "desirable suffering is 
"happiness ", and "pratikulavedaniyam duhkham' ', i.e., "undesirable 
suffering is unhappiness", and it has treated both pain and 
"happiness as some kind of suffering. As these sufferings are 
fundamental, that is to say, as they start from the moment of 
hirth, and as they can be realised only by experience, it is not 
possible to give better definitions of pain or happiness than 
these given by the Nyaya school. It is not that these sufferings 
in the shape of pain and happiness result only from human 
activity; but, sometimes the anger of deities gives rise to 
intractable diseases, and men have to suffer the resulting 
•unhappiness ; therefore, in treatises on Vedanta, this pain and 
"happiness is usually divided into 'adhidamka' (god-given), 
'adhibhautika' (physical), and ' adhyatmika' (metaphysical). 
Out of these, that pain or happiness which we suffer as a result 
of the blessings or the anger of deities is known as ' adhidmvika ', 
and that pain or happiness, in the shape of warmth or cold, 
which results from the contact of the human organs with the 


external objects in the world composed of the five primordial 
elements (such as the earth etc.), is called ' adhibhautika'; and 
all pain and happiness which arises without any such external 
contact, is called 'adhyatmika'. When this classification of pain 
and happiness is accepted, pain, like fever etc., when it results 
from the disturbance of the internal ratio of wind, bile etc. in 
the body, and the peaceful health, which results from that inter- 
nal ratio being correct, fall into the category of Metaphysical 
(adhyatmika,) pain and happiness. Because, although this pain 
and happiness is bodily, that is to say, although it pertains to 
the gross body made up of the five primordial elements, yet, we 
cannot always say that it is due to the contact of the body with 
external objects. And therefore, even Metaphysical pain and 
happiness have, according to Vedanta philosophy, to be further 
sub-divided into bodily-metaphysical, and mental-metaphysical 
pain and happiness. But, if pain and happiness is, in 
this way further divided into bodily and mental divisions, 
it is no more necessary to recognise the adhidaivika pain and 
happiness as a distinct class. Because, as is clear, the pain 
or happiness which arises as a result of the blessings or the 
anger of deities, has ultimately to be borne by man through 
his body or through his mind. I have, therefore, not followed 
the three-fold division of pain and happiness made in Vedanta 
-terminology, but have adopted only the two divisions, external 
or bodily {bahya or sarir), and internal or mental (abhyantara 
or minasika); and I have in this book called all bodily pain 
.and happiness 'adhibhautika' (physical) and all mental pain 
.and happiness ' adhyatmika ' (Metaphysical). I have not made 
.a third division of adhidaivika ( god-given ) pain and happiness, 
as has been done in books on Vedanta philosophy, because, 
in my opinion, this two-fold classification is more convenient 
for dealing scientifically with the question of pain and happi- 
ness; and this difference between the Vedanta terminology 
and my terminology must be continually borne in mind in 
reading the following pages. 

Whether we look upon pain and happiness as of two 
kinds or of three kinds, nobody wants pain; therefore, it is 
stated both in the Vedanta and the Sarhkhya philosophies 
(Sam. Ka. 1: Gl. 6. 21, 22), that preventing every kind of 
pain to the greatest possible extent, and obtaining the utter- 


mast and. the permanent happines is the highest goal' of niam 
When in this way, the uttermost happiness has become to 
highest goal of man, we have naturally to consider tlw 
questions: what is to be called the uttermost, the real, and' 
the permanent happiness, whether or not it is possible to> 
obtain it, and if so, when and how it can be obtained etc.; 
and when you begin to consider these questions, the nest 
question which arises is, whether pain and happiness are 
two independent and different kinds of sufferings, experiences, 
or things, as defined by the Nyaya School, or whether the. 
absence of the one can be referred to as the other, on the 
principle that ' that which is not light, is darkness '. After 

'"saying that : " When our mouth becomes dry on account of 
thirst, we drink sweet water in order to remove that un- 
happiness; when we suffer on account of hunger, we eat nice 
food in order to alleviate that suffering ; and, when the sexuali 
desire is roused and becomes unbearable, we satisfy it by 
sexual intercourse with a woman "j Bhartrhari in the lastj 

~ line of the stanza saysr- 

pratikdro vyadheh. sukham Hi viparyasyati japak I 

that is, " when any disease or unhappiness _has_J>e£ alien, 
you, the_ removal of it^^y^wrWswiTdf thought, referred- 
to^ai^happiness 1 """! There is no such independent" thing as- 
happiness ^which goes beyond the removal of unhappiness. 
It is not that this rule applies only to the selfish activities 
of men. I have in the last chapter referred to the opinion 
of Anandagiri, that even in the matter of doing good to others, 
the feeling of pity invoked in our hearts on seeing the un- 
happiness of another becomes unbearable to us, and we do- 
the good to others only in order to remove this our suffering 
in the shape of our being unable to bear it. If we accept 
this position, we will have to accept as correct the definitions 
of pain and happiness given in Mahabharata in one place,, 
namely : — 

tTStiaiiiprdbhavam duhkham duhkhartiprabhavarh sukham I 
(San. 25. 22; 174. 19). 
that is, "some Thirst first comes into existence; on account 
Of the suffering caused by that Thirst, unhappiness comes 


into existence; and from the suffering caused by that un- 
happiness, happiness subsequently follows". In short, 
according to these philosophers, when some Hope, Desire, or, 
Thirst has first entered the human mind, man thereby begins 
to suffer pain, and the removal of that pain is called happiness,; 
happiness is not some independent thing. Nay, this school 
has even gone further and drawn further inferences that all, 
the tendencies of human life are Desire-impelled or Thirst- 
prompted; that Thirst cannot be entirely uprooted, unless all 
the activities of worldly life are abandoned ; and that, unless 
Thirst is entirely uprooted, true and permanent happiness, 
«annot be obtained. This path has been advocated as an 
alternative path in the Brhadaranyaka (Br. 4. 4. 22; Ve. 
Su. 3. 4. 15); and in the Jabala, Sarhnyasa and other 
Upanisads, it has been advocated as the principal path. This 
idea has also been adopted in the Astavakraglta (9. 8 ; 10. 3-8) 
and in the AvadhutagltS (3. 46). The ultimate doctrine of 
this school is that the man who desires to obtain the highest 
happiness or Release, must give up worldly life as early as 
possible, and follow the path of Renunciation (samnyasa)'< 
and the path of the Abandonment of the Actions which haye 
been prescribed by the Srutis and the Smrtis ( srauta-smartor 
karma-samnyasa), described in the Smrti treatises, and which 
was established in the Kali era by Sri Samkaracarya is based 
on this principle. If there is no such real thing as happiness, 
and, if whatever is, is unhappiness, and that too based on 
Thirst, then it is clear, that all the bother of self-interest or 
other's-interest will be obviated and the fundamental equable 
frame of mind ( sand) will be the only thing to remain, when 
these diseases in the shape of Thirst etc. are in the first place 
entirely uprooted; and for this reason, it is stated in the 
Fingalaglta in the Santiparva of the Mahabharata, as also 
in the Mankiglta, that .— 

yae ca kammkfiam loke yac ca divyam mahat sukham I 
tT&uiksayasukhasyaite riarhatah sodasifo kalam II 

(San. 174. 48 ; 177. 49) 

i. e., "that happiness which is experienced in this world, by the 
satisfaction of desires (kama), as also the greater happiness 


which is to be found in heaven, are neither worth even one- 
sixteenth of the happiness which results from the destruction 
of Thirst". The Jain and the Buddhistic religions have 
later on copied the Vedic path of Renunciation ; and therefore. 
in the religious treatises of both these religions, the evil effects 
and discardability of Thirst have been described as above, or 
possibly in even more forcible terms. (For example, see the 
Trsnavagga in the Dhammapada). In the treatises of the 
Buddhistic religion to be found in Tibet, it is even stated that- 
the above-mentioned stanza from the Mahabharata was uttered 
by Gautama Buddha when he attained the Buddha-hood. * 

It is not that the above-mentioned evil effects of Thirst 
have not been acknowledged by the Bhagavadglta. But, as 
the doctrine of the Gifca is that the total abandonment of 
Action is not the proper course for obviating those evil effects, 
it is necessary to consider here somewhat minutely the above 
explanation of the nature of pain and happiness. We cannot, in 
the first place, accept as totally correct the dictum of the 
Saihnyasa school, that all happiness arises from the preventing 
of pain, such as Thirst etc. Wishing to experience again 
something, which one has once experienced (seen, heard, etc.) is 
xnown as Desire (kama, vasana, or iccha). When this desire 
becomes stronger as a result of the pain due to one's not 
obtaining soon enough the desired object, or when the obtained 
happiness being felt to be insufficient, one wants more and 
more of it, this desire becomes a Thirst (trsya). But if Desire is 
satisfied before it has grown into Thirst, we cannot say that 
the resulting happiness arises from the removal of the un- 
happiness of Thirst. For instance, if we take the case of the 
food which we get every day at a stated time, it is not our 
experience that we feel unhappiness every day before taking 
food. If we do not get food at the proper time, we will suffer 
unhappiness as a result of hunger, but not otherwise. But 

* See Rockhill's Life 0/ Buddha, p. SS. This atanza has 
appeared in the Pali book called Uicma (2. 2) ; but, it is rot stated 
there that it was uttered by Buddha when he attained the 'Buddha- 
hood', from which it can be clearly seen that these stanzaB could 
not have been originally uttered by Buddha. 


even if we do not in this way distinguish between Thirst and 
Desire, and say that both are synonymous, the doctrine that 
the root of all happiness is Thirst is seen to be incorrect. For 
instance, if we suddenly put a piece of sugar-candy into the 
mouth of a child, the happiness which it experiences cannot be 
said to have resulted from the destruction of a previous Thirst- 
Similarly, if while walking along the road, one comes across a 
beautiful garden and hears the melodious notes of a cuckoo, or 
coming across a temple on the way, one sees in it the beautiful 
image of the deity, one thereby experiences happiness, though 
there had been no previous desire of obtaining those particular 
objects. If we think over these illustrations, we have to- 
abandon the above-mentioned definition of happiness of the 
Sarhnyasa school, and say that our organs have an inherent, 
capacity for feeding on good or bad objeots, and that when 
they are in that way carrying on their various activities, they 
come into contact sometimes with a desirable and sometimes, 
an undesirable object, and we, thereupon, experience either 
pain or happiness, without having had any previous Desire or 
Thirst for it. With this purport in mind, it is stated in 
the Gita (Gi. 2. 14), that pain and happiness arises as a 
result of 'matrasparsa', that is, of contact with cold or warm 
objects etc. The external objeots in the world are technically 
known as ' matra ', and the above statement in the Gita means- 
that the contact (sparsa), i. e., the union of these external 
objects with our organs results in the suffering (vedana) of pain 
or happiness. That is also the doctrine of the science of Karma- 
Yoga. Nobody can satisfactorily explain why a harsh sound 
is undesirable to the ear, or why a sweet drink is pleasurable 
to the tongue, or why the light of the full moon is pleasing to 
the eyes. All that we know is that when the tongue gets a 
sweet liquid to taste, it is satisfied. As Material Happiness is, 
by its very nature, wholly dependent on the organs, happiness 
is very often experienced by merely carrying on the particular 
activities of the organs, whatever the ultimate result of our 
doing so may be. For instance, the words which sometimes 
naturally escape oar lips when some idea enters our mind, are- 
not uttered by us with the idea of acquainting someone else- 


■with our thoughts. On the other hand, there is sometimes even 
a risk of some hidden design or scheme in our minds being 
•divulged by these automatic activities of the organs, and of 
■our being thereby harmed. When little children first learn to 
walk, they aimlessly walk about the whole day, because they 
-then experience happiness by the mere act of walking. 
Therefore, the Blessed Lord, instead of saying that all happiness 
■consists of the absence of unhappiness, says that -.-"imiriyasyen- 
driyasyarthe raga dvesau vyavasthitau" (Gl. 3. 34), i. e,, the attrac- 
tion and repulsion which exists between the organs of the 
sense on the one hand, and their relative objects, such as, sound, 
touch, etc., on the other hand, are both 'vyavastMta', i.e., funda- 
mentally self-existing ; and His advice is that all that we have 
to see is how these activities will become beneficial or can be 
made by us beneficial to our Atman; and that therefore, instead 
•of attempting to destroy the natural impulses of the mind, 
or of the organs, we should keep our mind and organs under 
control in order that those impulses should be beneficial 
to us, and not let the impulses get out of control. This advice, 
and saying that one should destroy Thirst and along with 
Thirst all other mental impulses, are two diametrically 
•opposite things. The message of the Gita is not that one 
should do away with all activity or prowess in the world; 
but, on the other hand, it is stated in the 18th Chapter of 
the Gita (18. 26) that the doer must, side by side with 
equability of mind, possess the qualities of perseverance and 
enthusiasm. But we will deal with this matter in greater 
detail later on. All that we have to see for the present is 
whether pain and happiness are two independent states of 
imind or whether one of them is merely the absence of the 
■other; .jad what the opinion of the Bhagavadglta on this 
matter is will be easily understood by my readers from what 
has been stated above. Not only have 'sukham' (happiness) 
and ' duhkham ' (pain) been independently dealt with in des- 
cribing what the 'kaetra' (field) is (Gl. 13.6), but (Gl. 14.6,7), 
Happiness is said to be the sign of sattazm (purity) and Thirst 
■of rajas ( passion ), and sattvam and rajas are considered two 
independent qualities. From this also it is clear, that pain 
and happiness have, in the Bhagavadglta, been considered as 


two mutually opposite and distinct frames of mind. The 
fact that the Gita looks upon rujasa-tyaga (abandonment 
"based on passion) as inferior , as is shown by the words : 
■"One does not derive the result of Abandonment by abandoning 
some Action on the ground that it leads to unhappiness; for 
suoh an abandonment is rajasa " (Gi. 18. 1), also refutes the 
doctrine that all happiness is based on the destruction of 

Even if we believe that happiness does not consist of the 
■destruction of Thirst or of the absence of unhappiness, and 
that happiness and unhappiness are two independent thingSi 
yet, in as much as both these sufferings are mutually opposite 
•or contrary to each other, we are next faced with the question 
whether it is possible for a man to experience the pleasure of 
happiness, if he has never suffered unhappiness. Some 
philosophers say that unless unhappiness has in the first 
instance been experienced, it is impossible to realise the 
^pleasure of happiness. Others, on the other hand, pointing at 
the perpetual happiness enjoyed by deities in heaven, say that 
previous experience of unhappiness is not at all necessary for 
realising the pleasure of happiness. One can experience the 
sweetness of honey, jaugery, sugar, the mango-fruit or the 
plantain before having previously tasted any saltish object. 
In the same way, since happiness also is of various kinds, one 
can, without any previous experience of unhappiness, 
«xperience perpetual happiness without getting tired of it, by 
enjoying in succession diverse kinds of happiness, e. g., by 
moving from a mattress of cotton on to a mattress of feathers, 
•or from a fixed palanquin to the more comfortable swinging 
jpalanquin. But, if one considers the ordinary course of life 
in this world, it will be seen that all this argument is useless. 
As the Puranas show cases of even gods coming into 
•difficulties, and as even heavenly happiness comes to an end 
after one's acquired merit has been exhausted in due course of 
time, the illustration of heavenly happiness is not appropriate ; 
and even if it were appropriate, what use is the illustration of 
heavenly happiness to us ? Although we may believe that : 
"rrityam eva sukham svarge", i. e., "in heaven there is permanent 
happiness", yet, it is stated immediately afterwards that .— 


" sukham duhkham ihchhayam " (Ma. Bha. San. 190. 14), i. e., 
" in this world, pain is mixed with happiness " ; and consistently 
with that position even Ramdasa Svami has described his own 
personal experience as follows : " JWho is there in t his world 
who is wholly happy 1 Consult your mind, s earch and see ". 
And, as is actually experienced by us ui this life, we have also> 
to admit the correctness of the following advice given by 
Draupadi to Satyabhama, namely : — 

sukham sukheneha na jatu labhyam 

duKkhena sadhvi labliate sukhani 1 

(Ma. Bha. Vana. 233. 4) 

that ie, " h appine ss never comes out of happiness ; in order that 
a saintly woman should experience hap~pmess7 she must suffer- 
unhlippmesa or trouble^". Because, though" a fruit may be 
placed on your lips, you have still to take the trouble of pushing 
it into the mouth, and if it falls into your mouth, you have 
still to take the trouble of chewing it. At any rate, this much 
is unquestionable, that there is a world of difference between 
the sweetness of the happiness which comes after unhappiness, 
and the sweetness of the happiness which is experienced by a 
man who is always engrossed in the enjoyment of the objects of 
pleasure. Because, by continually enjoying happiness, the 
keenness of the appreciative power of the OTgans which enjoy 
the happiness is dulled, and as is well-known :— 

prayeqa srlmatam lolte bhoktum saktir na wdyate I 
kasthany api hijlryante daridraruim ca sarvasah II 

(Ma. Bha.. San. 28.59) 

that is, " rich people do very often not have even the power of 
enjoying tasteful food, and poor people can appreciate and 
digest even uncooked wood ". Therefore, in considering worldly 
life, it is uselss to consider further whether it is possible 
to enjoy continual happiness without unhappiness, 
"sukhasyanantaram duhkham duhkhasyanantaram sukham" (Vana, 
260. 40 ; San. 25.23), i. e., " unhappiness follows on the steps of 
happiness, and similarly happiness comes in the wake of 


unhappiness ", or as has been described by Kalidasa in the- 
Meghaduta :- 

kasyaikardam sukliam upanatam duhkham ekaniato va I 
nicair gacclwtty upari ca dasa cakranemikramena II 
that is, " no one experiences continual happines s or con tinuaj- 
unhappinessTpain_anf happiness always move alternately up- 
and down like the points on tEe circumference of "a'wh'eeT*^ 
Sufi^s^rIe~c"ase7 r wMther~becli, : use' this" "unhappiness lias been 
created in order to increase the sweetness of happiness or 
because it has some other purpose in the scheme of activity of 
Matter {prakrti). It may-not be quite impossible to continually 
obtain one object of pleasure after another, without getting 
tired of enjoyment ; but it is absolutely impossible, at any rate 
in this Icarma-bhumi, i. e., world of Action (destiny ?) to- 
totally abolish unhappiness and continually experience nothing 
but happiness. 

If worldly life does not consist only of happiness, but is 
always a mixture of pain and happiness, the third question 
which naturally arises in due course is, whether there is more 
of happiness or of unhappiness in life. Many Western 
philosophers, who look upon Material Happiness as the highest, 
goal of life say, that if there were more of pain than of 
happiness in life, many, if not all, persons would not have 
troubled to live worldly life, but would have committed suicide. 
But, in as much as man does not seem to be tired of living, he 
must be experiencing more of happiness than of unhappiness- 
in life, and therefore, happiness must be looked upon as the 
highest goal of man, and the question of morality and 
immorality must also be solved by that standard. But, making 
suicide depend in this way on worldly happiness in not, really 
speaking, oorrect. It is true that sometimes a man, getting 
tired of life, commits suicide; but people look upon him as an 
exception, that is, as a lunatic. From this it is seen that 
ordinarily people do not connect committing or not committing 
suicide with worldly happiness, but look upon it as an 
independent thing by itself ; and, the same inference follows if 
one considers the life of an aborginy, which would be looked 
upon as extremely arduous by civilised persons. The well- 
known biologist Charles Darwin, while describing in his- 


"Travels the aboriginies he oame across in the extieme south of 
South America says, that these aboriginies, men and women, 
■remain without clothes all the year round, even in their 
■extremely cold country ; and, as they do not store food, they 
have for days together to remain without food; yet, their 
numbers are continually increasing* But, from the fact that 
■.these aboriginies do not commit suicide, no one draws the 
.inference that their mode of life is full of happiness. It is 
true that they do not commit suicide ; but if one minutely 
•considers why that is so, one will see that each one of these 
persons is filled with extreme happiness by the idea that "_I_am 
a hum an being and not a beast " ; and he considers the 
happiness of being a humaiTbeing so much greater than all 
■other happiness, that he is never prepared to lose this superior 
happinesB of being a man, however arduous his life may be. 
.Not only does man not commit suicide, but even birds or 
.beasts do not do so. But can one, on that account, say that 
-their life is full of happiness ? Therefore, our philosophers 
.say, that instead of drawing the mistaken inference that 
the life of a man or of a bird or beast is full of happiness 
from the fact that they do not commit suicide, the only true 
inference which can be drawn from that fact is that: what- 
ever the nature of a man's life, he does not set much store 
by it, but believes that an incomparable happiness lies in 
having become a living being (saeetana) from a lifeless being 
iaeetam), and more than anything else, in having become 
.a man. It is on that basis that the following rising grades 
have been described in the Sastras : — 

bhufanam prarjinah sresthah prartiriam buddhijmnah\ 
buddhimatsu varah srestka narem brahmanah smrtah II 
brahmaTiesu. ca vidvamsah vidvatsu krtabuddhayah I 
krtabuddhisu kartarah kartrsu brahmavadinah II 

(Manu. 1. 96. 97; Ma. Bha. Udyo. 5. 1 and 2). 
that is, "the living being is superior to the dead; the intelli- 
.gents are superior among the living; men aTB superior among 
•the intelligent; Brahmins, among men; learned Brahmins 
among Brahmins; doers, among the enligtened-minded, and 

* Darwin's Naturalist's Voyage round tht World, Chap. X. 


brahmavadin (those who belong to the cult of the Brahman),, 
among the doers "; and on the same basis, it is stated in verna- 
cular treatises, that out of the 84 lakhs of forms of life (yoni)> 
the human life is the most superior; that among men, he who- 
desires Eelease (mumuksu) is most superior; and, that among 
mumuksus, the perfect (siddha) is the most superior. That- 
is also the purport of the proverb " life is dearer than anything, 
else", (sabase jiva pyara); and for this very reason, if someone 
eommits suicide, finding life full of unhappiness, people look 
upon him as insane, and the religious treatises count him as 
a sinner (Ma. Bha. Karna. 70. 28); and an attempt to commit, 
suicide is looked upon as a crime by law. When in this way 
it has been proved that one cannot, from the fact that a man 
does not commit suicide, properly draw the conclusion that, 
life is full of happiness, we must, in deciding the question, 
whether life is full of happiness or unhappiness, keep aside 
for the time being the natural blessing of having been bom. 
a human being oil account of previous destiny, and consider- 
only the events of the post-natal worldly life. The fact that- 
man does not commit suicide or continues to live is accounted: 
for by the Energistic principle of life; it is not any proof of 
the preponderance of happiness in worldly life as stated by 
Materialistic philosophers. Or, saying the same thing in 
other words, we must say that the desire not to commit 
suicide is a natural desire; that this desire does not arise as a 
result of the weighing of the happiness and unhappiness in 
life; and that therefore, one cannot from that fact draw the- 
conclusion that life is full of happiness. 

When in this way we do not, by confusion of thought,. 
mis up the blessing of being born a human being with the 
nature of his subsequent life, and recognise ' being a human, 
being ' and ' the ordinary life or the usual activities of men ' 
as two distinct things, there remain no other means for deciding, 
the question whether there is more of happiness or of un- 
happiness in worldly life for the being which has taken the 
superior human form, than considering low many of the- 
' present ' desires of every man are satisfied and how many 
disappointed. The reason for saying 'present ' desires is that,, 
those things which have become available to all persons in. 


■oivilised life, become every-day happenings, and we forget the 
happiness they produce; and we decide the question of the happi- 
ness or unhappiness of worldly life by considering only how 
many of the things, which have newly become necessities, are 
obtained by us. There is a world of difference between (i) com- 
paring the means of happiness which are available to us 
to-day with how many of them were available to us a hundred 
years ago, and (ii) considering whether or not I am happy 
to-day. For instance, anybody will admit that the present-day 
travelling by train is much more comfortable than travelling 
"by bullock-cart, which was in vogue a hundred years ago. 
But we have now forgotten this happiness of train-travel, 
•and we are unhappy only if some day a train gets late, and 
we receive our mail late. And therefore, the ' present ' happi- 
ness or unhappiness of man is usually considered by thinking 
of his present needs and disregarding all the means of happiness 
which have already become available; and, if we try to con- 
sider what these needs are, we see that there is no end of them. 
If one desire is satisfied to-day, another new desire takes its 
place to-morrow, and we want to satisfy this new desire; and 
as human desire is thus always one step ahead of life, man 
is never free from unhappiness. In this place, we must bear 
■oarefully in mind the difference between the two positions 
that 'all happiness is the destruction of desire' and that 
'however much of happiness is obtained, man is still un- 
satisfied'. Saying that 'all happiness is not the absence of 
unhappiness, but pain and happiness are two independent 
kinds of OTganic sufferings' is one thing, and that 'one 
is dissatisfied, because new kinds of happiness are wanted, 
without taking into account the happiness which may at any 
time already be part of one's life', is another thing. The first 
-of these two dicta deals with the actual nature of happiness; 
and the second, with whether or not a man is fully satisfied 
T)y the happiness he has obtained. As the desire for objects 
of pleasure is a continually increasing desire, a man wants to 
enjoy over and over again the same happiness which he has 
already enjoyed, though he may not get new kinds of happiness 
everyday, and thus human desire is never controlled. There is 
a story told of a Roman Emperor named Vitalius that in order 


ito experience over and over again the pleasure of eating 
tasteful food, he used to take medicines for vomitting the food 
which he had already eaten, and dine several times every day ' 
But the story of ,the repentant king Yayati is even more 
instructive than this. After the king Yayati had become old 
as a result of the cursa of Sukracarya, the latter, by a pang of 
kindness, gave him the option of giving his old age to another 
person and taking in exchange his youth. Thereupon, he took 
the youth of his son Puru in exchange for his own oldness, and, 
"having enjoyed all objects of pleasure for a thousand years, he 
found by experience that all the objects in the world were 
incapable of satisfying the desire for happiness of even one 
human being; and Vyasa has stated in the Adiparva of the 
Mahabharata that Yayati then said : 

na jatu, kamah kamanam upabhngena samyati l 
havisa krsvavartmeva bhuya wablduardhate II 

(Ma. Bha. A. 75.49) 

that is, " by enjoying objects of pleasure, the desire for the 
objects of pleasure is not satisfied, but on the other hand this 
desire grows more and more, just as fire burns more and more 
by sacrificial offerings being thrown into it " ; and the same 
stanza is to be found in the Manu-Smrti (Manu. %. 94). The 
inner reason for this is that, notwithstanding the abundance of 
means of pleasure, the desire for happiness is never quenched 
only by enjoying happiness, in as much as the hunger of the 
organs is always on a rising scale, and it has to be restrained 
in some other way; and this principle has been fully accepted 
by our religious writers who have in the first place prescribed 
that every one must put a restraint on the enjoyment of 
pleasure. If those who say that enjoyment of objects of 
pleasure is the highest goal in this world apply their mind 
to this doctrine which is based on experience, they will easily 
Taalise the absurdity of their beliefs. This doctrine of the 
Vedic religion has also been accepted in the Buddhistic 
religion and there is a statement in the Buddhistic treatises 
that the following words came out of the mouth of the king 


named Mandhata mentioned in the Puranas (instead of Yayati)> 
at the moment of his death : — 

na kahupanavassena titti kamesu vijjati\ 

api dibbesu Tcamesv, ratifn so nadhigacchati II 

(Dhammapada, 186-187). 
that is, "although coins called ' Mr^apana' fall as a shower 
of rain, there is no satisfaction {titti means trpti) of Desire, 
and the desires of a desirer are not satisfied even by getting- 
the happiness of heaven ". As it is thus imposible that the 
happiness of enjoying objects of pleasure cau ever be con- 
sidered sufficient, every man thinks that 'I am unhappy',, 
and when this mental frame of mankind is taken into account, 
then, as stated in the Mahabharata :-— 

sukhad bahutaram duhkham jivite riasti samsayahl 
(San. 305. 6; 330. 16). 
that is , " in this life (samsara), unhappiness is more thani 
happiness "; or as stated by the Saint Tukaram : " if yoiL 
consider happiness, it is as small as a grain; and if you con- 
sider unhappiness, it is as big as a mountain (Tuka. Ga. 2986). 
The same is the doctrine laid down by the writers of the' 
TJpanisads (Maitryu 1. 2-4), and it is stated also in the Gita 
that the life of man is inconstant and the 'home of unhappiness',. 
and that life in the world is not lasting and is ' devoid of 
happiness ' (Gl. 8. 15 and 9. 3). The same is the opinion of th&> 
German philosopher Schopenhauer, and he has made use of a. 
very curious illustration for proving it. He says that we 
measure the happiness of a man by considering how many of 
his desires for happiness, out of the total possible desires for 
happiness, are satisfied; and if the enjoyment of happiness- 
falls short of the desire for happiness, we say that the man is- 
to that extent unhappy. If this ratio- id to be explained 
mathematically we have to divide the enjoyment of happiness 
by the desire for happiness and show it in the form of a. 

c l- a. enjoyment of happiness. „ L ^. '■ 

fraction, thus : desira fcr happiness But tins is such a queer 

fraction that its denominator, namely, the desire for happiness,. 
is always increasing in a greater measure than its 'numerator,, 
namely, the enjoyment of happiness; so that,' if this'fraotiori i* 


in the beginning J^ it becomes later on 3/10, that is to say, if 
the numerator increases three times, the denominator increases, 
five times, and the fraction becomes more and more incomplete. 
Thus, it is futile to entertain the hope of a man becoming 
fully happy. In considering how much there was of happiness 
in ancient times, we consider only the numerator of this 
fraction by itself and do not pay any attention to the fact that 
the denominator has now increased much more than the 
numerator. But when we have to consider only whether a 
human being is happy or unhappy without reference to time, 
we must consider both the numerator and the denominator ; 
and we see that this fraction will never become complete. 
That is the sum and substance of the words of Manu: 
"najatu kamahkamamm" etc. (2. 94). As there is no definite 
instrument like a thermometer for measuring happiness and 
unhappiness, this mathematical exposition of the mutual ratio 
of pain and happiness might not be acceptable to some; but 
if this argument is rejected, there remains no measure for 
proving that there is a preponderance of happiness in life 
for man. Therefore, this objection, which applies as much 
to the question of happiness as of unhappiness, leaves un- 
touched the general proposition in the above discussion, namely, 
the theorem proved by the uncontrollable growth of the 
desire for happiness beyond the actual enjoyment of happiness. 
It is stated in Mahomedan history, that during the Mahomedan 
rule in Spain, a just and powerful ruler named Abdul Rahiman 
the third * had kept a diary of how he spent his days and 
from that diary he ultimately found that in a rule of 50 years 
he had experienced unalloyed happiness only for 14 days; and 
another writer t has stated that if one compares the opinions 
of ancient and modern philosophers in the world and especially 
in Europe, the number of those who say that life is full of 
happiness is seen to be about the same as of those who say 
that life is full of unhappiness. If to these numbers we add 
the numbers of the Indian philosophers, I need not say which 
way the scale will turn. 

* Moors in Spain p. 128 (Story of the Nations geriea). 
t Macmillan's Promotion of Happiness p. 26. 


Reading the exposition made above regarding the happi- 
ness and unhappiness of worldly life, some follower of the 
Sarhnyasa school will retaliate : " although you do not accept 
the doctrine that there can he no peace unless one gives up 
all Thirst-prompted Actions on the ground that happiness is 
not some actual entity, yet, if even according to yourselves, 
dissatisfaction arises from Thirst and unhappiness later on 
springs from dissatisfaction, why do you not say that man 
should give up Thirst and, along with Thirst, all wordly 
Actions — whether those Actions are for his own good or for the 
.good of others — at any rate for removing this dissatisfaction, 
and then Temain perpetually satisfied ?". In the Mahabharata 
itself, we find statements like: " asamtosasya nasty antas tustis tu 
jparamafo suhham", i. a, " there is no end to dissatisfaction, and 
xsontentment is the soul of bliss." (Ma. Bha Vana, 215. 22); 
.and both the Jain and Buddhistic religions are based on the 
same foundation ; and in the Western countries, Schopenhauer 
has maintained * the same opinion. But on the other hand, 
one may ask whether one should cut off the tongue altogether 
because it sometimes utters obscene words, and whether people 
have discontinued the use of fire and given up cooking food on 
the ground that houses sometimes catch fire. If we make use of 
/electricity, to say nothing of fire, in daily life, by keeping them 
Tinder proper control, it is not impossible for us to dispose of 
Thirst or dissatisfaction in the same way. It would be a 
•different matter, if this dissatisfaction was wholly and on all 
occasions disadvantageous ; but on proper consideration we see 
that such is not the case. Dissatisfaction does not mean merely 
craving or weak-kneedness. Such a kind of dissatisfaction has 
been discountenanced even by philosophers. But the dissatis- 
faction which is at the root of the desire not to remain stagnant 
in the position which has fallen to one's lot, but to bring it to as 
excellent a condition as possible by gradually improving it 
more and moTe, with as peaoeable and equable a frame of mind 

* Schopenhauer's World as Will and Representation Vol. II Chap. 
46. The description given by him of the unhappiness of worldly 
life is excellent. The original work is in the German language, 
and it has been translated into English. 


-A3 possible, is not a dissatisfaction which ought to he discoun- 
tenanced. It need not be said that a society divided into four 
■castes will soon go to rack and ruin if the Brahmins give up 
the desire for knowledge, the Ksatriyas for worldly prosperity, 
and the Vaisyas for property. With this purport in view, 
Vyasa has said to Yudhisthira: — " yajno vidya samuttkanam 
-asamtosah sriyamprati " ( San. 23. 9 ), i. e., "sacrifice, learning, 
effort, and dissatisfaction in the matter of worldly acquisitions", 
are virtues in the case of Ksatriyas. In the same way, Vidula 
in advising her son says: " samtoso vai iriyafii hanti " " ( Ma. 
Bha. U. 132. 33 ), i. e.," by contentment, worldly prosperity is 
destroyed "; and there is also a statement on another occasion 
that: " ammtosah iriyo mvlam" (Ma. Bha. Sabha. 55.11)* 
i. e., " dissatisfaction is the root of prosperity". Although 
contentment is referred to as a virtue in the case of Brahmins, 
it only means contentment with reference to wealth or worldly 
prosperity, according to the four-caste arrangement. If a 
Brahmin says that the knowledge which he has acquired is 
enough for him, he will bring about his own undoing, and the 
same will be the case with the Vaisyas or the Sudras, if they 
always remain satisfied with what they have acquired accord- 
ing to their own status in life. In short, discontent is the seed 
of all future prosperity, effort, opulence and even of Release ; 
and, it must always be borne in mind by everybody, that if 
this discontent is totally annihilated, we will be nowhere, 
whether in this world or in the next. In the Bhagavadglta 
itself, in listening to the advice of Sri Krsna, Arjuna has said: 
"" bhuyah kathaya trptir hi srnvato nasti me 'mrtam " (Gi. 10. 18), 
i. e., "I am not satisfied with what I have heard of your nectar- 
like speech, therefore, describe to me more and more of your 
manifestations" ; and then the Blessed Lord has again started 
enumerating his manifestations. He did not say to him : 
" -restrain your desire, dissatisfaction or discontent is 
improper". From this it follows that even the Blessed Lord 
Himself considered it proper that One Bhould entertain 
disoontent about a good or beneficial matter, and there is a 

* cf : " Unhappiness is the oauae of progress." Dr. Paul 
-Cams in The Ethical Probkm p. 251 (2nd Ed.) 


stanza of Bhartrhari that : "yasasi cabMracir vyasamm srvtau " 
etc., i. e., "there ought to be liking or desire, but that should be 
for success ; and one must also have a vice, but that should be 
of learning ; that vice is not prohibited". Still, we must control 
discontent, in the same way as Desire, Anger etc., because if it 
becomes uncontrolled, it will clearly end in our undoing ; and 
therefore, the endowment (sampaiti) of those persons who 
continually run after worldly happiness piling thirst on thirst, 
and hope on hope with the sole object of enjoying objects of 
pleasure is referred to as " ungodly endowment " ( asara 
sampat ) in the 16th Chapter of the Gita. Not only are the pure 
(sattvika) tendencies in the human mind destroyed by such 
greediness and the man undone, but, in as much as it is 
impossible that Thirst should ever be quenched, the desire for 
enjoyment of objects of pleasure grows continually, and man's- 
life is ended in the greed. But on the other hand, giving up 
all kinds of Thirst, and with it, all Actions, in order to escape 
this evil effect of Thirst or discontent is also not the pure- 
( sattvika) path. As has been stated above, Thirst or discontent 
is the seed of future prosperity : and therefore, instead of 
attempting to kill an innocent man out of fear for a thief, one 
has to carefully consider what Thirst "or discontent causes- 
unhappiness, and adopt the skilful middle path of giving up 
only that particular hope, thirst or discon^snt which produces- 
unhappiness, and it is not necessary for that purpose to give ujf 
all kinds of Action whatsoever. Tba devioe or skill (tosa/a*/ 
of giving up only that hope which causes unhappiness and 
performing one's duties according to one's status in life is- 
known as Yoga or Karma-yoga ( Gi. 2. 50. ) j and, as that is the 
Yoga which has been principally dealt with in the Gita, I shall 
consider here in a little more detail what kind of hope has 
been looked upon by the Gita as productive of unhappiness. 

In describing above the, actual nature, of human pain and 
unhappiness, I have stated that a man hears by his ears, feels 
by bis skin, sees by his eyes, tastes by his tongue, andsmells by 
his nose ; and that a man is happy or unhappy according as 
these activities of his organs are consistent with their natural 
tendencies. But, the question of pain and happiness is not 
completely exhausted by making this definition. Although it 


is necessary that the organs should, in the first instance, come 
into contact with external objects in order that Material pain 
or happiness should arise, yet, if one considers in what way 
this pain or happiness is subsequently experienced by man, it 
will be seen that a man has ultimately to perform the function 
of realising, that is, of taking on himself, this pain or happi- 
ness, which results from the activities of the organs, by means 
of his Mind {manas). ' caksuk. pasyati rupani mamsa na tu 
caksusa", i. e., " the function of seeing is not performed solely 
by the eyes : the assistance of the mind is absolutely necessary 
for it" (Ma. Bha. San. 311. 17) ; and it is stated in the Mahabhara- 
ta that if that mind is in pain, then even having seen is as if you 
have not seen, and even in the Brhadaranyakopanisad, there are 
such statements as : " anyatramam abhuvam nadarsam ", i. e., 
" my mind was elsewhere, and therefore, I did not see ", or, 
'"anyatramam abhuvam riasrausam", i. e., "my mind was else- 
where, and therefore, I did not hear " ( Br. 1. 5. 3 ). From this it 
becomes clear, that in order to experience Material pain or 
happiness, the organs are not sufficient by themselves, but 
require the assistance of the Mind ; and as regards Metaphysical 
pain or happiness, it is purely mental. It, therefore, follows 
that all experience of pain or happiness ultimately depends 
on the Mind ; and if this is true, it naturally follows that it is 
not impossible to control the experience of pain or happiness if 
one controls the mind. With regard to these facts, Manu has 
described the characteristics of pain and happiness in a different 
way than the Nyaya school. He says : 

sarvafn paravaiam duhkham sarvam atmavasam sukham I 
etad vidyat samasena laksanam sukhaduhkhayoh 11 

( Manu. 4. 160 ). 
•that is, " all that which is subject to the control of others 
(external objeots) is unhappiness, and all that which is subject 
to the control of oneself (of one's mind) is happiness ; these are 
in brief the characteristic features of pain and happiness". 
The word 'suffering' (vedana) used in the connotation of pain 
and happiness given by the Nyaya school, includes both 
physical and mental suffering, and it also shows the actual 
external nature of pain and happiness ; and when one bears in 


mind that Manu is referring principally to the internal 
experience of pain and happiness, there remains no incon- 
sistency between these two definitions. When in this way, we 
do not make the experience of pain or happiness depend on. 
the organs : 

blmwjyam etad duKkhasya yad etan ndnudtttayet t 

that is, " not brooding on one's unhappiness, becomes the most 
potent medioine for doing away with unhappiness" (Ma, Bha. 
San. 205. 2 ) ; and we find numerous illustrations in history,^ of 
people having hardened their minds, and willingly sacrificed 
their lives for the sake of their Religion or of Truth. There- 
fore, says the Gita, when one does what one has to do with- 
perfect mental control and after giving up the DESIRE FOR 
THE RESULT (phalasa) and with a frame of mind which k 
equal towards pain and happiness, there remains no fear or 
possibility of experiencing the unhappiness of Actions, and it 
does not become necessary to give them up. Giving up the 
desire for the result does not mean giving up the resulting 
benefit, if it has been acquired, nor entertaining a desire that 
no one should ever get that benefit. In the same way, there is 
a world for difference between the desire for the result and the 
Desire, Hope, or Motive for performing Action, or employing 
a particular means for obtaining a particular result. There 
is a difference between merely desiring to move one's hands 
and feet and desiring to move one's hands for catching 
or one 's feet for kicking some one else. The first desire extends 
merely to the doing of the act and there is no other motive 
behind it ; and if we give up this desire, all Action will 
come to an end. Besides having this desire, a man must also 
have the knowledge that every act is sure to have some 
result or consequence; and not only must he have that 
knowledge, but he must entertain the desire of doing a. 
particular act with the intention of thereby producing some 
particular result; otherwise, all his Actions will be as 
pointless as those of a madman. All of these desires, motives, 
or arrangements do not ultimately produce pain ; nor does the 
Gita ask you to give them up. But if one goes much further 
than that, and allows his mind to be afflicted by the. 


ATTACHMENT (asakti), ambition, pride, self-identification, 
or insistence of MINE-NESS (mamatva ), which exists in the.- 
mind of the doer with reference to the result of the Action in 
the shape of the feeling that : "whatever action is performed by 
ME is performed by ME with the intention that ' I ' should: 
necessarily get a particular benefit from a particular act of 
MINE "; and if thereafter there is any obstruction in the- 
matter of getting the desired result or benefit, the chain of 
misery starts. If this obstruction is inevitable and is an act 
of Pate, man only suffers from despair ; but, if it is the handi- 
work of another person, it gives rise later on to anger or even- 
hate, and this hate leads to evil action, and evil action leads to- 
self-destruction. This attachment, in the shape of MINE- 
NESS, for the result of the Action, is also known as 'phatasa " 
( hope of benefit ), ' sarnga ' ( fondness ), ' ahamkara-buddhi * 
( egoism ), and ' kama ' ( desire ) ; and in order to show that the- 
chain of unhappiness in life really starts at this point, it is: 
stated in the second chapter of the Gita, that Desire springs, 
from Attachment for objects of pleasure, Anger ( hrodha ) from. 
Desire, Mental Confusion (moka) from Anger, and ultimately,, 
the man himself is destroyed ( Gl. 2. 62, 63 ). When I have thus 
established that Actions in the gross material world, which are 
lifeless in themselves, are not themselves the root of unhappi- 
ness, but that the true root of unhappiness is the Hope for result* 
Desire, or Attachment with which man performs those Actions,, 
it naturally follows that in order to prevent this unhappiness, 
it is quite enough if a person, by controlling his mind, gives up. 
the Attachment, Desire or Hope of result entertained by him 
towards the objects of pleasure ; and it follows logically that it 
is not necessary to give up all objects of pleasure, or Actions, or 
Desires as prescribed by the Sarhnyasa school. Therefore, it is 
next stated in the Gita ( Gi. 2. 64 ), that that man who- 
partakes of the objects of pleasure he comes across in the world,, 
with a deBireless and unattached frame of mind, without 
entertaining any hope of result, is the true ' sthifaprajna * 
( steady-in-mind ). The activity of Action in the world never 
comes to an end. Even if man ceases to exist in this world. 
Matter (prakrti) will carry on its activities according to its 
constituent qualities ( ffura-dharma ). Gross Matter would not 


in any way be happy or unhappy on that account. Man 
arrogates to himself an undue importance, and becomes 
attached to the activities of Matter, and in that way suffers 
pain and happinesB. But if he gives up this attachment, and 
performs all his Actions in the belief that 'gurfi guyesa vartante', 
i. e., " all activities are going on according to the constituent 
qualities of Matter " ( GI. 3. 38 ), there will remain no unhappi- 
ness in the shape of discontent. Therefore, Vyasa has advised 
Yudhisthira that instead of lamenting that worldly life is 
principally unhappy, and attempting to give up such life, one 
should believe that Matter is carrying on its own activities, 
and that.— 

sukham va yadi va duhkham priyam va yadi vapriyam I 
praptam praptam upasita hrdayenaparajitah H 

(Ma, Bha. San. 25. 26). 

"that is, "one should put up with whatever takes place, whenever 

it takes place, without being disheartened, ( that is to say, 

without becoming dejected, and giving up one's duty ), whether 

it causes happiness or unhappiness, and whether it is 

pleasurable or unpleasant." The full importance of this 

advice will be appreciated when one bears in mind that 

one haB to perform some duties in life, even suffering the 

pain which they cause. In the Bhagavadgita itself, the 

characteristic features of the sthitaprajfia are described in the 

words: "yah sarvatranabhsnehas tat tat prapya suhhasvhhm" 

{% 57), i. e., "that man who, when anything favourable or 

unfavourable happens, always remains unattached, and 

neither welcomes it nor dislikes it, is the true sthttaprajna" ; and 

in the fifth chapter it is stated that, "naprahrsyet priyam prapya 

■nodvijet prapya capriyam " ( 5. SO ), i. e„ "when you experience 

happiness, you should not on that account become excited ; 

and when you experience unhappiness, you should also not on 

that account become dejected " ; and it is stated in the second 

•chapter, that this pain and happiness must be borne with a 

■desireless frame of mind (2. 14, 15) ; and the same advice has 

been repeatedly given in various other places ( Gi. 5. 9; 13. 9 ). 

In the terminology of Vedanta Philosophy, doing this is called . 


'dedicating all Actions to the Brahman' (Brahtriarparfa), and 
in the Path of Devotion, the word ' Krsriarparia' (dedication to 
Krsna) is used instead of ' Brahmarpava ' (dedication to the 
Brahman) ; and this is the sum and substance of the whole of 
ihe preaching of the Glta. 

Whatever the nature of the Action, when one does not give 
■up the Desire to do it, nor also one's activity, but goes on 
performing whatever one wants to do, being equally prepared 
"for the resulting pain or happiness, with an aloof frame of 
mind, and without entertaining the hope for the result, not only 
■does one eseape the evil effects due to non-control of Thirst or 
■discontent, but also the danger of the world becoming desolate 
.as a result of Action being destroyed in the attempt to destroy 
Thirst; and all our mental impulses remain pure and become 
beneficial to all created beings. It is clear beyond doubt that , 
in order in this way to be able to give up the hope for the 
result, one must obtain perfect control over the mind and over 
the organs by means of Apathy {vairagya). But, there is a world 
■of difference between (i) keeping one's organs under control and 
allowing them to perform their various activities, not for a sel- 
fish purpose, but apathetically and desirelessly and for the wel- 
-fare of others, on the one hand, and (ii) deliberately destroying 
all Actions, that is to say, all the activities of the various 
organs in order to kill Thirst, as prescribed by the Path of 
Renunciation, on the other hand. The Apathy and Control, of 
the organs prescribed by the Glta is of the first kind and not of 
the second kind ; and in the same way, in the conversation 
between Janaka and the Brahmin in the Anugita ( Ma. Bha. 
Asva. 32, 17-23 ) the king Janaka says to Dharma, who had 
appeared to him in the form of a Brahmin that : 

smu buddhim ca yam jnatva sarvatra visayo mama II 
naham atmartham icchami gandlian ghranagatan apt, I 

mham atmartham iccltami mano nityam manontare I 
mano me nirjitam tasmad vase Ksthati sarvada ll 

that is, "I will describe to 'you that apathetic frame of mind 
(vairagya) with which I enjoy all objects of pleasure. I do not 


'for myself smell any scent, nor do I not 'for myself see any- 
thing with my eyes etc ; and I do not also put to use my mini 
for my Self (atmartha), that is, for my own benefit ; therefore,. 
I have conquered my nose (eyes etc.) and my mind, and they 
are all under my control ". This is what is meant by the' 
statement in the Gita ( Gi. 3. 6, 7 ) that he who merely chokes 
up the impulses of the organs but contemplates objects of 
pleasure by his mind is a hypoorite, and he who conquers the 
desiring frame of mind by means of mental control, and allows 
all his mental impulses to carry on their various activities for 
the benefit of the world is the real superman. The external 
world, or the activities of the organs are not something which- 
we have brought into existence, but they aTe self-created ; and' 
however self -controlled a samnyasi may be, yet, when hi* 
hunger becomes uncontrollable, he goes out to beg for food 
(Gi. 3. 33) ; or when he has sat for a considerable length of 
time in one place, he gets up and stands for some time. If we 
see that however much there is of mental control, one cannot, 
escape the inherent activities of the organs, then the wisest 
course is seen to be not to perversely attempt to destroy the- 
impulses of the organs, and at the same time all Actions and 
all kinds of Desire or Discontent (Gi. 2. 47 ; 18. 59), but to givfr 
up the hope for the result by controlling the mind, and to loot 
upon pain and happiness as alike (Gi. 2. 38), and to perform all 
Actions desirelessly and for the benefit of the world as 
prescribed by the Sastras. Therefore, the Blessed Lord first 
tells Arjuna in the following stanza : 

harmony evadhikaras te ma phalesu kada.ama I 
ma karmaphalahetur bhuh ma tesango 'stvakarnmrdK 

( Gi. 2. 47 ). 
that, in as much as you have been born in this world of 
Action, therefore, " your authority extends only to the per- 
formance of Actions' ' ; but bear in mind that this your authority 
extends only to the performance of Action which ought to be- 
performed (that is, to kartavya). The word 'eva' which means 
'only', clearly shows that the authority of man does not extend 1 
to anything other than Jcarma, that is, to the result of the karma. 
But the Blessed Lord does not leave this important matter to bes 


understood merely by inference, and He again, and in per- 
fectly clear words, says in the second quarter of the stanza, that, 
"your authority never extends to the result of the Action", be- 
cause, getting or not getting the result of the Action is not a. 
matter which is within your control, hut is always in the gift . 
of the Paramesvara or is dependent on the entire Effect of 
Causes (karma-vipaka) in the world. Hoping that a particular- 
thing whioh is not within one's control should take place in a 
particular way, is a sign of madness. But the Blessed Lord 
has not left even this third thing for inference, and has in the. 
third quarter of the stanza said : " therefore, do not perform any 
Aotion, keeping in mind the hope for the result of the Action";, 
whatever may be the result of your Action according to the- 
general law of Cause and Effect, will be its effect ; it is not pos- 
sible that such result should be more or less, or take place earlier 
or later, aocording to your desires, and by entertaining any such, 
desire, it is only you who suffer unnecessary pain and trouble. 
But here some persons — especially those who follow the Path of" 
Renunciation — will object : " Is it not better to give up Action 
( karma ) altogether rather than engaging in the useless procedure, 
of performing Actions and giving up the hope of the result 1" 
And therefore, the Blessed Lord has in the last quarter of the. 
stanza made the definite statement that " do not insist upon 
not performing Action," but perform Action according to the- 
authority which you possess, though without entertaining any 
hope for the result. These doctrines are so important from the. 
point of view of Karma-Yoga, that the four quarters of the above 
stanza may be said to be the four aphorisms (catuh-sutri) of the 
science of Karma-Yoga or of the Glta religion. 

If worldly activity is not to be given up, although happi- 
ness and unhappiness always befall you alternatively in life, 
and although it is an established fact that the sum total of" 
unhappiness is greater than that of happiness, then some persons- 
are likely to think, that all human efforts towards the total eli- 
mination of unhappiness and the acquisition of total happiness- 
are futile ; and if one considers only Material Happiness, that, 
is to say, happiness in the shape of the enjoyment of external 
objects of pleasure through the medium of the organs, this- 
their objection will have to be admitted to be substantial. Just. 


.as &9 Moon never comes within the grasp of the little children 
who spread out their little hands towards the heavens in order 
to catch hold of it, bo also those persons, who run after Material 
Happiness in the hope of reaching the highest form of happi- 
ness, will in any case And it very difficult to reach the highest 
form of happiness. But as Material Happiness is not the only 
kind of happiness, it is possible to find out the way of acquiring 
the highest and the constant form of happiness, even in this 
.difficult position. As has been stated above, when happiness 
is divided into the two divisions of physical and mental 
happiness, one has to attach a higher importance to the 
activities of the mind than to the activities of the body or of 
the organs. Even the well-known Materialist philosopher 
Mill has admitted in his book on Utilitarianism, * that the 
theorem that the merit of Mental happiness is higher than that 
of bodily (i. e., Material) happiness, which has been laid down 
by scients(jrearem), is not made by them as a result of any 
arrogance about their own knowledge but because the true 
greatness or appropriateness of the superior human birth 
•consists in Knowledge. Dogs, pigs, oxen etc. also like the 
happiness of the organs in the same way as human beings ; 
and if the human race was of the opinion that enjoyment of 
objects of pleasure is the only true happiness in the world, 
then man would be ready to become a beast. But in as much ag 
nobody is willing to become a beast, notwithstanding that 
he can thereby obtain all the physical happiness which can be 
got by beasts, it is clear that there is something more in a 
human being than in a beast. When one begins to consider 
what this something is, one has to investigate into the nature 
of that Atman which acquires the knowledge of one's Self and 
•of the external world by means of the Mind and of the Iteason 
.(buddhi ); and when one has once begun to think of this matter, 
one naturally comes to the conclusion that, that happiness 

* " It is better to be a human being dissatisfied than a pig 
satisfied ; better to be Secrates dissatisfied than a fool satisfied. And 
if the fool, or the pig, is of a different opinion, it is because they 
only know their own side of the question ". Utilitarianism p. 14 
(Longman's, 1907). 


which is to be found in the extremely noble activities and iru 
the purest state of the Mind and of the Reason is the highest, 
or the most ideal happiness of mankind, as compared with the 
happiness of the enjoyment of objects of pleasure, which is 
common to man and beast. This kind of happiness is self- 
controlled, that is, it can be acquired without depending on 
external objects, and without reducing the happiness of others, 
and by one's own exertions; and as a man becomes better 
and better, the nature of this happiness becomes more and more 
pure and unalloyed. Bhartrhari has said that " mamsi ca 
paritu$te ko'rthavan ko daridrah ", i. e., " when the mind 
is satisfied, the begger is the same as the rich man ", 
and the well-known Greek philospher Plato has main- 
tained that Mental Happiness is superior to bodily ( that is, 
external or Material ) happiness, and that, that happiness 
which can be realised only by means of the Reason, (which 
is the highest Metaphysical Happiness), is superior even to' 
Mental Happiness. * Therefore, even if we for the time being 
keep aside the question of Release, the fact that that Reason, 
alone can obtain the highest happiness, which is engrossed in 
the contemplation of the Atman, is definitely proved; and 
therefore, after happiness has been divided in the Bhagavad- 
gita into the three divisions of sattvika, rajasa and tamasa, 
it is first stated that " tat sukham sattvikam proktam atmabuddhi- 
prasadajam ", i. e., " that Metaphysical Happiness which is 
the result of the contentedness of the Self-engrossed 
Reason (that is, of the Reason which having realised the true 
nature of the Atman, namely, that there is only one Atman 
in all created beings, is engrossed in that idea) is the sattvika 
(placid), that is, the most superior kind of happiness (Gi. 18. 37)r 
and the Gita goes on to say that the Material Happiness 
arising from the organs and the objects of the organs is of a 
lower grade, that is, is rajasa (Gi. 18. 38); and that the happi- 
ness which arises from sleep, or idleness or which confuses 
the mind is the most inferior form, that is, is tamasa. That 
is the meaning which is conveyed by the stanza from the Gita 
which has been quoted at the commencement of this chapter.- 
and the Gita itself says (Gi. 6. 25) that when a man has onos 
* Republic (Book IX). 


•experienced this beatific happiness, he is not shaken from 
this peaceful mental frame, whatever the magnitude of the 
misfortune which subsequently befalls him. This beatific happi. 
ness is not to be found even in the enjoyment of heavenly 
-objects of pleasure, and the Reason of a man has in the 
first instance to become absolutely contented before he can 
experience it. He who is always engrossed in the enjoyment 
•of the objects of pleasure, without seeing how he can keep his 
frame of mind contented, experiences happiness, which is 
temporary and inconstant Because, that organic happiness 
which exists to-day, ceases to exist tomorrow ; and what is 
more, that thing which our organs look upon as productive of 
happiness to day, becomes for some reason or other, productive 
. of unhappiness tomorrow. For instance, the same cold water 
which is desirable in summer, becomes undesirable in winter ; 
.and even if one acquires the happiness, the desire for happiness, 
as has been mentioned above, is never fully quenched. Therefore, 
although the world 'happiness' can be applied comprehen- 
sively to all kinds of happinesB, yet, one has to differentiate 
between happiness and happiness. In ordinary practice, the 
word ' happiness ' means principally ' organic happiness'. 
But when it becomes necessary to differentiate between the 
happiness of the enjoyment of objects of pleasure from that 
happiness which is beyond the organs, that is, which is beyond 
organic happiness, and which can be realised only by the self- 
engrossed Reason, the Material Happiness which consists of the 
enjoyment of objects of pleasure, is called simply ' happiness ' 
{sukhamoi preyas), and the Metaphysical Happiness which is 
born of Self -Realisation (atma-buddhi-prasadaja) is called 
"* beatific happiness ' ( sreyas), blessing ( tedyanam), amelioration 
Y Mam ), beatitude (ananda), or peace ( ianti). The distinction 
made between 'preyas' and 'sreyas' by Naciketa in the 
sentence from the Kathopanisad quoted at the end of the last 
chapter, has been made on this basis. Mrtyu ( Death ) had 
already in the beginning explained to him the esoteric 
:secrets of Fire (agm). But, when after having acquired that 
happiness, Naciketa asked for the blessing of being 
explained what was meant by the Knowledge or 
-Realisation of the Atman ( atmainam ), Mrtyu tempted him 


■with many other kinds of worldly happineBS instead. But 
Jfaciketa was not tempted by these transient Material kinds 
■of happiness, or things which appeared pleasing { preyas) on 
the face of them, and extending his vision, he insisted on 
having, and ultimately succeeded in acquiring, that philosophy 
•of the, Atman which led to the blessing ( sreyas ) of his Atman 
i Self ) and was ultimately beneficial. In short, our philoso- 
phers have been looking upon that Reason-born happiness or 
Metaphysical beatitude, which results from the Realisation of 
the Atman, as the most superior happiness and their advice ia 
.that this happiness is such as can be obtained by everybody, 
in as much as it is self-controlled, and that everybody should 
■tiy to acquire it. That wonderful and special happiness 
which belongs to mankind in addition to its beastly qualities 
is this happiness; and this happiness of the Atman (atma- 
mnda) is the most constant, the most independent and the 
most excellent of all happiness, in as much as it is independent 
of external circumstances. This peace is called in the Glt3 
X CrI. 6. 15 ) by the name of the Peace ( santi ) of Emancipation 
,{ nirvana I ; and it is also the climax of happiness which 
pertains to the Brahmi state of the sthitaprajiia ( steady-in- 
mind ) described in the Glta ( Gi. 2. 71 ; 6. 28 ; 12. 12 ; 18. 62 ). 

In this way, we have proved that the peace or happiness 
■of the Atman is the most excellent of all happiness, and that 
.as it is self-controlled, it is such as can be acquired by every- 
body. But by proving that gold is the most valuable of all 
metals, iron and other metals do not oease to be useful ; and 
though sugar is sweet, one cannot do without salt ; and the 
«ame is the case with the happiness of the Atman or of Peace 
.(santi). At any rate, it cannot be disputed that Material 
■ objeots are necessary for the protection of the body, along 
with this Peace; and therefore, in the phrases used for 
.blessing, one does not say simply : " santirastu, " (May- 
there be santi 1 , i. e., Peace ), but say : " santih pas/it tuftii 
■castu", that is, 'May there also be pusti ( Material Happi- 
ness ), and tusti (contentedness) along with saidi (jmea)\ 
If our philosohpers had been of the opinion that <a»% 
nought to acquire contentedness (tusti) by haviug «ws»£j 
Peace ( santi ), there would have been no oecasfoa to *Kl 


to this phrase, the word l pusti'. Nevertheless, it is also not 
proper to have an inordinate desire for increase of Material 
Happiness (that is, pusti). Therefore, this phrase means: " May 
you have Peace, Material happiness and also Contentedness- 
in proper proportions, and that you must obtain them ". The- 
same is the moral of the Kathopanisad. The only matter 
which has been described in detail in this Upanisad is that 
after Naciketa had gone to the sphere of Yama, that is, of' 
Death, Yama asked him to ask for three blessings, and that. 
Yama accordingly gave him the three blessings which he had 
asked for. But after Mrtyu had asked Naciketa to ask for 
blessings, Naciketa did not in the first place ask for the blessing: 
of Brahman-Realisation [Brahmajnana), but first said : " My 
father has got angry with me; may he become propitious to me "; 
and then, "teach me the science of Fire (agni), that is, of all 
sacrificial ritual which will give me material opulence " ; and, 
when he had acquired these blessings, he asked for the third 
blessing saying: "teach me the Knowledge of the Atman". But 
when Mrtyu began to say to him that he would give him! 
(Naciketa) additional happiness instead of this third blessing, 
Naciketa has insisted: "now explain to me that Brahma- 
jnana which will lead to sreyas", instead of aspiring for 
possessing more of the knowledge of sacriflcal ritual than was 
necessary for obtaining preyas. In short, as stated in the 
last mantra of this Upanisad, Naciketu obtained both the 
1 Brakma-vidya ' (knowledge of the Brahman), an&'yoga-vidhi" 
(sacriflcal ritual ), and he was emancipated (Katha 6. 18).. 
From this it follows, that the combination of jnana and karma 
is the summary of the preaching of this Upanisad. There is 
also a similar story about Indra. Not only had Indra himself 
acquired fully the Knowledge of the Brahman, (Brahmajnana) 
but he had taught the science of the Atman (atmavidya) to. 
Pratardana, as has been stated in the Kausitakyupanisad. 
Yet, after Indra had lost his kingdom and Prahlada had 
become the king of the three spheres, Indra went to Brhaspati,. 
the preceptor of the gods, and asked him to explain to him 
in what sreyas lay. Then Brhaspati taught the dethroned 
Indra the Brahmavidya, that is, the Knowledge of the Atman,. 
(fflrmjnana) and said to him that that was all which was- 


sreyas (eliirac chreya iti)r But 'Indra was not satisfied audi 
again asked the question: "koviseso bhai)et')",i.e., >" Is" there. 
anything more ? "; thereupon Brhaspati sent him to Sukraoarya. 
There, there was a repetition of the same process, and 1 
Sukracarya said to him : ' " That something , more is known 
to Prahlad. " Then at last Indra went to Prahlada in the>. 
form of a Brahmin and became his disciple, and after same 
time had passed, Prahlada explained to him that ' iUam ', { the 
habit • .f behaving consistently with Truth and Morality ) was 
the master-key for gaining the kingdom of the three spheres, 
and that that was also known as sr eyas. Then, when Prahl34a. 
said to him : " I am very much pleased by your service, I shall- 
give you whatever blessing you may ask ", Indra, in the form of 
the Brahmin, said to him: " Give me your ' illam ' ". When Pra- 
hlada consented, the deity 'silam', and after it Morality fdharm- 
am), Veracity (safyam), good conduct (vrtta), and ultimately 
opulence (iri) and other deities left the body of Prahlada and 
entered the body of Indra, and in this way Indra regained his 
kingdom : such is the ancient story which has been told by 
Bflisma to Yudhiathira in the Santiparva ( San. 124 ). Although 
the Knowledge of the Brahman by itself may be wortb more 
than prosperity {aisvanjain) by itself, yet, in as much as who- 
ever has to live jn this world is under the obligation and has 
also the moral right to acquire material prosperity for himself or 
for his own country in the same way ae it is possessed by others 
or by other countries, the highest ideal of man in this world, as 
is apparent from this beautiful ptory, is seen to be the combin- 
nation of Peace (sanii), and Material Happiness (pufti), or of 
desired things (preyas) and true and lasting benefit (sreyas), or of 
Knowledge (jnanam) and prosperity (aisvaryam), according to our 
Ka.rma-Yoga w>i m».e. Has that Bhagavan than Whom there is) 
none higher in this world, and Whose path is followed ,by. 
others ( Gi. 3. 33 ), Himself given up prosperity and wealth? 
The word 'bhaga' has been defined in the Sastras as : 

aiivaryasga samagrasya dliarmasya yasasah iriyah I 

jnamvairagyayos caiva sarmam bhaga itiraria H 

(Visnu. 6. 5. 74). 


that is, "the word ' bhaga ' includes the followings six things, 

namely, complete Yogic prosperity, righteousness, success ( 

property, knowledge, and apathy". The word 'aisvaryam' in 

this stanza is usually taken to mean ' Yogaisvaryam' (Yogic 

prosperity ), because the word ' srl ', that is, wealth, appears 

later on. But as ordinarily, the word ' aisvaryam ' is used to 

mean and include authority, success, and wealth, and the word 

*jMnam ' includes apathy and righteousness, we may say that 

in ordinary parlance, the entire meaning conveyed by the above 

stanza is included in the two words 'jnanam' and 'aisvaryam'', 

and in as much as the Blessed Lord has Himself accepted the 

■combination of jnanam and aisvaryam, other persons should 

■consider that as proper and act accordingly ( Gl. 3. 21 ; Ma. Bha. 

