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

Srimad Bhagavad Gita – (Chapter 3 – Verse 02) – Part 76

Om Namo Bagavathe Vasudevaaya

3rd Chapter – karmayogaḥ

Gitopadesha 4

व्यामिश्रेणेव वाक्येन बुद्धिं मोहयसीव मे।

तदेकं वद निश्चित्य येन श्रेयोऽहमाप्नुयाम्‌॥ २॥

vyāmiśreṇeva vākyena buddhiṁ mohayasīva me |

tadekaṁ vada niścitya yena śreyo’hamāpnuyām || 2 ||

Meaning:  My mind is confused by apparently conflicting words. Tell me, decisively, one thing by which I may attain the Supreme. (02)

 व्यामिश्रेण / vyāmiśreṇa – selfcontradictory; इव / iva – seemingly; वाक्येन / vākyena  – with words; बुद्धिं / buddhiṁ – my intellect; मोहयसि / mohayasi – confuse me; इव / iva – appear to be; मे / me – my; तत्‌ / tat – that; एकं / ekaṁ  – one;  वद/ vada – tell; निश्चित्य / niścitya – with certainty; येन / yena – by which; श्रेयः / śreyaḥ – liberation; अहं / ahaṁ – I; आप्नुयां/ āpnuyāṁ – attain.

Explanation:  Arjuna is continuing his question to the Lord and is requesting him to clarify his doubt regarding which path should be chosen, Karma or Jnana that will bring him ultimate good.

Arjuna by asking this question reflects his mindset clearly and exhibits that he did not have grip in his understanding. In many ways we can relate to it as well in this current age too.

We have seen many assertions that there are many paths VIZ, Karma Yoga, Bakthi Yoga, Jnana Yoga, Raja Yoga, Hatha Yoga etc., and that all of them lead to the same goal which is liberation (Moksha). These assertions are made with improper understanding of them and lack of understanding about the goal.

Primary human pursuit is to be ever independent and happy. Be liberated and not be bound by materialistic pursuits. If this is the goal, any thinking individual should evaluate the process to be chosen keeping in line with the goal. In such evaluation, logical establishment of the process and its validity is essential.

In this context let us recap what is Karma Yoga and what is Jnana Yoga?

Karma Yoga is defined by the following 3 phrases (definitions):

  1. Isvaraarpana Buddhi – Realizing that one cannot claim the ownership of any action and one is just an instrument in the hands of the Lord and dedicating all the actions to the Lord.
  2. Karma Kaushalam – The ability to choose the right action. Right action is that action which is unopposed to svadharma(one’s duty) and includes selfless action done for the benefit of the larger society.
  3. Prasaada Buddhi – Accepting the results for actions without any murmur or resistance and take the results as prasaad from the Lord.

Jnana Yoga is defined by the following 3 steps:

  1. Mananam – Contemplating on what is learnt with an aim to remove the doubts.
  2. Shravanam – Active listening of scriptures for a consistent period of time from the competent Guru and remove their ignorance.
  3. Niddhidhyasanam – Assimilating the knowledge thus gained and the removal of habitual tendencies

Karma yoga ends in the development of dispassion (vairaagya) or clarity of mind (Chitha suddhi). Jnana Yoga helps in ensuring that one gets into a situation where the realization about one’s own true nature happens. Prerequisite for Jnana Yoga is clarity of mind, which means Karma yoga.

Here the question posed by Arjuna is whether he should follow Karma Yoga or Jnana Yoga, because Lord Krishna seems to have extolled both of them. Human being prefers to have clear choice without ambiguity and would greatly appreciate to have the choice already been made. Reflecting that Arjuna is asking Krishna that he should tell him clearly, which one he should choose.

Arjuna also tells Krishna that his intellect is not sharp enough to understand the teaching, hence the request of further clarification. Student’s attitude should be that for learning not to shift the blame on to the teacher for any difficulty in learning. These days we often keep hearing a student complaining that his teacher has not taught him well and he doesn’t know how to teach etc., . The attitude should be to politely approach the teacher and attempt to learn.

Lord will answer Arjuna’s question in the next shloka, let us see what kind of an answer is given.

