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Bhagawad Geeta Chapter 1,Chapter 2,Chapter 3,Chapter 4,Chapter 5,Chapter 6,Chapter 7,Chapter 8,Chapter 9,Chapter 10,Chapter 11,Chapter 12,Chapter 13,Chapter 14,Chapter 15,Chapter 16,Chapter 17,Chapter 18.

Karma Yoga: Yoga of Action – Geeta Chapter 3

This Bhagawad Geeta chapter 3 is called Karma Yoga (path of action). The term Yoga means the act of connecting the lower with the higher, through a technique consisting of one’s own self-evolution. Any method by which the lower in us is educated and trained to live a Higher way-of-life — wherein we gain a more effective control upon both our life outside and life within is called Yoga.

Bhagawad Geeta Chapter 3 – Karma Yoga Summary

The bhagawad geeta chapter 3 has been called Karma Yoga. In the second chapter of the bhagawad geeta (Sankhya Yoga), lord krishna asks Arjuna to fight the war. Arjuna right before the battle of Mahabharata is about to begin is anxious and tells Lord Krishna his charioteer that he cannot fight it and commit the sin of killing his relatives. Lord Krishna tells Arjuna “but, if you will not fight this righteous war, then, having abandoned your own duty and fame, you shall incur sin. Having made — pleasure and pain, gain and loss, victory and defeat — the same, engage in battle for the sake of battle; thus you shall not incur sin. Thy right is to work only, but never to its fruits; let not the fruit-of-action be thy motive, nor let thy attachment be to inaction.” Lord Krishna asks Arjuna to Perform action, abandoning attachment, being steadfast in YOGA, and be balanced in success and failure. Lord Krisha “When a man completely casts off, O Partha, all the desires of the mind, and is satisfied in the Self by the Self, then is he said to be one of steady Wisdom“.

With this as the context, the 3rd chapter of the bhagawad geeta begins. Following are the 10 key points that summarize the message of Bhagawad Geeta chapter 3.

  1. The Bhagawad Geeta Chapter 3 begins with Arjuna asking Lord Krishna – If knowledge is superior to action, why is he being persuaded to act and fight the war? This is where Karma Yoga – Path of action gets elaborated in the Bhagawad Geeta chapter 3.
  2. Lord Krishna adds in verses 3 & 4, In this world there is a two-fold path. Path of Knowledge and path of action. By mere ‘renunciation of action’ (Samnyasa) no one attains Perfection. Running away from life is not the way to reach the highest goal of evolution.
  3. “But, whosoever, controlling the senses by the mind, O Arjuna, engages his organs-of-action in KARMA YOGA, without attachment, he excels”. (Verse 7)
  4. In verse 8, Lord Krishna mentions “You perform (your) bounden duty; for, action is superior to inaction. Even the maintenance of the body would not be possible for you by inaction.
  5. Lord Krishna in the entire third chapter re-iterates acting basis one’s own nature (swadharma) and insists that Arjuna being born a prince should do his duty in accordance with his own swadharma (Verse 35). To act according to one’s own taste, inborn and natural, is the only known method of living in peace and joy, in success and satisfaction.
  6. Lord Krishna re-iterates the importance of acting without having a desire for the fruits of action. He insists in verse 30Renouncing all actions in Me, with the mind centered on the Self, free from hope and egoism (ownership) , free from (mental) fever, (you) do fight!
  7. This has been beautifully explained by Swami Chinmayananda. He mentions, “Krishna advises Arjuna, therefore, to act renouncing both hope and ego. Ego is “the shadow of the past,” and Hope is the child of the unborn future. To revel in ego and hope is an attempt on our part to live, either with the dead moments of the past, or with the unborn moments of the future. All the while, the tragedy is that we miss the ‘present’.
  8. Lord Krishna mentions in the verses 9, 10, 11, & 12 that the “productive potential” (Deva), when cherished through “self-dedicated work performed in a spirit of sacrifice” (Yajna), will provide the worker with the desired objects. It is later added due to our sacrifices, we have every right to enjoy that profit SHARING IT AMONG OURSELVES. But no living creature should enjoy benefits of others’ actions without contributing his own share to the total effort.
  9. Lord Krishna even adds in verses 22, 23, and 24 that it’s not necessary for him to act. He has attained everything. However he mentions For, should he not ever engage himself in action, without relaxation, men would in every way follow his Path. These worlds would perish if he did not perform action.
  10. All along Krishna has been insisting that nobler actions are actions without attachment. This is easier said than done. Even if one intellectually accepts this idea, it is not at all easy for him to act up to it. In verse 39 in bhagawad geeta chapter 3, Lord Krishna says,”Enveloped, O Son of Kunti, is ‘wisdom’ by this constant enemy of the wise in the form of ‘desire, ‘ which is difficult to be appeased, like fire.”

