Chapter 3 Tritiyaa Adhyaya The karam yoga (philosophy of performance of action without any attachment and expectation of the fruit)
3rd Chapter. Tritiyaa Adhyaya
The karam yoga (philosophy of performance of action without any expectation of the fruit)
We very regularly keep on vacillating in our decisions in our life, on the issue of performing certain jobs or not undertaking such an endeavor. Such irresolution generally arises on account of our not being satisfied with the expected outcome of the job to be preformed. The sense of indecisiveness may come to us as an expression of our own lack of self confidence and the inadequacy of our own strength of character. Such a state of affairs leads us into an indecisive emotional turmoil within our mind sets. We frequently will wish that someone could either predict the outcome of the work to be performed, as soothsayer to save us the confusion. We wish that someone, some guide or the Guru, at best could guide us into the decision making activity to help us come out of the situation of uncertainty. In case we fail to find either the soothsayer or we do not trust both the soothsayer and even the guide who is not trustworthy to ensure our expected outcome from the proposed action, we would rather abandon the work and be at peace in our mind.
Arjuna seems to have suffered from the similar kind of confusion and indecision in the third chapter, wherein he lays bare his emotional perplexity to lord Krishna, in reference to his doing the duty and fighting the war or should he as the learned man having attained transcendental knowledge , excuse himself from the horrible war and become free of the consequences that may arise as a consequences of the war.
In the third chapter, the lord Krishna discusses about the performance of one’s duty as a mean to render a service for greater welfare- a service that is devoid of any kind of expectations or the strings attached to the performance done. The lord explains to Arjuna as to why it is essential to pay heed to one’s position in life and make sure that a person adheres to the specifics expected by the society, for the performance. The lord also forewarns that not paying attention to this comportment of rules of the nature may result into much kind of negative consequences. The lord tells Arjuna, that while it is expected that a person taking birth as a human being on the earth will do his duty, without having attachment to any of the results, it will be blasphemy to not to perform one’s duty , just because one is forbidden to have attachment to the results from the action undertaken. Such abandonment of the action cannot sustain because the nature’s course will make sure that the person who has abandoned the work will be forced to get back into the doing of the job, as had been planned for the person. Otherwsie the person will find it difficult to survive physically. Lord Krishna tells Arjuna, that even though the lord himself is the creator of the universe yet he also does perform his duty for the larger universal welfare. Lord Krishna, had educated Arjuna about the Gyan yoga ( philosophy of attaining knowledge )and the karam yoga ( philosophy of performance without any expectation) in the previous two chapters , but Arjuna due to his limited understanding of the subject matter assumed that God has given preference to Gyan yoga( philosophy of attaining knowledge ) over karam yoga( philosophy of performing ones duty without any without any attachment or expectation) , and he questions as to why lord should ask him to do his duty and fight this war, if he has attained the Gyan yoga i.e., the transcendental knowledge .
The communication between the teacher and the disciple begins with a question raised by Arjuna,
“Jayaayasi chetakaramanasate mataa budhdhijanaaradana
Tatakim karamaani ghore maam niyojayasi keshava” (1)
‘ hey keshava, if you believe that the acquisition of the transcendental knowledge is preferable over the act of doing one’s duty then why do you expect me to perform this horrible task of fighting this war “
“Vyaaminisharevaneva vaakyen budhdhim mohayaseev me
Tadekam vada nishchitataya yain shreyoahamaapanuyaam” (2)
“Your mystifying words seem to have confused me in my understanding of the path that I should take to. Pray Tell me, decisively, a single path of action that I must adopt at this situation to attain the Supreme truth.
Lokeasaminadawidha nishtha puraa proktaa mayaanagh
Gyaanyogen sankhyaanaam karamyogen yoginaam” (3)
Said lord Krishna to Arjuna, “O pure hearted Arjuna, I have already explained to you about two kinds of devotion that the men of the world possess. Some of them attain their devotion to their God by way of gaining transcendental knowledge and some others achieve their devotion to the supreme by doing selfless work for the universal service and welfare and by dedicating their work to the concept of karma”.
