Bhagavad Gita Chapter 6, Verse: 22; Yam Labdha Chaparam Labham

In this article our topic is the 22nd verse of the 6th chapter of Bhagavad Gita.

In philosophy, literature, religion and poetry human life and all activities associated with it have been described as a "search". They say that whatever we are doing, we are actually searching something or someone.

Now, is this search endless or infinite? In Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 6, verse 22 we find Lord Krishna is saying that there is something or someone, which, having obtained, one feels that his search has finally come to an end. There is not and can not be anything greater or better than that. When someone reaches such a stage or finds this object, nothing in the universe can disturb or move him.

Bhagavad Gita Chapter VI, Verse: 22

The verse is—

यं लब्धा चापरं लाभं मन्यते नाधिकं ततः
यस्मिनिस्थतो न दुःखेन गुरुणापि बिचाल्येत 

Yam labdha chaparam labham manyate nadhikam tatah
Yasminstithou na duhkhena gurunapi bichalayet

The meaning if the verse is—
Which, having obtained, one thinks there is no greater gain beyond it; 
Wherein established, he is not shaken even by heavy sorrow

Now let's see meaning of every word—
  • यं/Yam = Which
  • लब्धा/Labdha = Having obtained
  • च/Cha= And
  • अपरं/Aparam = Another
  • लाभं.Labham = Gain
  • मन्यते/Manyate = Thinks
  • न/Na = Not
  • अधिकं/Adhikam= Greater
  • ततः/Tatah = Than that
  • यस्मिन्/Yasmin = In which
  • स्थितः/Sthitah= Established
  • न/Na = Not
  • दुःखेन/Duhkhena = By sorrow/misery
  • गुरुणा/Guruna = Heavy
  • अपि/Api= Even
  • बिचाल्येत/Bichalyet = Is moved


Here is an audio recording of the verse. Artist: Piusha Singh. Recording and sound mixing: Swami Vivekananda Quotes.

    Swami Vivekananda's comments

    Krishna art
    Image source: Wikimedia Commons
    In the beginning of 1894, Swami Vivekananda wrote a letter to Swami Ramakrishnananda from 541 Dearborn Avenue, Chicago, United States. In that letter he quoted the last part of this verse—[Source]
    "यस्मिंस्थितौ न दुःखेन गुरुणापि विचाल्यते" — नैषः प्राप्तवान् तत्पदवीमिति मत्वा करुणादृष्ट्या द्रष्टव्योऽयमिति — "Established in which state a man is not moved even by great misfortune" (Gita) — that state he has not reached; think of this and look upon him with pity. Through the Lord's will, the desire for name and fame has not yet crept into my heart, and I dare say never will. I am an instrument, and He is the operator. Through this instrument He is rousing the religious instinct in thousands of hearts in this far-off country. Thousands of men and women here love and revere me. . . . "मूकं करोति वाचालं पङ्गुं लङ्घते गिरिम् — He makes the dumb eloquent and makes the lame cross mountains." I am amazed at His grace. Whichever town I visit, it is in an uproar. They have named me "the cyclonic Hindu". Remember, it is His will — I am a voice without a form.

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    Nishkam Karma Of Bhagavad Gita

    Nishkam Karma or Nishkama Karma (Devanagari: निष्काम कर्म) is a prominent theme of Bhagavad Gita. It is also considered as the essence or the central message of Bhagavad Gita.

    Nishkama Karma
    The term is Nishkam Karma or निष्काम कर्म. First let's try to understand its meaning.
    • Nishkam/निष्काम is a sandhi of nih+kam or निः+काम. Here "nih" or "निः" means "without" and "kam/काम" means "kamna"/"कामना", i.e. any kind of desire.
    • Karma/कर्म means "work"/"action", "kri/कृ " dhatu.
    So, the term "Nishkam Karma" means "action or without desire" or "work without motive".
    To elaborate this— Krisha suggests that we have rights only on the work or the action, and not on its results, whether it is good or bad. Our works, our desires should be "desireless", we should not desire for any pleasing (or unpleasing) result.

    As I have already mentioned "Nishkama Karma" is the central message of Bhagavad Gita, readers will surely notice that are many verses in Bhagavad Gita discussin "Nishkam Karma" theme.

    In this article our topic is Swami Vivekananda's quotes and comments on Bhagavad Gita's teaching "Nishkam Karma".

    Swami Vivekananda on Nishkama Karma
    Here you'll find Swami Vivekananda's mentions, quotes and commentaries on Bhagavad Gita's teaching "Nishkam Karma".

    What is Nishkama Karma?

