This chapter-wise summary of the Bhagavad Gita in English contains the comprehensive teachings of Lord Krishna spanning all eighteen units. This post has two summary of the entire Bhagavad Gita. Section one is a quick overview of the Bhagavad Gita by chapter. Section two is a bit extensive summary of the Bhagavad Gita – chapter-wise, in English.
The Table of Contents below (ToC) helps you navigate through the sections and chapters in the post. A link to the Kindle format of this post is available towards the end of this chapter-wise summary. A FREE PDF format is also available if you want it.
Table of Contents
Section 1: Bhagavad Gita Quick Summary by Chapter
This chapter highlights the anxiety of Dhritrashtra, Duryodhana, and Arjuna. Dhritrastra was hoping Pandavas would cancel the war while Duryodhana was comforting himself by naming the warriors on his side. Meanwhile, Arjuna said he won’t fight his relatives.
The soul neither takes birth nor dies. It just changes bodies when they are worn. Arjuna should not grieve the dead because God already killed them. Further being a warrior on Yudhistira’s side, it is the duty of Arjuna to kill the Kaurava army. No sin will accrue to a person following his duty without attachment to the fruits.
Everyone must act. Even sanyasi. God needs nothing yet acts incessantly because others follow Him. Karma Yoga is the same as Sanyas Yoga because people involved in selfless action attain the Supreme Abode.
Whenever dharma diminishes and adharma increases, God manifests through Maya to re-establish dharma and protect the righteous. Karma Yoga is akin to sacrifice and leads to the same goal as other methods of praying.
Both Karma Yoga and Sanyas Yoga lead to the same goal. Karma Yoga is special because the person lives in and benefits society.
No person can become a yogi just by giving up everything. A real Yogi performs his dharma/duties without any attachment and seeks God as his refuge. Thus, a Yogi is never bothered by pain and pleasure as senses do not bind him.
God is the creator, sustainer, and destroyer of the world. One who knows the nature of God knows no pain. There are three gunas in nature: Sattva is pure, Rajas is worldly, and Tamas is the darkness of the soul. All three gunas are present in God yet God is above all these. All prayers reach God alone and God is the provider of the fruits thereof, irrespective of the types of prayers.
God is in everything. Karma is a sacrifice that holds the world. Yogis must follow their dharma, control their breath with pranayama, and utter OM, and in doing so if they die, they attain God.
The path of Bhakti is available to everyone: learned or uneducated. Bhaktas devote themselves to God and offer the fruits of their action to God. Thus, they attain liberation from the cycle of rebirth.
Lord Krishna explains how God is everything movable or immobile. Bhaktas who know God without a beginning and end are delusion-free and attain Him. Devotion is equal to Yoga
Lord Krishna provides Arjuna with Vishwa Roopa Darshanam. Arjuna sees God with no beginning, middle, and end. He is terrified at this form and asks God to revert to the four-armed Krishna.
God is both with form and formless. Some pray to the formless God, but such people are rare. Others pray to God in the form of their Ishta. Nevertheless, God accepts every form of prayer, even if it is just chanting His name. Just doing one’s duties by offering the fruits of the action to God is also a form of prayer.
Lord Krishna says the body is a spiritual field that must be cultivated with knowledge to attain God. The world is a play of Purusha and Prakriti and the person who knows this has no rebirth.
There are three gunas in nature; Sattva is knowledge; Rajas is action; and Tamas is ignorant. All gunas are present in everyone so one must focus on rising above all these three gunas to attain God.
God created everything and knowing Him, people should seek refuge in Him so that they are not reborn.
People with a demonic nature can’t distinguish between good and bad. Greed, anger, and desire are three qualities that lead to hell. People should shun these three to reach God.
Prayers are of three types: Sattva for God; Rajas for material well-being; and Tamas for harming others. Austerities should be practiced without harming anyone, including one’s own body. Sacrifices are also three types: Sattvic: for the welfare of all; Rajasik: for personal gains; and Tamasik: performed without faith in God.
Sacrifices and austerities, if done correctly, purify the soul. Action is necessary even for people who renounce everything. The different varnas are based on the qualities of persons. God is everywhere but appears different because of Maya. Focusing on God helps in removing Maya and attaining God.
Section 2: Summary of Bhagavad Gita – Extended
This section contains a bit lengthy, chapterwise summary of Bhagavad Gita if you want more details on each chapter of the Gita. Each chapter has a link for the Table of Contents towards its end that you can use to navigate among the chapters of Bhagavad Gita.
