THE ATMA GITA
The ATMA Gita embodies the highest teachings of all the great masters-the thread of universal truth at the core of every major religion is within this scripture. God is Everything, and Everything is ONE thing. This forms the foundation of Peace Tree Village seeks to share with our community.
All is ONE, God is ONE, Creator and the Creation are ONE.
Also known as the Uddhava Gita, Krishna’s final discourse to his beloved disciple Uddhava on the eve of Krishna’s departure from the earth.
Om, Sri Atma Gita now I’ll sing
On hearing which a man is freed;
That heart receptive to God’s word
Becomes the Lord Hari’s abode.
On the wheel of change a man is turned
Until Sri Atma Gita’s heard;
Even the place in which it’s sung
Becomes a sacred place of love.
O man, seek the highest goal;
Read or sing this song each day;
True understanding thou wilt gain,
And all past sins will fade away.
To one who hears this song at death,
Sri Krishna, out of love bestows
A place on high; and those who give this song
as gift are one with Him.
Om, O souls who yearns for truth!
Come sip Sri Krishna’s honeyed word;
Who hears this song freed from death,
And gains the precious peace of God
Text: Sri Krishna is speaking:
1. O noble Uddhava, remember my words,
For I’ll not be around to remind you again,
Give up all attachments, surrender your love
For this world of sense objects, relations and
2. The feeling of “I” as a separate self
Must be given up if you wish to know truth;
There’s only one Self which exists within all-
It is that very self you see as the world.
3. The Self is the source of the whole universe;
It fashions all forms of its own Consciousness.
Though all forms are changing and soon fade away,
The one conscious Self is forever the same.
4. Therefore Uddhava, cling fast to the Self;
Your mind must be steady, unswayed by the world.
Your heart must be free of all selfish desire,
If you wish to awake and to know who you are.
5. When you have gained knowledge and wisdom as well,
When you can feel one with the whole universe,
When you’ve found the Self and in Self found delight,
Then you will be free, though you still live on earth.
6. Thus you will go beyond evil and good;
Without pride or shame, you’ll behave as you should.
To everyone loving and gentle and kind,
You’ll see naught but One, and in One keep your mind.
7. Uddhava to Krishna:
O Krishna, my God, only Soul of the world,
So that I may awake please instruct me still more;
My mind is so dull I’m unable to see
The way that a man from this flesh can be free.
8. Sri Krishna is speaking:
Listen Uddhava: Take refuge in me,
Perform all your duties and works faithfully;
But keep your heart free of all want or desire,
And surrender your heart and your mind unto me.
9. This world which senses perceive is a dream;
There’s nothing within it that is what it seems.
So keep your mind steady, remembering me,
And do what you must, while your heart remains free.
10. To work with the motive of pleasing oneself
Leads only to ruin and darkness within;
But works that are done in the service of God,
Bring freedom and peace as the fruits of reward.
11. With your mind awake and remembering me,
Surrender all thought of yourself and be free.
Give up the false dream of “myself” and “my own”;
Become one with God through devotional love.
12. Regard all your brothers with equality;
See only one Self in whatever you see,
With all doubts dispelled by the bright light of truth,
Awake from the dream of this world and be free.
13. When you’ve become free of all worldly desire,
No power can shake you or move you to ire.
Unstirred by the words of both good men and bad,
Uddhava, be free; keep your mind fixed on God.
14. Uddhava to Krishna:
O Krishna, all men are aware that the world
Is changing and fleeting, a whirlpool of dust,
Yet see how all men run to fill their desires;
See how they’re caught in the jaws of dark lust.
15. Though suffering and misery runs after those men
Who seek for their pleasure the objects of sense,
Please tell me, dear Krishna, why it should be so
That men, like dumb beasts, love their suffering so?
16. Sri Krishna speaking:
Uddhava, such poor men do not know the truth,
Nor have they the peace and contentment that comes
From knowing the bliss of the one conscious Self
Pervading this world in these myriad forms.
17. Such men are deluded in thinking the Self
Is body and mind, and the organs of sense;
Betrayed by the desires of the flesh, they are led
By dreams of sense pleasure until they are dead.
18. By giving himself to the impulse of lust,
A foolish man gathers up pain for himself;
But the man of dispassion and knowledge is wise.
He gathers the fruit of a joy that’s divine.
19. So listen, Uddhava, give up lethargy,
Keep watch on the thoughts of your mind faithfully.
