Chapter 18

Moksha-Sannyasa Yoga

(The Yoga of Liberation through Renunciation and Sacrifice)

1. Arjuna said: "O Mahabahu, O Hrishikesa, O slayer of Kesin, fain would I know the truth concerning renounced order of life 86 and renunciation 87 ."

2. The Blessed Lord said: "Some seers refer to Sannyasa as the renunciation of all actions rooted in selfish desire while other Wise ones regard Tyaga as the abandonment of the fruits of all action.

3. "Some Wise men declare that all actions necessarily contain a certain measure of evil and must therefore be given up, while others hold that acts of sacrifice, charities and austerities should not be given up.

4. "Hear now My judgment concerning renunciation (Tyaga), O Bharatasattama; for renunciation too, O Purushavyaghra, is of a three-fold nature.

5. "Acts of sacrifice, charity, and penance should NOT be given up and must continue to be performed for all these activities are capable of purifying even the wisest of men.

6. "However, these actions ought to be performed without any attachment, and totally abandoning the fruits thereof; this, O Partha, is My dictum.

7. "Verily, the abandonment of duties enjoined by the scriptures is improper; such renunciation is born out of ignorance, and is Tamasik.

8. "He who abandons action, deeming it painful and for fear of straining his limbs, will never reap the benefit of abandonment, since such sacrifice so-called is Rajasik.

9. "But when a prescribed action is performed with sincerity, a sense of duty and devotion, besides renouncing both attachment as well as the fruits of action, then such an action is called Sattvik.

10. "The Wise man imbued with Sattva, whose doubts are fully resolved, and who further has truly relinquished, neither shrinks from action because it brings pain, nor courts it because it will lead to pleasure.

11. "It is indeed impossible for an embodied person to renounce action completely; but he who renounces the fruit of action can be considered as having truly sacrificed 88 .

12. "Disagreeable, welcome and mixed - threefold is the fruit of action that accrues after death to those who have not given up attachment; but there is none whatsoever for the Sannyasi.

13."Learn now from Me, O Mahahahu, the five factors as taught in philosophy, which are contributory to the accomplishment of action.

14. "The physical body, the doer, the senses, the effort and the last of all, Destiny;

15. "These are the five contributory factors associated with all actions, be they right or wrong, which a man performs with the mind, or using the body, or through speech.

16. "Such being the case, the perverse and foolish one who, through clouded reasoning regards the taintless Atman/Self as the doer, neither understands nor sees.

17. "He who is free from egoism, whose intelligence is not tainted, even though he slays these people, does not in fact kill, and is not bound 89.

18. "The Knower, knowledge and the object of knowledge together form the threefold impulse for action, and the doer, the action itself and the instrument, are its threefold constituents.

19. "Depending upon the Gunas, knowledge, action and the doer are each of three kinds; hear thou about these, as described in the science of the Gunas.

20. "Know that knowledge to be Sattvik, whereby one sees only the one Immutable Entity in all the beings of the Universe, that is, a unity in diversity.

21. "Rajasik knowledge, on the other hand, makes one merely see diversity in this manifold Universe.

22. "But that knowledge which, totally missing the essence, clings without reason to one single superficial perception as though it were everything, is nothing but Tamasik.

23. "Turning next to action, that action which is ordained by the scriptures, which is performed without any attachment, without desire or hate, and also without any yearning for the fruit, is Sattvik.

24. "But that action which is prompted by a craving for the fruit as also by selfish and egoistic thought, and further is carried out with great strain, is Rajasik.

25. "That action which is blindly undertaken regardless of one's ability or without heed to the consequences, including loss and injury, is declared to be Tamasik.

26. "Now to the doer; that doer is Sattvik, who is free from attachment and ego, who is endowed with steadfastness and zeal, and is unaffected both by success as well as failure.

27. "That doer is Rajasik, who is driven by the desire for the fruit, is passionate, greedy, violent, impure in thought, and torn between joy and sorrow.

