An English versification of Srila Prabhupada’s Bengali versification of the Gita.
By His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Translation by Kalakantha Dasa and Swarupa Krishna Dasa

[Excerpted from Gitar-gan: Singing the Song Divine, available at sweetsongbooks.com, amazon.com, bookdepository.com, and the Krishna.com Store.]

In 1962, working alone with a manual typewriter, Srila Prabhupada took time off from his translation of the massive Srimad-Bhagavatam to condense the Bhagavad-gita’s seven hundred verses into simple rhyming Bengali couplets. This book, called Gitar-gan, was first published in full in 1973 and is still widely popular throughout Bengal and Bangladesh.

To further reveal this gem in English, Svarupa Krishna Dasa of Kolkata painstakingly translated each word of Gitar Gan to English. Using those synonyms, I converted the Bengali couplets to English. Our combined efforts comprise the first full translation of Gitar-gan in English.

If you’re familiar with Bhagavad-gita As It Is, you’ll recognize dozens of fresh nuances and insights in Gitar-gan. To the extent that we have accurately presented it, Gitar-gan will uplift you through the brilliant heart and mind of Srila Prabhupada, an exemplary teacher and lover of the Bhagavad-gita  who wanted the Gita read, heard, and sung. – Kalakantha Dasa

Chapter 15

The Yoga of the Supreme Person

(purushottama-yoga)

 

1) shri-bhagavan kahilen:

veda-vani karma-kandi samsara ashraye I

nana yoni prapta haya kabhu mukta naya II 1

samsara ye vriksha sei ashvattha avyaya I

urdhva-mula adhah-shakha nahi tara kshaya II 2

pushpita vedera chanda se brahmera patra I

mohita se veda-vakya jagata sarvatra II 3

shri-bhagavan – the Supreme Personality of Godhead; kahilen – said; veda-vani – contents of the Vedas; karma-kandi – one who pursues fruitive activities; samsara – life; ashraye – in taking shelter; nana – various; yoni – species; prapta – attained; haya – there is; kabhu – ever; mukta – liberated; naya – not; samsara – life; ye – that; vriksha – tree; sei – that only; ashvattha – banyan tree; avyaya – eternal; urdhva-mula – roots above; adhah – downwards; shakha – branches; nahi – not; tara – of that; kshaya – destruction; pushpita – flowery; vedera – of the Vedas; chanda – hymns; se – such; brahmera – of the Brahmajyoti, the energy of the Lord; patra – leaves; mohita – under illusion; se – that; veda – of the Vedas; vakya – topics; jagata – universe; sarvatra – everywhere.

Lord Krishna continued:

Those men who read the Vedas with the goal of fruitive gain

shall reappear in lower species, ever to remain.

Their life is like an endless banyan, never falling down,

its roots protruding skyward and its branches to the ground.

The flowery Vedic hymns comprise this tree’s confusing leaves

that fabricate illusions universally believed.

2) vrikshera se shakhali urdhva adhah-gati I

gunera vashete yara yatha vidhi-mati II 4

se vrikshera shakha yata vishayera bhoga I

nija karma anusare yata bhava-roga II 5

baddha-jiva ghure sei vriksha dale dale I

manushya-loka se bhunje nija karma-phale II 6

vrikshera – of the tree; se – that; shakhali – branches; urdhva – upwards; adhah – downward; gati – growth; gunera – of the three modes of material nature; vashete – under influence; yara – those who; yatha – when; vidhi-mati – as per rules; se – that; vrikshera – of the tree; shakha – branches; yata – as many; vishayera – of the objects of the senses; bhoga – enjoyment; nija – own; karma – activities; anusare – according to; yata – as many; bhava-roga – material miseries; baddha-jiva – conditioned soul; ghure – wander; sei – that only; vriksha – tree; dale – in branch; dale – after branch; manushya-loka – the world of human society; se – that; bhunje – enjoy; nija – own; karma-phale – in fruits of actions.

With dictates from the modes of nature giving them nutrition,

the branches from this tree extend in up and down positions.

Each branch provides conditioned souls sense objects to enjoy

along with many miseries they never can avoid.

Conditioned souls meander through the branches of this tree

pursuing worldly pleasure in mundane society.

