Bhagavad Geeta Chapter 3 (Karma Yoga)

Bhagavad Geeta Chapter 3 – Karma Yoga (Yoga of Action)

School of Yoga explains Chapter 13 – Introduction.

To understand karma-yoga, some principles and concepts which underpin the philosophy as stated by Sri Krishna need to be understood.

The key concepts that will be addresses in Chapter 3 are karma, relationship between karma and Purusha/ Prakriti, karma and debt (rinn) and karma-yoga, which means integration of karma with the Self (atma). Since these concepts are interrelated, there will be overlap which could lead to some confusion.

  • In Chapter 2, we learned that Brahman is a deep unchanging, immutable state of peace, which is the source and motility of everything.
  • Everything that emerges from Brahman is called maaya (illusion).
  • Maaya is driven by attributes or guna, consisting of the states of delusion (tamas), passion (rajas) and harmony (sattva).
  • Dharma is natural state, one that conditions all entities to behave in a particular manner.

School of Yoga comments on Bhagavad Geeta Chapter 3 (verse 1-9)

Arjuna asked – If you are saying that the Yoga of knowledge (saankhya-yoga) is superior to Yoga of action (karma-yoga), why are you asking me to indulge in this terrible action? You are confusing me with your perplexing speech, so please explain to me that One way by which I may attain the correct goal.

Sri Krishna replied – In this world for yogis or those seeking to integrate their awareness with Brahman, there are 2 paths – the path of knowledge (saankhya-yoga) or the path of action (karma-yoga) (Ch3-verse 3-9).

  • A person does not reach the state of no action by not acting; neither does he reach the highest levels of wisdom by renunciation. This is because action occurs continuously in voluntary and involuntary form, for this is the nature of creation (Prakriti) (Ch3-verse 5).
  • Action is superior to inaction, indeed, for even the body cannot be maintained by inaction (Ch3-verse 8).
  • Perfection cannot be attained by renunciation of action (karma). In fact, only the perfect can achieve liberation (samaadhi) through renunciation (Ch3-verse 4).
  • He who restrains action without restraining the senses is delusional, but he who restrains the senses and cognition when acting excels (Ch3-verse 7).
  • Common people experience anxiety when acting (karma), but the wise people act in a state of peace (Ch3-verse 18).
  • When performing action, the intent of sacrifice is superior to the intent of result. For example, food cooked for oneself but not shared is action intended for the senses, but one shared is a sacrifice. Thus, sacrifice is the source of all well-being (Ch3-verse 11).
  • A person who is anchored in the Self finds connection in all activity. Such a person does not consider himself to cause action, or inaction and is not dependent on others (Ch3-verse 17-18).
  • The ignorant act with attachment to action, the wise act with an attitude of no attachment. The best way to act is for the welfare of the world and to perform all actions with an attitude of balance (Ch3-verse 25-26). 
  • So, perform action without attachment, only then do you set a standard and become a role model for people to emulate (Ch3-verse 20).

School of Yoga explains relationship between karma and Purusha/ Prakriti:

  • The attributes (guna) that comprise delusion (tamas), passion (rajas) and harmony (sattva) have a passive (Purusha) and an active (Prakriti) component.
  • The passive component Purusha, is the experiencer or Identity of the entity while the active component Prakriti is the manifestation of Purusha, emerging in the form of attributes (guna).
  • For example, people recognise us by our behaviour (Prakriti), our behaviour is an expression of our Identity (Purusha). So, without our Identity (Purusha), we would not be able to express ourselves (Prakriti).
  • Also, our behaviour (Prakriti) changes along with our experiences and this is on account of the changes experienced by our Identity (Purusha).
  • Clearly, Purusha cannot exist without Prakriti and vice-versa, they are continuously weaving with each other. This weave is called tantra (weave) and the act of weaving is karma (action).
  • It’s important not to forget that the source and motility of all the above factors is Brahman.

So, what is the relationship between action (karma), guna, Purusha and Prakriti? Any stimulus-response transaction results in action (karma) because there is an outcome. The material weave of Purusha and Prakriti results in an outcome, which are the attributes (guna). So, the weave of Purusha and Prakriti results in action (karma).

