Srimad Bhagavad Gita – (Chapter 3 – Verse 12) – Part 86

Om Namo Bagavathe Vasudevaaya

3rd Chapter – karmayogaḥ

Bagavd Gita 1

इष्टान्भोगान्हि वो देवा दास्यन्ते यज्ञभाविताः।

तैर्दत्तानप्रदायैभ्यो यो भुङ्क्ते स्तेन एव सः॥१२॥

iṣṭānbhogānhi vo devā dāsyante yajñabhāvitāḥ |

tairdattānapradāyaibhyo yo bhuṅkte stena eva saḥ ||12||

Meaning:  The Devas, nourished by Yajna, will give you the desired objects. One who enjoys the gift of the Devas without offering them (anything in return) is, indeed, a thief. (3.12)

 इष्टान्‌  = desired;  भोगान्‌  = necessities of life;  हि  = certainly;  वः  = unto you;  देवाः  = Gods;  दास्यन्ते  = will award;  यज्ञभाविताः  = being satisfied by the performance of sacrifices;  तैः  = by them;  दत्तान्‌  = things given;  अप्रदाय  = without offering;  एभ्यः  = to these Gods;  यः  = who;  भुङ्क्ते  = enjoys;  स्तेनः  = thief;  एव  = certainly;  सः  = he.

Explanation:  In the next two shlokas Lord is highlighting the need for “Responsible Living”. Living responsibly means confirming to the order. As we saw, there is a natural order prevalent, which needs to be recognized and respected. Natural order will continue to support the creation, without swerving away from its responsibility. Natural order here is called as Devas(Gods). We saw in the last post that propitiation includes both the prayers and wise utilization of the resources with appropriate replacements done for the consumption made.

Vedas (the primary body of knowledge) instruction for prayers is by the performance of fire rituals (Homam). Agni (Fire) is considered to be the medium for pleasing all the devatas. In fact Agni is the courier service, who receives the oblations offered and carries it to the correct address where it is meant to be delivered. We would have heard, purohit chanting, “Vishnave Swaha; Vishnave idam na mama” and offering the oblations (ghee or cooked rice etc.,) into the fire. This means, this one is for Mahavishnu, please deliver it to the Lord.

Vedas give instructions as to how these rituals should be done, the type of rituals for different requirements, lists out the rituals which needs to be done mandatorily. They talk about the place within the agni where the oblations should be given, when they should be given. They all may appear symbolic, but the point is, the detailing is to ensure that the action done towards propitiating a particular devata reaches that devata and the kartha (performer of the action) gets the total benefit of such action. Further, such detailing is required to help the doer to have full focus on the action to be done. Following these disciplines will benefit the personality and ensure that the person following the disciplines will develop into a focused one. Such focus is the prerequisite for the spiritual growth and important for realizing the truth about one’s true nature (which is the primary goal).

Even when we look at the cultural aspect of Sanatana dharma, we can see many of the natural forces are worshipped; many of these devatas are worshipped in the form of festivals. Pongal (Makara Sankaranathi) propitiating Sun/Indra, Chitra Pournami for the Moon, Kartigai Deepam to worship the Lord Shiva in the form of Agni and these festivals are a nice package to ensure that we do perform “Thanksgiving” to all these devatas.

Scriptures expect one to live a life confirming to the order, be thankful for all that is given and be responsible in utilizing the resources given. This is called leading a life of dharma.


One should develop the habit of including everyone and everything in life. I remember a small anecdote which happened to me years back. Those were bachelor days in Bahrain and few of us were staying together in the same apartment and our food was taken care of by a cook. There was a period, where it was the fasting month and the benefit of having a cook helping us in the preparation of food was fully realized and appreciated. One day one of the friends, happened to come a bit early for lunch as nothing was available outside due to the fasting month everyone had to come home for lunch (non fasting ones). This friend came home and driven by hunger, finished of all the food (almost) what was prepared for atleast 5 people. The rest of us were slowly trotting in to find morsels left and upon enquiry, the response was, I was hungry, food was there, I ate it. I asked him don’t you have to think whether everyone would have had the food, reply was I don’t need, all it mattered was my hunger and hence I ate it. I told him strongly that never to repeat this approach and always think about others. Mindless consumption should be avoided.

Even we would have faced some similar experiences, unexpectedly guests would have come and the available food will be served and the lady of the house would be walking a tight rope walk. Even if we are guests, we should be alert and ensure that we don’t cause embarrassment by showing our eating abilities. We should always be alert and bring others into the picture. These are small examples, and we have to make a difference through our attitude and vision(which includes the whole rather than the part).

Lord here tells strongly that propitiate the devas regularly and for sure devas will bless you with all your needs including your personal needs as house, spouse, children, wealth, health etc., He reprimands, that having received all that one wishes for, one should continue to propitiate the devas. The one’s who don’t do this is fit to be called as a THIEF (Stena).

The idea here is one should live responsibly, should not disturb the natural order, and should keep the common good in mind always. Mere consumption without contribution is condemned here. The Lord will praise the opposite behavior in the next shloka.

Hari: Om

Srimad Bhagavad Gita – (Chapter 3 – Verse 11) – Part 85

Om Namo Bagavathe Vasudevaaya

3rd Chapter – karmayogaḥ

Gitopadesha 4

देवान्भावयतानेन ते देवा भावयन्तु वः।

परस्परं भावयन्तः श्रेयः परमवाप्स्यथ॥११॥

devānbhāvayatānena te devā bhāvayantu vaḥ |

parasparaṁ bhāvayantaḥ śreyaḥ paramavāpsyatha ||11||

Meaning:  Nourish the Devas with Yajna, and the Devas will nourish you. Thus nourishing one another you shall attain the Supreme goal. (3.11)

 देवान्‌  = Gods;  भावयता  = having pleased;  अनेन  = by this sacrifice;  ते  = those;  देवाः  = Gods;  भावयन्तु  = will; please;  वः  = you ; परस्परं  = mutually;  भावयन्तः  = pleasing one another;  श्रेयः  = benediction;  परं  = the supreme;  अवाप्स्यथ  = you will achieve

Explanation:  Here the Lord is highlighting the aspect of “Dharma” while performing the action. Emphasis is on performing the actions in conformity with the natural order present. There entire creation is governed by natural laws, which needs to be respected. There are laws of gravitation, laws of matter (governing all the elements and their atomic structure), energy laws be it anything (electromagnetism, light, etc.,), laws of relativity, concept of time, laws governing the movements of celestial bodies including Mother Earth.

