ज्ञेयं यत्तत्प्रवक्ष्यामि यज्ज्ञात्वामृतमश्रुते |
अनादिमत्परं ब्रह्म न सत्तन्नासदुच्यते || 13||
jñeyaṁ yat tat pravakṣhyāmi yaj jñātvāmṛitam aśhnute
anādi mat-paraṁ brahma na sat tan nāsad uchyate
jñeyam—ought to be known; yat—which; tat—that; pravakṣhyāmi—I shall now reveal; yat—which; jñātvā—knowing; amṛitam—immortality; aśhnute—one achieves; anādi—beginningless; mat-param—subordinate to Me; brahma—Brahman; na—not; sat—existent; tat—that; na—not; asat—non-existent; uchyate—is called
I will now describe that which ought to be known, through the knowing of which one attains Immortality. It is the Supreme Brahman, which is without beginning and is said to be neither being nor non-being.
From this verse onwards in six verses, the Lord explains the nature of that which is to be known, the supreme Brahman. The former verses (8-12) dealt with knowledge and its qualities. But that is not enough. Knowledge of what? What is it that the man of wisdom knows? What does knowledge lead to? What is that to be known? These questions are answered now by the Lord. Having abandoned bad qualities, the aspirant acquires good qualities, and then abandoning both, he attains the supreme Brahman. This is the state of perfection. All the other states are imperfect.
Some of the religions are content with the teaching of ethical principles and a moral code of conduct. It is good in itself, but that is not enough. The aspirant should purify himself by ethical conduct, and then find his identity with the Supreme. That is the ultimate goal. There is no resting ground anywhere below that state. Therefore in the Gita, the Lord takes his disciple to the highest rung of the spiritual ladder and leaves him there – the Advaita realisation of Nirguna Brahman. The Gita explains Dvaita Visishtadvaita and Advaita one after another and so it is said to be the one complete spiritual Sastra.
Pravakshyami: The enthusiasm of the Lord in this spiritual teaching is indicated by this word.
Amritam asnute: The reward of the Brahman is stated even at the beginning – the reward is Immortality. Knowing this, the seeker is inspired with zeal to move forward towards the goal – Immortality, Moksha, Perfection! That is the reward. Why should man cling to wretched perishable stuff and exhaust his precious life in animal activities, when there is Perfection awaiting him at the end of this ‘sadhana’?
nasaduchyate: The supreme Brahman is not an object of sense-perception. That is the idea of ‘na sat’ (non existence). It does not mean that it has non existence. A body exists and when it dies it ceases to exist. This is true of all objects. But Brahman is not said to exist or not exist in this sense. It is beyond existence and non-existence.