While the earlier devotees have been referred to as the sandkhye (sanyaasi) yogis, the latter followers have been mentioned as the karam yogis by Lord Krishna, as in his opinion both do their selfless duty to the lord in their own unique manner. The sandkhye yogi (sanyaasi) does it by attaining the transcendental knowledge of conquering peace and tranquility of mind by doing his duty as the task assigned and being performed by the God himself and the karam yogi does it by believing in karma and doing the selfless duty without having attachment to any fruit or the result from the duty so performed. Both of the yogis ultimately assimilate into the supreme God and attain deliverance by way of doing their duty.
Says lord Krishna to Arjuna,
“Naa hi kashachitakashanmapi jaatu tishathatayakarmakrat
Kaarayate hayavasha karma sarva prakratijaiguranai” (5)
“It is doubtlessly true that no person can live without performing duty in any age at any moment of time because it is inherent in nature that a person is driven to action all the times by the natural force”.
It is true that every living- being has to perform some kind of work till one is alive. The inanimate only can say that they have no work but a man who does not have a work can simply be called as the one who has lost the very thread of life and has become dead. The human being can not abandon the work as the nature has it built into the very life system of the survival on the earth. The regular and the healthy functioning of the human body depends on the activity performed by the body and the mind in standard routine and if the functioning stops, the body and the brains will begin their decay and perish on account of inactivity. Hence lord tells Arjuna that human beings are meant to continuously carry out some action otherwise the ever energetic nature will ensure that the functioning of the body/mind happen constantly to prevent decompose and death. Humans are expected to abandon the attachment to the fruit (results and gains) from their (Karma) work, along with the vain thought that it is they who perform all actions.
The lord continues,
“Karameindiriyaani sanyamaya yaa aaste mansaa samara
Indirayarthanavimoodhatamaa mithyachara sa uchayate” (6)
“A hypocrite dumb headed person who forcefully restraints all his senses and yet within his mind he continuously dwells upon the sensual objects, can simply be called a pretender. He can be called a man who indulges into the false conduct visibly but is different in actuality”.
The lord thereby means that it is not simply enough for a person to change the sensory habits alone and pretend that the person has become an ascetic by controlling the senses by force. Such action to control the senses without purifying the heart and the mind will simply lead to a false satisfaction that one has become a yogi and hence one should have become closer to the universal truth of attaining deliverance from the mundane life’s objects. Such a person in God’s words is only a hypocrite and a pretender. The real abandonment must come from the heart and by changing the mind in such a rigorous control that it does not even think or imagine about the sensual objects and keeps itself free from all kind of delusions about the luxuries and pleasantries of physical and sensual pleasures.
The lord now discusses about the true concept of selfless duty and the service by making sure that a person does not hold any kind of personal interest in the action being undertaken and hence does not harbor any kind of expectations of the fruit and the results of the duty being performed . The lord praises such selfless persons, who do all kinds of work without any awareness and expectation, when he says,
“Yasativaindirayaani manasaa niyamyaarbhatearjuna
Karameindiriyaani karamyogamsakata sa vishishyate” (7)
“But o Arjuna! The person who controls the senses by his mind and intellect, and engages all the senses to perform selfless service as a duty without attachments for the fulfillment of larger universal welfare is considered a superior person”.
The lord now focuses on Arjuna and in a direct manner he advices him to undertake his duty as expected by the scriptures in order to fulfill his obligation for having been manifested into the physical body of a human being. The lord tells him,
“Niyatam kuru karam tavam karam jayaayo hayakaramana
Shareerayaatraapi cha Te na parasidhayedakaramana” (8)
“You must undertake the performance of your duty as ordained by the scriptures because doing one’s duty is preferable over not doing one’s work and you cannot sustain your physical living , without doing any kind of work “. The lord continues,
“Yagayaarthatakaramanoanyatra lokoayam karambandhana
Tadarathm karam kaunteya mukatasadga samachar’ (9)
“In addition to the rituals specified for the worship of God, the humans involved in other general daily routine works are also bound together in many kinds of other functions. That’s why oh Arjuna! I advise you to perform your obligatory selfless duties towards me very sincerely without getting involved into the expectations from the duty performed by you so that you remain free from the bondage of expecting returns from the work done and getting attached to the consequences of the action taken by you ”.
