Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 2 verse 49: Far away from steady intellect is action devoid of greatness. Take refuge in the intellect. Pity those who perform selfish actions for the fruits of action alone.

This verse contrasts sharply with 'balance of mind' described in the previous verse (2.48).

Far away from steady intellect’ the mind rides the rollercoaster of life's dualities: ups and downs, progress and reversal, pleasure and pain...success and failure. [See 'freed from duality' (2.45).] Attractions (and aversions) in objects of the senses pull intellect out into ever-changing phenomenal world. We lose intellect's steady nature to correctly discern what is real and true (2.39). Emotional attachments jerk the mind from one promising (or calamitous) outcome to the next. Selfish decisions hold favor. Correct decisions that support right actions falter (2.47). In the willy-nilly world of wavering intellect, we lose foresight and direction. We stumble along.


Under the sway of wavering intellect attached to turbulent objects of the senses, we lose focus and perform feeble and ineffective actions ‘devoid of [the] greatness’ required to achieve outcomes and more importantly, to further evolution in spiritual and material wellbeing. [See 2.60 for attachment to 'turbulent senses.'] We fritter away life.


Pity those who perform selfish actions for the fruits of action alone,’ bound to the ever-changing phenomenal world, out of step with the pull of dharma (2.40), pathetic and dismissed, willfully trapped on the rollercoaster of dualities, dizzy with the inevitable ups and downs and twisting turns of fate.

Take refuge in the intellect.’ Practice karma yoga. Selflessly serve the desires of others: be without the three Gunas (2.45). Naturally perform actions based on a ‘balanced intellect’ which identifies with the unbounded contentment of Self (2.48). Enjoy your inner strengths. Bring them to fore in outer activity. Go with the flow of dharma. Serve the desires of others. Cast away the consequences of karma (2.50).

copyright Keith R Parker 2021