ये हि संस्पर्शजा भोगा दुःखयोनय एव ते ।
आद्यन्तवन्तः कौन्तेय न तेषु रमते बुधः ॥ २२ ॥ (5.22)

Since those enjoyments that result from contact with objects are verily the sources of sorrow and have a beginning and an end, therefore, O son of Kunti, a wise one does not delight in them.

Just to remind you all that the sense organs have the nature of going to sense objects such as the ear for eg. goes to space where the sound lies.

हि, since; ते, those; भोगा:, enjoyments, experience of small bits of happiness here and hereafter; ये संस्पर्शजा:, that result from contact, they are born of contact of objects and the senses; are एव, verily; दुःखयोनय:, the sources of sorrow, on account of being invariably accompanied by attachment and aversion. (Explained in greater detail in Chapter 2.)

All of them, including even the world of Brahma, are sources of sorrow. So it has been said in Vishnu PuraNa (1.17.66):

यावतः कुरुते जन्तुः सम्बन्धान् मनसः प्रियान् ।
तावन्तोऽस्य निखन्यन्ते ह्टदये शोकशङ्गवः ।।

“As many contacts with desirable things a creature makes, so many are the spikes of sorrow drives into his heart.”

Even being such, they are not permanent but आद्यन्तवन्तः, have beginning and an end.

The beginning is the contact of the objects and the senses, and the end is their separation.

Those that have these two, they, being non-existent before and later, are manifest in the middle as momentary and are unreal like a dream.

Hence it been said by the venerable teacher Gaudapaada:

आदावन्ते च यन्नास्ति वर्तमानेऽपि तत्तथा ॥
वितथैः सदृशाः सन्तोऽवितथा इव लक्षिताः ॥ (Mandukya Karika 2.6)

“That which does not exist in the beginning and at the end is equally non-existent in the middle i.e. in the present.”

Since this is so, therefore बुधः, a wise one, a discriminating person; न रमते, does not delight; तेषु, in them.

He does not experience happiness in them because they bring about undesirable feelings.

So it has been said by the venerable Patanjali: परिणामतापसंस्कारदुःखैर्गुणवृत्तिविरोधाच्च दुःखमेव सर्वं विवेकिनः॥ (Yoga Sutra 2.15).

“To the discriminating one all is surely painful on account of everything bringing pain either as consequence, or as anticipation of loss of happiness or as fresh craving arising from impressions of happiness, or also because of the counteraction of the gunas.”

Everything without exception, i.e. all joy derived from objects, whether mundane or resulting from scriptural rites and duties, in indeed painful to the discriminating person, who is aware of the real natural क्लेश (afflictions, pain-bearing obstructions) etc., since it leads to undesirable feelings; but not so to a non-discriminating one. A wise man, who is indeed comparable to an eyeball, is sensitive to the smallest bit of sorrow.

As a spider’s thread, even though it is very tender, causes irritation by its touch when placed on the eyeball, but it does not do so in the other limbs, similarly it is only to discriminating person that all accessories of enjoyment are painful since, like eating food that is mixed with honey and poison, they are filled with sorrow during all three periods of time.

But this is not so to a fool, who can forbear many kinds of sorrow. This is the idea.



Since Brahman is the same in all and free from defects, therefore, having realized himself as identical with That,–

न प्रहृष्येत्प्रियं प्राप्य नोद्विजेत्प्राप्य चाप्रियम् ।
स्थिरबुद्धिरसंमूढो ब्रह्मविद्ब्रह्मणि स्थितः ॥ २० ॥ (5.20)

With a steady intellect, undeluded, knowing and abiding in Brahman, one should neither be elated when gaining the pleasant nor shrink when meeting with the unpleasant.

The first half of this verse stands already explained in verse 2.56 “The monk whose mind is unpreturbed in sorrows, who is free from longing for delights..”

The लिङ्ग् suffixes in न प्रहृष्येत्, (should not get delighted), and न उद्विजेत्, (should not become dejected) are used in order to state that the natural behaviour itself of those who are जीवन्मुक्त should be followed and deligently practised by seekers of Liberation. The idea is that, since for one absorbed in the realization of non-dual Self there is no other such thing as acquisition of the desireable or the undesireable, apart from the Self, therefore, there is no happiness or sorrow consequent on them (coming as they do from objects).

The Lord expounds the realization itself of the non-dual Self: स्थिरबुद्धि:, one whose intellect is steady, unwavering, free from certainty, with regard to Brahman, on account of being devoid of all doubts as a result of perfection of विचार on the Vedaantic texts, preceded by renunciation; i.e. one who has acquired the fruits of श्रवण and मनन.

Even though such person is free of all असम्भावना, still, direct experience may not occur owing to the obstacle of विपरीत-भावना.

Hence Lord Krishna speaks of निदिध्यासन:, profound and repeated meditation.

असंमूढ:, one who is not deluded, one who is without the delusion called विपरीत-भावना, as a result of of the maturity of निदिध्यासन, which is characterised by a flow of similar ideas uniterrupted by ideas of a different kind; ब्रह्मवित्, a knower of Brahman, one who has the direct realization of Brahman as a result of removal of all obstacles thereby (ie. following the preceding achievements); and after that, स्थितः ब्रह्माणि, estblished in Brahman alone, and not anywhere else, as a consequence of perfection in समाधि; ie. a man of steady wisdom, who is a जीवन्मुक्त.

It is but proper that for a man of this kind there should be no exultation or anxiety, because there is no perception of duality. However, even though the perception of duality persists in the case of one undergoing spiritual disciplines, exultation and anxiety should still be eschewed by him through the observation of the defects of objects. This is the purport.

It may be asked: “Since the liking for external objects is very strong owning to their having been experienced over many lives, how can a mind engrossed in them become established in Brahman, which is super-mundane and devoid of all tangible pleasures?

And even if we try to explain it as because Brahman is supreme Bliss by nature a further objection can be raised as follows:

Since that supreme Bliss of Brahman has never been experienced, it cannot be the cause of steadiness of the mind.

