Eighteenth discourse





*’Samnyasa’-(renunciation) and ‘Tyaga’-(abandonment) distinguished


Arjuna said:


Of ‘samnyasa’ O Mighty-armed, I desire to know the truth, O Hrishikesa, as also of ‘tyaga’, severally, O Slayer of Kesin.


The Blessed Lord said:


Sages understand ‘samnyasa’ to be the renouncement of interested works;the abandonment of the fruits of all works,

the learned declare, is ' tyaga '.


*Should the ignorant perform works or not?



That action should be abandoned as an evil, some philosophers declare; while others (declare) that acts of sacrifice, gift and austerity should not be given up.


*The Lord's decree is that the ignorant should perform works


Now, as to these divergent views,


Learn from Me the truth about this abandonment, O best of the Bharatas;  abandonment, verily, O best of men, has been declared to be of three kinds.



Practice of worship, gift, and austerity should not be given up; it is quite necessary; worship, gift and austerity are the purifiers of the wise.


*The obligatory works should be performed without attachment



But even those actions should be performed, setting aside attachment and the fruits; this, O son of Pritha, is My firm and highest belief.


*Tamasic and Rajasic renunciations of works



Verily, the abandonment of an obligatory duty is not proper; the abandonment thereof from ignorance is declared to be Tamasic.




Whatever act one may abandon because it is painful, from fear of bodily trouble, he practices Rajasic abandonment, and he shall obtain no fruit whatever of abandonment.


*Renunciation in works is Sattvic



Whatever obligatory work is done, O Arjuna, merely because it ought to be done, abandoning attachment and also the fruit, that abandonment is deemed to be Sattvic.


*From renunciation in works to renunciation of all works



He hates not evil action, nor is he attached to a good one,—he who has abandoned, pervaded by Sattva and possessed of wisdom, his doubts cut asunder.


*Renunciation of fruits is alone possible for the ignorant



Verily, it is not possible for an embodied being to abandon actions completely; he who abandons the fruits of actions is verily said to be an abandoner.


*Effects of the two renunciations after death



The threefold fruit of action,—evil, good, and mixed,—accrues after death to non- abandoners, but never to abandoners.


*Factors in the production of an act



These live factors in the accomplishment of all action, know thou from Me, O mighty-armed, as taught in the Sankhya which is the end of action.



The seat and actor and the various organs, and the several functions of various sorts, and the Divinity also, the fifth among these;



Whatever action a man does by the body, speech and mind, right or the opposite, these five are its causes.


*The agency of the Self is an illusion



Now, such being the case, verily, he who, as untrained in understanding, looks on the pure Self as the agent, that man of perverted intelligence sees not.


*Realization of the non agency of the Self leads to absolution from the effects of all works



He who is free from egotistic notion, whose mind is not tainted,—though he kills creatures on this world, he kills not, he is not bound.


 *The impulses to action



Knowledge, the object known, the knower, (form) the threefold impulse to action; the organ, the end, the agent, form the threefold basis of action.


*The Impulses are threefold according to the gunas



Knowledge and action, and the agent, are said in the science of the gunas to be of three kinds only, according to the distinction in gunas. Hear thou duly of them.


*Sattvic Knowledge



That by which a man sees the one Indestructible Reality in all beings, inseparate in the separated,—that knowledge know thou as Sattvic.


*Rajasic Knowledge



But that knowledge which, by differentiation, sees in all the creatures various entities of distinct kinds, that knowledge know thou as Rajasic.


*Tamasic Knowledge



But that which clings to one single effect as if it were all, without reason, having no real object, and narrow, that is declared to be Tamasic.


*5attvic Action



An action which is ordained, which is free from attachment, which is done without love or hatred by one not desirous of the fruit, that action is declared to be Sattvic.


*Rajasic Action



But the action which is done by one longing for pleasures or done by the egotistic, costing much trouble, that is declared to be Rajasic.


*Tamasic Action



The action which is undertaken from delusion, without regarding the consequence, loss, injury, and ability, that is declared to be Tamasic.