Bhagavad Gita Summary -Chapter One: Arjuna Vishadyoga
Chapter one of the Bhagavad Gita does not yet contain the teachings of Lord Krishna. It just shows the anxiety of Dhritrashtra, Duryodhna, and Arjuna. The chapter begins with Dhritrashtra asking Sanjaya what happened in the Kurukshetra battlefield after both parties assembled for war. It is said he was expecting that the Pandavas would retreat from the war owing to the piousness of the Kurukshetra battlefield.
The eldest son of Dhritrashtra was anxious as well. He tried to comfort himself by talking to his guru Drona, and by comparing the armies on both sides. He spoke to Drona about the warriors on both sides, thereby consoling himself that the Kauravas had the capability to win the war easily.
Finally, Arjuna asks Sri Krishna to drive his chariot to the middle of the battlefield. He becomes anxious and overwhelmed upon seeing his own brothers, uncles, and relatives on the other side. Despondent, he says he will not fight and puts down his bow.
This was the summary of Bhagavad Gita, chapter one.
Bhagavad Gita Summary – Chapter Two: Sankhya Yoga
The teachings of Lord Krishna begin in verse eleven of this chapter. Lord Krishna tells Arjuna that the wise should not grieve for people living or dead. He tells him that it is not the first time they (the armies) are going to die. They existed even before this birth and will continue to exist even after their death. The wise should know this truth and not be overwhelmed.
Lord Sri Krishna tells Arjuna that the soul never dies. It never takes birth and never ages. It is the body that takes birth, goes through separate phases of life, and dies. The soul then picks up another body. Read what happens after death in the Hindu religion for details.
He says the senses encounter things that are cold and hot. Thus, they induce pleasure and pain. The wise know this and endure both pleasure and pain as one because they are temporary phases.
Like a person discards old, worn clothes and gets new ones, the soul discards the old body and gets a new one. It cannot be killed by the sword; it cannot be burned by fire; it cannot be wet by water; wind cannot dry it; the soul is eternal and stable.
The teachings of Sri Krishna then turn to Karma Yoga. He says that the karma of Arjuna is to fight, and hence he should fight the enemies. In doing his karma (action/duties), sin will not accrue because he is just doing what he is supposed to do. He tells Arjuna that people have the right to action alone and not to the fruits of the action. Therefore, karma (action) should be done without any attachment to its fruit. Such action keeps people safe from sin.
He further teaches that people who do not waver during bouts of pleasure and pain are the ones who have controlled their senses. Desires are bad for karma yoga and bring about destruction. Anger gives birth to delusion and delusion leads to confusion. Confusion leads to loss of intellect and brings destruction. Therefore, one must strive to control one’s desires and, thereby, one’s senses.
This is the summary of Bhagavad Gita, chapter two. The next chapter is about the teachings of Sri Krishna about Karma Yoga (action) that leads to God.
Bhagavad Gita Summary – Chapter Three: Karma Yoga
Action without the desire for an outcome (the fruits of karma/action) does not accrue sins. No one can live without action. Renunciation of action is not possible. The very nature of people forces them to act. Merely becoming inactive is not renunciation and does not provide ‘liberation’ (moksha).
With action, there comes a state in the lives of people where they realize they are the atman (soul) and have nothing to lose or gain by inaction or action (karma/duties). Thus, they continue doing their duties or action to attain liberation (moksha).
An influential person must also perform his actions because others following his suit are inspired. A liberated person continues to perform action (karma) even though he desires nothing from the world.
The teachings of Sri Krishna in this chapter of the Bhagavad Gita turn towards Himself from verse twenty-two onward. Lord Krishna tells Arjuna that God is free from duties and doesn’t desire anything, but He is still engaged in action. If He ceases to act, the world will end.
People look upon Him as the Savior and follow His path. They serve humankind without engaging in sensory desires and fruit of action. All action is fulfilled by the nature of action and the wise know that they are not the actual doers. People bewildered by senses assume they are the actors (doers) whilst in reality, God is the doer. Thus, if Arjuna kills his foes, he will not accrue any sin because the actual doer is God.
He tells Arjuna to act with his mind on God, without thinking about the fruits of action, and without taking ownership of the action. That kind of action will liberate him, and he will not accrue any sins of which he is afraid. People who think they are responsible for their actions are deluded and end up miserable.