Brihadaaranya Vaartika puts it as follows:
“Even the Bliss that has merely been heard of, but has not been made an object of direct experience through the means of valid knowledhge, is not enough to weaken the desire for tangible joy.”

In answer to the above Krishna says:
बाह्यस्पर्शेष्वसक्तात्मा विन्दत्यात्मनि यत्सुखम् ।
स ब्रह्मयोगयुक्तात्मा सुखमक्षयमश्नुते ॥ २१ ॥ (5.21)

The sage whose inner sense is unattached to objective contacts wins bliss in the Self; his inner sense is united with Brahman; he enjoys inexhaustible bliss.

स्पर्शा: are those that are contacted by the organs, i.e. sound etc; and they are external (बाह्य ) because they are the characteristics of the non-Self. असक्तात्मा, one whose mind (आत्मा) is unattached (असक्त) to them; he, by becoming dispassionate on account of the absence of craving, विन्दति, gets; आत्मनि, in the internal organ (mind) itself, through a modification of the mind that is made of pure सत्त्व; सुखम्, Bliss; यत्, which is independent of external objects and is of the nature of tranquility.

So it has been said in Mahabharata, “The happiness in the world which is derived from lust, and that which is the great heavenly happiness–these two do not compare with one sixteenth part of the happiness derived from the elimination of desire.”

Or, that very Bliss itself which is natural to the inmost Self implied by the word “thou” which is experienced in deep sleep, and which is not attained by one due to the obstruction of attachment to the external objects, is experienced in the absence of that obstruction.

Sri Krishna says that, not only does he (the sage) attain the Bliss that exists in that which is implied by the word “thou” but also the full Bliss by virtue of experiencing identity with the purport of the word “That”; सः, he, the desireless man; ब्रह्म योग युक्त आत्मा, who has his आत्मा, the internal organ viz. the mind, युक्त, fixed, in योग, in self-absorption, in Brahman, the supreme Self; or, one whose आत्मा, Self, the real nature of the import of the word “thou” has become युक्त, identified with Brahman, the import of the word “That” through योग, through self-absorption in the form of realization of the meaning of the sentence तत् त्वं असि (That thou art); अच्नुते, acquires; अक्षयम्, undecaying, सुखम्, Bliss, which is his own naure.

The idea is that he, the sage, becomes for ever one with the experience of Bliss itself.

Although the object of Bliss (आनन्द) is eternal (अनन्त), still, the verbal sense in अच्नुते (acquires) is used in figurative way to imply the removal of ignorance as आनन्द being अनन्त cannot be acquired as such acquisition would indicate a beginning for the beginningless one.

Therefore one should, by becoming desirous of experiencing eternal Bliss in oneself, withdraw the organ from the transcient love for external objects which leads to a great hell.

And by that much alone comes steadfastness in Brahman. This is the import.

It may be argued as follows: (a) When the love for external objects cease, there follows eternal Bliss in oneself;

(b) When that occurs there follows from its favor itself, the cessation of love for external objects;

(c) Thus, on account of mutual dependence, not even either will result.

Having this objection in mind Krishna states the solution, saying that this love ceases only by observing the defects in objects:

30. He goes to emphasize this in the next stanza.


इहैव तैर्जितः सर्गो येषां साम्ये स्थितं मनः ।
निर्दोषं हि समं ब्रह्म तस्माद्ब्रह्मणि ते स्थिताः ॥ १९ ॥ (5.19)

Transitory existence is overcome even here by them whose mind rests on equality. Brahman is flawless and is the same in all; therefore they are established in Brahman.

इह एव, here itself, during the state of living itself; is सर्ग: the universe of duality–derived from the sense of ‘that which is created’; जित:, transcended; तै:, by them, by the learned having the sameness of vision. It goes without saying that it will be transcended after the fall of the body. By whom? By those येषां. whose; मनः, minds; are firmly स्थितं, established; साम्ये, on sameness, on the sameness of Brahman existing in all creatures, even though unequal. हि, since; ब्रह्म, Brahman; is निर्दोषं, free from defects; and is समं, the same in all, free from modifications, changelessly eternal and one; तस्मात्, therefore; ते, they, those with the sameness of vision; are स्थिताः, established; ब्रह्माणि, in Brahman Itself.

The idea is this: Defectiveness can indeed be in two ways–either by association of even the defectless with what is defective, or by being naturally defective. As for instance, Ganga water by falling into urine pit; or even naturally, as urine etc. As to that, although it is thought by fools that Brahman existing in an eater of dog’s meat and others who are unholy becomes tainted by their defects, still, Brahman is really untouched by all defects. It is being unattahed like space, as is stated in the Srutis,

…असङ्गो ह्ययं पुरुष इति (Br.U. 4.3.15) ..for this infinite Being is unattached.

सूर्यो यथा सर्वलोकस्य चक्षुः
न लिप्यते चाक्षुषैर्बाह्यदोषैः ।
एकस्तथा सर्वभूतान्तरात्मा
न लिप्यते लोकदुःखेन बाह्यः ॥ ११ ॥

Just as the sun, which is the eye of the whole world, is not tainted by the occular and external defects, similarly the Self, which is but one in all beings, is not tainted by the sorrows of the world, It being transcendental. (Ka.2.2.11)

Nor is It naturally polluted by having such characteristics as passion etc. for passion etc. stand established by the Srutis and Smritis as characteristics of the internal organ. Therefore it is self-contradictory to say that the ascetics who have become identified with the taintless Brahman are जीवन्मुक्त and are also polluted by the defects of ‘uneatability of their food’ etc. But it is to be noted that the Smriti relates only to the unenlightened householder, because it commences with ‘His food should not be eaten’, and in the middle it is stated, ‘….by adoring’, and the conclusion is made by saying that he becomes deprived of wealth and virtue.


