3. KARMA YOOGA
PATH OF ACTION
jyaayasii cheet karman`as tee mataa buddhir janaardana
tat kim karman`i ghooree maam niyoojayasi kees`ava
vyaamis`reen`aiva vaakyeena buddhim moohayasiiva mee
tad eekam vada nis`chitya yeena s`reeyoo aham aapnuyaam
KY 03s`riibhagavaan uvaacha
lookee asmin dvividhaa nisht`haa puraa prooktaa mayaanagha
gnaanayoogeena saamkhya anaam karmayoogeena yooginaam
na karman`aam anaarambhaan naishkarmyam purushoo as`nutee
na ca sanyasanaad eeva siddhim samadhigachchhati
na hi kas` chit kshan`am api jaatu tisht`hati akarmakrut
kaaryatee hi avas`a: karma sarva: prakrutijair gun`ai:
karmeendriyaan`i samyamya ya aastee manasaa smaran
indriyaarthaan vimuud`haatmaa mithyaachaara: sa uchyatee
yas tv indriyaan`i manasaa niyamyaarabhatee arjuna
karmeendriyai: karmayoogam asakta: sa vis`ishyatee
niyatam kuru karma tvam karma jyaayoo hi akarman`a:
s`ariirayaatraapi ca tee na prasidhyeed akarman`a:
yagnaarthaat karman`oo anyatra lookoo ayam karmabandhana:
tadartham karma kaumteeya muktasamga: samaachara
sahayagnaa: prajaa: srusht`vaa puroovaacha prajaapati:
aneena prasavishyadhvam eesha voo astv isht`akaamadhuk
Arjuna said: In your view, if Intellect is greater than Action, then why are you motivating me to undertake this dire, violent Act of war? (POA 1)
By mixing sentences of various meanings and interpretations, you are trying to influence my intellect. Tell me clearly and decisively, what is good for me. (POA 2)
Krishna said: In this world, I have in the past taught two methods of regulated effort. For the followers of Nature and the Supreme Lord (Saamkhya system of Kapila), I suggested the Path of Knowledge. For the Union seekers (Yoogiis) I advised the Path of Action. (POA 3)
By abstaining from the scripture ordained duties and rituals, humans cannot attain the dynamic knowledge. A person whose consciousness is not clean cannot simply by Relinquishment of Action attain deliverance. (POA 4)
Nobody can remain even for a moment, without performing any Action. By the very nature of body, everybody performs some involuntary action or other. (POA 5)
A person who restrains his organs of Action, but contemplates on things of sensual pleasure, is knave, naive and hypocrite. (POA 6)
One who regulates senses consciously, uses his organs of action for performing the prescribed Actions without expecting benefits is the genius. (POA 7)
Perform stipulated duties. Action is better than abstination. If a person totally abdicates himself from all Action, the very survival of his body becomes difficult. (POA 8)
Actions performed for purposes other than Worshipping sacrifice, creates bonds of Action. A person must get himself detached while performing. Purpose must be worshipping sacrfice only. (POA 9).
The creating God of the People (Prajaa pati) created people and the sacrifices. By performing these sacrifices, prosper and multiply. These sacrifices fulfil your desires. (POA 10).
deevaan bhaavayataaneena tee deevaa bhaavayamtu va:
parasparam bhaavayamta: s`reeya: param avaapsyatha
isht`aan bhoogaan hi voo deevaa daasyamtee yagnabhaavitaa:
tair dattaan apradaayaibhyoo yoo bhumktee steena eeva sa:
yagnas`isht`aas`ina: samtoo muchyamtee sarvakilbishai:
bhumjatee tee tv agham paapaa yee pachamti aatmakaaran`aat
annaad bhavamti bhuutaani parjanyaad annasambhava:
yagnaad bhavati parjanyoo yagna: karmasamudbhava:
karma brahmoodbhavam viddhi brahmaaksharasamudbhavam
tasmaat sarvagatam brahma nityam yagnee pratisht`hitam
eevam pravartitam ca kram naanuvartayatiiha ya:
aghaayur indriyaaraamoo moogham paartha sa jiivati
yas tv aatmaratir eeva syaad aatmatruptas` ca maanava:
aatmani eeva ca samtusht`as tasya kaaryam na vidyatee
naiva tasya kruteenaarthoo naakruteeneeha kas` ca na
na ca asya sarvabhuuteeshu kas` chid arthavyapaas`raya:
tasmaad asakta: satatam kaaryam karma samaachara
asaktoo hi aacharan karma param aapnooti puurusha:
karman`aiva hi samsiddhim aasthitaa janaka adaya:
looka samgraham eevaapi sampas`yan kartum arhasi
yad yad aacharati s`reesht`has tat tad deeveetaroo jana:
sa yat pramaan`am kurutee lookas tad anuvartatee
Mahatma Gandhi quoted this verse in his speech dated 6th Aug. 1925 addressing the Management and the students of the Krishinidhi College, Berhampore, Orissa. The context was, he was trying to spread the message of spinning wheel, to create some employment for the rural poor who remain unemployed for six months of an year. His idea was, if great persons do something noble, others will emulate. The idea is welcome.
