Chapter 3

Karma - Yoga

 Arjuna's confusion

            After Krishna explained to Arjuna Sankhya-Yoga and Buddhi-Yoga, Arjuna asks him a relevant question. He says, "I am confused. On the one hand you tell me that using intellect is far superior to doing Karma without it. On the other hand you are asking me to fight this war and do Karma. I don't see any sense in it. If Karma as you say, results into bondage so that we have to come back to this earth again and again, life after life, to reap the fruits of our good or bad Karma, then why not abstain from doing any Karma? This war is no good to anybody. It is a bad Karma. If we win, we will get kingly pleasures, if we lose, we will go to heaven and enjoy heavenly pleasures. When they are over, we have to come back to earth. All this will be the result of this Karma. So why should I do it? Why can't I use my intelligence and stay away from this war? Your Karma-Yoga and Buddhi-yoga have confused me so much that I cannot think correctly. So please tell me what is right for me to do."

Why perform karma

            Krishna, then, in verses no. 3 to 35 has explained in detail about Karma-yoga. The first basic rule is, in this "Karma-bhoomi" or this world, no one can abstain from performing Karma, even for a second. If you do not start any Karma i.e. if you refrain from taking any action, it does not mean that you have got rid of yourself from Karma and, therefore, you can be free or attain Moksha. Also, by renouncing a Karma you do not reach the state of steady intellect.

Compulsion of Gunas

            The three "Gunas" (attributes) of the "Prakruti" (God's power) are such that they compel every human being to perform some Karma or other.

            There are people who refrain from taking physical action but keep on thinking about it in the mind. Such a person is cheating himself. He is a real hypocrite. A person with an immoral Vasana, rooted deep inside him, will entertain bad thoughts. When he sees a woman who attracts him, his mind thinks of having intimate relationship with her. He may not dare to approach her with that intention, because he is married, or because she is a married woman. He is afraid of his honour in society. Yet in his mind he may have intimacy with her. He may derive sadistic pleasure of having imaginary sex with her. All these thoughts amount to Karma. He has given food to his Vasana. As a human being, he is supposed to ultimately get rid of all Vasanas. But this man is nursing and cultivating this immoral Vasana and performing Karma. Some other person may have good thoughts like giving donations to some charitable institution, doing some good for the school in his town; yet he may not be able to do so because of many reasons. His good thoughts amount to Karma.

            As said before, physical action dies with the body. Mental action remains and goes with the Atma, when the body dies. Since mind cannot be without thoughts, Karma is performed continuously. External objects come in contact with any of the five sense organs and supply food to the mind. Mind acts on the instructions issued by Vasana in the form of desires and Karma takes place. The difference in the Karma of different individuals is because of the three Gunas viz; Satva (pious), Raja (boisterous), Tama (treacherous). All these three are present in every living being. They dominate and decide a person's behaviour. If "Satva" Guna is, at a given time, on the top, your Karma (thought, speech, action) will be good. "Raja" Guna makes you take action as it is responsible for motion. "Tama" Guna, when high, makes you do bad things or makes you lazy. In this way these Gunas compel one to perform Karma. (Detailed explanation of these Gunas is given in chapter 14)

Two possibilities

            Hence one who has bad thoughts in the mind but whose external behaviour is good, is a hypocrite and he does bad Karma. If you do not like a person, you may stop having any dealings with him or her. But for your sake do not think ill of that person. Do not hurl abuses in your mind. Because you will be harming yourself. By such thoughts you commit sin which will return to you in the form of bad fruit in next life. There is no escape. On the contrary, if you learn to forget and forgive and, even if you do not wish to keep contact with that person, if you pray for him or her, you will be doing a good Karma. You will get its reward, and if you cannot do so, then the next best action you can take is to stop thinking of that person completely.