Hari: Om

Srimad Bhagavad Gita – (Chapter 3 – Verse 01) – Part 75

Om Namo Bagavathe Vasudevaaya

3rd Chapter – karmayogaḥ

hanuman arjuna flag chariot mahabharat

अर्जुन उवाच।

ज्यायसी चेत्कर्मणस्ते मता बुद्धिर्जनार्दन।

तत्किं कर्मणि घोरे मां नियोजयसि केशव॥ १॥

arjuna uvāca |

jyāyasī cetkarmaṇaste matā buddhirjanārdana |

tatkiṁ karmaṇi ghore māṁ niyojayasi keśava || 1 ||

Meaning:  Arjuna said: If you consider that knowledge is better than work then why do you want me to engage in this horrible war, O Krishna? (01)

अर्जुन उवाच  / arjuna uvāca  = Arjuna said; ज्यायसि / jyāyasi = better; चेत्‌ / cet = if;  कर्मणः / karmaṇaḥ = than fruitive action;  ते / te = by You;  मता / matā = is considered;  बुद्धिः / buddhiḥ = intelligence;  जनार्दन / janārdana  = O KRiShNa; तत्‌ / tat = therefore;  किं / kiṁ = why;  कर्मणि  / karmaṇi = in action;  घोरे  / ghore = ghastly;  मां/  māṁ = me;  नियोजयसि / niyojayasi = you are suggesting;  केशव / keśava = O KRiShNa.

Explanation:  The Lord has literally completed his teaching to Arjuna in the second chapter (Sankhya Yoga). Arjuna’s problem was delusion due to sorrow born out of excessive attachment. Solution given by the Lord is that,

  1. Sorrow of Arjuna is illegitimate, as one should not be sad over what is factual and what can’t be changed. Going away of kith and kin is inevitable, if not in war, it will happen as a natural process.
  2. One’s nature is that of Consciousness (Atma or Brahman) and it has no birth, hence no death and is always available, is not limited by space or time.
  3. One should not swerve away from one’s duty (performing enjoined action) because, performance of one’s duty adds clarity to the mind, which will help one to lead life objectively and interact with the world with emotional maturity.
  4. One should be alert to the ways of sense organs and their association with the sense objects. The repeated seeking of company with the sense objects by the sense organs should be deliberated upon and the development of longing towards sense objects should be avoided.

Arjuna representing the normal human emotions, he is finding it difficult to understand the purport of Krishna’s solution and in his mind the after effects of war is looming large and hence he is asking the Lord to clarify his statements.

The Lord has extolled Jnana (knowledge) to be the universal solution for all the mental afflictions; however, he spoke highly of Karma through Karma yoga too. That has created the question in Arjuna’s mind and he is asking the Lord as follows:

Hey Lord! You vote for Jnana (knowledge) but you seem to be urging me to do action, and that too a violent action. Why is that so?

From the above question, what is clear is, Arjuna is considering Jnana to be different than Karma and following them will take one to mutually exclusive dispositions. Further, his considered position is that mere understanding of knowledge should be enough to alleviate the mental afflictions. He lacked in clarity as to the purpose of action and the different types of actions, the attitude with which the action has to be done etc.,

He has concluded that, fighting a war is opposed to one of the primary universal value “Ahimsa (non-injury)”, and has not been able to understand the necessity of why such war has to be fought.

Even many, looking at such utterances in Gita have been concluding that Gita is a book that preaches violence. Such conclusions are bereft of clarity and very poor understanding. Let us consider this example,

Suppose someone has got a cancer in his prostate glands and the same has been diagnosed in time and the diagnosis provides a solution of the removal of the prostate glands.  If the doctor, who is treating the patient, quotes that he won’t cause any injury to the patient and proclaims “Ahimsa Paramo Dharmah”. What will be the condition of the patient, will it help him to recover from the disease. On the contrary, he would be doing a great disservice to the patient and not only that, he would be failing to perform his duty, which is to save the life of the patients.

The situation is exactly the same, when unrighteousness (adharma) gains strength in the society and spreads like the cancerous cells; it needs to be eradicated for the betterment of larger society. One, who is part of the society and understands the need of righteous living, should stand up to fight adharma. One should not allow for any weakness to creep in and cloud the thinking.

The natural question would be what one should do in order to get that clarity of mind. That is what is going to be discussed in this chapter.

