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BhagavadGita : (Notes from Swami Velkudi Krishna's discourses in BG on Podhigai


Gist of the Gita

The famous Gitartha Sangraha of the saint Yamunacharya (also known as Alavandaar)
gives the gist of Gita in one verse.

svadharma jnAna vairAgya sAdhya bhakti eka gocaraH |
narayanaH param brahma gIta sAstre samIritaH ||

One who performs his prescribed duty, with full knowledge of himself and his
master, devoid of desire, reaches the stage of practice of bhakti-yoga. By bhakti-
yoga one can please Narayana and reach HIM.
So our objective should be to reach and serve our master, and the means to achieve
this goal is bhakti-yoga. Narayana, the Supreme Lord, is the One whom we have to
reach. All these -- the nature of the objective, the nature of the means, and the
the goal, i.e., Narayana, His nature and His qualities are explained in the
Bhagavad Gita.

- Narayana is parabrahma and everything is achieved through his grace. This is
the main gist of Gita, as per this summary sloka of Swamy Alavandar.

Ok, we know the supreme goal and the ultimate truth as Narayana from Gita. Now,
what are the ways to reach him? Gita tells us
the details on how to reach the lord. Gita tells us the "Bhakti" is the way
to reach him. Now, we will have a question. All of us
seem to know what Bhakti is, so what is Gita instructing? Gita is explaining
the true details of Bhakti and how to gain it.
Gita explains how we can do Bhakti without giving up our daily responsibilities
(e.g Karma Yoga, Jnaana Yoga etc). Why?
By default, we are by nature driven to live in the material plan and cannot
escape doing our day to day duties e.g. eating, sleeping,
marrying, raising kids, working etc. Gita tells us how we can do our daily
responsibilities in the right way without losing sight of
the ultimate purushartham and this is Karma Yogam. And doing it with the right
frame of mind requires Jnaana Yogam.
If we do Karma and Jnaana Yogam sincerely, it will allow us to reach Bhakti
Yogam. Before going into details of what we should do
and our ultimate goal, Krishna explains us the nature of our true selves! Only
when we know our true nature, would be able to
realize what our goal should be and the ways to reach them.

Tattvam, Hitam and Purushartham. (Goal and Means). Krishna starts off by
explaining our true nature. Who am i? am i this body, this legs, hands etc? No.
Because body perishes, but soul does not.

All Atmas are the same. The different bodies they get are due to their
accumulated karmas. We need to see beyond the bodies and understand the true
nature of our souls and adopting the means of
Bhakti (through Karma, Jnaana and Bhakti yogam), we should reach the feet of the
Lord Krishna , which is our ultimate purushArtham.

Just like they are two opposing armies in the Mahabharat , we also have two
opposing forces within us.
Three Gunas - Sattva (Goodness) , Rajasic (anger, passion, anxiety, attachment)
and Tamas (Indolence, Laziness, Sleepy etc)
All the three Gunas are within us. Consider Sattvic represents Pandavas and
Rajasic/Tamo gunas represent Kauravas. Just like
how Pandavas defeated Kauravas, using the help of Lord Krishna, we should defeat
the Rajasic/Tamo tendencies within us with
the help of the devotion to the Lord. To help us in the effort, Lord gave us
BhagavadGita. We have two opposing sense of feelings within
us: Ahankaram, Mamakaram, Kaamam, Krodham, Lobham etc one one side and on the
other side Goodness, empathy etc.
We have this Kurukshetra within us!! After taking birth, there is no escape of
Kurukshetra within us. To face it boldly and defeat
the Rajasic&Tamasic tendencies within us , Lord Krishna is there to guide us and
Gita is the greatest guide he bestowed it for us.

Gita has numerous commentators from all philosophies and Sampradaya.
SriRamanuja has written a treatise on Gita known
as "Gita Bhasyam". Vedanta Desikan has written "Tatpariya Chandrikai" .
VadiKesari Azhagiya Manavala Jeeyar has written
"Venba Padal" for every sloka on Gita.

sarvo panishado gavah! dogdha gopala nandanah
partho vatsah sudheer bhokta! dugdham geeta amritam mahat

All the Upanishads are cows; the Milker is Krishna, the cowherd boy; Partha
(Arjuna) is the calf; men of purified intellect are the drinkers, the milk is the
great nectar of the Gita.

Chapter1 - Arjuna Vishada Yogam (Chapter in which Arjuna pours out his agony)

{Gitartha Sangrahah - Verse 5, which summarizes Chapter1)


Where has Dhritrarasthra and Sanjaya come into this picture ? Isn't Gita about
Krishna and Arjuna? Background of Gita i.e Mahabharat.
Sanjaya had the gift of seeing everything in the Mahabharat war, without being in
the battlefield. This was as per his Guru's boon.
So, Sanjaya is explaning what is going on in the war (Ball-by-ball commentary).
Note that, after this slokam, there is no further role
or reference of Dhritarashtra in Gita. But, Sanjaya does come up in few other
slokas of Gita. Not only Gita, Sanjaya gives commentary
of the whole Mahabharat war.

Dharma Kshetra - It is "Dharma" Kshetra, a holy land. It's amazing and
intresting that the war is being conducted here.
Dharma kshayaat traayate iti Dharma Kshetre!

Dhritarashtra poses the question on what his sons and Pandavas who have gone to
wage war , are doing? This question seems to be
a oxymoron, because it's already known that the pandavas and kauravas have gone to
wage war, so what else will they be doing!
The true reason for Dhritarashtra's question was his anxiety of Kauravas losing
and he actually wanted to know whether his sons
were winning and Pandavas losing. Rather than asking it directly, lest he be
accused of open partiality, he couches the question.
Dhritarashtra is not just blind with sight, but he is blind to gnaanam too. Even
though he knows Kauravas were at fault and reason for
the war, he is blinded by partiality.


Sanjaya responds to Dhrtarashtra starting from this slokam. The Acharya refered
to in this sloka is DronaCharya. Duryodhana
looks at Pandava's army . There are many types of formation(Vyuham) of armies
- Vyuham : Chakra Vyuham, Suchi Vyuham,
Padma Vyuham, Sakata Vyuham . Duryodhana is scared internally looking at the
formation of Pandavas army. Many of us get
scared when we face the consequences of mistakes, but not during making the
mistakes. Similarly, Duryodhana didn't fear or
care about consequences when he threw out Pandavas from the court and ill treated
them. But, now in the middle of the battlefield,
looking at the army and realizing that his defeat was imminent, he is scared.
Duryodhana was a great warrior and not a coward,
but the fear strikes his heart too, because he was on the side of wrong. One
lesson for us is, to do good work, we shouldn't hesitate
or feel we are too small to do it.

Acharyan - Asinoti Saastratan , one he teaches saastras and shows the right path.
Vachanam - Words. Varthagalai.. Duryodhana was blabbering with fear and not
speaking with sense. He knew inside he was wrong and
that his deeds were catching up with him.

When two great people speak, we are benefited from their talk:
Sukracharya and Pariksheet converse - SrimadBhagavatam
Bhishma and Yudishteer converse - SriVishnuSahasranamam
Parasara Maharishi and Maitreeyi - Vishnu Puranam
Nammazhwar and MadhurkaviAzhwar - TiruvaayMozhi

Ofcourse, what is the benefit when we folks speak?? It's mostly meaningless
blabber. If we focus and make efforts to speak the right
things, then it makes sense. It's better to be silent, rather than indulge in
blabber and nonsensical talk.

1-3: pasyaitam pandu-putranam acarya mahatim camum
vyudham drupada-putrena tava sisyena dhimata

The first chapter of GIta is also known as Arjuna-Vishaada-Yogam. (i.e Arjuna's
distress). In the third slokam, Duryodhana tells to
Drona: Look at the army formation of Pandavas, which was formed by Drona's sishya
Drusthadryumnan(Senapati of Pandava Army).
What is the intresting aspect of this slokam? Instead of using the normal
respectable sequence of first addressing "Acharya!" and then
telling what needs to be said , Duryodhana first tells about Pandava army and
then ends it addressing Drona as Acharya!
This shows that he is bambozled, scared, confused and hence is telling what
worries him first and then addresses Drona as Acharya
as an afterthought.

Another intresting thought is: Kaurava's army is manifold higher than Pandava
Army . It has 11 Akshohani senyam, whereas Pandavas
have just 7 Akshohani Senyam . Even then Duryodhana is worried. Now, taking
our own body as the field of Mahabharat and even
if we have a higher "Duryodhan" sena (rajasic and tamasic tendencies) and less
"Pandava" Sena (Sattvic tendencies), we should not
feel dejected and scared. Even if less, the Sattvic tendencies have the power to
overcome Rajasic and tamasic.

Another intresting thought : In this slokam, Duryodhana seems to sarcastically
point to Dronacharya and ask him to look at the army
of his disciples lke Drushtadryumnan.

Drushtadruymnan's story is one of revenge, tracing back to the enemity between
Drupad(his father) and Drona. A lesson for us from this
story is, instead of remembering bad things, harsh thoughts, things said in anger
etc by others, we should try to remember the good
things only. We have a limited capacity to store thoughts and memories (like a
RAM!), so it would be better to use it for remembering
only good things. Unfortunately, in the case of Drupad and Drona, who were great
friends, due to various reasons, they turned bitter
enemies. Drupad gave birth to a son Drushtadruymana, just for killing Drona.
Drupad's daughter was Draupadi. Ironically, both
the chiildren of Drupad (Drushtadrymnan and Draupadi) were responsible for the
demise of Drona.

Duryodhana also pointedly refers to Drushtadryumnan as clever in this sloka. Even
though he is on the opposite side of the army.
Why? on the Battlefield of Kuruksetra, Dhrstadyumna took the side of the Pandavas,
and it was he who arranged for their military phalanx, after having learned the
art from Dronacarya. Duryodhana pointed out this mistake of Dronacarya's so that
he might be alert and uncompromising in the fighting. By this he wanted to point
out also that he should not be similarly lenient in battle against the Pandavas,
who were also Dronacarya's affectionate students. Arjuna, especially, was his most
affectionate and brilliant student. Duryodhana also warned that such leniency in
the fight would lead to defeat.
atra sura mahesvasa bhimarjuna-sama yudhi
yuyudhano viratas ca drupadas ca maha-rathah
dhrstaketus cekitanah kasirajas ca viryavan
purujit kuntibhojas ca saibyas ca nara-pungavah
yudhamanyus ca vikranta uttamaujas ca viryavan
saubhadro draupadeyas ca sarva eva maha-rathah

Even though Dhrstadyumna was not a very important obstacle in the face of
Dronacarya's very great power in the military art, there were many others who were
the cause of fear. They are mentioned by Duryodhana as great stumbling blocks on
the path of victory because each and every one of them was as formidable as Bhima
and Arjuna. He knew the strength of Bhima and Arjuna, and thus he compared the
others with them. Duryodhana explains the details of Pandava Army (who are
fighting etc). He is renowed for his ego and Ahamakara. So, why is Duryodhana
referring to Pandavas first?? Two possible reasons. One is, he is scared and is
blabbering forgetting his usual Ahamkara. Another reason is, since he has pointed
the Pandava army to Drona, he is continuing explaining who is in the battlefield.
(Ati-Ratah: One can fight with one; Arda-Ratah: One who can fight with numerous
warriors at one time.
Mahaa-Ratah: One who can fight with 11000 warriors at one time)
Arjuna, Karna and all the warriors mentioned in this sloka are Mahaa-Ratah.

Another point in this sloka(s) is, when we are fighting for Dharma, Justice etc,
it automatically gives strength. It doesn't matter who is
supporting, the reason and motivation is important. For e.g. in Ramayan, Rama's
army had monkeys, bears etc, but it didn't deter
and he prevailed in the war. The gist of Ramayan is, when one goes in the right
path, even monkeys , bears etc will support, whereas
if one goes in the wrong path, even one's own brother will desert! So, it
doesn't matter, who is coming to help, do we have great support
etc. The important thing to remember is why we are fighting for? is it right? is
it on the side of Dharma etc.. In Mahabharat, Kauravas
have great warriors like Bheeshma, Drona etc and logically they should have won,
on the strength of skills, prowess etc, but kauravas
didn't have justice on their side and ultimately perished.
asmakam tu visista ye tan nibodha dvijottama
nayaka mama sainyasya samjnartham tan bravimi te

bhavan bhismas ca karnas ca krpas ca samitim-jayah
asvatthama vikarnas ca saumadattis tathaiva ca

anye ca bahavah sura mad-arthe tyakta-jivitah
nana-sastra-praharanah sarve yuddha-visaradah

asmakam tu - In our Sena; Visistahah - Famous and accomplished ;

In slokam 7, Duryodhana says it is "HIS" (mamah) army! rather than "OUR" sena.
That displays his ego. It is a lesson to us! We should
shed this type of ego. In fact, there are so many lessons that this type of ego
blinds and brings our ruin.

In slokam 8, he refers to Drona, Bhismah, Karna, Krpacharya, Ashvathama, Vikarna,
Soumadati and others great warriors.

In Slokam 9, he says all this warriors are ready to give up their life for his
sake. These warriors are renowed with different weapons.

A questions will arise - if there are so many great warriors in Kaurava army, how
can we say Duryodhana is scared. This can be seen
by slokam 7 beginning, where Duryodhana starts of by saying "BUT.. i.e "tu" ". I.e
he explains Pandavas army and then starts of by
saying "But" and then explains his army.

Difference between Karna and Vibhishina : Both faced similar dilemma in making a
choice between Dharma and sticking with friends,
relatives etc. Vibishina choose Dharma over sticking with his brother. Whereas,
Karna decided to stay with his friends, instead of
going over the side of Dharma. Looking in isolation, Karna's step may seem right,
but when looked at it in a larger perspective, the
choice of Karna was wrong and was colored by narrow perspective.

Vairagyam - Detachment from material self or end results. Vairagyam is one of
the important characters which Gita explains that
we should display.

aparyaptam tad asmakam balam bhismabhiraksitam
paryaptam tv idam etesam balam bhimabhiraksitam

Durodhana says his sena is protected by Bhishma and Pandavas's sena is protected
by Bheema. Why is Duryodhana invoking Bhima
here? Bhima is not the chief of Pandava army. It is Yudhistra. Even Senapati -
Pandava's Senapati is Drushtadryumnan, just like
Bheesma is Senapati of Kauravas. Or if he was trying to compare archery prowess
of Bheeshma, it should have been Arjun at the
other end. So, looking from this three angles, invoking Bheema's know is wrong
and seems mysterious.

One possible hidden reason is - Both Bheeshma and Bheema have taken deadly Vows!
Bheeshma had vowed that he will NOT kill
the five pandavas and everybody else. Whereas Bheema has vowed that he will not
spare the 100 kauravas!! So, Duryodhana is bringing
out the contrast between this two folks. He seems to be saying, that his army is
led by Bheeshma, who has vowed NOT to kill the
five pandavas who are the strength of his opposition! Whereas on the other side,
Bheema has taken vow to kill all the 100 kauravas,
including tearing Dushayasana!

A literal interpretation of the sloka is, "apAryatam" - unlimited, "Paryaptam"-
limited. So, it may be intrepreted that Duryodhana is
boasting here that his army's strength is unlimited, whereas Pandava's army is
limited. But, since the invokation of Bheema's name
is out of place here, the sloka's actual meaning is that he is scared and is
actually praising the Pandava army.

Souseelyam - The guna which does not differentiate between big and small. One of
Lord's greatest guna is Souseelyam. Even though
he was the Paramatama, he came down and mingled with Pandavas, acted as Pandava
dhootan and charioter for Arjuna.

ayanesu ca sarvesu yatha-bhagam avasthitah
bhismam eva-abhi-raksantu bhavantah sarva eva hi

Duryodhana is saying here that his army should protect Bhishma. Why? Bhishma is
the heart of the army and strategically important.
Duryodhana seems to be respecting the seniority and importance of Bhishma, but
why didn't he listen to Bhisma's advice in the
past, which could have avoided the war in the first place! This shows one of the
fatal flaws in Duryodhan's character. He is not
intrested in listening to the elder, but wants them to help him.

The army formation is very important (chakravyuham, padmavyuham etc..) and even a
gap or misarrangement would be fatal.
Similarly, our senses are like a vyuham formation in our body, which houses our
soul and we should zealously guard. We shouldn't
allow any of our senses to go astray, by either listening or talking or eating or
smelling nonsense. Even if one sense goes astray,
the "vyuham" of our body would get imbalanced and would cause corruption.


tasya sanjanayan harsam kuru-vrddhah pitamahah
simha-nadam vinadyoccaih sankham dadhmau pratapavan

tatah sankhas ca bheryas ca panavanaka-gomukhah
sahasaivabhyahanyanta sa sabdas tumulo 'bhavat

Bhishma blew his conch loudly like the roar of a lion, which gave cheerfulness to
Duryodhan. Following Bheeshma's conch blow, other
conchshells, bugles, trumpets, drums and horns were all suddenly sounded, and the
combined sound was tumultuous.
Importance of music: There is a place for different types of music in our lives.
In this war, reference is made for different musical
sounds in this slokam, as a good sign of destruction of Kauravas. A lesson for us
is, in our daily lives too, we should give some time
for listening to sounds of nature (trees, birds etc) and find respite from our
mechanical lives. Also note that, there is different types
of music for different occasions (raagam for morning, evening etc.. raagam which
gives happiness etc).

Ganga , Gayatri, Geeta , Govinda - where this four "Ga's" are present, there is no
second birth!


tatah svetair hayair yukte ! mahati syandane sthitau
madhavah pandavas caiva ! divyau sankhau pradadhmatuh

This sloka says, "thereafter" (after all that has happened so far, as explained
in previous slokas), Krishna and Arjuna below their
conchshells. The chariot of Krishna-Arjuna is referred to as Great! Azhwars have
sung about it's greatness. Even for a person who
doesn't know to fight, this chariot assures victory. The conchshells of Krishna-
Arjuna is referred to as "Divyau" (transendental).

Note: "madhavas-Pandavas Caiva":
The sloka refers to both Krishna and Arjuna in the sequence "Krishna" and Arjuna
(Madhavas-Pandavah), since Paramatma is first.
Another explanation is, "Madhavas" means "Ma->refers to Mahalaxmi" "dhavas-Swami"
-> The reference to Laxmi is, this chariot has
Mahalaxmi Kataksham, which assures victory. Even the last sloka "Yatra-
Yogeshwara.." refers to this grace (i.e wherever krishna
and Arjuna are there, victory is assured). Another explanation is, even though
the chariot is Arjuna's, since Krishna is the charioter,
his name is mentioned first.
Another analogy is: Just like Krishna and Arjuna in the chariot, our body is the
chariot which houses both Paramatma and Jeevatma.


pancajanyam hrsikeso devadattam dhananjayah
paundram dadhmau maha-sankham bhima-karma vrkodarah

Then, Lord Krsna blew His conchshell, called Pancajanya; Arjuna blew his, the
Devadatta; and Bhima, the voracious eater and performer of
Herculean tasks, blew his terrific conchshell called Paundram.

Hrishikesa -> One he conquered his senses. This literal meaning seems superficial,
since even some mortals are able to control their
senses. So, what's the big deal for the lord. The actual meaning is, that the
Lord is able to control everybody's senses! That's the
meaning of the term Hrisikesa. So, when we hear to Lord's glory, our ears are
riveted to hearing it. Same is the case, when we
see the beautiful diety of Krishna in divya desams. Valmiki glorifies the
attraction of Rama - "Roopa Audaryam...". and says whoever
sees Rama is riveted and charmed. Azhwars have sung about the same.

Pancajanya-> Krishna's conchshell. Andal has sung the glory of panchajanyam in
"Nachiyar Tirumozhi". She asks how does the
Lord's lips taste to panchajanya! , because it has tasted lord's lips, when he is
blowing it. Nobody is as fortunate as Panchajanya,
since it never leaves the lord. Atleast, Chakratazhwan has to leave the lord,
when he is sent for destroying the wicked.
In "Kangalum pagalum" pasuram, Azhwar refers to "Sangu-Chakaram" ; In
tiruppavai, Andal sings "Sangakodu-Chakaram".
Panchajanya is refered to first and Chakratazhwan next, because they felt "Sangku"
was more priviliged.
"Panchajanya" -> "Kadal lil piranthu, panchaganana udalil valaranthu,,.."

Arjuna is referred to as Dhananjaya in this verse because he helped his elder
brother in fetching wealth when it was required by the king to make expenditures
for different sacrifices. Similarly, Bhima is known as Vrkodara because he could
eat as voraciously as he could perform herculean tasks, such as killing the demon
Hidimba. So, the particular types of conchshell blown by the different
personalities on the side of the Pandavas, beginning with the Lord's, were all
very encouraging to the fighting soldiers. On the other side there were no such
credits, nor the presence of Lord Krsna, the supreme director, nor that of the
goddess of fortune. So, they were predestined to lose the battle--and that was the
message announced by the sounds of the conchshells.


anantavijayam raja kunti-putro yudhisthirah
nakulah sahadevas ca sughosa-mani puspakau

kasyas ca paramesv-asah sikhandi ca maha-rathah
dhrstadyumno viratas ca satyakis ca-aparajitah

drupado draupadeyas ca sarvasah prthivi-pate
saubhadras ca maha-bahuh sankhan dadhmuh prthak prthak
King Yudhisthira, the son of Kunti, blew his conchshell, the Ananta-vijaya, and
Nakula and Sahadeva blew the Sughosa and Manipuspaka. That great archer the King
of Kasi, the great fighter Sikhandi, Dhrstadyumna, Virata and the unconquerable
Satyaki, Drupada, the sons of Draupadi, and the others, O King, such as the son of
Subhadra, greatly armed, all blew their respective conchshells.

Yudhistra is referred to as "raja" here -> he is always "Dharma Raja", even
though he has lost the kingdom temporarily. That's why
Sanjaya refers to Yudhistra as "Raja" here (anantaVijayam "Raja").

Yudhistra is also referred to as "Kunti-Putro" -> Kunti's actual name is "Prtha"
and she was the Sister of Vasudeva. Since she was given to
"Kunti Raja" for adoption and grew there, her name became "Kunti devi". Arjuna
is referred to as "paartha", since he is the son of
Prtha(i.e. Kunti). He is also referred to as "Kaunteya", since he is the son of
"Kunti". Krishna is called "PaarthaSarathi", since he
is charioter of Paartha. Kunti prayed to Krishna to always give her troubles,
because that is when she will always remember the Lord!
It's human nature to blame and think about Lord, when we are in troubles! and
claim self-credit and forget lord, when we are in joy! That's
the justification Kunti gives, when she prays to Krishna to give her troubles.
Kunti was a great devotee, who despite numerous struggles,
never lost faith in Krishna. The eldest son of this great lady was Yudishtra.

Yudhistra -> "Yudi" -"Tishtati" iti Yudishtra. i.e one what stands firm in the
war. We may have a question on where Yudishtra is
standing tall in the war, because there is no reference to him in the war like
Arjuna, Bheema etc. But, the truth is , unlike Arjuna
who was plagued by doubts etc in Mahabharat, Yudishtra stood tall and firm in the
war. During Vanavasam, when Pandavas
were desolate, Yudhistra assured them that, after vanavas if they did not get the
kingdom, he would stand tall and even wage war to
get back the kingdom.

In last chapter of Mahabharat - "SwargoLokini" : Pandavas were going towards
swargam , after crossing Badri. During the journey,
Draupadi and all the other pandavas, except Yudistra fell down on the way.
Yudishtra and a dog was the only one left. This episode
demonstrates, the great "Dharma Chintanai" of yudhistra.

Maharatah -> A warrior who can fight with 11000 opposing warriors. Sikhandi was
a Maharatah. He was born to kill Bhishma and there
is an intresting story behind it. He was "Amba" in the previous birth, who was
won in Swamyavara by Bheeshma for his brother.
But Amba was in love with another Raja(Salva Raja), so she went to SalvaRaja to
marry him. She was refused by SalvaRaja and
Bhishma and was stranded. So, she took vow to take revenge on Bhishma and did
great penance. In response to the penance,
Lord Subramanya gave her a garland and told her whoever wears the garland and
fights Bhishma will be able to defeat him. But,
nobody was ready to wear the garland. So, she did another penance and got a boon
from Siva, who told her that she will be able
to achieve it in her next birth. She was born as woman in next birth and a
gandharva fell in love with her. He gave her his male body.
She went to war with Male body, though she was born as a female.
Prithvi-pate : Dhritarashtra (Note, Sanjaya is addresing this to Dhritarashtra).

sa ghoso dhartarastranam hrdayani vyadarayat
nabhas ca prthivim caiva tumulo 'bhyanunadayan

The blowing of these different conchshells became uproarious, and thus, vibrating
both in the sky and on the earth, it shattered the hearts
of the sons of Dhrtarastra. (Krishna's conchshell - Panchajanyam).
When the Lord blows his conchshell, we should normally feel joyous. So, why are
Duryodhana etc are trembling? This is because, how
we behave and feel towards the Lord, that's exactly how the Lord will react. The
more we separate ourselves from Lord or feel inmical etc,
we feel the same reaction towards the Lord. One who takes shelter of the Supreme
Lord has nothing to fear, even in the midst of the
greatest calamity. Lord and devotee is like a Cat and it's kitten. Lord wants
to protect us like a Cat protects it's kitten, but when the
Lord comes near to us, the foolish and ignorant think themselves as Rats and run
away. But, the pure devotees think themselves like
Kitten and allow the Lord to help and guide them.

In Atmanushatavam(KooratAzhwan), Azhwan says about the incident, where Lakshmana
is felled in the war. Ravana wants to
abduct a unconsicious Lakshmana, but can't lift him. Ravana then says, he could
lift Meru and Himalaya mountains, but is not able
to lift a Unconscious Lakshmana and is amazed. Then, Hanuman lifts Lakshmana
with ease!! Valmiki sarcastically comments that
a monkey was able to lift Lakshmana (even though Hanuman is a great warrior
himself). The reason being, Hanuman came up
with devotion and good will, so could lift Lakshmana, whereas Ravana came with
hatred and pride and could not lift him.

This same conchshell of Krishna, gave great foretidings for Rukumini! In Rukmini
Kalyanam incident, Rukmini sends a message to
Krishna, requesting him to come and take her away from her brother and blow the
conchshell while he is on his way!

atha vyavasthitan drstva dhartarastran kapi-dhvajah
pravrtte sastra-sampate dhanur udyamya pandavah
hrsikesam tada vakyam idam aha mahi-pate

Arjuna seated in the chariot with monkey [Sri Hanuman] flag took his bow and told
these words to sri Hrishikesa. Vyasa who composed
Mahabharata has introduced the word flag to denote that where Sri Hanuman is there
victory is certain. Sri hanuman had Promised his
brother Bheema [ both are aspects of Vayu- wind god] that he can not participate
as a fighter in the Mahabharath war but will remain on
Pandava side and bless victory.

Kapi-Dhvajah -> denotes Arjuna has the blessings of Hanuman. Similarly, if we
remember and pray to Hanuman before the start of any
endeavour, we are ensured success, since Hanuman is the greatest devotee of the
Lord who achieved stupendous feats!!
Another intrepretation is, just like how the rakshahas trembled in seeing
Hanuman, similarly all the kauravas trembled on seeing Arjuna.

Krishna is refered to as "HrisiKesam" . The same name was referred to in the
previous sloka(s) i.e one who is controller of everybody's
senses. Sri Paraasara Bhattar offers another beautiful explanation of this
tirunaamam- "Harshaat soukhyaat sukha aiswaryaat
Hrisheekesatvam asnute" The Lord is the embodiment of bliss and happiness and
rules over His boundless domain
effortlessly. His overlordship is absolutely without the strains normally
associated with administering vast territories and peoples.
Thus, due to Harsham (happiness), Sukha Aiswayram (effortless rulership), He is
known as Hrisheekesa:.

The Lord Himself explains to Arjuna why He is called Hrisheekesa:. The rays of the
Sun and the Moon, known as "Kesa", gladden the
hearts of people by waking them up to a new day and lulling them to sleep after a
hard day's toil, respectively. It is due to this generation of
Harsha or happiness in His subjects through the "Kesa" or rays of the Sun and the
Moon, that the Lord is acclaimed as Hrisheekesa

idam aha mahi-pate
arjuna uvaca
senayor ubhayor madhye
ratham sthapaya me 'cyuta

[Sanjaya is narrating the war as it happens to Dhridhrashtra and he says] Arjuna
taking his bow tells these words to Sri Krishna" Achyutha,
take my chariot between the two armies and place it there so that i can see those
who have come to fight this war."

Here Arjuna orders and calls Sri Krishna Achyutha. He orders the Bhagwan rather
than requesting and this shows the intimacy between the
two and also the extent to which the Lord will serve His bhakthas.
Achyutha in Sanskrit means not letting down. here are two interpretations
1.He does not lets down His bhakthas and 2.He remains steadfast with His
characters, words and actions.

Sanjaya and Dhrtarashtra were disciples under the same guru and once D asks
Sanjaya as how even though both are learning
simultaneously Sanjaya is clear in grasping and in understanding conceptions while
D is not. o this it seems Sanjaya replied that if D will not
get angry he will tell and says because Sanjaya does not have any cheating or
deceiving mind. hat is he means D is possessing these evil
That is why in the very first sloka D asks Sanjaya what do my children and Pandu's
children are doing in Kurukshetra battlefield.
Here actually D unintelligently conceals his desire to see Kauravas vanquish
Pandavas. Sanjaya while narrating immediately tells that as
Sri Krishna and others blow their conches the sound shatters the minds and hearts
of Kauravas. D does not see the point as he is having a
biased mind. Now also he does not understand the implication of the word Achyutha.
hat is why at the end he tells D bluntly that victory is
there where krishna is there. [Yatra yogeswara Krishno yatra partho dhanurdharaha
tatrashri vijayo bhutir dhruva neethir mathir mama]

yavad etan nirikse-'ham yoddhu-kaman avasthitan
kair maya saha yoddhavyam asmin rana-samudyame

[Kaurava side had 11 Akshouhinies of army and Pandava had 7 Akshouhinies. One
Akshouhiny consists of thousands of elephants,
thousands of horses, thousands of chariots and lahs of infantry] Arjuna has said
in previous sloka that he wants to chariot to be placed
in between the two armies.
Here, he is saying, he wants to see who he is going to fight against i.e who is
ready to fight against him(Virodhi). He wants to chariot to
placed in such a position to see as much of his position. Then he says, he also
wants to see who is on his side in this battle.

Unlike Dasaratha, we should not be hasty in making major decisions in haste, just
because we are happy or feeling temporarily excited;
On the same hand, we shouldn't feel distraught or paranoid and take major
decisions, just because we are feeling sad temporarily.

In all avtaaras, Lord is consistent in obeying his devotees orders, pleas,
requests etc. e.g. in Nrusimha avataara, he immediately came
out of a pillar in response to Prahalad's belief that he is there! ; In Gajendara
moksham, he came in an instant to Gajendra's plea;
In Rama avtaara, he went to Forest on his father's command and he killed tataka to
keep his father's word; In Krishna avtaara, he obeyed
his devotee's command as a charioter. We have a lesson here, to obey parents,
elders etc. We get their Ashirwadam(blessings)
and also please them. Our current lives are full of anxiety and responsibilities
, because of the independent streak and lifestyle, we
have embraced and moving away from elders.


yotsya-maanan avekse-aham ! ya ete-tra samagatah
dhartarastrasya durbuddher ! yuddhe priya-cikirsavah!

Arjuna further tells Sri Krishna " I want to see who all have assembled desirous
of helping the evil minded Duryodhana"

Priyam - is something which i like; Hitam - is something which is actually
beneficial to me. Generally, both of this do not go together.
What we like, is not necessarily beneficial. What is beneficial, is something
we generally do not like. For e.g. in eating, bitter gourd,
neem etc is good for health, but we generally do not like it. Junk foods are not
good for health, but many take it. Similarly, truth is
generally bitter, but is good for one's welfare. But, to please others, we
generally end up telling false things. Is their anything which
is beneficial(hitam) as well as something which we can like immediately(priyam)?
Yes, the Lord's and acharyan's darshan and teachings.
It's good to hear as well as beneficial. Both the Lord and the poorvacharyas
package what they say in a pleasing way . For e.g. there
is a saying "Satyam Bruyatu, Priyam Bruyatu, Nah bruyatu satyam apriyam" i.e
say truth which is pleasing to hear or packaged in a
pleasing way, don't say something which can be hurtful. Many of us try to keep
away from guiding friends or relatives when they are
going the wrong way and think it's not our business or even if we tell them,
they won't care. That's a wrong approach. It's our duty
to give them the right guidance. Whether they accept it or not is immaterial.
For e.g. Prahalad tried to show his father Hiranyakasipu
the right way that Lord Narayana is the supreme. He didn't hestitate thinking
that he is under his father's tutelage etc. Similarly,
Vibheeshana tried to show Ravana the right way and attempted to desist him from
going in the wrong path, even though it meant being
banished from the kingdom. Atleast he tried. So, we need to tell the right
things which is beneficial, if it is pleasing , great, even if it
is not pleasing, we still need to say it, to deter our friends and near ones to go
the wrong path. We should not resort to flattering or
be like many who egg people on to their destruction and watch them get destroyed
with glee. "Vaktah Srotah durlabah"
Nammazhwar sang "Sonnaal Virodham idu, Aaagilum sollavan kelminoh..." i.e if he
tells it, we will not like it, but it's still his duty to say.

sanjaya uvaca
evam ukto hrsikeso! gudakesena bharata!
senayor ubhayor madhye ! sthapa-yitva, rathottathe mam!

Arjuna has been referred to as Dhananjaya, Partha, Bharatha, Kaunteya ;
here he is referred to as Gudakesa. When there is a thunder, small kids are told
to say,
Arjuna, palguna, parthiba, vijaya, Jaya-vijaya etc which are names of Arjuna and

Gudakesa - One who won over sleep. Sleep is not easy to conquer! Why do we
sleep? It's a natural requirement to rest and refresh our sense organs and feel
rejuventaed. There are three stages of sleep - Jaagratha(when organs and mind is
awake); next stage is "Swapadasa" (organs are asleep, but mind is awake and
next stage is "Susupti" (when organs and mind is asleep). Arjuna has
conquered sleep, he could referesh his organs etc by dhyanam and yogam. Sanjaya
is refered
to as Gudakesa here specifically to denote how great he is. He is somebody who is
special, he conquered Sleep, which none of us can; Not only that, he had
his senses so much that, when even apsara beauties like Rambha, Urvasi etc come
before him, he used to bow to them and look at them as his mother.

Sanjaya mentions the name gudakesa for Arjuna. Guda means sleep and Arjuna was
endowed with the skill of conquering sleep. All of us require sleep to recharge
our organs ,
whereas Arjuna could get that refreshness without a sleep. Our sleep stage is
charachterised in 3 stages. he first one is Awakened or jagrath stage when all our
organs and
mind [mind is considered as an organ]are active. Next is swapna stage when all our
physical orgns are inactive but mind is active. Finally the sushumna stage when
even the
mind is inactive. By practicing yoga at his will Arjuna could give rest to all
these organs and be afresh always. Here it is to denote that such an extraordinary
man is asking
Sri Krishna. After parking the chariot Sri Krishna is going to talk now and that
will contiue in the next sloka.

It's very beneficial to gain control over sleep. Shedding Rajo and tamo guna (by
adopting right lifestyle) would atleast help us in avoding sleep in situations
where we should not

(KooratAzhwan : SrivatsaChinna Misrebhya, NamUkthim yadhi mahey, Yadh Uktaya
trayi Kante, Yaanti Mangala Sootradham. KooratAzhwan was a great disciple of
Ramanuja. What is the connection between KooratAzhwan and BG?? He was a living
example of living the tenets of Gita! Many of us just read the BG and the tenets
which Krishna has said, but when it comes to understanding and living it truly,
we fall short. But, Kooratazhwan was unlike it. He lived like the way Krisha
Not caring about profit or loss, being equaniminous in joy or sorrow, taking
guidance from his acharya and learning, not being involved in material gains etc.
should be an example for all of us! Also, in context of above sloka, Kooratazhwan
was a light sleeper, similar to Ramanuja!.)

bhisma-drona-pramukhatah sarvesam ca mahi-ksitam
uvaca partha pasya-etan samavetan kurun iti

Krishna took the chariot and stopped it between the two army formations in front
of Bhishma and Drona and told to Arjuna (as Paarta) to look at them (with
intention to fight
and defeat!). But, where did he stop the chariot and why?? There are various
intrepretations to this sloka.
Arjuna ordered Sri Krishna only to park the vehicle between the two armies but He
stationed it in front of Bheeshma and Drona. There are several interpretations
One is He brought the chariot in front of Bheeshma, Drona and also all others.
Another is that since Bheeshma and Drona were in command He positioned the vehicle
front of them. Yet another interpretation is that since the Lord knows what is
going to happen and He has to deliver a great lecture of more than 600 slokas, He
should create
an oportunity for that. If He had parked the chariot in front of Duryodana or
Duschasana or Karna, perhaps Arjuna's anger will be roused and he would have
started the fight and we would have missed the Gita. Now after seeing grandfather
and his teacher he will think as to why fight and Sri Krishna will start the
lecture.Yet another
is that the Lord gives one more opportunity for Bheeshma to cancel the war and
stand by dharma. Bhishma, despite being a great gnaani, had been a mute witness
the disrobing of Draupadi in the court. This was a great mistake on his part. He
reasoned that Draupadi was lost in the dice battle and so it was the Kauravas
to do as they wish and he could not interfere. This was a tragic mistake from
Bhishma. When the Kauravas tried to disgrace females in general and Draupati in
Bheeshma as a true learned person [gyani] should have gone to the extent of taking
the sword and beheading all these wicked persons.

Also, why does it say "Bhishma-Drona", instead of "Drona-Bhishma" ?? Drona is a
great exponent of Archery, but Bhishma is a bramacharya, great gnaani, great
archer and
grand sire of Kauravas, hence the order.
Krishna is here acting under the direction of his Bhakta Arjuna! This is a
fascinating and insightful thing, one needs to understand. Normally, in life, we
see us shirking from
the role of being "adimai" (under the direction) from others. For e.g. with lot
of feminism etc, there is talk about why women should be under their husbands and
they should
be "equal". or in office, a boss and his employees don't change roles. It's only
promotion and not reversal of roles which we see. And if the roles are reversed
between a
boss and his employee or a master and his servant, how would it turn out? most
likely chaos and confusion from both sides (resentment etc). Unlike this, in the
Lord's case,
if a bhakta is truly a bhakta (like Arjun), Krishna willingly becomes a "servant"
i.e somebody who listens and accepts his bhakta's wishes. Krishna demonstrates
that in his
role of charioter here, willingly accepting Arjun's command. There are many such
instances in puranas, where this is displayed. For e.g. In Durvasa-Ambareesha
story in Bhagavatam, Durvasa lets a demon behind Ambareesha in anger for not
waiting on Dvadasi. the roles are reversed when the king is protected by
Sudarsana and
Durvasa has to fall at the feet of Ambareesha asking forgiveness.

tatrapasyat sthitan parthah pitrn atha pitamahan
acaryan matulan bhratrn putran pautran sakhims tatha
svasuran suhrdas caiva senayor ubhayor api

In the battlefield, on both sides, Arjuna saw his close and dear ones, his close
kith and kin, teachers etc. How come Arjuna is realizing
the relatives etc are participating in the war at this stage of the war? He should
have known it earlier too. Right? Not exactly.

We think, our relatives (close and kith kin) will always be our relatives, our
friends will be always our friends etc. But, it is not true.
The only eternal relation is that with the Lord (as Andal recites in Tiruppavai
"ettra kum Ezh Ezh Piravi kum.."). We need to consider
our relatives and friends as the devotees of the Lord and our relationship with
them should be based on that fact, rather than just bodily
relation (which is temporary). That way, we avoid disappointment, anger,
jealousy, resentment etc. While we should maintain
relationships with kith and kin, it should be like a water drop on a leaf (Padma
patra ivam bhasa), where the drop exists on the leaf,
but when disturbed it drops from the leaf, without spraying all over . Also, we
shouldn't expect anything much from the relatives.
Since Arjuna didn't have the above characteristics, hist attachment to his
relatives has made him weak and brought a great warrior
like him to this confusion.

tan samiksya sa kaunteyah sarvan bandhun avasthitan
krpaya parayavisto visidann idam abravit

When that Arjuna (Kunti putra -> Kaunteya) saw all his relatives in the
battlefield, he was overwhelmed with compassion and spoke thus.
Compassion is a very important trait. We may have lot of good characterisitics,
but without compassion it's meaningless. Even the
Lord who is all powerful, all knowing etc, has compassion(Karuna) has his most
important attribute. If lord has no compassion, we would
have been scared to approach him and he would have not tolerated our numerous
trespasses. Similarly, we also need to show
compassion to our fellow human beings, looking at them as the part and parcel of
the lord. Just as if one hand gets help from another hand
because all belong to same body we should help each other. This will happen only
when there is the quality of mercy. "Vaishnva Janato
tene kahiye! He peedah paradhi jaaney rey" is a well known song which exudes the
same emotion of compassion.

During Ramanuja's time there was another sanyasin disciple called Sri Embar. His
original name aws Govinda and was the cousin of
Ramanuja. Once he bathed in Cauvery and came out and on the bank he saw a snake
struggling because of a thorn stuck inits tongue. Embar out of pity removed the
thorn carefully and again took bath and returned to the math.
His sishyas asked why did he remove the thorn from the deadly snake and now you
have enabled it to start biting people and killing them. For
this his reply was did the snake put the poison on its teeth or is it God's
creation? Did it have the option to take birth as snake? It is the nature
of snakes and we can not see it suffering.

Though Arjuna was a great warrior and his prowess in archery was famous , yet
because he had that quality of mercy in him he was
overwhelmed with compassion at the sight of the relatives and freinds in the

arjuna uvaca
drstva-imam sva-janam krsna yuyutsum sam-upasthitam
sidanti mama gatrani mukham ca parisusyati

I am seeing(drstva-imam) my kith and kin (sva-janam) , not for a feast or
celebration, but have gathered (sam-upasthitham) for
war(yutusum), O krishna!. (Note: Arjuna is calling the Lord with the name of
Krishna. Krsna's meaning is one who gives joy to
the residents of earth).He addresses as Krishna and not by any other name now.
Krishna in sanskrit ,by splitting the word Krishi+, means
person who pleases earth. Krishi is farming or ploughing. By doing this we harvest
and live happily. So also Krishna makes those living on
this earth happy. Krishna also means dark blue or black which was the complexion
of Sri Krishna. Andal says in her Nachiyar Thirumozhi '
Kannan ennum karundeivam..' Since He is not appearing before her, out of disgust,
she says she wants to forget Him but she is unable to
forget the black colour.

Black is considered beautiful. A black cloud brings happiness as it will rain and
after exhausting its water content it turns white. So normally a
person with good compassion and sympathy is likened to a rain bearing black cloud.
Such a cloud does not rain for a particular section or
persons but for the entire area without any discrimination. So also good people do
not discriminate on the basis of caste or creed. So also
God is.

Arjuna is saddened by seeing his relatives gathered to fight. He says his body is
quivering, his mouth is drying . Arjuna is a great warrior, fearless about
anything. Even he is reduced to this sorry state, because of his compassion.
In Srimad Bhagavatham, Hiranyakashipu sends his son Prahlada to the guru for
learning.Next day the child refuses to go to guru and the
father thinks it is usual and fries to find what is the reason. he child replies
there is no problem in the school but the teacher says we should
hate devas and love only asuras. In the creation of Sriman Narayana how can we
hate anyone.Everyone is His child and we should love
each other. So compassion that all of us belong to same should be there. That's
why , despite numerous sins of Duryodhana, Arjuna
still feels compassion.

vepathus ca sarire me roma-harsas ca jayate
gandivam sramsate hastat! tvak-caiva pari-dahyate
na ca saknomy avasthatum ! bhramativa-ca me-manah
nimittani ca pasyami! viparitani kesava

My whole body is trembling, and my hair is standing on end. My bow Gandiva is
slipping from my hand, and my skin is burning.

Gandeevam comes from the word Gaandihi which means knot. The bow had many knots
for grip and so in spite of it with such a troubled
state of mind the bow was slipping from his hands. When one thinks of bow or
archery, immediately the names of Sri Rama,
SriParasurama, Bheeshma, Dronacharya, Arjuna and Karna come to mind as they were
all great archers. Such a hero feels that his bow is
slipping. The bow of Arjuna is not an ordinary one . It was gifted by Soma Deva
to Varuna who gifted it to Agni from whom Arjuna got it while
helping Agni in burning down the Kanteeva forest .

Normally, no warrior would that easily leave grip of his bow. In the Ramayana war,
Sri Rama destroys the chariot and horses of Ravana and
when Ravana stands only with a bow and arrows , Sri Rama breaks the bow and Ravana
feels highly humiliated. Similarly, Sri Parashurama
is humbled and He gifts away His Vishnu Dhanus to Sri Rama in acknowledgement of

Much earlier, Drona calls his sishyas Aswattama, Duryodana , Arjuna etc. when they
were boys learning archery from Drona, and asks them
to aim a bird sitting on a tree.Duryodana first comes and when he was about to
shoot, Drona stops and asks whether he saw the tree,
Duryodana says yes, and further he sees the bird, its feet etc. Drona asks him to
keep away and asks Aswattama, his son, what he saw
when aiming.Aswattama replies he saw only the bird and its feet etc. Drona asks
him also to keep away and finally comes to Arjuna and asks
him what he saw while aiming. Arjuna says he saw only the eye of the bird and
nothing else and Drona pats him as the superior hero as he
fully concentrates on the object and nothing else distracts. Such was the prowess
of Arjuna.

Arjuna has a name tavyataasi which means he can hold the bow in either hand and
fight and so quick that the enemy doesn't know from which hand the arrow would
come out and from which hand will it be shot from the bow. Such a person was
unable to hold the bow.

Arjuna, Bheema are great warriors, very strong and powerful. But that didn't mean
that Arjuna was ready to fight anybody , lacking
Much before the war began, Arjuna in some context makes a vow or sankalpam that he
may tolerate anyone if Arjuna is ridiculed but never
if his Gandeevam is made fun of and he will kill such a person whoever it may be.
After the war started and after a couple of days when
the Pandava army was destroyed by the other side and Yudhishtra is very much
annoyed and blames Arjuna that he was not up to mark
and ridicules Gandeevam. Arjuna became very furious and as per his pratigya he
wanted to kill his elder brother for making remarks about
his bow. Sri Krishna sees this and wanting to end the feud amicably, asks Arjuna
to address his elder brother with disrespect [like thum
instead of aap in hindi] and tells it is equivalent to killing. his is a sookshma
[subtle] Dharma that by disrespecting elders and great persons
one almost kills them.

Arjuna is suffering from Compassion towards an enemy who has betrayed him and is
arrayed before him in the battle. Normally, we
feel angry and venegful against those who cheated us, but here Arjuna does'nt
suffer from that feeling. On the contrary he feels
sad and compassionate and doesn't want to fight. Here, he says, he is seeing bad
omens around. Arjuna feels that it is mistrust
[ in Tamil it is nambikkai droham] and so his mind swirls and body trembles. This
happens to all when something contrary to our belief
happens. He notices some bad omens or signs ocuring heralding bad things are to
happen. The bad omens he is seeing is not about
defeat. He is sure about victory. THe "Viparita nimmitam" (bad omens) he is
seeing is towards his vamsam, people etc.

In Ramayana, Vibheeshana cautions Ravana saying that right from the time Ravana
abducted Sri Sita and imprisoned Her in Ashoka forest
he saw lots of ill omen indicating annhilation of the Rakshasa community and
advises his brother to release Sri Sita back to Sri Rama. So
noticing nature for such messages is good. In the recent tsunami havoc also
animals were able to know the disaster earlier and they
escaped to safer places while humanbeings failed to notice those indications, as
we are going awat from nature. This does not mean one
should lead a beast's life but we should try to respect mother nature and preserve
for our own benefits.

There is "Nimmita Sastram", "Svapna Sastram" in ancient texts, which gives clue
about bad omens and bad dreams, which we can
use for clues for illomen, natural disasters etc. Unusual howlings of fox or
anticlockwise circling by birds are all to be noticed to be cautious.
These should not be confused and we resort to everyting for such indications.

Also resorting to astrology for everything is bad. Astrology is a great science
and our ancestors have developed that as a science and we
are able to know eclipse etc accurately Jyotisam is one of the six angas of the
four vedas (Shiksha, Vyaakaranam, Chandaha, Jyotisam,
Niruktam, Kalpam). Jyotisam is a great science, which is accurate even today for
eclipses etc.It can be used for marriage horoscopes,
relief from ills etc. It has to be used leveraged selectively and for authorized
reasons. But refering to that for every small thing is irrational.
Ultimately, we should have belief in the holy feet of Lord.

Besides if lady becomes a widow we should not treat her so badly. We should
understand that it was not her fault that she lost her husband
and she like any sanyasin lives a secluded life and so she should be given the
same respects as we give to sanyasins. They also should be
invited to functions like anyone else. We tend to reject some stars as not
auspicious. How can in God's creations such discriminations be
possible. So all 27 nakshathrams are good and all the seven days of the week and
all kaalams are good, since they are all Lord's creations.

So, bottomline, "Nimmitam" (omens) is true, but trying to see "Viparita nimmitam,
sakunam" etc in everything, everywhere is foolish.

Kararavinde na padaravindam ! Mukharavinde viniveshayantam ! Vatasya patrasya pute
shayanam !Balam Mukundam manasa smarami!

I remember the infant Mukunda, Who sleeps inside a hollow Banyan leaf and Who by
His lotus-hands, is putting His lotus-feet in His lotus-mouth.

nimittani ca pasyami! viparitani kesava
na ca sreyo �nupasyami ! hatva sva-janam ahave

Kesavan -> One who has beautiful long flowing tresses.

Arjuna continues : Hey Keshava I do not see any good coming by killing my own
relatives. Hey Kesava! One who destroys Sorrow!
Please destroy this sorrow of mine.

Here he addresses Sri Krishna as Kesava. Kesava is an important name of the Lord
Sriman Narayana.Mere utterance of this name will
abolish all the sins one had accumulated. In a pasuram in Thiruvaimozhi while
adoring Sri Padmanabhaswamy of Thiruvananthapuram
Sri Nammalwar says 'kesava ena kedum idarellam..'.In this temple the Lord is
reclining on Anantha, the serpant. It is unique
here that the garba graha -sanctus sanctorum- has three doors. From the first we
can worship His Face, from the middle one His stomach
with the Lotus and from the third gate we can worship His feet. "Kedum IdarAya
ellam, kesava ena, naadum kodivinai seyum...", Azhwar
says that if we say Kesava once sincerely, all our sins will be cleansed (kedum
idarAya ellam).

Tirumangai Azhwar says "Naaney Naana vidah, Narakam pugum Paavam seydhen" i.e he
has commited so many sins that it would deserve
all types of hells!, "Nottren pal piravi" i.e he has taken so many births going
through this cycle of sins,

Thirumangai Alwar in a hymn praises the name Kesava saying it will wipe out all
the sins accumulated over so many births. For each type
of sin a particular hell or Narakh is indicated and the Alwar says that his sins
entitles him to all the types. But Yama, mere sight of whom is
so dreadful, comes and puts his hands on the shoulder of the Alwar and says could
you not mention even once the name of Sri Kesava
and avoided these.

That is Kesava means in sanskrit that which annihilates klesha or sorrow. (Kesava
Ena, IdarAya ellam kedum )

Kesava also means the person having curly, black and thick locks of hair on the
It also means He Who killed the demon Keshi who came in the disguise of a horse to
kill Sri BalaKrishna. (Kesi-Hantah)

Lord Parama Siva says Sri Narayana commands Bramha[ka] and Iswara, that is himself
[Isa] and so He is Kesava [ka+isa +va]
" Kaiti Brahamanoh Naamah, Isoham Saravah DehinAm , Aavan tavankey Sambhutam,
Tasmath Kesava naamavan "

TondaradiPodi Azhwar has sung in "Pachamaa malai pol meni ... ", that he would
prefer to be in Bhoolakam singing the Lord's numerous names such as "Achyuta,
Amararrey, ..", rather than going to Srivaikuntam. That is the beauty, power and
importance of Lord's names.
Even if we don't know the meaning of the names, it will still give benefit and
succor in reciting it. This is similar to a fire burning anybody
touching it, even if they don't know the meaning or power of fire. It's a natural

Arjuna indirectly is praying to end his present distress.

"Vede pourusham suktam, dharma shastre su manavam, bharathe bhagavat gita
puranesu ca vaishnavam,"
So goes a saying which means that of the so many branches and manthrams in Vedas,
it is Sri Purushsooktham the most important and
similarly in various Dharma shastras,it is Sri Manu shastram, in the 18 puranas it
is Sri Vishnu Puranam and in the thousands of slokas and
18 parvas with number of chapters in Mahabharatha, it is Bhagavat Gita ,

na kankse vijayam krishna na ca rajyam sukhani ca
kim no rajyena govinda kim bhogair jivitena va

If Arjuna doesn't fight, he will not be able to win over the kingdom and if he
cannot win kingdom, he will not be able to enjoy the luxuries
and glory of kingdom. Assuming this question, Arjuna responds that he is doesn't
want to have kingdom, happiness or glory, since
this would require him to kill his near and dear ones. And Arjuna also says,
what will he get with kingdom, or ruling it or enjoying it
on the funeral pyre of his dear ones.

This is a very striking point. Whenever we want to achieve something, we need to
understand "at the cost of what?" are we getting it and
consider whether it's really worth it. There are three types of categories in
which people
can be classified:
1) I need to enjoy at the cost of others!
2) I want to enjoy and let also others live
3) I want others to enjoy, even if i need to suffer.

There are three broad categories of people in this world. Some want to live at the
cost or destruction of others. Some others are there who
will let others live and they also live. There are few more who will not mind
their destruction to make others live. They are respectively bad,
average and good - in sanskrit adama, madyama and uthama -types.
Practically we can see in our lives examples of these types. A mother scorpion
gives birth to young ones .All these come out of the mother's
body by bursting the back of the mother, in the process the mother dies. They live
at the cost of their mother.

In the case of a cow we feed them and we get milk and both we and the cows live.
While the candle and sandalwood represent the third
category. While burning and giving us light, the candle gets destroyed. Similarly,
to provide fragrance, the sandalwood is destroyed. In fact it
provides the fragrance even to the sharp cutting edge of the axe as the sandalwood
is cut. Just as sandalwood is rare so also such good
people are rare to come across.

There are e.g. for each of the three above. For e.g. when we water plants, it
gives us fruits etc, when we give grass to cow, it gives
milk in return -> all this are in the second category; In the third category:
Agarbathi, Sandalwood etc burn themselves and give
us perfume, smoke. These are rare categories. In the First category:

Arjuna is in the third category. Despite suffering so much in pandava vanavasam,
insulted, humilated etc, he still has the DharmaChintanam,
and hesitates to kill his near and dear ones and is ready to give up kingdom etc,
for their benefit.

Another point is: We work so hard, spend so much time in earning etc. For what
purpose? Mostly it is for near and dear ones. Now,
if those near ones are no longer there, where is the incentive to the hard work ?

God has given us intelligence, sense to discriminate between what is good and
bad, in avoiding wrong type of company etc. We need
to cultivate good company and influence; we need to show the right type of
discrimination on how close to be with different people.

In the previous slokam, Arjuna asks what is the use of enjoying the kingdom, glory
etc, at the cost of killing his relatives etc. He addresses
Krishna as "Govinda!". Tondarpodi Azhwar sings in Tirumaalai "Moonru ezhu..
parangati Kandu konday. Pithanai ..". He says the Lord
is very keen on responding to us, just if we can recite his name. "Moonru Ezhtu
udaya peraal" -> Go-Vin-Da! Just by saying this three
syllables together, the Lord is ready to give us paramapadam. Tondarpodi Azhwar
says "Moonru Ezhtu udaya peraal" (i.e reciting
three syllables), he doesn't explicitly say "GoVinDa!".
Gaam Vindatiti iti Govinda -> One who protects Cows; One who Protects the

Arjuna calls "Govinda", because he seems to say, as Govinda, Krishna is protecting
the Earth, but here is telling Arjuna to kill the great
rulers in this earth! And as Govinda, Krishna protects Cows, but here he is
asking him to kill humans and that too great personalities
like Bheeshma , Drona etc.

yesham arthe kanksitam nah! rajyam bhogah sukhani ca
te ime �avasthita yuddhe! pranams tyaktva dhanani ca

Here, Arjuna says , if he gets kingdom, bhogam, sukham etc , it is for his his
near and dear ones! and now those very people are arrayed
before him and will meet their death. So, what is the use of fighting?
"Sareeram, Artha , Pranancha, tadh Guru voh nivediyEt" -> This Body has been
given to us by the Lord and we should not be selfish
to just use it for us; rather we should help others by making use of it. e.g
river, trees, cow etc give us their labor and not consume it
themselves. Arjuna says, the fruits of his labor are to his guru etc, but those
people will be gone and it's pointless to fight for it.

After all everyone struggles in life to keep not only himself happy but others
like spouse, children, parents etc. Mere money can not bring
happiness. If a person is give enough money asked to live alone in an island, he
would refuse and be prepared to be poor but be with his dear
ones. So Arjuna is confused how by killing his relatives he can live happily
without them.

acaryah pitarah putras tathaiva ca pitamahah
matulah svasurah pautrah yalah sambandhinas tatha
etan na hantum icchami ! ghnato �pi MADHUSUDANA!

This sloka can be considered as a response from Arjuna to a question from Krishna.
: "these people have come to kill you in the war,
so there is nothing wrong in fighting against them". Arjuna says "he sees
acharyas, relatives, sons, grandsons, grandfathers etc in
the war and even if they have come to kill him, it doesn't matter. He is not
going to fight or kill them". In DharmaSastra and even
in our present day laws, there is justification for defending & killing somebody
in self-defence in certain special situations.
e.g. when a women's modesty is in danger.

Even our own criminal laws permit killing a murderer in defence. In dharma
shastras also if
someone tries to poison or burn or tries to molest one's wife or grabs one's
property, in defence he can be killed without further enquiry. In
Pandava's case, Bhima was poisoned and thrown in the river by Duryodana and
company. In the wax bungalow [arakku maaligai] all
Pandavas were to be burnt alive and they escaped. The action on Draupathy was
attrocious. And, their kingdom was grabbed. So, Arjuna
can not be faulted if he kills these people arrayed against him. But he is full of
mercy and compassion (ghnato pi madhusudhana!).
Arjuna feels down and dejected. Typically, when we feel betrayed, sad, dejected
by close and near ones, there is a tendency to
feel desolate and lost and we lose intrest in everything.

Note: Krishna is addressed as Madhusudhana here! Madhu-sudhana :
One he killed (Sudhanan) the twin rakshas of (Madhu and Kaitabhar) :
Madhusudhana. Arjuna seems to be calling this name to
point out to Krishna that he is killing evil rakshas like Madhu,Kaitabhar and
gets name of Madhusudhana. He has not killed his gurus
like Sandipani , vishwamitra etc. He has done great deeds for gurus, but wants
him to kill his gurus!

Here an episode in Ramayana is worth remembering.Sri Rama on exile comes to
Chitrakoot along with Sri Sita and Sri Lakshmana.
Chitrakoota is on the border of present Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh and is a
lovely place. If one wants to enjoy nature and get relaxed
this is the place. During that time, Sri Rama and Sri Sita are sitting in the
hermitage. Sri Lakshmana is atop a tree and spots a huge army
and people approaching their hermitage and Sri Bharatha is leading them. He climbs
down and informs Sri Rama and accuses that while
Sri Bharatha's mother Kaikeyi merely drove Sri Rama out of the kingdom, Bharatha
was now coming to take away Sri Rama's life. For this
Sri Rama replies that Sri Bharatha will never do such a thing as He understood
him. But even for an argument He accepted
Sri Lakshmana's accusation, Bharatha need not kill Rama to retain the Kingdom for
ever, but a mere utterance of his intention will kill
Sri Rama. Such were the words of the Lord.

api trailokya-rajyasya ! hetoh kim nu mahi-krte
nihatya dhartarastran nah ka-pritih syaj JANARDHANA

Arjuna says " Even if he gets three worlds, what is the use, if he gets it by
killing Dhrtarashtra's sons! " i.e if somebody says, you will
get three worlds, by killing Dhrtarasthra's sons, i will still not do it, because
what's the use or point ! Arjuna says three worlds, so it's
obvious that he is absolutely not intrested for mere Indraprastra.

Note: Krishna is refered to as JANARDHANA here! Dhatu is "Ardha himsaa yaam" .
Ardha->Hinderance; Janam-People;
One who is hindering people is Janaradhana? No. Janardhana means destroyer of
people. Here ordinary public is not meant but those
people who give hinderance to His devotees. "Jani" in sanskrit means rebirth and
He destroys rebirth of those who surrender to Him,
due to this also He is Janardhana. Adi Sankara had sung "Punarapi Jananam
Punarapi Maranam, punarapi janani, jatarey sayanam"
i,e my cycle of death and birth is going on repeatedly O Lord! Sing the name
Govinda to get away from this cycle.

Here Arjuna seems to chide Krishna by calling him Janardhana , saying Krishna is
getting this title by helping his devotees by
getting them rid of rebirth cycle, helping devotees by destroying their
opposition, BUT he should kill his gurus and get a bad name?

Arjuna says "Kim nu Mahi krte?" - i.e why should i kill Dhrtrarashtra son's just
for the kingdom!

In Sri Rama avatara the Lord was full of compassion and mercy. In the Dasavatharam
sthothram, Swamy Sri Desikan aptly describes
Sri Rama with an adjective thus: Karuna Kakuthsa. The Rama Ravana battle was over
in seven days and after Ravana had been killed, all
devas [gods] appear before Sri Rama and Bramha says that their request has been
fulfilled and so Sri Rama could return to Sri Vaikuntam.
During that time Sri Rama requests Bramha to make alive all the monkeys who
sacrificed their lives for the sake of Sri Rama. Bramha
agrees and makes them alive. Turning to Vibheeshana , Sri Rama requests him to
bring the bodies of the killed rakshasas so that they can
also be brought alive. Unfortunately, Vibheeshana had ordered all the bodies to
be thrown into the ocean. Such was His compassion and so
Arjuna is wondering how He could expect Arjuna to kill these people.

papam eva-asrayed asman hatva-yetan Ata-tayinah!
tasman na-arha vayam hantum! dharta-rastran sa-bandhavan
"Sin will be earned by even if we kill these Atatayees. Therfore it is not proper
for us to kill these children of Dhridharashtra and other
relatives" continues Arjuna.

Atatayee is one who tries to kill others with poison, fire or abducts others
property and wives. Shastras permit to kill Atatayees without enquiry
and it will not be construed as papa [sin]. What is Paapam and What is Punyam?
We should know what are papa and punya.That by doing
which we will become happy is punya and that by doing which sorrow will surround
us is papa.So DharmaSastras, ancestors and great people have advised certain do-
s and certain don't-s .By doing do-s and not doing don't-s we acquire punya and by
not doing do-s and
doing don't-s papas are accumulated by us. For example do-s like speak truth,
respect mother and father have to be implicitly followed.
"Satyam Vara, Dharmam Cara etc" Stealing and telling untruths have to be avoided.
So by following our elders we can get punya.

But here Arjuna is not prepared to do even that permitted by shastras - killing
Athathyee and says he will incur sin, because worrld
will point to him that he has killed his close relatives. Also, now he says not
only he will not fight to kill them, all the five Pandavas
will not fight (the use of the word "vayam" refers to we).


yadya-pi ete na pasyanti ! lobho-upahata-cetasah
kula-ksaya-krtam dosam! mitra-drohe ca patakam

katham na jneyam asmabhih papad asman nivartitum
kula-ksaya-krtam dosam prapasy-adbhir janardana

"Oh! Janardhana! These people out of greed do not see the faults of destruction of
a family [ dynasty] and enmity among friends. But why should we, who can see the
crime of destroying a dynasty, should do these acts of sin"

In the greed for kingdom, they are overlooking two paapams, that of cheating
and betraying friends and doing Kula-Dosham.
If Duryodhana is doing this two sins in the greed for kingdom, why should
we(Arjuna and Pandavas) indulge in the same sins, when
we have full knowledge of the consqeuences i.e of cheating friends and doing Kula

Arjuna mentions two sins in the above slokas, which is due to "lobhO upahata" ->
Greed. Greed is a deadly weakness which drags
us in the wrong path. We should try to avoid being greedy, whether it is for
anything (wealth, education, material etc). Rather we
should try to share what we have for the benefit of others, rather than suffer
from greed and selfishness. Duryodhan was blinded by
greed and jealousy, which didn't allow him to see the effect of his actions.

One of the sins mentioned here is "Kula Dosham". Kulam is the family lineage.
Being born in a kulam, we have certain obligations and
duties to it. For e.g. Krishna was born in Yadu kulam (Yadava dynasty) to save
it from peridition due to Yayati's curse; Rama was
born in Bharata-Kulam. Arjuna is worried that if he slays Duryodhana etc , he
will be contributing to the ruin of his kulam (kula ksaya krtam
dosam). On the same note, even if we don't ruin the kulam by direct actions, by
neglect and selfish individuality we still contribute to
kula dosham. For e.g. people deciding not to marry or don't have kids etc are
selfish actions which contribute to Kula Dosham.
In vedic system, Grhuasta stage is considered very important and foundation of
the society. It is on Gruhastas's, Brahmacharya
and Sanyasis depend for sustenance. And Krishna himself gave a great example of
preserving kulam, by sparing HiryanyaKasipu's
kulam in Nrusimha Avataar . He had given a vow to Prahalad that he will not harm
anybody in his kulam, knowing the importance
of Kulam. We should note that, by ignoring our own Kulam and not following
responsibilities like having kids, or not marrying etc, we still end up doing
dosham to our own kula (even though we are not actively killing or going to war
with others, like Duryodhana). Many folks think they will not marry or have kids
or escape the responsibilities of "gruhastra". This is wrong and is "Kula Dosham".
We shouldn't point out to Bheeshma, Hanuman, PillaiLokacharya etc, because
those were great souls who had constraints and had lived for the greater good.
Brahmacharyas and Sanyasis of the society depend on Gruhastas.

The second sin is "Mitra Droham", i.e. betraying friends. Mitaat trayate iti
Mitrahah. One he saves from distress is a friend (mitra). It's one who helps
during distress
and not somebody who uses false praise to get his work done and then leaves.
Arjuna says that, in Duryodhan's side,there are lot of his friends and they don't
that Arjuna will kill them. If he does so, by going ahead with the war, he will
be subject to Mitra Droham Paapam. Krishna himself is a paragon of great
friendship, as incidents
in Ramayana attest to. (Friendship with Guha, Sugriva, Vibhishan etc). Yet
another incidence from Ramayana is when Sri Vibheeshana comes to the shores of the
ocean [at
Thiruppullani, near Rameswaram] to surrender to Sri Rama. At that time Sugreeva
and other monkeys caution saying Vibheeshana is coming in the guise of a friend
from their
enemy Ravana and so Sri Rama should not accept him. Sri Rama replies them that
even if Vibheeshana pretends to be a friend [ mitra bhave�that is even such
He will accept him. This is also another example as to how one should regard a
"mitra bhAvena samprAptam na tya-jeyam katha'n-cana |. dosho yadyapi tasya syAt !
satAm etat agarhitam ||. "(yuddha. 18.3).

Janardhana -> Krishna is addressed as Janardhana in this slokam. The name
Janardana is composed of two parts - 'jana' meaning the veil of ignorance (avidya)
and 'ardana' meaning the one who annihilates it.

kula-ksaye pranasyanti ! kula-dharmah sanatanah!
dharme naste kulam krtsnam ! adharmo abhibhavat-y uta

Arjuna seems to respond to the question on "what is the connection between
Destruction of Kulam and rise of Adharma?". Arjuna says , if Kulam is destroyed,
the dharmas
associated with that kulam will be lost forever and Adharma will rise. "With the
annihilation of a dynasty , the kula or family traditions are destroyed and this
will give raise to
adharma or sins flourishing [ and thereby the reduction of entire mankind]"

Every kulam (Kshatriya, Brahmin, Potter, Weaver or Kula dharmam like - Doing
charity, Helping needy etc) has a dharma associated with it. "Dhara ti ti
We should not give up our Kula Dharma, irrespective of how much we study, earn or
where we live. We hear stories of lot of old trades being lost forever, because
are giving up their kula dharmam.
Arjuna tells the importance of preserving one's family tradition and customs.
Every family or dynasty has a unique good deeds or customs. Some families ensure
that they
always feed the poor or annadhana.Some are in the habit of digging wells for the
village or community. Some impart education and so on. If a family is destroyed it
stoppage of such good deeds for the community. It is therefore, necessary that
every community preserve and continue good deeds for the welfare of the society.
Even if we
do not know the family tradition for doing good deeds we can start one and
continue by involving our children and their children.

An incidence from Srimad Ramayana can be recalled here. Sri Vibheeshana comes to
Sri Rama who has camped at the shores of the ocean. A debate arises as to whether
Sri Rama should accept him or not. Sugreeva the monkey king opposes acceptance of
Vibheeshana. At that time Sri Rama tells Sugreeva that as per His dynasty -Sri
kula- customs anyone surrendering is accepted and He narrates how one of His
ancestors, emperor Sibi, gave asylum to a pigeon chased by a vulture and finally
to appease
the vulture, he cut off his own flesh and saved the pigeon. Sri Rama also narrates
another story of an ape, thereby indicating that Sugreeva, also an ape, was
forgetting what
his ancestors followed.

adharma abhibhavat krishna pradusyanti kula-striyah!
strisu dustasu varsneya ! jayate varna-sankarah!
sankaro narakaya-iva! kula-ghnanam kulasya ca

Arjuna continues " When Adharma reigns, the women of the society lose respect and
go astray. One of the first signs of adharma in society is the behavior of women
society and how they are treated in the society. How insightful! and if the
women go astray, the varnas get polluted and mixed. There will be no order in
With this pollution and mixing of varnas, everybody forgets their responsibility
and the society goes into hell.".

What is the connection between Adharma and women going astray? THis shows that
Women have a great responsbility and role in the society. Women have
for house (housewife, housemaker etc). Today women work outside also. A woman who
is a mere housewife or homemaker can not say she is idling in the house. Because,
administering the house affairs and bringing up children are all done by the women
only and these can not be done by the males as efficiently. Right from dawn to
dusk her work
is full and if a man gets acolades for his work means his woman or wife is
responsible for that and so it is no surprise for the popular saying the behind
every succesful man
there is a woman. Without the proper functioning of the women no man can boast of
any achievement.

The moral is that if women do not cooperate men are likely to commit mistakes. So
a society can be upright only by the behaviour of its women. Arjuna does not care
deterioration of the men, because it can be corrected. But if women are degraded
it is impossible to set things right. In tamil we hear thai pasam but never
thanthai pasam.

Kulam -> Kula Dharmam destroyed -> Adharma raises -> Women go astray -> Varnas
gets mixed (Chain reaction).

sankaro narakaya-iva! kula-ghnanam kulasya ca
kula-ghnanam kulasya ca
patanti pitaro hy esam ! lupta-pindodaka-kriyah

Arjuna continues:
�With the destruction of the dynasty, the deceased forefathers will not get the
water and cooked rice offered in annual ceremonies and so
they will fall from their position in Pithruloka upside down �

Here Arjuna says that since the forefathers are same for Duryodana and Pandavas,
by fighting and killing the forefathers will be deprived of
the rituals. Thus the need for doing one�s duties to one�s forefathers is
emphasized here. Doing such rituals for one�s deceased parents,
grand parents and further is very important. These deceased persons or Pithrus
derive satisfaction when their prodigies perform the
specified ceremonies according to the custom of the families and so they bless
them with happiness and prosperity. Alwar also says that
such persons who perform their duties to their pithru get all happiness here in
this world and in the upper worlds. One may wonder as how
the udaka or the water and the pinda or the cooked rice made into a ball, offered
in these ceremonies can satisfy the deceased person who
is not seen but is assumed to be somewhere. This does not appear to fit into this
21st century, one may ponder. Some call these as
irrational or foolish beliefs. Es, we should not do irrational things. But if we
do not misinterpret the Vedas and do as prescribed in the
shastras they will not be irrational. Annual or monthly ceremonies or those
prescribed during Amavasya or done at Gaya or Badari or remembering
our ancestors and bathing in sacred rivers are all prescribed by shastras. So the
pithru or ancestors appreciate anyone doing these. We need not think
that the water and the rice are going to them God only watches whether we are
following His instructions.
We should have the discipline to follow the shastras strictly, which will please
the Lord.

One incidence in Mahabharatha will make this clear. Bheeshma as well known was a
great person who performed all rituals as prescribed in shastras. His father
was Santhanu and when Santhanu was alive to please him to marry the boat man; �s
daughter Matsyagandhi, he forsake the right to kingdom and also to avoid any
of his successors claiming the kingdom, he made a oath not to get married and
thereby getting the name Bheeshma. Naturally, the affection of his father was very
great. After Santhanu�s death, when Bheeshma performed the rituals such prescribed
in shastras, the deceased father wanted to take the pindam directly from
Bheeshma to show his great affection and love. So during the ritual when the pinda
was offered Santhanu�s hand emerged from the ground to accept the offerings.
But as per the shastras the offerings are to be made to the ground only- bhoomena
dattena pindena- and so Bheeshma refused to directly offer in the hands of his
deceased father. So learned scholars and our ancestors were following what was
ordered in the shastras as that would please the God and if He is pleased we
will lead a peaceful and happy life. So Arjuna refuses to deviate from the paths
of elders by killing and destroying the dynasty.

dosair etaih kula-ghnanam ! varna-sankara-karakaih
utsad-yante jati-dharmah ! kula-dharmas ca sasvatah

Arjuna continues, " With this sins which result in mixing of varnas and
destroying their kula and it's kula-dharma; The Jati dharma and Kula dharma gets
destroyed (utsad-yante!).".

Here a thought may arise that shouldn't Jati and Kula (Caste) exist, based on what
Arjuna is fearing. THe key thing is, one has to preserve the dharma of
a kula and Jati.

All the castes have emanated from the God and it is not one is superior or
inferior to another. Every organ of the same body has distinct functions but it
cannot be
said one organ is superior to other. Just like all the fingers of one�s hand are
different in size and have different functions and at the same time all are equal
functioning of the hand as a whole. Differentiation is inevitable but
discrimination should not be there. All should be considered equal without at the
same time not
forgetting one�s work in the society. The traditional dharma should not be allowed
to perish. But Arjuna fears this will happen if the Kula is destroyed.

Differentiation is inevitable anywhere, but we shouldn't Discriminate! There are
so many varieties in life - language, place, customs etc and that's nature
of the world. We can't make it uniform. But, we should'nt discriminate. From
Varna and Kula perspective, it's important that one should not give up his
family, traditional duties and customs.

TirukannaPuram, TirukkanaMangai, TiruKovalur, Tirukanankudi, Kapistalam - Five
Krishna Kshetras.

utsanna-kula-dharmanam! manushyanam janardana
narake niyatam vasah! bhavati-ty anu-susruma

Arjuna addresses Krishna as "Janaradana" - One who destroys the death-birth cycle
of people. He says krishna who is Janardhana, is telling him to do which
is going to entrap him in birth-death lifecycle forever. Vedas and elders say
that those who are responsible for destruction of one's kula dharma (or others
kula-dharma) surely find a place in hell.

One has to enjoy the fruits of one's punya(good deeds) and suffer the fruits of
paapam. There are two ways to get out of this - prayschittam and anutaapam.
Asking forgiveness or feeling remorse(regret). What is Narakam?
The person who does bad deeds can avoid hell by two ways � by Prayaschitha or
compensatory deed and by repentance. These are prescribed in the Vedas or
Holy Scriptures. If one does not do either of these then he has to undergo the
sufferings at the hell. Some believe the hell is another world ruled by lord Yama
some do not believe in another world called hell but in this life on this earth
itself such experience will be there. But it is to be understood whether one
believes in
another world of hell or not, those who commit sins have to undergo the sufferings
of hell. Whichever gives us pleasure it is swarga and whichever makes one to
suffer is naraka.

In Ramayana, there is a good episode where Sita holds forth on what is heaven and
what is hell. It varies from person to person, as per their perception.
"Yasvaya sahasah swargah..." .

She asks what is heaven and which is hell. Sri Rama being the disciple of Vasishta
gives a detailed explanation of the two. Heaven is the third upper world. This
earth being first and Bhuva loka or world is the second and Suva loka is the third
ruled by Indra, where happiness and pleasures are abound. Hell is the opposite
with all sorts of hardships like boiling oil, wild animals and insects trying to
harm. Those who do good deeds or punya go to heaven and those who do bad deeds or
papa reach hell. She laughed at this long explanation and told Him that He should
have answered Her question which is heaven and which is hell with a return query
� in whose perception?� Because the perception of hell and heaven changes from
person to person. What one considers as heaven may be hell to another and
vice versa. Also such experience can be felt here itself. An ordinary person may
think it is heaven if he could get food daily for him and his family. A laborer
think that if his health is maintained, so that he is able to earn, is heavenly
experience. A devotee may consider it heaven if he is always thinking of God and
hell if
this thought is broken. A lecturer like me or a musician may consider it heaven if
the throat is well maintained. So according to perception the heaven and hell
changes. Sri Sita continues and tells Sri Rama that for Her parting Sri Rama is
hell and being with Him is heaven. If She were deserted and left in Ayodya, the
same will prove to be hell for Her. On the other hand if She accompanies Him, even
the frightening forests would be heaven.

So it is not necessary for anyone to search for hell or heaven as they are
available here itself. If the desired things are done it is heaven if not hell.
Arjuna feels
that by destroying a family he is bound to suffer here itself or in another world,

Here one may ask why not Arjuna do prayaschitha after the fight. Prayaschitha is
prescribed for every bad act and it varies if the bad action was done by thought
or words or physically. We should note prayaschitha or compensatory deed couldn�t
be the remedy always. This is because just as exceptions cannot be the rule,
one cannot be doing all sinful deeds and do prayaschitham as compensation.
Especially when a sin or wrong deed is done with full knowledge prayaschitham
loses its meaning. So Arjuna feels that by committing this sin his conscience will
not permit him to do prayaschitham. Repentance also is no solution as he is
committing this sin knowingly. Here one should note that if we commit a sin to God
we could seek His pardon. But if we do anything wrong to His devotees,
He will not pardon if we approach Him but we will have to seek the pardon of His
devotees only. So one has to be very careful when dealing with His devotees.
Arjuna fears that in this war he may hurt some such devotees and so he neither
wants to go to hell nor want to have that hellish experience here itself.

aho-batah mahat papam ! kartum vyavasita vayam
yad rajya-sukha-lobhena ! hantum sva-janam udyatah

Arjuna continues "Oh! i am about to commit a great sin(mahat Papam) in the greed
for Kingdom,pleasure,gain(Rajya-sukha-lobena), ready to kill my
own people". This is a response to a question from Krishna. Even though there
is no question directly shown here from Krishna, we have to presume that
Arjuna is responding to a question, from what he is saying. Krishna is assumedly
asking Arjuna - "why he is worried and backing off now from the war, when
he had already commited to the war and is in the battlefield?". Arjuna is
responding here, that he had already done a great sin in the past, by gambling his
wife, kingdom etc in haste. Now, he doesn't want to repeat the same mistake
again. He has realized his "mistake" late and however late it may be, he can
still correct it, that's why he wants to back off from the great sin. This is
a good logic. We can always back off from going the wrong path. It's never too
It's like putting money on a bad investment and expecting that it will fetch
returns, rather than backing off at some time!

Arjuna calls his sin as "Mahat-Paapam". He says, Kauravas have commited sins like
insulting draupadi, trying to burn them etc.. but, what he is about to do
is "Mahat-Paapam", in killing the whole kulam.

�What a pity! We are attempting to destroy our kith and kin and incur great sin,
just because of our greed for kingdom.� Here we have to guess that Sri Krishna
asked a question and Arjuna�s words appear as reply to that question. Sri Krishna
seems to have asked Arjuna that at this late stage when the fight is to begin and
when all kings with their troops have assembled, he is trying to backtrack or
retreat. Should not this wisdom dawned on him much earlier? Arjuna replies that
already he has been burdened with one sin or papa and he is unable to find means
to invalidate that and so how he could be brought to commit yet another sin? The
earlier sin was when they played the gambling game, the kingdom and Droupathy were
staked, which act was a great sin. So even at this very late stage at least Arjuna
wants to make a retreat and escape from committing another sin. If one realizes
that one is doing a wrong deed or adharma, the usual logic that one should not
retreat after a forward step will not be applicable and at any time one should
desist from doing adharma. Only in performing good deeds or dharma and in doing
auspicious functions one should not retreat after launch. It is illogical to say
we should continue with our efforts even if we realize the effort is wrong. Even
in business one does not invest if one realizes the investment is bad or the
product could not be marketed. Such continuance in business parlance is good money
after bad money.

Again Sri Krishna seems to ask Arjuna how he could consider this [fighting] as
sin, when Arjuna is only taking revenge for the sins like cheating and grabbing
their kingdom and humiliating Draupathy. For this Arjuna replies that it is a pity
that they are to destroy the dynasty for the sins committed by them [Kauravas] It
is sin even to think of bad deeds [like killing kith and kin]. It is worse to
discuss ways to do that and is worst to actually act. At least if this is for a
good cause one could agree to do a sin. In Ramayana, Sri Rama accompanies sage
Viswamitra to the forest. There, demon Thataka appears with a frightening figure.
Thirumangai Alwar describes so and says that the same Lord is at Thirukkannapuram.
This kshetram finds in the hymns of five Alwars viz Nammawar, Thirumangai Alwar,
Periyalwar, Andal and Kulasekhara Alwar. Sri Rama had gone to protect the yagna
being performed by Viswamitra. At that time Thataka appears and Sri Rama is
hesitant to kill her as she is a woman and killing woman is considered a sin. The
sage advises Sri Rama that she was a demon harming all people and so killing her
cannot be construed as papa. Here if the result is for a good cause even a sin or
papa could be performed. Of course here one has to follow the advise of elders to
decide which is good cause or otherwise. But Arjuna feels that here they are to
get back only the kingdom for their pleasure and so killing their relatives and
friends is a great sin.

Another example from Ramayana for knowing good and bad deeds: Hanuman goes to
Lanka and after meeting Sri Sita and obtaining the choodamani [jewel for
decorating head] he should have returned. Instead he wanted to see Ravana and
understand his strength and so he destroyed the Ashoka gardens, killed Akshay
Kumar [son of Ravana] and other commanders. Finally as though he was defeated he
acted to get bonded by Indrajit [another son of Ravana] and was dragged in the
assembly hall of Ravana. Hanuman advised Ravana to let off Sita as otherwise once
Sri Rama decides to kill Ravana, no one be it Brahma or Shiva or Indra could save
him. Ravana is furious that a monkey should advise him and orders the monkey be
killed. Vibheeshana tells Ravana that it is sin to kill an ambassador and since
Hanuman had declared him as an ambassador of Sri Rama, Ravana should not get
Hanuman killed. Ravana retorts that if Hanuman had come as an ambassador and did
only such functions he could pardon him but the monkey had destroyed property and
killed his son and commanders. So he maintained that it was in order to kill
Hanuman. Vibheeshana insists that despite all the accusations against Hanuman, it
was a great sin to kill ambassadors and so inflicting an injury like deforming the
tail of the monkey could be a punishment. Here it has to be noted that in return
for the misdeeds of Hanuman, Ravana was advised not to commit a greater sin of
killing an ambassador. Therefore, Arjuna concludes that in return for the sins
committed by Kauravas he cannot be induced to kill relatives and friends and
commit a greater sin. He is of the opinion that gaining back the kingdom is for
the Pandavas� pleasure at the cost of destruction of all relatives and friends.
This is a noble thought that one should not desire to have comforts and pleasure
ignoring others discomforts or requirements.

yadi maam apratikaram ashastram shastra-panayah
dhartarastra rane-hanyus tan-mey kshema-taram bhavet

Again guessing a query from Sri Krishna that even though Arjuna may not be willing
to fight, but the others here may not stop the war and fight and perhaps kill
Arjuna, how could he avoid that? As though a reply to that Arjuna tells in the
46th sloka: �Even if the armed sons of Dhridhrashtra were to kill me, unarmed and
unresisting, in this battle field, it will be better for me� It is not out of fear
Arjuna utters these words that he will not even resist or return the blows he is
to suffer
in the battle; but out of shear mercy. Arjuna unlike Duryodana who in the
beginning expressed his panic and doubt at the sight of the great warriors on the
Pandavas� side, is quite confident of winning the war. Besides, Sri Hanuman as
flag on his chariot and Sri Krishna, the Lord of the Universe as his charioteer,
Arjuna cannot have any doubts on his victory. With such confidence, his refusal to
fight is due to the fear that he will incur sin or papa by doing adharma.

hat is why he says that he would not resist and in order to do that he will drop
the bow and arrow and remain unarmed. This war also is like a havan or yagna. In
yagna there will be sacrificial fire or Agni and the sacred materials or havis
like ghee, curd etc. will be nearby. Using ladle or srakku the materials will be
offered into the fire. If the ladle was not there, how can one perform the yagna?
Similarly, Arjuna feels that by keeping away the arms, the fight can be halted.
Both the sides are greedy to have the kingdom and so if they kill Arjuna who wants
to remain passive and unarmed, it is going to get him greater kshemam or good.
According to him that if he were to fight and either he wins and gets back the
kingdom and the associated royal pleasures or he is killed in the fight and he
reaches heaven for following the Kshatriya and yuddha dharma, it will be only good
or kshemam. But better or kshematharam will be avoiding this great sin of killing
the kith and kin and not participate in the war and remain passive, even if he is

Kshemam (Good)- One which gives joy and benefit. Here, it is kshemam, if Arjuna
fights and wins or loses in the battle and getting veera swargam.
Kshema-taram (Better) - Arjuna feels it is Kshema-taram(better!), if doesn't
fight at all and avoid any killing.
Kshema-tamam (Best)

The essence of all the words spoken by Arjuna can be summarized as: Even when the
Almighty Sri Krishna is on his side, he would not commit this great sin of
killing relatives. Even if the regal pleasures were denied, he would not want to
see the sufferings of the near and dear ones. Thus in spite of Sri Krishna�s help
the possibility of others� mock at his valor, he does not want to commit this sin
of slaying relatives and friends. Hereafter Sanjaya will narrate [to
what happens next. Since this chapter deals with Arjuna�s perturbed mind it is
called Arjuna vishada yogam.
So, even if krishna is saying it, even if it is against his Kshatriy Dharmam, even
if he doesn't get the kingdom, even if he is killed, even if he the pandavas are
killed, even if his name and fame is lost - Arjuna says, he doesn't want to go
against dharmam and kill and his relatives and friends.

Every chapter has a name. The first chapter is called Arjuna Vishada yogam, since
Arjuna is perturbed and sad and speaks about it.

sanjaya uvaca
evam uktva arjunah sankhye rathopastha upavisat
visrjya sa-saram capam! soka-samvigna-manasah

In this slokam, Sanjaya tells the state of Arjuna. After telling his mental
plight and refusing to fight, Sanjaya [who by the grace of his guru was able to
visualize the happenings in the battlefield sitting at Hasthinapur] tells
Dhridharashtra � the perturbed Arjuna moving away from his position in the chariot
and with grief sat in the middle and threw away his bow and arrows�. Two things
are significant - he SAT down and THREW away his bows and arrows! This was the
great warrior

Arjuna at the eleventh hour just before the start of the war does this out of
shear dejection at the sight of the relatives and friends arrayed to start the
fight and kill
each other. Instead of keeping this dejection within himself, he tells his mind to
Sri Krishna. From this we should also learn that we should tell our problems to
someone near to us like to husband or wife or father or mother. This way one can
avoid misunderstanding and problems get solved by discussions. Even
in company's running, there is expectation from markets and shareholders for
transparency from management. This avoids trouble. Similarly, there should
be transparency and openess in expressing problems or issues or even good things
between relations, with the understanding that we are one family.
Arjuna did not care about others� mocking at him and compassion was upper most in
his mind and he brought out all these to Sri Krishna,

In the 5th slokam of Gitartha Sangraha, Swami Alanvandar summarizes the first
- Krishna gives upadesam to Paartha (arjuna). That arjuna who is showing mercy,
compassion, sneham to people who do not deserve it, who is confused
about Dharma and adharma.
Sri Krishna tutored the one who did not know where to be merciful, where to be
friendly and where to judge righteousness, that Partha. Using that Arjuna as
pretext Sri Krishna has delivered this precious Gita for the world. Last 46 slokas
have dealt how Arjuna was perturbed in the battlefield. We should note that it is
not that Kurukshetra alone is a battlefield. Every one of us is an Arjuna and the
world is a battlefield. Our battle may be health reasons or mental or due to
family or due to work conditions and we get perturbed. Like Arjuna everyone
possesses a skill may be in games or studies or arts etc. and so like him we also
get perturbed for various reasons. Only a person who is not affected by any of the
happenings in this world and that is Sri Krishna, Who created and protects this
world and Who is always doing good for everyone, can remove this.

Sri Parvathi asks Sri Parameshwara to tell her the greatness of Bhagawat Gita. In
a similar query on Sri Vishnu Sahasranamam, Sri Parameshwara replies that Sri Rama
name is equivalent to the thousand names of the Lord. Once Lord Sriman Narayana
was reclining and resting, when Thayar Sri Lakshmi asked Him as why unlike the
earlier times He is not active by descending on earth in various avatars, for
which He replied that after the Gita has been delivered to the world, Gita has
taken up the work of reforming and so He is resting. He added that the first five
chapters represent His five faces, the next ten chapters are His ten Arms, the
Stomach is the 16th chapter and His feet are the last two chapters. So Gita is the
Lord embodied.

Susharma was born in a noble family but was having bad habits and after his death,
he was born as a bull. Once this bull was hurt seriously and lay on the road
suffering. Passersby wanted to end the bull�s agony by donating the punya earned
by their good deeds, if any, so that the bull may die instantly and be relieved of
the sufferings. The bull did not die and continued to suffer. At that time a
prostitute passed by that side and she donated her punya if any to the bull and
the bull instantly died and the soul reached the hell. There he suffered for the
bad deeds of the past, but later he got a new birth and was able to do good things
and then reached better worlds. Here, he got the new birth and did good things
because of the punya gifted by the prostitute. How did such a bad woman earn punya
and gift it to Susharma? There was a parrot, which lived in a forest where a
number of sages were daily chanting the Bhagavat Gita and by constant listening it
picked up the first chapter. Later when this bird was with the prostitute it used
to utter the first chapter and by listening to that the prostitute got punya and
that enabled the soul of Susharma to gain a birth where he could do good deeds and
reach better worlds. This brings out the greatness of the first chapter.

Chapter2: (SANKYA YOGAM)

Summary of Chapter 2 is in Gitaartha Sangraha (sloka6)
In the second chapter (Dwitee yeh), it was said (Proktaa) , to remove Arjuna's
agony (tan moha-saantayeh), two things (Gocharaah)
- Nitya Atmaa, Asanga Karmehaa - i.e Atma is eternal and body is temporary
& We should do our Karma unattached (Asanga Karmeha) to either
the results or the feeling of "ownership". Repeat:
Two "YOGAS" - Karma Yogam and Jnaana Yogam are mentioned here (we will hear this
two terms repeatedly going forward).
"Sankhya YogaDhee" - Sankya-Dee and Yoga-Dee . "Dee means Buddhi".

Sankhya - Buddhi ;
Jeevatma -is known as Sankhyam because it's perceived by Buddhi.
Sankhya-Dee :The Atma which is known/perceived by Buddhi.
Yoga-Dee: Yoga is KarmaYogam here;
Since this Chapter2 details the nature of indestructibility of Atma , it is known
as Sankya Yogam.

Sthita-Dee Laksha : Sthita Pragnya. Gnaana Nishtai (true Knowledge). What is the
point and benefit in knowing the nature of Atma?
We will get 'Gnaana-Nishtai" (ultimate knowledge). By knowing the Atma is Nityam
and Body is temporary and all Atma's are same, we will be blessed with true
and real knowledge. It will help us realize what is important and not.

Atma is nityam, knowing and realizing this eternal truth, if we do Karma Yoga, we
will achieve Atma-Saaksatkaram and Sthitadee-Laksha.

Now, we will get a question. In first chapter, Arjuna is refusing to fight and is
sad. So, what is the connection between Jnaana-yogam, Karma Yogam and
Arjuna's misery? Krishna is going to the root cause of Arjuna's moham(delusion),
hence is doing "Proktaa tan moha-saantayeh" (telling about the two
things to shed Arjuna's delusion).