This is the summary of Bhagavad Gita, chapter three. Chapter four explains other types of yoga that can lead to God and liberation.
Bhagavad Gita Summary – Chapter Four: Gyan Karma Sanyas Yoga
This chapter summary of Bhagavad Gita focuses on the soul. Sri Krishna says both He and Arjuna had many births earlier. He says He is eternal; He has no birth; He is indestructible; and He is the Lord of all beings. Existing in His own nature, He manifests Himself through Maya (illusion: sensory perceptions).
He says to Arjuna that whenever dharma (righteousness) goes into decline and adharma (unrighteousness) increases, He manifests Himself to protect the pious, destroy the evil, and uphold the dharma. People who know Him to be eternal and his nature (Maya), are liberated from the cycle of rebirths, and when they die, they attain Him.
Lord Krishna explains action (karma) to Arjuna by saying people who know action in inaction and inaction in action have the right to action and are wise. Whoever acts without desire or ownership is wise.
He explains sacrifices, or yajnas, as they are called. Yajanas are to be understood by the example of offering objects to gods by pouring/putting them into the fire. This is to explain the sacrifice/yajana that people perform by acting after burning their desires in the fire of knowledge.
The entities used to hold offerings are the God. The offerings themselves are God. The fire into which the offerings are poured is God. The person conducting the yajana (sacrifice) is God. Thus, it is God who is everything. One who can see things as such is enlightened and attains God alone.
The above sums up the teachings of Lord Krishna in chapter four of the Bhagavad Gita. The onus of this chapter is on the cultivation of knowledge that burns away all desires and sensory perceptions so that a person can see God in everything. In this summary of Bhagavad Gita, chapter five, He talks about Karma Yoga (Action) and the Path of Renunciation (of desires).
Bhagavad Gita Summary – Chapter Five: Sanyasa Yoga
Chapter five of Bhagavad Gita starts with a question from Arjuna, put to Lord Sri Krishna. He asks Lord Krishna to tell him which method is better: Renunciation or Karma Yoga (action). In reply, Lord Krishna says though both renunciation and action lead to liberation, action is better, provided it is performed without attachment to its fruits.
One need not completely renounce the world and action to become a sanyasi (one who has renounced the world, as per general belief). A person who has no desires and does not hate anything is also a sanyasi.
The same state can be achieved through unattached action. Both paths lead to liberation. One who has given up desires and is firmly established in God, knows that sins won’t accrue to him even if he performs his action (duties). He knows that the world is the result of sensory perceptions. The wise are established in God and look upon things as being the same as them. All and everything are God Himself: the wise, other people, other beings such as a dog or any other animal, and even an outcast.
The above is the summary of Bhagavad Gita, chapter five. It is a short chapter and talks only about renunciation yoga and action yoga. The bottom line is that both are the same but since karma yogis (people who perform their duties) live in society, they have an advantage over people who renounce everything.
Bhagavad Gita Summary – Chapter Six: Dhyan Yoga
Lord Krishna says one who performs his actions without attachment is a real yogi. No one can become an ascetic and yogi just by giving up everything. A yogi must act and perform his prescribed duties. Read about the duties of a family person as explained by Sri Ramakrishna.
Lord Krishna says to Arjuna that people should use the atman to connect with the paramatman (God). Raise the atman to connect with the paramatman. Atman is atman’s friend and atman may become atman’s foe if not controlled. A person who is connected to paramatman is not deluged by senses.
The person immersed in yoga sees God in everything he sees. Irrespective of his place, such a yogi is always established in God. Wherever he goes, he finds God. Such a person treats happiness and unhappiness equally and is supreme, according to Lord Krishna. Though the mind is restless, with proper practice and detachment, it can be controlled.
Arjuna asks what happens to people who practice yoga but get distracted later. Lord Krishna tells Arjuna that one who tries is never destroyed. Such a person dwells in the world of righteousness and is later born into a wealthy or yogic family so that he can continue his yoga without distractions. He strives again for liberation and achieves it with the grace of God.
The above is the summary of Bhagavad Gita, chapter six. It talks about three things distinctively: the attributes of a yogi, how he should practice, and what happens when a yogi is distracted.
Bhagavad Gita Summary – Chapter Seven: Gyan Vigyan Yoga
In this chapter of the Bhagavad Gita, the teachings of Sri Krishna pertain to recognizing God and attaining Him.
