Chapter 4. Jnana Karma Sanyasa Yoga (Transcendental Knowledge)

In the third chapter Lord Krishna explained that only karma yoga or the performance of prescribed Vedic activities was suitable for the materialistic person aspiring for moksha or liberation from the cycle of birth and death and that such an aspirant was not competent to follow the path of jnana yoga or the cultivation of Vedic knowledge. It was also shown that even for jnana yoga practitioners that karma yoga when performed as a matter of duty without attachment was preferable. It was further illustrated that for leaders of prominence in society it is an important necessity to perform karma yoga in order that the public is guided and inspired in a righteous manner. The objective of this fourth chapter is to further emphasise the worthiness of karma yoga by giving evidence that it was taught to great personalities at the beginning of this Manvantar or cyclic appearance of one type of divine incarnations as verified in Vedic scriptures over a period of time comprising approximately every 350 million years. Also it will be shown in this chapter how karma yoga partakes of the nature of jnana yoga by reason of spiritual intentions underlying all prescribed Vedic activities. Chapter four finishes up by explaining the nature and varieties of karma yoga and the importance of spiritual awareness connected to performing every action.

Gita 4.1

Sri-bhagavan uvaca

imam vivasvate yogam

proktavan aham avyayam

vivasvan manave praha

manur iksvakave ‘bravit

Meaning

The Blessed Lord said: I instructed this imperishable science of yoga to the sun-god, Vivasvan, and Vivasvan instructed it to Manu, the father of mankind, and Manu in turn instructed it to Iksvaku.

Explanation

“In the beginning of the Treta-yuga [millennium] this science of the relationship with the Supreme was delivered by Vivasvan to Manu. Manu, being the father of mankind, gave it to his son Maharaja Iksvaku, the king of this earth planet and forefather of the Solar dynasty in which Lord Ramachandra appeared. Therefore, Bhagavad-Gita existed in the human society from the time of Maharaja Iksvaku.

At the present moment we have just passed through five thousand years of the Kali-yuga, which lasts 432,000 years. Before this there was the Dvapara-yuga (800,000 years), and before that there was Treta-yuga (1,200,000 years). Thus, some 2,005,000 years ago, Manu spoke the Bhagavad-Gita to his disciple and son Maharaja Iksvaku, the king of this planet earth. The age of the current Manu is calculated to last some 305,300,000 years, of which 120,400,000 have passed. Accepting that before the birth of Manu, the Gita was spoken by the Lord to His disciple, the sun-god Vivasvan, a rough estimate is that the Gita was spoken at least 120,400,000 years ago; and in human society it has been extant for two million years. It was re-spoken by the Lord again to Arjuna about five thousand years ago. That is the rough estimate of the history of the Gita, according to the Gita itself and according to the version of the speaker, Lord Sri Krishna.

The kings, such as Surya, Manu and Ikshaku, who have been mentioned by the Lord, were householders and they attained perfection, through the Discipline of Action, leading a householder’s life. By the terms ‘Vivasvate proktavan’, the Lord wants to explain to the seekers that as the sun in the solar system while performing its action by providing heat and light, remains un-engrossed; similarly, all the seekers should perform actions without attachment according to available circumstances. They should, also impart this teaching of Karma yoga, to others for the public welfare by remaining un-engrossed (without desire for fruit, without a sense of ‘mine’ and without attachment).

He creation of the universe, it is accepted even by modern science, must have started with Sun. (refer the Big bang theory). As the source of all energy the sun was the first of the created objects and with its creation, this great knowledge of self was given to rest of the world.

Gita 4.2

evam parampara-praptam

imam rajarsayo viduh

sa kaleneha mahata

yogo nastah parantapa

Meaning

This supreme science was thus received through the chain of disciples’ succession, and the saintly kings understood it in that way. But in course of time the succession was broken, and therefore the science as it is appears to be lost.

Explanation

This was transmitted from Lord Krishna to a distinguished parampara or succession from illustrious father to illustrious son. This knowledge was passed onto the saintly kings and royal sages like Nimi and Sagara; but its origins are without beginning because its roots are in the eternal Vedas. By great efflux of time and degradation of human intelligence limiting qualified recipients this great knowledge disappeared into oblivion due to a break in parampara causing a discontinuation of the tradition in this world.

In ancient days, the kings who knew Karma yoga administered the affairs of state smoothly, without being attached to royal pleasures. They had a natural inclination for the welfare of the subjects. The great Sanskrit poet Kalidasa writes about the kings of solar dynasty: – “Those kings levied a tax on their subjects in the same way, as the sun sucks water from the earth, in order to supply it to the earth in the form of rain, a thousand times more.” It means, that the tax realized from the subjects by kings, was all used for public welfare. In order to, provide for their household expenses, they followed occupations, like farming.

Gita 4.3

sa evayam maya te ‘dya

yogah proktah puratanah

bhakto ‘si me sakha ceti

rahasyam hy etad uttamam

Meaning

That very ancient science is today told by Me to you because you are My devotee as well as My friend.

Explanation

Lord Krishna now confirms that the same eternal yoga or science of the individual consciousness attaining communion with the ultimate consciousness that was imparted aeons before to Vivasvan is being instructed to His friend Arjuna and no one else. Why no one else? Because Arjuna was qualified to receive this yoga and because he was Lord Krishna’s surrendered disciple. As this yoga is highly confidential it should not be revealed to those who have no faith or to those who are unqualified. The secret, which is not disclosed even to a comrade, is revealed to a disciple, who surrenders himself to his preceptor. Arjuna also says to Lord Krishna, “I am Thy disciple, teach me, who have taken refuge in Thee.” Therefore, the Lord reveals His secret to him.

Common people, regard the objects bestowed upon them by God as theirs (while in fact they are not theirs), but they do not regard the Lord, (Who is actually theirs), as theirs. They, instead of having an eye on the glorious Lord, look at His glory. Having attached importance to the glory, their intellect becomes so dull, that they do not even believe, in His existence i.e., they do not even look towards Him. Some people adore Him, in order to gain riches and glory etc. Though riches lie at the feet of devotees, yet true devotees do not adore Him for riches, but they adore Him to attain Him. Those who hanker after riches are devotees (slaves) to riches, while those who want to attain God, are His real devotees.

The Lord says that He taught this karma yoga to the Sun. This means, there could not be a better example of a karma yogi than the Sun. He shines to all and stands as a witness to everything that happens, good or bad and is not affected by anything. He goes on doing his duty as ordained by the Lord. This quality is imparted to the Sun by the Lord only and that is why He says “I told this to the Sun”. As all beings came from Manu it is said that the Sun taught this to Manu, who did his karma without attachment, following the command of the Lord. Ikshaku is the descendant of the Sun and hence as the kings of the solar race were reputed to be karma yogis it is mentioned that it was handed down by tradition.

Gita 4.4

arjuna uvaca

aparam bhavato janma

param janma vivasvatah

katham etad vijaniyam

tvam adau proktavan iti

Meaning

You are of recent origin, while the birth of Vivasvan dates back to remote past, how then am I to understand, that Thou did declare it to him, in the beginning?

Explanation

Considering the possibility of Vivasvan being instructed 120 million years previously by the same Lord Krishna as He is standing before him, Arjuna asks the Lord to explain just how it was that He taught this eternal yoga to Vivasvan, the Sun God.

Arjuna asks Lord Krishna, that He was born in the house of Vasudeva a few years ago, while Vivasvan (the sun-god) was born earlier at the beginning of creation. So how could he believe that He had taught this Yoga to the sun-god. This question of Arjuna expresses his curiosity, rather than argument or blame. He wants to hear from Lord Krishna, the secret of His Divine descent, because only He was capable of revealing this secret, to him.

Gita 4.5

sri-bhagavan uvaca

bahuni me vyatitani

janmani tava carjuna

tany aham veda sarvani

na tvam vettha parantapa

Meaning

The Lord said – Many lives have passed of Me and you, Arjuna, and I know them while you do not.

Explanation

Lord Krishna’s declaration of many births has passed for you and for Me is a definite affirmation of the reality of reincarnation for Arjuna and confirmation of the avatars or incarnations of the Supreme Lord Krishna. What He is confirming is that His present incarnation is as real as Arjuna’s present life reincarnation and that the ones from the past are real as well, subtly implying that there is a fundamental difference between them.

Here Krishna represents ‘Atma’ and Arjuna is senses. Atma always exists and knows everything while senses are only temporary.

 

 

 Bhagavad Gita for Executives – Chapter 3 Summary – Part 2

Common people who attach importance to wealth and position, follow the examples set by millionaires and leaders, regarding them as great, though they may not be really so. The rich people and leaders, resort to evil practices such as falsehood, forgery, dishonesty, thefts and corruption, to gain riches, fame and status in society. The common people, who consider them great, follow those evil practices. Thus, evils become rampant in the society. Great and noble men, such as teachers, preachers, priests, leaders and rulers etc., who hold positions of honour in society, should perform their duties very carefully, so that they may leave a good impression upon the common people, who may follow the standards. Leader’s lives have to be an example for others to emulate. By saying that if He does not act, the world will follow suit, Krishna means that the mortals will not be guided towards the right path and will destroy themselves pursuing the sensual pleasure with no restraint. No one will be interested in doing anything but expect results without working for it. When Lord Krishna took birth, seemingly as a human being, as the son of the great righteous King Vasudeva, he conducted Himself in all ways and manners as appropriate for his position in society as a prince of the royal Kshatriya or warrior class. If Lord Krishna acted otherwise all mankind would begin to imitate Him thinking that such actions were virtuous. All actions of wise men are naturally performed for the welfare of the world. They have also no egoistic notion, that they are engaged in the welfare of others. An ignorant person performs action to reap its fruit, a wise man is neither attached to the fruit of action, nor has any duty to perform. So, it is possible for him to be indifferent to action. Therefore, the Lord directs him to act, without attachment.