“Sahayagya prajaa sarashatavaa purovaach prajaapati
Anain parasavishayadhavamesh voasativashatakaamdhuka” (10)
“Prajapati Brahma had developed the yagya (selfless devotional service to the creator) as a blessings to the humans during the during ancient times and he had ordained that the performance of such a yagya of selfless devotional service will lead them to deliverance, the same yagya should be undertaken by you to propitiate lord Brahma and this yagya when performed as a community task will lead to the desired truth and welfare ‘‘.
“Devaann bhavayataanain devaa bhaavayantu va
Parasaparam bhaavayanta shareya paramvaaapasayath” (11)
The lord tells Arjuna, “you should propitiate the gods by the execution of this yagya (selfless devotional service to the creator) of selfless service, and the gods will bless you to prosper in your life and by way of rendering selfless service to each other you will attain The Supreme Truth”
“Ishataanabhogaanahati vo devaa daasayante yagyabhaavitaa
Taidarataanapraayaibhayo yo bhudakte saten aiv cha “(12)
“the gods propitiated by the selfless service performed by the human beings will keep on blessing the humans and give them all that they desire but at the same time if any human being does not share the blessing so received from the gods with others of his ilk and enjoys them all alone, the person is indeed a thief”.
Partaking of the blessings from the celestial powers and then sharing them with not so fortunate ones is the essence of all public living from the beginning of the life on the universe. Lord Krishna, tells Arjuna that those people who receive all the materialistic blessings from the gods need to share it with the others of the human community and if they do not do so they are considered thieves and the blessing from the gods will never render the desired benevolence to the receiver. Modern times tell of a similar story of disparity in common life where the haves and the have not’s have been growing apart for many ages. The definition of the sin and the deliverance from the transgression committed, as told by Lord Krishna need to be understood in its right perspective, by all humans. The unequal distribution of wealth between the rich nations and the poor nations, the poor living conditions of the marginalized and the downtrodden, the disparities that exist between the haves and have nots, and the existence of the hunger and the plenty simultaneously in this world can be ameliorated only if the humans understand and accept the lord’s message of sharing their good fortune received through the benevolence of God , and make it pertinent to see that the abundance is shared amongst all living beings. Man also has to share the natural resources and the wealth so received as a blessing from the lord with the, flora, and the fauna and the other animals living on the planet earth.
Lords Krishna now tells Arjuna,
“Yagyashishtaashina sanato muchayante saravkilbishai
Bhujajate te tavagham paapaa ye pachantyaatamakaarnaat” (13)
“The righteous persons who partake their food after everyone else has been fed are liberated from all kind of sins and those sinners who cook their food for satisfying their own hunger and the physical need, without offering the same food to gods in yajna and or to the poor and the famished rightfully speaking consume sins only” .
The lord here has mentioned about the age old tradition of serving the guest, the needy and the hungry before taking care of the personal requirement of a person. On a larger canvas of social emotions this would also mean that all those people who indulge into the antisocial and anti humanity activities like hoarding of food, uncalled for profiteering etc., etc., indulge into sinning against God. All those persons can be counted amongst the sinners who, in a society where millions go hungry are stocking foodstuff and other community wealth and are indulging into the exploitation of the natural resource at the cost of the welfare of the animals, forests, trees , water and other natural capital , flora and the fauna . Such people are the cause of causing grievous loss to the ecological equilibrium of the earth. The lord Krishna advocates the development, protection and the conservation of the natural resources. The man must have respect for and understand the impact of all the natural wealth that the mother nature has provided to the mankind for the perpetuation of human as well as the life of trees, rivers, oceans animals, and the flora and the fauna , on the earth.
