SrI: SrImathE SatakOpAya nama: SrImathE rAmAnujAya nama: SrImath varavaramunayE nama:
SlOkam – Original
kim karma kim akarmEthi kavayO’pyathra mOhithA: |
thath thE karma pravakshyAmi yath gyAthvA mokshyasE’SubhAth ||
word-by-word meaning (based on puththUr krishNamAchArya swAmy’s thamizh translation)
kavaya: api – even the wise
kim karma – what is karma (actions which are to be performed by mumukshus)
akarma kim – what is gyAna (which is part of such karma yOga)
ithi athra – in these two matters
mOhithA: – bewildered (due to lack of true knowledge)
yath – that
gyAthvA – know (and practice)
aSubhAth – from the inauspicious binding in this material realm
mOkshyasE – will be freed
thath – that
karma – karma (supported by gyAna)
thE – for you
pravakshyAmi – I will explain you well
Simple Translation (based on puththUr krishNamAchArya swAmy’s thamizh translation)
Even the wise are bewildered in these two matters of what is karma and gyAna; I will explain you well about that karma (supported by gyAna) which is to be known (and practiced), by knowing which you will be freed from the inauspicious binding in this material realm.
Rendering based on ALkoNdavilli gOvindhAchArya swAmy’s English translation of gIthA bhAshyam
‘What is action? what is inaction? In this (matter), even the wise get confounded. That action will I explain to you, knowing which you may, from evil, be freed1.’
‘What is the nature of action (karma), which ought to be practiced 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.
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.
archived in http://githa.koyil.org
- 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). ↩