Lord Krishna says there are a thousand people who try for liberation and out of those thousand, only one or two succeed. Earth, sky, water, fire, air, intellect, ego, and sky are eight distinct parts of Him. These are inferior though. There are higher natures. The world is held up by those. God is the creator of the entire world and is also the destroyer of the same. There is nothing above God. Like a string, God holds all the objects in the universe.
God is above three Gunas (nature), namely: Satva, Rajas, and Tamas. Satva is pure, Rajas wants power, and Tamas is darkness (without knowledge of God). These three Gunas are present in Him but He Himself is above these three Gunas. People who seek refuge in God alone are the ones able to rise above these three Gunas.
There are four types of people: 1) people who do not know God; 2) those who are suffering; 3) Those who want heaven (satisfaction in this world); and 4) those who know the real nature of God. Out of these four, the last type of man is rare, seeks refuge only in God, and is dear to God.
People may pray to other gods desiring lower goals and satisfaction. But the provider of fruits of such prayers is God alone. All paths lead to God.
Thus concludes the summary of Bhagavad Gita, chapter seven. It is a short chapter with only thirty verses.
Bhagavad Gita Summary – Chapter Eight: Akshar Brahma Yoga
Lord Krishna tells Arjuna that the all-pervading form of God is present in all forms. Its residence in everything is called spirituality (adhyatma). Action (Karma/duties) is the sacrifice that creates and sustains all beings in this world.
One who thinks of God at the time of his death, attains God. Therefore, always immerse yourself in thoughts of God. One should think of God as the omniscient, without beginning and end, finer than the finest, upholder of everything, with a form that is beyond senses, self-radiant, and beyond the darkness.
Yogis aspiring for liberation should use all their senses to control their mind and heart. They must do pranayama for the balance of breath, practice celibacy, and constantly utter the syllable “OM”. In doing so, if one dies, He attains God and is liberated (from rebirths). Even other heavenly gods must come back to this world but the yogi who understands God is always one with Him and attains moksha (freedom from rebirths, which are cause for sorrow).
The above is the summary of Bhagavad Gita, chapter eight. It too is short and contains only twenty-eight shlokas (verses). It explains the nature of God and the yogi, the person aspiring for liberation.
Bhagavad Gita Summary – Chapter Nine: Raj Vidya Yoga
According to the Bhagavad Gita, bhakti means devotion to God. Chapter eight explains it a bit. Chapter nine expands on it and talks about Bhakti yoga being superior to jnana yoga (Union of Knowledge). It also says the path of devotion (bhakti) is available to everyone – irrespective of whether one has read the Vedas or not and whether one has a guru or not.
Lord Krishna says people who believe in God with unwavering faith are great souls. They seek refuge within Him and know that He is the indestructible origin of all beings. Such souls show utmost respect to God and sing praises of Him, focusing on Him only.
People who worship other gods, in fact, worship the Almighty only because He is the receiver of sacrifices, and He is the provider of fruits thereof. Such people attain God in the form they choose. Others who desire heaven, go to heaven, and stay there until their virtuous deeds are exhausted; then they return to earth (rebirth).
He who worships God with anything, however great or small an offering it be, God accepts it gladly. Lord Krishna teaches Arjuna that whatever he does, he should offer the fruits to God so that he doesn’t accrue any sin. With the Self absorbed in God, the atman (soul) will attain God and would be liberated from rebirths.
This is the summary of Bhagavad Gita, chapter nine. The main takeaway is that everyone worships the same God and whoever is devoted to God, attains God instead of having to be reborn.
Bhagavad Gita Summary – Chapter Ten: Vibhuti Yoga
The teachings from this chapter of Bhagavad Gita go on to show how great God is. It highlights Him in the different objects – living and non-living. For example, Lord Krishna says to Arjuna that He is the Sun among all the shining objects, the moon among the stars (since the moon is brighter compared to distant stars), and so on.
God says the person who knows Him without having an origin and end, without birth and death, as the greatest Lord of the worlds, such a person is free from delusion and freed from sins. Lord Krishna teaches Arjuna saying He is the origin of everything. The wise know this fact and worship Him, immersed in devotion. To such people, God imparts divine Yoga, knowing which, they attain Him.
The rest of the chapter is highlighting God among objects as stated above. Some verses are Arjuna praising Lord Krishna. The Lord concludes this chapter by saying everything movable and immovable comes into existence only because of His Grace.