Any observation will reveal to us that such natural laws are always active without any compromise minute after minute, hour after hour, day after day etc., Not only the laws, but everything in nature, performs its designated actions without any compromise. Animals including all that is created are following the natural laws and are in alignment with nature.

However, human beings having been endowed with the faculty of freewill are found to be acting not in sync with the nature. More often than not, we find the human race to be consuming from nature, without a care in its sustainability, and perpetuity for the future generations. Periodically, the need is being replaced by greed, which is a great bane for the entire human race.

Everything is provided for us, water, clean air, fire, earth to live on, space hosting all the bodies including our star Sun (our very life), all the plants for our well being. Availability of all of these in the nature is for the benefit of all the creation. In sanatana dharma tradition all of them are identified as devatas, worthy of propitiation and prayers.

All these are given for the benefit of all the beings on Earth, and needs to be shared and used appropriately. In the name of progress the humans, with their intellect are able to plan for the future and start putting aside for future and thereby hoarding the resources. Such behavior results in increased consumption, creating competition for the resources and that competition lead to loss of peaceful coexistence. Thus humans are capable of and are creating a big disturbance in the natural order.

The point highlighted in this shloka is, it is one’s dharma to live life in alignment with the natural order. One should remain a contributor to the society rather than a consumer.

Deforestation for industries should be checked, CFC emissions should be controlled, proper wealth management should be done to eradicate poverty, resources should be shared properly, water resources should be wisely used, energy should be drawn from renewable sources and energy from non-renewable sources should be eliminated, natural habitats should be respected and not encroached upon. This list can go for long.

The Lord here beautifully instructs that all humans should propitiate the devas (Gods) who are the givers of all that is there in creation. As said earlier, the natural order is equated to all the devas and that is what has to be propitiated. The Lord further says, such propitiation will ensure that the devas will do their duty properly, which is to continuously provide for the existence of the creation. What do we mean by propitiation? In Sanatana dharma, symbolic prayers are also given and an attitude of harmony with nature is also advised.

Agni is a devata of Fire, Vayu is the devata of air, Varuna is the devata of water, Surya is the sustainer of all life (Sun) and so on and so forth. Sanatana dharma elaborates rituals and prayers to invoke the blessings of all of them. Further it also emphasizes on harmonious attitude towards them.

The Lord is telling the same in this shloka, whereby he is advising all of us to lead a life of “Dharma”, which is a life in total alignment with the nature. By performing actions, without causing imbalance to the nature, one gets emotional maturity (Vairagya – dispassion) and after that interacts with the sastras and realizes his true nature which is the supreme goal.

Lord will dwell on this topic in the next couple of shlokas too.

Hari: Om

Srimad Bhagavad Gita – (Chapter 3 – Verse 10) – Part 84

Om Namo Bagavathe Vasudevaaya

3rd Chapter – karmayogaḥ

Bagavad Gita 2

सहयज्ञाः प्रजाः सृष्ट्वा पुरोवाच प्रजापतिः।

अनेन प्रसविष्यध्वमेष वोऽस्त्विष्टकामधुक्‌॥ १०॥

sahayajñāḥ prajāḥ sṛṣṭvā purovāca prajāpatiḥ |

anena prasaviṣyadhvameṣa vo’stviṣṭakāmadhuk || 10 ||

Meaning:  Brahmaa, the creator, in the beginning created human beings together with Yajna and said: By Yajna you shall prosper and Yajna shall fulfill all your desires. (3.10)

 सह  = along with; यज्ञाः  = sacrifices;  प्रजाः  = generations              ;  सृष्ट्वा  = creating;  पुरा  = anciently;  उवाच  = said;  प्रजापतिः  = the Lord of creatures;  अनेन  = by this;  प्रसविष्यध्वं  = be more and more prosperous;  एषः  = this;  वः  = your;  अस्तु  = let it be;  इष्ट  = of all desirable things;  कामधुक्‌  = bestower.

Explanation:  Lord is highlighting further the importance of YAJNA (rituals) in this shloka. As we have been discussing, the idea is to perform all actions in alignment with the sastras and lead a life invoking the blessings of the Lord. Here we will look at some more points on yajna.

As we saw in the previous shloka, sastras provide guidance for every pursuit of human beings in the form of rituals, irrespective of whether they are for one’s personal benefit or societal benefit. As long as the action is righteous, sastras (scriptures) provide their guidance. By uttering the words, that the creator, Lord Brahma (four faced one), said the following, the Lord is highlighting that humans different from the animals because of their discriminative intellect, are expected to use the sastras for guiding them in conducting their life. The reason being, the sastras (scriptures) keep the big picture always and accordingly, enjoins the seekers to perform actions. The sastras can be called as user manual for living.

When one approaches the sastras, they guide them for their personal wants, but highlights that they should also be performing some selfless actions along with the actions for personal benefits. By this way, they prepare a mind which can move away from being mechanical / impulsive towards being deliberating. In time the deliberation process will strengthen and being an individual endowed with the discriminative intellect, one will start to see the inherent defects in all those personal pursuits and will start increasing the share of selfless action. This is what is called as dispassion and is a prerequisite for realizing one’s true nature (that I am a complete person without any wants).

Another point conveyed here is, by using the word yajna, the Lord conveys a special meaning. As per sastras, to perform the rituals according to the sastras, one should have the wife along with him. Sastras don’t recognize any rituals done without the wife. The wife has equal part to play in these rituals along with the husband. First she has to give the permission for the rituals to be conducted, that is why, we might have noticed, and that the wife is always involved at the beginning when the permission is sought, when dakshina is given etc., the wife is called as “sakadharmini” because she is travelling the path of dharma (righteousness) along with the husband. All the merits accrued by such rituals are shared between the husband and wife, whereas the demerits belong only to the husband. The scriptures have identified the exalted status of the women in the society and it has not left any stone unturned to drive home the point, by representing the divinity through the various forms of Goddesses.