Arjuna is exhibiting the regular human reaction of passing the buck and he will again insist that he needs clarity in the next shloka too.

Hari: Om

Srimad Bhagavad Gita – (Chapter 2 – Verse 01 to 06) – Part 74

Om Namo Bagavathe Vasudevaaya

2nd Chapter – sānkhya yoga

Bagavd Gita 1

सञ्जय उवाच।

तं तथा कृपयाविष्टमश्रुपूर्णाकुलेक्षणम्‌।

विषीदन्तमिदं वाक्यमुवाच मधुसूदनः॥ १॥


कुतस्त्वा कश्मलमिदं विषमे समुपस्थितम्‌।

अनार्यजुष्टमस्वर्ग्यमकीर्तिकरमर्जुन॥ २॥

क्लैब्यं मा स्म गमः पार्थ नैतत्त्वय्युपपद्यते।

क्षुद्रं हृदयदौर्बल्यं त्यक्त्वोत्तिष्ठ परन्तप॥ ३॥

        अर्जुन उवाच।

कथं भीष्ममहं सङ्ख्ये द्रोणं च मधुसूदन।

इषुभिः प्रतियोत्स्यामि पूजार्हावरिसूदन॥ ४॥

गुरूनहत्वा हि महानुभावान्‌

        श्रेयो भोक्तुं भैक्ष्यमपीह लोके।

हत्वार्थकामांस्तु गुरूनिहैव

        भुञ्जीय भोगान्‌ रुधिरप्रदिग्धान्‌॥ ५॥

न चैतद्विद्मः कतरन्नो गरीयो

        यद्वा जयेम यदि वा नो जयेयुः।

यानेव हत्वा न जिजीविषामस्-

        तेऽवस्थिताः प्रमुखे धार्तराष्ट्राः॥ ६॥

sañjaya uvāca |

taṁ tathā kṛpayāviṣṭamaśrupūrṇākulekṣaṇam |

viṣīdantamidaṁ vākyamuvāca madhusūdanaḥ || 1 ||

         śrībhagavānuvāca |

kutastvā kaśmalamidaṁ viṣame samupasthitam |

anāryajuṣṭamasvargyamakīrtikaramarjuna || 2 ||

 klaibyaṁ mā sma gamaḥ pārtha naitattvayyupapadyate |

kṣudraṁ hṛdayadaurbalyaṁ tyaktvottiṣṭha parantapa || 3 ||

         arjuna uvāca |

kathaṁ bhīṣmamahaṁ saṅkhye droṇaṁ ca madhusūdana |

iṣubhiḥ pratiyotsyāmi pūjārhāvarisūdana || 4 ||

 gurūnahatvā hi mahānubhāvān

        śreyo bhoktuṁ bhaikṣyamapīha loke |

hatvārthakāmāṁstu gurūnihaiva

        bhuñjīya bhogān rudhirapradigdhān || 5 ||

 na caitadvidmaḥ kataranno garīyo

        yadvā jayema yadi vā no jayeyuḥ |

yāneva hatvā na jijīviṣāmas-

        te’vasthitāḥ pramukhe dhārtarāṣṭrāḥ || 6 ||

Meaning:  Sanjaya said: Lord Krishna spoke these words to Arjuna whose eyes were tearful and downcast, and who was overwhelmed with compassion and despair. (01)

The Supreme Lord said: How has the dejection come to you at this juncture? This is not fit for an Aryan (or the people of noble mind and deeds). It is disgraceful, and it does not lead one to heaven, O Arjuna. (02)

Do not become a coward, O Arjuna, because it does not befit you.Shake off this weakness of your heart and get up (for the battle),O Arjuna. (03)

Arjuna said: How shall I strike Bheeshma and Drona, who are worthy of my worship, with arrows in battle, O Krishna? (04)

It would be better, indeed, to live on alms in this world than to slay these noble gurus, because, by killing them I would enjoy wealth and pleasures stained with (theirs) blood. (05)

Neither do we know which alternative (to beg or to kill) is better for us, nor do we know whether we shall conquer them or they will conquer us. We should not even wish to live after killing the sons of Dhritaraashtra who are standing in front of us. (06)

Explanation:  Arjuna became speechless after talking a lot and was overcome by emotion and was exhausted. He sat down on the chariot with his mind wandering aimlessly. The reason for his current state is on account of his emotional imbalance. That was the fundamental problem and in fact that is the problem for all of us too.

