Chapter 7. Knowledge and Wisdom

1Practice yoga with focus,
fix your mind on me,
and take refuge in me;
without doubt
you will know me
Here, yoga refers to contemplation and ‘me’ refers to the supreme.

2I will fully teach you this knowledge
as well as how you may apply it.

Once you know this,
nothing remains to be known.

3Among thousands of humans,
hardly a few strive for perfection.
Among the few striving for perfection
barely one will realize the supreme.

4Earth, fire, wind, water, space,
mind, intellect, and ego –
such is the eightfold division of my nature.

5But this is just
my lower nature, Arjuna.
Beyond this, I have a higher nature,
which is the life-force
that sustains the universe.
Here, ‘this’ refers to the eightfold divisions.

6All beings originate from
my higher and lower states.
I am the source and the dissolution
of the entire universe.

7There is nothing beyond me!
Everything in the universe is strung on me
like a row of pearls on a string.
The supreme one sustains everything in the universe,
like a string that holds together pearls in a necklace.

8Know me as the essence in the waters,
the light of the sun and moon,
the ‘om’ in all the Vedas,
the sound in space, and
the manhood of men.
Om is a single syllable word that denotes brahman, the supreme being. It is the most sacred sound according to Hindu belief.

9I am the sacred scent of earth,
the radiance in fire,
the life in the living, and
the austerity of the austere.

10I am the eternal seed of all beings,
the wisdom of the wise, and
the splendor of the splendid.

11In those who are strong
I am pure strength,
devoid of lust and passion.
In all beings
I am the desire
that doesn’t violate dharma.
Dharma refers to a moral law or principle.

12The traits of
sattva, rajas, and tamas
come from me alone.
They are in me
but I am beyond them.
Typically, humans have three inherent tendencies (gunas):
sattva (saintly goodness), rajas (relentless activity), and tamas (deluded lethargy).

13The whole world is governed by
the interplay of these gunas.
People are fooled by the gunas and
fail to recognize my true nature.
The supreme is imperishable and above the gunas.

14It is difficult indeed to overcome
the influence of my maya,
which is caused by the gunas.
But those who have true humility
go beyond maya.
Maya is the divine power of illusion.

True humility is the recognition that a greater force
governs the cosmic order in the universe.

15The wicked, the foolish, and the demonic,
languishing at the lowest level of humanity
are not endowed with that humility
as their minds are carried away by illusion.

16Four kinds of sincere people worship me:
a seeker of wealth,
a person in distress,
a seeker of wisdom, and
a wise person.

17Among the four,
the wise one is ever-steady;
he is devoted to the supreme and he excels.
I am dear to him and he is dear to me.

18While all these devotees are noble,
I consider the wise one to be my very self.
Having realized his true self
he looks upon me as the supreme goal
and abides in me.

19At the end of many cycles of birth and death,
the wise one realizes that Vasudeva is everything
and connects with the supreme.
Indeed, such great souls are hard to find.
Vasudeva refers to the soul of the universe, which pervades everything. Vasudeva is another name for Krishna.

At the end of many births, the wise man exhausts all options
and comes to realize that there is nothing beyond the supreme.

20Those who are distracted
by desires for this or that
turn to other deities,
following this or that rule
of their own making.

21But, in whatever form one chooses
to worship god in good faith,
I strengthen his faith further.
22Endowed with that steady faith,
he gets his desires fulfilled.
Those desires are indeed granted by me.
23But these are men of limited learning;
the rewards that they get are temporary.
People who worship other deities
go to the deities they worship
but my devotees surely come to me.
We become what we think we will become. People who worship a particular deity will attain that state of being. Those who worship the supreme will attain the supreme.

24Ignorant people think of me only as having a form.
They are unaware of my mysterious higher existence,
eternal and incomparable.
25Hidden by my own maya,
my glory is not revealed to all.

The deluded ones do not know me
as the unborn and the unending.

26Arjuna, I know all the beings
of the past, present, and future
but no one knows me!

27All beings are ignorant
due to the illusion caused by duality,
arising from love and hate.
At a basic level, our thinking is dualistic -– it is governed by likes and dislikes. Due to these opposing emotions, we fail to examine things objectively.

28But as people do good and put an end to evil,
they are freed from the illusion caused by duality;
they worship the supreme with intense devotion.

29Those who take refuge in the supreme and
strive for freedom from old age and death –
they will know about
brahman, adhyatma, and karma.

30Those who know me as the
adibhuta, adidaiva, and adiyajña,
truly know me.
They are controlled in their thoughts;
they are aware of me
even at the moment of their death.
In the next chapter, Krishna goes on to explain the terms
brahman, adhyatma, karma, adibhuta, adidaiva, and adiyajña.

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