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The Bhagavad Gita

            Summary of the Main Themes in the Bhagavad Gita

© 2006 Online Teosofiska Kompaniet Malmö 

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Some key statements made by Krishna to Arjuna, help us in considering the main themes in the Bhagavad Gita. 

Krishna was an “avatar” of the Preserver – Maha-Vishnu.  His death around February 18th, 3102 BC ushered in the current cycle of the Kali-Yuga (the Black Age).  His teachings to Arjuna (reported here by Vyasa (also a Sage) are deemed to reverberate through the whole length of this dark period among the eternal cycles.  This one is said to be 432,000 years in duration.  [SECRET DOCTRINE, Vol. I, pp 662-5, II 68-70.] 

The BHAGAVAD GITA is included in the MAHA-BHARATA – an account of the early struggles of the Royal house of the Kurus – who do NOT represent the LAW in ACTION and therefore are in conflict with their virtuous cousins, the Pandavas (of which Arjuna was one).  

The scene of this dialog is set on the battlefield named Kuru-Kshetra.  It is the area of conflict in each mind between the Universal Laws of LIFE  (Karma) and the personal and selfish reflection (the ‘isolated’ embodied brain-mind) which we call our Personality.  Virtue (lawfulness) confronts vice (selfish disregard of law), and the EMBODIED Mind decides on its course of action. [It is also an historical area about 55 miles North of Delhi.] 

Krishna, as the highest Spiritual Teacher [ATMA –  the Higher Self], answers questions posed by Arjuna, (the free Mind-man) his pupil.   

Arjuna was also called “Nara” or Man;  and Krishna was named “Narayana” (the Holy Spirit moving on the waters of Infinite Space – or a Sage who embodies Universal Laws and virtues, as, ATMA – the Higher Self in each human being). He gives theoretical and practical advice based on the single concept that the Spiritual Being, whether in the Cosmos or in Man, or as the Monad resident in any and all “atoms,” is the only permanence and REALITY.  It, being universal and deathless, is the root source of manifestation; and is therefore present everywhere, and at the root of every seemingly independent being, be it an atom, a Man, of a Galaxy.  It is simultaneously the SPIRIT – ever resident in each human being. 

The “embodied self” (or Arjuna-Man-mind)  has to desire to know its Higher Self (or Krishna, the Universal Spirit, as the Atma within its form.)  Since it apprehends ITS exist­ence, only a method of self-control (of the desire nature – Kama), and therefore, of self-purification (by living a life of strict probity) will lead it to, and activate its own share of that universal wisdom (Buddhi).  Krishna gives theoretical and practical teachings, but does not enforce them.  He recognizes and respects the right to individual choice and decision of every free-willed being, which is making its pilgrimage through reincarnation in many successive lives and human forms . 

At the end of the “song” he says to Arjuna:  ”There dwelleth in the heart of every creature, O Arjuna, the Master – Ishwara–who by his magic power causeth all things and creatures to revolve mounted upon the universal wheel of time.  Take sanctuary with him alone…with all thy soul;  by his grace thou shalt obtain supreme happiness, the eternal place.  Thus have I made known unto thee this knowledge which is more secret than secrecy itself;  ponder it fully in thy mind;  act as seemeth best unto thee.”  [Verses 61, 62, 63  of the 18th Chapter, B. GITA] 

Important statements are repeated and emphasized several times in the text.




 Summary  (The BHAGAVAD GITA)

1. The UNIVERSAL SUPREME SPIRIT, indefinable, changeless and undying pervades All manifestation and antecedes it as “Cause.” 

2. MANIFESTATION IS PERIODICAL  KARMA eternally guides these successive and multiple areas of  learning.  Every being, going to ”sleep and rest” at the end of any period of evolutionary objectivity (Manvantara or Kalpa), re-awakens at the same stage and with its own continued identity, when manifestation restarts.  Nothing is annihilated, destroyed or forgotten.  NATURE (the Spiritual Kosmos) includes everything. 

3. SPIRIT AND MATTER ARE CO-ETERNAL. [see NOTES ON BHAGAVAD GITA, p. 132-3] . Mind, or consciousness, is the field of interaction between Spirit and Matter and therefore is of many grades.  It is always independent as to its free choices, but those are partially based on its earlier decisions, and therefore it is indissolubly bound by them (Karma).  We all know this by intuition.  Causes we set into motion will echo back to us. 

4. CONSCIOUSNESS RELATES TO SPIRIT.  In Kosmos it is Krishna as the Universal SPIRIT.  In man it is ATMA the HIGHER SELF, and this being one, it (as the ONE CONSCIOUSNESS) pierces up and down the seven planes of being, and upholds the memory of the experiences of every being there.  [ Gita Notes, p. 98-100 ] 

5. ALL BEINGS ARE IMMORTAL IN CONSCIOUSNESS, IN SPIRIT.  The Universe, and each World, is a school of evolving consciousnesses where individual units (imperishable Monads) are developing a knowledge of the Spirit,  and its Laws, which are present in every ”creature.”  Therefore “brotherhood” is a fact.  The practice of “brotherhood” is the purificatory rite we assume as a duty owed to all, and can observe.

6. IGNORANCE ARISES FROM IMPERFECT KNOWLEDGE – DELUSION, AND ILLUSION – which is the inability to see the One Spirit in every being.  The Life-Atom (Monad), the Monadic Essence, all ”forms,” contain a ”ray,” a spark of the One Spirit.  The ONE SPIRIT surrounds everything.  No being is outside of IT. {Some give it names, and call it by those deeming it to be “God,” or, “a God.”  Thus religions are formed and devised.} 

7. Man (as the embodied Mind) is a trustee, and an Agent, in his position of being free and independent, and having the faculty of choosing  his own method of learning. His responsibility is to the Higher Self within.  He errs when he does not act in accord with its instructions which are an expression of Universal Law, Karma.  The ”Voice of Conscience,” and of Intuition are evidence that the interior wisdom (called BUDDHI) of the Higher Self is present, will respond with discriminative advice when asked, and, is one with all else. 