Says lord Krishna,
“Annadabhawanti bhootaani parajanyaa danansambhava
Yagyadabhavati parajanayo yagya karamsamudabhava” (14)
“Karam brahamodabhavam vidhdhi brahamaakshar samudabhavam
Tasamaata savargatam braham nitayam yagye prtitishathatam” (15)
“All the living beings on this earth are born from food grains, the food grains are produced by the rain waters and rains on the earth happen on account of the selfless sacrificial duties performed by the agriculture workers and other farmers. The community that performs its duty has been evolved out of the Vedas and the Vedas have been created by the Indestructible Supreme God. It proves that the Supreme Being or God is all-pervading and is ever present in selfless service”.
In this manner Lord Krishna wants to make it known to Arjuna that it is the human beings only who are responsible for the preservation ( or the destruction through misuse and exploitation ) of the natural resources on the earth. The yajna ( rituals performed for the propitiation of the gods ) mentioned by the lord is about the protection of the great wealth provided by the mother earth in the form of forests that provide green covers, the water resources that are essential for all life on the earth , the flora, the fauna and the other living beings, that constitute the population of the universe. All these resources of the mother earth will survive and flourish only if human beings are careful and justified in sharing the natural resources of the mother earth with other living beings. Men kind should not unnecessarily exploit the scarce resources to the human advantage only, depriving and threatening the survival of all others living- beings.
The lord Krishna, continues,
“O Partha! Evam paravartitam chakaram naanuvartayateeh ya
Aghaayurindriyaaraamo mogham partha sa jeevati” (16)
“ a person who does not maintain his conduct as per the laws of the nature and does not fulfill his duty in maintaining the wheel of the nature , by performing the sacrificial duty ( of sharing the blessing received by doing of duty) he lives only in sinful pleasures of the senses”.
The lord maintains time and again that every person living on this earth has to abide by his station in life and do his or her duty as expected on that status and situation of life. All those persons who do not live their life as ordained by the laws of the universe and do not contribute for larger universal welfare, by way of sharing their blessing received from the natural world with others living beings on this earth, , such people rather do more damage to the environmental conservation of the life . People such as who simply enjoy their sensory pleasures on this earth and indulge into the destruction of the environmental and ecological balance of the earth do more indiscretion and they live in perpetual sin.
“Yasatvaatamaratiev sayaadata martpatashch manava
Aatamnyev cha santushatasaya kaarayam na vidhyate” (17)
“But the person who has attained deliverance and has been blessed by the Supreme Being, and who is happy being into the service of the supreme truth and who is ever lost into the Supreme Being alone, there cannot be any prescribed duty for such an enlightened person”.
“Naiva tasya kratenaartho naakuteneh kaschana
Na chasaya sarvabhuteshu kashchidarthavayapaasharaya” (18)
“Such an enlightened person does not have any reasons to perform and no basis to not to perform his duty. Such a person as has attained the enlightenment and have assimilated self with the Supreme Truth does not have any grain of any kind of self interest amongst all living beings in the universe. Whatever such a person does will always be as ordained by the Supreme Truth, the God”.
Tasamaadasakta satatm karayam samachar
Askto hyaacharnkaram paramaapanoti purusham” (19)
“You should therefore perform your duty always without being concerned about the results and without having any expectation from the obligation so executed because a person who does his work without any expectations ultimately conquers the supreme truth”.
“Karamanaiva hi sansidhimaasathitaa janakaaday
Loksangarah sampashyankartumaharasi” (20)
The lord quotes the example of king Janaka
The knowledgeable King Janaka had achieved the supreme realization of the supreme Truth by adopting the path of duty without expectation and by performing the selfless service. You should also meet your obligations for the larger welfare of the people and it needs to be understood that you are meant to render this selfless service at the altar of the community wellbeing”.