3, 4) kshudra-buddhi manushya se sima nahi paya I

ananta akashe tara adi anta naya II 7

kiva rupa se vrikshera taha nahi bujhe I

ananta-kalera madhye jiva yuddha yujhe II 8

se ashvattha vriksha haya sudridha ye mula I

se mula katite haya shata shata bhula II 9

anasakti eka astra se mula katite I

sei se ye dridha astra samsara jinite II 10

katiya se vriksha-mula satyera sandhana I

bhagya-krame yara haya tate avasthana II 11

se yaya vaikuntha-loke phire nahi ase I

e vrikshera mula yatha se purusha pashe II 12

se adi purushe adya kara se prapatti I

janmadi se yaha hate prakriti pravritti II 13

kshudra – small quantity; buddhi – intelligent; manushya – human being; se – that; sima – limit; nahi – not; paya – receive; ananta – no end; akashe – in the sky; tara – of that; adi – beginning; anta – end; naya – not; kiva – whatever; rupa – form; se – that; vrikshera – of the tree; taha – such persons; nahi – not; bujhe – understand; ananta – no end; kalera – of time; madhye – amidst; jiva – living being; yuddha – fight; yujhe – get engaged in; se – that; ashvattha – banyan; vriksha – tree; haya – is; sudridha – strong; ye – that; mula – root; se – that; mula – root; katite – to cut; haya – there is; shata – thousands; shata – and thousands; bhula – of errors; anasakti – detachment; eka – one; astra – weapon; se – that; mula – root; katite – to cut; sei – that only; se – such; ye – that; dridha – strong; astra – weapon; samsara – the world; jinite – to live; katiya – after cutting; se – that; vriksha – tree; mula – root; satyera – of truth; sandhana – in search; bhagya-krame – out of fortune; yara – whose; haya – there is; tate – in that; avasthana – attainment; se – such person; yaya – goes; vaikuntha-loke – in the spiritual planet called Vaikuntha; phire – return; nahi – not; ase – come; e – this; vrikshera – of tree; mula – root; yatha – when; se – that; purusha – the Supreme Lord; pashe – next to; se – such; adi – primeval; purushe – in the Supreme Personality of Godhead; adya – seek; kara – do; se – that; prapatti – surrender; janmadi – creation and others; se – that; yaha – whatever; hate – from; prakriti – nature; pravritti – the beginning.

As men of lesser intellect can neither see the end

of endless skies above them nor from where the skies begin,

conditioned souls cannot conceive the true form of this tree,

condemning them to struggle in its grip perpetually. 

The roots of this great tree cannot be cut by any force

and thousands of mistakes arise when fools attempt that course.

The single weapon of detachment only can succeed

in cutting down this strongly-rooted worldly banyan tree.

On having cut this tree, the soul is fortunate and blessed

to search out and attain reality and truthfulness.

Such souls attain Vaikuntha planets, never to return,

for God Himself is by this banyan’s root, they come to learn.

And thus the wise surrender to the Lord who manifests

all things at any time that anything at all exists.

5) nirabhimana nirmoha sanga-doshe mukta I

nityanitya buddhi yara kamana nivritta II 14

sukha duhkha dvandva mukta jada mudha naya I

vidhijna purusha paya se pada avyaya II 15

nirabhimana – without false prestige; nirmoha – without illusion; sanga-doshe – in faults of association; mukta – liberated; nityanitya – eternal and temporary; buddhi – intelligence; yara – whose; kamana – desire, lust; nivritta – disassociated, detached; sukha – happiness; duhkha – distress; dvandva – duality; mukta – liberated; jada – gross; mudha – foolish; naya – not; vidhijna – knowledgeable; purusha – the Supreme Personality of Godhead; paya – attain; se – that; pada – situation; avyaya – eternal.

Released from false prestige, deceit, and bad association,

detached from lust, discerning fixed and changing situations,

the soul untouched by joy or sorrow leaves the worldly modes

and reaches, in surrender, the eternal Lord’s abode.

6) se akashe jyotirmaye surya va shashanka I

avashyaka nahi tatha kimba se pavaka II 16

sekhane pravesha hale phire nahi ase I

nitya-kala mora dhame se jana nivase II 17

se – that; akashe – in the sky; jyotirmaye – illuminating; surya – sun; va – or; shashanka – moon; avashyaka – necessary; nahi – not; tatha – there; kimba – or; se – that; pavaka – fire, electricity; sekhane – there; pravesha – entry; hale – if happens; phire – return; nahi – not; ase – come; nitya-kala – forever; mora – My; dhame – in planet; se – such; jana – person; nivase – resides.

