Mahabharata Bhishma Parva Chapter 38:2

Mahabharata Bhishma Parva (Bhagavat-Gita Parva) Chapter 38:2
Bhagavad Gita Chapter XIV

When the holder of a body goeth to dissolution while goodness is developed, then he attaineth to the spotless regions of those that know the Supreme. Going to dissolution when passion prevails, one is born among those that are attached to work. Likewise, dissolved during darkness, one is born in wombs that beget the ignorant. The fruit of good action is said to be good and untainted. The fruit, however, of passion, is misery; (and) the fruit of Darkness is ignorance. From goodness is produced knowledge; from passion, avarice; (and) from darkness are error and delusion, and also ignorance. They that dwell in goodness go on high; they that are addicted to passion dwell in the middle; (while) they that are of darkness, being addicted to the lowest quality, go down. When an observer recognises none else to be an agent save the qualities, and knows that which is beyond (the qualities), he attaineth to my nature. The embodied [soul], by transcending these three qualities which constitute the source of all bodies, enjoyeth immortality, being freed from birth, death, decrepitude, and misery.[1]

Arjuna said, 'What are indications, O Lord, of one who hath transcended these three qualities? What is his conduct? How also doth one transcend these three qualities?

The Holy One said, 'He who hath no aversion for light, activity, and even delusion, O son of Pandu, when they are present, nor desireth them when they are absent,[2] who, seated as one unconcerned, is not shaken by those qualities; who sitteth and moveth not, thinking that it is the qualities (and not he) that are engaged (in their respective functions); to whom pain and pleasure are alike, who is self-contained, and to whom a sod of earth, a stone, and gold are alike; to whom the agreeable and the disagreeable are the same; who hath discernment; to whom censure and praise are the same; to whom honour and dishonour are the same; who regardeth friend and foe alike; who hath renounced all exertion—is said to have transcended the qualities. He also who worshippeth Me with exclusive devotion, he, transcending those qualities, becometh fit for admission into the nature of Brahma. For I am the stay of Brahma, of immortality, of undestructibility, of eternal piety, and of unbroken felicity.[3]



  1. Deha samudbhava is explained by the commentators as having their "samudbhava or parinama in deha." It is an instance of the vahuvrihi compound.
  2. Light, activity, and delusion are the three qualities as indicated by their effects.
  3. Pratishtha is explained by Sankara as "something on which another (here Brahma) stays or rests." Sreedhara explains it as Pratima. Telang following Sreedhara, renders it "embodiment;" Mr. Davies, as "seat." Amritasya and Avyayasya are taken separately by the commentators.