संन्यासस्य महाबाहो तत्त्वमिच्छामि वेदितुम् ।
त्यागस्य च हृषीकेश पृथक्केशिनिषूदन ॥१॥
arjuna uvāca –
sannyāsasya mahā-bāho tattvam icchāmi veditum
tyāgasya ca hṛṣīkeśa pṛthak keśi-niṣūdana
Arjuna said: O Mighty-armed one, O Hṛṣīkeśa, O Killer of the Keśī demon – I wish to understand the true meaning of renunciation (sannyāsa) and detachment (tyāga) as well as the difference between them.
काम्यानां कर्मणां न्यासं संन्यासं कवयो विदुः ।
सर्वकर्मफलत्यागं प्राहुस्त्यागं विचक्षणाः ॥२॥
śrī bhagavān uvāca –
kāmyānāṁ karmaṇāṁ nyāsaṁ sannyāsaṁ kavayo viduḥ
sarva-karma-phala-tyāgaṁ prāhus tyāgaṁ vicakṣaṇāḥ
Bhagavān Śrī Kṛṣṇa replied: Those who are intelligent realise that sannyāsa means the renunciation of activities performed for personal benefit. Tyāga refers to the renunciation of all activities.
The final chapter of Bhagavad-gītā begins with an inquiry about sannyāsa and tyāga. Śrī Kṛṣṇa says that sannyāsa means to renounce activities performed for one’s own personal benefit, and tyāga means the renunciation of all activities. One at the stage of sannyāsa is called a sannyāsī. To be a sannyāsī means to act for the benefit of the complete whole, the Absolute Good, Śrī Kṛṣṇa. A sannyāsī performs all types of actions, but does so only in bhakti-yoga, in the service of Kṛṣṇa.
The social structure of the bhakti-yoga community is divided into four spiritual orders – brahmacārī, gṛhastha, vānaprastha and sannyāsa. All these are to study the Vedic literature. Additionally, their duties are as follows: the brahmacārīs are the students, whose duties are service to the spiritual master and the observance of celibacy. Gṛhasthas are the householders, whose duties are to earn an honest living, to give in charity and to raise children. Vānaprasthas are those who have completed household affairs and whose duties are to relinquish their wealth, visit holy places and cultivate detachment. The sannyāsīs are the spiritual masters in the bhakti-yoga community and they are to give lessons to the brahmacārīs, gṛhasthas and vānaprasthas, to be renounced from worldly pleasure, to be detached from politics and to always be engaged in bhakti-yoga with kaya, mana, vākya, jīva – by body, mind, words and the full surrender of the self. Sannyāsa and tyāga are further described in the coming verses.
त्याज्यं दोषवदित्येके कर्म प्राहुर्मनीषिणः ।
यज्ञदानतपःकर्म न त्याज्यमिति चापरे ॥३॥
tyājyaṁ doṣavad ity-eke karma prāhur manīṣiṇaḥ
yajña-dāna-tapaḥ-karma na tyājyam iti cāpare
Some scholars claim that all actions should be rejected because they are inherently imperfect. Others maintain that actions such as sacrifice, charity and austerity should never be given up.
निश्चयं शृणु मे तत्र त्यागे भरतसत्तम ।
त्यागो हि पुरुषव्याघ्र त्रिविधः सम्प्रकीर्तितः ॥४॥
niścayaṁ śṛṇu me tatra tyāge bharata-sattama
tyāgo hi puruṣa-vyāghra tri-vidhaḥ samprakīrtitaḥ
O best of the Bharata Dynasty, O tiger amongst men, please listen to My conclusion concerning the three kinds of renunciation.
यज्ञदानतपःकर्म न त्याज्यं कार्यमेव तत् ।
यज्ञो दानं तपश्चैव पावनानि मनीषिणाम् ॥५॥
yajña-dāna-tapaḥ-karma na tyājyaṁ kāryam eva tat
yajño dānaṁ tapaś caiva pāvanāni manīṣiṇām
The three types of renunciation – sacrifice, charity and austerity should never be given up. Sacrifice, charity and austerity purify even the wise.
एतान्यपि तु कर्माणि सङ्गं त्यक्त्वा फलानि च ।
कर्तव्यानीति मे पार्थ निश्चितं मतमुत्तमम् ॥६॥
etāny-api tu karmāṇi saṅgaṁ tyaktvā phalāni ca
kartavyānīti me pārtha niścitaṁ matam uttamam
However, O Pārtha, even these activities must be performed without attachment to the results. This is My definite and supreme conclusion on this matter.
There is a certain class of philosophers and spiritual seekers in India that say that the world is false and that all activities should be given up if one wants to achieve perfection in human life – but this is not the conclusion of Śrī Kṛṣṇa in Bhagavad-gītā. Kṛṣṇa says that one must act according to one’s nature and that beneficial works such as sacrifice, charity and austerity should never be abandoned for they are purifying even for the wise.
नियतस्य तु संन्यासः कर्मणो नोपपद्यते ।
मोहात्तस्य परित्यागस्तामसः परिकीर्तितः ॥७॥
niyatasya tu sannyāsaḥ karmaṇo nopapadyate
mohāt tasya parityāgas tāmasaḥ parikīrtitaḥ
The renunciation of one’s prescribed duties is improper. Giving them up out of bewilderment is said to be in the mode of ignorance.
दुःखमित्येव यत्कर्म कायक्लेशभयात्त्यजेत् ।
स कृत्वा राजसं त्यागं नैव त्यागफलं लभेत् ॥८॥
duḥkham ity-eva yat karma kāya-kleśa-bhayāt tyajet
sa kṛtvā rājasaṁ tyāgaṁ naiva tyāga-phalaṁ labhet
Those who give up prescribed duties because they are difficult, or through fear that they may be physically taxing, engage in renunciation in the mode of passion. Such persons never attain the benefits of true detachment.
कार्यमित्येव यत्कर्म नियतं क्रियतेऽर्जुन ।
सङ्गं त्यक्त्वा फलं चैव स त्यागः सात्त्विको मतः ॥९॥
kāryam ity-eva yat karma niyataṁ kriyate’rjuna
saṅgaṁ tyaktvā phalaṁ caiva sa tyāgaḥ sāttviko mataḥ
O Arjuna, when prescribed activities are performed out of duty, while abandoning attachment to the results, such renunciation is considered to be in the mode of goodness.
न द्वेष्ट्यकुशलं कर्म कुशले नानुषज्जते ।
त्यागी सत्त्वसमाविष्टो मेधावी छिन्नसंशयः ॥१०॥
na dveṣṭy-akuśalaṁ karma kuśale nānuṣajjate
tyāgī sattva-samāviṣṭo medhāvī chinna-saṁśayaḥ
The wise tyāgī, who is absorbed in the mode of goodness, having destroyed all doubts, neither resents difficult duties nor becomes attached to pleasant ones.
न हि देहभृता शक्यं त्यक्तुं कर्माण्यशेषतः ।
यस्तु कर्मफलत्यागी स त्यागीत्यभिधीयते ॥११॥
na hi deha-bhṛtā śakyaṁ tyaktuṁ karmāṇy-aśeṣataḥ
yastu karma-phala-tyāgī sa tyāgīty-abhidhīyate
It is impossible for those who have accepted a material body to totally renounce all activities. However, one who renounces the results of his actions is known as a true renunciate.
If one gives up activities out of bewilderment, considering them to be troublesome, physically taxing or gives up activities out of laziness, then such renunciation is considered false and in the modes of passion and ignorance. Those who are embodied can never give up action. In ancient times as well as in our own, there are many examples of those who have abandoned everything, ran to the Himālayas or to the deserts to escape the world, but again returned to resume a life of sense enjoyment or to perform philanthropic activities.
