Chapter Eighteen: Conclusion – The Perfection of Renunciation
Bg 18.1 — Arjuna said: O mighty-armed one, I wish to understand the purpose of renunciation [tyāga] and of the renounced order of life [sannyāsa], O killer of the Keśī demon, master of the senses.
Bg 18.2 — The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: The giving up of activities that are based on material desire is what great learned men call the renounced order of life [sannyāsa]. And giving up the results of all activities is what the wise call renunciation [tyāga].
Bg 18.3 — Some learned men declare that all kinds of fruitive activities should be given up as faulty, yet other sages maintain that acts of sacriﬁce, charity and penance should never be abandoned.
Bg 18.4 — O best of the Bhāratas, now hear My judgment about renunciation. O tiger among men, renunciation is declared in the scriptures to be of three kinds.
Bg 18.5 — Acts of sacriﬁce, charity and penance are not to be given up; they must be performed. Indeed, sacriﬁce, charity and penance purify even the great souls.
Bg 18.6 — All these activities should be performed without attachment or any expectation of result. They should be performed as a matter of duty, O son of Pṛthā. That is My ﬁnal opinion.
Bg 18.7 — Prescribed duties should never be renounced. If one gives up his prescribed duties because of illusion, such renunciation is said to be in the mode of ignorance.
Bg 18.8 — Anyone who gives up prescribed duties as troublesome or out of fear of bodily discomfort is said to have renounced in the mode of passion. Such action never leads to the elevation of renunciation.
Bg 18.9 — O Arjuna, when one performs his prescribed duty only because it ought to be done, and renounces all material association and all attachment to the fruit, his renunciation is said to be in the mode of goodness.
Bg 18.10 — The intelligent renouncer situated in the mode of goodness, neither hateful of inauspicious work nor attached to auspicious work, has no doubts about work.
Bg 18.11 — It is indeed impossible for an embodied being to give up all activities. But he who renounces the fruits of action is called one who has truly renounced.
Bg 18.12 — For one who is not renounced, the threefold fruits of action – desirable, undesirable and mixed – accrue after death. But those who are in the renounced order of life have no such result to suffer or enjoy.
Bg 18.13 — O mighty-armed Arjuna, according to the Vedānta there are ﬁve causes for the accomplishment of all action. Now learn of these from Me.
Bg 18.14 — The place of action [the body], the performer, the various senses, the many different kinds of endeavor, and ultimately the Supersoul – these are the ﬁve factors of action.
Bg 18.15 — Whatever right or wrong action a man performs by body, mind or speech is caused by these ﬁve factors.
Bg 18.16 — Therefore one who thinks himself the only doer, not considering the ﬁve factors, is certainly not very intelligent and cannot see things as they are.
Bg 18.17 — One who is not motivated by false ego, whose intelligence is not entangled, though he kills men in this world, does not kill. Nor is he bound by his actions.
Bg 18.18 — Knowledge, the object of knowledge, and the knower are the three factors that motivate action; the senses, the work and the doer are the three constituents of action.
Bg 18.19 — According to the three different modes of material nature, there are three kinds of knowledge, action and performer of action. Now hear of them from Me.
Bg 18.20 — That knowledge by which one undivided spiritual nature is seen in all living entities, though they are divided into innumerable forms, you should understand to be in the mode of goodness.
Bg 18.21 — That knowledge by which one sees that in every different body there is a different type of living entity you should understand to be in the mode of passion.
Bg 18.22 — And that knowledge by which one is attached to one kind of work as the all in all, without knowledge of the truth, and which is very meager, is said to be in the mode of darkness.
Bg 18.23 — That action which is regulated and which is performed without attachment, without love or hatred, and without desire for fruitive results is said to be in the mode of goodness.
Bg 18.24 — But action performed with great effort by one seeking to gratify his desires, and enacted from a sense of false ego, is called action in the mode of passion.
Bg 18.25 — That action performed in illusion, in disregard of scriptural injunctions, and without concern for future bondage or for violence or distress caused to others is said to be in the mode of ignorance.
Bg 18.26 — One who performs his duty without association with the modes of material nature, without false ego, with great determination and enthusiasm, and without wavering in success or failure is said to be a worker in the mode of goodness.
