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CHAPTER 18 (Part 1)
RELEASE THROUGH RENUNCIATION
THIS CHAPTER IS THE PINNACLE
Dnyaneshwar Maharaj says. "This eighteenth chapter is like the pinnacle of a temple. Once one sees it from a distance then one knows that the goal is near and it gives a feeling that one has actually met the deity inside. Similarly the eighteenth chapter brings the whole essence of the Gita in view. (18:31-32). This eighteenth chapter reviews entire the Gita from beginning to the end." (18:43).
ARJUNA THINKS RENUNCIATION IS BETTER THAT ACTION
At the end of the seventeenth chapter Shri Krishna told Arjuna that actions done without faith in Aum Tat Sat, the name of the Brahman are evil and wrong. Hearing this Arjuna thought "Shri Krishna is faulting the persons involved in the ritualistic path. But the individual doer of actions is really blinded by ignorance and basically does not understand the nature of God. Then how should he know anything about Aum Tat Sat, the name of the Brahman? Besides as long as Raja and Tama have not gone from within him, his faith also will remain impure, then how would he have faith in the name of the Brahman? (18:60-64). These karmas (actions) are very mischievous. Terrible calamities like birth and death are incorporated in them. If by good fortune the actions are successfully completed then the doer acquires the worthiness for attaining knowledge otherwise the same action would cause his downfall. Many impediments are faced by the time an action is completed then when would a follower of the path of action will get his turn to be liberated? Therefore it is better to break away from this trap of the path of actions, to give up all actions and adopt the path of renunciation (sanyas) which has no shortcomings. Renunciation and abandonment are two things in which one does not hear about being affected by the karmas, with the help of which Self-realisation can be attained. With their help the relations with the material world beaks. Therefore it would be better to ask Shri Krishna to explain the nature of renunciation and abandonment. (18:66-72). This eighteenth chapter contains the reply given by Shri Krishna to Arjuna’s question on this subject. (18:74).
Arjuna asked, "Shri Krishna, Sanyas (renunciation) and abandonment seem to be have the same meaning. If there is any difference between the two then please explain it to Me. (18:87-89).
ABANDONMENT AND RENUNCIATION
Shri Krishna said, "The two words are really different but they appear to you as having the same meaning which I too agree is also correct in a way. It is true that both words have the meaning which signify abandonment but the reason why their meanings are different is that if all (ritualistic) actions are abandoned then it is called Sanyas but if only the fruits thereof are abandoned then it is called abandonment. Now I shall explain to you about the actions the fruits of which are to be abandoned and which actions are to be abandoned altogether. (18:90-93).
The routine actions take place naturally but actions with desire behind them do not take place without the will. Actions with desire of fruits behind them such as Horse-sacrifice yajna, digging wells, gardens etc., gifting away lands, establishing new owns, performing rituals with a lot of formality are rooted in the personal desire and it binds the doer to the enjoyment of the fruits thereof. (18:97-100).
Arjuna, once you acquire a body you cannot say no to the birth and death phenomena (18:100), similarly one cannot avoid enjoying or suffering the fruits of one's actions. Just as one cannot avoid repaying a loan, once a desire based action is done, the fruits thereof remain in waiting to make you enjoy or suffer for them. (18:103). Even If a desire-based action occurs inadvertently, (18:104) it has the power to make you enjoy or suffer the fruits. Therefore a seeker should be careful not to do such actions even in fun. They should be abandoned like poison. This abandonment (of desire-based actions) is called Sanyas or renunciation. Abandonment of desire- based actions means complete destruction of passions in one's mind. (18:106-109).
Routine and incidental actions The ritualistic actions which one has to perform such as at the time of an eclipse or when a guest comes are called incidental (Naimittic) actions. (18:111). These are actually part of the routine duties but performed whenever an occasion arises and then it gets termed as incidental. What one does in the morning, afternoon and evening are the daily routine actions (Nityakarma). (18:114-115). This performance of routine actions is, like the fragrance within sandalwood, intrinsically virtuous and cannot be avoided. (18:117).
