discourse xviiiThis concluding discourse sums up the teaching of the Gita. It may be said to be summed up in the following: “Abandon all duties and come to Me, the only Refuge” (66). That is true renunciation. But abandonment of all duties does not mean abandonment of actions; it means abandonment of the desire for fruit. Even the highest act of service must be dedicated to Him, without the desire. That is tyaga(abandonment), that is sannyasa(renunciation).
1. Mahabahu! I would fain learn severally the secret of sannyasa and of tyaga, O Hrishikesha, O Keshinishudana.
त्यागस्य च हृषीकेशपृथक्केशिनिषूदन || 1||
The Lord Said:
2. Renunciation of actions springing from selfish desire is known as sannyasa by the seers; abandonment of the fruit of all action is called tyaga by the wise.
सर्वकर्मफलत्यागंप्राहुस्त्यागंविचक्षणा: || 2||
5. Action for sacrifice, charity and austerity may not be abandoned; it must needs be performed. Sacrifice, charity and austerity are purifiers of the wise.
यज्ञदानतप:कर्म न त्याज्यंकार्यमेवतत् |
यज्ञोदानंतपश्चैवपावनानिमनीषिणाम् || 5||
6. But even these actions should be performed abandoning all attachment and fruit; such, O Partha, is my best and considered opinion.
एतान्यपितुकर्माणिसङ्गंत्यक्त्वाफलानि च |
कर्तव्यानीतिमेपार्थनिश्चितंमतमुत्तमम् || 6||
9. But when an allotted task is performed from a sense of duty and with abandonment of attach¬ment and fruit, O Arjuna, that abandonment is deemed to be sattvika.
सङ्गंत्यक्त्वाफलंचैव स त्याग: सात्विकोमत: || 9||
10.Neither does he disdain unpleasant action, nor does he cling to pleasant action - this wise man full of sattva, who practices abandonment, and who has shaken off all doubts.
न द्वेष्ट्यकुशलंकर्मकुशलेनानुषज्जते |
त्यागीसत्वसमाविष्टोमेधावीछिन्नसंशय: || 10||
17. He who is free from all sense of ‘I’, whose motive is untainted, slays not nor is bound, even though he slay all these worlds.
यस्यनाहङ्कृतोभावोबुद्धिर्यस्य न लिप्यते |
हत्वाऽपि स इमाँल्लोकान्नहन्ति न निबध्यते || 17||
This shloka though seemingly somewhat baffling is not really so. The Gita on many occasions presents the ideal to attain which the aspirant has to strive but which may not be possible completely to realize in the world. It is like definitions in geometry. A perfect straight line does not exist, but it is necessary to imagine it in order to prove the various propositions. Even so, it is necessary to holdup ideals of this nature as standards for imitation in matters of conduct. This then would seem to be the meaning of this shloka: He who has made ashes of ‘self’, whose motive is untainted, may slay the whole world, if he will. But in reality he who has annihilated ‘self’ has annihilated his flesh too, and he whose motive is untainted sees the past, present and future. Such a being can be one and only one - God. He acts and yet is no doer, slays and yet is no slayer. For mortal man and royal road – the conduct of the worthy is ever before him, viz. ahimsa – holding all all life sacred.
18. Knowledge, the object of knowledge, and the knower compose the threefold urge to action; the means, the action and the doer com-pose the threefold sum of action.
करणंकर्मकर्तेतित्रिविध: कर्मसंग्रह: || 18||
22. And knowledge which, without reason, clings to one single thing, as though it were everything, which misses the true essence and is superficial is tamasa.
अतत्वार्थवदल्पं च तत्तामसमुदाहृतम् || 22||
30.That understanding, O Partha, is sattvika which knows action from inaction, what ought to be done from what ought not to be done, fear from fearlessness and bondage from release.
प्रवृत्तिंचनिवृत्तिं च कार्याकार्येभयाभये |
बन्धंमोक्षं च यावेत्तिबुद्धि: सापार्थसात्विकी || 30||
47. Better one’s own duty, though uninviting, than another’s which may be more easily per¬formed; doing duty which accords with one’s nature, one incurs no sin.
श्रेयान्स्वधर्मोविगुण: परधर्मात्स्वनुष्ठितात् |
स्वभावनियतंकर्मकुर्वन्नाप्नोतिकिल्बिषम् || 47||
The central teaching of the Gita is detachment — abandonment of the fruit of action. And there would be no room for this abandonment if one were to prefer another’s duty to one’s own. Therefore one’s own duty is said to be better than another’s. It is the spirit in which duty is done that matters, and its unattached performance is its own reward.
73. Thanks to Thy grace, O Achyuta, my delusion is destroyed, my understanding has returned. I stand secure, my doubts all dispelled; I will do thy bidding.
नष्टोमोह: स्मृतिर्लब्धात्वत्प्रसादान्मयाच्युत |
स्थितोऽस्मिगतसन्देह: करिष्येवचनंतव || 73||
74. Thus did I hear this marvellous and thrilling discourse between Vasudeva and the great-souled Partha.
इत्यहंवासुदेवस्यपार्थस्य च महात्मन: |
संवादमिममश्रौषमद्भुतंरोमहर्षणम् || 74||
77. And as often as I recall that marvellous form of Hari, my wonder knows no bounds and I rejoice again and again.
विस्मयोमेमहानराजन्हृष्यामि च पुन: पुन: || 77||
78. Wheresoever Krishna, the Master of Yoga, is, and wheresoever is Partha the Bowman, there rest assured are Fortune, Victory, Prosperity, and Eternal Right.
यत्रयोगेश्वर: कृष्णोयत्रपार्थोधनुर्धर: |
तत्रश्रीर्विजयोभूतिध्रुवानीतिर्मतिर्मम || 78||
Thus ends the eighteenth discourse, entitled ‘Moksha Opadesha Yoga’ in the converse of Lord Krishna and Arjuna, on the science of Yoga, as part of the knowledge of Brahman in the Upanishad called the Bhagavad Gita.