Detailed Chapter 3 of Bhagawad Geeta

Arjuna said: 1. If it be thought by you that ‘knowledge’ is superior to ‘action, ‘ O Janardana, why then, do you, O Kashava, engage me in this terrible action?

Arjuna still believes that, to fight against his cousins, teachers and grandfathers is a terrible (ghora) ction. He seems to have forgotten, or not to have understood at all, Krishna’s words in chapter 2.

Keshava (lord Krishna) had therein explained and clearly indicated that the Mahabharata war was not Arjuna’s attempt to murder any of his cousins or teachers.

2. With this apparently perplexing speech you confuse, as it were, my understanding; therefore, tell me that “one” way by which, I, for certain, may attain the Highest.

Arjuna here is confused. Should he take path of action or path of knowledge?

The Blessed Lord said : 3. In this world there is a two-fold path, as I said before, O sinless one; the ‘Path-of-Knowledge’ of the SANKHYANS and the ‘Path-of-Action’ of the YOGINS.

Here many authors have explained that these are not mutually exclusive paths. They are to be practiced serially. Here Krishna also subtly revealing his identity as the creator says, “At the very beginning of creation, these two ‘paths’ were given out by Me as the two possible methods by which the ACTIVE and the CONTEMPLATIVE could seek and re-discover the Eternal nature of their very Self.”

4. Not by non-performance of actions does man reach ‘actionlessness’ ; nor by mere renunciation does he attain ‘Perfection. ‘

By mere ‘renunciation of action’ (Samnyasa) no one attains Perfection. Running away from life is not the way to reach
the highest goal of evolution. Arjuna’s intention, you may remember, was to run away from the war front. Through action, to a purification of the inner instrument, applying which the seeker walks the ‘Path-of-Knowledge’
to reach ultimately the spiritual destination of self-development as indicated in this stanza.

  1. Verily, none can ever remain, even for a moment, without performing action; for, everyone is made to act helplessly, indeed, by the qualities born of PRAKRITI.

Man is ever agitated under the influence of the triple tendencies of Unactivity (Sattwa), Activity (Rajas) and Inactivity (Tamas) inherent in him. Even for a single moment he cannot remain totally inactive.

Even if we are physically at rest, mentally and intellectually we are active all the time, except during the state of deep-sleep. So long as we are under the influence of these three mental tendencies (gunas), we are helplessly prompted to act.

Therefore, not to act at all is to disobey the laws of nature which shall, as we all know, bring about a cultural deterioration in ourselves

  1. He who, restraining the organs-of-action, sits thinking in his mind of the sense-objects, he, of deluded understanding, is called a hypocrite

To sit back physically retired is not the way to reach anywhere, much less the final State of Perfection.

To give physically a show of morality and ethics, while mentally living a shameless life of low motives and foul sentiments, is the occupation of a man who is not a seeker of spiritual fulfilment, but, as is termed here, a deluded hypocrite.

  1. But, whosoever, controlling the senses by the mind, O Arjuna, engages his organs-of-action in KARMA YOGA, without attachment, he excels.

Lord krishna here explains that to control the impetuosity of the mind with sheer will is like an attempt to dam a river while it is in flood. It is destined to be a futile attempt.

Ordinarily, we spend a lot of our life-energies in the fields of sense-objects. When the sense-organs are thus controlled, we are conserving a large quantity of energy, and unless this gathered energy is immediately given a more profitable field of activity it is sure to break the bounds and flood the inner world and, perhaps, sweep away the entire personality equilibrium.

The stanza says that these energies must be spent in directing the seeker’s organs-of-action to the appropriate fields of activities. Even here, a very important precaution has been lovingly advised by Krishna. The Karma Yogin has been warned to act with perfect detachment.

