SRIMAD BHAGAVAD GITA – PART 20 – Chapter 5, Verses 11 to 20 – KARMA VAIRAGYA YOGA

 

 

Chapter 5, Verses 11 to 20 – KARMA VAIRAGYA YOGA

In these ten verses, Bhagavan emphasises that one who performs stipulated actions giving up the desire for results obtains uninterrupted peace; such a person has no attachment, has no doer-ship, is equi-poised and is therefore not affected by sin; whereas a person who performs actions in expectation of fruits of his labour and is obsessed with the results, becomes entangled.  One who acts with equanimity and detachment resides happily.

When one is enlightened with the knowledge of the Self, the ignorance is destroyed; that knowledge is like the rising Sun illuminated by the Ultimate Truth.  Spiritual knowledge alone destroys ignorance that is why Bhagavan Shri Krishna uses the word ‘jnana’ or knowledge referring to knowledge of the Vedas which gives the awareness of the Ultimate Reality.  When one’s intelligence, mind, faith and refuge are all fixed in the Supreme, then one’s dispelled of illusions, and gains complete knowledge and attains liberation.

Bhagavan Shri Krishna gives the means to attain that supra-conscious awareness that illuminates one’s intelligence and leads directly to moksha or liberation from material existence.  A person who neither rejoices upon achieving something pleasant nor laments upon obtaining something unpleasant, who is self-intelligent, unbewildered, and who knows the science of uniting the individual consciousness with the Supreme Consciousness, enjoys unlimited bliss.

5.11      Shloka 5.11

कायेन मनसा बुद्ध्या केवलैरिन्द्रियैरपि

योगिनः कर्म कुर्वन्ति सङ्गं त्यक्त्वाऽऽत्मशुद्धये ।।5.11।।

Kayena manasa buddhya kevalair indriyair api |

Yoginah karma kurvanti sangam tyaktvAtma-suddhaye ||5.11||

Meaning: The yogis, giving up their attachment, perform actions by the body, mind, intelligence, and the senses, only for the purpose of self-purification.

Bhagavan Shri Krishna explains that those practising karma yoga without desire for the fruits of their action and free from attachment to sense objects, do so solely for the purification of the mind. Such a Yogi is a liberated person even within the material world, although he may be engaged in many of the material activities.

Such a person is fully aware that he is not this body and the actions performed are not by him as these are surrendered to Bhagavan Shri Krishna (Sarvam Sri Krishnarpanam Astu).

Completely devoid of all attachments they perform their natural functions as instruments to achieve self-purification.  This renders all bonds asunder that bind the Atma to the Samsara or the cycle of birth and death. 

5.12      Shloka 5.12

युक्तः कर्मफलं त्यक्त्वा शान्तिमाप्नोति नैष्ठिकीम्

अयुक्तः कामकारेण फले सक्तो निबध्यते ।।5.12।।

Yuktah karma-phalam tyaktva santim apnoti naisthikim |

Ayuktah kama-karena phale sakto nibadhyate ||5.12||

Meaning: One who performs stipulated actions giving up the desire for results obtains uninterrupted peace; whereas a person who performs actions in expectation of fruits of his labour and is obsessed with the results, becomes entangled.

Here Bhagavan is emphasising the importance of equanimity of mind.  The merits and demerits of the state of mind with which a person engages in activities are explained.  Attachment to the rewards to be gained from one’s actions is the root cause for bondage to the perpetual cycle of birth and death in material existence.

The aspirant of Atma Tattva or self-realisation of the Soul offers all actions unto the Supreme Being. Such a person attains Moksha or liberation and everlasting peace. Whereas the person who performs actions without the spirit of surrendering them to the Supreme is tainted with the blemish of selfishness with the craving for rewards and is unable to relinquish the conception of ego and proprietorship thinking that they are the body and hence, are bound by material existence caught forever in the cycle of birth and death.

The word ‘yuktah’ means one who is united with renunciation. It also denotes detachment where the person performs actions with a single-minded purpose of realisation of the Atma or Soul.

The word ‘ayuktah’ means not united with renunciation and is unmeritorious and tainted. It can also denote desiring mundane material rewards. 

5.13      Shloka 5.13

सर्वकर्माणि मनसा संन्यस्यास्ते सुखं वशी

नवद्वारे पुरे देही नैव कुर्वन्न कारयन् ।।5.13।।

Sarva-karmani manasa sannyasyaste sukham vasi  |

Nava-dvare pure dehi naiva kurvan na karayan ||5.13||

Meaning: One who acts with equanimity and detachment resides happily. Such a person embodied within the body of nine openings, liberated from all dualities, easily overcomes material bondage and is completely liberated.