When one gives up attachment to the results of one’s actions and acts with a detached heart – remembering always that Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the only enjoyer and proprietor of everything – then such a person is a true tyāgī or sannyāsī. Thus, the renunciation of a tyāgī and a sannyāsī are the same.
अनिष्टमिष्टं मिश्रं च त्रिविधं कर्मणः फलम् ।
भवत्यत्यागिनां प्रेत्य न तु संन्यासिनां क्वचित् ॥१२॥
aniṣṭam iṣṭaṁ miśraṁ ca tri-vidhaṁ karmaṇaḥ phalam
bhavaty-atyāgināṁ pretya na tu sannyāsināṁ kvacit
Those who do not accept renunciation accept three kinds of results after death – good, bad and mixed. But these results never come to one who is a true sannyāsī.
पञ्चैतानि महाबाहो कारणानि निबोध मे ।
साङ्ख्ये कृतान्ते प्रोक्तानि सिद्धये सर्वकर्मणाम् ॥१३॥
pañcaitāni mahā-bāho kāraṇāni nibodha me
sāṅkhye kṛtānte proktāni siddhaye sarva-karmaṇām
O mighty-armed warrior, learn from Me the five factors that accomplish all actions that are explained in the Vedānta.
अधिष्ठानं तथा कर्ता करणं च पृथग्विधम् ।
विविधाश्च पृथक्चेष्टा दैवं चैवात्र पञ्चमम् ॥१४॥
adhiṣṭhānaṁ tathā kartā karaṇaṁ ca pṛthag-vidham
vividhāś ca pṛthak ceṣṭā daivaṁ caivātra pañcamam
The basis (the body), the performer of activities (the false ego), the instrument (the senses), the different types of endeavours and the Supreme Person – these are the five factors that accomplish all actions.
शरीरवाङ्मनोभिर्यत्कर्म प्रारभते नरः ।
न्याय्यं वा विपरीतं वा पञ्चैते तस्य हेतवः ॥१५॥
śarīra-vāṅmanobhir yat karma prārabhate naraḥ
nyāyyaṁ vā viparītaṁ vā pañcaite tasya hetavaḥ
These five factors are the source of all actions, both good and bad, that an embodied being experiences in this world.
तत्रैवं सति कर्तारमात्मानं केवलं तु यः ।
पश्यत्यकृतबुद्धित्वान्न स पश्यति दुर्मतिः ॥१६॥
tatraivaṁ sati kartāram ātmānaṁ kevalaṁ tu yaḥ
paśyaty akṛta-buddhitvān na sa paśyati durmatiḥ
Yet the fool that believes only the self is the doer, cannot understand this subject due to meagre intelligence.
यस्य नाहंकृतो भावो बुद्धिर्यस्य न लिप्यते ।
हत्वाऽपि स इमाँल्लोकान्न हन्ति न निबध्यते ॥१७॥
yasya nāhaṅkṛto bhāvo buddhir yasya na lipyate
hatvā’pi sa imāl-lokān na hanti na nibadhyate
Those who have no false ego and whose minds are detached – even if they kill everyone on this battlefield, they actually do not kill and are not bound by their actions.
Arjuna is a kṣatriya, a warrior, and he stands with Śrī Kṛṣṇa on the battlefield of Kurukṣetra between two great armies. Seeing friends and well-wishers on both sides, Arjuna initially resolved not to fight, but to throw down his weapons and renounce his duty. Śrī Kṛṣṇa herein brings our attention back to the battlefield when He says, hatvā’pi sa imāl-lokān na hanti na nibadhyate – he who kills does not actually kill and does not incur any reaction.
If Arjuna abandons his duty as a warrior, then certainly he will incur a karmic reaction for avoiding his duty. However, Arjuna will not actually ‘kill’ anyone in the truest sense of the word, because the living beings arrayed before him ready for battle are eternal parts and parcels of the Supreme Person and thus eternal. The ātmā can never be ‘killed’. And lastly, Arjuna will not incur any karmic reaction for doing his duty.
If one avoids one’s prescribed duties and renounces them out of fear, bewilderment and so forth, then one incurs a karmic reaction and has to suffer in this life or the next. Therefore, Kṛṣṇa wants Arjuna to give up his weakness of heart and perform his duty.
ज्ञानं ज्ञेयं परिज्ञाता त्रिविधा कर्मचोदना ।
करणं कर्म कर्तेति त्रिविधः कर्मसंग्रहः ॥१८॥
jñānaṁ jñeyaṁ parijñātā tri-vidhā karma-codanā
karaṇaṁ karma karteti tri-vidhaḥ karma-saṅgrahaḥ
Knowledge, the object of knowledge and the knower are the three elements that stimulate action. The senses, the activity and the performer are the three constituents of action.
ज्ञानं कर्म च कर्ताच त्रिधैव गुणभेदतः ।
प्रोच्यते गुणसङ्ख्याने यथावच्छृणु तान्यपि ॥१९॥
jñānaṁ karma ca kartāca tri-dhaiva guṇa-bhedataḥ
procyate guṇa-saṅkhyāne yathāvac chṛṇu tānyapi
According to the sāṅkhya texts, knowledge, action and the performer of action have been classified in three ways according to the modes of nature. Now hear about these.
सर्वभूतेषु येनैकं भावमव्ययमीक्षते ।
अविभक्तं विभक्तेषु तज्ज्ञानं विद्धि सात्त्विकम् ॥२०॥
sarva-bhūteṣu yenaikaṁ bhāvam avyayam īkṣate
avibhaktaṁ vibhakteṣu taj jñānaṁ viddhi sāttvikam
Knowledge in which the one undivided, imperishable element is perceived in all variegated species of life is considered to be knowledge in the mode of goodness.
पृथक्त्वेन तु यज्ज्ञानं नानाभावान्पृथग्विधान् ।
वेत्ति सर्वेषु भूतेषु तज्ज्ञानं विद्धि राजसम् ॥२१॥
pṛthaktvena tu yaj jñānaṁ nānā-bhāvān pṛthag-vidhān
vetti sarveṣu bhūteṣu taj jñānaṁ viddhi rājasam
However, that knowledge by which one perceives that within different bodies there is a different kind of living being, is known to be in the mode of passion.
यत्तु कृत्स्नवदेकस्मिन्कार्ये सक्तमहैतुकम् ।
अतत्त्वार्थवदल्पं च तत्तामसमुदाहृतम् ॥२२॥
yat tu kṛtsnavad ekasmin kārye saktam ahaitukam
atattvārthavad alpaṁ ca tat tāmasam udāhṛtam
That knowledge by which one is attached to one kind of activity, that is without any truth and based upon trivial pursuits is known as knowledge in the mode of ignorance.
Knowledge, as previously explained, means to understand the difference between matter and consciousness. Those whose knowledge is pure and uncontaminated see individual consciousness as parts and parcels of the undivided Super Consciousness, as present in all species and as transmigrating from one body to the next, life after life. In other words, the same ātmā may be present in one life in the body of an elephant or a tiger, and in the next life in the body of a human being. There are no elephant, tiger or animal ātmās as distinguished from human ātmās. One who says that the ātmā of an animal and that of a human or a demigod are different ātmās has knowledge influenced by the mode of passion.
One who has no proper understanding of the ātmā, who is attached to the body, the actions of the body, who is absorbed in the trivial pursuits of economic development and sense enjoyment, is said to have knowledge in the mode of ignorance.
नियतं सङ्गरहितमरागद्वेषतः कृतम् ।
अफलप्रेप्सुना कर्म यत्तत्सात्त्विकमुच्यते ॥२३॥
niyataṁ saṅga-rahitam arāga-dveṣataḥ kṛtam
aphala-prepsunā karma yat tat sāttvikam ucyate
Regulated actions performed without attachment or aversion and with no desire for results are said to be in the mode of goodness.
