The Field and the Knower of the Field
prakrtim purusam caiva
ksetra ksetrajnam eva
ca etad vedituin icchasni
jnanam jneyam ca kegava
Prakrti and purusa, the field and the knower of the field, knowledge and the object of knowledge, these I should like to know, 0 Kesva (Krsna) This verse is not found in some editions. S. does not comment on it. If it is included, the total number of verses in the Bhaga vadgita will be 701 and not 700, which is the number traditionally accepted. So we do not include it in the numbering of verses.
1. dam sariram kaunteya
kcetraln ity abhidhiyate etad yo
vetti tam prahuh ksetrajna iti tadvidah
The Blessed Lord said.
(1) This body, 0 Son of Kunti (Arjuna), is called the field and him who knows this, those who know thereof call the knower of the field Prakrti is unconscious activity and purusa is Inactive consciousness. The body is called the field in which events happen ; all growth, decline and death take place in it. The conscious principle, inactive and detached, which lies behind all active states as witness, is the knower of the field. This is the familiar
distinction between consciousness and the objects which that consciousness observes. Ksetrajf1a is the light of awareness, the knower of all objects. The witness Is not the individual embodied mind but the cosmic consciousness for which the whole cosmos is the object. It is calm and eternal and does not need the use of the senses and the mind for its witnessing.
Ksetrajna is the supreme lord, not an object in the world. He is in all fields, differentiated by the limiting conditions, from Brahma, the creator, to a tuft of grass though he is himself devoid of all limitations and incapable of definition by categories. The Immutable consciousness is spoken of as cognizer only figuratively (upacarat).
When we try to know the nature of the human soul, we may get to know it from above or from below, from the divine principle or the elemental nature. Man is a twofold, contradictory being, free and enslaved. He is godlike, and has in him the signs of his fall, that is, descent itno nature. As a fallen being, man is deter-mined by the forces of prakrti. He appears to be actuated solely by elemental forces, sensual impulses, fear and anxiety. But man desires to get the better of his fallen nature. The man studied by objective sciences as biology, psychology and sociology is a natural being, is the product of the processes which take place in the world. But man, as a subject, has another origin. He is not a child of the world. He is not nature. He does not belong to the objective hierarchy of nature, as a subordinate part of it. Purusa or ksetrajna cannot be recognized as an object among other objects or as a substance. He can only be recognized as subject, in which is hidden the secret of existence, a complete universe in an individual form. He is not therefore a part of the world or of any other whole. As an empirical being he may be like a Leibnitian monad closed, shut up without doors or windows. As a subject he enters into infinity and infinity enters into him. Ksetrajna is the universal in an individually unrepeatable form. The human being is a union of the universal-infinite and the universal-particular. In his subjective aspects, he is not a part of a whole but is the potential whole. To actualize it, to accomplish the universality is the ideal of man. The subject fills itself with universal content—achieves unity in wholeness at the end of its journey. Man's peculiarity is not the possession of the common pattern of two eyes and two hands, but the possession of the inward principle which impels the creative acquisition of a qualitative content of life. He has a unique quality, which is non-common. The ideal personality is unique and unrepeatable. Each person at the end of the road becomes a distinct, unrepeatable, unreplaceable being with a unique form.
2. ksetrajnam ca 'pi mam viddhi
yat taj jnanam matam mama
(2) Know Me as the Knower of the field in all fields, 0 Bharata (Arjuna). The knowledge of the field and its knower, do I regard as true knowledge. S. holds that the Supreme Lord seems to be samsarin, by reason of the cosmic manifestation, even as the individual self appears to be bound by its identification with the body. The Fall, according to the Christian doctrine, is the forgetting of the image of God within man, which is freedom, and lapsing into the external, which is necessity. Man, essentially, is not a part of nature but is spirit that interrupts the continuity of nature.
3. tat ksetram yac ca yadrk ca
yadvikari yatas` ca yat
sa ca yo yatprabhavas ca
tat samasena me srnu
(3) Hear briefly from Me what the Field is, of what nature, what its modifications are, whence it is, what he (the knower of the field) is, and what his powers are.