What Does Bhagavad Gita Has to Say about Karma and Surrendering to God?

The Bhagavad Gita provides an exhaustive description about the ideal way to live one’s life and related aspects such as karma, dharma and spirituality. However, just like Arjuna, people tend to get confused about the various teachings of Bhagavad Gita. It’s because people generally focus on individual aspects and they fail to connect the dots to be able to see the big picture. One such confusion relates to the Verse 66 in Chapter 18 of Bhagavad Gita, wherein Krishna tells Arjuna that he should simply surrender to the Lord and he shall be liberated from all karma and sins. The Verse 66 reads, “sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śharaṇaṁ vraja ahaṁ tvāṁ sarva-pāpebhyo mokṣhayiṣhyāmi mā śhuchaḥ”. Reacting to this, people often ask, “Isn’t it unfair to liberate people from their karma if they surrender to God?” Well, the answer is “No” and here’s why.

It’s not unfair because there are different levels of karma and each one has different outcomes. For example, at the most basic level of karma, we have physical work. Moving up the chain, we have intellectual work, followed by emotional work and ultimately the stage where we surrender our ego. The last stage where we surrender our ego unconditionally to God is the thing that Krishna explains to Arjuna in Verse 66, Chapter 18 of the Bhagavad Gita. The act of surrendering the ego to God is when we give up our individuality and are liberated from all our karma. This is the ultimate goal for every human being. One can achieve it in a single lifetime or take many births to reach it. One can gradually move through each stage to reach the final goal or move directly to the final goal. It will not be unfair to move directly to the last stage, since it is the ultimate purpose that God has willed for us. It’s complete surrender to God’s will, whereupon one is liberated from all concepts of freewill and karma.

The different levels of karma and theiroutcomes are also evident in the world we live. For example, people who do manual labor are paid the least. The next level is intellectual work such as that done by doctors, lawyers, software engineers and other professionals. Next, we have emotional work, wherein you manage the emotions of other people. Examples would include team leads, managers, directors, etc. The highest paid people are the ones who put their own reputation at stake to achievedesired goals and objectives. For example, a newly appointed CEO of ABC company tasked with the responsibility of bringing the company back to profitability. In this case, the CEO will stake his lifetime’s reputation to achieve the target. He will have to make the entire team work to achieve the target. Staking one’s reputation is quite similar to surrendering one’s ego to God.

The essential thing to understand here is that surrendering one’s reputation or individuality or ego is the ultimate purpose willed by God for every human being. It’s the highest price that we can pay in this life, whereupon we are completely liberated from our karma. As such, it’s not unfair when Krishna asks Arjuna to surrender to the God and explains to him that he will be liberated from all his karma. The sole action of surrendering to God is enough to liberate you from all your karma and sins.

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