Bg 18.27 — The worker who is attached to work and the fruits of work, desiring to enjoy those fruits, and who is greedy, always envious, impure, and moved by joy and sorrow, is said to be in the mode of passion.
Bg 18.28 — The worker who is always engaged in work against the injunctions of the scripture, who is materialistic, obstinate, cheating and expert in insulting others, and who is lazy, always morose and procrastinating is said to be a worker in the mode of ignorance.
Bg 18.29 — O winner of wealth, now please listen as I tell you in detail of the different kinds of understanding and determination, according to the three modes of material nature.
Bg 18.30 — O son of Pṛthā, that understanding by which one knows what ought to be done and what ought not to be done, what is to be feared and what is not to be feared, what is binding and what is liberating, is in the mode of goodness.
Bg 18.31 — O son of Pṛthā, that understanding which cannot distinguish between religion and irreligion, between action that should be done and action that should not be done, is in the mode of passion.
Bg 18.32 — That understanding which considers irreligion to be religion and religion to be irreligion, under the spell of illusion and darkness, and strives always in the wrong direction, O Pārtha, is in the mode of ignorance.
Bg 18.33 — O son of Pṛthā, that determination which is unbreakable, which is sustained with steadfastness by yoga practice, and which thus controls the activities of the mind, life and senses is determination in the mode of goodness.
Bg 18.34 — But that determination by which one holds fast to fruitive results in religion, economic development and sense gratiﬁcation is of the nature of passion, O Arjuna.
Bg 18.35 — And that determination which cannot go beyond dreaming, fearfulness, lamentation, moroseness and illusion – such unintelligent determination, O son of Pṛthā, is in the mode of darkness.
Bg 18.36 — O best of the Bhāratas, now please hear from Me about the three kinds of happiness by which the conditioned soul enjoys, and by which he sometimes comes to the end of all distress.
Bg 18.37 — That which in the beginning may be just like poison but at the end is just like nectar and which awakens one to self-realization is said to be happiness in the mode of goodness.
Bg 18.38 — That happiness which is derived from contact of the senses with their objects and which appears like nectar at ﬁrst but poison at the end is said to be of the nature of passion.
Bg 18.39 — And that happiness which is blind to self-realization, which is delusion from beginning to end and which arises from sleep, laziness and illusion is said to be of the nature of ignorance.
Bg 18.40 — There is no being existing, either here or among the demigods in the higher planetary systems, which is freed from these three modes born of material nature.
Bg 18.41 — Brāhmaṇas, kṣatriyas, vaiśyas and śūdras are distinguished by the qualities born of their own natures in accordance with the material modes, O chastiser of the enemy.
Bg 18.42 — Peacefulness, self-control, austerity, purity, tolerance, honesty, knowledge, wisdom and religiousness – these are the natural qualities by which the brāhmaṇas work.
Bg 18.43 — Heroism, power, determination, resourcefulness, courage in battle, generosity and leadership are the natural qualities of work for the kṣatriyas.
Bg 18.44 — Farming, cow protection and business are the natural work for the vaiśyas, and for the śūdras there are labor and service to others.
Bg 18.45 — By following his qualities of work, every man can become perfect. Now please hear from Me how this can be done.
Bg 18.46 — By worship of the Lord, who is the source of all beings and who is all-pervading, a man can attain perfection through performing his own work.
Bg 18.47 — It is better to engage in one’s own occupation, even though one may perform it imperfectly, than to accept another’s occupation and perform it perfectly. Duties prescribed according to one’s nature are never affected by sinful reactions.
Bg 18.48 — Every endeavor is covered by some fault, just as ﬁre is covered by smoke. Therefore one should not give up the work born of his nature, O son of Kuntī, even if such work is full of fault.
Bg 18.49 — One who is self-controlled and unattached and who disregards all material enjoyments can obtain, by practice of renunciation, the highest perfect stage of freedom from reaction.
Bg 18.50 — O son of Kuntī, learn from Me how one who has achieved this perfection can attain to the supreme perfectional stage, Brahman, the stage of highest knowledge, by acting in the way I shall now summarize.