            Just as thinking bad, yet doing nothing on physical level is not good, preventing the mind from indulging in sense organs and taking action without attachment is good. We have 10 sense organs, five of which are of knowledge viz.; eyes, ears, nose, skin and tongue. When they come in contact with external objects, they bring in knowledge about these objects. e.g. Eyes look out and see a tree. Mind knows that there is a tree. The intellect knows what tree it is. Then there are other five sense organs. They are called organs of Karma because they take action. These are hands, feet, mouth (speech), anus and genetic organ. Physical action is performed by these sense organs.

            Here we have two possibilities.

1) To succumb to the senses of knowledge and mentally indulge in pleasing them, yet refraining from taking physical action.

2) Be disinterested mentally in senses of knowledge and take physical action by the senses of Karma, remaining mentally detached. This second action is recommended. It is the better of the two. If you decide to sit at one place and not to entertain any thoughts as well as not to take any physical action, you will still need to do karma. Because your body needs food to survive. You have to take some action to get it. You will have to do some Karma. Hence, as you cannot abstain from Karma, it is better to do it. You can do it in such a way that it gives you joy and does not create bondage.

            Arjuna was concerned about Karmic bondage. So Krishna explained to him the two types of Karma, the one which results into bondage to this world and the other which takes you to the higher world, heaven.

Yagnya (sacrifice)

            Vedas talk very highly about "Yagnya" which means sacrifice. This Karma does not bind one to this world because, in it, everything is done for Gods and demigods. When a Yagnya is being performed, some Mantras are chanted, and food for the Gods is thrown in, in the holy fire. While giving this food, you say in Sanskrit, "this is not mine, this is for the Sun God" etc. You disclaim everything and hence the Karma is rated as a high-quality Karma. Gods are pleased with you and you earn your place in heaven, after your life on earth ends. There is a subtle point here, which should be noted. One who performs a Yagnya in this way, wishes and expects a place in heaven. He is attached to the Karma. At the end of human life, such a person will go to heaven but not permanently. He will have to return to earth when the time span of his residence in heaven finishes. Every being must come to earth and be born a human, because it is only as a human, he or she has the possibility of doing Karmas in such a way that no bondage is created at all.

            Krishna tells Arjuna to perform the Yagnya without attachment, without wishing to go to heaven. In this way there will be no bondage - not to earth, not to heaven. More explanation, about various types of Yagnyas which a human being can perform, is given in next chapter no . 4.

            This Universe was created by Brahmadev. There are three forms of the unknowable, unmanifested energy which is known as God. This God manifested in three forms. As Brahmadev, He creates, as Vishnu He preserves and maintains while as Shankara He destroys. All three together mean God. So when Brahmadev created the world, He told the humans to perform sacrifices, so that Gods will be pleased and offer a place for them in heaven. "You please demigods and they in turn will please you. In this way you will be very happy. The best way to live is to offer food to demigods first and then eat whatever is left behind. Those who do not perform this sacrifice and eat without offering to demigods, commit sin."

            Krishna says, this practice started by Brahmadev must be continued. There is a reason and purpose in doing it. Yet one who has attained steady-intellect and one who is happy with one's own self is freed from all bondages. He earns his place beyond heaven, with God Himself.

            But such persons are rare. That is the reason, Arjuna asked Krishna to describe how a steady-intellect person is. We commoners are certainly far away from this state. We give in to sense pleasures, succumb to mind's vagaries, let our intellect be mercilessly dragged by the mind. We have to do our Karma. Yet in order to be free from bondage, we have to learn to have no attachment to the Karma and its result.

Setting an example

            In every society, common people generally follow the examples set by their leaders. Krishna asks Arjuna to set a good example by performing his Karma so that all others in his generation and the next generations will emulate his example. They will not even dream of running away from Karma.

            Krishna, being an incarnation, was not bound by His past Karma. There was nothing in the whole Universe which He did not have, nor did He need or want anything (because He Himself was and is everything). Yet when He took human form He did not give up any Karma. He did not lead an ascetic life. He did not live like a Sanyasi or a Sadhu. He lived like a common person in common people, participated in their happiness and sorrow, mingled with them and performed all Karmas which had to be done. Yet He did them without attachment. If He were to act like a lazy bum and abstain from Karma, all humans in Kaliyuga would do the same thing. He will be responsible for their downfall.