Withdraw your regard from the world and its play;
Remember the Self with each thought every day.
20. It is this which is known as the yoga supreme;
I’ve taught it to gods and I’ve taught it to men;
I’ll tell you, Uddhava, the words which I gave
To the great sage Sanaka in a far distant age.
21. The question Sanaka asked of me was this:
“The mind is attracted to objects of sense,
And objects of sense become fixed in the mind;
How can I be free from sense objects that bind?”
22. “What you say is true,” I assured him at once;
“But you’re neither mind nor the objects of sense.
There’s only one I, ever-free and divine;
When you know that Self, then the true
freedom you’ll find.
23. “That vision which see many where thereis one
Is sleep though one’s eyes may appear open wide;
The one conscious Self is the reality;
Awake from the dream of this world and be free.
24. “Dispel the dark clouds of delusion with truth;
With knowledge and wisdom, shed light on the Self,
Realize who you are, and by knowledge be freed;
Devotion to truth is the true love indeed.
25. “Today the world is, but tomorrow it’s not;
It shifts like the forms of the clouds in the sky,
It is but one Conscious seeming to be
The manifold world which senses perceive.
26. “Withdraw from this world of
appearances of your mind,
And give up the thirst for the pleasures of life;
With mind set at rest, know the bliss of the Self;
And nevermore fall into error and strife.
27. “That man who has tasted the bliss of the Self,
May move among objects of sense without fear;
His mind never clings to the world’s misery;
His heart is with God and his soul is made free.”
28. This is the secret Sanaka was taught;
The goal of all men and the highest of paths;
Give worship to God as the Self of your heart;
See only one Self and remain unattached.
29. Uddhava to Krishna
Dear Krishna, the sages have taught many ways
To reach to the end of man’s journey to God;
I wish to know, Lord, the way that is best;
Can each of these paths be as good as the rest?
30. Sri Krishna speaking:
Uddhava, my child, there are many ways
Which sages have shown to attain the Supreme;
The pathways are many, but each of them leads
To the knowledge of God beyond scriptures or creeds.
31. By love, or by inward control of the mind,
By faith, or by wisdom, by serving mankind-
All these have been taught as the way to reach God,
But the best way of all is devotional love.
32. What joy does one find in the sweet love of God!
The bliss of His love fills the whole universe.
Uddhava, delight in that Lord who’s within;
Surrender your life in devotion to Him.
33. As wood is burned up when it’s thrown into fire,
Devotional love burns up worldly desire;
By study of books men may try to find joy,
But God who is love is found only through love.
34. Without love for God, all man’s learning is vain;
It is only through love that true bliss is regained.
With joy in his heart, that wise lover is blessed
Who serves God with love, ‘tis this path which is best.
35. Uddhava, obtain that sweet blessing of grace
By taking the path that is followed by saints;
Give worship to God through devotional hymns,
Perform all your actions in service to Him.
36. Be free from all the selfish desires of the mind;
Renounce everything for the love that;s divine.
When your mind is surrendered and evermore true,
That love which is bliss will awaken in you.
37. This goal is the highest goal one can attain;
God’s freedom and bliss in the form of a man.
All pleasure, all knowledge, all power divine
Belongs to that man who’s surrendered the mind.
38. So therefore Uddhava, restrain the desire
For outward enjoyments through organs of sense,
And turn your mind inward with love to the Self;
Through deep meditation, regain your true wealth.
39. Learn to be even in mind and in poise;
Be calm in the midst of the mightiest storm.
Though men may upbraid you and call you false names,
Remember the Self, remain ever the same.
40. Do not allow hatred to rise up in you,
Nor ever in anger return blow for blow;
But keep your mind tuned to the self who’s within,
And strive to be free from the bondage of sin.
41. Uddhava to Krishna:
O Master, dear teacher, O Soul of the world,
When one is insulted and false words are hurled,
How hard is the task of remaining in peace!
Please show me the way I can do this with ease.
42. Sri Kirshna speaking:
Indeed, it it true, there is nothing more hard;
The words of the wicked strike deep in the heart.
Like arrows, they lodge in the breast of a man,
And cause such a pain that he scarcely can stand.
43. But please let me tell you, Uddhava, my child,
A story of one who was painfully tried
By torment and misery throughout all of his life,
Yet ever remained free of pain and of strife.