28. "And that doer is Tamasik, who is not disciplined, vulgar, stubborn, knavish, dishonest, indolent, despondent and procrastinating.

29. "Hear now, O Dhananjaya, as I explain the threefold nature of the intelligence 87 , and of conviction 91 , based on the Gunas.

30. "That understanding, O Partha, is Sattvik which can discriminate between action and inaction, which knows what ought to be done and what ought not to be, which can see the difference between fear and fearlessness, and between bondage and Liberation.

31. "Partha, that understanding is Rajasik, which has a distorted perception of righteousness 92 and unrighteousness 93 , as also what ought to be done and what ought not to be done.

32. "But that understanding, O Partha, which, enveloped in darkness, manages to see Adharma in Dharma and vice-versa, and in general promotes a perverse view of all things is nothing but Tamasik.

33. "That conviction is Sattvik which, steadied through Yoga, maintains an unbroken harmony between the activities of the mind, the vital energies 94, and the senses.

34. "Arjuna, that conviction is Rajasik, which immerses a person in the desire for the fruit in all aspects of life, not only those connected with the acquisition of wealth, worldly possessions and worldly enjoyments, but even with virtuous living.

35. "And, O Partha, that conviction is Tamasik, which prevents a person from shaking off his inertia besides promoting fear, anxiety, lassitude, conceit and grief.

36. "Joy or pleasure also is similarly threefold, and hear now from Me, O Bharatarishabha, about the happiness that comes out of spiritual practice, and which puts an end to pain.

37. "That happiness is Sattvik, which to start with seems like poison but becomes nectarine in the end; such happiness is born of the serenity that results from Self-realization.

38. "That pleasure which at first seems nectarine because of the play of the senses among their objects but which later turns to poison, is Rajasik.

39. "And that so-called happiness derived from sloth, indolence, inertia, lethargy and folly, which besides, is also perpetually deluding, is said to be Tamasik.

40. "There is no being, either among men here on earth or among the gods in heaven, who is free from these three Gunas born of Prakriti.

41. "Parantapa, the duties of [the four castes], Brahman as, the Kshatriyas, the Vaishyas and the Sudras have been apportioned consistent with their intrinsic nature 95 .

42. "Serenity, self-restraint, austerity, purity, forgiveness, uprightness, wisdom in theory and practice, and faith in God - from these flow the natural duties of the Brahmana.

43. "Valor, spiritedness, firmness, resourcefulness, courage in battle, generosity and the capacity to rule, all these shape the natural duties of the Kshatriya.

44. "Tilling the soil, cattle-rearing and trade are the natural callings of the Vaishya, while service is the natural duty of the Sudra.

45. "[Whatever be his caste], each man, by the sincere discharge of duties consistent with his intrinsic nature, attains the highest [spiritual] perfection. Hear now how perfection may be achieved by such sincere adherence to one's natural duties.

46. "Indeed, the highest perfection may be attained simply by dedicating to Him Who is all-pervasive and Who is the fountainhead of all beings, all the actions which one performs as a part of one's natural duties.

47. "Superior is one's own duty 96 though uninviting, than that of another better discharged; for he who performs the duty ordained by his own nature, incurs no sin.

48. "One should not abandon, O Kaunteya, the duty to which one is born, imperfect or blemished though it might seem. Indeed, all undertakings are beset with imperfections, as fire with smoke.

49. "He who has weaned himself away from attachments of all kinds, who has perfect self-control, who is free from desire, attains by renunciation, the Supreme State of freedom from action.

50. "Learn now from Me in brief, O Kaunteya, how having reached this perfection one also attains Brahman, the supreme consummation of Knowledge.

51. "Guided by pure reason, restraining the self with firm will, turning away from sense objects, putting aside attachment and hatred;

52. "Dwelling in solitude, eating but little, restrained in speech, body and mind subdued, ever absorbed in meditation, anchored in dispassion;

53. "Devoid of violence, arrogance, lust and wrath, and having shed egoism and all sense of 'mine', possessing nothing of his own, he is fit to become one with Brahman.