Krishna gives three qualifications to attain freedom from action and bondage. It is to be noted that freedom from action is not inaction. First, one should follow the teaching about karma yoga by Krishna and act upon it, secondly he should have absolute faith that this is the right path and thirdly he should not complain about it. Those who do not follow the Lord’s teaching are under delusion regarding worldly knowledge. They are devoid of discrimination, because they cannot distinguish the real from the unreal, righteous from unrighteous, salvation from bondage and so on. They remain ignorant, like animals. Spiritual intelligence is what determines the light of knowledge in the material existence. In the absence of spiritual knowledge, darkness and ignorance prevails and knowledge becomes erroneous and defective.

If it is so beneficial to follow the teachings of the Lord then why is not everyone following them? All actions are performed, either according to one’s own nature or according to the Lord’s principles, (scriptural injunctions). One’s nature can be of two kinds, either free from attachment and aversion, or having attachment and aversion. Actions, which are performed out of attachment and aversion, bind a man because they make his nature impure. On the other hand, actions which are performed according to God’s principles, lead to salvation, because these purify one’s nature. The way to evolve spiritually involves the control of desires and aversion. We contact the outer world through our senses which create desire for the pleasant sense experience and aversion for the unpleasant. This desire and aversion leads one to action, either to acquire the desired object or to shun the undesired one. Thus the attachment to result through desire and aversion create further karma and one gets bound by that and goes through the cycle of birth and death.

The duty of another person according to his profession, stage of life, etc., may outwardly seem full of merit, be easy to perform, be attractive, provide riches, comforts, honour and praise etc., and enable one to live with comfort throughout his life, yet is forbidden. On the other hand, one’s own duty, may be devoid of merit, be difficult to perform, not appealing and not providing riches, comforts, honour or praise etc., and may be painful, yet these should be performed without expecting any reward, as these leads to salvation. Therefore, a person should always perform his duty, without expecting any reward, without a sense of ‘mine’ and without attachment. Lord Krishna is convincing Arjuna that having taken birth in the warrior class and fighting is his duty he had to treat alike victory and defeat, gain and loss, and pleasure and pain. The body, senses, mind, intellect and matter etc., are meant for performing duty alone. Those who do not deviate from their duty in spite of suffering pain are admired and honoured. Patriots, who suffered tortures, went to jail and were hanged, in order to make the country independent, are praised and honoured even today. On the other hand, those who are sent to jail, because of their crimes are condemned and dishonoured.

A person believes that worldly objects provide him pleasure, so he has a desire to acquire them in order to enjoy pleasure. This desire gives birth to attachment. So long as this process continues, he cannot get rid of sinful acts. Craving for perishable objects, is called desire, while the need for God-realization, which may appear to be like desire, is not really desire. The reason is, that desire is never satisfied, but it is strengthened by sense enjoyments, while the need of God-realization is fulfilled having realized God.

The three analogies given to describe the obscuration of wisdom by desire are significant. First is the fire being obscured by smoke? This denotes a nature predominant of Sattva where the wisdom is slightly obscured as the fire with smoke. Once the smoke clears of its own accord the fire becomes visible. Similarly a person who is of satvic temperament needs only a little help from the sastras or his guru to clear his ignorance which is only slight like smoke that conceals the fire. The next example of mirror covered with dust refers to one who has more rajas and tamas due to karma accumulated in the past lives. It takes time for a mirror to become covered with dust. This can be removed only through persistent effort like cleaning a mirror with a cloth. That is, the wisdom can be acquired only through diligent spiritual discipline. The third example of the foetus being concealed in the womb is applicable to those whose nature is predominant of tamas. The ignorance is so great that it can be removed only in course of time just as the baby is born only at the appropriate time.

It is said in the Manu-smrti that lust cannot be satisfied by any amount of sense enjoyment, just as fire is never extinguished by a constant supply of fuel. The fire of desire devours everything which comes into its contact. “The richer a man grows, the more he hankers after worldly prosperity. A poor man, may desire to gain only a few rupees, but when he gains them, he has desire for a hundred and then a thousand, and after that a million and then a billion and trillion and then the ownership of the entire universe. Yet, this form of desire will not be satiated. It is only, by contentment, that this desire can be subdued. In fact it is not wealth, but desire for wealth, which is an obstacle to God-realization. This desire deprives the rich and the poor equally, of God-realization, as it can never be satiated. A man can only get rid of it by renouncing it.

Everyone, likes loving and true words, and hates harsh and false words. It means that every person has the knowledge (discrimination) of good and bad, virtue and vice, right and wrong. In spite of this knowledge, an ignorant person uses harsh language, tells a lie and does not perform his duty scrupulously, because his discrimination is concealed by desire. The main obstacle to the practice of spiritual discipline is the desire for pleasure which is born by the contact of senses with sense-objects. This obstacle lingers for a long time. Wherever a seeker indulges in pleasure, there his spiritual progress is arrested. All actions are performed, with the body, senses, mind and intellect. If desire resides in these, it hinders the performance of spiritual actions. Therefore, a Karma yogi (man of action), having abandoned attachment and the fruit of actions, performs actions, only by the body, senses, mind and intellect, for the purification of the self. So long as, a man is swayed by his senses, he cannot have an eye on the goal of life. Without having an eye on the goal of life i.e., without attaining it, desire cannot be totally killed. So, first the Lord urges to control the senses, in order to kill desire.

The five senses are the main impediments to spiritual development and are arranged in a hostile formation against it. As long as the senses are primarily occupied in the pursuit of pleasure the realisation of the Atma will never happen. Yet the mind although fickle is capable of controlling the senses but if the mind is also inclined to enjoy the senses then realisation of the Atma will never manifest. But the intellect is superior even to the mind as it possesses the discriminative faculty. This means that the mind may be tranquil but if the intellect is inclined towards the channels of sense activities there will be no possibility again for realisation of the Atma. A question may be posed what if all the three, the senses, the mind and the intellect were tranquil and passive? The unvarying answer is that Kama or lust which arises from desires covertly resides deep within the heart and is always craving for sense gratification. This kama is so powerful that it will assert its mastery over them all and domineering them will have them fully pursuing the objects of the senses for sense gratification in the phenomenal world obscuring the light of knowledge and the realisation of the Atma. That which is the most powerful with its domain in the spiritual phenomena is the Atma.

Now in conclusion Lord Krishna establishes the fact that one should try their utmost to destroy the powerful enemy known as kama or lust. Knowing that kama is the mightiest enemy one must, by withdrawing the senses, keeping the mind steady and the intellect resolute in sattva guna the mode of goodness then slay this enemy kama which will attack your mind and senses in various ways causing one to fall into delusion before one becomes powerless to resist. Kama is extremely difficult to overpower and is tenacious and formidable yet if one dedicates all actions to Lord Krishna with their mind fixed on Him they can overcome it. So knowledge of Vedic wisdom and meditation on the Supreme Lord are the combined panacea to neutralise kama from its location in the senses, mind and intellect and then destroy the great enemy. This path of selfless action, unattached, without conception of rewards should be practiced according to one’s capacity and knowledge as a means of gradually achieving renunciation.

At the beginning of the third chapter, Arjuna asked Lord Krishna, “If You think that knowledge is superior to action, why do You urge me, to do this savage deed (war)?” In response to his question, the Lord, from the fourth to the twenty-ninth verses, lays emphasis on the performance of actions, by which a man attains equanimity. In the thirtieth verse, He says that surrendering all actions to Him, with a discriminative insight, free from desire and egoism he should perform actions without mental agitation. In the thirty-first and thirty-second verses, He declares the benefit of following His preaching and the harm in not following it. In the thirty-fifth verse, He declares, “Better is death in one’s own duty.” In the thirty-sixth verse Arjuna asks, “By what is a man impelled to commit sin?” The Lord replies, “It is desire, all devouring and most sinful, which is the enemy,” and ordered Arjuna to slay this enemy.