Abandonment Some people consider these routine and incidental actions as useless because they must be done routinely anyway. But just as food gives satisfaction (to the taste-buds) and removes hunger, similarly these routine and incidental actions give all round results. (18:119-120). Performance of these routine and incidental actions removes the blemishes from one’s mind, raises one's worth and because of it one reaches a good state in the after-world. But even though one gets such fruits of the routine and incidental actions, one should abandon those fruits. (18:122-123). Thus, while one should attentively perform the routine and incidental duties keeping oneself within the prescribed bounds, the fruits thereof should be abandoned totally. This abandoning of fruits of the actions is called abandonment. Thus I have explained to you abandonment and Sanyas (renunciation). (18:125-126).
Renunciation When renunciation occurs the actions done with desire do not bother while prohibited actions are not done because they are prohibited and while the routine and incidental actions are automatically nullified because of the abandoning of their fruits.
Trick of abandonment Once all the account of all the actions is nullified then Knowledge of the Self comes searching for you. By this trick those who abandon the fruits of the routine and incidental actions and renounce the actions with desire acquire the knowledge of the Self. (18:127-130). But those who do not adopt this trick but try to practice abandonment by guesswork does not at all abandonment but will get into more complications. (18:131). The actions which are not fit to be abandoned should not be abandoned while those which should be abandoned should not be coveted. If one misses the trick of the abandonment then that abandonment becomes a burden. But a truly detached person does not even think about the prohibited actions. (18:133-134).
People who are not able to free themselves of the desire of fruits of their actions charge that all actions are binding. Just as a person who is slave to the taste-buds eats all sorts of food and blames it if he cannot digest it similarly persons incapable of abandoning the fruits but having desire for them blame the actions themselves and decide that they should be abandoned. Some others say that rituals like yajna etc. must be performed because there is no other means of purifying the mind. If one has to succeed in purifying the mind quickly then there should not be indolence in performing actions capable of doing so. (18:135-139). Actions should not be abandoned saying that they are arduous. Many people turn their mind to ritualistic actions with such thoughts. Thus, abandonment has become a debatable topic. Now I shall explain to you properly the real nature of abandonment and remove the differences in the thinking regarding it. (18:142-144)
THREE TYPES OF ABANDONMENT
Abandonment may be considered as being of three types. Now I shall explain to you these three types. But even if I explain to you the three types of abandonment, understand that its essence is what I have told you just now. Listen to Me who is all-knowing, for my definite opinion about what truth is. The seeker who is ever alert for liberation from the bindings of this world should follow only that. (18:145-148).
Like a traveller who should not stop taking forward steps, one should not abandon the essential actions namely yajna, charity and tapas. (18:149). As long as one is not sure about Self-realisation one should not be nonchalant about these rituals. On the other hand one should observe them according to one's entitlement with more attention. Performing more rituals is helpful for non-action. (18:152-154). When actions (rituals) are performed quickly and according to prescribed rules then the attributes Raja and Tama are destroyed completely. (18:156). Action performed with faith destroys Raja and Tama and brings out the importance of the purity of Sattva attribute. To gain the purity of Sattva attribute righteous actions are like places of pilgrimage. The places of pilgrimage remove the external dirt while righteous deeds remove the internal dirt. Therefore righteous deeds are the places of pilgrimage for attaining purity of the Sattva attribute. (18:158-160). Like a river itself coming to the rescue of a drowning person, it is the actions which liberate a seeker from the binding. There is a trick in doing the actions which, though basically they are binding, make them work as the main cause of liberation. Now I shall tell you about the trick which makes actions nullify themselves. (18:162-165).
He (who adopts the trick) does not swell by pride when the principle yajnas are being performed systematically. (18:166). Just as a person going on a pilgrimage at the expense of others does not become proud about it, (18:167) similarly he performs the rituals systematically at appropriate times without carrying the ego that he is the doer. He does not harbour any desire in his mind for the fruits of those rituals. Arjuna, one should first give up expectations about the fruits and then start the action. (18:170-172). He who does actions adopting this trick encounters the Self. Therefore one should do actions giving up the desire for fruits and the I-am-the-body consciousness. This is my message. I repeat again and again that he who is tired of the bindings of life should not disobey this my command. (18:175-177).
