Author Topic: CHAPTER 18 - Mokṣasannyāsa Yoga  (Read 851 times)


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CHAPTER 18 - Mokṣasannyāsa Yoga
« on: April 09, 2019, 11:59:17 PM »
‘Samnyasa’ and ‘Tyaga’ distinguished

In the present discourse the Lord proceeds to teach, by way of summing up, the doctrine of the whole of the Gita - Sastra, as also the whole of the Vedic Doctrine. Verily, the whole of the doctrine taught in the preceding discourses is to be found in this discourse. Arjuna, however, asks to know only the distinction in meaning between ’samnyasa’ and ‘tyaga.’

Arjuna said:
1. ’Of samnyasa’ O Mighty-armed, I desire to know the truth, O Hrishikesa, as also of ‘tyaga’, severally, O Slayer of Kesin.
Samnyasa: the connotation of the term ‘samnyasa.’ Tyaga: the connotation of the term ‘tyaga’. Severally: as distinguished from each other. Kesin was an Asura whom the Lord, the son of Vasudeva, slew, and the Lord is therefore addressed as ‘Kesi-nishudana,’the Slayer of Kesin. The words ‘samnyasa’ and ‘tyaga’ have been used here and there in the preceding discourses, their connotations, however, not being clearly distinguished. Wherefore, with a view to determining them, the Lord addresses Arjuna, who desired to know of them, as follows:

The Blessed Lord said:
2. Sages understand ‘samnyasa’ to be the renouncement of interested works; the abandonment of the fruits of all works, the learned declare, is ’tyaga’.
A few sages understand by ‘samnyasa’ the abandonment of kamya-karmani, of works (such as the Asvamedha, Horse sacrifice) accompanied with a desire for fruits. The learned declare that ‘tyaga’ means abandonment of the fruits of all the works that are performed, - nitya and naimittika, ordinary and extra-ordinary duties, i. e., of the fruits that may accrue to the performer. The abandonment of interested works and the abandonment of fruits (of works) being intended to be expressed (by the two words), the meaning of the words ‘samnyasa’and ‘tyaga’ is in any way one and the same so far as the general idea is concerned, namely, abandonment. They are not quite so distinct in meaning as the words ‘jar’ and ‘cloth’.

Objection:The nitya and naimittiha works, ordinary and extra-ordinary duties, are said to produce no fruits. How is it that the abandoning of their fruits is here spoken of? It is like speaking of the abandoning of a barren woman's son.
Answer: No such objection may be raised here, since, in the opinion of the Lord, ordinary and occasional duties produce their own fruits, as He will show in xviii. 12, where, indeed, while teaching that Samnyasins alone (those alone who have renounced all desire for the fruits of works) have no connection whatever with those fruits, the Lord teaches also that those who are not samnyasins will have to reap the fruits of the ordinary works which they are bound to perform.

Should the ignorant perform works or not?

3. That action should be abandoned as an evil, some philosophers declare; while others (declare) that acts of sacrifice, gift and austerity should not be given up.
Some philosophers, following the doctrine of the Sankhyas, etc., declare that all action should be given up as an evil, even by those who are fit for Karma-Yoga. As an evil: this may be interpreted to mean either that all Karma should be given up as involving evil since it is the cause of bondage; or that it should be given up like passion and other such evil tendencies. With regard to the same class of persons (viz., those who are fit for Karma-Yoga), others say that the acts of sacrifice, gift and austerity ought not to be abandoned. It is the Karma-Yogis that form the subject of discussion here; and it is with reference to them that these divergent views are held, but not with reference to the jnana-nishtas (wisdom devotees), the samnyasins who have risen (above all worldly concerns). Those persons who have been raised above the path of Karma in iii. 3 are not spoken of in this connection.

Objection: Just as the persons who are qualified for works form the subject of discussion here - in the section where the whole doctrine of the sastra is summed up,though their path has already been specified in iii. 3, so also the Sankhyas, the devotees of wisdom, may also form the subject of discussion here.
Answer: No, because of the inconceivability of their abandoning of duty from delusion or on account of pain.
To explain: The Sankhyas (men of knowledge) perceive in the Self no pain whatever arising from bodily trouble, since desire, pain, etc., are said to be the attributes of Kshetra or matter. Wherefore they do not abandon action for fear of bodily trouble and pain. Neither do they perceive action in the Self. If they could ever perceive action in the Self, then it would be possible to imagine their abandoning of obligatory works from delusion. In fact, they abandon works because they see that action pertains to gunas and think ‘I do nothing at all’ (v. 8). How those men who know the truth renounce works has been described in v, 13, etc. Therefore, it is only the other class of persons who are ignorant of the true nature of the Self and are qualified for works, and in whose case the supposition of the abandoning of duty from delusion or for fear of bodily trouble is possible, - it is only these that are censured as Tamasic and Rajasic relinquishers (tyagins) in order to praise the abandoning of the fruits of action resorted to by the followers of works who do not know the Self. And the samnyasin proper has been distinguished - by the Lord, when defining the man who has transcended gunas - as one “renouncing all undertakings... who is silent, content with anything, homeless, steady-minded,” (xii. 16 - 18). And the Lord will hereafter describe (his devotion) as “that supreme consummation of knowledge” (xviii. 50). Thus, it is not the samnyasins, who are the devotees of wisdom, that are referred to here. It is only the abandoning of the fruits of works that, by reason of its being Sattvic, is spoken of as Samnyasa in contradistinction to the Tamasic and Rajasic (abandoning of works); but not the samnyasa proper, that pre-eminent renunciation of all works.

Objection: Since xviii. 11 states the reason why renunciation of all action is an impossibility, it is only the samnyasa proper that is spoken of in this connection.
Answer: No, because the passage referred to as a statement of the reason is only intended to praise (something else enjoined). Just as the passage “on abandonment peace closely follows” (xii, 12) is only a praise of the abandonment of the fruits of works, since it is addressed to Arjuna who is ignorant of the Self and who could not therefore follow the several paths previously spoken of, so also, the passage here referred to goes to praise the abandonment of the fruits of action. It is not possible for anyone to point out an exception to the proposition “Renouncing all actions by thought, and self - controlled, the embodied one rests happily in the nine-gated city, neither at all acting nor causing to act.” (v. 13). Wherefore these alternative views regarding Samnyasa and tyaga concern those persons only for whom works are intended. On the other hand, the Sankhyas, those who see the Supreme Reality, have only to follow the path of knowledge, accompanied with the renunciation of all works; and they have nothing else to do, and do not therefore, form the subject of the alternative views set forth here. And so we established this proposition while commenting on ii. 21 and at the commencement of the third discourse.

The Lord's decree is that the ignorant should perform works
Now, as to these divergent views.

4. Learn from Me the truth about this abandonment, O best of the Bharatas; abandonment, verily, O best of men, has been declared to be of three kinds.
Do thou learn from My words the truth as to the alternatives of abandonment and renunciation referred to. Abandonment (tyaga): the Lord has used this single word here, implying that the meaning of ’tyaga’ and ’samnyasa’ is one and the same. Of three kinds: Tamasic, etc., Declared: in the sastras. Because it is hard to know the fact that the threefold (Tamasic, etc.,) abandonment denoted by the words ’tyaga‘ and ‘Samnyasa’ is possible in the case of him alone who does not know the Self and for whom works are intended, - not in the case of him who sees the Supreme Reality, therefore no one, other than Myself, is able to teach the real truth about the subject. Wherefore, learn from Me what My - the Lord's - decree is as to the real teaching of the sastra. What is the decree then? The Lord says:

5. Practice of worship, gift, and austerity should not be given up; it is quite necessary; worship, gift and austerity are the purifiers of the wise.
The three sorts of action should be performed; for, they cause purity in the wise, i.e., in those who have no desire for fruits.

The obligatory works should be performed without attachment

6. But even those actions should be performed, setting aside attachment and the fruits; this, O son of Pritha, is My firm and highest belief.
Those actions, etc., the acts of worship, gift and austerity, which have been said to be purifiers, should be performed, setting aside attachment for them and abandoning their fruits. A proposition was started in the words, ‘Learn from Me the truth about this’ (xviii. 4); and as a reason for it, it has been stated that worship, etc., are the purifiers; so that the Words “even those actions should be performed this is My firm and highest belief” form a mere conclusion of the proposition started in xviii. 4. “Even those actions should be performed” cannot be a fresh proposition; for, it is better to construe the passage as related to the immediate subject of the present section. The word “even” implies that these actions should be performed by a seeker of liberation, though they form the cause of bondage in the case of one who has an attachment for the actions and a desire for their fruits. The words ‘even those’ cannot certainly refer to actions other (than the acts of worship, etc.).
But others explain: Since obligatory (nitya) actions bear no fruits, it is not right to speak of “setting aside attachment and the fruits.” Therefore, in the words “even those actions” etc., the Lord teaches that even those works which are intended to secure objects of desire – i.e., even kamya or interested works, as opposed to nitya or obligatory works - should be performed; how much more then the obligatory acts of worship, gift and austerity. It is wrong to say so; for, it has been declared here that even obligatory actions are productive of fruits, in the words “worship, gift and austerity are the purifiers of the wise” (xviii. 5). To a seeker of liberation who would give up even the obligatory works, looking upon them as the cause of bondage, where is an occasion to engage in interested works? “Even these actions” cannot refer to interested (kamya) works, inasmuch as these have been despised as constituting an inferior path (ii. 49) and decisively declared to be the cause of bondage (iii. 9, ii. 45, ix. 20, 21), and are too far removed from the present section.

Tamasic and Rajasic renunciations of works
Therefore, for a seeker of liberation who is ignorant and is (therefore) bound to perform works,

7. Verily, the abandonment of an obligatory duty is not proper; the abandonment thereof from ignorance is declared to be Tamasic.
Not proper: since it is admitted to be a purifier in the case of an ignorant man. To hold that a duty is obligatory and then to abandon it involves a self-contradiction. Therefore, this sort of abandonment is due to ignorance and is said to be Tamasic, inasmuch as ignorance is Tamas. Moreover,

8. Whatever act one may abandon because it is painful, from fear of bodily trouble, he practices Rajasic abandonment, and he shall obtain no fruit whatever of abandonment.
He does not obtain moksha, which is the fruit of the renunciation of all actions accompanied with wisdom.

Renunciation in works is Sattvic
What then is the Sattvic abandonment? - The Lord says:

9. Whatever obligatory work is done, O Arjuna, merely because it ought to be done, abandoning attachment and also the fruit, that abandonment is deemed to be Sattvic.
Abandoning etc.: These words of the Lord form, as we have said, the authority which declares that obligatory (nitya) works produce fruits. Or thus: An ignorant man may even suppose that, though the fruits of obligatory works are not declared in the Scripture, the obligatory works, when performed, do produce their fruits for the doer in the form of self - regeneration, or by way of warding off pratyavaya or the sin of non - performance. But even this supposition is prevented by the words “abandoning the fruits.” Hence the appropriateness of the words “abandoning attachment and the fruits.” That abandonment: the abandoning of all attachment for, and of the fruits of, obligatory works.

Objection: It is the threefold abandonment of works - referred to as ‘Samnyasa’ (xviii. 7) - that forms the subject of the present section (xviii. 4, etc.,). Out of the three, the Rajasic and Tamasic (sorts of abandonment of works) have been treated of. How is it that the abandonment of attachment and of the fruits of works is spoken of as the third? It is something like saying, “Three brahmanas have come; two of them are proficient in shadangas or the six auxiliary sciences, and the third is a Kshatriya.”
Answer: No such objection can be raised here; for, the object of this section is to praise (the abandonment of the fruits of works, as compared with the abandonment of works, i.e., by comparing the two abandonments), both being alike abandonments. In fact, the abandonment of works and the abandonment of desire for the fruits do agree in so far as they alike imply abandonment. Accordingly, by despising the two sorts of the abandonment of works, as Rajasic and Tamasic abandonments, the abandonment of desire for the fruits of the works is praised as being the Sattvic abandonment in the words ‘that abandonment is deemed to be Sattvic.’