The Soul lives in the human body which is also referred to as the city of nine gates (representing the nine openings in the human body). The activities of the body, or the figuratively speaking the functioning of this fort with nine gates, is conducted automatically by the different modes of nature.

The Story of Avigyata and Puranjana from Srimad Bhagavatam

There was a King called Puranjana who had a friend known as Avijnata. The King wandered about seeking an abode and arrived at a city with nine gates that was heavily guarded by five walls. In this city he met a beautiful lady surrounded by ten attendants and a five hooded serpent that guarded her. Puranjana left behind his friend Avijnata and went into the fort falling for the lady.

He was lost in sense-enjoyments and had so thoroughly identified his happiness with the queen that he lost all sense of his responsibilities.

One day Puranjana went out on a chariot of two wheels drawn by five horses. He hunted animals to satisfy his appetite for sense-enjoyments. On his return, though his wife was angry with him for abandoning her for a while she was soon pacified and once again she clasps the king in love. Thus, Puranjana lived, without noticing the passage of time.  Old age caught up with Puranjana now. Chandavega, the chief of the three-hundred and sixty-five Gandharvas, repeatedly attacked him. But, the great five-hooded serpent guarding the city could succeed in repelling the attack of Chandavega after fighting fiercely for about a year.

Meanwhile, daughter of Kala (Time), sought a husband; but no one accepted her. At last, she approached Bhaya and wooed him; Bhaya offered his army and also his brother Prajwara and induced her to destroy all beings. The army, accompanied by the daughter of Kala and Prajwara attacked Puranjana’s city. The King underwent untold agony due to relentless attack from Kala and her army. When Puranjana’s own home was attacked by the powerful army, this serpent was unable to withstand the onslaught and after a little struggle fled the city.

In the meantime, Prajwara set the city ablaze. Though intensely attached to it, the King had to quit the city. Even at this moment, on account of his intense sense-craving, Puranjana was unable to remember his old friend Avijnata.

He was again born as the beautiful daughter of the King of Vidarbha and King Malalvadhwaja married this Princess. In due time, they got one daughter and seven sons. The Maharaja after entrusting the Kingdom to his sons went to the forest to meditate upon God. The Maharani, too, followed him. After intense penance, he obtained grace of the Lord; and he attained Samadhi.

When the Maharani discovered that only his body remained on earth, while his soul had attained union with the Supreme Soul, she prepared the husband’s funeral and made up her mind to follow her husband.

At that moment, her old friend the Avijnata appeared before her and reminded her that he was her friend birth after birth. He reminded her how, leaving him, she in her previous birth had gone over to the city of nine gates and underwent much suffering. He reveals that he and she are One and One alone.

Purport of the Story

The Jiva is connected to the Unknown, Supreme Soul. After discarding many births as mineral, plant, animals, etc., the Jiva enters into the human body, the Navadwara-Puri. There are five sheaths  (Koshas – Annamaya, Pranamaya, Manomaya, Vijnanamaya and Anandamaya) that surround the Jiva here.

Residing in the body it enjoys the pleasures of this world through ten various sense-avenues. Riding the chariot of the body with its two wheels of good and evil, the Jiva performs many actions. The intellect gets reconciled to such actions and thus Jiva and the intellect pass the time. The year consisting of three hundred sixty-five days attack the body; but the five-hooded serpent (five chief-Pranas) repels all attacks and protects the city. But in due time old age overpowers him.

At this time, a powerful army attacks him. It is the army which is led by Time or death, with its attendants (mortal fear and severe fever). The sensuous man who makes merry in various objects of the senses now has to embrace cruel death. The Prana is unable to face this new enemy. It departs. Mortal fever sets the body ablaze. Though unwilling, the Jiva has to quit the body. But on account of infatuation, the Jiva is unable to recognize his kinship with the Supreme Being, God.

Jiva, though beyond gender, takes birth as male or female in accordance with Karma. In this birth, however, the Jiva renounces all desires for sense enjoyment, meditates on the Lord and eventually meets Avijnata, the ParamAtma, who awakens the soul to its pristine glory.

The Soul, although subjecting itself to the conditions of the body, can be beyond the bodily conditions.  This can be achieved through constant contemplation and meditation. However, our ignorance identifies our Soul with the material body, and therefore suffers from constant trials and tribulations.

In the Svetasvatara Upanishad, the body with nine gates is described as follows:

Nava-dvare pure dehi hamso lelayate bahih |
Vasi sarvasya lokasya sthavarasya carasya ca
||3.18||

Meaning: It is He who resides in the body, the city of nine gates. He is the soul that sports in the outside world. He is the master of the whole world, animate and inanimate.