8. In mankind, every ”act” is predicated on his freedom of choice.  Every act produces a reaction from living Nature (Karma) according to the motive of the choice.  MOTIVES ARE DUAL: SELFISH (OR ISOLATED AND DISHARMONIOUS), AND UNSELFISH (OR UNIVERSAL AND HARMONIOUS).  THIS IS THE CAUSE OF REINCARNATION.  Reincarnation is like a day spent in the class in the School of Life.  We are the Eternal Pilgrims.  Our objective, Krishna says, is “Perfection.”  This “living wisdom in action” defines the Sage or the Wise Man.  

9. ”Good” and ”Evil” are acts and effects which are in either harmony or disharmony with the Law of the Universe.  Our task, as humans, is to learn this distinction, relying on the universal Spirit which is interior to us as our Higher Self, to advise  THE BREAKING OF THE LAW OF BROTHERHOOD IS EVIL. 

10. Three ”qualities” [“Gunas”] pervade Nature in manifestation:  WISDOM,  and the dual choices: ACTION, and INDIFFERENCE. 

Our plane of wakeful awareness – of living – is the plane of action.  The alternatives (pairs of opposites) of Wisdom and ignorance (or indifference) confront and help to define our freedom. 

11.Emancipation, liberation, bliss, Nirvana, are words indicating a hope, or desire for freedom from sorrow and pain that has been cause by past ignorant actions.  It is innate to all, and  is generally called “our Karma.” Final “freedom” is to be viewed as a state of consciousness. It can only be achieved by learning and practicing detachment from ”hoped-for” selfish results. 

12. Actions are to be performed, with discriminative forethought as responsible duty, and in the interest of all.  WISDOM IS THE PERCEPTION OF NECESSARY DUTIES.  It is being a true “brother.”  “INACTION IN A DEED OF MERCY IS AN ACTION IN A DEADLY SIN.” 

13. THE GOAL OF ALL EVOLUTION IS TO EMBODY SPIRITUAL WISDOM in a purified form.  Therefore the purification of motive in man's consciousness results in the subduing of desire, and replacing impulse, passion and emotion with Wisdom.  The truly wise man [bodhisattva],and is a BUDDHA – an AVATAR.  

14. Those who become Wise have the continuing duty and respon­sibility of assisting all other ”creatures” to attain their state.  They make themselves, through choice, Krishna's agents in the World.  They reject the “bliss” of Nirvana. They are the Buddhas and the Nirmanakayas.                       

15. FREEDOM OF CHOICE IS A SPIRITUAL ATTRIBUTE.  It makes us realize as mind-men that we are responsible.  It serves to activate our search for Truth.  It demands that we ”know ourselves.”




 The Bhagavad Gita 

A Summary of Chapter Contents:

A survey of the main themes in the Gita can be seen to develop in three divisions: 

Each division is comprised of 6 chapters.  These seem to group themselves into three sets, corresponding to the three  natures interblended in each Man-Mind.  [S D  I  181]  As an instance: 

                                      I                     II                      III 

Stage                           Aspirant           Devotee           Adept                       

Human Division         Body                Soul-Mind        Spirit                        

Condition                    Ignorance         Learning           Mastery                       

Quality                        Harmony          Sacrifice           Compassion 

The whole system is called Karma-Sanyasa-Yoga, or union with the Divine by the renunciation of interest in the fruits of personal action. 


 A. – Karma Yoga – tilling the ”field of living action.”

Life in the body with the skandhas as Karma.  United Action – Harmony-Brotherhood. 

The work of the ”aspirant” plunged in the ”The Hall of Ignorance”    [Voice, p. 6.]  Duty, or ”Right Action.”


            Chapters 1 to 6


Chapter 1.  The field of battle. War and the nature of the contending forces.  Our ”past” now haunts us. Despondency of the personality because of ignorance and fear.  It is named: Vishada, or that karma which we created in the past and may be unwilling or unprepared to face now. 

Note:  Chapters 2 to 6 are a dissertation using the various (6) systems of Indian Philosophy (shad {6}-darshanas):  Sankhya Yoga, Karma Yoga, Gnyan Karma Sanyasa Yoga, Sanyasa Yoga, Dhyana Yoga and Buddhi Yoga.           

Chapter 2.  Arguments for righteousness as a practical ideal.  Spirit immortality, Its application:  Reincarnation. 

Chapter 3.  Right livelihood.  Knowledge of and harmonizing with the Divine.  Knowledge-Wisdom is to be acquired. 

Chapter 4.  The One Universal Spirit enfolds all beings.  Discrimination as to right action.  Wisdom, like fire, purifies our understanding of motive.  Right choice. 

Chapter 5. Dispassion.  Skill in performing acts.  Nature and control of the mind.  Freeing the Mind from desire. Unselfishness.  

Chapter 6. Duty and discriminating between good and evil actions.  Self-discipline.  Sacrifice by the Spirit a universal law. 


B. –  Bhakti Yoga – The Soul of man is Manas, the ”Thinker.”  It is conjoined to Kama-emotion.  Selfish to unselfish.  The Eternal Pilgrim sees Time and Space are infinite and it can resolve them intelligently. 

Devotion to others – Self-sacrifice is the ”Path” of the Chela-devotee.  This is also called:  ”The Hall of (probationary) Learning “  [Voice, p. 6.]  Devotion to the interests of others. 

From Chapter 7 on we find the most sublime teachings.  They contain an introduction to, and an exposition of, metaphysics, which lead to occult knowledge, culminating in the practice of devotion to the Unmanifest, a portion of which is innate in every being, including man, as his Higher Self, the Krishna within. (see SD I 86, 169) 



       Chapters 7 to 12 

Chapter 7.  All souls are one with the Over-Soul.  Discernment of Buddhi-wisdom is our share of the Universal Spirit.  Higher Mind.  Ideals and aspirations.  Knowledge and its realization 

Chapter 8. Universal Brotherhood.  OM the ONE, fundamental, original, vibratory LIFE.  Constancy.  Devotion.  Choose the True.  The Omnipresent SPIRIT, Indestructible. 

Chapter 9. Universals are changeless.  Arguments are about selfish effects.  Higher Manasic vision: a Kingly science. Kingly knowledge and deep mystery. 