San. 341. 25). The doctrine that the knowledge of the Atman is 

the only ideal of man in this world is a doctrine of the school 

of Renunciation, which says that, as worldly life is full of 

unhappiness, it should be given up ; it is not a doctrine of the 

Karma-Yoga science, and it is not proper to mix up these 

doctrines of different schools of thought and pervert the meaning 

of the Glta. And as the Glta itself says that mere prosperity 

without Knowledge is a godless prosperity (asurasampatti), it 

follows that we must always maintain the union of jnanam 

•with aisvaryam, or of ais uaryam with jnanam, or of santi with 

jtusti. When it is admitted that aiivayram is necessary, though 

along with jnanam, it necessarily follows that Action must be 

performed. Manu has said that: " Jcarmany arabharrianam hi 

pwmsam srlr nisevate " ( Manu. 9. 300 ), i. e., " in this world, 

only those persons who perform Action, acquire srl 

(prosperity)". The same thing is established by our personal 

experience, and the same is the advice given in the Glta to Arjuna 

<Gi, 3. 8 ). Some persons take the objection to this position 

that in as much as Action is not necessary for Release, all 

Action must be given up ultimately, that is, after the 

acquisition of Knowledge. But, as I am at present considering 

the question only of pain and happiness, and also as I have not 

yet gone into the examination of the natures of Action ( karma) 

and Release ( moksa ), I shall not here answer that exception. 

I shall explain in detail in the ninth and tenth chapters what 

Metaphysics, and the Theory of Cause and Effect are, and then 


in the eleventh chapter, I will prove that even this objection is 

I have so far shown that pain and happiness are two 
independent and different sufferings ; that, as it is impossible to 
satisfy the desire for happiness by the enjoyment of happiness, 
we find that in ordinary life the sum total of unhappiness is 
always greater ; that, in order to escape this unhappiness, the 
most meritorious thing to do is not to totally destroy Thirst or 
Discontent and at the same time Action itself, but to continue 
the performance of all Actions without entertaining any hope 
ior the result; that, the happiness of enjoying objects of 
pleasure is in itself a happiness, which is always insufficient, 
inconstant, and beastly, and that the true ideal of man, who is 
endowed with Reason, must be higher than such happiness; 
"that, this true ideal is the happiness of the peace (sonft) 
which results from . Self-Realisation ; but that, although 
Metaphysical Happiness is, in this way, superior to Material 
Happiness, yet, one must possess with it also a proper quantity 
of worldly objects; and that therefore, we must also make 
Effort, that is, perform Action, desirelessly. When these 
conclusions have been firmly established by the Karma- Yoga 
science, I need not further say that it is wrong to decide 
questions of Morality by the consideration of the external 
effects of Actions in the shape of pain and happiness on the 
basis that Material Happiness is the highest ideal of man — 
■even looking at the question from the point of view of Happi- 
ness merely. Because, looking upon a thing which can never 
by itself reach the state of perfection, as the 'highest' ideal, is 
misusing the word 'highest' ( parama I, and is as unreasonable 
as believing that water exists, where there is only a mirage. 
If one 's highest ideal is itself inconstant and incomplete, then, 
what else, except something inconstant can one acquire, by 
keeping that ideal before one's eyes ? This is what is meant 
by the words : "dharmo nityah sukliaduhkhe to anitye ' ', i. e„ 
■"morality is immutable; pain and happiness are mutable". 
There is much difference of opinion among Materialistic 
philosophers themselves as to how the word 'happiness', in the 
phrase 'the greatest happiness of the greatest number', is to be 
understood. Some of these philosophers are of opinion that, in 


as much as man is very often willing to sacrifice his life for 
the sake of Veracity, or of his Religion, casting aside all 
Material Happiness, it is not proper to say that his desire is 
always to acquire Material Happiness; and they have, 
therefore, maintained that we must use the word 'benefit' 
{kiiam), or the word 'good' (kcUyariam) instead of the word 
'happiness' (sukham), and change the phrase 'greatest happiness 
of the greatest number' into the phrase 'greatest good or benefit 
of the greatest number'. But, even doing so, the objection that 
the Reason (tmddhi) of the doer has not been taken into account, 
as also several other objections apply to this point of view. If 
one says that Mental Happiness must be taken into account, 
along with Material Happiness, then, the fundamental theorem 
that the morality of any particular Action must be decided by 
its external effects, is falsified, and one, to a certain eitent, 
accepts the Metaphysical aspect of the matter. But, if in this 
way, you cannot escape accepting the Metaphysical aspect of 
the matter, then where is the sense of accepting it only half 
way 1 Therefore, our philosophy of ' Earma-Yoga has 
■ultimately come to the conclusion that the doctrines of 'the 
benefit of everybody', or 'the greatest happiness of the greatest 
number', or the highest development of humanness' or other 
such external tests or Materialistic methods of determining 
■questions of Morality are inferior tests, and that what \s Right 
Action, and what Wrong Action or Non-Action must be 
determined by the Metaphysical tests of beatific happiness in 
the shape of Self -Realisation, and the attendant Pure Reason 
of the doer. The case is different, of course, of those persons 
who have sworn not to enter into the philosophy of things 
beyond the external world, under any circumstances. Other- 
wise, it only logically follows that one has got to go beyond 
Mind and Reason, and look upon the permanent benefit of the- 
permanent Atman as the most predominant factor, even in the 
Karma-Yoga science. The belief of some persons that when 
one enters into Vedanta, everything becomes Brahmised 
(Brahma-maya), and the necessity of worldly life' cannot 
satisfactorily be accounted for, is wrong. As the varidus 
works on Vedanta, which can ordinarily be read now-a-days 
have been written principally by followers of the Path of 


denunciation, and as in the Path of Renunciation, worldly 
life in the shape of Thirst is looked upon as totally insipid, it 
is true that the science of Karma-Yoga has not been properly 
expounded in their works. Nay, these writers, who are 
intolerant of rival cults, have foisted the arguments of the Path 
■of Renunciation on the Karma- Yoga, and attempted to create 
the belief that Samnyasa (Renunciation) and Karma- Yoga, are 
not two independent paths for obtaining Release (moksa), but 
that Samnyasa is the only correct Path according to the Sastras. 
But such a view is incorrect. The Path of Karma-Yoga has- 
been independently followed from times immemorial, side by 
side with the Path of Renunciation, aocording to the Vedic 
religion; and the promulgators of this path have very 
.satisfactorily expounded the science of Karma-Yoga, without 
departing from the elementary principles of Vedanta. The 
Bhagavadglta is a work pertaining to this Path of Karma- 
Yoga. But, leaving aside the Gita for the moment, it will be 
seen that the system of expounding the science of the doable 
and the not-doable from the Metaphysical point of view was 
started, even in England itself, by writers like Green, * and 
long before him, in Germany. However much one may 
■consider the visible world, so long as one has not properly 
understood who is the HE who sees this visible world, or who 
Tpsrforms these Actions, the consideration of the highest duty of 
man in this world will always remain incomplete from the 
philosophical point of view. Therefore, the advice of 
YajBavalkya: u atma va are drastavyah srotavyo maniavyo 
mdidhyasifavydh ", is literally applicable to the present case. If 
even after the examination of the external world, one 
ultimately comes to basic principles like philanthropy, then, 
"we must say that by such examination, the importance of the 
soience of the Highest Self (adhyatma) is not in any way 
belittled, but that this is one more proof of there being only 
■one Atman in all created things. If Materialistic philosophers 
■cannot transcend the limitations which they have placed on 
themselves, there is no help for it. Our philosophers have 

* ProUgonum to Ethiei, Book I ; and Kant's Mttaphytus of 
Morals ( trans, by Abbott, in Kant's Theory ofEthta). 


BXtended their sight far beyond that, and have fully justified 
the science of Karma- Yoga on the basis of Metaphysics. But, 
in as much as it is necessary to consider another contrary view 
(■purva-pakqa), which deals with the subject of Right Action 
and Wrong Action or Non-Action, I shall deal with that view 
before explaining how that justification has been made. 




satyaputain vaded vacarh manahputam samacaret * 

Manu. 6. 46. 

There is another method of the consideration of the- 
question of Action, Non-Action, and Wrong Action, besides 
the Positive or Material method, namely, the Intuitionist 
(adhidaivata) method. Those who belong to this school say 
that, when a man decides as to what is Action, Non-Action, 
or Wrong Action, or as to the doability or non-doability of 
any particular Action, he never troubles to find out how 
pain * or happiness will result from any particular Action, 
and whether the sum total of happiness caused by it is greater 
than that of unhappiness, nor does he enter into the con- 
sideration of the Atman and the Non-Atman; and many- 
persons do not understand these intricate questions. Nor even- 
does everybody do every particular act for his own happiness. 
Whatever arguments may be advanced by Materialist philoso- 
phers, if one considers minutely for a moment what the state 
of mind of a person is in determining the righteousness or 
unrighteousness of any particular Action, it will be seen that 
inherent and noble mental impulses like pity, kindness, 
philanthropy etc. impel him to do any particular act on the- 
spot. For instance, when a man sees a beggar, his mind is 
inspired by the feeling of pity before the thought as to what 
benefit will be acquired by his Self or by his giving the beggar 
something in charity entere it, and he gets rid of the matter 
by giving the beggar whatever he can; in the same way, when 
her child begins to cry, the mother does not stop to consider 

* " Speak that which has been purified (become pita) by satyam 
(veracity); and behave in that way which your Mind considers 
as pure ". 


low much how many people will be benefitted by her feeding 
it, but she at onee begins to feed it. Therefore, the true 
foundations' of the seience of Karma-Yoga are- these noble 
mentanmpulses. These "mental impulses have Hot been given 
to us by anybody, but they are Nature-born ot inherent, or, 
in a .sense, serf -created deities. When a judge is seated in 
his judicial chair, he is inspired by the deity of Justice when 
he administers justice, and if he defies this inspiration, he 
administers injustice. The inherent mental impulses of kind- 
ness, pity) philanthropy, gratitude, love for one's duty, courage 
and other virtues, are deities just like the deity of Justice. 
Every one by nature knows what the true forms of these 
deitias are. If ha defies the inspirations of these deities on 
account of avarice, hatei or jealousy, or for some such other 
reason, what can these deities do ? ,Now, it is true that there 
is sometimes a conflict between these deities themselves; then, 
we are in doubt as to the inspiration of which deity we should 
consider as predominant in doing a particular Action ; and 
then it becomes necessary fqr us to consider some .other power 
besides the deities, of Justice, Kindness, etc. in order to 
satisfy this doubt. But even if, on these occasions, we do not 
enter into the intricacies of Metaphysical considerations, 
or of the weighing of pain or happiness, but only consult our 
Mental Deity (manodenita), that is, our Conscience, that deity 
immediately shows us which path is the more meritorious one; 
and therefore, ^Conscience is superior to all deities. The word 
" Conscience ' (mmodevaiu) is not to be understood as meaning 
and including desire^ anger,;, avarice, or the other emotions 
which inhabit the mind, but as jnea.ning, in the present contest, 
the God-given or., inherent power which every one possesses 
of choosing between good and bad. This very power has got 
the high-sounding name of, " Power of discriminating between 
the good and the bad" (sad-asad-mveka-buddh), * and if a 
person, on any occasion of doubt, thinks for a moment quietly 
and with a peaceful mjnd, this deity which, discriminates 
between the right and the wrong (sad-amd-uvecana-demta) 

* Thia ' aad-asad viveka-buddhi ' tiieans ' Oonacienca' in English';; 
and the ' adhidaivata paij» ' ia the Intuitionist School. 

INTUITIONfer SCHOOL & th!b 66d^ & ATMAN 169 

■will never fail him. Nay", on such occasions, we say to other 
persons: "Consult your own mind". What importance to 
attach to what virtue is ready listed with this sovereign deity 
■which immediately gives you her decision on any matter 
in accordance with this list, as occasion arises. Suppose, 
there is an occasion 1 when there is a conflict between the prin- 
ciples of Self-protection and Harmlessness, such as a famine, 
when we are in doubt as to whether Or not to eat uneatable 
food; then, we should consult- our Conscience, and immediately 
it will come out with the decision : " Eat the uneatable food ". 
Similarly, if there is a conflict between Self-interest, and philan- 
thropy, that situation too must he -solved by the help of this 
Mental Deity. Orie writer 1 has after peaceful thought stumbled 
■on 'this list of the relative values' of righteous and unrighteous 
actions prepared by" the deity of Conscience, and he has 
published it in his book. * In this list, the highest place has 
been given to the feeling 1 of Reverence combined with Humi- 
lity; and Kindness, Gratitude, Generosity, Affection etc. are 
given the consecutive lower grades. This writer 3s of the 
opinion that when there is a conflict between a virtue of a 
low'er order, and a virtue of a higher order, one must attach 
higher importance to the virtue oi the higher order. According 
to this writer, there is ho other proper way of determining the 
doability or non-doabillty 6r the righteousness or unrighteous- 
ness of any Action; bedause, even if we extend our vision 
as fax as possible, and decide in what the ' greatest good of 
the greatest number ' lies, yet in as much as our discriminating 
Reason does not possess the power or authority to order "us 
to dd that in which the good ' of the greatest number lies, the 
question whether or not one should do that which is beneficial 
to 'the greatest number ultimately remains unsolved, and 
again the whole niatter remains in abeyance. The decision 
of J the doability or non-doability of an Action arrived 

sX after a far-sighted consideration of pain and happiness 

' i 

* This writer is James Wartinein, and hs has pnbli9hed 4Mb 
list in his work entitled " types of Ethical Tfieoty" (Vol. II. p. 266; 
3rd Ed.). MaitiAean calls Ms school the Kio-psychologioal School. 
But I include this school in the Intnitioniat School. 


will meet the same fate as that of a decision which may- 
have heen given by a judge who has not received proper 
authority from the king. Mere far-sightedness cannot 
tell a person to do something, or that he must do some 
particular thing ; because, far-sightedness being a human 
product, it cannot control human beings. On such occasions, 
there must be some one else having a higher authority than 
ourselves who gives the command ; and this function can be 
satisfactorily discharged only by this God-given Conscience, 
which is superior to man, and therefore, in a position to- 
exercise authority over man. As this deity is self-created it is 
also usual, in ordinary parlance to say : "My Conscience- 
(manodevata) tells me a particular thing". The fact that when, 
a man has committed a sinful action, he is subsequently 
ashamed of it, and that his inner consciousness bites him, is- 
nothing else but the punishment of this Mental Deity ; and 
that proves the existence of this independent Mental Deity. 
For otherwise, we cannot, according to this school of thought,, 
explain why our Conscience pricks only ourselves. 

The summary given above is of the opinions of the 
Intuitionist School in the Western countries. In these- 
countries, this body of thought has been principally 
promulgated by Christian preachers ; and in their opinion, this- 
God-given method is superior to, and easier to follow than the 
purely Materialistic methods for determining the righteousness- 
ot unrighteousness of an Action, and is, therefore, the method 
which should be acted upon. Although in India there was no ■ 
such independent section of the science of Kamia-Yoga in. 
ancient times, yet we oome across similar opinions in many 
places in our ancient treatises. We find in many places in the 
Mahabharata that the various mental impulses have been given> 
the forms of deitieB. I have referred in the foregoing pages to the 
story of the deities of Morality (dharmamj, Prosperity fsn) etc. 
having left the body of Prahlada and entered the body of 
Indra. This deity who discriminates between doability and: 
non-doability, or righteousness and unrighteousness is called: 
'JQharmam', and there are stories that this deity had manifested 
himself in the form of a syena bird for testing the truthfulness- 
of the King Sibi, and first in the form of a yakqa and later oa 


in the form of a dog for testing Yudhisthira. Even in the 
Bhagavadglta (10.34), Fame (klrti/, Opulence (iri), SpeeohYwfc), 
Memory (smrti), Acumen (medha), Perseverance (dhrti), and 
Forgiveness (ksama) are called deities; and out of these, 
memory, aoumen, perseverance, and forgiveness are qualities of 
the mind. The Mind itself is a deity, and the worship of it has 
been prescribed in the Upanisads, as being a symbol of the 
Parabrahman (Taj. 3. 4; Chan. 3. 18). When Manu says: 
"mamhpTUam samacaret" (6. 46), i. e., "Do what the Mind 
believes to be pure", he may be said to have intended the 
Mental Deity by the word 'mams' (Mind). In ordinary affairs, 
we say instead : "Do as the Mental Deity (manodevata) pleases. 
In the Marathi language, the word 'manahpVta' has acquired 
quite the contrary meaning ; and on many occasions, when a 
person does whatever he likes, he is said to behave 'manahputa 1 . 
But the true meaning of this phrase is that : 'One should do 
only that which the Mind considers as sacred or pure'. In the 
fourth chapter of the Mam-Samhifa, Manu himself has made 
the meaning clearer by saying : 

yat karma kurvato 'sya syat pariiown, 'taratmanah I 
tat prayatnem kurvlta viparitam tu, varjayet II 

(Manu-Samh. 4. 161). 

that is, "One should perform by efforts that Action by which i 
one's innermost Atman is satisfied ; and one shonld give up 
whatever is disliked by it", So also, Manu, Yajnavalkya, and 
the other Smrti-writers, in mentioning the fundamental rules 
of practical morality such as the rules of Morality applicable 
to the four castes, etc. have said : 

vedah smrtih sadacarah svasya ca priyam atmanah I 
etao caturvidltam prahuh saksad dltarmasya laksanam II 

(Manu. 2. 13). 

that is, "the Vedas, the Smrtis, good behaviour, and the 
satisfaction of one's Atman, are the four fundamental elements 
of righteousness (dhxrmam). The meaning of the words 'the 
satisfaction of the Atman' is, 'that whioh one's Mind looks 
upon as pure' ; and it is quite clear that where the righteous- 


mess or unrighteousness of any particular Action could not be 
•decided by consulting the Srutis, the Smrtis, and the principles 
of gojbd behaviour (sadacara), the fourth means of deciding the 
matter was considered to be its 'manah^mtata', i. e., its 'being 
■ considered as pure by the Mind'. In the Mahabharata, 
Dhrtarastra, after relating the stories of Prahlada and Indra 
rmentioned in the last Chapter, has said in describing 'silam', 
ithat : 

yad amjetptii Mam m mjad atmanah karma paurusam I 
apatrapeta va yena va tat Jmryat kathaniama H 

(Ma. Bha. San. 124. 66). 

-that is, "That Action of ours which is not benefioial to others, 

• or of vi;hich we ourselves would feel ashamed, should not be 

performed in any case. My readers will notice that by using 

ihe expressions 'is not beneficial to others' and 'feel ashamed '■ 

this verse haB included in the same place both the doctrines of 

'the greatest good of the greatest number' and the 'Mental 

Deity'. Even in the Manu-Smrti, that Action for having done 

which or when doing which one feels ashamed, is referred to as 

''tamasa', and that Action of doing which one does not feel 

ashamed, and whereby our innermost self (antaratman) remains 

happy, is referred to as 'sattvika' (Manu. 12. 35. 37) ; and these 

ideas are to be found also in the Buddhistic treatise 

' Dhammapada (See Dhammapada, 67 and 68). Ealidasa says that 

when there is a doubt as to the doability or non-doability of 

any Action : 

satam hi samdehapadew vastusu 

pramanam antahkaravapravrttaydh I 

(Sakun. 1. 20). 
<ihat iB, "saintly persons always consider as authoritative the 
dictates of their own Conscience". Controlling the mental 
impulses by concentrating the mind on a single object is the 
^province of the Patanjala Yoga, and as this Yoga-Sastra 
.has been in vogue in India from very ancient times, it 
was at no time necessary to teach our people the method of 
making the mind peaceful and quiet, and doing that which the 
Mind considered as proper, whenever there was any doubt about 


any matter. It is stated in the various Smrtis at the very 
commencement, that the Rsis who wrote them, used always to • 
define righteousness and unrighteousness after first completely 
concentrating their minds (Manu. 11) ; and the method of thus- 
consulting the dictates of Conscience on any matter also- 
seems at first sight extremely easy. But when one minutely 
considers what is meant by a ' pure mind ' from the philoso- 
phical point of view, this facility of the matter disappears ; 
and on that account, our philosophers have not based the 
edifice of Karma-Yoga on it. We must now consider what 
this philosophical point of view is; but before I do so, I will 
here explain briefly how the Western Materialistic philosophers 
have refuted this Intuitionist theory. Because, although the 
reasons adduced by the Materialists and the Metaphysicians 
may be different, yet as the result arrived at by both is the 
same, I shall first deal with the arguments of the Materialists,- 
in order that the importance and the propriety of the argu- 
ments of the Metaphysicians should be the better understood 
by my readers. 

As the Intuitionist School has, as mentioned above, given, 
the highest place to Conscience Pure, it is clear that the 
objection against the Materialistic philosophy or morals,, 
namely, that they do not attach any importance to the Reason 
of the doer, does not apply to the Intuitionist theory. But 
when one minutely considers what is to be called the ' Pure i 
Conscience' in the shape of a Mental Deity which dis- j 
criminates between the Right and the Wrong {sad-asad-iiveka' ] 
buddhih), it will he seen that other unconquerable difficulties] 
arise with reference to this theory also. Nobody need be ^ 
told that whatever thing is taken considering it in all its 
bearings, and finding out whether or not it is performable or 
unperformable, doable or not-doable, or whether or not it will 
be advantageous or pleasant, is a thing which is not done by 
the nose or the eyeB or any other organs, and that there 
is an independent organ, namely, the Mind, which serves that 
purpose. Therefore, doability or non-doability, righteousness 
or unrighteousness are things which must be determined by 
the Mind, whether you call it an organ or a deity. 
If that were all that the Intuitionist school said, nobodjr 


would find any fault with it. But, Western Intuitionists have 
gone far beyond that. They say that deciding whether a thing 
is good or bad (so* or asat), just or unjust, righteous or un- 
righteous, is quite different from deciding whether a particular 
object is heavy or light, white or black, or whether a cal- 
culation is correct or incorrect. The Mind can, by logical 
methods, decide matters which fall within the second category; 
but the Mind itself is incapable of deciding on the matters 
mentioned in the first category, and that is a thing which oan be 
•done only by the Mental Deity in the shape of the Power of 
discrimination between good and bad. They explain this by 
saying that in determining whether a particular calculation 
is correct or incorrect, we first examine the additions or multi- 
plications involved in it, and then arrive at a decision, that is 
to say, before determining this question, the Mind has to go 
through some other actions or activities ; but the same is not the 
.case in the matter of the discrimination between good and bad. 
As -soon as we hear that somebody has murdered somebody 
■else, we immediately utter the words: "What a bad thing 
has been done by him I ", and we have not to think about the 
matter at all. As the decision whioh we arrive at without 
;any consideration, and the one which we arrive at after con- 
sideration, cannot both be said to be the functions of one 
and the same mental capacity, we must say that Conscience 
1 is an independent Mental Deity. As this power or deity is 
■ equally awake in the hearts of all human beings, every 
k -one looks upon murder as a crime, and nobody has to 
I '.be taught anything about the matter.' This Intuitionist 
••argument is answered by Materialistic philosophers by 
saying, that from the fact that we can spontaneously 
arrive at a deoision on any matter, we cannot draw the 
conclusion that such matter must be different from 
.another matter as to which we come to a decision after proper 
consideration. Doing a thing quickly or slowly is a matter 
of practice. Take the case of calculations. Merchants quote 
the rate for the seer immediately on being given the rate for 
the khandy, by mental calculation. But on that account, 
their deity of calculation does not become different from the 
same deity of the best mathematicians. By habit, something 


leconies so much part and parcel of oneself, that one does 
it easily and without the slightest consideration. An excellent 
marksman easily shoots and kills birds on the wing; but 
mo one, on that account, says that there is soma independent 
•deity of marksmanship. Not only that, but no one, on that 
.account, considers the science of marksmanship or of cal- 
culating the speed of flying birds or other scientific calculations 
as unnecessary. There is a story told of Napoleon Buonaparte, 
that as soon as he stood on the battle-field and cast only one 
glance all round, he could immediately find out the weakest 
point of the enemy. But, on that account, nobody said that 
the science of warfare is an independent deity, and that it 
is in no way connected with other mental faculties. It may 
be that one man has a greater aptitude for a particular thing 
than another. But on that account, we do not say that the 
two have two different kinds of intelligence. Besides, 
it is not that the decision on questions of doability or 
non-doability, or of righteousness or unrighteousness is made 
instantaneously on all occasions. Because, if such were the case, 
there would never have been any doubt as to whether ' a parti- 
cular thing ought to be done or ought not to be done '.■ Not 
only is such doubt occasionally experienced by every one, but, 
what is more, the decisions given by different persons as to the 
■doability or non-doability of the same Action are different. If 
there is only one self -created deity in the form of 'Conscience', 
why should there be this difference 1 Therefore, we have to say ,- 
•that a man comes to a decision on any particular matter, . 
according as his mind is evolved or educated. There are many : 
aboriginal tribes who do not consider murder a crime, but even ' 
■eat human flesh with pleasure ! But if we for a moment leave 
aside the case of uncivilised human beings, yet, according to 
the customs of different countries, something which is 
■considered objectionable in one country is wholly acceptable in 
another country. Marrying a second wife when the first one 
is alive, is considered a crime in England ; but nobody thinks 
much of it in India. Indians would feel ashamed of sitting in 
■an assembly without their turbans on ; but in England people 
•consider taking off one's hat as a sign of respect ! If it were 
true that one feels ashamed of a wrong act as a result only of 


God-given or inherent Conscience, should not every one feel 
equally ashamed of the same act ? Even marauders consider it 
disgraceful to draw a sword against a, person whose food th,ey 
have eaten ; but, even powerful civilispd nations in the West 
consider it a sign of patriotism to murder people who are 
subjects of a neighbouring nation ! !. If there is only one deity 
in the shape of Conscience, why should there be thiB difference ? 
And if one admits different kinds of Conscience, according to- 
civilization or according to the customs of countries, then the 
self-created immutability of Conscience itself suffers. As man 
leaves the uncivilised state and is gradually more and more 
oivilised, so also are his Mind and Reason developed;, and 
when in this way, the Reason has developed, man becomes 
capable of spontaneously conceiving such ideas as he would 
have been incapable of conceiving in his former uncivilised 
condition. We may even say that the Reason being developed 
in this way is a sign of civilisation, Just as a civilised or 
educated person's not asking for everything which he casts his. 
eyes on is a sign of the control over the organs which has 
become ingrained in him, so also has the mental faculty of 
choosing between good and evil gradually grown in mankinds 
and it has now become so much part of human nature that 
we give our decision as to the morality of a thing spontaneously 
and without consideration. If we have to see things which are 
near or which are far, we have to contract the muscles and 
tendons of the eyes to a greater or lessT extent, and this is 
done so quickly that we never realise it ; but has any one, on 
that account, looked upon the consideration of the reasons for 
this process as useless ? In short, the Mind or the Reason of 
man are the same at all times and with referenoe to all matters. 
It is not that we decide between black and white by one kind 
of Reason and between good and evil by another kind of Reason. 
The only difference is that the Reason of a particular person 
may bB more developed, whereas the Reason of another person 
may be uneducated or incompletely developed. Western 
Materialistic philosophers have' thus drawn the conclusion that 
when we bear in mind this difference, and also take into 
aocount our experience that being able to do any particular 
thing quickly is only a matter of habit or practice, we have no 



.reason for imagining that there is an independent and wonder- 
ful power like Conscience in addition to the natural faculties 
of the Mind. 

The ultimate decision of our ancient philosophers on this 
matter is similar to that of the Western Materialistic 
philosophers. They admit the principle that it is necessary to- 
consider any particular matter quietly and with a peaceful 
mind. But they do not accept the position that there is one 
kind of Reason which decides the question of righteousness and 
unrighteousness and another kind of Reason which decides 
whether a particular thing is black or white. The Mind 
arrives at a correct or incorrect decision according as it has 
been educated. They, therefore, say that everybody must 
m^ke an effort to develop his Mind ; and they have also given 
rules explaining what this development is and how it is to be 
made. But they do not accept the position that the power of 
discrimination between good and bad (aad-aaad-oioeunta-sakti) is 
some independent heavenly gift whioh is different from the 
ordinary Reason of a man. The question as to how a man 
acquires knowledge and how the activities of his Mind and 
Reason are carried on, have been very minutely examined in 
ancient times. This examination is technically known as "the 
consideration of the Body and the Atman" (ksetra-ksetrajrla- 
viwTaj. 'ksetra' means the body and 'ksetrajfia' means the 
Atman. This ksetra-ksetrajna-oicara is the foundation of 
Metaphysics ; and as it is impossible to look upon the Power 
of discrimination between good and bad or any other Mental 
Deity as higher than the Atman when once one has properly 
understood this science of the Body and the Atman, it becomes 
perfectly clear how the IntuitioniBt arguments are insufficient. 
I shall, therefore, in this place briefly considar the science of 
the Body (ksetra or Field) and the Atman (ksetrajila). Thereby, 
my readers will be able to properly understand trie correct 
meanings of many of the doctrines of the Bhagavadgita. 

The body of man ( pinda, ksetra, or sarira ) may be said 
to be a great factory. As in any factory raw material U first 
taken in from outside, and then all the material is selected or 
arranged, and having determined which of the material is 
useful for the factory and which not, the raw material taken 
2a— 24 


In is manufactured into different articles and sent out, so also 
are there numerous activities going on, every moment in the 
human body. The first of the means man has for acquiring 
the knowledge of the various objects in the world, made up 
of the five primordial elements, are his organs. The, true or 
fundamental form of the objects in the world cannot be 
iealised by any one by means of his organs. Materialists 
say that such form is the same as it appears to oul organs; 
but if tomorrow a human being acquires another new organ, 
then, from his point of view the qualities of the different 
objects in the world will be different. Human organs are of 
two kinds, namely, organs of Action ( htrnwndriya ) and organs 
of perception (jfkmendriya). The hands, the feet, the voice, 
the anus and the generative organs are the five organs of 
Action. All the Actions which we perform by means of 
our body are performed through these five organs. Besides 
these, there are the five organs of perception, namely, the nose, 
the eyes, the ears, the tongue and the skin. "We perceive 
■colour by the eyes, taste by the tongue, sound by the ears, 
•smell by the nose, and touch by the skin. All the knowledge 
that we acquire of any external object, is the effect of its _ 
■colour, taste, sound, smell or touch, and nothing else. For 
instance, take a pieoe of gold. It looks yellow, it seems heavy 
to the touch, and it is elongated on being hammered. These 
and its other qualities which we perceive by means of our 
organs, is what is 'gold ' in our eyeB; and when these qualities 
are seen to recur in any particular object, then suph object 
becomes an independent physical objsct named 'gold' in our 
opinion. Just as there are doors in a factory for taking 
material in from outside and for sending out the material 

Ijinside, so also, the organs of perception are the doors 
aan body for taking material inside and the organs 

| are the doors for sending that material out. When 
of the Sun fall on any object and enter our eyes on 

lected, our Atman perceives the colour of that object ; 

In the minute atoms of soent, emanating from that 
ae and strike our olfactory nerves, we smell it. The 
> of the other organs of perception are carried on in the 
same way ; and when the organs perception are functioning in 


this way, we become aware of the external objects in the world 
through their medium. But the organs of perception do not 
themselves acquire the knowledge of the activities whitth they 
carry on ; and therefore, these organs of perception are ! not 
called 'jnata ' (Knower), but they have been referred to 1 as the 
portal* for taking in material from outside. When external 
material has come inside through these doors, the dealing 
with it afterwards is the function of the Mind. For instanoe, 
when at noon the clock strikes twelve, it is not the ears which 
understand what o'clock it is. Just as each stroke falls, aerial 
vibrations come and strike the ears, and when each of these 
strokes has in the first place created a distinot effect on the 
mind, we mentally calculate the sum of all these phenomena 
and decide what o'clock it is. Even the beasts have got the 
organs of perception, and as each stroke of the clock falls, it 
causes an effect on their mind through their ears. But their 
mind is not sufficiently developed to be able to total 
up the number of strokes and to understand that it is twelve 
o'clock. Explaining this in technical language, it is said that 
although a beast is capable of perceiving individual phenomena 
by themselves, yet, it is not able to perceive the unity which 
results from that diversity. In the Bhagavadgita, this is 
explained by saying : "indriyani parany ahuh indriyebhyah 
param manah", (Gri. 3. 42), i.e., "the organs are superior to the 
external objects, and the Mind is superior to all the organs". 
As has been stated above, if the Mind is not in its proper place, 
we do not see anything although the eyes may be open, nor do 
we hear anything though the ears may be open. In short, 
the external material comes into the factory of the Body 
through the organs of perception to the clerk called 'Mind', 
and this clerk subsequently examines that material. We will 
now consider how this examination is done, and how it 
becomes necessary to further sub-divide that which we have so 
far been broadly referring to as the 'Mind', or how one and 
the same Mind acquires different names according to difference 
in its funotions. 

All the impressions which are created on the mind through 
the organs of perception have first to be placed together in one 
place and by comparing them with each other, one has first to 


decide which of them are good and which bad, which acceptable- 
arid which objectionable, which harmful and which beneficial p 
and when this examination has been made, we are induced to- 
do that thing which is good, beneficial, proper, or doable. This- 
is the ordinary course. For instance, when we go into a, 
garden, impressions of the various trees and flowers in it are 
made on our minds through our organs of perception. But 
unless our Atman has acquired the knowledge of which of 
these flowers have a good smell and which a bad one, we do- 
not get the desire of possessing a particular flower, and 1 
consequently perform the Action of plucking it. Therefore,, 
all mental activity falls into the following three broad 
divisions, namely : (1) having acquired the knowledge of 
external objects by means of the organs of perception,, 
arranging all these impressions, or carefully classifying them 
for purposes of comparison, (2) after this classification has- 
been made, critically examining the good or bad qualities of 
the different objects and deciding which object is acceptable 
and which not; and (3) when the decision has been made,, 
feeling the desire to acquire the acceptable and reject the 
unacceptable, and getting ready for appropriate action. It is 
not that these three functions must take place immediately one 
after the other, and without there being any interval of time 
between them. We may in the present feel the desire of 
acquiring some object which we may have seen in the past ;. 
nevertheless we cannot, on that account, say that any one of 
these three functions is unnecessary. Just as though the Court 
of Justice is one and the same, the work in it is divided in the 
following way, namely, the two parties or their respective 
pleaders first place their respective evidence and witnesses before 
the Judge, and the Judge gives his decision after considering the 
evidence on either side, and the Sheriff ultimately carries out the 
decision which has been given by the Judge, so also are the acti- 
vities of that clerk whom we have so far broadly referred to as 
the* Mind', divided. Out of these activities, the function of 
considering discriminatingly all the various objects which 
are perceived, and deciding that a particular thing is of a 
particular kind (euameva) and not of another kind {rianyatha) r 
that is to say, the function of a Judge, belongs to the organ. 


called 'Eeason' (buddhih); and all the mental functions 
referred to above, except the functions of this faculty of 
discriminating between good and evil, are carried out by the 
organ called ' Mind ' (mams), according to the terminology 
of both the Vedanta and the Sarhkhya philosophies (Sam. 
Ka. 23 and 27). This (minor) Mind, like a pleader, places 
ibefore the Eeason the various ideas that a particular thing 
is like this (samkalpam) or is like that (vikcdpam) etc., for 
decision; and therefore, it is called an organ which is 'samkalpa- 
mkalpatmakam', that is, which merely forms ideas without 
arriving at any decision. The word 'samkalpam' is sometimes 
made to include also the factor of decision (Chandogya. 7. 4. 1.). 
But in this particular place, the word ' samkalpam ', has been 
used to mean and include merely realising, or believing, or 
taking for granted, or understanding that a particular thing 
as of a particular kind, or such activities as planning some 
Action, desiring, thinking, or conceiving, without arriving at 
;any decision (mscayah). But the function of the Mind is not 
.exhausted after placing various ideas for decision before the 
Eeason in this way like a pleader. When the Reason has 
decided on the goodness or badness of any particular act, and 
has decided what is acceptable, the Mind has also to perform 
the Registrar's function of bringing about, through the organs 
•of Action, that thing which has been found acceptable, that 
Is to say, of carrying into execution the decisions of Reason; 
.and therefore, the Mind can also be defined in another way. 
It is true that considering how to carry into execution the 
decision which has been arrived at by the Reason is in a sense 
■samkalpa-vikalpatmaka; nevertheless thatprocesB has been given 
ithe independent name ' vyakaranam', that is, 'development', 
In the Sanskrit language; all the other mental activities 
except these are the functions of Reason. The Mind does not 
•discriminate between the various ideas in the mind. Dis- 
criminating between them and giving to the Atman the 
accurate knowledge of any particular object, or deciding that 
a particular thing is only of a particular kind after proper 
classification, or arriving at a definite inferenoe, and deciding 
.as to the doability or non-doability of any particular Action 
.after inferentially determining the relation of Cause and 


Effect between two things, are all functions of the Reason 
»nd are known in Sanskrit as ' vyavasayah' or 'adhyavasayah'. 
Therefore, ■ these two words have been defined in the Maha- 
bharata in the following way in order to show the difference 
between the Reason and the (minor) Mind, namely : — 

" vyavasayatmika buddMh memo vySkaranStmakam " 

(Ma. Bha. San. 251. 11). 
ihat is, "the 'buddhih' (Reason) is an organ which does the 
vyavasayah, that is, which discriminates and arrives at a 
decision, and the Mind (minor) is an organ which does the 
vyaharayam, that is, carries out the development or the further 
arrangements. In short, the Reason "is vyavasayatmika and 
the mind is vyakarar/atmakam ". Even the Bhagavadgita. 
uontains the words "vyavasayatmilca buddhih" (Oil. 2. 44); and 
in that place, the word buddhih means the organ which dis- 
oriminates and decides. The buddhih ■ is like a sword. Its. 
Eunction is only to cut whatever comes before it or is brought 
before it. It has no other quality or function (Ma. Bha. 
Vana. 181. 26). Planning, desiring, wanting, memory, perse- 
verance, faith, enthusiasm, kindness, interestedness, affection, 
pity, gratitude, sexual impulses, shame, joy, fear, love, 
attachment, hate, avarice, arrogance, . jealousy, anger etc., 
are all qualities or faculties of the Mind (Br. 1. 5. 3; Maitryu. 
6, 30), and man is prompted to perform any particular actr 
according to the particular mental impulse which has .sprung 
into the Mind. . However reasonable a man may be, and 
even if Jia fully " understands how poor people suffer, yet, if 
the feeling of pity is not aroused in his heart,, he will never be 
inspired by the desire to help the poor ; or, though he might 
feel the desire to fight,' he will not fight if "he is wanting in. 
courage. The Reason only tells us what the result will be- 
at those things which we want to do. But as desire, courage etc., 
are not the faculties of the Reason, Reason by it-self, that is r 
without the help of the Mind, never inspires the organs to do- 
anything. On- the other hand, though, -the Mind can inspire 
the organs when under the sway of Anger "etc., yet an Action- 
which may have been performed without the discrimination^ 
of the Reason and .merely by . the inspiration of the mental 


impulses, will not necessarily be morally pure. For instance, 
if something is given in charity without exercising the Reason 
and merely under the impulse of the feeling of pity, there is 
a chance of its having evil effects if the charity is given to an. 
undeserving person. In short, the mental impulses by them- 
selves are blind without the help of Reason. Therefore, in 
order that any good Action should be performed by a man, 
there must be a combination of a Reason which is pure, 
that is to' say, such as will arrive at a correct deoisioa 
between good and bad, a Mind which will act according 
to the dictates of the Reasou, and organs which are subject 
to the oontrol of Mind. Besides the words 'buddluh' and 
'manas\ the other 1 words 'antahkaranam' and 'cittam' are also in 
vogue. As the word awtdhkarayam out of these means the 
internal (i. e., antah) organ (i. e., kamnmn or indriyam),' it 
usually includes the mams (Mind), buddluh (Reason), cittam. 
(Consciousness) and afta«fraram(Egoism) etc; and when the Mind 
first contemplates external objects, it becomes cittam, (i. e.» 
Consciousness), (Ma. Bha. San. 274. 17). But, as in ordinary 
parlance these words are used as being synonymous, there is 
very often a confusion as to what meaning is intended ia 
which place. In order that such a confusion should not arise* 
only the two words Mind and Reason, out of the various words 
mentioned above, are used in scientific terminology in the 
specific meanings mentioned above. When in this way a 
differentiation has been made between the Mind and the 
Reason, the Reason in its capacity of a judge, necessarily 
becomes superior to the Mind, and the Mind becomes the clerk 
of the Reason. This is the purport of the following words, 
used in the CHta, namely, "irianasas hi para buddluh", i. e„ ' the 
Reason is superior to or beyond the Mind" (Gl. 3. 42). Never- 
theless, even this clerk has, as mentioned above, to perform two. 
different functions ; the first of these is to properly arrange all 
the impressions whioh have come from outside, through the 
medium of the- organs of perception, and to place those 
impressions' before the Reason for decision; and the second 
one is to carry "the order Or the message of the Reason to the 
organs of Action after the Reason has arrived at a < deoision> 
and make these organs perform those external Actions whioh 


are necessary to be performed for carrying out the decision of 
the Reason. Just as very often in a shop, the duty of 
purchasing merchandise for the shop and also the duty of 
sitting in the shop and selling the goods are both carried out 
by one and the same clerk, so also is the case with the Mind. 
Suppose, you see a friend of yours and being inspired with the 
■desire of calling him, you say to him 'hullo !' ; then, let us see 
■what are the ^various functions which are carried out in 
your antahkaraTfam. First, your eyes, that is, the organ of 
perception, have sent a message to the Reason through the 
medium of the Mind that your friend is near you, and that 
knowledge is conveyed through the Reason to your Atman. 
Here, the first function, namely, of the acquisition of 
knowledge, is over. Then the Atman, through the medium of 
the Reason decides to call the friend ; next, the desire to speak 
springs into the Mind in order to execute the decision of the 
Reason, and the Mind causes the word 'hullo !' to be uttered by 
the organ of Action. In the SiksU-grantha of Panini, the 
function of the utterance of words has been described on that 
hasis as follows :— 

atma buddhya sametyarthan mano yunkte viwksaya I 
rnanah kayagmm almnii so prerayaii marutam I 
marutas turasi caran mandram jamyati svaram II 

that is, "the Atman in the first place grasps all things through 
the medium of the Reason, and creates in the Mind the desire 
to speak ; then the Mind sets in action the bodily heat (kayagni) 
which in turn Bets the breath in motion ; then this breath 
entering the chest, creates the lowest sound ; and this sound 
ultimately comes out of the mouth in the shape of labial, 
guttural, or other sounds." The last two lineB of the above 
stanza are also to be found in the Maitryupanisad (Maitryu. 
7. 11.) ; and from this it is clear, that this stanza must be older 
than Panini. * 'kayagni' is known in present-day medical 

* Max MUller has said that Maitryupanisad mnBt be earlier 
in point of time than Panini. Bee Sacred Books of the Essfc 
Series Vol. XV pp. xlvii— li. This matter lias been more fully 
dealt with by me in the Appendices, 


science as 'nerves'. But according to that science, the nerves 
•which bring in the perception of external objects are different 
from those which carry the message of the Reason to the 
organs of Action through the medium of the Mind; and 
therefore, according to Western medical scientists, we must 
have two kinds of Mind. Our philosophers have not thought 
that there are two kinds of Mind; they have differentiated 
ietween the Reason and the Mind, and have said that the Mind 
is dual, that ia to say, where the organs of Action are coacerned 
it acts according to the organs of Action, and where the organs 
of perception are concerned, it acts according to those organs. 
Both these ideas are essentially the same. According to the 
points of view of both, the Reason is the judge who decides, 
and the Mind becomes samkalparvikalpatmakam, that is, performs 
the function of conceiving ideas in relation to the organs of 
perception, and becomes vyalcaranaimakam. that is, executive, in 
relation to the organs of Action, that is to say, it becomes the 
actual provocator of the organs of Aotion. Nevertheless, in 
developing (i. e., making the vyakaranam of) anything, the 
Mind has very often to conceive ideas (that is, make safnludpam 
and vihalpam) in order to see in what way the dictates of the 
Reason can be carried out. Therefore, in defining the Mind, it 
is usual to say simply "mmkalpa-'dkdpaimakam manah" ; but, it 
must not be forgotten, that even according to that definition, 
both kinds of functions of the Mind are inoluded. 

The definition of Reason given by me above, namely, that 
it is the organ which discerns, is intended only for the purpose 
of minute scientific discussions. But, these scientific meanings 
of words are always fixed subsequently. It is, therefore, 
necessary to consider here also the practical meanings which 
the word 'buddhih' had acquired before this scientific meaning 
had been fixed. We cannot acquire the knowledge of anything 
unless it has been identified by the Pure Reason (vyavasaya- 
imika buddhih); and unless we have acquired the knowledge 
of that object, we do not conceive the intention or the desire 
of obtaining it. Therefore, just as in ordinary parlance, the 
word 'mango' is applied both to the mango-tree and the 
mango-fruit, so also ordinary people very often use ths single 
word 'buddhih' (Reason) for signifying the Pure Reason 


(vyavasayatmika buddhih), as also the fruits of- that Reason 
in the shape of Desire etc. For instance, when we say that 
the buddhih of a particular person is evil, we intend to say- 
that his ' Desire ' is evil. As ' Intention ' or ' Desire ' are both 
faculties of the Mind from the scientific point of view, it is not 
correct to refer to them by the word ' buddhih '. But, before 
the word 'buddhih' had been scientifically analysed, the word! 
'buddhih' had begun to be used in ordinary parlance in the 
two meanings of (i) the organ which discerns and (ii) the 
Intention or Desire which subsequently arises in the human 
mind aB a result of the functioning of that organ. Therefore^ 
just as the additional word ' tree ' or ' fruit ' is used when it is: 
intended to show the two different meanings of the word 
'mango', so also, when it is necessary to differentiate between 
the two meanings of the word ' buddhih ', the ' buddhih ' which 
discriminates, that is to say, the technical 'buddhih' is 
referred to by qualifying it by the ad jective ' vyavasayatmika * 
and Desire is referred to as Bimply 'buddhih' or at most as 
' vasanatmika buddhih'. In the Gita the word 'buddhih' has 
been used in both the above meanings (Gi. 2. 41, 44, 49 and 3.; 42); 
and in order to properly understand the exposition of the 
Karma-Yoga, both these meanings of the word 'buddhih ' have 
to be continually kept before the mind. ■ When man begins 
to do any particular act, he first considers whether it is good, 
or bad, doable or not-doable etc., by means of his Pure Reason. 
{vyavasayatmika buddhih), and when the Desire or Intention 
(that is, the vasanatmika buddhih) of doing that act enters his- 
mind, he becomes ready to perform the act. This is the order 
of the mental functions. When that buddhih out of the two- 
( namely the vyavasayatmika ) which has to decide between the- 
doability and the non-doability of any particular Action is 
functioning properly, the Mind is not polluted by improper- 
Desires (buddhih) entering it. Therefore, the first theorem of 
the Karma-Yoga preached in the Gita is that the vyavasa- 
yatmika buddhih (Pure Reason) must be made pure and steady 
(Gi. 2. 41). Not only the Gita, but also Kant has- differen- 
tiated between two kinds of buddhih and he has described the 
functions of the vyavasayatmika buddhih (Pare Reason) and of 
the vyavaharika or vasaruitmika buddhih (Practical Reason) in 


two different books. * Really speaking, steadying the Pure- 
Reason ib the subjeot-niatter of the Patafijala Yoga-SSstra,- 
and not of the Karma- Yoga SSstra. But in considering any 
particular act, one must, according to the doctrine of the' 
Glta, first consider the desne or the uosanflfjiiifca buddliih of 
the doer of the act, before one looks at the effect of the 
act ( Gi. 2. 49 ); and in the same way when one considers- 
the question of Desires it will be seen that the man whose 
pure Reason has not become steady and pure, conceives 
different shades of desire in his mind, and therefore), it is not 
certain that these desires will be always pure or holy (GI. 2. 41). 
And if the desires themselves are not pure, how will the 
resulting Action be pure 1 Therefore, one has to consider in 
detail, even in the science of Karma-Yoga, the methods or 
means which have to be employed to keep the vyaoasuyatmika 
buddhih pure, and therefore, the Patafijala Yoga has been, 
desoribed in the sixth chapter of the Bhagvadgita as one of 
the means by which the vyavasayatmka buddliih oan be made 
pure. But some doctrinal commentators have disregarded 
this fact and drawn the inference that the Glta supports and" 
preaches the Patafijala Yogal From this it will be olear- 
to my readers how necessary it is to bear in mind the above- 
mentioned two meanings of the word ' buddhh ' and their 
mutual relation. 

j I have in this way explained what the respective functions- 
df the Mind and the Reason are, after explaining the internal 
working of the human mind, and I have also mentioned the- 
other meanings of the word 'buddhih.'. Having in this way 
differentiated between the Mind and the ' vyauisayatmka 
Uuddhih' (Pure Reason), let us see how this aspect affecte- 
the question of the deity which discerns between good and 
evil {Sad-asad-viueka-devctia). As the only purpose which this 
deity serves is to choose between good and evil, it cannot be 
included in the (minor) Mind; and as there is only one 

* Kant calls the vyavasayitmika buddhih Pare Reason; and the 
vasanatmika buddhih Practical Reason^ and he has dealt with these - 
two kinds of Season in two separate books. 


*' vyamsayatmika buddhih' (Pure Reason) which considers all 
matters and comes to a decision on them, we cannot give an 
independent place for the sad-asad-mvecam sakli (power of 

-discriminating between good and evil). There may ob 
numerous matters about which one has to think, discriminate, 
and come to a conclusion. In commerce, war, civil or 
criminal legal proceedings, money-lending, agriculture, and 
other trades, there arise any number of occasions on which 
one has to discriminate. But, on that account, the vyaraMyat- 
mikd buddhih in each case does not become different. The 
function of discrimination is common to all these cases; 
and therefore, the buddhih (Reason) which makes that dis- 
crimination or decision must also be one only. But in as 
much as the buddhih is a bodily faculty (sarira-dharma) just 
like the Mind, it can be sattviki, rajasi, or tamasi according to 
previous Actions, hereditary impressions, or education or 
for other reasons; and therefore, a thing which might be 
acceptable to the buddhih of one person may be looked 
upon as unacceptable to the buddhih of another person. But 
on that account, we cannot say that the organ of buddhih is 

■ different in each case. Take for instance, the case of the eye. 

■ Some people have squint eyes, while others have half -closed 
eyes, and others one eye only, and some have dim vision, while 

• others have a clear vision. But, on that account, we do not 
Bay that the eye is a different organ in each case, but say that 
the organ is one and the same. The same argument must be 
applied to the case of the buddhih. That same buddhih which 
differentiates between rice and wheat, or between a stone and a 
diamond, or which distinguishes between black and white, 
or sweet and bitter, also discriminates between what is to be 
feared and what not, what is good and what evil, what is 
profitable and what disadvantageous, what is righteous and 
what unrighteous, or what doable and what not-doable, and 
oomes to a final decision in the matter. However much we 
may glorify it in ordinary parlance by calling it a 'Mental 
Deity' yet from the philosophical point of view, it is one and 
the same vyamsayatrtika buddhih (pure Reason). That is why in 
the 18th Chapter of the Glta, one and the same buddluh has 
. been divided into the three kinds of sattviki, rajasi, and tamasi 


and the Blessed Lord first says to Arjuna :— 

pravrtHm ca nierttim ca karyakarye bhayabhaye I 
bandham moksam ca ya vetti buddhih sa Partita sattoiki II 

(Gl. 18. 30) 

that is, "that buddhih which ( properly ) understands which- 
Action should he begun and which not, which is proper to be- 
performed and which not, what should be feared and what not H 
what leads to bondage and what to Release (moksa), is the- 
satttriki buddhih " ; 

and then He goes on to say : — 

ynya dharmam adharmam ca karyam cakaryam (ca ca I 
ayuthavat prajanati buddhih sa Partha rajasi ll 

(GI. 18. 31) 

that is, "that buddhih which does not make a proper discrimi- 
nation between the dharmam ( righteous ) and the adharmam 
(unrighteous), or between the doable and the not-doable, that 
buddhih is rajasi"; 

and He lastly says :— 

adharmam dharmam iti ya manyate tamasavrta I 
saroarthan viparitams ca buddhih sa Partha tamasi ll 

(GI. 18. 32) 

that is, "that buddhih which looks upon that afl righteous-- 
(dharmam) which is unrighteous (adharmam), that is to say, whioh 
gives a totally perverse, that is, contrary verdict on all matters 
is the tamasi buddhih". From this explanation, it will be clear 
that the theory that there is an independent and distinct deity 
of which the function is sad-asad-woekah, (i. e„ discrimination 
between good and evil) is not accepted by the Gita. That does 
not mean that there can never exist a buddhih (Reason) which 
will always choose the right thing. What is meant is that the 
buddhih is one and the same, but the sattiika auality °f 
choosing only the right thing is acquired by it by previous 
impressions, or by education, or by control of the organs, or by 
the nature of the food which a man eats etc, and in the 


absence of such factors as previous impressions etc., that same 
■buddhih becomes rajasl or tamasl, not only in the matter of the 
discrimination between the doable and the not-doable but also 
in all other matters. Such is the import of the above stanzas. 
The facts of the difference between the buddhih of a thief and 
that of an honest man, or of persons belonging to different 
countries is explained by this theory in a satisfactory way, in 
which it cannot be explained by looking upon the Power of 
-discrimination between good and evil (sad<isad-mvecam-saM) 
as an independent deity. "Making one's buddhih, sattviki, is 
what one oneself can do ; and it cannot be done without the 
control of the organs. So long as the vyavasayatrmlca buddhih 
acts only according to the dictates of the organs, without 
discriminating between or examining what promotes one's true 
benefit, it cannot be called Pure (saddha) ; therefore, one must 
not allow the buddhihto become the slave of the Mind and the 
•organs, but one must on the other hand arrange it so that the 
Mind and the organs are under its control, This principle has 
been enunciated in numerous places in the Bhagavadgita 
<Gl. 2.' 67, 68 ; 3. 7, 41 ; 6. 24, 36) and, on that account, the body, 
has been compared to a chariot in the Kathopanisad, and it is 
metaphorically stated that in order that the horses in the shape 
■of the organs which pull that chariot should be properly guided 
in the path of the enjoyment of objects of pleasure, the 
■charioteer in the shape of the vyamsayatmika buddhih has to 
•courageously keep taut and steady the reins in the shape of the 
Mind ( Katha. 3. 3. 9) ; and in the Mahabharata also, the same 
simile has been adopted in two or three places with some 
■slight difference (Ma. Bha. Vana 210. 25 ; Strl. 7. 13; Asva. 51. 5). 
'This simile is so proper for describing the function of the 
control of the organs, that the famous greek Philosopher Plato 
has in his book (Phoedrus. 246) made use of the same illustra- 
tion in describing the control of the organs. This illustration 
■does not appear literally in the Bhagavadgita. Yet, the 
•description of the control of the organs in the above-mentioned 
stanzas has been made keeping this illustration in mind, as 
•cannot but be noticed by anybody who keeps in sight the 
previous and posterior context of this subject-matter. 
Ordinarily, that is, when it is not necessary to make subtle 


scientific distinctions, this is known as 'manomgrahri (control 
of the Mind) ; but when, as mentioned above, a distinction is 
made between the manas (Mind) and the buddhih ( Reason), the 
function of control falls to the share, not of the Mind, but of 
"the pure (vyavasayalmika) Reason. In order this cyavasayatmilm. 
iuddhih should become pure, the principle that there is only 
one Atman in all human beings, must be deeply impressed on 
the mind by realising the true nature of the Paramesvara 
whether by the mental absorption (samadhi) taught in the 
Tatanjala Yoga, or by Devotion or by Knowledge ( jilti,m ) 
or by Meditation (dhyam). This is what is known as Self- 
devoted (atma-mstha) buddhih. When the vijavasayailfixka 
iuddhih has in this way become Self-devoted (atmaniqtha), 
and the Mind and the organs have learnt to act according 
iio its directions as a result of mental control, Desire, Intention, 
or other mental functions (manodharma) or the ■msawfitflv.ka 
buddhih (Practical Reason), naturally become pure and chaste, 
■and the bodily organs naturally tend towards sattvika actions. 
From the Metaphysical point of view, this is the foundation 
of all good actions, that is to say, the esoteric* teaching 
•(rahasya) of the science of Proper Action (Karma-Yoga). 

My readers will now have realised why our philosophers 
have not accepted Conscience as an independent deity, in 
addition to the ordinary functions of the Mind and the Reason. 
From, their point of view, there is no objection to looking 
upon 'the Mind or the Reason as deities by way of glori- 
fication; but they have come to the conclusion that con- 
sidering the matter scientifically, there is no third element 
like Oonscience which is distinct from and in addition to the 
two things which we call manas (mind), and buddhih (Reason) 
-and which is inherent. We now clearly seethe propriety of 
the word satam having been used in the phrase 'satam hi 
mfndeha paclesu ' etc. Those whose minds are pure and Self- 
deVoted (atmanistha), need not at any time be afraid of cop- 
suiting their Conscience (antahkarana). We may even say 
that they should purify their Mind as much as possible before 
performing any Action, and consult their Conscience, But, 
there is no sense in dishonest people saying : " We do the same 
thing ", because, the Conscience of both is not the same, and 


whereas the Conscience of saints is sattvilca, that of thieves 
is tamasa. In short, that which the Intuitionist School refers- 
to as ' the Deity which discerns between Good and Evil' (the* 
sad-asad-viveka-devata), is seen not to be an independent deity 
when the matter is considered from the philosophical point 
of view, but to be only the Self-devoted and the sattvika form 
of the vyawsayatmika buddhih. This is the theory of our 
philosophers, and when this theory is accepted, the Intuitionist 
point of view naturally falls to the ground. 

When we have thus seen that the Materialistic aspect is 
one-sided and insufficient, and also that the easy device foundl 
out by the Intuitionist school is ineffective, it becomes 
necessary for us to see whether or not there is some other way 
for justifying the doctrine of Karma-Yoga. This way is the 
Metaphysical aspect of the matter; because, when we have, 
once come to the conclusion that there is no suoh indepen- 
dent and self -created (smyambhu) deity like the sad-asad-viveka- 
buddhih (Conscience), notwithstanding the fact that the Reason 
is superior to external Action, it becomes necessary to consider, 
even in the science of Karma-Yoga, how one can keep one's 
Reason pure in order that one should be able to perform pure 
Action, what is meant by Pure Reason, and how the Reason, 
can be made pure; and the consideration of these questions, 
cannot be complete unless one leaves aside the Material 
soiences which deal only with the external physical world, 
and enters into Metaphysics. Our philosophers have laid 
down the ultimate doctrine, in this matter, that the Reason, 
which has not fully realised the true and all-pervading nature 
of the Paramesvara, is not pure; and the science of the Highest 
Self (adhyatma) has been expounded in the Gita solaly in order 
to explain what this Self-devoted Reason [atmanistha buddhih)- 
is. But. disregarding this anterior and posterior context, some 
doctrinal commentators on the Gita have laid down the con- 
elusion that Vedanta is the principal subject-matter of exposi- 
tion in the Gita. It will be shown later on exhaustively 
that this conclusion arrived at by these commentators as to the 
subject-matter expoundsd in the Gita, is not correct. I have for 
the time being only to show how it is necessary to consider the 
question of the Atraan when one wishes to find out how the 


Beason is to be purified. This question of the Atman has to be 
considered from two points of view : — (1) the first method of 
exposition is to examine one's own body,' (piydah, ksetra, or • 
sariram), as also the activities of one's Mind, and to explain how 
as a result of such examination, one has to admit the existence 
of the Atman in the shape of a ksetrajHa, or an owner of the 
Body (Gl. Chap. 13). This is known as the suriraka-vicara or 
the KSETRA-KSETRAJNA-VICARA (the Consideration of 
the Body and the Atman) ; and that is why the Vedanta-Sutras 
are known as sarlraka (dealing with the Body) sutras. When 
in this way we have examined our Body and Our Mind, we> ' 
have next to consider (2) whether the elementary principle 
which is arrived at by such examination, and the principle 
which is arrived at by the examination of the brahmandam or the 
visible world around us, are the same or are different.' The 
examination of the world made in this way'is known, as the 
(the consideration of the Mutable and the Immutable, or 
the consideration of the Perceptible and the Imperceptible). 
The 'kqara' or 'vyakta' is the name of all the mutable objects 
in the world, and aksara or avyakta is the name of the essential 
and eternal element in the mutable objects in this creation 
(Gi. 8. 21 ; 15. 16). The fundamental Element which we dis- 
cover by further examining these two elementary principles 
arrived at by the consideration of the Body and the Atman 
and of the Mutable and the Immutable, and which is the Ele- " 
ment from which both these elements have been evolved, and 
whioh is beyond ( para ) both of them, and is the Root Element ' 
of everything, is called the Absolute Self (Paramatman) or the 
Purusottamah (Gi. 8. 20): All these ideas are to be found in the 
Bhagavadgita, and the science of Proper Action has been 
expounded in it by showing how the buddhih is ultimately 
purified by the Realisation (jnanam) of this Element in the 
shape of the Paramatman, which is the Root Cause of every- 
thing. If, therefore, we have to understand this method of ' 
exposition, we must also follow the path which has been 
followed in the Gita. Out of these two subject-matters, the • 
knowledge of the brahmandam or the consideration of the ' 
Mutable and .the- Immutable (ksceraksara) will be dealt'with'' 


in the next chapter. I shall now complete the science of the 
pinda, or the consideration of the Body and the Atman which T 
had ooramenced in this chapter in order to explain the true 
nature of the Conscience, and which has remained incomplete. 