Bg 18.51-53 — Being puriﬁed by his intelligence and controlling the mind with determination, giving up the objects of sense gratiﬁcation, being freed from attachment and hatred, one who lives in a secluded place, who eats little, who controls his body, mind and power of speech, who is always in trance and who is detached, free from false ego, false strength, false pride, lust, anger, and acceptance of material things, free from false proprietorship, and peaceful – such a person is certainly elevated to the position of self-realization.
Bg 18.54 — One who is thus transcendentally situated at once realizes the Supreme Brahman and becomes fully joyful. He never laments or desires to have anything. He is equally disposed toward every living entity. In that state he attains pure devotional service unto Me.
Bg 18.55 — One can understand Me as I am, as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, only by devotional service. And when one is in full consciousness of Me by such devotion, he can enter into the kingdom of God.
Bg 18.56 — Though engaged in all kinds of activities, My pure devotee, under My protection, reaches the eternal and imperishable abode by My grace.
Bg 18.57 — In all activities just depend upon Me and work always under My protection. In such devotional service, be fully conscious of Me.
Bg 18.58 — If you become conscious of Me, you will pass over all the obstacles of conditioned life by My grace. If, however, you do not work in such consciousness but act through false ego, not hearing Me, you will be lost.
Bg 18.59 — If you do not act according to My direction and do not ﬁght, then you will be falsely directed. By your nature, you will have to be engaged in warfare.
Bg 18.60 — Under illusion you are now declining to act according to My direction. But, compelled by the work born of your own nature, you will act all the same, O son of Kuntī.
Bg 18.61 — The Supreme Lord is situated in everyone’s heart, O Arjuna, and is directing the wanderings of all living entities, who are seated as on a machine, made of the material energy.
Bg 18.62 — O scion of Bharata, surrender unto Him utterly. By His grace you will attain transcendental peace and the supreme and eternal abode.
Bg 18.63 — Thus I have explained to you knowledge still more conﬁdential. Deliberate on this fully, and then do what you wish to do.
Bg 18.64 — Because you are My very dear friend, I am speaking to you My supreme instruction, the most conﬁdential knowledge of all. Hear this from Me, for it is for your beneﬁt.
Bg 18.65 — Always think of Me, become My devotee, worship Me and offer your homage unto Me. Thus you will come to Me without fail. I promise you this because you are My very dear friend.
Bg 18.66 — Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reactions. Do not fear.
Bg 18.67 — This conﬁdential knowledge may never be explained to those who are not austere, or devoted, or engaged in devotional service, nor to one who is envious of Me.
Bg 18.68 — For one who explains this supreme secret to the devotees, pure devotional service is guaranteed, and at the end he will come back to Me.
Bg 18.69 — There is no servant in this world more dear to Me than he, nor will there ever be one more dear.
Bg 18.70 — And I declare that he who studies this sacred conversation of ours worships Me by his intelligence.
Bg 18.71 — And one who listens with faith and without envy becomes free from sinful reactions and attains to the auspicious planets where the pious dwell.
Bg 18.72 — O son of Pṛthā, O conqueror of wealth, have you heard this with an attentive mind? And are your ignorance and illusions now dispelled?
Bg 18.73 — Arjuna said: My dear Kṛṣṇa, O infallible one, my illusion is now gone. I have regained my memory by Your mercy. I am now ﬁrm and free from doubt and am prepared to act according to Your instructions.
Bg 18.74 — Sañjaya said: Thus have I heard the conversation of two great souls, Kṛṣṇa and Arjuna. And so wonderful is that message that my hair is standing on end.
Bg 18.75 — By the mercy of Vyāsa, I have heard these most conﬁdential talks directly from the master of all mysticism, Kṛṣṇa, who was speaking personally to Arjuna.
Bg 18.76 — O King, as I repeatedly recall this wondrous and holy dialogue between Kṛṣṇa and Arjuna, I take pleasure, being thrilled at every moment.
Bg 18.77 — O King, as I remember the wonderful form of Lord Kṛṣṇa, I am struck with wonder more and more, and I rejoice again and again.
Bg 18.78 — Wherever there is Kṛṣṇa, the master of all mystics, and wherever there is Arjuna, the supreme archer, there will also certainly be opulence, victory, extraordinary power, and morality. That is my opinion.