Bhagavad Gita/Conversation 18. Liberation through Renunciation
Liberation through Renunciation
18:1. I want to know, O Powerful One, about the essence of the renunciatory way of life and about renunciation!
Lord Krishna said:
18:2. The abandonment of activity rooted in personal desires is called by sages renunciatory life. One’s activity aimed not at the personal profit is called renunciation.
18:3. “Action must be abandoned as evil!” say some religious thinkers. “Sacrificial acts, charity, and acts of self-restraint must not be abandoned!” say others.
18:4. Hear My judgments about renunciation, O Bharata! Renunciation can be of three kinds, O tiger among men!
18:5. Sacrificial acts, charity, and acts of self-restraint must not be abandoned but be performed. They purify the reasonable one.
18:6. Yet, these actions must be performed without any attachment to the activity itself, without any expectation of reward, O Partha!
18:7. Verily, one should not renounce the prescribed actions! Such renunciation originating from delusion is considered tamasic!
18:8. The one who renounces actions out of fear of physical suffering, saying, “it hurts!” performing thus the rajasic renunciation — such one does not receive the fruits of the renunciation.
18:9. The one who performs the necessary action saying, “it must be done!” renouncing, at the same time, the attachment to the action and to personal gain — such one, O Arjuna, performs sattvic renunciation.
18:10. The one who is detached, imbued with harmony and purity, reasonable, devoid of doubts — such one does not detest unpleasant action and is not attached to pleasant action.
18:11. Verily, an embodied person cannot renounce actions completely. Only the one who renounces the personal profit renounces truly!
18:12. Good, bad, and intermediate — such can be the fruit of action for the non-detached. But for a sannyasi there are no fruits!
18:13. Learn from Me, O mighty-armed, the five causes that give the origin to any action, as they are described in Sankhya:
18:14. circumstances, the person himself or herself, other beings, various energy fields, and the Divine Will — five in total.
18:15. Whatever action one performs by the body, word, or thought — be it righteous or unrighteous — the causes of the action are these five.
18:16. Therefore, the unwise one who sees oneself as the only reason of the action is deluded!
18:17. But the one who has abandoned such egocentrism, who is free as a consciousness, even when fighting in this world, — such one does not kill and does not bind oneself by this!
18:18. The process of cognition, the object of cognition, and the one who cognizes — these are the three causes that give an impulse to the action. The impulse, the action, and the doer are the three constituents of the action.
18:19. In terms of the gunas, the knowledge, the action, and the doer are also considered to be of three different kinds. Hear about this from Me!
18:20. The knowledge that sees One Indestructible Being in all beings, undivided in the separate — know that such knowledge is sattvic!
18:21. The knowledge which considers numerous diverse beings as separate — know that such knowledge originates from rajas!
18:22. The knowledge based on the tendency to cling to one separate thing as to the whole, knowledge unreasonable, narrow, not grasping the real — such knowledge is called tamasic!
18:23. A due action performed passionlessly, without any desire of reward and without any attachment to it is called sattvic.
18:24. An action performed under the pressure of the desire of carrying it out, with self-admiration, or with great effort — such action is called rajasic.
18:25. An action undertaken in delusion, without consideration of possible negative consequences, for the sake of destruction, harm, or a coarse action is called tamasic.
18:26. Unattached to action, devoid of self-admiration, endowed with confidence and determination, same in success and failure — such a doer is called sattvic.
18:27. Excited, desirous for the fruits of actions, greedy, envious, admiring oneself, dishonest, subjected to rejoice and sorrow — such a doer is called rajasic.
18:28. Arrogant, coarse, angry, obstinate, sly, negligent, insidious, dull, sluggish, somber, cowardly — such a doer is called tamasic.
18:29. Threefold, according to the three gunas, is also the distinction of the level of consciousness’ development and aspiration. Hear about this, O Dhananjaya!
18:30. The one who discerns: what deserves attention and what does not, what ought to be done and what ought not to be, what ought to be bewared of and what ought not to be, what is slavery and what is freedom — the one who can differentiate this is a developed consciousness and lives in sattva.
18:31. The one who does not distinguish the right Path from the wrong one, what ought to be done from what ought not to be done — such one as a consciousness is undeveloped and lives in rajas.
18:32. The one who lives in ignorance, who takes the wrong path for the right one and goes in the wrong direction — such one as a consciousness is tamasic, O Partha!
18:33. An unswerving aspiration that allows one to control the mind, energy, and indriyas and to be in the state of Yoga — such an aspiration is sattvic.
18:34. But if one directs the aspiration at the true Path, also at the sexual passion and at the profit of work, O Arjuna, then such an aspiration due to the attachment and selfishness is called rajasic.
18:35. An aspiration that does not help to free the unwise one from laziness, fear, sorrow, gloominess — such an aspiration is tamasic, O Partha!
18:36. And now hear about the threefold nature of joy, O best of the Bharatas, — about that which brings happiness and allays suffering.
18:37. The joy, which at first is like poison and then turns into nectar, is considered sattvic and originating from blissful cognition of the Atman by the consciousness.
18:38. The joy originating from contacts of the indriyas with earthly objects, which at first is like nectar and then turns into poison — such joy is called rajasic.
18:39. The joy that is delusive from the beginning to end, originating from rejection of the Atman, against the background of carelessness and laziness — such joy is tamasic.
18:40. There is no being, either here on the Earth or among “gods”, which is free from the three gunas born in the world of prakriti!
