Srimad Bhagavad Gita, an ocean of knowledge, is a guide to life. It tells you everything you need to know to lead a peaceful and meaningful life. It’s definitely not easy to achieve the level of tranquility or control which this scripture aims at but it’s certainly not impossible if you start practicing right now for whatever time you’re left with of this lifetime. All you need is, Unwavering faith.

One needs to read the Bhagavad Gita, not just once but many times to really absorb and clearly understand its message but for those who haven’t read it even once or those who can’t read it again, this blog collates the 10 life changing shlokas from it. In no way these 10 shlokas can summarize the immense knowledge that is in the scripture, however, it can certainly spark one’s thoughts, conscience and curiosity towards knowing more.

Image Source – Safalniveshak

Shloka 1

जातस्य हि ध्रुवो मृत्युर्ध्रुवं जन्म मृतस्य च |
तस्मादपरिहार्येऽर्थे न त्वं शोचितुमर्हसि ||

jātasya hi dhruvo mṛityur dhruvaṁ janma mṛitasya cha
tasmād aparihārye ’rthe na tvaṁ śhochitum arhasi

Summary – The shloka above asks Arjuna to not grieve because everyone who is born has to die and everyone who dies has to take birth again. Arjuna was in war against his own kin and his attachment to them led to withdraw from the war and that’s when Sri Krishna said this. Of course, it’s easier said than done but nothing good comes easy. To not grieve, one must be unattached to what is temporary because everyone and everything is temporary. The crux is to let go of the attachment with everything mortal and worldly.

Shloka 2

त्रैगुण्यविषया वेदा निस्त्रैगुण्यो भवार्जुन |
निर्द्वन्द्वो नित्यसत्त्वस्थो निर्योगक्षेम आत्मवान् ||

trai-guṇya-viṣhayā vedā nistrai-guṇyo bhavārjuna
nirdvandvo nitya-sattva-stho niryoga-kṣhema ātmavān

Summary – The vedas deals with three gunas – Sattva, Rajas, Tamas. This Shloka asks Arjuna to rise above these three gunas but asks him to always be under the quality of Sattva. To understand this better, one needs to understand what defines these three gunas. Sattva is pure, without sin but it ties down the atman because of attachment to happiness and knowledge. Rajas is based on desire, greed and attachment, attachment to action. Tamas stems from ignorance, sloth, sleep and whatever causes delusion. Therefore, Sri Krishna asks Arjuna to follow Sattva and at the same time rise above it without any attachment. The point is to let go of attachment.

Shloka 3 –

कर्मण्येवाधिकारस्ते मा फलेषु कदाचन |
मा कर्मफलहेतुर्भूर्मा ते सङ्गोऽस्त्वकर्मणि ||

karmaṇy-evādhikāras te mā phaleṣhu kadāchana
mā karma-phala-hetur bhūr mā te saṅgo ’stvakarmaṇi

Summary – This shloka says that you only have the right to action, not to its fruit. Your action should not be motivated by its resulting fruit but that doesn’t mean you don’t act at all! Action (Karma) is very important and is our Dharma but we don’t have any right over the fruit of this Karma.

Shloka 4 –

क्रोधाद्भवति सम्मोह: सम्मोहात् स्मृतिविभ्रमः |
स्मृतिभ्रंशाद् बुद्धिनाशो बुद्धिनाशात् प्रणश्यति ||

krodhād bhavati sammohaḥ sammohāt smṛiti-vibhramaḥ
smṛiti-bhranśhād buddhi-nāśho buddhi-nāśhāt praṇaśhyati

Summary – Anger causes delusion and that in turn creates confusion between what’s right and wrong. This confusion leads to lack of intellect which then becomes the reason of our destruction. When in anger, we can never think straight. The reaction of a person in that moment of passion and delusion is never right and is self destructive.