Chapter 10.  Righteous company is with ”wise” companions. Balancing the 3 planes of life and 3 innate qualities of Nature. The Eternal Lodge of Atma-Buddhic Beings.  Universal, divine perfections in the manifested, and, the transcendent Reality. 

Chapter 11. Universal Form is the geometry of Universal consciousness in action.  Atmic vision.  The Universe grows ”I.”  Kosmic vision. 

Chapter 12      Knowledge of Truth is faith.  High psychology.  Desire transmuted is wisdom, hence, action made harmless and constructive. Skandhas in training.  Devotion in all works to the Spirit.  



C. –  Gnyan Yoga – Spiritual Wisdom in practice.  The Adept is harmless because Wisdom is harmony with all in Nature.                                               

The Spiritual nature is compassionate and Self-sacrificing. 

The Hall of Wisdom      [Voice, p. 7.] 

Sacrificial Actions of the Wise, by the One Life when Embodied. 


                        Chapters 13 to 18


Chapter 13.  Contains the whole of Occultism. The Brotherhood of all Consciousness. Distinguishing the ”field,” from the ”Knower of the Field.”  Elimination of Ahankara, a false illusion of ”I” :  

            1.         Purusha - Narayana - Krishna - Atman

                                    is the ”owner of the field.”

            2.         Mula-prakriti - Buddhi - all Skandhas as

                                    past experience is the ”field.”

            3.         These are perceived by Mahat - Higher

                                    Manas - Man-soul. 

These are the ”Three in One,” the Eternal Self of all Creatures. 

Chapter 14.  Discrimination of the 3 Qualities. Experience of the 4th Round is through Trimurthi: 3 forms of the Universe. 

Chapter 15.  Knowledge of Maha-Purusha, the Superior Spirit (Universal Self). Esoteric Wisdom. 

Chapter 16. Knowledge of the pairs of Opposites  enables Mind to control Motive.  The ”Field of Desire” shows all choices as dualities.  Overhead is spiritual dispassion. 

Chapter 17.  Shraddha (Faith) is triune.  Equipoise depends on Manas choosing rightly with Wisdom.  Lower Manas has to reach its perfection through self-reform. Dependence passes to independence and then to inter-dependence.   

Chapter 18.     The Final Sacrifice of Wisdom 

                        The Eternal Teachers – ”Great Sacrifice”

                                                            [SD I 207-210] 

                        Brahm-Atma.  Moksha-Sanyasa-Yoga. 

                        Make your own final choice independently



In Summary


1. The Gita affirms we are immortals in our essence. 

2. Nature as a whole is ruled by immutable law.  It is made up of immortal beings.  At this time, some have less experience than we do (life-atoms), and some have more (the Adepts, Mahatmas and Sri Krishna). 

3. The key to progress is first to discharge our karmic debts.  Do no further harm by way of selfishness.  Become wise by study, reflection and disinterested effort: right livelihood.  Develop friendliness to all.  Understand our responsibility to all others as co-immortal brothers. 

4. All beings form a collaborative whole.  Since they are eternals, they are never destroyed.  Harmony, patience and calmness are keys to self-purification. 

5. The Universe is a School.  Our World is our classroom.  We are riveted to it because of ancient bonds of attraction.  All beings around us are our eternal co-pupils.

6. The Lodge of Adepts has always existed in the world.  We conceal it from ourselves by selfishness and by carelessness.  It stores and safeguards WISDOM. 

7. Krishna, the Higher Self is within our spiritual heart.  He is in the heart of all others.  Brotherhood is a fact. 

8. There is no ”annihilation.”  There is no final or eternal rest in a Universe of infinite extent and perpetual motion.  Wisdom widens our circle of usefulness and deepens our responsibility to all the rest of the evolving mass of beings.  

9. Law is impersonal, universal and immutable.  ”As you sow, so shall you also reap,” is the rule of total fairness. 

10. The wise sacrifice their attainment to help all others. 





When a Kalpa closes, all creatures merge into the unmanifested and then, on the opening of another Day of Brahma they re-emerge at that point where they ”fell asleep.”  There is, however that, which is not dissolved at that time, it is indivisible, indestructible, unmanifested and exhaustless, ”it is called the Supreme Goal.”  There Krishna abides.  [see p. 106 ]  All creatures are included in this process.  True devotion brings the Wise to perceive The Universal Spirit present in all, as their attention is constantly focused on it during life.  [ see HPB Articles, Vol. III, p. 265 ] 

”As the all-moving Akasa, by reason of its subtlety passeth everywhere unaffected, so the Spirit, though present in every kind of body, is not attached to action nor affected.  As a single sun illuminateth the whole world, even so doth the One Spirit illumine every body.  Those who with the eye of wisdom thus perceive what is the difference between the body and Spirit and the destruction of the illusion of objects, go to the supreme.”   ( p. 98 ) 

”The deluded do not see the Spirit...But those who have the eye of wisdom perceive it, and devotees who industriously strive to do so, see it dwelling in their own hearts;  whilst those who have not overcome themselves, who are devoid of discrimination, see it not, even though they strive thereafter...I am in the hearts of all men, and from me come memory, knowledge, and also the loss of both...”   ( pp. 106-108 ) 

Immortality is the condition of the Higher Self


”The spirit in the body is called  Maheshwara, the Great Lord, the spectator, the admonisher, the sustainer, the enjoyer, and also the Paramatma, the highest soul.”    (Gita Notes   p. 96) 

In the second chapter, Krishna speaks of the immortality of the Ego in every man's heart.  That cannot be destroyed at death but exists eternally.  

The One Spirit, Krishna, being everywhere, is the essence of all beings.  Deathless, it sustains all.  It is the Inner Ruler of the body.  Death comes only to the mortal part of man, and rebirth of the immortal Ego is the result of the universal law requiring continuity, and progress.  That is the fulfillment of responsibilities accepted, and choices already made by all.  ( Gita, pp. 11-12 ) 

”I am the Ego which is seated in the hearts of all be­ings...I am the beginning, the middle and the end...I am endless time itself, and the preserver whose face is turned on all sides.”  ( p. 73-5 )

 ”I established this whole universe with a single portion of myself, and remain separate.” (p. 76 ) 

The ”Higher Self” is always the friend of the ”lower Self,” which, being involved in illusion, caused by the ”pairs of opposites,” becomes enemy to itself.  Every man, as ”lower mind,” has to recognize this, and chose to make a change.  ( p. 44 ) 

Krishna stands for the spiritual essence [ the ”Ray” of the Universal Spirit ] seated in the heart of all things.  He causes the qualities of sattva, rajas and tamas to arise in Nature, but He is not bound by them.  He declares that He is the ”Eternal Seed,” and he is the ”wisdom of the Wise.”   All Nature, and every creature, is produced by His divine illusive power acting through the qualities.  Only those who approach Him directly, know Him, and will be able to surmount illusion.  