The Lord advises us to act without attachment, so that, instead of gathering new impressions, we may make use of our activities for the exhaustion of the existing vasana-dirt in our mental equipment.

  1. You perform (your) bounden duty; for, action is superior to inaction. Even the maintenance of the body would not be possible for you by inaction.

In today’s world, we must understand this term ‘bounden duty’ (Niyatam Karma) in the text, to include all “obligatory actions” of an individual in his home, in his office, and in the society as a national being. Thus, not to perform diligently all our duties in the home and in the world outside would be inaction. We are warned that even a healthy bodily existence is not possible if we were to live in complete inertia and inactivity.

  1. The World is bound by action other than those performed ‘for the sake of sacrifice’; do thou, therefore, O son of Kunti, perform action of that sake (for YAJNA ) alone, free from all attachments.

Every action does not bring about bondages upon the doer. It is only unintelligent activities that thicken the impressions in the mind, and thus successfully build a thick and impenetrable wall between the ego-centre and the unlimited Divine-Spark-of-Life in us.

Yajna here means only “any self-sacrificing work, undertaken in a spirit of self-dedication, for the blessing of all.” Such an action cannot be self-degrading and,therefore, it is self-liberating.

Arjuna’s defect was that he got too attached to the individuals in the opposing forces, and he developed, consequently, wrong relationships with them.

  1. The PRAJAPATI (the Creator), having in the beginning (of creation) created mankind, together with sacrifices, said, “by this shall you prosper; let this be the milch-cow of your desire — “KAMADHUK” (the mythological cow which yields all desired objects).

The Yajna-spirit is seen everywhere: the Sun shines, the Moon appears, the Sea throbs, the Earth bears — all in a spirit of sacrifice and self-dedicated motherly love with never even a trace of attachment or any kind of self-arrogating motives.

The Creator created the world along with the “spirit-of-service” and the “capacity for-sacrifice.” As it were, the Creator declared, “by this spirit of self-sacrifice shall you multiply; this shall be the milch-cow of your desires.” Kamadhenu is a mythological cow, supposed to have belonged to Sage Vasishta, from which all our desires could be milked out. The term,
therefore, means only that no achievement is impossible for man, if he knows how to act in the discipline of co-operation, and if he is ready to bring forth into his activities the required amount of non-attachment and spirit of sacrifice.

  1. With this, you do nourish the gods and may those DEVAS nourish you; thus nourishing one another, you shall, attain the Highest Good.

The whole Vedic concept of Devas is that of one Universal Power, ever active in the world of phenomena, receiving
appropriate names because of Its multiple functions. All Vedic gods are but functional names of the one Supreme
Creative Power manifests in myriad forms.

In understanding the stanza in its more universal application, we have to interpret the term Deva as the very “presiding deity” in any field of activity, who blesses the worker in that field with his profit. The deity that blesses the worker in a field of activity can be nothing other than “THE PRODUCTIVE POTENTIAL” in that given field. When we apply in any situation our true and sincere work, the efforts and sacrifices so made, as it were, invoke the ‘PRODUCTIVE POTENTIAL’ in that situation, which comes to manifest and bless the worker.

12 “The DEVAS , nourished by the sacrifice, will give you the desired objects. ” Indeed he who enjoys objects, given by the
DEVAS , without offering (in return) to them, is verily a thief

The “productive potential” (Deva), when cherished through “self-dedicated work performed in a spirit of sacrifice” (Yajna), will provide the worker with the desired objects.

And when we thus earn a profit due to our sacrifices, we have every right to enjoy that profit SHARING IT AMONG OURSELVES. But no living creature should enjoy benefits of others’ actions without contributing his own share to the total effort.

HE WHO ENJOYS OBJECTS, GIVEN BY THE Devas, the “productive potential tapped,” without offering his own Yajna-efforts into it, is termed here by Krishna as a ‘social thief.’

  1. The righteous, who eat the “remnants of the sacrifices” are freed from all sins; but those sinful ones, who cook food (only) for their own sake, verily eat but sin.

Here it is evident that the message of Geeta is to share the rewards from action.

14. From food come forth beings; from rain food is produced; from sacrifice arises rain, and sacrifice is born of action.

