Bhagavad-Gita XVIII 48 – 61

Dear Friends,

This is a part of the last Teaching (Chapter XVIII – Verses 48 – 61) of the Bhagavad-Gita, also called The Celestial Song. I find each section is a meditation on its own.  

Some terms, such as “renunciation”  might evoke quick associations that, upon deeper pondering, reveal themselves as unfounded. I refer to Krishnamurti speaking of “fine restraint”  and “austerity” as a life of inner poise, not caught up in the winds of emotional turbulence – but in no way cutting oneself off from the passion for Life in all its myriad forms. I wish you contemplation full of fruits for your own process.

Krishna and Arjuna


Arjuna, a man should not relinquish action he is born to, even if it is flawed;
all undertakings are marred by a flaw,
as fire is obscured by smoke.


His understanding everywhere detached,
the self mastered, longing gone,
one finds through renunciation
the supreme success beyond action.


Understand in summary from me
how when he achieves success
one attains the infinite spirit,
the highest state of knowledge.


Armed with purified understanding,
subduing the self with resolve,
relinquishing sensuous objects,
avoiding attraction and hatred;


Observing solitude, barely eating,
restraining speech, body, and mind;
practicing discipline in meditation,
cultivating dispassion;


Freeing himself from individuality, force,
pride, desire, anger, acquisitiveness;
unpossessive, tranquil,
he is at one with the infinite spirit.


Being at one with the infinite spirit,
serene in himself, he does not grieve or crave;
impartial toward all creatures,
he achieves supreme devotion to me.


Through devotion he discerns me,
just who and how vast I really am;
and knowing me in reality,
he enters into my presence.


Always performing all actions,
taking refuge in me,
he attains through my grace
the eternal place beyond change.


Through reason, renounce all works
in me, focus on me;
relying on the discipline of understanding,
always keep me in your thought.


If I am in your thought, by my grace
you will transcend all dangers;
but if you are deafened
by individuality, you will be lost.


Your resolve is futile
if a sense of individuality
makes you think, ” I shall not fight” —
nature will compel you to.


You are bound by your own action,
intrinsic to your being, Arjuna;
even against your will you must do
what delusion now makes you refuse.


Arjuna, the lord resides
in the heart of all creatures,
making them reel magically,
as if a machine moved them.

translation: Barbara Stoler Miller

The entire text


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