From renunciation in works to renunciation of all works
When the man who is qualified for (Karma-Yoga) performs obligatory works without attachment and without a longing for results, his inner sense (antah-karana), unsoiled by desire for results and regenerated by (the performance of) obligatory works, becomes pure. When pure and tranquil, the inner sense is fit for contemplation of the Self. Now, with a view to teach how the man whose inner sense has been purified by the performance of obligatory works and who is prepared to acquire the Self - knowledge, may gradually attain to jnana - nishtha or devotion in knowledge, the Lord proceeds as follows:

10. He hates not evil action, nor is he attached to a good one, - he who has abandoned, pervaded by Sattva and possessed of wisdom, his doubts cut asunder.
Evil action: the Kamya-karma, the interested action, which becomes the cause of Samsara by producing a body. He does not hate evil action, thinking “of what avail is it?” Good one: nitya-karma, obligatory action. He cherishes no attachment for it by way of thinking that it leads to moksha by purifying the heart and thereby conducing to knowledge and to devotion in knowledge. - Of whom is this said? - Of him who has abandoned attachment and desire, and who, having abandoned attachment to action and desire for its fruit, performs obligatory works (nitya karma). When does he hate no evil action? When is he not attached to a good one? - When he is permeated with Sattva, which causes a discriminative knowledge of the Self and the not-Self. As he is permeated with Sattva, he becomes gifted with wisdom, with knowledge of Self. As he becomes possessed of wisdom, his doubt caused by avidya is cut asunder by the conviction that to abide in the true nature of the Self is alone the means of attaining the Highest Bliss, and that there is no other means.
That is to say, when a man who is qualified (for Karma-Yoga) practices Karma-Yoga in the manner described above and thereby becomes gradually refined in the self (antah-karana), then he knows himself to be that Self who, as devoid of birth or any other change of condition, is immutable; he renounces all action in thought; he remains without acting or causing to act; he attains devotion in wisdom, i.e., he attains freedom from action. Thus, the purpose of the Karma-Yoga described above has been taught in this verse.

Renunciation of fruits is alone possible for the Ignorant
For the unenlightened man, on the other hand, who wears a body by way of identifying himself with it, who, not yet disabused of the notion that the Self is the agent of action, firmly believes that he is himself the agent, for him who is thus qualified for Karma-Yoga, abandonment of all works is impossible, so that his duty lies only in performing prescribed works by abandoning their fruits, - not in abandoning those works. To impress this point, the Lord proceeds thus:

11. Verily, it is not possible for an embodied - being to abandon actions completely; he who abandons the fruits of actions is verily said to be an abandoner.
An embodied being: a body-wearer, i.e., he who identifies himself with the body. No man of discrimination can be called a body-wearer, for it has been pointed out (ii.21, etc.) that such a man does not concern himself (in actions) as their agent. So, the meaning is: it is not possible for an ignorant man to abandon actions completely. When an ignorant man who is qualified for action performs obligatory works, abandoning merely the desire for the fruits of his actions, he is said to be an abandoner (tyagin) though he is a performer of works. This - the title “abandoner,” – is applied to him for courtesy's sake. Accordingly, the abandonment of all actions is possible for him alone who, realizing the Supreme Reality, is not a ’body - wearer,’i.e., does not regard the body as the Self.

Effects of the two renunciations after death
Now, what is the benefit which accrues from the abandonment of all actions? - The Lord says:

12. The threefold fruit of action, - evil, good, and mixed, - accrues after death to non-abandoners, but never to abandoners.
Fruit: brought forth by the operation of various external factors. It is a doing of avidya; it is like the glamour cast by a juggler's art very delusive, inhering, to all appearance, in the Innermost Self; by its very etymology, the word ‘phala,’ fruit, implies something that vanishes, something unsubstantial.
Action (karma): Dharma and Adharma. Evil: such as hell (naraka), the animal kingdom, etc. Good: such as the Devas. Mixed: Good and evil mixed together in one; the humanity. These three sorts of fruits accrue after death to non - abandoners, to the unenlightened, to the followers of Karma-Yoga, to the abandoners (samnyasins) not strictly so called but never to the real samnyasins, engaged exclusively in the path of knowledge (jnana-nishtha) and belonging to the highest order of samnyasins, the Paramahamsa - Parivrajakas. Indeed, exclusive devotion to Right Knowledge cannot but destroy avidya and other seeds of Samsara. Accordingly, a complete abandonment of all works is possible for him alone who has attained to Right Knowledge, inasmuch as he sees that action and its accessories and its results are all ascribed to the Self by Avidya: but, for the unenlightened man identifying himself with the body, etc., which constitute action, its agent and accessories, complete abandonment of action is not possible. This truth, the Lord proceeds to teach in the following verses:

Factors in the production of an act

13. These live factors in the accomplishment of all action, know thou from Me, O mighty-armed, as taught in the Sankhya which is the end of action.
These: which are going to be mentioned. Learn: this exhortation is intended to secure steady attention on the part of the hearer to what follows, as well as to indicate the difference (in the view which is going to be presented) as to the nature of those things. In the words ‘taught in the Sankhya,’ the Lord praises them, as they are things that ought to be known. Sankhya: Vedanta (the Upanishads) in which all the things that have to be known are expounded. It is qualified by the epithet “krita-anta”, the end of action, that which puts an end to all action (karma). The verses ii. 46. and iv. 33 teach that all action ceases when the knowledge of the Self arises; so that the Vedanta, which imparts Self-knowledge, is ‘the end of action.’

14. The seat and actor and the various organs, and the several functions of various sorts, and the Divinity also, the fifth among these.
The seat: the body which is the seat of desire, hatred, happiness, misery, knowledge and the like; i.e., the seat of their manifestation. Actor: the enjoyer, partaking of the character of the upadhi with which it may be associated. The various organs: such as the sense of hearing, by which to perceive sound, etc. Functions: of the air (vayu), such as outbreathing and inbreathing. Of various sorts: twelve in number. Divinity: such as the Aditya and other Gods by whose aid the eye and other organs discharge their functions.

15. Whatever action a man does by the body, speech and mind, right or the opposite, these five are its causes.
Right: not opposed to dharma, taught in the sastra. The opposite: what is opposed to dharma and opposed to sastra. Even those actions, - the act of twinkling and the like, - which are the necessary conditions of life are denoted by the expression “the right or the opposite”, since they are but the effects of the past dharma and a-dharma. Its causes: the causes of every action.

Objection: The body, etc. (xviii. 14), are necessary factors in every action. Why do you speak of (a distinction in actions) in the words “whatever action a man does by the body, speech or mind?”
Answer: This objection cannot be urged against us. In the performance of every action, whether enjoined or forbidden, one of the three - body, speech or mind - has a more prominent share than the rest, while seeing, hearing, and other activities, which form mere concomitants of life, are subordinate to the activity of that one. All actions are thus classed into three groups and are spoken of as performed by body, or speech, or mind. Even at the time of fruition, the fruit of an action is enjoyed through the instrumentality of body, speech and mind, one of them being more prominent than the rest. Hence no gainsaying of the assertion that all the five are the causes of action (xviii. 14).

The agency of the Self is an illusion

16. Now, such being the case, verily, he who, as untrained in understanding, looks on the pure Self as the agent, that man of perverted intelligence sees not.
Now: with reference to what we are speaking of. Such being the case: every action being accomplished by the five causes described above. this shows the reason why the person here referred to is said to be a man of perverted intelligence. The unenlightened one, in virtue of his ignorance, identifies the Self with the five causes and looks upon the pure Self as the agent of the action, which is really accomplished by those five causes. – Why does he regard them so? - For, his understanding (buddhi) has not been trained in the Vedanta, has not been trained by a master's teaching, has not been trained in the principles of reasoning. Even he who, while maintaining the existence of the disembodied Self, looks upon the pure Self as the agent, is a man of untrained understanding; he does not therefore see the truth about the Self and action. He is therefore a man of perverted intelligence, - his intelligence takes a wrong direction, is vicious, continually leading to birth and death. Though seeing, yet he does not see (the truth), like a man whose timira - affected eye sees many moons, or like one who regards that the moon moves when the clouds arc in motion, or like a man who, seated in a vehicle, regards himself as running - when it is the others (the bearers) that run.

Realization of the Non-Agency of the Self Leads to Absolution from the Effects of All Works
Who then is the wise man that sees rightly? The answer follows:

17. He who is free from egotistic notion, whose mind is not tainted, - though he kills these creatures, he kills not, he is not bound.
He whose mind has been well trained in the scriptures, well - trained by a master's instructions, and well - trained in the sound principles of reasoning, is free from the egotistic notion that ’I am the agent.’ He thinks thus: It is these five - the body, etc., ascribed to the Self through avidya - that are the causes of all action, not I. I am the witness of their actions, I am “without breath, without mind, pure, higher than the Indestructible which is Supreme” (Mun. Up. 2 - 1 - 2). I am pure and immutable. He whose antah-karana (buddhi), which is an upadhi of the Self, is not tainted, does not repent thus: “I have done this; thereby I shall go to naraka (hell).” He is wise; he sees rightly; though he kills all these living creatures, he commits no act of killing, nor is he bound by the fruit of a-dharma as an effect of that act.

Objection: Even supposing that this is intended as a mere praise, the statement that “though he kills all these creatures, he does not kill” involves a self - contradiction.
Answer: This objection cannot stand; for, the statement can be explained by distinguishing the two standpoints of worldly conception and absolute truth. From the standpoint of worldly conception, which consists in thinking ‘I am the killer’ by identifying the Self with the physical body etc., the Lord says, " though he kills;” and from the standpoint of absolute truth explained above, He says. “he kills not,” he is not bound. Thus both are quite explicable.
Objection: The Self does act ia conjunction with the body, etc., as implied by the use of the word 'pure’ in xviii. 16, ‘he who looks on the pure Self as the agent.’
Answer: This contention is untenable; for the Self being. by nature, immutable, we cannot conceive Him to act in conjunction with the body, etc. What is subject to change can alone conjoin with others, and thus conjoined can become the agent. But there can be no conjunction of the immutable Self with anything whatsoever, and He cannot therefore act in conjunction with another. Thus, the isolated condition, being natural condition. And His immutability is quite evident to all, as taught by the sruti, smriti and reason. In the Gita itself, for instance, it has been over and over again taught in the words, "He is unchangeable,” (ii. 25): “actions are wrought by gun as” (III 27); “though dwelling in the body, be acts not” (xiii. 31 ). And the same thing is also taught in the passages of the sruti such as “It meditates as it were, It moves as it were” (Bri Up. 4 - 3 - 7). By reasoning also we may establish the same. thus: - That the Self is an entity without parts, is not dependent oh another, and is immutable,. is the royal road (i.e., is undisputed). Even if it be admitted that the Self is subject to change, He should only be subject to a change of His own; the actions of the body, etc., can never be attributed to the agency of the Self. Indeed, the action of one cannot go to another that has not done it. And what is attributed to the Self by avidya cannot really pertain to Him, in the same why that the mother-of-pearl cannot become silver, or (to take another illustration) in the same way that surface and dirt ascribed by children through ignorance to akasa cannot really pertain to akasa. Accordingly, any changes that may take place in the body, etc., belong to them only, not to the Self. Wherefore, it is but right to say that in the absence of egotism and of all taint in the mind, the wise man neither kills nor is bound. Having started this proposition in the words “he slays not, nor is he slain;” (ii. 19) having stated in ii. 20 as the reason therefore the immutability of the Self. having in the beginning of the sastra (ii. 21) briefly taught that to a wise man there is no need for works, and having introduced the subject here and there in the middle and expatiated upon it, the Lord now concludes it in the words that the wise man “kills not, nor is bound”. with a view to sum up the teaching of the sastra. Thus, in the absence of the egotistic feeling of embodied existence, the samnyasins renounce all avidya-generated action. and it is therefore right to say that the threefold fruit of action "evil, good and mixed" (xviii. 12), does not accrue to the samnyasins; and the further conclusion also is inevitable that quite the reverse is the lot of others. This teaching of the Gitasastra has been concluded here. To show that this essence of the whole Vedic Teaching should be investigated and understood by wise men of trained intelligence, it has been expounded by us here and there in several sections in accordance with the scripture (sastra) and reason.

The impulses to action
Now will be mentioned the impulses to action:

18. Knowledge, the object known, the knower, (form) the threefold impulse to action; the organ, the end, the agent, form the threefold basis of action.
Knowledge: any knowledge, knowledge in general. Similarly, the object known refers to objects in general, to all objects of knowledge. The knower: the experiencer, partaking of the nature of the upadhi, a creature of avidya. This triad forms the threefold impulse to all action, to action in general. Indeed, performance of action with a view to avoid a thing or to obtain another and so on is possible only when there is a conjunction of the three, - knowledge, etc. The actions accomplished by the five (causes of action), - by the body, etc., - and grouped into three classes according to their respective seats - speech, mind, body, - are all traceable to the interplay of the organ, etc., and this is taught in the second part of the verse. The organ: that by which something is done; the external organs being the organ of hearing, etc., and the internal organs being buddhi (intelligence), etc. The end: that which is sought for, that which is reached through action by the agent. The agent: he who sets the organs going, partaking of the nature of the upadhi (in which he works). In these three all action inheres, and they are therefore, said to form the threefold basis of action.

