Bhagavad Gita: 18. Liberation Through Renunciation


Liberation Through Renunciation

Arjuna said: I wish to know the nature of Samnyāsa and Tyāga and the difference between the two, O LordKrishna. (18.01)

Definition of renunciation and sacrifice
The Supreme Lord said: The sages call Samnyāsa(Renunciation) the complete renunciation of work for any personal profit. The wise define Tyāga (Sacrifice)as the sacrifice of, and the freedom from attachment to the fruits of all work. (See also 5.01, 5.05, and 6.01)(18.02)

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.(18.03)O Arjuna, listen to My conclusion about sacrifice. Sacrifice is said to be of three types. (18.04) Acts of service, charity, and austerity should not be abandoned, but should be performed because service, charity, and austerity are the purifiers of the wise. (18.05) Even these obligatory works should be performed without attachment to the fruits. This is My definite supreme advice, OArjuna. (18.06)

Three types of sacrifice
Giving up one's duty is not proper. The abandonment of obligatory work is due to delusion and is declared to be in the mode of ignorance. (18.07) One who abandons duty merely because it is difficult or because of fear of bodily affliction, does not get the benefits of sacrifice by performing such a sacrifice in the mode of passion.(18.08) Obligatory work performed as duty, renouncing attachment to the fruit, is alone to be regarded as sacrifice in the mode of goodness, O Arjuna. (18.09) Onewho neither hates a disagreeable work, nor is attached to an agreeable work, is considered a sacrifice (Tyāgi),imbued with the mode of goodness, intelligent, and free from all doubts about the Supreme Being. (18.10) Human beings cannot completely abstain from work. Therefore, one who completely renounces attachment to the fruits of all work is considered a Tyāgi. (18.11)The threefold fruit of works --- desirable, undesirable, and mixed --- accrues after death to the one who is not a Tyāgi, but never to a Tyāgi. (18.12)

Five causes of an action
Learn from Me, O Arjuna, the five causes, as described in the Sāmkhya doctrine, for the accomplishment of all actions. They are: the physical body, the seat of Karma; the modes of material Nature, the doer; the eleven organs of perception and action, the instruments; various Prānas (bio impulses, life forces); and the fifth is presiding deities (of the eleven organs). (18.13-14) These are the five causes of whatever action, whether right or wrong, one performs by thought, word and deed. (18.15)Therefore, the ignorant, who consider one’s body or the soul as the sole agent, do not understand due to imperfect knowledge. (18.16) One who is free from the notion of doership and whose intellect is not polluted by the desire to reap the fruit --- even after slaying all these people --- neither slays nor is bound by the act of killing.(18.17) The subject, the object, and the knowledge of the object are the threefold driving force (or impetus) to an action. The eleven organs of perception and action, the act, and the modes of material Nature are the three components of action. (18.18)

Three types of knowledge
Self-knowledge, action, and agent are said to be of three types, according to the Guna theory of Sāmkhya doctrine. Hear duly about these also. (18.19) The knowledge by which one sees a single immutable Reality in all beings as undivided in the divided, such knowledge is in the mode of goodness. (See also 11.13, and 13.16)(18.20) The knowledge by which one sees different realities of various types among all beings as separate from one another; such knowledge is in the mode of passion. (18.21) The irrational, baseless, and worthless knowledge by which one clings to one single effect(such as the body) as if it is everything, such knowledge is declared to be in the mode of darkness of ignorance(18.22)

Three types of action
Obligatory duty performed without likes and dislikes, attachment, and desire to enjoy the fruit, is said to be in the mode of goodness. (18.23) Action performed with ego, with selfish motives, and with too much effort, is in the mode of passion. (18.24) Action that is undertaken because of delusion, disregarding consequences, loss, injury to others, as well as one’s own ability, is said to be in the mode of ignorance. (18.25)

Three types of agent
The agent who is free from attachment, is non-egotistic, endowed with resolve and enthusiasm, and unperturbed in success or failure, is called good. (18.26) The agent who is impassioned, who desires the fruits of work, who is greedy, violent, impure, and gets affected by joy and sorrow, is called passionate. (18.27) The agent who is undisciplined, vulgar, stubborn, wicked, malicious, lazy, depressed, and procrastinating, is called ignorant.(18.28)