The summary of Bhagavad Gita, chapter ten, is that God is the best and everything in this world is because of Him. Lord Krishna shows His universal form (Vishwa-Roopa) to Arjuna in the next chapter.
Bhagavad Gita Summary – Chapter 11: Vishwaroop Dharshan Yoga
Arjuna asks Lord Krishna to show him His universal form, so God provides him with divine vision and shows him His universal form, which is also known as Vishwa-Roopam. Since Sanjaya too had a divine vision, granted by sage Ved Vyasa, so that he could narrate proceedings of the battlefield to Dhritrashtra, he was also able to see the Vishwa-Roopa. He describes it to king Dhritrashtra.
The brilliance of the Lord was too much to behold. It could be said that if thousands of suns shone simultaneously on the battlefield, they could barely match the brilliance of God’s Vishwa-Roopa. There were many faces of the God, looking everywhere with many eyes and mouths; many ornaments and many weapons all around; divine garlands and divine fragrances.
Arjuna saw the universe divided into many parts in the body of God. Arjuna says to Lord Krishna that he could see His universal form without any beginning or end. He says he has no doubt left that Lord Krishna is indeed the Supreme Refuge of this universe. God is indestructible, the only thing worth knowing, the only original being, and the upholder of dharma (righteousness).
Arjuna says to God that he can see the sons of Dhritrashtra and others on the battlefield entering God’s mouth to be destroyed. He is amazed, confused, and terrified. He asks God to tell him who He is, so that his confused mind can be at peace. God tells Arjuna that He is the Ultimate Destroyer and that the people who Arjuna is to fight are already destroyed by Him. Arjuna is just an instrument. Even without Arjuna, these people will die as they’ve been destroyed by God.
Arjuna says his mind is not at peace as he is terrified of this fierce form of God and asks Lord Krishna to transform into His usual self. This is the summary of Bhagavad Gita, chapter 11.
Bhagavad Gita Summary – Chapter 12: Bhakti Yoga
This chapter contains 20 shlokas (verses) and deals with how to worship God. Arjuna asks which path is better for worshipping God: whether the one that worships unmanifested form (nirguna form) or the manifested form (saguna form). It is akin to asking if knowledge yoga is better than devotion yoga (bhakti yoga).
Lord Krishna’s teachings in this regard are that people can pray to Him in any way they want. People who can focus on the unmanifested form can pray to nirguna God (God without any attributes). But that method is hard and only a few can practice it. Lord Krishna says if that is not possible, simply worship God with a form, singing His praises. If that too is difficult, just do your duties unattached to the fruits of the action.
A person who has no hatred for anyone is compassionate, lets go of ego and pride, regards both happiness and unhappiness with the same perspective, is satisfied with what he has, and is immersed in devotion towards God, such a person is dear to God.
This is the summary of Bhagavad Gita, chapter 12. The teachings of Lord Krishna turn to jnana yoga (Yoga of knowledge) in the next chapter.
Bhagavad Gita Summary – Chapter 13: Kshetra Kshetragya Vibhag Yoga
The teachings of Lord Krishna move towards field and field-holder in this chapter ofthe Bhagavad Gita. Consider this body to be a field that needs to be cultivated spiritually so that humans can connect to God. Lord Krishna tells Arjuna that He is the knower (kshetrajana) of the field (kshetra) and that the knowledge of this field and knower of that field is the true and only knowledge one should pursue.
Components of this field are earth, air, fire, water, sky, the ego, the intellect, the ten organs of sense, the five senses, and the mind. Other components are desire, happiness, hatred, unhappiness, conscience, and patience.
Knowledge is composed of: Lack of ego, lack of arrogance, lack of injury to others, forgiveness, humility, purity, single-mindedness, control of self, detachment towards objects good and bad, faithfulness, devotion, and search for true knowledge.
Lord Krishna says that one who has knowledge of the field and knower of that field (God is the knower), attains God. He says the world is the result of Prakriti (the substance with which the world is formed) and Purusha (the eternal soul that has no beginning and end). One who sees the world as a game of Purusha and Prakriti knows no rebirth and is established in God.
He who sees God in everything knows not to hurt others because he knows that hurting others is akin to hurting himself and the Supreme Soul. Such a man is liberated. This is the summary of Bhagavad Gita, chapter 13. The next chapter focuses on the three essential gunas (characteristics: Satva, Rajas, and Tamas).