In this chapter it is emphasized that the soul or Atman is everlasting or nithyam.
While body in which the soul is there is perishable, atman does not perish.
To realize this atman one requires wisdom or budhhi as the usual sensual organs
like eyes, ears, mouth, etc cannot perceive it. In Sanskrit sankya means wisdom
or budhhi and so the atman or soul is called Saankyam. This chapter, because it
details about the eternalness of atman, is called Saankya yoga and the previous
chapter was called Arjuna vishada yoga. By understanding the Atman�s permanency
and by performing one�s duty with detachment to the results one gets the
wisdom about the Atman or one gets Gyana. This is an important step. If one gets
proper perception of Atman, one will not be able to differentiate between
various persons as all differences such as old or young, male or female,short or
tall, literate or illiterate, rich or poor, etc. are related to body only.
all souls or Atmas or equal is called Atman Saakshthkaram. This �seeing� or Atman
darisanam is very important in the next step of Gyana yoga. How the
baffled Arjuna is related to this realization of soul is all the second chapter.
Arjuna thinks that in the war he is going to kill his grand father and teacher and

others and Sri Krishna is going to tell how Arjuna cannot destroy the soul, by
diagnosing his problem in thinking, and suggesting proper remedy.

sanjaya uvaca
tam tatha kripaya-avistam asru-purna akule-iksanam
visidantam idam vakyam uvaca madhusudanah
This chapter starts with Sanjaya uvacha � Sanjaya speaks. In the last chapter when
the last 47th sloka also started with Sanjaya uvacha and again here also
same words. Why? Reason is it is the start of a new chapter and we should not
mistake this as again Sri Krishna or Arjuna is speaking; but Sanjaya is
continuing and so Sage Vyasa reminds that Sanjaya is speaking:

With Compassion, he was suffering (Kripaya avistam) and in tears(asru-purna) ,
akula (depressed) ,visidantam(lamenting) - To this suffering Arjuna,
Krishna (ala Madhusudanah) spoke as follows (in subsequent slokas).

One should be detached from everything i.e when one is separated from good things
etc, there should be no feeling of
dejection or sorrow. It should be considered as a "Iccha" of the Lord. So, being
overcome by compassion and that too for the
wrong reasons(i,e sympathy for wicked like Duryodhana etc) and wrong people was
wrong on the part of Arjuna.
Lord Madhusudhanah i.e Krishna is so called because he vaniqushed evil asuras
Madhu and Kaitabhara.
In us too, there are two asuras called Kaama and Krodha (attachment and Anger)
which are always alive and kicking and we
should surrender to the feet of the lord to vanquist these two deadly asuras
within us, just like Arjuna did.
In addition, we should shed two of the gunas (Rajas and Tamas) and develop within
us Sattva Gunam. THis is also referred
in the pasuram by Tirumangai Azhwar (Out of 3, shed 2 and develop 1). Incidentally
this series of pasurams is, where Azhwar
structures the pasurams in a Numeric progressive sequence.

Madhusoodana is used to denote Sri Krishna. Two demons Madhu and Kaitapa were
creating lots of hardships to all and they were killed by the Lord and got the
name Madhusoodana or Kaitapasoodana. The Lord has destroyed twins like Ravana-
Kumbakarna, Sisupala-Dhandhavaktra, Hiranya- Hiranyaksha, etc. Underlying these,it
is to be noted that the Lord is destroying someone also. They are Kama [the desire
after materials] and Krodha [the anger arising when the desire is not fulfilled].
It can also be Rajo guna [the mental state of anger and pride] or Thamo guna [the
mental state of ignorance or drowsy]. So Sri Krishna destroys these twin
evil qualities and so He is aptly addressed Madhusoodana. The three qualities,
which always are sticking to our character, are Satva, Rajo and Thamas behavior.
Satva quality induces clarity, enthusiasm and hard work. Rajo quality brings out
desire and the resultant anger and condemning others. Thamas quality gives raise
to drowsiness, sleepishness, ignorance and laziness. So it is necessary for us to
encourage Satva quality and destroy the other two evil qualities to maintain a
godly power in us. Sanjaya indicates this. Sri Krishna is going to destroy the
Rajo-Thamo qualities in Arjuna and cultivate the Satva quality in him. Thirumangai
Alwar in one of his six prabhandams [collections] viz Thiruezhukootrirukkai tells
this. This prabhandam is composed of numbers in ascending and descending order and
the lines are arranged like a chariot. He says that the two qualities are to be
cast aside and the one quality has to be nourished and maintained. So we should
avoid Rajo and Thamo qualities and cultivate Satva trait. Here Arjuna is described
as one obsessed by mercy or compassion. It is better for everyone to avoid being
obsessed by any quality good or bad. We should not cultivate, or attach ourselves
to, habits, which will make us addicts, or fanatic to them. Sri Krishna at the
time of His departure from this world told one of His ardent devotees, Uddhava,
that He was leaving for His eternal abode and Uddhava wondered how they could
remain without Him. Sri Krishna says that Uddhava should cast away his attachment
to Him and go to Gandhamana hills and do penance at Badarikashram. Uddhava
questions whether attachment to the Lord also should be stopped. Sri Krishna
replies that His advice should be adhered to without questioning.

After completing His exile to the forests Sri Rama returns to Ayodya and is
crowned the King. At that time He calls Lakshmana and tells him that He wants to
make him as His deputy [something akin to Prince of Wales or yuvaraj]. Lakshmana
flatly refuses and wants to remain as a servant to Sri Rama. Then Sri Rama called
Bharatha and told His intention to crown Bharatha as deputy. Bharatha said if that
was Sri Rama�s order he would accept it. Now if we examine the acts of both,
Lakshmana, though was having a noble trait, wanted to serve Sri Rama no matter
what Sri Rama wanted him to do. Whereas, Bharatha was totally detached and
considered to obey Sri Rama as the only objective. So one should obey the Lord and
not attach oneself to any other, however noble it is. That is why He is going to
correct Arjuna who is steadfast in having mercy at wrong circumstances, though
compassion is a noble trait. A surgeon cannot say that he is overcome by mercy and
so he will not operate on the patient. So it should be understood that it is wrong
to addict to be merciful.

sri-bhagavan uvaca
kutas tva kasmalam idam visame samupasthitam
anarya-justam asvargyam akirti-karam arjuna

� Arjuna! How these inferior thoughts have grabbed you. They do not fit higher
[thinking] persons nor lead to higher worlds nor bring fame�.

This is a SUPER Slokam of exhortation , where the Lord chides Arjuna for running
away from his true calling as a warrior.
THis is also a exhortation for all of us, to crush any sort of dejection and face
life bravely and cheerfully with getting drenched
in sorrow or misery. What is the reason for being dejected or being overcome with
sorrows? It's only the mentally weak
without any Aryan traits(AnArya Justam-Un Aryan traits) and one which does not
lead to Glory (Akirti karam) or heaven (Asvargyam) indulge in such
behaviour. Nowadays, there is lot of talk about depression, medicines for it
etc.. THis slokam is the best anti-depressant which comes right from
the Lord! This is not told in a soft vien, but in a forceful manner by Krishna to
Arjuna, like a commander rallying his troops.
(Visame Sam-Upasthitam -> in this hour of crisis , Arjuna is indulging in
depression over things which don't deserve it.).
(Kutas tva - Where from? Krishna is asking Arjuna, "where from" he has got this
depression at this moment!)
We should always maintain a positive and cheerful spirit and never fall prey to
depression. Imagine the difficulties Rama faced. Despite, all of it,
Rama maintained a steady composure and faced everything bravely. It's a lesson to
us to not whine about difficulties or feel depressed about it.
We should confront it bravely and dedicate ourselves to the Lord.

klaibyam ma sma gamah partha nah-etat-tvayy upa-padyate
ksudram hridaya-daurbalyam tyaktva-uttistha parantapa

"O son of Pritha! do not yield to this degrading impotence. It does not becoming
of you. Give up such petty weakness at heart and getup, Oh! destroyer
of the enemy."
This is a continuation of the exhortation from Krishna to Arjuna to shed his
misplaced angst and mental weakness.
Life is a blessing of the lord. There are people who consider suicide in face of
troubles, but this are misplaced grievances
which overlook the truth of life. Life has to be lived as a blessing of the lord
and nothing should deter one. Suicides due to
loss in love, exams, job etc are shortsighted. It doesn't befit one. Krishna
exhorts Arjuna to rise. And this is also a message
to us to raise above our mental weakness. Arjuna is a great warrior and this
depression doesn't befit him (na upa-padyateh). We are normally familiar with
a person's attitude and outlook. If a person is always laughing and positive and
suddenly looks sad, it invokes questions from onlookers. Or if somebody always
looks sad and is suddenly all smiles, it will invoke the same question from
people. Similarly, Arjuna is a great warrior and this depression is befitting.
The "hridaya-daurbalyam" (weakness of hrdyam- heart etc) is ksudram(pathetic).
Thinking weakly, capitulating to difficulties, having sucidal tedencies etc should
be destroyed. And if fall into this pits of depression, the Lord himself throws a
rope to help us out from this pit. This sloka should be a reminder for us to face
with braveness and cheerfulness.

Sri Krishna calls Arjuna, Paranthapa or one who creates fear in his enemies�
hearts. When Arjuna is on the chariot and takes his bow the enemies will
shiver out of fear. Is that Arjuna, who has to lead the army is perturbed? Then
how can he lead the army to victory? People want protection of them by
Arjuna and if he falters and sits with tears in his eyes and mind shaken. then who
is going to protect them? Sri Krishna asks him to get up. Any person
mentally weak could be encouraged to his self by these 2nd and 3rd slokas of 2nd
chapter. God�s advice rich in meaning has the power to wake up
anyone from gloom and depression and make him cheerful. Elders� advice can dispel
darkness and gloom.

Arjuna was addressed as "the son of Prtha," who happened to be the sister of
Krsna's father Vasudeva. Therefore Arjuna had a blood relationship with

arjuna uvaca
katham bhismam aham sankhye dronam ca madhusudana
isubhih pratiyots-yami puja-arhav ari-sudana

In the previous slokas, Krishna said that this attitude of Arjuna is not befitting
him, will not give him any repute or victory or glory and he needs to shed it.
depression is not like ordinary body pain, which can be cured with a balm etc.
It's something more deeper. So, Arjuna is still desolate and not convinced.
In ordinary life too, we see lot of depressed people- the school or college kids
commit suicide or go into depression due to scoring poorly in the exams, lovers
commit suicide due to loss of a their loved ones etc - these are all decisions
made out of depression and have no foundation.

Though Arjuna did not commit suicide, such dejection for the caliber of Arjuna is
equivalent to death. Out of mercy, Arjuna resorts to this decision to withdraw
from the war in spite of all encouragement from Sri Krishna. Now in the 4th
sloka he asks Sri Krishna:
�Arjuna said: Oh! Killer of enemies! Oh! Killer of Madhu! How can I attack with
arrows in battle Bhishma and Drona, who are worthy of my worship?�

He says, in this war (Sankhye), how (katham) can face Bhishma and Drona , how can
i attack them with Arrows (isubhih pratiyotsyami), they who are worthy of my
He addresses Krishna as Madhusudhana and AriSudhana, deliberately.

An important point to be noted is that how we are to behave towards our teachers
or gurus. Bheeshma and Drona are teachers for Arjuna and he has to worship them;
but now he is
asked to aim missiles at them. This is something, which Arjuna can never think of.
Here he is indirectly indicting Sri Krishna by addressing Him as Ari soodana and
Madhu soodana.
Ari means enemy and He kills the enemies and Madhu. Whereas He never attempted to
kill His teacher Sandheepani,and He got fame by killing only enemies, how could he
Arjuna to become notorious by killing his teachers? Arjuna regards the teachers
much superior to the words of advice of Sri Krishna. Who is greater- the teacher
or God? This is a
delicate question. Gold is superior to silver and so normally we regard the person
who donates gold to us as greater than the one who donated silver. Why do we
regard teacher
as great? Because he is the one who guides us to open our inner eyes to see the
reality of God, the Supreme Being. So by earlier analogy teacher is greater for
having made
us to realize the most important in life. But it is God�s design that we reach a
suitable teacher. Therefore from one angle teacher is greater and from another
side God is greater.
That is why there is a saying that there is no god above teacher. Sri Madurakavi
Alwar also reflects this in his � kanninun chiruthambu�. He says � thevu
matrariyen kurugur nambi��
He regards Sri Nammalwar, his guru as god unto him. God may not forgive one for
the sins committed; but the teacher not only ignores one�s sins but also guides
one in the vision
of the Supreme Being. Upanishad says � regard mother as god, regard father as god,
regard teacher as god, regard guests as god.� This is the confusion Arjuna is
in- whether to regard the advice of the God and act or whether to worship his
teachers and abandon the war. Before enrolling as a student, he was a barren land
and only
afterwards the teacher has cultivated him to such skills and so Arjuna is

Isn't Guru the greatest ? One's Guru is greater than God. So, how can one fight
or raise against one's own Guru ? This
is Arjuna's predicament. Guru and God are like Gold and silve. Gold is
greater/valuable than Silver , so we can consider Acharya is importan than God,
with this analogy.
But, look at it in a different way, the person who gifts Gold is greater than the
one who gives Silver, so the Lord who gifts us "gold-like" Acharya is important
than Acharya!.
If looked at either way, it seems puzzling on who is more important - one's
Acharya or God?? Remember, MadhuraKavi Azhwar who sang the glories of his
Acharya, Nammazhwar.

gurun-ahatva hi mahaa-anubhaavaan
sreyo bhoktum ! bhaiksyam apiiha loke
hatva-artha-kamams-tu! gurun ihaiva
bhun-jiya bhogAn! rudhira-pradigdhan

In the last sloka Arjuna asked how he could afford to kill Bheeshma, Drona and
others. The word �others� include Kauravas viz Duryodana and his brothers. For
this Sri Krishna
is posing a question seemingly. If Arjuna runs away from the war, what will he do
for food and shelter? Will he live in forests? The twelve-year exile itself was
by the Pandavas as a shame. Then how are they going to take this forest life if he
ran away from the war? Sri Krishna apparently asks this and so Arjuna�s reply is
accordingly in sloka 5: "Arjuna says it is better for him to beg and live rather
than killing great personalities like Bhishma and his guru Drona. If these
people are attached to luxuries and material opulence (referring to Duryodhan
etc), there is nothing wrong in it. So, why should he kill them. Isn't it better
to let them enjoy their luxury
rather than slaying them and ruling the land stained with their blood?"

In a way Arjuna is concerned with the hell that awaits him if he were to kill his
Teachers. He is also apprehensive that after killing all these people, living in
this world with bloodstains
will also be hell. So he fears hell before and after his death. Sri Krishna
logically rebuts this. If Arjuna left the battle without fighting it will be a
disgrace for a kshatriya [royal community]
and he will have to lead life by resorting to begging, as he will be deprived of
all property. Also, by abandoning his dharma of protection of his people and
gifting the kingdom to wicked
people will make him a great sinner and ensure hell after death. So Sri Krishna�s
rebuttal was either way hell only if Arjuna refused to fight.

By fighting and recapturing the kingdom he can lead a normal life in this world.
He need not consider this as enjoyment with blood stains as he is expected to do
his duty and
be a trusty for good administration and not for pleasure. This way because he
established the moral ethics of kshathriya in the war, he will be awarded heaven
after death. So
instead of Arjuna�s imagination as either way hell for him, Sri Krishna�s argument
is that by fighting it will be either way heaven for Arjuna.

Arjuna preferred begging to killing those noble teachers. Perhaps he was reminding
Sri Krishna that in one of His earlier Avatars or incarnations, He had also
begged. As Sri Vamana,
a young dwarf bachelor, He went to the Yagnashala or the sacred place, where
Emperor Bali was performing Yagna and begged for a small piece of land to be
measured by His tiny feet.

na-cah-etad vidmah, kataran-no-gariyah! yad va jayemah! yadi-va-no jaye-yuhu!
yan-eva hatva, na jiji-visamah! teh-avasthitah pramukhe dhartarastrah

� [Uncertainity in the battle and so] whether winning or losing is better for us.
When not interested to live by killing these children of Dhridhrashtra, the same
persons are arrayed
against us�. Bhagavat Gita has a reputation that a recitation of a chapter or half
of it or a sloka in a chapter or half or even quarter of a sloka will accumulate
punya. This is to
emphasize that every word in this sacred text is rich and brimming with

Arjuna says he is torn between what to do (Kataran no gariyah?), he doesn't know
what to do (na-cah-etad-vidmah?). He is in Dharma-Sankatam - i.e choosing between
the two
dharmas - Being a Kshatriya and fighting or invoking sin of killing his
acharya. With this plaguing doubt, he says, even winning is not guaranteed in
this war (yad va jayemah! yadi
va no jaye yuhu!). And even if he is ready to fight, listening to Krishna, he
sees his gurus, relatives etc arrayed against him in the war, the very people whom
he does not want to kill!

Arjuna expresses his quandry here. Like all of us, he is caught in a dilemma of
what is right or wrong and what is better. With this quandry, he also has doubts
on his winning the
war. He doesn't wish to kill his guru and close relatives, but they are arrayed
against him in the war which he has to Win! Arjuna is thrown into despair. This
is akin to the
dilemma of a Father who wants to ensure his wayword Son reigns his habits to write
the exam, but if he physically assaults him to control, then the son ends up
not writing the exam due to being incapacitated.

kaarpanya-dosoh-upahata-svabhavah , prcchami-tvam dharma-sammudha-cetah
yac sreyah-syan niscitam bruhi tan me! shishyas te �ham saadhi maam tvam

�Taken over by the cowardice and losing my bravery, I ask you to tell me for
certain what is upright for me. I am your disciple surrendered unto you�

svabhavam ->Dairyam; Karpanya dosam -> Cowardice due to; tvam- You(kannan),
prchaami->asking, what is dharma, adharma-> dharam sammudaha
what is good for me -> Yac sreyah, tan meh bruhi -> please tell me; consider me
your sishya ->sishya te aham; i am taking refuge, surrending to you-> maam tvam
saadhi- please instruct me.

A super sloka, where Arjuna helplessly falls at Krishna's feet seeking refuge and
begs him for guidance. This is a guide to all
of us to do the same! He entreats Krishna to guide him, considering him as his
disciple and not as some stranger, in case Krishna
has reservations on why he should guide anybody who is not his disciple or son.
This shows that Lord is the one who can clear our fears and doubts.
Azhwar sings, the Lotus blooms only by the rays of the sun and not by mere heat of
a fire and the waves come down to the shore, similarly the jeevatma's refuge
is the Lord.

From this it is clear that only the Supreme Being can remove a person�s perpetual
ignorance. This is what Alwar also declares in his hymns. Just as a river moves
toward a distant
ocean or jus as a lotus blossoms at the sight of a distant Sun, the wisdom of the
soul [jeevatma] will yearn for enlightenment from the Supreme Being [Paramatma].
So the Alwar
advises his mind to surrender unto the beloved of Mother Lakshmi, the dweller in
Unlike human nature to offer materials such as flowers or fruits to gain favours
from others, to get His grace all one needs is to surrender unto Him. While the
soul is groping in
darkness, He is shining with brilliance, the soul is slave and He is the Master
and with this attitude Arjuna falls at the feet of Sri Krishna.
He says he is suffering from karpanya dosha- a defect of a kripana. Sage
Yagnavalkya (instructing Gaargi) says the one who has not attained the knowledge
of the Supreme Being is
called a kripana. Ignorance of the knowledge of God or the relationship between
one�s soul and Paramatma, will not make a person learned even if he has acquired
thousands of various other subjects, says Swami Vedanta Desika. "Vidyaanan silpa
nai punyam".

Arjuna says he is affected by this karpanya dosha. Because of this he has lost his
courage. The Thaithriyopanishad says that as one approaches God, he gets courage
and one
who withdraws from Him loses courage. If we realize God in ourselves, we get
motivated to do things. On the other hand virakthi or nirvedam or frustration
leads to retardation.
Hanuman searched for Mother Sri Sita all over Lanka and when he was frustrated,
suddenly he remembered Sri Rama. Sri Rama gave Hanuman His Ring to be handed over
to Sri Sita and so, how can His words fail? So he got enthused and also removed
the feeling that he was searching Sri Sita and corrected that feeling by the
wisdom that Sri Sita
Herself will show up and successfully complete his mission. Immediately, Hanuman
spotted Sri Sita. One should dismiss the thought that one is doing but realize
that it is God
who gets actions done for that one. This does not mean that one should practice
idling or remain inactive; but take all out efforts with the realization that He
is the prime mover
behind one�s actions. This leads to humility. So now Arjuna surrenders to Sri
Krishna for remedy, like a person resorting to the family doctor who knows the
history of the patient
and so could suggest the right remedy. And who else is better equipped than Sri
Krishna, Who after all is Arjuna�s cousin and Who knows Arjuna too well?
Sometimes we also approach elders and seek their advice, but later act according
to our wishes. To dispel that thought in Sri Krishna, Arjuna says he is His sishya
or disciple and so will obey and act according to His guidance.

This also shows how something like mental weakness and worry can cripple even a
great warrior like Arjuna into confusion and sorrow.

na hi prapasyami mama-apanudyat yac chokam ucchosanam indriyaanam
avapya bhumav asapatnam rddham, rajyam suranam api cadhipatyam

"I can find no means to drive away this grief which is burning up my senses. I
will not be able to dispel it even if I win a prosperous, unrivaled kingdom on
earth with sovereignty or
one like in heaven."

Na hi prapasyami -> I cannot find ; Ya Sokham ucchosanam indriyanam -> The
grief which is burning my senses and causing me sadness
avapya bhumav asapatnam rddham -> even if i win prosperous, unrivaled kingdom on
rajyam suranam api ca adhipatyam -> or soverignity like in heaven.

In case Krishna is thinking - What, if there is some grief? Grief is just
temporary and one typically gets over it in no time.
So, if Arjuna is feeling grieved over the prospect of bloodshed, he should surely
get over it , once he gets to rule a prosperous
empire and enjoy all the luxuries? In response to this, Arjuna says -
unrivalled soveregnity etc is not going to overcome his grief, because this will
constantly remind him of the bloodshed he had to do to gain it. ARjuna is a
learned person too, but is not able to overcome
his grief. THis shows two things - even all the learning in the world will not
help, if one doesn't truly understand the meaning
of the scriptures and practices it. For eg: Narada is a learned scholar in all
branches of Vedic knowledge but was driven to
grief and Saunaka muni points out that he needs to inculcate the vedic meanings
truly (it's a pointer to us). Similarly, Rama
whom nothing could defeat, was drowned in misery with separation of Sita, due to
grief. So, grief can torment a living soul and
is more dangerous than the crematory fire which just burns a corpse.

Arjuna sees his beloved ones like Bheeshma and Drona on the enemy camp ready to
fight and this sight dries his sensual organs like eyes and tongue. He is engulfed
in anguish and
finds no cure. Our forefathers convey us a great lesson here. One hears the words
chithai [pyre] and chinthanai [brooding]. Chithai or a pyre is used in the
cremation grounds for
burning dead bodies. Whereas, chinthanai or brooding will burn out a living
person. Here brooding burns Arjuna. Once sage Narada met sage Sanatkumara and
requested him that
though Narada had mastered all available literature but wanted Sanatkumara to
preach him that which will dispel his anguish and sorrow. In reply Sanatkumara
asked Narada to first
tell what all he knew. Narada started telling his knowledge in the Vedas,
Upanishads, all types of Shastras, etc. Sanatkumara said that Narada had studied
all and there was nothing,
which could be preached to Narada. This gave the hint to Narada, that he had
merely studied all these without practicing or understanding the inner
significance of these literatures.
Worry lines appear on the forehead. But a person who has understood the God will
have no such lines on the forehead. Thus Sanatkumara dispelled Narada�s worries.
So one should
never get worried. Hanuman, when dispatched for searching Sri Sita was wondering
why Sri Rama was so worried at the loss of a mere wife. Being a bachelor, Hanuman
might not
have understood the role of a wife. But the same Hanuman, when saw Sri Sita, then
wondered how Sri Rama was still alive after losing such a noble and righteous
wife. Here, Valmiki
the author of Srimad Ramayana, observes that no enemy on earth could ever kill
Sri Rama and only worry had the power. Arjuna, therefore feels thoroughly
handicapped by his
worries, and seeks help from Sri Krishna. It was opined by Sri Krishna that no
distress is there which remains forever. Even death of a dear one is forgotten
after a few days or when
a happier incident is encountered. So if Arjuna got back his kingdom, this grief
of killing the relatives will vanish. But Arjuna says that all the so called
happiness one may get by
acquiring a kingdom, like music, dance, food, etc., will remind him these sins he
is to commit and make him miserable. Perhaps a small kingdom, or one with enemies
or one that is stuck by poverty and famine may cause worries for the rulers. So
Arjuna qualifies that even if the entire world was reigned, with no enemies and
totally prosperous,
will never clear him of his grief. Further, he says that even if he gains the
control of the heavenly kingdom, he is unable to find the way to dispel his grief.

sanjaya uvaca
evam uktva hrishikesham gudakeshah parantapah
na yotsya iti govindam uktva tusnim babhuva ha

evam uktva -> all that Arjuna said in the previous slokas:
Arjuna has told his reasoning for not fighting. All the relatives, friends and
teachers have assembled and he could not fight with them. Killing relatives and
annihilating a dynasty or
family is a sin, which will lead to eradication of kula dharma and so take him to
hell. Enjoyment cannot be with blood stained hands. Even if the enemy camp was
killing near ones is sin. The very sight of these people ready to fight dries up
his senses. Even if a prosperous, entire world or heaven is offered to rule,
Arjuna can never think
of fighting. Having given out his mind so elaborately, Arjuna takes asylum at Sri
Krishna and stops talking with a final say that he will not fight. Sanjaya, who is
narrating alive the
happenings on the battlefield to King Dhridharashtra, exclaims with the word �ha�.
Because he is surprised that a great warrior Arjuna is declaring he will not

"na yotsya" -> I will not fight, said Arjuna.
tusnim babhuva-> Arjuna became silent. He has said all that he can and doesn't
have anything more to say.
ha -> what a surprise! (that Arjuna became silent in the thick of battlefield).

Sanjaya refers to Arjuna as Gudakesa or the one who has conquered sleep and
laziness, the hallmarks of Tamas quality. Arjuna is not tired or feeling weak to
fight. Nor is he cowardly
and afraid to fight.That is why the word paranthapa or the one who burns the
enemies is used by Sanjaya.But out of shear sympathy for those arrayed against, he
is refusing to fight.
In the last sloka Arjuna tells Sri Krishna, that his sensual organs are all dried
up at the sight of his loved ones in the opposite camp. So, significantly, Sanjaya
denotes Sri Krishna with
the epithet Hrishikesa or the Conqueror of the organs [both sensual and active].
We have to understand that God is the prime mover behind all the organs
functioning in our body.
Arjuna tells Sri Krishna that he is not going to fight. He addresses Him as
Govinda. This word implies three meanings. Sri Andal in her Thiruppavai repeats
this name of the Lord
in the 27th [koodarai vellum], 28th [karavaigal pinsenru] and 29th [chitran
chirukalai] pasurams. Govinda means Protector of cows. It also means protector of
the earth. And, it
can also mean protector of souls. In this temple the Lord is called Bha[k]tharavi
Perumal, which means He is the Aavi or Soul of the devotees. It seems the Lord
prefers cow
herding to being the Leader of all the gods or residing in Sri Vaikuntam. Sri
Andal says karavaigal pin senru, which is going behind the cows. The cows do not
say to Sri Krishna,
Who is following them, not to come behind them. In fact, He is in every soul and
follows as the inner conscience and directs. But if we say to Him that He need not
and we will go our own way, He lets us go and we get entangled into all types of
situations. On the other hand, if we allow Him to follow us or direct us, we are
of proper destiny. So here Arjuna calls Him Govinda and wants Him to direct in
the right path.

This slokam is a summary from Sanjaya of the previous verses of Arjuna: Sanjaya
says that having said all the above, Arjuna concluded that "I shall NOT fight" to
In this sloka, Arjuna is referred to as "GudaKesah", "Paramtapah" - which are
salutary terms signifying a person who is an accomplished warrior and master of
ignorance ie one not given to laziness or lack of will. THis shows that Arjuna
is not shirking from war, because of laziness or skill, but due to mental sorrow
and confusion.
On the same note, Krishna is referred to as Hrishikesa and Govinda in this sloka.
Hrishikesa is the master of senses and since the senses are crippling Arjuna, who
better than
their Master to tame them and set Arjuna in the right path? Govinda is the one
who herds cows, ruler of the earth and one who stays true to his word. All this
three are apt in this
case, because Arjuna is asking the Lord who is so merciful to herd cows etc to
guide him too; one who is sovereign ruler of the earth, his duty is to guide him
in this war and one who stays and mesmerises others with his words should guide
him (which Krishna does through his Gitaupadesam). A guru is not only one who is
a gnaani,
but can guide his devotees by articulating the right path and mesmerizes with
right words.

Sanjaya continues:
tam uvaca hrishikeshah prahasann iva bharata
senayor ubhayor madhye visidantam idam vacah

� Oh! Bhaaratha [Dhridharashtra] standing in between the two armies, Hrishikesa
[Sri Krishna] with a smile spoke these words to the grieved [Arjuna]�
In response to Arjuna's request, Krishna responded with a Smile and started
speaking. Lord's reason to smile are multifold here. One is, he knows all that
will occur in the future
and is smiling; Next is, he has guided Arjuna and the Pandavas throughout in
preparation for the war and is now again at the primary center.

The smile has several interpretations. Firstly, it is a sarcastic one at the
behavior of Arjuna. The war is about to begin at any moment and both sides have
blown their conches as a
mark of their readiness to start the fight. At that time Arjuna tells he is
heartbroken to fight. Though he wants to avoid war out of sympathy for his kith
and kin, the world will think that he
is withdrawing out of fear. He is also exhibiting his contradictory actions. When
Draupathi was humiliated in the assembly hall, Arjuna burst like a volcano to kill
the Kauravas and now
he says he is feeling compassion. Next, the smile on Sri Krishna�s face also could
mean the lecture He is going to deliver. If a lecturer wants proper attendance
from the listeners, he
has to put up a welcome face. The great Acharya Sri Parasara Bhattar, seeing the
twin dimples on the Sri Namperumal idol, used to say that He appeared as though to
say something.
Next, the smile also signifies the toy Arjuna in the hands of Sri Krishna. Before
the war commenced, Sri Krishna was sent as an emissary to explore the possibility
of stopping the war.
Then He was requested to participate in the war as Arjuna�s chariot driver. Now
Arjuna is at His feet requesting for advice. Also Sanjaya is narrating the
incident and hints to
Dhridharashtra that the smile is actually a deception to the disaster that awaited
the Kuru dynasty. The smile could also mean the great philosophy to be delivered
to the World at
large and using Arjuna as a ploy. He is smiling because through the forthcoming
words so many ideas like way of life etc. are going to be told. This Sri Krishna
is trying to tell with
a body language, which Arjuna was fortunate to witness.

sri-bhagavan uvaca
asocyan anvasocas tvam prajna-vadams ca bhasase
gatasun agatasums ca nanusocanti panditah

� Bhagavan [Sri Krishna] said [to Arjuna]: you speak like a learned and at the
same time your words show ignorance�

tvam -> you; asocyan -> that which is not worthy of lamentation; anvasocas ->
you are lamenting ; Prajna vadams ca bhasase -> you speak like a learned
one(prajna vadams)
panditah -> those who have discriminating sense , deha-atma viveka jnaanam who can
differentiate between body and soul. ; nanu-anusocanti -> do not lament
gatasun -> body (which is temporary) agatasun -> soul ; asu->pranam;
gata-"asun" -> whose pranam goes away i.e bodies agata-sun->whose pranam does
not go away(soul).

Krishna says that Arjuna's lamentations in the previous verses display somebody
who speaks like a learned person but is truly lamenting like a fool. Who is
considered learned?
A panditah? One who knows and understands that body and soul are not the same
and acts accordingly is the truly learned one in this world. And not the material
experts or
people who know the sciences and other aspects of material universe. In some of
the earlier verses, Arjuna seems to recognize this difference. For instance, when
he says
that killing all the kaurvas would leave nobody to offer oblations to the
forefathers seems to point that he knows the concept of soul. But at the same
time in the next few verses
he laments that killing Drona, Bhismha etc is a sin, forgetting that in the War,
it's his Dharma to fight irrespective of the opponents and that ultimately he is
killing their bodies
but not their souls. It is very important to note that, this shouldn't be
miscontrued as an excuse to kill anybody. Arjuna's situation was that he was in
the War fighting a battle to save
his land from the wicked and that was his Kshatriya Dharma which Krishna was
teaching. But, in normal situations, we don't have right to kill anybody. So,
in this verse, Krishna says the learned pandits who know the difference between
body and soul do not grieve at any stage of life. But, Arjuna who seems to speak
like a learned person is lamenting for something which not worthy of it. What
is Body? What is soul? How can we say it is distinct? For eg: in our daily
reference, we say this is my feet, my tongue,
my car, my house etc.. It implies the feet, tongue, car, house etc are separate
from "I". The "I" is what we refer to as SOUL, which lives forever and is
distinct from the Body. The soul has a atomic form as per puranas.

Sri Krishna refers to Pundit, which means learned. It is not mere worldly
knowledge, but the person possessing the knowledge about body and soul is referred
to as pundit He is also
called a vedanhi. Like a pundit, Arjuna appears to know the difference between
soul [atman] and body [sareeram]. But he also says words, which show that he
thinks both atman and
sareeram are same. Asu means prana or imperishable. Gathasu means perishable or
without asu or only body without soul. Agathasu is opposite of gathasu or with asu
or prana,
which means the body with soul. Pundits know about the destroyable and the

All slokas upto this point (from 1.1 to 2.11) are prelude to the actual Bhagavad

a) Consider all slokas so far (Chapter1 and chapter2 till 11): Preceding slokas
are related to Arjuna's lamentation
and ignorance. Next set of slokas starting with this one is Lord's response
clearing Arjuna's doubts.

a1) Arjuna exhibited his misunderstanding of soul and body and thought that he
is destroying Bheeshma and Drona. In Sanskrit language one word can give several
meanings and
several words can mean same thing; but they have to be judiciously used. Sareeram
and Deham refer to body but have different connotations. We see a person after,
say, 10 years
and that person has become thinner and weak. So we enquire why his body has become
weak and thin. Here, as per the dhathu or root, to indicate diminishing nature we
have to use
the word sareeram. On the other hand, suppose we see a person looking fatter or
bigger than what we saw him some years back, we express that the body has grown.
Here, it is apt
to use the word Deham which indicates growth. But in both cases the soul or atman
remains in tact. So change is the nature of body and anything that changes is not
Thus the body is destroyable whereas the soul never changes and so is

b) Body goes thru 6 changes:
Shad bhavam vikaram - Asti, Jayate(born), Parinamate(change),
Vivarte(grow), Apakshiyateh(decay) Vinashyati

Atma(Soul) doesn't go thru any changes. Anything which does not go through
changes, is eternal and soul is the only such entity.

c) Son, Brother, Husband, Father, Grandfather -> A man can go through all this
roles in his life demonstrating material
relations in world, which can go thru changes. But, once self is always
constant like the Soul and is never changing.

d) What is body made of?? - PanchaBhootam - Prithvi(Earth), Ap(Water),
Tejas(Fire), Vayu(WInd), Akasam(Ether).
When this five materials are joined together, they will never survive for
long. Eg: Take Salt, Flour, Water. When
they are separate, they can survive for long, but when joined together as
upma, their shelf life becomes shortened.

What is Soul made off? - It is JnaanaSwaropam, full of knowledge. It is
eternal and never changing. Soul resides
within our hearts in the shape of lotus(?).

e) Who experiences joy and sorrow? - Body and Soul?
- Soul is full of knowledge , but the karmas cover it's knowledge. It's
just like clouds of karma covering the Sun's shine. That's why everybody has
different levels of
-Body is material and has NO knowledge.
- Soul resides in the Body. It's knowledge is spread throughout the
body, even though it's not seen and is tiny.
eg. Soul is like SIM card in Mobile phone ;-). Without Soul, the
body is dead.
- Even though soul is tiny, it is "dharma-bhoota gnaanam" i.e it's
knowledge is like the rays of the lamp which even though in a single place,
lights the whole place.
(eg: Tirumaalai of Thondarpodi azhwar. "Maram suvar madil edutu...",
where he says Body is like a pot full of holes.

If we list the properties of the soul, we can say it understands, it is
minute, it is intelligent, it has no organs and enjoys [or suffers] the effect of
karma. Body, on the other hand, is
having the opposite properties. It does not understand, it is big, it is
dumb, it has organs and it does not realize the effects of karma.

So bottomline, which we need to be always aware of is, the body and soul are
NOT the same. Body is perishable, subject to shad-bhava vikaram , made of pancha
Whereas Soul is unchanging and eternal and it's inherent nature is knowledge.
Each of us are jeevatmas and are souls, with a temporary body. (Note: Numerous
souls and
Jeevatma is different from Paramatma). Unfortunately, most of us suffer from
"deha-atma abhimaanam" (mistaking body and soul as one). Arjuna also suffers
from this same
delusion and that's why Krishna is telling Arjuna that he is speaking like an


na tvev-Aham jatu na-asam na tvam neme janadhipah
na caiva na bhavisyamah sarve vayam atah param

NEVER was there a time when I did NOT exist, nor you, nor all these kings; nor in
the future shall any of us cease to be.". Note, krishna uses two negatives (Never
& Not),
instead of just one Positive (Always), which would have meant the same. He does
it for "emphasis" purpose. For example, in a village, if one asks who was educated
there and if
the reply was that so and so was educated, it can mean that there were many
educated persons in that village and that the so and so also was educated. On the
other hand,
if the reply was that excepting the so and so, no other was educated, it means
that the person in question alone was educated. The latter form of reply gives
certainty and
emphasizes the fact forcefully. Note: Krishna refers to the "SOUL" here and not
"bodies". (Advaitic view is, the I, you and they refers to multiplicity of
bodies. But, that is NOT true.
It refers to mulitplicity of souls, since only soul is eternal across past,
present and future. Sri Ramanjua has refuted the Advaitic view very clearly in
his Gita Bhasya).

This is an IMPORTANT SLOKA, where krishna explains tattva traya
siddhantam(Achit, chit, iswara) and their
svabhavam. This Ishwaram is praised as Brahama by upanishads. Chit are
numerous, but of same jaati, even
though their may be some external differences in terms of varnas etc,
based on the bodies they house.
Here Krishna emphasizes, there are multipile Jeevatmas, and not just one.
Krishna also emphasizes the
"bedham" (difference) between Jeevatma and Paramatma. Jeevatma is NOT
paramatma and CANNOT become
Paramatma (which refutes Advaitic theory, which expounds Abhedam

Krishna says that all souls exist eternally in the past, present and
future. He uses double negatives to emphasize
the fact. (Rather than just stating, souls exist eternally, he says,
there were NEVER a time where they did NOT exist!).
Body is temporary, soul is eternal. Without Soul, the body is dead and
has no value.
Krishna mentions about himself first, saying as a paramatma, he existed
in the past, in the present and the future. This
is easy to understand, since it is generally known and agreed that Lord
is eternal (Bhuta-Bhavya- Bhavat Prabhu! as
mentioned in SriVishnu Sahasranamam) across time, space and material
entities (across all times,all pervading and
inside every being). Having said this, Krishna then says, just like he
is eternal, all the jeevas are also eternal.
Another important thing to note in this sloka is, "tattva traya
Sidhantam" - Krishna makes distinction between
Chit, achit and Easwara tattvam by quoting himself first and then arjuna
and the warriors. He also makes it clear
that he is distinct from the jeevatmas.
Achit is subject to transition, but never destroyed. Jeevatma is
subject to transition, but only as it's soul passes through
experiences based on the body it is housed in, but it is never destroyed
or changing. Paramatma is never subject
to transition. It is "avikaaraya shuddhaya, nityaaya paramaatmane,
saidaka rupa rupaaya, vishnavey prabha ..."

Everything in this universe could be grouped in three categories- Iswara, Chit and
Achit. Achit are all those materials we see or hear or smell or taste or feel.
Achit means without the
intellect. The tombs of temples or the trees and plants or our limbs are all in
this category as none of them have the intelligence. But all these are
indestructible. One may wonder how
this is true? We see tombs crumbling and trees are burnt. Here we should realize
that only the form changes, but the matter remains in a different form. Gold might
have become a
ring or necklace but it remains as gold. Similarly, mud is made into a pot or
plate etc. It can be made into mud again or in some other form but can never be
annihilated. So an
important point we should know about Achit is that it has no intelligence, but
constantly changes its form and can never be drstroyed.
The second category is Chit, which means that which has the intelligence. It is
also called Jeevatma or sometimes Atman. It is recognized by the �I� in us. With
that intelligence
only we recognize various things around us. That is Chit recognizes Achit. So a
Jeevatma using his intelligence understands Achit. This is the difference and
relationship between
the two. Apart from these two, a third is there and is called Iswara. Sri Krishna
brings out all these three entities in the 12th sloka. He mentions about Him as
�I� [aham] and
Arjuna as �you� and others by �they�. Sri Krishna represents Paramatma and He is
unique. Jeevatma are many and are represented by Arjuna and all others. All
materials are Achit.
The Thatvatrayam is thus indicated in this sloka.

We can see in Sri Vaishnava sanyasins carry tridhandam or three sticks bundled
together. This is to indicate the thatvathrayam. We find that Chit is there to
enjoy all Achits. �I � is there
to enjoy the sweet drink or the sandal fragrance. Then, where is the need for a
third entity, Iswara or God? Then there is the third force that controls both Chit
and Achit, and we call that
as Iswara or God. We will see the differences in these three entities. Achit is
unintelligent and is subject to change in its form, though undestroyable. Chits
are many in number and
are not subject to changes and are very minute. Here, we all observe that everyone
is happy sometimes and sorrow sometimes. Since it is the soul, which has the
intelligence, it only
can enjoy or suffer. Does it not mean that soul also is subject to changes? We
should clearly note here that the contact between achit and chit brings about the
feeling of happiness
or sorrow. That is when the soul resides in a body, it feels sorry or delightful
for various reasons. But if the soul is away from the body, then it is having an
eternal bliss only.
Therefore, the real nature of soul is happiness only and when in contact with a
body, mixed feelings are felt. So, while change is natural to Achit, the changes
felt when in contact
with a body is unnatural to the soul or chit. Iswara or Paramathma on the other
hand is never subject to any change, natural or artificial, temporary or
permanent. That is why in
Sri Vishnu sahasranama it is said � avikaraya sudhdhaya nithyaya paramathmane..�
This is a fundamental principle to be always kept in mind.

The basis for the existence for Paramatma can be made through analogies.
Wherever there is a creation, there is
a creator. For eg: when there is Pot, we know there is a potter ; when
there is a garden, we know there is a gardener,
where there is smoke, there is fire. Similarly, when the existence of
Jeevatamas and Achit, points to the existence
of Paramatma. But, as jeevatmas, we CANNOT comprehend Paramatma by
speculation or mental thinking or
anumaanam or extrapolating. So for every creativity, we can definitely
conclude that there must be a creator. This is logical, even if we do not see the
architect of that
creation by our sensual organs. This is similar to concluding there is
fire by seeing only the smoke. This is inference or deduction. So by seeing all
the various creations
in the world, we can deduce that there must be a Creator and He is God.
But our ancestors and learned men do not rely on inference or logic or deduction
to conclude the
existence of God. Philosophers classify the bedam or difference into three
categories. We have to take the guidance of Vedas for this purpose. There is a
Bedham between
Jeevatma and Paramatma and Bedhams are of three kinds:

1.sajAtIya bhEdam : a pot being different from other pots. This
Individualistic difference is the difference between individuals of the same
category. (Sa-Jaathi -> Same category)

2.vijAtIya bhEdam : a pot being different from a cloth or picture . This
categorical difference is the difference existing between different categories .
(Vi-Jaathi -> Different category

3. svagata bhEdam the difference between the attributes of pot . This
attribute difference is the difference between attributes of an entity like the
difference between attributes
like colour, form, shape, capacity, etc; where one attribute cannot
substitute the other.

Similarly, there is a difference between Jeevatma and Paramatma along this three
bedhams. Paramatma and jeevatma both have intelligence or gyana, but the
intelligence is limited by the body it resides. So, here we see sajatiya bedam.
Bramham or Paramatma has wisdom and the objects and materials we see do not
possess any
intellect. This is vijatiya bedam. As God cannot be worshipped if there was no
form or He did not possess qualities like mercy, Bramham has forms and qualities
and so here the
swagata bedam is exhibited. So Bramham has all the three types of bedam.

Bhagavan has gunams i.e Saguna Brahmam i.e Kalyaana gunams, Tirumeni etc.
Saying Bhagavan has no
Gunam, Tirumeni etc (Nirguna Brahamam) is incorrect.

dehino �smin yatha dehe kaumaram yauvanam jara
tatha dehantara-praptir dhiras tatra na muhyati

"As the embodied soul continuously passes, in this body, from boyhood to youth to
old age, the soul similarly passes into another body at death. A brave person is
not concerned by
such a change.".

We have seen that Bramham, Chit and Achit as the thatvathrayam and their
relationship and differences. Sri Krishna tries to clear the doubt in Arjuna�s
mind and tells that Atman is
eternal and cannot be destroyed. Body is required and we have to take care of it
to the extent possible and the perishable nature of it has to be kept in mind.
Atman is pure and superior
to body.

In the previous sloka, Krishna explains that Souls are eternal . So,
Arjuna had a doubt, if souls are eternal, then what is the meaning of birth, death
etc which we see in the world.
In response, Krishna answers with this sloka. Just like a human goes
through various stages of life from boyhood, adulthood, old age, undergoing
changes in his body and
appearance and experiences, but still has the "I" untouched, similarly
soul embodies itself in bodies and disembodies as per it's karma.

Sankara says "Punarapi Jananam , Punarapi Maranam" in "Bhaja Govindam" i.e
a soul goes through cycle of birth and death through the body, though it itself is
Atma is unchanging, it is nityam. But, when it enters a body,it is called
Birth. And when it sheds the body , it is called Death. It is similar to the
body itself
going through Kumaram, Yauvanam, Jara (old age), but the person itself is
the same. It's intresting to note that, there is no grief expressed when a body
transitions through
these stages of boyhood, youth, old age (infact it is celebrated through
various rituals!), but when the soul sheds the body (death), it is considered

Sri Krishna says a brave man will not brood and lament. We see deaths and births.
The great philosopher Adi Sankara says �punarabi jananam punarabi maranam��It is a
cycle, with
births and deaths repeating. A soul can get released from this cycle only by
uttering Sri Govinda�s name, says Adi Sankara. Atman as such is not born. When it
contacts and resides in
a body we call it birth. When the same atman departs from the body it was
residing, we call it death. But atman never dies. In this sloka, atman is referred
as dehi. A person is born
as a child; he becomes a boy, then a lad and then old man. These changes pertain
to body only and not to the soul. Sri Krishna calls him who understands this true
nature of the soul a
dheera or brave man. When a person becomes a boy after being a child but never
laments that he lost his childhood. Similarly an old man does not mourn for the
lost youth. On the
contrary, we celebrate every stage in our life, like marriages, fatherhood, etc
(Seemantham, Punyojanam, Marriage, Saattabhishekam, Kaanakabhishekam etc).
The soul in the body- I - has been watching all these changes happening on the
body. It is able to remember when the body was of a child and then of youth, etc.
We remember when
we started learning cycling and similar details. Another great philosopher
Madhavcharya, says, we should lament when child becomes youth. Whereas we are
happy and celebrate.
We should realize that we are going from one phase to another. A worm while moving
from one leaf to another, clings to the new leaf and leaves the earlier one. Same
thing happening
to body also and so there should be no room for worry and concern. A person with
such attitude is called dheera.

After listening to this explanation , the Lord expects arjuna to reply as �I
accept that the body is perishable and the soul is permanent . But the soul is not
divorced from the body .
I have to bear the suffering due to arrows piercing my body and that of others who
are dear to me . How then do you justify this war with respect to the degree of
suffering caused ?�
This question is answered by the lord in the subsequent slokas .
matra-sparshas tu kaunteya ! sitosna-sukha-duhkha-dah
agama payino �anityaH ! tams-titikshasva bharata

"O son of Kunti, the cold and heat and happiness and distress, are transient. They
arise from sense perception, O scion of Bharata, and one must learn to tolerate
them without
being disturbed."
O son of Kunti , as a result of the action of basic forces(tanma:tra:s) in the
form of shabda , sparsha , roopa , rasa and gandha otherwise speech , sensation ,
form , fluidity and smell
with which the senses come into contact by means of the field of association
called samyo:ga , coldness , heat etc are felt. These cause happiness and sorrow
in varying proportions.
In the state of liberation , such happiness or sorrow are incapable of affecting
the soul. Hence you must bear with such happiness and sorrow.

In response to previous sloka, Arjuna responds that, if the soul is eternal and
moves from body to body, then it will be ok, if the "I" is aware of this change.
But, since a person
does not know or does not have any proof of this, he is doubtful and grieved at
the thought of shedding his body at death! Krishna says in response, that since
is saying this happens, it should be accepted. Great Gnaani's and Yogis know
about this. Since individuals are ignorant, they don't realize it. For eg: WHen
a sun sets in east,
it rises on the other side of the earth. Even though people in east cannot
directly infer it, the truth is the sun is visible elsewhere.

Thus we believe others in the other part of the world saying that the Sun is still
shining. So, He asks Arjuna, 'you believe others but why not what I said about the
Atman?'. This is a
difficult suggestion. But only when we have this unshakable faith in Him that what
He told is the truth and correct, we can be regarded as Bhakthas. This appears to
be illogical.
There are many yogis and saints, who have seen the atman going from one body to
another. They are able to tell what was the previous birth and what the future
birth would be.
If one cultivates one�s knowledge, one can also know all these abstract
happenings. So Sri Krishna says that just because Arjuna did not know the traverse
from one body to another,
he cannot deny that phenomenon. Arjuna says that granting what He said was
accepted, why still one should fight and suffer? Even if the body and all
matters are momentary, all feel the pain and why should we suffer? Arjuna then
has another question, accepting even that soul is eternal, don't we still have to
suffer with pain in this body, indulging in warfare ?? Krishna responds that it
is true, but a true gnaani should bear it with equanimity. Sri Krishna says that
when objectives are exalted, one has to bear these
All types of weather (Heat, Cold etc) and all types of situations
(Happiness, Grief etc) should be borne with calmness and same attitude by a true
The basis for all this pain and pleasure is our "TanMaatras" which is
INEVITABLE. (Senses and the PanchaBhootams)
Maatra - TanMaatra :
Pancha Bhootam -Pritvi, Vayu, Apsu, Tejas, Akasaam
Pancha Tanmatram - Shabdham, Sparsam, Roopam, Rasam, Gandham
- "Gandhavati Pruthvi" (man-Vaasanai SMELL - NOSE) ,
"Water-Ruchi Rasam TASTE - TONGUE"
"Blaze of Fire has a FORM - EYES" ,
"Roopa Rahita Sparashavaan Vayu - TOUCH SKIN"
"Shabdham - SOUND - EAR"

Cold and heat and happiness and sorrow should be tolerated. Which are
responsible for these feelings? Sri Krishna mentions mathra and contact. Mathra
denotes the pancha thanmathra or the five basic feelings related to the five basic
elements. The five elements are earth, water, fire, air and space [prithvi, appu,
agni, vayu and akasam]. Each of these has a unique characteristic. These
characteristics are called the thanmathras. Smell or gandham is earth�s feature.
Taste or rasam is of water. Appearance or roopam is of fire. Touch or sparsam is
of air and sound or shabdam is of space. Each of these thanmathras are felt by
specific organs in our body, nose for smell, tongue for taste, eyes for vision,
ears for hearing and skin for touch.


Earth *********smell or scent********* nose

Water********* taste***************** tongue

Fire************vision or sight ********eyes

Air ************touch****************skin

Space********** sound**************** ear

When there is a contact between the elements and the organs, we get that feeling
which is responsible for happiness or sorrow. If this contact or connection was
not there, we will not feel. So Sri Krishna says that this sparsam or connectivity
between the organs and the matter [composed of the five elements] happiness,
sorrow, heat and cold are felt. This cannot be avoided and inevitable. Similarly,
in a fight such pains are inevitable and with that knowledge Arjuna is advised to
bear the sufferings.

Every person will have to endure what he must . A brahmin or priest who does
rituals has to observe severe austerities , suffer from hunger and thirst till the
ritual is completed. Similarly what arjuna is doing is a ritual � a ritual for
justice . Besides , arjuna is the son of kunti whose fore fathers were great
warriors. Arjuna is the descendant of bharatha , another great warrior . Is it
justified for one born in the clan of great warriors to shy from pain of war ?
Hence the Lord instructs arjuna that the pain from war is to be endured as part of
his duty . Even if he runs away from war , he cannot escape pain . This is because
sorrow will haunt as long there is body . Until the state of liberation is reached
, one will have to endure all happiness and sorrow. There is no escape till then .
Such enduration will confer the greater fruit of the soul.

The two different names of address given to Arjuna are also significant. To
address him as Kaunteya signifies his great blood relations from his mother's
side; and to address him as Bharata signifies his greatness from his father's
side. From both sides he is supposed to have a great heritage. A great heritage
brings responsibility in the matter of proper discharge of duties; therefore, he
cannot avoid fighting.

yam hi na vyatayantye:te: purusham purusharshabha |
sama dukha sukham dhi:ram so~mrutatva:ya kalpate:||

" O great of men , The courageous look at their sorrow as happiness itself. One
who remains unshaken by the emotions springing out of pleasure or pain is fit for

In the 14th sloka, we saw that the connection with organs and elements creates
sorrow or happy feelings. Every doubt expressed here is on behalf of us by Arjuna.
He asks why should one bear these twins, happy and sorrow or cold and heat? By
getting hurt in this fight, if we are to get any benefits we can bear that pain.
Or, if it promises a better world after death also we can tolerate this pain. But
the pain is unbearable here and by killing relatives and teachers only hell is
assured, so this fight appears to be avoidable, says Arjuna.

Arjuna questions, WHY should he bear al the pain?? Is he going to get
"return" in this world for bearing the pain?? Or
is he going to be benefited in a future life (swargam etc..??)? Arjuna
says, he is only guaranteed Narakam by killing
his elders in future and in this life he is only going to get pain. So,
why should he battle??

Krishna responds : "DhIram" A DhirAm is one who remains poised , patient,
unruffled under any circumstance, whether
it is joy or sorrow is a true "KarmaYogi" (Dheeran!). For eg: Swami
Vivekananda gives an example that a KarmaYogi
is one who remains the same in Busy city market or a desert in the same

The Courageous deem their suffering as inevitable as pleasure itself. To them the
waves of pleasure and pain are unavoidable. Therefore they perform their duties
assigned to them righteously without an eye on the result or fruit of such
exercise. Such action , to them is a means to immortality . O Arjuna , Only a
person who is unfazed by any contact, hard or soft such as those resulting from
the use of weapons in war , etc; is destined to immortality . You ,being the great
of your men , look unable to bear grief . This is not the behaviour of the

The body is bound to perish. The soul is invincible and never loses its existence
. So the wise do not grieve for the body that has been already predestined to
perish. They don't grieve for the soul as its devoid of death . This much was
asserted in 2.11 . The Lord further advised Arjuna in the previous verse to remain
undisturbed by pleasure or pain . The reason for adopting the mental state of
treating pleasure and pain equally is now put forward. The Lord describes the
mental state of the courageous who have nothing to attain but immortality , and
hence are not worried about pain or pleasure.

And a Person who acts in such a way, is blessed with Liberation. What is
this "Amrutatvaya" which Krishna refers
here? It is not "Swargam" or "Narakam" (Like Arjuna fears). Liberation is
beyond Swargam and Narakam i.e
eternal Kaimkaryam to the Lord in Vaikuntam.

Pain and Pleasure is constantly arriving and departing in life. The same
thing which gives pleasure also gives pain
beyond a certain point or in a different situation. eg. In Cold , we wear
sweater, blanket etc , but the same blanket etc
is thrown out in Summer. Similarly, foods which seems bitter, tasteless
etc are normally good for health.

Now, how can be a "DhIran" ?? It is the Lord's grace and one's sense of
purpose to follow that path. For eg: Freedom
fighters in the past bore great pain without demur, which we cannot imagine
going through in normal circumstances.
Why? Because, they had the great sense of purpose to sacrifice and suffer.

The word purusham does not mean male, but atman. Our body is called puri and
the one who is dwelling in that puri is purusha. The soul is not different for
males and females.

na: Asato: vidhyate: bha:vo: ! na:Abha:vo: vidhyate: sata: |
ubhayo:r api drushtah: antah: ! tu-anayo: tatva darshibhi: ||

Arjuna questions that why should one tolerate and be unruffled with pain and
pleasure?? Krishna continues his
response, by defining the nature of body and soul in great detail. In this
sloka, he says that the very nature of body
is changing and never constant and it is "unreal", whereas Soul is
constant. Nammazhwar says in his pasuram
in TiruvaayMozhi that "Min in Nila Yila, Mann uyir akaaigal ..", that
compared to the body a lightning's lifespan is far
better , because we all know the life span of lightning, whereas a human
life is not even guaranteed that span!
Azhwar also sings the same in this pasuram " Illadum uladum, alladum
avanuru ...".

**Please note: "Unreal" does NOT mean that the body does NOT exist. It
means that the body is changing and
(Advaitains interpret this unreal literally, which is not the view of

The literal meaning of anta is end. Here it means the summation or
conclusion of the essential natures of sat and asat. The authoritative conclusion
arrived at by elevated sages in this matter is that the nature of the physical
body is asat being temporary and that the nature of the spiritual soul is sat
being eternal. That which is asat is therefore known by its perishable nature and
that which is sat is known by its imperishable nature. Hence it is clear that what
is indicated by satva and asatva are the soul and the body.

Four important terms are defined here:
Sat = Atmah Asat = Body
BhAvah = Constant and eternal AbhaVah = changing

* na: Asato: vidhyate: bha:vo: -> Body is NOT constant and eternal (i.e
it is constantly changing)
* na: Abha:vo: vidhyate: sata: -> Atmah is NOT changing (it is
The Lord uses two Negatives here , instead of one positive. So, it's
slightly confusing, but it is done to lay emphasis.

*The above two truths about Body and Soul, were seen (drustah:) have been
said by great seers.
The property of the body is asat . It cannot be designated as sat. The property of
the soul is sat and similarly it cannot be referred as asat. This is the ultimate
truth as has been asserted by the word "anta:h" and has been seen by the
intellects of truth or sages.

Asat denotes perishability. Sat denotes constancy . Thus the conclusion drawn is
this "the body is perishable , the soul is constant."

Sva:mi Para:shara said , "tasma:t vigna:namruthe: kinchith kacitkada:ciddvija
vastuja:tam� sadbha:vam e:vam bhavato: mayo:kto: gna:nam yatha:
satyamasatyamanyata". [Meaning : "O Twice born(or brahmin) , it is a straight
conclusion barring the soul there is no other quantity even in meagre measure that
is free of perishability . Thus I have taught you that the soul is that which is
the truth . Everything else is asatyam or devoid of constancy.]

It has also been mentioned in the Vishnu pura:na "yatu ka:la:ntare:Na:pi na:naya:m
sagnya:mupaiti vai | pariNa:madi sambhu:ta:m tat vastu nrupa taccha kim ?
" [Meaning: "Which is that O king , that over the periods of change undergoes no
modification in terms of its identity (i.e.. it receives no names) ?" � the
implication being the soul.

The Lord Himself says in 2-18 , "antavanta ime: de:ha:h" [Meaning: These bodies
will have an end"] and "avina:shi tu tadviddhi"[Meaning: Know that the soul is
indestructible] in 2-17.

To achieve something, there is always some struggle involved. To win a race,
it needs practice and enduring the rigors of the race. Similarly,
a woman gives birth to a child and has to endure pain, but at the end of it ,
she enjoys the bliss and company of the baby. For doing great in
exam, students struggle but it pays off at results time. Krishna is saying the
same here to Arjuna, saying even if he avoids this war, he can't escape
fighting as a kshatriya. Body's very nature is change. Atma's very nature is
unchanging. But how is it that the souls imperishable nature is known? The next
verse states this.

avinasi tu tad viddhi !yena sarvam idam tatam
vinasam avyayas-yasya na kascit kartum arhati

"That which pervades the entire body you should know to be indestructible. No one
is able to destroy that imperishable soul."

Krishna explains in this sloka , why the Atma is eternal and never perishes. In
the 16th sloka He told about the everlasing nature of
the soul and the fleeting nature of the body. In this (17th )sloka He gives the
reason for the eternity of the soul and in the 18th sloka the reasons for the
perishable quality of body.

In this sloka, krishna says that which pervades the body is indestructible.
He refers to Soul as unperishable.
No one or Nothing can destroy the soul. Why? That's the inherent nature of
the soul.
Note: The allusion here is that there are NUMEROUS Souls! The soul in one
body is different from the soul in another body.
This disputes the "Advaitic" theory of only One Soul.

ANother intresting thing to note is, Krishna says only a "subtlel" element
only destroys a "grosser" element and not in the reverse.
For eg: An arrow or a Bullet which is Sukshmam annhilates a Sthulam eg. Man,
Elephant etc. But, not the reverse.
Using this logic, since Soul is the smallest atom i.e most subtle
(Sukshmam), there is nothing or anybody which can perish it, so
it is Eternal! THis is the reasoning Krishna mentions here to support the
assertion that Soul is eternal.

Know that the self in its essential nature is imperishable. The whole of
insentient matter, which is different (from the self), is pervaded by the self.
Because of pervasiveness and extreme subtlety, the self cannot be destroyed; for
every entity other than the self is capable of being pervaded by the self, and
hence they are grosser than It. Destructive agents like weapons, water, wind, fire
etc., pervade the substances to be destroyed and disintegrate them. Even hammers
and such other instruments rouse wind through violent contact with the objects and
thereby destroy their objects. So, the essential nature of the self being subtler
than anything else, It is imperishable. Agents like fire , water or wind pervade
the substances and cause destruction. Striking objects are guided by force cutting
the air . Destruction is caused by forces which are subtle essentially. The
destroyed objects are gross and manifest.So for destruction to be effected , the
destroying agent must be subtler than the object destroyed. The soul is subtler
than everything else . Hence it is free of destruction.

That is, only sookshmam [minute] will destroy sthoolam [enormity] and as a
corollary sthoolam can never destroy sookshmam. Since atman is the tiniest and
there is nothing else
smaller than atman, it cannot be destroyed. Let us examine the veracity of this
Law. A stout rod destroys a small earthen pot. Apparently,it is contrary to the
law mentioned now in that
the bigger rod destroyed the smaller pot. But actually, the enormity has not
destroyed the pot. If that was true then a big bundle of cotton if thrown on the
pot should have broken the pot.
Similarly, if the rod were just kept on the pot, the pot remains without
breaking. So a massive rod alone is not responsible for breaking the pot. Even a
throw cannot break the pot as
we saw throwing cotton bundle could not break it. So it is seen that a rod and a
force are needed to break the pot. This is also not enough. If the pot were at one
place and if we swipe
the rod with force at another place, the pot will not break. Because a contact
between the rod and pot is essential to break the pot. So, we can now conclude
that to break a pot, a
mass, a force and a contact are needed. Science tells that mass and velocity [or
acceleration] produce force or power and this in a minute form acts at the contact
point to destroy.
We can remember the famous equation E [energy]= m [mass] Xc*2 [velocity]. Thus the
law is observed to be true. An invisible minute power destroyed the pot. That is
Sri Krishna says that atman without a smaller entity being available, can never be

The soul is described as one ten-thousandth part of the upper portion of the hair
point in size. The Svetasvatara Upanisad confirms this:

balagra-sata-bhagasya satadha kalpitasya ca
bhago jivah sa vijneyah sa canantyaya kalpate

"When the upper point of a hair is divided into one hundred parts and again each
of such parts is further divided into one hundred parts, each such part is the
measurement of the dimension of the spirit soul." (Svet. 5.9)

In the Mundaka Upanisad the measurement of the atomic spirit soul is further

eso 'nur atma cetasa veditavyo
yasmin pranah pancadha samvivesa
pranais cittam sarvam otam prajanam
yasmin visuddhe vibhavaty esa atma

"The soul is atomic in size and can be perceived by perfect intelligence. This
atomic soul is floating in the five kinds of air [prana, apana, vyana, samana and
udana], is situated within the heart, and spreads its influence all over the body
of the embodied living entities. When the soul is purified from the contamination
of the five kinds of material air, its spiritual influence is exhibited." (Mund.

In Tatparya Chandrikai, Swami Desikan says that it's true that Jeevatma is more
subtle and Sukshmamam and
nothing can destroy it. But, isn't Paramaatma is more subtle (Sukshmam) than
Shastras says that Paramaatma is " Anoraniyan, MahatoMaHiyaan, Atmauhaayaam ...".
So, can't Paramatma be the
reason for destroying Jeevatma?? Atleast potentially ?
(Remember the analogy: SimCard is the atma and Cellphone is the body; Next,
with just Simcard, cell phone will not
work; It needs to catch signal from Tower to work. Tower is similar to
Paramatma. Though in this case, the paramatma
is inside Jeevatma and not outside. Another example: Injection. Inserting a
needle inside the body is required to put
the medicine inside the body. Similarly the needle is like Jeevatma and the
medicine inside needle is the Paramatma.)

Nammazhwar says "Udal Misai Uyir Enna, Karand Engum Parand Ulan ....", which
confirms that Paramatma is inside
every Jeevatma. Now the question arises, can't Paramatma destroy Jeevatma ??
This causes a dilemma !
If we say, Paramatma can destroy Jeevatma, then it negates the fact that Jeevatma
is indestructible! But, if we say
Paramatma cannot destroy Jeevatma, then it negates the fact that Paramatma is
"Sarva Shakti" (attributes of Bhagavan).
Swami Desikan says that "Paramatma" definitely has the capability to destroy
"Jeevatma", since he is Bhagavan.
But, Paramatama has taken "Sankalpam" NOT to destroy Jeevatma. {Satyam Satyam
Punah Satyam! Udbrhishta
Bhujam Uchyateh!... )

antavanta ime: deha:h nityasyokta: Sari:riNah |
ana:shino:~aprame:yasya tasma:t yudhyasva bha:rata ||

In the last slo:ka , it was clearly established that the soul is to be eternal .
In this slo:ka it is being ascertained on the pillars of the holy scriptures that
the body which houses the soul is inherently prone to destruction . Basically the
arguments in this slo:ka and the last are soul-centric. While the last slo:ka
explains the soul's nature of being undestroyed , this one puts across a view of
contrasting the eternal nature of soul with the property of destruction inherently
dwelling in the body . Hence the Lord advises , "Grieve not . Fight!"

(The Lord) now says that the bodies are perishable and the reason for it. The
very nature of Body is perishable.
He gives three reasons for it in this sloka. The immeasurable (aprameyasya) and
indestructible(aNasinah) soul(Sari:riNah) gets a
perishable (anta-vantah) body (deha:h) as per it's Karmas. The Soul is eternal
(Nityasya). Note: Immeasurable i.e aPrameyasya
means something which cannot be comprehended or measured (Prameyam is something we
can imagine or comprehend).

Ime -> all these i.e which we can see. What? This is the PanchaBhootam out of
which Body is made. Anything which
is made of panchaBhootam is destructible (eg: take example of Upma, which is a
mixture of salt, water, flour etc and
has a lifespan of just a day, compared to years of the salt, water, flour etc
individually). Whereas, Soul is made of
Gnaanam and is eternal.

dehAh -> Upachayam (grown) and Apachayam(dimimish). Body is subject to growth
and decay. Body has external
features like legs, hands,eyes, ears, nose etc, unlike Atma. Atma is sukshmam and
is unchanged.
The term deha meaning body is derived from the word dih meaning to increase and
correspondingly those bodies having increase must also have decrease and therefore
are of a
perishable nature. The elements combine to form the body dictated by karma ato
render service to the imperishable soul to enable the living entity to experience
the positive and
negative fruits of their actions. In the Brihad- aranyaka Upanisad it is stated:
by accruring merit one becomes meritorious. A living entity is forced to accept a
body only until all ones
positive and negative karma is exhausted and then the physical body is no longer
bound to exist in the physical plane.

Sareerinah(Jeevatma), Sarirah(Body) -> Sareeram is by it's very nature subject to
decay, because it's purpose to exhaust
the good and bad karmas of Jeevatma.

The body is called de:ha , Sari:ra etc; This principally qualifies that the body
is composed of parts . As it is composed of parts , destruction or damage of
individual parts means destruction of body. Further , the body is understood to be
composed of five elements . As new matter cannot be created from nothingness , its
the elements that have transformed into body . To rediscover the elements , its
only imperative that the body shed into its elements . Hence , the passing
existence of the body is beyond doubt or debate .

Sari:riNah denotes the proprietor of the body , that is the soul . A man owns his
house. His house could be quite strong or weak, tall or small , vast or compact .
If there are holes on the roof of his house , he suffers during rain . Otherwise ,
he comfortably protects himself . The house , depending on its nature decided the
comfort or trouble of its owner. Similarly the body decides the pleasure or pain
of the soul .The soul dwells in the body. The bodies are different because of the
differences in good or bad actions (karma) of the indwelling soul. Accordingly the
soul begets the good or bad results stemming out of his actions through the body.

As it is understood that the body is merely an enclosure for the soul , that
provides pain or pleasure in accordance to the soul's karma , its again inferred
easily that the body cannot exist for ever. It will cease to exist once the
pleasure or pain that was consigned to it , to be conferred upon the soul are all
exhausted. Hence , it can be concluded that the body is of temporal existence.

The body is therefore of transient existence as it is

1.composed of parts (Posseses organs, limbs etc)

2.macroscopic allowing further addition of macroscopic objects like food to enter
it ( its not eternal or permanent and its composition is often altered)

3.built or transformed from the five elements (Pancha Bhootam )

4.only an enclosure for serving on the soul the fruits of pain or pleasure
consigned to it. (Vehicle to perform karma)

But the soul is eternal because it is

1.not composed of parts

2.not pervaded or added by other macroscopic material

3.a unit in itself and not built from elements (it is pure Gyaana only)

4. the real sufferer/enjoyer of cycles of pain and pleasure through the body
(beneficiary of karma)

Whatever part of the body falls or decays , the soul remains the same . The
cognition of 'I' is independent of the body. Whether the body is put to disease or
disability , the 'I' factor always remains unaltered. Pain is sensed in the hand
or leg etc; when it comes to body level. But talking at the level of soul , there
is no headache of soul or legsore . The soul suffers as a unit . It is not built
on any parts. It cannot be transformed into anything new. The conscious is eternal
, irrespective of the nature or the state of the body. Experience may come in
different forms but ultimately its the 'I' , that forms the focal point of all
experience. What is cognized as 'I' is the soul.

So, in summary, the three main differences between Jeevatma and Body is that
Body is made of PANCHABOOTAMS,
Body has external attributes, Body's purpose to exhaust the Karma of the
Jeevatma, whereas Soul is "Jnaanam", is

(In the 17th sloka, Krishna reasoned that Atma is Nityam because its is
Sukshmam(subtle) and Pervasive. In the
18th sloka, he reasons that Body is temporary because it's made of
PanchaBhootas, is a vehicle to exhaust Karma
and is subject to change i.e growth and decay. So, in summary, Atma is
eternal and Body is temporary).

Going by the science elucidated above , its clear that it is not just that the
soul is eternal , it "alone" is . The body is bound to perish. So the eternal of
eternals , the Lord tells Arjuna , " Your grief is unjustified on any account .
Rise and fight."

Now a question arises on why Krishna has to go to such depths to explain the
temporary nature of the Body. It's well known
that Body is temporary and decayable by common observation. However, it is not so
and there are reasons to make this much of effort to say. Firstly, atman is not
perishable like Him,
the Paramatma. This is affirmative comparison. In a negative comparison, the atman
is not like the body, which perishes. So, to establish the superiority of atman,
destructible body is
compared. Just as we come across dos and don�ts in our daily life, two types of
examples were needed to show the indestructible quality of atman and so comparison
with body was

Krishna does so to emphasize that even if Arjuna doesn't battle, the demise of
body of his opposition is anyway foregone. Next, krishna also says this to people
who are
worried about their continued misery, saying the bodily misery is temporary and
we have to do our duty. Another reason is, it's a sign for people who spend lot
of time and money
decorating themselves in a artificial sense and Krishna says irrespective of all
the "alankaram" being done to body, it's just artificial and doesn't change it's
temporary nature. Importantly, by understanding that body is temporary, Krishna
wants us to build "Vairagyam" (Detachment), knowing that Soul is permanent.

ya-enam vetti hantaram! yas cainam manyate hatam
ubhau tau na vijanitah! nA-yam hanti na-hanyate

There is nothing or anybody which can destroy a soul. A soul cannot be killed
nor is there anything which can destroy
a soul. Thus a Soul is eternal. The two types of people, i.e one who thinks
there is something which kills this Atma or that Soul gets killed, are
ignorant. Whoever doesn't understand this, doesn't have true knowledge.

Now, a moral dilemma arises. In shastras, there are statements which advices us
not to treat and kill other Jeevas (animals,
humans, trees etc Na Himsyaat Sarva BhutaanI). But, here Krishna says that a
Soul can never be destroyed or killed by anybody or anything. Isn't it
Does the Shastras means "Body" shouldn't be injured and not refers to Soul? Not
really, since after the soul leaves the body, body perishes by itself. The reason
is, when Shastras
warn us not to mistreat or harm other creatures, it means that we shouldn't
"separate" a body and it's soul, because we have no right to do it!! (source:
Katavalli Upanishad).
We may think, perhaps the shastras only ask us not to kill the bodies of other
creatures. When Veda says cow slaughter should be avoided, does it mean the body
of the cow should not be hurt? This is also not correct. Because, when someone
dies, the body is cremated by igniting fire to the body. None calls this as himsa
or hurting. So the shastras instruct us not to harm a body which is living or when
the soul is inside. Therefore, the implication is that one should not cause
maranam [death]. Maranam means mruth prana thyagena. That is separation of atman
from the body and the Vedas advise us not to do this separation. So, the correct
interpretation of the shastras is that, we are not authorized to separate the soul
from the body.


1.The scriptures don't talk of destroying the body alone.(dead body)

2. The scriptures ban unrighteous separation of soul from body. This is called
non-violence theory or policy of ahimsa.

3. In case of situations like righteous war, the scriptures allow the action of
separaton of soul from body. This is only to establish righteousness .

As the soul is indestructible and cannot be destroyed by any agent, its ignorance
to think that one can destroy the "very existence" itself even in righteous
actions like war. The soul continues to exist even after the action of "killing"
known to the world.

na jAyate mriyate va kadacit ! nAyam bhutva bhavita va na bhuyah !
ajo nityah sasvato �yam purano ! na hanyate hanyamAne sarire !

"For the soul there is neither birth nor death at any time. He was not born at the
time of kalpa, does not disappear at the end of kalpa. He is unborn, eternal,
unchanging and very
ancient. He is not slain when the body is slain." The soul never takes birth or
dies. The soul is unborn , beyond destruction , without any changes in their
intrinsic state and remains
FRESH even after being many ages old. It is not formed at the beginning of
creation and it is not destroyed at the end of this world. The soul remains even
as the body perishes.

Soul is -> "ajah:" (unborn), "Nitya:"(eternal), "Sasvatah:"(not subject to
modification), "Puranah" (pura-apinavah: -> always fresh;-) ), forever(kadacit).
The word purana means ancient. Etymologically it stems from purapi navah meaning
old yet new illustrating that the eternal soul although ancient is experienced
with every birth
as ever new. Thus it has been clarified that the physical body only perishes but
never can the eternal soul perish.

The 17th sloka dealt with the reasoning that since there is not a smaller entity
than the atman, it is indestructible. In the 18th sloka, since the body was a
composite of the five elements
and since it was growing and waning, it is destroyable. In the 19th sloka, it was
told that he, who does not understand this true nature of atman and body, is not a
wise man. Having
stated so, now in the 20th sloka, Sri Krishna establishes that atman does not
undergo any changes whatsoever.

In this slokam, Krishna says that Soul is not only eternal and indestructible,
but it is not subject to any change,
at ANY time. This is to address the doubt Arjuna had on whether the Soul was
"indestructible and not subject to change", just
now or in last 1000 years and probably it has a "manufacturing and expiry" date?.
Krishna says emphatically that soul
is "ALWAYS" eternal, unborn, without death and unchanging. Now, we will have a
doubt. In shastras, it is mentioned that
the lifespan of a human is less than Devas , which is less than Brahma etc.. (eg:
1 human year is equal to 1 day for deva).
4 Yugas = 4,320,000 years * 1000 is the span of Brahma for one kalpa, when Shrusti
and Pralayam takes place.
Krishna says here, that Soul is never born or dead during any of this times,
whether it is Shrusthi, Pralayam, Kalpa or
a human life span!!

Now, another question arises, since the souls are eternal, are we Paramatma??
No, Jeevatmas are separate from Paramatma. Due to ignorance and material contact,
we have lost this true knowledge. Based on our karmas, the soul takes bodies
accordingly. In an inanimate object, also soul exists, but it has no way to
increase it's
understanding. Beyond, inanimate objects is trees, then animals, then human, then
devas etc. When it acheives true knowledge, it reaches "paramapadam" to live
eternally with Paramatma.

Each of this body, gives the soul a potential to gain the true nature of itself.
Soul is not subject to the six types of change, like body! But, intrestingly,
even though Soul is eternal, it appears to be changing as per the body it takes.
It's similar to we wearing different types and colors of dresses every day! Even
though we are the same person, our external appearance seems to change as per the
dress we wear!

This Self (Atman) is destitute of the six types of transformation or Bhava-Vikaras
such as birth, existence, growth, transformation, decline and death. As It is
indivisible (Akhanda).
It does not diminish in size. It neither grows nor does It decline. It is ever
the same. Birth and death are for the physical body only. Birth and death cannot
touch the immortal, all-pervading Self. The understanding that the eternal soul is
never slain is being confirmed by its freedom from the six changes of material
existence being: birth, existence, growth, modification, decay and death which are
controlling all living entities high and low in the material existence. The
Supreme Lord by declaring the eternal soul is not born confirms the absence of any
birth and by declaring the eternal soul does not die confirms the absence of any
destruction. The word va occurring twice is used in the sense of and as in and the
immortal soul does not come into existence by birth. The immortal soul is already
by nature itself eternal. So existence by conception is proven false due to the
fact the eternal soul is birthless. That which is conceived attains existence
after birth; but that which already eternally exists by its own nature cannot be
conceived again. This is the purport of this verse. Constant means not subject to
modification. This confirms the absence of growth. Eternal confirms the absence of
decay. Ancient confirms the absence of ageing ever beyond time the eternal soul is
ageless. Thus there is never a repetition regarding the existence of the eternal
soul and the six changes of the physical of birth, existence, growth,
modification, decay and death mentioned by Yaksa and other expounders of the Vedic
scriptures as to the nature of things in this world never is applicable to the
eternal soul which factually every living entity born from a womb possesses. The
imperishable nature of the soul and the fact that the six changes of the physical
body have no influence on it which is the topic presently under discussion has now
been satisfactorily concluded and so it is confirmed that the eternal soul does
not perish when the body perishes.

In the Katha Upanisad also we find a similar passage which reads:

na jayate mriyate va vipascin
nayam kutascin na vibhuva kascit
ajo nityah sasvato 'yam purano
na hanyate hanyamane sarire
(Katha 1.2.18)

The meaning and purport of this verse is the same as in the Bhagavad-gita, but
here in this verse there is one special word, vipascit, which means learned or
with knowledge.
The soul is full of knowledge, or full always with consciousness. Therefore,
consciousness is the symptom of the soul. Even if one does not find the soul
within the heart, where he is situated, one can still understand the presence of
the soul simply by the presence of consciousness. Sometimes we do not find the sun
in the sky owing to clouds, or for some other reason, but the light of the sun is
always there, and we are convinced that it is therefore daytime. As soon as there
is a little light in the sky early in the morning, we can understand that the sun
is in the sky. Similarly, since there is some consciousness in all bodies--whether
man or animal--we can understand the presence of the soul. This consciousness of
the soul is, however, different from the consciousness of the Supreme because the
supreme consciousness is all-knowledge--past, present and future. The
consciousness of the individual soul is prone to be forgetful. When he is
forgetful of his real nature, he obtains education and enlightenment from the
superior lessons of Krsna.

The soul is full of knowledge, or full always with consciousness. Therefore,
consciousness is the symptom of the soul. Even if one does not find the soul
within the heart, where he is situated, one can still understand the presence of
the soul simply by the presence of consciousness. Sometimes we do not find the sun
in the sky owing to clouds, or for some other reason, but the light of the sun is
always there, and we are convinced that it is therefore daytime. As soon as there
is a little light in the sky early in the morning, we can understand that the sun
is in the sky. Similarly, since there is some consciousness in all bodies--whether
man or animal--we can understand the presence of the soul. This consciousness of
the soul is, however, different from the consciousness of the Supreme because the
supreme consciousness is all-knowledge--past, present and future. The
consciousness of the individual soul is prone to be forgetful. When he is
forgetful of his real nature, he obtains education and enlightenment from the
superior lessons of Krsna.

The great deluge [pralayam] is called kalpa. At the start of the kalpa, Brahma
creates everything in this Universe. At that time also the atman is not created.
Nor the atmans perish at the end of a kalpa. When a child is born, at that time an
atman chooses that body and is born. Atman is there in everything. It is in this
plant and in that pillar. One may wonder how atman can be in those inanimate
objects. But if we examine closely, even our body is inanimate and we know atman
is there. So, there is atman in all materials also. The only difference is that
the atman in our body can develop his knowledge while, the atman in the pillar has
no scope for wisdom. The atman in that pillar is there to expend the karma he had
acquired and the moment that is over, that atman will depart that pillar and
reside in another body. The magnitude of the wisdom of the atman in any body is
determined by its past karma. If the wisdom is, let us say, 0%, it resides in an
inanimate body like pillar. A slightly higher intellectual makes the soul to take
a bird�s body or animal�s body. More wisdom makes the soul to take bodies of human
beings or devas or even a Brahma. So the ranking of the knowledge decides the body
that soul will be residing. The up and down in gyana or wisdom is only found in
atmans. Once, the soul has taken a body, he tries to develop his wisdom and seek a
higher level and ultimately, resides in the Sri Vaikuntam or His abode from where
there is no more return for the atman to lower planes like this earth. Thus atman
is eternal and never undergoes any change. Sri Krishna calls atman as purana. Pura
api navaha puranaha is the Sanskrit meaning for the word purana. It means to say
that it is very ancient and at the same time fresh or novel. Atman also is ancient
but appears fresh everyday. It is common knowledge that we seek changes so as to
avoid monotonous, which can be boring and dull. We rearrange our surroundings. We
change our dress. So Arjuna feels that an unchanging and static atman might cause
boredom. Sri Krishna allays such thoughts and says that atman is fresh everyday
with more and better knowledge. This is a greatness of atman that though he is
changeless, he appears afresh every time. Like Sri Aravamudan of Thirukkudanthai
[Kumbakonam], Alwar says, every time he visits Him, he finds Him revealing Himself
differently. We listen to Sri Ramayana. But every time we listen it refreshes our
knowledge. So He now tells Arjuna that by killing Bheeshma, he will not kill the
atman of Bheeshma.

vedA-avinasinam nityam ya enam ajam avyayam
katham sa purushah pArtha kam-ghAtayati hanti kam

"O Partha, how can a person who knows that the soul is indestructible, eternal,
unborn and immutable kill anyone or encourage anyone to kill?"

Tirumangai Azhwar says in Thirunedundantakam - Munuru(Achit),
Pinuru(Jeevatma,Chit), Ponuru (Paramatma).
" .. Irrapaturuku enathu!". Paramatma is embedded inside every Jeevatma and
Jeevatma is in every material body.

One who knows the true nature of soul is eternal understands that he cannot
destroy or kill anybody, nor will be make an attempt
to kill. Krishna says this to Arjuna to ensure that if he knows this truth, he
will understand that he cannot kill Bhishma, Drona etc.
Atma is inside Shareeram, temporarily. Soul is "AJAM" (unborn, unchanging).,
NITYAM(eternal), AVINASINAM (indestructible), "AVYAYAM" (unchangeable). Whoever
realises this gnaanam (i.e a soul is unborn, eternal, indestructible), CANNOT
kill anybody and neither will he even attempt to kill i.e
"Katam cha purushah paartha!".

There are two types of Tattvam - ParaaDarsham, PratyaDarsham. Achit (Lamp, Stone
etc) are all Paraaa Darsham. Whereas,
human, animal etc is all "PratyaDarsham", because we all have the feeling of "I"
(self), which is "Self-illuminating".

So possessing spiritual intelligence, knowing the soul to be eternal,
understanding it to be birthless and deathless being of an inexhaustible nature
how is it possible for anyone to commit any act of destruction against the
immortal soul which dwells in trillions of various and diverse living entities
among the 8 million 400 thousand species of life throughout the billions of
material universes. Whom can anyone destroy? How can anyone destroy anyone? Who
can cause anyone to be destroyed? No one can! Thus it can be seen that ignorance
of the eternal nature of the soul is the cause of all grief by not understanding
that the soul is immortal and thinking that the eternal soul perishes when the
physical body perishes. Comprehending that what happens to the immortal soul when
the physical body ceases to function is factually the withdrawal from an old
physical body to enter into a new physical body. So it can be understood that
those who have deep regret for the loss of the physical body, serving as it does
as the facility for securing and enjoying material pleasures; these living
entities should reflect on the futility and temporal nature of material existence
rather than trying to eternally exploit their senses.

Yaksha poses this question to DharmaPutram in Mahabharat - "What is the most
wonderful-AAshcharyam thing in this world" ??
Yudishtra replies that "even though this body has 9 holes, the Jeevatma doesn't
fly away and still resides in this body!.. that is the
most amazing thing in this world" . Body is "NavaDwara Pura patnam". Yaksha
poses another question : "What is even more amazing"?
Yudishtra replies that "Seeing so many people die also, a person still thinks he
is going to live forever. For eg: Even the pallbearers
plan to make a living by carrying dead!". So it is very difficult to come to that
realization that the atman is everlasting and the body only perishes.

vAsamsi jirnani yatha vihaya navani grhnati naro �parani
tatha sarirani vihaya jirnany anyani samyAti navani dehi

"As a person puts on new garments, giving up used up ones, the soul similarly
accepts new material bodies, giving up the old and useless ones."

Arjuna has a doubt now, after hearing Krishna mentioning that Atma is Nityam,
Indestructible etc , body is temporary and will
fall and that one has to bear the pain to achieve the goal. But, human has an
attachment by nature with his body, due to the
association of being in it. It's natural! So, isn't it normal to show attachment
to a body which has given us company throughout the life
and not show any dukham to it's demise or destruction?? In response Krishna
mentions that Slokam. He says that rather than
showing Dukham at the demise of the body, one should express joy! He says, just
like a man wears new garments and throws
off worn out garments, similarly the Jeevatma casts off one body and takes
another. So, isn't it a cause for joy rather than sorrow?
So, rather than feeling sorrow of casting away old body and taking new, it should
be joyous occasion.
In Taittraya Upanishad " Yuvasya .. athisthio... Maanusha Anandah", it says that
Youth is the ultimate fountainhead of happiness for
human life and when this body has overlasted it's usefulness, so isn't it a joy to
shed it?

Now, Arjuna had another doubt - If at the end of this life, one gets a worst body
e.g. animal etc due to past karmas, isn't it a scary thought?
i.e if one gets to wear rags, it would be preferable to wear an old shirt, rather
than shedding it and wearing a rag. Krishna says that,
Arjuna need not fear, since he is fighting a battle doing his Kshatriya duty and
even if he perishes in the battle, he is assured of swargam.
So, he need not worry about the next life.

Transference of the atomic individual soul to another body is made possible by the
grace of the Supersoul. The Supersoul fulfills the desire of the atomic soul as
one friend fulfills the desire of another. The Vedas, like the Mundaka Upanisad,
as well as the Svetasvatara Upanisad, compare the soul and the Supersoul to two
friendly birds sitting on the same tree. One of the birds (the individual atomic
soul) is eating the fruit of the tree, and the other bird (Krsna) is simply
watching His friend. Of these two birds--although they are the same in quality--
one is captivated by the fruits of the material tree, while the other is simply
witnessing the activities of His friend. Krsna is the witnessing bird, and Arjuna
is the eating bird. Although they are friends, one is still the master and the
other is the servant. Forgetfulness of this relationship by the atomic soul is the
cause of one's changing his position from one tree to another or from one body to
another. The jiva soul is struggling very hard on the tree of the material body,
but as soon as he agrees to accept the other bird as the supreme spiritual
master--as Arjuna agreed to do by voluntary surrender unto Krsna for instruction--
the subordinate bird immediately becomes free from all lamentations. Both the
Katha Upanisad and Svetasvatara Upanisad confirm this:

samane vrkse puruso nimagno
'nisaya socati muhyamanah
justam yada pasyaty anyam isam asya
mahimanam iti vita-sokah

"Although the two birds are in the same tree, the eating bird is fully engrossed
with anxiety and moroseness as the enjoyer of the fruits of the tree. But if in
some way or other he turns his face to his friend who is the Lord and knows His
glories--at once the suffering bird becomes free from all anxieties." Arjuna has
now turned his face towards his eternal friend, Krsna, and is understanding the
Bhagavad-gita from Him. And thus, hearing from Krsna, he can understand the
supreme glories of the Lord and be free from lamentation.

2-23 & 2-24:

na-enam chindanti shastrani na-enam dahati pavakah:
na ca-enam kledayanty-apah: na sosayati marutah

"The soul can never be cut to pieces by any weapon, nor burned by fire, nor
moistened by water, nor dried by the wind."

acchEdyo �yam adAhyo �yam aklEdyo asosya eva ca
nityah: sarva-gatah: sthanuh: acalo �yam puratanah

"This individual soul is unbreakable and insoluble, and can be neither burned nor
dried. He is everlasting, present everywhere, unchangeable, immovable and
eternally the same."

The concept of indestructibility of the soul that was already spoken from 11 to 17
is being reiterated here for the sake of emphasis.

Soul cannot be cleaved, burnt, wetted or dryed by weapons, fire, water and air
respectively. It is not capable of being
pervaded by them and cleaving, burning, wetting and drying are actions which can
take place only by pervading a substance.
Krishna says the same thing in both verses 23 and 24, only with a different
wording. Why?? Because, this is important and he
wants to reemphasize the truth of such import, by repeating and stressing on it.

No Weapons can cut this soul! Fire cannot burn this soul! Water cannot drown or
destroy this soul! Air cannot dry or destroy this soul!
Why? Because soul is pervaded inside everything! Now a question will arise -
Isn't this pervasion, omnipresence a characterisitic of
only Paramatma?? Not really. Paramatma is indeed omnipresent, but Jeevatma also
has pervasion(sarvagatah). The significant
difference is that, numerous jeevatmas pervaded throughout the substances of this
world and at any single time, single place, a jeevatma can only pervade only one
place, unlike Paramatma who pervades across space, time and place. Now, Arjuna
has another doubt. Ok, a soul
cannot be cut, burnt or destroyed in any way. But, will a soul will subject to
perishment over course of time? Will it change its nature,
svabhavam over time?? Krishna says NO. Self is eternal. It is Stable,
Immovable (achalah) and primeval (Puratanah).

Another important point here is that Krishna says Self is always having
knowledge(achalah) and it doesn't change or get any new knowledge.
What makes humans and other beings behave differently is due to this knowledge
being hidden or covered due to karmas, just like
a Sun gets temporarily obscured by clouds.

Though the two slokas appear to be repetitive, the 23rd sloka talks of implements,
if any, to destroy atman and the next sloka says the atman is indestructible. It
is our experience in our schools also that important points are reiterated by
teachers so that they are remembered always. Here, Sri Krishna also a Teacher par
excellence, wants Arjuna to remember these noble qualities of atman, and so
reiterates. This will clear any doubts Arjuna has. In the first place, He says
that no weapons are there to cut the atman. Fire cannot burn it. Water cannot wet
it. Here it should be understood that the atman couldn�t be dissolved by water.
Air cannot dry it.

