A Rational Reads Bhagwat Gita: Chapter 3 : Karma Yoga- A law of eternal action and their reaction

Chapter 3: Karma Yoga- An yoga of action

After completing my two chapter on Bhagwat Gita, this is third chapter which talk about karma (action) in everyone life.  This chapter has insight view of every human life. I would like to share my view as atheist here.


Chapter 3: verse 1 to 10

Chapter 3, Verse 1

Arjuna said: O Janārdana, O Keśava, why do You urge me to engage in this ghastly warfare, if You think that intelligence is better than fruitive work?

Chapter 3, Verse 2

My intelligence is bewildered by Your equivocal instructions. Therefore, please tell me decisively what is most beneficial for me.

Chapter 3, Verse 3

The Blessed Lord said: O sinless Arjuna, I have already explained that there are two classes of men who realize the Self. Some are inclined to understand Him by empirical, philosophical speculation, and others are inclined to know Him by devotional work.

Chapter 3, Verse 4

Not by merely abstaining from work can one achieve freedom from reaction, nor by renunciation alone can one attain perfection.

Chapter 3, Verse 5

All men are forced to act helplessly according to the impulses born of the modes of material nature; therefore no one can refrain from doing something, not even for a moment.

Chapter 3, Verse 6

One who restrains the senses and organs of action, but whose mind dwells on sense objects, certainly deludes himself and is called a pretender.

Chapter 3, Verse 7

On the other hand, he who controls the senses by the mind and engages his active organs in works of devotion, without attachment, is by far superior.

Chapter 3, Verse 8

Perform your prescribed duty, for action is better than inaction. A man cannot even maintain his physical body without work.

Chapter 3, Verse 9

Work done as a sacrifice for Viṣṇu has to be performed, otherwise work binds one to this material world. Therefore, O son of Kuntī, perform your prescribed duties for His satisfaction, and in that way you will always remain unattached and free from bondage.

Chapter 3, Verse 10

In the beginning of creation, the Lord of all creatures sent forth generations of men and demigods, along with sacrifices for Viṣṇu, and blessed them by saying, Be thou happy by this yaj�a [sacrifice] because its performance will bestow upon you all desirable things.

In this chapter the first verse Arjuna asked Krishna that, if you are a lord and promote non violence as eternal ethics of Vedas than why you are forcing me to war?

The beauties of Indian culture is that here even God itself is questionable to criticism. while in Monotheism asking question to god and against his instruction  is consider as blasphemy.

Guru ji explain this “Lord Krishna reply to Arjuna that, there is two ways of knowing the supreme truth or eternal law: One is scientific and second is devotional. these both path can be consider as external and internal paths. Once side external path needs an empirical prove but other side internal path need, devotional power to know the lord. This is the answer for them who consider science and spirituality are enemy but they are just paths for same goal. Goal to understand the nature. while Krishna clear himself that, by devotional path an human can experience the extreme truth individually but with external path of empirical evidence he can experience it as a community. Further, he said that not by merely devotional work can achieve the freedom of karma or not by only constant a constant believe and course of action can achieve perfection. The course of perfection goes thorough devotional and karmic way. hence for understanding the god person must have power of external science (Science and technology) and Internal science (Ethical and devotion).

He further said, human has one basic nature which he can not denied. this basic nature is implication of his previous karma and nature in which he born. he can not denied to be Rajas, Sat and Tamas. They are force to act according to their nature, hence no one can claim he is not doing any karma by even doing nothing. whose acted like he is controlling the sense and claim his action is controlled is actually hallucinating himself, while the one who control the mind and direct is action to devotion of anything (science and social work) is actually superior. So the person must do the duty in which he indulged with perfection because always action is batter than inaction. Do the works to attend the great perfection by your karma and devotion in your duty that like you are working for supreme god itself.  In beginning of creation (creation here is not indication of creation of universe) this means creation of intellectuals, lord itself sent generation to understand the rules of nature.

The word scarifies is not similar scarifies meaning of west here (killing), scarifies is consider that hard work to attend something, giving times to something. which is Sanskrit known as many name “Tapa, Tapasaya, yajna, ahuti”

Chapter 3 : Verse 11-20

Chapter 3, Verse 11

The demigods, being pleased by sacrifices, will also please you; thus nourishing one another, there will reign general prosperity for all.

Chapter 3, Verse 12

In charge of the various necessities of life, the demigods, being satisfied by the performance of yaj�a [sacrifice], supply all necessities to man. But he who enjoys these gifts, without offering them to the demigods in return, is certainly a thief.