But, the concept of action (karma) does not stop here…

School of Yoga explains karma:

When we like something, we bring it close to ourselves. When we dislike something, we push it away. This action of bringing close or pushing away is also action (karma). 

Since this covers all transactions, karma can be considered as the governing principle of the existence of all sentient, non-sentient, animate and inanimate entities.

School of Yoga explains karma and bandhana?

Introduction: karma creates bonds (bandana) in every transaction because whenever two entities relate to each other, they form a bond, even if the transaction is temporary.

Two types of bonds can be created in any transaction; one of equal give-take (sama-bandhanasama = equal + bandhana = bond) or and unequal bond of give-take which creates by debt is called rnanu-bandhana (rinn = debt + bandhana = bond).

Any transaction where the give and take are equal is called samabandhana (equal bond). Mostly, this is between married couples where give and take is not measured. This is why, in-laws in India are called sambandhi or samdi (those of equal bond).

Importantly, this give and take need not be material alone; it could be ideas, feelings, opinions etc. or a mix of these, anything where there is an imbalance or debt (rinn) created.

Types of debt (rinn) in karma;

We know that most transactions are rarely equal, one of the parties will give or get more. Hence, this creates a debtor and a creditor, and a debt (rinn) that needs to be repaid in this life or in another.

Also, creation and repayment of debt can take many forms, depending on the type of debt.  

  • All debt accrued to or by one in an ongoing situation is called agami-karma (current debt).
  • The overall aggregation of all debit or credit is called sanchita-karma (overall debt).
  • Next, the debt which comes for repayment is called prarabda-karma (repayment debt).
  • Finally, any overarching karma which controls environments and communities is called samasti-karma. Example of samasti-karma – Covid-19, all earthquakes, tsunamis, weather etc., where the individual’s karma is subsumed by a macro karma.

Where does the debt (rinn) reside?

Debt (rinn) only exists when it can be assigned to an entity. Hence, all rinn (debt) is accumulated by the Self/ Soul (atma) and goes with it at each rebirth until all the debt has been discharged.

How can a person avoid rebirth? Karma is attached to the Self (atma) only when it identifies itself with the action, so the simple way to avoid debt or rinn is to act without attaching the outcome to the Self (atma).

Act with all senses and cognition (manas) under control, with a spirit of sacrifice (yagnya), without desire for results (karma-phala) and without any attitude of being the doer (ahamkara).

Unfortunately, this is easier said than done and requires great dedication, patience, persistence and practice (shraddha). This effort to reconcile the Self (jiva) with action (karma) is called karma-yoga.

School of Yoga explains the key principles underpinning karma-yoga:

1- All aspects of life are based on natural principles of creation (dharma). Understanding of these principles is the basis of knowledge (saankhya). For example, the Sun’s rays nourish earth, the earth rotates clockwise, plants grow from the earth when they are nourished by rain, gravity acts on all matter etc., these are natural rules of creation that cannot be changed.

2- Dharma (natural state or conditioning) comes from karma, which comes from the weave of Purusha and Prakriti, which is a continuous unending process.

For example – we need food and these must be grown out of the earth. To achieve efficiency, one type of food must be grown on a plot of land. This is aligning natural principle of creation with our own ability to grow food. Then there is peace, which is Brahman.

3- Action is continuous. Even to maintain the body we need to act. In fact, action occurs when we are asleep also and even acquiring wisdom requires effort or action. Also, not acting is also action (karma).

4- There is no one else! Everything that we do or is done to us is a result of our karma and the debt (rinn) we create is karma that has to be reconciled. So, to avoid debt (rinn) one must act as if he does not consider himself to cause action or inaction, nor with dependance on any other beings.

This aspect has three parts –

  • First, we are born alone and anything we do will affect us only. Our effect on others is not controlled by us.
  • Second is a derivation of the first; while the outcome may not be as per expectation, it is important that the input is executed with excellence.
  • Finally, the third, it is best that we detach ourselves from the outcome of our actions so that the impact does not disturb our equilibrium.

