prakrtim purusam caiva
ksetram ksetra-jnam eva ca
etad veditum icchami
jnanam jneyam ca kesava
idam sariram kaunteya
ksetram ity abhidhiyate
etad yo vetti tam prahuh
ksetra-jna iti tad-vidah
Word for word:
arjunah uvaca — Arjuna said; prakrtim — nature; purusam — the enjoyer; ca — also; eva — certainly; ksetram — the ﬁeld; ksetra-jnam — the knower of the ﬁeld; eva — certainly; ca — also; etat — all this; veditum — to understand; icchami — I wish; jnanam — knowledge; jneyam — the object of knowledge; ca — also; kesava — O Krishna; sri-bhagavan uvaca — the Personality of Godhead said; idam — this; sariram — body; kaunteya — O son of Kunti; ksetram — the ﬁeld; iti — thus; abhidhiyate — is called; etat — this; yah — one who; vetti — knows; tam — he; prahuh — is called; ksetra-jnah — the knower of the ﬁeld; iti — thus; tat-vidah — by those who know this.
Translation by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada:
Arjuna said: O my dear Krishna, I wish to know about prakrti [nature], purusa [the enjoyer], and the ﬁeld and the knower of the ﬁeld, and of knowledge and the object of knowledge. The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: This body, O son of Kunti, is called the ﬁeld, and one who knows this body is called the knower of the ﬁeld.
Purport by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada:
Arjuna was inquisitive about prakrti (nature), purusa (the enjoyer), ksetra (the ﬁeld), ksetra-jna (its knower), and knowledge and the object of knowledge. When he inquired about all these, Krishna said that this body is called the ﬁeld and that one who knows this body is called the knower of the ﬁeld. This body is the ﬁeld of activity for the conditioned soul. The conditioned soul is entrapped in material existence, and he attempts to lord it over material nature. And so, according to his capacity to dominate material nature, he gets a ﬁeld of activity. That ﬁeld of activity is the body. And what is the body? The body is made of senses. The conditioned soul wants to enjoy sense gratiﬁcation, and, according to his capacity to enjoy sense gratiﬁcation, he is offered a body, or ﬁeld of activity. Therefore the body is called ksetra, or the ﬁeld of activity for the conditioned soul. Now, the person, who should not identify himself with the body, is called ksetra-jna, the knower of the ﬁeld. It is not very difﬁcult to understand the difference between the ﬁeld and its knower, the body and the knower of the body. Any person can consider that from childhood to old age he undergoes so many changes of body and yet is still one person, remaining. Thus there is a difference between the knower of the ﬁeld of activities and the actual ﬁeld of activities. A living conditioned soul can thus understand that he is different from the body. It is described in the beginning – dehino ’smin – that the living entity is within the body and that the body is changing from childhood to boyhood and from boyhood to youth and from youth to old age, and the person who owns the body knows that the body is changing. The owner is distinctly ksetra-jna. Sometimes we think, “I am happy,” “I am a man,” “I am a woman,” “I am a dog,” “I am a cat.” These are the bodily designations of the knower. But the knower is different from the body. Although we may use many articles – our clothes, etc. – we know that we are different from the things used. Similarly, we also understand by a little contemplation that we are different from the body. I or you or anyone else who owns the body is called ksetra-jna, the knower of the ﬁeld of activities, and the body is called ksetra, the ﬁeld of activities itself.
In the ﬁrst six chapters of Bhagavad-gita the knower of the body (the living entity) and the position by which he can understand the Supreme Lord are described. In the middle six chapters of the Bhagavad-gita the Supreme Personality of Godhead and the relationship between the individual soul and the Supersoul in regard to devotional service are described. The superior position of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and the subordinate position of the individual soul are deﬁnitely deﬁned in these chapters. The living entities are subordinate under all circumstances, but in their forgetfulness they are suffering. When enlightened by pious activities, they approach the Supreme Lord in different capacities – as the distressed, those in want of money, the inquisitive, and those in search of knowledge. That is also described. Now, starting with the Thirteenth Chapter, how the living entity comes into contact with material nature and how he is delivered by the Supreme Lord through the different methods of fruitive activities, cultivation of knowledge, and the discharge of devotional service are explained. Although the living entity is completely different from the material body, he somehow becomes related. This also is explained.