Essence of SrI bhagavath gIthA – Chapter 18 (mOkshOpadhESa yOga)

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

Essence of SrI bhagavath gIthA

<< Chapter 17

In the twenty second SlOkam of gIthArtha sangraham, ALavandhAr explains the summary of eighteenth chapter saying “At the end, i.e., eighteenth chapter – it is spoken that [all] activities are done by bhagavAn himself, sathva guNam (quality of tranquility) is to be pursued and liberation is the result of such tranquil activities (performed with these principles). bhakthi and prapaththi which are the essence of this gIthA SAsthram are also spoken”.

Important SlOkams/Verses

SlOkam/Verse 1

arjuna uvAcha
sanyAsasya mahAbAhO thathvam ichchAmi vEdhithum |
thyAgasya cha hrushIkESa pruthak kESinishUdhana ||

Oh mighty armed! Oh one who controls the senses! Oh killer of demon kESi! I desire to know the truth of sanyAsa (renunciation, which is explained as the means for mOksham in upanishaths) and thyAga (sacrifice) and if they are different from each other (or the same).

In the next 2 SlOkams, krishNa explains the opinions of many wise persons for the question raised in first SlOkam. Some say that completely abandoning acts which are aimed at worldly benefits is sanyAsa. Some say that abandoning the fruits is sanyAsa. Some say defective activities can be abandoned. Some say that yagya, dhAna and thapas can never be abandoned by anyone.

From the 4th SlOkam, krishNa starts explaining his opinion on this subject.

SlOkam/Verse 5

yagyadhAnathapa: karma na thyAjyam kAryam Eva thath |
yagyO dhAnam thapaS chaiva pAvanAni manIshiNAm ||

vaidhika karmas such as yagya (sacrifice), dhAnam (charity), thapas (penance) cannot be given up (by mumukshus (liberation seekers)); they are to be performed (till the end); (because) they are purifying acts (which remove the long-standing hurdles which stop the upAsana from completing) for those upAsakas (practitioners) who desire for liberation.

In the next SlOkam, he says that these karmas must be performed without attachment to doership, ownership and results.

SlOkam/Verse 7

niyathasya thu sanyAsa: karmaNO nOpapadhyathE |
mOhAth thasya parithyAgas thAmasa: parikIrthitha: ||

Abandonment of the karmas such as nithya (daily), naimiththika (periodical) etc does not fit; abandonment of such karma due to bewilderment (thinking karma is defective) is said to be caused due to thAmasa guNam (the mode of ignorance).

In the 8th and 9th SlOkam, the result of abandoning karmas due to rAjasa guNam and abandoning the doership and the result of karmas due to sathva guNam, are explained.

In the 10th SlOkam, the nature of one who abandons the doership and results is explained.

In the 11th SlOkam, its explained that the one abandons the doership and results, is said to be known as “thyAgi”.

In the 12th SlOkam, it is explained for such thyAgi, the results are not experienced, and for others, the results of their karma are experienced.

From 13th to 15th SlOkam, the five causes for any karma performed by AthmA are explained to be 1) the body, 2) AthmA, 3) mind and five senses of action, 4) vital air and 5) paramAthmA.

In the 16th and 17th SlOkam, he explains the state of those who are not understanding the doership and those who understand the doership correctly.

In the 18th SlOkam, he explains the nature of vaidhika karma (deeds sanctioned in vEdham). karma has three aspects – knowledge about the karma, the karma and the doer.

In the 19th SlOkam, he explains that all of these aspects differ based on the three qualities (sathva, raja and thamas).

From 20th to 22nd SlOkam, gyAnam (knowledge) in the mode of the three qualities is explained.

From 23rd to 25th SlOkam, karma (deed) in the mode of the three qualities is explained.

From 26th to 28th SlOkam, karthA (doer) in the mode of the three qualities is explained.

In the 29th SlOkam, he says budhdhi (intellect) and dhruthi (firm stand) are also in the mode of the three qualities.

From 30th to 32nd SlOkam, intellect in the mode of the three qualities is explained.

From 33rd to 35th SlOkam, firm stand in the mode of the three qualities is explained.

In the 36th SlOkam, he says that sukham (joy) is also in the mode of the three qualities.

From 37th to 39th SlOkam, joy in the mode of the three qualities is explained.

In the 40th SlOkam, he concludes this discussion saying there is none in this samsAram, who is free from the three qualities.

SlOkam/Verse 41

brAhmaNakshathriyaviSAm SUdhrANAm cha paranthapa |
karmANi pravibhakthAni svabhAvaprabhavair guNai: ||

Oh tormenter of enemies! The qualities of brAhmaNas, kshathriyas, vaiSyas and SUdhras which were acquired based on (previous) karma, and their activities, are highlighted individually (in SASthram).

From 42nd to 44th SlOkam, the nature and qualities of the persons belonging to each varNa are explained.