Arjuna is being advised to become a role model to all others, of fulfilling the obligation towards the interest of larger public welfare because he had belonged to the same clan as the king Janaka had been. And Janaka had been one of his ancestors, hence the larger public propriety demand that you meet your family traditions and do what the ancestor had done. If king Janaka being a Kshatriyas could perform his social obligation, the kshatriyas genes that you have in your blood stream will demand that you should also act like a Kshatriya and fight this war. You should also set an example of keeping the public welfare as your prime responsibility and keep it above the safety of your kith and kin and hence fight this war.
“Yadhayadaacharati shareshathsatatadevotaro Jana
Sa yatapramaanam kurute lokasatadanuvartete” (21)
“It is an established fact that all other men follow the characteristics recognized by a noble person. Whatever standards are set up by the dignified icon of the society, the community by and large accepts the same standards as yardsticks of the values established and hence they follow and emulate the same in their daily practices of living too”.
A leader knows that a mere deliver of a sermon sometimes is not sufficient enough to motivate the follower for emulating the actions of the leader and hence the leader will establish the fact that he means what he talks by way of practical example. And this is what lord Krishna does to Arjuna when he says,
“Na me parthaasti kartavayam trishu lokeshu kinchan
Nanvaapatmavaaptavayam vrata aiv cha karamaani” (22)
“o Arjuna, there does not exist any task in the three world of heavens, earth and the world below that is expected of me and nor does there remain anything unachieved by me that I should make efforts to attain . Yet I engage myself in action and I perform”.
“Yadi hayaham na varteyam jaatu karamanaytandarit
Mam vatmaarnuvartante manushya partha sarvasha” (23)
“That is so because if I do not do my action carefully and continuously, it can lead to major disasters. All men on the earth follow the path set by me and hence if I do not work, no one in the world will work’.
“Utaseedeyurime lokaa na kuryaam karam chedham
Sadkarasay cha kartaa sayaamoopahanyaamima prajaa” (24)
“If I do not perform my duties, all the planets in the orbit will get destroyed. I shall be found guilty of creating confusion and disorder amongst all living beings, the demolisher of peace amongst all men and will be held responsible for the death of all humans”.
It is true that each element of the earth and the other planets of the solar system operate consistently, systematically and efficiently because the supreme truth works efficiently. The Sun in the sky rises without any fail and the other stars and the planetary systems revolve around their specific axis within the time period and the direction specified by the law of nature , and they all remain constantly in the orbit without deviating from their path. The wind blows and the sea raors because the creator of all these systems works efficiently. God does not take any rest even for the fraction of a second. It is absolute unimaginable if the creator; the supreme power that runs the universe decides to relinquish the work for a fraction of an eyewink. The magnificent orbit system of the planets in the universe will crash resulting into death and total destruction everywhere. The creator is telling Arjuna that when entire system of the universe functions efficiently, without expecting anything in return, it is expected of him that he too should perform his duty and should not have or harbor any attachment for any kind of fruit out of the action undertaken by him
“Saktaa karamanayvidwaanso yathaa kurvanti bharata
“Hey Bharata! The unenlightened work by the attachment to the (fruits) from their action, the enlightened should also work without attachment to the fruit but for the entire society in a selfless manner for greater public good”.
Na budhdhibhedam janayedgyaanaam karamsandginaam
Joshyetasaravkarmaani vidwaanyukta samaacharan” (26)
“The enlightened person who have understood and attained the supreme truth, should not endeavor to deviate the minds ,the focus and the faith of the ignorant men from the fruits of the actions performed by these men by persuading them to stop doing their work. On the contrary he should do his work without expectations and attachment to the fruit, as prescribed by the scriptures and make the others who are not so enlightened do the work in the same unattached manner and eventually strive for the establishment of the supreme truth amongst everyone by leading every one by setting an example”.