The Impulses are threefold according to the gunas
Inasmuch as action, the several factors of action, and the fruit, are all made up of the gunas, the Lord now proceeds to teach the threefold distinction of each, according to the three distinct gunas, Sattva, Rajas and Tamas:

19. Knowledge and action, and the agent, are said in the science of the gunas to be of three kinds only, according to the distinction in gunas. Hear thou duly of them.
Action (karma.): ‘karma’ here means action (kriya). It is not used in the technical sense of the word denoting the object of an action, what is sought to be attained by means of action. Agent: the performer of acts. They are of three kinds only. This restriction is intended to imply the absence of distinctions other than that caused by the gunas. Gunas: such as Sattva. The science of the gunas here referred to is Kapila's system of philosophy. Even Kapila’s science of gunas is certainly an authority so far as it concerns the gunas and their experiencer (bhoktri). Though they are opposed to us as regards the supreme truth, viz., the oneness or non-duality of Brahman, still the followers of Kapila are of acknowledged authority in the exposition of the functions of the gunas and of their products, and their science is therefore accepted here as an authority as serving to extol the teaching which follows. Hence no inconsistency. Hear, etc., Pay attention to the teaching which follows here, concerning knowledge and the rest, as well as their various distinctions caused by different gunas, as I describe them duly, according to the science, according to reason.

Sattvic Knowledge
Here follows the threefold character of knowledge:

20. That by which a man sees the one Indestructible Reality in all beings, inseparate in the separated, that knowledge know thou as Sattvic.
Reality (Bhava): the one Self. Indestructible: which cannot be exhausted either in itself or in its properties; Kutastha or immutable. All beings: from Avyakta, or the unmanifested matter, down to the sthavara or unmoving objects. That Reality, the Self, is not different in different bodies; like the akasa, the Self admits of no division. Know thou this direct and right perception of the non-dual Self as Sattvic.

Rajasic Knowledge
The dualistic fallacious systems of philosophy are Rajasic and Tamasic, and therefore they cannot directly bring about the cessation of Samsara.

21. But that knowledge which, by differentiation, sees in all the creatures various entities of distinct kinds, that knowledge know thou as Rajasic.
By differentiation: regarding them as different in different bodies. Entities: Selfs. Which sees, etc., This should be interpreted to mean ‘by which one sees, ’since knowledge cannot be an agent.

Tamasic Knowledge

22. But that which clings to one single effect if it were all, without reason, having no real object, and narrow, that is declared to be Tamasic.
Tamasic knowledge is engrossed in one single effect, - such as the body or an external idol - as though it is all - comprehensive, thinking ‘this body is the Self’ or ’that is God’, and that there is nothing higher than that. Jiva (soul), for example, dwelling in the body is regarded by the naked sramanakas, etc., as being of the size of that body; and the Isvara is regarded (by some) to be the mere stone or piece of wood. This knowledge is not founded on reason and does not perceive things as they are. Because it is not founded on reason, it is narrow, as extending over a limited area, or as producing very small results. This knowledge is said to be Tamasic because it is found only in Tamasic beings possessing no faculty of discrimination.

Sattvic Action
The threefold nature of action is next described:

23. An action which is ordained, which is free from attachment, which is done without love or hatred by one not desirous of the fruit, that action is declared to be Sattvic.
Ordained: Obligatory (nitya). It is not an action done by one impelled by love or hatred.

Rajasic Action

24. But the action which is done by one longing for pleasures or done by the egotistic, costing much trouble, that is declared to be Rajasic.
Pleasures: as fruits of action. The Egotistic: not as distinguished from one who has realized the true nature of the Self (who is absolutely free from egotism), but as distinguished from one who is free from pride, in the sense in which an ordinary srotriya (a devotee of the Vedic Religion) of the world is expected to be free from egotism. For, he who is absolutely without egotism, i.e., one who has realized the Self, cannot even be imagined to long for the fruit of an action or to do an action costing much trouble. Even the doer of a Sattvic action is ignorant of the Self and is egotistic; much more so are the Rajasic and Tamasic doers. In common parlance, a srotriya who is ignorant of the Self is said to be free from egotism; we say “He is a modest (non-egotistic) brahmana.” It is only from this class of persons that the doer of a Rajasic action is distinguished as being egotistic.

Tamasic Action

25. The action which is undertaken from delusion, without regarding the consequence, loss, injury, and ability, that is declared to be Tamasic.
Loss: Loss of power and of wealth accruing from the action done. Injury: to living beings. Ability: one's own ability to complete the work.

Sattvic Agent
Now the Lord proceeds to treat of the distinction among agents:

26. Free from attachment, not given to egotism, endued with firmness and vigor, unaffected in success and failure, an agent is said to be Sattvic.
Success: Attainment of the fruit of the action done. Unaffected: as having been impelled to act merely by the authority of the sastra, not by a desire for the fruits.

Rajasic Agent

27. Passionate, desiring to attain the fruit of action, greedy, cruel, impure, subject to joy and sorrow, such an agent is said to be Rajasic.
Greedy: thirsting for another's property, not giving away one's own· property to worthy persons, etc. Cruel: doing harm to others. Impure: devoid of external and internal purity. Subject to joy and sorrow: rejoicing on the attainment of what is desirable, and feeling sorry on the attainment of what is not desirable or on having to part with what is desirable. Joy or sorrow may arise at the success or failure of the action in which he is engaged.

Tamasic Agent

28. Unsteady, vulgar, unbending, deceptive, wicked, indolent, desponding, and procrastinating, (such) an· agent is said to be Tamasic.
Vulgar: quite uncultured in intellect (buddhi), who is like a child. Unbending: not bowing like a stick to anybody. Deceptive: concealing his real power. Wicked: setting others at variance with each other. Indolent: not doing even what ought to be done. Desponding: always depressed in spirit. Procrastinating: postponing duties too long, always sluggish, not doing even in a month what ought to be done today or tomorrow.

Intellect and Firmness are threefold according to Gunas

29. The threefold division of intellect and firmness according to qualities, about to be taught fully and distinctively (by Me), hear thou, O Dhananjaya.
Qualities: Gunas, such as Sattva. The first half of the verse contains in an aphoristic form what is going to be taught. Dhananjaya: the conqueror of wealth. Arjuna is so called because he acquired much wealth, - human and divine, material and spiritual, - during his tour of conquest through the four quarters of the earth.

Sattvic Intellect

30. That which knows action and inaction, what ought to be done and what ought not to be done, fear and absence of fear, bondage and liberation, that intellect is Sattvic, O Partha.
Action (pravritti): the cause of bondage, the karmamarga, the path of action as taught in the sastra. Inaction (nivritti): the cause of liberation, the path of samnyasa. – As ‘action’(pravritti) and ’inaction’(nivntti) occur in connection with ‘bondage’(bandha) and ‘liberation’(moksha), they have been interpreted to mean the paths of action and renunciation (karma and samnyasa). What...done: the necessity for doing or not doing - by one who relies on the sastra - at particular places and times, actions producing visible or invisible results, according as they are enjoined or prohibited by the scriptural or social ethics. Fear etc., the cause of fear and the cause of fearlessness, either visible or invisible. Bondage and liberation: together with their causes. Knowledge is a vritti or function or state of intellect (buddhi), whereas intellect is what functions or undergoes change of state. Even firmness (dhriti) is only a particular function or state of intellect.

Rajasic Intellect

31. That by which one wrongly understands dharma and a-dharma, and also what ought to be done and what ought not to be done, that intellect, O Partha, is Rajasic.
Dharma is what is ordained in the scriptures and a-dharma is what is prohibited in them. What... done: the same that was mentioned already. (xviii.30). Wrongly: in opposition to what is determined by all authorities).

Tamasic Intellect

32. That which, enveloped in darkness, sees adharma as dharma and all things perverted, that intellect, O Partha, is Tamasic.
It takes quite a perverted view of all things to be known.

Sattvic Firmness

33. The firmness which is ever accompanied by Yoga, and by which the activities of thought, of life-breaths and sense-organs, O Partha, are held fast, such a firmness is Sattvic.
Yoga: samadhi or concentration of mind. Held fast: restrained from rushing into ways which are opposed to the sastra. It is only when they are restrained by firmness (of the intellect) that they do not rush into ways which are opposed to the sastra. The meaning of the passage is this: He who, by unflinching firmness, restrains the activities of thought (manas), of life - breaths and sense-organs restrains them by Yoga.

Rajasic Firmness

34. But the firmness with which one holds fast to dharma and pleasures and wealth, desirous of the fruit of each on its occasion, that firmness, O Partha, is Rajasic.
Dharma etc., when a person is firmly convinced at heart that dharma, pleasure and wealth ought always to be secured and is desirous of the fruit of each whenever that one (dharma or pleasure or wealth) occupies his attention, the firmness of such a person is Rajasic.

Tamasic Firmness

35. That with which a stupid man does not give up sleep, fear, grief, depression and lust, that firmness, O Partha, is Tamasic.
The stupid man holds sensual gratification in high esteem and never gives up lasciviousness. He regards sleep, etc., as things that ought always to be resorted to.

Pleasure is threefold according to gunas
The threefold division of actions and of the several factors (karakas) concerned in action, has been described. Here follows the threefold division of pleasure which is the effect of actions:

36. And now hear from Me, O lord of the Bharatas, of the threefold pleasure, in which one delights by practice and surely comes to the end of pain.
Hear: Pay steady attention to. Practice: familiarity, frequency. The end: cessation or alleviation.

Sattvic Pleasure

37. That which is like poison at first, like nectar at the end, that pleasure is declared to be Sattvic, born of the purity of one's own mind.
Like poison at First: on its first occurrence it is attended with pain as it is preceded by much trouble in the acquisition of jnana or spiritual knowledge, of vairagya or indifference to worldly objects, of dhyana and samadhi. At the end, the pleasure is like nectar, arising from mature knowledge and indifference to external objects. Declared: by the wise. Born, etc., born of the purity of one's own buddhi or antah-karana: or, born of the perfectly clear knowledge of the Self. Being so born, the pleasure is Sattvic.

Rajasic Pleasure

38. That pleasure which arises from the contact of the sense-organ with the object, at first like nectar, in the end like poison, that is declared to be Rajasic.
In the end like poison: after indulgence, the (sensual) pleasure proves to be like poison, because it leads to deterioration in strength, vigor, color, wisdom, intellect, wealth and energy; and because it leads to a-dharma, and, as an effect thereof, to hell (naraka).

Tamasic Pleasure

39. The pleasure which at first and in the sequel is delusive of the self, arising from sleep, indolence, and heedlessness, that pleasure is declared to be Tamasic.
In the sequel: after the termination.

No man or god is free from gunas
Here follows the verse which concludes the present subject:

40. There is no being on earth, or again in heaven among the Devas, that can be free from these three gunas born of Prakriti.
Being: animate or inanimate. Gunas: such as Sattva. On earth: among men.

The sequel sums up the whole Doctrine
The whole Samsara, manifested as action, instruments of action, and results, made up of the gunas (Sattva, Rajas, and Tamas), and set up by avidya, the evil of samsara has been thus described as well as its root. It has also been figuratively represented as a tree, in xv. i, et seq. It has also been said that after having cut the tree of samsara asunder with the strong sword of non - attachment, “then That Goal should be sought after” (xv. 3, 4). From this it may follow that, as everything is made up of the three gunas, a cessation of the cause of samsara cannot be brought about. Now, it is with a view to show how its cessation can be brought about, with a view, further, to sum up the whole teaching of the Gita-sastra, and with a view to show what the exact teaching of the Vedas and the smritis is which should be followed by those who seek to attain the highest end of man, - it is with this view that the next section, from xviii. 41 onward, is commenced.

Duties of the four castes ordained according to nature

41. Of Brahmanas and Kshatriyas and Vaisyas, as also of Sudras, O Parantapa, the duties are divided according to the qualities born of nature.
Sudras are separated from others - who are all mentioned together in one compound word - because sudras are of one birth and are debarred from the study of the Vedas. Divided: the duties are allotted to each class, as distinguished from those pertaining to the other classes. - By what standard? - According to the qualities (gunas) born of nature. Nature (svabhava) is the Isvara's Prakriti, the Maya made up of the three gunas. It is in accordance with the gunas of the Prakriti that duties - such as serenity and the like - are assigned to the Brahmanas, etc. respectively. Or to explain in another way: The source of the Brahmana's nature (svabhava) is the guna of Sattva; the source of the Kshatriya's nature is Rajas and Sattva, the latter being subordinate to the former; the source of the Vaisya's nature is Rajas and Tamas, the latter being subordinate to the former; the source of the Sudra's nature is Tamas and Rajas, the latter being subordinate to the former. For, as we see, the characteristic features of their nature are serenity, lordliness, activity, and dullness respectively. Or to interpret yet in another way: - Nature (svabhava) is the tendency (Samskara, Vasana) in living beings acquired by them in the past births, and manifesting itself in the present birth by way of being ready to yield its effects: and this nature is the source of the gunas, it being impossible for the gunas to manifest themselves without a cause. The assertion that nature (Samskara, Vasana) is the cause (of the gunas) means that it is a kind of specific cause. The duties, such as serenity, are assigned to the four classes in accordance with the gunas of Sattva, Rajas and Tamas, which are brought into manifestation by their respective natural tendencies, and which lead to those duties as their natural effects.