In the next sloka Sri Krishna says about the everlasting nature of atman, which we
had seen earlier. But, in addition He makes another statement that atman is
pervading or permeating all over. We have heard that only Paramatma or God only is
all pervading and omni present. How, then, atman can have this quality? The
interpretation by elders is that when an atman is in a body, by its power of
wisdom or knowledge it is pervading in the entire body without a gap. Same atman
when takes another body as its residence, pervades that body fully. Like this many
bodies are fully pervaded by the atman, at different times. This is a major
difference between the Paramatma and the Jeevatma. While, the former permeates all
bodies always and simultaneously, the latter occupies different bodies at
different times. It is said that certain yogis have that power to have their atman
present in more than one body at the same time. Normally, atman is present in one
body only. Arjuna accepts that it is all right the atman cannot be dissolved by
water or burnt by fire and so on, but it is possible, he doubts, that the atman
might fade on its own and disappear. Sri Krishna says that the eternalness is
natural to atman. Still not convinced, Arjuna feels that the atman may change its
characters with time. He wants to know whether atman�s swabhavam or
characteristics undergo change. Sri Krishna says that the swabhavam of atman is
gyana or intellect. In other words it is gyana swaroopy, a personification of
wisdom. This never changes. A fresh doubt comes in the mind of Arjuna. We find
knowledge is neither uniform nor complete and we take efforts to develop. So how
it is justified to say that the knowledge of soul is not changing? Our elders have
explained this. All atman have total wisdom but when in a body, the knowledge
exhibited is limited by the past karmas. So the brightness is reduced by the
karmas. We dig the earth at a place for water. Water gushes out. Water was already
present there and by digging at the right place the water sprang up. Similarly,
the gyana or knowledge is already in the soul and by our efforts we try to bring
out and become more knowledgeable. Like Sunshine being reduced by the clouds or
the umbrella. So, the atman�s gyana is also permanent.

avyakto �ayam! acintyo �ayam! avikAryo �ayam! ucyate
tasmad evam viditva-enam na-anusocitum arhasi

Krishna continues to emphasize the nature of soul - Avayaktoyam, Achintyoyam,
In this verse Lord Krishna gives additional reasons why one should never grieve
for the soul. Because the soul is unmanifest it is not able to be cut or burned
like objects which are manifest in this world and being unmanifest it is
inconceivable as it is not possible to equate it with the form or nature of
anything that one could imagine in the material existence. Being unable to imagine
the constitution of the soul indicates it is immutable because it is devoid of any
process of modification for example milk transforming to youghurt. Therfore
comprehending the nature and quality of the soul as enunciated above one should
not be under the delusion of lamentation.

There are three sources of knowledge - Pratyaksham (Perception), Anumaanam
(inference), Shabdham(thru other sources e.g. Vedas).
So, whatever thing you take in this world, the three sources of knowledge will
tell that it is perishable. But, for Atma(soul), there is nothing which tells it
perishable - Avyakta-Ayam.

Krishna says soul is Achintyoyam - i.e it cannot even be conceived.
Krishna says soul is Avikaaroyam - AviKaaryaam i.e it is unchanging.

e.g take an example. Body can be felt, perceived , while soul cannot be felt
through Senses. And neither cannot it be infered i.e by looking
at something and then saying soul can be perished. Another example is, even
though a Lamp is seen through pratyaksham as one
light which is glowing, by inference we can see that it consists of wick, oil
which is getting exhausted. But, for soul neither through
pratyaksham, nor through inference can we say that soul is temporary.

The word avyaktah means invisible or imperceivable this is because the eternal
soul being totally transcendental to the material existence cannot be practically
examined as can objects which possess qualities of a physical nature.

The word acintyah means inconceivable because the eternal soul is impossible to
perceive by the mind and the senses being in every way transcendental to the
material substratum which is what the consciousness of the living entities base
their understanding on. The eternal soul differs from all other existences and
levels of existence is in transcendence. Therefore it is avikaryah unchangeable
and immutable. The Supreme Lord Krishna instructs that by knowing the eternal soul
to be immortal there is no cause for grief.

atha-ca-enam nitya-jatam nityam va manyase mrtam
tathapi tvam maha-baho na-enam socitum arhasi

"If, however, you think that the soul [or the symptoms of life] is always born and
dies forever, you still have no reason to lament, O mighty-armed."

In the previous slokas, Krishna emphasized the body is different from Soul and
says to Arjuna not to worry about this temporary
body and fight in the war. . But in this sloka and the next two slokas,
Krishna indulges in "Adbhukgamavadam" , where he changes tact ,
In this you argue your point agreeing with the point what your opponent is
imagining. So, Sri Krishna argues assuming that the body and soul are same, as
thought by Arjuna.
If both are same also Arjuna should not mourn at the killing of Bheeshma or
Drona. Because, as the body falls, the soul also dies according to the assumption
of Arjuna.
He should not now worry where the soul is going, to hell or heaven, as the soul is
no longer there after the body is slain. So, here he says,
Arjuna .. Ok, even if you consider Atma is identical with body and is
"NityaJatam"(constantly born) and "NityamMurtam" (Constantly dying),
even then (tatah pi), you should not feel grief. Why? The only constant in
this body is CHANGE! We don't always remain a kid, a boy,
a youth or so on. Even things around us, change constantly! Now, Arjuna says,
he is not worried about change, but death.
Krishna says, why worry about death? Arjuna says, he is worried to be separated
from everybody or others separating and the
unknown stage after death. Krishna laughs and says, if Arjuna is considering body
and soul as one and the same, what is there to
worry about death, because once the body perishes, it's the end of body and soul!
This is a good example of how ignorance can cloud
us with fear. For e.g. when we get hurt etc, we are scared, but the expert
Medics are calm and repair us without any fear. A surgeon
is not scared to operate or seeing blood etc, but we are scared. Why? Because the
surgeon is an expert. This shows that ignorance
is the root of this fear. Another reason is "experience".. Lack of awareness is
also another reason for fear. For eg. if we are familiar
with a misery or a disease etc, it is no longer a reason for fear. So, if Arjuna
thinks body and soul are one and the same, change
is inevitable and there is no reason to worry. Similarly, the question of
Swargam, Narakam doesn't arise, because if Arjuna considers
body and soul are one and the same, there is no swargam, Narakam. Arjuna now has
another doubt - "We" know the change in One
body i.e from infant to old age, but when we shed one body and take another body,
we are not aware of the old body and that is a reason
for fear, since the past and future are unknown. Krishna responds that, if we
remember every past life, then we will end up being
inundated with past memories and past relationships, which will end us drowned in
samasaram, without any chance of redemption.
Only great yogis and gnaanis have this power of rememberance, since it doesn't
disturb them. So, Krishna says that birth and death
are inevitable for the body, whose nature is modification and there is no need to
feel grief.

Krsna sarcastically addressed Arjuna as maha-bahu, mighty-armed, because He, at
least, did not accept the theory of the Vaibhasikas (a school of philosophy which
not accept soul), which leaves aside the Vedic wisdom. As a ksatriya, Arjuna
belonged to the Vedic culture, and it behooved him to continue to follow its

jatasya hi dhruvo mrityur dhruvam janma mrtasya ca
tasmad aparihArye �rthe na tvam socitum arhasi

"One who has taken his birth is sure to die, and after death one is sure to take
birth again. Therefore, in the unavoidable discharge of your duty, you should not

Krishna says that whatever is originating, it's destruction is certain and
whatever is perishable, it will inevitably originate.
Arjuna now has a doubt. If he wins the war and whatever is born is going to
perish, it means the win will also be temporary. So, why even
battle?? Similarly, shouldn't a person who has recuperated from disease is happy,
should he be, because his recuperation is ultimately
temporary? Krishna responds saying that, this efforts are required for clearing
of the trouble for that period, which is natural and there
is no confusion or wrong about it. Similarly, it's Arjuna's responsibility to
fight his way from the current situation, rather than running away.
Now another doubt comes up - Is something coming up from nothing or is it coming
up from something ; This two types of
arguments are called - Sat-kaarya Vaadham and Asat-kaarya Vaadham. e.g. To take
an analogy, it's the difference between Discovery
and Invention. Discovery is something which is already there and been identified
for use (eg> country, columbus discovering America).
Invention is creating something which was not there previously (eg> Telephone).
But, really speaking, the components of telephone
was always there and it's only been arranged in a new way. e.g Wool.Thread
strung together becomes a Cloth. Similarly, something can
come out of something and nothing (this is Satkaarya Vaadham) and when it
perishes, it doesn't go away. but is transformed. eg. when
a pot is broken, even though the Pot is destroyed, it creates the clay (broken
into clay pieces). Similarly, when a body perishes, it takes
a different form.

It is evident that death of the physical body is inevitable to whatever is born
and that there is no way to escape from this physical termination of the body.
Similarly rebirth is unavoidable once one's physical body has died. How can
something which has been lost become again? It is conceivable that something which
has already been to become again; but it is inconceivable for that which has never
been to become. Therefore there is nothing that can come that has not been. What
is known as birth and death is but just different modifications of an ever
existing condition. Yarn and other materials exist but when they are woven into a
fabric that is a particular arrangement of the yarn itself, it receives the name
cloth in its modified state. Even the asat-karya-vadis who follow the fallacious
hypothesis that existence comes from non-existence should admit the ever existing
state, for what we know as cloth to them is a new creation but is factually the
same old yarn only in a new form which has been created. It is not sagacious or
well thought out to assume that a new substance has come into being simply because
of a modified condition.

Thus coming into existence and disappearing from existence are modified states of
an ever existing reality. One of the conditions of this modified state is its
appearance called birth and another condition being its diametric opposite is
known as death which by disappearing this ever existing reality passes into. For a
substance which is intrinsically metamorphic the process of modification is
essential. As in the case of a clod of earth, transformed into clay, transformed
into a pot, transformed into dust and transformed back to earth again. The
manifestation of a subsequent condition is but a modification of a previous
condition and that same subsequent condition becomes a prior condition of another
subsequent condition. Reasoning in this way it can be understood that it is
natural that successive modifications take place in regards to creation and
destruction of physical bodies which cannot be avoided and there is no reason to
lament due to this. If there is some slight grief which may be apparent by the
passing from a prior modified state to a subsequent modified state even this grief
need not arise in the case of living entities such as human beings because... and
the next verse 28 clarifies why.

avyaktadi-ni bhutani ! vyakta-madhyani bharata!
avyakta-nidhanAny eva! tatra ka paridevana
"The [five elements made] body is not capable of revealing the past [but] middle
[present] revealed. Future not revealed, Oh! Bharatha, where is then need for
All created beings are unmanifest in their beginning, manifest in their interim
state, and unmanifest again when they are annihilated. So what need is there for

Note, slokas 26,27,28 are all based on the assumption that body and soul are the
same and Krishna presenting that even assuming this false assumption is true,
then one should not get disturbed by the death or destruction of this body. Take
for eg: Pot, clay, mud are three different forms of the same thing and one thing
into another in it's cycle of formation and destruction. Atleast for Pot, we
know what form it will take (mud, clay etc), when it gets broken.
But, for human, we wouldn't know for sure what it's future state be, after death.
After death, it may take a better form. Arjuna asks,
whether it's possible to know what the past or future states would be? Krishna
responds that, we won't know our past or future, but
only our present. This body which is made up of PanchaBhootams(Bhootani) is
"Avyaaktaani" (unknown) in the past; Our current state(madhya) is
known (Vyaktaani); Our future i.e after death (Nidhana) is unknown(Avyaktaani).
So, there is no point in grieving about the future stage.
Do remember that this sloka is based on the assumption that body and soul are same
and Krishna is presenting it from this point of view
and letting Arjuna know, even with this assumption, there is no point in
grieving(paridevana) about future or past.

Accepting that there are two classes of philosophers, one believing in the
existence of soul and the other not believing in the existence of the soul, there
is no cause for lamentation in
either case. Nonbelievers in the existence of the soul are called atheists by
followers of Vedic wisdom. Yet even if, for argument's sake, we accept the
atheistic theory, there is still no
cause for lamentation. Apart from the separate existence of the soul, the material
elements remain unmanifested before creation. From this subtle state of
unmanifestation comes
manifestation, just as from ether, air is generated; from air, fire is generated;
from fire, water is generated; and from water, earth becomes manifested. From the
earth, many varieties
of manifestations take place. Take, for example, a big skyscraper manifested from
the earth. When it is dismantled, the manifestation becomes again unmanifested and
remains as
atoms in the ultimate stage. The law of conservation of energy remains, but in
course of time things are manifested and unmanifested--that is the difference.
Then what cause is there
for lamentation either in the stage of manifestation or unmanifestation? Somehow
or other, even in the unmanifested stage, things are not lost. Both at the
beginning and at the end, all
elements remain unmanifested, and only in the middle are they manifested, and this
does not make any real material difference.

And if we accept the Vedic conclusion as stated in the Bhagavad-gita (antavanta
ime dehah) that these material bodies are perishable in due course of time
(nityasyoktah saririnah) but
that soul is eternal, then we must remember always that the body is like a dress;
therefore why lament the changing of a dress?
Why then is it seen that even men possessing intelligence lament in this world? It
is simply due to ignorance about the true nature of the eternal soul. Having this
theme in mind the abstruseness of the eternal soul is being given, in the next
slokam (2.29).

ascarya-vat pasyati kascid-enam ascarya-vad vadati tathaiva cAnyah
ascarya-vac cainam anyah-srnoti srutvapy-enam veda na-caiva kascit

In the previous three slokas, Krishna expatiated about not being concerned about
Body and how it is temporary. Arjuna is now
baffled that he is unable to comprehend this reality and is still scared. All of
us are in the same boat, including the great Jnaanis, even
though the jnaanis are in a higher plane of understanding. The power of this
bodily conception is very difficult to overcome.
Krishna responds to this fear of Arjuna: This amazing (Aasharyavati ) nature of
soul is known/seen (Pashchati) by only one among crores
and only one among crores talks(Vadati) about it and then only one among crores
hears (Shrunoti) about it and then only one among
crores will really understand(veda) and realise the soul exists and that body is
temporary. This shows that it's only the rare among
the beings that truly realises the Atma and not everybody can get away from this
bodily allure and conception.

Sri Krishna says that one in a crore [ten million] see atman, one in a crore only
hear about atman and one in a crore only talk about him. But it is much more rare
to find a person who understands atman. This may cause a doubt in us that there is
no one knowing about atman. So there is nothing like atman. Because, if anything
exists, then at least some persons should know about it. We talk of Mount Everest.
Very few persons would have seen it. From them we understand it is there. We
believe an object only if someone who had seen the object tells us. So, Arjuna
doubts whether there is an atman, as nobody has seen it. Sri Krishna replies that
He did not say there was no one who had seen the atman, but it is very, very rare
to find a person who had seen atman. Such a person is a noble one, who can be
followed. This second chapter unlike the first one is quite difficult to follow,
for everyone learning Gita. Because the soul is abstract and it has no form to
recognize nor are there any similar substance in the world to identify. But
constant studies and thinking can slowly make us to understand. We are able to
conceive God, as many forms are available. But for atman there are no icons. A
beginning is now made and by continuous efforts we can refine our knowledge about

We shouldn't get distressed by this! How to overcome this rarity?? Our lives are
totally consumed by material being. It needs
dedication to reflect about our selves (Atma), focus our efforts on it and be
dedicated. For eg: if a boy is given to solve a PHD maths
problem, he cannot solve it. He needs to complete schooling, Graduate, masters,
PHD, before he can solve it. But, at the same time,
if he reached adult age, it doesn't mean that he can solve it, unless he is in the
Maths field. So, this requires not only "age" & experience,
but to study in that field. Similarly, in our lives, we need continued focus in
the reflection of the truth about atma to understand this truth.
Simply, by living in material life and diving once in a while into spiritual
pursuit isn't going to help. When we put effort, the Lord too will
reach his hand to guide us. Infact, knowing about Atma is difficult, because
it's not seen, heard etc. Atleast dieties in temples, we
can see and relish and celebrate fesivals etc, whereas for our atma this is not
possible. So, this is difficult.
Among innumerable beings, someone, who by great austerity has got rid of sins and
has increased his merits, realises this self possessing the above mentioned
nature, which is wonderful and distinct in kind from all things other than Itself.
Such a one speaks of It to another. Thus, someone hears of It. And even after
hearing of It, no one knows It exactly that It really exists. The term 'ca' (and)
implies that even amongst the seers, the speakers and hearers, one with authentic
percepetion, authentic speech and authentic hearing, is a rarity.

dehi nityam avadhyo �yam dehe sarvasya bharata
tasmat sarvani bhutani na tvam socitum arhasi

dehi-> Atma (it resides in body); Nityam->Eternal ;

"Na Tvam sochitu arhasi".. THis is a common refrain of Krishna in many slokas,
which implies that "you do not grieve"!
Here Krishna says that Self(Jeevatma) exists in everyone's body and even when all
this bodies perish, the atma(s) in them do not
perish. Note that, Krishna says there is Jeevatma in everyone's body and it's
not that ONE atma pervades all bodies!

This is in response to Arjuna's doubt: 'I am understanding about the perishability
of body as per krishan's slokas below. Now,
everybody in this world seems different. One person varies from another in
appearance, personality, esteem, joys and sorrows etc.
So, is there a difference in the Jeevatmas nature too among people? i.e is one
jeevatma's nature different from another?? Is one
jeevatma eternal and the other not? ". In response, Krishna tells this sloka
that the atmas residing in all bodies are eternal and do not
perish, when the body perishes. Now, another question arises, when the bodies
are different (color, sex, creed, appearance etc),
how come the atma is same?? To remove this doubt only Sri Krishna tells that the
atman or dehi in every body or deham is eternal. We are witnessing changes
on the body but the soul remains the same. To understand this we should examine
closely our daily habits and experiences. We see variety of persons.
Some are fair, some black, some tall, some short, some females, some males, some
animals, etc. but all these differences do not change our habits.
One may be a millionaire and another a poor. But both see with their eyes only and
hear with their ears. There is no difference in these functions.
Educated or illiterate, one has to eat with his mouth only. So, God has not
permitted any difference in certain basic functions. We eat varieties of food and
They remain so till what we eat reaches the throat. After this the body
assimilates them as protein, vitamin or carbohydrates. This is scientific fact.
We do not eat as such fat or proteins. So, all differences are in the external
appearance only, such as brinjal [butter fruit] or lady�s finger [okra].
The body, however, takes only the essence. So, only those, which appear different,
are all destroyed and atman, which is identical in every creature,
is eternal.

So Arjuna need not to worry that he may be destroying a destroyable atman. So,
in this sloka Krishna says, that Arjuna need not show grief.
(Note that as per bodily conception of relations, we do have to show compassion,
affection etc, but if we limit to just bodily ideas, then we end up being selfish
self, family etc, but if we look at if from jeevatma conception, our compassion
will not be limited just to few, but to everybody! and it will also ensure we
the sense of duty without getting over emotional and binding). If we distinguish
atman from body, then we can be of real help to not merely our relatives but to
suffering. Relatives are body related. Only a perspective that all atmans are same
can make us render help to all. That is why in any calamity, there are some
who concentrate on the things to do and do not go emotional. Such duty minded
persons are of real help.

Though the soul is immortal, violence is not encouraged, but at the time of war it
is not discouraged when there is actual need for it. That need must be justified
in terms of the
sanction of the Lord, and not capriciously.

sva-dharmam api ca-aveksya na vikam-pitum arhasi
dharmyad-dhi yuddhA shreyo �anyat kshatriya-sya na vidyate

"Considering your specific duty as a kshatriya, you should know that there is no
better engagement for you than fighting on religious principles; and so there is
no need for hesitation."

In the previous slokas Krishna adviced that Arjuna should not show love and undue
attention to the body, since it is temporary.
In this slokam, he focusses on the importance of doing one's dharma. As a
Kshatriya, it is Arjuna's duty to fight. There is no other
way for Moksham for a Kshatriya. Now, there is a seeming "controversy" here.
Here, Krishna says to Arjuna that he has to fight
the war, if he wants to gain Moksham. In some quarters, Gita is incorrectly
potrayed as a "war goading" book, which resulted in Mahabharat
war. The question is, is "fighting war" the only way for Arjuna to gain
moksham?? Not exactly. Krishna is telling Arjuna to do his Dharma.
And Kshatriya's duty is to fight a "righteous" war and not run away. Had Krishna
given Gita to a non-kshatriya, it would have been
a different dharma (and not war). Another question, doesn't war involve killing
and pain to other beings?? So, how would it be construed
as a path to Moksham?? The reality is, there are different kinds of "Himsa" in
this world (e.g. for example surgery on a body, mental
agony, woman giving birth to a child etc, grabbing property from a family etc).
Himsa is something which gives pain not just for the
present but also in the future. So, in this war, all the warriors who are
fighting get "veera" swargam. As long as Arjuna is fighting a
war justly and also a just war(whose end is just) then it's his dharma and is
assured of Moksham.

Out of the four orders of social administration, the second order, for the matter
of good administration, is called ksatriya. Ksat means hurt. One who gives
protection from harm
is called ksatriya (trayate--to give protection). There are two kinds of sva-
dharmas, specific duties. As long as one is not liberated, one has to perform the
duties of that particular
body in accordance with religious principles in order to achieve liberation. When
one is liberated, one's sva-dharma--specific duty--becomes spiritual and is not in
the material bodily
concept. In the bodily conception of life there are specific duties for the
brahmanas and ksatriyas respectively, and such duties are unavoidable. Sva-dharma
is ordained by the Lord,
and this will be clarified in the Fourth Chapter. On the bodily plane sva-dharma
is called varnasrama-dharma, or man's steppingstone for spiritual understanding.
Human civilization
begins from the stage of varnasrama-dharma, or specific duties in terms of the
specific modes of nature of the body obtained. Discharging one's specific duty in
any field of action in
accordance with varnasrama-dharma serves to elevate one to a higher status of

yadrcchaya-ca upa-pannam svarga-dvaaram apaa-vrtam
sukhinah kshatriyAh partha labhante yuddham idrsam

"O Partha, happy are the kshatriyas to whom such fighting opportunities come
unsought, opening for them unhindered the doors of the heavenly planets."

The impending war is happening by itself, on its own, without any solicitation on
the part of Arjuna. Thus when it happens he and his brothers will be fighting on
the side of righteousness which constitutes the means for acquiring heavenly
happiness without obstacles. Such a war can only be fought by the most fortunate
of ksatriyas and Arjuna should understand his good fortune.

Krishna continues mentioning about the importance of Dharma here. He says Arjuna
is facing this war, not out of his own making,
but by "yaddrachaya" (Fate, God's grace), which is a gateway to heaven, which is a
blessing for the great and righteous Kshatriyas.
Now that question arises, which "swargam" is Krishna referring to here? Is it
Indra lokam etc?? No. Krishna is referring to Moksham
here. **This also point out to how to qualify a decision - Before we engage
ourselves in any work we will have to see these points:

� Is this legally allowed?

� After starting the work, will there be need for any unlawful activities?

� Is the objective a virtuous one or evil?

� Is there precedence by elders?

These four points are required to be examined before we embark on any activity. In
the present context, the fighting of this war has to answer all these quest

** Referring to Dharma Yuddham - The Lord himself went to war against tyrannical
demons to protect Dharma.
For e.g. Rama, Nrusimha, Vamana etc.

In the Parasara-smrti or religious codes made by Parasara, the great sage and
father of Vyasadeva, it is stated:

ksatriyo hi praja raksan sastra-panih pradandayan
nirjitya para-sainyadi ksitim dharmena palayet

"The ksatriya's duty is to protect the citizens from all kinds of difficulties,
and for that reason he has to apply violence in suitable cases for law and order.
Therefore he has to conquer the soldiers of inimical kings, and thus, with
religious principles, he should rule over the world."
Considering all aspects, Arjuna had no reason to refrain from fighting. If he
should conquer his enemies, he would enjoy the kingdom; and if he should die in
the battle, he would be elevated to the heavenly planets whose doors were wide
open to him. Fighting would be for his benefit in either case.

atha-cet-tvam imam dharmyam sangraamam na karishyasi
tatah sva-dharmam kIrtim ca hitva paapam avapsyasi

"If, however, you do not perform your duty of fighting for dharma, then you will
certainly incur sins for neglecting your duties and lose your reputation as a

In the previous two slokas, Krishna explained to Arjuna that it is imperative for
him to follow his dharma as Kshatriya and fight the war which has come upon him as
(thru divine chance) and that by doing so, he will achieve Moksham.

In this sloka and the next, Krishna says the sins that will befall Arjuna if he
does NOT fight the war. By listing the difficulties and sorrows he would
encounter if he slipped
from his expected duty, Sri Krishna is encouraging him to fight. In any act we
have to state the benefits by doing that and the ill effects by not doing. By
judging both one
has to conclude to perform an action.

Krishna terms this war as "Sangraamam" and not "Yuddham", in this slokam. Why?
Because the war has already started and the
armies ready to battle! Yudhdham means it could start even next day or after. But
sangramam means that is already started and when both sides are aligned and ready
to fight. Peace efforts could have been initiated before start of a fight but not
after it had started. Such efforts before the fight began would be appreciated;
but after it had started any such efforts would be branded as act of cowardice. So
Sri Krishna cautions that if Arjuna decided to withdraw from the war, he will be
defamed and then he would also be slipping from his expected dharma, resulting in
sins or papa to accumulate. So by abandoning the fight he will fail in his
swadharmam, that is his duty as Kshatriya to fight, and lose kirti or fame. Even
if he does not care for the fame, sins or papa will accrue for slipping from
swadharma. Sri Krishna lists the two, swadharma and kirti, as necessities for life
in this world and in the nether world.

Sri Krishna uses the words dharmyam sangraman, which means fight performed
righteously. This war is for establishing dharma, it is to be performed legally
and the outcome also is for dharma, a high objective. Since Arjuna, desirous of
preservation of dharma, this is a holy and upright war. The word sangramam is used
instead of yudhdham. . Why? Because it is as per the law, dharma shastras, the
results are worth it. If he doesn't fight this battle - all the fame(Keerti) he
achieved in the past as a warrior will be gone, giving up his "svadharmam" as a
Kshatriya, he will incur sin (Paapam Avaapsyaasi).

If through injudicious sentiment or bewildered ignorance Arjuna should fail to
perform his prescribed duty as a ksatriya by fighting for the sake of
righteousness; he would lose a most
excellent opportunity of attaining the heavenly spheres, he would lose his
reputation as a hero and he would have to accept great sinful reaction.Losing Fame
and Name (Keerti)
is a big loss in this Lokam for a Kshatriya and Arjuna will lose it, if he doesn't
battle. Not only that, even in the other worlds, Arjuna will be at loss, since by
shirking his duty ,
he incurs sin and doesn't gain swargam.

Karma Yogam basically is doing one's duty as per his "ashrama dharma"
(Varanaashrama) and that leads to Bhakti Yogam.
If Arjuna is shedding his basic duty, he is not doing either Karma or Bhakti yogam
and that leads him to sin. **Abide by swadharma is what is advocated.

akirtim ca-api bhutani katha-yisyanti te �vyayaam
sambha-vitasya ca-akirtir maranad atiricyate

"Creatures will always speak of your infamy, and for a respectable person,
dishonor is worse than death."

In this slokam, Krishna continues detailing the ills which would befall if Arjuna
runs away from the war. He says that Arjuna
will lose his honor and reputation as great warrior which he gained from all times
(avyaayam) and be (kaithshyanti) ridiculed by all people
(Bhutaani) that he has run away from the battle. This infamy will be worse than
death for somebody as honored and reputable as
Arjuna. For a wise man, discrimination(vivekam), courage, bravery, calmness and
caution all need to be prevalent. Arjuna cannot
say that he doesn't care about his reputation and run away. It may be ok for a
common man, but for a great personality like Arjuna
with a legacy of honor, it will come off poorly.

Not only will happiness and fame elude him if he disregards his duty as a ksatriya
but the world opinion of those competent to judge and those incompetent as well
will chastise
him and speak of his act of disgrace public and privately. They will say Arjuna
was a coward for when the battle was about to begin he gave only excuses and
retreated hastily
from the battlefield. The Supreme Lord Krishna is telling him that forever history
will brand him for cowardice. If Arjuna was to reply that what the public think is
of no consequence to
him, the Supreme Lord neutralises that by stating that for a person of honour
possessing the qualities of heroism, determination, puissance, courage etc. which
are all contrary to
cowardice to have to accept infamy is worse than death. If he was to acquire
disgrace of this kind death for him would certainly be much better. If reasoning
further one was to
present the question of how ignominy could attach itself to one who is already a
renowned hero and whose resignation from the battle field is prompted only by
motives of respect
for elders and compassion to friends and relatives then the next verse 34
neutralises that argument.

bhayad ranad uparatam mamsyante tvaam maha-rathah
yesham ca tvam bahu-matah: bhutva yaasyasi laaghavam

"The great generals who have highly esteemed your name and fame will think that
you have left the battlefield out of fear only, and thus they will consider you
"Astaana Sneham" - Showing compassion to the wrong places and towards the wrong
people, like Arjuna is doing by showing
compassion etc towards Duryodhana etc. In this slokam, Krishna responds to
Arjuna's doubt from the previous slokam. Arjuna asks
how can he get dishonor when he is withdrawing from the battle only out of love
and compassion towards his relatives and avoiding
bloodshed. Krishna responds about Arjuna(Tvam), the mahaarathis(warriors like
Duryodhan, Karna) etc will think (manyate) that
out of fear (bhayaat) that you ran (uparatam) from the battle (ranaat) and for
those (yesham bhutvah) who have been thinking
greatly (bahumata) of you, will think in the futurue (yaasyasi) lightly (laagavam)
of you and treat you with contempt. Despite going through
many humilations in losing the kingdom through treachery etc, Arjuna and other
pandavas didn't lose their honor or reputation as great
warriors among the common people, because they behaved with honor! Now, running
away from the battle, would make him lose
all the reputation.

There is a thin dividing line between "patience and compassion" and "cowardly
and weak". If somebody is very patient and tolerant,
it can be sometimes miscontrued as weakness and cowardliness. In this case, it's
possible that great understanding souls like Bheeshma
and Drona would understand Arjuna's dilemma, but "Duryodhana and Karna etc" would
not think it that way. Now, Arjuna says, he
doesn't care about what Duryodhan etc thinks and would prefer to not battle.
Krishna says, it's not just about Duryodhana, but even
the common man will perceive Arjuna as running away from battle and not doing his
duty. We should thus understand to differentiate between mercy and patience
on one hand and incompetence and cowardice on the other.

avacya vAdams-ca bahun! vadisyanti tava-ahitah:
nindan-tas tava samarthyam ! tato dukha-taram nu kim

"Your enemies will describe you in many unkind words and scorn your ability. What
could be more painful for you?

This slokam is also advising Arjuna not to show "Astaana Sneham". His
enemies(ahitAh) will talk (vaadan cya) a lot (Bahun
Vadishyanti) of unkind and fabricated (avAcya) words. His abilities (saamarthyam)
will be vilified (nindantah). For Arjuna who is so proud
about his prowess and "Gandhivaam" would not be able to suffer this ignominy of
being humilated by his enemies with slanderous remarks.
That is what Krishna is warning Arjuna against. When a friend or wellwishers pass
remarks like it, we can tolerate it, because they are
close ones. But, when a enemy is vilifiying, a warrior like Arjuna cannot bear it.
Now, Arjuna may think, Ok, so what if my enemies
poke fun at me. Krishna also gives a vieled warning here, saying that Arjuna may
then get provoked and fight the war and if he does so,
then he will be potrayed as someone who is fighting due to being slighted and not
for the people.

A question may arise : Krishna himself "ran away" from battle with Jarasandha and
went and built Dwarka city. Arjuna may have the
question on why he is suggesting Arjuna to fight and not quit. Sri Krishna was
born in Gokulam and after ten years, He lived in Mathura for some years. But King
invaded Mathura several times. Seventeen times he invaded and Sri Krishna
defeated him every time. Sri Krishna requested His brother Sri Balarama, to go to
west seashore
and reclaim land from the sea and establish a new city of Dwaraka. Sri Balarama
did not agree. When next time Jarasanda invaded Mathura, Sri Krishna ran away from
Arjuna remembered this incident. But there are two main differences in the two
incidents. Firstly, rules, which we follow, cannot be applied on the Lord.
Secondly, Sri Krishna
had vanquished Jarasanda several times and He was merely acting as though He was
running away from Jarasanda out of fear. Here, for Arjuna this is the first time
to fight
with these people. So, how can he run away and compare this with Sri Krishna�s

hato va prapsyasi svargam jitva va bhoksyase mahim
tasmad uttistha kaunteya yuddhaya krta-niscayah

"O son of Kunti, either you will be killed on the battlefield and attain the
heavenly planets, or you will conquer and enjoy the earthly kingdom. Therefore get
up and fight with

"Tasmad Uttishtha Kaunteya" - Thus! exhorts Krishna to Arjuna to Stand up with
determination (krta) to fight (YuddhAya), in this
slokam. If you get killed, you will achieve Swargam (Hatoh VA prApasyasi Svargam)
and if you win, you will enjoy this worldly kingdom
(jitA vA bhoksyase mahim). If you don't fight, you will not achieve either glory
here nor in other worlds. He addresses Arjuna as
"Kunti Putra" (Kaunteya), because Kunti is renowed for her courage and devotion.
In addition, Kunti is Krishna's dear aunty and as such
it becomes Krishna's responsibility to protect Krishna.

Related comments: Some may say that Asoka gave up war and violence, whereas
Krishna is prompting Arjuna for war. Asoka
actually gave up wars etc, after fighting numerous wars. Whereas Arjuna's Dharma
here is to wage war against Kauravas to protect
his people and ensure the kingdom is not ruled by crooked Kauravas. In addition,
when both opposition factions are in agreement
to call of war, it may make sense to back off (eg: Alexander and Paurus etc), but
in this case, there is no such signal from Kauravas.
Another question is, Arjuna didn't have similar qualms when warring with Kauravas
in the past (Virata yuddham during vanavas), but
why is he having the fear now?? In the past, he didn't have to worry about
killing Drona or Bheeshma or other close relatives, so
there was no issue.

Sukha-dukhe samEy krtva, lAbhaAlabhau jayaAjayau,
tathO yudhAya yujasva, naivam pApam avApsyAsi.

This begins the prelude to KARMA YOGAM section. Krishna says Arjuna will not
incur sun (Naivam pApam avApsyasi), if he just
engages in war just for the sake of war (YuddhAya yujasvya) and not with sense of
attachment or results. What attachment or results
is Krishna referring to here - be equanimous in joy and sorrow i.e no need to
feel joy by killing enemies or felling them or no need
to feel sorrow in felling opponents such as Bhishma etc. We cannot equate Joy and
Sorrow as one, but the feelings and reactions
which emanate in the face of joy and sorrow - those feelings is something we need
to control and look at it with some sense of
detachment. The same sense of equanimity should also be there in the face of gain
and loss, victory and defeat.

This is in response to Arjuna's lament that he doesn't care about kingdom, winning
etc and doesn't want to fight. In response, Krishna
said that Arjuna should fight , since it's his duty, which will result in his
gaining heavenly kingdom (Moksham). In this slokam, Krishna
says that Arjuna should fight as a sense of duty and not get disturbed by
dualities such as joy & sorrow, victory & defeat, gain&loss.
This is a important qualification for a KarmaYogi! Krishna says that Arjuna should
fight as a Karma yogi, as a sense of duty, without
consideration or attachment or disturbed by gain or loss, victory or defeat etc
and when he does it, there will be no incurring of sin.
He who acts for his own sense gratification, either in goodness or in passion, is
subject to reaction, good or bad.

Knowing the immortal eternal soul to be that which is distinct and independent
from the physical body, uncontaminated with the qualities pertaining to the
material existence but connected to those qualities which are spiritual in nature
and eternal; maintaining an equipoised mind in the various conditions of pleasure
and pain, loss and gain, victory or defeat being devoid of any fruitive desire or
hankering for any reward or remuneration, such as going to the heavenly worlds,
fight this righteous battle as a matter of duty which needs to be discharged. One
who is situated in wisdom with their mind properly composed in this manner while
executing their prescribed duties will incur no sinful reactions and thus will be
eligible for salvation from material existence. Sinful reactions is the root of
all suffering and the cause of perpetual bondage in the cycle of birth and death
in the material existence.

Arjuna is baffled on how he can do it. Krishna points out that as Rama in the
previous avtaar, he followed this same principles!!


esA te a'bhijitha sAnkhye! buddhir yoge tv imAm Srnu ;
buddhyA yukto yayA pArtha, karma-bandham prahAsyasi.

"Thus far I have described atman to you through analytical study. Now listen as I
explain it in terms of working without trivial results. O son of Pritha, when you
act with such
knowledge you can free yourself from the bondage of karma."

This sloka starts the KARMA yogam section, where krishna expounds on Karma yoga.
Gita is the extraction of the sayings of Upanishad.
Upanishad - UPA(near), Nishana(getting to Brahman) . Upanishad tells us the
reality of Brahman and the ways to reach close to Brahman.
The ways it propounds is Karma Yogam, Jnaana Yogam, Bhakti Yogam. In this it's
generally considered that Bhakti Yogam is primary
and Karma and Jnaana Yogam are it's ancillary i.e for Bhakti, one needs Karma
and Jnaana anushtaanam as pre-requisites.
nstead of practicing each separately, it is better to have one as the pradhanam
[main] and the other two as angam [branches or ancillaries]. Just like in our
degree courses
we have one subject, say Chemistry, as main and study say, mathematics and
physics, as ancillaries. Similarly, if one decides to seek Moksham through
then one has to have Gyanayoga and Bhakthiyoga as ancillaries. But there is a
difference. In the education system, pass in the main can be done without studying
the ancillaries.
Whereas, in seeking Moksham, if Bhakthiyoga has to be practiced, then one has to
practice Karmayoga and Gyanayoga. Without these two, a person cannot practice

Upanishad says - Atma Drashtavaya, Stortavyaa, mantvyaya, nidhistavyaaya - i.e we
should constantly, deeply, exclusively hear about
the lord for reaching him. Question is, we also need to know how to conduct
ourselves in this world, while we seek to achieve
salvation(Moksham). The primary requirement for it is to realise that body is
temporary and soul is eternal and salvation lies in
getting out of the cycle of birth and death. If one doesn't realise this, then
it's not possible to get away from this never ending cycle
and we will be forever caught in this web of material existence. So, the first
step is to realise that Soul is eternal and body is
temporary. To realize Paramatma, atman has to listen about Him. Then, contemplate
on what was listened to. Then meditate without interruption , but with
Such continuous meditation is called Bhakthi and this results in merging with the
Paramatma. This will make the atman to feel happy in union with and sorrow in
separation from God. Thereafter, the soul departs this body and this world and
reaches Moksham and remains with Him in eternal happiness. It is a stairway to
Moksham. All born cannot immediately go for
Moksham. In this world lots of good things are to be done and this life has to be
happily spent. But the objective should be to reach Moksham after this life
without the perils of another birth.
When will this thought come? First, one should realize that this body is
perishable and atman is indestructible. If one thinks atman and body are same,
when body perishes, atman
also will perish and then there would be no need for Moksham or worry about
rebirth. So, this basic knowledge that atman and body are different is essential.
Not merely accepting
that they are separate, it should be firmly believed that atman is eternal and
body is destroyable. Further, it should be realized that in this life happiness
and sorrow are mixed.
The natural feeling of the atman is always happy. But when inside a body in this
earth, mixed feelings are unavoidable. So, the objective should be to get the
happiness, its natural quality. This pursuit is necessary.

Next step is to know that Soul is owned(adimai) by Paramatma and we are not
owners or independent. This realization about atman and body is the first step in
the stairway.
This step alone cannot take to the top. The next step is to realize that this
atman is servant of God. Paramatma is the ruler and atman is ruled. Therefore,
atman has to
cling to the Feet of the Lord. Instead of saying that Karmayaoga, Gyanayoga and
Bhakthyoga are various paths to reach Moksham, Bhakthyoga is the main.
Visiting temples, chanting His names and helping His devotees, will all constitute
Bhakthiyoga. For this as main one needs Karma [action] and Gyana [knowledge].
These are needed in any activity. Ways to reach the lord are Karma, Jnaana and
Bhakti Yogam. Rather than saying three yogams are seperate and independent, we
can say
Bhakti yogam is the primary way to reach lord and this involves singing, chanting,
visting holy places, helping others, being close to devotees etc.
Bhakti yogam has two angas, karma and Jnaana - it requires discipline and
knowledge. It is similar to - for riding a vehicle, one needs knowledge that
requires petrol etc to run, need to operate clutch and brake together, brake to
stop the vehicle and in addition one needs the skills to operate
the vehicle. Similarly for Bhakti, one needs knowledge and discipline. ANd to
even start this course, the primary pre-requisite
is the basic knowledge that Atma is Nityam and Body is temporary.

Krishna has followed the same pattern. From slokas 2-12 onwards to sloka 2-30,
Krishna has emphasized that Atma is Nityam and temporary nature of the body.
From Slokams 2-39 to 2-51, Krishna expounds on Karma Yogam and after that he
Jnaana Yogam and in Chapters 7,8,9 he expounds on Bhakti Yogam and in the later
chapters he explains the ways for Moksha.

So, Geeta has been laid out in this manner - Initially in the second chapter
(slokas 12 to 30), it tells us the nature of the soul and the
temporary nature of body, since this is the primary pre-requisite. Next, it
explains the ways of Karma Yogam i.e how to do our
duties. NExt, it explains Jnaana yogam (knowledge). Next, it explains Bhakti
yogam (which needs knowledge of soul, how to do our
duty, knowledge) and next it explains ways for Moksham.

In this slokam,

"esa te abhihitA SANKHYE!" - note, esA te i.e in the slokas (2-12 to 2-30), i
have explained (abhitha) the philosophy of Sankhye!.
Sankhya means "buddhi" and Sankhyam is "the Atma which is understood by Buddhi"
and Sankhye is the philosophy which describes
the real nature of the soul (i.e it is nityam, it is eternal). I.e i have
explained about Sankya Yoga(the true nature of the soul).
'Sankhya' means 'intellect,' and the truth about the Atman, which is determinable
by the intellect, is 'Sankhyam'. Concerning the nature of the self which has to be
known, whatever Buddhi has to be taught, has been taught to you in the passage
beginning with, 'It is not that I did not exist' (II.12) and ending with the
words, 'Therefore, you shall not grieve for any being' (II.30).

Krishna says - "yayA buddhyA yuktah" - that buddhih (intelligence) by which ,
"Karma bandham prahAsyasi" you can
released from bondage of reaction - that knowledge (Karma yogam) will be explained
to him.
The disposition of mind (Buddhi) which is required for the performance of works
preceded by knowledge of the self and which thus constitutes the means of
attaining release, that is here called by the term Yoga. It will be clearly told
later on, 'Work done with desire for fruits is far inferior to work done with
evennes of mind' (II. 49).

"buddhir yoge tv imAm srunu" - Now Listen(Srnu) about yogE buddhi (karma yogam).
What Buddhi or attitude of mind is required for making your act deserve the name
of Yoga, listen to it now. Endowed with that knowledge, you will be able to cast
away the bondage of Karma. 'Karma-bandha' means the bondage due to Karma i.e., the
bondage of Samsara.

'Sankhya' means 'intellect,' and the truth about the Atman, which is determinable
by the intellect, is 'Sankhyam'. Concerning the nature of the self which has to be
known, whatever Buddhi
has to be taught, has been taught to you in the passage beginning with, 'It is not
that I did not exist' (II.12) and ending with the words, 'Therefore, you shall not
grieve for any being' (II.30).
The disposition of mind (Buddhi) which is required for the performance of works
preceded by knowledge of the self and which thus constitutes the means of
attaining release, that is here
called by the term Yoga. It will be clearly told later on, 'Work done with desire
for fruits is far inferior to work done with evennes of mind' (II. 49). What
Buddhi or attitude of mind is required
for making your act deserve the name of Yoga, listen to it now. Endowed with that
knowledge, you will be able to cast away the bondage of Karma. 'Karma-bandha'
means the bondage
due to Karma i.e., the bondage of Samsara.

Now question comes up, Arjuna is not intrested in fighting. So, why is Krishna
talking about Sankha Yogam, Karma yogam etc, rather
than just exhorting Arjuna to fight?? Krishna first explains thru Sankha Yogam
that Souls are eternal and body is temporary, thus
killing in a just war is not sinful and Arjuna shouldn't go weak at the thought of
killing relatives etc. Next, Krishna addresses the
concern of Arjuna about not being intrested in fruits of war etc, by talking about
Karma Yogam and explaining that Arjuna need not
fight for fruitive results, but a Saadhanam for Moksham. Waging just war is a
Kshatriya Dharma and is his karma yogam.

Karma Yogam:
Introduction: One can do a thing anywhere, or as prescribed in vedas or not
prescribed according to vedas. But, if one performs
a duty in a "loukeeka" fashion, one doesn't get any benefit other than material
benefits. But, if one does one's duty as per the viddhi of

eg> when we bath at home, under a tap etc, there is no additional benefit, apart
from cleaning body. But, if we take a dip in ganges and
other temple pushkarinis, the body not only gets cleaned, but we are also blessed
with washing away of sins. Why? Because it's
prescribed in vedas.

What constitutes Karma yogam - All our daily activities, eating, sleeping,
working, helping etc basically constitute Karma yogam. Simple?
Right? Yes. But, this needs to be done as per the prescription of Vedas and not
do anything which is NOT prescribed in the vedas.
And it needs to be done in full faith and spirit and also NOT with sense of
attachment. For eg: if one takes bath in Pushkarini,
without any belief in it's powers, then it will not help. Again, What is Karma
yoga? It is eating, sleeping, working, etc. Nothing extra is required to be done.
But these activities are
to be done as prescribed in shastras. This is very important. If we do our
activities according to the dos and don�ts of shastras, it is karmayoga. If we do
karma yoga we are
sure to attain Moksham. Shastras are instructions given by God. He has told that
He liberates the one who faithfully follows His instructions. Once we have that
belief that
we are acting according to the stipulations of the Lord, He also will erase all
our sins and make us to reach our natural state of happiness,Moksham. In these
one is asked to eat, sleep and work. Nowhere the shastras ask us not to do
anything else. The person instructed [by shastras] could be a bachelor or married
or sanyasin
or a beast or bird. Whoever be, if the prescribed action is performed with a firm
belief that this will yield Moksham, that result will be achieved. A bath in this
pond with a belief
that it will only remove my body dirt, then this action will not get Moksham. But
same action with a firm belief that I will get Moksham, by bathing in this pond,
will get Moksham.
So a steadfast belief is to be there along with the vidhi.

So: Karma Yogam constitutes:
* Performing duties which are prescribed and NOT doing anything which is against
* Belief in it and doing it as Bhagavan's viddhi that it's a means for moksham.
(eg: not having faith while bathing in holy waters, but just doing it because
it's prescribed!)
(eg: Marrying, having kids, performing family duties etc should be done as
Karma yogam, since it is prescribed and do it as a means
of moksham i.e just as duty).

Karma can be divided into three:
* Nitya Karma - to be practiced daily. Tharpanam, Daana-Dharama(Charity),
Festival celebration
* Naimitika Karma - to be performed due to certain reasons or in certain
* Kaamya Karma - Doing things with desire for material benefits, to achieve
certain goals eg: passing exam, marriage etc

All these karmas or actions are stipulated. These have to be done uninterruptedly.
Performing annual ceremonies [shraddham] for deceased forefathers [pithru],
celebrating festivals, etc.
are all Karma yoga. Why Sri Krishna is encouraging Arjuna to fight? Because it is
stipulated for him. He is asked to do what he learnt. So, Karma yoga can be
performed by anybody.
Sri Krishna lauds the greatness of Karma yoga in the next sloka.

nehA-abhikrama nAso-asti ! Pratya-vAyo na vidyate!
svalpam apya-sya dharmasya! trAyateh mahato bhayAt!

"In this endeavor [karma yoga] there is no loss or lessening for a little
advancement on this path and can protect one from the most dangerous type of

In this slokam, Krishna expounds the benefit and greatness of Karma Yogam. Just
like a Parent tells a kid that what glory would be,
if he achieves 99% marks , to intrest the kid in studying, similarly Krishna
tells the greatness of Karma Yogam to Arjuna, before
explaining the details of Karma Yogam.

"NehA abikramoa-Nasao Asti" - There is no loss in this Karma yogam. eg.
unlike leaves which "lapse", this doesn't lapse.
It "carries" over it's benefits. For eg: if we follow for sometime and
discontinue, the benefits of whatever we did will not lapse.
One percent of work done in Krishna consciousness bears permanent results, so that
the next beginning is from the point of
two percent, whereas in material business, without a hundred percent profit there
is no success. or it's like writing an exam- attempt
an answer but even if you do not get the right answer or not complete it, even
then the examiner puts marks based on how much
you wrote correctly.

"pratyavAyo na vidyate" - Another fear is, if we stop karma in between, we incur
sins etc. Arjuna is scared that incuring sin would make
it a bigger issue and invite additional sins. Krishna says here that, there is no
need to fear and it does not happen that way, as long
as one performs duties with selfless spirit as a sense of duty for Moksham and not
for material gains etc.

"Svalpma apsya Dharmasya" - Even performing a little will still help. Atleast do
svalpa! (how kind of krishna!)

"TrAyateh Mahatoh BhayAt" - Doing the above can protect one from the greatest
danger and fear of samsara.

The Supreme Lord Krishna reveals that even the slightest, most minuscule effort
made regarding this karma yoga of performing actions without desiring fruitive
results is never in vain.
The word abhikrama is derived from arambha meaning any beginning as in any effort.
The word nasa means destruction as in loss of, thus the effort itself is the means
to a guaranteed
result. Not even is failure accrued when a righteous action is begun but is unable
to be completed due to circumstances and absolutely no negative effect will accrue
even when a righteous
action is interrupted at its very commencement. Even a the most minute righteous
action performed without desiring fruitive results saves one with spiritual
knowledge from the great fear
of the endless cycle of birth and death in the material existence. This same view
is further elaborated later in chapter six, verse 40 describing that in this world
or the next there is no loss or
dimunition for the aspirant.

vyavasAyA-atmikA buddhir! eka-iha kuru-nandana!
Bahu-sAka hy anantAs-ca ! buddhayO-A'vyava-sAyinam!

"Those who are on this path[ with Moksham as objective] are resolute in purpose,
and their aim is one. O beloved child of the Kurus, the intelligence of those who
are irresolute [performing
kamya karmas]is many-branched."

So far, Lord has mentioned two key things about Karma Yoga : One is the
performer should do it without attachment to results (Labah-Alabah Jaya-Ajayaoh!)
& show equanimity
to joy & sorrow and the second is there is no dimunition of results (Na-iha-
Abhikramoh Nasao-Asti) even with some effort and also if the effort (Pratya
Vayoh na drishyateh) could
not be completed due to various reasons, there will be no Dosham. It will give
benefits till the extent it's done and protect one from the dangers of this
Krishna splits karma into two types. One which is focussed on Moksham and other
on Kaamyam-material gains. Krishna says the
greatness of doing karma related to Moksham is superior and preferable to to
kaamyam gains. Now this may see tough - why should we
only focus on Moksha karmam? We have so many desires. To explain this further,
swami says, it's similar to schooling. Till Class 12,
we learn lot of subjects. But, from college, we focus on few subjects and as we
go further up in education, we focus on fewer subjects
and then finally in PHD , we focus on only ONE subject and one goal. Similarly,
in world, if we keep pursuing material desires, it keeps
growing and growing and we get mired into it without any end (education, marriage,
kids, fame, career etc) and dissipates our focus
on the actual goal (moksham and Brahmam). To avoid this, our focus should be on
that Karma which is on the path of Moksham.
Kaamyam Karma are variegated because there is no end to material desires. But,
the Moksha karma always remains the same(eka), since
it's never changing. Soul is the servant of God. Atman has total knowledge.
Atman�s nature is happiness. So atman cannot waste pursuits after trivial results.
If one remembers
these and performs the actions or karma with a steadfast mind, then that knowledge
will be one or same. Whereas since the kamya karmas are not performed with the
knowledge of atman, they will all be diversified and will not lead to a finite
result. Convergence only can lead to a single objective. So Arjuna is advised to
take up only those karmas,
which will get him Moksham. A clear and proper understanding of the atman alone
will enable to perform karma yoga.The key thing is the right disposition of
mind i.e "vyaavasayika-atmika buddhi" i.e knowledge of the true nature of soul
while doing any act and being focussed on pleasing the lord and not for material

One should be focussed (single minded - vyaavasayika) with the unshakeable
conviction and disposition of mind (buddhi) of
"atma swaaroopam" ( i.e i am subservient to the Lord, jeevatma has knowledge,
body and soul are different) and be focussed ONLY (eka)
on Moksham and not be many-branched or all over the place (bahushaaka) i.e
immersed in worldy desires, being stuck in material and part
spiritual pursuits or doing endless karmas for worldly desires and thoughts, it
will lead to nowhere and we will be stuck in samsara taking
repeated births. One who is not FIRMLY fixed in mind is diverted by various
types of fruitive acts.

The word vyavasaya derived from nischaya means certainty. The unshakeable
conviction one has of such a decisive nature is that which the aspirant of
salvation possesses and
which can be understood by the actions they perform. The strength of this
unshakeable conviction is directly connected to one's understanding of the eternal
reality of the soul's immortality.
Fragmented and not evolved is that mind which entertains ideas of performing
actions for the reaping of results. People of this type vaguely know that the soul
exists, although
mistakenly attributing it as being part of the body and no more knowledge is
required in their case as their material wishes for wealth and fame and even
heaven can be obtained without having accurate, precise knowledge of the actual
transcendental position of the eternal soul.

But on the other hand the conviction of certainty is unique in its singleness of
purpose and focused aim. All actions executed by such a living entity has for its
sole objective salvation and the
means is yoga which is the science of the individual consciousness attaining
communion with the Ultimate Consciousness. This is the essence of the Vedic
scriptures which lead to this
conclusion and such being the case there can arise only one unshakeable conviction
to one possessing spiritual insight. For the fulfilment of one single attainment
being salvation, all actions
are dedicated by one fixed in the firm resolve for salvation. Hence as the primary
objective of the Vedic scriptures is one, the firm resolve as regarding the
purpose of all actions can be but
one as in the case for example of the six different kinds of rituals called Darsa-
purnamasa. Three rituals are to be performed on the new moon and three are to be
performed on the full moon. In their performance they all differ in regards to
execution yet they may be said to constitute a single aim for when all are
directed to obtaining a single fruit all there seperate
differences may be understood as part of a whole.

Whereas in the case of those with fragmented and unfocused minds who engage in
various activities each intended to acquire some result such as heaven, wealth,
fame, power and so forth and so on the schemes are endless as the desires are
endless. Even the results are diverse as in the case again of the Darsa-purnamasa,
for although the rituals are directed to be performed for the obtainment of a
specific goal, yet they confer minor benefits as well such as good health, vigor
and long life. Thus it is stated that the mentality of those not evolved is
endless and ramifying.

The conclusion of this verse is that all nitya or daily rites and all naimittika
or occasional rites for specific times prescribed in the Vedic scriptures shall be
performed with the sole aim of
ultimate salvation as the purpose. Although each rite individually is capable of
giving its own temporary, material reward; but all such rewards are to be ignored
while holding focus solely on

As for fruitive rites and rituals desiring some material benediction, these shall
be performed in the manner prescribed for the four varnas or classes of cultured
life being brahmana, ksatriya, vaisya, and sudra in the four asramas or stages of
cultured life being brahmacarya or celibate life, grihasta or married life,
vanaprastha or renunounced life and sannyasa or dedication and focus solely on the
Supreme Lord. Accordingly they should also resign the acquired results of their
efforts in favor of salvation.

In the next three verses will be seen that those who engage solely in fruitive
activities are condemned.

2-42: yAm imAm puspitAm vAcam pravadanty avi-pascitah! veda-vAda-ratAh-pArtha
nAnyad astiti vAdinah

2-43 kAm-AtmAnaha svarga-parA ! janma-karma-phala-pradAm kriyA-visesa-bahulAm
bhogAisvarya-gatim prati

2-44 bhog-Aiswarya prasaktAnAm tayApahrta cetasAm! vyavasAya-AtmikA buddhih

Our desires can be categorized into three:

*This world desires - Lookoh Bina Ruchih! Different types of desires in this
world. Eating well, marrying, property, hobbies, career etc.
It's all based on misunderstanding that body and soul are the same.

*Swargam desires - This is the desire for swargam i.e enjoying other worlds
like devas. This is based on the understanding that
body and soul are different

*Moksham - This is the desire for Moksham i.e breaking the eternal cycle of

Thus earthly pleasures, heavenly pleasures and the endless pleasures in Moksham
are before us. Krishna divides this desires into two:

*Desires of this world and other world
*Desire for Moksham

He tells Arjuna that the various karmas performed for attaining the
earthly/heavenly pleasures, will lead one to nowhere. But a single-minded karma
with Moksham as target, will progress in a single direction and there will be no
need to do the karmas for the earthly/ heavenly benefits. That will be karma yoga.
Here we may think like this. All may not be interested in Moksham. Besides, if Sri
Krishna declares that by doing karma yoga one will soon get Moksham, many will
withdraw from practicing karma yoga or even listening to these lectures. People
will discourage younger ones from listening to Gita lecture as they may think that
Moksham will be attained immediately, and they may not be able to do the expected
domestic duties. So, it is emphasized that merely knowing Gita will not
immediately fetch Moksham and only after the prescribed life is over one will
attain Moksham.

In the previous slokam, Krishna mentioned that one needs to be focussed on the
desire for moksham and do duties accordingly. Now, a question arises on how we can
do this, while
living in this material plane, where we are forced to do material duties to
survive and thrive ??

Krishna responds that, by immersing only on material desires, we will definitely
NOT get anywhere close to Moksham.
But, if we focus on moksham and do all the worldly duties, Krishna will take
care of the material needs and we don't need to worry
about it. That is, by being focussed on Moksham and doing worldly duties, we
also get material needs fullfilled as a "byproduct".
Then what happens to our domestic compulsions and duties? So one may doubt
whether this sermon is practical. Actually, by practicing Karma Yoga as preached
by Sri Krishna one will
get all the comforts in this world as a bye-product. But karmas done with aim
for earthly/ heavenly comforts will never get Moksham. Sri Krishna clearly says
that all karmas with Moksham
as objective, will by the Grace of Sri Krishna, satisfy all the necessities in
this earth, besides guaranteeing Moksham. One need not aspire for these worldly
desires and Sri Krishna will take
care of all those. It is like one pounds paddy to get rice. In the process, one
sweats profusely. Seeing this the neighbor asks whether one was pounding to sweat.
Sweating was only a
bye-product and aim was not for sweating. Similarly, we should perform our
karmas with Moksham as the only objective and nothing else. Paramatma will on His
own take care of our
comforts in this earth also. This declaration is necessary for anyone to aspire
to do karma yoga.
Another example is, when a wealthy man is ready to give one Lakh rupees, if we
ask him 100 rupees, we only get 100Rs and waste the opportunity to get 1 Lakh.
This is similar
to asking the Lord for only material things and not Moksham. If we focus and
ask for Moksham, we would also get "material" things as part of it. (just like
100 is part of 1 Lakh!).
Another example is, in exam, if we target to get 80 marks, we may get 60, but if
we focus to get Cent percent, we have better chance of getting cent percent. It's
the same for Moksham,
which is the highest goal.

God is ready to give us the Ultimate- Moksham. The trivial benefits will
automatically follow suit. So Sri Krishna declares:
yam imam puspitam vacam pravadanty avipascitah veda-vada-ratah partha nanyad
astiti vadinah

"Men of small knowledge are very much attached to the flowery words of the Vedas,
which recommend various trivial activities for elevation to heavenly planets,
resultant good birth, power, and so forth�

Through all these slokas, Sri Krishna is instructing that all actions should be
performed with Moksham as the only purpose. Our aim should not be for the lower
benefits of comforts in this
world are other heavenly pleasures. Why does Sri Krishna say so? Firstly these
earthly/heavenly delights are trivial. They are transient in nature. The wealth
accumulated is not permanent.
What was comfortable yesterday may be irritating today. Thirdly, we are His
servants and so we should accept only what He ordains. Our service also should
only be for His pleasure.
By aspiring for lowly results, our attribute as His dependent is maligned.
Jeevatma is the servant or slave of Paramatma. Jeevatma is dependent on Paramatma.
So, it is necessary to
listen to What Sri Krishna orders and do the same. Every action of us should
please the Lord. By independently choosing a goal and doing karma to attain that,
will displease Him.
Thus these pleasures are trivial and momentary, and realizing we are in His
possession, we should never do any karma with results anything other than Moksham.
Though, this may
be accepted, it is not easy to drag away our actions from performing for petty
results. Even Alwars lament that the mind is pulled towards smaller pleasures. So
one cannot avoid this
struggle and only continuous efforts will make us to realize this. Never at
anytime think that this is impossible. As long we keep faith in Him, our efforts
in karmas for lowly benefits
will fade and we will perform all our actions only for Moksham. An action could be
done for smaller results or for lofty purpose and the attained results will be as

This material fruits are petty. The fruits of this desires are temporary (love
changes, property doesn't remain forever etc). Moreover, we are the Lord's
property (Jeevatma is subservient
to Paramatma by nature), so we should follow the path laid by the Lord, for our
benefit, rather than chasing petty and temporary things.

Ofcourse, it is not at all easy by any means to shed this material desires.
Even great Azhwars have written about the pull of the samsaric desires for Kama,
artha etc. This is a struggle
which we have to go through, with full faith in the Lord and not give up

Krishna says, a karma can be done with the intention of Moksham rather than
petty desires. We can do our daily duties with
this spirit. eg. Nuclear energy. Nuclear science can be used for good like
energy production but it can also be used for destruction.

Thus there are two sides of the coin. Therefore, the intention makes all the
difference. Similarly our karmas or actions could be intended for lowly benefits
and the same will be reaped.
But with an intention to achieve Moksham, the same karmas will yield not only
Moksham but the worldly happiness also.

If we perform actions with lowly intentions, then we will obtain only them and
we cannot avoid the recurring cycle of rebirths. Therefore, with a determination
to set goal as Moksham only,
Arjuna is advised to perform his duty. Apart from doing this way just because
Sri Krishna has told, Arjuna should have realized the temporary nature of the
worldly desires. We are able to
distinguish, in our daily life, what is good for us and what is bad. The
confusion emerges because we think atman and body are same. Since body gets
destroyed, our aim should be to do
good for the atman. Atman, like Paramatma, is in eternal bliss, but being a
captive in the body, is unable to attain its natural everlasting happiness.
Therefore, if this thought is always in
our mind, we can understand Karma Yoga properly. The true basic nature of
atman is necessary.

Ofcourse, the spirit of doing a karma in this sense requires the basic
understanding of sankya yoga which Krishna explained earlier
in this chapter i.e body and soul are not the same, soul is eternal and is
subservient to the Lord i,e ATMA SWAROOPAM.
Those who believe "svargam" is the greatest thing and pursue it in their karmas
, they do not get "vyavaSaytmika buddhi" (i.e fixed in the mind) i.,e controlled
mind and understanding
the true nature of soul and it's subservience to the Lord.

Who does Krishna call as Avi-pascitaha!(i.e one who have poor fund of
knowledge)? - These are people who know the Vedas, BUT
do not understand the true import of it!!. In vedas, there are lot of karma
kandas which tell the things to do to gain heaven, gain
children and other material benefits. These folks are "veda-vAda-ratAh" i.e
supposed followers of vedas. They argue (vAdinah) that
there is nothing else (na- Asti) in vedas, other than the fruitive activies
(karmas, sacrifices etc) that vedas recommend.
"puspitAm vAcam" - Why does krishna refer to flowery words? these words are
like flowers which fall away, but do not give any "fruits"
i.e the words of unintelligent people who say the purpose of vedas is to do
karmas for gaining heaven and other material things, their
words are merely flowery, but have no real fruits and do not reflect the true
import of vedas.

What is true import of vedas? There are two portions of vedas - Poorva bhagam
i.e Karma Kandam which explain all the yagnams,
karmas etc which provide guidance on the karmas (yagna, poojas ) which needs
to be done and includes Rig, Yagur,Sama,Atharva Vedas. The other portion(uttara
is the jnana kanda which are upanishads etc which tell us to reach Brahman .
This is also called vedAnta (i.e way to reach brahman). KenoUpanishad, Taittriya
Upanishad etc ,
which refers to brahmam and ways to reach Brahman. The unintelligent focus
only on the karma kandam, but forget the true import of vedas which is to reach

If we do activities for material things i,e sense gratification (kAm-
Atmanah!), opulent life (svarga-parA) ; Krishna refers to "svarga-Para",
because when we are in material zone, "svargam" is considered the ultimate for
this people (and not moksham). These people
consider Swargam as the ultimate Parayanam(goal). When we do this activties,
it only ends us in taking repeated cycles of birth
and death i.e "janma-karma-phala-pradAm" i.e we may get heaven or hell , but
that only results in temporary enjoyment or pain and
the cycle keeps getting repeated. These are not "nityam" (not eternal).
Even if one achieves highest heavens, it is only a matter of
time, before one gets pushed back to the earth after the time is up. In the
43rd sloka He says that people do various karma for lowly objectives.
The mind would have been set on various ordinary desires. The term atman here
means mind. Kama means desires. So, kamatmana means our frequently changing
If there was only one want, it could be fulfilled. But the desires are ever
increasing and continuing. In this list of desires the final is swarga or heaven.
That is these persons
[so called Vedic scholars] claim swarga as the ultimate and final in happiness.
By repeatedly doing these types of karma, they will only yield rebirth as the
consequential benefits.
Sri Krishna indicates the cycle of rebirths after attaining heaven. If one
wants to get away from these cycles, then one has to do karma yoga without any
desire excepting Moksham.
Here we will explain this cycle to some extent. We are in this world now. We do
various karmas and earn papa [sin] and punya [virtues]. Papa leads us to hell or
naraka and punya
takes us to swarga. In both naraka and swarga our atman will get new bodies and
we will undergo sufferings and pleasures respectively. After the punya is
exhausted, we will be pushed
out of the heaven. This is an authoritative statement [in the Vedas]. The
person enjoying pleasures in heaven does not enjoy fully as the fear of being
pushed away [after the punya is over]
will be lingering in his mind. It is like in a case where a person usually gets
only ordinary buttermilk and rice for meals. One day he is told that he would get
sarkarai pongal [a delicious
sugar candy and rice preparation] for next ten days. When he is enjoying that
delicacy, he will always be remembering that this enjoyment is not permanent and
after the ten-day period
is over, he would get the ordinary buttermilk and rice only. This thought will
not allow him to enjoy the eating of delicacy fully. He may feel it was better to
continue with the ordinary food itself
and there was no need for this temporary spell of pleasure. This fear of being
pushed out is not there in Moksham, and this is what Sri Krishna tells Arjuna.
This is what Nammalwar in
Thiruvaimozhi says. Instead of enjoying in heaven in constant fear of being
pushed away one day, it is far better to avoid heaven. At least, if there was
nothing superior to heaven also one
could aspire for that happiness. Sri Krishna says that He would show Arjuna
better place for pleasure and so why set the mind in such cheap targets.

Janma-karma-phala-pradAm - A question comes up here? Do we take Birth due to
our Karmas ? or do we do karmas due to birth?
This is like asking whether the seed or the tree came first! So, the answer
is, it's a cycle with no beginning or end. Now, another
questions may come up, what was the first karma of Atma? was it paapam or
punyam?? Answer is, atma is nityam i.e it is birthless
and Anaadi. Krishna refers here to this "karma phalam" which
results(pradAm) in births(janma). We should remember that there is nothing like
first birth, as atman is eternal and there
was not a time when it was non-existent. So the births also are in multitudes
and the swarga pala karma recommended by some Vedic pundits will result in the
continuation of this cycle of
births and karmas. Only a resolve to cling to the feet of the Lord will
divert our fickle mind from such attractions. Swami Vedantha Desika in his
Hayagreeva Sthothram says that when his
head is covered by the pollen of the Lord�s Lotus feet, why should he fall at
any mortal�s feet for favors and remedies? A steadfast surrender unto Him will
take care of all requirements in
this world for a comfortable life, besides yielding Moksham and cutting off
this cycle of rebirths.

Jeevatma is given "ahuthi" (i.e oblations) at five areas - Shraddhai,
Somam, vrushti, Annam and Repas for it to take birth in human
life. I.e when a Jeevatma's time is up in heavens , it gets pushed back from
Akasaham to Megam(clouds) and through rains it gets
pushed back to earth and through the grains(food), it finds itself in a man
and through his sperm, it deposits itself in the egg of woman
and takes birth as human. This is cycle which goes on foreover! his cycle of
births resemble yagna or homam. Just as ghee or havis is offered n the sacred fire
in a yagna, this
atman also is offered at many places. The birth of a child is described as
Panchagni Vidya Prakaranam in Upanishads. An atman after his tenure in swarga is
over is thrown out of swarga
and the atman dwells in the clouds. One day, in the decision of God, the
clouds make rain. The atman mingling in the rainy water reaches earth and feeds a
crop, say rice. The atman gets
into a grain of rice and after harvest, the rice is cooked in a house for
meal. This food is eaten by someone and later, enters the womb of a woman and
takes birth as a child, who could be
male or female. Thus the atman resided in space, cloud, rainwater, grains and
womb and then takes the body of a child and is born. The born child grows,
performs karmas and earns papa
and punya and accordingly reaches hell or heaven and after the papa/punya is
expended, again pushed out to start the next cycle. We have to therefore learn
that we will have to do our
karma without attachment to these smaller benefits, which will take us only to
heaven, only to be born again after sometime. We will have to breakaway from this

kriyA-visEsa-bahulAm - They do pompous ceremonies, endless karmas, activities
in pursuit of material gains. All of this just to
for sense enjoyment and progress towards material gains.

bhOg-Aiswarya-prasaktAnam - People who are attached to Bhogam, Aiswaryam and
in a material plane; And NOT rooted in the
understanding that Body and Soul are different, Body is temporary, the
Soul's nature is servitude to the lord, it's goal is to get out
of this life-death cycle - these people are condemned forever.
TiruppanAzhwar in this AMalandipaaran pasuram "Mandipaay..."
mentions about monkeys who jumps from tree to tree eating fruits half here,
half there and compares us to these monkeys. When
we go to Tiruvenkgadam, we go with similar desires which keeps increasing and
changing everytime we go there and the Lord is
kind enough to do it, but we are never satisfied. Like Agni 's
characterisitic "Analaaha", there is no end to our desire, we keep
swallowing and ask more and more.

The ignorant, whose knowledge is little, and who have as their sole aim the
attainment of enjoyment and power, speak the flowery language i.e., having its
flowers (show) only as fruits, which look apparently beautiful at first sight.
They rejoice in the letter of the Vedas i.e., they are attached to heaven and such
other results (promised in the Karma-kanda of the Vedas). They say that there is
nothing else, owing to their intense attachment to these results. They say that
there is no fruit superior to heaven etc. They are full of worldly desires and
their minds are highly attached to secular desires. They hanker for heaven, i.e.
think of the enjoyment of the felicities of heaven, after which one can again have
rebirth which offers again the opportunity to perform varied rites devoid of true
knowledge and leads towards the attainment of enjoyments and power once again.
With regard to those who cling to pleasure and power and whose understanding is
contaminated by that flowery speech relating to pleasure and lordly powers, the
aforesaid mental disposition characterised by resolution, will not arise in their
Samadhi. Samadhi here means the mind. The knowledge of the self will not arise in
such minds. In the minds of these persons, there cannot arise the mental
disposition that looks on all Vedic rituals as means for liberation based on the
determined conviction about the real form of the self. Hence, in an aspirant for
liberation, there should be no attachment to rituals out of the conviction that
they are meant for the acquisition of objects of desire only. It may be questioned
why the Vedas, which have more of love for Jivas than thousands of parents, and
which are endeavouring to save the Jivas, should prescribe in this way rites whose
fruits are infinitesimal and which produce only new births. It can also be asked
if it is proper to abandon what is given in the Vedas. Sri Krsna replies to these

O! Partha, the unwise, who rejoice in the letter of the Vedas, say, 'There is
nothing else.' They are full only of wordly desires and they hanker for heaven.
They speak flowery words which offer rebirth as the fruit of work. They look upon
the Vedas as consisting entirely of varied rites for the attainment of pleasure
and power. Those who cling so to pleasure and power are attracted by that speech
(offering heavenly rewards) and are unable to develop the resolute will of a
concentrated mind.

In the 42nd sloka, He mentioned that some Vedic Pundits claim in flowery language
that swarga is the ultimate goal for the atman. In the 43rd sloka He explains how
all these karmas will lead one to earthly wealth only. In the 44th sloka, He says
that such people, who pursue karmas for worldly wealth, will never realize the
real nature of atman. If one understands atman is different from body, one will
not give that importance to the body. But these worldly wealth are all related to
body only. Therefore, these karmas will enable only recurring births and remain in
the birth cycle. So, atman chinthana or contemplating on atman is necessary to
break away from this cycle. This step will lead to reaching Brahman or God. These
people are not going to get the wisdom, if they are absorbed in karmas leading to
swarga. Which wisdom? The wisdom or gyana that atman and body are different, that
the atman is eternal and indestructible, that the atman nature is everlasting
happiness and that the atman is servant of the Lord. Thiruppanalwar describes in
his Amalanadhipiran in the 3rd hymn, mandhi pai vada venkata.. We see a tree here.
Lots of birds perch and eat the fruits. After the fruits are exhausted, they
migrate to another tree. When we go to Thirumala we notice monkeys. They jump from
one tree to another. The monkeys mentioned by Alwar in the hymn are people like
us, our Acharyas emphatically mention. Because we possess same qualities. Just as
monkeys jump off from one tree after exhausting the fruits, we also seek various
boons from the Lord Venkatesa. The Lord also thinking that next time that person
might pray for Moksham, grants the smaller desires. But that person comes with
more earthly desires next time. A villager visited a city. His friends cautioned
him that in the city you should purchase anything only after bargaining. They told
that he should bargain for 50% of the seller�s price. He came to the city and
wanted to purchase an article and the seller demanded Rs.100. villager remembered
the advice of his friends and bargained for Rs.50. The seller felt it was too low
and said he would agree for Rs.70. Immediately, the villager asked for Rs.35.
Puzzled the seller said he may as well give it free. Quick came the bargain from
the villager; whether he would give two such articles! In a similar way we never
get satisfied with what we have and our demands are ever growing. Like the monkeys
hopping tree after tree. The fire in yagna is called anala. It will consume
anything without a limit. Our mind also is in a way like that, never satisfied
with what was given. We never say enough for the accumulation of wealth. We should
earn to give the needy and poor. But we accumulate for our children without a
limit. Our mind is trained to calculate how much more we should earn and how to
amass wealth. We surely know what is enough for us, but we are greedy and want to
amass more and more. If only we could devote our attention to the welfare of atman
instead of body, we would have achieved great results. We are comforting the body
in shade while allowing the atman to suffer in the hot sun. That is we are keeping
the body in wealth and comforts. It should be the other way. But we never do that
and our mind is engaged in these worldly wealth and happiness all the time losing
even our sleep. Sri Krishna therefore tells Arjuna that by thinking of these
earthly pleasures and planning how to attain, such minds have no scope for
thinking what is good for the soul. Naturally, they can never do karma yoga and
consequently, Moksham is denied to them. That means they will be in the birth-
death cycle and earn papa and punya. To expend these more and more births will be
needed. So only by doing one�s duty with detachment and determination, one can
come away from the cycle of births. This is the substance of 44th sloka.

Extract from Gita Bhashyam Commentary for verses 42, 43, 44 :

The word puspitam meaning flowery or that whose fruit is no more than the flower
itself and therefore although flowery language may be pleasant to hear it is
merely a superficial pleasure in the same way it is pleasant to gaze upon a flower
but what is actually gained from it is negligible. Thus those of little
understanding lacking spiritual intelligence discourse on that which concerns the
acquisition of power and wealth.

The words veda-vada-ratah defines those who are addicted to the specific sections
of the Vedic scriptures which prescribe activities to receive rewards like
celestial worlds with heavenly delights.

The words anyad astiti vadinah defines those who contend that no higher goal
exists beyond the heavenly planets.

The word kamatmanah defines those whose minds are always seeking enjoyment
engrossed in material sense gratification.

The words svarga-parah defines those whose attention is always focused on
attaining enjoyments in the heavenly worlds.
The words janma-karma-phala-pradam defines that which relates to activities which
would result in being born again into the material existence due to having to
accept the rewards of one's past actions.

The word kriya-visesha-bahulam defines those discussions regarding the manifold
rites and rituals required to be performed successfully in order to aquire
opulence and power.

To those then who are addicted to wealth and power. To those whose light of
understanding is dimmed. To those who are captivated by the thought of obtaining
opulence and power and are raptly interested in the discussion of all subjects
related to acquiring opulence and power; then no determined resolve as that which
is mentioned in verse 41 will be able to manifest in their minds.

The word samadhi is a permanent meditative state of mind and when achieved it can
be likened to the mind for the mind is where spiritual knowledge is collected,
contemplated and comprehended and where consciousness of a superior nature is
attained. This is indicated by the word samadhiyate a derivative of the root word
samadhi. The understanding is that at no time ever does spiritual knowledge come
to those whose minds are engrossed in mere desire for wealth and power. The
conviction one has to obtain temporal material objects is not of the same quality
as the conviction one has who is determined to free themselves from the material
existence forever. All activities for them either practical or esoteric are but
the means to accomplish this goal and attain salvation and hence those who have
qualified in this way are very careful not to connect themselves with any kama-
karmas or actions which bring rise to carnal desires so as not to cause any
impediments in their spiritual progress.

Hence, in an aspirant for liberation, there should be no attachment to rituals out
of the conviction that they are meant for the acquisition of objects of desire
only. It may be questioned why the Vedas, which have more of love for Jivas than
thousands of parents, and which are endeavouring to save the Jivas, should
prescribe in this way rites whose fruits are infinitesimal and which produce only
new births. It can also be asked if it is proper to abandon what is given in the
Vedas. Sri Krsna replies to these questions in next verses.

trai-gunya-visaya veda nis-trai-gunyo bhav-arjuna
nir-dvandvo nitya-sattva-sthah: niryoga-ksema atmavan

"The Vedas prescribe for all the three qualities found in men. O Arjuna, become
apart from these three modes. Be free from all dualities and from all anxieties
for gain and preservation, and
be established in the self."

In the 42nd, 43rd and 44th slokas it was told that some learn Vedas and argue that
swarga or heaven is the ultimate to be attained. Sri Krishna tells Arjuna that he
should ignore karmas in the Vedas that yield the smaller rewards like swarga and
concentrate to attain Moksham or Vaikunta Prapthi. Arjuna asked which are those
karmas he should ignore. Sri Krishna intended the karmas like Jyotish Homam, etc.
All these karmas yield swarga prapthi or begetting children or destroying enemies
and so on. Sri Krishna wants Arjuna to set his objective on the superior Moksham
and not on these trivial rewards. Arjuna now asks after all these karmas, which
are intended for swarga etc., are also prescribed in Vedas, then how can he ignore
them? Vedas have recommended these acts and Vedas will never advocate wrong
things. It is said that what good a thousand mothers and fathers cannot do to a
person, Vedas do to us. Vedas will never cheat us. So how can we disregard acts or
karmas prescribed in Vedas? The second question is, we have to follow all the
commands in the Vedas. We are to faithfully follow the instructions in the
Shastras and perform the dos and avoid the don�ts. These karmas resulting in
swarga are prescribed in shastras and so how can Sri Krishna ask to ignore these
karmas? Once we start ignoring such commands of Vedas, soon we will discard all
the acts prescribed in the Vedas. Thus the two questions :one Vedas speak only
truth and will never divert anyone to wrong path and so how can anyone ignore any
commands in Vedas. Second, by saying that one should not do karmas for achieving
swarga, though prescribed in the Vedas, will not the defect of disobeying Vedas
occur? This also will lead to discrimination and discarding the entire Vedas. If
the rewards like heaven are of such an impermanent nature then why do the Vedas
which are
eternally perfect and beneficial for all beings enjoin practices aimed at
achieving heavenly spheres.These doubts of Arjuna are responded in the 45th and
46th slokas.

Vedas is not just for one category of people, but for everybody! i.e it includes
everybody who have the three qualities (sattva, rajas, tamas). But, you Arjuna,
should get away from
rajah and tamas guna and be placed in the Sattva platform only. Here we see the
word traigunya indicating the three qualities of material nature being goodness,
passion and ignorance.
This term refers to the three groups of living entities characterised under the
influence of these three aforementioned qualities. Vedic scriptures deals with the
three modes of material nature which are goodness, passion and ignorance and all
beings are born into these three modes of material nature. Some beings have a
preponderance for goodness, others for passion and others for ignorance while some
are mixed. These modes are conditioned within the mind and they typify the three
types of created beings. With exception of the Upanisads the Vedic scriptures
dealing with the three modes gives prescribed activities and their results.

If the Vedic scriptures did not address these three classes according to their
predilections by prescribing the appropriate method for attainment of the heavenly
spheres, then those living entities under the influence of passion and ignorance
would be adverse to goodness unwittingly hindering their own progress. Also they
would be in the dark as to how to advance themselves from their present position
and being lost compounded by being full of desires they would fall into
degradation falsely fancying it to lead the way to their goal; and in vain they
would be ruined.

Whatsoever one desires to obtain in heaven the prescription is enjoined for them
to achieve it and the description of the various rewards are eulogised as well as
the rituals for their fulfilment. If the Vedas were not to reveal and elaborate a
way for those within the three modes to benefit themselves according to the three
modes of material nature. Then those locked in the cycle of birth and death would
forfeit both their opportunities. Firstly unaware of the reward of liberation
beyond the three modes and thus being oblivious to it would miss it altogether and
secondly if their was no material goal which they could strive for they would lose
faith in spiritual knowledge without rituals and practices giving them the means
to acquire their cherished goals such as heavenly delights and thus they would
lose both chances bequeathed to them with birth into material existence. So it is
justly so that the Vedic scriptures deal with the three modes of material nature
as they explain the rituals that bring benefits for all those subject to the
influence of these modes.

For example, imagine a person having no faith in Vedas. He wanted to get rid of
his enemy but could not succeed. He came across a Vedic scholar and he sought the
scholar�s advice. He recommended sena yagna. This person though not believing in
Vedas, wanted to give that advice a try. His enemy was vanquished. Then he wanted
money and this time scholar recommended another karma and after performing that
wealth accumulated. Now, this person slowly started having faith in the Vedas. As
time passed, his desires also multiplied and every time he resorted to various
karmas in the Vedas and sincerely performed and got satisfied. He aspired for
swarga and got it. But later found that also was limited and so sought the advice
of Vedic scholars for permanent happiness free from all miseries. He realized
that Karma yoga or Gyana yoga or Bhakthi yoga would yield Moksham. This method was
required to correct a non-believer. This method is not applicable to people like
Arjuna who have already surrendered to the Lord. Therefore, Sri Krishna tells
Arjuna that the Vedas are meant for all three types-satva, rajo and tamo- of

Imagine a mother having three children. One is very submissive and good mannered.
The second is a rough and arrogant. Third one is lazy. The mother is common to all
the three. The
methods used by the mother to get things done from each child will vary. For
example if the first child tries to eat something that should be avoided, a mere
warning will do. Whereas for
the second child, the mother will allow the child to eat and later on when the
child complains of stomach disorder, she would give the advice and correct to
avoid such foods. This example
is quoted by Pillai Lokacharya and his brother Azhgiya Manavalaperumal
Nayanar.Now, the first child cannot complain that the mother was partial and she
allowed the other child to eat
that avoidable food. So, Vedas being common to all sorts of people, that is,
variety of people endowed with satva, rajo and tamo guanas, the Lord cannot ask
the same karma to be
performed by all.

Hence the Vedic scriptures contain all that the three classification of living
entities possessing different qualities could desire. But ideally one should free
themselves from passion and ignorance and devote oneself to increasing the
quality of goodness fully. This increase should be pure without any dilution of
passion and ignorance all intermixture should be fully purged. The word
nirdvandvah means free from duality, devoid of any influence of material nature.
Nitya-sattva-sthah is one who is ever wedded to increasing goodness without any
trace of passion and ignorance. How is this to be accomplished? By being nir-
yoga-ksema meaning one is completely unconcerned about acquiring any other
advantage apart from the realisation of the soul and the means to effect that
end. By this method one becomes atmavan or established in the soul. If one
conducts oneself in this manner and remains fixed, the influence of passion and
will cease and goodness will become predominant.

It may be put forth that one may become indifferent to heavenly delights but that
the basic requirements for human existence such as food, clothing and shelter
which are also veritable modifications of the three modes of material nature are
impossible to ignore and become indifferent too. In answer to this Lord Krishna
explains to be free from dualities like praise and blame, heat and cold, pleasure
and pain. Being free from them means being unattached to them. How is this to be
done? By enduring them and becoming established in pure spiritual consciousness.
Its characteristic is patience and endurance uninfluenced by passion or covered by
ignorance. One should always be tempered by patience for one without patience is
easily overpowered by passion and ignorance and becomes uncontrolled and fearful
in situations involving the three modes of material nature. So we should overcome
the hindrances of passion and ignorance and maintain a balanced state of
But in all this one with worldly possessions desirous of increasing and protecting
them may wonder how they may maintain themselves in the material nature. To this
Lord Krishna reiterates niryoga-ksema become free from conceptions of acquisition
and preservation. But how then would one sustain their lives? By atmavan firmly
established in spiritual consciousness of the soul. The essence is to understand
that the Supreme Lord is the fulfiller and bestower of all desires. So one should
only seek His refuge and accept His shelter. Never fear nor seek any other succour
from any other source for the Supreme Lord will provide all sustenance and
maintenance to those who understanding Him are fully surrendered.

Nirdvandva: Dvandam is duality. Nirdvandam is non-duality. What is it? We see
everything in pairs : Happiness-Sorrow, Birth-death; Gain-Loss etc (we have seen
in earlier sloka on
how to bear duality.. suka dukha samey krtva, laabah-Alaabah , Jaya-Ajayau). So,
Nirdvanda moksham is treat this duality as equal and bear with equanimity. We have
to train ourselves to
pass these pairs. Another intepretation is, we see duality in this life only. So
bypassing this samsaram or lifecycles, and reaching Moksham. So our aim is to
achieve nirdvandvo. But in our
daily life we come across these pairs regularly and react accordingly! Isn't it
extremely difficult! How can we avoid these pairs then?

nis-trai-gunyo:This is explained in the next words in the 45th sloka. In the
beginning of this sloka He told that Arjuna should be without the three gunas or
qualities. This does NOT mean that
Arjuna should be without all the three-satva, rajo and tamo qualities; but avoid
rajo and tamo gunas alone. So a person without the three gunas- that is without
the rajo and tamo qualities-
can passover the dualities or pairs or become nirdvandvo. We feel we are attacked
by the pairs of victory-defeat, happiness-sorrow and profit-loss, because of the
inherent rajo and tamo

nitya-sattva-sthah: By training ourselves in satva guna, we can resist the impact
of the pairs. The pairs cannot be avoided in our lives, we should remember, but we
can avoid the influence
of them on us. Just as we cannot avoid mosquitoes but we guard ourselves against
mosquito bite by various methods. Sri Krishna also suggests two methods to resist
the influence of the
pairs on us. One, by avoiding the trigunya or discarding rajo and tamo qualities.
The second is to cultivate the satva quality in us. This two-pronged approach will
enable us to overcome the
impact of the pairs. Now Arjuna asks Sri Krishna how to identify these three
qualities in him and how to manage them? Sri Krishna smiled, as these qualities
are not physically
identifiable. But He suggests a method for that also.

niryoga-ksema : He says one should be niryoga-ksema atmavan. In Sanskrit yogam
means receiving what is not possessed. Kshemam means protecting what is possessed.
Sri Krishna advises that other than atman, do not aspire to possess anything else
and do not desire to retain what is possessed. Desireless on yoga kshemam,
excepting atman, will
make one nistrai-gunyo and nitya-sattva-stho. Because the desire to acquire makes
us to employ our rajo guna. We get angry with all those impeding our desire. On
the other hand,
if we can discard that desire to acquire, then there is no room for passion, anger
and jealousy. Niryogakshema will reduce rajo and tamo qualities.
Atmavan- What about cultivating satva quality? that is always be thoughtful of the
atman. This will grow satva quality and we can easily resist the influence of the

Summarizing, atmavan and niryogakshema will make one nistraigunyo and nithya
satvo. This will make one nirdvandvo, which is essential to reach Moksham. The
elimination of rajo and tamo qualities and developing satva quality depend on our
food habits.

yaavan artha udapaane sarvatah: samplutohdakE
taavan sarveshu vedesu brahmanasya vijanatah

In the preceding sloka Sri Krishna advised Arjuna to contemplate on the atman only
and to discard passion to acquire or retain material benefits. By doing these
Arjuna can eliminate rajo and
tamo qualities and develop satva quality. This will result Arjuna being immune to
the pairs � happiness and sorrow, victory and defeat and gain or loss. Arjuna is
commanded to take
initiatives to achieve these. Arjuna has doubts, that when everything is
mentioned in vedas, why should Krishna tell him to ignore the material benefits
provided by Vedas and select
what is related to Brahman? Vedas are supreme. Isn't it? Why should Vedas tell
it and then Krishna is telling to ignore it? Why doesn't the Vedas provide only
what is ultimate, instead
of giving Swargam, Putra Kameshti Yagnam and other tips (rituals etc) which are
for material benefits? The reason is, ALL of us are living in a material plane
and each one of us (except
very rare exceptions) have some desire or other (whether it is wealth, property,
Son, knowledge etc), so Vedas are kind to help us in this process. Krishna is
repeating that this desires
will keep us in a endless cycle of material world and that we should focus on
getting out of this, by taking the appropriate portions of Vedas. This
continuous exhortation will atleast help
a few of us to realize it and stop chasing more new material desires and limit our
existing desires Or atleast realize the importance giving attention to the needs
of the soul. Also Krishna is
telling Arjuna not to consider what the vedas are telling for all, but just focus
on what Krishna is telling him. Now citing an example Sri Krishna tells in the
46th sloka:

"Water in a reservoir is common to all kinds of people and purposes and at all
times. Similarly, all the Vedas serve all and brahmana selects the one needed by

Sri Krishna says that His commands in the Vedas are for all types of people, just
as a mother is common to her various children. So, Arjuna should pick up what is
applicable to him. He now
cites an example. Let us consider river Ganges or Kaveri or a large lake where
water from various rivers is stored. There are many ghats in the river or lake.
People of various requirements
are at these ghats. One wants to get his thirst quenched. Another wants to have a
bath, and so on. Even for the person who wants to quench his thirst, he can take
water to the extent he
needs. Also, he can drink the quantity his palms can collect. One cannot complain
that he is not drinking all the water in the river or lake, just because so much
water is available. Because,
he has to take water to the extent to quench the thirst only and cannot take more.
He also cannot complain that there should be water in the river to his requirement
only. The water in the
river or lake is meant for all and at all times. Also, the water is required for
not only drinking but for other uses also. Similarly the commands in the Vedas are
for all types of people with
various degree of the triguna �satva, rajo and tamo qualities. Vedas are also
meant for the people in various eras or yugas �kritha, thretha, dwapara and kali
yugas. It is also meant
for persons at various stages in life like bramhachari [bachelor], grahastha
[familied persons], vanaprastha [secluded life] and sanyasi [renounced]. It is
meant for both males and females,
young and old, learned and the ignorant. So, everyone should accept what is
suited or prescribed for him. Sri Krishna now advises Arjuna not to resort to some
karmas as he is not
suited for those. Arjuna is having the satva quality and the other two �rajo and
tamo- are absent in him. Arjuna should fight to establish dharma. At the same
time, he should not fight
to gain inferior rewards like swarga, but for obtaining Moksham. He should not
fight for acquiring the kingdom or for enjoying regal comforts. Besides, Arjuna
being His cousin,
who else could be dearer to be preached to cultivate satva quality? Thus, Sri
Krishna preached that Moksham was the appropriate path for Arjuna in this

We may not be in the same high level as Arjuna and so it may be difficult to
relinquish our desires. We can write down our desires and review them periodically
to see whether we have
renounced any as preached in Gita. We can also note the dos and don�ts, Sri
Krishna has advised and review all those where we have drifted away from His
Small progresses achieved are great steps in the path Sri Krishna has shown to us.

