Bhagavad Gita- Chapter 3 (Part-2) Karma Yogah- Yoga Of Action

Concepts and Issues
 In  view of what was told earlier the wise and the ordinary man should always be  engaged in activities, the only difference being the former performs action  with selfless motive while the latter does it with selfish motives. Here The  Lord warns Arjuna that the man of knowledge should desist from advising the  ignorant to improve as it is likely to be misunderstood by the latter resulting  in the cessation of action by them. To avoid such consequences, the wise should  set an example by sticking to the path of action.

Ignorance  of the nature of the Self creates desires, desires generate thoughts, and  thoughts produce actions. Due to ignorance and ego we think that we perform, we  succeed etc. while actually the actions are performed by the organs of action  in us. Because of the imperfect understanding we consider we are the doers and  hence we get attached to the anxiety for enjoying the fruits of our actions.  But in the case of a wise man, who identifies himself with the Self and has  gone beyond his ego sense, there is no attachment for the fruits of actions  because he knows that he, the Self, is not the performer of actions and that it  is only the sense organs which do the work.

The  ignorant can understand the higher values of action by dedicating himself to  the service of the society at large with pure selfless actions. All actions  have to be offered free from selfish motives at the feet of The Lord.  Such actions without selfish motives are not  done by the individual; he is only a medium through which the Divine Power  manifests itself, through all its actions. Those who perform actions in this  unselfish spirit, with full faith in The Lord and His teachings are released  for ever from the bondages caused by action.   The ignorant who criticize His teachings and work to promote their  selfish interests meet their own downfall.

The  vasanas (impressions, tastes and inclinations brought over from the previous births)  order our intellect and we cannot pursue any path other than that ordered by  the direction of our own present vasanas. Man's present behavior and attitude  to life are mostly governed by his past actions - vasanas. However, he can  raise himself if he masters his senses that produce attachment and hatred.  He should try not to become a slave of his  own senses.

The  mind is the storehouse of vasanas.  By  giving up selfish actions and attachment to their rewards, the vasanas do not  get multiplied and the ego, the sense of `I', ceases to exist.

One's  own duty is the best for oneself for one's own spiritual advancement.  Sometimes, man is forced to commit evil deeds in spite of all his efforts  against them. This is because of dual personality in everybody - good and evil  are found in varying proportions. Good thoughts prompt good actions and evil  thoughts encourage evil deeds.  This  lower nature is called ignorance which breeds desires.  Desire is the root cause of all evil.

Just  as smoke veils the bright fire, dust the reflecting surface of a mirror and the  unborn child by the mother's womb, so also the desire veils the Ever Pure Self,  the all-illuminating self-knowledge. Desire acts through the organs of  perception and organs of action at the mental and intellectual levels. So the  first task to destroy desire is to check and control senses. If that is  accomplished the All-illuminating Perfect knowledge reveals itself to be  experienced as the Self.

Man  is made up of the physical body, the senses, the mind and the intellect. Beyond  all these the pure Atman or the Self shines. The strategy to conquer desire is  to govern the mind by the intellect.

With  meditation upon the Self purify the intellect.   In him who has thus become one with the Self, the Lord of the Lords, all  desires are completely at rest for ever.

Live as the Gita Teaches You to Live

All  human problems arise when the mind is extroverted through its immediate agents  viz. the senses. The mind seeks happiness which is its real nature.  Due to lack of understanding it tries to  derive happiness through the senses and goes out to the world of objects. Instead,  if the mind is drawn back to its source, which is the Supreme Consciousness, it  begins to experience inexpressible happiness. 

Man  without thoughts (individual consciousness) is God and God with individual  consciousness becomes man.

The  Lord asks us to go beyond the three Gunas -Sattwa, Rajas and Tamas and be aware  of the functions of intellect, mind and senses.   The seat of desire is up to the level of the intellect.  When the intellect and mind merge with  consciousness within, the desires lose spontaneously their potency like a wave merging  in the ocean.

In  this Chapter the Lord showed from various points of view the necessity of  performing one’s prescribed duties and how to perform such duties by dedicating  them to God and renouncing all desire, attachment and the sense of possession  keeping in mind that the agency for performing the work belongs to the modes of prakriti or to God himself..

He  also stressed that one should not come under the sway of likes and dislikes  while performing one’s duty. He brought out clearly that desire is the root for  all the evils and appealed that the desire should be conquered by the control  of the mind by the intellect.

Points  to Ponder
1. What are the urges against which we must guard ourselves?
2. What is the notion of the ignorant man while acting?
3. How the wise man is not bound by actions and their results?
4. What is that which propels a man to act in a particular way even if he does not wish to act that way?
5. How does desire bring disaster to an individual’s personality?
5. How to destroy desire, the inner enemy of man?
6. Write short notes on
  * Spirit of Sacrifice - `Yagna'
  * Organs of Perception
  * Organs of action
  * Inaction
  * Vasanas
  * Seats of desire
  * Swadharma and Paradharma.

Next time we will take up Chapter 4

Harih Om

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