ब्रह्मण्याधाय कर्माणि सङ्गं त्यक्त्वा करोति य: |
लिप्यते न स पापेन पद्मपत्रमिवाम्भसा || 10||
brahmaṇyādhāya karmāṇi saṅgaṁ tyaktvā karoti yaḥ
lipyate na sa pāpena padma-patram ivāmbhasā
brahmaṇi—to God; ādhāya—dedicating; karmāṇi—all actions; saṅgam—attachment; tyaktvā—abandoning; karoti—performs; yaḥ—who; lipyate—is affected; na—never; saḥ—that person; pāpena—by sin; padma-patram—a lotus leaf; iva—like; ambhasā—by water
He who acts placing all actions in the eternal Brahman, giving up attachment, is unaffected by sin like the lotus by water.
The doctrine of Karmayoga is restated here. All actions should be surrendered in the Eternal, and all personal attachments to the fruits thereof should be given up. There should be no feeling of personal doership. Such a worker is not affected by sin. The idea is illustrated by means of a simile. The lotus leaf is in water, and yet it is not tainted by the water rolling over and around it. Similarly, the expert in Karmayoga is engaged in a thousand activities, but he is not touched or tainted by sin in any way.
By the Knowledge he has acquired, he knows that all objects and actions are only reflected images in the Supreme Brahman. He is himself That. So there are no desires or attachments for him. Having themselves escaped from the torments of karma, they work for the spiritual uplift of humanity. They are free because they know the Truth, and they have surrendered everything to the Lord or the eternal Brahman.
Swami Vivekananda Says —
“Whosoever lives in the midst of the world, and works, and gives up all the fruit of his action unto the Lord, he is never touched with the evils of the world. Just as the lotus, born under the water, rises up and blossoms above the water, even so is the man who is engaged in the activities of the world, giving up all the fruit of his activities unto the Lord.”[Source]
He [Krishna] taught that a man ought to live in this world like a lotus leaf, which grows in water but is never moistened by water; so a man ought to live in the world — his heart to God and his hands to work. [Source]
The aim and end in this life for the jnana-yogi is to become this jivanmukta, “living-free”. He is jivanmukta who can live in this world without being attached. He is like the lotus leaves in water, which are never wetted by the water.[Source]
The Lord Himself works incessantly and is ever without attachment. Just as water cannot wet the lotus leaf, so work cannot bind the unselfish man by giving rise to attachment to results. The selfless and unattached man may live in the very heart of a crowded and sinful city; he will not be touched by sin.[Source]
So karma-yoga says, first destroy the tendency to project this tentacle of selfishness, and when you have the power of checking it, hold it in and do not allow the mind to get into the ways of selfishness. Then you may go out into the world and work as much as you can. Mix everywhere, go where you please; you will never be contaminated with evil. There is the lotus leaf in the water; the water cannot touch and adhere to it; so will you be in the world. This is called vairagya, dispassion or non-attachment. I believe I have told you that without non-attachment there cannot be any kind of yoga. Non-attachment is the basis of all the yogas.[Source]
If a man plunges headlong into foolish luxuries of the world without knowing the truth, he has missed his footing, he cannot reach the goal. And if a man curses the world, goes into a forest, mortifies his flesh, and kills himself little by little by starvation, makes his heart a barren waste, kills out all feelings, and becomes harsh, stern, and dried-up, that man also has missed the way. These are the two extremes, the two mistakes at either end. Both have lost the way, both have missed the goal.
So work, says the Vedanta, putting God in everything, and knowing Him to be in everything. Work incessantly, holding life as something deified, as God Himself, and knowing that this is all we have to do, this is all we should ask for. God is in everything, where else shall we go to find Him? He is already in every work, in every thought, in every feeling. Thus knowing, we must work — this is the only way, there is no other. Thus the effects of work will not bind us. We have seen how false desires are the cause of all the misery and evil we suffer, but when they are thus deified, purified, through God, they bring no evil, they bring no misery. Those who have not learnt this secret will have to live in a demoniacal world until they discover it. Many do not know what an infinite mine of bliss is in them, around them, everywhere; they have not yet discovered it. What is a demoniacal world? The Vedanta says, ignorance.[Source]
He who has realized the Self, which is innate, unborn, and inconceivable, is not contaminated by any evil, even if he acts in whatever way he likes. And once he is free from ignorance, he cannot perform any action. For that reason the self-controlled mendicant is never bound.
– Avadhuta Gita 2.30
Not contaminated by any evil—The Brahma Sutras (an authoritative text of Vedanta) says: “On the realization of that Brahman, there occur the non-attachment and destruction of the subsequent and previous sins respectively, because it is declared by the scriptures.” (4.1.13)
He cannot perform any action—Because action originates from desire, and desire originates from ignorance.
The Chhandogya Upanishad says: “As water does not cling to the lotus leaf, so no evil clings to one who knows Brahman.” (4.14.3)
Question: Who is not bound by karma?
Answer: He who has surrendered all actions to the eternal Brahman, who has given up all attachments, is not bound by karma.
Answer: Like the lotus-leaf in the water.