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NITAAI-Veda.nyf > Shrimad Bhagavad Gita > Gita By Acharyas > Gita 05 Karma Sannyasa Yoga

Ch 5. Karma Sannyasa Yoga

Yoga Through the Renunciation of Action

When the sadhaka has attained tattva-jnana, he becomes qualified for karma sannyasa yoga. At that time he realises that real sannyasa means to give up attachment to action(karma) and its fruits. It is both poper and beneficial or one whose heart is still impure to adopt karma yoga without being attached to the process and it's ruits, rather than to completely renounce karma. Niskama karma-yoga offered to Bhagavan bestows the qualification (adhikara) to attain brahmapada, the nature of brahma; and those who know brahma attain santi (peace).

The Glories of Chapter Five (Mahatmya)

Lord Vishnu said, “Now I will describe to you the unlimited glories of the Fifth Chapter of Bhagavad-gita. Listen very carefully.

In the state of Madra, there is a town of the name Puru Kutsapur. There lived a brahmana by the name of Pingala. During his childhood he was trained in various brahminical activities and was taught the Vedas. But he had no interest in his studies. When he reached his youth he gave up his brahminical pursuits and started to learn how to play instruments as well as singing and dancing. Slowly he became so famous in this field that the king himself invited him to live in the palace. While he was living there he slowly degraded more and more into sinful life. He started to enjoy with other men’s wives and engage in all kinds of sinful activities and intoxication.

He became so proud of his position as he gained more and more intimacy with the king. He especially enjoyed criticizing others to the king in private. Pingala had a wife whose name was Aruna, who was born in a low-class family. She was very lusty and enjoyed relationships with many other men. When her husband found out about her activities, she decided to kill him. Late one night she chopped off his head and buried his body in the garden. After his death Pingala fell into the deepest regions of hell and after having suffered there for a long time he took birth as a vulture. Aruna, after freely enjoying with many men contacted venereal disease and her youthful body very soon became ugly and unattractive. When she died she went on to hell and after having suffered for a long time, she, attained the body of a female parrot. One day that parrot was searching here and there for food. In the meantime the vulture, who in his previous life had been Pingala, saw the female parrot and remembering his last life and understanding that this parrot had been his wife, he attacked her with his sharp beaks. The parrot fell down into the water contained in a human skull and drowned. Just then a hunter came and shot the vulture with an arrow. The vulture fell and his head dropped into the water of that skull and he drowned.
Then the messengers of Yamaraja came and took them to the abode of death. At that time they became very afraid remembering their past sinful lives.

When they came in front of Yamaraja he told them, “You are now free of all sins and you may go to Vaikuntha”. When Pingala and Aruna heard this they inquired from Yamaraja how two sinful persons such as they had attained the right to go to Vaikuntha.

Yamaraja replied, “On the banks of the river Ganga lived a great devotee; of Lord Vishnu by the name of Vat, he was free from lust and greed. Daily he recited the Fifth Chapter of Bhagavad-gita and when Vat gave up his body he went straight to Vaikuntha. Due to his reciting the Fifth Chapter of Bhagavad-gita daily, his body became completely pure, and because of your coming in contact with the skull of the body of that devotee you both have attained Vaikuntha. This is the glory of the Fifth Chapter of the Bhagavad-gita ”

Lord Vishnu said, “My dear Lakshmi, when they both heard the glories of Bhagavad-gita from Yamaraja they became very happy and sat down in the flower airplane which had come to take them to Vaikuntha.”
Anyone who hears the Fifth Chapter of Bhagavad-gita, even the most sinful, will attain Vaikuntha.

Ch 5 Verse 1

arjuna uvaca
sannyasam karmanam krishna / punar yogan ca shamsasi
yac chreya etayor ekam / tan me bruhi su-nishcitam

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arjuna uvaca---Arjuna said; krishna---O Krishna; shamsasi---You are first praising; sannyasam---renunciation; karmanam---of actions; ca---and; punah---thereafter; yogam---karma-yoga; bruhi---please tell; me---me; su-nishcitam---very clearly; tat ekam---that one (path); etayoh---of these two; yat---which; (is) shreyah---auspicious (for me).

Arjuna said: O Krishna, after first praising karma-sannyasa (the renunciation of action), You are again describing nishkama-karma-yoga (action offered to Bhagavan without attachment to its fruit). Therefore, please tell me definitely, which of these two is auspicious for me?


Karma has been described as being superior to jnana to encourage ignorant people to perform karma properly, and thus ultimately to achieve unswerving perfection in jnana. This Fifth Chapter explains knowledge of the Absolute Truth (tat-padartha) and the characteristics of those who have an even-tempered nature. After hearing the last two shlokas of the previous chapter, Arjuna is now doubtful. He thinks that Krishna has contradicted Himself, and in this shloka beginning with the words sannyasam karmanam, he poses a question: "In the shloka, yoga-sannyasta (Gita 4.41), You have spoken about karma-sannyasa which appears when jnana is produced by the performance of nishkama-karma-yoga. Again in the shloka, tasmad ajnana (Gita 4.42), You have spoken about nishkama-karma-yoga. But karma-sannyasa (renunciation of action) and nishkama-karma-yoga (the yoga of selfless action) have opposite natures, like moving and non-moving entities. It is not possible to perform them simultaneously. Should a jnani perform karma-sannyasa, or nishkama-karma-yoga? I have not understood Your intention on this subject and am asking You to please tell me for certain which of these two is auspicious for me."


In the Second Chapter, Shri Krishna instructed Arjuna how to perform nishkama-karma-yoga in order to attain jnana, which dispels ignorance. In the Third Chapter, He explained that when one has attained atma-jnana (knowledge of the self), there is no need to engage in karma (prescribed duties), because karma-yoga is included in jnana-yoga. It is a sign of ignorance to consider jnana and karma to be separate. After concluding this, Bhagavan Shri Krishna said in the Fourth Chapter that to attain jnana-nishtha (steadiness in knowledge), which is the means to obtain atma-jnana, it is appropriate to first adopt nishkama-karma-yoga.

Arjuna knows that these topics are very difficult to grasp, and he is inquiring from Krishna as if he is in ignorance, so that common people may easily understand. Initially, Krishna declared karmasanny asa or jnana-yoga to be superior. Now, however, He is again giving instructions on nishkama-karma-yoga. Arjuna has said, "It is impossible for one person to follow both of these instructions at the same time, because they are contradictory, just as it is impossible to be both stationary and in motion, or for there to be light and darkness in the same place. Please tell me clearly which of these two will bring me auspiciousness?" This is Arjuna's fifth question.

Ch 5 Verse 2

shri bhagavan uvaca
sannyasah karma-yogash ca / nihshreyasa-karav ubhau
tayos tu karma-sannyasat / karma-yogo vishishyate

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shri bhagavan uvaca---the all-opulent Lord said; sannyasah---renunciation of activities; ca---and; karma-yogah---nishkama-karmayoga; (are) ubhau---both; nihshreyasa-karau.auspicious; tu---but; tayoh---of the two; karma-yogah---nishkama-karma-yoga; vishishyate---is better; karma-sannyasat---than renunciation of work.