 

Summary of Gita Chapter 3 – Part 1

The Gita teaches a man, how to attain spiritual perfection by performing one’s duty. It inspires him to perform actions, rather than to renounce them. Chapter three establishes the fact by various points of view that the performance of prescribed duties is obligatory for everyone. Here Lord Krishna categorically and comprehensively explains how it is the duty of each and every member of society to carry out their functions and responsibilities in their respective stage of life according to the rules and regulations of the society in which one lives. Further the Lord explains why such duties must be performed, what benefit is gained by performing them, what harm is caused by not performing them. Plus what actions lead to bondage and what actions lead to salvation. All these points relating to duty have been described in great detail. Thus this chapter is entitled: The Eternal Duties of Human Beings. Sri Krishna explains the meaning of ‘kartavya’, (Duty) its importance and the dynamics of right action. When we perform our obligatory duties, the mind and heart is slowly purified. Purification of the mind is a pre requisite to the silence we are seeking. The path of Karma Yoga purifies the mind, apart from giving us the worldly results. Action should be performed as worship of the Lord, with an attitude of dedication, detachment, service and surrender, and the results of action received with devotion, as ‘Prasada’ (sacrament). This is Karma Yoga. In this way the mind and heart gains equanimity, stillness and purification, and our personal likes and dislikes are destroyed. This is the best way to reach the Lord. Karma Yoga is not some special action. Even the lowest action performed with devotion, takes us closer to the Lord.

This Chapter of the Bhagavad Gita indicates the state of mind of Arjuna who is caught between his duties as a warrior to fight his own people and at the same time his love for his relatives. He starts by questioning Lord Krishna about why he should engage himself in an action which will cause so much of destruction to human lives’. The gist of the chapter is how Lord Krishna explains to Arjuna about the duties each individual has towards himself, his family and most of all to the society and that is the essence of Karma Yoga.

Due to the praising of both jnana yoga and karma yoga in a seemingly equal manner some conflict arises in Arjuna’s mind and he became confused. Although Arjuna was bewildered he could still understand that Lord Krishna valued the cultivation of spiritual knowledge as being superior to activities without attachment and he could also understand that if Lord Krishna was ordering him to fight this must be also for his betterment as well. The Lord did not specify which path Arjuna was qualified for as yet and thus Arjuna was in a dilemma and needed a clear, definitive instruction that would end his confusion. Arjuna requests Lord Krishna to tell him decisively, one principle either of action or of knowledge, by which he may attain the highest good or bliss. Arjuna asks Bhagavan, “Krishna, if you consider knowledge as superior to action, why then do you urge me to do this dreadful action! My mind is puzzled; therefore tell me the one discipline by which I may attain the highest Goal.”

Sri Krishna explains thus: Arjuna, in this world two paths have been enunciated by Me in the past. In the case of Sankhya yogi (intellectual), the practice proceeds along the path of knowledge, whereas in the case of the Karma yogi (action oriented man) it proceeds along the path of action. None can remain inactive even for a moment; everyone is driven to action by nature born qualities. Therefore perform your allotted duty, for action is superior to inaction. Desisting from action, you cannot even maintain your body. He, who does not follow the wheel of creation, i.e. does not perform his duties, lives in vain. He however, who takes delight in the Self alone and is gratified and contented with the self, has no duty. Therefore always efficiently do your duty without attachment. Doing work without attachment is when man attains supreme bliss.

It has been established that activities prescribed in the Vedic scriptures performed without anticipation of rewards are conducive for spiritual development. Without this inner consciousness one is not qualified for jnana yoga or the cultivation of spiritual knowledge. All those who forcefully restrain their senses under the pretext of meditation but is inwardly reflecting on the objects of the senses is a cheat and a charlatan. Being impure the mind of such an impostor lacks the tranquillity and lucidity to practice such meditation. It is attachment, and not actions or their fruit that is the root of all evils. Attachment is the main stumbling block to perfection. One should perform the duties prescribed in the Vedic scriptures appropriate for ones stage in life. Generally, a person does an act promptly and efficiently, only if it serves his selfish motive, but such an action binds him. In order to be free from the bondage, he should perform actions prescribed by the scriptures, disinterestedly. Actions should be performed as a sacrifice to the Supreme Lord and no sacrifice should ever be performed with an intention for reward.

God has created the entire world with a spirit of sacrifice and service. Look around and see yourself! The sun, moon, sea, river, trees…. All serve others selflessly without expecting anything in return. Only human beings are selfish. We can only progress when we start doing selfless service to others without expecting anything in return. At the beginning of creation, Brahma, the creator, created man by providing him with power for performing actions and also bestowed upon him discrimination to choose the right use of desirable and undesirable circumstances that leads to salvation. A Karma yogi (the follower of the Discipline of Action), is ever ready to render service or do good to others. Therefore, according to the ordinance of Brahma, such a Karma yogi does not lack the required capacity and material for rendering service to others, and for the maintenance of his body. All this required material is easily available to him.

The second topic in the 3rd chapter is yajna or sacrifice. Man is bound by every action he performs, unless he does it as a sacrifice.  One should not be bound by the outcome of one’s action. This implies that mankind will prosper in this world only by giving. Now if we think about Lord Krishna who is the God of Gods has no duty to perform, but He worked so hard (even as a Charioteer)  that we may follow his examples and attain a level of spirituality.

Action is of three types.

Satvic karma (Selfless action), Rajaisic karma (Selfish action) and Tamaisic karma (Harmful action).

The pancha maha yajna prescribed in the scriptures is a satvic karma that produced fast spiritual progress.

Deva yajna – A portion of the day should be allotted to worship of God. It should be exclusive time that is not coupled with other work.

Pitru yajna – Worship of forefathers. Any kind of worship as per the family tradition is fine.

Rishi yajna – Worship of our scriptures. Scriptures should be preserved and propagated. Daily reading of some scripture like Ramayana, Bhagavata, Gita, etc. is mandatory.

Manushya yajna – All types of social service to human beings are covered under this.

Bhoota yajna – All environmental and animal protection come under this.

A person should contribute more than he consumes, so that he is not a burden to the earth. As per Karma Yoga, if an action resulted in more giving and less taking, it is considered as a successful action. It is an accepted fact that the body, senses, mind, intellect and possessions are neither ours nor for us. We owe this body to our parents, and it is they, who have fostered it. For our knowledge, we are grateful to our preceptors and sages. Thus, whatever material, strength, ability, rank, authority, wealth and property we possess, we owe it all, to others. So whatever we possess should be devoted to the service of others. The person who without repaying the rightful due of others and enjoys the objects himself, is a thief. Thus a thief is, he who performs actions with a selfish motive in order to gain honour and praise etc. Such a person can never gain purity and peace of mind. A selfish man is not liked or praised by anyone. In a family, objects get concealed from a passionate and pleasure-seeking person. On the other hand, if a person serves others with all his resources, he attains salvation and is also praised, honoured, comforted and supplied things, even though he is unwilling to receive them.

If we sincerely perform our respective duties, we will add immensely, to the welfare of the world. Success of any organization or society is solely depended on its members. If it has members who are intelligent, hardworking, dedicated and working with a sense of sacrifice, such organization will grow and prosper .The man who does not perform his prescribed duties is a thief and a burden to the society.

Actions are performed in two ways-either in order to satisfy desire or to get rid of desire. Common men work in order to satisfy their desires, while a Karma yogi performs actions, in order to get rid of desires. Therefore, an enlightened soul being free from desire has not the least affinity for the performance of duty. Actions are performed by him, automatically without any selfish motive, for the welfare of the entire creation. It is attachment, not action, which leads to one’s downfall. Being attached to the body, senses, mind, intellect and other mundane objects etc., a man performs actions, in order to derive pleasure out of them. This attachment for the materialistic objects etc., leads him to the cycle of birth and death. By performing actions for the welfare of others, we get out of the old debt and we cease to run into new debt, as we perform actions in a disinterested way. Thus, we are liberated from bondage. Duty is that, which must be done for the welfare of others, according to the ordinance of the scriptures and according to one’s capacity, by renouncing one’s selfish motive.

So long as a person assumes his affinity for the world, he rejoices in the sensual pleasures, wife, sons and family, remains satisfied with food and is content in riches. But they cannot provide him with perfect and lasting rejoicing, satisfaction and contentment, because the world is ever-changing, insentient and perishable while the self is uniform, sentient and imperishable. So how can the self be satisfied and be contented with the world, when there is not even the least affinity between the two? The aim of the performance of actions for a man is to attain salvation or God-realization. When this aim is achieved by anyone following the Disciplines of Actions, Knowledge or Devotion, nothing remains to be done, known and acquired by him and that is the supreme achievement of a human life. An action is performed, when there is desire to acquire something, and desire is born of want. The enlightened souls have no want, so they have to do nothing.

Gita 3.41

tasmat tvam indriyany adau

niyamya bharatarsabha

papmanam prajahi hy enam

jnana-vijnana-nasanam

Meaning

Therefore, O best of Bharata (Arjuna), first control the senses then, kill, this sinful destroyer, of wisdom and realization.

Explanation

So long as, a man is swayed by his senses, he cannot have an eye on the goal of life. Without having an eye on the goal of life i.e., without attaining it, desire cannot be totally killed. So, first the Lord urges to control the senses, in order to kill desire.

The term ‘Jnana’ stands for discrimination (what should be done and what should not be done). The term, ‘vijnana’ stands for Self-realization.

The first step towards fighting the enemy consists in locating him. Krishna points out that the senses, mind and intellect are abode of desire and hence the control of these is the only way to vanquish and destroy this foe of man who hides behind the senses, mind and intellect using them as his fortress deludes the embodied soul by obstructing jnana and vijnana, knowledge and realization.