Sri Krishna further says that all the Vedas prescribe the karmas for all types of
people and a brahmana should follow those suitable and applicable to him. Here the
word brahmana does not
indicate a Brahmin as a caste member. Any person who is desirous of reaching the
Brahman as mentioned in the Vedas is addressed as Brahmana. Such persons should
follow the
commands in Vedas, which will take them to the Paramatman. All other destinations
should be treated as mere impediments in reaching Moksham and they should be
Any karma, which takes one to swarga or other worlds for enjoyment, will prevent
the person from reaching Moksham till that tenure was over and to that extent they
obstacles in the path for eternal happiness. Avoid all those objectives of
inferior results. They are the techniques of rajo and tamo quality persons. So
advices Sri Krishna
and induces Arjuna to fight for dharma with Moksham as the end result.

It must be understood that not everything written in the Vedic scriptures is
necessary for all the three classifications of living entities. Some injunctions
apply only to those possessing qualities
of passion and ignorance and some apply only to those solely possessing the
qualities of goodness. The rituals and sacrifices mentioned in the karma-kanda
division of the Vedic literature
are to encourage gradual development of self-realization. And the purpose of self-
realization is clearly stated in the Fifteenth Chapter of the Bhagavad-gita
(15.15): the purpose of studying the
Vedas is to know Lord Krsna, the primeval cause of everything. So, self-
realization means understanding Krsna and one's eternal relationship with Him.One
should follow that portion of the
Vedas to perform activities that are most pleasing to Lord Krishna which is in the
best interests of all beings. It is not that one must just adopt everything that
is said in the Vedas. One should
never do activities against the injunctions of the Vedic scriptures but according
to qualification and circumstances one must follow what is prescribed in the
Vedas. For example certain rituals
such as the agnihotra are prescribed to be performed in the Vedas; but they are
prescribed for married householders. They are not to be performed by sannyasis.
Also celibacy is prescribed
in the Vedic scriptures but it is prescribed for brahmacaris and sannyasis. It is
not prescribed for married householders. So it is not that everything in the Vedas
is to be followed by everyone
although all the four orders must certainly follow the Vedas but according to ones
ashram. This is the discrimination regarding this matter. Lord Krishna gives the
example here that just as a
great reservoir of water answers the purpose of a well and when water is flowing
to the brim on all sides there is only a small amount required to one thirsty to
allay their thirst in the same
way only that much need be taken from the Vedic scriptures as may be required.
Hence it can be clearly ascertained that from all the Vedic scriptures only that
which leads to the realisation
of the Ultimate Truth needs to be chosen by those who are in complete knowledge.
What is then necessary for one in goodness aspiring for this is revealed in the
next verse.

karmany eva-adhikaras te ma phalesu kadacana
ma karma-phala-hetur bhu: ma te sango astv akarmani

"You have ONLY right to perform your prescribed duty, but you have no rights for
the fruits of action. Never consider yourself the cause of the results of your
activities, and never be inactive."

This sloka is very sweet to listen to but most difficult to follow in practice.
Why Sri Krishna told this sloka and what is the connection to the previous sloka?

In the earlier slokas 45 & 46, Krishna mentioned to Arjuna that , he can't take
everything in Vedas and follow it, since Vedas is like a river and for everybody.
But, just like we use river
water as per our individual use, Arjuna should use those aspects of veda, which
is specifically suited to him i.e. he should follow the sattvic ones (ones which
reach him to brahman and
not the ones which are for material desires). Arjuna has a question here -
Krishna is telling him to pick specific part of vedas - So, can Arjuna ignore what
he doesn't feel like?
This is a challenge. Sri Krishna is advising him to discard some commands of
Vedas. So can he discard any? If someone is asked to follow all in a book then
there is no problem. But if same person is told that some in that book are not
meant for him, then he thinks that he has the discretion to choose any and discard
some, as he likes. There are so many daily karmas prescribed like the simple ones:
speak the truth, do not steal, etc. These are also prescribed in the Vedas. Can
anyone discard these basic tenets also? Can we discard daily routines like Pooja
for the God? So, there is every possibility of total confusion in following Vedas.
Also whichever karma is being performed, the objective will always be lingering in
mind. As a reply to all these doubts, Sri Krishna mentions this 47th sloka. He
says, Arjuna has right to do ONLY his karma . ONLY(te) emphasizes that he has no
RIGHT on the RESULTS. He says,
"phalesu" -> numerous results/fruits. arjuna should not be thinking he has any
right on all the numerous fruits.

Karma-Phala->results of the work; hetur->responsible/ownership; ma-bhuh->do not :
Do not think you are the cause for the results.
Akarmani-> Never be inactive. Ma-teh-Sangah-Astu -> Do not associate :
Do not associate anytime with inactivity.

You have only Right for doing your presribed duty; You have no right for the
fruits of the action
Do not think that you are the cause of the results of your activities; But,at
the same time, do not ever associate with inactivity.

This is very difficult to understand. Every thing we do, again, everything we do
-> even simple acts such as turning on TV is with the expectation for some result
or working for
money .. everything we do is with expectation for result. So, why is Krishna
saying like this? Even a dull-headed person will not move a finger unless some
results are there. So it might surprise us as to why Sri Krishna is advising like
this. We should note that Sri Krishna does not say Arjuna should do without
expecting any results. Actually we should link this with the previous sloka and
understand that one should contemplate on atman and making the atman to reach
Moksham alone should be the result we should expect in every karma performed. Sri
Krishna is not saying that we should not aspire for results, but asks not to
desire for inferior rewards but aspire to reach the Paramatman for all our

In the next line of the sloka it is said that Arjuna should not be the cause of
any results. We are to perform the action and even though we may not aspire for a
result, unless we perform, the
results are not going to be there. If in a game the player is asked not to bother
about results, the player may ponder as to why he should play. What Sri Krishna
means, when He says that
one should not be the cause for a result, is that one should not think that one
was responsible for the results.

Inaction should not be there. Result may or may not be but when we do a karma we
should think that we are not doing that karma for an inferior reward and we should
never think that we are responsible for that reward. Arjuna then feels that
instead of this elaboration, he could as well remain passive and thereby avoid any
result. This Sri Krishna prohibits. Arjuna cannot sit idle; he has to fight in the
battle. But he should not desire for swarga or victory.

Let us delve into why Sri Krishna is advising that we should not expect or desire
for results. We should be clear first as to what we need in this world. If we
frequently change our needs we can never reach the destination. Our objective
should be that beyond which there is nothing else, that which will give us
everlasting experience and that which will yield supreme feeling. The experience
in this world indicates to us that happiness and sorrow are mixed. Therefore we
have to elevate ourselves to higher planes and reach Paramatman for everlasting
pleasure. This should be our objective. This is not small happiness. This will
never be lost or decay. It is not going to end after some time. Once we have
decided on this aim, all our actions should be targeted to reach this goal only.
Any deviation in this will make us miss the objective. Any action for any other
target will only waste our time and energy. This is what Sri Krishna explains to
Arjuna. He should do his duty and that only is going to realize him the
Paramatman. We have to perform duties prescribed for us. We have to do our duties.
Follow the righteous path. Speak the truth. Be helpful to others. Do not malign
others. Cultivate the real traits of atman. By doing all these we will follow the
path shown by Sri Krishna and surely we will secure the results He indicated. We
can do these acts like speaking truth only or following righteous path, for other
benefits also. As an example digging to create a pond for the benefit of the
society is a righteous act. By doing so one may get position or wealth. But if the
same person can also think that by doing this act, he is going to make available
water for many devotees in whom He resides and so this will please Paramatman and
so He will receive him to His Domain. So a choice exists. We can perform a
commendable act for smaller rewards like position or wealth, or for sublime
rewards like pleasing the God. We should choose the latter. Here, Sri Krishna is
encouraging Arjuna to fight to reach Moksham. Arjuna should have his aim as
reaching the feet of the Lord and fight in the battle.
That is why Sri Krishna tells that Arjuna has right only for the duty- karmanyeva.

Now, Arjuna enquires that if Sri Krishna is telling that he is not the cause for
results of his action, then will not the normal concept of relation between cause
and action be faulted? It appears that what Sri Krishna tells is against our daily
observations. If a person hits a person and is produced in a court, he cannot
escape punishment by saying that he was not responsible for the injury suffered by
the other. So one can never runaway from the results of an action. If the battle
is won, it will mean that Arjuna was responsible for that victory. If this is not
accepted then it will result in a mindless act. Result and action have to be
always together only. Then why Sri Krishna is advising the other way? Swami
Ramanuja in his Gita Bhashyam and Swami Vedantha Desika in his Tatparya Chandrika
explain these. In karmanyeva adhikara, the word adhikara indicates the thought
�mine� or � I am doing�. Where this thought should be and where it should not be?
When one is doing his duty he should have this thought that it is his duty and
that he is doing his duty. So this right � adhikara- and the thought that right is
being exercised should be there while performing one�s duty. But when a result is
there he should not claim it as a right and be inert to the results. Sri Krishna
therefore does not say that cause and action are not related. He only says that
while doing a duty, one cannot claim one was responsible for the result. If in the
battle Arjuna wins it is no doubt that Arjuna was responsible for that. But he
should never think that he is responsible for the outcome. With the feeling that
one is not responsible for the result, one should do a duty. This feeling is quite
difficult to bring to practice. The advantages of such a feeling are brought out
in the next sloka. We should perform our duty for superior goal and at the same
time we should always remember that we are not responsible for the end results. If
we are not responsible for the results of our action, why should we do any action?
Why not remain inactive? Sri Krishna says that He never said that we are not
responsible for the results, but commands that we should not perform our duty with
the thought that we are responsible for the results. Arjuna asks what is wrong if
he assumed or thought that he was responsible for the results? Sri Krishna
counters Arjuna whether could he ever say that for any result of any action, he
alone was responsible? For any action it is the teamwork, which gets results. In
the Shastras it is said that for any action five entities are needed. They are
Paramatma, Jeevatma, body, organs and Pranavayu [Oxygen]. Team effort of all these
only can result in any action. When this is the position, how can anyone claim
that he has done? So there is nothing wrong in assuming that he has not performed
that action. Arjuna accepting this asks whether he, being one of the five, can
assume at least 20% was his contribution? Sri Krishna denies this and says that in
this Universe everything perform to His orders and so it would be better to say
that He was responsible for all actions. If we analyze we can realize that one
alone is not responsible for any action.

e.g. A good example is .. When a person reaches a destination on time, he claims
"he came on time!", but when that same person comes late, he normally gives a
reason "THere was traffic jam or somebody
called and he got delayed etc"!! So, when he came "on time", even then he was not
the sole reason.

(Extract from Gita Bhashyam:
Lord Krishna instructs Arjuna that for one who is fixed in goodness, whose sole
aim is for liberation; the routine of performing daily duties, occasional duties
and fruit bearing duties should be performed automatically and whatever recompense
assigned to each of them should not be hankered for desiring rewards and benefits
or else it becomes fruitive. The desire for reward and benefits has a binding
effect keeping one bound in the material existence. But free from these
impediments the same action performed as worship to the Supreme Lord becomes the
veritable means to secure liberation. Therefore be devoid of motive for actions
nor desire to reap the reward from actions. Though all living entities are acting
their part in this world, those who are situated in goodness aspiring for
liberation are considered not to be entangled as so. It can be understood that
when one eats the hunger one had is appeased and the desire is satisfied as well;
yet one would not consider theirself as the cause of the appeasal and

yoga-sthah kuru karmani sangam tyaktva dhananjaya
siddhy-asiddhyoh samo bhutva samatvam yoga ucyate

"Perform your duty equipoised, O Arjuna, abandoning all attachment to success or
failure. Such equanimity is called yoga."

yoga-sthah--steadfast in yoga; kuru--perform; karmani--your duties; sangam--
attachment; tyaktva--having abandoned; dhananjaya--O Dhananjaya; siddhi-
asiddhyoh--success and failure;
samah--the same; bhutva--having become; samatvam--evenness of mind; yogah--yoga;
ucyate--is called.

Established in yoga and renouncing attachment to all accompanying results one
should engage in actions as a matter of duty to the best of one's ability
completely unconcerned with success
and failure. This equipoised condition of the mind keeps it peaceful and steady in
the face of all adversity and balanced and calm in the fulfilment of any actions.

In this 48th sloka Sri Krishna mentions yoga. It means considering victory and
defeat alike without differentiation. The person who attains such a mind of
tranquility and in whom the mind is in
harmony is called yogi. Arjuna should be one among such yogis. We see here a large
tree and the big Anaimalai rock. They represent steadfastness. Nothing can shake
these. Similarly we
should also be firm. Just because others talk, we should not lose our heart. By
desiring various rewards our weakness is exhibited. Today this is required,
tomorrow we need that, if we do this
we may get that reward, if we do that we may get a different reward- like this we
are advised by so many people. By losing our minds and getting distracted we will
become nervous.
We should decide whether we want a strong mind or a weak one? By listening to all
sorts of suggestions our mind gets weaker. We should firmly believe that whatever
we need will all be
granted by the Lord. The relationship between a devotee and God should not be
commercial. Devotee has to establish his rights and God will certainly perform His
duty. Both have duties
and rights. Our resolute should be that we are devoted to Him and we will do only
what pleases Him. Our objective is to reach Him. This must be our resolution. With
this thought we should
perform our duties. When this is done there is no need to establish our rights.
God Himself will grant all those.

When we do our duty we should have a resolute and balanced mind to either victory
or defeat arising as a result of that karma. What is balanced approach to victory
or defeat? Abandoning
attachment � sangam tyaktva-one should perform his duty. That is we should be free
from any attachment to the result of our action. Such detachment from result will
enable the karma to be
done properly. Here we have to see important aspects. In our daily life we notice
that only if we have interest in the result, we get enthusiasm to perform a task.
A student keeps his aim as
securing 99% in the exam and this drives him to study harder. But what Sri Krishna
is telling here is exact opposite. Don�t have attachment on the result, if the
work is to be properly done.
There appears to be contradiction to convention we notice in this world. Will not
Sri Krishna�s advice induce laziness and indifference? We have to note here what
is the result expected?
By aiming for the ordinary worldly rewards, our efforts will be more by aspiring
for those. But when we want to reach Him, we should be away from these petty
rewards. We reap that only
which we keep as objective in our mind. So the supreme goal of reaching His feet
should be our aim and we should not care for other results. We can see some
examples as how we can
perform better by not attaching to the result. If a person�s father, let us say,
has chest pain in the midnight. All relatives are crying. The person himself is
totally agitated. In this state of mind the person is unable to find means to take
his father to hospital. Just at that time as Godsend, the person�s friend comes
and surveying the situation he does the correct actions to get the ambulance,
doctor and medicines. The family is relieved from the misery. How the friend could
make these arrangements while the person could not? Because in this case the
person�s father was suffering and the attachment of the person to the patient
could not enable the person to do what his friend could do. The friend on the
other hand had no such attachments and his aim, a noble one, was to help his
friend. Attachment brings in anxiety. While detachment ensured calm and quite
approach. We might have kept important documents in a cabinet and if the keys are
misplaced, we will find very difficult to search for the keys. This is because we
know the importance of the document inside the cabinet and so the anxiousness to
retrieve the documents will disable our proper approach. But a person not knowing
the contents in the cabinet, will be able to find the keys and get the cabinet
opened. We can see our cricket team. A player may be performing excellently. But
when he is made the captain of the team, his performance goes down. Why? Because
now his mind is on the results to get the team perform well, to ensure coherent
approach, etc. This attachment to the result of team performing well disables the
player and performance goes down. Some players in this type of situation also
perform well, which means they have followed the principle enunciated in the Gita.
So if we get attached to rewards then this balanced approach will not be there.
durena hy avaram karma buddhi-yogAd dhananjaya
buddhau saranam anviccha kripanah phala-hetavah

"Action with attachment is far inferior, O Arjuna, to action done with evenness of
mind. Seek refuge in evenness of mind. Miserable are they who act with a motive
for results."

Earlier Krishna told that we have right only to do our duty. But when we perform a
duty, it should not be mere an action. That is it should not be a mere ritual. Our
intellect should also be
associated with that karma. What type of intellect should be there? We are NOT
doing this karma for trivial rewards but for a supreme purpose of Moksham. We
should be having an equitable
approach on the results arising out of the action. With such a mind the duty will
be performed well. Without this thought in mind if the karma is done it will be
mere ritual. So, our intellect forms
an important part in karma. Sri Krishna shows the difference in a karma one does
with this intellect and without. With such noble mind the karma is also noble.
Without this sublime thought
any action performed is regarded as very low. This will result in rebirths.

A person who thinks he is responsible for swarga or victory/loss in karma, is a
krupana or underprivileged and he is going to have rebirths. Whereas with the
intellect that he is not responsible
for the rewards, the karma is noble. An action performed without involving the
intellect � a mere ritual- is considered very inferior. So, Arjuna is advised that
applying his intellect in the action
that he is not aspiring for trivial rewards like swarga, he should do his duty. He
should resort to this type of understanding. The person who thinks he is
responsible for rewards will have rebirth.
So do the duty with the understanding that he is not responsible for the result
and perform the duty. We have right only to do the karma and we should not aspire
for results. Do the duty with
the conscience that � I am not doing this karma�.The karma is to be done by Arjuna
only and the rewards also will be for Arjuna. But while doing the karma he should
do the duty with total
detachment to the results. We can also see what happens if we do a work with
conscience and without.

A good example of this is the incident quoted in Srimad Bhagavatam on Krishna's
request for food to Brahmans and when being refused, going to their wives with the
same request.
(Note that , this is just an example and it's important to understand the truth
behind it and not just get stuck in the example, without understanding it's
Though the Brahmins were learned and knew Sri Krishna as the God, they never
applied their mind as to what for they were performing the yagna and who was to be
appeased in the yagna. Thus they were doing karma without applying their
intellect. The uneducated ladies on the other hand were so much devoted to Sri
Krishna that they could not bear the feeling He was hungry and rushed. These women
did not perform great yagnas but had the greatest devotion. Whereas the Brahmins
daily performed yagna to invoke God. But they became mere ritual and so they never
received His blessings. This was because the intellect that the yagna was being
performed to please God and He Himself as Sri Krishna was asking for food, was
missing. So mere learning is of no use and similarly, mere ritual also is waste.
We also while chanting Sri Rama, Sri Krishna and Sri Govinda, should be conscious
that these are His names and by uttering these we are pleasing Him and
Namasankeerthanam [singing God�s names] is our duty. This will elevate the mere
uttering to a noble karma.

One performing actions with the thought of receiving rewards gets the desired
resultant. This appears positive but it is repeatedly denounced. Why? Because
actions performed due to selfish
motives are inferior to actions performed due to selfless motives. Selfless
motives are balanced in equanimity. Equanimity possesses a determinate
consciousness. Because of this reality
one should seek the shelter of evenness of mind in equanimity. Actions performed
with fruitive motivations are far inferior to actions performed as a matter of
duty. The mind of those whose actions are performed as a matter of duty are not
disturbed or unbalanced by delusions of rewards gained or lost. The activities
performed in spiritual intelligence removes all suffering in the world and leads
to liberation from the material existence. Contrarily activities performed for the
acquisition of rewards assuredly results in suffering and affliction in the
material existence. Phala-hetavah are those who sole motivation is dictated be the
prospects of reward. It should be understood that such living entities are krpanah
or pitiable due to the fact but acting in this way they are imprisoned in the
material existence unable to attain their spiritual nature.

Thus, when an act is being done, take refuge in Buddhi (evenness of mind). Refuge
means abode. Live in that buddhi, is the meaning. "miserable are they who act
with a motive for
results": it means, "those who act with attachment to the results etc are
miserable and they will continue in samsara".

For all living entities the Supreme Lord is the only refuge. When this realisation
finally dawns upon the intellect of a living entity whether they are ignorant,
wise or liberated they surrender unto
the Supreme Lord without reservation. Those who in delusion consider themselves
the same as the Supreme Lord Krishna who is distinctly different due to His
inconceivable potencies and
transcendental attributes, descend to the hellish worlds of darkness without a
doubt. They are doomed to eternal damnation in hellish conditions.

Kripanah refers to those who are unable to understand the meaning of nishkama-
karma-yoga. Such people are attached to the fruits of their activities, and
consequently, they are sometimes happy and sometimes distressed. This topic has
been explained at length in Brihad-aranyaka Upanishad. Once, there was a great
assembly of realised sages, maharshis and brahmarshis in the royal court of Janaka
Maharaja. Janaka Maharaja, assisted by his royal servants, brought hundreds of
milk-giving cows along with their beautiful calves to that assembly. The horns of
the cows were encased in gold and their hooves in silver. Beautiful cloth
decorated with golden ornaments graced their backs. Folding his hands, Janaka
Maharaja addressed the sages with great humility. "Whoever among you is brahma-
vetta (a knower of brahma), I beg you to come and accept these cows."

All assembled there began to whisper amongst themselves. No one dared come forward
to establish himself as brahmavett a and take the cows. Again, Janaka Maharaja
looked towards them, with all seriousness. This time the maharshi Yajnavalkya got
up and told his students, "O brahmacaris, take these cows to my ashrama."

Hearing this, the other maharshis objected, saying, "Are you brahma-vetta?"

Maharshi Yajnavalkya said, "I offer my obeisances at the feet of those who are
brahma-vetta. If you want to examine me or ask any question, please do so."

The various sages asked different questions and Yajnavalkya Maharshi gave them
befitting answers. At last, the greatly learned Gargi humbly inquired, "Who is a
kripana and who is a brahmana?"

Yajnavalkya Maharshi's response to this was: yo va etad aksharam gargy
aviditvasmal lokat praiti sa kripanah (Brihad- aranyaka Upanishad 3.8.10). "O
Gargi, that person is a kripana (miser) who leaves this world without knowing Shri
Bhagavan, who is Acyuta, the Infallible Absolute Reality."

In Shrimad-Bhagavatam (6.9.49) it is said: kripanah . . . gunavastu- drik.
"Kripanas are those who consider that the ultimate reality consists only of sense
objects produced from the material modes." Furthermore, it is stated in Shrimad-
Bhagavatam (11.19.44): kripano yo 'jitendriyah. "A kripana is a person who has no
control over his senses."

buddhi-yukto jahatiha ubhe sukrita-duskrte
tasmad yogaya yujyasva yogah karmasu kausalam

After pointing out the defects of performing optional activities which are not
essential, Lord Krishna extols the virtues of equanimity in that it neutralises
all reactions without a doubt both positive and negative. Therefore everyone
should make a diligent endeavour to achieve this consciousness of equanimity. For
one expertly engaged in actions which do not incur reactions on their path to
attain liberation form the material existence and the ultimate truth is the
highest skill.

A deed done for a sublime cause elevates the doer. If the deed is done with the
thought that it would please God, it is Karma yoga. So while doing karma or deed,
our intellect or buddhi has to be involved. The buddhi or understanding should be
that we are not doing the karma for inferior rewards like swarga. The karma is not
being done by us. This karma will please God. These thoughts or understandings are
needed while doing any karma. Instead if it is done as a mere karma, it will
engage the person in rebirths. The thought or understanding that we are doing
karma as a devotion to Him and we have no ambition for swarga or material comforts
in this world, will make God to grant Himself all our needs. When we request God
for anything it would be limited but if God Himself grants it would be profuse.
So, instead of praying God to grant this or that, we should leave all our
requirements to His judgment and devote ourselves in His service. This is a basic
tenet of Karma yoga.

In the preceding 47th, 48th and 49th slokas, Sri Krishna explained the difference
in mere karma as a ritual and karma with intellect involved. The latter is
superior. So, He advises Arjuna to resort to this understanding while doing karma.
While fighting in the battle, he should have the understanding that this is his
karma and by doing so he would please Sri Krishna. By pleasing Him, Arjuna will
get all happiness. We have to see sloka 50. In the 50th and 51st slokas Sri
Krishna mentions two rewards. In sloka 50 He says all undesirables will be
destroyed from us. In sloka 51 He says we will get our desires fulfilled. It is
usual for anyone to wish that things he disliked were all destroyed and get only
things he liked. But the things disliked and things liked vary from person to
person. Universally there should be something, which is liked by all, and
something else hated by all. All like devotion to Him and reaching His feet. All
would dislike what does not please God. There should not be difference in this
common like and dislike. We should avoid the rebirths and associated miseries in
life. Without the fluctuation of happiness and sorrow, but only everlasting
happiness at His feet is what we should aspire for.

Here yoga is the buddhi or understanding that the karma is being done not for
inferior objectives but only as a devotion to Him. So, Sri Krishna advises Arjuna
to strive for this yoga. In any work we do our intellect should be involved. When
a mother feeds her child, though milk is fed, her thought that she is its mother
is always there. So this becomes a noble one. In contrast, the commercially
available milk does not establish a relation between the child and the mother.
This is an inferior act as mere feeding is done. An action by itself cannot
elevate a person unless the intellect also is involved. Iha means while doing the
karma. With proper understanding or buddhi that the karma is being done as a
devotion to Him and not for any inferior rewards, when the person is doing the
karma yoga � here itself- he relinquishes both punya and papa. Therefore Arjuna
should strive to get that buddhi. Arjuna should fight, as it is his dharma. By
doing that he should realize he will be pleasing the Lord. Pleasing Him will make
this life happy and bring in the eternal happiness by reaching the feet of God.
But a thought that this fight will enable him to experience blood smeared victory
and kingdom, will bring rebirths and the associated miseries. Kausalam is talent.
Sri Krishna says that both papa and punya are expended. How can doing karma
nullify our papa and punya? How are these related? These doubts may arise. How our
performing karma destroys the invisible papa and punya? This is one query.
In Athimanushastavam, Kooratalwan says that in this world punya or papa is related
to His feeling of happiness and unhappiness. It is all right papa is destroyed,
but why should the punya also
be got rid of? After all everybody is trying to acquire punya. Why then Sri
Krishna says punya as well as papa will be removed? We should know what are punya
and papa. We do certain karma and they may bring punya for us. Some other deeds
may bring papa. These are not written anywhere as we do various deeds whether any
are for punya or papa. But these are engraved in Him. They cannot be wiped out nor
there will be any misappropriation of one�s papa and punya are accounted for
someone else. If our deed pleases Him, they are punya. If our deeds are
displeasing to Him, then they bring papa. This will raise the doubt why then we
should remove the happiness in Him i.e. punya? We should remember that our goal is
to reach His feet and get
Moksham. For that goal, the ordinary delights in this world as well as the
pleasure in swarga are all impediments. It is like a person arrested is in
fetters. Whether that person will be happy if
the fetters are golden instead of iron fetters? So, when Moksham is the objective,
both papa and punya have to be avoided. By acquiring punya one goes to swarga and
by papa actions one
goes to naraka. In either case, one does not go to Moksham. Therefore one has to
avoid the karmas yielding either punya or papa. If punya was just an entity we
could avoid that, but when
punya means God�s happiness, should we avoid that also?

During Mohini Avataaram, Devas prayed Him for Amrut to have immortality. But they
never prayed for His feet and permanent happiness in His Company. Had they
requested Him, His
happiness would have been the ultimate and total. Though He would be happy that we
by doing punya karma we did not go to naraka, He would feel happiest if we seek
His feet. By doing
jyotishhomam he sought swarga and God will be definitely pleased to grant him. But
there will be a small resentment that instead of praying for Him, the person has
demanded only swarga.
Though the person has followed the Vedas and performed His commands only, the
person has ignored the Vedanta and not aspired for Moksham and to this extent God
will have a small
unhappiness. Therefore karmas, which will fetch punya, have to be avoided. From
this we have to learn a minute lesson. If we pray Him to get Him, He is fully
happy. But if we pray Him for
anything else, Lord is not that happy.

He, who is established in EVENNESS OF MIND in the performance of actions,
relinquishes good and evil karmas which have accumulated from time immemorial
causing bondage
endlessly. Therefore, acquire this aforesaid evenness of mind (Buddhi Yoga).
Yoga is skill in action. That is, this evenness of mind when one is engaged in
action, is possible through
great skill i.e ability.

karma-jam buddhi-yukta hi phalam tyaktva manisinah:
janma-bandha-vinir-muktah padam gacchanty anaa-mayam

Those who possess this evenness of mind while performing actions and relinquish
their fruits, are freed from the bondage of rebirth and go to the region beyond
all ills. "Hi" means that
this dictum or teaching is well known in all the upanishads. How actions are able
to turn out to be the means of liberation are being now given. Those with
spiritual intelligence who relinquish all
fruitive desires for the results of all actions, perform in righteousness
activities as an offering unto the Supreme Lord are blessed with self-realisation,
and being released from the bondage of birth and death they being liberated attain
the eternal and everlasting spiritual worlds (SriVaikuntam) of the Supreme Lord

Amayam means illness and Anaa-mayam means the place or position without illness.
That is placement in Vaikunta. The one who does the karma yoga with his buddhi or
reaches the place free of illness i.e.anaa-mayam. Men discarding the karmas by
which they will obtain inferior results, and by doing the karma with buddhi or
intellect- that they will not do a
karma for ordinary rewards but for the highest reward of Moksham, the karma is
done as a devotion to God- will get the superior results. For this they are to be
released from their shackles
or bandham and obtain the never-to-return position (vinir-muktah). The birth and
death are shackles and the karma yoga destroys these anishta or undesirables.
Then, gets the ishtam or
desirable of the highest reward of Moksham where one does not face any miseries.

Padam can mean the feet of the Lord . "Vishnoh Padeh paramey madhva utsah:"
or His abode, Sri Vaikuntam:
" tad vishnoh paramam padam sada pashyanti surayo diviva chakshur-atatam , tad
vipraso vipanyavo jagrivamsaha, samindhate vishnor yat paramam padam"
(Just as the sun's rays in the sky are extended to the mundane vision, so in the
same way the wise and learned devotees always see the supreme abode of Lord
Vishnu. Because those highly
praiseworthy and spiritually awake brahmanas are able to see the spiritual world,
they are also able to reveal that supreme abode of Lord Vishnu." (Rig Veda
1.22.20) )

By combining both we can interpret that by clinging to His feet we can reach His
abode, Vaikuntam or Moksham. By seeking refuge at His feet our fetters or bandham
in this world are eliminated. For this we have to perform karma yoga without
aspiring for inferior rewards and with conscience that it is done as a devotion to

Like the same type of food, however tasty it might be, produces aversion, by doing
karmas for inferior rewards our birth gets repeated and produces distaste. Whereas
in Moksham he appears
afresh every moment and our experience also is fascinating every moment. Namo
namo bavati jayamanaha � so says Upanishad. He appears afresh every time we look
at Him. The Lord is
decorated everyday differently and it fascinates us every time we look at Him.
Ornaments, attires, garlands, vehicles and even the prasad are changed daily. He
is purana or very ancient but
at the same time He appears anew everytime and graces us. Such persons attain
Moksham. The Lord of this place does this important duty of getting us the
Moksham. We can see how an
atman goes from a body to Moksham and how Thirumogur Apthan is helping the atman
in getting that highest reward.

In Chandogya and Brihadaranya Upanishads and in Alwars� hymns Archiradi marg is
explained. Atman is residing in a very minute form in the heart. Let us assume
that after innumerous births
all papa and punya have been expended. After this the journey of the atman starts.
All the shackles of papa and punya acquired not only in this life of 70 or 80
years but of the innumerous birth
cycles experienced by the atman and which have been there binding us to this
world are to be cut off now. Just as His birth removed the shackles in His parents
Vasudeva and Devaki, karma
yoga with dedication to His feet cuts off these bondages. There is a small hole on
the top of our head. When a child is born this spot can be felt but later as the
child is daily bathed, skull
covers this spot. This spot is called Brahma ranthram. From the heart to this
Brahma ranthram there is a nerve called sushoomna nadi. Normally this passage is
dark and one day the Lord
illuminates the entire path for the atman to take the journey. Out of the 101
nerves, the Lord identifies the sushoomna nadi as the route for the soul to take
the journey. The soul with His
help now pierces the Brahma ranthram and goes on archiradi marg. The Lord gives
the atman a minute body to escape as the body made of the five elements is cast
off in this world.
Archit means jyoti or light. This brilliantly lit up route is there to the atman.
Just as a person struggles when from darkness he is brought to bright light, the
atman also is dazed. Now comes
the Sri Kalamega Perumal. He is also called Sri Marga Bandhu or Vazhithunai
Perumal. As a friend and guide Thirumogur Apthan will lead us on this grand
voyage. Like the clouds,
He sprinkles water, which is His compassion, on the entire route to make the Atman
feel comfortable. Nammalwar wanted to reach the Holy Feet of the Lord and remain
in service in
Vaikuntam. We also can cling to the lotus feet of the Sri Kalamega Perumal praised
by Alwar. Such is the splendor His idol and all should come here and experience
the bliss.

In this context, it's useful to note Varaha Charama Slokam, where the Lord states,
When our body, mind, intellect and vital organs are properly functioning and in
our control, if we surrender at the Divine feet of Sri Varaha Perumal, then, when
we are in our death bed, when we can not even remember His name nor our body and
mind are in our control, Sri Varaha assures that He would remember and with a
helping hand would take us to Moksham.

sthithE manasi susvasthE sarIrE sathi yO nara:
dhAthusAmyE sthithE smarthA visvarUpam cha maamajam (1)
tathastham mriyamANam thu kAshtA paashaNa sannibham
aham smarAmi madh bhaktham nayAmi paramAm gathim (2)

(Meaning ):Oh Bhumi Devi ! The entire universe is my body (sarIram ) . I do not
have births or deaths . When my bhakthAs with mahA visvAsam surrender to me,
while they are still in a
state of tranquil mind and healthy body and reflect about Me as as SarvAdharan
( root cause of all) , NiyanthA ( one who commands from within ) sarva sEshi
( the ultimate ), aasrayaNeeyan
( one who is fit to be worshipped ) , Sarva VyApthan (all-pervasive ) and Nithya
sannihithan ( One who is always near ) , THEN I think of them at their last
moments, when they are totally
unconscious like a log or a stone and lead them by archirAdhi maargam to My parama
padham and bless them to have nithya kaimkarya bhAgyam to Me there .

The liberated living entities seek that place where there are no material
miseries. The Bhagavatam says (Bhag. 10.14.58) :
samasrita ye padapallava-plavam mahat-padam punya-yaso murareh
bhavambudhir vatsa-padam param padam padam padam yad vipadam na tesam

"For one who has accepted the boat of the lotus feet of the Lord, who is the
shelter of the cosmic manifestation and is famous as Mukunda or the giver of
mukti, the ocean of the material
world is like the water contained in a calf's hoofprint. Param padam, or the place
where there are no material miseries, or Vaikuntha, is his goal, not the place
where there is danger in every
step of life."

Owing to ignorance, one does not know that this material world is a miserable
place where there are dangers at every step. Out of ignorance only, less
intelligent persons try to adjust to the
situation by fruitive activities, thinking that the resultant actions will make
them happy. They do not know that no kind of material body anywhere within the
universe can give life without
miseries. The miseries of life, namely birth, death, old age and diseases, are
present everywhere within the material world. But one who understands his real
constitutional position as the
eternal servitor of the Lord, and thus knows the position of the Personality of
Godhead, engages himself in the transcendental loving service of the Lord.
Consequently he becomes qualified
to enter into the Vaikuntha planets, where there is neither material, miserable
life nor the influence of time and death. To know one's constitutional position
means to know also the sublime
position of the Lord. One who wrongly thinks that the living entity's position and
the Lord's position are on the same level is to be understood to be in darkness
and therefore unable to engage himself in the devotional service of the Lord. He
becomes a lord himself and thus paves the way for the repetition of birth and
death. But one who, understanding that his position is to serve, transfers himself
to the service of the Lord, at once becomes eligible for Vaikunthaloka. Service
for the cause of the Lord is called karma-yoga or buddhi-yoga, or in plain words,
devotional service to the Lord.

yada te moha-kalilam buddhir vyati-tarisyati
tada gantasi nirvedam srotavyasya srutasya ca

[ADD] When your intelligence transcends the taints of delusion then you will
censure yourself for what is heard and what is yet to be heard [ /ADD]

52nd sloka is the last sloka on Karma yoga. Earlier by some slokas the everlasting
nature of atman was told. From 39th sloka Karma yoga was described. In that
sequence this is the
last sloka.

Lord says that Arjuna would regret and feel ashamed about the petty things he is
attached and running around and ignoring the reality of what needs to be pursued,
after hearing what Krishna
has already said and will be saying in the next slokas. His i.e his buddhi
(intelligence) will get out (vyati-tarisyati) of Moham (delusion) and Kalilam and
at that time, he will reach (gantasi) nirvedam(sad, ashamed) after hearing what
Krishna has said so far (srutasya) and will say (strotavyasya).

Sri Krishna tells Arjuna that he is going to get disgusted with himself for having
clung to various things and which, his mind should have concentrated, were ignored
all these days. His intellect was confused all these days. Moham means confusion.
When his buddhi comes out of this confusion, at that time he will get nirvedam
i.e. he will start hating himself. When he is going to attain this state? After
having heard all that Sri Krishna told and all that He is going to tell in due
course. Sri Krishna had told him that he was attached to various things and in the
coming slokas He is going to further explain on this subject. Hearing both, Arjuna
is going to get nirvedam or get disgusted and blame himself. �Where I should have
attachment, I did not and where I should not have attachment, I had�. This is
going to be Arjuna�s lamentation. Our various actions were all targeted for
inferior rewards. Did we aspire for such low objectives? Such aversion is going to
overtake. We should have attachment to the Lord. Our atman should have been
serving Him only. Discarding these noble things in life we have been after all
inferior objectives. We desired all those which were impediments to Moksham and
which were all temporary and transient. Mourning such actions of us is nirvedam.
So far we have understood that karma performed with detachment and with our buddhi
or conscience involved, our papa and punya are eradicated. With the elimination of
papa and punya , rebirths are eliminated. By avoiding rebirth we reach God�s feet.

Nammalwar says [2.x]: Pattrilan Isanum , Muttravam Ninrann, Patrilayaay, avan
Mutril Adange! the Lord does not desire anything else but only us. When will we
reach Him is His thought
always. Therefore we should also discard our desires in other things and cling to
His feet. Our query is that He is somewhere and after so much of time if we
suddenly fall at His feet, will He
accept? He is so great and will He not kick us out for not coming to Him all these
days? In Srimad Ramayana, Vibheeshana was somewhere else. When he sought refuge in
Sri Rama,
he was not driven away. Whoever be, if he comes and falls at His feet, the Lord
never drives him away.

In this context, it's useful to note the slokam on Sudarshan Azhwar. The Discus
held by the Lord in His right hand eliminates all our sins.
Spurath sahasrara sikhathi theevram Sudarsanam bhaskara koti thulyam l
surad visam prana vinasi Vishno: chakram sadaham saranam prabadye ll
From all these we understand that the Lord is desirous of taking us to His domain.
We should also have identical desire but we concentrated on inferior rewards.
Pondering over this only will induce nirvedam and Arjuna will start disliking his
behavior all these days. Our buddhi is contaminated. As long as papa and punya are
there our buddhi will be like this only. Just as we cannot see our image clearly
if the mirror has dust on it, with polluted mind we cannot perform any yoga
properly; we cannot distinguish truth from falsehood. Which is thyajyam
[rejectable] and which is upadheyam [acceptable] will not be known. This is what
He calls mohakalinam. This is a great question before all of us. We cannot decide
what we want. If all are asked to demand only one, which cannot be changed later,
there will be total silence. We can never be firm in what we want and the
requirement changes every moment. Do we want education or employment or good
family orwealth? We can never be decisive. This is one type. But what Arjuna is
told is that he should discard all the small and ordinary benefits like victory,
swarga, etc, and desire only the feet of Sri Krishna. Thus the supreme goal will
be unique or singular while the inferior rewards will be many and in multitude. We
should reject the multitudes and accept the unique. This is rational knowledge.
That is we are able to distinguish our acceptable and rejectable. In Sanskrit this
is called thyajya upadeya gyan or viveka gyan. Once this moha kalinam is jumped
over, nirvedam steps in and we start blaming ourselves for desiring such trivial
things in life and having wasted our time. This disgust is a necessary step to
reach Him. This only will make one to perform karma yoga with buddhi. Therefore
from this 52nd sloka we understood all those multiple desires we should discard
and contemplate on the unique desire to reach His feet by detached karma yoga.
After this Sri Krishna starts His sermon on Gyana Yoga with introduction.


Summary of slokas covered in Second Chapter so far:

Sri Krishna, in Gita tells about Moksham in two parts and in two situations.
Our Ultimate goal is to reach the feet of Paramatman. But suddenly we cannot jump
to that height. Therefore it is
necessary to understand our atman. With this knowledge we should practice Karma
yoga uninterruptedly. What is the knowledge about atman? This was detailed from
12th sloka to 37th sloka
in 2nd Chapter. Thereafter, He started telling about Karma yoga. In the 38th sloka
He explained how a karma yogi would perceive equitably victory/defeat, profit/loss
and happiness/sorrow
i.e "Sukha Dukha, Samey krtva, Labah-Alabau Jaya-Ajayau". With this as
introduction, from 39th sloka He explained Karma yoga (Esha teh Bhitah Sankey..).
So we see two steps.

First is to realize Paramatman. Before that we have to realize our atman. This is
called atma sakshatkaram. That is possessing clear understanding of Atma. Nothing
more is required to clarify atman- this clarity should be possessed. This will be
like seeing atman and so is called atma sakshatkaram. To reach this state what is
needed? Three things are needed. One, the ordinary knowledge about atman. This
only will mature to get atma sakshatkaram. This is a basic knowledge about atman.
Once this knowledge is acquired, then we do karma without attachment or with
detachment. This Karma yoga should be continuously performed. This will enable to
eliminate the contaminations in our mind or intellect. Why this contamination was

As long as papa and punya are there this pollution will be there. Confusion is the
contamination. What is the confusion? Which is to be discarded and which is to be
adhered to? This lack of
knowledge to differentiate, is the confusion. As long as this knowledge is not
acquired, the knowledge about atman is not going to ripen. Because we have to
adhere to atman and leave all
others. Thus the mind or buddhi is contaminated. Without the ripening or maturing
of knowledge we cannot get atma sakshatkaram. To get this we have to meditate on
the atman
uninterruptedly. To meditate continuously we require serene mind.

Like an automobile requires clear petrol and clean carburetor for smooth running,
a serene mind is needed. Rational knowledge of on what we should have attachment
and on which we should
be detached should be there. In a confused mind meditation is impossible. Without
meditation, we cannot get atma sakshatkaram. We can visualize this as stairway.
By performing Karma yoga we can eradicate papa and punya. Eliminating papa and
punya will facilitate to clear the confusion in our minds as to which are to be
adhered to and which are to
be discarded, and the mind is serene. Serene mind will allow proper meditation on
atman. This will lead to atma sakshatkaram. With clear and full understanding of
atman, the inner motive
force of atman �Paramatman- will be realized. This requires Bhakti yoga. This will
be explained in the 7th, 8th and 9th Chapters. That will be the ultimate and final

So reaching Paramatman by Bhakti yoga is one part. Since we do not have the
ability to go direct to Paramatman, we have to acquire knowledge about Jeevatman.
This Jeevatma
sakshatkaram is another part. To get this we require doing continuous meditation,
which is called Gyana yoga. This requires unpolluted intellect and so we have to
get rid of papa and punya.
This needs performing Karma yoga. For this basic knowledge about atman is
necessary. That is why Sri Krishna sermonized on the basic nature of atman from
12th to 37th sloka of Chapter II.
We can recall that He told that atman is everlasting, it is different from body,
it is an embodiment of gyana or knowledge, it is full of bliss, it cannot be
destroyed, it is indivisible, it can not be
moistened or dried and it cannot be cut or burnt. This basic knowledge was tutored
and made us to realize that atman is superior to body and it cannot be destroyed
and so we should find
ways and means to uplift atman. What should be our efforts for this? After
learning the attitude of a Karma yogi, we have now learnt from 39th till 52nd
sloka detailingKarma yoga.

The one, who does Karma yoga with buddhi, destroys papa and punya and gets the
bliss of Moksham. (Ihey Sukrutah duskrute. Iha Gahati ; Tadah Gacchanti AnAmayam).
Karma yoga was deliberated. Karma yoga removes papa/punya. Removal of papa/punya
gets us nirmala or unalloyed, serene mind.

Looking back we can appreciate the logical manner all the slokas are placed. Like
an able Professor teaches, Sri Krishna is taking us step by step to understand our
lifestyle. Till 38th
sloka , he detailed about Atma's nityatvam and Atma Gnaanam. And Till 52nd sloka
Karma Yoga was explained.

Karma yoga removes papa/punya. Removal of papa/punya gets us nirmala or unalloyed,
serene mind. The next 53rd sloka will tell us what we achieve by a serene mind. In
such a mind a
coherent and concentrated knowledge can be unshakably established. This knowledge
is about atman.
Why this knowledge is steadfast? Because, it cannot be shaken by any rewards like
that pleasure or this comfort. Our objective is only atma sakshatkaram. We have
already seen that in sloka
2.41, the buddhi in pursuit of atman will be unique or singular, while the buddhi
striving for other rewards will be in multiples. Rewards are many, buddhi also are
many and efforts also are
many. In the case of atman as objective, only one effort, objective is one and
buddhi also is one. This singular knowledge will be acquired. This knowledge will
be resolute and unshakable.
It is in a serene and clear mind. Just as a dust-free mirror reflects our face
brilliantly, we can see our atman in a serene, free of papa and punya, mind. This
constant meditation is Gyana yoga.
Without papa/punya there is nothing to distract and drag the mind from meditation,
just as a firm ground will not slip below. Continuous Gyana yoga will result in
atma sakshatkaram.

Let us recapitulate the steps.

� Basic, ordinary knowledge about atman. (i.e Atma is eternal, body is temporary

� Performing Karma yoga with detachment

� Elimination of papa/punya and acquisition of unconfused mind (after performing
Karma Yogam)

� Qualified to undertake Gyana yoga. (after acquiring steady mind )

� Ripening of Gyana yoga will lead to Atma sakshatkaram.

There can be a doubt here. The first step is knowledge of atman and again the last
step also is understanding atman. What is the difference? The first step was very
elementary knowledge that
atman is different from body and it is eternal. But visualizing the entire atman
with its eminence is the last step. Thus this is a refinement process to get atma
sakshatkaram. The knowledge at
that time will enable one to realize that all atman are same and Paramatman
resides in all atman. This knowledge is not acquired in the beginning or first


shruti-vi-pratipanna te yada sthasyati niscala
samadhav acala buddhis tada yogam avapsyasi

"When your mind has absorbed so far [Sri Krishna�s sermon], and enlightened the
intellect or buddhi , and when it remains resolute and unshaken by others, then
you will have attained the atma sakshatkaram�

The word yogam here indicates atma sakshatkaram. So objective of second Chapter is
atma sakshatkaram. Arjuna was listening to the sermons of Sri Krishna (shruti vi
pratipanna te)
and this enlightened his intellect or buddhi and enabled him to know what is to be
adhered to and what are to be discarded in life, resulting in removing the
contamination of papa/punya in the mind (acala Buddhi) . This knowledge is going
to blossom as Gyana yoga, which will remain steady(samadhau). This will mature in
due course to have atma sakshatkaram.

Sri Krishna tells Arjuna that he will get atma sakshatkaram. That is matured
understanding of atman. There is no difference in the atman in various bodies.
Same Paramatman resides in all atman. When this state is achieved the person is
detached and renounces all worldly desires. Such a person is the one who has a
ripened Gyana yoga. He gets atma sakshatkaram. When we talk about this we feel
weary and wonder whether we can reach that state. But Sri Krishna does not preach
something, which we cannot practice. Why then we feel bewildered? Because such
things have not been in our daily habits and customs. We have never cultivated a
habit to look at our atman or to control our organs. We do not control and choose
right food for the body and mind. Because we are not habituated, initially we find
some obstacles. But slowly practicing these, they will become our habits. We will
then know how sweet life is, if we practice what Sri Krishna told. Atma
sakshatkaram is all souls are identical, happiness or sorrow does not affect and
realizing Paramatman is residing in every atman.

Karma yoga is practicing our daily routines like eating, sleeping, nithya
anushtanam, cultivating lands, doing business, guarding our home land, etc. We are
doing these already but with an attachment. Same actions we should do as devotion
to God and to please God. This is a first step and difficult to do. We can list
all our activities and review which are all pleasing to God and decide to do only
those and discard those which will displease Him. After that, we should slowly
remove our attachments to the activities, which are pleasing to God. We should
also realize that the activities are not done by us but by Him. We have already
seen that we cannot claim any activity as done by us, as five entities are
involved- self, Paramatma, body, organs and the prana. So it is always a team
work. If we do our routine work with a resolution that we will not do them for
ordinary rewards and with total detachment, it is Karma yoga. Continuous practice
of Karma yoga, reduces the impact of papa/punya. Because of papa only we suffer so
many things in life like sickness, poverty, children�s problems and so many. So we
have to get the impact of papa reduced. We are normally interested in rewards but
we do not ponder over the ways to achieve. That is why Sri Krishna advises Arjuna
to do his assigned duties with detachment and this will, as Karma yoga, yield
results. He will get atma sakshatkaram. The lecturer should not lecture for fame
or compensation but with a higher objective that Gita will be learnt by many and
that would please God. Similarly the listeners should not listen to boast that
they know Gita, but as an eye opener for practicing Karma yoga and pleasing God,
thereby. This common objective of pleasing God for all of us in all works will
make us practice Karma yoga. But if our objectives are all different we will be
reborn. Karma yoga will reduce papa/punya and mind will get purified. All these we
were doing with very little application of our intellect- that we are not doing
these and not aspiring for ordinary rewards. We are yet to do meditation by
controlling our organs. We have been doing our regular activities only. By
continuous practice our minds get purified and we are then ready for meditation.
We will have continuous thoughts on atman and our organs will get controlled.
Happiness and sorrow would not affect us and we will see all as equal. This is
Gyana yoga. Without interruption we will meditate on the atman. Even a half an
hour such meditation will give us great benefits. But knowing the difficulty to
practice Gyan yoga, Sri Krishna advises Arjuna in 3rd Chapter that he need not do
Gyana yoga but by Karma yoga alone he can get atma sakshatkaram. But now Sri
Krishna tells about Gyana yoga to laud its superiority. When He says that we need
not practice very difficult Gyana yoga to reach Him, but continue our normal
routines as Karma yoga, we have to understand His concern for us.
arjuna uvaca
sthita-prajnasya kaa bhaasha samadhi-sthasya keshava
sthita-dhih kim prabhaseta kim aasita vrajeta kim

In the 53rd sloka Sri Krishna tells how one is ready to practice Gyana yoga and
get atma sakshatkaram. Arjuna is too eager to know more about such a person
practicing Gyana yoga. What
all he will do, what he will think- such questions rise before Arjuna and so he
asks this in the 54th sloka:

"Arjuna said: O Krishna, what are the symptoms of one whose consciousness is firm
in meditation? Such a steady minded person what does he speak, and what words will
describe him? What does he think, and how does he act?"

sthithapragna � he who has resolute or firm conviction. Sri Krishna is going to
reply this in the next four slokas.

After telling that atman is eternal and continuous practice of Karma yoga will
purify our mind, Gyana yoga can be practiced in the crystal clear mind. Arjuna
became eager and wanted to know
the traits of a Gyana yogi. How would he speak? How would he think? What are his
actions? This was in 54th sloka. Sthitaprgna means Gyana yogi. Pragna means our
intellect. Sthita is
steady. When our intellect or buddhi is steady and firm, it is the first step in
Gyana yoga. Sri Krishna in reply to Arjuna�s query, lauds sthitapragna from 55th
sloka. That is Sri Krishna praises
the Gyana yogi who has acquired atma gyana. Swami Nammalwar is head among such
gyanis. He is named prapanna jana kootasthar. Lord Sri Ranganatha affectionately
called him
Nam [Our] Alwar, even though there were ten Alwars.

Sri Krishna had to explain Gyana yogi in four slokas. This Gyana yoga is in four
types or samgya. These are Yatamana samgya, Vyatireka samgya, Yetendria samgya and
Vaseekara samgya.

What we require is vairagyam or dispassion or steadfastness. We have to get
detached from the worldly affairs. This only will qualify us to Gyana yoga. So we
have to slowly climb step by
step. The highest or the last step is explained in the 55th sloka. The third step
is in 56th sloka and the second step is in 57th sloka. The initial step is 58th
sloka. So we have to first see 58th
sloka, as that is the first step. So there will be a reversal in the sloka order
and after coming to 55th sloka we will go to 59th sloka.

Let us see what these samgyas are. Normally our desires are varied. Let us assume
one has the drinking habit. This is an undesirable habit and has to be discarded.
Initially when he sees drinks he should turn away and control his passion. This is
the first step or Yatamana samgya, where we avoid any contact with such bad
things. This will not make us abandon our passion
in such things. Second step will be to remove such desires or vyatireka samgya.
The third step Yetendriya samgya, where we control our mind. Even after
controlling all the organs, mind will
be difficult to control. It is like oil in a cup. If we throw out the oil, there
will still be the greasy layer sticking to the cup surface. The last step is
Vaseekara samgya. It is like rubbing the cup with powder to remove the greasy
So the steps are
1.Trying to control our sensual organs from objects.
2. Removing the desire from the organs.
3. Removing the small traces in the mind.
4. Total removal of such desires without any trace.

2.58 (note, we will be covering 58, 57, 56, 55 in reverse order)

yada samharate ca-ayam kurmo �ngan-Iva sarvasah:
indriyani-indriya-arthebhya: tasya prajna pratisthita

One who is able to withdraw his senses from sense objects, as the tortoise draws
its limbs within the shell, is to be understood as truly situated in knowledge.

This is the first sloka explaning about the nature of a Gnaani. Control Senses!
This is the first step or Yatamaana samgya
Ayam - The Gnaani , Yada- When Samaharate - Controls , Indriyani - Senses
, Indriyaa-Arthebhya - Sense Objects (objects of smell, taste, touch etc)

Koormah - Tortoise, Anganiva - Parts of its body(head, limbs etc)

Lord Krishna gives the analogy of a turtle which withdraws its limbs inside.
Similarly when one is able to keep their senses from pursuing sensual objects of
mundane pleasure by withdrawing
the senses inside and who also consciously reflects upon the soul within, such a
one is sthita-prajna situated in the perfect knowledge of transcendent meditation.

Now, we will get a doubt immediately. How is it possible to do this? Do we have
to close our eyes, not hear anything, keep away from everything etc.. This is not
the case.
Lord's implication in this sloka is that we have to reign in our senses and not
let it stray. For e.g. In our eating habits, we have to discriminate on eating
what is allowed and what is

Nammazhwar was the epitome of a true Gnaani, which Lord is explaning to Arjuna in
this and the next three Slokas. A Gnaani Yogi controls his senses and focuses on
his true self
which is servitude to Paramatma. Nammazhwar meditated for 16 years without food,
water etc, right from his birth. In response to a question by MaduraKavi Azhwar,
If Jeevatma(Soul)
which resides in Achit(This body) , attains Jnaana (realizes its true nature,
which is true nature to Paramatma), where does it reside and what does it do?
Nammazhwar's response was that , the jeevatma who realized his true nature, will
constantly meditate on Paramatma and consider kaimkaryam to lord and his devotees
as it's primary duty.

Nammazhwar's glory is captured in this tanian:
Vakula Bharanam Vandey Jagatah Bharanam Munim
Ya Srutey Uttaram Bhagam Chakrey Dravida Bhashaya:
(Meaning:Nammazhwar adorned Vakula Mala ; He is adorned as the jewel by this
earth; He took birth in this world to expound the tattvam of upanishad in Tamil.)

yah sarvatraa-anabhi-sneha: tat tat praapya subha-asubham
naa-abhinandati na-dvesti tasya prajna pratisthita

Forming no attachments in any situation means to be indifferent, unconcerned in an
aloof state or attitude. Auspicious is a situation that is pleasing and
inauspicious is a situation that is displeasing. Lord Krishna is instructing not
to be overjoyed by the pleasing nor despondent over the unpleasant. One who can
successfully engage themselves thus is sthita-prajna situated in the perfect
knowledge of transcendental consciousness.

This is Vyatireka samgya, to divert our sensual organs from inferior objects to
superior ones. The earlier&first step was to avoid or prevent our organs in touch
with sensual objects.
These words tasya pranja pratishthita will be repeated in many places. Pranjya is
knowledge and pratishthita is established. This Gyana yogi�s knowledge is
established. He is also a Gyana

Sneha meas desire. Abhisneha is excessive desire and anabhisneha is without excess
desire. Such a person who is void of excess desire on all desirable objects, is
neither happy for
desirable objects nor unhappy on undesirable objects, he comes across. He does not
get dejected nor curse for having got undesirable things. Similarly he is not
happy if he gets desirable
things. How is this possible? If there is a desirable thing in this world one
should feel happy if one got it. After all we are made of senses and not inanimate
or inert beings. If a child gets 98%
his father should feel elated is natural. Similarly if the student scores 35%
only, dejection is inevitable. Then why Sri Krishna is telling that both these
expressions are to be avoided?
In this world joy and sorrow are mixed. None can expect to have always victory.
But we speak that in sports and games victory and defeat are common. On similar
lines Sri Krishna tells
us to know that joy and sorrow are common in life and we should be able to meet
those equitably. One need not jump and hit the ceiling when happiness is there and
at the same time
need not get dejected and curse when sorrow things are encountered. Whereas a
mature person has a different object as desirable and he is not worried about the
common desirable
things in life. For him God is desirable; soul is desirable. He is unattached to
everything without a mental inclination towards anything totally indifferent to
all sense objects. When exposed to sources of pleasure like mouth watering
vegetable preperations, delicious nectarian fruit drinks, silky, fashionable
clothes or luxurious homes such a one does not rejoice at receiving these things
nor give praise to those who have bequeathed these things. Similarly when exposed
to sources of unpleasantness like unpalatable food and drink, coarse unfashionable
clothes and humble homes such a one does not show disdain and is indifferent to
statements made by people to criticise him such as being called a pseudo yogi or a
hypocrite. Thus the essence is such a one uses his words sparsely, praises no one
and blames no one and because he possesses neither love nor hatred for any living
being benefits all.

Alwar imagines himself as a child and in front of him there are toys, ball and a
parrot to play with. But he is devoted to Him. He names each of the playthings as
Madhave, Kesava and Sridhara.
Alwar is not interested in these toys are playful objects. At the same time like
any ordinary child will get pleasure in play, Alwar gets in calling all these
articles by their names he had christened,
like Madhava, Kesava and Sridhara. While the sports articles may break or deform,
but the names with which Alwar calls them will remain everlasting and so will give
always happiness.
Therefore, by diverting our thoughts on Him and get happiness in those thoughts,
the worldly desirable and undesirable objects can never have any impact on us.
Thus we divert our organs
on God. These two steps thus train us to control our organs, which is an important
step to control mind.
This will be explained later.

duhkhesv anu-dvigna-manah: sukhesu vigata-sprhah
vita-raga-bhaya-krodhah sthita-dhir munir ucyate

This is "Ekeindriya Samgya"
"One who is not disturbed in mind even amidst the threefold miseries or elated
when there is happiness, and who is free from expectation, fear and anger, is
called a sage of steady mind."

We are seeing the various stages of Gyana yogi. The first step was the efforts.
That Yatamana samgya was described like a tortoise withdrawing its feet and head
into the shell from enemy attack, here the person withdraws the organs from
contact with inferior desires. Next was Vyatireka samgya. Here the person assumes
an impartial role of not joyful when desirable things occur nor brooding when sad
things occur and observe detached mindset. Why does Sri Krishna ask Arjuna to be
neutral and neither feel happy nor sorrow? It is seen practically that by having a
neutral mind the work is done more efficient. By being emotionally attached to a
work, it gets ruined. A surgeon takes an impartial view of the patient. In such
situations emotion could spoil the work.

This samgya is called EkeIndriya Samgya -> Ekam is One; INdriya is Senses; It is
so called because controlling senses along is not enough, it's important to
control Mind also which
tries to provoke senses again. One who controls Mind which keeps senses in
reign. This is Ekendriya samgya.

Dhi is buddhi or intellect. Sthita dhi is well established knowledge. Person with
such knowledge is praised by Sri Krishna as muni [munir ucyate].
Muni -> Manana Seelah Munih: One who is capable of controlling mind (which
includes controlling senses) and directing the buddhi to concentrate on Atma is
called Muni. Person capable of controlling mind and directing it at the atman is
called muni. Just by sitting in forest in a particular posture does not make one a
muni. Controlling and directing mind as one wants is muni. All other organs can
even be controlled but it is too difficult to control mind. That is why this is
called Yekendriya samgya. Yekendriya means the single organ i.e. mind as the
leader of all organs.

How to control mind? Sri Krishna tells the way:
*duhkhesv anu-dvigna-manah: We should be having unperturbed mind at the CAUSE of
sorrow (not just sorrow).
(ud-dvigna-manah-> Pertrubed mind; anu-dvigna-manah -> Unperturbed mind)
*sukhesu vigata-sprhah: Similarly we should have unexcited mind at the CAUSE of
joy (not just joy).
(Sprhaha: Intrested or excited ; vigata-sprhah: without being excited or

Note: So, remember, to be ANU-DVIGNA-MANAH! for sorrows/cause of them
and to be VIGATA-SPRAHA: for joys/cause of them, which is reverse of normal!
In addition to the above two, Krishna says we should avoid raaga, bhaya and
krodha. (vita-raga-bhaya-krodhah!)

Swami Ramanuja in his Gita Bhashyam has explained these three (raaga, Bhaya,
Krodha) very well:

*Raaga is the expectation feeling one has about a joyous thing to happen in the
future. If a father is elated at the prospect of his son going to score very high
marks in the results that
are going to be published next day, it is raaga. That is our interest in a joy
that is going to happen. Sri Krishna says that one should abandon this raga that
is the feeling of an expectation.
Not merely happiness or the cause for such happiness but even the anticipation
or prospect of that event have to be avoided.

*Bhayam -fear. It is the feeling one gets when there is a prospect of a happy
thing not happening or an unhappy thing is happening. When we feel happy of a
joyous event in future we get
raga. But if that event is not likely to happen? Then the mind gets perturbed
and that is bhaya. Bhaya is not the undesirable thing coming to us or the
desirable one leaving us. Today what we
feel about the prospect of an unwelcome guest tomorrow is bhaya. This bhaya
will transform into sorrow when actually the unwanted guest knocks at our door and
we see him. So bhaya
becomes the cause for sorrow and Sri Krishna advises that bhaya also should be
avoided. In the next day results whether his son is going to score low marks, is
fear today for the father.
When the results confirm that low marks the bhaya becomes sorrow. But on the
contrary if the results reveal very high marks, bhaya is converted to happiness.

*Krodha is anger. If one has raga and is expecting a happy event in future, and
if some persons or things obstruct that event from happening then the feeling of
krodha or anger is on those
obstructing. So, raga transforms to happiness. Feeling of anger on the persons
obstructing one from attaining that happiness, is krodha.

Passion is the extreme mental attachment to objects cherished with intense
desire with the intention of never letting possession of these objects be
discontinued. Fear is the pain caused
from the approaching agony arising from separation from what is cherished.
Anger is a specific mental attitude which appears in one who experiences
separation at the time of loss of
cherished objects. These three passion, fear and anger all arise due to the
lack of discrimination regarding the eternal nature of the soul. By the gradual
development of this discrimination
one becomes free from these three impediments and by this discrimination when
the introspective one's contemplation becomes mature they're known as sthita-

So Arjuna is advised to abandon(Vita) these three raga, bhaya and krodha and a
person who achieves this is muni. To achieve this, MIND HAS TO BE CONTROLLED.
What if raga or bhaya is there? Let us see the example of student. When were
his marks decided? Was it when he wrote the exam? Or, when the evaluator saw his
answer papers? Or,
when the results were published? But actually his result was decided when he
put in his efforts preparing for the exams. His efforts only will reflect in the
exam. What he writes only will be
evaluated. And, what the evaluation is there will be published. But our
expectation is on the publishing only. So a person who understands this and avoids
these three qualities is praised as

There are three types of sorrow or pain: adyatmika or physical, adhidaivika or
supernatural and adhibhautika or natural. Adyatmika is pain of the body and pain
of the mind. The pain of the
body is diseases and ailments attacking it such as fever, rheumatism, gout,
etc. The pain of the mind is due to insult, jealousy, shame and the like.
Adhidaivika is pain caused by drought,
flooding, cyclones, earthquakes, hurricanes, etc. Adhibhautika is pain caused
from people, demons, animals, ghosts, etc. All these three are destined by fate
and as such are not transitory
and after experiencing them they fade into oblivion.

The sthita-dhi-muni is always in Krsna consciousness, for he has exhausted all
his business of creative speculation. He has surpassed the stage of mental
speculations and has come to
the conclusion that Lord Sri Krsna, or Vasudeva, is everything. He is called a
muni fixed in mind. Such a fully Krsna conscious person is not at all disturbed by
the onslaughts of the threefold
miseries, for he accepts all miseries as the mercy of the Lord, thinking
himself only worthy of more trouble due to his past misdeeds; and he sees that his
miseries, by the grace of the Lord,
are minimized to the lowest. Similarly, when he is happy he gives credit to
the Lord, thinking himself unworthy of the happiness; he realizes that it is due
only to the Lord's grace that he is in
such a comfortable condition and able to render better service to the Lord.
And, for the service of the Lord, he is always daring and active and is not
influenced by attachment or aversion.
Attachment means accepting things for one's own sense gratification, and
detachment is the absence of such sensual attachment. But one fixed in Krsna
consciousness has neither
attachment nor detachment because his life is dedicated in the service of the
Lord. Consequently he is not at all angry even when his attempts are unsuccessful.

A Krsna conscious person is always steady in his determination.

praja-haati yada kaaman sarvaan partha mano-gataan
atmany eva-atmana tustah: sthita-prajnas tadocyate

" O Partha, when a man gives up all varieties of desire for sense gratification,
which arise from mental concoction, and when his mind, thus purified, finds
satisfaction in the self alone, then he is said to be in pure transcendental

When a person is satisfied in himself with himself, i.e. when his mind depends on
the self within himself; and being content with that, expels all the desires of
the mind which are different from that state of mind --- then he is said to be a
man of firm wisdom. This is the highest form of devotion of knowledge. Then, the
lower state, not far below it, of one established in firm wisdom, is described in
later slokas (56,57,58), which we had already studied.

Now we will see the fourth step of Vaseekara samgya in the 55th sloka. The first
step Yatamana samgya in 58th sloka was our efforts to withdraw from objects
creating inferior desires. The second step Vyatireka samgya in 57th sloka
explained diversion of our organs from those objects and remain detached. The
third step was Yekendriya samgya in 56th sloka where we were told to train our
mind also detached from pleasures and sorrow. Now we will see the fourth step of
Vaseekara samgya in the 55th sloka. Here we will be told that we have to get rid
of all traces of all attachments and hatred, and ensure a sparkling pure mind.

In this Sloka, Krishna says a gyaani is praised as Stitha Prajna, when? (Stita
Prajna Tado ucyateh). When?
Yada (when), Sarvaan Kaaman (all desires) manoh-gataan (from the mind)
prajahaati(removed or expelled) and Atmany eva atmana tustah (i.e atma is the
only objective of the mind
and is content). When all desires in mind are expelled and atman is made the
objective of the mind and remains happy. That is when mind is no longer becomes
happy or otherwise with ordinary pleasures and sorrow but becomes happy with atman
only. This is a very difficult stage to attain.

Normally the mind is happy with pleasures enjoyed through the organs. We listen to
a good music or we see a beautiful figure and become happy. But atman is formless
and does not make
sound nor can be tasted nor smelt. Then how can one get happiness? We all know
that all images or sounds or tastes or scent will fade away one day. But atman is
eternal. It is a quintessence of gyana and ananda or happiness. So this has to be
inculcated in our mind. Normally we take vegetables for nourishment; but when we
are sick, same nourishment is
given to the body by drips. So it is possible to experience all our happiness felt
in life, by engaging the mind on atman. This happiness will be everlasting unlike
the worldly pleasures.
This can be understood from the story of Prahlada. He was tortured in many ways:
by making serpents to bite, by making elephants to tramp over him, by throwing
him tied to a stone in
mid ocean, by surrounding him with fire, etc. All these were never even felt by
Prahada. Because he had engaged his mind fully in Sri Krishna. By this he was
detached from the worldly
miseries and pleasures. This is Vaseekara samgya. All including the mind is under
control. There will be no trace of any worldly miseries and pleasures. To achieve
this level the gyana yogi had to understand atman is superior, practice Karma
yoga and remove all blemish in the mind and start Gyana yoga and reach the
ultimate stage in Gyana yoga.

We can see Alwar also as an example. In the mannai irundu thuzhavi Thiruvaimozhi
ten pasurams, he shows that happiness and sorrow are mixed in this world. We have
to withdraw our mind from all these and understand atman, then understand the
inner atman of our atman as Paramatman. Our mind should be trained to
concentrate only on Him. He squeezes the mud below and says this mud belongs to
Sri Vamana [an incarnation of Sri Narayana]. Though there was considerable time
span between the Sri Vamana incarnation and Alwar�s time, he sees God in all.
While ordinary person will think of how to purchase the land where this mud was
scooped out or what plant could be cultivated to earn money, Alwar thinks
entirely different. When he sees burning fire he runs to embrace it as he sees the
glowing figure of God. Because of this mentality the fire does not burn him. So we
have to inculcate this habit in our mind.

We see in karate and kungfu sports, persons are trained to break bricks with hands
without being hurt or dipping the hands in fire without getting burnt. This is by
practicing mind and organs to concentrate. Such practice can make us do anything.
When mind is trained to see atman, he is admired as sthitaprajna. His intellect is
set up firmly when nothing can disturb his mind. He can remain isolated without
being affected by worldly affairs. This does not mean he will remain in solitude
and be of no use to the society. He can do all the good works for the society
without being influenced by others. By training mind to engage in atman we can
perform all our duties efficiently. This will be perfected if the mind is further
trained to engage in God, Who is the atman of all atman.

We have seen all the four stages of Gyana yogi: Yatamana samgya, Vyatireka samgya,
Yekendriya samgya and Vaseekara samgya.

visaya: vini-vartante nir-aaharasya dehinah
rasa-varjam raso �pyasya param drishtva nivartate

The sense objects are the food of the senses. From the abstinent embodied being,
i.e., from one who has withdrawn his senses from objects, these sense-objects,
being rejected by him,
turn away, but not the relish for them. Relish means hankering. The meaning is
that the hankering for the sense-objects does not go away by abstinence alone. But
even this hankering will
go away, when one sees that the essential nature of the self is superior to the
sense-objects and that the realisation of this self gives greater happiness than
the enjoyment of sense-objects.

Krishna explains how to get rid of even the small traces of desires in Slokas
59,60 and 61 , which all make one part. Sri Krishna says in 59th sloka, If we are
able to visualize atman then all
organs get disciplined, By comprehending atman in its true form, all other organs
are controlled. It is interesting to note in the next 60th sloka. Arjuna asks
he should do to �see� atman and Sri Krishna replies that if Arjuna could control
all organs, atman can be visualized. This normally will puzzle and confuse. One
depending on other can never
give a solution. But Sri Krishna removes the confusion in the 61st sloka. So we
will have to see all these three slokas as one.

Sensual objects of enjoyment are fuel for the senses. Lord Krishna states that the
desire for these sensual objects departs when one starves them by restraining the
senses from indulging in them. But although the action is restrained the craving
remains subtly within the mind. Rasa is taste and raga is attachment. So the
craving attachment for taste of sense objects remains present. However when the
eternal nature of the soul is realised in all its glorious splendour and it is
seen that it is infinitely more attractive than the most delightful sense object.
At that time all desire for sense objects completely vanishes along with the
residue of craving.

nir-aaharasya dehinah: = Dehi is atman. Nir-Aharam means without food or
starving. Enjoying the objects of the senses is known as ahara. Restricting the
objects of the senses is known as niraharasya. What is food for atman? When atman
is in a body, enjoyment by various organs is all food for atman. Taste is food
for tongue but pleases atman. Music is food for ears but
pleases atman. So if we have to starve atman, it means we have to prevent various
organs in their desires.
Visaya: vini-vartante = Visaya: all the objects for sense gratification
(Roopa, Sparasha, Sabhda, Rasa:, Gandham) , Vini-varatante: Refraining

Rasa-varjam = Rasam here means trace of desire. We can prevent various organs
their food like listening for ears, scent for nose, etc. But the small trace of
such desire lingers on. When one declines to enjoy sense objects with the objects
of the senses the physical experience ceases; yet the residue desire for sense
objects still remains and the craving for them actually has not departed.How to
get rid of this trace?

Param drishtva - Seeing the ultimate(param) tattvam i.e our Self (sat-cit-
Nivartate, raso'apyasya - even this trace of desire(raso apyasya) is removed.

By concentrating on the eternal and quintessence of happiness �atman, and a
glimpse of it will drive away this small trace also. After getting atman darshan,
the small trace of desires lingering
in the mind also is got rid off. When atman is in a body, if all desirable
objects like tasty food, good music, etc, are removed it starves the organs and we
do not indulge in such pleasures. But
in the mind traces of these desires will be sticking. Many people have developed a
custom of not eating or drinking certain type of food or drinks, but when such
persons are in a company of
friends who eat or drink such articles, there could be compulsions or curiosity to
taste. By yielding to such temptation we may spoil our health. So it is better to
avoid such events altogether
and resist temptations. But even then mind will not get controlled. This can be
suppressed only if we are able to have atman darshanam.

The process of restriction from sense enjoyment by rules and regulations is
something like restricting a diseased person from certain types of eatables. The
patient, however, neither likes
such restrictions nor loses his taste for eatables. Similarly, sense restriction
by some spiritual process like astanga-yoga, in the matter of yama, niyama, asana,
pranayama, pratyahara,
dharana, dhyana, etc., is recommended for less intelligent persons who have no
better knowledge. But one who has tasted the beauty of the Supreme Lord Krsna, in
the course of his
advancement in Krsna consciousness, no longer has a taste for dead material
things. Therefore, restrictions are there for the less intelligent neophytes in
the spiritual advancement of life,
but such restrictions are only good if one actually has a taste for Krsna
consciousness. When one is actually Krsna conscious, he automatically loses his
taste for pale things.

yata-to-hyapi kaunteya purushasya vipascitah
indriyaani pramaathini haranti prasabham manah

"The senses are so strong and impetuous, O Arjuna, that they forcibly carry away
the mind even of a man of discrimination who is endeavoring to control them."

In the 59th sloka we saw that if atman darshan is available then all the organs
and mind get controlled and there will not be a trace of desire for inferior
pleasures. Nirahara, that is starving will
prevent the organs from seeking such cheap pleasures but mind will still remain
uncontrolled. If we can see the param or atman, then even this mind also gets
controlled. So Arjuna queries
as to what should be done to see atman or have atman darshan. Here we should
understand that atman couldn�t be seen with our eyes as we see materialistic
objects. Here it means feeling
the atman. Its magnificence can be felt. In response, Krishna mentions in this
sloka the following.
If organs could be controlled atman darshan will be achieved. As told in the last
lecture this is a peculiar situation. This is called anyonya asraya dosham or
inter dependent fallacy. It is like asking location of A and in reply it is told
it is by the side of B. where is B located and reply is it is by the side of A.
this will create confusion. Here also it appears like that.
In the previous sloka Sri Krishna told that if atman darshan is acquired, the
organs get controlled. But here He says that controlling organs could enable one
to achieve atman darshan.

purushasya vipascitah : Vipaschita means one who can differentiate and understand
or rational thinking. He is said to have viveka gyana. One who distinguishes that
the body is perishable and
atman is eternal. He tries to control organs and concentrates his mind on the
atman. Purusha here indicates atman.

yata-to-hyapi : Yati is effort and api means EVEN. So, even a person who tries to
take efforts in Gyana yoga, is the meaning of first part. So, Krishna is
referring to not an ordinary person,
but somebody who is accomplished in viveka gynana, knows the difference between
Atma and Body, pursues sincerely Gyaana Yoga. The second part of the sloka says
that , even for such sincere people, the senses are difficult to overcome. For
him also the organs and mind will not get controlled.

indriyaani pramaathini : Senses are very strong , turbulent (pramaathini). The
strength of the senses are our desires. That is the strength of seeking pleasure
or desire. This desire is in the
mind and the organs exhibit this as strength.

haranti prasabham manah : The organs compel(haranti) mind and drag it in their
way. This desire becomes ammunition for organs and so they are able to forcibly
(prasabham) take in their
direction. Like a hurricane uprooting large trees the desire in the organs uproot
the mind.

In Thiruvaimozhi [7.1.1] Alwar says that he has five tenants in his house. But
they are all enemies. That is in his body [house] the five organs are occupying as
tenants and are forcing him in their way. In emma veetu thiran poem, he complains
to God that He is partial and rescues an elephant Gajendra but not the Alwar. God
told that it was an animal and was suffering for the past 1000 years seizeed by a
crocodile, so He had to rescue. Alwar replies that then it is all the more he
deserves immediate rescue. Compared to the big elephant he is a weaker being. The
elephant was suffering only for 1000 years while the Alwar has been suffering for
thousands of births. One crocodile grabbed the elephant while five crocodiles in
the form of organs have seized the Alwar. So organs are a great menace to all
including the Nithyasuris who are doing intimate service to the Lord at Vaikuntam.

We see persons doing very noble service to the Lord in temples. But they are not
free from the power of senses. We are daily witnessing the fights for position and
greed for money in such
persons involved in sacred assignments also. This is the domination of senses in
persons. The organs function very well in youth time, but the mind is
uncontrollable. When the person becomes old his mind is some what controlled but
now the organs do not function properly.

Sense organs are so strong that they dictate even learned persons. One situated
in spiritual intelligence with discrimination and powers of observation trying
their level best to keep the mind
from gravitating towards the senses and withdrawing their mind repeatedly away
from objects of the senses and directing it internally within is a form of
meditation. But the senses are so
strong that they forcibly invade the mind, disrupt this meditation and forcibly
overpower the mind and indulge it in contemplating sense gratification and bodily
attachment. How is it possible
that the senses can carry away ones mind while they are intently striving? It is
because the senses are so restless and turbulent that they totally disregarding
all ones efforts in discrimination,
besieging the mind they direct it towards sensual objects that will gratify these
self-same senses by engaging the mind in sense contemplation.So to control them
it is necessary to have
atman darshan. Sri Krishna says controlling the organs is difficult even for
viveka gyana persons. We should see the subtle difference Sri Krishna is making.
He did not say control the organs
to get atman darshan. But He says even for rational thinking people, controlling
sense organs is difficult! It gives an impression that there is a negative
thinking by Sri Krishna that controlling
organs is not possible and so atman darshan is never possible. But actually, He
drives home the great effort required to bring the organs in control. Also when we
see the next 61st sloka then
the real import of this sloka will be clear.

tani sarvani samyamya yukta aasita mat-parah
vaseh hi yasye-indriyani tasya prajna pratisthita

" For one who restrains his senses, keeping them under a little control, and fixes
his consciousness upon Me, his intellect gets firmly established."

In 59th sloka it was told that by visualizing atman, senses are controlled. In the
60th sloka however, it was told that control of senses would enable atman darshan.
Arjuna was confused and he did not know which one to precede which? He requested
Sri Krishna to solve this riddle. Sri Krishna replies that unless organs are
controlled the atman cannot be perceived; there is no doubt on this. But He would
suggest an easier way to control the organs. Then he could perceive atman. We also
desire to see and hear good things only. But the organs are not disciplined. This
is because of the ever-remaining rajo and tamo qualities in our mind. Our mind has
the mixture of satva, rajo and tamo qualities. When satva quality is prominent our
organs are well disciplined. When the rajo and tamo qualities are exalted, our
organs also seek cheap pleasures. So it is important to cultivate our habits to
reduce rajo and tamo qualities. This is explained in 61st sloka:

*Tasya-that atma gyani�s, prajna- intellect, pratisthita- gets firmly founded or
*Tani sarvani- all the sense organs, samyamya- at least somewhat controlled,
*mat parah- direct them on Me and yukta asita- remain resolved. (Mat-parah is
the punch word here!.. implies be a sincere devotee of Lord. Focus the senses
towards him!).
*Vaseh hi - are brought under control yasya indiryaani - whose senses

So instead of allowing the organs to wander as they like, direct them with a small
effort, on Sri Krishna.
Vedas say that all the best tastes are all inherited in Him, all the fragrance of
the world are all lodged in Him, and He is the repository of all the auspicious
things in this world.

The things we see or hear continuously affect us. If a song is played frequently,
we automatically start humming it. If that song is good then we inherit that
but if it is a bad song then we go in that way. Since mind follows what is
frequently seen or heard, we should try to see or hear superior sources. Superior
entities will influence
superior results in us. On the contrary if we go after inferior matters, the
influence on us also will be inferior.
Why do we go to temples and sacred Kshetrams? These are all embodiment of satva
qualities. The Lord�s image is supposed to be suddha satva mayam. Our bodies are a
mixture of the five elements. But the Lord�s image is aprakrutham or eternal. It
consists of only satva quality. By constantly worshiping His image, our organs do
not wander and get disciplined. Even though we can worship God in our own houses,
in temples we get the AMBIENCE OF SANCTITY and our minds will have more of satva
quality and the rajo and tamo qualities fade away. This is what
Sri Krishna is telling. By directing the organs on Him we pacify the mind and His
supreme qualities affect and influence our mind. So he whose organs have come
under the influence of God, his intellect gets properly founded. That is why nama
snkeertan � singing His names- or listening to His stories or talking in praise of
Him or going to temples and involving in sacred activities there, are all efforts
to place our organs in His service. This will with His blessings, enable us to
control the organs. Disciplining organs will pave the way for atman darshan. We
can also follow this simple and easier method.

Because the uncontrolled senses are the cause of all disturbance, one with
spiritual intelligence seeking transcendence should make their first priority to
control ones senses.
If one were to question how is it possible to control the restless senses which
are turbulent by nature. Lord Krishna reveals that by devotion of mind and heart
unto the Supreme Lord one will
surely be able to control the senses. Lord Krishna is present within the heart of
all living entities. As Hrisikesa the lord of the senses he is the ultimate object
of all meditation. Without meditating
on Lord Krishna it is not possible to master the senses. This is absolutely sure
and thus the aspirant who follows these instructions has success and none other.

When our minds have been evolved to realising Lord Krishna as the supreme absolute
reality all impurities are eradicated and the mind is purified and clear, free
from all desires. Now at this stage for the first time the mind is free from all
desires. The mind along with the senses completely under control is then capable
of achieving cognition of the eternal soul.

In the Vishnu Purana XI.VII.LXXIV beginning yatha adniruddhata-sikhah it is
written that as a blazing fire fanned by blowing wind burns up dry wood; in the
same way Lord Krishna enthroned in the heart burns up all sins of those who link
their individual consciousness with the ultimate consciousness in soul cognition.
Spiritual intelligence is confirmed in those whose senses are under control. But
it must be noted that unless devotion has developed for the Supreme Lord Krishna,
whosoever attempts to master the senses by their own might and self effort are all
destined to failure.

The great sage Durvasa Muni picked a quarrel with Maharaja Ambarisa, and Durvasa
Muni unnecessarily became angry out of pride and therefore could not check his
senses. On the other
hand, the king, although not as powerful a yogi as the sage, but a devotee of the
Lord, silently tolerated all the sage's injustices and thereby emerged victorious.
The king was able to control
his senses because he was a true devotee of the Lord and engaged all his senses in
the service of the Lord. The word mat-parah is most significant in this
connection. How one can become
a mat-parah is described in the life of Maharaja Ambarisa. Srila Baladeva
Vidyabhusana, a great scholar and acarya in the line of the mat-parah, remarks:
"mad-bhakti-prabhavena sarvendriya
-vijaya-purvika svatma-drstih sulabheti bhavah." "The senses can be completely
controlled only by the strength of devotional service to Krsna."

So in conclusion one cannot be in transcendent meditation without controlling the
senses. And that controlling the senses is not possible without devotion to Lord
Krishna. Thus devotion to
Lord Krishna can be seen as the essential ingredient assuring all success.

2.62 & 2.63
dhyaayato visayan pumsah sangas tesu-upajayate
sangaat sanjaayate kamah kaamat krodho �bhijayate

krodhaad bhavati sammohah: sammohaat smriti-vibhramah
smriti-bhramsaad buddhi-naso buddhi-naasat pranasyati

"While contemplating the objects of the senses, a person develops attachment for
them, and from such attachment lust develops, and from lust anger arises

"From anger, complete delusion arises, and from delusion bewilderment of memory.
When memory is bewildered, intelligence is lost, and when intelligence is lost one
falls down again into
the birth cycle."

Sri Krishna describes the GRADUAL deterioration if one does not concentrate on Him
and allow the mind and intellect to wander. If the atman does not direct the
intellect on Him, then
we think only of the materialistic pleasures. NOTE: a person, whose attachment
to sense-objects is expelled but whose mind is not focussed on the Lord, even
though that person
controls the senses, contemplation on sense-objects is unavoidable on account of
the impressions of sins from time immemorial. He details this in gradual steps:

*Dhyaayatoh Visaayam Pumsah: The mind starts wandering and contemplating on
cheap and inferior matters i.e objects of senses (sparsham, roopam, gandham ,
sabdham, rasam)

*Sangas tesu upajaayateh: Next, this will induce i.e develop (upaajayateh)
attachment(sangam) in them. It will slowly sprout.

*Sangaat Sanjaayateh Kamah: From that attachment (sangaat)
sprouts(sanjaayateh) a desires (kaamah) in all the organs. This tiny spark of
desire then grows into a flame, that is
Kama or lust. This develops into a craving to appease that passion. What is
called 'desire' is the further stage of attachment. After reaching that stage, it
is not possible for a man to stay
without experiencing the sense-objects.

*Kaamat Krodha: AbhiJayate: When the sought desire is not fulfilled, krodha-
anger and hatred, engulfs the mind. This will be not just on the desired objects
and on those who are
considered as impediments. Sri Krishna says that the krodha is not simply
developing but becomes indiscriminate and uncontrollable anger. This anger is not
restricted only on those
preventing the desire to be achieved, but on all those related to them, their
friends and supporters.

This is not exaggerating, nor could happen only to ordinary persons. Sri Rama
also was enslavened by this feeling, Valmiki says. When Sri Rama came to know that
Sri Sita was abducted
by Ravana his anger knew no bounds. He declares that before dawn, if Sri Sita
were not returned back, He would destroy Ravana, his relatives and others. Sri
Rama was passionately in
love with Sri Sita, and so this passion was converted to anger when She was
missing. This grew in such a magnitude that He declared He would destroy Ravana
and his relatives. In fact,
not only those, Sri Rama says, He would destroy all gods, humans, etc. Because
anger is very difficult to control. It is said that a person caught in anger, will
not even hesitate to murder his

*Krodhaad Bhavati Sam Mohah: Once anger steps in, the person would lose his
balance and sense of discrimination as what should be done and what should not be
done. That is he
would lose his rational behaviour and would be senseless. Mohah: delusion..
Sam Mohah: Extreme delusion.

*sammohat smriti-vibhramah: This delusion leads to memory (smriti) loss
(vibhramah). That is we FORGET the purpose of trying to controlling the sense
organs for Atma-darsanam.

*smriti-bhramsad buddhi-naso : This loss of memory about trying to controlling
the senses makes one loss of intellect or buddhi nasam. That is the buddhi to have
atman darshan is lost.

*buddhi-nasat pranasyati : This results in disappearance of atman swaroopam or
the basic knowledge about atman. So, the person indulges in Kama and krodha and is
destined for

To summarize:
Lord Krishna is explaining that one whose cravings for sensual objects
linger, the effort to overcome the senses without focusing the mind on the Supreme
Lord is futile. This is due to the fact that without the Supreme Lords grace the
residue of past sensual activities and the pleasure or frustration derived
therefrom will delude the mind to pursue sense objects. This debilitating effect
creates a magnetic attraction where the desire for sense objects becomes more and
more extreme. From this extreme desire springs kama lust. Lust is the next stage
of desire. Lust is that which one feels when they thinks that they cannot exist
without their desire being gratified. From lust springs krodha anger. Krodha is
that frustrated outraged one feels against that which stands in the way of
obtaining the gratification of ones senses. From krodha arises sammoha
bewilderment and delusion which is the mental condition where one is no longer
cognisant of what action should be performed and what action should not be
performed. One will foolishly do anything in this condition. Thereafter comes
dementia causing loss in memory of the process one began in order to constrain the
senses and control the mind. From dementia comes loss of will power, one no longer
has the drive and incentive to cultivate themselves towards obtaining spiritual
realisation of the eternal soul. When this happens then one perishes their
spiritual opportunity being drowned again and again in samsara the endless cycle
of birth and death in the material existence. So we should devote all our mind and
activities at the service of Lord to ensure our mind does not go astray due to
sense objects and material gratification. The senses require real engagements, and
if they are not engaged in the transcendental loving service of the Lord, they
will certainly seek engagement in the service of materialism. In the material
world everyone, including Lord Siva and Lord Brahma--to say nothing of other
demigods in the heavenly planets--is subjected to the influence of sense objects,
and the only method to get out of this puzzle of material existence is to become
Krsna conscious. One who is not, therefore, in Krsna consciousness, however
powerful he may be in controlling the senses by artificial repression, is sure
ultimately to fail, for the slightest thought of sense pleasure will agitate him
to gratify his desires.

raga-dvesa-vimuktais tu visaayan indriyais caran
atma-vasyair vidheyatma prasadam adhigacchati

"But a person free from all attachment and aversion is able to control his senses
and skips materialistic lures and controls mind resulting in pure mind by the
mercy of the Lord."

Previously in verse 61 Lord Krishna has declared that who ever meditates
exclusively on Him as the Lord of all, being the soul within all hearts, then by
this all impurities are eradicated and
the mind becomes clear, expunging all desires. Here he says that the senses
become destitute and barren of all cravings and aversions when they are mastered
by the mind in this manner.
Rejecting all desires for sensual objects with a mind firmly under control, one
achieves lucidity of mind along with inner purity and blissfulness.

Like Alwar, if we can devote our SPEECH, ACTIONS, THOUGHTS in Him, we would have
controlled our organs. In the last two slokas �62 and 63- we saw how by not
devoting ourselves in
him, we tumble down and plunge to the bottom.

What greatness one achieves by such devotion to the Lord? Here He explains how
gradually the atman is climbing in steps to reach pinnacle.

By thinking of Him, the rajo and tamo qualities in our mind are cleared and the
mind is purified. Only satva quality would dominate in us. By doing Aradhana
[Pooja] and consuming only that food offered to Him, rajo and tamo gunas get
reduced and satva qualities flourish.

* Raaga-Dvesha vimuktais tu : The first step reached by devotion to God, is we
are relieved of raga and dvesha. By concentrating our thoughts in Him, by singing
His names, by hearing
his names, by performing Aradhana and by consuming only the food offered to
Him, satva qualities thrive and the other two qualities fade. This will get rid of
raaga and dvesha.
As told earlier, raaga is the desire to acquire or expecting some pleasing
incidence. Dvesha is hatred or enemity. Both these are housed in us. We do not
like even good things rendered by
those we hate and accept bad things from our dear ones. This is because of rajo
and tamo gunas. If we have uprightness in our mind then we will accept good things
irrespective of who did
that. With raga and dvesha removed, all are our dear ones and all actions are
impartially looked into.

*Atma vasyair , Indriyai: visayaan caran : This will result in the control of
sense organs and they will not be after the pleasures arising from smell, taste,
sight, hearing and touch. If organs
are to be disciplined we should be rid off likes and dislikes. By disciplining
the organs, we stay away from the five sensual pleasures and their sources.

*Atma Vasyair Vidhey- Atma : After this atman, here it means mind, is in our

*Prasadam adigachhati - Prasadam means serene and pure mind here, which will
help focus on Atma Darasanam.

Recapitulating, devoting ourselves to God and by proper food, rajo and tamo
gunas are driven away and satva guna thrives. Raga and dvesha are destroyed. Sense
organs are disciplined.
Sensual and cheap pleasures are cast away. Mind gets controlled. Then we get
prasadam. Prasadam means here serene and pure mind. This will take us near atman
Contaminated mind is unable to properly perceive atman.