Shri Bhagavan said: Both karma-sannyasa and nishkamakarma- yoga are auspicious, but nishkama-karma-yoga is certainly superior to karma-sannyasa.


Nishkama-karma-yoga is superior to karma-sannyasa. Even if a jnani performs nishkama-karma-yoga there is no defect. Actually, its performance further purifies his heart and he thereby becomes more established in jnana. One may ask, "If a karma-sannyasi is experiencing some disturbance in the heart due to worldly desires, is he forbidden to engage in action (karma) to pacify it?" Shri Bhagavan answers that such a disturbance in the heart (citta) of a karma-sannyasi is an obstacle to the cultivation of jnana. If he accepts sense objects having once given them up, he becomes a vantashi, one who eats his own vomit.


In answer to Arjuna's question, Shri Bhagavan is saying that both jnana-yoga (karma-sannyasa) and nishkama-karma-yoga are auspicious. However, nishkama-karma-yoga is superior to karma-sannyasa or jnana-yoga, because in nishkama-karmayoga there is less possibility of fall-down. If a karma-sannyasi (a person who has abandoned action) develops a desire for sense gratification and falls down, he is called a vantashi. Shrimad-Bhagavatam (7.15.36) also confirms this:

yah pravrajya grihat purvam / tri-vargavapanat punah yadi seveta tan
bhikshuh / sa vai vantashy apatrapah

If a person renounces the sannyasa-ashrama, which is the perfection of tri-varga (religion, economic development and sense gratification), and again enters household life, he is called a vantashi, a shameless person who eats his own vomit. Shrimad-Bhagavatam further says that one may criticise an ill-behaved jnani, but should not condemn an ananya-bhakta in the same way, even if his conduct is extremely poor. This is also confirmed in Gita (9.30):

api cet suduracarah.

It should be clearly understood that karma-kanda is not the same as karma-yoga. Actions prescribed in shastra are called karma. When a jiva engages in action considering himself as both the doer and the enjoyer of the fruits of action, his activities are called karma-kanda. In this case, even the pious activities prescribed in the Vedas bind one to the material world. Karma-kanda does not lead one to yoga (union) with Shri Bhagavan, and thus it is condemned in all shastra. Only by bhagavad-arpita nishkama-karma, selfless actions which are offered to Bhagavan, can yoga with Him be established. This is called nishkama-karma-yoga. It can be referred to as a semblance or beginning of bhagavad-dharma. It can also be called the gateway to bhakti. In other words, an indirect union with Bhagavan, is established by nishkamakarma- yoga. Therefore in Gita (2.48) it is said:

yoga-sthah kuru karmani.

"Being equally disposed to success and failure, carry out your prescribed duties according to your nature."

Ch 5 Verse 3

jneyah sa nitya-sannyasi / yo na dveshti na kankshati
nirdvandvo hi maha-baho / sukham bandhat pramucyate

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maha-baho---O mighty-armed; sah---he; yah---who; na dveshti--- neither hates; na kankshati---nor desires; jneyah---is known as; nitya-sannyasi---always situated in renunciation; hi---for; (being) nirdvandvah---free from duality; sukham---easily; (he) pramucyate---is liberated; bandhat---from material bondage.

O Maha-baho, he who neither hates nor desires anything is always worthy to be known as a sannyasi, because one who is free from the dualities of aversion and attachment easily becomes liberated from the bondage of this material world.


It is possible to achieve the liberation which is attained by sannyasa without entering the sannyasa order. For this purpose, Shri Bhagavan is speaking this shloka beginning with jneyah. "O Maha-baho, you should understand that a purehearted nishkama-karma-yogi is always a sannyasi."
The address "O Maha-baho" implies that one who is able to conquer the realm of mukti is certainly a great hero (maha-vira).


This shloka establishes why nishkama-karma-yoga is superior. Due to the purity of his heart, a nishkama-karma-yogi is called a fixed renunciate (nitya-sannyasi). Although he has not accepted the dress of a sannyasi, he remains blissfully absorbed in bhagavat-seva by offering himself and all sense objects at Bhagavan's lotus feet. Detached from sense enjoyment and without any desire for the fruits of his actions, he remains free from attachment and envy. Thus he is easily liberated from bondage to the material world.

Ch 5 Verse 4

sankhya-yogau prithag balah / pravadanti na panditah
ekam apy asthitah samyag / ubhayor vindate phalam

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balah---the ignorant; pravadanti---declare; sankhya-yogau---karmasanny asa and nishkama-karma-yoga; (to be) prithag---different; panditah---the learned; na---reject (this); api---even; (by) asthitah--- being situated; samyag---properly; ekam---in one (of them); vindate---one obtains; phalam---the result; ubhayoh---of both.

Only the ignorant say that sankhya ( karma-sannyasa) and nishkama-karma-yoga are different. The wise reject such opinions. By following either path correctly, one attains the result of both in the form of moksha.


"O Arjuna, you have asked which of these two is superior, but this is not actually a question at all; the wise see no difference between them." For this purpose Shri Bhagavan is speaking this shloka beginning with sankhya. Here, sankhya, which means jnana-nishtha (being fixed on the level of jnana), indicates one of its limbs, sannyasa. Only children or fools say that sannyasa is different from nishkama-karma-yoga. The wise do not think like this. This has been described in the previous shloka: jneyah sa nitya-sannyasi (Gita 5.3). Thus, by taking shelter of either, the result of both is attained.


When the heart becomes purified by properly engaging in nishkama-karma-yoga, jnana appears, after which one eventually achieves liberation (moksha). This is also the fundamental purpose of karma-sannyasa. Since the end result of both nishkama-karma-yoga and karma-sannyasa is mukti they are non-different. By following one of them, the result of both is achieved. Although externally pravritti (the directions for enjoying the material world according to the regulative principles) appears to be different from nivritti (the directions for giving up the materal world for higher spiritual understanding), the wise do not see a difference between them, since the result of both these processes is the same.

Ch 5 Verse 5

yat sankhyaih prapyate sthanam / tad yogair api gamyate
ekam sankhyam ca yogan ca / yah pashyati sa pashyati

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tat sthanam---that position; yat---which; prapyate---is obtained; sankhyaih---by the principles of sankhya-yoga; api---is also; gamyate---obtained; yogaih---by nishkama-karma-yoga; sankhyam ca yogam---sankhya and yoga; (are) ekam---one; ca---and; sah yah--- he who; pashyati---sees (thus); (actually) pashyati---sees.

The result attained by sankhya-yoga is also attained by nishkama-karma-yoga. Those who are wise, and who correctly see that sankhya-yoga and nishkama-karmayoga give the same result, actually see.