    Krishna and Arjuna
    Swamiji told—[Source]
    • Now, what is the meaning of working without motive? Nowadays many understand it in the sense that one is to work in such a way that neither pleasure nor pain touches his mind. If this be its real meaning, then the animals might be said to work without motive. Some animals devour their own offspring, and they do not feel any pangs at all in doing so. Robbers ruin other people by robbing them of their possessions; but if they feel quite callous to pleasure or pain, then they also would be working without motive. If the meaning of it be such, then one who has a stony heart, the worst of criminals, might be considered to be working without motive. The walls have no feelings of pleasure or pain, neither has a stone, and it cannot be said that they are working without motive. In the above sense the doctrine is a potent instrument in the hands of the wicked. They would go on doing wicked deeds, and would pronounce themselves as working without a motive. If such be the significance of working without a motive, then a fearful doctrine has been put forth by the preaching of the Gita. Certainly this is not the meaning. Furthermore, if we look into the lives of those who were connected with the preaching of the Gita, we should find them living quite a different life. Arjuna killed Bhishma and Drona in battle, but withal, he sacrificed all his self-interest and desires and his lower self millions of times.[Source]
    • The next is, Nishkâma Karma, or work without desire or attachment. People nowadays understand what is meant by this in various ways. Some say what is implied by being unattached is to become purposeless. If that were its real meaning, then heartless brutes and the walls would be the best exponents of the performance of Nishkama Karma. Many others, again, give the example of Janaka, and wish themselves to be equally recognised as past masters in the practice of Nishkama Karma! Janaka (lit. father) did not acquire that distinction by bringing forth children, but these people all want to be Janakas, with the sole qualification of being the fathers of a brood of children! No! The true Nishkama Karmi (performer of work without desire) is neither to be like a brute, nor to be inert, nor heartless. He is not Tâmasika but of pure Sattva. His heart is so full of love and sympathy that he can embrace the whole world with his love. The world at large cannot generally comprehend his all-embracing love and sympathy.[Source]

    The result of every work is mixed with good and evil

    Swamiji observed—[Source]
    The result of every work is mixed with good and evil. There is no good work that has not a touch of evil in it. Like smoke round the fire, some evil always clings to work. We should engage in such works as bring the largest amount of good and the smallest measure of evil. Arjuna killed Bhishma and Drona; if this had not been done Duryodhana could not have been conquered, the force of evil would have triumphed over the force of good, and thus a great calamity would have fallen on the country. The government of the country would have been usurped by a body of proud unrighteous kings, to the great misfortune of the people. Similarly, Shri Krishna killed Kamsa, Jarâsandha, and others who were tyrants, but not a single one of his deeds was done for himself. Every one of them was for the good of others. We are reading the Gita by candle-light, but numbers of insects are being burnt to death. Thus it is seen that some evil clings to work. Those who work without any consciousness of their lower ego are not affected with evil, for they work for the good of the world. To work without motive, to work unattached, brings the highest bliss and freedom. This secret of Karma-Yoga is taught by the Lord Shri Krishna in the Gita.

    How to follow the ideal of Nishkama Karma

    Swami Vivekananda suggested—
    We say that we cannot do good without at the same time doing some evil, or do evil without doing some good. Knowing this, how can we work? There have, therefore, been sects in this world who have in an astoundingly preposterous way preached slow suicide as the only means to get out of the world, because if a man lives, he has to kill poor little animals and plants or do injury to something or some one. So according to them the only way out of the world is to die. The Jains have preached this doctrine as their highest ideal. This teaching seems to be very logical. But the true solution is found in the Gita. It is the theory of non-attachment, to be attached to nothing while doing our work of life. Know that you are separated entirely from the world, though you are in the world, and that whatever you may be doing in it, you are not doing that for your own sake. Any action that you do for yourself will bring its effect to bear upon you. If it is a good action, you will have to take the good effect, and if bad, you will have to take the bad effect; but any action that is not done for your own sake, whatever it be, will have no effect on you. There is to be found a very expressive sentence in our scriptures embodying this idea: "Even if he kill the whole universe (or be himself killed), he is neither the killer nor the killed, when he knows that he is not acting for himself at all." Therefore Karma-Yoga teaches, "Do not give up the world; live in the world, imbibe its influences as much as you can; but if it be for your own enjoyment's sake, work not at all."

    More Vivekananda quotations on the theme Nishkama Karma
    • In the Gitâ Shri Krishna says — men should work for work's sake only, and love for love's sake.[Source]
    • You who have read the Gitâ see all through the book that the one idea is non-attachment.[Source]

    See also

    We recommend to read this article too—
    1. Karmanyevadhikaraste Ma Phaleshu Kadacana

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    Greatness Of Bhagavad Gita

    In this website we have been preparing a series of articles on Swami Vivekananda's quotes and comments on Bhagavad Gita.

    In this article our topic is Swami Vivekananda's quotes and comments on greatness of Bhagavad Gita.