I have finished my exposition of the gross Body made up of 

the five primordial elements, the five organs of Action, the five 

organs of Perception, the five objects of these five organs of 

Perception in the shape of sound, touch, colour, taste, and 

smell, the Mind which is the conceiver of ideas {samlcalpa- 

tihalpa), and the Pure Reason (vyavasayatmika buddluh). But that 

does not exhaust the consideration of the Body. The Mind and 

the Reason are the means or the organs for thought. If the 

gross Body does not possess movement (cetana) in the form of 

Vitality ( pranah ) in addition to these, it will be just the same 

■whether the Mind and the Reason exist or not. Therefore, it is 

necessary to include one more element in the Body in addition 

to these other things, namely, Movement (cetana). The word 

'cetana', is sometimes also used as meaning the same thing as 

'caitanyam' ( Consciousness ). But one must bear in mind that 

the word cetana has not been used in the sense of caitanyam 

in the present context, 'cetana here means the movement, 

activity, or the vital motion of the Life forces seen in the 

gross Body. That cicchakfih ( Power of Consciousness ) by 

means of which movement or activity is created even in 

Gross Matter, is known as caitanyam ; and we have now 

to consider what that Power is. That factor which 

gives rise to the distinction between "mine", and "other's" 

•which is to be seen in the Body in addition to its Vital 

activity or Movement, is a different quality altogether; 

Because, in as much as the Reason is only an organ which 

<somes to a decision after proper consideration, Individuation 

(ahamkarah), which is at the root of the distinction between 

one's and another's, must be looked upon as something different 

from Reason. Like and dislike, pain and happiness, and other 

correlative couplets (dvaniduam) are the properties of the Mind. 

But as the Nyaya school looks upon these as properties of the 

Atman, Vedanta philosophy includes them among the properties 

of the Mind in order to clear that misunderstanding. In the 

same way, that fundamental element in the shape of Matter 


'( prakrti ), from which the five primordial elements have sprung, 
is also included in the Body (Gl. 13. 5, 6). That Pow& by 
which all these elements are controlled or kept steady, is again 
a different power (Gl. 18. 33), and it is called 'dhrti' (co-hesion). ' 
That amalgamated product which results from the combination 
of all these things is scientifically called the 
'savikara sarira' (activated Body), or 'ksetra' ; and this is 
what we, in ordinary parlance, call the aotivated 
{savikara) human body, or the pinda. I have defined the 
word ' ksetra ' in this way, consistently with the Glta. But 
in mentioning the qualities Desire, Hate etc., this definition 
is sometimes more or less departed from. For instance, in 
i;he conversation between Janaka and Sulabha, in the Santi. 
parva (San. 320), the five organs of Action have not been 
mentioned in the definition of the Body, but instead of them 
ithe six qualities of Time-feeling (Ma), Realisation of Good 
and Evil (sad-asad-bhavdh). Method (vidhih), Vitality (sukram), 
and Strength (bala) have been mentioned. According to this 
■classification, the five organs of Action have to be included 
in the five primordial elements, whereas according to the 
classification adopted in the Glta, we are to include Time in 
the Ether (akasam), and Method, Vitality, Strength etc^ 
in the five primordial elements or in Matter. Whatever may 
be the case, the word ' ksetra ' conveys only one meaning to 
everybody. That collection of mental and bodily elements or 
qualities in the shape of pranah (Life force), which has specific 
activities (tisista-cetana), is known as ' ksetra '. As the word 
'sarira' is also applied to dead bodies, the different word 
ksetra' has been used in this particular place, 'ksetra' 
■originally means 'field', but in the present context, it has 
■been used metaphorically as meaning the ' activated (savikara) 
■and living (sajiva) human body '. That which has been referred 
to by me above as a great factory is this ' ksetra '. The organs 
of Perception, and the organs of Action, are the portals of 
this factory for taking in material from outside and for sending 
out the manufactured products respectively and, the Mind, 
the Reason, Individuation (ahamkara), and Activity (cetana) 
are the workmen in this factory; and all the functions carried 
■on or caused to be carried on by these workmen, are referred 


to as the activities (vyaparah), feelings (vikarah), or properties 
(dJiarmah) of this Body. 

When in this way, the meaning of the word ' ksetra ' has. 
been defined, the next question which naturally arises is, 
to whom does this ksetra or field belong, is there or is there 
not some owner for this factory ? Although the word 'Atman v 
is very often used in the meaning of ' Mind ' or ' Conscience ' 
or 'one's Self ', yet, its principal meaning is 'the owner of the 
Body (ksetrajna) ". "Whatever functions are performed by man, 
and whether they are mental or bodily, are carried on by his 
internal organs such as buddhih etc., his organs of Perception 
such as the eyes etc., and his organs of Action, such as hands,, 
feet, etc. In the whole of this group, the Mind and the Reason- 
are the most superior. But although they may, in this way, 
be superior to the other organs, yet they are both funda- 
mentally the manifestations (vikarah) of Matter (prakrti) or 
of the gross Body, just like the other organs. (See the next - 
chapter.) Therefore, although the Mind and the Reason may 
be the highest of all the organs, yet they cannot do anything 
beyond their particular functions, and it is not possible that 
they should be able to do anything else. It is true that the 
Mind thinks and the Reason decides. But, knowing this, 
we do not arrive at a conclusion as to for whom the Mind' 
and the Reason perform these functions, or as to who performs- 
that synthesis which is necessary for obtaining a synthetic 
knowledge of the diverse activities carried on by the Mind: 
and the Reason on various occasions, or as to how all the organs 
subsequently receive the directions to perform their various 
functions consistently with that synthesis. It cannot be said ' 
that all this is done by the gross Body of man. Because, 
when 'cetatta' or activity leaves this gross Body, this gross 
Body is unable to perform these functions although it remains 
behind; and as the component partB of the gross Body, namely, 
the flesh, the muscles, etc., are the result of food, and these- 
are continually worn out and continually re-formed, it cannot 
be said that the feeling of sameness by which a person 
realises that '' I ", who saw a particular thing yesterday, am 
the same as the ' I ' who see a different thing to-day, is the- 
property of the continually changing gross Body. If, however,. 


one leaves aside the gross Body, and says that cetana (Activity) 
is the owner of the hody, then, in deep sleep, one does not 
continue to possess the 'I' feeling although such activities 
.or cetaria as breathing or blood-circulation are going on. 
■(Br. 1. 1. 15-18). It, therefore, follows that Activity or the 
functioning of Life forces, is a specific quality which has been 
acquired by the gross Body, and is not the controlling factor, 
owner or power which synthesizes all the activities of the 
organs (Katha. 5. 5). The possessive case adjectival forms 
' mine ' or ' another's ' prove to us the existence of the quality 
of Individuation (akamkSrah). But by knowing that, we do 
not come to a conclusion as to who this 'aham' or 'I' is. 
If you say, that this 'I' is a pure illusion, then the experience 
of everybody is just the contrary; and imagining something 
which is inconsistent with this personal experience of every- 
body, would place one in the position desoribed by Sri. 
Samartha Ramadasa as: "saying something which is in- 
consistent with experience is wholly tiresome ; it is as useless 
as opening one's mouth wide and crying" (Dasa. 9. 5. 15); 
and even if we do this, the fact of the synthesis of the 
activities of the organs is not satisfactorily explained. Some 
go so far as to say that there is no such individual thing as ' I ' 
but that the name ' I ' should be given to the conglomeration 
or the fusion of all those elements, such as, the Mind, Reason, 
Activity, gross Body etc., which are included in the word 
' ksetra '. But we see by our own eyes, that by merely piling 
.a piece of wood on another piece of wood, we cannot make a 
box. ; nor is motion created in a watch by merely putting 
together all its various wheels. We cannot, therefore, say 
that activity arises by mere juxta-position. Nobody need be 
told that the various activities of the ksetra are not purely 
-foolish activities and that there is some specific intention 
or object in them. "Who is it that gives this direction to 
the various workmen, such as, buddlah etc., in the factory 
of the Body? Juxta-position (samghatah) means merely 
putting together. Although several things may be put 
together, it is necessary to thread them together in order 
that they should form one whole. Otherwise, they will 
become disorganised at any moment. We have now to 


see what this thread is. It is not that the Glta does not accept 
the principle of conglomeration (samghatah) ; but that is looked 
upon as part of the ksefra (Gi. 13. 6). We do not thereby get 
an idea as to who the ksetrajna or the owner of the Body is- 
Some persons think, that conglomeration gives rise to some new 
quality. But this opinion itself is not correct; because, 
philosophers have after mature consideration oome to the 
conclusion that that which was not in existence before, in 
some form or other, cannot come into existenoe anew (Gi. 2. 16), 
But even if we keep this doctrine aside for a moment, the next 
question which naturally springs up is why should we not look 
upon the new quality which arises in the conglomeration, as. 
the owner of the Body ? To this, some Materialist philosophers, 
reply, that a substance cannot be different from its qualities, and 
that the qualities want some superintendence (adhisthanamj, and, 
therefore, instead of looking upon the property acquired by the 
Aggregate as the owner of the Body, we look upon the Aggre- 
gate itself as such owner. Very well ; then why do you not 
say 'wood' instead of 'fire', or 'cloud' instead of 'electricity', or 
'the earth' instead of 'the gravity of the earth' in ordinary 
parlance 1 If it is not disputed that there must he in existence 
some Power which is distinct from the Mind and the Reason 
in order that all the activities of the Body should be carried on 
systematically and according to some proper arrangement, 
then can we, because the seat of that Power is still unknown 
to us, or because we cannot properly explain the full nature 
of that Power or of that seat, say that that Power does not 
exist at all ? ~&o person can sit on his own shoulders ; in 
the same way, it is absurd to say that an Aggregate (samghatah) 
gives to itself the knowledge of itself. Therefore, we come to 
the emphatic conclusion even from the logical point of view, 
that THAT THING for the enjoyment or the benefit of 
which, the various functions of the Aggregate of the bodily 
organs etc. are carried on, must be something which is quite 
distinct from the Aggregate itself. It is true that this Element 
which is distinct from the Aggregate, is an element which 
cannot become an object of perception (jneya) or become visible 
to itself like other objects in the creation, since it is self- 
enlightened. But, on that account, the fact of its existence 


cannot oome into question ; because, theie is no rale that all 
objeots must fall into tb.9 single category of the 'perceivable'' 
(jfieya). All objects fall into two categories, namely, the* 
'jftata' and the 'jneya', i. e., the Perceiver, and That which 
is perceived by the Perceiver, and if some thing does 
not fall into the second category, it can come into the first 
category and its existence is as fully established as the 
existence of the Perceivable. Nay, we may go further and say 
that in as much as the 5.tman, which is beyond the Aggregate 
(samghata) is itself a Knower, there is no wonder that it does- 
not become the subject-matter of the knowledge which it 
acquires ; and therefore, Yajnavalkya has said in the 
Brhadaranyakopanisad, that "wjnataram are kena vijaniy<W\ 
i. e„ "Oh ! how can there be some one else, who can know That 
which knows everything ? " (Br. 2. 4. 14). Therefore, one has 
to come to the ultimate conclusion, that there exists in this 
activated living Body some comprehensive and potent Power 
which is more powerful and more comprehensive than the- 
various dependent and and one-sided workmen in the Body 
who work in grades rising from OTgans like the hands and feet 
to Life, Activity, Mind and Reason ; that this Power remains 
aloof from all of them, and synthesizes the activities of all of 
them and fixes for them the direction in which they are to act, 
and is an ever-awake witness of all their activities. Thia 
dootrine has been accepted both by the Sarhkhya and Vedanta 
philosophies, and the modern German philosopher Kant has 
shown by minutely examining all the activities of Reason 
that this is the doctrine which one arrives at. The Mind, th& 
Reason, Individuation or Activity are all qualities or com- 
ponent parts of the Body, that is, of the ' ksetra '. The inspirer 
of these components is different from them, independent of 
them, and beyond them. " yo luddheh paratas tu mh " (Gi. 3. 
42), i. e., " It is beyond the grasp of the Reason ". This is- 
what is known in the Sarhkhya philosophy as ' purusa ', and 
in Vedanta philosophy as 'ksetrajna', that is to say, the 5-tman 
which knows or controls the Body ; and the aotual experience 
which every one has of the feeling that ' I am ', is the most 
excellent proof of the existence of this Knower of the Body 
(Ve-Su. Sam. Bha. 3. 3. 53, 54). Not only doss nobody think 


' that ' I am not ', but even if a person by Ms moutb utters 

' the words : ' I am not ', he thereby inferentially acknowledges 

- the existence of the Atman or -the ' I ' which is the subject of 
the predicate ' am not '. The Vedanta philosophy has been 
propounded only in order to explain as clearly as possible the 

, fundamental, pure, and qualityless form of this kselrajm or 
Atman, which manifests itself in this way in the body in the 
individuated and qualified form 'I' (Gi. 13. 4); nevertheless 
this conclusion is not arrived at by merely considering the 
Body, that is to say, the Icselra. I have stated before that we 
have to see what can be ascertained by considering the Cosmos 
(brahrmndam) that is to say, the external world, in addition to 

, consideration of the Body and the Atman. This consideration 
of the Cosmos is known as ' ksaraksara-vkara '. B'j considering 
the Body and the Atman, we come to know the fundamental 

. element (ksetrajila or Atman) which exists in the kselra (the 
Body, or the pinda) and by considering the Mutable and the 
Immutable ( ksaruksara ), we understand the fundamental 
element in the Cosmos (brahrrianda), that is, in the external 
creation. When in this way, the fundamental elements of the 
Body (pinda) and of the Cosmos (brahnianda) have been definitely 
and severally fixed, Vedanta philosophy, after further con- 

, sideration comes.to the conclusion that both these are uniform 
or one and the same— or that WHATEVER IS IN THE 
MANDAM).* This is the ultimate truth of the moveable and the 

* The classification made in oar philosophy of Ajuraijaro-oicoc* 
and tjelro ttsetrajna-viaira was not known to Green. T e t the expo- 
sition oi MetaphysicB made by him in the commencement of his 
book called Prolegcmem to Ethics, has been made by him in a twofold 
way, namely, regarding the ' Spiritual Principle in Nature ' and 
the ' Spiritual Principle in Man ' s and later en, he has shown the 
identity between the two. The lc$etra-k$elrajTia-viaira includes such, 
mental philosophies as Psychology etc , and the i-saraiiara-vimra 
includes such sciences as Physics, Metaphysics etc. and even 
Western philosophers have accepted the position that the nature 
of the Atman has to be arrived at, after taking into consideration 
all these things. 


ummoyeable Cosmos. When we realise that this kind of exa- 
mination has been made even in the Western countries, and 
that the doctrines advanced by Western philosophers like Kant 
etc. are very much akin to the doctrines of Vedanta philo- 
sophy, we cannot but feel a wonder about the supermanly 
mental powers of those persons, who laid down these doctrines 
of "Vedanta by mere introspection, in an age when the Material 
sciences were not so advanced as they are in the present day ; 
hut we must not stop with feeling wonder about this matter, 
— we must feel proud of it. 





prakrtm'purusum caiva viddhyanadi iibhav apt * 

Gita. 13. 19. 

I have stated in the last chapter, that simultaneously 
with the consideration of the Body and the Lord or Superin- 
tendent of the Body — the ksetra and the ksetrajm-ot\e must also- 
consider the visible world and the fundamental principle 
in it — the 'ksara' (mutable) and the 'aksara' (immutable)— 
and then go on to the determination of the nature of the 
Atman. There are three systems of thought which scienti- 
fioally consider the mutable and the immutable world. 
The first of these is the Nyaya school and the second one 
is the Kapila Sarhkhya school. But the Vedanta philosophy- 
has expounded the form of the Brahman in a third way 
altogether, after proving that the propositions laid down by 
both of those systems of thought are incomplete. Therefore,. 
before considering the arguments advanced in the Vedanta phi- 
losophy, it is necessary for us to see what the ideas of the 
Nyaya school and of the Sarhkhya school are. In the Vedanta- 
Sutras of B adarayanacarya, the same method has been adopted, 
and the opinions of the Nyaya school and of the Sarhkhya. 
school have been refuted in the second chapter. Although 
the whole of this subject-matter cannot be given here, yet, I 
have in this and the next chapter given as much information 
about it as is necessary for understanding the mystic import 
of the Bhagavadglta. The propositions laid down by the 
Sarhkhya school are of greater importance than those laid 
down by the Nyaya school. Because, as Badarayanacarya has 
said (Ve. Su. 2. 1. 12 and 2. 2. 17), though no respectable and 

* '' Know that both the prakrti (Matter) and the piirusa (Spirit) 
are eternal". 


leading Vedanta philosopher has accepted as correct the Nyaya 
doctrines laid down by the followers of Kanada, yet, as many 
of the propositions of the Kapila Samkhya-sastra are to be- 
found in the Smrti writings of Manu and others and also in. 
the Glta, my readers must first become acquainted with them. 
Nevertheless, it must be stated right in the beginning that 
though many ideas of the Samkhya philosophy are to be found 
in the Vedanta philosophy, yet the readers must not forget 
that the ultimate doctrines laid down by the Sarhkhya school 
and the Vedanta school are extremely different from each 
other. There has also been raised an important question, 
namely, whether the Vedantists or the Samkhya philosophers 
are the originators of those ideas which are common to the 
Vedanta and the Samkhya philosophy. But it is not possible 
to go so deep into that subject-matter in this book. Possibly, 
the Upanisads (Vedanta) and the Samkhya philosophy grew 
up side by side like two children, and the doctrines found in. 
the Upanisads, which are similar to the Sarhkhya doctrines, 
may have been independently arrived at by the writers of 
the Upanisads ; or on the other hand, the writers of the 
Upanisads may have borrowed some of these doctrines from 
the Samkhya philosophy ; or thirdly, Kapilacarya may 
have improved upon the doctrines laid down by the ancient 
Upanisads according to his own opinions, and formulated the 
Samkhya philosophy. All these three positions are possible. 
But taking into account the fact that though the Upanisads. 
and the Sarhkhya philosophy are both ancient, the Upanisads 
are the more ancient (Srauta) of the two, the last supposition 
seems to be the most credible of the three. Whatever may be 
the truth, when one has once become acquainted with the 
doctrines laid down by the Nyaya and the Samkhya schools of 
philosophy, it becomes easier to grasp the principles of Vedanta, 
especially of the Vedanta in the Glta. Therefore, let us first 
consider what the opinions of these two Smarta sastras about 
the formation of the universe aTe. 

Some persons have a wrong idea that the only object of Nyaya 
(i. e,, Logic) is to decide what conclusions can subsequently be- 
drawn by inference from some desired or given data and which 
of these inferences are correct, and whioh wrong, and why. 


Proving by means of inference etc. is a part of Logic. But 
that is not the most important part ; classifying or enumerat- 
ing the various things in the world, that is to say, the subject- 
matter of proof (apart from the question of proving them), 
finding out what are the fundamental classes or things under 
which all the substances in the world can be classified, as a 
result of the gradual evolution of things in the lower orders 
into things in the higher orders, finding out what their nature 
and qualities are, and how other things came into existence 
out of these things, and how all these things can be proved, 
and all such other questions are included in Logic. Nay, one 
may go further and say that this science has come into exist- 
ence only for this purpose, and not merely for considering the 
■question of inference. It is in this way that the Nyaya-sfltras 
of Kanada are begun and worked out. The followers of 
Kanada are known as Kanadas. In their opinion the root 
cause of the world is Atoms. The definition of atoms given by 
Kanada and the one given by Western natural scientists is the 
fame. When after dividing and sub-dividing things you come to 
the stage when division is no more possible, you have reached 
the atom or 'paramanu' ( parama + anu ), that is, the ultimate 
entity. As these atoms coalesce, they acquire new qualities 
as a result of the union, and new things are created. There 
are also atoms of the Mind and of the Body, and when these 
unite, life results. The atoms of the earth, water, fire and air 
are fundamentally different from each other. The fundamental 
atomB of the earth, have four qualities, namely, form, taste, 
smell, and touch ; those of water have three such qualities, 
those of fire, two, and those of air, only one. In this way the 
entire cosmos is from the very beginning filled with perma- 
nent and subtle atoms. There is no other root cause of the 
world except the atoms. The commencement (aramblia) of the 
mutual coalition or union of the original and permanent 
atoms results in all the perceptible things in the world com- 
ing into existence. This theory propounded by the Nyaya 
.school regarding the creation of the perceptible universe is 
technically known as ' arantbha-vada ' (Theory of Commence- 
ment), and some followers of that school never go beyond this. 
There is a story about one of them, that when those who were 


around him at the moment of his death, asked him to take the 
name of God, he uttered the words: "pilavahl pilaoahl pllavahl"- 
" atoms I atoms ! atoms 1 ". Nevertheless, other followers of the 
Nyaya school believe that Isvara is responsible for bringing' 
about the fusion or union of atoms and they in that way 
complete the chain of the creation of the universe; and these 
are known as theistic Logicians. In the second sub-division 
of the second chapter of the Ved&ntaSutras (2, 2. 11-17), this 
Atomic theory, and immediately thereafter, also the theory 
that the Isvara is merely the immediate cause (2. 2. 37-39) has 
been refuted. 

Reading what is stated above regarding this Atomic 
theory, those of my readers who have studied English will 
at once think of the Atomic theory advanced by the modem 
chemist Dalton. But in the Western countries, the Atomic 
theory of Dalton has now been put into shade by the' 
Evolution theory of the well-known biologist Darwin. In the 
same way, in India in ancient times, the Samkhya philosophy 
has put into the background the theories of Kanada. Not only 
can the Kanada school not explain satisfactorily how Aotivity 
was first imparted to atoms, but their theories cannot also- 
explain how the rising gradation of living things like trees, 
animals, and men came into existence, nor also how that which 
was lifeless became living, and several other things. This expla- 
nation was given in the 19th Century in the Western count- 
ries by Lamarque and Darwin, and in our country in ancient 
times by Kapila. The summary of the opinions of both these- 
schools is that the Cosmos or universe came to be created by 
the bursting forth of the constituents of one original substance; 
and on this account, the Atomic theory lost ground in India 
in ancient times, and now in the Western countries. Similar- 
ly, modern physicists have now also proved that the atom is 
not indivisible. It was not possible in ancient times to prove 
the Atomic theory or the Evolution theory by analysing and 
examining various material objects in the world by means of 
physics and other natural sciences. Experimenting again and 
again on the various objects in the world, or determining 
their qualities by analysing them in various ways, or making a 
comparison between the organs of the bodies of numerous present 


ind former living things in the living world, and such other 
present day devices of the natural sciences were not available 
to Kanada or to Kapila. They have deduced their propositions 
from whatever material was before their eyes at the time. 
Still it is a matter of great surprise that the philosophical 
propositions laid down by the Samkhya philosophers as to how 
the growth or formation of the universe must have come about 
are not much different from the scientific propositions laid 
down by modern natural scientists. As the knowledge of 
biology has grown, the material proof of these opinions can 
now be given more logically, and by the growth of know- 
ledge of the natural sciences, human beings have undoubtedly 
benefited to a considerable extent from the Material point 
of view. But in order to impress on the minds of my 
readers that the modern natural scientists cannot tell 
us muoh more than Kapila as to how diverse perceptible 
created things came into existence out of one impercep- 
tible prakrti (Matter), I have in various places later 
on referred shortly to the propositions laid down by 
Haeckel for comparison side by side with the propositions of the 
Kapila Sarhkhya school. These propositions were not for the 
first time promulgated by Haeckel, and he has himself clearly 
admitted in his works that he was expounding his propositions 
on the authority of the works of Darwin, Spencer, and other 
previous natural scientists. Yet Haeckel has for the first time 
described succinctly and in an easily intelligible way all these 
various propositions, after properly co-ordinating them, in 
lis book known as The Riddle of the Universe; and I havei 
therefore, for the sake of convenience, taken Haeckel as the 
protagonist of all these natural scientists, and referred prin- 
cipally to his opinions in this and the next Chapter. I need 
not say that this reference is only brief, because it is not 
possible to consider those propositions in this book in greater 
detail, and those who want further information about them 
must refer to the original works of Spencer, Darwin, Haeckel 
and other scholars. 

Before considering the Kapila Sarhkhya philosophy, it 
must be mentioned that the word 'Samkhya' is used in 
two different meanings. The first meaning is the Samkhya 


-philosophy expounded by Kapilacarya, and that meaning has 
been adopted in this Chapter and in one place in the Bhagavad- 
glta (Gi. 18. 13). But besides this specific meaning, it is 
usual to include philosophy of every kind in the general name 
'Samkhya', and it also includes the Vedanta philosophy 
In the phrase ' Samkhya-mstha ' or ' Samkhya-yoga ' this ordinary 
meaning of the word ' Samkhya ' is intended; and wherever 
the scients who follow this nistha (doctrine) have been 
referred to as ' Samkhya ' in the Bhagavadgita later on (Gi. 
2. 39; 3. 3; 4. 5; and 13. 34), not only the followers of the 
Kapila Samkhya school, but also the Vedantists who have 
abandoned all Actions by atmanatma-vicara (by considering 
what does and what does not pertain to the Self); and who are 
.lost in the contemplation of the Brahman, are intended. As the 
word ' Samkhya ' comes from the root ' Sam-khya ' (calculation), 
its primary meaning is ' one who counts '; and etymologists 
■say that, as the fundamental elements according to the Kapila 
philosophy are just twenty-five, the followers of that philo- 
sophy originally got the specific name of 'Samkhya' (in the 
sense of " counters "), and later on the word 'Samkhya' acquired 
the comprehensive meaning of philosophy of every kind. I, 
therefore, think that after the practice of referring to Kapila 
ascetics as ' Samkhya ' had first come into vogue, Vedanta 
ascetics also later on came to be known by that name. 
Whatever may be the case, in order that confusion should not 
•arise as a result of this double meaning of the word ' Samkhya ', 
I have used the elongated heading of ' Kapila Samkhya-Sastra ' 
for this chapter. There are sutras (Aphorisms) in the Kapila 
Samkhya-Sastra just as in the Kanada Myaya philosophy. 
But as neither Gaudapada nor Sri Sarhkaracarya, who wrote 
the Sarira-bhasya, have taken these sutras as authorities in 
.their works, many scholars are of opinion that they could 
not be ancient. The Samkhya-Karika written by Isvarakrsna 
is considered to be older than them. Gaudapada, the chief 
preceptor of Sarhkaracarya, has written a bhasya (Commentary) 
•on that work and even in the Samkarabluisya itself, extracts 
have been taken from these Karikas, and the translation of 
that work into the Chinese language made before 570 A. D. 


is now available. * Isvarakrgna has stated at the end of 
these Karikas, that he has in his work given a summary in 
seventy couplets in the arya metre of a previous extensive- 
book of sixty chapters called Sasti-Tantra (omitting some 
chapters). The work Sasti-Tantra is now not available, and. 
I have, therefore, considered the fundamental propositions of 
the Kapila Sarhkhya-Sastra on the authority of these Karikas. 
In the Mahabharata, the Samkhya doctrines have been men- 
tioned in many chapters. But as in that work, the Vedanta 
doctrines have been always mixed up with the Samkhya 
doctrines, it becomes necessary to consider other treatises in 
order to decide what the pure Samkhya philosophy was ; and 
for that purpose, no work older than the Sarhkhya-Karikas 
is at present available. The pre-eminent worth of Kapila 
becomes clear from the following words of the Blessed Lord 1 
in the Glta: " siddhariam Kapilo munih" (Gl. 10. 26 ) r 
that is, " from among the Siddhas, I am the Kapila muni ". 
Nevertheless, it is not known where and when Kapila R?I 
lived. There is a statement in the Santiparva of the Maha- 
bharata that Sanatkumara, Sanaka, Sanandana, Sanatsujata, 
Sana, Sanatana and Kapila were the seven Mind-born sons of 
Brahmadeva, and that they were born with ' Knowledge 
(340.67); and in another place (San. 218), we find the Samkhya 
* Mack information is now available about Isvarakrsna from 
Buddhistic -works. The preceptor of the Buddhistic scholar Vasu- 
bandhu was a contemporary opponent of IsvarakiBQa and the his- 
tory of thiB Vasubandhu written by Paramartha (449 to 569 A. D.)r 
in the Chinese language has now been published. Or. Takakasu has, 
on the strength of thiB, come to the conclusion that Isvarakrsna 
must have lived about 450 A. D. (See Journal of the Royal Asiatic 
Society of Great Britain and Ireland, 1905. p. 33 to 53). But accord- 
ing to Dr. Vincent Smith, Vasubandhu himself must be plaoed some- 
where in the 4th century (about 280-369 A. D.), because a trans- 
lation of his works has been made in 404 A. D. into the Ohinese- 
language. When the date of Vasubandhu is in this way pushed 
back, the date of Isvarakrsna is also pushed back to the same extent, 
that is to say, by about 200 years; and must be taken at about 
240 A. D. (See Vincent Smith's Early History of India, 3rd 
Edition, p. 328.). 


philosophy explained to Janaka by Asuri, the disciple of Kapila, 
and PaScasikha, the disciple of Asuri. Again in the Santi- 
parva (301. 108, 109) Bhisma also says, that the science which 
was once propounded by Samkhya about the formation of the 
universe is everywhere to be found " in the Puranas, in history 
and in books on political economy and other placea ". Nay, it- 
may even be said that: "juuna'h ca lake yad iluxsti latitat Sam- 
khijugatam tac ca malum mahatntan ", that is, " all the knowledge 
in this, world originates in the Sarhkhya philosophy "(Ma. 
Bha. San. 301. 109). When one considers in what way the- 
Evolution theory is being everywhere taxed into commission 
by the Western writers, one should not be surprised if every 
one of our writers has to some extent or other drawn upon our 
ancient Samkhya philosophy, which is a match for the Evolu- 
tion theory. Stupendous ideas like the theory of gravity of 
the earth, or the ulkranti-tattva * (Evolution theory) in the- 
scienoe of the creation, or the theory of the unity of Brahman 
and the Atman, come into the mind of some superman once in 
a way in thousands of years. Therefore, the practice of ex- 
pounding one's own arguments, on the authority of any 
universal doctrine or comprehensive theory accepted at the: 
time,, is seen followed in books in all countries. 

This introduction has become necessary because the study 
of the Kapila Sarhkhya philosophy is now out of date. Let 
us now consider what the principal propositions of the Kapila 
Samkhya philosophy are. The first proposition of the- 
Sarhkhya philosophy is that nothing new comes into existence 
in this world; because, only sunya (nothing) and nothing else- 
can be produced by sunya (that is, which did not exist before). 
Therefore, it muBt always be taken for granted that all the 

* I have used the word ' ulkranti-tattva ' hero as meaning 'the 
Evolution theory ' because it is used in that sense now-a-days. 
But ' ulkranti ' means ' death ' in Sanskrit. Therefore, in my 
opinion it would be more proper to use the expressions ' gunavi- 
Vata 1 (the expansion of the constituents), ' gunoti'ir$i ' (the dif- 
fusion or growth of the constituents), gunipunnama ' (the develop- 
ment of the constituents) used in the Samkhya philosophy for 
denoting the 'Evolution theory 1 instead' of the term ' utkrantiJuttva '. 



qualities which are to be seen in the created products {karya) 
must be found at least in a subtle form in the karar/a 
from which the products were created (Sam. Ka. 9). Accord- 
ing to the opinions of Buddhists and of Kanada, one- thing is 
destroyed and out of it another thing comes into existence; for 
instance, the seed is destroyed, and from that the sprout comes 
into existence, the sprout is destroyed, and from that the tree 
comes into existence, and so on. But the Samkhya and the 
Vedanta philosophers do not accept this proposition. They 
maintain that those elements which existed in the seed of the 
tree are not destroyed, but they have absorbed other elements 
into themselves from the earth and from the air, and thereby 
the new form or state of a sprout is taken up by the seed (Ve. 
Su. Sam. Bha. 2. 1. 18). Similarly, even if wood is burnt, it is 
only transformed into smoke, ashes etc., and not that the ele- 
ments in the wood are totally destroyed and a new thing in 
the form of smoke comes into existence. It is stated in the 
Chandogyopanisad that: " katham asatah. saj jayeta?", i.e., 
''how can something which exists come out of something 
which never existed?" (Chan. 6. 2. 2). The fundamental , 
Cause of the universe is sometimes referred to as ' asat ' in the 
Upanisade (Chan. 3. 19. 1 ; Tai. 2. 7. 1). But Vedanta philo- 
sophy has laid down that that word is not to be interpreted as 
meaning ' aUuvm ' (non-existing) but as indicating only the 
non-existence of such a perceptible state as can be denoted by 
name or form (Ve. Su. 2. 1. 16, 17). Curds can be made only 
ont of milk, not from water ; oil comes out of ' til ' 
(sesamum), not out of sand; from these and other actual experi- 
ences, one must draw the same conclusion; because, if one 
accepts the position that those qualities which do not exist in 
the karana (cause) can arise independently in the karya (pro- 
duet), one cannot explain why it should not be possible to 
produce curds from water. In short, that which is now in exist- 
ence cannot have come into existence out of something which 
originally did not exist. Therefore, the Samkhya philosophers 
have laid down the proposition, that whatever product you 
may take, its present concomitants and qualities must in some 
form or other have been in existence in its original cause. 
This proposition is known as ' satkarya-vada ' (theory of some- 


thing being produced out of something which existed). Even 
modern natural scientists have laid down the proposition that 
the gross elements and the potential energy in all things are 
permanent, and whatever changes of form anything may go 
through, yet in the end the sum total of all material concomi- 
tants and of all potential energy in the world is always the 
same. For instance, even if we see a lamp burning and the oil 
disappearing, yet the atoms of oil are not totally destroyed, 
but continue to exist in the form of soot, smoke, or other subtle 
components; and, if all these subtle components are taken 
together and weighed, their weight will be the same as the 
total weight of the oil and of all those other matters from the 
air which were mixed with it when it was burning; and it has 
now been proved that the same rule applies to potential 
energy. But although these two propositions of modern phy- 
sics and of the Samkhya philosophy may be apparently 
similar, yet it must not be forgotten that the proposition of 
the Samkhya philosophy has reference only to the fact of one 
thing being created out of another thing, that is to say, it 
refers specifically to the theory of Causes and Effects, whereas 
the proposition of modern physics is much more comprehensive. 
The very important difference between these two proposi- 
tions which has now been proved by actual experiments and 
mathematics, is that no quality in any product can arise out of 
any quality which was not in the cause, and what is more, 
that the material elements and the potential energy in the 
■causes are in no way destroyed by reason of their having been 
transformed into products, and that the sum total of the 
weights of the material elements and the potential energy of 
any product in its various states is always the same, and is 
neither increased nor decreased. Looking at the matter from 
this point of view, it will be seen that the propositions which 
have been given at the commencement of the second chapter 
Of the Bhagavadglta. (Gi. 2. 16), such as : " nasato vidyate 
bhavah". I e., "that which is not, will never come into 
existence " etc., have greater similarity with the proposition of 
modern physics, than with the mere satkaryamda which deals 
with causes and products, though they apparently look like 


satkaryavada. The purport of the above quotation from the 
Chandogyopanisad is also the same. In short, the doctrine of 
of sattcaryavada is acceptable to the Vedanta philosophy. 
Nevertheless, according to the Monistic (advaita) Vedanta 
philosophy, this proposition does not apply to anything beyond 
the qualified (saguya) universe, and how the qualified universe 
appears to have come into exsistence out of the qualityless 
[mrguTta) must be explained in some other way. This theory 
of the Vedanta will be fully dealt with later on in the chapter 
on Metaphysics (adhyatma). As in this place we have to 
consider only how far the Sarhkhya philosophers have gone, 
we will take for granted the doctrine of satlcanjavada and see 
how the Sarhkhya philosophers have made use of it in dealing 
with the question of the Mutable and the Immutable. 

When once this satkdryaoada is taken as proved, then, 
according to the Sarhkhya science, the theory that . the visible 
universe came into existence out of sunya, there having been, 
nothing whatsoever in existence before, naturally falls to the 
ground. Because, sunya means non-existing, and that which 
exists can never come into existence out of that which does j 
not exist. Therefore, it becomes absolutely clear that the ' 
universe must have come into existence out of some substance 
or other, and that all those constituents (gunas) which we now;- 
see in the universe must have also been in this original 
substance. Now, if you look at the universe, many objects 
in it, such as trees, animals, men, stones, gold, silver, diamonds* 
water, air etc., are perceptible to our organB, and their forms 
and qualities are all different. The Sarhkhya doctrine is that 
thiB diversity or difference is neither permanent, nor funda- 
mental and that the fundamental substance in all things, or 
Matter, is only one. Modern ohemists had analysed various 
objects and had originally arrived at 62 fundamental elements. 
But as the Western natural scientists have now proved that 
these 62 elements are not eternal and that there must have 
been some one fundamental substance from which the sun 
the moon, the earth, the stars, and the rest of the universe' was 
created, it is not neoessary to further labour this proposition. 
This original or fundamental substance at the root of all the 
things in the universe is known in Sarhkhya philosophy as- 


* PRAERTI '. Prakrti means 'fundamental' and all things 
whioh subsequently arise out, of prakrti' are called ' vikrti ' or 
the vikaras (transformations) of the fundamental substance. 

But though there is only one fundamental substance in 
all things, if this substance had also only one constituent 
quality, then according to the salkuryamda, other qualities 
could not have arisen out of this one quality ; whereas, looking 
at the stones, earth, water, gold, and various other things in the 
world, we find that they have numerous qualities. Therefore, 
the Samkhya philosophers have first carefully considered the 
■constituents of all the various things and divided these 
■constituents into three classes, namely, the sattva, the rajas and 
the lamas, (the placid, the active and the ignorant). Because, 
whatever object may be taken, it naturally has two states, 
namely, its pure, unadulterated, or perfect state and the 
■opposite of it, its imperfect state ; and it is seen that its 
tendency is to move from its imperfect state to its perfect 
state. Out of these three states, the state of perfection 
is called by the Samkhya philosophers the sattviki state, the 
inperfect state is called the iamasi state, and the state of 
progression is called the rajasi state; and according to them the 
ihree qualities, sattva, rajas and tamas, are to be found from the 
very beginning in Matter (prakrti), which is the fundamental 
substance of all things. Nay, it may even be said, that 
thesB three constituents together make up Matter. In as muoh 
the strength of each of these qualities is the same jn the 
beginning, Matter is originally equable. This equability exist- 
ed in the beginning of the world and will come again when the 
world comes to an end. In this equability, there is no 
.activity and everything is at rest ; but, later on, when these three 
constituents begin to vary in intensity, various things spring 
out of Matter as a result of the progressive constituent, and 
the creation begins. Here the question arises as to how the 
difference arises in the intensity of the three constituents, 
sattva, rajas and tamas, which were originally equal in 
intensity. To this the reply of the Samkhya philosophers is, 
that that is the inherent characteristic of Matter (SSm, E8, 
61). Though Matter is gross, yet it carries out all this activity 
■of its own accord. Out of theBe three constituents, knowledge 


or intelligence is the sign of the sattva, and the rajas constituent, 
has an inspirational tendency, that is to say, it inspires a, 
person to do some good or evil act. [These three constituents- 
can never exist by themselves independently. In everything, 
there is a mixture of all the three constituents ; and in as much 
as the mutual ratio of the three constituents in this mixture 
always varies, the fundamental Matter, though originally one,, 
assumes the various forms of gold, earth, iron, water, sky, the 
human body etc. as a result of this diversity in constituents. 
As the intensity or proportion of the sattva constituent is 
higher than that of the rajas and tamas constituents in the 
object which we consider as sattvika, all that happens Sb that 
these constituents being kept in abeyance are not noticed by 
us. But strictly speaking, it must be understood that the 
three constituents sattva, rajas and tamas are to be found even 
in those objects which are sattvika by nature. There does not 
exist a single object which is purely sattvika, or purely rajasa^ 
or purely tamasa, In each object, there is an internal warfare 
going on between the three constituents, and we describe a. 
particular object as sattvika, rajasa, or tamasa according to- 
that one of these three constituents which becomes predominant. 
(Sam. Ka. 13; Ma. Bha. Asva-Anugita-36 and San. 305). 
For instance, when in one's own body the sattva consti- 
tuent assumes preponderance over the rajas and tamas consti- 
tuents, Knowledge comes into being in our body and we 
begin to realise the truth about things and our mind 
becomes peaceful. It is not that in this mental condi- 
tion, the rajas and the tamas constituents cease to exist in the 
body; but as they are repressed, they do not produce any effect. 
(Gi. 14. 10). If instead of the sattva constituent, the rajas con- 
stituent assumes preponderance, then avarice arises in the 
human heart, and the man is filled with ambition and he is- 
inspired to do various actions. In the same way, when the 
tamas constituent assumes preponderance over both the sattva 
and the rajas constituents, faults like sleep, idleness, confused 
memory etc. arise in the body. In short, the diversity which 
exists among the various objects in the world, such as gold,, 
iron, mercury etc. is the result of the mutual warfare or 
diversity in intensity of the three constituents, sattva, rajas 


and Tamos. The consideration as to how this diversity arises 
when there is only one fundamental Matter is known as 
' rijnana '; and this includes all the natural sciences. Tor 
example, chemistry, the science of electricity, physics etc. are 
all diverse kinds of j nana, that is, they are vijuana. 

This fundamental Matter, which is in an equable state, is 
' AVYAKTA ', that is, not perceptible to the organs ; and all 
the various objects which come into existence as a result of the 
mutual internal warfare of its satt on, rajas and tainas consti- 
tuents, and become perceptible to the organs, that is to say, all 
which we see or hear or taste or smell, or touch, goes under the 
name of ' vyakta ' according to the Samkhya philosophy. 
' VYAKTA ' means all the objects which are definitely percept- 
ible to the organs, whether they become perceptible on account 
of their form, or colour, or smell, or any other quality. 
Perceptible objects are numerous, and out of them, trees, 
stones etc. are GROSS (sthvla); whereas others like the Mind, 
Reason, Ether etc., though perceptible to the organs, ara 
SUBTLE (suksma). The word suksma does not here have its- 
ordinary meaning of ' small '; because, though ether is suksma, 
it has enveloped the entire universe. Therefore, suksma is to 
be taken to mean the opposite of ' sthula ', or even thinner than 
air. The words 'gross' or 'subtle' give one an idea about 
the conformation of the body of a particular thing ; and the 
words 'vyakta' (perceptible) and 'avyakta '(imperceptible) show 
whether or not a particular thing can be perceived by us in 
reality. Therefore, although two different things may both be 
subtle, yet one of them may be perceptible and the other 
imperceptible. For instance, though the air is subtle, yet as 
it is perceptible to the sense of touch, it is considered to be 
wjakta ; and prakrti (Matter), the fundamental substance of all 
things, being much more subtle than air itself, is not percept- 
ible by any of the organs and is, therefore, amjakla. Here a 
question arises, namely : if prakrti is not perceptible to any 
organ, then, what evidence is there that it exists ? To this the 
reply of the Samkhya philosophers is, that by considering the 
various objects, it is proved by inference by the law of 
' satkuryaoada' that the root of all of them, though not 
actually perceptible to the organs, must nevertheless be in 


existence in a subtle form (Sam. Ka. 8); and the. Vedalita 
philosophers have accepted the same line of argument for 
proving the existence of the Brahman. (See the Samkarabhasya 
on Katha. 6. 12, 13). When you once in this way acknow- 
ledge prakrti to ba extremely subtle and imperceptible, 
the atomic theory of the Nyaya school naturally falls 
to the ground. Because, even if atoms are considered 
imperceptible and innumerable, yet, in as much as each 
atom is, according to the Nyaya theory, an independent 
entity or part, the question as to what matter any two 
atoms are composed of still remains. Therefore, the doctrine 
of the Saihkhya philosophy is, that in prakrti there are no 
different parts in the shape of atoms, that it ig consistent 
and homogeneous or unbroken in any part, and that it 
perpetually pervades everything in a form which is avyakta 
•{that is, not perceptible to the organs) and inorganic. In 
^escribing the Parabrahman, Sri Samartha Ramadasa Svaml 
says in the Dusabodlia (Da. 20. 2. 3.) :- 

" In whichever direction you see, it is endless; there 
" is no end or limit anywhere ; there is one independent 
"homogeneous substance; there is nothing else".' 

The same description applies to the prakrli of the Saihkhya 
philosophy. Matter, made up of three constituents, is im- 
perceptible, self-created, and homogeneous, and it eternally 
saturates everything on all sides. The Ether, the air, and 
other different things came into existence afterwards ; and 
although they may be subtle, yet they are perceptible; and 
'prakrti ' which is the fundament or origin of all these is 
imperceptible, though it is homogeneous and all-pervading. 
Nevertheless, there is a world of difference between the 
Parabrahman of Vedanta philosophy and the prakrti of 
Sarhkhya philosophy; because, whereas the Parabrahman is 
Vitalising and unqualified, prakrti is inactive ( gross ) and 
is qualified, since it possesses the sattva, rajas and tamos 
qualities. But this subject-matter will be more fully con- 
sidered later on. For the moment, we have only to consider 
what the doctrines of the Sarhkhya philosophy are. ; When 
the words auksma, Mala, wjalsia, and avyakta have been 
defined as above, one comes to the inevitable conclusion 


that in the beginning of the universe, every object is in the 
form of subtle and imperceptible prakrti and that it after- 
wards becomes vyaltta ( perceptible to the organs ), whether 
it is subtle or gross; and that at the time of pralaya (total 
destruction of the universe), when this its perceptibtle form is 
destroyed, it again becomes merged into imperceptible Matter 
and becomes imperceptible. And the same opinion has been 
expressed in the Gita (Gi. 2. 28 and 8. 18). In the Sarhkhya 
philosophy, this imperceptible Matter is also known as 'aksara 
(Immutable) and all things which are formed out of it are 
known as 'ksara' (Mutable). ' ksara' is not to be understood 
as meaning something which is totally destroyed, but only 
the destruction of the perceptible form is here meant, 'prakrti ' 
has also other names, such as, ' pradhdna ' (fundamental), ' guria- 
icsobhini ' (stirrer up of the constituents), 'bahudhanalca ' (many- 
seeded), and ' prasam-dharmini ' (generative). It is 'pradhana 
(fundamental), because, it is the fundamental root of all objects 
in the universe; it is 'gurtaksobhiifV (stirrer up of constituents), 
because, it of its own accord breaks up the equable state of 
its three constituents (gums); it is ' bahudhanaka ' (many-seeded), 
because, it contains the germs of differentiation between 
various objscta in the shape of the three constituents; and it is 
' prasaoa-dluinnini" (ganjrative), because, all things are born 
or come into existence out of it. That is why these different 
names are given to Matter. This pralcrli is known in 
Vedanta philosophy as 'Maya' (Illusion) or an illusory 

"When all things in the world are classified under the two 
•divisions of ' Perceptible ' and ' Imperceptible ' or ' Mutable ' and 
'Immutable', the next question which arises is into what 
categories the Atman, the Mind, Intelligence, Individuation, 
and the organs, which have been mentioned in the last chapter 
■on the ksetra-ksetrajna-mcara, are to be put according to 
Sarhkhya philosophy. The ksetra and the organs being gross, 
they will of course be included in the category of the Percepti- 
ble. But how is one to dispose of the Mind, Individuation, 
Intelligence, and especially of the Atman ? The modern 
eminent European biologist Haeckel says in his books that 


the Mind, Intelligence, Individuation and the Atman are all 
faculties of the body. We see that when the brain in a. 
man's head is deranged, he loses memory and even becomes- 
mad, Similarly, even if any part of the brain is deadened 
on account of a blow on the head, the mental faculty of that, 
part is seen to come to an end. In short, mental faculties are 
only faculties of gross Matter and they can never be separated 
from gross Matter. Therefore, the mental faculties and the 
Atman must be classified along with the brain in the category 
of the Perceptible. When you have made this classification,, 
the imperceptible and gross Matter is ultimately the only 
thing which remains to be disposed of, because all perceptible- 
objects have sprung out of this fundamental imperceptible- 
There is no other creator or generator of the world except- 
prakrti. When the Energy of the fundamental Matter ( prakrti )■ 
gradually increases, it acquires the form of caitanya (conscious- 
ness) or of the Atman. This fundamental prakrti is governed by 
fixed laws or rules like the satkaryavuda, and in accordance- 
with those laws, the entire universe, as also man, is acting 
like a prisoner. Not only is the Atman not something 
different from Matter, but it is neither imperishable nor 
independent ; then, where is the room for salvation ?. The 
idea which a person has that he will do a particular thing- 
according to his own will is a total illusion ; he must go where 
prakrti (Matter or Nature) drags him. In short, as the late- 
Mr. Shankar Moro Ranade has stated in the 'Dhrupad* 
(stanza) at the commencement of the drama Kalahapuri-- 

" The world is a vast prison, all created beings are 
" prisoners, the inherent qualities of Matter are 
" shackles which nobody can break ". 

Haeckel's opinion is that this is the way in which the 
existence of the living and the non-living world goes on. Andi 
because according to him the universe originates from a single, 
gross, and imperceptible prakrti, he has named his doctrine 
' advaita' (non-dualism)*. But in as much as- this advctita- 

* Haeokel's original word is 'Monism', and ho has written an, 
independent work on it. 


doctrine is based on something which is gross, and as it 
incorporates everything within gross Matter, I have named it 
'jaMdvaita ' (Gross Non-dualism) or Non-dualism based on the 
Natural sciences. 

But the Sarhkhya philosophy does not accept this Gross 
Non-dualism. They accept the position that the Mind, Reason 
and Individuation are qualities of Gross Matter which consists 
of the five primordial elements and consequently it is stated in 
the Samkhya philosophy that Reason, Individuation, and other 
qualities gradually spring out of the fundamental imperceptible 
Matter. But according to the Saihkhyas, it is impossible that 
consciousness (caitartya) should spring out of gross Matter; not 
only that, but the words " I know a particular thing " cannot 
come to be used unless the one who knows, understands, or sees 
Matter, is different from Matter, in the same way as no one 
can sit on his own shoulders; and looking at the affairs of the 
world, it is the experience of every one that whatever he knows 
or sees is different from himself. The Samkhya philosophers 
have, therefore, come to the conclusion that the one who knows 
(jnata) and that which is to he known (jneya), the one who 
sees and that which is to be seen, or the one who sees prakrti 
and Gross prakriti muet be two fundamentally different things 
(Sam. Ka.17). The one which has been described in the last 
chapter as the ksetrajna, or the Atman, is the one which sees, 
knows or enjoys, and it is known in the Samkhya philosophy as 
PTJRUSA (Spirit), or ' jfia ' (jnata). As this Knower is different 
from Matter, it follows that the Knower is inherently quality- 
less, that is, beyond the three constituents of prakrti, namely, 
sattva, rajas and tamas; that the Knower does not go through 
any change of form and does nothing else except seeing and 
knowing, and that all the activity which is going on in 
the world is only the aotivity of prakrti. In short, the 
doctrine of the Sarhkhya philosophers is that if MATTER 
f prakrti) is acetana (lifeless), SPIRIT (purum) is sacetana 
(vitalised); if Matter is responsible for all activity, Spirit is 
apathetic and non-active; if Matter has three constituents, Spirit 
is iuneonstituted ; if Matter is blind, Spirit is seeing; and that 
these two different elements in this world are eternal, inde- 
pendent, and self-created. And it is with reference to this- 


.doctrine that the Bhagavadgita first says : " prakrtim purusam 
■caiva viddhy anadi ubhav api ", that is, " prakrti and purusa 
are both without a beginning and are eternal " (Gi. 13. 19), 
and then goes on to say : " karj/akara?fa kartrtve hetuh 
prakrHr ucyate", i.e., the activities of the body and of 
the organs are carried on by prakrti : and that, "purustA 
sukhaduhkhanam bhoktrtve hetur ucyate", i. e., "the purusa is 
responsible for our experience of pain aud happiness ". But 
although the doctrine, that prakrti and purusa (Matter and 
Spirit) are both eternal, is acceptable to the Gita, yet it must 
be borne in mind that the Gita does not look upon these two 
elements as independent and self-oreated, as is done by 
Sarhkhya philosophers. Because, in the Gita itself the Blessed 
Lord has referred to Matter as his Illusion (Gl. 7. 14; 14. 3); 
and as regards the Spirit, he has said : " mamaivaviso jlvaloke " 
<<Gi. 15. 7), i. e., " It is a part of me ". Therefore, the Gita has 
gone further than the Sarhkhya philosophy. But we . will keep 
aside this aspect for the time bsing, and consider further what 
.pure Sarhkhya philosophy says. 

According to Sarhkhya philosophy, all the objects in 
■the world are divided into three classes :-the amjalda (the 
fundamental Matter or nature), the vyakta (the forms taken 
by it), and the purusa (j'Jia), the Spirit or the Knower. But 
in as much as the form of perceptible objects out of these 
is destroyed at the time of pralaya ( total destruction ), 
imperceptible Matter (prakrti) and Spirit (purusa) are 
the only two elements which remain in the end ; and in as 
much as it is a proposition of the Sarhkhya philosophers, that 
these two fundamental principles are eternal and self-created, 
,they are called ' dvaiti ' (those who accept TWO principles). 
They do not accept any other fundamental principle 
besides Matter and Spirit, such as Isvara, Time, inherent 
Nature or anything else. * Because, in as much as 

* Isvarkrsoa w»a a total atheist (niiiharavadi). tlu has stated 
in the last three summarising arya couplets of his Samkhya-KariB, 
■that tlere were 70 aryas (conpkts) in the Samkhya-Brika on the 
principal Bubject-matter. Bat in the hdition which has beeu printed 
in Bombay by Tukaram Tatya, which contains the translations of 
Colebrooke and Wilson, there are only 69arySsoa the principal 


according to that philosophy the qualified Isvara, Time, or 
inherent Nature are all perceptible, they are included in the 
perceptible objects which arise out of imperceptible Matter; 
and if you look upon the Isvara as qualitylass, then having, 
legard to the law of satktiri/ai'arlri, Matter with its three consti- 
tuents cannot spring out of a qualitylass fundamental element. 
Therefore, they have definitely laid down that there is no third 
fundamental element in addition to prakrti and ■purmxt as a 
cause of the universe; and having in this way defined only two 
fundamental elements, they have according to their own 
opinion worked out how the entire universe was created out 
subject. Therefore, Mr. Wilson was necessarily faced with the 
question which this ' <Kh unuplet was; but that couplet not having 
been available to him, bis difficulty has remained unsolved. In my 
opiniou, tilid couplet must bii after the present 6[st couplet. Because,. 
the commentary uf Gaudapada on the 61st couplet is not on one 
couplet, but on two couplets. And if the symbolical phrasts ill 
this commentary are taken and a verse is written, it will run as- 
follows : 

karanam ismram eke Iruvate kalam pure swibhamia va i 
pryal} kathatii niryunato vyakt<ih Lal,h svabhtivub ca || 

And this verse fits in with the anterior and posterior context. I 
thisk that some one ba9 subsequently omitted fcr.is arya t as it 
supports atueisn. But as this ultra-critical man who has 
omitted the original couplet, forgot to delote tbe commentary 
on the verse which was omitted, we can now reconstruct that verse. 
For this, we must be grateful to this officious man. It would 
appear from the first hymn of tho sixth chapter of the 
Svetasvataropanisad, that in ancient times, people used to look 
upon Inherent Nature and Time as the fundamental causes of the 
world and the Vedantists used to go further and to look upon the 

'Isvara' as such cause. That hymn is as follows : — 

svabliatam eh kavnyo vadanti kalam tnthanye parimuhyamanah [ 
devasyai^a mahimti tut hke yenedalii bhramyate brahmacakram || 
And in order to Bhow that not even one of these three were 
accepted by the Samkhya philosophers as a fundamental Oause,- 
IsvarakrsBa put tbe couplet mentioned above after the 61st. 


of these two fundamental elements. Th°y sny that though the 
<nialityless paruta (Spirit) is unable to do anything itself, 
yet,, in the same way as the cow gives milk for its calf, or iron 
acquires the quality of attraction by the prnximiiy of a magnet, 
so also immediately on the pur/iyi coming into union with 
prakrli, pralrti which was originally imperceptible "begins 
to place bef ore the punt -c the subtle, and the gross perceptible 
diffusion of ita own constituents ( Sam. Ea. 57 V .Although the 
purusu may be srirftn'm- (v~i<ilised) and. :ijfi<' !f <J, (fcnower), yet, in 
as much as it is h'nrla (isolated), that is, (ynalityless, it has 
not got the necessary perquisites for pcforming actions itself'; 
and although pmkrti can perform actions, yet, in as much as 
it is gross and acetan" (lifeless), it cannot understand what to do 
and what not to do. Therefor?, just as when there is a 
partnership between a blind man and ft lame man, the 
lame man sits on the siirmlders of the blind man, and both of 
them begin to loiiow tits road, so also when lifeless Matter 
becomes united with the vitalised Spirit, all the activities 
in the world come in m existence (Sam. Ka. ,"31 ): and just as 
in a drama an actress ones takes one part and' after some time 
again another part and performs her dance for the entertain- 
ment of the audience, so also prnkrli for the benefit of the 
puram ( for 'purusarlha' ), and though the piinisa gives nothing 
in return, takes up numerous parts in the drama by changing 
the mutual ratio ol the ■jaltiii, rajas, and lamn.s constituents, 
and continually performs its dance before the puruxi (Sam. 
Ka. 59). But so long as the Spirit, being entranced by this 
dance of Matter or Ky false pride (Gl. 3. 37) unjustifiably 
arrogates to itself this activity of Matter, and enmeshes itself 
in the strands of pain and happiness, it will never attain 
salvation. But on that day, when the Spirit realises that Matter 
with its three constituents is different and that it, the Spirit, is 
something different, the Spirit may well be said to be released, 
(Gl. 1.3. 29, 30 ; 14. 20). Because, strictly speaking, the Spirit is 
fundamentally neither a doer nor is it bound. It is independent 
and by its very nature isolated, that is,- it is non-active. 
Whatever happens is being done hy Matter. . Nay, in as much 
as the Mind and even Reason aTe manifestations of Matter, 
■whatever knowledge is acquired by ReaBon is the result of the 


activity ;ol; l! {,itvtwh;v This itno^edgb'-ioMlwefcMd.Vn.iinely, 
IgtU'lhll, riljiiiiiiaud tMnniia (kti. ia.':;0-:J'21 i Out of tiiase.'iwluBi 
Eeaftot »cipiiwfc-vtlm ; sSHti-lsa Hud' t~i~ knciuslrtlySi;-' thsn$$ifii 
reiiUsBSjtliati itdsditfe^r.1, fi-om TVf&tttr. 'Che snlltH,. >ajf<$'^Tul 
iam'Jt :PirnBtitiien't3 - .',r& tke r, inKfihmffi.! of A-I ; • tr>.- r tmf'rtf^tfUS 
Spirit. ThebptticfeesiUiMes^O-jifi t»v/,-W/. wKh ifr i.hifia winstil 
Maatfl. isite mim* (-itfu. tfli» Win. , 0) ">!') 'vVhp;. Hii,* miri'M 1 
liwooi'-s clear, thai ie t.'>"<;a'h -wlifin v,h« fiteui i . u nicliies; 
maiitiusta.tifaiixff Miifc.r, hklBIW xoil"nl > Ihfj tha'-'iipii-it'aaes- 
teiithih eleat ■miccoi- ite awlitU'.flv idurrtity; linniiily, that it' ia 
different -from. 1 "Matter, JMWl'TjTLme' M?-ttor, bewnrhig sfianie* 
fasted, isti>ps' iier.'il.inc L e i "li6fiurn^ tho 1 - Hpirit,.- 'When 'ttaJ ! Statb. - « 
daquirbd,.iho-itipirit. it .released f row ali' bonds a»d ettainsritB; 
taHereai :■ isolation. '. -Isolation- fktaix/Jx/tif iwrnis ifehfeiisfcater.iffll 
Igittg 'rixtriUc'- (isolatsd),.lljat: is, lteirig , VRfA$h> laud nafcjbethgr 
iSpithrwiifc 'Matter ; -and: it, isLt'his'rMiiralr "Kfcaliaiiof.itli'e "fcijiirite, 
iMktett i»_.«eilsd jno/.'si. (Belaafehoi^aalviiUoii-iby^heifcatJEhjnfci 
pbitetiutHwiiiSi ^.:"Bwt sbuia iMmkh.th, .philosophers r baVb -Jiisaiktfjm. 
deJMtrto.(ju9stioB.klietLhsr ia ttus'.Rtstlv-ffc . ; s"tbx j Spirit wibjshs 
ai»ad«nsi-Matitor-.oi Matter' which abuistonirtise "Burnt,. iTttffll 
quusMoa-is 1 - 1 lis surao type \bs fcite ."question, wirotiies:- Foe ^rifes 
is,_too tallfcr the "husLaud-or -the .husband ' too alinri i or jibes 
■iV^e.ja-tifl; sfjjno fnay uhiidc'ii lis equaliy-viieicE, > rteeriuaa whimi, 
two.JiiiqgSi-are fliTOTcod iKi!fle:icb -othan- toeiM' id no rpoiutilly 
oojwitietjiig.iwlio.lian iH^KWlunn, a-; \ .tseeibabUiitY'ltsfiTO'eaclia 
oHmt;,:'Butl"if one- givtB tMis- aiiw'tian of tun h-amfcltvivpliilot*? 
gophers d*pi(junSMers,(i'Hvit will Ire aeen nasi' to to irapcopferit 
from -their? fp.ointisirf' (view, in- as jau'oh-as according tpr?4h*e 
tiaimkhy&iv pliilxiBOTjliy, the- Spirit being-; withcrivii'flhaiitiedy; 
non-active,hia:ndimptltheiic/'tli6 performance oftlwifaetiisnsiofof 
'giving up''; or: "iftickiog to' oanhot tecUcJ tally ~-t!ptm.yi»&;; 
be ascribad to the; 'Spirit (Gli / 13. > -31, -'&!).* < Therefore, jtfeif 
.Samkhyas 'hatfefconie to tlier,i)tn:kision tlmt it- is. Matter, (vhiclre, 
has got- feharquiality of activity), wliicit'maat be' said to, isavitx 
the Spirit, that \is-ita Bay, it in .'' pmkrti "* wbiohiottaiaflditaot, 
•own Release fromhthe ,SpirW {Sfev ■K.g.bioaad affityKAMftof 
In short, BiJlease iiTnot a«iindepeitdent->stai)2' inirkh rasultoitoA'- 
th* Spirit f rom-aomei outsidft.aKeE6y,.'UUs ttsukite atet u wtjjioh dies 
different from its fundamental and inherent state ; just as ths 


not escape the cycle of birth and death; then he may take birth 
in the sphere of gods, as a result of the preponderance of the 
sattva constituent or in the sphere of humans, as a result of 
the preponderance of the rajas constituent, or in the sphere of 
animals, as a result of the preponderance of the tamos consti- 
tuent (Sarh. Ka. 44, 54). These results, in the shape of the 
cycle of birth and death, befall a man as a result of the 
preponderance or minimisation of the sattva, rajas and tamas 
constituents in the Matter which envelopes him, that is, in 
his Reason. It is stated even in the Glta (Gi. 14. 18), that :- 
"iirdhvam gacclumti sattvasthah", that is, " persons in whom the 
sattvika constituent predominates go to heaven", and tamasa 
parsons go to perdition. But these resulting states in the 
shape of heaven etc., are non-permanent. For that Spirit 
which wishes to become released from the cycle of birth and 
death, or according to the terminology of the Sarhkhya 
philosophy, which has to maintain its difference or isolation 
from Matter, there is no other way except transcending the 
"three constituents and becoming viralda ( desireless ). Kapila- 
carya had acquired this asceticism and Knowledge from his 
very birth. But it is not possible that every man can be in 
this state from the moment of his birth. Therefore, everyone 
must by means of the discrimination of fundamental prin- 
ciples realise the difference between Matter and Spirit and 
try to purify his Reason. When by such efforts, the Reason 
becomes sattvika, there arise in that Reason itself the qualities 
of Realisation ( jnana ), Asceticism (vairagya), and Power 
(aisvarya), and the man ultimately reaches isolation. The 
word 'aisvarya' (power) is used here in the sense of the 
Yogic power of acquiring whatever may be desired. According 
to the Saihkhya philosophy, Righteousness (dharma) is included 
■in the sattvika constituent ; but Kapilacarya has ultimately 
made the distinction, that by mere dharma one acquires only 
'heaven, whereas Knowledge and Asceticism give Release or 
Isolation, and effect a total annihilation of the unhappiness of 
a man. That man who, as a result of the preponderance of 
the sattvika constituent in his bodily organs and in his Reason, 
has realised that he is distinct from Matter with its three con- 
stituents, is called triguyatita (one who has transcended the sattva 


rajas and tamas constituents) by the Samkhyas. In this state 
of a friguifltita, neither the saitva, nor the rajas, nor the tamas 
constituent continues to exist ; therefore, considering the matter 
minutely, one has to admit that this state is different from 
either the saitvikl, or rajasi, or tarmsl states of mind; and 
following this line of argument the Bhagavata religion, after 
■dividing Devotion (bliakti) into ignorant, progressive, or placid, 
has described the disinterested and non-differentiating de- 
votion of the man who has transcended the three constituents 
as mrgu-na, that is, unaffected-by-quality (Bhag. 3. 29. 7-14). 
But it is not proper to extend the principle of division 
beyond the three divisions of placid, progressive, and ignorant. 
Therefore, the Sarhkhya philosophers include the trigunatita 
•state of transcending the three constituents in the placid 
{sattvika) state on the basis that it results from the highest 
•expansion of the placid constituent ; and the same position has 
also been accepted in the Glta. For instance, the non-differen- 
tiating knowledge that every thing is one and the same is, 
according to the Glta, placid knowledge (Gl. 18. 20); and where 
the description of the sattvikl state of mind is given in the 
fourteenth chapter of the Glta, the description of the state of 
transcending the three constituents is given later on at the end 
of the same chapter. But it must he borne in mind that in 
as much as the Gita does not accept the duality of Matter 
and Spirit, the words 'prakrti ', 'purusa ', ' trigwnxiUta ', which are 
technical terms of Sarhkhya philosophy are always used in a 
■slightly different meaning in the Gita; or in short, the Glta 
permanently keeps the rider of the monistic (adoaita) Para- 
•brahman on the Dualism (dvaita) of the Sarhkhya philosophy. 
For instance, the difference between Matter and Spirit 
according to the Sarhkhya philosophy has been described in 
-the 13th chapter of the Gita (Gi. 13. 19-34). But there th e 
words 'prakrti' and 'purusa' are synonymous with the words 
* hsetra ' and ' ksetrajna '. Similarly, the description in the 
14th chapter of the state of transcending the three constituents 
(Gi. 14. 22-27) is of the siddha or released man who, having 
escaped the meshes of Maya (Illusion) with its three consti- 
tuents, has realised the Paramatman (Supreme Spirit) which 


is beyond both Matter and Spirit, and not of a Samkhya 
philosopher, who looks upon Matter and Spirit as two distinct 
principles and who looks upon the isolation of the Spirit as 
the state of transcending the three constituents of Matter. 
This difference has been made perfectly clear by me in the 
subsequent chapter on adhyatma (philosophy of the Highest Salf). 
<But as the Blessed Lord has, while supporting the adh/atma 
or Vedanta philosophy in the Gita, in many places made 
use of the Samkhya terminology and arguments, one is 
likely to get the wrong idea, while raiding the Gita, that it 
accepts as correct the pure Samkhya philosophy. Therefore, 
I have repeated here this difference between the Samkhya 
philosophy and the propositions similar to it in the Gita. 
Sarhkaracarya has stated in the Vfdanta Sutra-bhaiya, that 
he is prepared to accept all the propositions of the Samkhya 
philosophy but not to give up the aduaita theory of the 
Upanisads that there is only one fundam3ntal principle in the 
world, namely, the Parabrahman (Supreme Spirit), which is 
beyond both Matter and Spirit and from wnich the entire 
creation, including Matter and Spirit, has sprang (Ve. Si. 
Sarh. Bha. %. 1. 3); and the same line of argument applies to 
the arguments in the Gita. 



gui;a gunesu, jayante tatraiva nivisanti ca I * 

Mahabharata, Santi. 305. 23. 

