This article contains the verses from Shrimad Bhagavad Gita Chapter 18.
Links to remaining chapters can be found at the end of the article.
Shrimad Bhagavad Gita Chapter 18
O Krishna, the vanquisher of evil, I beseech you to elucidate for me the meanings of Sannyasa and Tyaga, as well as the distinctions between the various types of renunciation.
One form of renunciation is known as Sannyasa, and another is known as Tyaga. Sannyasa refers to refraining from engaging in actions motivated solely by one’s own self-interest.
Some of the wise believe that all actions should be abandoned because they are bad, but others disagree. Others say that certain kinds of action — self-sacrifice, giving, and self-discipline — should be continued.
Listen carefully, Arjun, as I discuss three distinct types of Tyaga and the conclusions I have drawn regarding each of these.
Giving, self-sacrifice, and self-discipline are practises that should not be abandoned because they help purify those who are thoughtful.
But even these, Arjun, should be done without the desire for the rewards that only benefit oneself. This is very important.
It is not appropriate for one to run away from their responsibilities. Tamasic is a term used by the wise to describe such misguided acts of renunciation.
Rajasic behaviour consists of avoiding action out of fear of difficulty or physical discomfort. This kind of self-denial does not earn any rewards.
However, the practise of sattvic renunciation entails not desiring anything for oneself while at the same time carrying out one’s obligations while being aware that these obligations are obligatory.
Those who are endowed with sattva have a crystal clear understanding of the meaning of renunciation and remain unwavering in their commitment to it. They are not put off by unpleasant work, nor do they look for a job because they want something that is enjoyable.
It is impossible to completely abstain from acting so long as one possesses a physical body. Giving up all desire for personal reward is an essential part of true renunciation.
Those who are fixated on their own personal reward will eventually reap the results of their actions, some of which will be pleasant, some of which will be unpleasant, and some of which will be a mixture of the two. Those who, however, give up any and all hopes of attaining personal gain place themselves beyond the purview of karma.
Listen carefully, Arjun, and I will explain the five components that are required for the successful completion of every action, according to the teachings of the Sankhya school of thought.
The human body, the means by which the act is carried out, the ego, the act itself, and the will of the divine.
These are the five components that are present in every action, whether it be a thought, a word, or a deed, whether it be good or bad.
Those who are incapable of grasping this concept consider themselves to be independent actors. They have simplistic minds that prevent them from comprehending the reality of the situation.
The person who is free from ego and who has achieved purity of heart, even though he kills these people, he does not kill, and he is not bound by the action that he took.
Knowledge, the thing to be known, and the knower all contribute to action in their own unique ways. The totality of action consists of three components: the means, the act itself, and the person carrying it out.
The Gunas are a system that can be used to describe knowledge, action, and the person doing the doing. Please pay attention, because I am going to break down the differences between them for you.
Sattvic knowledge recognises the presence of a single, imperishable being in each and every being, as well as the unity that lies beneath the apparent diversity of creation.
The knowledge of Rajas considers all things and creatures to be separate and distinct from one another.
Tamasic knowledge, which is devoid of any sense of perspective, perceives a single, insignificant component and misinterprets it as the entire thing.
Sattvic activity consists of work done in order to fulfil one’s obligations without regard to one’s own personal reward or to whether or not the work itself is pleasurable or disagreeable.
Work that is full of stress and is motivated by egotistical desire or self-will is said to be rajasic.
Tamasic work is work that is undertaken without any consideration of consequences, waste, injury to others, or even one’s own capacities. This kind of work is considered being tamasic.
Sattvic workers are free from egotism and selfish attachments, and they are full of enthusiasm and fortitude regardless of whether they are successful or unsuccessful.
Workers who are ruled by Rajas have intense personal desires and a need to be rewarded for their efforts. They are easily swept away by fortune, whether it is good or bad, because they are covetous, impure, and destructive.
The workers at Tamasic are undisciplined, crude, obstinate, dishonest, and dishonesty, and they are also lazy. They are prone to depression and have a difficult time getting things done on time.
Arjun, please pay attention as I break down the three distinct types of understanding and will.
A sattvic intellect has the characteristics of knowing when to act and when not to act, what actions are appropriate and what actions are inappropriate, what actions bring about security and what actions bring about insecurity, what actions bring about freedom and what actions bring about bondage.
The rajasic intellect is incapable of differentiating between what ought to be done and what ought not to be done, so it gets both right and wrong actions confused.
The tamasic intellect is shrouded in darkness, and wherever it turns, it completely inverts what is right and what is wrong.
The rajasic will, which is conditioned by the desire to satisfy one’s own needs, seeks to increase one’s wealth, pleasure, and respectability.
The qualities of stubborn ignorance, sloth, fear, grief, depression, and conceit are all manifestations of the tamasic will.
Now pay attention, Arjun. There are also three different types of joy. One can reach the end of their suffering through consistent effort.
This is the joy of sattva, which is born of a mind that is at peace with itself. It is something that, at first, seems like poison but, in the end, tastes like nectar.