SlOkam/Verse 45

svE svE karmaNyabhiratha: samsidhdhim labhathE nara: |
svakarmaniratha: sidhdhim yathA vindhati thachchruNu ||

A person who is involved in activities according to his varNa, attains the fruit of mOksham; now listen [from me] how one, who acts according to one’s varNa, attains the fruit of mOksham.

SlOkam/Verse 46

yatha: pravruththir bhUthAnAm yEna sarvam idham thatham |
svakarmaNA tham abhyarchya sidhdhim vindhathi mAnava: ||

A man who worships according to his own varNa and ASrama, the paramapurusha  (supreme lord) from whom all aspects such as creation etc for every entity happen, by whom  all these entities are pervaded, attains me who is the supreme goal.

In the 47th SlOkam, he says that pursuing karma yOga with shortcomings, is better than pursuing gyAna yOga perfectly, since karma yOga is natural for the self.

In the 48th SlOkam, he says that even those who are qualified to gyAna yOga should perform karma yOga also.

In the 49th SlOkam, he says that performing karma yOga will lead to the result of gyAna yOga, which is being fixated on meditation.

In the 50th SlOkam, he says that such perfect meditation leads to self-realisation.

From 51st to 53rd SlOkams, he explains the process of meditation.

SlOkam/Verse 54

brahmabhUtha: prasannAthmA na SOchathi na kAnkshathi |
sama: sarvEshu bhUthEshu madhbhakthim labhathE parAm ||

One who has realised the true nature of the self, who is having unperturbed mind, neither laments (for anything other than me) nor desires (for anything other than me); being equal (in detachment) towards all material objects (other than me), attains devotion towards me who is supreme.

Note: In this SlOkam, attaining the stage of para bhakthi is explained. Three stages of bhakthi are explained in our sampradhAyam – para bhakthi (the stage of pure knowledge – union with bhagavAn is joyful, separation from bhagavAn is sorrowful); para gyAnam (the stage of visualisation – seeing bhagavAn perfectly through internal vision); parama bhakthi (the stage of not being to bear separation from bhagavAn anymore – just before reaching bhagavAn in paramapadham).

SlOkam/Verse 55

bhakthyA mAm abhijAnAthi yAvAn yaS chAsmi thathvatha: |
thathO mAm thathvathO gyAthvA viSathE thadhanantharam ||

He who truly knows through (previously explained) parabhakthi in me, who is of such nature and attitude, such qualities and wealth, knowing me truly through that paramabhakthi, subsequently attains me fully.

Note: In this SlOkam, para gyAnam and parama bhakthi are explained.

In the 56th SlOkam, he says that those who act according to varNASrama, will eventually acquire para bhakthi, para gyAnam and parama bhakthi and reach him.

In the 57th SlOkam, he instructs arjuna to perform the battle without the consideration of doership, ownership and the result, as an offering to him.

In the 58th SlOkam, he says that if arjuna acts according his instructions, arjuna will cross over the sufferings in samsAram, and if arjuna does not do that, that will lead to his destruction.

In the 59th and 60th SlOkams, he says that arjuna cannot avoid the battle in any case.

SlOkam/Verse 61

ISvara: sarvabhUthAnAm hrudhdhESE’rjuna thishṭathi |
bhrAmayan sarvabhUthAni yanthrArUdAni mAyayA ||

Oh arjuna! vAsudhEva who controls everyone, remains in the heart (which is the origin for knowledge) of all beings which are in the body which is the machine (an effect of matter), makes those beings act according to the qualities viz sathvam, rajas, thamas, in this mAya (samsAram – material realm) which are filled with those qualities.

SlOkam/Verse 62

tham Eva SaraNam gachcha sarvabhAvEna bhAratha |
thathprasAdhAth parAm SAnthim sthAnam prApsyasi SASvatham ||

Oh descendant of bharatha clan! Follow the supreme lord (me) in all manner; by his mercy, you will attain freedom from all bondage and paramapadham which is the eternal abode of liberation.

In the 63rd SlOkam, he concludes his instructions and tells arjuna to think about the same and act as per his choice.

In the 64th SlOkam, he again sets out to instruct about the most confidential bhakthi yOgam, because arjuna was dear to him.

SlOkam/Verse 65

manmanA bhava madhbhakthO madhyAjI mAm namaskuru |
mAm Evaishyasi sathyam thE pratijAnE priyO’si mE ||

Have your heart focussed on me constantly; (moreover) have deep love for me; (that too) become my worshipper; (moreover) offer obeisances to me (with all your three faculties viz mind, speech and body); (by being like this) you will certainly reach me; I promise that this is the truth; (because)  you are dear to me.

SlOkam/Verse 66

sarvadharmAn parithyajya mAm Ekam SaraNam vraja |
aham thvA sarvapApEbhyO mOkshayishyAmi mA Sucha: ||

Fully renouncing all means, consider me as your only means; I will free you from all sins; do not grieve.