Lord is advising Arjuna once again that his delivering sermon to someone else would be of no use if he himself does not believe in doing the karma (dutiful selfless action) without attachment to the fruit. At the same time he should not dissuade others from the performance of the work that they are already doing by focusing on the benefits to be received from the action undertaken by them. In order to ensure that everyone gradually gets into the process of doing one’s work selflessly and for the welfare of universal good, Arjuna who has attained illumination pertaining to the universal truth and the deliverance thereof, will have to establish the system of doing the work without having attachment to the results, by himself leading everyone from the front and the steadily making every one do the same way , and in a way take them closer to the attainment of the supreme God.
“Prakarate kriyamaanaani gunai karamaani sarvasha
Ahankarvimoodhatmaa kartaahamiti manayate” (27)
“In truth all the actions that a man performs are undertaken by mother nature, but out of ignorance and false conceit a man feels that he is himself indulging into all these activities. Such ignorant fool due to his delusion and unawareness of the supreme truth thinks that he is the doer and all the actions are created by him”.
“Tatavavittu mahabaaho gunakaramvibhaagayo
Guna guneshu vartanta itee matvaa na sajjate” (28)
“But oh Mahabaaho (one who has long and strong arms), a person who has been enlightened about the supreme truth, understands that the supreme nature is active in getting the work done. Such an enlightened person does not resort to the gratification of the senses and he holds no attachment to the karma (duty bound action). He remains well aware of the fact that some external supreme power is instrumental in getting the work done through him and that he is only a medium and not the actual performer of the action “.
Prakartergunasammooddha sajjanate gunakaramsu
Taankratsnavido mandankratsanvinan vichaalyet” (29)
“All those unenlightened persons who get charmed by the supernatural power of the nature (illusory charms –Moha and Maya) shows their attachment to the mystic influence and the actions undertaken by them, but the enlightened and the wise who have understood about the supreme truth should not upset such people and should let them remain engrossed in the chimera of the illusive powers of the nature”.
The lord Krishna has been persuading Arjuna to not to opt out of his duty which in fact he should accept as a bound commitment as a Kshatriyas. It is kshatriya’s, karma to perform his duty of fighting a war and protecting the truth and the weaker sections of the society. The lord is telling Arjuna that he should not relinquish all weapons and armaments and excuse himself from this war of truth verses the evil. . The lord does it, by enlightening and educating him about the Gyan yoga, the karam yoga. Now he has also explained to him about the ignorant belief that it is only the nature that is supreme. Lord Krishna informs Arjuna that there exists another superpower that is the creator of the nature too and that, this superpower wishes that Arjuna should get up and fight this war for the establishment of the truth and the righteousness.
Says Lord Krishna to Arjuna,
“Mayisarvaani karamaani sannayasya adhyaatamchetsaa
Niraashinirmarmo bhootvaa yudhayasav vigatajavara” (30)
“You should devote yourself mind and heart fully to me, the omniscient God, and dedicating all your actions to me spiritually you should do your duty now of fighting this war free of all desire, free from any kind of attachment and free from any kind of mental suffering”.
The lord continues,
“Ye me matmidam nitya manutishathanti manavaa
Shradhaavantoansooyanto muchayante teapi karamabhi” (31)
“All those believers who are free from any kind of doubt on my prowess and those who are fully devoted to me and have submitted to me with complete faith without any deviation and practice my teachings, they become free from the bondage of mundane karma (selfless duty ) and attain deliverance and the assimilation into the Universal Truth”.
Ye tavetadbhayasuyanto naanutishthanti me matam
Saravgyaanvimoodhanstaanividhi nashtaanachetas” (32)
“But all those ignorant and the unenlightened persons who do not practice all that I teach and who scoff at my teachings, you should understand that they are all ignorant fools who are deluded by the false knowledge and they are already doomed”.
“Sadarasham cheshtate savasayaa prakarategyaanarvaanapi
Prakartim yaanti bhootaani nigarah Kim karishayati” (33)
“All the living beings follow their instinctual nature and they all act as per their instinctual inherent behavior acquired from their nature. In such a situation it is not possible to understand as to how the restraining of the senses will be able to render any kind of help to any one”.