विद्याविनयसम्पन्ने ब्राह्मणे गवि हस्तिनि ।
शुनि चैव श्वपाके च पण्डिताः समदर्शिनः ॥ १८ ॥ (5.18)

The sages perceive the same truth in the Brahmana, rich in knowledge and culture, a cow, an elephant, a dog and a dog-eating outcast.

विद्या means complete knowledge of the import of the Vedas or knowledge of Brahman. विनय means pridelessness, i.e. modesty.

In a knower of Brahman endued (सम्पन्न) with those two and ब्राह्मणे, in a Brahmana who is modest, who is possessed of the quality of सत्व and is the best among all; so also गवि, in a cow, which is unrefined, possessed of the quality of रजस् and has a middle position; also हस्तिनि, in the elephant; शुनि, in a dog; श्वपाके च, as also in the eater of dog’s meat, who is extremely possessed of the quality of तमस्, and in the lowest of all; पण्डिताः, the learned ones, the men of knowledge; समदर्शिनः, see the same Entity; they are apt to see दर्शिन in all the aforesaid beings the same Entity समम्, Brahman, which is untouched by qualities of सत्व etc. as also the impressions produced by them. As the sun reflected on the waters of Ganga, on a big tank, on wine, or on urine has no contact with their merits or defects, similarly Brahman too, when reflected through the semblance of Consciousness has no touch with the merits or defects of the उपाधि (the limiting adjuncts).

The learned ones who recognise thus, being devoid of likes and dislikes owing to the vision of sameness everywhere, experience जीवन्मुक्ति because of the manifestation of the supreme bliss. This is the idea.

Is it not looking upon beings–whose nature are different according to qualities of सत्व. रजस् and तमस्–as equal prohibited by धर्मशास्त्र?

Commencing with ‘His food should not be eaten’, Gautama Smriti says: सम-असमाभ्याम् विषम-समे पूजात: (गौतम धर्म्सूत्र 17.20).

A sacrificer incurs sin, says Gautama, by not adoring equally one who an equal and by adoring equally one who is not an equal.

As compared with the particular form of adoration that is offered to the persons who are versed in the four vedas and are very righteous in their actions, through the presentation of clothes, ornaments, food etc. if a form of adoration lesser than that is offered to another who is indeed equally versed in the four Vedas and is righteous in behaviour, and similarly, as compared with the forms of adoration that is better than that inferior adoration, and is equal to the best adoration offered to one who is of that kind and unequal and inferior in comparison with the above mentioned Brahmin–who is learned in the Vedas and is of righteous conduct–, then on account of adoring a superior person in an inferior way, and an inferior person in a superior way, the food of the adorer becomes uneatable. This is the meaning.

And the other fault is that the adorer, by not folloowing the adequate decorum, becomes deprived of the wealth and virtue.

Although in the case of ascetics, who do not accept gifts, there naturally exists ‘uneatability of their food’ and ‘paucity of wealth’ on account of absence of cooking and lack of wealth, still, they do incur the fault of ‘loss of virtue’.

And ‘uneatability of food’ referred to in the smriti is used figuratively to indicate the generation of sin on account of unholiness.

And as for the ascetics, since they have austerity itself as their wealth, they do incur the loss of that wealth.

Hence how can the learned ones with the sameness of vision be जीवन्मुक्त? The answer comes next.


तद्बुद्ध्यस्तदात्मानस्तन्निष्ठास्तत्परायणाः ।
गच्छन्त्यपुनरावृत्तिं ज्ञाननिर्धूतकल्मषाः ॥ १७ ॥ (5.17)

With the intellect set on that very Self as their goal and devoted to That the sages with their sins routed by Knowledge, get to That from where there is no return.

तद्बुद्ध्या: are those who as a result of the full perfection of their disciplines through renunciation of all external objects have their intellect (बुद्दि), the mental modification in the form of direct experience, merged in that very Reality which is the supreme Self, which is Existence-Knowledge-Bliss (सत्यं-ज्ञानं-अनन्तं) through and through and is revealed by knowledge; i.e. those who are ever absorbed in the निर्बिज (seedless, objectless) Self absorption (vide Patanjali Yoga Sutra 1.50 – तद्वैराग्यादपि दोषवीजक्षये कैवल्यम्॥५०॥) .

Then, is it that there are jivas, who are the knowers, and the Reality which is Brahman that is to be known, so that there is a difference in the form of a knower and the known?

Krishna says, no, they are तदात्मान:, those whose Self is That, those who have that (तत्) supreme Brahman Itself as their Self (आत्मा).

For, the notion of a knower and the known is a display of Maayaa and it is not opposed to the factual non-difference. This is the idea.

Is not the qualification तदात्मान: useless?

For that alone can be a qualification of an enlightened person which distinguishes him from an unenlightened person.

Since even the ignorant have in reality, That as their Self, therefore how can they be differentiated?

Answer: No, that qualification is meant for denying the enlightened person’s identity with the non-Self.

Since the ignorant have self-identification with non-selves such as body etc. therefore they are mentioned as तदात्मान:.

The enlightened, however, being free from self-identification with body etc are referred to as तदात्मान: .

तदात्मान: is referred here by way of excluding what is opposed to the knowledge of the Self. Thus the qualification is justified.

Well, since so long as the distrations resulting from the performance of actions continue, how can there be cessation of self-identification with body?

As to that Sri Krishna says they are तन्निष्ठा:.

तन्निष्ठा: are those who have their steadfastness (निष्ठा) in that (तत् ) Brahman alone, by excluding all distractions resulting from performing work.

That is, they are immersed in deliberating solely on That by renouncing all actions.

So long as attachment to the fruits of actions continues, how can there be renunciation of the actions which are their means?

With regard to that Sri Krishna says: they are तत्परायणाः.

तत्परायणाः are those to whom That alone is the supreme (पर ) Goal (अयन ) to be reached; that is those who are indifferent to everything.

Here by ‘तद्बुदधा:, those who have their intellect absorbed in That’ is meant direct realization.

By तदात्मान: is meant the maturity of निदिध्यासन, which leads to the cessation of विपरीत-भावना (contrary thought) in the form of self-identity with the non-self.