Objection: The duties of Brahmanas, etc., are enjoined by the sastra and are assigned to them by the sastra. How then can it be said that they are divided according to the Sattva and other gunas?
Answer: There is no room here for any such objection. By the sastra, too, are the duties - such as serenity - assigned to the Brahmanas, etc., only in accordance with their respective gunas, such as Sattva, but not independently of them. Wherefore it is said that duties are assigned according to gunas, though it has also been said that they are assigned by the sastra. What then are those duties? The answer follows:

42. Serenity, self - restraint, austerity, purity, forgiveness, and also uprightness, knowledge, wisdom, faith, these are the duties of the Brahmanas, born of nature.
 ‘Serenity’ and ‘self-restraint’ have already been explained (xvi. I, 2). Austerity: physical austerity, and so on, mentioned above ( xvii. 14, 15, 16). Purity: already explained. Faith: in the teaching of the scriptures. Born of nature: this means the same here as in the latter portion of xviii. 41.

43. Bravery, boldness, fortitude, promptness, not flying from battle, generosity and lordliness are the duties of the Kshatriyas, born of nature.
Fortitude: that by which upheld one is not subject to depression under any circumstances whatever. Promptness: the performing, without confusion, of duties which present themselves quite unexpectedly and demand ready action. Not flying from battle: not turning away from the foes. Lordliness: exercise of ruling power over those who are to be ruled.

44. Ploughing, cattle - rearing, and trade are the duties of the Vaisyas, born of nature. And of the nature of service is the duty of the Sudra, born of nature.

Devotion to one's own duty leads to perfection
These duties, respectively enjoined on the several castes, lead, when rightly performed, to Svarga as their natural result, as stated in the smritis, such as the following: “Men of several castes and orders, each devoted to his respective duties, reap the fruits of their actions after death, and then by the residual (karma) attain to births in superior countries, castes and families, possessed of comparatively superior dharma, span of life, learning, conduct, wealth, happiness and intelligence.” (Apastamba-dharmasutra, 2 - 2 - 2, 3). And in the Purana also are specified the different results and worlds which the several castes and orders attain. But, from the operation of a new cause the following result accrues:

45. Devoted each to his own duty, man attains perfection; how one, devoted to one's own duty, attains success, that do thou hear.
Each to his own duty: as ordained according to his nature. Man: he who is qualified (for Karma-Yoga). Perfection (samsiddhi): which consists in the body and senses being qualified for the devotion of knowledge (jnana-nishtha) after all their impurities have been washed away by the performance of one's own duty. - Can this perfection be attained directly by the mere performance of one's own duty? No. How then? Learn how it can be attained:

46. Him from whom is the evolution of (all) beings, by whom all this is pervaded, - by worshipping Him with his proper duty, man attains perfection.
‘Pravritti’ (in the text) may mean either evolution or activity; and it proceeds from the Isvara, the Antaryamin, the Ruler within. Beings: living creatures. His proper duty: each according to his caste, as described above. Worshipping the Lord by performing his duty, man attains perfection, in so far only as he becomes qualified for the devotion of knowledge (jnana-nishtha). Such being the case, therefore,

47. Better is one's own duty (though) destitute of merits, than the duty of another well performed. Doing the duty ordained according to nature, one incurs no sin.
Just as a poisonous substance does not injure the worm born in that substance, so, he who does the duty ordained according to his own nature incurs no sin.

One ought not to abandon one's own duty
It has been said that he who does the duty ordained according to his nature incurs no sin like a worm born in poison, that the duty of another brings on fear, and that he who does not know the Self cannot indeed remain even for a moment without doing action. Wherefore,

48. The duty born with oneself, O son of Kunti, though faulty, one ought not to abandon; for, all undertakings are surrounded with evil, as fire with smoke.
Born with oneself: born with the very birth of man. Faulty: as everything is composed of the three gunas. All undertakings: whatever the duties are; by context, one's own as well as other's duties; for, the reason here assigned is that they are all made up of the three gunas. Though a man may perform another's duty, abandoning what is called his own duty, the duty born with himself, he is not free from fault; and another's duty brings on fear. And since it is not possible for any man who does not know the Self to give up action entirely, therefore he ought not to abandon action (karma).

Is entire renunciation of action possible?
(Now, let us enquire): Is it because of the impossibility of entire abandonment of action that no one ought to renounce one's own (nature-born) duty, or is it because some sin accrues from the abandoning of the duty born with oneself?

Question: Now, of what good is this enquiry?
Answer: In the first place, if the duty born with oneself ought not to be abandoned (merely) because of the impossibility of renouncing action entirely, then it would follow that there can be nothing but merit in renouncing it entirely.

The Sankhya, Buddhistic and Vaiseshika theories

Objection: Yes; but an entire renunciation is not possible. Is the soul (Purusha) always mobile like the gunas of the Sankhyas? Or, is action itself the actor (soul), like the five Skandhas of the Buddhists, undergoing destruction every moment? In either case, an entire renunciation of action is impossible.
Now there is also a third theory: When the thing (soul) acts, then it is active; when it does not act, then it is actionless. Such being the case, it is possible to renounce action entirely. And there is this peculiarity in this theory: neither is the thing (soul) ever mobile, nor is action itself the actor (the soul); but it is a permanent fixed substance, wherein action which was non-existent before arises, and wherein action which has been existent ceases while the substance remains pure (actionless), with the potentiality (of the activity) in it, and as such forms the actor. Thus, say the followers of Kanada. What objection is there to this theory?

Refutation of the Vaiseshika theory

Answer: There is certainly this objection, that it is contrary to the Lord's teaching. How do you know? For, the Lord has said ‘there can be no existence of the non–existent’ (ii. 16) and so on. But according to the followers of Kanada, the non-existent comes into existence, and the existent becomes non-existent. Wherefore their theory is contrary to the Lord's teaching.
Objection: - How can it be objected to if it agrees with reason, though it may be opposed to the Lord's teaching?
Answer: We reply: This view is certainly objectionable, because it is opposed to all evidence. How? If a dvyanuka (an aggregate of two atoms) or other substance is absolutely non-existent before its production, and if, remaining for a time after production, it again becomes non-existent, then it follows that what was non-existent becomes existent, and what is existent will become nonexistent; that non-entity becomes an entity and an entity becomes non-entity. In that case it must be that a non-entity (abhava) which is to become an entity (bhava) is like a rabbit's horn before becoming an entity, and that it becomes an entity by the action of the threefold cause, - of the material, the non-material or accidental, and the efficient causes, (samavayi - asamavayi-nimitta-karanas). Now, it is not possible to hold (in the present case) that a non-entity is born and needs a cause; for, it does not apply to other non-entities, such as a rabbit's horn. If a pot or the like, which is to be produced (as an effect), be of the nature of an entity, then we can understand that when it is to be produced as an effect, it needs a cause so far merely as regards its manifestation. Moreover, if the non-existent should become existent and the existent should become nonexistent, then nobody can be certain as to anything whatsoever in matters of evidence and things ascertainable by evidence, inasmuch as there can be no certainty that the existent will continue to be existent and the non-existent will continue to be nonexistent.

Moreover, when they (the followers of Kanada) say that a dvyanuka or such other substance is produced as an eflect, they speak of it as connected with its cause and as existent. Having been non-existent before production, it becomes, in virtue of the operation of its cause, connected with that cause - the ultimate atoms - and with existence, by the relation known as samavaya, i.e., intimate or inseparable relation. When (thus) related, i.e., when it is inseparably connected with the cause, it becomes existent. Here they may be asked to explain how the non-existent can have a cause of its own. We cannot indeed think of a thing which can cause the birth of a barren woman's son or his relation to anything else.
Objection: The Vaiseshikas do not hold that the nonexistent is related to anything. It is substances, such as dvyanuka s, that are said to be intimately related to their causes.
Answer: No; because they are not supposed to exist prior to this relation. The Vaiseshikas do not argue that a pot or the like exists prior to the action of the potter, the potter's stick and wheel. Neither do they hold that clay assumes by itself the form of a pot. Wherefore, as the only other alternative, they have to admit that the non-existent (pot) becomes related (to the cause).

Objection: It is not opposed to reason to hold that, though non-existent, it may be related by samavaya or intimate relation (to the cause).
Answer: Not so; for, no such thing can be admitted in the case of a barren woman's son. If we are to hold that the antecedent Non-existence (pragabhava) of a pot or the like becomes related to the cause, but not the barren woman's son, notwithstanding that both are alike nonentities (abhava), it is necessary to show how one non-entity can be distinguished from the other. Non-existence of one, Non-existence of two, Non-existence of all, antecedent nonexistence (pragabhava), Non-existence after destruction (pradhvasambhava), mutual Nonexistence (anyonyabhava) absolute Non-existence (atyantabhava), - nobody can point out any definite distinction among these in themselves. In the absence of a distinction, it is unreasonable to hold that only the antecedent Non-existence of a pot becomes a pot through the action of a potter, etc., that it becomes related to a cause of its own, viz., the pot - shreds which are existent, that when thus related it can very well be spoken of as being produced and so on, but that such is not the case with regard to the Non-existence after destruction (pradhvasambhava) of the same pot, though both alike are non-existent. It is unreasonable to hold that other nonexistences (abhavas), such as Non-existence after destruction, can never become (an existent effect) and so on, whereas antecedent Non-existence alone, such as that of dvyanuka and the like substances, can become (an existent effect) and so on, though it is an abhava or non – existent quite as much as Non-existence after destruction or absolute Non-existence.
Objection: We do not hold that the non-existent becomes the existent.
Answer: Then the existent becomes existent, - for instance, a pot becomes a pot, a cloth becomes a cloth. This, too, is opposed to all evidence, like the theory that non-existent becomes existent.

Refutation of the Parinama-Vada

As the Parinama (transformation) theory of the Sankhyas, even that theory does not differ from the theory of the Vaiseshikas, inasmuch as it postulates the production of properties non-existent before, as well as their destruction. Even admitting their explanation that by manifestation or disappearance (an effect is said to come into existence or undergo destruction), the theory is all the same opposed to evidence, as may be found if we enquire whether the manifestation and disappearance are previously existent or non-existent. For the same reason, we have to condemn that theory also which says that production, etc., of an effect, are only different states of the cause itself.

The Lord's theory of illusion

As the only other alternative, there remains this theory, that the One Existence, the sole Reality, is by avidya, imagined variously, as so many things undergoing production, destruction and the like changes, like an actor on the stage. This doctrine of the Lord has been stated in ii. 16; the consciousness of the existent (sat) being constant and the consciousness of all the rest being inconstant.

The enlightened alone can renounce action entirely

Objection: Then, the Self being immutable, where is the impossibility of renouncing all action entirely?
Answer: Action is the property or attribute of the gunas, be they regarded as real things, or as things set up by avidya. It is ascribed to the Self through avidya, and it has therefore been said that no ignorant man (avidvan) can renounce action entirely even for a moment (iii. 5). On the other hand, he who knows the Self is able to renounce action entirely, inasmuch as avidya has been expelled by vidya or wisdom; for, there can be no residue left of what is ascribed by avidya. Indeed, no residue is left of the second moon created by the false vision of the timira-affected eye, even after the removal of timira. Such being the case, the statements contained in v. 13, xviii. 45, 46 are quite reasonable.

Perfection in Karma-Yoga leads to absolute Perfection
It has been said that the perfection reached by means of Karma-Yoga consists in becoming qualified for jnananishtha, the Path of Wisdom; and it is with a view to describe, as the fruit thereof, the naishkarmyasiddhi, - perfection in the form of absolute freedom from action, known as jnana-nishtha, - that the Lord now proceeds to teach as follows:

49. He whose reason is not attached anywhere, whose self is subdued, from whom desire has fled, he by renunciation attains the supreme state of freedom from action.
He whose reason (buddhi, antah-karana) is free from attachment to sons, wife, and other objects of attachment, whose self (antah-karana) is brought under his own control, from whom desire for the body, for life, and for pleasures has fled, - a person of this sort who knows the Self attains to the supreme perfection, to absolute freedom from action (naishkarmyasiddhi), by samnyasa. In virtue of his knowledge of the unity of the actionless (nishkriya) Brahman and the Self, all actions have fled from him. This is known as the state of absolute freedom from action; and it is a siddhi or perfection - Naishkarmyasiddhi may also mean the attainment (siddhi) of naishkarmya, the state in which one remains as the actionless Self. It is supreme as distinguished from the perfection attainable by Karma-Yoga; it is the state of immediate liberation (sadyo-mukti). This state is attained by samnyasa or right knowledge, - or better still, by the renunciation of all actions for which one is prepared by his right knowledge, and so says the Lord in v. 13. Now, the Lord proceeds to teach how a man who, having attained perfection (as described above in xviii. 46) by performing his duty (as taught above) in the service of the Lord, has come by the discriminative knowledge of the Self, can attain the perfection known as naishkarmya or absolute freedom from action, i.e., a firm unswerving stand in the knowledge of the pure Self.