The marriage (vivaha) becomes important, as some vows are taken to lead a life of dharma and a vow to be a contributor to the society at large etc., Sastras have prescribed rituals for impregnation (garbaadhaanam), to beget a genetically sound baby (pumsavanam), to beget a dharmic child (seemantonayanam), recording the arrival of the child and representing them through the planetary positions (Jatesti or jaatakaranam), giving the name to the child (naamakaranam), giving the first solid food (annapraasanam), teaching the alphabets (aksharaabhyaasam), committing the child to the study of sastras (upanayanam) etc., Life’s journey is marked by rituals and when one goes away too, the son of the deceased is expected to perform the rituals what is called as anteshti.  Apart from this they advise one on performing regular rituals such as sandhya vandhanam, samithaadaanam, agnihotram, and special rituals putrakaameshti (for begetting progeny), special prayers, for health, wealth, power etc., Thus the sastras provide guidance for all our actions.

Lord is highlighting here that one should perform these yajna’s  as enjoined by the scriptures and prosper in life. And he further adds that these yajna’s can be compared to the celestial cow Kamadhenu, which can give one anything that is sought. In short, one will be devoid of any wants in the company of a Kamadhenu.

We will analyze the statement of the Lord little more. Yajna’s are the rituals enjoined by the sastras. Performing them one will accomplish what they want, be it material well being, be it progress in spiritual evolution. The individual is advised to perform selfless actions along with the actions for personal benefits. The role of such selfless action is to bring about a difference in one’s approach to living. In time the pursuit will change from being material to spiritual. Such change in approach will make one to become dispassionate, which in turn is the key for better understanding of oneself. Once the realization happens that one is not a limited person with wants which are temporary and one is a complete person. When this kind of an attitude is developed, then will there be any wants? There won’t be, because of the change in attitude. A wanting person has become a person with no wants. Therefore, the rituals which were instrumental in one becoming a dispassionate person, leads him to realize the truth and thus fulfills the primary seeking. Hence the comparison to Kamadhenu is made from this angle.

Lord will look at Karma from the angle of Dharma in the next few shlokas.

Hari: Om

Srimad Bhagavad Gita – (Chapter 3 – Verse 03) – Part 83

Om Namo Bagavathe Vasudevaaya

3rd Chapter – karmayogaḥ

Gitopadesha 2

यज्ञार्थात्कर्मणोऽन्यत्र लोकोऽयं कर्मबन्धनः।

तदर्थं कर्म कौन्तेय मुक्तसङ्गः समाचर॥ ९॥

yajñārthātkarmaṇo’nyatra loko’yaṁ karmabandhanaḥ |

tadarthaṁ karma kaunteya muktasaṅgaḥ samācara || 9 ||

Meaning:  Human beings are bound by Karma (or works) other than those done as Yajna. Therefore, O Arjuna, do your duty efficiently as a service or Seva to the Lord, free from attachment to the fruits of work. (3.09)


यज्ञार्थात्‌  = done only for the sake of Yajna;  कर्मणः  = than work;  अन्यत्र  = otherwise;  लोकः  = world;  अयं  = this; कर्मबन्धनः  = bondage by work;  तत्‌  = of Him;  अर्थं  = for the sake;  कर्म  = work;  कौन्तेय  = O son of Kunti;  मुक्तसङ्गः  = liberated from association;  समाचर  = do perfectly.

Explanation:  The Lord is highlighting that action should be done as yajna (as a service). Lord is clearly stating that live life as a prayer to the Lord. When we invoke the presence of the Lord and perform all actions with that mindset, such attitude will lead one to become a vairagi (dispassionate person).

Everything in this world is given to us. We have air to breathe, we have the sunlight /the fire to give us warmth, we have water/plants to nourish us, we have the earth to stay on, we have eyes to see, nose to smell so on and so forth. If we reflect on all that is given, will we not come to recognize the giver? For something which is given, the inference will highlight to us that there must be a giver. Sastra says that the giver we are discussing is “isvara (Lord)”. The recognition of isvara as the giver, in and through our living is essential, for all our activities can be obstructed by 3 obstacles.

  1. Adhyatmika – those that originate from myself like aches, pains, unnecessary worries and thoughts can disturb.
  2. Adhiboutika – disturbances from my surroundings like loud noise, insects, mosquitos, TV nearby can be obstacles.
  3. Adhidaivika – the forces of nature over which I have no control like rain, earthquake etc. can also disturb.

To ward of these obstacles, to protect me from these obstacles, I invoke the blessings of the Lord, in fact there is uncertainty every moment. Starting with a conclusion that I am a limited person, conducting my life with what is already given in this world, helping me to infer the giver and recognizing that entity to be without limitations, I start looking upto that entity without limitations to help me from my limitations (which includes the above 3 obstacles too) and start calling that entity as the Lord and I start bringing him into my daily life for protecting me. This invocation is called leading a life with prayerful attitude.

Sanatana Dharma through its vast body of knowledge has given a structure for that invocation and has spelt out mantras (combination of powerful sacred words which adds strength to the individual, who repeats them regularly and which protects the individual who is repeating them) for all activities of a human.

When one gets up in the morning, the first shloka  to be chanted invoking the Lord is,

Karaagre vasate Lakshmi
Karamadhye Saraswati
Karamule Sthitaa Gauri
Prabhaate Karadarshanam

When putting the foot on the ground,

Samudra Vasane Devi,
Parvata Stana Mandale.
Vishnupatni Namastubhyam,
Paada Sparsham Kshamasva Me.


When eating food,

Brahmarpanam Brahma Havir
Brahmagnau Brahmanaahutam
Brahmaiva Tena Ghantavyam
Brahmakarma Samadhina

Before going to bed,

Kara-Caranna Krtam Vaak-Kaaya-Jam Karma-Jam Vaa
Shravanna-Nayana-Jam Vaa Maanasam Va-Aparaadham
Vihitam-Avihitam Vaa Sarvam-Etat-Kssamasva
Jaya Jaya Karunna-Abdhe Shrii-Mahaadeva Shambho

Like this sanatana dharma has introduced the idea of bringing in the divine in all our actions and this is what is called as living a prayerful life.

