FIVE: THE RENUNCIATION OF ACTION
“Arjuna said: My Lord! At one moment Thou praisest renunciation of action; at another, right action. Tell me truly, I pray, which of these is the more conducive to my highest welfare?
Lord Shri Krishna replied: Renunciation of action and the path of right action both lead to the highest; of the two, right action is the better.
He is a true ascetic who never desires or dislikes, who is uninfluenced by the opposites and is easily freed from bondage.
Only the unenlightened speak of wisdom and right action as separate, not the wise. If any man knows one, he enjoys the fruit of both.
The level which is reached by wisdom is attained through right action as well. He who perceives that the two are one, knows the truth. Without concentration, O Mighty Man, renunciation is difficult. But the sage who is always meditating on the Divine, before long shall attain the Absolute.
He who is spiritual, who is pure, who has overcome his senses and his personal self, who has realised his highest Self as the Self of all, such a one, even though he acts, is not bound by his acts.
Though the saint sees, hears, touches, smells, eats, moves, sleeps and breathes, yet he knows the Truth, and he knows that it is not he who acts.
Though he talks, though he gives and receives, though he opens his eyes and shuts them, he still knows that his senses are merely disporting themselves among the objects of perception.
He who dedicates his actions to the Spirit, without any personal attachment to them, he is no more tainted by sin than the water lily is wetted by water.
The sage performs his action dispassionately, using his body, mind and intellect, and even his senses, always as a means of purification.
Having abandoned the fruit of action, he wins eternal peace. Others unacquainted with spirituality, led by desire and clinging to the benefit which they think will follow their actions, become entangled in them.
Mentally renouncing all actions, the self-controlled soul enjoys bliss in this body, the city of the nine gates, neither doing anything himself nor causing anything to be done.
The Lord of this universe has not ordained activity, or any incentive thereto, or any relation between an act and its consequences. All this is the work of Nature.
The Lord does not accept responsibility for any man’s sin or merit. Men are deluded because in them wisdom is submerged in ignorance.
Surely wisdom is like the sun, revealing the supreme truth to those whose ignorance is dispelled by the wisdom of the Self.
Meditating on the Divine, having faith in the Divine, concentrating on the Divine and losing themselves in the Divine, their sins dissolved in wisdom, they go whence there is no return.
Sages look equally upon all, whether he be a minister of learning and humility, or an infidel, or whether it be a cow, an elephant or a dog.
Even in this world they conquer their earth-life whose minds, fixed on the Supreme, remain always balanced; for the Supreme has neither blemish nor bias.
He who knows and lives in the Absolute remains unmoved and unperturbed; he is not elated by pleasure or depressed by pain.
He finds happiness in his own Self, and enjoys eternal bliss, whose heart does not yearn for the contacts of earth and whose Self is one with the Everlasting.
The joys that spring from external associations bring pain; they have their beginning and their endings. The wise man does not rejoice in them. He who, before he leaves his body, learns to surmount the promptings of desire and anger is a saint and is happy.
He who is happy within his Self and has found Its peace, and in whom the inner light shines, that sage attains Eternal Bliss and becomes the Spirit Itself. Sages whose sins have been washed away, whose sense of separateness has vanished, who have subdued themselves, and seek only the welfare of all, come to the Eternal Spirit.
Saints who know their Selves, who control their minds, and feel neither desire nor anger, find Eternal Bliss everywhere. Excluding external objects, his gaze fixed between the eyebrows, the inward and outward breathings passing equally through his nostrils; Governing sense, mind and intellect, intent on liberation, free from desire, fear and anger, the sage is forever free.
Knowing me as Him who gladly receives all offerings of austerity and sacrifice, as the Might Ruler of all the Worlds and the Friend of all beings, he passes to Eternal Peace.” Thus, in the Holy Book the Bhagavad Gita, one of the Upanishads, in the Science of the Supreme Spirit, in the Art of Self-Knowledge, in the colloquy between the Divine Lord Shri Krishna and the Prince Arjuna, stands the fifth chapter entitled: The Renunciation of Action.
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