Chapter XVIII - The Yoga of Freedom by Renunciation
I wish to know the nature of Samnyasa and Tyaaga
And the difference between the two, O Lord Krishna.
The sages call Samnyasa the renunciation of selfish work.
The wise define Tyaaga as the renunciation
Of attachment to the fruits of all work.
Some philosophers say that all work
Is full of faults and should be given up,
While others say that acts of sacrifice, charity,
And austerity should not be abandoned.
O Arjuna, listen to My conclusion about Tyaaga.
Tyaaga is said to be of three types.
Acts of sacrifice, charity, and austerity
Should not be abandoned, but should be performed,
Because sacrifice, charity, and austerity
Are the purifiers of the wise.
Even these works should be performed
Without attachment to the fruits.
This is My definite supreme advice, O Arjuna.
Renunciation of obligatory work is not proper.
The abandonment of duty is due to delusion,
And is declared to be Taamasika Tyaaga.
One who abandons duty merely because it is difficult,
Or because of fear of bodily trouble,
Does not get the benefits of Tyaaga
By performing such Raajasika Tyaaga.
Obligatory work performed as duty,
Renouncing attachment to the fruit,
Is alone regarded as Saattvika Tyaaga, O Arjuna.
One who neither hates a disagreeable work
Nor is attached to an agreeable work, is Saattvika,
Wise, a renunciant, and free from all doubts.
Human beings cannot completely abstain from work.
Therefore, the one who completely renounces
The attachment to the fruits
Of all works is considered a Tyaagi.
The threefold fruit of works --
Desirable, undesirable, and mixed --
Accrues after death to a non-Tyaagi
But never to a Tyaagi.
Learn from Me, O Arjuna, the five causes,
As described in the Saamkhya doctrine,
For the accomplishment of all actions.
The physical body or the seat of Karma,
The doer or the Guna, various instruments or the organs,
Various Pranas, and the fifth is the presiding deities.
Whatever action, whether right or wrong,
One performs by thought, word, and deed;
These are its five causes.
This being the case; the ignorant person
Who considers oneself as the sole agent
Due to imperfect understanding does not understand.
The one who is free from the notion of doership
And whose wisdom is not befouled;
Even after slaying these people,
Neither slays nor is bound.
The subject, the object, and the knowledge
Are the threefold impetus to action.
The organs, the Karma, and the Gunas
Are the threefold factors involved in any action.
The Jnana, the Karma, and the Kartaa
Are said to be of three types
According to the Guna theory of Saamkhya doctrine.
Hear duly about these also.
Knowledge by which one sees
A single imperishable reality in all beings
As undivided in the divided;
Such knowledge is considered to be Saattvika.
Knowledge by which one sees different realities
Of various types among all beings
As separate from one another,
Consider that knowledge to be Raajasika.
Knowledge by which one clings
To one single effect as if it is everything,
And which is irrational, baseless, and worthless;
Such knowledge is declared to be Taamasika.
Obligatory duty performed
Without likes, dislikes, and attachment
By the one who does not desire fruit
Is said to be Saattvika.
Action performed with ego, with selfish motives,
And with too much effort; is declared to be Raajasika.
Action that is undertaken because of delusion;
Disregarding consequences, loss or injury to others,
As well as one's own ability
Is said to be Taamasika action.
The agent who is free from attachment,
Is non-egotistic, endowed with resolve
And enthusiasm, and unperturbed
In success or failure is called Saattvika.
One who is passionate, desires the fruits of work,
Who is greedy, violent, impure,
And is affected by joy and sorrow;
Such an agent is proclaimed to be Raajasika.
Undisciplined, vulgar, stubborn, wicked,
Malicious, lazy, depressed, and procrastinating;
Such an agent is called a Taamasika agent.
Now hear the threefold division of Buddhi and resolve,
Based on Gunas, as explained by Me fully and separately, O Arjuna.
O Arjuna, the Buddhi by which one understands
The path of work and the path of renunciation,
Right and wrong action, fear and fearlessness,
Bondage and liberation, that Buddhi is Saattvika.
The intellect by which one incorrectly distinguishes
Between Dharma and Adharma,
And right and wrong action;
That intellect is Raajasika, O Arjuna.
O Arjuna, the intellect which, obscured by ignorance,
Accepts Adharma as Dharma and thinks everything
To be which it is not, that is Taamasika intellect.
The unwavering resolve by which one regulates
The activities of mind, Prana, and senses
Through yoga; that resolve is Saattvika, O Arjuna.
The resolve by which a person,
Craving for the fruits of work,
Clings to Dharma or righteous deeds,
Artha or accumulation of wealth,
And Kaama or enjoyment of sensual pleasures
With great attachment; that resolve, O Arjuna, is Raajasika.
The resolve by which a dull person
Does not give up sleep, fear, grief,
Despair, and arrogance;
That resolve is Taamasika, O Arjuna.
And now hear from Me, O Arjuna,
About the threefold pleasure.
The pleasure one enjoys from (spiritual) practice
Results in cessation of sorrow.
This pleasure, appears as poison in the beginning
But is like nectar in the end,
Comes by the grace of Self-knowledge;
Is good or Saattvika.
Sensual pleasures appear as nectars in the beginning,
But become poison in the end;
Such pleasures are called Raajasika pleasures.