Three types of intellect
Now hear Me explain fully and separately, O Arjuna, the threefold division of intellect and resolve, based on modes of material Nature. (18.29) O Arjuna, that intellect is in the mode of goodness which understands the path of work and the path of renunciation, right and wrong action, fear and fearlessness, bondage and liberation.(18.30) That intellect is in the mode of passion which cannot distinguish between righteousness and unrighteousness, and right and wrong action, O Arjuna.(18.31) That intellect is in the mode of ignorance which, when covered by ignorance, accepts unrighteousness as righteousness and thinks everything to be that which it is not, O Arjuna. (18.32)

Three types of resolve, and the four goals ofhuman life
That resolve is in the mode of goodness by which one manipulates the functions of the mind, Prāna (bioimpulses, life forces) and senses for God-realization only, O Arjuna. (18.33) That resolve is in the mode of passion by which one, craving for the fruits of work, clings to duty (Dharma), earning wealth (Artha), and pleasure(Kāma) with great attachment. (18.34) That resolve is in the mode of ignorance by which a dull person does not give up sleep, fear, grief, despair, and carelessness, OArjuna. (18.35)

Three types of pleasure
And now hear from Me, O Arjuna, about the threefold pleasure. The pleasure that one enjoys from spiritual practice results in cessation of all sorrows. (18.36) The pleasure that appears as poison in the beginning, but is like nectar in the end, comes by the grace of Self knowledge and is in the mode of goodness. (18.37) Sensual pleasures that appear as nectars in the beginning, but become poison in the end, are in the mode of passion. (See also 5.22) (18.38) Pleasure that confuses a person in the beginning and in the end as a result of sleep, laziness, and carelessness, is in the mode of ignorance. (18.39) There is no being, either on the earth or among the celestial controllers in the heaven, who can remain free from these three modes of material Nature.(18.40)

Division of labor is based on one’s ability
The division of labor into the four categories (or Varna)--- Brāhmana, Kshatriya, Vaishya, and Shudra --- is also based on the qualities inherent in people’s nature (or the natural propensities, and not necessarily as one’s birthright), O Arjuna. (See also 4.13) (18.41) Intellectuals who have serenity, self-control, austerity, purity, patience, honesty, transcendental knowledge, transcendental experience, and belief in God are labeled as Brāhmans.(18.42) Those having the qualities of heroism, vigor, firmness, dexterity, steadfastness in battle, charity ,and administrative skills are called Kshatriyas or protectors.(18.43) Those who are good at cultivation, cattlerearing, business, trade, and industry are known as Vaishyas. Those who are very good in service and labor type work are classed as Shudras. (18.44)

Attainment of salvation through duty, discipline, and devotion
One can attain the highest perfection by devotion to one’s natural work. Listen to Me how one attains perfection while engaged in one’s natural work. (18.45) One attains perfection by worshipping the Supreme Being---from whom all beings originate, and by who mall this universe is pervaded --- through performance of one’s natural duty for Him. (See also 9.27, 12.10)(18.46) One’s inferior natural work is better than superior un natural work even though well performed. One who does the work ordained by one’s inherent nature incurs no sin (or Kārmic reaction). (See also 3.35)(18.47) 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.(18.48) 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 the bondage of Karma by renouncing all attachment to the fruits of work. (18.49)Learn from Me briefly, O Arjuna, how one who has attained such perfection (or the freedom from the bondage of Karma) attains the Supreme Person, the goal of transcendental knowledge. (18.50) Endowed with purified intellect, subduing the mind with firm resolve, turning away from sound and other objects of the senses, giving up likes and dislikes; living in solitude; eating lightly; controlling the mind, speech, and organs of action; ever absorbed in yoga of meditation; taking refuge in detachment; and relinquishing egotism, violence, pride, lust, anger, and proprietorship --- one becomes peaceful, free from the notion of "I”and “my", and fit for attaining oneness with the Supreme Being. (18.51-53) Absorbed in the Supreme Being, the serene one neither grieves nor desires. Becoming impartial to all beings, one obtains My Parā-Bhakti, the highest devotional love. (18.54) By devotion one truly understands what and who I am in essence. Having known Me in essence, one immediately merges with Me. (See also 5.19) (18.55)

