Bhagavad-Gita Summary, Chapter XVIII

[For the Disciple—A Guide]

"Devotion as regards Renunciation and Final Liberation."

Arjuna asks Krishna to recapitulate. He states that the difference between: "abstention from action," and, "the giving up of the results of action," remains unclear to him. (Gita, p. 121)

Krishna explains that the Wise hold: "...the disregard of the fruits of every action true disinterestedness in action." And, He offers his final statement:

"Deeds of sacrifice, of mortification, and of charity are not to be abandoned, for they are proper to be performed, and are the purifiers of the wise. But even those works are to be performed after having renounced all selfish interest in them and in their fruits; this, O son of Pritha, is my ultimate and supreme decision." (Gita, pp. 121-2)

He adds that "The work which is performed...because it is necessary, obligatory and proper, with all self-interest therein put aside and attachment to the action absent, is declared to be of the quality of truth and goodness which is known as sattva...he who gives up the results of action is the true renouncer." (Gita, p. 122). And to this he adds:

"The three causes which incite to action are knowledge, the thing to be known, and the knower, and threefold also is the totality of the action in the act, the instrument and the agent...Know that the wisdom which perceives in all nature one single principle, indivisible and incorruptible, not separate in the separate objects seen, is of the sattva quality. The knowledge which perceives different and manifold principles as present in the world of created beings pertains to rajas, the quality of passion. But that knowledge wholly without value, which is mean, attached to one object alone as if it were the whole, which does not see the true cause of existence, is of the nature of tamas, indifferrent and dark." (Gita, p. 124)

Krishna next draws attention to the effect of the presence of the three qualities on wisdom and knowledge; action; discernment; steadfastness; pleasure; duty; and finally, on disinterest in the results of action, which leads to "liberation," the ultimate freedom. (Gita, pp. 124-129)

He repeats that originally said: (Gita, p. 27):

"The performance of the duties of a man's own particular calling, although devoid of excellence, is better than doing the duty of another, however well performed; and he who performs the duties obligated by nature, does not incur sin...The highest perfection of freedom from action is attained through renunciation by him who in all works has an unfettered mind and a subdued heart." (Gita, pp. 128-9)

To reach to the Supreme Spirit, Krishna offers these steps:

"Embued with pure discrimination, restraining himself with resolution, having rejected the charms of sound and other objects of the senses, and casting off attachment and dislike; dwelling in secluded places, eating little, with speech, body, and mind controlled, engaging in constant meditation and unwaveringly fixed in dispassion; abandoning egotism, arrogance, violence, vanity, desire, anger, pride, and possession, with calmness ever present, a man is fitted to be the Supreme Being. And having thus attained to the Supreme, he is serene, sorrowing no more, and no more desiring, but alike towards all creatures he attains to supreme devotion to me. (Gita, p. 129)

"With thy heart place all thy works on me, prefer me to all else, exercise mental devotion continually, and think constantly of me. By so doing thou shalt by my divine favor surmount every difficulty which surroundeth thee...[inspite of any obstacle] the principles of thy nature will impel thee to engage. Being bound by all past karma to thy natural duties, thou...wilt involuntarily do from necessity that which in thy folly thou wouldst not do." (Gita, p. 130)

"There dwelleth in the heart of every creature, O Arjuna, the Master—Iswara—who by his magic power causeth all things and creatures to revolve mounted upon the universal wheel of time. Take sanctuary with him alone, O son of Bharata, with all thy soul; by his grace thou shalt obtain supreme happiness, the eternal place." (Gita, p. 130)

"Thus have I made known unto thee this knowledge which is a mystery more secret than secrecy itself; ponder it fully in thy mind, act as seemeth best unto thee." (Gita, p. 131)

"But further listen to my supreme and most mysterious words...Place thy heart upon me as I have declared myself to be, serve me, offer unto me alone, and bow down before me alone, and thou shalt come to me; I swear it, for thou art dear to me. Forsake every other religion and take refuge alone with me; grieve not, for I shall deliver thee from all transgressions." (Gita, p. 131)

"Thou must never reveal this to one who doth not practice mortification, who is without devotion, who careth not to hear it, nor unto him who despiseth me...If anyone shall study these sacred dialogues held between us two, I shall consider that I am worshipped by him with the sacrifice of knowledge...Has the delusion of thought which arose from ignorance been removed, O Dhananjaya?" (Gita, pp. 131-2)

Arjuna answers: " delusion is destroyed, I am collected once more; I am free from doubt, firm, and will act according to thy bidding." (Gita, p. 132)

Sanjaya concludes, addressing Dhritarashtra, Ruler Physical man:

"Thus have I been an ear-witness of the miraculous astonishing dialogue...between Vasudeva [and Arjuna]. By the favor of Vyasa [the interpreter and revealer, one of the highest Gurus] I heard this supreme mystery of Yoga—devotion—even as revealed from the mouth of Krishna himself who is the supreme Master of devotion. And as I again and again remember, O mighty king, this wonderful sacred dialog between Krishna and Arjuna, I am delighted again and again. Also, as I recall to my memory the wonderful form of Hari (one of the names of Vishnu, and also applied to Krishna), the Lord, my astonishment is great, O king, and I rejoice again and again. Wherever Krishna, the supreme Master of devotion, and wherever the son of Pritha, the mighty archer, may be, there with certainty are fortune, victory, wealth, and wise action; this is my belief." (Gita, pp. 132-3)

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