शारीरं केवलं कर्म कुर्वन्नाप्नोति किल्बिषम्।।4.21।।
4.21 Without hope and with the mind and the self controlled, having abandoned all covetousness, doing mere bodily action, he incurs no sin.
4.21 Nirasih, one who is without solicitation-one from whom asisah [Asih is a kind of desire that can be classed under prayer. (Some translate it as desire, hope.-Tr.)], solicitations, have departed; yata-citta-atma, who has the mind and organs under control-one by whom have been controlled (yatau) both the internal organ (citta) and the external aggregate of body and organs (atma); (and) is tyakta-sarva-parigrahah, [ Parigraha: receiving, accepting, possessions, belongings.-V.S.A] totally without possessions- one by whom have been renounced (tyaktah) all (sarvah) possessions (parigrahah); na apnoti, he does not incur; kilbisam, sin, in the form of evil as also rigtheousness-to one aspiring for Liberation, even righteousness is surely an evil because it brings bondage-; [Here Ast. adds tasmat tabhyam mukto bhavati samsarat mukto bhavati ityarthah, therefore, he becomes free from both of them, i.e. he becomes liberated from transmigration.-Tr.] kurvan, by performing; karma, actions; kevalam, merely; sariram, for the purpose of maintaining the body-without the idea of agenship even with regard to these (actions). Further, in the expression, kevalam sariram karma, do the words sariram karma mean actions done by the body or actions merely for the purpose of maintaining the body? Again, what does it matter if by (the words) sariram karma is meant actions done by the body or actions merely for the purpose of maintaning the body? The answer is: If by sariram karma is meant actions done by the body, then it will amount to a contradiction [Contradiction of the scriptures.] when the Lord says, one does not incur sin by doing with his body any action meant for seen or unseen purposes, even though it be prohibited. Even if the Lord were to say that one does not incur sin by doing with his body some scripturally sanctioned action intended to secure a seen or an unseen end, then there arises the contingency of His denying something (some evil) that has not come into being! (Further,) from the specification, sariram karma kurvan (by doing actions with the body), and from the use of the word kevala (only), it will amount to saying that one incurs sin by performing actions, called righteous and unrighteous, which can be accomplished with the mind and speech and which come within the purview of injunction and prohibition. Even there, the statement that one incurs sin by performing enjoined actions through the mind and speech will involve a contradiction; even in the case of doing what is prohibited, it will amount to a mere purposeless restatement of a known fact. On the other hand, when the sense conveyed by sariram karma is taken as acctions merely for the purpose of maintaining the body, then the implication will be that he does not do any other work as can be accomplished physically, orally, or mentally, which are known from injunctions and prohibitions (of the scriptures) and which have in view seen or unseen results; while he appears to people to be working with those very body (speech) etc. merely for the purpose of maintaining the body, yet he does not incur sin by merely making movements of the body etc., because from the use of the word kevala, (merely) it follows that he is devoid of the sense of agentship implicit in the idea, I do. Since there is no possibility of a person who has reached such a state incurring evil as suggest by the word sin, therefore he does not become subject to the evil of transmigration. That is to say, he certainly becomes free without any obstacle since he has all his actions burnt away by the fire of wisdom. This verse is only a reiteration of the result of full illumination stated earlier. It becomes faultless by accepting the interpretation of sariram karma thus. In the case of the monk who has renounced all possessions, since owning food etc. meant for the bare sustenance of the body is absent, therefore it becomes imperative to beg for alms etc. for the upkeep of the body. Under this circumstance, by way of pointing out the means of obtaining food etc. for the maintenance of the body of a monk as permitted by the text, What comes unasked for, without forethought and spontaneously৷৷. [Unasked for: what comes before the monk gets ready for going out for alms; without forethought: alms that are not given with abuses, and have not fallen on the ground, but collected from five or seven houses without any plan; spontaneously: alms brought to one spontaneously by devoted people.] (Bo. Sm. 21. 8. 12) etc., the Lord says:
Niraasheer yatachittaatmaa tyaktasarvaparigrahah; Shaareeram kevalam karma kurvannaapnoti kilbisham.
nirāśhīḥ—free from expectations; yata—controlled; chitta-ātmā—mind and intellect; tyakta—having abandoned; sarva—all; parigrahaḥ—the sense of ownership; śhārīram—bodily; kevalam—only; karma—actions; kurvan—performing; na—never; āpnoti—incurs; kilbiṣham—sin