I have so far dealt with the nature of the two independent 
■fundamental principles of the world according to the Kapila 
Sarhkhya philosophy, namely. Matter and Spirit, and have 
described how one has to release one's Self from the network of 
the constituent qualities of Matter which it places before one's 
eyes, as a result of its union with Spirit. But the explana- 
tion of how this 'Sarhsara' (worldly illusion) is placed by 
Matter before the Spirit— this its diffusion, or its drama which 
Marathi poets have given the vivid name of ' samsrtica pirhga ' 
(the fantastic dance of worldly life), and which is called 
"the Mint of Matter" by Jfianesvara Maharaja— and in what 
way the same is destroyed, has still to be given ; and I shall 
deal with that subject in this chapter. This activity of Matter 
is known as "the Construction and Destruction of the Cosmos" , 
because, according to the Sarhkhya philosophy, prakrti (Matter) 
has created this world or creation for the benefit of in- 
numerable Spirits. Sri Saraartha RamadSsa has in two or 
three places in the Dasabodha given a beautiful description 

* "Constituents ( gunas) are born ont of constituents, and are 
merged in them". 


of how the entire Cosmos is created from Matter, and I have 
taken the phrase "Construction and Destruction of the 
Cosmos " from that description. Similarly, this subject-matter 
has been dealt with principally in the seventh and eighth 
chapters of the Bhagavadgita, and from the following prayer 
of Arjuna to Sri Krsna in the beginning of the eleventh chapter, 
namely: bhavapymjau. hi bhulamm srutau vistaraso maya" 
(Gi. 11. 2), i. e., " I have heard (what You have said ) in detail 
about the creation and the destruction of created beings ; now 
show me actually Your Cosmic Form, and fulfill my ambition", 
it is clearly seen that the construction and the destruction of 
the Cosmos is an important part of the subject-matter of the 
Mutable and the Immutable. The Knowledge by which one 
realises that all the perceptible objects in the world, which 
are more than one (are numerous), contain only one 
fundamental imperceptible substance, is called 'jflana* 
(Gi. 18. 20); and the Knowledge by which one understands 
how the various innumerable perceptible things severally 
camo into existence out of one fundamental imperceptible 
substance is called ' vijnana '; and not only does this subject- 
matter include the consideration of the Mutable and the 
Immutable, but it also includes the knowledge of the Body 
and the Atman and the knowledge of the Absolute Self. 

Acoording to the Bhagavadgita, Matter does not carry on 
its activities independently, but has to do so according to the 
will of the Paramesvara (Gi. 9. 10). But, as has been stated be- 
fore, Kapila Rsi considered Matter as independent. According 
to the Sarhkhya philosophy, its union with Spirit is a sufficient 
proximate cause for its diffusion to commence. Matter needs 
nothing else for this purpose. The Samkhyas say that as soon 
as Matter is united with Spirit, its minting starts ; and just as- 
in spring, trees get foliage and after that, leaves, flowers, and 
fruits follow one after the other (Ma. Bha. San. 231. 73; and 
Manu, 1. 30), so also is the fundamental equable state of 
Matter disrupted, and its constituents begin to spread out. 
On the other hand, in the Veda-Saihhitas, the Upanisads, 
and the Smrti texts, the Parabrahman is looked upon as 
fundamental instead of Matter, and different descriptions are 
found in those books about the creation of the Cosmos from 


that Parabrahman (Highest Brahman), namely that : "luranya-- 
garbhah samavartatagre bhutasya jatah patir eka asit", i. e., 
"the Golden Egg first came into existence" (Rg. 10. 121. 1). 
and from this Golden Egg, or from Truth, the whole 
world was created (Rg. 10. 72; 10. 190); or first, water was 
created (Rg. 10. 83. 6; Tai. Bra. 1. 1. 3. 7; Ai. U. 1. 1. 2), and 
from that water, the Cosmos; or that when in this water an 
egg had come into existence, the Brahmadeva was born out 
of it, and either from this Brahmadeva, or from the original 
Egg, the entire world was later on created (Manu. 1. 8-13 j 
Chan. 3. 19); or that the same Brahmadeva (male) was turned, 
as to half of him, into a female (Br. 1. 4. 3 ; Manu. 1. 32); or 
that Brahmadeva was a male before water came into existence 
(Katha. 4. 6); or that from the Parabrahman only three elements, 
were created, namely, brilliance, water and the earth (food), and 
that later on, all things were created as a result of the inter- 
mixture of the three (Chan. 6. 2-6). Nevertheless, there is a, 
clear conclusion in the Vedanta-Sutras ( Ve. 85. 2. 3. 1-15 ), that 
the five primordial elements, namely. Ether (akasa) etc., came 
into existence in their respective order from the fundamental 
Brahman in the shape of the Atman (Tai. U. 2. 1); and there 
are clear references in the Upanisads to pmkrti, mahat, and 
Other elements, e. g., see Katha (3. 11), Maitrayani (6. 10), 
Svetasvatara (4. 10; 6. 16) etc. From this it can be seen that 
though according to Vedanta philosophy, Matter is not 
independent, yet after the stage when a transformation makes 
itB appearance in the Pure Brahman in the shape of an 
illusory Prakrti, there is an agreement between that philosophy 
and the Sarhkhya philosophy about the subsequent creation 
of the Cosmos; and it is, therefore, stated in the Mahabharata 
that: "all knowledge which there is in history or in the 
Puranas, or in economics has all been derived from Sarhkhya. 
philosophy" (San. 301. 108, 109). This does not mean that 
the Vedantists or the writers of the Puranas have copied 
this knowledge from the Kapila Sarhkhya philosophy; but 
only that everywhere the conception of the order in which 
the Cosmos was created is the same. Nay, it may even be 
said that the word 'Sarhkhya' has been used here in the 
comprehensive meaning of ' Knowledge '. Nevertheless, 


KapilScarya has explained the order of the cieation of the 
Cosmos in a particularly systematic manner from the point 
of view of a science, and as the Samkhya theory has been 
principally accepted in the Bhagavadgita, I have dealt with 
it at length in this chapter. 

Not only have modern "Western materialistic philosophers 
accepted the Samkhya doctrine that the entire perceptible 
Cosmos has come out of one avyakta (imperceptible to the 
oigans), subtle, homogeneous, unorganised, fundamental 
substance, which completely pervades everything on all sides, 
but they have come to the further conclusions that the energy 
in this fundamental substance has grown only gradually, 
and that nothing has come into existence suddenly and like 
a spout, giving the go-bye to the previous and continuous order 
of creation of the universe. This theory is called the Theory 
of Evolution. When this theory was first enunciated in the 
Western countries in the last century, it caused there a great 
commotion. In the Christian Scriptures, it is stated that 
the Creator of the world created the five primordial elements 
and every living being which fell into the category of 
moveables one by one at different times, and this genesis was 
believed in by all Christians before the advent of the Evolution 
Theory. Therefore, when this doctrine ran the risk of being 
refuted by the Theory of Evolution, that theory was attacked 
on all sides, and that opposition is still more or less going on 
in those countries. Nevertheless, in as much as the strength 
of a scientific truth must always prevail, the Evolution Theory 
of the creation of the Cosmos is now becoming more and more 
acceptable to all learned scholars. According to this theory, 
there was originally one subtle, homogeneous substance in thB 
Solar system, and as the original motion or heat of that 
substance gradually became less and less, it got more and more 
condensed, and the Earth and, the other planets gradually came 
into existence, and the Sun is the final portion of it which has 
now remained. The Earth was originally a very hot ball, 
same as the Sun, but as it gradually lost its heat, some portion 
of ithe original substance remained in the liquid from, while 
other portions became solidified, and the air and water which 
surround the earth and the gross, material earth under themi 


'Came gradually into existence; and later on, all the living 
and non-living creation came into existence as the result of 
the union, of these three. On the line of this argument, 
Darwin and other philosophers have maintained that even 
.man has in this way gradually come into existence by 
evolution from micro-organisms. Yet, there is still a great 
deal of difference of opinion between Materialists and Meta- 
physicians as to whether or not the Soul (Atman) should be 
considered as an independent fundamental principle. Haeckel 
-and some others like him maintain that the Soul and Vitality 
have gradually come into existence out of Gross Matter, and 
support the jadadvaita (Gross Monistic) doctrine; on the other 
hand, Metaphysicians like Kant say that in as much as all 
■the knowledge we get of the Cosmos is the result of the synthe- 
tic activity of the Sou!, the Soul must be looked upon as an 
independent entity. Because, saying that the Soul which 
perceives the external world is a part of the world which is 
perceived by it, or that it has come into existence out of the 
world, is logically as meaningless as saying that one can sit 
■on one's own shoulders. For the same reason, Matter and 
Spirit are looked upon as two independent principles in the 
Sarhkhya philosophy. In short, it is even now being main- 
tained by many learned scholars in the Western countries 
that however much the Materialistic knowledge of the universe 
may grow, the consideration of the form of the Root Principle 
of the Cosmos must always be made from a different point of 
view. But my readers will see that as regards the question 
■of the order in which all perceptible things came to be created 
from one Gross Matter, there is not much difference of opinion 
between the Western Theory of Evolution, and the Diffusion- 
out of Matter described in the Sarhkhya philosophy; because, 
the principal proposition that the heterogeneous perceptible 
Cosmos (both subtle and gross) came to be gradually created 
from one imperceptible, subtle, and homogeneous fundamental 
Matter, is accepted by both. But, as the knowledge of the 
Material sciences has now considerably increased, modern 
natural scientists have considered as prominent the three 
•qualities of motion, heat and attraction, instead of the three 
■qualities of sattua, rp.jas, and tamas of the Sarhkhya philosophy. 


It is true that from the point of view of the natural sciences, 
it is easier to realise the diversity in the mutual strength of 
heat or attraction than the diversity in the mutual intensity 
of the three qualities of sattva, rajas, and tamos. Nevertheless,, 
the principle: " guya guvesu, vartante" (Gl. 3. 28), i.e., "con- 
stituents come out of constituents", which is the principle 
of the diffusion or expansion of constituent qualities, is. 
common to both. Samkhya philosophers say that in the 
same way as a folding-fan is gradually opened out, so also 
when the folds of Matter in its equable state (in which its 
sattva, rajas, and tamas constituent qualities are equal) are 
opened out, the whole perceptible universe begins to come into- 
existence; and there is no real difference between this con- 
ception and the Theory of Evolution. Nevertheless, the fact that. 
the Gita, and partly also the Upanisads and other Vedic texts 
have without demur accepted the theory of the growth of the 
gunas (constituents) side by side with the Monistic Vedanta 
doctrines, instead of rejecting it as is done by the Christian 
religion, is a difference which ought to be kept in mind from 
the point of view of the Philosophy of Raligion. 

Let us now consider what the theory of the Samkhya phi- 
losophers is about the order in which the folds of Matter are un- 
folded. This order of unf oldment is known as ' gunotkarsa-vada ' 
(the theory of the unfolding of constituent qualities ), or ' guna- 
pmrjama-vada ' ( the theory of the development of qualities ). 
It need not be said that every man comes to a decision 
according to his own intelligence to perform an act or that he 
must first get the inspiration to do an act, before he commences 
to do the act. Nay, there are statements even in the 
Upanisads, that the universe came to be created after the One 
fundamental Paramatman was inspired with the desire to 
multiply, e. g., " balm syam prajayeya " ( Chan. 6. 2. 3 ; Tai. 
Z. 6 ). On the same line of argument, imperceptible Matter 
first comes to a decision to break up its own equable state and 
to create the perceptible universe. Deoision means 'vyavasaya', 
and coming to a decision is a Bign of Reason. Therefore, the 
Samkhya philosophers have come to the conclusion that the 
first quality which comes into existence in Matter is Pure 
(deciding) Reason ( vyavasayatmika buddhi j. In short, in the 


same way as a man has first to be inspired with the desire of 
doing some particular act, so also is it necessary that Matter- 
should first be inspired with the desire of becoming diffuse. 
But because man is vitalised, that is to say, because in him 
there has taken place a union between the Reason of Matter 
and the vitalised Spirit ( Atman ), he understands this deciding 
Reason which inspires him ; and as Matter itself is non-vital 
or Gross, it does not understand its owd Reason. This is the 
great difference between the two, and this difference is the 
result of the Consciousness which Matter has acquired as a 
result of its union with the Spirit. It is not the quality of 
Gross Matter. When one bears in mind that even modern 
Materialistic natural scientists have now begun to admit that 
unless one credits Matter with some Energy which, though non- 
self-intelligible ( asvayamvedya J, is yet of the same nature as 
human intelligence, one cannot reasonably explain the mutual 
attraction or repulsion seen in the material world in the shape 
of gravitation, or magnetic attraction or repulsion, or other 
chemical actions, * one need not be surprised about the- 
proposition of the Sarhkhya philosophy that Reason is the first 
quality which is acquired by Matter. You may, if you like, 
give this quality which first arises in Matter the name 
of Reason which is non-vitalised or non-self-perceptible 
* ''Without the assumption of an atomic soul, the commonest 
and the moat general phenomena of Chemistry are inexplicable. 
Pleasure and pain, desire and aversion, attraction and repulsion, 
must be common to al] atoms of an aggregate ; for the movements 
of atoms which must take place in the formation and dissolution of 
a chemical compound can be explained only by attributing to them 
Sensation and Will" — Haeckel in the Peng'sisofthe Plaslidule cited in 
Martineau's Types of Ethical Theory, Vol. II, p. 399, 3rd Ed. Haeckel 
himself explains this statement as follows : " I explicitly Btated- 
that I conceived the elementary psychic qualities of sensation and 
mil which may be attributed to atoms to be unconscious— just as- 
unconscious as the elementary memory which I, in common witb the 
distinguished psychologist Ewald Hering, consider to be a common 
function of all organised matter, or more correctly the living. 
substances "—The Riddle of the Universe, Ohap. IX p. 63 ( E. P. A. 
Cheap. Ed. ). 


{ asvaydnwedya ). , But it is clear that the desire which a man 
gets and the desire which inspires Mattter belong originally to 
one and. the same class; and, therefore, both are defined in the 
gam© way in both the places. This Reason has also such other 
names as ' makat ', ' jilana ', ' mati ', ' asuri ', ' prajnu ' ' kkyati ' 
etc. Oat of these, the name ' mahat ' ( first person singular 
masculine, mahan, i. e., ' big ' ) must have been given because 
Matter now begins to be enlarged, or on account of the 
importance of this quality. In as much as this quality of 
' mahan ' or Reason is the result of the admixture of the three 
constituent qualities of sattva, rajas, and tamas, this quality of 
Matter can later on take diverse formB, though apparently it is 
singular. Because, though the sattva, rajas and tamas con- 
stituents are apparently only three in number, yet, in as much 
as the mutual ratio of theEe three can be infinitely different 
in each mixture, the varieties of Reason which result from the 
infinitely different ratios of each constituent in each mixture 
can also be infinite. This Reason, which arises from imper- 
ceptible Matter, is also subtle like Matter. But although 
Reason is subtle like Matter, in the sense in which the words 
'perceptible', 'imperceptible', 'gross', and 'subtle' have been 
explained in the last chapter, yet it is not imperceptible like 
Matter, and one can acquire Knowledge of it. Therefore, this 
Reason falls into the category of things which are ' vyakta ' 
( i. e., perceptible to human beings ) ; and not only Reason, 
but all other subsequent evolutes (vikara) of Matter are also 
looked upon as perceptible in the Sarhkhya philosophy. There 
is no imperceptible principle other than fundamental Matter. 

Although perceptible Discerning Reason thus enters imper- 
ceptible Matter, it (Matter) still remains homogeneous. This 
homogeneity being broken up and heterogeneity being acquired 
is known as ' Individuation ' (prthaktva) as in the case of 
mercury falling on the ground and being broken up into small 
globules. Unless this individuality or heterogeneity comes 
into existence, after Reason has come into existence, it is 
impossible that numerous different objects should be formed 
out of one singular Matter. This individuality which 
subsequently arrives as a result of Reason is known as 
'Individuation' ( ahamkara), because, individuality is first 


expressed by the words ' I — you ', and saying ' I — you ' means 
' akamkara ', that is, saying 'aham' 'aham' ( T T ). This quality 
of Individuation which enters Matter may, if you like, be 
called a non-self-perceptible ( asvayamvedya ) Individuation, 
But the Individuation in man, and the Individuation by reason 
of which trees, stones, water, or other fundamental atoms 
spring out of homogeneous Matter are of the same kind; and 
the only difference is that as the stone is not self-conscious, it 
has not got the knowledge of ' aham ' ( 'I' ), and as it haB'not 
got a mouth, £t cannot by self -consciousness say ' I am 
different from you '. Otherwise, the elementary principle of 
remaining separate individually from others, that is, of con- 
sciousness or of Individuation is the same everywhere. This 
Individuation has also the other names of 'taijasa'/abhimSna', 
'bhutadi, and 'dhatu'. As Individuation is a sub-division of 
Reason it cannot come into existence, unless Reason has in the 
first instance come into existence. Samkhya philosophers havs, 
therefore, laid down that Individuation is the second quality, 
that is, the quality whioh comes into existenoe after Reason. It 
need not be said that there aTe infinite varieties of Individuation 
as in the case of Reason, as a result of the differences of the 
sattva, rajas and tamas constituents. The subsequent qualities are 
in the same way also of three infinite varieties. Nay, every- 
thing which existB in the perceptible world falls in the same 
way into infinite categories of suttvika, rajasa and tamasa ; and 
consistently with this proposition, the Gita has mentioned the 
three categories of qualities and the three categories of 
Devotion ( Gi. Chap. 14 & Chap. 17 ), ' • 

When Matter, which originally is in an equable state, 
acquires the perceptible faculties of Discerning Reason and 
Individuation, homogeneity is destroyed and it begins to be 
transformed into numerous objects. Yet, it does not lose its 
Bubtle nature, and we may say that the subtle Atoms of the 
Nyaya school now begin to come into existence. Because, before 
Individuation came into existence, Matter was unbroken and 
unorganised. Reason and Individuation by themselves are, 
strictly speaking, only faculties. But, on that account the above 
proposition is not to be understood as meaning that they exist 
independently of the substance of Matter. What is meant is t 


iksti w's&ii these f sralfes enis» fie faafamenial, haraBgeBeang, 
and naorgaaisee Master, iliSJt Mafoser Itetf a>Mpixas libe fonn 
of psrossptlblg, tetsnogsawtts, aod dgaaisai snSsianee. Wlieh 
fiHBj&aiaeiitsl Msfocr 'n&s thus aci^iteBd the fa®mitj of IsesosBiBg 
traasfcjin&d iofo vari&os digests "by Maans of IndiTidnaiioB, its 
further &vfcl«pir<eni falls irAo two categories. Ona of tiiessis 
the creation consisting of life itavfeg organs, sac a as trees, 
man etc., and its other is of the world consisting of 
nuMganfe'i} things. In this place the word "organs* is to Ik 
understood as mssaiiEg only " toe faculties of the organs of 
■organis&d beings '. Because, the .gross body of organised 
beings is included in the gross, that is, unorganised world, and 
their 5lman falls into the different category of ' Spirit '. 
Therefore, in dealing -with the organised world, Samkhya. 
philosophy leaves oat of consideration the Body and the 
Atinan, and considers only the organs. In as much as there 
can be no third substance in the world besides organic and 
inorganic substances, it goes without saying that Individuation 
■cannot give rise to more than two categories. As organic 
faculty is more powerful than inorganic substance, the organic 
world is called suttwka, that is, something which comes into 
existence as a result of the preponderance of the aittm 
constituent ; and the inorganic world is called tamoso, that is 
something which comes into existence as a result of the 
preponderance of the tamos constituent. In short, when the 
•faculty of Individuation begins to create diverse objects, there 
is sometimes a preponderance of the sattuka constituent, 
leading to the creation of the five organs of Perception, the five 
organs of Action, and the Mind, making in all the eleven 
fundamental organs of the organic world ; and at other times, 
there is a preponderance of the tarnas constituent, whereby the 
five fundamental Fine Elements (tanmalra) of the inorganic 
world come into existence. But in as much as Matter still 
continues to remain in a Bubtle form, these sixteen elements, 
which are a result of Individuation, are still subtle elements* 

* If I were to convey this import in the English language, I 
would say :- 

The Primeval matter ( Pralriti ) was at first liomogineotis. It 
retdvni (Budihi) to unfold itself, and by the principle of differentiation 


The Pine Elements (tanmatras) of sound, touch, colour, 
taste and smell— that is to say, the extremely subtle 
fundamental forms of each of these properties which do not 
mix with each other— are the fundamental elements of the 
inorganic creation, and the remaining eleven organs, including 
the Mind, are the seeds of the organic creation. The explana- 
tion given in the Samkhya philosophy as to why there aTe 
-only five of the first kind and only eleven of the second kind 
deserves consideration. Modern natural scientists have divided 
•the substances in the world into solid, liquid, and gaseous. 
But the principle of classification of substances according to 
■Sarhkhya philosophy is different. Samkhya philosophers say 
that man acquires the knowledge of all worldly objects by 
means of the five organs of Perception; and the peouliar 
■construction of these organs is such that any one organ 
perceives only one quality. As the eyes cannot smell, the 
■ears cannot see, the skin cannot distinguish between sweet 
and bitter, the tongue does not recognise sound, and the nose 
cannot distinguish between black and white. If the five 
organs of Perception and their five objects, namely, sound, 
touch, sight, taste, and smell, are in this way fixed, one cannot 
fix the number of the properties of matter at more than five. 
Because, even if we imagine that there are more than five such 
properties, we have no means to perceive them. Each of these 
five objects of sense can of course be sub-divided into many 
-divisions. For example, though sound is only one object of 
sense, yet, it is divided into numerous kinds of sound, such as 
small, large, harsh, hoarse, broken or sweet ; or, as described 
in the science of music, it may be the note B or E or C etc. ; 
•or according to grammar, it may be guttural, palatal, labial 
etc.; and similarly, though taste is in reality only one object 
■of sense, yet, it is also divided into many kinds such as, sweet, 
pungent, saltish, hot, bitter, astringent, acid etc ; and although 

(Ahajnkara) became heterogeneous. It then branched off into two 
sections-one organic (Sendriya) and the otter inorganic (Nirin&riya). 
There are eleven elements of the organic and five of the inorganio 
■creation. Punish" or the observer is different from all these and 
ialls under none of the above categories. , w 


colour is in reality only one object of sense, it is also divided: 
into diverse colours such as white, black, green, blue, yellow, 
red etc ; similarly even if sweetness is taken as a particular 
kind of taste, yet. the sweet tastes of sugarcane, milk, jaggery, 
or sugar are all different divisions of sweetness ; and if one- 
makes different mixtures of different qualities, this diversity- 
of qualities becomes infinite in an infinite number of ways. But,, 
whatever happens, the fundamental properties of substance can 
never be more than five ; because, the organs of Perception are only 
five in number and each of them perceives only one object of 
sense. Therefore, although wa oo not come across any.'object 
which is an object of sound only or of touch only, that is, in. 
which different properties are not mixed up, yet, according to- 
Sarhkhya philosophy, there must be fundamentally only 
five distinct subtle tanmatra modifications of fundamental. 
Matter, namely, merely sound, merely touch, merely colour,.. 
merely taste, and merely smell — that is, the fine sound element 
fiabriarfanmatra), the fine touch element (sparsa-tanmatra), the 
fine colour element (rupa-tanmatra), the fine taste element 
{rasa-tanmatra) and the fine smell element (gandha-tcmmatra), 
I have further on dealt with what the writers of the Upanisads- 
have to say regarding the five Fine Elements or the five 
primordial elements springing from them. 

If, after having thus considered the inorganic world and' 
come to the conclusion that it has only five subtle fundamental; 
elements, we next consider the organic world, we likewise come; 
to the conclusion that no one has got more than eleven- 
OTgans, namely, the five organs of Perception, the five organs 
of Action and the Mind. Although we see the organs of hands,, 
feet etc., only in their gross forms in the Gross Body, yet, the. 
diversity of the various organs cannot be explained, unless we 
admit the existence of some subtle element at the root of eachi 
of them. The western Materialistic theory of Evolution bas- 
gone into a considerable amount of discussion on this question. 
Modern biologists say that ■ the most minute fundamental' 
globular micro-organisms have only the organ of skin, and 
that from that skin other physical organs have come into' 
existence one by one. They say, for instance, that the eye 
came into existence as a result of the contact of light with the- 


skin of the original micro-organism ; and that, similarly, the 
other gross organs came into existence by the contact of light 
etc. This doctrine of Materialistic philosophers is to be 
found even in Sarhkhya philosophy. In the Mahabharata 
there is a description of the growth of the organs consistent 
with the tenets of Sarhkhya philosophy, as follows : — 

sabdaragut srotram asija jayate bhuoitutmanah. I 
ruparag'at tatha caksuh ghranam gandhajighrl-saya II 

( Ma. Bha. San. 313. 16 ). 

that is, "When the Atman in a living being gets the desire of 
hearing sound, the ears come into existence ; when it gets the 
desire of perceiving colour, the eyes are formed ; when it gets 
the desire of smelling, the nose is created". But the Sarhkhya 
philosophers say that though the skin may be the first thing- 
to come into existence, yet, how can any amount of contact of 
the Sun's rays with the skin of micro-organisms in the living 
world give rise to eyes— and that too in a particular portion of 
the body — unless fundamental Matter possesses an inherent 
possibility of different organs being created ? Darwin's theory 
only says that when one organism with eyes and another 
organism without eyes have been created, the former lives 
longer than the latter in the struggle for existence of the 
material world, and the latter is destroyed. But the Western 
Materialistic science of biology does not explain why in the 
first place the eyes and other physical organs at all come into 
existence. According to the Sarhkhya philosophy, these 
various organs do not grow one by one out of one fundamental 
organ, but when Matter begins to become heterogeneous as 
a result of the element of Individuation, such Individuation 
causes the eleven different faculties or qualities, namely, 
the five organs of Perception, the five organs of Action 
and the Mind, to come into existence in fundamental Matter, 
independently of each other and simultaneously (yugapaf) ; and 
thereby, later on, the organic world comes into existence. Out 
of these eleven organs, the Mind is dual, that is, it performs 


two different functions, according to tie difference in the 
organs with which it worts, as has been explained before it 
the sixth chapter : that ia to say, it is discriminating and 
classifying {jathkalpti-iihalpfitnyika) in co-operation with the 
organs of Perception and arranges tie various impressions 
experienced by tie various organs, end after classifying them. 
places them before Reason for dasision; and it is executive 
(ryaMranatmaliaj in co-operation with tie organs of Action, 
tlat is to say, it executes tie decisions, arrived at by Season 
with the help of tie organs of Action. In tie Upanisads, 
the organs themselves are given the name of 'Vital Force' 
( fjrana ); and the authors, of the Upankads (Mnnda S. 1 .3), 
like the Sarhkhya philosophers, are of the opinion tlat these 
vital forces are not the embodiment of tie five primordial 
elements, tat are individually born out of the Paramatman 
(Absolute Self). Tie number of these vital forces or organs 
is stated in the TJpanisads to be ssven in some places and to be 
ten, eleven, twelve, or thirteen in otter places; but Sri 
Samkaracarya has proved on the authority of the Vedanta- 
Sutras, that if an attempt is made to harmonise the various 
statements in the Upanisads, the number of these organs is 
fixed at eleven (Ve. Su. Sam. Bha. i. 4. 5, 6); and in the Gita 
it has been clearly stated that "indriyani dasaikam ca" (GS. 
13. 5), i. e., "the organs are ten plus one, or eleven". In 
short, there is no difference of opinion on this point between 
the Samkhya and the Vedanta philosophy. 

According to the Samkhya philosophy, after the eleven 
organic faculties or qualities, which are the basis of the organic 
world, and the five subtle elementary essences [fanmafras) 
which are the basis of the inorganic world have thus come into 
existence as a result of sattvilta and lamam Individuation 
respectively, the five gross primordial elements (which are also 
called 'n'seso'), as also gross inorganic substances, come into 
.existence out of the five fundamental subtle essences 
/fanmiK-Vas/; and when these inorganic substances, come into 
contact '-,witl the eleven subtle organs, the organic universe 
cames in H existence. 

The M^ er in whicl1 tte T *"ous Elements come out of 
fundamen g^*^tter according to Sarhkhya philosophy, and 


which has been so far described, will be clear from the 
genealogical tree given below : — 


SPIRIT -»( Both self-created and eternal )-s-MATTER. 
(Quality-less.) ( Imperceptible and Subtle ) 

(Synonyms ; jfia, (Possesses the sattea, rajas, and 

Observer etc.) tamas constituents) 

(Synonyms : pradhana. amjakta, inaya, 
praswm-dharmim etc.) 

( Perceptible and Subtle ) 
Synonyms : usuri, mati, jnuna, khyati, (etc.) 

AHAMKARA (Individuation) 

(Perceptible and Subtle) 

( Synonyms : abhimana, taijasa, etc. ) 

(i.e., Perceptible & Subtle organs) (i.e., Inorganic world) 


C3 CD 



m ft 

ED q> 


Five or- Five or- MIND. (Subtle) 

gans gans | 

of of Five PRIMORDIAL 


TION. or 

VISES AS (Gross). 

There are thus twenty-five elementary principles, counting the 
five gross primordial elements and Spirit. Out of these, the 
twenty-three elements including and after Mahan (Reason), 
are the evolutes (vikaras) of fundamental Matter. But even 
then, the subtle Tanmatras and the five gross primordial 
elements are substantial {clravyatmaka ) evolutes and 
Reason. Individuation, and the organs are merely faculties 
or qualities. The further distinction is that whereas these 


twenty-three elements aie perceptible, fundamental Matter 
is imperceptible. Out of these twenty-three elements, Cardinal 
Directions (east, west etc.,) and Time aie included by Samkhya 
philosophers in Ether (akaia), and instead of looking upon 
Vital Force ( prima ) as independent, they give the name of 
Vital Force to the various activities of the organs, when these 
activities have once started (Sam. Ka. 29). But this opinion 
is not accepted by Vedantists, who consider Vital Force as an 
independent element (Ve. Su. 2. 49). Similarly, as has been 
stated before, Vedantists do not look upon either Matter or 
Spirit as self-created and independent, but consider them to 
be two modifications (vibhuti) of one and the same Paramesvara. 
Except for this difference between the Samkhyas and the 
Vedantists, the other ideas about the order of creation of the 
Cosmos are common to both. For instance, the following 
description of the Brahmavrksa or Brahmavana, which has 
occurred twice in the Anugita in the Mahabharata (Ma. Bha. 
Asva. 35. 20-23 and 47. 12-15) is in accordance with the 
principles of Samkhya philosophy :- 

avyahtdlnjapmbhai'o buddhiskmidhamayo mahan 1 

mahahay'iikaravitapah indriyantarakotarah U 

mahabhutaviscikhas ca visesapralisakhatxin I 

sadaparvah sadupuspah subhasubhaphalodayah n 

ujlnjah sitrvahhutaiium brahmairksah sanatamh I 

enam chitfva ca bhittm ca tattvajhanusina budhah 11 

hifhu sniigamuyan pusan mrtyujamnajarodayan 1 

nirmamo mraha'iikaro maajate mtra sandayah II 

that is : " the Imperceptible (Matter) is its seed, Reason ( mahan ) 
is its trunk, Individuation ( ahamkara ) is its principal foliage, 
the Mind and the ten organs are the hollows inside the trunk, 
the (subtle) primordial elements (the five tanmatms ) are its 


five large branches, and the Visssas or the five Gross primordial 
elements are its sub-branches, and it is always covered by 
leaves, flowers, and auspicious or inauspicious fruit, and is 
i;he fundamental support of all living things; such is the 
ancient gigantic Brahmavrksa. By cutting it with the phi- 
losophical sword and chopping it up into bits, a scient should 
destroy the bonds of Attachment (samga) which cause life, old 
age, and death, and should abandon the feeling of mine-ness 
and individuality; in this way alone can he be released". 
In short, this Brahmavrksa is nothing but the ' dance of 
•creation' or the 'diffusion' of Matter or of Illusion. The 
practice of referring to it as a ' tree ' is very ancient and dates 
from the time of the Rgveda, and it has been called by the 
name ' the ancient Pipal Tree ' (sanatana asvatthavrlcsa) in the 
Upanisads (Katha. 6. 1). But there, that is, in the Vedas, 
■the root of this tree (Parabrahman) is stated to be above and 
the branches ( the development of the visible world ) to be 
below. That the description of the Pipal tree in the Grita has 
been made by harmonising the principles of Samkhya philoso- 
phy with the Vedic description has been made clear in my 
commentary on the 1st and 2nd stanzas of the 15th chapter of 
the Gita. 

As the Samkhyas and the Vedantists classify in different 
ways the twenty-five elements described above in the form 
■of a tree, it is necessary to give here some explanation about 
this classification. According to the Samkhyas, these 
twenty-five elements fall into the four divisions of (i) 
fundamental prakrti, (ii) pr-ak-rti-vilcrti, (iii) vikrti and 
{iv) neither prakrti nor vikrti. (1) As Prakrti is not created 
from anything else, it is called fundamental prakrti (Matter). 
(2) When you leave this fundamental Matter and come to the 
second stage, you come to the element Mahan. As Mahan 
springs from Prakrti, it is said to be a vikrti or an evolute 
of fundamental Matter; and as later on, Individuation comes 
•out of the Mahan element, this Mahan is the prakrti or root 
of Individuation. In this way this Mahan (Reason) becomeB 
tike prakrti or root of Individuation on the one hand, and the 
rikrti. (evolute) of the fundamental Prakrti (Matter) on the 
other hand. Therefore, Samkhya philosophers have classified 


it under the heading of ' prakrti-vikrti ' ; and in the same way 
Individuation ( ahamkara ), and the five Tanmatras are also 
classified under the heading of ' prakrti-vikrti '. That element 
which, being itself horn out of some other element, i. e., being 
a vikrti, is at the same time the parent ( prakrti ) of the 
subsequent element is called a ' prakrti-vikrti '. Ma hat (Reason} 
Individuation, and the five Tanmatras, in all seven, are of this 
kind. (3) But the five organs of Perception, the five organs 
of Action, the Mind, and the five Gross primordial elements, 
which are in all sixteen, give birth to no further elements. 
On the other hand, they themselves are born out of some 
element or other. Therefore, these sixteen elements are not 
called 'prakrti-vikrti', but are called 'vikrti' (evolutes). 
(4) The Spirit (Purusa) is neither prakrti nor vikrti; it is an 
independent and apathetic observer. This classification has 
been made by lavarakrsna, who has explained it as follows :- 

mulaprakrtir avikrtih maliadaduah prakrlidkrtayah sapta I 
sodasakastu vikaro na prakrtir m viktrtih pumsah H 

that is: "The fundamental Prakrti is ' a-vikrli ', that is, it is 
the vikara ( evolute ) of no other substance ; Mahat and the 
others, in all seven — Mahat, Ahamkara and tbe five Tanmatras 
are prakrti-vikrti ■ and the eleven organs, including the Mind, 
and the five gross primordial elements, making in all sixteen, 
are called merely vikrti or vikara ( evolutes ). The Purusa 
(Spirit) is neither a prakrti nor a vikrti" (Sam. Ka. 3). And these 
twenty-five elements are again classified into the three classes 
of Imperceptible, Perceptible and Jna. Out of these, funda- 
mental Matter is imperceptible, the twenty-three elements, 
which have sprung from Matter are perceptible, and the Spirit 
is'Jfia'. Such is the classification according to Sarhkhya 
philosophy, In the Puranas, the Smrtis, the Mahabharata 
and other treatises relating to Vedic philosophy, these same 
twenty-five elements are generally mentioned (See Maitryu. 
6. 10: Manu 1, 14, 15). But in the Upanisads, it is stated that 
all these are created out of the Parabrahman, and there is no 
further discussion or classification. One comes across such 


classification in treatises later than the Upanisads, but it is 
different from the Samkhya classification mentioned above* 
The total number of elements is twenty-five. As sixteen 
elements out of these are admittedly Vikrtis, that it, as they 
are looked upon as created from other elements, even according 
to Samkhya philosophy, they are not classified in these treatises- 
as prakrti or fundamental substances. That leaves nine 
elements :-(l) Spirit, (2) Matter, (3-9) Mahat, Ahamkara and 
the five subtle elements (Tanmatras). The Samkhyas call 
the last seven, after Spirit and Matter, 'prakrli-vikrW. But 
according to Vedanta philosophy, Matter is not looked upon. 
as independent. According to their doctrine, both Spirit and 
and Matter come out of one Paramesvara (Absolute Isvara). 
If this proposition is accepted, the distinction made by Samkhya 
philosophers between fundamental Prakrti and prakrH-vikrti 
comes to an end ; because, as Prakrti itself is looked upon as 
having sprung from the Paramesvara, it cannot be called the 
Root, and it falls into the category of 'prakrU^vikrli'. There- 
fore, in describing the creation of the Cosmos, Vedanta philoso- 
phers say that from the Paramesvara there spring on the one 
hand the Jlva (Soul), and on the other hand, eight-fold Prakrti 
(i. e., Prakrti and seven prakrti-vihrtis, such as Mahat etc.,) 
(Ma. Bha. San. 306. 29, and 310. 10). That is to say, according 
to Vedanta philosophers, keeping aside sixteen elements out 
of twenty-five, the remaining nine fall into the two classes of 
' Jiva ' (Soul) and the ' eight-fold Prakrti '. This classification 
of Vedanta philosophers has been accepted in the Bhagavad- 
gita; but therein also, a small distinction is ultimately made. 
What the Samkhyas called ' Purusa ' is called ' Jlva ' by the 
Glta, and the Jlva is described as being the ' pam-prakrti' or 
the most sublime form of the Isvara, and that which the 
Samkhyas call the 'fundamental Prakrti' is referred to in. 
the Gita as the ' apara ' or inferior form of the Paramesvara 
(G-I. 7, 4, 5.). When in this way, two main divisions have been 
made, then, in giving the further sub-divisions or kinds of the 
second main division, namely, of the inferior form of the 
Isvara, it becomes necessary to mention the other elements 
which have sprung from thiH inferior form, in addition to that 
inferior form. Because, the inferior form (that is, the funda- 


mental Prakrti of Samkhya philosophy) cannot be a kind or 
sub-division of itself. For instance, when you have to say 
how many children a father has, you cannot include the father 
in the counting of the children. Therefore, in enumerating 
the sub-divisions of the inferior form of the Paramesvara, 
one has to exclude the fundamental Prakrti from the eight-fold 
Prakrti mentioned by the Vedantists, and to say that the 
remaining seven, that is to say, Mahan, Aharhkara, and the 
five Fine Elements are the only kinds or sub-divisions of the 
fundamental Prakrti; but if one does this, one will have to say 
that the inferior form of the Paramesvara, that is, fundamental 
Prakrti is of seven kinds, whereas, as mentioned above, Prakrti 
is of eight kinds according to the Vedantists. Thus, the 
Vedantists will say that Prakrti is of eight kinds, and the Gita 
will say that Prakrti is of seven kinds, and an apparent conflict 
will come into existence between the two doctrines. The 
author of the Gita, however, considered it advisable not to 
create such a conflict, but to be consistent with the description 
of Prakrti as ' eight-fold '. Therefore, the Gita has added the 
eighth element, namely, Mind, to the seven, namely Mahan, 
Aharhkara, and the five Fine Elements, and has stated that 
the inferior form of the Paramesvara is of eight kinds (Gl. 7. 5). 
But, the ten organs are included in the Mind, and the five 
primordial elements are included in the five Fine Elements. 
Therefore, although the classification of the Gita, may seem 
different from both the Samkhya and the Vedantic classifi- 
cation, the total number of the elements is not, on that 
account, either increased or decreased. The elements are 
everywhere twenty-five. Yet, in order that confusion should 
not arise as a result of this' difference in classification, I have 
shown below these three methods of classification in the form 
of a tabular statement. In the thirteenth chapter of the 
Gita (13. 5), the twenty-five elements of the Samkhyas are 
enumerated one by one, just as they are, without troubling to 
classify them; and that shows that though the classification 
may be different, the total number of the elements is every- 
where the same :- 



of the twenty-five 



1. Neither pra- 
krti nor 

•1. Fundam e n- 
td,l prakrti. 

7. Prakrii-vi 

16. Vikaras. 




1 Mahan. 
1 A h a m - 

5 T a, n - 


5 Org a n s 
of Perce- 
of Action 
Primor - 
dial Ele- 

K 3 



(1) (1) 

The superior para Prakrti, 
form of Para- 

The infer i o r 
form of Para- 




These sixteen 
Elements are 
not looked 
upon as Fun- 
da mental 
Elements by 
as they are 
vikaras) ( evo- 


J 1 ' 
apara Prakrti. 


These are eight 


of the 

apara Prakrti. 

These fifteen 
Elements are 
not looked 
upon as Fun- 
d amenta 1 
Elements by 
the Gita, as 
they are 
vikaras ( evo- 


I have thus concluded the description of how the homo- 
geneous, inorganic, imperceptible, and gross Matter, which 
was fundamentally equable, acquires organic heterogeneity 
as a result of Individuation after it has become inspired by the 
non-self-perceptible 'Desire' (buddhi) of creating the \!;ible 
universe, and also how, later on, as a result of the principle 
of the Development of Constituents (gui\apari\mma), namely 


that, "'Qualities spring out of qualities " ( gurui gunesu jayante}, 
the eleven sattuika subtle elements, which are the fundamental 
elements of the organic world come into existence on the 
one hand, and the five subtle Fine Elements ( tanmatras ), 
which are the fundamental elements of the tcimasa world come 
into existence on the other hand. I must now explain in what 
order the subsequent creation, namely, the five gross primordial 
elements, or the other gross material substances which spring 
from them, have come into existence. Saihkhya philosophy 
only tells us that the five gross primordial elements or Visesas 
have come out of the five Fine Elements, as a result of guya- 
■parimma. But, as this matter has been more fully dealt with 
in Vedanta philosophy, I shall also, as the occasion has 
arisen, deal with that subject-matter, but after warning my 
readers that this is part of Vedanta philosophy and not of 
Saihkhya philosophy. Gross earth, water, brilliance, air and 
the ether are calhd the five primordial elements or Visesas. 
Their order of creation has been thus described in the 
Taittirtyopaaisad :-"«/(« wifc tilcasuh sambhniah\ ak'iiad vayuhy 
vayor ayiuh I ayner apah i adblu/ah prtldvi I prtluoyu osadhayah I " 
etc. (Tai. U. 2. 1). From the Paramatman, (not from the funda- 
mental Gross Matter as the Sarhkhyas say), ether was first 
created; from ether, the air; from the air, the fire; from the fire, 
water; and from water, later on, the earth has come into being. 
The Taittiriyopanisad does not give the reason for this order. 
But in the later Vedanta treatises, the explanation of this 
order of creation of the five primordial elements seems to be 
based on the gimapariiidnvi principle of the Samkhya system. 
These later Vedanta writers say that by the law of " guna 
guveaa mrlaiite" (qualities spring out of qualities), a substance 
having only one quality first conies into existence, and from 
that substance other substanoes having two qualities, three 
qualities etc., subsequently come into existence. As ether 
out of the five primordial elements has principally the quality 
of sound only, it came into existence first. Then came into 
existence the air, because, the air has two qualities, namely, of 
sound and touch. Not only do we hear the sound of air, but 
we feel it by means of our organ of touch. Fire comes after 
the air, because, besides the qualities of sound and touch, it 


has also the third quality of colour. As water has, in addition to- 
these three qualities, the quality of taste also, water must 
have come into existence after fire; and as the earth possesses 
the additional quality of smell besides these four qualities,, 
we arrive at the proposition that the earth must have sprung' 
later on out of water. Yaska has propounded this very 
doctrine (Nirukta 14. 4). The Taittiriyopanisad contains the 
further description that when the five gross primordial elements 
had come into existence in this order, "prthivya osadliayah I 
osadkibhyo'nnam\ annat pumsah\" (Tai. 2. 1), i. e., "from the. 
earth have grown vegetables; from the vegetables, food; and 
from food, man. This subsequent creation is the result of the 
mixture of the Ave primordial elements, and the process of that 
mixture is called ' paHci-Icararia' in the Vedanta treatises. 
Paficl-karana means the coming into existence of a new 
substance by the mixture of different qualities of each of the 
five primordial elements. This union of five {panclkaranaY 
can necessarily take place in an indefinite number of ways. 

In the ninth dasaka (collection of ten verses each) of the- 
Dasabodlw, it is stated : 

By mixing black and white I we get the grey colour I 
By mixing black and yellow I we get the green colour II 

(9. 6. 40) 
And in the 13th dasaka, it is stated as follows :- 

In the womb of that earth I 
there is a collection of an infinite number of seeds m 

When water gets mixed with the earth I 
sprouts come out II 

Creepers of variegated colours I 
with waving leaves and flowers are next born H 

After that come into existence l 
fruits of various tastes II 

The earth and water are the root I 
of all oviparous, viviparous, steam-engendered, 
and vegetable life !!■ 


Such is the wonder I 
of the creation of the universe (I 

There are four classes and four modes of voice l 
eighty-four lakhs * of species of living beings II 

Have come into existence in the three worlds I 
which is the Cosmic Body " II 

(Dasabodha 13. 3. 10-15). 

This description in the Dasabodha given by Samartha Itamadasa 
is based on this idea. Bnt it must not be forgotten that by the 
union of five ( pandkaram ) only gross objects or gross bodies 
come into existence, and this gross body must become united 
first with subtle organs and next with the Atman or the Spirit 
before it becomes a living body. 

I must also make it clear here that this union of five, 
which has been described in the later Vedanta works, is not to 
he found in the ancient TJpanisads. In the Chandogy opanisad, 
these Tanmatras or primordial elements are not considered to 
be five; but brilliance, water and food (earth) are the only three 
which are considered as subtle fundamental elements, and the 
ientire diverse universe is said to have come into existence by the 

* This idea of 84 lakhs of births is irom the Puranas, and it 
is quite dear that it is only approximate. Nevertheless, it is not 
totally without foundation. Western natural scientists believe, 
according to the Theory of Evolution, that the human being has 
«ome into existence by evolution from one Bubtle micro-organism 
in the form of a living nodule at the beginning of the universe. 
From this idea, it becomes quite clear how many generations of 
each sub.-equent specieB (yoni/ must have come into existence and 
passed away in Older that this subtle nodule should have become 
a. groBB nodule, and that this gtoss nodule should in ita tain have 
been transformed into a living bacillus and this bacillus been evolved 
into the next subsequent Jiving organism. From this an English 
biologist has worked out a calculation, that for the smallest fish in 
water to develop its qualities and ultimately assume the form 
of a human being, there must have been at least 53 lakhs and 75 
thousand generations of intermediate species and that the number 
of these generations may as well be ten times as much. These are 


mixture of these three, that is, by 'trivrtkarana' ; and it is stated 
in the Svetasvataropanisad that: "ajam ekvah lohitasuklahTsnam 
bahvih prajak STJanianam sarupah" ( Sveta. 4. 5 ), i. e., "this 
she-goat (aja) is red, or of the nature of fire ; and white, or of the 
nature of water; and black, or of the nature of earth ; and is thus 
made of three elements of three colours, and from it all creation 
I praju) embodied in Name and Form has been created. In the 
6th chapter of the Chandogyopanisad has been given the 
conversation between Svetaketu and his father. In it, the 
father of Svetaketu clearly tells him : "O, my son I in the 
commencement of the world, there was nothing except 'elcam 
evadvitlyain sat' (single and unseconded sat), that is to say, 
nothing else except one homogeneous and eternal Parabrahman. 
How can 'sat' (something which exists) come into existence 
out of 'asat' (something which does not exist) ? Therefore, in 
the beginning sat pervaded everything. Then that sat 
conceived the desire of becoming multifarious, that is, 
heterogeneous, and from it grew one by one, brilliance ftejas) 
water (upa) and food (prihvi) in their subtle forms. Then, after 
the Parabrahman had entered these three elements in the form 

the species ranging from the small aquatic animals upto the human 
being If, to this are added the number of minute aquatio 
organisms lower down in the scale of life, it is impossible to ascer- 
tain how many more lakhs of generations will have to be counted. 
Prom this it will be clear to what extent the idea of these genera- 
tions in the purana of Materlialistic scientists has exceeded the idea 
of $1 lakhs of species in our Puranas. The same law applies to the 
calculation of limt. Geo-biologiats say that it is impossible to form 
even a rough idea of the date when living micro-organisms first 
camo into existence on the earth, and that aquatic micro- 
organisms nust have come into exi»tence crores of years ago. If 
further concise information is required about this matter, ttie reader 
is referred to The Last Link by Ernst Haeckel, witb notes etc. by 
Dr. Id. Gadow (1^98). The above particulars have been taken from 
the appendices. The 84 lakhs of generations mentioned in the 
Puraoas are to be counted as follows: — 9 V U* for aquatic 
animals, 10 lakhs for birds, 11 lakhs for germs, 20 lak'is for beasts,. 
30 lakhs for immoveable things and 4 lakhs for mmkiud (Pee 
Dasabodha 20. 6 I. 


-of Life, all the various things in the universe which are 
identified hy Name and Form oa me into existence as a result 

■ of the union of those three f trivrtkarana). The red (lohita) 

■ colour, which is to be found in the gross fire or the Sun or in 
electricity, is the result of the subtle fundamental element of 
brilliance ; the white (sukla) colour, of the fundamental subtle 

■■ element of water ; and the black (krsna) colour, of the funda- 
mental subtle element of earth. In the same way, subtle fire, 

. subtle water, and subtle food (prthvl) are the three fundamental 
elements which are contained even in the food which man eats. 
Just as butter comes to the surface when you churn curds, so 

' when this food, made up of the three subtle elements enters the 

■ stomach, the element of brilliance in it, creates gross, medium 
. and subtle products in the shape of bones, marrow and speech 
. respectively ; and similarly, the element of water (apaj creates 
: urine, blood and Vital Force ; and the element of earth (prthvi) 
. creates the three susbstances, excrement, flesh and mind" (Chan. 

■ 6. 2-6). This system of the Chandogyopanisad of not taking 
the primordial elements as five, but as only three, and of 
explaining the creation of all visible things by the union of 
these three substances ( trivrtkarana ) has been mentioned in 
^the Vedanta-Sutras (2. 4. 20), and Badarayanacarya does not 

even mention the word 'Pancikarana'. Nevertheless, in the 
'Taittirlya (2. 1), Prasna (4._ 8), Brhadaranyaka (4. 4. 5) and 
other Upanisads, and in the Svetasvatara itself (2. 12) and in 
the Vedanta-Sutras (2. 3. 1-14) and lastly in the Gita (7. 4; 13. 5), 
five primordial elements are mentioned instead of three ; and 
in the Garbhopanisad, the human body is in the very beginning 
stated to be 'pancatmaka', that is, made up of five; and the 
Mahabharata and the _ Puranas give clear descriptions of 
Pancikarana (Ma. Bha. San. 184-186). From this it becomes 
. quite clear, that the idea of the 'union of five' (pancikaraya) 
becomes ultimately acceptable to all Vedanta philosophers and 
that although the 'union of three' ( trimtkamva ) may have been 
ancient, yet, after the primordial elements came to be believed 
to be five instead of three, the idea of Pancikarana was based 
on the same sample as the Trivrtkarana, and the theory of 
Trivrtkarana went out of vogue. Not only is the human body 
formed of the five primordial elements, but the meaning of the 


word Pafiwkarana has been extended to imply that each one of 
these five is divided in five different ways in the body. For 
instance, the quinary of akin, flesh, bone, marrow, and muscles 
grows out of earth etc. etc. ( Ma. Bha. San. 186. 20-25; and 
Dasabodha 17. 8). This idea also seems to have been inspired 
by the description of Trivrtkarana in the Chardogyopanisad 
mentioned above. There also, there is a statement at the end 
that brilliance, water, and earth are each to be found in three 
different forms in the human body. 

The explanation of how the numerous inactive (acetana), 
ithat is to say, lifeless or gross objacts in the world, which can 
ba distinguished by Name and Form, came into existence out 
■of the fundamental imperceptible Matter — or according to the 
Vedanta theory, from the Parabrahman — is now over. I shall 
now consider what more the Sarhkhya philosophy tells us 
about the creation of the saccfain (that is, active) beings in 
the world, and later on, see how far that can be harmonised 
with the Vedanta doctrines. The body of living beings comeB 
into existence when the five gross primordial elements sprung 
from the fundamental Matter are united with the subtle organs. 
But though this body is organic, it is still gross. The element 
which activates these organs is distinct from Gross Matter 
rand it is known as Spirit ( purusa ). I have, in the previous 
'chapter, mentioned the various doctrines of the Sarhkhya 
philosophy that this Spirit is fundamentally inactive, that 
the living world bagins to come into existence when 
this Spirit is united with fundamental Matter, and that 
'when the Spirit acquires the knowledge that "I am 
-different from Matter", its union with Matter is dissolved, 
failing which it has to peregrinate in the cycle of birth 
and death. But as I have not, in that ohapter, explained 
how the Atman — or according to Samkhya terminology, 
the Purusa — of the person, who dies without having realised 
that the Atman is different from Matter, gets one birth 
.after another, it is necessary now to consider that question 
more in detail. It is quite clear that the Atman of the man 
who dies without having acquired Self-Realisation does not 
escape entirely from the meshes of Matter ; because, if such 
were the case, one will have to say with CarvSka, that every 


man escapes from the tentacles of Matter or attains Release- 
immediately after death ; and Self -Realisation or the difference 
between sin and virtue will lose its importance. Likewise, if 
you say that after death, the Atman or the Spirit alone survives, 
and that it, of its own accord, performs the action of taking 
new births, then the fundamental theorem that Spirit is inactive 
and apathetic, and that all the activity is of Matter iB 
contradicted. Besides, by acknowledging that the Atman takes 
new births of its own accord, you admit that to be its property > 
and fall into the impossible position that it will never escape 
from the cycle of birth and death. It, therefore, follows that 
though a man may have died without having acquired Self- 
Realisation, his Atman must remain united with Matter, in 
order that Matter should give it new births. Nevertheless, 
as the Gross Body is destroyed after death, it is quite clear that 
this union cannot continue to be with Matter composed of the 
five gross primordial elements. But it is not that Matter- 
consists only of the five gross primordial elements. There are 
in all twenty-three elements which arise out of Matter, and the 
five gross primordial elements are the last five out of them. 
When these last five elements (the five primordial elements) are 
subtracted from the twenty-three, eighteen elements remain, 
It, therefore, follows as a natural conclusion that though a 
man, who dies without having acquired Self-Realisation 
escapes from the Gross Body made up of the five gross primordial 
elements, that is to say, from the last five elements, yet, his 
death does not absolve him from his union with the remaining 
eighteen elements arising out of Matter. Reason (Mahan) Indi- 
viduation, Mind, the ten organs, and the five Fine Elements are 
these eighteen elements. (See the Geneological tree of the Cosmos 
given at page 243). All these elements are subtle. Therefore, 
that Body which is formed as a result of the continued union 
of Spirit ( puruxa ) with them is called the 'Subtle Body', or the 
'Linga-sarlra' as the opposite of the Gross Body or 'Sthula- 
sarira' (Sam. Ka. 40). If any person dies without having 
acquired Self -Realisation, this his Subtle Body, made up of the 
eighteen elements of Matter, leaves his Gross Body on his 
death along with the Atman, and compels him to take birth 
after birth. To this, an objection is raised by some persons to- 


the following effect : when a man dies, one can actually see 
that the activities of Reason, Individuation, Mind, and the ten 
organs come to an end in his Gross Body along with life ; 
therefore, these thirteen elements may rightly be included in the 
Subtle Body ; but there is no reason for including the five Fine 
Elements in the Subtle Body along with these thirteen elements. 
To this the reply of the Sariikhya philosophers is, that the 
thirteen elements, pure Reason, pure Individuation, the Mind 
and the ten organs are only qualities of Matter, and in the 
same way as a shadow requires the support of some substance 
or other, or as a picture requires the support of the wall or of 
paper, so also must these thirteen elements, which are only 
qualities, have the support of some substance in order that they 
should stick together. Out of these, the Atman (purusa), 
being itself qualityless and inactive, cannot by itself become 
the support for any quality. When the man is alive, the five 
gross primordial elements in his body form the support for 
these thirteen elements. But after his death, that is, after the 
destruction of the Gross Body, this support in the shape of the 
five primordial elements ceases to exist. Therefore, these 
thirteen elements, which are qualities, have to look for some 
other substance as a support. If you say that they can get the 
support of fundamental Matter, then, that is imperceptible and 
in an unevolved condition, that is to say, eternal and all-perva- 
sive ; and therefore, it cannot become the support of qualities like 
Reason etc., which go to form one small Subtle Body. There- 
fore, the five Pine Elements, which are the bases af the five gross 
primordial elements, have to be included in the Subtle Body side 
by side with the thirteen qualities, as a support for them in the 
place of the five gross primordial elements which are the 
evolutes of fundamental Matter (Sam Ka. 41). Some writers 
belonging to the Sariikhya school imagine the existence of a 
third body, composed of the five Fine Elements, intermediate 
between the Subtle Body and the Gross Body, and maintain 
ithat this third body is the support for the Subtle Body. But 
that is not the correct interpretation of the forty-first couplet • 
of the Sariikhya Karika, and in my opinion these commentators 
have imagined such a third, body merely by confusion of 
thought. In my opinion this couplet has no use beyond 


explaining why the five Fine Elements have to be included 
in the Subtle Body along with the thirteen other elements, 
namely, Reason etc *. 