50. How he who has attained perfection reaches Brahman, that in brief do thou learn from Me, O son of Kunti, that supreme consummation of knowledge.
The perfection he has already attained consists in the body and the senses being prepared for devotion to knowledge, as a result of the Grace of the Lord worshipped through his duty. Reference to this (perfection) serves as a prelude to what follows. - What is that perfection to which that reference forms a prelude? - It is the process of jnana-nishtha, or devotion to knowledge, by which he attains Brahman, the Supreme Self. That process, the way to the attainment of jnana-nishtha, do thou understand with certainty from my speech. Is it to be described at length? No, says the Lord; it will be described only in brief.

Absolute perfection is the consummation of Self-knowledge
What the attainment of Brahman - referred to in the words "how he reaches Brahman," is, the Lord proceeds to specify in the words "that supreme consummation of knowledge." Consummation (nishtha) means perfection, the final or highest stage.

Question: Consummation of what?
Answer: Of Brahma-jnana or knowledge of Brahman.
Question: Of what nature is the consummation of Brahma-jnana?
Answer: Of the same nature as Atmajnana or Self-knowledge.
Question: Of what nature is the Self-knowledge?
Answer: Of the same nature as the Self.
Question: Of what nature is the Self?
Answer: Of the nature described by the Lord and in the passages of the Upanishads, and (ascertainable) by nyaya or reasoning (upon the scriptural texts).

Is Self-knowledge possible at all?

Objection: Knowledge or cognition (jnana) is of the form of its object.
But it is nowhere admitted that the Self is an object of cognition or has a form.
Answer: The Self has a form, as taught in the scriptural passages, ‘In color like the sun’ (Sve. Up. 3-8); ‘Luminous in form’(Cha. Up. 3 - 14 - 2); ‘Self-luminous’ (Bri. Up. 4-3-9)
Objection: No; those passages are intended to remove the idea that the Self is of the nature of darkness (Tamas). When the Self is said to be neither of the form of a substance nor of an attribute, it would follow that the Self is of the nature of darkness: and the preventing of this idea is the aim of the descriptions such as ‘In color like the sun.’ Form is specifically denied, the Self being described as ‘formless’ (Katha - Up. 3 - 15). Neither is the Self an object of cognition, as taught in passages like the following: "His form stands not in (our) ken, nor can anyone see Him with the eye " (Sve. Up. 4 - 20); " Without sound and touch " (Katha - Up. 3 - 15). Wherefore it is wrong to speak of a cognition of the form of the Self. Such being the case, how can there be a cognition of the Self? Indeed, all cognition, whatever be its object, is of the form of that object. And it has been said that the Self is formless. If both the Self and the cognition thereof be formless, how is the constant meditation of Self-knowledge or the consummation thereof to be attained?

The Self reveals Himself in Pure Reason

Answer: Do not think so; for, it can be shown that the Self is extremely pure, extremely clear, and extremely subtle. And Buddhi (reason) being as pure, etc., as the Self, it can put on the semblance of that aspect of the Self which is manifested as consciousness. Manas puts on a semblance of Buddhi, the sense-organs put on a semblance of Manas, and the physical body again puts on a semblance of the sense-organs. Wherefore common people look upon the mere physical body as the Self. And the Lokayatikas (materialists) who argue that consciousness is a property of the physical body declare that the Purusha or Soul is identical with the physical body endued with consciousness. Similarly, others argue that consciousness is a property of the senses; others again argue that consciousness is a property of Buddhi. There are a few who hold that there is something within even beyond the Buddhi, viz., the Avyakta (the Unmanifested) also called the Avyakrita (the Undifferentiated), in the form of Avidya; and they say that the Avyakrita is the Self. Everywhere, from Buddhi down to the physical body, the cause of illusory identification of each with the Self is its wearing asemblance of the consciousness of the Self; and it is therefore unnecessary to impart directly a knowledge of the Self.
What then is necessary? What is necessary is the mereelimination of the not-Self associated with the Self, - names, forms and the like; but it is unnecessary to try and teach what the consciousness of the Self is like, inasmuch as it is invariably comprehended in association with all objects of perception which are set up by avidya. Accordingly, the Vijnanavadins, the Buddhistic Idealists, hold that there is nothing real except ideas, and that these ideas require no external evidence (to prove their existence), inasmuch as it is admitted that they are self-cognized. Therefore, we have only to eliminate what is falsely ascribed to Brahman by avidya; we have to make no more effort to acquire a knowledge of Brahman as He is quite self - evident. Though thus quite self - evident, easily knowable, quite near, and forming the very Self, Brahman appears - to the unenlightened, to those whose reason (Buddhi) is carried away by the differentiated phenomena of names and forms created by avidya - as unknown, difficult to know, very remote, as though He were a separate thing.

But to those whose reason (Buddhi) has turned away from external phenomena, who have secured the grace of the Guru and attained the serenity of the self (manas), there is nothing, nothing else so blissful, so well-known, so easily knowable, and quite so near as Brahman.
Accordingly, the knowledge of Brahman is said to be immediately comprehended and unopposed to dharma. fix. 2.) Some conceited philosophers hold that reason (Buddhi) cannot grasp the Self, as He is formless, and that therefore the Devotion of Right Knowledge is impossible of attainment.

True, it is unattainable to those who have not been properly initiated into the traditional knowledge by the Gurus (the Great Ones), who have not learned and studied the (teachings of the) Vedanta, whose intellect is quite engrossed in the external objects of senses, and who have not been trained in the right sources of knowledge. But, for those who are differently situated, (i.e., who have been duly initiated, etc.,), it is quite impossible to believe in the reality of the dual - the perceiver and the perceived – of our external perception, because they perceive no reality other than the consciousness of the Self. And we have shewn in the preceding sections that this - not the reverse - is the truth, and the Lord also has declared the same in ii.69. Wherefore it is only a cessation of the perception of the differentiated forms of the external world that can lead to a firm grasp of the real nature of the Self. For the Self is not a thing unknown to anybody at any time, is not a thing to be reached or got rid of or acquired. If the Self be quite unknown, all undertakings intended for the benefit of oneself would have no meaning. It is not, indeed, possible to imagine that they are for the benefit of the physical body or the like which has no consciousness; nor is it possible to imagine that pleasure is for pleasure's sake and pain is for pain's sake. It is, moreover, the Self-knowledge which is the aim of all endeavor. Wherefore, just as there is no need for an external evidence by which to know one's own body, so there is no need for an external evidence by which to know the Self who is even nearer than the body. Thus, it is clear that, to those who can discriminate, the Atma-jnana-nishtha (devotion to Self-knowledge) is easy of attainment.

Cognition and the Cogniser are self-revealed
Those also who hold that cognition (jnana) is formless and is not known by immediate perception must admit that, since an object of knowledge is apprehended through cognition, cognition is quite as immediately known as pleasure or the like.
Moreover, it cannot be maintained that cognition is a thing which one seeks to know. - If cognition were unknown, it would be a thing which has to be sought after just as an object of cognition is sought after. Just as, for example, a man seeks to reach by cognition the cognisable object such as a pot, so also would he have to seek to reach cognition by means of another cognition. But the fact is otherwise. Wherefore cognition is self - revealed, and therefore, also, is the cogniser self-revealed. Therefore it is not for the knowledge (of Brahman or the Self) that any effort is needed; it is needed only to prevent us from regarding the not-Self as the Self. Therefore, Devotion to Knowledge (jnana-nishtha) is easily attainable.

The Path to Absolute Perfection
How is this consummation of knowledge to be attained? Listen:

51. Endued with a pure reason, controlling the self with firmness, abandoning sound and other objects, and laying aside love and hatred.
Pure: free from illusion (maya), from doubt and misconception. Reason (buddhi): the determining faculty. The Self: the aggregate of the body and the senses. Abandoning etc., (as we should understand from the context) all superfluous luxuries, all objects except those only which are necessary for the bare maintenance of the body, and laying aside love and hatred even for those objects which appear necessary for the maintenance of the body. Then,

52. Resorting to a sequestered spot, eating but little, speech and body and mind subdued, always engaged in meditation and concentration, endued with dispassion.
Resorting, etc., ever accustomed to resort to such sequestered spots as a jungle, the sandbank of a river, the mountain - cave. Eating but little: as conducive to the serenity of thought by keeping off sleep and such other evils. This devotee of wisdom should also restrain his speech, body and mind. With all the senses thus quieted, he should always and devoutly practice Dhyana or meditation upon the nature of the Self, and Yoga or concentration of the mind on the Self. Always: this implies that he has to do nothing else, no mantrajapa (repetition of chants or mystic formulae), etc. Dispassion: absence of desire for visible and invisible objects. This should be a constant attitude of the mind. Moreover,

53. Having abandoned egotism, strength, arrogance, desire, enmity, property, free from the notion of "mine," and peaceful, he is fit for becoming Brahman.
Egotism: identifying the Self with the body, etc., Strength: that strength which is combined with passion and desire, but not the physical or any other strength: the latter being natural, its abandonment is not possible. Arrogance: which follows the State of exultation and leads to the transgression of dharma, as said in the smriti: “When a man exults, he becomes arrogant, and when he becomes arrogant, he transgresses dharma” - (Apastamba-Dharmasutra, 1 - 13 - 4). Property: though a man is free from all passions of the mind and the senses, he may own so much of external belongings as is necessary for bodily sustenance and for the observance of his duties (dharma); but even this the aspirant abandons; i.e., he becomes a Paramahamsa - Parivrajaka, a samnyasin of the fourth or highest order. He does not regard even the bodily life as his. Peaceful: free from exultation and care. Such a devotee of wisdom is fit to become Brahman.

The consummation of Knowledge attained by Devotion
In this way,

54. Becoming Brahman, of serene self, he neither grieves nor desires, treating all beings alike; he attains supreme devotion to Me.
He who has reached Brahman and attained self–serenity does not grieve regarding his failure to accomplish an object or regarding his wants. It is not indeed possible to suppose that he who knows Brahman can have a longing for any object unattained therefore the words "he neither grieves nor desires" is tantamount to saying that such is the nature of the man who has become Brahman. Another reading makes the passage mean " he neither grieves nor exults." Treating all beings alike: he regards the pleasure and pain of all creatures equally with his own, (i.e., that they would affect them just as they affect himself). It is not meant here that he sees the identity of the Self in all, as this will be mentioned in the next verse. - Such a devotee to wisdom attains highest devotion to Me, the Supreme Lord, the fourth or the highest of the four kinds of devotion, vis., the Devotion of Knowledge, spoken of in vii. 16. Then,

55. By Devotion he knows Me in truth, what and who I am; then, knowing Me in truth, he forthwith enters into Me.
By Bhakti, by the Devotion of Knowledge he knows Me as I am in the divers manifestations caused by upadhis. He knows who I am, he knows that I am devoid of all the differences caused by the upadhis, that I am the Supreme Purusha, that I am like unto akasa; he knows Me to be non-dual, the one Consciousness (Chaitanya), pure and, simple, unborn, undecaying, undying, fearless, deathless. Thus, knowing Me in truth, he enters into Myself immediately after attaining knowledge. It is not meant here that the act of knowing and the act of entering are two distinct acts. What then is the act of entering? It is the knowledge itself; for, there is nothing to be effected (by knowledge) other than itself, as the Lord has taught, " Do thou also know Me as Kshetrajna." (xiii. 2).

Objection: The statement that "by the supreme devotion of knowledge he knows Me," involves a contradiction. How? Thus: when the knowledge of a Certain object arises in the knower, then and then alone the knower knows that object; no devotion to that knowledge, no repetition of the knowledge is necessary. Therefore, the statement that "he knows Me, not by knowledge, but by devotion to knowledge, by a repetition of knowledge," involves a contradiction.
Answer: This objection does not apply here; for, the word "devotion (nishtha)" means that the knowledge aided by all the favorable conditions of its rise and development and freed from obstacles culminates in a firm conviction by one's own experience. When the knowledge of the unity of the individual Self (Kshetrajna) and the Supreme Self (Paramatman), generated by the teachings of the Scriptures and the master under conditions favorable to the rise and ripening of that knowledge - viz., purity of mind, humility and other attributes (xiii. 7, et seq.), - and accompanied with the renunciation of all works which are associated with the idea of distinctions such as the agent and other factors of action, culminates in a firm conviction by one's own experience, then the knowledge is said to have attained supreme consummation. This jnana-nishtha (Devotion of Knowledge) is referred to as the Supreme or fourth kind of Devotion, Bhakti (vii. 17), - supreme as compared with the remaining three kinds of Devotion, with that of the distressed, etc., (vii. 16). By this supreme devotion the aspirant knows the Lord as He is, and immediately afterwards all consciousness of difference between the Isvara and the Kshetrajna disappears altogether. Thus there is no contradiction involved in the statement that “by the Devotion of Knowledge (the aspirant knows) Me.”

