Truth Amid Chaos – Bhagavad Gita Chapter 13

Can you discern between the physical body, your emotions, and your soul? How can you tell which is which? This chapter is about identifying layers of personal reality precisely. The body, along with its feelings and experiences are all impermanent. The soul that observes it is permanent. So, this chapter of the Gita helps you discern your layers of experience as a living soul. The goal is freedom from death and rebirth, ascension into union with God. In order to do that, we must simply see through the various layers of experience in a body, to differentiate between Individual and Ultimate Consciousness. Microcosm – Macrocosm. This knolsedge is critical, because the alternative is to live trapped in a material 3D concept of the world, and suffer the same confusion lifetime after lifetime.

The Earth and the Cosmos are subject to the laws of Nature, Science, Almighty Power, life, and death, which never change. The Bhagavad Gita is richly symbolic. If we open our eyes and ears to this 5,000 year-old text, written in Sanskrit the ancient language of the Gods, it is directly relevant to resolving our modern challenges. It describes ascension techniques from thousands of years before Christ, through which people can move into higher dimensions, to attain freedom from the material world. With each chapter the Gita lessons become clearer and more focused. Just enjoy and listen with an open mind, as you would hear a story.


Once upon a time, in a faraway land, Gods ruled the Earth, and all learning took place in the form of sacred verses, that people learned by heart and passed down with each generation. 

The warrior prince Arjuna and his chariot driver the God Krishna, stand before a vast battlefield, where thousands of warriors are assembled and Arjuna must conquer half of his family lineage. He is horrified and refuses to fight. Krishna tells him in 18 chapters how to focus his mind in a higher state in which he will be more powerful, bring benefit to his family, and incur no sin or Karma in the battle. Arjuna listens, and finally accepts his destiny to fight. He and his brothers win the war and ultimately ascend to the heavenly realms.

In Chapter 13, Krishna introduces an important concept, to remove the roots of suffering and entrapment in the 3D matrix. He invites us to notice how we identify with our body,our likes, dislikes, and how this forms a series of attachments, mental-emotional hurdles that obstruct our free passage to freedom. We are doing our best to translate from Sanskrit, the scientific language of the Gods. To re-express them in English language, now we are in the invisible scientific laboratory of pschyo-spiritual birthing. I’ll try to create clear images. 

This Body Field kṣetra and the Knower of the field kṣetrajña into two categories, the microcosmic and the macrocosmic, to help us disentangle our physical -emotional experience. How does the individual Body field kṣetra, along with its own individual soul or Knower kṣetrajña, meet the external macrocosmic field and the knower of the entire world?

When we cease to see different identities which are due to different material nature, we can see that all beings everywhere come from the Supreme, and we thus attain realization.

The crux of the lesson is in the last verse #35: “Those who know through the eye of wisdom the distinction between the body field (microcosm) and the Knower of the field (Soul), and the highest God, they achieve annihilation of the Matrix and reach the Supreme.”
Please listen carefully and fasten your seat belts. 

The Body field is defined as 24 different elements: 

  • The 5 physical elements earth, water, fire, air, and space, 
  • The 5 five senses (ears, eyes, tongue, skin, and nose), 
  • The 5 five objects of the sense activities—taste, touch, smell, sight, and sound), 
  • The 5 the five working senses (voice, hands, legs, genitals, and anus), 
  • Plus 4 other elements: mind, intellect, ego, and physical energy called prakṛiti.

The Buddha taught: “All that we are is the result of what we have thought; it is founded on our thoughts, and it is made of our thoughts.”  Thus, as we think, that is what we become. 

Therefore, it is necessary to cultivate appropriate thoughts and actions in the body field. For this, we must discern between the body field, and the knower of the field.

All the feelings, sentiments, emotions, etc., that arise in the body field as “modifications”, help purify the field and illuminate it with knowledge. Or they pull it down into confusion. Shree Krishna further says God is all-pervading in His creation, yet, He sits in the heart of every living being. Thus, He is the Supreme Soul.

