Chapter 18

Moksha Sanyaas Yoga

The eighteenth chapter of the Bhagavad Gita is "Moksha Sanyas Yoga". Arjuna requests the Lord to explain the difference between the two types of renunciations - sanyaas(renunciation of actions) and tyaag(renunciation of desires). Krishna explains that a sanyaasi is one who abandons family and society in order to practise spiritual discipline whereas a tyaagi is one who performs their duties without attachment to the rewards of their actions and dedicating them to the God. Krishna recommends the second kind of renunciation - tyaag. Krishna then gives a detailed analysis of the effects of the three modes of material nature. He declares that the highest path of spirituality is pure, unconditional loving service unto the Supreme Divine Personality, Krishna. If we always remember Him, keep chanting His name and dedicate all our actions unto Him, take refuge in Him and make Him our Supreme goal, then by His grace, we will surely overcome all obstacles and difficulties and be freed from this cycle of birth and death.

Verse 1
Arjuna said, "O mighty-armed Hrishikesa, I desire to know the essence or truth of renunciation and abandonment severally, O slayer of Kesi."
Verse 2
The Blessed Lord said, "The sages understand sannyasa to be the renunciation of action with desire; the wise declare the abandonment of the fruits of all actions to be tyaga."
Verse 3
Some philosophers declare that actions should be abandoned as evil; while others declare that acts of sacrifice, gift, and austerity should not be relinquished.
Verse 4
Hear from Me the conclusion or the final truth about this abandonment, O best of the Bharatas; abandonment, indeed, O best of men, has been declared to be of three kinds.
Verse 5
Acts of sacrifice, gift, and austerity should not be abandoned, but should be performed; for sacrifice, gift, and austerity are the purifiers of the wise.
Verse 6
But even these actions should be performed, leaving aside attachment and the desire for rewards, O Arjuna; this is my certain and most assured conviction.
Verse 7
Verily, the renunciation of obligatory action is not proper; the abandonment of the same out of delusion is declared to be Tamasic.
Verse 8
He who abandons action out of fear of bodily trouble (because it is painful), does not obtain the merit of renunciation by performing such Rajasic renunciation.
Verse 9
Whatever obligatory action is done, O Arjuna, merely because it ought to be done, abandoning attachment and also the desire for reward, that renunciation is regarded as sattvic (pure).
Verse 10
The man of renunciation, pervaded by purity, intelligent, and with his doubts cut asunder, does not hate an unpleasant task nor is he attached to a pleasant one.
Verse 11
Indeed, it is not possible for an embodied being to completely abandon actions; however, he who relinquishes the rewards of actions is truly called a man of renunciation.
Verse 12
The threefold fruit of action (evil, good, and mixed) accrues after death to those who do not abandon it, but never to those who do.
Verse 13
Learn from Me, O mighty-armed Arjuna, these five causes, as declared in the Sankhya system, for the accomplishment of all actions.
Verse 14
The body, the doer, the various senses, the different functions of various kinds, and the presiding deity—the fifth.
Verse 15
Whatever action a person performs with their body, speech, and mind, whether right or wrong, these five are its causes.
Verse 16
Now, such being the case, verily he who, owing to an untrained understanding, looks upon his Self, which is isolated, as the agent, he of perverted intelligence does not see.
Verse 17
He who is free from the egoistic notion, whose intelligence is not tainted by good or evil, though he slays these people, he does not slay, nor is he bound by the action.
Verse 18
Knowledge, the knowable, and the knower form the threefold impulse for action; the organ, the action, and the agent form the threefold basis of action.
Verse 19
Knowledge, action, and actor are declared in the science of the Gunas (Sankhya philosophy) to be of three kinds only, according to the distinction of the Gunas. Of these, hear duly.
Verse 20
That by which one sees the indestructible Reality in all beings, not separate in any of them—know that knowledge to be Sattvic.
Verse 21
But that knowledge which sees in all beings various entities of distinct kinds as being distinct from one another, know thou that knowledge to be Rajasic.
Verse 22
But that which clings to one single effect as if it were the whole, without reason, without any foundation in Truth, and is trivial—that is declared to be Tamasic.
