In this chapter, there are 29 verses. Arjuna asks Krishna whether path of renunciation or the path of selfless service to the humanity (karma yoga) is the better way for self realization. Krishna replied that both paths are fine, but that the karma yoga road is more direct. If practiced deeply, both the road of renunciation and the path of action lead to the Self-realization.
Arjuna said: Between renunciation and the path of selfless service to the humanity, which one is better? O Krishna, You praise both renunciation and again KARMA YOGA the performance-of-actions. Tell me conclusively that which is the better of the two.
The Blessed Lord said: Renunciation of action and YOGA -of-action both lead to the highest bliss; but of the two , YOGA -of-action is superior to the renunciation-of-action.
He should be known as a perpetual SAMNYASI who neither hates nor desires; for, free from the pairs-of-opposites, O Mighty-armed, he is easily set free from bondage.
That place which is reached by the SANKHYAS (JNANIS) is also reached by the YOGINS (KARMA-YOGINS) . He sees who sees SANKHYA and YOGA as one.
But renunciation, O mighty-armed, is hard to attain without YOGA; the YOGA -harmonised man of (steady) contemplation quickly goes to BRAHMAN.
He who is devoted to the Path-of-action, whose mind is quite pure, who has conquered the self, who has subdued his senses, who realises his Self as the Self in all beings, though acting, is not tainted.
I do nothing at all thus would the harmonised knower of Truth think seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, eating, going, sleeping, breathing,
Speaking, letting go, seizing, opening and closing the eyes — convinced that the senses move among the sense-objects.
He who does actions, offering them to BRAHMAN, abandoning attachment, is not tainted by sin, just as a lotus leaf remains unaffected by the water on it.
YOGIS, having abandoned attachment, perform actions merely by the body, mind, intellect and senses, for the purification of the self (ego) .
The united one (the well-poised or the harmonized) , having abandoned the fruit of action, attains Eternal Peace; the non-united (the unsteady or the unbalanced) , impelled by desire and attached to the fruit, is bound.
Mentally renouncing all actions and fully self-controlled, the embodied one rests happily in the nine-gate city neither acting nor causing others (body and senses) to act.
Neither agency nor actions does the Lord create for the world, nor union with the fruits of actions. But it is Nature that acts.
The Lord takes neither the demerit not even the merit of any; knowledge is enveloped by ignorance, thereby beings are deluded.
But to those whose ignorance is destroyed by the Knowledge of the Self, like the sun, to them Knowledge reveals the Supreme (BRAHMAN) .
Intellect absorbed in that, their Self being That, established in that, with That for their Supreme Goal, they go whence there is no return, their sins dispelled by Knowledge.
Sages look with an equal eye upon a BRAHMANA endowed with learning and humility, on a cow, on an elephant, and even on a dog and an outcaste.
Even here (in this world) , birth (everything) is overcome by those whose minds rest in equality; BRAHMAN is spotless indeed and equal; therefore they are established in BRAHMAN.
Resting in BRAHMAN, with steady intellect and undeluded, the knower of BRAHMAN neither rejoices on obtaining what is pleasant, nor grieves on obtaining what is unpleasant.
With the self unattached to external contacts, he finds happiness in the Self; with the self engaged in the meditation of BRAHMAN, he attains endless happiness.
The enjoyments that are born of contacts are only generators of pain, for they have a beginning and an end. O son of Kunti, the wise do not rejoice in them.
He who is able, while still here (in this world) to withstand, before the liberation from the body (death) , the impulse born out of desire and anger, he is a YOGIN , he is a happy man.
He who is happy within, who rejoices within, who is illuminated within, that YOGI attains Absolute Freedom or MOKSHA, himself becoming BRAHMAN.
Those RISHIS obtain Absolute Freedom or MOKSHA — whose sins have been destroyed, whose dualities are torn asunder, who are self-controlled and intent on the welfare of all beings.
Absolute Freedom (or BRAHMIC Bliss) exists on all sides for those self-controlled ascetics, who are free from desire and anger, who have controlled their thoughts and who have realized the Self.
Shutting out (all) external contacts and fixing the gaze (as though) between the eye-brows, equalizing the outgoing and incoming breath moving within the nostrils,
With senses, mind and intellect (ever) controlled, having liberation as his Supreme Goal, free from desire, fear and anger — the sage is verily liberated for ever.
Knowing Me as Enjoyer of sacrifices and austerities, the Great Lord of all worlds, the friend of all beings, he attains Peace.