Anybody can see after a little thought, that there is not 
much of a difference between the Subtle Body made up of 
eighteen elements described in the Samkhya philosophy and 
the Subtle Body described in the Upanisads. It is stated in 
the Brhadaranyakopanisad that: "just as a leech (jalayuka) 
having reached the end of a blade of grass, places the anterior 
part of its body on the next blade (by its anterior feet), and 
then draws up the posterior part, which was placed on the 
former blade of grass, in the same way, the Atman leaves one 
body and enters the other body " (Br. 4. 4. 3). But from this 
single illustration, the two inferences that (i) only the Atman 
■enters another body and that (ii) it does so immediately 
after leaving the first body, do not follow. Because, in 
■the Brhadaranyakopanisad itself, there is another statement 
further on (Br. 4. 4. 5), that the five subtle elements, the Mind, 
the organs, Vital Force and a man's righteous or unrighteous 
record, all leave the body along with the Atman, which goes 
according to its mundane Actions to different spheres, where 
it remains for sometime. (Br. 6. 2. 14 and 15). In the same 
way, it becomes quite clear from the description of the course 

* It can be aeen from a versa in the book of Bhatta Kumarila 
known aB MlmatiisaJloka-vuHika (Atma-vada, stanza 6'2), that he 
interprets this couplet in the same way as myself. That verse is as 
follows : — 

ant&rTtbhavadeho hi nesyate vindhyavasitia I 
tadastitve pramanam hi na Mmcid avagamyate l| 62 || 
that is, "Vindhyavasin did not accept the existence of an antarabhava, 
that IB to say, of a 'deha' or Body which is intermediate between the 
Subtle Body and the Gross Body. There is no authority for saying 
that there is such an intermediate body". Isvarakrsna, used to live 
in the Vindhya mountains; that is why he was known as 
* Vindhyavasin'. The antarabham (intermediate) Body is also known 
as ' gandharva'. (See Amarakosa 3. 3. 182, and the commentary on 
it by Ksirasvami, published by Mr, KrlBhnaji Govind Oak and p. 8 
«f the introduction to that work. ) 


followed by Jiva along with the fundamental element of water 
<(apa) in the Chandogyopanisad (Chan. 5. 3. 3; 5. 9. 1) as also from 
■fche interpretation put thereon in the Vedanta-Sutras (Ve. 
Su. 3. 1. 1-7) that the Chandogyopanisad included the three 
fundamental elements, viz., water (apa) and along with it 
brilliance (tejas) and food (anna) in the Subtle Body. In 
short, it will be seen that when one adds Vital Force and 
' dharmadharma' (i. e. righteous and unrighteous actions) or 
Karma to .the Samkhya Subtle Body of eighteen elements, one 
.gets the Vedantic Subtle Body. But in as much as Vital 
Force ( pi-ana) is included in the inherent tendencies of the 
■eleven organs, and righteous and unrighteous action (dharm- 
adharma) are included in the activities of Reason and Mind, one 
may say that this difference is merely verbal, and that there 
is no real dfferenee of opinion about the components of the 
Subtle Body between the Vedanta and the Samkhya philosophies. 
It is for this reason that the description of the Subtle Body 
According to the Sarhkhyas as "mahadadi stiksmaparyantam" 
!has been repeated, as it is, in the words "maliadadyavisesantam,' 
;in the Maitryupanisad (Mai. 6. 10). * In the Bhagavadgita, 
the Subtle Body is described as consisting of "manah- 
■gasthanindriyanT (Gi. 15. 7), that is, of "the mind and the five 
organs of Perception" ; and further on there is a description 
that life, in leaving the Gross Body, takes with itself this 
Subtle Body in the same way as the breeze carries scent from 
the flowers : "vai/ur gaiidhan ivasayut" (GI. 15. 8). Nevertheless 
in as much as the metaphysical knowledge in the Gita, has 
been borrowed from the Upanisads, one must say that the 

* In the copy of the llaitryupanisad included in the 
Auandashrama Edition of Dvatrimsadupanisad (thirty-two Upanisads), 
'the reading of the hymn referred to above has been given as: 
" mahaiadyamvisesaniam" , and the same has been accepted by the 
■commentators. If this reading is accepted then the 'Mahat' element 
"which is at the beginning of the list has to be included in the Subtle 
Body and the ' Visesas ' or five primordial elements, indicated by the 
words 'visesantam' t have to be left out. That is to say, you have to 
interpret it as meaning that the 'mahat' out of "mahadadyam" 
ihaB to be taken, and the ' viieja ' oat of ' vise$anlam ' has to be left out. 
But, where the beginning and the end are both mentioned, it is 


Blessed Lord has intended to include the five organs of Action,, 
the five Fine Elements, Vital Force, and sin and virtue, in the- 
words "the six organs including the mind". There is a state- 
ment also in the Manu-Smrti that after a man dies, he 
acquires a Suhtle Body made up of the five Fine Elements in. 
order to suffer the consequences of his virtuous or evil actions 
(Manu. 12. 16, 17). The words "vayur gamlhan ivasayai" in the 
Gita, prove only that this body must be subtle ; but they do not 
convey any idea as to the size of that body. But from the 
statement in the Savitryupakhyana in the Mahabharata 
(Ma. Bha. Vana. 296. 16), that Yama took out a Spirit as. 
large as a thumb from the (gross) body of Satyavana — - 
" amgiistlvimStram purusam mscakarsa yamo balat " — it is clear 
that this Subtle Body was in those days, at least for 
purposes of illustration, taken to be as big as a thumb. 

I have so far considered what inferences lead one to the- 
conclusion that the Subtle Body exists, though it might be 
invisible to the eyes, as ako what the component parts of that. 
Subtle Body are. But it is not enough to merely say that the 
Subtle Body is formed by the combination of eighteen elements- 
excluding fundamental Matter and 14ie five gross primordial- 
elements. There is no doubt that wherever this Suhtle Body 
exists, this combination of eighteen elements will,;according to 
its inherent qualities, create gross parts of the body, like hands 
and feet or gross organs, whether out of the gros& 
bodies of parents, or later on, out of the food in the gross- 
material world ; and that it will maintain such a body. But,, 
it remains to be explained why this Subtle Body, made up by 
the combination of eighteen elements, creates different bodies, 

right to take both or to omit both. Therefore, according to Prof. 
Deusaen, the nasal ' m ' at the end of the word ' mahadadyam ' should 
be omitted and tbe hymn should be read as '' mahidadyn vihsantam" 
(mahadadi+ avisefantam). If that is done, the word Wseja' comes into- 
existence, and the same rule becoming applicable to the ' mahnt '' 
and to the 'cmi&esa.', that is, both to the beginning and the end, 
both get included in the Liilga sarira. This is the peculiarity of 
this reading; but, it must be borne in mind, that whichever reading- 
is accepted, there is no difference in the meaning. 


such as, animals, birds, men etc. The elements of conscious- 
ness in the living world are called 'Purusa' by the Samkhyas, 
and according to them, though these 'Purusas' are in- 
numerable, yet, in as much as each Purusa is inherently 
apathetic and inactive, the responsibility of creating different 
bodies, such as, birds, beasts etc. cannot rest with the Purusa. 
According to Vedanta philosophy, these differences are said to 
arise as a result of the sinful or virtuous Actions performed 
during life. This subject-matter of Karma- Vipaka (the effects 
caused by Actions) will be dealt with later on. According to 
Samkhya philosophy, Karma cannot be looked upon as a 
third fundamental principle which is different from Spirit and 
Matter ; and in as much as Spirit is apathetic, one has to say 
that Karma (Action) is something evolved from the sattva, 
rajaft, and tamas constituents of Matter. Reason is the most 
important element out of the eighteen of which the Subtle Body 
is made up ; because, it is from Reason that the subsequent 
seventeen elements, namely, Individuation, etc. come into 
existence. Therefore, that which goes under the name of 
'Karma' in Vedanta philosophy is referred to in Samkhya 
philosophy as the activity, property, or manifestation of 
Reason resulting from the varying intensity of the sattva, 
rajas and tamas constituents. This property or propensity of 
Reason is technically called 'Bhava', and innumerable Bhavas 
come into existence as a result of the varying intensity of the 
sattva, rajas and tamas constituents. These Bhavas adhere to 
the Subtle Body in the same way as scent adheres to a 
flower or colour to cloth (Sam. Ka. 40). The Subtle Body 
takes up new births according to these Bhavas, ot — in Vedantic 
terminology — according to Karma ; and the elements, which 
are drawn by the Subtle Body from the bodies of 
the parents in taking these various births, later 
on acquire various other Bhavas. The different categories 
of gods or men or animals or trees, are the results of the 
combination of these Bhavas (Sam. Ka. 43-55). When the 
sattvika constituent becomes absolute and pre-eminent in these 
Bhavas, man acquires Self-Realisation and apathy towards the 
world, and begins to see the difference between Matter and 
Spirit ; and then the Spirit reaches its original state of Isolation 


(kaivalya), and the Subtle Body being disoaided, the pain of 
man is absolutely eradicated. But, if this difference between. 
Matter and Spirit has not been realised, and merely the sattvw 
constituent has become predominant, the Subtle Body is re-born, 
among gods, that is, in heaven; if the rajas quality has become- 
predominant, it is Te-born among men, that is, on the earth; and 
if the tamos quality has become predominant, it is re-born in 
the lower (tiryak) sphere (Gl. 14. 18). When in this way it has 
been re-born among men, the description of how a Imlala (state 
of the embryo a short time after conception), a budbuda 
(bubble), flesh, muscles, and other different gross organs grow 
out of a drop of semen has been given in Samkhya philosophy 
on the basis of the theory of "guna gunesu jayante". (Sam. 
Ka. 43 : Ma. Bha. San. 320). That description is more or less 
similar to the description given in the Garbhopanisad- 
Although the above-mentioned technical meaning given to the 
word 'Bhava' in Samkhya philosophy may not be found in 
Vedanta treatises, yet, it will be seen from what has been stated 
above, that the reference by the Blessed Lord to the various 
qualities "buddhir jiianam asammoliah ksama satyam damak 
samah" by the use of the word 'Bhava' in the following verse 
(Gl. 10. 4, 5; 7. 12) must primarily have been made keeping in 
mind the technical terminology of Samkhya philosophy. 

When, in this way, all the living and non-living perceptible 
things in the universe have come into existence one after the 
other out of fundamental imperceptible Matter (according to 
the Samkhya philosophy), or out of fundamental Parabrahman 
in the form of Sat (according to the Vedanta philosophy), all 
perceptible things are, both according to the Samkhya and 
Vedanta philosophies, re-merged either into imperceptible Matter 
or into fundamental Brahman in a way which is the reverse of 
the order of development of constituents mentioned above, when 
the time for the destruction of the Cosmos comes (Ve. Su. 
2. 3. 14 ; Ma. Bha. San. 232) ; that is to say, earth, out of the 
five primordial elements, is merged into water, water into fire, 
fire into air, air into ether, ether into the Fine Elements, 
the Fine Elements into Individuation, Individuation into 
Reason, and Reason or Mahan into Matter and-according to the 
Vedanta philosophy— Matter becomes merged into the funda- 


mental Brahruau. What period of time lapses betweun the 
creation of the universe and its destruction or merging in 
nowhere mentioned in the Samkhya Karika. Yet, I think 
that the computation of time mentioned in the Manu-Sarhhita 
(1. 66-73), Bhagavadgila (8. 17), or the Mahabharata (Sftn, 
231) must have been accepted by the Samkhya philosophers 
Our Uttarayana, that is, the period when the Sun seams, 
to travel towards the North is the day of the gods, 
and our Daksioayana, when the Sun seems to travel 
towards the South, is the night of the gods ; because, there are 
statements not only in the Smrtis, hut also in astronomical 
treatises that the gods live on the Mem Mountain, that is to- 
say, on the north pole, (Surya-Siddhanta, 1. 13 ; 12. 35. 67). 
Therefore, the period made up of the Uttarayana and the 
Daksinayana, which is one year according to our calculations, 
is only one day and one night of the gods, and three hundred 
and sixty of our years are" three hundred and sixty days and 
nights or one year of the gods. We have four yugas called, 
Krta, Treta, Dvapara and Kali. The periods of the yugas are 
counted as four thousand years for the Krta, three thousand 
years for the Treta, two thousand years for the Dvapara and one 
thousand years for the Kali. But one yuga does not start 
immediately after the close of the previous one, and there are 
intermediate years which are conjunctional. On either side of the 
Krta yuga, there are four hundred years ; on either side of the. 
Treta, three hundred ; on either side of the Dvapara, two hundred; 
and on either side of Kali there are one hundred. In all, these 
transitional periods of the four yugas amount to two thousand 
years. Adding these two thousand years to the ten thousand 
years over which the Krta, Treta, Dvapara and Kali yugas 
extend, we get twelve thousand years. Now, are these twelve 
thousand years of human beings or of the gods ? If these ara 
considered to be human years, then, as more than five thousand 
years have elapsed since the commencement of the Kali yuga, 
not only is the Kali yuga of a thousand human years over* 
but the following Krta yuga is also over, and we must believe 
that we are now in the Treta yuga. In order to get over- 
this difficulty, it has been stated in the Puranas that theses 
twelve thousand years are of the gods. Twelve thousand 


years of the gods mean 360x12000=43,20,000, that is, forty- 
three lakhs and twenty thousand years. The fixing of the 
yuga in our present almanacs is based on that method of 
calculation. This period of twelve thousand years of the 
gods, is one mahayuga of human beings, or one cycle of four 
yuga^of the gods. Seventy-one such cycles of yugas of the 
gods make up one ' manvantara ', and there are fourteen such 
manvantaras. But, at the commencement and the end of the 
first manvantara and subsequently at the end of each 
manvantara, there is a conjunctional period equal to one Krta 
yugai that is to say, there are fifteen such conjunctional 
periods. These fifteen conjunctional periods and fourteen 
manvantaras make up one thousand yugas of the gods or one day 
of Brahmadeva (Surya-Siddhanta 1. 15-20); and one thousand 
more such yugas make up one night of Brahmadeva, as has been 
stited in the Manu-Smrfci and in the Mahabharata (Manu. 1. 
6&-W and 79; Ma. Bha. San. 231. 18-31 and the Niiukta by 
Yaska 14. 9). According to this calculation, one day of 
Brahmadeva amounts to four hundred and thirty-two crores 
of human years, that is to say, 4,320,000,000 years. And 
this is called a ' kalpa ' *, When, this day of Brahmadeva or 
kalpa starts :- 

avyaktad vyaktayah sarvah prabhavanty aharagame I 
ratryagame praliyante tatraivavyaktasamjiiake II 

(Gi. 8. 18). 

that is, " all the perceptible things in the universe begin to be 
created out of the Imperceptible; and when the night of 
Brahmadeva starts, the same perceptible things again begin 
to be merged in the Imperceptible", as has been stated in the 
Bhagavadglts (GI. 8. 18 and 9. 7), as also in the Smrti treatises, 
and elsewhere in the Mahabharata. There are besides this, 
other descriptions of Cosmic Destruction ( pralaya ) in the 
Puranas. But as in those pralayas the entire universe, 

* A calculation of yugas etc. according to astrological science 
has been made by the late Sbankar Balkrishna Dikshit in his work 
Bharatiya Jyotihsastra in various places to which the reader is 
referred. See pages 103 to 105 and p. 193 etc. 


Including the Sun and the Moon, are not destroyed, they are 
not taken into account in the consideration of the creation and 
the destruction of the Cosmos. One kalpa means one day or 
one night of Brahmadeva and 360 such days and 360 such 
nights make up one of his years, and taking the life of 
Brahmadeva at one hundred such years, one half of his life 
is now over and the first day of the second half of his life, 
that is, of his fifty-first year, or the Svetavaraha kalpa has now- 
started; and there are statements in the Puranas that out of 
the fourteen manvantaras of this kalpa, six manvantaras are 
over, as also 27 mahayugas out of the seventy-one mahayugas 
of the seventh manvantara called Vaivasvata, and that the 
first coram, or quarter of the 28th mahayuga of the Vaivasvata 
manvantara is now going on (See Visnu-Purana 1. 3). In the 
Saka year 1821, exactly five thousand years of this Kaliyuga 
were over ; and according to this calculation, there were in the 
Saka year 1821, three lakhs and ninety-one thousand years 
still in hand for the pralaya in the Kaliyuga to take place ; 
therefore, the consideration of the Mahapralaya to take place 
■at the end of the present kalpa is a far, far, distant thing. 
The day of Brahmadeva, made up of four hundred and thirty- 
two crores of human years, is now going on and not even the 
noon of that day, that is to say, seven manvantaras are 
yet over. 

As the description which has beBn given above of the 
creation and the destruction of the Cosmos is consistent with 
Vedanta philosophy— and if you omit the Parabrahman, also 
•consistent with Sarhkhya philosophy — this tradition of the 
order of formation of the universe has been accepted as correct 
by our philosophers, and the same order has been mentioned in 
the Bhagavadglta. As has been stated in the beginning of this 
■chapter, we come across other ideas regarding the creation of 
■the universe in some places in the Srutis, the Smrtis, and the 
Puranas, namely, that the Brahmadeva or Hiranyagarbha first 
came into existence, or that water first came into existence and 
a Golden Egg was born in that water from the seed of the 
Paramesvara etc. But all these ideas are looked upon as 
inferior or merely descriptive ; and when there is any occasion 
4o explain them, people say that Hiranyagarbha ox Brahma- 


deva is the same as Matter. Even the Blessed Lord has in the* 
Bhagavadgita called this Matter of three constituents by the- 
name 'Brahma' in the words "mama yonir mahad brahma" 
(Gl. 14. 3), and He has said that from this His seed, numerous 
beings are created out of Matter, as a result of three 
constituents. Vedanta treatises say that the description found 
in different places tbat Daksa and other seven mind-born sons, 
or the seven Manus, were born from. Brahmadeva, and that 
they thereafter created the moveable and immobile universe 
(Ma. Bha. A. 65-67 ; Ma. Bha. San. 207 ; Manu. 1. 34-63), 
which is once referred to also in the Gita (Gl. 10. 6), can be 
made consistent with the above-mentioned scientific theory of 
the creation of the Cosmos, by interpreting Brahmadeva as 
meaning Matter ; and the same argument is also applicable in 
otber places. For instance, in the Saiva or Pasupata Darsana, 
Siva is looked upon as the actual creator and five things, 
causes, products etc. are supposed to have come into existence 
from him; and in the Narayamya or Bhagavata religion, 
Vasudeva is supposed to be the primary cause, and it is stated 
that Samkarsana (Jiva or Soul) was first born from Vasudeva,. 
Pradyumna (Mind) from Sarhkarsana, and Aniruddha 
(Individuation) from Pradyumna. But as, according to the 
Vedanta philosophy, Jiva (Soul) is not something which comes 
into existence anew every time, but is a permanent or eternal 
part of a permanent or eternal Paramesvara, the above- 
mentioned doctrine of the Bhagavata religion regarding the 
birth of Jiva has been refuted in the second portion of the 
second chapter of the Vedanta-Sutras (Ve. Su. 2. 2. 42-45) ; 
and it is stated there that this doctrine is contrary to the 
Vedas, and, therefore, objectionable ; and this proposition of 
the Vedanta-Sutras has been repeated in the Gita (Gl. 13. 4; 
15. 7). In the same way, Samkhya philosophers believe that 
there are two independent principles, Prakrti and Purusa. 
But Vedanta philosophy does not accept this dualism, and says 
that both Prakrti and Purusa are manifestations of one eternal 
and qualityless Absolute Self (Paramatman) ; and this doctrine 
has been accepted in the Bhagavadgita (Gi. 9. 10). But, this 
matter will be more fully dealt with in the next ohapter. I 
have to state here only this, that although the Bhagavadgita 


accepts the principle of the devotion to Vasudeva and the 
theory of Action ( pravrtti ) propounded in the Narayanlya or 
Bhagavata religion, it does not accept the further doctrine of 
that religion, that Samkarsana (Jtva) was first created out of 
Vasudeva, and Pradyumna (Mind) out of Sarhkarsana, and 
Aniruddha (Individuation) out of Pradyumna ; and the words 
Sarhkarsana, Pradyumna, or Aniruddha are nowhere come 
across in the Gita. This is the important difference between 
the Bhagavata religion mentioned in the Pancaratra, and the 
Bhagavata religion mentioned in the Gita. I have expressly 
mentioned this fact here in order that one should not draw the 
mistaken conclusion that the creed of devotional schools like 
the Bhagavata school regarding the creation of the Cosmos or the 
the Jiva-Paramesvara is acceptable to the Gita, from the mere 
fact that the Bhagavata religion has been mentioned in the 
Bhagavadgita. Let us now consider whether or not there is 
some element or principle at the root of the perceptible and 
imperceptible or mutable and immutable universe, which is 
beyond the Prakrti and Purusa mentioned in Samkhya 
philosophy. This is what is known as Adhyatma (the? 
philosophy of the Absolute Self) or Vedanta. 




paras tasmat tu bhavo 'nyo 'vt/aldo '■mjaktut sanatanah I 
yah sa sarvesu bhutesu nasyatsu na vinasyati II * 

(Gi. 8. 20). 

The sum and substance of the last two chapters was that 

what was referred to as the ksetrajna (Owner of the Body) in 

the consideration of the Body and the Atman is known in 

Samkhya philosophy as ' Purusa '; and that when one considers 

the question of the construction and the destruction of the 

mutable and immutable or the moveable and immoveable 

■world, one arrives finally, according to the Samkhyas, at only 

two independent and eternal fundamental elements, namely, 

Matter and Spirit; and that it is necessary for the Spirit to 

realise its difference from Matter, that is, its isolation, and 

transcend the three qualities (become trigumtlta) in order to 

obtain the total annihilation of its pain and attain Release ', 

Modern natural scientists explain the order in which Matter 

places its evolution before Spirit, after its union with Spirit, 

in a way slightly different from the Sarhkhyas ; and, as the 

natural sciences are further developed, this order is likely 

to be improved. But the fundamental proposition that all 

perceptible objects have come into existence in a gradual order 

out of one imperceptible Matter as a result of the development 

of the constituents, cannot possibly be altered. Nevertheless, 

looking upon this as the subject-matter of other sciences, the 

lion of Vedanta does not enter into any dispute about it. That 

lion wants to go beyond all these sciences, and determine what 

Absolute Element is at the root of the Cosmic Body, and how 

a man should be merged in It ; and in this its province it will 

not be out-roared by any other science. As jackals . become 

* " That second imperceptible substance, which is higher than 

rthe (Samkhya) Imperceptible, and which is eternal, and which is 

not destroyed even when all other living things are destroyed", 

is the ultimate goal. 


mute in the presence of the lion, so do all other sciences in the 
presence of Vedanta ; therefore, an ancient classical writer has- 
appropriately described Vedanta in the following words :- 

tavat garjardi sasfrani jamtmka ripine yatha i 

na garjati mahasaktih yavad vedantakesari II 

that is : " other sciences howl lik ejackals in the wo ods, so long , 
as the jion of Ved anta, the all-powerful, does not roar l'. The 
'"Observer ' which lias been located after the consideration of 
the Body and the Atman, namely, the Purusa (Spirit) or 
Atman (Self), and imperceptible Matter with its sattva, rajas 
and tamos constituents which has been located after the- 
consideration of the Mutable and the Immutabie, are both 
independent according to the Samkhyas, who say that, on that, 
account, the fundamental Element of the world must be looked, 
upon as dual. But Vedanta goes further, and says that in as- 
much as the spirits of the Samkhyas are innumerable (though, 
they are qualityless), it would be prima facie better and more 
proper from the logical point of view (i) to carry to its- 
logical conclusion and without exception, the theory of the- 
unifying tendency of Knowledge, described in the words, 
"awbhaktam vibliaktesu", which is seen rising from lower 
grades to higher grades, and as a result of which tendency . 
all the various perceptible objects in the universe can be 
included in one imperceptible Matter, and (ii) to include 
both Matter and these innumerable Spirits finally and 
without division in the Absolute Element, than to believe 
that fundamental Matter is capable of first ascertaining 
in what the good of each one of these innumerable 
Spirits lies, and of behaving accordingly (Gl. 18. 20-22).. 
Diversity is the result of Individuation, and if Spirit is 
qualityless, these innumerable Spirits cannot possess the 
quality of remaining distinot from each other ; or, one has to 
say that they are not fundamentally innumerable, but that 
this innumerability has arisen in them as a result of their 
oontact with the quality of Individuation possessed by Matter^. 
There arises also another question, namely, is the union whioh 
takes place between independent Spirit and independent Matter 
real or illusory ?. If you say it is real (permanent), then, in as. 


much as it can never be got rid of, the Atman can never attain 
Release according to the Samkhya doctrines ; and if you say it 
is illusory, then, the statement that Matter begins to place its 
evolution before Spirit, as a result of its union with Spirit, 
falls to the ground. Even the illustration that Matter keeps up 
a continual dance for the benefit of Spirit, in the same way as 
the cow gives milk for the benefit of its calf, is inappropriate ; 
because, you cannot explain away the relation between Matter 
and Spirit in the same way as you can explain the love of the 
. cow for her calf on the ground that it has come out of her womb 
' ("Ve. Su. Sam. Bha. 2. 2. 3). According to Samkhya philosophy, 
Matter and Spirit are fundamentally extremely different from 

■ each other and whereas one is gross (jada), the other is 

■ self-conscious (sacetana). If these two substances are extremely 
different and independent of each other at the commencement 
of the world, why should one act for the benefit of the other ? 
Saying that such is their inherent quality is not a satisfactory 
answer. If one has to rely on an inherent quality, why find 
fault with the Gross-Non-Dualism (jadadvaita) of Haeckel?, 
Does not Haeckel say that in the course of the growth of the 
constituents of fundamental Matter, it acquires the Self-cons- 

■ oiousness of looking at itself or of thinking of itself ? But if 
the Samkhyas do not accept that position, and if they 
■differentiate between the 'Observer' and the 'visible world', why 

should one not make further use of the logic by which one 
arrives at this differentiation 1 Howmuchsoever one may 
examine the visible world, and come to the conclusion that the 
sensory nerves of the eye possess particular properties, yet, the 

■ one who has ascertained this, remains a separate entity. When 
in this way the Spirit which sees the visible world is found to 
be different from the visible world which it sees, then, is there 
■or is there not some way for us for ascertaining who this 
'Observer' is, as also whether the real form of the visible 
universe is as we perceive it by our organs, or different from it ? 
Samkhya philosophers say that, as these questions can never 
be solved, one is driven to look upon Matter and Spirit as two 
fundamentally different and independent elements ; and if we 
consider the matter purely from the point of view of natural 

rsciences, this opinion of the Samkhyas cannot be said to be 


incorrect ; because, the 'Observer ', or what is known in Vedanta 
as the 'Atman', cannot at any time become perceptible to the 

■ organs of the Observer, that is, to its own organs, as a separate 
entity, in the same way as we can examine the properties of 
the other objects in the universe as a result of their having 
become perceptible to our organs ; and how can human organs 
examine such a substance which is incapable of perception by 
the organs, that is, beyond the reach of the organs (indriyatita) ? 

'The Blessed Lord has himself described the Atman in the 
Uhagavadgrta in the following words : — 

naimm chindanti sastruni uainam daliati pavakah \ 
na cainam Medayaitty apo iia sosayati marutah n 

(Gi. 2. 23). 

that is, "it, that is, the Atman cannot be cut by weapons, it 
cannot be burnt by fire, it cannot be wetted by water or dried 
up by wind". Therefore, the Atman is not such a thing that 
it will be liquified like other objects by pouring on it a liquid 
■substance like sulphuric acid, or that we will beable to see its 
interior by cutting it by sharp instruments in a dissecting 
room, or that by holding it over fire it will be turned to gas, 

■ or that it will be dried up by wind 1 " In short, all the devices 
which natural scientists have got for examining worldly objects 
fall flat in this case. Then, how is the Atman to be examined? 
The question does appear to be difficult ; but if one ponders a 
little over the matter, it will be seen to be not difficult. How 
have even the Sarhkhyas determined that Spirit is qualityless 
-and independent ? Have they not done that by experience got by 
their own consciousness? Then, why not make use of the same 
method for determining the true nature of Matter and Spirit 1 
Herein lies the great difference between Materialistic philoso- 
phy and the philosophy of the Absolute Self. The subject- 
matter of Materialistic philosophy is perceptible to the organs, 
whereas that of the philosophy of the Absolute Self is beyond 
the organs, that is, it is self -perceptible, or something which 
•one oneself alone can realise. It may be argued that if the 
Atman is self-perceptible, then let each person acquire such 
•knowledge of it as he himself can : where is the use of the 


philosophy of the Absolute Sslf? This objection will be 
proper, if the Mind or the Conscience of each man were equally- 
pure. But, as we know by experience that the purity or- 
strength of everybody's mind is not the same, we have to- 
accept as authoritative in this matter the experience of only 
those persons whose minds are extremely pure, clean, and 
broad. There is no sense in carrying on a foolish argument 
that ' I think like this' or 'you think like that ' etc. Vedanta 
does not ask you to abandon logic altogether. All that it says 
is that since the subject-matter of the philosophy of the 
Absolute Self is self-perceptible, that is, as it is not capable 
of discernment by Materialistic methods, those arguments, 
which are inconsistent with the personal and direct 
experience which supermen, possessing an extremely pure, 
clean, and broad mind, have described regarding the Absolute 
Self, cannot be taken as correct in the consideration of that 
philosophy. Just as in Materialistic sciences, inferences incon- 
sistent with physical experience are considered useless, so in 
the philosophy of the Absolute Self, personal experience or some- 
thing which one's Atman has realised is considered of higher 
value than technical skill. That teaching which is consistent 
with such self-experience is acceptable to the Vedantists. 
Srtmat Sarhkaracarya has laid down this very principle in 
his commentary on the Vedanta-Sutras, and those who wish 
to study the philosophy of the Absolute Self must always 
bear it in mind. There is an ancient saying that :- 

acintyah khalu ye bham na tarns tarhsna sadhaijet I 
prakriibhyah param yat tu tad acintyasya laksanam II 

that is, " one should not, by mere imagination or inference,, 
draw conclusions about those objects on which it is impossible- 
to contemplate as they are beyond the reach of the organs ; 
that substance which is beyond Matter, ( which is the 
fundamental substance of the entire universe ), is. in this way, 
incapable of contemplation " ; and this stanza has been, 
adopted in the Mahabharata (Ma. Bha. Bhistna 5.12) and also in 
the commentary of Sri Sarhkaracarya on the Vedanta-Sutras, 
but with the reading ' yojayet ' instead of 'sadhayet'. (Ve. Su.' 
Sam. Bha. 2. 1. 27). It is similarly stated in the Mundako- 


panisad and the Kathopanisad, that knowledge of the Absolute 
Self cannot be got merely by imagination ( Mun. 3. 2. 3 ; 
Katha. 2. 8. 9 and 22 ). That is why the Upanisada have an 
important place in the philosophy of the Absolute Self. Much 
attention had been paid in India in ancient times to the 
question of concentrating the mind, and there was developed 
in our country an independent science on that subject which is 
known as the ( Patanjah ) Yoga science. Those venerable 
Itsis who, being experts in that science, had besides minds 
which were naturally very pure and broad, have described in 
the Upanisads the experience gained by them by introspection 
about the nature of the Atman, or all that with which their 
pure and peaceful minds were inspired. Therefore, for drawing 1 
any conclusion about any Metaphysical principle, one cannot 
but refer to these Sruti texts ( Katha. 4. 1 ). One may find 
various arguments which support and justify this self- 
experience according to one's own acumen ; but thereby, 
the authoritativeness of the original self-experience does not 
suffer. It is true that the Bhagavadgita is a Smrti text; 
but, I have explained in the very beginning of the first chapter, 
that it is considered to be as authoritative in the matter as the 
Upanisads. I have, therefore, in this chapter first explained 
with authorities, but simply— that is, without giving reasons — 
the doctrines propounded in the Gita and in the Upanisads 
about this unimaginable Substance which is beyond Matter, 
and I have considered later on in the chapter in what way 
those theories can be scientifically supported. 

The Bhagavadgita does not accept the Samkhya dualism 
of Matter and Spirit, and the first doctrine of the philosophy 
of the Absolute Self in the Gita, as also in Vedanta, is that 
there is at the root of the moveable and immoveable world, a 
third Principle which is all-pervading, imperceptible and 
imperishable, and which is beyond both Matter and Spirit. 
Although the Samkhya Prakrti is imperceptible, it is qualityful 
(saguna), because, it is composed of the three constituents. But 
whatever is qualityful is perishable. Therefore, that something 
else which, being imperceptible, still survives after this 
qualityful imperceptible Matter has been destroyed, is the real 
and permanent Principle of the entire Cosmos — as has been 



stated in the Gita in the course of the discussion on Matter and 
Spirit in the stanza (GI. 8. 20) quoted at the beginning of this 
chapter ; and later on, in the fifteenth chapter, after referring 
to the Mutable and the Immutable — the Perceptible and the 
Imperceptible — as the two Sarhkhy a elements, the Gita says : — 

uttamdh purusas tv anyah paramatmefy udahrtah I 
yo lokatrayam avisya bibharty avyaya Uvarah II 

that is, "that Purusa, which is different from both these (Matter 
and Spirit) is the Super-Excellent, the One which is known as 
the Absolute Atman, the Inexhaustible and the All-Powerful ; 
and, pervading the three-sphered universe, It protects it." As 
-this Spirit is 'beyond' both the Mutable and the Immutable, 
•that is, beyond the Perceptible and the Imperceptible, it is 
properly called (See Gi. 15. 18) 'the Absolute Spirit' 
{purusottama). Even in the Mahabharata, Bhrgu has said to 
Bharadvaja as follows in defining the word 'Paramatman': 

atma ksetrajna ity uktdh samyuktah prakrtair gmjaih I 

fair eva tit vinirmuktah paramatmefy udahrtah II 

(Ma. Bha. San. 187. 24). 

that is, "when the Atman is imprisoned within the body, it is 
called Ksetrajna (or Jlvatman, i. e. personal Self) ; and when the 
same Atman is released from these 'prakrta' qualities, that is, 
from the qualities of Matter or of the body, it is known as the 
Paramatman (Absolute Self)". One is likely to think that these 
two definitions of the 'Paramatman' are different from each 
other ; but really speaking, they are not so. As there is 
only one Paramatman, which is beyond the Mutable and 
Immutable Cosmos, and also beyond the Jlva (or, beyond both 
imperceptible Matter and Spirit, according to the Saihkhya 
philosophy) a two-fold characteristic or definition of one and 
the same Paramatman can he given, by once saying that It is 
beyond the Mutable and the Immutable, and again saying that 
It is beyond Jiva (Soul) or the Jlvatman (i. e. Purusa). Bearing 
this aspect in mind, Kalidasa has described the Paramesvara 
in the Kumarasai'nbhava in the following words : "You are the 
Matter which exerts itself for the benefit of the Spirit, and You 
are also the Spirit which, apathetic Itself, observes that 


Matter" (Kuma. 2. 13). So also, the Blessed Lord has said in 
-the Gita: "mama yoiur maliadbrdhma" , i.e., "Matter is My 
generative principle (yoni) or only one of My forms" (14. 3) and 
that "Jiva or Soul is a part of Ms" (15. 7); and in the 
seventh chapter, the Blessed Lord says : — 

bhUmir apo 'nalo uayuh kltam memo buddhir eva ca I 
ahamkara itiyam me bhinna prakrtir astadha II 

(GI. 7. 4). 

that is, "the earth, water, fire, air, ether, the Mind, Reason, and 
Individuation is My eightfold Prakrti" ; besides this (apareyam 
itastv anyam), "that Jiva (Soul) which is maintaining the whole 
of this world is also My second Prakrti" (Gi. 7. 5). The twenty- 
five Samkhya elements have heen referred to in many places in 
"the Mahabharata. Nevertheless, it is stated in each place 
that there is beyond these twenty-five elements an Absolute 
Element (paramatattva), which is the twenty-sixth (pdvimia) 
Element, and that a man does not become a ' buddna ' (scient) 
unless he has realised It (San. 308). Our world is nothing but 
that knowledge which we get of all the objects in the world by 
means of our organs of Perception; that is why Matter or 
Creation is sometimes referred to as 'jriana ' (Knowledge), and 
from this point of view, the Spirit becomes 'the Knower'i. e. 
jnata (San. 306. 35-41). But the real TO BE KNOWN* 
(jueya) is beyond both Matter and Spirit, that is, beyond both 
Knowledge and Knower, and, that is what is known as the 
Absolute Spirit ( paramapurusa) in the Gita (Gi. 13'. 12). Not 
only the Gita, but also all the works on Vedanta philosophy 
are repeatedly exhorting us to realise that parama or para 
(that is, Absolute) Spirit which pervades the -entire Cosmos 
and eternally maintains it; and they say that It is One, that 
It is Imperceptible, that It is Eternal, and that It is Im- 
mutable. The adjectives 'ahsara' (Immutable) and 'avyakta' 
(Imperceptible) are used in Samkhya philosophy with reference 
to Prakrti (Matter), because, it is one of the Samkhya doctrines 
that there is no other fundamental cause of the Cosmos which 
is more subtle than Prakrti (Sam. Ka. 61). But— and my 
readers must bear this in mind— as, from 'the point of view of 
Vedanta, the Parabrahman alone is a-ksara, that is, something 


which Ib never destroyed, and also a-wyakta, that is, im- 
perceptible to the oigans, the same terms ' aksara ' and ' avyakta r 
are UBed in the Glta for referring to the form of the Para- 
brahman which is beyond Matter (Gl. 8. 20; 11. 37 ; 15. 16, 17)_ 
It is true that when this point of view has been accepted 
it would be incorrect to refer to Matter as aksara (imperishable 
or immutable) though it may be avyakta (imperceptible) ; but as- 
the Glta accepts the doctrines of the Samkhya system, 
regarding the order of creation of the Cosmos to such extent as 
they can be accepted without prejudicing the omnipotence of 
this Third Element ( Absolute Spirit ) which is beyond both 
Matter and Spirit, the Perishable and the Imperishable or the 
Perceptible and the Imperceptible Cosmos haB been described, 
in the Gita without departing from the fixed terminology of the 
Sarhkhyas; and therefore, when there is occasion to describe 
the Parabrahman, it becomes necessary for the Glta to refer to. 
it as the Imperceptible (avyakta) beyond the (Samkhya) tar 
perceptible, or the Immutable (aksara) beyond the (Samkhya), 
immutable. See, for instance, the stanza given at the 
commencement of this chapter. In Bhort, in reading the Glta, 
one must always bear in mind that the words ' avyakta ' and. 
' aksara ' are both used in the Glta, sometimes with reference 
to the Prakrti (Matter) of Samkhya philosophy, and at other- 
times with reference to the Parabrahman of Vedanta 
philosophy, that is, in two different ways. That further 
Imperceptible, which is beyond the imperceptible of the 
Sarhkhyas, is the Root of the Cosmos according to Vedanta.. 
I shall later on explain how, as a result of this difference 
between Samkhya and Vedanta philosophy regarding the 
Root Element of the world, the form of Moksa according to- 
the philosophy of the Highest Self is also different from that 
according to Samkhya philosophy. 

When you once reject the Samkhya dualism of Matter 
and Spirit, and say that there is a Third Element which is 
eternal, and which is at the root of the world in the form of a 
Paramesvara or a Purusottama, the further questions which 
necessarily arise are: what is the form of this third funda- 
mental Element, and what is the nature of its relation to 
both Spirit and Matter? The three, Matter, Spirit, and! 


Absolute Isvara are respectively called Cosmos, Jiva and 
Parabrahman in Metaphysics (i. e., the philosophy of the 
Absolute Self). The main object of Vedanta philosophy is to 
determine the exact nature of, and the mutual relationship bet- 
ween, these three substances; and one finds this subject-matter 
discussed everywhere in the TJpanisads. Nevertheless, there 
is no unanimity of opinion amongst Vedantists on this point ; 
some of them say that these three substances are funda- 
mentally one, while others say that the Jiva (personal Self) 
and the Cosmos are fundamentally different from the Para- 
mesvara, whether to a small or a large extent ; and on that 
account, the Vedantists are divided into Advaitins (Monists), 
Visistadvaitins (Qualified-Monists), and Dvaitins (Dualists). 

All are unanimous in accepting the proposition that all 
>the activities of the Jiva and of the Cosmos are carried on 
according to the will of the Paramesvara. But some believe 
ithat the form of these three substances is fundamentally homo- 
genous and intact like ether ; whereas, other Vedantists say 
that since the Gross can never become homogeneous with the 
self-conscious, the personal Self (jura) and the Cosmos must 
be looked upon as fundamentally different from the 
Paramesvara, though they are both included in one Parame- 
svara, in the same way as the unity of a pomegranate is 
not destroyed on account of there being numerous grains in 
it ; and whenever there is a statement in the TJpanisads that • 
all the three are ' one ', that is to be understood as meaning 
' one like the pomegranate '. When in this way, diversity of 
opinion had arisen as regards the form of the Self (jiva), 
•commentatore supporting different creeds have stretohed the 
meanings not only of the TJpanisads, but also of the words 
in the Glta, in their respective commentaries. Therefore, the 
■subject-matter really propounded in the Glta has been 
neglected by these commentators, in whose opinion the principal 
subject-matter to be considered in the Glta has been whether 
the Vedanta of the Glta is Monistic or Dualistic. However, 
before considering this matter further, let us see what the 
Blessed Lord has Himself said in the Glta about the mutual 
relationship between the Cosmos ( praktti ), Jlva ( atman or 
jaunim ), and Parabrahman (Paramatman or Purusottama, i.e., 


Absolute Atman or Absolute Spirit). My readers will see- 
from what follows that there is unanimity on this matter 
between the Glta and the Upanisads, and all the ideas in the 
Glta are, to be found in the Upanisads, which were earlier 
in point of time. 

In describing the Purusottama, Para-purusa, Paramatman. 
or Parabrahman, which is beyond both Matter and Spirit, the 
Bhagavadglta has first said that it has its two forms, namely 
the vyakta and the avijakta (that is, the one which is perceptible 
to the eyes, and the one which is imperceptible to the eyes). 
It is clear that the vyakta form out of these two, that is to 
say, the form which is perceptible to the organs, must be 
possessed of qualities (sagaria). Then remains the impercep- 
tible form. It is true that this form is avijakta, that is, it is 
not perceptible to the organs ; but from the fact that it is 
imperceptible to the organs, it does not follow that it must be 
qualityless ; because, though it might not be perceptible to the 
eyes, it can still possess all kinds of qualities in a subtle 
form. Therefore, the Imperceptible also has been further 
subdivided into sagmia (possessed of qualities), saguna-nirguna 
(qualified and qualityless) and iiirguya ( qualityless ). , The 
word ' gwia ' is here intended to mean and include all the 
qualities which can be perceived not only by the external 
organs, but also by the Mind. As the Blessed Lord Sri 
Krsna, who was a living incarnation of the Paramesvara, 
was personally standing in front of Arjuna to advise him, 
He has indicated Himself in the first person by referring to 
His perceptible form in the following phrases in various 
places in the Glta. " Prakrti is My form "(9. 8); "the Jlva 
(Self) is a part of Me " (15. 7) ; "I am the Atman inhabiting 
the heart of all created things " (10. 20) ; " all the various 
glorious (srimat) or magnificent (vibhutimat) beings which 
exist in the world have been created out of a part of Me " 
(10. 41);. "keep your mind fixed on Me and become My 
devotee " (9. 34) ;" in that way, you will come to be merged, 
in Me. I am telling you this confidently, because you are 
dear to Me" (18. 65); and after having satisfied Arjuna by 
showing him His Cosmic Form that all the moveable and the 
immoveable Cosmos was actually contained in His perceptible 


form, He ias ultimately advised Arjuna, that, as it was easier 
to worship the perceptible form than to worship the imper- 
ceptible form, he should put faith in Him (Gl. 12. 8), and that 
He was the fundamental repository of the Brahman, of perennial 
Release, of eternal Religion and of beatific happiness (Gl, 14. 
27). Therefore, one may safely, say that the Gita from 
beginning to end describes only the perceptible form of the 
Blessed Lord. 

But one cannot, on that account, look upon as correct the 
opinion of some, followers of the Path of Devotion or of some 
commentators, that a perceptible Paramesvara is considered to 
be the ultimate object of attainment in the Gita ; because, side 
by side with the descriptions referred to above of His perceptible 
form, the Blessed Lord has Himself stated that it is illusory, 
and that His imperceptible form, which is beyond (para) that 
perceptible form, and which is not cognisable by the organs, is 
His principal form. For instance, He says : 

avyaktam vyaUimapamuim mamjante mamakiddhayahi ■ 
nara'h bhamm ajanaiito mamawjayavi amiitamam II 

that is, "whereas I am imperceptible to the' organs, ignorant 
people consider Me as perceptible and do not take cognisance 
of My superior and imperceptible form which is beyond the 
perceptible form" ' (7, 24) ; and farther on, in the next verse 
(7. 25), He has said : "as I am clothed in My YOGA-MAYA 
(illusory form), ignorant people do not recognise Me". In the 
same way, He has' given the explanation of His perceptible 
form in the fourth chapter (4.6) as follows: "although I ani 
not subject to birth and am eternal, yet I embody Myself in My 
own Prakrti and take, birth, that is, become perceptible by My 
own MAY A (gvatmanifiyaija)". He has sfrid later on in the 
seventh chapter that' : " "Matter made up of three constituents 
is my DIVINE ILLUSION, those who conquer that ILLUSION 
become merged in Me;' and those low-natured fools whose 
perception is destroyed by it, are' not merged in Me. (7. 14, 15) ,' 
and He has ultimately in the eighteenth chapter advised Arjuna 
as follows: "O Arjuna ! the Isvara resides in the hearts of all 
living beings in the form of Self {jiva ), and he controls the 
activities of all created beings 6y his ILLUSION as if they 


were machines". It is stated in the Narayanlya chapter in the 
Santiparva in the Mahabharata that the Blessed Lord had 
shown to Narada also that Cosmic Form which He had shown 
to Arjuna (San. 339) ; and I have explained already in the first 
chapter that the Gita advocates the Narayaniya or the 
Bhagavata religion. After the Blessed Lord had thus shown 
to Narada His Cosmic Form with its myiiad eyes, colours and 
other visible qualities, He says to him : 

maya hyesa raaya srsta yan mam pasyasi narada I 
sarvabhutagunair yuktam rtaivam tvam jnaturn arhasi n 
(Ma. Bha. San. 339. 44). 

that is, "that My form which you see is an ILLUSION ( rriaya ) 
created by Me ; but do not, on that account, carry away the 
impression that I am possessed of the same qualities as are 
possessed by created things" ; and then He goes on to say : "My 
real form is all-pervasive, imperceptible, and eternal and that 
form is realised by the Released." (San. 339. 48). We must, 
therefore, say that the Cosmic Form, which had been shown to 
Arjuna as stated in the Gita, was illusory. In short, although 
the Blessed Lord has attached importance to His perceptible 
form for purposes of worship, the doctrine laid down by the 
Gita will, from the above statements, be clearly seen to be that 
(i) the excellent and superior form of the Paramesvara is His 
imperceptible form, that is, the form which is not cognisable by 
the organs; i ii I that His changing from the Imperceptible to 
the Perceptible is His MAYA (Illusion); and(iii) that unless a 
man conquers this Maya, and realises the pure and imperceptible 
form of the Paramesvara, which is beyond the Maya, he cannot 
attain Release. I will consider later on in detail what is 
meant by MAYA. It becomes quite clear from the statements 
quoted above that the theory of Maya was not an invention of 
Sri Samkaracarya, and that even before his time it was an 
accepted theory in the Bhagavadgita, the Mahabharata, and 
also in the Bhagavata religion. Even in the Svetasvataro- 
panisad, the creation of the Cosmos is described as follows : 
"mayam tu prakrtim vidyan mayinam tu mahesvaram" (Sveta. 
4. 10), that is, "Maya is the Prakrti (the Sarhkhya Prakrti) 


and the Lord of that Maya is the Paramesvara; that Para- 
mesvara creates the universe by His Maya (Illusive Force)". 

Although it is thus clear that the superior form of the 
Paramesvara is not perceptible, hut is imperceptible, yet, it is 
necessary to consider whether this imperceptible form has 
qualities or is qualityless; because, we have before ourselves the 
example of a qualityful imperceptible substance in the form of 
the Sarhkhya Prakrti which, being imperceptible, is at the same 
time possessed of qualities, that is, which possesses the sattva, 
rajas, and tamas qualities ; and according to some persons, the 
imperceptible and superior fomi of the Paramesvara must 
also be considered qualityful in the same way. These people 
say that in as much as the imperceptible Paramesvara 
■creates the perceptible Cosmos, though He may do so by His 
Maya (Gi. 9. 8), and as He also resides in the htart of every- 
body and makes them carry on their various activities (18. 61); 
in as much as He is the recipient and the Lord of all sacrifices 
<9. 24) ; in as much as all the Bhavas (that is, rational activities) 
in the shape of pain and happiness of all living beings spring 
from Him (10, 5); in as much as He is the one who creates 
devotion in the hearts of living beings; and as "labhate at 
tatah Icaman mayaiva vihitan hi mn" (7. 22), that is, as "He is 
the giver of the result of the desires of living beings"; 
•therefore, though He may be imperceptible, that is, though 
He may not be perceptible to the organs, yet He must be 
looked upon as possessed of the qualities of mercy, potentiality 
etc., that is, possessed of qualities [sagwna). But on the other 
hand, the Blessed Lord Himself says: "na mam karmatfi 
limpanti", that is, "I am never polluted by Action " or, which 
is the same thing, by qualities (4. 14); foolish people suffer 
from MOHA (ignorance) as a result of the qualities of Prakrti, 
and look upon the Atman as the doer (3. 27 ; 14. 19) ; as this 
-eternal and non-active Paramesvara inhabits the hearts of 
living beings in the form of JIva (13. 31), people, who are 
overwhelmed by ignorance, become confused, though the 
Paramesvara is really speaking untouched by their activity 
or action (5. 14, 15). It is not that the forms of the Parame- 
svara who is imperceptible, (that is, imperceptible to the 
organs) have thus been described as only two, namely, 


qualityful (saguna) and qualityless (mrguna) \ but in some-, 
places both the ;forms are naked up in describing the 
imperceptible Parameavara. Jot instance, there are mutually 
contradictory saguna-nirguna descriptions of the Paramesvara 
in the ninth chapter of the Gita where it is stated that v 
" bhutabhrt na ca bhataitho" (9. 9j, that is, "I am the 
fundamental support of all created things, and yet, I am not in_ 
them ", and in the thirteenth chapter, where it is stated that : "the 
Parabrahman is neither sat (real) nor asat, i.e., illusory" (13. 12), 
"It appears to be possessed of all organs, yet, is devoid of organs, 
and is qualityless, and at the same time the eiperiencer of the 
qualities" (13. 14) ; "It is distant, and yet It is near" (13. 15) £ 
"It is undivided, and yet It appears to be divided" (13. 16). 
^Nevertheless, in the beginning of the Gita, already in the 
second chapter, it is stated that "this Atman is imperceptible, 
unimaginable iacirdija) and immutable, i. e., arikurya" (2.25); 
and there is in the thirteenth chapter, a description of the 
superiority of the imperceptible form of the Paramesvara,. 
which is pure, qualityless {nirguya), unorganised (niravayava), 
unchanging (rdrvikam), unimaginable (atiniya) and eternal 
(aw/li), in the following words : — "this absolute Atman 
(Paramatman) is eternal, qualityless, and inexhaustible, and 
therefore, though It might reside in the body, It does nothing 
and is not effected by anything" (13. 31). 

As in the Bhagavadgita, bo also in the TTpanisads is the 
fora of the imperceptible Paramesvara found described in three 
ways, that is, sometimes as being saguna (qualityful), sometimes 
as -sagii'.n-niryuya (qualityful and qualityless), and sometimes as 
nirguw: (qualityless). It is not that one must always have a 
visible icon before oneself for purposes of worship. It is possible 
to worship a form which is indefinite (nirakara), that is, which 
is imperceptible to the eyes and the other organs of Perception. 
But, unless that which is to be worshipped is perceptible to the 
Mind, though it might be imperceptible to the eyes and other 
organs of perception, its worship will be impossible. Worship 
means contemplation, visualising by the Mind (manaa) or 
meditation ; and unless the Mind perceives some other quality 
of the object of contemplation— even if it cannot perceive its 
form— how can the Mind contemplate on it? Therefore* 


wherever the contemplation, mental visualisation or meditation, 
of or on the imperceptible Paramesvara, that is, on the; 
Paramesvara who is not visible to the eyes, has been mentioned. 
in the Upanisads, He has been considered as possessed of 
qualities (sagwna). These qualities which are imagined to exist 
in the Paramesvara are more or less comprehensive or more or 
less sattvika according to the merit of the worshipper, and' 
everyone gets the result of his worship in the measure of his 
faith. It is stated in the Chandogyopanisad (3. 14. 1) that 
"man {purusa) is the embodiment of his determination (i.e., he 
is kratumaya), and he gets his meed after death, according to his- 
'kratu' (determination)" ; and it is also stated in the Bhagavad- 
glta that : "those who worship deities are merged in the deities, 
and those who worship ancestors are merged in the ancestors 
(Glta 9. 25), or "yo yacchraddliah sa em sah", that is, "every, one 
obtains results according to his own faith (17. 3). Necessarily, 
therefore, different qualities of the imperceptible Paramesvara. 
to be worshipped have been, described in the Upanisads 
according to the difference in the spiritual merit of the wor- 
shipper. This portion of the Upanisads is technically called, 
'VIDYS.'. Vidya means the path (in the form of worship) of 
reaching the Isvara, and any chapter in which such path is 
described has the suffix 'vidya' placed at the end of its name. 
Many forms of worship are described in the Upanisads* 
such as Sandilya-vidya (Chan. 3. 14), Purusa-vidya (Chan. S. 
16, 17), Paryamka-vidya (Kausl. l),Pranopasana (Kausl. 2) eto.j 
etc., and all these forms have been dwelt upon in the third, 
section of the third chapter of the Vedanta-Sutras. In these 
chapters, the imperceptible Paramesvara has been described 
as qualityful in the following terms : e. g., ' manomaya ' (mind- 
embodied), ' prayasarira ' (embodiment of Vital Force), ' bharupa " 
(of shining .appearance), ' saiyasamkalpa' (Truth-formed), 
akasatma' (ether-like), 'm-tHtfazmtf' (all-capable), 'sarvakama' 
(fulfiller of all desires), ' sarvagandha ' (embodiment , of alL 
scents), and ' sarvarasa ', i.e., embodiment of all tastes (Chan., 3., 
14. 2); and in the Taittfayopanisad (Tai. 2. 1-5; 3. 2-6) the; 
worship of the Brahman in a rising scale has been described, 
as the worship of food, life, mind, practical knowledge, 
(vijnana), and joy (amnda); and in the Brhadaranyaka, GSrgya 


Balaki has prescribed to Ajatasatru tie worship of the Spirit 
in the Sun, the Moon, ether, the air, fire, water, or the cardinal 
points, as being the form of the Brahman ; but Ajatasatru has 
told him that the true Brahman is beyond all these, and 
ultimately maintained that the worship of Vital Force 
(pravopasana) is the highest. But this list does not end here. 
All the forms of the Brahman mentioned above are technically 
called 'pratlka' (symbols), that is to say, an inferior form of 
the Brahman adopted for worship, or some sign indicating 
the Brahman ; and when this form is kept before the eyes in 
the shape of an idol, it becomes a 'pratima' (icon). But all 
the Upanisads lay down the doctrine that the real form of the 
Brahman is different from this (Kena 1. 2. 8). In some places, 
this Brahman is defined so as to include all qualities in only 
three qualities, as in the following expressions: "satyan 
jmnam ananfam brahma" (Taitti. 2. 1), or " vijnamm anandam 
brahma" (Br. 3. 9. 28), or that the Brahman is of the form of 
satya ($at),jnana (cit), ananda (joy), or is ' saccidaaanda' in form. 
And in other places, there are descriptions which include 
mutually contradictory qualities, in the same way as in the 
Bhagavadglta, like the following: "the Brahman is neither 
sat (real) nor asat, i. e., illusory" (Rg. 10. 129), or is "artor aifiyan 
imhato mahiyan", that is, smaller than an atom and larger 
than the largest (Katha 2.20), or "tadejati tannaijati tad dure, 
tad antike", that is, "It does not move and yet It moves, It 
is far away and yet It is near (Isa 5; Mun. 3. 1. 7), or "It has 
the appearance of possessing the qualities of all organs" 
' ( sarvendriyagunabhasa ), and yet is ' sarvendriyavivarjita ', i. e., 
devoid of all organs (Sveta. 3. 17). Mrtyu, in advising 
Naciketa, has kept aside all these descriptions, and said that 
i the Brahman is something which is beyond righteousness, 
beyond that which is done and that which has not been done, 
and beyond that which has happened and that which is 
capable of happening, i. e., 'bhavya' (Katha 2. 14); and 
-. similar descriptions are given by Brahmadeva to Rudra in 
the chapter on the Narayanlya religion in the Mahabharata 
(Ma. Bha. San. 351. 11.); and by Narada to Suka in the chapter 
• on Moksa (331. 44). Even in the Brhadaranyakopanisad 
■(Br. 2. 3. 2), it is stated in the beginning that there are three 


iconical forms of the Brahman, namely, earth, water, and fire • 
and two non-iconical forms, namely, air and ether ; and it is 
then stated that the forms or colours of the ether-formed 
[sarabhuta) spirits into which these non-ioonioal forms are 
transformed, ohange; and it is ultimately stated that "neti, , 
neti", that is, " It is not this ", " It is not this ", that is to say, 
whatever has been described so far, is not the Brahman; the 
Parabrahman is something which is beyond (para) this non- 
iconical or iconical substance (which can be identified by 
Name and Form) , and is ^agrhya', i. e., incomprehensible, and 
' avarnanlya ', i. e., indescribable (Br. 2. 3. 7 and Ve. Su. 3. 2. 22). 
Nay, the Brahman is that which is beyond all objects 
whatsoever which can ba named; and the words "neti, neti", 
that is, "It is not this, It is not this" have become a short 
symbol to show the imparceptible and qualityless form of 
that Brahman; and the same description has appeared four 
times in the Brhadaranyakopanisad (Brha. 3. 2. 29 ; 4. 2. 4 ; 
4. 4. 22; and 4. 5. 15); and in the same way, there are also 
descriptions in other Upanisads of the qualityless and 
unimaginable form of the Parabrahman, such as, "yato vaco 
nivartante aprapya manasa saha" (Taitti. 2. 9), or "adresyam 
(adrsya), agrahyam" (Mun. 1. 1.6), or "na cahsusa grhyate 
ma 'pi vaca (Mun, 3. 1. 8), that is, "That which is not visible- 
to the eyes, and which cannot be described by speech", or: 

aiabdam asparsam arupam avyayam 

tatha 'rasa'h vityam agandhavac ca yat I 
anady anantam mahatah param dhruvaih 

mcayya tan mrtyumukhat pramucyate II 

that is, It does not possess the five qualities of sound, touch, 
colour, taste, and smell, which are possessed by the five 
primordial elements, and is without beginning, without end, 
and imperishable (See Ve. Su. 3. 2. 22-30). In the description of 
the Narayaniya or Bhagavata religion in the Santiparva of the 
Mahabharata, the Blessed Lord has described His real form to 
Narada as being " invisible, unsmellable, untouchable, quality- 
less, inorganic (niskala), unborn, eternal, permanent and 
inactive (niskriya); and said that such His form is known as 


''vasudeua paramatman' ( Vasudeva, the Absolute Atmah); 
and that He is the Paramesvara who has transcended the three 
constituents, and who creates and destroys the universe (Ma. 
Bha. San. 339. 31-38). 