18:41. The duties of brahmans, kshatriyas, vaishyas, and shudras are distributed in accordance with their nature among the gunas, O conqueror of enemies!
18:42. Clarity, self-control, self-restraint, honesty, all-forgiveness, simplicity, wisdom, use of one’s own knowledge (for the good of others), knowledge about the Divine — such is the duty of a brahman, born by his or her own nature.
18:43. Valor, grandeur, firmness, agility, inability to flee from the battle, generosity, the nature of a ruler — such is the duty of a kshatriya, born by his or her own nature.
18:44. Tillage, cattle-rearing, trade are the duties of a vaishya, born by his or her own nature. Everything related with the service is the duty of a shudra, born by his or her own nature.
18:45. One goes to Perfection by performing one’s own duty with diligence. Hear how one can come to Perfection by diligently performing the duty!
18:46. By performing the duty and worshipping through this the One by Whose Will all beings come into existence and Who pervades everything, man attains Perfection!
18:47. It is better to perform one’s own duties, even if they are insignificant, than the duties of others, even if they are grand! By performing duties that follow from one’s nature, one does not commit sin.
18:48. The preordained destiny, even if it contains that which is unpleasant, must not be abandoned! Verily, all risky undertakings are wrapped in errors as fire is wrapped in smoke, O Kaunteya!
18:49. The one who as a consciousness is free and omnipresent, who has cognized the Atman, who has no worldly desires — such one attains through the Path of renunciation the Highest Perfection and the freedom from the fetters of destiny!
18:50. How the one, who has attained Perfection, comes to Brahman, to the highest state of Wisdom — hear from Me in brief, O Kaunteya!
18:51. The one who has completely purified oneself as a consciousness, who has overcome oneself by steadfastness, who has detached from all the outer and cast off passion and enmity,
18:52. who lives in solitude, who is abstinent and has subdued one’s speech, body, and mind, who is constantly in meditation and is passionless,
18:53. devoid of egoism, violence, arrogance, sexual passion, anger, and greed and who is imbued with peace and selflessness — such one deserves to become Brahman.
18:54. Having achieved the Eternity in Mergence with Brahman, one attains the highest Love for Me!
18:55. By love — such one cognizes Me in My Essence: who I am and what I am in reality. Having cognized Me thus in My innermost Essence, one submerges into My Beingness!
18:56. Though being engaged in activity (ordained for him or her) but worshipping Me, one attains with My help the Eternal Imperishable Abode!
18:57. Renouncing in thoughts all selfishness in action, having merged the consciousness with Me, being aware about Me as of your Refuge — think about Me constantly!
18:58. Thinking about Me, you will overcome all obstacles with My help! But if out of pride you decide not to live like this, then you will lose everything!
18:59. If, immersed into egoism, you say, “I don’t want to fight!” such a decision will be vain, for prakriti will coerce you!
18:60. O Kaunteya! Bound by your own karma, which is created by your own nature, you will do against your will what you, in delusion, do not want to do!
18:61. Ishvara resides in the hearts of all beings, O Arjuna, and by the power of His maya He makes all beings revolve as if on a potter’s machine!
18:62. Seek refuge in Him with all your being! By His Grace you will attain the Supreme Peace, the Imperishable Abode!
18:63. Thus I have revealed to you the wisdom more secret than the secret itself! Reflect on it thoroughly and then do as you wish!
18:64. Hear again from Me My Highest and innermost word: you are loved by Me and therefore receive this boon from Me!
18:65. Think always about Me, love Me, sacrifice yourself for My sake, seek refuge only in Me — and you will come to Me! You are dear to Me, and I trust you!
18:66. Having abandoned all other paths, go only to Me for Salvation! Do not grieve, I will free you from all your fetters!
18:67. Never tell about this to the one who is not disposed to exploits and is not endowed with love! Also, do not tell those who do not want to hear or who slander Me!
18:68. But the one who reveals this highest Truth to those loving Me, realizing (thus) devotional love for Me — such one will undoubtedly come to Me!
18:69. And there will be no one among men performing more valuable service than such one does! And there will be no one on the Earth dearer to Me!
18:70. The one who will study this holy conversation of ours will learn to worship Me by the sacrifice of wisdom! Such is My thought.
18:71. The one endowed with faith who will just listen to this conversation with homage will be ridding oneself of evil and will attain the pure worlds of the virtuous!
18:72. Have you listened to all this with undistracted attention? Has your delusion born of ignorance been destroyed, O Partha?
18:73. My delusion is dispelled! By Your Grace I have gained this knowledge! I am firm, my doubts have gone away! I will do as You said!
18:74. Thrilled, I was hearing this wonderful conversation between Vasudeva and grand-souled Partha!
18:75. By the grace of Vyasa, I heard about this secret and highest Yoga from the Lord of Yoga — Ishvara Himself, speaking before my eyes!
18:76. O Raja! Recalling this holy dialogue of Keshava and Arjuna, I am thrilled again and again!
18:77. Recalling this most wonderful Form of Krishna, I rejoice again and again!
18:78. Wherever there is Krishna, the Lord of Yoga, wherever there is warrior Partha — there well-being, victory, and happiness are assured! This is my opinion.
Thus in the Upanishads of the blessed Bhagavad Gita, the Science of Eternal, the Scripture of Yoga, says the eighteenth conversation between Shri Krishna and Arjuna, entitled:
Liberation through Renunciation.
Thus ends the Bhagavad Gita.