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Srimad-Bhagavad-Gita, English translation and commentary by Swami Swarupananda, [1909], at

p. 364


Arjuna said:

1. I desire to know severally, O mighty-armed, the truth of Sannyâsa, O Hrishikesha, as also of Tyâga, O slayer of Keshi. 1

p. 365

The Blessed Lord said:

2. The renunciation of Kâmya actions, the sages understand as. Sannyâsa: the wise declare the abandonment of the fruits of all works as Tyâga. 2

3. Some philosophers declare that all action should be relinquished as an evil, whilst others (say) that the work of Yajna, gift and austerity should not be relinquished.

p. 366

4. Hear from Me the final truth about relinquishment, O best of the Bhâratas. For relinquishment has been declared to be of three kinds, O tiger among men.

5. The work of Yajna, gift and austerity should not be relinquished, but it should indeed be performed; (for) Yajna, gift and austerity are purifying to the wise.

p. 367

6. But even these works, O Pârtha, should be performed, leaving attachment and the fruits;—such is My best and certain conviction.

7. But the renunciation of obligatory action is not proper. Abandonment of the same from delusion is declared to be Tâmasika. 7

p. 368

8. He who from fear of bodily trouble relinquishes action, because it is painful, thus performing a Râjasika relinquishment, he obtains not the fruit thereof. 8

9. When obligatory work is performed, O Arjuna, only because it ought to be done, leaving attachment and fruit, such relinquishment is regarded as Sâttvika.

p. 369

10. The relinquisher endued with Sattva and a steady understanding and with his doubts dispelled, hates not a disagreeable work nor is attached to an agreeable one.

11. Actions cannot be entirely relinquished by an embodied being, but he who relinquishes the fruits of action is called a relinquisher.

p. 370

12. The threefold fruit of action—disagreeable, agreeable and mixed,—accrues to non-relinquishers after death, but never to relinquishers.

13. Learn from Me, O mighty-armed, these five causes for the accomplishment of all works as declared in the wisdom which is the end of all action: 13

p. 371

14. The body, the agent, the various senses, the different functions of a manifold kind, and the presiding divinity, the fifth of these; 14

15. Whatever action a man performs by his body, speech and mind—whether right or the reverse—these five are its causes.

p. 372

16. Such being the case, he who through a non-purified understanding looks upon his Self, the Absolute, as the agent, he of perverted mind sees not.

17. He who is free from the notion of egoism, whose intelligence is not affected (by good or evil), though he kills these people, he kills not, nor is bound (by the action); 17

p. 373

18. Knowledge, the known and the knower form the threefold cause of action. The instrument, the object and the agent are the threefold basis of action. 18

19. Knowledge, action and agent are declared in the Sânkhya philosophy to be

p. 374

of three kinds only, from the distinction of Gunas: hear them also duly. 19

20. That by which the one indestructible Substance is seen in all beings, inseparate in the separated, know that knowledge to be Sâttvika. 20

p. 375

21. But that knowledge which sees in all beings various entities of distinct kinds as different from one another, know thou that knowledge as Râjasika. 21

22. Whilst that which is confined to one single effect as if it were the whole, without reason, without foundation in truth, and trivial,—that is declared to be Tâmasika. 22

p. 376

23. An ordained action done without love or hatred by one not desirous of the fruit and free from attachment, is declared to be Sâttvika.

24. But the action which is performed desiring desires, or with self-conceit and with much effort, is declared to be Râjasika.

p. 377

25. That action is declared to be Tâmasika which is undertaken through delusion, without heed to the consequence, loss (of power and wealth), injury (to others) and (one's own) ability.

26. An agent who is free from attachment, non-egotistic, endued with fortitude and enthusiasm and unaffected in success or failure, is called Sâttvika.

27. He who is passionate, desirous of the fruits of action, greedy, malignant, impure, easily elated or dejected, such an agent is called Râjasika. 27

p. 378

28. Unsteady, vulgar, arrogant, dishonest, malicious, indolent, desponding and procrastinating, such an agent is called Tâmasika.

29. Hear thou the triple distinction of intellect and fortitude, according to the Gunas, as I declare them exhaustively and severally, O Dhananjaya. 29

p. 379

30. That which knows the paths of work and renunciation, right and wrong action, fear and fearlessness, bondage and liberation, that intellect, O Pârtha, is Sâttvika. 30

31. That which has a distorted apprehension of Dharma and its opposite and also of right action and its opposite, that intellect, O Pârtha, is Râjasika.

p. 380

32. That which enveloped in darkness regards Adharma as Dharma and views all things in a perverted light, that intellect, O Pârtha, is Tâmasika.

33. The fortitude by which the functions of the mind, the Prâna and the senses, O Pârtha, are regulated, that fortitude, unswerving through Yoga, is Sâttvika.

p. 381

34. But the fortitude by which one regulates (one's mind) to Dharma, desire and wealth, desirous of the fruit of each from attachment, that fortitude, O Pârtha, is Râjasika.