यत्तु कामेप्सुना कर्म साहंकारेण वा पुनः ।
क्रियते बहुलायासं तद्राजसमुदाहृतम् ॥२४॥
yat tu kāmepsunā karma sāhaṅkāreṇa vā punaḥ
kriyate bahulāyāsaṁ tad rājasam udāhṛtam
Actions undertaken out of pride, to reap some benefit and with great endeavour are said to be in the mode of passion.
अनुबन्धं क्षयं हिंसामनपेक्ष्य च पौरुषम् ।
मोहादारभ्यते कर्म यत्तत्तामसमुच्यते ॥२५॥
anubandhaṁ kṣayaṁ hiṁsām anapekṣya ca pauruṣam
mohād ārabhyate karma yat tat tāmasam ucyate
Actions performed out of bewilderment, without consideration of consequences, loss, injury and one’s personal capacity, are said to be in the mode of ignorance.
मुक्तसङ्गोऽनहंवादी धृत्युत्साहसमन्वितः ।
सिद्ध्यसिद्ध्योर्निर्विकारः कर्ता सात्त्विक उच्यते ॥२६॥
siddhy-asiddhyor nirvikāraḥ kartā sāttvika ucyate
Those who perform activities without attachment, devoid of egotism, who are tolerant, enthusiastic and unaffected by loss or gain, are said to be in the mode of goodness.
रागी कर्मफलप्रेप्सुर्लुब्धो हिंसात्मकोऽशुचिः ।
हर्षशोकान्वितः कर्ता राजसः परिकीर्तितः ॥२७॥
rāgī karma-phala-prepsur lubdho hiṁsātmako’śuciḥ
harṣa-śokānvitaḥ kartā rājasaḥ parikīrtitaḥ
Those who perform work desiring to enjoy the results of their actions, who are greedy, violent by nature, impure and affected by happiness and distress are said to be in the mode of passion.
अयुक्तः प्राकृतः स्तब्धः शठो नैष्कृतिकोऽलसः ।
विषादी दीर्घसूत्री च कर्ता तामस उच्यते ॥२८॥
ayuktaḥ prākṛtaḥ stabdhaḥ śaṭho naiṣkṛtiko’lasaḥ
viṣādī dīrgha-sūtrī ca kartā tāmasa ucyate
Those who perform work in an undisciplined manner, those who are coarse, stubborn, unscrupulous, offensive, lazy, bad-tempered and procrastinate are said to be in the mode of ignorance.
Herein, actions in goodness, passion and ignorance are described. When one looks at the world today, bearing in mind the different modes of action and their characteristics, then it is no wonder that the planet is in such a state of conflict, inflation, depression, economic despair, confusion and denial.
When people are busy exercising their over-inflated egos, acting unscrupulously and violently toward their fellow human beings and animals, how are we to expect any improvement in the world? How can there be peace?
Therefore, it is the duty of every sane human being to cultivate knowledge and actions in the mode of goodness that are without attachment or aversion and are free from desire and egotism. Life is a science, and Śrī Kṛṣṇa says that through our actions we reap the harvest of our good or bad karma.
बुद्धेर्भेदं धृतेश्चैव गुणतस्त्रिविधं शृणु ।
प्रोच्यमानमशेषेण पृथक्त्वेन धनञ्जय ॥२९॥
buddher bhedaṁ dhṛteś caiva guṇatas tri-vidhaṁ śṛṇu
procyamānam aśeṣeṇa pṛthaktvena dhanañjaya
O Dhanañjaya, please hear as I now describe to you in detail the various mentalities and determination according to the three modes of nature.
प्रवृत्तिं च निवृत्तिं च कार्याकार्ये भयाभये ।
बन्धं मोक्षं च या वेत्ति बुद्धिः सा पार्थ सात्त्विकी ॥३०॥
pravṛttiṁ ca nivṛttiṁ ca kāryākārye bhayābhaye
bandhaṁ mokṣaṁ ca yā vetti buddhiḥ sā pārtha sāttvikī
O Pārtha, the mentality in the mode of goodness is that which can distinguish what should be done and what should not be done, duty and non-duty, what is to be feared and what is not to be feared and the nature of material bondage and liberation.
यया धर्ममधर्मं च कार्यं चाकार्यमेव च ।
अयथावत्प्रजानाति बुद्धिः सा पार्थ राजसी ॥३१॥
yayā dharmam adharmaṁ ca kāryaṁ cākāryam eva ca
ayathāvat prajānāti buddhiḥ sā pārtha rājasī
O Pārtha, the mentality in the mode of passion cannot distinguish between dharma and adharma, cannot discern what is right and what is wrong, and cannot decide what is duty and what is not duty.
अधर्मं धर्ममिति या मन्यते तमसावृता ।
सर्वार्थान्विपरीतांश्च बुद्धिः सा पार्थ तामसी ॥३२॥
adharmaṁ dharmam iti yā manyate tamasāvṛtā
sarvārthān viparītāṁś ca buddhiḥ sā pārtha tāmasī
O Pārtha, the mentality in the mode of ignorance regards that which is adharma to be dharma and that which is dharma to be adharma. It regards everything to be the opposite of reality.
धृत्या यया धारयते मनःप्राणेन्द्रियक्रियाः ।
योगेनाव्यभिचारिण्या धृतिः सा पार्थ सात्त्विकी ॥३३॥
dhṛtyā yayā dhārayate manaḥ prāṇendriya-kriyāḥ
yogenāvyabhichāriṇyā dhṛtiḥ sā pārtha sāttvikī
O Pārtha, that determination by which one strictly controls the mind, life-airs and the senses through the process of yoga is in the mode of goodness.
यया तु धर्मकामार्थान्धृत्या धारयतेऽर्जुन ।
प्रसङ्गेन फलाकाङ्क्षी धृतिः सा पार्थ राजसी ॥३४॥
yayā tu dharma-kāmārthān dhṛtyā dhārayate’rjuna
prasaṅgena phalākāṅkṣī dhṛtiḥ sā pārtha rājasī
O Pārtha, that determination by which one maintains a sense of dharma in order to accrue wealth and fulfil material desires is in the mode of passion.
यया स्वप्नं भयं शोकं विषादं मदमेव च ।
न विमुञ्चति दुर्मेधा धृतिः सा पार्थ तामसी ॥३५॥
yayā svapnaṁ bhayaṁ śokaṁ viṣādaṁ madameva ca
na vimuñcati durmedhā dhṛtiḥ sā pārtha tāmasī
O Pārtha, the determination of those who cannot conquer sleep, fear, lamentation, misery and pride is in the mode of ignorance.
Throughout the Bhagavad-gītā, Śrī Kṛṣṇa addresses Arjuna as Pārtha, the son of Kuntī. Kṛṣṇa also addresses him as Bhārata (best of the Bharata Dynasty), Pāṇḍava (son of Pāṇḍu), Kuru-nandana (descendant of the Kurus), Parantapa (conqueror of the enemy), Guḍākeśa (conqueror of sleep) and Dhanañjaya, (winner of wealth). Kṛṣṇa addresses Arjuna thusly to remind him of his position as a great warrior in a dynasty of warriors and to encourage him to stand and fight.
Sometimes fighting is necessary if it is for the right cause, but the problem lies herein. Who is to say which cause is just, who is right and who is wrong, what should be done and what should not be done? In the above verses, Kṛṣṇa gives some indication as to who is of the right mentality and right determination. Clearly, those in the modes of passion and ignorance are always mistaken – not being able to distinguish right from wrong, what is to be done from what is not to be done, or proper duty from dereliction of duty.