The lord believes that the living beings acquire their way of behaving and living from their instinctual character which comes to them by way of their inheritance from the nature. An animal temperament will be inherent and dominant in the animals and a disposition of motherly love and affection and the fear and fellow feeling for other humans is provided by the Mother Nature to the humans so that they can live in the family system and follow the rules and regulations of the society and the communes. A person who has achieved enlightenment can however by the control of his senses come out of the inherent characteristics inherited from the Mother Nature and behaves differently. Though lord Krishna says that it could be a very difficult task to alter the behavioral characteristics and act differently from the natural personality inherited by being born into particular class and kind of living beings.
He however does discuss the way by which the instinctual behavior can be changed by men and they can achieve deliverance,
“Indirayasayendriyasaarthe raagdwesho vayavasathito
Tayoran vashmaagchchhetau hayasay paripanthinau “(34)
“ All the sense objects have attachments and aversions inherent in them. A man should never come under the control of these two i.e., either the attachment or the aversion , as both of these are considered major stumbling blocks towards one’s path of attaining universal truth of self realization and thereby reach deliverance “.
The lord advises Arjuna that a man will always prefer to be in his comfort zone and operate with the comfortable ease in his life. Hence any such activities that do not fit into his idea of his comfort zone are abhorred by him and he will like to keep himself out of the activities that he does not like. Similarly he will develop attachments for all those activities and feelings that give him a sense of remaining within his comfort zone. The person similarly will show his happiness when he gets to do things that he likes and shows his remorse on the loss of all those things that he has developed fondness for. This way a person loses his self control to either the attachments or to the aversions as the case may be and God advices that a person should maintain equanimity to keep himself free of any such avarice or detesting in order to retain his level-headedness and attain the supreme truth of self deliverance .
Shreyansavdharmo viguna paradharmaatasavanushthitat
Savadharme nidhanam shreya pardharmo bhayavaha” (35)
‘ it is better for a person to perform his own duty and responsibility as prescribed by the status and place in life even though there must be some shortcomings , rather than do someone else’s duty howsoever perfect it must be . Death is better acceptable while fulfilling one’s own duty, doing someone else’s duty is always fraught with dangers ‘’.
The lord does not refer to any particular religion but the status and the place in life have been considered by him to be the basis of the sacred expectation of the duty to be performed by Arjuna. He says that Arjuna being a Kshatriya should behave and act as a Kshatriya even though he may not be perfect into performing this act, rather than his behaving as someone who is not a Kshatriya. A Kshatriya can never back out of the war because it is his pious and moral duty to protect the truth and the weaker sections of society. The lord avers that even if he may not be able to win the war he must fight and fulfill his responsibility as a Kshatriya. If he behaves like a non Kshatriya, that path could be loaded with more fears and dangers for him.
“´atha kain prayuktoayam paapam charati purusham
Anichchhnnapi vaarnney balaadiva niyojita” (36)
Arjuna who has been paying attention to the sermon of the lord asks the lord about the reasons that impel a man to commit transgression and go against his own basic character. Arjuna said to lord Krishna, “O Krishna, then how is it that a man indulges into committing a sin even though unwillingly and pray you tell me as to what impels a person to commit indiscretion against his own wishes”.
Arjuna has implored God to clarify this point because the lord Krishna has told him about the person’s acting and doing as per the nature inherited by them by birth and at the same time he also told his dear disciple about the same men coming under the control and clutches of the senses unwillingly. Under such differing statements it was but natural for this query to arise in the mind of Arjuna. And hence he had asked lord Krishna to elucidate the same.
Say lord Krishna,
“Kaama eish krodha eish rajogunasamuddbhava
Mahaashano mahaapaapamaa viddhenmiha vairinama” (37)
“It is the lust (kaama) born out of the passion that turns into the fury. This lust is very avaricious and it never gets satiated and it is a big sinner. You must look at this lust as the biggest enemy of the men in the world’.