A person who realises this knowledge about Self is not bound by the activities of the body and is liberated.

5.14      Shloka 5.14

कर्तृत्वं कर्माणि लोकस्य सृजति प्रभुः।

कर्मफलसंयोगं स्वभावस्तु प्रवर्तते।।5.14।।

Na kartrtvam na karmani lokasya srjati prabhuh |

Na karma-phala-samyogam svabhavas tu pravartate ||5.14||

Meaning: The embodied spirit, master of the city of his body, does not create activities, nor does he induce people to act, nor does he create the fruits of action. All this is enacted by the modes of material nature.

The word ‘prabhuh’ means master or ruler and the Atma or Soul representing an eternal portion of the Supreme Being as the ruler of each physical body. By its eternal nature it is beyond the influence of actions and reactions and resides impervious to them in its own nature.

The living entity is a microcosm of the Supreme Being.  However, the living entity is influenced by the modes of material nature and the variety of activities driven by the three Gunas i.e. Rajas, Tamas and Sattva, and their resultant reactions. Living in such a conditioned state, one suffers from the results of the activities performed by the body as one’s own (attachment to actions). It is this ignorance of identifying the soul with the body and consequently all actions of the body is attached to the Soul leading to the suffering and distress, and the unending cycle of rebirth.

As soon as the living entity becomes detached from the activities of the body, it becomes free from the reactions of those actions. Though the living entity appears to be the master of the body, it is neither its proprietor nor controller of its actions and reactions. It is simply stuck in the middle of Samsara Sagara (Ocean) struggling for existence. The waves of the ocean are tossing it, and it has no control over them. Only constant contemplation of the Supreme and meditation can remove this ignorance and lead to salvation.

5.15      Shloka 5.15

नादत्ते कस्यचित्पापं चैव सुकृतं विभुः।

अज्ञानेनावृतं ज्ञानं तेन मुह्यन्ति जन्तवः।।5.15।।

Nadatte kasyacit papam na caiva sukrtam vibhuh |

Ajnanenavrtam jnanam tena muhyanti jantavah ||5.15||

Meaning: The Supreme Spirit never assumes anyone’s sinful or virtuous activities. However, the living entities, because of their ignorance, are deluded.

Bhagavan Shri Krishna begins stating “nadatte kasyacit papam” meaning that He never accepts the sins of any being. He also never accepts the virtues of any being either. So, He is not connected with any merits or demerits that living entities may incur by their actions. The word “vibhuh” means the omnipresent Supreme who has unlimited knowledge, wealth, strength, courage, fame, splendour and dispassion. He is always satisfied in Himself, not perturbed by sinful or virtuous activities of living entities.

While the living entity pursues activities to fulfil desires, the Supreme Being is not responsible for the actions and reactions of those activities while he may enable the fulfilment of the same. Although He energises all of their activities, yet He remains unaffected by them.

The Supreme Being is the constant companion of the living entity as ParamAtma, and therefore He is an Observer of the actions of the individual Soul.  As human beings are endowed with free will and ‘Viveka’ or a sense of discrimination, and they bear full responsibility for their actions and its consequences.

When the sense of discrimination is shrouded by ignorance due to the absence of rightful knowledge, their awareness becomes obscured, and they are deluded resulting in the assumption of responsibility for their actions. This leads to the attachment of the reactions that accompany their actions binding them securely to this Samsara of repeated cycle of birth and death.

5.16      Shloka 5.16 

ज्ञानेन तु तदज्ञानं येषां नाशितमात्मनः।

तेषामादित्यवज्ज्ञानं प्रकाशयति तत्परम्।।5.16।।

Jnanena tu tad ajnanam yesam nasitam atmanah  

Tesam aditya-vaj jnanam prakasayati tat param ।।5.16।।

Meaning: When one is enlightened with the knowledge of the Self, the ignorance is destroyed; that knowledge is like the rising Sun illuminated by the Ultimate Truth.

Spiritual knowledge alone destroys ignorance that is why Bhagavan Shri Krishna uses the word ‘jnana’ or knowledge referring to knowledge of the Vedas which gives the awareness of the Ultimate Reality. Here the word jnana denotes a supra-consciousness experience and it does not mean expertise in intellectual empirical knowledge nor does it mean proficiency in mundane analytical knowledge.

Although the intelligence may be shrouded by the veil of ignorance still it has been seen that there are those whose consciousness becomes awakened upon receiving Vedic knowledge. The veil of ignorance is due to the endless mass of accumulated reactions to previous actions in incessant lifetimes since time immemorial. 

Atma tattva or realisation of the Soul and Soul related knowledge derived from the Vedic scriptures and imbibed from the teachings of the spiritual Guru increases virtue and quality in one’s life.

