yajnyadaanatapahkarma na tyaajyam kaaryam eva tat |
yajno daanam tapas chaiva paavanaani maneeshinaam || 5 ||

 
Actions of sacrifice, charity and penance should not be given up, they should certainly be performed. Sacrifice, charity and penance are purifiers of wise people.
 
yajnyadaanatapahkarma : actions of sacrifice, charity and penance
na : not
tyaajyam : given up
kaaryam : have to be performed
eva : certainly
tat : that
yajnaha : sacrifice
daanam : charity
tapas : penance
cha: and
eva : also
paavanaani : purifiers
maneeshinaam : of wise people
 
Shri Krishna begins to describe his criteria for actions that should be performed for karma yoga. Instead of creating the criteria from scratch, he uses a viewpoint mentioned earlier as the basis. He says that nitya karmas, the obligatory duties towards society, Ishvara and oneself should be performed. They should never be given up. Only nishiddha karmas or prohibited actions, and kaamya karmas or selfish actions should be given up.
 
This criteria is to be followed by those who are maneeshi, who are wise, who have understood that blind pursuit of material gain is not for them. Such people are interested in liberation only. When these wise people perform their obligatory duties, the performance of those actions acts as a cleanser, a purifier. All traces of raaga and dvesha, likes and dislikes, are slowly cleared out by the performance of obligatory duties. Their actions are propelled out of an attitude of seva or service, not out of personal and selfish likes and dislikes.
 
So then, if this is the case, how should one treat actions performed for one’s career? If we love our career, and it gives us a personal reward in the form of salary, should we give up that as well? We need to resolve this issue by converting our reward oriented actions into selfless actions. Only then will we be able to weaken the samskaaraas or mental impressions that impel us to perform our career oriented actions every day. What is the technique by which we can convert our selfish actions into selfless actions? This is taken up next.

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