35. That by which a stupid man does not give up sleep, fear, grief, despondency and also overweening conceit, that fortitude, O Pârtha, is Tâmasika. 35

p. 382

36. And now hear from Me, O bull of the Bhâratas, of the threefold happiness. That happiness which one learns to enjoy by habit, and by which one comes to the end of pain;

37. That which is like poison at first, but like nectar at the end; that happiness is declared to be Sâttvika, born of the translucence of intellect due to Self-realisation.

p. 383

38. That which arises from the contact of object with sense, at first like nectar, but at the end like poison, that happiness is declared to be Râjasika. 38

39. That happiness which begins and results in self-delusion arising from sleep, indolence and miscomprehension, that is declared to be Tâmasika.

p. 384

40. There is no entity on earth, or again in heaven among the Devas, that is devoid of these three Gunas, born of Prakriti.

41. Of Brâhmanas and Kshatriyas and Vaishyas, as also of Sudras, O scorcher of foes, the duties are distributed according to the Gunas born of their own nature. 41

p. 385

42. The control of the mind and the senses, austerity, purity, forbearance, and also uprightness, knowledge, realisation, belief in a hereafter,—these are the duties of the Brâhmanas, born of (their own) nature.

43. Prowess, boldness, fortitude, dexterity, and also not flying from battle, generosity and sovereignty are the duties of the Kshatriyas, born of (their own) nature.

p. 386

44. Agriculture, cattle-rearing and trade are the duties of the Vaishyas, born of (their own) nature; and action consisting of service is the duty of the Sudras, born of (their own) nature.

45. Devoted each to his own duty, man attains the highest perfection. How engaged in his own duty, he attains perfection, that hear. 45

p. 387

46. From whom is the evolution of all beings, by whom all this is pervaded, worshipping Him with his own duty, a man attains perfection. 46

47. Better is one's own Dharma, (though) imperfect, than the Dharma of another well-performed. He who does the duty ordained by his own nature incurs no evil. 47

p. 388

48. One should not relinquish, O son of Kunti, the duty to which one is born, though it is attended with evil; for, all undertakings are enveloped by evil, as fire by smoke. 48

p. 389

49. He whose intellect is unattached everywhere, who has subdued his heart, whose desires have fled, he attains by renunciation to the supreme perfection, consisting of freedom from action. 49

50. Learn from Me in brief, O son of Kunti, how reaching such perfection, he attains to Brahman, that supreme consummation of knowledge.

p. 390

51. Endued with a pure intellect, subduing the body and the senses with fortitude, relinquishing sound and such other sense-objects, abandoning attraction and hatred; 51

52. Resorting to a sequestered spot, eating but little, body, speech and mind

p. 391

controlled, ever engaged in meditation and concentration, possessed of dispassion; 52

53. Forsaking egoism, power, pride, lust, wrath and property, freed from the notion of "mine," and tranquil, he is fit for becoming Brahman. 53

p. 392

54. Brahman-become, tranquil-minded, he neither grieves nor desires; the same to all beings, he attains to supreme devotion unto Me. 54

55. By devotion he knows Me in

p. 393

reality, what and who I am; then having known Me in reality, he forthwith enters into Me.

56. Even doing all actions always, taking refuge in Me,—by My grace he attains to the eternal, immutable State.

57. Resigning mentally all deeds to Me, having Me as the highest goal, resorting to Buddhi-Yoga do thou ever fix thy mind on Me.

p. 394

58. Fixing thy mind on Me, thou shalt, by My grace, overcome all obstacles; but if from self-conceit thou wilt not hear Me, thou shalt perish.

59. If filled with self-conceit thou thinkest, "I will not fight," vain is this thy resolve; thy Prakriti will constrain thee. 59

p. 395

60. Fettered, O son of Kunti, by thy own Karma, born of thy own nature, what thou, from delusion, desirest not to do, thou shalt have to do in spite of thyself.

61. The Lord, O Arjuna, dwells in the hearts of all beings, causing all beings, by His Mâyâ, to revolve, (as if) mounted on a machine. 61

62. Take refuge in Him with all thy heart, O Bhârata; by His grace shalt thou

p. 396

attain supreme peace (and) the eternal abode.

