Ancient India
Conclusion

Arjuna

   O you of mighty arms! O Krishna! O destroyer of Kesin! I wish to know the truth about renunciation and abandonment distinctly.


Krishna

   By renunciation the sages understand the rejection of actions done with desires. The wise call the abandonment of the fruit of all actions by the name abandonment.

   Some wise men say, that action should be abandoned as being full of evil; and others, that the actions of sacrifice, gift, and penance should not be abandoned. As to that abandonment, O best of the descendants of Bharata, listen to my decision; for abandonment, O bravest of men, is described to be threefold. The actions of sacrifice, gift, and penance should not be abandoned—they must be performed, for sacrifices, gifts, and penances are means of sanctification to the wise. But even these actions, O son of Pritha should be performed by abandoning attachment and fruit; such is my excellent and decided opinion. The renunciation of prescribed action is not proper. Its abandonment through delusion is described as of the quality of dark inertia. When a man abandons action, merely as being troublesome, through fear of bodily affliction, he does not obtain the fruit of abandonment by making such passionate abandonment. When prescribed action is performed, O Arjuna abandoning attachment and fruit also, merely because it ought to be performed, that is deemed to be a good abandonment. He who is possessed of abandonment, being full of lucidity, and talented, and having his doubt destroyed, is not averse from unpleasant actions, is not attached to pleasant ones. Since no embodied being can abandon actions, he is said to be possessed of abandonment who abandons the fruit of action.

   The threefold fruit of action, agreeable, disagreeable, and mixed, accrues after death to those who are not possessed of abandonment, but never to renouncers .

   Learn from me, Arjuna, these five causes of the completion of all actions, declared in the Sankhya. The substratum, the agent, the various sorts of organs, and the various and distinct movements, and with these the deities, too, as the fifth. Whatever action, just or otherwise, a man performs with his body, speech, and mind, these five are its causes.

   That being so, the undiscerning man, who being of an unrefined understanding, sees the agent in the immaculate self and so he does not see correctly.

   He who has no feeling of individuality, and whose mind is not tainted, even though he kills all these people, kills not, is not chained by the action.

   Knowledge, the object of knowledge, the knower—threefold is the prompting to action.

   The instrument, the action, the agent, thus in brief is action threefold.

   Knowledge and action and agent are declared in the enumeration of qualities to be of three classes only, according to the difference of qualities. Hear about these also as they really are.

   Know that knowledge to be lucid by which a man sees one entity, inexhaustible, and not different in all things apparently different from one another.

   Know that knowledge to be passionate which is based on distinctions between different entities, which sees in all things various entities of different kinds.

   And that knowledge is described as darkly inert which clings to one created thing only as everything, which is devoid of reason, devoid of real principle, and insignificant.

   That action is called lucid which is prescribed, which is devoid of attachment, which is not done from motives of affection or aversion, and which is done by one not wishing for the fruit.

   That is described as passionate which occasions much trouble, is performed by one who wishes for objects of desire, or one who is full of individuality .

   The action is called dark inertia which is commenced through delusion, without regard to consequences, loss, injury, or strength.

   That agent is called lucid who has cast off attachment, who is free from individualistic talk, who is possessed of courage and energy, and unaffected by success or ill-success.

   That agent is called passionate who is full of affections, who wishes for the fruit of actions, who is covetous, cruel, and impure, and feels joy and sorrow.

   That agent is called darkly inert who is without application, void of discernment, headstrong, crafty, malicious, lazy, melancholy, and slow.

   Now hear, Arjuna, the threefold division of intelligence and courage according to qualities, which I am about to declare exhaustively and distinctly.

   That intelligence, O son of Pritha, is lucid which understands action and inaction , what ought to be done and what ought not to be done, danger and the absence of danger, emancipation and bondage.

   That intelligence, O son of Pritha, is passionate, by which one imperfectly understands devotion and impiety, what ought to be done and also what ought not to be done.

   That intelligence, O son of Pritha, is darkly inert which shrouded by darkness, understands impiety to be piety, and all things incorrectly.

   That courage, O son of Pritha, is lucid courage which is unswerving, and by which one controls the operations of the mind, breath, and senses, through abstraction.

   But, Arjuna, that courage is passionate by which one adheres to piety, lust, and wealth , and because of attachment wishes, O son of Pritha, for the fruit.

   That courage is darkly inert, O son of Pritha, by which an undiscerning man does not give up sleep, fear, sorrow, despondency, and folly.

   Now, O chief of the descendants of Bharata, hear from me about the three sorts of happiness.

   That happiness is called lucid in which one is pleased after repetition of enjoyment, and reaches the close of all suffering, which is like poison first and comparable to nectar in the long run, and which is produced from a clear knowledge of the self.

   That happiness is called passionate which flows from contact between the senses and their objects, and which is at first comparable to nectar and in the long run like poison.

   That happiness is described as darkly inert which arises from sleep, laziness, heedlessness, which deludes the self, both at first and in its consequences.

