Chapter 18

  1. Arjuna said:
    Mighty warrior, I want to understand the truth of Sannyas and how it is like and different from renunciation, master of sensing, mighty killer of demons.
  2. The Blessed One said:
    Renouncing the desire for activities is what the wise know as real Sannyas. The renunciation of all the results of activities is what the experienced call true renunciation.
  3. Thus great thinkers will say that some types of work must be renounced as wrongdoing. But ritual, charity, discipline and other works should never be renounced.
  4. Hear from me definitely thus regarding renunciation, best of the Bharatas. Tiger among men, I declare that there are three types of renunciation.
  5. Acts of ritual, charity, and discipline must be done, they should never be renounced. And ritual, charity and discipline purify even the great beings.
  6. But in all of these kinds of activities one should renounce one's attachment to results. Scion of Partha, it is my definite opinion that these acts are best done only as a duty.
  7. But the renunciation of natural activities is never correct. To declare that these activities should be given up is to be in the element of ignorance.
  8. One who renounces such things out of fear will create misery for himself and problems in his body. Such renunciation is in the element of passion, and will not gain the results of true renunciation.
  9. Thus, actions which are natural to you must be performed, Arjuna. Certainly, one should give up attachment to the results of these acts. To me, this is renunciation in the element of truth.
  10. A clever and true renunciate, free from doubts, will neither hate unfortunate work nor become attached to fortunate work.
  11. It is impossible for anyone in a body to totally renounce all actions. But anyone who renounces the result of actions is said to be a renunciate.
  12. There are three kinds of action: action which moves one upwards, action which moves one downwards, and action which has mixed results. These results (karma) will affect one who has not renounced them at the time of death. But they will never affect a true Sannyasin.
  13. Mighty warrior, understand from me the five causes listed in the wisdom teachings, said there to lead to power in all actions.
  14. They are: the place of action, the performer of action, the different kinds of instruments used for action, and the motivations of the person acting; and the influence of the divine is the fifth.
  15. It is these five factors that determine whether a person takes action with his body, words or thoughts; and whether the action is right or wrong.
  16. One who believes it is his soul that takes action is being foolish and not enlightened.
  17. One whose enlightenment is never blocked by his ego could do anything, even kill without truly killing. He will not become attached.
  18. Awareness, the subject of awareness, and the one who is aware are the factors that determine the three types of action. The senses, the action itself, and the performer of the action are the three ingredients that result in karma.
  19. Through the gunas, there are thus three kinds of awareness, actions, and performers of action. It is said that they can be in three different elements (gunas). Hear of these now.
  20. One who sees that in all living beings there is an absolute oneness, indivisible yet infinitely divided, that one is aware in the wisdom of the real (sattvas).
  21. But one who, because of dividedness, is only aware of the various divisions, and sees all living beings as falling into different classifications, that one is aware in the wisdom of passion (rajas).
  22. And one who sees only their own attached actions as the be all and end all, with no deeper cause, is without true wisdom and very petty. That one is said to be in the element of ignorance (tamas).
  23. All action which is done with centeredness, without association, without desire or reluctance, and by one who has no lust of result, is called action that is real (sattvas).
  24. But action performed by one who has lust of result,or ego, or action that is done with great striving, is said to be action that is passionate (rajas).
  25. And that action which is born of illusion, self-motivated, without taking responsibility for the consequences, causing destruction or misery to others and which leads to further bondage is said to be action that is ignorant (tamas).
  26. Performing action free of association, without ego, justified with drive and enthusiasm, trying equally though powerful or powerless, the performer of such actions is said to be real (sattvas).
  27. Doing action with great attachment to desired results, greedy, jealous and unclean, affected by joy and sorrow, the performer of such actions I declare to be passionate (rajas).
  28. Doing action that is unnatural, driven by material motives, stubborn, insincere, insulting to others, slothful, depressed, and hesitant, the performer of such actions is said to be ignorant (tamas).
  29. Now hear from me in detail about the different levels of centeredness in enlightenment that are determined by the three gunas, great champion.
  30. Being wise about action and inaction, what should and should not be done, fear and fearlessness, attachment and liberation, this is enlightenment at the level of sattvas.
  31. Being informed by a teaching about what should or should not be done, this is imperfect enlightenment at the level of rajas.
  32. Being deluded and not knowing the difference between true and false teaching, and thinking always in the wrong direction, this is enlightenment covered by tamas, scion of Partha.
  33. The will that focuses the mind, energy, senses, and actions, by the unwavering practice of yoga, that will is in the element sattvas, scion of Partha.
  34. But the will which focuses the way of lust and material effort, Arjuna, because of lust of result, that will is in the element rajas, scion of Partha.
  35. And the will by which one never stops fantasizing, fearing, regretting, feeling sorry for one's self, and illusion, that foolish will is said to be in the element tamas, scion of Partha.
  36. Best of the Bharatas, now hear from me of the three levels of joy one can enjoy by practice, through which one can also gain the end of misery.
  37. That practice which can be compared at first to the taste of poison, but at the end is like the taste of nectar, is said to be joy in the element of the real. It is born out of the grace of the enlightenment of the soul.
  38. The joy that is born of the combination of the senses and sensation, which in the beginning is like nectar but later like poison, is said to be joy in the element of passion.
  39. And that which is in the beginning and end alike a joy that is due to the clouding of the soul, born of sleep, sloth, and illusion, is said to be in the element of ignorance.