By तन्निष्ठा: is meant विचार (inquiry) on Vedanta, in the form of perfection of श्रावण (hearing) and मनन (contemplating).

This is preceded by renunciation of all actions and which leads to the removal of असम्भावना (idea of impossibility).

This असम्भावना is with regard to the means and the object of knowledge.

By तत्परायणाः is meant intensity of detachment.

Thus it is to be noted that the later ones are successively the causes of the preceding ones.

Men of renunciation, who have the above mentioned qualities, गच्छन्ति, attain;

अपुनरावृत्तिं. the state of no return i.e. Liberation; consisting in the absense of becoming embodied again.

Why should not those who are liberated once have embodiment again?

As to that Sri Krishna says ज्ञाननिर्धूतकल्मषाः, those whose dirt, action, which is naturally virtuous or vicious and is the cause of reincarnation, has been removed away, eradicated, together with its root, by Knowledge.

The idea is: when as a result of eradication of the beginningless ignorance, by knowledge, its effect, viz. action, becomes dissipated, then how can there be reincarnation which is rooted in that?

So far Sri Krishna explained the result of Knowledge as विदेहकैवल्यप्राप्ति, freedom from re-embodiment after death of this body.

In the next verse He speaks of the result of that Knowledge as जीवन्मुक्ति, Liberation while still alive even as प्रारब्धकर्म persists.


ज्ञानेन तु तदज्ञानं येषां नाशितमात्मनः ।
तेषामादित्यवज्ज्ञानं प्रकाशयति तत्परम् ॥ १६ ॥ (5.16)

For them whose ignorance has been destroyed by knowledge, that very knowledge, like the sun, illumines the supreme Reality.

येषां, in the case of those who are endued with the disciplines of श्रवण (hearing), मनन (thinking), निदिध्यासन (meditation) etc., who have been favored by the Lord, who craves for Liberation–of whom; तत् अज्ञानं, that ignorance, which possesses the powers of covering and distorting, which is beginningless, indefineable and unreal, which is the root of the multitude of evils, which has the Self as its substratum and object, and which is referred to by such words as अविद्या, माया etc नाशितम्, is destroyed, sublated; which ignorance being verily in all the three times, becomes known as unreal, and which is resolved into the mere Consciousness that is its substratum–just as silver is reduced into the nacre by the knowledge of nacre–ज्ञानेन, by the Knowledge; आत्मन:, of the Self, which arises from the great Upanishadic sayings taught by the teacher, which is in the form of modification of the mind that has been purified through the maturity of श्रवण, मनन, and निदिध्यासन; destroyed by the indeterminate निर्विकल्प realization (that does not recognize the distinction between the knower and the known) having for its content only the partless, homogenous Substance, viz. सत्यम्-ज्ञानं-अनन्तं (Existence-Knowledge-Bliss) which is the same as the identity of the imports of the words ‘That’ and ‘thou’ when they have been freed from their adventitious characteristics; तत्, that; ज्ञानं, Knowledge; येषां, of theirs; is the agent, आदित्यवत्, like the sun.

As the sun by its mere rising itself dispels darkness entirely, but it does not depend on some auxiliary, similarly the Knowledge of Brahman as well, which is of the form of pervasive light on account of of being the fruit of pure सत्त्व, while eradicating ignorance, together with its effects, by its mere emergence itself and without depending on another auxiliary, प्रकाशयति, reveals; परम्, the Supreme, the Reality that is Self and is the same as सत्-चित-आनन्द (Truth-Knowledge-Infinite Bliss), and is One, indeed, without a second (अद्वैतं ); reveals only by merely catching Its reflection, without objectifying It.

Here, by saying–through the phrases, ‘covered by ignorance’ and ‘destroyed by Knowledge’ –that ignorance is a means of covering and that it is destroyed by Knowledge, it is ruled out that ignorance is a mere absence of knowledge. For a nonentity does not cover anything; nor is ‘absence of knowledge’ eradicated by knowledge, because the fromer is by its very nature a form of eradication! Therefore the view of the Lord is that, ignorance is a very positive principle that stands established in such experience of the witness as, ‘I am ignorant; I do not know myself and any other’. The elaboration of this is to be found in अद्वैत सिद्दि .

By the plural number in the word येषां, it is shown that there is no restrictive rule as to who will realize the Supreme and when.

The Sruti says: तस्मात्तत्सर्वमभवत्तद्यो यो देवानां प्रत्यबुध्यत स एव तदभवत्तथर्षीणां तथा मनुष्याणां तद्धैतत्पश्यनृषिर्वामदेवः प्रतिपेदेऽहं मनुरभवं सूर्यश्चेति । तदिदमप्येतर्हि य एवं वेदाहं ब्रह्मास्मीति स इदं सर्वं भवति तस्य ह न देवाश्चनाभूत्या ईशते । (Br.U. 1.4.10)

And whoever among the gods knew It also became That; and the same with sages and men. The sage Vamadeva, while realizing this self as That, knew, ‘I was Manu, and the Sun.’ And to this day whoever in like manner knows It as, ‘I am Brahman,’ becomes all this universe.

It shows the rule arrived at through the logic that the ignorance which relates to some subject and subsists on some substratum becomes negated by the valid knowledge about that subject and that substratum.

As to that, the covering inherent in ignorance is of two kinds–one is that which makes even the true appear as untrue;

but the other is that which makes unmanifest even what is manifest! It may be right in front of your eyes but you cant see!

Of these the first is negated by mere knowledge, be it direct or indirect.

For, such mistakes as, ‘there is no fire on the hill’, is not seen to persist even when fire etc are merely inferred to be there.

Similarly, even when an indirect conviction arises from the sentence, ‘Brahman which is Existence-Knowledge-Bliss exists’, the mistake that Brahman does not exist becomes surely dispelled.

The second covering in the form of non-manifestation, which gives rise to the mistake, ‘Brahman surely does exist but it is not manifest to me’, is removed only by direct realization.