The Lord is highlighting in this shloka, by the word yajna that one should lead a prayerful life amidst all his actions, and importantly, he should do those actions as the service unto the Lord. The reason why it should be done as the service unto the Lord is, to remove the personal likes and dislikes. Why personal likes and dislikes should be removed, because they bind one to the action/reaction cycle. Then the type of action plays a role, wherein one should choose such actions which doesn’t bind. They are the selfless actions (nishkaama karma).  Example of nishkaama karma is the “pancha maha yajna’s” which we saw in the last post as well.

The whole idea here is, as humans possessing discriminative intellect; we should evolve from seeking tertiary pursuits and align our life with the natural laws, in order to realize the truth about ourselves. The pursuit of realizing one’s true nature involves emotional maturity, which will happen when one is able to drop, binding desires with the full understanding that they don’t give us permanent happiness/peace.

The key to note is that, doing sakama karmas(actions for the personal benefit) is fine as long as i) they are righteous and in line with the scriptures and ii) one doesn’t leave out the selfless actions. Doing both is best and in time, for one endowed with discriminative intellect, the sakama karma’s will drop off and nishkama karma’s will increase.

The Lord further advises Arjuna, that action should be done with an attitude (yoga). He says be free from attachment (mukta sangha). Attachment to what will be the question, the response is, attachment to the ownership of action and attachment to the fruits of action. This attitude of lack of attachment to both action and the result is called as “Karma Yoga” which we have been discussing for a while. One may ask, how can I not be attached to the action or the result? Will it not result in indifference?

One should recognize that the ownership to the action can’t be claimed because for a particular action to happen, there are several factors which have happened for that particular action to take place. In the same way, after the action is done, it is not in one’s hand to control the result. If one is cognizant of these facts, then the attachment to action or the result won’t happen, but the intensity or the focus in the action won’t be compromised.

To sum it up one should have clarity of thought for understanding the truth about oneself and that clarity of thought can come through dispassion, dispassion will come with the help of discriminative intellect, that discriminative intellect will help one to choose the right type of action, the attitude to perform the right type of action and the attitude to receive the result. On the whole, one will become prepared to understand the truth about oneself through systematic study, because he/she would have become an integrated personality (his/he thought, speech and action are aligned), he/she would have resolved his/he conflicts with himself and the world. This is the whole purpose of Karma Yoga, which is to become a person ready to embark on realizing the truth.

As we are talking about dispassion, one anecdote comes to my mind. Once a husband and a wife were talking and the husband was a person who is deliberating person, thereby he was growing in being dispassionate. The wife was telling him that her brother was threatening to become a sanyasi, and that he is slowly taking steps one by one, to become a sanyasi and that she is worried, because he would be leaving a helpless family behind. The husband after listening to it, tells the wife that she should not worry because her brother won’t take to sanyasa. The wife asked him that how can he be so sure? Husband replied, vairagya can’t be partial it has to be total and your brother is taking a step by step approach in renunciation. Becoming a vairagi (dispassionate) can be after a deliberation process, but claiming to be a vairagi but still renouncing one by one, means that he has not become a vairagi yet. Hence he won’t become a sanyasi. Wife asked, what your final conclusion is, is that my brother’s threats won’t lead him to sanyasa. The husband said, yes it won’t lead him to sanyasa, a vairagi should be like this. Telling her “like this” he simply left the house as it is.

The idea conveyed here is, such vairagya which marks one’s emotional maturity in handling the vagaries of the world, has to be obtained through properly resolving the interactions with this world. And for that one has to focus on performance of action and receiving the result with a difference. The difference is to perform them as a duty (Niyatam), as a service to the Lord (Yajna) and with an attitude of “lack of ownership” /”lack of enjoyership” (Yoga).

The Lord will now talk about Karma Yoga from the angle of “Dharma” and will also elaborate on “Yajna” in the coming shlokas.

Hari: Om

Srimad Bhagavad Gita – (Chapter 3 – Verse 08) – Part 82

Om Namo Bagavathe Vasudevaaya

3rd Chapter – karmayogaḥ

hanuman arjuna flag chariot mahabharat

नियतं कुरु कर्म त्वं कर्म ज्यायो ह्यकर्मणः।

शरीरयात्रापि च ते न प्रसिद्‌ध्येदकर्मणः॥ ८॥

niyataṁ kuru karma tvaṁ karma jyāyo hyakarmaṇaḥ |

śarīrayātrāpi ca te na prasiddhyedakarmaṇaḥ || 8 ||

Meaning:  Perform your obligatory duty, because action is indeed better than inaction. Even the maintenance of your body would not be possible by inaction. (3.08)

नियतं  = prescribed;  कुरु  = do;  कर्म  = duties;  त्वं  = you;  कर्म  = work;  ज्यायाः  = better;  हि  = certainly;  अकर्मणः  = than no work;  शरीर  = bodily;  यात्रा  = maintenance;  अपि  = even;  च  = also;  ते  = your;  न  = never;  प्रसिद्‌ध्येत्‌  = is effected;  अकर्मणः  = without work.

Explanation:  The Lord is now explaining to Arjuna about why action has to be done and the Lord will do that from four stand points. In this shloka he is going to look at it from the stand point of “DUTY” (Niyatam). Niyatam here means what? It means prescribed. Prescribed by what? Prescribed by “Sastras” or “scriptures”. Let us dwell on this term a bit more.

Till some years ago, in India, we all would have heard people refer going to office as going to duty. Many would have been saying, I will go to duty and come, or I didn’t go to duty today etc.,. By saying “Duty”, what did they refer? They referred to going to office. What had been the recognition given to that action? Going to work in office is without a choice because, it sustains the family, provides for the basic necessities and more. The intonation is on the choice. It becomes a duty as there can’t be a choice (of course the accentuation is for providing for the family). Keeping in mind the need of the family/self satisfying the bare necessities, an individual considered going to work as a DUTY. Individual choice of likes and dislikes were not added to such actions. This goes to prove that as humans we understand that there are going to be actions that need to be carried out where one can’t exercise their individual likes and dislikes.

Lord Krishna is telling now here, that one should do scripture enjoined actions considering them as duty. This means that it should be done without likes and dislikes and that it should be DONE. Let us analyze what are those types of actions that should be done as duty, a bit more. We can look at this from few angles which are as below:

As enjoined by the sastras – Doing the pancha maha yajnas (we saw in shloka 7 explanation for type of action) – Deva yajna, Pitru yajna, Brahma yajna, Manushya yajna and Bhootha Yajna.