Gita 3.42

indriyani parany ahur

indriyebhyah param manah

manasas tu para buddhir

yo buddheh paratas tu sah

Meaning

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.

Explanation

Senses are superior to body or objects of senses. It means that senses know the objects but objects do not know senses. Senses live without objects, but without senses, the existence of objects is not proved. Senses, do not know the mind, while the mind knows all the senses. Every sense, knows only its own objects, but does not know the objects of other senses. Ears can perceive only sound, but cannot perceive touch, form, taste and smell. Similarly, tongue can only taste, nose can only smell, eyes can only see, and skin can only touch. But the mind knows the five senses, and their objects. Therefore, the mind is superior, more powerful, and more subtle, has a wider range of activity, than senses and is their illuminator. The mind, does not know the intellect, but the intellect knows the mind and senses. The intellect, knows whether the mind is quiet or turbulent and whether senses function properly or not. It means that the intellect knows the mind and its thoughts, as well as the senses and their objects. Therefore, the intellect is greater, more powerful more subtle and has a wider range of activity, than the mind and is its illuminator. The master of intellect is ego; therefore, a person says ‘My intellect’. Intellect is an instrument and ‘ego’ is the doer. The instrument depends, on the doer.

The five senses are the main impediments to spiritual development and are arranged in a hostile formation against it. As long as the senses are primarily occupied in the pursuit of pleasure the realisation of the Atma will never happen. Yet the mind although fickle is capable of controlling the senses but if the mind is also inclined to enjoy the senses then realisation of the Atma will never manifest. But the intellect is superior even to the mind as it possesses the discriminative faculty. This means that the mind may be tranquil but if the intellect is inclined towards the channels of sense activities there will be no possibility again for realisation of the Atma. A question may be posed what if all the three, the senses, the mind and the intellect were tranquil and passive? The unvarying answer is that Kama or lust which arises from desires covertly resides deep within the heart and is always craving for sense gratification. This kama is so powerful that it will assert its mastery over them all and domineering them will have them fully pursuing the objects of the senses for sense gratification in the phenomenal world obscuring the light of knowledge and the realisation of the Atma. That which is the most powerful with its domain in the spiritual phenomena is the Atma and is designated by the pronoun sah.

Gita 3.43

evam buddheh param buddhva

samstabhyatmanam atmana

jahi satrum maha-baho

kama-rupam durasadam

Meaning

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.

Explanation

Now in conclusion Lord Krishna establishes the fact that one should try their utmost to destroy the powerful enemy known as kama or lust. Knowing that kama is the mightiest enemy one must, by withdrawing the senses, keeping the mind steady and the intellect resolute in sattva guna the mode of goodness then slay this enemy kama which will attack your mind and senses in various ways causing one to fall into delusion before one becomes powerless to resist. Kama is extremely difficult to overpower and is tenacious and formidable yet if one dedicates all actions to Lord Krishna with their mind fixed on Him they can overcome it. So knowledge of Vedic wisdom and meditation on the Supreme Lord are the combined panacea to neutralise kama from its location in the senses, mind and intellect and then destroy the great enemy. This path of selfless action unattached without conception of rewards should be practiced according to one’s capacity and knowledge as a means of gradually achieving renunciation.

A man can know the world, by dissociating himself from it, and the Lord, by identifying himself with Him, because he (the self) is different from the world, while he has identity with God. But he accepts his identity or affinity, for the world, in order to acquire worldly things, which is never possible. Similarly, he accepts that he is different from God which is also not a reality. Spiritual desire, is necessary, in order to root out worldly desires. When spiritual desires grow up mundane desires, automatically, perish. When mundane desires, are rooted out, spiritual desire is satisfied viz., God, Who is ever attainable, is attained. God always pervades everywhere, but a man does not realize Him, because of his entanglement with worldly desires.

 

 

 

Gita 3.36

arjuna uvaca

atha kena prayukto ‘yam

papam carati purusah

anicchann api varsneya

balad iva niyojitah

Meaning

But, why is a man impelled to commit sin, as if by force, even against his will, O Varsneya (Krishna)?

Explanation

Arjuna wants to know from Lord Krishna exactly what it is that forcibly impels a person embarking on the path of jnana yoga or the cultivation of Vedic wisdom to go against their better judgement and engage in sinful activities. A sensible man generally does not want to commit sin, but it is the desire for pleasure and prosperity, which deviates him from the performance of his duty and forces him to perform sinful acts.

Gita 3.37

sri-bhagavan uvaca

kama esa krodha esa

rajo-guna-samudbhavah

mahasano maha-papma

viddhy enam iha vairinam

Meaning

The 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.

Explanation

The influence which is the most powerful and destructive on human beings is kama or lust followed by krodha or anger which arises from frustrated desires. Those who hypothesise contrarily are not cognisant of the subtle difference involved in the mixture of the two. Therefore it can be understood that without desire there is no opportunity for anger to manifest and indeed it does not. Since there are many causes of anger it is called a great devourer. Since anger becomes the cause of committing abominable actions it is called mahapapam or great sinner and because it is counterproductive to all human goals of righteousness it is called mahavairi or great adversary.

A person believes that worldly objects provide him pleasure, so he has a desire to acquire them in order to enjoy pleasure. This desire gives birth to attachment. So long as this process continues, he cannot get rid of sinful acts. Craving for perishable objects, is called desire, while the need for God-realization, which may appear to be like desire, is not really desire. The reason is, that desire is never satisfied, but it is strengthened by sense enjoyments while the need of God-realization, is fulfilled having realized God.

Desires are of four kinds:-

1. Desires which satisfy necessities of life.

There are four criteria for such a desire-

(i) It is born at present (as desire for food when one is hungry).

(ii) The material to satisfy is available at present.

(iii) It is impossible to live without satisfying it.

(iv) Its satisfaction does evil neither to him nor to others.

2. Desire which is personal and just, but is beyond our power. Such a desire should be rooted out, by offering it to God.

3. Satisfy the just desire of others for their welfare and within our power to satisfy. Thus by satisfying the desires of others, we get strength to renounce our own.

4. Other desires, besides, the above-mentioned ones, which can be rooted out, by reflection.

Gita 3.38

dhumenavriyate vahnir

yathadarso malena ca

yatholbenavrto garbhas

tatha tenedam avrtam

Meaning

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

Explanation

The three analogies given to describe the obfuscation of wisdom by desire are significant. First is the fire being obscured by smoke? This denotes a nature predominant of Sattva where the wisdom is slightly obscured as the fire with smoke. Once the smoke clears of its own accord the fire becomes visible. Similarly a person who is of satvic temperament needs only a little help from the sastras or his guru to clear his ignorance which is only slight like smoke that conceals the fire. The next example of mirror covered with dust refers to one who has more rajas and tamas due to karma accumulated in the past lives. It takes time for a mirror to become covered with dust. This can be removed only through persistent effort like cleaning a mirror with a cloth. That is, the wisdom can be acquired only through diligent spiritual discipline. The third example of the foetus being concealed in the womb is applicable to those whose nature is predominant of tamas. The ignorance is so great that it can be removed only in course of time just as the baby is born only at the appropriate time.

There are three divisions of intellect – of the nature of ‘goodness’ (Satvic), of ‘passion’ (Rajas) and of ‘ignorance’ (Tamas). The intellect by which one knows, what ought to be done and what ought not to be done, is of the nature of ‘goodness’. The intellect, by which one wrongly understands, what ought to be done and what ought not to be done, is of the nature of ‘rajas’, while the intellect by which one sees all things in a perverted way (contrary to the truth) is, of the nature of ‘ignorance’.

When dirt accumulates on the surface of a mirror, it cannot reflect an object. Similarly, the dirt of desire, covers knowledge (discrimination), and a seeker cannot decide what he ought to do and what he ought not to do. Because of desire, he hankers after worldly pleasures and prosperity, and he has a downfall. This is the second stage of desire. If desire is not satisfied, it gives birth to anger. From anger arises delusion; from delusion there is destruction of discrimination; from destruction of discrimination one does not do, what ought to be done, but indulges in evil acts, such as falsehood, fraud, dishonesty, injustice, oppression and other sinful acts.

Gita 3.39

avrtam jnanam etena

jnanino nitya-vairina

kama-rupena kaunteya

duspurenanalena ca

Meaning

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.

Explanation

It is said in the Manu-Smriti that lust cannot be satisfied by any amount of sense enjoyment, just as fire is never extinguished by a constant supply of fuel. The fire of desire devours everything which comes into its contact. “The richer a man grows, the more he hankers after worldly prosperity. A poor man, may desire to gain only a few rupees, but when he gains them, he has desire for a hundred and then a thousand, and after that a million and then a billion and trillion and then the ownership of the entire universe. Yet, this form of desire will not be satiated. It is only, by contentment, that this desire can be subdued. In fact it is not wealth, but desire for wealth, which is an obstacle to God-realization. This desire deprives the rich and the poor equally, of God-realization, as it can never be satiated. A man can only get rid of it by renouncing it. Advancement of material civilization on the basis of sense gratification means increasing the duration of the material existence of a living entity. Therefore, this lust is the symbol of ignorance by which the living entity is kept within the material world. While one enjoys sense gratification, it may be that there is some feeling of happiness, but actually that so-called feeling of happiness is the ultimate enemy of the sense enjoyer.