    Greatness of Bhagavad Gita
    Krishna instructing Arjuna in Kurukshetrea
    Image source: Wikimedia Commons
    Swami Vivekananda told—
    • First see the irony of it. Jesus Christ, the God of the Europeans, has taught: Have no enemy, bless them that curse you; whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also; stop all your work and be ready for the next world; the end of the world is near at hand. And our Lord in the Gita is saying: Always work with great enthusiasm, destroy your enemies and enjoy the world. But, after all, it turned out to be exactly the reverse of what Christ or Krishna implied. The Europeans never took the words of Jesus Christ seriously. Always of active habits, being possessed of a tremendous Râjasika nature, they are gathering with great enterprise and youthful ardour the comforts and luxuries of the different countries of the world and enjoying them to their hearts' content. And we are sitting in a corner, with our bag and baggage, pondering on death day and night, and singing," नलिनीदलगतजलमतितरलं तद्वज्जीवितमतिशयचपलम्—Very tremulous and unsteady is the water on the lotus-leaf; so is the life of man frail and transient"—with the result that it is making our blood run cold and our flesh creep with the fear of Yama, the god of death; and Yama, too, alas, has taken us at our word, as it were—plague and all sorts of maladies have entered into our country! Who are following the teachings of the Gita?—the Europeans. And who are acting according to the will of Jesus Christ?—The descendants of Shri Krishna! This must be well understood.[Source]
    • Take the Sermon on the Mount and the Gita -- they are simplicity itself. Even the streetwalker can understand them. How grand! In them you find the truth clearly and simply revealed.[Source]
    • The greatest incident of the war was the marvellous and immortal poem of the Gitâ, the Song Celestial. It is the popular scripture of India and the loftiest of all teachings. It consists of a dialogue held by Arjuna with Krishna, just before the commencement of the fight on the battle-field of Kurukshetra. I would advise those of you who have not read that book to read it. If you only knew how much it has influenced your own country even! If you want to know the source of Emerson's inspiration, it is this book, the Gita. He went to see Carlyle, and Carlyle made him a present of the Gita; and that little book is responsible for the Concord Movement. All the broad movements in America, in one way or other, are indebted to the Concord party.[Source]
    • The Bhagavad-Gita . . . is the best commentary we have on the Vedanta philosophy — curiously enough the scene is laid on the battlefield, where Krishna teaches this philosophy to Arjuna; and the doctrine which stands out luminously in every page of the Gita is intense activity, but in the midst of it, eternal calmness.[Source]
    • The Gita is a commentary on the Upanishads. The Upanishads are the Bible of India. They occupy the same place as the New Testament does.[Source]
    • The Gita is like a bouquet composed of the beautiful flowers of spiritual truths collected from the Upanishads.[Source]
    • The Gita is the gist of the Vedas. It is not our Bible; the Upanishads are our Bible. It [the Gita] is the gist of the Upanishads and harmonizes the many contradictory parts of the Upanishads.[Source]
    • The Gita is to the Hindus what the New Testament is to the Christians.[Source]
    • The greatness of little things, that is what the Gita teaches — bless the old book!! . . .[Source]
    • The reconciliation of the different paths of Dharma, and work without desire or attachment — these are the two special characteristics of the Gita.[Source]
    • The restless Western atheist or agnostic finds in the Gita or in the Dhammapada the only place where his soul can anchor.[Source]
    • The teachings of Krishna as taught by the Gita are the grandest the world has ever known. He who wrote that wonderful poem was one of those rare souls whose lives sent a wave of regeneration through the world. The human race will never again see such a brain as his who wrote the Gita.[Source]

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    Vivekananda Image Quotes - Archive 09

    This is an archive of Swami Vivekananda's Image Quote Of The Day. The most recent quotes may be seen in that page.

    20 May 2014

    We must not only tolerate others, but positively embrace them, and that truth is the basis of all religions.

    19 May 2014

    If education is identical with information, the libraries are the greatest sages in the world, and encyclopaedias are the Rishis.

    18 May 2014

    The Bhakta (devotee) renounces all little loves for the almighty and omnipresent love.

    17 May 2014

    It is all play. . . .  [You may say,] "We have to do something; let us do good."  [But] who cares for good and evil?  Play! God Almighty plays. That is all.

    16 May 2014

    Not a work will be lost, no struggle vain. . .

    15 May 2014

    Mystery mongering and superstition are always signs of weakness.

    14 May 2014

    Forget yourselves; this is the first lesson to be learnt, whether you are a theist or an atheist, whether you are an agnostic or a Vedantist, a Christian or a Mohammedan.

    13 May 2014

    The purification of the body by water, earth, or other materials is the external purification, as bathing etc. Purification of the mind by truth, and by all the other virtues, is what is called internal purification.