While 62nd and 63rd slokas explained how one plunges to degradation, 64th
sloka details how the atman is uplifted. We can clear our doubts from Vedas, if we
have that capacity to learn
them. We can control our organs by deep meditation and yoga. These are
possible for a few capable persons. But for ordinary people like us, devotion or
bhakthi is the recourse.
Thondaradipodi Alwar says he gets all doubts cleared by seeing God, Lord Sri
Ranganatha. By looking at His feet, he knew he was His attendant. By looking at
His abhaya hastha, he
realizes He would protect him. By looking at his crown he recognized that He
was his ruler. Therefore it is necessary for us to dedicate ourselves to Him and
serve Him. God�s image is
made of satva guna only. So by looking at that image the satva guna in us
grows. While in temple also, it is not correct to close the eyes while in front of

It is already explained that one may externally control the senses by some
artificial process, but unless the senses are engaged in the transcendental
service of the Lord, there is every
chance of a fall. Although the person in full Krsna consciousness may
apparently be on the sensual plane, because of his being Krsna conscious, he has
no attachment to sensual activities. The Krsna conscious person is concerned
only with the satisfaction of Krsna, and nothing else

prasaade sarva-duhkhanam haanir asyo:upajaayate
prasanna-cetasO hy-asu buddhih parya-avatisthate

"For a person with such enlightened mind, all miseries are removed;only for
enlightened person the intllect [gyana] get well established immediately."

When the mind of this person gets serene, he gets rid of all sorrows originating
from contact with matter. Because, in respect of the peson whose mind is serene,
i.e., is free from the evil
which is antagonistic to the vision of the self, the Buddhi, having the pure self
for its object, becomes established immediately. Thus, when the mind is serene,
the loss of all sorrow surely arises.

In the 62nd and 63rd slokas Krishna showed how by not engaging us in God�s
service we fall from grace down the steps and get destroyed. The 64th sloka
however told us that by serving and
singing in praise of Him, we can climb up steps to reach higher echelon.

In last 64th sloka he had told , prasadam adhigacchati-[ the atman] gets purified
or serene mind. In this sloka (65) he continues,
* Asya "Prasade" i.e � such a person who obtained serene mind, for him,
* sarva dukhani- all sorrows and miseries,
*hanir-loss or removal,
*upajayate- happens.

That is, for the atman gyani, after acquiring purified mind, all his miseries get
removed. This is the last step. If God were to enquire as to what we want, we
would promptly say all our miseries should be removed. Here Sri Krishna indicates
the miseries of samsaram [the birth due to papa and punya karma].

Arjuna gets a doubt here. What is the relation between serene mind and the
miseries of samsaram? Sri Krishna replies in the second half of the sloka.

*Prasanna cetasa� the enlightened one [one who has acquired serene mind],
*hi- only, (for the one who has acquired serene mind)
*asu- immediately,
*buddhi- knowledge or intellect
*avatisthate �firmly established or installed,
*pary-avatisthate- well established.

So enlightened person gets intellect well founded. This we had earlier mentioned
as stithaprajna. The one who understands atman properly and fully and is about to
perceive atman or get atman darshan. It is also called atman sakshatkaram, when he
will perceive all atman are identical jaati, atman is the quintessence of
knowledge and bliss. For this our buddhi has to be well founded. Enlightenment or
serene mind is essential for this. Atman darshan will lead to bhakthi yoga. To
remove all our miseries, we have to have devotion or bhakthi. Since atman darshan
is a pre-requisite for devotion, enlightenment is necessary.

We can visualize this also in steps.
1.Enlightenment or purity of mind
2.Atman darshan�
3.Bhakthi yoga
4. Removal of all miseries. In the first part of the sloka,

He combined directly steps 1 and 4 and said enlightenment would remove all
miseries. This skipping of 2 and 3 was clarified to Arjuna in the second half of
the sloka. If we now see the 64th and 65th slokas together we can build the entire

1.Meditating on God
2.Lessening of rajo/tamo guna and increase of satva guna
3.Discarding likes and dislikes or elimination of raga/dvesha
4.Control of senses
5.Stay away from materialistic desires
6.Control of Mind.
7.Mind is purified or enlightenment. (Prasadam Gacchati)
8.Atman darshan.
9.Bhakti yoga.
10.Elimination of all miseries.

If we take efforts to put us on the first step of meditating on God, all
other steps would follow suit and we can reach the ultimate step. So we don't need
to feel worried or overwhelmed
on how we can remember all this steps and details. We just need to take the first
step of meditating constantly on the Lord, reciting his names and serving his
devotees. This is like we
stand in the line in Tirumala. Automatically, the line moves and takes us near the
Lord to have darshan and get His blessings. So by singing His names and serving
His devotees we can
gradually reach the Bhakthi yoga. This is what Alwar also says that by devoting
ourselves to Him, all our miseries get destroyed and we reach eternal happiness.

naasti buddhir ayuktasya na ca ayuktasya bhaavana
na ca-bhaavayatah shantir asaantasya kutah sukham

"One who is not devoted in the Supreme [in Krishna consciousness] can not have
atman darshan without which a steady mind on atman is not possible, and so there
is no possibility of peace.
And how can there be any happiness without peace?"

In him who does not focus his mind on Me but is engaged only in the control of
senses by his own exertion, the Buddhi or the right disposition that is concerned
with the pure self never arises. Therefore he fails in the practice of meditation
on the self. In one who cannot think of the pure self, there arises the desire for
sense objects; in him serenity does not arise. How can eternal and unsurpassed
bliss be generated in him who is not serene but is attached to sense-objects? [The
idea is that without the aid of devotion to God, the effort to control the senses
by one's will power alone will end in failure.] Sri Krsna speaks again of the
calamity that befalls one who does not practise the control of the senses in the
way prescribed above:

By devoting ourselves in Him, we can get atman darshan. This has been already told
in the previous slokas. We have to always remember that in order to get our organs
and mind disciplined,
we have to devote ourselves in Him. Control of mind results in serene mind.
Purified mind will get us atman darshan. From the 55th sloka, Sri Krishna is
telling how by controlling organs one becomes a gyana yogi. The easiest way to
achieve this is to worship his graceful form. In this slokam, he explains what
all will not accrue if specific things are not done and finally, sukham i.e.
Moksham will not be there.

* Ayuktasya naasti Buddhir: Yuktam, is surrendering our organs in Him. For the
one who does not think or meditate on Him i.e Ayuktasya, there is no possibility
of the intellect or buddhi
getting cleaned and getting Atma Darshanam. By devoting one�s organs, mind and
intellect only, one would acquire atman darshan. Atman is so minute it is not that
easy to visualize it. Impure minds can never get atman darshan. To
purify mind, we have to devote our organs in Him. Ayuktam means the one who does
not devote oneself in God.
Such a person would never get atman darshan. What if one does not get it?

*na ca ayuktasya Bhavana : If that were not there the bhavana or the thoughts
on atman would not be there. That is the deep meditation will not be possible. A
proper understanding of
atman will only result in meditating on atman. Then we will waste all our time
only in the routine things, which we are thinking all the time. Alwar asks how are
we spending our 24 hours at
our disposal. We reply, we have innumerous things to plan and think and enjoy,
but we are wondering what Alwar is doing? Alwar all the time is seeing the same
Lord and nothing else.
So we think the Alwar does not have variety. Because of this they do not see
the normal things, which we see. Day in and day out they are seeing the same
images and the same festivals.
Whereas we see so many places, eat variety of foods and listen to variety of
music, drama, etc. It therefore appears that we have much more things to see and
enjoy while Alwars do not
have this advantage. But actually, even though they see only one Object, It's
the one which is enabling us to see so many. So, if we also could �see� him, then
there will not be any necessity
to see anything else. So meditation on Him and atman is very much necessary. A
person without atman darshan can never meditate on atman.

*na ca abhavayatah shantir : He explains what will happen to one who does not
meditate. Here the word shanti is mentioned. Normally this means peace. But can
peace bring shanthi?
If we go to an isolated place where the surroundings are all peaceful, can our
mind be peaceful? But a yogi, even amidst the noises in our towns would be
peaceful in his meditation. So
surroundings do not contribute to shanti. We are seeing that some persons
sleep only if some noise is there. Absence of such sound may make them sleepless.
Actually, if we see the
correct interpretation of shanti it is desireless. A contented life with
satisfaction with what one possesses, one may have shanti. This shanti would be
there only if we could think of atman.
Desire less will result in shanti. Happiness accumulates with desires being
lesser and lesser. This happiness will be lost as desires increase. Persons
earning small wages with honest
labor are able to sleep peacefully. But persons earning in crores daily, do
not have this happiness. Desire or Trishna (thirsting for sense-objects) is the
enemy of peace. There cannot be
an iota or tinge of happiness for a man who is thirsting for sensual objects.
The mind will be ever restless, and will be hankering for the objects. Only when
this thirsting dies, does man
enjoy peace. Disturbance is due to want of an ultimate goal, and when one is
certain that Krsna is the enjoyer, proprietor and friend of everyone and
everything, then one can, with a steady
mind, bring about peace.

*asantasya kutah sukham : That lack of desire lessness (Shantih:) will not
get one sukham, which means Moksham here.

In this sloka four stages of Ashtanga yoga are mentioned. We have heard of
Patanjali�s Yoga Shastra. This is called, Ashtanga yoga and has eight stages. They
1.Yamam. controlling of organs and mind
2.Niyamam. controlling of organs and mind 3.Asanam.
sitting in the proper posture
4.Pranayamam. breathing properly using one nostril for inhaling and the
other for exhaling

5.Pratyaharam. diverting the mind from all other matters and
concentrating on the atman
6.Dyanam. deep meditation of atman
7.Dharanai. desire less in all others and remain detached
8.Samadhi. meditating on God

Out of these eight, the latter four � Pratyaharam, Dyanam, Dharanai and Samadhi
are mentioned in the 66th sloka.
First line says that devoting in God one could have atman darshan and this is
In the next line He said that atman darshan will enable meditating on atman and
this is Dyanam.
Thinking and meditating on atman would enable one to get rid off desires in
other things and that is Dharanai.
In the last line he said, one could get Moksham and that is Samadhi.

On our own we are unable to control organs. Why do we visit temples often? By
having such darshan, our papas are dissipated, rajo/tamo gunas get diminished,
likes and dislikes are
removed, organs and mind get controlled. This would make us desire less and we
get shanti. We therefore worship Sri Mayakoothan and get shanti.

indriyaanam hi caratam yan mano anuvidhiyate
tad asya harati prajnam vaayur navam ivammbhasi

"As a strong wind sweeps away a boat on the water, the wandering senses are
followed by the mind; such a mind carries away a man�s intelligence."

Unless all of the senses are engaged in the service of the Lord, even one of them
engaged in sense gratification can deviate the devotee from the path of
transcendental advancement.
As mentioned in the life of Maharaja Ambarisa, all of the senses must be engaged
in Krsna consciousness, for that is the correct technique for controlling the

That mind, which is allowed by a person to be submissive to, i.e., allowed to go
after the senses which go on operating, i.e., experiencing sense-objects, such a
mind loses its inclination
towards the pure self. The meaning is that it gets inclined towards sense-objects.
Just as a contrary wind forcibly carries away a ship moving on the waters, in the
name manner wisdom
also is carried away from such a mind. [The idea is that the pursuit of sense
pleasures dulls one's spiritual inclination, and the mind ultimately succumbs to
them unresisting.]

*Indiryaanam hi carataam: - Our senses (eyes, ear, taste etc) keep pursuing
and running (carataam) behind their respective (touch, hearing, smell, taste etc)
sense experiences.
Our organs want to enjoy sensual experiences. Eyes want to see attractive
scenes. Ears want to listen to good sounds. Mouth wants to eat tasty foods, and so
on. These, that is, vision,
hearing, taste, scent and feeling are all matters of interest for the organs.
This is what Sri Krishna tells that every organ is interested in seeking the
experience, which will please.
So the materials in the world attract the senses and they run after them.

*Yan Manah: anu vidhiyate: - While doing so, the senses drag the mind also
along with them. The matters of the world create various desires like taste,
vision, etc. The organs go after
them to experience those desires. Mind follows the organs.

*tad - For such a person, whose mind is being dragged by the senses behind
sense experiences

*Asya prajnam harati - Tad, that mind, will forcibly divert (divert) the
intellect (prajna) engaged in atman perception of asya, this atman that is trying
to control mind. So, even though this
atman had decided its mind to perceive atman, the same mind is after the
organs, which are attracted by the materialistic pleasures. So there is no mind to
think of atman. Mind is present
but it is engaged in pursuit of other pleasures along with the organs. Mind has
the capacity to think about only one at a time. But are we not thinking of so many
things at the same time?
Yes, then it is called a confused mind. When mind is engaged in one thought,
it is clear but when it thinks many, it is confusion.So when a mind is trying to
perceive atman and at that time
if its attention is diverted by the organs, then there will not be this mind
to think of atman. When this happens we will not have resolute knowledge. This is
what Sri Krishna tells. The buddhi
to understand atman is carried away by the mind and the organs. If Sri
Mayakoothan abducts our mind it would be welcome, but when the senses carry away
the mind disaster befalls.

*Vaayur navam ivam-ambhasi : Sri Krishna illustrates this by an example. Just as
the wind(vaayu) blowing opposite to the direction in which a boat(naavam) is
sailing will divert the boat.
Here we have to regard the mind as boat, which is sailing towards atman and
the winds are the organs, which divert the sailing. The method to stop this
diversion is to prevent the winds
blowing in the opposite direction. Since this capacity is not with us to
prevent such a wind, we will have to seek asylum at the feet of Him, Who has the
capacity to prevent the wind from
blowing in the opposite direction. He is mightier than the wind, the Sun, the
fire, the planets, this Universe and He is Sriman Narayana. By devoting ourselves
to Him, our mind and senses
would all get controlled. The boat also would reach its destination.
Therefore, surrendering our organs in His service is the best way to control and
discipline our mind and organs.

Thirumangai Alwar imagining himself as a girl is being invited by her girl
friends to witness the dancing Lord. This Juggler performs the dance and the girl
[Alwar] is attracted. The
performance was over and the performer and all spectators leave. But the girl
[Alwar] remains in the auditorium. When asked by her friends as to why she is not
getting up and start for
home, the Alwar in his imaginary girl form says that to get up and start for
home, her mind should be there. It is no longer there, as it has gone along with
the Juggler. When mind is not there,
no one is there to order the organs to prepare to get up.

The message here is that by devoting our mind and organs in His pranks and
beauty, we escape our mind and organs from engaging them in the worldly desires.
Similar is the experience
of Nammalwar. He says that after seeing Him, the eyes follow the Lord. We think
of the mortals who are all having innumerous shortfalls. Whereas His qualities do
not have any deficiency,
He does not have any blemish. In every sense He cannot be faulted. So by
devoting in such a perfect and blemish less Him, our organs and mind will get
controlled. So when we see this
great pond, we should remember Him and His astonishing pranks and thereby our
mind and organs will get fixed in Him and get controlled.

tasmAd yasya maha-bahO nigr-hItani sarvasah
indriyaani indriya_arthebhya: tasya prajna pratisthita

Therefore, in the way described above i.e he whose mind is focussed on Me the
auspicious object for meditation, and whose senses are thereby restrained from
sense-objects in everyway,
in his mind alone wisdom is firmly set.

*Tasmad - therefore. The mind that goes after the senses. With that condition
we can never have atman darshan. Only by disciplining the mind we can get all
By thinking about God, the mind gets controlled. So we cannot expect to
control the mind on our own, but only with His help. Therefore,

*asya- that atman which is trying to control the mind and organs, which are
dragged by materialistic desires, can control the mind with His help only.

*Indiryaani - the senses of that atman

*Indriya-arthebhya: - the objects of the sense enjoyment

*sarvasah nigrhitaani - is curbed down.

*tasya prajna pratishtita - In such an atman the intellect or buddhi gets
well established and he qualifies to do gyana yoga. Such a person who can curb
his senses and control
his mind from getting driven by senses (by the help of devoting to the
lord), will realize the true nature of the soul.

Here we may have a doubt. To get atman darshan shouldn't we just concentrate
on the atman only, rather than devote ourselves in God? Devoting our mind on our
own atman
is not that superior. Also, atman does not have a form or qualities to imbibe
or worship. Mind will find it very difficult to concentrate on a formless and
blank entity. Whereas God has
many attributes and forms and temples. This makes it easier for the mind to
devote. Why so many forms for God and why so many temples and Avatars? Because our
tastes differ and
to satisfy every taste so many forms, temples, etc. have been arranged by our
elders. God also takes so many Avatars to satisfy the varied tastes of devotees.
Absorbed by the beauty
of the Lord here, Alwar says that one by one all his senses were lost to Him
and the mind also surrendered to him. We also by involving us in this enchanting
beauty of the Lord can
control the organs and mind and have atman darshan.

As enemies are curbed by superior force, similarly, the senses, can be curbed
not by any human endeavor, but only by keeping them engaged in the service of the
Lord. One who has
understood this, is called sadhaka, or a suitable candidate for liberation.
The Lotus flower blossoms when Sun rises and closes its petals when the Sun
sets or when the Moon is shining. The Discus has the brilliance of innumerous Suns
and so the Lotus like
eyes open as a lotus flower blossoms. The Conch, on the other hand is white
like a moon and so seeing that, the eyes close, as a Lotus flower would do. So, it
appears the eyes of the
Lord open wide and close alternately and Alwar is mesmerized by this beauty and
so mentions this as he sees the Sri Sudarsana and the Panchajanya. We can also
visualize this in our
memory and thereby we can involve our senses in this magnificent vision and get
our senses controlled. Our mind need not wander on various persons as to what harm
they did or what
abuses were hurled at us. By visiting temples and after return, memorizing the
brilliant image of the Lord our time would be spent better. This will cultivate
the satva quality in us and the
mind gets disciplined.

RECAP of 2.55-2.68 Slokas:

If we can also like Alwar treat our mind as the abode of the Lord, then our mind
will not go after the organs or worldly matters. In the ordinary streets one may
throw garbage and unwanted
things. But once it is his sannidhi, we tend to maintain the sanctity and
cleanliness. Similarly, if we make our mind the residence of ordinary mortals,
then all sorts of things would accumulate.
But if we regard it as the street for His procession, then we would maintain
sanctity and keep it clear of cheap and unwanted things. We have to regard the
mind as His residence and carefully
maintain it. This is the most important aspect in the 2nd Chapter of Gita.

From 55th sloka to 68th sloka the Lord explained the need for control of the
In the four slokas �55th, 56th, 57th and 58th- four samgyas or stages were
mentioned. They are Vaseekara samgya, Yekendriya samgya, Vyatireka samgya and
Yatamana samgya.
In the 59th sloka he mentioned that by getting atman darshan, the sense organs
get controlled.
In the 60th sloka he told that by controlling organs, atman darshan would be
When Arjuna was confused in seeming contradiction of 59th and 60th slokas, he
told him in the 61st sloka that to control the organs, he should submit the senses
in Him only.
In the 62nd and 63rd slokas he made it clear how the atman, which does not
think of God goes in bad surroundings and tumbles down to the bottom.
In the next four slokas �64th, 65th, 66th and 67th - He explained once again
how the person who devotes himself in Him, gradually rises up and how the people
with wandering mind descend.
In the 68th sloka, he told that therefore, by devoting unto Him and by
withdrawing the senses from worldly matters, one starts Gyana yoga and reach
supreme status.

In the following three slokas of 69th, 70th and 71st, Sri Krishna tells what all
advantages accrue to that person who had atman darshan. The higher stages are
explained in the three slokas in descending order, as was done in 55,56,57 and 58
slokas. In the 55th sloka Vaseekara samgya was told as the highest stage. Here in
the 69th sloka He is going to tell the highest reward for the Gyani. The 56th
sloka dealt with the lower level stage Yekendriya samgya. Here in 70th sloka the
middle reward will be explained. In the 57th and 58th slokas the next lower stages
were explained. In the 71st sloka the early rewards are mentioned.

2.69 :
ya nisa sarva-bhutanam tasyaam jaagarti samyami
yasyaam jaagrati bhutani sa nisaah pasyato muneh

"What is night for all beings is the time of awakening for the self-controlled;
and the time of awakening for all beings is night for the introspective sage."

We will now see the 69th sloka carefully. Sri Krishna explains with some examples.
We already witness that when it is daytime for us, it is night in North America
and vice versa. Similarly, for birds like crows, visibility is there in daytime.
But for nocturnal birds like owls, nighttime is visible clearly. So we can say the
day of crows is night for owls and the day of owls is night for crows. Citing this
Sri Krishna says that the day for a person, who has controlled the senses, is
night for the undisciplined person whose mind wanders on worldly matters. That is
the night for the ordinary person is day for the Atma gyani.

*Sarva bhuthanam- all ordinary beings, that is those who have not disciplined
the senses, for them [Atman darshan] is

* ya nisa- nisa means night. For the ordinary beings, what is night. Here night
means for those persons atman chintana or perception of atman is night. Just as
we say in our conversation
that if we do not understand anything, we say it is all Greek and Latin. So
atman darshan is not understandable for ordinary person and so he regards it as
Here night signifies ignorance or darkness.

*tasyam - in that same atma darsana

*jaagrati samyami- those who have control over the senses, are jagrati (awake )
f That is what is night or darkness for the ordinary persons, is bright daylight
awakening for the person who has controlled his senses and so he is active.

*yasyam jaagrati Bhutani- But, the ordinary persons(bhutaani) i.e those who
have not controlled their senses, are all awake(jaagrati), in worldly
matters(yasyaam) i.e enjoy
the senses (shabda, sparsa, roopa, raasa, gandham)

*mune-the person who has controlled his senses,
*Sa nisa pasyato : for the one who has controlled his senses, the sense
enjoyment is like night (i.e not affected and doesn't indulge and is not aware of

That is we are all active as in daylight in worldly matters and enjoy the
inferior desires. But he, who has had atman darshan and controlled his senses,
finds darkness in such worldly
matters. Sri Krishna desires that we should all raise to this level of person
who controls his senses. This is the HIGHEST LEVEL.

There are two classes of intelligent men. The one is intelligent in material
activities for sense gratification, and the other is introspective and awake to
the cultivation of self-realization.
Activities of the introspective sage, or thoughtful man, are night for persons
materially absorbed. Materialistic persons remain asleep in such a night due to
their ignorance of self-realization.
The introspective sage remains alert in the "night" of the materialistic men. The
sage feels transcendental pleasure in the gradual advancement of spiritual
culture, whereas the man in
materialistic activities, being asleep to self-realization, dreams of varieties
of sense pleasure, feeling sometimes happy and sometimes distressed in his
sleeping condition. The introspective
man is always indifferent to materialistic happiness and distress. He goes on
with his self-realization activities undisturbed by material reaction.

aapurya-maanam acala-pratishtham samudram apah: pravishanti yadvat
tadvat kaama_yam pravishanti sarve sa shantim apnoti na kaama-kaami

"A person who is not disturbed by the incessant flow of desires�that enter like
rivers into the ocean, which is ever being filled but is always still�can alone
achieve Moksham, and not the
man who strives to satisfy such desires."

The ocean is full unto itself and always maintains the same form even though
countless rivers enter into it. Whether the rivers enter or do not enter, the
ocean is unaffected and undergoes no
difference. Similarly when the senses of one in transcendent meditation come in
contact with sense objects such as sound and it enters into the sense vector of
hearing and is apprehended
by the ears such a one still remains peaceful and maintains an equipoise state of
consciousness. In other words the sublime satisfaction derived from direct soul
cognition precludes any
disturbance from the senses or agitation towards sense delights. Whether sense
objects are experienced by the senses or not experienced by them one in
transcendent meditation will
not be affected and will not be subject to any disturbance. But Lord Krishna is
saying that this state can never be attained by one who is kamakana full of
lascivious desires or is controlled
by the same, for such a being can never achieve peace.

In the 69th sloka Sri Krishna explained how the night for ordinary people who do
not have a control over their senses, is daylight for persons who have atman
darshan. When ordinary people
are awake, that is they are active in the worldly pleasures, it is night for atman
gyani. This is the highest state for such enlightened persons. Here the person
does not see those worldly matters. But in the 70th sloka, Sri Krishna tells of an
enlightened person, who comes into contact with such worldly matters and is not
influenced or affected by them. This is a lower state than the person mentioned in
the last 69th sloka.

Child devotee Prahlada was tortured by his father in many ways. Serpents were
directed to bite Prahlada. But he saw the serpent as the bed of Sriman Narayana
and so nothing happened to him; he was rolled down a hill and he saw Govardan,
which was lifted by the Lord to protect the cowherds. He was given poison to drink
and prahlada saw the blue hue of the Lord and so
poison had no effect on him. He was drowned in the ocean and he saw it as the
abode of the Lord and so he was saved. This devotion is a very superior state and
what Sri Krishna mentions
is of persons like us. The difference is that when they see a serpent or poison
they do not show fear or run away but look at it indifferently. The snake or
poison may kill these persons but
they take it in their strides, as they are aware that body is perishable while
their atman is eternal. In the earlier case the poison or snake never came in the
sight of those persons; but here,
though they come into contact with these they have no impact on these persons. Sri
Krishna explains this with an example in the 70th sloka.

In the ocean all river waters mingle. With that inflow, the level of the ocean
does not rise. Similarly, when the rivers are dry and when there is no inflow, the
level of the ocean does not fall.
It remains constant -acala. Tadvat- similarly, all worldly desires and miseries
even when attack, the person, who has atman darshan, he does not change and
remains unaffected.
Such a person attains the supreme status of shantim or Moksham. Whereas Kama yami,
the ordinary persons who are after worldly matter, will never reach this position.

*Aapurya maanam - (Sea which is) always filled with water
*Acala pratishtam - "Cala" is changing; Acala is unchanging; i.e Sea
doesn't get impacted whether the river water flows into it and does not flow into
*Samudram - Sea
*Apah: pravishanti - water(apah:), pravishanti(flowing) into sea,
* yadavat - just like (sea)
*tadvat - Similarly (like sea, into which waters from river flowing, doesn't
affect it or change it)
*Yam - to whom (that person)
*pravishanti sarve - flowing of desires due to sense objects
*sa shantim apnoti - he is the one who gets the fruit of Atma darshanam
*na kaama-kaami - not for one who is agitated by desires and affected by sense

The river waters enter into the sea which is full by itself and is thus the same,
i.e., unchanging in shape. The sea exhibits no special increase or decrease,
whether the waters or rivers enter
it or not. Even so do all objects of desire, i.e., objects of sense perception
like sound etc., enter into a self-controlled one, i.e., they produce only
sensorial impressions but no reaction from him.
Such a person will attain peace. The meaning is that he alone attains to peace,
who by reason of the contentment coming from the vision of the self, feels no
disturbance when objects of
sense like sound, etc., come within the ken of the senses or when they do not
come. This is not the case with one who runs after desires. Whoever is agitated by
sound and other objects,
never attains to peace.

The way in which those situated in transcendent meditation experience the objects
of the senses is explained in this verse by Lord Krishna. Whoever remains
unaffected by sense objects
even when they approach incessantly, who is not overwhelmed by them, who does not
endeavour for them, who is not at a loss due to their absence, who is unchanged
like the ocean which
does not increase no matter how many bodies of water enter it and which does not
decrease if no other bodies of water enter it endeavouring for neither. Such a one
as this can attain peace.

As long as one has the material body, the demands of the body for sense
gratification will continue. The devotee, however, is not disturbed by such
desires because of his fullness.
A Krsna conscious man is not in need of anything because the Lord fulfills all his
material necessities. Therefore he is like the ocean--always full in himself.
Desires may come to him like the
waters of the rivers that flow into the ocean, but he is steady in his activities,
and he is not even slightly disturbed by desires for sense gratification. That is
the proof of a Krsna conscious
man--one who has lost all inclinations for material sense gratification, although
the desires are present. Because he remains satisfied in the transcendental loving
service of the Lord, he can
remain steady, like the ocean, and therefore enjoy full peace. Others, however,
who fulfill desires even up to the limit of liberation, what to speak of material
success, never attain peace.
The fruitive workers, the salvationists, and also the yogis who are after mystic
powers, are all unhappy because of unfulfilled desires. But the person in Krsna
consciousness is happy in the
service of the Lord, and he has no desires to be fulfilled. In fact, he does not
even desire liberation from the so-called material bondage. The devotees of Krsna
have no material desires, and therefore they are in perfect peace.

vihaaya kaaman yah sarvaan pumaams_carati nihsprhah
nirmamo nir_ahankarah: sa shantim adhigacchati

"A person who has given up all desires for sense gratification, who lives free
from desires, who has given up all sense of proprietorship and is devoid of false
ego�he alone can attain
Moksham" What are desired, they are called the objects of desire. These are sound
and other sense-objects. The person, who wants peace must abandon all sense-
objects such as sound,
touch etc. He should have no longing for them. He should be without the sense of
'mineness' regarding them, as that sense arises from the misconception that the
body, which is really
non-self, is the self. He who lives in this way attains to peace after seeing the

As mentioned earlier, 69th 70th and 71st slokas describe different stages of a
gyani who had atman darshan. The 69th sloka mentions the highest stage and 70th
sloka mentions one in a
slightly lower level. The person mentioned in 69th sloka does not see any of the
worldly matters. This is same as Vaseekara samgya. For the person in 70th sloka,
the worldly matters are all
felt and seen. But he is immune to them and these worldly matters inflict no
changes on him. Now we have to see the 71st sloka. Here the person is at his
initial stage taking efforts for atman
darshan. The person mentioned here starts his efforts. We can listen to the levels
in 69th and 70th slokas but very difficult to achieve. But the 71st sloka is
intended for ordinary persons like us.
From this level he upgrades himself to the level mentioned in 70th sloka and then
further uplifts him to the level indicated in 69th sloka.

*Yah: puman- that Jeevatman or person,
*vihaya sarvaan Kaman- discarding all sensual pleasures (sparsha, roopa,
gandha, shabdha, rasa) The word kamas means desires or those things which one
wishes to enjoy
such as taste or touch.
*nisprahah- should abandon all desires. To do this he should be ,
*nirmamao- not claiming possession or the feeling �my�.
*nirahankaara - Also he should have the feeling of nirahankara or not imagining
body as soul or atman.
*sa shantim adhigacchati - Such a person would lose interest in material
pleasures and would attain Moksham or eternal bliss. Shantim means desire less,
not involving in materialistic
pleasures and brahma prapti or reaching the God.

Lord Krishna is instructing that whoever can relinquish these desires is free
from craving, free from my-ness the conception that these things are mine and free
from I-ness, my-ness and
the conception that I am this body. Such a one not bewildered does misidentify
the physical body as being the soul, rather such a one perceives the soul and
attains peace.
Here Sri Krishna tells what one has to do to get that peace and eternal bliss.
First step is nirahankaraha. Next is nirmamaha. Next is nishprahaha. Next is
vihaya Kaman and
finally atman darshan. To have atman darshan, we have to follow the four steps.

We have to first destroy ahankaram. Normally this is commonly used to indicate
pride. We should know why this comes. When someone does not do what we want, we
abuse him and start
finding faults with every action of him. This happens because we think atman and
body are same. Aham is self or soul and we assume it is body, it is called,
ahankaram. The soul is not man
or tree or an animal. The bodies of all these do not have the intellect or
gyana. But Atman has intellect. Without understanding the basic difference between
soul and body, we start assuming
atman is body then we are said to have ahankaram. What is the advantage in
differentiating atman from body? When it is exam time, we are to study all night
without sleeping. But we feel � I
am getting sleep or I feel sleepy�. But actually, it is the body, which requires
rest and sleep. Atman never gets tired and so does not need rest. If this correct
perception is there during exam
time then we can throw off that laziness and sleep and study. But by going the
way the body requires, one would feel asleep and may not be able to study. A
sprinter, when reaching the
winning pole never thinks of the aching legs but thinks only of victory. At this
point the sprinter looks at atman as different from body. This is a great
advantage to progress.

Next, we should discard the mamakaram or assuming propreitorship. In this world
nothing is ours and we carry nothing when departing from this world. But once we
think something as
ours, then we tend to protect it. The only thing, which can be claimed as ours,
is gyana or knowledge and it will be enough if we can protect that. All others,
which we claim as belonging to
us, are all body, related only. The minute atman does not need any clothes or
decorations. So avoiding mamakaram will drive away our desire to possess.

Next is nishpraha, or discarding desires on materials. As long as water is there
in a well, more water would spring. But if we dry the well totally, then no water
would spring. So if we discard
the materials then they will also leave us. This would lead to vihaya Kaman that
is driving away the desires. This will result in atman darshan.

To become desireless means not to desire anything for sense gratification. In
other words, desire for becoming Krsna conscious is actually desirelessness. To
understand one's actual
position as the eternal servitor of Krsna, without falsely claiming this
material body to be oneself and without falsely claiming proprietorship over
anything in the world, is the perfect stage
of Krsna consciousness. One who is situated in this perfect stage knows that
because Krsna is the proprietor of everything, therefore everything must be used
for the satisfaction of Krsna.
The living entity cannot be desireless or senseless, but he does have to change
the quality of the desires. A materially desireless person certainly knows that
everything belongs to Krsna
(isavasyam idam sarvam), and therefore he does not falsely claim proprietorship
over anything. This transcendental knowledge is based on self-realization--namely,
knowing perfectly well
that every living entity is the eternal part and parcel of Krsna in spiritual
identity, and therefore the eternal position of the living entity is never on the
level of Krsna or greater than Him.

esa braahmi sthitih partha nainam praapya vimuhyati
sthitva-asyam anta-kale �pi brahma-nirvaanam rcchati

"This will reach bramham, oh! Partha, after which there is no bewilderment. This
should be practiced at least in the final phase of life and attain the pure
happiness of bramham."

*Esa sthithi � this state (which state is Krishna referring to here? the state
in the previous sloka? the state described in the whole of second chapter?.
Selfless Karma yogam , which
is done without attachment or desire for fruit is being referred to as here as
Esa Stithi. Here we should interpret to indicate the essence of 2nd Chapter �Karma
Yoga. It was started that
Arjuna should realize the eternity of atman and should uphold his dharma of
protecting his people and fight. It is not just Karma yoga but asanga Karma yoga.
That is unattached, without
the feeling �I did� or �mine� and without a desire in the result.)

*braahmi- that which will get us brahma . (which state is being referred to
here? It can be considered as SriVaikuntam or Atma Saaksatkaaram or Atma darsanam
i.e makes us
realize the true nature of our self i.e jeevatma. Please note from 2nd sloka
to 6th chapter, Krishna is detailing the true nature of Jeevatma and from 7th
to 9th chapter he is referring
to ways to reach Paramaatma. So any reference to Brahman in 2nd to 6th
chapter, should be considered as referring to Jeevatma)

*yenaam praapya - Whoever attains this state

*na vimuhyati - will never get confused about his true state and neither will
he grieve. Earlier we have seen that atman darshan would banish all miseries and

*asyam- in this Karma yoga,
*anta kalepi- at least in the final years or phase of life of a person (even
if we missed the boat of performing in early stages)
*Sthitvaa - Situated (i.e perform) in this state (i.e performing karma yoga)

*nirvaanam- unalloyed by miseries and so pure happiness,
*rcchati- reaches the state ,
*brahmam- state of realizing the atman darshan or Moksham.
With this Sri Krishna concludes this chapter. He advises Arjuna to stay in
asanga Karma yoga that would get him atman sakshatkaram. Once that state is
reached, there is no room for
confusion or worries. Normally, this realization should have come up in youth
time. Even if the person has become old, let him not think that Karma yoga is
impossible to practice.
Even in the final phase of life, Karma yoga can be practiced and attain the
eternal bliss. So we have to understand from this sloka that even if we did not
realize the merits of Karma yoga
all these years, it is not late to start even in the final phase of life. We
can involve ourselves, even at the ripe old age, in selfless service to others,
society, country or world.
We should dedicate such activities as service to God.

Any work we do as long as it is not self-centered and without ego and it is
within the accepted boundaries of shastra, can be regarded as Karma yoga. We
should get that yearning for
Karma yoga at least in our old age and try to reach a little of the stitha
prajna state mentiond by Sri Krishna. We should try earnestly. By practicing if we
are able to achieve something it
would give us that happiness. Our elders have toiled to make these methods
available for us and so we should try to practice them.

Karma yoga is not to be performed in a secluded jungle leaving all our near
and dear ones. In fact it was Arjuna who said he would go to forests and do
meditation and it was Sri Krishna
who prevented him from that and asked him to practice Karma yoga in his
routine work. So our daily life is our playground and in that only we have to
overcome all our challenges by
practicing Karma yoga. Sri Krishna is always there to help us and we need not
bother about victory or defeat in our endeavors. If we view life as an ocean of
distress only, we will only get
mental depression. Some regard life as challenge. The difficulty here is that
since it is taken as challenge, there will be always the urge to be victorious.
This will develop egoism and all our
works will be self-centered. But we have to regard life as an opportunity and
practice Karma yoga incessantly and do good for all and this universe. This is the
essence of the 2nd Chapter.

This state of performing disinterested work which is preceded by the
knowledge of the eternal self and which is characterised by firm wisdom, is the
Brahmi-state, which secures the
attainment of the Brahman (the self). After attaining such a state, he will
not be deluded, i.e., he will not get again the mortal coil. Reaching this state
even during the last years of life,
he wins the blissful Brahman (the self) i.e., which is full of beatitude. The
meaning is that he attains the self which is constituted of nothing but bliss.

Lord Krishna concludes chapter two by revealing the state of consciousness
achieved by one who performs all actions unattached and equipoised based on
knowledge of the eternal
nature of the immortal soul. This process has for its goal the attainment of
transcendent meditation. It is brahmi or that which leads to brahma the ultimate
truth. Knowing the philosophy of
actions are like this, one will no longer be subject to bewilderment and
delusion. The results of this are one will no longer be compelled to enter samsara
the endless cycle of birth and death
in the mirage of material existence. If one begins this process with
determination even in old age one will have the opportunity to attain cognition of
the eternal soul within and
brahma-nirvana final liberation from the material existence.Thus in the second
chapter, the
Lord wanted to remove the delusion of Arjuna, who did not know the real
nature of the self and also did not realize that the activity named 'war' (here an
ordained duty) is a means for
attaining the nature of Sankhya or the self. Arjuna was under the delusion
that the body is itself the self, and dominated by that delusion, had retreated
from battle. He was therefore
taught the knowledge called 'Sankhya' or the understanding of the self, and
Yoga or what is called the path of practical work without attachment. These
together have as their objective
the attainment of steady wisdom (Sthitaprajnata) This has been explained in
the following verse by Sri Yamunacarya: Sankhya and Yoga, which comprehend within
their scope the
understanding of the eternal self and the practical way of disinterested
action respectively, were imparted in order to remove Arjuna's delusion. Through
them the state of firm wisdom
can be reached.

RECAP of First and Second Chapter :

We reach Bhakti yoga through Karma yoga and Gyana yoga. Continuous Bhakti yoga
will enable us to reach God. Only by practicing Karma and Gyana yogas one can
practice Bhakti yoga.
These are conclusively established. The eighteen chapters of Gita can be divided
into three parts of six chapters each. In the first six chapters Karma and Gyana
yogas are explained.
Bhakti yoga is explained in chapters 7,8 and 9. So, the first step is Karma yoga
and Gyana yoga. Bhakti yoga is the second step. We have to go step by step. So
after practicing Karma
and Gyana yogas, we are taken to the Bhakti yoga. Karma and Gyana yogas make us
to understand atman properly. We get atman darshan. Then we try to understand the
God residing
inside the atman and commanding it. To do this Bhakti yoga is the only way. By
Karma and Gyana yogas we feel, understand and see the atman. We get the urge to
see the God inside
atman. Bhakti yoga when practiced continuously will make us realize God.

We have so far seen the first two chapters. Entire first Chapter and the first
ten slokas of second Chapter details Arjuna�s lamenting and his expressions. Then
Sri Krishna talks.
His sermon starts from the 11th sloka (Asocyaan.. Gatasun Agataasun..
Nanusochanchi panditah). He says to Arjuna that he appears to know all and at the
same time shows ignorance
and so he starts advising. The first Chapter is called Arjuna Vishada yogam as
it details Arjuna�s worries. At the end he says to Sri Krishna that since Arjuna
did not know what was correct,
he should consider Arjuna as His disciple, His friend, His cousin and advise
what was good for him. (Ya sreyaschaan.. bruhi tanme.. prapdadye).
Sri Krishna starts His sermon with saying that just as He is eternal, so are
Arjuna and all others. All existed, exist and will exist. (na tvam neme jaati
naatam.. janaadipah..)
From 12th sloka till 39th sloka the eternity of atman was explained. This was
to impart the basic knowledge that body is perishable and atman is everlasting.
Arjuna was having the wrong
concept that he would destroy Bheeshma and Drona. He was told that only their
bodies would be destroyed but the atman will remain. To make him understand He
says all atman are all

From 39th sloka till 52nd sloka, Karma yoga was explained. (Sukha dukhe samey
Krtva, Labha Alabhau , Jaya Ajayau..) He told that a Karma yogi has to view the
happiness and sorrow,
profit and loss and victory and defeat impartially and equally. He was advised
that he was born only to do his duty and he should not desire for the results. He
should not aspire for cheap
and inferior rewards but for higher rewards like atman sakshatkaram, which would
get him all good things. (Karmaneyadi vakasya..) In the 53rd sloka He said that by
practicing Karma yoga,
the mind would be serene and clear. All impurities would be removed. A pure mind
becomes the base for Gyana yoga. (Sruthivi.. niscala .. avapsyaasi)

Arjuna was curious to know how a Gyana yogi would be and he queries his desire
in the 54th sloka (Stitha pragnyasa, Kim asita? ..). From 55rd till the last 71st
sloka Sri Krishna talks
of Gyana yoga. The 72nd sloka was a summary. So we now can summarize that atman
is eternal and body is destroyable. By understanding the difference between atman
and body
we can perform Karma yoga. Practicing Karma yoga would purify the mind. Pure
mind will be the base for Gyana yoga. Gyana yoga when practiced will enable atman
or atman darshan. So by practicing Karma yoga without any attachment would
result in atman sakshatkaram. Though Karma yoga has to be practiced when young, at
least in the final
phase of life it should be practiced and get atman sakshatkaram. This Chapter is
not only long but also is meritorious.

Remember the summary of 2nd chapter by Swami Alavandar in Gitartha Sangraha
(which was explained in the beginning of this chapter):

The following doctrine is what is summarised in chapter two:

1) That the immortal soul is eternal.

2) All activities should be performed as a matter of duty devoid of desire for

3) One who is spiritually intelligent of illuminated consciousness understands
that through either jnana-yoga or karma-yoga the goal of transcendent meditation
can be attained.

These three spiritual truths have been revealed in the second chapter of the
Bhagavad-Gita for curing ignorance and dispelling delusion.


Let us first look at the summary of the third chapter by Swami Alavandar in
Gitartha Sangrahah:


Loka Rakshaayai -> To save all beings in this world! (not just some people)
{Purport: Gyaana Yoga is not possible to be performed by everybody, but only by a
very few,
since it involves control of senses. Whereas Karma yoga can be practices
relatively easily by everybody, because it doesn't demand the same rigor and
control of senses. So,
in this sloka , Lord emphasizes only on the glory of Karma Yoga.)

Guneyshu aaropya -> realizing that they(our actions) are performed driven by
the three gunas- satva, rajo and tamas {Purport: We are driven to do our Karmas
by the three
Gunas. Attributing it to the three Gunas )

Kartrutham -> Performing our duties

Asaktyaa -> Unattached (Karma Yoga)

Sarvershwareh Vaan Yasya -> Dedicating our duties at the feet of the Lord,
since it is the Lord who is the prime mover behind all our actions

Trithiyeh Karma Kaaryataa -> Is explained in Third chapter.

Here Krishna prods Arjuna to do his Kshatriya duties in the form of engaging
in the war as one of the leaders of the righteous Pandavaas. Bhagavan states that
Karma Yogam should be practised first before
attempting Jnana Yogam.He points out that Karma Yogam is a prerequisite to
Jnana Yogam. He says that it is impossible to sit still, while action is being
induced by
one or more of the three Gunas(Sattvam ,Rajas and Tamas). If one abandons
Karma Yoga, one can not even carry out bodily functions on this earth. He
instructs Arjuna that he should
perform Karma Yoga to please HIM and not for obtaining other results such as
reaching Swargam(Heavenly world) etc.Krishna states further that the human beings
such as Arjuna are deluded by thinking
that the Jeevan(Atman) and the body are one and the same. As a result , the
human beings think that it is the Jivan that does all the Karmas . Krishna
explains that the
three Gunas thru their graded interactions with the eternal Jivan are behind
the Karmas and that it is very natural for to be involved with the performance of
different Karmas. Krishna
explains further that it is HE as the supreme Lord , who does all the Karmas
through the Jivan for HIS own pleasure and by dedicating the fruits of the Karmas
to HIM , all the delusions will
disappear. Krishna presses Arjuna to engage therefore in the fight in
accordanc ewith the dharma as a soldier.

So the essence of third Chapter is Karma yoga�s greatness. Did not we see this
in the second Chapter? Previous Chapter had a small shortcoming. Let us review the
steps involved in the second Chapter. With a
rough basic knowledge of atman, the Karma yoga is to be practiced. This
purifies the mind and then Gyana yoga is to be practiced. Then we get atman
sakshatkaram. The doubt here is whether all are qualified to practice Gyana
yoga. From 55th to 71st slokas in the 2nd Chapter we saw what is control of organs
and senses. Is control of
senses possible for the ordinary persons like us? This doubt would have
surfaced. Sri Krishna realizing that all cannot practice Gyana yoga but all can
surely practice Karma yoga, starts the
third Chapter. The main difference between the 2nd and 3rd Chapters is this. In
the midst of our daily chores of official work, domestic compulsions, social get
together, etc., will we have
time for Gyana yoga? This doubt has arisen in us and it is also due to Him. So
He knows our mind and suggests ways. He is the One to uplift us from this
mechanical life. It is difficult to
find persons for Gyana yoga but for Karma yoga fairly large number of persons
would be available. Karma yoga is performed, as we are involved in our chores. But
some limits and
boundaries are drawn within which we can freely do our routines. Some basic
thoughts are needed while doing our duties and then that becomes the Karma yoga.
If we say that persons
are invited to sit in a place and meditate for half an hour, very few will turn
up. But if we get a kilogram of flowers and invite persons to make beautiful
garlands for the God, a large
number of persons would volunteer. Because the latter is an action to be done
with our limbs. While the former was to control the limbs and mind. Sri Krishna
This message to reach a larger group and so He decides to defer Gyana yoga for
the time. It is a very noble yoga and is not to be abandoned but just for our sake

he keeps the Gyana yoga away for sometime. Here we are removing the Gyana yoga
step and so the steps would be: atman knowledge� Karma yoga� Clarity of mind�
Atman darshan.
The Gyana yoga is hidden in the Karma yoga itself. So separate Gyana yoga is

Chapter three establishes the fact by various points of view that the
performance of prescribed duties is obligatory for everyone. Here Lord Krishna
categorically and comprehensively
explains how it is the duty of each and every member of society to carry out
their functions and responsibilities in their respective stage of life according
to the rules and regulations of the
society in which one lives. Further the Lord explains why such duties must be
performed, what benefit is gained by performing them, what harm is caused by not
performing them. Plus
what actions lead to bondage and what actions lead to salvation. All these
points relating to duty have been described in great detail. Thus this chapter is
entitled: The Eternal Duties of
Human Beings.

3.1 & 3.2

arjuna uvaca
jyayasi cet karmanas te mata buddhir janardana
tat kim karmani ghore mam niyo jayasi keshava

"Arjuna said: O Janardana, O Keshava, why do You want to engage me in this ghastly
warfare, if You think that intellect is better than action?"

vyami sreneva vakyena buddhim moha yashiva me
tad-ekam vada niscitya yena sreyo �ham-apnuyaam
"My intelligence is bewildered by Your cotradictory instructions. Therefore,
please tell me decisively which will be most beneficial for me."

Sri Krishna told so many things in the second Chapter and Arjuna got confused and
became vague. So the third Chapter starts with Arjuna�s expression of his doubt.
The first two slokas
are from Arjuna and from 3rd sloka Sri Krishna replies.

What Arjuna is trying to ascertain from Lord Krishna is if the cultivation of
spiritual knowledge is superior to performing physical activities for the
attainment of liberation and if so then why
should one engage in horrendous activities like war and killing. It is well known
that jnana yoga or the cultivation of spiritual knowledge is the means to
accomplish self-realisation of the soul.
Karma yoga or performing physical activities without attachment leads one
gradually to jnana yoga. This path of spiritual knowledge can be attained by with
drawing all the senses along with
the mind from the objects of the senses. If this is the case then Arjuna is
wondering why he is not being instructed in the cessation of all physical
activities; but instead he is being encouraged
to fully use his mind and senses to engage in all of the violent and horrific
activities that accompany warfare. Feeling confused by the conflicting
instructions of with drawing the senses and
the performance of actions, Arjuna now wants a single, unequivocal instruction to
determine for certain exactly what course he should embark to achieve the highest

*Janardhana - Arjuna addresses Sri Krishna as Janardana which means removing the
miseries of birth & death of Jana(people)
*te Mata - He asks if Sri Krishna�s opinion [mata] is
*Jyaasasi cet karmanas , buddhi - Gyana [buddhi] yogam is superior to Karma
[action] yogam,
*tat kim karmani, maam - then why are you compelling me(maam) to
*ghore - the terrible [ghore] war?
*kesava - my lord(krishna!), the one who with beautiful tresses, the one who is
the master of Brahma and Siva

Arjuna understood in the last Chapter that Gyana yoga was superior to Karma yoga.
From 39th to 52nd sloka, Sri Krishna eulogized Gyana yoga. Person practicing Karma
yoga will practice
Gyana yoga and then get atman sakshatkaram. So the lower step is Karma yoga and
the next higher step is Gyana yoga to reach atman darshan. Arjuna understood that
to get atman
darshan it was Gyana yoga to be practiced. So, why not directly practice Gyana
yoga and why waste efforts in Karma yoga? As an example, if we want to purchase an
article worth Rs.100,
and if this money is to be obtained from a friend, we would like the entire
Rs.100 be given and not in installments of Rs.10, ten times. Arjuna feels that the
initial Karma yoga was unnecessary.
In Gyana yoga one has to sit and control the senses whereas in Karma yoga one has
to perform action. In his case he has to fight to perform Karma yoga. In Gyana
yoga he is not required
to fight and after all it is Gyana yoga results in atman sakshatkaram. This
suited him. So he in the first sloka puts forth his doubt.

In the next sloka he further asks why He is confusing him with two contradictory
*vyami sreneva vyakyena - with contradictory statements
*buddhim - my buddhi
*moha yasiva me - is seemingly confused to me (arjuna blames himself for
*tad ekam vada niscitya - pls tell that one definitive process
*yena sreyo aham apunyaam - which will benefit me

Arjuna is under the (mis)impression that Karma yoga and Gnaana yoga are two
separate and distinct methods and are not interrelated. With that confusion, he is
asking this question.
Arjuna is having doubts about the Karma yoga and Gyana yoga. In Cholasimhapuam,
popularly known as Sholingur, there are two hills. One is Big hill where Sri
Narasimha is gracing the
devotees and the other is small hill where Hanuman is gracing. Here it is not
that one has to climb the small hill to reach the big hill, as both are separate.
And one has to climb separately
both hills to have Darshan. Arjuna thinks Gyana yoga is like the Big hill and
Karma yoga is like the small hill. He thinks both are separate and so feels Sri
Krishna is vague. According to
Arjuna for practicing the Gyana yoga one has to control senses and for Karma
yoga it is opposite in that one has to freely allow organs to perform. It is like
if one wants to do MS in chemistry,
he should have done BS in chemistry and not in history. Arjuna feels that both
Gyana yoga and Karma yoga are totally different from each other. Therefore he
thinks there is contradiction.

He says his buddhi is apparently confused and is not accusing Sri Krishna that
He had confused Arjuna. He wants a single clarification on this confusion so that
he will attain sreyas or
better status. Although Arjuna was bewildered he could still understand that
Lord Krishna valued the cultivation of spiritual knowledge as being superior to
activities without attachment
and he could also understand that if Lord Krishna was ordering him to fight this
must be also for his betterement as well, The Lord did not specify which path
Arjuna was qualified for as
yet and thus Arjuna was in a dilemna and needed a clear, definitive instruction
that would end his confusion. Arjuna is humbly requesting this with the underlying
request that the most
merciful and compassionate Supreme Lord should not bewilder the mind of one who
is His surrenderd devotee.

Sri-bhagavan uvaca
loke �smin dvi-vidha nistha pura prokta mayanagha
jnana-yogena sankhyanaam karma-yogena yoginaam

"The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: O sinless Arjuna, I have already
explained that there are two types of paths to try to realize the self. Some are
inclined to understand it by Gyana
or intellect, and others by devotional service."

Arjuna in the previous two slokas raised his doubts. Sri Krishna told both Karma
yoga and gyana yoga and also said that atman sakshatkaram can be achieved only by
Gyana yoga. Why
not only Gyana yoga to be practiced? Why unnecessary Karma yoga, which means
Arjuna has to participate in the war? He thinks Sri Krishna would not exploit
Arjuna to eliminate the bad
people like Duryodana. He further thinks that Karma yoga is not the step for Gyana
yoga as both are having different requirements. Gyana yoga is nivrutti marg in
that the senses have to
be passive. The Karma yoga, on the other hand is pravrutti marg where the senses
have to be active. Therefore Arjuna thinks the paths advised by Sri Krishna are
opposite and so raised
his doubts. He wants the confusion to be cleared and one path to be advised.

*Asmin loke= in this world,
*maya= by Me,
*dvi vidha nishta = two types of paths or practices,
*pura = earlier [in the 2nd Chapter],
*prokta= were told. The two paths are Karma yoga and Gyana yoga.

*Jnaana yogena Sankyaanam - Gyana yoga was for Sankhya or intellectuals
(Sankhya is buddhi, Sankyham is one which is comprehended by buddhi , which is
Atma. Sankhyas are
the ones who comprehend the difference between Atma and deham, are always
focussed on Atma darshan and have great sense control)

*Karma yogena Yoginam - Karma yoga for yogis. (Karma yoga is for those who
are unable to control senses. But, do note, even Karma yoga is performed with
understanding that
body and soul are different. Karma yogas has Jnaana yoga embedded in it,
since comprehension of body/soul difference, spirt of disattached service etc is
required for karma yogam )

Here two types of persons qualified for practicing the two yoga are
differentiated. Doctor prescribes different medicines for different patients.
Similarly, Sri Krishna prescribes different paths
for different persons. It is customary for persons in this world to have
different tastes and so it is said loke binna ruchi [people have varied
interests]. So Arjuna should not get confused that
all have to follow Karma yoga and then Gyan yoga. The slokas 55 to 71 in the
last Chapter were for those who could control senses. Sankhya means intellect [to
differentiate atman from
body]. These persons are capable of controlling senses.

In the last Chapter He said Karma yoga leads to clarity or purity of mind,
which enables to practice Gyana yoga and then atman darshan. In this Chapter,
practicing only Karma yoga
leads to atman darshan. Some thing like double promotion. Karma yoga includes
Gyana. The Gyana that atman is different from body. Service to God in the form of
aradhana will please
God and so get Moksham. This service is Karma yoga.

What about Arjuna�s doubt that the two are contradictory? They are not
contradictory. To practice Gyana yoga one should have mind purity or a serene
mind. This can be achieved only by
control of organs or senses. Such control can be best achieved by Karma yoga.
So Karma yoga is step for Gyana yoga and they are not opposed to each other.

Take the example of a Crane. The larger cranes leave many small fishes,
controlling themselves and go for the big fish alone. Similarly a Jnaana yogi has
great powers of sense control.
Whereas, the small cranes lack that control and even go for small fishes.
Many in this world are like that and Karma yoga is the path provided for them.
This paths are not

Lord Krishna is telling Arjuna that he has not clearly understood what has been
previously spoken by Him. He tells Arjuna that in this world abounding in
diversity there are two paths for
two types of humans. Jnana yoga the path of knowledge and karma yoga the path
of actions each suited to the capacities and qualifications of the type concerned.
Not all humans in this
world are born with the ambition for moksa or liberation. Neither are all
humans able to embark upon the path of knowledge directly. But all humans must
engage in actions at all times
they cannot stop but they must perform these actions unattached without
desiring any reward, perfecting them in the process as factual activities of
divine worship. Then in fact all actions
become divine activities as revealed forthcoming in chapter XVIII. verse forty-
six worshipping God by ones actions. Performing actions in this way humans
evaporate the inauspicious
qualities lurking in their minds and hearts and the senses give up their
turbulence and become calm and peaceful.

The Supreme Lord Krishna states loke in this world there exists two types of
humans who follow these two paths. Those who renounce the ordained activities of
family life and society,
to fully contemplate and meditate on the ultimate truth like Sanaka referred to
by the word sankyanam and those who adhere to the ordained guidelines of family
life and society and yet
glean knowledge like King Janaka referred to by the word yoginam. Both types
are firmly situated in righteousness. Even though those who are eligible for karma
yoga perform actions for
the protection and benefit of the worlds as willed by the Lord are also deemed
as yogis, men of equanimity. Lord Krishna is informing Arjuna that he is
ineligible to perform activities of
renunciation like Sanaka and others but he is eligible to perform auspicious
activities for the benefit of the world like Kind Janaka and others. This is the
purport of this verse.

It has already been established in chapter II. verse forty-seven that there
must be no anticipation of rewards as the reason for performing activities. When
this platform has been
attained then after one has risen in wisdom beyond the turmoils of the quest
of satisfying ones sense with sense objects then jnana yoga the cultivation of
spiritual knowledge is
appropriate. In chapter II. verse fity-five Lord Krishna has stated when one
gives up all desires, to confirm this point. Sankhya refers to spiritual knowledge
or spiritual wisdom. Those
who possess this are called sankhyas as real spiritual knowledge is the
knowledge that leads to realisation of the atma or soul, firmly resides within
them. Those who are ineligible
not fit for this course due to their own inherent qualities are the yogis who
are eligible for karma yoga the path of actions. So it can be seen that there is
not even the slightest contradiction
when it was asserted that for one who is beguiled by the objects and
distractions of the phenomenal world, karma yoga is suitable for them and for
those who are not beguiled and
able to renounce these objects and distractions are suited for jnana yoga the
cultivation of spiritual knowledge. Lord Krishna has explained that for purified
minds jnana yoga or the yoga of
knowledge is appropriate as in chapter two verse sixty-one states: the self
controlled one sits in meditation on Him. But for minds not yet purified karma
yoga or the yoga of action is
more suitable as in chapter two verse thirty-one states there is no greater
fortune for a ksatriya warrior than a righteous war. Therefore in respect to the
two paths they are actually two
stages of the same path separated only by purity and impurity of mind.

In closing it should be understood that one who without performing karma yoga
in their present life but is situated in jnana yoga cultivating spiritual
knowledge, their purity of mind should
be considered as a result of performing karma yoga in their previous birth and
this is how they were able to attain jnana yoga so easily. Thus there is no
contradiction in the presentation
of the two in any way. It is also observed that by following the will of the
Supreme Lord Krishna through authorised disciplic succession and the ordained
injunctions of the Vedic scriptures
many rulers situated as yogis became men of knowledge although performing
countless actions. An example of this is King Priyavrata who was emperor of the
entire universe engaging
in unlimited material activities in total knowledge as given in Srimad
Bhagavatam V.I.XXIIIIt will next be shown that even if a wish for moksa or
liberation arises still one may not be fully
competent to experience the cultivation of knowledge by jnana yoga.

na karmanam anarambhan naishkarmyam purusho �snute
na ca sannyasanad eva siddhim samadhigacchati

"Not by merely abstaining from work can one achieve gyana yoga, nor by
renunciation can one attain that.� No man experiences freedom from activity
(Naiskarmya) by abstaining from works;
and no man ever attains success by mere renunciation of works.

Sri Krishna advises Arjuna not to go after Gyana yoga, as it is a mirage, while by
doing his Kshatriya Dharma of fighting he can achieve atman sakshatkaram. The
first Chapter was called
Arjuna Vishada yogam, the next was Sankhya yogam and the present Chapter is called
Karma yogam. This will straight away obtain atman darshan without Gyana yoga.
Because all are
not qualified to practice Gyana yoga and Sri Krishna�s intention is His message
should reach all and not a few alone. Gyana yoga requires senses control while
Karma yoga does not
need this. Does it mean that if one practices karma yoga, control of senses is
impossible? No, after sometime the Karma yoga will enable control of senses.

*Karmanam= by karma yoga,
*na anarambhan=without starting or beginning,
*naishkarmyam= Gyana yoga [where Karma or action is absent], i.e without
starting Karma yogam one cannot qualify for Jnaana yogam.
*ca= and,
*sanyaasanad= abandoning [in the middle], i.e. abandoning a karma after
*sidhim=Gyana yoga,
*na samadigachhati=will not attain. (Will not attain Gnaana yoga)
By not starting Karma yoga or abandoning the Karma yoga in the middle will not
enable one to practice Gyana yoga. This directly answers Arjuna�s query whether he
could directly
practice Gyana yoga and get atman darshan, without the recourse to Karma yoga
so that he could avoid fighting, which was his Karma. He cannot skip Karma yoga.
For beginners
Karma yoga should be practiced. For e.g. to make a relative analogy, in
Srivaishnavite parampara, there are many Jeeyars, Pontiffs who have gone thru
gruhasta life, completed their
familial , worldly responsibilities and then took Sanyasa dharmam of Jeeyar

Arjuna asks after all it is desire which propels a person to do Karma yoga, so
why not he desire to practice Gyana yoga? Desire is different from
capability. Unless the capacity to do a work one should not indulge in it.
Arjuna does not have the capability to practice Gyana yoga while he is fully
qualified for Karma yoga.

Not by non-performance of the acts prescribed by the scriptures, does a person
attain freedom from Karma, i.e., Jnana Yoga; nor by ceasing to perform such
actions as are prescribed in
the scriptures and are already begun by him. For, success is achieved by
actions done without attachment to the fruits and by way of worshipping the
Supreme Person. Hence devoid of it
(Karma-nistha), one does not achieve Jnana-nistha. By those persons who have
not worshipped Govinda by acts done without attachment to fruits and whose
beginningless and endless
accumulation of evil has not been annulled thereby, constant contemplation on
the self is not possible. It can be done only if it is preceded by the attainment
of a state in which the operation
of the senses have been freed from disturbance. For in jnana yoga exclusive
attention is devoted to atma-nistha deep faith in knowledge and meditation of the
soul. This is only possible for
one who has relinquished all desires and expectations fully. It is not
possible for one who is still mired in the pursuit of fruitive activities,
burdened with sins from previous lives and for one
who has never worshipped Lord Krishna with love and devotion with no
anticipation of reward.This view is put forward by the Lord.

It should be understood that renunciation is primarily for deep meditation and
reflection of the resplendent Supreme Lord. This way is not suitable for those in
the grihasta ashram or
householder life with wife and children and who must be engrossed daily in so
many material functions to provide for their family. But in later life when the
children are grown the householder
who by dint of actions has acquired a meditative mind can also become eligible
for renunciation and please the Lord. The Supreme Lord is exceedingly pleased by
those who practice
renunciation. In the Narayanakshara Kalpa it is said that: Among all
initiations the one that is made in the stage of renunciation is the topmost and
most pleasing to the Supreme Lord.
The demi-gods and many well known great and pious kings of yore in India while
performing myriads of actions for universal management and world order always kept
their minds
focused on the Supreme. Therefore even when they were engaged in activities
their minds never wavered from Him and the Supreme Lord Krishna was pleased.
If by abstention of action moksa was possible then it would be available to
inanimate things as well. Neither by the abstention of actions or the absence of
reactions from the renunciation
of actions will liberation come into effect. The effects we are experiencing in
the present life are reactions both positive and negative caused by our
innumerable actions in previous lives.
It is not that all the reactions have been terminated at birth,

na hi kascit ksanam api jatu tisthaty akarma-krt
karyate hy avasah karma sarvah prakriti-jair gunaih

"Everyone is forced to act spontaneously according to the qualities he has
acquired from the modes of material nature; therefore no one can refrain from
doing something, not even for a moment."

In this world, no man can rest without doing work; for every person, even
though he may have determined, 'I will not do anything,' is caused to act, i.e.,
is compelled to act according to the
Gunas born of Prakrti. The Gunas are Sattva, Rajas and Tamas which increase in
accordance with his old Karma. Consequently, Jnana Yoga can be attained only by
means of a purified
inner organ after annulling the old accumulation of sins by means of Karma Yoga
of the aforesaid characteristics and bringing Sattva and other Gunas under
control. Otherwise, one who
engages oneself in Jnana Yoga becomes a hypocrite.

*Jatu =at any time,
*kshanam api= even a second,
*akarma krt= without doing anything, None can remain idle even for a second.
*na hi =will not be there. That is, everyone does something always.

Arjuna thought that by recourse to Gyana yoga he could remain idle. That is he
need not have to fight. But actually, everyone right from the time he was born,
has to do something.
A newborn cries and sucks milk. It shakes its limbs. None has taught these and
these actions are all natural. This is because the karma we have been doing over
many births still lingers on.
So Karma yoga is habitual but not Gyana yoga.

*Karma karyate= doing work,
*he= also,
*avasah karma= spontaneously or unconsciously, These are acts which are done
instinctively. Karma yoga is spontaneous and it is natural, while Gyana yoga
requires special effort.

*Sarvah means everyone and here Swami Vedantha Desika in his Tatparya
Chandrika, a commentary on Gita, explains that even a person, who with a
determination wants to remain idle,
cannot be so, as without his knowledge certain actions he would be doing. If
one remains idle he would feel giddy and fall asleep and snore; these are all
actions. Some drive mosquitoes
even while asleep. So action can be without our knowledge. Gyana yoga has to
be done with full knowledge to practice.

*prakriti-jair gunaih - originated from this world(Prakriti) and gunaih=
characters or qualities [the three gunas= satva, rajo and tamo qualities]
All our actions whether voluntary and involuntary are propelled by the three
qualities (Sattva, Rajas, Tamas) which are inherent part of this world.

These three qualities will never go away but by cultivating Sattva quality
the influence of other two can be minimized. This can be done by continuous
practice of Karma yoga for which
one is eligible. And, for Gyana yoga, satva quality is a must. By doing
Karma like Aradhana [devotional service to God], Lord is pleased and the sins or
papa are eliminated. Likes and
dislikes are removed and increase the satva quality. Senses are controlled.
Atman darshan is achieved. So basic requirement is practice of Karma yoga. Let us
practice Karma yoga
to please the Lord.
So to repeat, Perform Karma Yoga , Lord is pleased -> Sins are destroyed
-> which reduces Rajo/Tamo guna and increases Sattva ->Which reduces likes and
disklikes ->
-> Senses are controlled -> Atma darshan is achieved . So, the basic
requirement is Karma yogam.

In the second chapter, Lord mentioned Karma yogam -> Gnaana Yogam ->
Atma Saksaathkaram.. but in third chapter here, he is mentioning the glory of
Karma yogam, which itself
can give Atma darshanam.

The spirit soul has to be engaged in the good work of Krsna consciousness,
otherwise it will be engaged in occupations dictated by illusory energy. In
contact with material energy, the
spirit soul acquires material modes, and to purify the soul from such
affinities it is necessary to engage in the prescribed duties enjoined in the
sastras. But if the soul is engaged in his
natural function of Krsna consciousness, whatever he is able to do is good for

karmendriyani samyamya ya aste manaasa smaran
indriyaarthan vimudhatma mithyacarah sa ucyate

"One who restrains the senses of action but whose mind dwells on sense objects
certainly deludes himself and is called a pretender."
He who, controlling the organs of action, lets his mind dwell on the objects of
senses, is a deluded person and a hypocrite.

This is also continuation of Sri Krishna�s reply that one cannot directly practice
Gyana yoga. He emphasizes the need for Karma yoga before practicing Gyana yoga. We
have already seen
that Gyana yoga needs a serene and pure mind. Such a mind only can meditate on
atman. For a pure mind, organs and senses are to be controlled. For disciplining
the organs, likes
and dislikes are to be eradicated. Rajo and tamo qualities should have been
minimized. For this Karma yoga was necessary, which would please the Lord and our
sins are cleared.

A person decides to practice Gyana yoga that is to have atman darshan, without
Karma yoga. Lack of practice of Karma yoga allowed the papa or sins to continue
and so he could not avoid
likes and dislikes. The rajo and tamo qualities were having their influence and so
the organs and senses were not disciplined. In this state, he tries to practice
Gyana yoga and directs the
mind on atman. But the mind is uncontrollable and wanders on all matters. This is
called false discipline or mithyacharam, where the intention is one and the actual
happening is different.
Mind and action if they are same it is correct discipline.

*Karmendriyani= the organs responsible for action, like eyes, nose, etc., The
five organs of action, Karma Indriyas, are Vak (organ of speech), Pani (hands),
Padam (feet), Upastha (genitals)
and Guda (anus). They are born of the Rajasic portion of the five Tanmatras or
subtle elements; Vak from the Akasa Tanmatra (ether), Pani from the Vayu Tanmatra
(air), Padam from the
Agni Tanmatra (fire), Upastha from the Apas Tanmatra (water), and Guda from
the Prithivi Tanmatra (earth).
*samyamya= controlled, i.e controlling organs of actions (eyes, nose etc...)
*vimudhatma = uncontrolled mind [because Karma yoga was never practiced], (Atma,
Vimudh-Atma is that mind which is not controlled and not concentrating on Atma)
*ya aste manasa smaran= the mind is dwelling on materialistic desires,
*mithyacarah ucyate= he is called a person with false discipline. This happens
when we misunderstand the requirements for Gyana yoga.

We think that organs have to be controlled and so we close our eyes, shut our
ears and in a secluded place we try to do Gyana yoga. But the mind has still the
impurities and so mind is undisciplined and wanders on all matters, which are
physically restrained, from the organs.

yas tv indriyani manasa niyamya arabhate �rjuna
karmendriyaih karma-yogam asaktah sa visisyate

On the other hand, he who controls the senses by the mind and engages his active
organs in works of devotion, without attachment, is by far superior.

In the last sloka Sri Krishna told that though one may be trying to practice Gyana
yoga without following Karma yoga, his mind would be after the organs. Such a
person can never reach the
state of Gyana yoga and is a pretender or in false discipline (mityachara sa

That Karma yogi is praised. He is better than the Gyana yogi. Here Sri Krishna
tells that the not so intellect person practicing Karma yoga is better than the
person who has directly trying to practice Gyana yoga. Controlling the senses by
strength of mind, utilising them to assist in achieving attma tattva by performing
the prescribed duties given in the Vedic scriptures according to the natural
attributes found within their character by the natural disposition of their
natural impulses, then that person although performing karma yoga the yoga of
actions is superior to the performer of jnana yoga
the yoga of cultivating knowledge inasmuch as falsely performing jnana yoga with
duplicity is far inferior to performing karma yoga with sincerity.

*Yahatu= the one,
*indriyani manasa niyamya= whose senses are directed by mind. Directed to do
what?? the details are below:

We are habituated to do something or other actions. It is easier for anyone to
do what one is habituated rather than trying an entirely new one. If we find
ourselves weak in mathematics,
then we try a subject that is familiar to us. All cannot be experts in all
subjects. We try to develop what we are habitual or familiar. In schools also the
students are trained in hobbies of
their choice and the talent is brought out. So Sri Krishna encourages those
who are habitual in doing karma. We have to involve our sense organs in some
activity. Now, we may get a
doubt? Can we continue to do whatever we are doing and are familiar with
(even if it nonsense?).. If so, then it will be also be construed as Karma yoga!
right? NO.
Here Swami Vedanta Desika in his Tatparya Chandrika gives a wonderful
commentary. We have to involve our organs and senses in activities that serve God
or in
activities permited by Shastra or activities that are our duty. Our mind
should direct in such activities and this is what Sri Krishna means in the sloka.
Organs are habituated to do some
actions. So our mind should direct them in noble work. By doing this way we
get double benefit: one, the organs are involved in their routine actions and two,
such actions would enable us
to reach Moksham.

*Asaktha = detached [indifferent to rewards],
*karmendriyai= our sense organs meant for action,
*karma yogam arabate= whoever starts karma yoga.
*sa visisyateh = He is considered superior to the one who is trying to
suppress his sense organs but let's his mind wander on the object of senses.

So the one who directs his senses in the actions permitted by Shasta and
starts Karma yoga deploying the action organs, is the meaning of the first part.
Such a person with detached feeling rises.
He rises higher than this person who is suppressing the organs from their
habitual activities but his mind wanders all over and pretends to practice Gyana
Doctors might have advised jogging or walking for sound health. This becomes
Karma yoga when we try to walk the distance to an institution helping physically
challenged children like
deaf or blind and help the institution to the extent possible. We get physical
exercise and also social service. Similarly other activities also could be done
and then we are said to have begun
Karma yoga. This is possible for all of us. And we can get atman sakshatkaram.

Karma yogam is more aligned to our natural duty and instincts, since we all
use our sense organs for daily activities and not doing so would be very

niyatam kuru karma tvam karma jyayo hy akarmanah
sariira-yaatrapi ca te na prasiddhyed akarmanah

"Perform your prescribed duty, as it is better than Gyana yoga. One in Gyana yoga
cannot even maintain one�s physical body without work."

Sri Krishna lists yet another reason to practice Karma yoga.
*Niyatam karma kuru= do(kuru) (Karma) duties (niyatam) specified to you,
*tvam= you.
*Akarmanah= different from Karma i.e. Gyana yoga.
*Karma jyayo= Karma yoga is better(jyayo).

For those who are incapable of practicing Gyana yoga, Karma yoga is a better
recourse. Who are they? We, the ordinary persons. By doing our specified and
habituated duties, we perform Karma
yoga and that is better than doing Gyana yoga directly. He cites an important
reason for this in the second part of the sloka.

*Akarmanah= by sitting in Gyana yoga,
*sarira yatrapi ca= even for maintaining the body,
*na prasiddhyed = is not possible.

One can admire the calm atmosphere of the Kshetram and the river and decide to
start Gyana yoga directly. But the body has to be maintained and so we have to
arrange for timely food. For this one
has to work and thereby indulge in righteous earning and work as per shastra
and law. This is nothing but Karma yoga. So the substance is that even for a
person wanting to practice Gyana yoga,
Karma yoga becomes inevitable to maintain the body that is required to do
Gyana yoga. We have to perform our shasras accepted duties and earn our
livelihood. With the available resources we
prepare food, offer it to God and after feeding the deprived and the poor we
also consume to keep our body in running condition. This is what Sri Krishna has
been telling in all these slokas. This is
Karma yoga and continuous practice keeps our mind serene and rajo/ tamo
qualities fade and our likes and dislikes are eliminated. This is the step for
Gyana yoga. Therefore, direct Gyana yoga will
not be possible even to maintain our health. Karma yoga is unavoidable for
Gyana yoga but the converse is not true. Arjuna got a doubt here. What if one
directly practices Gyana yoga and disregards
his health? One may die and let that happen and he can then get atman
sakshatkaram after death. Sri Krishna tells that atman sakshatkaram cannot be
achieved by mere death. Death will only get
the soul swarga [heaven] or naraka [hell] or another birth. To get moksham one
should have completed the Gyana yoga. To do that one has to live and for that one
has to maintain one�s body by work
In fact, without caring for the body and doing Gyana yoga will tantamount to
attempting suicide, which is forbidden by shastras and by law. Arjuna has another
doubt. Sri Krishna advises that at least
to maintain the soul in the body one has to work. According to shastras, death
is determined by one�s fate or vidhi. So, how can one end life by mere not doing
anything to keep the body alive?
Because keeping alive is not in our hands as this is already determined by
fate. Swami Vedantha Desika clarifies this in his Tatparya Chandrika. There are
two types of actions or karma:

Niyatha karma and aniyatha karma. In niyatha karma, its course, result and
effects are all pre-decided. In aniyatha karma such pre-decision is not there and
one can make efforts to achieve
certain results. For example, in the story of Parikshit, he was destined to die
after seven days by a sage. This could not be changed. All are not niyatha karma.
Otherwise we will have fatalistic
attitudes and we will never go to a doctor for our ailments. There are many
which need our efforts and with the blessings of God we can carry them out. We
have to maintain our body and health.

Realistically not performing actions is also not practical because without
actions one is not able even to maintain the physical body. The particle api means
even and refers to what else more
should be clarified. Thus if one desires to desist from all activities how
will their mind become purified and how will their bodily needs be maintained?
Thus it is obvious that one who practices jnana
yoga in order to maintain their bodily existence must still continue
performing the daily and occasional duties prescribed in the Vedas until they
reach their goal. The same as if one practised karma
yoga. Also in karma yoga the contemplation of atma-tattva is also included in
the conceptions that I am not my body perfoming actions and I am not the actual
doer of any actions. So for all these
reasons karma yoga is preferably recommended to jnana yogis.

Work should not be given up capriciously, without purification of materialistic
propensities. Anyone who is in the material world is certainly possessed of the
impure propensity for lording it over material
nature, or, in other words, for sense gratification. Such polluted propensities
have to be cleared. Without doing so, through prescribed duties, one should never
attempt to become a so-called
transcendentalist, renouncing work and living at the cost of others.

So the conclusion is for Arjuna to desist and practice karma yoga. So Karma
yoga is habitual, it cannot be avoided and it is bound to obtain results. Even a
gyana yogi cannot avoid Karma yoga.
But if it is still postulated that actions such as the acquiring of funds
involves the my-ness of this is my money and the I-ness of I have earned this by
the strength of my mind and the power of my
faculties and that these efforts must cause bondage Lord Krishna refutes this
argument in the next verse.

Recap and introduction to remaining portion of 3rd Chapter:

From the 9th to 16th , eight slokas, describe the necessity for Deva pooja.
Worshiping the lord is called Deva Pooja, which is Yajna. Yajna, yagam and homam
all denote the same that is Deva pooja.
As per Sanskrit grammar yaja deva poojayam is the root. So Deva pooja is yaja or
yajna. Ordinary persons cannot perform elaborate yajna, but certainly they could
do Deva pooja. For this the Lord
must be attractive, He must be in our mind and we should have devotion.

The 9th sloka alone is introduction. Deva pooja is essential to keep this world
moving. The second Chapter dealt with the need to practice Karma yoga and reach
Gyana yoga and get atman
sakshatkaram. In the third Chapter, however, it was told how Karma yoga itself
could get atman sakshatkaram. First Chapter was called Arjuna vishada yogam.
Second Chapter was named Sankya
yogam as it praised Gyana yoga, which could be practiced with sankya or buddhi or
intellect. This Chapter is called Karma yogam as it deals with Karma yoga. Sri
Krishna told five reasons why Arjuna
should practice Karma yoga rather than Gyana yoga:

1. We are all used to Karma yoga right from our birth and in our all previous
births and so action of our organs and senses is our habit. Gyana yoga on the
other hand is to be specially learnt and
practiced. So habitual Karma yoga is easier.

2. In Gyana yoga it is expected to control all our senses and organs. Such
anticipation is not there in Karma yoga. The sense organs are all allowed to do
what they can in the service of God and slowly
detachment is developed. Therefore, this becomes easier for us to practice
Karma yoga.

3. In Karma yoga the possibility of slippage from practice is very little. In
Gyana yoga slippages are very high. Because, in Karma yoga the organs do their
assigned activities, we practice Karma yoga
and so the chances of continuation is high. But we saw earlier that a
person directly trying to practice Gyana yoga by external control, fails as the
mind wanders after the senses and so the objective

4. In Karma yoga we use our intellect or gyana. When we perform pooja we know
that such activity would get us Moksham. We believe that doing good to others
would please Him. Atman is eternal
and is different from body. All these basic knowledge are there in a Karma
yogi. Vice versa is not true. In Gyana yoga there are no actions or karma.

5. Even for a person practicing Gyana yoga maintainance of his health and body
need and so Karma yoga becomes inevitable. But a karma yogi need not do Gyana

So Karma yoga does not stipulate difficult conditions and becomes easier to
follow. It does not greatly disrupt our routines. Arjuna gets a doubt here. When
one indulges in activities while practicing
Karma yoga, possibility of likes and dislikes are high and this would lead to
earning papa/ punya. Arjuna feels this would submerge him further in samsaram
instead of redeeming from that.
Sri Krishna tries to clear this in the 9th sloka onwards, which we will see in
due course.

yajnaarthat karmano �nyatra loko �yam karma-bandhanah
tad-artham karma kaunteya mukta-sangah samacara

"Work done as a sacrifice for Vishnu has to be performed, otherwise work causes
bondage in this material world. Therefore, O son of Kunti, perform your prescribed
duties for His satisfaction, and in
that way you will always remain free from bondage."

Sri Krishna explains in the next few slokas why we have to perform rituals as
mentioned in Vedas, why we need to follow customs, perform our obligations to the
procedures specified in vedas etc
Many people are ready to accept that Moksha is possible through Gyaana Yoga, but
are not ready to accept following procedures as specified in Vedas. There are two
reasons, one is in
this mechanical life it's not easy to follow them, unless there is commitment
and the second reason is in the wave of the changes in the world (modern etc),
there is increasing tendency to ignore acharams and anushtanams. There is
acceptance of supreme lord, but people try to ignore duties like Amavasya
tarpanam, Pitru shradam, Poojas etc. Rather the thinking is, by doing some charity
to poor, doing some good in society would be enough. Due to Lack of time we
tend to ask the need for these rituals. In this Kali yug, importance for old
values and rituals are questioned and modern concepts replace. Feeding poor and
meditation are enough, we think and question the need for rituals to please our
deceased ancestors.
Earlier Arjuna raised a doubt that when Karma yoga is done, we get into likes
and dislikes. Even though the Karmas we do, are legal, not harmful to society
and not against one's conscience, this
will still involve us further in the worldly matters or samsaram (work
politics, likes and dislikes in dealing with others , ups and downs etc). So,
Arjuna has a reticence to get involved in daily matters
of work itself (i.e Karma yoga). Rather, he would prefer to go to a isolated
place and dwell on the Lord like a Gnaani yogi. But, this is not practical.
Even in this world, we see lot of monks, Jeeyars
etc who are not samsaris, handling the worldly matters with great tact as karma

Sri Krishna tells that in Karma yoga, he has specified the works and their
rewards and clearly specified what will bind one to this world and samasara and
what will not. So, if these process is
followed sincerely, we will not get bound by samasara, even when living in it
and going through our daily life.

*Yagnarthath= for the sake of yagna,
*karmano anyatra= works done other than for yagna,
*lokoyam karma bandhana= would bind the people in this samsaram,
[that means all karma done as deva pooja or for yagna will not incur papa. All
other actions will get us papa and immerse us in samsaram].
*Sanga = attachments,
*mukta= free,
*tad artham= for the sake of deva pooja,
*karma= do,
*kaunteya= Son of Kunthi.

So we derive the meaning of this sloka as we do deva pooja and that too without
attachment, it will lead us to Moksham. But deva pooja with attachments or non-
deva pooja actions will involve us
more and more in samsaram. Here yagna does not mean we have to perform those
pooja in front of sacred fire. Those will be done by a few qualified. But all of
us can worship the Lord at Anbil.
It will look difficult to do these without attachments. In most of the
activities in our life, by default we do things anticipating results (desiring
son, property , promotion, fame etc). But gradually we can
develop detachment and succeed. Just as we serve our parents or guests we can
surely perform deva pooja without expecting any reward or without the pride that
we are doing.
Sri Krishna therefore tells that any social service as service to God with no
attachments will raise the doer to higher level.

Since one has to work even for the simple maintenance of the body, the
prescribed duties for a particular social position and quality are so made that
that purpose can be fulfilled. Yajna means Lord
Visnu, or sacrificial performances. All sacrificial performances also are meant
for the satisfaction of Lord Visnu. The Vedas enjoin: yajno vai visnuh. In other
words, the same purpose is served whether
one performs prescribed yajnas or directly serves Lord Visnu. Krsna
consciousness is therefore performance of yajna as it is prescribed in this verse.
The varnasrama institution also aims at this for
satisfying Lord Visnu. "Varnasramacaravata purusena parah puman/visnur
aradhyate....." (Visnu Purana 3.8.8). Therefore one has to work for the
satisfaction of Visnu. Any other work done in this
material world will be a cause of bondage, for both good and evil work have
their reactions, and any reaction binds the performer. Therefore, one has to work
in Krsna consciousness to satisfy
Krsna (or Visnu); and while performing such activities one is in a liberated
stage. This is the great art of doing work, and in the beginning this process
requires very expert guidance.

Instead of working hard to acquire funds for self gratification endeavours which
causes one to bound in the material existence. Activities performed as an offering
to the Supreme Lord known as yagna
or sacrifice should be performed which are not bound to the material nature.
Lord Krishna uses the word sanga which means attachment this means that attachment
will be there when the action is
undertaken for self service but when it is an offering to the Supreme Lord one
is free from such ulterior motivations. All activities when done as an offering to
the Supreme Lord without anticipating any
reward become consecrated through yagna or acts of worship done for the pleasure
of atma-purusha, the Supreme Lord internally within the heart and externally
pervading all existence. The Supreme
Lord recognising such devotion will mitigate all the sins and the merits from
such offered actions which bind one to receiving punishment or rewards since time
immemorial and neutralising them direct
one from inside, and following this path with very little difficulty one can
achieve self-realisation.

Everyone in the world is locked and bound to the material existence by actions.
The renunciates state that: since all actions lead to bondage they should not be
performed. But refuting this Lord Krishna
states yagna-artaht that sacrifices done for the Supreme Lord without
expectation of reward are exempt from bondage.

It is now shown that all persons of every segment of society without exception
must nourish themselves by food offered as yagna consecrated worship exclusively
and that sins are imbibed
by all those who do not do so.

saha-yajnah prajah srstva purovaca prajapatih
anena prasavisyadhvam esa vo �stv ista-kama-dhuk

"In the beginning of creation, the Lord of all creatures sent forth generations of
men and demigods, along with sacrifices for Vishnu, and blessed them by saying,
�Be thou happy by this yajna [sacrifice]
because its performance will bestow upon you everything desirable for living
happily and achieving liberation.�

In the next seven slokas Sri Krishna explains why we and the Devas [gods] are
created and what are our mutual duties? This agreement of mutual help is in a
cyclic form.

*Prajapati= Sriman Narayana,
*pura = long ago during creation,
*praja= all people,
*yajna saha= along with yagna,
*srstva =created,
*uvaca= told like this. Long ago during creation, Sri Narayana while creating
yagna along with people told like this.
*Anena= by this yagna,
*prasavisyadhvam= all get prosperity,
*esa =all these, (yagna, deva pooja )
*va= to you,
*ista kama dhuk= beget all desired (Like a milk flowing from a cow's udders,
beget all you desire).

Deva pooja pleases God and He bestows all that we desire to possess. Dhuk comes
from the root for dhugd or milk. Just as a cow yields the owner nutritious milk,
God confers all desired things to
the worshiper. Milk is our desires, Lord is the Cow, Deva Pooja,Yagna is
the milkman who gets the milk.

The agreement here is we have to perform yagna or deva pooja and the deva
pooja, which are also created by Him, in turn get all our desires fulfilled from
God. This He has told long ago.
Our present Kali yug has 432,000 years. Total period of all the four yugs �
Kritha, Tretha, Dwapara and Kali- is 4,320,000 years. This is one Chatur yug and
1000 such Chatur yug constitute one day
time for Bramha. Another such equal period is night for him. That is one day is
2000 chatur yug for Brahma. His tenure is 100 years each of such 365 days. When
this tenure ends there is a deluge
called prakrutha pralayam. During this pralayam all are destroyed and they
remain in that destroyed state for an equal time and then the God again creates. A
good analogy is that of a farmer
before he sows a new crop in the field, he cuts off old crop and tills the land
and keeps it cleared for some time to ensure the traces of old crop are gone ,
after which he sows the new crop.
Similarly, the Lord keeps the world in pralayam state, where are all souls are
in dormant state, to remove traces of old state. But, to help the souls, he
recreates the worlds and allows the souls
to again take forms (does Shrusti again). At that time he creates the yajna to
bestow various benefits desired by us. This includes bestowing various benefits
from Indra, Varuna, Yama and other
devas, who can be propitiated through the Yagnas(deva pooja) . Not just benefit
of this world , but also beyond it.

Since Arjuna felt that actions beget likes and dislikes and so papa/punya, he
was afraid to do Karma yoga. Here the Lord allays this fear and says that by doing
Deva pooja as told by Him during
creation, one will never incur papa/ punya and so one will be redeemed from

As there is the scriptural text beginning with 'The Lord of Universe' (Tai. Na.,
11.3), it is justifiable to take the term Prajapati in its wider connotation and
interpret it to mean Narayana who is the
Lord of all beings, the creator of the universe and the Self of the universe. In
the beginning, i.e., during the creation, He, the Lord of beings, saw all beings
helpless by their conjunction with beginningless
non-conscient matter, bereft of the distinctions of name and form, and submerged
in Himself. They were incapable of attaining the major ends of human existence,
being almost one with non-conscient
matter. He, the supremely compassionate, with a desire to resuscitate them,
created them together with sacrifice in order that they might perform sacrifices
as His worship and said: 'By this
sacrifice,shall you prosper,' i.e., multiply and prosper. May this sacrifice
fulfil your supreme object of desire called release (Moksa) and also the other
desires that are in conformity with it. How, then,
should this be done?
The material creation by the Lord of creatures (Visnu) is a chance offered to
the conditioned souls to come back home--back to Godhead. All living entities
within the material creation are conditioned
by material nature because of their forgetfulness of their relationship to
Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The Vedic principles are to help us
understand this eternal relation, as it is
stated in the Bhagavad-gita: vedais ca sarvair aham eva vedyah. The Lord says
that the purpose of the Vedas is to understand Him. In the Vedic hymns it is said:
patim visvasyatmesvaram.
Therefore, the Lord of the living entities is the Supreme Personality of
Godhead, Visnu. In the Srimad-Bhagavatam also Srila Sukadeva Gosvami describes the
Lord as pati in so many ways:

sriyah patir yajna-patih praja-patir dhiyam patir loka-patir dhara-patih
patir gatis candhaka-vrsni-satvatam prasidatam me bhagavan satam patih
(Bhag. 2.4.20)

The praja-pati is Lord Visnu, and He is the Lord of all living creatures, all
worlds, and all beauties, and the protector of everyone. The Lord created this
material world for the conditioned souls to learn
how to perform yajnas (sacrifice) for the satisfaction of Visnu, so that while
in the material world they can live very comfortably without anxiety. Then after
finishing the present material body, they can
enter into the kingdom of God. That is the whole program for the conditioned
soul. By performance of yajna, the conditioned souls gradually become Krsna
conscious and become godly in all respects.
In the Age of Kali, the sankirtana-yajna (the chanting of the names of God) is
recommended by the Vedic scriptures. Sankirtana-yajna and Krsna consciousness go
well together. Lord Krsna in His
devotional form (as Lord Caitanya) is mentioned in the Srimad-Bhagavatam as
follows, with special reference to the sankirtana-yajna:

krsna-varnam tvisakrsnam sangopangastra-parsadam yajnaih sankirtana-prayair
yajanti hi su-medhasah

"In this Age of Kali, people who are endowed with sufficient intelligence will
worship the Lord, who is accompanied by His associates, by performance of
sankirtana-yajna." (Bhag. 11.5.32)
Other yajnas prescribed in the Vedic literatures are not easy to perform in
this Age of Kali, but the sankirtana-yajna is easy and sublime for all purposes.

devan bhavayatanena te deva bhavayantu vah
parasparam bhavayantah sreyah param avapsyatha

"The demigods, being pleased by sacrifices, will also please you, and thus, by
cooperation between men and demigods, prosperity will reign for all."

This sloka is a continuation of sloka 3.10 of Lord Prajapati's(Lord Narayan)
word's during the time of creation.

*Anena = by deva pooja, devan = the gods, bhavayata=worship,
*te deva= such worshipped gods, bhavayanu vah= would grant all prosperity and
make happy,
*parasparam bhavayantah= such mutual help, param sreyah= very high status and
avapsyatha= would attain.
The demigods are empowered administrators of material affairs. The supply of air,
light, water and all other benedictions for maintaining the body and soul of every
living entity are entrusted to the
demigods, who are innumerable assistants in different parts of the body of the
Supreme Personality of Godhead. Their pleasures and displeasures are dependent on
the performance of yajnas by
the human being. Some of the yajnas are meant to satisfy particular demigods; but
even in so doing, Lord Visnu is worshiped in all yajnas as the chief beneficiary.
It is stated also in the
Bhagavad-gita that Krsna Himself is the beneficiary of all kinds of yajnas:
bhoktaram yajna-tapasam. Therefore, ultimate satisfaction of the yajna-pati is the
chief purpose of all yajnas.
When these yajnas are perfectly performed, naturally the demigods in charge of
the different departments of supply are pleased, and there is no scarcity in the
supply of natural products.
Performance of yajnas has many side benefits, ultimately leading to liberation
from the material bondage. By performance of yajnas, all activities become
purified, as it is stated in the Vedas:

ahara-suddhau sattva-suddhih sattva-suddhau
dhruva smrtih smrti-lambhe sarvagranthinam vipramoksah

As it will be explained in the following verse, by performance of yajna one's
eatables become sanctified, and by eating sanctified foodstuffs, one's very
existence becomes purified; by the purification
of existence, finer tissues in the memory become sanctified, and when memory is
sanctified, one can think of the path of liberation, and all these combined
together lead to Krsna consciousness,
the great necessity of present-day society.

