Baghawat Geeta Class 72, Chapter 5, Verses 10 – 13


 Greetings All,

Shloka # 10:

रह्मण्याधाय कर्माणि सङ्गं त्यक्त्वा करोति यः
लिप्यते पापेन पद्मपत्रमिवाम्भसा।।5.10।।

Reposing all works in Brahman, he operates without attachment; he is not stained by sin as a lotus is not by water

Continuing his teaching of Gita, Swami Paramarthananda said, we saw in the beginning of chapter 5 that Sri Krishna talked about the two lifestyles of Pravrithimarga ( Grihasthashrama) and Nivrithimarga ( Sanyasahrama) and that one has freedom to choose any one of the paths. Sri Krishna himself prefers Grihasthashrama as it is less risky and one can change over to Sanayashrama later, if one wishes. In Sanyashrama one cannot revert back to Grihasthashrama.

Now, Sri Krishna takes up the topic of Sadhanas. Sadhanas are applicable to both ashramas. First, one has to obtain Gyanayogyatha and then one has to go to Gyanam.  Gyana yogyatha can be obtained only by performing Karmas. Three types of Karmas are available to a person to follow. They are:

Kayika (by body),

Vachika (verbal) and

Manasa(mental) Karmani.

Physical body or mind can perform Puja. Shankaracharya has written several manasa Puja shlokas.   Mental visualization is manasika puja. Chanting is Vachika Karma.  Karma alone purifies a person and gives him Chitta Shudhi. After that one comes to Vedanta Vichara and then comes to Gyanam. So, follow karma yoga and purify the mind; then follow scriptures and acquire knowledge and then obtain Gyanam and be liberated.

Mechanical performance of Karma is not enough. The attitude while performing the karma is very important for purification. Karma performed with proper attitude is known as Karma Yoga.

 Karma Yoga purifies. What makes a Karma, Karma Yoga?  The following make Karma, a Karma yoga:

  1. The Karma should be dedicated to God as a Samarpanam. This will bring a change in personality. It is a Sankalpa that converts Karma into worship. What ever I do, I will do with purity, wholeheartedly, and do my very best for God.
  2. When remembrance of God is there in the karma, it becomes a Puja.
  3. Nishkama karma: means our attitude towards results of our karmas should be one of dedication to God or Samarpanam. Sandhyavandanam, going to temple, Japas, Pancha Maha Yagna, are all exclusive Karmas for purification. They are dedicated to God and meant for Chitta Shudhi. The results of these karmas will not disturb me.
  4. Sakama Karma: Examples of this include when one is working for a salary or building a house etc. The activity here too should be dedicated to the Lord and one accepts the results as a prasadam. That is why the monthly salary check or a new sari is placed in front of God. Therefore, the karma is performed as an Ishwararpanam and the results of the karma are taken as Devaprasadam.

In this manner in both Nishkama and Sakama Karmas, the anxieties over actions go away. My life goes on smoothly as there is no violent reaction. I accept everything as God’s gift to me.  I accept everything as my karmaphalam, as what I deserve and not as what I desire. Everything is accepted as prasadam.

Sri Krishna says give up anxiety over future (Sangam Tyaktva). This is Bandha Tyaga. The sign of a devotee is that he is calm at all times.

What is the benefit of all this?

Such a Karma Yogi will not be affected by papam even if there are some defects in it. Karma Yogi has no papa bhayam. His life is like a lotus leaf in water that is not tainted by the water. The karma yogi too, amidst all his responsibilities, is not tainted by society.

Shloka # 11:

कायेन मनसा बुद्ध्या केवलैरिन्द्रियैरपि
योगिनः कर्म कुर्वन्ति सङ्गं त्यक्त्वाऽऽत्मशुद्धये।।5.11।।

With body, mind, intellect and mere senses, Yogins perform work without attachment, for the purification of the Self.

Here Sri Krishna says Karma yoga can be performed at any level such as Kayika, Vachika or Manasika according to one’s convenience. Even patram, pushpam, phalam and toyam are all acceptable. Our Vedic religion alone offers so many options to us. Bhakti is also important. Thus, everybody can perform Karma yoga.

Kayika karmas are physical actions. Vachika karmas are verbal actions such as nama-japa and parayanam.

One of the benefits of kayika karma, is beating laziness. One of the worst enemies of the human being is laziness and kayika karma helps us overcome this laziness.  Manasika karmas include meditation, upasana, manasa japa and puja. Budhi karma includes understanding Gita and the scriptures with help of Indriyas.

Kevalaihi in the shloka means we tend to claim success as our own while failure we tend to disown. This can lead to arrogance. Even in success we must remember that it is due to the organs given to us by God. Be humble even in success, exhorts god. Do all activities without stress and in calmness. All these sadhanas are meant for Atma or Chitta Shudhi. In this shloka Atma means mind.

Because of the many meanings of scriptures there is a special way to learn scriptures. It is called the Mimasa method that is used to extract the meaning of the scripture.