A KarmaYogi devotee attains Moksha, the eternal immutable abode, by My grace --- even while doing allduties --- just by taking refuge in Me (by surrendering all action to Me with loving devotion). (18.56) Sincerely offer all actions to Me, set Me as your supreme goal, and completely depend on Me. Always fix your mind on Me and resort to KarmaYoga. (18.57) 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. (18.58)

Kārmic bondage and the free will
If due to ego you think: I shall not fight, your resolve is vain. Because your own nature will compel you to fight.(18.59) O Arjuna, you are controlled by your own nature-born Kārmic impressions (or Samskāra). Therefore, you shall do --- even against your will --- what you do not wish to do out of delusion. (18.60) The Supreme Lord, Krishna, abiding as the controller in the inner psyche of all beings, O Arjuna, causes them to act (or work out their Karma) like a puppet (of Karma)mounted on a machine. (18.61) Seek refuge in the Supreme Lord alone with loving devotion, O Arjuna. ByHis grace you shall attain supreme peace and the Eterna lAbode. (18.62) Thus, I have explained the knowledge that is more secret than the secret. After fully reflecting on this, do as you wish. (18.63)

Path of surrender is the ultimate path to God
Hear once again My most secret, supreme word. You are very dear to Me; therefore, I shall tell this for your benefit.(18.64) 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 My very dear friend. (18.65) Setting aside (doership and attachment in) all duties, just surrender (your ego) completely to My divine will or law (with firm faith and loving contemplation). I shall liberate you from all sins (or the bonds of Karma). Do not grieve.(18.66)

(The meaning of abandoning all duties and taking refuge in the Lord is that one should perform duty without ego and attachment to results as a service to please the Lord, in the spirit of total surrender to His will and totally depend only on Him for help and guidance. The Lord takes full responsibility for a person who totally depends on Him with a spirit of genuine self surrender.) Learn to accept all results as His grace or divine Will.

The highest service to God, and the best charity
This knowledge 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. (18.67)The one who shall propagate (or help the propagation of) this supreme secret philosophy (of the Gita)amongst My devotees, shall be performing the highest devotional service to Me and shall certainly (attain the Supreme Abode and) come to Me. (18.68) No other person shall do a more pleasing service to Me, and no one on the earth shall be more dear to Me.(18.69)

The grace of the Gita
Those who shall study our sacred dialogue shall be performing a holy act of knowledge-sacrifice. This is My promise. (18.70) Whoever hears or reads this sacred dialogue in the form of the Gita with faith and without cavil becomes free from sin, and attains heaven --- the higher worlds of those whose actions are pure and virtuous.(18.71) O Arjuna, did you listen to this with single minded attention? Has your delusion born of ignorance been completely destroyed? (18.72)

Arjuna said: ByYour grace my delusion is destroyed; I have gained Self knowledge; my confusion (with regard to body and Atmā) is dispelled; and I shall obey Your command.(18.73)

Sanjaya said: Thus, I heard this wonderful dialogue between Lord Krishna and Mahātmā Arjuna, causing my hair to stand on end. (18.74) By the grace of(guru) sage Vyāsa, I heard this most secret and supreme yoga directly from Krishna, the Lord of yoga, Himself speaking (to Arjuna) before my very eyes (of clairvoyance granted by sage Vyāsa). (18.75) O King, by repeated remembrance of this marvelous and sacred dialogue between Lord Krishna and Arjuna, I am thrilled at every moment, and (18.76) recollecting again and again, O King, that marvelous form of Krishna I am greatly amazed, and I rejoice over and over again. (18.77)

Both knowledge and action are needed
Wherever there will be both Krishna, the Lord of yoga (or Dharma in the form of the scriptures) and Arjuna with the weapons of duty and protection, there will be everlasting prosperity, victory, happiness, and morality. This is my conviction. (18.78)