This raises a question then why not circumvent the path of Karma by straightaway renouncing all actions right from the beginning. Bhagavan Shri Krishna says that without karma yoga it is impossible to achieve purity of mind and in the absence of a pure mind it is very difficult and even perilous as learning without a conditioned mind can be disastrous. Whereas when one practices karma yoga and develops a purified mind and is endowed with equanimity that person soon perceives the Brahman and realises the Self.

5.17      Shloka 5.17

तद्बुद्धयस्तदात्मानस्तन्निष्ठास्तत्परायणाः।
गच्छन्त्यपुनरावृत्तिं ज्ञाननिर्धूतकल्मषाः।।5.17।।

Tad-buddhayas tad-Atmanas tan-nisthas tat-parayanah

Gacchanty apunar-avrttim jnana-nirdhuta-kalmasah||5.17||

Meaning:  When one’s intelligence, mind, faith and refuge are all fixed in the Supreme, then one’s dispelled of illusions, and gains complete knowledge and attains liberation.

Bhagavan Shri Krishna explains the means to attain that supra-conscious awareness that illuminates one’s intelligence and leads directly to moksha or liberation from material existence.

So, when does true knowledge of the spiritual reality reveal itself? Bhagavan Shri Krishna describes this by beginning with the words ‘tad buddhayas’ meaning when one’s intelligence is focused in Him and whose sinful reactions have been eradicated by spiritual knowledge. One who by the strength of mind has perceived the Atma or Soul within, that person is no longer affected by any of the actions so long as these are performed as duty and as an offering to the Supreme.

The compound word ‘tad-nisthas’ means those who have complete faith in the Supreme refers to those who enthusiastically follow the Vedic culture and perform all that is necessary to attain the Supreme. The compound word ‘tat-parayanah’ means those whose sole noble aim is devotion to the Atma. The cultivation of Vedic knowledge gradually develops consciousness and removes all taint and dross.

5.18      Shloka 5.18

विद्याविनयसंपन्ने ब्राह्मणे गवि हस्तिनि।

शुनि चैव श्वपाके पण्डिताः समदर्शिनः।।5.18।।

Vidya-vinaya-sampanne brahmane gavi hastini

Suni caiva sva-pake ca panditah sama-darsinah ||5.18||

Meaning: The humble sage, by virtue of true knowledge, sees with equal vision a learned and gentle brahmana, a cow, an elephant, a dog and a meat eater.

Even though there are external differences in the forms among embodied beings including humans, aquatics, animals and plants, the Supreme Bhagavan Shri Krishna is ever present in each and every being as a witness energising them all as the Supreme Soul and from whom a minuscule portion comprises the eternal individual Soul.

Bhagavan Shri Krishna uses the word ‘panditah’ meaning wise or learned, for those who perceive the reality as it is and beholds the nature of the Atma or Soul equally in all beings. From a Brahmin endowed with spiritual knowledge, a cow, a dog or meat eater, all are seen with an equal vision. Such a wise being always perceives the intrinsic nature of the Soul as it is, unaffected by any bodily conception.

The variegated appearances of different species of life is due to prakriti or material nature and not the Atma, which is the Spirit. The compound word ‘sama-darsinah’ meaning equal vision is how those in Atma tattva or Soul realisation regard all Atmas’ residing as being equal due to the essential nature of Atma being eternal and an infinitesimal part of the Supreme Being.

5.19      Shloka 5.19

इहैव तैर्जितः सर्गो येषां साम्ये स्थितं मनः।

निर्दोषं हि समं ब्रह्म तस्माद्ब्रह्मणि ते स्थिताः ।।5.19।।

Ihaiva tair jitah sargo yesam samye sthitam manah |

Nirdosam hi samam brahma tasmad brahmani te sthitah ||5.19||

Meaning: Those whose minds are established in sameness and equanimity have already conquered the conditions of birth and death. They are flawless like Brahman, and thus they are already situated in Brahman.

Equanimity of mind, as mentioned above, is the sign of self-realisation. Those who have actually attained such a stage should be considered to have conquered the material conditions of birth and death.

As long as one identifies with oneself with their body, such a person continues to be attached to a conditioned Soul.  But as soon as a person elevates oneself to a state of equanimity through realisation of the Self, that person is liberated from the conditioned cycle of birth and death.

Bhagavan is flawless because He is detached and has no desires or needs nor does he have attraction or hate. Similarly, when a living entity is without attraction or hatred, acts without desires, such a person also becomes flawless and attains liberation. 

Bhagavan Shri Krishna uses the word ‘ihaiva’ meaning in this very life to emphasise that those who have equal vision by perception of the Atma or eternal Soul residing equally in all beings attain victory over rebirth and gain moksha or liberation from the material existence.