What was the emotional imbalance? Raga (attachment) gave rise to Soka (sorrow) which gave rise to Moha (delusion). Delusion is on account of lack of knowledge and hence it is the expression of ignorance. Ignorance is the fundamental problem. So, if ignorance is the fundamental problem and then what should be solution for it? Knowledge is the solution for ignorance. That being the case, can getting the knowledge through reading the books, listening to materials, becomes the solution for the problem? The answer is an emphatic “No”. Why?

Consider this example, suppose I am ignorant of important information needed to solve an impending issue. The solution is in Chinese language. I get hold of the solution in the Chinese language too through some means; will that provide me the answer? It cannot, because if I am ignorant of the Chinese language, the knowledge about the solution for my problem is of no use, and the next step I should be taking is to learn the Chinese language.

In the same way, receiving knowledge will not solve the fundamental problem, unless one is prepared to receive the knowledge. When one is prepared then the knowledge received will become useful and become the solution for the problem.

Lord Krishna knows that Arjuna’s issue is lack of knowledge, but importantly his preparedness is lacking to even receive the solution. Hence he wanted to bring out all his confusions out and with that in mind, he spoke to him, in fact chided him harshly thereby provoking him to respond.

Krishna tells him that he is not an Aryan. Aryan, here doesn’t mean the race, it means valorous, magnanimous, compassionate, dharmic person. He chides him that his disposition will bring him ignominy and he won’t get the heavens even. He questions him how he got the weakness in his heart and tells him to fight.

Arjuna fully provoked but confused, spoke to Krishna further that he shouldn’t be killing Bhishma and Drona, who are worthy of worship. Instead he implied that going to a forest, away from the battlefield is the best solution. He highlighted that killing such worthy people and getting a victory which is blood stained is not worth it.

At this juncture only a change is going to happen. The Lord wanted Arjuna to exhaust his confused thinking and go towards seeking external help.

Arjuna did seek help from none other than the Lord and what we have is the greatest treasure for humanity. The dialogue between the Lord and Arjuna in the 2nd chapter has already been seen from September onwards. We will be discussing the 3rd chapter, which is named as Karma Yoga, one of the important chapters of Srimad Bagavad Gita from the next discussion onwards.

I started from the 7th shloka of 2nd chapter, as the real teaching starts from there, however, as many satsanghis requested to cover from the Gita Dhyanam and 1st chapter and hence we briefly have seen what was not covered.