*Sattvic Agent



Free from attachment, not given to egotism, endued with firmness and vigour, unaffected in success and failure, an agent is said to be Sattvic.


*Rajas Agent



The agent who has attachment to the fruits of his labor, who is desirous to enjoy them, is covetous, cruel and unclean by nature, and subject to joy and sorrow is declared to be Rajasic.


*Tamasic Agent



The agent who is unsteady, engaged in actions against injunction of the scripture, who is unbending, deceitful, wicked, lazy, morose and procrastinating is said to be Tamasic.


*Intellect and Firmness are threefold according to gunas



The threefold division of intellect and firmness according to qualities, about to be taught fully and distinctively (by Me), hear thou, O Dhananjaya.


*Sattvic Intellect



That which knows action and inaction, what ought to be done and what ought not to be done, fear and absence of fear, bondage and liberation, that intellect is Sattvic, O Partha.


*Rajasic Intellect



That by which one wrongly understands dharma and a-dharma, and also what ought to be done and what ought not to be done, that intellect, O Partha, is Rajasic.


*Tamasic Intellect



That which, enveloped in darkness, sees adharma as dharma and all things perverted, that intellect, O Partha, is Tamasic.


*5attvic Firmness



The firmness which is ever accompanied by Yoga, and by which the activities of thought, of life-breaths and sense-organs, O Partha, are held fast, such a firmness is Sattvic.


*Rajasic Firmness



But the firmness with which one holds fast to dharma and pleasures and wealth, desirous of the fruit of each on its occasion, that firmness, O Partha, is Rajasic.


*Tamasic Firmness



That with which a stupid man does not give up sleep, fear, grief, depression and lust, that firmness, O Partha, is Tamasic.


*Pleasure is threefold according to gunas



And now hear from Me, O lord of the Bharatas, of the threefold pleasure, in which one delights by practice and surely comes to the end of pain.


*Sattvic Pleasure



That which is like poison at first, like nectar at the end, that pleasure is declared to be Sattvic, born of the purity of one's own mind.


*Rajasic Pleasure



That pleasure which arises from the contact of the sense-organ with the object, at first like nectar, in the end like poison, that is declared to be Rajasic.


*Tamasic Pleasure



The pleasure which at first and in the sequel is delusive of the self, arising from sleep, indolence, and heedlessness, that pleasure is declared to be Tamasic.


*No man or god is free from gunas



There is no being on earth, or again in heaven among the Devas, that can be free from these three gunas born of Prakriti.


*Duties of the four castes ordained according to nature



Of Brahmanas and Kshatriyas and Vaisyas, as also of Sudras, O Parantapa, the duties are divided according to the qualities born of nature.



Serenity, self-restraint, austerity, purity, forgiveness, and also uprightness, knowledge, wisdom, faith,—these are the duties of the Brahmanas, born of nature.



Bravery, boldness, fortitude, promptness, not flying from battle, generosity and lordliness are the duties of the Kshatriyas, born of nature.



Ploughing, cattle-rearing, and trade are the duties of the Vaisyas, born of nature. And of the nature of service is the duty of the Sudra, born of nature.


*Devotion to one's own duty leads to perfection



Devoted each to his own duty, man attains perfection;  how one, devoted to one's own duty, attains success, that do thou hear.



Him from whom is the evolution of (all) beings, by whom all this is pervaded,—by worshipping Him with his proper duty, man attains perfection.



Better is one's own duty (though) destitute of merits, than the duty of another well performed. Doing the duty ordained according to nature, one incurs no sin.


*One ought not to abandon one's own duty



The duty born with oneself, O son of Kunti, though faulty, one ought not to abandon; for, all undertakings are surrounded with evil, as fire with smoke.


*Perfection in Karma-Yoga leads to absolute Perfection



He whose reason is not attached anywhere, whose self is subdued, from whom desire has fled; he by renunciation attains the supreme state of freedom from action.



How he who has attained perfection reaches Brahman, that in brief do thou learn from Me, O son of Kunti,—that supreme consummation of knowledge.