Further Notes (as per Swami Velkudi Krishnan's explanation):
Sri Krishna explains that whether one is capable to pursue gyana yoga or not,
one has to practice Karma yoga. Directly one cannot practice Gyana yoga. Arjuna
was doubtful that Karma yoga
involves action and this would lead to likes and dislikes and so will immerse
one more in samsaram and might not be able to free oneself from the samsaram. Sri
Krishna allayed this fear that
deva pooja like yagna would redeem one from samsaram and can get all that one
desires. Any karma without attachment will uplift us to higher planes. We should
not do anything with selfish reasons.
In the 10th sloka he said that he created at the time of creation of people,
yagna and other deva pooja with mutual help.

Arjuna gets a fresh doubt as to how these inanimate objects used in deva pooja
or yagna could get him what he desired. This applies to all rituals. Sri Krishna
tells that it is not necessary that those
materials should have intellect to get Arjuna benefits. These karma are
stipulated by Sri Krishna at the time of creation and that would guarantee the
rewards. This is like a three-hour exam
which is stipulated for testing a student�s capacity and based on that
performance, he is given admission in further studies. We cannot ask the efficacy
of this to test the capacity of the student
who has studied for 12 years, as that would be futile and these are the
stipulations of that authority which grants admission for higher studies. Deva
pooja are like exams. This action is a must to
reach higher levels. But, unlike a exam, the good intent and sincerity of
effort itself is enough to please the Lord here. God inside us knows our
sincerity and would ensure rewards accordingly.

Next, Arjuna is doubtful of the connection between deva pooja and the reward
received. Sri Krishna replies that the action by itself does not yield results.
But the action pleases Him and He orders
the rewards. Arjuna further asks whether it is the action or karma which
fetches Moksham or is the the gyana ? Because so far he has understood that gyana
alone will get Moksham.
Sri Krishna replies that while doing these karma in deva pooja, selfless
attitude is the gyana and becomes the qualification for obtaining Moksham.

Lastly, Arjuna queries that in the previous sloka, he said that deva pooja
gets the doer all that are desired. While Moksham may be correct, materialistic
desires also if granted would they not act
against Moksham? This is like going to Srirangam, which is in southern tip of
India, by going to Delhi , since material desires and Moksham are opposite of each
other. If Moksham is the purpose,
why is Lord suggesting the yagnas which lead us to material prosperity. Sri
Krishna refutes this and says that since we are living in a material world, it's
natural to provide ways to the beings
to ensure their physica and material well being. Moksham is only after the
life here is over and so they do not oppose each other.

istan bhogan hi vo deva: dasyante yajna-bhavitah
tair dattan aprada_yaibhya: yo bhunkte stena eva sah

" the demigods, being satisfied by the performance of yajna [sacrifice], will
supply all necessities to you. But he who enjoys such gifts without offering them
to the demigods in return is certainly a thief."

*Sah=he, stena eva= is a thief only, va= for us, deva= all gods, istan bhogan=
all we desire,

*dasyante= will grant, yajna bhavitah= worshiped well in the yagna or deva

When the gods are worshiped in deva pooja, they grant all that we desire and
also a part of it is returned to the gods by the devotees. If the devotees do not
return a portion and use all for
themselves, it amounts to stealing.

*Tair dattan= such wealth granted by the gods, aibhya = all these, apradaya = not
returning to the gods,
*yo bhunkte= he who enjoys, sah= he, stena eva = is only a thief.

So, we perform yagna and the gods pleased with that grant all we desire in the
form of rain, food grains, wealth and prosperity. With the wealth so obtained it
is expected that we do more yagna
and please the gods and they in return shower more wealth and this cycle goes
on and on. Instead, when the gods grant us wealth and we enjoy them fully without
caring to return a portion to perform
more yagna, we use others� property for our enjoyment. This is nothing but

But we may think that how the gods can claim anything. Rivers flow, the farmers
plough and cultivate and harvest food grains. We with our efforts cook and eat and
enjoy. So, where is the role of gods
here, we may ask? How this could be termed stealing? In this world different
types of transactions are seen. As an example, we give our clothes to the washer
man for washing. The washer man can
never use our clothes and so after washing he returns all the clothes. There is
no mutual help here and what the gods grant to us does not come under this
category. In the case of donation, the donor
gives and the recipient is not expected to return all or a portion of what he
received. In fact donation should be discreet and is not meant for publicity. In
the first case the washer man is not expected to
retain anything and returns all he received. While, in a donation, the
recipient takes away all received. In the case Sri Krishna tells, it is neither of
the examples. We please the gods and they shower
prosperity. We cannot use all, as that would be stealing. We cannot return all
also as we have to live and maintain our lives here. This is similar to the taxes
levied by governments. We use the facilities
like roads, lighting, etc. and increase our wealth and in return we pay a
portion as tax for the government to survive and to provide more and better
facilities. What is "Deva pooja" in this context?
Devas or the dieties are not going to come and receive everything we give them.
Rather than selfishly appropriating everything we get due to the munificence of
the Devas who are appointed by the
Lord, we should be grateful to the Lord(and the devas) and in spirit of
sharing, do good to the society. We should not have the feeling that "I" am the
doer and it was only due to "MY" efforts all this
has been achieved. We should shed that feeling, to avoid being bound by the
Karmas we are doing.

God provides a body to this atman and with that body we perform yagna and other
deva pooja to please God. We cannot say we put in our efforts. We do not make the
rain and river. God only provided
the cultivable land. Why? The body we possess is God given. All the �infra
structure� have been provided by someone other than us. This is what Sri Krishna
told earlier that at the time of creation he
had provided the people and yagna to do deva pooja so that while enjoying the
benefits, some portion is returned to gods. By mentioning deva pooja it is meant
pleasing the helpless and needy
devotees. We will be regarded as thieves if we do not distribute the wealth we
acquired with the gods� help to other needy persons in the form of deva pooja, but
enjoy entirely to ourselves.
In this world nothing could be claimed to be a single person�s as the efforts
of so many are involved even in a person�s wealth. This can be realized if we
think for ten minutes on the wealth with us.
So by distributing our wealth to the gods for their help and enjoying the
remaining wealth, these karma will not affect us to push us back in samsaram. This
answers Arjuna�s query and karma
did without selfish needs, will free us from samsaram.

The demigods are authorized supplying agents on behalf of the Supreme
Personality of Godhead, Visnu. Therefore, they must be satisfied by the
performance of prescribed yajnas. In the Vedas,
there are different kinds of yajnas prescribed for different kinds of demigods,
but all are ultimately offered to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. For one who
cannot understand what the
Personality of Godhead is, sacrifice to the demigods is recommended. According
to the different material qualities of the persons concerned, different types of
yajnas are recommended in the Vedas.
Worship of different demigods is also on the same basis--namely, according to
different qualities. But ultimately, all yajnas are meant for gradual promotion to
the transcendental position.

One should know, however, that all the necessities of life that the human
society requires are supplied by the demigod agents of the Lord. No one can
manufacture anything. Take, for example,
all the eatables of human society. These eatables include grains, fruits,
vegetables, milk, sugar, etc., for the persons in the mode of goodness, and also
eatables for the non-vegetarians, like meats,
etc., none of which can be manufactured by men. Then again, take for example
heat, light, water, air, etc., which are also necessities of life--none of them
can be manufactured by the human society.
Without the Supreme Lord, there can be no profuse sunlight, moonlight,
rainfall, breeze, etc., without which no one can live. Obviously, our life is
dependent on supplies from the Lord. Even for our
manufacturing enterprises, we require so many raw materials like metal,
sulphur, mercury, manganese, and so many essentials--all of which are supplied by
the agents of the Lord, with the purpose
that we should make proper use of them to keep ourselves fit and healthy for
the purpose of self-realization, leading to the ultimate goal of life, namely,
liberation from the material struggle for existence.
This aim of life is attained by performance of yajnas. If we forget the
purpose of human life and simply take supplies from the agents of the Lord for
sense gratification and become more and more
entangled in material existence, which is not the purpose of creation,
certainly we become thieves, and therefore we are punished by the laws of material
nature. A society of thieves can never be
happy because they have no aim in life. The gross materialist thieves have no
ultimate goal of life. They are simply directed to sense gratification; nor do
they have knowledge of how to perform yajnas.
Lord Caitanya, however, inaugurated the easiest performance of yajna, namely
the sankirtana-yajna, which can be performed by anyone in the world who accepts
the principles of Krsna consciousness.

Five Maha-Yajnas (panca-maha-yajna) or great sacrifices which are required to
be performed by every Dvija: These five acts of piety neutralise all sins
contracted by the five areas of destuction in the
home being the pestle, the grindstone, the fireplace, the waterpot and the
broom. Manu Samhita III. 69-71 confirms all sins from these five actions are duly
nullified by the five previous acts of piety.
1. Deva-Yajna: Offering sacrifices to the gods which will satisfy them,
2. Brahma-Yajna or Rishi-Yajna: Teaching and reciting the scriptures which will
satisfy Brahman and the Rishis,
3. Pitri-Yajna: Offering libations of water to one's ancestors which will
satisfy the manes,
4. Nri-Yajna: The feeding of the hungry and the guests, and,
5. Bhuta-Yajna: The feeding of the sub-human species, such as animals, birds,

yajna-sistaa sinah santa: mucyante sarva-kilbisaih
bhunjate te-tv agham papa:: ye pacanty atma-karanat

"The devotees of the Lord are released from all kinds of sins because they eat
food which is offered first for sacrifice. Others, who prepare food for personal
sense enjoyment, verily eat only sin."
This is a very important sloka. Whether we should eat food or eat sin? This
question is raised in this sloka. We will be shocked a bit to see what Sri Krishna
vehemently says.

*Yagna= deva pooja, yagnam, sishtam= leftovers [of prasadam offered to gods].

Krishna says a person who takes leftover of what he has offered to the god
after Deva Pooja, is called as "Yagna Sistaa sinah:". We normally (atleast in
devoted religious families) offer
Naivedyam (offering) to the Lord , also called "Kandu arula panudal" (i.e Lord
is seeing it and blessing , purifying it). Andal has captured the essence of this
in her Tiruppavai Pasuram
"Koodarai vellum seer Govinda ..adai udopom.. koodir irundu kulindhu..",
where she was requesting the Lord to purify the food and that she and her fellow
bhaktas will enjoy the prasadam.

Perialwar sang "udutu kalainda, ..thodutha thozha muzhi.." in Tirupallandu,
that the devotees will wear the garments discarded by Him, would decorate
themselves with the flowers removed by Him
and would eat the leftovers of the food offered to Him. Both this are great
examples of YagnaSistaah:

So yagna sishtam is very sacred. Here two interpretations are possible. One,
the food offered to Him in yagna and eating those. Other, the wealth that remains
after performing yagna is used for
maintaining one�s family. Such persons are called Great/good souls and will
get liberated by reactions and samsaaram.

*Santa= great souls. Muchyante= they get liberated.

They are relieved of all the sins, which were hindering atman sakshatkaram. In
the second part Sri Krishna tells what if one does not offer to God and consumes
the food all oneself?
The santas, being always in a compact of love with the Supreme Personality of
Godhead, Govinda (the giver of all pleasures), or Mukunda (the giver of
liberation), or Krsna (the all-attractive person),
cannot accept anything without first offering it to the Supreme Person.
Therefore, such devotees always perform yajnas in different modes of devotional
service, such as sravanam, kirtanam,
smaranam, arcanam, etc., and these performances of yajnas keep them always
aloof from all kinds of contamination of sinful association in the material world.

*Tetu = those people, aham bunjate papa= eat the sins only,
*ye= those persons, pacanti= cook or eat, atma karanat=for themselves only, for
self-gratification [without offering to gods or distributing to the needy].

i.e those who do anything (eating, enjoying wealth etc..) without considering
that as "Prasadam" of the Lord in thought (offering to God and distributing to
needy is the gestures), verily consume sin.
Others, who prepare food for self or sense gratification, are not only thieves,
but are also the eaters of all kinds of sins. How can a person be happy if he is
both a thief and sinful? It is not possible.

That means we should eat what was offered to God, dress with the garments
offered to Him. If we want progress in our life, if we want our children to
prosper and if we want to avoid rajo/tamo qualities,
then we have to follow the instructions in this sloka.
*We have to cook after cleaning our body by bathing.
*We should cook only those that are permitted in the shastras (food which
promotes Sattva).
*We should eat only after offering the cooked food to God.

If we do not follow this, the food we eat is amedyam or fit for garbage only.
One, who eats not the leftovers of a deva pooja or eats without offering to God,
consumes sins only. Think all the dishes
and vessels used in the house as gateways to hell, if they are not used and
cooked following the right process (bathing, doing naivedyam, offering to the Lord
, cooking sattvic food etc).

All these came up because Arjuna thought that action or karma meant laboring
for food and so possibility of incurring sins. So he thought it would be better to
avoid karma altogether and do
Gyana yoga. In reply Sri Krishna says that one can eat and for that can earn by
working. But all He wants is that such earnings and food cooked should be offered
at least by mere gestures to
avoid sins. Yagna sishtam will develop good character and this can be verified.
Sri Krsna says that, from the standpoint of the world as well as that of the
scriptures, everything has its origin in
sacrifice; and He speaks of the need for the performance of the sacrifices and
of the blemish in not performing the same:

3.14 & 3.15

annad bhavanti bhutani parjanyad anna-sambhavah
yajnad bhavati parjanya: yajnah karma-sam-udbhavah

"All living bodies subsist on food grains, which are produced from rains. Rains
are produced by performance of yajna [sacrifice], and yajna is born of prescribed

karma brahmodbhavam viddhi brahmakshara-samudbhavam
tasmat sarva-gatam brahma nityam yajne pratisthitam

"Our bodies are meant for actions and the eternal soul is needed in the body to
act. Therefore, yajna is always prescribed for all present bodies "

From food arise all beings; from rain food is produced. These two facts are
matters of common experience. 'From sacrifice comes rain' this is known from the
scriptures such as, 'The oblations
offered in fire reach the sun, and from the sun comes rain' (Manu, 6.76), and
sacrifice is born out of activities in the form of collecting materials, etc., by
the agent. And activity arises from 'Brahman',
the body born of Prakrti. Here the term, 'Brahman' connotes the physical body
consisting of modifications of the Prakrti; for the Prakrti is denoted here by the
term 'Brahman', as in the scriptural text:
'From Him arises, this Brahman and this 'Brahman' becomes name, form and food'
(Mun. U., 1.1.9). Here also it will be said by Sri Krsna: 'This great 'Brahman' is
my womb' (14.3). Therefore, the
words that 'Activity springs from 'Brahman' teaches that activity is produced by
the physical body which is of the nature of the modification of Prakrti. The
'Brahman' arises from the imperishable self.
Here the term, 'imperishable', indicates the individual self. The physical body,
which is inhabited by the self who is satisfied by food and drink, is fit for
action; hence the physical body which constitutes
the instrument of activity is said to be from the imperishable. Therefore the
'all-pervading Brahman' means here the bodies of all persons of diverse kinds
which are the products of Prakrti which
comprises all material entities, and is hence all-pervading. They, the bodies, are
established in sacrifice. The meanig is that the bodies have roots in sacrifice.

The Lord describes a cycle here. In factories we would have observed one wheel
rotating another and another and so on. The Lord describes such rotation here and
only when each wheel moves in
proper cycle, all will result in proper rotation. This is how Srushti by the
Lord is laid out.

*Bhutani= all living beings, annad bhavanti= need food, (all living beings
need food, whether it is grain, vegetables etc)
*anna sambava= for food to grow, parjanyad= rain is essential. (for this
grains to grow, rain is required)
*Parjanyo= the rains, yajnad bhavati= depend on yagna or deva pooja. (for
rain, yagna is required, which pleases the Devas , who in turn shower rains.
This was seen in earlier sloka)
*Yajnah= yagna, karma samudbhavan=are the result of our actions. (Yagna is
done as a result of our actions i.e Karma)

In the next sloka , lord continues with explaining the cycle:
*brahmo= our body, karma udbhavam vidhi= are meant for actions [to perform
yagna]. (for performing Karma, we need body. Or rather our body is there for
performing karma)
*Akshara = indestructible or everlasting soul or atman, brahma samudbhavam=
require a body. (Soul uses the vehicle of body to do Karma)

This completes a cycle. The atman is in a body, does actions like deva pooja
and obtains rain which help to grow food grains and these in turn are needed to
sustain the life in various bodies.
The center of this cycle is yagna or deva pooja. By performing these
regularly, we sustain life in various living organisms.

We can again see this cycle: soul in body is life -> require food � food crops
to grow to supply food� rains to grow crops � yagna to produce rains� body
required to perform yagna� food required to
sustain. So soul helps to maintain soul in body by all these in a cycle.

God is not a beneficiary here, as he does not need any of these. He is yagna
and he is the doer and the food and all. He is the result, the is he cause and he
is the equipment.
(vedic saying: Aham hi Sarva Yagna: , bhokta ca prabhureva ca:) (Nammazhwar
sings the same in 5.6.4 : "Sey Kinra kitti ellam yaane ennum, seyvaan ninranakalum
yaane enum..)

The soul is known to be indestructible and all pervading. Through the auspices
of the soul the physical body through the manifestations of nature partakes of
food and gains strength becoming fit
for performing actions authorised by the Vedas. The word udbhavan meaning
originates from is used to illustrate that this fitness comes from the source from
which one manifests from. Even nature
is only able to operate from the substratum through the utilisation of sun,
rain, wind, fire etc. and by no other means. Therefore the all pervading and
indestructible atma or soul utilises a physical body
which is its substratum in the same way as the material nature to perform
actions and that without a physical body performing the activities prescribed in
the Vedas, then yagna or worship is not

In this cycle which Lord has laid out in his shrusti, our role is to do our
part (performing Karma without attachment to results). Arjuna didn't want to do
his karma, to avoid cycle of karmic reactions
and samsaric afflictions. To allay Arjuna's concern, Krishna points out that
he has laid out the rules of this cycle and Arjuna just needs to do his karma
(doing yagna, karma anushtanam..) and avoid
any cycle of reactions.

Finally He says,

*sarva ghatam brahma = everywhere present body, nithyam= always,
*yajne pratisthitam= get established or stabilized in yajna.

So if we rotate the central yagna, it will produce rains and so food grains and
thereby life is sustained. This is one cycle. In the other cycle, for performing
yagna one has to do karma, for which body
is needed, which can be active only if there is soul in it. In both cycles
yagna is the central feature.

Because it is due to actions that the Earth keeps revolving, actions should be
performed. This Lord Krishna is emphasising in this verse and the next two verses
with the words bhavanti bhutani
meaning beings are born. They are born from food turned into semen., that food
was created from rains that resulted from yagna or worship and that worship was
performed by actions and from the
efforts of those was accomplished. This is the meaning. In the Manu Samhita
III.76 it states that the ghee or clarified butter duly offered into the
sacrificial fire ascends to the sun and from that the sun
manifests clouds full of rain. From rain results the growth of food and from
food humans come into existence from the semen of males fertilising the eggs

The Supreme Lord, who is known as the yajna-purusa, or the personal beneficiary
of all sacrifices, is the master of all demigods, who serve Him as the different
limbs of the body serve the whole.
Demigods like Indra, Candra, Varuna, etc., are appointed officers who manage
material affairs, and the Vedas direct sacrifices to satisfy these demigods so
that they may be pleased to supply air,
light and water sufficiently to produce food grains. When Lord Krsna is
worshiped, the demigods, who are different limbs of the Lord, are also
automatically worshiped; therefore there is no separate
need to worship the demigods. For this reason, the devotees of the Lord, who
are in Krsna consciousness, offer food to Krsna and then eat--a process which
nourishes the body spiritually. By such
action not only are past sinful reactions in the body vanquished, but the body
becomes immunized to all contamination of material nature. When there is an
epidemic disease, an antiseptic vaccine
protects a person from the attack of such an epidemic. Similarly, food offered
to Lord Visnu and then taken by us makes us sufficiently resistant to material
affection, and one who is accustomed to
this practice is called a devotee of the Lord. Therefore, a person in Krsna
consciousness, who eats only food offered to Krsna, can counteract all reactions
of past material infections, which are
impediments to the progress of self-realization. On the other hand, one who
does not do so continues to increase the volume of sinful action, and this
prepares the next body to resemble hogs and
dogs, to suffer the resultant reactions of all sins. The material world is full
of contaminations, and one who is immunized by accepting prasadam of the Lord
(food offered to Visnu) is saved from the
attack, whereas one who does not do so becomes subjected to contamination.

Food grains or vegetables are factually eatables. The human being eats
different kinds of food grains, vegetables, fruits, etc., and the animals eat the
refuse of the food grains and vegetables, grass,
plants, etc. Human beings who are accustomed to eating meat and flesh must also
depend on the production of vegetation in order to eat the animals. Therefore,
ultimately, we have to depend on the
production of the field and not on the production of big factories. The field
production is due to sufficient rain from the sky, and such rains are controlled
by demigods like Indra, sun, moon, etc., and
they are all servants of the Lord. The Lord can be satisfied by sacrifices;
therefore, one who cannot perform them will find himself in scarcity--that is the
law of nature. Yajna, specifically the
sankirtana-yajna prescribed for this age, must therefore be performed to save
us at least from scarcity of food supply.

Anything performed without the direction of the Vedas is called vikarma, or
unauthorized or sinful work. Therefore, one should always take direction from the
Vedas to be saved from the reaction of
work. As one has to work in ordinary life by the direction of the state,
similarly, one has to work under direction of the supreme state of the Lord. Such
directions in the Vedas are directly manifested
from the breathing of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. We should always
remember that the conditioned souls in material nature are all eager for material
enjoyment. But the Vedic directions
are so made that one can satisfy one's perverted desires, then return to
Godhead, having finished his so-called enjoyment. It is a chance for the
conditioned souls to attain liberation; therefore the
conditioned souls must try to follow the process of yajna by becoming Krsna

evam pravartitam cakram naanuvarta yatiha yah:
aghayur indriyarama: mogham partha sa jivati

"My dear Arjuna, one who does not follow in human life the cycle of sacrifice thus
established by the Vedas certainly leads a life full of sin. Living only for the
satisfaction of the senses, such a person
lives in vain."

For all living beings to live food is required, which is obtained from food crops,
which depend on rains, which can be got only by yagna and for performing yagna the
atman needs a body. We are to
worship Him with the body given to our atman and this is what was told by Sri
Krishna in the last two slokas.This cycle has to be maintained and everyone has
to do his job in this cycle.
In this Sloka, Sri Krishna tells that the person who does not do his job in the
cycle he had created, is unfit to live. Here one should decide whether one lives
for the world or the world is for one.
Cooperation in society is emphasized. Universal brotherhood or Vasudeva kudumpakam
is underlined. Sriman Narayana and Sri Maha Lakshmi are Parents of everyone. Like
brothers and sisters in
the same family all are to cooperate and help each other.

*evam pravartitam cakram - This cycle (which was mentioned in previous two
slokas by the Lord) of kaarya-kaaranam ; Soul/body->karma->Yaagam,devapooja etc-
>Rain->Food-> Body.
*na-anuvartayati-iha yah - one who does not follow this cycle
*Agh-ayur - Sin (sin due to the effect of not following the cycle)
*Indriya-aramah: - He lives in sense gratification; "Aramah" means garden; He
is living in garden of sense pleasures. He is not "Atma-Raamah" - so will never
get atma darshanam. Drowned in
sense pleasures, he will fall prey to likes,
disklikes -> raaga, dvesha etc -> Rajo,tamasic afflictions
*mogham jivati - His life is in vain
*sa - such a person

For us who are in gruhastas life - we get into "pancha soonai", five
(unavoidable) paapams , while using daily appliances (grinder, cooking, cleaning,
water vessel etc), which kills small creatures.
To overcome the effects of those paapams, we are supposed to perform five yagnas
(pancha mahaa yagnas) �bramha, pitru, deva, manushya and bhootha- daily.
Bhootha yagna means caring for dogs and other living beings. Manushya yagna is
to caring for guests. Pitru yagna is performing rituals for deceased ancestors.

Thus this wheel is set in motion by the Supreme Person: From food arise
embodied selves which are denoted by the word 'beings': from rain food; from
sacrifice rain; sacrifice from activities which
constitute the exercise of an agent; and activity from the embodied self; and
again the body endowed with life from food. In this manner there is a sequence
which revolves like a wheel through the
mutual relations of cause and effect. Hence, He who is engaged in spiritual
practice --- whether one is qualified for Karma Yoga or Jnana Yoga --- if he does
not follow, i.e., does not keep in motion
the wheel which revolves in a circle through mutual relation of cause and effect
--- that person by not maintaining his bodily subsistence by means of the
'remainder of sacrifice,' lives in sin. His life
begins in sin or develops in sin, or is of both these kinds; he lives the life of
sin. Thus he is a reveller in his senses and not in his self. The senses become
the pleasure-gardens of one whose mind
and body are not nourished by the 'remainders of sacrifices.' Rajas and Tamas
preponderate in his body. Being thus turned away from the vision of the self, he
rejoices only in the enjoyment of the
senses. Therefore, even if he were to attempt for the vision of the self, it will
be fruitless.

From food all creatures procreate and from rain food is produced. The whole world
is witness to this. As for the evidence that yagna or worship causes rainfall
sastra or the Vedic scriptures give proof.
In Manu Samhita III.76 we find that oblations properly offered into the sacred
fire ascend upwards to the sun, and from the sun rain clouds are produced. Actions
such as earning funds are accomplished
by the physical body when actions utilise such wealth following the prescribed
injunction of the Vedas then the result is yagna. The word Brahma here denotes the
universal body as an aggregate of all
material particles. The word aksara means indestructible or imperishable in the
verse brahma-aksara refers to the eternal jiva-atma, the individual soul. It is
the jiva-atma who monitors the body and
gives it consciousness and impels it nourish itself through food and water,
fortifying it to engage in the prescribed actions of the Vedas. Hence the physical
body which serves as the medium for actions
is said to manifest from the all prevasive universal body of the Brahman. Thus the
physical body itself is the essential item which every votary of yagna must
possess and is the indispensable prerequisite
for the performance of yagna.

So from actions comes yagna, from yagna rain, from rainfall food and from food
embodied beings. This cycle was set into motion by the Supreme Lord Krishna at the
beginning of creation. This cycle
is never ending and was designed to exist perpetually providing all necessities
for the embodied beings allowing them to prosper and flourish, Whoever is born on
this Earth whether they are performers
of actions or contemplators of the ultimate truth, the Supreme Brahman; if they
fail to adhere to and follow and adhere to this cycle leads a sinful life for the
simple reason that they fail to even support
and preserve their own embodied existence by sanctifying it with the daily food
remnants eaten that was first offered in yagna.

The word agha-ayuh means full of sin, this can be either that ones life is
committed to making sins or that one is living a life perpetuated by sin or it can
even mean both. In this way such a sinner
becomes an indriyaramah or one who only seeks delights in the beguiling garden of
the senses using their valuable human life only for the pursuit of pleasure, a
slave under the control of sense
delights. Therefore such a one never takes delight in the soul and is the
antithesis of an atmaramah or one who delights in the garden of the atma or soul.

Food eaten that was not first sanctified by being consecrated in yagna or offering
of worship beforehand ignites rajas or passions in one and incites tamas or
darkness of intellect. A person in whom
these dispositions are prominent becomes hostile to achieving an even rudimental
spiritual illumination let alone atma-tattva or self-realisation of the soul. Such
a hostile person only finds pleasure in
pursuing pleasure to gratify their senses.

Blessed with the gift of a human body which is suitable for offering Divine
worship in yagna and which therefore which must be nourished with sanctified food
duly consecrated so ones actions fulfill
there purpose. If one errs and fails to honour and respect this eternal cycle
given in the Vedic injunctions, then all there hopes for spiritual realisation
will not be fulfilled and all their efforts are destined
to failure. There complete life was lived in vain.

So from this it can be understood that the necessity for the actions of yagna as
prescribed in the Vedic scriptures are essential and indispensable for the
different varnas or castes and asramas or stages
of society. Only that person who has attained moksa or complete liberation from
the cycle of birth and death in the material nature is under no obligation to in
any way whatsoever to perform any activity
due to the fact that the achievement of atma-tattva self-realisation of the soul
has already been attained.
yas tv atma-ratir eva syad atma-trptas ca manavah
atmany eva ca santustas tasya karyam na vidyate

"But for one who takes pleasure in the self, whose human life is one of self-
realization, and who is satisfied in the self only, fully satiated�for him there
is no duty."

From 10th to 16th sloka the activities we are to do were all listed. We are to
perform yagna, we have to keep the life cycle rotating, everyone has a role and
that has to be done properly and if not done
such persons' lives are in vain. Now He says some are not to do anything. There
is no contradiction to what Sri Krishna told till now and in the three
slokas(17,18,19) starting from the present one.
He lists who all are not needed to do any karma. The person referred to in this
sloka is "KaivalyaArthi" (i.e one who desires only Atma, has Atma darsanam and is
involved in only Atma darsanam).

*Tasya karyam na vidyate= He does not need to do anything. Earlier He told that
those who are in the initial stages of Karma yoga and who desire to visualize
atman are to perform yagna and keep
the cycle rotating. But here the person(KaivalyaArthi) who has already had
atman sakshatkaram, he is not expected to do all these karma, like deva pooja etc.

*Ya= the one,
*manava =person,
*tu = but (emphasizing the persons who are involved in "Indriyaarama" as
listed in previous verses and the one involved in "Atmaaraamah" as in this verse
and subsequent 2 verses).
*atma rati reva = DESIRIOUS in visualizing atman, (Dharakam - Atma itself
replaces the Five senses)
*atma trptas ca= SATISFACTION with such pleasure in atman (and not desiring
anything) (Poshakam - Atma Anubhavam itself is enough for growing and joy )
*atman eva santhusta= derives HAPPINESS with atman. (Bhogyam - Atma
Anubhavam itself is like Bhogyam to him and he doesn't need any other Bhogyam)

There are three things told here: desire, satisfaction and happiness. What is
the difference between this three?These are explained by Swami Vedanta Desika in
his Tatparya Chandrika made on
the teachings of Swami Ramanuja.
Three things are there: dharakam, poshakam and bhogyam. Dharakam is necessary
to retain life in the body, like water. Poshakam is nourishment to body for
growth, like food. Bhogyam is just
for the tasting pleasure, like betel leaves used for chewing. The five sensual
feelings are dharakam (Shabdha, Sparsa, Roopa, Rasah, Gandham ). Varieties of
eating are poshakam. So the
essential is in the five senses. Where we get satisfied by eating or dressing
is poshakam. When we want to avoid summer by going to hill resorts are in the
bhogyam category. The first one is desire.
Poshakam is satisfaction and the third bhogyam is happiness or pleasure.

A person who has had atman darshan, does not desire another, nor needs another
to get satisfied and finally finds pleasure in atman darshan itself and does not
need any other. The person who
has all these three states, is not expected to do any yagna or devapooja.
Since Arjuna is not one situated in "Atma darsanam" state, he needs to follows the
cycle laid out by Lord (as mentioned
in earlier slokas).

naiva tasya krtEn artha: naakrtena eha kascana
na caAsya sarva-bhutesu kascid artha-vyapasrayah

"A self-realized man has no purpose to fulfill in the discharge of his prescribed
duties, nor has he any reason not to perform such work. Nor has he any need to
depend on any other living being."

In the previous sloka Lord mentioned that a Person who has reached stage of Atma
Darsanam (i.e Kaivlya Aarthi) enjoys Atma as Dharakam, Poshakam and Bhogyam and is
not concerned about
anything else. In this sloka , he continues on the same vein referring to
Kaivalyaarthi and there being no requirement for such a person to perform Karma

A person who has realized "Atma Darasanam", has no purpose to perform Karma

naiva - definitely not ; krtena - by performing ; artha - no purpose (i.e by
performing karma yoga i.e prescribed duties, he is not fullfilling any purpose)
tasya - for one who has achieved atma darsanam.

akrtena - by not doing prescribed duties ; na kascana - nothing is lost
(similarly for one in Atma darsanam, there is no loss in not doing prescribed

sarva bhutesu - in all living beings (relatives, friends, objects of
enjoyment, sense enjoyment..)
vyapasrayah - dependent

Three classes of people:
Aishwaryaarti - One wants to enjoy pleasures in this world and other worlds.
Kaivalyaarthi - One who doesn't want to enjoy any "bhogam" in this world or
other worlds , but constantly meditate on the Atma and are constantly engaged in
Atma Darsanam. They are not even
intrested in

Lord Krishna has declared previously that the performer of yagna prospers and
flourishes and the ommiter of yagna fails to prosper and flourish but now He
confirms that in this world the knower
of atma-tattva or soul realisation has no need for prosperity or necessity for
performing any action precsribed in the Vedas; nor is there any fault or defect in
the ommision of any such action.
What is done or what is not done is all the same to the perfectly equiposed
realised being because such a person is indifferent to everything except the
eternal soul within which is the only medium
to the Supreme Lord. Thus completely satisfied within such a person has no
dependance on any living being including the demi-gods. The purport is that such a
person depends on nothing from anyone
because such a person has no desire for anything from any being.

The person who is neither in need of karma yoga the path of action or jnana
yoga the path of cultivating spiritual knowledge is naturally one who is situated
in atma-tattva or soul realisation. To such a
person the atma or soul and the Supreme Lord are the only objects of attention
and one is completely content within by them. No satisfaction that is felt in any
other situation such as eating delicious
foods or drinking nectarian beverages can compare with the satisfaction that
the atma gives. Neither beautiful scents, nor beautiful music nor the experience
of beautiful panoramas can compare either
with the bliss of the atma. To that person whose focus, whose attention, whose
inspiration, whose support, whose everything is emanating from the atma. What need
is there to perform prescribed Vedic
activities to attain atma-tattva? Such a person is already situated in atma-
tattva and has attained moksa or liberation from the cycle of birth and death in
the material existence. So such a person has no
need to perform prescribed Vedic activities. Both karma yoga and jnana yoga are
paths for those whose minds need to be diverted and directed from the material
illusion to the spiritual reality. But once
one who has achieved atma-tattva there is no need to resort to any external
assistance any longer. Any action such a one performs is not bound to the material
nature as cause and effect due to the
reality that such a person is always performing every action while in blissful
contemplation and meditation on the wonders of the atma.

tasmad asaktah satatam kaaryam karma samacara
asakto hy aacaran karma param aapnoti purushah

"Therefore, without being attached to the fruits of activities, one should act as
a matter of duty, for by working without attachment one attains the Supreme."

*Tasmad= therefore, asaktha=without attachment,
*satatham=till atma darshan is realized,
*kaaryam karma samacara= this action or Karma yoga has to be performed. Because,

*asakto= without attachment, karma aacharan= the one practicing Karma yoga,
*param aapnoti= realizes atman darshan.

In the last two slokas of 17th and 18th, Sri Krishna mentioned about the person
who has had already atman darshan need not do Karma yoga. But here with the use of
the word tasmad= therefore,
He implies the one who has not yet got atman sakshatkaram. Tasmad has several
interpretations. Since Arjuna has not yet got the atman darshan, therefore he has
to do Karma yoga. It also
means that all those who have not got atman darshan, therefore have to do Karma
yoga. Because we are used to actions, to start Karma yoga control of senses is not
a pre-requisite, there is no
slippage as mind, word and action are all unified, even a Gyana yogi needs to
perform Karma yoga and other reasons, we have to do Karma yoga. Therefore after
Karma yoga only, one could try
Gyana yoga.

Sri Krishna has already detailed who should do Karma yoga and who need not. A
learner in music has to perform beats so that the music is proper. But an expert
even without the aid of beats could sing
properly. The learner cannot try to imitate the expert. Here also, the Gyana
yogi has already got atma sakshatkaram and so he need not do Karma yoga. But a
person yet to have atman darshan, on the
other hand, will have to perform Karma yoga and cannot imitate Gyana yogi.
Continuous performance of Karma yoga will control the senses and organs and then
one could attempt for Gyana yoga.
Therefore, duty has to be performed without any expectation of the rewards and
dispassionately performed till one is able to control senses. Even a fight if done
without expecting cheap rewards but
done as a duty in His service is regarded as Karma yoga. This applies to all
our actions. This body of us is given by Him and the proper functions are all
destined by Him and so we owe a duty to think
that all our actions� results are His only. Such thought will make us to
realize high reward of atman sakshatkaram.

In this verse the word karyam means duty bound and the word asaktah means
unattached. So one should perform prescribed Vedic actions in karma yoga as a
matter of duty without attachment to the
results until atma-tattva is achieved. In this way karma yoga is performed
without ego centred conceptions of the self as the doer. Because karma yoga is
recommended even to those in jnana yoga
great Maharishis and rulers of great wisdom such as King Janaka also achieved
atma-tattva and attained moksa solely by karma yoga performing actions following
the prescribed injunctions of the Vedas.
This illustrates that the aspirant for moksa who is not qualified to tread the
path of jnana yoga can still achieve the highest attainment through karma yoga.
Furthermore it has also been shown that there
are some advantages in performing prescribed Vedic activities in karma yoga
even for one qualified to tread the path of jnana yoga. In the next verse another
aspect of karma yoga will be shown as the
inevitable duty of a specifically distinguished and qualified class of people
in society.

From 10th sloka it was told why we have to perform Karma yoga, when it was
created by God, how it is an agreement of mutual help, and what is our duty to
keep this cycle rotating. From 20th sloka
Sri Krishna is going to give examples of great souls who have practiced Karma

3.20 & 3.21
karmanaiva hi samsiddhim asthita janaka-dayah
loka-sangrahham evapi sampasyan kartum arhasi

yad yad acarati srestha: tat tad evey-itaro janaha:
sayat pramanam kurute lokah tad-anuvartate

*karmanaiva hi= by Karma yoga Only! (even if they were qualified for performing
Gyaana Yoga),
*samsiddhim= atman darshan, asthitah= they attained,
*janakadayah= persons like Janaka.

Sri Krishna lists the great persons who practiced Karma yoga and the first to
be mentioned is the King Janaka in the 20th sloka.
This implies that we have to follow our ancestors and elders. In a light way
some say that Sri Krishna cites Janaka as example, as in His earlier avatar He
wanted to praise His father-in-law Janaka,
but the opportunity has come now only. Here we have to note that though Janaka
was fully qualified to practice Gyana yoga, he preferred to attain atman
sakshatkaram by Karma yoga alone.
We have to note that Karma yoga is easier to practice and the atman
sakshatkaram attained by Karma yoga is not inferior to the one attained by Gyana
King Janaka and other great men renowned for their wisdom performed countless
prescribed Vedic activities according to their status in society yet still reached
perfection in atma-tattva and attained
moksa in their lives. Even after attaining moksa they performed Vedic
activities for the benefit and welfare of the world and to inspire others to also
perform prescribed Vedic actions for the balance
and maintenance of the world. For one who is not a person of wisdom such
activities performed leads to purification and for one who is a person of wisdom
such activities lead to the bliss of pleasing
the Supreme Lord and the fulfilment of the bliss of moksa. So one should not
think that after realisation it is not worthy to purify others for the welfare of
all created beings as it is still beneficial.
Also people seeing such a great king as Janaka performing sacred actions also
became inspired to follow his example. To the contrary those wallowing in material
nature in the mode of ignorance fail
to perform Vedic actions are ruined in this life and the next..

King Janaka kept his Shiva Dhanush [bow] as the wager for getting his daughter
Sri Sita married and Sri Rama came to Mithila and broke the bow to win Sri Sita.
For the marriage King Dasaratha
and sage Vasishta and all had come. During the offering of his daughter Sri
Sita to Sri Rama, Janaka said the famous verse "iyam sita mama sutha...". He said
" this is my daughter Sri Sita and
she will follow Sri Rama in dharma and if He happens to drift away She will
correct Him and follow. I bless you with all auspiciousness". There is an
interesting commentary by a great Acharya
Periavachan Pillai. Janaka was a karma yogi and he never considered anything as
his and thus he was totally detached. His teacher used to commence lectures only
after the arrival of Janaka
and other students thought that the teacher was doing because Janaka was the
king. The teacher wanted the other students to realize the greatness of Janaka and
so out of his yoga power, he
created an illusion as though city of Mithila, the Kingdom of Janaka was on
fire. All students thought the fire to be real and ran away fro the classroom to
save their small clothes and others.
But Janaka remained unperturbed. When the teacher asked him why he was not
rushing to save his property and kingdom, he said with a cool mind that he
considered nothing as his and atman
could never be burnt away. All the students understood the greatness of Janaka.
Such a person felt Sri Sita as his daughter shows the great qualities of Sri Sita.
So when Janaka practiced Karma
yoga it shows how great Karma yoga is.

*Loka Sangraham - For welfare of society, followers; * sampasyan -> for
followers ; *kartum arhasi -> perform Karma Yoga
Now Sri Krishna coins a new word loka sangraham. One might be capable of doing
so many things. If he happens to be a great person then many would follow what
that one does. If he does things which
others could copy it is good. But if he does actions which others can not
practice, one's followers will copy in vain and fail. This is loka sangraham.
Arjuna was not capable of practicing Gyana yoga but
even for an argument it was assumed that he was capable of doing Gyana yoga,
since he was a king, his subjects would copy him and try to follow Gyana yoga.
They will then fail in their pursuit.
Here two errors take place. One incapable persons pursue and fail. The second
is such persons are misguided by the leader. Whereas if Arjuna even with his
capability to practice Gyana yoga followed
Karma yoga, then his followers would also adopt Karma yoga and succeed and
Arjuna also would be praised for leading them to atman sakshatkaram. So we should
adopt that which our followers could
emulate and get benefit. This is called Loka sangraham.

In the 21st sloka He explains this further.

*Sreshta = very great persons,who have learned all and practicing,and who are
regarded as great persons by all,
*yad yad acarati = what all they perform or follow,
*tad tad eva itaro jana= those are followed by people, tad = those actions
of great persons,
*anuvartate= followed.

Arjuna thought whether he was a great person? Sri Krishna replies in the
affirmative, because Arjuna was the cousin of the Lord, he was direct disciple to
hear Gita, he was the sishya of Drona
and he had conquered his senses. So there were followers to him and so he had
a responsibility to guide them rightly knowing their capabilities.

So understanding that the whole Earth benefits from the performance of
prescribed Vedic activities, one should act altruistically not for themselves but
for the welfare of the world. This is the meaning
Lord Krishna is conveying. The word sresthah means great personality expert in
the conclusions of the Vedas. Whatever actions such a great person performs others
will try to follow. It may be that a
certain activity should be performed on a special day. The common people will
wait to see how a great person takes the initiative on such an action and then
they will follow suit.
Why should they think this way when it is a known fact that the Vedic
scriptures are the authority on all aspects of life? They think this way because
they do not rely on the scriptures they depend upon
the actions ot the visibly prominent in society to base their judhements. So
whatever a prominent member of society postualtes whether it is Vedic or concocted
the ignorant not being knowlegeable will
undoubtedly follow correct or not.

People in general always require a leader who can teach the public by
practical behavior. A leader cannot teach the public to stop smoking if he himself
smokes. Lord Caitanya said that a teacher should
behave properly even before he begins teaching. One who teaches in that way is
called acarya, or the ideal teacher. Therefore, a teacher must follow the
principles of sastra (scripture) to reach the
common man. The teacher cannot manufacture rules against the principles of
revealed scriptures. The revealed scriptures, like Manu-samhita and similar
others, are considered the standard books
to be followed by human society. Thus the leader's teaching should be based
on the principles of the standard rules as they are practiced by the great
Hence the great personalities should always act in an exemplary manner to set
the standard for the world. In this way they inspire everyone to perform
prescribed Vedic actions according to the
qualification of ones varna or caste in life and ones asrama or stage in life.
If one fails to do this by neglect or omission one commits sin by omitting to help
benefit the welfare of the world by their example
and the consequence will be one will fall down from the path they achieved
after many lifetimes.
na me paartha-asti kartavyam trisu lokesu kincana
na-anavaptam avaaptavyam varta eva ca karmani

"O son of Pritha, there is no work prescribed for Me within all the three
planetary systems. Nor am I in want of anything, nor have I a need to obtain
anything�and yet I am engaged in prescribed duties."

*na me partha asti Kartavyam
- mey , na asti , kartavyam : For me, there is no necessity for doing
any actions
*trisu lokesu kincana - in all three worlds - even when taking any birth as
either human, animal, deva in all the worlds
*na-anavaaptam - nothing which is unobtained
*avaptavyam - nothing to be desired ; Lord is avapta samastha Kaaman - one who
has all the desires fulfilled.
*varta eva ce - Yet i(Lord) am engaged in , Karmani - in actions (this is
unlike many of us, who would not do any duty, if all our wants and desires are

Now Lord Krishna is clarifying that He is not only giving this instruction but
that He follows the performance of prescribed Vedic activities as well for the
welfare of the world. Although He is the Supreme
Lord of all with no need to attain what He already possesses still Lord Krishna
performs Vedic activities in His form or the form of any of His authorised
incarnations to set the example and so that all the
worlds will beneftit. He has set aside his other actions and have come to help
Arjuna and is functioning as his chariot driver. In this role He takes care of the
horses and drives the chariot of Arjuna as
required by him. Sri Krishna tells that though He is born as human being or a
beast or a deva, there is nothing He, as the Almighty God, has to do anything as
duty. In spite of this is he not performing the
duties of the role he has taken in every birth? Sri Krishna has nothing to
achieve by doing these duties. He is called avapta samastha kaman - that is One
Who has all the desires fulfilled. There is not a
single desire he is wanting to get fulfilled. While taking birth he selects the
place, the time and the parents. He has to obey nobody's commands. All commands in
Vedas are His commands and he need
not follow those and they are meant for us. This is different from what we come
across in our lives. Our law makers are bound by the laws they make. But in
religion, God is not expected to obey the laws
he has made for us. Despite all these, Sri Krishna is performing all the duties
expected of an ordinary human like chariot driver. So Arjuna should follow Karma
yoga noting such great persons as

The Supreme Personality of Godhead is described in the Vedic literatures
(Svetasvatara Upanisad 6.7-8) as follows:

tam isvaranam paramam mahesvaram tam devatanam paramam ca daivatam
patim patinam paramam parastad vidama devam bhuvanesam idyam

na tasya karyam karanam ca vidyate na tat-samas cabhyadhikas ca drsyate
parasya saktir vividhaiva sruyate svabhaviki jnana-bala-kriya ca

"The Supreme Lord is the controller of all other controllers, and He is the
greatest of all the diverse planetary leaders. Everyone is under His control. All
entities are delegated with particular power only
by the Supreme Lord; they are not supreme themselves. He is also worshipable
by all demigods and is the supreme director of all directors. Therefore, He is
transcendental to all kinds of material
leaders and controllers and is worshipable by all. There is no one greater
than Him, and He is the supreme cause of all causes.

"He does not possess bodily form like that of an ordinary living entity. There
is no difference between His body and His soul. He is absolute. All His senses are
transcendental. Any one of His senses can
perform the action of any other sense. Therefore, no one is greater than Him
or equal to Him. His potencies are multifarious, and thus His deeds are
automatically performed as a natural sequence." (Svetasvatara
Upanisad 6.7-8)

Since everything is in full opulence in the Personality of Godhead and is
existing in full truth, there is no duty for the Supreme Personality of Godhead to
perform. One who must receive the results of work
has some designated duty, but one who has nothing to achieve within the three
planetary systems certainly has no duty. And yet Lord Krsna is engaged on the
Battlefield of Kuruksetra as the leader of
the ksatriyas because the ksatriyas are duty-bound to give protection to the
distressed. Although He is above all the regulations of the revealed scriptures,
He does not do anything that violates the
revealed scriptures.

yadi-hy aham, na varteyam jatu karmany-atandritahh
mama vartm-anuvartante manushyaah partha sarvasah

"For if I ever failed to engage in carefully performing prescribed duties, O
Partha, certainly all men would follow My path."

*Aham= the Almighty God I am [Sri Krishna tells],
*yadi = might, jatu=at any time, atandritah = without laziness,
*karmany na varteyam = do not perform the prescribed duties,
*mama =my, vartma = actions, anuvartante = will be followed,
*manushyah = men, sarvasah = in all respects.

That is, even at any time, due to fatigue or laziness if Sri Krishna were to
fail to perform His prescribed duties [ in the role He had assumed], all people
would follow this action always.
Sri Vamana is the example here. In the 22nd sloka, trishu lokeshu, that is in
all the three worlds was mentioned. The Lord resides in a place far away from all
the worlds and so here we have
to interpret three worlds as three births he had assumed. Whether He was born
as deva or human or beast, he followed the duties prescribed. When the Lord took
the role of a Boar to redeem
Sri Bhhoma devi, He appeared with real boar features and this made other
ordinary boars to think that He was one among them and so played friendly. On the
contrary, in Srimad Ramayana, when
Mareecha took the form of a beautiful deer, other deers felt he was not of
their clan and so ran away out of fear. The Lord however fits Himself truly to the
form he takes because he has to set an
example to His followers. In the Sri Vamana avatar, he has to beg for land from
King Bali. The apt role for this is Bachelor form, says Swami Vedanta Desika. But
the Lord is always with Sri Lakshmi as
Consort on His right chest. To be true to the role he had taken, he hid the
right chest by a big deer skin as was the custom followed by bachelors while going
for begging [It is to avoid the grace of Sri
Lakshmi falling on the King and thereby His mission might fail is another
reason]. Such a great Lord with nothing needed goes for begging means the Lord is
prepared to downgrade his status so as to
protect His devotees and perform his duty.

In order to keep the balance of social tranquility for progress in spiritual
life, there are traditional family usages meant for every civilized man. Although
such rules and regulations are for the conditioned
souls and not Lord Krsna, because He descended to establish the principles of
religion, He followed the prescribed rules. Otherwise, common men would follow in
His footsteps, because he is the
greatest authority. From the Srimad-Bhagavatam it is understood that Lord Krsna
was performing all the religious duties at home and out of home, as required of a

utsideyur ime loka: na kuryaam karma ced aham
sankarasya ca kartaa-syaam upahanyam imah prajaah:

"If I did not perform prescribed duties, all these worlds would be put to
ruination. I would be the cause of creating unwanted population, and I would
thereby destroy the peace of all living beings."

*Ime Lokah - People of this world, utsideyur - will be ruined, by shedding
their prescribed duties(anushtaanam)
*aham - if I karma - duties na kuryam-not performing
*ced - in case
*sankarasya ca karta syaam - I will end up (by deriliction of duties) in
mixing of classes and bringing unwanted population; destruction of Varanas
(varna sankarasya)
*Upahanyaam - would destroy , imah prajah - all these people (by misdirecting

Sri Krishna is the One Who created the Vedas and shastras. He is not bound to
follow. Yet He says that if he did not follow what he prescribed, ordinary people
like us would follow only His way and that way Dharma would be corrupted.
When HiranyaKasipu and Ravana were given boons for immortality by Brahma, the Lord
found exceptions within those boons to kill them and save the world. He is the
Lord of all and there was no necessity nor anyone dare question Him on His
doings. Still he never wanted to violate Brahma. In our house children follow the
parents� behavior. That is why one should not
smoke or drink in front of children as they are likely to pick up these habits.
Sri Krishna therefore says He cannot advise Arjuna to follow Gyana yoga leaving
his dharma of fighting for his country. By going
away from one�s dharma one is likely to tread into another person�s dharma and
thereby mixing up of duties is possible and this will destroy the society and the

If Lord Krishna failed to respect the injunctions and prohibitions of the Vedic
scriptures then all the world would take that to be the standard of righteousness
and the final verdict. There would soon ensue
the mixing of classes and a mixture of moral and immoral standards in the class
of pure and righteous people, leading to the complete degradation of society. Lord
Krishna is stating that if he failed to
follow and perform the Vedic injunctions then it would be the cause of the
destruction of society. This is the purport. Also if Arjuna who was world famous
for never having been defeated in battle and who
was the brother of King Yudhisthira famed for his righteousness; if Arjuna
refused to fight and protect dharma or righteousness then many other worthy and
noble ksatriyas who were protectors of dharma
might folow his example and also renounce their prescribed duties and refuse to
protect righteousness then this would bring destruction to the world balance and
ruination to the welfare of the people.
Thus it can be understood that for specially qualified people prescribed Vedic
activities must be performed for the benefit of the entire human race and the
welfare of the world.

It is important to note that, whatever or however important a person's position
may be in society, he should still do his prescribed duties and not think that
by the mere privilige of his position (whether
he is a great gyaani or sage or rich or powerful etc), he can escape from doing
his prescribed duties. When the greatest supreme Lord himself didn't shed his
duties, even though he was not bound
to do it , nor was he getting any satisfaction or benefit out of it (since he
is already supreme), we mere mortal cannot run away from our duties.

Varna-sankara is unwanted population which disturbs the peace of the general
society. In order to check this social disturbance, there are prescribed rules and
regulations by which the population can
automatically become peaceful and organized for spiritual progress in life.
When Lord Krsna descends, naturally He deals with such rules and regulations in
order to maintain the prestige and necessity
of such important performances. The Lord is the father of all living entities,
and if the living entities are misguided, indirectly the responsibility goes to
the Lord.

We should, however, note carefully that although we have to follow in the
footsteps of the Lord, we still have to remember that we cannot imitate Him.
Following and imitating are not on the same level.
We cannot imitate the Lord by lifting Govardhana Hill, as the Lord did in His
childhood. It is impossible for any human being. We have to follow His
instructions, but we may not imitate Him at any time.
"One should simply follow the instructions of the Lord and His empowered
servants. Their instructions are all good for us, and any intelligent person will
perform them as instructed. However, one should
guard against trying to imitate their actions. One should not try to drink the
ocean of poison in imitation of Lord Siva." (Bhag. 10.33.30)

We should always consider the position of the isvaras, or those who can
actually control the movements of the sun and moon, as superior. Without such
power, one cannot imitate the isvaras, who are
superpowerful. Lord Siva drank poison to the extent of swallowing an ocean,
but if any common man tries to drink even a fragment of such poison, he will be
killed. There are many pseudo-devotees of
Lord Siva who want to indulge in smoking ganja (marijuana) and similar
intoxicating drugs, forgetting that by so imitating the acts of Lord Siva they are
calling death very near. Similarly, there are some
pseudo-devotees of Lord Krsna who prefer to imitate the Lord in His rasa-lila,
or dance of love, forgetting their inability to lift Govardhana Hill. It is best,
therefore, that one not try to imitate the powerful,
but simply follow their instructions; nor should one try to occupy their posts
without qualification. There are so many "incarnations" of God without the power
of the Supreme Godhead.
saktah karmany avidvamsa: yatha kurvanti bharata
kuryaad vidvams tathasakta: cikirsur loka-sangraham

"As the ignorant perform their duties with attachment to results, the learned may
similarly act, but without attachment, for the sake of leading people on the right

In slokas 25 and 26, Lord Krishna explains the importance of Loka Sangraham
i.e. performing actions for the benefit of the world, which can be followed by
others. Swami Vedantha Desika in
his Tatparya Chandrika says that loka sangraha is that making all the people to
follow that principle which will be taking people forward and which all people can

*avidvamsa = those without atma gyana and can't control their senses fully, but
having just knowledge to do karma [most of us come in this category],
*karmani saktah = but are willing to perform duties prescribed to them,
('attached to their work' means they are inseparably yoked to work. )
*yatha kurvanthi = what such people could do, kuryad =should be done,
*vidvams= by learned persons, tatha =who, asakta = have no inclination to do
karma [as they have already had atman sakshatkaram or in a position to practice
Gyana yoga] ,
*loka sangraham = for the world to follow,
*cikisrur= if such a desire they [learned people] have.

The word avidvamsah means ignorant, the ignorance referred to is all those who
are not knowledgeable of atma-tattva or soul realisation. Those who have desires
and are attached to performing actions
to obtain the fruits of such desires are unable to approach the jnana yoga or
the cultivation of spiritual knowledge. Others being more sober are only fit to
follow karma yoga the path of prescribed Vedic
actions as their means to achieve atma-tattva. Let the wise act and behave like
one performing karma yoga performing prescribed Vedic actions even if they have no
interest in the results of their actions
and are qualified for jnana yoga and even if they have knowledge of atma-
tattva. For such a person is naturally great and is looked up to by all the world
and should always conduct themselves in an
exemplary manner by performing prescribed Vedic activities according to
qualification. By this mankind will be cognisant of what is proper and improper in
society. Actions of this nature can only be
accomplished by one performing karma yoga.

A doubt may arise here. In a school, if in a class there is a student who is
below average, should the teacher be at that student level? But this is not what
Sri Krishna told. He says that if there are
forerunners, they should do things which the followers could follow and raise
their capability. In the student example, the teacher has to come to the level of
the mediocre student and raise the standard
of the student. If Arjuna follows Karma yoga, then his followers also would
practice Karma yoga and he could make them realize atman sakshatkaram. Sri Andal
is ranked among the Alwars and so
she was as much learned. Still, in her Thiruppavai, She tells us to do simple
things to attain Moksham like vayinal padi [singing in His praise], manathinal
sindikka [just think of Him] and thoo malar
thoovi [ offering flowers]. Though she knew all the skills of Gyana yoga, she
advised us to follow what is practical for us. By asking us to do what we daily
do, She raised our standards and that is
why she is very popular.

na buddhi-bhedam janayed ajnaanam karma-sanginam
josayet sarva-karmaani vidvan yuktah samaacaran

"So as not to disrupt the minds of ignorant men attached to the fruitive results
of prescribed duties, a learned person should not induce them to stop work.
Rather, by working in the spirit of devotion, he
should engage them in all sorts of activities [for the gradual development of
Krishna consciousness]."

In the previous sloka Sri Krishna told how a leader has to perform Karma yoga
for Loka Sangrahah and slowly bring his followers to higher level. The message is
that we should continue with our
daily chores and follow Karma yoga. But with the feeling that all these are not
done by us and these are done for attaining Moksham. A good example is the
upanyasam of BG which Swamin is
giving. This is a 15 minute daily discourse at a convenient time, which allows
folks to listen to it, while doing their daily duties. Had it been a discourse,
which was for hours and required people
to give up their daily duties, it would not attract many people, due to the
difficulties it would entail. Similarly, Krishna is telling Arjuna that, being a
Kshatriya, he cannot abandon his duties to fight
a just war and run away to do tapas in forest. Even if he does it, since his
natural inclination is a Kshatriya, he will not be able to give up thoughts on war
easily. But, if he is fighting the war
as a duty and for Loka Sangraham , he would be following the right path which
is suitable to his situation.

*Ajnanam= One who has not attained atman gyan fully, karma sanginam = still
wanting to perform karma [people like us], because all karmas are related to body,

- If we have got Atma Gnaanam, we wouldn't be concerned about the Karmas
related to body (whether it is daily chores or the desires driving us to do other

*na buddhi bedam janayed= [Arjuna] should not cause intellect confusion. We are
doing some karma with dedication to God amidst our daily routines. If we are told
that these will not fetch us
Moksham and we should follow Gyana yoga then only we will attain Moksham, we
will get confused. So Arjuna should not resort to Gyana yoga abandoning war as
that would confuse his followers
and this is told by Sri Krishna.

Here Sri Krishna tells Arjuna that all these he told not because Arjuna had
the capacity to perform Gyana yoga. If he had that capacity then after the war he
should have abandoned Royal life and gone
for meditation to pursue Gyana yoga. Since he did not do that it is clear
that Arjuna was capable of doing Karma yoga only and only for an argument Sri
Krishna told as though Arjuna was qualified for
higher levels. This also has a lesson for all of us that we should not run
away from life and its problems, as that will amount to escapism and not be
considered as following Gyana yoga. We should
fulfill our responsibilities with the feeling that it is all for the sake of
God and follow Karma yoga in its true perspective.

*Sarva karmani josayet = all karma renunciated, vidwan =learned person (with
Atma Gnaanam),
*yuktan =should induce [ the importance of Karma yoga], samacaran= by
performing karma.

The ignorant are conditioned to desires of fruitive activities being fully
attached to gaining results and are incapable of adopting the path of jnana yoga
or the cultivation of spiritual knowledge.
A person of wisdom should not unhinge the minds and disturb the equilibrium of
ordinary people pursuing their dreams of material acquisitions in karma yoga by
preaching the superior path of jnana
yoga which they are incapable of following. What a person of wisdom must do is
set an example by their actions and perform prescribed Vedic activities in karma
yoga showing the ignorant by their
example that without desire and being unattached to the results it is
sufficient to achieve atma-tattva. By setting the example in this manner the great
souls inspires the whole society to perform
righteous activities so that eventually their minds will be come purified of
all dross and they will become competent to advance in spiritual life and attain

Vedais ca sarvair aham eva vedyah: That is the end of all Vedic rituals. All
rituals, all performances of sacrifices, and everything that is put into the
Vedas, including all direction for material activities,
are meant for understanding Krsna, who is the ultimate goal of life. But
because the conditioned souls do not know anything beyond sense gratification,
they study the Vedas to that end. Through
sense regulations, however, one is gradually elevated to Krsna consciousness.
Therefore a realized soul in Krsna consciousness should not disturb others in
their activities or understanding, but
he should act by showing how the results of all work can be dedicated to the
service of Krsna.

The difference between how a person of wisdom performs karma yoga and how the
ignorant acts in karma yoga and the reason why will be explained in the next

prakriteh kriya maanani gunaih karmaani sarvas:
ahahankara-vimudh-atma karta aham iti manyate

"The spirit soul bewildered by the influence of false ego thinks himself the doer
of activities that are in actuality carried out by the three qualities of material

Till now Sri Krishna has been advocating Karma yoga, as that is habitual to us,
it is easier to follow and can be done by even all of us who have not been able
to control the senses. Now in the
next four slokas, he says that all our actions are propelled by the three gunas
or qualities. Instead of thinking that we ONLY are doing our actions, we are
induced to act by the three qualities and
nurturing a detachment will make us wiser. An argument may be put forth that
if the person situated in knowledge of the Vedas also has to perform actions then
what is the difference between the
ignorant and the wise? Lord Krishna apprehending such a doubt explains the
difference between the two in this verse and the next. All actions are impelled by
prakriti or material nature through the
gunas being the three modes of sattva or goodness, rajas or passion and tamas
or nescience and these are experienced by the mind when the senses make contact
with sense objects. Thus the
ignorant person believes that they are the doer of the actions because the
false ego has accepted the physical body as the self and deluded by this egoism
has superimposed the senses over the self
in illusion. From gunas comes the word gunataih which indicates one who is
influenced by their senses. This is the symptom of one who is in ignorance is that
they are controlled by their senses. The
sense are on a lower platform then prakriti or material nature and are
influenced by the three gunas. The one who is in ignorance is dominated by the
senses assuming that they are doer and cause of
their actions and thus stricken with false ego they perform all actions with
desires and attachment. That person of wisdom recognises that all actions are but
the result of the interaction of the three gunas
and material nature and remaining free of desires and attachment performs all
actions as a matter of duty.

*aham= I, kartha = am doer, iti manyate = like this believes,
*ahankaram = this feeling [that I am the doer], ahankara here means bewildered
by ego identification or misidentifying the body to be the atma or soul.
*vimudhatma = makes him foolish.

He advises Arjuna that no individual can claim to be the SOLE doer of any
action as many others are in the team that does the action. There is a force
behind all our actions. The three gunas
induce us to do any action. But these are abstract qualities and so how satva,
rajo and tamo gunas could induce? If we analyze further, God commands the three
gunas which surround us to act.
God is like a charioteer, with the three qualities as reigns, drives us, the
horses. But when an action is thought as done by us, we develop interest in that.
Daily we see news paper and if someone
achieves a distinction in sports or other activities we simply read the item
and forget it. But if the achiever happens to be us, then we preserve the news
paper cutting and see frequently, as we develop
interest only when the action is done by us. When we do not think an action is
not by done us we get detachment and this keeps us away from the papa and punya
associated with that action. We can
draw this lesson from the story of Gajendra. That elephant was grabbed by the
crocodile, and for 1000 years it thought it could get freed from the crocodile by
its power [ahankaram]. But when it
realised that there was another force motivating the crocodile and its
sufferings are also propelled by that force, the elephant cried out for the help
of that Force, Sriman Narayana and it was saved.

*Prakrutie gunaihi = this world with all the three gunas(Sattvam,Rajas,Tamas),
sarvasaha= always and by all means,
*kriya-manani = getting done, karmani = all actions are there.

Our body is made from this Prakriti and so is always associated with the three
qualities. So all our actions are induced by these. But when one thinks that he is
the doer, he is foolish not to realize the
motive of the three gunas. Such realisation will come if one knows that the
atman and body are different. So like the elephant we should discard the ahankaram
feeling. Atman can not do anything
by itself but with the association of the three qualities and this feeling
alone will make us wiser to attain Moksham. Our Ahankaram clouds our true nature
and impels us to consider the body and self
are the same, and then whatever is performed by this bodies , we consider
ourselves as the doer, when this occurs we develop attachment and stops us from
performing Karma Yoga, as a result
we are stuck and can't do Bhakti yoga.

Now, this can be misinterpreted for people to be irresponsible i.e anybody
can commit violent deeds and absolve himself, saying it is his due to his Gunas.
That needs to be clarified as follows.
Jeevatma is definitely responsible, but he ALONE is not responsible, but is a
combination of various other things - his body, his senses, gunas, God's grace
etc. So, one cannot absolve themselves
of responsibility for daily actions.

Just to reemphasize, what Krishna is telling to Arjuna is to act without
attachment and the understanding that he "ALone" is NOT performing actions. This
understanding is very important.
Arjuna should fight, but without the feeling that he is fighting, he should
win, but without the feeling that he has won, he should rule justly, but without
the feeling that he he is ruling. Why? because
we ALONE are not doing anything. The three gunas impel us to actions.

The person in material consciousness is convinced by false ego that he is the
doer of everything. He does not know that the mechanism of the body is produced by
material nature, which works under
the supervision of the Supreme Lord. The materialistic person has no knowledge
that ultimately he is under the control of Krsna.
The person in false ego takes all credit for doing everything independently,
and that is the symptom of his nescience. He does not know that this gross and
subtle body is the creation of material nature,
under the order of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and as such his bodily
and mental activities should be engaged in the service of Krsna, in Krsna
consciousness. The ignorant man forgets that
the Supreme Personality of Godhead is known as Hrsikesa, or the master of the
senses of the material body, for due to his long misuse of the senses in sense
gratification, he is factually bewildered by
the false ego, which makes him forget his eternal relationship with Krsna.

tattva-vit tu mahaa-baho guna-karma-vibhagayoh
guna gunesu vartanta iti matva na sajjate

*tattva-vit--the knower of the Absolute Truth (person with true vedic knowledge)
; tu--but; maha-baho--O mighty-armed one;
*guna-karma--works under material influence, due to Sattva/Raja/Tamas;
- Gunas karma is the work done under the impression of the three gunas;
For e.g. Raja Guna causes anger, passion, desire ; Tamo Guna causes Sleep,
laziness etc
Sattva guna causes calm, good acts, kindness, charity etc . All of
us have this three gunas and demonstrate various aspects of it at different times.

*gunah-- Senses (under influence of Sattva, Rajas, Tamas ); gunesu--on sense
objects (forms); vartante--being engaged; iti--thus;
*matva--thinking; na--never; sajjate--becomes attached.

This is a continuation of the previous sloka, where it was explained about an
ignorant person who does not understand that he is not the SOLE doer of actions,
but is acting as per the impressions
of the tri-gunas (Sattva, Rajas, Tamas) and one who thinks otherwise ,
confuses himself with the body alone and gets drowned in the actions of his karma.
In this sloka, Krishna explains about
the person who acts with the understanding and realization of the effect of the
three gunas on his actions and realizes that he is not the SOLE doer of actions.

That person of Vedic spiritual wisdom who knows the exact distinction between
prakriti or material nature and the gunsa or the modes of goodness, passion and
nescience; along with there agents
the five senses of seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting and touching does not get
attached to them understanding that one ever one thinks, speaks or does is but a
modification of prakriti projected through
the gunas and such a person is not beguiled into thinking that they are the doer
of their actions. He who, realising that Gunas, i.e., Sattva etc., are operating
on their own products, is not attached to the
actions of the Gunas, being convinced, 'I am not the doer.' This is the meaning
Lord Krishna is conveying.

In respect of the three gunas or modes of material nature being sattva or
goodness, rajas or passion and tamas or ignorance. That person who is blinded by
false ego and bewildered by material nature
believes they themselves are the root cause and sole determining factor of all
actions they engage in. In the previous verse the word ahankara means bewildered
by ego identification or misidentifying the
body to be the atma or soul. Such a person is situated in nescience thinking
that the interactions of the three gunas in the physical body are the actions of
the atma, such a one foolishly considers that
they are the doer of their actions.

But the tattva-vit or knower of the truth is competent in discerning in all
activities the properties and influences of the three gunas as they manifest
themselves through
ones actions. Whoever becomes proficient in discerning the manifestation of the
three gunas in all actions will not commit the error of thinking that they through
their body are the doer.

In Ramayana, there is striking upadesam by Lord Rama to Bharata, where he
pacifies Bharata to return to rule Ayodhya in his absence. There he explains to
Bharatha, whatever Dasaratha and
Kaikeyi did, bestowing boons in the battlefield in fit of passion, asking for
Rama's banishment at a worst time in fit of ignorance and passion, accepting
those demands etc were all due to the
effect of the impressions of Rajasic and Tamasic gunas on them and lack of
Sattva gunas. So, all this actions were due to the effects of Gunas, which makes
one think that he is the SOLE doer
of actions. Realizing this tattvam, Bharata should not feel desolate and
continue to do his duty of ruling the kingdom using Raama's padhukas.

The knower of the Absolute Truth is convinced of his awkward position in
material association. He knows his real identity as part and parcel of the
Supreme, who is eternal bliss and knowledge, and
he realizes that somehow or other he is entrapped in the material conception of
life. In his pure state of existence he is meant to dovetail his activities in
devotional service to the Supreme Personality
of Godhead, Krsna. He therefore engages himself in the activities of Krsna
consciousness and becomes naturally unattached to the activities of the material
senses, which are all circumstantial and
temporary. He knows that his material condition of life is under the supreme
control of the Lord; consequently he is not disturbed by all kinds of material
reactions, which he considers to be the mercy
of the Lord. If we slowly realize that our actions are due to impressions of
the various gunas, we slowly give up that sense of attachment and feeling of
ahankaram that it is we who are driving it.

prakrter guna-sammudhah: sajjante guna-karmasu
tAn akrtsna-vido mandan krtsna-vin na vicalayet

Those who are deluded by the Gunas of Prakrti are attached to the works of the
Gunas. But he who knows the whole truth should not unsettle the ignorant who do
not know the whole truth.

*prakrteh--impelled by the material modes (moola prakritih) ; guna-sammudhah--
(Sattva, Rajas, Tamas) who is befooled by material identification(Gunas);
*sajjante--become engaged; guna-karmasu--in material activities, impelled by
the gunas ; tan--all those;
*akrtsna-vidah--persons with a poor fund of knowledge; mandan--
unintelligent, lazy to understand self-realization;
*krtsna-vit--one who is in factual knowledge; na--may not; vicalayet--try to
agitate or disturb.

Everybody (including the knowledgeable and ignorant) are subject to the
influence of the tri-gunas and perform actions due to it. But, the difference is,
the knowledgeable (tattva-vit) understands that
he is performing actions due to the influence of the gunas and it's impact on
senses and sense objects, as a result, he tries to develop a sense of detachment
and ownership from the results of
the actions and its resultant sukha-dukham. Whereas, the ignorant thinks he
is the sole driver of actions and ends up to continue identifying his body with
the soul and increases attachment to
the results of his actions.

After presenting the distictions between one who is spiritually wise in Vedic
knowledge and those who are acting in ignorance in earlier slokas, Lord Krishna
gives the sober caution not to unsettle the
minds of the ignorant, for they being completely infatuated by prakriti or
material nature are totally attached to all their actions thinking always that
they are performing a particular action for the express
purpose of being able to enjoy a particular delight. They are unable to perform
actions as a matter of duty without desiring rewards. So the spiritually wise
should not deviate the ignorant from their duties
even if these duties are completely fruitive without any spiritual benefit
because at least they are performing actions and administering superior knowledge
to them may cause them to refrain from their
duties altogether. Eventually in the course of their lifetime there will be a
glimmer of comprehension of the utter futility for attachment for such actions.

The conclusion is that one situated in Vedic wisdom and is a prominent leading
figure in society should also perform prescribed Vedic activities in karma yoga
even though such a person is a knower of
atma-tattva. By acting in this way and performing Vedic activities without
attachment lesser men will follow his example and perform in a like manner. Those,
the ignorant, who tend to follow the behaviour
of a great man, when they see him transcend Karma Yoga, will have their minds
shaken from Karma Yoga. Thus, the great man, should himself remain established in
Karma Yoga, while having the
full knowledge of the true nature of the self and contemplating on the self as
not being the agent. Thus he should demonstrate that Karma Yoga by itself is an
autonomous means for the vision of the self.

The next verse will explain the relationship between the senses and the gunas
in regards to the Supreme Lord who is omniscient and omnipresent. Paramatma who is
the Supreme Soul of all living
entities evidenced by the fact that every individual soul constitutes His
eternal, transcendental, spiritual body and are His eternal parts and parcels.

mayi sarvaani karmani sannyasya-adhyatma cetasa
niraasir nirmamo bhutva yudhyasva vigata-jvarah

"Therefore, O Arjuna, surrendering all your works unto Me, with full knowledge of
Me, without desires for profit, with no claims to proprietorship, and free from
lethargy, fight."

Dedicate thy mind and all activities to the Supreme Being in the heart represented
by the eternal atma or soul within all living beings. Prohibiting all ego
constructs of I-ness and my-ness and relieved from
the fever of mental delusion, discharge the injunctions of the Vedic scriptures
according to your qualification at once as a matter of duty without attachment. In
this Lord Krishna is instructing the warrior prince Arjuna how he should fight his
enemies. One must realize that the eternal atma is causing all ones actions and
that one is not the independent doer. Therefore dedicate all actions to the
Supreme Being, free from desire and attachment whether they are physical, mental,
material or spiritual while renouncing all ego conceptions of I and mine. Then the
all-pervading, omniscient and omnipotent Supreme Lord will accept your offering
and free you from samsara the endless cycle of birth and death. The purport herein
is that one should perform the prescribed activities enjoined in the Vedic
scriptures as a matter of duty. The results being purity of mind, freedom from
attachment and maintenance of world order. Accordingly it was Arjunas duty to
fight and this is what Lord Krishna is propounding to him about.

Three tyaagams - Kartrutva Buddhi tyaagam, Phala Tyaagam (detachment to
results), Mamakaara tyaagam (detachment to the work i.e egoism) are explained by
the Lord in this sloka.

We have already seen that all our actions are propelled by the three gunas
which are associated with prakruti or this world. But these are abstract and so we
also saw that the Lord induces these
gunas to act on our actions. Thus the Lord is the prime mover. Therfore it is
wise to surrender the rewards of all our actions at the feet of the Lord. Sri
Krishna emphasises this by the word mayi.
We should dedicate all our actions to the Lord and do the actions with

*adhyatma cetasa - knowing the true nature of Atma. Inherently Atma is ever
blissful , but due to association with body and Karmas, it's inherent nature is
clouded. The words adhyatma-cetasa means
with the mind absorbed in the atma within the heart. Ones thoughts should be
focused on the nature of the soul, its attributes and qualities as delineated
previously in chapter two, verses 13 - 25.
Therefore we see that by inference that the Supreme Lord Krishna is
revealing that since He is the atma within all living beings and that also the
atma within all created beings constitute His eternal,
transcendental body and derive all their energy from Him; then it is natural
that one should dedicate all their actions to Lord Krishna, the Supreme Being as
an act of yagna or worship. The Supreme
Lord is the soul of all souls; therefore, one who depends solely and wholly
on the Supreme Soul without personal consideration, or in other words, one who is
fully Krsna conscious, is called

*mayi - At lord's feet One has to realize that nothing in the world belongs
to any individual person, but that everything belongs to the Supreme Lord. That is
the real purport of mayi, or unto Me.
Sri Krishna tells that Arjuna should offer all his activities at the feet of
the Lord [Me] and start fighting. Both Swami Ramanuja in his Gita Bhashyam and
Swami Vedantha Desika in Tatparya Chandrika have
explained what Sri Krishna meant when He said "My". He is diiferent from all
inanimate objects, all atman like us who are caught in the samsaram, all those who
have attained Moksham and all the Nithyasoori
[Like Adisesha or Garuda], and He is much superior to all as Sri

*Sarvaani Karmani - Perform all actions (which are in the influence of the
three gunas)
*sannyasya - dedicate (all actions) {Kartrutva Buddhi Tyaagam - i.e prime
motivator of jeevatma's katrutvam is the Lord. Realizing that we are not the
Kartas , but the Lord is the Mukhya kartas}
Lord Krishna is explaining to Arjuna to renounce all actions for himself
and instead to dedicate all his actions as yagna or worship as an offering to the
Supreme Lord. One should try to be guided by
the Lord in every action they perform and think that they are being guided
by the Supreme Lord at all times.

* NirasIr - Not attached to the fruits of the Karma (phala Tyaagam).
Nirasih means that one has to act on the order of the master. Nor should one ever
expect fruitive results. The cashier may count
millions of dollars for his employer, but he does not claim a cent for
himself. Being free from desires and free from hankering for the rewards of all

* NirMamah - the Karma is not mine (mamakaara Tyaagam) The word nirmamah
means without a sense of ego. Prohibiting all ego constructs of I-ness. Does not
claim proprietorship over anything.

(So, there are three Tyaagams being explicated in this sloka - Not
considering oneself as the sole driving force of a action, Not being attached to
the fruits of the Karma, not feeling attachment to
the Karma. Rather do everything as a dedication to the Lord )

* Vigata jvarah - removing, without, grief. Shed that grief, which is
caused by feeling attached and considering oneself as the sole owner of karma and
feeling attached to the results.
Here, Arjuna is crippled with that fear of waging battling. Krishna is
telling him to shed it , with the understanding that he is not the sole driving
force (shed the feeling of ego, attachment ).

This verse clearly indicates the purpose of the Bhagavad-gita. The Lord
instructs that one has to become fully Krsna conscious to discharge duties, as if
in military discipline. Such an injunction may
make things a little difficult; nevertheless duties must be carried out, with
dependence on Krsna, because that is the constitutional position of the living
entity. The living entity cannot be happy independent
of the cooperation of the Supreme Lord because the eternal constitutional
position of the living entity is to become subordinate to the desires of the Lord.
Relinquishing both desire and attachment and
thereby being free from any ego conceptions of I-ness or my-ness and any
conceptions of ownership; one should cheerfully perform all actions for the
satisfaction of the Supreme Lord. In this way
Lord Krishna is instructing Arjuna to free himself from delusion and to fight
banishing all lamentation.

Further notes from Ramanuj'a Gita Bhasya (Verbatim), which explains why we
should shed the feeling of propiertership and ego and peform actions considering
Lord as the driving force:
That this individual self constitutes the body of the Supreme Self and is
actuated by Him, is taught by Sruti texts like: 'He who has entered within, is the
ruler of all beings and is the Self of all' (Tai. Ar.,
3.11), 'Him who has entered inside and is the doer' (Ibid., 3.23), 'He who,
dwelling in the self, is within the self, whom the Self does not know, whose body
is the self, who controls the self from within ---
He is your internal ruler and Immortal Self' (Br. U., 3.7.22). Smrti texts
also speak in the same manner: 'Him who is the ruler of all' (Manu, 12.122). Sri
Krsna will say later on: 'And I am seated in the
hearts of all; from Me are memory, knowledge and the faculty of reason'
(15.15); 'The Lord, O Arjuna, lives in the heart of everything causing them to
spin round and round by His power, as if set on
a wheel' (18.61). Hence, dedicate to Me, the Supreme Person, all actions
considering them as done by Me, by contemplating on the self as actuated by Me by
reason of Its constituting My body. And
do every thing, considering the actions as My worship only; becoming free
from desire for fruits and therefore free from selfishness as regards actions,
engage in acts like war etc., devoid of 'fever',
i.e., the excitement caused by passions like anger. Contemplate that the
Supreme Person, Lord of all, Principal of all, gets done His own works only for
the purpose of getting Himself worshipped with
his own instruments, namely, the individual selves which belong to Him and
are His agents. Become free from selfish attachment to action. Also be free from
the feverish concern originating from such
thoughts as 'What will become of me with an ancient, endless accumulation of
evil arising from beginningless time?' Perform Karma Yoga with ease, for the
Supreme Person Himself, worshipped by
acts, will free you from bondage. His Lordship and Principalship over all
are settled by Sruti texts like: 'Him who is the supreme and great Lord of lords,
Him the Supreme Divinity of divinities' (Sve. U.,
6.7), 'The Lord of the Universe' (Tai. Na., 11.3), 'The Supreme Ruler of
rulers' (Sve. U., 6.6-7). Isvaratva is the same as Sesitva, which means
controllership. Sri Krsna declares that this alone is the
essential meaning of the Upanisads:

ye me matam idam nityam anutishthanti maanavaaha:
shraddha vanto �nasuyanta: mucyante te�pi karmabhih

"Those persons who execute their duties according to My injunctions and who follow
this teaching faithfully, without envy, become free from the bondage of fruitive

Here the Lord praises the one who realises that the Karma yoga is propounded by
vedas and shastras and practices this Karma yoga sincerely.

*ye manava= these persons, The word manavah means men. It is derived from Manu
the father of mankind, who wrote the Manu Samhita which are the guidelines for the
human race. Thus all mankind as
the descendants of Manu are followers of Vedic scriptures. The great
personalities like Manu contemplating and reflecting on the Vedas determine what
is the main import of the Vedas, which is precisely the
formulised will of the Lord act accordingly to this inner directive.

*itam me matam = in this my faith,
*nityam anustinthi = continuously follow and practice. Matam does not mean
the normal Vaishnavam or Saivam, but his religion or faith of Karma yoga.

Here he talks of the person who practices the Karma yoga which is mentioned in
Vedas which are the Lord's commands and Karma yoga now mentioned to all of us in
Gita using Arjina as an excuse. Arjuna felt
that he on behalf of all of us, he may not be in that category to follow and
practice Karma yoga in the daily routines and so he showed disinterest. So Sri
Krishna tells another category of a person who has faith in
Sri Krishna but unable to practice. This is sraddha.

*Shraddha - Faith in the process. A desire to practice.

Arjuna feels this type of person also is difficult to find and so Sri Krishna
tells a third category of a person who is at least not jealous or have aversion on
Karma yoga.

*Anasuyantah - One who is not jealous or aversion to the process. (i.e one
who is not dismissive and blasphemous about these teachings of Lord in Karma Yoga)

*te 'pi - THEY ALSO! .Lord Krishna uses the words te api meaning they also to
emphasise that these even those not fully believing if they remain passive and do
not blaspheme they are also entitled to
absolution from past sins which is the cause of bondage and gradually attain
moksa or deliverance from the cycle of birth and death.

*karmabhih mucyante - will be relieved of the papa and punya acquired over so
many births.
So, There are persons who although unable to practice the prescribed
injunctions enjoined in the Vedic scriptures still have faith and believe in the
tenets inculcated therein. There are others who although not
fully understanding and believing still do not doubt the veracity and
authority of the Vedic scriptures. All these three categories - one who practices,
one who is desirous of following and the one who is not envious
of Karma yoga, shall be redeemed and delivered from the vast aggregate of
past sins accumulated since time immemorial that keeps one locked in bondage to
the material existence.

The meaning is that those who, even if they do not act upon the meaning but
still believe in this meaning of the Sastras and do not cavil at it, will be
cleansed of their evil by their faith and freedom from fault-finding.
For, if they have faith they will, before long, take to the practice of this
very meaning of the Sastras and be freed.

How is this possible? We may ask. By not being envious appears to be easier
and so why not do that and get the reward of Moksham? There is also another
question. How can the reward be same
for all the three types? Practically rewards are granted according to the
efforts put in. But these are all examples of this world where rewards are ordered
by human beings . In the Order of Sri Krishna , He has full
rights to award as He wishes and there is none to question and worldly rules
do not apply. So we have to find a way to be in anyone of these three categories.
Actually by remaining unenvious, slowly we will get a
desire and later on we will also practice. His blessings are for all of us by
adopting any of these. In Ayarpadi that is Gokulam, during Sri Krishna's avatar.
all the gopikas [milk maids] fasted and followed rituals.
Whereas Sri Andal who did not live in those days imagined herself to be a
gopika and in her imagination did those rituals. We on the other hand know only
recitation of the Thiruppavai of Sri Andal. All the
three - Gopikas, Sri Andal and ordinary persons like us who only recite
Thiruppavai- get the same blessings from Sri Krishna. This is how Swami Parasara
Bhattar explained. This is like Dharma whether done
or spoken or heard will grant equal benefits (dharma - Shurtoho vaa, Dhrusto
vaa, Srmto va, Kathito Vaa) It is also like the Ganges, whether bathed or drunk
or seen, removes all our sins. On these lines
Swami Alavandar also in his Sthotra Rathnam says that he should be rewarded
not by seeing his actions but because he is the grand son of Swami Nathamuni, who
is connected with Nammalwar, Viswaksena
and Sri Lakshmi.

There are many philosophers who write comments on the Bhagavad-gita but have
no faith in Krsna. They will never be liberated from the bondage of fruitive
action. But an ordinary man with firm faith in the eternal
injunctions of the Lord, even though unable to execute such orders, becomes
liberated from the bondage of the law of karma. In the beginning of Krsna
consciousness, one may not fully discharge the injunctions
of the Lord, but because one is not resentful of this principle and works
sincerely without consideration of defeat and hopelessness, he will surely be
promoted to the stage of pure Krsna consciousness.

ye-tve-tad abhya-suyantah: naanu tishthanti mey matam
sarva-jnaana-vimUdhAmstAn viddhi nastan acetasah

"But those who, out of envy, disregard these teachings and do not follow them are
to be considered bereft of all knowledge, befooled, and ruined in their endeavors
for perfection."

In the 31st sloka Lord praises those who has faith in Karma yoga and follows
it. In this sloka, Lord Krishna points out that those persons who disrespect and
ignore and refuse to follow the edicts and
injunctions of the Bhagavad-Gita that are for the benefit of all mankind and
are antagonistic to the injunction of the Vedas that all activities should be
performed in yagna or worship for the satisfaction
of the Supreme Lord.are FOOLS, BEREFT OF SPIRITUAL KNOWLEDGE and in such a
STATE OF IGNORANCE all their activities are fruitless and they hopelessly revolve
in the cycle of birth and death,
ad infinitum. A disobedient person, however great he may be, is ignorant of his
own self, of the Supreme Brahman, and Paramatma and the Personality of Godhead,
due to a vacant heart. Therefore there is
no hope of perfection of life for him.

We should have faith in this as this is recommended by Upanishads and preached
by the Lord, who cares for us. Great He is, and caring for the welfare of Arjuna [
and all of us], His words are to be believed and
followed. Even if we can not follow at least we should have shraddha or
interest. Least of all we should not be envious. For all the three types of people
Sri Krishna guarantees atman sakshatkaram.
The non-belevers in His faith are foolish. When such people do not believe His
words, where are they going to have faith?

*Ye tu = he who, etad = this teaching,
*abhyasuyanta = is envious, na anushtanthi = does not practice,
*mey matam=My faith [ Karma yoga preached by Sri Krishna],

*sarva jnana vimudhan= possesses no knowledge [ even if he has all other
Here he says " My faith" by pointing to His chest. He is Sri Purushotaman
and he is the one Who is praised by vedas, maharishis and Alwars. Such a Person's
words can not and should not be ignored.

*sarva jnana vimudhan= possesses no knowledge [ even if he has all other
One may possess extensive knowledge in so many matters but if one disregards
his preachings, then one is considered to possess no knowledge. One may believe in
him but say thet one does not believe
in his words or vedas or Gita. Here one should realize that the fact that God
is there is propounded by thes vedas only and so it is foolish not to believe in
His words which are vedas. Just as a mother knows
what is good for the child, Sri Krishna Who is like mother to all of us,
preaches and we should have complete faith in His words.

*Nastaan =loses,
*acetasah= Devoid of discrimination ;he becomes lifeless.

Though they live it is worthless life and so termed here lifeless. Though here
the person who does not show interest is not mentioned we have to assume such
persons also, apart from those not practicing and
those jealous, are included.

Andal calls Sri Trivikrama as Uthaman as He reduced Himself sa a Dwarf to save
His devotees. His nature is to grant all to others but went for begging to save
His devotees. Therfore He is Uthaman.

Thus it has been illustrated that doership transpires due to the union of
prakriti or material nature and the physical body being influenced by the gunas or
modes of goodness, passion and nescience and this is
dependent ultimately upon the Supreme Lord. Reflecting in this manner it can
be ascertained that karma yoga or the path of performing prescribed Vedic actions
is appropriate for one performing jnana yoga
or the path of cultivating Vedic knowledge as well. Karma yoga is appropriate
on account of it being easy to perform, exempt from the danger of failure and
requires no assistance from other methods in its
application. Contrarily jnana yoga is difficult to practice, susceptible to
failure and must perform some karma yoga anyway in order to maintain health and
vigor which is essential for body maintenance if one
is to perform any yoga at all. Also it has been pointed out how it is
necessary for a person of distinction situated in Vedic wisdom to set an example
to inspire the common man for the benefit and welfare of the
world. What difficulties and dangers are fraught for the performers of jnana
yoga are now explained in the remainder of this chapter.

sadrsam cestatey svasyaha: prakriter jnaanavan api
prakritim yaanti bhutani nigrahah kim karishyati

"Even a man of knowledge acts according to his own nature, for everyone follows
the nature he has acquired from the three qualities. What can mere laws enactment

A question may be raised that if it is so beneficial to follow the teachings of
the Bhagavad-Gita then why is not everyone following them i.e their prescribed
duties, free from desires and attachment..
Why are so many living entities hostile and antagonistic to the pristine
instructions of Bhagavad-Gita ? Such and such is the nature of the self, which
is different from the Prakrti --- this has to be always
contemplated upon: thus declare the Sastras. Even a person who knows this, acts
in relation to material objects only according to his own nature, i.e., guided by
his old subtle impressions. How is this?

Lord Krishna explains that it is according to their own nature determined by
samskaras or impressions from past lifetimes and because of the influence of
prakriti or material nature interacting with the three
gunas, or the modes of goodness, passion and nescience. All creatures follow
accordingly to whatever nature they have attained and that nature shapes their
actions. This nature is acquired from activities
performed in past lives which ripen in this life as impressions of positive of
negative acts. Even persons of wisdom in Vedic knowledge do not act contrary to
their own natures. But despite this knowledge it is
seen that due to the deep influence of samskaras or impressions from past life
activities, they are carried along by their subsequent nature which forces them to
be act in the current of their natural tendencies
and they find themselves preoccupied with various material pursuits enjoying
assorted material sense objects. So what to say of the ignorant? They must follow
there nature also acting in ignorance.
The reason is that living entities become indoctrinated and content with
whatever relationship they establish in their environment. In other words whatever
habits they form from their association with prakriti they
continue to maintain and persistently follow. With the overpowering influence of
these deep rooted habits how can the words of the Vedic scriptures impose
restraint on such a person? One is helplessly carried
away by the forceful current of past life actions and impressions. The objects
of the senses are perceived through the sense organs. For example hearing is
perceived by the ears through sound, seeing is
perceived by the eyes through sight, smelling is perceived by the nose through
smells and so on. For each of the senses one has affection and the desire to enjoy
through them. But the same senses operate
depending upon attraction or aversion to sense objects. For sense objects that
are pleasing one has attraction for pleasure and for sense objects that are
displeasing one has aversion to displeasure. All
these habits are conditioned from ancient predilections of past life reminisces.
Such dualities of attraction and aversion obstructs one who would want to succeed
in jnana yoga by subjugating their sense.
These dualities which can be understood as different degrees of love and hate,
hold a person in an iron grip and forcefully drive them to commit actions that are
in conformance with the attributes of one of the
three gunas of goodness, passion or nescience which ones nature adheres to from
past life impressions. Thus one is being constantly diverted from the real purpose
of human existence, that of atma tattva
or realisation of the soul and their precious human life is wasted pursuing
sense objects. What can the control enjoined by Sastras, do to these beings who
follow their subtle impressions?