Pleasure that deludes a person
In the beginning and in the end;
Which comes from sleep, laziness, and confusion;
Such pleasure is called Taamasika.
There is no being, either on the earth
Or in the heaven or among the Devas,
Who is free from these three Gunas of Prakriti.
The division of labor into the four categoies --
Braahmana, Kshatriya, Vaishya, and Shudra --
Is also based on the Gunas
Inherent in peoples' nature, O Arjuna.
Those who have serenity, self control, austerity,
Purity, patience, honesty, knowledge, Self-realization,
And belief in God are labeled as Braahmanas, the intellectuals.
Those having the qualities of heroism, vigor,
Firmness, dexterity, not fleeing from battle,
Charity, and administrative skills
Are called Kshatriyas, the protectors.
Those who are good in cultivation, cattle rearing,
Business, trade, and industry are known as Vaishyas.
Those who do service and labor type work are classed as Shudras.
One attains the highest perfection
By devotion to one's natural work.
Listen to Me how one attains perfection
While engaged in natural work.
He from whom all beings originate,
And by whom all this universe is pervaded;
Worshipping Him by performing one's natural duty
For Him one attains perfection.
One's inferior natural work is better
Than superior unnatural work.
One who does the work ordained
By one's inherent nature incurs no sin
One's natural work, even though defective,
Should not be abandoned; because all undertakings
Are enveloped by defects
As fire is covered by smoke, O Arjuna.
The person whose mind is always free from attachment,
Who has subdued the mind and senses,
And who is free from desires, attains
The supreme perfection of freedom
From Karma through renunciation.
Learn from Me briefly, O Arjuna,
How one who has attained
Such perfection realizes Brahman,
The supreme state of knowledge.
Endowed with purified intellect,
Subduing the mind with resolve,
Turning away from sound
And other objects of the senses,
Giving up likes and dislikes; and
Living in solitude, eating lightly,
Controlling the thought, word, and deed;
Ever absorbed in yoga of meditation,
And taking refuge in detachment; and
Relinquishing egotism, violence, pride,
Lust, anger, and desire for possession;
Free from the notion of "my", and peaceful;
One becomes fit for attaining oneness with Brahman.
Absorbed in Brahman, the serene one
Neither grieves nor desires;
Becoming impartial to all beings,
One obtains My supreme devotion.
By devotion one truly understand
What and who I am in essence.
Having known Me in essence,
One immediately merges into Me.
One attains the eternal imperishable abode
By My grace, even while doing all duties,
Just by taking refuge in Me.
Mentally offering all actions to Me,
Be devoted to Me. Resorting to equanimity,
Always fix your mind on Me.
When your mind becomes fixed on Me,
You shall overcome all difficulties by My grace.
But, if you do not listen to Me
Due to ego, you shall perish.
If due to ego you think: I shall not fight;
This resolve of yours is vain.
Your own nature will compel you.
What you do not wish to do out of delusion;
You shall do even that against your will,
Bound by your own nature-born Karma, O Arjuna.
The Lord abides in the heart of all beings, O Arjuna,
Causing all beings to act by His power of Maya
As if they are mounted on a machine.
Seek refuge in Him alone
With all your heart, O Arjuna.
By His grace you shall attain supreme peace
And the eternal abode.
Thus the knowledge that is more secret
Than the secret has been explained to you by Me.
After fully reflecting on this, do as you wish.
Hear again My supreme word, the most secret of all.
You are very dear to Me, therefore,
I shall tell this for your benefit.
Fix your mind on Me, be devoted to Me,
Offer service to Me, bow down to Me,
And you shall certainly reach Me.
I promise you because you are very dear to Me.
Setting aside all noble deeds,
Just surrender completely to the will of God.
I shall liberate you from all sins.
Do not grieve.
This should never be spoken by you
To one who is devoid of austerity,
Who is without devotion, who does not desire to listen,
Or who speaks ill of Me.
The one who shall propagate
This supreme secret philosophy amongst My devotees,
Shall be performing the highest devotional service
To Me and shall certainly attain Me.
No other person shall do
A more pleasing service to Me,
And no one on the earth shall be more dear to Me.
I shall be worshipped with Jnana-Yajna
By those who shall study this sacred dialogue of ours.
This is My promise.
Whoever hears this with faith and without cavil
Becomes free from sin, and attains heaven.
O Arjuna, did you listen to this
With single-minded attention?
Has your delusion born of ignorance been destroyed?
By Your grace my delusion is destroyed,
I have gained knowledge, my confusion is dispelled
And I shall obey Your command.
Thus I heard this wonderful dialogue
Between Lord Krishna and Mahatma Arjuna,
Causing my hair to stand on end.
By the grace of sage Vyaasa,
I heard this most secret and supreme yoga
Directly from Krishna, the lord of yoga,
Himself speaking before my very eyes.
O King, by repeated remembrance
Of this marvelous and sacred dialogue
Between Lord Krishna and Arjuna,
I am thrilled at every moment; and
Recollecting again and again, O King,
That marvelous form of Krishna
I am greatly amazed
And I rejoice over and over again.
Wherever is Krishna, the lord of yoga;
And wherever is Arjuna, the archer;
There will be everlasting prosperity,
Victory, happiness, and morality.
This is my conviction.
This is the end of Chapter XVIII of the Bhagavad-Gita,
Or "The Yoga of Freedom and Renunciation"