Gita : Ch-4. Slo-21.

Srimad Bhagavad-Gita :

Chapter-4. ( Jnana-karma-sanyasa-yogam )

Slokam-21. ( Such a man of understanding acts with mind and intelligence perfectly controlled, gives up all sense of proprietorship over his possessions and acts only for the bare necessities of life. Thus working, he is not affected by sinful reactions.)

Nirasiryatacittatma  tyaktasarvaparigrahah,

sariram  kevalam  karma   kurvan   napnoti   kilbisham.

nirasih  =  without   desire   for   fruits/results;

yat  cittatma  =  controlling  mind  and  intelligence;

tyakta-sarva-parigrahah  =  without  thinking  ownership  on  anything;

sariram  kevalam  =  only  bodily;

karma  kurvan   =   one  who  does  work/action;

kilbisham  na  apnoti   =   will  not  be  affected  by  sins.

Lord Krishna now gives the method of renouncing desires. Restraining one's mind and body by the conscious of the atma or soul which is referred to here denotes not being dependent. By renunciation of the senses one becomes devoid of pride. One who is convinced that the Supreme Lord performs all actions and that they do not perform any actions is free from all reactions.

On who has so renounced desire and hankerings and has controlled senses as well, even if they perform some activity to maintain natural bodily management they are exempt from being implicated into pious and sinful reactions. This is Lord Krishna's meaning.

Lord Krishna continuing this theme now explains that one who is completely free from desire does not become tainted by the disease of materialism while performing the natural functions that occur automatically to insure bodily maintenance. Another interpretation of this verse for one who is already situated in jnana yoga or the cultivation of knowledge and is free from desires to enjoy and hankering for rewards and has relinquished all possessions as well. Such a person who performs natural activities for a renunciate like biksa or begging alms from householders at meal times to maintain their existence or prescribed activities such as fasting from all grains on Ekadasi which is the 11th day of the waxing and waning moon. Such a person is not implicated by the disease of materialism by what they perform.

Here Lord Krishna uses the word nirasir means bereft of expectancy or devoid of all desires for rewards. The words yata-cittatma means to control the mind by the power of the atma or soul, keeping the mind tranquil and equipoised, free from agitation. The words tyakta-sarva-parigrahah means abandoning all cravings for sense objects and sense pleasures. As long as one has life one should perform all actions as a matter of duty merely as a function of their body; in this way there are no reactions to actions and no disease is incurred. One will be free of this. The disease is samsara or repetitive bondage of birth and death in the material existence. If karma yoga or prescribed Vedic activities are performed in this way by those seeking moksha or liberation from samsara this in itself is sufficient enough to lead one to atma tattva or realisation of the soul, eliminating the necessity of having to engage in the intermediate step of performing jnana yoga or the cultivation of Vedic knowledge by strictly controlling the senses and the cessation of actions.

To be continued  ...


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