Mircea Eliade "From Primitives to Zen": PERFORM ACTION, FREE FROM ATTACHMENT


('Bhagavad Gita,' III, 8-9, 19-24, 31, 35)

8. Perform thou action that is (religiously) required;

For action is better than inaction.

And even the maintenance of the body for thee

Can not succced without action.

9. Except action for the purpose of worship,

This world is bound by actions;

Action for that purpose, son of Kunti,

Perform thou, free from attachment (to its fruits)

10. Therefore unattached ever

Perform action that must be done;

For performing action without attachment

Man attains the highest.

20. For only thru action, perfection

Attained janaka and others.

Also for the mere control of the world

Having regard, thou shouldst act.

21. Whatsoever the noblest does,

Just that in every case other folk (do);

What he makes his standard,

That the world follows.

22. For Me, son of Pritha, there is nothing to be done

In the three worlds whatsoever,

Nothing unattained to be attained;

And yet I still continue in action.

23. For if I did not continue

At all in action unwearied,

My path (would) follow

Men altogether, son of Pritha.

24. These folk would perish

If I did not perform action,

And I should be an agent of confusion;

I should destroy these creatures. . . .

31. Who this My doctrine constantly

Follow, such men,

Full of faith and not murmuring,

They too are freed from (the effect of) actions

35. Better one's own duty, (tho) imperfect,

Than another's duty well performed;

Better death in (doing) one's own duty;

Another's duty brings danger.

Translation by Franklin Edgerton, Bhagavad Gita, Vol. I, Harvard Oriental Series, VOI. 38 (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1944)

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