Note: emperumAnAr (SrI rAmAnuja) has explained this SlOkam in two different ways. In both explanations, prapaththi (surrender) is considered as an anga (ancillary aspect) for bhakthi yOga. He explained it in this manner as the audience for gIthA bhAshya is all those who follow vEdhAntha. But in his gadhya thrayam (specifically SaraNAgathi gadhyam) which is aimed specifically at the followers of SrIvaishNava sampradhAyam, he revealed the esoteric meaning of SaraNAgathi as accepting bhagavAn as the sole means for liberation.

First explanation

When krishNa explained bhakthi yOga in the previous SlOkam, arjuna started to grieve thinking about the difficulty of performing bhakthi yOga due to the many sins which are hurdles in reaching him. So, krishNa says “If you perform karma, gyAna, bhakthi yOgas with the three types of sacrifices (giving up the doership, ownership and results), considering me as the instigator for such worship, object of worship and the enjoyer of such worship, and hold on to me as means to eliminate those hurdles which come up in performing such worship, I will remove those hurdles for you; do not grieve”.

Second explanation

When krishNa explained bhakthi yOga in the previous SlOkam, it was clear that there were hurdles in pursuing bhakthi yOga, which caused grief in arjuna’s heart. This is because, one has to perform prAyaSchiththam (atonement) to eliminate the hurdles. Considering the great effort in performing atonement, arjuna starts grieving. krishNa says, you can give up those rituals which are said to be performed as atonement and consider me instead of them and hold on to me. I will eliminate those sins (much quicker than those rituals) and hence you need not grieve.

SlOkam/Verse 67

idham thE nAthapaskAya nAbhakthAya kadhAchana |
na chASuSrUshavE vAchyam na cha mAm yO’bhyasUyathi ||

This SAsthram (which was confidentially explained to you by me) should not be told by you to one who has not performed penance; it should not be told ever to one who is not devoted (towards you and me); it should not be told to one who is not desirous in hearing; it should not be told to one who hates me too.

SlOkam/Verse 68

ya idham paramam guhyam madhbhakthEshvabhidhAsyathi |
bhakthim mayi parAm kruthvA mAm EvaishyathyasamSaya: ||

One who explains this SAsthram, which is most confidential, to my devotees, will engage in ultimate devotion towards me and will reach me; this is doubtless.

SlOkam/Verse 69

na cha thasmAn manushyEshu kaSchin mE priyakruththama: |
bhavithA na cha mE thasmAdhanya: priyatharO bhuvi ||

In this world, among men, there is none who has performed a dearer service for me, other than the one who explains this SAsthram, and there will be none dearer in the future as well.

SlOkam/Verse 70

adhyEshyathE cha ya imam dharmyam samvAdham AvayO: |
gyAnayagyEna thEnAham ishta: syAm ithi mE mathi: ||

One who recites the SAsthram which was a conversation about the means for liberation between the two of us, has worshipped me with the gyAna yagya (the service through knowledge); this is my opinion.

SlOkam/Verse 71

SradhdhAvAn anasUyaScha SruNuyAdhapi yO nara: |
sO’pi mukthaS SubhAn lOkAn prApnuyAth puNya karmaNAm ||

The man who is desirous to hear, who is free from envy, and who simply hears this SAsthram, being freed (from the sins which are the hurdles to begin devotion towards me), will reach the auspicious assemblies of (my) devotees who have performed many virtuous deeds.

In 72nd SlOkam, krishNa asks arjuna if all his doubts were cleared after hearing this SAsthram.

SlOkam/Verse 73

arjuna uvAcha
nashtO mOha: smruthirlabdhA thvath prasAdhAn mayAchyutha |
sthithO’smi gathasandhEha: karishyE vachanam thava ||

arjuna says – Oh achyutha! By your grace (my) contradictory knowledge is destroyed; true knowledge is acquired by me; being freed from doubts, I am standing firm, with realisation of truth; I will act according to your instructions (to fight the battle).

In the 74th SlOkam, sanjaya starts concluding SrI gIthA SAsthram saying “I heard this amazing conversation between krishNa and arjuna”.

In the 75th SlOkam, he says that he heard this conversation directly from the most amazing krishNa, by the grace of sage vyAsa.

In the 76th and 77th SlOkams, he says to dhritharAshtra that he becomes blissful everytime he thinks about this amazing converstaion and everytime he thinks about krishNa’s viSvarUpam.

SlOkam/Verse 78

yathra yOgESvara: krishNO yathra pArthO dhanurdhara: |
thathra SrIrvijayO bhUthirdhruvA nIthirmathirmama ||

Where there is krishNa who commands all glories, where there is arjuna who is holding the bow, all wealth, victory, glories and virtues remain well established; this is my opinion.

Thus ends the “Essence of SrI bhagavath gIthA” series.

adiyen sarathy ramanuja dasan

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