Shloka 5 –

न कर्मणामनारम्भान्नैष्कर्म्यं पुरुषोऽश्नुते |
न च संन्यसनादेव सिद्धिं समधिगच्छति ||

na karmaṇām anārambhān naiṣhkarmyaṁ puruṣho ’śhnute
na cha sannyasanād eva siddhiṁ samadhigachchhati

Summary – This shloka emphasizes the importance of performing action (Karma). One cannot be free from the bondage of action without performing it. Taking Sannyasa or giving up action, won’t give you liberation either. Only performing of one’s own Karma can lead us to that.

Shloka 6 –

यस्त्विन्द्रियाणि मनसा नियम्यारभतेऽर्जुन |
कर्मेन्द्रियै: कर्मयोगमसक्त: स विशिष्यते ||

yas tvindriyāṇi manasā niyamyārabhate ’rjuna
karmendriyaiḥ karma-yogam asaktaḥ sa viśhiṣhyate

Summary – In this shloka, Sri Krishna tells Arjuna that the one who can control the senses through the mind and performs Karma Yoga using the organ of actions (hands, legs, mouth, anus and sexual organs are all organs of action) while remaining unattached to them and the results, is a superior person. The key is, to do your Karma but remain unattached both to the action and its results and that is how one can achieve liberation.

Shloka 7

श्रेयान्स्वधर्मो विगुण: परधर्मात् स्वनुष्ठितात् |
स्वधर्मे निधनं श्रेय: परधर्मो भयावह: ||

śhreyān swa-dharmo viguṇaḥ para-dharmāt sv-anuṣhṭhitāt
swa-dharme nidhanaṁ śhreyaḥ para-dharmo bhayāvahaḥ

Summary – Performing your own dharma, even imperfectly, is superior to performing someone else’s dharma perfectly. It does not mean your dharma is superior to others’. It simply means you need to perform your own dharma even if you can’t do it perfectly. The second line of the shloka says that it’s better to die performing your own dharma because the other’s dharma will be stained with fear.

Shloka 8 –

श्रद्धावान् लभते ज्ञानं तत्पर: संयतेन्द्रिय: |
ज्ञानं लब्ध्वा परां शान्तिमचिरेणाधिगच्छति ||

śhraddhāvān labhate jñānaṁ tat-paraḥ sanyatendriyaḥ
jñānaṁ labdhvā parāṁ śhāntim achireṇādhigachchhati

Summary – Those who have control over their senses and are faithful and steadfast will attain the Knowledge (ज्ञान). And when they have that knowledge, they quickly achieve the supreme peace. In other words, one needs to have an unwavering faith and control over their senses to be able to attain the supreme knowledge and supreme peace thereafter.

Shloka 9 –

संन्यास: कर्मयोगश्च नि:श्रेयसकरावुभौ |
तयोस्तु कर्मसंन्यासात् कर्मयोगो विशिष्यते ||

śhrī bhagavān uvācha
sannyāsaḥ karma-yogaśh cha niḥśhreyasa-karāvubhau
tayos tu karma-sannyāsāt karma-yogo viśhiṣhyate

Summary – The shloka says that both Action and Renunciation lead to liberation. However, out of these two, Action or Karma Yoga is superior to Renunciation or giving up of action. Sri Krishna clearly lays importance on Karma Yoga. In the shlokas that follow this one, he explains that action and renunciation are not distinct. One doesn’t have to renounce action or this world to become a Sanyasi. The sage who performs his Karma Yoga will attain liberation quickly. Therefore, Karma Yoga is superior.

Shloka 10 –

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

śhrī-bhagavān uvācha
kāmyānāṁ karmaṇāṁ nyāsaṁ sannyāsaṁ kavayo viduḥ
sarva-karma-phala-tyāgaṁ prāhus tyāgaṁ vichakṣhaṇāḥ

Summary – This shloka clarifies what is Tyaga (त्याग). It says that according to the wise, giving up of action that satisfies our desires, is Tyaga (त्याग). However, according to those who are clear-sighted, it’s the giving up of the fruits of all the Karma is the real Tyaga (त्याग). Even in Sanyasa, one has to perform actions or karma like sacrifices, donations and austerities but it has be performed by the Tyaga (त्याग) of the attachment to the action and it’s fruit.

Sources and References:

The Bhagavad Gita Translated by Bibek Debroy

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