Bhagavad Gita Summary – Chapter 14: Guna Trio Vibhag
Lord Krishna says to Arjuna that the great Nature (Prakriti) is His womb. He places His seed into that womb. From there, all beings originate. The garbha (womb) is like Mother, and He is the Father.
The teachings of Lord Krishna in this chapter are about the three gunas (characteristics by nature). He says the three gunas arise out of Nature. Sattva, Rajas, and Tamas are the three gunas and these bind the soul in the body.
Sattva is pure and shining because it is sinless. This soul is bonded to the body due to the desire for happiness and knowledge. Know that this is not the knowledge that leads to the Supreme but about other things. The knowledge of the Supreme frees the soul.
Rajas is based on the thirst for more and greed for whatever the body already possesses. Such a soul is bound to the body due to a desire for action with a focus on the fruits of the action. It binds the soul firmly to the body as it continues to perform actions for the fulfillment of materialistic desires.
The third type of guna is Tamas which arises out of ignorance and delusion. Such a soul does not know about God and is always wanting pleasure. This soul is bound to the body through wrong decisions, laziness, and sleep.
All three Gunas are present in all beings. However, one of them tends to be stronger and it becomes the nature of a person. Know that strong knowledge of God increases Sattva and leads to happiness. When Rajas becomes strong, the person experiences greed, restlessness, and a desire for more. When Tamas becomes strong, delusion and lack of action are dominant.
A successful person is one who tries to rise over all these three gunas. Such a person has knowledge of God and knows everything exists because of God. Such a person is liberated and attains God.
The above is the summary of Bhagavad Gita, chapter 14. The next chapter discusses the nature of the Supreme Being.
Bhagavad Gita Summary – Chapter 15: Purushottam Yoga
One should seek refuge in the Original Being, from whom this eternal process of creation and destruction started. A person who lives without pride and delusion, without attachment, immerses himself in the knowledge of the soul, free of happiness and unhappiness, such a person goes to God, the indestructible goal.
Lord Krishna tells Arjuna that He is the energy that lights up the sun, moon, and fire. He is the fire of digestion in individual bodies and helps digest food. He is the knower of Vedas and the origin of Vedanta.
The people who know Him to be the Supreme Being, are omniscient and worship Him in every way possible.
This is a small chapter and doesn’t contain much philosophy. Thus ends the summary ofBhagavad Gita, chapter 15. The next chapter is also short and explains the characteristics of good and bad.
Bhagavad Gita Summary – Chapter 16: Daiva Asur Sampati Vibhag Yoga
Lord Krishna says to Arjuna that people who possess the following characteristics are of divine quality:
- absence of fear,
- pure heart,
- steadiness in jnana (knowledge) and karma yoga (action),
- sacrifices (yajna),
- don’t injure others,
- lack of anger,
- lack of criticism,
- absence of hatred, and
- absence of ego.
He then explains the characteristics that make a person of demonic quality:
- cruelty, and
Demonic people don’t know about good and bad actions. There is no purity in them. They can’t be truthful and righteous. They deny the teachings of Vedas, calling them false, and live a life of ignorance, not willing to admit the Supremacy of God. They perform evil deeds and destroy the world. God sends them back repeatedly into sub-human births until they are pure and divine.
Desire, anger, and avarice (greed for material wealth) are doors to hell and destroyers of the soul. A person who gives up the three reaches a path for liberation and attains God.
Thus, the teachings of Lord Krishna to Arjuna in this chapter are to be aware of demonic qualities, stay away from them, and perform the action that leads to God. This is the entire summary of Bhagavad Gita, chapter 16. The next chapter teaches us about the three types of faith in Hinduism.
Bhagavad Gita Summary – Chapter 17: Shraddha Trya Vibhag Yoga
God said that faith is of three types: 1) Sattva, 2) Rajas, and 3) Tamas. The Sattva faith worships only the gods; the Rajas faith worships yaksha and rakhshasa (lesser divine beings); and the Tamas faith worships ghosts and devils.
People who perform terrible austerities that are not sanctioned by the Vedas, out of arrogance and rude behavior, deriving motivation from desires (of materialistic pleasures), torture the body elements including God (Vedanta says God is the same across all living and non-living beings), are actually driven by demonic resolution.
