SrI: SrImathE SatakOpAya nama: SrImathE rAmAnujAya nama: SrImath varavaramunayE nama:
kiṁ karma kim akarmeti
kavayo ’py atra mohitāḥ
tat te karma pravakṣyāmi
yaj jñātvā mokṣyase ’śubhāt
‘What is action? what is inaction? In this (matter), even the wise get confounded. That action will I explain to thee, knowing which thou mayst, from evil, be freed1.’
‘What is the nature of action (karma), which ought to be practised by the moksha-ambitious, and what is inaction (a-karma)?’
By the term ‘inaction’ (a-karma), is meant the true knowledge (or wisdom) concerning the doer, ātmā.
‘What is action which is to be observed?’. And ‘what is the wisdom (inaction=a-karma) involved in the action?’. Even enlightened men are in this matter confused, i. e., they do not understand the distinction well.
I am going to expound to thee this wisdom-involving (or wisdom-underlying) action. By making thyself conversant with it, thou shalt be assoiled of all defilement, i. e., samsāra2—bondage.
Where is the utility of performing a work, as bounden duty (kartavya-karma)? The utility or satisfaction consists in the wisdom discerning why the duty is to be discharged3. This is the wisdom-based duty. The knower is he who works for moksha; the ignorant is he who works with selfish motives. The former kind of work is, by its nature, exempt from personality, the latter tends to more and more indurate personality [egoism].
Why is it so difficult to understand? It is explained.
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- Vide Bhāgavatā XI-3-47. ↩
- Migratory existence; Lit: that which ‘runs or courses’; means the circuit or circle of wordly existence, mundane life, material existence, matter-tied or matter-consorting existence, conditioned secular career, or matter-soul existence, coursing through a transmigratory revolution of births and deaths alternating. In Indian terms, Purusha consorting with Prakriti (or spirit-matter combination). ↩
- This is the wisdom-based duty. The knower is he who does work for moksha; the ignorant is he who does it with selfish motives. Moksha is unselfish, all other fruits are selfish. The former is by its nature exempt from personality, the latter tends to more and more indurate personality (egoism). ↩