And that direct realization, which is indeterminate (nirvikalpa), arises only from Vedantic teaching.


न कर्तृत्वं न कर्माणि लोकस्य सृजति प्रभुः ।

न कर्मफलसंयोगं स्वभावस्तु प्रवर्तते ॥ १४ ॥ (5.14)

The Lord (which you read as your own true SELF) creates neither agency nor objects for the world; 1/2

nor contact with the fruits of works; rather it is the nature that acts. 2/2

न, neither; doe the प्रभुः, Self, the Master; सृजति, create; कर्तृत्वं, agentship; लोकस्य, for anyone, for the body etc. 1/2

that is, it does not become their impeller by ordering, ‘You do’; 2/2

न, not even; does It Itself create for anyone; कर्माणि, objects, most desireable things such as a picture etc.

That is to say, It does not even beome an agent.

Nor even does It create for anyone who has performed an action the association – संयोग – with the result – फल – of that कर्म .

The meaning is that, It does not even cause anyone to become an enjoyer, nor even does It Itself become the enjoyer.

If the Self does not Itself do anything at all and It does not cause others to do, then who is it that acts?

To that He answers: तु, but; it is स्वभाव: Nature, the divine Maya, Prakrti, which is of the nature of nescience;
which प्रवर्तते, acts.

Then there is this Upanishadic text which may be opposed to the contention that it is nature that acts.

एष ह्येवैनं साधुकर्म कारयति तं यमेभ्यो लोकेभ्यो उन्निनीषत एष उ एवैनमसाधु कर्म कारयति तं यमधॊ निनीषत । (कौषीतकि उपनिषद् 3.9)

This one truly indeed causes him whom he wishes to lead up from this world to perform good action. 1/2

This one also indeed causes him whom he wishes to lead downwards to perform bad action. 2/2

To this Bhagavan gives the following explanation.

नादत्ते कस्यचित्पापं न चैव सुकृतं विभुः ।
अज्ञानेनावृतं ज्ञानं तेन मुह्यन्ति जन्तवः ॥ १५ ॥ (5.15)

The Self certainly neither accepts anybody’s vice nor virtue. Knowledge remains covered by ignorance. Thereby creatures become deluded.

From the standpoint of the highest reality, विभुः, the Omnipresent, the Supreme Lord; न एव, does not certainly;

आदत्ते, accept; कस्यचित्, anybody’s, any jiva’s; पापं, vice, च, and; सुकृतं, virtue; for in the highest reality the jiva has no agentship,

and the Supreme Lord is not an impeller.

How then are to be explained the Sruti, Smriti and common talk about them? As to this He says:

ज्ञानं, Knowledge, which is eternal, self-effulgent, of the nature of Existence-Knowledge-Bliss, non-dual and Supreme Truth;

and which is the substratum of te erroneous idea of difference among the jiva, Easwara and the world;

आवृतं, remains covered; अज्ञानेन, by ignorance, by the unreal darkness called माया which possesses the powers of covering and distorting.

तेन, thereby, owing to the covering of one’s nature;

जन्तवः, creatures, which are subject to births, the transmigrating ones, who are unaware of the real nature of things;

मुह्यन्ति, become deluded, experience the delusion (मोह) in the form of the world–constituted by the nine characteristics viz. knower, object of knowledge, means of knowledge, agent, object, instrument, enjoyer, enjoyable and enjoyment–, the distortion in the form of appearance of something as what it is not.

For the fools of this delusion called मोह in the form of the erroneous notion of difference among the jiva, Easwara and the world, which originates from the absence of the knowledge of the real nature of the Self as non-agent, non-enjoyer and non-dual Supreme Bliss, continues as a matter of experience. And since these two, the Sruti and the Smriti, which are subordinate to the text imparting knowledge of the factual nonduality, reiterate the notion of the fools in that state, therefore there is no fault.

In that case, since all are under the cover of the beginningless nescience, how can cessation of transmigration come about?

The answer comes next.


1. ब्रह्मण्याधाय कर्माणि सङ्गं त्यक्त्वा करोति यः ।
लिप्यते न स पापेन पद्मपत्रमिवाम्भसा ॥ १० ॥ (5.10)

2. Reposing all works in Brahman, he operates without attachment; he is stained by sin only as a lotus is  by the water.

3. यः, one who; करोति, acts; आधाय, by dedicating; कर्माणि. actions, mundane and vedic; ब्रह्माणि, to Brahman, to the Supreme Easwra; and त्यक्त्वा, by renouncing; सङ्गं, attachment, desire for results; –acts with the attitude ‘I act for Eawara, like a servant for his master, irrespective of any result accruing to myself’, सः, he; लिप्यते, does not become polluted; पापेन, by sin, that is to say, by actions leading to virtue and vice; just as पद्मपत्रं, a lotus leaf; is not wet अम्भसा by water thrown on it.

4. Action done with the idea of dedication to Easwara results only in purification of the mind.

5. कायेन मनसा बुद्ध्या केवलैरिन्द्रियैरपि ।
योगिनः कर्म कुर्वन्ति सङ्गं त्यक्त्वात्मशुद्धये ॥ ११ ॥ (5.11)

6. The Yogi, abandoning attachement, performs work with the body, the mind, the intellect and the senses, only for self-purification.

7. त्यक्त्वा, by giving up; सङ्गं, attachement to results; योगिनः, the yogis, the men of actions; कर्म, work; कायेन, through (केवलै:, mere) body; मनसा, through mind; बुद्ध्या, through intellect; अपि इन्द्रियै:, and even through organs. The word केवलै: qualifies all the nouns beginning from body. The meaning is ‘..through body etc. which are bereft of the idea of “me” and “mine” under the idea, “I work for Easwara alone, not for any fruit for myself”; आत्मशुद्धये, for the purification of their minds.

8. Arjuna begins to have a doubt as follows:
“Although the idea of agentship is equally present, yet someone becomes liberated through that very work, whereas someone becomes bound. What is the reason for this disparity?”