15. Know you that action comes from BRAHMAJI (the creator) and BRAHMAJI come from the Imperishable. Therefore, the all-pervading BRAHMAN (God-principle) ever rests in sacrifice

The cosmic-wheel-of-cooperative-action is being narrated here in the familiar language of the Vedas. The living
creatures are born out of food, and they are nourished by food. The mineral-wealth of the world becomes assimilable food only by the action of rain upon it. But for rains the vegetables will not grow, and the lack of proper grazing grounds is a danger to cattle-wealth. “Rains come as a result of Yajna, and Yajnas are performed through human action.”

  1. He who does not follow here the wheel thus set revolving, is of a sinful life, rejoicing in the senses. He lives in vain, O Son of Pritha

The geeta again insists on maintaining harmony and the message here is clear that the fruits of action should be shared. Not sharing of it has been rejected.

Now the lord himself supposes arjuna to ask the following questions: “is the wheel-of-action, thus set in motion, to be followed by all, or by him only who has not yet attained firm faith in the path of knowledge?”

  1. But the man who rejoices only in the Self, who is satisfied with the Self, who is content in the Self alone, for Him verily there is nothing (more) to be done.

Through selfless work, an individual gains an increasing amount of inner poise and when such a single-pointed mind is brought to function at the meditation seat, the meditator gains the experience of transcending his limited ego.

  1. For him there is here no interest whatever in what is done, or what is not done; nor does he depend upon any being for any object

An ordinary man is whipped up to action either because of his anxiety to gain a profit or because of his fear that by
not doing work he will be incurring a loss. But an individual, who has the subjective experience of the spiritual stature in him, who has, therefore, discovered an Eternal satisfaction in his own Self, and who has reached perfect contentment therein, will have no more action to perform, for he has nothing more to gain through activity, nor can he have any fear of losing anything in the world due to non-performance of any action.

  1. Therefore, always perform actions which should be done, without attachment; for, by performing action without
    attachment, man attains the Supreme.
  1. Janaka and others attained Perfection verily by action only; even with a view to protecting the masses you should perform action.

Krishna means that Arjuna too, a prince by birth, and one who has taken upon himself the entire responsibility of
mobilising and fighting the war, should respect his Prarabdha and act diligently without running away from the battle-field as he had earlier intended to do. This is the only method by which he can gain a complete vasana exhaustion in himself. Born as a king, he had a greater responsibility towards the community, than any other member. Therefore, it was his duty that he should keep to his post and work diligently.

A creeper will never grow in a desert. It is nature’s law that every living creature finds itself in the most conducive outer world conditions. Thus viewed, because of the very fact that he had manifested himself as a son of his father in the family of kings, nature had judged that the most conducive circumstance in life for Arjuna was the life of a prince, daring dangers, fighting enemies, and generally ordering peaceful and progressive growth for the society.

  1. Whatever a great man does, that other men also do (imitate) ; whatever he sets up as the standard, that the world (people) follows.

With this Krishna raises his next argument on why Arjuna should act in the world. Unless he diligently acts, the
chances are that the entire community will follow the low standard of retreat from action set up by him.

22 There is nothing in the three worlds, O Partha, that has to be done by Me, nor is there anything unattained that should be attained by Me; yet, I engage Myself in action

Being a Perfect-Man, a true Yogi, Krishna had no more desire for achieving or gaining anything in the world. Had He wanted a kingdom all for Himself, He could have easily carved out one, but He was in the battle-front only with a sense of duty towards the noble and the righteous cause the Pandavas stood for.

The life of the Lord till the very moment of the Mahabharata war had been a perfect life of complete detachment and even then — even though there was nothing He had not gained, nor had He anything further to gain — He was spending Himself constantly in activity, as though work was to Him a rapturous game of enthusiasm and joy.

  1. For, should I not ever engage Myself in action, without relaxation, men would in every way follow My Path, O son of Pritha.

Why should the Lord work? What would be the loss to the generation if He were not to work at all? The masses always imitate their leaders and heroes in their dress, in their behaviour, in their moral values, in their actions, in all the branches of their activities. They fix their measure of perfection always by watching the standard of life of their leaders.