No sunshine is required to illuminate that place,

and nor is fire, voltage, or the moon in outer space.

My infinite abode is such that if one enters in,

one never wants to see a mundane residence again.

7) yata jiva mora amsha nahe se apara I

sanatana tara satta jiva-loke ghora II 18

ekhane se mana ara indriya-bandhane I

karshana karaye kata prakritira sthane II 19

yata – as many; jiva – living entities; mora – My; amsha – part and parcel; nahe – not; se – such beings; apara – of anyone else; sanatana – eternal; tara – of such beings; satta – nature; jiva-loke – in the world of conditioned life; ghora – dark; ekhane – in this place; se – that; mana – mind; ara – and; indriya – senses; bandhane – in bondage; karshana – struggle; karaye – doing; kata – so much; prakritira – of material nature; sthane – in place.

The numberless eternal souls are spirit sparks of Mine,

existing in this world where they are physically entwined.

Their restless minds and senses keep them tightly wrapped and bound

and struggling to find some joy where little can be found.

8) bara bara kata deha se ye prapta haya I

eka deha chade ara anye praveshaya II 20

vayu gandha yatha yaya sthana sthanantare I

karma-phala sukshma sei deha dehantare II 21

bara – again; bara – and again; kata – so many; deha – bodies; se – such living entity; ye – that; prapta – attains; haya – there is; eka – one; deha – body; chade – leaves; ara – and; anye – in another; praveshaya – enters; vayu – air; gandha – fragrance; yatha – just like; yaya – moves; sthana – one place; sthanantare – to another place; karma-phala – fruits of activities; sukshma – subtle; sei – that only; deha – body; dehantare – at end of body.

Accepting situations born from mother after mother,

the fallen souls seek pleasure in one body or another. 

As wind moves many fragrances, the spirit soul collects

conceptions of enjoyment in this body and the next.

9) sharirera anusara shravana darshana I

sparshana, rasana ara ghrana va manana II 22

se sharire jiva kare vishaya sevana I

baddha-jiva kare sei samsara bhramana II 23

sharirera – of the body; anusara – according to; shravana – hearing; darshana – vision; sparshana – touch; rasana – taste; ara – and; ghrana – smell; va – or; manana – think; se – that; sharire – in the body; jiva – living entity; kare – do; vishaya – objects of senses; sevana – service; baddha-jiva – conditioned soul; kare – do; sei – that only; samsara – world; bhramana – moving around.

Enjoying mind and senses, with desires at the helm,

the soul proceeds to see and taste and touch and hear and smell.

Conditioned souls thus hanker for, according to their birth,

a set of sensate objects as they roam about the Earth.

10) mudha-loka na vicare ki bhave ki haya I

utkranti sthiti bhoga kara va kothaya II 24

yara jnana-cakshu ache gurura kripaya I

bhagyavana sei jana dekhivare paya II 25

mudha-loka – foolish people; na – not; vicare – judge; ki – how; bhave – in method; ki – what; haya – there is; utkranti – quitting; sthiti – situation; bhoga – enjoyment; kara – whose; va – or; kothaya – where; yara – whose; jnana-cakshu – eyes of knowledge; ache – available; gurura – of a spiritual master; kripaya – by mercy; bhagyavana – fortunate; sei – such only; jana – person; dekhivare – to see; paya – able.

Repeated births and deaths are all these foolish souls attain.

Enchanted by their bodies, they see nothing more to gain.

But if one has a kindly guru, all of this can change,

for birth and death are evident to one whose eyes are trained.

11) kata yogi vaijnanika ceshta bahu kare I

atma-jnana abhavete vritha ghuri mare II 26

kintu yeva atma-jnani atmavasthita I

dekhite samartha haya shuddha avahita II 27

kata – so many; yogi – transcendentalists; vaijnanika – scientific; ceshta – endeavor; bahu – many; kare – do; atma-jnana – knowledge of self-realization; abhavete – due to non-availability; vritha – unnecessary; ghuri – encircle; mare – die; kintu – but; yeva – when; atma-jnani – one who is self-realized; atmavasthita – situated in the self; dekhite – to see; samartha – qualified; haya – is; shuddha – pure; avahita – awareness.

So many yogis use techniques that lack this point of view.

Rebirth and death encircle them, no matter what they do.

But those who are self-realized, whose consciousness is pure,

begin to see the soul as their enlightenment matures.