63. Thus has wisdom more profound than all profundities, been declared to. thee by Me; reflecting over it fully, act as thou likest. 63

64. Hear thou again My supreme word, the profoundest of all; because thou art dearly beloved of Me, therefore will I speak what is good to thee. 64

p. 397

65. Occupy thy mind with Me, be devoted to Me, sacrifice to Me, bow down to Me. Thou shalt reach Myself; truly do I promise unto thee, (for) thou art dear to Me. 65

66. Relinquishing all Dharmas take

p. 398

refuge in Me alone; I will liberate thee from all sins; grieve not. 66

p. 399

67. This is never to be spoken by thee to one who is devoid of austerities or devotion, nor to one who does not render service, nor to one who cavils at Me. 67

68. He who with supreme devotion to Me will teach this deeply profound philosophy to My devotees, shall doubtless come to Me alone. 68

p. 400

69. Nor among men is there any who does dearer service to Me, nor shall there be another on earth dearer to Me, than he. 69

70. And he who will study this sacred dialogue of ours, by him shall I have been worshipped by the Yajna of knowledge; such is My conviction. 70

p. 401

71. And even that man who hears this, full of Shraddhâ and free from malice, he too, liberated, shall attain to the happy worlds of those of righteous deeds. 71

72. Has this been heard by thee, Pârtha, with an attentive mind? Has the delusion of thy ignorance been destroyed, O Dhananjaya?

p. 402

Arjuna said:

73. Destroyed is my delusion, and I have gained my memory through Thy grace, O Achyuta. I am firm; my doubts are gone. I will do Thy word. 73

p. 403

Sanjaya said:

74. Thus have I heard this wonderful dialogue between Vâsudeva and the high-souled Pârtha, causing my hair to stand on end.

75. Through the grace of Vyâsa have I heard this supreme and most profound Yoga, direct from Krishna, the Lord of Yoga, Himself declaring it. 75

p. 404

76. O King, as I remember and remember this wonderful and holy dialogue between Keshava and Arjuna, I rejoice again and again. 76

77. And as I remember and remember that most wonderful Form of Hari, great is my wonder, O King; and I rejoice again and again. 77

p. 405

78. Wherever is Krishna, the Lord of Yoga, wherever is Pârtha, the wielder of the bow, there are prosperity, victory, expansion, and sound policy: such is my conviction. 78

Thus in the Srimad-Bhagavad-Gita, the Essence of the Upanishads, the Science of the Brahman, the Scripture of Yoga, the Dialogue between Sri Krishna and Arjuna, ends the Eighteenth Chapter designated:

The Way of Liberation in Renunciation.

Here the Bhagavad-Gita ends.

Om! Peace! Peace! Peace be to all!


364:1 Sannyâsa and Tyâga both mean renunciation. Keshi—was an Asura.

365:2 Kâmya—which are accompanied with a desire for fruits.

367:7 Since it is purifying in the case of the ignorant.

368:8 Fruit, i.e., Moksha, which comes out of the renunciation of all actions accompanied with wisdom.

370:13 Wisdom: Sânkhya,—literally, in which all the things that are to be known are expounded, therefore, the highest wisdom.

371:14 Presiding divinity: Each of the senses has its god who presides over it, and by whose aid it discharges its own functions; e.g., the Aditya (Sun) is the presiding divinity of the eye, by whose aid it sees and acts; and so on with the other senses.

372:17 He whose self-consciousness, by the force of long, strenuous, and properly-trained self-concentration, is ever identified with Brahman, and not with the five causes of action as mentioned in Sloka 14,—he whose self-consciousness never mistakes itself for the body, mind and the like, even when performing p. 373 physical acts,—he is ever free from the taint of action.

373:18 Basis—because the threefold action inheres in these three.

374:19 Sânkhya: the Science of the Gunas by Kapila. Though there is a conflict in the matter of supreme Truth—the oneness or non-duality of Brahman—between the Vedânta and the Sânkhya, yet the Sânkhya view is given here, because it is an authority on the science of Gunas.

Duly—described according to the Science, according to reason.

374:20 Inseparate: undifferentiated; permeating all.

375:21 Entities: Souls.

Different from one another: Different in different bodies.

375:22 One single effect: such as the body,—thinking it to be the Self.

377:27 Elated or dejected—at the success or failure of the action in which he is engaged.

378:29 Dhananjaya: the conqueror of wealth—human and divine, earthly and celestial; an epithet of Arjuna.

379:30 Fear . . . liberation—the cause of fear and the cause of fearlessness; similarly, the cause of bondage and the cause of liberation.

381:35 Does not give up sleep &c.,—is inordinately addicted to sleep &c., regarding these to be only proper.

383:38 At the end like poison—because it leads to deterioration in strength, vigour, complexion, wisdom, intellect, wealth and energy.

384:41 According to the Karma or habits and tendencies formed by desire, action and association in the past life manifesting themselves in the present as effects. Or, nature (Svabhâva) may here mean the Mâyâ made up of the three Gunas, the Prakriti of the Lord.

386:45 Own—according to his nature.

The Apastamba Dharma-Shâstra says: "Men of several castes and orders, each devoted to his respective duties, reap the fruits of their actions after death, and then by the residual Karma attain to births in superior countries, castes and families, possessed of comparatively superior Dharma, span of life, learning, conduct, wealth, happiness and intelligence."

