Narach Philosophy


In the fifth chapter, called "Sanyasa Yoga" or "Renunciation in the light of Yoga" Krishna examines the idea of renunciation (of action) as enjoined by the Vaiseshika, Nyaya and Sankhya systems; and He tells Arjuna that action properly performed is superior to renunciation.

He points out that both Sankhya and Yoga recognize that life is characterised by action and man cannot renounce it altogether; but when the soul is self-controlled, senses subdued and actions performed in the spirit of sacrifice, the actor receives no taint. The Sankhya system ascribes all action to Nature (Prakriti); and even if we assume that God has nothing to do with it (action), we cannot escape the necessity of action ourselves; but we can gain freedom from the bondage of action if we act as Yogis, with restrained senses, Buddhi and Mind.

Arjuna said:

Renunciation dost thou praise
Of action, action too commend;
Tell me decisively, O Krishna,
Which of the two is better still.

The Blessed Lord said:

Renunciation, action too,
Both lead to freedom in the end:
But action properly performed
Renunciation doth excel.

He is a true renouncer called
Who neither liketh nor dislikes;
And, free from pairs of opposites,
He is released from bondage all.

Children, not men of wisdom, say
Sankhya and Yoga are different things;
He who is established in the one,
Truly obtains the fruit of both.

The place that is by Sankhyas reached,
By Yogis too is that attained;
Sankhya and Yoga who sees arc one,
Truly indeed doth he perceive.

Renunciation's hard indeed
To gain without the aid of Yoga;
The sage, possessed of Yoga, attains,
To Brahma soon, O mighty one.

Whose soul is free and self controlled,
Senses subdued, possessed of Yoga,
Sees in his soul the soul of all,
Though acting, he receives no taint.

The knower of truth, intent on Yoga,
Thinketh no action he performs,
Although he sees, hears, touches, smells,
And eats, or moves, or sleeps, or breathes;

And speaks, or holds, or setteth free,
Opens or else doth close his eyes.
Believing that the senses move
Among the objects of the sense.

Without attachment who performs
Actions, resigning them to Brahma,
By evils is not tainted he,
By water as the lotus-leaf.

With body, Buddhi, and the Mind,
And with the senses too, performs
The Yogi, from attachment free,
Actions to purify the soul.

Renouncing fruit of actions all,
The Yogi gains the highest peace;
Led by desire, the unbalanced one,
Attached to fruit, is ever bound.

The self-controlled embodied one,
Renouncing actions by the mind,
Dwells in the city of nine gates,
Acting nor causing aught to act.

The Lord for people doth create,
Nor actions, nor their agency,
Nor bond of action with its fruit;
It is Nature that prevails alone.

The Lord takes note of no one's sins,
Nor yet of merit takes he note;
Knowledge is veiled by ignorance,
Hence are deluded creatures all.

Who have destroyed their ignorance
By knowledge of the soul within,
That knowledge like the shining sun
To them revealeth the Supreme.

On That whose Buddhi's fixed and soul,
To That devoted, That whose goal,
To That they go and never return,
Their sins by knowledge purified.

The wise behold with equal eye
A Brahman full of modesty
And learning, cow, or elephant,
A dog, or else the unclean one.

Even here they conquer all the world
Whose mind in evenness abides;
Sinless is Brahma, the same to all,
And so in Brahma they abide.

Whose Buddhi's steady and unperplexed,
Who knoweth Brahma and rests in him,
Rejoiceth not at pleasant things,
Nor over the unpleasant doth he grieve.

To external objects unattached,
Who hath his joy within the soul,
Whose soul is fixed in Brahma-Yoga,
He gains unending happiness.

Pleasures that are of contact born
Are verily the womb of pain;
They have their origin and end;
A wise man hath in them no joy.

He who can bear within the world,
Ere from his body he is freed,
The impulse born of lust and wrath,
Happy is he that steadfast one.

Whose joy's within, pleasure within,
And he who hath his light within,
That Yogi's one with Brahma made,
And gains Nirvana of Brahma he.

Rishis who have their sins removed,
Nirvana of Brahma they attain,
With doubts dispelled, their souls controlled,
Intent on doing good to all.

Released from anger and desire,
Whose mind's subdued, who know the soul,
The devotees, both here and there,
Nirvana of Brahma do attain.

Excluding touch with outward things,
Fixing the eyes between the brows,
And making breathing in and out
Equal, within the nostrils twain;

Restraining senses, Buddhi, Mind,
And seeking freedom for his goal,
Devoid of fear, desire, and wrath,
The sage indeed is ever free.

He gaineth peace who knows I am
The enjoyer of all sacrifice,
The mighty Lord of all the worlds,
A friend to all the creatures born.


Sankhya and Yoga are not different: Sankhya tells us that all life is based on Prakriti, which is characterized by incessant action. Hence we must perform actions whether we like them or not. Yoga, as the first aspect of Vedanta, also tells us that we must perform all actions, but as a Sacrifice.

This idea of Sacrifice is lacking in the Sankhya; and so it holds that all actions must ultimately be renounced if we seek freedom from the ills of life. Knowledge is, therefore, the final goal of the Sankhya. Yoga, however, holds to action; and that is the chief difference between them.

The city of nine gates: This is the human body, with nine gates or openings, two ears, two eyes, two nostrils, one mouth, one organ of creation, and one organ of excretion.

God, Action, Nature: Action, according to all systems of thought, except Vedanta and Yoga as its first manifestation, is said to belong to Prakriti or Nature, and not to God.

Nirvana: Final liberation or union with the Supreme. With Buddhists it is a state of utter annihilation of individual existence.