Chapter 3, Verse 13

The devotees of the Lord are released from all kinds of sins because they eat food which is offered first for sacrifice. Others, who prepare food for personal sense enjoyment, verily eat only sin.

Chapter 3, Verse 14

All living bodies subsist on food grains, which are produced from rain. Rains are produced by performance of yaj�a [sacrifice], and yaj�a is born of prescribed duties.

Chapter 3, Verse 15

Regulated activities are prescribed in the Vedas, and the Vedas are directly manifested from the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Consequently the all-pervading Transcendence is eternally situated in acts of sacrifice.

Chapter 3, Verse 16

My dear Arjuna, a man who does not follow this prescribed Vedic system of sacrifice certainly leads a life of sin, for a person delighting only in the senses lives in vain.

Chapter 3, Verse 17

One who is, however, taking pleasure in the self, who is illumined in the self, who rejoices in and is satisfied with the self only, fully satiated—for him there is no duty.

Chapter 3, Verse 18

A self-realized man has no purpose to fulfill in the discharge of his prescribed duties, nor has he any reason not to perform such work. Nor has he any need to depend on any other living being.

Chapter 3, Verse 19

Therefore, without being attached to the fruits of activities, one should act as a matter of duty; for by working without attachment, one attains the Supreme.

Chapter 3, Verse 20

Even kings like Janaka and others attained the perfectional stage by performance of prescribed duties. Therefore, just for the sake of educating the people in general, you should perform your work.

My question was here to Guru ji, here Krishna saying that those who doesn’t offer to deities consider as thief. why? How can sin will be vanished by just offering scarifies, if karma is factor? How rain produce from yagana? how Vedas are directly descendent from godhead?

Guru Ji describe “Here one thing we must remember that there is difference in Yagana and karma. Karma is action which is taken by people and nature without distinction of good and bad, while yagana is action and supreme tap (hard work) in direction of righteousness dharma. Now, Krishna here implying the yagana and saying that if any human just consider that doing karma which he is doing is only aim of life means he is diluting himself. Actually every person must do yagana to attuned perfection and some part of his must return to deities (the deities here is again, Vayu, Ashwani..all natural deities). In non metaphorical sense a human should not do karma just for shake of action, his action must be righteous and fruitful( but he shouldn’t need to worry about result) and his action must return to this very basic nature. if anyone use this nature for his karma and yagana and not return back the part of it, he must be consider as thief. this part simply indicating the giving back to nature what you have taken from it. people burns field to food, cut jangles to make cities but how much they return to nature, where they planted the new trees and natural resources which they had used.

Eternal law of Vedas: Any thing taken from nature must be returned in some amount another wise it will be snatched back by nature itself.

As its already told that Hinduism doesn’t consider anything sinful, but divide it in action of influenced by Rajas, Tamas and Sat guna. Now when lord said, when you offered the sacrifice (yagana) then your sin (any action which cause imbalance in nature or influenced by there mode) will be released from the cycle of karma. This indicate the another eternal law of nature which indicated that action of any individual can be controlled if he is able to balance it. Any imbalance in nature or cosmos is balanced by any action either influence by Guna (properties of nature) or Human yagana (righteous work). Now anyone can ask, can extreme righteous work leads to destruction, answer might be “Yes”. extreme righteousness is also imbalance to nature hence evil can not be vanished but balanced only. Hence Utopia in this universe is impossible dream similar like globalization of earth. When earth will be increase by similarities, nature will generate a ruthless force to devastated it and resettle the law of balance.

Eternal law of Vedas: Nature always balance itself without considering Good and bad. A new birth is taken place after destruction or a birth born destruction with it for all universe and nature. Destruction is imperishable truth, but so does incarnation.

In this verse, Krishna tried to connect the reason within nature. Human living on natural resources and natural resources depend on rain (rain used as a metaphor of reincarnation of resources), but from resources to grain and refined power, human must have to scarifies (Yagana=Righteous use or karma). But this yagana of human work? if everyone will do whatever he want without being directed as a mechanism, how human race will arranged the use of resources in right manner. Krishna here talking about the importance of common task and mutual work to achieve great result.