 

12) ei ye suryera teja akhila jagate I

candrera kirana kimba ache bhala-mate II 28

amara prabhava sei abhasa se haya I

ami yake alo di-i se alo paya II 29

ei – this; ye – that; suryera – of the sun; teja – splendor; akhila – whole; jagate – in the world; candrera – of the moon; kirana – ray; kimba – or; ache – situated; bhala-mate –properly; amara – My; prabhava – influence; sei – that only; abhasa – illuminated; se – that; haya – there is; ami – I; yake – whoever; alo – enlightenment; di-i – provide; se – such being; alo – enlightenment; paya – receive.

The endless, brilliant sunshine that pervades the whole creation,

and all the splendid moonbeams in their proper situation,

can only give their light because of My authority.

The light of anyone enlightened also comes from Me.

13) ei ye prithivi yatha vayu-madhye bhase I

amara se shakti dhare savete praveshe II 30

ami se aushadhi yata poshana karite I

chandra-rupe rashmi-dana kari se tahate II 31

ei – this; ye – that; prithivi – world; yatha – where; vayu – air; madhye – within; bhase – floats; amara – My; se – that; shakti – energy; dhare – holds; savete – in everything; praveshe – enters; ami – I am; se – that; aushadhi – herbs and vegetables; yata – as much; poshana – maintain; karite – to do; chandra – moon; rupe – in form; rashmi – ray of light; dana – supply; kari – doing; se – that; tahate – in that.

This planet and its atmosphere remain afloat in space

due only to My energy and all-pervading grace.

The many herbs and vegetables are able to survive

because of rays of moonlight that I steadily supply.

14) ami vaishvanara hai deha-matra vasi I

pranapana vayu-yoge bhakshya dravya kashi II 32

ami – I; vaishvanara – My plenary portion as the digesting fire; hai – am; deha-matra – the body only; vasi – situated; pranapana – the outgoing and the down-going energy; vayu-yoge – due to interaction of air; bhakshya – that which is eaten; dravya – foodstuff; kashi – digest.

As well, I am the life air as it enters and retreats,

enabling all beings to digest the food they eat.

15) sabara hridaye ami, sannivishta antaryami,

ama hate smriti jnana mana I

ami se jagai kare, ami se bhulai tare,

ama hate haya apohana II 33

yata veda prithivite, amara se tallasete,

ami hai saba veda-vedya I

ami se vedanta-vit, ami ye vedanta-krit,

vedantera katha shuna adya II 34

sabara – of everybody; hridaye – in the heart; ami – I am; sannivishta – situated; antaryami – Supersoul; ama – Me; hate – from; smriti – remembrance; jnana – knowledge; mana – mind; ami – I am; se – that; jagai – make aware; kare – someone; ami – I; se – that; bhulai – make forgetful; tare – such being; ama – Me; hate – from; haya – there is; apohana – forgetfulness; yata – as many; veda – Veda; prithivite – in the world; amara – My; se – that; tallasete – in search; ami – I; hai – am; saba – all; veda-vedya – the knowable from the Vedas; ami – I am; se – that; vedanta-vit – the knower of the Vedanta; ami – I am; ye – that; vedanta-krit – the compiler of the Vedanta; vedantera – of Vedanta; katha – subject; shuna – hear; adya – now.

Established deep in every heart,

as Supersoul I then impart

a person’s knowledge and their memory. 

I help a person recollect

or force a person to forget.

Forgetfulness itself has come from Me.

In this world, all the Vedic texts

direct the seeker to reflect

and gradually come to knowing Me.

Eventually I alone

by all the Vedas can be known,

for I compiled and know them. Listen, please.

16) baddha mukta purusha se haya dvi-prakara I

dui name paricita se kshara akshara II 35

baddha jiva yata haya tara kshara nama I

akshara kutastha jiva nitya mukta-dhama II 36

baddha – conditioned; mukta – liberated; purusha – living entities; se – such; haya – there is; dvi-prakara – two types; dui – two; name – in names; paricita – known; se – such beings; kshara – fallible; akshara – infallible; baddha – conditioned; jiva – living entity; yata – as many; haya – there is; tara – of such being; kshara – fallible; nama – called; akshara – infallible; kutastha – in oneness; jiva – the living entity; nitya – always; mukta-dhama – liberated abode.

Each living entity exists in one of two positions;

the free souls live in My abode, while others are conditioned.

The liberated souls possess infallibility,

while others remain fallible until they live with Me.

