Īśo 2

कुर्वन्नेवेह कर्माणि जिजीविषेच्छतँ समाः।
एवं त्वयि नान्यथेतोऽस्ति न कर्म लिप्यते नरे॥२॥

Text

kurvann eveha karmāṇi
jijīviṣec chataṁ samāḥ
evaṁ tvayi nānyatheto ‘sti
na karma lipyate nare

Synonyms

kurvanplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigkurvan

acting; and keeping; doing; doing anything; doing continuously; doing so; making; performing; transforming.
—doing continuously; evaplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigeva

alone; also; also the word //eva//; although; as; as it is; as it were; as much as; as they are; at all; at that time; certainly; certainly,; certainty; completely; definitely; even; ever; exactly; exactly like; factually; Himself; immediately; in fact; in this way; indeed; it is all like that; just; just so; like; like that; like this; of course; on the very; only; quite; simply; so; surely; the word //eva//; they are; thus; truly; undoubtedly; very; without doubt.
—thus; ihaplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigiha

as a matter of fact; at the present moment; at this place; by this; during this span of life; here (in this body); here (in this life); here (in this universe); here (on this water); here; here in Jagannātha Purī; here in the spiritual world; here in this world; here in Vṛndāvana; here, in this arena of sacrifice; herein; herewith; in material sense gratification; in the foolish species of life; in the material world; in the matter of this offense; in the sacrifice; in the universe; in this (material world); in this (the holy name); in this //Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam//; in this; in this battle; in this body; in this case; in this connection; in this existence; in this human society; in this land of Bhārata-varṣa; in this life; in this material world (especially in this pious land of Bhārata-varṣa, India); in this material world; in this matter of creation; in this millennium; in this narration; in this place; in this place, in this spot; in this situation; in this universe; in this very life; in this water; in this world; in this world of mortality; in this world or in this life; in Vaikuṇṭha; in which house; it; now; on this planet; on this subject; this; within the universe; within this life; within this material world; within this world.
—during this span of life; karmāṇiplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigkarmani

activities; by which activities; duties; fruitive activities; fruits of activities; in action; in activity; in discharging fruitive activities; in fruitive activities; in fruitive activity; in one's prescribed duty; in the churning; in the matter of; in the performance of prescribed duties; in the sacrifice; in the work; in work; of a ritualistic ceremony; of fruitive activity; performance of; performances; prescribed duties; the activity.
—work; jijīviṣetplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigjijīviṣet

one should desire to live.
—one should desire to live; śatamplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigsatam

among elevated devotees; by great devotees; by the devotees; civilized gentlemen; devotees; good; of all devotees; of devotees; of great saintly persons; of persons who prefer the impersonal feature of the Lord; of pure devotees; of saintly persons; of the devotees; of the devotees of the Lord; of the great devotees; of the great sages; of the most respectable; of the pious; of the saintly persons; of the transcendentalists; of the truthful; of the Vaiṣṇavas; of the virtuous; of those who are spiritually fixed; of those who are to exist eternally; to the saintly.
—one hundred; samāḥplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigsamah

equal; equally disposed; equally good; equally situated; equipoised; equiposed; like; Sama; steady; the same.
—years; evamplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigevam

also; as; as exhibited by him; as I have done; as mentioned above; certainly; in that way; in the same way; in this manner; in this way (as described previously); in this way (some sons having been cursed and some blessed); in this way (while they were enjoying their lunch); in this way; it is so; just in the same way; like this; only; similarly (as earthly wealth and possessions are impermanent); similarly; so; so living; such; that; therefore; this; thus (as above mentioned); thus (living a devotional life); thus; thus being always engaged; thus prescribed; thus, as aforementioned; yes, this is right.
—so living; tvayiplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigtvayi

by You; for you; in you; on Your; to You; unto you; unto You, the Supreme Personality of Godhead; unto Your Lordship; when You.
—unto you; naplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigna

//never//; //not//; are not; but not; cannot; certainly not; could not; did not; do not; does it not; does not; is not; it is not; it is not so; may not; neither; never; never does; never to be; no; no one; none; nor; not; not like that; not preceded by //oṁ//; not suitable; nothing; or not; shall not; should never; there is none; there is not; there should not be; was not; whether; without.
—no; anyathāplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_biganyathā

alternative; and otherwise; apart; by any other means; by other means; just the opposite; other; other than; others; otherwise; without being in such a relationship as master and servant.
—alternative; itaḥplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigitah

after this; being brought up; besides this; beyond this; for this reason; from here; from here, from Gokula; from that place; from this; from this path; from this place (Vaikuṇṭha); from this place; from this world; here; taking shelter; than that place where they were.
—from this path; astiplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigasti

has; is; is there; there are; there is; there may be; there must be.
—there is; naplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigna

//never//; //not//; are not; but not; cannot; certainly not; could not; did not; do not; does it not; does not; is not; it is not; it is not so; may not; neither; never; never does; never to be; no; no one; none; nor; not; not like that; not preceded by //oṁ//; not suitable; nothing; or not; shall not; should never; there is none; there is not; there should not be; was not; whether; without.
—not; karmaplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigkarma

//karma//; according to work; act; action; actions; activities (to support the Daityas); activities; activities being dedicated to You; activities of service to You; activity; activity of life; acts; and activities; and fruitive activities; and work; another activity; by actions; by activities; by fruitive activities; by predestined resultant actions; by wonderful activities, pious activities; by work; duties; duty; fruitive action; fruitive activities; fruitive activity; fruitive desires; fruitive work; in activities; material activities; my deeds; of activities; of fruitive activities; of the activities; one's prescribed activities; pastimes; pastimes, activities; prescribed duties; prescribed duty; reaction of the past; reactionary work; story; such service to the master; the accomplishment; the act; the activities; the activity; the business; the fate of the living entity; the fruits of action; the fruits of activities; the interaction; the objective; the sacrifice; these activities; to such activities; transcendental activity; uncommon deeds; whose transcendental activities; work.
—work; lipyateplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_biglipyate

becomes involved; can be bound; is affected; is attached; is entangled.
—can be bound; nareplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bignare

unto a man.
—unto a man. 

Translation

One may aspire to live for hundreds of years if he continuously goes on working in that way, for that sort of work will not bind him to the law of karma. There is no alternative to this way for man. 

Purport

No one wants to die: everyone wants to live as long as he can drag on. This tendency is visible not only individually but also collectively in the community, society and nation. There is a hard struggle for life by all kinds of living entities, and the Vedas say that this is quite natural. The living being is eternal by nature, but due to his bondage in material existence he has to change his body over and over. This process is called transmigration of the soul or karma-bandhana, bondage by one’s work. The living entity has to work for his livelihood because that is the law of material nature, and if he does not act according to his prescribed duties, he transgresses the law of nature and binds himself more and more to the cycle of birth and death in the many species of life. 

Other life forms are also subject to the cycle of birth and death, but when the living entity attains a human life, he gets a chance to get free from the chains of karma. Karma, akarma and vikarma are very clearly described in the Bhagavad-gītā. Actions that are performed in terms of one’s prescribed duties, as mentioned in the revealed scriptures, are called karma. Actions that free one from the cycle of birth and death are called akarma. And actions that are performed through the misuse of one’s freedom and that direct one to the lower life forms are called vikarma. Of these three types of action, that which frees one from the bondage to karma is preferred by intelligent men. Ordinary men wish to perform good work in order to be recognized and achieve some higher status of life in this world or in heaven, but more advanced men want to be free altogether from the actions and reactions of work. Intelligent men well know that both good and bad work equally bind one to the material miseries. Consequently they seek that work which will free them from the reactions of both good and bad work. Such liberating work is described here in the pages of Śrī Īśopaniṣad. 

