यज्ञदानतप:कर्म न त्याज्यं कार्यमेव तत् |
यज्ञो दानं तपश्चैव पावनानि मनीषिणाम् || 5||
yajña-dāna-tapaḥ-karma na tyājyaṁ kāryam eva tat
yajño dānaṁ tapaśh chaiva pāvanāni manīṣhiṇām
yajña—sacrifice; dāna—charity; tapaḥ—penance; karma—actions; na—never; tyājyam—should be abandoned; kāryam eva—must certainly be performed; tat—that; yajñaḥ—sacrifice; dānam—charity; tapaḥ—penance; cha—and; eva—indeed; pāvanāni—purifying; manīṣhiṇām—for the wise
Acts of sacrifice, charity, and austerity should not be abandoned; they should be performed indeed; sacrifice, charity, and austerity are purifiers for the thoughtful (who do not desire for fruits).
The Lord gives His decision on the problem (1) Na tyajyam: Acts of yajna, tapas and dana, should not be abandoned. (2) Karyam eva tat: they should be performed. ‘tyajyam’ (should not be abandoned) implies `karyam eva’ (should be performed). But the Lord emphasises His conclusion by putting it both in the negative and positive forms. We can understand how necessary these righteous acts are for the seekers of liberation. Sometimes we come across some philosophers and religious men who deny these acts on the ground that even good acts are a bondage and lead to further births. Their position is directly opposed to the Lord’s will. Righteous work of every kind is encouraged very frequently in the Gita. In this verse, the Lord warns not to abandon good acts like sacrifice, austerity and charity. He commands that they should be performed. Why should there be any doubt and why should man go down into lower planes by ignoring the Lord’s command? Performed without longing for the fruits, these good works purify the mind and lead to Atmajnana. There is no other way.
Pavanani: These acts are purifiers. That is exactly the reason why the Lord exhorts mankind to perform them.
Manishinam: Thoughtful men who are clear in their minds about the goal to be reached, perform these acts without attachment for their fruits. Others who do not understand the secret of work bind themselves by attachment for the fruits of Karma. Here the word yajna refers to the various types of yajna mentioned in the fourth Discourse.
Question: What is the Lord’s conclusion about righteous and sacred works?
Answer: They should not be abandoned. They should be performed.
Question: What is the reason?
Answer: They are purifiers. They purify the mind and lead to Atmajnana.
Question: How should they be performed?
Answer: Without attachment for their fruits. The thoughtful know the secret of work.
Bhagavad Gita: Chapter 18 🔻 (78 Verses)