There are three types of food: Satvik, Rajasik, and Tamasik. Satvik food increases joy and pleasure, increases life expectancy, removes diseases, and is pure. Rajasik food is bitter, acidic, salty, dry, and burning. Such type of Rajasik food increases unhappiness, sorrow, and diseases. Tamasik food is stale and tasted by others already; it increases impurities.
Sacrifices too are of three types. Sacrifices performed according to Vedas, that are pacifying to the mind, performed without attachment towards outcome, are of Sattva type. Sacrifices performed for materialistic returns are of Rajas type. Sacrifices performed without prescribed rites in Vedas, performed without mantras and donations, and without faith are said to be of Tamas type.
Austerities are also of three types. Physical austerities include the worship of gods and teachers (gurus). They include celibacy (brahmacharya), purity, and non-violence. Verbal austerities include not using words that cause anxiety, speaking the truth, and speech that leads to peace and welfare. The calmness of mind, absence of cruelty, and purity in attitude are known as mental austerities. These three types of austerities are of Sattva type. Austerities taken up for praise, respect, or worship are of Rajas type. Austerities that lead to pain and destruction of others are of Tamas type.
God, the Creator, is described as Om Tat Sat in ancient texts. The Vedas are said to be created from these three words (“Om Tat Sat”). Therefore, every auspicious ritual is carried out after uttering the word “Om”. People who desire liberation, give up worldly attachments after uttering “Tat”. The word “Sat” is used for performing auspicious acts like prayers, sacrifices (yajnas), and donations.
Thus ends the summary ofBhagavad Gita, chapter 17. The main teachings of Sri Krishna in this chapter are that people should strengthen their Sattva quality and after that, rise above the three gunas to find liberation.
Bhagavad Gita Summary – Chapter 18: Moksha Sanyaas Yoga
This is the longest chapter and sums up the entireBhagavad Gita. Lord Krishna’s teachings in this chapter cover different yogas, again action (karma yoga) and sanyassa yoga (renunciation), etc.
A person who gives up all materialistic desires is a sanyasi (one who has renounced everything) though he may be living in the world. Likewise, a karma yogi must perform his prescribed duties without attachment to the fruit of the actions.
But sacrifices, donations, and austerities must not be relinquished (tyaga). This is because sacrifices, donations, and austerities purify people. Even then, these actions must be performed without attachment.
Giving up action is not possible if living in a body. Because a person performs actions without attachment, he is true in relinquishing (tyagi, sanyasi). If people cannot relinquish the fruits, they may get good, bad, or mixed karma (results).
Most of the verses in this chapter reinforce what has been said in the previous chapters so I didn’t include them here. I am simply summarizing the ones that didn’t occur before. For example, intellect that leads to knowledge and fearless state of mind is Sattva type; intellect that cannot distinguish between right and wrong is Rajas type; intellect that thinks the wrong to be the right is of Tamas type.
Lord Krishna tells Arjuna about Varna System (different from Caste in the sense that Varna is not birth-based but action-based). The natural actions that form a brahmana are control over the mind, control over the senses, meditation, forgiveness, purity, simplicity, self-realization, and faith. Natural actions for Kshatriyas are valor, bravery, perseverance, generosity, and the capability to rule. Trade and agriculture are natural actions for vaishyas. Servitude is the natural action for Shudras.
People who perform their natural actions without attachment are liberated. Performing one’s own actions imperfectly is better compared to performing others’ actions perfectly. With their minds fixed on God, knowing that God pervades everything, if they perform their own actions, they are liberated from the cycle of rebirths.
God is established in all beings and appears different because of Maya (illusion). Lord Krishna asks Arjuna to focus on Him by all means and, in every way, seek refuge in Him alone. Through His blessings, Arjuna or any other karma yogi can attain Supreme Tranquillity and the Supreme Abode.
Lord Krishna tells Arjuna that whoever reads theBhagavad Gita and explains it to others is bound to be liberated because such a person will be praying to God using jnana yoga (knowledge yoga).
Sanjaya, who was listening to the entire conversation between Lord Krishna and Arjuna, tells Dhristrashtra that wherever there is yogi like Lord Krishna and a devotee like Arjuna, there can only be victory and nothing else. This is the end of the summary of chapter 18, Bhagavad Gita.
Thus ends this chapterwise summary of Bhagavad Gita, containing the most important teachings of Lord Krishna to humankind.
Om Tat Sat
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