Sensing this doubt Krishna proceeds to clear it.

9. युक्तः कर्मफलं त्यक्त्वा शान्तिमाप्नोति नैष्ठिकीम् ।
अयुक्तः कामकारेण फले सक्तो निबध्यते ॥ १२ ॥ (5.12)

10. Giving up the fruits of works, the yogin attains disciplined peace; the non-yogin attached to the fruits by the force of cravings is bound.

11. त्यक्त्वा, by renouncing; कर्म-फलं, the result of work; युक्तः, one who is engaged in karma-yoga, one who has the idea, “These works are for Easwara alone, not for any result for myself”; अप्नोति, attains, even while performing work; शान्तिम्, Peace, called Liberation; which is नैष्ठिकीम्, constant, i.e. generated through the succession of purification of mind, discrimination between the Eternal and the non-eternal objects, renunciation, and steadfastness in Knowledge.

12. But he, again, who is अयुक्तः, not engaged in karma-yoga, who is devoid of the idea, “These works are for Easwara alone, not for any result for myself”; सक्त:, being attached; फले, to the results–thus, “I do this work verily for my own benefit”; कामकारेण, under the impulsion of desire; निबध्यते, becomes completely bound, comes wholly under the bondage of the world through actions. Since this is so, therefore you too perform actions by becoming engaged in Karma-yoga–this much is to be understood.

13. After having expounded what was said before, that for one of impure mind Karma-yoga is better than unprepared renunciation, Krishna now says that, for one of pure mind renunciation of all actions is preferable:

14. सर्वकर्माणि मनसा संन्यस्यास्ते सुखं वशी ।
नवद्वारे पुरे देही नैव कुर्वन्न कारयन् ॥ १३ ॥ (5.13)

15. The embodied man of self-control, having given up all actions mentally, remains happily in the body of nine gates without doing or causing others to do anything at all.

16. Through the perfect realization of the Self, which is not an agent–as stated in the verse (BG 4.18) “He who finds action in inaction”, देही, the embodied man, one who sees the Self as different from the body; संन्यस्यास, having given up; सर्व, all; कर्माणि, actions, viz. नित्य, नैमित्तिक, प्रतिसिद्ध कर्म; मनसा, mentally; आस्ते, surely remains, owing to the प्रारब्ध कर्म; –is it sorrowfully? He says, no–सुखं, happily, at ease–because of the actions of the body, speech and mind, which are causes of trouble. Why do his body, speech and mind not act just as they will? To that Krishna says: वशी, a man of self-control, one who has the aggregate of his body and mind under his own control. Where does he remain? नवद्वारे पुरे, in the body with nine gates. Seven of them are in the head–two ears, two eyes, two nostrils and a mouth. The two called the organ of excretion and organ of generation is below. In the body having these nine gates, he remains, like a stranger in another’s house, without being elated or dejected by his landlord’s adoration, humiliation, etc. and without egoism and self-interest.

17. Indeed, an unelightened person is the body itself owing to his self-identification with the body, but he is not a dweller-in-the-body. (देहात्मभावे ज्ञजडौ समाना – Bhagavan Ramana. See Ganapati Muni’s सद्दर्शनम्). And he, considering the support of the body as his own support, thinks, “I am in the house or on the ground or on a seat etc.” but he does not think, “I am in the body”, because he does not see any difference between the self and the body.

18. But one who has renounced all actions and has realized the Self as different from the aggregate of the body, organs, etc, understands, I am i the body, owing to his perception of the difference. Therefore the sublation, through Knowledge, of the actions of the body etc. superimposed on the action-less Self through ignorance is itself what is called renunciation of all actions. On account of this difference from the unenlightened person, the specification, ‘remains in the body of nine gates’, is justified.

19. It is not that, though through enlightenment the activities of the body etc. superimposed on the Self through ignorance are sublated through Knowledge –just as the movements of the boat superimposed on the tree on the bank are removed by knowledge, still, there will be agentship in the Self owing to its own activities, and It will be an ‘impeller of activity’ in relation to the activities of the body etc.? The Lord says, no.

20. The construction of the sentence is ‘He remains..न कुर्वन् , without doing, or न कारयन्, causing others to do एव, anything at all.

21. My Guru Bhagavan Ramana taught exactly the same thing as follows:

22. देहात्मभावे ज्ञजडौ समाना-वेकस्य देहे हृदि दीप्त आत्मा।
आक्रम्य देहं च जगच्च पूर्णः परस्य मेयं तनुमात्रमात्मा ||

23. In their body-centric attitudes, a jnaani as well as an ajnaani are the same. A jnaani traces out the Aatman (Self) which reveals itself, at the seat of consciousness within himself; he thus goes beyond his so called body consciousness, beyond the world, beyond the universe and becomes all-pervading whereas, the Ajnani, the ignorant, takes his limited psycho-physical entity to be the Self.”


संन्यासस्तु महाबाहो दुःखमाप्तुमयोगतः ।

योगयुक्तो मुनिर्ब्रह्म नचिरेणाधिगच्छति ॥ ६ ॥ (5.6)

But O mighty armed! Renunciation without Karma Yoga is only for getting into misery. 1/2

A person having become a meditator attains Brahman without delay. 2/2

तु, but; संन्यास:, renunciation; which is resorted to suddenly, अयोगतः, without yoga, without having performed scriptural duty which purifies the mind; is only आप्तुम्, for getting; दुःखम्, misery; because steadfastness in Knowledge, which is the result of that renunciation, is impossible on account of having an impure mind, and because, on account of the absence, (on the ground of having espoused monasticism), of eligibility for actions which are the cause of purification of the mind, there arises the greatest danger of being deprived of both actions and Brahman.

