Chapter Five—The Yoga of Renunciation of Action

Arjuna said: Renunciation of action
And yoga1–You praise both of these.
Which is the better of these two?
Tell this to me decisively. (1)

The Holy Lord said:
Renunciation and yoga
Both lead to highest happiness;
Of the two, however, yoga
Excels mere renunciation. (2)

He is a constant renouncer
Who neither likes nor dislikes: for
Free from the pairs of opposites,
He easily is freed from bonds. (3)

“Sankhya and yoga are diff’rent,”
The childish declare–not the wise.
If one is practiced correctly,
That person finds the fruit of both. (4)

The place attained by the Sankhyas
Is also attained by yogis.
Sankhya and yoga are one. He
Who perceives this truly perceives. (5)

Without yoga, O Mighty-Armed,
Renunciation’s hard to gain.
The sage disciplined in yoga
Quickly attains unto Brahman. (6)

Yoga-yoked, with self purified,
With self subdued, senses conquered,
His self the self of all beings,
He is not tainted when acting. (7)

“I do not do anything;” thus
Thinks the steadfast knower of truth,
Seeing, hearing, touching, smelling,
Eating, walking, sleeping, breathing. (8)

Speaking, releasing, and holding;
Opening and closing his eyes–
Convinced that it is the senses
That move among the sense-objects. (9)

Offering actions to Brahman,
Having abandoned attachment,
He acts untainted by evil
As lotus leaf is not wetted. (10)

Yogis act only with body,
Mind, intellect, or the senses,
Forsaking attachment to deeds,
For purifying of their heart. (11)

Well-poised, forsaking action’s fruit,
They attain peace of steadfastness;
But those led by desire are bound
By attachment to action’s fruit. (12)

Renouncing all acts with the mind,
The embodied sits happily2.
Within the city of nine gates,
Not acting or causing actions. (13)

Neither agency, nor actions
Does the Lord create for the world,
Nor union with the fruit of deeds–
Inherent nature does the deeds. (14)

The Omnipresent takes note of
Neither merit nor demerit.
Ignorance envelops knowledge,
By it people are deluded. (15)

But those whose ignorance has been
Destroyed by knowledge of the self–
That knowledge of theirs, like the sun,
Reveals then the Supreme Brahman. (16)

With intellect absorbed in That,
Whose self is That, steadfast in That,
And whose consummation is That,
Purified, are freed from rebirth.3 (17)

The wise see the same atman in:
A wise Brahmin who’s disciplined,
A cow, an elephant, a dog–
Even in an eater of dogs.4 (18)

Those whose minds rest in evenness,
Conquer existence in this world.
Brahman is even and perfect–
So they indeed rest in Brahman. (19)

Resting in Brahman, and steady
In intellect, undeluded,
The pleasant does not rejoice him
Nor does the unpleasant grieve him. (20)

Unattached to external things,
Finding happiness in the Self,
And one with Brahman through yoga,
He gains unchanging happiness. (21)

Pleasures born of contact, indeed,
Are wombs of pain, Son of Kunti.
They have beginning and an end;
The wise does not delight in them. (22)

He who can endure here, before
Liberation from the body,
Desire and anger’s impetus,
Is a yogi, a happy man. (23)

He whose happiness is within,
Whose delectation is within,
Whose light is within–that yogi,
One with Brahman, gains nirvana. (24)

With imperfections exhausted,
Doubts dispelled and senses controlled,
Engaged in good for all beings–
The seer gains Brahma-nirvana. (25)

Released from desire and anger,
With thoughts restrained, those ascetics
Who know the Self, find very near
The bliss of Brahma-nirvana. (26)

Excluding all outside contacts,
Fixing awareness ’tween the brows,
Balancing both inhaling and
Exhaling within the nostrils. (27)

Controlling sense, mind, intellect;
With moksha as the supreme goal;
Freed from desire, fear, and anger:
Such a sage is for ever free. (28)

Knowing Me, the Enjoyer of
Sacrificial austerities,
Mighty Lord of all the world and
Friend of all creatures, he gains peace. (29)

Om Tat Sat
Thus in the Upanishads of the glorious Bhagavad Gita, the science of the Eternal, the scripture of Yoga, the dialogue between Sri Krishna and Arjuna, ends the fifth discourse entitled: The Yoga of Renunciation of Action.