Tamasic abandonment When one abandons angrily all actions, thinking that actions bind, I call that abandonment a Tamasic abandonment. It is like cutting one's head because of the headache. (18:178-179). Because of his confusion, the Tamasic person does not understand the trick of eliminating the affliction of the actions by actions themselves. Therefore he abandons the duties which have come to his lot by his Swadharma. You should not even touch such a Tamasic person. (18:182-183).
Rajas abandonment Even fully knowing what his entitlements and duties are, he is indolent about them fearing the labour involved. (18:184). Or else, he begins an action knowing that it is so prescribed but as soon as it becomes laborious he abandons it in the middle. He says. "It is by great fortune that I have got an admirable thing like this body then why should I make it toil like a sinner? If happiness is to be gained later by doing actions now then I do not want it. Why not make best of the luxuries I have now?" Abandoning actions because they are laborious is called Rajas abandonment. This is also an abandonment but it does not give the fruits of one because he foregoes actions due to of his attachment to the body . (18:189-193, 195).
With the rise of Knowledge, all actions vanish along with the ignorance and that is really an abandonment of actions which leads to liberation. He who abandons actions out of ignorance does not gain this liberation. Therefore the Rajas abandonment should not be considered as an abandonment. Now while on the subject, listen also to which abandonment leads to liberation.(18:196-199).
Sattvic abandonment He performs systematically as prescribed and with love whatever actions have come to his lot naturally as his entitlement (according to his caste). But he does not keep in mind that it is he who is performing them. Also he abandons the desire of their fruits. (18:200-201). Actually, ego of actions and desire for fruits are the two which are called bindings of the actions. One who keeps away from these two while performing prescribed actions does not become unhappy. The most superior tree of abandonment begets the large fruits of liberation therefore this abandonment is known in the world as Sattvic abandonment. (18:205-207).
When actions are abandoned after abandoning the fruits the attributes Raja and Tama get destroyed. Then the pure Sattvic attribute causes the light of Self-realisation to shine and removes the illusion of the reality of the world. (18:210-211).
The duties which fall to his lot due to the past karmas are, in his view, without blemish hence he does not bother about happiness or sorrow. He is not excited by the thought that a duty is auspicious or unhappy by taking it to be inauspicious. He does not carry any doubts in his mind about whether a particular duty is auspicious or not. When the feelings of duality that "This is the duty" and "I am the doer of that duty", separating the duty and the doer, do not enter his mind then it is an abandonment of Sattvic type. With this manner of abandonment actions are completely abandoned. If they are abandoned in any other manner then they bind you more. (18:212-217).
Turning actions into non-actions Those who are indolent about their duties after they acquire the body are rustic simpletons. (18:218). Is it not foolish to try to abandon the actions as long as the impression that I am the body is sustained? One can erase the sandal-paste put on the forehead but how can the writing of one’s future on it be erased? One can stop the prescribed rituals after they are begun but how can the actions of the body be stopped? Because, even if a person is asleep, the action of his breathing continues automatically and even if sit doing nothing it continues. The actions which are associated with the body cannot be abandoned wile we are living or even after death. It can be abandoned only by one trick and that is while doing the actions one should not be in the clutches of the desire of the fruits thereof. If the fruits of the actions are offered to God then by his benevolence one attains Self-realisation and that destroys all actions along with the ignorance. Abandoning actions in this manner is the real abandonment. Therefore he who has abandoned actions in this way is great abandoner. I am again telling you that he alone should be considered as true abandoner in these three worlds who, by abandoning the fruits of actions have turned them into non-actions. (18:222-232).
