Bhagwat Geeta – Chapter – 5 – THE YOGA OF RENUNCIATION OF ACTION


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In spite of Sri Krishna’s clear instructions, Arjuna still seems to be bewildered. He wants to know conclusively which is superior, the path of action or the path of renunciation of action. The Lord says that both the paths lead to the highest goal of God-realisation. In both cases the final realisation of the Atman is the aim, but the path of Karma Yoga is superior. Actually there is no real difference between the two. Krishna further asserts that perfection can be attained and one can be established in the Atman only after the mind has been purified through the performance of selfless action. The Karma Yogi who is aware of the Atman and who is constantly engaged in action knows that although the intellect, mind and senses are active, he does not do anything. He is a spectator of everything. He dedicates all his actions to the Lord and thus abandons attachment, ever remaining pure and unaffected. He surrenders himself completely to the Divine Shakti. Having completely rooted out all desires, attachments and the ego, he is not born again. The sage who has realised Brahman and is always absorbed in It does not have any rebirth. Such a sage sees Brahman within and without—within as the static and transcendent Brahman, and without as the entire universe. He sees the one Self in all beings and creatures—in a cow, an elephant, and even in a dog and an outcaste. He is ever free from joy and grief and enjoys eternal peace and happiness. He does not depend upon the senses for his satisfaction. On the other hand the enjoyments of the senses are generators of pain. They are impermanent. Sri Krishna reminds Arjuna that desire is the main cause of pain and suffering. It is the cause of anger. Therefore, the aspirant should try to eradicate desire and anger if he is to reach the Supreme. The Lord concludes by describing how to control the senses, mind and intellect by concentrating between the eyebrows and practising Pranayama. One who has achieved perfect control of the outgoing senses and is freed from desire, anger and fear attains liberation and enjoys perfect peace.
Arjuna said:
Renunciation of actions, O Krishna, Thou praisest, and again Yoga! Tell me conclusively which is the better of the two.
The Blessed Lord said:
Renunciation and the Yoga of action both lead to the highest bliss; but of the two, the Yoga of action is superior to the renunciation of action. He should be known as a perpetual Sannyasin who neither hates nor desires; for, free from the pairs of opposites, O mighty-armed Arjuna, he is easily set free from bondage!
COMMENTARY:
A man does not become a Sannyasin by merely giving up actions due to laziness, ignorance, some family quarrel or calamity or unemployment. A true Sannyasin is one who has neither attachment nor aversion to anything. Physical renunciation of objects is no
renunciation at all. What is wanted is the renunciation of egoism and desires. Children, not the wise, speak of knowledge and the Yoga of action or the performance of action as though they are distinct and different; he who is truly established in one obtains the fruits

of both. That place which is reached by the Sankhyas or the Jnanis is reached by the (Karma) Yogis. He sees who sees knowledge and the performance of action (Karma Yoga) as one. But renunciation, O mighty-armed Arjuna, is hard to attain without Yoga; the

Yoga-harmonised sage proceeds quickly to Brahman! He who is devoted to the path of action, whose mind is quite pure, who has conquered the self, who has subdued his senses and who has realised his Self as the Self in all beings, though acting, he is not tainted.
“I do nothing at all”—thus will the harmonised knower of Truth think—seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, eating, going, sleeping, breathing, Speaking, letting go, seizing, opening and closing the eyes—convinced that the senses move among the sense-objects.
COMMENTARY:

The liberated sage always remains as a witness of the activities of the senses as he identifies himself with the Self. He who performs actions, offering them to Brahman and abandoning attachment, is not tainted by sin as a lotus leaf by water. Yogis, having abandoned attachment, perform actions only by the body, mind, intellect and also by the senses, for the purification of the self. The united one (the well poised or the harmonised), having abandoned the fruit of action, attains to the eternal peace; the non-united only (the unsteady or the unbalanced), impelled by desire and attached to the fruit, is bound. Mentally renouncing all actions and self-controlled, the embodied one rests happily in the nine-gated city, neither acting nor causing others (body and senses) to act. Neither agency nor actions does the Lord create for the world, nor union with the fruits of actions; it is Nature that acts. The Lord accepts neither the demerit nor even the merit of any; knowledge is enveloped by ignorance, thereby beings are deluded. But, to those whose ignorance is destroyed by knowledge of the Self, like the sun, knowledge reveals the Supreme (Brahman). Their intellect absorbed in That, their self being That; established in That, with That as their supreme goal, they go whence there is no return, their sins dispelled by knowledge. Sages look with an equal eye on a Brahmin endowed with learning and humility, on a cow, on an elephant, and even on a dog and an outcaste. Even here (in this world) birth (everything) is overcome by those whose minds rest in

