Mahabharata Bhishma Parva Chapter 38

Mahabharata Bhishma Parva (Bhagavat-Gita Parva) Chapter 38
Bhagavad Gita Chapter XIV

The Holy One said, 'I will again declare (to thee) that supernal science of sciences, that excellent science, knowing which all the munis have attained to the highest perfection from (the fetters of) this body.[1] Resorting to this science, and attaining to my nature, they are not reborn even on (the occasion of) a (new) creation and are not disturbed at the universal dissolution. The mighty Brahma is a womb for me. Therein I place the (living) germ. Thence, O Bharata, the birth of all beings taketh place. Whatever (bodily) forms, O son of Kunti, are born in all wombs, of them Brahma is the mighty womb, (and) I the seed-imparting Sire.[2] Goodness, passion, darkness, these qualities, born of nature, bind down, O thou of mighty arms, the eternal embodied [soul] in the body.[3] Amongst these, Goodness, from its unsullied nature, being enlightening and free from misery, bindeth (the soul), O sinless one, with the attainment of happiness and of knowledge. Know that passion, having desire for its essence, is born of thirst and attachment. That, O son of Kunti, bindeth the embodied (soul) by the attachment of work. Darkness, however, know, is born of ignorance, (and) bewilders all embodied [soul]. That bindeth, O Bharata, by error, indolence, and sleep. Goodness uniteth (the soul) with pleasure; Passion, O Bharata, uniteth with work; but darkness, veiling knowledge, uniteth with error. Passion and darkness, being repressed, Goodness remaineth, O Bharata. Passion and goodness (being repressed), darkness (remaineth); (and) darkness and goodness (being repressed), passion (remaineth).

When in this body, in all its gates, the light of knowledge is produced, then should one know that goodness hath been developed there. Avarice, activity, performance of works, want of tranquillity, desire,—these, O bull of Bharata's race, are born when passion is developed. Gloom, inactivity, error, and delusion also,—these, O son of Kuru's race, are born when darkness is developed.



  1. Itas is explained by Sreedhara as "from the fetters of this body.
  2. Sreedhara makes mahat an adjective of yoni; Sankara makes it an adjective of Brahma. K. T. Telang follows Sankara.
  3. Happiness and knowledge are attributes of the mind, not of the soul. Hence, when attached to the soul, they are as fetters from which the soul should be freed.