This is the result obtainable for one situated in the equanimity of perceiving the Atma or Soul as equal in all living entities, they become fixed in the Atma itself. Then one becomes established in the Brahman or spiritual substratum pervading all existence which is indeed victory over Samsara.

5.20      Shloka 5.20

प्रहृष्येत्प्रियं प्राप्य नोद्विजेत्प्राप्य चाप्रियम्।

स्थिरबुद्धिरसम्मूढो ब्रह्मविद्ब्रह्मणि स्थितः।।5.20।।

Na prahrsyet priyam prapya nodvijet prapya capriyam

Sthira-buddhir asammudho brahma-vid brahmani sthitah ||5.20||

Meaning: A person who neither rejoices upon achieving something pleasant nor laments upon obtaining something unpleasant, who is self-intelligent, unbewildered, and who knows the science of uniting the individual consciousness with the Supreme Consciousness, enjoys unlimited bliss.

The attributes of the self-realised person are given in this verse. The first attribute is that one is not illusioned by the false identification of the body with the true Self. This steadiness of mind is called sthira-buddhi, or self-intelligence. This knowledge elevates the person to attain spiritual knowledge leading to the realisation of the Absolute Truth, namely the Brahman or ParamAtma. This is called Self-realisation.

जय श्री कृष्णा – Jai Shri Krishna!

Hari Om Tat Sat

SRIMAD BHAGAVAD GITA – PART 19 Chapter 5, Verses 1 to 10 – KARMA VAIRAGYA YOGA

In Chapter 5, Bhagavan Shri Krishna will explain the Karma Vairagya Yoga.  Bhagavan explained Karma Yoga in Chapter 3 while in this Chapter He talks about Karma Vairagya Yoga i.e. Renunciation of actions.  In essence Bhagavan is emphasising the need to renounce the results of fruitive actions.  In these ten verses, He explains how this can be achieved but starts with the postulate that both paths i.e. Karma Yoga and Jnana Yoga leads to self-realisation and Moksha. Arjuna is naturally perplexed and asks Shri Krishna to explain clearly as to which of these two paths is superior.  Bhagavan said, the renunciation of work and work in devotion are both good for liberation. But, of the two, work in devotional service is better than renunciation of work. One who neither hates nor desires the fruits of his activities is known to be always as a renounced. Such a person, liberated from all dualities, easily overcomes material bondage and is completely liberated, O mighty-armed Arjuna.

One can attain liberation by means of renunciation while in devotional service and therefore a person in devotional service views the path of Karma Yoga and the path of renunciation (Sanyasa) as one and the same.  Unless one is engaged in the devotional service of the Lord, a mere renunciation of activities cannot make one happy nor result in spiritual advancement. The sages, purified by works of devotion, achieved the Supreme without delay.

The person who works in devotion, who is a pure soul, and who has complete control over his mind and senses, who is equipoised, is dear to everyone, and everyone is dear to him. Though always working, such a man is never entangled as he is engaged in the divine consciousness.  Although seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, eating, moving about, sleeping, and breathing, always knows within himself that he actually does nothing at all as all his acts are dedicated to the Supreme; such a person has no attachment, has no doer-ship, is equipoised and is therefore not affected by sin, just as a lotus leaf remains untouched by water.

5.1      Shloka 5.1

अर्जुन उवाच
संन्यासं कर्मणां कृष्ण पुनर्योगं शंससि।
यच्छ्रेय एतयोरेकं तन्मे ब्रूहि सुनिश्िचतम्।।5.1।।

Arjuna Uvaca
Sannyasam karmanam Krishna punar yogam ca samsasi  |
Yac chreya etayor ekam tan me bruhi su-niscitam ||5.1||
Meaning: Arjuna said, O’ Krishna, You asked me to renounce work, and now You are recommending to work with devotion. Now please tell me definitively which of the two is superior?

The words ‘sannyasyam karmanam’ means ‘renunciation of all actions’ and this contains the word ‘nyasa’ that denotes equanimity. Thus, all actions are recommended to be renounced with equanimity inferring that both Karma (performance of activities) and Sanyasa (renunciation of activities) are being recommended to be performed simultaneously.

Bhagavan had previously explained that actions performed without desire of rewards (Karma yoga) as a pre-eminent discipline.  He also stated that one in Jnana yoga need not perform any action. He further declared that the person who is immersed in ‘Atma or Soul’ has no need to perform Karma Yoga or Jnana Yoga. All these propositions appear to be conflicting, hence, Arjuna is confused and asks Bhagavan Krishna explain it clearly and definitively.