54. "Absorbed in [the contemplation of] Brahman and at peace with himself, he grieves not, nor desires; regarding all beings equally, he achieves supreme devotion to Me.

55. "Through devotion he realizes who I am and how great I am; and having known Me in truth , he forthwith enters Me.

56. "Even whilst continually engaged in action, he who makes Me his refuge reaches, by My Grace, the Eternal and Imperishable haven.

57. "Surrendering with thy mind all actions on Me, make Me thy goal; focus thy intelligence on Me and always think of Me.

58. "Fixing thy thought on Me, thou shall, by My Grace, overcome all obstacles; but if, possessed by the sense of 'I', thou dost not listen to Me, thou wilt perish.

59. "If filled with egoism thou thinkest 'I will not fight', vain is thy resolve; [thy] nature will compel thee;

60. "Bound by your own karma, O Kaunteya, which is born of your very nature, what through delusion thou thinkest thou wilt not do, that very thing thou wilt do, even against thy will.

61. "O Arjuna, the Lord dwells in the heart of every being and by His delusive mystery 97 , whirls them all around as though mounted on a machine.

62. "In Him alone, O Bharata, whole heartedly seek refuge; by His Grace, thou shalt gain eternal Peace and the Eternal Abode.

63. "The most mysterious of all mysteries have I thus revealed to thee; ponder deeply on it and then do thou as thou wilt.

64. "Hear again My supreme word, the most mysterious of all; thou art extremely dear to Me and therefore I shall tell what is good for thee.

65. "Fix thy thought on Me, be devoted to Me, worship Me and prostrate before Me; so doing, thou shalt indeed come to Me - solemn is My promise to thee, for thou art truly dear to Me.

66. ",Leave the variety of religions behind for taking total refuge in Me and surrendering unconditionally to Me only; I will deliver thou from all the consequences of sin, worry not.

67. "Reveal not this to one who knows no austerity, who is lacking in devotion, who lends not a willing ear or who scoffs at Me.

68. "He who with supreme devotion to Me spreads this gospel amongst My devotees shall doubtless come to Me.

69. "There is none amongst men rendering service who is dearer to Me than he; nor is there another on earth more beloved by Me than he.

70. "And whosoever shall study this sacred dialogue of ours, it is tantamount to worshipping Me by the path of Knowledge - such is My declaration.

71. "And the man who listens to this [dialogue], full of faith and free from scorn - he too, liberated from evil, shall rise to the happy worlds attained by the virtuous.

72. "O Partha! Hast thou listened to all this with an attentive mind? Has thy delusion born of ignorance been destroyed, O Dhanajaya?"

73. Arjuna replied: "By Thy Grace, O Achyuta, my delusion is destroyed and my understanding has returned. I stand with my doubts dispelled and I shall act according to Thy command."

74. Sanjaya said: Thus have I heard the wondrous and rapturous dialogue between Vaasudeva and the noble-souled Partha, which caused my hair to stand on end.

75. Through the benevolence of Vyasa have I heard this supreme and most mysterious Yoga, direct from Krishna, the Lord of Yoga Himself.

76. O King [Dhritarashtra]! The more I recall that wondrous and sacred dialogue between Kesava and Arjuna, the more am I transported with ecstasy.

77. As that most glorious form of Hari rises repeatedly in my memory, my amazement knows no bounds, and I am filled with Bliss.

78. Wherever there is Krishna, the Lord of Yoga, and wherever there is Partha, the archer, there, be assured, lie Victory, Prosperity, Glory and Justice. Such is my conviction.

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 eighteenth chapter, entitled:


Here ends the Srimad Bhagavad Gita.




88i.e., a Karma-Phala Tyagi.
89By the consequences of his actions.
92 Dharma.
96 Dharma.