17) taha hate ye uttama purusha pradhana I

ishvara se paramatma thake sarvasthana II 37

taha – these two; hate – from; ye – that; uttama – Supreme; purusha – Personality; pradhana – main; ishvara – controller; se – such; paramatma – Supersoul; thake – resides; sarvasthana – every place.

Besides these two there is the Greatest Personality,

the Supersoul, controlling and pervading everything.

18) kshara va akshara hate ami se uttama I

ataeva ghoshita nama purushottama II 38

kshara – fallible; va – or; akshara – infallible; hate – from; ami – I am; se – that; uttama – transcendental; ataeva – therefore; ghoshita – declared; nama – name; purushottama – Supreme Person.

Because I am that transcendental Personality,

infallible and fallible do not apply to Me. 

19) ye more bujhila shreshtha se purushottama I

sakala sandeha chadi haila uttama II 39

se janila sarva veda nirmala hridaya I

he bharata! sarva-bhave se more bhajaya II 40

ye – one who; more – about Me; bujhila – understands; shreshtha – Supreme; se – such; purushottama – the Supreme Personality of Godhead; sakala – every; sandeha – doubt; chadi – leaving; haila – to be; uttama – topmost; se – such person; janila – knows; sarva – every; veda – Veda; nirmala – pure; hridaya – heart; he – O; bharata – son of Bharata; sarva-bhave – in every way; se – such person; more – to Me; bhajaya – renders devotional service.

The one who understands Me as the Personal Supreme

is free of doubts and knows Me as the best of everything.

That person, having understood the Vedic paradigm,

will serve Me well, in heartfelt pure devotion, all the time.

20) ei se shastrera gudha marma katha shuna I

tumi se nishpapa hao shuddha tava mana II 41

iha ye bujhila bhagye hala buddhimana I

he bharata! krita-kriya se hala mahana II 42

ei – this; se – that; shastrera – of the revealed scriptures; gudha – confidential; marma – deep meaning; katha – topic; shuna – hear; tumi – you; se – that; nishpapa – devoid of sins; hao – be; shuddha – pure; tava – your; mana – mind; iha – this; ye – whoever; bujhila – understands; bhagye – in fortune; hala – to be; buddhimana – intelligent, wise; he – O; bharata – son of Bharata; krita-kriya – the most perfect in one’s endeavors; se – such person; hala – to be; mahana – perfect.

Please hear these deep and secret shastric[i] topics and begin

to act with a fresh mind that’s purified and freed of sin.

O son of Bharat, one who knows these secrets, blessed and wise,

achieves perfection in the course of any enterprise. 

bhaktivedanta kahe shri-gitara gan I
shune yadi shuddha bhakta krishnagata-prana
II

bhaktivedanta – of His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada; kahe – speaks; shri-gitar – of Srimad Bhagavad-Gita; gan – song; shune – after hearing; yadi – if; shuddha – pure; bhakta – devotee; krishnagata-prana – absorbed in Krishna consciousness.

Bhaktivedanta Swami thus recites shri-gitar gan

to please the pure devotees always rapt in Krishna’s song.

iti shri-gitar purushottama-yoga namaka pancadasha adhyaya samapta I

iti – at last; shri-gitar – of Srimad Bhagavad Gita; purushottama-yoga – The Yoga of the Supreme Person; namaka – named; pancadasha – fifteenth; adhyaya – chapter; samapta – ends.

Thus ends the fifteenth chapter of Srimad Bhagavad Gita, named purushottama-yoga, or The Yoga of the Supreme Person.

Kalakantha Dasa began practicing bhakti-yoga under Srila Prabhupada’s guidance in 1972. Since then he has become an accomplished practitioner and teacher, sharing bhakti with thousands through lectures, seminars, and books, including A God Who Dances, The Saint Within, and several others. He specializes in translating Sanskrit and Bengali poetry for English-speaking audiences and in establishing ISKCON ashrams (hostels) for young bhakti-yoga practitioners in North America.

Swarupa Krishna Dasa has actively practiced bhakti-yoga since 1994. Since 2002 he has been a leading bhakti-yoga teacher in Kolkata. In addition to Srila Prabhupada’s Gitar Gan, he has translated (from Bengali to English) Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura’s Saranagati and Harinama Cintamani and numerous quotations by Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Sarasvati, and (from English to Bengali) Bhakti Vriksha  course modules. He currently helps design introductory bhakti-yoga courses for students of ISKCON’s Mayapur Institute.