            In Kaliyuga, the life span, as it is, is greatly reduced. Moreover, people in this Yuga are governed by the Laws of Karma. They have to try and get out of this cycle of birth-death-birth. And they have to do it while performing all their Karma. Hence Krishna Himself, being God-incarnate, performed all His Karma.

            Wise people have to set good example to others. They must practice living and performing Karma without any attachment, so that people who are ignorant about the Laws of Karma can also follow the example of these wise people and make good use of the human life they have received. It is not an easy thing. There are many people, in fact a great majority of them, who cannot and will not give up their attachment to their Karma. Wise men should never try to teach them otherwise. They will not mend their ways. It is only when the wise people set an example by themselves behaving correctly, that others will follow. In a flock of sheep, the shepherd trains only one sheep. All others follow it. Great people must, therefore, not only preach but set an example by their own behaviour to the masses.

            I personally, get baffled when I see wise people living as Sanyasis, tell others to do their Karma. Most of these wise men and women often stress the importance of giving up one's desires and devoting their lives to Krishna. Krishna in the entire Gita, has never said that. He has repeatedly stressed the importance of Karma; and we know that every little Karma springs from a desire to do it. Krishna Himself lived in comfort and luxury, yet He did not have any attachment to His glorious life. As He has said, if we should emulate Him, we must, as family men, do our Karma rightly, and learn to keep ourselves detached from it. We should not even try to give up desires. It is when the non attachment reaches the highest level, and intellect gets steadily fixed on the God within, that the desires will start vanishing and the Vasanas will be burnt.

            Krishna has specifically said in verse no. 26 that wise people should set a good example by their own behaviour and also create liking in the people to perform all types of Karma. This is but natural because the root cause of all Karma is the combination of three Gunas. They belong to the astral body along with mind, intellect and ego. The soul is different from them. While these Gunas are responsible for Karma, the soul or Atma is just a witness and energy provider. Yet it is the ego which gets attached to the Atma and makes us take the ownership of each karma. This is the reason for Karmic bondage.

Ego and intellect

            Ego is the link between the gross physical body and the subtle astral body on one hand, and with the Atma on the other. Hence ego does not die. It can be made to severe its link with the gross body. It means taking the mind away from the senses. Serving its link with the Atma means, developing non attachment to all Karma. Who can break this link? There is only one entity. The intellect, which is given to humans only, on this earth. All other animals and creatures have instinct.

            You are walking on a street. You come near a tree on which several crows or sitting. There are other people on the street as well. You pick up a stone and pretend to throw it. The crows will fly away. Instinct guides them to take action. People on the street will not run. Intellect tells them that you may have picked up the stone for no particular reason. You are not going to hit them.

            This intellect is the one which can break this ego-link. It is possible only when the intellect remains steady, gazed on the God or energy within. So long as this does not happen, we consciously believe that we are the Karta (the doer) of our Karma.

Guna-karma relation

            It is essential to know the relationship between the Gunas and the Karma. No Karma can take place without being initiated and influenced by these Gunas. They are present in every being, not only in humans. They are in the food we eat, in the liquids we drink, in the air we breathe, in the trees and plants; animals and birds. They are an important part of Prakruti. The Gunas in you are attracted to the like Gunas in other beings. When we eat and drink, the combination of three Gunas, in those items enter our body. e.g. Milk and milk products have the maximum content of "Sattwa" Guna while alcoholic drinks contain "Tama" Guna. Drinking lot of alcohol increases the Tama Guna in us. We then tend to become more lazy, lethargic, feel sleepy and get angry soon. If you are a constant eater of milk products and other Sattwic food, your nature will be peace loving, quiet and you will entertain pious thoughts. A drunkard, because of the "Tama" guna in him will be attracted to parties where alcohol is served. There, more "Tama" Guna will enter his body.

