From the Bhagavad Gita

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Sri Krishna:

You have the right to work, but for the work's sake only. You have no right to the fruits of work. Desire for the fruits of work must never be your motive in working. Never give way to laziness either.

Perform every action with your heart fixed on the Supreme Lord. Renounce attachment to the fruits. Be even-tempered in success and failure

Work done with anxiety about results is far inferior to work done without such anxiety, in the calm of self-surrender. Seek refuge in the knowledge of Brahman. They who work selfishly for results are miserable.

In the calm of self-surrender you can free yourself from the bondage of virtue and vice during this very life. Devote yourself, therefore, to reaching union with Brahman. To unite the heart with Brahman and then to act: that is the secret of unattached work. In the calm of self-surrender, the seers renounce the fruits of their actions, and so reach enlightenment. Then they are free from the bondage of rebirth, and pass to that state which is beyond all evil.

When your intellect has cleared itself of its delusions, you will become indifferent to the results of all action, present and future. At present, your intellect is bewildered by conflicting interpretations of the scriptures. When it can rest, steady and undistracted, in contemplation of the Atman (the Godhead within every being), then you will reach Union with the Atman.


Krishna, how can one identify a man who is firmly established and absorbed in Brahman?

Sri Krishna:

He who knows bliss in the Atman And wants nothing else. Cravings torment the heart: He renounces cravings. I call him illumined.

Not shaken by adversity, Not hankering after happiness: Free from fear, free from anger, Free from the things of desire. I call him a seer, and illumined. The bonds of his flesh are broken. He is lucky, and does not rejoice: He is unlucky, and does not weep. I call him illumined.

The tortoise can draw in his legs: The seer can draw in his sense. I call him illumined.

The abstinent run away from what they desire But carry their desires with them: When a man enters Reality, He leaves his desires behind him.

Even a mind that knows the path Can be dragged from the path: The senses are so unruly. But he controls the senses And recollects the mind And fixes it on me. I call him illumined.

Thinking about sense-objects

Will attach you to sense-objects;

Grow attached, and you become addicted;

Thwart your addiction, it turns to anger;

Be angry, and you confuse your mind;

Confuse your mind, you forget the lesson of experience;

Forget experience, you lose discrimination;

Lose discrimination, and you miss life's only purpose.

When he has no lust, no hatred,

A man walks safely among the things of lust and hatred.

To obey the Atman

Is his peaceful joy:

Sorrow melts

Into that clear peace:

His quiet mind

Is soon established in peace.

The uncontrolled mind

Does not guess that the Atman is present:

How can it meditate?

Without meditation, where is peace?

Without peace, where is happiness?

The wind turns a ship From its course upon the waters: The wandering winds of the senses Cast man's mind adrift

And turn his better judgment from its course.

When a man can still the senses

I call him illumined.

The recollected mind is awake

In the knowledge of the Atman

Which is dark night to the ignorant:

The ignorant are awake in their sense-life

Which they think is daylight:

To the seer it is darkness.

Water flows continually into the ocean

But the ocean is never disturbed:

Desire flows into the mind of the seer

But he is never disturbed.

The seer knows peace:

The man who stirs up his own lusts

Can never know peace.

He knows peace who has forgotten desire

He lives without craving:

Free from ego, free from pride.

This is the state of enlightenment in Brahman: A man does not fall back from it Into delusion.

Even at the moment of death He is alive in that enlightenment: Brahman and he are one.

Selection from:

Swami Prabhavananda and Christopher Isherwood, trans. The Song of God, Bhagavad-Gita. New York, Mentor (MP466), 1954. pp. 4044.

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