But, योगयुक्ता:, one who is engaged in karma-yoga; having become मुनि:, meditator, a man of renunciation having given to meditation, by virtue of having a pure mind; अधिगच्छति, attains, realizes; ब्रह्म , Brahman, the Self, characterized as Truth, Consciousness etc; नचिरेण, without delay, quickly indeed, on account of the absense of obstacles. And this has been already stated before in (BG 3.4): “Man does not achieve freedom from works by abstention from them. None attains perfection through mere renunciation of works.”

Hence, though the result of both is the same, still, what was stated before in (BG 5.2) “Karma Yoga, however, excels over renunciation of actions.”, was proper.

योगयुक्तो विशुद्धात्मा विजितात्मा जितेन्द्रियः ।
सर्वभूतात्मभूतात्मा कुर्वन्नपि न लिप्यते ॥ ७ ॥ (5.7)

With the mind purified by karma yoga, and the self disciplined, and the senses subdued, one who relized one’s self as the Self in all beings, though acting is not affected.

Scriptural actions associated with such qualities as dediction to Easwara, absence of hankering for results etc. is called yoga.

योगयुक्ता:, one associated with yoga, a person endued with that yoga first become विशुद्धात्मा, pure in mind.

One is said to be so whose आत्मा, सत्त्व in the form of the mind, is not polluted by रजस् and तमस् .

Having become pure in mind he becomes विजितात्मा controlled in body; he has the body under his own control.

Then he becomes जितेन्द्रियः, a conqueror of the organs,one who has under his control all of the external organs.

Manu says: “Speech is a staff (दण्ड), the mind is a दण्ड and the body is also a दण्ड. He who has these three दण्ड under control is called त्रिदण्डी.

Literally त्रिदण्डी are a class of sanyasis who carry three staves tied together.

‘Speech’ is used synecdochically for the outer organs.

To a person of this kind, Sri Krishna says, Knowledge of Reality comes definitely.

सर्व-भूत-आत्म-भूत-आत्मा, one whose आत्मा, real nature, consists in being all things, सर्व-भूत, and in being the Self आत्म-भूत.

The idea is, he sees everything sentient and insentient as nothing but the Self.

If the explanation of this portion be, ‘one whose आत्मा, Self, has become भूत the selves (आत्मा) of all beings (सर्व-भूत) then since the meaning is got from the phrase सर्व-भूत-आत्मा, one who is the Self of all, therefore the phrase आत्म-भूत has become the Self, will become redundant.

But there is consistency when the word सर्व is taken in the sense of the insentient, and आत्मा is taken in the sense of sentient.

A man of this kind, who has realized the highest truth, न लिप्यते, does not become tainted, by those actions;

कुर्वन् अपि, even while performing actions, as seen by others. For they are absent from his own point of view. This is the meaning.

The idea is continued in the following two verses.

नैव किञ्चित्करोमीति युक्तो मन्येत तत्त्ववित् ।
पश्यञ्शृण्वन्स्पृशञ्जिघ्रन्नश्नन्गच्छन्स्वपञ्श्वसन् ॥ ८ ॥ (5.8)
प्रलपन् विसृजन्गृह्णन्नुन्मिषन्निमिषन्नपि ।
इन्द्रियाणीन्द्रियार्थेषु वर्तन्त इति धारयन् ॥ ९ ॥ (5.9)

Let the integrated sage who knows the truth think “I dont work at all” even when he sees, hears, touches, smells, eats, walks, sleeps, breathes, talks, evacuates, grasps, opens and closes the eyes, knowing that the senses operate vis-a-vis their objects.

While the respective actions are being performed by the sense-organs–eyes etc., the motor organs–speech etc., the different forms of vital force–praaNa etc., the fourfold internal organs (मनस् mind, बुद्दि intellect, चित्त memory and अहंकार the ego), युक्त:, one whose mind is absorbed in the Self; तत्त्ववित्, who is a Knower of the Reality, a seer of the supreme Truth; मन्येत, thinks; इति, thus; न एव करोमि, I certainly do not do; किन्च्छित्, anything; दारयन्, knowing, for certain; इति, that; इन्द्रियाणि, the organs etc. themselves; वर्तन्ते, function; इन्द्रियार्थेषु, in relation to the objects of the organs, in relation to their own respective objects.

Or the contstruction of the sentence is: First becoming युक्त:, engaged in karma-yoga; then, later on, becoming तत्त्ववित्, a knower of Reality, through purification of the mind; मन्यते, he thinks; ‘न एव करोमि, I certainly do not do; किन्च्छित्, anything.’

By saying पश्यन्, श्रण्वन्, स्पर्शन्, जिघ्रन्, अस्नन् , are mentioned seeing, hearing, touhing, smelling and eating, which are the funtions of the five organs–eyes, ears, skin, nose, and tongue. Movement is of the two feet; प्रलाप, speaking, is of the organ of speech; ejection is of the organs of excretion and generation; grasping is of the two hands. These are the five functions of the motor-organs referred to by saying, ‘गच्चन्, प्रलपन्, विस्र्जन् , ग्र्ह्णन् ‘. श्वसन्, breathing is indicative of the group of five, praaNa etc. उन्मिशन्, opening, and निमिशन्, closing of the eyes are indicative of the functions of the group of five vital forces viz. नाग, कूर्म etc. स्वपन्, sleeping, is indicative of the fourfold internal organs.

The idea here is: he sees only the non-agentship of the Self in all activities, therefore he is not tainted.


अर्जुन उवाच —
संन्यासं कर्मणां कृष्ण पुनर्योगं च शंससि ।
यच्छ्रेय एतयोरेकं तन्मे ब्रूहि सुनिश्चितम् ॥ १ ॥ (5.1)

Renunciaion of action, O Krishna, you commend, and again its performance. Of the two, which one is better? Tell me that conclusively.

Of संन्यासं, renunciation; कर्मणां of actions, of नित्य and नैमित्तिक कर्म enjoined by the Sruti (one should perform अग्निहोत्र sacrifice so long as one is alive) etc., for the unenlightened person who is a seeker of Knowledge; च and; पुनः again; शंससि You praise; योगं, yoga in the form of performance of actions, which is opposed to that.