”There dwelleth in the heart of every creature, O son of Pritha, the Master – Ishwara–who by his magic power causeth all things and creatures to revolve mounted upon the universal wheel of time.  Take sanctuary with him alone, O son of Bharata, with all thy soul;  by his grace thou shalt obtain supreme happiness, the eternal place.”   (p.130) 

Being deathless, the Higher Self  [ATMA-BUDDHI], knows all creatures in their innermost nature.  He is unrecognized by the deluded be­cause He remains undiscovered, ”enveloped in his magic illusion.”  ( p. 55 ) 



The ”lower Self” is man-mind resident in the body.  In our lives, it has the natural duty of consciously representing the ”Higher Self” there. It errs when it forgets this agency.  

”This body, then, is made up of the great elements, Ahankara – egotism, Buddhi – intellect or judgment, the unmanifest, invisible spirit;  the ten centers of action, the mind and the five objects of sense:  desire, aversion, pleasure and pain, persistency of life, and firmness, the power of cohesion...”   ( p. 93 ) 

The ”Higher Self” is always the friend of the ”lower Self,” which, being involved in illusion, caused by the ”pairs of opposites,” becomes enemy to itself.  Every man, as ”lower mind,” has to recognize this, and chose to make a change.  ( p. 44 ) 

The ”lower Self” has to chose to discipline itself.  This is ”self-conquest,” and if successful in it, it becomes self-subdued and freed of selfish desire.  This position, when adopted and maintained, gives the ”lower Self” spiritual knowledge and discernment.  This is ”equal-mindedness,” or true meditation, and is to be practiced in daily life.       ( p. 44 )


The practical teachings center on the ways in which the embodied Soul (Lower Manas) can rise to the plane and awareness of the Inner Spirit. 

The key to right action is detachment and disinterest in results.  The good of mankind gives reason for a Sage's actions.  He sets the example.  Krishna being such a Sage, says: ”I am constantly in action.”  ( pp. 24-25 ) 

Krishna assures Arjuna that no one who aspires and practices true discipline ever perishes:  ”For never to an evil place goeth one who doeth good.”   

Incarnating again, Krishna says, he will come into:  

”…contact with the knowledge which belonged to him in his former body, and from that time he struggles more diligently towards perfection...for even unwittingly by reason of that past practice, he is led and works on.”  ( p. 51 ) 

By various methods:  meditation contemplation, philosophical study and, works,  men attempt to view the spirit within.  But, Krishna states: 

”He who seeth the Supreme Being existing alike imperishable in all perishable things, sees indeed.”   ( p. 97 )  

Once a man perceives:  

”...the same Lord present in everything and everywhere, he does not by the ”lower self” destroy his own soul [lower “Kama-Manas”], but goeth to the supreme end.”  ( p. 97 ) 

He sees indeed, who perceives that all actions are performed by nature (prakriti) only, and that the Higher Self within is not the actor.   



”At the time of rebirth, all creatures fall into the ”delusion of the opposites which springs from liking and disliking.”  It is they who created their present condition through their choices made in past lives.

”But those men of righteous lives whose sins have ceased, being free from this delusion of the 'pairs of opposites,' firmly settled in faith, worship me.  ( pp. 55-6 ) 

Prakriti (matter or form) and Purusha (spirit) are co-existent, and they are beginningless and endless.  Nature, or prakriti, operates to produce cause and effect from actions  [ Karma ].  Individual spirit or purusha is the cause of experiencing pleasure and pain in the body.  When the spirit is embodied it experiences the sensations that proceed from matter and this, through attachment, is the cause of its rebirth in good or evil circumstances.   ( p. 96 ) 

”The spirit in the body is called  Maheshwara, the Great Lord, the spectator, the admonisher, the sustainer, the enjoyer, and also the Paramatma, the highest soul.”    ( p. 96) 

Two kinds of beings are in the world: the divisible, which are ”all things and the creatures;”  [“Matter”] and the Indivisible, [“SPIRITUAL”] which is the Supreme Spirit – Paramatma – ”which permeates and sustains the three worlds...He who...knoweth me [the PRESERVER] thus as the Supreme Spir­it, knoweth all things.” (p.108) 


Special Hints to Occultists in the Bhagavad Gita  

Krishna gives these hints : 

1. There is a ”path” called ”indestructible,” which de­scribes the consistent spiritual meditation carried forward from life to life by some devotees.  It is chosen by those who, make themselves ”free” from earthly attachments, aim to be Brahmacharyas (ascetics devoted to studying the Universe and doing good to all creatures).”  G N  67 

2. Krishna describes this special practice as:  (1) Closing the ”gateways” to sense-[Desire / passions – Kamic] perceptions, (2) imprisoning the [Lower] mind in the [BUDDHI] heart, and (3) focusing the vital powers [PRANA and ASTRAL CENTERS] in the head [Brain-mind]. 

3. At the time of death, such an one whose soul is in his firm control, using the word ”OM,” merging it into his individu­ality, passes into the state and presence of the Supreme Spirit.  All beings up to Brahma are subject to this endless process of rebirth and change. 

4. ”...for those thinking of me as identical with all, constantly worship me, I bear the burden of the responsibility of their happiness.”  ( p. 67 ) 

5.  WISDOM is discrimination between necessary and unnecessary actions.  G N

6.  Nature is to be studied, known, regulated, and subdued.  

7.  Every act ought to be considered sacred, and dedicated to the Supreme Spirit, which is the Unitary factor basic to all Nature. ( pp. 32-4 ) 

6.  A knowledge of the Self within disperses all the mists of confusion.  Regardless of their external appearance, the illuminated Sage is able to perceive the One Self present in every form.  