Not only in the Bhagavadglta but also in the Bhagavata 
or Narayanlya religion described in the Mahabharata, and 
eyen in the Upanisads, the imperceptible form of the Parames- 
vara is considered to be superior to His perceptible form, and 
}his imperceptible form is again described in three ways F 
that is, as being qualityful, qualityful-qualityless and quality- 
less, as will appear from the quotations above. Now, how is 
one going to harmonise these three mutually contradictory 
forms with the superior and imperceptible form of the 
Paramesvara ? Out of these three forms, the qualityful-quality- 
less or dual form may be looked upon as a step between the 
saguya (qualityful) and the nirguna (qualityless) or the ajfieya 
'(unknowable) ; because, one can realise the qualityless form 
■only by, in the first place, realising the qualityful form, and 
then omitting quality after quality ; and it is in this rising 
grade that the worship of the symbol of the Brahman has been 
described in the Upanisads. For instance, in the Bhrguvalli 
in the Taittirlyopanisad, Bhrgu has said to Varuna in 
the first place that anixa (food) is Brahman, and thereafter he 
has in a gradual order explained to him the other forms of the 
Brahman, namely, Vital Force (prams), Mind (mams), diverse 
'knowledge (vijnana) and joy i. e. ananda (Taitti. 3. 2-6). Or, it 
may even be said that, since that which has no qualities cannot 
be described by adjectives showing quality, it is necessary to 
•describe it by mutually contradictory adjectives; because, when 
you use the words 'distant' or 'real {sat) our mind gets 
inferentially the idea that there is some other thing, which is 
near or illusory (asat). But, if there is only one Brahman to 
be found on all sides, what can be called near or illusory, if 
one calls the Paramesvara distant or real (sat) ? Therefore, 
.one cannot but use such expressions as, 'It is neither distant 
nor near, It is neither real nor illusory' and thereby get rid of 
.mutually dependent quality-couplets like distant and near, or 
illusory and real ; and one has to take advantage of these 
•mutually contradictory adjectives in ordinary conversation for 


showing that, that which remains, and which is qualityless, 
and is such as exists everywhere and at all times, in an 
-unrelated and independent state, is the true Brahman (Gl. 13. 12). 
In as much as whatever is,, is Brahman, it is distant and it is 
also near, it is real ot existent, and, at the same time, it is 
-unreal or illusory ; and looking at the matter from another 
point of view, the same Brahman may be defined at the same 
time by mutually contradictory adjectives (Gl. 11. 17 ; 13. 15). 
But though, in this way, one justifies the dual qualification of 
'qualityful-qualityless' yet, it still remains to explain how the 
two mutually contradictory qualifications of 'qualityful' and 
^qualityless' can be applied to the same Paramesvara. When the 
imperceptible Paramesvara takes up a perceptible (vyaktai form 
which is cognisable by the organs, that may be said to be His 
Maya or illusion ; but when He changes from the Qualityless to 
the Qualityful without becoming perceptible to or cognisable by 
the organs, and remains imperceptible, how is He to be called ? 
For instance, one and the same indefinite Paramesvara is 
looked upon by some as qualityless, and is described by the 
words "neti, neli", that is, "It is not this, It is not this"; whereas 
others consider him qualityful, that is, as possessing all 
qualities and being the doer of all things, and being kind. Then 
it becomes necessary to explain, what the reason for this is, and 
which is the more correct description, as also to explain how 
the entire perceptible universe and all living beings came into 
existence out of one qualityless and imperceptible Brahman. 
To say that the imperceptible Paramesvara, who brings all 
projects to a successful conclusion, is, as a matter of fact, 
qualityful, and that His description in the Upanisads and in 
the Gits as 'qualityless' is an exaggeration or meaningless 
praise, would be like cutting at the very root of the philosophy 
■of the Absolute Self; because, characterising as an exaggeration 
'the conscious self-experience of great Rsis, who, after concen- 
trating their minds and after very minute and peaceful 
■meditation, have expounded the doctrine, that that is the true 
form of the Brahman which: "yato vaco nivartante aprapya 
.manam saha" (Tai. 2. 9), that is, "is unrealisable by the mind, 
and which cannot be described by speech" ; and saying that 
ithe true Brahman must be qualityful, because our minds cannot 


grasp the idea of an eternal and qualityless Brahman, would 1 
be as reasonable as saying that one's own candle-light is- 
superior to the Sun ! It would be different, of course, if this 
qualityless form of the Paramesvara had not been explained 
and justified in the Upanisads or in the Gita ; but such is not 
the case. The Bhagavadglta does not rest with saying that 
the superior and true form of the Paramesvara is imperceptible,, 
and that His taking up the form of the perceptible Cosmos is 
His MAYA (Gl. 4. 6). The Blessed Lord has said to Arjuna 
in clear and unmistakable terms that : "as a result of MOHA 
(ignorance) arising from the qualities of Prakrti, FOOLISH 
PEOPLE consider the (imperceptible and qualityless) Atman 
as the performer of Actions" (Gi. 3. 27-29) ; the Isvara does 
nothing, and people are deceived as a result of IGNORANCE 
(Gl. 5. 15) ; that is to say, though the imperceptible Atman or 
the Absolute Isvara is fundamentally qualityless (Gl. 13. 31), 
people as a result of 'confusion' or 'ignorance' foist on Him, 
qualities like activity etc., and make Him qualityful andi 
imperceptible (Gi. 7. 24). From this, it follows that the true- 
doctrines of the Gita about the form of the Paramesvara are- 
that : — (1) though there is any amount of description of the- 
perceptible form of the Paramesvara in the Gita, yet. His 
fundamental and superior form is imperceptible and qualityless 
and people look upon Him as qualityful by IGNORANCE or 
MOHA ; (2) the Samkhya Prakrti is His perceptible diffusion 
that is to say, the whole of this cosmos is the ILLUSION of 
the Paramesvara ; and (3) the Samkhya Purusa, that is, the 
personal Self, is fundamentally of the same form as the 
Paramesvara, and is qualityless and inactive -like the- 
Paramesvara, but people consider him as a doer (kartaj as a 
result of IGNORANCE. The same are the doctrines of Vedanta 
philosophy. But in later Vedanta treatises, some amount 
of distinction is made between Maya (illusion) and Avidya 
(ignorance) in enunciating these doctrines. For instance, in 
the Pancadail, it is stated in the beginning, that the Atman 
and the Parabrahman are originally identical, that is, are both 
of the form of the Brahman, and that when this Brahman, in 
the form of Consciousness (cit) is reflected in the form of Maya 
(Illusion), Prakrti oomposed of the sattva, rajas and tamas-- 


constituents (the Saihkhya fundamental Prakrti) comes into 
existence. But later on, this Maya is subdivided into 'maya' 
(illusion) and 'avidya' (ignorance) ; and it is stated that we have 
pufe'maj/S when the pure (suddha) sattva component, out of the> 
three components of this Maya is preponderant, and the 
Brahman which is reflected in this pure maya, is called the 
qualityful or perceptible Isvara (Hiranya-garbha); and, if this 
sattva component is impure (asuddhal, that Maya becomes 
'avidya' (ignorance^ and the Brahman which is reflected 
in it is given the name of 'jlva' (Panca. 1. 15-17). From 
this point of view, it is necessary to make a two-fold 
distinction between one and the same Maya, by looking 
upon maya as the cause of the 'perceptible Isvara' springing 
out of the Parabrahman, and 'avidya' as the cauBe of the 
'Jlva' springing but of the Parabrahman. But, this 
distinction has not been made in the Glta. The Glta says that 
the Jlva becomes confused (7. 4-15) as a result of the same 
Maya by means of which the Blessed Lord takes up his 
perceptible or qualityful form (7. 25), or by means of which 
the eight-fold Prakrti, that is, all the various objects in the world 
are born from Him (4. 6). The word ' avidya ' does not occur 
anywhere in the Glta, and where it appears in the Svetasva- 
taropanisad, it is used to signify the diffusion of Maya 
(Sveta 5. 1). I shall, therefore, disregard the subtle difference 
made in later Vedantic treatises between avidya and maya 
in relation to the Jiva and the Isvara, merely for purposes 
of facility of exposition, and take the words maya, avidya 
and ajnana as synonymous, and shortly and scientifically deal 
with the question as to what is ordinarily the elementary form 
of this Maya with its three constituents or of avidya, ajnana, 
or molia, and also how the doctrines of the Glta or of the 
Upanisads can be explained with reference to that form. 

Although the words nirgum and saguva are apparently 
insignificant, yet, when one considers all the various things 
which they include, the entire Cosmos verily stands in front of 
one's eyes. These two small words embrace such numerous 
and ponderous questions as : how has the unbroken entity of 
that enternal Parabrahman, which is the Root of the Cosmos, 
been broken up by its acquiring the numerous activities or 


-qualities which are perceptible to human organs, though it 
■was originally ONE, inactive, and apathetic ?; or, how is that, 
which was fundamentally homogeneous, now seen to be trans- 
formed into distinct, heterogeneous, and perceptible objects?; 
how has that Parahrahman, which is mrvikara (immutable), 
■and which does not possess the various qualities of sweetness, 
pungency, bitterness, solidity, liquidity, heat or cold, given 
rise to different kinds of tastes, or to more or less of solidity 
or liquidity, or to numerous couples of opposite qualities, such 
as, heat and cold, happiness and pain, light and darkness, death 
and immortality ?; how has that Parabrahman, which is 
peaceful and undisturbed, given rise to numerous kinds of voices 
•or sounds ?; how has that Parabrahman, which does not know 
the difference of inside or outside, or distant or near, acquired 
the qualities of being here or further away, near or distant, 
•or towards the East or towards the West, which are qualities 
-of directions or of place 1 ; how has that Parabrahman, which 
is immutable, unaffected by Time, permanent and immortal 
been changed into objects, which perish in a longer or shorter 
space of time ? ; or how has that Parabrahman, which is not 
affected by the law of causes and products, come before us in 
the form of a cause and a product, in the shape of earth and 
the earthenware pot ? Or, to expreBB the same thing in short, we 
"have now to consider how that which was ONE, acquired 
•diversity; how that which was non-dual, acquired duality; 
how that which was untouched by opposite doubles (dvamdm), 
"became affected by these opposite doubles; or,, how that which 
■was unattached (asamga), acquired attachment (samga). 
Samkhya philosophy has got over this difficulty by imagining 
•a duality from the very beginning, and by saying that 
<jualityful Prakrti with its three constituents, is eternal and 
independent, in the same way as the qualityless and eternal 
Purusa (Spirit). But, not only is the natural tendency of the 
human mind, to find out the fundamental Root of the world, 
not satisfied by this duality, but it also does not bear the test 
of logic Therefore, the writers of the Upanisads have gone 
beyond Prakrti and Purusa, and laid down the doctrine that 
the qualityless (nirgwna) Brahman, which is even higher than 
the saccidananda Brahman, i. e., the Brahman possessed of the 


qualities of eternal Existence (sat), ConsoiousneBB (at), and 
Joy (ananda), ie the root of the world. But, I must now explain 
"how the Qualityful (saguya) came out of the Qualityless 
iturguya); because, it is a dootrine of Vedanta, as of Samkhya 
philosophy, that that which is not, is not; and that that which 
is, can never come into existence out of that which is not. 
According to this doctrine, the Qualityful (saguw), that is, 
the qualityful objects in the world cannot come into existenoe 
out of the Brahman which is qualityless (nirguna). Then, 
whence has the Qualityful come? If one says that the 
Qualityful does not exist, then, one can see it before one's 
eyes; and, if one says that the Qualityful is Real (existing), 
in the same way as the Qualityless, then, in as muoh 
as the forms of qualities like, sound, touch, form, taste etc., 
which are perceptible to the organs, are one to-day and different 
to-morrow, that is, are ever-changing, or mother words, are 
perishable, mutable, and inconstant, one has to say, that the 
all-pervading Paramesvara is, so far at least as this qualityful 
-part of Him is concerned, (imagining of course, the 
Paramesvara to be divisible), perishable. And how can one 
.give the name of Paramesvara to something, which is divisible 
and perishable, and which always acts in a dependent way, 
and subject to the rules which regulate the creation ? In short, 
whether you imagine that all qualityful objects, which are 
perceptible to the organs, have sprung out of the five primordial 
elements, or whether you imagine with the Sarhkhyas or the 
material scientists, that all objects have been created from one 
and the same imperceptible but qualityful fundamental 
Matter, whichever position you take up, so long as this funda- 
mental Prakrti (Matter) has not been divested of perishable 
•qualities, one certainly cannot describe these five primordial 
elements or this fundamental substance in the shape of Prakrti 
as the imperishable, independent, or immortal element of the 
world. Therefore, he who wants to accept the theory of 
Prakrti, must either give up the position that the Paramesvara 
is eternal, independent and immortal, or he must try to find 
■out what lies beyond the five primordial elements, or beyond the 
fundamental qualityful Prakrti known as ' Prakrti '; and there 
:is no third alternative. In the same way, as it is impossible to 


qieach. thirst by a mirage, or to get oil out of sand, so a&o is 
it futile to hope that immortality can ever come out of that 
■ which is palpably perishable; and, therefore, Yajnavalkya has 
definitely told Maitreyi that, however much of wealth one may 
acquire, yet, " amrtatiazya tu nasasti vittem" (Br. 2. 4. 2), i. e., 
"Do not entertain the hope of obtaining immortality by such 
wealth". Well: if you say that immortality is unreal, then, 
every man entertains the hope that the reward which he wishes 
to obtain from a king should be available for enjoyment after 
his death to his sons, grand-sons etc., so long as the Svui and 
the Moon last ; or, we even find that, if there is a chance for a 
man to acquire long-standing or permanent fame, he does not 
care even for life. 5ot only are there prayers of the ancient 
Bsislike: "OIndra! give us ' akdta sraixi', that is, imperi- 
shable fame or wealth" (Bg. 1. 9. 7) or, " Soma! make me 
immortal in the sphere of Vaivasvata (Yama)" (Bg. 9. 133. 8) 
to he found in extremely ancient works like the Rgveda, but 
even in modern times, pure Materialists like Spencer, Kant, 
and others are found maintaining that " it is the highest moral 
duty of mankind in this world to try to obtain the permanent 
happiness of the present and future generations, without being 
deluded by transient happiness". From where has this idea of 
permanent happiness, beyond the span of one 's own life, that 
is to say, of immortality come ? If one says that it is inherent 
nature, then, one is bound to admit that there is some immortal 
substance beyond this perishable body ; and, if one says that 
such an immortal substance does not exist, then, one cannot 
explain in any other way that mental tendency which one 
oneself actually experiences. In this difficulty, many Materi- 
alists advise that, as these questions can never be solved, we 
should not attempt to solve them, or allow our minds to travel 
beyond the qualities or objects which are to be found in the 
visible world. This advice seems easy to follow ; but, who is 
going to control the natural desire for philosophy which exists 
in the human mind, and how ? ; and, if this unquenchable desire 
for knowledge is once killed, how is knowledge to be increased? 
Ever since the day when the human being came into this world r 
he has been continually thinking of what the fundamental 
immortal principle at the root of this visible and perishable 


world, is; and, how he will reach it; and, however much the 
Material sciences are developed, this inherent tendency of the. 
human mind towards the knowledge of the immortal principle 
will not be lessened. Let the material sciences be developed'as 
much as they can, philosophy will always packet all the know* 
ledge of Nature contained in them, and run beyond 1 That was' 
the state of things three or four thousand years ago, and the 
same state of things is now seen in Western countries. Nay, on 
that day when this ambition of a human being comes to an end, 
we will have to say of him " so mi mukfo 'thaw, pasuh. ", that 
is, " he is either a Released soul, or a brute ! " 

No philosophers from any other country have yet found an 
explanation, which is more reasonable than the one given- 
in our ancient treatises, about the existence of an Element, 
■which is unbounded by time or place, and is immortal, 
eternal, independent, homogeneous, sole, immutable, all- 
pervasive, and qualityless, or as to how the qualityful creation 
came into existence out of that qualityless Element. The 
modern German philosopher Kant has minutely examined the 
reasons why man acquires a synthetic knowledge of the 
heterogeneity of the external universe, and he has given the 
same explanation as our philosophers, but in a clearer way and 
according to modern scientific methods ; and although Haegel 
has gone beyond Kant, yet his deductions do not go beyond 
those of Vedanta. The same is the case with Schaupenhaur. 
He had read the Latin translation of the Upanisads, and he 
himself has admitted that he has in his works borrowed ideas 
from this " most valuable work in the world's literature ". 
But it is not possible to consider in a small book like this, these 
difficult problems and their pros and cons, or the similarity 
and dissimilarity between the doctrines of Vedanta philosophy, 
and the doctrines laid down by Kant and other Western 
philosophers, or to consider the minute differences between 
the Vedanta philosophy appearing in ancient treatises like 
the Upanisads and the Vedanta-Sutras, and that expounded 
in later works. Therefore, I have in this book broadly 
ireferred to only that portion of them to which it is necessary- 
to refer in order to impress on the minds of my readers the 
veracity, the importance, and the reasons for the Metaphysical 


doctrines in the Glta, on the authority principally of the- 

Upanisads, and the Vedanta-Sutras, and of the Bhasyas- 

(commentaries) of Sri Samkaracarya on them. In order to- 

determine what lies beyond the Samkhya Dualism of Matter 

and Spirit, it is not sufficient to stop with the distinction 

made by Dualists between the Observer of the world and the 

visible world ; and one has to consider minutely the form of 

the knowledge which the man who sees the world gets of the 

external world, as also how that knowledge is acquired, and. 

what that knowledge consists of. Animals Bee the objects in 

the external world in the same way as they are seen by men. 

But, as man has got the special power of synthesising the 

experience impressed on his mind through organs of Perception 

like the eyes, ears, etc., he has got the special quality that he 

aoquires the knowledge of the objects in the external world. 

It has already been explained by me in the chapter on the 

Body and the Atman, that that power of synthesis, which is 

responsible for this special feature in man, is a power which is 

beyond Mind and Reason, that is to say, is a power of the 

Atman. Man acquires the knowledge, not of only one object,. 

but also and in the same way, of the various relations in the 

shape of causes and products, between the diverse objects ia 

the world — which are known aa the laws or principles of 

Creation ; because, although the various objects in the world 

might be visible to the eyes, yet, the relation of causes and 

products between them is not a thing which is actually visible ; 

and that relation is determined by the intellectual activity of 

the one who sees. For instance, when a particular object has 

passed before our eyes, we decide that he is a soldier by seeing 

his form and his movement, and that impression remains fixed. 

in our minds. When another similar object passes before our 

eyes in the wake of the first object, the same intellectual 

process is repeated, and our Reason decides that that object is 

a second soldier ; and when, in this way, we, by our memory y 

remember the various impressions, which our mind has 

received one after the other, but at different moments or times,. 

and synthesise them, we get the synthetical knowledge of 

these various impressions that an ' army ' has been passing in 

front of our eyes. When the mind has decided by looking at 


the form of the object which comes after the army, that he is 
a 'king', the former impression about the army, and the- new- 
impression about the king, are once more synthesised by our 
mind, and we say that the procession of the king is passing. 
From this, it becomes necessary for us to say, that our 
knowledge of the world is not some gross object which is 
actually perceived by the organs, but that ' knowledge ' is the- 
result of the synthesis of the various impressions received 
by the mind, whioh is made by the ' Observing Atman '; 
and for the same reason Knowledge (Jiiana) has been defined 
in the Bhagavadglta by the words : " aoibhaldam vibkaktesit ",. 
that is, by saying that : " that is true knowledge by- 
means of which we realise the non-diversity or unity in 
that which is diverse or different" (Gl. 18. 20). T ' But if one- 
again minutely considers what that is of which impressions 
are first received on the mind through the medium of the organs* 
it will be seen that though by means of the eyes, ears, nose 
etc., we may get knowledge of the form, sound, smell or other 
qualities of various objects, yet, our organs cannot tell us 
anything about the internal form of that substance which 
possesses these external qualities. We see that wet earth is 
manufactured into a pot, but we are not able to know what the 
elementary fundamental form of that substance which we 
call 'wet earth', is. When the mind has severally perceived the- 
various qualities of stickiness, wetness, dirtiness of colour, or 
rotundity of form in the earthenware pot, the 'Observing' 
5.tman synthesises all these various impressions, and says r 
"this is wet earth" ; and later on when the Mind perceives the 
qualities of a hollow and round form or appearance, or a firm 
sound, or dryness of this very substance (for there is no reason, 
to believe that the elementary form of the substance haB 
changed), the 'Observer' synthesises all these qualities and calls 
the substance a 'pot'. In short, all the change or difference- 
takes place only in the quality of 'rupa' or 'akara', that is, 
'form', and the same fundamental substance gets different nameB 

* Cf. "Knowledge is first produced by the synthesis of what i» 
manifold". Kant's Critique of Pure Season, p. 64, Hax MSller'g, 
translation, 2nd Edition. , 


after the 'Observer' has synthesised the impressions made by 
these various qualities on the Mind. The most simple examples 
of this are the sea and the waves, or gold and ornaments ; beoause> 
the qualities of colour, solidity or liquidity, and weight, in 
these various objects, remain unchanged and the 'rupa' (form) 
and name are the only two things which change ; and, therefore! 
these easy illustrations aTe always mentioned in Vedanta 
philosophy. The gold remains the same ; but the ' Observer 'i 
who synthesises the impressions received by the Mind, through 
the organs, of the changes which have taken place at different 
times in its form, gives to this fundamentally one and the 
same substance different names at different times, e. g., once 
'necklace', at another time ' armlets '; once ' bangles ', and at 
another time a ' necklet '; once ' rings ', and at another time a 
' ohandrahara ' etc. These various NAMES which we give to 
objects from time to time, and the various FORMS of those 
objects by reason of which those names changed, are referred to 
in the Upanisads as 'NAMA-RUPA' (Name and Form) and 
this technical term also includes all other qualities (Chan. 6. 3 , 
and 4; Br. 1. i. It); because, whatever quality is taken, it must 
have some Name or Form. But although these NAMES and 
FORMS change every moment, yet, there is underlying them 
some substanoe, which is different from that Name and Form, 
and which never changes; and it becomes necessary for us 
to say,. that numerous films in the shape of Name and Form 
have come on this fundamental substance, in the same way 
as some floating substance (taranga) comes on the surface of 
water. Our organs cannot perceive anything except Name 
and Form; therefore, it is true that our organs cannot realise 
that fundamental substance which is the substratum of 
these Names and Forms, but is different from them. But, 
though this Elementary Substance, which is the foundation 
of the entire universe, may be imperceptible, that is, un- 
cognisable by the organs, yet, our Reason has drawn the 
definite inference that it is 'sat', that is, really and 
eternally to be found in and under this Name and Form, 
and never ceases to exist; because, if you say, that there 
is fundamentally nothing beyond the Name and Form 
which is perceptible to our organs, then a ' necklace ' and 


'bangles' will become different objects, and there will be 
no foundation for the knowledge acquired by us, that both are 
made of one and the same substance, gold. All that we will be 
able to say is : ' this is a necklace ', ' these are bangles '; but 
we will ■ not be able to say that ' the necklace is of gold '. It, 
therefore, logically follows that that gold, with which we 
connect the necklace or chain embodied in a Name and Form by 
means of the words ' is of ' in the sentences ' the necklace is of 
gold', ' the chain is of gold ', etc., is not non-existent like the horn 
of the hare ; and that the word ' gold ' gives one the idea of that 
substance which has become the foundation of all golden 
ornaments. When the same logical argument is applied to all 
the various objects in the world, we come to the conclusion 
that the various objects having Names and Forms which we 
come across, such as, stones, pearls, silver, iron, wood, etc., 
have come into existence as a result of different Names and 
Forms having been super-imposed on one and the same eternal 
substance ; that all the difference is only in the Name and 
Form and not in thB fundamental substance ; and that there 
permanently exists at the bottom of all Names and Forms 
only one homogeneous substance. ' Existing at all times in 
a permanent form in all substances ' in this way, is technically 
known in Sanskrit as ' satta-samanya '. 

This doctrine of our Vedanta philosophy has been accepted as 
correct by modern Western philosophers like Kant and others ; 
and this invisible substance, which is different from all Names 
and Forms, and which is the root of the universe embodied in 
Name and Form, is in their books referred to as' 1 Thing-in-itself 
(vastu-tattmj ; and the Name and Form which becomes 
perceptible to the eyes and the other organs is called by them 
"external appearance" " But it is usual in Vedanta philosophy 
to refer to this everchanging external Appearance embodied in 

* This subject-matter haa been considered in tlie Critique of 
Pure Reason by Kant. He has named tlie fundamental substance 
underlying the world as ''Ding n» rich" (the Thing-in-itself) ; and I 
have translated those words by 'vastu-tattva'; the external appearance 
of Name and Form has been named by Kant as 'Erscheimmg' 
(Appearance). According to. Kant, the 'Thing-in-itself cannot be 
known, . - . - . • 


Name and Form as 'mithya ' (illusory), or 'iwsawnta' (perishable) ^ 
and to refer to the Fundamental Element as 'satya' (Seal) or 
'amrta' (immortal). Ordinary people define the word 'satya' by- 
saying 'eaksur w» satyam', that is, "that which is seen by the- 
eyes is real"; and if one considers the ordinary course of life,, 
it is needless to say that there is a world of difference between 
seeing in a dream that one has got a lakh of rupees, or hearing, 
about a lakh of rupees, and actually getting a lakh of rupees. 
Therefore, the dictum 'caksur vai satyam' (i. e., that is Real, 
which is seen by the eyes) has been enunciated in the 
Brhadaranyakopanisad (Br. 5. 14. 4) in order to explain whether 
one should trust more one's eyes or one's ears, if one 
has merely heard something by mere hearsay, or if one has 
actually seen it. But, what is the use of this relative definition 
of 'satya (Reality) for a science by which one has to determine 
whether the rupee which goes under the visible Name of 
'rupee' or is recognised by its Form, namely, by its round' 
appearance, is Real '! We also see in the course of ordinary 
affairs, that if theTe is no consistency in what a man says, andi 
if he now says one thing and shortly afterwards another thing, 
people call him false. Then, why should not the same 
argument be applied to the Name and Form called 'rupee' (not 
to the underlying substance) and the rupee be called false or 
illusory ? For, we can take away the Name and Form, 'rupee' 
of a rupee, which out eyes see to-day, and give it to-morrow the 
Name and Form of 'chain' or 'cup' ; that is to say, we see by our 
own eyes that Names and Forms always change, that is, are not 
constant. Besides, if one says that nothing else is true except 
what one sees by one's eyes, then, we will be landed in the 
position of calling that mental process of synthesis by means 
of which we acquire the knowledge of the t world, and which 
is not visible to our eyes, unreal or false; and, thereby,, 
we will have to say that all knowledge whatsoever which we 
acquire is false. Taking into account this and such other 
difficulties, the ordinary and relative definition of 'satya 
namely, "that alone is 'saiga' (Real) which can be seen 
by the eyes", is not accepted as correct; and the word 'satya" 
has been defined in the Sarvopanisad as meaning something- 
which is imperishable, that is, which does not cease to exist, 



hough all other things have ceased to exist : and in the same- 
way, satya has been defined in the Mahabharata as : 

satyam mma 'vyayam nityam avikari tathaiva ca \ * 

(Ma. Bha. San. 162. 10) 
that is, "that only is Beal which is avyaya (i.e., never 
destroyed), nitya (i. e., always the same), and avikari (i. e., of 
which the form is never changed)". This is the principle 
underlying the fact that a person who now says one thing and, 
shortly afterwards another thing is called 'false' in common 
parlance. When we accept this non-relative definition of the 
Beal (satya), one has necessarily to come to the conclusion that 
the Name and Form which constantly changes is false, though 
it is seen by the eyes ; and that the immortal Thing-in-itself 
(vastu4attm), which is at the bottom of and is covered by that 
Name and Form, and which always remains the same, is Real, 
though it is not seen by the eyes. The description of Brahman, 
which is given in the Bhagavadglta in the following words, 
namely, "yah so sarve&t bhutequ vasyatsu na vinasyati" (Gl. 8.. 
20; 13. 27), that is, " that is the immutable (aksara) Brahman, 
which never ceases to exist, although all things, that is, the 
bodies of all things encased in Name and Form are destroyed", 
has been given on the basis of this principle ; and the same 
stanza has again appeared in the description of the NarSyanlya 
or Bhagavata religion in the Mahabharata with the different 
reading "bhutagramasariresu" instead of "yah sa narvesu bhutesu" 
(Ma. Bha. San. 339. 23). In the same way, the meaning of the 
16th and 17th stanzas of the second chapter of the Gita is the 
same. "When, in Vedanta philosophy, the ornament is referred, 
to as 'mithya' (illusory) and the gold as 'satya' (real), one has 
not to understand that comparison as meaning that the 
ornament is useless, or invisible to the eyes, or totally false,, 
that is, mere earth to which gold foil has been attached, or not 
in existence at all. The word 'mithya' has been used there with 
reference to the qualities of colour, form etc., and of appearance 

* In defining the word « real ' (sat or tatya), Green has said : 
"whatever anything is really, it is unalterahly" (Prolegomena to Ethics r 
§ 25.) This definition of Green and the definition in the Mahi- 
bliarata are fundamentally one and the same. 


of an object, that is, to its external appearance, and not to the 

fundamental substance; because, as must be borne in mind, the 

fundamental substance is always 'satya (Real). The Vedantist 

has to ascertain what the fundamental substance underlying 

the covering of Name and Form of various objects is ; and 

that is the real subject-matter of philosophy. Even in ordinary 

life, we see that although a large sum may have been spent by 

us on labour for manufacturing a particular ornament, yet, it" 

one is forced to sell that ornament to a merchant in adverse 

circumstances, the merchant says to us: "I do not take into 

account what expenses you have incurred per tola for 

manufacturing the ornament ; if you are prepared to sell me this 

ornament as gold by weight, I will buy it" I If the same idea 

is to be conveyed in Vedanta terminology, we will have to say 

that, "the merchant sees the ornament to be illusory, and only 

the gold to be real". In the same way, if one wishes to sell a 

newly built house, the purchaser pays no attention to what 

amount has been spent for giving that house prettiness (rupa - 

form), or convenience of arrangement (akrti= construction), and 

says that the house should be sold to him by the value of the 

timber and other material which has been used in constructing 

the house. My readers will get a clear idea from the above 

illustrations about the meaning of the reference by Vedantists 

to the Name-d and Form-ed ( mmarajmtmaka ) world as illusory 

and to the Brahman as real. When one says that the visible 

world is 'mithya' (illusory), one is not to be understood as 

meaning that it is not visible to the eyes ; the real meaning 

is that the numerous appearances of various objects 

in the world resulting from Time or Space and diversified 

by Name and Form are perishable, that is, ' mithya ' 

and that that imperishable and immutable substance which 

exists eternally under the cloak of this Name and Form is 

permanent and real. The merchant considers bangles, anklets, 

chain, armlets, and other ornaments as ' mithya ' ( illusory ) and 

gold alone as safya ( real ). But in the factory of the goldsmith 

of the world, various Names and Forms are given to one and 

the same Fundamental Substance, and' such various ornaments 

as gold, stone, timber, water, air etc. are formed out of that 

Substance. Therefore, the Vedantist goes a little deeper than 


the ordinary merchant, and looks upon all Names and Forms,, 
such as, gold, silver, or stone etc. as imthya ( illusory ), and 
looks upon the Fundamental Substance being the substratum 
of all those objects, that is, the Thing- in-itself ( vastu-tattva )- 
as ' satya ' ( immutable or real ). As this Thing-in-itself has no- 
qualities of Name, Form etc., it is impossible that it should ever- 
become perceptible to the organs like eyes etc. But not only 
can one form a definite inference, by means of one's Reason, 
that it must exist in an imperceptible form, though it is 
invisible to the eyes, or unsmellable by the nose, or untouchable 
by the hand, but one has also to come to the conclusion that 
the immutable 'THAT ' in this world is the real Thing-in-itself. 
This is what is known as the Fundamental Real in the world. 
But, some foolish foreign scholars and some local soholars 
considered as 'philosophers ', without taking into account these 
technical Vedantic meanings of the words ' satya ' and ' mithya ', 
or taking the trouble to see whether or not it is possible for the 
word 'sattja' to have a meaning different from what they think, 
ridicule Vedanta by saying : " that world which we actually 
see with our own eyes is called ' mithya ' (illusory) by the 
Vedantists I Now, what is to be done ?" But aB Yaska has said 
it, a pillar is not to blame because a blind man does not see 
it 1 It has been stated over and over again in the Chandogya 
(6. 1 and 7. 1 ), Brhadaranyaka ( 1. 6. 3), Mundaka (3. 2. 8), 
Prasna. (6. 5 ), and other Upanisads that the ever-changing 
(that is, perishable) Names and Forms are not real, and 
that he who wishes to see the Real (that is, permanent) 
Element, must extend his vision beyond these Names and 
Forms ; and these Names and Forms have in the Eatha (2. 5} 
and Mundaka (1. 2. 9) been referred to as 'avidya', and ultimately 
in the Svetasvataropanisad as 'maya' (Sve. 4. 10). In the 
Bhagavadgita, the same meaning is conveyed by the words 
'maya' 'moha', and 'ajnam'. That which existed in the 
commencement of the world was without Name and Form, that 
is, it was qualityless and imperceptible; and the same thing 
later on becomes perceptible and qualityful, as a result of its 
acquiring Names and Forms (Br. 1. 4. 7 ; and Chan, 6. 1. 2, 3). 
Therefore, the mutable and perishable Name and Form 1 is given 
the name 'Maya' and the visible or qualityful world is said to 


;be the illuBory Mayic drama or 'lila' of the Isvara. From this 
3>oint of view, the Samkhya Prakrti is nothing but Mays 
composed of the saitva, rajas and tamas constituents, that is to 
say, Maya possessing Name and Form, though it might be 
imperceptible ; and the creation or extension of the perceptible 
universe, described in the eighth chapter as having sprung from 
this Prakrti, is also the evolution of that Maya embodied in 
qualityful Names and Forms ; because, whatever quality may 
be taken, it is bound to be visible to the organs, that is to say, 
to be embodied in Name and Form. All the Material sciences 
fall in this way into the category of Maya. Take History, 
■Geology, Electricity, Chemistry, Physics or any other science ; 
all the exposition to be found in it is only of Names and Forms, 
that is to say, only of how a particular substanoe loses one 
Name and Form and acquires another Name and Form. For 
instance, these sciences only consider how and when that which 
is known as 'water' acquires the name of 'steam', or how 
various aniline dyes, having the red, green, blue, or various 
other colours, which are only differences of Name and Form, 
are formed from one black substanoe called coal-tar, etc 
Therefore, by studying these sciences which are engrossed in 
Names and Forms, one cannot acquire the knowledge of the'Real 
Substance, which is beyond Names and Forms; and it is clear that 
he who wishes to find the form of the Real Brahman must extend 
his vision beyond these Material sciences, that is to say, beyond 
these sciences which deal only with Names and Forms. And 
the same meaning is conveyed by the story at the commence- 
ment of the seventh chapter of the Chandogyopanisad. In the 
beginning of the story, Narada went to Sanatkumara, that is, 
to Skanda, and said : "Give me knowledge of the Atman". 
In reply, Sanatkumara said to him: "Tell me what you 
have learnt, so that I will tell you what comes next ". Narada 
said: "I have learnt all the Vedas, namely, the Eg. and the 
other Vedas, in all four, as also History and Puranas (which is 
the fifth Veda), and also Grammar, Mathematics, Logic, Fine 
Arts, Ethics, subsidiary parts of the Vedas (veda&ga), Morality, 
Black Magic, Warfare {ksatra-vidya), Astrology, the science of 
.Serpents, Deities etc.; but I have not thereby acquired the 
knowledge of the Atman, «nd I have, therefore, come to you ". 


.In reply to that, Sanatkumara said : "All that you have learnt 
■deals only with Names and Forms and the true Brahman is 
€ar beyond this Nama-Br&hnia (the Brahman qualified by 
JJames)"; and he has afterwards gradually described to Narada 
the Immortal Element in the form of the Absolute Spirit, 
which is beyond Names and Forms, that is to say, beyond the 
.Samkhya imperceptible Prakrti, as also beyond Speech, Hope, 
Project, Mind, Reason (jnana) and Uie(prarta), and is 
superior to all of them. 

All that has baen said before may be summarised by 
saying that though the human organs cannot actually perceive 
■or know anything except Names and Forms, yet, there must 
be some invisible, that is, imperceptible, eternal substance 
which is covered by this cloak of non-permanent Names and 
Forms ; and that, it is on that account that we get a synthetic 
knowledge of the world. Whatever knowledge is acquired, 
is acquired by the Atman; and therefore, the Atman is called 
the 'Jfiata' (Knower). Whatever knowledge is acquired by 
this Knower, is of the Cosmos defined by Name and Form; and, 
therefore, this external Cosmos defined by Name and Form 
is called 'Jnana' (Ma. Bha. San. 306.40); and the Thing-in-it- 
,ae\t(vastu4<ittva) which is at the root of this Name-d and Fora-ed 
(mmarupatmaka) Cosmos is called the ' Jfieya '. Accepting 
this classification, the Bhagavadgita says that the ' Icsdrajfia 
■aima ' is the Jfiata and the eternal Parabrahman, uncognisable 
by the organs is the Jfieya (Gi. 13. 12-17); and dividing 
.Jnana (Knowledge) subsequently into three parts, the Know- 
ledge of the world arising on account of diversity or mani- 
manifoldness, is called rajasa knowledge, and the synthetic 
knowledge ultimately obtained from this diversity is called 
■saitvika knowledge (Gtf. 18. 20, 21). To this an objection is 
raised by some to the effect that it iB not proper for ub to make 
the three-fold division of Jfiata, Jfiana, Jfieya (the Knower, 
Knowledge, and the To-Be-Known) ; and that there is no 
■evidence before us for saying that there is anything in the world 
except that of which we get knowledge. The visible things, 
such as, cows, horses, etc., which are seen by us are nothing 
' but the Knowledge which we have acquired; and although 
this Knowledge is Real, yet, as there is no means except 


Knowledge itself for describing that of which this Knowledge- 
has been acquired, we cannot say that there are any external 
objects besides this Knowledge which are independent sub- 
stances, nor that there is some other independent substance, 
which is at the root of all these external objects ; because, if 
there is no Knower, then there is no world. which can be' 
known. Looking at the matter from this point of view, the- 
third division of Jneya out of Jnata, Jnana, and JfLeya drops- 
out, and the Jnata and the Jnana which he acquires, are the 
only two things which remain; and if this logic is carried 
a little further, then, in as much as the 'Knower' or 'Observer'' 
is also a kind of Jnana (Knowledge), nothing- else except 
Jnana (Knowledge) remains. This is known as ' Vijnana-vada V 
•and that has been accepted as correct by the Buddhists follow- 
ing the Yogacara path, who have laid down the doctrine that 
there is nothing independent in this world except the Jnana 
(Knowledge) or the Jnata (Knower); nay, that even the world 
itseif does not exist, and that whatever is, is nothing but the- 
Knowledge of mankind. Even among Western writers, there 
are some who support this doctrine, like Hume and others; 
but Vedanta philosophy does not accept this doctrine, which. 
has been refuted by Badarayanacarya in the Vedanta-Sutras 
•'(Ve. Su. 2. 28-32), and by Srlmat Sarhkaracarya in bis Bhasya- 
(commentary) on those Sutras. It is true that a man realises 
ultimately only the impressions made on his Mind ; and this is- 
what we call ' Jnana '; but if there is nothing else except this 
Jnana, how can one account for the diversity which is realised- 
by our ReaBon in the various kinds of Jnana, e. g., between the 
'cow 'being a different Jnana, the 'horse' being a different 
Jnana, or ' I ' being a different Jnana ? The mental process of 
acquiring knowledge is everywhere the same, and if there is 
nothing else except such Jnana, then, how have the differences 
between a cow, a horse etc. arisen ? If some one says that the 
Mind creates these different divisions of Knowledge at its sweet 
will like a dream-world, one cannot explain this somewhat 
of consistency which is to be found in the Jnana acquired in a 
waking state, which is different from the dream-world ( Ve. Su. 
' Sam. Bha. 2. 2. 29 ; 3. 2. 4 ). Besides, if you say that there is 
"no other thing except Jnana, and that the Mind of the 'Observer* 


creates all the various things, then each ' Observer ' must get 
the ego-ised knowledge that " my mind, that is, I myself, am 
the pillar " or " I myself am the cow ". But since buoIi is not 
the case, and everyone gets the experience that he himself is 
something different and that the pillar, the cow etc. are subst- 
ances which are different from himself, Sarhkaraoarya has 
adduced the doctrine that there must be some other independent 
external things, in the external world, which are the foundation 
of the Knowledge acquired by the Mind of the Observer (Ve. 
Sfl. Sara. Bha. 3. 2. 28 ). Kant is of the same opinion, and he 
has clearly said that although the synthetical process of human 
Season is necessary for acquiring the knowledge of the world, 
yet, this knowledge is not something self-created, that is, 
unfounded or new which has been spun out by human Reason, 
but is always dependent on the external things in the world. 
Here an objection may be raised that : " What ! your 
Sarhkaraoarya once says that the external world is MithyS 
(illusory); and lor refuting the Buddhistic doctrines, the 
same Sarhkaracarya maintains that the existence of the 
external world is as real as the existence of the Observer 1 
How are you going to reconcile these two things?" This 
question has already been answered before. When the 
Acarya calls the external world 'mithyW (illusory) or 'asatya' 
(unreal), he is to be understood as saying that the visible Name 
and Form of the external universe is unreal, that is to say, 
perishable. But although the external appearance embodied in 
Name and Form is said to be illusory, yet, one doss not thereby 
prejudice the doctrine that there is some Real substance at the 
bottom of it, which is beyond the reach of tbe organs. In 
short, just as we have laid down the doctrine in the chapter on 
the Body and the Atman, that there is some permanent Atman- 
Element at the root of the perishable Names and Forms, like 
the bodily organs etc, so also, have we to come to the conclusion 
that there is some permanent substance at the root of the 
external universe clothed in Names and Forms. Therefore, 
Vedanta philosophy has laid down the doctrine that there is 
under the ever-varying (that is, illusory) appearance both oi 
the physical organs and of the external world, 
(nitj/a), that is, Real (satya) substance. The 


•whether the two fundamental substances in these two cases are 
one and the same or are different. But before considering that 
question, I shall first consider precisely the allegation which 
is sometimes made as regards the modernity of that doctrine. 

Some persons say that although the Vijrianavada of the 
Buddhists is not acceptable to Vedanta philosophy, yet, in as 
much as the opinion of Sri Sarhkaracarya that the Name-d and 
Form-ed ( ' iwmarupatmakal appearance of the external world, 
which is visible to the eyes, is illusory, and that the imperish- 
able substance underlying it is Real— which is known as the 
'MAYA-VADA'— is not to be found in the ancient Upanisads, 
it cannot be considered as part of the original Vedanta 
philosophy. But, if one carefully considers the UpanisadB, 
he will easily see that this objection is totally without 
foundation. I have already stated before that the word 
'satya' (Real) is applied in ordinary parlance to those 
things which are actually visible to the eyes; Therefore, 
in some places in the Upanisads, the word 'satya' has 
been used in this its ordinary meaning, and the Name-d 
and Form-ed external objects, visible to the eyes, have been 
called 'satya ; and the Fundamental Substance which is clothed 
by those Names and Forms is oalled 'amrta'. For instance, in 
the Brhadaranyakopanisad (1. 6. 3), it is stated that 
"tadetadamrtam satyenacchannam" , that is, "that amrta is covered 
by satya"; and the words amrta and safjw have been immediately 
afterwards denned as : "prana va amrtam namarupe satyam 
tabhyam ayam praruzschannam", that is, "prana (Vitality) is 
amrta (eternal) and Name and Form is satya (RealJ ; the prana 
is clothed by this satya in the shape of Name and Form". The 
word prana is here used in the meaning of the Parabrahman 
in the form of prana. From this it is seen that those things 
which are known as 'mithya' and 'satya' in the later Upanisads, 
were originally respectively known as 'satya' and 'amrta'. In 
some places, this amrta is referred to as 'satyasya satyam', that 
is, "the ultimate satya (Reality), which is at the core of the 
satya (Reality) visible to the eyes" (Br. %. 3. 6). But, the 
abovementioned objection does not become substantiated by 
reason of the fact merely that the visible universe has been 
leferred to as satya in some places in the Upanisads ; because, 


in the Brhadaranyaka itself, the final proposition stated is that 
everything else except the Atman-formed Parabrahman is 
'artam', that is, perishable (Br. 3. 7. 23). When the search for 
the Fundamental Substance underlying the world waB first 
started, the world which was visible to the eyes was first 
looked upon as satya, and the investigators began to find out 
what other subtle satya was at its core. Then it was found 
that the form of that visible world which was being oalled 
satya, was perishable ; and that there was at its core, some 
other imperishable, that is, amrta substance. As it became more 
and more necessary to define clearly this difference between 
the two, the two words 'avidya' and 'vidya' came to be used 
in place of the words 'saiga' and 'amrta', and ultimately, the 
terminology 'maya' and 'satya' or 'mithya' and 'satya' came into 
vogue; because, as the root meaning of the word 'satya' is, 
'eternally lasting', people began latterly to consider it improper 
to refer to perishable and ever-changing Names and Forms as 
'satya'. But, though the words 'maya' or 'mithya' may have 
thus come into vogue subsequently, yet, the ideas that the 
appearance of worldly objects which is visible to one's eyes 
is perishable and asalya, and that the 'Elementary Substance' 
whioh underlies it, is alone sat or satya, have been in vogue 
from ancient times ; and even in the Rg-veda, it is stated that : 
"ekam sad vipra BAHUDHA vadanti" (1. 164. 46 and 10. 114. 5) 
— "that which is fundamentally one and permanent (sat), is 
given different NAMES by the viprah (scients)" — -that is to 
say, one and the same Real and eternal thing appears in 
different appearances as a result of Names and Forms. The 
word 'maya' has also been used in the Rg-veda to mean 
"making one form to appear as numerous" ; and there is a 
statement in it that "indro mayabhih purw&pah iyate", that is, 
"Indra takes up various shapes by his Maya" (Rg. 6. 47. 18). 
'The word 'maya' has been once used in the Taittirlya Saihhita 
in the Bame sense (Tai. Sam. 1. 11), and ultimately in the 
■Svetasvataropanisad, the word 'maya has been applied to 
Names and Forms. But although the practice of applying the 
-word 'maya' to Names and Forms first came into vogue at the 
date of the Svetasvataropanisad, yet, the idea that Names and 
Jorms are non-permanent (amtya), and unreal (asatya), is prior 


in point of time ; and it is clearly not an idea, which has been 
invented by Samkaracarya by perverting the meaning of the 
word 'maj/a'. Those who have not got the moral courage to 
fearlessly call the appearance of the Name-d and Form-ed 
universe 'mithya' as has been done by Sri Samkaracarya, or 
those who are even afraid to use the word 'maya' in the same 
sense, as has been done by the Blessed Lord in the Bhagavad- 
glta, may, if they wish, use the Brhadaranyakopanisad 
terminology of 'satya and 'amrta' without any objection. 
Whatever may be said, the proposition that a distinction was 
made between Names and Forms as 'viriasV (perishable) and 
the Fundamental Substanoe underlying them as 'amrta' or 
'avinaW (imperishable), even in the times of the ancient Vedas, 
does not thereby suffer, 

The province of Adhyatma ( the philosophy of the Absolute 
Self ) does not end after deciding that in order that the Atman 
should acquire the Knowledge, which it acquires, of the 
various Name-d and Form-ed objects in the external world, 
there must be, in the external world, at the root of these various 
objectB, some ' some thing ' in the shape of a fundamental and 
permanent substance, which is the foundation or counterpart 
of such Knowledge, and that "otherwise it is impossible to 
acquire that Knowledge. Vedantins call this Permanent 
Substance, which is at the root of the external world, 
'Brahman' ; and, it is necessary to determine the form of this 
Brahman, if it is possible to do so. As this Eternal Substance, 
which is at the root of all Name-d and Form-ed things is 
imperceptible, its form can clearly not be perceptible, or sthula 
(gross), like the form of objects embodied in Name and Form. 
But if you omit objects which are perceptible and gross, yet, 
1 there are numerous other objects which are imperceptible, such 
' as, the Mind, Memory, Desire, Life, Knowledge etc. ; arid it is 
not impossible that the Parabrahman is of the form of any one 
of them. Some say that the Parabrahman is of the same form 
as Prana (Vital Force). The German philosopher Schaupenhaur 
has come to the decision that the Parabrahman is the embodi- 
ment of Desire. As Desire is a faculty of the Mind, the 
Brahman may, according to this opinion, be said to be made up- 
of -Mind (Tai. 3. 4). But, from what has been stated so far, 


one may say that : ' prajnamm brahma ' (Ai. 3. 3), or " vijnamm 
brahma" (Tai. 3. 5), i. e., "Brahman is the knowledge acquired 
by us of the diversity in the gross material world". Haegel's , 
doctrine is of that kind. But in the Upanisads, the form of 
the Brahman has been made to include sat, that is, the common 
quality of Existence possessed by all things in the world (or 
their ' sattasamanyatva ') as also Bnanda ( Joy ), along with 
Knowledge in the form of Consciousness (i. e.. cidrupi jnana)\ 
and the Brahman is said to be ' ' saetidananda in form. Another 
form of the Brahman is the OM-kara. The explanation of this 
form is as follows :-All the eternal Vedas first came out of the 
OM-kara; and in as much as Brahmadeva created the entile 
universe from the eternal words in the Vedas, after the. Vedas 
had come into existence (Gl. 17. 23; and Ma. Bha, San. 231. 56- 
-58), it is clear that there was nothing in the beginning except 
the OM-kara, and, therefore, the OM-kara is the true form 
■of the Brahman (Mandukya. 1 : Taitti. 1. 8). But, if you 
•consider the matter from the purely Metaphysical. pofnt; of 
view, all these forms of the Parabrahman possess more or less 
the character of Name and Form ; because, all these " forms are 
perceptible to human organs, and all that men come to know in 
this way, falls into the category of Names and Forms. Then, 
how is one going to determine the true form of that eternal, 
all-pervasive, homogeneous, permanent, and immortal Element 
<Gi. 13. 12-17), which is the foundation of these Names and 
Forms ? Some Metaphysicians say that this Element must for 
ever remain uncongnisable by our organs ; and Kant has even 
given up the further consideration of this subject-matter. In 
the Upanisads also, the uncognisable form of the Parabrahman 
has been described by saying "neti. «eft'"-that is. It is not 
something about which something can be told— the Brahman is 
beyond that ; It is not visible to the eyes ; and "yato vaco 
nivartante aprapya manasa saha", that is, "It is beyond speech 
and also beyond the Mind". Nevertheless, the philosophy of 
the Absolute Self has come to the conclusion that even in this 
difficult position, man can, by his Reason, determine the nature 
of the form of Brahman. We must first find out which one 
is the most superior and comprehensive of the various 
imperceptible things mentioned above, namely, Desire, Memory 


Determination, Hope, Life, Knowledge etc., and look upon 
the highest of them all as the form of the Parabrahman ; 
beoause, it is an indisputable fact that the Parabrahman is- 
the highest of all imperceptible substances. When one 
considers Desire, Memory, Hope, Determination etc. from this 
point of view, one sees, as has been shown in the chapter on the 
Body and the Atman, that these are all natural faculties of the 
Mind ; that the Mind is, therefore, higher than them all ; 
that knowledge is higher than the Mind ; that Reason is 
higher than Knowledge, as Knowledge is only an inherent 
faculty of Reason; and that ultimately that Atman 
of which the Reason is a servant, is the highest of 
all (Gl. 3. 42). If the Atman is higher than Desire, the 
Mind and the other imperceptible substances, it naturally 
follows, that the Atman must be the form of the Parabrahman. 
The same argument has been adopted in the seventh chapter 
of the Chandogyopanisad, and Sanatkumara has said to Narada, 
that the Mind is higher ibhuyas) than speech, Knowledge is 
higher than the Mind, and Strength (bala) is higher than Know- 
ledge; and in as much as, going up in this way, the Atman 
is the highest of all (bhuman), the Atman must bB the true 
form of the Parabrahman. From among English writers, 
Green has accepted this doctrine; but as his arguments are 
slightly different in nature, I will concisely mention them here 
in Vedantic terminology. Green says that there must be some 
substance uniformly underlying the various Names and Forms 
in the external universe, which (substance) is the counterpart 
of the Knowledge created by the Atman by synthesising the 
various impressions of Names and Forms made on the Mind 
through the organs; otherwise, the Knowledge resulting from 
the synthesis made by the Atman will be self-conceived and 
without foundation, and will fall flat like the Vijfiana-vada- 
We call this ' Something ', Brahman; but Green accepts the 
terminology of Kant, and calls it the Thing-in-itself (vastu- 
tattva) : this is the only difference between us and Green. In. 
any oase, the vastu-taltva (Brahman) and the Atman remain- 
ultimately the only two correlative things. Out of these,, 
although the Atman oannot be grasped by the Mind or by 
Reason, that is to say, although it is beyond the reach of the= 


organs, yet, taking as correct one's self -experience, we come 
to the conclusion that the Atman is not Gross, but is Thought- 
formed (cidrupi), or of the form of Consciousness (caitanya-npl). 
Having in this way determined the form of the Atman, we 
have next to determine the form of the Brahman. That Brahman 
or vastu-tattva is either (1) of the same form as the Atman 
or (2) is different in form from the Atman; these two things alone 
are possible; because, there is no third thing which now remains 
exoept the Brahman and the Atman. But, it is our experience 
that if any two objects are different in form, then their effects 
and products must also be different. Therefore, in any 
science, we determine whether two things are the same or 
different, by considering their effects. For instance, if the 
roots, rootlings, bark, leaves, flowers, fruits etc. of two trees 
are the same, we come to the conclusion that they are the same ; 
and if they are different, we say that the trees are different. 
When the same argument is applied in the present case, we 
see that the Atman and the Brahman must be uniform ; 
because, as has been mentioned above, the synthesis o£ the 
impressions created on the Mind by the various objects in the 
world, which (synthesis) results from the activity of the 
Atman, must be the counterpart of the synthesis of all the 
objects in the world made by the Brahman or vastu-tattia 
(whioh is the Root of those objects) by breaking up their 
diversity ; if not, all Knowledge will be without foundation 
and will fall flat. And, it now follows as a natural conclusion 
that though these two Elements, which arrive at two exactly 
similar syntheses may be in two different places, they cannot 
be different from each other ; and that, the form of the 
Brahman must be the same as the form of the Atman. * In 
short, from whichever point of view one considers the matter, 
it now follows that not only is the Brahman-Element under- 
lying the Names and Forms in the external world, not gross 
like Matter embodied in Names and Forms, but also the 
various forms of the Brahman, which are embodiments 
respectively of Desire, Mind, Knowledge, Life, Vital Force, or 
the logos OM-kara, are forms of a lower order, and the true 
form of the Brahman is beyond all of them and superior to 
* Green's Prolegomena to Ethics, §§ 26 to 36. 


all of them, that is to Bay, is of the form of the pure Atman. 
And it also follows from what has been stated in various 
places in the Glta on this subject, that the doctrine of the Glta 
is the same (Gl. 2. 20 ; 7. 7 ; 8. 4 ; 13. 31 ; 15. 7, 8). But, it 
must not be thought that this doctrine of the identity of the 
Brahman and the Atman was found out by our Bsis merely by 
some such logic ; because, as has been stated in the beginning 
of this chapter, no proposition can be definitely laid down in 
the philosophy of the Absolute Self by means of Reason alone 
and it must always be supported by self-experience. We also 
see even in the Material sciences, that we first get an expe- 
rience and later on come to know or find out the reasons for 
it. For the same reason, hundreds of years before the rational 
explanation for the identity of the Brahman and the Atman 
was found out, our ancient Rsis had first come to the conclu- 
sion that: "neha nanasti kimcava" (Br. 4. 4. 19; Katha. 4. 11), 
i. e„ "the diversity which is visible in this world is not real ", 
and that there is at the bottom of that diversity an Element 
which is one in all directions, immortal, imperishable, and 
permanent (Gi. 18. 20); and had, by introspection, arrived at the 
ultimate conclusion that the Imperishable Element clothed 
in Names and forms in the external world and the Atman- 
element to be found in our bodies, which is beyond Reason, 
are one and the same, that is, they are both homogeneous, 
immortal, and inexhaustible; or that whatever element is in 
the Cosmos (brahmay.da) also resides in the human body 
( pfada ); and in the Brhadaranyakopanisad, Yajnavalkya says 
to Maitreyl, to GargI, Varum and others, and to Janaka that 
this is the mystic import of Vedanta (Br. 3. 5-8, 4. 24). It has 
been stated earlier in the same TJpanisad, that he who has 
understood that "aham brahmasmi", i. e., "I am the Para- 
brahman", has understood everything (Br. 1. 4. 10); and in the 
sixth chapter of the Chandogyopanisad, the father of Svetaketu 
has explained to him this elementary principle of the Monistic 
(advaita) Vedanta in various ways. In the beginning of the 
ohapter Svetaketu said to his father.— "In the same way as 
one knows all the Name-d and Form-ed transformations of mud 
when he once knows what there is in a ball of mud. tell me 
that one thing by knowledge of which I will come to know 


about all things ; because, I do not know that one thing ". 
His father then explained to him by nine different illustra- 
tions, namely, of rivers, the sea, water, salt, eto. that: "that 
Element (tat) which is at the root of the visible world and 
thou (tvam), that is to say, the Atman in thy body, are one 
and the same thing; that is, "tat tvam asi"; and when thou 
hast understood what thy Atman is, thou wilt of thy own 
accord understand what is at the root of the Cosmos"; and 

every time, the canon "tb&tvam asi" "thou art that" 

is repeated (Chan. 6. 8-16). "tat tvam asi" is one of the 
important canons of Monistic Vedanta, and that is translated 
into Marathi by "jem pindim tern bi-ahmadm", i. e., "that 
which is in the Body, is also in the CogmofeV. 

We have, in this way, proved that~the Brahman is the 
same in form as the Atman. But, soTg&Mfe likely to think 
that because the Atman is believJijgfSpfe of the form of 
Consciousness (tidrupi), the Brahman 4|aKpf that form (i, e., 
ridrupi). It is, therefore, necessary to gjffKhere some further 
explanation of the true nature of tha^B^ftman, and at the 
same time of the true nature of the^Sjiman. eit or jnana 
(Knowledge) is a quality acquired by Reason— which is gross 
in nature — by contact with the Atman jjout. in as much as 
it is not proper to arrogate this quality ~! of. Reason to the 
Atman, one must, from the philosophical pointiof view, look 
upon the fundamental form of the Atman^&jualityless and 
unknowable. Therefore, though the Brahmmft of the same 
nature as the Atman, it is, according to sojrqjw) gome extent 
improper to say that both or either of these|iSof the same 
nature as tit (Consciousness or Enowledge).;J>*y^is not that 
their objection extends only to the Brahman and 'Atman being 
conscious in form ; but, it naturally follows;' (jb\at it is also 
not proper according to them to apply the adjective sat (Real) 
to the Parabrahman; because, sat and asat (Reality and 
Illusion) are two qualities, which are contrary to eaoh other, 
and always mutually dependent, and which are usually 
mentioned with reference to two different things. He who has 
never seen light, can never get an idea of darkness; and what 
is more, he cannot even imagine the couple (dmmdva) of light 
and darkness. The same argument applies to the couple of 


sat and asat (Real and Illusory). It is quite clear that when, 
we notioe that some objects are destroyed, we begin to divide 
all things into two classes of asat (perishable) and sat (non- 
perishable) ; or, in other words, in order that the human mini 
should conoeive the two ideas of sat and asat, it is necessary 
that these two opposite qualities should come before the human 
eyes. But, if there was only one substance i» the beginning,, 
how can one apply to this Fundamental Substance the two 
mutually dependent words sat and asat, which came into- 
existence by being applied to two different substances after 
duality had first come into existence ? Because, if you. 
call that fundamental substance, sat, then the question arises-- 
whether at that time (that is, before duality had come into- 
existence) there was in existence something else by the side of 
it. Therefore, in the Nasadlya-Sukta of the Rg-Veda, no- 
adjective is applied to the Parabrahman and the Fundamental 
Element of the universe is desoribed by saying : "in the 
commencement of the world, there was neither sat nor asat, but- 
whatever there waB, was one", and that the couples of sat and: 
asat came into existence afterwards (Rg. 10. 129) ; and it is- 
stated in the Gita that he whose Reason has become free from 
the doubles of sat and asat, hot and oold, etc. reaches the- 
nirdvamdva (beyond-doubles) sphere of the Brahman, which is 
beyond these doubles (Gl. 7. £8 ; Z. 45). From this it will be 
seen how difficult and subtle are the ideas in the phis.cwophy 
of the Absolute Self. If one considers the matter m:-rr]y from- 
the logical point of view, one is forced to admSv this un- 
knowability of the Parabrahman or of the Atra&n. But 
although the Parabrahman may, in this way, be qualityless 
and unknowable, that is, beyond the reach of the organs, yet,. 
as every man has a self-experience of his own Atman, it is- 
possible for us to get the self-experience that the indescribable 
form of this qualityless Atman which we realise by means of a 
visionary experience (saksatkara), is the same as of the* 
Parabrahman ; and therefore, the proposition that the- 
Brahman and the Atman are uniform does not become meaning- 
less. Looking at the matter from this point of view, it is 
impossible to Bay more about the form of the Brahman than- 
that : "the Brahman is the same in form as the Atman" : and 


one has to depend for all other things on one's own self- 
experience. But, in a scientific exposition which has to appeal- 
to Reason, it is necessary to give as much explanation as is- 
possible, by the use of words. Therefore, although the- 
Brahman is all-pervasive, unknowable, and indescribable, yet,, 
in order to express the difference between the Gross World 1 
and the Brahman-Element (which is the same in nature as the 
Atman), the philosophy of the Absolute Self considers the- 
quality of caitanya (Consciousness), which becomes visible to 
us in Gross Matter after its contact with the Atman, as the 
pre-eminent quality of the Atman, and says that both the 
Atman and the Parabrahman are cidrupi or caitanya-rupi 
(Conscious or Knowing, in form) ; because, if you do not do so, 
then, in as much as both the Atman and the Brahman are 
qualityless, invisible, and indescribable, one has, in describing 
them either tosit quiet, or, if someone else givessome description 
of them by means of words, one has to say : "neti neti I etasmad 
anyat param asti I ", i. e., "It is not this, this is not It (Brahman), 
(this is a Name and Form), the true Brahman is something 
else, which is quite beyond that", and in this way, do nothing 
else except restricting oneself to negatives (Br. 2. 3. 6). It 
is, therefore, that cit (Knowledge), sat ['sattamatratva or 
Existence) and ananda (Joy) are commonly mentioned as the- 
attributes of the Brahman. There is no doubt that these- 
attributes are much higher than all other attributes ; neverthe- 
less, these attributes have been mentioned for the only purpose 
of acquainting one with the form of the Brahman, as far a& 
it is possible to do so by words ; and it must not be forgotten 
that the true form of the Brahman is qualityless, and that onfr 
has to get a self-experience (aparoksawubhava) of it in order to- 
understand it. I shall now concisely explain what our 
philosophers have said regarding the way in whioh this self- 
experience oan be had, that is to say, in what way and when- 
this indescribable form of the Brahman is experienced by the 
brahma-mstha (the devotee of the Brahman). 

The identification of the Brahman with the Atman is 
described in Marathi by saying "what is in the pinfa (Body), 
is also in the brahmartda (Cosmos); and it logioally follows 
that when once a man has experienced this identity of the 


Brahman and the Atman, there can no more remain any 
difference between the jnata or observing Atman, and the jneya 
or the subject-matter to be seen. But, a doubt is likely to arise 
that if a man does not escape from his eyes and other organs, 
so long as he is alive, how can one get over the fact that these 
organs are different from the objects which are perceptible to 
the organs ? ; and, if one does not get rid of this difference, 
how is one to realise the identity of the Brahman and the 
Atman ? And, if one considers the matter only from the point 
■of view of the organs, these doubts do not at first sight seem 
improper. But, if you consider the matter deeply, it will be 
seen that the organs do not perform the function of seeing 
external objects of their own accord, "caksuh pasyati rupani 
manasa m tu caksusa" (Ma. Bha. San. 311.17) — in order to see 
anything (and also in order to hear anything etc.), the eyes (as 
also the ears etc.) require the help of the Mind. It has been 
stated before that if the Mind is vacant, objects in front of the 
eyes are not seen. "When one takes into account this common 
experience, one sees that if the Mind is taken out of the 
organs, the dualities in the obje'ots of the senses become non- 
existent to us, though they might exist in the external world, 
notwithstanding that the organs of eyes etc. are perfectly 
in order ; and it is easy to draw the inference that the Mind 
■will in this way become steeped in the Atman or in the 
Atman-formed BrahmaD, and one will begin to get a visionary 
experience {saksatkara) of the identity of the Brahman and the 
Atman. That man who has attained this mental state by 
meditation, mental isolation, worshipping in solitude, or by 
intense contemplation of the Brahman, will not perceive the 
dualities or differences in the visible world, although they may 
be before his eyes ; and then he realises the form of the sole 
(admita) Brahman of his own accord. In this beatific ultimate 
state, which is the result of the fullest Realisation of the 
Brahman, the three-fold difference, that is, tripuH of Knower, 
Knowable, and Knowledge, or the dual difference of worshipper 
and worshipped ceases to exist. Therefore, this state of the 
mind cannot be described by one person to another person ; 
because, it is dear that immediately on uttering the word 
'another', this state of mind is destroyed, and the man returns 


from the advaita (non-dual) into the dvaita (dual). Nay, it is 
even difficult for anybody to say that he himself has. 
experienced this state of mind 1 Because, as soon as you utter 
the word ' I \ there arises in the mind the idea of a difference 
from others, and such an idea is obstructive to the realisation of 
the identity between this Brahman and the Atman. It is for 
this reason that Yajnavalkya has described this state of beati- 
tude in the Brhadaranyaka as follows : — "yatra Id dvaitam iva 

bhavaHtad itara itaram pasyati jighrati irnoti 

vijanatH yatra tvasya sarvam atmaivabhut tat kena kam 

pasyet .jighret srnuyat vijaniyat\...vijmtm , am are 

kena vijamyat \ etauad are khalu, amrtatvam iti. I i. e., "so long as- 
the duality of the Observer and the observed existed, the one 
was seeing the other, smelling the other, hearing the other, and 
knowing the other ; but when everything assumes the form of 
the Atman, (that is, when there no more remains the- 
difference between oneself and another), then, who is to see, 
smell, hear or know whom ? man I how can there be 
another one to know him who is himself the Knower ? " (Br. 4. 
5. 15 ; 4, 3. 27). When everybody is in this way merged in 
the Atman or in the Brahman, or becomes atmabhuta or 
brahmabhuta, the doubles of pain and happiness, or fear, 
lamentation etc. cease to exist (Isa. 7) ; because, in order that 
one should feel feaT, or lament, the one to be feared ot lamented 
must be different from oneself, and there is no room for a 
difference of this kind, when one has realised the identity of 
the Brahman and the Atman. This state of being free from 
pain, lamentation etc. is called the 'anandamaya' state (the 
beatific state) ; and, it is stated in the Taittiriya Upanisad, 
that this amnda (joy or beatitude) is Brahman (Tai. 2. 8 ; 3. 6). 
But, even this description is not perfect ; because, where does 
the experiencer of this beatitude now remain any more ? It is, 
therefore, stated in the Brhadaranyakopanisad that Self- 
beatitude (atmananda) is something by far stranger than 
ordinary joy (Br. 4. 3. 32). Having regard to this insufficiency 
of the word 'omanda' (beatitude), which occurs in the 
description of the Brahman, the person who has realised the 
Brahman (bralima-vetta) is, in some other places, described only 
as "brahma bhavati ya evaiii veda" (Br. 4. 4, 25) or "brahma veda 


brahmaim bhavati" (Mun. 3. 2. 9) "he, who has realised the 

Brahman, has become the Brahman", that is to say, omitting the 
word 'ananda', from the description. In the same way as, after a 
lump of salt has been dissolved in water, the difference that 
one part of the water is saltish and another of it is not 
saltish does not remain, so also, once a man has realised the 
identity of the Brahman and the Atman, everything 
becomes merged in the Brahman. This beatific condition of 
the mind has been described in the Upanisads as above 
( Br. 2. 4. 12 ; Chan. 6. 13 ). But that saint Tukarama about 
whom was said "jayaci vade nitya vedanta vayV, ( i. e., " one 
whose voice always uttered Vedanta") has described his 
self-experience in the following words by taking the 
sweet illustration of jaggery instead of this other saltish 
illustration :— 

As jaggery is sweet I so has God come to be verywhere II 
Now whom shall I worship i God is inside as also outside II 

(Tu. Ga. 3637). 