The instructions of Śrī Īśopaniṣad are more elaborately explained in the Bhagavad-gītā, sometimes called the Gītopaniṣad, the cream of all the Upaniṣads. In the Bhagavad-gītā (3.9-16)plugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigBhagavad-gītā As It Is 3.9

Work done as a sacrifice for Viṣṇu has to be performed, otherwise work binds one to this material world. Therefore, O son of Kuntī, perform your prescribed duties for His satisfaction, and in that way you will always remain unattached and free from bondage.
the Personality of Godhead says that one cannot attain the state of naiṣkarmya, or akarma, without executing the prescribed duties mentioned in the Vedic literature. This literature can regulate the working energy of a human being in such a way that he can gradually realize the authority of the Supreme Being. When he realizes the authority of the Personality of Godhead—Vāsudeva, or Kṛṣṇa—it is to be understood that he has attained the stage of positive knowledge. In this purified stage the modes of nature—namely goodness, passion and ignorance—cannot act, and he is able to work on the basis of naiṣkarmya. Such work does not bind one to the cycle of birth and death. 

Factually, no one has to do anything more than render devotional service to the Lord. However, in the lower stages of life one cannot immediately adopt the activities of devotional service, nor can one completely stop fruitive work. A conditioned soul is accustomed to working for sense gratification—for his own selfish interest, immediate or extended. An ordinary man works for his own sense enjoyment, and when this principle of sense enjoyment is extended to include his society, nation or humanity in general, it assumes various attractive names such as altruism, socialism, communism, nationalism and humanitarianism. These “isms” are certainly very attractive forms of karma-bandhana (karmic bondage), but the Vedic instruction of Śrī Īśopaniṣad is that if one actually wants to live for any of the above “isms,” he should make them God-centered. There is no harm in becoming a family man, or an altruist, a socialist, a communist, a nationalist or a humanitarian, provided that one executes his activities in relation with īśāvāsya, the God-centered conception. 

In the Bhagavad-gītā (2.40)plugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigBhagavad-gītā As It Is 2.40

In this endeavor there is no loss or diminution, and a little advancement on this path can protect one from the most dangerous type of fear.
Lord Kṛṣṇa states that God-centered activities are so valuable that just a few of them can save a person from the greatest danger. The greatest danger of life is the danger of gliding down again into the evolutionary cycle of birth and death among the 8,400,000 species. If somehow or other a man misses the spiritual opportunity afforded by his human form of life and falls down again into the evolutionary cycle, he must be considered most unfortunate. Due to his defective senses, a foolish man cannot see that this is happening. Consequently Śrī Īśopaniṣad advises us to exert our energy in the spirit of īśāvāsya. Being so engaged, we may wish to live for many, many years; otherwise a long life in itself has no value. A tree lives for hundreds and hundreds of years, but there is no point in living a long time like trees, or breathing like bellows, or begetting children like hogs and dogs, or eating like camels. A humble God-centered life is more valuable than a colossal hoax of a life dedicated to godless altruism or socialism. 

When altruistic activities are executed in the spirit of Śrī Īśopaniṣad, they become a form of karma-yoga. Such activities are recommended in the Bhagavad-gītā (18.5-9)plugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigBhagavad-gītā As It Is 18.5

Acts of sacrifice, charity and penance are not to be given up but should be performed. Indeed, sacrifice, charity and penance purify even the great souls.
, for they guarantee their executor protection from the danger of sliding down into the evolutionary process of birth and death. Even though such God-centered activities may be half-finished, they are still good for the executor because they will guarantee him a human form in his next birth. In this way one can have another chance to improve his position on the path of liberation. 

How one can execute God-centered activities is elaborately explained in the Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu, by Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī. We have rendered this book into English as The Nectar of Devotion. We recommend this valuable book to all who are interested in performing their activities in the spirit of Śrī Īśopaniṣad.