Selfless Actions Do Not Bind

Chapter III, Verse 18

Sri Nerode’s Translation:


He has no object in this world for himself to gain by doing any selfish action, nor does he incur any loss by not following the selfish ends; nor has he need of depending upon any being for anything. (He is free, righteous and illumined, and does whatever duty requires.) (The verses 17 and 18 have been misinterpreted by almost every translator.)


Helpful Translation:

The rare individual who has freed his consciousness from creation while living cannot be bound by action nor by inaction.


Freedom of choice reigns supreme in creation for every being who is capable of self-awareness. The worldly man reads this verse and the previous one and thinks “All I have to do is achieve this elevated state of consciousness and then I can do anything I want to do.”

The freed soul chooses to not want to do anything and to not be attached to personal desires. However, in an expanded state of awareness, it is possible to see what needs to be done and to do it without personal negative consequences. If a freed soul plays a role without attachment, whether as a king or a simpleton, then all actions performed do not bind this soul to creation.

As long as self-awareness exists, freedom of choice offers the potential of a downfall. If for any reason, a liberated soul makes an egotistical personal choice then the soul can “fall” into the labyrinth of ignorance once again. It is rare that anyone chooses pain and suffering once released, but it is possible. A personal choice for this elevated individual is defined as any decision and action that is not in harmony with the situation at hand.

I have been personally blessed to meet several freed souls. One withstood the appeals and pleadings of an individual who desired physical healing. This freed individual did not react and no instantaneous healing took place.

My ego wondered if one appears to have the ability to heal others, why would this soul choose not to heal. The simple answer is that any choice made which is not in harmony with the universal order of the moment binds the individual soul to creation. If any freed soul makes a personal-egoistic choice to help an individual appealing for help, then some sort of material bondage and degradation of consciousness is the result.

In other words, the greatest of saints and sages do not channel healing to others to fulfill personal desires. Healing only takes place and the saint only channels healing when that action is in harmony with the moment.

I’ll close with an alternate reading of this verse:

While action in harmony with the universal order of the moment will never bind a soul to the material universe, any action undertaken with a personal, selfish desire creates bondage.


Easter Eggs:

Easter Eggs (hidden references to deeper meanings) in the original version of this this verse include:

arthas – typically translated as “purpose” or “aim” might be better understood in this verse if translated as “the object of the senses”.

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Ancient History

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