7. The great secret, that gives the bliss of true understanding is:  to prevent the ”heart” from becoming attached to ”objects of sense.”  Contact with and adopting ”objects of sense” can only give fleeting pleasure.  (p.48) 

8. Krishna states that the Universal Spirit shows ”himself” only to pure men.  He, Krishna, appears in that manner in which they may recognize him.  Changeless, Krishna, the Supreme Spirit, as the author of manifestation, remains unaffected by the wise or foolish actions of beings.  The Wise perceive the Immutable to be present in all changes. (pp. 31-2 ) 

9. ”There dwelleth in the heart of every creature, O son of Pritha, the Master – Ishwara – who by his magic power causeth all things and creatures to revolve mounted upon the universal wheel of time.  Take sanctuary with him alone, O son of Bharata, with all thy soul;  by his grace thou shalt obtain supreme happiness, the eternal place.”   (p.130) 

10. ”Thus have I made known unto thee this knowledge which is a mystery more secret than secrecy itself;  ponder it fully in thy mind' act as seemeth best unto thee.”  [ This is the Ultimate Free-Will of the truly Wise. ]  (Ch. 18) 

[ Free will is the key to that power of choosing, that gives self-progress, this is one of the proofs that the One Consciousness (of the Spirit) exists in Man.  It is proof that all lessons learned are self-imposed.  [ Example:  In a school-room pupils receive the lessons for the day.  Their personal application determines their individual progress.  They have to choose to learn. So, too in life, we choose our own ”path.” ] 

11. Krishna states that the ”power to achieve” springs from spirit;  but, if it is directed to temporary, short-sighted goals, it can sustain them only temporarily. ( pp. 54-5 )

12. The ”lower Self” has to chose to discipline itself.  This is ”self-conquest,” and if successful in it, it becomes self-subdued and freed of selfish desire.  This position, when adopted and maintained, gives the ”lower Self” spiritual knowledge and discernment.  This is ”equal-mindedness,” or true meditation, and is to be practiced in daily life    ( p. 44 )

 The Opportunity 

The embodied consciousness knows that it is of itself seven­fold.  It has seven distinct foci of action that work on four planes of life, and the overseeing ”Guide and Friend,” abides on the transcendent three.  There is to be found the True EGO, the Real SELF which is eternal and indestructible.  Helena Blavatsky gives us this illustration in The Secret Doctrine, volume I, page 200, and II 593.  We thus have the 1 in 3 (One), the 7, and the 10.  The mystic totality:  18.  Seven fold man is considered in the Gita as ”body,” ”soul” and ”Spirit.”  [Spirit is 3-fold.] 

Manas, mind, or ”soul” is one, but has two aspects: 

1. the immortal, constantly reincarnating Individuality;  and,  

2. its temporary reflection in a Personal and evanescent form that it ensouls from incarnation to incarnation.  

Even this Lower Manas could also be considered to be dual.  With the brain's dissolution at the death of the mortal Personality, the memory of all the present life's experiences is translated into the ”states after death” and disposed of in that long period of rest and reflection before the next incarnation.  That is a whole separate story which Theosophy explains in detail.   [ see Theosophical Articles and Notes, p. 17-34.] 

All the aspects of Manas and the experiences of living consciousness in the last-lived life are reviewed, and the fresh Personality, reborn, as was the Phoenix out of the ”ashes”– ever-living skandhas – of its own past, is prepared for the next ”day” of living in a fresh body. 

In our waking state we feel the power of the brain-mind Personality, and our sense of permanence is usually limited to and focused on the experiences and memories of this life.  This is ahankara or the sense of separateness, of ”I.”   

But we also sense the existence of the Divine Individuality, the Higher Mind, which some visualize as an overseeing, ”guardian angel,” a wise being who is also ”us,” but sensed as the superior ”I,” symbolized by light.  It has, as task, to assist, warn and caution us, the embodied Lower Mind, in our daily life.  Its wisdom lies in its power to survey and draw on the experience of many lives, as well as drawing on Universal experience found everywhere in its ”brother” Selves, and also indelibly recorded in the divine akasa.  There is a supersensuous, intimate and constantly vibrating, living network of consciousness that is accessed all the time on their own spiritual plane by these Monads, (the jiv-atmas) the immortal centers of life.  Our Higher Mind is one with all Higher Minds, the whole Universal Being is the spiritual brotherhood of the Universal Mind. 

Then, there is our personal karma.  The universal law of justice requires that we adjust all effects produced by our earlier will-choices to their preceding causes, and balance any disturbance we have caused.  We sometimes call this inner awareness of the Higher Manas conjoined to Buddhi, ”the Voice of Conscience.”  The embodied brain-mind has to make an effort to pause, listen, understand, and then obey this mentor.  This can be made easier by constant and consistent right livelihood (as Krishna and Gautama, the Buddha, taught:  by adopting the virtues into our common living).  The single phrase:  ”Treat others as you would have them treat you” exemplifies brotherhood in action and in fact. 

One of the capabilities of the immortal life-atoms (skandhas) of ”matter” with which we are clothed, is retaining the impress of our thoughts and emotions when they are being used in our personality.  They become the carriers or bearers of our karma.  Each incarnation, when the Ego returns to rebirth, they assemble according to laws of attraction that span the universe, to provide us, the reincarnating mind-soul with its form and vehicle in a suitable family.  

The infinitely sensitive nature of these beings determines our future ”karma,” and, taken as a whole, the forward thrust of general evolution in Nature is seen operating in and through them.  Our mind makes choices and decisions, and these are the causes of our personal karma.  We bring these ”children” of ours into the purview of evolution leading to their own individualization and adoption of the ”path” of karma-yoga.  They are assisted to advance, or are retarded in their own progress, by our choices. 

This will be found throughout the Bhagavad Gita as a central theme.  It is called by H.P.B. ”Universal Unity and Causation,” and from it is derived the central concept, as a fact in nature:  Universal Brotherhood.  The unending pilgrimage of all beings (each an immortal) in this universal life-scheme, constitutes the eternal Guruparampara chain of teacher-pupil-teacher relation­ships which work subtly in all the many directions found in this School. 

