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sarva DharmAn parithyajya vs karmaNya vAdhikArasthE

From: Raja Krishnasamy (
Date: Tue Sep 02 1997 - 07:37:27 PDT

Recently someone in this group raised a question about the contradicting

nature of these two shlOkams in the srImath bhAgavathgIthA.  I had

earlier posted a brief note clarifying that it was not actually so.  I

have since been requested to elaborate on my explanation.  The

following I hope will do justice...

		sarva DharmAn parithyajya 

			mAm Ekam sharaNam vraja |

		aham thvAm sarva pApEbhyO 

			mOkshayishyAmi mA shuchaha	||

The literary meaning for this would be as follows.  Completely

relinquishing all dharmAs, seek me alone for refuge.  I shall release

you from all sins.  Grieve not !

Relinquishing of all dharmAs here refers to not relinquishing of the

actual acts, but the possession of one's propreitoriness over such

actions, and the expectations of consequent fruits of such actions.  In

fact, shrI rAmAnujar in his gItha BhAshyam refers to this as the

shAstraic interpretation of relinquishing your acts, where he says:

	"Esha Eva sarvadharmANAm shAsthrIya parithyAgaha"

Lord srI krishNA in this shlOkam tells arjunA that seek me through the

various paths of yOgA (such bhakti, karma, jnAna, etc.) taught to you,

and realize that I am your ultimate goal, but in trying to realize this

goal, do not seek anything in return for you, for you are because of me.

Lord srI krishNA actually ellaborates on the concept of abandonment in

shlOkam 18.4 in the gIthA.

		nishrayam shruNu mE thathra thyAgE bharathsaththam 	|

		thyAgo hi purushavyAgra thrividhaha saprakIrthithaha	||

where he splits relinquishment into three components - that referring

to fruits of one's acts, that referring to the actual acts and that

referring to the ownership.  This is also described in verse 3.30 of the

srImath bhAgavathgItha where He tells us to "surrender all our actions

unto me with a mind focussed on the self and free from desire and

selfishness and cured of all fever !  He tells us that even expecting

mOksham out of our actions is indeed evil for he explains that Heaven

and others realized from the acts performed with that goal in mind

indeed do not belong to Him.  Renunciation of acts is complete to

abandonment of sense of possession with respect to one performing these


He tells us that in fact while we have the right to perform acts of

Bhakthi, "those acts are Mine on account of their being the means for

fruits which are to be Mine".  Therefore, relinquishment of the

propreitoriness or the fact that "I DID IT" must actually mean "HE IS


Therefore the shlOkam of interest to us today (sarva DharmAn ...) does

not imply that we must relinquish our DharmAs.  Lord srI krishNA makes

this all the more clear to us in:

		yagnadhAnathapah karma na thyAjyam kAryamEva thath	|

		yagnOdhAnam thapashchaiva pAvanAni manIshiNAm		||

Here He tells us that in fact basic acts must be performed as enjoined

in the vEdic scriptures and should not be relinquished by the aspirant

for the purpose of universal release!

Why ?

I will address this in Part 2 hopefully to be finished today, just so I

can keep the postings short.


rAjA krishNasAmy