5- Hence, it is best that we perform all action as a sacrifice for the benefit for mankind. This way, we do not attach our actions to the results and avoid dualities such as like-dislike as well as expectation.

What is the measure of success? How do we know that we are on the right path? When our transactions result in minimum experience of debt, then we can call our action dharmic or in line with karma-yoga.

Importantly, to achieve success, we need to have situational awareness (pragnya) of the situation as it unfolds. Situational awareness (pragnya) drives discrimination (vivekam) which determines quality of action (karma). A person of steady awareness is called stithapragnya (detailed in Chapter 2 of The Bhagavad-Geeta)


India suffered a terrible defeat in the Sino-Indian war of 1962. Let us look at the situational awareness (pragnya) of the time.

  • China had managed to push the UN forces back to the 38th parallel. They had inflicted a defeat on the armies of USA and Great Britain, leading world powers of the time.
  • China invaded Tibet in 1951 and annexed it in 1959.

These were clear indicators of China’s capabilities and intentions. The Indian Government ignored all warning signs and did not build capability in the Indian defence or External Affairs establishment.

Meanwhile, Indian Government gave asylum to the Dalai Lama, provoking the Chinese further. Although, in itself this was not wrong, assuming that the Indo-China brotherhood would be sufficient to maintain status-quo was very poor situational awareness. 

This led to poor military preparedness, poor negotiating positions and poor diplomatic decisions. Consequently, the conflict ended in a debacle with India losing large territory, material and over 5000 soldiers.

Saankhya (knowledge) that Chinese had aggressive intentions and capability was available but the administration was deluded into thinking that Chinese would not attack. Thus, Indians made no preparations. Consequently, once the month-long war started, no compensatory action (karma) could stem the outcome. 


When discrimination (vivekam) between reality and need for preparation was lost due to delusion, knowledge (sankhya) that preparation might have reversed the abject outcome was abandoned. 

We can find similar instances in our homes, societies, businesses, countries and across the world (terrorism and climate change being examples), where knowledge is ignored at cataclysmic cost.

More examples:
  • We know that we need to study for our exams, revise what we studied and not assume that we know the subject after familiarising ourselves. After all, there is a difference in awareness (pragnya) between familiarity and competence. So, while familiarity breeds contempt, expertise breeds confidence and problem-solving capability.
  • Assume that the managing committee of a group of buildings assumes that everything is well just because no problems are experienced and ignores small pain points which arise regularly. Is this committee not heading for a breakdown which may come at an inconvenient time? For example, if they were to ignore checking the drains regularly, then it is possible that all the drains get blocked simultaneously and everyone in the society has an uncomfortable time until the drains are cleared. Thus, planned inspection and maintenance helps avoid the stress, emotional and physical discomfort of a breakdown situation.
  • The Model T Ford was the world’s first mass produced car in 1908, ushering a new world of mobility. Henry Ford standardised everything including paint, in order to make the car affordable. However, by 1920 customer requirements had changed but Henry Ford adamantly refused to increase the product line. By the time he relented in 1927, and allowed expansion of Ford’s product line, the company had lost market share to other American car companies. This is another example of how success can delude a person and make him think that he can do nothing wrong, much to the detriment of his well-being.

Prior experience and wisdom indicate that realities and demands of change must be accepted and requisite action must be taken for an outcome to be successful, but arrogance, laziness, lack of capability and delusion brings about avoidable failure. The moral, knowledge is only as useful as its application.

Sri Krishna said – Even though I have reached this level of supreme awareness and have no need to act, I act ceaselessly, so that people may follow suit. I act to ensure the welfare of all, to make sure removal of confusion and to establish a standard for people to follow (Ch3-verse 30- 35) .

  • Even when in the midst of people wedded to action for fanning the senses, a yogi must work ceaselessly with restrained senses, forsaking the outcome for the welfare of all and perform all action with devotion. He must not get attached to the thought that he is the doer.
  • So, transferring your sense of identity (I am) into Me (in this case Sri Krishna, but it can be any external entity), being aware of the Self, freeing yourself from hope and glory, removing anxiety and frustration – fight!
  • Those that practice this without giving excuses will succeed in freeing themselves from action. Those that preach but do not practice will remain in misery.
  • It is better to be true to one’s natural state or conditioning (dharma) even though it may yield no merit, than to follow another’s for that will only lead to confusion, fear and ruin.

