SankarAcArya's bhagavad gItA bhAshya: 2. 11 - Part III.

Ravisankar Mayavaram msr at ISC.TAMU.EDU
Sat Nov 7 17:41:01 CST 1998

> even though he has really withdrawn from action and its motive. However,
> this is not action that is to be combined with knowledge. For example, the
> Lord, vAsudeva, carried on the kshatra-dharma (the law of action of the
> warrior), but this is not taught to be combined with knowledge, for the
> sake of liberation. The Self-knower is like this too, because he has no
> connection with egoism and the expectation of results of action. The
> Self-knower does not think, "I do" (ahaM karomi), nor does he desire the
> fruits of actions. [2] For example, an AhitAgni (a householder who
> maintains the ritual fires), who desires heaven and other such results,
> begins the agnihotra or other sacrifice, to attain his desires. In the
> course of performing the sacrifice, even if his desire is destroyed, he
> continues performing the sacrifice according to rule, but this action is
> no longer motivated by desire. Similarly, the Lord shows, "Though acting,
> he is not stained" (kurvann api na lipyate - 5. 7), "he does not act, and
> does not get stained" (na karoti na lipyate - 13. 31), and so on.

I am confused here.

If a Self-Knower, acts without the desire for fruits, that is
nishkAmya karma. My doubt is why should action happen at all?
What propels the action? Is it the sense, that this body is born
as kShatriya (as in the case of Janaka), so the action of ruling
the kingdom should be done to set an perfect example to the
world?  Does this not imply the Self-knower indirectly identifies
himself with the body, hence, it contradict the realization?  Or
the action happens only to the unrealized audience who are
witnessing it?

Is it like the case of the philospher (i dont remember the name)
who said "I find no difference between life and death", when
asked why not die then?, He replied because, I find no

In your example, of agnihotri, assuming he is not realized, the
moment he drops the desire for the fruits of the sacrifice, he
becomes a karma yogi. That will give him chitta shuddhi.

Assuming he realizes half way through? Who continues to perform
the sacrifice? is it the prArabdha of the body? I can understand
if it is the prArabdha of the body. But I am not able to
understand if it is to set an example to the world. Who is
setting an example to whom?

Thanks for posting this series. I try to read along with you with
the book by Krishna Warrier. Your pace is also fine. If you go
faster than this, it may be difficult to follow (for me).

In the beginning of the commentary of this verse, The statement
of shrI shankara that the "flaws like shokaM (grief) and mohaM
(delusion), are the seed (bIja)  for the transmigartory cycle
(saMsara)" and reasons given for why it continues unabated, is
something worth remembering again and again.

Thanks again.

With regards,

"bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam"
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