So we have the Supreme Soul, the Individual soul, and the Body field of the living beings. This differentiation helps us  identify the correct causes of actions. We do not get caught in the illusions of their mind. We can perceive the presence of the Supreme Soul in every living being. We can also appreciate the unique material nature of each person in the larger field of existence pervaded by a common spiritual Soul. With this knowledge, we attain consciousness of the Brahman or God-realization.

As you listen to the verses of Chapter 13, I invite you to ponder these questions:

  1.  What is the difference between the physical body field and and the Knower of the field? How can you tell which is which? Which is permanent or impermanent?
  2. What 24 attributes are included in the Body field and are impermanent?
  3. What is the role of the Supreme God in relation to your Body Field and your Knower of the Field?
  4. Give an example of how you are able to differentiate between the Body Field and the Knower of the Field in yourself.
  5. What are your favorite quotes from this chapter to remember for life lessons? 
  6. What parallel events in the modern world illustrate these concepts?

Now let’s listen to the verses of Chapter 13.

Bhagavad Gita 13.1

Arjuna said: O Kesava, I wish to learn about Physical Matter (Prakriti) and Spirit (Purusha), also about The Body Field (Kshetra) and the The One Who Knows the Field (Kshetrajna), and all the Knowledge of that which is to be learned. 

Bhagavad Gita 13.2
Sri Bhagavan said
This body is called the Body Field. The one who knows the body field is called the Knower of the Field, or the soul, by the sages.

Bhagavad Gita 13.3

You also know Me as the knower of the Body Field in all Fields, O Bharata. Only the Knowledge of the Field and its Knower is considered by Me as true knowledge.

Bhagavad Gita 13.4

Hear briefly from Me what the Body Field is, what its properties are, what its modifications are, from where it comes, who its knower is and what His powers are. 

Bhagavad Gita 13.5

All this has been sung by sages in many and different ways, in various distinctive hymns, and also in well-reasoned and convincing passages indicative of high Brahmans.

Bhagavad Gita 13.6

The Body Field includes all this: The five great elements, the ten senses, the five objects of the senses, Ego (I-consciousness), intellect, material energy Prakriti, and the mind.

The Body Field of consists of 24 items: the five great elements (earth, water, fire, air, and space), the five senses (ears, eyes, tongue, skin, and nose), the five objects of the senses (taste, touch, smell, sight, and sound), five working senses (voice, hands, legs, genitals, and anus). Four other elements (Mind, Ego, Intellect, and Prakriti non-physical primordial matter. The Sanskrit prefix “pra” means “original” and “kruti” means “creation”. 

Bhagavad Gita 13.7

The Body Field also includes these modifications: Desire, aversion, pleasure, pain, the aggregate body consciousness, intelligence, and fortitude (determination or will).

Bhagavad Gita 13.8
Knowledge of certain conditions is necessary for understanding the Infinite Self. These are humbleness, freedom from hypocrisy, non-violence, forgiveness, simplicity, service of the teacher,

Bhagavad Gita 13.9

Cleanliness of body and mind, steadfastness, and self-control, dispassion toward the objects of the senses, absence of egotism, keeping in mind the evils of birth, disease, old age, and death, 

Bhagavad Gita 13.10

Non-attachment, absence of clinging to spouse, children, home, etc, even-mindedness amid pleasant and unpleasant events in life, constant and exclusive devotion toward Me,

Bhagavad Gita 13.11

Inclination for solitary places, aversion to mundane society, constant interest of spiritual knowledge, and philosophical pursuit of the Absolute Truth: 

Bhagavad Gita 13.12

All these I declare to be knowledge. And what is contrary to it, I call ignorance.

Bhagavad Gita 13.13

I will now describe that which must be known. By knowing it one attains immortality, knowledge of the beginningless Supreme Brahman, called neither being nor non-being.

Bhagavad Gita 13.14

This Principle of Consciousness exists pervading all. This Consciousness is behind every living being, Paramatman.Everywhere are His hands and feet, eyes, heads, and faces. His ears too are in all places, for He pervades everything in the universe.

Bhagavad Gita 13.15

Though He perceives all sense-objects, yet He is devoid of the senses. He is unattached to anything, and yet He is the sustainer of all. Although He is beyond the three gunas, yet He is the enjoyer of these three modes of physics.

