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. Lord explains why such duties
must be performed, what benefit is gained by performing them, what harm is
caused by not performing them, what actions lead to bondage and what actions
lead to salvation.
In the previous Chapter Bhagavan advised that Arjuna's duty was to work without pre-occupying himself with its result and at the same time suggested that he should not be attached to inaction. He concluded His advice with the advocacy of the path of attaining the state of steady wisdom and Brahmi state by knowledge and renunciation.
Arjuna feels confused by the Lord’s praise of righteous war (2.31-38) and the Buddhi Yoga i.e. equanimity of mind (2.49 & 50) as also about the man of steady wisdom in conclusion.
WHY THEN WORK AT ALL?
jyaayasee chet karmanaste mataa buddhir janaardana
tat kim karmani ghore maam niyojayasi keshava // 3.1 //
If you think that knowledge is superior to action, O Janardana, why then do you ask me to engage in this terrible action, O Kesava?
vyaamishreneva vaakyena buddhim mohayaseeva me
tadekam vada nishchitya yena shreyo'ham aapnuyaam // 3.2 //
With these apparently perplexing words you confuse my understanding, as it were; therefore, tell me definitely that one thing by which I may attain the Highest Goal.
If Sankhya method of gaining wisdom is superior, then action is an irrelevance. In this confusion he asks Sri Krishna as to which of the paths he has to follow
for his self-development since he still believed that to fight against his people was a terrible action.
LIFE IS WORK BUT THE NEED IS UNCONCERN FOR RESULTS
sri bhagavaan uvaacha
loke'smin dwividha nishthaa puraa proktaa mayaanagha
jnaanayogena saankhyaanaam karmayogena yoginaam // 3.3 //
Sri Bhagavan said
In this world there is a two-fold path, as I said before, O blameless One (Arjuna), the path of knowledge for men of contemplation and the path of work for men of action.
WHAT IS ACTIONLESSNESS?
na karmanaam anaarambhaan naishkarmyam purusho’shnute
na cha sannyaasanaad eva siddhim samadhigacchati // 3.4 //
Not by abstention from work does a man reach actionlessness, nor by mere
renunciation does he attain to perfection.
Action as it is generally understood is the outcome of want and desire. Actionlessness does not mean mere idling or abandoning of all actions.. If one is free from thoughts, wishes, likes and dislikes and has knowledge of the Self he can be said to have reached the state of actionlessness.
WHY RENUNCIATION OF ACTION UNACCOMPANIED BY KNOWLEDGE
DOES NOT LEAD TO PERFECTION?
na hi kashchit kshanamapi jaatu tishthatyakarmakrit
kaaryate hyavashah karma sarvah prakritjair gunaih // 3.5 //
Verily none can ever remain even for a moment without performing action; for everyone is made to act by the Gunas or qualities born of prakriti (nature), in spite of himself.
While life remains, action is inevitable. Thinking is an act. Living is an act. These acts cause many effects. To be free from desire, from the illusion of personal interest, is the true renunciation and not the physical abstention from activity.
karmendriyaani samyamya ya aaste manasaa smaran
indriyaarthaan vimoodhaatma mithyaachaarah sa uchyate // 3.6 //
He who restrains his organs of action, but continues to dwell in his mind on the
objects of the senses, deludes himself and is called a hypocrite.
yastwindriyaani manasaa niyamyaarabhate'rjuna
karmendriyaih karmayogam asaktah sa vishishyate // 3.7 //
But he who restrains his senses with his mind and directs his organs of action to work, with no feeling of attachment - he, O Arjuna, is indeed superior.
IMPORTANCE OF PERFORMING ALLOTTED DUTY
niyatam kuru karma twam karma jyaayo hyakarmanah
shareerayaatraa pi cha te na prasiddhyed akarmanah // 3.8 //
Do your allotted work; for action is superior to inaction. Even the bare maintenance of the body would not be possible if you remain inactive.
Allotted action is one’s own duty as laid down in the scriptures to different persons in accordance with their inherited tendencies, the stage in life and the order in society. Non-performance of such bounden duties would mean inaction. The very fact of living involves several natural and unavoidable actions which have to be performed by all. Even bodily existence in health is just not possible if one has to live in complete inertia and inaction.
UNSELFISH ACTION DOES NOT CREATE BONDAGE
yajnaarthaat karmano'nyatra loko’yam karmabandhanah
tadartham karma kaunteya muktasangah samaachara // 3.9 //
The world is in bondage to work unless they are performed for the sake of Yajna (sacrifice). Therefore, O Son of Kunti, give up attachment and do your work as a sacrifice.
All work is to be done in a spirit of sacrifice, for the sake of the Divine. Yajna
here means any unselfish action done with a pure motive. It is a self-sacrificing work undertaken in a spirit of self-dedication for the good of all. Such actions cannot be self-serving but self-liberating and do not bind the performer. An action which is not governed by the spirit of unselfishness binds one to worldliness, however glorious it may be.
TO BE CONTINUED......