The previous subject is being clarified in this shloka beginning with yat. Sankhya means sannyasa, and yoga means nishkama-karma-yoga. Here the words sankhyaih and yogaih are plural to emphasise their importance. Those who see them with the eyes of wisdom as being the same, although the processes are different, see correctly.

Ch 5 Verse 6

sannyasas tu maha-baho / duhkham aptum ayogatah
yoga-yukto munir brahma / na cirenadhigacchati

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maha-baho---O mighty-armed; tu---however; (practising) sanny asah---renunciation; ayogatah---without nishkama-karma-yoga; aptum---brings; duhkham---distress; tu---however; yoga-yuktah--- one who is engaged in nishkama-karma-yoga; (becomes) munih--- a sage; (and) na cirena---without delay; adhigacchati---he attains; brahma---the stage of transcendence.

O Maha-baho, practising karma-sannyasa without nishkama-karma-yoga brings distress, but one who performs nishkama-karma-yoga becomes a jnani and very quickly attains brahma.


The jnani's acceptance of karma-sannyasa without complete purification of heart leads to misery. Nishkama-karmayoga, however, brings happiness, that is, it helps to attain brahma. This feature was indicated earlier, and is further clarified in this shloka beginning with sannyasas tu. When the heart is disturbed by worldly desires, sannyasa becomes miserable. Only nishkama-karma-yoga brings peace to the disturbed heart.The word ayogatah means in the absence of nishkama-karma-yoga; thus the renunciation of one who is not qualified to take sannyasa becomes a cause of misery. The author of Vartika-sutra therefore says: pramadino bahishcittah pishunah kalahotsukah sannyasino pi drishyante daiva-sandushitashayah It is seen that even sannyasis have agitated minds and are negligent and eager to quarrel if their hearts are impure, due to their long association with the illusory energy. It is also said in Shrimad-Bhagavatam (11.18.40), "Tridandi- sannyasis who are bereft of proper knowledge (jnana) and renunciation (vairagya) and who have not controlled their five senses and the mind, lose both worlds." Hence a nishkama-karma-yogi, after becoming a jnani, quickly achieves brahma.


It is better to engage in nishkama-karma-yoga than to take sannyasa before the heart is pure.

Ch 5 Verse 7

yoga-yukto vishuddhatma / vijitatma jitendriyah
sarva-bhutatma-bhutatma / kurvann api na lipyate

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yoga-yuktah---one who performs nishkama-karma-yoga; vishuddha- atma---who has purified intelligence; vijita-atma---a controlled mind; jita-indriyah---controlled senses; atma-bhuta-atma---and is the object of affection; sarva-bhuta---for all living beings; na lipyate---is unaffected; api---although; kurvan---acting.

One who performs nishkama-karma-yoga with pure intelligence and a pure heart, and who has controlled his senses, is the object of affection for all jivas. He does not become tainted by action, even when he performs it.


Here in this shloka beginning with the words yoga-yuktah, Shri Bhagavan is informing Arjuna that, even after engaging in karma, a jnani remains unaffected. Yoga-yukta-jnanis are of three types: (1) vishuddhatma, of pure intelligence, (2) vijitatma, of pure mind, and (3) jitendriyah, of controlled senses. They are mentioned in order of the superiority of their spiritual advancement. All jivas are affectionate to that householder who is properly engaged in nishkama-karma yoga and who does not accept karma-sannyasa. Sarvabh utatma means he whom all living entities love like their own selves.

Ch 5 Verses 8-9

naiva kincit karomiti / yukto manyeta tattva-vit
pashyan shrinvan sprishan jighrann / ashnan gacchan svapan shvasan

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pralapan visrijan grihnann / unmishan nimishann api
indriyanindriyartheshu / varttanta iti dharayan

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tattva-vit---a knower of the truth; yuktah---a nishkama-karmayog i; eva---certainly; pashyan---while seeing; shrinvan---hearing; sprishan---touching; jighran---smelling; ashnan---eating; gacchan--- walking; svapan---sleeping; shvasan---breathing; pralapan---speaking; visrijan---evacuating; grihnan---grasping; unmishan---opening; nimishan---and shutting (the eyes); api---also; na manyeta--- should not consider; iti---that; karomi---I am doing; kincit--- anything; dharayan---considering; iti---that; indriyani---the senses; varttante---are engaged; indriya-artheshu---in their sense objects.

When a nishkama-karma-yogi becomes situated in tattva-jnana, he concludes with his intelligence that even while he is seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, eating, moving, sleeping, breathing, speaking, evacuating, grasping and opening and closing his eyes, he actually does nothing; rather his senses are engaged with their respective sense objects.


In this shloka beginning with naiva, Shri Bhagavan gives instruction about actions in which one may become implicated in the functions of the senses, or afflicted by them. Yuktah refers to the nishkama-karma-yogis who conclude that when one uses the sense of sight and the other senses, it is nothing more than the senses engaging with their objects.

Ch 5 Verse 10

brahmany adhaya karmani / sangam tyaktva karoti yah
lipyate na sa papena / padma-patram ivambhasa

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adhaya---having offered; karmani---his activities; brahmani---to the Supreme Lord; tyaktva---giving up; sangam---attachment; sah yah---he who; karoti---acts (thus); na lipyate---is not affected; papena---by sin; iva---as; padma-patram---the lotus leaf; ambhasa---by water.

One who has renounced attachment to karma, and offers all the fruits of his action to Me, Parameshvara, does not become affected by sin, just as a lotus leaf remains untouched by water.


"One who gives up attachment to the fruits of karma does not become bound by any action if he dedicates his work to Me, Parameshvara, even while he still has a false ego." Here the word papa (sin) is used to indicate that such a person does not become implicated in any sinful action.


The pure soul has no connection with material activities. Nishkama-karma-yogis become tattva-vit, endowed with transcendental knowledge, a gradual purification of heart. They then realise the nature of the self (atma-tattva) and understand that even when they perform bodily activities, they are not the doers. They think that according to their purvasa mskara (previous impressions) all activities of the material body are automatically performed by the inspiration of Ishvara. Due to the existence of the material body there may be a feeling that they themselves are the performers of action, yet when they give up the body after attaining perfection (siddhi), there remains absolutely no feeling that they are the doers of action. Any action performed by such mahatmas does not bind them to the material world. Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura has also said, "When the sadhaka-bhakta gives up the false ego of being the doer, he performs all bodily-related activities naturally, out of previous habit."

Ch 5 Verse 11

kayena manasa buddhya / kevalair indriyair api
yoginah karma kurvanti / sangam tyaktvatma-shuddhaye

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atma-shuddhaye---for the purification of the mind; yoginah---a nishkama-karma-yogi; tyaktva---giving up; sangam---attachment; kurvanti---performs; karma---action; kayena---with the body; manasa---with the mind; buddhya---and with the intelligence; api---even; kevalaih---with only; indriyaih---the senses.

To purify the mind, a nishkama-karma-yogi gives up all attachment and performs action with his body, mind and intelligence. Sometimes he performs action only with his senses, not even engaging his mind.


