Bhagavad Gita 3: Karma Yoga

हरि सर्वोत्तम । वायु जीवोत्तम । श्री गुरुभ्यो नमः ।

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Bhagavad Gita 3: Karma Yoga

अथ तृतीयोऽध्यायः
कर्मयोगः


अर्जुन उवाच
ज्यायसी चेत्कर्मणस्ते मता बुद्धिर्जनार्दन ।
तत्किं कर्मणि घोरे मां नियोजयसि केशव ॥ ३।१ ॥
Arjuna said –
O Janārdana, if you consider that knowledge is superior to action, why do You urge me to the terrible action (war)?

व्यामिश्रेणेव वाक्येन बुद्धिं मोहयसीव मे ।
तदेकं वद निश्चित्य येन श्रेयोऽहमाप्नुयाम् ॥ ३।२ ॥
You are confusing my understanding with these apparently conflicting words. Tell me therefore, with certainty the one method by which I may attain the highest good.

श्रीभगवानुवाच
लोकेऽस्मिन् द्विविधा निष्ठा पुरा प्रोक्ता मयानघ ।
ज्ञानयोगेन साङ्ख्यानां कर्मयोगेन योगिनाम् ॥ ३।३ ॥
Śrī Bhagavān said –
Sinless one, in this world a twofold path to heaven was taught by me long ago – the path of knowledge for Sāṅkhya-s and the path of action for yogis.

न कर्मणामनारम्भान्नैष्कर्म्यं पुरुषोऽश्नुते ।
न च संन्यसनादेव सिद्धिं समधिगच्छति ॥ ३।४ ॥
No one attains Mokṣa (release) by mere non-commencement of work (omission of duties) nor does he attain redemption by mere ascetism (renunciation).

न हि कश्चित्क्षणमपि जातु तिष्ठत्यकर्मकृत् ।
कार्यते ह्यवशः कर्म सर्वः प्रकृतिजैर्गुणैः ॥ ३।५ ॥
No one can possibly remain actionless even for a moment. Everyone is driven to action by qualities of nature under the power of the Lord who is the absolute controller of Prakṛti.

कर्मेन्द्रियाणि संयम्य य आस्ते मनसा स्मरन् ।
इन्द्रियार्थान्विमूढात्मा मिथ्याचारः स उच्यते ॥ ३।६ ॥
He who restraining the organs of action keeps on contemplating the objects of senses inwardly, is entirely deluded and is rightly described a hypocrite.

यस्त्विन्द्रियाणि मनसा नियम्यारभतेऽर्जुन ।
कर्मेन्द्रियैः कर्मयोगमसक्तः स विशिष्यते ॥ ३।७ ॥
But, O Arjuna, he who controlling the senses employs the organs of actions without attachment to their fruit is doubtless superior.

नियतं कुरु कर्म त्वं कर्म ज्यायो ह्यकर्मणः ।
शरीरयात्रापि च ते न प्रसिद्ध्येदकर्मणः ॥ ३।८ ॥
Therefore, perform the duties ordained (by Varṇa and Āśrama), for action is better than non-action. Even the maintenance of the body would not be possible without some sort of action.

यज्ञार्थात्कर्मणोऽन्यत्र लोकोऽयं कर्मबन्धनः ।
तदर्थं कर्म कौन्तेय मुक्तसङ्गः समाचर ॥ ३।९ ॥
Any act performed except as the worship of the Lord leads to bondage. Therefore, O Kunti’s son, perform the duties without desire (attachment), by only for His sake (to please Him).

सहयज्ञाः प्रजाः सृष्ट्वा पुरोवाच प्रजापतिः ।
अनेन प्रसविष्यध्वमेष वोऽस्त्विष्टकामधुक् ॥ ३।१० ॥
At the beginning of the world Brahma created human beings together with sacrifice and said ‘by means of this obtain your wishes and this will give you desired objects’.

देवान्भावयतानेन ते देवा भावयन्तु वः ।
परस्परं भावयन्तः श्रेयः परमवाप्स्यथ ॥ ३।११ ॥
Propitete the gods by this(offering in the form of sacrifices). They bestow every comfort on you. By such mutual service, you shall attain Mokṣa.

