Bhagavad Gita- Chapter 5 (Part-2) Karma Sannyaasa Yogah- Yoga of Renunciation of Action


Sri  Krishna explains the spirit of renunciation and the state of Supreme Being in more detail. The Self, Atman, though the primeval cause of all actions,  is not at all liable for either the merit or demerit accruing from them. Though  the Self enlivens the actions of all beings, it is neither the actor nor the  action nor is it responsible for the fruits of action.  Those ignorant of this relationship remain  deluded in the world. But he whose ignorance has been removed by knowledge of  the Self reaches the Supreme state from where there is no return. Thereafter,  he maintains a universal vision of oneness and evenness towards everything he  comes across in the world. Having reached that eternal state he has forever  transcended the cycle of birth and death.

The  Lord advises that renunciation precedes meditation and realization. Sensual enjoyments  arising out of external contacts have a diminishing value and they culminate in  sorrow. The very sight of sense objects inflames desires in people. Then they  lose control and succumb to the lure of the sense objects. The wise understand  the ephemeral nature of contact-born enjoyments and prevent any desire from  developing into an uncontrollable force of momentum. Instead of indulging in  such temporary bouts of sensual pleasure they divert their attention and  interest to the Self within. Thus they free themselves gradually from desires,  subdue their mind and turn introvert. They begin to revel in the bliss of the  Self. When the mind is subdued and relatively peaceful it becomes fit for  meditation. This chapter concludes with a few procedural details for practicing  meditation and realizing the ultimate Self in oneself.
  The  Text


sarvakarmaani manasaa sannyasyaaste  sukham vashee
    navadwaare pure dehee naiva kurvan na kaarayan  // 5.13 //

Mentally  renouncing all actions and fully subduing his senses, the embodied soul dwells  happily in the city of nine-gates, neither acting nor causing others (body and  the senses) to act.

Sanyas  is not a mere physical escapism but a mental withdrawal from things which have  no real significance.  It is a state of  mind and not an external symbol. Therefore one who has brought all his sense  cravings under perfect control and renounced all his egocentric and desire  prompted actions comes to live in peace, joy and contentment in the city of  nine gates. City of nine gates means the body which has nine apertures in its  physical form viz. two eyes, two ears, two nostrils, one mouth, the genital and  the excretory outlet without which life cannot be sustained. The Self within  this physical structure activates the instruments of action and perception governing  the life of all of them though by itself it does not perform any actions. Krishna says that such an individual, always identifying  with the Self, observes the activities around him unaffected, unattached and  without any agitations. Hence he neither acts nor causes others to act.

All  actions in life (Karma) can be categorized as under.

    Organization Chart

•Nitya Karma - Obligatory duties such as daily prayers.
•Naimittika Karma - Actions to be performed on special occasions such as on birth of a child.
•Kamya Karma - Works intended for securing special ends such as for curing illness etc.
•Nishiddha Karma - Actions forbidden by scriptures like stealing and other crimes.

  The enlightened soul refrains from all these actions  and lives only for the sake of exhausting the prarabdha karma which has  caused his present body. He lives happily established in Self-Knowledge. Unlike  the ignorant, he does not identify himself with the body which is termed here  as the city of nine gates. He neither acts nor causes others to act means that  he is totally free from consciousness of ‘I’ ‘me’ or ‘mine’ and is free from  the idea of acting or causing action. After the exhaustion of prarabdha  karma his soul merges in Brahman.


na kartritwam na karmaani lokasya  srijati prabhuh
    na  karmaphala samyogam swabhaavas tu pravartate   // 5.14  //

The  Lord creates neither agency nor actions for the world, nor does He bring about  the union with the fruits of actions; but it is nature that does all this.

This  verse gives a general definition of the concept of God. But the principle  stated here is not that described in the ritualistic portion of the Vedas but a  description of the relationship between the Self and the not-Self, the Atman  and the matter.

The  Supreme Self (Prabhuh) neither creates any sense of agency nor does it  initiate any action.  It does not match  every action with its corresponding fruit.

However  when the Self functions through the equipments - physical, mental and causal  bodies - It becomes a conditioned Self and gathers to itself all the egocentric  attitudes of agency, action and fruits etc.

Thus  the beneficiary of the fruits and the performer of actions in us is the ego and  not the Atman or the Self.  The Self becomes  an actor performing all actions only when it gets conditioned by `Swabhava'-  nature or the Divine Maya made up of the three Gunas. The Self comes under the  control of maya and regards itself as acting and enjoying the fruits of action.  As long as the Self remains identified with maya it is bound. But when it  detaches itself from maya it becomes free. Thus such ideas as those of duty,  work and the result belong to the relative world. They have no relevance from  the standpoint of the Supreme Lord. It is the Prakriti or nature that does  everything.

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