            In this way Gunas increase and decrease. They, become the cause of all Karma and the difference in the quality and nature of two individuals Karma is because of the difference in the composition of these Gunas in each of them. One who clearly knows this and realizes that this is how each Karma takes place, understands that he himself has nothing to do with the Karma. This realization enables him to get detached. Those who do not know this, take pride in their actions. If anything disturbs them, their ego gets affected. Their intellect is not clear. It is muddled up, being under the influence of senses and mind. It takes time for such people to know the truth. It is not right for a person who has realized the truth, to scofft at them or ridicule them or even try to educate them. The best thing, under the circumstances is to set a good example by your own behaviour. Others will learn slowly, each one with one's degree of intelligence.

Faith in karma doctrine

            Krishna then said to Arjuna in verse no. 30, "Surrender all your Karma believing and realizing what I have told you so far, with full knowledge of yourself and your separation from your Gunas, ego, and disown your Karma. Hold no desire for fruit of your action, have no attachment and without being lethargic give up this remorse and go, fight (do your Karma)."

            This is what we have to do in daily life. We have no external enemy to fight. Our enemy is within. The one on whose support the enemy thrives is the ego. All we have to do is to make correct use of the intellect, differentiate between right and wrong, and select the right at any given time. Then perform that Karma correctly, leaving the result to God and being detached to it. This detachment does not mean indifferent attitude. Real detachment brings out the joy in you and you feel happy doing your Karma. It is expected of us that we have faith in the doctrine preached above. Give up all sorts of meaningless and baseless ideas and thoughts. Do not raise unnecessary doubts to show you are intellectually more advanced than others. This attitude will not get you anywhere. But have faith in what Krishna has said and perform all your Karma accordingly. You will never regret.

            Those who lack faith, who raise doubts and, therefore, do not take to the right path are, in fact, unintelligent persons and they lose the opportunity, presented to them in this life, to shed their ignorance and make progress on the path to better life and ultimate goal of Moksha.

            Every being behaves according to ones Prakruti - the three Gunas which are the deciding factor in the nature and quality of Karma. Even a Dnyani also follows the same path. Nobody escapes the influence of Gunas. Hence if one wants to exercise control over the mind, one has to be disciplined in food habits, the type of people one is associated with, the surrounding atmosphere etc., to be able to suppress the "Tama" and the "Raja" Guna and elevate the "Sattwa" Guna.

            By the way, it is interesting to note at this stage that "Tama" Guna represents Dhrutarashtra tendency, "Raja" Guna stands for Duryodhana tendency while "Sattwa" Guna is an example of Arjuna tendency.

Sense organs

            The likes and dislikes of each sense organ with respective sense objects is already fixed. One should not get involved in their relations because they are the stumbling blocks in self realization process. Sense organs will always react favourably or unfavourably to their objects according to the likes and dislikes. e.g. One person may like to eat meat. He will have a liking to meat dishes while he will turn away from vegetarian dishes when he sees both types of food are laid on a table. A person may like pop songs but detest classical music. He will go to any pop concert and be happy to have collection of this type of music in his house. He will never go to a classical music programme and will not have any CDs or tapes of classical music in his house.

            A wise person must realise that this like and dislike that he has, is a direct result of the relation between his senses and the respective subjects. He should not indulge himself in this relationship. Do not be influenced completely by what you like. Do not detest totally what you don't like. This like and dislike attitude belongs to your senses. It is not your nature. You are beyond both likes and dislikes. You are Atma. You are Joy, the Ananda. You do not need the senses for your real happiness. Let the senses do their work. You try and learn to be aloof from them. If someone invites you to a classical music programme and if you cannot avoid attending it, its alright. Do not fret and fume in your seat. Listen to it. You may not like it. So, what, there is no reason to detest or hate it. If you go to a pop concert, you will enjoy it but don't go overboard. That's not your nature. Learn to keep your mental equipoise and be happy with yourself. When the senses dabble in their objects happily or dejectedly, consider that they are your children playing and simply watch the fun and enjoy. Do not get influenced by your children's squirmishes and quarrels. It does not become you. Ask yourself a Question, "Is this right at this time?" and you will get the answer. Use your intellect effectively.