Hari: Om

Srimad Bhagavad Gita – (Chapter 1 – Verse 39 to 47) – Part 73

Om Namo Bagavathe Vasudevaaya

1st Chapter – arjuna viṣāda yoga

Bagavad Gita 2

कथं न ज्ञेयमस्माभिः पापादस्मान्निवर्तितुम्‌।

कुलक्षयकृतं दोषं प्रपश्यद्भिर्जनार्दन॥ ३९॥

कुलक्षये प्रणश्यन्ति कुलधर्माः सनातनाः।

धर्मे नष्टे कुलं कृत्स्नमधर्मोऽभिभवत्युत॥ ४०॥

अधर्माभिभवात्कृष्ण प्रदुष्यन्ति कुलस्त्रियः।

स्त्रीषु दुष्टासु वार्ष्णेय जायते वर्णसङ्करः॥ ४१॥

सङ्करो नरकायैव कुलघ्नानां कुलस्य च।

पतन्ति पितरो ह्येषां लुप्तपिण्डोदकक्रियाः॥ ४२॥

दोषैरेतैः कुलघ्नानां वर्णसङ्करकारकैः।

उत्साद्यन्ते जातिधर्माः कुलधर्माश्च शाश्वताः॥ ४३॥

उत्सन्नकुलधर्माणां मनुष्याणां जनार्दन।

नरके नियतं वासो भवतीत्यनुशुश्रुम॥ ४४॥

अहो बत महत्पापं कर्तुं व्यवसिता वयम्‌।

यद्राज्यसुखलोभेन हन्तुं स्वजनमुद्यताः॥ ४५॥

यदि मामप्रतीकारमशस्त्रं शस्त्रपाणयः।

धार्तराष्ट्रा रणे हन्युस्तन्मे क्षेमतरं भवेत्‌॥ ४६॥

        सञ्जय उवाच।

एवमुक्त्वार्जुनः सङ्ख्ये रथोपस्थ उपाविशत्‌।

विसृज्य सशरं चापं शोकसंविग्नमानसः॥ ४७॥

kathaṁ na jñeyamasmābhiḥ pāpādasmānnivartitum |

kulakṣayakṛtaṁ doṣaṁ prapaśyadbhirjanārdana || 39 ||

 kulakṣaye praṇaśyanti kuladharmāḥ sanātanāḥ |

dharme naṣṭe kulaṁ kṛtsnamadharmo’bhibhavatyuta || 40 ||

 adharmābhibhavātkṛṣṇa praduṣyanti kulastriyaḥ |

strīṣu duṣṭāsu vārṣṇeya jāyate varṇasaṅkaraḥ || 41 ||

 saṅkaro narakāyaiva kulaghnānāṁ kulasya ca |

patanti pitaro hyeṣāṁ luptapiṇḍodakakriyāḥ || 42 ||

 doṣairetaiḥ kulaghnānāṁ varṇasaṅkarakārakaiḥ |

utsādyante jātidharmāḥ kuladharmāśca śāśvatāḥ || 43 ||

 utsannakuladharmāṇāṁ manuṣyāṇāṁ janārdana |

narake niyataṁ vāso bhavatītyanuśuśruma || 44 ||

 aho bata mahatpāpaṁ kartuṁ vyavasitā vayam |

yadrājyasukhalobhena hantuṁ svajanamudyatāḥ || 45 ||

 yadi māmapratīkāramaśastraṁ śastrapāṇayaḥ |

dhārtarāṣṭrā raṇe hanyustanme kṣemataraṁ bhavet || 46 ||

         sañjaya uvāca |

evamuktvārjunaḥ saṅkhye rathopastha upāviśat |

visṛjya saśaraṁ cāpaṁ śokasaṁvignamānasaḥ || 47 ||

Meaning:  Why shouldn’t we, who clearly see evil in the destruction of the family, think about turning away from this sin, O Krishna? (39)

With the destruction of the family, the eternal family traditions are destroyed, and immorality prevails due to the destruction of family traditions. (40)

And when immorality prevails, O Krishna, the women of the family become corrupted; when women are corrupted, social problems arise. (41)

This brings the family and the slayers of the family to hell, because the spirits of their ancestors are degraded when deprived of ceremonial offerings of rice-ball and water. (42)

The everlasting qualities of Varna and family traditions of those who destroy their family are ruined by the sinful act of illegitimacy. (43)

We have been told, O Krishna, that people whose family traditions are destroyed necessarily dwell in hell for a long time. (44)

Alas! We are ready to commit a great sin by striving to slay our kinsmen because of greed for the pleasures of the kingdom. (45)

It would be far better for me if the sons of Dhritaraashtra should kill me with their weapons in battle while I am unarmed and unresisting. (46)

Sanjaya said: Having said this in the battle field and casting aside his bow and arrow, Arjuna sat down on the seat of the chariot with his mind overwhelmed with sorrow. (47)

Explanation: Sorrow (Soka) is on account of unwillingness to go through an unpleasant experience. As humans we all look for such experiences that give us happiness (expecting happiness in external objects is the error, which we will see elaborately in the later chapters). This looking provides us a classification of our experiences as “wanted experiences” and “unwanted experiences”. Pursuit of wanted experience even if it involves pain, is called as “Happiness”. Not pursuing an experience even if it involves pleasure is called as “Sorrow”.

In spite of imminent and inherent dangers in scaling high peaks, the mountaineer is very happy to climb a mountain. The reason is, climbing a mountain is a wanted experience leading to happiness, even if it involves pain all the way with risks of misstep, avalanches etc., However, support from an unwanted source to alleviate a present problem, is an unwanted experience leading to sorrow, even if the help from that source will make the current situation/problem to disappear.

