iti kshetram tathaa jnyaanam jneyam choktam samaasataha |
madbhakta etadvijnyaaya madbhaavaayopapadyate || 18 ||

 
In this manner, the field, as well as knowledge, and that which is to be known, has been described in brief. By understanding this, my devotee becomes qualified to attain my state.
 
iti : in this manner
kshetram : the field
tathaa : as well as
jnyaanam : knowledge
jneyam : which is to be known
cha : and
uktam : has been described
samaasataha : in brief
madbhaktaha : my devotee
etat : this
vijnyaaya : understanding
madbhaavaaya : my state
upapadyate : qualified
 
Shri Krishna concludes the current topic in this shloka. He spoke about “kshetra”, the field, in shlokas five and six. The field comprises twenty four aspects which are the building blocks of the universe. This includes the five great elements, the intellect and others. The field also comprises seven modifications by which the individual comes into contact with the world. These include desire, hatred and others. The field works like a machine, but is devoid of awareness in itself and is inert. It need to borrow awareness from some other source. This source is the eternal essence, it is “jneyam”, that which is to be known. The field acts as an upaadhi, something which as though limits and conditions the eternal essence.
 
If we are attracted by the dance of an ocean’s waves, we will never be able to appreciate the grandeur and beauty of the entire ocean, because our attention will be on the waves which are upaadhis that as though limit our understanding of the ocean. Similarly, if we need to understand the eternal essence, we have to learn how to gradually minimize the impact of the upaadhis of the field, and shift our attention to the eternal essence. “Jnyaanam”, the means of knowledge that enables us to mentally remove these upaadhis, is elaborated in shlokas seven to eleven.
 
Once we have learnt how to mentally remove upaadhis, we are ready to understand the eternal essence. From shlokas twelve to seventeen, Shri Krishna uses paradoxes and contradictions to explain the nature of the eternal essence. Our intellect is a product of the field, and will never grasp what the eternal essence is. Paradoxical statements like “it is near, yet it is far” are used so that our intellect doesn’t mistakenly turn the eternal essence into yet another concept.
 
Shri Krishna says that those who have inquired into the eternal essence in the manner prescribed above are qualified to attain the state of Ishvara, which is liberation. But this state cannot be attained unless we become devotees of Ishvara. A devotee means one who knows that whatever he sees, hears or touches is nothing but Ishvara, and that Ishvara is residing in him as his self. Only one who has such a firm conviction through meditation that everything, including himself, is ultimately Ishvara, will attain liberation.
 
Now, does all this explanation help me understand what ultimately causes me to experience sorrow in my life? In the next shloka, Shri Krishna begins a new topic to explain this issue in detail.

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