The practice of the virtues serves as a ”cleaner,” as a pu­rifier of the lower mind.  Through the thread-soul, the antaskarana, or bridge between the Higher and the Lower Manas, its bond to the ”Three in One,” the spiritual EGO, is strengthened, till at last in our daily lives we are able to instantly see, and use this light of wisdom, which is the power of the spiritual Individuality.  

And this results in the quiet, unostentatious practice of yoga, or the self-sacrifice as ”right living.”  We need not look afar for our ”duty.”  It is seen ”to lie at hand” in the small plain responsibilities of our daily life, and among our friends and families.  If we cannot succeed in making our daily lives harmonious and pure, how could we expect to assume larger and more important duties ?  The pilgrimage of our lives teaches patience, calmness, attention and self-control. 

Reincarnation is the pathway of evolution which periodically brings the conjoint mind-consciousness back into living as a school-boy returns daily to his class-room – we as incarnating beings, return each ”life” to the School of Earth.  We do not leave this ”School” our World, until we have learned all that it can teach, and have balanced all the debts which we have incurred by our independent, free-willed choices, and have assisted all our ”children” to the path of their own independent evolution as mind-beings. 

Included in this survey of Kurukshetra, the field of battle, which is our personality, are the elements of matter, the ”lives,” or life-atoms (jivas, or jiv-atmas) so-called.  These are also called ”Monads,” Atma-Buddhi-Manas taken as a unit.  Each is a point of living energy, a being.  Each commences its independence as an inexperienced and innocent ”infant-mind” in the field of infinite experience.  It has not yet generated any karma. 

We have, much earlier, as self-conscious mind beings, vowed to serve these, our ”children,” the life-atoms–much as a ”parent” might, assuming the natural post as their teacher, protector and guide.  We took upon ourselves ( as an act of self-sacrifice) their karma until they ”grew up,” and reached the stage of independent self-consciousness. 

Then each was launched upon the ocean of life-responsibility by the lighting up of its mind faculties – just as our children in family life are gradually educated, their minds awakened, and they are launched into the independence of their adulthood.  

Each then develops its own independent karmic responsibility, and finds itself on the stormy sea of evolution – which we crossed, and now stand on ”the other shore.”  So do those who, like Krishna, for Arjuna, constitute themselves, at our request the guru.  When we ”return,” we seek Them for their continued support, teaching and succor.  They stand and point to the same olden Path and the many rigors we will have to face and experience.  They state that we have to choose and walk the ”path” of our own decisions ourselves.  They can only ”point the Way.” 

We, have to become aware, truly aware, that we are spiritually centered beings.  We have all made some progress and we agreed, aeons ago, to serve as one in the great chain of common responsibility in our Universe, where some are ahead of us in their progress towards perfection, and we serve as the link to those who are to succeed us in this vast work of self-education, where the great law of brotherhood eternally prevails.  This is what the Gita of Sri Krishna teaches, as he appeals to our sense of compassion to understand, to consent to work for our emancipa­tion with diligence, patience and, at the same time, care for and protect all other beings that come within our purview. 





William Q Judge consulted a number of translations when making up his rendition of the Bhagavad Gita:  Wilkins' and Thomson's, to name two. 

The NOTES he wrote on the Gita were written before this rendition was issued.  Important is the declaration he makes that the ”Lord's Song” is a ”personal” book.  He writes as if it is a guide for every disciple.  It does not lead the pupil to search for a guru outside, but points to the inner God, Krishna ”seated at the heart of all beings,” including his own heart – and, to be seen seated in the hearts of all beings in the Universe – family, friends, enemies, animals, plants, minerals, elemental forces, the many forces and powers that unify the complex Kosmos in a vast web of eternal and ever-active law.  Everything. 

The first chapter is called by Judge:  ”The Despondency of Arjuna.”  In another article he points out that we are all Arjunas.  In simple words, the inner God in each being is experiencing through them, and through us, those events and the impact of thoughts, emotions, attitudes, a whole panorama of impressions that are provided in the ”World of Forms.”  One wonders why this is necessary.  An answer comes:  So that the Spirit, also embodied in the myriads of ”life-atoms” may ”know Itself.”  It is the process, the story, of developing consciousness.  

Unconsciousness develops into self-consciousness;  and then, self-consciousness develops by its own efforts into Universal-Self-Consciousness.  [Thus we have 1.  the Kurus, 2. the Pandavas, and 3. Krishna the Guru of all.  When the passions of the Kurus are ”killed,” they transform themselves into the Pandavas.  And, when the Pandavas as beings of awakened-minds, fight their way to immortality, they merge in consciousness with Krishna.]  

Krishna, the inner God of each of us, the Master of Devotion, a Perfected Man, constitutes himself by self-sacrifice into the Servant of the Universe, is also Servant of the least of creatures.  

He returns to Earth as a ”professor” in the school of life.  To him come the Pandavas by natural attraction – the advanced, the “higher skandhas”, so to say, or those beings who (having purified their own natures) can directly assist Him in his work of raising the ”whole mass of matter up to the nature and stature of conscious god-hood.” 

In the Gita, Krishna is to be found in the same situation ( seemingly, as the servant of the embodied Mind, Arjuna, who temporarily assumes the character of the divine charioteer, in the ”chariot” of the body ) where we, the learning pupil, the consciousness of the devoted student, the disciple, the lanoo, are.  This, for us, is encouraging. 

What is this ”chariot of the body?”  Is it the result of karma?  Is it our past personified in the present?  Is it rooted in our past?  Is it inescapable?  Is it produced with all its many variances of type and of ability by the choices we have made?  It is written:  ”Man, made of thought, occupant only of many bodies from time to time, is eternally thinking, and that thinking is the cause of his embodiments and all their sequences of action, of pleasure and pain, of good and evil fortune.”   

( Thy. Vol. 15- p. 12)  This form, made of millions of living entities [MONADS], each intelligent at its own level, each informed with its own ”spark” of the One Spirit, is a collaborative whole.  Each of these has been attracted to and used by us.  Impressed with our nature at that time they become the carriers of our karma from the past. 