Unfavourable, favourable and mixed actions Arjuna, action is of three types and those who do not give up the desire for the fruits, they alone have to enjoy or suffer for it. After begetting a daughter her father is released from his ties to her only when he gives her away in marriage and the son-in-law who accepts her gets caught in them. (18:233-234). Whether one does the action out of the ego of one's capability or after abandoning the desire of its fruits, the action alone cannot bind the doer in either case. The fruits are gained only by him who desires them. But he who does not accept the fruits even after doing the action does not take rebirth anywhere in these three worlds because they are the result of the fruits of the actions. Deities, humans and immovable life is what is known as the world and are themselves three different types of fruits of actions. The same action is of three types, namely, unfavourable, favourable and mixed. (18:236-240).
The fruits of actions of those who are full of lust and transgress in their behaviour by doing forbidden evil deeds and are reborn in low forms such as worms, insects, earth, stones etc., are called unfavourable fruits of action. (18:241-242).
The fruits of actions of those who respect Swadharma and according to one's entitlement do meritorious deeds as prescribed in the Vedas then the attain the bodies of deities like Indra etc., are known as favourable fruits of actions. (18:243-244).
When truth and untruth are mixed a third type of entity is created, therefore when an action contains good and bad deeds its fruits lead to being reborn as a human being. This is what is called mixed fruits of actions. (18:245-247).
Nullifying the fruits of actions These are the three types of fruits of action in this world. Those individuals who get entrapped in the desire of the fruits of actions are compelled to enjoy or suffer them. (18:248-249). People who continue doing actions while they are living may advance materially but they have to undergo the enjoyment or suffering of those actions after their death. (18:251). When a grain from a ear of corn falls on ground it sprouts and gives rise to another ear of corn. The grain from that ear again falls on ground and again sprouts to give another ear and this cycle goes on. Similarly, while undergoing the fruits of actions other fruits of actions are created. (18:253-254). The burden of the fruits increases in the order - goal and means, and those individuals who do not give up the desire of the fruits of action get entangled in the material world. On the other hand, even while doing actions those who nullify them by giving up the desire of their fruits cause the effects of the fruits to cease. (18:256-258).
With the help of pure moral behaviour and the nectar of Guru’s benevolence, Self-realisation comes to fruition and the distress caused by the attitude of duality ends. The three types of fruits of actions which are responsible for the creation of illusion about the reality of this universe vanishes and in that state, the fruits and their enjoyer both dissolve. Those who have been successful in adopting renunciation (sanyas) of knowledgeable actions are liberated from the troubles of birth and death arising out of the fruits of actions. How can they, whose vision has reached the Self due to such renunciation, feel that the deeds are different from the doer? (18:259-262). Once the fruits of actions are abandoned, the material knowledge vanishes (and the seeker attains unity with Brahman) then who is going to enjoy the fruits and who is going to impart the enjoyment? Therefore in the case of an renunciate (Sanyasi) the talk of actions is not at all applicable. (18:266-267).
As long as there remains ignorance within and an individual is induced to do good or bad actions by virtue of his capability and his attitude is dualistic, there exists a separateness between the Soul and the action (18:269), but only when the ignorance shows it as such. (18:275).
CAUSES OF ACTIONS
There are five causes due to which actions of an individual frequently occur. I shall describe them to you (18:277). But perhaps you already know them because Shastras have prominently described them. They are well known through the elucidation of Sankhya philosophy in the realm of the Vedas. These are the basic causes which are essential for success of the actions. But even so do not relate them to the Soul who is the master. (18:278-280). Arjuna, we were talking about how all actions are separate from the Soul. (18:296). It is verily a fact that all actions originate by these causes without the knowledge of the Soul and the five causes combine to give a shape to the actions. The very same five causes are the purpose of the actions. There, the Soul is detached and does not constitute a cause or an incidental motive for it neither does it assist in leading the action to completion. Just as sky is different from the day and night (18:304-308), similarly though good and evil actions do take place in the individual the Soul remains separate from them. (18:313).
