दूरेण ह्यवरं कर्म बुद्धियोगाद्धनञ्जय |
बुद्धौ शरणमन्विच्छ कृपणा: फलहेतव: || 49||
dūreṇa hy-avaraṁ karma buddhi-yogād dhanañjaya
buddhau śharaṇam anvichchha kṛipaṇāḥ phala-hetavaḥ
dūreṇa—(discrad) from far away; hi—certainly; avaram—inferior; karma—reward-seeking actions; buddhi-yogāt—with the intellect established in Divine knowledge; dhanañjaya—Arjun; buddhau—divine knowledge and insight; śharaṇam—refuge; anvichchha—seek; kṛipaṇāḥ—miserly; phala-hetavaḥ—those seeking fruits of their work
O Arjuna! Work with attachment is far inferior to nishkama karma. Therefore seek refuge in desireless action with equanimity of mind. Those who work for fruits and rewards are wrecked.
We find that Arjuna is addressed as Dhanamjaya in this and the previous verse. The Lord exhorts him not to be content with worldly wealth and dominion which are perishable stuff but seek and strive for spiritual treasure which is eternal.
In the Gita, the term buddhi yoga is many times used as an equivalent to jnana yoga. Here the term is used in the sense of the discriminative intellect which makes nishkama karma possible. Buddhi is nischyatmaka (i.e.) the determining faculty of the pure intellect by which Atma is realised, and freedom from samsara is attained. The mind is polluted by various tendencies (vasanas) which bind man to the pleasures of the objective world and carry him on from birth to birth. The discriminative intellect has the power to order the mind and determine what is right from the spiritual point of view. Therefore take refuge in buddhi is the Lord’s advice. When a man brings into direct operation this faculty of the intellect, the dust and heat of passions raging through the material world are cleared up and the perception of Reality becomes possible. The impure tendencies (vasanas) of the mind create a hundred desires, and the man goes on acting for the fulfillment of these desires. Consequently, the cycle of birth and death continues endlessly for the ignorant man.
Desireless work is the open gateway to knowledge and liberation. The two types of work -work with desire for enjoyment and work without desire – are at the opposite poles. Two persons may be engaged in the same work. One does it for personal enjoyment and fame, and he misses the true end. Another does it without any personal thought or feeling. He achieves the true aim and becomes free. So the attitude to work is most important whatever may be the actual value of the work. The ignorant people who cannot see this difference in mental attitude are confused because they find the wise and the ignorant doing the same work externally. The Lord condemns the poor souls who are always seeking small rewards for their little work. They are meanspirited and wretched men (Kripanah). They are carried away helplessly and painfully. Those who work only to enjoy the fruits of their labor are unhappy because one has no control over the results. Why should man make himself a wretched play-thing in the hands of nature? Why should he become a toy in the hands of fate to be turned in a whirl of worthless pleasures and bitter sorrows? The Lord wants Arjuna to be a real man and not merely a show-boy in the hands of nature. Being born as men endowed with intellect and discrimination, it is shameful that people should make themselves slaves and bondmen to nature, forgetting the glory and blessedness of their real Self.
`Seek refuge in the equanimity born of knowledge’. That is the clarion call of the Lord. Through the purified buddhi man attains the supreme.
- Bhagavad Gita: Chapter 2, Verse 48
- Bhagavad Gita: Chapter 6, Verse 3
- Bhagavad Gita: Chapter 10, Verse 10
- Bhagavad Gita: Chapter 18, Verse 57
Question: What is work with desire?
Answer: It is wretched. Nishkama Karma is the highest form of work.
Question: In what should a man take refuge?
Answer: Man should take refuge in equanimity born of knowledge.