karmajam buddhiyukta hi phalam tyaktvaa maneeshinaha |
janmabandhavinirmuktaahaa padam gacchantyanaamayam || 51 ||
Thus, the wise individual who performs actions with equanimity is liberated from the entanglements of birth, and attains the immaculate state.
karmajam : of action
buddhiyuktaha : with equanimity
hi : thus
phalam : result
tyaktvaa : give up
maneeshinaha : wise individual
janmabandhavinirmuktaahaa : liberated from entanglements of birth
padam : state
gacchanti : attains
anaamayam : immaculate
With this shloka, Shri Krishna concludes the introduction to Karmayoga in this chapter. Here, he tells us that one who continually practices Karmayoga frees himself from the entanglements of birth. Let’s look at this in more detail.
Our experience tells us that desires are never ending. Most material desires, once fulfilled, give rise to new ones. For instance, most immigrants to a country such as the US usually arrive with modest means. They rent a flat till they know where they plan to settle long term. And then the desires begin to manifest.
In a few years they take out a loan to buy a house. A house usually has a lawn. So you need a lawnmover, a leafblower, fertilizer, sprinkler system and so on to take care of the lawn. In addition, you need a car to get around. In time, one car is not enough – you need two. And since the neighbour has a Mercedes, you need to get one as well. Similarly with a TV – you start with 32 inch, then 60 inch, then 3D capability, home theatre system etc. Each desire, once fulfilled, gives birth to a new one.
So the shloka here says that this endless cycle of desire after desire entangles us in the material world. And therefore, one uses the discipline of Karmayoga to break out of it so that you reach that state where there are no desires or blemishes in one’s personality – what is termed here as the immaculate state.
Let’s summarize the key points of Karmayoga that we have seen in this chapter. Karmayoga is the performance of actions with equanimity of mind. We also looked at a 3-step toolkit to implement Karmayoga in our lives:
1. Reduce unnecessary thoughts of material objects that do not pertain to our svadharma
2. Improve quality of necessary thoughts by removing extreme attachment and hatred
3. Perform actions focusing on the present moment, without attachment to the result of action