Everyone, likes loving and true words, and hates harsh and false words. It means that every person has the knowledge (discrimination) of good and bad, virtue and vice, right and wrong. In spite of this knowledge, an ignorant person uses harsh language, tells a lie and does not perform his duty scrupulously, because his discrimination is concealed by desire. The main obstacle to the practice of spiritual discipline is the desire for pleasure which is born by the contact of senses with sense-objects. This obstacle lingers for a long time. Wherever a seeker indulges in pleasure, there his spiritual progress is arrested.

Gita 3.40

indriyani mano buddhir

asyadhisthanam ucyate

etair vimohayaty esa

jnanam avrtya dehinam

Meaning

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.

Explanation

By revealing the locations where kama or lust is stationed Lord Krishna is indicating the means to defeat kama. As desire arises from contact with sense objects by seeing, hearing, touching etc. the mind is agitated and a determined effort to enjoy arises and lust manifests itself from within the mind completely overpowering the intellect and the discriminatory faculties and a person is controlled and deluded, forced to be a slave of their sense.

All actions are performed, with the body, senses, mind and intellect. If desire resides in these, it hinders the performance of spiritual actions. Therefore, a Karma yogi (man of action), having abandoned attachment and the fruit of actions, performs actions, only by the body, senses, mind and intellect, for the purification of the self.

 

Gita 3.35

sreyan sva-dharmo vigunah

para-dharmat svanusthitat

sva-dharme nidhanam sreyah

para-dharmo bhayavahah

Meaning

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.

Explanation

This is not only an oft quoted sloka (verse) but also often misinterpreted. Those who want to perpetuate the caste system quote this to suit their purpose. The meaning of the sloka, “one’s own duty, though devoid of merit is preferable to that of another, though more meritorious”, is often misconstrued to mean that one should stick on to the work or kind of life with which he is born and should not strive to come up in life. It really means the work suited to one’s own nature, which may change as the individual changes. It is not uncommon to find that a person qualified to be an engineer, for instance, turns out to be a successful businessman because he has the inborn talents to become one or a man giving up his successful profession and choose a less lucrative one because his attitude has changed. So ‘svadharma’ is what naturally comes to you and not something which others do, however tempting it may appear to be.

One would like to switch their duties for another’s but it is very risky. Engaging in one’s own duty one possesses the correct inner mentality to accomplish it; but for engagement in another’s duty the correct inner mentality would not be present even if the external action was performed perfectly. There might be worry or indecision and questions regarding some aspects of another’s duty and unresolved these would lead to inner conflict which is very detrimental for one’s consciousness and atma tattva or soul realisation. This is Lord Krishna’s meaning.

The duty of another person according to his profession, stage of life, etc., may outwardly seem full of merit, be easy to perform, be attractive, provide riches, comforts, honour and praise etc., and enable one to live with comfort throughout his life, yet is forbidden. On the other hand, one’s own duty, may be devoid of merit, be difficult to perform, not appealing and not providing riches, comforts, honour or praise etc., and may be painful, yet these should be performed without expecting any reward, as these leads to salvation. Therefore, a person should always perform his duty, without expecting any reward, without a sense of ‘mine’ and without attachment. Lord Krishna is convincing Arjuna that having taken birth in the warrior class and fighting is his duty he had to treat alike victory and defeat, gain and loss, and pleasure and pain. The body, senses, mind, intellect and matter etc., are meant for performing duty alone. Those who do not deviate from their duty in spite of suffering pain are admired and honoured. Patriots, who suffered tortures, went to jail and were hanged, in order to make the country independent, are praised and honoured even today. On the other hand, those who are sent to jail, because of their crimes are condemned and dishonoured.

Righteousness (Dharma), wealth (artha), desire (kama) and the Final Liberation (Moksha) are the four pursuits (purusharthas) of human life according to Bharatiya (Indian) culture.

In the ancient Indian tradition, life of 84+ years was considered, with each of the four stages being 21 years. Some have revised these into four stages of 25 years, seeking a life of 100+ years. The purpose for this life planning is to attain the direct experience of Self-realization, Yoga or enlightenment here, in this world, in this very life. While our lifestyles may have changed since then, the basic idea of these four stages is as sound today as it was then.

Age: Ashram or Stage:

0-25 – Brahmacharya/Student: The celibate student time of youth is for learning the foundation of lifestyle. The focus is on healthy, positive training and discipline, learning about spiritual, community, and family life. This is a period of formal education. It lasts until the age of 25, during which, the young male leaves home to stay with a guru and attain both spiritual and practical knowledge. During this period, he is called a brahmachari, and is prepared for his future profession, as well as for his family, and social and religious life ahead.

• To be celibate and live a simple life, free from sense pleasure and material allurement.

• To serve the guru (spiritual teacher) and collect alms for him.

• To hear, study and assimilate the Vedas.

• To develop all the appropriate qualities: humility, discipline, simplicity, purity of thought, cleanliness, soft-heartedness, and so on.

25-50 – Grahasta/Householder: The householder phase of life is when one lives with spouse and children, fulfilling worldly interests and duties. It is a time of giving, living, learning, and loving in family and community. Religious or spiritual practices are done in the context of worldly life and service to others. This period begins when a man gets married, and undertakes the responsibility for earning a living and supporting his family. At this stage, Hinduism supports the pursuit of wealth (artha) as a necessity, and indulgence in sexual pleasure (kama), under certain defined social and cosmic norms. According to the Laws of Manu, when a person’s skin wrinkles and his hair greys, he should go out into the forest. However, in real life, most Hindus are so much in love with this second ashrama that the Grihastha stage lasts a lifetime!

• To make money and to enjoy sensual pleasure according to ethical principles.

• To perform sacrifice and observe religious rituals.

• To protect and nourish family members (wife, children, and elders) and members of the other ashramas such as brahmachari, vanaprastha and sanyasi.

• To teach children spiritual values.

• To give in charity, and especially to feed holy people, the poor, and animals.

50-75 – Vanaprastha/Hermitage: This is a time for shifting focus more towards inner spiritual practices of meditation, contemplation, and prayer. Relationships with grown children and community are more in the role of a matured mentor. Lifestyle is more simplified, and the couple may retreat to a quieter place for deeper practices. This stage of a man begins when his duty as a householder comes to an end: He has become a grandfather; his children are grown up, and have established lives of their own. At this age, he should renounce all physical, material and sexual pleasures, retire from his social and professional life, leave his home, and go to live in a forest hut, spending his time in prayers. He is allowed to take his wife along, but is supposed to maintain little contact with the family. This kind of life is indeed very harsh and cruel for an aged person. No wonder, this third ashrama is now nearly obsolete.

• To generally devote more time to spiritual matters.

• To engage in austerity and penance.

• To go on pilgrimage.

75-100+ – Sanyasa/Renunciate: The elder person now retreats from active involvement in all worldly goals, seeking only spiritual goals in this final phase. No longer having political, professional, or social engagements, there is a further shift towards being an elder teacher of spiritual knowledge. At this stage, a man is supposed to be totally devoted to God. He is a sanyasi, he has no home, no other attachment; he has renounced all desires, fears and hopes, duties and responsibilities. He is virtually merged with God, all his worldly ties are broken, and his sole concern becomes attaining moksha, or release from the circle of birth and death. When he dies, the funeral ceremonies are performed by his son and heir.

• To fully control the mind and senses, and to fix the mind on the Supreme.

• To become detached and fearless, fully dependent on God as the only protector.

• To teach and preach the importance of self-realisation and God-consciousness, especially to the householders, who often become distracted from their spiritual duties.

This applies to all of us: While we are a diverse world of cultures, religions, philosophies, and attitudes, this simple framework of life planning has great value for all of us. Regardless of how we may have lived the stages of life that are already behind us, being aware of, and committed to the current and later stages of life can bring great comfort and clarity as we progress on the path of Self-realization.

Peace and order will prevail in society, only if and when all people do their respective duties efficiently. The students of schools, and colleges should lead a life of purity and simple living. The householder should lead the life of an ideal Grihastha. He should practise self-restraint, mercy, tolerance, non-injury, truthfulness and moderation in everything. Those who find it difficult to lead the life of the third and the fourth Asramas should, remaining in either of the other two Asramas, gradually withdraw themselves from worldly life and practise selfless service, study and meditation.

However what is the real situation in our country these days?

• How many youngsters below the age of 25 can claim to be virgins and learning and practicing spirituality?

• Householder stage has to be devoted to earn wealth (arth) only through rightful means (dharma). However the events we notice these days is highly disappointing with the news of rampant corruption in every section of our society whether it is Government departments or business.

• Above the age of 50 or when you become a Grandfather, one should realise that it is time to retire and slowly start delegating responsibilities to the next generation. But what we observe today is people clinging on to their jobs or positions even beyond 60 years of age by whatever means they can adapt to.

• Can you guess the age of many of our ministers today? Half the cabinet of our current Prime Minister, including himself is far beyond the age for sannyasa. There is a chief minister in our country who is above 90 and have no plans to handover the reign to the next generation.