Renunciation of all works is necessary for absolute perfection

Then alone can the well - ascertained teaching of all scriptures - viz. the Upanishads, Itihasas, Puranas and Smritis - enjoining retirement have a meaning. The scriptural texts are such as the following:
“Knowing It, they renounce and lead a mendicant life.” - (Bri. Up. 3 - 5 - 9). “Wherefore they say that renunciation is excellent among these austerities.” - (Yajniki - Up. 79). "Renunciation excels." - (Ibid. 78). "Samnyasa is the renunciation of actions." "Having abandoned Vedas, this world and the next," etc. - (Apastamba-dharmasutra, 2 - 23 - 13). "Renounce dharma and a-dharma." And so on. Here, in the Gita also, passages of similar import (such as v. 12) occur. It cannot be held that these passages are meaningless. Nor can it be held that they are arthavadas, mere explanatory or incidental remarks (not meant as obligatory injunctions); for, they occur in the sections which specially treat of renunciation. Moreover, (renunciation of works is necessary) because Moksha consists in the realization of the immutability of one's own Inner Self. He who wishes to reach the eastern sea should not indeed travel in the opposite direction, i.e., by the same road that the man who wishes to go to the western sea chooses. And the Devotion of Knowledge (jnana-nishta) consists in an intent effort to establish a continuous, current of the idea of the Inner Self (Pratyagatman); and there would be a conflict if that devotion were to be conjoined with ritual (karma), which is like going towards the western sea. It is a firm conviction of philosophers that the difference between the two is as wide as that between a mountain and a mustard seed. Hence the conclusion that the Devotion of Knowledge (jnana-nishtha) should be practiced by renouncing all action.

Devotion to the Lord by works enjoined
The perfection accruing as the fruit of that Bhakti–Yoga which consists in worshipping the Lord through one's own duties qualifies the aspirant for the Devotion of Knowledge which culminates in moksha. This Bhakti - Yoga, the Yoga of Devotion to the Lord, is extolled here, in this section which sums up the teaching of the sastra, with a view to firmly impress that teaching.

56. Doing continually all actions whatsoever, taking refuge in Me, - by My Grace he reaches the eternal undecaying Abode.
Doing all actions including even the prohibited actions, whoso seeks refuge in Me, Vasudeva, the Lord, with his whole self-centered in Me, reaches the eternal Abode of Vishnu by the Grace of the Lord. Wherefore,

57. Mentally resigning all deeds to Me, regarding Me as the Supreme, resorting to mental concentration, do thou ever fix thy heart in Me.
Mentally: with discriminative faith. All actions: producing visible and invisible results. Me: the Lord. As taught in ix. 27, do thou dedicate all thy actions to Me. Regarding: regarding Me, Vasudeva, as the highest goal; his whole self-centered in Me. Resorting, etc., resorting to the Buddhi - Yoga (samahita-buddhitva, steady-mindedness, firm faith) as thy sole refuge.

58. Fixing thy heart in Me, thou shalt, by My Grace, cross over all difficulties; but if from egotism thou wilt not hear (Me), thou shalt perish.
Difficulties: the impassable obstacles arising from (avidya), the cause of Samsara. Egotism: the idea that thou art a learned man. If thou wilt not abide by my advice, then thou shalt be ruined. Neither shouldst thou think, “I am independent; why should I obey the dictates of another.”?

59. If, indulging egotism, thou thinkest ‘I will not fight,’ vain is this, thy resolve; nature will constrain thee.
Thinkest, resolvest. Vain: for, thy nature as a Kshatriya will constrain thee to do so. Also because,

60. Bound (as thou art), O son of Kunti, by thy own nature - born act, that which from delusion thou likest not to do, thou shalt do, though against thy will.
Nature-born: such as prowess, etc., mentioned above (xviii. 43). Against thy will: in subjection to some external force. For,

61. The Lord dwells in the hearts of all beings, O Arjuna, whirling by Maya all beings (as if) mounted on a machine.
The Lord (lsvara): the Ruler, Narayana. Arjuna. pure in the internal self, of a pure antahkarana. The word “Arjuna” is used in the sense of ‘pure’ in the Big-Veda. “The dark day and the light day.” (6-9-1). He causes all beings to revolve as if – ‘as if’ being understood - mounted on machines, like wooded dolls mounted on a machine. By Maya: by causing illusion. ‘Whirling’ should be construed with ‘dwells.’

62. Fly unto Him for refuge with all thy being, O Bharata; by His Grace shall thou obtain supreme peace (and) the eternal resting place.
Seek thou that Lord as thy sole Refuge with thy whole being for relief from the distress of samsara. Then, by His Grace, thou shalt obtain supreme peace and attain to My – i.e., Vishnu’s - Supreme Eternal Abode.

63. Thus has wisdom, more secret than all that is secret, been declared to thee by Me; reflect. thou over it all and act as thou pleasest.
Me: the Omniscient Lord. It: the Sastra, the teaching declared above. All: everything that has been taught.

Devotion to the Lord is the Secret of success in Karma-Yoga
Listen to what I am again going to say:

64. Hear thou again My word supreme, the most secret of all; because thou art My firm friend, therefore will I tell thee what is good.
Again: though it has been more than once declared. I do not tell thee either from fear or from hope of reward; thou art My firm friend, thou art ever beloved of Me; and for this reason, I shall tell thee of the supreme good, the means of attaining knowledge. This last is, indeed, the highest of all kinds of good. What is it? The Lord says:

65. Fix thy thought on Me, be devoted to Me, worship Me, do homage to Me. Thou shalt reach Myself. The truth do I declare to thee; (for) thou art dear to Me.
Thou shalt reach Myself: thus acting - i.e., looking up to Vasudeva alone as thy aim, means, and end - thou shalt come to Me. In this matter I make a solemn promise. The meaning of the verse is this: Thus, knowing that the Lord's declarations are true, and being convinced that moksha is a necessary result of devotion to the Lord, one should look to the Lord as the highest and sole Refuge.

Right Knowledge and Renunciation
Having taught in conclusion that the supreme secret of the Devotion of Karma-Yoga, is the regarding of the Lord as the sole Refuge, the Lord now proceeds to speak of the Right Knowledge, the fruit of the Devotion of Karma-Yoga, as taught in the essential portions of all the Vedantas (Upanishads):

66. Abandoning all righteous deeds, seek Me as thy sole Refuge; I will liberate thee from all sins; do thou not grieve.
Righteous deeds (dharma): including unrighteous deeds (a-dharma) also, since naishkarmya or freedom from all action is intended to be taught here. Here may be cited such passages of the sruti and the smriti as the following: " Not he who has not abstained from evil deed.. can attain It." - (Katha - Up. 1 - 2 - 24) “Abandon dharma and a-dharma.” So, the passage means “renouncing all works.” Me alone: the Isvara, the Self of all, dwelling the same in all. Seek Me as thy sole Refuge: in the belief “I myself am that: Isvara;” i.e., do thou understand that there is naught else except Me. When thou art firm in this faith, I shall liberate thee from all sins, from all bonds of dharma and a-dharma, by manifesting Myself as thy own Self. So, it has been already said here, "I destroy the darkness born of ignorance by the luminous lamp of wisdom, abiding in their self." - (x. II.) Wherefore do thou not grieve.

What is the means to the Highest Bliss, Knowledge or Works?

What has been determined in this Gita-sastra as the means of attaining the Highest Bliss (nis - sreyasa)? Is it Knowledge (Jnana), or Works (Karma), or both together? Whence this doubt? It has been said " Knowing which one attains the Immortal" (xiii. 12), and "Then knowing Me in truth, he forthwith enters into Me" (xiii. 55): these and other passages teach that the Highest Bliss is attained by mere knowledge. Such passages again as "Thy concern is with action alone" (ii. 47), and "Do thou also perform action," (iv. 15), teach that performance of works is quite obligatory. Since it has been taught that both knowledge and works are obligatory, there may arise a doubt as to whether also the two conjoined may not constitute the means to the Highest Bliss. What is the good of this enquiry at all? It is this, viz., to determine which one of them forms the means to the Highest Bliss. Wherefore, the subject is very wide and is worth investigating.

Self-Knowledge alone is the means to the Highest Bliss

Pure Self-knowledge alone is the means to the Highest Bliss; for, as removing the notion of variety, it culminates in liberation (kaivalya). Avidya is the perception of variety involving actions, factors of action, and the ends of actions. It is always present in the Self. " Mine is action; I am the agent; I do this act for such and such a result:" in this form, avidya has been active in time without a beginning. The remover of this avidya is the knowledge of the Self arising in the following form, "Here I am, free, a non - agent, actionless, devoid of results"; for such a knowledge removes the notion of variety which causes one to engage in action. - The word " alone " (in the opening line of this paragraph) is intended to exclude the two other alternatives: neither by works alone, nor by works and knowledge conjoined together, is the Highest Bliss attained. Since, moreover, the Highest Bliss is not an effect to be accomplished by action, works cannot be the means to it. Indeed, the Eternal Reality is not produced either by knowledge or by works.

Objection: Then, even the pure knowledge serves no purpose!
Answer: Not so; for, by removing avidya, it culminates in emancipation, which is a visible result. We know from experience that knowledge which removes the darkness of avidya culminates in emancipation as its result; for instance, in the case of a rope (mistaken for a serpent), as soon as the light of the lamp removes the darkness which caused the error, the rope is no longer mistaken for a serpent. The result of illumination culminates indeed in the emancipation of the rope, in freeing the rope from the various mistaken notions of serpent, etc., which then cease altogether. So, too, as regards the Self-knowledge.

Knowledge cannot be conjoined with Works
Now, when the agent and other factors of action are operating in the act of cutting or in the act of churning fire, - each act producing a visible result, they cannot (at the same time) operate in another act productive of another result different from severance or the kindling of a fire; so also when the agent and other factors of action are concerned in the act of knowledge - devotion (jnana-nishtha), whereof alike the result is visible, they cannot at the same time operate to bring about another act productive of a result other than the emancipation of the Self. Wherefore, the Devotion of Knowledge cannot be conjoined with works.

Objection: They may be conjoined, just as the act of eating and the acts of fire - worship (agnihotra), etc., are conjoined.
Answer: No; for, emancipation being the result of knowledge, (the devotee of knowledge) cannot desire the result of works. When there is an all-spreading flood of water close by nobody would ever think of constructing wells and tanks to any purpose. So also when knowledge leading to emancipation as its result has been attained, nobody would ever desire any other result or seek to do an act by which to obtain that other result. He who is engaged in an act by which he hopes to acquire a whole kingdom will not certainly engage in an act which can at best secure for him a piece of land, nor will he cherish a desire for it. Therefore, - works are not the means to the Highest Bliss. Neither is a conjunction of knowledge and works possible. Nor can it be held that knowledge which leads to emancipation requires the aid of works; for, as removing avidya, knowledge is opposed to works. Indeed, darkness cannot remove darkness. Therefore, knowledge alone is the means to the Highest Bliss.

Refutation of the theory that salvation is attained by works alone

Objection: No. For, by neglect of nitya or obligatory works one incurs sin (pratyavaaya); and kaivalya or emancipation is eternal.
To explain: It is wrong to say that emancipation is attained by knowledge alone; for, by neglect of the nitya-karma or obligatory works enjoined in the sruti, a man incurs sin which leads him to hell, etc.
Counter-objection: Thus, then, since moksha is not to be attained by works, there can be no hope of attaining moksha at all.
Rejoinder: There is no room for any such objection, inasmuch as moksha is eternal. The sin of omission (pratyavaya) is avoided by the observance of the nitya-karma or obligatory works; by avoiding the prohibited acts, no obnoxious bodies are generated; by avoiding the kamya – karma or interested acts no desirable body either is generated; and when the present body perishes on the exhaustion of the fruits of the works which have given rise to the body, no more causes 'then exist which can generate another body; and when attachment and other passions are expunged from the heart, the emancipation of the Self - i.e., the realization by the Self of His own true nature - is attained without any effort.
Counter-objection: Those of the acts done in the past innumerable births, which have not yet begun their effects, and of which some lead to heaven and others to hell, and so on, have not been extinguished, because their effects have not been enjoyed.
Rejoinder: No; for we argue that the fruits of those works are reaped in the form of the trouble and pain involved in the performance of the nitya-karma. Or, the nitya-karma may, like the prayaschitta or expiatory act, serve to destroy past sins. The works which have begun their effects being exhausted by the enjoyment of their fruits, and no new works being undertaken, it follows that emancipation is attained without any effort.
Answer: No; for the sruti says that there exists no other road to moksha than knowledge: “Knowing Him alone, one crosses beyond death; there exists no other road to the Abode” (Svet. Up. 3 - 8). The Sruti says, further, that moksha is as impossible for the unwise man as it is impossible for men to compress the akasa like leather (Ibid. 6 - 20). And the Puranic tradition also says that ‘one attains emancipation by knowledge.’ Moreover, the good deeds (punya-karma) which have not yet begun their effects cannot be said to have been exhausted. Just as the existence of sins which have not begun their effects is possible, so also the existence of good (punya) deeds which have not yet begun their effects is possible; and as these cannot be exhausted without generating another body, moksha is not possible. Neither is it possible to generate no new merit and demerit (dharma and adharma in this body), inasmuch as destruction of love and hatred and delusion which lead to acts of merit and demerit cannot be effected except by means of Self-knowledge. Because the sruti says that the nitya-karma produces merit (punya) as its result, and because the smriti says that, by performing their proper duties, the several castes and orders attain to a high immeasurable happiness, the exhaustion of works is not possible.

