BHAGAVAD GITA - CHAPTER 18
THE YOGA OF LIBERATION BY RENUNCIATION
The Bhagavad Gita presents an art of living, together with a comprehensive guide of how to be, how to think and how to act in all circumstances and stages of development. Krishna teaches Arjuna about karma yoga, Sankhya yoga, bhakti yoga and jnana yoga, together with the disciplines to be adopted. It is this completeness of this practical wisdom that has made the Bhagavad Gita immortal. The eighteenth discourse is in many ways a summary of the previous portions of the Bhagavad Gita. It covers in brief numerous important points dealt with in the previous discourses. Here you behold the ultimate effect of Krishna's discourse to Arjuna. The drama of Arjuna's utter despondency and breakdown is finally resolved in triumphant self-mastery, strength and bold resoluteness. Its central message emerges as an assurance that in and through the performance of one's duties one can qualify for the highest liberation, if one performs actions by renouncing egoism and attachment and surrendering all desire for personal gain. By regarding the performance of your duties as worship of God you obtain the grace of the Lord and attain the Eternal One. Significantly this discourse opens with a question by Arjuna asking what is true sannyasa and true tyaga (renunciation). In reply to this important and crucial query, Krishna makes it clear that real sannyasa lies in renunciation of selfish and impure actions, and even more in the renunciation of the desire or greed for the fruits of any action. Selfless and virtuous actions and actions conducive to the welfare of others should not be abandoned. You must engage yourself in performing such action, renouncing attachment and greed. The true and proper renunciation is giving up of selfishness and attachment while performing one's legitimate duties. This is called sattvic tyaga. One should neither hate unpleasant action nor be attached to pleasurable action. Karma does not accumulate or bind one who is established in such inner renunciation. The divine injunction is that God must be made the sole object of one's life. This is the heart of the Bhagavad Gita gospel. This is the central message in its teaching.