From the 33rd sloka onwards Sri Krishna is going to tell the difficulties in
following Gyana yoga. When we want to divert a person from his current path, which
is wrong to a right path, we have to tell the
impediments of the path he is following and all the advantages of the new path
he has to divert. Alwars do the same by praising the qualities of the Lord and at
the same time mention all the drawbacks of
our worldly things, so that we will cling to His feet. Similarly, Sri Krishna
told all the greatness of Karma yoga till now. He starts to sermon the drawbacks
of practicing Gyana yoga now.

Here Sri Krishna tells that mere enactments of laws can not reform anyone
unless his mind accepts the laws and makes him to follow. Arjuna does not want to
follow Karma yoga as it means he has to fight
in the war which is his dharma. He thinks it is better to abandon fight and go
to a forest and meditate and practice Gyana yoga.

*Jnaanavan api= Even(api) learned persons in spite of good knowledge [like
Jadabharata, Janaka capable of practicing Gyana yoga],
*cestathe,svasyah: sadrsam =will act (Cestate), according to his own
(svasyah) nature(sadrsam). We have had many births and we are accustomed to
certain actions and so this will become our nature.
*Prakriti = nature or vasanai. (body, senses, gunas etc )Vasanai means scent.
When a flower is kept for sometime and then removed, the scent still lingers. We
have been doing some actions
in all our births like eating by mouth or seeing by eyes, etc. These have
not changed in any birth. So in our multitudes of births we have not changed our
habits of raising children or eating, etc.
These actions do not disappear and so we are accustomed to these karma.
*Bhutani = all living beings, follow prakriti. What is the use in mere laws
for them?
*Kim karishyati = what are they [the laws] are going to do? Sri Krishna tells
that it would be against nature for Arjuna to follow Gyana yoga against the
natural Karma yoga with which he has been associated
over many births.

Academically, one may be very learned, but because of his long association
with material nature, he is in bondage. Krsna consciousness helps one to get out
of the material entanglement, even though one
may be engaged in his prescribed duties. Therefore, without being fully in
Krsna consciousness, no one should suddenly give up his prescribed duties and
become a so-called yogi or transcendentalist
artificially. It is better to be situated in one's position and try to
attain Krsna consciousness under superior training. Thus one may be freed from the
clutches of maya.

indriyasyE-indriyasy-aarthe raga-dvesau vyava-sthitau
tayo-na vasam-aahgacchet tauu-hy-asya pari-panthinau

"There are principles to regulate attachment and aversion pertaining to the
senses and their objects. One should not come under the control of such attachment
and aversion, because they are stumbling
blocks on the path of self-realization."

In the last sloka Sri Krishna asks how His law book could not correct people?
Swami Desikan tells why the text books are not able to correct us. There are
umpteen text books preaching us to obey parents,
to speak truth, to be kind to all, to respect elders, not to desire for other's
wife, etc. In spite of these, people continue to indulge in bad actions. Why?
Because, the vasanai that is lingering in so many births is
still there and it is not that easy to get rid of them. Such a knowledge can not
be abruptly cut by mere reading of all texts preaching good actions. Secondly, the
senses feel what is clearly visible or felt which is
called prathyaksham. Whereas what the vedas say are abstract and so is difficult
to follow. But by reading vedic texts only one could get Gyana yoga. For this
senses have to be controlled. But the senses are
accustomed over millions of births the way they are functioning. It is therefore
very difficult to abruptly divert by mere reading of vedas. Whereas in Karma yoga
such abrupt change is not expected and the
senses will function in their accustomed way and slowly little by little, they
will come to be controlled. Arjuna feels that if he could find the root of this
lingering vasanai, he could eliminate and proceed to Gyana

Sri Krishna replies to this in the 34th sloka: expounding the way by which
individuals are overpowered to follow their respective natures and confirms that a
person who embarks upon the path of jnana
yoga or the cultivation of Vedic wisdom should never fall under the influence of
dualities as they work against one and undermines all one efforts. The dualities
of love and hate, attraction and aversion are a
person's most invincible enemies and they completely frustrate all ones attempts
for success and higher understanding. An unavoidable attraction has been fixed
for organs of sense like ear towards the
objects like sound, and for organs of action like that of tongue towards their
objects like tasty food. This longing is in the form of desire to experience these
objects, which is caused by old subtle impressions.
When their experience is thwarted, an unavoidable aversion is experienced. Thus,
these two, attachment and aversion, bring under their control one who aspires to
follow Jnana Yoga, and forcibly engage him
in actions appropriate to them, in spite of his having established some sort of
control over the senses. They are like two bandits who guide a traveller down a
dark road and then rob them of all their wealth.
Such an aspirant fails to get the experience of the self, and therefore becomes
completely lost. So no one practising Jnana Yoga should come under the sway of
attachment and aversion, which are ruinous.
These two, attachment and aversion, are indeed his unconquerable foes that
deter him from the practice of Jnana Yoga.

He mentions two things by usage of dvesau, agachettau and paripanthinau.
*Indriyasye = the five gyanendriya or the organs by which we learn or know.
These are eyes, ears, nose, mouth and skin which are used respectively to see,
hear, smell, taste and feel anything to know.
These are knowledge organs. The second indriya mentioned denotes Karmendriya
or action organs. These are also five and are mouth [ to eat to live], hands [to
do], legs [to move], anus [to excrete waste
matter] and the reproductive organ.
*Arthe = the targets/objects of these ten organs. For example good sight is the
target for eyes and similar for other organs. Shabdham, Roopam, Gandham, Sparsam
*Raga dvesau = the twins of likes and dislikes, vyavastitau = get established.

That is when we deploy the ten organs, likes and dislikes get involved. When
we listen to sound if it is good music we like and if it is noise we dislike.
These likes and dislikes enable us to act. If these actions
are not for obtaining Moksham or are with the feeling " I am doing", then we
acquire papa/punya, which fetch us more rebirths and the rebirth will involve us
in actions with likes and dislikes and again we
acquire more papa/punya and the cycle continues. But if we do our actions
with detachment then no papa/punya will adhere and we can get out of the rebirth
cycle. We do not like to hear noise and we like
to hear sweet music. Just like a child likes to have mother's milk. This like
and dislike is embedded in us in so many births that these are natural to us. Only
by eliminating this vasanai one can enter Gyana
yoga. This is very difficult as the vasanai is embedded.
*Tayo = these likes and dislikes, na vasam agachhetau =should not captivate us,

*asya = because, paripanthinau = these twins can not easily be defeated or
driven away.

Sri Krishna tells that Arjuna should vanquish the likes and dislikes. This
tends Arjuna to think that he could drive this twin and start Gyana yoga. But Sri
Krishna tells that he should avoid that path or proceed in
that path with proper escort and guards. Sri Krishna advocates indirectly to
Arjuna to follow Karma yoga and avoid Gyana yoga. When a policeman sees a
traveller in the clutches of a bandit he rescues him
and guides him the correct way; similarly the spiritual master teaching the
Vedic scriptures rescues an aspirant from being under the influence of the
dualities of attraction and aversion and guides them in the
right path of offering ones actions as yagna or worship to the Supreme Lord
which is the best and surest way to attain moksa. So teaching the Vedic scriptures
by the spiritual master is never futile to the
contrary it is highly beneficial and essential.

As long as the material body is there, the necessities of the material body
are allowed, but under rules and regulations. And yet, we should not rely upon the
control of such allowances. One has to follow those
rules and regulations, unattached to them, because practice of sense
gratification under regulations may also lead one to go astray--as much as there
is always the chance of an accident, even on the royal
roads. Although they may be very carefully maintained, no one can guarantee
that there will be no danger even on the safest road. The sense enjoyment spirit
has been current a very long, long time, owing to
material association. Therefore, in spite of regulated sense enjoyment, there
is every chance of falling down; therefore any attachment for regulated sense
enjoyment must also be avoided by all means. But
action in the loving service of Krsna detaches one from all kinds of sensory
activities. Therefore, no one should try to be detached from Krsna consciousness
at any stage of life. The whole purpose of
detachment from all kinds of sense attachment is ultimately to become situated
on the platform of Krsna consciousness.
sreyan sva-dharmO vigunah para-dharmaat sv-anusthitAt
sva-dharme nidhanam sreyah para-dharmo bhayavahah:

"It is far better to discharge one�s prescribed duties, even though faultily,
than Gyan yoga perfectly. Destruction in the course of performing one�s own duty
is better than engaging in Gyana yoga,
for to follow that path is dangerous."

Sri Krishna clears another doubt in Arjuna. In the last sloka, he said that the
Gyana yoga path is full of impediments such as likes and dislikes which he can not
win over and so Arjuna should take the
Karma yoga path, with which he is accustomed over many births. But Karma yoga
also has many difficulties to tide over and only when we go in that path we will,
know the difficulties. In fact for the ordinary
persons like us, neither Gyana yoga nor Karma yoga is easy to practice. But for
this we have to wait till the 18th Chapter 66th sloka, when Sri Krishna is going
to tell us the easiest path to attain salvation.
We may think why not tell this now itself and why waste so much time and effort?
With the "I" feeling so much in us we have to understand that we have to cast away
that "I" by knowing all the difficulties and
have unfaltering faith in Sri Krishna to surrender and believe in His words. This
will come only if we systematically understand the process and our inability. Sri
Krishna asks what difficulties Arjuna anticipated in
Karma yoga. In Gyana yoga actions are less. But in Karma yoga activities are
plenty and so committing mistakes and incompletion are possible. For example,
shastras say eat only after bath. But in today's
fast world one has to reach office early from a distant place one lives. So, many
persons feel they could take bath in the evening. This is violation of shastras.
This will fetch papa. We have heard the story of
Raja Harischandra and the insurmountable difficulties he faced. He incurred all
these because when he was a king, while washing his feet he did not wash properly
and so papa surrounded him and he faced
all the difficulties. So these are disadvantages in Karma yoga. All rituals will
have deficiencies and incompleteness and so they will affect the Karma yoga. Now
Sri Krishna clarifies.

*Svadharma = One's self faith of Karma yoga, [because we are accustomed to
Karma, Sri Krishna calls Karma yoga as svadharma and the unaccustomed faith of
Gyana yoga as para dharma or alien faith]
(Note: Svadharma, Paradharma should not be misinterpreted as caste dharmas or
class dharmas etc.. )
*vigunah= even if done incomplete or with deficiencies,
*sreyan =is better than,
*sva anushtitat= fully practiced,
*para dharmaat= Gyana yoga.

That is, an incomplete and faulty Karma yoga is superior to a fully practiced
Gyana yoga.

Now Arjuna asks another question. Even if Karma yoga is superior, will not
partial and deficient Karma yoga yield no results? Jyotish homam if not done
properly and incompletely, will not yield swarga or
heaven. Similarly other rituals. How then Sri Krishna tells that Karma yoga
with all defects could yield atman sakshatkaram? Sri Krishna replies that those
karmas like Jyotish homam etc. are all for inferior
rewards and so will not yield desired results if not done properly. Whereas
Karma yoga is for atman sakshatkaram and is advocated by the Lord Himself. This is
the great advantage in Karma yoga. Even
while doing that if the person expires, it would continue to yield results for
the soul in the next birth. So the effort is never wasted and rewards are assured.
This is because Karma yoga is based on the
vasanai inherent in every living being in every birth. Karmas like Jyotish
homam are done by studying texts and so are not natural to us.

*Sva dharme = while practicing Karma yoga,
* nidhanam= if death occurs, sreyah = is superior.

Then the question comes if that be, why not follow Gyana yoga and even if
death occurs Gyana yoga could be continued in the next birth? Sri Krishna tells

*para dharmao= Gyana yoga, bhayavaha = will cause danger. Gyana yoga is not our
nature and is not following the vasanai. The danger is that the senses will not
get controlled as that is against nature.

For obvious reasons the performance of ones own dharma or righteous duties
according to karma yoga or actions performed according to prescribed Vedic
injunctions is the best course to follow even if they
do not possess great virtues. Ones own duties are easy and natural to
discharge in karma yoga and unattended with risk. Whereas that person performing
jnana yoga or the path of cultivating Vedic knowledge
which is most excellent; but who is beguiled by prakriti or material nature
finds it extremely difficult to achieve success.

Therefore Karma Yoga is better than Jnana Yoga. For, it forms one's own duty,
since it is natural to one and easy to perform, and though defective, is free from
liability to interruption and fall. Jnana Yoga, on
the other hand, though performed well for some time, constitutes the duty of
another, as it is difficult to practise for one conjoined with Prakrti. It is
therefore liable to interruption. For a person who lives practising
Karma Yoga --- which is his duty because he is qualified for it --- even death
without success in one birth does not matter. For, in the next birth with the help
of the experience already gained in the previous birth,
it will be possible for him to perform Karma Yoga without any impediments.
Whereas one who although beguiled by prakriti attempts to practice jnana yoga
anyway is surrounded by danger and obstacles on
their path which deter one from easily adopting and putting into practice the
cultivation of Vedic wisdom. Thus, Lord Krishna states it is better to follow ones
own duties according to station and rank in life as
enjoined by the Vedic scriptures. Arjuna was a royal prince educated and
trained by the strength of his might to uphold and protect dharma or righteousness
and although war enacts terrible suffering it was
necessary and was appropriate for Arjuna to engage in it.

arjuna uvaca
atha kena prayukto �yam paapam carati purushah
anicchann api vArsneya balaad iva niyojitah:

"Arjuna said: O descendant of Vrishni, by what is one impelled to sinful acts,
even unwillingly, as if engaged by force?"

*Ayam =this, purushah = jeevatma interested in pursuing Gyana yoga, why should
be carried forcibly like caught in a hurricane, away from such noble pursuits?
*Anicchann api =in spite of no desire to be caught in kama krodha or likes and
*kena prayukatah =by what he is propelled?, papam carati = and gets involved in
worldly desires,
*balad = forcibly, niyojitah = pushed into.
*varsneya--O descendant of Vrsni

In 33,34,35 - Lord Krishna was emphasizing the difficulties in performing
Gnaana Yoga; and the impact of prakrti, senses which impel a being to compel
various activities. Here Arjuna asks, even if
an aspirant sincerely wants to perform Gyaana yoga (or even any spiritual
activity), there are still so many obstructions which come in the way to drive him
out of that path. There exists numerous reasons
why a person is impelled to sinful activities. Here the word atha denotes
which others. Some are desire and anger. Arjuna wants to know which is the
strongest impetus in provoking one to do unrighteous
acts and which should by all means be avoided in order of priority.

Arjuna asks here what is the force like a hurricane forcibly pushes an atman
who has no desire in worldly pleasures and who is sincerely seeking Gyana yoga
into kama krodha? Though one may be
pursuing Gyana yoga, one is pushed away from that and dragged into low level
desires the senses seek. What is that force? Arjuna mentions purusha or atman
here. An inanimate object like a stone may
not think to adore the God's idol as a necklace. But here an atman which has
intellect and which sincerely wants to have atman sakshatkaram by Gyana yoga. He
wants to go in the path for atman
sakshatkaram, then why he is pulled into the disastrous path with worldly
desires which are going to acquire him papa and punya?

A living entity, as part and parcel of the Supreme, is originally spiritual,
pure, and free from all material contaminations. Therefore, by nature he is not
subjected to the sins of the material world. But when he is
in contact with the material nature, he acts in many sinful ways without
hesitation, and sometimes even against his will. As such, Arjuna's question to
Krsna is very sanguine, as to the perverted nature of the
living entities. Although the living entity sometimes does not want to act in
sin, he is still forced to act. Sinful actions are not, however, impelled by the
Supersoul within, but are due to another cause, as the
Lord explains in the next verse.

This is what Alwars have been crying in their verses, like an ant caught in the
middle of a log which has fire on both ends. We sincerely try to follow so many
righteous paths and every time some force drifts
us away forcibly. What is that force? Alwar also asks who is preventing him
from service to Him alone. Nammazhwar sings, the Lord came to rescue an elephant
which was caught by one crocodile for just
thousands of years, but we are caught in samsara with numerous crocodiles
(senses, relations, karmic diseases etc) holding us and interrupting service to
him from many many births, so why is he not
coming to rescue him?? The reply by the Lord is very interesting and

sri-bhagavan uvaca:
kaama esa krodha esaha: rajo-guna-samudbhavah:
mahasano mahaa-paapma viddh(y)-enam iha vairinam

"The Lord said -- It is desire, it is wrath, born of the Rajo Guna ; it is a
great devourer, an impeller to sin. Know this to be the foe here."

In the last sloka Arjuna put a question. Why a person though not interested
in the worldly passions and wanting to follow Gyana yoga, is forcibly pushed into
worldly desires? What is that force?

The answer to Arjunas previous question is now being answered by Lord
Krishna. The main cause for such flagrant behaviour is kama or lust. Also krodha
or anger is spoken about but it is actually instigated
by lust as well. This is because when kama is unable to satisfy its desires
then immediately it takes the form of krodha. This kama is born from rajas guna or
the mode of passion.

Sri Krishna replies.
*Esa: = he is,
*Mahasanah = All devouring e.g. with enormous capacity to eat. Kaamam is
a great devourer, whose food is enormous.
*Rajoguna samudbhavah = grown in rajo quality, Rajo guna is the water to
the seed of our Kaamas(desires etc)

*kamah= kama or desire or passion or attachment. Desire is embeded in us
for innumerous births. This desire is in sight, scent, listening, taste and touch.
So the vasanai or habit is like a seed
in us in every birth. This germinates as kama. Our rajo guna is like
water to a plant, grows the kama into a plant. This grows in all sides into a
gigantic tree. This tree wants to enjoy all worldly pleasures.
What is krodha? When with kamam we are prevented from enjoying or when an
unwanted thing is presented to us, kama gets transformed into anger or krodha.This
krodha will push us into mahaa paapam

*maha paapma = greatly sinful.
*Enam = this kama, *iha = when trying to practice Gyana yoga,
*viddhi = understand as , *vairinam = enemy.

Since anger becomes the cause of committing abominable actions it is
called mahapaapma or great sinner and because it is counter productive to all
human goals of righteousness it is called mahavairi or
great adversary.

Though Sri Krishna tells that Arjuna should recognise Kama as the enemy,
since Kama gets transformed into krodha, it is also included as an enemy. Sri
Andal also in Her 13th Pasuram in
Thiruppavai [Ungal puzhakkadai..] says ' sengal podi koorai ven pal
thavathavar'. This means saffron or brick red coloured cloth as dress and white
teeth. Dress is outside the body and teeth is inside
the mouth. Normally, red is associated with rajo quality and white with
satva guna. So rajo guna has to be out and satva guna has to be in, is implied in
this pasuram and this reflects this sloka in Gita.
Because by keeping rajo quality out, the water needed for the kamam plant
is denied and so the plant can not grow and we would have succeded in recognising
our enemy and would have destroyed.
Our mind also will be able to devote its attention on atman.

(Bhagavan: Bhaga means the six attributes, viz., Jnana (knowledge), Vairagya
(dispassion), Kirti (fame), Aishvarya (divine manifestations and excellences), Sri
(wealth), and Bala (might). He who
possesses these six attributes and who has a perfect knowledge of the
origin and the end of the universe is Bhagavan or the Lord.)

The most powerful obstruction in their pursuit of jnana yoga or the path of
cultivating Vedic knowledge is kama or lust. The intense addiction to enjoy sense
objects. This addiction is fueled by past habits
such as remembering senses enjoyed or by senses frustrated in the attempt
to satisfy ones desires. Because the person is helplessly attached to the
attraction and aversion of the three gunas or goodness ,
passion and nescience which are constantly fluctuating the mind and senses
influencing all beings. This kama is a most powerful enemy and exerting its power
compels a person to enter into its province of
sense delights in pursuit of pleasure. Then if by chance while in the
pursuit of sense delights ones desires are thwarted or frustrated then this same
lust transforms itself into intense krodha or anger.
Enacting sinful actions in the attempt to satisfy ones frustrated senses
even if futilely and prepared to perpetrate even violent acts against anyone that
thwarts in any way the gratification of their senses.
It should be known that kama and krodha arise from rajas guna or the mode
of passion and it is a very hostile adversary to those who are engaged in jnana
yoga. This indicates that when
there is an increase of sattva guna or the mode of goodness then kama will
be decreased proportionately. Both kama and krodha must be terminated by the
method Lord Krishna prescribes in the next
verses; for it is definitely not appropriate to try to appease either of
them as it is useless to try to pacify kama because it has an insatiable appetite
and is never satisfied and it is also useless to appease
krodha because it is has a terribly temperament and is unpredictably

Further explanation by Velkuddi Krishnan Swami:
We may have a doubt, whether the Kamam mentioned is sticking to our body
somewhere and whether we could wash it off. Sri Krishna tells that kama and krodha
are manifestations of our intellect or Gyana.
Our intellect when dominated by lust is kamam and when dominated by anger
is krodha. Our Gyana's various stages are kamam, sneham [freindship],
bhakti[devotion], krodha, etc. But Gyana is connected with
atman or soul while it was told that kamam is grown by rajo guna, which
is connected with prakruti or the world and our body. So the question is how rajo
guna could cover intellect? Sri Krishna tells that the
atman is in the body.Atman's Gyana is covered by the body which has
satva, rajo and amo gunas and so he Gyana is influenced by the three gunas. This
kamam never gets satisfied and demands more and
more. Kamam here does not mean only sex but all passions for eating or
listening or amassing wealth and so on. Beyond a limit all these are kamam. This
never gets satisfied and so Alwar calls it thoora kuzhi
or bottomless pit. Like fire it keeps consuming. So kamam is considered
as enemy.

Arjuna now asks that if rajo guna could influence Gyana to kamam, why not
the satva guna in the body influence the Gyana and avoid kamam in us? The Lord
replies that the strength of rajo guna is much more
than satva guna and so the influence of rajo guna dominates.
Statistically also satva is only one third and the other two evil forces are in
majority. Besides, we are used to sensual experience from so many
births and so they dominate. Now Arjuna tells that if that be the case,
we have to know rajo guna is going to dominate and so there is no use in trying to
practice any yoga and so we can remain passive.
Sri Krishna tells that there is influence of both satva and rajo gunas.
We have to wait and watch and grab the opportunity when satva guna influence is
there. Though this may be small we could nurture and
uplift ourselves. Taking a analogy, Sun is Atman, sunrays is the Gyana.
cloud hindering sunlight is kaamam influencing Gyana. We should know Gyana can
function only via the organs including mind.
When the Gyana takes satva guna while functioning through the organs, we
get bhakti or devotion. On the other hand, if it takes rajo guna we get involved
in lower passions. Giving another analogy,
Gyaana is like pure water coming out of a shower(Atma). If the holes of
the shower(Body) have dirt(Raja Guna), the water coming out of those holes are
also dirty. So by involving our mind and organs in the
service of God, the Gyana does not get converted to kamam. That is Karma
yoga can make our Gyana pure.

dhumen(a)-avriyate vahnir yatha adarso malena ca
yathO-ulbena-(a)vrto garbha: tatha tene-i()dam avrtam

"As fire is covered by smoke, as a mirror is covered by dust, or as the embryo is
covered by the womb, the living entity is similarly covered by different degrees
of this lust."

In the last sloka when Sri Krishna identified kamam as the enemy, Arjuna asks how
kamam could be enemy and prevent us from doing good. Sri Krishna tells how kamam
is preventing in the 38th and 39th slokas. Kaama covers the atma as smoke covers
fire, As dust prevents one from seeing a reflection in the mirror this kama
prevents one from perceiving their atma and as the womb imprisons the embryo it
is kama which keeps a person imprisoned in the material existence. This is Lord
Krishnas meaning.

*Tena = by kamam, idam = the collection of atmans,
*avrtam = is covered, tata = similarly.
Here he gives three examples similar to the covering of the atman collection
by kamam. Each example is to highlight one property.
*Vahni =fire, dhumena = by smoke,
*avriyate = covered, yata = like. That is just as smoke covers the fire, kamam
covers atman.
*Yata = like, athadarso= mirror, malena = covered by dust. That is just like a
mirror is covered by dust.
*Yata = like, ulbena = ulba or the uterus, avreto = covers, *garbha = fetus or
embryo. That is just as the fetus or embryo is covered by the uterus when a woman
is pregnant.

These three examples are told to convey three properties. In the first example,
fire is covered by smoke, even though the fire started the smoke. Similarly the
impressions of various lives generates Kaamam,
which hides the Gyaana. This Atma has gone through so many births which
leaves impressions of those experiences, desires and hence being associated with
the body, Atma and Kaamam are enjoined
together. We have to remember that just as smoke and fire can not be
separated, as long as the atman is in the body, the body related kamam can not be
separated. Such is the intimacy.

In the second example, mirror is covered by dust. By cleaning the dust the
mirror is bright. But after sometime again dust collects and again we have to
clean. Similarly we can clear the kamam
surrounding the atman by good deeds, aachar nishtai etc and need to do it
continuously, repeatedly to ensure the dust of kaamam/rajoguna etc do not again
settle. This is a repetitive action.

Now the third example. The embryo or fetus is covered by the uterus.
Similarly, consider atma as the fetus and Kaama as the Uterus. The child cannot
by itself decide to get delivered but it requires the help
of an external force in the form of the efforts by the mother. Similarly, for
the atman to come out of kamam, it requires the assistance of an external force of
God's blessings (Kannan Arul).

Another intresting explanation by Sila Prabhupad:
There are three degrees of covering of the living entity by which his pure
consciousness is obscured. This covering is but lust under different
manifestations like smoke in the fire, dust on the mirror, and the
womb about the embryo. When lust is compared to smoke, it is understood that
the fire of the living spark can be a little perceived. In other words, when the
living entity exhibits his Krsna consciousness
slightly, he may be likened to the fire covered by smoke. Although fire is
necessary where there is smoke, there is no overt manifestation of fire in the
early stage. This stage is like the beginning of Krsna
consciousness. The dust on the mirror refers to a cleansing process of the
mirror of the mind by so many spiritual methods. The best process is to chant the
holy names of the Lord. The embryo covered
by the womb is an analogy illustrating a helpless position, for the child in
the womb is so helpless that he cannot even move. This stage of living condition
can be compared to that of the trees. The trees are
also living entities, but they have been put in such a condition of life by
such a great exhibition of lust that they are almost void of all consciousness.
The covered mirror is compared to the birds and beasts,
and the smoke covered fire is compared to the human being. In the form of a
human being, the living entity may revive a little Krsna consciousness, and, if he
makes further development, the fire of spiritual
life can be kindled in the human form of life. By careful handling of the
smoke in the fire, the fire can be made to blaze. Therefore the human form of life
is a chance for the living entity to escape the
entanglement of material existence. In the human form of life, one can
conquer the enemy, lust, by cultivation of Krsna consciousness under able

avrtam jnanam etena jnanino nitya-vairina
kama-rupena kaunteya duspurenanalena ca

"O Arjuna! The knowledge of the self (atma Gnaanam) is enveloped by the insatiable
fire of desire - the ETERNAL ENEMY of the wise"

*Jnanam = the Gyana of, jnanina = person who has started the Gyana yoga,
*avrtam = is covered.

We have already seen that for a person trying to practice Gyana yoga, his
intellect or Gyana should be fully involved in atman pursuit. But kamam covers the
Gyana of the person and so the mind and other
sensual organs drift to earthly pleasures. So the intellect is prevented from
meditating on atman. Here Arjuna doubted how the powerful Gyana of the atman could
be covered by mere kamam?
Sri Krishna replies this point. The intellect of one who even has
understanding of atma tattva or soul realisation becomes clouded by the eternal
enemy known as kama or lust and which generates
fascination and excitement for enjoying the objects of the senses. The word
duspurena means insatiable, it can never be satisfied. It constantly hungers for
sense gratification even if it is inaccessible to
get and impossible to have still kama yearns for it. It is anala or
inexhaustible as nothing ever completely satisfies kama permanently. When the
object of its desires has been acquired and the senses
fully gratified then at once kama wants more and looks for something new. It
is never satisfied.

*Nithya vairina = permanent or eternal enemy (this kaamam is eternal enemy.
Never a friend, even for a moment!)
* kama rupena = in the form of Kaamam (desire, lust etc).
*dushpurena = desires those which it can never achieve
[like for example one wanting to become a millionaire next day, or wanting
to rule the entire world even though that person might not be having any
*analena = or, desires which can be achieved but would never be satisfied ;
like a fire which denotes the burning fire of kama which is never satisfied and
[no one says enough after enjoying, just as fire can never be satisfied
with ghee and other inflammable materials and that is why anala means fire]. We
never get satisfied with what we enjoy. If we eat a
tasty food today, we crave for it next day also. This type of kama does not
exist when worshiping God. If someone is asked did he visit Srivilliputhur
festival this year, he might reply that he had already
visited previous year and might refuse to visit next year also. Where we
should have unsatisfied desire we seem to be not having; but in worldly pleasures
our desires are never contented. Our atman's
gyana is covered by the kamam which has been associated with atman in all
our births. So there are two types of kamam ; desiring for the impossible and
desiring without a satisfaction. This is an eternal

Jnanam, Knowledge; is avrtam, covered; etena, by this; nityavairina, constant
enemy; jnaninah, of the wise. For the wise person knows even earlier, 'I am being
induced by this into evil.' And he always
[Both at the time when desire arises in him, and also when he is forced to
act by it.] feels distressed. Therefore, it is the constant enemy of the wise but
not of a fool. For the fool looks upon desire as a
friend so long as hankering lasts. When sorrow comes as a consequence, he
realizes, 'I have been driven into sorrow because of longings', but certainly not
earlier. Therefore it is the constant enemy of the
wise alone. In what form? Kama-rupena, in the form of desire-tha which has
wish itself as its expression is kama-rupa; in that form-; (and) duspurena, which
is an insatiable; analena, fire. That which is
difficult to satisfy is duspurah; and (derivatively) that which never has
enough (alam) is analam.

Swami Desika, explains this sloka in an eloquent way. The Gyani mentioned
here is not the one who has succeeded in Gyana yoga as that person would have
already vanquished this enemy
and got atman sakshatkaram. But here it is that person who is in thje
initial stages of Gyana yoga or the one who is starting to practice Gyana yoga.
Also even for this Gyani in the initial stage of Gyana
yoga, his knowledge of all matters is full and there is nothing hidden. He
is able to recognise all things and persons in the world. This is worldly
knowledge (Loukika Gyaanam) and it remains in tact. But his
knowledge about atman is hidden or covered. So the purpose of kamam is to
prevent atman knowledge from understanding the atman. Why should it do that? It is
because over the millions of births it is
used to pull atman towards earthly pleasures only. Whereas the gyani is with
difficulty trying to pull his senses and mind in atman gyana. This is similar to
the tug-of-war between the crocodile and elephant
in the Gajendra episode. The Gyana of atman is pulled between the worldly
knowledge and atman knowledge. Swami Desika explains another aspect also. We have
seen that kamam and krodha are two
manifestations of Gyana. So, how a transformed Gyana hides another Gyana?
Can one light hide another light? We have seen warning notices against drinking
and smoking displayed prominantly and even
on the bottle or the packet. This is knowledge and we all know it. But, when
we want to drink or smoke, which desire also is a transformation of our knowledge,
it overtakes the knowledge that we should not
drink or smoke as they are injurious to our health. This is a practical
situation and so one knowledge can cover another knowledge in the same person. In
our Gyana the worldly knowledge is predominant
while the atman knowledge is subdued. In a deaddiction camp, the affected
person is given all treatments and when sent home the relatives are all told not
to bring to notice the materials which made him
an addict nor to mention anything about those materials so that the person
does not get any sort of urge to go in that line again. After a time when he fully
forgets and recovers, even if the materials are
brought he does not go after them.

While one enjoys sense gratification, it may be that there is some feeling of
happiness, but actually that so-called feeling of happiness is the ultimate enemy
of the sense enjoyer. We can win this enemy
kamam by another kamam (removing a thorn with another thorn!), that is the
desire to be in the service of God, also known as Sri Krishna kamam (i.e Bhakti).

indriyani mano buddhir asya adhisthanam ucyate
etair vimohayaty esa jnanam avrtya dehinam

"The senses, the mind and the intelligence are the sitting places of this lust.
Through them lust covers the real knowledge of the living entity and bewilders

In the previous sloka, Sri Krishna told kaamam covers the atman. Desire or anger
can not be pictured but we can picture a person influenced by desire or anger. So
Arjuna asks from where kamam hides
the atman and how & with whose help it does this? Sri Krishna replies this in
the 40th sloka. If the abode of the enemy is known it is quite easy to kill him.
So Lord Krishna like a wise army general points out
to Arjuna the abode of desire so that he may be able to conquer it.

The senses, the mind and the intellect which controls the discriminatory
faculty, is where kama or lust covertly resides and exercises its dominion over
the atma or soul. Through kama the senses, the mind
and the intellect become addicted to craving for sense objects. Kama seizes hold
of the embodied beings and beguiles them by clouding the intellect and then kama
covers and envelopes the atma or soul of
that being in many ways and who subsequently becomes kamas slave doing anything
to gratify its senses and is plunged into the prison garden of sense objects. This
is what Lord Krishna is stating here.

As desire arises from contact with sense objects by seeing, hearing, touching
etc. the mind is agitated and a determined effort to enjoy arises and lust
manifests itself from within the mind completely
overpowering the intellect and the discriminatory faculties and a person is
controlled and deluded, forced to be a slave of their sense.. The senses infatuate
the mind, the mind infatuates the intellect and the
intellect enveloped by kama loses all discriminatory powers and succumbs to the
pursuance of gratifying ones senses in sensual pleasures. This infatuation
reverses the delight in cultivation of Vedic knowledge
and causes a person to chase the delights of sense objects and strives mightily
to satisfy every one of them.

*Jnanam = intellect or Gyana of,
*dehinam= atman in the body, avrtya = is hidden by,
*esa = this kamam,
*vimohayat = mesmerises into ahankaaram (body-I identification) and Mamaakaram.
It employs senses, mind and intellect for this purpose.
* indriyani = the sense organs, mano = mind, buddhi = intellect or resolute,
*asya adhishtanam = as its domain.

Kamam first dominates the sense organs viz. eyes, ears, nose, tongue and skin.
Then it dominates mind(manas). Finally it captivates buddhi(intellect) with which
we reason good and bad.
Both mind and buddhi are manifestation of our intellect. Our Gyana can be in
both good and bad things and bad things will try to destroy good ones. But it is
our duty to nurture good things only and remove
bad things, just like removing weeds in crops. When kamam dominates organs,
mind and buddhi, the atman is unable to use the Gyana on good things. All this
happens within ourselves as the kamam also
is in us only.

With the help of these three entities, atman is mesmerised. Here by using the
word vimohayati or mesmerism does not mean the person is fainted. But it means
atman is unable to realise its relationship
with the body. It does not realize atman is superior and is imperishable. It
thinks it is body. Apart from thinking that atman and body are one and the same,
it thinks all things as belonging to it. The first is
called ahankaram where atman thinks it is body. The second is called mamakaram,
where all things in this world are its. In reality, nothing belongs to the atman
including the body.

Kamam thus creates ahankaram and mamakaram in us using the organs, mind and
buddhi. In case of Alwar, he cries that after worshiping the Lord, his organs,
mind and buddhi are no longer with him and
they are after God. So our Gyana is dragged by kaamam and God, if we go after
God then it becomes Krishna kamam or bhakti.
By revealing the locations of where kama or lust is stationed Lord Krishna is
indicating the means to defeat kama. In the next sloka Sri Krishna is going to
tell how to vanquish this kamam.

tasmat tvam indriyany adau niyamya bharatarsabha
papmanam prajahi hy enam jnana-vijnana-nasanam
"Therefore, O Arjuna, best of the Bharatas, controlling the senses in the very
begininning , slay this sinful thing that destroys both knowledge and

*adau niyamya - after first controlling (adau - in the very beginning or
firstly )
*indriyani - the sense organs
*prajahihi - Curb, control, renounce; enam, this one, the enemy under
consideration; which is
*papmanam - this sinful-which is desire that is accustomed to sinning; and
*jnana-vijnana-nasanam, a destroyer of learning and wisdom,

Now Lord Krishna gives the antidote to avoid being controlled by kama or lust,
which is so terrible and destructive to the consciousness and development of a
human being and which is the root of all evils because
it obscures true knowledge. One must withdraw the senses away from the sense
objects at the very beginning before they have contact and remain resolute with a
steady mind.

One who is interested in qualifying for jnana yoga or the cultivation of Vedic
knowledge must restrain the natural out going tendency of the five senses from
pursuing sense objects. But the mighty enemy kama or
lust covertly causes dissent in the enquiring of atma tattva or realisation of
the soul and contrarily causes enthusiasm for procuring the delights of the
senses. One, who understanding that the senses operate in their
own natural sphere within the physical body, directs them to perform the
appropriate occupational duties according to ones rank and station in life in
karma yoga or the performance of prescribed Vedic activities
and thus the senses are constrained. Lord Krishna thus gives the key to
vanquishing this great enemy known as kama which is so terrible and which destroys
both jnana or spiritual knowledge and vijnana or
spiritual wisdom.

The Lord advised Arjuna to regulate the senses from the very beginning so that
he could curb the greatest sinful enemy, lust, which destroys the urge for self-
realization, and specifically, knowledge of the self.
Jnanam refers to knowledge of self as distinguished from non-self, or, in other
words, knowledge that the spirit soul is not the body. Vijnanam refers to specific
knowledge of the spirit soul and knowledge of one's
constitutional position and his relationship to the Supreme Soul. It is
explained thus in the Srimad-Bhagavatam: jnanam parama-guhyam me yad vijnana-
samanvitam/sa-rahasyam tad-angam ca grhana gaditam
maya: "The knowledge of the self and the Supreme Self is very confidential and
mysterious, being veiled by maya, but such knowledge and specific realization can
be understood if it is explained by the Lord Himself."
Bhagavad-gita gives us that knowledge, specifically knowledge of the self. The
living entities are parts and parcels of the Lord, and therefore they are simply
meant to serve the Lord. This consciousness is called
Krsna consciousness. So, from the very beginning of life one has to learn this
Krsna consciousness, and thereby one may become fully Krsna conscious and act

Lust is only the perverted reflection of the love of God which is natural for
every living entity. But if one is educated in Krsna consciousness from the very
beginning, that natural love of God cannot deteriorate into lust.
When love of God deteriorates into lust, it is very difficult to return to the
normal condition. Nonetheless, Krsna consciousness is so powerful that even a late
beginner can become a lover of God by following the
regulative principles of devotional service. So, from any stage of life, or
from the time of understanding its urgency, one can begin regulating the senses in
Krsna consciousness, devotional service of the Lord, and
turn the lust into love of Godhead--the highest perfectional stage of human

indriyaani paraan(i)-ahuh: indriyebhyah param manah:
manasas-tu paraa buddhir yo buddheh para-tas-tu-sah:

"The working senses are stronger; mind is stronger than the senses; intelligence
is still stronger than the mind; and the kamam is even stronger than the

One has to vanquish kamam. Is this Kaamam alone or is it aided by other
associates? Kamam steals our sensual organs, mind and buddhi or intellect. This
way it ensures that we do not gain any knowledge about
atman. Can we directly attack kamam? No. This was explained in previous
slokas. Why? It is a gang of four thieves. Kamam is the leader and the other
three are associates. All the four are not equal in strength.
In this sloka, Lord gives them different grades of strength.

The five senses are the main impediments to spiritual development and are
arranged in a hostile formation against it. As long as the senses are primarily
occupied in the pursuit of pleasure and delight in sense
objects the realisation of the atma or soul will never manifest. Yet the mind
although fickle is capable of controlling the senses but if the mind is also
inclined to enjoy the senses and is filled with thoughts of the
same then realisation of the atma will also never manifest. But the intellect
is superior even to the mind as it possesses the discriminative faculty. This
means that the mind may be tranquil but if the intellect is
inclined towards the channels of sense activities then there will be a
perversion in ones intelligence and no possibility again for realisation of the
atma. To show the order of gradation is Lord Krishnas intention.
A question may be posed what if all three being the senses, the mind and the
intellect were tranquil and passive? The unvarying answer is that kama or lust
which arises from desires, covertly resides deep within
the heart, identified with will, originating from Rajas, is operating, and
is always craving for sense gratification. This kama is so powerful that it will
assert its mastery over them all and domineering them will have
them fully pursuing the objects of the senses for sense gratification in the
phenomenal world obscuring the light of knowledge and the realisation of the atma.
Thus it is said here: 'But what is greater than intellect
is that.' What is greater than the intellect --- is desire. Such is the sense
of the last sentence here.

*Indriyani = Five sense-organs: of vision, hearning, taste, smell and touch;
five motor-organs: hands, feet, speech, and for excretion and generation-these
latter five are also understood in the present context.
*paraani =are strong, superior to our external gross body. they are capable
of diverting our efforts in Gyana yoga; The senses are superior to the physical
body because if the senses are agitated they will transfer
this agitation to the physical body and knowledge will not
arise in the mind.
*Manah = mind having the nature of thinking and doubting; [Sankalpa: will,
volition, intention, thought, reflection, imagination, etc. vikalpa:doubt,
uncertainly, indecision, suspicion, error, etc.,
*param = is stronger than, indryebya = the organs. The mind is superior to
the senses and can stop them but if the mind is intent on sense gratification then
knowledge will not arise.
*Buddhir = intellect or resolute having the nature of determination and
discriminative faculty,
*parah = is more powerful, *manasas tu = than mind. The intellect is
superior to the senses and the mind, since if the senses are passive and the mind
is not agitated, but if the intellect decides contrary and is
inclined to enjoy, it will overrule the senses and the mind
and directs them both to pursue pleasure.
*Yo = but, sah = this Kamam, paratas = is stronger than, buddheh = intellect.
The mind becomes clouded and the intellect is obscured by kama and reflects and
contemplates actions that will gratify the senses
veiling the true knowlegde of the atma. This confirms that kama is
the greatest enemy of the human being because it obscures knowledge of the eternal
atma or soul.
*ahuh=it is declared

Thus there is a grading in strength. Sense Organs, Mind, Buddhi and Kaamam
are in the ascending order of strength. Just as in a war the commander is not
attacked directly first, but his troops, his inner security,
etc., here also we cannot attack kaamam first. Sri Krishna tells organs are
stronger, which implies there are other enemies of lesser strength. Suppose, we
want to worship Sri Andal in Srivilliputhur, but we are in
say, Chennai. Then place becomes an impediment for a good cause. Similarly,
though we are in Srivilliputhur, but we want to worship in midnight when the
temple is closed. Here, time is the enemy. Organs are
more powerful than these enemies, as these could be bridged (we can go to
the temple at a different time or take a train to go to a place etc). Whereas the
organs are more powerful than these impediments.
The senses are constantly looking for sense/material gratification and will
divert us from Atma Gnaanam. But the mind is a more powerful enemy than the
organs. The senses can atleast be controlled to some
extent physically, like closing the eyes, ears etc. But, Mind cannot be
controlled physically and so is a greater foe. Greater enemy than Mind is
intellect. When a person faints, his mind also does not function.
But as soon as he gets conscience, his buddhi or intellect functions and
drags him away a person from nobler thoughts. Atma's dharma bhoota Gnaanam is
Buddhi. So buddhi is more powerful than mind.
Even powerful than Buddhi is Kaamam. When a person dies buddhi, along with
mind and organs get lost. But kamam as a trace or vasanai sticks to atman and in
the next birth it starts the activities all over
captivating the organs, mind and buddhi. Therefore the most powerful enemy
is kamam. To defeat kamam, one has to conquer organs, mind and buddhi and the best
way to do that is to cultivate Karma yoga.
Karma Yoga - performing Karmas should be according to Shaastras. By doing
so, the senses, mind, intellect are engaged constantly in doing Saastric approved
activities. Having thus kept engaged and busy,
these potential enemies are directed to performing the right activities and
not drift away. On the other hand, by doing ahaara niyamam (prescribed sattvic
diet) etc, we stop going in the way of Rajo/Tamo gunas
and take away the fuel from Kaamam. By this two pronged approach, we can
cross over these four enemies, with lord's grace.

evam buddheh param buddhva samstabhy(a)-atmaanam atmana
jahi satrum mahaa-baho kaama-rupam duraasadam
"Realising lust is difficult to conquer, oh! the Mighty armed Arjuna, this lust
stronger than buddhi is enemy to be conquered by Karma yoga."

So it should be understood that kama or lust is able to dominate even the
intellect and thus is antagonistic to jnana yoga or the cultivation of Vedic
spiritual knowledge. Now in conclusion Lord Krishna establishes the
fact that one should try to their utmost to destroy the powerful enemy known as
kama or lust. Knowing that kama is the mightiest enemy one must by withdrawing the
senses, keeping the mind steady and the intellect
resolute in sattva guna the mode of goodness then slay this enemy kama which will
attack your mind and senses in various ways causing one to fall into delusion
before oen becomes powerless to resist. Kama is
extremely difficult to overpower and is tenacious and formidable yet if one
dedicates all actions to Lord Krishna with their mind fixed on Him they can
overcome it. So knowledge of Vedic wisdom and meditation on
the Supreme Lord are combined the pancea to neutralise kama from its location in
the senses, mind and intellect and then destroy the great enemy known as kama.
This path of selfless action unattached without
conception of rewards should be practiced according to ones capacity and knowledge
as a means of gradually achieving renunciation.

*Mahabaho = long armed Arjuna,
*satrum jahi = vanquish the enemy,
*durasadam = difficult to win, kaama rupam = [enemy] lust or desire.
*Evam = thus this kamam, buddeh param = stronger than intellect,
*buddhva = realising, samstabhya = engaging the organs, mind and buddhi in
karma yoga,
*atmana = by resolute intellect, atmaanam = mind and other organs.

So, he says that the difficult to conquer enemy Kamam is to be vanquished. In
the 36th sloka Arjuna raised a query as to why he is being forcibly dragged into
worldly desires and who is doing that. Sri Krishna
explained that Kamam was responsible for all the impediments one faces in
pursuing atman sakshatkaram.

Pictorially we can depict atman as atomic in size but radiating with intense
gyana and is inside a body.
The body and prakruti are made up of the five elements - earth, water, fire,
air and space. The three gunas - satvam, raja and tamo- will always be associated
with this prakruti and body. In the same body atman
resides. The gyana is radiated through the mind and organs. This gyana of
atman is called Dharma bhootha gyana. This is also called buddhi or resoluteness.
So when the gyana or the resolute passes thruogh
the mind or organs which are always associated with the three gunas, the rajo
and tamo gunas water the resolute or buddhi and convert it into kamam. Also from
immemorable times, the atman in the body is used
to habits like eating, seeing, etc., and so traces continue to linger in the
atman in its millions of births.This becomes the seed that get germinated and the
rajo/tamo qualities water this and kamam grows into a plant.
Kamam thus enslavens the buddhi, mnd and organs. The real gyana of atman never
sees the day. So the atman is made to think that the body is atman and all are its
property - ahankaram and mamakaram. This
complex plant can be tackled portfolio wise. First we have to tackle the rajo
quality so that the water for the kamam germination is stopped. To stop rajo guna
one has to control the food one takes. We should take
food that develops satva guna and avoid food enriching rajo guna. This will
reduce rajo guna and stop likes and dislikes. Next we have to eliminate the
supporters for kamam. These are organs, mind and buddhi.
We have to engage them in other activities. We have seen gossip mongers
spoiling society. They thrive on unemployed youth. If we give employment to these
vulnerable youth, then they will not surround the
gossip mongers and they, in turn, will lose supporters and be eliminated.
Society will be saved. Similarly we have to engage organs, mind and buddhi in
karma yoga. This is what Sri Krishna tells when he uses
the word samstabhya. To cap all, if we pray Him, He will ensure all our papa
are destroyed. Since we are reducing the strength of kamam by reducing the rajo
guna and eliminating its supporters, more papa will
not be committed. This will ensure avoiding rebirths.

Thus a three pronged attack is the best way to save us. So
1)Sattvic food to reduce Rajo/Tamo guna,
2)Karma yoga to engage organs, mind and buddhi (Vaayinaal Paadi,
Manathinaal Sindika, thoomalar toovi thozudu etc)
3)Surrender to Lord
will keep us away from kamam.

We need not struggle to understand rajo guna or satva guna, but follow this
simple practice of good food, engaging in the service of God by pooja and social
With this Chapter 3 concludes and we will see what is the greatness of this

We have seen the 3rd Chapter, called Karma Yogam with 43 slokas. Sri Krishna
advised Arjuna not to try Gyana yoga. Karma yoga is natural for the atman and
slipping from this is much less.
Karma yoga is to be practiced even by Gyana yogi, as he also has to live to
practice Gyana yoga. Also Arjuna has to follow loka sngraham, that is his actions
will be copied by his followers. Many of his followers
will be incapable of practicing Gyana yoga and if Arjuna practiced Gyana
yoga, his followers may copy that and end in failure. He also explained regarding
the great enemy Kamam endangering Gyana yoga and
so Karma yoga was best suited for Arjuna.

Parvati requested Parama Shiva to tell about the greatness of Chapter 3 as
told by Sriman Narayana to Sri Lakshmi. In Janasthanam there lived a brahmin
Jatan. Instead of learning and leading a pious life, he took
to drinking, gambling and friendship with undesirable people. He thus incurred
many sins and after death became a ghost. Like Prahlada for Hiranyakashipu, this
brahmin had a noble son and was searching for his
father's whereabouts. The son came to the very same tree where his father as a
ghost was residing. Not knowing his father was there, the son did parayanam
[ ritualistic study] of Chapter 3 of Bhagavat Gita. As he
concluded this sacred study, a sound blast was heard and the son saw his
father in golden hue up in the sky. He told the son that in spite of his inumerous
sins, by just listening to Chapter 3 read by his son, all the
sins were washed away and he was going for better worlds. He advised his son
to continue the sacred study of Chapter 3 so that more people will get liberated.


Chapter 4 is called Gyana yogam. It may surprise us as how after telling the
greatness of Karma yoga, suddenly Sri Krishna is switching to Gyana yogam. But
here he is not telling about the Gyana yoga as it is, but
the Gyana in Karma yoga.

Let us first look at the summary of the Fourth chapter by Swami Alavandar in
Gitartha Sangrahah:


These are told in the Fourth Chapter. Which are they?

*PRASANGAATH SVASVAA-BHAAVOKTHIHI - Incidentally, Sri Krishna mentions the
secret of His avatar. There was no necessity to speak about that here. We have
already mentioned that from 2nd to 6th
Chapters are meant for ataman sakshatkaram and so Karma and Gyana yoga are
explained. But suddenly in the beginning of Chapter 4, Sri Krishna tells about His
greatness. He tells how He is born and where
and what all He is doing. Prasanga means remembering suddenly something and
lecturing about that.

*KARMANOH AKARMATA - Since Gyana yoga is in Karma yoga, Karma yoga attains the
Gyana level. There are branches of Karma yoga.

*ASYA CHA BHEDA: - Different types and bhedas in Karma yoga

*JNAANASYA MAHATMYAM In Karma yoga a portion is Karma and another is Gyana.
The Gyana portion is superior. In a pooja, we collect flowers and offer to the
Lord. Entire work is Karma yoga. The action part
is collection of the flowers and reaching the place where the pooja is to be
performed. But the knowledge that we have to perform Pooja with fresh flowers and
offer is the Gyana portion and that is more important
than mere collection of flowers. Instead of understanding that the Gyana yoga
is praised, it is the Gyana portion of the Karma yoga which is recommended by Sri

*CHATURDHA ADHYAAYA UCHYATHEH : So all these four - about His greatness,karma
yoga itself raises one to Gyana level, branches of Karma yoga and the superiority
of Gyana portion in Karma yoga- are
talked in the 4th Chapter. Sri Krishna also answers questions on the
authenticity of Karma yoga.

Here Alavandaar refer to the state of Adhikari ,who understands the true
nature of Atman(Jivan) and who ,thereafter performs the Karmas by recognizing the
Jnana content in them. Such an Adhikari recognizes
that Karma Yogam contains inside it Atma Jnanam and therefore it blossoms
forth into Jnana Yogam. Further , the Adhikari of that description ,who wishes to
obtain Moksham performs all his Karmas believing
that he is doing them in his capacity as a part of Parabrahma Swaroopam and
thereby gains more Atma Jnanam. Such an Adhikari uses Atma Jnanam as a boat to
cross the ocean of sins accumulated over many
births. His Atma Jnanam burns away the admixture of Papams and Punyams and
thereby makes him free of Karmas and prepares him for the boon of moksham.

The five Gita Slokas, which Alavandaar and Swami Desikan might have used
as a key part of their summaries of this chapter are: IV--22 (Yadhrrucchaa
Labha Santhushto), 23 (Brahmaarpanam ),
35(Api Chetasi paapepyoh), 36 (Yathaidhaamsi Samiddhogni) 38(Sraddhaavaan
labhate Jnanam).
There are other famous slokams also here , which strengthen the message
summarized by the two Acharyas. They are: IV-7(Paritthraanaaya Sadhunaam), 9
(Veetha raga Bhaya), 10 (Yeh Yata maam
Prapatyanthe),32 (Evam Bahuvidha Yagna), 34 (Tadviddhi Pranipaaatena) and
40 (Ajynasccha asraddhadhanasccha).

Swami Desikan hints here at the six Secrets (Rahasyams) behind the Lord"s
incarnations(Avataarams) here thru the choice of words " Thaaneh pirakkum
Perumaigalum) in his Verse. He also states thru the
words"Turavaakkirisaigal thumati tannaal tulanguhaiyum", the Karmas that are
unabandonable and shining BY doing them with the knowledge ABOUT the difference
between the Jivan and the Body that houses
it .

In the third chapter Lord Krishna explained that only karma yoga or the
performance of prescribed Vedic activities was suitable for the materialistic
person aspiring for moksa or liberation from the cycle of birth and
death and that such an aspirant was not competent to follow the path of jnana
yoga or the cultivation of Vedic knowledge. It was also shown that even for jnana
yoga practitioners that karma yoga when performed
as a matter of duty without attachment was preferable. It was further
illustrated that for leaders of prominence in society it is an important necessity
to perform karma yoga in order that the public is guided and
inspired in a righteous manner. The objective of this fourth chapter is to
further emphasise the worthiness of karma yoga by giving evidence that it was
taught to great personalities at the beginning of this Manavatar
or cyclic appearance of one type of divine incarnations as verified in Vedic
scriptures over a period of time comprising approximately every 350 million years.
Also it will be shown in this chapter how karma yoga
partakes of the nature of jnana yoga by reason of spiritual intentions
underlying all prescribed Vedic activities. Chapter four finishes up by explaining
the nature and varieties of karma yoga and the importance of
spiritual awareness connected to performing every action.

First three slokas of Chapter4 is from Lord Krishna. Sloka 4 is a question from
Arjuna. Slokas 5 to 9 are responses from Lord to that question. These SLokas
BHAAVOKTHIHI). They detail the Avtaara Rahasya Gnaanam i.e the secret of
Lord's incarnations. These help clarify the questions of the Lord's avataaras.

sri-bhagavan uvaca
imam vivasvate yogam proktavaan aham avyayam
vivasvaan manave praaha manur iksvakave �bravit

"The Personality of Godhead, Lord Sri Krishna, said: I instructed this
imperishable science of yoga to the sun-god, Vivasvan, and Vivasvan instructed it
to Manu, the father of mankind, and Manu in turn instructed it to Ikshavaku."

*Imam Yogam, Avyayaam - This Karma Yogam, which is imperishable
*Vivasvate - to Vivasvaan (demigod controlling the sun) (Lord is "Surya
Mandala Madhya Varti)
*Aham Proktavaan - I had instructed (I , who am existing for all times)
*vivasvaan - Surya; Sun God (In the beginning of Vaisvata Manvatara, i.e 28
chatur Yugas ago from current time)
*Manave praha - in turn instructed it to Satyavrata, who was Manu of that
period (Manu , who is glorified in vedas. Whatver Manu mentions it is like
Medicine.. Even Rama is glorified as the descendant of Manu!)
*Manur - Manu in turn
*Iksvakare Abravit - Instructed it to Ikshvakavu. Ikshvaku was the reputed
ancestor of the solar dynasty of Kshatriyas.

The Lord said -- This Karma Yoga declared to you should not be considered as
having been taught now merely, for creating encouragement in you for war. I Myself
had taught this Yoga to Vivasvan at the
commencement of Manu's age as a means for all beings to attain release, which
is man's supreme end. Vivasvan taught it to Manu, and Manu to Iksvaku. The royal
sages of old knew this Yoga transmitted by
tradition. Because of long lapse of time and because of the dullness of the
intellect of those who heard it, it has been almost lost.

Why is Lord mentioning the timelessness (avyayam) of this instruction of Karma
Yogam? Because it guides us in achieving Moksham, which is timeless i.e eternal.
So, the instruction which is pointing us in
that direction is also eternal!

evam paramparaa-praaptam imam raajar-sayo viduh
sa kaaleneha mahata yogo nastah parantapa

"This supreme science was thus received through the chain of disciplic succession,
and the saintly kings understood it in that way. But in course of time the
succession was broken, and therefore the science as it is appears to be lost."

*Evam Parampara praaptam - This instruction was was received through chain of
disciplic succession
*Imam Rajarsayo viduh - Great Rajarishis (Janaka, Ambareesha.. all great Karma
Yogis, who were ruling but still situated in Karma yoga) were following it this
*Sa Kalen-Eha mahata - But, over course of time
*Yogo Nastah - This knowledge got Lost
*Parantapa - Arjuna, O destroyer of foes.

Thus was transmitted from Lord Krishna a distinguished parampara or disciplic
succession from illustrious father to illustrious son. This knowledge was passed
onto the saintly kings and royal sages like Nimi and
Sagara; but its origins are without beginning because its roots are in the eternal
Vedas. By great efflux of time and degradation of human intelligence limiting
qualified recipients this great knowledge disappeared into
oblivion due to a break in parampara causing a discontinuation of the tradition in
this world.

sa eva-ayam mayaa te �dya yogah proktah puraatanah
bhakto �si me sakha ceti rahasyam-hy etat uttamam

"That very ancient science of the relationship with the Supreme is today told by
Me to you because you are My devotee as well as My friend and can therefore
understand the transcendental mystery of this science."

Sa eva - That karma yoga
Mayaa - By me
Te - to you
Adya - Now (today)
Puratanah - That ancient knowledge (i.e Krishna is not saying or inventing
anything new . This clarifies the doubt of Arjuna that Krishna is not telling
something just to ensure he fights the war! This knowledge
was ancient and has Pramaanikam of the Lord providing this to great rajarishis
in the past)
Bhakto asi me, saka ceti - Arjuna is my Devotee and companion (and also
related) ... This clarifies the doubt of Arjuna of why the Lord is imparting
this instruction to him!
Rahasyam ht etad uttamam - Imparting this great and secret knowledge of Karma

It is the same ancient, unchanged Yoga which is now taught to you, who out of
friendship and overwhelming devotion have resorted to Me whole-heartedly. The
meaning is that it has been taught to you fully with all
its accessories. Because it is the most mysterious knowledge declared in the
Vedanta, it cannot be known or taught by anyone other than Myself. No one other
then the Supreme Lord Krishna is able to originally
explain the Bhagavad-Gita as it is the essence of the sublime wisdom of all the
Vedas and encapsulates the mysteries of Vedanta.

So, the summary of the three verses (1-3) are , Krishna emphasizing the
authencity of his instruction.

In this connection, in order to know the truth about the Lord's descent
correctly, Arjuna asked:

arjuna uvaca
aparam bhavato janma param janma vivasvatah
katham etad vijaniyaam tvam adau proktavan iti

In the last three slokas, Sri Krishna tells Arjuna that 28 Chatur yugas earlier
[ one chatur yuga is 4,320,000 years] i.e around 120 million years, Sri Krishna
taught this to Vyavaswan. This immediately prompts Arjuna
to ask for clarification and so comes the 4th sloka:

"Arjuna said: The sun-god Vivasvan is senior by birth to You. How am I to
understand that in the beginning You instructed this science to him?"

*Bhavata = your, janma = birth,
*aparam = is later in time, vivasvatah = vivaswan, the Sun [ he preached to
Vaivaswatha Manu],
*param janma = by time long long ago.
Arjuna seeks clarification as how the present Sri Krishna could have
preached Vivaswan of the past, some millions of years ago.
*Tvam = you, Sri Krishna, adau = 28 chatur yug back, proktavan = preached this
Karma yoga,
*katham vijaneeyam = how to believe.

It seems to be unbelievable. Even if believable, please explain how to
believe? Swami Ramanuja in his Gita Bhashyam, has explained the various
possibilities for Arjuna raising this clarification. Logically he
proceeds. Arjuna could have raised this question on three possibilities.
1)Arjuna might not be believing in past, present and future births for
2) Even if he believed in past births, how could the person now remember
past actions in the past births.
3) Even if one could rememeber previous births' actions, Arjuna might be
thinking that was possible for great exceptional persons only and not for ordinary

After all, he might be thinking, that Sri Krishna was his cousin and was like
Arjuna only. Swami Ramanuja emphatically proves that all these three could NOT be
the reasons for Arjuna's question.
1) Arjuna is well learned and has good knowledge of Vedas. He is not an
ordinary person, lest he would not have been selected by Sri Krishna to preach
Gita. So he is not doubtful about past and present births
for atman. In fact in the 1st Chapter he has gone on record that if he
were to kill people in war, they might dwell in swarga or naraka or in Pithruloka,
and so they might fail to offer rituals to their forefathers and
would fall down headlong. That shows Arjuna was a believer in Swarga,
naraka and Pithru loka and believed in the rituals prescribed in Vedas. Therefore
this doubt was not there in Arjuna.
2) Arjuna was aware of great persons like Jatabharatha, and other puranic
characters who were able to remember their past births. So he knows that past
births' actions could be recalled by persons.
3) He knows the greatness of Sri Krishna and he is aware of all His super
human feats like lifting Govardhana giri and many such actions. Arjuna had heard
repeatedly from Bhisma and others during the Rajasuya
sacrifice of Yudhisthira, 'Krsna alone is the cause of creation and
submergence of all the worlds. This universe, consisting of things both animate
and inanimate, was created for the sake of Krsna' (Ma. Bha.,
2.38.23) 'The entire universe is subservient to Krsna' is the meaning of
'For the sake of Krnsa'. If he were not aware of Sri Krishna's greaness he would
not have begged
him to advise Arjuna on what to do in the war front. So all these three
could not be the reason for Arjuna to raise the question.

This apparent contradiction may be explained as follows: Arjuna surely knows
the son of Vasudeva as the Bhagavan. Though knowing Him as such, he questions as
if he did not know Him. His intention was to
seek clarification on the following:
*Can the birth of the Lord of all, who is antagonistic to all that is evil
and wholly auspicious, omniscient, whose will is always true and whose desires are
fulfilled --- can the birth of such a Person be of the same
nature as that of the gods, men etc., who are subject to Karma?
*Or can it be false like the illusions of a magical show? Or could it be
real? In other words, is the birth of the Supreme Being as the incarnate a real
fact or a mere illusory phenomenon produced by a magician's
* If His birth is real, what is the mode of His birth? What is the nature
of His body? What is the manner of His birth? What is the nature of this body of
His? What is the cause of His birth? To what end is He born?
*Are avatars real or illusory?
*Under what circumstances do avatars manifest?
*What is the nature of the body the avatar assumes?
*Are all the avatars omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent?
*Are all avatars transcendental to the cycle of birth and death?
*Are all avatars able to fulfill all desires?
*What is the time schedule which avatars manifest themselves?

The purpose of inquiry from men of wisdom as given in the Agni Purana has a
dual purpose. First is reconfirmation of the knowledge of eternal principles that
they already possess. Second is that their
explanations offer additional clarification. In this same way these
questions asked to Lord Krishna should be understood in this manner. A devotee of
Krsna, like Arjuna, is undoubtedly above any misunderstanding
of the transcendental position of Krsna. Arjuna's putting this question
before the Lord is simply an attempt by the devotee to defy the atheistic attitude
of persons who consider Krsna to be an ordinary human being,
subject to the modes of material nature.

Let us go in detail the question. Swami Ramanuja says the Lord is the
repository of all good qualities. There is not an iota of blemish. He has
countless good qualities. Sri Andal says kuraionrumillda Govinda.
So the questions arise are
1) If He were without any blemish (Kutram onru illada govinda!) why
should He also be born like us who have all defects?
2) He is Sarveshwaran, which means He is leader and commander of
everyone. Then why should He be born like us who are commanded?
3) He is sarvagya, which means He knows all at all times, including
past and future. Why then He is born like us with extremely limited knowledge?
4) He is considered as satya sankalpa, that is He knows what is right
and wrong or full rational knowledge. Is He born by mistake in this world?
5) We are born to fulfill our karma. Is He also born to fulfill
anything? But He is avapta samasta kaman, which means that He has no desire to be
fulfilled as He has the happiness of all desires and more.

Swami Desika says some more questions arise in Arjuna's mind.
a)Is His avatar or birth real or false?
b)Is He born with all His powers or without them? Just as a jewel's
radiance is hidden by the dust, does His power get diminished, born in this
samsaram or earth?
c) Our bodies are made by the five elements [pancha bhootam]. Is His
body also similar or different?
d) Is he born like us bound by past karma?
e) Who determines the time of His birth? In our case our karmas decide
the timing of our births.
f) We are born to expend our karma. To expend what, is He born? or, what
is the purpose of His birth?

[ In response, Lord responds with Six answers which Swamin Deskian quotes
Avataarasya Satya-tvam,
Ajaha svasva-bhaavatah: ,
Suddha-Sattva Mayatvam ca ,
Svecha maatra vidhaanatah: ,
Dharma Glaanau Samudhayah: ,
Sadhu Samrakshana-aartakah ]

Sri Krishna replies Arjuna in the next four slokas [4.5-4.8]. In another 5th
sloka He says that one who clearly understood His secret of avatar will get

4.5-4.8: This four slokas capture the essence of Avataara rahasya Gnaanam.
This will clear many of our doubts regarding Lord's avataars and clears the many
deeds Lord did in his Avtaaram.

In slokas 4.5-4.8, Sri Krishna replies and answers six questions emanating
from Arjuna. Swami Vedanta Desika in his Tatparya Chandrika condenses all the
replies in a single sloka.
Let us examine all the questions. He is replying all the six questions in
four slokas, the first answered in 5th sloka, the next three answers are in sloka
6, the fifth question answer in sloka 7 and the last answer
is in sloka 8.

a) Is His avatar or birth true or false? He is in this world just as we are
or Arjuna was there. Is His birth real like ours or is it a magic or illusion? Sri
Krishna tells His avatar is true -Avataarasya Satya-tvam
b) Is He born with His greatness and Power or without? Swami Desika says He
is born with ajahatswaswabhavatha. Jahat means relinquish or without. So ajahat is
with or fully equipped. In every avatar he is with
full powers and with none of His greatness wanting.
c) Is He born like us with blood and bone, that is with the five elements
which have the three qualities of satva, rajo and tamo gunas? Sri Krishna tells
that unlike our bodies, His body is full of satva quality alone and
is called suddha satva mayam. That is it is not contaminated by rajo/tamo
qualities. Infact, it is not even referred to as "udal", but "Thirumeni".
d) Is He born because of karma as in our case? No says Sri Krishna and
continues that His birth is at His will and determination [sankalpa]- Sva icha
maatra vidhaanatah No one else including karma can decide his
e) Who determines His time of birth? In our case as our papa/punya ripen our
births are timed. Sri Krishna tells that His birth happens whenever there is
danger to Dharma[righteousness] and Adharma flourishes.
-Dharma Glaanau Samudhayah
f) What is the purpose of His birth? In our case, we are born to expend the
papa and punya acquired in various births. By suffering we spend away our papa and
by enjoying we spend our acquired punya.
The Lord also in many avatars appears to have suffered and enjoyed. Sri
Krishna replies that He is born to protect sadhus or good people , to destroy evil
and wicked persons and to establish and maintain
Dharma - Sadhu Samrakshana-aartakah

These six replies form the secret or rahasya of His avatar. Though He also
appeared on this earth like us and played and cried, He is much above and we can
never think He and we are same.

sri-bhagavan uvaca
bahuuni-mey vyatitani janmani tava-ca-arjuna
tan(y)-aham veda sarvani na tvam vettha parantapa

"The Personality of Godhead said: Many, many births both you and I have passed. I
can remember all of them, but you cannot, O subduer of the enemy!"

*Paranthapa = destroyer of enemies [Arjuna],
*bahuni = many, janmani = births, vyatitani = have happened or passed [to Sri
*tava ca = like you [have spent so many births], Arjuna. That is just as Arjuna
thinks his birth now and his births earlier are all true, Sri Krishna's many
avatars are all true.
*Tani sarvani = [but] all the births [of Arjuna and of Sri Krishna], aham =I
[Sri Krishna], veda = am aware or knowing,
*tvam = [but] you [Arjuna], na vettha = do not know or unaware.

Thus similarity between the Lord's birth and ours is, just as our births are
true, so also the Lord's avatars are all true. Just as we had so many births, He
also had many births. But, we do not know our past births.
The Lord not only knows His past, He is fully aware of everybody else past,
present and future births. Instead of a mere answer to Arjuna's question, that his
birth is true, Sri Krishna tells that just like Arjuna's birth,
his birth is true. Because, everyone knows Arjuna and so keeping him as
example, Sri Krishna tries to explain his birth. We should also remember that
since the reply says that his births are many, we should never
think that His avatars are only ten and All avatars are true. [ Ajaaya maanah:
Bahudah Vijaayateh -> i.e the Lord who is Ajaah:(unborn), takes many births
(bahudah vijaayateh) ]. e.g. Vyaasa, Dhanvantri, Kapila,
Nara-Naarayan, Gajendra Moksham etc So Lord's birth is true and not a "trick
or sleight of magic like Indrajaal".

Although Arjuna is addressed herein as the mighty hero who could subdue the
enemies, he is unable to recall what had happened in his various past births.
Therefore, a living entity, however great he may be in
the material estimation, can never equal the Supreme Lord. Anyone who is a
constant companion of the Lord is certainly a liberated person, but he cannot be
equal to the Lord.
Krsna remembered acts which were performed by Him millions of years before, but
Arjuna could not, despite the fact that both Krsna and Arjuna are eternal in
nature. We may also note herein that a living entity
forgets everything due to his change of body, but the Lord remembers because He
does not change His sac-cid-ananda body. He is advaita, which means there is no
distinction between His body and Himself.
Everything in relation to Him is spirit--whereas the conditioned soul is
different from his material body. And, because the Lord's body and self are
identical, His position is always different from the ordinary living entity,
even when He descends to the material platform.

ajo �pi sann avyay-aatma bhutaanam isvaro �pi san
prakritim svam adhisthaaya sambhavaam(y)atma-maayaya

"Although I am unborn and My transcendental body never deteriorates, and although
I am the Lord of all living entities, I still appear in every millennium in My
original transcendental form."

Arjuna had a doubt whether the lord comes on this earth with His greatness or
not. Even a brilliant jewel if falls in dust will not radiate its luminescence. So
Arjuna also feels the Lord might not have His greatness
when born in this world along with us. We collect the metals for the Lord's
idol and we make the idol, perform pooja, etc. Is He then in our command? Now Sri
Krishna clarifies this and other points in the
next 6th sloka:

This sloka replies three doubts of Arjuna.

We will first see the answer to his second question - Is He born with His
greatness and Power or without?. Sri Krishna emphatically states that He is born
with all the
greatness he has wherever He is born. Just as fire reduces whether it is sacred
materials(in purnahoti i.e during homam) or unwanted materials (while burning
trash), the Lord is same whether He is in Vaikuntam
or in this world.

*Ajopi sann = without being born, [ Ajah Api san ]
*avvyay-atmapi sann = without death, [avya Atma Api San]
*bhuthanam = in all bodies [of all living and non-living beings],
*isvara = as commander [Niyanta, ruling], api sann = remain. [ Isana Seelah
Naarayanah: ]

Isa means the art or science of commanding. Iswara means commander. We
also at times command some to obey our orders, but that is temporary and subject
to so many limitations. The Lord however, commands everyone
without exception and at all places and and at all times. This answers the
question whether He is born with the same powers and the reply confirms that He is
born with full greatness.
When Sri Krishna tells that He is not born, is He telling a lie? Arjuna
knows where and when He was born and all the actions of Him uptil now. Then why He
tells He is not born? The interpretation is that though
he is born, He is not born like us or Arjuna, bound by past karma or
results of paapa-Punyam or reduced in glory (even though as Atmas we have glory,
but as soon as we are bound in bodies, we are reduced
in glory). . In Sri Vishnu Sahasranama, Sri Narasimha is addressed as
ajaha, as He came out of a pillar. One can take that as a birth or not, as unlike
us he was born out of an inanimate object. Similarly he
never dies as our deaths are after a karma is over. He departs when he
feels He has to return to paramapadam, Vaikuntam. We have to infer that he is born
with all his greatness in tact.
[Azhwar sang : "Enru enru Yoni yum yaam pirandaay , imaiyor Talaiva , mey
ninu ketuvaa ]

Here he also tells that He is greater than achit [inanimate objects],
baddha [ordinary beings like us], muktha [ those who have already reached
Vaikuntam] and nithya [ the ever remaining and
serving Garuda, Adisesha and the like]. Achit, that is the objects we
see and use are all ever changing and get destroyed. God never changes and so He
is greater than these. Baddha or atman like us are not
changing, but according to the body it resides, atman have changing
pleasures and sorrows. A muktha on the other hand enjoys unlimited pleasures but
in the past he was also an atman. Nithya suris like
Garuda had no past birth as atman, but they are subject to the commands
of the Lord. We can thus see a graded greatness in all these but the Lord has the
greatest powers and qualities which none of the
others have. His greatness does not get diminished as He is born in
this world. He is not born by karma nor dies because of karma. He commands every
livingbeing in this universe without exception.
Even when he is born as Tortoise or Boar etc, his greatness and
commanding power does not diminish at all.

Swami Koorathalvan says that he is having the six qualities - Gyana,
Bala, Aiswarya, Veerya, Shakthi and Tejas- and so he is called Bhagavan. According
to Vedas all these six qualities are in the
Para Vasudeva form. Same Vedas say that in the next three forms viz.
Sankarshana, Pradyumna and Aniruddha, two qualities are exhibited in each form.
Does it mean that in these forms his qualities are
reduced? Swami Koorathalwan says that he pretends to show reduced
qualities for the sake of the devotees and His qualities all remain in tact in
every form. Sri Rama lost His wife Sri Sita and asks for the route
where She was captivated. At the same time, He was able to guide the
vulture Jatayu to Vaikuntam! So He pretends and enacts a drama. Even before
crossing the ocean to reach Ravana's Lanka, before even
meeting Ravana, He crowns Vibheeshana as the King of Lanka on this side
of the ocean! So even if he wanted to show His greatness reduced, on many
occasions it emerges spontaneously and shows the
greatness in him.

Next he answers the question- whether His body is like ours. Our body is made
of the five elements - earth, water, fire, air and space and they have the three
gunas -satva, rajo and tamo. Sri Krishna tells that his
body is not like ours. We call his body as Thirumeni. We also call His form as
Divya Mangala Vigraham. Ours is with three qualities while His body is Suddha
Satva mayam or only satva quality. That, when seen
reduces our ignorance and increases our knowledge, can be said to be of satva
quality. That is why when we see the Lord in Temples we get this feeling. So Sri
Krishna says prakritim svam adhisthaya.

*Svam = suiting my greatness, prakitim= body,
*adhishtaya = I [ Sri Krishna] take, sambhavami = birth.

When he decides to descend and be born, he takes a body to suit the
situation without in anyway diminishing His greatness. Though as Sri Rama and as
Sri Krishna, he is reported to have died, we can never find
any reference as to what was done with the body after death. So when he
departs to Vaikuntam, the body he choose also goes to Vaikuntam. In our case when
death occurs, the body is cast away and it has to be
burnt or buried. He has a body or form but that is not like ours or what we
see in ordinary living beings. Shastras say the Body of the Lord has a lightning

Next he answers the fourth question - whether He is also born out of karma or
not, like us. We are born due to the reactions of our Karma. Azhwar sang "Enru
Enru Yonium pirandaay Thalaiva.."

*sambhavamy atma-mayaya - by his Sankalpam, Will, potency

The Lord replies in the negative and says sambhavamy atma-mayaya. That is he
says he is born out of His maya. Here the word atma mayaya has to be split into
atmanaha + maayaya.
The meaning of this is " My [Sri Krishna's] maya". Maya in normal course
means magic or illusion. This will not fit here as he does not say He is born as
an illusion. Here as per Sanskrit grammar, maya means a
wonderful Gyana or unique knowledge. This is also called self determination
or swayam sankalpam. This is not a simple knowledge but a unique and wonderful
knowledge, which God possesses.
Shastras say the "maayaya praaninam sobhaasubham vethi". It means that the
Lord knows by His Maya which are good and bad for all living beings. Here maya can
not mean false or illusion.
It means the unique knowledge he possesses. Therefore he determines when and
where to be born and not out of karma. He takes birth to redeem us who are at the
bottom and do not know how to come up.
This quality of the Lord is also called souseelyam. Such a great person he
is, mingles with us to redeem us.

In the start of the sloka he said ajaha, which means he is not born. Here He
says sambavami, which means he is born. That is a birth less he is born. He has no
birth to expend any karma but He is born at his will
to redeem. The Sruti teaches the same thing: 'Being unborn, He is born in
various forms' (Tai. A., 3.12.7). The purport is that His birth is quite unlike
that of ordinary beings. The dissimilarity consists in that He is
born out of His own will unlike ordinary beings whose birth is necessitated by
their Karma. He also says avyayatma, which means He has no end or death. But He
is born. So he has no end on account of karma
but he departs at His will and reappears at His will. He has no hunger or
thirst, yet he does all these in his avatars just to please us. He chooses the
time, place and parents to appear, unlike us. We can't pre-choose
our parents or place or time. Whereas the Lord is able to pre-select his parents
(Dasaratha, Vasudeva etc) He is "Pitaah-Putrena-Pitrumaan-Yoni-Yonau". Thus
His birth is not like ours.

Arjuna asked six questions. First was, whether His birth was real or not, and
the Lord in the 5th sloka confirmed it as real. Next was whether His greatness
remained in tact or not and He confirmed the greatness
remaining fully in every birth, in the first half of 6th sloka. For the 3rd
question he replied that He takes appropriate body made of Sudha Satva mayam, in
the same sloka. Next he answered the fourth question -
whether He is also born out of karma or not, like us and he responded he takes
birth as per his internal potency or swayam sankalpam.

yada yada hi dharmasya glanir bhavati bharata
abhyutthaanam adharmasya tad-atmanam srjamy aham

"Whenever and wherever there is a decline in Dharma, O descendant of Bharata, and
a predominant rise of adharma�at that time I descend Myself."

This sloka is in response to Arjuna's question - when do you get born? Sri Krishna
replies:There is no restriction as to the time of My birth; whenever the Dharma
taught by the Vedas
that must be observed according to the arrangements of the four stations and the
four stages of life declines, and Adharma, its opposite, increases, then I Myself,
by My own will and in the manner stated, incarnate
Myself. Sri Krsna gives the purpose of His birth.

*Yada yada = whenever, Dharmasya = dharma's,
*glanir = ordeal or suffering, bhavati = happens,
*adharmasya = adharma, abhyutthanam = flourishes, [Dharma and Adharma are like
See-saw, when one declines , the other flourishes)
*tada = that time, , aham = I [Sri Krishna],
*srijami = create/manifest , atmanam = myself.
Here we can not interpret atman as jeevatma as atman can never be created as
it has no end. Also in the context He is not talking about other atman but about
Himself and His birth. So we have to understand
atman here refers to Himself. Srijami means creating. This is not the
creation in the usual sense but His avatar, like Matsya or Koorma or Narsimha,
etc,. Also, this Avatar He Himself decides and no other is

Thus, whenever righteousness has a suffering and unrighteousness flourishes, the
Lord takes an avatar on Himself and descends to save dharma. It should be noted
that he does not say he will appear when
Dharma is destroyed but when suffering starts. He is not even waiting for
Dharma to be destroyed! He actually takes avtaar before it. So, it is not
correct for people to talk that Dharma is totally gone in current
days. The principles of dharma, or religion, are the direct orders of the
Supreme Personality of Godhead (dharmam tu saksad bhagavat-pranitam). These
principles are clearly indicated throughout the
Bhagavad-gita.The purpose of the Vedas is to establish such principles under
the order of the Supreme Lord, and the Lord directly orders, at the end of the
Gita, that the highest principle of religion is to surrender
unto Him only, and nothing more. The Vedic principles push one towards complete
surrender unto Him; and, whenever such principles are disturbed by the demoniac,
the Lord appears.

What is Dharma? (Sosanah Lakshanaartoh Dharmah.) Dharma is following the dos
and don'ts of Vedas; and adharma is opposite. (Saasanaath Saastrah).
There is an interesting conversation between a Vishnu messenger and an Yama
messenger in the story of Ajamilan. Though Ajamilan had accumulated papa or sins
in his life, at the time of death he called his last
child Narayana by that boy's name and those became his last words. So Vishnu
messengers said that Ajamilan was to be taken to the world of Vishnu, while Yama
messengers disputed saying that for the sins he
committed he had to be taken to hell or Narak only. Yama's messengers say that
whatever is agreed to by Vedas are all Dharma and whatever discarded by Vedas are
all adharma. ( Veda Pranihitoh
Dharmah: , Adharmasa Dviparyayah). Dharma protects the world. (Dharmoh
Rakshati Rakshitah: ; Dharaatiti Dharmah: ) If we protect Dharma it will in turn
protect us.

Our culture and tradition is sanathana or very ancient Dharma. Speak truth, help
others, be not selfish, atman is different from body, rebirth is there, believe in
God and be devoted, etc., are all ancient Dharma, we
have been following. Whenever this Dharma is harassed the Lord appears. We can
remember the avatars like Sri Narasimha, Sri Thrivikrama and the story of
Gajendra. In the first case the devotee was made to
suffer. In the next, another's property was grabbed. In the last He had to
appear to save a devotee who staunchly believed that he would be rescued by the
Lord. Nrsimha avtaar is a great example of Lord's
Avtaar. He took immediate avtaar to prove his devotees words. Upanishad
glorifies Trivikraama Avtaar - "Trini Pada Vichakramey Vishnur Gopaa
Adhaabyayah:, Atoh Dharmaani Dhaarayan".

paritranaya sadhunam vinasaya ca duskritam
dharma-samsthapanarthaya sambhavami yuge yuge

"To protect the pious and to annihilate the miscreants, as well as to reestablish
the principles of Dharma, I Myself appear, millennium after millennium."

Lord replies to the last question of Arjuna regarding what is the result of
His avatar, in this sloka.

*Yuge yuge = every yug,
*sambhavami = I [Sri Krishna] am born,
*sadhunam = for the noble persons', paritranayam= strong protection,
*vinasaya = total destruction of, duskritam = evil persons,
*samsthapanarthaya = well establishment of, dharma = righteousness.

In the last sloka he said he is born whenever Dharma suffers and here He says
He is born every yug. That means there is no fixed time or period after which He
is born, but anytime when the Dharma suffers and as
frequently as the situation demands. We are born and the result is to expend
the accumulated papa/ punya. In that process more papa/ punya are accumulated
resulting in rebirths. But the Lord is not born because
of past karma nor he is born to expend any karma. In the Krishnavatara he has
stolen and uttered lies, which are normally considered as papa. But these are not
papa as far as He is concerned as He is the Lord.
Only in our lives the law maker is bound by the laws he made. For the Lord
these laws do not apply. It does not mean He does not care for these laws and
reigns a rule of terror. On the contrary the people live
happiest in His rule. Thus there is a great difference between His birth and

Who are sadhus? Sadhu also means a simple person. But here it is not that
meaning. Here it means a person who follows Vedas, who respects Lord's devotees
and who leads a righteous life for the sake of others.
He will not distinguish between himself and his enemies (.eg. Prahlad, who
didn't have any animosity to devas or asuras). That is he has no enemies and all
are lovable. He is sadhu, who can not remain a moment
separated from the Lord (e.g. Dhruva). The Lord protects such persons. He has
no enemies as no one is equal to Him in power. But he considers them as enemies ,
who hurt and oppress noble people. Such
people are destroyed. When good people are protected and bad people are
destroyed, Dharma gets reestablished.

Swami Ramanuja says, to destroy evil persons he need not get born here and he
can as well send his weapons and destroy them. For establishment of Dharma also he
need not take avatars. But for the protection
of sadhus, he has to necessarily descend on this earth. In the story of
Gajendra, he could have commanded the Chakra to kill the crocodile and saved the
elephant, without having to be present at the venue. But he
had to heed the prayer of the elephant and accept the offering and this was
possible only by appearing on the scene. The main purpose of incarnation is the
revealing of His adorable form, so that all may worship
him. The destruction of the wicked is secondary only.

So to summarize, in the last four slokas [4.5-4.8], Sri Krishna replied that
his avatar is real and not an imaginary or illusion, that he takes his avatar with
his greatness undiminished, that in every avatar he takes a
body made of suddha satvam appropriate to his greatness and it is a sacred one
unlike other's bodies made of the five elements, that He takes birth at His will
and not by karma, that His birth is whenever Dharma
is afflicted and evil is on the rise and finally that the purpose of His birth
is to protect the good, destroy the evil and establish Dharma. This is avatara
rahasya or secret of His birth and a person realising this truly,
reaches the feet of the Lord and he has no rebirth.

[Just as a reminder, this same thing can be put in Sanskrit as per Swami
Desikan's sloka:
Avataarasya Satya-tvam,
Ajaha svasva-bhaavatah: ,
Suddha-Sattva Mayatvam ca ,
Svecha maatra vidhaanatah: ,
Dharma Glaanau Samudhayah: ,
Sadhu Samrakshana-aartakah ]

janma karma ca me divyam evam yo vetti tattvatah:
tyaktva deham punar janma naiti mam eti so-�rjuna

"One who knows the transcendental nature of My appearance and activities does not,
upon leaving the body, take his birth again in this material world, but attains My
eternal abode, O Arjuna."
*Mey = My [Sri Krishna's],
*divya = glorified, much different from the nature of this world,
*janma = birth, karma = [My] actions, far different from the actions of various
persons in the world. He says that both his birth and actions as he grew, are all
glorious and can not be equated
with the normal ones we see everyday in this world.
*Evam = one who, vetti = understands,
*tattvatah = the real significance or purpose.
When he was born as a cowherd, we should not treat him as a cowherd we come
across but understand His greatness and realise that He has come to redeem us.
When we see his actions like stealing butter
or flirting with the women folk, we have to understand the greatness in Him
and not equate them with our actions in this world.
*Sa = that great person [ who understands the real significance],
*tyaktva deham = casts away his body, punar janma = again a birth [ rebirth ],
*naity = never takes, mam eti = and reaches Me [Sri Krishna].

That is a person, who understands the avatara rahasya that His birth and
actions are real, that they can not be compared with our births and actions,that
all such births and actions are for the good of all and
that they [ births and actions ] have no blemish, would have understood the
significance of the avatar of the Lord. Such a person attains Moksham in that
birth itself. This is a great boon to us and can be noted
as his anugraha or blessings. We have passed many births and we seem to be not
knowing when we will be relieved of this arduous cycle and now the Lord declares
that if in the process of our devotion we
understand his avatara secret i.e we do bhakti with Avtaara Rahasya Gnaanam,
then we will be relieved of this birth cycle in this birth itself and after death
we will reach the Lord's feet and attain Moksham. There
should be no doubts (Sandeham) etc about Lord's avtaaras and his deeds.

Just as the fetters of Vasudeva got released when He was born, our fetters of
rebirths and the associated sufferings would get released if we meditate on His
birth. This is what this sloka tells. One Alwar says that
when the Lord was in Vaikuntam, He wanted to redeem all by taking Sri Krishna
avatar, but all there declined. As they were performing pooja and offering the
sambharani, which gives that fragrant smoke, He used
the smoke as a screen and escaped to the earth and performed all He wanted to
do in Sri Krishna avatar. After completing that He returned back, but the pooja is
still going on, not knowing that He had finished the
Sri Krishna avatar!! [Sootu nan malaigal.. verse can be remembered]. If we
meditate on His drinking milk from His mother's breasts , we will have no more
such situation, that is no more births for us. If we meditate
on the bind in which He was tied by His mother, our bonds in this world will
vanish, that is we will have no rebirths. If we meditate on His stealing butter,
our sins will be stolen and we would be freed from birth cycle.
This is the import of the 9th sloka. Kulasekara Alwar imagines him to be Devaki
and yearns for all those pranks she missed but were enjoyed by Yasoda. The birth
of the Lord can not be compared with the births
we see in our life. This is the Avatara rahasya.

Such liberation of the living entity from material bondage is not at all easy.
The impersonalists and the yogis attain liberation only after much trouble and
many, many births. Even then, the liberation they achieve--
merging into the impersonal brahmajyoti of the Lord--is only partial, and there
is the risk of returning again to this material world. But the devotee, simply by
understanding the transcendental nature of the body and
activities of the Lord, attains the abode of the Lord after ending this body
and does not run the risk of returning again to this material world. In the
Brahma-samhita it is stated that the Lord has many, many forms
and incarnations: advaitam acyutam anadim ananta-rupam. Although there are many
transcendental forms of the Lord, they are still one and the same Supreme
Personality of Godhead. One has to understand
this fact with conviction, although it is incomprehensible to mundane scholars
and empiric philosophers. As stated in the Vedas:

eko devo nitya-lilanurakto
bhakta-vyapi hrdy antar-atma

"The one Supreme Personality of Godhead is eternally engaged in many, many
transcendental forms in relationships with His unalloyed devotees." This Vedic
version is confirmed in this verse of the Gita personally
by the Lord. He who accepts this truth on the strength of the authority of the
Vedas and of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and who does not waste time in
philosophical speculations attains the highest
perfectional stage of liberation. Simply by accepting this truth on faith, one
can, without a doubt, attain liberation. The Vedic version, "tattvamasi," is
actually applied in this case. Anyone who understands Lord Krsna
to be the Supreme, or who says unto the Lord "You are the same Supreme
Brahman, the Personality of Godhead" is certainly liberated instantly, and
consequently his entrance into the transcendental association
of the Lord is guaranteed. In other words, such a faithful devotee of the Lord
attains perfection, and this is confirmed by the following Vedic assertion:

tam eva viditvati mrtyum eti nanyah pantha vidyate 'yanaya

One can attain the perfect stage of liberation from birth and death simply by
knowing the Lord, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. There is no alternative
because anyone who does not understand Lord Krsna
as the Supreme Personality of Godhead is surely in the mode of ignorance.
Consequently he will not attain salvation, simply, so to speak, by licking the
outer surface of the bottle of honey, or by interpreting the
Bhagavad-gita according to mundane scholarship. Such empiric philosophers may
assume very important roles in the material world, but they are not necessarily
eligible for liberation. Such puffed-up mundane
scholars have to wait for the causeless mercy of the devotee of the Lord. One
should therefore cultivate Krsna consciousness with faith and knowledge, and in
this way attain perfection.

vita-raga-bhaya-krodha: man-mayaa maam upasritah
bahavO jnana-tapasa putaa madh-bhaavam aagatah

"Being freed from attachment, fear and anger, being fully absorbed in Me and
taking refuge in Me, many, many persons in the past became purified by knowledge
of Me�and thus they all attained transcendental
love for Me."

