Mahabharata Bhishma Parva Chapter 31

Mahabharata Bhishma Parva (Bhagavat-Gita Parva) Chapter 31
Bhagavad Gita Chapter VII

The Holy One said, 'Listen, O son of Pritha, how, without doubt, thou mayst know me fully, fixing thy mind on me, practising devotion, and taking refuge in me. I will now, without leaving anything out speak to thee about knowledge and experience, knowing which there would be left nothing in this world (for thee) to know. One among thousands of men striveth for perfection. Of those even that are assiduous and have attained to perfection, only some one knoweth me truly.[1] Earth, water, fire, air, space, mind, also understanding, and consciousness,—thus hath my nature been divided eight-fold. This is a lower (form of my) nature. Different from this, know there is a higher (form of my) nature which is animate, O thou of mighty arms, and by which this universe is held.[2] Know that all creatures have these for their source. I am the source of evolution and also of the dissolution of the entire universe. There is nothing else, O Dhananjaya, that is higher than myself. Upon me is all this like a row of pearls on a string. Taste I am in the waters, O son of Kunti, (and) I am the splendour of both the moon and the sun, I am the Om in all the Vedas, the sound in space, and the manliness in men. I am the fragrant odour in earth, the splendour in fire, the life in all (living) creatures, and penance in ascetics. Know me, O son of Pritha, to be the eternal seed of all beings. I am the intelligence of all creatures endued with intelligence, the glory of all glorious objects. I am also the strength of all that are endued with strength, (myself) freed from desire and thirst, and, O bull of Bharata's race, am the desire, consistent with duty, in all creatures.[3] And all existences which are of the quality of goodness, and which are of the quality of passion and quality of darkness, know that they are, indeed, from me. I am, however, not in them, but they are in me. This entire universe, deluded by these three entities consisting of (these) three qualities knoweth not me that am beyond them and undecaying; since this illusion of mine, depending on the (three) qualities, is exceedingly marvellous and highly difficult of being transcended.



  1. Only some one, i.e., very few. Few perfection, i.e., for knowledge of self. Thus all the commentators.
  2. The last word of the first line of this sloka is param (higher) and not aparam with the initial a silent owing to the rules of Sandhi. Many of the Bengal texts have aparam, not excepting the latest one printed at Calcutta.
  3. Kama which I have rendered desire is explained by Sreedhara as the wish for an unattained object; and raga as the longing or thirst for more. The second Kama is explained as desires of the class of love or lust.