सुखं त्विदानीं त्रिविधं शृणु मे भरतर्षभ ।
अभ्यासाद्रमते यत्र दुःखान्तं च निगच्छति ॥३६॥
यत्तदग्रे विषमिव परिणामेऽमृतोपमम् ।
तत्सुखं सात्त्विकं प्रोक्तमात्मबुद्धिप्रसादजम् ॥३७॥
sukhaṁ tvidānīṁ tri-vidhaṁ śṛṇu me bharatarṣaba
abhyāsād ramate yatra duḥkhāntaṁ ca nigacchati
yat tad agre viṣam iva pariṇāme’mṛtopamam
tat sukhaṁ sāttvikaṁ proktam ātma-buddhi-prasāda-jam
O best of the Bharata Dynasty, now hear from Me about the three types of happiness. Happiness that leads to the end of all suffering is in the mode of goodness. Such happiness tastes bitter in the beginning, but is nectar at the end because it awakens one to self-realisation.
परिणामे विषमिव तत्सुखं राजसं स्मृतम् ॥३८॥
viṣayendriya saṁyogād yat tad agre’mṛtopamam
pariṇāme viṣamiva tat sukhaṁ rājasaṁ smṛtam
Happiness that is born from contact between the senses and sense-objects and is like nectar in the beginning, but bitter in the end, is known to be in the mode of passion.
यदग्रे चानुबन्धे च सुखं मोहनमात्मनः ।
निद्रालस्यप्रमादोत्थं तत्तामसमुदाहृतम् ॥३९॥
yad agre cānubandhe ca sukhaṁ mohanam ātmanaḥ
nidrālasya-pramādotthaṁ tat tāmasam udāhṛtam
Happiness that arises from sleep, laziness and delusion and is self-deceptive in both the beginning and the end is considered to be happiness in the mode of ignorance.
न तदस्ति पृथिव्यां वा दिवि देवेषु वा पुनः ।
सत्त्वं प्रकृतिजैर्मुक्तं यदेभिः स्यात्त्रिभिर्गुणैः ॥४०॥
na tad asti pṛthivyāṁ vādivi deveṣu vā punaḥ
sattvaṁ prakṛti-jair muktaṁ yad ebhiḥ syāt tri-bhir guṇaiḥ
There is no living being, neither on Earth nor amongst the celestial beings, that is free from these three modes of material nature.
Everyone and everything in the material world is governed by the three modes of material nature. In the truest sense of the word, there is no meaning of freedom or independence unless one is free from the modes of nature. All such celebrations in the name of political emancipation are merely another form of self-deception. Where is the question of freedom when our every action is controlled by nature and we are being pushed down the highway of life to face ultimate death?
Independence from the three modes of material nature is only afforded to those who have taken shelter of a bona-fide guru, who have understood the knowledge of Bhagavad-gītā and have applied themselves to bhakti-yoga. Only the bhakti-yogī can truly celebrate freedom.
Śrī Kṛṣṇa says that happiness in the mode of goodness is bitter in the beginning, but nectar in the end. This means that to control the senses and perform austerities (tapasya) in the beginning may be distasteful for the novice, but in the end such austerities lead to the nectar of self-realisation.
Happiness derived from enjoying one’s senses in the mode of passion may be like nectar in the beginning, but it is bitter in the end because sense gratification ultimately ends in frustration, hatred and anger. Happiness that arises from sleep, laziness and delusion and is self-deceptive is in the mode of ignorance because it is miserable in the beginning and miserable in the end.
Real happiness only comes when one awakens to the eternal self and lives a life with one’s body, mind and senses absorbed in a higher conscious plane.
ब्राह्मणक्षत्रियविशां शूद्राणां च परन्तप ।
कर्माणि प्रविभक्तानि स्वभावप्रभवैर्गुणैः ॥४१॥
brāhmaṇa-kṣatriya-viśāṁ śūdrāṇāṁ ca parantapa
karmāṇi pravibhaktāni svabhāva-prabhavair guṇaiḥ
O conqueror of the enemy, O Arjuna, know that brāhmaṇas, kṣatriyas, vaiśyas and śūdras are classified according to the quality of their work in the three modes of material nature.
शमो दमस्तपः शौचं क्षान्तिरार्जवमेव च ।
ज्ञानं विज्ञानमास्तिक्यं ब्रह्मकर्म स्वभावजम् ॥४२॥
śamo damas tapaḥ śaucaṁ kṣāntir ārjavam eva ca
jñānaṁ vijñānam āstikyaṁ brahma-karma svabhāva-jam
Calmness, self-control, austerity, cleanliness, clemency, honesty, knowledge, wisdom and faith in the Supreme – these are the natural activities of a brāhmaṇa.
शौर्यं तेजो धृतिर्दाक्ष्यं युद्धे चाप्यपलायनम् ।
दानमीश्वरभावश्च क्षात्रं कर्म स्वभावजम् ॥४३॥
śauryaṁ tejo dhṛtir dākṣyaṁ yuddhe cāpy-apalāyanam
dānam īśvara-bhāvaś ca kṣātraṁ karma svabhāva-jam
Heroism, power, steadfastness, dexterity, never fleeing from battle, generosity and social administration – these are the natural activities of a kṣatriya.
कृषिगौरक्ष्यवाणिज्यं वैश्यकर्म स्वभावजम् ।
परिचर्यात्मकं कर्म शूद्रस्यापि स्वभावजम् ॥४४॥
kṛṣi-gorakṣya-vāṇijyaṁ vaiśya-karma svabhāva-jam
paricaryātmakaṁ karma śūdrasyāpi svabhāva-jam
Farming, cow protection and business are the natural activities of a vaiśya. For the śūdra there is service to others.
Herein, the status of the brāhmaṇas, kṣatriyas, vaiśyas and śūdras are described according to the qualities of their work. These are the four social orders of life and they are present in all civilised cultures in the world. Everywhere we find those that resemble the brāhmaṇas, the intellectual class. Everywhere there are those that resemble kṣatriyas, administrators and warriors, and everywhere we find the mercantile and labour class, the vaiśyas and śūdras. These are the natural divisions in society and they are determined by the quality of their work.
Unfortunately, in modern India, this social system described by Śrī Kṛṣṇa in the Bhagavad-gītā has become corrupted and is now known as the caste system which determines one’s social status by birth. The caste system is not actually the social system described in Bhagavad-gītā known as varṇāśrama-dharma.
The caste system in India is certainly deplorable, hardly better than that of slavery, because it limits a person’s potential according to one’s birth. Kṛṣṇa clearly states that a person is to be known by his actions and not his pedigree.
Although social systems having intellectuals, administrators, mercantile and labour classes are found around the world, they are also not the same as the varṇāśrama system mentioned in Bhagavad-gītā.
In addition to being an intellectual, a brāhmaṇa must know what is Brahman. A kṣatriya must do more than just administrate and fight battles – he must be above corruption, give protection to the people and protect the principles of dharma found in Bhagavad-gītā. And above all, a kṣatriya is never to be an aggressor – he is never to invade a sovereign country.
The duty of a vaiśya, in addition to business, is farming and cow protection. Naturally, the purpose of business is to earn a living, but nowadays this has gone far beyond actual necessity as per the advice of Bhagavad-gītā. Simple business has turned into massive industry – the establishing of mega multi-national corporations, money hoarding and fractional banking. These in turn have led to the corruption of government officials around the world and ultimately to the destruction of the environment, increased poverty, and war.