Dharma

            Krishna has said in verse 35, everybody should follow his own Dharma, however difficult it may be than the Dharma of another person. Your own Dharma is always better and superior to you than that of another person. To die while carrying out your own Dharma is better than to live performing other's. It is dangerous.

            The word "Dharma" in this verse must be clearly understood. "Dharma" is generally equated with religion. Hindu Dharma means Hindu religion and so on. But it is not so. Religion is a set of ethical codes belonging to one sect or community or caste. Hindus go to Mandir. They worship idols and images. They believe in many demigods. Their practices are quite different from those who follow code of ethics in Koran which is the Holy Book of Islamic religion. Similary the practices followed by Christians are different. They live according to their own religions.

What is dharma?

            The word Dharma means a way of conducting oneself in carrying out one's profession or vocation. A teacher must behave as a teacher. His duty  is to impart education and ensure that the students get sufficient knowledge of the subjects they learn. At the end of their learning time, they must be in a position to correctly answer any questions they are asked on the subjects. The method which the teacher may employ in carrying out his Dharma must be honourable and befitting the profession. Two teachers may adopt two different ways. e.g. One may make the students learn by heart, while other may insist on writing. One may use charts and maps as aids, another may use computers, video pictures etc. But the end result, which they have to achieve, will remain the same. A person with good instructing ability and liking for it can be a good teacher. Once he accepts being a teacher, that is he Dharma.

            A doctor's Dharma will be different from that of a teacher. A teacher or a carpenter or a police woman cannot be a good doctor unless he or she takes proper education and gets experience to be a doctor.

Practise your own dharma

            One should follow one's own Dharma because one has the opportunity therein to do good and right jobs. Each and every Karma can be then done satisfactorily. Mistakes committed unknowingly are pardoned. Every individual thus has a chance to do a good Karma for himself or herself and also something good for others, without thinking of the end result. Spiritual progress is steadily achieved. Whereas trying to be somebody else and performing duties of a Dharma (profession) which is not yours will always land you in trouble. It is dangerous.

            Hence the message is, stick to your own profession, however low it may be. Do it well and do not worry about what will happen, and never have any inferiority complex. An office boy, whose duty is to sweep floors and clean rooms, will be rated high if he does his duties perfectly; whereas the office manager, if found doing wrong things, misusing his position or taking advantage of his juniors or misappropriating money, will be rated very low when the final judgement is given by the laws of nature.

Why wrong actions?

            Now Arjuna asks a clever question. He asks! Why, in society, people do wrong things and commit sin, even if they do not wish to behave that way. A person appears to be sinning against his own will. What makes him behave thus?"

            Arjuna's question is loaded with meaning. Even today we see honourable, respectable people doing wrong things, as if by some unseen force. A sadhu flirts with women, a teacher gambles and mixes with antisocial elements, an honest person steals, a married woman elopes with another man. People lie for small gains, commit murder in a fit of rage. The never want to behave thus, yet they do. One day you hear that your friend, a perfectly honest person, has committed fraud. You wonder how he could do such a thing. Someday, in a fit of anger you severely bit your only son you love so much. You repent later but the wrong act took place, as if by some force. People stray away from their natural and normal behaviour. They act differently, in a manner not acceptable and not in keeping with their nature. The question is, Why?

Vasana is the cause

            In the next six verses nos. 37 to 42, Krishna has answered this question. The main culprit behind all actions is Vasana which gives birth to desire. Every desire has anger stored in it. They live together. It means that your desire may not always be fulfilled. When it does not get satisfied, the anger inside finds a way out. This happens in simple issues also.

            You want to go on a vacation. Your friend, who has contacts, promises you to get the tickets at concessional rate. You depend upon him. After a few days, when you ask about the tickets, he says " O! I am sorry. I forgot." Or he may say," I could not do your work." You get angry. Then you try on your own. But you are too late. Even full fare tickets are sold out. You should have bought them early. Will you not become angry? Of course, you have committed a great mistake first, when you asked someone else to do your job for you, you have flouted a basic rule of Karma. But that apart, the point at issue is that you get angry because your desire is trampled.