This is what is meant by saying, that though the 
Parabrahman is imperceptible to the organs and unrealisable 
by the mind, yet it is 'svanubhawgamtja', that is, it can be 
realised by every man by his self -experience. The unknow- 
ability of the Parabrahman which is spoken of, belongs to the 
stage in which there is a Knower and a To-Be-Known; it 
does not belong to the phase of the Realisation of Non-dualism. 
So long as one has the feeling that he is something different 
from the world, it is not possible for a man, whatever he may 
do, to fully realise the identity of the Brahman and the 
Atman. But, although a river cannot swallow the sea, yet, 
it can fall into the sea and become merged into it ; so also, may 
a man dive into the Parabrahman and realise it; and then 
he reaches the Brahm-ised (brahmamaya) state of "sarva- 
bhutastham atmanam sarvabhutani catmani" ( Gl. 6. 29 ), i. e. 
"all created beings are within himself, and he is within all 
created things."' In order to explain that the full 
Realisation of the Brahman depends on one's own self- 
experience, the form of the Parabrahman has been skilfully 
and paradoxically described as follows : "avijnataih mjanatam 


■mjnaiam avijanataih" { Kena. 2. 3 ), " those who say that they 
have Realised the Parabrahman have not really Realised It; 
they alone have Realised It, who do not Realise that they 
have Realised It"; because, when a person says that he has 
Realised the Parabrahman, there is clearly in his mind the 
dual feeling that he ( the Jiiata ) is something different from 
the Brahman ( the Jneya ) which he has known, and, there- 
fore, his non-dual Realisation of the identity of the Stman 
.and the Brahman is, at this stage, to that extent, upripe or 
incomplete. Therefore, one who says this, admits by his own 
mouth that he has not really Realised the Brahman. On the 
other hand, when the dual feeling of T and 'Brahman' haB 
disappeared, and the identity of the Brahman and the Atman 
has been fully Realised, the words "I have understood That " 
■( that is, necessarily, something which is different from me ) 
.cannot be used. Therefore, when a man is in this condition, 
ihafc is to say, when the Realissr (jntini ) is unable to say that 
he has Realised the Brahman, he may be said to have Realised 
the Brahman. That a Realiser Bhould be thus totally merged, 
-engrossed, totally dissolved, saturated or dead into the 
Parabrahman, as a result of a total annhiliation of the feeling 
-of duality, would commonly be looked upon as difficult. But 
our philosophers have after personal experience come to the 
conclusion that this state of 'n/ruoiio' ( dissolution ), which at 
first sight appears difficult, can ultimately he reached by a 
man by practice (ablujasa) and by renunciation (vairSgya). 
.Some people raise an objection that in as much as the dual 
feeling of egoism is destroyed or dies in this state of mind, 
this is a kind of self-destruction. But any one can see that 
■this objection is without foundation, when one realises that 
.though a man cannot describe this state when he is experienc- 
ing it, yet, he can afterwards remember it.* But even a 

* This feeling of non-duality or of non-differentiation which 
results from meditation and concentration ia also experienced by 
smellin g a chemical gas called nitrous-oxide. This gas ia known as 
'laughing gas' (Bee Will to Believe and Other Essays on Popular 
Philosophy by William James, pp. 234-298 ). But the great 
difference between the two is, that this state is artificial, whereas 


stronger illustration than that is the experience of saints- 
Leave aside the self-experienoes of ancient siddha ( released ) 
souls. Even in modern times, Tukarama, that highest among 
the devotees of the Blessed Lord, has said : 

I saw my death by my own eyes I 
that spectacle was incomparable I 

(Ga. 3579). 
in describing this state of ultimate bliss in figurativa 
language, and with great exuberation and appreciation. By 
the worship of, and meditation on, the qualityful perceptible or 
imperceptible Brahman, the devotee gradually rises and 
ultimately reaches such a state that he Realises the identity of 
the Brahman and the Atman, which is described by the words 
"aham brahmasmi" (Br. 1. 4. 10), i. e., "I am the Brahman" ; and 
then he becomes steeped to such an extent in that state, that he 
does not think of what state he is in, or of what he is 
experiencing. In as much as he has not ceased to be awake, 
this his state cannot be called the dream-state or the sleeping- 
state ; and, it cannot be called a waking-state, as all the 
activities based on duality, which are carried on in the waking- 
state, are stopped. Therefore, this state is referred to as the- 
'turiya (fourth) state, which is different from the ordinary 
dreaming (svapna), sleeping (susupti) or waking ( jagrti ) states ; 
and as the 'nirviladpa' (i. e., in which there is not the slightest 
feeling of duality) form of meditation has been prescribed by 
the Patanjala Yoga as the principal means for reaching this 
state, it is stated in the Gita that one should spare no pains for 
acquiring by practice this 'nirvikalpa-samadhi-yoga' (GJ. 6. 20-23). 
This feeling of the identity of the Brahman and the Atman is 
the most complete state of Knowledge ; because, when the 
world becomes Brahmified (brahmarupa), that is, One in form, 
one has reached the climax of the process of knowledge which 
is described in the Gita by the words "avibhaktam vibhaktesu" 
— unifying that which is diverse — and it is not possible to get 
the state attained by self -absorption ( samadhi) is true and natural. 
But, I have mentioned this here, because the existence of a state 
of non-dual feeling ( abhsda-bhava ) can be proved by the evidence. 
of this artificial state of mind. 


•any further knowledge about anything. In the same way, 
when one has experienced this immortal Element which is 
beyond Name and Form, one automatically escapes the oyole 
of birth and death, since birth and death is included in the 
category of Name and Form, and such a man has gone beyond 
Name and Form (Gi. 8. 21). Therefore, Tukarama has referred 
to this state as "the death of death" (Ga. 3580) ; and 
Yajfiav&lkya has, for the same reason, referred to this state as 
the limit or climax of immortality. This is indeed the 'state 
of being released from birth' (jivan-muktamsthfi). It is Btated 
in the Patarijala Yoga-Sutras, and also in other books, that ia 
this state of mind, a man acquires superhuman powers like 
levitation etc. (Patarijala Su. 3. 16-55) ; and, it is on this 
account that some persons take to Yoga practices. But, as 
has been stated by the author of the Yoga-Vasistha, the power 
of levitation etc. is neither an ideal, nor any part of the state 
of a Brahman-engrossed (brahma-wstha), and the man who is a. 
Birth-released (jiwnmukta ) makes no attempt to acquire these 
powers, which very often are not to be seen in him (Yo. 5, 89). 
Therefore, not only are these powers not referred to in the 
Yoga-Vasistha, but one does not come across them anywhere 
even in the Glta. Vasistha has clearly said to Rama, that these 
wondertul powers are only tricks of Maya, and are not the 
science of the Brahman. They may be true ; I do not insist 
that they cannot be true, but in any case, they undoubtedly do 
not form part of the brahma-vidya (science of the Brahman). 
Therefore, the Brahma-Vidya science says that whether these 
powers are acquired or not, a man should pay no attention to 
them, nor entertain any hope or desire about them, but should 
exert himself only in such efforts as will be sufficient to enable 
him to reach the ultimate beatific Brahmified state, in which he 
feels that there is only one Atman in all created beings. 
Realisation of the Brahman is the purest state of Atman ; it is 
neither magic nor Mayic wonders ; and therefore, not only is 
the worth of the science of the Brahman not increased by such 
wonders, but they cannot be any proof of the worth of that 
science. Birds, or in these days even aeronauts, fly in the 
sky ; but, on that account no one considers them as knowers of 
the Br< hman. Nay, people, who have acquired the powers of 
4i— 42 


levitation mayj like Aghoraghanta in the Malati-Madhava,- be 
cruel and treacherous persons. 

The indescribable experience of the beatitude of realising 
the identity of the Brahman and the Atman cannot be fully 
related by one person to another; because, in doing so, one 
has to use the Dualistic phraseology of T and 'You', and 
one's entire experience of non-duality cannot be described in 
this Dualistic phraseology. Therefore, the dtscriptions of this 
ultimate state which are to be found in the Upanisads must 
also be considered incomplete or unimportant; and if these 
descriptions are unimportant, then the purely Dualistic 
descriptions, which are found given in the Upanisads for 
explaining the creation or the formation of the universe, must 
also be considered unimportant. For instance, the descrip- 
tions of the creation of the visible universe to be found in the 
Upanisads, that the qualityful Purusa, named Hiranyagar- 
bha, or the various perceptible objects in the world like 
apa ( water ) etc. gradually came into existence out of the 
pure, permanent, all-pervading and immutable Atman-formed 
Brahman; or that the Paramesvara first created these Names 
and Forms, and then entered them ( Tai. 2. 6; Chan. 6. 7. 3 ; 
Br. 1. 4. 7 ) etc., cannot be correct from the point of view of 
Non-Dualism; because, if the qualityless Paramesvara, 
realisable only by Knowledge, pervades everything, it is 
scientifically without foundation to say that one created the 
other. But, as the Dualistic phraseology is the only possible 
medium for explaining the formation of the universe to 
ordinary persons, the above mentioned descriptions of the 
perceptible universe, or of Names and Forms, have been given 
in the Upanisads. Nevertheless, even in these descriptions 
the substratum of Non-Dualism is, in many places, kept 
intact, and it is made quite clear that though the Dualistic 
phraseology has been used in the descriptions, Non-Dualism 
is the true doctrine. Just as, though we now definitely know 
that it is not the Sun which revolves, we still speak of the 
rising or the setting of the Sun, so also, although it was 
definitely known that one and only one Parabrahman, in the 
form of the Atman, pBrvades everything in all directions and 
without division, and that It is immutable, yet, we come 


across expressions like "the perceptible universe was created 
■out of the PaTabrahman" in the Upanisads ; and in the same 
way, also in the GIta, although the Blessed Lord has said: "My 
true form is imperishable and unborn" ( Gl. 7. 25 ), yet, He at 
the same time says, "I create the whole world" ( Gi. 4. 6 ). But 
some scholars, neglecting the meaning underlying these 
descriptions, and looking upon them as literally true and 
important, lay down the proposition that the Upanisads 
support the Dvaita ( Dualistie ) or Visistadvaita ( Qualified 
Monistic ) theory. They say that if one believes that there 
is only one qualityless Brahman which pervades everything, 
one cannot explain how the mutable, perishable, and quality- 
ful objects came into existence out of this immutable 
Brahman ; because, although one may describe the Name-d and 
Form-ed universe as ' Maya ', yet, in as much as it is logically 
impossible for the qualityful Maya to come into existence out 
■of the qualityless Brahman, the theory of Son-Dualism falls 
to the ground. Rather than that, it would be more proper 
{ i ) to accept as eternal a qualityful but perceptible form of 
the Name-d and Form-ed ' perceptible universe like Prakrti, as 
is done in Sarhkhya philosophy, and ( ii ) to imagine that at the 
innermost core of this Prakrti, there is another permanent 
element in the shape of the Parabrahman ( Br. 3. 7 ), just as 
there is steam in an iron engine, and ( iii ) to believe that 
these two Elements form a Unity like the grains in a pome- 
granate. But. in my opinion, it is not proper to ascribe this 
meaning to the Upanisads. It is true that the Upanisads 
contain descriptions which are sometimes Dualistie, and at 
other times purely Non-Dualistic, and that we have to reconcile 
them with each other. But, we cannot reconcile the various 
statements in the Upanisads with each other by accepting the 
Dualistie point of view, as satisfactorily as can be done by 
accepting the .Non-dualistic point of view, and saying that 
when the qualityless Brahman is taking up a qualityful form 
an illusory Dualistie state seems, only to that extent, to have 
come into existence. For instance, the words in the phrase 
^tat tvam asi' can never be satisfactorily explained from the 
Dualistie point of view. It is not that Dualists did not 
realise this difficulty. But these Dualists have analysed that' 


phrase by saying that 'tat tvam' means 'tasya tvam', that is r 
"Thau art OS That, which is something different from thee ; 
thou art not That Itself" ; and they have, in this way, somehow 
or other explained away this very important canon, and 
satisfied themselves. But those persons who understand even a 
little of Sanskrit, and whose minds are not perverted as a 
result of obstinacy, will at once see that this forced meaning i& 
not correct. In the Kaivalyopanisad (Kai. 1. 16), the terms 
'tat' and 'tvam' have been interchanged by analysing the phrase 
'tat tvam asi' as "sa tvamem tvameva tat" (i. e., "It is thou, 
thou art It"), and this canon has been proved to be in support 
of Non-Dualism. What more shall I say ? Unless one 
excises away the major portion of the Upanisads, or in- 
tentionally closes one's eyes to them, it is impossible to show 
that there is any other import in the Upanisad science except a 
Hon-Dualistic import. But, as these arguments are endless, I 
shall not further discuss the matter here. Those, who are 
in favour of any opinion other than the Non-Dualistic theory, 
aie perfectly welcome to accept it. I do not think that 
anything except a Non-Dualistic import could have been 
intended to be conveyed by those noble souls, who, after 
describing their self-experience in unmistakable terms by 
saying: "neha nariasti Mmcana" (Br. 4. 4. 19 ; Katha. 4. 11), i. e., 
"there is no diversity of any kind in this world", and that 
whatever there is, is fundamentally "ekamevadvitiyam" (Chan. 
6. 3. 2), i. e., "one only, without a second", have gone further 
and said : "mriyoh sa mrtyum apnoti ya iha rianeva pasyatC, that 
is, "he who sees diversity in this world, falls into the cycle of 
birth and death". But, though there is room for doubt 
whether all the Upanisads convey one and the same 
import, since there are different Upanisads of the 
different branches of the Vedas, one does not experience the 
same difficulty in the case of the Glta. As the Glta is a 
single work, it is clear that it expounds one kind of Vedanta ; 
and, when one considers what that Vedanta is, one has to 
interpret the Glta as expounding the Non-Dualistic doctrine 
that the only Reality is "That which remains over after all 
created things are destroyed" ( Gi. 8. 20), and Which pervades 
on all sides all the material bodies (piytfa ) as It pervades the 


Oosmos ( brahmaQiJa ), ( Gi. 13. 31 ). Nay, the principle of 
identifying everything with oneself (atmaupamya), which has 
been mentioned in the Giti, cannot be fully explained by any 
aspect of Vedanta other than a Non-Dualistic aspect. I do 
not mean to suggest that all the various philosophical 
speculations or doctrines, which were expounded at the time 
of Sri Sariikaracarya, or after him, in support of the Non- 
Dualistio theory, have been accepted m toto in the Gita. The 
Gita was in existence before the Dualistic, Non-Dualistic and 
the Qualified-Monistic doctrines had been formulated; and I 
also accept the position that the Gita cannot, on that account, 
contain any doctrinal arguments belonging to any particular 
sect. But this does not prevent one from saying that the 
Vedanta expounded in the Gita is generally of the Non- 
Dualistic kind supported by the Samkara Bchool ( the school of 
Sri Sariikaracarya ), and not Dualistic. But, although, from 
the point of view of philosophy, there is some common ground 
between the Gita and the Samkara school, yet, from the point 
of view of mode of life, the Gita gives higher importance to 
the doctrine of Action ( Karma-Yoga ) than to the doctrine 
of Renunciation of Action ( Karma-Samnyasa ) which is sup- 
ported by Sariikaracarya. But, this subject-matter will be 
•considered later on. What I am dealing with at present is 
the question of philosophy, and all that I have to say here is 
that this philosophy is of the same kind in the GltS as in the 
;Sarhkara school, that is, it is Non-Dualistic; and that is the 
reason why the Samkarabhaaya on the Gita is considered 
more valuable than the other doctrinal commentaries. 

When one has thus come to the conclusion that there 
remains behind only one immutable and qualityjess Element 
.after all Names and Forms are eliminated, from the point of 
view of Knowledge, and that one has, on that account, to 
accept Non-Dualism after full and minute consideration, it 
becomes necessary to explain how the variegated peroeptible 
/jualityful universe came into existence out of one qualityless 
and imperceptible Element, from the point of view of Non- 
Dualistic Vedanta. It has' been stated before that the 
Samkhyas have got over this difficulty by looking upon Matter 
with its three constituents (that is, qualityful Matter) as eternal 


and independent, in the same way, as the qualityless Spirit. 
But, if in this way one looks upon qualityful Matter as 
independent, the fundamental Elements of the world become 
two, and the theory of Non-Dualism, which has been un- 
conditionally accepted as correct for the various reasons 
mentioned above, comes into question ; and if one does not 
look upon qualityful Matter as independent, it becomes 
impossible to explain how the variegated qualityful universe 
came into . existence out of one fundamental qualityless 
substance ; because, the theory that it is not possible for the 
Qualityful to come into existence out of the Qualityless, 
that is to say, for something to come into existence out of 
something which does not exist — according to satkaryavada' 1 '— 
has also been accepted by Non-Dualists. In short, there is a 
difficulty on either hand. Then, how are we to get over this 
dilemma ? One must find out some way for explaining how 
the Qualityful came into existence out of the Qualityless 
without giving the go-bye to Non-Dualism, and that way seems 
to be closed to us by the theory of satkaryavada. True, the 
position is a difficult one. Nay ; according to some, this is 
the principal difficulty in the way of accepting Non-Dualism, 
and, on that account, they accept Dualism. But the Non- 
Dualists have, by their intelligence, found out a skilful and 
unquestionable way for getting over this difficult position. 
They say that the theory of satkaryavada or of the gvma- 
parinamavada f applies only when the cause cad the product 
are both of the same kind or class ; and on that account, even 
Non-Dualists will accept that the Real and Qualityless 
Brahman cannot give birth to a Real and Qualityful Maya; 
but, this admission is effective only when both the substances 
are Real ( satya ). Where one substanoe is Real, and the other 
one is only a reflection of it, satkaryavada does not apply. 
The Sarnkhyas consider Prakrti as an independent Real 
substance, in the same way as the Purusa. Therefore, they 
cannot, having regard to the theory of satkaryavada, account 
for the outcome of a qualityful Prakrti from a qualityless 
Purusa. But as the Non-Dualistic Vedanta holds that though 

* See p, 210 above. — Translator, t See p. 234 above.— Trans. 


Maya may be eternal, it is neither Real nor independent, but 
is, as stated in the Gita, a 'folly' (moha), an 'ignorance' 
■'( ajnana ), or an 'illusion ( rrinya ) seen by the organs', the objec- 
tion based on satkaryavada, does not in the least affect the 
Non-Dualistic doctrine. If a son is born to a father, we can 
say that he is the result of the guita-parinama of the father ; 
but when there is only one individual, namely, the father, and 
he is seen appearing sometimes in the guise of an infant, and 
sometimes of a young man, and sometimes of an old man, 
there does not exist, as we readily realise, the relation of cause 
and product, or of gum-parinama between the man and his 
various disguises. In the same way, when we have come to 
the conclusion that there is only one Sun, we say that the 
reflection of that Sun seen in water is a kind of illusion, 1 and 
that there is cot another Sun which has come into existence 
by guya-parinama ; and astronomy tells us that when once 
the true form of a planet has been defined by means of a 
telescope, that form of it which we see by the naked eyes, is 
only an appearance resulting from the weakness of our eyes 
and the immense distance of the planet from us. From this, 
it becomes clear that a particular thing cannot be looked 
upon as an independent, real, and existing thing, merely on 
account of the fact that it is actually perceptible to our eyes 
and other organs. Then, why should we not make use of the 
same argument in the philosophy of the Absolute Self, and 
say that the qualityless Parabrahman which has been 
defined by the telescope of the knowledgeful (spiritual) eyes- is 
the only thing which is Real, and that the Names and Forms, 
which are visible to the knowledgeless natural eyes, is not the 
product or result of, or something which has come out of, this 
Parabrahman, but is purely a deceptive and illusory 
appearance due to the incapacity of our organs 1 The objection 
that the Qualityful cannot come into existence out of the 
Qualityless can itself not be made here; because, the two 
substances do not belong to the same category, and whereas the 
one is Real, the other is merely an appearance ; and it is 
common experience, that, though there may be fundamentally 
one Real substance, the appearances of that same substance 
change according to the faulty vision, or the ignorance, or. the 


blindness of the perBon who Bees. Take, for instance, the two 

•qualities, namely, the words which can be heard by the ears, or 

the colours which can be seen by the eyes. Natural sciences 

Lave by minutely analysing the word or sound, which can be 

heard by the ears, clearly proved that 'sound' is nothing but 

waves or vibrations of the air. In the same way, it has now 

been determined by minute researches that the red, yellow, blue 

and other colours, which are visible to the eyes, are the evolutes 

of one fundamental sunlight, and that this sunlight itself is a 

kind of motion or vibration. If, although 'motion' or 

vibration is fundamentally one, the ears recognise it as 'sound' 

and the eyes as 'colour', then, the same argument being applied 

in a more comprehensive way to all the various organs, it 

follows that (i) the different human senses attribute (i. e., make 

an adhyaropa of ) the different qualities of sound, colour, etc., 

which (qualities) are embodied in Name and Form, to one and 

the same Fundamental Substance, and thereby various 

appearances come into being ; that (ii) it is not necessary for 

these appearances, qualities, or Names and Forms to exist in 

the Fundamental Substance ; and that (iii) the coming into 

existence of all Names and Forms can thus be logically 

explained without the help of the doctrine of satkaryavada. 

And in order to establish this proposition, VedSnta philosophy 

gives the various illustrations of a string being taken for a 

serpent, or a shell being taken for silver, or one thing 

being seen as two things by poking the finger 

under the eyeball, or the same substance being seen 

to be of different colours by the use of spectacles of 

different colours. It is true that a man will always 

perceive the various Names and Forms or qualities in the 

world, in as much as he can never get rid of his organs. 

But, this relative appearanoe of the world, which, is seen 

by the eyes of the organised human being, cannot be said 

to be the fundamental, that is, the non-relative and eternal 

form of the world. If human beings come to have fewer or 

more organs than they have at present, they may not see the 

universe in the same way as they now see it ; and, if this is 

true, then, on being asked to explain the eternal and real 

nature of the Element which is at the root of the world, 


•without reference to the organs of the person who sees, one 
las to answer by saying that the Fundamental Element is 
•quality less, and our seeing it as qualityful is the result of the 
nature of our organs, and not the quality of the Fundamental 
•Substance. Such questions do not arise in the Material 
sciences, because, in those sciences only such things are to be 
examined as are perceptible to the organs. But, from the 
fact that a man or his organs come to an end, we cannot 
conclude that the Paramesvara also comes to an end; nor 
•can we conclude from the fact that a man sees Him as 
being of a particular kind, that His Real, non-relative form, 
which is uncircumscribed by Time, is what the man sees. 
Therefore, in that philosophy of the Absolute Self in whioh 
one has to determine the fundamental form of the Reality 
which is at the root of the universe, one must give up the 
relative and dependent vision of the human organs, and one 
has ultimately to consider the matter purely by his spiritual 
vision, that is to say, as far as possible, by Reason only; 
and when that is done, all the qualities which are perceptible 
to the organs automatically drop off; and one sees that the 
real form of the Brahman is beyond the reaoh of the organs, 
that is, qualityless; and that that form is a super- excellent 
form. But who is going to describe that which is qualityleBs 
and how?. Therefore, the Non-Dualist Vedanta haB laid 
down the proposition that the ultimate, that is to 
say, the non-relative and eternal form of the Parabrahman 
is not only qualityless but indescribable, and that, man sees 
a qualityful appearance, in this qualityless form, by 
reason of his organs. But, here again a question arises as to 
how the organs have acquired the power of changing the 
Qualityless into the Qualityful. The reply of the Non-Dualist 
Vedanta to this is : as human knowledge stops at this stage, 
one has either to say that this must be called the ignorance 
of the organs, and that their seeing the appearance of the 
•qualityful universe in the qualityless Parabrahman is due to 
that ignorance ; or, one has to oontent oneself with drawing 
the definite inference that the visible universe (Prakrti) is 
only a ' divine illusion ' of the qualityless Paramesvara, since 
the organs themselves are part of the creation of the Para- 


mesvara (Gi. 7. 14). My readers will understand from this the> 
import of the statements in the Gita (Gi. 7. 14, 24, 25) that- 
though the a-pmbuddha, that is, those who see merely by the 
physical organs, see the Paramesvara to be perceptible and 
qualityful, yet, His real and excellent form is quality less ^ 
and that Realising that form by spiritual vision is the climax 
of Knowledge. But though, in this way, one arrives at the 
conclusion that the Paramesvara is fundamentally qualityless,. 
and that the human organs see in Him the variegated 
appearance of the qualityful universe, yet, it becomes necessary 
to precisely explain in what meaning the word ' qualityless * 
has to be taken in this proposition. It is true that though 
our organs attribute the qualities of sound, colour etc., to 
vibrations of air, or mistake a shell for silver, the vibrations 
of air do not possess the quality of sound or colour, nor does- 
the shell possess the quality of silver ; but, from the fact that 
the Fundamental Substance does not contain the particular 
attributed qualities, one cannot draw the necessary conclusion 
that It will not possess other qualities. Because, as we actually 
see, though the shell does not possess the quality of silver, yet,. 
it possesses some qualities other than those of silver. Tbis, 
therefore, gives rise to the following difficulty, namely, though 
one admits that the fundamental Brahman does not possess the 
qualities which are ascribed to it by one's organs as a 'result 
of one's ignorance, how can one be sure that the Parabrahman 
does not possess other qualities ; and if it possesses other 
qualities, how is it qualityless ? But, if one considers the 
matter a little minutely, it will be seen that even assuming 
the fundamental Brahman to possess qualities other than those 
ascribed to it by the organs, how are we going to find them 
out f The qualities which a man perceives are perceived by 
him through the medium of his organs ; and those qualities, 
which are not perceptible to the organs, cannot be known. In 
short, even if the Parabrahman possesses some qualities other 
than those which are ascribed to it by our organs, it is not 
possible for us to know them ; and saying that the Para- 
brahman does possess qualities is illogical, if it is impossible 
for us to know those qualities. Therefore, Vedantists 
understand the word ' guna ' as meaning 'qualities which 


aie knowable by human beings 1 , and formulate the proposition 
that the Brahman is ' quality less ' in this sense. Non-dualistic 
Vedanta does not say that the fundamental Parabrahman 
cannot possess qualities or powers which are beyond the 
imagination of human beings, and no one, as a matter of fact, 
can say that. Nay, even the Vedantists say that the ignorance 
of the organs or Maya, which was mentioned above, must be 
an unimaginable power of that fundamental Parabrahman. 

The three-constituented Maya or Prakrti is not some 
independent substance ; but, what happens is that the human 
organs, as a result of ignorance, ascribe (make an adhyaropa 
of) a qualityful appearance to one homogeneous, and quality- 
less Brahman. This theory is known as ' VIVARTA-VADA '. 
The explanation given by the Non-Dualistic Vedantists as to 
how the variegated qualityful universe first came to be seen* 
if the qualityless Brahman was the only Fundamental 
Substance, is as follows . — The Kanada Nyaya philosophy 
propounds the doctrine that innumerable atoms are the funda- 
mental cause of the universe, and the followers of Nyaya 
philosophy consider these atoms to be Real. They have,, 
therefore, come to the conclusion, that the various objects in 
the world begin to come into existence when these innumerable 
atoms begin to ooalesce. As according to this theory, the 
universe starts to come into existence when the union between 
the atoms commences to take place, it is called ' Ararhbha-vada ' 
(the Theory of Commencement). But Samkhya philosophy 
does not aooept this Nyaya theory of innumerable atoms, and 
says that the Fundamental Root of the Gross world is ' one, 
homogeneous, real, and three-constituented Prakrti '; and they 
say that the perceptible world comes into existence as a result 
of the unfurling or pariijama of the constituents of this three- 
constituented Prakrti. This doctrine is known as the ' Ouna- 
parinama-vada ' (Theory of the Development of Constituents), 
because, it maintains that the -entire perceptible universe is the 
result of the unfurling of the constituents of one fundamental 
qualityful Prakrti. But both these theories are negatived by 
the, Non-Dualistic Vedantists. As atoms are innumerable, 
they cannot be the Boot of the world according to Non- 
Dualism ; and the Dualistio theory, that though Prakrti is one, 


it is different from Purusa and independent, ia also incon- 
sistent with Non-Dualism ; but, when in this way, both these 
theories are negatived, it becomes necessary to explain how the 
qualityful universe came into existence out of one qualityless 
Brahman ; because, according to the satkaryavada, the Quality- 
ful cannot come into existence out of the Qualityless. To this, 
the reply of the Vedantists is, that the doctrine of 
satkaryavada applies only where both the Cause and the 
Product are Real substances ; where the fundamental 
substance is one, and only its forms or appearances are 
changed, this theory does not apply; because, as is common 
experience, seeing various appearances of one and the same 
thing is not a quality of that thing, and these various 
appearances can come into existence as a result of the 
difference in the vision of the persons who see. * When 
this theory is applied to the qualityless Brahman and the 
qualityful universe, one has to say that the Brahman is 
•qualityless, and that an appearance of qualityfulness 
comes into existence in it, as a result of the nature of 
the human organs. This is known as the ' Vivarta-vada. ' 
According to Vivarta-vada, there is believed to be only one, 
fundamental, Real substance, and it is said that numerous, 
unreal or constantly changing Appearances are ascribed to it ; 
•and in the Guna-parinama-v&da, two Real susbtances are 
taken for granted from the very commencement, and it is said 
that the Gunas ( constituents ) of one of these t<" become 
unfurled, and that all other things in the uniyss* which are 
possessed of various qualities come into existence in con- 
sequence. The impression of the existence of a serpent, where, 
as a matter of fact, there is only a string, is the Vivarta-vada ; 
and, fibres being formed into a rope, or curds out of milk, is 
the Guna-parinama-vada. Therefore, in the book called 
Vedantasdra, these two theories are described and differentiated 
..between in the following words : — 

yas tattviko 'nyathab/iavah parinama udiritah l 

ataitviko 'nyathabhavo vivartah sa udfrifafc II ( Ve. Sa. 21 ). 

^0 * To explain this meaning in English, we have to say : 
pTippearances are the results of subjective conditio n, viz., the 
. senses of the observer, and not of the Thing-in-itoeli 


that is, "when from one fundamental substance, another 
substance of a different nature comes into existence essentially, 
that is, really, that is called (guya- ) jnriyiama; but when- 
instead of this, the fundamental substance looks something- 
different I atattvika ), it is said to be vivarta". The Ararhbha- 
vada is the theory of the Nyaya school, the Guna-parinama- 
vada is the theory of the Samkhya school, and the Vivarta- 
vada is the theory of the Non-Dualist Vedanta school. The- 
Non-Dualist Vedantists do not look upon the two qualityful. 
substances, atoms and Prakrti, as different from or independent 
of the qualityless Brahman ; but by their doing so, the- 
objection that the Qualityful cannot spring out of the Quality- 
less arises on account of satkarya-vada ; and in order to get 
rid of that objection, the Vivarta-vada has come into existence. 
But, the conclusion drawn by some, that, on that account the- 
Vedantists will not at any time or cannot acoept the Guna-- 
parinama-vada is wrong. The principal object of the Vivarta- 
vada is to show that (i) the objection of the Sarhkhyas, or of other 
Dualists against Non-Dualism, namely, that the qualityful' 
Prakrti or Maya cannot spring out of the qualityless Brahman,, 
is not impossible to answer, and that (ii) it is possible for our- 
organs to see innumerable Mayic (illusory) appearances in one- 
qualityless Brahman. "When this object has been achieved, that, 
is to say, when it has been proved by Vivarta-vada, that it is 
possible to see the Appearance of the three-constituented* 
qualityful Prakrti in one qualityless Parabrahman, Vedanta 
philosophy has no objection to accept that the further develop- 
ment of that Prakrti has taken place according to the Guna- 
parinama-vada. The chief doctrine of Non-Dualistic Vedanta. 
is that the fundamental Prakrti is an Appearance, or an> 
Illusion, and that it is not Real. But once this first, 
Appearance of Prakrti begins to be seen, Non-Dualist 
Vedantists have no objection to accept that the appearances,. 
which are subsequently evolved from this one original 
Appearance, are not-independent ; and to acoept that the-, 
qualities of one appearance spring out of the qualities of 
another appearance, and that, in this way, appearances possess- 
ing various qualities have come into existenoe. Therefore, 
although the Blessed Lord has said in the Glti. that 


"'Prakrti is nothing but My Maya" (Gl. 7. 14 ; 4. 6), the Gita 
itself also says that this Prakrti, which has become imbued 
with or inhabited by the Paramesvara (Gl. 9. 10), is further 
developed according to the rule "ffuya gunesu vartanle" (Gl. 3. 
28 ; 14. 23). From this it will be clear, that when once the 
appearance of Maya has taken place in the fundamentally 
<raalityless Brahman acoording to Vivarta-vada, the principle 
■of gunotkarsa (Development of Constituents) has been accepted 
even by the Gita for explaining this Mayic appearance, that is, 
this further development of Prakrti. It is not that because 
you say that the entire visible world is a Mayic appearance, 
therefore, there cannot be some such rule like gunotkarsa 
■which controls the changes in form which take place in this 
Appearance. Vedantists do not wish to deny that the further 
development of this Mayic appearance iB bound by rules. All 
that they say is that these rules are also Mayic, like the funda- 
mental Prakrti, and that the Paramesvara is the Over-Lord of 
all these Mayic rules, and is beyond them, and that it is by 
His power that some sort of permanence or regularity has 
come into these rules. It is not possible for the qualityful, 
that is, perishable Prakrti, which is in the form of an 
Appearance, to lay down rules which are not circumscribed by 

From the foregoing discussion, my readers will understand 
the nature and the mutual relationship between the Jiva 
{personal self) and the Paramesvara (the Absolute Tsvara), or 
according to Vedantic terminology, between Maya (that is, 
the universe which has been brought into existence by Maya), 
the Atman, and the Parabrahman. From the point of view 
of the philosophy of the Highest Self, all the things in the 
universe are divided into two classes, namely, 'Names and 
Forms, and the Eternal Element ' ( nitya-tattm ) clothed in 
those Names and Forms. Out of these, ' Names and Forms ' 
are known as the qualityful Maya or Prakrti. But when you 
eliminate the Names and Forms, the Eternal Element (nitya- 
dravya) which remains, must be qualityless; because, no 
juality can exist without the support of a Name and Form. 
This eternal and imperceptible Element is the Parabrahman ; 
and- the weak organs of human beings see the qualityful 


Maya as a growth out of this qualityless Par.abrahman. This 
Maya is not a Real substance, and it is only the Patabrahman 
which is Real, that is, uueircumseribed by Time, and 
nevet-changing. These are the doctrines which relate to 
the nature of the Names and Forms of the visible universe 
and the Parabrahuian clothed by them. Now, when the 
human being is viewed from the same point of view, it is 
seen that the human body and organs are substances defined 
by Name and Form, like other substances in the visible world, 
that ia to say, that they fall into the category of the 
non-permanent Maya ; and that the Annan, which is clothed 
by this Body and organs, falls into the category of the 
eternal Parabrahman ; or, that the Brahman and the A-.ftman 
are^ona and the same. My readers must have now noticed 
the differsnos between these Non-Daalifitic doctrines, 
which do not look upon the external world as an independent 
substance in this sense, and the Buddhistic doctrinasv 
Buddhists, who believe in the v"ijaaiia-vada, gay that the 
external world does not exist at all, and that Jftaaa 
( Knowledge ) alone is Real : and Vedantists look lipon sflly 
the ever-changing Names and Forms of the external universe 
as-unreal, and say that under these Names and Forms, as also 
in the human body, there is, in both cases, one and the same 
Mman-formBd Substance; and that this homogeneous Atman- 
Element is the ultimate Reality. In the same way, Samkbya 
philosophy has accepted xhe synthesis of the diversity of 
created things by the law of ' 'aribfioklam abhnlctefsu," only so' 
far as it applies to Gross Matter; but, as the Vedantists have 
got over this difficulty of the vtfkiir'jaivda. and established the 
doctrine that "whatever U in the Bziy, is also in the Oosmos," 
■the innumerable Purusas and the Prakrti of Samkbya 1 
philosophy have, in Vedanta, philosophy, been comprised in 
one Paramatman by the principle of Non-Dualism (admita) 
or Non-Division ( atibhaga ). The purely Materialistic 
philosopher Haeckel was, it is true, a Non-Dualist. But he 
includes even Consciousness ( mifw/n ) in Gross Matter, and' 
Vedanta philosophy doeg not give pre-eminence to the Gross, 
but proves that the immortal and independent' Tnougfht- 
tformed M<fc-BpO-Paratoahman, which is uncirfaamscribed 


by Time or Space, is the Fundamental Boot of the world : this- 
is the most important difference between the Non-Dualism of 
of the philosophy of the Absolute Self and the Gross-Non- 
Dualism (jadddwifa) of Haeokel. The same doctrines of 
Non-dualistic Vedinta have been mentioned in the Glta ; and 
an ancient poet has summarised the Non-Dualistic Vedanta 
philosophy very concisely as follows : — 

UoMrdhena pravaksyami yaduktam granthakolibhih I 
brahma gatyam jagan mithyajivo brahmaim naparah II 

that is, "I will explain in half a stanza the summary of a 
million books— (1) the Brahman is Beal, {%) the world (jagat )' 
that is, all the Names and Forms in the world, are rmthya, or 
perishable, and (3) the Atman of a man and the Brahman are- 
fundamentally ONE and the same, and not two. " If anybody 
does nob appreciate the word 'mithya' in this stanza, he is quite 
welcome to read the third section of the stanza as 'brahmamriant 
jagat satyam\ consistently witb the Brhadaranyakopanisad;- 
thereby, the purport does not change at all as has beeri stated' 
before. Nevertheless, many Vedantists enter into a fruitless 
discussion as to whether the invisible but eternal Fundamental 
Element of the visible world, in the shape of the Brahman,, 
should be called sat (satya) or asat (asatya=anrta). I shall, 
therefore, explain here concisely what the underlying principle 
in this discussion, is. This discussion has come into existence- 
because the word sat or satya haB two different meanings ; and 
if one first carefully considers in what meaning the word sat 
has been used by any particular person, no confusion will 
arise ; because, everybody acoepts tho -"'jtinotion that though- 
the Brahman is invisible, it is Reai , and that though the 
Name-d and Form-ed Cosmos is visible, yet, it is ever-changing. 
The ordinary meaning of the word sat or satya is : (1) that 
whioh is, at the moment, actually visible to the eyes, that is 
to say, perceptible (whether this visit's appearance of it,, 
does or does not change to-morrow) ; and the other meaning of 
that word is : (2) that of which the nature always remains the 
same, and never changes, notwithstanding that it is invisible- 
to the eyes, i e., imperceptible. Those who aooBpt the first 
meaning say, that the Name-d and Form-ed world whioh is. 


visible to the eyes is satya (visible) and that the Parabrahraan 
is just the opposite, that is, it is not visible to the eyes and 
therefore, asat or asatya (invisible). Fop instance, in the 
Taittirlyopanisad, the visible world has been called 'sat', and 
that which is beyond the visible world, has been oalled ' tyai ' 
(THAT, that is, which is beyond) or 'anrta ' (invisible to the 
eyes) ; and the Brahman is described by saying that that 
substance which was in existenca at the commancemant of the 
world has bacoma two-fold as follows:— "sicca tyaccfibh wat \ 
niruktam alniniktam ca I nilayanam canilw/anaiii ca I vijaanan 
cavijUanam ca\ satyani canrtam ci\" (Tai. 2 6), that is: "It 
became " sat (visible to the eyes) and That (which is beyond) ; 
describable and indescribable; dependant and independent; 
known and unknown (unknowable) ; and real (visible) and 
invisible ". But though the Brahman has in this way been 
described as ' anrta ', the word anrta does not mean false 
or unreal ; but later on, in the Taittiriyopanisad itself, it 
is stated that " this anrta (invisible) Brahman is the ' pratistha ' 
(support) of the world, that it does not depend on anything 
else, and that he who has realised this need not fear 
anything". From this it is clear, that though there is a 
difference in words, there is no difference in the intended 
meaning. In the same way, it is ultimately said that " asadva 
idam agra asit", that is, "this world was as 2t (Brahman) in 
the beginning" ; and, a3 stated in the Jjtg-Veda (10. 129. 4), the 
sat, that is, the Name-d and Form-ed perceptible world, is said 
to have subsequently grown out of it (Tai. 2. 7). From this, 
it becomes quite clear that the word 'asat' has been used here 
only in the meaning of avyakta, that is, not visible to the eyes ; 
and in the Vedanta-Sutras, Badarayanacarya has interpreted 
those words in the same meaning ( Ve. Si. 2. 1. 17). But, those 
who interpret the word 'sat' or 'satya, as meaning existing 
permanently, or ever-lasting, though not visible to the eyes 
(which is the second of the two meanings mentioned above), 
give to the invisible but immutable Parabrahman the name 
sat or satya and call the Name-d and Form-ed Maya, aiat or 
asatya, i. e., perishable. For instance, there is a description in 
the Chandogya that: "saddva saumyedam agra asit 
katham asatah sajjayeta", that is, "0 my son 1 this world was 


originally sat (Brahman) ; how can 'sat', that is, that which 
exists, come into existence out of something which is asat, that 
is, which never was in existence ? " (Chan. 6. 2. 1, 2). But in 
this Chandogyopanisad itself, the Parabrahman has in one 
place been called 'asat.' in the sense of avyakta, that is. 
imperceptible (Chan. 3. 19. 1). * This confusing method 
by which the same Parabrahman was at different times and 
in different meanings given the mutually contradictory 
names of once 'sat' and at another time 'asat' — which was a 
method promoting verbal warfare, though the intended 
import was the same — gradually wore out; and ultimately, 
ithe one terminology of calling the Brahman sat or satya, i. e., 
eternally lasting, and the visible world asat or perishable, has 
become fixed. In the Bhagavadgita, this ultimate terminology 
las been accepted and in the second chapter, the Parabrahman 
has been described as sat and imperishable, and Names and 
tforms are described as asat, that is, perishable, in those 
meanings of those words ( Gl. 2. 16-18); and the same iB the 
doctrine of the Vedanta-Sutras. Nevertheless, the old 
terminology of the Taittiriyopanisad of referring to the visible 
world as 'sat' and to the Parabrahman as 'asat' or as 'tyat' 
{ THAT = that which is beyond ) has not been totally exter- 
minated ; and what the original meaning of the description 
of the Brahman in the Gita ( Gl. 17. 23 ) as 'OM-Tat-Sat' must 
bave been, can very clearly be seen by reference to the old 
terminology. 'OM' is a Vedic prayer in the form of a mystic 
■word, and it has been explained in various ways in the 
Upanisads ( Pra. 5 ; Man. 8-12; Chan. 1. 1. ). 'tat' means 'THAT', 
that is, the indescribable Element which is far beyond the 
visible world, and 'sat' is the visible world which can be seen 
by the eyes ; and this canon means that these three together 
constitute the Brahman. And it is with this import that the 

* Even among the English writers on Metaphysics, there is a 
difference of opinion as to whether the word real, i. e„ sat should 
be applied to the appearance of the world (Miba) or to the vastu- 
tailva (Brahman). Eant looks upon the Appearance as sat real) and 
■calls the vastu-tattm, imperishable. But, Haeckcl, Green and others 
call the Appearance, asat (unreal), and the vastu-tattva, sat (real). 


Blessed Lord has said in the Glta ( Gl. 9. 19 ; that "sad asac- 
•caham arjum", that is, "sat is the Parabrahman and asat is 
the visible world, and I am both". Still, in as much as the 
Glta propounds the Earma-Yoga, it has been explained at the 
-end of the seventeenth chapter that by taking the word 'sat' 
in the canon, OM-Tat-Sat, as meaning Action, which is good 
-from the point of view of respectability, or which has been 
done with a good intention, or of which the result is good, 
and by taking the word 'tat' as meaning, Action, which is 
beyond the above-mentioned Action, that is, which has been 
performed by giving up the desire for fruit, as and when 
occasion arises to use that canon, the doctrine of Karma-Yoga 
can be fully supported on the basis of this description of the 
Brahman. As that which has been referred to as 'sat' in the 
canon, is nothing else but the visible world, that is to say, 
Karma (See the next chapter), this interpretation of the 
■definition of the Brahman in terms of Karma, easily arises 
out of the original interpretation. There are to be found in the 
■Upanisads other descriptions of the Brahman than 'om-tatsat', 
" neti neti ', ' saccidamnda ' and ' satyasya satyam '; but as they 
are not necessary for understanding the meaning of the Glta, 
I have not given them here. 

When the mutual relationship between the Cosmos {jagat), 
the personal Self (jiva) and the Paramesvara (Paramatman) 
'have been explained in this way, it becomes quite clear in 
-what sense one has to take the word ' ansa ' used by the 
Blessed Lord in the phrases " the Jiva is an 'amsa' of Myself " 
iQl. 15. 7), and "I have pervaded the whole of this world by one 
*amsa'" (Gl. 10. 42) in the Bhagavadgita, and also used by 
Badarayanacarya in the Vedanta-Sutras (Ve. Su. 2. 3. 43 ; 4. 4, 
19), or the word ' pada ' used in the Purusa-Sukta in the line 
'" pado 'sya visva bhutani tripud asyamrtam divi "—'the jagadatman 
(the Cosmic-Self) Which has pervaded the moveable and the 
immoveable, and yet remained over ten fingers '. Although 
the Paramesvara or the Paramatman is all-pervading, yet, 
as It is unorganised, homogeneous, and devoid of Name and 
T?orm, that is to say, uncuttable ( acchedya ) and immutable 
iavikarya), it is impossible to break It up into individual pieces 
<Gi. 2. 25). Therefore, in order to distinguish between this 


homogeneous Parabrahman which pervades everything on all 
sides, and the Atman within the body of a man, one has to 
say in common parlance that the ' sarira-atman ' (the Atman 
within the body) is an ' amsa ' (part) of the Parabrahman. 
Yet, the word ' amsa ' or ' part ' has not to he taken in the 
meaning of ' an independent piece which has been cut- 
out ', or ' one of the grains taken out of the numerous grains 
in a pomegranate ' ; and it must be taken in its elementary 
meaning to indicate that the Atman is a part of the 
Parabrahman in the same way as ether ( akaia ) in the house or 
in an earthenware pot ( matliakusa, ghatakasa ) are parts of an 
all-pervading ether ( See AmrtabindQpanisad 13 ). The 
Samkhya Prakrti, and the homogeneous element accepted by the 
Materialistic Gross-Non-Dualism of Haeckel, are in the same 
way qualityful, that is, limited, parts of the Real qualityless 
Paramesvara. Nay, whatever perceptible or imperceptible 
fundamental element is arrived at according to the 
Materialistic sciences, (then may it be how much soever 
comprehensive like ether), it is only a Name and Form broken 
in upon by Time and Space, that is to say,, it is perishable and 
limited. It is true that it has occupied the Parabrahman to 
the extent of its capacity, but instead of the Parabrahman 
being thereby in any way limited, It has fully pervaded and 
saturated the former and one cannot gauge to what extent It 
remains over. Although the words ' dasamgula ' (ten fingers), 
or ' tripada ' (three steps) have been used in the Purusa-Sukta 
in order to indicate to what extent the Paramesvara has gone 
beyond the visible universe, yet, they are to be taken as 
meaning 'ananta' (endless); because, striotly speaking, 
Space and Time, weights and measures, and even numbers are 
only kinds of Names and Forms ; and it has been shown 
above that the Parabrahman is beyond all these Names and 
Forms. Therefore, the Parabrahman has been described in the 
ITpanisads as, that Element which swallows up or absorbs 
' kala ' (Time), which ' kula ' has swallowed up everything 
(Mai. 6. 15) ; and the same is the purport conveyed by the 
descriptions to be found in the Glta and in the Upanisads of 
the habitation of the Paramesvara, such as, " na tad bhasayate 
mryo na sasamko na pavakah ", that is, " there is no such 


luminary object like the Sun or the Moon or Fire for illumi- 
nating the seat of the Paramesvara, who is self-illumined" 
(01. 15. 6 ; Katha. 5. 15 ; Sve. 6. 14). The Sun, the Moon, the 
stars, etc., are Name-d and Form-ed perishable objects. That 
self-illumined Knowledge-filled Brahman which is "jyotisam 
jyotih " (Gl. 13. 17 ; Br. 4. 4. 16)— that is, " brilliance of 
brilliance " — extends endlessly beyond all of them ; and it is 
stated in the Upanisads that not only does It not depend 
on any other luminary objects, but whatever light is possessed 
by the Sun, the Moon etc., is obtained by them from this self- 
illumined Brahman (Mun. 2. 2. 10). Take the most subtle or 
the most distant object, which is made perceptible to the organs 
by instruments invented by Material sciences; it is but the 
world denned by Name and Form, which is circumscribed by 
the limitations of Time and Space. As the true Paramesvara 
is in them, and yet different from and more comprehensive 
than all of them, and also homogeneous and uncircumscribed 
by the bonds of Names and Forms, that is to say, as He is 
independent, it is not possible for the devices or instruments of 
Material sciences, which consider merely Names and FormB, to 
find out the ' amrta-tattva ' (imperishable Element) which is the 
Boot of the world, though they might beoome a thousand times 
more subtle or comprehensive than they are at present. That 
imperishable, immutable and undying element must ultimately 
be found out by the Path of Knowledge shown in the 
philosophy of the Absolute Self. 

From the exposition of the principal doctrines of the 
philosophy of the Absolute Self and their concise scientific 
explanation given so far, it will be clear why all the 
perceptible Name-d and Form-ed appearances of the 
Paramesvara are Mayic or perishable, why His imperceptible 
form is superior to them, why His qualityless form, that is, the 
form undefined by Name and Form, is still superior, and why 
it is stated in the Gita that the qualityless form seems quality- 
ful as a result of ignorance. But this work of setting out 
these doctrines in words can be easily done by anyone who has 
acquired a little knowledge like me; there is nothing much in 
that. In order that these doctrines should be impressed on the 
mind, engraved on the heart and ingrained in one's flesh and 


bone after they have been understood, and that one should 
thereby fully realise that there is only one Parabrahman 
which saturates all living things ; and in order that by reason, 
of such feeling, one should acquire an immutable mental frame 
which will enable one to behave with equability towards 
everybody in times of misfortune, it is necessary to have 
the continual additional help of impressions acquired during, 
numerous births, control of the organs, persevering practice, 
meditation, and worship. Therefore, the summary of all the 
above doctrines, and the highest doctrine of the philosophy 
of the Absolute Self is : only that man may be said to have 
become fully saturated with the knowledge of the Brahman 
in whose every action the principle, "there ie only one Atman 
in all created things", has become naturally and clearly 
visible, even in times of distress ; and such a man alone get& 
Release ( Gi. 5. 18-20; 6. 21, 22). The ' earthenware pot' of 
that man in whom such behaviour is not to be seen is to that 
extent imperfectly or insufficiently 'baked', in the fire of the 
Knowledge of the Brahman. This is the difference between 
real saints and mere Vedantists; and, therefore, in describing 
Knowledge, it is stated in the Glta that true Knowledge may 
be said to have been acquired, when noble emotions like 
"humility (amamtoa), peaceful ness (santi), self-control. 
(atmanigraha), equability of mind (samabuddhi)" are awakened,. 
whereby the total purification of the mind is continually 
expressed in conduct, instead of saying that 'Knowledge is 
the understanding by Reason of what is at the root of the 
external world' ( Gi. 13. 7-11 ). That man whose Discerning. 
Reason has become devoted to the Self, that is, has 
become steady in the contemplation on the Self and 
Non-Self, and who has Realised the identity of the Atman 
with all created beings, must, undoubtedly, also possess a 
Desiring Reason which is pure. But, as there is no other 
external measure except a man's conduct for finding out the- 
state of his Reason, the words ' jnana' ( Knowledge ) or 
' stmabuddhi ' ( equable mind ) are usually made to include the 
pure Discerning Reason, the pure Desiring Reason, and pure 
Conduct; this thing must be borne in mind, especially in 
these days of bookish knowledge. There may be many who> 


can give long dry discourses on the Brahman, and also others 
who hearing those discourses will nod their heads in apprecia- 
tion and say 'Hear, hear', or, like courtiers in a drama, say,. 
"Let us hear the same thing again ■" (Gi. 2. 29 ; Ha. %. 7 1 ; but, 
as stated above, that man who has become internally and 
externally pure, that is, equable in mind, is the true devotee of 
the Atman, and he alone attains Release, and not mere learned 
men who may be how well-read or intelligent soever, [t has been 
plainly stated in the Upanisads that: "nnijam atma praixtctmena 
labhyo na medhaya na bahuna srutena" (Ka2. 22; Mun 3. 2. 3.),. 
( that is, " this Atman is not reached by giving discourses, nor 
by intelligence, nor by great learning " — Trans.), and the Saint 
Tukarama has also said : — " you have become a Pandit (i.e.,. 
learned man), you interpret the Puranas t but you do not know 
who you are II " (Ga. 2599). See how narrow our minds are I' 
The words ' attains Release ' easily come out of our mouths, 
as if Release is something different from the Atman. There- 
would be difference between the Observer and the visible- 
world, before the Knowledge has been acquired that the 
Brahman and the Atman are identical ; but, our Vedantists- 
have come to the conclusion that when one has fully Realised 
the identity of the Brahman and the Atman, the Atman is merged 
into tbe Brahman, and the brahmajnanl (one who has Realised 
the Brahman) acquires the form of Brahman wherever he is ; and. 
this Metaphysical state is known as the ' brahmanir mnyt 
Release,' which is not given by anybody to anybody, and 
whioh does not come from anywhere, and for obtaining which 
it is not necessary to leave this world and to go to another 
world. Whenever and wherever the complete Realisation of 
the Atman comes, Release is obtained at that very moment 
and at that place ; because, Release is the fundamental pure, 
state of the Atman, and is not some independent thing or 
plac6. There is a stanza in the Siva-Gita that :— 

moksasya na hi vaso 'sti na gramantaram eva va I 
ajnanahrdayagranthiriaso moksa iti smrtah » 

(Siva. 13. 32) 

that is, " Release is not in a particular place, nor has one to go- 
to some other town or country in order to obtain it: the destruc- 


Towards all created beings I 

lie is friendly, looking upon all as one l 
He is kind to all I 

with a sense of equability II 
He does not know the word ' I ' i 

he does not say of anything that it is ' mine * 
Experience of pain and happiness I 

for him there is none 

(Jna. 12. 145-149). 

And Jnanesvara has thus, by giving numerous illustrations,, 
and in very sweet and attractive language, described ia 
Marathi the equability of the Biahmified man ; and we may 
safely say, that this description contains a summary of the 
description of the Brahmi state given in four different places 
in the Glta. This is what is to be ultimately acquired by 
Spiritual Knowledge. 

My readers will have understood from what has been, 
stated above, how the tradition of Spiritual Knowledge, which 
is the root of the science of Release, has come to us in an 
unbroken line from the Upanisads right upto Tukarama. But, 
in order to impress on my readers that this knowledge had 
come into existence in our country even before the date of the 
Upanisads, that is to say, already in very very ancient times, 
and that the ideas in the Upanisads have gradually grown 
from those times, I shall give here, before concluding, a 
well-known hymn (stikta) from the Rg-Veda, which is the 
foundation even of the Spiritual Knowledge in the Upanisads, 
together with its Marathi translation. Not only do we not 
come across in the scriptures of any religion, critical 
philosophical ideas, as to what the unknowable Fundamental 
Element of the Cosmos must have been, and how this 
variegated visible universe sprang from it, which are as 
comprehensive, independent and root-touching as those in 
this hymn, but no one has yet come across any text replete 
with such Spiritual Knowledge, which is equal to it in "point 
of antiquity. Therefore, many wonder-struck Western 
scholars have translated this hymn into their various 


languages, looking upon it as important, from the point of 
view of religious history, for showing how the natural 
tendency of the human mind runs beyond the Name-d and 
Form-ed universe to reach the permanent and unimaginable 
Brahman-Energy which is beyond it. This hymn is the 129th 
hymn in the tenth mandala of the Rg-Veda, and iB known as- 
the 'Nasadiya-Sukta', having regard to its commencing words. 
And this Sukta has been adopted in the Taittiriya Brahmana 
( 2. 8. 9 ), and the description given in the Narayanlya or the 
Bhagavata religion in the Mahabharata as to how the universe 
was first created by the desire of the Blessed Lord has been, 
based on this hymn ( Ma. Bha. San. 342. 8 ). According to- 
the general index ( sarvanukramardka ), the Rsi of this hymn 
is Paramesthi Prajapati, its deity is the Paramatman, and it 
consists of seven stanzas ( rca ) in the tristup metre, each 
stanza containing four lines of eleven words each. As the 
words, sat and asat, have a double meaning, the difference of 
opinion among the writers of the tfpanisads, as regards- 
describing the Fundamental Element of the world as 'sat\ 
which has been referred to earlier in this chapter, is also to be 
found in the Rg-Veda. For instance, this Fundamental. 
Cause of the world is in some places described by saying "ekam 
sad vipra bahudha. vadanti" ( Rg. 1. 164. 46 ), or " ekam santam 
bahudha kalpayanti" ( Rg. 10. 114. 5 )— that is, "It, being one. 
and sat ( i. e. lasting for erer ), has been given different names- 
by people "; whereas in other places, it has been desoribed by 
saying: "duvanam pilrvye yuge 'satah sad ajayata" (Rg. 10.72. 7), 
that is, "the sat, that is, the perceptible universe, came into 
existence out of the asat, that is, the Imperceptible, even 
before the gods had oome into existence." In addition 
to this, there are other descriptions all differing from, 
each other in the Rg-Veda itself as to how the entire universe 
came into being out of one visible Element, e. g., : — in the 
beginning of the world, there was the Golden Embryo (Uramja- 
garbha), of which both death and immortality are shadows, and. 
It later on created the entire world (Rg. 10. 121. 1, 2) ; or, that, 
a Virata-formed Purusa existed at first, and from him the 
entire world was created by means of a sacrifice (Rg. 10. 90): or,, 
that there was apa (water) at first, and in that water Prajapati 


came into existence (Rg. 10. 72. 6 ; 10. 82. 6) ; or, that ria and 
saiya first came into existence, and afterwards, darkness ; and 
after that, water {samudra), the year etc. came into existence 
<Rg. 10. 190. 1). These Fundamental Elements mentioned in 
the Rg-Veda have been later on referred to as follows :— (1) in 
the Taittiriya Brahmana, water has been referred to as the 
Fundamental Element as : "apo va idam agre salilam asit" (Tai. 
Bra. 1. 1. 3. 5), i. e., "all this was liquid water in the beginning"; 
(2) in the TaittirlyoDanisad, asat has been mentioned as the 
Fundamental Element, as : "asad va idam agra asit" (Tai. 2.7 ), 
i. e., "all this was asat in the beginning" ; (3) in the 
Chandogyopanisad, sat has been mentioned as the Fundamental 
Element, as : "sad eua saumyedam agra asit" (Chan. 6. 2), i. e., 
"all this was sal in the beginning" ; or, (4) ether is said to be 
such Element, as : "ukasah parayanam" (Chan. 1. 9), i. e., 
"ether was the root of everything" ; (5) in the Brhadaranyaka, 
death (mrlyu) is mentioned as the Fundamental Element, as : 
"naiveha kimcanugra asm mrtyuriaivedam aurtam asit" (Br. 1. 2. 1), 
i. e., "in the beginning, there was nothing whatsoever ; every- 
thing was covered by death" ; and (6) in the Maitryupanisad, 
darkness [tamas] has been mentioned as the Fundamental 
Element, as : "tamo va idam agra asid ekam" (Mai. 5. 2), i. e., 
"this entire universe was in the beginning tamas ( tamoguni, 
darkness)", and sattva and rajas afterwards came into existence 
out of it. In the same way, the Manu-Smrti contains the 
following description of the commencement of the universe, 
consistent with these descriptions in the Vedas: — 

asid idam tumdbhutam aprajnatam alaksanam I 
apratarbjam avijneyam prasuptam iva saroatah II 

that is, "all this was first covered up by darkness (tamas), 
and it was undiscernible and as if in a sleeping state, so 
that it would be impossible to differentiate between one thing 
and another ; thereafter, the imperceptible Paramatman entered 
it and first created water" ( Manu. 1. 5 — 8 ). Such and other 
different descriptions about the Fundamental Substance 
existing at the commencement of the universe must have been 
in vogue even at the time of the Nasadlya-Siikta; and the 
■question as to which of these Fundamental Substances, was 


the really fundamental one, must also then have arisen. 
Therefore, the Rsi of that hymn gives the following explana- 
tion, in order to explain what the truth ( bija ) about the whole 

thing was in the following words : 

nasadasln no sad asit tadamm, 
nasid rajo no vyoma paro yat I 

kim avarivah kulia kasya karma- 

nnambhah kim asld gahanam gabhimm II 1 II 
that is : (1) "then, that is, in the beginning, there was neither 
asat, nor sat, nor the firmament ( antariksa ), nor the ether 
( okasa ) beyond it. ( In this state ) who ( can be said to have ) 
covered ( whom ) ? Where 1 For whose benefit 1 Was there 
( even ) unfathomable and deep water ?"* 

na mrtyur asid amrtam na tarhi 
na ratrya anha asit praketah I 

anid auafam soadhaya tad ekam 

tasmad dhamjan na parah kimcariasa II 2 II 
that is: (2) "then, death, that is, the perishable, visible, mortal 
universe was not existing ; and, therefore, there was not (the 
distinction of) also (another) amrta, i. e., imperishable, eternal 
substance. (Similarly) there was no means ( = praketa) for 
finding out the difference between day and night. (Whatever 
there was) That solitary thing was breathing, that is, throbbing 
by soadM, that is, by its own power, without there being any 
air. Except or beyond that, there was nothing." 

tama asit tamasa gudham agre 

'praketam salilam sarvama idam I 

tucchenabhvapihitam yad asit 

tapasas tan mahina 'jayataikam ll 3 ll 
that is : (3) "though there was (said to be) darkness in the 
beginning ; or that all this was water enveloped in darkness 
devoid of any differentiation ; ( or ) that abhu, that is, the all- 
pervading Brahman was ( from the beginning ) covered by 
tuccha, that is, by illusory Maya ; yet, that came into existence 

* First red : — I have given the above meaning, analysing the 
words 'kim asid' in the fourth line as "asit kim"; and the purport of 
it is, "water did not exist then" ( Tai. Bra, 2. 2. 9 ). 