You can see my blog post Click to go to gandhijiyb.blogspot.com for a lengthier analysis of the idea..
na mee paarthaasti kartavyam trishu lookeeshu kim ca na
na ana avaaptam avaaptavyam varta eeva ca karman`i
yadi hi aham na varteeyam jaatu karman`i atandrita:
mama vartma anuvartamtee manushyaa: paartha sarvas`a:
utsiideeyur imee lookaa na kuryaam karma cheed aham
samkarasya ca kartaa syaam upahanyaam imaa: prajaa:
saktaa: karman`i avidvaamsoo yathaa kurvamti bhaarata
kuryaad vidvaams tatha aasaktas` chikiirshur looka samgraham
na buddhi bheedam janayeed agnaanaam karma samginaam
jooshayeet sarva karmaan`i vidvaan yukta: samaacharan
prakrutee: kriya maan`aani gun`ai: karmaan`i sarvas`a:
ahamkaara vimuud`ha atmaa kartaaham iti manyatee
tatvavit tu mahaa baahoo gun`a karma vibhaagayoo:
gun`aa gun`eeshu vartamta iti matvaa na sajjatee
prakruteer gun`asammuud`haa: sajjamtee gun`a karmasu
taan akrutsna vidoo mandaan krutsnavin na vichaalayeet
maii sarvaan`i karmaan`i sanyasya adhi aatma cheetasaa
nir aas`iir nir mamoo bhuutvaa yudhyasva vigata jvara:
yee mee matam idam nityam anutisht`hamti maanavaa:
s`raddhaa vamtoo anasuuyamtoo muchyamtee tee api karmabhi:
yee tv eetad abhyasuuyamtoo naanutisht`hamti mee matam
sarvagnaanavimuud`haams taan viddhi nasht`aan acheetasa:
sadrus`am cheesht`atee svasyaa: prakruteer gnaanavaan api
prakrutim yaamti bhuutaani nigraha: kim karishyati
indriyasyee indriyasya arthee raaga dveeshau vyavasthitau
tayoor na vas`am aagachchheet tau hi asya paripamthinau
s`reeyaan svadharmoo vigun`a: paradharmaat svanusht`hitaat
svadharmee nidhanam s`reeya: paradharmoo bhayaavaha:
Brahma continues: 'With these sacrifices, pl. satisfy the Gods of the Heaven. They will satisfy you in return. By mutual love, both will benefit' (POA 11).
The satisfied Gods of Heaven will grant the desired boons. The things given by them are to be resubmitted to them as sacrifice. Without doing as such, if a person enjoys himself, he becomes a thief. (POA 12).
Those who eat residues of sacrifices have all their sins cleansed. Those who cook only for themselves, they eat their own sins. (POA 13).
From food, creatures are born. Clouds yield food. Sacrifices lead to clouds. The sacrifices are born out of Action. (POA 14). Action is born out of the supreme spirit. The soul is born from the letters of alphabets (or the endless supreme God). Hence the all pervading supreme spirit is established in the sacrifice. (POA 15).
This is the wheel of Action. If any person does not adhere to this wheel of Action, he becomes a sinner and slave of senses. His life becomes futile. (POA 16).
(Krishna seems to have ended what has been said by the Creator to the Priests. Now he says Arjuna!).
If any person is united with his own soul, enjoys within his soul, is full contented within himself, he shall have nothing more to do. (POA 17).
He gets no credit for his good deeds and no sin or erosion of creidts if he ceases performing "Action". In this Universe he shall have no relationship of symbiance with any creature in this universe. (POA 18.)
Hence always perform your Actions, unattached. Because, if a person works without attachments, he will get deliverance. (POA 19).
Janaka (king of Mithila) et al have got their deliverance only through Action. For the benefit of the world also, a person must perform Actions. (POA 20).
Whatever the best men in the society and the leaders do others will emulate. Whatever the elite take as standard, the world will copy. (POA 21).
In these three worlds (heaven, earth and the nether world) I (Krishna) have no duty to perform. I have nothing to attain. There is also nothing which I have not attained. Yet I perform Actions. (POA 22).
If I do not keep myself alert and perform Actions, humanity will imitate me. (People will stop performing their duties). (POA 23).
If I do not perform my actions and duties, people get spoiled. Then, there will be pollution of castes. I shall be the responsible doer for it. I shall be the reason for their debasement. (POA 24).
