Bhagavad Gita- Chap 5 (Part-1) Karma Sannyaasa Yogah- Yoga of Renunciation of Action

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brahmanyaadhaaya karmaani sangam tyaktwaa karoti yah
    lipyate na sa paapena  padmapatram ivaambhasaa  // 5.10 //

He who performs actions,  offering them to Brahman, abandoning attachment is not tainted by sin, just as  a lotus leaf remains unaffected by the water on it.

A life of detachment where one  renounces the sense of doership is not easy to attain. This verse instructs us  how to live the Gita way rather than talk about it i.e. how to lead a life of  intelligent detachment. One should be clear that total detachment is impossible  for the human mind.  So long as there is  a mind it has to attach itself with something because that is its nature. The  only practical way of achieving detachment therefore is to disassociate the  mind from the false and attach it to the Real.

The advice given is to surrender  the sense of Agency and do the actions without egoism and attachment to their  fruits, considering all actions as offerings to The Lord.  The more the thoughts on The Lord the less  will be the attention on one's own ego. Once this is realized, the actions of  the body, mind and intellect will not leave any impression on the Self. Such a  yogi has no attachment even for liberation.

Having thus realized the Self the  Yogi lives in the world of objects with perfect detachment like the lotus leaf existing  in the water without getting itself moistened. The sage lives in the world of  objects detaching himself from his own perceptions of the world, likes and  dislikes etc.

kaayena manasaa buddhyaa kevalair indriyairapi
    yoginah karma kurvanti sangam tyaktwaatmashuddhaye  // 5.11 //

Yogis perform actions only  with the body, mind, intellect and the senses without attachment, for  the purification of the heart.

The Karma Yogis always utilize  their organs of action, knowledge, mind and intellect renouncing all  attachments .The sage remains as if he were a mere observer of all that is  happening around him.

The Karma yogis are those who are  devoted to the path of action, free from egoism and selfishness, who work for  the purification of their hearts without any attachment to the results of their  actions and who dedicate all their actions to The Lord as their offering.

yuktah karmaphalam tyaktwaa shaantim aapnoti naishthikeem
    ayuktah kaamakaarena phale sakto nibadhyate  // 5.12 //
    A selfless man who has  renounced the fruit of his action attains Peace, born of steadfastness; but the  one, who is not selfless, led by desire, is attached to the fruit of action and  therefore bound.

The harmonious man who does  actions for the sake of The Lord without expectation of the results and who  considers all his actions as offerings to The Lord only and not for any  personal gain or profit attains peace arising out of steadfastness or devotion.  Steadfastness is achieved through the following four stages of development viz. 
• purity of mind 
• gaining of knowledge 
• renunciation of action 
• steadiness in wisdom.

Peace is not a product of  external origin but it is a mental condition in an individual when he is not  agitated by any kind of disturbing thoughts. Peace is an unbroken feeling of  joy and a symbol of an integrated personality. Sri Bhagavan says that this can  be brought about through selfless actions undertaken in a spirit of Yagna. When  a worker renounces his egocentric sense of agency and desire for the fruits of  his actions he immediately becomes an integrated personality and experiences  peace.

The one who is unbalanced or  unharmonised, who is motivated by desire and attachment to the fruits of  actions and who is full of egoism and sense of agency gets himself bound and  tortured by the reactions of his own actions.

Concepts and Issues
  Sri Krishna earlier explained the  greatness of both the paths of renunciation of actions (Sannyaasa or Sankhya  Yoga) and the performance of actions (Karma Yoga). Arjuna had therefore doubts  and asked Him to clarify which is better for him.

Sri Krishna tells that the paths  of renunciation and performance of actions will both lead the man to the same  spiritual goal to provide inner freedom.   But performance of actions for the welfare of all with no selfish motive  is far better than non-performance of action because pure meditation is  impossible to any one who has not offered himself and his belongings in the  service of others.

The ignorant alone thinks that  Karma Yoga and Sankhya Yoga are different. But both are inseparable and lead to  the same goal. A Karma Yogi lives in the world without bondage like a lotus  leaf on water. Without offering selfless service in Yajna spirit, it is  difficult to gain the true spirit of renunciation-Sanyasa. The performer of  selfless actions- Karma Yogi- has the spirit of renunciation in him and  renounces the desire for the rewards of his actions.

A  Sankhya Yogi who is established in the Self, does not identify himself even  with such activities as seeing, hearing, touching, smelling etc., but feels he  is a witness to all the actions of the body, senses, mind and intellect. He  lives in a world untouched by the happenings around. He, who has identified  himself with the Pure Self, stands aside, not contaminated by the effects of  actions and enjoys eternal peace within

Live as the Gita Teaches You to Live
  Verse 10 of this Chapter  instructs us how to live the Gita way rather than talk about it i.e. how to  lead a life of intelligent detachment. One should be clear that total  detachment is impossible for the human mind. The practical way of achieving  detachment is to disassociate the mind from the false and attach it to the  Real. Surrender the sense of Agency and do the actions without egoism and  attachment to their fruits, considering all actions as offerings to The  Lord.  The more the thoughts on The Lord  the less will be the attention on one's own ego. Once this is realized, the  actions of the body, mind and intellect will not leave any impression on the  Self. Such a yogi has no attachment even for liberation and he lives in the  world of objects detaching himself from his own perceptions of the world, likes  and dislikes etc.like the lotus leaf existing in the water without getting  itself moistened.

Points to Ponder
  1. How do the paths of renunciation of actions and  performance of actions lead to the same goal?
  2. If both the above mentioned paths lead to the same  goal, how then the Yoga of action is superior?
  3. How one should work so as not to be tainted by sin and  attain Brahman?
  4. How does a Sankhya Yogi remain untainted by even  physical functions?
  5. What is the difference between performing actions with  and without selfishness?

Next time we will proceed from the Verse 5.13

Harih Om

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