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Selections from Bhagavad Gita

Shree Krishna

Never the spirit was born; the spirit shall cease to be never;
Never was time it was not; End and Beginning are dreams! 
Birthless and deathless and changeless remaineth the spirit for ever; 
Death hath not touched it at all, dead though the house of it seems! 

Abandoning desires which shake the mind — 
Finds in his soul full comfort for his soul, 
He hath attained the Yog — that man is such! 
In sorrows not rejected, and in joys 
Not overjoyed; dwelling outside the stress 
Of passion, fear, and anger; fixed in calms 
Of lofty contemplation;—such an one 
Is Muni, is the Sage, is the true Recluse.

He who, with strong body serving mind, 
Gives up his mortal powers to worthy work, 
Not seeking gain, Arjuna! such an one 
Is honorable. Do thine allotted task! 
Work is more excellent than idleness; 
The body's life proceeds not, lacking work. 
There is a task of holiness to do.

I come, and go, and come. When Righteousness 
Declines, O Bharata! when Wickedness 
Is strong, I rise, from age to age, and take 
Visible shape, and move a man with men, 
Succoring the good, thrusting the evil back, 
And setting Virtue on her seat again. 

By humble heed of those who see the Truth 
And teach it. Knowing Truth, thy heart no more 
Will ache with error, for the Truth shall show 
All things subdued to thee, as thou to Me. 

Of many thousand mortals, one, perchance, 
Striveth for Truth; and of those few that strive — 
Nay, and rise high — one only — here and there — 
Knoweth Me, as I am, the very Truth. 

I am not known 
To evil-doers, nor to foolish ones, 
Nor to the base and churlish; nor to those 
Whose mind is cheated by the show of things, 
Nor those that take the way of Asuras
(beings of low and devilish nature)

That way — the highest way —  he who shuts 
The gates of all his senses, locks desire 
Safe in his heart, centres the vital airs 
Upon his parting thought, steadfastly set; 
And, murmuring OM, the sacred syllable — 
Emblem of BRAHM — dies, meditating Me.

Sattwan, Rajas, and Tamas, so are named, 
The qualities of Nature, " Soothfastness," 
" Passion," and " Ignorance." These three bind down 
The changeless Spirit in the changeful flesh. 
Whereof sweet " Soothfastness "—by purity 
Living unsullied and enlightened—binds 
The sinless Soul to happiness and truth; 
And Passion, being kin to appetite, 
And breeding impulse and propensity, 
Binds the embodied Soul
By tie of works. But Ignorance, the child 
Of Darkness, blinding mortal men, binds down 
Their souls to stupor, sloth, and drowsiness. 
Soothfastness binds souls 
In pleasant wise to flesh; and Passion binds 
By toilsome strain; but Ignorance, which blots 
The beams of wisdom, binds the soul to sloth 
Passion and Ignorance, once overcome. 
Leave Soothfastness. Where this 
With Ignorance are absent, Passion rules; 
And Ignorance in hearts not good nor quick. 
When at all gateways of the Body shines 
The Lamp of Knowledge, then may one see well 
Sooth fastness settled in that city reigns; 
Where longing is, and ardor, and unrest, 
Impulse to strive and gain, and avarice, 
Those spring from Passion — Prince! — engrained; and 
where Darkness and dullness, sloth and stupor are, 
'Tis Ignorance hath caused them.

Moreover, when a soul departeth, fixed 
In Soothfastness, it goeth to the place— 
Perfect and pure—of those that know all Truth 
If it departeth in set hebetude 
Of impulse, it shall go into the world 
Of spirits tied to works; and, if it dies 
In hardened Ignorance, that blinded soul 
Is born anew in some unlighted womb. 

The fruit of Soothfastness is true and sweet; 
The fruit of lusts is pain and toil; the fruit 
Of Ignorance is deeper darkness.  
For Light brings light, and Passion ache to have. 
Blindness, bewilderments, and ignorance 
Grow forth from Ignorance. Those of the first 
Rise ever higher; those of the second mode 
Take a mid place; the darkened souls sink back 
To lower deeps, loaded with witlessness! 

FEARLESSNESS, singleness of soul, the will 
Always to strive for wisdom; opened hand 
And governed appetites; and piety 
And love of lonely study; humbleness, 
Uprightness, heed to injure nought which lives, 
Truthfulness, slowness unto wrath, a mind 
That lightly letteth go what others prize; 
And equanimity, and charity 
Which spieth no man's faults; and tenderness 
Towards all that suffer; a contented heart, 
Fluttered by no desires; a bearing mild, 
Modest, and grave, with manhood nobly mixed 
With patience, fortitude, and purity; 
An unrevengeful spirit, never given 
To rate itself too high;—such be the signs 
of him whose feet are set 
On that fair path which leads to heavenly birth! 

Deceitfulness, and arrogance, and pride, 
Quickness to anger, harsh and evil speech, 
And ignorance, to its own darkness blind,— 
These be the signs, My Prince! of him whose birth 
Is fated for the regions of the Asuras
(beings of low and devilish nature)

Selections from Bhagavad Gita Translated by Edwin Arnold

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