As to that since action and its renunciation have been enjoined for an unenlightened person himself, and since two cannot be practiced together, therefore ब्रूहि tell; मे, me; सुनिश्चितम् for certain; तत् एकं, that one; एतयो:, between these two, between action and its renunciation; यत्, which in Your opinion; you consider श्रेय: better, more commendable, for me to undertake–action or its renunciation.

श्रीभगवानुवाच —
संन्यासः कर्मयोगश्च निःश्रेयसकरावुभौ ।
तयोस्तु कर्मसंन्यासात्कर्मयोगो विशिष्यते ॥ २ ॥ (5.2)

Both renunciation of action and Karma-Yoga lead to liberation. Between the two, Karma Yoga, however, excels over renunciation of actions.

निःश्रेयसकरौ are useful for Liberation, on account of being the cause of generation of Knowledge. तयो: between the two; कर्मयोग: Karma Yoga; तु however; by virtue of making one acquire the fitness(for renunciation of actions), विशिष्यते, excels over, is better than; कर्मसंन्यासात्, renunciation of actions, resorted to by someone ineligible for it.

ज्ञेयः स नित्यसंन्यासी यो न द्वेष्टि न काङ्क्षति ।
निर्द्वन्द्वो हि महाबाहो सुखं बन्धात्प्रमुच्यते ॥ ३ (5.3)

Know him to be a perpetual renouncer who neither shuns nor seeks. O mighty armed! One who is above such contraries is easily liberated from bondage.

स: he, though engaged in actions; ज्ञेयः should be known as a man of constant नित्य सन्यास. Who is it? य: who; out of apprehension of fruitlessness, न द्वेष्टि does not dislike–the actions being done as a dedication to Easwara; न काङ्क्षति, does not crave–for heaven etc, हि, for; O mighty armed one, निर्द्वन्द्व:, he who is free from duality, who is devoid of attachment, aversion etc;सुखं, easily; प्रमुच्यते becomes fully freed (मुच्यते becomes free, प्र fully) owing to the excellence of discrimination between the eternal Entity and the evanecent, etc.; बन्धात्, from bondage, in the form of impurity of mind, which is an obstacle to Knowledge.

साङ्‍ख्ययोगौ पृथग्बालाः प्रवदन्ति न पण्डिताः ।
एकमप्यास्थितः सम्यगुभयोर्विन्दते फलम् ॥ ४ ॥ (5.4)

The fools, not the learned ones, speak of Sankhya and Karma Yoga as different.  Anyone who has properly resorted to even one of them gets the result of both.

While telling Arjuna what he said in the last stanza Krishna clearly apprehended the thought process of Arjuna as follows:

“Well, how can one who is engaged in actions be known as a man of renunciation, because actions and its renunciation are naturally opposed? If it be argued that this can be so on account of the unity of their result, then it is not so, because it is proper that when two things are naturally opposed, their result also should be opposite. Thus it is unproved that ‘both lead to liberation’.”

So Krishna clarifies on this as above.

संख्या means perfect knowledge of the Self; साङ्ख्य means sanyaasa, renunciation, which, as the essential discipline, leads to realization of that knowledge. Yoga means the Karma Yoga.

बाला: , the fools, those devoid of the knowledge of the meaning of the scriptures gained through discrimination; न पण्डिताः, not the learned ones; प्रवदन्ति, speak of them; as प्रथक्, different, as having opposite result. What then is the opinion of the learned ones? The answer is, आस्थित: सम्यक्, anyone who, in keeping with his competence, has resorted to, has performed, properly (सम्यक्), according to the scriptures; एकं अपि, even one, between renunciation and actions; विन्दते, gets, through generation of Knowledge; फलम्, the result; उभयो: of both, i.e. the single result viz. Liberation.

यत्साङ्‍ख्यैः प्राप्यते स्थानं तद्योगैरपि गम्यते ।
एकं साङ्‍ख्यं च योगं च यः पश्यति स पश्यति ॥ ५ ॥ (5.5)

The status won by the Samkhyas is attained by the Yogins also. Only he perceive who perceives that Samkhya and Yoga are one.

यत्, that, that well-known; स्थानं, State, which is called Liberation–in accordance with the derivation, ‘that in which one verily remains established but never deviates from’; which, as a result of steadfastness in Knowledge preceded by sravana etc., प्राप्यते, is reached–attained; सांख्यै:, by the Saankhyaas, by the monks steadfast in Knowledge, who though they are at present devoid of the performance of mundane duties, have their minds purified by the actions of previous lives; तत्, that, that State; गम्यते, is reached; अपि, even; योगै:, by the yogis.

Yoga means the actions, the scriptural rites and duties, undertaken as dedication to Easwara without hankering for results. Those who have this are yogas.

Therefore, the result being the same, सः, he alone, not anyone else; पश्यति, sees; साङ्‍ख्यं, monasticism; and योगं, yoga; as एकं, one. The idea is this: Those in whom is seen steadfastness in Knowledge preceded by monasticism, in their case it can be inferred, on that very ground, that in their previous lives they had steadfastness in rites and duties performed a dedication to Easwara. For it is not possible that an effect can be produced without its cause. So it has been said: “What good deeds should be done in the present life by a person must have been done by him in the lives other than this. Otherwise there would not been absorption in Brahman now.”

Yoga means the actions, the scriptural rites and duties, undertaken as dedication to Easwara without hankering for results. Those who have this are yogas.

Therefore, the result being the same, सः, he alone, not anyone else; पश्यति, sees; Vसाङ्‍ख्यं, monasticism; and योगं, yoga; as एकं, one. The idea is this: Those in whom is seen steadfastness in Knowledge preceded by monasticism, in their case it can be inferred, on that very ground, that in their previous lives they had steadfastness in rites and duties performed a dedication to Easwara. For it is not possible that an effect can be produced without its cause. So it has been said: “What good deeds should be done in the present life by a person must have been done by him in the lives other than this. Otherwise there would not been absorption in Brahman now.”