Bhagavad Gita- Chap 4 (Part-1) Jnaana Karma Sanyaasa Yogah- Yoga of Renunciation of Action in Knowledge


kaangkshantah karmanaam siddhim yajanta  iha devataah
    kshipram hi maanushe loke siddhirbhavati  karmajaa // 4.12 //

Those  who long for success in action in this world worship the Gods, because success  is quickly attained by men through action.

Men  worship God in this world because they want immediate fruits in terms of pleasures  from their activities.  Worldly success  is much easier of attainment than Self-knowledge which demands perfect  renunciation.


chaaturvarnyam mayaa srishtam gunakarma  vibhaagashah
    tasya kartaaram api maam  viddhyakartaaram avyayam // 4.13 //

The  fourfold caste has been created by Me according to the differentiation of Guna  and Karma; though I am the author thereof know Me as non-doer and changeless.

This  verse explains the diversity of human temperaments and tendencies.  All men are not of the same nature because of  the preponderance of the different Gunas in them. The caste system was  originally meant to make the growth of human society perfect. But this  principle later on came to be abused and misused by the society which gave it a  totally wrong meaning based on the accident of birth.

On  the basis of the temperamental distinctions and the quality of thoughts  entertained by the individuals, the entire mankind has been, for the purpose of  spiritual study, classified as the four castes or Varnas just as people are  divided as professionals, merchants, agriculturists and laborers etc on the  basis of activities or vocation pursued by them. For the well being of the  society in general each class of people is as important and essential as the  other.

Accordingly  the four varnas are:
1. Brahmana - where       Sattwa (purity, goodness etc.) predominates in thoughts and action.
2. Kshatriya - where       Rajas (courage, valor etc.) predominates in thoughts and deeds.
3. Vaishya - where Rajas       and Tamas (indolence, ignorance etc.) predominate.
4. Sudra     - where Tamas alone predominates.

  The  Lord is the Creator of the four castes only from the standpoint of maya. Maya  is the immediate cause of everything that happens in the relative world. But  since maya has no existence independent of the Lord, He is said to be the  Creator.

The  Lord with reference to the mind and intellect is the creator of the  temperaments although in His essential nature He is not the Doer or the Creator  because He is the changeless and all-pervading irrespective of what happens in  the creation.


na maam  karmaani limpanti na me karmaphale sprihaa
    iti maam  yo'bhijaanaati karmabhir na sa badhyate    // 4.14 //

Actions  do not taint Me, nor have I a desire for the fruits of actions.  He who knows Me thus is not bound by actions.

Actions  do not taint the Lord because He is totally free from egoism. Since He is  unselfish, He is not taking rebirths as men to reap the fruit of His actions.  Anyone who knows his own inmost Self to be the Lord, unattached to action and  its result, is not bound by action and will not be reborn in the world of maya.

Taint  and desire can come only to an Ego which is the Self functioning through a  given state of mind and intellect. The one who has renounced his identification  with his limited ego and rediscovered himself as none other than the Self is no  more affected by his actions in the outer world.

evam jnaatwaa kritam karma poorvair api  mumukshubhih
    kuru karmaiva tasmaat twam poorvaih  poorvataram kritam // 4.15 //

Having  known this, the ancient seekers after liberation performed action; therefore,  you too perform action, as did the ancients in the olden times.

Knowing  that the Self can have no desire for the fruits of actions and cannot be  tainted or soiled by them and knowing that no one can be tainted if he works  without egoism, attachment and expectation of fruits, Arjuna is called upon to  do his duty as the ancients like King Janaka and others did in the days of yore.  The idea is that the ignorant perform action for self purification, and the  wise perform action for the maintenance of the world.


kim karma kim akarmeti kavayo'pyatra  mohitaah
    tat te karma pravakshyaami yajjnaatwaa  mokshyase'shubhaat // 4.16 //

What  is action? What is inaction? As to this even the wise are perplexed. Therefore,  I shall tell you what action is by knowing which you shall be freed from the  evil (of Samsara - the wheel of birth and death).

The  Lord thus instructed Arjuna to perform action in a disinterested spirit. But  one cannot duly perform one’s duty without knowing in reality what constitutes  action and what inaction is. Therefore the Lord promises to reveal to Arjuna  the truth about action showing its intricate nature and the value of its  knowledge in order that Arjuna may really understand the truth about  transcendent actions, which are free from the feeling of possession, the sense  of doership, attachment and the desire for fruit. Thus the mystery of action is  extremely difficult to unravel.

karmano hyapi boddhavyam boddhavyam cha  vikarmanah
    akarmanashcha boddhavyam gahanaa karmano  gatih // 4.17 //

One  has to understand what action really is and likewise one has to understand what  is forbidden action and also what inaction is. Indeed hard to understand is the  way of action.

One  must not oversimplify action and inaction by thinking that the former means the  activity of the body and the latter its idleness. The definition of these three  terms is as under:
1. Action: That which is prescribed in the scriptures and not merely approved by men.
2. Forbidden action: That which is forbidden by the scriptures.
3. Inaction: Renunciation of action.

Activity  is the very essence of life. The great Seers of ancient days evaluated the life  on the basis of the quality of activities. This is explained in the following  chart.

Receive Site Updates