In response to Arjuna’s question about the difference between sanyaasa and tyaaga, renunciation and abandonment, Shri Krishna provided several contemporary definitions of tyaaga. He then enumerated three kinds of tyaaga based on the three gunaas. The foremost is sattvic tyaaga where the individual performs his duty and gives up attachment to any personal reward. The importance of action was reiterated for those who have a sense of ego, a sense of I and mine.
Next, Shri Krishna analyzed the five factors that are involved in any action : the foundation, the doer, the instruments, energy and divinity. He then analyzed the three factors that compel us to act : knowledge, action and the sense of doership. These three, as well as intellect, fortitude and joy, were each categorized as sattvic, raajasic and taamasic. This conclusively proved that no one or nothing is free from the effect of the three gunaas.
After explaining the power of the gunaas over our lives, the system of analyzing our mental makeup, the varna system, was explained. Self analysis of our mental makeup enables us to select our duty towards society, which is broadly classified as brahman, kshatriya, vaishya or shoodra. By engaging in our duty and offering our actions to Ishvara, we purify our mind of all selfishness, and reach the state of jnyaana nishthaa yogyata, qualification for devotion to knowledge. When seekers reaches this stage, they engage in a life of monkhood, enabling them to contemplate upon the nature of the aatmaa, the self, and remain devoted to that knowledge, which is known as jnyaana nishthaa, the final stage in the spiritual journey.
Knowing that the state of monkhood is quite far away for most seekers, Shri Krishna restates the teaching which is appropriate for most spiritual seekers. Seek Ishvara, surrender to Ishvara, take refuge in Ishvara, submit all actions and enjoyments to Ishvara. This will enable us to transcend the machine of maaya in which we are trapped. Through Ishvara’s grace, we will make progress in our spiritual journey. The eighteenth chapter and the Gita concludes with Arjuna accepting Shri Krishna’s teaching, Shri Krishna explaining the teaching tradition and praising the teacher and student who study the Gita, and Sanjaya praising and recollecting the joy of listening to the teaching.