As required by the role one plays – duties unto the wife as husband or vice versa; duties unto the children as a parent; duties unto the parents as their child; duties unto the siblings; duties unto the friends; duties unto the society, duties as employee; duties as employer; duties as citizen of the country; etc.,

The key point that should be kept in the mind is, that the primary goal of one is to gain liberation. Gaining liberation is preceded by the requirement of a prepared mind, intellect and senses. The process of preparation involves actions and hence the actions that are being done should be towards getting prepared. Therefore, the type of actions that are being performed and the attitude with which it has to be performed is what is highlighted by the Lord by using the word “niyatam”. Lord is telling, perform action, perform those actions which are enjoined by scriptures, perform those actions as a duty.

He affirms that doing action is better than inaction. He uses a nice example to highlight this point. He says that even to maintain the body one has to perform action. Imagine, not taking care of personal hygiene, how one will be received by the world. It is impossible to be inactive at all; one can’t but attend nature’s call. By doing that basic action, one becomes clean physically.

Action is better than Inaction; Action enjoined by scriptures and done as a duty is better than mere action.

Lord will continue to discuss Karma Yoga from other standpoints in the next shlokas.

Hari: Om

Srimad Bhagavad Gita – (Chapter 3 – Verse 07) – Part 81

Om Namo Bagavathe Vasudevaaya

3rd Chapter – karmayogaḥ


यस्त्विन्द्रियाणि मनसा नियम्यारभतेऽर्जुन।

कर्मेन्द्रियैः कर्मयोगमसक्तः स विशिष्यते॥ ७॥

yastvindriyāṇi manasā niyamyārabhate’rjuna |

karmendriyaiḥ karmayogamasaktaḥ sa viśiṣyate || 7 ||

Meaning:  The one who controls the senses by the (trained and purified) mind and intellect, and engages the organs of action to Nishkaama Karma-yoga, is superior, O Arjuna. (3.07)

यः  = one who;  तु  = but;  इन्द्रियाणि  = the senses;  मनसा  = by the mind;  नियम्य  = regulating;  आरभते  = begins;  अर्जुन  = O Arjuna;  कर्मेन्द्रियैः  = by the active sense organs;  कर्मयोगं  = devotion;  असक्तः  = without attachment;  सः  = he;  विशिष्यते  = is by far the better.

Explanation:  After having spoken about inaction at length, the Lord is setting out to define Karma Yoga. In other words how action should be done, how the result should be received and what type of action to be done, are the points the Lord is touching upon.

Lord is elaborating on Shama (Mind control) and Dhama (Sense control) in this shloka. We will see briefly about what they are.

Mind Control (Shama) – In fact it is better called as “Resolution of the mind”. It is the capacity to channelize and organize the mind and channelize the three powers what one possesses (iccha sakthi, kriya sakthi and jnana sakthi). This is similar to building dams across the rivers, because, if the dam is not built, then the flood waters will cause havoc and will be wasted as they would be joining the ocean without being useful.

As we saw, the sense organs bring the world into us; mind plays the role of an analyst, records the experiences of interaction and postulates the repeated experience. However, identification with respect to such experiences, as one’s own is actually the problem. Asserting “I am happy”, “I am sad” confirms the identification. In this scenario, the sense organs have done their job of bringing the sense objects to the mind and mind has done the analysis bit of it. However, the identification with the object and experience due to inherent ignorance is the cause for developing likes and dislikes. This identification has made the mind unavailable for thinking and decision making thereby removing the clarity.

All we are trying to do now is to make the mind available, when needed, which means channelizing the mind by highlighting what is permanent and what is not etc., this can be brought by practice and through meditation techniques.

Sense control (Dhama) – It is the steering away of both types of sense organs from attaching to the sense objects and from having inappropriate interaction with them. It is like taming the sense organs (aka taming the animals). It is not a control, where you forbid an action, but add wisdom about the futility of attachment to the sense objects.

Suppose one is getting angry and raising their voice, you have the right to say, that the other person is angry now and the discussion can happen later. If he doesn’t listen, you have the right to walk away and pick up that subject for discussion later. This is called as dhama. Instead if you also get angry and start shouting what will happen is only chaos. Adding wisdom and growing out of attachment with the sense objects, is called as dhama. This applies to sense organs of action. As in the above example, if you apply wisdom and not react when someone was angry, then you have won over your urge to speak at the heated moment and have successfully steered away.

Coming to this shloka, the Lord is highlighting that one should have the resolution of the mind and channelization of the sense organs to perform the right type of action with right attitude.

Recapping what is Karma yoga,

Karma Yoga is the following three factors put together,

  1. Karma Kausalam – Ability to choose the right type of action. More of selfless actions (nishkama karma – i) propitiating the Lord; ii) respecting ancestors while alive and after they’ve gone; iii) disseminating and perpetuating the scriptural knowledge to the deserving; iv)treating equally the fellow humans; v) protecting everything else animate or inanimate)
  2. Isvaraarpana Buddhi – Recognizing that one can’t be the owner of any action and dedicating all the actions unto that Lord
  3. Prasada Buddhi – Recognizing that for any action any type of result can come and developing the ability to receive all types of result.

Lord emphasizes that one needs to engage into an action done by the Karmendriyas with the backing of a resolved mind and channelized sense organs and do the selection of the action, performance of the action and the reception of the result with an awareness to the primary goal. The Lord says such a person will excel and such an action will excel.

In short, one will become qualified for receiving the truth and realize the true nature of himself, which is the solution for the fundamental problem “samsara”.

Lord will analyze the performance of Karma from 4 different angles from the next shloka onwards.