इष्टान्भोगान्हि वो देवा दास्यन्ते यज्ञभाविताः ।
तैर्दत्तानप्रदायैभ्यो यो भुङ्क्ते स्तेन एव सः ॥ ३।१२ ॥
Propitiated by sacrifices, the gods bestow on you the enjoyments you desire. He who enjoys these gifts bestowed by them without reciprocatory offering by way of repaying them and appropriates them to himself is certainly a thief.

यज्ञशिष्टाशिनः सन्तो मुच्यन्ते सर्वकिल्बिषैः ।
भुञ्जते ते त्वघं पापा ये पचन्त्यात्मकारणात् ॥ ३।१३ ॥
The righteous who partake of the remains of the sacrifice are freed from all sins, but the impious who cook food just for their own selfish use, eat sin.

अन्नाद्भवन्ति भूतानि पर्जन्यादन्नसम्भवः ।
यज्ञाद्भवति पर्जन्यो यज्ञः कर्मसमुद्भवः ॥ ३।१४ ॥
कर्म ब्रह्मोद्भवं विद्धि ब्रह्माक्षरसमुद्भवम् ।
तस्मात्सर्वगतं ब्रह्म नित्यं यज्ञे प्रतिष्ठितम् ॥ ३।१५ ॥
एवं प्रवर्तितं चक्रं नानुवर्तयतीह यः ।
अघायुरिन्द्रियारामो मोघं पार्थ स जीवति ॥ ३।१६ ॥
From food creatures come into being; from the sun through cloud and rain food is produced; from Yajña (sacrifice) comes forth the sun; sacrifice springs from duties enjoined on human beings. Duty has its origin in Brahman and Brahman is revealed by the Vedas. Therefore, the all pervading Brahman is ever established in sacrifices. O Pārtha, he who does not discharge the duties enjoined on him in this world, and who does not fall in with the rotations of the wheel thus set in motion leads a life of sin addicted to sensual pleasures and lives in vain.

यस्त्वात्मरतिरेव स्यादात्मतृप्तश्च मानवः ।
आत्मन्येव च सन्तुष्टस्तस्य कार्यं न विद्यते ॥ ३।१७ ॥
One who rejoices in Ātman (God) alone, is content with Ātman alone and has his mind fixed in Ātman alone has no other duty to perform.

नैव तस्य कृतेनार्थो नाकृतेनेह कश्चन ।
न चास्य सर्वभूतेषु कश्चिदर्थव्यपाश्रयः ॥ ३।१८ ॥
For such a person, there is no purpose to be served by performance of enjoined duties; nor does any sin result from his failure to perform them. Nor in the entire range of creation, can there be anything that can serve him in any way.

तस्मादसक्तः सततं कार्यं कर्म समाचर ।
असक्तो ह्याचरन्कर्म परमाप्नोति पूरुषः ॥ ३।१९ ॥
Therefore, perform the duties enjoined on you always without attachment. It is he who does work without attachment that attains Mukti (the Supreme).

कर्मणैव हि संसिद्धिमास्थिता जनकादयः ।
लोकसङ्ग्रहमेवापि सम्पश्यन्कर्तुमर्हसि ॥ ३।२० ॥
It is well known that Janaka and others attained the goal (salvation) only by performing their duties, having an eye on welfare of the world, you should do the duty befitting you.

यद्यदाचरति श्रेष्ठस्तत्तदेवेतरो जनः ।
स यत्प्रमाणं कुरुते लोकस्तदनुवर्तते ॥ ३।२१ ॥
Whatsoever a great man does, others copy; whatever he sets up as authoritative, that the world follows.

न मे पार्थास्ति कर्तव्यं त्रिषु लोकेषु किञ्चन ।
नानवाप्तमवाप्तव्यं वर्त एव च कर्मणि ॥ ३।२२ ॥
O Pārtha, surely, there is nothing in the three worlds that should be done by Me, nothing unattained nor to be attained by Me. Yet I am ever engaged in action.

यदि ह्यहं न वर्तेयं जातु कर्मण्यतन्द्रितः ।
मम वर्त्मानुवर्तन्ते मनुष्याः पार्थ सर्वशः ॥ ३।२३ ॥
O Pārtha, if I do not always continue unwearingly to work, all men throughout the world would follow My example.