At first, pleasure from the senses can seem sweet like nectar, but in the long run, it can be as bitter as poison. The rajasic individual will experience joy similar to this in their lives.
Those who are tamasic derive their enjoyment from sleeping, laziness, and getting drunk on alcohol. This happiness is an illusion from the very beginning all the way through to its very end.
The three Gunas act as a form of conditioning on every living thing, regardless of whether they were born on earth or among the gods in heaven.
The various responsibilities that are found in the social order, such as those that differentiate brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaishya, and Shudra, have their origins in this conditioning.
Because of the nature of Brahmins, they are born with certain responsibilities. These responsibilities include self-control, tranquility, purity of heart, patience, humility, learning, austerity, wisdom, and faith.
As a result of their genetic make-up, Kshatriyas naturally possess qualities such as bravery, strength, fortitude, dexterity, generosity, leadership, and the resolute determination to never flee from the field of battle.
Agriculture, dairying, and trading are some examples of jobs that are appropriate for a Vaishya. Serving others is the shudra’s rightful occupation.
Everyone is capable of reaching perfection so long as they are dedicated to performing their own unique duty. Permit me to explain how it works.
The act of producing one’s own work is a form of worship directed toward the Creator, who is present in all living things. Worship of this kind enables a person to realise their potential.
It is more important to have a firm grasp on one’s own responsibilities than it is to become an expert in those of another. A person will never experience regret if they live up to the responsibilities they were born with.
Nobody ought to give up on their responsibilities just because they find flaws in them. Every single action and activity has its own unique set of flaws, just as a fire is always surrounded by smoke.
One who has conquered themselves and their desires and is free from all attachments to themselves is said to have attained the highest level of perfection, which is freedom from action.
Listen carefully, Arjun, because I am about to explain how a person who has achieved perfection can also achieve Brahman, which is the ultimate culmination of wisdom.
Infallible in discrimination, master of the senses and passions, and unfettered by the din of likes and dislikes.
A life like this one is one of simplicity and independence, built on the practises of meditation and the mastery of one’s body, speech, and mind.
They are at peace with themselves and others, and they enter the unitive state. This occurs when they are liberated from self-will, aggression, arrogance, anger, and the desire to possess other people or things.
They have equal regard for every living creature, and they have achieved the highest level of devotion to me. United with Brahman; they are always joyful and they are beyond the reach of desire and sorrow.
They gain a true knowledge of me through their love for me, and it is then that they see my glory and enter my limitless being.
They dedicate themselves to serving Me in every way, and it is by My grace that they are granted eternal life.
Make everything you do an offering to me and think of me as the only one who can protect you. Relying on your own self-discipline, you should always meditate on yourself.
You will be successful in overcoming all challenges thanks to my grace if you remember me. But if you insist on ignoring what I say out of your own free will, there is nothing that can help you.
Your determination will be for naught if you make an egotistical statement like, “I will not fight this battle,” because your own nature will force you to engage in the conflict.
Because of your self-delusion, your own karma, which was born of your own nature, will force you to do things that you do not wish to do, even if they are in your best interests.
The Lord makes his home in the souls of all living things and spins their lives like a chariot on the wheel of maya.
You will experience a profound sense of peace as a gift from God if you make your way to him as quickly as you can for safety.
I have shared with you these priceless words of advice; after giving them some thought, act in whatever way you see fit.
Dear one, these are the final words that I will ever say to you in order to facilitate your spiritual fulfilment. You hold a very special place in my heart.
Be mindful of me at all times, worship me, and make every action an offering to me, and you will find your way to me; this is a promise from me, because I hold you in high regard.
Throw away any and all support and place your trust in me alone. Do not be sad; I will cleanse you of the sins you have committed in the past.
Do not impart this knowledge on anyone who lacks devotion or self-control, who has no interest in learning, or who makes fun of me in any way.
Those who perform the greatest act of love and teach this supreme mystery of the Gita to everyone who loves me will, without a shadow of a doubt, find their way to me.
There is no one on earth who could provide me with more devoted service, and there is no one who could be more dear to me.
Those who worship me by reflecting on these holy words and gaining wisdom from the experience do so with devotion.
Even those who listen to them with faith, free from doubts, will find that the world in which good people dwell is a happier place.
Have you listened to what was said carefully? Have your questions and concerns been answered to your satisfaction?
You have helped me see through my misconceptions and misunderstandings, and I am grateful for your enlightenment. My confidence in you has grown, and I pledge to carry out your will.
This is the conversation that I overheard taking place between Arjun, the son of Pritha, known for his great heart, and Krishna, the son of Vasudeva. The astonishing nature of it causes my hair to stand on end.
Joy overwhelms me every time I think about these wonderful and holy words that Krishna and Arjun shared with one another.
When I think about the beautiful form that Krishna has, I am overcome with awe, and my joy is practically bursting at the seams.
There will be prosperity, victory, happiness, and sound judgement wherever the divine Krishna and the mighty Arjun are. They will bring these things wherever they go. I am absolutely certain of this!