It is difficult for an aspirant of Moksha or liberation to determine if Karma Yoga or Jnana Yoga is more appropriate or is it possible to simultaneously perform both together.

Renunciation and the cultivation of knowledge is Jnana yoga. The performance of prescribed activities is Karma yoga. Bhagavan Krishna declared that Karma yoga was worthy to be followed by those seeking Moksha or liberation from the cycle of birth and death in Chapter 2.  Constant engagement in Karma Yoga will lead to purification of the mind and rid it off all dross. As the mind becomes pure, Jnana yoga would naturally set in leading to knowledge about atma tattva. In Chapter 3, Bhagavan says Karma Yoga alone is enough for attaining Moksha.  Hence, Arjuna is now seeking clarity on which of these paths is superior.

5.2      Shloka 5.2

श्री भगवानुवाच
संन्यासः कर्मयोगश्च निःश्रेयसकरावुभौ।
तयोस्तु कर्मसंन्यासात्कर्मयोगो विशिष्यते।।5.2।।

Sri Bhagavan Uvaca
Sannyasah karma-yogas ca nihsreyasa-karav ubhau |
Tayos tu karma-sannyasat karma-yogo visisyate ||5.2||
Meaning: Bhagavan said: The renunciation of work and work in devotion are both good for liberation. But, of the two, work in devotional service is better than renunciation of work.

A person can perform Karma yoga and renunciation of actions; but of the two, Karma yoga is preferable. While both are equally effective performing one’s duties with full devotion and faith and without the desire of rewards for those actions, it becomes superior.  It ultimately leads to self-realisation.

5.3      Shloka 5.3

ज्ञेयः नित्यसंन्यासी यो द्वेष्टि काङ्क्षति।
निर्द्वन्द्वो हि महाबाहो सुखं बन्धात्प्रमुच्यते।।5.3।।

Jneyah sa nitya-sannyasi yo na dvesti na kanksati   |
Nirdvandvo hi maha-baho sukham bandhat pramucyate ||5.3||
Meaning: One who neither hates nor desires the fruits of his activities is known to be always renounced. Such a person, liberated from all dualities, easily overcomes material bondage and is completely liberated, O mighty-armed Arjuna.

The attributes of Sanyasa are being described in this verse.  A person who is equipoised and free from aversion or attraction and free from all dualities is said to be a Sanyasi. The complete cessation of desire for the rewards of action as well as complete renunciation of the influence of all dualities such as happiness and distress, pain and pleasure etc. will lead to liberation.  In this position one is almost oblivious of the external world and has no urge to crave or hate anything and thus is also able to endure the dualities seeing them all as the same. Shri Krishna confirms that such a person easily performs karma yoga without effort and transcends Samsara or the cycle of birth and death.

5.4      Shloka 5.4

सांख्ययोगौ पृथग्बालाः प्रवदन्ति पण्डिताः।
एकमप्यास्थितः सम्यगुभयोर्विन्दते फलम्।।5.4।।

Sankhya-yogau prthag balah pravadanti na panditah   |
Ekam apy asthitah samyag ubhayor vindate phalam ||5.4||
Meaning: Only the ignorant speak of karma-yoga and devotional service as being different from Sankhya yoga, analytical study of the material world. Those who are learned say that anyone who applies himself to either of these paths achieves the results of both.

It is impossible to gain wisdom without renunciation of fruits of action and the relinquishment of enjoyment of the sense objects. Bhagavan Shri Krishna explains that both are inherent in each other and not contradictory. One who observes yajna or offerings of worship to propitiate the Supreme Lord is not sanctified due to its being performed for desires of the rewards upon its completion. But for the same yajna when performed without desires but solely for the propitiation of the Supreme Lord is considered the highest wisdom.

The renunciation can apply to the yogi who follows Sankhya Yoga as well. The ignorant and uninformed mistakenly see these two paths as separate and yielding divergent results; but this is not the case and is well understood by those who are self-realised.

Although karma yoga may go through the path of Jnana yoga it may also independently achieve atma tattva by its own merit. So as long as an aspirant firmly adopts either path with determination they are assured of success.

5.5      Shloka 5.5

यत्सांख्यैः प्राप्यते स्थानं तद्योगैरपि गम्यते।
एकं सांख्यं योगं यः पश्यति पश्यति।।5.5।।

Yat sankhyaih prapyate sthanam tad yogair api gamyate |
Ekam sankhyam ca yogam ca yah pasyati sa pasyati ||5.5||
Meaning: One who knows that the position reached by means of renunciation can also be attained in devotional service and therefore views the path of karma and the path of renunciation as one and the same.