Just as ordinary individuals engage themselves in desire-and- result-driven-actions, the wise scholars do their actions and duties in a detached manner, for the benefit of the world. (POA 25).
The scholars should do not discourage the ignorant from performing their desire-and-result-driven actions and render them non-performing. The wise scholars should by properly performing his actions and duties make the ignorant also to perform. (POA 26).
All these actions and duties which are performed by the very phenomenon of Nature, egoistic persons and ignoramuses think that they themselves are the real doers. (POA 27).
A true philosopher, who knows the philosophical spirit of the classification of thr three qualities (Capable-restrained, Kingly and Inactive-dark: Satva, Rajas, Tamo) will be clearly aware that senses will be interested in the physical forms and external features. Hence they will neither be attached to them nor be tempted by them. (POA 28).
Those who are by nature caught in the three quality framework, will be interested in and attached to the sensual pleasures. A knowledgeable person should not shake the ignorant engaged in their actions. (POA 29).
(Now, a clearcut persuation to fight the war)
Leave your feverishness. Devote all your actions to me. Become a dynamic person moved by spirit of action. Get detached. Shed the sense of "I' and 'My'. Fight the war. (POA 30).
(Now a promise of benefit)
Those humans who sincerely and without jealosy regularly practise my precepts will get delivered from the consequences of their actions. (POA 31).
(Now a threat)
Realise that those who are jealous of me, do not practise my precepts, become imbecile duds. (POA 32).
All the creatures act according to their nature. The creatures are bound by the nature. What control of senses will do? (POA 33).
The senses and for the senses have attachment and hatred. Hence a wise person should not fall prey to them. They will be his enemies and wayside robbers. (POA 34).
Once own duty, though performed imperfectly is beneficial than the duty of others performed well. Losing one's life in performing duty is good. Duties of others can cause fear. (POA 35).
Compare this with what Suzette says in the film "Banger Sisters":
"I'd rather fail doing my own thing...
doing what I want to do...
than doing what somebody else wants me to do and succeeding."
KY 36arjuna uvaacha
atha keena prayuktoo ayam paapam ca rati puurusha:
anichchhann api vaarshn`eeya balaad iva niyoojita:
KY 37s`riibhagavaan uvaacha
kaama eesha kroodha eesha rajoogun`asamudbhava:
mahaas`anoo mahaapaapmaa viddhi eenam iha vairin`am
dhuumeenaavriyatee vahnir yathaadars`oo maleena ca
yathoolbeenaavrutoo garbhas tathaa teeneedam aavrutam
aavrutam gnaanam eeteena gnaaninoo nityavairin`aa
kaamaruupeen`a kaumteeya dushpuureen`aanaleena ca
indriyaan`i manoo buddhir asyaadhisht`haanam uchyatee
eetair vimoohayati eesha gnaanam aavrutya deehinam
tasmaat tvam indriyaan`i aadau niyamya bharatarshabha
paapmaanam prajahihi eenam gnaanavignaananaas`anam
indriyaan`i paraan`i aahur indriyeebhya: param mana:
manasas tu paraa buddhir yoo buddhee: paratas tu sa:
eevam buddhee: param buddhvaa samstabhyaatmaanam aatmanaa
jahi s`atrum mahaa baahoo kaamaruupam duraasadam
Now Arjuna raised a doubt.
Why does a person quite unwillingly and ceaselessly sin? By whom he is motivated? He appears to be forced. (POA 36).
Realise that lust and anger are born from the quality of the kingly quality of enjoyment. These two are difficult to satiate. They cause sin. These are the greatest enemies. (POA 37).
Just as fire is covered by smoke, a mirror is covered by dust, womb is covered by umbellical fluid, all this world is covered by the lust. (POA 38).
Lust is the eternal enemy of a wise person. Lust craves for all difficult things. Lust is like fire. It covers the knowlege and wisdom. (POA 39).
It is said that senses, mind and intellect are the shelters for the lust. Lust tempts and captivates a bodied creature by overcoming the knowledge and wisdom. (POA 40).
Hence, Oh Arjuna first control and capture your senses. Then overcome the lust which destroys the knowlede and wisdom and leads to sin. (POA 41).
Senses are great. Mind is greater than the senses. Intellect is greater than the mind. The (human) soul is greater than the intellect. (POA 42).
Thus realise that living soul is greater than intellect. Then with the help of (Supreme???) Soul stabilise your human soul. Then conquer the invincible enemy 'the lust'. (POA 43).
"Act! (Do karma)"
The word 'karma' has many meanings. Two, which apply here: 1. Rituals and sacrifices prescribed by customs and scriptures. 2. Duties prescribed by caste in which a person is born. 3. The good and bad actions accumulated from past births and this birth.