|Renunciation of Action in Knowledge |
The Blessed Lord said:
1. I imparted this immortal Yoga to Vivasvan, Vivasvan to Manu, and Manu to Ikshvaku.
2. O scorcher of foes! This Yoga handed down from teacher to disciple in succession, was
known to the Rajarishis (royal sages). But owing to long lapse of time, it was lost to the
3. You are My devotee and friend - thinking thus, I have today declared to you even that
ancient Yoga. For, it is a noble secret (imparted by a teacher only to a worthy disciple).
4. Thy life-time is later, that of Vivasvan was much earlier. How then am I to understand
that Thou didst impart this doctrine to him?
The Blessed Lord said:
5. O Arjuna! You and I have passed through many births; I remember them all, but you do
not, O scorcher of foes!
6. Though birthless and deathless, and the Lord of all beings as well, yet I (the Eternal
Being) take birth by My inherent mysterious Power (Atma-mayaya), employing the pure or
Sattva aspect of My material Nature (Prakriti).
7. Whenever there is decline of Dharma and ascendance of Adharma, then, O scion of the
Bharata race! I manifest (incarnate) Myself in a body.
8. For the protection of the good, for the destruction of the wicked, and for the
establishment of Dharma, I am born from age to age.
9. O Arjuna! He who thus understands the truth about My embodiment and My deeds - he,
on abandoning his present body, is not reborn; he attains to Me.
10. Freed from passion, fear and anger, ever absorbed in My thought, and ever dependent
on Me - many have attained to My state, being purified by the fire of knowledge and
11. O Partha! Whosoever worship Me through whatsoever path, I verily accept and bless
them in that way. Men everywhere follow My path.
12. In this world those who entertain desire for the fruits of pious works, worship the
deities. For, in this world of men such actions bear fruit quickly.
13. According to the aptitudes resulting from the dispositions of Nature (Gunas) and from
works, the social order of fourfold division has been created by Me. Though I am their
originator, know Me to be not an agent but the Spirit unchanging.
14. Actions do not affect Me. Nor have I any desire for the fruits of action. Whoever knows
Me to be so, is not bound by Karma.
15. Knowing thus, the ancient aspirants after liberation performed works. Therefore you
too do work as these ancients did from time immemorial.
16. What is work and what is 'non-work', is a subject regarding which even the wise are
perplexed. I shall therefore speak to you about work, by knowing which one is liberated
from evil (or the life of bondage in Samsara).
17. The truth about the nature of 'beneficial work' has to be understood, as also of 'baneful
work' and of 'non-work'. The way of work is difficult indeed to understand.
18. He who sees work in 'no work' and 'no work' in work, he is wise among men. Even
while doing all work, he remains established in Yoga.
19. Whose undertakings are devoid of self-centred objectives, whose works have been burnt
up by the fire of knowledge - him the wise call a sage.
20. Without attachment to the fruits of action, ever-satisfied and free from calculations, he
is verily doing nothing, even though engaged in actions.
21. One who is free from desires, whose mind is well-controlled, and who is without any
sense of ownership, incurs no sin from works, as his actions are merely physical.
22. Satisfied with whatever comes without calculations, rising above the contrasting
conditions of life, without any competitive spirit, and alike in success and in failure, a
man, though working, incurs no sin.
23. In the case of one who is without attachments and the sense of agency, and whose
mind is fully established in the knowledge of God, - his actions, being done in dedication to
the Lord, melt away with their very tendencies.
24. To one of the above description, the ladle with which the offering is made and the
oblations are Brahman; and the sacrificial rite (which is Brahman) is performed by the
sacrificer who is Brahman, in the fire which too is Brahman. He who is thus absorbed in
work as Brahman, attains to Brahman alone.
25. Some Yogis perform sacrifices especially wanting to propitiate deities. Still others offer
sacrifice (the Atman) itself as oblation (Yajna) in the fire of Brahman.
26. Some offer their organs of knowledge like hearing as sacrifice in the fire of restraint,
while others take in all their sense perceptions as oblations made in the fire of their
27. Others offer all the functions of their senses and vital energy as sacrificial offerings in
the fire of self-restraint kindled by knowledge.
28. Likewise others, being of rigid vows and hard practice, offer their wealth, their
austerities, their Yogic practices, and their daily study of the Vedas as sacrifice.
29. Others devoted to the practice of Pranayama, regulate the movement of Prana and
Apana, and offer as oblation Prana in Apana, and likewise Apana in Prana.
30. Some others, who observe regulation of food, make a sacrificial offering of the Prana as
the vital energy present in food stuffs, into the prana as the vital energy enlivening the
body. All these know the true nature of sacrifice and have all evil in them washed away by
31. Those who partake of nectar, the sacramental remnants of sacrifice, attain to the eternal
Brahman. O Thou the best of the Kurus! For one who sacrifices not, this world is lost, not
to speak then of the hereafter.
32. Thus many forms of sacrifice are set forth prominently in the Vedas (as paths to
Brahman). All of them spring from work done by body, mind, and speech. Knowing this,
you will attain liberation.
33. O scorcher of enemies! Sacrifice involving knowledge is superior to sacrifice with
material objects; for, O son of Pritha, all works without exception culminate in knowledge.
34. With reverential salutations do you approach them - the wise men who have known the
Truth. Serve them, and question them repeatedly (with due respect, until your doubts are
clarified). These wise men will impart the knowledge of this divine Truth to you.
35. They will impart to you that divine knowledge by knowing which you will not again fall
into such delusion; for you will then see all beings in their entirety in the Self and also in
36. Even if you happen to be the worst of sinners, you will surely go across all sin by the
raft of divine knowledge.
37. Just as a well-kindled fire reduces a heap of fire-wood to ashes, so does the fire of
divine knowledge reduce all sins to ashes.
38. Verily there is nothing so purifying as knowledge in this world. One who is perfect in
Yoga discovers it in oneself in course of time.
39. A man of deep Faith (Shraddha) obtains this divine knowledge, being full of zeal and
devotion for it and endowed with mastery of the senses. Having obtained that knowledge,
he is established in supreme peace very soon.
40. An ignorant man without any positive faith, who knows only to doubt, goes to ruin. To
such a doubting soul there is neither this world nor the world beyond. There is no
happiness for him.
41. O Arjuna! Works do not bind one who has abandoned them through Yoga consisting in
dedication and detachment, whose doubts have been dispelled by divine knowledge, and
who is poised in the Self.
42. Therefore, cutting asunder the sceptical tendency of the heart by the sword of divine
knowledge, betake yourself to Yoga (communion through sacrificial action) and arise, O
scion of the Bharata race!