3.19 thasmAdhasaktha: sathatham

SrI:  SrImathE SatakOpAya nama:  SrImathE rAmAnujAya nama:  SrImath varavaramunayE nama:

Chapter 3

<< Chapter 3 verse 18

SlOkam – Original

thasmAdhasaktha: sathatham kAryam karma samAchara |
asakthO hyAcharan karma param Apnothi pUrusha: ||

word-by-word meaning (based on puththUr krishNamAchArya swAmy’s thamizh translation)

thasmAth – Thus, due to all these reasons (which have been explained previously)
asaktha: – with detachment
sathatham – without break (until one sees the AthmA (self))
kAryam (ithyEva) – as to be done essentially
karma – karma yOga
samAchara – you perform;
asaktha: – with detachment
karma – karma yOga
Acharan – performing
purusha: – man
param – AthmA (which is higher than prakruthi)
ApnOthi – attains (realizes).

Simple Translation (based on puththUr krishNamAchArya swAmy’s thamizh translation)

Thus, due to all these reasons (which have been explained previously), you perform karma yOga with detachment as to be done essentially without break (until one sees the AthmA (self)); Man who is performing karma yOga with detachment, attains (realizes) AthmA (which is higher than prakruthi).

Rendering based on ALkoNdavilli gOvindhAchArya swAmy’s English translation of gIthA bhAshyam

‘Hence, unconcerned, work as if it were a duty to be discharged. The person so unconcerned, verily reaches the Transcendent.’

The person who is in need of neither the Path of Wisdom nor the Path of Action, is naturally he who is ātmā-ward. To him ‘ātmā is his satisfaction’: i.e., no satisfaction such as he feels in ātmā, has he for food, water, etc., nothing in fact, save ātmā. ‘His contentment is of ātmā’: i.e., not of pleasure-gardens, of flowers, of chandana (sandalwood etc., paste, smeared over the body), of vocal and instrumental music, dancing etc.

To him whose care, whose support, and whose everything is ātmā, what need is there to do any work to lead him to ātmā-cognition, for to him the nature of ātmā is ever and naturally evident?

Hence he stands in need of no Means to accomplish for him ātmā-cognition nor by practicing any Means does he lose anything, for he is no more dependent on any Means, because ātmā-cognition has, for him, become a fait accompli.

Means or Paths are for those whose attention has to be diverted from material objects, but to one who has accomplished this end, he has no need to resort to any help which in the shape of ether (ākāśa) or other differentiation of primordial matter in creation, constitutes the Means;1 for all Means are intended to create an aversion for all that is material (phenomenal).

He indeed is liberated (mukta) whose engagement in action is not an engagement with a view that it does constitute any means to effect ātmā-cognition. Whether one engages in action as a means, or engages in it as no means, as in the case of a pure Jñāna-Yogi, engagement in action is easy, bereft of danger, and involves fundamentally the contemplation on the true nature of ātmā (as Śāstras inform); and action in all cases is therefore desirable. (In the case of the Jñāna-Yogi, action will be showing a good example to the world, like the action of the Supreme Spirit Himself, as will be shown further on).

Hence always engage in work, disinterestedly, and as a duty to be discharged, until ātmā is realized.

Asaktaḥ = without attachment; kāryam = a duty, bounden to be discharged. How work may be done without the egotistic notion of self as the actor is further illustrated. So practicing Karma-Yoga, the individual reaches the Transcendent (param), i.e., ātmā.

>> Chapter 3 verse 19.5

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  1. This has reference to what is known as Pratīk-opāsana, or worship of material symbols. Consult Brahma Sūtras: (1) Na pratikena, etc., IV-1-4; and (2) A-pratīkālambanāt nayati, etc. IV-3-4.

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