Nishkama-karma-yogis also perform action only with their senses. For example, when one chants mantras such as indraya svaha while making an offering in the fire yajna, the mind may be elsewhere, yet the activity goes on. Atma- shuddhaye means that yogis perform action only to attain purity of mind.

Ch 5 Verse 12

yuktah karma-phalam tyaktva / shantim apnoti naishthikim
ayuktah kama-karena / phale sakto nibadhyate

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tyaktva---giving up; karma-phalam---the fruit of work; yuktah--- one linked up in nishkama-karma-yoga; apnoti---obtains; naishthikim---perpetual; shantim---peace; ayuktah---one who is not so linked; saktah---being attached; phale---to the fruit of work; kama-karena---because of the impetus of lust; nibadhyate---becomes entangled.

Having given up attachment to the fruits of his actions, the nishkama-karma-yogi attains eternal peace ( moksha) . The sakama-karmi, however, who is attached to the fruits of his activities and is impelled by material desires, becomes entangled.


In the performance of karma, detachment and attachment are the causes of liberation and bondage, this shloka beginning with the word yuktah is spoken to clarify this. A yukta-yogi or nishkama-karma-yogi gradually attains shanti, or moksha. Ayuktah refers to sakama-karmis, who due to material desires, are attached to the results of their actions, and are thus bound to the material world.

Ch 5 Verse 13

sarva-karmani manasa / sannyasyaste sukham vashi
nava-dvare pure dehi / naiva kurvan na karayan

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vashi---the self-controlled; dehi---embodied soul; sannyasya--- having renounced; manasa---through his mind; sarva-karmani--- all activities; eva---certainly; aste---remains; sukham---happily; pure---in the city; nava-dvare---of nine gates; na kurvan---neither doing anything; na karayan---nor causing any action.

The self-controlled jiva ( nishkama-karma-yogi), having renounced attachment to the fruits of all karma within his mind, dwells peacefully in the city of nine gates, neither performing action himself nor causing anyone to act.


According to the previous statement, jneyah sa nityasanny asi (Gita 5.3), a person who performs action without attachment is in fact the real sannyasi. To explain this, Shri Krishna is speaking this shloka beginning with sarva-karmani. Although performing external activities related to the body, a self-controlled man, completely renouncing all actions through his mind, remains happily situated. Where does such a person live? Krishna replies, "In the city of nine gates." In other words, in a body freed from the false ego. In this case, the word dehi refers to the jiva who has attained jnana. Although he may perform karma, he knows that in reality he is not the cause of the happiness that results from his actions, and he therefore understands that actually he performs no work. Similarly, while engaging others in work he does not make them act, because he has no purpose to fulfil. In other words, he remains unconcerned by their actions.


Shrimad-Bhagavatam (11.19.43) states: griham shariram manushyam. "The human body is like a house." This subject can be specifically studied in the narration concerning Puranjana. The house of the human body has nine gates: the two eyes, two ears, two nostrils and one mouth are the seven gates in the head, and the lower gates are for evacuation and procreation. A yogi sees his own self, or his own svarupa, as being different from this body of nine gates. Like a traveller, the yogi does not become attached to or possessive of his body, which is likened to a hotel. Instead, he performs exclusive seva to Bhagavan, the master of all the senses.

Ch 5 Verse 14

na karttritvam na karmani / lokasya srijati prabhuh
na karma-phala-samyogam / svabhavas tu pravarttate

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prabhuh---Parameshvara, the Supreme Lord; na srijati---does not create; lokasya---a person---s; karttritvam---tendency to act; na karmani---nor the actions; na samyogam---nor connection; karma-phala---with the fruits of action; tu---only; svabhavah--- their natural propensity; pravarttate---enacts.

Parameshvara has not created the tendency for individuals to act, or their karma (actions), or the resultant fruits. All this is enacted by their acquired nature, that is they are impelled by the ignorance that has covered them since time immemorial.


Someone may question Bhagavan's partiality. If it is true that the jiva has no tendency to act as the doer, then why, throughout the material world which Ishvara has created, is he seen as the doer and the enjoyer of the fruits thereof? It appears that Ishvara created these tendencies, which are forced upon the jiva. If this is so, then it means that He carries the defect of being partial and without mercy. In response He says, "No, no. Na karttritvam." He has used the word na three times to stress and emphatically refute this point. He has neither created the initiative, nor has he created the karma in the form of prescribed duties, nor the result of karma, which is sense enjoyment. It is only the conditioned nature of the jiva, in other words, his ignorance since time immemorial, which induces him to recognise the ego as being the prompter of action.


"The jivas are not initiators of their own actions." One should not think from this statement that the jivas engage in action only by the inspiration of Parameshvara. If this were the case, He would possess defects such as being biased and cruel. Besides, Bhagavan is not the agent who unites the jiva with the results of his karma. This union occurs only because of the jiva's ignorance from time immemorial (anadi-avidya). The divine material energy (daivi-maya-prakriti) in the form of ignorance activates the acquired nature of the jiva. Only those jivas who possess such a conditioned nature, which is born of ignorance, are engaged in action by Parameshvara. He Himself does not create the initiative within the jivas to act or not to act.

Vaishamya-nairghrinye doshair na sapekshatvat tatha hi darshayati
(Brahma-sutra 2.1.34).

According to this sutra, Parameshvara is completely free from such defects as being biased or cruel. It is mentioned in the Vedas, that just as brahma is anadi (without beginning), so the karmika impressions of the jivas are also beginningless. The jivas' actions create impressions, and Parameshvara simply engages them in their successive activities according to these impressions. Thus it is illogical to say that Parameshvara has the defect of partiality (Chandogya Upanishad 6.2.1). It is also said in the Bhavishya Purana, "It is only according to the impressions of past karma that Shri Vishnu engages the jiva in mundane activities. Since the jiva's impressions are beginningless, Parameshvara is not guilty of any defect."

Shrila Baladeva Vidyabhushana explains in his Govindabh ashya, "Someone may conclude that since Parameshvara engages a jiva in action according to the past impressions of his karma, we have to accept that Parameshvara is also not independent, but is under the influence of karma. The response is, "No, this is not correct, since in reality even the existence of karma is under His control." Parameshvara engages the jiva in karma according to the nature he has acquired since time immemorial. Although Ishvara can change this nature, He never does. Thus, in all circumstances, He is free from partiality.

Ch 5 Verse 15

nadatte kasyacit papam / na caiva sukritam vibhuh
ajnanenavritam jnanam / tena muhyanti jantavah

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vibhuh---the great (Parameshvara); eva---certainly; na adatte--- accepts; na---neither; papam---the sinful reaction; kasyacit---of anyone; na---nor; sukritam---the pious reaction; ajnanena---ignorance; tena---however; avritam---covers; (inherent) jnanam--- transcendental knowledge; jantavah---of the living beings; (who) muhyanti---are bewildered.