Cow protection (kṛṣi-gorakṣya) is especially mentioned in verse 44 because of all animals it is the cow that is most necessary for the survival of the human being. Human bodies thrive on animal fat and the cow is the animal that provides human beings with the most milk, yogurt, butter, cheese etc. Milk and milk products, when taken in appropriate quantities, provide the human being all the necessary fat required for healthy living, thus enabling the suspension of animal slaughter. In other words, killing animals and eating meat is not necessary to obtain fat. When cows are protected then there will be plenty of whole milk available for everyone to maintain a healthy diet. The value of the cow for human society is indisputable and therefore in Vedic culture the cow is considered one of the seven natural mothers. These seven mothers are as follows:
ātma-mātā guroḥ patnī brāhmaṇī rāja-patnikā
dhenur dhātrī tathā pṛthvī saptaitā mātaraḥ smṛtāḥ
One’s own mother, the wife of the guru, the wife of a brāhmaṇa, the king’s wife, the cow, the nurse and the Earth – these should be considered as our seven mothers. (Cāṇakya Nīti-śāstra 5.23)
Unfortunately, the business community has turned to corporate farming and mass slaughter of cows and other animals in the name of delivering health and prosperity to the people. In actuality, the people have lost their lands and the family farm that was once the backbone of societies everywhere has ceased to exist. Industrial farming has replaced organic fertilisers with chemical fertilisers that render the soil lifeless and produce food that is low in nutrition and high in toxic content. The meat from the slaughterhouse is also toxic and far less healthy than a vegetarian diet.
Society cries for the return of the vaiśya worldwide, but governments turn a deaf ear and a blind eye and it is the śūdra, the labourer class, at the tail end of the food chain who suffers the most. But change is in the air as people worldwide wake up from the nightmare that has become their reality and seek genuine answers to their problems. For such sincere persons, Bhagavad-gītā will provide much insight and guidance.
स्वे स्वे कर्मण्यभिरतः संसिद्धिं लभते नरः ।
स्वकर्मनिरतः सिद्धिं यथा विन्दति तच्छृणु ॥४५॥
sve sve karmaṇy-abhirataḥ saṁsiddhiṁ labhate naraḥ
svakarma-nirataḥ siddhiṁ yathā vindati tacchṛṇu
Now please hear from Me how those who perform their prescribed duties attain all perfection.
यतः प्रवृत्तिर्भूतानां येन सर्वमिदं ततम् ।
स्वकर्मणा तमभ्यर्च्य सिद्धिं विन्दति मानवः ॥४६॥
yataḥ pravṛttir bhūtānāṁ yena sarvam idaṁ tatam
svakarmaṇā tam abhyarcya siddhiṁ vindati mānavaḥ
Human beings achieve perfection through prescribed duties by worshipping the Supreme Person, from whom all things originate and who is omnipresent.
श्रेयान्स्वधर्मो विगुणः परधर्मात्स्वनुष्ठितात् ।
स्वभावनियतं कर्म कुर्वन्नाप्नोति किल्बिषम् ॥४७॥
śreyān sva-dharmo viguṇaḥ para-dharmāt svanuṣṭhitāt
svabhāva-niyataṁ karma kurvan nāpnoti kilbiṣam
It is better to perform one’s own duty (dharma) imperfectly than to perform another’s duty perfectly. One is never subject to bad karma by performing one’s prescribed duties according to one’s own nature.
सहजं कर्म कौन्तेय सदोषमपि न त्यजेत् ।
सर्वारम्भा हि दोषेण धूमेनाग्निरिवावृताः ॥४८॥
saha-jaṁ karma kaunteya sa-doṣam api na tyajet
sarvārambhā hi doṣeṇa dhūmenāgnir ivāvṛtāḥ
O son of Kuntī, one’s prescribed duties must never be abandoned. All activities are covered with some fault, just as smoke covers fire.
असक्तबुद्धिः सर्वत्र जितात्मा विगतस्पृहः ।
नैष्कर्म्यसिद्धिं परमां संन्यासेनाधिगच्छति ॥४९॥
asakta-buddhiḥ sarvatra jitātmā vigata-spṛhaḥ
naiṣkarmya-siddhiṁ paramāṁ sannyāsenādhigacchati
The stage of perfect renunciation is attained by becoming unattached to material objects, disregarding material enjoyment, by doing one’s duty and being unattached to the results.
In the above verses, Śrī Kṛṣṇa stresses to Arjuna that one’s duties or prescribed dharma according to the varṇāśrama system should never be abandoned. One may think that they are not performing their duty perfectly, but Kṛṣṇa says that one should remain steadfast and not yield to abandonment.
At the beginning of Bhagavad-gītā, Arjuna showed an inclination to abandon his duty as a kṣatriya. Arjuna was disinclined to fight and was thinking that it might be better to take up the plough or the staff of renunciation, but Kṛṣṇa did not agree.
Now the dialogue between Śrī Kṛṣṇa and Arjuna is drawing to a close and we will soon see that Kṛṣṇa has revived Arjuna and with a regained heart, he will resume his duty with full enthusiasm.
सिद्धिं प्राप्तो यथा ब्रह्म तथाप्नोति निबोध मे ।
समासेनैव कौन्तेय निष्ठा ज्ञानस्य या परा ॥५०॥
siddhiṁ prāpto yathā brahma tathāpnoti nibodha me
samāsenaiva kaunteya niṣṭhā jñānasya yā parā
O son of Kuntī, now learn from Me how one can attain perfection by acting in the way that I shall now briefly describe to you.
बुद्ध्या विशुद्धया युक्तो धृत्यात्मानं नियम्य च ।
शब्दादीन्विषयांस्त्यक्त्वा रागद्वेषौ व्युदस्य च ॥५१॥
विविक्तसेवी लघ्वाशी यतवाक्कायमानसः ।
ध्यानयोगपरो नित्यं वैराग्यं समुपाश्रितः ॥५२॥
अहंकारं बलं दर्पं कामं क्रोधं परिग्रहम् ।
विमुच्य निर्ममः शान्तो ब्रह्मभूयाय कल्पते ॥५३॥
buddhyā viśuddhayā yukto dhṛtyātmānaṁ niyamya ca
śabdādīn viṣayāṁs tyaktvā rāga-dveṣau vyudasya ca
vivikta-sevī laghv-āśī yata-vāk-kāya-mānasaḥ
dhyāna-yoga-paro nityaṁ vairāgyaṁ samupāśritaḥ
ahaṅkāraṁ balaṁ darpaṁ kāmaṁ krodhaṁ parigraham
vimucya nirmamaḥ śānto brahma-bhūyāya kalpate
With pure intelligence, controlling the mind with determination, abandoning attachment to sense-objects, being devoid of both attachment and hatred, residing in a secluded place, eating little, controlling speech, body and mind, being constantly engaged in meditating on the Supreme Person, being renounced, free from egotism, the misuse of power, conceit, lust, anger, covetousness and being unselfish and peaceful – such a person is qualified for realisation of the Absolute Truth.
ब्रह्मभूतः प्रसन्नात्मा न शोचति न काङ्क्षति ।
समः सर्वेषु भूतेषु मद्भक्तिं लभते पराम् ॥५४॥
brahma-bhūtaḥ prasannātmā na śocati na kāṅkṣati
samaḥ sarveṣu bhūteṣu mad-bhaktiṁ labhate parām
When such a self-satisfied person realises the Absolute Truth, he neither rejoices nor laments. Seeing all beings equally, he attains transcendental devotion unto Me.
भक्त्या मामभिजानाति यावान्यश्चास्मि तत्त्वतः ।
ततो मां तत्त्वतो ज्ञात्वा विशते तदनन्तरम् ॥५५॥
bhaktyā mām abhijānāti yāvān yaś cāsmi tattvataḥ
tato māṁ tattvato jñātvā viśate tad-anantaram
Through such devotion that person knows Me in truth. Thus, knowing Me in truth he enters My realm.
