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Bhagvad-Gita: Treatise of self-help

by BS Murthy

                                                                      <<Back to Chapter 17

Chapter-18: Thy Looking-glass

 

This chapter of 78 slokas, known as moksha sanyaasa yoga, Realization through Abnegation, describes such aspects of human behaviour based on the three natures - virtue, passion and delusion - and the path of selfless action. And in the end, the relevance of, and the reverence to, the Gita is described.

One can note that s12 breaks the continuity between s11 and s13 with hyperbolic averments, and s56  combines what is stated in the preceding and the succeeding slokas, and thus  both are seemingly interpolations.

S41- s48 that describe the allotted duties of man on the basis of his caste are clearly interpolations. In essence, the discourse till s 40 is about the human nature and how it affects man. As can be seen, the duties on caste lines detailed in the said interpolations have no continuity of argument. As in earlier chapters, the text acquires continuity if only these verses are bypassed.

S61 avers that the Supreme dwells in humans and deludes them all by his maya. This is contrary to what is stated in s14, c5, ĎItís his nature, but not Spirit / Makes man act by wants inducedí. Thus, s61 clearly is an interpolation as it contravenes the neutrality of the Supreme Spirit in the affairs of man affirmed throughout by Lord Krishna.   

1     

Thus spoke Arjuna:

Pray Thee tell, for my grasp

All about sanyaas, path forsake

And self-denial thatís tyaaga.

2     

Thus spoke the Lord:

Lack inclination, itís sanyaas

Sans wants work what makes tyaaga.

3     

Fault some sages effort per se

Others give nod to deeds noble.

4     

Make thee privy of three ways 

By which, men all give up well.

5     

Effort, gift ín austerity

Take men all on road forsake.  

6         

Forsake I this vouchsafe when

Acts man with no axe to grind.

7     

Avoid obligation, itís no abnegation 

Boils it down to, give up of delusion.

8     

Forgo made easy passionate opt

Desist from duties that strain them.

9     

Indulge virtuous in their work

With no thought of its outcome.

10   

With no illusion but diligence

Carries renunciant his duties

Agreeable or otherwise too.

11   

Needs one work to sustain life

Relinquients avoid, overloads all. 

13   

Factors five all deeds engulf

Know them well to free thyself.

14   

Prone are acts to these aspects -

Body to sustain, ego that goads

Senses thy lure, life to guard

Faith in deities that tends thee.

15   

Be well or so be ill

In word, thought ín deed as well

Sourced are acts in these aspects. 

16   

Ignoramus in vain ascribe

Acts of theirs to Spirit in them.

17

Itís for thee to realize now

That by killing these Kauravs

Slay thee none of them thyself.

18   

Aspects knowable, known ín knower

Lead to duty, deed ín doer, in that order.

19   

Knowable as well deeds ín doers

Bracket those freed in three groups.

20   

Lay indivisible in frames divisible

Realize virtuous Spirit not perishable.  

21

Spirit in them ín others that lies

Apart ín unique feel passionate.  

22   

Failing to see beyond the self

Deluded think like frog in well.  

23   

Illusions of life virtuous

See in light of limitations

Thus thou carry businesslike 

Duties that their life ordains

24   

In want passionate come to live

Bogged down by, what they eye. 

25

Deluded work in reckless ways 

Harm their cause ín othersí as well.

26

Taking well and ever at ease

Senses honed ín ego evened          

Detached virtuous ever engage. 

27                   

Mind as covetous ín thought impure

Crave passionate all things mundane

Which them excite as well pull down.

28   

Verily deluded, vulgar ín vacillate

Arrogant, dishonest, ignorant ín malicious

Indolent being remain they gloomy.

29   

By natures of these beings

Features intellect theirs vary. 

30   

Deal virtuous in measures equal

Weigh they fine all deeds their fair.

31   

Perspective lack passionate right

In weird ways they tend their lives.

32

Given their state of perversion

Go all deluded in wrong path.

33   

Virtuous ever in self-control 

Steady they wavering mind of theirs.

34   

Things that seem to bring joys

Passionate all with zeal pursue.

35

Proud ín arrogant, doubting ín grieving

Bog down deluded in despair. 

36   

Make a note of these three ways

Pains which banish ín fetch bliss.

37   

What fail sprint ín serve long run

Virtuous know keep woes at bay.

38   

Itís the way with thy passion

To jump at all that what might tempt 

Which would turn sour in due course.

39   

Ever in day-dreams     

End up deluded in dreamlands.

40   

Beyond the pale of these natures

None ever exists in three worlds.

49

With no want

Allegiant to none,

Freed from action

Thou forsake. 

50       

Leads how forsake to Brahman  

Know that Wisdom Supreme now.

51

With pure mind ín will thatís strong

Wants thou void and firm thy self - 

52   

Frugal of food, thoughts reined in

Dwell in self thou sans passion Ė

53   

Lack thou pride, wish ín wrath 

Give up ego, crave not power 

Be content and live in peace

Itís then thou come near Brahman.

54   

Treat all beings ever equal

And in devotion live tranquil.

Itís thou attain State Brahman. 

55   

Itís then one would know Me true

That tends him to be one with Me.

57

Let thy faith in Me be strong

Take Me thou for thy shelter

And ever thee act as My agent.

58    .

Itís all smooth sail if heeded

At thy peril thou this ignore.

59   

Itís thine ego sues for peace

But prevails what is thy nature..

60   

Sidetrack might thine illusions 

But nature thine would shape thy deeds. 

62   

Fix thy mind on Me Supreme

Find thou peace in My refuge. 

63   

That thee heard of this wisdom 

For task on hand now apply mind.

64      

O, dear friend, let Me tell

Word My final that benefits.

65   

If one remains to Me firm

Itís My promise I take him.

66   

Set all aside ín have faith

Thus sans sin, reach Me thou

67

None of this for those who lack

Faith in Me and selfless work.  

68   

Whoso passes this secret

To devout Mine all reach Me true.

69

Know not I a dearer soul

None there ever a better service.

70   

Who that studies this discourse  

He Me prays in true wisdom.

71   

Hears this whoso in good faith

Attains he the Worlds Higher.

72   

Looks as if thou got it right

Let not delusions rule thy head.

73   

Thus spoke Arjuna:

Glad O Lord

Gone are doubts,

Sense I gained 

With Thy words.

74   

Thus spoke Sanjaya:

Itís what Iíve heard of that stirring

Dialogue between these great souls

Krishn and Arjun as they spoke.

75   

Itís with Vyasaís grace I've heard

This peerless art of yogic life

Which Lord Krishna taught Paartha.

76   

Found I thrilling, dialogue stirring

Reminiscing I rejoice, again and again.

77   

What a wondrous Form that was

Recalling I rejoice, again and again.

78     

Wherever yogic Lord Krishna

Joins hands with great Paartha  

Goddess Victory, spreads carpet

Heaven on earth to set there ever.

 

Ends thus:

Thy Looking-glass               

The Eighteenth Chapter

Of Vyasaís classic

Bhagavad-Gita

    

  <<Back to Chapter 17

Introduction  Chapter 1   Chapter 2    Chapter 3    Chapter 4   

Chapter 5    Chapter 6  Chapter 7  Chapter 8    Chapter 9  

Chapter 10 Chapter 11   Chapter 12 Chapter 13 Chapter 14 

Chapter 15  Chapter 16  Chapter 17  Chapter 18

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