School of Yoga comments on Bhagavad-Geeta Chapter 3 (verse 36 onward)

Arjuna said – Then what makes man perform acts which may go against his own natural state or conditioning (dharma) and innate instincts and hurt others? (Ch3-verse 36)

Sri Krishna said – It is anger born out of the drive generated by desire that seeks to devour. Just as fire is enveloped by smoke and mirror by dust, the awareness gets enveloped by ambition and desire. This drive consumes wisdom and seeks continuous appeasement of the senses. The senses, cognition and logic are its seat, so one must constantly be alert; keep this sense under control before it destroys you (Ch3-verse 37- 43).

School of yoga explains karma-yoga:

All creation comes from the weave of Purusha and Prakriti, which comes from the Brahman. and drive all action (karma), including the cognitive apparatus. The senses (indriyas) are superior to the gross body; the centre of cognition (manas) is superior to the senses and the centre of logic (buddhi) but above all this is that (Brahman), so transcend the Self and merge into the Source (samadhi). So, being aware of the Self, use this awareness to conquer desire, no doubt a very difficult thing to conquer.

  • Our natural state is an all pervading feeling of equilibrium or peace (shanthi). 
  • This natural state of peace (shanthi) is our dharma. Dharma is the natural state of all beings. 
  • When our actions are in conformance with our natural state, it is called svabhaava (sva = self + bhaava = expression).

This peace can exist only if we are at peace with ourselves and our world. This includes not just other human beings, but animals, plants and our environment also. It is also important to remember that Brahman is a state of infinite, unchanging peace.

For instance, when we compete, we begin to compare ourselves with others and become enmeshed in duality of love-hate, good-bad etc. Consequently, we become anxious, stressed and miserable (delusion).

The desire to compete and win (rajas) infuses passion, and our work becomes driven by expectation, desires, fear, frustration, anger, anxiety and stress. This corrodes our balance and equanimity (sattva) and leads to unhappiness, stress and finally breakdown of body and faculties. However, we do it all the time, at school, college, home, sports, office, society, even as a nation! 

When we become aware of this destructive state and our focus turns to peaceful integration of all stakeholders without compromising on goals, our drive to prosper at any cost diminishes. Instead, we try to develop an inclusive and balanced way to prosperity and reach a state of peace and in equilibrium.

This type of action (karma) is called sacrifice (yagnya). because it requires us to give up our own desires for an overarching state of peace. Sacrifice requires restraining of our senses while performing action which, in turn increases awareness and peace within us. 

So, when we work with our senses under control, an attitude of sacrifice (yagnya), without expectation of result but overall betterment, all the negativities of tamas and rajas are avoided. Consequently, this leads to a peaceful, healthy and happy existence. 

Also, since karma is attached to people when they identify themselves with the action, this method is a simple way to avoid debt (rinn) by separating the Self from the act. Unfortunately, this is easier said than done and requires great practice.

Why is this so difficult? Don’t we have a free will? This is addressed in Chapter 4.

School of Yoga posits views that may be contrary to accepted positions: 

  • Action (karma) is a misnomer, karma is actually debt (rinn) that has come for repayment.
  • While primordial action (adi-karma) comes on account of two identities (atma) in a bond (bandana), action (karma) causes and imbalance within the bond resulting in debt (rinn), which becomes the cause of subsequent karma.
  • Can the logic of bonds (bandana) and action (karma) be applied to science? School of Yoga proposes that the concept of Yoga is universal (sanatana) and can be applied to Science as well. Read about it in the Bhagavad-Geeta Chapter 9 (link)

School of Yoga explains the lesson learned in Chapter 3

  • Everything is action (karma). Action, inaction, approved action or prohibited action. All are action (karma).
  • One can’t escape it, one can only try to control one’s impulses, keep one’s senses under control and perform action as a sacrifice, without any expectation of outcome.

