Preamble

Thus Sri  Krishna helps out Arjuna, indicating what is good for him i.e., to rise above  this world of perception, emotion and thought and reach the Supreme Being. The  lord assures his teaching will liberate his devotees. The Lord emphasizes the  importance of communicating His message to mankind thereby both the teacher and  the taught will evolve spiritually. Free from delusion, with faith and dedicated  effort they would reach the ultimate state of Enlightenment.

Arjuna  understands Sri Krishna’s message and decides to pursue the higher objectives  enunciated by the Lord.  Sanjaya  glorifies Sri Krishna and His wonderful dialogue.  Sanjaya is in ecstasy having heard the  wonderful dialogue between Lord Krishna and Arjuna.

He  bows in gratitude to Vyasa whose grace enabled him to hear the holy dialogue.  He pronounces to King Dhritarashtra his immense joy beholding the divine form  of Krishna and remembering His great message  over and over again. Finally, he declares that the Lord’s firm principles will  bless this world with success, prosperity and peace. 

The Text

FINAL APPEAL

sarva guhyatamam bhooyah shrinu me paramam vachah
    ishto'si me dhridhamiti tato vakshyaami te hitam //  18.64 //

Listen  again My supreme word, most secret of all; because you are dearly beloved of  Me, I will tell you what is good for you.

Although  Arjuna was given a free choice to make his independent decision he gave an  impression that still some doubts and misgivings were lurking in his mind.  Therefore Sri Krishna tells Arjuna that He will again confide in him the  profoundest wisdom, the supreme secret because he is His dearest friend. This  secret is revealed in the following two verses.

manmanaa bhava madbhakto madyaajee maam namaskuru
    maamevai'shyasi  satyam te pratijaane priyo'si me // 18.65 //

Fix  your mind on Me, be devoted to Me, worship to Me, bow down to Me, you shall  even come to Me ; truly this is my pledge to you, for you are dear to Me.

Sri  Krishna repeats the salient features of the philosophy of the Gita for the  benefit of Arjuna and through him for all of us.

The  Lord lays down four conditions for the success of a seeker. To the one in whom  these are present an assurance of reaching Him is given. In order to avoid  anybody taking His words lightly He adds that this is His true promise and  specifically conveys this secret to Arjuna because he is dear to Him and The  Lord loves him.

These  conditions are:
•Fix the mind on The Lord, ever remembering Him.
•Regard Him as the sole refuge.
•Ever devotedly identify with Him through the process of performing selfless activities and
•Dedicate them to Him in an attitude of reverence and sacrifice.

The  ultimate mystery, the supreme teaching with which The Lord wound up Chapter  9.34 is repeated here. Thought, worship, sacrifice and reverence, all must be  directed to The Lord. We must surrender ourselves to God. Our spiritual life  depends as much on our going to Him, as on His coming to us. It is not only our  ascent to God but His descent to man. He is waiting only for our trustful  appeal to Him.

sarva dharmaan parityajya maamekam sharanam vraja
    aham twaa sarvapaapebhyo mokshayishyaami maa  shuchah // 18.66 //

Abandoning  all Dharmas (of the body, mind and intellect), take refuge in Me alone; I will  liberate you from all sins, do not grieve.

This  is the noblest of all the verses in the Gita having brilliant import and yet  this is the most controversial. Philosophers, translators, reviewers, critics  and commentators have put forward several interpretations of this verse each  maintaining their own point of view.

To  Sri Ramanuja, this is the final verse (Charama-Shloka) of the whole  Gita.

It  is the answer given by The Lord to the question put by Arjuna in Chapter 2.7 –  ‘My heart is overpowered by the taint of pity, my mind is confused as to duty.  I ask you. Tell me decisively what is good for me, I am your disciple. Instruct  me who has taken refuge in You'.

Leaving aside  all these divergent opinions we can understand this verse as follows.