*The Path to Absolute Perfection



Endued with a pure reason, controlling the self with firmness, abandoning sound and other objects, and laying aside love and hatred;



Resorting to a sequestered spot, eating but little, speech and body and mind subdued,always engaged in meditation and concentration, endued with dispassion;




Having abandoned egotism, strength, arrogance, desire, enmity, property, free from the notion of “mine," and peaceful, he is fit for becoming Brahman.


*The consummation of Knowledge attained by Devotion


In this way,


Becoming Brahman, of serene self, he neither grieves nor desires, treating all beings alike; he attains supreme devotion to Me.



By Devotion he knows Me in truth, what and who I am; then, knowing Me in truth, he forthwith enters into Me.


*Devotion to the Lord by works enjoined



Doing continually all actions whatsoever, taking refuge in Me,—by My Grace he reaches the eternal undecaying Abode.




Mentally resigning all deeds to Me, regarding Me as the Supreme, resorting to mental concentration, do thou ever fix thy heart in Me.



Fixing thy heart in Me, thou shalt, by My Grace, cross over all difficulties; but if from egotism thou wilt not hear (Me), thou shalt perish.



If, indulging egotism, thou thinkest' I will not fight,' vain is this, thy resolve; nature will constrain thee.



Bound (as thou art}, O son of Kunti, by thy own nature-born act, that which from delusion thou likest not to do, thou shalt do, though against thy will.



The Lord dwells in the hearts of all beings, O Arjuna, whirling by Maya all beings (as if) mounted on a machine.



Fly unto Him for refuge with all thy being, O Bharata; by His Grace shall thou obtain supreme peace (and) the eternal resting place.



Thus has wisdom, more secret than all that is secret, been declared to thee by Me; reflect, thou over it all and act as thou pleasest.


*Devotion to the Lord is the Secret of success in Karma-Yoga


Listen to what I am again going to say:


Hear thou again My word supreme, the most secret of all; because thou art My firm friend, therefore will I tell thee what is good.



Fix thy thought on Me, be devoted to Me, worship Me, do homage to Me. Thou shalt reach Myself. The truth do I declare to thee; (for) thou art dear to Me.


*Right Knowledge and Renunciation



Abandoning all righteous deeds, seek Me as thy sole Refuge; I will liberate thee from all sins; do thou not grieve.


*Qualification for instruction in the Gita Doctrine.



This (which has been taught) to thee is never to be taught to one who is devoid of austerities, nor to one who is not devoted, nor to one who does not do service, nor to one who speaks ill of Me.


*The merit of teaching the Doctrine



He who with supreme devotion to Me will teach this Supreme Secret to My devotees, shall doubtless come to Me.



Nor is there any among men who does dearer service to Me than he; nor shall there be another on earth dearer to Me than he.



And he who will study this sacred dialogue of ours, by him I shall have been worshipped by the sacrifice of wisdom, I deem.


*The merit of hearing the Doctrine



And the man also who hears, full of faith and free from malice, even he, liberated, shall attain to the happy worlds of the righteous.


*The Lord assured by Arjuna of his grasp of the Teaching



Has it been heard by thee, O Partha, with an attentive mind? Has the delusion of ignorance been destroyed, O Dhananjaya?


Arjuna said:


Destroyed is delusion, and I have gained recognition through Thy Grace, O Achyuta. I am firm, with doubts gone. I will do Thy word.


*Sanjaya extols the Lord and His teaching


Sanjaya said:


Thus have I heard this wonderful dialogue between Vasudeva and the high-souled Partha, which makes the hair stand on end.



Through the grace of Vyasa have I heard this Supreme and most secret Yoga direct from Krishna, the Lord of Yoga, Himself declaring it.



O king, remembering every moment this wonderful and holy dialogue between Kesava and Arjuna, I rejoice again and again.



And remembering every moment the most wonderful Form of Hari, great is my wonder, O king; and I rejoice again and again.



Wherever is Krishna, the Lord of Yoga, wherever is Arjuna, the archer, there fortune, victory, prosperity and polity are established, I deem.






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