            You go to market to buy something. The stock is over. You are upset, anger starts brewing. This desire is born from "Raja" Guna. This Guna is always in motion. Vasana uses him to create desires. Since every individual has Vasana and is influenced by the three Gunas in performing any Karma, there is no getting away from desires. Also, this Vasana is extremely gluttonous. She devours everything and yet never gets satisfied. She is your arch enemy in this world for she blocks all your efforts to be good.

            "A" wants to buy a piece of furniture. All his neighbours have good sofas, chairs etc. He has an old, broken and torn sofa. Every time he has a visitor, his desire to get a new sofa crops up strongly. Basically he lives in style and comfort. That is Vasana which has germinated this desire for a new sofa. Unfortunately he does not have enough money to get one. His outgoings are heavy and income is meagre. He is always in debt. The desire takes away his peace. One day he sees an opportunity to get easy money. The cashier in his place of work has withdrawn money for office work. He has left it in the chest drawer and without locking it, has gone out for a while. Mr. "A" has seen this. All other workers are busy. Nobody is near. He thinks of his sofa, sees the old one mentally. He does not want to see it any more. All he needs is two thousand rupees. There is the money, tens of thousands lying in the chest drawer one metre away. What a golden opportunity! He has to act immediately. Opportunity does not knock twice, he remembers. He takes two steps to the side, makes sure nobody is watching him and opens the drawer. Quietly he removes twenty brand new notes of hundred rupee each, comes to his table and resumes work. Then he goes to the toilet and hides the money in a place where nobody would look. He fears that when the cashier finds that the cash is short, he might order a search of every person.

            Well, this Mr. "A" loses peace, his pulse beats faster. He has done something which he would never dream of doing. Why? It is his compelling desire which, when not controlled but allowed to grow and grow, has grown to such proportions that it made him do the wrong Karma? If he had asked himself a question at that time, " Is this right what I am doing?" he would have, in all probability, not committed the stealing Karma.

            Mr."B" likes a pretty woman in the neighbourhood. They know each other. They stop and talk for a few minutes when they meet each other sometimes. One day, Mr. "B" goes for his evening walk. He takes the road passing by her house. His hidden desire to see her makes him choose that road. Fortunately for him she is standing in front of the house. He greets her. She reciprocates. They exchange a few words. She invites him, very naturally, to come in for a cup of tea. Mr. B wants nothing more. He comes in. He notices that she is alone in the house. His desire to romance with her kindles. The more powerful it grows, the more excited he becomes. She is in the kitchen. He lets his mind run after the desire, or you can say that the powerful force of his rekindled desire knocks his mind completely. " When would he get another opportunity like this? Why did she ask me in, when she is alone? Surely she must also want me. I have to take the first step. She will be shy to act first. If I don't, she may despise me." His desire creates such thoughts in his mind. He gets up, walks into the kitchen and throwing his arms around her from behind, holds her close to his heart.

            Why does Mr. "B" behave in this manner which is not befitting him? He is not a bad or an immoral person. He is not a womaniser. He has excellent and very healthy relationship with his wife whom he loves very much. His act at this time is under the blind influence of his untamed desire. His intellect has left him.

            Hence, the desire is the main cause of people behaving inexplicably, abnormally at times.

Raja guna-cause of desire

            Just as fire is covered by smoke, a mirror is covered by dust or the embryo is covered by the womb, so is the soul covered by this Vasana. This covering is its bondage, and is of three forms resulting from the three Gunas. "Raja" Guna is the cause of desires. We cannot see or know the self (the soul) because of this covering. This is a permanent enemy of mankind engaged in constant war with it. It is like a wild fire which never gets appeased. The more it devours, the more it flares. This "Raja" Guna , has covered the real knowledge of self which is correctly called "Dnyana."

            Inability to understand, recognise and know this "Dnyana" is called Ignorance, the cause of which is this "Raja" Guna. This Guna resides in sense organs, mind and also in intellect. All these get excited by "Raja" Guna and lose their identity. They forget that they derive power from the one who is inside. They cannot, therefore, get self realization. All they see is this outer covering which deludes the mind and the intellect completely.

