Kshetra and Kshetragna

Published - April 25, 2019 09:06 pm IST

In chapter 13 of the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna refers to the body as kshetra (field), said Valayapet Ramachariar in a discourse. Kshetragna is the one who understands the nature of this field. A person who knows that the body is not the atma is a kshetragna. He knows that he is the one who owns the body. When we say, “I am a man or a deva,” the ‘I’ is neither a deva nor a man. Deva or man are attributes of the body. The body is an attribute of the self (atma). ‘I’ is the knower and is the atma. ‘I’ is the owner of the body, and is therefore different from the body. If a man says, “I own this house,’ it is clear that he knows the difference between the possessor and that which is possessed. A person who confuses being a deva or a man as referring to his atma is ignorant.

If the body is seen as a field, then what grows on this field? Just as a variety of crops can be grown in a field, so can the body produce a variety of sins and punyas. Without a connection to the body, the atma will not commit sins or do any meritorious deeds. It will not experience pleasure or pain that come from these actions.

The moment we say that the kshetragna is the owner of the kshetra, it becomes clear that the two are different. Isn’t the owner different from the property? When we refer to a piece of “white cloth,” the whiteness is an attribute of the cloth. The cloth is different from the whiteness. The atma is the bhoktha, the one who experiences. The body that we possess is controlled by us, and is possessed by us. Likewise, the jivatmas are the body of the Lord, controlled and sustained by Him. The entire Universe of sentient and non-sentient beings is the body of the Lord and therefore, everything is controlled by Him.

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