Refutation of the theory that the Nitya Karma leads to no future births

Now, as to the contention: As painful in itself, the nityakarma is itself the fruit of sinful deeds committed in the past; apart from itself, the nitya-karma bears no distinct fruit, because the sruti speaks nowhere of its fruits, the mere circumstance of a man being alive forming a sufficient ground for its necessary performance. We say, no; for, it is impossible for those deeds to yield their fruits which have not yet begun to work out their effects. Neither can there be any variety in the pain (involved in the performance of the nitya-karma).
To explain: It is wrong to say that the fruits of the sinful deeds committed in the past births are reaped in the form of the trouble and pain involved in the performance of the nityakarma. We cannot indeed understand how the fruit of the deeds which did not sprout up for fruition at the time of death can be reaped in the birth caused by another set of deeds. Otherwise, there would be nothing unreasonable in the supposition that infernal suffering is possible in the very birth that has been generated by Agnihotra (firesacrifice) for the enjoyment of the fruit thereof i.e., for the enjoyment of heaven (svarga).

Moreover, the pain involved in the performance of the nitya-karma cannot answer to that variety of suffering (which should result from the variety) of acts of sin. While many acts of sin productive of as many distinct kinds of suffering may possibly exist, to suppose that their effects consist in the mere trouble and pain involved in the observance of the nitya-karma would lead to the further supposition - which it is impossible to hold - that the suffering inflicted by the pairs of opposites, diseases and the like, has no cause of its own, and that the trouble and pain involved in the observance of the nitya-karma is alone the effect of past sins, but not the pain of carrying stones on the head or the like.

Besides, it is irrelevant to say that the trouble and pain involved in the observance of the nitya-karma constitutes the result of the sinful, deeds done in the past. - How? - It has been urged that no extinction of the past sin which has not begun to bear fruit is possible; whereas you say that the fruit of the deed which has begun to bear fruit - not the fruit of the deed which has not begun to bear fruit - is reaped in the form of the trouble and pain involved in the observance of the nitya-karma. If, on the other hand, you mean that the whole sin committed in the past has begun to bear fruit, then there is no ground for the specification that the mere trouble and pain involved in the observance of the nityakarma are the fruits (of those sinful deeds which have not begun to produce their effects). It would then also follow that the enjoining of the nitya-karma has no purpose to serve; for, the sinful deeds which have begun their effects can be extinguished by merely undergoing the effects so produced.

Moreover, if pain be the result of the nitya-karma enjoined in the sruti, that pain may arise from the trouble involved in the observance of the nitya-karma itself as from any other active exercise: it is therefore unreasonable to suppose that it is the result of another action. Again, as enjoined on a man on the mere ground of his being alive, the nitya-karma cannot be, any more than a prayaschitta or expiatory act, the effect of sins committed in the past. An expiatory act, enjoined by reason of a certain act of sin having been committed, is not the fruit of that sinful act. If, on the other hand, the pain of the expiatory act be the effect of the very sinful act which forms its occasion, then, it would follow that the trouble and pain involved in the performance of the nitya – karma occasioned by the man's being alive, etc., is the effect of that very state of being alive which has occasioned the necessity; the nityakarma and prayaschitta being alike necessitated by the particular occasions respectively.

Moreover, the trouble and pain involved in the per formance of a nitya - agnihotra (five - worship done as a duty and a kamya-agnihotra (fire-worship done with a motive) being equal, and no special reason being found as to why the trouble and pain involved in the performance of the nitya-karma alone should constitute the result of sins committed in the past, but not the trouble and pain involve in the performance of the kamya-karma, it would follow that the latter also is the result of sins committed in the past. Such being the case, it is wrong to infer, on the ground of consistency (arthapatti), that because no mention is made in the sruti of the nitya-karma's results and because the injunction thereof is otherwise inexplicable, the trouble and pain involved in the performance of the nitya-karma is the result of sins committed in the past. The injunction being otherwise inexplicable, we should even infer that the nitya-karma is productive of results distinct from the pain and trouble involved in its performance. The opponent is also guilty of inconsistency. When is once admitted that through the performance of the nitya-karma the fruit of another deed is reaped, this reaping forms itself the fruit of the nitya-karma, and it is therefore inconsistent to hold at the same time that the nitya – karma produces no fruits of its own. Moreover, when the kamya-agnihotra is performed, the nitya-agnihotra is also said to have been performed simultaneously, as included in that self-same act; and therefore, the fruit of the kamya-agnihotra should become exhausted with the trouble and pain involved in the nitya-agnihotra, inasmuch as the kamya-agnihotra is not a distinct act from the nitya-agnihotra. If, on the other hand, the effect of the kamya-agnihotra be something distinct, such as svarga, then it would follow that the trouble and pain of its performance must also be distinct; but it is not so, for it is opposed to facts. In point of fact, the trouble and pain involved in the performance of the nitya-karma is not distinct from that of the kamya-karma. Furthermore, an action which is neither enjoined nor prohibited (in the sruti) is productive of immediate results; but an act which is enjoined or prohibited by the sastra cannot be productive of immediate result. If this latter were productive of immediate results, then no effort would be made with a view to attain an unseen result, even though it be svarga or the like, so long as it is held that in the case of Agnihotra or the like-despite the absence of all distinction in the nature of the Act-the fruits of the act when performed as a nityakarma are reaped in the form of the mere trouble and pain - involved in its performance, whereas when performed as a kamya-karma the self-same act produces a superior result - such as svarga merely because there is a longing for its results, although the latter act is not superior to the former in any of the subsidiary parts in the mode of performance. Wherefore it is in no way reasonable to contend that the nitya-karma does not lead to results in the unseen future.

The Paths of Knowledge and Works are meant for distinct classes of aspirants

So, knowledge alone can cause total destruction of good or evil deeds caused by avidya - not the performance of the nitya-karma. For, avidya and kama (nescience and desire) constitute the seed of all action. Accordingly, it has been declared that Karma-Yoga pertains to the ignorant and that Jnana-nishtha or knowledge - devotion accompanied with renunciation of all works pertains to the wise. Vide ii. ig, 21; iii. 3, 26, 28; v. 8, 13; vii. 18; ix. 21, 22; X. 10. From the last verse here quoted it should be inferred that ignorant men who are devoted to action cannot approach the Lord. And therefore, notwithstanding that ignorant men, who are followers of works, are most devout, rendering service to the Lord, they resort only to one of the several paths mentioned (xii. 6 - 1 1) in their descending order, the lowest of them being that which consists in abandoning the fruits of action. But as regards those who are devoted to the Undefinable and the Indestructible, the attributes, they cultivate are mentioned m xii. 13 - 20; and their path of knowledge is also described in the three discourses commencing with the (thirteenth) discourse on the Kshetra. The triple result of action. - such as the evil, good and mixed fruit, - (xviii. 12) does not accrue to those who have renounced all works generated by the five causes such as the body (xviii. 14), who know that the Self is one and non-agent, who are engaged in the higher devotion of knowledge, who have known the true nature of the Lord, - to the Paramahamsa - Parivrajakas (i.e., the samnyasins of the fourth or highest order) who have obtained refuge in the unity of the Self and the Divine Being. But it does accrue to others who are ignorant, who follow the path of works, who are not samnyasins. Thus, should we assign the paths of duty taught in the Gitasastra.

Action is a creature of Avidya
Objection: It cannot be proved that all action is caused by avidya.
Answer: No; it can be proved, as in the case of brahmanicide (brahmahatya). - The nityakarma is no doubt taught in the sastra; but it concerns the ignorant alone. Just as the act of brahmanicide, which, as prohibited in the sastra, is known to be a source of evil, is committed only by him who is ignorant and influenced by passion and other evil tendencies, - his concern in it being otherwise inexplicable - so also, all nitya, naimittika, and kamya karmas, i.e., all works comprising the constant and occasional duties as well as all interested sacrificial rites, concern only him who is ignorant (of the Self).
Objection: So long as it is not known that the Self is distinct from the body, it is not likely that any man would undertake to perform the nitya-karma, etc.
Answer: Not so; for, we see that a man engages in an act thinking "I do" the act, which, being of the nature of motion, is really done by the agency of the not-Self, (of the body, etc.).
Question: The regarding of the aggregate of the body, etc., as the Self is only a gauna- pratyaya or a figuratively expressed notion; it is not an illusion (mithya).
Answer: Not so; for, then its effects, too, must be gauna, must have been figuratively spoken of.
To explain the objection: When we speak of the aggregate of the body, etc., - which are things belonging to the Self, - as the Self, our words should be understood in a figurative sense, as when, for instance, addressing the father the sruti says “thyself art he who is spoken of as thy son.” In common parlance, too, we say “this cow is my very life.” In the present case there is certainly no mithyapratyaya or illusory notion. It is only when the distinction between the two is not perceived, - as when a pillar is mistaken for a man, that we have an instance of illusion.
To explain the answer: Not so. A gauna-pratyaya cannot lead to a real effect; for, a figurative expression, - the sign of similarity being understood, is merely intended to extol the subject. For example, such expressions as “Devadatta is a lion” and “the student is fire” are intended merely to extol the subjects, Devadatta and the student, because of their respective resemblance to the lion and fire in point of fierceness and yellowishness; but no effect of the existence of a real lion or of a real fire is accomplished in virtue of that figurative expression or idea. On the other hand, one actually experiences the evil effects of an illusory notion. Furthermore, one knows what the subject in reality is when it is figuratively spoken of as some other thing; one knows that Devadatta is no lion and that the student is no fire.

So also, if the bodily aggregate be figuratively spoken of as the Self, the act done by the bodily aggregate would not be regarded as an act done in reality by the Self, by the real subject of the notion " I." Indeed, no act done by a gauna (figurative) lion or fire can become an act done by a real lion or fire. Neither is any purpose whatever of an actual lion or fire served by fierceness or yellowishness, it being merely intended to extol (the subject). Moreover, he who is thus praised knows that he is not a lion, that he is not fire; he never regards an act of a lion or of fire as his. So, (if, in the present case, the bodily aggregate were figuratively spoken of as the Self), one would think rather that the act of the (bodily) aggregate "is not mine," i.e., not the real Self's, than that "I am the agent, mine is the action." And as regards the theory that the Self actually does an act, - his memory, desire and effort forming causes of action, - we say that such is not the case, because they proceed from illusion. In fact, memory, desire and effort proceed from impressions produced by the experience of desirable and undesirable effects of actions set up by illusion. Just as in this birth dharma and a-dharma and the experience of their fruits are due to the identifying of the Self with the aggregate of the body, etc., to affection and aversion and so on, so also in the last previous birth and in the birth previous to that, and so on. Thus, we are to infer that samsara, past and future, is caused by avidya and is without a beginning. Wherefore it follows that the final cessation of Samsara is attained through devotion to knowledge accompanied with renunciation of all works. Because attachment to the body is an aspect of avidya, therefore, when avidya ceases, the body also must cease to be, and then samsara necessarily ceases. - The identifying of the Self with the aggregate of the body, etc., is an aspect of avidya; for, nobody in the world who knows that he is distinct from a cow, etc., and that the cow, etc., are distinct from him, regards them as himself.

Only an ignorant man identifies the Self with the aggregate of the body, etc., for want of discrimination, in the same way that one mistakes the branchless trunk of a tree for a man; - but not he who knows the truth by discrimination. As to the son being spoken of as the father himself in the sruti, "thyself art he who is spoken of as thy son," it is a gauna-pratyaya, a figuratively expressed notion, because of their relation as the generator and the offspring. By what is only figuratively spoken of as the Self, no real purposes of the true Self can be accomplished, any more than the son can eat for the father. No real purposes, for instance, of a real lion and a real fire can be achieved by what are only figuratively spoken of as a lion and fire.

