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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.

bhagavadgita Chapter 18 Moksha Sannyas Yoga Verse 3

Chapter 18 Moksha Sannyas Yoga Verse 3

Tyaajyam doshavadityeke karma praahurmaneeshinah; Yajnadaanatapah karma na tyaajyamiti chaapare.

Some philosophers declare that all actions should be abandoned as an evil, while others declare that acts of gift, sacrifice and austerity should not be relinquished.

Interpretation

After talking about the view point of the sages and the wise men on their approach to Salvation, Lord Krishna in this shloka is talking about how philosophers differ in their view point of Moksha. He says that according to some philosophers all actions should be abandoned because they feel that most of the actions have desires in them which makes them evil. He then says that there is another group of philosophers who feel that actions that are directed at giving gifts to the people. performing various types of sacrifices and acts that are directed at a simple living need not be abandoned for attaining moksha. 

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

There is always a dilemma in every learned person’s mind as to what exactly is the right approach for salvation. Philosophers are those who have a rational approach to things related to theology and science. They don’t see science different from religion. Probably Einstein was the greatest philosopher that the world has seen last. The belief here is as to what kind of actions should be abandoned. Still, there are some philosophers who believe in abandoning all kinds of actions and live as a hermit to attain salvation. They feel that anything materialistic will divert the mind and makes a person move away from God. God can be there in one’s mind if nothing else is there in his mind and abandoning actions is the only way to make it possible.

Another school of thought mostly of scientific belief system who believe in continuing the acts of gifts, sacrifice and austerity. According to them, doing actions that are intended at satisfying self are more valuable than in-action. The question is what would one choose between abandoning everything and sitting in the mediation and in doing acts that are selflessly aimed. These philosophers strongly advise actions that are connected to austerity and sacrifice. Lets now see what Lord Krishna has to say on this. 

Bhagavadgita Chapter 13 Kshetra-Kshetrajna Vibhaga Yoga Verse 30

Chapter 13 Kshetra-Kshetrajna Vibhaga Yoga Verse 30

Prakrityaiva cha karmaani kriyamaanaani sarvashah;
Yah pashyati tathaa’tmaanam akartaaram sa pashyati.

He sees, who sees that all actions are performed by Nature alone 
and that the Self is actionless.

Interpretation

Last shloka talked about Lord talking about the person who sees the same God dwelling in different living beings without discrimination, and the importance of it in attaining the salvation. In this shloka, Lord Krishna talks about the actions performed and how they should be viewed. So, what kind of person does Lord Krishna see? Here Lord mentions two things. First, is Lord Krishna says that He sees the person who sees that all actions performed by any individual are due to the influence of nature alone. The second aspect that He touches upon is, that person should also see the self as the action-less. Such people will be dearer to God.

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

When you have read the interpretation of this shloka am sure you would have felt that you have read this before also that the actions are usually performed by nature alone. This shloka is not a repetition. What we have read previously was what one has to do. What is told by Lord Krishna is how one should see when others do it. Understanding this difference is very essential because usually there is a lot of difference between how one does things and how one sees when others do the same things. Simple example, we feel that cracking jokes and being jovial is a good thing and we crack jokes on different people and things. But if someone else cracks the same joke on us, we feel hurt and insulted.

This behavior comes because we have a different yardstick for measuring what we do and how we see others doing the same thing. Lord expects us to change this habit. First, whatever you are doing is done by nature which is also called Prakriti. so, nature is completely perceptual, and everyone behaves as the way they perceive things. Here another example also can help. Suppose you are a very serious person who doesn’t talk much and silently do your activities. How would you see a talkative person who is an extrovert and jovial? You should not have a negative view of the person or feel that this kind of behavior is wrong. One should always understand that behaviors are the result of our perceptions emerging out of nature and whether someone is like you or not like you, you should always see his actions emerging from nature alone.

The second aspect is Lord telling us that self is action-less. This is very crucial for misunderstanding or understanding a person. When someone does an undesirable act like theft, physical violence or sexual abuse or any other socially unacceptable behaviour we have a tendency to punish that person. So, what are you punishing here? Are you punishing the person’s senses or the soul? Here we need to understand the purpose of sending a person to jail. Jailing a person is a way of isolating him so that he is cutoff from the perceptions and nature’s influences. In isolation he will contemplate and meet his soul and do some search on his behaviour and comes out as a reformed person. So, the purpose of jailing is very different from what actually is followed today. The soul is never a part of activity and one needs to meet the soul to understand himself and that is possible only in isolation, which is very important for a person to change or reform.