Guru Ji here describing the regulated activities prescribe on Vedas. Vedas has many activities which is prescribe but if read Vedanta (summery of Vedas), all humans are advise to follow four Ashram (stage) with age:

(student life)
Till 24 Brahmacharya represented the bachelor student stage of life. This stage focused on education and included the practice of celibacy up to age 24.[2] The student went to a Gurukul (house of the guru) and typically would live with a Guru (teacher), acquiring knowledge of science, philosophy, scriptures and logic, practicing self-discipline, working to earn dakshina to be paid for the guru, learning to live a life of Dharma (righteousness, morals, duties). Upanayana at entry.[9][10] Samavartana at exit.[11]
(household life)
24-48 This stage referred to the individual’s married life, with the duties of maintaining a household, raising a family, educating one’s children, and leading a family-centred and a dharmic social life.[2][12][13] Grihastha stage was considered as the most important of all stages in sociological context, as human beings in this stage not only pursued a virtuous life, they produced food and wealth that sustained people in other stages of life, as well as the offsprings that continued mankind.[2][4] The stage also represented one where the most intense physical, sexual, emotional, occupational, social and material attachments exist in a human being’s life.[14] Hindu wedding at entry.
(retired life)
48-72 The retirement stage, where a person handed over household responsibilities to the next generation, took an advisory role, and gradually withdrew from the world.[15][16] Vanaprastha stage was a transition phase from a householder’s life with its greater emphasis on Artha and Kama (wealth, security, pleasure and sexual pursuits) to one with greater emphasis on Moksha (spiritual liberation).[15][17]
(renounced life)
(or anytime)
The stage was marked by renunciation of material desires and prejudices, represented by a state of disinterest and detachment from material life, generally without any meaningful property or home (Ascetic), and focused on Moksha, peace and simple spiritual life.[18][19] (Anyone could enter this stage after completing the Brahmacharya stage of life if he desired.)

 Krishna is trying to convey the message that if all these prescribe activities will be follow in manner prescribed in Vedas, there will be no shortage of jobs and social worker in the world. People after 48 automatically get involve into the social work after 48 to 78 and spirituality after 78+ years. Here we can see a orthodox part of Vedic system, but many can have argue that there is no centric Vedic system. so it is debatable here that which Vedic system Krishna prescribing to human. above mentioned system is followed by every human being in modern age with more and less correction.

Chapter 3, Verse 21

Whatever action is performed by a great man, common men follow in his footsteps. And whatever standards he sets by exemplary acts, all the world pursues.

Chapter 3, Verse 22

O son of Pṛthā, there is no work prescribed for Me within all the three planetary systems. Nor am I in want of anything, nor have I need to obtain anything—and yet I am engaged in work.

Chapter 3, Verse 23

For, if I did not engage in work, O Pārtha, certainly all men would follow My path.

Chapter 3, Verse 24

If I should cease to work, then all these worlds would be put to ruination. I would also be the cause of creating unwanted population, and I would thereby destroy the peace of all sentient beings.

Chapter 3, Verse 25

As the ignorant perform their duties with attachment to results, similarly the learned may also act, but without attachment, for the sake of leading people on the right path.

Chapter 3, Verse 26

Let not the wise disrupt the minds of the ignorant who are attached to fruitive action. They should not be encouraged to refrain from work, but to engage in work in the spirit of devotion.

Chapter 3, Verse 27

The bewildered spirit soul, under the influence of the three modes of material nature, thinks himself to be the doer of activities, which are in actuality carried out by nature.

Chapter 3, Verse 28

One who is in knowledge of the Absolute Truth, O mighty-armed, does not engage himself in the senses and sense gratification, knowing well the differences between work in devotion and work for fruitive results.

Chapter 3, Verse 29

Bewildered by the modes of material nature, the ignorant fully engage themselves in material activities and become attached. But the wise should not unsettle them, although these duties are inferior due to the performers’ lack of knowledge.

Chapter 3, Verse 30

Therefore, O Arjuna, surrendering all your works unto Me, with mind intent on Me, and without desire for gain and free from egoism and lethargy, fight.

Guru Ji Said “Here Lord Krishna trying to told his Boundation to the system of Universe or more powerful system of universe “Brahman”. He said, although he is like GOD, but he is not also subjected to pass these rules of Karma and fala. He is bounded by this karma and Fala because Brahman is the eternal law which every one has to follow Included Avatars. Now, if he will not follow these eternal laws, his follower (Follower doesn’t mean real enlightened people0 will not follow the same.”

I asked Guru Ji “Why Not One must think to Result, if he is doing something?”

“A knowable also perform his duty without even thinking of result because thinking for result increase impatient and this impatiens can be extreme in terms to others. Hence wise perform their duty without even noticing the result of their work and constant about their growth. they never get excited or depressed because they are aware of up and downs of life and Universe”

I again asked “How Nature of Material/Human is effected the result or nature of wise?”