The Transliteration of The Bhagavad Geeta Chapter 3 follows:

The Sanskrit words are in red italics and meaning, before the words, are in black.

Arjuna said (1-2) If according to you, wisdom (mataa-buddhihi) is superior to karma, then why are you asking me to engage in this terrible deed? (jyaayasi-chet-karmanaha-te-mataa-buddhihi-tat-kim-karmaaNi-ghore-maam-niyojayasi). I am perplexed with your speech and my understanding is confused, so tell me for certain, by which path I can succeed (vyaamishrena-eva-vyakyena-buddhim-mohayaasi-iva-me-tat-ekam-vada-nischaya-yena-shreyaha-aham-apnuyaam).

Sri Krishna said (3-5) As I said, since long ago, in this world, there are two paths; merger by enquiry into the Self for the philosophers and merger by activity for those who prefer action (moke-asmin-dvividha-nishta-pura-prokta-maya-jnaanayogena-saankhyaanaam-karmayogena-yogeenaam). Man does not attain state of no action by abstaining from action and only the perfect can attain samaadhi through renunciation (na-karmaNaam-anaarambaat-naishkarmyam-purushaha-ashnute-na-cha-samnyasanaat-eva-siddhim-samaadhigacchati). Not for a moment even is anyone free from action at all, for everyone is helplessly driven into action by gunas which are born out of Prakriti (na-hi-kaschit-kshanam-api-jaathu-tishTathi-akarmakrit-kaaryate-hi-avashaha-karma-sarvaha-prakritijaihi-gunaiihi).

(6-8) That deluded soul who restrains organs of action but constantly sits with his cognition remembering sense objects is called a hypocrite (karmendriya-samyamya-yaha-aaste-manasa-smaran-indriyaarthanaam-vimoodaatmaa-mithyaachaaraha-sah-uchyate). But that person who controls the senses by control of cognition, commences to act in an unattached manner and excels in harmony of action (yah-tu-indriyani-manasa-niyamya-aarabhate-karmendriya-karmayogam-asaktaha-sah-vishishyate). Surely, you must perform action, for it is superior to inaction, for even maintenance of your body would not be possible by inaction (niyatam-kuru-karma-tvam-karma-jyaaya-hi-akarmanaha-shariryatra-api-cha-the-na-prasiddyet-akarmanaha).

(9-10) Everyone in this world is bound by actions, for that sake perform action without attachment (yajnyarth-karmaNaha-anyatra-lokaha-ayam-karma-bandanaha-tadaartham-karma-mukt-samngaha-samaachar). Having created mankind in the beginning by their sacrifice, Prajapati said, propagate this as your milch cow of desires (sah-yajnya-prajaha-srishta-puro-vaach-prajapatihi-anena-prasavisyadhvam-eshah-vah-astu-ishta-kaama-dhuk).

(11-13) The deities nourish the sinless, those deities will nourish you, then mutually nourishing each other, you shall attain the highest level of trustworthiness (deiva-bhaavayat-anena-te-deivaaha-bhaavayantu-baha-parasparam-bhaavayantaha-shreyaha-param-avaapsyatha). So, deities will give to you desired objects through their fruits of sacrifice, anyone who enjoys without offering to them is truly like a thief. (ishtaan-bhogaan-hi-vah-deivaaha-daasyanti-yajnya-bhaavitaaha-taihi-dattan-apradaaya-ebhyaha-yaha-bhunkte-sthenaha-eva-saha). The saintly who harvest the outcome of a sacrifice are freed from faults (yajnyasishtaseehnaha-santo-muchyante-sarva-kilbishaihi), indeed, those evil people who are selfish are those that eat fruits of wretchedness (bhunjate-te-tu-agham-paapaaha-ye-pachanti-aatmakaaranaat).