   There is no entity either on earth or in heaven among the gods, which is free from these three qualities born of nature. The duties of Brahmanas, Kshatriyas, and Vaisyas, and of Sudras, too, O terror of your foes, are distinguished according to the qualities born of nature.

   Tranquillity, restraint of the senses, penance, purity, forgiveness, straightforwardness, also knowledge, experience, and belief in a future world, this is the natural duty of Brahmanas.

   Valor, glory, courage, dexterity, not slinking away from battle, gifts, exercise of lordly power, this is the natural duty of Kshatriyas.

   Agriculture, tending cattle, trade, this is the natural duty of Vaisyas.

   And the natural duty of Sudras, too, consists in service.

   Every man intent on his own respective duties obtains perfection. Listen, now, how one intent on one's own duty obtains perfection. Worshipping, by the performance of his own duty, him from whom all things proceed, and by whom all this is permeated, a man obtains perfection.

   One's duty, though defective, is better than another's duty well performed. Performing the duty prescribed by nature, one does not incur sin. One should not abandon a natural duty though tainted with evil; for all actions are enveloped by evil, as fire by smoke. One who is self-restrained, whose understanding is unattached everywhere, from whom affections have departed, obtains the supreme perfection of freedom from action by renunciation.

   Learn from me, only in brief, O son of Kunti, how one who has obtained perfection attains the Brahman, which is the highest culmination of knowledge.

   A man possessed of a pure under standing, controlling his self by courage, discarding sound and other objects of sense, casting off affection and aversion, who frequents clean places, who eats little, whose speech, body, and mind are restrained, who is always intent on meditation and mental abstraction, and has recourse to unconcern, who abandoning egoism, stubbornness, arrogance, desire, anger, and all belongings, has no thought of possessions, and who is tranquil, becomes fit to be united with the Brahman.

   Thus reaching the Brahman , and with a tranquil self, he grieves not, wishes not; but being indifferent to all beings, obtains the highest devotion to me. By that devotion he truly understands who I am and how great. And then understanding me truly, he enters into my essence.

   Even performing all actions, always depending on me, he, through my favor, obtains the imperishable and eternal seat. Dedicating in thought all actions to me, be constantly given up to me, placing your thoughts on me, through recourse to mental abstraction. Placing your thoughts on me, you will cross over all difficulties by my favour.

   But if you will not listen because of your sense of individuality, you will be ruined. If entertaining individuality, you think that you may not fight, vain, indeed, is that resolution of yours. Nature will constrain you. That, O son of Kunti, which through delusion you do not wish to do, you will do involuntarily, tied down by your own duty, flowing from your nature.

   The lord, Arjuna, is seated in the region of the heart of all beings, turning round all beings as though mounted on a machine, by his delusion. With him, O descendant of Bharata, seek shelter in everyway; by his favour you will obtain the highest tranquillity, the eternal seat.

   Thus have I declared to you the knowledge more mysterious than any mystery. Ponder over it thoroughly, and then act as you like. Once more, listen to my excellent words—most mysterious of all. I like you very much, therefore I will declare what is for your welfare. On me place your mind, become my devotee, sacrifice to me, reverence me, you will certainly come to me. I declare to you truly, you are dear to me. Forsaking all duties, come to me as your sole refuge. I will release you from all sins.

   Be not grieved.

   This you should never declare to one who performs no penance, who is not a devotee, nor to one who does not want on some teacher, nor yet to one who lies about me.

   He who, with the highest devotions to me, will proclaim this supreme mystery among my devotees, will come to me, freed from all doubt. No-one among men is superior to him in doing what is dear to me. And there will never be another on earth dearer to me than he.

   And he who will study this holy dialogue of ours, will, such is my opinion, have offered to me the sacrifice of knowledge. And the man, also, who with faith and without complaint will listen to this, will be freed from sin, and attain to the holy regions of those who perform devoted acts.

   Have you listened to this, O son of Pritha, with a mind fixed on this one point only? Has your delusion caused by ignorance been destroyed, O Dhanangaya?


Arjuna   Destroyed is my delusion; by your favor, O undegraded one. I now recollect myself. I stand freed from doubts. I will do your bidding.


Sanjaya   Thus did I hear this dialogue between Vasudeva and the high-minded son of Pritha, a dialogue wonderful and causing the hair to stand on end. By the favour of Vyasa I heard this highest mystery, this devotion, from Krishna himself, the lord of the possessors of mystic power, who proclaimed it in person. O king, remembering and again remembering this wonderful and holy dialogue of Krishna and Arjuna, I rejoice over and over again. And remembering and again remembering that excessively wonderful form of Krishna also, great is my amazement, O king, and I rejoice over and over again.

   Wherever is Krishna, the lord of the possessors of mystic power, wherever is the great archer, the son of Pritha, here in my opinion are fortune, victory, prosperity, and eternal justice.

Translated by Kashinath Trimbak Telano, 1882
Edited and annotated by Richard Hooker



Next
Contents


World Cultures

World Cultures Home Page


1997, Richard Hooker
Updated 10-19-97