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#Gita Chapter 05 (English translation)

November 26, 2017

Acknowledgements, Translation Notes, and Vocabulary Notes

Chapter 5




Arjuna speaks:

Tell me conclusively, which is better–renunciation of action or performance of action? II5.1II


Sri Krishna Bhagavan speaks:

Both the renunciation of action and performance of action lead to liberation. But the yoga of action is superior. II5.2II


He who does not hate nor crave, free from the pairs of opposites, should be known as a man of constant renunciation. He is easily freed from bondage, Mahaabaaho (Arjuna). II5.3II


Childish ones, not the wise, speak of Saankhya yoga (self-inquiry, the path of knowledge) and Karma yoga (the path of action) as different. If a man knows one, he enjoys the fruit of both. II5.4II


That state attained by the path of knowledge is the same one that is attained through the path of right action. The man who sees both paths leading to the same goal, he sees correctly. II5.5II


Renunciation is hard to attain without focus, Mahaabaaho (Arjuna). The meditative sage, focusing on the Divine, quickly attains Supreme Consciousness. II5.6II


Focused on the path of action, pure in mind, having controlled the body and conquered his senses, realizing his Self as the Self in all beings–such a man is not bound by his actions. II5.7II


Even though he sees, hears, touches, smells, eats, moves, sleeps, and breathes, the knower of Truth knows that he is not the performer of any action. He remains absorbed in the Self. II5.8II


While he speaks, releases, holds, opens and shuts his eyes, he is aware of his senses moving among sense-objects. II5.9II


He who dedicates his actions to the Supreme Consciousness, renouncing his attachment, does not become tainted by his action–just like the lotus leaf does not become wet even though it is in water. II5.10II


Men of action surrender attachment to the result and perform actions with their body, mind, intellect, and even their senses, as a means to purify themselves. II5.11II


The united man (man of balance), giving up attachment to results, attains peace arising from steadfastness. The non-united man (man of imbalance), propelled by desire, is bound by his actions. II5.12II


Having mentally renounced all actions, a man of self-control lives happily in this 'town with nine gates,' neither acting nor causing others to act. II5.13II

(Note: The body is referred to as a town with nine gates through which content is transmitted into and out of the body–two ears, two eyes, two nostrils, and a mouth, the organs of excretion, and reproduction).


The Self does not ordain any activity, or assign any incentive to the activity, nor associate the activity with its result. “But it is the nature that acts.” II5.14II

(Quote from Alladi Mahadeva Sastry)


The Self accepts neither sin nor merit born of action. Discriminating wisdom remains veiled by ignorance and thus people become deluded. II5.15II


Knowledge of the Self destroys ignorance and illumines the Supreme Truth--just like the sun illumines all objects in this physical universe. II5.16II


With the intellect absorbed in That, being That, established in That, with That being their supreme goal, knowledge destroys their ignorance. They attain the state of no-return (no rebirth). II5.17II


The wise man looks equally upon a learned man endowed with knowledge and humility, a cow, an elephant, a dog, and even a dog-eater. II5.18II


Even while they are living, having conquered creation, with equanimity of the mind, they remain taintless, equal to Consciousness, established in Consciousness. II5.19II


A knower of Consciousness, established in Consciousness, his intellect should be steady and not deluded. He should not be delighted when he gets what he wants, nor be dejected when he gets what he does not want. II5.20II


Unattached to external contacts he finds happiness in the Self. Engaged in the meditation of Consciousness he attains eternal happiness. II5.21II


Enjoyments that result from external contacts are the source of sorrow because they have a beginning and an end. Therefore, wise men do not delight in them, Kaunteya (Arjuna). II5.22II


The man who learns to overcome the impulses of anger and desire before he leaves his body is a wise man and is happy. II5.23II


The man who is happy within, whose joys are within, and whose light is within, that wise man having become Consciousness, is absorbed in Consciousness. II5.24II


Wise men whose sins have been dissipated attain liberation. They are free from doubt. Their organs are under control. They are engaged in doing good for all beings. II5.25II


Absolute freedom (Brahmic bliss) exists on all sides for those self-controlled ascetics who are free from desire and anger, who have controlled their thoughts and who have realized the Self. II5.26II

(Verbatim from Swami Sivananda)


Shutting out all external contacts and fixing the gaze between his eyebrows, equalizing the outgoing and incoming breaths moving in the nostrils,… II5.27II


…the contemplative one who has control over his organs, mind, and intellect, with liberation as his supreme goal, free from desire, fear, and anger, he is ever free. II5.28II


He attains Peace by knowing Me, who is the great Lord of all the worlds. I am the enjoyer of sacrifices and austerities and the friend of all creatures. II5.29II


Concluding verse:

Om! Such is the Truth in the Bhagavad Gita and the Upanishads. This is the knowledge of Supreme Consciousness. It is a scripture of union; a dialogue between Sri Krishna (the teacher) and Arjuna (the student). The fifth discourse ends, titled “Yoga of True Renunciation–Karma Sannyaasa Yoga”.


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