Ancient India
The Chief Mystery

Krishna

   Now I will speak to you, who are not given to finding fault, of that most mysterious knowledge, accompanied by experience, by knowing which you will be released from evil. It is the greatest knowledge, the greatest of all the mysteries. It is the best means of sanctification. It is imperishable, not opposed to the sacred law. It is to be apprehended directly, and is easy to practice.

   O terror of your foe, those men who have no faith in this holy doctrine return to the path of this mortal world, without attaining to me.

   This whole universe is pervaded by me in an unperceived form. All creatures live in me, but I do not live in them. Nor yet do all creatures live in me. See my divine power. Supporting all creatures and producing all creatures, my self lives not in those creatures. As the great and ubiquitous atmosphere always remains in space, know that similarly all creaturs live in me.

   At the expiration of a kalpa, O son of Kunti, all creatures enter my nature; and at the beginning of a kalpa, I again bring them forth. 1 Taking the control of my own nature, I bring forth again and again this whole collection of creatures, without a will of its own, by the power of nature. But, Arjuna, these actions do not bind me, who remains like one unconcerned, and who is unattached to those actions.

   Nature gives birth to movables and immovables through me, the supervisor, and by reason of that, O son of Kunti, the universe revolves.

   Deluded people of vain hopes, vain acts, vain knowledge, whose minds are disordered, and who are inclined to the delusive nature of Asuras and Rakshasas, 2 not knowing my highest nature as great lord of all entities, disregard me as I have assumed a human body. But the high-souled ones, O son of Pritha, who are inclined to the godlike nature, knowing me as the inexhaustible source of all creatures, worship me with minds not turned elsewhere. Constantly glorifying me, and exerting themselves firmly in their vows, and saluting me with reverence, they worship me, being always disciplined.

   And others again, offering up the sacrifice of knowledge, worship me as one, as distinct, and as all-pervading in numerous forms. I am the Kratu, I am the Yajna, I am the Svadhâ, I am the product of the herbs. 3 I am the sacred verse. 4 I too am the sacrificial butter, 5 and I the fire, 6 I the offering. I am the father of this universe, the mother, the creator, the grandsire, the thing to be known, the means of sanctification, the syllable Om, the Rig, Sama, and Yajur also; 7 the goal, the sustainer, the lord, the supervisor, the residence, the asylum, the friend, the source, and that in which it merges, the support, the receptacle, and the inexhaustible seed. I cause heat and I send forth and stop showers. I am immortality and also death; and, Arjuna, I am that which is and that which is not.

   Those who know the three branches of knowledge, 8 who drink the Soma juice, 9 whose sins are washed away, offer sacrifices and pray to me for a passage into heaven; and reaching the holy world of the lord of gods, they enjoy in the celestial regions the celestial pleasures of the gods. And having enjoyed that great heavenly world, they enter the mortal world when their merit is exhausted. Thus those who wish for objects of desire, and resort to the ordinances of the three Vedas, 10 obtain as the fruit going and coming.

   To those men who worship me, meditating on me and on no one else, and who are constantly devoted, I give new gifts and preserve what is acquired by them. Even those, O son of Kunti, who being devotees of other divinities worship with faith, worship me only, but irregularly. For I am the enjoyer as well as the lord of all sacrifices. But they know me not truly, therefore do they fall.

   Those who make vows to the gods go to the gods; those who make vows to the ancestors go to the ancestors, those who worship the Bhûtas go to the Bhûtas; 11 and likewise those who worship me go to me.

   Whoever with devotion offers me leaf, flower, fruit, water that, presented with devotion, I accept from him whose self is pure. Whatever you do, O son of Kunti, whatever you eat, whatever sacrifice you make, whatever you give, whatever penance you perform, do that as an offering to me. Thus will you be released from the bonds of action, the fruits of which are agreeable or disagreeable.

   And with your self possessed of this devotion, this renunciation, you will be released from the bonds of action and will come to me.

   I am alike to all beings; to me none is hateful, none dear. But those who worship me with discipline dwell in me and I too in them. Even if a criminal man worships me, not worshipping any one else, he must certainly be deemed to be good, for he has well resolved himself. He soon becomes devout of heart, and obtains lasting tranquillity.

   You may affirm, O son of Kunti, that my devotee is never ruined. For, O son of Pritha, even those who are of sinful birth, women, Vaishyas, and Sudras 12 likewise, resorting to me, attain the supreme goal. What then need be said of holy Brahmanas and royal saints who are my followers?

   Coming to this transient unhappy world, worship me. Place your mind on me, become my follower, my worshipper; reverence me, and thus making me your highest goal, and devoting your self to abstraction, you will certainly come to me.

Translated by Kashinath Trimbak Telano, 1882
Edited and annotated by Richard Hooker



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1997, Richard Hooker
Updated 10-19-97