Guru Ji said “As discussed earlier, nature is after result of our upbringing, environment and parental education. It can be change but not end. Its effected by our action or thinking in large context. Nature of Human/Material is effect the result because Sat think or work without fear of result and fear of failure. Rajas works with hope of Profits and Gain but have guts to take risk in life for their action. Tamas works with for blind win, he do not fear failure but hate failure. his hate for failure is so tangent that he can agree to do unethical thing to win the result. His action is derived by killer instinct which can kill anyone in real world.”

Eternal law of Vedas: Our action is subjected to our prime nature but they can be change. The Most advisable nature is “Sat” but without Others world can not move. Hence a person must do work without even thinking of his prime nature and his result before action.

Chapter 3, Verse 31

One who executes his duties according to My injunctions and who follows this teaching faithfully, without envy, becomes free from the bondage of fruitive actions.

Chapter 3, Verse 32

But those who, out of envy, disregard these teachings and do not practice them regularly, are to be considered bereft of all knowledge, befooled, and doomed to ignorance and bondage.

Chapter 3, Verse 33

Even a man of knowledge acts according to his own nature, for everyone follows his nature. What can repression accomplish?

Chapter 3, Verse 34

Attraction and repulsion for sense objects are felt by embodied beings, but one should not fall under the control of senses and sense objects because they are stumbling blocks on the path of self-realization.

Chapter 3, Verse 35

It is far better to discharge one’s prescribed duties, even though they may be faulty, than another’s duties. Destruction in the course of performing one’s own duty is better than engaging in another’s duties, for to follow another’s path is dangerous.

Chapter 3, Verse 36

Arjuna said: O descendant of Vṛṣṇi, by what is one impelled to sinful acts, even unwillingly, as if engaged by force?

Chapter 3, Verse 37

The Blessed Lord said: It is lust only, Arjuna, which is born of contact with the material modes of passion and later transformed into wrath, and which is the all-devouring, sinful enemy of this world.

Chapter 3, Verse 38

As fire is covered by smoke, as a mirror is covered by dust, or as the embryo is covered by the womb, similarly, the living entity is covered by different degrees of this lust.

Chapter 3, Verse 39

Thus, a man’s pure consciousness is covered by his eternal enemy in the form of lust, which is never satisfied and which burns like fire.

Chapter 3, Verse 40

The senses, the mind and the intelligence are the sitting places of this lust, which veils the real knowledge of the living entity and bewilders him.

Here I asked Guruji that, How Krishna is saying that after performing duty (instructed by him) shall be consider as faithful. Guru Ji said “Krishana meaning here, the duty which is eternal, which is injunction by your nature and will. All these duties when performed by any guilt and fruits, they become selfless. A selfless duty lead a society to a selfless society. But those who know their duty still ignore them by influence and narcissism are subjected to doomed.

Attraction and repulsion, Love and hatred, knowledge and ignorance all are originated from senses [nature of sense-Sat, Tamas and Raj ] and They must not controlled the human  actions. they can become opaque sight for a self realizing human.

Krishna said “It is far batter than doing something which is not your nature and duty than do something which you want [even its seems faulty for current mode of time]. Doing something which is against of your nature and your guna can lead you to permanent destruction of self.

When Arjuna asked “what will happened if a person will involve in sinful acts by will or forcefully? don’t you think the result will be same?”

Krishna Explained “Arjuna as a human or due to our Guna (nature) we are born to connect with material world. But blindly material passion can turned into the wrath [because its include selfishness for self], this selfishness is all devouring enemy of humans.

As fire cover with smoke, mirror with dust similarly we all are cover with different level of selfishness, lust for material passion and ignorance. This various degree of coating define our enlightenment, but enlightenment covers with these kind of dusts. Mind and Intelligent can overcome the this dust of ignorance and uncover the real self.  

Chapter 3, Verse 41

Therefore, O Arjuna, best of the Bhāratas, in the very beginning curb this great symbol of sin [lust] by regulating the senses, and slay this destroyer of knowledge and self-realization.

Chapter 3, Verse 42

The working senses are superior to dull matter; mind is higher than the senses; intelligence is still higher than the mind; and he [the soul] is even higher than the intelligence.

Chapter 3, Verse 43

Thus knowing oneself to be transcendental to material senses, mind and intelligence, one should control the lower self by the higher self and thus—by spiritual strength—conquer this insatiable enemy known as lust.

Krishana says “Arjuna !! first we must need to curb these ignorance or selfishness, which can destroy our knowledge and real identity as human. Mind is higher than sense, Intelligent is higher than mind, but self is higher than all.

For enlightenment, material sense must be controlled by Mind and Intelligent. While Mind and Intelligent  shall be control by Self [human consciousness] to create the spiritual consciousness.