44. This man was once wealthy and foolishly proud
Until fate intervened and deprived him of all.
But the blow fortune dealt him was good in disguise,
For he soon realized where man’s real treasure lies.
45. With mind turned inward, he examined his soul
While wandering the earth as a sadhu, alone.
Though poor in the eyes of all men of the world,
He soon became wealthy in true self control.
46. Now other men saw him alone and detached,
And decided to test him by treating him rough;
Wherever he went, he was treated with scorn,
As men tried to wound him with words and with stones.
47. But though he was treated by all men with spite,
The truth of the Self he kept ever in sight;
Tormented incessantly, injured and wronged,
He sang in his heart this pain-dispelling song:
48. “No pleasure, no pain, can affect my true Self;
Both suffering and pleasure belong to the mind.
The Self is the witness of all the mind’s play,
Remaining forever more conscious and free.
49. “The Self, like and object reflected in glass,
Appears to be the mind and the whole universe,
And man, by forgetting his identity,
Is lost in delusion and knows misery.
50. “All teachings of sages have one common goal;
They all teach the way to attain self control.
The highest religion consists of just this;
To bridle the mind and in truth become fixed.
51. “The uncontrolled mind is man’s sole evil foe;
It vanquishes men with its weapons of woe.
Forgetful of this, men see evil in men;
Like fools, they forget that all evil is within.
52. “None other can cause me to know joy or pain,
For I am forever the unchanging One.
The sense of delight or of sadness, I find,
Comes from the false notion that I am the mind.
53. “The body and mind are both subject to change,
But I am the One in whom all is contained.
In freedom forever, beyond shame or fear,
That sweet blissful Self is the one I hold dear.”
54. That was the song that my wise wanderer sang,
Though injured and tortured by wrong hearted men;
He held to the truth and continued in peace,
And crossed over the ocean of misery to me.
55. When you surrender in full love to God,
You’ll rise to the heights of the heaven within;
In blissful awakening, you’ll know your true Self,
And fathom the depths of the whole universe.
56. And when your mind’s light becomes steady and bright,
All ignorant notions will fade out of sight.
The false sense of ego will then disappear
And the world of appearance will bind you no more.
57. Your mind will be peaceful, absorbed in the Self,
You’ll look on all others with equality,
Beyond good and evil, with ego dispelled,
To nothing attached, you’ll then become free.
58. What more can remain to be gained by that man,
Who’s heart is filled with love, who’s found joy within?
His words are of truth and all men are made pure
By hearing from him of the One who endures.
59. Like fire, he is able to burn away sin
And light up the deep night of darkness within.
A blessing to all, he is like a strong ship
To carry all men across this ocean to bliss.
60. As food sustains life, and life sustains man,
That sage who is free is the savior of all;
The sun in the sky that lights heaven and earth
Cannot be compared to that sage who lights hearts.
61. Now let me tell you, Uddhava, my son,
The things you must do if the Truth is to be won;
By following this, you will come to know bliss;
Through wisdom, you will conquer invincible death.
62. Awake to the knowledge that God is your Self;
Let all of your actions be guided by Him.
Surrender your life in the service of God,
And your heart will be filled with the light of His love.
63. Take up your abode with the holiest saints,
Those sages whose lives are devoted to God;
And learn by their conduct to live as you must
To see only One in this vast universe.
64. O noble Uddhava, your sight must be pure
To see only God in this manifold world;
Such vision is wisdom that sets the soul free;
See only one consciousness incessantly.
65. By seeing in all men that spirit divine,
The notion of ‘others’ abandons the mind,
Realize this one truth and your heart will be
free Of anger and hatred and mean jealousy.
66. That man who has seen God sees God everywhere;
He worships the Self in all hearts as his own.
This is the best mode of worship indeed;
To treat all as God in one’s thought, word, and deed.
67. Such is the knowledge I pass on to you
By which in this life you may learn to be free,
And loosen all attachments to things passing
by, And know your true Self as immortality.
Dear brothers, said Suta, the tale has been told,
Of Uddhava and Krishna in days long ago;
The fountain of nectar which flowed from the lips
Of Sri Kirshna enables all men to know bliss.
I bow to that Krishna, the one Soul of all;
This song, Atma Gita, His glory has told.
May all men win freedom by singing this song
From the Srimad Bhagavatam Purana of old.
Om, Shanti, Shanti, Shanti!