  1. These worlds would perish if I did not perform action; I would be the author of confusion of “castes, ” and would destroy these beings.

If I (Lord krishna) do not perform action, it will not be conducive to the harmonious progress of the Universe, and the entire super-structure of our scientific laws and calculations will tumble down. The Universe is not a chaos; it is a cosmos.
Lawlessness is not noticed anywhere in the working of the cosmic forces.

The phenomenal happenings, the movement of the planets, the rhythmic dance of the seasons, the music of creation, the law of colours are all happening in a harmony, implicitly obeying the law governing them all, and this Law is otherwise called the Mighty Power of Nature, or God. Lord Krishna, as an embodiment of Godhood, is declaring here: “If I do not perform work, the world would perish.”

  1. As the “ignorant” men act from attachment to action, O Bharata, so should the “wise” men act without attachment, wishing the welfare of the world.

The mind can function only when it is attached to something. It cannot remain alive, and yet, detached from every thing. “Detachment of the mind” mentioned here is only its “detachment from the FALSE irresistible fascination for objects” and this is gained through the process of “attaching itself to the NOBLER.”

  1. Let no wise-man unsettle the minds of ignorant-people, who are attached to action; he should engage them in all actions, himself fulfilling them with devotion.

The chances are that when a man of equipoise and Self-discovery enters the field of activity, he will be tempted to
advise his generation on pure ethics and abstract ideologies. The teachers are warned against such a hasty
guidance which might dampen the enthusiasm of the generation to act.

Similarly, man should act and even if he be acting in the WRONG DIRECTION, through action alone can he come to the RIGHT PATH of diviner activities, and gain the fulfilment of his Perfection.

  1. All actions are performed, in all cases, merely by the Qualities-in-Nature (GUNAS ) . He whose mind is deluded by egoism, thinks “I am the doer. “

All along Krishna has been insisting that nobler actions are actions without attachment. This is easier said than done. Even if one intellectually accepts this idea, it is not at all easy for him to act up to it.

The tendencies of the mind (vasanas) express in the outer world as actions. Where there are noble-thoughts, there, noble-actions manifest. When the thoughts are agitated, the actions also are uncertain, faltering, and confused. And where the thoughts are dull and animalistic, the actions generated from them are also correspondingly base, vicious, and
cruel.

Where there is a mind, actions also must be performed. These actions are therefore GENERATED by the mind, STRENGTHENED in the mind and ultimately PERFORMED with the mind. But the individual, due to his wrong identification with his own mind, gets the false notion that he himself is the “actor” — the “doer.”

This identification with the mental condition creates the false sense of ego which arrogates to itself the idea: “I am
the doer.” The “doer” demands the FRUITS OF HIS ACTION. To get over this attachment is to end this misconception.

  1. But he — who knows the Truth, O mighty-armed, about the divisions of the qualities and (their) functions, and he who knows that GUNAS -as-senses move amidst GUNAS -as objects, is not attached.

As a contrast to the point-of-view of the ‘ignorant’ man explained in the last stanza, Krishna explains here the attitude of the ‘wise’ man when he ploughs the field of activity. In him, attachment has no place, because of his constant, discriminating understanding that in all activities, it is his mind that projects out to form the action.

When once the ‘wise’ man has realised that actions belong to the world of the mind, he is no more anxious for the
fruits thereof. Success and failure thereafter belong to the mind and not to him. Likes and dislikes thereafter are of the mind and not his. Loves and hatreds are not his but of the mind.

Here, Arjuna is addressed as the ‘mighty-armed,’ and this is very significant in the mouth of Krishna at this moment.
The very term reminds us of Arjuna’s wondrous heroism as the greatest archer of his time. The implication is that a true hero is not one who can face an army and kill a few, but one who can save himself. A true warrior is only he who can tirelessly fight in the inner world, and gain a victory over his own mind and attachments. One who can act in the world’s battle-field of actions, ever ruling over and never surrendering to the arrows of attachments that fly towards one from all directions, is the real Immortal Hero!

  1. Those deluded by the qualities of nature, (GUNAS) , are attached to the functions of the qualities. The Man-of-Perfect Knowledge should not unsettle the ‘foolish, ‘ who are of imperfect knowledge.
  1. Renouncing all actions in Me, with the mind centered on the Self, free from hope and egoism (ownership) , free from (mental) fever, (you) do fight!

