Chapter 3 : Karma Yog |
said: O Janardana, O Kesava, why do You want to engage me in this ghastly
warfare, if You think that intelligence is better than fruitive work?
is bewildered by Your equivocal instructions. Therefore, please tell me
decisively which will be most beneficial for me.
Personality of Godhead said: O sinless Arjuna, I have already explained
that there are two classes of men who try to realize the self. Some are
inclined to understand it by empirical, philosophical speculation, and
others by devotional service.
Not by merely
abstaining from work can one achieve freedom from reaction, nor by renunciation
alone can one attain perfection.
forced to act helplessly according to the qualities he has acquired from
the modes of material nature; therefore no one can refrain from doing something,
not even for a moment.
One who restrains
the senses of action but whose mind dwells on sense objects certainly deludes
himself and is called a pretender.
On the other
hand, if a sincere person tries to control the active senses by the mind
and begins karma-yoga [in Krishna consciousness] without attachment, he
is by far superior.
prescribed duty, for doing so is better than not working. One cannot even
maintain one's physical body without work.
as a sacrifice for Vishnu has to be performed, otherwise work causes bondage
in this material world. Therefore, O son of Kunti, perform your prescribed
duties for His satisfaction, and in that way you will always remain free
In the beginning
of creation, the Lord of all creatures sent forth generations of men and
demigods, along with sacrifices for Vishnu, and blessed them by saying,
"Be thou happy by this yajna [sacrifice] because its performance will bestow
upon you everything desirable for living happily and achieving liberation."
being pleased by sacrifices, will also please you, and thus, by cooperation
between men and demigods, prosperity will reign for all.
of the various necessities of life, the demigods, being satisfied by the
performance of yajna [sacrifice], will supply all necessities to you. But
he who enjoys such gifts without offering them to the demigods in return
is certainly a thief.
of the Lord are released from all kinds of sins because they eat food which
is offered first for sacrifice. Others, who prepare food for personal sense
enjoyment, verily eat only sin.
bodies subsist on food grains, which are produced from rains. Rains are
produced by performance of yajna [sacrifice], and yajna is born of prescribed
activities are prescribed in the Vedas, and the Vedas are directly manifested
from the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Consequently the all-pervading
Transcendence is eternally situated in acts of sacrifice.
My dear Arjuna,
one who does not follow in human life the cycle of sacrifice thus established
by the Vedas certainly leads a life full of sin. Living only for the satisfaction
of the senses, such a person lives in vain.
But for one
who takes pleasure in the self, whose human life is one of self-realization,
and who is satisfied in the self only, fully satiated -- for him there
is no duty.
man has no purpose to fulfill in the discharge of his prescribed duties,
nor has he any reason not to perform such work. Nor has he any need to
depend on any other living being.
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.
as Janaka attained perfection solely by performance of prescribed duties.
Therefore, just for the sake of educating the people in general, you should
perform your work.
a great man performs, common men follow. And whatever standards he sets
by exemplary acts, all the world pursues.
O son of Prtha,
there is no work prescribed for Me within all the three planetary systems.
Nor am I in want of anything, nor have I a need to obtain anything -- and
yet I am engaged in prescribed duties.
For if I ever
failed to engage in carefully performing prescribed duties, O Partha, certainly
all men would follow My path.
If I did not
perform prescribed duties, all these worlds would be put to ruination.
I would be the cause of creating unwanted population, and I would thereby
destroy the peace of all living beings.
As the ignorant
perform their duties with attachment to results, the learned may similarly
act, but without attachment, for the sake of leading people on the right
So as not
to disrupt the minds of ignorant men attached to the fruitive results of
prescribed duties, a learned person should not induce them to stop work.
Rather, by working in the spirit of devotion, he should engage them in
all sorts of activities [for the gradual development of Krishna consciousness].
soul bewildered by the influence of false ego thinks himself the doer of
activities that are in actuality carried out by the three modes of material
One who is
in knowledge of the Absolute Truth, O mighty-armed, does not engage himself
in the senses and sense gratification, knowing well the differences between
work in devotion and work for fruitive results.
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
O Arjuna, surrendering all your works unto Me, with full knowledge of Me,
without desires for profit, with no claims to proprietorship, and free
from lethargy, fight.
who execute their duties according to My injunctions and who follow this
teaching faithfully, without envy, become free from the bondage of fruitive
who, out of envy, disregard these teachings and do not follow them are
to be considered bereft of all knowledge, befooled, and ruined in their
endeavors for perfection.
Even a man
of knowledge acts according to his own nature, for everyone follows the
nature he has acquired from the three modes. What can repression accomplish?
principles to regulate attachment and aversion pertaining to the senses
and their objects. One should not come under the control of such attachment
and aversion, because they are stumbling blocks on the path of self-realization.
It is far
better to discharge one's prescribed duties, even though faultily, than
another's duties perfectly. 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.
O descendant of Vrsni, by what is one impelled to sinful acts, even unwillingly,
as if engaged by force?
Personality of Godhead said: It is lust only, Arjuna, which is born of
contact with the material mode of passion and later transformed into wrath,
and which is the all-devouring sinful enemy of this world.
As fire is
covered by smoke, as a mirror is covered by dust, or as the embryo is covered
by the womb, the living entity is similarly covered by different degrees
of this lust.
Thus the wise
living entity's pure consciousness becomes covered by his eternal enemy
in the form of lust, which is never satisfied and which burns like fire.
the mind and the intelligence are the sitting places of this lust. Through
them lust covers the real knowledge of the living entity and bewilders
O Arjuna, best of the Bharatas, in the very beginning curb this great symbol
of sin [lust] by regulating the senses, and slay this destroyer of knowledge
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
oneself to be transcendental to the material senses, mind and intelligence,
O mighty-armed Arjuna, one should steady the mind by deliberate spiritual
intelligence [Krishna consciousness] and thus -- by spiritual strength
-- conquer this insatiable enemy known as lust.