First cause Body is the first cause (of actions) and is the seat of action because the enjoyer along with the objects to be enjoyed resides in it. There is no other place for an individual to experience the pleasures and sorrows created by Maya (or nature) after toiling day and night using the ten organs. Hence the term seat of action is used in reference to the body. It is the residence of twenty-four principles and entanglement of the binding and the liberation is resolved here. It is this body that supports the three states wakefulness, sleep and dream therefore it has been named as the body. (18:315-320).
Second causeSecond cause of actions is the doer. This doer is the reflection of the consciousness. (18:321). Forgetting its own nature, under the "I am the body" illusion, it appears in the form of the body. The consciousness which has forgotten its true nature of the Self is known as an individual. That individual is pledged to live with the body in every way. Due to delusion he claims that all actions done by the body are actually done by him and therefore that individual is called the doer. (18:324-326).
Third cause Even though the power of understanding of the intellect is same, it appears in different ways through different organs. This is called manifold distinct functions (Prithagvidha Karan). It is the third cause of actions. (18:330-331).
Fourth cause The air has ceaseless power of action which manifests itself differently in different places. When it appears through tongue, it is known as speech, and when it is expressed through hands it is called give and take transaction, when it is manifested through feet it is called walking and when it goes through urine and faeces it is called cleansing. It is called vital air (Pranavayu) when it gives rise to the Aum sound while moving from navel to the heart. The same vital air when it moves around in the upper parts is called Udana, when it comes out through the lower end it is called Apana, while when it occupies the whole body it is called Vyana. When it supplies the alimentary juices all corners of the body and gets filled in all the joints then it is called Samana. And the actions like yawning, sneezing, burping etc. are the manifestations of the minor aspects of vital energy namely Naga, Kurma, Krikal etc. (See Ch 6). Thus the power of action of air which has different names when it behaves differently is the fourth cause of action. (18:333-343).
Fifth cause The intellect alone is the best among all the inner properties of an individual. It excels by the strength of the organs and the strength of the organs is supported by the group of the presiding deities. The presiding deities like Sun etc. give strength to respective organs like eyes etc. This group of presiding deities is the fifth cause of actions. Thus I have explained to you the root causes of all actions. Now, the same root causes lead to countless actions. I shall explain to you the purpose due to which this happens. (18:348-352).
Mind, the cause for intent of actions. Arjuna, mind is the cause for intent for actions and once that intent is born it finds its expression through speech. In the light of the speech the path of action becomes clear and the doer begins the task of doing the action. Because of that the body itself becomes the purpose of the actions of body. (18:357-359). The actions of mind, speech and body become the purpose of mind, speech and body because they (mind, speech and body) are involved in the actions of the body etc.. (18:361).
BIRTH OF ACTIONS
When body, speech and mind join the five causes (body etc.) actions are born. If the action is done as prescribed in the Shastras then it becomes a just action and also becomes the cause for just behaviour. (18:366-367). The action which takes place by coming together of purpose and cause is a blind action. (18:370). But if the same is done consciously with the support of the Shastras then it become a just action. If the unrestrained action which takes place by the combination of purpose and cause is not done as per the Shastras then it is as good as not done. Such action is an unjust action and is the cause of immorality. (18:375-376). Thus the actions which take place due to the five causes also have five purposes and the soul is also involved in them due to its being in contact. (18:377). The soul makes the actions discernible without itself taking their form and without being the doer. (18:378). But a person whose intellect is restricted only to the body because of the I-am-the-body illusion is in the dark about the Self. He who has considered body itself as the Soul, God and Brahman is under the impression that it is the soul who is the doer but really speaking he is not definite even about that for he considers that it is the body that is the doer. That he himself who is the Soul is beyond actions and is only a witness to them is something he has never heard of. Therefore it is no wonder that he gauges the immeasurable Soul with the measure of the body! (18:382-385). It must be said that he who does not even permit the name of Shastras or Guru to be uttered in his presence survives on the strength of his foolishness. With the understanding that body itself is the Soul he imprisons himself within the body with the strong walls of the actions. (18:390-392). He who attributes the actions of nature or Maya to the Soul continues accounting for the actions for millions of aeons. (18:394).
