Bhagvad-Gita: Treatise of Self-help
Author: BS Murthy

Chapter 19
Thy Looking-glass Chapter 18

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 succeedingslokas, 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, ch.5, ‘It’s his nature, but not Spirit / Makes man act by wants induced’. 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 that’s tyaaga.

2
Thus spoke the Lord:
Lack inclination, it’s 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 ’n austerity
Take men all on road forsake.  

6  
Forsake I this vouchsafe when
Acts man with no axe to grind.

7  
Avoid obligation, it’s 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 ’n deed as well
Sourced are acts in these aspects.

16  
Ignoramus in vain ascribe
Acts of theirs to Spirit in them.

17 
It’s for thee to realize now
That by killing these Kauravs
Slay thee none of them thyself.

18  
Aspects knowable, known ’n knower 
Lead to duty, deed ’n doer, in that order.

19  
Knowable as well deeds ’n doers 
Bracket those freed in three groups.

20  
Lay indivisible in frames divisible
Realize virtuous Spirit not perishable.  

21
Spirit in them ’n others that lies
Apart ’n 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 ’n others’ as well.

26 
Taking well and ever at ease
Senses honed ’n ego evened           
Detached virtuous ever engage. 

27                   
Mind as covetous ’n thought impure 
Crave passionate all things mundane 
Which them excite as well pull down.

28  
Verily deluded, vulgar ’n vacillate 
Arrogant, dishonest, ignorant ’n 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 ’n arrogant, doubting ’n grieving
Bog down deluded in despair. 

36  
Make a note of these three ways
Pains which banish ’n fetch bliss.

37  
What fail sprint ’n serve long run 
Virtuous know keep woes at bay.

38  
It’s 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 ’n will that’s strong 
Wants thou void and firm thy self – 

52  
Frugal of food, thoughts reined in 
Dwell in self thou sans passion –

53  
Lack thou pride, wish ’n wrath  
Give up ego, crave not power  
Be content and live in peace
It’s then thou come near Brahman.

54  
Treat all beings ever equal 
And in devotion live tranquil.
It’s thou attain State Brahman. 

55  
It’s 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
It’s all smooth sail if heeded
At thy peril thou this ignore.

59  
It’s 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
It’s My promise I take him.

66  
Set all aside ’n 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:
It’s what I’ve heard of that stirring 
Dialogue between these great souls
Krishn and Arjun as they spoke.

75  
It’s with Vyasa’s 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 Vyasa’s classic 
Bhagavad-Gita.

Dedicated to -
Grand parents,

Paternal,  
Bulusu Thimmaiah -
Lakshmi Narasamma,
Maternal,
Challa Kameswara Rao - 
Suramma  

And parents,
Peraiah Sastry and Kamakshi,  
In whose care my destiny 
So favourably placed me."

 

 

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