Sastra Caksusa

seeing through the eyes of scriptures

Chapter 3. Karma-yoga


na karmanam anarambhan naiskarmyam puruso  'snute na ca sannyasanad eva siddhimsamadhigacchati


na--without; karmanam--of the prescribed duties; anarambhat--nonperformance; naiskarmyam--freedom from reaction; purusah--man; asnute--achieve; na--nor; ca--also; sannyasanat--by  renunciation; eva--simply; siddhim--success; samadhigacchati--attain.


Not by merely abstaining from  work can one achieve freedom from reaction, nor by renunciation alone can one  attain perfection.


The renounced order of life can be  accepted upon being purified by the discharge of the prescribed form of duties  which are laid down just to purify the heart of materialistic men. Without  purification, one cannot attain success by abruptly adopting the fourth order of  life (sannyasa). According to the empirical philosophers, simply by  adopting sannyasa, or retiring from fruitive activities, one at once  becomes as good as Narayana. But Lord Krsna does not approve this principle.  Without purification of heart, sannyasa is simply a disturbance to the  social order. On the other hand, if someone takes to the transcendental service  of the Lord, even without discharging his prescribed duties, whatever he may be  able to advance in the cause is accepted by the Lord (buddhi-yoga). Svalpam apy asya dharmasya trayate mahato bhayat. Even a slight  performance of such a principle enables one to overcome great difficulties.

for unauthorized changes to Bhagavad Gita chapter 3 see:

Commentary by Sri Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakur

This verse explains that without purity of heart, jnana does not take place. By not engaging in activities recommended in the scriptures, one cannot attain jnana (naiskarmyam). One with an impure heart cannot attain jnana by renunciation of activities recommended in the scriptures (sannyasat).

Rudra Vaisnava Sampradaya:
Sridhara Swami's Commentary

Therefore until the light of knowledge dawns within a completely purified  mind prescribed actions in the Vedic scriptures must be performed for  purification by the different castes in various stages of life called varna- asrama. This is what Lord Krishna is explaining here.  Otherwise due to a lack of purity in the mind spiritual knowledge will not  manifest. This is the purport. In the Brihad IV.IV.XXII it states: The renunciates realising the Supreme Lord became liberated. So it can be understood  that renunciation leads to moksa or liberation. But there might arise the  question that if moksa is the result of renunciation then what is the  need for actions? Apprehending such a doubt the verse states na ca sannyasanad eva meaning not only by renunciation. The import is that  renunciation alone is not sufficient in itself to attain moksa if there  is not sufficient spiritual knowledge accompanying it.

Brahma Vaisnava Sampradaya:
Madhvacarya's Commentary

The actions Lord Krishna is referring to in this verse are the ordained  actions prescribed in the Vedic scriptures. By the abstention of ordained  actions or by the renunciation of ordained actions one will not ever be able to  achieve moksa or liberation. By the cultivation of spiritual knowledge only is  liberation possible. This is the purport. Why is this so? Because of the word purusah in the verse meaning person. The jiva or living entity is enclosed in a  subtle body along with a corporal body. If by abstention of action moksa was  possible then it would be available to inanimate things as well. Neither by the  abstention of actions or the absence of reactions from the renunciation of  actions will liberation come into effect.

The effects we are experiencing in the present life are reactions both positive and negative caused by our innumerable actions in previous lives. It is not that all the reactions have been terminated at birth, Males up to the end of 14 years and females up to the end of 10 years complete their life span of the effects of prior activities from past births. Living entities are capable of innumerable actions even in a single lifetime and each of these actions may be the cause of a future birth or even result in many future lives. Contrarily by performing even a single action one can receive a human life which is the culmination and conclusion of all one’s remaining lives. Thus accumulation of actions can never end indefinitely.

The Brahma Purana states that: The primordial world is eternal and so are the  effects of actions. Therefore how can there be release from actions without realisation of the Supreme Lord? If the primordial world came about by accident  without any relation ship with casual actions then how could there be any  relationship between human beings and the primordial world? The state of being  liberated can only be achieved by one who is completely free from all desires  including the desire for liberation. All desires are manifesting as appropriate  and inappropriate actions. Factually it is the absence of desires that result in  the state of liberation. Actions performed without desire for rewards with  spiritual consciousness contribute to the fulfilment of liberation. When fulfilment is achieved one attains the ultimate consciousness and liberation is  automatically included. By performing actions in this manner a living being  becomes verily a being of non-action. Renunciation is relinquishing the desire  for rewards attached to appropriate actions as Lord Krishna explains later in  chapter XVIII verse two kamyanam karmanam nyasam meaning the renouncing of fruitive activities. Performing actions in spiritual consciousness without  desire leads to liberation. For one who has become effulgent, purified by  actions performed in spiritual consciousness, renunciation appears in their  heart. Only one with a pure heart, free from desire and attachment is known as  one situated in spiritual knowledge. Just as one seeing delightful things in a  dream does not let that interfere for a moment the pleasures of daily life. For  such a one there is no clarity in the principles nor faith in the Vedic  injunctions.

A counterpoint may be raised that if the absence of desire for reward is the  means for moksa then why not give up actions altogether giving no opportunity  for the fruits to manifest. This opinion is neutralised in the verse by na ca sannyasanad eva meaning not only by renunciation. So it should be understood  that not by mere absence of desires or even the absence of actions that  liberation can be achieved but the performance of actions without desire for  reward is the essential ingredient to understand.