सर्वकर्माण्यपि सदा कुर्वाणो मद्व्यपाश्रयः ।
मत्प्रसादादवाप्नोति शाश्वतं पदमव्ययम् ॥५६॥
sarva-karmāṇy-api sadā kurvāṇo mad-vyapāśrayaḥ
mat-prasādād avāpnoti śāśvataṁ padam avyayam
Although one may constantly engage in various activities, by My mercy, those who take shelter of Me reach My eternal abode.
चेतसा सर्वकर्माणि मयि संन्यस्य मत्परः ।
बुद्धियोगमुपाश्रित्य मच्चित्तः सततं भव ॥५७॥
cetasā sarva-karmāṇi mayi sannyasya mat-paraḥ
buddhi-yogam upāśritya mac-cittaḥ satataṁ bhava
Consciously renouncing all activities unto Me, considering Me to be the supreme goal and taking shelter of the process of devotion, always think of Me.
मच्चित्तः सर्वदुर्गाणि मत्प्रसादात्तरिष्यसि ।
अथ चेत्त्वमहंकारान्न श्रोष्यसि विनङ्क्ष्यसि ॥५८॥
mac-cittaḥ sarva-durgāṇi mat-prasādāt tariṣyasi
atha cet tvam ahaṅkārān na śroṣyasi vinaṅkṣyasi
By My mercy, all your troubles will be overcome if you think of Me. However, if out of false ego you ignore Me, you will perish.
यदहंकारमाश्रित्य न योत्स्य इति मन्यसे ।
मिथ्यैष व्यवसायस्ते प्रकृतिस्त्वां नियोक्ष्यति ॥५९॥
yad ahaṅkāram āśritya na yotsya iti manyase
mithyaiṣa vyavasāyas te prakṛtis tvāṁ niyokṣyati
If due to false ego you think, “I will not fight,” your decision will be useless because your very nature will urge you to do so.
स्वभावजेन कौन्तेय निबद्धः स्वेन कर्मणा ।
कर्तुं नेच्छसि यन्मोहात्करिष्यस्यवशोपि तत् ॥६०॥
svabhāva-jena kaunteya nibaddhaḥ svena karmaṇā
kartuṁ necchasi yan mohāt kariṣyasy-avaśopi tat
Being bound by your intrinsic nature, the very activity that you now refuse to perform due to bewilderment will inevitably be carried out by you, O son of Kuntī.
ईश्वरः सर्वभूतानां हृद्देशेऽर्जुन तिष्ठति ।
भ्रामयन्सर्वभूतानि यन्त्रारूढानि मायया ॥६१॥
īśvaraḥ sarva-bhūtānāṁ hṛd-deśe’rjuna tiṣṭhati
bhrāmayan sarva-bhūtāni yantrārūḍhāni māyayā
O Arjuna, the Supreme Controller resides in the hearts of all living beings. By His illusory energy He directs all their activities as if they were mounted on a machine.
तमेव शरणं गच्छ सर्वभावेन भारत ।
तत्प्रसादात्परां शान्तिं स्थानं प्राप्स्यसि शाश्वतम् ॥६२॥
tam eva śaraṇaṁ gaccha sarva-bhāvena bhārata
tat prasādāt parāṁ śāntiṁ sthānaṁ prāpsyasi śāśvatam
O Bhārata, take shelter in Him with all your heart and by His mercy you will achieve everlasting peace and the Supreme Abode.
Śrī Kṛṣṇa now gives Arjuna an infusion of encouragement by stating that by following His instructions Arjuna will realise the Absolute Truth and will enter His Supreme Abode. By consciously offering the results of all his actions unto Kṛṣṇa, by devoting himself to Kṛṣṇa and always thinking about Kṛṣṇa, Arjuna will achieve all perfection.
The alternative, Kṛṣṇa says, is that by neglecting His instructions, Arjuna will surely perish. This is the open secret of Bhagavad-gītā – one who adheres to its message, that is free from all material defects and is delivered by the Supreme Person, Śrī Kṛṣṇa, becomes perfect in knowledge and self-realisation. Neglecting Kṛṣṇa’s instructions is however tantamount to spiritual suicide and Kṛṣṇa warns Arjuna that if he takes that path he will surely perish into the world of bewilderment, illusion and death.
इति ते ज्ञानमाख्यातं गुह्याद्गुह्यतरं मया ।
विमृश्यैतदशेषेण यथेच्छसि तथा कुरु ॥६३॥
iti te jñānam ākhyātaṁ guhyād guhyataraṁ mayā
vimṛśyaitad aśeṣeṇa yathecchasi tathā kuru
I have thus disclosed to you that knowledge which is the most confidential. Deliberate upon it and do as you wish.
सर्वगुह्यतमं भूयः शृणु मे परमं वचः ।
इष्टोऽसि मे दृढमिति ततो वक्ष्यामि ते हितम् ॥६४॥
sarva-guhyatamaṁ bhūyaḥ śṛṇu me paramaṁ vacaḥ
iṣṭo’si me dṛḍham iti tato vakṣyāmi te hitam
Listen once again to the most confidential secret of all, My supreme instruction. Because you are very dear to Me, I am telling you this for your ultimate benefit.
मन्मना भव मद्भक्तो मद्याजी मां नमस्कुरु ।
मामेवैष्यसि सत्यं ते प्रतिजाने प्रियोऽसि मे ॥६५॥
manmanā bhava mad-bhakto mad-yājī māṁ namaskuru
mām evaiṣyasi satyaṁ te pratijāne priyo’si me
Fix your mind upon Me, devote yourself to Me, worship Me and offer your respects unto Me. By doing so you will certainly come to Me. I promise you this because you are very dear to Me.
सर्वधर्मान्परित्यज्य मामेकं शरणं व्रज ।
अहं त्वां सर्वपापेभ्यो मोक्षयिष्यामि मा शुचः ॥६६॥
sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja
ahaṁ tvāṁ sarva-pāpebhyo mokṣayiṣyāmi mā śucaḥ
Abandon all types of dharma – come and surrender unto Me alone! Do not fear, for I will surely deliver you from all reactions.
In verse 63 Śrī Kṛṣṇa says that He has disclosed to Arjuna the most confidential knowledge and tells Arjuna to deliberate upon it and then do as he wishes. But because Arjuna is very dear to Kṛṣṇa and because Kṛṣṇa is Arjuna’s guru and well-wisher, Kṛṣṇa again gives him one last instruction and assurance.
Kṛṣṇa’s final instruction is that Arjuna should always fix his mind upon Him, he should devote himself fully to Him, worship Him and offer his respects unto Him. This is the essence of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Kṛṣṇa says that by doing this Arjuna will surely come to Him. The ultimate instruction to always remember Kṛṣṇa is also stated in Padma Purāṇa as follows:
smartavyaḥ satataṁ viṣṇur vismartavyo na jātucit
sarve vidhi-niṣedhāḥ syur etayor eva kiṅkarāḥ
Śrī Kṛṣṇa (Viṣṇu) should always be remembered and never be forgotten at anytime. All rules and regulations mentioned in the śāstra should be subservient to these two principles. (Padma Purāṇa 6.71.100)
In verse sixty-six, we find the climax of Bhagavad-gītā, wherein the ultimate dharma of surrendering oneself fully to Kṛṣṇa is stated. Śrī Kṛṣṇa tells Arjuna that giving up everything to follow His instructions need not be a cause of fear because Kṛṣṇa will protect him. By such self-surrender Arjuna will come to Kṛṣṇa in His Supreme Abode.