.as a result of austerity (subsequently, by transformation), from 
the fundamentally one Brahman" * 

kamas tad agre samavartatadhi 

manaso retah prathamam yad asit l 

sato bandhum asah niravindan 

hrdi pratisya kavayo manisa n 4 n 
■that is : (4) "the semen, that is, the seed of the Mind (of This) 
which first came into existence, became Kama (that is, the 
desire or the power to create the world). (This is) the (first) 
relation between sat, that is, the perishable visible world, and 

* Third Tea: — Soma commentators consider the first three 
lines of ttiis stanza as independent, and interpret it by saying that 
in the beginning of the universe, there was "darkness, or water 
covered by darkness, or abhu (void) covered by lueeha". But, 
according to me that interpretation is not correct. Because, if in 
the first two stanzas there i 6 a clear statement that nothing whatso- 
ever existed in the beginning, it is not possible that it should be 
stated in this rca that there was in the beginning either darkness 
or water — which i» something quite the opposite. Besides, accord- 
ing to this interpretation, the word ynt in the third part of the 
stanza has to be considered meaningless; therefore, it becomes 
necessary to refer the word l yaf, in the third part of the stanza, to 
the word 'fat' in the fourth part, and to interpret the stanza as has 
been done by me above. This Tea has been included in this hymn 
as an answer to those persons who maintained that there were in 
the beginning substances like water etc.; and what the Rsi intended 
to say was that there were no fundamental substances like darkness, 
water etc., as was said by these people, but that, all that was the 
further development of one and the same Brahman. As the two 
wordB Huccha' and 'abhu' are mutually opposite, the word abhu 
means opposite of tuceha, that is to say, big or powerful, and the 
same meaning has been given to it by Sayanacarya in the other 
two places where that word occurs in the Bg-Veda 
( R?. 10. 27. 1, i). In the Paneadaii (Ohitra. 129, ISO ), the word 
tucch> has been interpreted as meaning Maya ( See Nrsim. TJtta. 9). 
Therefore, abhu has not to be interpreted as meaning 'void' but as 
Parabr hman. The word ah (fl + a») in the phrase 'sarvam 5f> 
4iiW is the past tense form of the root W, and it means 'asit', 
that is, 'was'. 


the asat, that is, the fundamental Parabrahman, as has been 
ascertained by scients by means of their Reason, by meditating 
•in their minds". 

firasclno utato rasmiresam 

adhah svid asid upari sM asit I 
retodha asan mahimana asan 

snadha avastat prayatih parastat II 5 II 
that is: (5) "(this) rasmi, that is, shred or ray, fell transversely 
{between) them ; and if you say it was below, it was also 
above; (some of these) became retodha, that is, productive of 
seed, and (growing) became bigger. Their self-prowess 
■(svasakti) pervaded on one side, and prayati, that is, development - 
•(pervaded everything) on the other side". 
ho addha veda ka iha pra vocat 

kuta ajata kuta iyam. visrstih I 
arvag deva asya visarjanena- 

tha Ico veda yata ababhuva n 6 ll 
■that is : (6) " who is there who can in greater (than this) detail 
•( pra ), explain how came the visarga, that is, the development 
.( of the sat ) and from whom it came ? Who knows this 
definitely ? Even the gods came after the visarga of this 
■{visible sat universe). Then who is to know from where 
it came ?" 

iyam visrstir yat ababhuva 

yadi va dadhe yndi va na dadhe I 
t/o asyadhyaksah parame vyoman 

so anga veda yadi va na veda ll 7 ll 
that is : (7) "The adhyalcsa ( Hiranyagarbha ) of this universe, 
inhabiting the highest ( parama ) firmament, may know the 
place from where the development of this sat came about, or, 
from where it was created, or was not created; or, even the 
Hiranyagarbha may not be knowing it 1 ( Who is in a position 
to say that ? )". 

The sum and substance of Vedanta philosophy is, that one 
should not remain enmeshed in the various Name-d and 
Form-ed, mutable and perishable Appearances which are 
-perceptible to the eyes or the other organs, but should recognise 
by means of Knowledge that THERE IS SOME, ONE AND 
IMMORTAL ELEMENT, which is beyond them; and, the 


fact that the Reason of the Rsi who composed this hymn 
unerringly grasped the crux of the whole matter at the first 
attempt, clearly showB the keenness of his introspection! 
Instead of entering into a discussion with persons, who raised 
the questions, whether That, which existed in the beginning 
of the universe and before the various things in the world 
came into existence, was sat or asat, death or immortality, 
ether or water, light or darkness etc., this Rsi speeds beyond 
all of them, and says that sat and asat, mortal and immortal 
light and darkness, the covering and the covered, the giver of 
happiness and the fetler of happiness, are mutually dependent 
opposites, which came into existence after the visible world 
was created; and he asks, whe was there to cover whom before 
these opposite couples in the world came into existence, that is- 
to say, when there was no such difference as this one and that 
one. The Rsi of this hymn, therefore, says, to start with, that 
it is not proper to describe the Fundamental, homogeneous, 
Substance as sat or asat, ether or water, light or darkness, death 
or immortality, or by such other mutually dependent expres- 
sions ; he says, that whatever there was, was stranger than all 
these things ; that It was one and one alone, and was throbbing 
in all directions by its inexhaustible energy ; and that there 
was nothing else which was a mate to it or which covered it. 
The root word ' an ' in the verb 'anit' in the second rca means 
to breathe or to throb ; and the word ' prana ' is derived from 
that root. But who can say that That, w'.ich was neither sat 
nor asat, was breathing like a living being ? and where was 
the air to breathe ? Therefore, the words avatam ( that is, 
without air ) and smdhaya ( by its own prowess ) have been 
added to the word 'anil', and the idea that the Fundamental 
Element of the world was not Gross Matter, which (idea> 
pertains to the stage of Non-Dualism, has been very skilfully 
described in the language of Dualism by saying that "that 
ONE substance was breathing or throbbing by Its own prowess 
without air, that is, without depending on air 1" ; and the 
apparent contradiction in terms, which is involved in this, 
is 'the result of the insufficiency of Dualistic terminology. 
The descriptions of the Parabrahman to be found in the 
Upanisads, such as, "neti, neli", or " ekamevadvitiyam" or "' sve 


mahimni pratisthitah" (Chan. 7. %i. 1 ), that is, "that which 
subsists by Itself alone, by Its own prowess, that is, without 
depending on anyone else", are mere repetitions of this idea. 
It is clear that that indescribable Element, which has been 
referred to in this hymn as throbbing in all directions at the 
commencement of the entire universe, will survive when 
the entire visible universe is destroyed. Therefore, this same 
Parabrahman has been described in the Gita with a slight 
amplification, in the words: "Which is not destroyed though 
all other things are destroyed" (Gi. 8. 20); and it is stated 
later on ( GI. 13. 12 ) by clear reference to this hymn that " It 
is neither sat nor asat". But, if there was nothing in the 
beginning except the qualityless Brahman, a difficulty arises- 
as to how to dispose of such descriptions as, " there were in the- 
beginning, water, darkness, or the couple of abhu and tuecha", 
which are to be found even in the Vedas. Therefore, this Bsi 
says in the third rca, that the descriptions, which we come; 
across, to the effect that in the beginning of the universe there- 
was darkness, or water clothed in darkness, or, that abhu- 
( Brahman) and the Maya ( tucclia ) which covered It, existed 
from the very beginning, are descriptions of the ONE and 
sole, fundamental Parabrahman, after It had developed into 
a diversified expansion by the prowess of Its austere medita- 
tion, and not of Its fundamental state. The word 'tapa* 
in this rca is intended to describe the wonderful Spiritual: 
power of the fundamental Brahman, and the same thing is' 
described in the fourth rca. ( See Mun. 1. 1. 9 ). It need not b&' 
said that that Fundamental Substance, the Tesult of the- 
prowess of Which is this entire universe, according to the- 
saying : etavan asya mahima 'to jyayams ca purusah" (l&g. 10. 90. > 
3 ), is beyond such universe and superior to and different 
from everything. But, though this Rsi had, in this - way, at a 
stroke cast off all Dualistic couples like, the object to be seen 
and the observer, the enjoyer and the enjoyed, the clother and 
the clothed, darkness and light, mortal and immortal etc., and 
come to the conclusion that there was fundamentally only one 
unmixed wonderful Parabrahman in the form of Consciousness 
( i. e., cidrupi ), yet, when he was faced with the problem of 
having to explain how the diverse, perishable, (malityful, 


Name-d and Form-ed universe, consisting of the couples of 
water etc. or the three-constituented Prakrti from which it 
{ the universe ) sprang, had come into existence out of this 
ONE and sole, indescribable, and qualityless Element, he had 
to take shelter under the Dualistic terminology of Mind, 
Desire, asat, sat etc., and he ultimately frankly admits that 
this question is beyond the grasp of human Reason. In the 
fourth k5, the fundamental Brahman has been referred to as 
asat; but that ward cannot be interpreted as meaning 'nothing'; 
because, already in the second tcU, there is a clear statement 
that ' It is'. Not only in this hymn, but in the Rg-Veda and 
the Vajasaneyi Samhita, moot questions have been asked, 
making use of the language of ordinary parlance, by comparing 
the visible world with a sacrifice ( yajna ), and asking from 
where the ingredients such as, clarified butter, dried sticks etc. 
necessary for performing the yajna were initially brought 
( Rg. 10. 130. 3 ); or, by taking the illustration of a house, and 
asking the question as to from where the timber ( funda- 
mental Prakrti ) for constructing this imposing edifice of ether 
and the earth, which is actually visible to the eyes, out of one 
Fundamental qualityless Substance, was brought; such as, 
"Mm sdd vavam kau sa vrksa asa yalo dyavaprthwi nhtiitahsuh 
( Rg. 10. 31. 7 ; 10. 81. 4 ;' Vaja. Sam. 17. 20 ). ' These questions 
cannot be answered further than by saying what has been 
said in the fourth and fifth stanzas of this hymn, that is to 
say, by saying that the Kama-formed Element of creating 
the universe, somehow or other came into existence in 
the Mind of that indescribablo ONE and Bole Parabrahman, 
and that the entire development of sat, that is, the imposing 
edifice of ether and earth, came into existence as a result of its 
branches spreading out above and below, and in all directions > 
like the threads in a piece of cloth or the rays of sunshine. 
(Vaja. Sam. 33. 74). And, therefore, the meaning conveyed in 
this hymn has been adopted in the Upanisads in the words : 
"so 'kamayata I balm syam prajayeyeti\ " (Tai 2. 6 ; Chan. 6. 2. 
3), that is, " that Parabrahman acquired the Desire of becoming 
multifarious" (See Br. 1.1. 4); and even in the Atharva-Veda, 
there is a statement that ' Kama ' (Desire) came first into 
existence out of the Fundamental Substance at the root of the 


visible world (Atharva. 9. 2. 19). But, the wonder about this 
hymn ia, that instead of becoming a slave to Eeaaon like the 
Samkhyas, and imagining the existence of another self-created 
and independent element like Fundamental Matter, because 
the question of the creation of the Qualityful from the 
Qualityless, or of the asat from the sat, or of the dvamdva 
{subject to doubles) from the rurdvamdva (beyond doubles I. or of 
the sanga (attached) from the asanga (unattached), is beyond the 
grasp of human intelligence, this B?i frankly says : "Say that 
you do not understand that which you do not understand ; but 
on that account, it is not proper to give to the Illusion in the 
form of the visible world, the same value as the indescribable 
Brahman, which has been definitely ascertained by means of 
an absolutely purified Mind and as a self-experience. Besides, 
one must also realise that even if one considers, the three- 
constituented Prakrti as a second independent substance, one 
still cannot answer the question as to how Eeason (mahan) or 
Individuation first entered that substance, in order that the 
universe should be created ; and if this difficulty cannot be 
•overcome, where is the point in looking upon Prakrti as 
independent ? All that one need say is, that it is impossible to 
understand how Prakrti or sat came into existence out of the 
fundamental Brahman. For that, it is not necessary to look 
upon -Prakrti as independent. It is not possible even for gods to 
•find out how sat came into existence; much less, then, for human 
intelligence; because, as even the gods came into existence 
after the visible world, how can they know anything about it f 
(G-i. 10. 2). But, some one may here raise the following doubt: 
it is stated in the Bg.-Veda itself that the Hiranyagarbha is 
prior in point of time and superior even to the gods, that He 
alone was in the beginning "bhutasya jatah putireka asit" 
(Bg. 10.121.1), that is, "the ' pati' , oi 'king', or , adhyaksa i 
of the entire universe "; then, how can He not be knowing 
this Thing?; and, if it is possible for Him to have known it, 
how can you say that It is unknowable ? Therefore, the Hsi 
gives, in the beginning, a formal answer to that question by 
saying: "Yes, He may be knowing the answertoit'Y but, 
immediately thereafter, this Bsi who seeks by his Reason 
±o fathom the knowledge of even Brahmadeva, ultimately and 


in a state of doubt says: "Or, Ho may even not be knowing 
it ' "Who can say ?; because, as He also falls within the 
category of sat, how can this 'adhyaksa' or king of the 
universe, who lives in what is in fact ether (ukasa), though 
you may call it ' parama ', have a definite knowledge about 
something which existed before sat or asal, ether or water, 
came into existence?" But, although he does not know how 
this ONE, asat, that is, imperceptible, and qualityless Substance 
came into contact with the variegated Name-d and Form-ed 
sat, that is, Prakrti, yet, he does not swerve from his Non- 
Dualistic conviction that this fundamental Brahman is ONE 
and only ONE !. This is an excellent example of how the 
human mind fearlessly roams about like a lion in the 
impregnable forests of unimaginable things, on the strength 
of its sattvika devotion and its pure inspiration, and defines, 
to whatever extent it can, the unimaginable things existing 
in that forest; and it is really a matter of great surprise that 
this hymn is to be found in the Bg-Veda. The subject-matter of 
this hymn has bsen very minutely examined in our country, 
and also by Kant and other philosophers in the Western 
countries, by considering the Brahmanas, the TJpanisads, and 
the later treatises on Vedanta philosophy (Taitti. Bra. 2. 8. 9). 
But, nobody has so far gone beyond giving to the opposite 
party convincing arguments like the Vivartavuila for making 
firmer, clearer, or logically more unquestionable those very 
doctrines which inspired the pure mind of this Rsi, as. 
appearing in this hymn; and we need not entertain any hopes 
that anybody will do so. 

The chapter on the philosophy of the Absolute Self, 
(ladhyalim) is now over. Before I go further, I will, following 
the usual practice ■ of the 'kesari' (lion), and look back on the 
subject-matter or road which I have so far traversed; because, 
unless such a lion-look has been given, there is a risk of the 
link between this subject-matter and the next being lost, and 
of one'6 going astray. In the beginning of this book, after 
introducing my readers to the subject-matter, I have concisely 
explained to them the nature of Karma-jijlaga ( Desire for 
Action), and shown to them in the third chapter, that the 
science of Karma-Yoga ( Proper Action ) is the subject-matter 


of exposition in the Gita. Then, after having proved in the 
fourth, fifth and sixth chapters, by considering the question, of 
happiness and unhappiness, tli.it the Matcri'uistic exposition of 
this subject-mstter is one-sided and insufficient, and-that its 
Intuitional exposition id lam?, I haw, before entering into the 
Metaphysical exposition of Ksirma-Yuga. and already in the 
sixth chapter, dealt wilh I he ini o stion ; r the Body and the 
Allium in order to determine what cl e Atman is; and having 
in the seventh and eighth chami-vs d.plf with the subjoot- 
matter of the Mutable and the Immutable according to the 
Dualistie Samkhya philosophy, I have in this' chapter 
explained what the nature ol the A tin an is. and in what way 
ONE, sole, immortal and qnalitytess Aiman-Element saturates 
fully and eternally holii the Body and the Cfosmos; and TUbrfe 
finally drawn the conclusion that the Yoga of aoquii'in'g an eqiiB^' 
ble frame of Mind, which believes that there is only one 'SirhaBr 
in all created beings, and keeping that name of Mind ■pei-pd- 1 
tually alive, is the clima.c of iSeil'-Knowh d^.'e (Utmnjriamt) and *f 
3eh'-Happiness (™<7™??i/rr); and that the highest hum anndss ba- 
nian, that is, the fulfilment of the purpose if human birtb, l, '6r- 
the highest ideal of a human being, oorwfa'is in bringing one's 1 
mind to this pure Self-Devoted (fitmu-mf-rlm) state. Having, iw 
this way. determined what the. highest .Mel a/physical ideal (if 
mankind is, the question as to the ba-n's on which one has to' 
perform all the various Actions in this world, it, as to wliatU& r 
the nature of that Pure Reason with which those Actions "are 
to be performed, which is the principal question in the science 
of Karma-Yoga, is ipKojuctv solved. Because, as iided not be 
told, all these Actions must be performed in such a way as will 
not be ultimately inconsistent with, but will foster, thaT 
equable frame of mind, which looks upon the "Brahman as- 
identical with the Atman. This Metaphysical philosophy of 
Karma-Yoga has been explained to Arfuna in the Bha^vart- 
gita. But, the justification of the Karma-Yoga is not thereby' 
finished. Some persons say that in as much as the Actions 't'o r 
be performed in this Wame-d and Pbrm-ed world' are^ 
inconsistent with Self-Knowledge, a sclent must give theriHljS? 
And, if that were so, all the activities in the world "WOtald/ 
become unpexformable, and consequently, the science of wha 


fundamentally to the Brahman-world, yet, like other 

things in the visible world, it is covered by bodily organs 

in the shape of Names and Forms, and these Names 

and Forms in the shape of the bodily organs are perishable- 

Therefore, every human being is naturally desirous of 

knowing how it is possible to escape from these Names and 

Forms, and to attain immortality ; and, in order to consider 

what mode of life has to be adopted for satisfying that desire, 

which subject belongs to the science of Karma-Yoga, we must 

now enter the Dualistic territory of the non-permanent 

MAYA-WORLD which is bound by the laws of Karma 

(Action). If there is fundamentally only one permanent and 

independent Atman, both in the Body and in the Cosmos, the 

questions which necessarily arise, are, what are the difficulties 

which are experienced by the Atman in the body, in Realising 

the Atman in the Cosmos, and how those difficulties can be 

overcome ; and, in order to solve these questions, it becomes 

necessary to expound what Names and Forms are ; because, 

as all objects fall into the two classes of the Atman or 

Parabrahman, and the Name-d and Form-ed covering on It, 

nothing else now remains for consideration except the Name-d 

and Form-ed covering. As this Name-d and Form-ed covering 

is dense in some cases and thin in other eases, the objects in 

the visible world fall, according to Vedanta, into the two 

classes of sacetana ( Activated) and acetana ( No,:- Activated ), 

and even the Activated are again sub-divided into animals, 

birds, men, gods, gandharvas, and demons etc. There is no 

place where the Brahman in the shape of Atman does not 

exist. It is in the stone, and It is in the human being. But, 

as there is a difference according to whether a light is put into 

an iron box, or in a lantern with more or less clean glasses, 

though it may be one and the same light, so also, although the 

Atman-Element is everywhere the same, the different 

divisions of Activated and Non-Activated arise, as a result 

of the difference in density of the clothing of Names and 

Forms in each case. Nay, that is the reason why, even 

among the Activated, the power of acquiring Knowledge is not 

the same in the case of men and beasts. It is true that the 

Atman is the same everywhere ; yet, as it is fundamentally 


vqualityless and apathetic, it cannot by itself do anything, 
■without some Name-d and Form-ed means like the Mind, 
Reason etc.; and, as these means are not fully available to the 
Atman except in the human birth, such birth is considered to 
be the most superior of all. When the Atman has got this 
human birth, this its Name-d and Form-ed clothing falls into the 
two divisions of Gross and Subtle. According to Vedanta, this 
gross clothing is the embodiment of the mixture of blood and 
semen ; and whereas, muscles, bones, and nerves grow from the 
semen, skin, flesh, hair etc. grow from the sonita, that is, from 
the blood ; and all this is referred to as the 'annamaya-kosa 
( covering made up of food ). When we pass this covering and 
go further inside, we come across Life in the shape of breath, 
that is, the ' pranamaya-kosa'; the Mind, that is, the manormya- 
kosa; Reason, that is, the jnanamaya-lcosa; and ultimately, the 
■anandamaya-kosa. The Atman is beyond all these ; and there- 
fore, in the Taittirlyopanisad, Varuna has acquainted Bhrgu 
with the various forms of the Atman by describing to him the 
various envelopes (lcosa) rising from the annamaya-kosa to the 
anandamaya-kosa ( Tai. 2. 1-5; 3. 2-6 ). Vedantists refer to these 
envelopes ( kosa ), except the Gross Body, such as the Prana- 
covering etc., together with the subtle organs and the five Fine 
Elements ( Tanmatras ) aa the 'linga or the 'suksma sarlra' 
( the Subtle Body ). But, instead of explaining the fact 
•of the Atman taking births in various species of life (yonij by 
imagining the existence of diverse ' Bhavas ' of the Reason 
( See p. 261 above — Trans. ) as is done by the Samkhyas, they 
say that that is the result of Karma-Vipaka, or the fruit of 
Action. It has been clearly stated in the Gita, the Upanisads, 
and the Vedanta-Sutras, that this Karma clings to the support 
of the Subtle Body, and when the Atman leaves the Gross Body, 
this Karma accompanies the Atman, embodied in the Subtle 
Body, and compels it to take birth after birth. Therefore, in 
considering the difficulty which stands in the way of the 
embodied Atman attaining the Parabrahman, or obtaining 
Release, after escaping the cycle of birth and death in the 
shape of Names and Forms, one has to consider both Karma 
and the Subtle Body. Out of these, the Subtle Body has been 
dealt with before, both from the point of view of the Sarhkhya 


philosophy, as of Vedanta ; and, therefore, I shall not repeat 
the same subject-matter here. In this chapter, I have considered 
only the nature of that Karma or Action, whereby the Atman 
falls into the cycle of birth and death instead of Realising the 
Brahman, and also how a man has to live in this world in 
order that the Atman should escape that cycle and acquire 
immortality. Those qualities of Time and Space embodied in 
Name and Form, as a result of which the fundamental, non- 
perceptible, and qualityless Parabrahman existing at the 
commencement of the world, appears in the form of the visible 
world, are known in Vedanta philosophy as ' Maya ' (Gl. 7. 24, 
25), and that also includes Karma (Br. 1. 6. 1). Nay, we may 
even say that ' Maya ' and Karma ' are synonymous ; because, 
unless some Karma or Action has been performed, it is not 
possible for the Imperceptible to become Perceptible, or for the 
Qualityless to become Qualityful. Therefore, the Blessed Lord 
has, after first saying "I take birth in Prakrti by my Maya" 
(GI. 4. 6), defined Karma later on in the eighth chapter of the- 
Gita itself, as : "the Action, whereby the variegated Cosmos, 
such as, the five primordial elements etc comes into existence 
out of the imperishable Parabrahman is known as ' Karma " 
( Gi. 8. 3 ). Karma has been here used in the comprehensive- 
meaning of Activity or Action-whether it is performed by a 
human being or by the other objects in the world, or it is the 
activity comprised in the Cosmos itself coming into existence. 
But, whatever Action is taken, its result always is that one 
Name and Form is changed, and another comes into existence 
in its place ; because, the Fundamental Substance, which 
is covered by this Name and Fjrm, never changes 
and always remains the same. For instance, by the 
Action of weaving, the name 'thread ' disappears, and the same 
substance gets instead the name of ' cloth '; and by the Action 
of a potter, the name 'pot' takes the place of the name 
'earth'. Therefore, in defining Maya, Karma or Action is 
sometimes not mentioned at all, and only Name and Form 
are included in Maya. Yet, when one has to consider Karma 
by itself, one has to say that the form of Karma is the 
same as the form of Maya. Therefore, it is more convenient 
to make it clear in the very beginning that Maya, Names and 


Forms, and Karma are fundamentally the same in nature- 
One can, it is true, make the subtle distinction that MAYA 
is the common word, and its Appearance has the specific name 
of Names and Forms, and its Activity, the specific name of 
KARMA. But, as ordinarily it is not neoessary to make 
this distinction, these three words are very often used 
synonymously. This clothing (or this upadhi i. e., super- 
imposed covering) of perishable Maya on one part of the 
Parabrahman, which is visible to the eyes, has been described 
in Samkhya philosophy as the three-constituented Prakrti. 
Samkhya philosophers look upon Purusa and Prakrti as 
two self-created, independent and eternal Elements. But, 
as Maya, Names and Forms, or Karma change constantly, it 
would be logically incorrect to look upon them as of the same 
standard as the permanent and immutable Parabrahman; 
because, as the two ideas, 'permanent ' and 'non-permanent',, 
are contrary to each other, both of them cannot become 
applicable at the same time. Therefore, Vedantists have come 
to the conclusion that Perishable Prakrti or Maya, in the shape 
of Karma, is not independent, but that the Appearance of a 
qualityful Maya is seen in the one, permanent, all-pervading, 
and qualityless Parabrahman by the feeble human organs. But, 
it is not enough to say, that Maya is not independent, and that 
one only sees this Appearance in the qualityless Parabrahman. 
Although, according to Vivartavada, if not according to the 
Gunaparinama-vada, it is possible to see this Appearance of 
qualityful Names and Forms, that is, of Maya in the qualityless 
and eternal Brahman, yet, we are faced with the further 
question, namely, when, in what order, and why, did this 
qualityful Appearance, which is seen by human organs, appear 
in the qualityless Parabrahman ? or, to say the game thing in 
ordinary language, when, and why, did the eternal and 
thought-formed Paramesvara create the Name-d and Form-ed,. 
perishable, and gross universe ? But, as this subject is unknow- 
able, not only to human beings, but even to gods, and to the 
Vedas, as stated in the Nasadlya-Sakta in the Rg-Veda (Rg. 10. 
129; Tai. Bra. 2.8. 9) one cannot answer that question better 
than by saying: "this is an unknowable pastime (lila) of 
the qualityless Parabrahman, which has been realised by 


Knowledge." (Ve. S2.-2. 1. 33). One has to take it for granted 
that ever since the commencement of things, Name-d and 
Form-ed perishable Karma, or qualityful Maya, has been seen 
side by side with the qualityless Brahman. Therefore, Karma 
embodied in Maya has been called eternal in the Vedanta- 
Sutras ( Ve. Su. 2. 1. 35-37 ), and even in the Bhftgavadglta, 
the Blessed Lord has, after saying that Prakrti is not 
independent, but "is My Maya" ( Gi. 7. 14 ), said further on 
that this Prakrti, that is, Maya, and Purusa are both 'eternal 
{ Gi. 13. 19). In the same way, in describing Maya, 
Sarhkaracarya has said in this Bhasya or commentary, that 
J ' saroajneSDarasya 'tmabhute iva 'vidyakalpite narmrupe 
tattvawjatvabhyam anirixicanitje samsaraprapancabijahhute sar- 
vajnasyesmrasija 'maya' ' sahtih' ' pmkrtir' Hi ca srutismrtyoi' 
abhilapyete " ( Ve. Su. Sam. Bha. 2. 1. 14. ), i. e., "the Names and 
Forms imagined to exist in the fundamental Brahman as a 
result of the ignorance ( of the organs ), which are supposed to 
be of the nature of the Atman of the All-Scient Paramesvara, 
but of which, it is not possible to say whether they are 
different or not-different (tattuanyaiua) from the Paramesvara, 
since they are Gross, and which are the root of the ( visible ) 
expansion of gross world, are, in the Sruti and Smrti texts, 
called the ' maya', 'sakli' or 'prahW of the all-knowing Para- 
mesvara"; and "as the subsequent universe seems to have come 
into existence from the Paramesvara on account of His Maya, 
this Maya, though perishable, is essential and extremely useful 
for the creation of the visible univeise, and it is seen to have 
been given the names of ' aoyakta ', ' akasa ' and 'aksara ' in the 
Upanisads" (Ve. Su. Sam. Bha,. 1. 4. 3). The Samkhyas look 
upon the Elements, Knowledge-formed (cinmaya) Spirit, and 
inactive (acefana) Maya (Prakrti) as independent and eternal ; 
'but, it will be seen from the above, that, though Vedantists 
admit the eternity of Maya from one point of view, they do not 
accept the position that Maya is self-created and independent ; 
and on that account, in describing the Maya embodied in 
worldly life by comparing it to a tree, the Gita says, "narupam 
.asyeha tathopalabhyate ricinto m cadir nam sampratistha" (Gl. 15. 
3), i. e., "the FORM, END, BEGINNING, root, or habitation of 
ithis tree of worldly life (saihsara vrksa) cannot be found". In 


the same way, the descriptions which are come across in the 
third chapter, such as, "karma brahmodblmvam viddhi" (Gl. 3. 
15), i. e., "Karma was created out of the Brahman" ; or, 
"yajnah karmasamudbhavah" (Gl. 3. 14), i. e., "even the Yajna 
springs out of Karma" ; or, "sahayajnah prajah sntva" (Gi. 3. 
10), i. e., "the Biahmadeva created praja {srsti) and yajna 
(Karma) at the same time", mean that, "Karma, or Yajna in 
the form ■ of Karma, and the srsti, that is, praja (the creation) 
all came into existence at the same time". Then whether you 
say that this srsti came into existence out of Brahmadeva 
himself, or, in the words of the Mimamsa school, that it was . 
created by Brahmadeva from the eternal Vedic words, the 
meaning is the same (Ma. Bha. San. 231 ; Manu. 1. 21). In 
short, Karma is the activity which is to be seen in the 
fundamental qualityless Brahman, at the time when the visible 
world began to be created. This activity is known as the 
Name-d and Form-ad Maya, and the activities of the Sun, the 
Moon, and all the other objects in the world have gradually 
come into existence from this fundamental Karma (Br. 3. 8. 9).. 
Scients have determined by means of their Reason that this, 
Karma or Maya, performed at the time of the creation of the 
universe, which is the foundation of all the activities 
in the world, is some unknowable pastime (Ma) of the 
Brahman, and not something independent of the 
Brahman. * But, as the scients cannot go further, it is 
not possible f oi them to ascertain ' when ' this wonder, or these 
Names and Forms, or this Karma embodied in Maya first came 
into existence. Therefore, when it is necessary to consider 
only this Karma-world ( karma srsti ), it is usual in the Vedanta 
science (Ve. Su. 2. 1. 35) to refer to this dependent, perishable 
Maya and, at the same time, the Karma which is appurtenant, 
to it, as 'eternal' (amdi). It must be borne in mind that 
the word 'amdi' in this place does not mean fundamentally 
' without beginning ' ( nirarambha ) and independent, like the 

* "What belongs to mere appearance is necessarily sub- 
ordinated by reason to the nature of the Thing-in-itself " Kant's- 
Metaphysics of Morals (Abbot's trans, in Kant's Theory of Ethics^. 
p. 81). [In one edition, this page is shown as 18-Trans. ] 


Paramesvara, as is maintained by the Sarhkhyas, but 
' durjneyaraniblia ' that is, " something, the beginning of which 
cannot be known ". 

But, although we are not in a position to say definitely 
when and why the Knowledge-formed Brahman first began 
to take up the Appearance of the visible world, yet, the rules 
by which the further activities of this Karma in the shape of 
Maya go on, are fixed; and many of those rules can be 
determined by us. The order in which the various Name-d 
and Form-ed objects in the world came into existence out of 
the fundamental Prakrti, that is, out of eternal Karma in the 
shape of Maya, has been described by me according to the 
Sarhkhya philosophy in the eighth chapter of this book ; and I 
have, in the same place, mentioned the doctrines of modern 
Material sciences for comparison. It is true that Vedanta does 
not look upon Prakrti as self-created like the Parabrahman; 
but, as the further development of Prakrti, according to 
Sarhkhya philosophy, is acceptable to Vedanta, I will not 
repeat that subject-matter here. Yet, in the order of the 
creation of the universe from fundamental Prakrti in the 
shape of Karma, whioh has been described above, I have 
nowhere considered the ordinary rules according to which man 
has to suffer the results of Karma (Action). It is, therefore, 
necessary to consider those rules now. This is known as 
'KARMA-VIPAKA*. (effect of Karma). The first of the 
rules relating to Karma-Vipaka is that once the Karma 
is started, its activity or expansion continues without a 
break; and, though the day and night of Brahmadeva may 
be over and the universe destroyed, yet, this Karma survives 
in the form of a seed ; and, when the universe begins to come 
into exiBtenoe again, fresh sprouts grow out of that seed of 
Karma. It is stated in the Mahabharata that : 

ypsam ye yard k irmani prak srstyam pratipedire I 
tany eva pratipadyante srjyrtmanah punah punah II 

( Ma. Bha. San. 231, 48, 49 ; Gi. 8 18 and 19 ). 
that is, " those very Actions which have been committed by any 
"being in the previous world, find him again and again (whether 
lie may will it or no)". Not only is it that "gaharia karmano 
«7arih"(Gi. 4.17)— "the effects of Karma are unfathomable"— 


Tni t, even the persistence of Karm a is very difficult to get rid of. 
Nobody has got rid of K«r ma ~ TTJa.jgiqd J _J)k)jV B by Karma. 
The S un an d the M oon move on ac coun t of Karma; and 
B rahmad eva, VJsnu Sankar, and other qualityful gods also 
are_alHied up in Karma. All the more so, Indra and ethers. 
Qualityful ( saqjina ) means, defined by Name and Form ; and 
being defined by Name and Form means Karma, or the result 
of Karma. In as much as it is not possible to say how Karma, 
in the shape of Maya, first came into exit-tence. it is also not 
possible to soy when man first got involved in the cycle of 
Karma. But, once he has got into that cycle, however he may 
have got into it, he cannot later on, that is, after his Name-d and 
Form-ed body has bs3n destroyed, escapa taking up different 
Forms in this world as a result of his Actions. Because, 
as Material scientists have now definitely established, the 
energy of Karma is never destroyed, and that energy which 
appears to-day under one Name and Form, reappears 
under another Name and Form when the former Name 
and Form has been destroyed-/ and, if he cannot escape 
taking up other Names and Forms after one Name and Form 
has been destroyed, one cannot definitely say that these 
various subsequent Names and Forms will be lifeless, and 
that it is not possible for them to be something different. This 
recurrence of Names and Forms is known as the cycle of 
births and deaths, or mmsara, according to the Philosophy of 
the Absolute Self; and that Energy, which is the foundation 

* It is not that this idea of re-incarnation has been accepted 
only in the Hindu religion or by theists. Although the Bu Id Lists 
■do not believe in the Atman, yet, they liave wholly adopted the 
theory of re-incarnation into their religion; and, even in the 
twentieth century, the invetprately atheistic G-orman philosopher 
Nietzsche, who pronounced that ' Sod is dead ', has accepted the 
theory of re-incaination. He has said that lie was inspired with 
the idea or explanation that: as the perpetually recurring trans- 
formations of the energy of Karma are limited, and Time is eternal, 
a Name and F rm which has once been created, must occur again; 
and, therefore, the cycle of Karma is established even from the 
point of view of the Material sciences. (Nietzsche's Eternal 
Jtemrrmce, Complete works, Engl. Trans. Vol. XVI. pp. 235-256). 


of these Names and Forms, is synthetically called Brahman,, 
and distributively, Jivatman. It is stated in the Mahabharata 
and in the Manu-Smrti, that, strictly speaking, this Atman. 
neither comes to birth nor dies; that it is eternal, that is,, 
perpetual; but that, as it is involved in the cycle of Karma,, 
one cannot escape taking up another Name and Form, when 
one Name and Form has been, destroyed ; one has to suffer 
to-morrow for what one does to-day, and day after to-morrow, 
for what one does to-morrow; nay, one has to suffer in the 
next birth for what one does in this birth, and in this way 
the cycle of the universe is continually going on; and that 
tlw results of these Actions have to be borne not only by 
ourselves, but even by the sons, grand-sons, and great-grand- 
sons, who come to birth out of our Name-d and Form-ed body 
(Manu. 4. 173; Ma. Bha, A. 80. 3). Bhisma says to Yudhisthira 
in the Santiparva that :- 


papam karma krtam kiincid yadi iasmn na drsyafe l 
nrpate tamja putresu pautresv api ca naptrsu n 

ij-j iiAvv^- U— y-f (San. 129. 21.] 

that is : " King, although a particular man may not be seen 
to Buffer the results of his evTTacliiblisTyet, hTs^sonsTgralidsons- 
and great-grandsons hav"e"to~s uffer them" ~Tand we actually see 
thatsomelHBur abTeTiseases recur hereditarily. In the same 
way, the fact of one person being born a beggar, and another 
person being born in the family of a king, has also to be 
explained by the theory of Karma ; and, according to some,, 
this is the proof of the correctness of the theory of Karma. 
Once this cycle of Karma is started, the Paramesvara Himself 
does not interfere with it. Seeing that the entire universe is- 
going on by the will of the Paramesvara, who other than the 
Paramesvara can be the giver of the fruit of our Actions (Ve. 
Su. 3. 2. 38 ; Kau. 3. 8) ? And, for this reason, the Blessed 
Lord has said, "labhate ca tatah kaman mayaiva vihitan hi tan" 
(Gl. 7. 22), i. e., "the desired result, which is prescribed by Me, 
is acquired by man". Vedanta, therefore, comes to the 
ultimate doctrine that though the act of prescribing the result 
of an Action belongs to the Paramesvara, ye.t, in as much as- 
these results are fixed according to a man's good or bad Actions,. 


that is, according to the worth of his Action, Non-action, or 
Bad action, the Paramesvara is, strictly Bpeaking, apathetic in 
this matter ; and that, therefore, if there is the distinction of 
good or bad among men, the Paramesvara does not, on that 
account, beoome liable to the blame of partiality (vaisamya) or 
cruelty (nairghrnya), (Ve. Su, 2. 1. 34) ; and with reference to 
this position, it is stated in the Gifca that : "samo 'ham mrva- 
bMiesu" (G-I. 9. 29), i. e,, "I am equal towards all", or, 

nadatte kasyacit papam na cazva sukrtam vibhuh II 

(Gl. 5. 14, 15) 
that is : "the Paramesvara does not accept either the sin or the 
meritorious Action of anybody ; the cycle of the inherent effects 
of Karma or Maya is continually going on ; eaoh oreated being 
has to suffer happiness or unhappiness according to its own 
Actions". In short, although it is not possible for human 
reason to explain when Karma was first started in the world 
by the desire of the Paramesvara, or when man first came 
within the clutches of Karma, yet, in as much as the further 
consequences or fruits of Karma are found to result according 
to the laws of Karma, human reason can come to the definite 
conclusion, that every living being has been caught in the 
prison of eternal Karma in the shape of Names and Forms, 
from the very commencement of the world. This is what is 
meant by the quotation given at the commencement of this 
chapter, namely, "karmana badhyate jantuh" 

The words 'samsara', ' prakrli', 'maya', 'visible world', or 
'rules or laws of creation' ( srdi ) mean the same thing as ' the 
eternal oourse of Karma'; because, the laws of creation are the 
laws which govern the changes which take place in Names 
and Forms ; and, from this point of view, all Material sciences 
come under the denomination of Maya defined by Names and 
Forms. The rules or limitations of this Maya are hard and 
comprehensive ; and therefore, even a pure Materialist like 
Haeckel, who was of the opinion that there is no Funda- 
mental Element which is at the root of or beyond the visible 
world, has laid down the proposition that a man must gc 
where the cycle of creation drags him. According to this 
philosopher, the feeling which every man has, that he should 


obtain a release from his perishable Name-d and Form-ed 
Appearance, or that he will obtain immortality by doing a- 
particular thing, is a mere illusion. Not only are the Atman 
or the Paramatman not independent, and not only is immorta- 
lity a humbug, but, no human being in this world is a free 
agent to do any particular act. As whatever act a man does 
to-day is the result of what has been done before by him or by 
his ancestors, it is also never dependent on his will, whether 
or not to do a particular thing. For example, a desire to steal 
nice things belonging to others comes into existence in the 
hearts of particular persons against their will, as a result 
of previous Actions or hereditary impressions ; and 
they are inspired to steal that particular thing. 
In short, these Materialists are of the opinion that the 
principle mentioned in the Glta, namely, "anicchan api varsneya 
balad ioa niyojitah" (Gi. 3. 36), i. e., "a man commits sin, 
although he might not desire to do it", applies in all places in 
the same way, that there are no exceptions to it, and that there 
is no way of escaping it. From this point of view, a desire 
which a man gets to-day is the result of his Aciion of 
yesterday, and the desire he had yesterday was the result of 
his action of day before yesterday ; a man can never do 
anything by his independent volition, as this chain of causes 
is endless ; whatever happens is the result of former actions or 
of destiny, because people give the name Destiny to pre-destined 
Karma ; and, if a man is, in this way, not free to do or not to 
do a particular Action, it becomes futile to say that he should 
improve his conduct in a particular way, or that he should, 
in a particular manner, realise the identity of the Brahman 
and the Atman and purify his intelligence. Like a log which 
has fallen in the stream of a river, one must without demur 
go wherever Maya, Prakrti, the laws of Creation, or the Stream 
of Karma drags him, whether that is progress or regress. In 
reply to this, some other evolutionist Materialists say that in 
as much as the form of Prakrti is not steady, and Names and 
Forms continually change, man should watch and find out by 
what rules of creation these changes take place, and bring about 
such a change in the external creation as will be beneficial 
to him; and we see in actual life, that by following this logic, 


man utilises flie or electricity for his own benefit. Similarly, 
it is our experience that human nature can to some extent 
be altered by effort. But, the question in hand is not whether 
or not there can be a change in the formation of the universe 
or in human nature, nor whether or not man should effect 
such a ohange; and we have, at the moment, to determine 
whether or not a man is in a position to control or to yield 
to the inspiration or desire which he has to bring about 
such a change. And if, from the point of view of Materialistic 
philosophy, the fulfilment or non-fulfilment of this desire is 
pre-destined by the laws of Prakrti, or of Karma, or of the 
■Creation, according to the principle ' buddhih Jcarmanusarini ', 
then it follows, according to this philosophy, that a man is 
not free or independent to do or not to do a particular Action. 
This doctrine is known by the. name ' vasanasvatamtrya ' 
( Freedom of Desire ), or ' icckasvalamtrya' ( Freedom of Wil l ), 
or ' pravrttisvatamtrya' ( Freedom of Inclinatio n )■ And if one 
considers the matter purely from the point of view of the 
Effects of Karma ( karma-vipaka ) or of the purely Materialistic 
philosophy, one has to come to the conclusion that no man has 
got any kind of freedom of inclination or freedom of will, and 
that every man is circumscribed in all directions like the 
unbreakable iron ring fixed on the wheel of a cart. But, if 
one takes the evidence of his own Conscience in this matter, 
it will be seen that although one may not possesB the power of 
making the Sun rise in the West, yet, we believe that doing or 
not doing, after careful consideration, whatever one intends 
to do by his own hands, or, where there is one course which is 
sinful and another whioh is meritorious, or one course which 
is righteous and another which is unrighteous, choosing the 
good or the bad course out of the two, is a thing whioh is 
subject to the control of a man's desire. We have now to see 
whether this belief is right or wrong. If one says that this 
belief is wrong, then those who commit thefts or murders are 
judged to be wrong-doBrs on the basis of this belief, and are' 
punished accordingly; and, if one says that it is correot, then 
the Theory of Karma, or the Theory of Karma- Vipaka or the 
laws of the visible creation fall to the ground. As in the 
Material sciences,' one has to consider only the actions of 


11 gross substances, this question does not arise there. But, it 
acquires importance in the science of Karma-Yoga, which 
deals with the duty and the non-duty of those who have- 
acquired Knowledge, and it has to be answered; because, if it 
is definitely proved that there is no freedom of inclination for 
man, then the science of right or wrong ( vidMnisedha-sastra ), 
which shows how to purify the mind, or explains whether a 
particular thing should be done or should not be done, or 
whether a particular thing is righteous or unrighteous, 
automatically loses need of consideration ( Ve. Su, 2. 3. 33 );* 
and the height of manhood will oonsist in remaining in the- 
eternal bondage of Mahamaya or Prakrti, whether personally 
or as a result of heredity. Or, where is there any manhood 
left at all ? Manhood will have to be considered if a person is 
fai a position to control anything at all. What can there be 

"except imprisonment and serfdom where a man has not the 
smallest authority or will ? Like the bullocks tied to a plough, 
every one will have to toil under the authority of Prakrti, and 
as our poet Shankara says, "the shaokles of the inherent 

' 'qualities of substances" must be perpetually kept by oneself 
on his feet ! The attention of all scholars has been fixed on the 
question of the Freedom of Will, as a result of Karma-Vada 
( Theory of Karma ) or Daiva-Vada ( Theory of Destiny ) in 
our country, and of the Theory of Providence in the Christian 
religion in former years, and of the Theory of the Laws of 
Nature propounded by Materialistic philosophers in modern 
times ; and any amount of discussion has taken place, and is 
still taking place on this question. But as it is impossible 
to deal with the whole of that matter here, I am in this chapter 
dealing only with what the idea of the Bhagavadglta and of 
Vedanta philosophy on that question is. 

* Thia portion of the Vedanta-Butma is nailed the 'jivahirtr- 
tvadhihmma', and the first of these Sutras is 'iarta s'astrarthaeatvat,* 
that io to say, 'in order that the science of right or wrong should 
have aoy significance, the Jlva (Personal Self) must be considered as 
a doer'. When one oonsiderj the Sutra of Panlni (Pa. 1. 4.54) 
that: — •' mataihirah karla" (i.e., the doer is independent), the word" 
' larta ' couveys the impression of Freedom of Self; and it will ba 
Been that this a&hiiarana deals with that question. 


It is true that the course of Karma is eternal, and that even 
the Paramesvara does not interfere with the course or cycle of 
Karma which has once heen started. But according' to our 
philosophers, the doctrine of Adhyatma ( Philosophy of the 
Absolute Self ), that the visible world is not purely Karma or 
merely Names and Forms, that there is some imperishable 
independent Atman-formed Brahman-world which is clothed 
by thesa Names and Forms, and that the Atman within the 
human body is a particle of that permanent and independent 
Parabrahman, shows the path for getting out of this seemingly 
unconquerable difficulty. But, before explaining this path, it 
is necessary to complete the description of the process of .the. 
Effects of Karma, which has remained incomplete. It is not 
that the rule that one has to suffer according to what one does, 
applies only to a particular individual. . A family, a. 
community, a nation, or even the whole universe cannot 
.escape suffering the consequences of their Actions in the game 
way as an individual cannot do so ; and in as much as every 
human being is born in some family, some community, or some 
country, it has to soma extent to suffer on account of the 
Actions not only of itself, but also of the community or 
society, such as, the family etc. to which it belongs, But, as 
one has to refer ordinarily only to the Actions of a particular 
individual, the divisions of Karma, in the Theory of the 
Effects of Karma, have been made primarily by reference to 
a single individual. For instance, Manu has divided the eyij 
actions of a man into bodily ( Myika ), vocal ( mcika ) and. 
mental ( mamsika ) ; and of these, prostitution, murder, and 
theft are called bodily Actions; the four Actions, namely, 
speaking what is painful, speaking an untruth, speaking what 
is derogatory, and speaking what is incoherent, are called 
vocal Actions; and the three Actions, namely, desiring the 
wealth of another, desiring the evil of another, and false 
insistence, are said to be mental Actions; and having inthiB 
way classified evil Actions or sins into ten kinds (Manu. 
12.5-7; Ma. Bha. Anu. 13.), their effects are next enumerated. 
Yet, this differentiation is not final; because, later on, in 
this very chapter, Karma has again been divided into 
zattvika, rajasa, and tamasa; and the characteristics of 


these three kiads of qualities (guna), or of Karma, which 
have been given there are primarily the same as those given id 
the Bhagavadgita (Gl. 14. 11-15 ; 18. 23-25 ; Manu. 12. 31-34) . 
But, the division of Karma which one commonly comes across 
in the subject of the Effect of Actions is different from both 
these divisions; and according to that division, Karaia is 
divided into 'mincita' (Accumulated). ' 'prarabdha (Commenced), 
and 'kriymnaya' (Being-suffered). Whatever Action has been 
performed by a man upto date, whether he has performed it in 
this birth or in the previous births, is his 'sa/hcita, i. e., 
'Accumulated' Karma. This samcita is also known as 'adrsta 
(invisible), or, in the terminology of the Mimamsa school, 
'aparea' (strange). The reason for this terminology is, that 
any particular Action is visible only during that particular 
time when it is being performed; and when that time has gone, 
it does not any more remain in its actual form, but all that 
remains is its subtle, that is, invisible, or apurva, that is, 
strange effects (Ve. Su, Sam. Bha. 3. 2. 39,40). Whatever 
may be said, the words 'samcita , 'adrsta, or 'apurva' undoubtedly 
mean the 'accumulation' of the effects of all the various 
Actions performed upto the moment of performing the last 
Action. It is not possible to suffer the effects of all these 
Accumulated Actions at the same time; because, the 
consequences of these Accumulated Actions can produce either 
good or bad, that is, mutually contrary effects. For instance, 
some Accumulated Actions lead to heaven, whereas others 
lead to hell ; and, the results of all of them cannot possibly be 
enjoyed at one and the same time, but have to be enjoyed one 
after the other; and therefore, those out of the 'samcita' 
(Accumulated) Actions, of which the results are first begun to 
be suffered are known as 'prarabdha' (Commenced Actions), or 
'that sathcita, which has started'. In the Marathi language, 
the word 'prarabdha' is very often used synonymously with 
'samata' ; but it will be seen that this meaning is not correct, 
and that scientifically speaking, 'prarabdha' is only a sub- 
division of 'samcita', which is the total aggregate of Actions. 
prarabdha is not the whole of samcita, but that portion of 
samcita, the effects (karya) of which, one has begun to suffer 
for; and, therefore, 'prarabdha is also called 'arahdha-harya 


(Commenced Action). In addition to Commenced and 
Accumulated Action, a third division of Karma is ordinarily 
made, namely, the 'kriyamava'. 'kriyamana' is a derivative 
participle indicating the present tense, and means 'that Aetion 
which is now going on, or which we are now performing'- 
But, whatever we are now doing is the lesult of the Commenced 
Karma, that is to say, of that portion of Accumulated Karma 
which we have commenced to suffer for. Therefore, I do not 
see any reason for making the third division, 'kriyamava* 
(Being-suffered). It is true that one can differentiate between. 
Commenced and Being-suffered Karma by saying that the 
Commenced Karma is the cause and the Being-suffered is its effect 
(phala), that is to say, its produot (karya). But, this distinction 
is of no use in the process of suffering the results of Aotions. 
Some word is necessary to indicate those Actions, out of the 
Accumulated Karma, which one has not yet commenced to suffer 
for, that is to say, which remain over after the Commenoed 
is deducted from the Accumulated. Therefore, in the Yedanta 
Sutras (Ve. Su. 4. 1. 15), Commenced Karma is known as 
'prarabdha-karya' , and all the Actions which are not 'prarabdha' 
are known as 'ariarabdha-karya' (Actions, which one has not 
yet begun to suffer for). In my opinion, it is scientifically 
more accurate to divide Accumulated Action (saiiieita-karya) 
into prarabdha-karya and ariarabdha-karya in this way ; and 
therefore, instead of understanding the word 'kriyamaria 
(Being-suffered) as a derivative participle indicating the 
present tense, we oan look upon it as indicating the future 
tense on the strength of the Sutra of Panini: "vartamana 
samipye vartamanavadva" (Pa. 3. 3. 131), and interpret it as 
meaning "that, which is to be suffered for, soon in the future" ; 
in this way, kriyamana will mean anarabdha-kanja, and the 
words prarabdha (Commenced) and kriyamaria (To-be-SuffeTod) 
will respectively be synonymous with arabdha-kanja 
( Commenced Karma ) and amrabdha-karya (Uncommenced 
Karma) of the Vedanta-Sutras. But now-a-days, afc any rate, 
no one interprets the word 'kriyamana' in that way; and 
kriyamaria is interpreted as meaning the Actions which 
are now being suffered for. But, if it is taken in that 
meaning, not only has one to call the result of prarabdha 


ly the name kriyamwia, but the interpretation becomes further 
subject to the serious objection, that none of the words 'samcita', 
'prarabdha' or 'kriyamaya' can be used for showing the 
anafabdha-karya. On the other hand, it is also not proper to 
disregard the ordinary meaning of the word 'kriyanmna'. 
Therefore, instead of accepting the commonly accepted divi- 
sions of Karma in the santcita, prarabdha, and kriyamana, in 
discussing the process of suffering the results of Actions, I 
divide Karma into arabdha-karya ( Commenced Karma ) and 
anarabdha-kdrya ( Uncommenced Karma ) ; and that is also 
scientifically more convenient. The action of 'suffering' is 
divided, according to the tense, into 'that which has been 
suffered' ( past ), 'that which is now being suffered' ( present ), 
and 'that which has still to be suffered' (future). But, in the 
science of the Effects of Karma, Karma cannot be divided 
into three divisions in this way. Because, that portion of 
Accumulated Karma ( samcita ), which is suffered for after 
having become Commenced Karma ( prarabdha ), produces 
results which go again to 6well the ranks of Accumulated 
Karma { samcita): and, therefore, in considering the question 
of the suffering for Actions, it is not necessary to divide 
samcita further than into prarabdha, which means that which one 
has begun to suffer for, and anarabdha, which meanB that which 
one has not yet begun to suffer for. When the effects of all 
Actions have, in this way, been classified into a two-fold 
division, the science of the effects of Karma now tells us 
about the suffering of those effects, that Accumulated Karma 
is all that has to be suffered for. Out of this, those Actions, 
the suffering of the effects of which has resulted in one's 
acquiring the present birth, that is to say, that portion of 
Accumulated Karma which has become Commenced Karma, 
cannot be escaped suffering for — "prarabdhakarmariam bhogad 
evaksayah". In the same way as an arrow, which has left 
one'B hands, cannot come back, but must go on upto its 
destination, or, as once the wheel of the potter starts to revolve, 
it will go on revolving until the force of the revolution has 
been exhausted, so also does prarabdha, that is, |hat Karma for 
the Tesults of which one has begun to suffer, go on. Whatever 
has been started, must come to an end; there is no esoape 


from it. But, the same is not the case with the Karma, which 
is anarabdha-karya- One can totally annihilate all this 
kind of Karma by means of Knowledge. As a result of this 
important difference between the Commenced Karma (prarabdha 
.karya) and Uncommenced Karma (ariarabdha karya), the scient 
has got to patiently wait for a natural death, even after having 
acquired Knowledge, that is to say, until the Karma, which has 
started with his body coming to birth, comes to an end. If 
instead of doing so, he puts an end to his life, then, although 
he may have destroyed his ariarabdha Karma by means of 
Knowledge, yet, he will have to take another birth for 
suffering the effects of that prarabdha-karma, which made him 
take the former birth, and the suffering of which has remained 
incomplete as a result of his perversity in putting an end to 
iis life ; and both the Vedanta and the Samkhya philosophy 
have drawn the conclusion that on that account he will 
necessarily not attain Belease (Ve. Su, 4. 1. 13-15 and S&m. 
JJa, 67), Besides, committing suicide in defiance of these 
natural laws will be another Karma, which will have been 
started, and it will be necessary to take another birth to suffer 
the consequences of that Karma. From this, it will be clear, 
that from the point of view of the doctrine of Karma, even 
suicide is a madness. 

I have now mentioned the divisions of Karma from the 
point of view of suffering the Effects of Karma. I shall now 
consider in what way, that is, by what device one can esoape 
the bonds of Karma. The first of these devices is that 
prescribed by the supporters of the Karma-Vada (Doctrine of 
Karma), 'anarabdha-karya' has been defined by me above as 
those Accumulated Actions, for which one has to suffer in the 
future — whether they can be suffered for in this life or it is 
necessary to take other births to suffer them. But, disregarding 
this meaning, some followers of the Mlmamsa school have 
found out a way, easy in their opinion, for obtaining Release. 
As has been stated before in the third chapter, Karma is 
•divided by the Mlmamsa school into nitya (daily), naimittika 
■(occasional), kamya (desire-prompted), and nisiddha (forbidden). 
Out of these, if one fails to perform the daily Actions like 
.samdhya (worship at twilight) etc., one incurs sin; and the 


occasional Actions have to be performed whenever the occasion 
arises. Therefore, according to the Mlmarhsa school, both these- 
kinds of Actions have to be performed. That leaves the kamya 
and the nisiddha Actions. Out of these, one incurs sin by 
performing the msiddha (forbidden) Actions, and, therefore, 
they should not be performed ; and as, by performing the 
kamya (desire-prompted) Actions, one has to take birth after 
birth to suffer their effects, they too should not be performed.. 
When a man, in this way, mentally balances the effects of 
Actions, and gives up some Actions and performs others 
according to the prescribed rites, he must automatically obtain 
Release : because, ; the prarabdln-karma is exhausted by its 
being suffered for in this life ; and by performing the daily 
and the occasional Actions and eschewing the forbidden ones 
in this life, one escapes perdition ; and by giving up desire- 
prompted Actions, there does also not remain the necessity of 
enjoying heavenly happiness. When the suffering in thiB- 
world and in hell and in heaven has thus been exhausted, no 
other state is possible for the Atman except Release. This 
doctrine is known as 'karma-mukti' or 'naiskarmya-dddhi' 
(salvation by absistence from Action). The state in which in 
spite of performing an Action, one is in the same position as- 
if one did not perform it, that is to say, in which the doer does 
not suffer the bondage of the sin or the merit of the Action, is 
known as the 'naislcarmya' state. But, Vedanta philosophy has 
proved that, one does not fully succeed in miskarmya by this 
device of the Mlmamsa school (Ve. Su. Sarh. Bha. 4. 3. 14) ; 
and for the same reason, the Glta says: "naiskarmya does not 
result from abstinence from Actions, nor does one obtain. 
Release by giving up Action" (Gi. 3. 4). In the first place, it 
is impossible to eschew all the forbidden Actions, and Ethics 
itself says that by making a naimittika (occasional) prayascitta 
(self-imposed penance), one does not entirely get rid of the sin 
of having performed that forbidden Action. Yet, even taking, 
it for granted that such a thing is possible, the statement of the 
MJmamsa school that by suffering for the 'prarabdlta' Karma, and 1 
performing the various perf ormable Actions in the manner men- 
tioned above in this life, or by not performing them, one exhausts 
accumulation of samcita Karma, is itself not correct ; because >• 


if the results of two accumulated Actions are contrary to- 
each other, e. g., if the effect of one is heavenly happiness, and 
that of the other, the tortures of hell, then, as it is not possible 
to suffer both at the same time and at the same place, it is- 
impossible to exhaust the suffering for the effects of the entire 
'samcita' Karma by the 'prambdiia' which has been started in 
this life, and by the Actions which have to be performed in 
this life. It is stated in the PaTasaraglta in the Bharata that., 

kadacit sukrtam tola kutaslham iva tistliati I 
nmjjamamsya sariisare yuvad duhkhad vimucyate II 

( Ma. Bha. San. 390. 17 ) 

that is, "s ometimes, th e meritorious _ Actions previously 
performed by~aTman waTtTto^iv^TuihTiheirT)enencial effects )■ 
until he has escaped from the pain of this worldly Tife'Vand 
thTsame argument~applies to the Accumulated sins. Thus,., 
suffering the effects of Accumulated Karma is not exhausted in 
one life, and some portion of the Accumulated Karma, always 
remains over as anarabdha-karya ( Uncommenced Karma ); and, 
even if all Actions in this life are performed in the manner - 
mentioned above, one still does not escape having to take 
another birth for suffering the Uncommenced Karma which is • 
part of the Accumulated Karma. Therefore, Vedanta philo- 
sophy has come to the conclusion, that this seemingly easy _ 
device of the Mimamsa school for obtaining Release, is false 
and misleading. No Upanisad has mentioned this way of 
escaping the bondage of Karma. This device has been erected 
merely on the foundation of inference, and this inference does 
not stand the test till the end. In short, expecting to escape 
the bondage of Karma merely by performing Karma, is as • 
foolish as expecting a blind man to save another blind man by 
showing him the right way. Well ; if one does not accept this 
device of the MlmSihsa school, and sits idle without performing 
any Action, expecting thereby to escape the bondage of Karma, 
that too is not possible ; because, not only does the suffering 
for the Uncommenced Karma Temain in balance, but 
the idea of giving up Karma, as also the act of sitting idle 
are both (omasa Actions in themselves, and one cannot escape 
having to take another birth in order to suffer the effects of 


4hese tamasa Actions, simultaneously with suffering for those 
of the TJneommenced portion of one's Accumulated Karma 
.{See Gl. 18. 7 and 8). Besides, so long as this body is alive, 
breathing, sleeping, sitting and such other Actions continue; 
and, therefore, the position of giving up all Actions also 
becomes untenable; and it has been stated in various places 
in the Gita, that no one can even for a single moment escape 
Karma in this world ( See Gl. 3. 5; 18. 11 ). 

When it has thus been proved, that whether the Action be 
good or bad, man must always be ready to suffer the effect of 
it by taking some birth or other ; that Karma is eternal and 
that even the Paramesvara does not interfere with its 
unbreakable continuity ; that it is impossible to give up all 
Actions; and that one cannot escape the bondage of Karma by 
performing some Actions and not performing others as advised 
by the Mlmarhsa school, the next question which crops up is: — 
how can one satisfy the natural desire of a human being 
to escape the • cycle of Karma in the shape of perishable 
Names and Forms, and to go and be merged into the 
Immortal and imperishable Element, which is at the root of 
-.that cycle. In the Vedas as also in the Smrti texts, many 
devices, such as, sacrifices etc. have been prescribed for 
•obtaining benefit in the life after death. But, from the point 
■of view of the philosophy of Release, all these are of a lower 
order; because, even if one attains heaven by performing 
meritorious acts like sacrifices etc., yet, whan the benefit of 
.that meritorious Action is over, one does not escape having to 
•come back again to the land of Action (Jcarmwthumi ) sometime 
•or other, though it may be after the expiry of a very long 
period of time ( Ma. Bha. Vans. 259 and 260; Gl. 8. 25 and 9.20) 
In short, it is quite clear, that this is not the correct path for 
being merged into the immortal substance and fi