Bhagavad Gita on Purity, Detachment, Renunciation

Adi Shankaracharya was one of the most prominent teachers of the Vedanta philosophy. One of his major contributions to Vedanta was his extensive commentary on the Bhagavad Gita. The foundational or core principles of the Bhagavad Gita were prescribed by him in simple terms. Three foundational principles elucidated by Adi Shankaracharya are explained below.

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na yogena na sāṃkhyena karmaṇā no na vidyayā.
brahmātmakabodhena mokṣaḥ siddhayati nānyathā..

योगेन सांख्येन कर्मणा नो विद्यया.
ब्रह्मात्मकबोधेन मोक्षः सिद्धयति नान्यथा..

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Purify Your Heart

The core summary of the principles of the Gītā is that man should perform all his tasks and duties with a positive frame of mind, with an attitude of detachment towards the rewards of his tasks. This attitude toward work will help him purify his inner being or heart. The only way to purify the heart is to perform work while removing the expectation of rewards from the psyche. Until and unless the heart is purified, man will not develop the burning desire to know the truth – and without this burning desire to know the truth, it is impossible to develop the desire for moksha or liberation.

चित्तशुद्धि का मार्ग

ग़ीता का सिद्धान्त अति संक्षेपसे यह है कि मनुष्य को निष्काम भाव से स्वकर्ममें प्रवृत्त रहकर चित्तशुद्धि करनी चाहिये। चित्तशुद्धि का उपाय ही फलाकंक्षाको छोड़कर कर्म करना है। जब तक चित्तशुद्धि न होगी, जिज्ञासा उत्पन्न नहीं हो सकती, अौर बिना जिज्ञासा के मोक्ष की इच्छा ही असम्भव है।

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Develop True Detachment

After the heart is purified, vivek or inner knowledge arises in the person of truth. The development of vivek simply means the ability to distinguish between the transitory (or variable) and the eternal (or absolute). According to Shankaracharya, all the constituents of the world are transitory (or variable), and only the aatmaa, which is separate from these constituents, is eternal (or absolute). When one can experience this truth, their vivek gains immense strength. This strong sense of vivek leads to the development of true detachment towards the world in the seeker’s heart.

विवेक का उदय

पश्चात् विवेक का उदय होता है। विवेक का अर्थ है, नित्य और अनित्य वस्तु का भेद समझना। संसार के सभी पदार्थ अनित्य हैं और केवल आत्मा उनसे पृथक् एवं नित्य है। ऐसा अनुभव होने से विवेक में दृढ़ता होती है, दृढ़ विवेकसे बैराग्य उत्पन्न होता है।

Adi Shankaracharya with disciplesAdi Shankaracharya with disciples

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The Path of Renunciation

Our progress towards the strengthening of true renunciation is not possible until we becomes detached towards the attainment of happiness and pleasure – in this world and beyond. Renunciation is the primary path to moksha or liberation. It is through renunciation that sham-, dam-, titeeksha- and karma- liberation are made possible. It is only after one is liberated from these four elements that the gyana  or knowledge which is necessary for attaining moksha arises or dawns onto the seeker. It is impossible to reach the state of moksha without obtaining this gyana in it is purest form. 

बैराग्य का मार्ग

लोकपरलोकके यावत् सुख और भोगोंके प्रति पूर्ण विरिक्ति बिना बैराग्य दृढ़ नहीं होता। अनित्य वस्तुओंमें बैराग्य मोक्षका प्रथम कारण है और इसीसे शम, दम, तितिक्षा और कर्मत्याग सम्भव होते हैं। इसके पश्चात् मोक्षका कारण जो ज्ञान है, उसका उदय होता है। बिना विशुद्ध ज्ञानके मोक्ष किसी प्रकार भी नहीं मिल सकता।

This articles summarized the first three core principles of the Bhagavad Gita according to Adi Shankaracharya. In the next article, we will present the next three core principles. Namaste.

Original Hindi/Sanskrit Source: Bhagavad Gita with commentary by Shankaracharya (in Hindi), Gita Press. Translated to English by the editors of Corrections? Please leave us a comment. Thank you.

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