Hari: Om

Srimad Bhagavad Gita – (Chapter 3 – Verse 06) – Part 80

Om Namo Bagavathe Vasudevaaya

3rd Chapter – karmayogaḥ


कर्मेन्द्रियाणि संयम्य य आस्ते मनसा स्मरन्‌।

इन्द्रियार्थान्विमूढात्मा मिथ्याचारः स उच्यते॥ ६॥

karmendriyāṇi saṁyamya ya āste manasā smaran |

indriyārthānvimūḍhātmā mithyācāraḥ sa ucyate || 6 ||

Meaning:  The deluded ones, who restrain their organs of action but mentally dwell upon the sense enjoyment, are called hypocrites. (3.06)

 कर्मेन्द्रियाणि  = the five working sense organs;  संयम्य  = controlling;  यः  = anyone who;  आस्ते  = remains;  मनसा  = by the mind;  स्मरन्‌  = thinking of;  इन्द्रियार्थान्‌  = sense objects;  विमूढ  = foolish;  आत्मा  = soul;  मिथ्याचारः  = pretender;  सः  = he;  उच्यते  = is called.

Explanation:  In our earlier posts we have seen about the sense organs. There are two types of sense organs and they are,

  1. Sense organs of KnowledgeJnanendriya (Sabda – Sound; Sparsha – Touch; Roopa – Sight; Rasa – Taste; and Gandha – Smell)
  2. Sense organs of ActionKarmendriya (Vaak – Speech(Mouth) ; Paani – Lifting (Hands); Paada – Walking/Running (Legs); Paayu – Excretion ; Upastha – Procreation)

Sense organs of knowledge are the window to the world, through which all the sense objects of the world, enters one’s mind/intellect. Interacting with the sense objects gives experiences which are recorded in the mind (memory). Pleasurable experiences are remembered and they are sought after. With the knowledge provided by the Jnanendriyas about the sense objects, the mind instructs the Karmendriyas to perform action.

All of us have three powers inherently and they are i) the power to know (Jnana sakthi); ii) the power to desire (Iccha Sakthi); iii) the power to do (Kriya Sakthi)

Indriyas + Mind

The power to know is helped by the Jnanendriyas (sense organs of knowledge) and they take the world of objects to the analyzing faculty MIND (intellect & memory). After analysis the mind sends out instructions to the Karmendriyas (sense organs of action), which carry out the action.

Let us dwell on this a bit more. Suppose if we have developed a difference of opinion with someone and we have stopped communicating with them, we will be able to stop talking to them, avoid calling them, meeting them etc., This means we have controlled the sense organs of action (Karmendriyas). In that scenario, if we happen to bump into them somewhere, can we instruct the eyes not to see it, (you can turn your face, close your eyes etc.,). It is not possible. If you don’t turn your face, close your eyes, you can’t instruct the eyes not to see something, which is in front of the eyes. What is happening here is, that the Jnanendriyas are performing their job, but the mind is putting a control on the Karmendriyas. In that process, all the thinking happens in the mind but a strict order has gone to the Karmendriyas about not doing their action. How long can this sustain?

Now we will come to this shloka. The Lord tells exactly the same, he tells, anyone, who is mulling over it in his mind, even though he has controlled his sense organs of action (Karmendriyas), he is fit to be called as a hypocrite (mityacharah).

Mitya means falsehood, Acharah is discipline. Mityacharah is a person following a discipline based on falsehood, in other words hypocrite.

Why the Lord has to tell this, because, Inaction is nothing but lack of perceivable action. In other words, sense organs of action (Karmendriyas) are not performing action due to the control from the mind. Therefore, inaction of Karmendriyas can’t stop the action happening in the mind. This amounts to dealing with the sense object and performing action with it mentally. Outward claims of inaction will not stop one from thinking about it in the mind and this behavior is hypocritical. This is what the Lord says here and concludes the topic of inaction here. Bottom line he says, the following 3 points;

  1. Inaction doesn’t produce a result. Prerequisite for Jnana (Knowledge about one’s true nature) is Vairagya (Dispassion or clarity of mind). Vairagya is a result to be achieved. As it is a result to be achieved and action alone produces a result, action is inevitable.
  2. It is impossible to be inactive. Helplessly everyone will be active based on the three gunas which are inherent in everyone.
  3. Mere control of sense organs of action and appear to be inactive, without controlling the mind will not produce the desired result of vairagya (dispassion) for spiritual growth. One can be called as a hypocrite for this behavior.

We will round this discussion with a small anecdote. There were two friends, and they were walking together. One of them told that he is going to the temple and the other said that he will go to the bar for a drink. Both went to their places and the fellow who went to the temple, was thinking about the other fellow, and was concluding that how he would be enjoying etc., The person who went to the bar was thinking that why did he come to the bar, the other person has gone to the temple and is a such a devout person, and was ashamed of himself. After some time when both died, the Lord gave heaven to the fellow who went to the bar but was thinking about the temple and being remorseful for his behavior. The fellow who went to the temple got hell as he was thinking about the bar. This little anecdote shows the importance of the mind control, because it is essential for clarity of thought and to develop into an integrated personality.

Lord will now introduce the Karma Yoga in the next shloka and after that will analyse it from four angles.

Hari: Om

Srimad Bhagavad Gita – (Chapter 3 – Verse 05) – Part 79

Om Namo Bagavathe Vasudevaaya

3rd Chapter – karmayogaḥ

Gitopadesha 1

न हि कश्चित्क्षणमपि जातु तिष्ठत्यकर्मकृत्‌।

कार्यते ह्यवशः कर्म सर्वः प्रकृतिजैर्गुणैः॥ ५॥

na hi kaścitkṣaṇamapi jātu tiṣṭhatyakarmakṛt |

kāryate hyavaśaḥ karma sarvaḥ prakṛtijairguṇaiḥ || 5 ||

Meaning:  Because no one can remain actionless even for a moment. Everyone is driven to action, helplessly indeed, by the Gunas of nature. (3.05)

 न/na  = nor;  हि/ hi  = certainly;  कश्चित्‌/ kaścit  = anyone;  क्षणं/ kṣaṇaṁ  = a moment ;  अपि/  api = also;  जातु/ jātu  = at any time;  तिष्ठति/ tiṣṭhati  = remains;  अकर्मकृत्‌/akarmakṛt   = without doing something;  कार्यते/ kāryate  = is forced to do;  हि/ hi  = certainly;  अवशः/avaśaḥ  = helplessly;  कर्म/karma  = work;  सर्वः/sarvaḥ  = all;  प्रकृतिजैः/prakṛtijaiḥ  = born of the modes of material nature;  गुणैः/ guṇaiḥ  = by the qualities.