Lord says, "O Arjuna, not only do those having full knowledge of My birth and
activities, who are now present during My current avatara attain Me, but even in
ancient times those endowed with this transcendental
knowledge of My birth and activities of My previous avataras also attained Me." To
explain this, the present shloka, beginning with the word vita-raga, is being
spoken. Jnana-tapasa means purified by austerity in the
form of knowledge. In the opinion of Shri Ramanujacarya, Krishna is saying, "This
knowledge is realisation of the absolute knowledge of My birth and activities.
People attain Me when they have been purified by
realizing My birth and activities in terms of the characteristics described

*Jnana tapasa = meditating again and again on the Gyana or knowledge, [ Which
Knowledge? - Lord's Avtaara Rahasya ]
*puta = cleansed [ their minds].
The knowledge Sri Krishna tells here is the knowledge about His avatara
rahasya. Tapas means repeatedly meditating on a subject. All our japa, yagna,
yagam, etc. are all for repeating a mantra or His name.
By repeatedly thinking of His birth and actions, all dirt and blemish in our
mind are washed and mind becomes clean. To start Bhakti is not easy, because we
are polluted with lot of sense afflictions. By
meditating on Lord's Avataara Rahasyam, we are cleansed.
*Bahavah = many persons [ not just one person, but many have practiced this
tapas like Vasishta, Vamadeva, Prahlada, etc.].
*Vita = got removed, what got removed? - raaga, bhaya, Krodha.
*raga = desire, bhaya = fear, krodha = anger.
Our desires for the materialistic things in this world, create undue fear
and anger on the impediments in attaining those desires. All these will get
removed if we meditate on the avatara rahasya, because it
gets us closer to the Lord, who is the ultimate treasure. When the Lord is
with us, why would be get anger, desire, fear on material things?.
*Man maya = remembering ONLY me [Sri Krishna, like Kuchela, Suddhama or Uddhava
or Vidhura].
In this place the people always chant His name as Radheshyam or Hare
Krishna. The entire mind is full of His name only.
*Maam upasritah = meditating/taking refuge ONLY on me [Sri Krishna],
*madh bhavam = like me [Sri Krishna], aagatah = they become. i,e attain me. That
is though such persons do not become God, they get the eight Characters God has.
The Chandogya Upanishad 8.7.1 also
described the eight qualities attained by the jiva in liberation.
1)atma'pahata-papma The jiva is without sin, or free from relation with
sin and ignorance.
2)vijaro - He is free from old age, being ever young.
3)vimrityur - He is deathless, never leaving his spiritual body.
4)vishoko - He is peaceful, being free from lamentation, suffering and
5)vijighats - He is devoid of desire for enjoyment.
6)a'pipasah - He is without thirst, with no desire other than to serve
the Lord.
7)satyakamah - He has only desires to serve the Lord favorably.
8)satya-sankalpah - Whatever desires he has are fulfilled.

These eight qualities do not exist in the conditioned jiva. One should know
the difference between the conditioned and liberated jivas by searching the
scriptures. Though the goal of liberation is laudable, the final
attainment in liberation must only be the happiness of service to Bhagavan.
As there is a danger of losing sight of the main goal by aspiring for secondary
goals, it is better not to aspire for liberation. Those who hold
in their hearts the desire for liberation from the beginning cannot attain
advancement in the eternal rasas of bhakti. However much a person may take
shelter of karma or jnana, without attaining the mercy of Krishna,
he cannot attain even mukti. Among the ten topics of the Bhagavatam,
liberation is the ninth, but the happiness of service to the shelter, Krishna, is
the tenth.
So we have to understand the implication of His birth and actions and
repeatedly thinking on that will drive away our sins. By constantly remembering
Him in each person and objects we can get rid of the sins
we have accumulated. [ Kevala Jnaana will never give Moksham. Bhakti
roopa Jnaana is the one which gives Moksham ]. In Shri Ramanujacarya's commentary
he cites the Shruti statement: tasya dhirah
parijananti yonim. "One who is dhira (intelligent) completely knows the nature
of Shri Bhagavan.s birth."

Additional comments:
Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura quotes Krishna as saying, "There are three
reasons why foolish people are not inclined to deliberate on the transcendental
and supremely pure nature of My birth, activities and form.
They are:
(1) attachment to worldly objects,
(2) fear and
(3) anger.

Those whose intelligence is tightly bound by mundane thoughts are so deeply
absorbed in and attached to materialism, that they do not accept or even consider
the existence of an eternal entity known as
cit-tattva. According to such persons, svabhava (nature itself) is the
Absolute Truth. Some of them maintain that inert matter is the eternal cause and
the source of cit-tattva. The jada-vadis (empiricists), the
svabhava-vadis (nature theorists), and the chaitanya-hina-vidhi-vadis, who
advocate a system of ethics which is based on the conception that the Absolute is
unconscious, have no understanding of consciousness.
These three classes of philosophers are all impelled by an attachment to
materialism and contend that inert matter is the all-in-all (jada-vadis), that
nature is a law unto itself (svabhava-vadis) and that one can deny
the principle of consciousness (chaitanya-hina-vidhi-vadis). They gradually
become bereft of any transcendental attachment to the Supreme Absolute Reality.

"Although some thinkers do accept cit-tattva (spiritual principles) as
eternal, because they reject the principles of transcendental knowledge and
perpetually take shelter of mundane logic and reasoning, they can
actually have no realisation of cit-tattva. Whatever attributes and
activities they see in inert matter they designate as asat (unreal) and very
carefully abandon them. Thus, in the name of identifying that which is
uncontaminated by inert matter, they imagine an Absolute Reality (brahma)
which is beyond definition. However, that is nothing more than an indirect
manifestation of My maya; it is not My eternal form. Later they
give up meditating on My svarupa and worshipping My deity form, fearing that
by this meditation and way of thinking they may come under the influence of
material conceptions. Because of this fear, they lose the
opportunity to realise the svarupa of the Absolute Truth (parama-tattva) and
are deprived of My prema. There are others who, being unable to discern any
substance beyond matter, become possessed by anger.
Impelled by such anger they maintain that the Absolute Reality is just
nirvana, a void, nothingness and the complete annihilation of all existence. The
doctrine of the Buddhists and Jains has appeared from this
principle of nirvana."

"Many wise men, however, do become free from attachment, fear and anger and
see nothing but Myself everywhere. Genuinely surrendered to Me, they are purified
by the fire of transcendental knowledge, and by
the penance of tolerating the burning poison of false reasoning. Thus they
have attained pure, sublime love for Me."

ye yatha maam prapadyante tams tathaiva bhajam(y) aham
mama vartma-anuvartante manushyah partha sarvasah:

"As all desire to worship Me, I reward them accordingly. Everyone contemplates on
My actions in all respects, O son of Pritha."

So if Lord Krishna only bestows His benedictions upon those who are devoted to
Him but not to those who are devoted to sense gratification and worldly attachment
then there would appear to be some injustice in
this. It should not be falsely speculated that the Supreme Lord Krishna ignores
those who due to ignorance neglect Him and instead offer others worship in various
religions and denominations. It is impossible for Lord
Krishna to ignore or exclude anyone because all living beings are factually
following His path in every respect. Thus He is worshipped directly by those who
are knowledgeable and indirectly by those who are
unknowledgeable and correspondingly to their worship He reciprocates to each. To
correct this idea Lord Krishna states this verse. However one approaches Him, with
desires or without desires, direct or indirect
he rewards them accordingly and this is not only for His devotees who worship him
exclusively; but this also applies to all those who worship others in various
religions and denominations. For it is a fact that all living
beings in all ways follow in all respects Lord Krishnas path as He resides as the
supreme soul within all living beings. So in conclusion the Supreme Lord Krishna
is the ultimate dispenser of all rewards to everyone
regardless to whom one offers their homage to; but although the rewards are in
equal proportion to the worship which was offered to Him; it should NOT be assumed
that worship of others in various religions and
denominations will be equal in quality or quantity to the results of the worship
that was offered to Him direct without any intermediary accept the bonafide
spiritual master.

*Manushya = all people, mama = My [Sri Krishna's],
*vartma = actions and pranks,
*anuvartante = contemplate again and again, and enjoy.
*Sarvasa = by all means, that is they enjoy by all their senses, they enjoy all
actions and forms of the Lord.
In Gokulam, the Lord is worshiped by changing the adornments every five
minutes. They offer fresh eatables every five minutes and enjoy. What is the use
of this, Arjuna seem to ask.
In the last sloka itself He told that the reminiscence of His actions and
pranks, relieve them of the birth cycle.
*Ye = the one who has NO capability of practicing Bhakti yoga or meditating on
his Avtaara Rahasyam,
*yata = whichever way, prapadyante = think,
* mam = of Me [Sri Krishna], tam = that person, tataiva = in the same way,
*aham = I [Sri Krishna], bhajam= adapt. [The word bhajamy literally means I
give service to them. Here it means that the Supreme Lord is available to
reciprocate with them.]
That is if a person wants to worship me in a form, the Lord adapts Himself
to suit that person's imagination. This is not merely true during His avatar
times, but even now when we go to various temples to
worship Him. His beauty is like a river and it flows everywhere [e.g
Partasarathi, Damodaran, GokulaKannan, GitaAcharyanKannan, Yamunai Kannan,
MannarGudi Gopalan. ] Either Vibhava, Archa etc roopam,
he is available for his devotees.
In Gokulam, there are hundreds of places they show the spots of His pranks.
This is what Alwar also says in the verse thamarugandadu evvuruvam.
Persons who find it difficult to meditate on Him, find this type of worship
easier and He adapts Himself to suit every person's wish.

It is understood from this shloka that according to the intention with which
people worship or take shelter of Bhagavan Shri Hari, He rewards them in
accordance with their desires. The shuddha-bhaktas worship Him
to attain eternal service to His sac-cid-ananda deity. Making such prema-bhaktas
His nitya-parikaras, Bhagavan Shri Hari fulfils their desire to attain His loving
service (prema-mayi seva). In accordance with the desire
of the nirvishesha-vadi jnanis, Bhagavan grants them mukti in the form of
nirvana in the featureless nirvisheshabrahma, which is the unvariegated
manifestation of His personality. Bhagavan appears to sakama-
karmis as the bestower of the fruits of their karma. He appears to the yogis as
Ishvara, giving them vibhuti (mystic powers) or kaivalya (liberation). However, of
all the various achievements, attaining the service of
Vrajendra-nandana Shri Krishna in Goloka Vraja is the ultimate.

It should be clearly understood from the present shloka of Bhagavad-gita that
the results of different types of bhajana depend on the desires of the
practitioners. The results of various types of worship are not the
same. Some explain the words manushyah partha sarvashah to mean that everyone is
following the path of service to Bhagavan and, whatever action they may perform,
they will all attain the same result. This
conception is completely incorrect. The idea that the miscreants, the jnanis,
the bhaktas and the prema-bhaktas ultimately achieve the exact same destination
has been refuted in shastras such as Bhagavad-gita
and Shrimad-Bhagavatam. This is stated later in the Gita (9.25):

yanti deva-vrata devan / pitrin yanti pitri-vratah
bhutani yanti bhutejya / yanti mad-yajino 'pi mam

Those who worship the devas go to the planets of the devas, those who worship
the forefathers go to their planet, those who worship the spirits go to the planet
of the spirits and those who worship Me attain Me.
Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura quotes Krishna as follows, "When people accept My
shelter by worshipping Me, I reciprocate with whatever intention or faith they
have in relation to Me. Everyone can certainly attain Me,
because I am the ultimate objective of all paths. Those who are shuddha bhaktas
attain paramananda (transcendental bliss) by eternally rendering confidential
eternal service to My sac-cid-ananda deity in the
Supreme Abode. To the worshippers of My featureless aspect (nirvishesha-vadis),
I award nirvana-mukti, total absorption in the nirvishesha-brahma, by way of self-
annihilation. Since they do not accept the eternality
of My saccid- ananda deity, they consequently lose their eternal, blissful

"According to their degree of conviction, I cast some of them into the cycle of
birth and death. I appear as shunya (void) to the shunya-vadis, merging their
existence with the void. I cover the atma, consciousness
(acchadita-cetana), of the empiricists as well as the nature theists who
identify themselves as being born of nature, by making their consciousness almost
inert. I am only attainable to them in the form of inert nature.
I appear as Ishvara to the yogis, rewarding them with vibhutis (mystic powers)
or kaivalya (impersonal liberation). In this way, as sarva-svarupa, the intrinsic
form of everything, I am the object of achievement for all
types of beliefs. Among them all, only attainment of My transcendental service
should be considered supreme. All human beings follow one of My various paths."

In other words, everyone is dependent for success upon His mercy alone, and
all kinds of spiritual processes are but different degrees of success on the same
path. Unless, therefore, one comes to the highest
perfection of Kr?s?n?a consciousness, all attempts remain imperfect, as is
stated in the Srimad-Bhagavatam (2.3.10):
akamah? sarva-kamo va moks?a-kama udara-dhih?
tivren?a bhakti-yogena yajeta purus?am� param

"Whether one is without desire [the condition of the devotees], or is desirous
of all fruitive results, or is after liberation, one should with all efforts try
to worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead for complete
perfection, culminating in Kr?s?n?a consciousness."

Bringing now to a close the subject of avatars, the discourse on karma yoga or
the performance of prescribed Vedic activities is resumed. Before presenting the
jnana-yoga or cultivation of Vedic knowledge aspect
of karma yoga or the performance of prescribed Vedic activities, Lord Krishna
first explains how rare is the person who performs this type of karma yoga, in the
next sloka.

kanksantah karmanam siddhim yajanta iha devatah
ksipram hi maanuse loke siddhir bhavati karma-ja

"Men in this world desire success in fruitive activities, and therefore they
worship the demigods. Quickly, of course, men get results from fruitive work in
this world."

*Karmanam = for all actions done by people,
*kanksanta = desirous of, siddhim = result or reward,
*iha = these, devata = small gods [ like Varuna, Indra, Kubera, etc.],
*yajanta = are worshiped. Manuse loke = in this world of human beings,
*karmaja = for an action done, siddhir= rewards,
*ksipram = at once, bhavati = are realized.

It may be questioned that since Lord Krishna is the exclusive awarder of moksa
or liberation from the cycle of birth and death; then why is it that most people
are obliviously worshipping lesser gods instead of Him?
The reason He answers is factual. People worship the lesser gods because they
desire material benefits which is what the lesser gods can give. Worshipping
lesser gods for wealth, dominion, a beautiful wife, a
powerful son, such efforts easily bring quick results and the desired rewards.
But moksa or liberation is only achieved as a result of cultivating Vedic
knowledge about the Supreme Lord and thus it is hard to attain.

Our actions like going round the temple 108 times or perfforming archana ,
etc., should be for the pleasure of it and not for expecting any results or
rewards. Does it mean that we can not pray Sri Krishna for
welfare or success in exams, settling marriage or seeking good jobs? No, we
can surely pray for these but understand that it is the initial step only. But
visiting these places and reminiscising His pranks and
plays, we will feel a power generating in us. Then we will never feel like
asking for favours. Our requirements should be minimum and our efforts are also
will be minimum. Major portion of our efforts should be for
the welfare of others. If we do not take care of our atman, we will feel a
void in us. This will result in undue fear and depression. We should realize atman
is for others only. The body atman has, is for working
for the welfare of others and not for selfish needs. We have to pray for
welfare of all. We can perform small yagnas to please smaller gods and get those
smaller rewards, but Sri Krishna
tells that He will not do that but grant the long term and long lasting
rewards only. People desirous of such small and selfish rewards will go to such
smaller gods only and not come to Him, the Paradevata.
Just as an old man jumps and crawls to please his grand child, we should also
leave all our inhibitions and crawl and play and giggle in this hall with 84
pillars where the Child Sri Krishna once played.
So let us pray for His blessings and cling to His feet, the highest reward we
can yearn for. Doing Jyotish homam, etc., are all not to the liking of Sri
Krishna. Whatever our needs are there we will pray Him and
what he grants will be both long lasting and beneficial to us. We have to
remember that the only refuge for us is His feet and not go after smaller gods and
authorities and beg for smaller boons and rewards. After
visiting Holy places (Divyadesams) and learning the great feats of the Lord, we
can never think of small rewards. Our life should aim for high principles, noble
thoughts and never go for selfish benefits.

For the most part persons who desire the material fruits of their actions never
worship the Supreme Lord Krishna who is the super soul existing within all living
beings and who is the ultimate recipient of all worship
and offerings as confirmed in the previous verse. It is very rarely seen that
the materialists are inclined to His worship. Instead they worship the demi-gods
and other lesser entities. Why is this so? It is because by
worshipping them the seekers of material possessions such as wealth, power and
dominion find quick results in the fulfilment of their material desires. Manuse
loke means in the mortal worlds. This includes all
material worlds everywhere in creation. Such persons in these worlds oblivious
to the true purpose of human existence due to a vast accumulation of sinful
reactions that have not been exhausted from time
immemorial. Desire immediate results for their actions causing them to get more
and more reactions. Such people worship that which gives temporary material
rewards and foolishly pursue transient material
objectives even foolishly attempting to gain immortality in their corporeal
physical body. Only such a rare being who fearful of samsara or transmigration
from physical body to physical body in the endless cycle of
birth and death, who aspires for moksa or liberation from the cycle of birth
and death, only this rare being would engage themselves in karma yoga or the
performance of prescribed Vedic activities as propitiation to
the Supreme Lord Krishna. The next verse reveals how to release oneself from
sin which obscures ones perception from realising the need to engage in karma

Additional comments:
Karma is of three types: nitya, routine; naimittika, occasional and kamya,
with fruitive desire. Actions prescribed in the Vedas, such as sandhya, reciting
prayers at the three junctions of the day, are nitya-karma,
daily religious duties. Activities such as pitri-shraddha, offering oblations
to the forefathers, are known as naimittika-karma or occasional duties and those
actions performed with a fruitive desire are called
kamyakarma or sakama. Kamya-karma is superior to both akarma, abstaining from
prescribed duties and vikarma, prohibited, sinful action.
kamais tais tair hrita-jnanah / prapadyante .nya-devatah Gita (7.20)
People who desire the fruits of their actions give up the worship of
Bhagavan Shri Vasudeva and worship the different devatas.
labhate ca tatah kaman / mayaiva vihitan hi tan Gita (7.22)
By the arrangements of Bhagavan, they receive their desired results from
those devatas.

There is a great misconception about the gods or demigods of this material
world, and men of less intelligence, although passing as great scholars, take
these demigods to be various forms of the Supreme Lord.
Actually, the demigods are not different forms of God, but they are God's
different parts and parcels. God is one, and the parts and parcels are many. The
Vedas say, nityo nityanam: God is one. Isvarah paramah
krsnah. The Supreme God is one--Krsna--and the demigods are delegated with
powers to manage this material world. These demigods are all living entities
(nityanam) with different grades of material power.
They cannot be equal to the Supreme God--Narayana, Visnu, or Krsna. Anyone who
thinks that God and the demigods are on the same level is called an atheist, or
pasandi. Even the great demigods like
Brahma and Siva cannot be compared to the Supreme Lord. In fact, the Lord is
worshiped by demigods such as Brahma and Siva (siva-virinci-nutam). Yet curiously
enough there are many human leaders
who are worshiped by foolish men under the misunderstanding of
anthropomorphism or zoomorphism. Iha devatah denotes a powerful man or demigod of
this material world. But Narayana, Visnu, or Krsna,
the Supreme Personality of Godhead, does not belong to this world. He is
above, or transcendental to, material creation. Even Sripada Sankaracarya, the
leader of the impersonalists, maintains that Narayana,
or Krsna, is beyond this material creation. However, foolish people (hrt-
ajnana) worship the demigods because they want immediate results. They get the
results, but do not know that results so obtained are
temporary and are meant for less intelligent persons. The intelligent person
is in Krsna consciousness, and he has no need to worship the paltry demigods for
some immediate, temporary benefit. The demigods
of this material world, as well as their worshipers, will vanish with the
annihilation of this material world. The boons of the demigods are material and
temporary. Both the material worlds and their inhabitants,
including the demigods, and their worshipers, are bubbles in the cosmic ocean.
In this world, however, human society is mad after temporary things such as the
material opulence of possessing land, family and
enjoyable paraphernalia. To achieve such temporary things, they worship the
demigods or powerful men in human society. If a man gets some ministership in the
government by worshiping a political leader, he
considers that he has achieved a great boon. All of them are therefore
kowtowing to the so-called leaders or "big guns" in order to achieve temporary
boons, and they indeed achieve such things. Such foolish men
are not interested in Krsna consciousness for the permanent solution to the
hardships of material existence. They are all after sense enjoyment, and to get a
little facility for sense enjoyment they are attracted to
worship empowered living entities known as demigods. This verse indicates that
people are rarely interested in Krsna consciousness. They are mostly interested in
material enjoyment, and therefore they worship
some powerful living entity.

Sri Krsna speaks in the next sloka of the cause which annuls the evil
obstructing the starting of Karma Yoga.
caatur-varnyam maya srstam guna-karma-vibhagasah:
tasya kartaram api maam viddh(y)-akartaram avyayam

"According to the three modes of material nature and the work associated with
them, the four divisions of human society are created by Me. And although I am the
creator of this system, you should know that I am yet the non doer, being

He says that He created the four varnam [divisions] in this world. This may make
some to feel that Sri Krishna has created these divisions and so differences have
been created by Him. We should interpret this
sloka as explained by our elders. Two things are there in this world:
Differentiation and Discrimination. The former says about categorization, while
the latter is inequity. Differences are inevitable in this world.
No two are identical. But to think one is superior or inferior to other is
discrimination and is not natural and so bad in concept. Sri Krishna tells that he
created divisions for different purposes, just as in a corporate
setup, different persons are assigned different works. He created the four
divisions without discriminating. The job assigned was according to their nature
and actions. So the division is based on one's guna and

*Maya = by Me [Sri Krishna], sristam = created.
Here we should note that he never created the varnams but created this world
with varnams. He emphatically states that he is the creator. Upanishads say that
it is Bramham from which all are created and in
which all lie. It is like from earth we make pots and when pots are
destroyed they become earth. Just like children play building mud castles and
after some time destroy them, God also creates this world and at
a later time destroys all.
*Guna - quality or character, karma = actions,
*vibhagasa = divided .
That is he says that according to the three qualities, satva, rajo and tamo
guna, he has divided this creation of Him. It is said that creations emanate from
various organs of the Lord. Since there can not be
discrimination among the organs of the same body, there can not be
discrimination of creations out of various organs of the Bramham. In fact, we all
like to cling to His feet only and we adore them. So the
creations from His feet are as magnificent as from the mouth or other organs.
So we should never see superiority or inferiority among various varnams. Nammalwar
says that if one has bhakti then we can
not discriminate him even if he is considered by the society as of low caste.
The Lord says that by division of labour according to gunas, the activities by
them become karma yoga. Such people need not go
after other gods for favour but follow the karma yoga and reach Him. All are
His creations and He has not discriminated. The high- low feeling is not
attributable to Him. In fact, the so many multitudes of
sub-castes and sub-divisions are not His creation.

*tasya Kartaram api maam viddhy

*akartaram avyayam

The entire material manifestation from Brahma down to a blade of grass has
been divided by Lord Krishna into the four-fold divisions in accordance to their
natural dispositions and qualities. For humans they are
brahmin or the priestly class, kshatriya the royal warrior class, vaisya the
farmer and trading class and sudra the servant class. This is in conformance with
their material natures being in goodness, passion or
nescience which subsequently qualifies them for the type of occupation they
engage in their life. Creation implies all the universes where He sustains and
maintains as well causing them to manifest and unmanifest.
Although He is the origin of all these activities He should be known as not
being the doer. This is because the wondrous activities to be found in creation
although originated from Lord Krishna do not bind him as he is
not the doer. The wonderful variety of creation from demigods, humans, animal
etc. are beings created by the effects of their own karma or present reactions to
previous actions either by merits or demerits. In as
much as ones own activities determines their karma activating what reward or
punishment one will receive; then this is totally determined by each individual
themselves and thus Lord Krishna is no way answerable
to the reactions living entities bring upon themselves by their actions. There
is another reason Lord Krishna is not the doer as well and that is all the
embodied being assuming various and diverse forms get endowed
with limbs and senses to enjoy material objects being interested in the
rewards of their actions. Consequently pursuing this they trap themselves in
samsara or the cycle of birth and death in the material existence.
In the Vedanta-Sutras which are aphorisms exegetic of the 108 Upanisads by
Vedavyasa it states in II.III.XXXIV that: The Supreme Lord can never be reproached
for what seems to be partiality and injustice seen as
rewards and punishments because the results for all human beings are
determined solely by their actions. In the act of manifesting the creation Lord
Krishna is the original source but the instrumental cause is
prakriti or material nature itself and the determining factor for all beings
is that they come into their various existences as a result of their own karma.
Except for the will from the original source of Lord Krishna no
other cause is needed to manifest myriads of marvellous creations represented
by unlimited and diverse variegated beings. This is because all embodied beings
accept a form in accordance to the inherent primal
force of their past karma.

If not everyone worships Lord Krishna and so many more are worshipers of
other religions and denominations then why is this unbalance so prevalent in
society. This verse refers to the four orders of Vedic culture
exclusively being the brahmins or priestly class, the ksatriyas or the royal
and warrior class, the vaisyas or farming and trading class and the sudra or the
servant classs. These were created according to the
natural qualities of their prenatal disposition and classified accordingly to
their corresponding birth. The Brahmins have the prenatal quality of sattva or
goodness, the ksatriyas have the prenatal quality of rajas or
passion being dominant and sattva being subordinate, the vaisyas have the
prenatal quality of tama guna or ignorance with rajas being subordinate and the
sudras have the prenatal quality of ignorance. Any other
classification outside of these four cannot be claimed to be originated by
Lord Krishna. Although Lord Krishna is the originator of these four orders He is
not to be held accountable to the unbalance in society as
this is due to the prenatal disposition of all beings based on their
activities and subsequent reactions each life.

Note: For further details about the four varnas, one should read Bhagavad-
gita(18.41-4) and Shrimad-Bhagavatam (7.11.21-4), (11.17.16-19).
na maam karmani limpanti na mey karma-phale sprha
iti maam yo �bhijanaati karmabhir na sa badhyate

"There is no work that affects Me; nor do I aspire for the fruits of action. One
who understands this truth about Me also does not become entangled in the fruitive
reactions of work."

*Mam = me, karmani = actions, na limpanti = will not bind .
Here karmani implies creation, sustaining and destroying. Karma will never
bind Me [Sri Krishna].
*Mey = to me, karma phale= the result or fruit of the creation,
*na sprha = not desired.
*Iti = thus, maam = Me [Sri Krishna],
*yo = that Karma yogi, abhijanati = understands well,
*karmabhi = karmas which oppose his starting to practice Karma yoga,
*sa = he, na badyate = will not be bound.

Lord Krishna confirms here that even those who know Him as the origin of
creation and all the worlds and know that He is not implicated by any activity
being transcendental to prakrit or material nature; these
individuals also have their desires and worldly attachments terminated and are
not bound by their actions.

One may wonder how is it possible that Lord Krishna is not implicated by any
actions and that reactions to actions are not applicable to Him? To understand
this one should look at it in the following way. Although
the growth of mangoes, rice and papayas are undoubtedly supported by rain
showers, the rain has no attachment not having any desire for tasting and enjoying
the fruits. Similarly in this creation containing various
human beings characterised by divine and demoniac natures, possessing good and
evil propensities, performing righteous or unrighteous actions and receiving the
bestowal of their reactions it is the Supreme
Lord Krishna who sanctions these rewards. But there is no partiality or
injustice coming from Him every human being creates their own karma or reactions
to actions defined by the actions they have been
performing life after life since time immemorial.

A karma yogi has to understand thus [ iti]. This word iti is potent with
lots of meanings. This answers a normal complaint against God. He says that the
discrimination of who is higher or lower, arising in the
creations, can not be attributed to the Lord. In the last sloka, he said that
he divided his creations into four divisions but further adds that he did not
divide. We are confused and think the statements are contradictory.
This confusion is resolved in this sloka. We find rich and poor. The poor
could think why he was created poor and why all are not created equal? Lord says
that he is responsible for the creation but not for the
high - low feeling. We can understand this with an analogy. Land is common to
all vegetation. Why weeds grow? Why not only the plants we need? We can never
accuse land being responsible for the growth of
unwanted plants. Similarly, Sri Krishna is responsible for all creation. But
there are specific reasons attributable for individual growth. Mango tree grew not
only because of land, but because of specific mango seed
was sown. Similarly for all plants including the unwanted ones. Land is
impartial to all, for both desired and unwanted plants. Likewise God is the common
factor for all creations. But one's past karma is the specific
reason for the perceived differences. Our Karma is the Vishesha(specific)
cause for these differences.
We also accuse God that since there are differences in creation, he possesses
vaishamyam and nairdhrunyam. Sage Veda Vyasa, who made the Bramha soothram or
maxims on the teachings of Veda, says in
one maxim: "vaishamya nairdhrunyena sthapekshtwAt." i.e In Brahma Sutras
II.III.XXXIV written by Vedavyasa it states that: Partiality and injustice can
never be attributed to the Supreme Lord as there are other
considerations that must be taken into account and this is because the Vedic
scriptures have declared it so. He says that God can not be attributed with
vaishamyam and nairdhrunyam, as anticipated. Vaishamyam
is discrimination of high and low. He is impartial. High and low is mischief.
He has no mischievous intention. Nairdhrunyam is lack of mercy or pitiless. He
possesses enormous mercy and wants all to come up in
life. Because of benevolence only, He created this world, created seers and
other great persons to advice and correct our lives. A farmer can not be blamed if
a particular seed was bad. Veda Vyasa adds one word
in the maxim, sthapekshatwat or as anticipated.

According to the papa/punya one does, one anticipates the ups and downs in
this life or future births. So we can only blame ourselves for the ups and downs
and can not attribute these to God saying he is
mischievous or he is not compassionate. But this also may lead one to a wrong
conclusion that one is responsible for the ups and downs based on karma, and so
one is independent and God has no place.
We may think that either say that all are due to God or all are by us based on
our karma alone. How for good things God is made responsible and for bad we are
held responsible? This question is justified.
A farmer toils hard but if due to bad seeds he does not reap well, none blames
the farmer. In fact, people pity on him that his efforts were wasted. Similarly,
God has created all good things common to all
impartially. If one chooses the bad things and gathers papa, God can not be
held responsible and he will also feel bad that one has missed the opportunity.
Then we may ask, if that is so, does not he have the
capacity to remove the papa from us? Yes, He has, provided we surrender unto
Him and seek asylum. Surely then he will remove our anxiety and redeem us. we
should realize that the creations are all for our use
and He is not affected or benefited by these. He has already told that he has
no desires to be fulfilled.

Bhagavan Parasara also says so: 'He (the Lord) is only the operative cause in
the creation of beings. That from which the creative forces spring constitutes the
material cause. Leaving aside the material cause,
the being that becomes embodied does not require the help of any other thing
whatever. A thing is led into the condition in which it is, O best of ascetics,
only by its own potentiality' (V. P., 1.4.51-2). The Supreme
Person is only the operative cause with regard to the creation of those to be
created, i.e., the selves in the bodies of gods etc. The material cause for the
differences into gods etc., is the potentiality in the form of
previous Karmas of the selves to be created. Therefore, leaving aside the
operative cause, i.e., the Supreme Person, the creator, the embodied beings do not
require anything else for causing difference into
conditions of gods etc. For these selves are led to take the forms of gods
etc., by the potentiality of their own old Karma with which they are connected.
Such is the meaning. He who knows Me thus to be the
agent of creation etc., and still a non-agent, i.e., as one who has no desire
for the results of the acts of creation etc., --- such a person is not tied by
previous actions, i.e., he is freed from the old Karmas which
obstruct the undertaking of Karma Yoga by causing attachment to results. Such
is the purport.

The living entities are engaged in their respective activities of sense
gratification, and these activities are not ordained by the Lord. For advancement
of sense gratification, the living entities are engaged in the work
of this world, and they aspire to heavenly happiness after death. The Lord,
being full in Himself, has no attraction for so-called heavenly happiness. The
heavenly demigods are only His engaged servants. The
proprietor never desires the low-grade happiness such as the workers may
desire. He is aloof from the material actions and reactions. For example, the
rains are not responsible for different types of vegetation
that appear on the earth, although without such rains there is no possibility
of vegetative growth. Vedic smr?ti confirms this fact as follows:

nimitta-matram evasau sr?jyanam� sarga-karman?i
pradhana-karan?i-bhuta yato vai sr?jya-saktayah?

"In the material creations, the Lord is only the supreme cause. The immediate
cause is material nature, by which the cosmic manifestation is made visible." The
created beings are of many varieties, such as the
demigods, human beings and lower animals, and all of them are subject to the
reactions of their past good or bad activities. The Lord only gives them the
proper facilities for such activities and the regulations of
the modes of nature, but He is never responsible for their past and present
activities. In the Vedanta-sutra (2.1.34) it is confirmed, vais?amya-nairghr?n?ye
na sapeks?atvat: the Lord is never partial to any living entity.
The living entity is responsible for his own acts. The Lord only gives him
facilities, through the agency of material nature, the external energy. Anyone who
is fully conversant with all the intricacies of this law of karma,
or fruitive activities, does not become affected by the results of his
activities. In other words, the person who understands this transcendental nature
of the Lord is an experienced man in Kr?s?n?a consciousness, and
thus he is never subjected to the laws of karma. One who does not know the
transcendental nature of the Lord and who thinks that the activities of the Lord
are aimed at fruitive results, as are the activities of the
ordinary living entities, certainly becomes entangled himself in fruitive
reactions. But one who knows the Supreme Truth is a liberated soul fixed in
Kr?s?n?a consciousness.

So in summary, If this truth is well understood, that is God created all , but
the discrimination can not be attributed to Him, that practicing Karma yoga with
this thought will destroy the papa/ punya and seeking
refuge in Him will redeem us, then our karma will not affect us.

evam jnaatva kritam karma purvair api mumuksubhih
kuru karmaiva tasmaat tvam purvaih purvataram kritam

Even the mumukshus (seekers of liberation) in ancient times, who understood My
tattva in this way, performed their prescribed duties simply to set the standard
for common men. Therefore, you should also perform
your karma, following the example of these predecessor authorities.

*Tasmat = therefore, tvam = you ; kuru =do,
*karmaiva = your duties without interruption,
*purvai = our ancestors, purvataram = from long since,
*kritam = have been doing [these karmas].
This way he shows sishtacharam or the necessity to follow elders' practices.
Earlier he told that he created this universe with the four divisions and everyone
was to do the duties assigned to him as a Karma yoga.
But the differences arising out of this in no way would affect Him nor he had
any interest in the fruits of this division. He further told that the person who
understood this way and performed his duties, is unaffected by
papa and can commence Karma yoga.
*Evam jnatva = thus understood,
*karma kritam = duties were done,
*mumukshbi = by persons desirous of Moksham and get released from the shackles of
birth cycle,
*api poorvair = even long back.
Who are those ancestors? In the first sloka he mentioned about His teaching
Vivaswan, who taught Manu, who taught Ikshvaku, etc. So He wants this karma to be
done as practiced by ancestors, from very ancient
times. Sishtacharam is what Sri Andal says as melayar seivana. If we follow
what our elders have been doing we will be benefited. In modern times there is a
tendency to ignore our elders' path and practices. This
is not correct. We can not say generation gap and do as we feel. We have to
remember that our elders cared for our welfare and they never expected anything in
return. Gita pronounced in the past will do us good
and this we have to constantly bear in mind. We have to do the assigned
duties with the knowledge that God is not affected. This was practiced by our
ancestors. This will destroy our papa and take us to the point
to start Karma yoga.

Foolish persons or neophytes in Krishna consciousness often want to retire from
activities without having knowledge of Krishna consciousness. Arjuna's desire to
retire from activities on the battlefield was not
approved by the Lord. One need only know how to act. To retire from the
activities of krishna consciousness and to sit aloof making a show of krishna
consciousness is less important than actually engaging
in the field of activities for the sake of Krishna. Arjuna is here advised to
act in Krishna consciousness, following in the footsteps of the Lord's previous
disciples, such as the sun-god Vivasvan, as mentioned
herein before.

So Lord Krishna sums up his conclusion for this theme by stating that having
known that he is completely free from desire and attachment although performing
such magnificent activities like creation of all the
worlds, he is never implicated by it. But great beings like Manu and Janaka
performed actions according to the injunctions of the Vedic scriptures and being
free from egoism without desire for rewards also achieved
moksa or liberation as such actions are never binding. Therefore Arjuna and
anyone else should perform such actions following in their footsteps as they have
come down through the ages in parampara or disciplic

Sri Krsna stresses the difficulty of undertaking the type of Karma that is
going to be taught now, in his next sloka.

kim karma kim akarm-eti kavayo �py atra mohitah:
tat te karma pravaksyami yaj jnaatva moksyase �subhat

"Even the intelligent are bewildered in determining what is action and what is
inaction(knowledge). Now I shall explain to you what action is, knowing which you
shall be liberated from all misfortune."

Sri Krishna preambles the great secret and important teaching of Karma yoga.
Sri Krishna aroused fear in Arjuna whether he would be able to understand this
which has not been understood by even intellectuals.
Sri Krishna pacifies that since he is going to be the Teacher, it will not be
difficult to understand. Kim-Karma? - What is Karma? ; Kim-Akarma - What is
Akarma i.e Jnaana in an action; Btw, all these
terms (Akarma, Vikarma etc) may see imposing terms, but these are things
which we do everyday and will be explained in detail later. Atra - in this
matter; Kavayo-Apyo Mohita - even great gnaanis are

*Asubha = this samsaram or life cycle,
*moksyase = you will be released,
*ya jnatva = if you understand this (and also do the Anushtanam!! not just
*tat = that,
*karma= Karma yoga, pravaksyami = I [Sri Krishna] will teach.

*Kim karma = which is action,
*kim akarma = which is different from karma , but part of the karma, ie. the
gyana or knowledge,

*kavayopi = even great intellectuals,
*mohita = were perplexed or confused,
*atra = in this matter.
Here kavi does not mean poets, but great learned ones. Mere action can not
become Karma yoga unless it is done with atma gyanam. As an example, now all of us
have gathered in Brindavan. This pilgrimage
was not taken for travelling in train or spend time with relatives and
friends in a distant place. The preparations such as reserving rail berths,
collecting luggages, etc. are all the action part of this Karma of
pilgrimage to Brindavan. But there has to be an undercurrent of gyana in
these actions. That gyana is that we are going to Brindavan, the place where the
Lord played and He is the Master of all of us and by
visiting we would please our Master and get Moksham. If this gyana is
always present in every minute we are in Brindavan, no matter what we do, then
this pilgrimage becomes a Karma yoga. When we teach
our children mere teaching is not enough, but a constant knowledge that the
children should have a good career and prosper and become good citizens. So Karma
is the action part and akarma is the knowledge
part. Devotion to God is the akarma part and all services to God is the
karma part and both combined become Karma yoga. Without this akarma, our services
to God is useless. Whether is it decking flower
garlands or doing circumbulation or doing chanting/japa etc, the
knowledge of the import of those actions (which is service to God) is important,
otherwise the actions are mere Karma and doesn't qualify
as "Karma Yogam".

Exactly what is the nature of karma or action as performed by the
aspirants treading the path to moksa or liberation from material existence and
what also is akarma or inaction? By the term akarma is inferred
true knowledge relating to the doer which is the atma or soul. What is the
action which needs to be performed and what is the wisdom of inaction that is
involved in such an action? Even persons of discrimination
and knowledge are bewildered in this matter and confused do not understand
this differences properly. Lord Krishna now promises to dispel all delusion in the
intricacies of this subject. What is the purpose of
performing actions as a matter of duty? The satisfaction consists in the
knowledge of knowing why the duty is to be discharged. The knower is the person
who performs works aspiring for moksa. The ignorant is
one who performs work for sense gratification. The former performs work
without egoism while the latter performs works full of egoissm. The former is
eligible for liberation the latter is eligible for bondage. Why
this is so difficult to understand is explained in the next verse.

Sri Krishna is going to teach this Karma yoga with the two parts of karma
and akarma. By understanding this Arjuna will get freed from the bonds of
samsaram. Here also mere understanding of what Sri Krishna
is going to teach will not get Moksham but a sincere and faithful practice
of what has been taught and understood. There are many questions on rituals and
Sri Krishna is going to answer all these.

karmano-hy api boddhavyam boddhavyam ca vikarmanah
akarmanas ca boddhavyam gahana karmano gatih

"The intricacies of action are very hard to understand. Therefore one should know
properly what action is, what the multitude actions are, and what the undercurrent
gyana of the action is."

The correct interpretations of karma are very rare and are deep in meaning, so
it is not easy to understand it. The implications are so many, says Sri
Krishna.The Lord remaining in the far off Vaikuntam comes
down and mingles with ordinary persons, and the implication is deep rooted and
has to be understood properly. He is both Majestic and Simple to mix with us.
During Sri Krishna's time, river Yamuna was flowing
just touching this Kadamba tree. Wjen Garuda started killing all snakes, snake
Kalinga escaped and reached this place. According to a curse Garuda could not
enter this region and so the snake was safe.
But the snake's venom was so severe that it started destroying vegetation and
even birds which happened to fly over this place. Deciding to drive out the snake
to the seas and save the place, Sri Krishna waited
for an opportunity. Once when He was playing with friends and when the ball
they were playing with fell into the river, Sri Krishna climbed this tree and in
the pretext of getting the ball, jumped into the river.
He fought with the snake and after sometime rose and danced on the hood of
Kalinga. Unable to bear the pain, the wives of the snake begged and prayed to
spare Kalinga. Sri Krishna accepted but asked them
to leave the place and go to the seas. This kadamba tree did not get destroyed
because it was fortunate to have Sri Krishna on it. This act of Sri Krishna has
many interpretations deeply rooted.
Similarly, Karma yoga also has deep meanings.

*Hy = because [this is linked to the last sloka, where he said that even
intellectuals are confused],
*karmano api boddhavyam = action in karma yoga or duty has to be understood;
[We must know the actions.]
*vikarma is vi + karma. Vi means vividam or multitudes. vividham karma is
multiples of actions or duties, within the accepted ones of shastras [We must know
the variety of actions]
There are so many karma like nitya karma, naimityaka karma, kamya karma,
etc. We would have observed our elders in the family doing so many activities
called anushtanam. Lots of rituals are prescribed in a
srardham or annual ceremony performed for one's deceased parents. Even in
the daily pooja so many activities like lighting the lamp, collecting flowers,
etc., are there. All of them are part of pooja but are many.
Even the poojas also are many, like one for begetting children, for the
early marriage of children, etc.
*Akarmanas ca boddhavyam = A-karmah. the gyana which is different from karma
has to be understood. When we see the kadamba tree, if we think it is a tree like
others, it is not part of Karma yoga.
But if we regard it as the tree on which Sri Krishna set His foot to climb,
then it assumes all sanctity. We go round it and prostrate to pay our respects.
This undercurrent of gyana that this tree is different from
others is akarma. At the same time it is part of the karma we have to do. [We
must know the knowledge behind the actions]

Note: In other bhasyas (Madhva, Prabhupad etc..) Akarma and Vikarma are
intrepreted differently and is addressed below:
Vikarma could mean viruddham or vichitram karma, is it? [We can interpret
the term "Vi" in different ways - Viruddham, Vichitram, Vividham ] So, can we
interpret Vi as Viruddham, in this case? This would
mean "Viruddham karma" i.e Prohibited actions. There are lots of don'ts in
the Vedas, perhaps we are asked to do them? Sri Krishna will never advice us to do
those forbidden ones and so it is correct to
interpret vikarma as vividham karma or multiples of actions or duties,
within the accepted ones of shastras.

Similarly, does akarma mean inaction? No. Sri Krishna never likes idleness
and right in the beginning he has been inducing Arjuna into action only. So,
akarma is the knowledge portion different from karma.
Therefore karma has to be understood, the multitudes of karma and the gyana
part of it also has to be understood.

*Gahana Karmano Gatih - These intricasies of karma (Karamanoh implies Karma,
Akarma and Vikarma) are profound. Krishna himself understands that we will be
dazzled and overwhelmed with these terms
and is implying it here , that these intricasies are profound. But, do note
that, he is going to explain to Arjuna about this details (remember he said in the
previous sloka: tat te karma pravaksyami , i.e he
will give instruction to Arjuna on Karma yoga).

The actual nature of karma or prescribed Vedic actions performed for
attaining moksa or liberation from material existence should be understood. So
also is the case in regard to 'multi-form or varied forms
of action' (Vikarma). These are what have acquired variegation as
obligatory, occasional and desire-prompted works requiring numerous requisites
(i.e. nitya karma, naimityaka karma, kamya karma.).
What should be known as regards multi-form or variegated forms of Karma is
that the attribution of differences leading to differences of fruits in
obligatory, occasional and desire-prompted rites and acquisition of
things required for their performace, etc., must be renounced, realising
that the Sastras aim at only one result, i.e., release (and not several results
said to accrue from these works). This has been declared in
connection with the teaching, 'The resolute mind is one-pointed' (2.41) and
is not elaborated here. The reason why regular and occasional activities should be
clearly assimilated for an aspirant for moksa is
because the rewards for each are varied but one should look at them all with
equipoise and realising that they all have one uniform purpose and that is the
fulfilment of the goal which is the attainment of moksa.
Without proper teaching and understanding of the Vedic scriptures one will
not perceive this critical conclusion but this is the Vedic conception as revealed
by Lord Krishna already and thus it is not necessary to
expatiate upon the subject further here. There is also something to be known
about non-action, i.e., knowledge of the self. Therefore, deep, i.e., difficult to
understand, is the way of action to be pursued by the
seeker after release. Sri Krsna explains what must be known in regard to
action and non-action.

karman(y)akarma yah pasyed akarmani ca karma yah
sa buddhiman manusyesu sa yuktah krtsna-karma-krt

"One who sees knowledge in action, and action in knowledge, is intelligent among
men, and he is in the transcendental position, as he has completed all

This person is qualified to practice Karma yoga and is eligible to go to
Vaikuntam. Who is this person? This is explained in this Slokam.

*Yah = the one who, pasyed = sees,
*akarma = Gyana or knowledge which is different from karma,
*karmany = in karma, ca yah = and the one who [sees],
*karma = action , akarmany = in Gyana of a karma,
*sa = he is, buddhiman= real intellectual,
*yukta = eligible[for Moksham], *manusyesu = in the people,
*krtsna-karma-krt = he performs all the requirements without exception for the

One who sees Gyana in Karma and Karma in Gyana is the one who has completed all
requirements. How can one see the other as different? We can see a stone as a
stone and not as water. Normally,
when we do a work we do it without paying attention to the knowledge or when we
think of a work, we forget the action. Here Sri Krishna combines both. Thought and
action together becomes Karma yoga.
Otherwise, it is merely a Karma. When we help a blind to cross a road, the
action when combines with the thought that we are doing good to others, it becomes
Karma yoga. Similarly, if a person merely has
a thought to do good or similar action, but doesn't implement it, it does not
come under Karma Yoga. So, action and thought and vice-versa should both go
together. In the olden days, Garuda mantra
was chanted to relieve from snake bites. That time the person capable of doing
it will show certain signs by his hands, the mouth will be uttering mantra and he
will be reflecting his thoughts on the Garuda.
Only the signs will not relieve the affected person. But the knowledge that
Garuda will rescue the person and chanting of mantra combined with the signs will
bring the person to normalcy.

Mere chanting of the Lord's names is insufficient and we should remember the
qualities of the Lord. e.g, when we chant mantras for Achanam (Achutha, Ananta,
Govinda) or Gayatri Mantra or other chanting,
we need to chant it with the thought of the qualities of the Lord, otherwise it
is just karma , but not a yoga. The gnaana aspect makes it Karma yogam. We may
have many good thoughts and Dharma Sastras
also recommend doing good deeds like Dhanam etc and if we do it with this
gnaanam, it becomes Karma yogam.This type of combination alone will benefit our
society. This is what the Lord refers to as
"karmany akarma yah pasyed akarmani ca karma yah".
We may have a doubt here. One is action and the other is mind thinking. Why
should these two be combined i.e can't we just do the actions mechanically? We
have earlier seen that even a person practicing
Gyana yoga, has to maintain his life and family and so has to earn honestly.
Earning is a karma and so he also can not relinquish karma. Similarly, a person
trying to practice Karma yoga has to have the basic
knowledge that atman and body are different. So gyana and karma have to go hand
in hand. Here it needs to be noted that the foundation of Geeta is the Deha-Atama
difference i.e the body and soul are different,
which Lord has explained in great detail in the beginnning (Chapter2) itself.
Without this knowledge and accepting it, all subsequent slokas would be difficult
to understand or subject to misinterpretation.

Agreeing that Gnaana is a pre-req for Karma and to qualify as Karma Yogam both
need to go together, we may still doubt whether it is possible? We can not do at
the same time things which are opposed to
each other. For example, we can not sit and run at the same time or look at
water as Fire or Fire as water. But walking and talking are possible
simultaneously. Here also what Sri Krishna tells can be done
together. When we prepare a garland of flowers,it is possible to ponder how
Perialwar or Sri Andal would have worshiped the Lord. When preparing the garland
we may not be able to light the lamp. So
he has not asked impossible things to be done together.

Here by the term 'non-action', the knowledge of the self, which is distinct from
action and which forms the subject under consideration, is meant. 'He who sees
non-action in action and also action in non-action,'
denotes him who can perceive knowledge of the self even while action is being
performed and who can also perceive action while engaged in non-action, i.e.,
knowledge of the self. What is the import of this saying?
What is taught here is this: One can perceive, by constant contemplation on the
truth about the self, that the action that is being performed in itself is a form
of knowledge. One can also perceive that this knowledge
is also of the form of Karma because of its being contained in Karma Yoga. Both
these (i.e., action in the form of knowledge and knowledge in the form of actions)
are accomplished by contemplation on the true
nature of the self, even while work is being performed. Thus, he who can see
actions as included in contemplation on the reality of the self, is wise, i.e., he
knows the full meaning of the Sastras; he is fit among men,
i.e., fit to attain release. He alone has fulfilled all actions, i.e., carried
out the entire purpose of the Sastras. [The purport is that no contradiction
between knowledge and action is felt by one who knows the philosophy
of the self]. How is the form of knowledge accomplished through works which are
obviously activities that are being performed? Sri Krsna explains:

Additional Notes (slightly different interpretation of Akarma as per Srila
Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaj- Gaudiya math ) :
All karma performed by a nishkama-karma-yogi is akarma (inaction) in the form
of karma-sannyasa. Renunciation of the fruits of action (karma-tyaga) constitutes
his performance of nishkama-karma. Although
nishkama-karma-yogis perform all types of actions, they are not considered to
be karmis (fruitive workers). For them karma and akarma are the same. On the other
hand, so-called jnanis who have artificially
renounced their prescribed duties (karma-sannyasa), but whose conduct is poor
(duracari) due to their impure hearts, who are proud, and who praise themselves,
suffer miserable consequences.
Shri Bhagavan has also said in Shrimad Bhagavatam (11.18.40-1):
yas tv asamyata-shad-vargah / pracandendriya-sarathih jnana-vairagya-
rahitas / tri-dandam upajivati
suran atmanam atma-stham / nihnute mam ca dharma-ha avipakva-kashayo .smad /
amushmac ca vihiyate

Sometimes, a person who is bereft of jnana and vairagya makes a show of
accepting tridanda, the symbol of sannyasa, to maintain his life. This is
condemned if his intelligence, which should direct the senses,
is instead controlled by the fiercely strong senses and by the six invincible
enemies (lust, anger, greed, illusion, pride and envy). Such a person is the
killer of his own soul. Completely immersed in endless material
desires, he denies the worshipable devas, his own self and even Me, who am
situated within his heart. Thus he is ruined both in this world and in the next.

How is the form of knowledge accomplished through works which are obviously
activities that are being performed? Sri Krsna explains in next sloka.

yasya sarve samarambhah kaama-sankalpa-varjitah:
jnaanagni-dagdha-karmanam tam ahuh panditam budhah

"One is understood to be in full knowledge whose every endeavor is devoid of
desire for sense gratification. He is said by sages to be a worker for whom the
gyana of work has burnt away the papa and punya."

In the previous sloka Sri Krishna told Arjuna to view Gyana in Karma and Karma
in Gyana. We saw it is possible practically. Now we will look at the 19th sloka

*Yasya = the one,
*samarambha = efforts,
*sarve = for all nitya, naimitika and kamya karma,
*kaama = inferior desires, sankalpa =illusion, varjita = devoid of,
*tam panditam = that intellectual or gyani,
*jnanagni = the fire of gyana in karma, dagdha = burns away,
*karmanam = papa and punya, ahuh = acclaim, budhah= learned persons.

Kaama Varjitah and Sankalpa-Varjitah: [devoid of kaama and Sankalpa ]
A person who performs all types of karma or who takes effort to perform all
types of karma, ensures that they are not commenced for inferior [anything other
than krishna-kaamam is considered inferior]
objectives or not done with a sankalpa, is considered as Gyani. Here
sankalpa means the confusion or illusion that body and soul are one. Kama not
merely the male-female sex desire, but anything for worldly
desires. So he does all karmas but without the illusion of body and soul are
same, and without the objective of the karmas for inferior desires.

Tam panditham - Sri Krishna calls him as pandit or learned or gyani.
Here karmanam means the papa/ punya one gathers by doing a karma or already
gathered over the ages in various births. These are burnt away, by the fire like
gyana in the karma he is doing.
If we perform a karma with detachment, the gyana portion is the fire. Such a
person is praised by well learned persons as Gyani and has destroyed all papa and
punya. So practicing Karma yoga in the right way,
gets papa/ punya destroyed, which means he does not have likes and dislikes
and so he is unaffected by happiness or sorrow. The mind becomes serene and is in
a position to have atman sakshatkaram.
So we have to understand that even our daily routines can become Karma yoga,
provided we do not desire worldly rewards nor we mistake soul and body are same.
Then our karma or all actions are uplifted
and we get the same status as a person practicing Gyana yoga. Arjuna could
fight as usual and at the same time reap the rewards of a Gyani practicing Gyana

In this verse and the next five verses Lord Krishna describes the nature of
karma or prescribed Vedic activities. The knowledge that one is completely
dependent upon the Supreme Lord and that the Supreme
Lord alone is the actual performer of all actions guarantees that all reactions
to actions are neutralised by the fire of wisdom.

In the case of an aspirant for release, all undertakings of actions (in the
form of obligatory, occasional and desiderative acts accomplished through the
acquisition of materials for their performance as also other
works) are free from desire, i.e., are devoid of attachment to fruits. They are
devoid of delusive identification. If the mind identifies the self with Prakrti
and its Gunas, it is Sankalpa, i.e., 'delusive identification.'
Genuine Karma Yoga is free from such identification. Such identification is
overcome through contemplation on the real nature of the self as different from
Prakrti. Those who know the truth call him a sage,
who acts in this way and whose previous Karmas are thereby burnt up by the fire
of knowledge of the real nature of the self generated along with his actions. He
is a true Karma Yogin.

Thus that knowledge is involved in true Karma Yoga, is established. Sri Krsna
elaborates this point again in the next sloka.

tyaktva karma-phalasangam nitya-trpto nir-asrayah:
karmany abhi-pravrtto �pi naiva kincit karoti sah:

"Abandoning all attachment to the results of his activities, ever satisfied with
atman, he is regarded to perform no action , although engaged in all kinds of

Though one does Karma yoga which consists of many karmas, he is considered to
have not done. This is the meaning of this sloka. To understand this, consider an
example. An infant hits his father
The father does not complain that the child has beaten and infact takes delight.
Seeing this an adult neighbour, comes and gently beats the same father. The father
gets angry and asks why the neighbour
did that. He replies that since he saw the father taking the slap of the child
lightly, he thought that anyone could beat the father and getaway. Why this
difference? Because when the child beats, it does not
have any feeling like enmity or hatred and so it was not considered as beating.
Whereas when the neighbour does, his enmity or hatred is considered, and even a
gentle pat is considered as beating.
Therefore any action is weighed against the background or intention. Then it is
concluded whether the action was done or not done. Here Sri Krishna tells Arjuna
that while doing a karma, he can be
considered as not doing that karma.

Lord Krishna speaks about the non-binding effects that the actions of the
spiritually intelligent insure. Whoever performs actions, renouncing attachment
to their fruits and is satisfied with the eternal, i.e., satisfied
with his own self, and dependent on none, i.e., devoid of dependence on transient
Prakrti (body and external nature) --- such a perosn, even though fully engaged in
actions, does not act at all. He is engaged in
the practice of knowledge under the form of action.

A person practicing Gyana yoga has certain advantages and disadvantages.
Similarly, a person doing Karma yoga has some advantages. Advantage for a Karma
yogi is that he can continue to do what he has
been doing, like earning, maintaining family,etc. But while doing all these one
collects the papa and punya for each action. This is a disadvantage. While a Gyana
yogi is not doing any action and so he does not
incur any papa or punya. This is a great advantage. But we consider as
disadvantage of Gyana yoga is the control of senses and the organs, which we find
it difficult, but is the fundamental greatness of a
Gnaana Yogi (which is control of senses). Sri Krishna gives us a method to have
the advantages of both. That is we will continue to do our karma but the papa/
punya of the actions will not be incurred.
To get this we have to discard the attachment to the karmas. That is we should
do the karma without any desire on its results. So all our routines like office
going or performing pooja will become karma yoga,
if we do them with atman gyana. By detaching ourselves with the results for
inferior benefits, the actions will not get papa/punya. This is what the Lord
mentioned in the last sloka. He told that the Gyana fire
burnt away all papa and punya of the karma (Gnaana Agni Daghdanam).

*Karma phala sangham = the desire in the results of our karma,
*tyaktva = abandoned or discarded,
*nitya trpta = satisfied with ever lasting atman gyana,
*nir-asraya = with no desire on the body [ that is sensual pleasures and
identification with body i.e i am small, tall .. he is my enemy, he is my friend
*karmany = in the various actions,
*abhi-pravrattopi= even when actively involved,
*naiva kinchit = even a small action will not be considered,
*karoti sa = he will not have done. (Kinchit esah naiva karoti)

That is a person even when actively doing his assigned duties, does with no
attachment to the inferior results of those actions, is said to have done no
action however small it is, which could incur papa/ punya,
and so he is deemed to have done no action and so will not incur papa/
punya. This implies that we can do our duties witout greed and with serving
others. We have to reduce our requirements and think about
atman. By slightly altering, every small work we do can become Karma yoga.

We will have a question - after hearing and reading so far, Am i Karma
Yogi? Have i become a Karma Yogi? What is the critieria for us? We don't have to
give up our daily actions (eating, working etc) to
become a karma yogi - by reflecting on the Atma, by not hurting anybody by
thought, word or deed, by feeling content with what we have and not hoarding more
than what we need, by showing Krishna Bhakti,
by not showing over feeling of attachment - Yes, by adding this aspects to
our daily life, we can also be a karma yogi.

This freedom from the bondage of actions is possible only in Kr?s?n?a
consciousness, when one is doing everything for Kr?s?n?a. A Kr?s?n?a conscious
person acts out of pure love for the Supreme Personality of
Godhead, and therefore he has no attraction for the results of the action. He
is not even attached to his personal maintenance, for everything is left to
Kr?s?n?a. Nor is he anxious to secure things, nor to protect
things already in his possession. He does his duty to the best of his ability
and leaves everything to Kr?s?n?a. Such an unattached person is always free from
the resultant reactions of good and bad; it is as
though he were not doing anything.

Again, Karma, having the form of knowledge, is examined in the next sloka.
Slokas 21, 22 and 23 are of explanatory nature, explaining how by doing our daily
karma we can destroy our papa/ punya and avoid
rebirth and attain happiness.

nirasir yata-citt-atma tyakta-sarva-parigrahah
sariram kevalam karma kurvan na-apnoti kilbisam

"Such a man of understanding acts with mind and intelligence perfectly controlled,
gives up all sense of proprietorship over his possessions, and acts only for the
bare necessities of life. Thus working, he is not
affected by sinful reactions."

*Kilbisam = papa and the consequent samsaram or earthly life,
*na-apnoti = he will not get, who? Sri Krishna tells that he will not attain the
life in this world due to sins. Who is that person? He identifies three symptoms
or features.
*1)Nirasi = desireless, that is detached and not interested in the results or
rewards. 'Free from desire' means having no attachment to the fruits of actions.
We go for work to earn. If without work we are paid, we will feel highly
uncomfortable and there will be a constant fear that we are unwanted in that
workplace. Sri Krishna tells here that we should not
aspire for cheap and worldly rewards, but keep our goal as a supreme one.
*2)yata-cit-Atma = a mind which is wandering on all sorts of thoughts, yata =
well controlled. His intellect and mind controlled' means one whose intellect
and mind are under control.
Our mind has three stages says Swami Ramanuja in his Sri Bhashyam. First is
"chinta" or the thinking stage. Next is "abimanam or ahankaram", wandering on all
sides and thinking as 'mine'. third stage is
resolving to do a thing and then it is called "buddhi". So a mind when
thinking on all is called chintha, if it tries to claim all as its, then it is
abimanam or ahankaram and finally when the mind resolves to do a thing
it is called buddhi. This mind has to be controlled.
*3)tyakta-sarva-Parigraha = abimanam, or feeling of 'mine' . Tyakta =
abandoning ; Abandoing the desire and feeling of possesion/Mine-ness. 'Giving up
all possessions' means one who, on account of his having
the self as his primary objective, is devoid of the sense of ownership in
relation to Prakrti and its derivatives. tyakta-sarva-parigrahah means abandoning
all cravings for sense objects and sense pleasures.

. *Sareeram = to keep this body alive,
*kevalam = only to that extent, karma = those basic actions or karma. He
recognizes body is an important instrument for performing Karma and thus needs to
be maintained and neglecting it is Sin. So, he
does basic actions to maintain it. (Sareeram-kevalam-Karma - As long as one
has life one should perform all actions as a matter of duty merely as a function
of their body; in this way there are no reactions to
actions and no disease is incurred. One will be free of this. ).

That person does not get this birth cycle suffering, and Sri Krishna
identifies that person with three marks or symptoms. He has no desire for inferior
pleasures like heaven or other worldly happiness.
He does not allow his mind to wander and think of all sorts of things nor
he tries to think all are his. He maintains his body just to keep the life in it
running so that he could do all the karma prescribed
by shastras and for the good of the society or country. Such a person is
not affected by papa and so does not suffer rebirths. If karma yoga or prescribed
Vedic activities are performed in this way by those
seeking moksa or liberation from samsara this in itself is sufficient
enough to lead one to atma tattva or realisation of the soul, eliminating the
necessity of having to engage in the intermediate step of
performing jnana yoga or the cultivation of Vedic knowledge by strictly
controlling the senses and the cessation of actions.

Additional notes:
A Krsna conscious person does not expect good or bad results in his activities.
His mind and intelligence are fully controlled. He knows that because he is part
and parcel of the Supreme, the part played by him,
as a part and parcel of the whole, is not his own activity but is only being
done through him by the Supreme. When the hand moves, it does not move out of its
own accord, but by the endeavor of the whole body.
A Krsna conscious person is always dovetailed with the supreme desire, for he
has no desire for personal sense gratification. He moves exactly like a part of a
machine. As a machine part requires oiling and
cleaning for maintenance, so a Krsna conscious man maintains himself by his
work just to remain fit for action in the transcendental loving service of the
Lord. He is therefore immune to all the reactions of his
endeavors. Like an animal, he has no proprietorship even over his own body. A
cruel proprietor of an animal sometimes kills the animal in his possession, yet
the animal does not protest. Nor does it have any
real independence. A Krsna conscious person, fully engaged in self-realization,
has very little time to falsely possess any material object. For maintaining body
and soul, he does not require unfair means of
accumulating money. He does not, therefore, become contaminated by such
material sins. He is free from all reactions to his actions.

yadrccha-labha-santustah: dvandva-titO vimatsarah
samah siddhav asiddhau ca kritvapi na nibadhyate

"He who is satisfied with gain which comes of its own accord, who is free from
duality and does not envy, who is steady in both success and failure, is never
entangled, although performing actions."

*Na nibadyate = he is not bound by the samsaram or the earthly bonds,

*kritvapi = even while doing his karma. If our karma are noble and we do not
have attachments to results, then papa/ punya will not be incurred.
There can be doubts in many as to whether all these are only theoretical and
have no practical applicability? For example, if we think we do a job for money
then it is inferior. We have to raise the scope
and ensure we do for some noble cause. Slowly this way will lead to atman
sakshatkaram. Sri Krishna assures this here.

So far Sri Krishna has been advising Arjuna to do karma. Arjuna has four
resulting doubts on Karma:
-Firstly, in the process of doing a karma, one has to encounter
difficulties or occupational hazards.
-Secondly, doing a work makes one to do more work and there is no end but
gets greedy and passionate.
-Thirdly, if our work gets impeded we develop anger and jealousy. We can
not get good name for all acts of us. There will be unwanted comments from so
many. We tend to do our work so that others do not
make comments. For example, apart from job prospects all try to admit
their children in B.E. courses and not in B.Sc. This is because, many are afraid
that by admitting their children in B.Sc,. others might
comment satirically. We are more concerned about others' comments.
-Lastly, how to overcome comforts and discomforts and success and failure?

So his four doubts - consequential hazards, getting more work and tending to
be greedy, overcoming anger at impediments and viewing victory and defeat- while
doing a karma, is answered by Sri Krishna.

*Yadruccha labha = getting those which come on their own,
*santushta = and be happy and content with that, [ Krishna is suggesting
"Vairagyam" here.. being content with what we have and accept what we have and
not getting drowned in comforts. Reply to Second Q]
*dvandvatito = crossing the dualities of comforts and discomforts, heat and
cold, [ Krishna is suggesting to overcome dualities - whether it is nature of
winter and summer, heat and cold , Or up's and down's in
doing a karma . Reply to First Q]
*vimatsara = no prejudice or malice or spite against others and be indifferent
to others' accusations, [ Reply to third Q ] One who comprehends that only due to
ones previous activities are present activities
manifesting, such a one does not hold malice against others and blaming them
others for any negative reactions one may experience.
*sama siddhau asiddhav ca= also viewing success and failure equally. [ Reply to
fourth Q ] One who keeps their mind balanced and equipoised in success or
failure while performing their duties.

Sri Krishna answers all the four doubts with four answers. By being content
with what he gets and not increasing his needs, he does not have any difficulty in
continuing his work without any expectation and so
greed does not creep in. Overcoming heat and cold makes him equal to success
and failures. By being indifferent to accusations he avoids prejudices. Such a
person will not be bound by the samsaram and he
can have atman sakshatkaram.

Content with whatever chance may bring for the maintenance of the body;
'rising above the pairs of opposites' means enduring cold, heat and such other
experiences until one has completed the practice of
Karma Yoga; 'free from ill-will?' i.e., free from ill-will towards others,
seeing his own Karma as the cause of his adversity; 'even-minded in success and
failure,' i.e., even-minded at success like victory in war, etc.,
and failure therein --- such a person 'is not bound,' i.e., he does not fall
into Samsara, though devoted to action without any exclusive practice of Jnana

gata-sangasya muktasya jnaana-avasthita-cetasah
yajnaay-acaratah karma samagram praviliyate

"The work of a man who is unattached to the modes of material nature and who is
fully situated in transcendental knowledge destroys entirely papa."
*Karma = all our sins, (Note, Karma here doesn't mean work, but reaction to the
*samagram = in toto,
*praviliyate = are destroyed. In what way, are the sins are destroyed in Toto
*Gata = relinquishing,
*sangasya = attachments, (Gata-sangasya - Relinquishing or devoid of
*muktasya = he who has been relieved from this earthly or samsara bondage,
*cetasa = mind of,
*jnana-avasthita = fully engrossed in atman.
He is engrossed in atman and so he has no passion or attachments and so is
relieved of the shackles that bind him to samsaram. A millionaire will not care to
do a job costing two rupees, while a person
earning five rupees only may be interested. We are all attached to these
worldly pleasures either we have not seen pleasures better than what we experience
or we do not know the others' better comforts
and happiness. A person engrossed in atman knows the value of the
happiness and so he has no care for the worldly pleasures.
*Yajnaya = for the sake of yagna only,
*acarata = he does any karma.
Such a person's sins are all destroyed in toto. Layam means an object
becomes its initial stage. Pralayam means all the created objects attain their
initial stage. So the papa also reach their final stage
means they are completely nullified. Here we should note that the karma or
action is not nullified, but the papa which are incurred while doing any action
get nullified.

To achieve this we should not aspire for inferior rewards, but do all with
dedication to the Lord. Atman is different from the body it is residing and so the
karmas the body performs do not attach to the atman.
This basic knowledge should be the undercurrent in every action of ours and
then no sins can be incurred. We have to analyze our actions dispassionately and
we can find the root and avoid conflicts.
If others accuse us, instead of getting angry and thinking that the other
person was responsible, we should realize that our papa was responsible for that
conflict. Conflicts happen because something
happens against our expectations.

By ones mind being entirely engrossed in atma tattva or soul realisation the
attachment to worldly things has naturally been withdrawn. So automatically
conceptions of ownership proprietorship are abandoned
and realising the reality of the Supreme Being and the importance of
propitiation to Him one lives their life in such a way that every action they
perform is a yagna or worship and offering to the Supreme Lord
Krishna. All past accumulated reactions resulting from previous actions which
bind one so terribly to the material existence are completely evaporated without
any residue. The spiritual intelligence of performing
all actions in the perspective of the atma or soul rather than from the
perspective of being immersed within the sense gardens of material nature has

Thus, in Slokas 21, 22, 23 - Sri Krishna advises to see karma in Gyana and
gyana in Karma.The next verse reveals the even higher perspective of comprehending
that spirit behind all activities and their factors
of performance is the Supreme Spirit the Supreme Lord. All actions together
with their ancillaries, have the form of knowledge because of constant
contemplation by the aspirant on the Supreme Person who is
the Supreme Brahman, as being his soul.

brahmaarpanam brahma havir brahma-aagnau brahmana hutam
brahmaiva tena gantavyam brahma-karma-samadhina

"A person who sees Brahman in all activities of a yajna, views Brahman and Karma
as same and gets atman darshan."

The one who sees Brahmam in all one�s actions will reach Brahman. Sriman
Narayana is the Brahman and He is the inner significance in all karma. Yajna is
perfect when its five constituents, namely arpanam
(the instrument for offering), havih (the ingredients), agni (the fire), hota
(the doer) and phala (the fruit), are the resting place of brahma, that is, when
they are meant for the revelation of brahma. A person's activity
is known as brahma-yajna when he seeks revelation of brahma in his karma with
concentrated meditation. The instruments of offering, the ingredients, the fire,
the doer (that is, his own existence) and the fruits
are all brahma. Thus their ultimate destination is also brahma."

*Brahma karma samadhi = viewing Brahman and karma as same.
Our daily routines like eating, sleeping, etc., are all viewed as Brahman.
Advantage of this is we will not do bad things. We will not be greedy to grab
others� properties. We will never do cheating or scheme to
create problems for others. Then,
*brahmaiva tena gantavyam = he will attain atman sakshatkaram. Here Brahman
means atman.
*Brahmana = by the jeevatman.
In homam or yagna, we would have noticed a person sitting in front of the
sacrificial fire. He is karta. He holds wooden or metallic ladles. With these he
would scoop ghee or cooked rice or curd and offer
in the fire.
*hutam = his offering. The offered materials such as ghee are called havis and
the process of offering is called ahuti.
*Brahm-arpanam = the ladles etc used to offer havis is considered as Brahman,
*brahma havir = the havis is considered as Brahman,
*brahm-agnau = the fire is considered as Brahman,
*brahmana = the karta is considered as Brahman,
*hutam = ahuti is done or offered.
So Brahman [ karta] offers Brahman [havis] with Brahman [ ladle] into
Brahman [fire]. He, who sees Brahman in all, views Brahman and karma as same and
gets atman sakshatkaram. When one eats food,
the hand that feeds, the mouth and the person doing are all considered as
Brahman and the entire process is for the happiness of the Brahman. He gets atman
sakshatkaram. .

Work in the form of yajna gives rise to knowledge. In the next slokas, Lord
Krishna explains various types of yajna. In this sloka he explains the
fundamental principle behind them. Material actions are compulsory
for the jiva bound to material consciousness. In such mundane activities, the
faithful discharge of prescribed duties in which one can deliberate on cit-tattva
(the conscious reality) is called yajna. Yajna is perfect
when its five constituents, namely arpanam (the instrument for offering), havih
(the ingredients), agni (the fire), hota (the doer) and phala (the fruit), are the
resting place of brahma, that is, when they are meant for
the revelation of brahma. A person.s activity is known as brahma-yajna when he
seeks revelation of brahma in his karma with concentrated meditation. The
instruments of offering, the ingredients, the fire, the doer
(that is, his own existence) and the fruits are all brahma. Thus their ultimate
destination is also brahma."

It is to be remembered that in Ramanuja's system 'Brahman' in the primary sense
is the 'Whole' with the Supreme Being as the Soul and Atmans and Matter (Prakrti)
as His body in inseparable union with the
Whole. So the word 'Brahman' can, according to the needs of each context, be
used to indicate the Supreme Being, the Atman, or Prakrti; In verse 24 it has been
used in all these senses.

The expression 'Brahman is the instrument to offer with' (BrahmaArpanam) is
adjectival to 'the oblation'. That by which an offering is given, such as a ladle,
is an Arpana. It is called Brahman because it is an effect
of Brahman, Brahman being the material cause of the universe. 'Brahmaarpanam'
is the oblation, of which the instrument is Brahman. The oblation, just like the
instrument with which it is offered, is also Brahman.
It is offered by the agent Brahman into the fire of Brahman. He is the Brahma-
karma-samadhi who contemplates thus on all acts as filled with the Supreme Brahman
or as having the Supreme Brahman as the
Self. He who contemplates on Brahman as the Soul of all actions, reaches
Brahman alone, as his own self has the Supreme Brahman as Its Self. The meaning is
that the individual self --- which is Brahman
because of Its having Brahman as Its Self (Sareera-Atama-Bhava) --- has to
realise Its own real nature. All actions performed by an aspirant for release have
the form of knowledge because of their association
with the contemplation of the Supreme Brahman as their self. They are a direct
means for the vision of the self without the meditation of Jnana Yoga.

Additional notes:
A conditioned soul, entangled in material contamination, is sure to act in the
material atmosphere, and yet he has to get out of such an environment. The process
by which the conditioned soul can get out of the
material atmosphere is Kr?s?n?a consciousness. For example, a patient who is
suffering from a disorder of the bowels due to overindulgence in milk products is
cured by another milk product, namely curds. The
materially absorbed conditioned soul can be cured by Kr?s?n?a consciousness as
set forth here in the Gita. This process is generally known as yaj�a, or
activities (sacrifices) simply meant for the satisfaction of
Vis?n?u, or Kr?s?n?a. The more the activities of the material world are
performed in Kr?s?n?a consciousness, or for Vis?n?u only, the more the atmosphere
becomes spiritualized by complete absorption.
The word brahma (Brahman) means "spiritual." The Lord is spiritual, and the
rays of His transcendental body are called brahmajyoti, His spiritual effulgence.
Everything that exists is situated in that brahmajyoti,
but when the jyoti is covered by illusion (maya) or sense gratification, it is
called material. This material veil can be removed at once by Kr?s?n?a
consciousness; thus the offering for the sake of Kr?s?n?a
consciousness, the consuming agent of such an offering or contribution, the
process of consumption, the contributor, and the result are � all combined
together � Brahman, or the Absolute Truth. The Absolute
Truth covered by maya is called matter. Matter dovetailed for the cause of the
Absolute Truth regains its spiritual quality. Kr?s?n?a consciousness is the
process of converting the illusory consciousness into
Brahman, or the Supreme. When the mind is fully absorbed in Kr?s?n?a
consciousness, it is said to be in samadhi, or trance. Anything done in such
transcendental consciousness is called yaj�a, or sacrifice
for the Absolute. In that condition of spiritual consciousness, the
contributor, the contribution, the consumption, the performer or leader of the
performance, and the result or ultimate gain � everything � becomes
one in the Absolute, the Supreme Brahman. That is the method of Kr?s?n?a

Thus, Sri Krsna, after explaining how Karma takes the form of knowledge, now
speaks of the various kinds of Karma Yoga in the next slokas.

daivam evaa-apare yajnam yoginah paryupasate
brahmaagnav apare yajnam yajnen-aivo-upa-juhvati

"Some yogis enthusiastically worship God by offering different poojas , and some
others offer havis in the fire of the Supreme Brahman."

From slokas 25-29, Lord specifies various types of Karma Yoga. We can choose
what fits us. The goal of all this is the same - Atma Saakshatkaaram. Here two
types of Karma yogis are described.
First line details the first type; Second Line details the second type.

*Apare = some other,
*yoginah = [karma] yogis,
*daivam = performing poojas to God, [ Note: Although the word daivam may
refer to the demigods; it can also refer exclusively to the resplendent Supreme
Lord who verily is the ultimate goal of all yagnas by
those exclusively devoted to Him. Thus the propitiation of the Supreme Lord
is the distinctive superior attribute of performance of action. ]
*yagnam- pary-upasathe = enthusiastically do. Here yajna means pooja. This is
the first category.

*Apare = yet other karma yogis,
*brahmgnau = in the fire of bramham,
*yagnam = havis or the materials to be offered ,
*yajnena = using ladles etc.,
*juhvati = perform yagna. This is the second category.

In the first category, some Karma yogis perform pooja with enthusiasm.
Performing pooja has been the tradition in Hindu families since long. Poojas are
nine according to Prahlada, when he was questioned by
his father as to what he learnt in the school. Those are:
-Shravanam [listening to God�s glories],
-Keerthanam [singing in praise of the Lord],
-Vishnoh: smaranam [meditating on Lord Vishnu],
-Pada sevanam [serving at His feet],
-Archanam [uttering His names and offering fresh flowers],
-Vandanam [falling at His feet],
-Dasyam [considering as His servant and serving],
-Sakhyam [to be friendly with God] and
-Atma nivedanam [we should realize our atman is His and so surrender to God].

Hiranyakasipu got angry and questioned his son as to who was behind teaching
these, and the son replied, � He is the same who makes you to utter these words�.
He says Sri Narayana is the only
shastha [Leader] for all. Sri Krishna tells this only here. The pooja rules are
as simple as one would get ready daily. Poojas can be performed to salagrama or
pictures or idols. The actual method has to be
learnt from elders in the family or from an Acharya, but certain basic things
will be mentioned here. Pooja has to be performed daily, but as an exception, we
can skip due to unavoidable reasons. He is to be
woken up in the morning, chanting suprabhatam. By opening the box or small
mantap in which the salagrama or idol is kept, we have to gently clap the hands
thrice. We may sing angan ma gyalatharasar of
Thiruppavai here. Then we have to pray that though we are unqualified to perform
pooja, He should with grace accept our pooja. We have to then act as if brushing
His teeth, cleaning His tongue and bathe Him.
In Vallabhacharya sampradaya, they take several hours to do all these services
to the Lord and fondly address Him as Thakurji. All these are done till he is made
to sleep. He should be decorated with good dress
and ornaments. We can then sing all sthothras and pasurams. Then we have to
offer the food cooked. After resting Him on His bed we have to pray to forgive for
all the deficiencies in the
pooja [sloka: upacharapathe sena krtaan agaraharmaya, Apachaarani maam sarvaan
kshamasva purushotama ]. After this only we can take the offered food for our use.
This way daily pooja has to be performed.

In the second category, the karta offers ghee, milk, etc., using ladles in the
sacred fire(homam) , which is performing yagnam. Here a word of caution. Only
yagnas performed by those who have learnt the Vedas
thoroughly and conversant with the rules, are in this category

Additional Notes:
Factually sacrifice means to satisfy the Supreme Lord, Vis?n?u, who is also
known as Yaj�a. All the different varieties of sacrifice can be placed within two
primary divisions: namely, sacrifice of worldly possessions
and sacrifice in pursuit of transcendental knowledge. Those who are in Kr?s?n?a
consciousness sacrifice all material possessions for the satisfaction of the
Supreme Lord, while others, who want some temporary
material happiness, sacrifice their material possessions to satisfy demigods
such as Indra, the sun-god, etc. And others, who are impersonalists, sacrifice
their identity by merging into the existence of impersonal
Brahman. The demigods are powerful living entities appointed by the Supreme
Lord for the maintenance and supervision of all material functions like the
heating, watering and lighting of the universe. Those who
are interested in material benefits worship the demigods by various sacrifices
according to the Vedic rituals. They are called bahv-isvara-vadi, or believers in
many gods. But others, who worship the impersonal
feature of the Absolute Truth and regard the forms of the demigods as
temporary, sacrifice their individual selves in the supreme fire and thus end
their individual existences by merging into the existence of the
Supreme. Such impersonalists sacrifice their time in philosophical speculation
to understand the transcendental nature of the Supreme. In other words, the
fruitive workers sacrifice their material possessions for
material enjoyment, whereas the impersonalist sacrifices his material
designations with a view to merging into the existence of the Supreme. For the
impersonalist, the fire altar of sacrifice is the Supreme
Brahman, and the offering is the self being consumed by the fire of Brahman.
The Kr?s?n?a conscious person, like Arjuna, however, sacrifices everything for the
satisfaction of Kr?s?n?a, and thus all his material
possessions as well as his own self � everything � is sacrificed for Kr?s?n?a.
Thus, he is the first-class yogi; but he does not lose his individual existence.

srotradin indriyan(y) anye samyam-aagnisu juhvati
shabdaadin visayaan anye indriya-agnisu juhvati
"Some [karma yogis] offer the organs of perception like the ear as oblation in the
fires called restraint (control of senses), while others offer the objects of the
senses like the sound in the fire called senses."

In the 21st, 22nd and 23rd slokas, Sri Krishna advised Arjuna to view Karma as
Gyana and vice versa. In the 24th sloka he said that a Karma yogi views all the
havis, the agni, himself and the ladles used, as
Brahman. From 25th to 29th slokas, he describes various types and one could
choose anyone. In the 25th sloka, two types were described: one performing pooja
to God's diety and the other performing homam
or yagna using sacred fire. Here we should not think that the first type is
superior to others. All are equal and yield the same result. Now in the 26th sloka
and in the first half of 27th sloka, he describes three types
of Karma yogis.

The third type of Karma Yogis endeavour towards the restraint of the senses like
ear and the rest, i.e., keep themselves away from the objects pleasing to the
senses. They keep all their senses away from sense
objects and offer the senses into the fire of self-discipline.
The four type of Karma Yogi endeavour to prevent the attachment of the senses to
sound and other objects of the senses, i.e., they abstain from the sense objects
even when they are allowed to be near, by the
discriminative process of belittling their value and enjoyable nature.

Here also a type of yagna is mentioned, but there is no fire or actual havis to
be offered. We are to imagine certain things here.

*Srotradini-indriyany = sensual organs like ears,
*anye = another type of Karma yogi,
*juhvati = offers into,
*samyam = control of senses, agnisu = fires like.
There is no actual fire but we have to imagine control of sensual organs as
the fire. In an yagna, havis are offered into the fire. Here, this Karma yogi
offers, the sensual organs into this imaginary fire of control
of senses. This way his senses do not drift. Here plural of fire is used in
the word Agnisu. Because each sensual organ requires separate sense control and so
we can imagine five 'fires' for the five senses.
In the next type we have to imagine the sense organs as agni or fire.
*Shabdadin vishayan = sensual experience like listening are, [ Shabdham,
Sparsam, Rasam, Roopam, Gandham ]
*juhvati = offered into, indriyagnisu= the sense organs [fires],
*anya = by yet another type of Karma yogi.
All the sensual experience like listening, tasting, etc., are offered into
their respective organs. This means those organs destroy those experiences like
fire destroys the havis offered. There is a shastra which
states that of all the things to be controlled the prime is control of sense
organs. The organs are with us in our control. But the objects for these senses
are outside us and they are not in our control. In the
second type, therefore, the Karma yogi avoids all those outside him which
could cause sensual attractions in him. If we know a place for gambling, we avoid
that and this is the second type mentioned in this
sloka. In the first type, since this Karma yogi has already got control of
senses, these external objects do not disturb him. This way Sri Krishna mentions
the 3rd and 4th types of Karma yogi.

Additional notes:
Lord Krishna continues stating that others like the Brahmacaris or those
practising celibacy offer each particular sense as a sacrifice in the fire of
self-discipline and restraining the senses lead a life of self
control. The householders offer the sense objects themselves into the
senses and while enjoying sense objects remain unattached. They offer the sense
objects as oblations into their senses which they
envision to be the fire.
The members of the four divisions of human life, namely the brahmacari, the
grhastha, the vanaprastha and the sannyasi, are all meant to become perfect yogis
or transcendentalists. Since human life is not
meant for our enjoying sense gratification like the animals, the four
orders of human life are so arranged that one may become perfect in spiritual
life. The brahmacaris, or students under the care of a bona fide
spiritual master, control the mind by abstaining from sense gratification. A
brahmacari hears only words concerning Krsna consciousness; hearing is the basic
principle for understanding, and therefore the
pure brahmacari engages fully in harer namanukirtanam � chanting and
hearing the glories of the Lord. He restrains himself from the vibrations of
material sounds, and his hearing is engaged in the
transcendental sound vibration of Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna. Similarly, the
householders, who have some license for sense gratification, perform such acts
with great restraint. Sex life, intoxication and
meat-eating are general tendencies of human society, but a regulated
householder does not indulge in unrestricted sex life and other sense
gratification. Marriage on the principles of religious life is therefore
current in all civilized human society because that is the way for
restricted sex life. This restricted, unattached sex life is also a kind of yaj�a
because the restricted householder sacrifices his general tendency
toward sense gratification for higher, transcendental life.

sarvaani-indriya-karmani praana-karmaani capare
atma-samyama-yoga-agnau juhvati jnaana-dipite

"Others, offer as oblation the functions of the senses and the activity of the
vital breaths into the fire of the Yoga of restraint of the mind kindled by
knowledge. "

Others offer all the functions of the senses and all the functions of the prana
or life breath along with the vital energy of the body in the fire of the purified
soul ignited by knowledge. By this Lord Krishna means that
such persons direct their efforts in disciplining the mind to refrain from its
pursuit of sensual activities.

As told earlier, 26th and 27th slokas describe the activities of three types of
Karma yogi. In the 26th sloka we saw a person offering the sensual experiences
such as listening, into the fire of organs
and destroys the desire for such experiences, like offering havis materials into
sacrificial fire. In the same sloka we saw another type of person, who despite the
objects for sensual experience available,
has already offered the sensual organs into the fire of sensual organs
control(restraint) and so is immune to any desire for those objects. In this sloka
we see the next type of Karma Yogi.

*Atma samyama = control of mind is the action of one more type of,
*yoga = Karma yogi. Samyama consists of concentration, meditation, and Self-
Earlier we saw a type where the objects of desire are avoided and thus
control is effected. Another type was the control of organs themselves so that the
desire for those organs are avoided. Here the mind
which is superior to the sense organs , is controlled. This action of mind
control is that of yet another type of Karma yogi. Certain people do not want to
be in usual places so as to avoid all sorts of distractions.
In this place, we saw a person, carrying a belt on the waist as tree climbers
would wear and he has vowed to carry this for 18 years. He never removes it and
with that only all his daily activities are done. So
each person chooses a method to voluntarily undergo some physical hardship and
control. Here, the person described controls the mind. Controlling the organs is
hard. Controlling the external objects of desire
is harder. Here, the control of mind is described which is much harder. Here
mind control is personified as the sacrificial fire. How to ignite this fire?
Gyana is the entity to ignite.

*Sarvani = all, indriyani = sense organs,
*karmani = activities,
*prana = our body has five types of air circulation - prana, apana, vyana,udana
and samana - and are to function properly for the upkeep of our body system. One
could live without the organs, but if prana air is
removed, one dies. So these air circulations are essential. Prana air is
inhaled and exhaled out of nostrils.
*Prana karmani capare = the functions of prana and other air circulations.
*Agnau = in the fire [ of mind control i.e atma-samyama],
*juhvati = offers [ the organs functions and prana and other air circulation
functions ] as ahuti.
*Jnaana-Dipite = Igniting the mind control by Gnaana. (the Havis needs
something to be lighted. In this case the Havis of mind-control is ignite by
Thus, by igniting with Gyana, the mind control fire is made and in this the
Karma yogi offers as havis all the activities of the organs and the functioning of
prana and other air circulation in the body.
Gyana deepa means the knowledget hat atman and body are different, that atman
is superior to body, that atman is an embodiment of Gyana, that atman is
indestructible,that atman should be freed from the
miseries of samsara, that atman sakshatkaram should be realized and that many
noble things have to be done to the society and country. This thinking makes one
to control mind. The small fire spark of atman
gyana will manifest as the big flame of mind control in the sacrificial fire.
We can avoid undesirable objects of desire to some extent but not always and at
all times. Organ control would be better. But mind control
would be far better. We have experienced that sometimes, even when we are
looking at an object, our mind might not be involved. Then that object never
affects us. Therefore this type of control some Karma
yogi practice.

Additional Notes:
The yoga system conceived by Pata�jali is referred to herein. In the Yoga-
sutra of Patanjali, the soul is called pratyag-atma and parag-atma. As long as the
soul is attached to sense enjoyment it is called
parag-atma, but as soon as the same soul becomes detached from such sense
enjoyment it is called pratyag-atma. The soul is subjected to the functions of ten
kinds of air at work within the body, and this is
perceived through the breathing system. The Pata�jali system of yoga
instructs one on how to control the functions of the body's air in a technical
manner so that ultimately all the functions of the air within
become favorable for purifying the soul of material attachment. According
to this yoga system, pratyag-atma is the ultimate goal. This pratyag-atma is
withdrawn from activities in matter. The senses interact
with the sense objects, like the ear for hearing, eyes for seeing, nose for
smelling, tongue for tasting, hand for touching, and all of them are thus engaged
in activities outside the self. They are called the functions
of the prana-vayu. The apana-vayu goes downwards, vyana-vayu acts to shrink
and expand, samana-vayu adjusts equilibrium, udana-vayu goes upwards � and when
one is enlightened, one engages all these
in searching for self-realization.
The ten types of life airs and their actions are as follows:
prana : incoming (Principal breath)
apana : outgoing (excretory breath)
samana : to adjust the equilibrium of all objects eaten or drunk
udana : to take up (Respiratory)
vyana : to move everywhere (Circulatory)
naga : to belch
kurma : to open the eyes
krikara : to cough
devadatta : to yawn
dhananjaya : to remain in the body even after death.

dravya-yajnas tapo-yajnaha: yoga-yajnas tathapare
svaadhyaya-jnana-yajnas ca yatayah-samsita-vratah

"Resolving to complete the efforts, some become enlightened by sacrificing their
possessions, some others by performing severe austerities, some by pilgrimage to
sacred places, some by studying the Vedas
and some others to advance in knowledge."

In each of the 25th and 26th slokas, Sri Krishna listed two types of Karma yogi
and in the 27th sloka one more was listed. Thus so far five types have been
described. In the 28th sloka He describes five more
types of Karma yogis:

*Yataya = with good efforts, yatayah means diligent and refers to yatis or
renunciates who assiduously persevere to accomplish all that they vow to
spiritually undertake.
*samsita vrata = resolved to complete the tasks undertaken without interruption.
The compound word samsita-vratah means they who have firm resolve and fixed
determination and refers to the yatis.
This adjective is common to the five types of karma Yogis, being described in
this sloka. All these are resolved to complete their tasks without interruption.

1)Dravya yajna = performing oblations with materials. That is performing yagna or
pooja or donating to needy persons, all these are done by this type of person.
This requires lots of materials to be offered.
But these materials are earned in an honest way. Materials earned by dishonest
means cannot be donated or offered and they will never erase the sins committed by
wrong means. So says shastras.
In fact, noble persons will not accept materials earned dishonestly. We have
seen sacred materials are offered in the holy fire in yagnas. Costly silk sarees
and dhoties are sometimes offered into the fire
and these are reduced to ashes. Many may think that this is waste when lots of
persons do not have dress to wear and food to eat. Yes, it is true that there are
many deprived in our society, but this does
not mean this activity is forbidden. These are having results but this does
not mean we drop into the fire all sorts of things. At the same time we have to
ponder over the crores of rupees being spent on
crackers every Deepavali festival. This way of spending is not prescribed in
our shastras. People do it for sheer enjoyment. None questions this. Whereas the
offerings in yagna are all prescribed and are
done chanting the relevant mantras. Yagnas bring prosperity. Even in a
marriage, we print costly invitation cards and feed thousands of our friends and
relatives. They are not needy ones and we drive out
the beggars outside who need food for survival. All these are done to satisfy
our ego. Donations are to be done to the needy only. This would please God also.

2)Tapo yajna = voluntarily taking body sufferings/austerities and meditating.
Meditating inside water or on mountain cliffs, not caring for weather conditions,
etc. Such persons could be spotted in
Himalayas even now.
3)Yoga yajna = [the third type is] persons who undertake pilgrimage[yaatra].
Yogam here implies "Maargam".
Here the term Yoga means pilgrimages to sacred sancturaries and holy places
as the context relates to aspects of Karma Yoga. Bathing in sacred rivers like
Ganges or Kaveri, visiting sacred places
like the 108 Divya desam, etc. This type of travel broadens one's mind and
makes one to understand others, apart from devotion to God and temporary freedom
from one's own place.
4)Svaadhyaya yajna = learning vedas thoroughly and practicing it all times. Veda
5)Gyana yajna = [this is the fif