श्लोक 2: Opinions of Learned and Wise

In श्लोक 18.1, we saw that Arjun started chapter 18, wanting to know the meaning of Sanyas and Tyaga and the difference between the two.

Shri Krishna starts by providing opinions of learned and wise people first.

श्रीभगवानुवाच |
काम्यानां कर्मणां न्यासं सन्न्यासं कवयो विदु: | 
सर्वकर्मफलत्यागं प्राहुस्त्यागं विचक्षणा: || 2 ||

Bhagwan said, as per the some learned, giving up on activities motivated by desire is Sanyas.  Similarly some wise people say, giving up the fruits of all actions as Tyaga.

Let’s first start with Sanyas as defined by learned people. 

Sanyas does not mean giving up all activities, but instead, it is giving up those activities which are motivated by desires.

If we pay close attention to our activities, we see that most of our activities are rooted in desires. Desires are the driving force of most things we do in life.

But, unfortunately, desire originated activities (काम्य कर्म) are the ones which bind us. So, when we talk about Sanyas, we need to get rid of all those activities, which have roots in desires.

But, while we do that, we must continue to do all the routine activities. The daily activities (नित्य) like staying clean and healthy, social/family responsibilities, etc, should never be disowned. Similarly, occasional activities (नैमित्तिक), like various festivals, Shraddha, etc, also must be observed as needed. 

People who achieve this state are called सर्वारम्भपरित्यागी, a term taken from the 12th chapter of Bhagavad Gita. It means one who has given up all the actions based on desires/goals.

While we must continue to do नित्य, नैमित्तिक activities, but, even for those activities, we must give up the ownership of results/outcome. 

Similarly, as per other set of learned people, giving up ownership of results or outcomes of activities is called Tyaga. 

We can achieve Tyaga in multiple ways:

  1. We can offer the outcomes to God and enjoy everything we get as Prasad. OR
  2. Given that we don’t control the outcomes proves that we are not the owner of outcomes. So, we give back whatever we get to the real owner (i.e. God) first, before partaking in it OR
  3. Simply do work for doing, w/o caring for the outcome.

It doesn’t matter which method we choose, as all of them are ways to achieve Tyaga.

All the Best!