Action – Bhagavad Gita, Ch 18, Vs 23-28


Knowledge, Action and Agent are of three kinds according to the three gunas. — Verse 19

Three Kinds of Action

23 — Sattvic Action (pleasant and illuminating)
Action that is in accordance with scripture and free of attachment and aversion, which is performed without motivation for the results, is said to be sattvic.Meditation is a sattvic action

When one discovers Truth contained in scriptural injunctions, one becomes free of attachment, for attachment is no longer relevant. Then, attachment no longer determines action, and like and dislike also become irrelevant. Then one naturally performs action without consideration of self, and is headed for Liberation.

24 — Rajasic Action (passionate and excited)
Rajas - ExcitementBut self-motivated action performed with effort of will for the purpose of fulfilling desires, is declared to be rajasic.

When action is performed for the purpose of personal gain, the will is automatically engaged. This is what ‘will’ is. Acting to fulfill a desire, no matter what it is, always engages the will. 

25 — Tamasic Action (dark, prone to error)Tamas, dark and prone to error
Action undertaken out of ignorance with no consideration of the consequences of loss or injury to others, is tamasic.

A tamasic person is not self-motivated. His actions do not include pursuing interest in God/Truth. He may like the idea of having a spiritual experience, but he will only credit it if someone else gives it to him. Even if he finds a teacher who inspires him, he may return to that teacher, not for more knowledge or guidance, but for more inspiration.

Using willpower always produces imbalance in the body, feelings and mind. Trying to recover it, we engage our willpower, increasing the imbalance, and causing us to force or resist. Forcing and resisting are two sides of the same coin, and both are either rajasic or tamasic

In Surrender Meditation we surrender the use of our will to God — “Thy will be done, O Lord, not mine.”  The use of willpower in meditation is not in our best interest, and affect others as well … even people we don’t know. So even though we may reclaim the use of our will outside of meditation, we know where to put it when we meditate: outside the meditation room.

Three Kinds of Agents

The following three kinds of Agents address people who see themselves as doers of action, which we now know is not real. Nevertheless, it seems like we are doers of action, so we are going to see how this looks with the gunas, the real cause of action, running the show. 

26 — Sattvic Agent (pleasant, kind, illuminating)
Sattva - pleasant & kindFree of attachments and self-praise, resolved and not affected by success or failure, such an agent is sattvic.

You are a sattvic Agent when, free of considerations of success or failure or self, you will quit all attachments and pride. Until this time, the gunas rule. But when you are in sync with the Real You (the eternal non-doer), you are no longer subject to the sirens of ignorance, and the gunas bow at your feet — they are still there, but they no longer control you.

27 — Rajasic Agent (recklessly excited, self-serving)
Rajas - Ambitious & AgressivePassionately desiring the results of their actions, greedy, violent-natured and impure, influenced by happiness and unhappiness, such an agent is rajasic.

You’ll do it if you like it, you won’t if you don’t. If this fits you, you are a rajasic agent, and your karmic bondage rules. Even though it is the gunas that cause all action in nature, you experience action as your own doing. You have made yourself a slave to the influences of the gunas, and are bond by your karma.  

28 — Tamasic Agent (dark, lazy, procrastinating)
Tamas - lazy & procrastatingUndisciplined, unrefined, inflexible, wicked, overbearing, slothful, noncommittal and procrastinating, such an agent is tamasic.

It goes without saying that you are not one of these people! But you probably know someone who is, or know of them. These are people who never change, and never in their lifetime will they ever change. And they’re proud of it. They may call it tradition, or they may say, “That’s what the Good Book says,” all the while remaining ignorant of its meaning out of pure laziness. Or they say, “Like father like son” and brag about it. They beat their wives and children because they were beaten. And on it goes. This is tamasic action.

Knowledge, action and agent are of three kinds because there are three gunas: sattva, rajas and tamas

In this world, nature is always active in these three ways to greater and lesser of degrees and combinations. When we believe ourselves to be the doers of actions, we acquire karma of three kinds according to these three modes of nature. We are responsible people, and we hope we are good enough to acquire good karma.

But there is a trick here, for by identifying yourself as responsible, you identify yourself as the Agent of Action. This keeps you in bondage and compelled to return again and again, life after life, and always short on happiness. But what else is there? What are we to do?

There is only one escape from this continued cycling: You must become a serious seeker of Truth/God, and practice the ‘God-practice’ Lord Krishna is teaching Arjuna in this Gita. You must attain enlightenment, and you must create a regular meditation practice to put your knowledge into action and allow for the Real You to emerge.   

All action occurs in nature, and You are not nature. You are You. Period.

The Real You 

You are a god in a body made of God being human.

Namaste (I bow to the divine one that you really are),
Durga Ma

Renunciation – Bhagavad Gita, Ch 18, Vs 12


Many people are confused about renunciation, and take it to mean that one must not act at all. Some take it to mean that they must not move a single muscle during their meditation. Others believe that renunciation requires poverty, having nothing and begging your food. Some even become couch potatoes in the name of spirituality. But our world is a place where change and movement are endless. Action is the nature of Nature — it will take place without any help from us, and without the ego attempting to cast itself as the cause of it.