Intellect of many a great rulers, thinkers, and powerful warriors have been vitiated by the lustful desire, be it the desire for the power, pelf, or even the physical pleasures. The lord advises Arjuna that the biggest enemy of the man is not the man himself but it is his lust and the desires that shroud his thinking and analyzing intellect. Man’s senses of passion for the worldly pleasures at times becomes so powerful that his thinking and the logical senses become almost like slaves surrendering completely to the fulfillment of the passions . Men often hope to achieve deliverance but they cannot do so since their self-knowledge and the self realization cannot happen when they are blinded by the lustful desires.
Hence advises lord to Arjuna,
“Dhoomenaavirayate vahniyarthaadarsho malena cha
Yatholabenaavarto garbhasathaa tenedamaavaratam” (38)
“Just as the fire is covered by smoke, as a mirror is covered by dust, and as an embryo is always hidden by the womb; the same way the enlightenment about the self remains enclosed by the insatiable lust”
“Aavaratam gyaanameten gyaanino nityavairinaa
Kaamrupen kaunteya dushpurenaanalen cha” (39)
“And hey Arjuna! The intellect of the wise has been enveloped by the eternal insatiable fire of desire, which remains the perpetual enemy of the prudent “
“Indriyaani mano biddhirasayaadhishthannamuchayate
Etaivirmohayatayesh gyaanamaavaratay dehinam” (40)
“The senses, the heart and the intellect are all said to be the abodes of lust. And this lustful desire envelops the true knowledge of the living entity and it captivates him”.
“Tasamaatavaminindriyanayaado niyamaya bharatsharbha
Paapmaanam prajahi hayonam gyaanvigyaannaashanam” (41)
” therefore I advise you o Arjuna, the best of the Bharatas , that you should first exercise a complete control over your senses and then kill the devil of lustful desire which is an annihilator of the knowledge and the scientific mindset that leads men to self knowledge and the self realization of the universal truth”.
“Indiraayaani praanyaahurindiriyebhaya param mana
Manasastu paraa budhdhiryo budhdhe paratastu sa “(42)
“The senses have been defined as superior, powerful and sharper than the feeble body, mind is greater than the sense, greater than the mind is the intellect but the one who is greater and far superior to the intellect is the Supreme truth (the supreme soul)”.
The human body has been defined as the inferior, feeble and the dull object by Lord Krishna, but at the same time it has been shown as the abode of the soul which is powerful, sharper and the superior object. Therefore lord advises Arjuna, to destroy an object Kama (desire) which is only a feeble, and mediocre in comparison to the soul that abides in the human body and is superior to both the mind and the intellect.
Says lord Krishna,
“Evam budhdhe param budhdhwa sansatbhyaatmaanmaatmanaa
Jahi shatrum mahabaaho kamarupam duraasadam” (43)
“ o Mahabaaho(powerful one with the mighty arms), Now that you know that you have realized that the soul is all powerful to the material senses, mind and the intellect you should control your mind by exercising your intellect and destroy the mighty lustful desire’ .
Lord Krishna, has been enlightening Arjuna, by the gradual process of logic and persuasion. He however does not wish him to fight this war till such time as his doubts, queries and the apprehensions are not settled and the realization of the universal truth being mightier than any other truth in life dawns on his favored disciple. The lord with great patience, like the holding of the fingers of a child’s curiosity takes Arjuna on a journey of self realization.
Lord had begun by explaining to Arjuna the concept and the philosophy of the Karmayoga and the process of doing one’s selfless duty for greater universal welfare without showing any attachment to the work done. The abandonment of the work is also not permitted because man’s physique by nature has been so created to work only. The man must work because the universe and all its elements constantly work. But many a times the sense of the men (indiriyaas) do not allow them to work because even if one sense falls victim to the element of lust and desire, all other indiriyaas become weaker, not allowing man to get into self realization. The senses need to be controlled by the intellect. The superiority of soul will be established only when the senses, the mind, and the intellect are not allowed being subordinate to the lustful desires of the feeble body and when the lustful desires are killed by a complete control over the mind and the intellect .