Parameshvara does not accept anyone.s sinful reaction or their pious reaction. The ignorance, however, which covers the inherent true knowledge of the jivas, bewilders them.


Ishvara does not prompt or inaugurate the jivas' good or bad actions, for the same reason that He Himself does not incur sin or piety. For this purpose, He speaks this shloka beginning with nadatte. It is only His avidya-shakti that covers the fine knowledge of the jiva. To explain this He says ajnanena, meaning that the inborn or natural knowledge of the jiva becomes covered by ignorance, and it is due to this that he becomes deluded.


Bhagavan is vibhuh, all-pervading and boundless. He is full in realisation, bliss and unlimited energy. He is always absorbed in His own nature, the ocean of ananda. As He is indifferent to everything, He does not prompt good or bad deeds. Shri Bhagavan is atmarama (self-satisfied) and aptakama (He whose every desire is fulfilled). It is His avidya- shakti which covers the natural and inborn knowledge of the jiva, and by it the jiva in the conditioned state identifies himself with the body. The jiva develops the ego of being the doer of his actions only because he falsely identifies the body as the self. Shrimad-Bhagavatam (6.16.11) states:

nadatta atma hi gunam / na dosham na kriya-phalam udasinavad asinah / paravara-drig ishvarah

The jivatma of Citraketu Maharaja's dead son gave this instruction to Citraketu Maharaja, who was suffering from lamentation. "The Paramatma, Ishvara, does not accept happiness or distress, or the results of actions such as the attainment of a kingdom. He witnesses the cause and effect of one's actions and, because he is not under the control of the material body and events, he remains indifferent."

Ch 5 Verse 16

jnanena tu tad ajnanam / yesham nashitam atmanah
tesham adityavaj jnanam / prakashayati tat param

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tu---but; tesham---for those; yesham---whose; tat ajnanam---ignorance; nashitam---is destroyed; jnanena---by knowledge; atmanah---of the soul; jnanam---that knowledge; prakashayati--- reveals; tat---that; param---Bhagavan; adityavat---shining like the sun.

But for those whose ignorance has been destroyed by knowledge of the Supreme Absolute, that knowledge, like the shining sun, reveals the aprakrita-paramatattva, Shri Bhagavan.


Just as Shri Bhagavan's avidya-shakti covers the jiva's knowledge, so His vidya-shakti destroys ignorance and reveals his pure knowledge. By jnana or vidya-shakti (the potency of knowledge), avidya is destroyed. Just as the sun's rays dispel darkness and illuminate the earth, the sky and other objects, similarly vidya destroys ignorance and illuminates that parama-aprakrita-jnana (knowledge of the transcendental Shri Bhagavan). Thus, Parameshvara neither binds nor liberates anyone. Rather, it is only ignorance and knowledge which bind and liberate respectively. according to the qualities of material nature. The tendency to enjoy or to initiate action is the cause of bondage. Similarly, detachment, peace and so forth are liberating. These are qualities of prakriti. Parameshvara is only partly responsible for the instigation of actions, because, due to His being Antaryami (the Supersoul), all the qualities of material nature become manifest. Hence, there is no possibility that the imperfections of partiality or cruelty exist in Him.


According to his own material desires, the jiva acquires a body from material nature and engages in karma. Parameshvara does not determine the jiva's sinful or pious actions. Both the piety of the advancing sadhaka and the sin which degrades him occur as a result of his previous samskaras (impressions). To punish the jiva, Shri Bhagavan.s maya-shakti covers his constitutional nature. The jiva then begins to identify the self with the body and subsequently considers himself to be the doer of all his actions. Parameshvara can in no way be blamed for this condition of the jiva. Two of maya-shakti's functions, avidya and vidya, are instrumental in the bondage and liberation of the jiva respectively. In Shrimad-Bhagavatam (11.11.3) it is said:

vidyavidye mama tanu viddhy uddhava sharirinam moksha-bandha-kari adye mayaya me vinirmite

O Uddhava, both avidya and vidya are functions of My maya- shakti. According to Shrila Vishvanatha Cakravarti Thakura, here vidya bestows moksha and avidya is the cause of bondage. There are three functions of maya: pradhana, avidya and vidya.

Pradhana creates a designation for the jiva which is not real, although it appears to be so. Avidya falsely super-imposes such designations to be real, and by vidya such super-impositions are easily removed. Here it must be properly understood that the gross and subtle bodily designations of the jiva, which are created by pradhana are not false, but the concept of 'I' and 'mine' in both of them is false. In the Vedas and Upanishads this is called vivartta. Within Parameshvara, the natural ego of being the doer is eternally present. Prakriti is His inert shakti. Simply by His glance, the function of prakriti is instigated. Consequently, prakriti is the secondary cause of the creation of the material world. Parameshvara is indeed its instigator, but only in an indirect or partial manner. Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura says, "Knowledge is of two types: prakrita (mundane) and aprakrita (transcendental). Prakrita, meaning knowledge related with inert matter, is called avidya or the ignorance of the jiva. Aprakrita-jnana is called vidya. When the material knowledge of the jiva has been destroyed by spiritual knowledge, that same spiritual jnana is revealed as the supreme spiritual jnana, and enlightens him about the aprakrita-parama-tattva, The supra-mundane truth."

Ch 5 Verse 17

tad-buddhayas tad-atmanas / tan-nishthas tat-parayanah
gacchanty apunar-avrittim / jnana-nirdhuta-kalmashah

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(those whose) tat-buddhayah---intelligence is in Him; tat- atmanah---whose minds are within Him; tat-nishthah---who are fixed on Him; tat-parayanah---who are devoted to hearing and chanting; kalmashah---whose inebrieties; nirdhuta---have been cleansed away; jnana---through transcendental knowledge; apunar---never again; gacchanti---attain; (take) avrittim---rebirth.

Those whose intelligence is fixed in Parameshvara, whose minds are absorbed only in meditation on Him, who are exclusively devoted to Him, who are engaged in hearing and chanting about Him, and whose avidya has been completely destroyed by vidya, attain moksha, from where there is no return.


Vidya illuminates knowledge of the jivatma only, not of Parameshvara. In Shrimad-Bhagavatam (11.14.21) it is said:

bhaktyaham ekaya grahyah.

"I can only be attained by bhakti."

To attain knowledge of Paramatma, the jnanis must again specifically practise bhakti-sadhana. Shri Bhagavan speaks this shloka beginning with tad-buddhayah to explain this. Here, the word tat (tad) refers to the same all-pervading Parameshvara described earlier. Tad-buddhayah means that those whose intelligence is fixed in that Parameshvara meditate on Him only. Tad-atma means those who are solely absorbed in Him. Jnanam ca mayi sannyaset. .Even a jnani should surrender his jnana to Me. (Shrimad Bhagavatam 11.19.1). According to this statement, even if he has knowledge that the self is separate from the body, he is not called tat-nishthah unless he has given up his nishtha (fixed steadiness) in sattvika bhava and has developed exclusive nishtha in bhagavad-bhakti. Tat-parayanah means those who are devoted to hearing and chanting about Him. It is said later in Gita (18.55):

bhaktya mam abhijanati yavan yash casmi tattvatah tato mam tattvato jnatva vishate tad-anantaram

It is only by bhakti that one can know Me as I am and thus attain Me. Therefore, those whose ignorance has been completely destroyed by knowledge attain knowledge of Paramatma.