NON-ATTACHMENT TO ACTIONS
Now I shall tell you how to recognise a person who does not get attached to the actions even after doing them. (18:396. While we think of such a liberated person we ourselves become liberated (18:397)- one regains the Self while thinking of the saints therefore one should sing and hear the praise the saints. (18:400). He does not get attached to the fruits, good or bad, of his actions. I shall tell you the characteristics of such a person who has gone beyond the actions through indirect arguments. (18:401-402).
He who was experiencing the universe as a dream during the sleep state of ignorance for a long time woke up to experience the bliss of the Brahman after hearing with the power of Guru's grace, the great dictum "You are that", not just by having him keep his benevolent hands on the head but patting it. (18:403-405). Just as after waking up the dream disappears the feeling of "I" and "mine" does not remain in his mind. (18:408). When a person who has reached Self-realisation sees a visible object the object and the seer both merge with the Self. (18:410). When, due to the misunderstanding that action is different from the doer, an imputation made about the Soul being the doer vanishes only the state of the Self remains. Would he, who is the ruler of this state of the Self, maintain the I-am-the-body feeling? (18:412-413). How would a person who has the knowable and the knower united within him possess the I-am-the-body ego? (18:418). Whatever he does becomes his own form (of the Self) then which actions should he claim as his? (18:420). He too, who feels that the ego as the doer is meaningless, continues doing actions as long as he has his body. (18:422). Even though the I-am-the-body ego has gone the nature which has created the body gets the actions performed by that body. (18:428). Because of the five causes (body etc.) the actions occur naturally without any movement on the part of the Soul. Because of the influence of the earlier lives these five causes and purposes induce many actions whether those actions destroy the entire universe or create a new universe. (18:431-433). Whatever may be the case he remains in the body without the I-am-the-body feeling. (18:435). He is not aware of the happenings of the world but those who see him materially as a body consider him to be the doer. (18:436-437). He who has woken up to the nature of the Self and the attitude of the seer has dissolved along with the scene is not aware of what his organs are doing. (18:441). Bodily movements of a person who is liberated from the birth and death cycles occurs as per the karmas of earlier lives but because they do not realise it people call him the doer. By his natural actions even if the three worlds are destroyed one should not charge him with it. A man of Knowledge does not possess feeling of duality therefore there is nothing else that he can destroy. (18:447-449).
Just as Ganga does not get impure even after another river meets it similarly his intellect is not affected by the thoughts of sin and merit. (18:450). How can the intellect of a person who does not consider his actions different from himself be affected by them? Therefore he who himself has become the triad of the action, the doer and the cause does not get bound by the action done by his body etc.. The individual, considering himself as the doer, works skilfully with the five types of intents doing innumerable righteous and unrighteous actions my means of the ten body organs but the Soul has no connection with this activity. You may say that the Soul helps in the preparedness for these actions but that is also not true because the Soul is Brahman and only a witness (Chidrup or form of Brahman) then how will he permit intent to act? The intent to action which makes people toil does not affect the Soul. Therefore one who has attained Brahman cannot at all be trapped by actions. It is the triad which is responsible for depicting improper type of knowledge in the light of ignorance. (18:450-460).
IMPROPER TYPE OF KNOWLEDGE
The triad of Knowledge, knower and the knowable is the root of the universe. The inclination to act comes from it. Now I shall explain to you forms of each member of this triad. (18:461-462).
Knowledge is the name given to that which makes an individual experience pleasure and pain and vanishes while in deep sleep. The individual is the knower. That which is experienced by the individual is what is called knowledge. This knowledge born of the ignorance of the Self, distributes itself in three parts as soon as it is created. It keeps the knowable in its front and knower at its back and connecting them creates interaction between the two. This knowledge, the reach of which is limited up to the boundary of the knowable and which gives different names to different things is without doubt ordinary knowledge. Now listen to the characteristics of the knowable. (18:465-471).
