Bhagavad Gita – Synopsis 18 Chapters:CHAPTER THREE

July 31, 2011


The Bhagavad Gita : Chapter THREE.[compiled by Kamini Khanna. Mombasa, Kenya. Africa]

The third chapter deals with Karma Yoga or the Yoga of Action. It points out the path to the Goal. To reach this we have to make some effort. This is the commencement of our sadhana. (spiritual discipline) To quiet the mind we need to purify it first. This can be done through selfless action or Karma Yoga.

Arjuna asks Bhagavan, “Krishna, if you consider knowledge as superior to action, why then do you urge me to do this dreadful action! My mind is puzzled; therefore tell me the one discipline by which I may attain the highest Goal.” Sri Bhagavan said: Arjuna, in this world two paths have been enunciated by Me in the past. In the case of Sankhyayogi (intellectual), the practice proceeds along the path of knowledge, whereas in the case of the Karmayogi (action oriented man), it proceeds along the path of action.

Man does not attain freedom from action (culmination from the path of action) without entering upon action; nor does he reach perfection (culmination of the path of knowledge) merely by renunciation of action. Surely none can remain inactive even for a moment; everyone is driven to action by nature born qualities. Therefore perform your allotted duty, for action is superior to inaction. Desisting from action, you cannot even maintain your body. He, who does not follow the wheel of creation, i.e. does not perform his duties, lives in vain. He however, who takes delight in the Self alone and is gratified and contented with the self, has no duty. Therefore always efficiently do your duty without attachment. Doing work without attachment is when man attains supreme bliss.

Sri Krishna explains the meaning of kartavya, (Duty) its importance and the dynamics of right action. When we perform our obligatory duties, the mind and heart is slowly purified. Purification of the mind is a pre requisite to the silence we are seeking. The path of Karma Yoga purifies the mind, apart from giving us the worldly results. This chapter deals exhaustively with ACTION. What is action, the different types of actions, the performance of actions according to our abilities and impressions, shaped by our family background, our nature.

Action should be performed as worship of the Lord, with an attitude of dedication, detachment, service and surrender, and the results of action received with devotion, as Prasada (sacrament). This is Karma Yoga. In this way the mind and heart gains equanimity, stillness and purification, and our personal likes and dislikes are destroyed. This is the best way to reach the Lord. Karma Yoga is not some special action. Even the lowest action performed with devotion, takes us closer to the Lord.

Chapter 3 is the ankles of the Lord. Movement of the feet begins with the ankles. Wearing anklets, He dances and jumps and beautifully bends His ankles. They symbolize movement. It is the beginning of sadhana. We commence walking the path towards our Goal.

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