उत्सीदेयुरिमे लोका न कुर्यां कर्म चेदहम् ।
सङ्करस्य च कर्ता स्यामुपहन्यामिमाः प्रजाः ॥ ३।२४ ॥
If I do not perform action, the world would fall to pieces and I would be the author of confusion of castes and would in effect be destroying the creatures.

सक्ताः कर्मण्यविद्वांसो यथा कुर्वन्ति भारत ।
कुर्याद्विद्वांस्तथासक्तश्चिकीर्षुर्लोकसङ्ग्रहम् ॥ ३।२५ ॥
Just as the ignorant perform duties attached to the fruits, O Bhārata, so also the learned, free from attachment, should act setting an example to others by way of promoting the welfare of the world.

न बुद्धिभेदं जनयेदज्ञानां कर्मसङ्गिनाम् ।
जोषयेत्सर्वकर्माणि विद्वान्युक्तः समाचरन् ॥ ३।२६ ॥
The wise man should not disturb the minds of the ignorant attached to action; but he should with devotion to Me, perform the said duties and make offers agreeably and likewise cause others to do the same.

प्रकृतेः क्रियमाणानि गुणैः कर्माणि सर्वशः ।
अहङ्कारविमूढात्मा कर्ताहमिति मन्यते ॥ ३।२७ ॥
Ignorant man, deluded by egoism, fancies himself to be the doer in respect of all actions brought about: (1) by the Supreme Lord, His will and wisdom; (2) in accordance with the inherent nature of their souls; and (3) by the impact of qualities of Prakṛti known as Satva, Rajas and Tamas.

तत्त्ववित्तु महाबाहो गुणकर्मविभागयोः ।
गुणा गुणेषु वर्तन्त इति मत्वा न सज्जते ॥ ३।२८ ॥
But O mighty armed, he who knows the truth relating to the distinctions and details of qualities and their functions is not attached, understanding as he does that the senses (guṇa-s) act upon their (guṇeśu) objects.

प्रकृतेर्गुणसम्मूढाः सज्जन्ते गुणकर्मसु ।
तानकृत्स्नविदो मन्दान्कृत्स्नविन्न विचालयेत् ॥ ३।२९ ॥
Confused by the qualities of Satva, Rajas and Tamas, having the false notion of agency the ignorant become attached to sense objects and work. He who has perfect knowledge should not try to divert the course of those foolish beings of little understanding.

मयि सर्वाणि कर्माणि संन्यस्याध्यात्मचेतसा ।
निराशीर्निर्ममो भूत्वा युध्यस्व विगतज्वरः ॥ ३।३० ॥
With the mind full of devotion to Me (God) and dedicating all works to Me, straight into battle freed from desires, egoism and fever of anxiety, do plunge.

ये मे मतमिदं नित्यमनुतिष्ठन्ति मानवाः ।
श्रद्धावन्तोऽनसूयन्तो मुच्यन्ते तेऽपि कर्मभिः ॥ ३।३१ ॥
Those who full of faith and free from evil follow forever this teaching of Mine, are released from the bondage of karma (actions).

ये त्वेतदभ्यसूयन्तो नानुतिष्ठन्ति मे मतम् ।
सर्वज्ञानविमूढांस्तान्विद्धि नष्टानचेतसः ॥ ३।३२ ॥
But those, who ridicule My teaching and fail to act up to it, know them to be devoid of all sense and ignorant of what ought to be known, and are therefore destined to ruin.

सदृशं चेष्टते स्वस्याः प्रकृतेर्ज्ञानवानपि ।
प्रकृतिं यान्ति भूतानि निग्रहः किं करिष्यति ॥ ३।३३ ॥
Even the man of knowledge acts in conformity to his own accumulated Samskāra-s and their effects. All beings thus automatically follow their own nature, what can control of mind do?

इन्द्रियस्येन्द्रियस्यार्थे रागद्वेषौ व्यवस्थितौ ।
तयोर्न वशमागच्छेत्तौ ह्यस्य परिपन्थिनौ ॥ ३।३४ ॥
In respect to the specific object of different sense, likes and dislikes necessarily rise up; let no one come under their sway, for they surely are his enemies.