Sound, touch, form, smell and taste are the five ways through which knowable becomes known. Just as the same mango is known by taste, colour, smell and touch, similarly even though the knowable is one it is known through five organs. Therefore knowledge is of five types. (18:472-474). The place where knowledge obtained through organs ends is the knowable or the sense object. Thus I have explained to you the characteristics of knower, knowledge and the knowable. (18:475-477).
This Knowable becomes the cause of three types of actions. (18:477). Though the Knowable is of five types by virtue of the five senses viz. sound, touch, form, smell and taste, it is only of one type either liked or disliked. When the knower knows even a little about a knowable object he tends to either accept it or reject it. (18:478-480). Just as a crane rushes to catch a fish as soon it sees it, similarly this knower rushes to the sense objects. (18:480, 484). Therefore Arjuna, all actions originate from the knowledge, the knowable and the knower .(18:485).
If the knowable sense object is liked by the knower then he cannot tolerate a moments delay in enjoying it. But if he dislikes it then very moment of delay in abandoning it seems to him like aeons. (18:486-487). Then he does actions in order to accept or reject it. (18:489). Thus the knower becomes the doer of actions. (18:491). He who, with the desire of sense pleasures, makes the organs work becomes the doer and then knowledge becomes the cause or in other words the means and consequently the knowable becomes the action. In this manner the basic nature of the knowledge changes. (18:493-495). By giving impetus to the organs knower is caught in the ego of being the doer. Listen to the characteristics of the doer under these conditions. (18:497).
Intellect, mind, mindfulness and ego are the four internal organs and skin, ears, eyes, tongue and nose are the five external sense organs. The doer takes a measure of the possible actions with the help of inner organs and if he thinks that the action is going to give him pleasure then he makes the eyes etc. the ten external organs (five organs of sense and five of action) work until he gets the outcome. On the other hand if he thinks that the action would result in pain or unhappiness then he inspires the ten organs to abandon it. Like a king makes people toil day and night for unpaid revenue he makes the organs work day and night until the pain or unhappiness is completely removed. When the knower thus engages the organs to accept or abandon the action he is called the doer. (18:498-505).
We call the organs as means of action because the doer engages them to do actions. That which encompasses the acts done using these means is what is meant by action in this chapter. (18:506-507). Just as the intellect of a goldsmith encompasses the ornament similarly, without doubt, that which encompasses the acts of the doer is the action. (18:508, 510). Thus I have told you about the characteristics of action, doer and the means of action. Here, the knower, knowledge and knowable are the provokers of actions while the doer, the means and the deed are the aggregation of actions. (18:511-512). The triad of doer, means and the act of doing are the lifeline of action therefore wherever there is an ego "I am the doer of this deed" the Soul keeps away from such actions. Therefore there is no need to tell you separately that Soul is different from actions. You already know it. (18:514-516).
KNOWLEDGE, ACTION AND THE DOER
The knowledge, action and the doer which I explained to you become of three kinds due to the three attributes (Sattva, Raja and Tama). You should not trust the triad of knowledge, the action and the doer because two of the attributes lead to binding and the Sattva attribute alone is capable of leading to liberation. I shall explain to you the features of Sattva attribute which are clearly explained in the Sankhya doctrine. That Sankhya doctrine is an ocean of thoughts, it is the moon which makes the lotus of Self-realisation bloom and the best among the knowledge giving doctrines. It is the Sun which distinguishes between Prakriti and Purusha (Nature and the Supreme Self) who are enmeshed together like the day and the night. This doctrine gauges the immeasurable ignorance by means of twenty-four principles and leads you to the experience of the bliss of the Supreme Principle. Arjuna, the features of the three attributes described by the Sankhya doctrine is as follows. (18:517-523).
These three attributes are so great that they have turned all things in the world into three types by their power and consequently everything from Brahmadeo to a tiny insect have been transformed to the three types of attributes. But first I shall tell you about the principle by which this entire universe have come into the clutches of these three attributes. In order to see anything clearly the eye-sight has to be clear first similarly if the knowledge is pure then it is possible to understand the real nature of things. Therefore I shall tell you about Sattvic knowledge. (18:524-528).