    12 May 2014

    When Adam fell, he fell from purity

    11 May 2014

    Truce to foolish talk; talk of the Lord. Life is too short to be spent in talking about frauds and cranks.

    10 May 2014

    Never lose faith in yourself, you can do anything in this universe. Never weaken, all power is yours.

    9 May 2014

    All knowledge and all power are within and not without.

    8 May 2014

    Every individual has in himself perfection. It lies within the dark recesses of his physical being.

    7 May 2014

    The heart must be pure and the pure heart sees only good, never evil.

    6 May 2014

    Remember the words of Jesus: "The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!"

    5 May 2014

    . . . Hold on with faith and strength; be true, be honest, be pure, and don't quarrel among yourselves. Jealousy is the bane of our race.

    4 May 2014

    It is not the law of nature to be always taking gifts with outstretched hands like beggars. To give and take is the law of nature.

    3 May 2014

    Be pure first, and you will have power. Simply saying, "I am a Rishi", will not do; but when you are a Rishi you will find that others obey you instinctively.

    2 May 2014

    The law of Karma is the law of causation.

    1 May 2014

    All hatred is "killing the self by the self"; therefore, love is the law of life.


    This article is a sub article of Swami Vivekananda's Image Quote Of The Day and a sub-article of

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    Liberty Is The First Condition Of Growth

    To prepare articles for this website we regularly need to study Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda and many other books, articles, journals. When I was preparing an article on Swami Vivekananda's quotations on growth, I found the following quotation—
    Liberty is the first condition of growth.
    (Yes, I know that every person has "his" or "her" opinion), still, in my opinion, it is a terrific quote. In life, in society or in a country, "growth" of any individual or a group is just not possible if there is no "liberty", no "freedom".

    Swami Vivekananda discussed this idea "Liberty is the first condition of growth" several times. In this article our attempt will be making a collection of these quotations.

    Liberty is the first condition of growth
    A woman sitting
    Allegory of French Revolution
    Image source: Wikimedia Commons
    According to Swami Vivekananda—
    • Freedom is the only condition of growth; take that off, the result is degeneration.[Source]
    • Liberty is the first condition of growth. Just as man must have liberty to think and speak, so he must have liberty in food, dress, and marriage, and in every other thing, so long as he does not injure others.[Source]
    • There cannot be any growth without liberty. Our ancestors freed religious thought, and we have a wonderful religion. But they put a heavy chain on the feet of society, and our society is, in a word, horrid, diabolical. In the West, society always had freedom, and look at them. On the other hand, look at their religion.[Source]
    • What else can they be under the existing social bandages, especially in Madras? Liberty is the first condition of growth. Your ancestors gave every liberty to the soul, and religion grew. They put the body under every bondage, and society did not grow. The opposite is the case in the West — every liberty to society, none to religion. Now are falling off the shackles from the feet of Eastern society as from those of Western religion. (From a letter written to Alasinga Perumal dated 29 September 1894)[Source]
    • You must remember that freedom is the first condition of growth. What you do not make free, will never grow. The idea that you can make others grow and help their growth, that you can direct and guide them, always retaining for yourself the freedom of the teacher, is nonsense, a dangerous lie which has retarded the growth of millions and millions of human beings in this world. Let men have the light of liberty. That is the only condition of growth.[Source]

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    Félix Martí Ibáñez On Swami Vivekananda

    Félix Martí-Ibáñez (25 December 1911 – 24 May 1972) was a physician, psychiatrist, academic, writer, and publisher. Some of his notable publications are Centaur: Essays on the History of Medical Ideas, The Epic of Medicine, To Be a Doctor, The Crystal Arrow: Essays on Literature, Travel, Art, Love, and the History of Medicine, The Mirror of Souls, and Other Essays etc. A detailed biography of Ibáñez is available at Wikipedia. In this article our topic is Félix Martí-Ibáñez's quotes and comments on Swami Vivekananda.

    Dr. Félix Martí-Ibáñez told—
    A young man
    Image source: Estel Negre
    Dr. Félix Martí Ibáñez was talking on "the most valuable thing in his life" and he told—
    Life itself. Health and dreams and love. ...If what is meant by 'things', however, is something concrete in physical form, then I would have to say books. I was actually once put to the test of what I value most. It was in February 1939, when I had to leave Spain because of the fall of the Spanish Republic and all I could take with me was what I could carry. I chose to take one book. From the thousands of books in the library I have so lovingly built up with my father, I selected The Universal Gospel and The Life of Vivekananda by Romain Rolland. That uniquely magnificent mystical book inspired me through the years to dedicate my life to the service of others.


    1. Ibáñez, Félix Martí (1966). The Mirror of Souls, and Other Essays. Clarkson N. Potter. p. 310, ISBN 978-0-517-50120-7.

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