श्रेयान्स्वधर्मो विगुणः परधर्मात्स्वनुष्ठितात् ।
स्वधर्मे निधनं श्रेयः परधर्मो भयावहः ॥ ३।३५ ॥
Of greater merit is ones own duty (Dharma) however inperfectly done, than the Dharma of another performed to perfection. Worthy is death in the discharge of ones own duty (Dharma); (Turning to) the duty of another is fraught with fear.

अर्जुन उवाच
अथ केन प्रयुक्तोऽयं पापं चरति पूरुषः ।
अनिच्छन्नपि वार्ष्णेय बलादिव नियोजितः ॥ ३।३६ ॥
Arjuna said –
Then, O Kṛṣṇa, what is it which impels one to commit sin even against his will, as if driven by force?

श्रीभगवानुवाच
काम एष क्रोध एष रजोगुणसमुद्भवः ।
महाशनो महापाप्मा विद्ध्येनमिह वैरिणम् ॥ ३।३७ ॥
Śrī Bhagavān said –
It is desire and wrath, born of Rajoguṇa. All-consuming and most sinful – know each to be the enemy here.

धूमेनाव्रियते वह्निर्यथादर्शो मलेन च ।
यथोल्बेनावृतो गर्भस्तथा तेनेदमावृतम् ॥ ३।३८ ॥
As fire enveloped by smoke as mirror is covered by dirt, as an embryo is wrapped by the amnion, so this (knowledge) is enveloped by Kāma.

आवृतं ज्ञानमेतेन ज्ञानिनो नित्यवैरिणा ।
कामरूपेण कौन्तेय दुष्पूरेणानलेन च ॥ ३।३९ ॥
The knowledge of the learned, O Kunti’s son, is eveloped by this eternal enemy in the form of desire, that is insatiable and limitless.

इन्द्रियाणि मनो बुद्धिरस्याधिष्ठानमुच्यते ।
एतैर्विमोहयत्येष ज्ञानमावृत्य देहिनम् ॥ ३।४० ॥
The senses, mind and reason, are described to be its abode; by these, it deludes, the Jīva (dweller in the body) by clouding his knowledge.

तस्मात्त्वमिन्द्रियाण्यादौ नियम्य भरतर्षभ ।
पाप्मानं प्रजहि ह्येनं ज्ञानविज्ञाननाशनम् ॥ ३।४१ ॥
Therefore, O best of Bharatas, having controlled the senses first, kill the sinful desire, which destroys knowledge and wisdom.

इन्द्रियाणि पराण्याहुरिन्द्रियेभ्यः परं मनः ।
मनसस्तु परा बुद्धिर्यो बुद्धेः परतस्तु सः ॥ ३।४२ ॥
It is said that the senses are superior to the body (and their deities); higher than the senses ranks the mind (its presiding deity); higher than the mind stands Buddhi (reason); but what is more exalted than Buddhi is He, the Supreme Lord.

एवं बुद्धेः परं बुद्ध्वा संस्तभ्यात्मानमात्मना ।
जहि शत्रुं महाबाहो कामरूपं दुरासदम् ॥ ३।४३ ॥
Understanding Him, who is more exalted than Buddhi in this order, and restraining the mind by means of wisdom, O Mighty armed one, vanquish this enemy called Kāma (desire) which is hard to beat.

ॐ तत्सदिति श्रीमद्भगवद्गीतासूपनिषत्सु
ब्रह्मविद्यायां योगशास्त्रे श्रीकृष्णार्जुनसंवादे
कर्मयोगो नाम तृतीयोऽध्यायः ॥ ३॥
Thus ends the Third Chapter of the Upanisads of the Bhagavad Gīta, entitled “Karma yoga”, the Yoga of Action.

Reference: Srimad Bhagavad Gita pocket book published by Suguna Samsath with English translation by Shri Bannanje Govindacharya (Received with blessings from HH Shri Shri Sugunendra Tirtha Swamiji of Puttige Matha in Austin, TX,  Nov 1997)

Transliterated by Krishna Rao Vijayanagar and Raghunath Rao

“Do your Best … and leave the Rest … “

॥ सर्वं श्री कृष्णार्पणं अस्तु ॥