Sattvat sanjayate jnanam (Gita 14.17):

"Jnana is sattvika."

Paramatma, however, is beyond the three modes, and is also their controller, gunadhisha. That is why, although knowledge in the form of sattvika-jnana can destroy ignorance (ajnana), it cannot cause knowledge of Paramatma to appear. Gita (18.55) states: bhaktya mam abhijanati. "Only bhakti can manifest knowledge of Shri Bhagavan's tattva." In this context one should carefully consider Shrila Vishvanatha Cakravarti Thakura's commentary on this shloka (18.55).

Ch 5 Verse 18

vidya-vinaya-sampanne / brahmane gavi hastini
shuni caiva shvapake ca / panditah sama-darshinah

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panditah---the learned; sama-darshinah---look equally; (upon) brahmane--- a brahmana; vidya-vinaya-sampanne---equipped with knowledge and gentle qualities; gavi---a cow; hastini---an elephant; ca---and; shuni---a dog; ca---and; eva---indeed; shvapake--- a dog-eater.

The wise look with equal vision upon a gentle and learned brahmana, a cow, an elephant, a dog and a candala.


The wise who are extremely devoted to Parameshvara, as mentioned in the previous shloka, transcend the material modes (gunatita) and become disinterested in accepting the gunas which exist in every entity to varying degrees. Thus they become equipoised. To explain this, Shri Bhagavan is speaking this shloka beginning with vidya-vinaya. A cow and a brahmana are said to be in sattva-guna, thus they are superior to the elephant which is in rajo-guna, and to the dog and the dog-eater (candala) which are in tamo-guna. But the panditas who have transcended the modes do not notice such differences. Rather, they see brahma which is beyond the modes everywhere. They are known as sama-darshi, those with equal vision.


The vision of the wise jnani is being explained in the above shloka. Here the word sama-darshih means to see that Bhagavan's tatastha-shakti manifests as the jivatma with a specific svarupa in every material body. Only such seers of the self (atma-darshi) are known as sama-darshi. Bhagavan has clarified this further in Gita (6.32) and it is described in Shrimad-Bhagavatam (11.29.14):

brahmane pukkase stene / brahmanye 'rke sphulingake
akrure krurake caiva / sama-drik pandito matah

In My opinion, one who sees with equal vision a brahmana and a candala, a thief and a devotee of brahma, the sunrays and the sparks of a fire, a cruel person and a kind person, is wise. Shrila Vishvanatha Cakravarti Thakura explains sama-drik as realizing the eternal existence of Me, parabrahma, in every living entity. One who has such a vision is called sama-darshi.

Ch 5 Verse 19

ihaiva tair jitah sargo / yesham samye sthitam manah
nirdosham hi samam brahma / tasmad brahmani te sthitah

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taih---those; yesham---whose; manah---minds; sthitam---are situated; samye---in equanimity; sargah---the creation; jitah---is conquered; iha eva---in this very world; brahma---brahma; (is) nirdosham--- flawless; samam---and equipoised; tasmat---therefore; te---they; hi---certainly; sthitah---are situated; brahmani---in brahma.

Those whose minds are fixed in equanimity conquer the whole universe in this very life. They possess the flawless qualities of brahma, and are therefore situated in brahma.


Here, Shri Bhagavan glorifies equal vision. That which has been created in this world is called sargah. Jitah means to overpower this material existence or to be liberated from its bondage.


Ihaiva means indeed while living in this world. In other words, it is in the stage of sadhana that one becomes free from bondage to this material world. 19

Ch 5 Verse 20

na prahrishyet priyam prapya / nodvijet prapya capriyam
sthira-buddhir asammudho / brahma-vid brahmani sthitah

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brahma-vit---a knower of spirit; (who is) sthitah---situated; brahmani---in spirit; (is) sthira-buddhih---of steady intelligence; asammudhah---and undeluded; na prahrishyet---he is not elated; prapya---on receiving; priyam---something pleasant; ca---and; na udvijet---he is not disturbed; prapya---on obtaining; apriyam--- an unpleasant thing.

One who knows brahma, and who is firmly situated in brahma, has steady intelligence and is not deluded. He neither rejoices upon obtaining something pleasant, nor despairs upon receiving something unpleasant.


Bhagavan speaks this shloka beginning with the words na prahrishyet to describe the equal vision of the wise in relation to pleasant and unpleasant mundane events. Na prahrishyet means that one is not elated, and nodvijet means that one is not dejected. The meaning is that one must practise like this in the stage of sadhana. With this intention the imperative case has been used. Because of the false ego, people become deluded by happiness and lamentation. Being free from such ego, the wise remain undeluded.

Ch 5 Verse 21

bahya-sparsheshv asaktatma / vindaty atmani yat sukham
sa brahma-yoga-yuktatma / sukham akshayam ashnute

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asakta-atma---a soul unattached; bahya-sparsheshu---to sense pleasures; vindati---finds; yat---whatever; sukham---happiness; atmani---within the soul; sah---that; yukta-atma---soul united; brahma-yoga---with the Supreme Spirit through yoga; ashnute--- attains; akshayam---immortal; sukham.happiness.

He who is not attached to sense pleasure finds happiness within the self. Being united with brahma through yoga, he attains unending happiness.


The minds of those who are united with brahma through yoga are not attached to sense pleasure because, by achieving Paramatma, the bliss attained by a jivatma is unending. Only they can experience this. Why would a person who continuously tastes nectar be interested in eating mud?


External sense objects, such as sound and touch, are experienced only with the help of the senses. They are not the characteristics of the atma. Those who remain detached from external sense objects dwell in the bliss derived from the experience of Paramatma within themselves, and they do not even think of sense objects, what to speak of enjoying them. According to the shloka, param drishtva nivartate (Gita 2.59), since they remain absorbed in the superior rasa, the bliss of serving Bhagavan, they remain completely indifferent to the mundane enjoyment which comes from material sense objects.

Ch 5 Verse 22

ye hi samsparshaja bhoga / duhkha-yonaya eva te
ady-antavantah kaunteya / na teshu ramate budhah

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kaunteya---O son of Kunti; bhogah---pleasures; ye---which; (are) samsparsha-jah---born of sensual contact; hi---certainly; (are) duhkha-yonayah---sources of misery; te---they; (have) adyantavanta h---a beginning and an end; eva---certainly; budhah--- an enlightened man; na ramate---does not delight; teshu---in them.

O Kaunteya, pleasures born of contact with the senses are certainly the cause of misery. Since they have a beginning and an end, a wise man does not become attached to them.