Sattvic knowledge Arjuna the knowledge into which the knowable merges together with the knower is Sattvic knowledge. (18:529). This Knowledge sees no difference between individuals from Shiva to a blade of grass. (18:531). When the knowable is seen by the light of this knowledge no difference is perceptible between the knower, knowledge and the knowable. (18:533). Knowledge which does not notice visible things is the Sattvic knowledge. Just as a observer sees his own reflection in a mirror similarly knower sees knowable as knowledge (which is also himself). His Sattvic knowledge is the temple of liberation. Now listen to the characteristics of Rajas knowledge. (18:535-537).
Rajas knowledge That which goes by presupposing differences among creatures is Rajas knowledge. That knowledge has splintered itself into pieces by assuming diversity among creatures and tricked the knower. That knowledge spreads the paraphernalia of Maya around the premises of Self-realisation and shows the individual the play of the three states of wakefulness, dream and sleep. (18:538-541). Because of the differences in the name and form this knowledge is distanced from the non-duality. (18:545).The feeling of one-ness has vanished from the knowledge by the understanding that there are differences among creatures. The knowledge which considers things differ from each other in many ways and distinguishes them as big and small is the Rajas knowledge. (18:547-548).
Tamas knowledge Now I shall tell you about the characteristics of Tamas knowledge. That which is bare and not covered by the fabric of the rules of the Shastras is the Tamas knowledge. Therefore Shrutis (Vedas) turn their back to it. The Shastras which follow the Vedas have also charged that this knowledge as despicable and relegated it to the hills of the Mlenccha (non-Hindu) religion. Such knowledge does not get hindered by any rules in corporal relations, nor does it find any object objectionable. (18:549-552). In the heat of enjoyment of sense pleasures it does not think about avoiding objectionable actions and do those prescribed by the Shastras. It rushes to enjoy whatever sense pleasures it comes across. Without bothering about what should be eaten or avoided, what is proper or improper, it thinks that what it likes is only sacred. It only knows that women are only for sexual enjoyment and it is eager to keep relation with them. It keeps friendship only with those whose contact is profitable to its selfish motives and not with those who are its relatives. Tamas knowledge thinks that the whole world is meant for their benefit. It feels that the whole world is something that should be enjoyed. It thinks that all actions are for filling the belly. He is ignorant about what actions should be done and what should be avoided. His intellect does not go beyond the thinking that body is the soul and god is a stone idol. He thinks that after death the soul is destroyed along with actions and no one is left to experience the fruits of action. (18:557-568). If God is a witness to one’s actions and makes him experience the fruits thereof then one can simply sell away the idol of God and spend the money. If one says that the village (local) deities control them then why do the hills over the rest of the country keep quiet?. And if at all the Tama knowledge believes in God then it considers the stone idol only as God and the body itself as soul. It thinks that the concept of sin and merit is false and one should voraciously enjoy the sense pleasures. They are certain that what is seen and what pleases the sense organs is the only reality and this understanding of theirs grows day by day. The Tamas knowledge is meaningless and useless like the life of a eunuch. We call it as knowledge in the same way as we call a undrinkable liquid as drink. Actually instead of knowledge it should be considered as Tama attribute itself. (18:578-581).
Thus I have told you about the three kinds of knowledge along with their characteristics. Now, the doer does actions in the light of these three kinds of knowledge. The same action becomes of three kinds due to these different kinds of knowledge. Now first listen to the characteristics of Sattvic actions. (18:582-585).
Sattvic actions Just as a faithful wife embraces her husband by herself similarly that action which comes to one's lot by one's entitlement, the action which gives decorum to the entitlement when regularly performed, is the proper routine action. If it is joined by incidental action then the combination is good like fragrance dabbed on a gold ornament. Action should be performed with all one's mind and heart, making an offering of it to God without keeping desire for fruits thereof or without feeling happy if the action is successful or sorry if it is not. Actions done in this skilful way are may be called Sattvic actions. (18:586-594).
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