Publisher’s Note: The translation of the Gita presented here was compiled mainly from Sri Aurobindo’s“Essays on the Gita”. It first appeared in “The Message of the Gita”, edited by Anilbaran Roy, in 1938. Sri Aurobindo approved this book for publication; however, he made it clear in one of his letters that the translations in the Essays were “more explanatory than textually precise or cast in a literary style”. Many of them are paraphrases rather than strict translations.
Sri Aurobindo also wrote that he did not wish extracts from the Essays “to go out as my translation of the Gita”. This should be borne in mind by the reader as he makes use of this translation, which has been provided as a bridge between the Gita and Sri Aurobindo’s Essays.
1. Arjuna said: Thou declarest to me the renunciation of works, O Krishna, and again thou declarest to me Yoga; which one of these is the better way, that tell me with a clear decisiveness.
2. The Blessed Lord said: Renunciation and Yoga of works both bring about the soul’s salvation, but of the two the Yoga of works is distinguished above the renunciation of works.
3. He should be known as always a Sannyasin (even when he is doing action) who neither dislikes nor desires; for free from the dualities he is released easily and happily from the bondage.
4. Children speak of Sankhya and Yoga apart from each other, not the wise; if a man applies himself integrally to one, he gets the fruit of both.
5. The status which is attained by the Sankhya, to that the men of the Yoga also arrive; who sees Sankhya and Yoga as one, he sees.
6. But renunciation, O mighty-armed, is difficult to attain without Yoga; the sage who has Yoga attains soon to the Brahman.
7. He who is in Yoga, the pure soul, master of his self, who has conquered the senses, whose self becomes the self of all existences (of all things that have become), even though he does works, he is not involved in them.
8-9. The man who knows the principles of things thinks, his mind in Yoga (with the inactive Impersonal), “I am doing nothing”; when he sees, hears, tastes, smells, eats, moves, sleeps, breathes, speaks, takes, ejects, opens his eyes or closes them, he holds that it is only the senses acting upon the objects of the senses.
10. He who, having abandoned attachment, acts reposing (or founding) his works on the Brahman, is not stained by sin even as water clings not to the lotus-leaf.
11. Therefore the Yogins do works with the body, mind, understanding, or even merely with the organs of action, abandoning attachment, for self-purification.
12. By abandoning attachment to the fruits of works, the soul in union with Brahman attains to peace of rapt foundation in Brahman, but the soul not in union is attached to the fruit and bound by the action of desire.
13. The embodied soul perfectly controlling its nature, having renounced all its actions by the mind (inwardly, not outwardly), sits serenely in its nine-gated city neither doing nor causing to be done.
14. The Lord neither creates the works of the world nor the state of the doer nor the joining of the works to the fruit; nature works out these things.
15. The all-pervading Impersonal accepts neither the sin nor the virtue of any, knowledge is enveloped by ignorance; thereby creatures are bewildered.
16. Verily, in whom ignorance is destroyed by self-knowledge, in them knowledge lights up like a sun the supreme Self (within them).
17. Turning their discerning mind to That, directing their whole conscious being to That, making That their whole aim and the sole object of their devotion, they go whence there is no return, their sins washed by the waters of knowledge.
18. Sages see with an equal eye the learned and cultured Brahmin, the cow, the elephant, the dog, the outcaste.
19. Even here on earth they have conquered the creation whose mind is established in equality; the equal Brahman is faultless, therefore they live in the Brahman.
20. With intelligence stable, unbewildered, the knower of Brahman, living in the Brahman, neither rejoices on obtaining what is pleasant, nor sorrows on obtaining what is unpleasant.
21. When the soul is no longer attached to the touches of outward things, then one finds the happiness that exists in the Self; such a one enjoys an imperishable happiness, because his self is in Yoga, yukta, by Yoga with the Brahman.
22. The enjoyments born of the touches of things are causes of sorrow, they have a beginning and an end; therefore the sage, the man of awakened understanding, budhah, does not place his delight in these.
23. He who can bear here in the body the velocity of wrath and desire, is the Yogin, the happy man.
24. He who has the inner happiness and the inner ease and repose and the inner light, that Yogin becomes the Brahman and reaches self-extinction in the Brahman, brahmanirvanam.
25. Sages win Nirvana in the Brahman, they in whom the stains of sin are effaced and the knot of doubt is cut asunder, masters of their selves, who are occupied in doing good to all creatures.
26. Yatis (those who practise self-mastery by Yoga and austerity) who are delivered from desire and wrath and have gained self-mastery, for them Nirvana in the Brahman exists all about them, encompasses them, they already live in it because they have knowledge of the Self.
27-28. Having put outside of himself all outward touches and concentrated the vision between the eyebrows and made equal the prana and the apana moving within the nostrils, having controlled the senses, the mind and the understanding, the sage devoted to liberation, from whom desire and wrath and fear have passed away, is ever free.
29. When a man has known Me as the Enjoyer of sacrifice of all the worlds, the friend of all creatures, he comes by the peace.
as translated by
in: SABCL, volume 13 “Essays on the Gita, with Sanskrit Text and Translation of the Gita”
pages 628- 635
published by Sri Aurobindo Ashram – Pondicherry