When people do not follow the ashrama dharma, then adharma or injustice prevails. We have many such examples from Mahabharata to illustrate this important point. Generally it is considered that the Pandavas represent the side of ‘dharma’ and Kauravas the side of ‘adharma’. How come this happen when we have great teachers and scholars in their side. 

• Bhishma was the great Grandsire for both Pandavas and Kauravas. Even though he took an oath never to be the king, essentially ruled the kingdom throughout his life. Considered a great scholar and an expert on ‘rajadharma’ he kept quiet on many occasions when voice should have been raised particularly when the daughter-in-law Draupadi was being disrobed in public. There are many such incidents that can be quoted which clearly depict all the injustice happened during Bhishma’s period. Why such heinous events took place in the presence of a stalwart like Bhishma? Because he was not following the ashrama dharma. Bhishma would have been past his 100th birthday when the Kurukshetra war started and it was way past his time to retire and lead a life of renunciate. Instead he was leading the war as Supreme commander, a clear indication of the violation of established practices by the scriptures.

•        Drona was the preceptor for both Pandavas and Kauravas. A great teacher who taught them ‘dhanurvidya’ (weapon and warfare training) and responsible for teaching the young princes traditions and moral values. He was the commander of the Kaurava forces when Bhishma retired hurt for the next 5 days of the war. However most unfortunately he was not following the ‘varnasrama dharma’, hence breaking the traditions and practices set forth by the great lord Krishna. As a Brahmin his ‘dharma’ was studying the Vedas, performing Vedic rituals and practicing dharma. His duties include teaching the insights of the Vedic literature which deals with all aspects of life including spirituality, philosophy, yoga, religion, rituals, arts and culture, etc. or being a priest. By not performing his prescribed duties and taking part in war – job of a Kshatriya, Drona violated the principles of Dharma.

• Similar violations could be assigned to his brother-in-law Kripacharya as well as Ashvatthama, his son.

Even in our society we see such anomalies these days which are a clear reflection of deterioration of moral and ethical principles and must be corrected if we have to attain the so called ‘ramarajya.

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Gita 3.31

ye me matam idam nityam

anutisthanti manavah

sraddhavanto ‘nasuyanto

mucyante te ‘pi karmabhih

Meaning

Persons who always follow this teaching of Mine, with faith and without question, are released from the bondage of all actions.

Explanation

Krishna gives three qualifications to attain freedom from action and bondage. It is to be noted that freedom from action is not inaction. First, one should follow the teaching about karma yoga by Krishna and act upon it, secondly he should have absolute faith that this is the right path and thirdly he should not complain about it.

If a seeker whose only aim is God-realization, gives a serious thought to the topic, he will come to know the truth, that all the acquired things such as, the body, rank, right, education, knowledge, riches, property etc., belong to the world, and so they should be utilized, for the world. We may call them either of the world or of nature, or of God, but these are not ours. So how can they be for us? Having surrendered everything and action to God, he should not be swayed, by the pairs of opposites, such as profit and loss, honour and dishonour, pleasure and pain etc., because these are the gifts of God and so they are His. Performance of duty, joyfully under the available circumstance means, the practice of His teaching.

The Lord without pride and with a simple and polite heart calls His principle (Siddhanta) as opinion (Mata). An opinion is not universal but it is personal. Everyone can express his opinion but a principle is the basic and supreme truth of universal character which everyone has to follow. Therefore there can be difference of opinion between the teacher and the pupil but there can’t be difference in principle. Sages, hermits and philosophers name their opinion as ‘principle’ but in the Gita the Lord names His principle as ‘Mata’ (opinion).

Gita 3.32

ye tv etad abhyasuyanto

nanutisthanti me matam

sarva-jnana-vimudhams tan

viddhi nastan acetasah

Meaning

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.

Explanation

Those who do not follow the Lord’s teaching are under delusion regarding worldly knowledge. They are devoid of discrimination, because they cannot distinguish the real from the unreal, righteous from unrighteous, salvation from bondage and so on. They remain ignorant, like animals. Spiritual intelligence is what determines the light of knowledge in the material existence. In the absence of spiritual knowledge, darkness and ignorance prevails and knowledge becomes erroneous and defective. Thus it has been illustrated that doer-ship transpires due to the union of prakriti or material nature and the physical body being influenced by the gunas or modes of goodness, passion and ignorance.

Gita 3.33

sadrsam cestate svasyah

prakrter jnanavan api

prakrtim yanti bhutani

nigrahah kim karisyati

Meaning

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

Explanation

If it is so beneficial to follow the teachings of the Lord then why is not everyone following them? All actions are performed, either according to one’s own nature or according to the Lord’s principles, (scriptural injunctions). One’s nature can be of two kinds, either free from attachment and aversion, or having attachment and aversion. All actions, such as seeing, hearing, smelling, touching etc., are performed according to one’s nature and according to His principle. Nature, free from attachment and aversion, is not faulty, while nature with attachment and aversion is. Actions, which are performed out of attachment and aversion, bind a man because they make his nature impure. On the other hand, actions which are performed according to God’s principles, lead to salvation, because these purify one’s nature. It is, because of impure personal nature, that the assumed affinity for the world is not renounced. As soon as his nature is purified, the assumed affinity is easily, renounced. A perfect soul, being free from attachment and aversion, acts in accordance with pure nature. He is not swayed by nature.

Gita 3.34

indriyasyendriyasyarthe

raga-dvesau vyavasthitau

tayor na vasam agacchet

tau hy asya paripanthinau

Meaning

Attachment and aversion of man abide in each and every sense-object through the feeling of agreeableness’ or disagreeableness towards its senses. Let no one come under their sway, for they are his way layers and foes.

Explanation

External restraint is of no use unless the inner equipment, consisting of mind and intellect, is trained with the discipline of discrimination and detachment

Each sense has attraction for a pleasant aspect (ear, eye, skin, tongue and nose for sound, sight, touch, taste and smell respectively), and aversion for an unpleasant one. In fact, attachment and aversion do not abide, in the sense-objects. If they had abode in the sense-objects, the same objects might have been pleasant (desirable) or unpleasant (undesirable) equally, to everyone. But it does not happen. Rain is desirable for a farmer, but not so for a potter. Moreover, the same object is sometimes pleasant, while it is unpleasant at other time, to the same person. Cool air, is pleasant in summer but unpleasant in winter. Thus, we have attraction and aversion by regarding these as desirable and undesirable. Therefore, the Lord has declared, that attachment and aversion of man abide in the sense-objects. The Lord assures seekers, that they should never be disappointed, if attachment and aversion appear. The scriptures, rather than attachment and aversion, should be the authority for determining what should be done and what should not be done. When we assume that others are instrumental in providing pleasure and pain to us then attachment and aversion ensue viz., we get attached to the thing which we think provides pleasure to us and have aversion to the thing which provides pain to us. Therefore attachment and aversion are born by one’s own error, there is no other reason.

The way to evolve spiritually involves the control of desires and aversion. We contact the outer world through our senses which create desire for the pleasant sense experience and aversion for the unpleasant. This desire and aversion leads one to action, either to acquire the desired object or to shun the undesired one. Thus the attachment to result through desire and aversion create further karma and one gets bound by that and goes through the cycle of birth and death.

Gita 3.35

sreyan sva-dharmo vigunah

para-dharmat svanusthitat

sva-dharme nidhanam sreyah

para-dharmo bhayavahah

Meaning

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.

Explanation

This is not only an oft quoted sloka but also often misinterpreted. Those who want to perpetuate the caste system quote this to suit their purpose. The meaning of the sloka, “one’s own duty, though devoid of merit is preferable to that of another, though more meritorious”, is often misconstrued to mean that one should stick on to the work or kind of life with which he is born and should not strive to come up in life. It really means the work suited to one’s own nature, which may change as the individual changes. It is not uncommon to find that a person qualified to be an engineer, for instance, turns out to be a successful businessman because he has the inborn talents to become one or a man giving up his successful profession and choose a less lucrative one because his attitude has changed. So ‘svadharma’ is what naturally comes to you and not something which others do, however tempting it may appear to be.

One would like to switch their duties for another’s but it is very risky. Engaging in one’s own duty one possesses the correct inner mentality to accomplish it; but for engagement in another’s duty the correct inner mentality would not be present even if the external action was performed perfectly. There might be worry or indecision and questions regarding some aspects of another’s duty and unresolved these would lead to inner conflict which is very detrimental for one’s consciousness and atma tattva or soul realisation. This is Lord Krishna’s meaning.

The duty of another person according to his profession, stage of life, etc., may outwardly seem full of merit, be easy to perform, be attractive, provide riches, comforts, honour and praise etc., and enable one to live with comfort throughout his life, yet is forbidden. On the other hand, one’s own duty, may be devoid of merit, be difficult to perform, not appealing and not providing riches, comforts, honour or praise etc., and may be painful, yet these should be performed without expecting any reward, as these leads to salvation. Therefore, a person should always perform his duty, without expecting any reward, without a sense of ‘mine’ and without attachment. Lord Krishna is convincing Arjuna that having taken birth in the warrior class and fighting is his duty he had to treat alike victory and defeat, gain and loss, and pleasure and pain. The body, senses, mind, intellect and matter etc., are meant for performing duty alone. Those who do not deviate from their duty in spite of suffering pain are admired and honoured. Patriots, who suffered tortures, went to jail and were hanged, in order to make the country independent, are praised and honoured even today. On the other hand, those who are sent to jail, because of their crimes are condemned and dishonoured.