  40. There is no being in material existence, on this earth or in the heavens, even among the divine spirits, who is free of the influence of these three gunas.
  41. Vanquisher of enemies, the four types of men: godly (brahmanas), noble (ksatriyas), worldly (vaisyas), and unclean (sudras) are classified by their actions, born of their relation to the gunas.
  42. Peacefulness, balance, discipline, purity, openness, sincerity, awareness, wisdom, and spirituality are the godly actions of a natural man.
  43. Bravery, strength, will, cleverness, fearlessness when challenged, generosity, and a noble nature, are the actions of a noble being.
  44. Stewardship of the earth and animals, as well as business, are the actions of a worldly man. And an unclean man should dedicate his soul to acting in service, for this is the natural role of the unclean.
  45. For each type of man following his own type of actions will lead him to reach a higher power. Now hear how by acting in practices according to one's nature this power is achieved.
  46. A man can achieve this power by serving, by dedicating his own natural actions, to that which is the source of all life, which is within all things.
  47. It is better to follow one's own natural path, however imperfectly, then to follow the path of another, however perfectly. By performing actions correct to one's own nature, one will never commit wrongdoing.
  48. Son of Kunti, one should never give up the actions that come of one's own nature. Certainly all actions will have their imperfections, just as smoke will cover a fire.
  49. With an enlightened perspective to all things, focused on the soul, free of material wishes, through the greatest magickal power, detachment, one attains Sannyas.
  50. Achieving this power, one achieves Brahma. Try to understand me when I say this. Son of Kunti, it is essentially that state which is the highest.
  51. Enlightened, fully practicing purification, with determination driving the soul, abandoning the senses and sounds, putting aside attachment and hate.
  52. Living in a lonely place, eating only what is needed, controlling the speech of the body and mind, constantly united in the highest meditation, seeking comfort only in detachment.
  53. Doing these things one will be freed from false ego, strength and pride, lust, anger and greed. One will be peaceful, knowing one owns nothing. Thus one will be ready for the nature of Brahma.
  54. Within the nature of Brahma one has a joyful soul. One never regrets nor desires. Equally open to all living beings, one gains my greater devotion.
  55. One can know devotion to me in as much as I am true in this body. The part of me that is beyond truth can only be entered through awareness.
  56. Although constantly performing actions, through my care and by my grace one can achieve the eternal never ending abode.
  57. Consciously renounce (sannyas) all kinds of actions unto me, under my care, seeking comfort in union with enlightenment. Just be in my consciousness at all times.
  58. In my consciousness you will be able to overcome all obstacles by my grace. But if, due to your ego, you do not hear, then you will be lost.
  59. If you seek comfort in your ego, and thus think 'I shall not fight', know this to be false. Your nature is to strive, with determination.
  60. Son of Kunti, your natural self is being conditioned by your karma. You are deluded to believe that you do not wish to follow your nature. But though you are reluctant, you must act.
  61. The divine master of all that lives is found in everyone's heart, Arjuna. It is what leads all living beings to seek, behind these bodies of illusion.
  62. Scion of Bharata, you must surrender unto him completely. By his grace, you will find great peace and the eternal home.
  63. Thus have I shared with you this awareness, the secret of secrets. Consider this, do not take it lightly, and then do what thou wilt.
  64. Hear from me again the greatest of secrets, the highest teaching. Because you are very dear to me, I will share it for your sake.
  65. Take on the nature of my mind, become my devotee, my priest, offer your respects (namaste) unto me. Then you will come to me. This I promise to you, because you are dear to me.
  66. Abandon all religious teachings, surrender unto me alone. I will free you from all wrongdoing, do not be worried.
  67. This teaching must not be given to one who is not disciplined, nor to one who is not a devotee, ever. Nor also to one who is not practicing, or to anyone who is jealous of me.
  68. Anyone who explains this, the greatest of the secrets, to my devotees, will be performing the greatest devotion unto me and will certainly come to me, with no doubt.
  69. There is no one among men who will be dearer to me than he, nor will there be any dearer than he in all existence.
  70. Also, whoever studies this sacred conversation of ours is performing a sacred ritual of awareness. In this way I judge that he is showing service to me.
  71. Any man who hears this conversation with trust, and without envy, will become free. He will be fortunate in the world, attaining to righteousness.
  72. Scion of Partha, have you heard all of this with total concentration of your consciousness? Has your deluded awareness been cleansed, great conqueror?
  73. Arjuna said:
    My illusion is washed away, my memory is restored by your grace, ideal one! I am free of doubts, and will follow your commands!
  74. Sanjaya said:
    Thus have I heard the debate between the greatest of spirits, Krishna, and Arjuna, also a great soul. Having heard such an awe-inspiring thing, my hairs stand on end!
  75. By the mercy of the spirit, I have heard this greatest secret of yoga, from the master of yoga. Directly from Krishna, who spoke it himself.
  76. My king, remember! Remember this awe-inspiring spiritual debate of Krishna and Arjuna. I am enthralled, again and again.
  77. And also, remember! Remember the most awesome form of the Lord. My amazement is so great, my king, it enthralls me more and more!
  78. Where Krishna the master of yoga, and where the scion of Partha, expert of the bow and arrow, are together, there is nobility, victory, strength, and righteousness. This is my feeling.