(The Philosophies of Renunciation and of Action)
1. Arjuna said: "Krishna, at one moment Thou extolest
renunciation of action 17
and at another, the path of right action 18
. Pray tell me which of these is more conducive to my
2. The Blessed Lord replied: "Renunciation of action and the path
of desireless action both lead to Supreme Bliss. However, of the
two, the path of action is better for thee.
3. "The Karma Yogi who neither hates nor has desires should in
fact be considered a true renunciate. For, Arjuna, he who is
uninfluenced by pairs of opposites 19
is easily freed from bondage.
4. "It is the ignorant, and not the Wise, who speak of the path
and the path of right action 21
as distinct. On the contrary, he who is firmly set on one of
these paths reaches the end of both.
5. "The Supreme State reached by the Wise One is attained also by
the man of action. Therefore, he alone who perceives Sankhya Yoga
Yoga as one, he truly sees.
6. "O Mahabahu, renunciation is difficult to attain without first
engaging in action; on the other hand, the Karma Yogi whose mind is
always on God
even while performing action, shall, before long, attain Brahman
7. "The Karma Yogi who has fully conquered his mind, mastered the
senses, whose heart
is pure, and who has identified himself with the Self of all beings,
remains unbounded 22
even though performing action.
8. "The Wise One, though he hears, smells, eats, drinks and so
on, is, through his awareness of the Absolute Reality, conscious
that it is not he who acts.
9. "Though performing many actions like talking, breathing and
sleeping, he perceives all these 23
as merely the result of the interaction between the senses and
10. "He who offers all his actions to God
and performs them without any attachment whatsoever 24
, remains untainted by sin, as the lotus-leaf is not wetted by
11. "Using the body, the mind, the intelligence (buddhi) and the
senses, the Karma Yogi constantly performs action in a dispassionate
manner as a means of self-purification.
12. "Having offered the fruits of his action to God, the Karma
Yogi wins everlasting peace, whereas he who performs action with a
selfish motive, being attached to the fruit of action through
desire, gets entangled and tied down 25
13. "The self-controlled Sankhya Yogi, resting in the Indweller,
enjoys Bliss, having totally dissociated himself both from the
actions of the body as well as actions done by others 26
14. "The Lord determines neither the doership nor the doings of
men, nor does He link actions to their fruits; it is Nature alone
that does all this.
15. "The Supreme Lord is not responsible for anyone's sin or, for
that matter, anyone's merit. They both are the result of actions
performed by beings whose knowledge is veiled by ignorance.
16. "But for those in whom this ignorance is destroyed by the
Knowledge of the Self, that Knowledge, like the sun, reveals the
17. "Those who think of Him always, who are ever at one with Him,
who are deeply devoted to Him, and who look upon Him as their Goal,
go to the state from which there is no return 27
, their sins having been destroyed by Divine Knowledge.
18. "The Wise look equally upon all, be it a man of learning and
humility, be it a cow, an elephant or even an outcaste.
19. "Those whose minds are established in equanimity have
overcome birth even while on earth 28
is untainted and is the same in all; therefore in Brahman
20. "One who knows and lives in identity with Brahman
remains unmoved and unperturbed; he is neither elated when he
receives what is pleasant nor depressed when experiencing what is
21. "He enjoys Eternal Bliss who, through intense meditation,
identifies himself with Brahman
and rises above the desire for sense objects.
22. "For the enjoyments that arise from contact with objects are
only sources of pain. They have a beginning and an end, O son of
Kunti, and the wise find no delight in them.
23. "He who, before he sheds his mortal coil, transcends the
urges of both lust and anger, is verily a Yogi; and he alone is a
truly happy person.
24. "He who is happy with the Self, enjoys within himself the
delight of the Soul and in whom the Inner Light shines - such a one
attains Eternal Bliss and becomes one with Brahman
25. "Sages whose sins have been washed away, whose ignorance has
been fully dispelled by Knowledge, whose mind is firmly established
and who seek only the welfare of all, attain Nirvana in Brahman
26. "To the Wise who are totally above lust and anger, who have
subdued their minds and realized the Self, the attainment of Nirvana
is near at hand.
27. "Thoughts of external enjoyment completely excluded, gaze
between the eyebrows, inward and outward breath regulated;
28. "With mind, senses and intelligence fully under control, free
from both fear and anger - such Muni is liberated and forever
29. "Knowing Me as the One who receives all offerings of
sacrifices and austerities, the Supreme Lord of all worlds and the
Friend of all beings, the Yogi attains Peace."
Thus in the Bhagavad Gita, the Essence of the Upanishads,
the Science of Brahman,
the Scripture of Yoga, the Dialogue between Sri Krishna and Arjuna,
ends the fifth chapter, entitled:
19Which is what a Karma
Yogi is supposed to be.
22By his acts.
24The Karma Yogi.
26To the body.
27To the relative world.
28In the body.