The teacher is the Spirit within, Krishna.  It is always found to be with us, in all those situations where we, as pupil-Arjunas have made choices that will affect us.  Wise is the pupil who realizes that he can speak to the Highest of Intelligences, seated in his own ”heart.”  The voice of that Master, which some call ”intuition,” and others, who have heard it warn, call the ”voice of conscience,” and know that it always speaks before we make decisions.  Therefore the advice to us all is to consider each moment, each decision as a mystic experience, as a step on our pilgrimage to such perfection as Earth-life gives in potential.  An occult meaning is to be perceived by those who have acuity, who are awake and attentive in each of these events.  We need to seek and guide the causes that are generated within, in­stead of ever seeking to place blame without. 

When wrapped in confusion, the pupil finds himself wrapped in despondence, inertia and stagnation result [TAMAS}.  The power of tamas prevails and his mind ceases its search for meaning.  The voice of custom, of habit and of worldly duty  then is heard, and being confused, the pupil forgets to look to his aspirations, to the universal and eternal goals and ideals he had vowed earlier would be his. 

Appeal, then, to Krishna brings the response: ”All is not lost !”  Out of despondency comes “Hope,” and “Self-energization,”  when the struggling soul, the personal ”I” sees that no room for compromise remains.  The urge to do right cuts through all despond.  The sense of immortality, that Krishna the Higher Self resides along with us in the body, that our aspiration to immortality and to perfection are real, gives the power of Sattva to direct the energy of rajas to righteous duty.  For this reason rajas (which by itself is called in the Gita ”bad,” when regulated by Sattva, becomes the force that moves us to righteousness.  

This leads to a more careful study of the ”lower self.”  The mystery of it as a consciousness that is evolving into a ”god.”  Such a mystery is never solved by someone else.  It is solved, each for himself.  It is the manasic element that arises out of the passionate energy that desires its own progress to the Truth.  The expression has been used:  ”Life is a series of progressive awakenings.”  These must be made by the volunteer, and an entire change in his orientation from selfish-ignorance, to illumined- thought can only be made by himself by his free use of the will. 

We find in THE VOICE OF THE SILENCE a key sentence of explanation, which it may take years to fully understand: 

The Self of Matter and the Self of Spirit can never meet.  One of the twain must disappear;  there is no place for both.”  (Voice, p. 13)  This is our personal confrontation with that ASSEMBLAGE of “SKANDHAS” which we now perceive to have been our errors.  The maya-illusion we had adopted, as personality, is always plain to the inner Self – Krishna – our Higher Self [serving the UNIVERSE as “Sattva-Guna“ the PRESERVER of KARMA, universal and individual.]  [One may note that the function of “preserver” includes all KARMA, and it may be called the supporter of the functions (as a School as well as a “director” of universal initiation for all MONADS), and  this preserves the INDIVIDUALITY of all MONADS (of whatever level of self-progress, through any Pralaya or Mahapralaya). 

But it cannot “speak” until it is appealed to.  [S D  II  167]  This is the condition of Arjuna (and of each of us) at the open setting of the Gita.  The battle is renewed now!  The field is engaged.  The forces of evil and of good face each other.  Krishna is at hand.  Our life or death, as a form, on consideration, is not of great import (though the ‘body’ feels pain and pleasure intensely).  We are. as minds, the immortal soldiers.  If death be our lot then rebirth is certain;  and, the fight will be continued, to the endless end, if not for us, then on behalf of others, as we share such wisdom as we have acquired with all who desire it. 

It is in this sense we can understand why Mr. Judge called the Gita a ”personal book.”  It is the book of our own lives.  Like an ideal autobiography set before us, we can find in it the inspiration and the guidance that assists us in our work:  we are now writing our own, consciously or unconsciously each moment of our lives.  It is this autobiography that forms our dreams, and our deeper thoughts, and finally is the subject of a searching review, after death brings this personality to its summation, and before we are ready to return again.  Once we are aware of this ”Life-Diary, our care as attention, in writing it, grows. The pen is wielded by our will, the subjects we enter are our self-chosen and self-directed acts, feelings and thoughts.  

Far one can wander in the fields of pleasure or forgetful­ness, but a nagging malaise, a sense of missing draws us back to a new point of decision, whether this be postponed or immediate.  Often we deceive ourselves into putting off till the ”next day an act or a choice, but that is failing to see that the ”most favorable time” is now, when in waking life, we are aware of the need.  All other times can be classed as either memory or imagination.  These two can be our deceivers, if we do not maintain clear contact with the Higher Self within. 



Gita is a song.  Bhagavad, or Bhagavan is the Supreme Lord.  The song has meaning.  It is language.  It is Speech, though and feeling action, it demonstrates the continuous generation of karma, and, to be meaningful to us, it is cast as a dialogue. 

All communication requires at least two understanding individuals, and is in answer to a question, a comment, or an observation on a chosen subject.  Perspectives, points of view are discussed.  Ideas are given forms by illustration and analogies.  Akasa becomes physical sound.  The dynamics of intelligence operate.  Spiritual wisdom, the knowledge of an eternity of observations, [S D  I  272-3] is seen as a sound basis of experience in that universality and impersonality which, when drawn on, can be focused on present ignorance or speculative enquiry. 

This is the basis of the ”Voice of Conscience”  [of BUDHI-MANAS]. The best decisions are then made with greater assurance.  Laws and cycles of time, enable the choice of the right energy, place and time in which to respond or initiate a fresh beginning. 

In the Gita we have an ideal teaching and learning situation.  it is an ideal for us to apply interiorly since in us we find both Krishna (the wise and universal Sage) and Arjuna (the sincere aspiring disciple).  The quest of Arjuna, the embodied soul (lower Kama-Manas), is to perform service. 

In the widest scope, all actions are service to oneself, for another, to an Idea, for the Universe.  It is inescapable, since from every action has a companion component: a force of sympathy or of discord, radiates, and has an impact on all beings – MONADS.  This is the source of all karma.  

The Quest of the Hero, the true Soul is that divine Service which enables him to balance his life and perform all duties that are necessary.  The are of the scholar's work is the field of passion, of the Kurus.  These passions are to be killed as personal things, and transformed, transmuted into the virtues of compassion, generosity, nobility and ultimately, of wisdom.  All the elements of life and learning are already there in us. 