            As this "Raja" Guna is resident in the sense organs which are the first contact with the external objects, it is essential to check the activities of these organs first. They must be tamed. This destroyer of knowledge of the self can be killed by cornering and attacking him at this level. When he senses an object, activates the sense organs and passes on the information to the mind, he becomes powerful; and when he reaches the intellect and resides there with the mind, the object and the sense organ, the damage is complete. He creates hyvoc. You cannot even reach him there. So before this demon has the opportunity to reach  the inaccessible corners of the innermost fort, attack him. He will not be so powerful when he resides in the Indriyas (the sense organs).

            In the previous illustration, if Mr. "B" were to use his intellect and think, " My mind thinks about having intimacy with that woman. I should better avoid going her way," he could have killed the desire at that instant. Removing the object from the nearness of the senses is the action required.

            Hence, always be in contact with those objects which are not likely to flare up unwanted, immoral, illegal desire. If you are given to drinking and you want to get rid of this desire, avoid going to parties or friends who would normally offer you drinks. Engage yourself in more domestic activities with wife and children in your spare time. Think good of others. This is to stop the "Raja" in mind from contemplating on drinking. But first throw away all bottles from your house. Avoid everything which will bring the subject of drinking in contact with eyes, ears, smell, touch and taste. If you have a stealing tendency when you are alone, make sure you don't visit anybody on your own. Always take somebody with you. There are many ways to get rid of wrong and bad habits. The rule is that attack the enemy at first level, when he is out in the open.

Senses, mind, intellect

            The situation of sense organs, mind and intellect is such that first you encounter the senses, then you have the mind inside, beyond the senses. Intellect is further inside and Atma is beyond intellect. The inner you go, the stronger you become. You are strong in your own house, is it not? Out on the open road, you are vulnerable. Atma is all powerful, being in the innermost quarters of this body. Beyond Atma is Parmatma, the source from which the Atma gets His energy. Atma is a part of Parmatma. He appears different and separated because He identifies himself with the body. On one side of the Atma is your intellect, on the other side is Parmatma. It is this intellect which, when becomes steady, makes the Atma free from association with body and mind. What remains then is duality. Atma and Parmatma. And when, after many lives, with the grace of God, this difference vanishes, the Atma merges into Parmatma. The hitherto self realization becomes God realization. More of it will come in subsequent chapter. For the time being we have to understand that senses are weaker than the mind. Mind is weaker than the intellect. Atma is a separate entity which the intellect has to realize.

What action is required

            Therefore, in combating lust, in controlling mind, the first point of attack must be the sense organs. Keep them away from sense objects which are likely to cause you trouble, snatch away your peace and throw you in the neatly woven net of worries, anxieties, anger, hatred and lust.

            If you want to live in peace, if you wish to see yourself at the top of whatever profession you are carrying out, if you want happiness and prosperity, if you care for success in every endeavour you undertake, and finally if you wish to attain Moksha, in this very life, then arm yourself with strong determination, use your intellect and ask yourself the question, "Is this right, what I am doing (thinking, speaking, acting)?" There will be two answers, yes and no. Be honest with yourself, and if the answer is no, stay away from the sense object. Take a different route. Avoid contact with those objects which are not good for your progress, both in material and spiritual life. On the contrary if the answer is yes, then go for it, on your own. Do not depend upon others, do not delay and do make a start and then follow it. You will never regret.

            Finally, in the last 43rd verse, Krishna says, Know that you, the Atma, are superior and different from the intellect. Steady your intellect. Then, this "Raja" Guna, though difficult to be caught, can be killed by you.

            In this way, Krishna has explained the "Karma" process and also why we do wrong things when we do not wish to do so. We also now know what we have to do to get ourselves out of misery. All we should do now is to pause, reflect, read again, if necessary, and take action.

            Because what we need now is ACTION.

            This is Karma Yoga. 

Copyright © 2003
R.P.L. Kornet®
. Alle rechten voorbehouden aan Bhai Gavankar™ India.