Bhagavad Gita 13.16

He exists outside and inside all living beings, those that are moving and not moving. He is subtle, therefore, He is incomprehensible. He is very far, but He is also very near.

Bhagavad Gita 13.17

He is indivisible, yet He appears to be divided among living beings. Know the Supreme Power to be the Creator, Sustainer, Destroyer of all beings.

Bhagavad Gita 13.18

He is the source of light in all the stars of the universe, and is entirely beyond the darkness of ignorance. He is knowledge, the object of knowledge, and the goal of knowledge. He dwells within the hearts of all living beings.

Bhagavad Gita 13.19

Thus I have revealed to you the Body Field, the Knowledge required, and the Universal Object of knowledge. Only My devotees can understand this reality, and by doing so, they attain My divine nature.

Bhagavad Gita 13.20

Know you that physical matter (Prakriti) and spirit (Purusha) are both without beginning. And know also that all transformations of the body and the three gunas of nature are produced by matter.

Bhagavad Gita 13.21

Physical matter (Prakriti) is the cause of the generation of the body and organs. However, spirit (Purusha) is the cause of the experience of pleasure and pain. 

Bhagavad Gita 13.22

When the Puruṣh (individual soul) seated in Prakṛiti (the material energy) desires to enjoy the three guṇas, attachment to them becomes the cause of its birth in womb of a higher or lower nature.

Bhagavad Gita 13.23

The Supreme Soul (Purusha) in this body is also called the Witness, the Approver, the Supporter, the Experiencer, the Sovereign Lord and the Supreme Self (Paramātmā).

Bhagavad Gita 13.24

Those who understand the truth about Supreme Soul, the individual soul, material nature, and the interaction of the three gunas of physical nature will not take birth here again. They will be liberated regardless of their present condition. 

Bhagavad Gita 13.25

Some try to perceive the Supreme Soul within their hearts through meditation, and others try to do so through the cultivation of knowledge, Jnaana Yoga while still others strive to attain that realization by the path of action or Karma Yoga. 

Bhagavad Gita 13.26

There are still others who are unaware of these spiritual paths, but they hear from others and begin worshipping the Supreme Lord. By such devotion to hearing from saints, they too can gradually cross over the ocean of birth and death.

Bhagavad Gita 13.27

O best of the Bharatas, whatever moving or unmoving creature you see in existence, know it to be a combination of the Body Field (Kshetra) and the The One Who Knows the Field (Kshetrajna).

Bhagavad Gita 13.28

They alone truly see, who perceive the Paramātmā (Supreme Soul) accompanying the Individual soul in all beings, understand both to be imperishable within this perishable body.

Bhagavad Gita 13.29

Those, who see God as the Supreme Soul equally present everywhere and in all living beings, do not degrade themselves by the mind in limited material awareness. Thereby, they reach the supreme destination.

Bhagavad Gita 13.30

They alone truly see who understand that all actions (of the body) both good and evil, are performed by material nature (Prakriti), while the embodied soul actually does nothing.

Bhagavad Gita 13.31

When one ceases to see different identities, which are due to different material nature, one sees that all beings everywhere come from the Supreme, and thus attains realization.

Bhagavad Gita 13.32

The Supreme Soul is imperishable, without beginning, and devoid of any material qualities, O son of Kunti. Although situated within the body, It neither acts, nor is It tainted by material energy.

Bhagavad Gita 13.33

Just like ether holds everything within it, but does not get contaminated by what it holds. Similarly, though soul consciousness pervades the material body, the soul is never tainted by the physical attributes of the body.

As the all pervading ether is not tainted, because of its subtlety, so too the Self that is present in every body does not suffer any taint.

Bhagavad Gita 13.34

Just as the sun illumines the entire solar system, so does the individual soul consciousness (Paramatman) illumine the entire body.

Just as the one sun illuminates the whole world, so also The Lord of the Field (Paramatman) illumines the whole world, O Bharata.

Bhagavad Gita 13.35

Those who perceive with the eyes of knowledge the difference between the body field (kṣhetra)  and the One who knows the body (kṣhetrajña), and the process of its release from the material (Prakriti), those attain the supreme destination.

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