A wise man does not become attached to sense enjoyment. For this reason, this shloka beginning with the words ye hi is spoken.


The happiness derived by the contact of the senses with sense objects is called samsparsha-moksha. Such happiness has a beginning and an end, for when the contact is broken, the happiness ceases. For this reason, the wise do not become attached to such sense enjoyment, which is transient and which only appears to be pleasant. It is only to maintain the body that they engage their senses in action with an attitude of detachment.

Ch 5 Verse 23

shaknotihaiva yah sodhum / prak sharira-vimokshanat
kama-krodhodbhavam vegam / sa yuktah sa sukhi narah

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prak---before; vimokshanat---giving up; sharira---the body; sah narah---that man; yah---who; iha eva---in this very life; shaknoti--- is able; sodhum---to tolerate; vegam---the urges; udbhava---born; kama-krodha---of lust and anger; yuktah---is a yogi; sah---he; sukhi---is happy.

Before giving up the body, he, who in this very life can tolerate the urges born of lust and anger, is a yogi, and is certainly happily situated.


Despite having fallen into the ocean of material existence, the persons described in this shloka are yogis and are happy. To explain this Shri Bhagavan is speaking this shloka beginning with shaknoti.


The intense desire or hankering to attain sense objects that are favourable for sense pleasure is referred to here as kama, or lobha. The deepest meaning of the word kama, which in this context indicates all types of desires, is the desire to gain pleasure by the mutual combination of man and woman. The mind's excessive repulsion (envy) towards that which is unfavourable to sense-enjoyment is called krodha. Those who can tolerate the urges of kama and krodha until the time of death are known as yogis, and they are happy.

Ch 5 Verse 24

yo.ntah-sukho.ntararamas / tathantar-jyotir eva yah
sa yogi brahma-nirvanam / brahma-bhuto.dhigacchati

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(he) yah---who; (is) antah-sukhah---happy within; antah- aramah---who enjoys within; tatha---and; yah---who; (is) antah-jyotih---illumined within; eva---certainly; sah---that; yogi---connected soul; (is) brahma-bhutah---situated in brahma; adhigacchati ---he attains; nirvanam---emancipation from material existence; brahma---through realisation of brahma.

A yogi who is happy within the self, who takes pleasure within the self, and is illumined within the self, is situated in brahma and attains the bliss of brahmanirv anam, emancipation from material existence .


For those who are untouched by the conditions of the material world, the experience of brahma itself is pleasurable. To explain this, Shri Bhagavan speaks this shloka beginning with the words yo 'ntah. Those who achieve bliss within their inner self take pleasure only in the self, and thus their vision is focused within.


How the strong urges of kama and krodha can be easily and naturally pacified is being explained here by Shri Bhagavan. By experiencing the self, such urges can be easily controlled. Yogis who experience happiness in realisation of the self, who take pleasure within the self, and whose vision is always focused on the nature of the self, take shelter of nishkama-karma and attain the stage of brahma-bhuta, the nature of brahma. They eventually become established in their own (jiva) svarupa. Such yogis easily become indifferent to the mundane sensual activities of kama, krodha, etc., and experience bliss within the self, known as brahma-nirvana. In Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura.s commentary on Gita 5.26, he says, "A sannyasi who is free from kama and krodha, who has control over the mind, and who knows atma-tattva, very quickly attains full realisation of brahma-nirvana.

" After deliberation on real and unreal objects, a nishkamakarma- yogi while living in the material world, situates himself in brahma, the reality which is beyond the modes of material nature. Such a state, which is free from material miseries, is called brahma-nirvana. "

Ch 5 Verse 25

labhante brahma-nirvanam / rishayah kshina-kalmashah
chinna-dvaidha yatatmanah / sarva-bhuta-hite-ratah

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rishayah---persons active within; kalmashah---whose sinful qualities; kshina---are destroyed; yata-atmanah---who have controlled minds; chinna-dvaidhah---whose dualistic view has been cut down; ratah---who are attached; sarva-bhuta-hite---to the welfare of all living beings; labhante---achieve; brahma-nirvanam--- emancipation from samsara through realisation of brahma.

Those rishis who are free from sin and doubt, who have control over their minds, and who are engaged in the eternal welfare of all living entities, attain brahma-nirvana.


Many persons attain perfection by practice (sadhanasiddha). To explain this, Shri Bhagavan speaks this shloka beginning with the word labhante.

Ch 5 Verse 26

kama-krodha-vimuktanam / yatinam yata-cetasam
abhito brahma-nirvanam / varttate viditatmanam

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yatinam---for the sannyasis; vimuktanam---who are liberated; kama-krodha---from lust and anger; yata-cetasam---who have control over their minds; abhitah---in every way; vidita- atmanam---and who are well-versed in atma-tattva; nirvanam--- the extinguishing of material life; brahma---through spiritual realisation; varttate---takes place.

For those sannyasis who are free from kama and krodha, who have control over their minds, and who are well versed in atma-tattva, every aspect of brahmanirv ana is attained by them.


"How long will it take for those who have knowledge of tvam-padartha (the self) but who are bereft of knowledge of Paramatma, to attain the happiness of brahma-nirvana?"

Anticipating this question, Shri Bhagavan speaks this shloka beginning with the words kama-krodha. For one whose mind has become stable and whose subtle body has been destroyed, it does not take long to attain brahma-nirvana in its full perfection.

Ch 5 Verses 27-28

sparshan kritva bahir bahyamsh / cakshush caivantare bhruvoh
pranapanau samau kritva / nasabhyantara-carinau

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yatendriya-mano-buddhir / munir moksha-parayanah
vigateccha-bhaya-krodho / yah sada mukta eva sah

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vigata---who is free; iccha-bhaya-krodhah---from desire, fear and anger; kritva---having put; bahih---outside; bahyan---external; sparshan---sensual contacts; ca---and; kritva---having focused; cakshuh---the eyes; antare---in between; bhruvoh---the eyebrows; kritva---having made; prana-apanau---the out-going and in-going breaths; nasa-abhyantara-carinau---moving within the nostrils; samau---equal; (whose) indriya---senses; manah---mind; buddhih---and intelligence; yata---are controlled; yah---who; moksha-parayanah---is dedicated to attaining liberation; sah munir---that sage; (is) eva---certainly; sada---always; muktah--- liberated.

He who is free from desire, fear and anger completely removes the external sense objects, such as sound and touch from his mind. He then fixes his vision between the eyebrows and suspends the upward and downward movement of the prana and apana air, which moves in both nostrils. In this way, he balances the lifeairs, controls his senses, mind and intelligence, and dedicates himself to attaining moksha. Such a sage is certainly always liberated.