It has been clearly declared that the Divine opinion of the Lord is that Arjuna should fight. The Pandava prince is not, at present, fit for the higher contemplative life of pure meditation. Action has a tendency to create new impressions which again procreate impulses to act more vigorously.

In order to avoid creation of new Vasanas even while acting for the purpose of Vasana-exhaustion, Krishna had already advised the method of acting without the spirit of ego, or ego-centric desires.

RENOUNCE ALL ACTIONS IN ME — We have already noticed that by the first-person pronoun Krishna means the Supreme Self, the Divine, the Eternal. Renouncing all activities unto Him, with a mind soaked with devoted remembrances of the Self (Adhyatma Chetasa), the Lord advises Arjuna to act on. Renunciation of action does not mean an insipid life of inactivity. Actions performed through attachment and desires are renounced the moment we take away from action the ego-centric and the selfish stink.

Our ego-centric concept of ourselves is nothing but “a bundle of happenings and achievements of ours which took place, or were gained, in the past moments.Ego is therefore “the shadow of the past,” and it has an existent reality only with reference to THE DEAD MOMENTS OF THE PAST. Hope is similarly the child of the unborn future, ego is the lingering memory of a dead past. To revel in ego and hope is an attempt on our part to live, either with the dead moments of the past, or with the unborn moments of the future. All the while, the tragedy is that we miss the ‘present,’ the active dynamic ‘present,’ which is the only noble chance that is given to us to create, to advance, to achieve, and to enjoy. Krishna advises Arjuna, therefore, to act renouncing both hope and ego; and this is indeed a primary instruction on how to pour the best that is in us into the ‘present,’ blockading all unintelligent and thoughtless dissipation of our inner-personality-energies,
in the ‘past’ and the ‘future.’

  1. Those men who constantly practise this teaching of Mine, full of faith and without cavilling, they too are freed from actions.
  1. But those who carp at My teaching and do not practice it, deluded in all knowledge, and devoid of discrimination, know them to be doomed to destruction.
  1. Even a wise man acts in accordance with his own nature; beings will follow their own nature; what can restraint do?
  1. Attachment and aversion for the objects of the senses abide in the senses; let none come under their sway; for they are his foes.
  1. Better is one’s own ‘duty’ , though devoid of merit, than the ‘duty’ of another well discharged. Better is death in one’s own ‘duty’ ; the ‘duty’ of another is fraught with fear (is productive of positive danger).

Swadharma AND Para dharma — In its right import Swadharma means the type of Vasanas that one discovers in
one’s own mind. To act according to one’s own taste, inborn and natural, is the only known method of living in peace and joy, in success and satisfaction. To act against the grain of one’s own Vasanas would be acting in terms of Para dharma — and that this is fraught with danger is very well known.

In the context of the Geeta, there is a direct message for Arjuna. Arjuna is born a prince, trained in the art of war
and has exhibited in his life his insatiable thirst for heroism and adventure. Naturally, his Swadharma is that of a prince and that can find fulfilment only in dangerous actions and endless exertions. Perhaps, as it was evident in the first chapter, Prince Arjuna had gathered during his early education, that the life of renunciation and meditation — the life of a Brahmin — was nobler than his own life. And therefore, he wanted to run away from the battle-field into the silent caves-of-meditation.

Arjuna said: 36. But, by what impelled does man commit sin, though against his wishes, O Varshneya, constrained, as it
were, by force?

The Blessed Lord Said: 37. It is desire, it is anger born of the “active, ” all-devouring, all-sinful; know this as the foe here (in this world).

  1. As fire is enveloped by smoke, as a mirror by dust, as an embryo by the womb, so this (wisdom) is enveloped by that (desire or anger) .
  1. Enveloped, O Son of Kunti, is ‘wisdom’ by this constant enemy of the wise in the form of ‘desire, ‘ which is difficult to be appeased, like fire.
  1. The senses, the mind, and the intellect are said to be its seat; through these, it deludes the embodied by veiling his wisdom.

