sarvakarmaani manasaa sannyasyaaste sukham vashee |
navadvaare pure dehee naiva kurvanna kaarayan || 13 ||

Having mindfully renounced all actions, the conqueror remains established in bliss. The embodied one, in the city with nine gates, neither acts nor causes to act.

sarvakarmaani : all actions
manasaa : mindfully
sannyasya : having renounced
aaste : remains established
sukham : bliss
vashee : the conqueror (of mind and senses)
navadvaare : with nine gates
pure : city
dehee : the embodied one
na : not
eva  : ever
kurvan : acts
na : nor
kaarayan : causes to act

Having spoken about the karmayogi’s vision, Shri Krishna now provides an illustration of the enlightened seeker’s vision in these shlokas. The picture he paints here is that one who identifies himself with the eternal essence, knows that he is only a dweller in the body, just like the resident of a city knows that he is a dweller, who is totally distinct from the city.

Imagine that you move into a new city for a job. As part of the move, you begin to utilize the city’s services such as water, electricity, garbage collection, telephone, cable etc. But while you utilize these services, you know that you are a resident of the city. You don’t begin to think that you are directly responsible for running the city. For example, when you someone picks up the garbage, it is part of the city’s services. You are in no way “running” the services.

Similarly, the enlightened seeker knows that he is the eternal essence, which is a dweller in the body and separate from the body. The body is pictorially depicted as a city with nine gates, each gate being an orifice (ear, nostril, eye) and so on. So when the seeker uses his hands, for example, he knows that the body, mind and intellect are operating independently. The enlightened seeker is in actuality, doing nothing at all. Just like the resident knows that the city’s services operate by themselves, and he is just a witness, similarly the enlightened person knows that the self is just a resident in the body, totally separate from the body.

Another indication of the seeker’s state is that he has complete control of his senses, and that he has mentally renounced the notion of doership. He knows that it is the body, mind and intellect that is performing action. This is indicated in the first part of the shloka. The end result is that the seeker, knowing that he is separate and distinct from the actions of the body, mind and intellect, lives in complete bliss.

Footnotes

1. Adi Shankaraachaarya in his commentary of this shloka gives an indicator that differentiates an enlightened seeker from an ordinary seeker. Let’s say we ask someone the question: “where are you sitting?”. If the person answers “on a chair” etc, then he is an ignorant seeker. If he answers “I am always sitting in the body”, he is an enlightened seeker.

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