This essential  property of a substance is called its Dharma. Therefore, the  "essential Dharma" of man is the Divine Spark of Existence,  the Infinite Lord, and the Atman. With this understanding of the term Dharma,  we can appreciate that it differs from mere ethical and moral rules of conduct,  all duties in life, all duties towards relations, friends, community, nation  and the world, all our obligations to our environment, all our affections,  reverence, charity, and sense of goodwill etc. Thus to live truly as the Atman,  and to express Its Infinite Perfection through all our actions and in all our  contacts with the outer world is to rediscover our Dharma.

In this Verse,  the Lord wants us to accomplish three distinct adjustments in our inner  personality. They are: (1) Renounce all Dharmas through meditation; (2)  surrender to My refuge alone; and while in the state of meditation, (3) stop  all worries. And as a reward He promises: "I shall release you from all  sins". This is a promise given to all mankind.

Abandoning all dharma (Sarva-Dharman Parityajya) - As a mortal, finite ego, the  seeker is living with the Dharmas of his body, mind and intellect, and  exists in life as a mere perceiver, feeler, and thinker. The  perceiver-feeler-thinker personality in us is the "individuality"  which expresses itself as the "ego." These are not our 'essential' Dharmas.  And since these are the 'non-essentials,' "renouncing all dharmas"  means "ending the ego." "To renounce" therefore means  "not to allow ourselves to fall again and again into this state of  identification with the outer envelopments of matter around us". Extrovert  tendencies of the mind are to be renounced. "Develop introspection diligently"  is the deep suggestion in the phrase "renouncing all dharmas."

Come to me alone  for shelter (Mam-ekam Sharanam Vraja) -  Self-withdrawal from our extrovert nature will be impossible unless the mind is  given a positive method of developing its introvert attention. By  single-pointed, steady contemplation upon Me, the Self, which is the  One-without-a-second, we can successfully accomplish our total withdrawal from  the misinterpreting equipments of the body, mind and intellect. Lord Krishna  commands His devotees to come to His shelter whereby they can accomplish the  renunciation of all their false identifications.

I shall release  you from all sins (aham twaa  sarvapaapebhyo mokshayishyaami) - That which brings about agitations and causes  dissipation of the energies is called "sin". The actions themselves  can leave their "foot prints" upon the mental stuff, and these marks  are called vasanas. To erase all vasanas completely is to  stop all thoughts - the total cessation of thought-flow viz. "mind”. Transcending  the mind-intellect-equipment is to reach the plane of Pure Consciousness, the  Krishna-Reality.

Be  not grieved (Maa shuchah) - When both the above conditions  are accomplished, the seeker reaches a state of tranquility in meditation. Lord  Krishna wants the seeker to renounce all his "anxieties to realize."  Even a desire to realize is a disturbing thought that can obstruct the final  achievement. Arjuna was perturbed by the various duties, ritualistic and  ethical, that the war will result in the confusion of castes and indifference  to the ancestors as well as in the violation of sacred duties of reverence for  the teachers etc. Sri Krishna tells him not to worry about these laws and  usages, but to trust Him and bow down to His will. If he consecrates his life,  actions, feelings and thoughts, and surrenders himself to God, He will guide  him through the battle of life and he need have no tears or fears. Surrender is  the only way to self-transcendence. This is the Lord’s assurance to all  humanity.

The  stanza is important inasmuch as it is one of the most powerfully worded verses  in the Gita wherein the Lord undertakes to do something helpful for the seeker  in case he is ready to obliterate his ego and put forth his best efforts.

“We  should willingly yield to His pressure, completely surrender to His will and  take shelter in His love. If we destroy confidence in our ego and replace it by  perfect confidence in God, He will save us. He asks us of total self-giving and  gives in return the power of the Spirit which changes every situation.

When  we turn to Him and let Him fill our whole being, our responsibility ceases. He  deals with us and leads us beyond all sorrow. It is an unreserved surrender to  the Supreme who takes us up and raises to our utmost possible perfection.  Though the Lord conducts the world according to the fixed laws and expects us  to conform to the law of right action based on our nature and station in life,  if we take shelter in Him, we transcend all these. A seemingly outer help must  come to man, for his soul cannot deliver itself from the trap in which it is  caught by his own effort”. Dr.S.Radhakrishnan.