As is evident, the reason for this behavior is on account of likes and dislikes which is wanted and unwanted experiences. This is on account of attachment (Raga), which is what the issue is for Arjuna. Thus the attachment to relatives has given rise to Sorrow, because Arjuna didn’t want an experience of not having his relatives post the war, even if he turns victorious post the war. This has become the second emotional imbalance “Sorrow (Soka)”. Losing relatives is an unwanted experience for Arjuna, and hence he asked Krishna, what is the use of all the pleasures at the cost of the life of my relatives, even the pleasures of three worlds won’t give me the needed happiness.

This conclusion based on one’s emotional imbalance, which confirms the lack of well articulated discriminative intellect. Lack of power in discrimination is due to the lack of correct knowledge. Thus lack of correct knowledge, in other words ignorance (avidya) is the fundamental problem. The emphasis is on the correct knowledge, because, being well read and having proficiency on many subjects which doesn’t take one towards solving one’s eternal quest of being permanently happy, is of no use. Even if someone has chanced upon the correct knowledge but has not added strength to that knowledge by imbibing it in conducting one’s life, even that correct knowledge also won’t be useful.

So, the formula for success in getting the permanent happiness is, having the correct knowledge aligned with one’s personality.

Downside of not aligning one’s thought, speech and action, will sustain and establish the emotional imbalances such as “attachment (raga)” and “sorrow (soka)”. And this will lead to confusion and delusion, where in, once thinking ability will be compromised and one will forget the right way to conduct his transactions with the world around. This is exactly what happened to Arjuna.

He was affected by the third emotional imbalance called “Delusion (Moha)”. Due to delusion, he forgets the value of “Doing what is right” and instead started defending his idea of not doing what is right. Such confusion has come out expression in these slokas and they will continue in the first few shlokas of the next chapter as well.

He picked up the topic of upholding family values and tradition. Upholding family values and tradition is very good but we need to ensure that it should not be at the cost of Universal Values (Dharma). Speaking the truth, Non injury (physically, mentally and verbally), Non stealing, non hoarding, being content with what one has, austere practices, cleanliness etc., are few of the examples of universal values. If I were to compromise on the universal value of speaking the truth in order to uphold the family’s practice or pride, then that is not appropriate.

Here Arjuna, is highlighting to Arjuna, that the war will leave many women as a widow and that will give raise to adulteration and a compromise will happen in doing the rituals for ancestors, which in turn will impact the morality of the society. Further he adds that there will be admixture of classes of society as the profession would get mixed, one will attract demerits which would entail one to be in hell either while living or in the hereafter.

He goes on to even say, considering the predicament of inability to uphold the family values, it would be better to get killed by Dhartharashtras while being unarmed, rather than fight the war and be the reason for the loss of relatives.

This confusion of, which should be prioritized, whether the priority should be for few families to live or the natural equilibrium to be undamaged for the entire creation to live peacefully, is the major confusion which has become the reason for the song celestial to be given to the humanity through Arjuna.

How many times we have faced such dilemma in all our internal conflicts, whether to choose the comfortable one or the correct one which is a difficult choice.

Thus entire first chapter is the establishment of the problem. Fundamental problem is ignorance and that is on account of delusion, that delusion was due to sorrow and that sorrow was due to attachment. This has made Arjuna to put his bow down and sit on the chariot without knowing what to do next.

Didn’t he represent all of us here? We will see the first few shlokas of 2nd chapter which will be the continuation of Arjuna’s predicament in the next discussion.

Hari: Om

तत्सदिति श्रीमद्भगवद्गीतासूपनिषत्सु ब्रह्मविद्यायां योगशास्त्रे श्रीकृष्णार्जुनसंवादे अर्जुनविषादयोगो नाम प्रथमोऽध्यायः

om tatsaditi śrīmadbhagavadgītāsūpaniṣatsu brahmavidyāyāṁ yogaśāstre śrīkṛṣṇārjunasaṁvāde arjunaviṣādayogo nāma prathamo’dhyāyaḥ

Thus we have finished the first chapter of Srimad Bagavad Gita, which is nothing but the essence of Upanishads, which teaches the knowledge about the true nature of oneself, which also expands on yoga (tuning process to receive the knowledge), which happens as a dialogue between Lord Krishna and Arjuna, and this chapter is titled as arjuna viṣāda yoga”.