yajna-shishtaashinah santo, muchyante sarva-kilbishaih |
bhunjate te tv agham paapaa, ye pachantyaatma-kaaranaat ||
“The righteous, who eat the remnants of the sacrifice, are released from all sins. But the sinful ones, who cook food or do all actions for themselves, verily devour sin.”
‘Yajnashisthaashinah santah’ — When duties are performed according to the scriptural injunctions, without desiring fruit, in the spirit of yagna (in the form of a remnant of the sacrifice) then Equanimity and Yog (union) finally remains. The main factor in the Discipline of Action (Karmayog) is, that it is only with the materials received from the world that an action is performed. Therefore, it is only when selfless service is rendered to the world that an action is called ‘Yajna’ . After performing sacrifice (action) the residue ‘Yoga’ (Equanimity) is, for oneself. This ‘Yoga’ (Equanimity) is the essence which has been called ‘nectar’ in the fourth chapter (4/31).
‘Mucyante sarvakilbisaih’ — Here the term kilbisaih’ means
sins viz., bondage. The Lord has used the adjective, ‘sarva’ (all),
which means that having realized equanimity, a man is released
from all bondage. All his actions performed in the past, (as
stored and ripe ones) as well as, those performed at present,
melt away i.e., are reduced to nothing (Gita 4/23).* When his
actions have been reduced to nothing, he attains to the eternal
Absolute (Gita 4/31).
In the ninth verse of this chapter, the Lord declared, “mankind is bound by actions, other than those, performed for the sake of sacrifice.” While in the twenty-third verse of the fourth chapter He declared, “All the actions of the man who works for the sake of sacrifice, are dissolved.” The same fact has been pointed out here, in this verse. It means, that people who realize equanimity, the remnant of sacrifice, are liberated from all bondage. Not only the sinful actions, but also the virtuous actions which are performed, with the hope of fruit, are conducive to bondage. He who has attained equanimity as remnant of sacrifice, casts away both good (virtues) and evil (sins) (GIta 2/50).
Now think over the root of bondage. The desire, that this should happen and that should not happen, is the root of bondage. Desire is the cause of all sins (GIta 3/37). So it must be renounced.
In fact, desire has no independent existence of its own. It is born of a feeling of want in the self, while in the self (soul) no paucity, is ever possible. So the self has no desire. But a man’s self by identifying itself with the unreal body etc., feels the missing objects for the body, as shortage in him, and thus has a desire for the unreal. He should realize that he (self) ever remains the same, while the worldly objects and actions appear and disappear, these are bom and perish. So, how can the perishable fulfil the desire of the imperishable? Therefore, it is a folly to hanker after those sense-objects. They cannot make up the deficiency. If a serious and proper thought, is given to this point, desires can be wiped out easily.
When a striver renders service with his body and things etc., without regarding these as his and for him, his affinity with the body and things etc., is renounced and he realizes the real self. Then, he feels no want. Such a man is liberated from the bondage of the world, while he is alive.
‘Ye pacantyatmakaranat’—All kind of desire, selfishness, attachment etc., are included in the expression ‘atmakaranati (for their own sake). The more selfish a man is, the greater a sinner he is.
Here the term ‘pachanti’ denotes, all the mundane actions such as eating, drinking, walking, sitting and so on. Whatever action a selfish man performs, either for himself or for others, performs only for himself. On the other hand, a striver who, having renounced selfish motives while performing his duty, works for others only, even when he appears to work for himself. He, who uses the objects which he has received from the world for his own enjoyment, actually cooks food for his own sake. It is a great sin to regard the body, a fragment of the world, as one’s own and for one’s own self. But he who without, regarding the body as his own, supplies necessities such as food, water and clothes etc., to it, and does not allow it to be lazy, heedless and pleasure-seeking, renders service to it and becomes free from the feeling of mineness and attachment to it.
Man himself, has to reap the fruit of actions performed by him. But his actions affect the entire world. He who performs actions for himself, deviates from his duty. That deviation results in calamities such as famines, epidemics and deaths etc., in a country. So, it is proper on the part of a man, that he should do nothing for himself, should regard nothing as his own and should desire nothing for himself.
He who expects the perishable fruit of actions, is also like those who cook food, for their own sake. So the Lord in the first verse of the sixth chapter, declares that a Karmayogi should perform his allotted duty without depending on the fruit of actions. When a man totally renounces dependence on the fruit of action, he does nothing for himself and thus gets established in Yoga.
‘Bhunjate te tvagharii papa’—The Lord condemns the sinful ones, who perform actions for themselves. Such persons store so many sins which are not exhausted even after suffering tortures in hells and eighty-four lac forms of lives, but their sinful actions remain as stored actions (sancita karma). Human life is such a marvellous field in which, as we sow so shall we reap for many births to come*. Therefore, a man must resolve not to commit sins in future i.e., must not perform actions for himself. Such a resolution means a great power. The fact is, that all the sins of a man who resolves to follow the spiritual path, cease to be committed by him.
* When he has no desire, his stored actions of the past disappear. So long as the body is alive, desirable and undesirable circumstances appear according to the fortune, but he remains unaffected by them. Thus actions in the form of fortune also disappear. As far as the actions of the present are concerned, they are turned into inaction i.e., they don’t bear any fruit because they are performed without any desire for fruit.
From “The Bhagavad Gita – Sadhak Sanjivani” in English pg. 296 – 299 by Swami Ramsukhdasji
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