The Essence of the Bhagavad Gita – Chapter 18
The Path to Liberation through Renunciation
Part III of III (Shlokas 56 – 78)
Shri Krishna said, “One who has surrendered to Me, by My grace, attains the eternal supreme state that a Yogi or a Jnani attains, even if one has been engaged in performing worldly responsibilities.
O Arjuna! Mentally offer the results of all your actions to Me. Then, keep your mind balanced in all situations, and considering Me as the Supreme Goal of life, focus your mind on Me.
By focusing your mind on Me, you will easily overcome all your obstacles by My grace. If, following your ego, you do not listen to Me, then you will be heading towards your own destruction.
Due to your ego, if you decide, “I am not going to fight this war,” then it will be your unwise decision because your own nature will force you to fight this war to protect righteousness.
O Son of Kunti! As a result of your own past actions (of training to be a king) you will be forced to perform this very action which you do not want to perform because of your attachment to your relatives.
God (Brahman) is residing in the hearts of all, and by God’s power, Maya, people are made to function according to their past actions, as if they are mounted on a machine.
O Bharat! Surrender to God with your full heart. By the grace of God, you will attain supreme peace and the supreme state (through the performance of your responsibilities).
Thus, I have told you the most profound knowledge. Reflect upon it deeply and do whatever you think is right.
Because you are my most beloved, I will tell you, again, the most profound advice, which is of great benefit to you.
“Focus your mind on Me (Brahman), be My devotee, worship Me, and surrender to Me. By doing this, I am telling you with full certainty that you will attain to My supreme state.
Renounce all the results of your actions and take refuge in Me (Brahman) alone. Do not grieve. I will make you free of all your sins (unavoidable unpleasant consequences of your responsibilities performed).”
Sharing these teachings:
“Do not give these teachings to anyone who is either (1) not austere, (2) devoid of devotion, (3) not interested in listening, or (4) speaks ill of Me.
However, one who is endowed with supreme love for Me (Brahman) and shares these profound teachings to My devotees will become one with Me without any doubt, and there will be no other work that pleases me more than that. Such a devotee will be My most beloved.
It is my firm conviction that whosoever studies this divine dialogue between Arjuna and I will actually be worshipping Me with the yajna of Knowledge.
If a person who is endowed with faith and free of malice even listens to this divine dialogue, (s)he will be freed from all sins and will attain a state attained by those of meritorious actions.
Shri Krishna’s Last Questions:
“O Partha! Did you listen to my teachings with a focused mind? Did your delusion, created by your ignorance, get destroyed?”
Arjuna said, “O Achyuta (Krishna)! By your grace, my delusion has been destroyed and my right understanding has come back. All my doubts have vanished and I will completely follow your guidance.”
Sanjaya said, “Thus, I have heard the wonderful dialogue between Vasudeva (Shri Krishna) and the great soul, Arjuna. This dialogue brought goose bumps to me.
By the grace of Shri Vyasa, I heard these supreme and profound teachings of yoga directly from Shri Krishna.
O King (Dhrutarashtra)! I feel very much elated by remembering this wonderful and sacred dialogue between Shri Krishna and Arjuna. Also, my heart fills up with great joy and wonder whenever I remember the divine form of Lord Shri Krishna.
I am fully convinced that wherever there is Shri Krishna, the Lord of all Yogas, and the great archer, Arjuna, holding the bow Gandiva, there is prosperity, victory, mighty power, and right conduct.”
Thus, in the Bhagavad Gita— the essence of the Upanishads, the science of Brahman, the scripture of Yoga, and the dialogue between Shri Krishna and Arjuna— ends the Eighteenth Chapter, entitled “The Path to Liberation through Renunciation.”
Om Tat Sat.
(Thanks to Radha Dhar for editing this post.)