Bhagavadgita Chapter 18 Moksha Sannyas Yoga Verse 8

Chapter 18 Moksha Sannyas Yoga Verse 8

Duhkhamityeva yat karma kaayakleshabhayaat tyajet;
Sa kritwaa raajasam tyaagam naiva tyaagaphalam labhet.

He who abandons action on account of the fear of bodily trouble because it is painful, he does not obtain the merit of renunciation by doing such Rajasic renunciation.

Interpretation

This shloka talks about those people who abandon actions on account of the fear. This shloka is concentrating on those actions that are abandoned that come out of passion which is the quality of a Rajasic person. Lord Krishna says that there are people who abandon the tasks that they have undertaken only because those tasks take a heavy toll on their body and put them through a lot of pain and stress. Lord also says that such kind of people can never merit to obtain the fruits of renunciation and such Rajasic renunciation will never bring them any kind of happiness. 

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

Man is a mix of all the three qualities, Tamas, Rajas and Sattwa. There is nobody who is a pure tamasic or rajasic or sattwik. Actions also have a nature of these qualities in them. So, when one is spending a romantic evening with his partner he is engaged in Tamasic activity, when a person is passionately doing his job he is in a Rajasic state and when he is doing a sacrificial ritual for the benefit of the humanity he is in Sattwik stage and when he is doing something for the sake of Paramatma in him, he has risen above this to reach the stage of “Om tat sat”. So, a person depending on his activities will be in all these stages at every moment of his life.

What we are talking about here is a Rajasic renunciation or renunciation of acts out of passion. Passion burns energy and that takes a toll on one’s body. A Sportsman who is passionate will experience a lot of physical strain to his body and a scientist or a philosopher who is passionate about his thoughts and his hypothesis experiences a lot of mental stress. Stress or pain is something that every individual has to go through. Are you allowed to abandon it? The answer from Lord Krishna is No. We need to take as much pain as our body and mind allows us to take. Let us understand this concept a bit more with the two examples given below.

People who do physical work like Farmers, sportsmen etc would be obligated to do a lot of physical work that causes them an enormous amount of pain to their body. Can you be a farmer and not work in the field fearing pain to your body? Can you say that am fed up with this world and take sanyyas and abandon your duty of a farmer? The answer is No. Lord doesn’t permit that. The same is a case with a sportsman. Then there are a majority of people who engage in the work that needs a lot of hard work mentally. This leads to something called stress. The pain to mind is called stress. Can you avoid doing those activities because you are feeling stress? The answer is again No.

We choose activities according to our capabilities, our dharma and listening to the voice of Paramatma inside you. If you wish to be a philosopher and a thinker, you need to put in a lot of hard work mentally and you need to read, write and think a lot. Automatically mind gets pain which we call it as stress. Stress is harmful when you don’t align that with other activities. For example, if you do a lot of mental work and maintain an unhealthy lifestyle by drinking, pubbing, smoking and not sleeping properly, then it will harm your body. Many software engineers in the present day do that. But if you take the stress and also maintain a healthy lifestyle by eating good food and taking proper rest that stress will only help you. Thus, abandoning this Rajasic or Passion-related actions are not permitted according to Lord Krishna.

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