equality; Brahman is spotless indeed and equal; therefore, they are established in Brahman. Resting in Brahman, with steady intellect, undeluded, the knower of Brahman neither rejoiceth on obtaining what is pleasant nor grieveth on obtaining what is unpleasant. With the self unattached to the external contacts he discovers happiness in the Self; with the self engaged in the meditation of Brahman he attains to the endless happiness. The enjoyments that are born of contacts are generators of pain only, for they have a beginning and an end, O Arjuna! The wise do not rejoice in them. He who is able, while still here in this world to withstand, before the liberation from the body, the impulse born of desire and anger—he is a Yogi, he is a happy man. He who is ever happy within, who rejoices within, who is illumined within, such a Yogi attains absolute freedom or Moksha, himself becoming Brahman. The sages obtain absolute freedom or Moksha—they whose sins have been destroyed, whose dualities (perception of dualities or experience of the pairs of opposites) are torn asunder, who are self-controlled, and intent on the welfare of all beings. Absolute freedom (or Brahmic bliss) exists on all sides for those self-controlled ascetics who are free from desire and anger, who have controlled their thoughts and who have realised the Self. Shutting out (all) external contacts and fixing the gaze between the eyebrows, equalising

the outgoing and incoming breaths moving within the nostrils, With the senses, the mind and the intellect always controlled, having liberation as his supreme goal, free from desire, fear and anger—the sage is verily liberated for ever. He who knows Me as the enjoyer of sacrifices and austerities, the great Lord of all the worlds and the friend of all beings, attains to peace.
Thus in the Upanishads of the glorious Bhagavad Gita, the science of the Eternal, the scripture of Yoga, the dialogue between Sri Krishna and Arjuna ends the fifth discourse entitled:
“The Yoga of Renunciation of Action”

Bhagwat Geeta – Preface


bhagavad-Gita-and-krishna-arjuna

The Srimad Bhagavad Gita is a dialogue between Lord Krishna and Arjuna, narrated in the
Bhishma Parva of the Mahabharata. It comprises eighteen discourses of a total of 701 Sanskrit verses. A considerable volume of material has been compressed within these verses. On the battlefield of Kurukshetra, Sri Krishna, during the course of His most instructive and interesting talk with Arjuna, revealed profound, sublime and soul-stirring spiritual truths, and expounded the rare secrets of Yoga, Vedanta, Bhakti and Karma.
All the teachings of Lord Krishna were subsequently recorded as the Song Celestial or
Srimad Bhagavad Gita by Bhagavan Vyasa for the benefit of humanity at large. The world is under a great debt of gratitude to Bhagavan Vyasa who presented this Song Celestial to humanity for the guidance of their daily conduct of life, spiritual upliftment and Self-realisation. Those who are self-controlled and who are endowed with faith can reap the full benefit of the Gita, which is the science of the Soul.

The Gita Jayanti (birthdate of the Gita) is celebrated throughout India by the admirers and
lovers of this unique book on the 11th day (Ekadashi) of the bright half of the month of Margasirsha according to the Hindu almanac. It was the day on which the scripture was revealed to the world by Sanjaya.

In all the spiritual literature of the world there is no book so elevating and inspiring as the
Gita. It expounds very lucidly the cardinal principles or the fundamentals of the Hindu religion and Hindu Dharma. It is the source of all wisdom. It is your great guide. It is your supreme teacher. It is an inexhaustible spiritual treasure. It is a fountain of bliss. It is an ocean of knowledge. It is full of divine splendour and grandeur.

The Gita is the cream of the Vedas. It is the essence of the soul-elevating Upanishads. It is a
universal scripture applicable to people of all temperaments and for all times. It is a wonderful book with sublime thoughts and practical instructions on Yoga, devotion, Vedanta and action. It is a marvellous book, profound in thought and sublime in heights of vision. It brings peace and solace to souls that are afflicted by the three fires of mortal existence, namely, afflictions caused by one’s own body, those caused by beings around one, and those caused by the gods.

