Chapter 5

Karma-Sannyasa Yoga

(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 good."

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 of Wisdom 20 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 and Karma 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 sense objects.

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 water.

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 Supreme.

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 . Brahman is untainted and is the same in all; therefore in Brahman they rest.

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 unpleasant.

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 in God 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 in Brahman 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 free.

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:



18 Karma Yoga .
19Which is what a Karma Yogi is supposed to be.
20Sankhya Yoga.
21 Karma Yoga .
22By his acts.
24The Karma Yogi.
25By desires.
26To the body.
27To the relative world.
28In the body.