The Supreme Abode lies beyond the material universe and is known by those who are learned as Vaikuṇṭha. Those who worship the Viṣṇu avatāras, or forms of Nārāyaṇa, will attain to the Vaikuṇṭha realm. But superior to Vaikuṇṭha are the realms of Kṛṣṇa’s avatāras such as Śrī Rāmacandra in Ayodhyā and Vāsudeva Kṛṣṇa in Dvārakā. Those who worship Śrī Rāmacandra and Kṛṣṇa’s expansion as Vāsudeva, will attain to Ayodhyā, Dvārakā and Mathurā respectively.
Superior to Dvārakā is Mathurā. Superior to Mathurā is Vṛndāvana. Govardhana is superior to Vṛndāvana and Rādhā-kuṇḍa is superior to Govardhana. Only those who worship Kṛṣṇa’s human-like form known as Śyāmasundara (Govinda) will attain to the topmost realm.
vaikuṇṭhāj janito varā madhu-purī tatrāpi rāsotsavād
vṛndāraṇyam udāra-pāṇi-ramaṇāt tatrāpi govardhanaḥ
rādhā-kuṇḍam ihāpi gokula-pateḥ premāmṛtāplāvanāt
kuryād asya virājato giri-taṭe sevāṁ vivekī na kaḥ
Because Śrī Kṛṣṇa appeared there, Mathurā is considered to be spiritually superior to Vaikuṇṭha. Greater than Mathurā is the forest of Vṛndāvana because this was where the rāsa-līlā pastimes of Kṛṣṇa took place. Govardhana Hill is considered to be superior to Vṛndāvana because Kṛṣṇa performed wonderful pastimes there and raised it with His left hand. However, Rādhā-kuṇḍa is superior to Govardhana because it is brimming with the nectar of divine love for the Master of Gokula. Which intelligent person will not render service to this place that is situated at the feet of Govardhana? (Upadeśāmṛta 9)
The Supreme Abode of Kṛṣṇa is the land of Vraja, which includes Vṛndāvana, Govardhana and Rādhā-kuṇḍa. In verse 66, Śrī Kṛṣṇa indicates to Arjuna by the use of the verb ‘vraja’ (meaning ‘to go’) that Arjuna will come to Kṛṣṇa in the topmost realm of the spiritual world. This superior realm is also known as Goloka Vṛndāvana and is described in Brahma-saṁhitā as follows:
lakṣāvṛteṣu surabhīr abhipālayantam
govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi
I worship Govinda, the Original Person, who is tending the cows, in that divine realm where the abodes are built with touchstone. He is surrounded by millions of desire trees and is constantly served with great care and attention by hundreds of thousands of goddesses of fortune. (Brahma-saṁhitā 5.29)
veṇuṁ kvaṇantam aravinda-dalāyatākṣam-
govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi
I worship Govinda, the Original Person, who is playing His flute and has beautiful eyes like blooming lotus petals. His head is decorated with peacock feathers, and His charming form, tinged with the hue of rain clouds, is so alluring that it enchants millions of Cupids. (Brahma-saṁhitā 5.30)
śyāmaṁ tri-bhaṅga-lalitaṁ niyata-prakāśaṁ
govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi
I worship Govinda, the Original Person, whose neck is decorated with a garland of forest flowers that swings to and fro. His hands, that hold His flute, are adorned with jewelled bracelets. His threefold bending form as Śyāmasundara is eternally manifest as He enjoys His various pastimes of divine love. (Brahma-saṁhitā 5.31)
santaḥ sadaiva hṛdayeṣu vilokayanti
yaṁ śyāmasundaram acintya-guṇa-svarūpaṁ
govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi
I worship the Original Person, Govinda, who is always meditated upon by those whose eyes are anointed with the salve of divine love. His eternal form as Śyāmasundara is eternally endowed with inconceivable qualities and He is always situated within the hearts of His beloved devotees. (Brahma-saṁhitā 5.38)
śriyaḥ kāntāḥ kāntaḥ parama-puruṣaḥ kalpa-taravo
drumā bhūmiś cintāmaṇi-gaṇa-mayi toyam amṛtam
kathā gānaṁ nāṭyaṁ gamanam api vaṁśī priya-sakhi
cid-ānandaṁ jyotiḥ param api tad āsvādyam api ca
sa yatra kṣīrābdhiḥ sravati surabhībhyaś ca su-mahān
nimeṣārdhākhyo vā vrajati na hi yatrāpi samayaḥ
bhaje śvetadvīpaṁ tam aham iha golokam iti yaṁ
vidantas te santaḥ kṣiti-virala-cārāḥ katipaye
I worship the divine abode of Śvetadvīpa, where the goddesses of fortune are the loving consorts to the Supreme Person Śrī Kṛṣṇa. In that place, every tree is a desire tree; the land is made of touchstone; all water is nectar; every word is a song; every step is a dance; the flute is the dearest friend; the light is full of spiritual bliss and all things there are most relishable; where vast oceans of milk continuously flow from millions of cows; where time does not pass away even for half a moment. That realm, Goloka Vṛndāvana, is only known to a very few self-realised yogīs in this world. (Brahma-saṁhitā 5.56)
इदं ते नातपस्काय नाभक्ताय कदाचन ।
न चाशुश्रूषवे वाच्यं न च मां योऽभ्यसूयति ॥६७॥
idaṁ te nātapaskāya nābhaktāya kadācana
na cāśuśrūṣave vācyaṁ na ca māṁ yo’bhyasūyati
This knowledge should never be disclosed to those who are not self-controlled, who do not perform bhakti-yoga or who are envious of Me.
य इदं परमं गुह्यं मद्भक्तेष्वभिधास्यति ।
भक्तिं मयि परां कृत्वा मामेवैष्यत्यसंशयः ॥६८॥
ya idaṁ paramaṁ guhyaṁ mad-bhakteṣv-abhidhāsyati
bhaktiṁ mayi parāṁ kṛtvā mām evaiṣyaty-asaṁśayaḥ
One who teaches this supreme secret of bhakti-yoga to others, advances to the highest platform of devotion and attains full consciousness of Me. Of this there is no doubt.
न च तस्मान्मनुष्येषु कश्चिन्मे प्रियकृत्तमः ।
भविता न च मे तस्मादन्यः प्रियतरो भुवि ॥६९॥
na ca tasmān manuṣyeṣu kaścin me priya-kṛttamaḥ
bhavitā na ca me tasmād anyaḥ priyataro bhuvi
There is no one dearer to Me in this world than such a devotee. Nor will there ever be anyone dearer to Me than one who teaches this supreme secret.
अध्येष्यते च य इमं धर्म्यं संवादमावयोः ।
ज्ञानयज्ञेन तेनाहमिष्टः स्यामिति मे मतिः ॥७०॥
adhyeṣyate ca ya imaṁ dharmyaṁ saṁvādam āvayoḥ
jñāna-yajñena tenāham iṣṭaḥ syām iti me matiḥ
Those that study this sacred conversation of ours worship Me through the sacrifice of knowledge. This is My conclusion.
श्रद्धावाननसूयश्च शृणुयादपि यो नरः ।
सोऽपि मुक्तः शुभाँल्लोकान्प्राप्नुयात्पुण्यकर्मणाम् ॥७१॥
śraddhāvān anasūyaś ca śṛṇuyād api yo naraḥ
so’pi muktaḥ śubhāṇl-lokān prāpnuyāt puṇya-karmaṇām
Those who hear this sacred conversation with transcendental faith and without envy will achieve perfection and reach My auspicious Abode.
