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,
- 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)
- Isvaraarpana Buddhi – Recognizing that one can’t be the owner of any action and dedicating all the actions unto that Lord
- 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.