Verse 23
An action that is ordained, free from attachment, done without love or hatred, and without desire for reward is declared to be Sattvic.
Verse 24
But that action which is done by one longing for the fulfillment of desires or gain with egotism or with much effort is declared to be Rajasic (passionate).
Verse 25
That action which is undertaken from delusion, without regard for the consequences, loss, injury, and one's own ability, is declared to be Tamasic (dark).
Verse 26
An agent who is free from attachment, non-egoistic, endowed with firmness and enthusiasm, and unaffected by success or failure, is considered to be of a Sattvic (pure) nature.
Verse 27
Passionate, desiring to obtain the reward of their actions, greedy, cruel, impure, moved by joy and sorrow, such an agent is said to be Rajasic.
Verse 28
Unsteady, vulgar, inflexible, deceitful, malicious, lazy, despondent, and procrastinating—such an agent is called Tamasic.
Verse 29
Hear thou the threefold division of intellect and firmness, according to the Gunas, as I declare them fully and distinctly, O Arjuna.
Verse 30
The intellect which knows the path of work and renunciation, what should be done and what should not be done, fear and fearlessness, bondage and liberation—that intellect is Sattvic (pure), O Arjuna.
Verse 31
That by which one wrongly understands dharma and adharma, and also what ought to be done and what ought not to be done—that intellect, O Arjuna, is rajasic (passionate).
Verse 32
That intellect, O Arjuna, which is enveloped in darkness and sees Adharma as Dharma and all things perverted, is Tamasic (dark).
Verse 33
The unwavering firmness, through which Yoga restrains the functions of the mind, life-force, and senses—that firmness, O Arjuna, is Sattvic (pure).
Verse 34
But that, O Arjuna, by which one holds fast to Dharma (duty), enjoyment of pleasures, and earning of wealth, on account of attachment and desire for reward—that firmness, O Arjuna, is Rajasic (passionate).
Verse 35
That firmness, O Arjuna, by which a stupid man does not abandon sleep, fear, grief, despair, and conceit, is Tamasic.
Verse 36
And now, O Arjuna, hear from Me of the threefold pleasure, in which one rejoices through practice and surely comes to the end of pain.
Verse 37
That which is like poison at first but in the end like nectar—that happiness is declared to be sattvic, born of the purity of one's own mind due to self-realization.
Verse 38
That happiness which arises from the contact of the senses with the objects, which is initially like nectar but eventually like poison, is said to be Rajasic.
Verse 39
That happiness which at first, as well as in the end, deludes the self, and which arises from sleep, indolence, and heedlessness—that is declared to be Tamasic.
Verse 40
There is no being on earth or in heaven among the gods that is liberated from the three qualities born of Nature.
Verse 41
Of Brahmanas, Kshatriyas, Vaisyas, and Sudras, O Arjuna, the duties are distributed according to the qualities born of their own nature.
Verse 42
Serenity, self-restraint, austerity, purity, forgiveness, and uprightness, as well as knowledge, realization, and belief in God, are the duties of Brahmanas, born of their own nature.
Verse 43
Prowess, splendor, firmness, dexterity, and not fleeing from battle, generosity, and lordliness are the duties of the Kshatriyas, born of their own nature.
Verse 44
Agriculture, cattle-rearing, and trade are the duties of the Vaisya (merchant), born of their own nature; and service is the duty of the Sudra (servant-class), born of their own nature.
Verse 45
Each person devoted to their own duty attains perfection. How they attain perfection while being engaged in their own duty, hear now.
Verse 46
He from whom all the beings have evolved and by whom all this is pervaded, worshipping Him with his own duty, one attains perfection.
Verse 47
Better is one's own duty, even if it is destitute of merits, than the duty of another well performed. He who does the duty ordained by his own nature incurs no sin.
Verse 48
One should not, O Arjuna, abandon the duty to which one is born, though it may be faulty; for, all undertakings are enveloped by evil, just as fire is by smoke.
Verse 49
He whose intellect is unattached everywhere, who has subdued his self, from whom desire has fled, he attains the supreme state of freedom from action through renunciation.