In his quest for ideal solutions, we the Arjunas, the man-minds can decide to follow Krishna's advice:  ”Seek this wisdom by doing service, by strong search, by questions, and by humility;  the wise (the Tattva Gnyanis) who see the truth will communicate it to thee...”  (Gita p. 35).  The four modes of securing Wisdom are concurrent and operate when we are awake.  Thus those who employ them, although in one state of consciousness at a time, are said to be ”four-armed,” just as Krishna is four-armed in his wisdom.   

In the field of the personality the ”four modes of Truth” that are used to purify, recommended by the Buddha are analogous to this: the recognition first, that Sorrow Is;  second, that Sorrow has a Cause;  third, that Sorrow can be brought to a Close;  and, finally that the Noble Eightfold Path can be followed.  Pythagoras spoke and taught the mystery of the Tetraktis, which is an echo of this universal fact.  The effort to become forms the root of the aspiration and life of the devotee.  Every being in nature makes this effort, each in its own way and at the level of its intelligence.  Thus, too, the four divisions of a life are to be considered indicative of the progress that can be made in each incarnation:  student, house holder, public servant, and, fourth, teacher of such wisdom as one has mastered. 

In the Light on the Path is written:  ”Life itself has speech and is never silent.  And its utterance is not, as you that are deaf may suppose, a cry:  it is a song.”  Each being performs service as it senses it – it is striving to become conscious to itself, as in man, or does this unconsciously.  The eternal conflicts in the manifested universe are the result of that original vortical motion caused by the ”sundering of the One.”  The establishment of the polar opposites:  Spirit and matter, when the Universe wakes, is a repetition of the ancient process across aeons of time. 

The One Consciousness, the Witness, the Perceiver remains constant, the Eternal Spectator of these many events.  It therefore is wise with the accurate,  impersonal “history” of observations of untold ancient times. 

It is in fact, DURATION itself, from one point of view, Itself being timeless.  Events, cycles, past, present, future – all are one to its gaze.  To it, KARMA is the motive, the act, and the result, all perceived as one.  It is called then, the ”ETERNAL NOW.”  It is That, which as a 'spark' of the Central Fire, the Universal Spiritual Sun, resides in the ”heart” of eve­ry being.  And also surrounds and sustains with its vital [JIVA] life-energy al manifested things. This fact supports the instinctive sense of brotherhood. 

The Song of Life, the vibration of Life's universal Being, is, by each, converted into harmony or discord.  Whether music or noise, it is sound.  Nature's vibrations and rhythms, like her purposive Life is the Great Harmony.  When we attune ourselves to that, we call it gita – ”song.”  

But, whoever or whatever sends us into the clangor of discord disturbing our harmony, creating doubt and uncertainty, or which disturbs our repose or our own sense of ”service,” that is for us the ”enemy.”  Its nature is to be ascertained.  Its motive understood.  Its potential measured.  In this, for sureness we confer, we refer fearlessly, to the Krishna within, to the immutable Higher Self.  There, alone will we find the security of universality and impersonality at hand, for us to use. 

Circumstances, of whatever nature, are echoes from our past.  These are made more reverberant by our personal natures.  Our reaction, then becomes the seed of our future karma.  This planting of such a seed is done with free-will at the time we plant it.  No one can compel us.  We alone decide.  Then, just as we arrive at the conclusion, we hear for an instant the Voice of the ”Inner God,” Krishna, calling to us with the sweetness of the eternal player of the flute, using trapped air to play a tune that catches our superior attention.  Again a choice:  we may listen, or we may close our ears to it.  Then only we act.  Then we seal our fate. 

The Gita is educative.  All transmission of wisdom from eld­ers to the young is for the recipients opportunity.  Their response marks their level of personal attainment, their alliance with Great Nature's objectives, their service due to those and to the wise Krishna within who has sacrificed his well-earned rest and glory, to Serve us.  Ignorant indeed are we, when this is not perceived.  Only harmony will lead out such innate powers as we possess for use and as gifts to others.  The first and the last meaning of true speech, or music, is harmony.  If there is no harmony in the soul (the embodied self–Lower Manas) how can there be calm and peace between ourselves and others?  So long as the least friction subsists between brother immortals on the plane of causes, so long will discord discolor our lives and the future.  When we truly realize that ”all is soul and spirit, ever evolving under the rule of law inherent in the whole” then will all quarrels be resolved spontaneously.  It is this perception that Krishna has and which he imparts to Arjuna, and, to us. 

With our embodied self, speech is limited to the Yes and No of Nature as a whole.  These two notes form no harmony.  They are in opposition.  This is the sound of passion: aversion or the desire to possess.  These are found to be the ruling divisions in all the elements of Nature below man's level of conscious life, below the level of independent and self-conscious mind.  This is the voice of their education.  Our imposition of control over them should be educative, as one of our tasks is to fit them to become mind-men in their turn.  At this time they serve us, form our bodies, build and repair them.  If we fail in this their instant mindless response is to confront us with our own unwisdom at the earliest opportunity.  They in effect present us with the direct result of our choices.  As we impress them, so they respond to us.  If we make them deficient, their cooperation with us and their coadunition make our personality weak and ineffectual.  

Man, further along in the evolution of individual consciousness, than the beings who constitute in him the objective tools of his personality (not his own being), calls these his ”younger brothers.”  Man, desiring to become one with Divinity, can invoke the help of Krishna, can ask for the divine Light Daiviprakriti to shine upon his mind.  As the Higher Self is accessible, so the instruments of his personality are at his hand and trainable by him.  Man's mind stands midway between these two poles of evolution.  Man is the connecting link.  It is one thing to invoke Krishna when we are in trouble.  It is another to make of this connection a ”living power in our lives.”  The key to such a condition is the purity of life of the disciple.  Thus, we find in the beginning of the  Gita, making demands on Krishna.   He asks Him to place his chariot (the body) between the two armies: ”That I may behold” the array.  Having seen, he becomes despondent.  Then he tried unsuccessfully to unload his problems on Krishna, and then only did the real dialog commence.  So is it with all of us.







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