“It is indeed impossible for embodied beings to abandon actions entirely.” — Verse 11

Surrender to Absolute God in meditation (Surrender Meditation) produces active meditation, as opposed to the usual static meditation that is taught in modern times. Active meditation is superior, for it is not possible for human beings not to act; those who try to master inaction are ultimately defeated.

During the practice of Surrender Meditation, one is a renunciate, and truly free. Because this is so, continued practice automatically leads one to the realization of non-doership and Liberation. Surrender to Absolute God in meditation is the highest and most efficient practice for attaining this joyous state. This is the God-practice that is being taught by Lord Krishna in this Gita.

The realization of non-doership is the highest form of enlightenment. Surrender to Absolute God in meditation is the highest form of practice.


The results of the actions of non-abandoners when they die is of three kinds: desirable, undesirable and mixed. But for renouncers, there are none.

Renouncing the World
A seeker renouncing the seductions of a worldly existence.

“The results of actions of non-abandoners when they die” is a crapshoot. You cannot know what is going to happen at death or in the next life.

“But for renouncers there are none,” because the enjoined action for the renouncer is the surrender of himself to Absolute God, all actions are natural (not created by him) and therefore lead to Liberation (non-return).

The three fruits of action, “desirable, undesirable and mixed,” do not apply to one who is a renunciate, for the renunciate is situated in the knowledge that he is not the actor, the doer of actions. Indifferent to actions and their results, he is headed for Liberation and higher realms upon leaving the body at death.

How to Become a Renouncer

‘Abandonment’ is the abandonment of the results of actions. ‘Renunciation’ is the abandonment of oneself as the doer of actions. 

First, Practice Abandonment in Life

Abandon the Fruits of Action 

A renunciate's house may be a cave
This renunciate’s house is a cave.

The practice of Abandonment is to let go of attachments to desired resultsFor some, it is easier to begin with the practice of Abandonment by abandoning the fruits of action in everyday life. This is easy to practice and doesn’t demand any extra time.

Start by simply noticing those times when a certain result or outcome is important to you, and allow yourself to let go of your attachment to the results being any certain way.

One of the things you may notice as a result of this practice, is that outcomes — ‘fruits’, results — often turn out to be better than originally hoped for or expected. New vistas open up, and you will be inspired to continue this practice.

Another outcome of this practice is that you may make your own discovery that it is when you let go of an attachment to getting something you want, the desired object or objective that you were previously attached to, appears without any effort on your part.

When you give it up, you’ll get it. 

Step 1 — Notice when you are doing something for the purpose of getting a certain result.

Step 2 — Decide to let go of your attachment to the results of what you are doing.

Step 3 — Let go of your attachment to getting this result.

Then Practice Renunciation in Life

Abandon Desire-motivated Actions

Whereas Abandonment has to do with abandoning the results of actions, Renunciation has to do with action itself. 

The practice of Renunciation is to abandon self-motivated actions — acting for the purpose of getting desires fulfilled. Desire drives all actions for anyone who does not take up this simple practice, and can only lead to uncertainty in death and rebirth.

In Surrender Meditation, when actions occur without desire for certain outcomes, they are not considered to be actions. Because you have surrendered yourself to Absolute God, all actions that occur are not yours (even if it seems to you that you have acted) and therefore called ‘inaction’. Such actions are spontaneously carried out by Goddess Shakti during your meditation.

  • Shakti – female God who instigates all actions.

To experiment with this concept, follow these five steps: 

Step 1:  Notice when you are doing something for the purpose of getting a certain result.

Step 2:  Notice what this hoped-for result is, and have a good look at it.

Step 3:  Now let go of your attachment to getting this result. 

Step 4:  “Go on faith” that it is true that WHAT you really are does nothing.

Step 5:  No matter what result the action produces, or whether you like it or not, give it as an offering to Absolute God/Truth (what ever your name is for That). 

Some prefer to begin their journey to Renunciation by first practicing Abandonment, and then practicing Renunciation. Others prefer to do both by practicing Abandonment in daily life, and practicing Renunciation in the meditation room with Surrender Meditation.

Surrender Meditation is the fast track that covers both Abandonment and Renunciation. In this context, Surrender is synonymous with Renunciation and is easy to practice. The only thing that may be difficult at first is getting yourself to do it. You will need to carve out some time every day for it, even if you are profoundly busy. But if you are truly interested in advancing yourself, you will find a way.

Even without specifically practicing Abandonment in life, Surrender Meditation will bring it on anyway, spontaneously, and advance you quickly. It is known as the ‘spiritual jet’ for a reason. 

In either case — Abandonment or Renunciation — through the practice of one, one ultimately comes to both. So it doesn’t really matter where you start, for in either case, you will ultimately be lead to the realization of non-doership, Self realization and Liberation. 

Knowledge is useless if you don’t understand what you know.
Knowledge can only be understood by putting it into action and keeping watch.

