2.40 nEhAbhikrama nASO’sthi

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Chapter 2

<< Chapter 2 verse 39

SlOkam – Original

nEhAbhikrama nASO’sthi prathyavAyO na vidhyathE |
svalpam api asya dharmasya thrAyathE mahathO bhayAth ||

word-by-word meaning

iha – in karma yOga
abhikramanASa: – loss for the begun efforts
na asthi – not there;

(even if stopped after beginning)
prathyavAya: – defect
na vidhyathE – not there;
asya dharmasya – in this dharma named karma yOga
svalpam api – even minute effort
mahatha: – great
bhayAth – fear of samsAram (material realm/bondage)
thrAyathE – protected.

Simple Translation

In this karma yOga, there is no loss for the begun efforts. (Even if stopped after beginning) there is no defect; in this dharma named karma yOga, even minute effort will protect from great fear of samsAram (material realm/bondage).

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

‘In this [1.That is Karma-Yoga or doing works as duty with no interest in fruit. This is the philosophy of action.] there is no loss of effort, nor can any harm accrue. Even an iota of this Dharma [2. Dharma here means the right performance of work.] saves from great fear.’

Any little effort that may have been made in this [2. That is Karma-Yoga or doing works as duty with no interest in fruit. This is the philosophy of action.], viz, karma-yoga, is not in vain. Abhikrama means ārambha=beginning (i.e., effort). Nāśa=destruction, i.e., the destruction or loss, that the effort is means to a certain fruit.

No failure of fruit attends even when a duty begun is not completed on account of interruptions intervening. And no harm whatever will accrue if it be interrupted at the commencement itself.

Even an iota of this dharma saves from great fear’: viz., the fear of samsāra (mundane career).

This same truth is further elaborated in verse:

‘Neither here, nor hereafter, is there loss to him, Pārtha!’ (Bh: GI: VI-40)

There are other ways (or efforts) both secular (laukik) and Scriptural (Vaidik), which when interrupted become abortive, and are moreover attended with evil consequences.

The difference between the wisdom of performing fructiferous action (kāmya), and the wisdom of performing action with final deliverance (moksha) as aim, is now pointed out:

>> Chapter 2 verse 41

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