The Gita contains the divine nectar. It is the wish-fulfilling gem, tree and cow. You can milk
anything from it. It is a book for eternity. It is not a catch-penny book, with life like that of a
mushroom. It can be one’s constant companion of life. It is a vade-mecum for all. Peace, bliss, wisdom, Brahman, Nirvana, Param Padam and Gita are all synonymous terms. The Gita is a boundless ocean of nectar. It is the immortal celestial fruit of the Upanishadic tree. In this unique book you will find an unbiased exposition of the philosophy of action, devotion
and knowledge, together with a wonderfully woven synthesis of these three. The Gita is a rare and splendid flower that wafts its sweet aroma throughout the world. If all the Upanishads should represent cows, Sri Krishna is their milker. Arjuna is the calf who first tasted that milk of wisdom of the Self, milked by the divine Cowherd for the benefit of all
humanity. This milk is the Bhagavad Gita. It solves not only Arjuna’s problems and doubts, but also the world’s problems and those of every individual. Glory to Krishna, the friend of the cowherds of Gokula, the joy of Devaki! He who drinks the nectar of the Gita through purification of the heart and regular meditation, attains immortality, eternal bliss, everlasting peace and perennial joy. There is nothing more to be attained beyond this.
Just as the dark unfathomed depths of the ocean contain most precious pearls, so also the
Bhagavad Gita contains spiritual gems of incalculable value. You will have to dive deep into its depths with a sincere attitude of reverence and faith. Only then will you be able to collect its spiritual pearls and comprehend its infinitely profound and subtle teachings.

The Bhagavad Gita is a unique book for all ages. It is one of the most authoritative books of
the Hindu religion. It is the immortal song of the Soul, which bespeaks of the glory of life. The instructions given by Sri Krishna are for the whole world. It is a standard book on Yoga for all mankind. The language is as simple as could be. Even a man who has an elementary knowledge of Sanskrit can go through the book.

There are numerous commentaries on the Gita at the present time. A volume can be written
on each verse. A busy man with an active temperament will be greatly benefited by the commentary of Sri Gangadhar Lokamanya Tilak, entitled Gita Rahasya. A man of devotional temperament will be attracted by Sri Sridhara’s commentary, and a man of reason by that of Sri Shankara. The Gita is like an ocean. Sri Shankara, Sri Ramanuja and Sri Madhava dived into it and gave accounts of their interpretation and established their own philosophy. Anyone can do the same and bring out the most precious pearls of divine knowledge and give their own interpretation. Glory to the Gita! Glory to the Lord of the Gita!

The teachings of the Gita are broad, universal and sublime. They do not belong to any cult,
sect, creed, age or country. They are meant for the people of the whole world. Based on the
soul-elevating Upanishads—the ancient wisdom of seers and saints—the Gita prescribes methods which are within the reach of all. It has a message of solace, freedom, salvation, perfection and peace for all human beings. This sacred scripture is like the great Manasarovar lake for monks, renunciates and thirsting aspirants to sport in. It is the ocean of bliss in which seekers of Truth swim with joy and ecstasy. If the philosopher’s stone touches a piece of iron even at one point, the whole of it is transformed into gold. Even so, if you live in the spirit of even one verse of the Gita, you will doubtless be transmuted
into divinity. All your miseries will come to an end and you will attain the highest goal of
life—immortality and eternal peace.

The study of the Gita alone is sufficient for daily Swadhyaya (scriptural study). You will
find here a solution for all your doubts. The more you study it with devotion and faith, the more you will acquire deeper knowledge, penetrative insight and clear, right thinking. The Bhagavad Gita is a gospel for the whole world. It is meant for the generality of mankind. It was given over five thousand years ago by Lord Krishna to Arjuna.

None but the Lord Himself can bring out such a marvellous and unprecedented book which
gives peace to its readers, which helps and guides them in the attainment of supreme bliss, and which has survived up to the present time. This itself proves clearly that God exists, that He is an embodiment of knowledge, and that one can attain perfection or liberation only by realising God.

The world is one huge battlefield. The real Kurukshetra is within you. The battle of the
Mahabharata is still raging within. Ignorance is Dhritarashtra; the individual soul is Arjuna; the indweller of your heart is Lord Krishna, the charioteer; the body is the chariot; the senses are the five horses; mind, egoism, mental impressions, senses, cravings, likes and dislikes, lust, jealousy, greed, pride and hypocrisy are your dire enemies.