Both paths lead to the same result as a person performing actions diligently gains spiritual intelligence and achieves Atma tattvas (self-realisation). Grihastas (householders) should aim to perform activities without any desire for rewards. The continuous practice of renunciation of rewards will eventually lead one towards attaining spiritual knowledge.

By meditating on the ‘pranava’ or the primordial mantra AUM (OM), a seeker is assured of achieving liberation when they perform their duties with devotion and without any desire for rewards. But even among these there is a heightened bliss for those who perform actions in the service of  the Supreme Lord Shri Krishna or any of His incarnations.

Actions performed by the one who has renounced the rewards are called Karma that does not add to one’s baggage as these actions based on spiritual intelligence.  ‘Kar’ is understood as action and ‘ma’ is understood as wisdom. Thus, one doesn’t need to take ‘Sanyaas’ for gaining spiritual knowledge.  Even householders with family responsibilities can perform actions in renunciation, if they possess this wisdom or spiritual intelligence.  Hence, there is no difference between renunciation (Sanyasa) and Karma Yoga if the actions are performed as a matter of duty with no desire for the rewards from those actions

The renounced are followers of Jnana yoga or seekers of Vedic knowledge but the goal achieved by them is similar to the one achieved by the followers of Karma.

5.6      Shloka 5.6 

संन्यासस्तु महाबाहो दुःखमाप्तुमयोगतः।
योगयुक्तो मुनिर्ब्रह्म नचिरेणाधिगच्छति।।5.6।।

 Sannyasas tu maha-baho duhkham aptum ayogatah |
Yoga-yukto munir brahma na cirenadhigacchati ||5.6||
Meaning: Unless one is engaged in the devotional service of the Lord, mere renunciation of activities cannot make one happy. The sages, purified by works of devotion achieve the Supreme without delay.

The means to Moksha is attain the state of equanimity and it is achieved through renunciation. The best form of renunciation is to dedicate the actions and rewards always as an offering to the Supreme Lord for His pleasure is true renunciation.  In the Agni Purana it is stated that without renouncing the desire of rewards for one’s actions whatever one might offer unto the Supreme Lord has no merit. Hence, renunciation is truly achieved with equanimity.

In the Nirvana Shatakam, Sri Adi Shankaracharya explains the attributes of the Pure Consciousness (Atma).  An excerpt from that on equanimity is given below:

Na Me Dvesha Raagau Na Me Lobha Mohau, Mado Naiva Me Naiva Maatsarya Bhaavah |
Na Dharmo Na Chaartho Na Kaamo Na Moksha, Chidaananda Rupah Shivoham Shivoham ||
Meaning: I have no hatred or dislike, nor affiliation or liking, nor greed, nor delusion, nor pride or haughtiness, nor feelings of envy or jealousy. I have no duty (dharma), nor any money, nor any desire (kama), nor even liberation (moksha). I am indeed, That eternal knowing and bliss i.e. “Pure Consciousness”.

This raises a question then why not circumvent the path of Karma by straightaway renouncing all actions right from the beginning. Bhagavan Shri Krishna says that without karma yoga it is impossible to achieve purity of mind and in the absence of a pure mind it is very difficult and even perilous as the chance of disturbance and agitation are highly likely. Whereas the purified mind of the Sage endowed with equanimity who practices karma yoga, soon perceives the Brahman or realisation of the soul.

5.7      Shloka 5.7

योगयुक्तो विशुद्धात्मा विजितात्मा जितेन्द्रियः।
सर्वभूतात्मभूतात्मा कुर्वन्नपि लिप्यते।।5.7।।

 Yoga-yukto vishuddhatma vijitatma jitendriyah  |
Sarva-bhutatma-bhutatma kurvann api na lipyate ||5.7||
Meaning:  One who works in devotion, who is a pure soul, and who controls his mind and senses, is dear to everyone, and everyone is dear to him. Though always working, such a man is never entangled.

By such worship one becomes ‘Visuddhatma’  meaning ‘purified intelligence’ and ‘Vijitatma’ meaning ‘of controlled mind being absorbed in such worship’ and by this absorption one is ‘Jitendriyah’ meaning ‘acquires control over senses’. Such a person is ‘Sarva-bhutama’ meaning ‘one who realise their own atma and perceive the same atma is in all beings in unlimited variegated forms. Such a person views all beings not by the manifest forms they exhibit in their lifetime; but rather the intrinsic nature of the eternal atma within which is the essential nature of all embodied beings. A person situated in this consciousness is never infatuated or deluded by the erroneous idea of thinking that a temporary material substance can ever by equated to the eternal soul. Such a person due to this understanding is never bound by the actions although performing activities and in a relatively short time achieves atma tattva or realisation of the soul. 