 

Gita 3.26

na buddhi-bhedam janayed

ajnanam karma-sanginam

josayet sarva-karmani

vidvan yuktah samacaran

Meaning

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

Explanation

It may be put forth that if one feels compassion for the ignorant, one should give them knowledge of ‘atma-tattva’ or soul realisation which is the highest. Lord Krishna neutralises this argument by stating ‘na vicalayet tan’ meaning one should not try to impart knowledge to them. The ignorant should not be influenced to refrain from performing their duties by superior instructions about the atman or soul that they are not qualified to understand. The spiritually wise in Vedic knowledge should inspire the ignorant to perform their duties with attentiveness and care. If the minds of the ignorant become disturbed and unsettled then they may lose faith in working altogether and with actions stopped and knowledge not rising the ignorant would lose out in both ways.

An ignorant person performs action to reap its fruit, while, a wise man is neither attached to the fruit of action, nor has any duty to perform. Great men have greater responsibility, because common men follow them. Therefore, the Lord urges the wise man, that he should not perform any such action or make any such utterance, as may lead the ignorant to a downfall, which has been called here ‘as buddhibhedam’ (unsettlement in the minds). Therefore, a wise man should perform virtuous actions, for the welfare of other people, so that they may be inspired to perform their duty, without any desire for fruit.

Gita 3.27

prakrteh kriyamanani

gunaih karmani sarvasah

ahankara-vimudhatma

kartaham iti manyate

Meaning

All actions are performed, in all cases, by the modes of nature (prakriti). He whose mind is mesmerised by egoism thinks, “I am the doer.”

Explanation

A question may be raised that the spiritually wise may sometimes perform actions that are also performed by the ignorant then what is the difference? Lord Krishna clarifies this point with the word prakriti meaning the material nature which is impelling actions through the medium of the three gunas being the modes of prakriti known as sattva or goodness, rajas or passion and tamas or ignorance. One who is perplexed by false ego believes that they are the physical body and that the physical body is the doer of all their actions. The Lord declares that all actions are performed by the modes of nature, not by the self.

An action done with the sense of egoism, can never lead to salvation, because egoism is the root of all misfortunes, of birth and death. There were many rulers and leaders in the world who thought and believed that they are indispensable and without them chaos would persist in society. Today they all are resting in the cemetery and the world moves on. Therefore a seeker instead of attaching importance to the performance of action should attach importance to discrimination. This discrimination is then transformed into Real-Knowledge.

Gita 3.28

tattva-vit tu maha-baho

guna-karma-vibhagayoh

guna gunesu vartanta

iti matva na sajjate

Meaning

But the enlightened one, who knows to distinguish the gunas and their works, is not attached, with the view that the gunas are operating on their respective counterparts.

Explanation

The three modes of goodness, passion and ignorance (Sattva, Rajas and Tamas), are born of nature. The entire universe, including the body, senses, mind, intellect, creatures and objects etc., is constituted of the three modes. Out of ignorance, a man by assuming his affinity for these modes, becomes a doer of actions i.e., by regarding the actions and objects, as his own and he becomes a doer. But, when he realizes that the self is different and is an illuminator, he cannot think that he is a doer. A train, having received power from the engine, runs with the help of a driver. The engine supplies power but the train reaches its destination only when the driver drives it. The engine has no senses, mind and intellect. Therefore, it needs a driver (man) with senses, mind and intellect. But, a man has an engine in the form of body and has also senses, mind and intellect to drive it. But the senses, mind and intellect function having received inspiration from the source of light. First, light is reflected in the intellect, from the intellect it goes to the mind, from the mind it goes to the senses, and then the engine (body) functions. Intellect, mind, senses and the body-these are modes and their illuminator is the self which is not connected with them. So long as a seeker has affinity for the world, he can’t be an enlightened soul. The reason is that a man can’t know the world so long as he is attached to it. The world can be known only when he disconnects himself from the world – this is the rule. Similarly a man cannot know God by assuming himself apart from God. He can know Him only by identifying himself with Him – this is the rule. The reason is that really we are different from the world and are identical with God. The body is identical with the world while we (self) are identical with God.

If we renounce our affinity for Nature, through discrimination, it is known as ‘Jnanayoga’ (Discipline of Knowledge). If this affinity is renounced by performing duty, for the welfare of others, it is known as ‘Karma yoga’ (Discipline of Action). When we renounce our affinity for nature, we realize Yoga, (i.e.) union with God. Otherwise, it is merely Jnana (knowledge) and karma (action). Those who realize this real affinity for God, having renounced the affinity for nature, are, ‘tattvavit’ (enlightened souls).

Gita 3.29

prakrter guna-sammudhah

sajjante guna-karmasu

tan akrtsna-vido mandan

krtsna-vin na vicalayet

Meaning

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.

Explanation

This body is a gift of the material nature, and one who is too much attached to the bodily consciousness is called ‘mandan’, a lazy or ignorant person. Ignorant men think of the body as the self. Social work, nationalism, and altruism are some of the activities of such persons and are always busy in the material world; for them spiritual realization is a myth, and so they are not interested. Those who are enlightened in spiritual life should not try to agitate such materially engrossed persons.

In this way after presenting the distinctions between one who is spiritually wise in Vedic knowledge and those who are acting in ignorance; Lord Krishna advices the wise not to unsettle the minds of the ignorant.  For the ignorant being completely infatuated by prakriti or material nature are totally attached to all their actions thinking always that they are performing a particular action for the express purpose of being able to enjoy a particular delight. They are unable to perform actions as a matter of duty without desiring rewards. Even though the actions of the ignorant do not lead them to salvation, the very fact that they are performing actions is in itself good. Administering superior knowledge to them may cause them to refrain from their duties altogether. Eventually in the course of their lifetime there will be a glimmer of comprehension and understand the futility of attachment for such actions.

Gita 3.30

mayi sarvani karmani

sannyasyadhyatma-cetasa

nirasir nirmamo bhutva

yudhyasva vigata-jvarah

Meaning

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.

Explanation

The Lord urges us to surrender all our actions to Him, without having the least affinity for those actions. In fact, all actions of the world are performed by Lord’s power. By thinking so, when a seeker performs actions, those actions instead of leading him to bondage, steer him to salvation. Every person knows that he cannot keep the body, senses, mind, intellect and material objects etc., under his control, according to his desire. These belong to nature while the self is a fragment of the Lord. So, real surrender consists in accepting these as of the Lord’s, rather than his own. Therefore, ‘surrender’ means, the renunciation of assumed affinity, for objects and actions, by attaching importance to discrimination. By the expression ‘adhyatmacetasa’, the Lord means to say, that one should have a spiritual aim (of God) rather than a mundane one. The man, who has fixed his aim, has a discriminative insight. In fact, a man’s aim or necessity is, to attain the imperishable, (spiritual) while his desire is to gain the perishable. A seeker should decide upon the aim of his life, instead of having a desire.

The word ‘sannyasa’ means renounce. What is to be renounced? Lord Krishna is explaining Arjuna to renounce all actions and instead dedicate his actions as yajna or worship, as an offering to the Supreme Lord. One should try to be guided by the Lord in every action they perform. One should think that they are being guided by the Supreme Lord at all times. Relinquishing both desire and attachment and thereby being free from any ego conceptions of I-ness or my-ness and any conceptions of ownership; one should cheerfully perform all actions for the satisfaction of the Supreme Lord. In this way Lord Krishna is instructing Arjuna to free himself from delusion and to fight. Here ‘fight’ only means do your duty, whatever it may be.

When a seeker has God-realization as the only goal of his life, all his possessions and things, whether superior or inferior, are surrendered to God. Having surrendered his actions and objects, he surrenders his desire, the sense of ‘mine-ness’ and grief, which appear in him, to God. Thus, he becomes a staunch devotee with exclusive devotion. Therefore, the Lord in this verse orders Arjuna to perform his duty of fighting, so that he may come to know his defects also.

Gita 3.21

yad yad acarati sresthas

tat tad evetaro janah

sa yat pramanam kurute

lokas tad anuvartate

Meaning

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.

Explanation

Whatever actions a great personality performs is accepted by the common people as the path to follow as they look up to these people in positions of leadership, royalty and fame etc. for inspiration. So whatever a prominent member of society postulates, whether it is Vedic or concocted, the ignorant will undoubtedly follow. It is also a fact that in modem times people do not have much inclination towards spiritualism, in spite of a lot of preaching mainly due to the fact that preachers themselves, do not practise, what they preach.

Common people who attach importance to wealth and position, follow the examples set by millionaires and leaders, regarding them as great, though they may not be really so. The rich people and leaders, resort to evil practices such as falsehood, forgery, dishonesty, thefts and corruption, to gain riches, fame and status in society. The common people, who consider them great, follow those evil practices. Thus, evils become rampant in the society. Great and noble men, such as teachers, preachers, priests, leaders and rulers etc., who hold positions of honour in society, should perform their duties very carefully, so that they may leave a good impression upon the common people, who may follow the standards.

