Arjuna said: O mighty-armed Shri Krishna, O inner controller of all, I wish to know severally the truth of sanyasa as also of tyaga.
Lord Krishna said: Of sanyasa and tyaga, first hear my conclusion on the subject of renunciation. Acts of sacrifice, charity and penance are not worth giving up, they must be performed. Sacrifice, charity and penance are purifiers to the wise men. Acts of sacrifice, charity, penance and all other acts of duty too must be performed without attachment and expectation of reward; this is my well-considered and supreme verdict, Arjuna. Prohibited acts and those that are motivated by desire should no doubt be given up. But it is not advisable to abandon a prescribed duty. Such abandonment out of ignorance has been declared as tamasika. A prescribed duty which is performed simply because it has to be performed. Giving up attachment and fruit for that has been recognised as the sattvika form of renunciation. Since all actions cannot be given up in their entirety by anyone possessing a body, he alone who renounces the fruit of actions is called a man of renunciation.
Knowledge and action as well as the doer have been declared to be of three kinds according to the guna which predominates in each; hear them too duly from me. That knowledge by which a man perceives one imperishable divine existence as undivided and equally present in all individual beings, know that knowledge to be sattvika. The knowledge by which man recognises many existences of various kinds as apart from one another in all beings, know that knowledge to be rajasika. The knowledge which clings to one body as if it were the whole and which is irrational has no real grasp of truth and is trivial has been declared as tamasika.
That action which is ordained by the scriptures and is not accompanied by the sense of doership and has been done without any attachment or aversion by one who seeks no return is called sattvika. That action, however, which involves much strain and is performed by one who seeks enjoyments or by a man full of egotism has been spoken of as rajasika. That action which is undertaken through sheer ignorance without regard to consequences or loss to oneself, injury to others and one's own resourcefulness is declared as tamasika.
Free from attachment, unegoistic, endowed with firmness and zeal and unswayed by success and failure, such a doer is said to be sattvika. The doer which is full of attachment, seeks the fruit of actions, greedy, oppressive by nature, of impure conduct and full of joys and sorrows has been called as rajasika. Lacking piety and self-control, uncultured, arrogant, deceitful, inclined to rob others of their livelihood, slothful, despondent and procrastinating, such a doer is called tamasika.
Now hear from me the threefold joy too. That joy in which the striver finds enjoyment through practice of adoration, meditation, service to god and whereby he reaches the end of sorrow, such a joy though appearing as poison in the beginning tastes like nectar in the end; hence that joy born as it is of the placidity of mind brought about by meditation on god has been declared as sattvika. The delight which ensues from the contact of the senses with their objects is eventually poison-like, though appearing at first as nectar; hence it has been spoken of as rajasika. That which stupefies the self during its enjoyment as well as in the end derived from sleep, indolence and obstinate error, such delight has been called tamasika.
There is no being on earth or in the middle region or even among the gods or anywhere else who is free from these three gunas born of prakriti. The duties of the brahmanas, the kshatriyas and the vaishyas as well as of the shudras have been assigned according to their innate modes of prakriti (gunas), Arjuna. Study and teaching of the vedas and other scriptures and realisation of the truth relating to god, all these constitute the natural duties of a brahmanas. Heroism, majesty, firmness, diligence, dauntlessness in battle, bestowing gifts, lordliness, all these constitute the natural duties of a kshatriya. Agriculture, rearing of cows and honest exchange of merchandise, these constitute the natural duty of a vaishya and service of the other classes is the natural duty even of a shudra. Keenly devoted to his own natural duty, man attains the highest perfection in the form of god-realisation.
Therefore, Arjuna, one should not relinquish one's innate duty even though it has a measure of evil; for all undertakings are beset by some evil as is the fre covered by smoke. With your mind thus devoted to me, you shall by my grace overcome all difficulties. But, if from self-conceit you do not care to listen to me, you will be lost. If taking your stand on egotism, you think that I will not fight, vain is this resolve of yours; nature will drive you to the act. That action too which you are not willing to undertake through ignorance, you will perform bound by your own duty born of your nature. God abides in the heart of all creatures causing them to revolve according to their karma by his illusive power (maya) as though mounted on a machine. Thus, has this wisdom, the most profound secret of all secret knowledge been imparted to you by me; deeply pondering over it, now do as you like. As you are extremely dear to me, therefore, I shall give you this salutary advice for your own good. Give your mind to me, be devoted to me, worship me and bow to me. Doing so, you will come to me alone, I truly promise you; as you are exceptionally dear to me. This secret gospel of the gita should never be imparted to a man who lacks in austerity, nor to him who is lacking in devotion, nor even to him who is not willing to hear and in no case to him who fnds fault with me. He who offering the highest love to me preaches the most profound gospel of the gita among my devotees shall come to me alone; there is no doubt about it. Among men there is none who does me a more loving service than him nor shall anyone be dearer to me on the entire globe than him. Whosoever studies this sacred dialogue of ours in the form of the gita, by him too shall I be worshipped with yajna of knowledge; such is my conviction Have you, O Arjuna, heard this gospel of the gita attentively? And has your delusion born of ignorance been destroyed?
Arjuna said: Krishna , by your grace, my delusion has been destroyed and I have gained wisdom. Now I am free from all doubts. I will do your bidding.
Sanjaya said: Thus I heard the mysterious and thrilling conversation between Shri Krishna and the high-souled Arjuna, son of Kunti. Having been blessed with the divine vision by the grace of Shri Vyasa, I heard in person this supremely esoteric gospel from the Lord of yoga, Shri Krishna himself, imparting it to Arjuna. Remembering over and over that sacred and mystic conversation between Bhagavan Shri Krishna and Arjuna, O King! I am thrilled again and yet again. O King! wherever there is Bhagavan Shri Krishna, the lord of yoga, and wherever there is Arjuna, the wielder of the gandiva bow; goodness, victory, glory and unfailing righteousness will surely be there, such is my conviction.