Be willing to be right.
Be willing to be wrong.
Be willing to take different points of view about anything.

Make Surrender Meditation your lab and personally experience what you think you know and understand, and then it will be proved to you … one way or another.

Namaste (I bow to the divine one that you really are),
Durga Ma

Perform Prescribed Actions with Abandon – Bhagavad Gita, Ch 18, Vs 3-11

Abandon self-interest

2  According to the wise, the abandonment of desire-motivated actions is called renunciation, and the abandonment of the results of actions is called abandonment.

3 – 4
Some men of wisdom say that action itself is to be abandoned and bodes evil, and others say that acts of sacrifice, giving and austerities are not to be abandoned. Now hear My conclusion concerning abandonment, Best of Bharatas. There are three kinds.

  • Austerities (tapas) – melting away impurities.
  • Evil – sinful, faulty, erroneous, dangerous.
  • Sinful – acts that are contrary to the Truth of what You really are.
  • Best of the Bharatas – best seeker of Knowledge of Truth.

“Some men of wisdom say that action itself is to be abandoned”
Example: Some ‘men of wisdom’
teach static meditation — to meditate, you must not move a muscle or have a thought in your mind. 

Acts of sacrifice, austerity (tapas) and giving should not be abandoned but practiced. They are the purifiers of those who are wise. However, these actions are to be performed with abandonment of attachment to their results. This is my definite conclusion.

Abandonment is understood to mean non-attachment to the outcomes of actions. Abandonment can be practiced in life in general, but it is required for entering into Surrender Meditation. Attachments are automatically abandoned the minute you turn everything over to Absolute God in meditation, even though they may resurface afterward. This is self evident, for one is not truly surrendered if there are strings attached. By practicing this meditation, attachments naturally fade away easily and painlessly.

Three Forms of Abandonment

Acts of sacrifice, austerity and giving however, are not to be abandoned, but are meant to be done. They are forms of Abandonment because one abandons consideration of personal gain with their performance. When this is observed in meditation it is called ‘sacrifice’.


Sacrifice – yajña. The wise know that sacrifice, austerity (tapas) and giving are not only practices for successful living, but are part and parcel of surrender yoga sadhana as well, for they are present in the surrender of oneself to Absolute God/Truth. Also, for one who understands their meaning, they purify the body, feelings and mind.

Sacrifice also means worship, devotion and offering — offering the surrender of oneself to Absolute God in meditation. The Sanskrit syllables of ‘sacrifice’ give us clues: ya, (who) + jña, (knows). “One who knows,” suggests that there is more to be known than what is apparent.

PurityAusterity – tapas. Tapas means ‘to burn, warm or melt’, and refers to a higher form of purification that is carried out by shakti, prana and kundalini. The instigating force of nature (shakti) kicks off the activities of the Life Force in the body (prana), with the evolutionary force (kundalini) calling the shots.

GivingGiving – dana, means ‘the act of giving’, and also, ‘communion, imparting, and teaching’. When you surrender something to the Divine, you are giving. For this reason, giving is also practiced in the world by selflessly giving to the guru and the poor.

The key to these three practices bringing about purification is found in the “abandonment of attachment to their results.” Once understood, this is easier than it may seem, and a joy to practice.

Action occurs. Results happen.
‘Abandonment’ means that you are not attached to these results of action.

Sacrifice, giving and austerities (tapas) refer to something you have that you give, or sacrifice, to God — you part with what you possess in favor of Absolute God. This generates tapas, the fire (energy) of purification, which is not abandoned, but welcomed.

Desires are inevitable. They are not the culprit.
The culprit is your attachment to them.

Another way to see this is to perform these prescribed actions with abandon. In these, you can act with abandon. If you do this, you won’t give a hoot about what you’re going to get out of it, and your sacrifices, austerities and gifts will be the very best: sattvic (smooth, easy-going and pleasant).

Renunciation of enjoined actions is improper. Abandoning such actions through delusion is said to be tamasic.

  • Tamasic – dark, unenlightened, unintelligent, and contrary to the Truth of You.
  • Enjoined action – required actions, i.e., spiritual practices such as sacrifice, giving and austerities in everyday life, and surrender of oneself (body, mind and feelings) in meditation

One who abandons action merely because it is difficult, or because of fear of pain or discomfort, performs rajasic abandonment. One will not obtain results from this kind of abandonment.

  • Rajasic is passionate, intense, fast.

Prescribed action properly performed while relinquishing attachment to its fruits, is considered to be sattvic.

  • Sattvaic actions are easy, smooth, pleasant, mild, and in alignment with Absolute God/Truth and the Real You. 

The wise abandoner endowed with sattva, his doubts concerning action having been cut away, neither dislikes disagreeable action nor seeks agreeable action.

It is indeed impossible for embodied beings to abandon actions entirely. So one who abandons the fruits of action, is called an abandoner.

Once you grasp the message, you will practice surrender to Absolute God with abandon, and be done with acting out of self-interest.

Namaste (I bow to the divine one that you really are),
Durga Ma