Gita 3.22

na me parthasti kartavyam

trisu lokesu kincana

nanavaptam avaptavyam

varta eva ca karmani

Meaning

There is nothing in the three worlds, O Arjuna, that is for me to do, nor is there anything unattained, that should be achieved; yet I engage Myself, in action.

Explanation

As the compartments of a train attached to an engine, follow the engine, similarly the Lord and the saints (who have nothing to do and nothing more to attain), perform their duty and other people follow them. Common people have a desire to act and to attain, something or the other. They can get rid of this desire by performing their duty, without expecting any reward. If the Lord and the saints did not perform their duty, the people would also follow their path, and they would become indolent and heedless and would perform forbidden actions. So they would not get rid of desires. Therefore, duty is automatically performed by the Lord and the saints, for the welfare of the whole humanity.

If wanted Lord Krishna could have taken the entire universe by himself, yet he worked very hard, even as the charioteer to support the righteous people, setting an example for others to follow. A CEO of a company has reached the highest position that can be attained, yet he has to work hard to set example for others to follow.

Gita 3.23

yadi hy aham na varteyam

jatu karmany atandritah

mama vartmanuvartante

manusyah partha sarvasah

.

Meaning

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

Explanation

Leader’s lives have to be an example for others to emulate. By saying that if He does not act the world will follow suit, Krishna means that the mortals will not be guided towards the right path and will destroy themselves pursuing the sensual pleasure with no restraint. No one will be interested in doing anything but expect results without working for it. When Lord Krishna took birth, seemingly as a human being, as the son of the great righteous King Vasudeva, he conducted Himself in all ways and manners as appropriate for his position in society as a prince of the royal Kshatriya or warrior class. If Lord Krishna acted otherwise all mankind would begin to imitate Him thinking that such actions were virtuous.

Common man set their standards by following celebrities, so are employees of an organization by observing their managers.

Gita 3.24

utsideyur ime loka

na kuryam karma ced aham

sankarasya ca karta syam

upahanyam imah prajah

Meaning

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.

Explanation

The Lord answers Arjuna’s question, “Why do You urge me to engage in this terrible action?” by citing His own example that He engages Himself in action even though He has nothing to attain in the three worlds. Therefore, Lord urges Arjuna to be engaged in action. The whole universe work through certain principle and rhythm and one can never observe chaos or lawlessness in the cosmos.

Gita 3.25

saktah karmany avidvamso

yatha kurvanti bharata

kuryad vidvams tathasaktas

cikirsur loka-sangraham

Meaning

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.

Explanation

All actions of wise men are naturally performed for the welfare of the world. They have also no egoistic notion, that they are engaged in the welfare of others. As a licentious person is attached to sensual pleasures, the greedy to riches and an infatuated one to the family, the wise are engrossed, in the welfare of all beings, naturally and without any egoistic feeling. Because of the total renunciation of affinity, for the materialistic world, their so-called bodies, senses, minds and intellects etc., are inclusive of the term ‘loka’ (world) used in the expression, ‘lokasangraha’ (welfare of the world). An ignorant person performs action to reap its fruit, a wise man is neither attached to the fruit of action, nor has any duty to perform. So, it is possible for him to be indifferent to action. Therefore, the Lord directs him to act, without attachment.

 

 

Gita 3.16

evam pravartitam cakram

nanuvartayatiha yah

aghayur indriyaramo

mogham partha sa jivati

Meaning

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.

Explanation

Lord Krishna addresses Arjuna as ‘Partha’ to remind him that he is the son of Pritha (Kunti) who performed her duty even by suffering troubles throughout her life. So he should also perform his duty. As a broken fragment of the wheel of a chariot, gives a series of jerks to the charioteer, as well as to the driver, similarly a man who does not follow the wheel of creation, creates an obstacle in the smooth running of that wheel. When a man performs his duty by renouncing desire, feeling of ‘mine’, attachment and egoism etc., he gratifies the entire creation. The person who hankers after selfishness, pride, pleasures and prosperity, causes suffering to others and thus he is of a sinful nature.

Success of any organization or society is solely depended on its members. If it has members who are intelligent, hardworking, dedicated and working with a sense of sacrifice, such organization will grow and prosper .The man who does not perform his prescribed duties is a thief and a burden to the society.

Gita 3.17

yas tv atma-ratir eva syad

atma-trptas ca manavah

atmany eva ca santustas

tasya karyam na vidyate

Meaning

But, for a person who takes delight only in the self, is satisfied with the self and content in the self alone, verily there is no further work to be done by him.

Explanation

Lord Krishna now explains in this verse that actions are not necessary for one who is spiritually developed in atma-tattva or knowledge of the eternal soul. This is because such a person has actually realised their eternality and are enraptured solely by their soul experiencing unlimited bliss in every moment completely free from all external desires for pleasure and enjoyment; such a one on this platform has no more duties to perform. This is the meaning to be understood.

So long as a person assumes his affinity for the world, he rejoices in the sensual pleasures, wife, sons and family, remains satisfied with food and is content in riches. But they cannot provide him with perfect and lasting rejoicing, satisfaction and contentment, because the world is ever-changing, insentient and perishable while the self is uniform, sentient and imperishable. So how can the self be satisfied and be contented with the world, when there is not even the least affinity between the two? The aim of the performance of actions for a man is to attain salvation or God-realization. When this aim is achieved by anyone following the Disciplines of Actions, Knowledge or Devotion, nothing remains to be done, known and acquired by him and that is the supreme achievement of a human life. An action is performed, when there is desire to acquire something, and desire is born of want. The enlightened souls have no want, so they have to do nothing.

Gita3.18

naiva tasya krtenartho

nakrteneha kascana

na casya sarva-bhutesu

kascid artha-vyapasrayah

Meaning

A self-realized man has no purpose to fulfil 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.

Explanation

Actions are performed in two ways-either in order to satisfy desire or to get rid of desire. Common men work in order to satisfy their desires, while a Karma yogi performs actions, in order to get rid of desires. Therefore, an enlightened soul being free from desire has not the least affinity for the performance of duty. Actions are performed by him, automatically without any selfish motive, for the welfare of the entire creation. Such a God-realized soul realizes that all the worldly objects, body, senses, mind and intellect etc., are not his own, but these belong to the world. So, these should be utilized for the world. This is, because no action can be performed without the help of the world. Apart from this, matter required for action, is also an offshoot of the world. It is in no way related to one’s own self. Therefore, nothing is ours. The cosmos can never be meant for an individual. As limbs of a body are ever engaged in doing good for the body, the body (a fragment of the world) of that enlightened soul, ever remains engaged in doing good to the world.

Gita 3.19

tasmad asaktah satatam

karyam karma samacara

asakto hy acaran karma

param apnoti purusah

Meaning

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.

Explanation

A person who is interested in attaining atma-tattva or soul realisation must perform activities without desire unattached to the results. The reason being that one without desires has their mind focused on the Supreme Lord and such direction leads to spiritual knowledge. So Lord Krishna is emphasising this point that while performing prescribed Vedic actions in this way without attachment, with the consciousness directed towards the Supreme Lord, naturally purity of mind develops and then spiritual knowledge after which the highest moksha or liberation from the material existence is attained

It is attachment, not action, which leads to one’s downfall. Being attached to the body, senses, mind, intellect and other mundane objects etc., a man performs actions, in order to derive pleasure out of them. This attachment for the materialistic objects etc., leads him to the cycle of birth and death. By performing actions for the welfare of others, we get out of the old debt and we cease to run into new debt, as we perform actions in a disinterested way. Thus, we are liberated from bondage. Duty is that, which must be done for the welfare of others, according to the ordinance of the scriptures and according to one’s capacity, by renouncing one’s selfish motive. The term ‘samacara’ means, that the duty must be performed very carefully, enthusiastically, promptly and duly, so that the aim may be attained. If there is the least dereliction of duty, it creates a great hurdle in the path, of a Karma yogi.

Gita 3.20

karmanaiva hi samsiddhim

asthita janakadayah

loka-sangraham evapi

sampasyan kartum arhasi

Meaning

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

Explanation

King Janaka and other great men renowned for their wisdom performed countless prescribed Vedic activities according to their status in society yet reached perfection in atma-tattva and attained moksha in their lives. Even after attaining moksha they performed Vedic activities for the benefit and welfare of the world and to inspire others also to perform prescribed Vedic actions for the balance and maintenance of the world. For one who is not a person of wisdom such activities performed leads to purification and for one who is a person of wisdom such activities lead to the bliss of pleasing the Supreme Lord and the fulfilment of the bliss of moksha.

Here Lord Krishna follows the approved adage of citing previous historical examples such as King Janaka the father of Sita who was Rama’s wife. King Janaka by performing prescribed Vedic activities purified his mind and consciousness and achieved perfection; but even after attaining atma-tattva or soul realisation King Janaka continued to perform prescribed Vedic activities for the purification of the world and felt bliss. Also people seeing such a great king as Janaka performing sacred actions also became inspired to follow his example. To the contrary those wallowing in material nature in the mode of ignorance fail to perform Vedic actions are ruined in this life and the next.