In this way, by performing nishkama-karma-yoga offered to Ishvara, the sadhaka achieves a pure heart. It is then that knowledge of the self (tvam-padartha) appears. To gain knowledge of tat-padartha (brahma), one has to cultivate bhakti. Finally one experiences brahma (Shri Bhagavan) by gunatitaj nana, which is born from bhakti. For a person whose heart has been purified by nishkama-karma-yoga, the performance of ashtanga-yoga is superior to jnana-yoga, which is the process to realise brahma. This is explained in the Sixth Chapter. Here Shri Bhagavan is speaking these three shlokas beginning with the word sparshan as a sutra of the Sixth Chapter. Sparshan refers to all external senses: eyes, ears, tongue, nose and skin. All of them enter the mind; so one should drive them out and restrain the mind from running towards them. One's vision should be fixed between the eyebrows. If one completely closes the eyes there is the possibility that he will fall asleep, and if one keeps them completely open, there is the possibility that he will be distracted by the objects of the senses. Thus, to ensure that neither occurs, one should keep the eyes half open, and within the nostrils control the upward and downward movement of prana and apana in the form of the out-going and in-coming breath, thus balancing them. Those who control their senses in this way are to be considered liberated.


Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura quotes Krishna as saying,"O Arjuna, the heart becomes purified only by nishkama-karmayoga offered to Me. After purifying the heart, one attains jnana, which then gives rise to jnana-svarupa-bhakti, bhakti in the form of knowledge. This is the means to determine tat-padartha (brahma). Finally, the experience of brahma comes from bhakti performed with gunatita-jnana. I have explained this to you previously. Now I will explain ashtangayoga as the means to realise brahma for one whose heart has been purified. I am presenting statements just to give an idea of this. Please listen. The external forms of sound, touch, form, taste and smell are to be completely removed from the mind. While practising control of the mind in this way, fix the eyes between the eyebrows and look at the tip of the nose. By completely closing the eyes there is the possibility of falling asleep, and by completely keeping them open, there is the possibility of being distracted by external objects. One should therefore control the eyes by keeping them half-closed in such a way that one's vision falls between the eyebrows on to the tip of the nose. Breathing through the nostrils, the outgoing prana and the in-coming apana should be regulated so that the upward and downward movement is balanced. Thus, seated with controlled senses, mind and intelligence, sages aiming at mukti give up desire, fear and anger and practise with the aim of realizing brahma. In this way they can attain complete deliverance from material bondage.Thus, as part of the sadhana of nishkama-karma-yoga, its limb ashtangayoga can also be practised..

Ch 5 Verse 29

bhoktaram yajna-tapasam / sarva-loka-maheshvaram
suhridam sarva-bhutanam / jnatva mam shantim ricchati

Click here to read Shrila Prabhupada's Bhagavad Gita As It Is 5.29 <>

jnatva------understanding; mam---Me; (to be) bhoktaram---the enjoyer; (of all) yajna-tapasam---sacrifices and austerities; maha- ishvaram---the great master; sarva-loka---of all worlds; suhridam--- the friend; sarva-bhutanam---of all living beings; ricchati---attains; shantim---peace.

He who knows Me to be the enjoyer of all sacrifices and austerities, the Supreme Controller of all planets, and the well-wisher of all jivas, attains moksha.


Like the jnani, such a yogi also attains moksha by knowledge of Paramatma, which appears through bhakti. This is stated in this shloka beginning with the word bhoktaram. "I am the enjoyer of the yajna performed by the karmi, and I am the sustainer of tapasya performed by the jnani. I am the worshipable object of karmis, jnanis and yogis, and I am Antaryami, and the only Supreme Controller (maheshvara) of all the planets. I am the well-wisher of all jivas, because through My bhaktas I mercifully bestow instructions on bhakti. For this reason, know Me to be the worshipable object of devotees also. Since I am nirguna, it is not possible to realise Me by jnana in sattva-guna. In Shrimad-Bhagavatam (11.14.21) I declared: bhaktyaham ekaya grahyah. "I can be achieved only through bhakti." Only through nirguna bhakti can the yogis realise My partial aspect, Paramatma, as their worshipable object, and attain shanti or moksha." Jnanis and karma-yogis attain knowledge of both the jivatma and Paramatma through nishkama-karma, and so attain mukti. This is the essence of this chapter.

Thus ends the Bhavanuvada of the Sarartha-Varshini Tika, by Shrila Vishvanatha Cakravarti Thakura, on the Fifth Chapter of Shrimad Bhagavad-gita, which gives pleasure to the bhaktas and is accepted by all saintly persons.


The nishkama-karma-yogis also attain moksha by knowledge of Paramatma, which appears through bhakti. Shri Bhagavan is the only enjoyer of articles offered with bhakti at the time of yajna and tapasya. He, Antaryami, is indeed the worshipable object of the yogis, the well-wisher of all jivas, and He is maheshvara, the Supreme Controller of all planets.

tam ishvaranam paramam maheshvaram tam devatanam paramam ca daivatam patim patinam paramam parastad vidama devam bhuvanesham idyam
Shvetashvatara Upanishad 6.7

We know our worshipable Lord, who is the master of the worlds, to be the supreme amongst all controllers, the supreme Lord of lords, and the supreme protector of those who can award protection. He is transcendental to impersonal brahma. Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura says, "After hearing the first four chapters, a doubt could arise. If one attains moksha as the result of nishkama-karma-yoga, then what place does jnana-yoga have, and how does it manifest? The instructions in this chapter have been spoken to remove this doubt. Jnana-yoga (sankhya-yoga) and nishkama-karma-yoga are non-different from each other, for they share the same supreme goal, namely bhakti. In the initial stages of nishkamakarma- yoga, karma predominates over jnana, and in the final stage (jnana-yoga), jnana predominates over karma. By constitutional nature the jiva is a pure, conscious entity. However, he becomes bound by inert matter because he desires to enjoy maya, and as he identifies himself with matter, gradually his constitutional position becomes more covered. As long as this material body exists, material action is necessary. The only way for the baddha-jiva to attain liberation is through cit-ceshta, or the endeavour to revive his constitutional state. To the same degree of intensity with which he makes efforts to revive his original conscious state during his journey within the material body, the predominance of karma becomes weak. Brahmanirv ana (deliverance from mundane bondage and contact with the pleasure of brahma) appears automatically while performing sadhana to develop equal vision, detachment, control over mundane lust and anger and the eradication of all doubts, etc. While practising karma-yoga as well as maintaining the body, one can also perform ashtanga-yogas adhana which is comprised of the eight processes: yama, niyama, asana, pratyahara, pranayama, dhyana, dharana and samadhi. The bliss of bhagavad-bhakti gradually manifests during the performance of such sadhana, if one attains the association of a bhakta. This is called muktip urvika shanti, everlasting peace accompanied by mukti. Here, mukti means being situated in one's own svarupa. At that time, the tendency to perform pure bhajana illuminates the glory of the constitutional nature of the jiva." Thus ends the Sarartha-Varshini Prakashika-vritti, by Shri Shrimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja, on the Fifth Chapter of Shrimad Bhagavad-gita.