As a true soldier, Arjuna understands that there is an inner enemy called “desire,” which, like an efficient saboteur, undermines the wealth and security of his inner kingdom; and as a true prince, the royal demand of Arjuna is for immediate information as to the exact hide out of this dangerous bandit. Krishna, as the spiritual teacher, has to indicate to his adventurous student where exactly the den of this devil is, from where he plans his nefarious activities.

  1. Therefore, O best of the Bharatas, controlling first the senses, kill this sinful thing, the destroyer of knowledge and wisdom
  1. They say that the senses are superior (to the body) ; superior to the senses is the mind; superior to the mind is the intellect; one who is even superior to the intellect is He, (the Atman ).
  1. Thus knowing Him, who is superior to intellect, and restraining the self by the Self, slay you, O mighty-armed, the enemy in the form of ‘desire, ‘ no doubt hard indeed to conquer.

These are the concluding verses of bhagawad geeta chapter 3. Through ‘knowledge’ alone is ‘ignorance’ ended; through a lived experience of the Self alone can we end our ‘ignorance-of-the-Self.’ This spiritual ‘ignorance,’ we have already found, creates ‘desires.’ The Lord has indicated earlier that ‘desire’ functions and thrives in the fields of the sense-organs, the mind, and the intellect. Through the processes of meditation, when we withdraw from our false identifications with the objects, the body and the mind, the ‘desire’-faculty, that was till now roaming about and functioning in the outer fields, is gathered and established in the intellect.

As long as we maintain in ourselves the limiting adjuncts of the matter-envelopments, so long we cannot realise our divine potentialities, but instead, in our delusion, we will understand ourselves to be nothing more than the little ego — limited, bound, finite and ever-sobbing.

It is very interesting to note that the philosophy of the Geeta preaches a constructive re-organisation of life and not the destruction or rejection of life’s possibilities.

“Desire,” being a painful leprous oozing wound, we are lovingly advised about the balm to cure the malady, and to live thereafter, in all efficiency, as a Master of circumstances and a Lord of our own emotions.

Conclusion

The Bhagawad Geeta Chapter 3 is all about doing one’s own duty in accordance with one’s nature without attaching oneself with the fruits of action. Lord Krishna beautifully gives multiple examples to elaborate this argument. There’s a question in the beginning by Arjuna where he is hinting to take the path of knowledge, which Lord Krishna in the Bhagawad Geeta Chapter 2 has mentioned to be higher than any other paths. However it’s understood to be a way for Arjuna to escape doing his duty, which Lord krishna says would be a sin. Bhagawad geeta chapter 3 beautifully adds to do the duty without ego (which is a product of the past), and hope (which a product of the future), and to do action in the present. It also says, not attaching oneself to the fruits of action is difficult. Afterall there’s a desire, which leads to action. Where there is a mind, actions also must be performed. These actions are therefore GENERATED by the mind, STRENGTHENED in the mind and ultimately PERFORMED with the mind. But the individual, due to his wrong identification with his own mind, gets the false notion that he himself is the “actor” — the “doer.”

18 Chapters of Bhagawad Geeta

The Bhagawad Geeta is comprised of 18 chapters and each chapter is mentioned in the form of a Yoga. Following is a list of all chapter of the Bhagawad Geeta.

  1. Chapter 1: Yoga of Arjuna’s Grief
  2. Chapter 2: The Yoga of Knowledge
  3. Chapter 3: Karma Yoga (The Path of Action)
  4. Chapter 4: The Yoga of Renunciation of Action in Knowledge
  5. Chapter 5: The Yoga of True Renunciation
  6. Chapter 6: The Yoga of Meditation
  7. Chapter 7: The Yoga of Knowledge and Wisdom
  8. Chapter 8: The Yoga of Imperishable Brahman
  9. Chapter 9: The Yoga of Royal Secret
  10. Chapter 10: The Yoga of Divine Glories
  11. Chapter 11: The Yoga of Cosmic Form
  12. Chapter 12: The Yoga of Devotion
  13. Chapter 13: The Yoga of Field and its Knower
  14. Chapter 14: The Yoga of Guna
  15. Chapter 15: The Yoga of the Supreme Spirit
  16. Chapter 16: The Yoga of Divine and Devilish Estates
  17. Chapter 17: The Yoga of Threefold Faith
  18. Chapter 18: The Yoga of Liberation through renunciation

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