The first step is for a person to contemplate on the Supreme Lord Shri Krishna as the indwelling consciousness within the hearts of all beings as the primary form to achieve equanimity.  And knowing that all beings are under the Supreme Lord’s control is knowing Him as the Supreme Being. In the Agni Purana it states that one who knows the Supreme Lord is present as the indwelling consciousness in all beings, that one achieves purification of mind and realisation of the Atma.

If the Brahman is all pervading and omnipresent and transcends the Prakriti (5 element), then how is a person made of Prakriti possess those attributes of the Consciousness?   Lord Krishna answers this by affirming that those who practice Yoga (the science of the individual consciousness attaining communion with the ultimate consciousness) while being engaged in actions with a pure mind, with control over senses and body, and realising that the Atma exists equally in all beings, and is a well-wisher of all beings; such a Yogi having overcome the duality of activity and inertia is not bound by his actions. Having attained the Brahman, peaceful in mind, neither grieving nor desiring, and equipoised in all situations and to all beings, such a one obtains love of the Supreme.

5.8      Shloka 5.8

नैव किंचित्करोमीति युक्तो मन्येत तत्त्ववित्।
पश्यन् श्रृणवन्स्पृशञ्जिघ्रन्नश्नन्गच्छन्स्वपन् श्वसन्।।5.8।।

Naiva kincit karomiti yukto manyeta tattva-vit |
Pasyan srnvan sprsan jighrann asnan gacchan svapan svasan ||5.8||
Meaning: A person in the divine consciousness, although engaged in seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, eating, moving about, sleeping, and breathing, always knows within himself that he actually does nothing at all.

This verse explains how practicing renunciation leads to achieving equanimity. Energised solely by the all-pervading energy of the Supreme, a person’s mind and body become active. The knowledge that every being is ever dependent on the Supreme Lord is an essential, eternal and absolute truth.

Thus, one is not subject to conceptions of doership, seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting and touching which are the functions of the eyes, ears, nose, tongue and body. Moving is the function of the legs, speaking is that of the mouth, hearing that of ears and so forth. Breathing is a function of the vital force and includes all others as it sustains the entire body.

The purport is that one should live their life free from the ego of ‘I-ness’ and ‘my-ness’ and conceptions of doership, knowing that all actions are the functions of the organs and senses and are independent from the individual consciousness.

One who has realised this nature of the atma knows the reality. Such a person reflects that through the senses of perception such as eyes and ears, the senses of action such as the voice, the pranas or life breaths, the physical body functions with all its corresponding objects; but factually is separate as an individual consciousness from all these activities and virtually do not do any of these actions.

5.9      Shloka 5.9

प्रलपन्विसृजन्गृह्णन्नुन्मिषन्निमिषन्नपि
इन्द्रियाणीन्द्रियार्थेषु वर्तन्त इति धारयन् ।।5.9।।

Pralapan visrjan grhnann unmisan nimisann api
Indriyanindriyarthesu vartanta iti dharayan ||5.9||
Meaning: Because while speaking, evacuating, grasping, involuntary opening and closing of the eyelids, he always knows that it is only the material senses that are engaged with their objects and never does he think that he is doing any of them.

The conception of doer-ship is derived from contact with the senses which a living entity is coerced to accept due to actions from past lives. But this doer-ship is not an essential attribute of the Atma and thus it is not necessary to accept that all acts done by the sense organs are performed by the person. Thus, in this way by shunning the doer-ship one is situated in atma tattva or self-realisation.

5.10      Shloka 5.10

ब्रह्मण्याधाय कर्माणि सङ्गं त्यक्त्वा करोति यः।
लिप्यते पापेन पद्मपत्रमिवाम्भसा।।5.10।।

Brahmany adhaya karmani sangam tyaktva karoti yah |
Lipyate na sa papena padma-patram ivambhasa ||5.10||
Meaning: One who acts by dedicating all activities to the Supreme, giving up attachment; such a person is not affected by sin, just as a lotus leaf untouched by water.

Whosoever is properly situated in the state of equanimity is not affected by reactions due to karma yoga as one does not desire the rewards of their actions but instead dutifully offer the results of all their actions unto the Supreme Lord. The renunciation of rewards of actions is repeatedly emphasised by Shri Krishna as the method of performing spiritual practice which is the means to gain spiritual knowledge and self-realisation.

The desire for rewards of actions is the fundamental reason for all ego conceptions of being the physical body and also the root cause of bondage in Samsara resulting in the repeated cycle of birth and death. So to make spiritual progress, the desire for rewards should be immediately given up so that one does not get tainted with sinful reactions.

जय श्री कृष्णा – Jai Shri Krishna!

Hari Om Tat Sat