387:46 The highest worship to the Lord consists in the closest approach to Him. The veil of Mâyâ comprising Karma or habits, tendencies and actions prevents a man from nearing the Lord, i.e., realising his own Self. By working out one's Karma alone, according to the law of one's being, can this veil be rent and the end accomplished.

387:47 p. 388 As a poisonous substance does not injure the worm born in that substance, so he who does his Svadharma incurs no evil.

388:48 Duty etc.—this need not mean caste duty.

All undertakings: one's own as well as others’ duties.

The greatest evil is bondage and this endures so long as one lives in the realm of the Gunas, except in the case of a freed soul. All action is comprised in one or the other of the Gunas. All action therefore involves the evil of bondage.

389:49 He attains . . . renunciation—This may also be interpreted to mean: he attains the supreme state in which he remains as the actionless Self, by his renunciation of all actions, for which he is prepared by his right knowledge.

390:51 Pure: free from doubt and misconception, being merged in Brahman through the elimination of all alien attributes ascribed to It.

Relinquishing sound &c.—abandoning all superfluous luxuries, all objects except those only which are necessary for the bare maintenance of the body, and laying aside attraction and hatred even for those objects.

391:52 Eating but little—as conducive to the serenity of thought by keeping off languor, sleepiness and the like.

Meditation—upon the nature of the Self.

Concentration—one-pointedness of thought, on one feature of the Self.

Dispassion—for the seen and the unseen.

391:53 Power—that power which is combined with passion and desire.

Property: Though a man who is free from all passions of the mind and the senses, may own so much of external belongings as is necessary for bodily sustenance and for the observance of his religious duties (Dharma), yet this the aspirant abandons, even if this comes of itself, because he does not regard p. 392 the bodily life as his; thus he becomes a Paramahamsa Parivrâjaka, a Sannyâsin of the highest order.

392:54 Brahman-become: not that he is yet freed and become the Absolute, but is firmly grounded in the knowledge that he is Brahman. His attainment of freedom is described in the next verse.

Supreme devotion: the devotion stated in VII. 17.

394:59 Thy Prakriti: Thy nature as a Kshatriya.

395:61 See commentary to IX. 10.

Arjuna means 'white,' and here it signifies—'O pure-hearted one.'

396:63 It: the Shâstra, the teaching as declared above.

396:64 Again: though more than once declared.

397:65 Thou shalt reach Myself: Thus acting,—i.e., looking upon the Lord alone as thy aim, means and end—thou shalt attain the Highest.

Truly do I promise unto thee.—Have implicit faith in the declarations of Me, the Lord, as I pledge thee My troth.

398:66 All Dharmas—including Adharma also: all actions, righteous or unrighteous, since absolute freedom from the bondage of all action is intended to be taught here.

Take refuge in Me alone—knowing that there is naught else except Me, the Self of all, dwelling the same in all.

Liberate thee—by manifesting Myself as thy own Self.

All sins: all bonds of Dharma and Adharma.

Sankara in his commentary here very strongly combats the opinion of those who hold that highest spiritual realisation (Jnâna) and ritualistic work (Karma) may go together in the same person. For Karma is possible only in the relative world (Samsâra), which is the outcome of ignorance; and knowledge dispels this ignorance. So neither the conjunction of Jnâna with Karma, nor Karma alone conduces to the absolute cessation of Samsâra, but it is only the Right Knowledge of the Self which does so.

399:67 This—Shâstra which has been taught to you.

Service—to the Guru; also means,—to one who does not wish to hear.

399:68 Teach—in the faith that he is thus doing service to the Lord, the Supreme Teacher.

Doubtless: or, freed from doubts.

400:69 He: who hands down the Shâstra to a fit person.

400:70 Yajna of knowledge: A Yajna can be performed in four ways, such as (1) Vidhi or ritual, (2). Japa, (3) Upâmsu, or a prayer uttered, in a low voice, or (4) Mânasa or prayer offered with the mind. Jnâna-yajna or the Yajna of knowledge comes under the head of Mânasa, and is therefore the highest.

The study of the Gitâ will produce an effect equal to that of the Yajna of knowledge.

401:71 Even that man: much more so he who understands the doctrine.

402:73 Memory—of the true nature of the Self.

Firm—in Thy command.

The purpose of the knowledge of the Shâstras is the destruction of doubts and delusions, and the recognition of the true nature of the Self. Here, the answer of Arjuna conclusively shows, that that purpose has been fulfilled in him.

The teaching of the Shâstra is over here. The rest is only to connect it with the main narrative.

403:75 Through . . . Vyâsa: by obtaining from him the Divya-chakshu or divine vision.

404:76 King: Dhritarâshtra.

404:77 Form: Vishvarupa, the Universal Form.

405:78 The bow—called the Gândiva.

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