(14-16) From food comes beings, from rain comes production of food, from sacrifice comes rain, sacrifice is source of karma (annaat-bhavanti-bhootani-parjanyaat-annasbhavaha-yajnyaat-bhavati-parjanyahaha-yajnya-karma-samoodhbhavaha). Know that action has risen from Brahma who has risen from the Imperishable, therefore one can establish that omnipresent Brahma is constantly present in sacrifice (karma-brahmodbhabhavam-viddhi-brahma-akshara-samudbhavam-tasmaat-sarvagatam-brahma-nityam-yajne-pratishtitam). Therefore, he who is malicious and in lives enjoying the delusional world of senses sets in motion this wheel that only moves forward. (evam-pravarthitam-chakram-na-anuvartayati-iha-yah-aghaayahu-indriyaaraam-mogham-sah-jeevati).

(17-18) Only the person who rejoices in the Self is likely to find satisfaction in the Self and only the human who stays in the Self stays contented in any activity (yah-tuaatmarathi-eva-syaat-aatmatriptaha-cha-maanavaha-aatmaani-eva-cha-santushtaha-tasya-kaaryam-na-vidyate). He does not consider himself to cause action or inaction here and nor does he depend on any other beings (na-eva-tasya-krtena-arthaha-na-akrtena-iha-kaschana-na-cha-asya-sarva-bhooteshu-kaschit-arthavyapaashrayaha).

(19-20) Therefore, always perform mandatory activities without attachment because man attains the Supreme by performing such action (tasmaat-asaktah-satatam-kaaryam-karma-samaachar-asakto-hi-aacharan-karmaparam-aapnoti-purushaha). Truly, only by action perfection is reached, Janaka and others performed action only for the welfare of the people, so should you (karmaNaa-eva-hi-samsiddhim-aasthithaahaa-janakaadaya-lokasamgraham-eva-api-sampashyan-kartum-arhasi). Whenever undertaken activity is performed splendidly, that becomes the measure by which people of the world judge how a person should perform (tadat-aacharati-sreshta-tatat-eva-itara-janaha-saha-yat-pramaaNam-kurute-lokaha-tat-anuvartate).

(22-24) There is no mandatory action in the three worlds, not anything unattained, to be attained by me, yet I am continuously acting (na-me-asti-kartavyam-trishu-lokeshu-kimchana-na-anavaaptam-avaaptavyam-varte-eva-cha-karmaNi). Surely, if I did not engage in action ever unwearied, humanity would follow my example (yadi-hi-aham-na-varteyam-jaatu-karmaNi-atandritah-mama-vartam-anuvartate-manushyaaha-sarvashaha). These worlds would be ruined if I did not perform action. Mixing of people would result in their destruction (utsideyuhu-ime-lokaaha-na-kuryaam-karma-chet-aham-samkarasya-cha-karta-svaam-upahanyaam-ima-praja).

(25-26) The ignorant act with attachment to action, the wise act with an attitude of no attachment, for the welfare of the world (saktaha-karmaaNi-avidvamsah-yatha-kurvanti-vidvaan-kuryaat-thatha-asaktaha-chikeershu-lokasamgraham). No disturbance of the intellect should arise from actions of the ignorant who are attached to actions, the wise perform all actions with an attitude of balance (na-buddhi-bhedam-janayet-ajnaanaam-karmasamginaam-joshayet-sarva-karmaaNi-vidvaan-yuktaha-samaacharan).

(27-29) All actions arise from attributes which arise from Prakriti (prakrte-kriyamaNaani-guNaihi-karmaaNi-sarvaShaha), the deluded soul cognises itself as “I am the doer” (ahamkaara-vimood-aatma-karta-aham-iti-manyate). Philosophers know that action comes from the tri-partitioned attributes and controlling these attributes, thus knowing, remain unattached (tattvavit-tu-guna-karma-vibhaghayoho-guNaha-guNeshu-vartante-iti-matva-na-sajjate). Thus, deluded by gunas born of Prakriti find virtue in actions driven by guna (prakrte-sammoodaha-sajjante-guna-karmesu). The person with complete knowledge should not agitate dull people who have incomplete knowledge (taan-akritsnavidah-mandaan-kritsnavit-na-vichalayet).