Herein, Śrī Kṛṣṇa says that those who are envious cannot be taught the science of the Absolute Truth. However, those with the fortitude of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, who study this sacred conversation between Kṛṣṇa and Arjuna and who teach this knowledge to the non-envious are dear to Kṛṣṇa and will achieve perfection and attain Kṛṣṇa’s abode. This is confirmed in the following verses of the Gītā-māhātmya and the Vaiṣṇavīya-tantra-sāra:
gītā-śāstram idaṁ puṇyaṁ yaḥ paṭhet prayataḥ pumān
viṣṇoḥ padam avāpnoti bhaya śokādi varjitaḥ
One who recites the Bhagavad-gītā, which bestows all virtue, with resolute devotion will attain to the Supreme Abode of Viṣṇu/Kṛṣṇa, which is always free from the mundane qualities based on fear and lamentation. (Gītā-māhātmya 1)
saṁsāra-sāgaraṁ ghoraṁ tartum icchati yo naraḥ
gītā-nāvaṁ samāsādya pāraṁ yāti sukhena saḥ
A person who desires to cross over the terrible ocean of material suffering can do so very easily by taking shelter of the boat of the Bhagavad-gītā. (Vaiṣṇavīya-tantra-sāra, Gītā-māhātmya 7)
śālagrāma-śilāyāṁ vā devāgāre śivālaye
tīrthe nadyāṁ paṭhed gītāṁ saubhāgyaṁ labhate dhruvam
One who recites the Bhagavad-gītā in the presence of the Deity, śālāgrāma-śīla, or in a temple of the Supreme Person, or in a temple of Śiva, at a place of pilgrimage or on a bank of a sacred river – such a person becomes qualified to receive all good fortune. (Vaiṣṇavīya-tantra-sāra, Gītā-māhātmya 21)
etān māhātmya-saṁyuktaṁ gītā-pāṭhaṁ karoti yaḥ
śraddhayā yaḥ śrṇoty-eva paramāṁ gatim āpnuyāt
One endowed with faith, who studies and glorifies the Gītā, certainly reaches the Supreme Abode. (Vaiṣṇavīya-tantra-sāra, Gītā-māhātmya 84)
kacchid etac chrutaṁ pārtha tvayaikāgreṇa cetasā
kaccid ajñāna-saṁmohaḥ praṇaṣṭas te dhanañjaya
O Pārtha, O Dhanañjaya, have you heard this carefully with undivided attention? Has your ignorance and bewilderment been destroyed?
कच्चिदेतच्छ्रुतं पार्थ त्वयैकाग्रेण चेतसा ।
कच्चिदज्ञानसम्मोहः प्रनष्टस्ते धनञ्जय ॥७२॥
arjuna uvāca –
naṣṭo mohaḥ smṛtir labdhā tvat prasādān mayācyuta
sthito’smi gata-sandehaḥ kariṣye vacanaṁ tava
Arjuna replied: O infallible one, O Kṛṣṇa, by Your mercy my delusion has been dispelled and my mental equilibrium has been restored. Now that my doubts have been removed I am steady once more and will follow Your advice.
इत्यहं वासुदेवस्य पार्थस्य च महात्मनः ।
संवादमिममश्रौषमद्भुतं रोमहर्षणम् ॥७४॥
sañjaya uvāca –
ityahaṁ vāsudevasya pārthasya ca mahātmanaḥ
saṁvādam imam aśrauṣam adbhutaṁ roma-harṣaṇam
Sañjaya said: Thus I heard this conversation between Vāsudeva and the great Arjuna that is so glorious that my hairs stand on end.
व्यासप्रसादाच्छ्रुतवानेतद्गुह्यमहं परम् ।
योगं योगेश्वरात्कृष्णात्साक्षात्कथयतः स्वयम् ॥७५॥
vyāsa-prasādāc chrutavān etad guhyam ahaṁ param
yogaṁ yogeśvarāt kṛṣṇāt sākṣāt kathayataḥ svayam
By the grace of Vyāsa, I have heard this most confidential secret concerning the topmost system of yoga spoken by Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the Master of all yoga.
राजन्संस्मृत्य संस्मृत्य संवादमिममद्भुतम् ।
केशवार्जुनयोः पुण्यं हृष्यामि च मुहुर्मुहुः ॥७६॥
तच्च संस्मृत्य संस्मृत्य रूपमत्यद्भुतं हरेः ।
विस्मयो मे महान् राजन्हृष्यामि च पुनः पुनः ॥७७॥
rājan saṁsmṛtya saṁsmṛtya saṁvādam imam adbhutam
keśavārjunayoḥ puṇyaṁ hṛṣyāmi ca muhur muhuḥ
tac ca saṁsmṛtya saṁsmṛtya rūpam atyadbhutaṁ hareḥ
vismayo me mahān rājan hṛṣyāmi ca punaḥ punaḥ
O Emperor, continuously remembering this most profound conversation between Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the killer of the Keśī demon, and Arjuna, I rejoice again and again. When I remember the beautiful form of the Supreme Person Śrī Kṛṣṇa, I am struck with wonder.
यत्र योगेश्वरः कृष्णो यत्र पार्थो धनुर्धरः ।
तत्र श्रीर्विजयो भूतिर्ध्रुवा नीतिर्मतिर्मम ॥७८॥
yatra yogeśvaraḥ kṛṣṇo yatra pārtho dhanur-dharaḥ
tatra śrīr vijayo bhūtir dhruvā nītir matir mama
Where there is Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the Master of yoga, and where there is Arjuna, the mighty archer, there will always be prosperity, victory, opulence and righteousness – this is my firm conviction.
The sacred conversation between Śrī Kṛṣṇa and Arjuna ends with verse seventy-three wherein Arjuna says that his delusion and doubts have all been dispelled. Thus Arjuna agrees to follow Kṛṣṇa’s instructions. This is the ideal relationship between guru and disciple. The guru must dispel the delusion and doubts of a disciple by delivering the message of Śrī Kṛṣṇa found in Bhagavad-gītā, without change or adulteration, and the disciple must be willing to follow such instructions.
The potency of hearing Kṛṣṇa’s message is also confirmed in Śrīmad Bhāgavatam as follows:
śṛṇvatāṁ sva-kathāḥ kṛṣṇaḥ puṇya-śravaṇa-kīrtanaḥ
hṛdy-antaḥ stho hy-abhadrāṇi vidhunoti suhṛt satām
Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the friend of the pious. He removes all inauspiciousness from the heart of those who have developed the desire to hear His message, which is virtuous when properly heard and chanted. (Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 1.2.17)
Sañjaya has been narrating the conversation between Śrī Kṛṣṇa and Arjuna to Emperor Dhṛtarāṣṭra and now he expresses his own satisfaction and ecstasy. He says that by remembering the words of Śrī Kṛṣṇa and by seeing His beautiful form, he feels great ecstasy (hṛṣya) and great wonder (vismaya). Sañjaya then concludes with the benediction that wherever there is Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the Master of yoga, and wherever there is Arjuna, the sincere disciple, there will always be prosperity, victory, opulence and righteousness.
Thus ends the Anuvṛtti of Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā.
ॐ तत्सदिति श्रीमहाभारते शतसाहस्रयां संहितायां
श्रीमद्भगवदीतासूपनिषत्सु ब्रह्मविद्यायं योगशास्त्रे श्रीकृष्णार्जुनसंवादे
oṁ tat saditi śrī-mahābhārate-śata-sāhasryāṁ saṁhitāyāṁ
śrīmad bhagavad-gītāsūpaniṣatsu brahma-vidyāyāṁ yoga-śāstre śrī kṛṣṇārjuna-saṁvāde
OṀ TAT SAT – Thus ends Chapter Eighteen entitled Mokṣa Yoga from the conversation between Śrī Kṛṣṇa and Arjuna in the Upaniṣad known as Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā, the yoga-śāstra of divine knowledge, from the Bhīṣma-parva of Mahābhārata, the literature revealed by Vyāsa in one hundred thousand verses.
| इित श्रीमद्भगवदीता संपूर्णम् |
iti śrīmad bhagavad-gītā saṁpūrṇam
Thus ends the Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā.