Narach Philosophy

CHAPTER 18: SANYASA YOGA


The eighteenth chapter, with which the Bhagavadgita ends, is described as "Sanyasa Yoga" or "Yoga in relation to Renunciation". In it Krishna once again explains the true character of Action and Renunciation. We are told that some (followers of the Sankhya system) hold that all action should be renounced as evil; others (of the Nyaya-Vaiseshika school) believe that acts of sacrifice should be performed; Krishna commends acts of penance, sacrifice and gifts (which constitute the path of Yoga) for they "are purifiers of the wise"; these acts should be performed without desire for the fruit thereof.

Embodied souls do not have the power to renounce all action, but they can renounce the fruits of their actions. Krishna explains the "five causes" of action and its "three constituents". He examines them in the light of the "three Gunas" and explains how Buddhi and fortitude and happiness may also be considered in the light of the Gunas. All beings are associated with the three Gunas born of Prakriti; and the duties of each creature conform to the Gunas too. But it is only when a person goes beyond the three Gunas and worships God, from whom all creatures arise, that he attains perfection; and it is by His Grace that the individual soul attains eternal peace.

In conclusion, Arjuna declares that with delusion destroyed and doubts dispelled by the Grace of God, he stands firm in Yoga to do God's bidding.

Arjuna said:

I wish to know, O mighty one,
Renunciation's truth from thee;
The essence of abandonment,
Tell me, O slayer of Kesi, thou.

The Blessed Lord said:

Renouncing actions with desire
Is true renunciation called;
The abandonment of fruit of deeds,
The sages call abandonment.

"Renounce all actions: they are full
Of evil all," some wise men say:
Say others, "Penance, sacrifice,
And gifts should never be renounced".

My final view, O Bharata,
Hear thou about abandonment;
Abandonment is said to be
O threefold kind, O chief of men.

Acts of penance, sacrifice
And gift should never be renounced,
And they should always be performed;
By them the wise are purified.

These actions too should be performed,
O Pritha's son, without desire
Of fruit, without attachment too;
Such is my firm and best belief.

Of actions properly controlled
Renunciation is not meet:
And their renunciation's called
Of Tamas, of delusion born.

From fear of bodily trouble who
Renounces action for its pain,
Of Rajas his abandonment,
And so its fruit he doth not gain.

Who acteth for he needs to act,
Performing actions with restraint,
Renouncing all attachment, fruit,
Of Sattva's his abandonment.

And Satvic's that relinquisher,
Talented and with doubts dispelled,
Who hateth not unpleasant deeds,
Nor is attached to pleasant ones.

The embodied ones have not the power
All actions wholly to renounce;
So he who doth renounce their fruit
Is truly a renouncer called.

The fruit of action is threefold,
Pleasant, unpleasant and all mixed,
For those attached, in after life;
But not for those who have renounced.

And now, O thou of mighty arms,
Learn from me all the causes five,
Which have in Sankhya been declared,
By which all action is performed.

The place of action, doer of deed,
The various organs of the sense,
And different functions they perform,
And chance of action, making five.

Whatever deed a man performs,
By means of body, speech, and mind,
Following Nyaya or other thought,
These five are said to be its cause.

This being so, he who believes
That the pure soul is actor too,
That person of perverted mind,
And little Buddhi, sees awry.

He who is free from egoism,
Whose Buddhi never hath a taint,
Though slaying all these people here,
He slayeth not, nor is he bound.

Knowledge, the knower, the object known,
Of action these the threefold cause;
And actor, action, instruments,
These three all action constitute.

And knowledge, action, actor, these
By Guna-division are threefold,
As has by Sankhya been declared;
So hear thou as they truly are.

By which the one, unperishing,
In every creatures is perceived,
Inseparate in each separate thing,
Know Sativic is that knowledge all.

That which in every creatures sees
But different things of different forms,
And all as separate, each from each,
Of Rajas is that knowledge called.

What is confined to one effect,
Regarding that as if the whole,
Trivial, devoid of reason, truth,
Of Tamas is that knowledge called.

An action from attachment free,
And love and hate, and
Performed by him who seeks no fruit,
Of Sattva is that action called.

An action done with self conceit,
Performed by one who seeks desires,
With painful effort, know it thou,
Of Rajas is that action called.

An action done beyond one's power,
Without regard of consequence,
Of loss or harm, delusively,
Of Tamas is that action called.

From ego and attachment free,
And full of joy and fortitude,
Untouched by failure or success,
Of Sattva is that actor called.

Full of desire, and seeking fruit,
And greedy, cruel, and impure,
Affected soon by joy or grief
Of Rajas is that actor called.

Unsteady, given to Prakriti,
Proud, false, malicious, indolent,
And melancholy too, and slow,
Of Tamas is that actor called.

Of Buddhi and of fortitude,
The triple kind, by Gunas formed,
Hear, Arjuna, as I tell thee now,
Completely and in several parts.

Which action and inaction knows,
What should be done and should not, fear,
Fearlessness, bondage, freedom too,
Of Sattva is that Buddhi called.

Imperfectly which understands
Unrighteousness and righteousness,
What should be done and should not, know
Of Rajas is that Buddhi called.

Shrouded in darkness, which regards
Unrighteousness as righteousness,
Sees all things in perverted light,
Of Tamas is that Buddhi called.

By which the functions of the mind
And breath and senses are controlled
Which is unswerving made by Yoga,
Of Sattva is that fortitude.

By which he holds, O Pritha's son,
To righteousness, desire, and wealth,
Attached to all, and seeking fruit,
Of Rajas is that fortitude.

And that by which a senseless man
Does not give up, O Pritha's son,
Sleep, fear, and grief, despair, and pride,
Of Tamas is that fortitude.

Now hear from me, O Bharata,
The threefold kind of happiness,
By which in concentration he
Hath joy, and puts an end to pain.

Which like to poison is at first,
But like to nectar in the end,
Of joy of soul and Buddhi born,
Of Sattva is that happiness.

Of contact with sense-objects born,
Which like to nectar is at first,
But like to poison is the end,
Of Rajas is that happiness.

Which both at first and in the end
Causes delusion of the soul,
Rising from sleep sloth, heedlessness,
Of Tamas is that happiness.

There is no entity on earth,
Or else among the gods in heaven,
That is devoid of Gunas three,
Arising all from Prakriti.

Of Brahmans and of Kshatriyas,
And Vaisyas all, and Sudras too,
The duties are divided all
By Gunas, of their actions born.

Penance and peace, and self control,
Forbearance, purity, rectitude,
Knowledge, experience, faith in God,
Are Brahman's natural duties all.

Valour, skill, glory, fortitude,
Not flying from the field of war,
And charity and sovereign power,
Are Kshatriyas' natural duties all.

Trade, agriculture, tending kine,
Are Vaisyas' natural duties all;
And know that acts of service done
Are Sudras' natural duties all.

Devoted to his actions all,
Perfection doth a man attain;
And how in all his deeds engaged
He gains perfection, do thou hear.

Worshipping Him, by actions done,
From whom do creatures all arise,
By whom pervaded is this all,
Perfection doth a man attain.

Better one's Dharma incomplete,
Than others' Dharma well-performed;
By acting as our nature calls,
We do not any sin incur.

Though full of faults, we shouldn't renounce
The actions which are ours by birth;
By faults are undertakings all
Enveloped, as is fire by smoke.

Whose Buddhi's unattached, and soul
Controlled, and whose desires are quelled,
Renouncing all, perfection gains
Supreme, of freedom from all deeds.

On son of Kunti, learn in brief,
How, gaining such perfection, he
Attains to Brahma, he who is
The end supreme of knowledge all.

With Buddhi pure endued, and soul
Controlled by means of fortitude,
And Sound and objects of the sense
Renouncing, and so hate and love;

Who dwells apart, and little eats,
With body, speech, and mind controlled,
In meditation ever engaged,
Possessed of freedom from desire:

Devoid of egoism and power,
Desire and wrath, and pride and wealth,
And thought of "this is mine," at peace
Is fit to be with Brahma one.

Happy in soul, with Brahma one,
He neither grieveth nor desires;
The same to everyone, he gains
Supreme devotion unto me.

He by devotion knoweth me,
In essence, who and what am I;
And knowing me in essence, he
Doth enter into me, indeed.

Though ever performing actions all,
Yet taking refuge into me,
He, through my favour, doth attain
To that eternal, changeless state.

Resigning all thy deeds to me,
Within the mind, and having me
As highest goal, with Buddhi-Yoga,
For ever fix thy mind on me.

Fixing thy mind on me, wilt thou
Overcome all troubles by my grace;
But if from egoism wilt thou
Not listen, thou wilt perish all.

If, filled with egoism again,
Thou thinkest that thou wilt not fight,
All vain indeed is thy resolve,
For will thy nature urge thee on.

Bound by thy deeds, O Kunti's son,
Born of thy nature, wilt thou do
What thou in thy deluded mind
Dost not desire to do at all.

The Lord supreme, O Arjuna, dwells
Within the hearts of creatures all;
And by his Maya moveth them,
Mounted as if on a machine.

So do thou seek, O Bharata,
Refuge in him in every way;
And by His grace wilt thou attain
Eternal state and peace supreme.

Thus have I declared to thee
Knowledge of knowledge most profound;
Now ponder it without reserve,
And act as best thou dost desire.

Hear thou again my word supreme,
Profoundest of all things that be;
I will tell thee what for thee is best,
For dearly loved art thou by me.

Think of me, be my devotee,
Worship me, sacrifice to me;
So wilt thou come, I tell thee true,
To me, for thou art dear to me.

Do thou, renouncing Dharmas all,
Take refuge into me alone;
And I will free thee evermore
From all thy sins: so do not grieve.

And never speak of this to him,
Worship or penance who has none,
No act of service who performs,
Nor one who malice bears to me.

Who this supremest mystery
Doth tell unto my devotees,
With deep devotion unto me,
Without a doubt will come to me.

Among all men there is no one
Who doth what is more dear to me;
Nor will there be another man
On earth more dear to me than he,

And he who studies carefully
This sacred dialogue of ours,
He worships me with sacrifice
Of knowledge; such is my belief.

And even he who heareth this,
Devoid of malice, full of faith,
When free, will gain that happy state
Of those performing righteous deeds.

Has this been heard, O Pritha's son,
With an attentive mind by thee?
Hath thou destroyed, O Arjuna,
Delusion born of ignorance?

Arjuna said:

Destroyed is my delusion all,
I have gained my memory through thy grace;
And I am firm, my doubts are gone;
And I will do thy bidding all.

Sanjaya said:

Thus have I heard this dialogue
Between the great-souled Pritha's son
And Vasudeva, most wonderful,
Causing my hair to stand on end.

Through Vyasa's favour have I heard
This Yoga supreme and mystery
From Krishna, he the mighty lord
Of Yoga, proclaiming it himself.

Remembering, remembering
This holy, wondrous dialogue,
Of Kesava and of Arjuna, I
Rejoice, O king, again, again.

Remembering, remembering
That Hari's form so wonderful,
Great is my amazement, I
Rejoice, O king, again, again.

Remembering, remembering
That Hari's form so wonderful,
Great is my amazement, I
Rejoice, O king, again, again.

Wherever is Krishna, lord of Yoga,
Wherever that archer Arjuna is,
There's fortune, power, and victory,
And lasting wisdom, I believe.

NOTES:

Thus in the Bhagavadgita, the essence of the Upanishads, the science of Brahman, and the scripture of Yoga, the Dialogue between Krishna and Arjuna.

Slayer of Kesi: Kesi is the name of a demon, slain by Krishna.

Renounce all actions: This is the view of those who believe in the Sankhya system.

The five causes of action: They are (1) the place where action takes place; (2) the doer of action; (3) the senses of action which must come into play; (4) the different functions of the senses; and (5) the occasion of action.

The four castes depend on the actions performed by each. There is no reference to caste by birth in the Gita, except in the sense that we must cheerfully perform the duties that are ours by birth.

It is God who makes all creatures to act. He is the supreme actor himself in every case. This is the idea of Vedanta.

Sanjaya and Vyasa's favour: Vyasa is said to have blessed Sanjaya with a divine vision which enabled him to see all the events of the great "battle" of Kurukshetra from afar, and to describe them in detail as they occurred to the blind old King Dhritarashtra.