(30-32) Renouncing all action into me, with a consciousness that is meditating on the Primordial Self, without hope, without the sense of Self, becoming free from affliction, fight (mayi-sarvaNi-karmaaNi-samnyasya-adyatmachetasa-nir-aasha-nir-mama-bhootva-yudhasva-vigatjvaraha). Also, those people that practice this teaching of mine constantly with dedication and without envy, they are freed from karma (ye-me-matam-idam-nityam-anutishtanti-maanavaha-sharddhavanto-anusooyanto-muchyante-te-api-karmabhihi). But those who are envious, not performing my teaching, misinterpreting all knowledge of the Self, their lack of knowledge will lead them to ruin (ye-tu-etat-abhyasooyantaha-na-anuthishtanti-me-matham-sarva-jnaana-vimoodaan-taan-viddhi-nashtaan-achetasaha). 

(33-35) Even one that knows the Self follows Prakriti in conformance with his or her own nature, other beings follow Prakriti likewise, what suppression can creatures’ action? (sadrsham-ceshtathe-svasyaaha-prakrte-jnaanavaan-api-prakrteem-yaanti-bhootani-nigraaha-kim-karishyati). Attraction and repulsion find their foundation in the senses and are nourished by the senses, verily they come in the way of those that cannot them (indriyasya-indriyasyarthe-raagadveshau-vyavasthithou-tayoh-na-vasham-aagachhet-tou-hi-asya-paripanthinou). Excellence in one’s own value system, even if devoid of merit is better than discharging other’s duties, it is better to die following one’s own natural state than performing another’s activity in a state of fear (shreyaan-svadharmou-vigunaha-paradharmaat-svanushTtaat-svadharme-nidhanam-shreya-paradharmaha-bhayaavaha).

(36) Arjuna said – Now, by which motivation is a person impelled to performing wretched actions, not wishing to be constrained even by force? (aTha-kena-prayukto-ayam-paapam-charati-purushaha-anicchin-api-balaat-iva-niyojithaha).

(37-39) Sri Krishna said – Desire for this and anger at this are expressions of passion, this is a major, voracious and wretched, penetrative foe (kaama-esha-krodha-esha-rajo-guna-samudha-bhavah-mahaashano-mahapaapma-viddhi-enam-iha-vairiNam). Just as smoke envelopes fire. dust covers a mirror, the womb envelops the embryo, so is this covered (dhoomena-aavriyate-vahanih-yatha-aadarsha-malena-cha-yatha-ulbena-aavritaha-garbhe-thatha-tena-idam-aavrtam). Wisdom of the wise is enveloped by this constant enemy in the form of desire, unsatiated and all-consuming fire (aavrtam-jnyaanam-eteena-jnaaneeno-nitya-vairiNaam-kaamaroopeNa-dushpooreNa-analena).

(40-41) It is said that the senses, cognition, intellect are its abode, it envelopes the wisdom of the embodied and deludes (indriyaaNi-mano-buddhi-asya-adhishtaanam-ucchyate-etaihi-vimohati-eshaha-jnaanam-aavrtya-deihinam). Therefore, control your senses when stimuli comes and effectively overcome this wretched destroyer of knowledge of the Self and surrounding (tasmaat-tvam-indriyaaNi-aadou-niyamya-paapmaanam-prajahi-hi-enam-jnaana-vijnyaana-naashanam).

(42-43) They say that the functioning of the senses is superior to the senses; the functioning of cognition is superior to cognition; the functioning of the intellect is superior to intellect; but superior to all is that (Brahman) (indriyaaNi-paraaNi-aahuhu-indriyebhyaha-param-manaha-manas-astu-paraa-buddhihi-yah-buddhihi-parah-tu-sah). Thus, use intelligence over the intellectual process, restrain the Self by the Self, overcome this enemy which comes in the form of desire (evam-buddhehe-param-buddhdhva-samsthbhya-aatmaanam-aatmaana-jahi-shatru-kaamaroopa-jaraasadam). 

Editor at School Of Yoga
School Of Yoga is a single point resource for all aspects of Classical Yoga practise. We try to achieve this by placing Yoga's traditional methodology in front of the reader and eliciting his or her experience. We value everyone's Yoga experience and would like you to share and enrich other practitioners so that everyone benefits.
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