Objection: Since the scriptural ordinances are of undisputed authority in the transcendental matters, the purposes of the Self can certainly be achieved by what are figuratively spoken of as the Self - viz., the body, the senses, and so on.
Answer: No; for, they are selfs set up by avidya. The body and the senses and the like are not figuratively spoken of as the Self. On the other hand, being really not - Self, they are regarded as selfs by illusion; for, they are regarded as the Self so long as there is illusion, and they cease to be regarded as the Self when illusion disappears. It is only children, the ignorant people, who, for want of knowledge, think, "I am tall, I am yellowish," and thus regard the aggregate of the body, etc., as the Self. On the other hand, those who can discriminate and understand that “I am distinct from the aggregate of the body,” etc., do not identify themselves with the aggregate of the body, etc. This notion of identity is therefore - because it does not exist in the absence of Illusion - caused by illusion; and it is not a gauna-pratyaya. It is only when similarity and difference are distinctly seen between two things - as between a lion and Devadatta, or between a student and fire, - that those two things may be figuratively spoken of in word as identical or so regarded in thought, but not when similarity and difference are not perceived. And as regards the appeal made to the authority of Sruti, we say that no such appeal should be made, inasmuch as sruti is an authority in transcendental matters, in matters lying beyond the bounds of human knowledge.

Sruti is an authority only in matters not perceived by means of ordinary instruments of knowledge, such as pratyaksha or immediate perception; - i.e., it is an authority as to the mutual relation of things as means to ends, but not in matters lying within the range of pratyaksha; indeed, sruti is intended as an authority only for knowing what lies beyond the range of human knowledge. Wherefore it is not possible to suppose that the notion of " I " which arises in connection with the aggregate of the body, etc., and which is evidently due to illusion, is only a figurative idea. A hundred srutis may declare that fire is cold or that it is dark; still they possess no authority in the matter. If sruti should at all declare that fire is cold or that it is dark, we would still suppose that it intends quite a different meaning from the apparent one; for, its authority cannot otherwise be maintained; we should in no way attach to sruti a meaning which is opposed to other authorities or to its own declaration.

The theory of Avidya does not militate against the authority of Karma-Kanda

Objection: As a man does an action only when he is subject to illusion, it would follow that when he ceases to be an agent the sruti (which treats of works) would prove false.
Answer: No; for, sruti is still true in the matter of Brahma-vidya.
Objection: If the sruti which treats of works should be no authority, the sruti which teaches Brahmavidya, too, can be no authority.
Answer: Not so; for, there can arise no notion that can remove (Brahmavidya). The notion that the Self is identical with the aggregate of the body, etc., is removed when the true nature of the Self is known from the sruti which teaches Brahmavidya; but not so can this knowledge of the true Self be ever removed in any way by anything whatsoever: for, knowledge of the Self is necessarily associated with its result (i.e., the absence of avidya) like the knowledge that fire is hot and luminous. Our theory, moreover, does not drive us to the conclusion that the sruti teaching works proves useless; for, by restraining the first natural activities one by one and thereby gradually inducing fresh and higher activities, it serves to create an aspiration to reach the Innermost Self. Though the means is mithya or illusory, still it is true, because the end is true, as in the case of the arthavadas or explanatory statements subsidiary to a main injunction. And even in ordinary affairs, when we have to induce a child or a lunatic to drink milk or the like, we have to tell him that thereby his hair will grow, and so on. Or, we may even argue that the sruti treating of works is an authority in itself under other circumstances (i.e., before the attainment of Self-knowledge), just as pratyaksha or sense–perception caused by attachment to the body is held to be authoritative prior to (the attainment of) Self-knowledge.

Refutation of the theory of the Self's agency by mere presence

Another theory runs as follows: Though not directly engaged in action, the Self does act by mere presence. This by itself constitutes the real agency of the Self. A king, for instance, though himself not acting, is said to fight when his soldiers fight, in virtue of his mere presence, and he is said to be victorious or defeated. Similarly, the commander of an army acts by mere word. And we find that the king and the commander are connected with the results of the act. To take another example: the acts of the ritviks or officiating priests are supposed to belong to the yajamana or sacrificer. So the acts of the body, etc., we may hold, are done by the Self, inasmuch as their results accrue to the Self. To take yet another example: since the loadstone or magnet makes a piece of iron revolve, real agency may rest with what is not actually engaged in an act. And so also in the case of the Self.

We reply: It is not right to say so; for it would be tantamount to saying that that which does not act is - a, karaka or an agent.
The opponent says: Yes, karaka or agency may be of various kinds.
We reply: No; for, we find that the king, etc., (as instanced above), are direct agents also. In the first place, the king may be personally engaged in fighting. He is a direct agent as causing others to fight, as paying them wages, and also as reaping the fruits accruing from success and defeat.
The sacrificer, too, is a real agent as offering the main oblation and as giving presents. Wherefore, we should understand that to speak, by courtesy, of a man as an agent when he is not actually engaged, amounts to a figure of speech. If real agency, which consists in one being actually engaged in the act, were not found in the case of such agents as the king and the sacrificer, then we might suppose that even agency by mere presence constitutes real agency, as in the case of a magnet causing a piece of iron to revolve. On the contrary, we do find the king and the sacrificer actually engaged in some acts.
Wherefore agency by mere presence is merely a gauna or figurative agency. Such being the case, even the connection with results can only be gauna or unreal. By a gauna or figurative agent no real action is performed. Therefore it is quite unreasonable to say that the activity of the body, etc., makes the actionless Self a real doer and enjoyer.

The theory of Avidya concluded

But all this becomes explicable when traced to illusion as its cause, as in the case of dreams and the juggler's art (maya). And no agency or enjoyer-ship or any other evil of the sort is experienced in sleep, samadhi and similar states in which there is a break in the continuity of the illusory notions identifying the Self with the body, etc. Wherefore the illusion of samsara is due solely to an illusory notion and is not absolutely real. Therefore we conclude that Right Knowledge conduces to absolute cessation of Samsara.

Qualification for instruction in the Gita Doctrine

Having concluded the whole doctrine of the Gita – sastra in this discourse, and having also briefly and conclusively stated the doctrine especially here at the end to impress it the more firmly, the Lord proceeds now to state the rule as to the handing down of the instruction.

67. This (which has been taught) to thee is never to be taught to one who is devoid of austerities, nor to one who is not devoted, nor to one who does not do service, nor to one who speaks ill of Me.
This sastra has been taught to you by Me for your good, for the destruction of Samsara. Not devoted: without devotion to the Guru and to the Deva. Never: under no circumstances whatever. It should not be declared to him who, devoted and full of austerities as he may be, renders no service. One who speaks ill of Me: he who looks upon Me, Vasudeva, as an ordinary man, and who in his ignorance declares Me guilty of self - adulation and does not like to be told that I am the Isvara, He, too, is not fit; and the sastra should not be taught to him. By implication we should understand that the sastra is to be taught to him who does not speak ill of the Lord, who is a man of austerities, who is devoted, and who renders service. Now, as it has been elsewhere said that it should be taught "either to a man of austerities, or to an intelligent man," it should be declared to a man of austerities who is devoted and renders service, or to an intelligent man possessed of the two attributes; it should not be taught to a man of austerities or to an intelligent man if he is not devoted and does not render service. It should not be taught to him who is jealous of the Lord, though he may be possessed of all attributes. It should be taught to one who is devoted and renders service to the Guru. This is the rule as to how the sastra should be handed down.

The merit of teaching the Doctrine
Now the Lord proceeds to state what fruits will accrue to him who hands down the instruction:

68. He who with supreme devotion to Me will teach this Supreme Secret to My devotees, shall doubtless come to Me.
This Supreme Secret: the Secret Doctrine taught above in the form of a dialogue between Kesava and Arjuna. It is Supreme because it conduces to the Highest Bliss. Teach: establish by teaching both the text itself and the doctrine, as I have established it by teaching it to thee. By repetition of ‘devotion ‘here, it is meant that by devotion alone one becomes worthy of being taught the sastra. – How should he teach it? - In the faith that he is thus doing service to the Eternal Lord, to the Parama - Guru, the Supreme Teacher. As the fruit of this act, such a teacher will go to the Lord, he will be liberated.

69. Nor is there any among men who does dearer service to Me than he; nor shall there be another on earth dearer to Me than he.
Nor, etc.: There is none in the present generation. He: the man who hands down the sastra. Shall be: in future time. On earth: in this world.

70. And he who will study this sacred dialogue of ours, by him I shall have been worshipped by the sacrifice of wisdom, I deem.
Dialogue: this work which is in the form of a dialogue. Of the four kinds of sacrifice such as vidhi or ritual, Japa or a loud prayer, upamsu or a prayer uttered in a low voice, manasa or a prayer offered with the mind. The jnana-yajna or wisdom-sacrifice comes under the head of manasa and is therefore the highest. Thus, the Gita-sastra is extolled as a jnana-yajna. Or, we may regard this passage as revealing what the real effect (of the act enjoined here) is, viz., that the act will produce an effect equal to that of wisdom – sacrifice of the contemplation of a Devata or the like.

The merit of hearing the Doctrine
The benefit accruing to the hearer is stated as follows:

71. And the man also who hears, full of faith and free from malice, even he, liberated, shall attain to the happy worlds of the righteous.
Even he: much more so he who understands the doctrine. Liberated: from sin. The righteous: those who have performed Agnihotra or such other sacrifices.

The Lord assured by Arjuna of his grasp of the Teaching

The Lord now asks with a desire to know whether the pupil has understood or not the teaching of the sastra, the object of the question being that He might make the pupil understand the teaching by some other means, if the latter be found to have not understood it. And this is to show that it is the duty of the teacher to try again to make the pupil understand the teaching and enable him to attain his object.

72. Has it been heard by thee, O Partha, with an attentive mind? Has the delusion of ignorance been destroyed, O Dhananjaya?
It: what I have told thee. Heard: have you heard it without distraction and understood? Delusion of ignorance: that absence of discrimination which is caused by ignorance and which is natural. Has your delusion been destroyed? Its destruction is the object of all this exertion on your part to hear the sastra and of the exertion on My part as the teacher.

Arjuna said:
73. Destroyed is delusion, and I have gained recognition through Thy Grace, O Achyuta. I am firm, with doubts gone. I will do Thy word.
Delusion: born of ajnana or ignorance, the cause of the whole evil of samsara, hard to cross like the ocean. I: who have sought Thy Grace, Recognition: of the true nature of the Self. When this recognition is obtained, then will all the ties of the heart be loosened. This questioning and answering about the destruction of delusion shows conclusively what the purpose of a knowledge of the teaching of the whole Sastra is, namely, the destruction of delusion and the attainment of a recognition of the Self. So the sruti (Cha. Up. 7-1-3, 26-2) begins with the words "Not knowing the Self, I grieve" and then speaks of the loosening of all ties by means of Self - knowledge. There are also scriptural passages such as "The tie of the heart is broken" (Mund. Up. 2 - 2 - 8) and " To him who sees unity, what delusion is there, what grief? " (Isa. Up. 7). I am firm: in Thy command. Do thy word: Arjuna means to say " Through Thy Grace I have achieved the end of life; I have naught to do.”

Sanjaya extols the Lord and His teaching
The teaching of the sastra is over. Now, in order to connect it with the main narrative, Sanjaya goes on:

Sanjaya said:
74. Thus have I heard this wonderful dialogue between Vasudeva and the high-souled Partha, which makes the hair stand on end.

75. Through the grace of Vyasa have I heard this Supreme and most secret Yoga direct from Krishna, the Lord of Yoga, Himself declaring it.
Through the grace of Vyasa: by obtaining from him the divya-chakshus or divine vision. Yoga: this dialogue; the work is called Yoga because it leads to Yoga. Or, the word may mean Yoga itself. Himself: it is not through mere tradition that I have heard it.

76. O king, remembering every moment this wonderful and holy dialogue between Kesava and Arjuna, I rejoice again and again.
King: Dhritarashtra, Holy: as the mere hearing of it destroys sin.

77. And remembering every moment the most wonderful Form of Hari, great is my wonder, O king; and I rejoice again and again.
Form: Visvarupa, the Universal Form. Not to dilate much.

78. Wherever is Krishna, the Lord of Yoga, wherever is Arjuna, the archer, there fortune, victory, prosperity and polity are established, I deem.
Wherever: on that side on which. The Lord of Yoga: He is the Lord of all Yogas, since the seed of all Yoga comes forth from Him. Archer: wielding the bow called the Gandiva. There: on the side of the Pandavas. Prosperity: increase of fortune.

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