Gita chapter 5 verse 13

sarva-karmå√i manaså sannyasyåste sukhaµ vaçî nava-dvåre pure dehî naiva kurvan na kårayan

TRANSLATION: By mentally renouncing all actions, a sense-controlled living being can happily reside within the material body, neither acting nor causing others to act.

My confusion :Im not getting the meaning of this statement neither acting nor causing others to act ?

My thinking:How can it possible without acting ?Our body act in every moment for example taking breathe ,eating food etc....

Nor causing other to to act. How can it possible ? I think there is no any logic

  • You should not see this independently; see it in context of the previous few and the next few verses
    – whoisit
    Nov 5, 2022 at 21:39
  • I think Sir you are reading the Bhagvad Gita like a story book, because you are not seeing the context behind the verses nor are you trying the understand the verses properly, you are merely reading the translation and asking questions.Even after telling you to read Bhagvad Gita with proper Bhasya by an Acharya with a proper Guru-Shishya parampara you still continue reading it online.... Nov 6, 2022 at 2:34
  • Recommendation:For Bhasya in Advaitic sense refer Sripad Adi-Shankara Bhasya translated by Swami Gambhirananda/A.G Krishna Warrier; For Vishishtadvaitic sense refer Sripad Ramanujacharya's Gita Bhasya; for Dvaita Refer Sripad Madhavacharya's Gita Bhasya with Tatparya Nirnaya OR Song of the God by Swami Mukundanada(acc to me easiest to understand!) Nov 6, 2022 at 2:44
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    Also First of all translation is wrong.na—never; eva—certainly; kurvan—doing anything; na—not; kārayan—causing to be done.So The embodied beings who are self-controlled and detached reside happily in the city of nine gates, free from thinking they are the doers or the cause of anything.Neither acting nor causing others to act is a simple mistranslation. Nov 6, 2022 at 2:52

1 Answer 1


The translation is not correct.

A self-controlled soul, having abandoned all work mentally (in the way described above), resides at ease (as a witness) in this corporeal mansion with nine gates, neither working nor causing work to be done.

Gita 5.13

Imagine a screen in which a cinema is being projected. Lot of action is being shown on the screen. The screen is the Atman or the Self while the projected cinema is the world. A man who identifies with the screen or the Atman mentally knows that the projected cinema is not real. The characters on the screen may be fighting or singing or dancing but do not really exist. It is merely a light show on the screen. The cinema vanishes when the projector is switched off and then only the screen remains.

Similarly all human actions and activities are like the cinema projected on the screen. The emancipated man may be doing work or he may be getting work done but he knows that his real Self, the Atman, is merely a witness and neither working nor causing work to be done.

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    Nice explanation @Pradip Gangopadhyay :-)
    – Shashaank
    Nov 6, 2022 at 6:15
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    Beautifully Explained Pradip Ji! Nov 6, 2022 at 7:25

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