Karma Yoga is only to purify the mind it cannot give us Gyanam.

Shloka # 12:

युक्तः कर्मफलं त्यक्त्वा शान्तिमाप्नोति नैष्ठिकीम्
अयुक्तः कामकारेण फले सक्तो निबध्यते।।5.12।।

Giving up the fruits of works, the Yogin attains disciplined peace; the non-Yogin, attached to fruits by the force of cravings is bound.

Both Karma yoga and Gyana yoga will give us peace of mind. The mental peace resulting from Karma yoga is relative while the one obtained from Gyana Yoga is permanent. It is like a first aid versus a permanent treatment. The first aid is important, but it is limited. It indicates the need for more aid.

In the shloka Yuktaha means Karma yogi. Karma Yogi obtains peace of mind. Money can never gives us peace

of mind. Material objects can give us physical comfort but not mental comfort. Dropping concerns for karma phalam or the anxiety about future will certainly help in this area. Planning for future is useful as it makes me more efficient. However, worry about future will make me inefficient.

It is the same with the past. Regrets about past become a burden. On the other hand, if I learn lessons from the past, it makes me more efficient in the present.

Therefore, the karma Yogi is one who uses his past and present intelligently.

Ayukthaha means one who is not a karma yogi. He does not know how to use his past and future. Such a person tends to be pessimistic or fatalistic. He is always anxious about the future. He does not realize that everything in life is a risk. True security lies only in surrendering to God. Our real insurance is God and he alone. The Kami is a shackled Samsari. Therefore, Arjuna, become a Karma Yogi.

Shloka # 13:

सर्वकर्माणि मनसा संन्यस्यास्ते सुखं वशी
नवद्वारे पुरे देही नैव कुर्वन्न कारयन्।।5.13।।

Mentally renouncing all works, and self-controlled, the embodied being happily sits in the nine-gated city, neither working nor causing others to work.

With shlokas 7 through 12 Sri Krishna has completed the various stages of Sadhanas. The Shloka’s 13 through 21 are all about Gyana Yoga. Swamiji says most of the people are not aware about Gyana Yoga. Many think one does not have to study scriptures. Sri Krishna now says without study of scriptures one cannot get knowledge. It is a choiceless choice. Thus, Gyana Yoga is the central theme of chapter # 5.

Gyana yoga is a systematic study of Vedantic scriptures for a length of time under a competent Guru. We should note that Dharma shastras too do not deal with knowledge.

Vedanta alone asks questions about who am I? What is our goal in life? What is God?  Thus, Vedanta deals with the five topics of Jiva, Jagat, Ishwara, Bandha and Mukti. Once one goes through Gyana Yoga, you discover that I am not the body, I am not the mind but I am the consciousness. It is the “I” or consciousness that is functioning through the body. “I” am transacting through the body-mind thought complex, but I am not the body mind complex. When the body dies my transactions stop. In sleep too our body stops transacting. We know sleep is not my end, but it is only end of transactions.

Therefore, “I” am the consciousness who is behind the body. The body may end, but “I” do not die at all. Not only I-am-the pure-consciousness, I am akarta and abhokta; I do not perform any action at all.

Like the light on the hand, the light cannot move, as it is all pervading. Similarly the Gyani discovers the fact that I am the action-less Atma. Therefore, all the actions are transferred to the body mind complex; it is a shift in the identification; and therefore instead of claiming the actions as mine, I hand over the actions to the body-mind-complex; the body-mind-complex will have to act in the world and it will have to reap the result also. It is the body mind complex that acts, not the “I”.

Thus, the Gyani renounces all actions. How does he renounce the actions?  Shankaracharya quotes this shloka often. It is one of the very important shlokas of the Gita. So, how does he renounce the action? He renounces through knowledge and detachment. He does not physically renounce the action. Actions will continue at the body and mental level. He, however, does not claim the actions as his actions, because he is detached from the body mind complex and therefore he says I do not act rather in my presence the body-mind-complex acts. Previously I said I act, but the new perspective is that, in my presence, the body-mind-complex acts. It is also a fact that the body-mind-complex cannot avoid action.

Thus, the Gyani renounces through knowledge. Physical immortality does not exist.  “I am not the mortal body” is the true knowledge. Once I know the immortal Atma and I know the body is mortal then my biggest fear is gone. With this fear of death gone, the mind becomes light.

This knowledge removes the weight in my mind. He remains a man of control without involving in any action directly or indirectly because he does not perform any action. In his presence the body mind complex acts.

Take Away:

  1. Only Karma performed with a proper attitude is known as Karma Yoga.
  2. Once one goes through Gyana Yoga, you discover that I am not the body, I am not the mind but I am the consciousness. It is the consciousness that is transacting through the body-mind complex.
  3. How does one renounce the action? He renounces through knowledge and detachment. Through a shift in identification he becomes detached from the body mind complex and he does not claim the actions as his actions.

With Best Wishes

Ram Ramaswamy