Explanation:  The Lord further talks about inaction to Arjuna. Here the Lord is making an emphatic statement “that no one can claim to be inactive”. Everyone will be helplessly active because it is one’s nature as driven by the three sets of characteristics.

Lord says that no one can claim to be inactive. Let us see why he says so. Let us visualize that someone claims that they are not doing any action and are not seen to be physically doing any action. They are sitting in one place without any movement so much so no one can claim that they are active. In this scenario, think about this, wouldn’t they be breathing (if not talking) while sitting like that? They would be and breathing is also an action. Further, will their mind be having various thoughts? Yes it would have and the very thinking is an activity. Therefore, in effect, mere absence of physical activity can’t be termed as being inactive.

Everyone will be performing these basic actions, without a choice. No one can be inactive even for a moment. The Lord further says that one will be helplessly active due to the gunas (characteristics) which is born of nature (prakriti). Elaborate analysis of the Gunas is done by the Lord in the chapter 14. We will analyze it here as required for this shloka.

Everything that exists in the nature is resonating with the world around all the time. Even if we were to look at any object say gold, it has its properties such as malleable, rust proof, bright etc., like this every object has its properties natural to them and such properties are expressed in the world around, naturally. Such natural expressions are the resonance of that object with the nature. As we saw, it is the property of the object and is inherent in that object. Such inherent expressions can be that of benevolence, active and passive and they are responsible for anyone to be active, without a choice.

We all would have experienced a character in our home. Old aged grandparents, who claim to be not active (inactive) and sitting in one corner without any hindrance to anyone (may be sitting in the thinnai). However, they will be involved in everything right from something is burning in the kitchen, to why the neighbor’s girl has not gone to school, why the newspaper was late etc.,. Any one claiming to be inactive can’t be so because, it is in one’s nature to be active, including the creatures like a worm or insect, they would always be in motion.

So what message is the Lord giving here? Since inaction is not possible, then one should be active and as one is active should try to bring about awareness about the action one is performing. Action alone produces a result, therefore, any want has to be preceded by action. The point he is highlighting here is that inaction is not a choice available in the field of spiritual growth.

The key is to add moderation in one’s acting and achieve actualization with the help of the action. Lord continues this topic in the next shloka too.

Hari: Om

Srimad Bhagavad Gita – (Chapter 3 – Verse 04) – Part 78

Om Namo Bagavathe Vasudevaaya

3rd Chapter – karmayogaḥ

Bagavad Gita 3

न कर्मणामनारम्भान्नैष्कर्म्यं पुरुषोऽश्नुते।

न च संन्यसनादेव सिद्धिं समधिगच्छति॥ ४॥

na karmaṇāmanārambhānnaiṣkarmyaṁ puruṣo’śnute |

na ca saṁnyasanādeva siddhiṁ samadhigacchati || 4 ||

Meaning:  One does not attain freedom from the bondage of Karma by merely abstaining from work. No one attains perfection by merely giving up work. (3.04)

 न – not; कर्मणां – of prescribed duties; अनारम्भात्‌ – by non performance; नैष्कर्म्यं – freedom from bondage;

पुरुषः – a man; अश्नुते – achieves; न – nor; च – also; संन्यासनात्‌  – by renunciation; एव – mere; सिद्धिं – success; समधिगच्छति – attains

Explanation:  As discussed earlier, Arjuna hinted that there wouldn’t be any problem if one were to do no action which is inaction and in his mind he concluded that inaction would be better as it doesn’t produce result and thereby doesn’t push one to react to the result etc., and be in this vicious circle.

Let us analyze what the Lord is saying. The Lord says that one can’t become free from bondage if he doesn’t do any action. Further one does not become a Jnani (a realized person) from being inactive. Why is the question that needs answering. It is very simple logic that will answer this why.

Actions produce result. Actions alone produce result. If one wants to be at a stage where he is independent and a free person, then it is a result that he wants to achieve. If that is a result which he wants to achieve, then it should be preceded by action. He should be performing such type of an action which would bring about the result of his independence from his actions. It is because any result is for an action.

If one is inactive, then that inaction will not produce a result. If no results could be achieved through inaction, then how one can achieve his desired result of freedom.

Then, what about renouncing the action? If one were to conclude that renouncing  action is better, because action brings about a result and that result would again push one to take action and hence renouncing it would ensure no result is attracted as action was not done.

What is the difference between inaction and renunciation? Inaction is avoiding action whereas renunciation is willful dropping of action. Here the Lord is highlighting that if one wants to attain liberation and understand liberation to be attained as a result, then how can it be achieved without doing any action, for action produces the result.

However, when one grows spiritually, he will understand that realization and becoming a liberated person cannot be achieved without performing action but by following a process, that involves action to start with.

Action by producing a result shapes the emotional balance of the person performing the action and prepares him to respond after moderation. When this cycle of action, result, reaction, result etc., is backed with an intellect which analyzes, will certainly bring about clarity and change the person to be an integrated person. This personality change is the prerequisite and will ensure a person realizing the absolute truth through systematic learning. Hence whenever, the Lord mentions, action helps a person to become liberated, it means through a process.

Therefore, if the process is not followed (that is no action is done) then the chances of attaining liberation is not there. The Lord rightly highlights here that neither inaction nor willful dropping of action would bring the highest goal which the humans would want to pursue.

The Lord will continue to explore the topic of inaction in the next couple of shlokas.

Hari: Om

Srimad Bhagavad Gita – (Chapter 3 – Verse 03) – Part 77

Om Namo Bagavathe Vasudevaaya

3rd Chapter – karmayogaḥ

Bagavd Gita 1


लोकेऽस्मिन् द्विविधा निष्ठा पुरा प्रोक्ता मयानघ।

ज्ञानयोगेन साङ्ख्यानां कर्मयोगेन योगिनाम्‌॥ ३॥

śrībhagavānuvāca |

loke’smin dvividhā niṣṭhā purā proktā mayānagha |

jñānayogena sāṅkhyānāṁ karmayogena yoginām || 3 ||

Meaning:  The  Lord said: In this world, O Arjuna, a twofold path of Sadhana (or the spiritual practice) has been stated by Me in the past. The path of Self-knowledge (or Jnana-yoga) for the contemplative, and the path of unselfish work (or Karma-yoga) for the active. (03)

 श्रीभगवानुवाच  = the Lord said;  लोके  = in the world;  अस्मिन्‌  = this;  द्विविधा  = two kinds of;  निष्ठा  = faith;  पुरा  = formerly;  प्रोक्ता  = were said;  मया  = by Me;  अनघ  = O sinless one;  ज्ञानयोगेन  = by the linking process of knowledge

 साङ्ख्यानां  = of the empiric philosophers;  कर्मयोगेण  = by the linking process of devotion;  योगिनां  = of the devotees.