It should be understood that renunciation is primarily for deep meditation  and reflection of the resplendent Supreme Lord. This way is not suitable for  those in the grihasta ashram or householder life with wife and children and who  must be engrossed daily in so many material functions to provide for their  family. But in later life when the children are grown the householder who by  dint of actions has acquired a meditative mind can also become eligible for  renunciation and please the Lord. The Supreme Lord is exceedingly pleased by  those who practice renunciation. In the Narayanakshara Kalpa it is said that:  Among all initiations the one that is made in the stage of renunciation is the  topmost and most pleasing to the Supreme Lord. The demi-gods and many well known  great and pious kings of yore in India while performing myriad’s of actions  for universal management and world order always kept their minds focused on the  Supreme. Therefore even when they were engaged in activities their minds never  wavered from Him and the Supreme Lord Krishna was pleased.

Sri Vaisnava Sampradaya:
Ramanuja's Commentary

Neither by not performing the activities prescribed in the Vedic scriptures  nor by abandoning them once they were begun does one attain the qualification to  perform jnana yoga the cultivation of spiritual knowledge. This is  because that actions when performed as worship for the Supreme Lord for His  satisfaction alone with no desire or expectation for any reward leads to  perfection and without this consciousness one is not qualified for jnana  yoga. For in jnana yoga exclusive attention is devoted to atma-nistha deep faith in knowledge and meditation of the soul. This is  only possible for one who has relinquished all desires and expectations fully.  It is not possible for one who is still mired in the pursuit of fruitive  activities, burdened with sins from previous lives and for one who has never  worshipped Lord Krishna with love and devotion with no anticipation of reward.

Kumara Vaisnava Sampradaya:
Kesava Kasmiri's Commentary

It has been established that activities prescribed in the Vedic scriptures  performed without anticipation of rewards are conducive for spiritual developement. Without this inner consciousness one is not qualified for jnana  yoga or the cultivation of spiritual knowledge. Many may wish for moksa or  liberation and attempt to renounce the world prematurely but they do not reach  perfection only by such renunciation. This is verified in the verse by the words na eva sanyasanat meaning not merely by renunciation. So it should be understood  that without purity of mind and adequate spiritual knowledge a person even  though appearing to be a renunciate actually has not properly qualified  themselves for jnana yoga in spite of appearances.

Ch 3 Verse 4
na karmanam anarambhan / naishkarmyam purusho'shnute na ca sannyasanad eva / siddhim samadhigacchati

(it is) na anarambhat---not by refraining from; karmanam---prescribed duties; (that) purushah---a person; ashnute---attains; naishkarmyam---freedom from reaction; ca---and; (it is) na---not; eva---only; sannyasanat---by renouncing prescribed duties; (that a person whose heart is impure) samadhigacchati---attains; siddhim---perfection.
Without performing karma as prescribed in shastra, a person cannot attain knowledge in the form of naishkarmya, nor can a person with an impure heart attain perfection merely by renouncing action ( sannyasa).
In this shloka beginning with the word na, Shri Bhagavan is explaining that jnana will not appear in an impure heart. One cannot attain naishkarmya (freedom from karma and its reaction), without performing the karma (action) prescribed in shastra and consequently one cannot attain jnana. Those persons whose hearts are impure cannot attain perfection merely by accepting sannyasa, the renunciation of prescribed karma.
Jnana does not appear unless the heart is pure, and without jnana one cannot perfect sannyasa, which is a limb of the process of attaining moksha. Therefore, until one attains jnana by purity of heart one should, as stated in shastra, continue performing prescribed duties related to varnashramadharma.

comments: Srila Prabhupada in his purport talks about not taking sannyasa unless one has the purity of heart , many persons that take sannyasa are so proud that they are destined to rebirth , Srimad Bhagavatam have predicted that sannyasis in Kali yuga are mostly greedy after money ,then how can they have a pure heart? Lord Caitanya ordered all His associates to chant minimum 64 rounds daily of the Mahamantra and avoid the 10 offences to Sri Nama.How can there purity of heart without chanting this much?All the acaryas has stated that without Jnana a persons sannyasa will be imperfect.There is two kind of Jnana..Jnana and Vijnana.

In the 18th Chapter of Bhagavad Gita Krsna states:

samo damas tapah saucam ksantir arjavam eva ca jnanam vijnanam astikyam brahma-karma svabhava-jam


samah--peacefulness; damah--self-control; tapah--austerity; saucam--purity; ksantih--tolerance; arjavam--honesty; eva--certainly; ca--and; jnanam--knowledge; vijnanam--wisdom; astikyam--religiousness; brahma--of a brahmana;karma--duty; svabhava-jam--born of his own nature.


Peacefulness, self-control,  austerity, purity, tolerance, honesty, wisdom, knowledge, and  religiousness--these are the qualities by which the brahmanas work.

Thus without having the qualities of a Brahmana one can not be a sannyasi , only in name..

Views: 148


You need to be a member of Sastra Caksusa to add comments!

Join Sastra Caksusa

© 2021   Created by Paramananda das.   Powered by

Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service