Verse 50
Learn from Me, O Arjuna, in brief how one who has attained perfection reaches Brahman—the Eternal, that supreme state of knowledge.
Verse 51
Endowed with a pure intellect, controlling the self through firmness, relinquishing sound and other objects and abandoning attraction and hatred.
Verse 52
Dwelling in solitude, eating sparingly, with speech, body, and mind subdued, always engaged in meditation and concentration, and resorting to dispassion.
Verse 53
Having abandoned egoism, strength, arrogance, desire, anger, and covetousness, and being free from the notion of 'mine' and peaceful, he is fit for becoming Brahman.
Verse 54
Becoming Brahman, serene in the Self, he neither grieves nor desires; he is the same to all beings, and obtains supreme devotion to Me.
Verse 55
By devotion, he knows Me in truth, who and what I am; then, having known Me in truth, he immediately enters into the Supreme.
Verse 56
Having taken refuge in Me and doing all actions, by My grace he obtains the eternal, indestructible state of being.
Verse 57
Mentally renouncing all actions in Me, having Me as the highest goal, and resorting to the yoga of discrimination, do thou ever fix thy mind on Me.
Verse 58
Fixing your mind on Me, you shall, by My grace, overcome all obstacles; but if you will not hear Me due to egoism, you shall perish.
Verse 59
If, filled with egoism, thou thinkest, "I will not fight," then thy resolve is vain; nature will compel thee.
Verse 60
O Arjuna, bound by your own Karma (action) born of your own nature, that which from delusion you wish not to do, even that you shall do helplessly.
Verse 61
The Lord dwells in the hearts of all beings, O Arjuna, causing all beings, by His illusory power, to revolve as if mounted on a machine.
Verse 62
Fly to Him for refuge with all your being, O Arjuna; by His grace you will obtain supreme peace and the eternal abode.
Verse 63
Thus, wisdom more secret than secrecy itself has been declared to you by me. Reflect on it fully, then act as you wish.
Verse 64
Hear again My supreme word, most secret of all; for you are dearly beloved of Me, I will tell you what is good.
Verse 65
Fix your mind on Me, be devoted to Me, sacrifice to Me, bow down to Me. You will come to Me; I truly promise you this, for you are dear to Me.
Verse 66
Abandon all duties and take refuge in Me alone; I will liberate you from all sins; do not grieve.
Verse 67
Never speak this to one who is devoid of austerities or devotion, who does not render service, who does not desire to listen, or who cavils at Me.
Verse 68
He who, with supreme devotion to Me, teaches this supreme secret to My devotees, shall undoubtedly come to Me.
Verse 69
There is no one among men who does service dearer to Me, nor shall there be anyone on earth dearer to Me than him.
Verse 70
And he who studies this sacred dialogue of ours, by him I shall have been worshipped through the sacrifice of wisdom; such is my conviction.
Verse 71
Also, the man who hears this, full of faith and free from malice, shall attain to the happy worlds of those of righteous deeds, and be liberated.
Verse 72
Has this been heard, O Arjuna, with one-pointed focus? Has the delusion of your ignorance been destroyed, O Dhananjaya?
Verse 73
Arjuna said, "My delusion has been destroyed, for I have gained my knowledge (memory) through Your grace, O Krishna. I am now free from doubts. I will act according to Your word."
Verse 74
Sanjaya said, Thus, I have heard this wonderful dialogue between Krishna and the high-souled Arjuna, which causes one's hair to stand on end.
Verse 75
Through the grace of Vyasa, I have heard this supreme and most secret Yoga, directly from Krishna, the Lord of Yoga, Himself declaring it.
Verse 76
O King, remembering this wonderful and holy dialogue between Krishna and Arjuna, I continually rejoice.
Verse 77
And, remembering again and again that most wonderful form of Hari, I am filled with great wonder, O King; and I rejoice again and again.
Verse 78
Wherever Krishna, the Lord of Yoga, is; and wherever Arjuna, the wielder of the bow, is; there is prosperity, victory, happiness, and a firm policy; this is my conviction.