Explanation:  The Lord starts answering Arjuna’s question. Arjuna’s question is whether it should be knowledge (Jnana Yoga) or action (Karma Yoga) he should adopt. Lord gives an elaborate answer for that. Arjuna’s confusion drove him to think of quitting the war (i.e. not doing the action) and be settled in a quiet place with a changed lifestyle. He developed an understanding that change in lifestyle would become the key for solving the debacle which has enveloped him, that is how to fight the war, where it involves all his kith and kin. This approach surely reflects the escapist mindset and is looking for peripheral solutions. Hence Lord is addressing it thus:

Krishna introduces two aspects here with respect to Karma and Jnana. They are Nishtaa (lifestyle) and Saadhana (practice). This means, there is Karma Yoga Nishtaa and Karma Yoga Saadhana and similarly Jnana Yoga Nishtaa and Jnana Yoga Saadhana. We will see about them elaborately:

  1. Karma Yoga Nishtaa(KYN) – Householder’s Lifestyle (Grihastaashrama) – Living life as Grihastaa (householder) and leading a dharmic life interacting with the world. In this lifestyle the opportunity to do lot of action and respond to the world around is more. This is a lifestyle in the din of the society and is not a secluded lifestyle. Potential to interact with the sense objects is more here and hence the risks of getting attached to the sense objects are high.
  2. Jnana Yoga Nishtaa(JYN) – Renunciate’s Lifestyle (Sanyasa Ashrama) – Living life as a Sanyasi (Monk) in a quiet place with less interaction with the world. In this lifestyle the opportunity to do action is less and the potential to interact (physically) with the sense objects is less.
  3. Karma Yoga Saadhana(KYS) – Practicing Karma Yoga. As earlier seen, adopting karma kaushalam, isvaraarpana buddhi and prasaada buddhi while performing action. Thereby, developing vairaagya (dispassion) which is nothing but chittha suddhi (clarity of mind)/ Chittha ekaagratha (single pointed focus). Such a prepared mind is the prerequisite for gaining knowledge and realizing the truth about oneself.
  4. Jnana Yoga Saadhana(JYS) – Practicing Jnana Yoga. As earlier seen, undergoing Shravanam (active listening), Mananam (Contemplating) and Nidhidhyasanam (meditating on the truth about oneself). Such practices will lead one to remove the ignorance and help one to realize the truth.

Let us analyze the above 4.

Does practicing the lifestyles (KYN or JYN) guarantee one the necessary emotional development? The answer is an emphatic no. Why? Lifestyles provide a form of living and they indicate mainly the activities of a person and highlight his primary engagement. Such activities would be governed by traditions and are meant as guide for a systematic living.

If it is a householder’s lifestyle (KYN), then it would be running a house hold, earning a living, providing for the family, contributing to the society.

If it is a renunciate’s lifestyle (JYN), then it would be handling the ashrama, committing to the study, contributing to the society.

Keenly observing one can find out that both KYN and JYN, involves activities for a living and one is not superior to the other. This confirms, no matter where one lives, the spiritual evolution is a step by step process and the mere life style will not compromise the steps of spiritual progress. One should become an integrated personality (person with chittha suddhi and chittha ekaagratha) in order to realize one’s true nature and be liberated. Therefore the deduction that can be made is lifestyles can be different, however, saadhana (practices) have to go in an order and can’t be compromised.



Consider this example, in chartered accountancy examinations; there are two levels namely intermediate and final.  However, big a person can be, he has to clear the level 1 exam (intermediate) and then only he can write the level 2 exams (final). No one would be allowed to write the level 2 exam directly, because clearing the level 1 exam is a prerequisite for one to write the level 2 exams.

One can prepare for those exams privately through self study or one can attend the coaching classes provided by the institute of chartered accountants. How the preparation is made has no bearing on the process and no compromises will be made in the sequence. It will always be writing the level 1 exam first and clear that and then only one will be allowed to write the level 2 exam.

In this example liken, private self study to Karma Yoga Nishtaa (Householder’s lifestyle); coaching classes to Jnana Yoga Nishtaa (Renunciate’s lifestyle) and Level 1 exam to Karma Yoga Saadhana and Level 2 exam to Jnana Yoga Saadhana.

Recapping, lifestyle can be different; however, practice has to be in that order and no compromise can be done because, for one to become a Jnani, prequalification as a vairagi (dispassionate) is essential.

What does the Lord convey to Arjuna here? The Lord highlighted that Arjuna should have clarity of thought (become dispassionate), which will help him to understand the truth which was revealed to him in the earlier chapter, which will indeed provide him the permanent solution for his problem. One can become dispassionate any where he is living and there is no need to change the lifestyle.

However, the Lord by indicating to Arjuna earlier that he should resort to performing action indicates that a householder’s lifestyle is better than that of a monk. Why? The reason is that in householder’s lifestyle, the opportunity to perform action is more. Only when the action is done one will get an opportunity to receive the result and the opportunity to analyze the result, the cause for taking an action everything will be evaluated. Such evaluation process will strengthen the discriminative ability of the intellect. With that discriminative ability one will get dispassion.

Whereas, in a monk’s lifestyle, as the opportunity to interact with the world is less in comparison, thereby opportunity to perform action is less, one who is not yet dispassionate, but has changed his lifestyle to a monk’s lifestyle, will have to live with the reduced chances to get dispassion.

This is why the Lord is advising Arjuna to stay put and perform the action that is enjoined for him. The Lord will also elaborate the other hidden question of Arjuna, which is what if one becomes inactive. The reason Arjuna is thinking like this is that action produces result and that becomes the reason for the reaction and thus the cycle. If one is inactive then no problems but the Lord will address this beautifully in the next 3 verses and we will see them next.

Hari: Om